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Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Superiors 2: Have You Noticed That The Text Says Kobal Likes Subtle But Then Just Does Slapstick?

Kobal isn't the kind of Prince that helps his demons out very often. It's the flip side of the freedoms they get. He expects them to be self-reliant, and only wants to be summoned to Earth, especially these days, just before the final punchline of an operation. If you call him in to save your life from Malakim, well...this is a stupid example but it's what they give: he might just hand you a pack of frozen hot dogs, comment on the difficulty of getting blood out of fabric and then vanish again. Even if he does help you, it might not end much better for you than if you hadn't called him at all.

To Kobal, humans are only to be scorned, unworthy and untrusted. No plan of Kobal's relies on human action, either Hellsworn or that of mere pawns, unless he has no other choice. Likewise, his demons are contemptuous of the skills of even the best human. Besides, there's so many more interesting ways to punish failed demons. Humans are fragile - you get just one good joke before they die, and the damned aren't even worth considering. The one exception to this is when angels are around and it's vital to avoid Disturbance. In that case, only a human will serve, but even then, their demonic keeper will take all praise and blame.

Kobal most approves of Impudites, though he also likes Balseraphs, Lilim and Shedim. Djinn he often finds too single-minded and Calabim too coarse. He does like Habbalah, however, if only so he can ask them if they're still doing God's work. Balseraphs of Dark Humor especially excel at destroying the self-esteem of those around them by convincing them they're stupid or overly gullible. It tends to become a self-fulfilling belief, you see. As they use their powers to explain any misfortune as the victim's own fault, it gets easier and easier for the victim to accept, until they are a self-loathing, easily manipulated target that will take the blame for anything that goes wrong.

Djinn of Dark Humor grow bitter fruit from small seeds of doubt. They are experts at destroying trust and finding the worst interpretation of any action or denial, which they see as an extension of the Djinn tendency to be uncaring and detached. They isolate their victims, severing all ties of trust that bind them to others, then mold them into their desired image.

Calabim of Dark Humor tend to be weaker but smarter than other Calabim, and most believe destruction is the core of comedy. They view it in the abstract - physical destruction is fine, sure, but destruction is more than smashing things. Destroy information, destroy self-esteem, destroy trust.

Habbalah of Dark Humor push their victims across the line between laughter and tears. They make inappropriate outbursts at just the wrong time, and most of them view it as an outgrowth of serving God, rooting out the weak. They believe this is a vital mission, testing their victims and revealing their weakness. In their view, only those worthy will be able to resist...though those that resist must be tested again and again to find the right breaking point. Those that fail are weak and deserving of scorn.

Lilim of Dark Humor often find themselves in the funniest but most dangerous situations. They have the role of finding chances for foolish behavior, then baiting victims into it. They are exceptionally good liars who love to use their Geases to send victims to their own self-destruction.

Shedim of Dark Humor see themselves as under-respected. They have to be creative because it's just so hard to top themselves after a few weeks. When other Kobalites work with a Shedite, they usually find themselves waiting eagerly to see each new day's hilarious corruption. For the most part, the Shedim see themselves as just nurturing their host's natural inclanations. Some of them even get sanctimonious, claiming they're out to entertain everyone (except the host, of course). This can make them fun to work with but annoying to talk to - nothing is quite so grating as a demon claiming to work for the common good.

Impudites of Dark Humor are the majority of Kobal's demons and perhaps his most cruel. They believe that tragedy is just someone else's comedy and embrace it in their work. It takes a lot of work to set up a prank that results in death, after all. Impudites prefer Roles that let them walk easily through humanity - pharmacy assistants, school bus mechanics and drivers, high school shop teachers. These are all especially loved because they have a lot of potential victims.

In Hell, Kobal typically runs pranks on other Princes. Political operations, spying and so on are also common. Kobal hardly has the spies Asmodeus does, but he does well with what he has. His demons tend to be smarter than the Game's and less paranoid. Shal-Mari is close to many other Principalities, so they find it easy to get information from visitors. Likewise, it's easier to trace plots against Shal-Mari to the source. While Kobal has no Hall of Loyalty, he does have a room where he can restrain demons and force them to watch B-movies on loop for weeks. The only other jobs in Hell are to prove your worthiness for Earth duty.

Kobal tends to leave the Marches to Beleth, but he doesn't ignore them entirely. Still, he's not found much use for them except to punish and test his demons. When a demon of Kobal fails in a way that he can't tell stupidity from bad luck, they get sent to do recon in the Marches. If they get caught by Beleth, Kobal usually says they must have been a rogue and lets her do as she likes. If they survive, they're smart enough to get a second chance.

Traditionally, Kobal's demons spread his Word on Earth. It's still important to him. However, more and more of his agents are getting orders to act directly against Heaven. His demons on Earth are expected to be clever and subtle, and Kobal has many plans going at any time, most of which are either efforts for the War, political maneuvers against another Prince or whimsical plans just for the Hell of it. Efforts against Heaven are most common right now, and the smarter demons have noticed that. So far, they've avoided direct batles with the Host as Baal might, preferring subversion and guerrilla tactics. It's hard to say if it's been doing what Kobal wants yet. Few Princes grasp human workings as much as Kobal, though, and he uses that to his advantage. If he can thwart other Princes and blame the humans, that's just the smart thing to do - and funny. Occasionally, Kobal also gets given opportunities so striking and comical he can't pass them up, even if they serve no strategy. He especially enjoys catching religious figures in kinky sex and then destroying their reputation, causing gangsta rappers to shoot each other by accident and anything else that tickles his fancy.

Next time: More 'jokes.' This is why the best Kobal is one redeemed to be Archangel of Joy instead, you get to utterly rewrite him.


Nov 9, 2011

Foolish child of man...
After reading all this,
do you still not understand?


Let's talk specifics! The book is nice to pre-build a bunch of generic vampires and monsters, just as it did human opposition earlier in the book. Here's what we've got:

What you get when an evildoer dies unpunished and the body stays undiscovered for 40 days. They're pure evil and super ugly, and a bunch of them were raised during a solar eclipse over Bucharest in 1961.

During an eclipse, a Vukodlak's Aberrance and Health pools are doubled (partial eclipse) or quadrupled (total eclipse). It can drink Health from humans to recover up to twice its Health rating. Whatever Weapons and Shooting skill it has are from when it was alive, they don't improve after death. Vukodlak can be detected by pure white or black horses, have obvious eyes where one is far larger than the other, and cast no shadow. To kill it permanently, you must behead and hamstring the body or burn it to ash.


General Abilities: Aberrance 11, Hand-to-Hand 7, Health 7, Shooting 5, Weapons 5
Hit Threshold: 4
Alertness Modifier: +0
Stealth Modifier: +1 (lurks in ambush)
Damage Modifier: +1 (fangs or talons)
Armor: -1 (fur); weapons do halved damage, firearms only do 1 damage, shotguns only do 2.
Free Powers: Drain, Infravision
Other Powers: Astral Projection, Blight Crops (magic), Infection (those killed by vampire power), Mimicry (friendly voice calling target by name), Plague, Tunneling (in rat form), Turn to Creature (rat, black eagle)
Banes: Beheading, fire, silver, stake to the heart, wolfsbane
Compulsions: Astrally project during eclipse, count seeds
Dreads: Wolfsbane
Requirements: Drink blood

Children of the Dragon
The descendants of Vlad Tepes, the Impaler. Linea Dracula.

Vampires of this bloodline retain human hungers and sins, and can create new vampires - but the vampires they create are weaker than they are. By habit, they only turn their brides or most faithful retainers. By modern times, they've stopped having more children (children are just rivals when you're immortal) - there's only about 250 of them left in the world.

One faction of the Linea follows Vlad Tepes himself, the other follows Count John Dracula of the "Hungarian" line, born of Vlad's second wife. The only known cure for those turned by the Linea is to destroy their master. They cannot be seen in mirrors or on camera and cast no shadow. The only way to prevent their return is to separate the head from the body.


General Abilities: Aberrance 17, Hand-to-Hand 11, Health 11, Weapons 13
Hit Threshold: 7
Alertness Modifier: +3
Stealth Modifier: +3
Damage Modifier: +3 (sword)
Armor: -1 (tough skin); unfeeling
Free Powers: Drain, Infravision, Regeneration (all damage from physical weapons at sunset)
Other Powers: Addictive Bite, Apportation (when invited or to native earth), Clairvoyance (those he has bitten), Cloak of Darkness, Dominance, Infection (those who drink vampire blood), Magic, Mesmerism (eye contact or voice), Necromancer, Send to Sleep, Spider Climb, Strength, Summoning (rats, wolves), Turn to Creature (bat, wolf), Turn to Mist, Vampiric Speed
Banes: Beheading, stake to the heart, sunlight (prevents use of powers)
Blocks: Can't enter a room without being invited, holy symbols, running water, wild roses
Compulsions: Kill and drain a fallen enemy
Dreads: Holy symbols, garlic, mirrors
Requirements: Drink blood, must sleep in native soil each night

Add an extra +3 to Aberrance and +2 to Hand-to-Hand and Health for each 50 years of unlife. Vlad himself has been a vampire since 1466, I'll let you do the math on how scary he is by now.

Vampiric Assign
A spouse or servant of the Linea Dracula, turned into a vampire. +2 to Aberrance and +1 to Hand-to-Hand and Health for each 100 years of unlife. No shadow, but they do cast reflections - the reflection shows pain and torment. After being killed by a bane, they don't return.


General Abilities: Aberrance 11, Hand-to-Hand 5, Health 7, Weapons 7
Hit Threshold: 5
Alertness Modifier: +2
Stealth Modifier: +1
Damage Modifier: +0 (dagger), +0 (bite), -1 (fist, kick)
Armor: -1 (tough skin)
Free Powers: Drain, Infravision
Other Powers: Addictive Bite, Cloak of Darkness, Mesmerism (eye contact or voice), Spider Climb, Strength, Vampiric Speed
Banes: Beheading, holy symbols, stake to the heart, sunlight (prevents use of powers)
Blocks: Can't enter a room without being invited, holy symbols, running water, wild roses
Compulsions: Obey sire
Dreads: Holy symbols, garlic, mirrors
Requirements: Drink blood, must sleep in native soil each night

Alien Stone
Vampires are silicon-based alien extradimensional creatures that fell to Earth ten thousand years ago. They don't live in the sense that we understand it, but they warp time and causality around themselves even while living as huge, unmoving stone statues. Mirrors keep them dormant as they perceive their own perception in an infinite feedback loop.

Over millenia, the alien stones have become inert, and their bodies have broken apart and been separated. However, their immortal human servants still carry out their bidding on our plane, and advances in technology have uncovered new ways to revive the stones artificially.

When fully awakened, an alien stone is so powerful that defying it is virtually impossible. Just being perceived by one triggers a 5-poing Stability test. They exist outside of time as we understand it, allowing ther ability pools to refresh instantly, making their point pools functionally infinite. They can warp gravity and space-time for tens of miles in any direction. The only way to destroy them is to expose them to sunlight, or use powerful explosives to disrupt their impossible, alien geometry.


General Abilities: ?
Hit Threshold: ?
Alertness Modifier: -3 (looking in mirror) or +3 (in the presence of fresh blood)
Armor: -5 (stone)
Free Powers: Clairvoyance (through any part of their body, down to the molecule), Darkvision, Drain, Infection (those who ingest alien matter), Levitation, Mental Blast (damages Stability), Necromancy, Prophecy, Regeneration (all damage, instantly), Summoning (infected), Temporal Distortion, Time Warp (shift anything they perceive into another time when the stone exists)
Banes: Sunlight (explodes on the level of a nuclear device)
Blocks: Chaotic streams (running water, random charge fluctuations)
Compulsions: Answer questions after blood sacrifice

Perfectus Petri
The once-human servants of the alien stones. Their blood and flesh have been replaced with strange alien matter, and they have become immortal.

Perfecti cannot be seen in mirrors or on most cameras. The only way to permanently destroy them is to turn the body into dust and dump it in running water.


General Abilities: Aberrance 10, Hand-to-Hand 16, Health 20, Weapons 5
Hit Threshold: 5 (6 in darkness)
Alertness Modifier: +2 (+3 in presence of fresh blood)
Stealth Modifier: +1 (+2 in darkness)
Damage Modifier: +2 (fangs), +1 (claws)
Armor: -3 (alien flesh), unfeeling
Free Powers: Darkvision, Drain, Regeneration (all damage at beginning of next round), Temportal Distortion
Other Powers: Apportation, Cloud Men's Minds, Infection (those who ingest alien matter), Levitation, Mind Control (eye contact), Necromancy, Spider Climb, Strength, Turn Intangible, Vampiric Speed
Banes: Fire (damage does not regenerate), sunlight (explodes, but smaller)
Blocks: Chaotic streams
Dreads: Mirrors
Requirements: Drink blood

Marburg Vampire
Dr. Aleksei Valentinov of the VECTOR institute in Russia did work to weaponize the Marburg Virus. In 1988, Dr. Ustinov died from acciental exposure to a new strain called Marburg U, and Valentinov adapted his work with Western genetic engineering techniques to produce Marburg V, which reconfigures its host as a biological weapon.

Every human reacts to the virus differently - pick three of the Other Powers separately for each host. They can use biofeedback to transfer points between their general ability pools each round (but if they do, they have to act last that round). They have red eyes and elevated body temperature, but otherwise can pass for human.


General Abilities: Aberrance 9, Hand-to-Hand 5, Health 9, Shooting 5
Hit Threshold: 5 (hotwired reflexes)
Alertness Modifier: +1
Stealth Modifier: +0
Damage Modifier: -1 (fist, kick)
Armor: None
Free Powers: Drain, Infravision, Plague (body fluid contact), Unfeeling
Other Powers: Apportation, Blood Will Tell, Heightened Senses (smell blood, hear heartbeats), Memory Haze, Pheromone Control, Regeneration (2 per round), Send to Sleep, Spit Venom, Strength, Vampiric Speed (only for Extra Attacks, Jumping In, or Mook Shield, 2 Aberrance each)
Banes: Normally fatal attacks, garlic
Compulsions: Drink fresh blood, obey Valentinov
Dreads: Bright light (sunlight Hurts), garlic
Requirements: Cocktail of boosters and suppressants administered weekly

NEXT: Non-vampire monsters.

Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.

Grimey Drawer

Kizke, the demon of Internet Comics.

Yeah, this book is about old enough for a Sluggy Freelance reference, isn't it?

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.

Other signs the writer doesn't get humor: There's a demon of internet comics that is apparently just a reference to that one with the killer rabbit that John Ringo likes.

Don't be like John Ringo.


Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Dark Humor is such a terrible name for a Word. Why not "Black Humor" or "Schadenfreude" or even just stick with "Laughter."?

Dec 27, 2012

All I wanna do is make you bounce

Rand Brittain posted:

Dark Humor is such a terrible name for a Word. Why not "Black Humor" or "Schadenfreude" or even just stick with "Laughter."?

Well, for the first one, it's probably because "black humor" sounds weirdly racist.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Superiors 2: The Last Laugh

Some of Kobal's demons on Earth have a special job: find comedians with promise and ruin their lives. Not enough to drive them suicide or a new career, of course. Just enough to turn them to anger and a darker outlook. Kobal also keeps a group of demons out on the search for potenial in Hell. They work with imps and demonlings to find new servants for Kobal. It's a safe job, relatively speaking, and well paid, so they have good reason to hold up Kobal's exacting standards.

Kobalites can get stressed - it's hard to be intellectually funny all the time. Slapstick can blow off steam, sometimes, but it can also easily backfire and piss Kobal off. Some demons relax by pranking each other or other nearby demons - something amusing and relatively harmless, usually, for a change of pace. This kind of private pranking is also a good way for status games in Dark Humor, and the perfect job is to prank someone so cleverly that they'd lose more face if they took public offense. Of course, the most popular way to unwind is to watch someone else be funny - it's superficially supporting the Word without having to do work. Mostly, it just means going out to watch live performances, usually comedy, for a few nights.

Kobalites and Gluttons get on quite well, though they're at their best when the Gluttons remember who's in charge. Likewise, they try to play nice with the Princes Kobal is friendly with, and are hostile to demons of Asmodeus, Baal, Kronos or Valefor, particularly Asmodeus and Kronos. Pranking them deniably is the best option. However, the wise demon knows that Nybaas will try to cozy p to them, and that they control Earthly media, so they can be worthwhile allies. Valefor's demons are more confusing. They're not people to associate with, but they're often friendly. Many just like to prank such obvious fools, but others begin to suspsect something. When working with actually friendly demons, they tend to be happy enough to let the other demons think thye're in charge, though rarely actually listen to them much. Kobal is also actively trying to make friends with Vapula, so he can stay competitive with Nybbas, even if only in Hell. Kobal has thus been sending his demons to train with Vapula and offered him favors. So far, no luck, but Kobal keeps trying.

Most sane people try to avoid relationships with dedicated demons of Dark Humor. The problem is that they just tend to really get into finding funny things to mock in others, no matter who htey are. Less obsessive demons can find people to hang with or even love, especially if they're looking for someone that won't pick at them that way. Even there, though, the other party had better get good at distracting them when they need their daily mockery. The most equal relationships, though, are always between two demons of Dark Humor. They know what to expect and can give as good as they get. There are very few that actually rely on each other, as it takes work to build up the respect they need to be sure the other will protect them, though. Human associates are usually picked for humor value.

Given the tendency of Kobal's servants to find fault in friends, it's hard to find demons of other Words that'll put up with it...but it can and does happen. Most Words that can manage it are complementary ones - Media demons, for example, tend to work out better than Theft demons do. Politics provides another issue, though. Forbidden relationships are dangerous, even deadly. Most partners with Kobalites tend to spend a lot of time finding ways to distract them away from the relationship, to other, more interesting targets. It's an activity they can share, after all.

When dealing personally with Kobal, you might be witty and smiling, but always show respect. You might not like him, but he's been Prince this long for a reason. Some demons try to show him new gags, but they'd better be truly innovative - nothing is worse than the boss finishing your joke early and telling you when he'd heard it better. It's not good for your reputation. Of course, make him smile and your reputation goes through the roof. Demons that try to get his attention usually do it by working on some grand prank. If they succeed, they might get personally rewarded. If they fail...well, it's almost as fun to mock failure as enjoy success. Those that want to avoid Kobal's attentio ncan try to keep a low profile, but they rarely enjoy working for Kobal particularly long. When Kobal deals with his other Princes, he tries to be witty but dignified, using verbal barbs and puns only when he can time them correctly. He has no favorites and few fears, and he does enjoy pissing off other Princes.

Kobal also sometimes orders his demons to seeded bursts of silliness. Usually, no one but Kobal or maybe Lucifer knows why. Once, he offered a prize to the demon that could prove they owned Hell's Worst Tie, in order to see what they'd do. This led to a competition in which each Kobalite tried to outdo the rest in tacky tie design, and after a near riot in Shal-Mari, he rescinded the order and was pleased by the results.

Kobal collects old and forgotten relics. He has cataloged and collected a huge amount of seemingly useless magical items, from endless flasks of vomit to mirrors that only show half an image to an iron colander that strains liquid despite having no holes. He actually does have a few useful ones, though. He has the Cornerstone of Lucifer, said to be a fist-sized chunk of Lucifer's old Heavenly Cathedral, which can warp the notes of the Symphony so perfectly that even Seraphim can't tell when the owner lies. He also has the Pitcher of Kzath, once owned by the late Demon of Hypnosis, which causes any drinker to enter a hypnotically suggestive state for months.

Kobal and Asmodeus hate each other. Asmodeus has no sense of humor and no patience for Kobal. This carries over to their demons, but Kobalites are quite clever, sometimes almost suicidally so, if they can think of a way to embarrass the Game while making the Asmodeans look even more foolish if they make an arrest. On a smaller scale, it's an art form among Dark Humor to weasel out of obligations to the Game with inventive excuses. They believe that, over the millenia, they've taught the Game unconscious respect, if not overt respect. They negotiate from stances of equality when challenged, and when this fails spectacularly enough, they at least have a joke to tell as they die, which irritates Game demons more than they like to admit.

Next time: The Media, baby.

Apr 1, 2010

A good reinterpretation of Kobal would be as the Prince of Misdirection, and laughter would just be one of his tools to get you to not pay attention to something important. His domain would be things like people not believing in rape accusations of famous comedians because they're emotionally attached, or in getting people to hide genuine feelings behind a false front of forced jokes.

Nov 6, 2011

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

PantsOptional posted:

Well, for the first one, it's probably because "black humor" sounds weirdly racist.

That's the domain of Tosh, Archduke of "Ironic" Racism.

"White angels do things like *this* , but black angels do things like *this* "

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Superiors 2: Lights

Nybbas is the youngest Prince, raised to his current status in 1884. He's creative and acts as the studio head for a mass of media-obsessed demons.

Fifteen Minutes of Fame is a Servitor attunement that makes the target become the subject of mass hysteria. People nearby will stop what they're doing to chase after hte target, screaming with delight and trying for an autograph or piece of clothing. It can be highly distracting, especially if you aren't expecting it. The crowd doesn't want to harm the target, but may do so by accident. This lasts for (15*Essence spent) minutes and affects those within (Corporeal Forces*Essence spent) yards. It can't be resisted by the target, but those within range can resist with Will, and celestials add Celestial Forces. GMs can limit Will rolls to PCs and important NPCs if they like.
Green Light costs 2 Essence, but it makes the next suggestion you make within ten minutes automatically get accepted by the target. You can use this to cause harm, but only in the cause of the Media, like convincing someone to go out in a blaze of glory for the cameras. Victims resist with Will and celestials add Celestial Forces. The victim also gets a bonus to the roll against suggestions that would hurt them or someone they care for. The effects last 24 hours, after which they revert to their original opinion.
Jingle lets you implant a catchy tune in people's heads. You can affect 10 people per point of Essence spent or 5% of the listening audience on a broadcast or recording. You choose what song to implant, and once it airs, the victims will be unable to stop thinking about it for 24 hours, even in dreams. People who can't hear the song are not affected. This can be used to send a message or warning if you pick a tune with the right meaning, but it's hardly an accurate process and tends to annoy people when it works.
Universal Remote lets you control any media device within (Celestial Forces) yards for (Essence spent) hours. You can turn the power on, adjust volume, stop or play, adjust the color and brightness, anything the normal controls could do. This gives no supernatural powers to the devices, and while it affects computers, it does not allow use of keyboard or mouse.
You'll Never Do Lunch in This Town Again is exactly identical to Fifteen Minutes of Fame save that it causes everyone to ignore and fail to notice the target. Its resistance is instead a Perception roll, only usable by those who know the target. +1 if they are close friends, +2 for family, and celestials add Celestial Forces.
Nybbas offers two high distinctions, neither of which gets any added powers, just influence.
Agents are the upper ranks, with a proven track record of spotting hot new properties and controlling them. They are expected to locate potential Soldiers, work with demons of Fate and produce quick profits. They acclerate careers to the point of burnout, then move on, and outrank anyone with the same other Distinctions as they have.
Moguls are the highest ranks, and there's never more than 10 at any time. They are responsible for wide aspects of the word, and there are always Moguls in charge of TV, Movies, Music, Print, Radio, Miscellaneous and Development. Those given charge of Computers or the Internet have notoriously poor track records and the positions are currently empty. Miscellaneous and Development are the hardest jobs, though, as they take the most creativity. Miscellaneous covers anything that could be Media but isn't under some other heading, like mapmaking or telemarketing, and the Mogul is expected constantly find new avenues to exploit. Development oversees research into new technology and tools, working with Vapula.

Expanded Rites:
1. Be in the audience of a daytime talk show.
2. For 3 Essence, be a guest on a daytime talk show.
3. Successfully pitch a film script.
4. Sign a new band to a record label.

Nybbas has many titles and unlikes most Princes, he's fine with casual address, to fit his persona as a sleazy Hollywood producer. As long as the title implies he's in charge, he doesn't care how cheesy it sounds. He appears as a wiry man win a tasteless suit and bad glasses. In celestial form, he's that but with wings and horns. He can change his appearance if he likes, but he believes the world revolves around him, so why bother? He doesn't want to look like someone else, he wants to look like Nybbas, because he's the man. His look is trademark, and brand recognition doesn't come easy. Nybbas is a manic demon, constantly pacing, spewing ideas and checking to be sure his audience agrees with him. He's naturally crass and invasive of personal space, fond of handshakes, putting his arm around your shoulders or backpatting. He uses first names or nicknames exclusively, and his charm is immense. Occasionally, when in the midset of serious negotiation, he will end his fidgeting and focus all his energy on the person he's dealing with, taking them into his confidence and explaining how things will be. Few can resist the sheer power of his full attention.

The Media is a drug. It's addictive, expensive, useless and damaging. But you can't stop using it. It's a cancer, growing and remaking itself constantly, shifting everything to its own image, resistant to any attempt to remove it. It is a machine, merciless, inhuman and unstoppable. Its lack of form and substance defines it. It isn't about truth or falsehood - it's about point of view. Humans see the same thing differently, as do demons. This is why the Media gets on so well with Factions, and why angels find it disturbingly fickle. It's perfectly suited to an Impudite as a Word - it's all about taking in the guise of giving. It claims to give entertainment, but it's really distraction, and it takes your time, your money, your emotion, your creativity, your individuality and even, if you let it, your life. It is the opiate of the masses, and the more you use it, the more you want it. It has nothing to do with expression, communication or enlightenment. It wants you dependent on it. It began when technology was made to support it, and it's fundamentally intertwined with technology. Sure, sometimes it's used to educate people or connect them. To Nybbas, these are unfortunate side effects, though he's certainly not above using true creativity as part of his Essence factories. Even positive use feeds his Word.

On the surface, the Media is liberal and permissive, but that's just because it stoops to the lowest common denominator. Nybbas will employ hacks and geniuses equally, frustrating everyone involved. He brings together classes, races, religions and long as the result is a photogenic argument. Trying to destroy the Media's impossible, though - for every head you remove, two more grow in its place, and it's not even real. Attacking any one person or organization in the Media can't hurt it - they'll just send people to film it and put it on the news. It feeds on itself - a TV show can become a movie which can become a book which can be hyped on a talk show. A band can be in a video directed by someone who won an award for direction, and the award show can be televised or simulcast on the Internet. If nothing happens in a day, the Media won't even notice. The Media does have weaknesses, however. It has no substance, so it needs constant reinvention. People tire of distractions, so they constantly need new ones. The Media cannot rest, because any break means a viewer leaves. Nybbas has no tolerance for ratings loss. If he could go straight to Prince, his demons should at least be able to keep everyone watching all the time.

No one can accurately determine exaclty when Nybbas was made because at the time, no one cared. He was just another Impudite of Technology. If he was more ambitious and smarter than usual, no one thought to worry at the time, but he was already seeing himself as the leading man. He had no idea how his rise would happen, but he worked incessantly to launch his career. He had a pair of Essence-sensing glasses he wore all the time, and no one can remember what he looked like without them. He had a mirrored finish added to hide his eyes. He was always drawn to humans and their imagination, and in the 1800s he began to research exclusivelyo n Earth, with human partners. The idea of remote images fascinated him, with the possiblity to charm people in thousands of homes at once. In 1884, he and his team succeeded in creating the proto-television, or electrical telescope. Vapula took notice of the achievement, but not Nybbas' great vision. He planed to name him a Knight aget him the Word of the Media. Vapula was not ready for what happened next.

Specifically, Lucifer named Nybbas a Prince on the spot. The first thing Nybbas did was think of Essence - he needed wealth and power to defend himself from the other Princes. The electrical telescope was too young to reach the masses yet, it'd need years. However, there were other ways to get to humanity and their Essence. He just had to think big and daring. He turned to Vapula nad made a deal. No one is sure what, but clearly Vapula somehow helped him survive, though he never overtly did anything. No Prince was bold enough, though, or cared enough to test the extent of Vapula's patronage. Some may have been cautious of Lucifer, as well. As word spread of Nybbas' rise, he attracted many young and ambitious demons, inspired by his promotion. He let them climb over each other to earn his approval - he had to, after all. Their work boosted his Word at an incredible rate, earning him the Essence he needed, though it'd be deacdes before he could challenge a major Prince. He let them see him as they wanted: a weak upstart, maybe a joke. It protected him until he didn't need it any more.

On Earth, the Media used newspapers for the most part in early days, thriving on yellow journalism and screaming newsies. It is also the firest arena where he used his power to promote or weaken other Words. In the early 9100s, he turnedh is focus to phonogrpahs, movies and radio as technology improved. As his power grew, he decided he wanted more presence on Earth. He'd already carved out a principality, Perdition, but he wanted an Earthly HQ. He found it in Hollywood, remaking it in his own vision of a Media wonderland. Its rise in importance to human minds was what signaled the shift from Nybbas as minor Prince to major one, and he's never looked back. In the 50s, TV came into its own and the Media exploded in power, invited into the homes of nearly all people. It became its own religion, with Nybbas as its god. TV's lived up to Hell's expectations, but Nybbas is far from done with it yet.

Nybbas' greatest failure to date has been capitalizing on the Internet. Most people, even celestials, seem to think the Media has a thriving internet presence, and it does, but Nybbas has had very little to do with it. The Media's been playing catch up since the Internet was invented and it hasn't caught up yet. All of the media sites and lists are flattering, sure, and they bring in Essence, but every time Nybbas tries to control the Internet, the users just flow around him him. Vapula's been quite snide, but even he believes Nybbas has some influence over cyberspace, and Nybbas is not about to disabuse him.

Broadway, on the other hand, is one of Nybbas' great succeeses. What was once a forum for masters like Tennessee Williams or Lillian Hellman is now a bloated economy devoted to corporate musicals. Older Broadway wasn't devoid of greed and bad scripts, sure, but any play had a dhance. Anyone could afford the standing room price. Now, Broadway profits at the expense of variety. Controversial plays are too risky, and the theaters pander to the lowest common denominator, rivaling Hollywood blockbusters for blandness. Even off-broadway theaters must now bow to the bottom line. It's been a huge blow to Creation, and they're fighting back as best they can.

Since no one has ever seen Nybbas' eyes, rumors spring up. The most popular is that, on seeing TV for the first time and envisioning what it could be, Nybbas toe at his own eyes and vowed never again to look at anything that wasn't a channel for the Media. Another version claiims Lucifer took his eyes as he gave him his Word. Either way, the eyes are said to be potent relics, hidden away somewhere known only to Nybbas and Lucifer. Very occasionally, when Nybbas is angry, he reaches for his glasses. Sometimes he seems aobut to remove them, but he never really does. The gesture terrifies his demons, as they have no idea what would happen if he took them off, but they know it would not be good.

Next time: I'll make you a star.

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.

Doresh posted:


The best Powers are about weaponized words: Dodge attacks by confusing/annoying your opponent, and use your eloquence to hurt him. Add in some debuff stuff, and you can basically tell the World's Funniest Joke.
You can also hypnotize an opponent to make him forget how to use his Powers, reduce incoming damage to an ally by telling him to make a barrel roll, and the high ER Powers grant yet another bodyguard and damage nullifying Power.

As a side note, the power to hurt people with the Negotiation skill is possibly the best bit of localization in the gameline.

It's called "Offensive Language."

Jan 7, 2015

Alien Rope Burn posted:

Look, you have to have rules about how you can pwn tanks with your rad magic powers, so you can brag to friends about how your character could totally turn a tank into a flower pot. It's important!

It's easy bragging about this when the tank in question can barely take out a normal car. Even a vampire probably has a harder punch.

unseenlibrarian posted:

As a side note, the power to hurt people with the Negotiation skill is possibly the best bit of localization in the gameline.

It's called "Offensive Language."

rear end in a top hat Neumann Overed triggers you to death with his evil ideology.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008

The storm has a name... - Let's Read TORG

Part 13c: You don't buy pulp powers, you just rent them

Before we get into "cool" pulpish abilities, let's take a quick look at the more mundane new skills we get in this book.
  • Egyptian Religion is a general knowledge skill, and is used in one of the Nile Empire's new magic systems.
  • Hieroglyphics lets you read hieroglyphics. Not sure why we needed a new skill for this, but there we go.
  • Mathematics is a magic skill for another of the Empire's magic systems.
  • Scholar (Master Criminal) is used to plan your big supervillain heists. The way it works is that you roll this skill while planning your caper, and during said caper you can substitute the skill total you got for any roll you'd make.
  • Engineering is another new magic skill.
  • Hypnotism does what it says on the label and covers your basic creepy mentalism. Putting someone under requires a roll against the target's Mind+5. Once under, you can interrogate with a +5 to your skill, or implant a post-hypnotic suggestion.
  • Weird Science is used to make weird science devices.

The Terra sourcebook that came out later and covered Mobius' home cosm added a bunch more.

  • Espionage is your general spycraftyness skill.
  • Journalism can be used to interrogateinterview people to get information, or to present information in a way that can sway people's opinions.
  • Photography is your skill at taking pictures. That's it.
  • Politics/Diplomacy is your knowledge of world events and your ability to talk nice to foreign dignitaries.
  • Research is, uh, your ability to research things. Technically this is like the core evidence analysis skill, except that you get the info "after the fact" instead of from an immediate location.
  • Science: Archaeology is obvious.
  • Science: Cartography is likewise.
  • Petty Crime is all about being a street thief or hustler.

Okay, so...two things.

First off, those are some drat granular skills that would barely ever see use. Why do I need to know how good my photo is? Why does studying Egyptian history need as many as three different skills? It's like loving Rope Use or Profession: Blacksmith; they didn't realize that you don't need skills for every potential thing PCs might want to do. I know it was years before anyone thought of "if failure doesn't mean anything, don't roll", but come on, who used these?

Second: there are skills there that are clearly meant for NPC use only. Petty crime and Scholar (Master Criminal) in particular aren't the kinds of things cinematicly heroic pulp hero PCs will be doing on a regular basis. Even if they're doing a "reformed criminal" thing, what's wrong with just expanding use of the base streetwise skill?

And what makes this all worse is that characters don't get a ton of skill points. You get your 16 adds at character creation, and after that you need to pay out possibility points. And as we'll see in a moment, Nile Empire pulp heroes can get hosed on metagame currency harder than Shadowrun mages get shafted on Karma.

So. Pulp powers.

I hate it when the book tries to be clever.

Pulp powers are a "by-product" of Terra's and the Nile Empire's weird science doings. In fact, unlike every other realm-specific ability in the game (cybernetics, magic, martial arts, etc.), pulp powers are only available to characters from either the Nile Empire or Terra. Also, only p-rated characters can have pulp powers, so no Ord NPCs can do this stuff.

Each power is basically a self-contained rules chunk that you generally don't have to roll to use. They cost one possibility each at character creation, and there is technically no limit to how many you can have.

Note my use of "technically". Let's explain why.

Let's look at a typical power's stat block.

I'll get back to "Adventure Cost" in a second.

The "action value" is the fixed effectiveness value of a power. For some powers, this value is fixed and replaces other rolls; for example you can use your flat Mega-Sight value instead of rolling your Perception skill. Other times, it's used as the base of a roll like a normal skill.

"Range" is self-explanatory.

"Tech Rating" only comes into play if you're trying to build the power into a weird science device.

Now remember when I said before that you technically only pay one possibility at character creation to buy them?

The "Adventure Cost" is how many possibilities you have to pay at the end of an adventure to keep the power. If you don't pay this cost, you lose the power forever.

I'm going to say that again so we're all clear.

If you don't pay out a power's adventure costs in possibilities at the end of an adventure, you lose the power forever.

Oh, and in the Terra sourcebook they added another requirement: if you don't use your powers often enough, you can lose them.


Powers that are not used during an adventure start to "fade." A character who does not make a meaningful use of any of his powers (gamemaster's discretion as to what a meaningful use is) should start to lose the power. After two or three adventures, the character should start losing the power, and when it is gone, it is gone permanently.

The intent behind this rule is to keep players from selecting a bunch of powers at the beginning of the game and then just using them when they want. In reality, no character should have more than two or three powers (super attributes and super skills don't always fit into this limit), and the character certainly shouldn't be able to go through a menu of powers during an adventure.
Pulp powers are one of only two special abilities in the entire game line that has this cost, the other being playing as a non-human from Aysle. Magic, miracles, cybernetics, martial arts, all that poo poo? You buy it once and you're set forever. Even with playing an Ayslish non-human, you don't lose your elvishness or whatever, but you have to deal with some harsh penalties for an adventure or two until you're taken back to Aysle territory. But pulp dudes? You have to pay out or you're immediately hosed.

And here's the thing: there's no Fate-style Refresh in this game. You're expected to get maybe eight or nine Possibilities per adventure. Even two minor powers can cost you half of your payout, and that's assuming you're getting all the awards. There are ways to reduce the adventure cost of powers that we'll get to at the end of the chapter, but there's no way to reduce the cost to 0.

So if you have the mind reading power, you're going to have to pay out 5 Possibilities each adventure to keep being able to do that, but a mage who buys a spell that does the same thing just has to buy the spell once and that's it.

Between the core set, the Nile Empire book, and the Terra sourcebook, there are 35 pulp powers all told. The game wants to make it clear that these are not meant to be used to make a costume-wearing superhero character because that is not what this is about.

This is total BS, however, because almost every NPC with pulp powers in the rest of the game line is pretty much a costume-wearing superhero. If they don't want characters to have the more out-there powers, then why didn't they just say "this power must be built into a weird science device unless you can give your GM a good reason why you have it"?

I don't know what power this is, but it's shiny.

There are 38 pulp powers split between the core set (6), the Nile Empire sourcebook (23), and the Terra sourcebook (6). A small handful appear dotted throughout later supplements (one of the SPOILER cosmbooks in particular), but for the most part that's all Nile Empire characters got to choose from. Of course, I'm not going to descible all of them, but let's take a look at a few.

Animal Friend allows you to talk to animals for 3 Possibilities per adventure. Animals are only capable of communicating simple ideas (so "are there Empire shock troops around the corner waiting for us?" is not valid, but "is there danger here?" is). Communication also requires a roll: your CHA+2 versus the animal's Spirit to successfully communicate. You can try to convince animals to do your bidding with a second roll, but you can't use this power to get an animal sidekick.

Darkness creates a field of darkness in a 5-meter globe around themselves. I'm not sure if that means a 5 meter radius or diameter, but regardless it blocks vision for everyone but the user, inflicting the standard penalty for fighting in the dark (-5). This also has an adventure cost of 3.

Electro-Blast is "the ability to project a powerful bolt of energy from the hands", but again this isn't about playing superheroes! The blast has an attack value of the user's STR+10 (so probably around 20 or so total; about as powerful as an AK-47) and keys off the user's Dexterity, but generating a successful attack total deals the user 2 shock, even if you miss. This has an adventure cost of 4.

Flight is pretty straightforward; your airspeed is based of your Dexterity, but you need the flight skill to perform fancy maneuvers. The adventure cost is 3, and the tech rating is 24, which is one higher than Core Earth's, which means that in the 90's we were close to creating jetpacks.

Growth is the ability to increase your overall size by a factor of 3, with appropriate increases to your Strength and Toughness, which both go up by 7. The downside is that being huge makes it easier for you to get hit. Oh, and the adventure cost of 5.

Jump lets you long jump up to your DEX-3 meters on the ol' number-to-value chart, and standing jump a third of that distance. With an an average Dexterity of 10, that's a value of 7, which equates to 25 meters/82 feet. So it's a pretty substantial distance, but I don't think it's worth 2 Possibilities per adventure.

Mega-Scent can be used to detect or track people by scent. Your smell power is such that you can detect people from up to 50 meters away, which is pretty drat impressive. This costs 3 possibilities/adventure.

Shrinking, usually the purview of a mad scientist's ray, costs 12 possibilities per adventure; again, you get like 8 per normal adventure. With this, you can shrink down to 2 inches tall, increasing your Dexterity by 5, decreasing your Strength and Toughness by 5, and increasing your stealth by 10.

Super Attribute and Super Skill each have an adventure cost of 3, have tech ratings of 27 and 26 respectively (even though it explicitly states that you can't build these powers into a device), and let you go over the normal stat/skill maximums. Buying Super Attribute gives you three more stat points, and you can go above the normal human max of 14. Super Skill gives you three skill adds and lets you go over the usual +3 limit on skills. You can buy these multiple times for more stat/skill points.

Telekinesis (or "TK", as the book helpfully informs us) is the ability to move things with your mind. The effective strength of the power is your Mind+5, cross-referenced on the big conversion table. An average Mind of 10 would let you move something up to 1,000 pounds. You don't have to roll to just move stuff, but if you want to throw things, that needs you to roll against the target's defense plus the mass value of the object. You can't use this power to move people who don't want to be moved (no idea why), and TK isn't capable of precise movements or fine work. Believe it or not, the ability to toss around half a loving ton without trying only has an adventure cost of 4.

Water Breathing is a very situational power that nonetheless costs 2 possibilities per adventure. All it lets you do is breathe underwater.

(Just for the record, here's the full list of available powers from the three books: Animal Friend, Chameleon, Dark Vision, Darkness, Dazzle, Dispersal, Electro-Ray, Emotion Control, Fear, Flight, Fog Screen, Force Field, Gravity Control, Grow, Illusion, Invisibility, Jump, Mega-Hearing, Mega-Scent, Mega-Sight, Mind Control, Mind Reading, Power Neutrality/Resistance, Running, Shrinking, Super Attribute, Super Skill, Swimming, Telecommunication, Telekinesis, Teleportation, Ultra-Sight, Wall Walking, Water Breathing, X-Ray Eyes.)

Now, that's all expensive as hell, right? I mean, even having one "level" of Super Skill is going to cut into your XP curve, let alone having to pay out for something like Mind Control at 5/adventure.

Fortunately, the game designers realized that forcing people to keep buying their abilities is pretty rough, but instead of reducing costs or working out a different mechanic they instead added a system for Power Flaws.


Powers are not always perfect. In the Nile Empire they often come with a flaw which can make life difficult for heroes. Of course, the flip side is heroes in distress generally make a story more interesting, and whenever a story becomes more interesting, there are Possibilities to be gained.
In the same way that Possibilities are sort of the early evolutionary version of Fate Points, Power Flaws are a sort of proto-compel. Only, you know. Clunkier.

The way it works is that you can attach a flaw of some sort to a power, such as "stops working when I am around handwavium" or "doesn't work on the color yellow". If the flaw comes into play and actually makes things more difficult you get X possibilities. There are three levels of flaws:

  • Three-point flaws will inflict a stymie on the character, or inflict a point of shock damage while around the trigger.
  • Six-point flaws can cause your power to stop working for a while, or grant your opponent a roll again when you use your power. The effects of six-point flaws will linger for a minute (six rounds) after the triggering condition is removed.
  • The single nine-point flaw is the "fatal flaw", which means you take an automatic wound each round you're around the flaw's trigger.
The thing about flaws, though, is that the value of the flaw is only determined by the effect, not the cause. Any narrative weakness of any type is allowed. The example of the six-point roll again flaw is a character that's helpless if he's lassoed by metal wire. Because that's a situation that'll come up a lot.

It is possible to attach multiple flaws to a power, but you can't have more than one flaw of each value.


Example: Cobalt has a power setback which affects his two super attributes and his grow power. In any scene in which he is bathed with a mix of mystic and weird science forces, he would earn 18 Possibilities. As the adventure cost of his three powers is 11, Cobalt's player must assume that his character will run across this combination fairly frequently in order to pay for his expensive powers.
Yeah, I'm sure that's a situation that can be worked into a lot of adventures easily.

Pictured: Totally not a superhero

Just to complicate matters more, the Terra sourcebook has a second flaws system: advanced flaws.


In The Nile Empire sourcebook, a basic system is presented for invoking "power flaws." These flaws were designed to help player characters pay their adventure costs for their different powers - and to make their characters more interesting.

In the first case, it succeeded. Stymie, setback, and other flaws certainly come across with the possibilities, giving the character a chance to pay his costs.

However, in the second case, they are a little flimsy. Fortunately, since Terra is so removed from the Possibility Wars, it has developed a different style of power flaws. These advanced flaws give more "character" to the powers a character has, making them and the character more interesting, and they provide a fun dlallenge for roleplaying.

Advanced flaws reduce the adventure cost of powers they're attached to. They don't have fixed "costs", but vary depending on how the flaw manifests.

For example, the Activation flaw means you have to perform a specific action of some sort to use the power. The example in the book is that "Meteor Lad might have to touch a piece of the meteor he gained his flight power from before he can fly", but again they said on the previous page we're not supposed to be playing superheroes.

Anyway, an Activation flaw that requires you to simply touch a badge would be worth one point, while having to make a roll to activate the power in the first place is worth two.

Activation Time is pretty much the same thing; the long it takes for your power to actually go off, the more the flaw is worth.

Burnout means that the power has a chance to become unusable for a period of time on a bad roll, even powers that you normally wouldn't roll to use. The longer it goes away for, and the easier it is to happen, the more it's worth.

The way the table works is you determine the d20 roll in which the power stops working, then the duration, and add the reduction bonuses together; having a 20% chance that your power goes away forever with each use reduces the power's cost by 8, but having it go away forever on a 1 reduces it by 5.

Also, in another wonderful case of Torgian design, the third level is "you lose the power until the end of the next adventure", but if you don't use a power in an adventure you lose it forever. Does that mean that the rank 3 version is effectively the same as the rank 4 version? And if it's not, does the character still have to pay to keep the power he couldn't use?

Power Reserve means that a power is only usable a certain number of times per adventure. The power draws from its own "energy pool" of 1 to 5 points, each use costing one point. This reduces the power's cost by 6-uses. And this flaw is so poorly described it doesn't explain how it actually works until the example of how the flaw works.

The final flaws are power reduction and situational modifiers, which is where you reduce a power's mechanical values to reduce the cost. You know, reducing the duration or strength or whatever. Unfortunately, these are "play it by ear" flaws, because there's no guidance on what constitutes a point of cost reduction. Maybe reducing water breathing's duration from "unlimited" to an hour is worth dropping the cost by a point...unless the GM thinks that even an hour is too much (since it's not a situation that comes up much), so he might say that dropping the power cost by one knocks the power's duration down to 10 minutes. You know, the usual fun having no real guidelines gives you.

Normal and advanced flaws can be combined on a power, but you can never reduce a power's cost to below 1. You can also "link" multiple powers to one flaw for an all-or-nothing effect, reducing the overall cost of the powers but applying the flaw's effect to all the powers.

So there we are. Torg's not-superpowers system. Really, it's not that, just a bit limited, but the whole adventure cost thing is ridiculous for what you're getting out of it.

Still, it pales in comparison to what we're going to see...

NEXT TIME: Building pulp gadgets! Get your slide rules ready!

Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012

Okay, folks, it's poll time.

I'm nearly done with GURPS Technomancer at this point: just two more posts, in fact, both of which are nearly done being written. While I have a plan for what will replace Hoodoo Blues (hint: it's going to be continuing the work of someone else's FATAL and Friends entries from the past), but I'm not sure what I'm going to be doing in Technomancer's stead beyond another GURPS book because why not. So I figured I'd pose the question to the thread in the traditional fashion many of us have taken to by now.

Option A, GURPS Black Ops: The X-Files from the perspective of the people who go out and shoot the aliens and silence the conspiracy theorists, with a genre shift to action movie and dark comedy on top. It is also very 90s, with those "how Group A views Group B" in-character things you see in World of Darkness and In Nomine, fiction from the perspective of a specific agent of the conspiracy, and The 'Tude.

Option B, GURPS Warehouse 23: Ever seen a show called Warehouse 13? Well, GURPS did it first. And Indiana Jones did it before either of them, but that's besides the point. Warehouse 23 is a weird book that's not partly but not quite an artifact book, a bestiary, and a setting. Also, it has Godzilla in it with his Japanese name stated outright, yet somehow never got in trouble for this.

Option C, GURPS Voodoo: A game that has practitioners of Voodoo as actual protagonists! ...And a magical race war as its premise. Oh.

Option D, GURPS Banestorm: The only GURPS Fourth Edition book on here, mainly because 3E had an assload of books with far more fluff than crunch, while 4E very much flipped that dichotomy and doesn't really have many fluff-heavy genre books and only two real big book settings to speak of. Welcome to a world where the Crusades crashed a generic high fantasy setting, leaving Christian and Muslim kingdoms side by side with elven lands and dwarven empires.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Superiors 2: Camera

Nybbas has plans for Eli, the only Archange whom he actually admires. He sees Eli's revulsion as just playing hard to get. After all, he naturally will want a large payoff. Nybbas believes that a partnership would give him endless material and Eli and escape from his Heavenly critics. So far, Eli has ignored all overtures, but Nybbas can be very persuasive. On the other hand, Beleth can sense Nybbas' paranoia. She knows he is terrified by isolation from his audience, and while she can't make those fears real, she doesn't need to. All she has to do is drop hints and torment him. Malphas would probably do so as well if Nybbas was not so useful to him.

Nybbas is made of contradictions and false fronts. Many of his feelings and opinions seem mutually exclusive but exist anyway. His behavior, though, is ruled by two simultaneous beliefs. First, that he is the center of the universe and the center of all attention...and second, that he's on the edge of oblivion, about to disappear if anyone stops caring. He is Hell's Cinderella story, made a Prince for one great victory, and it's become a nightmare. He feels like a fake, an imposter, and he still doesn't understand why he was given a Princedom. He feels compelled to make new Cinderella stories, and if he's hard on his demons when they fail, he's ten times worse on himself. He's terrified, so terrified that there is little else to him at his core. He's afraid he won't be able to keep coming up with overnight successes, that Lucifer will revoke his title, that someone will see him for the fraud he's sure he is and expose him. What he fears more than anything, though, is that he'll lose his audience. He needs to be adored, that anything is only important when people are paying attention. It's key to his Word, and he'd rather be hated than ignored. He imagines that if he ever starts to slide in success and popularity, the momentum will be unstoppable. He'll be a nobody.

The Media is thus his proxy. Wherever someone watches TV, he is watched. There's safety in quantity, so Perdition keeps pumping out content. This desire is also why he tends to manifest on TV screens or other media devices. His fear drives his entire personality. He doesn't want to seduce - just to keep pushing. The Media can be seductive or gluttonous, but they're mere aspects. The whole, to Nybbas, is a way of life. It's not what he teels people that's important, it's that they listen or react. That's why, though he sees how useful they are, Andrealphus and Haagenti will never be more than tools to him.

Before his rise, he used his charm and energy to disarm and deceive has foes. Now, he has a g reat strength, but the habit remains. He might be out to ruin you, but he'll never tell you to your face. Some say that he isn't even in charge of the Media any more, that it's far grown out of his control. If so, he doesn't care. Why should he, if it keeps growing? He makes tor a terrible foe, wielding his control over human perceptions and beliefs to weaken Words or even eradicate them if he must. That's how he keeps ethereals in line, too. He doesn't like to actively invite trouble by suppressing another Prince's Word, but once in a while he'll flex his muscle to to show he can. Moer often, he prefers subtlety. While he seems tactless, he's up there with Lilith and Asmodeus in ability to get information and use it. He knows how to let a foe think they've won when they've lost, and he operates overtly only when making examples.

Nybbas' greatest weakness is that he disdains anything older than yesterday. To someone like Baal, a century or two is nothing. For Nybbas, it's his entire life. He has a very low tolerance for longterm plans compared to the other Princes, doesn't give even the slightest poo poo about the Fall or taking over Heaven and has no respect for Superiors he sees as stuck in the old days. He likes the young or modern Princes, no matter what their actual age is, and he dislikes the more militant faction because they seem to be stuck in the past, unable to get over the Fall.

Nybbas has only one priority: Support the Media. His Word is everything, to be grown until it touches all of Earth. Secondary to this is making new technology and new media to carry the message. His loss of the prototype Nybbas Computer was a blow (more on which is in the Liber Reliquarum), but he's got minions hunting for it and others working with Vapula to try and reverse engineer it. In the meantime, he'd like a way to harness the internet. In the absence of the Nybbas Computer, he'll use other possibilities, and any good ideas will be rewarded. He's also been working to make a new religion for the modern era that turns its back on the past. He's working closely with Andrealphus to create this slefish religion of entertainment and fun, numbing the conscience with desires. It's the culmination of hall his work, the ultimate expression of his Word. He cares about it more than any other scheme, because Nybbas is a true believer in the religion of himself - that is, the Media. He works on it every day, simplifying religion to easy symbols, hope into a mere petulance for a happy ending and faith into slavish adherence.

Because Nybbas sees only the surface, he's plagiarized the trappings of many religions, whatever appealed to the most people, without incorporating any deeper meaning. It looks like a religion so it must be one, right? TVs and move screens are like altars, chairs like pews, and consumption of merchandise is like eating the body of the god, which dies and is reborn anew with the flick of a switch. All you need are fancy robes, hats and scepters, right? It's no coincidence that Nybbas named his son Rex. If he has to sacrifice his only son to spread the Word, he'd do it in a minute, film it and sell it as Pay Per View. His ultimate goal is to have everyone turn to the Media to be told what to think, wear, do or say. He wants, though he'd never even admit it to himself, to render both God and Lucifer obsolete. For many humans, he's already succeeded.

Nybbas is quite happy with the War as it is - tensions high, two balanced foes, the occasional sensational violence. It's great! It's good, evil, brooding antiheroes, a hundred elephants = what more could you want? The end of the War would be the end of his career. Sure, demons like entertainment, but it's not the same without humanity. If Heaven wins, Hell can't manipulate the humans. If Hell wins, the humans are all damned and damned souls are so boring. The War is material, and aside from his own selfish reasons for prolonging it, Nybbas doesn't care who wins. Heaven's not his enemy, just his competition.

Lucifer scares Nybbas. He owes everything to the Morning Star and knows it could all be taken away. The real problem, though, is that Nybbas can't find Lucifer's angle. He needs to be needed, but he can't figure out what Lucifer wants and therefore he can't manipulate him. Any other power in Hell can be worked or bullied based on their agenda, but as soon as Nybbas thinks he's spotted a pattern, Lucifer changes the demographics. Lucifer doesn't need the Media at all, not as a watcher or consumer. Nybbas doesn't want to do with him, and he's afraid that if the spotlight of Lucifer's attention ever moves on, it'll all be over.

Just as the Media gave birth to the idea of cool, so did its Prince personally create Rex, Demon of Cool, from his own personal Forces. He's a proud parent, and Cool is a very Media Word. While he's known as Nybbas' idiot son, both behind Nybbas' back and, from other Princes, to his face, Rex is actually rather clever by human standards, he just acts as an idiot savant. In all matters related to his Word, he is a genius. His instincts are gold, his influence is legendary. In all other matters, he is useless. Whether or not he could focus on the uncool is unknown and may never be, because he never does. Nybbas likes him the way he is. Good managers are easy, but good instincts...well, that you can't teach.

Nybbas likes politics for their entertainment value, and he's much better at them than Vapula, who generally allows Nybbas to handle things for him. Nybbas has specialists spying on each Prince before any meeting, allowing him to appear all-knowing. He's very hard to surprise. Most angels find him troubling and annoying in equal measure, and despite his youth, Heaven recognizes him as a major threat, while he sees them with wary contempt.

Superior Opinions posted:

Andrealphus: Nybbas is a delightfully useful ally, and an example of what an Impudite Prince should be - explotative, progressive, and hungry for more. Together, we will lead humanity into pleasure - and into our waiting arms.
All right! Me and Andre have a definite arrangement. He provides the faces, I make them famous. Now this is a guy with a real head for business, a real understanding of what the man in the street wants. It's all in the selling, and by, can his people sell it. We are going to drag Hell into a whole new era, kicking and screaming if we have to.
Asmodeus: Frivolous and immature, but he does promote Hell on Earth. He has had too much easy success, and grows too independent. I don't underestimate his power, though, just his judgment; his support of Vapula makes them both too strong. I plan to change that.
Hey, games are boffo! Bread and Circuses sell to the masses like nobody's business, but you have to make sure the Game is a spectacle for people to watch! Cheerleaders, lighted scoreboards, jump cuts to the extreme! Nobody wants to watch a guy play solitaire behind a screen of smoke. Strictly C-SPAN.
Baal: He'd rather create a false world than live in the real one. I despise the fantasy that he spins and the fat slugs who swallow it. The end of the War will see him gone.
War is great when shot from the right angle. It's got explosions, heroes, mindless violence...everything the audience wants! But let too much reality seep in and people just turn off their sets. Why do you think I dropped Chechnya? Baal is in it for the long haul. He never goes to his trailer. I don't know why he can't live in the now. The Fall is old news, and it gets older every time he shoves it in my face.
Beleth: No horror movie he can create matches the least of my nightmares. His work is a pale imitation. I know what he fears, though, and some day I'll show him what horror really means.
Nightmares...if we could give mankind a way to watch them, now that would be worth putting our resources into. Think of that! Tuning into the 24-hour Nightmare Network, standing witness in the privacy of your own living room to the personal, intimate terror of your neighbors... Oh, yes! Must ask Vapula to get to work on that. But as they stand, Nightmares don't sell ads, they don't sell tickets and don't push the product. Passe.
Belial: He's kind of wimpy, but he sure does make me look good! I can watch stuff blow up over and over; in slow motion, from an aerial view, whatever. Rewind and it blows up again. Cool, but still not as good as the real thing.
BOOM! Hell says "YES." Tremendous market share when he's on his game, something of a wet firecracker when he's not. I mean, you can only stare at a fire for so long, right? But when he's cookin', he's cookin'. I keep trying to keep up with this guy, the newsies are seriously hot for him - they love what he does He's a wandering Action Copter News Event, wherever he goes. He'd better play ball with us in the future, though - we don't want to have to run those Elle MacPherson fire-prevention spots - heh heh, that should put a dent in his Word if he gets out of hand. Just like everybody, he's a resource to be managed, a star to be worked.
Haagenti: Yeah! He's helping me get the message out to all those people - eat eat eat! He's got an eye and a mouth in every house, and I want them all talking Gluttony.
He gets people in the right mood for buying what I'm selling: excess. They don't call them consumers for nothing! The little furball makes them swallow anything and come back for more. That's the kind of viewers I want. And he's so cute, I'm thinking of licensing his image for plush toys.
Kobal: Nybbas shows some promise, but he's far too preoccupied with flash and the glitz rather than the dirt and grit where true comedy lives. He's happy to show rather than do; a serious flaw.
When it comes to chukcles, nobody does it better than Hell's head chucklehead. He's got his Word down to a true art form. It's just too bad so many of his plans end up with a dead lead actor. No sequels then, baby!
Kronos: The Media aids Fate on so many levels. It glorifies evil and laughs at good. It tempts people to sell their soul for a chance at stardom. And it chronicles their inevitable downfall for the entertainment of the slavering masses. Beautiful.
He's a gas. The others need to lighten up about him. He brings us the sound bits, baby! Think about it for a minute. Fate makes the headlines! Talented Physician Turns Child Molester! That packs the house!
Lilith: Someday he's going to turn around and understand how much he Needs his audience. Then he's going to see who's been watching him since he got his Word. And just maybe he'll realize that his glasses don't stop me. Till least it keeps some of the girls gainfully employed. He pays me well for them.
Definitely star quality, her and her Daughters! We don't even have a PR problem here - everybody likes freedom! Hates anybody but her sitting in the director's chair, though; a real prima donna. Still, nothing controls the audience better than beautiful freedom.
Malphas: The Media is the perfect tool to drive wedges between people, from countries down to individuals. It isolates people in dark rooms, watching fake friends on a glass screen. It allows people to hate each other from a distance, without ever getting to know each other. Nybbas is the wave of the future.
Oh, baby, arguments are prime footage, you capisce? I don't care what he does, I don't care who he does it to, I just want my cameras on the spot!
Saminga: His pretty stars all look the same after a year underground. He is meaningless.
Death sells, sure, if it's packaged right, but Sammy's just the wrong package! That Word could be a gold mine, and we've got some stupid B-Movie prop running it? Freak shows don't sell tickets these days, baby - death needs style, and it needs to be sexy. Sammy's a flop.
Valefor: Nybbas has done a lot to make stealing look good. Robin Hood, Jesse James, and oh, the laws they break on those detective shows! The Media even steals from itself. What a great organization.
He's a great plot hook. Daring thefts! Hunky burglars and hot babes! Intrigue, passion, treachery, murder, revenge! I get a film and a mini-series every time he tells me how his day went. He's the archetypical Man of Mystery. Some day, I'll do an expose on him and blow my ratings sky high!
Vapula: A waste of a promising research career. But he's strong and he remembers his debts, and some of the ideas he brings me are marvelous.
Technology is hip. It's sexy. It's trendy. The old man is too wound up to make much of the political possibilities, which is why we work so well together. I can handle that side and leave him to his beloved labs.
Blandine: He corrupts people's dreams, making them cheap and tawdry, and ultimately empty. His influence rots away at people's souls a little bit at a time, until they have nothing left, and they don't even notice what he took from them.
She's a living chick movie. I can sell that syrupy hope crap to dull-witted housewives, but you wouldn't catch me watching it. My dreams are much more entertaining than what plays in her theaters.
David: The Word of the Media incorporates older infernal ideas like slander, libel and hate speech. This gives it power. I sometimes doubt, however, that he still controls the Earthly media. It seems to be growing out of control, lashing out at infernal and divine causes both.
Makeup! Get some pants on this angel! No, seriously, if Malakim started Falling, I'd make this guy an offer he couldn't refuse; can you imagine the ratings he'd get as an anchorman? Solid, respectable, worldly, deep voice, broad shoulders...I have it on high authority he looks smashing in a suit.
Dominic: He is more insidious in his contamination of humanity than many others - and he is all the mroe dangerous.
Oh, baby, talk about lousy ratings! At least the Game televises its executions, but Judgment? Man, nobody wants to watch a bunch of cloaked Seraphim play talking heads.
Eli: He recycles and mass produces entertainment, encourages hacks, sends his parasites to drain and discard the truly talented. The Media is a blight to creativity, abusing people's desire to see imagination in action. And it's such a waste of what he could be!
He provides me with some of my best people! All I have to do is find out who Eli's scouting, and offer them a better deal. The Essence just comes rolling in! He's a fun guy, too, better than the stuffed shirts still up in Dullsville. If I could get him into my organization, there'd be no stopping us.
Gabriel: Pathetic worm. He has no inspiration. One touch of my fire would burn him to ashes.
Insane chicks do win Oscars, but her performance got old centuries ago. If I need pyrotechnics, I've got Belial. Now, if she would agree to some full frontal, her act could make a comeback...
Janus: He pretends to promote change, but he causes people's minds to stagnaate. He's part of the Establishment, and I'll sweep him away, along with the rest.
For an Archangel, this guy's pretty happening. His people are walking news stories. Did I say walking? I meant blazing! If you can catch them, they'll get you the ratings. They're the best answer to a slow news day next to Belial.
Jean: He's a product of Vapula, and it shows. Flawed thinking, reprehensible goals. Unfortunately, the Media and Technology feed off each other. If something were to break up that partnership...that would be useful.
Stuffy, but he knows his work. Of course, I have better uses for it. Jean's got no imagination when it comes to applications, not like the old man. Napalm sticks to kids! Virtual lives for folks without real ones! The list is endless! The best thing about Jean is that he's a remote control for the old man. All I have to do is mention Lightning's latest toy, and he'll go into the lab and make anything I want...
Jordi: He has no regard for the wilderness, except to exploit it. He encourages people to consume what is not theirs to consume. Some day, I will consume him.
Boooorn free! As free as the wiiiind bloooows! You know what they say about animals and children - but that's a joke for another time! Cute, cuddly animals get ratings. Ferocious wild animal attacks on videotape get ratings. But Jordi is worse than the ASPCA. So what if we kill some fleabags during a shoot? The stunt came out great! And then there's the whole fur coat thing. What's a star without a fur coat and a leather-trimmed Mercedes?
Laurence: He condenses everything into a shallow tale of sex and violence, devoid of depth or consequences, and the masses swallow his pabulum. But that vacuous wretch cannot conceal the power and glory of the Word of God.
Oh, please! Knights in shining armor, saints and martyrs, chastity, honor, virtue, yadda yadda yadda... That's all so pre-post-modern! The kid needs to update himself, get a little anti-hero thing going, maybe a female lead to give him something worth fighting for... But that church-motif has got to go! I'm sorry, but the public media is no place to be preaching moral values.
Marc: Nybbas pretends to give something for nothing, when actually, he is the one getting something for nothing. He misleads consumers while pretending to educate them. He is a cipher, and the antithesis of trade.
Caveat emptor, baby. Like it's my responsibility to look after gullible idiots. If they want to buy, let 'em buy! That's my kind of freedom. Marc's dictates just protect the weak and bring everybody down. He can get a 'fair trade' from me the day he wrings it from my scattered Forces.
Michael: Of all the frauds and fakeries in Hell, he's done the most to damage the traditional values of heroism with his propaganda and feel-good nonsense. A man does not have to be a tortured antihero to stand up for what he believes in. He's polluting the classic sotries which have inspired generations, and I want it stopped.
He's prime footage, baby, I'll give him that, but it's so passe after a while, know what I mean? All war, war, war, not a hint of Archangel Sex Scandal Rocks Seraphim Council, Proescution Expected, Tune In Tomorrow! And his guys are just such a skew on the population curve when he has his people meet my people. You'd think they didn't even watch television.
Novalis: He may seem one of the least dangerous Princes, but he's the antithesis of nurturing. He makes souls wither instead of grow. If his huge resources and influence could be turned to good, I think the war would be nearly won.
Love hippie chick. That was cool in the '60s, but now she's old news. The best thing about her is that her people aren't likely to damage my people, and they always fall for a sob story.
Yves: His alliance with Kronos is a dangerous one. He allows Fate to reach out further than it ever could before. Nybbas is a key figure in the War, and will have more to do with its conclusion than many will admit.
Destiny makes a nice plot, but in real life, it's a load of crap. You get to the top on your own, and you stay there by standing on the dea bodies of your rivals. Yves is a senile old fool with his mind in the Dark Ages. Kronos can handle him.
Ethereals: These guys are a great source of material! Not to mention a cure for writer's block. If one of my writers can't produce, I give him an all-expenses-paid visit to the Marches. If he lives through it, he's always stocked with fabulous ideas! And they are so easy to control. When they get difficult, I make their names disappear from the world. After a few years, they're ready to play ball.
Humanity: I love these people! Really! They're the greatest! So much more fun than snotty angels and idiot demons. I could just pick them u[ and hug them to deaht, every one of them! And they love me back! I don't know what I'd do without them...
Sorcerers: I like these crazy funsters. They've got a real sense of the theatrical, and they're always good for a news expose: "Satanic Cult Brainwashes Schoolchildren at Track Meet!" Beautiful!
Soldiers of Hell: Hellsworn are my "Man on the Street!" They're in the know, and they play the game as well as demons, sometimes better. And that name; "Hellsworn"'s just so cool! I think I smell a pilot coming on.
Soldiers of God: A bunch of uptight crybabies. "We don't like evil! We like angels and kittycats! The Media is bad!" The Media is fun, baby. And more important, the Media is, baby! If you can't groove to the scene like every other human being, then shut up and get out of the way.
Undead: These guys have no star quality, but sometimes the monster can be the best part of the picture. They definitely save on the special effects budget; no latex needed! Just don't invite them to the cast party.

Next time: Funnier than Kobal, isn't he?

Jan 7, 2015

Fossilized Rappy posted:

Okay, folks, it's poll time.

I'm nearly done with GURPS Technomancer at this point: just two more posts, in fact, both of which are nearly done being written. While I have a plan for what will replace Hoodoo Blues (hint: it's going to be continuing the work of someone else's FATAL and Friends entries from the past), but I'm not sure what I'm going to be doing in Technomancer's stead beyond another GURPS book because why not. So I figured I'd pose the question to the thread in the traditional fashion many of us have taken to by now.

Option A, GURPS Black Ops: The X-Files from the perspective of the people who go out and shoot the aliens and silence the conspiracy theorists, with a genre shift to action movie and dark comedy on top. It is also very 90s, with those "how Group A views Group B" in-character things you see in World of Darkness and In Nomine, fiction from the perspective of a specific agent of the conspiracy, and The 'Tude.

Option B, GURPS Warehouse 23: Ever seen a show called Warehouse 13? Well, GURPS did it first. And Indiana Jones did it before either of them, but that's besides the point. Warehouse 23 is a weird book that's not partly but not quite an artifact book, a bestiary, and a setting. Also, it has Godzilla in it with his Japanese name stated outright, yet somehow never got in trouble for this.

Option C, GURPS Voodoo: A game that has practitioners of Voodoo as actual protagonists! ...And a magical race war as its premise. Oh.

Option D, GURPS Banestorm: The only GURPS Fourth Edition book on here, mainly because 3E had an assload of books with far more fluff than crunch, while 4E very much flipped that dichotomy and doesn't really have many fluff-heavy genre books and only two real big book settings to speak of. Welcome to a world where the Crusades crashed a generic high fantasy setting, leaving Christian and Muslim kingdoms side by side with elven lands and dwarven empires.

Option A. I wanna see snarky bullshit done in the GURPS style.

Sep 12, 2007

He push a man

Fossilized Rappy posted:

Okay, folks, it's poll time.

I'm nearly done with GURPS Technomancer at this point: just two more posts, in fact, both of which are nearly done being written. While I have a plan for what will replace Hoodoo Blues (hint: it's going to be continuing the work of someone else's FATAL and Friends entries from the past), but I'm not sure what I'm going to be doing in Technomancer's stead beyond another GURPS book because why not. So I figured I'd pose the question to the thread in the traditional fashion many of us have taken to by now.

Option A, GURPS Black Ops: The X-Files from the perspective of the people who go out and shoot the aliens and silence the conspiracy theorists, with a genre shift to action movie and dark comedy on top. It is also very 90s, with those "how Group A views Group B" in-character things you see in World of Darkness and In Nomine, fiction from the perspective of a specific agent of the conspiracy, and The 'Tude.

Option B, GURPS Warehouse 23: Ever seen a show called Warehouse 13? Well, GURPS did it first. And Indiana Jones did it before either of them, but that's besides the point. Warehouse 23 is a weird book that's not partly but not quite an artifact book, a bestiary, and a setting. Also, it has Godzilla in it with his Japanese name stated outright, yet somehow never got in trouble for this.

Option C, GURPS Voodoo: A game that has practitioners of Voodoo as actual protagonists! ...And a magical race war as its premise. Oh.

Option D, GURPS Banestorm: The only GURPS Fourth Edition book on here, mainly because 3E had an assload of books with far more fluff than crunch, while 4E very much flipped that dichotomy and doesn't really have many fluff-heavy genre books and only two real big book settings to speak of. Welcome to a world where the Crusades crashed a generic high fantasy setting, leaving Christian and Muslim kingdoms side by side with elven lands and dwarven empires.

I'm interested in Option C but only if you're interested in threading the needle between righteous anger and "get of load of this poo poo"

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007


Can't refuse the Magical race war

Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.

Grimey Drawer

Option A. Black Ops is a neat setting, but the mechanics push 3E like little else.

Dec 24, 2007

Option A, you have to see the character templates for this setting.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!

Fossilized Rappy posted:

Okay, folks, it's poll time.
Option D, GURPS Banestorm: The only GURPS Fourth Edition book on here, mainly because 3E had an assload of books with far more fluff than crunch, while 4E very much flipped that dichotomy and doesn't really have many fluff-heavy genre books and only two real big book settings to speak of. Welcome to a world where the Crusades crashed a generic high fantasy setting, leaving Christian and Muslim kingdoms side by side with elven lands and dwarven empires.

I'll probably be literally the only one who votes for D, but this was always a interesting setting saddled with writing drier than a salt mine, and I want to see if they fixed that.

Jan 10, 2013

The time for
has come!

Go with Option C. We´ll have to see how deep this rabbit hole goes!

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!

Granted, option C would go along with upcoming Rifts reviews, since I'm pretty sure it's the book CJ Carella did right after leaving Palladium. (But I'll stick with D because I'm contrary.)

Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012

Alien Rope Burn posted:

I'll probably be literally the only one who votes for D, but this was always a interesting setting saddled with writing drier than a salt mine, and I want to see if they fixed that.
Even if you're the only one, I wouldn't worry too much. Losing the poll only means it won't be what I do first. I'm not one to try to shoehorn myself into a certain niche, but I sort of end up on kicks of reviewing certain long-running systems (with odd outliers like Hoodoo Blues or Supernatural: the RPG on the side) anyway.

Dec 28, 2004

Covok posted:

Strangely, the game seems better stripped of the Dragon Age license. If only because its love of random generation and the such just seemed so out of place for that license. That and the lack of Thief and Fighter powers. Also because it's just one book and not three books released over three years just to play till level cap.

IIRC, Mages ended up a lot stronger than the others due to spells. Did they fix that in AGE?

I'm curious to hear an answer to this as well. I remember rolling up some characters with friends and not liking it that much, but that was with the Dragon Age version.

Oct 5, 2010

Lipstick Apathy

Option D. Knowing nothing about it, the name Banestorm sounds rad as hell.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Superiors 2: Action

Variant Nybbas! Nybbas the Sociopath is the most heartless Prince. People matter only for the ratings and Essence they provide, and he will do anything to take it from them. He will destroy things just to make the news. He will encourage atrocity of all kinds to keep people watching. If he can't fake propaganda, he'll make it real until the humans respond. Then he'll just sit back and grin. Nybbas the Studio Head, on the other hand, is just sleazy, not really evil. He's lie, manipulate and steal, sure, but he'd never hurt anyone. His organization is a stereotypical movie studio, with starlets, security guards and producers straight out of a bad movie parody. No cliche too obvious. Nybbas the Trickster, meanwhile, lives to get the upper hand. If people listen to him, they get what they deserve, but he can't touch anyone that won't play his game. He respects those that can see through him, but he's so charming, it's hard to resist.

Nybbas lives in Perdition, the wasteland left after the death of Meserach, Prince of Sloth. His damned souls dwell in the 'suburbs', where they are enslaved to some form of mindless stimulation. They're a stable Essence base to support the Media even when Earth's flow fluctuates madly. As you get closer to the city, the wilderness of damned junkies becomes a wide expanse of tract housing. The souls in those homes are slightly more valuable, and they constantly try to stand out by buying things from TV or magazines, but there's no way to win - everyone buys the same stuff at the same times, so they're just even more identical. Occasionally, a damned soul might stand out enough to be noticed by a demon, who will then either crush them or make them a servant. The outskirts are also where the writing farms are kept, where demons churn out low-level scripts to feed the Media. It's a punishment to work in these farms, but better than the mail room, since it's barely possible that your script might become a hit and you might get out. Part of each farm, though, is devoted to wading through the immense slush piles. Having to read those is a punishment most demons of the Media would die rather than receive.

The City of Perdition, meanwhile, AKA Nybbasland, is rather like if you mixed LA and Hollywood and took out anything redeemable about them. At the center is a massive, trendy complex of buildings. Any time a building falls out of style, it gets torn down and replaced, and if the style comes back, it gets rebuilt and artificially distressed to look old. The city is made for the Media, with studios, skyscrapers, printing presses, art schools, the works. There's also mansions for Hell's stars. Most of them work on Earth, but everyone needs more than one house, right? Nybbas' offices are ever-changing. He moves buildings about once a week, and the buildings themselves change internally as well. Only the lobby and the penthouse office are constant. Nybbas works out of htat office, with padio and pool, a large desk for meetings, any sort of AV equipment ever made and also eye candy in the form of bikini babes. There's always a door to another room, where no one goes but Nybbas. There's rumors about it, but all are wrong. The truth is there's nothing. It's just a sensory deprivation chamber. Inside, Nybbas cannot sense anything. If his demons ever found out, they'd be horrified - it's the worst thing any of them can imagine. Nybbas uses this masochistic exercise when he is on the verge of madness from all the input he receives. Even he is frightened by it, though, and never uses it more than five minutes at a time.

It's not easy to be Media. Bad luck is punished and good luck rewarded. But who wants to be out of show business? Everyone in the Media seems to resemble an Impudite to outsiders. They know that the Media's about taking, not giving, and they know it's about making people like you so you can take from them. If they don't like you, at least them make them react. The reaction gives Essence, and that's the thing and the whole of the thing. Demons of the Media are reflexively nice, believing that people might someday be useful so you shouldn't burn bridges. They also tend not to remember people very well unless they want something, in which case they won't think of anything but that person until they get what they need. They're your best friend right until they betray you...and they keep smiling and trying to make you think it was an accident so they can do it again. When they do burn bridges, though, they burn them down to the bedrock. If they hate someone, they refuse to even acknowledge their existence except for spreading bad rumors to the right people. All of them love the Boss, though. He's the example to emulate - good luck and subtlety, smiling at the right people and never letting them see you sweat. The Media's demons work hard to get to the top, and once they get there, they realize they can never relax, and take it out on those below.

Balseraphs of the Media are nicknamed Spin Doctors. They work constantly to slant information depending on what they want to say, and hyperbole is in their nature. They tend to be the highest ranks of the Media - they're good at politics and lying, and the artificial nature of the Word resonates with them. The Media's all about making the fake real for long enough, and they're great at that. They tend to prefer jobs that let them share their views with the masses - agents, producers, lawyers, PR, newscasters and so on, any job where lying is expected. They love the chance to score many people with their resonance, supporting their delusions. Their servants tend to be in the same line of work. Other Balseraphs prefer to be behind the scenes, working as all kinds of writers to spread their lies. Even more subtle ones work as editors, changing a few words to change an entire meaning. They are often the most dangerous of the Balseraphs, and they often work in places other Media demons would find truly dull - university presses, national educational testing companies, pollsters, research labs, non-profits. Information flows to them, changes and heads back out. Their servants may, in fact, outrank them to better control the approval process of their altered facts.

Djinn of the Media are known as Gofers, Security, Bouncers or Roadies. They make themselves 'useful' to their celebrity servants in blunt and often violent ways. They like to be hired muscle. They encourage their stars to stay away from the masses, reinforced by their casual disdain for humans and their overprotectiveness against other stalkers. Their stars' selfishness is held up then as something to cover by other demons of the Media.

Calabim of the Media are known as Sharks, Hooligans and Promoters. They tend to work in sports, beloved by Nybbas for their ability to gather thousands and goad them into a mad mob. Humans have always needed to take sides, even in games, and Nybbas' Calabim warp this tendency using the sports figures they work with, turning it into a tool to manipulate human groups. They have much more status than one might expect within the Media, and their servants are usually sports stars or promoters.

Habbalah of the Media are known as Contacts, Totems and Spirit Guides, thanks to the work they've done since the height of Spiritualism in the 19th century. Since then, they've been working to lay the groundwork for the Media Religion. They influence gullible charismatics, feeding them a mix of watered-down Eastern philosophy, pantheism and wishful thinking. They provide miracles to attract followers. Many of these 'psychics' they sponsor are public figures, but so far, none of them are true stars. The Habbalah try to set them up as prophets and icons as a test of human gillibility. Few are surprised when humans fail. The Habbalah also serve as spiritual advisors to major stars and politicians, using their 'clients' as mouthpieces to promote whatever insane psuedo-spirituality the demon wants to push and encourage others to use psychic hotlines.

Lilim of the Media, known as Bombshells, Starlets and the Talent, work as Nybbas' homegrown stars. They work in porn, Hollywood, Broadway, whatever. They might be serious actresses or not, but they draw the eye and influence everyone that watches them with envy and desire. A very few are chosen for special assignments. No two are exactly alike, but they are always popular and loved. Their job is to die tragically, in the tradition of Marilyn Monroe, Rebeccae Schaeffer and so on. They are killed by fans, commit suicide, it doesn't matter. A storm of media coverage comes after, aimed to convince humans of the essential senselessness of life. Most of these deaths are swaps with body doubles, or else rely on the Lilim having a Body Bag. Nybbas doesn't like risking the talent.

Shedim of the Media, AKA the Stunt Doubles, rarely incite their hosts to acts of obvious or ugly depravity, preferring self-destructive and selfish behavior common to show business folks - drugs and partying, for example. Stuff they can cover up or even flaunt and be admired for. They are among the most relaxed and easy-going Shedim as a result, rarely having to work very hard to corrupt their hosts and often bodyhopping quickly and comfortably. They aren't complacent, though - someone else is always catching up and need to learn how the Media works. They can work anywhere, in any job.

Next time: Work details

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011


Nybbas and Rex are the best - you could easily have them win the war, since the Angels are so clearly uncool. But most of the demons are too. Maybe they engineer a twist ending?
If you need to keep Kobal, maybe him a low-level Wordbound in Nybbas' organization.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008

Count Chocula posted:

Nybbas and Rex are the best - you could easily have them win the war, since the Angels are so clearly uncool. But most of the demons are too. Maybe they engineer a twist ending?
If you need to keep Kobal, maybe him a low-level Wordbound in Nybbas' organization.

Geez, that's halfway into hell's version of "Entourage", isn't it?

Would Haagenti be Turtle?

Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.

Hey guys I also have an opinion about the later seasons of Supernatural!

No just kidding here's an Afterthought episode. It's all pet peeves and listener questions, and an intro that really starts to question the concept of how long an intro is before it's just the actual podcast.

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011


Evil Mastermind posted:

Geez, that's halfway into hell's version of "Entourage", isn't it?

Would Haagenti be Turtle?
Sean O'Neal already wrote that script:


I have come to see my handiwork in action—for you see, we are at the culmination of a nine-year performance, unprecedented in scope and size, unequaled in its cunning. Listen carefully: Everything you know—everything you are—is part of a master thesis, an opus delving into the many layers of emptiness within the artifice, exposing the hollowness of Hollywood and fame itself. You have all been true and loyal servants of this master scribe, who has writ large his greatest work upon the world—the story of a vapid, clearly untalented actor lifted to lofty heights, simply because Hollywood ordained it that way, and his nattering chorus of fools, their lives inexplicably yoked to his by similar contrivance, their entire existences revolving around whether that actor was “doing a movie.” You played the part for years on television, never realizing that you were no longer acting. You had become the part, and the world had become the show. And now you—along with the extras that make up the rest of the world—find yourselves living the same plotline that was spewed forth with such peristaltic regularity, wondering whether “Vince is gonna do the movie,” and whether everything will work out… It is a genius design and I, Mark Wahlberg, its architect!



Birds SCREECH and CRASH into each other in a flurry of BLOOD and FEATHERS. A squirrel suddenly DROPS and EXPLODES outward with writhing MAGGOTS. A babbling river turns RUSTY RED. The eyes of a BEAR drinking from it turn ALL BLACK. Foaming, he runs toward Downtown Los Angeles to feed.

Read the whole thing. God shows up.

Count Chocula fucked around with this message at 05:26 on Jan 26, 2016

Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.

I'm actually digging Nybbas, his Snarky commentary actually got a bit of a sleazy charm to it compare to Andre and Hraag's gotta Lust/Glutton it up, and Kobol's comedy falling flat.

Have to say if I do anything with In Nomine, I'd leave the possibility of Andre being convinced he is still capable of love and he can't stop denying it - either giving him the chance to redeem or become vulnerable to the machinations of another prince, Hraag is take or leave, Kobol would need a serious rewrite or be replaced, while Nybbas I can use as-is, a sleazy producer-type is always a fun villain to run with.

Robindaybird fucked around with this message at 06:17 on Jan 26, 2016

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011


Anything Kobol does, Nybbas can do better. There's a Hellblazer comic written by Ian Rankin about Big Brother in Hell that you could steal for one of his plots.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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

Night's Black Agents look neat! I would either stat the Ukranian Upir (for being giant assholes with teeth and nails like iron who walk from noon to midnight, smell like death and devour raw meat from kidnapped families starting with the children) or (and this is solely because of the silicon rock vampires who act like Weeping Angels) the Pillar Men and their vampire-making mask.

Also I vote for option A. The X-Files is back so let's see how well this stuff holds up.

Comrade Koba
Jul 2, 2007

Option D, Banestorm

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012


I vote D for Danestorm, because I liked the premise but it's one of those few game supplements where I couldn't get through the book.

theironjef posted:

Hey guys I also have an opinion about the later seasons of Supernatural!

No just kidding here's an Afterthought episode. It's all pet peeves and listener questions, and an intro that really starts to question the concept of how long an intro is before it's just the actual podcast.

Holy poo poo you guys are stepping up your game. Also I'm still listening to the intro.

Nov 4, 2007

zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Option C

Isn't Voodoo the book that introduced the ritual casting rules in place of the regular magic system? That's my association with it anyway, my group had a customized version of those we used extensively.

But having not read the book itself, 'Magical Race War' sounds cringeworthy enough to overshadow any rules advancements it made.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!

theironjef posted:

No just kidding here's an Afterthought episode. It's all pet peeves and listener questions, and an intro that really starts to question the concept of how long an intro is before it's just the actual podcast.

I hate the things I know sometimes, but the Rifts drug rules are a little different than you recall. Basically, Rifts Ultimate Edition doesn't have rules for specific (real) drugs like cocaine or heroin. Instead, when you become an addict, you roll randomly to see how the drug addiction affects you, irregardless of the actual drug. So coke might make you "quiet, laid back, withdrawn" or alcohol might make you have delirious hallucinations. Most of these are penalities, but a few like "argumentative" or "impulsive" are just flat-out bonuses. There are rules for being "totally wasted" which basically makes your character useless, but no rules for how you become "totally wasted". There are also withdrawal rules, which in brief make it practically impossible not to relapse.

Now, in older editions, alcohol had its own chart and drunkenness rules which were slightly better, though you had you roll randomly to see if you were drunk at any given moment and had all the penalties from that (hint: it'll happen a lot). I know a later book had rules for drinking contests, because that's one of the few things the Salloon Gal O.C.C. (I am not making this up) is good at. (Dammit, Rifts.)

If that all wasn't enough, supplements added alien drugs that do have specific rules, usually involving a short-term boost with a long-term penalty, insanity, or a chance to become crippled in some sense. These drugs basically serve as gotcha traps for players who haven't read the drug's writeup, because drugs are evil and Rifts has to go to great lengths to make that clear, even if it means Cyber-Rambo can't go on the next three adventures because some Atlantean drug turned his spine into a question mark.

And then there's juicers, but that's a whole other story to tell.

Dec 12, 2011

I think Kobal could work if you removed the funny clown aspect and replaced it with a trickster concept. Have all his jokes focus on bringing out the absurdity of a serious situation or pointing out the futility of what's being done. Such as raising Haagenti to being an angelic prince. That is actually funny but not because of 'Lol! Demon in heaven!' but because it forces everyone to stop and confront the truth that what they are isn't important, but the word they bare is, and something as lowly and debased as a demon can find a place in Heaven as a paragon of light. The whole evil aspect comes from that fact that most people would just become emotional crushed and withdrawn whenever one of these jokes went off in their face.


Nov 9, 2011

Foolish child of man...
After reading all this,
do you still not understand?

Just because this is a vampire game doesn't mean there aren't other kinds of monsters about! Maybe vampires can summon demons. Maybe Demons can summon vampires. Maybe some of these are just the true forms of your game's breed of vampires.

The book is clear that statblocks and abilities are suggestions - if you want winged ghouls or hardcore combat lamiae, go for it.

Awful insect demons that drink the life of men, beasts, and crops. Adzeh can take two main forms - a single insect commanding a swarm of blood-drinking flies or mosquitoes, or a 'brain bug' that infests a human host.

As a brain bug, an Azdeh increases the Athletics, Hand-to-Hand and Health of the host by +5. Turn to Creature is just the Adzeh leaving its host, and is accordingly free. Removing an Adzeh from a host drops them to -6 Health and immediately forces a Consciousness roll.


General Abilities: Aberrance 10, Hand-to-Hand 6, Health 6
Hit Threshold: 8 (4 if it's a worm), or 5 against an area effect weapon.
Alertness Modifier: +1
Stealth Modifier: +2 in insect form, +0 for a human host
Damage Modifier: -1 (for human host), +0 (bite for human, or attacks against helpless victims as an insect), -1 (face suck), -2 (bite as insect)
Armor: None as human, immune to physical attacks as an insect swarm, vulnerable to fire, as a single insect it dies from any damage
Free Powers: Drain, Infravision, Unfeeling (on possessed human)
Other Powers: Mesmerism (buzzing voice), Necromancy, Possession (brain bug), Regeneration (3 Health per hour as human, can resurrect itself once per Health drained as a bug), Spider Climb, Strength, Turn to Creature, Vampiric Speed, Wings (free in insect form)
Banes: Fire
Blocks: Per vampires in campaign
Compulsions: Obey creator
Dreads: Per vampires in campaign
Requirements: Drink blood, palm oil or coconut water

An Indian monster somewhere between a ghost, a demon and a vampire. Rakshasa may actually be Bhuta, or vice versa. They are skilled in magic and can possess humans and speak thruogh them.

NBA's Bhuta emphasizes the shadowy nature of the bhuta - it's more ghost than physical creature. Its Hit Threshold is cumulative with darkness penalties. For a full-on shadow vampire, add Infection, Mesmerism and Strength to its abilities, and increase Aberrance. Powerful Bhuta can freely move points between Aberrance and Health at the beginning of any round. You can identify someone possessed by a Bhuta because their feet don't touch the ground.


General Abilities: Aberrance 7, Hand-to-Hand 10, Health 11
Hit Threshold: 6 in darkness, 3 in light
Alertness Modifier: +1
Stealth Modifier: +3 in darkness, +1 in light
Damage Modifier: +0 (talens, fangs, heat drain)
Armor: Physical weapons do no damage, fire does 1 damage
Free Powers: Darkvision, Drain, Heat Drain (adds to Health pool), No Reflection, Spider Climb
Other Powers: Apportation (between shadows), Cloak of Darkness, Necromancy, Plague, Possession, Reassuring Illusion (disguise as a form drawn from the victim's mind), Turn to Bat, Wings
Banes: Consecrated arrow (also pins in place, lowering Hit Threshold to 3), sunlight (damages each round), UV light
Blocks: Per vampires in campaign
Compulsions: Obey creator
Dreads: Per vampires in campaign
Requirements: Drink blood, palm oil or coconut water

Part man, part bat, all beheading, blood-drinking murder monster. This is an ideal "true form" for a powerful vampire.

The Camazotz can behead a victim with a claw by making a Called Shot to the throat, generally sized against NPCs who die at Health 0. It can do a dive attack to attack and then fly off to Near range or a nearby rooftop on the same round. It can grab a target for half damage, then drill with its proboscis on the following round; escaping its grip is Difficulty 5 Athletics, increasable with Aberrance.


General Abilities: Aberrance 11, Hand-to-Hand 23, Health 14
Hit Threshold: 4
Alertness Modifier: +2 (+9 if it's tasted or smelled your blood before)
Stealth Modifier: +2 (in flight), +0 (on ground)
Damage Modifier: +2 (talons, fangs, grab), +3 (beheading claw), +5 (proboscis)
Armor: -2 (leathery skin), another -2 VS melee weapons, guns to half damage after armor
Free Powers: Dive Attack, Drain, Infravision, Regeneration, Wings
Other Powers: Cloak of Darkness, Levitation, Sonar, Spider Climb, Strength, Summoning (flock of bats), Tracking (follow blood it's tasted or smelled over any distance across land), Turn Invisible, Vampiric Speed
Banes: Per vampires in campaign
Blocks: Per vampires in campaign
Compulsions: Obey sire, return to lair by sunrise
Dreads: Per vampires in campaign
Requirements: Drink blood

From Romany lore, a half-human, half-vampire offspring. Often taking the role of a vampire slayer, the dhampir has no bones, allowing it to fit through tiny gaps, and can detect vampires with senses lost to humans.

Dhampirs may be immune to vampire bites as NPCs, or may take Vampire Resistance as a power for a PC dhampir (if the Director allows such a thing). As a foe, they're very powerful vampire vassals, capable of operating in direct sunlight and still using most of their powers. A more powerful version of the dhampir is the daywalker - a creature with all of a vampire's powers, and none of its weaknesses. However, such creatures don't rise from the dead after being slain.


General Abilities: Aberrance 12, Hand-to-Hand 6, Health 12, Shooting 6, Weapons 6
Hit Threshold: 5
Alertness Modifier: +2 (+4 to detect vampires)
Stealth Modifier: +1
Damage Modifier: +2 (sword), +0 (stake), +0 (bite), -1 (fist, kick)
Armor: -2 for physical attacks, immune to toxins
Free Powers: Infravision, No Shadow, Regeneration (half of all physical damage at start of next round
Other Powers: Boneless Flexibility, Detect Vampires, Spider Climb, Strength, Vampiric Speed
Banes: Beheading, fire, stake to heart
Blocks: Cannot cross a church threshold
Compulsions: Keep the Sabbath, obey/kill sire
Requirements: Drink blood (addictive disorder)

Feral Vampire
Like a vampire, but brand new, and still crazy with thirst and newfound power. They hunt in packs - if three ferals attack someone in the same round, the Hit Threshold is -1 against the third attack.


General Abilities: Aberrance 9, Hand-to-Hand 9, Health 9
Hit Threshold: 5
Alertness Modifier: +2
Stealth Modifier: +1
Damage Modifier: +1 (talons), +0 (bite), -1 (fist, kick)
Armor: -1 (tough skin), firearms do half damage
Free Powers: Drain (Health cap 18), Infravision, Regeneration (all damage at sunset), Unfeeling
Other Powers: Extra Attacks (first extra attack is free, furthers cost 2 Aberrance or Hand-to-Hand), Spider Climb, Strength, Vampiric Speed
Banes: Per vampires in campaign, sunlight may damage faster
Blocks: Per vampires in campaign, +2 to Aberrance test difficulty to override
Compulsions: Drink fresh blood, obey sire
Dreads: Per vampires in campaign

Pack-traveling dog-like corpse-eating cemetery monsters used as dumb muscle by vampires. The stat-block can also be used as a basis for werewolves, if they exist in your setting.

Ghouls get the same pack hunting ability as feral vampires, plus something called a "Worrying Bite" - if a ghoul hits with a bite, they can bite again next turn to do double damage. After that, all subsequent bites automatically hit, but the person it's latched onto can attack it at Hit Threshold 3.


General Abilities: Aberrance 9, Hand-to-Hand 9, Health 9
Hit Threshold: 4
Alertness Modifier: +2 (+0 in daylight)
Stealth Modifier: +1
Damage Modifier: +1 (talons), +0 (bite)
Armor: -1 (tough skin), firearms do half damage
Free Powers: Infravision, Regeneration (all damage next scene), Unfeeling
Other Powers: Extra Attacks (first extra attack is free, furthers cost 2 Aberrance or Hand-to-Hand), Heat Drain, Mimic Form, Plague, Spider Climb, Strength, Tunneling
Banes: Fire, sunlight (Hurt by exposure)
Blocks: Can't eat normal food, crimson thread, the name of God, Passover bread
Compulsions: Obey sire
Dreads: Bells and other loud noises

Female vampires with serpentine features who seduce - literally or metaphorically - men for blood. Especially hates children. Human-shaped, but always with one weird feature - forked tongue, a second mouth under her hair, snake eyes. Either doesn't cast a shadow, or casts a snake's shadow.

A lamia can strangle with a Hand-to-Hand attack for +0 damage, either as a Called Shot or as a 2-Aberrance spend. After the first hit, she does +0 damage again each round, Athletics 5 to break free.


General Abilities: Aberrance 10, Hand-to-Hand 4, Health 10
Hit Threshold: 5
Alertness Modifier: +2
Stealth Modifier: +2
Damage Modifier: +0 (bite), +0 (strangling grasp)
Armor: -1 (scales or porcelain skin)
Free Powers: Anaesthetic bite (remembered as a sexual encounter), Darkvision, Drain, Psychic Vampirism, Regeneration, Remote Drain
Other Powers: Addictive Bite, Cloak of Darkness, Cloud Men's Minds, Enter Dreams, Infection, Levitation, Magic, Memory Wipe, Mesmerism (eye contact or voice), Mind Probe, Plague, Send to Sleep, Spider Climb, Spit Venom, Stifling Air, Turn to Deer/Mist/Snake/Statue, Vampiric Speed, Venom, Wings
Banes: Beheading, destruction of magic cauldron (loses all powers), iron, sunlight (blocks all powers)
Blocks: Can't enter a room without being invited, can't escape grave if stones are piled on it, moly flower
Compulsions: Attack childbearing women, dance to snake-charming music, gaze at own reflection, kill children
Dreads: Moly flower
Requirements: Drink blood, mate

A vampire from Romanian lore who astrally projects from the grave. In order to stop it, you have to find and destroy the corpse. May appear as a spectral vampire, an animal, a glowing blob or something else.

When a murony drains Health, it can send the points to the body in its grave. This block can also function as a ghost statblock.


General Abilities: Aberrance 16, Hand-to-Hand 6, Health 6
Hit Threshold: 5
Alertness Modifier: +0
Stealth Modifier: +2
Damage Modifier: +0 (blood/heat drain), +0 (hurled object)
Armor: Physical weapons do no damage, fire does 1 damage
Free Powers: Darkvision, Distortion, Drain, Psychic Vampirism, Remote Drain
Other Powers: Heat Drain (drained Athletics adds to Health), Illusionary Shape, Levitation, Plague (damage adds to Health), Send to Sleep, Stifling Air (damage adds to Health), Telekinesis
Banes: None in spirit form, destroying its body by beheading, staking and filling the mouth with garlic, burning the heart
Blocks: Bitter herbs, holy symbols, garlic
Compulsions: Count millet seeds
Dreads: Holy symbols, garlics
Requirements: Drink blood, return to body at noon

Named for the character in Stoker's novel, a "Renfield" is a human servant of vampires, granted a few drops of vampire blood to seal the contract. They pass as human to anything short of a full blood analysis.

Pick a human enemy, then add 12 points to their stats, plus +1 to Alertness Modifier and +1 to all melee modifiers. Then, add any two of the listed Free Powers and any one of the Other Powers. They should blur the line between human opponents and vampire opponents. The stats below are for a police officer Renfield.


General Abilities: Aberrance 9, Hand-to-Hand 8, Health 9, Shooting 8, Weapons 7
Hit Threshold: 4
Alertness Modifier: +2
Stealth Modifier: +0
Damage Modifier: +0 (knife or baton), -1 (fist, kick), +1 (9mm pistol)
Armor: None, or -1 as a free power
Free Powers: Enhanced Hearing (hearbeat, +2 Difficulty to evade), Infravision, Regeneration (2 per round), Tracking by Smell, Unfeeling
Other Powers: Apportation, Cloud Men's Minds, Heat Drain, Mesmerism (eye contact or voice), Spider Climb, Strength, Summoning (rats or spiders), Vampiric Speed
Blocks: If vampires in the campaign radiate unholy power, church thresholds may block Renfields at -2 Difficulty
Compulsions: Drink blood (as Addictive Disorder), obey master

Witches that transform into birds. Started as a child-killing folklore creature, eventually gained vampiric traits. Can turn into ravens, owls, crows, or blackbirds, either with no change to pools or shifting once per scene to refresh all pools.

A strix can attack someone's shadow as an attack or Drain attack, effectively causing -1 to enemy Hit Thresholds in anything above Pitch Black conditions. The strix will resurrect the night after it's killed, or at the next new moon if it was burned to death. The only way to kill it for good is to find the egg in which it hides its soul and destroy it.


General Abilities: Aberrance 12, Hand-to-Hand 4, Health 5
Hit Threshold: 4 (human), 5 (bird)
Alertness Modifier: +1 (human), +3 (bird)
Stealth Modifier: +0 (human), +3 (bird)
Damage Modifier: -2 (fist, kick), -1 (peck, claw)
Free Powers: Darkvision, Drain, Hive Mind, Remote Drain, Shadow Attack, Soul Egg, Wings
Other Powers: Clairvoyance (through flocks of birds), Cloak of Darkness, Magic, Mesmerism, Necromancy, Send to Sleep, Summon Birds, Turn to Bird, Vampiric Speed
Banes: Sunlight (cannot change shape)
Blocks: Hawthorn, per vampires in campaign
Dreads: Garlic
Requirements: Drink blood, eat human flesh

Powerful undead assigned to guard something of great importance, such as a vampire lord's crypt. Can reflavor as a mummy, a golem, a hell hound, or something else, with a few alternate powers.

A vorthr can stretch its arms to make a Point-Blank attack from Close range. Varying by legend, it might only be vulnerable to bare-handed attacks, or you must have to behead it, leap between its body and head before it hits the ground, then burn the body and scatter the ashes at sea.


General Abilities: Aberrance 13, Hand-to-Hand 24, Health 17, Weapons 12
Hit Threshold: 6
Alertness Modifier: +1, +3 in barrow
Stealth Modifier: +0
Damage Modifier: +3 (sword), +2 (talons)
Armor -3 (thick flesh), all weapons do half damage, firearms do 1 damage, shotguns do 2 damage
Free Powers: Darkvision, Drain, Extensible Arms, Psychic Vampirism, Regeneration (all damage at start of next round while in barrow)
Other Powers: Cloak of Darkness, Extra Attacks (2 Aberrance each), Heat Drain, Magic, Spider Climb, Stifling Air, Strength, Tunneling, Turn to Mist
Banes: Bare-handed attacks, beheading (only at -11 health), own sword
Blocks: Per vampires in campaign
Compulsions: Guard site
Requirements: Return to barrow or guarded site

Reanimated corpse with no vampiric powers. Handy as guards, could follow either the Romero style (infectious bite) or the Haitan style (laid to rest with salt).

Zombies can grip foes as a Hand-to-Hand attack, doing no damage but reducing the Hit Threshold of the zombie and its target. Athletics 5 to escape.


General Abilities: Aberrance 5, Hand-to-Hand 7, Health 7, Weapons 2
Hit Threshold: 3 (2 for slow zombies, 4 for fast zombies)
Alertness Modifier: -1
Damage Modifier: -1 (bite), +0 (improvised weapon), grab
Armor All weapons to half damage, firearms do 1 damage, shotguns do 2 damage
Free Powers: Infection (Health test equal to bite damage every 10 minute after bite, become a zombie on death)
Banes: Destruction of the brain (called shot at +2, must do at least 2 damage), salt
Compulsions: Eat brains, lie down and die upon tasting salt, move toward loud noises, obey master

Vampire Forms and Familiars

Vampires can turn into a bunch of animals, they're less exciting than the main monsters so I'm not gonna detail out every one. Bat, Cat, Flies, Owl, Rat, Serpent, Wolf. That about wraps it up for monster statblocks.

Next: Conspiracies.

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