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marshmallow creep
Dec 10, 2008

I've been sitting here for 5 mins trying to think of a joke to make but I just realised the animators of Mass Effect already did it for me



I looked at building a few sample characters myself (with my admittedly cursory knowledge of the book), and one thing that I found I like about Shadow of the Demon Lord, at least that I've noticed, is that you can't make a spellcaster with a basically bottomless toolbag with instant "gently caress-you"s for everything. I made a full caster Priest set up and think he caps out at...seven or eight spells known.

I also like that spellcasting is kind of...open. A character that dips into casting even once can have at least two or three spells, and won't automatically be worse at casting them than a full caster, and even a full "martial" classed Death Dealer could spend their level 4 on a Destruction cantrip if they are so inclined. It also seems like the game has something of a sanity check on caster powers; I didn't see any roll or dies when I was scanning for spells (though to be fair, there are a lot of spells so I may have overlooked some). I think the strongest single spell I saw in the game, damage-wise, was 9d6, and it was spell you'd get to cast once at max level. A dedicated weapon based character might be able do 5d6 or even 7d6 a turn if they had a lucky streak. Casters can be still be invaluable, but they aren't equipped to obviate or replace the other half of the party entirely.

Speaking of Make Mountains of the Dead: Agreed that it's great name, but how often is a level 10 going to be running into crowds of guys with 20HP or less? Seems great if your antagonist is the zombie-horde kind of necromancer, I guess.

marshmallow creep fucked around with this message at 02:36 on Feb 26, 2017

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Serf
May 5, 2011




marshmallow creep posted:

I looked at building a few sample characters myself (with my admittedly cursory knowledge of the book), and one thing that I found I like about Shadow of the Demon Lord, at least that I've noticed, is that you can't make a spellcaster with a basically bottomless toolbag with instant "gently caress-you"s for everything. I made a full caster Priest set up and think he caps out at...seven or eight spells known.

I also like that spellcasting is kind of...open. A character that dips into casting even once can have at least two or three spells, and won't automatically be worse at casting them than a full caster, and even a full "martial" classed Death Dealer could spend their level 4 on a Destruction cantrip if they are so inclined. It also seems like the game has something of a sanity check on caster powers; I didn't see any roll or dies when I was scanning for spells (though to be fair, there are a lot of spells so I may have overlooked some). I think the strongest single spell I saw in the game, damage-wise, was 9d6, and it was spell you'd get to cast once at max level. A dedicated weapon based character might be able do 5d6 or even 7d6 a turn if they had a lucky streak. Casters can be still be invaluable, but they aren't equipped to obviate or replace the other half of the party entirely.

Speaking of Make Mountains of the Dead: Agreed that it's great name, but how often is a level 10 going to be running into crowds of guys with 20HP or less? Seems great if your antagonist is the zombie-horde kind of necromancer, I guess.

SotDL has an interesting system where magic-users get comparatively fewer spells than an equivalent character in another system, but gets more uses of them. Spells can't solve every problem, and due to the restrictions placed on how many spells you'll even learn, you end up limited in a good way. You have to choose your spells carefully, and they can be pretty potent under the right circumstances. That 9d6 spell can only be cast once, too, whereas most mundane characters will be hitting with 5d6 or 7d6 attacks much more frequently. I feel that this encourages spell casters to choose their moments carefully but also explore spells that might be less about damage and more about buffing and altering the playing field.

As for Make Mountains of the Dead, I think that depends entirely on the GM's encounter design. If a player picks the Death Dealer, that's a signal that they want to make use of their toolkit. There are tons of sub-20 Health enemies with a Difficulty Rating of around 10 or so. An average encounter for Master characters is 51-125 and the maximum recommended difficulty per day is 500. It would be pretty easy to throw in a few groups of humanoid enemies or medium monsters/animals into a few of those fights to give the Death Dealer something to use their ability on. I just think you need to budget for what the characters want to do.

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010



Lipstick Apathy

Simian_Prime posted:

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that grown to not really like Sanity/Morality mechanics in RPGs in general that only serve to reduce player agency.

Those kind of "mental health" mechanics are a holdover from the days where it was expected that, by default, you would need them to get your players out of the D&D mindset of murderhobo shenanigans. I can accept a "mental Hit Point system" that goes down to reflect how close a character is to a complete breakdown, but stuff that just lets the GM hijack your characters actions ("you failed your Saniy roll, so now you must attack your friends", or "you have -2 to actions because you feel sad") rankle me.

I think that the whole "mental health" is also supposed to be a rationalized player prompt that "you should start acting/feeling this way", because sometimes it comes up in play that players really resent or don't want the GM to be able to tell the players how their characters should be feeling, as if that removes agency from them, and that rather the GM should just "put all the pieces of the universe in place" and wait for the players to come to the correct conclusion that yes, this room is in fact supposed to be scary.

===

On an unrelated note, I found this on twitter and thought it was relevant to the thread:



Credit to:
https://twitter.com/open_sketchbook/status/835595957668573184

LatwPIAT
Jun 6, 2011

Do I need a title?


Derek is a treasure and I am honoured to be cooperating on an expansion for PATROL with him.

He's also the guy who wrote How was the sex???

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



Honestly, Dark Ages Vampire sounds like the WoD game I really want to play, and on the Terry Jones recommendation they brought up - save for his hate on for Knights (partially justifiable as they were pretty much dickheads, but it's kind of excessive in Medieval Lives), they're pretty fantastic books for people starting in on the subject, informative, funny - and his Barbarians pisses the hell out of the psuedo-fascist "Romans are the bestest!" types - always a plus in my book. There's other guys to go to if you want a more academic view of the period, but Jones is good for dispelling a lot of really annoying stereotypes.

And Shadow of the Demon Lord seems like a really good way to make spellcasters fun without dipping into the caster supremacy issue.

Cassa
Jan 29, 2009


Shadow of the Demon Lord review has a mistake, I can't find the bit where you talk more about Eidolons

Serf
May 5, 2011




Cassa posted:

Shadow of the Demon Lord review has a mistake, I can't find the bit where you talk more about Eidolons



By level 10, when your eidolon becomes a mecha, it would have 75 Health and 13 Defense. It isn't very hard to hit but it is beefy and it can heal itself. If you have the Technomancy tradition, you can use the rank-0 spell Jury-Rig to heal 1d6 damage to it as well, and you can use that at least 2 times a day. The eidolon kicks rear end.

marshmallow creep
Dec 10, 2008

I've been sitting here for 5 mins trying to think of a joke to make but I just realised the animators of Mass Effect already did it for me



A dedicated tank character is probably going to have 65 to maybe 80* Health depending on their path choices, so Engineers definitely have themselves some big boys backing them up.

* edit: yeah, a dwarf (with their +4 to health trait) who takes just the paths with the highest net health gains and stacks strength could get a health total of 74, which they could buff to 84.

That's another thing I kind of like about this game: health pools have a harder time getting wildly huge. A priest could expect about 50 health, a magician 30, a rogue 40, a warrior 60, depending on particular path choices. The variance doesn't seem as bad, compared to something like DnD where the dedicated fight character could end up with a HP cap five or more times greater than that of his fellows.

marshmallow creep fucked around with this message at 05:05 on Feb 26, 2017

The Lemondrop Dandy
Jun 7, 2007

If my memory serves me correctly...




Wedge Regret

Hostile V posted:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXBBGjUjy2c



CHAPTER ONE: BLOOD BATHERS


[*]Symbiosis: One day a Promethean named Halk was exploring their newfound ability to slither around as a puddle when they took a dip in a vat of cow blood and human blood. Then a Bather named Rachel got in the tub and everything got all hosed up. Halk is now stuck to Rachel's skin, making the two of them look like an attractive woman permanently covered in a thick layer of blood and capable of flaying people with a touch of Halk's covering. The two of them exist in this terrible state, draining people dry and staying out of the public eye as they try to find someone who can help separate them.


This one made me laugh really hard; it's like some sort of bizzare buddy cop movie premise.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



gradenko_2000 posted:

On an unrelated note, I found this on twitter and thought it was relevant to the thread:



Credit to:
https://twitter.com/open_sketchbook/status/835595957668573184

Yeah, this is really something special. We were not expecting anything this cool to happen today.

marshmallow creep
Dec 10, 2008

I've been sitting here for 5 mins trying to think of a joke to make but I just realised the animators of Mass Effect already did it for me



theironjef posted:

Yeah, this is really something special. We were not expecting anything this cool to happen today.

I wanted to compliment you guy on your podcast, actually--I have found I'd be bored to death walking five miles without you guys.

open_sketchbook
Feb 26, 2017

the only genius in the whole fucking business

I figured this was probably a good enough reason to finally register a new SA account and join the mess.

I wrote that I guess!

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



marshmallow creep posted:

I think the strongest single spell I saw in the game, damage-wise, was 9d6, and it was spell you'd get to cast once at max level. A dedicated weapon based character might be able do 5d6 or even 7d6 a turn if they had a lucky streak. Casters can be still be invaluable, but they aren't equipped to obviate or replace the other half of the party entirely.
Not only is that the most damaging spell that you can only cast once, it also does a bunch of damage to the caster, so be careful when you use it!

I did some math a while back and I think I managed to get a dedicated fighter build up to something like 8d6 with three boons or some crazy thing like that. Unfortunately, I don't think I have the math saved anywhere.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



marshmallow creep posted:

I wanted to compliment you guy on your podcast, actually--I have found I'd be bored to death walking five miles without you guys.

Thanks! It's been a hard two weeks so all the fun today has been a real relief after reading FATAL and watching Fifty Shades Darker at the same time.

open_sketchbook posted:

I figured this was probably a good enough reason to finally register a new SA account and join the mess.

I wrote that I guess!

Thanks to you too!

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012


theironjef posted:

Thanks! It's been a hard two weeks so all the fun today has been a real relief after reading FATAL and watching Fifty Shades Darker at the same time.

I... do you need to talk to someone?

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Heck, half the people in here have read FATAL before, and Fifty Shades was so vanilla that it ended up being my main complaint. We'll totally live. I'm just so pumped to talk about this poo poo book! Also I just designed a shirt based on one of my old jokes just so I could buy it for myself. It's a good day!

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


I am looking forward to the SMUG Kickstarter.

marshmallow creep posted:

I looked at building a few sample characters myself (with my admittedly cursory knowledge of the book), and one thing that I found I like about Shadow of the Demon Lord, at least that I've noticed, is that you can't make a spellcaster with a basically bottomless toolbag with instant "gently caress-you"s for everything. I made a full caster Priest set up and think he caps out at...seven or eight spells known.

Full Magicians get more spells, but that's like one extra rank 0 spell per tradition or so.

Serf posted:

As for Make Mountains of the Dead, I think that depends entirely on the GM's encounter design. If a player picks the Death Dealer, that's a signal that they want to make use of their toolkit. There are tons of sub-20 Health enemies with a Difficulty Rating of around 10 or so. An average encounter for Master characters is 51-125 and the maximum recommended difficulty per day is 500. It would be pretty easy to throw in a few groups of humanoid enemies or medium monsters/animals into a few of those fights to give the Death Dealer something to use their ability on. I just think you need to budget for what the characters want to do.

It's also not like in D&D where you can add up those AC bonuses till you become untouchable to mere mortals. A horde of mooks should not be ignored for too long.

Doresh fucked around with this message at 16:55 on Feb 26, 2017

RocknRollaAyatollah
Nov 26, 2008



Lipstick Apathy

Robindaybird posted:

Honestly, Dark Ages Vampire sounds like the WoD game I really want to play, and on the Terry Jones recommendation they brought up - save for his hate on for Knights (partially justifiable as they were pretty much dickheads, but it's kind of excessive in Medieval Lives), they're pretty fantastic books for people starting in on the subject, informative, funny - and his Barbarians pisses the hell out of the psuedo-fascist "Romans are the bestest!" types - always a plus in my book. There's other guys to go to if you want a more academic view of the period, but Jones is good for dispelling a lot of really annoying stereotypes.

I'll have to add it to my reading list. It seems to be out of print in the US but there's a number of vendor copies available on Amazon.

Josef bugman
Nov 17, 2011

NHP advocate.


RocknRollaAyatollah posted:

I'll have to add it to my reading list. It seems to be out of print in the US but there's a number of vendor copies available on Amazon.

It was also a tv series, I think it should be on youtube.

Ultiville
Jan 14, 2005

The law protects no one unless it binds everyone, binds no one unless it protects everyone.



Hostile V posted:

[*]The Endless Hunt: Ever since a Bather skinned a Werewolf with a silver knife and used their blood for a Ritual, they've been hunted by their pack. Unfortunately using Werewolf blood lead to the Bather's Ritual changing to accommodate the blood. Normally this would mean that the Bather can only use Werewolf blood, but the bond of the Pack altered it further. Now the Werewolves are just as immortal as the Bather, and if the Bather dies they die. This relationship has become a game of chases with the Werewolves trying to stop the Bather from hurting more people without killing them, but what's the end goal? It doesn't help that the Werewolves know the truth but don't want to face it.

When did this book come out? Because, uh, that's pretty much straight up Demona and Macbeth from Gargoyles.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Ultiville posted:

When did this book come out? Because, uh, that's pretty much straight up Demona and Macbeth from Gargoyles.
2009, a few months before Geist.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts World Book Nine: South America 2: Part 4: "Furthermore, once per melee the monkey can fire energy bolts from its eyes, inflicting 2D4x100 M.D. (small vehicles and robots who dodge the beam's main cone suffer only 2D6x10 M.D.)"

The Secrets of the Nazca Lines

The book notes the old UFOlogist trope that the Nazca Lines were somehow landing strips or signals for aliens. Or maybe just directions for ancient Nazca balloons. But wrong! It turns out they were a "magical defense grid" used to fight the Arkhons. Yes, the Nazca lines make giant kaiju energy animals used to battle alien invaders. However, they require a great price to use, and can temporary or permanently destroy ley lines or the casters themselves. The Nazca plateau has a "Super Nexus Point" (been a long time since we've heard of those). The drawings are powerful enough they actually dampen local magical energy even when not active, though.

Because they're so powerful, the drawings are regularly patrolled, mainly because the Arkhons have tried to blow them up a number of times, but also a few times evil line makers have used them "for their own nefarious purposes".

So the kaiju constructs are godlike forces that are immune to a lot of effects (it specifically calls out the OP spell carpet of adhesion, proving Carella actually paid attention to the rules, for what it's worth) and though energy protection can shield from their eyebeams, it doesn't protect from their phsyical attacks. They tend to be around 100'-300' though a few are 600'-900'. Their physical damage values are scaled for size, so that while they're pretty deadly to normal-sized people, they do damage in the hundreds to thousands of M.D.C. against things like ships or buildings. And, naturally, they have M.D.C. from around 3,000 to 12,000 M.D.C. In any case, we have:
  • A hummingbird that can fly in space and stun people with supersonic wingbeats (though presumably not both at the same time). There are several of these and so it comes in three different power levels.
  • A lizard that can exhale hurricanes to knock things around (including robots and tanks) or teleport.
  • A monkey that's a grappler that can shoot eyebeams or teleport. It's probably the best melee combatant of them.
  • A spider that can fly around even into orbit, and spin energy webs that can snare things on ground or sky. Apparently it can snare large ships with multiple webbings, but there's no rules for this.
  • A "tree of life" that can control the weather or shoot energy blasts, exactly what I think of when it comes to trees or life.
  • A "energy line system" that can be used as a enormous anti-ship cannon, and it'll automatically hit large targets, even as far away as orbit. But how do the line makers aim at things they can't see...? I guess it's just magic.
The Pantheon of the Sun

The Pantheon of the Sun - not to be confused with the Pantheon of Light from other Rifts books - is was born from Viracocha and Inti, two energy beings supposedly similar to alien intelligences. However, unlike most alien intelligences, they cared for living beings... because... reasons?... and learned to take on humanoid form. They allied with the elemental deities Pachamama and Illapa and defended worlds from the Splugorth and a bunch of other baddies, at least until their main world of worship was overrun by the Mechanoids™. They tried to establish themselves on Earth, but their home realm came under attack by Ahriman (of Zoroastrianism), and they escaped into a limbo realm to hide. Once they felt the magic return to Earth, they left to set back up on Earth, and see this as their last stand. As such, they plan to help out the Inca for centuries until they feel capable of expanding across the multiverse again.

Those who have read these reviews before know that the deity blocks in Rifts books are hideous, overblown messes. And it's time for another set.


"I'm not the sun god, I just... have the sun on my forehead, and... yeah, it's confusing..."

Viracocha, the All-Father

Apparently he appeared during a "chaotic period of the Megaverse, an apocalyptic war known as the Shattering". Well, this the first time it 's mentioned. Apparently there were "The Shatterers", "beings of evil related to the Horsemen of the Apocalypse" who blew up worlds and slew the Old Gods (not to be confused with The Old Ones, the Lovecraftian evils from Palladium Fantasy). Viracocha was part of a new generation of gods that defeated them, but he might be a renegade Shatterer that turned on his brethren. Most people don't believe that, though, because he's such a swell god. He's an orb of energy that often takes the form of a tall man with glowing eyes, and apparently was originally Caucasian, but reshaped himself to become Andean and wear Incan clothing. So he's literally the White God's Burden...? In any case, his powers relate to magic and ley lines, and he's a shadow of what he was compared to when he ruled multiple worlds.

15K MDC, 75K in the Incan capital, apparently he used to have 150K. He's a 20th level ley line walker and shifter, can turn into energy, can see invisible, through darkness, regenerate, resist energy attacks, heal and exorcise, close rifts, open rifts, create ley line storms, has dimensional blasts that do weak damage but have random effects (aging or deaging, sending people short distances in time or space, etc.), healing and ESP psychic powers, energy swords, 2k MDC plate armor, and he's vulnerable to evil rune swords, which is too bad, because every third named villain in this game carries one.

In real life, Viracocha was a creator god of sun and storms, not magic, who created a race of giants, didn't like them, flooded the Earth as a do-over, and made humans instead. He's real big on travelling dressed as a beggar for divine gotchas, and actually is supposed to be pretty tubby in line with the standards of beauty at the time. Don't weight-hate, Rifts!


Putting Siembieda's art right next to Post's art is... definitely a choice one can make.

Inti, the Sun God

Another energy being, Inti only kind of approximates the human form and mostly tends to glow no matter what. He's Viracocha's bro... or son... one of the two, anyway... and fights for what's right. It turns out he fought the Nightlords at one time (a shout-out to CJ Carella's original-ish Palladium RPG, Nightbane) but barely survived and escaped. He wants to return to defeat the Nightlords once he's powerful enough for round two. This desire to become more powerful is making him more imperialistic, and he might start slipping on the moral scale. As it is he's talking about just genociding the Arkhons and going on berserker rages, and Veracocha is starting to worry. Oh, yeah, and there's a gogua (the unsubtle sluglike Wormtongues from Rifts Conversion Book) and an ancient temporal raider who he's listened to as advisors, but they just might be trying to turn him to evil! Why? I guess what's just what they do.

10k MDC, 50k in the capital, but once had 100k. He's a 15th level ley line walker and generic "psychic", and has a lot of the same powers as Viracocha - but instead of rifts and dimensional flooey he can create energy fields or just fry vampires in proximity with his sunniness. He has all the ESP and physical psionic powers.

The mythological Inti is also a sun god (who has a duality with his sister who isn't in this, the moon good Mama Killa), and has a court that features a rainbow god and various star gods which sounds pretty cool, but you won't find that here. Also he filled his torso with gold dust and the ashes of dead Inca kings, which sounds like a detail worth including!... but give it up, this is Rifts.

Man, how can you skip Mama Killa? I mean, that name... Mama Killa... the jokes we could... oh well.


What's amazing is finding photo references of the gods.

Pachamama, the All Mother

So, Pachamama was a spirit of a living world (like Wormwood, from Rifts Dimension Book 1: Wormwood) and everything was happy and light and then the Dominators (from Rifts Dimension Book 2: Phase World) showed up and she fought them and everything was cool!

Ha ha, just kidding, have you read any of these divine writeups of good gods in Rifts? They're always getting their poo poo wrecked. So she was able to actually fight off the Dominators and kill one of them, but in turn, they dropped an antimatter bomb on her world, destroying it. Viracocha and Inti heard her scream for help (somehow) and came to wipe out the rest of the Dominators, then "in a unique feat of psychic surgery" they separated her out from the planet. And at first, she resented them for it, but eventually fell in love with Viracocha. It turns out she has the power to link with worlds, and was most traumatized when the Pantheon of the Sun lost their worlds, but has linked with Earth and has resolved to keep this one alive. She's naturally a mound of earth that creates limbs, but has learned to take on human form like you do.

12k / 60k MDC, is a 20th level warlock and mind melter, regenerates, senses the invisible, resistant to all nonmagical attacks, and can link with a world and sense anything through it, track people, and sense natural phenomena... though can't see through anything manmade. For some unexplained reason, though, she specifically can't find the Blood Weepers. Convenient for them! Oh, and she can increase crop yields or possibly bring back the dead, has all the non-"super" psionic powers, a psi-sword, summon earth elementals, including "5,000 minor earth elementals and 500 greater ones". Well, that could kick the Arkhons right off the planet, but... you know...



The mythical Pachamama was a fertility goddess of the Incas, and was originally something a cruel goddess that caused earthquakes, but eventually linked up with Virgin Mary imagery and chilled out. Along with Inti, she's an example of another living religion being represented here along with the Hindi gods from Conversion Book 2.

Illapa, God of Thunder & Storm

A small-time fertility god, he struggled with demon invaders on his world, but when he met Viracocha and the other members of the Pantheon of the Sun, they teamed up and went to the demons' home dimension and wiped them out, and he's been with them ever since. Oh, and if you're an Incan born within an open field during a thunderstorm, you qualify to be one of his priests. That seems to be a random way to hand out titles, but gods, whatareyagonnado. In any case, he's kind of an elemental god that often takes human form, and gives priests and heroes visions during storms. Apparently, he takes special offense to gods that abuse weather control, and as such is likely to come into conflict with Tlaloc (of the Aztec pantheon). One would think he'd be more upset about Enumu, the goddamn Lord of Drought (from the first South America book) who's pretty much on his doorstep loving with weather patterns on the regular, but no mention of that here.

9k / 45k MDC, 20th level warlock, can turn or see the invisible, regenerate, immune to electricity and resistant to energy, fly up to Mach 10, teleport, dimensionally travel, control the weather, control air and water elementals, travel to the astral plane (why not?), has all the ESP powers, and a magic club made from millennium tree wood, which may be the only effective millennium tree weapon in existence. Also, he can manipulate the weather with it, because... well, why not just be redundant. He also gets a sling that shoots lightning, sure.

Illapa is harder to track down information on, but he was a weather god who is said to keep the starry sky in a jug which he used to make rain, and did have a sling for lightning. It probably did more damage than 2d6 x 10 Mega-Damage in mythology, tho.


Legendary hero, or guy across from you at the gaming table?

Manao Capac, the First Inca

Hello, god which hasn't been mentioned previously in the setting! Apparently he was the first amongst the True Incas, but even after 20,000 years, he's still a godling. Huh, I wonder just how long it takes to become a god if he's still sheleping around as a sub-god after twenty millennia? In any case, he's Viracocha's primary agent, and keeps a low profile, often hiding his identity. With his superhero team, the "Chosen of the Sun", he's been going out and scouting the outside world. Recently, he barely escaped a fight with Tlaloc (the eeevil Aztec god of rains), and really wants to see the Aztec gods taken down a notch. But he admits the time isn't right yet. He's supposed to be a big hero and really has no nuance beside that.

In any case, he's a 14th level True Inca of Viracocha with crazy high stats even for one of them, extra psychic powers, and the "Sword of Manco Inca[/i], a Spanish greatsword taken by the Incas and apparently blessed by their sorcrers and priests. After the rifts came, he found it and it'd become super-magical. It does decent damage, senses evil, and can cast magic armor over him.

Manco Cápac may have been the real founder of the Inca people, and his likely history doesn't mesh too well with being a 20,000 year old godling. In fact, he was supposedly mummified upon his death, which seems like it could be an interesting hook. He's also the subject of legends regarding the founding of the Inca Empire, where he unites the tribes and then turns his evil brothers to stone, which seems like one way to clear up matters of succession.

The Heroes of the Sun: Manco Capac's Chosen

This is Manco's ~200 member group of heroes who are basically the Incan super-elite who have pretty close to absolute military authority. Given, they've supposedly only used it sensibly so far, which is a good record for a group hundreds wide. It has dragons, cosmo-knights, true incas, anti-monsters, true atlanteans, godlings, demigods, cyber-knights... if a character class is overpowered in Rifts, the chosen probably have a representative from it. This group is actually presented as a hook to base a campaign around, giving the PCs focus and missions. Alternately, they might be rivals for a group of PCs heroes, though given they're organized, have near-absolute authority, and have crazy powerful members, I can't imagine them not outshining most player characters.

Next: Mummies alive.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Alien Rope Burn posted:

This is Manco's ~200 member group of heroes who are basically the Incan super-elite who have pretty close to absolute military authority. Given, they've supposedly only used it sensibly so far, which is a good record for a group hundreds wide. It has dragons, cosmo-knights, true incas, anti-monsters, true atlanteans, godlings, demigods, cyber-knights... if a character class is overpowered in Rifts, the chosen probably have a representative from it. This group is actually presented as a hook to base a campaign around, giving the PCs focus and missions. Alternately, they might be rivals for a group of PCs heroes, though given they're organized, have near-absolute authority, and have crazy powerful members, I can't imagine them not outshining most player characters.

What's that? A Pikachu?

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Doresh posted:

What's that? A Pikachu?

If only. It's a callback to the one time Rifts got Brom to do art for them.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015



Ah, these guys. That's one hell of a weird name.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Hey, how about we do the thread's namesake? System Mastery presents FATAL. The first one, specifically.

Wrestlepig
Feb 25, 2011

my mum says im cool



Toilet Rascal

I laughed my lungs out at Grendel's Mum, thanks.

E: the game is fascinating for how opposed this is to characterisation at all. You can't even decide if you're a rapist or not.

Wrestlepig fucked around with this message at 03:50 on Feb 28, 2017

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts World Book Nine: South America 2: Part 5: "When he returned, his eyes wept bloody tears whenever he was saddened, enraged, or joyous!"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AFqYeXKK3I

Forces of Darkness

So we have Incan mummies and evil red giants.


"It's my casual hoodie."

The Ancient R.C.C. Incan Undead

So, these are Incan nobles that, as mentioned earlier, tried to mimic the sleep of the Incan gods by having themselves mummified. While there wasn't enough magic to make their rituals work initially, they were trapped in their bodies and went cray-zay, though some learned to project themselves astrally and learned magic or psionics that way (but how?) and taught it to the others (but how?). Then the rifts came back and they woke up, and hated all living things (but why?). And then they went around slaughtering or seeking worship, like a mummy do, but then the Incan gods showed back up and sent them to death or flight. A lot of them rallied around Emperor Yahuar Huacac, the "Blood Weeper" in the "City of the Dead", where no doubt they decorate everything with skulls. Not robot skulls, like a certain fascist state. Actual skulls.

Of course, it starts out the statblock saying they're not PC material, just in case you were dreaming of being a life-draining mummy. Their stats are overall superior to humans except for beauty (living standards of attractiveness, amirite?) and they've really strong. They get thousands of M.D.C., nightvision, regeneration, reduced damage from non-magical weapons, a touch that withers as a nasty (and potentially lethal) status effect, can control the undead (including lesser vampires), a ton of spells (common or necromantic, pick your flavor), super psionics including a psi-sword, and a magic poncho with 120 M.D.C. Magic poncho. They have weaknesses, though - they have to drain somebody once a month (doesn't sound like much of a weakness) and ordinary fire will hurt them and mega-damage fire will hurt them lots and magic/psionic fire will hurt them bunches (that really is a weakness, or it would be if they didn't have 2500 M.D.C. on average). Oh, not that you can set them on fire until you wreck their flameproof magic poncho anyway.

Magic flameproof ponchos, everybody.


Blood out the eyes, like a horny toad.

Yahuar Huacac, the Blood Weeper.

So, it says there are no records and only a few myths about this ruler, and that's... not quite true. It turns out in Rifts, though, that the Incan people erased their history of him, so nobody learned any important lessons from it... like those mummies above. So, he was a prince was kidnapped by an evil wizard who took him on a astral voyage to the Realms of Death. Wait, they have those in the astral plane? Well, they do now, and we don't get to hear anything more about them! Instead, we find out that because of that he was cursed to weep blood instead of tears. Also when he became ruler, he would go into erratic "rages" in which he "laughed maniacally" and went on murder sprees. Also he became an evil wizard himself and made pacts with supernatural intelligences (Wouldn't that make him a witch as per this cosmology? Oh well.). When he died, they mummified him, but his spirit lived on after death, and he came back as a mummy just like the rest. Oh, yeah, and he still cries blood, in case you had to ask.

Nowadays he rules the City of Death where everybody is suffering and crying, and his court is adorned with skulls and corpses (called it!), and he courtiers who are all vampires, demons, or zombies. His main adviser is Sinchi Yahuar, a gogua (one of those slug-like manipulators again, I guess they get around), who wants revenge against the Incan gods because they slapped him down for his relentlessly generic evil (and didn't kill him... why?). Of course, Yahuar hates the gods too, because he knows what side his bread is buttered on, and it's the one covered in blood and skulls. The metaphor doesn't quite work but I'm sure you get the idea.

So he's much like the other mummies with all their other powers, except he has blood weeping that causes fear, and the tears burn like acid. How? Well, he shimmies his face to spray out blood tears! He has also has all the powers necromancers do, which if you may remember includes such terrifying sights as attaching a chicken claw, in case you need such terrifying sights as a guy who flings blood from his face while trying to scratch people with his giant chicken claw. Nyahahaha! But he does have every necromancer spell and all spells of 10th level or less, mind control psionics, a bunch of evil minions (Including several dragons? Really?), and a magic poncho. Also, I rarely bring up whatever wank-number is assigned in terms of money, but this guy has "over 10 billion credits in gold, jewels, captured equipment and other treasure", which is more than most gods. Also, who cares about rubies and jewelry in an age where there are flying manta rays trying to suck your blood? That should be 10 million credits in canned food and shotguns.

It turns out the real Yahuar Huacac was a real Incan prince who was kidnapped at a young age by a rival ruler who was not a wizard, and was the "blood weeper" because his predicament was so sad he supposedly wept blood, not because he was evil. Or so the historians say. Eventually he was returned as a peace offering and was named the successor, then went on to conquer a bunch of places, but was never an wizard. Or so the historians say. But he was a real history guy who really was part of the real Incan line of emperors. Or so the historians say.


That thing on the right? Supposed to be a Glitter Boy. Siembieda art!

The Pucara, or Red Giants

So, the Red Giants are a mystery to modern inhabitants of Earth, but it turns out they were inhabitants of the Andes who actually predated the arrival of humanity in that part of the world. Whether or not they evolved on Earth or migrated here is unknown, but they felt threatened by humanity because they didn't breed or spread nearly as fast (evidence by them being only in one part of the world for millennia, I guess) and felt threatened by Nazca's spread. Fear took over, and they decided to go to war against the Nazca, and they started slaughtering village after village. This led the human wizards to make the rune warriors, and there was a huge Battle with a capital B between the human sorcerers and the psychic warriors of the Pucara. But the humans were more loyal to their cause, while a lot of the red giants were opposed to the war and fled the field of battle. But the Nazcans pursued and slaughtered the Pucara, and they only escaped by tunneling underground and hiding in caves until the time of the rifts, which opened up their tunnels via earthquakes. The Pucara were once again split between those who wanted peace and those who wanted revenge. Those who wanted revenge acted first on their person-slaughtering plans, and those are the Pucara most humans know of. They also don't like the Arkhons or the Megaversal Legion (why?) and fight them too, but they may seek to ally with other non-humans, particularly if they're giants. Because the Pucara are heightists, I suppose.


Sextupular vision?

Pucara Red Giants R.C.C.

So, these are 20' tall red giants with six eyes. Though they're strong, they can also psionically manipulate or swim through rock. It notes here that not all Pucara want to destroy all humans, but the ones that do have given then a really bad rap. Apparently they've trained for war for thousands of years, you know, like you obviously do when you have millennia of peace, and so a lot of them do want a chance to fight.

They're as tough as a (larger) gargoyle or dragon hatchling, and have high endurance (both mental and physical) and strength. As usual for this sort of race, though, beauty is low. Apparently they only live 600 years, but some rare mutants live 10,000 years, but become sterile. They can see in the total dark, apparently don't need to breathe or eat, instead feeding off of ambient magic, can't be mind controlled, and they've got a good save vs. magic. (I have to wonder why a race would involve to sponge up magic like a tree but still be able to run around and do things.) They can reshape stone, fire stones like missiles, make stone into M.D.C. substances, and get basic psychic powers. Their skills mostly have to do with weapons and fighting, and they get a broad swath of other skills. Apparently they also have stone armor made for a 20' body that's somehow just 100-200 pounds, because editing.

Pucara Mind Mage O.C.C.

This is a variant on the above, which are the elite warriors or leaders of the Pucara trained intensively in psychic powers. So, they have all the powers above, plus they get more psychic powers, including super psionics, and also get enhanced psionic power, and more skills, and better fighting skills, and...

... huh. There's no drawback to playing a Mind Mage. They really are just better. But they have Mental Endurance requirement of 15, at least, so not everybody can play one, right? Well, no. Pucara start with a Mental Endurance of 15-24, because editing, so there's no way you can't qualify for it. There is literally no reason not to play a Mind Mage if you're playing a Pucara unless you just want to eat humble pie.

Sometimes I feel like I'm the first person to actually read this stuff all the way through, or at least just that nobody at Palladium bothered to.

Next: Traditional hand-crafted Incan power armor.

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 10:19 on Feb 28, 2017

Green Intern
Dec 29, 2008

Loon, Crazy and Laughable



theironjef posted:

Hey, how about we do the thread's namesake? System Mastery presents FATAL. The first one, specifically.

You're performing an invaluable service.

potatocubed
Jul 26, 2012

*rathian noises*


Alien Rope Burn posted:

Magic flameproof ponchos, everybody.

Isn't that just a fire blanket?

open_sketchbook
Feb 26, 2017

the only genius in the whole fucking business

The most telling thing about FATAL is the fact that, for all that it's the worst forever in every way, the characters that its random generator spat out on the SM bonus content episode are... just kind of a boring collection of numbers. They are freakish, but have no way of expressing that freakishness in interesting ways.

Somebody write up a PbtA FATAL where being a funco pop with a suction cup vagina leads to interesting story possibilities please.

RocknRollaAyatollah
Nov 26, 2008



Lipstick Apathy



Chapter One: A Place in Time (Part 1)

This chapter is an in-character detailing of the world of Dark Ages Vampire through the eyes of an elder vampire, Grandmother Penne, to a newly embraced vampire. She is a Nosferatu Elder, meaning that she’s at least 300 years old, and is from London. Penne is also on the Road of Humanity and it comes out in her perspective.


There's some old artwork, like in all the anniversary books, but it's all good and used pretty sparingly.

Penne details the embrace and how it’s a bad thing from her perspective. Penne subscribes to a Catholic worldview and sees the embrace as robbing a mortal of going to heaven and turning them into an embodiment of sin. The capabilities of vampires are then addressed, that they’re faster and stronger than mortals. Physical changes, such as regrowing hair from baldness or losing pockmarks also happens. She equates this to the corruption of Caine’s curse, making vampires more desirable so that they can work and spread more easily across the Earth. She also lets the new vampire know about the sun and that stakes only make vampires immobile and is reversed by removing the stake. The beast is touched on as well, how it’s always with the vampire and how it works. The beast actively wants the vampire to survive and will protect it but if the vampire allows the beast to take hold, the vampire becomes a creature of murder and destruction.

The social structure of the vampires is detailed next. Vampires have their own social structure and spend most of their time infighting. Most vampires bow to the authority of a Prince, although she notes that’s a concept that’s found mainly in Christian Europe, and the older rule the younger. Penne details that the movement of time slips away from vampires and it leaves vampires detached from their old lives and power hungry.

The War of the Princes is brought up and it’s kind of the metaplot for Dark Ages Vampire. At this time in Europe, Princes are vying with other Princes for territory and power, warring with each other openly. Penne opines that when she was embraced this wasn’t going on and that childer are being embraced to be foot soldiers in these petty wars. This is probably true and things are getting worse so it’s not just a “back in my day speech.”

Editorial Note: The War of the Princes is one of the reasons for why the world is going to poo poo and one of the events that’s speeding up the train to Gehenna, the vampire apocalypse. When we get to character creation, you’ll see that starting generation is lower than in Masquerade and things like the Caitiff, clanless, are rare and not really detailed. As the warfare between Princes builds up and humanity wises up, the body count goes up and the Inquisition gets involved. The Anarch Revolt happens, the younger vampires turn on the elders, and the sects are formed. Due to the younger vampires embracing new vampires and killing off the older generations, generation goes up and up to the point where the blood is diluted by modern times. When you get high enough in generation, there isn’t much difference between a vampire and a revenant, mortals that are in a sense born ghouled. This is one of the signs of Gehenna and the seeds for this are planted in the War of the Princes.


I'm pretty sure this is Penne but she also might be the Nosferatu pictured in the clan write up. The city pictured is probably the First City

The social hierarchy is detailed next and it’s much more nuanced in Dark Ages than Masquerade because there is no Camarilla, Sabbat, or Anarchs to have status in. The first factor is age. Age is important because the older a vampire is, the more powerful and knowledgeable they usually are. Older vampires are usually of a lower generation but that’s not necessary. Generation is incredibly important though and you’ll see in character creation.

Vampire are divided into the following groups:

Fledglings – A newly embraced vampire and pretty much a nonentity to vampire courts. At this point you’re pretty much treated like a child.

Neonates – In the eyes of the Cainite people, you are now an entity. You are now free to live your own unlife but you’re now vulnerable and will probably become a pawn. It’s also possible you’ll get killed for being weak because the dark ages are pretty dog eat dog.

Ancilla – This is a step below an elder and represents a level of maturity not found in the previous groups. At this level you’re usually a middle manager, Penne points out you learn it’s better to delegate for your own survival. You are also valued as an accessible and sane actor because once you survive long enough to be an elder, you usually go crazy or abandon your humanity.

Elder – This is a vampire that’s 300 years or older. You can be considered an elder if you’re powerful enough but it’s rare and Penne suggests you don’t mess with elders.

Methuselah – A vampire who is a thousand years or older. They’re incredibly powerful, somewhat unknowable, and incredibly rare.

Antediluvians – They’re the grandkids of Caine, the founders of the clans, and a complete mystery. No one is really sure if they’re still around or all dead. They might even be possibly pulling the strings from the background.

Editorial note: Some Antediluvians are still around or active, Tremere, Tzimisce, and Cappadocious are still directing things for instance, but some have unknown whereabouts or are presumed dead, Brujah and Set, and one is confirmed dead, Saulot, since Tremere ate him. The Gehenna book for Masquerade details what happened to them but this is the last era where more than the upstarts Tremere or Augustus Giovanni are known to be active. It ultimately doesn't matter too much because Third Generation vampires are pretty much gods and you won't be doing anything with them in a normal game.

Clans are the next division, which is your vampiric family and lineage. Clans are divided into high and low clans. This is a type of class system that makes some vampires below others on the social hierarchy. This is an arbitrary system based on local history and culture. For example Penne points out that if she became Prince tomorrow and filled the city with Nosferatu, they would still be members of a low clan because that’s the way it’s always been in London. She does note that she’s heard of this changing abruptly but she’s never seen it herself.

Penne details Roads next. Roads are your morality path and it’s much more common for a vampire to have a morality path other than Humanity in Dark Ages. Penne notes that vampires often burnout after the first decade but those that survive long enough usually find a way to make peace with themselves. We’ll talk about roads in-depth later because there’s a whole chapter dedicated to them.

Next Up: The Traditions, Cainite Governance, Talkin' Bout Their Generation, and Other Weird Stuff

RocknRollaAyatollah fucked around with this message at 19:05 on Feb 28, 2017

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

Horned Rat-Sempai Noticed Me!


theironjef posted:

Hey, how about we do the thread's namesake? System Mastery presents FATAL. The first one, specifically.

I regret nothing!

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



My favorite thing about FATAL was that the day I deleted it from my laptop was also the day my Savage Rifts stuff arrived. I mean I know Savage Worlds is pretty simple stuff, but these are well written and interesting.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Is Grandmother Penne related to Mama Pasta from Rage Across Australia?

RocknRollaAyatollah
Nov 26, 2008



Lipstick Apathy

Bieeardo posted:

Is Grandmother Penne related to Mama Pasta from Rage Across Australia?


I want to believe.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012


The Thin Blood book is pretty neat, all things considered, because it puts forth the idea that since the 15th generations are so removed from the Ante's they are literally clanless, and thus can choose their own discipline set or indeed make their own.

RocknRollaAyatollah posted:


I want to believe.

Well I mean their respective books both suggest that they eat children, so maybe.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer Fantasy: Night's Dark Masters

Blood Dragons: The Mechanics Back Up The Fluff

First, it's time to get into more actual rules with Blood Gifts. Blood Gifts work exactly like Talents or Traits (they're just added abilities for your character/villain) but they're extremely powerful. All vampires get the ability to bite someone in a grapple to drain d10 Strength and heal d10 Wounds for themselves (as well as inflicting d10+SB normal, lethal damage if they're in combat, as per having natural weaponry). They all get natural weapons (They count as armed when unarmed, able to use their claws and teeth, though they can't parry with them) if they're not trying to pass for human. Carsteins, Lahmians, and Dragons can Pass for Human, losing their fear effect and natural weapons to look like a pale and exceptionally handsome/beautiful/rugged human. All vampires also inflict fear if they stop passing for human: Normal foes will have to pass a WP test to begin acting against them. Instead of being able to Pass for Human, Necharchs gain Terrifying (their undead forms are actually worse than others, and failing fear against them makes someone run away and gain an Insanity point if you're using insanity) and Strigoi get Frenzy (which is one of the most consistently overvalued and useless talents in the game. Taking -10% to WS for +1 to damage and locking yourself into always charging and attacking is the definition of not worth it). All Vampires can also use necromancy without worrying about the side effects dark magic can inflict on a human, and ALL vampires can try to control undead like a necromancer, whether or not they actually know any necromancy. Just because that Blood Dragon never picked up Channeling and thus can't use spells himself (this is actually a thing for them; without some other career to unlock Channeling and Speak Arcane Language the average Dragon simply can't cast spells, they don't bother) doesn't mean he can't seize control of pre-existing undead.

When a vampire gains one of their vampiric careers (Thrall, Count, and Lord) they gain one Gift from their Bloodline, and then another from any Bloodline. They can choose a second one from their own, if they want to be stronger in their own power set rather than branching out. If you're generating them randomly, they can be rolled on a table like everything in WHFRP, or they can be chosen directly. We'll start with the Dragons, and my experience with the adventures of Wilhelm Metzger, Blood Dragon Outrider will let me speak from experience on how batshit insanely powerful these specific abilities are for a warrior.

The sort of 'signature' gift for a Dragon is Blademaster. A Dragon (or other vampire) with this chooses 1 foe and reduces their Attacks characteristic by 1 for that round. They do not have to be in hand to hand for this. If the Dragon reduces an opponent's attacks to 0, they do not count towards outnumbering the Dragon. This is fluffed as simply being so fast, strong, and practiced that you know the flow of a fight before it happens. Now, late in his career, Wilhelm had an 89% Agility (His speed was his sort of legendary, famous attribute), Dodge+20%, and a 76% Weapon Skill (he was, for a Dragon of his age, a middling swordsman). Note that a heroic human character can only get to 3 attacks a round without magic equipment. Now give Wilhelm a shield for +10% Parry. Wil with Blademaster was simply almost impossible for a single human opponent to hit in a duel. Blademaster 1 attack, 99% Dodge another, 86% Parry another. To the point that the character just stopped accepting one on ones with humans because it didn't count as a fair fight. You are not going to win a one on one with a Dragon. Most Dragons prefer to fight one on one because it's 'honorable'. This should tell you a lot about why the average Dragon is a piece of poo poo hiding behind the pretenses of fair play. I go into such detail on this one because it's an important bit of gameplay describing story: Dragons look like honorable knights (or whatever form of martial arts hobo they happen to be). Most Dragons define what is honorable in a way that leaves them with a tremendous, probably insurmountable advantage.

Next for them is Furious Charge. A Dragon with this gift outright negates their opponent's armor when they hit with a charge attack, just shattering through it like it wasn't there. This is powerful for obvious reasons; a Vampire fighter is probably hitting for Damage 6-8 as is. Now they're ignoring your 1-5 AV. There is no foe in the game that wants that to happen. Thankfully, you can only strike once on a charge.

Next is another sort of signature power for Dragons: Iron Sinews. The vampire is too strong to parry. Any attempt to parry their melee attacks gets -30% as they crush through your guard, much like some of the larger giant monsters. Strigoi can also roll this one, to represent their legendary strength.

Next is Piercing Strike: A Dragon with this gift gets to roll twice and take whichever they prefer on the critical table once they do damage beyond a foe's wounds. Not nearly as useful as the others, but it's amusingly helpful for deciding to spare a worthy opponent just as much as it is for ensuring you put someone down.

Then they get Quickblood, a power they share with Lahmians. You remember how most characters can't dodge bullets or arrows? A Dragon or Lahmian with this power can dodge them normally. Bullet dodging is a great way to show off!

Terrible Blows is a bit limited, but a character with this gift adds Impact (rerolling damage, taking the best) to their attacks any time they only attack once in a round. So All Out Attacks, Standard Attacks, or Charges. If they're using a weapon with Impact already, they roll thrice and take the best. This specifically stacks with Furious Charge. Do not get hit by a Dragon who has both.

Unhallowed Soul will let a Dragon vulnerable to holy places walk into them without a WP check. They will also no longer be repelled by holy or unholy symbols. They explicitly still take +3 wounds from any blessed weapon, though! You can pretend you don't care about the prohibitions of the Gods up until the moment someone shoots you with a holy bullet.

Waterwalker will let a Dragon try a WP test to make it through running water, if they're vulnerable to it. Running water is fluffed as a common weakness for the line, one of the reasons they tend to haunt bridge crossings to challenge wanderers. You have to either choose or roll this power twice to outright remove that weakness.

And finally, Wolf Form is shared by Carsteins and Dragons, and isn't very useful for either. You turn into a dire wolf as a half action. This will lower many of your stats, though it will massively increase the vampire's movement speed and since you retain your own talents, you might have Fleet of Foot to be able to outrun people on horseback. You can turn back at will as a half action, returning to vampire form with all your gear already equipped.

With these gifts, fighting a Dragon in the 'honorable' style they prefer, even if the Dragon obviously won't have all of them, is almost suicidal. They help to reinforce that you really, really want to take a vampire by surprise, gang up on them, and fight dirty.

Next: Lahmian Gifts!

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 15:24 on Aug 4, 2017

Simian_Prime
Nov 6, 2011

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

open_sketchbook posted:

Somebody write up a PbtA FATAL where being a funco pop with a suction cup vagina leads to interesting story possibilities please.

Monsterhearts already exists.

(jk I actually like MH)

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Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


potatocubed posted:

Isn't that just a fire blanket?

Fire blankets are used to smother fires, not to cover oneself.

Mind, I'm pretty sure the ancient mayans didn't have access to asbestos or fiberglass in any case. But this is Rifts®, it's a megaverse™ of™ possibilities™!

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