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Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Not without some effort, but yes. In 1e they actually had it trivially easily, especially comapred to this, which requires special preparation and the risk of blood bonding if you can't do it yourself.

In 1e, it was just 'have this one Coil at 2, now you can always feed from animals forever.'

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Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


At least they changed it so that it isn't that easy to trivialize the major dilemma of the setting/curse.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Vampire: the Requiem, 2nd Edition

The Strix are eternal. They've been in the dark for as long as humanity has feared it, these strange shadow-creatures that hunger for life. You hear tales of corpses ripping from their graves, eating flesh and blood. These are not about draugr or revenants or vampires, not always. These are the strix - shadowy counterparts and perhaps even relatives of vampires. They are not and were never human. They steal life away by breath and move their shadow-bodies into corpses to experience the thrills of the flesh. They have no Humanity, but neither are they controlled by the Beast. The Strix are evil in a cold way. They hunger for life and hate the living for having what they lack. They see vampires as perversions, for the most part, creatures that need to learn to be truly inhuman. I mentioned that the strix enter corpses and control them? A vampire is a corpse.

In its natural form, a strix appears as an owl-shaped mass of smoke and shadow that is cast by no light. It is coherent only when perched and still. In motion, it half-flows, half-flies across the area is a blur of shadows and a mass of chilling cold. Even this is mere convenience - strix may abandon their owl shape entirely to flow through any crack or gap large enough to be seen by the naked eye, reforming as soon as they have the space to do so. Strix are vampires, much like the Kindred, in that they feed on the living - they absorb Vitae through breath. Some feast on sleeping victims, but they're equally capable of taking osmeone down and draining them. Legend tells of them feasting en masse after battles and mass carnage. They ignore most attacks, lacking physical form, but are not without weaknesses. They share the vampiric fear of sunlight and fire, but in a different way. They are not harmed by these things - rather, to the strix, sunlight and fire are impenetrable barriers of light which they cannot cross. Every strix has additional banes on top of that, which can drive them away or injure them.

The Strix hate all living beings for the vital force within them that the owls lack. They steel Vitae by feeding, but many want more. They want to experience the life denied them, to eat, and fight, and have sex, and fel pain. Some want to punish the living by destorying their lives. Some want to show Kindred how to be true monsters. Most of them achieve these goals by theft. They perch on corpses, as if to feed, but rather than draw out breath, they force themselves in through the mouth and nose, down the throat and into the gut. There, they settle into the bones and viscera and take over the corpse. Inside, they now can experience all flesh. If they know how, they can steal breathe while embodied, but for most Strix it's just a chance to go joyriding in violence. Often, they eat the flesh of their victims, gaining Vitae this as a near-afterthought. Others feed more calmly by drinking blood - though, lacking fangs or the Kiss, their rotting hosts need to find other ways to get it.

To the strix, vampires are an excellent host. They're still dead bodies, after all, but they don't decay, they can feed more efficiently, they're often full of Vitae that the strix can tap into and, frankly, gently caress the Kindred. They deserve it, sneaking around and pretending they aren't monsters. Not every city has had a strix attack, but there's always rumors of yellow-eyed demons and evil shadows, though not all realize these refer to strix, or even that strix exist. Most strix are far too patient, after all. Their hatred is cold, not wild. They infiltrate. And even then, they're exceptionally rare. Accusations of strix possession are far more common than the Birds of Dis themselves.

There are two surefire ways to know if someone is possessed by a strix. One is subtle: it's in the eyes. When light catches them just right, the eyes of a strix glow yellow, no matter what form they're wearing at the time. The more violent and easier way is sunlight. A possessed vampire's soul is dormant, and the banes it faces are the strix's, not the vampire's. Hiding inside a corpse protects the strix from its banes, so they don't really harm it. Fire still burns, but only as much as any corpse. Sunlight? A vampire with an Owl inside can walk untouched by the sun's curse. There's only one known to kill the strix inside the host, though: if the body is destroyed while completely surrounded by one of the strix's banes, the owl has nowhere to go and dies. Most of the time, this means incineration. Only a body reduced entirely to ash, with no exposed parts, is certain to keep a strix from escaping. Yoiu'd wonder, incidentally, whether Auspex can tell a strix from a vampire. The answer? A strix inside a vampiric host looks exactly the same as a vampire who's committed diablerie. Exactly the same. Funny, that.

Vampires know a group of strix as a 'parliament', and these gthaterings are very rare. Most owls operate singly, isolated by choice. When a parliament of Owls gathers, it's a signal of doom for the city. War, natural disaster, plague - all of these can follow a parliament. It's said that in ancient Rome, an entire clan was destroyed by the strix in reprisal for some forogten sins. The owls came into the city from the darkness outside, possessing the clan and forcing them to slaughter each other. Desperate to end it, the other Kindred of Rome slaughtered any of that clan they found themselves, possessed or not. It is known that in 1303, strix-ridden bodies rose from the sea in Alexandria after a major tsunami and earthquake. Somehow, they knew where tind the havens of every vampire in the city. Only one survived, maddened by the experience, to tell the tale. In 1547, the Caesar of Moscow was diablerized publically by his own childe and heir presumptive. The childe claimed not to remember, and might have become Caesar had their support not all died by fire. In 1738, hundreds of strix appeared in Transylvania alongside the bubonic plague, attacking any vampires they found for no clear reason. This started an eight year war between the Romanian vampires and the strix, which the vampires won. The majority of known strix lore in Europe and Russia descends from this conflict, though its reasons have never been discovered.

Strix are intelligent creatures and can speak, though in their natural form their voices speak directly into the minds of those they talk to. Sometimes, they are talkative. They claim a shared bond of history and hunger with Kindred. They claim to have taught the first Kindred to survive, nurturing their Beasts until they had the instinct to do what must be done to live. Sometimes, the strix claim to be the Beast, that every vampire is host to a dormant strix that whispers to them. Some even say that the existence of human vampires is a gift given by the strix to mortal cannibals and pathetic minor undead, ghosts or whatever. The strix honestly cannot seem to make their minds up on how they're related to vampires - but all see the relation as self-evident and become very cruel when it is denied. No matter what, however, they take the human side of vampires as a denial. They only approve of the most monstrous, debased vampires and of draugr, and then just grudgingly. After all, even then a vampire has physical form, strength and the joy of blood flowing down their throat. All undeserved.

The strix no longer recall much of their own history. They have been in the world since the first fires were lit to ward off darkness. They are not spirits, nor ghosts, nor demons, though some vampires might argue otherwise on that point. Legends get them all tangled in with the origins of vampires, sometimes treating them as the first Kindred, or the catalyst for the first Embrace, or those who raised the first postmortem Embraces to full Kindred. There is reason to believe that, like Kindred, they're actually many distinct types of creature with many similarities rather than a single line. The strix have never gone away since they came, though. They may have come from some other world, but none remmeber it, even if they claim to. They don't age, but they die when destroyed, and when they reproduce the original strix is lost and two new ones take its place. All modern Owls are as native to this world as the vampires they often prey on. Their reproduction occurs when a particularly old and powerful strix just tears itself in half. Occasionally, new strix seem to just appear out of nowhere, coalescing near mass graves or murder victims. Legend claims that the Julii founder had a way to reach a strange, hungry place outside the world, where he made a bargain with the strix that his clan later broke. It doesn't really matter where the strix came from, though. They're here, and have always been here.

Next time: Strix mechanics

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




A Strix in a vampire looks exactly like a vampire who's committed diablerie?

I wonder if the Strix don't have the relationship of which came first backwards...

Zomborgon
Feb 19, 2014

I don't even want to see what happens if you gain CHIM outside of a pre-coded system.



So a Strix is a shard of darkness, and perhaps a master of shadows?

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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Vampire: the Requiem, 2nd Edition

In many ways, the strix rules are similar to the ephemeral entity rules used for ghosts or spirits - but there are some key differences. Strix aren't ephemeral. Their natural state isn't in Twilight, they haven't got Rank or Essence, they have neither Influences nor Numina, and they don't have bans or banes the way spirits or ghosts do. However, in many other ways they are quite similar.

Strix do not have Blood Potency, because, among other things, they don't have blood or drink it. Instead, they have Shadow Potency. It does a lot of the same things - it determines stat caps, how many dots of attributes the strix has, how many Dread Powers it gets and what Embodiments it can use. It also determines max Vitae pool and how uch Vitae can be spent for turn, and how many extra banes the strix has. Unlike vampires, however, strix have no Shadow Potency-based feeding restrictions, even when possessing a vampire. If an elder is suddenly and inexplicably able to feed on mortals or animals again, that's a bad sign. Strix gain a dot of Shadow Potency every 100 years. Other than that, the only way it rises is diablerie - either possessing a vampire who commits diablerie on another vampire or by feeding on and diablerizing another strix in shadow form. Strix immediately gain any new attribute dots, powers and so on when they rise in Shadow Potency. Because strix do not enter torport, they never reduce their Shadow Potency. Instead, at any time, they can roll Shadow Potency to split off a 'child', dropping their Shadow Potency by however many successes and giving those dots to a new 'baby.' If a Strix has SP 10 and would gain a new dot, it must do this.

Strix can store and use Vitae in all the ways vampires can, but with some key differences. First, they can boost any stat, not just physicals, and they get more of a bonus from doing so. Second, they have different powers they activate with Vitae. Third, they don't need to spend Vitae to rise from daysleep because strix never sleep, not even when in a vampire host. They may spend Vitae to heal a host as if it was a vampire. Shadow vitae cannot sustain life, so strix can only feed ghouls by possessing a vampire, and being possessed by a strix does not make a mortal into a ghoul. Strix may also spend Vitae to regain Willpower once per scene. In shadow form or when embodied and using the Breath Drinking Dread Power, strix feed directly on the life force of the living. They must be within a foot of the victim's mouth - and usually closer. They then grapple and 'bite' the victim, drinking their breath away. They may also feed on each other by colliding and forcibly merging, rather like diablerie. Both strix roll as if feeding, stealing Vitae back and forth. If one of them loses all Vitae, they take Lethal damage instead. Once a strix has gotten another to the point of death, they can then diablerize them, destroying them utterly and gaining a dot of Shadow Potency. Strix can also feed in other ways depending on how they are embodied. Even while embodied, strix are entirely immune to blood addiction and the Vinculum.

Strix have ephemeral entity attributes, but possess skills as normal. They start with Brawl, Athletics and Occult at 2, and anything else is leanred by feeding or reading the minds of hosts. They do have Willpower, and may spend it to heal their shadow forms. They do not have Virtues, Masks, Dirges or Touchstone. They do, however, have a Vice, the urge that pushes them to sek a body. They regain 1 WP per night at sunset, but only if when they perceive that the sun has set - so a strix underground won't get it back until they can see the night sky.

Strix have Corpus like spirits and ghosts do, rather than Health. They are immune to almost all physical attacks, though some rare magical ones can harm them - primarily Cruac rites, high-level Disciplines and some banes. Strix do not naturally heal other than in the methods above. Their injuries appear as tears on their shadow form. They do not ever fall unconscious, no matter how hurt they are, and they can only be destroyed by a full track of aggravated damage. They are immune to any physical or ephemeral attack that does not cause aggravated damage - and those only cause bashing damage to them. Any time they take lethal or agg damage (for real, that is) they also lose Vitae equal to the damage. However, while within a host, a strix is entirely safe - any damage is done to the host rather than the Owl. Strix do not speak language, because they are telepathic with anyone they can make eye contact with, which causes their eyes to flash yellow in any form. In a host, they can speak any language the host knows or can still use their native telepathy. Most stick to language when in a host.

Fire and sunlight, as noted, do not physically harm a strix unless it is entirely surrounded by them. Instead, any strix hit by sunlight or flames is forced to retreat by any means available, even possessing a host or hiding through small gaps if it must. If it has no merans of escape, it takes 1L per minute of exposure. Host bodies protect against the damage and repulsion, though fire will still damage a host normally. Starting at Shadow Potency 3 and every two levels after, strix gain a new bane, similar to those developed by vampires.

Sample banes:
Abjuration: The strix is vulnerable to abjuration, warding and exorcism as if it were a spirit, which can forcibly end their Embodiments.
Bells: The strix can't stand the sound of bells - true bells, not recordings - and takes (Shadow Potency) dice of Bashing for each minute of exposure.
Counting: The strix must stop to count anything in disarray, even in shadow form. Unless injured or forced to stop, it will not stop counting for (Shadow Potency) minutes.
Loner: The strix cannot handle the presence of other strix, and must retreat if it comes within (Shadow Potency) yards of one.
Material Bane: The strix is repulsed by a substance as if it were sunlight, and if the material is used as a weapon against them, even in shadow form, it deals lethal damage.
Running Water: The strix treats flowing water and the air above it as if it were sunlight. It can fly over a bridge, but not an open stream, and it takes 1L per turn if immersed in moving water.

Strix sometimes claim to be the Beast within vampires, and many believe them. They never frenzy, but even in shadow form, they trip the predatory aura. Vampires may sense strix as if they were vampires, and a strix can sense both vampires and other strix. Neither is able to tell the two apart by aura alone. (A vampire's first instinct when sensing a presence they can't see is usually 'vampire with Obfuscate' rather than 'strix'.) Strix may lash out with their aura just as vampires can.

Next time: Strix powers

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


I know crossover games are iffy, but 'what are the Strix?' sounds like the perfect Mystery for a group of Mages to investigate.

And there's the Counting Bane.

Count Chocula fucked around with this message at 02:33 on Dec 27, 2016

AnEdgelord
Dec 12, 2016



Count Chocula posted:

I know crossover games are iffy, but 'what are the Strix?' sounds like the perfect Mystery for a group of Mages to investigate.

And there's the Counting Bane.

i'm fairly new to nWoD/CofD but I thought the main issue with crossover games was mixing player splats and that poaching antagonists and mysteries was part of Mage's whole deal

Crasical
Apr 22, 2014

GG!*
*GET GOOD


The Coil of the Wyrm has always slightly perplexed me.

Imagine a vampire who's come to the conclusion that "The Beast is a dumb, panicky animal, and I'm better than that, and I'm gonna learn to control it."

And so he goes to the Ordo Dracul, and says "Hey, surmounting the curse of our condition is your bag, man, have you had any luck in taming the Beast?"

"Oh, sure, there's a whole Coil devoted to that study. We've learned how to flip out for no reason, flip out harder, direct our frenzy, flip out EVEN HARDER, and ULTRA MEGA FLIP OUT"

"...Only one of those five things is about actually CONTROLLING the beast."

"HYEERGARGBLE."

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




I know the Coils kind of broke the game's premise in 1st edition, but they went too far in the other direction here.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Crasical posted:

The Coil of the Wyrm has always slightly perplexed me.

Imagine a vampire who's come to the conclusion that "The Beast is a dumb, panicky animal, and I'm better than that, and I'm gonna learn to control it."

And so he goes to the Ordo Dracul, and says "Hey, surmounting the curse of our condition is your bag, man, have you had any luck in taming the Beast?"

"Oh, sure, there's a whole Coil devoted to that study. We've learned how to flip out for no reason, flip out harder, direct our frenzy, flip out EVEN HARDER, and ULTRA MEGA FLIP OUT"

"...Only one of those five things is about actually CONTROLLING the beast."

"HYEERGARGBLE."

Well of course they'd do something incredibly counterproductive.

They're crazy people.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Count Chocula posted:

I know crossover games are iffy, but 'what are the Strix?' sounds like the perfect Mystery for a group of Mages to investigate.

A strix was also a fun loop to throw at the players in my Hunter campaign. How the hell are Hunters going to tell the difference between strix and vampires, and perhaps more importantly does it actually make a difference? Almost had a TPK when the vampire they were surveilling and setting up to assassinate turned out to be a strix instead.

Green Intern
Dec 29, 2008

Loon, Crazy and Laughable



Sounds like a great way for a group of mages to get killed and possessed by the strix.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



In fairness, the ability to flip out at will lets you define what your frenzy's goal is - and that, in many ways, is being able to ride the wave without having to actually ride the wave, since you can do it to preempt an actual frenzy.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



All I'm gonna say is that if you want to see stuff involving the Strix and Hunter and crossovers with Mage, check out Horror Recognition Guide's story Gnosopharm.

Crasical
Apr 22, 2014

GG!*
*GET GOOD


I won't say it's not USEFUL, but it's definitely slightly askew of what you'd think research into controlling your beast would result in. The Coil of the Ascended have arguably gotten closer, in that they can get their Beast to stop flipping it's poo poo when confronted with fire or sunlight.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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






Book 3, Chapter 12: Technology of the Imperium

This chapter is both an explanation of how technology works across the technophobic Imperium, as well as a list of equipment PCs will likely use or encounter. (As far as equipment is concerned, I’m not going to copypaste the exact stats for every weapon and so on.)


The Butlerian Jihad

Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam posted:

"Once men turned their thinking over to machines in the hope that this would set them free. But that only permitted other men with machines to enslave them."

The Butlerian Jihad is a core element of the Dune setting, but one shrouded in mystery. Herbert never fully explained it in the novels; it receives brief glossary definitions and is referenced by many characters. All we know is that it was a violent revolution against “thinking machines” and the elite who controlled them.

It’s implied that the war was not so much a Terminator style war against cyborgs, but a popular revolution in a society that had come to rely on machines to perform all their labour, and on computers to do all their planning, to the point that intellectual, artistic, and religious life were utterly stifled. (Years later, in a short story for the San Francisco Examiner, Herbert imagined a 21st-century revolt against computers which erupted because the computers enabled a brutal surveillance state.) Brian Herbert and Anderson’s spin-offs, of course, made the Butlerian Jihad a war between Cylons Cybermen Cymeks and men wielding special anti-robot swords.

Anyway, let’s talk about the Butlerian Jihad as they actually present it in this game.

The Butlerian Jihad began over 10,000 years ago. Humanity lived in the last days of a technological Gilded Age. Artificial intelligences piloted interstellar craft, controlled planetary defenses, and planned the economy. Robotics and automation allowed most people to live decadent lives of leisure. But this state of affairs spawned a technocratic bureaucracy which effectively ruled the Known Universe, leading the people in quasi-worship of the machines that now administered all human societies.

This regime collapsed thanks to Emmanuel Butler. Once a leading technocrat, he had access to information that demonstrated a pattern of what he called “humanity’s enslavement to its machine culture” in his fiery public speeches. The technocracy issued warrants for his arrest, and he was eventually captured and executed after a show trial--but not before the regime’s brutal police tactics had incited riots which spread from Butler’s home planet of Neitzevine and eventually engulfed the entire Known Universe. The Jihad was not prosecuted by any single organization, but was a popular revolution that lasted nearly a century. It eventually calmed only after its ripples had reached the furthest colony worlds. (The only exceptions were the planets of Ix, Tleilax, and Richese, which were physically remote and whose economies relied in technological innovation.)


What does it say about my Furby?

The Jihad killed billions, and most saw their standard of living decrease. But humankind felt a freedom and sense of purpose it had not known in centuries. The “Great Schools” arose to develop human potential instead of technology. In time, the “Butlerian proscriptions” were codified in the commandments of the Orange Catholic Bible and in Imperial law. The proscriptions are a cornerstone of human society, and it’s because of this, not in spite of it, that they aren’t clearly defined or enforced by a single entity. Across the Imperium, local and planetary governments forbid certain kinds of technology, while prevailing religions condemn them. At the highest levels, CHOAM and the Landsraad prescribe harsh punishments for the creation, possession, and use of forbidden tech.

In practice, however, the aristocracy commonly own forbidden devices, usually purchased at high prices from the Ixians or Tleilaxu. Most Ixian devices are harmless luxuries, or have specific tactical uses for espionage. No nobles are eager to incite a witch-hunt that would eventually implicate themselves.

Foundations of Technology

Although the Imperium shuns computer science, it has had thousands of years to make developments in physics, materials science, and agriculture. Most of the science-fictional tech that Dune PCs will encounter is based on one of a handful of key innovations.

The Holtzman Effect: Discovered by Tio Holtzman, the Holtzman Effect allows for electronic devices that manipulate gravity, momentum and inertia, and can even “fold space” to allow interstellar travel. Applications of this technology include the Holtzman Drives that power Guild ships, on down to personal shield generators and even the humble glowglobe--floating lamps that can be found everywhere from the Emperor’s palace to poor Fremen cave-dwellings.

Crystalline Metals and Superalloys: The Imperium has developed advanced alloys that combine metal with crystalline and polymeric structures. Materials like plasteel and metaglass are far tougher than conventional metal, concrete, and glass. Fanmetal is a crystalline aluminum that is incredibly light, strong, and flexible, allowing things like vehicles with telescoping passageways and wings that unfold seemingly from nowhere.

Radio control: Devices that used to be self-guiding now operate by advanced radio control. ComNets allow for planetary communication with little or no interference (by anything short of, say, a coriolis storm or an atomic explosion). Many, many devices rely on radio control, the most sinister example being the hunter-seeker assassination drones.

Servoks: “Thinking machines” may be forbidden, but often they’ve been replaced by very sophisticated automation that uses clock-set timing, hydraulics, radio, and other sensors. Locks, irrigation sensors, and the complex “fighting dummies” that Swordmasters use to hone their art all rely on servok mechanisms of varying type and complexity.

Pharmaceuticals: The foundation of the Great Schools spurred the development of many drugs to enhance human abilities, and besides that, the Suk school has had millennia to develop a wide variety of drugs. The dark side of these advances are poisons and recreational drugs with incredible potency and extremely specific effects.

Agriculture: Many worlds cultivate plant life for extremely effective and specific industrial uses. For example, the incredibly strong “shigawire,” used in “reels” that are essentially advanced cassette tapes, is actually a metallic plant fiber derived from a type of vine.

Equipment

Okay, on the equipment. The game describes many kinds of equipment, providing game statistics and costs. (Soof the equipment (like vehicles) is so expensive that the prices are irrelevant to the amount of money that PCs carry around. I won’t get into the statistics of each and every article of equipment.

Weapons

Personal weapons are remarkably simple. Thanks to Holtzman shields, most projectile weapons are out, as are bludgeons, so most people fight with knives, swords, and specialized pistols.

The standard weapon is an 8-12 inch knife called a kindjal. Most are slightly curved, but they come in a variety of shapes and sizes reflecting their origin. While kindjals are well-made knives for the professional warrior; there are also inferior stats for common knives.

A “slip-tip” is a double-edged stiletto, meant to be used in the off-hand. Slip-tips are so named because they easily slip through defenses, shields, and ribs. They’re often used in dueling, and often poisoned. They do less damage than kindjals, but give a better bonus to parrying.

Throwing knives are balanced for throwing, but perform poorly in melee combat. It’s almost impossible to pitch a thrown knife through a shield.

Swords, like kindjals, come in a wide variety of styles. They are considered aristocratic weapons, subject to caste-restrictions on most worlds. They do much more damage than daggers, but are less accurate.

A flip-dart is a poison needle that flips open from a bracer, ring, belt, etc. (Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen tried to kill Paul Atreides with a flip-dart on his hip.) The needle’s cover is hermetically sealed so that it can’t be detected by a poison snooper.

The gom jabbar is a Bene Gesserit weapon, a deadly poison needle concealed in a thimble-like fingertip ring.



A maula pistol, literally “slave pistol,” is a cheap, clunky spring-loaded dart gun with a 10-round magazine. They have very poor range, can’t penetrate shields, and the darts are not very dangerous unless they’re poisoned or fired with pinpoint accuracy.

Needle guns are similar to flip-darts; wristwatch-sized bracers that shoot a poison dart.

Stunners are pistols use compressed gas to fire poisoned pellets. Multiple settings allow a skilled user to fire at different velocities so as to penetrate a shield. Like maula pistols, these guns do little damage, but only need to do 1 point of damage to dose the victim with poison.

Hunter-seekers are something every noble child learns about at a young age. A hunter-seeker is basically a poison needle floating on a small suspensor, controlled by an operator using short-wave radio. The range is only 50 meters, so the assassin is always hiding nearby. The seeker senses movement, so the operator attacks using his Assassination skill. A hunter-seeker that strikes will continue boring into its victim in following rounds, killing them quickly. It’s difficult, but possible, to grab a hunter-seeker and smash it or throw it in water, destroying it.



Lasguns are powerful, man-portable cutting laser. They can easily carve a person into charred hunks of meat. They also simulate the function of automatic weapons, as the beam can be swept across multiple targets. However, they are heavy, bulky, and prone to overheating, not to mention expensive.

Lasguns can be fired on pulse (short standard burst), a lasing arc (sweeping several targets), or full burn (high damage sweeping multiple targets). The last most is very potent, but consumes much power and requires a Test to avoid overheating the lasgun.

But the most important limitation on lasguns is what happens when you use one on a Holtzman shield.



If you get hit by a lasgun, you’re probably dead. But if you use a lasgun on a shield, you’re dead, everyone around you is dead, and your entire extended family may be executed. Might I suggest this fine kindjal instead?

Armor

Battledress covers any of a wide variety of military uniforms. Thanks to space-age materials science, the Houses can wear uniforms made of durable fabric that not only protect them, but are warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and look real fancy, too. Battledress can grant up to 3 points of armor for a thick “plasfiber” uniform. I haven’t playtested much combat in this system, but considering the default weapon is a dagger, it seems like the combination of easy-wear armor and personal shields would make for lengthy combat.



Powered armor appears nowhere in the books that I know of, but nerds love their loving anime armor. Powered armor is much like medieval articulated plate, just with advanced materials--not to mention internal suspensors and a generator. In addition to 5 points of armor, it comes with communications gear, an air supply, and the ability to survive everything from poison gas to hard vacuum. It even has air conditioning! These suits are so expensive, they’re only used by high-ranking House personnel for special missions, which is a great excuse to never use them in a campaign.

Personal Shield Generators! Now here’s the sci-fi gadget that everyone associates with Dune. Personal shields generate a Holtzman field around the wearer, harmlessly deflecting any object that isn’t traveling very slowly. It’s one of the main reasons wars in the Dune universe are fought by small, elite units using anachronistic weapons. The slowness required to penetrate the shield is about the same speed with which you might, say, casually reach out and pick up a wine glass, so shield-dueling is a peculiar and intricate art of slipping your knife through your enemy’s guard at just the right moment.



The generator takes the form of a bulky belt buckle. Mechanically, they grant both armor and an increased TN for your opponent to hit you. Shield belts have five settings, and higher settings grant better protection, but they consume battery power faster. There are also demi-shields that only protect half of the body. They’re cheaper, but mainly used for arena combat.

Other Gear

ComNet Transceivers are bulky cell phones that accesses planet-wide radio networks. Since radio is easy to intercept, the best “encryption” is having your own secret language.


Banana Com!

Filmbooks are analog laptops, filmbooks play audio, video, and text from reels made of shigaware, a metallic plant fiber that can be used as a recording tape.

Krimskell rope is an incredibly strong plant fiber that is especially useful as a ligature: the more you struggle, the tighter it gets.

Medkits do the same thing medkits do in every RPG, but Suk doctors also have surgical kits with all sorts of specialized tools and drugs.

Oil-lens binoculars are kind of neat. Instead of glass, these have a lens made of oil held in place by an electrostatic field. They’re much more powerful and can be tuned with much finer precision.

A paracompass, from the Latin “para” meaning “sort of” and “compass” meaning “a compass,” is just a loving compass.

Poison snoopers detect a wide range of poisons, and are commonly hidden all over the place--chandeliers, centerpieces, and so on. Handheld snoopers are also commonly used.

Shigawire Imprinters record text, audio, and video onto shigawire reels. Some can even record infrared or 3D! These are especially used by Mentats to share or learn large amounts of information.

Solido projectors are small devices which project translucent 3D images. These have many uses, but are notably used for “ego-likenesses,” three-dimensional moving portraits.

Glowglobes, as I mentioned, are ubiquitous lamps powered by organic batteries and floated on small suspensors. They can even be leashed to your clothes so that you have a handy lamp following you around.

Suspensor belts grant mobility to the injured and disabled, and can help you carry heavy loads or navigate treacherous areas. They can lift several hundred pounds. They are strong enough to levitate you off the floor, but have no built-in propulsion, so if you did that you’d just flail around uselessly.

Cuterrays are essentially lasguns used as tools. They range from tiny, precise surgical cutterrays to vehicle-mounted ones that can carve tunnels through solid rock.

Shield dissemblers can be used to disable pru-doors, mentioned below. They aren’t potent or fast-working enough to disable a large House shield or a personal shield.

Installations

Pru-doors, or prudence doors, are Holtzman-shielded doors. To get through them, you must either disable their generator or use a special shield-dissembler.

House shields are huge Holtzman shield networks requiring a powerful generator and many relays. They can protect an entire Great House palace, and selectively open portals to allow entry or exit. A dissembler might open a single entrance, but the only way to drop the whole shield is to disable its generator.

Palm locks are special servok locks keyed to a handprint. They’re mainly notable because Bene Gesserit can potentially fool them with their prana-bindu training.

Vehicles

Groundcar” is a really broad term for any ground vehicle, from a small cart to a tank. Groundcars can be wheeled or hover on suspensors, and all are electric.

Ornithopters are the most common air transport. They use jets for takeoff and landing, and can do so vertically like a helicopter, but while in the air they use wings that beat like a bird’s. Thanks to plasteel and fanmetal, they’re very light.



The game has some rules for vehicle combat, chases, and maneuvers. The action devolves into combat rounds, and follows a simple system where the fleeing ship takes the initiative, rolling to perform maneuvers, and the pursuit ship has to perform the same maneuver to keep pace. If the fleeing pilot fails, the pursuer takes initiative and gains ground. Failure by either party can result in a crash. It’s a pretty good system; if I recall right, it’s a little more detailed than what was on offer from Vampire and others from the same family of 90s die-pool games. You can also spend your Option Points to use vehicular weapons.



Lastly, there’s a table for all the equipment in this chapter, with stats for how high a caste you need to be to use the item legally, standard cost, and black market cost. But the costs are largely superfluous. The rules barely track how much cash the PCs have, much less the exact amount of a House’s cash reserves, so knowing the exact costs of tanks, planes, and House shields only serves to inform you of their relative value.









So that’s technology, and equipment, in this version of Dune. I’m pleased with it. Aside from occasional bits like the power armor (why is Dune fanart always full of Space Marine armor?) it follows logically from the original novels. The version of the Butlerian Jihad presented here is not particularly radical or fascinating, but serviceable.


Next time on Dune
: An in-depth treatment of the Spacing Guild.

Obligatum VII
May 5, 2014

Haunting you until no 8 arrives.

Crasical posted:

The Coil of the Wyrm has always slightly perplexed me.

Imagine a vampire who's come to the conclusion that "The Beast is a dumb, panicky animal, and I'm better than that, and I'm gonna learn to control it."

And so he goes to the Ordo Dracul, and says "Hey, surmounting the curse of our condition is your bag, man, have you had any luck in taming the Beast?"

"Oh, sure, there's a whole Coil devoted to that study. We've learned how to flip out for no reason, flip out harder, direct our frenzy, flip out EVEN HARDER, and ULTRA MEGA FLIP OUT"

"...Only one of those five things is about actually CONTROLLING the beast."

"HYEERGARGBLE."

They learned to change it from loss of control to merely a very severe narrowing of focus. They went from having to worry about the beast is basically wielding it like a weapon. That's an improvement.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Obligatum VII posted:

They learned to change it from loss of control to merely a very severe narrowing of focus. They went from having to worry about the beast is basically wielding it like a weapon. That's an improvement.
I guess it depends on your goal; I'm not clear, do the Dracul things also give you benefits if your goal is to avoid frenzying and eating toddlers at the swing-shift night-care center where you are sweating out your sinful atonement, like that dude in Forever Knight?

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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They make you better at directing your frenzy and getting things done during it, so you could post yourself away from your toddler friends.

The Ordo doesn't believe in atonement, though. They are big on 'and then we invade Heaven and cast God from his throne' thinking, see.

JackMann
Aug 11, 2010

Secure. Contain. Protect.


Fallen Rib

So, basically, they don't want to become human, they just want to become better vampires? That's cool.

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine


Ordo Dracul is basically Ordo DIO, where vampires who know that being a vampire is actually the coolest spend time learning cool new vampire tricks in the process of mastering the state of undeath totally.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

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


Man, the Dune RPG is the sort of game that I desperately want to run or play in some day, but I know that I don't have the chops as a GM to make it work, and I don't know anyone that I'd trust to run it right. Or who'd be interested in running it, really.

Rigged Death Trap
Feb 13, 2012

BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP



Mr. Maltose posted:

Ordo Dracul is basically Ordo DIO, where vampires who know that being a vampire is actually the coolest spend time learning cool new vampire tricks in the process of mastering the state of undeath totally.

You thought you were following dracula, but it was I, Dio!

Now when can i shoot blood out of my eyes, posess others to do evil, freeze people and live on as a decapitated head and eventually take over another persons body

Barudak
May 7, 2007



Rigged Death Trap posted:

You thought you were following dracula, but it was I, Dio!

Now when can i shoot blood out of my eyes, posess others to do evil, freeze people and live on as a decapitated head and eventually take over another persons body

Do does Ordo Dracul have a way to spawn Italian people with my Vampire powers or is this game useless, useless, useless?

Crasical
Apr 22, 2014

GG!*
*GET GOOD


Dune is my pet-peeve franchise. The times I've tried to read the novels they are just so astoundingly dull and dry that I never get more than a dozen chapters or so deep, and Holtzman Shields are just one of those tech bits that stick in my craw.

Shields exist to justify science-fiction sword fights, but they do it in a really lazy way.

The stated reason slow moving objects can pass through Shields is to allow oxygen to flow to the Shield's user. Ship-mounted Shields are stronger because they don't have this weakness. Shields also cause a horrible feedback loop with laser weapons that causes a nuclear detonation, so anyone who has a lasgun (The most common armament in the Empire, before shield proliferation) now has a nuclear weapon.

'Wear an oxygen tank, be invincible. Also, literally everyone has The Bomb.'

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


And Dune would make for one heck of a weird fighting game.

Thesaurasaurus
Feb 15, 2010

"Send in Boxbot!"



Crasical posted:

Shields exist to justify science-fiction sword fights, but they do it in a really lazy way.

Yeah, it really seems like Herbert had a Thing about certain technologies, particularly guns and computers, and bent over backwards to explain they weren't in use in Dune. I liked Metal Gear Rising's explanation better: the CNT muscle fiber that makes up modern military cyborgs is highly-resistant to conventional small arms fire. High-frequency blades backed by cyborg muscle power are great for hacking through the stuff, but the tech doesn't yet exist to put that into a gun, so most anti-cyborg ranged weapons are things like HEAT rockets or plasma cannons. This will likely change in the future but at the time the game's set, the full-body cyborg is the pinnacle of warfare, so enjoy the crazy robo-samurai action while it lasts.

See, you know a setting has issues when loving Metal Gear makes more sense.

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




Rising is great. This is a world where giving somebody like Raiden a crazy robot body and vibrokatana is the most effective use of resources.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


wiegieman posted:

Rising is great. This is a world where giving somebody like Raiden a crazy robot body and vibrokatana is the most effective use of resources.

Rising is great because they actually let the translators translate properly and had actual writers, as opposed to whatever it is Kojima does to language.

Hunt11
Jul 24, 2013



Grimey Drawer

Night10194 posted:

Rising is great because they actually let the translators translate properly and had actual writers, as opposed to whatever it is Kojima does to language.

Wasn't Armstrong's speech so good that it was used in the Japanese version as well?

Glagha
Oct 13, 2008

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
AAAAAAaaAAAaaAAaAA
AAAAAAAaAAAAAaaAAA
AAAA
AaAAaaA
AAaaAAAAaaaAAAAAAA
AaaAaaAAAaaaaaAA



It's hard not to love a setting where one of the best things you can do to handle a giant walking tank with a nigh infinite supply of missiles is send a dude with a sword after it. gently caress, I want to imagine military strategists sitting around a table and saying "hmm. Well let's go send a guy to swordfight that 5 story robot."

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




I think it's clear that Platinum and whoever they hired to do the localization are had and shoulders above anything Kojima's guys can do.

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



wiegieman posted:

I think it's clear that Platinum and whoever they hired to do the localization are had and shoulders above anything Kojima's guys can do.

One of the issues is Kojima didn't want too much editing when it came to translations - guy's got some pretty awesome ideas, but he's a man who is in sore need of an editor to trim the fat.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Meanwhile, Yoko Taro tells his translators 'Whatever you need to get the maximum suffering and misery across to a western audience too. Go, you have my blessing in this.'

It's no accident the same people who did Rising did Nier and Drakengard 3's translations.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Crasical posted:

Dune is my pet-peeve franchise. The times I've tried to read the novels they are just so astoundingly dull and dry that I never get more than a dozen chapters or so deep, and Holtzman Shields are just one of those tech bits that stick in my craw.

Shields exist to justify science-fiction sword fights, but they do it in a really lazy way.

The stated reason slow moving objects can pass through Shields is to allow oxygen to flow to the Shield's user. Ship-mounted Shields are stronger because they don't have this weakness. Shields also cause a horrible feedback loop with laser weapons that causes a nuclear detonation, so anyone who has a lasgun (The most common armament in the Empire, before shield proliferation) now has a nuclear weapon.

And the thing is everyone knows about this. Really, the secret to fighting anyone in the Dune universe would be to use time-delayed lasguns or drones.

Also, shields were worthless on Arrakis except in places on foundations of rock like Arrakeen because they would attract sandworms. Sandworm don't care about your personal shield generator, either the slow process of digestion will get through the shield, you suffocate, or your shield will eventually fail.

The Forever War did the whole "shields bringing back melee combat" better with their stasis field that the negates any movement between a certain frequency range, turns out that frequency shuts out pretty much all chemical reactions and electric conductivity and most projectile weapons and all energy weapons, so you have to wear special protection and fighting is reduced to chipping away that special protection with swords, axes, spears, and darts.


Thesaurasaurus posted:

Yeah, it really seems like Herbert had a Thing about certain technologies, particularly guns and computers, and bent over backwards to explain they weren't in use in Dune. I liked Metal Gear Rising's explanation better: the CNT muscle fiber that makes up modern military cyborgs is highly-resistant to conventional small arms fire. High-frequency blades backed by cyborg muscle power are great for hacking through the stuff, but the tech doesn't yet exist to put that into a gun, so most anti-cyborg ranged weapons are things like HEAT rockets or plasma cannons. This will likely change in the future but at the time the game's set, the full-body cyborg is the pinnacle of warfare, so enjoy the crazy robo-samurai action while it lasts.

See, you know a setting has issues when loving Metal Gear makes more sense.

The thing is that this would eventually just turn into Underground or the higher "levels" of CP2020 when the player character arms race got unhinged and upcalibers infantry weapons like crazy til everyone's carrying 20mm's.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




Young Freud posted:

The thing is that this would eventually just turn into Underground or the higher "levels" of CP2020 when the player character arms race got unhinged and upcalibers infantry weapons like crazy til everyone's carrying 20mm's.
Yeah, but Rising is set not very far after MGS4, where Raiden was an extremely bleeding edge experimental cyborg. Now high-grade military cyborgs are common, and projectile weapons haven't caught up.


Plus, extremely high end ones like Raiden in Rising can parry bullets. If you're in a specific movement mode you're just straight immune to bullets in the game, they don't even do negligible damage, just nothing at all.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Vampire: the Requiem, 2nd Edition

There are four universal powers that all strix share. First, they have the Gathering Cry - the ability to spend Willpower and let out a high-pitched screech audible to other strix, certain animals, children, and vampires (or other critters) with enhanced senses. It extends out several miles and is used only in rare cases, such as crises. Second, strix have the Owl Eyes. They can see in total darkness without trouble, and get a big bonus to vision rolls if there is light enough for a human to see by. Third, they have the Taint of Life, the ability to sense and track prey by its life energy or Vitae. They can sense any living thing or anything with Vitae inside it within several yards and are extremely good at tracking anyone they've taken Vitae from before. Lastly, strix possess the Doom Sense, an innate ability to sense destiny and impending disaster. Without powers to further evolve this ability, all they know is if some disaster is happening within the next few months, though they can always sense any active powers or Merits that gently caress with luck or fate.

Further, a Strix gains more Embodiment abilities as its Shadow Potency rises. At 1, it can only exist in its shadow form and has no other ability to interact with the world. However, at 2, it gains the ability to possess a corpse by pouring itself into the thing. While in a corpse, it uses the physical attributes it had in life, but its own mental and social ones. Any damage is dealt to the corpse, which only takes Bashing from any attack except for banes that say otherwise. Corpses can remain active until filled with agg damage. A strix in a corpse cannot use any of the host's skills or languages, but can sitll use any skills it already has. If it has the Auspex power The Spirit's Touch, however, it may read the host's memories as if it was a revenant. We'll get to that in a moment. While in a corpse this way, a strix can only feed by devouring living human flesh, at a rate of 1 Vitae per 2L damage, or by drinking vampiric blood. Every minute the strix remains in the corpse, it hastens the body's decay. It loses one dot of attributes per week. When it hits Strength 0, it can no longer lift anything or inflict melee damage. When it hits Dexterity 0, it can no longer move. When it hits Stamina 0, it instead begins to lose 1 box of Health per week. When Health hits 0, the body collapses into a useless heap and the strix is ejected. If the body is destroyed by damage, however, if the final turn's damage was more than the strix's Shadow Potency, the full damage is also dealt to the strix itself. Strix can possess any corpse short of a skeleton, but any existing rot removes stats the same way.

At SP 3, a strix may invade and take over the body of a sleeping revenant, sending their mind into torpor and all its dreams while they joyride. The victim's banes are replaced by those of the strix, and the strix uses their physical attributes. You use the strix's SP and Vitae capacity, not the host's Blood Potency, but damage is dealt to the host via normal vampire rules. Staking has no effect beyond the damage it inflicts, as the revenant is already in torpor. (Likewise, it won't stop moving until full up on agg.) The strix may read the host's mind after the first night and can tap into their skills and Disciplines with increasing ease over time. The revenant's corpse does not decay like a normal corpse does, so the strix can stay in until it's destroyed. While in a vampiric body of any kind, the strix can drain blood as a vampire would, with all benefits of the Kiss, and also gets all the Vitae the host had when it took over, up to its cap. Revenant bodies do not lose all Vitae each night while possessed. The strix may also commit diablerie while in a vampiric host, and both the host and strix get the benefits - though the host still loses a dot of Humanity. Any other breaking points are at the GM's discretion. If the strix leaves before the host dies, they are treated as a torpid vampire reaching the end of their torpor, and retain any Vitae left in them when the strix.

At SP 4, a strix can possess a full kindred, not just a revenant. There are a few changes, though. A kindred must be torpid, not just sleeping, and a strix has no access to any blood sorcery, Coil benefits, Carthian Law or Invictus Oaths - and the other side of the Invictus Oath loses the oath's benefits while the victim is possessed. Strix can Embrace while in a vampiric host, but lacking Humanity, it almost exclusively produces revanants. (Side note - at this level, a strix can also possess a Sin-Eater, Mummy or Promethean, but gets no access to any soul-based powers, just any that are part of the host's physical nature. Mummies immediately, as a result, die and become corpse-hosts.)

At SP 5, a strix can possess a living host. The process of possession damages the host and gives the strix Vitae from it. If the host survives, the strix sends their mind and soul into dormancy, returning only if the strix ends the possession while the host lives. Strix do not fall unconscious from bashing damage while in living hosts, and they can tap into memories and skills as before. However, it is difficult for a strix to keep a body healthy. They often forget to eat, and if they take full lethal damage, the body will die and become a corpse-host. While living, the strix may spend Vitae to heal the host as if they were a ghoul, and they do still heal naturally. A living host can drink vampire blood as ghouls do to provide the strix with Vitae, and the Strix can also 'farm' the living host for its own life energy, damaging it for Vitae as it likes. This level allows them to possess werewolves, mages, changelings or demons - but, again, they lack any soul-based powers, such as magic or Gifts. They do, however, retain werewolf shapeshifting at the GM's whim.

Where poo poo gets real weird, especially with nonstandard supernatural hosts, is at SP 6: Synthesis. The strix can permanently infuse a bit of itself into its victim. It must be possessing the host to do this. If it succeeds, weird things start happening. Corpse hosts are immediately turned into Kindred with BP 1, losing Humanity equal to however much Shadow Potency the strix spent to fuel this. Revenants become full Kindred but also lose Humanity this way. Kindred gain Blood Potency equal to the Shadow Potency lost, but lose that much Humanity. Living hosts are damaged by the ability. If they die, they are raised the next night as BP 1 Kindred. The Clan of the new vampire is that of the last vampire the strix fed on. If that doesn't exist, it is the clan of the vampire that made the revenant. If it's not a revenant, the clan is randomly determined.

At SP 7, the strix is able to force its shadow-self into a materialized state. It uses all of its normal stats for shadow form, but can attack others physically and can be attacked physically...though it still takes only Bashing damage from any source but a bane. It may feed normally, or by eating flesh or drinking vampiric blood. At SP 8, the strix may also enter Twilight, to better hunt ghosts. While in Twilight, it is invisible and intangible, and any damage it suffers from banes is reduced one step - to nothing, if it would take Bashing. It may perceive and interact with ghosts and spirits, and may feed on their corpus for Vitae. However, it is stuck in this form until it forces itself back to materiality, and doing so costs a dot of Shadow Potency.

At SP 9, a strix may teleport by leaping into a shadow and emerging from any other shadow within seeral miles. However, doing so costs it 1L per mile traveled, plus 1L. It may even do this in a host body, causing the host to take the damage - but doing so costs it Vitae as well. At SP 10, the strix nears the abilities of the primeval ancestors it had that first entered our world. It may make an area of darkness into a gateway to the world the strix came from. This requires an area of at least a cubic yard in which there is no illumination whatsover. The strix enters the area as if it were a host, integrating itself into the shadow-space the strix originated in. Anything with a taint of strix nature, such as other strix, vampires or ghouls, may cross over into the strix world ofr a single Willpower. However, the gate remains open for only one scene, and anyone who does not cross back in time is lost forever. While the gate is open, new strix occasionally emerge from it.

Next time: Dread Powers

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




I certainly won't deny that Dune can be pretty obtuse, and that shields rely a little too much on an almost total lack of terrorists existing (though that's a little bit the point), but I don't think it's a really standout example of dumb world-building. It's especially eyebrow-raising to act like Metal Gear has a leg up on it because of the in-universe bullshit that justifies a cyberninja, but if you take a step back it's still all hanging on the most ridiculous premise about nuke-spitting mecha anyway that's only compelling (?) because Kojima is a master of Infowars: the Soap Opera.

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ZeroCount
Aug 12, 2013




I mean, Dune's just one of the most influential and definitive science fiction stories ever told but it doesn't have a cyborg saying 'it's time....for jack to let it rip' so I can see people's problem with it

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