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LeSquide
Nov 1, 2012

Eat.
At.
Ed'sTM.



Cooked Auto posted:

Yeah the more veteran players in the SR group I'm in has the same opinion of that book. Been meaning to read it myself for fun, but I got to the timeline in my first attempt and just closed that out of sheer disgust. Parts of it is really insufferably written.

What did you find some objectionable?

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Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


The Lone Badger posted:

What are the rules like for Ogres / Maneaters? Everything I've read about them sounds awesome.

I suspect they're in one of the few books I don't have, the Warhammer Companion, as I've never seen the official rules for making ogres but I know they exist from seeing it pop up in a PBP game on these forums.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Rifts World Book 8: Japan Part 5: All the things you could ever want to throw



After we’ve done our whirlwind tour of the major powers of Japan (which are almost entirely independent entities, not even any Splugorth meddling) we are abruptly sent to an equipment section. Usually Palladium books reserve the full gun show for later in the manual, but somehow they felt these were more important to present than all the various flavors of ninja they were promising to the weeaboo fanbase.

“The following items are a handful of magic weapons and equipment that can be acquired by adventurers, warriors and priests in Japan.” Glad to know wizards are out. This section is written by CJ Carella, so it may have a different tone than some other areas of the book. Siembieda seems to have been hovering over Japan protectively as a special magical place where he’s allowed to say the names of real religions so other authors have to get smaller sections with their own bylines.

The items:

Elemental Shuriken: Favored by ninja and martial artists. Typically these come in sets of five, representing the five elements. Of course, Siembieda assigns these as “water, fire, earth, air and wood.” That’s wrong but it’s more interesting to look at the mechanical effects assigned.
  • Air: 2D6 MDC, 3x per day it can produce a lightning strike when it hits a target for 1D4x10 MDC. The bolt actually comes from holding the shuriken and aiming it rather than throwing, +3 to hit. 1,000 ft thrown range which is pretty high for a thrown object--the world record for a frisbee is 1,257 m but that was distance, not accuracy. 2,000 ft for the lightning.
  • Fire: 3D6, plus it shoots fireballs 4x a day for 5D6 MDC. 600ft thrown, 1,000 ft fire balls.
  • Water: 3D4 MDC, and can cast the following spells 2x daily: calm storms, heal wounds, negate poisons/toxins. 1,000 ft throwing range in air, 2,000 ft in water.
  • Earth: 4D6 MDC and can cast the invulnerability spell 3X per day. Range is listed as ‘self’.
  • Wood: 2D4 MDC, triple against vampires. Once per day it can summon a 200 MDC tree elemental with a 3D6 punch. The elemental remains for 1D6 minutes which is an eternity in Palladium time.

These don’t automatically return when thrown, and given their effects, throwing them seems like a quick way to lose a 700,000 credit investment. These are kinda cool, not wildly unbalanced, but you’re basically going to have to kill someone and take them, there’s no way for normal PCs to meet that price.

TW Power Shuriken: I’m envisioning like some kinda magic buzzsaw here. “A common Chinese techno-wizard item.” This is getting better and better. 2D4+4 MDC as a single-use electrical attack. 500 credits per. These are both too expensive and too weak to bother using. The New Empire's stance on TW items wasn't made entirely clear but I imagine if they mimic an old-timey cosplay item they're probably okay.

TW Fire-Breathing Apparatus: The fluff text for this is just really weird, I think I’m just going to reproduce it here:

quote:

When the first European travelers arrived in Japan, they brought muskets and arquebuses (bell-shaped, short-range shotguns), which greatly impressed the islanders. Japan was manufacturing copies of these weapons in a matter of years.

Japanese alchemists, eta techno-wizards and tech-ninja became fascinated with the concept of firearms. They tried to replicate the effect using magic, and succeeded in creating an equivalent weapon by binding fire elementals to metal replicas of the European weapons; this may have been one of the first techno-wizard weapons ever created! During the Great Cataclysm, these weapons became powerful mega-damage “guns”...

There is just so much wrong here. With real world history, with Rifts’ own continuity, with the assumptions it makes about Japanese technological progress. I do not know where to begin and Carella, I expect better from you. Also: ‘TW Fire-Breathing Apparatus’ is a dumb name.

These things look like matchlock muskets or whatever and they belch out fire blasts that stink of brimstone. 5D6 MDC, 800 ft range. Unlike many other TW weapons, these guys fire 3X a round as long as Earth has magical energy. If they didn’t cost ‘upwards of 200,000 credits’ they’d be a perfectly valid thing to give any PC. The lack of ammo worries is their big advantage, but their damage is so thoroughly average and their range so short that I can’t bring myself to be concerned.

Magic Powder Grenades: These are elite grenades for elite ninja. They’re based on the notion of eggshell bombs but rigged with spells to make them more potent.
  • Blinding: Blinds anything in a 10ft radius with a 16 save for 1D6 minutes. 500 credits. These are a much, much better investment than not-cheap Chinese TW shuriken.
  • Confusion: Works as the spell Wisps of Confusion around its target area, affects 1-8 people with a save vs. magic as per the spell at 4th level which means it lasts 20 melee rounds. All affected persons are -5 to all the things and lose half their actions. The save is listed as ‘Standard’ which can be anything from 12-15. Rifts. Also these cost 3000 credits each, and are slightly less good than the blinding ones--the blinders don’t take away actions but they have a harder save and worse penalty. Also, the ‘wisps’ probably fail against the filtration systems on almost all armor and power armor.
  • Minor Curse: ‘As per the spell.’ Helpfully, this spell is not in the Ultimate Edition. 6000 credits for ‘??’
  • Magic Net: Unlike the spell, this only snares the nearest target, but the net is still 16 or better to dodge and takes two rounds to escape during which time the target is helpless. That’s two rounds with any mega-damage weapon or magic besides Dispel Magic. 4000 credits, don’t miss.

There’s an additional note that the prices may vary as much as 10% less to 50% more since they’re made by random artisanal mages and dragons rather than an assembly line I guess. At their standard prices these are not fantastic except for the blinding ones, but they are fairly strong debuffs.

Singing Arrows (Nari-Kabura): In the past, Japanese archers sometimes used hollow arrows that would make a buzzing or whistling sound as they flew. These were used a signals and startles. Now some are enchanted to be magical also. They shatter after being fired and discharging their magic, and all are 16 or higher to save and count as 5th level.

  • Terror: Produces fear in 100 ft radius. 2,000 credits.
  • Exorcism: 100ft radius. Save or stun for 1D4 rounds, lesser demons and ghosts are evicted from their hosts, and greater possessions are immediately revealed as a flash of their true form. Pretty useful, since there are so few countermeasures to things like Alien Intelligence possession. 4,000 credits.
  • Enticing Beauty: Good lord, not more Cupid crap. Oh, okay, it just creates a pied-piperish haunting flute music with again 100ft radius. Those affected must stop and listen and lose all actions unless they are attacked. ‘Prowling around’ (sneaking, in Palladium speak) entranced targets is automatic. This lasts I guess for one round? Even after the arrow is gone, they’re still at -2 for 1D6 rounds. 3,000 credits.
  • Agony: Kind of the reverse of the Beauty arrow, the shrieking whistle is painful to hear. 100ft radius Agony spell. 6,000 credits.

Again, all fairly decent, all very expensive. The Exorcism one in particular needs to be cheaper.

Tanto of Hellish Poison: Elite ninja only, this special poison can affect even dragons and supernatural creatures. 3D6 SDC to normals, 4D6 MDC to supernaturals and even artificial stuff like borg armor is affected. If flesh is touched, a save of 15 or higher is needed. On a successful save, 3D6 more damage still happens, directly to hit points or MDC. On a failed save, take the damage, -2 to combat rolls, lose one attack for 1D6+2 hours. Each hour, 1D6 additional damage is done, plus the victim temporarily loses 1D4 points of PE. If it hits zero, they die. Various forms of supernatural regen cannot heal the poison damage until its effects end.

Those are some pretty huge effects. For one thing, affecting supernatural creatures at all is pretty big--almost every single one of those is immune. The poison effects don’t do enough damage to kill quickly, and it’s not clear if the applications stack. They’d need to, if this thing is meant to kill anything more serious than an average joe, but who knows. Because these weapons are actually effective, most good guys consider them perpetually tainted and won’t use them, and they cost as much as a rune weapon at eight million credits anyway. Still, this is kind of cool, and again, not immensely overpowered (depending on the stacking issue) but quite vicious.

”Ten-Thousand-Strength” Nunchaku: “These were enchanted by Okinawan mystics in the years before the Rifts.” Several of these items suggest themselves as pre-Rifts. That’s kind of a major continuity violation and also not something that was suggested about the various European cultures who had mystical traditions. If magic actually worked to any degree pre-Rifts, the Japanese would not be the only ones who remembered it. I mean, Native Americans, duh.


this section doesn’t have enough pictures, so here is some numbchuks

Anyway, these do 3D6 MDC per hit and grant one additional melee attack per round. These are pretty rare, it’d be a shame if say an Apok or something got hold of these and made them terrifying wouldn’t it? 500,000 credits.

Whirlwind Naginata: Created for the highest female samurai, and sohei monks like ‘em too. Only a few dozen in existence. 3D6+6 MDC, and it has two special powers: Art of Defense, which, if a character makes no attacks in a round, will auto-parry any non-laser attacks against themselves except for criticals, up to their melee total, and Whirlwind: Four times a day, the wielder can call upon a magical whirlwind by spinning the naginata overhead for two melees. This whirlwind can fly them up to 60mph and deflects all arrows and thrown weapons, but not bullets or lasers. Five minute duration. Five million credits. These are kind of nice but totally not worth five mil, c’mon.

Zen Master’s Bow: Longbows of the Japanese type, intended for Zen archery. Only a few dozen of the lesser types exist, and maybe a dozen of the greater. They appear ordinary unless one is ‘knowledgeable of Japanese arts’ at which point they have a 30% + 5% per level of realizing these are yet another example of the magical Japanese pre-Rifts tradition. When wielded by a user of the Art of Bowmanship (Kyudo) the bow contacts the wielder (by courier?) and instructs them on its powers. For everybody else it has some piddling bonuses and does SDC damage.

In proper hands, lesser bows have two of the following, greater have all:
  • +2 to strike
  • Closing one’s eyes and drawing the bow allows the sensing of invisible creatures, including those pesky ninja.
  • Spending 1 PPE per arrow, they can do mega-damage to any mega-damage creature, double to supernaturals--2D6 though.
  • 5 PPE doubles rate of fire for one round
  • 10 PPE per round allows arrows to “fly through tiny openings, twist through the air and fly around corners and other cover to strike hidden enemies, provided the shooter knows where the target is.” That’s very nice but provides literally no actual mechanical benefit. I guess it ignores cover?

These are basically unobtainable with money, aside from the fact that they look like normal SDC weapons which any sensible person in the world of Rifts would discard. I can’t see it. They’re fancy but really quite weak. Doubling one’s rate of fire is useful, but it also doubles the PPE cost of shooting arrows, and most human users don’t have that much. True samurai would get a frightening rate of fire with one of these but they’d be out of PPE or chewing through magical arrows very quickly.

After this there's a section of just magic samurai swords. I honestly like a lot of these items--they have varied effects and they aren't super-powerful. Of course, being ~magic~, they're unobtainably expensive so railguns it is. What I don't like in this section (and in the upcoming swords part) is the suggestion that some of these items were enchanted before the time of Rifts. Nobody else got to do that, and there were plenty of other mystical traditions that survived into the modern era in one form or another. Fetishizing Japan as a spiritual wonderland that preserved its traditions unblemished by magic-ruining western rational thought is dumb and racist and also absurd if you've ever been there or even studied the country closely.

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

Horned Rat-Sempai Noticed Me!


If anyone is looking for a different portrayal of feudal Japan that isn't (strickly) anime, I have to recommend the Samurai Warrior series. It's goofy melodrama along side learning a few things about the Sengoku era (mostly who the major players were-if you want to find out what actually happened you'll need to wiki it).

EDIT: probably the best thing with referencing Samurai Warriors is that the huge variety of weapons will defuse the over-focus on katanas.

SirPhoebos fucked around with this message at 15:36 on Feb 3, 2017

wdarkk
Oct 26, 2007

Friends: Protected
World: Saved
Crablettes: Eaten


Did I miss the post on the Republic of Japan?

dwarf74
Sep 2, 2012






Buglord

theironjef posted:

There's no doubt we'll get to it eventually (I'm pricing first edition right now), but incidentally I'm reading through Shadowrun Anarchy right now, just for fun. It is a weird book and I am of mixed opinion.
I've got a pretty rough copy of SR 1st edition I'm not hugely attached to, if you can't find anything.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

wdarkk posted:

Did I miss the post on the Republic of Japan?

No, Palladium books are "organized" more or less in the order the sections got written--at least as far as ARB and I can tell. The RoJ is coming up, but first we get magic items and New Empire OCCs.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


occamsnailfile posted:

Rifts World Book 8: Japan Part 5: All the things you could ever want to throw

Tanto of Hellish Poison: Elite ninja only, this special poison can affect even dragons and supernatural creatures. 3D6 SDC to normals, 4D6 MDC to supernaturals and even artificial stuff like borg armor is affected. If flesh is touched, a save of 15 or higher is needed. On a successful save, 3D6 more damage still happens, directly to hit points or MDC. On a failed save, take the damage, -2 to combat rolls, lose one attack for 1D6+2 hours. Each hour, 1D6 additional damage is done, plus the victim temporarily loses 1D4 points of PE. If it hits zero, they die. Various forms of supernatural regen cannot heal the poison damage until its effects end.

Those are some pretty huge effects. For one thing, affecting supernatural creatures at all is pretty big--almost every single one of those is immune. The poison effects don’t do enough damage to kill quickly, and it’s not clear if the applications stack. They’d need to, if this thing is meant to kill anything more serious than an average joe, but who knows. Because these weapons are actually effective, most good guys consider them perpetually tainted and won’t use them, and they cost as much as a rune weapon at eight million credits anyway. Still, this is kind of cool, and again, not immensely overpowered (depending on the stacking issue) but quite vicious.

I like the bog-standard AD&D-derived "only evil dudes" would use these because poiiison (poison!), but it's just fine for my Scrupulous character to psychically agonize foes, launch burning napalm at them, or fire radioactive uranium bullets into their gut. But poison? That's a no-no! Evil!

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

Horned Rat-Sempai Noticed Me!


Alien Rope Burn posted:

I like the bog-standard AD&D-derived "only evil dudes" would use these because poiiison (poison!), but it's just fine for my Scrupulous character to psychically agonize foes, launch burning napalm at them, or fire radioactive uranium bullets into their gut. But poison? That's a no-no! Evil!

I like to imagine that the attitudes on the morality of poison use flipped when Ezio Auditore started making Italian guards do spastic dances.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




Have you seen a man die by cluthe?

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


No, because it's fictional.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: Night's Dark Masters

Lahmians: The Feminist Vampire Illuminati

"Behind every great man is a great woman. Behind that great woman is me." -Nefereta

Now, we know the history of Nefereta up to the point where everything went to poo poo, much like we do with Abhorash. After some further mucking about taking out one of the other Founder states (We'll get into the city of Strigos, the founding of the Strigoi, and why Ushoran was a dick who probably deserved everything (because what vamp doesn't, anyway) when we get to their bloodline) she used her growing influence over the human tribes of northern regions (which would eventually become the Empire and Bretonnia) to raise an army and assail a dwarfhold at the Silver Pinnacle. Nefereta, intending to be a millennia spanning supervillain, obviously needed her own underground lair, you see.

Nefereta, even to the modern day, remains the absolute central figure of the Lahmian Sisterhood. Officially, no new Lahmian is created without her sayso, and young aspirants are often brought to the Pinnacle to learn, study, and face a thousand little tests before they are given the honor of the Kiss. Similarly, the Lahmians learned something from the fall of their original city and prefer to stay in the shadows. Wealthy, eccentric noblewomen, quiet spies and servants, academics, wizard's apprentices, these are the sorts of people the Lahmians prefer to make into their own. They hire playwrights and commission operas on the romantic myth of the vampire, seeking to convince humankind that they are not enemies at all, that there is nothing to be afraid of, and that vampires are just sexy, cool creatures that obviously won't really hurt anyone too much. Everything the Sisterhood does is officially intended to set up their eventual takeover of the Old World in a mighty velvet revolution, a takeover that will end with a triumphant return to the actual city of Lahmia and its rebuilding to be better than it ever was the first time.

The problem with this plan is that it's taken 4000 years and they still don't rule the world. Nefereta is cautious to a fault, still burned by her failure at Lahmia itself and surrounding herself with her students and handmaidens to distract from the roll of the years. She is afraid to be revealed again, and afraid that she will fail again, and so prefers an abundance of subtlety and caution. This has caused many of her more ambitious agents out in the world to declare that the Queen has no interest in taking over the world, and instead is content to rule the Pinnacle and nothing more. When this happens, they inevitably go rogue, beginning their own schemes, like the Vampire Tsarina of Kislev centuries ago. Nefereta still points to her fate as a corpse frozen in a block of ice to quell dissenters, saying the time is still not right.

In the meantime, the sisterhood continues to work its quiet schemes, trying to play the religious cults against one another and break their domination of culture so that humans might not have gods to turn to when their new management arrives. They similarly root out Chaos cults and happily tip off the Empire to the threats of Skaven and other outside foes; they NEED civil society to exist in its current form for their operations, and so the Sisterhood gladly and quietly slaughters enemies the humans never even see in the shadows of their cities. They also oppose independent vampires and the Von Carsteins; it wouldn't do to have Vashenesh's get take over the world that should be Nefereta's. In many such situations, a party of PCs might find an uneasy alliance with a nocturnal noblewoman who shares their aims, for now, but might always try to get rid of them later if they learn too much.

Lahmians do not like to be detected. Along with their courtly manners and academics, they learn tradecraft at the feet of their Queen in the Pinnacle, training themselves in how to casually avoid accidental detection by mirror or holy symbol. They learn a litany of excuses for skipping breakfasts and lunches with peers, how to pass along cryptic messages among their servants that will only mean anything to their superiors in the Sisterhood, and how to appear to be just another self-obsessed noblewoman or lowly servant in a great man's house. Similarly, both for reasons of practicality and as a matter of taste, Lahmians feed almost exclusively on the willing and do their best to avoid killing. They tend to feed on the targets of their manipulations, disguising their need as a simple affair that the victim doesn't remember in the morning, or on sisters-in-training and assistants in the field who are happy to provide the occasional pint of blood in return for the favors of an important agent. The fact that the average Lahmian is, in fact, a formally trained spy makes them surprisingly hard to root out; they don't tend towards the amateur mistakes of a frenzied Thrall.

There is also the elephant in the room. The average Lahmian is female and they nearly never allow men into their ranks. This harkens back to Nefereta's experiences with being denied entry into the halls of power until she forced her way in, on condition of her gender. Her influence on this subject is nearly universal in the Sisterhood, and even when the occasional man is allowed into the Line, they are never permitted access to the Pinnacle's facilities, nor to any of the higher ranks of the conspiracy.

Nefereta herself is obviously the most important of the Sisterhood, and annoyingly is one of those characters the book never gives stats despite being one of the major villains of the setting. I have a suspicion this has less to do with her being impossible to engage in direct combat so much as the fact that RPG stats are often based on Tabletop Unit stats, and Nefereta's model and actual statistics were not in print at the time of this book. Nefereta's most important traits are her age, her bitterness, and her distrust of almost everyone around her besides her closest Sisters. The fall of Lahmia, and being enslaved by Nagash and passed over in favor of Vashenesh? These did very little to ease her already rather spiteful nature. The idea of a Lahmia reborn is the only thing that truly excites her any longer; her personal chambers are still done in an ancient Nehekaran style, decorated with objects saved from the city's fall, and she prefers her mother tongue to any other. She spends her days in her vast underground lair, plotting with her servants, surrounded by her many favored cats (both a throwback to Nehekara and a secret security measure; the ability to turn into a cat or other small animal is common among Lahmians and many of the cats are her most lethal bodyguards in disguise), dreaming of how she can undo the mistakes of her original city and come to rule the world for real again.

I'm not going to bother with Genevieve Douidonne much, save to say I'm pretty sure she doesn't have stats because the creepy bastard who writes her as his ever 16 author insert waifu probably insisted it be impossible for players to kill his perfect angel. The only interesting note in her background is that as she saved the life of the Emperor Karl Franz from an assassination attempt, she is one of very few vampires legally permitted to live openly in Altdorf. Despite being a rogue to the line, the Sisterhood doesn't bother going after her; a soft and 'heroic' vampiress living in the open is very useful in their project of convincing people vampires are both harmless, and superior to them. Now that's a good plot hook, especially if you decide to go with a vampire campaign some day: Others in the shadows are happily acting as your publicist because they'd love the public to believe vampires can be dramatic antiheroes instead of murderous monsters, since it suits their ends!

One of the signs of how successful the Sisterhood is in infiltrating the Empire is Baroness Helena von Culper. The Baroness is a shrewd, intelligent courtier with the ear of the Emperor and a close friend to the newly appointed and rather incompetent Chamberlain of the Imperial Household, who is unofficially master of the Empire's spies and assassins. Helena runs Imperial Intelligence through her advice to the Chamberlain, and has an official position as master of one of the Imperial Archives, placing her officially in charge of one of the largest unofficial information-gathering agencies among Imperial Intelligence. In essence, the Empire's spies are directed by a Lahmian. Amusingly, she actually does a very good job; one of her directives is to destroy Chaos and ensure the stability of the Empire to make it easier to take over later, after all, and she's an intelligent and competent agent. At the same time, she uses her position to gather blackmail, personal details, and other information that is passed along to her Sisters to make their own infiltration and operations in Imperial territory easier, committing treason almost nightly. Culper makes an excellent early-campaign patron for a cloak and dagger game, where the players might have to decide if a competent commander is worth the fact that she's also a double agent. She'd also be a good villain, someone dug deep into the heart of an important organ of the Imperial state, or a great mentor to a Lahmian PC. Culper is a really solid idea for an NPC and a good example of how to do the Lahmians well.

Next: Some thoughts on the Sisterhood and some of the implications, with a little of how we've tended to play them at my own tables. Then the Necharchs, the crazy bastards who love to challenge the sun to wizard's duels and build evil towers in dreary places.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 14:33 on Aug 4, 2017

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




Alien Rope Burn posted:

No, because it's fictional.
The question is nuncupatory!

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

Horned Rat-Sempai Noticed Me!


Night10194 posted:

It sort of depends on the size of your party and the tastes of your players. Though if you wanted, a buddy comedy about an Ogre Maneater (Ogre warriors who wander around finding the bravest warriors they can and trying to copy them or learn from them) and a Dragon would be awesome. There were rules for playing as Ogres in another sourcebook I don't have and they're about on the same power level and will generally work with anyone as long as they're paid and fed. Similarly, introducing, say, a vampiric academic or courtier to an adventuring party of more hardened killers and warriors might work; their natural abilities would let them keep up despite not having the careers for combat. Also, a party of 2nd or 3rd tier PCs with a single Thrall attached to them might work. You've also got Wights, liches, and other intelligent undead. Dragon Ogres (weirdly, no relation to actual ogres) usually serve Chaos, but when we get to the Old World Bestiary, they have some really cool hooks and having one as part of an Old World Monster Party could work. Similarly, playing as the frankensteins' monsters and genetic abominations a Necharch made as henchmen could be fun, given you have rules in the back of the book for DIY abominations of multiple stripes. If there was a Lustria book, a vampire joining a bunch of Lizardmen to go kick the poo poo out of Skaven would be hilarious.

The main problem with a vampire PC in a mixed party isn't actually so much that they might eat the other PCs (the book seems to assume this is a big issue) but rather that a vamp gets +10 WS, +10 S, +15 T, +15 Agi, +10 WP, +10 Fel, +1 Attacks, +6 Wounds, +2 Movement, and +1 Mag. Just for being turned. That's stat raises equivalent to an entire 2nd tier career. The power gap is very real, partly because vamps are primarily intended as antagonists (they insist throughout the book you should not have them as PCs before going 'But we know you'll do it anyway so here's a chapter on it'). Add to this every Vampire potentially being a wizard, too. They're boss monsters.

Blood Dragons are basically the Bioware NPC archetype that the internet always glom onto.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: Night's Dark Masters

Some thoughts on the tricky subject of the Lahmian Sisterhood

I jokingly referred to the Lahmians as the Feminist Vampire Illuminati, but there's very little that's feminist about their canon form. They're more of a general global conspiracy whose eccentric supervillain prefers female servants for wholly personal reasons rather than having any sort of ideological bent. Moreover, they're also full of implications that an entire organization of women are very petty and surface-deep; one bit I cut for time talks about a town that is meant to be their model for what a world ruled by the Sisterhood will look like, and it makes sure to talk about how they enjoy starving the locals to force them to instead spend everything on dresses and pretty things for their lady masters while they pursue their petty intrigues against one another for imagined slights. They're full of 'Well, the woman is obviously the power behind the throne because she can use sex to control her husband' implications, and, well, there's a reason I posted that Kate Beaton comic about them.

The thing is, though, their concept (the bit about being a global conspiracy that is trying to slowly manipulate public opinion towards an eventual takeover, made up of talented spies engaged in cloak and dagger intrigue) is REALLY GOOD for a roleplaying game. In that capacity they make great PCs, enemies, or grey areas for PCs to deal with. After all, the things they do to make society more accepting towards them are often actually quite good for society, and a pragmatic PC might be okay with a double agent in Imperial intelligence or a more sinister source on the goings on of the corrupt officials and possible cultists in their city. As something players can interact with, both fighting, working for, or trying to navigate around, a sinister conspiracy that nevertheless has every interest in keeping the world intact is a good story device. Similarly, say you want to play a more sympathetic vampire: Well, now you're a spy, undercover, trying to advance within your conspiracy while your fieldwork genuinely does revolve around foiling Chaos cults and battling plots against the stability of the Empire. At least, plots that aren't yours.

The implication with the Lahmians is constantly that they are spiteful, petty, and unfit to rule because they are women, rather than because they are bloodsucking monsters running a dark conspiracy in the shadows. How my table dealt with that part while keeping the good was to really lean into it; the Sisterhood doesn't mind being thought of that way by their enemies and are happy to have people believe they're content with unofficial 'soft power' gained through manipulation and sexual favors. Meanwhile, they are quietly sponsoring the first female cadet at Helmgart Military Academy, helping the first female Barrister in Nuln out with a loan when no-one else would, and supporting the right of an Imperial widow to own her own property. People who will eventually hold positions of more direct, real, and official power. People who will owe favors to the wealthy backers who helped them get where they are. I like to play it that one of the things they are trying to shape in society is making it no longer unusual for a woman to do a 'man's' traditional work of ruling, fighting, adventuring, or learning, because then when they eventually sweep in to bring about their great tyranny, that's one less thing people will need to adjust to. Not to mention much like Abhorash's self discipline and Vlad's desire to rule the world partly because he's pretty sure he'd do a good job of it, giving Nefereta an actual ideological commitment of sorts to ensuring young women in the position she was in when she was Princess of Lahmia have access to what she had to use terrible necromantic might to gain fits as one positive quality to give to an otherwise villainous character.

SirPhoebos posted:

Blood Dragons are basically the Bioware NPC archetype that the internet always glom onto.

Their entire Bloodline doesn't spend their lives doing nothing but telling the PC how awesome he is, though, so this doesn't quite check out.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 14:36 on Aug 4, 2017

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

Horned Rat-Sempai Noticed Me!


Guess who just passed their $500 Patreon goal

LongDarkNight
Oct 25, 2010

It's like watching the collapse of Western civilization in fast forward.

Oven Wrangler

The more they hate the game the better the episode. I'm still hoping they review the game I mailed them, since it will break them physically and mentally.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



LongDarkNight posted:

The more they hate the game the better the episode. I'm still hoping they review the game I mailed them, since it will break them physically and mentally.

Remind me which one that is.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012






Alien Rope Burn posted:

I like the bog-standard AD&D-derived "only evil dudes" would use these because poiiison (poison!), but it's just fine for my Scrupulous character to psychically agonize foes, launch burning napalm at them, or fire radioactive uranium bullets into their gut. But poison? That's a no-no! Evil!

Then BOXD released a bunch of Poisons and Diseases that good people could use because they only worked against Evil people. So it's okay to foul their water supply it's only going to hurt the evil people. Also it's perfectly fine to toss someone into a magical oubliette and torture them for a year until they come around to your moral point of view because you're increasing the net amount of good in the world.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Kurieg posted:

Then BOXD released a bunch of Poisons and Diseases that good people could use because they only worked against Evil people. So it's okay to foul their water supply it's only going to hurt the evil people. Also it's perfectly fine to toss someone into a magical oubliette and torture them for a year until they come around to your moral point of view because you're increasing the net amount of good in the world.

Have you considered membership in the Harmonium?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Kurieg posted:

Then BOXD released a bunch of Poisons and Diseases that good people could use because they only worked against Evil people. So it's okay to foul their water supply it's only going to hurt the evil people. Also it's perfectly fine to toss someone into a magical oubliette and torture them for a year until they come around to your moral point of view because you're increasing the net amount of good in the world.

D&D Good is the worst. The absolute worst.

wdarkk
Oct 26, 2007

Friends: Protected
World: Saved
Crablettes: Eaten


Kurieg posted:

Then BOXD released a bunch of Poisons and Diseases that good people could use because they only worked against Evil people. So it's okay to foul their water supply it's only going to hurt the evil people. Also it's perfectly fine to toss someone into a magical oubliette and torture them for a year until they come around to your moral point of view because you're increasing the net amount of good in the world.

Night10194 posted:

D&D Good is the worst. The absolute worst.

This reminds me a lot of the villains of Tales of Berseria.

hyphz
Aug 5, 2003




So, it's been a long week at work, and I need to unwind. Obviously, the best way of writing this is to write a one page summary post of a truly terrible adventure that I downloaded from DTRPG just because it was cheap and looked awful enough for this thread. I was not disappointed. Herewith: Blood In The Chocolate.

Blood In The Chocolate is an adventure for Lamentations of the Flame Princess, the old-school D&D game that gave us the classic adventure Death Frost Doom reviewed by Rulebook Heavily.

Have you heard of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? If by some weird stroke of fate you haven't, it's the story of a bunch of children - including Charlie - who are led around a bizarre chocolate factory by a mad old man named Willy Wonka who employs a staff of racist caricatures called Oompa-Loompas, in which all the children except Charlie misbehave in some way and suffer horrible fates but not really ("She'll be burned to death in the furnace!" "Well, possibly yes, but actually I think that particular furnace isn't lit today..").

What you're more likely to be blissfully unaware of is that Charlie has also been co-opted by a fetish community, thanks to its inclusion of Violet Beauregarde, a girl who obsessively chews gum and who eats an experimental piece of gum without permission and ends up inflated "like a blueberry". Apparently, inflation to ridiculous size gets some people all excited. When I saw the back cover of the book, which talked about the characters having to face "their own melting, inflating, or poisoned bodies", I immediately got the feeling that this could be another Witch Girls Adventures, in which the author not-so-subtly works their own fetish into an RPG.

Well, I was wrong about that. It's not at all subtle. It's not even not-so-subtle. The adventure actually contains a scene where a person inflated into blueberry form is gang-raped by Oompa-Loompas.

So, right. We kick off with a background section, which has a whole bunch of unoriginal stuff to say, in long-winded fashion. Basically, there was an aboriginal tribe in Peru called the Aphayay Aliyu who grew cocoa trees. Five random Mayan magic-using shamans turned up, attacked the tribe, and were killed because caster supremacy apparently isn't a thing in fiction. Their magic infected one of the cocoa trees, turning it into a huge magical tree called Old Growth, which created cocoa with weird side effects that warped the tribesman. It was also addictive, so they kept eating it, and even worshipped and made sacrifices to the tree. Then, a businesswoman-turned-explorer called Lucia De Castillo turned up, was mistaken for a goddess by the tribesman (oh god, yes, you read that, I share your cringe) and got the idea of transplanting the tree into Europe in order to sell the addictive chocolate after "removing the degradation it might cause". I have no idea how she knew she could do that.

Actually, the introduction to the adventure states that the reason Lucia's so rich is that she's selling chocolate in the form of sweet and creamy bars, rather than as a bitter powder for making drinks - essentially, she's duplicated the real-world 1847 invention of chocolate bars but done it several centuries earlier. The only problem with that is that to make chocolate bars you don't need weird addictive cocoa from a magic tree. Essentially, she went off on this grand adventure and it turned out to be practically nothing to do with her actual successful business. We are told that Lucia is "an evil business woman who enslaves those weaker than her because she truly believes she is better, and causes pain and torment because it delights her. Every PC death is a personal victory for her". But there's nothing at all in her background about why she'd so directly evil. And remember that she removes any negative effects from the magical tree's cocoa before selling the chocolate. Still, um, she's doing something evil to get the PCs sent after her, right?

No, actually. The lead for the adventure is that the PCs are hired by merchants to steal stuff from the factory. They'll get 200 silver for a sample of her beans, 100 for her chocolate liquor, 500 for her recipe, 100 for any secret ingredients, 500 for a map of the factory, and 10000 if they can take over the entire factory (which means killing her). So the PCs are literally breaking into her factory to cause havoc for money, and potentially just killing the owner because someone else would rather own the factory. Yet Lucia's supposed to be the evil capitalist. Ew boy.

The factory has three floors; the main floor, the basement, and an upper floor that's just Lucia's bedroom. It's assumed that the PCs are coming to the main entrance near the docks where shipments are regularly offloaded. The adventure tells the GM to roll for what kind of shipment is coming in when the PCs come by: most are things being traded for chocolate, but on a 6, the shipment is: "slaves/test subjects for silver". There is, um, rather less consideration given to what happens if the PCs observe this and then tell the authorities that, um, holy poo poo, the chocolate factory is slave trading. Other than that, there's a few random guards to sneak by, and the shipping manager Karl Weiss. He'll talk to the PCs, but doesn't know anything about what goes on inside the factory, and Lucia pays him well but that she's a "bit frightening". Anyway, let's get to the meat: when the players actually get into the factory.

The entrance lobby is a small room with a huge painting of Lucia as a goddess on one wall, and hand-shaped coat hooks on the south wall. Examining the coat hooks reveals that they're actual human hands set into the wall and painted gold, and a placard above them reads "The price of thievery". Speaking of thievery, there's also 90 silver worth of coats hanging on the hooks for free. However, if the PCs try to steal the painting, a blast of gas is released, and the players must save vs Poison (there's no Detect or Disarm options listed) or get their first experience of this adventure's big gimmick: the Random Disease Table.

The Random Disease Table is what this adventure makes you roll on whenever you screw up, or generally, whenever it has any excuse to make you do so. It contains the various afflictions that are caused by poisons in the factory derived from the non-cocoa pods of Old Growth. You roll d8, and get one of these:

Noxious Berry Curse. You spend 1d4+1 munites with your skin turning blue, then 10 minutes swelling up to as wide as you are toll, which will burst your armor, reduce your speed to 10', and give a penalty to attack. After 10 minutes like that, you swell up even more to the point you can't do anything, and if that isn't resolved in 12 hours, you explode - and the juice you explode into requires everyone nearby to save vs Poison or suffer the curse themselves. The only cure is to be "juiced", either by the other PCs squeezing you (!) or by the juicing machine in the factory, and even this only turns you back to regular size and suspends the symptoms for a while.

Yep, this is the fetish one. Pretty much everything in this adventure is just intended to provide excuses for the PCs to become subject to this. It's even the only disease that has any significant number of specific uses in the adventure, whereas the others generally only come into play if they're randomly rolled.

Taffy Skin Disease. For 10 minutes your limbs start to stretch longer and longer, and then 10 minutes after that you're a walking pile of taffy. Oddly, all this does is to double your encumbrance and give you an extra 5 foot reach at the cost of -1 to hit.

Terrible Swells. Your voice gets squeaky for 1d6+1 minutes, then you swell up into a 10x10 sphere which floats towards the ceiling. Your armor bursts off your body, you get -2 to attack, and you're a balloon now. This is the first of several hints that this game is based on the 1971 musical film version of Willy Wonka, since this refers to a scene which was added into that version.

Rock Candy Skin. Blood red sugar crystals spread over your body and clothes. They reflect the light (which gives a stealth penalty) but they actually protect you for one hit - -2 to hit until they are actually hit for the first time, after which they smash. You can still take your clothes off, but any new clothes or armor you put on will have crystals form on it too. The flavor text says this also makes your skin itch, but there's no other penalty.

Irresistable Smell. This is.. well, totally ridiculous. After 10 minutes, everyone near you - including other PCs - must save a save vs Magic or try to eat you! They may do nothing but try to eat you, inflicting 1d4 damage with bites, until you're dead or the smell is masked by some other strong scent you put on.

Brittle Throat Disease. After 1d4+2 minutes your vocal cords get encased in nut brittle candy. The book specifically says that the player is now forbidden from speaking as their character. If you screw up and speak, you get stabbed in the throat by the brittle for 1 point of damage, and particles of the brittle are blown at whoever you were speaking to, who then have to save vs Poison or catch the same condition themselves. We do love things that are defined in OOC terms, don't we. The cure is to glug down a gallon of scalding hot liquid (!!) which causes 1d6 damage, but fully cures the disease.

Chocolate Vomit. After 1d8+1 minutes you have to make a save vs Poison every minute or vomit acidic chocolate over the nearest character, or yourself. This ruins all non-metallic clothing and armor.

Uncontrollable Craving. For 2d6 minutes, any time you see chocolate you must save vs Magic or eat it. After that time is up, you have to save vs Magic to do anything but eat chocolate if it is available. The book notes that you will eat until you explode given the chance, but no rules for when this happens. It also has a specific footnote that "any weight gain caused by this chocolate consumption is permanent and cannot be lost". Taking it literally, that presumably means that even starving yourself won't make you lose the weight.. which presumably means you can never starve after this.

Assuming the players left the painting alone, they have a choice of two doors: one leads to a meeting room and the other to a corridor. The meeting room has a meeting table, a bar with some regular alcoholic drinks, some chocolate samples on a cart, and three more paintings of Lucia, all of which have the exact same trap as the one in the entry chamber. If the PCs want to eat any of the chocolates, they're just Lucia's regular ones, so they don't do any harm, but they are addictive. Eating one means a d6 roll, and on a 6, the character must save vs Poison. If they save, then the next chocolate eaten requires a roll of 2d6, then 3d6, and so on. Failure triggers the addiction, which gives a feeling of "itchy skin, dry mouth, and tugging at the back of their eyeballs" and -1 to all d20 rolls until they either eat another chocolate or go cold turkey for a week.

Oh, but wait, did I say the chocolates were harmless? Well, they're not. That business about removing the negative effects from the chocolate isn't 100%. The characters also have to roll d10 per chocolate eaten, and on a 1, they get to roll on yet another random table of random effects:

1 - Your skin goes brown.
2 - You can't stay awake.
3 - You break out in pimples and take -3 Charisma.
4 - You gain 1d10x10 pounds of fat instantly. (Groan)
5 - You become suggestible and must obey direct orders.
6 - Your skin starts flaking off, making you vulnerable to fire and heat.
7 - All your teeth fall out. (-1 Charisma)
8 - Your bones get fragile. (+1 damage from blunt attacks)
9 - You bleed out of your eyes. (-1 penalty on ranged attacks)
10 - You.. oh god. Really. Am I going to have to type this? You.. bloat up and constantly fart out of all orifices, giving everyone near you -1 to their rolls.
11 - You fall in love with the next person who looks you in the eyes.
12 - The GM tells you you're taking half damage from all sources, but you actually take damage normally.

And all of these are permanent. Really. Really. Remember, half the point of this adventure is that Lucia is super successful and thousands of people eat her chocolate. I think that if it had an occasional side effect of making you bleed out of your eyes forever, someone would have noticed that by now. For god's sake. And these are the chocolates Lucia puts out for the people she's meeting - who are supposed to be there. The adventure does try to hedge its bet on this by saying that it only counts for "chocolate consumed inside the factory" but it's not clear how this changes anything.

The meeting room has another door coming out further up in the previously mentioned hallway, which is papered with designs of exotic fruit. If for some bizarre reasons the PCs decide to lick the illustrations, they taste like the fruit, and do no other harm. I have no idea what kind of PCs randomly lick the walls of buildings, but hey. There's a door leading to the guest quarters and another small door which is locked. "Picking the lock or breaking the door" immediately triggers the dreaded Random Disease Gas trap. And yes, that happens even if you successfully pick the lock, and again there's no detect/disarm roll, so unless the PCs have somehow gotten the key by this point (Lucia has it) they've certainly been hit with that table by now.

The guest quarters are fairly ordinary; a couple of small sleeping areas separated by hanging curtains, and some wardrobes, in which the PCs can find some dresses and an opal brooch worth 250 silver which belonged to the Countess of Somerset who was a huge fan of Lucia's chocolate.

So, there's now no way forward except for the trapped door. Remember, you can't avoid that trap, so every PC who didn't make their save now has a random disease effect. And when they crack it open, they find the Chocolate Room straight out of the 1971 film. Giant chocolate river with bridges across it, bushes yielding mints and chili plants, and a waterfall to the west and a tunnel to the east. There's a second tunnel behind the waterfall and a boat anchored near the eastern tunnel, with one human sized seat and some thin benches too small for people. The chocolate itself is scalding hot, 10 foot deep, and does 1d4 damage to anyone immersed in it. Of course, there's a good chance that one of your PCs is already trying to drink the river, either because of chocolate obsession or because of peanut brittle at the back of their throat. Eating the chocolate has the same "eating chocolate in the factory" effect that applied to the ones in the meeting room.

There's a couple of doors leading off here into other hallways, and the top of the waterfall flows through from an opening in the wall. If a PC wants to squeeze through the opening - which does involve being immersed in the chocolate - then they end up in a room where 20 Oompa... um.. Aphayay Aliyu pygmies are turning the paddle-wheels that feed the waterfall. There's nothing else there (except from another door into the same hallway) so all the PC needs to do is to not annoy the pygmies.

The secondary hallway from the chocolate room has plain, unmarked walls; is dirty and grassy, and has a single pair of double doors, through which lies the greenhouse. In which the horror awaits.

It's a large domed greenhouse where the Old Growth tree has been transplanted. The pygmies have their village here, a collection of 50 huts made out of cocoa bean pods. The pygmies only speak their own language, although some know a little bit of Spanish. There are 20 pygmies in the village, and 10 pygmies cutting cocoa pods - and poison pods - down from the tree. If any of the PCs try to pull any of the poison pods off the tree, they must save vs Breath Weapon or roll on the Random Disease Table with any grace period on the effect reduced to zero. There are also 3 giant mosquitoes buzzing around the tree, who pollinate the tree, and from time to time will lay eggs inside one of the pygmies in order to reproduce themselves...

.. And just to the south of the tree are 5 stone sacrificial slabs where a random person with Noxious Berry Curse is being "cut into by 2d6 pygmies and hosed".

Actually, that's not quite true. There's only a 1 in 3 chance of that. There's another 1 in 3 chance that three people are tied up being bled to death while 2d6 pygmies are having sex with each other while covered in the victim's blood, and a 1 in 6 chance that there's a female guard with Noxious Berry Curse being prepared for sacrifice. If it happens that the pygmies are raping an inflated victim, a PC who joins in might win some trust from the pygmies.

The pygmies aren't immediately hostile, but if they do anything against the tree, the mosquitoes, or Lucia in their sight, they attack the PCs with blowpipes (groan) with poison darts that inflict Noxious Berry Curse (GROAN). If any PCs get inflated, they roll them over to the sacrificial slabs ready to be "used" for the next orgy. There's also a Chieftess, who is ridiculously fat, carried around on a palanquin, and doesn't have a blowpipe, but can cast a few 1st and 2nd level spells.

Assuming the players got through that crap (and it's worth mentioning that the only thing of interest to the PCs there would be the cocoa beans on the tree, which can be taken from later along the production line), they can get into the Northmost corridor, which is where the bits of the factory that actually function as a factory are found. First, there's the roastery and cocoa mill, which is staffed by 30 pygmies and so hot that any PC has to roll 1d6 each round they're in the room or lose 2 Con, cumulative. Milled cocoa nibs are carried through a conveyer belt in the corridor, through a room full of pipes and flows (with 20 pygmies and also metalworks so close to each other that PCs who don't crawl have to save vs Breath Weapon or take a point of damage from brushing up against it. If they roll a 1 on the saving throw, their hand gets caught, trapping them until the hand is hacked off. Yay) The pipes end up in the creamery, where 10 pygmies work together stirring milk and sugar into the chocolate liquor and separating the cocoa butter. The resulting mixed chocolate is dropped into the chocolate river. South of the corridor leading to the village is the Packaging room where the pygmies take chocolate from the river in the Chocolate Room and pour it into molds to be set into chocolate bars, then packed into crates. There are 20 pygmies in the room.. but every other round the GM has to roll 1d6, and on a 1, a random pygmy gets their arm squashed in one of the presses(!). This room also has some external doors to the loading dock. Presumably these would be opened when a chocolate shipment arrives, which should give the PCs an alternative route into the factory, but they never bothered mentioning it at the start of the adventure.

So, apart from the weirdness with the pygmies and the river (which is totally pointless), Lucia has a perfectly ordinary chocolate bar factory which would work fine with regular cocoa and has no need to use weird magical chocolate that debilitates 1 in 10 of the people who eat it. Also, there's no mention of what part of this machinery removes the negative effects from the cocoa.

Also off the packaging room is a storeroom full of, well, associated stuff that the factory needs to use - plus staircases to the lower and upper levels, and the body of a thief riddled with blowgun dart wounds. The thief was carrying 23 silver, a mirror, a garrotte, and their attempt at drawing a map, but interfering with the body in any way causes it to crumble to dust and trigger a Random Disease Table roll for anyone in 10 foot with no saving throw. Yay!

Down the stairs lies the basement - or the PCs could get here by riding the boat along the chocolate river, although the underground tunnel is completely dark until it pulls up at a south dock. The adventure specifically says that any player who quotes any of Willy Wonka's lines from this section of the film causes the boat to lurch forward, and every PC on the boat must roll a 1d6 and fall into the river on a 1. Because, you know, anyone who's pointing out your extremely clever and subtle reference deserves to ruin things for the whole group. If the PCs follow further along the chocolate river, it loops around until it reaches the paddle-wheels operated by the pygmies who run the waterfall, which means it's completely pointless other than to provide the boat to the basement. If I recall, in the film it was explained that because they made a huge variety of chocolate products the river was a handy distribution system for raw chocolate, but here they only make one thing.

Downstairs there's the boiler room (which has the same heat penalty as the roasting room and 20 pygmies, only these ones attack on sight). Then there's Lucia's lab, with 8 bubbling cauldrons and a northmost wall with chains and 12 sets of shackles bolted to it, and - in the east corner of the room - a wooden crank vice with a woman inside who's swelled up to blueberry size thanks to Noxious Berry Curse (gee, it sure is odd that none of the NPCs in this adventure got any of the other diseases, isn't it?) The crank vice, as you might guess, is the juicing machine. Lucia has been feeding her berry poison, juicing her just enough to keep her exploding, making cuts in her body to extract the juice (for some reason), seeing what happens when someone has the Berry Curse for a really long time, and, um.. "sexually torturing her, using Hilda's bloated, helpless body for her own twisted pleasures."

Yea.

Any players with Noxious Berry Curse can use the juicing machine to reduce the symptoms, and they can also juice and free the trapped woman, who is a thief named Hilda Copperplate who'll help in exchange for rescue. She'll hint that there's something important in one of the cauldrons. If the players are daft enough by this point to examine the cauldrons, they get another misery roll:

1-5: as soon as it's looked, at the cauldron boils over and splashes acid on anyone in 5 feet;
6: hazelnut chocolate that gives you Brittle Throat Disease;
7: blueberry chocolate that gives you (groan) Noxious Berry Curse;
8: actual properly made chocolate which doesn't give you anything other than the "eating chocolate in the factory" penalty;
9: a white puffy condensed milk monster that reaches out of the cauldron to touch PCs with a scalding pseudopod that melts body parts on a failed save vs Breath Weapon;
10: an exploding herb liquor that deals 2d6 damage in 5 foot;
11: a proper sample of chocolate liquor, which is what the merchants might want;
12: a substance that reduces the speed and debilitating effects of any of the diseases by half.

Finally, there's a prison with a couple of cells, with two children held prisoner crying and wailing for help. Ah, we must save these poor children, mustn't we? What kind of evil PC would leave crying, desperate children, chained up in a cell? Well, apparently the kind of PC who wins this adventure. Both of the children are affected by upgraded versions of Random Diseases that activate after 1d4 more rooms are explored and become instantly contagious to any PC that comes into contact with them with no saving throw.

I really hope you don't roll Irresistible Smell for either of the children's Random Diseases, by the way. I can't imagine there's a group in the world where the GM would be able to remain behind the screen for long after telling the players that they have to make a save or else attempt to eat the children they just rescued.

So, how about upstairs? There's three flights of stairs, leading up to a door locked with a set of ivory piano keys. Playing the correct song opens the door; Lucia knows it, and Hilda overheard Lucia humming it, so she also knows it. Prying the door open or playing the wrong piece more than three times will trigger yet another Random Disease Table poison gas trap. To open the door, the PCs must play Greensleeves; playing the Marriage Of Figaro will disable the lock completely; and playing any song from the Willy Wonka film will instantly release Noxious Berry Curse gas affecting all characters in 5 feet with no save. This is presumably the adventure equivalent of Knights of the Dinner Table's Dave having the PCs attacked by 100 orcs because one of them pointed out that the dungeon had the same layout as his house.

The only thing to be found upstairs is Lucia's quarters, and the only thing of interest to be found there is her safe. Picking the lock.. oddly, does not trigger any sort of disease based gas at all, but does cause a vial of sulphuric acid to destroy the recipe book inside. Apart from that book, there's also 40,000 silver worth of trade bars (assuming the PCs can carry the heavy bars out), 5000 silver and a bunch of contracts for shipping chocolate. The recipe book can be sold, or if the PCs take over the factory, they need to have the recipe book to continue making her chocolate. It's not clear why, since the pygmies seem to do all the actual work and they know what they're doing, but hey.

Now, what about Lucia herself? She's the one and only wandering monster in the adventure. She's accompanied by 4 pygmies visits every area on the Main Floor, spending 10 minutes in each, then goes down to the Inventing Room on the paddlewheel boat to work for 5 hours, then returns to her quarters to sleep. She's a 3rd level fighter wearing chain armor, a rapier, and carrying 2 pistols, and also carrying (of course) a vial of Noxious Berry Poison. She's also wearing a talisman that halves her aging rate, keeps her healthy, and makes her immune to diseases and poisons. If it's taken off her, time catches up with her and she instantly withers into an old woman. And, as the adventure specifically mentions, she instantly gains 200lb in weight.

It's worth bearing in mind that there's the possibility the PCs meet Lucia in the very first room. Since there's nothing in the adventure that improves the PCs combat potential or weakens Lucia, there is absolutely no reason not to fight her there. Killing Lucia enables the PCs to potentially take over the factory, but there's no other real reason to.

Let's look at those goals again. 200 silver for a sample of her beans - they can get that from the greenhouse or from the production line. 100 for her chocolate liquor, which can be gotten randomly from the inventing room or just from the production line. 100 for any secret ingredients - but there aren't any, unless you count the magic beans, in which case it overlaps with the earlier one. Given that there's 340 silver worth of loot available in the entrance hall and guest bedroom without the PCs having to do anything, if the PCs are actually targeting any of these goals they'll hopefully realize they're not worth the bother.

500 for her recipe, which means breaking into her office and picking the lock. 500 for a map of the factory - I have no idea how the merchants would verify this, but given that the players only need to briefly look into each room and then run, it doesn't seem too unreasonable. And finally 10000 if they can take over the entire factory, which means killing Lucia and then opening the safe without setting off the trap, and also assumes that they are OK with the idea of being paid to assassinate a factory owner just for the crime of being successful (remember that no-one outside the factory knows about the pygmies or the weird diseases).

Just in case there wasn't enough, the book ends with.. a walkthrough comic. I've never seen anything like this before. It's a blown-up version of the adventure map in cutaway 3D with narrative boxes describing a sample playthrough of the adventure. It would actually be pretty awesome if this were literally any other adventure. Here's what happens:

Eight PCs pull up to the docks. They cast Charm Person on Karl Weiss, who gives them the keys to the factory (which he isn't supposed to have), then the fighter shoots Karl in the head and the other PCs rush into the factory while the Wizard tries to dress up as a chocolate customer and gets ignored. Three of the PCs eat the chocolate samples in the meeting room; one gains 40 pounds and the other two fall in love. Meanwhile, one of the other PCs attempts to steal the portrait in the entrance hall and gets hit with poison gas. The fighter breaks the lock off the Chocolate Room door, and they walk through it into the factory. While exploring, the other PC who ate the samples has their teeth fall out in the liquor vat and is beaten to death by pygmies.

Meanwhile, one of the players has gotten Taffy Skin, and another's skin is turning blue. They arrive in the greenhouse just in time for the start of an orgy, while the other two PCs start to vomit chocolate and attempt to drink the river. While in the river, two of the mosquitoes swoop down on him and implant him. The fighter shoots his pistol at the mosquitoes, thereby angering the pygmies who pincushion the vomiting PC with arrows. He promptly runs for the doors and dies of exposure in the woods.

The wizard casts a spell on the inflating PC to make them even bigger and rolls them to block the doors out of the greenhouse to keep the pygmies at bay, and the remaining players head downstairs, and start to kill the pygmies in the boiler room when one of them turns into a bubble and floats against the ceiling. They release the condensed milk monster just as Lucia arrives, and the fighter promptly kicks the milk monster's cauldron into her, dumping her into the chocolate river (um, hang on, isn't the talisman supposed to "keep her healthy?"). The remaining PCs free the two children and then use the ballooned character as a lift tied to the boat to lift them through the ceiling! Yay! Two PCs survived and escaped, they didn't achieve any of their goals, and the two diseased children will spread Lucia's bizarre diseases to innocent people in the city. Yes, it specifically says that.

I don't really know how I can conclude this. I don't know who would want to run or play this. I don't know why it exists. I sure as heck don't know why DTRPG put it on the featured list.

hyphz fucked around with this message at 21:32 on Feb 4, 2017

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



SirPhoebos posted:

Guess who just passed their $500 Patreon goal

Does that mean podcast potbellied pig?

LongDarkNight
Oct 25, 2010

It's like watching the collapse of Western civilization in fast forward.

Oven Wrangler

theironjef posted:

Remind me which one that is.

Secrets of Zir'An.

Mr.Misfit
Jan 10, 2013

The time for
SkellyBones
has come!


Hang on, Lamentations of the Flame Princess is set in the 17th century, according to weapon technology and look and feel somewhere during or shortly after the thirty years war (Better than Any Man is specifically set during the Swedish invasion of northern Germany even!) but Marriage of Figaro wasn´t written until 1786! Also...why? The entire module seems based on shock value and absurdity alone, as an adventure to experience its pointless, doesn´t offer anything new or interesting and seems to serve purely to gently caress with people, especially in light of the fact that you get punished for mentioning the one movie the entire dungeon is based off of. Stupidly based of, I might say. I suppose thats LotFP in a nut shell, eh? *sigh*

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Mr.Misfit posted:

Also...why? The entire module seems based on shock value and absurdity alone, as an adventure to experience its pointless, doesn´t offer anything new or interesting and seems to serve purely to gently caress with people, especially in light of the fact that you get punished for mentioning the one movie the entire dungeon is based off of. Stupidly based of, I might say. I suppose thats LotFP in a nut shell, eh? *sigh*
Fetish bait. No, really, it's fetish bait, that's all it is. The author has some other creations that I've seen and it's all just Magical Realm insertion thick enough to cut it with a knife and spread it on toast. It's all very unpleasant and distasteful stuff with a skin-deep veneer of "this is a standard LotFP/OGL product" and I would recommend not looking further into it for your own sake.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Well, TBF it's not official LotFP.

But it is

A glance at the author's blog shows that everything on display here is not an isolated case.

hyphz
Aug 5, 2003




Alien Rope Burn posted:

Well, TBF it's not official LotFP.

Really? It has a LFP publisher ID and is in the DTRPG bundle of LotFP products.

Edit: Holy poo poo the author is actually publishing an RPG supplement called Vaginas are Magic

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007





hyphz posted:

Really? It has a LFP publisher ID and is in the DTRPG bundle of LotFP products.

Edit: Holy poo poo the author is actually publishing an RPG supplement called Vaginas are Magic

You know what you have to do.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



I'm being serious, you do not want to pull that thread. You're not gonna like what you find. I stumbled across his book Hell House Beckons in a Bundle of Holding and it was just an awful mix of guro fetishism, weight gain fetishism, age regression, bad writing and incredibly half-assed pop culture references and I'm pretty sure there's more stuff I'm forgetting. It's up there with all of the awful nonsense of Black Tokyo in tone and quality and construction. I can't even begin to fathom what that product contains but it's just not worth engaging with, period.

Daeren
Aug 17, 2009

YER MUSTACHE IS CROOKED


I got that same bundle HostileV did, trust me, he's right. It ain't even funny gross, it's just "I need a shower" gross once you realize the guy's making all the art, and that he's putting a suspicious level of detail on the gore in these first few pictures, and oh that's just a ghost of a naked morbidly obese woman that turns people into babies by forcibly breastfeeding them, and he made art for that too.

Just...it ain't worth it, guys. You all already have the idea.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


hyphz posted:

Really? It has a LFP publisher ID and is in the DTRPG bundle of LotFP products.

Edit: Holy poo poo the author is actually publishing an RPG supplement called Vaginas are Magic

Wow, you're right, it's even on their official store, I sit corrected. I just assumed because it wasn't... well. What an awful game.

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

Horned Rat-Sempai Noticed Me!


hyphz posted:

Blood In The Chocolate.

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


Even vanilla Wonka has too much body horror for me, but fetishes aside, 'break into body horror Wonka's factory' is a decent premise for an adventure in...something. Madlands? Mage? Vampire and it's a Tzimiche?

Haystack
Jan 23, 2005







Count Chocula posted:

Even vanilla Wonka has too much body horror for me, but fetishes aside, 'break into body horror Wonka's factory' is a decent premise for an adventure in...something. Madlands? Mage? Vampire and it's a Tzimiche?

Esoterrorists? At least with that you get the catharsis of burning it to the ground and covering up the ashes.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Count Chocula posted:

Even vanilla Wonka has too much body horror for me, but fetishes aside, 'break into body horror Wonka's factory' is a decent premise for an adventure in...something. Madlands? Mage? Vampire and it's a Tzimiche?

Reinventing children's books as modern horror is usually really, really trite as far as premises go, I feel. Even having done it myself, it's just not clever or edgy as one might think it is.

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


Rahl Dahl's kinda the opposite, where 90% of his stuff people just kinda pretend isn't full of stuff that would give Clive Barker nightmares even when people are getting morphed into grotesque forms and eaten.

A Night's Black Agents adventure with Dahl and Ian Fleming on the OSS would be fun.

Carados
Jan 27, 2009

We're a couple, when our bodies double.


Young Freud posted:

Does that mean podcast potbellied pig?

I live in San Deigo, I better get to pet that thing once.

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ZeroCount
Aug 12, 2013




Alien Rope Burn posted:

Reinventing children's books as modern horror is usually really, really trite as far as premises go, I feel. Even having done it myself, it's just not clever or edgy as one might think it is.

its Roald Dahl though

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