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Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Night10194 posted:

Are there any legit mechanically solid games from the early-mid nineties that people can think of? I'm curious.

Depends on what you mean. Feng Shui, Over the Edge, Fudge, Unisystem, Nobilis, Unknown Armies, and SAGA were all pretty groundbreaking. The '90s get a bad rap but were the birthplace of a lot of poo poo we take for granted two decades later.

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MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.


Unknown Armies remains the best percentage-based system I can think of.

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007





Asimo posted:

This is your regular reminder that Mike Pondsmith is a goddamn game design genius and never gets any recognition for it.
We'll politely ignore Fuzion.

He hits way more often than he misses and is a legit cool dude if you ever encounter him.

Wapole Languray
Jul 4, 2012



Falkenstein actually has a crap default resolution system as the card based mechanics are incentivizes playing every card in your hand every roll. They do have alternate resolution in the supplements though, so it's a minor issue.

Asimo
Sep 23, 2007




Midjack posted:

He hits way more often than he misses and is a legit cool dude if you ever encounter him.
Yeah, almost everything he's done has been literally genre defining (CP2020), has brilliant design (TFOS), really fun to play (Falkenstein), or often all of the above. Even Fuzion was a well-intentioned experiment that just fell a bit flat.

Never met him, but kind of wish I had. He's also one of the few prominent African American game developers from the era, too.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Midjack posted:

He hits way more often than he misses and is a legit cool dude if you ever encounter him.

I kind of admire CPv3.0 for what he was trying to do with that genre in gaming, it's too bad he didn't have enough time or resources to really stick the landing. I'm a bit afraid of the expected new edition with CD Projekt Red's CP2077 to be a return to some of the worst excesses of CP2020.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Nobilis is early 2000s rather than 90s.

EDIT: Okay, I checked, and the first edition is 1999, so you're right.

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007





Young Freud posted:

I kind of admire CPv3.0 for what he was trying to do with that genre in gaming, it's too bad he didn't have enough time or resources to really stick the landing. I'm a bit afraid of the expected new edition with CD Projekt Red's CP2077 to be a return to some of the worst excesses of CP2020.

Someone interviewed him a couple of months ago.

Falconier111
Jul 18, 2012

S T A R M E T A L C A S T E


Neondystopia.com posted:

ND: I think thatís one of the biggest problems with a lot of modern games, like the newest version of Dungeons and Dragons, is that itís more concerned with the rules and the combat than it is with trying to tell a good story. The second major thing that I identified that Cyberpunk has contributed is the cyberpunk archetypes. We talk about Solos, or Street Samurai in Shadowrun, but really Shadowrun took their archetypes from Cyberpunk.

Pondsmith: Yeah, we get to get three big things for design claimants. First one is Lifepath, which has some recognitions back to the original Traveler idea of careers. He built the first system that allowed you to build a background for your character. Itís mostly derived from the idea of movie plots. The second piece was archetypes. White Wolf did them quite successfully a bit later on. Our idea of how you did an archetype and how it was structured came from a combination of both anime and the problem that at the time, nobody knew how to play a cyberpunk character, because it was such a new idea. So, we had to give them a guidebook for what a particular type of character was. The archetypes were ways of identifying particular styles and careers of characters who would be showing up in a cyberpunk universe.

ND: I was going to bring up Lifepath too because I think that Lifepath is by far my favorite mechanic from any of your work and Iím glad it shows up so frequently. Every game where I have used Lifepath, which is almost all of them since I started playing, you can build much more interesting characters than when you just base a character off of statistics.

Pondsmith: Lifepath was designed to get people off the ground with all of tropes and bits about their character. And indeed in Mekton Zero, which is the one thatís coming out this fall, we strengthen that even further. Lifepath is probably our biggest contribution to gaming design and development. Itís used all the time. My son looks up all the time now and thereís Lifepath in Pathfinder, thereís Lifepath in D&D 5, thereís Lifepath in practically everything. But at the time that we did it, it was a fairly strange and new concept.

This guy is my hero

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

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


Clapping Larry

Mr. Maltose posted:

You and nearly everybody else. It's yet another entry on the list of best games nobody plays.

I've run CF several times. It really is awesome.

Cthulhu Dreams
Dec 11, 2010

If I pretend to be Cthulhu no one will know I'm a baseball robot.


Wapole Languray posted:


Also it's hilarious seeing this thread's reaction to Kevin Crawford. Stars Without Numbers and Other Dust are rock solid, then when he wanted to make a non-western fantasy game he converted them into Spears of the Dawn, Silent Legions is basically OSR Delta Green, Scarlet Heroes is D&D but designed around super-fast solo gameplay with 2 people or a GM Oracle if you want. Then he made Godbound extrapolated from Scarlet Heroes rules. He's not some nobody, he's got a solid track record of really good games with lots of support (Stars Without Numbers has TONS of supplements) and a rock solid release and work ethic. The OSR label doesn't apply to mechanics so much as it's a compatibility layer (Just take any D&D dungeon and find-replace SWORD with LASER) and is familiar to most people who play RPG's.

I think Kevin Crawford is the best and most professional RPG author in the game today and I wish he'd do something outside of the straight up OSR real because it could be amazing. It might also suck but I'd be willing to give him money on the chance.

I'd also be fascinated to see someone else give him a shot. I'd love to see D&D 6E as designed by Crawford - and I have literally no idea why anyone would hire Mearls when you could presumably get Kevin.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


For the record, I got to see Pondsmith talk at GenCon (but unfortunately didn't have time to talk with him and find out how my name got into an R. Talsorian book) and he talked about how they're working on the next edition of Cyberpunk to be concurrent with the video game. His son (Cody Pondsmith) is apparently doing a lot of the writing for the new edition but he's overseeing it, since he's also following along with the video game's development. He talked about how CD Projekt originally wanted to do a straight conversion of the TT mechanics and he apparently convinced them that that would be a really, really bad idea.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




Alien Rope Burn posted:

He talked about how CD Projekt originally wanted to do a straight conversion of the TT mechanics and he apparently convinced them that that would be a really, really bad idea.
I am suddenly less excited for the game now.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Night10194 posted:

Now you know how I felt when I found out Feng Shui 2 was keeping d6-d6 and immediately cancelled my kickstarter pledge.

What up, game you really liked that had outdated design and then didn't update it in its 21st century remake buddy?

Blame the 4e backlash.

bewilderment posted:

Looking at the discussion of the TORG 'update', I'm interested to see the writeup of Godbound come back because especially going into the GM sections, it's amazing that an 'OSR' game how modern it is. The reason for it being OSR besides "I already had some of the framework done" were basically that the DnD stats felt good enough, and it made it easy to just have a ready-made bestiary of monsters and only having to write up some setting-specific monsters.

Godbound has:
- Mook/mob rules
- Rules for casually knocking over a bunch of little enemies not worth your time while you fight one big guy (in case you're fighting, like, four guys, but not a mob)
- 13th Age style backgrounds in lieu of skills
- Explicitly telling the GM not to make players roll for petty poo poo like balancing on a log over a river, only for things that would realistically challenge a demigod with a power level somewhere between Hercules and Super-Saiyan Goku
- General guidelines for how strong an enemy should be for a tough challenge
- Abstracted rules for enacting long term change over an area
- Abstract faction rules, and guides and random tables in case you quickly need to make up a faction
- Literally no encumbrance or wealth rules on the character level scale because it doesn't matter

It's amazing what you can do with OSR rules if you move even a bit beyond the typical murder hobo path.

And what I also like is how the book tells the GM to not even think about railroading and GMNPCs, cause the players can and will derail your shenanigans anyways.

bewilderment posted:

Yeah, my reactions to it went like this over time.

1. "Ugh, more OSR fantasy heartbreaker crap."
2. "Huh, it actually looks kinda interesting..."
3. "Wait, it's actually 90% text complete? This actually looks good!"
4. "Hell, I might as well back it!"
5. "What the gently caress, the kickstarter delivered not just on time, but over a month early?!"

Crawford is a friggin' machine when it comes to making books.

Mors Rattus posted:

Vigil 2e is in the works but is not out yet.

But I wanna run SCP: The Ketering.

FMguru posted:

I've heard good things (mechanically) about the Silhouette system that DP9 used for Heavy Gear, Jovian Chronicles, Tribe 8, and other games.

I'd say it certainly paid off that the system started as a tabletop wargame. Though the RPG lets you have characters that are massively more powerful than the wargame allows. If you don't use a damage cap (which is actually hidden away in a section about using different dice than d6s), you can have snipers take out tanks.

I also found it to be a shame how they had this neat effects-based vehicle creation system, but didn't really give you guidelines on how to use that to make normal guns and stuff. They've also admitted to have screwed up a bit when it came to damage and armour, as those where priced on the grounds that those numbers scaled on a quadratic scale (which is how you convert it) even though their actual mechanical benefits are on a linear scale.

Falconier111 posted:

This guy is my hero

Mekton Zero still exists?

Cthulhu Dreams posted:

I'd also be fascinated to see someone else give him a shot. I'd love to see D&D 6E as designed by Crawford - and I have literally no idea why anyone would hire Mearls when you could presumably get Kevin.

Oh boy, that news would make my day.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Cthulhu Dreams posted:

I think Kevin Crawford is the best and most professional RPG author in the game today and I wish he'd do something outside of the straight up OSR real because it could be amazing. It might also suck but I'd be willing to give him money on the chance.

I'd also be fascinated to see someone else give him a shot. I'd love to see D&D 6E as designed by Crawford - and I have literally no idea why anyone would hire Mearls when you could presumably get Kevin.
Same here. I really like his stuff but I'd like to see what he could do with other design spaces, like Fate or something.

Doresh posted:

Mekton Zero still exists?
If he's referring to the Kickstarted edition, then no it still hasn't come out yet.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Zereth posted:

I am suddenly less excited for the game now.
As much as it would be interesting to go from the world's ugliest, slowest man with the compassion of a saint to a beautiful Terminator with the emotional depth of a ham sandwich over the course of a playthrough, I think it can't hurt for them to remove some of the dumb fiddliness like that.

unseenlibrarian
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.

Hostile V posted:

As much as it would be interesting to go from the world's ugliest, slowest man with the compassion of a saint to a beautiful Terminator with the emotional depth of a ham sandwich over the course of a playthrough, I think it can't hurt for them to remove some of the dumb fiddliness like that.

Don't forget how this slow devolution is accompanied by a flat ten percent chance of hilarious failure on everything you try to do.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


unseenlibrarian posted:

Don't forget how this slow devolution is accompanied by a flat ten percent chance of hilarious failure on everything you try to do.

Or how there's a single god stat for all your combat needs.

Evil Mastermind posted:

If he's referring to the Kickstarted edition, then no it still hasn't come out yet.

At least they seem to be working on merchandize.

Mr.Misfit
Jan 10, 2013

The time for
SkellyBones
has come!


This reminds me of a fun story from The Dark Eye I once heard.

See, in The Dark Eye 4.1, you usually roll either with a single d20 for the attribute, or 3d20 if its something that would fall under "skill".
However, despite an extensive skill list, this still left some things without a skill, and therefore forced to be rolled on the attribute RAW.

So that means, that many of the things are rolled with a single d20, and in TDE you roll equal to or below the attribute for a success.
If its a 1, critical success, otherwise below or equal your target number, a success, and above failure. And then thereīs the dastardly 20-result.

Rolling a 20 is a critical failure. In combat, this usually leads to someone ramming their sword into their own belly, but thatīs just for amusement.

Now, one of the things not listed as a talent, is hairdressing, or coiffeur...-ing...?
Anyway. A 20 is always a critical failure.

So have fun with a 1-in-20-chance of getting head accidentally lopped of due to a hairdressing accident,
or the hairdresser accidentally stabbing himself with his own pair of scissors...

Man, mortality in fantasy worlds is off the charts...

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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#1 Builder
2014-2018



Vampire: the Requiem, 2nd Edition

The Circle of the Crone are strong. They remember the past, when people didn't need so much structure and justification. Some say they are a religion. That's...not quite correct. Religion implies a stronger structure. They're a spiritual movement. And they are monsters - proper monsters. Other covenants hide their nature with self-control, with religion, with etiquette and ideology. It's all a lie. The Crones know that. You don't need to justify what you are. You never needed to. Others will tell you that to be a monster, you must serve God's will, or have the ambition to rise to power, or study the secrets of the world. That's all a lie. You can be a monster because you're a monster.

Not to say the Circle don't have secrets. They do. They are witches, pagans, orgiastic cultists. They can pretend to etiquette, but they have more vital, savage energy than any of their counterparts. Their studies, their diplomacy, all of it is backed by the pulsing of the Blood. They do not see the Curse as a curse - it is a blessing of strength. It is a part of nature. So they are monsters now. So what? That's just how it is. And natural beings develop and evolve on their own. The Ordo say you should become some new, different kind of monster. The Lance say you must subjugate your own desires to scourge humanity for God. Both of these are restraints. Embrace what you are. Enjoy it. Be it. That is the way of the Acolytes of the Circle. There is no structured theology for the priests of the Mother's Army. They'd kill anyone who tried that. They're more of a united banner of disparate pagan cults and fringe beliefs that can rally together against the more monolithic covenants. They'd be enemies, perhaps, in other circumstances, but with opposition they have found common ground. On their own, most of these groups would have been destroyed long ago. The Circle of the Crone may yet be destroyed - but when they are, they will take their enemies screaming into Hell.

Crone movements come in all kinds. Some are ancient blood cults, some postmodern feminist societies of magick. They share their secrets freely between themselves, but never to any outsiders. No member cult of the Crone is human or owes all that much to human beliefs - they are dark mirrors to living fears. In the centuries since the Circle was founded, they have made a contradictory and chaotic synthesis of beliefs that have managed to roughly define a very powerful system of blood magic.

Now, there's always been pagan vampires. The Circle of the Crone, however, is less than two centuries old. A number of Scottish and Irish coteries were nearly wiped out by the Lancea et Sanctum, and they decided ot organize. They won a few victories, and the news spread, first through Europe and then the Americas, where the indigenous and minority vampires chafed against the yoke of oppression and quickly joined. The Invictus and Lance were not ready for the violence of the Circle's eruption. Over a dozen princes were slaughtered in the span of mere decades. The Crone's leaders died, each a self-proclaimed Mother-Goddess, but it didn't matter. They swept through dead society, not uniting but giving the pagan groups common cause and common name.

Since the beginning, the Circle has functioned as a sort of underground railroad for vampires, allowing them to find each other with a speed that would be impossible for most covenants. They excel at rumor and use of the Cacophony, the underground communications channels that vampires hide among mortal graffiti and other means of casual communication. That, they claim, is where they got the power of Cruac. It's an Irish-Gaelic name for their blood sorcery, but the magic itself was born from the hwole covenant, synthesizing adozen different styles of blood sorcery, some ancient and some not. It is the most fluid and chaotic of vampire magical styles. The Acolytes like change and chaos. Sometimes it's violent, sometimes not, but change is a constant. The anger of the gods demands change. Always. For the new to flourish, the old must be purged in fire and blood. And that means the Crones themselves change constantly. They are not static - only evolution and death are acceptable, and if death is it, well, they won't die alone.

No single practice unites the Circle. Their rituals tend to be a mix of old and new, and every ceremony might change if they have a new idea. They'll try just about anything, from ritual bonfires (despite all the risks to a vampire) to blood sacrifice of human or vampire. That's not as common as other covenants believe, mind you, but it happens. Most Acolytes maintain involvement and generally control over a human cult of some variety, from Bacchanalian sororities to occult study groups to bloody covens. The cultists can be dupes or can be willing servants. They fund the Circle and bring them new agents. As a result, the Circle of the Crone is often the covenant most involved in the matters of humanity - at least, those humans that they care about. Humans are useful to them, if expendable. And they're needed - only the Ordo Dracul might be smaller than the Circle, and sometimes they are at war with the other covenants. They are not limited by ideology, but they do not have the tools of power that others do. They survive by one thing alone: their absolute need to improve themselves, to become truer to their nature. Cruac is just their weapon to that cause, shared freely among the covenant.

Only the Ordo runs fewer cities than the Circle. This is largely because when the Circle is running things, no one is actually running things. It's a free-for-all. They start by settling grudges and removing any laws. 'Do as thou wilt' is the whole of the law - and either that's perfect or perfect chaos, depending on who you ask. They need no justificaiton for brutality, and no explanation for their ways. When cornered or persecuted, however, the Circle of the Crone closes ranks. It hides, fading into shadow, and becomes much better organized. The Crones are capable of breathtaking violence when pushed to it, and those who try to oppress them must deal with vampires unafraid to burn havens, murder ghouls and leave your family dead and childer out to watch the sunrise. Possibly all at the same time.



Next time: Invictus

Mors Rattus fucked around with this message at 19:38 on Dec 17, 2016

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


The Circle of the Crone struck me as odd when I reached the y splat section. New Age pagan dudes in my vampire mafia game? Is there some official adventure based on The Wicker Man or something? That would actually be kinda rad.

Mr.Misfit posted:

[The Dark Eye shenanigans]

And while skills are a lot more forgiving in terms of fumbles (you'd need to roll two or three 20s), but good luck figuring out your chances of success at "make 3 roll-under stat checks, correct failures from your pool of skill points".

Doresh fucked around with this message at 19:24 on Dec 17, 2016

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012


I think in 2004 the idea for the covenants was that Invictus/Carthians are establishment versus rebels, Lancea/Crone are Christianity versus pagans (not an insignificant number of Vampire players), and Ordo are neutral.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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Satanic witch and vampire myths do have some overlap.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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Vampire: the Requiem, 2nd Edition

The Invictus win. It's in the name. You want to win, you want power, you want to be part of a system that's tried and tested. No reason to change things up. The Invictus have won for a very long time. They know where the crimes are, where the secrets live. They are the spider at the center of the web. The stereotypical Princes of Darkness, or so they'd have you believe. They don't really care what kind of web it is. Corporate, royal, military, democratic - power's power. The rest is set dressing. Power is the means, power is the end. The Invictus is made of vampires that either have power and want to keep it or don't have power and want to get it. An Invictus house, as any given ruling structure is called, could be just about anything - a corporate board, a military office, a criminal empire. The important thing is: it has power, and it's a hierarchy.

The Invictus are the most formal and polite of the major covenants, masking their nasty plots via archaic social niceties and complex etiquette. They aren't nice, after all - just polite. Their schemes can take decades to bear fruit, because for the Invictus, it's all about the long game. Every member wants the job above theirs and fears the plots of the vampire in the job below theirs. However, personal advancement must never come at the cost of the covenant as a whole. The Invictus have managed to last longer, now, than even the Camarilla ever did. The hierarchy must be maintained. One does not remove a prince if their absence would put the old ways in danger. The Invictus must survive - and it is the structure.

The Invictus claims dominion over all vampires, not just its members, unless they actively put themselves against it, as the Carthians do. In that case, they are dissidents - tolerated at best, warred on at worst. The Invictus' main goal, however, is the Conspiracy of Silence. They have ties to temporal power in many places, and that's useful for maintaining the Masquerade, ensuring that vampires remain hidden. Sure, the rules are unwritten and unspoken, but they're there. They can be and are confusing to many vampires, even after years of experience. But they're there. The Invictus uphold the Masquerade more than any other covenant...but they also use it to stay on top, in power. They are very good at using the Masquerade to keep others down, and at the upper levels, they can get away with more than most, as they have more ability to contain it.

The Invictus trace their own origins back over two thousand five hundred years, to Rome, when the Camarilla, or 'Small Debating Chamber,' was formed to govern the Roman vampires. It ended with the Roman Empire, of course, and the reasons are lost to history. As the medieval period began, however, the remnants of the Camarilla came together to form the Invictus, taking on the trappings of nobility and feudalism. They survived - hence the name. Unconquered. They and the Lancea et Sanctum, the longest-standing allies of the Invictus, were essentially unchallenged up through the Renaissance. Covenants rose and fell, sure, but they never really challenged the hierarchical structure the Invictus represented. (Or so the Invictus claim, and they write the histories.) It's only since the 18th century that real resistance has sprung up - and even now, the Invictus are most often the controlling covenant in many domains. Especially if you ask them. The Invictus never admit to a loss.

As human power structures have changed, so have the Invictus. They believe the Camarilla's end came when they didn't realize they needed to change with the times. The Invictus don't make that mistake. They are chameleons, always shifting to fit whatever power structure they need to inhabit to remain in charge. All of them are just ways to enforce hierarchy, after all. They put down dissidents, bury evidence and serve as pawns in each others' schemes. Every member of the Invictus knows, in their cold and unbeating heart, that they are a ruler, if not now then in the future. Sure, they're a henchman now - but they can rise. Better to be inside than out. They also should not be thought of as old-fashioned - as they've adapted to new power structures, so have they adapted to technology. The Invictus love technology - the more powerful the tools, the easier they are to use in enforcing the status quo.

The First Estate, as they call themselves, are in charge of more domains than any single other covenant. They are the 'default' government of most vampire domains, having made the traditions and power structures. In their domains, the Lance tends to have a significant, if not always favored, position, and the Carthians tend to be the low men on the pole. The Ordo and Crone vary more widely, depending especially on what, if any, magic the local Invictus feel they require to do their work. When the Invictus fall, well, they'll do anything to take power again. However, they won't die for their cause. If open war is declared on the Invictus, most members will defect. It's all about the long game, after all. They play nice, try to become part of the new power structure. And if they succeed...well, a Carthian or Acolyte prince whose advisors are all former Invictus usually has their nights numbered. The Invictus always rise again, when they see a chance to take advantage.



Next time: Lance and Sanctum

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007





[quote="Mors Rattus" post=""467488043"]



Next time: Lance and Sanctum
[/quote]

Looks like they're ripping off the Inquisition from 40K.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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Vampire: the Requiem, 2nd Edition

The Lancea et Sanctum are Christian vampires. In theory you might even call them Catholic. They are the bastions of tradition and those who claim to have found the meaning of the Curse. They give a route to salvation, and they seek to keep the life of vampires from worsening. They are the primary organized religion of the Kindred, and they hold this: God cursed vampires to their current state, and to be saved, vampires must do the work of God. However, the Lancea et Sanctum are heretical by any definition. They identify with Satan in the Book of Job - God's agent, tempting mortals to sin and punishing those whose faith is weak. They are to the real Christian churches out there the same as a vampire is to a human - a parasite that corrupts, mimics and feeds on the host. They claim that, in doing so, they serve God. They have called themselves the 'Third Version of Judas' - true betrayers, too pious to be allowed to be good.

For centuries, the Lance has maintained a strict seperation of themselves from the mortal flock in worship. Vampires must not, they say, pray with humans. However, they must do everything they can to ensure the mortal churches survive, destroying those that would harm the church. However, they must also keep their flocks strong. And they way they do this is with fear. A Sanctified vampire keeps the children of the church virtuous by punishing sin horrifically...and driven to sin by temptation, to weed out those who are too weak to be truly good. The Lance offers the pious the chance to do evil, over and over, and then scourges them when they take it. Often, those they tempt and find wanting are raised as the next generation of Sanctified.

The Lance's priests see themselves as the moral center of Kindred society, ministering to the laity of other covenants, who just attend service. They also serve as some of the archivists and librarians of the vampires, keeping the oldest records. Most cities with a strong Lancea presence have a Black Collection in which vampiric-focused texts are kept. They even maintain a small print-on-demand press, the Society for the Promulgation of Longinian Doctrine, to produce certain texts - most notably, the Testament of Longinus, the Bible of the Lancea et Sanctum. However, the Lance suppresses and destroys as much history as it preserves, picking and choosing what is remembered.

According to the Lance et Sanctum, the centurion Longinus thrust his spear into the side of Christ and was transformed into a unique and singular vampire. He wrote the Testament of Longinus, to instruct the dead as the New Testament instructed the living. His discples formed the church of the Lancea et Sanctum - the spear and chapel. The chapel was the church that they founded, and the spear was that which pierced Christ, now viewed metaphorically as a symbol of the role of the Lance as a thorn in the side of the living church and a conscience for the dead. The Lance was there when the Camarilla fell, and they worked with the Invictus to build a new society on the ruins. It was a Bishop of the Lance that first formulated the Traditions of mainstream vampire society and for a long time it was the Lance that enforced Masquerade. They have the oldest surviving written texts by vampires. Other covenants rose later, and the church weakened, much as the mortal Chuch has. Now, they are just one of many covenants, as they were in Rome. However, faith remains extremely potent, and the Lance can be found wherever there are Christian vampires in numbers.

The Lance believes in preserving the old ways and maintaining the status quo. Even if they bring chaos, it is to prevent bigger changes. They are preachers, who believe that all vampire exist in the context of the Church Eternal - either the priesthood of the Lance, the laity of all those who respect Longinus and take the sacraments, and damned heretics, which is everyone else but especially the Crones. They organize services and interfere in vampiric politics to push their conservative agenda, which often brings them into conflict with more radical, chaotic vampires.

The Lance also believe in studying history. They find and acquire documents and artifacts of the past, deciding whether to preserve or destroy them depending on whether what they find is seen as too dangerous to be allowed to exist...and, in some cases, too potent to destroy. It was in their search for the past that they discovered Theban Sorcery, a method of calling on miracles that descends from ancient Egyptian priests. These secrets are taught only to the priests of the Lancea et Sanctum now, and then sparingly. Beyond this, the Lance make a lot of work for themselves in manipulating the living church - testing and tempting, of course, corrupting and commanding at times, and of course protecting the flock from outside danger.

The Lancea et Sanctum are extremely powerful in some places - Rome, Salt Like City, Seoul, parts of the American South. They will use any tool to control the vamopires around them. However, they never openly rule. They pay lip service to some other prince - usually Invictus, sometimes Carthian. That prince is, of course, a pawn...but the Lance does not command, it requests. It advises. It controls from behind the curtain. The Lance is weakest in areas where Christians are persecuted or rare. However, in these places, they are often fiercest. They keep their secrets close, are dismissive of other vampires and wage secret war against any that would harm the Christian flocks they tend to and feed on. They also tend to be zealots, when their backs are to the wall.



Next time: The Order of the Dragon

Mors Rattus fucked around with this message at 19:34 on Dec 18, 2016

Poltergrift
Feb 16, 2014



"When I grow up, I'm gonna be a proper swordsman. One with clothes."


Mors Rattus posted:

However, they must also keep their glocks strong.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Please tell me there's a vampire power that summons a dog made out of shadows and eyeballs.

Midjack posted:

Looks like they're ripping off the Inquisition from 40K.

Who knew the Deathwatch was founded by Blood Angels?

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Vampire: the Requiem, 2nd Edition

The Ordo Dracul are devoted to one cause: make being a vampire the absolute and total awesome experience it should be. To that end, they take part in occult science and strange rituals of all kinds. They are occultists, ritualists, madmen and researchers who claim descent from Dracula himself. Philosophically, at least. They are something of a secret society, using mystical names, running cults, exploring forbidden places. They know more of occult lore and the secrets of the world than any other vampires, even if they don't always share that lore even with each other. In many ways, they resemble the Lancea et Sanctum. They seek out ancient texts and artifacts, for example...but it is not to keep these things or destroy them, but to use them. They collect and study these materials, no matter how dangerous, to turn them towards the ultimate purpose of the Order of the Dragon: Improve the vampiric condition, amass occult power and hurl God from his throne.

Again, like the Lance, the Ordo Dracul believe the Curse began with God. To the Ordo, the logical next step is clear: God is the enemy. God is unjust, mad, senile. God is a tyrant, to be cast down from Heaven. Heaven is to be stormed, and the Curse made a blessing. The goal is life eternal, greater than human, more than vampire, unchained by weakness and spiritual flaw. The Coils of the Dragon, the mystical rites that the Ordo has discovered to begin the process, do not go that far...but they're a start, and even a start on the path of transcendence is enough. What is the ideal post-vampiric state that they seek? Well, the Ordo has no answer to that yet. They'd love to find out, and when they manage to, they'll find how to do it, and they will smash the gates of Heaven and spit bloody defiance in the face of the tyrant God.

According to the Ordo Dracul, the first Kogaion of the Dragons - that is, the first leader - was Dracula. He wrote the Rites of the Dragon, a text that still circulates even tonight, which tells of his struggles to master his condition and overcome its weaknesses. The Ordo Dracul use his name without any real proof of permission - but then, that'd be what Dracula would have done. No vampire today can even say what Dracula was truly like. Outside of the Rites, all that can be said is that once, he was Vlad Tepes, the Impaler and hero of Wallachia. At the end of the year 1475, his assassins came for him, and he cursed them and God. God heard, and that night he arose as a vampire with no sire. The Ordo have discovered that Dracula was not the first to be born without maker and would not be the last. That is what makes the Ordo so frightening to other covenants - they find truth about the Curse and wield it as a weapon. By threatening those falsehoods that other covenants cling to, they make the vampiric race strong. From the start, that is the goal - harder, better, faster, stronger.

The Ordo seek self-improvement above all. Their use of the Coils is just one method. They hunt things that others say are best unknown, but to the Ordo, the only things not to be found are those which destroy the finder...and the only way to know if that's what you're hunting is to find it, isn't it? They have been blamed for many things, up to and including the return of the dark Owls to London. They do not deny these things. However, the Dragons are strangely united. The Kogaions rarely have to deal with upstarts aiming for the role - indeed, most Dragons seek to avoid it. This confuses those of other covenants, but the truth is, the secrets which the Kogaion must know are difficult, troublesome and maddening. But then, so is life in the Ordo.

A young vampire in the Dragons is always being tested - find this, discover that, get to it before the Lance burns or hides it. Do this dangerous thing just to see if you can handle it. Often, it is the neonates who are sent to first explore what the Ordo names Dragon's Nests - places of power that exist all over the world in great variety, sought after by werewolves, magicians, faeries, angels and more. The Ordo often learns nothing from them, but that never stops them trying. And sometimes, well, they learn great things. Often a vampire must die in the process, but that's research for you. The Dragons are aware that there is so much they do not know - and that they know so much more than other vampires. And they know this: knowledge is useless if you don't use it. The Order of the Dragon puts its members in danger coonstantly, because if something is worth using to improve yourself, it's worth risking your life for.

The Ordo Dracul is the least likely of any of the five major covenants to actually rule a domain. In the few places they do, the Kogaion tends to be fairly laissez-faire about other vampires and their plotting. It's not that the Ordo is weak - they just have very little concern for rulership, which tends to enrage other vampires. It's hard to deal with people who you don't understand, after all. Dragon princes (or, more traditionally, Voivode) are often just the strongest and most potent vampires in the domain, able to fend off assassins with sheer persnal might. They just don't care why they keep having to deal with assassins. This means that rivals of other covenants are often on the brink of insane fury and can make an Ordo domain a dangerous flashpoint. When the Ordo is persecuted, on the other hand, they seem to enjoy it. Struggle and trial make them stronger, they say. They are improved by the experience - and often, their foes are devoured.



Next time: Seven apples on a witch's tree...

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Doresh posted:

Please tell me there's a vampire power that summons a dog made out of shadows and eyeballs.

Not directly...but Nightmare+Protean+Animalism could probably find a way via a Devotion.

bewilderment
Nov 22, 2007
man what





Do Vampires in VtR2e have nightvision in any real sense? I forget.

Because, like, apparently vampires have been around since before electricity, where the main source of light was fire... but aren't vampires super-afraid of vampire and tend to freak out around it?

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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The core vampire package includes improved night vision, extreme ability to identify blood by sight and smell, enhanced hearing and a limited ability to track by scent those whose blood you've tasted.

Josef bugman
Nov 17, 2011

NHP advocate.


wiegieman posted:

Emperor Norton I rules the Bear Flag Empire, which covers the entire west coast.

It's sad that I really want to know more about that bit in particular.

Mors Rattus posted:

Vampire: the Requiem, 2nd Edition

Ahhh, one of my favourite ideas for Vamp. I'd always wondered if you could play someone trying to improve themselves ethically as well as magically/physically in the Ordo.

Simian_Prime
Nov 6, 2011

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

Also a note about the fire thing; vampires only have to check for frenzy against fire if it directly threatens them. So a torch hanging from a wall, or a candle held casually, isn't going to inspire fear. If that same torch were thrust aggressively towards the vampire's face, then a check would be necessary (and even then the target difficulty would be pretty low).

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Josef bugman posted:

It's sad that I really want to know more about that bit in particular.


Ahhh, one of my favourite ideas for Vamp. I'd always wondered if you could play someone trying to improve themselves ethically as well as magically/physically in the Ordo.

Funny story: there's a Coil in Secrets of the Covenants that helps you avoid Humanity loss!

It does not do this by making you a better person.

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

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


Clapping Larry

Josef bugman posted:

It's sad that I really want to know more about that bit in particular.

It's not sad, it's pretty awesome. Castle Falkenstein North America has: The United States, The Free State of Orleans, The Twenty Nations Confederation, The Republic of Texas, The Bear Flag Empire of California, The Dominion of Canada, Mexico, and Cymru Newdd. Six Guns and Sorcery is a great supplement.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Vampire: the Requiem, 2nd Edition

Even vampires are afraid of something. For many, that thing is VII. VII is a group, maybe, or a phenomenon. They've appeared more often recently, but they're not strictly new. No one ever sees them coming. Their attacks have no pattern. There is only one commonaltiy at all of their attack sites - after they leave, the roman numberal VII is left on a wall or a note or somewhere at the scene as a calling acrd. Never an Arabic numberal - always VII. They do not talk. Ever. Witnesses who have reported seeing VII in action report what appear to be vampires working in complete silence to murder other vampires. All such witnesses have been murdered by VII themselves shortly after making those reports. Besides cleaning up witnesses, there is no apparent motive behind their hunting. Every attack by VII occurs within 72 hours of a confirmed sighting of one of the Owls. That is all that vampire society knows about VII.

Vampires fear VII because they don't understand them. VII comes. VII kills. They appear unstoppable, and more terrifyingly, inexplicable. They have some connection to the Strix. No one knows if they are enemies or allies. There are a number of rumors as to why VII exist. Some say that VII are brainwashed sleeper agents. Anyone could be a member of VII because they don't remember what happens while activated. Something triggers them, they go kill a vampire, and then they go back to their lives none the wiser. Others say that VII are vampires captured and remade by the God-Machine, their souls replaced by clockwork and gears. They are a corrective engine, removing vampires that cause problems for their master. Only the Machine knows why there are only seven at any time, or why they leave the VII mark.

Another story holds that VII are a lost clan or led by one, princes of a city destroyed in the time of Abraham, now following some ancient mission to redeem themselves before God. Their sign is not VII, but instead an ancient sigil that resembles the Roman numeral. Other stories claim that VII have managed to escape the power of the Strix and now hunt them down, along with their servants and allies. Because it is impossible for most vampires to tell who the Strix have corrupted, the killings appear random, even though they are not.

Or maybe VII is the acronym of a mystic cult practicing potent blood magic. Their victims are given a choice: join or die. Joining has terrible consequences, perhaps even the loss of your soul. Or perhaps VII are the descendants of a mortal king of the middle ages who had seven children, who became vampires to better hunt other vampires. It is unclear what their plan would be if they manage to succeed in their purge. And then, perhaps, VII are not true vampires, but the supernatural doppelgangers of vampires, shadow-beings made or controlled, perhaps, by the Strix. Each one mirrors a specific vampire that it must kill, at which point it ceases to exist. Only seven exist at any one time.

Or maybe none of that is true. What is true: VII are silent. They hunt in perfect unison, without need to communicate. If their hunts last more than a night, they leave no sign of it. They always leave the VII mark near their victims. Almost all of their kills follow a sighting of a Strix. vII are calm and efficient. No one has ever seen them frenzy. They may or may not practice a form of blood magic. Occasionally, signs of ritual usage are found near their kills. These rituals do not match any known form of blood sorcery. The members of VII do not seem to care what happens to them or their companions. They do not rule domains. They do not answer to them. That is all anyone knows.



Next time: The lost covenants

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

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


Josef bugman posted:

It's sad that I really want to know more about that bit in particular.


Ahhh, one of my favourite ideas for Vamp. I'd always wondered if you could play someone trying to improve themselves ethically as well as magically/physically in the Ordo.

Ethics is a lie spread by the short-lived cattle. Vampires are beautiful deathless posthumans and they should embrace (heh) that state.

unseenlibrarian
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.

Humbug Scoolbus posted:

It's not sad, it's pretty awesome. Castle Falkenstein North America has: The United States, The Free State of Orleans, The Twenty Nations Confederation, The Republic of Texas, The Bear Flag Empire of California, The Dominion of Canada, Mexico, and Cymru Newdd. Six Guns and Sorcery is a great supplement.

The best part of Six Guns and Sorcery is that it's an alternate 19th century with a balkanized US and NO CONFEDERACY.

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Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




unseenlibrarian posted:

NO CONFEDERACY.

Sold.

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