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Covok
May 27, 2013

Yet where is that woman now? Tell me, in what heave does she reside? None of them. Because no God bothered to listen or care. If that is what you think it means to be a God, then you and all your teachings are welcome to do as that poor women did. And vanish from these realms forever.


RocknRollaAyatollah posted:

Everyone with a power trait falls into that stereotype in OWoD, sometimes even comically more so than Vampires. I guess it's a feature, not a failing but towards the end it's like the beginning of Shaun of the Dead except completely serious and drawn out for all of Revised Edition. Whole clans and bloodlines get destroyed and people are just going about their business, wondering where the evil wizards and racist caricature illusionists are in an unconcerned fashion.

I always thought that part of Shaun of the Dead made a pretty good point that, if a zombie apocalypse actually happened, it'd take a few days for everyone to realize it was even going on. We are all so obsessed with our own little worlds and shut out and ignore so much that disrupts and discomforts us that it'd take a while to go "oh poo poo, that's a zombie!" unless they were literally about to bite us in the face.

You know, pre-social media.

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Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


OvermanXAN posted:

Am I the only one who immediately thinks of Truenamers in 3.5 D&D where your core ability gets actively worse as you increase in level?

Basically whenever they use it, they can boost an aspect (damage, speed, etc.) in a level-dependent fashion, but it gives 10% chance of the item permanently breaking. To Carella's credit, you can reduce the effective level you boost an item by, but... it's still a punishing way to balance it.

AnEdgelord
Dec 12, 2016



Night10194 posted:

It's not like even if Squad was a power boost you really needed power boosts. In the very great DW campaign I played in, the GM just said "I always build with the assumption you will win every fight and the actual strategy and drama is picking where and why you apply your 3 person walking trump card in this conflict of billions where everyone is screaming for you."

There will always be one deeply integrated, exciting sounding, but poorly thought out mechanic in every FFG 40KRP game. Cohesion is DW'S.

Out of all the 40KRP games my favorite will always be Black Crusade, and I always felt that it was underappreciated as well.

I've never run it but reading it gave me insight into the idea that Chaos is the faction of Creatives, Intellectuals, Revolutionaries and Freedom Fighters as much as it looks like a bog standard army of Mordor.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


The core joke of Chaos is that it's actually more rigid than the Imperium, just it's norms are skull piles and excess, etc.

Black Crusade has fun fluff if you either play it for black comedy or sweeping power metal melodrama, but like a lot of later 40krp it suffers a lot from rocket tag.

LatwPIAT
Jun 6, 2011

Do I need a title?

Nessus posted:

What I actually thought was clever in the old Masquerade metaplot is that everyone was right, but for the wrong reasons. What prodded the Antediluvians wasn't raw numbers of vampires, or how weak those vampires were, it was vampires dying a lot of the time. (Presumably this would have led to a rude awakening had the European Inquisition been more successful.)

So 14th and 15th generation vampires weren't a problem in and of themselves; they were a problem because they were hunted and because they were generally frailer both physically and culturally.

While the metaplot of oVampire is quite intrusive if not outright stupid at times, taking the setting as fiction instead of an RPG setting, I quite like how this is reflected in the Ravnos antediluvian waking up because the Ravnos made a bunch of shovelheads to fight the onslaught of Kuei-Jin in India.

AnEdgelord
Dec 12, 2016



Night10194 posted:

The core joke of Chaos is that it's actually more rigid than the Imperium, just it's norms are skull piles and excess, etc.

See I always read the core joke of Chaos being that it might be a legit better alternative than the Imperium to drive home the Starship Troopers-esque fascism parody.

Perhaps its both.

Edit: Not to say Chaos is good, but that the reader would be totally justified in looking at the Imperium and thinking "You are literally worse than an Evangelical's idea of Satanists and Cthulhu cultists put together".

AnEdgelord fucked around with this message at 23:39 on Mar 10, 2017

LuiCypher
Apr 24, 2010

:dva:NERF THIS!:dva:


LordAbaddon posted:

See I always read the core joke of Chaos being that it might be a legit better alternative than the Imperium to drive home the Starship Troopers-esque fascism parody.

Perhaps its both.

With Chaos, there is a lot more relative freedom with social mobility!

The major difference is that you do not want to pay the price for failing to move up with Chaos.

LordAbaddon posted:

Out of all the 40KRP games my favorite will always be Black Crusade, and I always felt that it was underappreciated as well.

Black Crusade is, in my opinion, the best-written of the 40k RPGs. The daemon princes(princesses) are really well-done. The Slaanesh one in particular is great, because instead of going all in on the whole sex angle, the daemon princess of Slaanesh they present in the core rulebook goes all in on solipsism. They really sidestepped the cheesecake presentation of Slaanesh throughout everything, to boot.

Hey man, Slaanesh never specified that the excess had to be sexytimes-related!

Also, psyker powers are appropriately gonzo. Playing a psyker is never a question of IF I should push, it's always WHEN and HOW OFTEN in Black Crusade. I played a human (scrunt) psyker in a BC game I played with goons, and I had so much fun basically riding the line between one-shotting myself and the party and one-shotting the enemy.

Edit: One of my friends also clued me into this, but you can basically play a D&D campaign in the Screaming Vortex and there are enough low-tech weapons and armor statted out for you to do so. Barbarians come from Xurunt, Wizards from Q'Sal...

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


In the black comedy game I ran, my players stole Khorne's chair from the Xur barbarians to use as their Sorcerer's captainin chair, mostly to show they could. The biweekly khorne demon assault to try to take it back and punish them became a ship tradition.

The Screaming Vortex was fun.

Hunt11
Jul 24, 2013



Grimey Drawer

LordAbaddon posted:

See I always read the core joke of Chaos being that it might be a legit better alternative than the Imperium to drive home the Starship Troopers-esque fascism parody.

Perhaps its both.

Edit: Not to say Chaos is good, but that the reader would be totally justified in looking at the Imperium and thinking "You are literally worse than an Evangelical's idea of Satanists and Cthulhu cultists put together".

I thought the joke was that in the setting the smartest thing to do was to kill yourself and get it over with.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Hunt11 posted:

I thought the joke was that in the setting the smartest thing to do was to kill yourself and get it over with.

The real joke is that FFG were the last people working on any of it that got there even was a joke.

AnEdgelord
Dec 12, 2016



Night10194 posted:

The real joke is that FFG were the last people working on any of it that got there even was a joke.

Yeah GW's latest offerings are reading uncomfortably like a celebration of fascism as opposed to the parody of it. It always feels super uncomfortable when writers write marines as the unequivocal good guys who are pure of heart, and noble, and super special awesomes for purging those filthy xenos/heretics/potentially traitor citizens of the Imperium.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



LordAbaddon posted:

Yeah GW's latest offerings are reading uncomfortably like a celebration of fascism as opposed to the parody of it. It always feels super uncomfortable when writers write marines as the unequivocal good guys who are pure of heart, and noble, and super special awesomes for purging those filthy xenos/heretics/potentially traitor citizens of the Imperium.

It's bothered me some that a lot of the black comedy in 40k in general has been dropped, like the AdMech always going gaga for Necron stuff no matter that they always get horribly murdered by it.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





LatwPIAT posted:

While the metaplot of oVampire is quite intrusive if not outright stupid at times, taking the setting as fiction instead of an RPG setting, I quite like how this is reflected in the Ravnos antediluvian waking up because the Ravnos made a bunch of shovelheads to fight the onslaught of Kuei-Jin in India.
Oh was that why? I thought it was just that [Ravnos] was the one they didn't care about and didn't have any ideas for.

Of course even he(?) was fought to a standstill by three high-end Kuei-jin and eventually slain by Elon Musk's orbital solar power reflector and a spirit nuke, or "snuke."

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



LordAbaddon posted:

Yeah GW's latest offerings are reading uncomfortably like a celebration of fascism as opposed to the parody of it. It always feels super uncomfortable when writers write marines as the unequivocal good guys who are pure of heart, and noble, and super special awesomes for purging those filthy xenos/heretics/potentially traitor citizens of the Imperium.

Yea, I've seen a long time fan of the setting getting increasingly pissed off by the fans and writers pushing Fascism hard and seriously. I don't think a character like Ciphias Cain (a Blackadder-esuqe commander who realize shooting your own men is a bad way to motivate them, and just wants to be somewhere that no one is shooting at him instead of this death in glorious combat nonsense) would be made with the current staff.

Hipster Occultist
Aug 16, 2008

He's an ancient, obscure god. You probably haven't heard of him.




I think they're dialing that back a bit, apparently the Ultramarines Primarch just woke up and went "the hell you guys! I fall sleep for a few thousand years and you all establish a fascist theocracy when I fought for an Empire based on reason and science???"

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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





CHAPTER ONE PART THREE

STORYTELLING


Bathers live a rough life. For starters, you have to restructure your life around obtaining more blood and keeping close to the pool you have to draw from. Being able to travel and having alternate IDs are big benefits, but those require money and effort to gain. The biggest question of all is what you’re going to do with the corpses when you’re done; the book has the suggestions of dismembering them, cremation, throwing them into the ocean, destruction via acid, corpse-shredding, burial or just plain eating the evidence. The other main concern is keeping up your Morality, which kinda amounts to “try to live a normal life and spend experience to raise it, or don’t because the Storyteller doesn’t have to make you unplayable at Morality 0”. In a nutshell, all of these depend on whatever you and the group what to do.



Anyway y’all are here for the premade characters and villains so let’s not hold that back much longer. The characters were written with certain themes in mind: desperation, visceral horror, forbidden truth, addiction, narcissism and human worth. Each premade corresponds directly with one of those. There will be a quiz at the end of this section. Write this down in your workbook now.

SAMPLE CHARACTERS

Mother Liesel



”Love is blood.
You don’t understand now, but you will. Just relax, and let them kiss you.
Please call me “Mother.””


Liesel Abendroth was born in 1933. Her family rode out the war and quietly moved to Canada when it ended. Her father became distant after her mother died and ended up emotionally withdrawing from his children. The mix of her mother dying, her father’s emotional distance and her memories of the war lead to Liesel growing up to be a lonely and shy woman. She moved to America when she turned 20 to become a teacher at a school in upstate New York.

Things go pretty well for her until the spring of 1960. She loves the kids she works with, the kids love her and she’s overall well regarded by the community. She’s pursued but she doesn’t date, unable to untangle the connections between love and marriage and death in her mind. But spring 1960 is when she finds her first grey hair and it hits her hard emotionally. She calls out of work for the day and ends up meditating on the inevitability of her death while brushing her hair. To get her mind off things, she takes a trip to NYC and makes a discovery that changes her life…at the local museum! The Museum: causing the downward spiral of relatable characters since the dawn of civilization. Get a pass today!

The Museum of Natural History’s new mummy exhibit caught her eye and that’s where she saw the thing that clued her into the Ritual: a picture of a woman bathing herself in an ankh-shaped tub full of dark liquid, liquid that clearly wasn’t water. That night she dreamed of bathing in that ankh tub and she returned to the museum the next day to find out more. That lead her to the desk of Brian McAllister, an Egyptologist who claimed the pictures were fakes. So she seduced the truth out of him: the pictures were real and that by bathing in human blood, the Bath of Life could bestow immortality and power and McAllister has been working on figuring it out. The next day, Liesel quits her job and joins him in the quest for knowledge.

This takes them three years. I’m just gonna point out that these are educated adults and there’s the referenced earlier character who is permanently 13 who managed to figure it out in 2. That’s all I gotta say about this.

Anyway they figure out a Ritual that works for them. First, it requires an ankh tub, which is a real tub from the picture that is being restored at the museum. Second, it requires chanters witnessing the sacrifice. Third, the sacrifice has to be in love with the Bather. McAllister has major issues with the last part and says “y’know what? We have the find of the goddamn century here. I really don’t need to perform this ritual, the knowledge is enough”. Liesel, on the other hand, had been amassing a cult in the background and definitely wasn’t afraid to kill someone.

Side note: her cult, the Circle of Eternal Life, is mostly made of people who protested the Civil Rights movement that she seduced into loving her and worshipping her. You know who I want to worship me as a god? Racists, both peaceful and militant (this is not a joke, they are described as being recruited from all sorts of peaceful and militant movements to worship her instead).

So when McAllister finishes the Ritual, she has her cult steal the tub and has the smitten McAllister cover up her crimes. On the date of JFK’s assassination, she has the cult kill McAllister and two other male worshippers to pour blood all over her, completing her evolution from “sympathetic person” Liesel Abendroth to “weird murderous Bather” Mother Liesel. “Why JFK’s assassination”, you may be asking with justified incredulity. Well, the idea was to use a national tragedy as a distraction from her disposing of the corpses.

Mother Liesel looks forever 20 with long brown hair and blue eyes. She’s got suntanned skin and intricate red-brown tattoos that cover all of her dorsal plane on her back, neck to calves. Since 1963, she has never really wanted for anything. The Cult of Eternal Life have a compound in upstate New York where they all live and keep the ankh tub, performing the ritual whenever there’s a tragedy to distract from dumping people in the St. Lawrence river. She gets her blood from the cultists, she gets food from the cultists, and she gets money, sex, love, everything from them. She’s got it made in the shade.

And she feels like killing McAllister was a gigantic mistake and that it ultimately wasn’t worth it. He legitimately loved her and she legitimately loved him. She’s starting to think they could have just published their findings, got married and died together. Instead she’s constantly afraid of dying alone and forgotten. The main thrust of using Liesel in a story is that she’s emotionally and psychologically unwell and looking for love despite thinking she’ll never find it. She doesn’t really love her worshippers but she’s always looking for the right person, so maybe a relative/friend of a player character could fall in with the wrong crowd and find Liesel. Alternately, her father or brothers could be looking for her. That latter idea is less interesting.



Thoughts on Liesel: She’s alright. She’s kind of the textbook “morally conflicted, possibly redeemable” Bather figure. I don’t really like the character path they give her but I can see why they did it. Not much to say about her, but I will generally say that I don’t like how her backstory is a little more intricate than it should be, compared to the rest of the Bathers.

Doctor Remy Darabont


"This is the way the world ends.
If I could just see it done once… my God, what am I saying?
Put those down! You can’t see them! No one can!"


Remy is not a Bather. Remy is an academic with a doctoral degree in folklore and ancient cultures. An atheist and a general skeptic, Dr. Darabont’s main interest in folklore is to understand where the stories came from and why people believe what they do. In order to get established as a researcher, he took a position at the university where his sister Belle was the dean and dug right in, working towards getting a big research grant.

Remy spent many years interviewing people and investigating urban legends, myths, Fortean stories and supernatural phenomena. He talked to cranks and believers and the general conclusion he came to was that their claims weren’t verifiable and they were just people looking for answers in a cold world. But then 1990 came and with it came a man who claimed to have left a Satanic cult. The man alleged that the cult he ran with abducted people using spiked drinks or needles of sedatives wherever they could snatch them: rest stops, seedy motels, late-night parking lots. Remy would have written him off, but the man gave him a list of victim names and Remy’s research found that these people really did disappear. When he couldn’t find the informant again, he took his research to the police who thanked him but ran into the same dead ends he did.

But Remy did see the man again. One night, in a heavy blizzard, he saw the man force Belle into a car at gunpoint. Remy managed to find enough of a trail to find them both a week later, but by then it was too late. They were in an abandoned warehouse with three other bodies hanging over a cast-iron tub, their throats slit and the blood missing.

Since then he’s been a touring lecturer and public speaker on the topics of cults, the occult and ancient beliefs. That’s his day job to pay the bills. His main purpose has been trying to figure out why someone would have done what they did to Belle, and he pretty easily found the Ritual. His main raison d’être has been to find his sister’s killer and learn more about the Bathing culture; he’s figured out a few Rituals but has never gone so far as to actually try them. Every time he feels the temptation, he feels like his sister is with him, talking him down from actually doing it.

Dr. Remy Darabont is haunted and he looks haunted. He chain-smokes, he has trouble sleeping and has thin, wild brown hair he’s been losing pieces of for quite a while. He’s got a certain twitch to his gaze from a mixture of paranoia and stimulants he uses to stay awake and stay alert. Despite his looks (mismatched, shabby clothes, constant air of hair-thin sanity) he’s still very much on the ball and much more prepared than you’d think he’d be. He’s still an intelligent man and he is friends with many police departments, FBI agents and criminal task forces who have knocked on his door or listened to his lectures. In case of his death, he has things arranged to that his allies will get all of his research and information and it would make it very hard for his killer to get away with it. The main thrust of using Remy is that he’s teetering on the edge of madness and trying to find his sister’s killer. He would really want to meet a Bather to find out more about them and if their Ritual actually works, even though this would likely mean his death. There’s also the secondary thrust of the fact that he has a lot of data, but is ignorant of the supernatural actually existing. That knowledge would essentially be the key to unlocking the context and truth behind a lot of his accumulated data. If Remy could be turned on to the dark corners of the world, either by chance encounters or by a cell of Hunters, he could very quickly become a knowledge kingpin of the Vigil and a force to be reckoned with.



Thoughts on Remy: It's a little odd for him to be here as a regular person but he's kind of a welcome addition to all of the Bathers. I like him. He's designed to be a proto-ally for the PCs to manipulate or a gigantic hindrance that has more issues than you'd expect for a nervous, twitchy academic. Oh, but we're not done with Remy yet, because there's:

Belle Darabont

Belle Darabont is a ghost and she's been helping Remy avenge her death. Of course, he doesn't really know she's even there and in turn she can't really affect the world too much. Belle's appearance is that of a 50 year old woman with short hair wearing a blood-stained white blouse and plain brown slacks. Her throat is slit but doesn't bleed anymore and the blood on her blouse is dry. The curious thing is that her hands and fingers are worked raw like she went down fighting or clawing through something.

Unfortunately, her lack of influence on the world and her fuzzy memories means she's not doing too well to actually steer Remy towards vengeance. The main thing she does is helps keep him stable and centered whenever he considers going too far. In a pinch, she can manifest her powers overtly to protect him but that protection is very violent.



Pig


"<high pitched squeal, followed by a delighted snort>
<chewing noises>"


Pyg is like clay. Pyg is like god. Wait. Hold on. Wrong Pig.

Pig started off as a serial killer named Heath Wainwright. Heath liked two things: killing women and flensing/degloving victims with his bare hands so he'd get blood all over his body. He wasn't one to spend a lot of time hitting the books, but one day he was reading up on the history of butchery when he saw a weird note scrawled in a book. The page in question was on letting the blood out of a cow corpse and the note said "only blood or does csf work too?". How he used this to work out the existence of the Ritual isn't really explained, but to spend a long story short he spent a few years tinkering until he came up with something. So under the harvest moon, Heath tore open three kidnapped college women and let the blood flow down his body under the moonlight.

Pig is the result of not checking to see if your Ritual works. Heath got pretty much everything he wanted at the cost of his mind and humanity. Pig is seven foot and change with a barrel chest and ripped arms. His physique is best described as hulking, but there were also subtractions. His tongue is too big for his mouth, all of his body hair is gone and his vocal chords and throat are warped so he can't speak any more. All that remains is Pig, a feral monster with a hunger for blood and an urban legend to his name.

The Pig Man Killer used to hunt people in these very woods. He grabs you and he rips you half and drinks all the blood. Knives and bullets don't even hurt him. He can't be killed unless you skin him alive and burn his naked body. And he's RIGHT BEHIND YOU! AHHHHHH!

No but for real Pig has become a living urban legend. He slumbers in the woods from winter to spring before awakening and killing weekly to keep his powers. When fall comes, he stops killing and prepares for winter. Despite being mindless and animalistic, he still possesses an animal sort of knowledge. And one thing he's capable of hunting and recognizing people who hurt him. He does have weaknesses, though. Pig is scared of loud noises, knives and people who are sufficiently armed. And he can be killed. You just have to trap him and prevent him from performing his Ritual before putting him down for good.

Just, y'know, you have to catch him.



Thoughts on Pig: I like Pig. He's very Slasher and he's pretty different from the rest of the premades but in a good way. He's a good example of the dangers of making a Ritual and even if you're not going to use this book for making immortal characters, he's a good "what the gently caress is this?!" villain.

NEXT TIME: the last three premade Bathers. The Desperate, the Dying and the Depraved.

Hostile V fucked around with this message at 07:00 on Mar 11, 2017

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


My mental image of a Bather is Eddie Redmane's Balaam Abraxas from Jupiter Ascending.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


LuiCypher posted:

Oh, gently caress me. Yeah, that's one of their unique innovations that they added to try to make Deathwatch very distinct from the rest of the systems.

In practice, all I've seen anyone do is stay in Solo Mode.

Seems the writers noticed this early on. Didn't the first Deathwatch supplement change it so that you always have your Solo Mode goodies, and the Squad Mode stuff is just added on top?

Hipster Occultist posted:

I think they're dialing that back a bit, apparently the Ultramarines Primarch just woke up and went "the hell you guys! I fall sleep for a few thousand years and you all establish a fascist theocracy when I fought for an Empire based on reason and science???"

Did they just borrow from "If the Emperor had a Text-to-Speech Device"?!

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




Doresh posted:

Did they just borrow from "If the Emperor had a Text-to-Speech Device"?!

It's somehow more and less dumb than if they did that.

Angry Salami
Jul 27, 2013

Don't trust the skull.


Hipster Occultist posted:

I think they're dialing that back a bit, apparently the Ultramarines Primarch just woke up and went "the hell you guys! I fall sleep for a few thousand years and you all establish a fascist theocracy when I fought for an Empire based on reason and science???"

"At least you kept the genocide!"

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Angry Salami posted:

"At least you kept the genocide!"

I dunno, to me it just gives the impression that Papa Smurf really didn't pay attention to how the Imperium outside Ultramar was being run.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Cythereal posted:

I dunno, to me it just gives the impression that Papa Smurf really didn't pay attention to how the Imperium outside Ultramar was being run.

He can always declare himself the Anti-Emprah of Ultramarkind.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Considering his response is "I better do everything exactly as dad did and declare a new genocidal forever war!" and that I don't think GW is clever enough to make that a satire about the futility of wishing for The Great Man to fix everything, I don't think it will be much different.

To make this relevant to what I'm working on, one of the great parts in WHFRP is that they make it clear that misery and injustice drive as many to evil as greed or weakness. The policy of exterminating mutants has caused Chaos to gleefully aim to mutate people so they have nowhere else to go. Someone survives an overzealous Hunter being indescriminate? Shadowy voices promise help in claiming justice and revenge. A person is crushed by prejudice against their gender, creed, race, or class? The Dark Gods swear they make no distinction; anyone could be under that massive, imposing armor. The harsher and unjust measures taken 'because they have to be done' partly fuel evil rather than fight it.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 13:15 on Mar 11, 2017

The Skeep
Sep 15, 2007

That Chicken sure loves to drum...sticks


Wait, so liesel just sits around playing tiddlywinks or something, waiting for a national disaster? The ritual is every five years, but there's no way of predicting when one happens, or if one does occur whether it will have a lasting impact. Does she have a sleeper cell ready to mobilize a sacrifice with strike force precision and timing at moment's notice?

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts World Book Nine: South America 2: Part 16: "As a result, female pilots were able to pilot Glitter Girls, robot suits with a female silhouette."

Weapons & Equipment of S.R.R.

The last set of guns in this book. I'll divide these up by country, even though they're all mashed together in the book itself. It's our free gift to you!

Cordoba
  • NP-10 Plasma Net Launcher: This fires a metal net loaded with plasma charges that ignite, trapping the target while it sets them on fire. It's actually pretty busted, because unless your strength is really high it knocks you effectively out of the fight for at least about a full round and sets you on fire.

Bullpup? More like boxpup.

Achilles Republic
  • Equalizer Combat Shotgun: A very durable shotgun that can be loaded with APE (Armor Piercing Explosive) or FG (Fragmentary Grenade) and probably some other official-sounding ammo. Pretty average otherwise. Also used by Santiago, and Cordoba makes an inferior knockoff.
  • Lightbringer Laser Rifle: A small burst-fire laser rifle actually comparable to some Triax weapons with its solid damage output.
New Babylon
  • Amaki Blast-Sword: By using plasma "held in place by a magnetic field along the blade", which can cut for low damage or shoot plasma for lower damage. Wooooo.
  • Amaki Blast Rifle: A particle beam weapon comparable to heavy plasma weapons in a bunch of other books. Nothing exceptional.
  • Amaki TW Psi-blade: If you can make a psi-sword, you can focus it through this and add +2d6 damage to your attack. Be still, my heart.

Breaux is getting better at aping Long's shading style, at least, breaks up the boxy profile.

Italo Industries
  • IP-7 Ion Pistol: Another lousy, low damage pistol like we see commonly throughout supplements. Used by Cordoba and Santiago.
  • I-9 Heavy Ion Rifle: A perfectly average rifle. Used by Cordoba, Santiago, and the Shining Path.
  • I-11 Long Gun: A sniper rifle that, in an anomaly for Rifts, actually does decent damage (1d6x10). Though it's supposedly pretty heavy, there's no actual strength requirement. Popular with cyber-gauchos.

One of the deadliest boxes in the game.

There's also the pre-rifts ATL-7 Anti-Tank Laser Rifle that fires off all the energy in one shot for more damage than a boom gun, making it probably the deadliest man-portable weapon in the game, though it's pretty expensive to fire as a result. In addition, having to reload after every shot limits its Damage Per Attack. And we have the Gaucho Combat Armor, a very generic-looking suit that offers middling protection, but can offer very heavy protection through extra plates designed to be used while mounted, but that weigh it down. Cordoba has Battle Infantry Armor, Santiago has Armored Fatigues, and Blood Riders have Blood Rider "Claw" Armor, but they're all almost functionally identical and perfectly average. The Achilles Republic's Customizable Armor for mutant animals is a little more impressive, but the best suit is the Amaki Combat Armor, complete with a special helmet designed to accomodate beards.


Gaucho combat armor. I like typing "gaucho".


"Oh, hey, didn't see you there." "Didn't we already make that 'joke'?" "That was last book." "Oh, alright."

Power Armor & Robots


Fixing these double-page spreads is a pain and sometimes I just have to say 'good enough'.

Mecha-Lizard Power Armor

A Santiago design, you may look at the art and go "Oh, power armor for dinosaurs! Awesome!", because that's what I thought, but no, it's instead power armor for people who want to cosplay as dinosaurs, which is way more lame. Still, it's also used by Cordoba, who apparently purchased a hundred dinobots from Santiago during a time the two countries were at peace.

It's got about average durability, trucks around at 80 MPH, carries a rifle-like weapon that fires a passable laser or crappy grenades, a sonic pulse weapon that save-or-sucks and does alright damage to boot, mini-missiles, ion blasters you'll never use, and claws that are supposed to be a big deal but really aren't. It's sonic pulse "roar" is the deadliest thing it has, since it can just stunlock foes with it given average rolls over and over. So it's a nasty piece of work, but mainly because it has one dirty secret Arkhons hate!


Fascist bullshit bullsuit.

Toro "Minotaur" Power Armor

A Cordoba design, this is designed as an assault suit, and apparently it's usually split into teams where one group assaults with energy axes while the other shoots from afar. But I'm not sure why you would, tho, its ranged attacks are all more powerful. Ranged attacks are almost always more powerful in Rifts.

So this is pretty drat tough for a power armor, with ion blasters in the arms that do solid damage, mini-missiles, laser horns (because nothing is ornamental in Rifts), and an energy axe stolen from Amaki designs (but is somehow way better). It's mainly notable for being pretty tough, but is a fairly generic design other than its styling. And its horns suck for jabbing or ramming, don't even think you could do the obvious thing. :(


Feminine.

Glitter Boy Number 7

It's literally the seventh model of Glitter Boy we've seen in the game, so... number 7? But the designers would have no way of knowing that, given some of the models are in space or Japan. An alternate design from before the rifts used by Cordoba, Santiago, and the Empire of the Sun, this is a lighter suit designed with a variety of weapons. And what do you design a lighter suit for? Why, women! And you give the suit a curvier silhouette. And so this suit is also called the Glitter Girl by some.

Yeah. :sigh:

That being said, it isn't actually bad, thankfully. It has about 10% less toughness, but has a gatling rail gun that does as much damage as a boom gun at shorter range, but reloads vastly faster. It also has a variable frequency laser cannon that does about half that damage, hip lasers which are bad, and a broader spread of combat bonuses. It can also try and use both shoulder weapons at severe penalties, which is generally a bad idea but there might be some point at which it's useful. It's a minor downgrade but doesn't have as big a weakness as the regular Glitter Boy (that is, blow up the boom gun and it's helpless) and the differences are so slight that it probably evens out.


Look, the book associates the symbol of the Republican Party with fascism, not me! I didn't do it!

Mastodon Battle Robot

A Cordoban design, this is officially called the "Hannibal", so why is it called the Mastodon above...? :iiam: So this is a giant elephantine battle robot that's supposed to be super badass, you guys, you don't even know. It has Death Mirrors. Well, unless it falls into a pit, at which point it's pretty well hosed, as it turns out, because you designed your robot like a elephant, whups.

So this actually has nearly a thousand M.D.C., actually goes 70 MPH, has long-range missiles, a boom gun in a turret, "laser tusks"-

- wait, laser tusks are you serious-

- a "particle beam belly gun", mini-missiles (up to 32 at a time), a morningstar at the end of a trunk, and Death Mirrors.

What are Death Mirrors? Why, they're flashy flights that cause epileptic seizures. "But", you may wonder, "my character isn't epileptic!" Well, tough. They are now. Now, when this book was written, there were probably a lot of overblown claims about strobe weapons. They can blind and disorient, but the idea of a "paralysis light" is looking to be closer and closer to being debunked. It should also be noted that the idea of putting a boom gun on something that wasn't a Glitter Boy was actually really controversial at the time, because fans were really upset to see its special snowflake weapon made less special and slightly less snowflaky.


Experience the awe of a giant robot modeled after the deadly, terrifying turtle.

Galapagos Submersible Robot

Based on a pre-rifts design used by Cordoba, Santiago, and to a lesser extent Achilles, this is a massive robot used for war or exploration, but mainly the former. They're used as mobile bases against pirates and raiders, and the legs are retractable for water travel. It can be hampered by bad terrain and it's sluggish and a big target, but it's devastating in that $100 toy playset kind of way.

So it's got about 1800 M.D.C., has dual laser cannons that match a boom gun, a less impressive quad rail gun, medium-range missiles, ion-gun turrets that do passable damage, a turret with a craplaser and mini-missiles, and it can step on things. Oh, I guess it can fly like Gamera, that's a thing. Well. It probably doesn't spin, sadly. But close enough.

how does it fly anyway

Puma-class Medium Battle Tank

Looks more like a Warthog to me.

It's a tank used by Cordoba and Santiago, and is... yeah. It's a tank. So this has... solid M.D.C., a main gun that does laughable damage for a main gun, medium-range missles, an automated laser weapon that looks like a disco ball that does pretty much blah damage, but at least it's free damage, a rail gun in a cupola and in mini-turrets, and lastly mini-missiles. There's really nothing much more to say. It's a tank.


Cordoba or Santiago? Well, turns out their equipment is so similar even they get really confused on the battlefield, so it's both.

Hussar APC

Yet another Cordoba / Santiago design (we're told they developed weapons together in the past), this carries a quad of troops but doesn't actually offer much protection. So it's pretty risky. Other than that, there's a rail gun... and mini-missiles... and... for some reasons costs 1 million credits because all vehicles are vastly overpriced because they're based on our modern military costs even though the tremendous first world budgets that allow those costs don't generally exist in this world, presumably... yeah... bored ellipse... yeah. On to the home stretch!

Next: Barbarians at the end of the world.

unseenlibrarian
Jun 4, 2012

There's only one thing in the mountains that leaves a track like this. The creature of legend that roams the Timberline. My people named him Sasquatch. You call him... Bigfoot.

Remy and Belle seem like a really excellent plot hook for a Sin-eater Krewe; you've got a dude with a bunch of info on a really vile brand of abmortal (At least as Sin-eaters and their geists would see it.) and a ghost that needs to be laid to rest.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



The Skeep posted:

Wait, so liesel just sits around playing tiddlywinks or something, waiting for a national disaster? The ritual is every five years, but there's no way of predicting when one happens, or if one does occur whether it will have a lasting impact. Does she have a sleeper cell ready to mobilize a sacrifice with strike force precision and timing at moment's notice?
Yeah her case is kinda weird. She's done the ritual four more times since 1963 and officially her Ritual can just be done whenever according to the written fluff. But mechanically it doesn't really reflect that because I think they had a very specific model of Ritual in mind for her and just needed to fiat fudge things. They play kinda fast and loose with some of the premades.

Also yeah she pretty much just hangs out aimlessly, having sex with her followers and just doing whatever. It's explicitly said to be a hollow, kinda pointless life and existence.

Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012


Serf posted:

What about Cadillacs and Dinosaurs?
One day. One day, I'll actually bite the bullet and get a copy of Cadillacs and Dinosaurs: The Roleplaying Game.

Alien Rope Burn posted:


Experience the awe of a giant robot modeled after the deadly, terrifying turtle.
I like how this thing looks like a rejected Zoids design.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Fossilized Rappy posted:

I like how this thing looks like a rejected Zoids design.

Man, can you imagine like a Gundam whose face was just guns ontop of more guns?

Ratoslov
Feb 15, 2012

Now prepare yourselves! You're the guests of honor at the Greatest Kung Fu Cannibal BBQ Ever!



Doresh posted:

Man, can you imagine like a Gundam whose face was just guns ontop of more guns?

I dunno, that seems kinda metaphorical. Like, I could see some Char-wannabe declaring it to be the true face of humanity or some rot.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

RIP Lutri: 5/19/20-4/2/20
:blizz::gamefreak:


Fossilized Rappy posted:

I like how this thing looks like a rejected Zoids design.


It's Tor the shuttlezord.


Doresh posted:

Man, can you imagine like a Gundam whose face was just guns ontop of more guns?



There's also the Dendrobium Orchis that is simultaneously less and far more guns.

senrath
Nov 3, 2009

Look Professor, a destruct switch!




unseenlibrarian posted:

Remy and Belle seem like a really excellent plot hook for a Sin-eater Krewe; you've got a dude with a bunch of info on a really vile brand of abmortal (At least as Sin-eaters and their geists would see it.) and a ghost that needs to be laid to rest.

Yeah, that was my immediate thought as well. Although that's probably because Geist is my favorite splat for some reason.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



senrath posted:

Yeah, that was my immediate thought as well. Although that's probably because Geist is my favorite splat for some reason.
At times, Immortals really does feel like it got a lot of ideas that didn't quite make the cut into Geist and were still good enough to use elsewhere. This gets pretty blatant further in. I mean, it came out a few months before Geist. I imagine there was some dev cycle overlap.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Doresh posted:

Man, can you imagine like a Gundam whose face was just guns ontop of more guns?

I believe te Double Zeta Gundam has a High Mega Cannon built into it's head. Its essentially a Yamato gun in mobile suit form.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts World Book Nine: South America 2: Part 17: "The one exception are children; although Larhold discipline is harsh, the barbarians cherish their children, and mistreatment or abuse of their young is punishable by death, even if the abuser is the child's parent."

The Larhold Barbarians

Finally, after hearing about the Larhold over and over, just what are they?

Oh, orcs, pretty much.

I kid! But it's your standard numerically superior barbarian horde. See, they're magical, savage nomads that herd cattle and raid for a living, not necessarily in that order. Their wizards keep opening portals to let more of their kind onto Earth from... somewhere... and so they threaten to overrun the Silver River Republics through plain old numbers.

History

Early in the Larhold's development, they discovered advanced magic called the "Blue Flame", though some think this may have been gifted to them by some dark power. From there, they learned to open rifts and were off to rob the land of milk and honey. Though a lot of them have run into advanced civilizations that can fight them off, they have a tendency to overrun any place that isn't capable of doing so and are kind of like a interdimensional plague in that sense. They worship all sorts of dark forces like the Gods of Darkness, the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, or the Old Ones, and often develop witchery in addition to their fancy flame shenanigans.

They weren't great at technology, but they learned to steal it, as well as enslave technicians and others to help maintain or build it. As they enslaved more and more races, some showed promise as raiders, and some slaves became "honorary" Larhold. Their reputation grew, and a lot of transdimensional civilizations started to put bounties or erect defenses against them, as they became the "scourge of ten thousand worlds".

The Larhold in South America have settled down for... some reason... instead of travelling on when fought off, and often raid or tax communities in their territory. At times, they even fight amongst themselves between different tribes, but if somebody could unite them, they could threaten entire nations. Maybe like, a big fiery eye could do it.

Government and Society

The main leadership of a tribe consists of a chieftain and a shaman. Chieftains (who are patrilineal) lead in war, and shamans (who can be either sex) lead worship and ritual. Other than that, status is determined by one's rep for being brave and brutal, the size of one's hoard, and how badass one's mount is. A war bison is the traditional mount, but a truck or APC is more prestigious, and tank would be even more prestigious. Many warriors take on retainers, particularly if they have a collection of mounts to lend out. Of course, the ability to prove one's prowess in battle is important. Heart-eating and sacrifice are other ways for a Larhold to advertise their badassedness.


"I am Larhold! Of the hill people!"

Larhold Barbarian R.C.C.

Traditionally, the Larhold like facial hair, leather, and suede (maybe they're not orcs, maybe they're bikers?). Their traditional armor, though, is made of M.D.C. leather crafted from their war bisons. They also are skilled at ambush and terror tactics, and pretty much will gently caress anything up on the slightest pretense, even each other. Their only exception is children, and child abuse is generally punishable by death. They also have a habit of adopting children of other races and raising them as raiders.

The Larhold themselves get their numbers here, though. They have modest M.D.C., and you know the drill for a raise like this - they're strong, tough, and ugly. They get a variety of combat bonuses, and though they get their own Barbarian O.C.C. here, they can instead taken a magic O.C.C. or psionics if they actually want to be effective. All Larhold get the skill of riding war bison, however, as well as bow and arrows. Their own class focuses on skirmishing, survival, and combat, and get a solid skill selection. They get a special bow that lets them use their supernatural strength and a saber that does mega-damage... because... well, there's not much space left in the book to worry about why. Their leather armor gives average mega-damage protection.


Pretty sure this is copy-pasted from a Palladium Fantasy book.

Larhold Human Renegade O.C.C.

This is the class for non-Larhold adoptees, and they tend to be even more savage and tryhardish because they've got more to prove. However, humans and other "soft" races tend to get weeded out by the lifestyle, with many of them dying young, though many that survive become supernatural due to exposure to Larhold... magic? Food? Cuss words? It's not clear.

In any case, they get boosted physical attributes, and can temporarily turn themselves into M.D.C. creatures, though, and otherwise their skills and equipment are pretty much liker Larhold Barbarians, only they can't use those super-bows. Oh, and their attribute requirements mean only 3% or so of humans will qualify for this class. Not to balance it out - it's pretty poo poo - just, you know. Because.


It's probably okay to extinct these bison.

War Bison

Not an O.C.C., but a large evil cow that eats people. They're actually really tough, on par with gargoyles or dragons and can do decent damage with a buffalo headbutt. Buffalo! Head! Butt! Seriously, that's all there is to them.


"Look, skulls aren't about just looking cool. It's about branding."

Larhold Shaman O.C.C.

The shamans of the Larhold have access to the "Blue Flame", and even other Larhold spellcasters can use it, but the shamans are the best at it. Their rituals involve burning themselves with the fire, which results in them often being hideously burned or scarred, and wrap themselves in bandages or cloaks to hide this. They like sacrifice and torture, and are pretty well hated by all other races as a result. As such, they have a tendency to fight to the death and explode to avoid being captured or tortured. It notes, though, that the Blue Flame, whatever the gently caress it is, isn't evil and is more like an elemental force. Some other races have at times mastered it, but using it puts you at risk in most of the civilized lands of South America.

Powers: they can sense the blue flame (which means the effects of just other blue flame casters, I guess), get some normal and Blue Flame spells, summon Blue Light (like light, only blue), the ability to self-detonate (only once), and a minor bonus to M.D.C. Their spell training is limited by their level, like most specialist spellcasters, and whenever they learn new spells they have to reduce their beauty with burns to do so. They get survival, demon, weapon, and mathy skills (why math?), and a weak selection of other skills. They also get a "Demon Mask" that gives them a really weak Horror Factor, but otherwise get normal Larhold stuff. At third level, their tribe gives them a magic item, but since the only magic item we tend to see in these books are Millennium Tree items or Rune Weapons, no idea what they might be referring to.


Stock art of fire you see reused a lot, I think we last saw it in Rifts Conversion Book.

Blue Flame Spells

This isn't a long list, but here's a respresentative example. Most of these aren't a big deal despite this magic being played up as a Big Deal, and are honestly just kind of dull and utilitarian, but they no doubt look cool airbrushed onto the side of a van.
  • Burning Light of the Blue Flame: Shoot a crappy blue laser that's slightly less crappy against vampires!
  • Flamehalo: Gives you a flaming halo that makes you immune to psionic probes, disease, and possession.
  • Healing Flame: One of the less usual effects: a healing spell. Can revive the dead on a very lucky roll.
  • Whip of Agony: Creates a whip of guess what that does practically no damage but can be used to torture, and those tortured by it have to save vs. insanity or gain a permanent insanity.

And after that, we get some experience charts, which sometimes I wonder if they're assigned via dart throw. For example:
  • Larhold Barbarian and Neo-Human use the same XP table.
  • Inca Undead get an XP table, even though you can't play one.
  • Blood Riders take more XP to level than Master Blood Riders.

Afterword

And that's all! In my opinion, his book is the most CJ Carella of the books Carella he did for Rifts, with a wide smattering of oddball ideas he just got to cut loose on without much apparent interference by Siembieda. But even so, Siembieda would later write:

Rifts Game Master Guide posted:

When C.J. Carella wrote the South America books (and a few others), I foolishly gave the author too much leeway and latitude in his writing. I was trying to give the new guy freedom and let him run with his own ideas.

Well, C.J. is a heck of writer and has come up with some excellent ideas, characters, places and gizmos. HOWEVER, the power level of his early books (the two South America titles included) is unbalanced and overpowering compared to the rest of Rifts Earth. While these items are pretty limited to isolated geographic locations (namely South America), they can still be a problem, especially if the G.M. brings South American weapons, armor, vehicles and magic into North America or other parts of the world.

To resolve that, I suggest the following modifications: Reduce Mega-Damage by 25% (i.e. a die or two less), Range by 20%, Bonuses by half, and Payload by 20%. That evens them out nicely.

Oh, now Siembieda cares about game balance? I'm thinking he needs to turn that pointed finger a hundred and eighty degrees. Bear in mind the Game Master Guide reproduced the stats for all of the South American guns, too, so there's no reason he couldn't have just updated the statlines to match what he wanted, but...

:effort:

South America 2, though, is one of my favorite books for the line. It mixes up some things you'd expect with a lot of new ideas, and I think that's where Rifts works best, when it's taking the kernel of a few familiar things and then mixing them with a number of original ideas. That's why the core setting remains popular, since it has a number of recognizable American elements together with new ideas like the Coalition or the Xiticix. Conversely, that's why books like Japan or England are more dull, because they're mostly just regional stereotypes run through a exaggeration filter.

CJ Carella would mainly just contribute with one more book before leaving, Rifts World Book 10: Juicer Uprising. In addition, some of his Nightbane work would be adapted to Rifts in Rifts Dark Conversions. But before we move on to the next world book...

Next: South America is complete! And so we return to North America and... what is a Rifts adventure supposed to be like?

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 19:34 on Mar 12, 2017

Saguaro PI
Mar 11, 2013

Totally legit tree

Alien Rope Burn posted:

War Bison

Not an O.C.C


What the gently caress I hate Rifts now.

Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012




Chapter 3: Ops Center
Forming the Cell
In a rather involved bit of game mechanics, players are given the reigns to create the exact composition of the gear and base of operations for their particular Aegis cell. A cell's point buy system is what is referred to as Resource Points, or RP. Each player character contributes 5 RP per level of Influence they have, which goes to the five properties a cell has: Location, Facilities, Staff, Equipment, and Restricted Resources.


Location is, rather obviously, where your cell's base of operations is located. Each type of Location has a specific RP cost, number of free spaces to build things in, and specific restrictions on how things can be built therein (expect to see "cannot build an airstrip" and "no more than one four-space facility" most frequently). The very bottom of the ladder in both cost and space is a humble storefront, which costs a single Resource Point and has Space 4. These are supposed to only be used as either temporary ops centers or safehouses rather than main bases, however, so you probably won't actually get off that light on points. Just one more Resource Point nets you a Cold War bomb shelter with Space 5, and two more a private residence with Space 10, making these more reliable cheapo bases. Of course, they too suffer from being unable to build more than one Space 4 facility, lack any airstrip or helipad capability, and a private residence is both against official Aegis policy and removes your ability to have any facilities that would be visible from the outside, but that's the cost of cutting corners.

The rest of the Locations you can purchase all fall in line at five-point intervals. You've got industrial warehouses, large abandoned buildings(apartments, schools, etc.), private estates, office buildings at 5 RP, industrial parks and marine research vessels at 10 RP, and military bases, offshore oil rigs (for those of you who want to play Big Boss or the Enclave), underground bases, and underwater bases at 15 RP. The largest of all of these options are the estate and military base, both at Space 20. The estate requires someone wealthy enough to actually own an estate and tacks on the two most frequent restrictions yet again, while the military base only requires Influence (Military) and has no building restrictions.


Facilities are all those rooms and such you stuff inside of your Location. They are mechanically quite similar to Locations, only they require Space rather than grant it. The facilities you can buy for your Location(s) are an airstrip, briefing room, ten-person barracks, biohazard containment area, brig/holding cell for up to four prisoners, telecommunications room, photography darkroom, dive bay, one-person dormitory, environment chamber (a room with full atmospheric, temperature, and humidity control), field hospital for up to five patients, firing range, two-vehicle garage, physical fitness gym, aircraft hangar, helipad, properly equipped hospital for up to twenty patients, one-patient ICU, life support generator for an environmentally sealed Location, computer mainframe, swimming pool, radar array, storage vault (a safelocked, air-sealed, radiation-proofed steel storage facility; regular storage rooms have no cost to the players), two-person suite, supercomputer, vehicle elevator (a must for underground vehicle storage), workspace (either a scientific laboratory, engineering workshop, or library), and desktop PC workstation.

A lot of Facilities with limited occupancy get linked together into a single Space 4 room if you try to get a certain number of them squeezed into one facility. For instance, two barracks, brigs, or suites together are a Space 4 facility, as are four garages.

Staff are basically NPC allies you pay RP to have on hand. They come in two varieties: Research Staff, which have a score of 2 in every physical Attribute and 3 in every mental Attribute combined with non-combat skills such as Computers or Occult Knowledge, and Operations Staff, which have the opposite Attribute spread and have a mix of combat and non-combat skills for helping out on a mission. Your hiring options are academics, computer specialists, doctors, engineers, lab assistants, scientists, and technicians for Research Staff and intelligence agents, drivers/pilots/sailors, and soldiers/mercenaries for Operations Staff.

All in all, cell creation is a really neat concept, as it gives the players almost-free reign in their base building dreams. I can also see the downside of potentially bogging things down in the minutae of allocating Resource Points into this and that and figuring out who wants what to be where, so it seems like the sort of thing that would be best planned out in advance before your play sessions actually gear up. It might have been nice to see a few sample premade bases as well, both for those who would like an example of working the system out and for groups who might want to just skip the base building altogether and live in a preset facility.



Weapons
And, of course, we have that thing that most roleplaying games have need for but is really hard to describe in any interesting sort of way: gear! All of your equipment in Conspiracy X can be bought with either Resource Points or cold hard cash, which makes sense given that your player characters are both singular entities and hands of a greater conspiracy and can draw on the benefits of both of those worlds when it comes time to kit up. Equipment also sometimes requires specific Influences to be purchased in the same way Pulling Strings and Locations/Facilities do, which again makes sense given the game's themes but might annoy that player who wants really wants a flamethrower but ends up realizing that nobody in the party has Influence (Military) to actually get one.

Weapons: The things you injure and kill people with are on the generalized level in Conspiracy X, foregoing the bits and bobs of Rugers versus Remingtons or what have you and instead going straight for [type of gun] does [level of damage] at [specific range]. On the melee weapons side, you've got a baton/large stick, club/small stick, large club/baseball bat/pipe/chair, small knife, large knife, hand stunner, huge knife/shortsword/ and staff, and then a ranged weapons table with thrown knife, thrown rock, dart pistol, dart rifle, derringer, ranged stunner (tasers and company), handguns in light, medium, heavy, and very heavy, submachine gun, civilian rifles in light, medium, and heavy, 12-gauge shotgun, assault rifle, sniper rifles in light or heavy, machine guns in light or heavy, and the good ol' minigun and flamethrower for overkill purposes.

One fun thing about weapons here is that you get a lot of them in bulk; 1 RP gets you twenty-four batons, for instance. What exactly are you gonna do with that many batons? I dunno, but you have them! Similarly, 1 RP gets you five submachine guns or handguns plus ammo, enough to outfit the whole gang (assuming your gang is made up of five people). Only the really big guns end up going at an equal 1 RP-one gun exchange rate (or 2 RP for one gun in the case of the minigun or heavy machine gun). Another fun thing, this time on a mechanical scale, is that there is an average damage listed for every weapon, for those who want to just go from attack roll to damage instead of attack roll to damage roll to damage.

Oh, and guns are capable of doing some pretty nasty things. I know this probably sounds obvious, but in some games gun damage isn't exactly stellar. In Conspiracy X, though, a .45 handgun, medium civilian rifle, light machine gun, or assault rifle slaps 1d8 x 4 damage in your face, and they aren't even the heftiest weapons you can have in your arsenal. As the game tells us earlier, the range of normal human Life Points is 18 to 58, meaning that a maximum damage shot from any of those weapons will tear through the majority of people, and even average damage will put a pretty good dent in you. Oh, and that's all before noting this fun fact:

Conspiracy X Second Edition posted:

A normal jacketed bullet tends to corkscrew and ricochet inside the human body, shattering bone, piercing vital organs, and doing assorted forms of mayhem. Thus, normal bullet damage is doubled after penetrating armor.
Of course, this is all ignoring things like Survival Rolls, targeted shots, and other things that make you more or less likely to die, but that's a story for the next chapter.

Explosives: For things that make a big spectacle, you have three separate damage levels depending on how close you are to where the explosive lies: Ground Zero (the epicenter), General Effect (the shockwave of effectiveness) and Maximum Range (the point where things start losing steam). Just how drastic these changes are varies. For instance, while C4 stays d6 throughout its explosive arc and only the multiplier changes, a rocket launcher's light rocket goes from d10 x 7 at Ground Zero to d6 x 5 at General Effect and d4 x 5 at Maximum Range. Explosives are categorized both by launch method and by type of explosive. For launch, you have straight-up throwing grenades around, hand-held or vehicle-mounted grenade launchers, light and medium missiles, and rocket launchers. The types of explosive that make up these categories are C4, Claymore mines, dynamite sticks, grenades in 40mm, AP, HEDP, defensive (smoke, stun, or tear gas), incendiary, and offensive (frag or flechette) varieties, missiles in light and medium, rockets, and satchel charges.

Ammunition: If you want, you can slap a +1 to Resource Point costs to get special ammo. It comes in the three flavors of armor-piercing (halve any Armor Value or Barrier Value of defenses in their way; AV and BV will be discussed in the next chapter, but for now you can basically sum them up in your head as being damage reduction), hollow-point (double AV and BV, but if you do inflicted damage it gets further tripled), and tracer (+1 to aiming rolls in a fully automatic burst).



All the Other Sorts of Equipment
At the risk of sounding overly reductive, most of the rest of the material in this chapter is stuff that you probably wouldn't want to hear a lecture about, even if it's useful in-game. There's only so much you can say about lockpicks, wiretaps, night-vision goggles, and rifle scopes, especially since they are all either descriptive in nature or give minor skill roll bonuses. Such is the curse of the equipment section of a game. Of course, there is one section that covers the conspiratorial side of equipment with restricted gear. Almost all of them are marked with the statement that they are "strictly “need to know” and are discussed in Chapter Six: Classified (see p. 227)", but there are at least a few that get discussed here.

Magic Van: A special vehicle you can get for 10 RP if you have an NSA profession, the "magic van" gets its nickname due to the fact that it is capable of engaging in targeted electromagnetic attacks on individual pieces of computer infrastructure. These strikes, known as TEMPEST attacks, take 1d6 minutes and can strike any computer within a hundred-yard radius. While 80% of government infrastructure is TEMPEST-secured, civilian computers aren't so lucky and only have a 20% chance of having such shielding.

Special Weapons: Members of any CIA, DIA, CYGNET, or MKULTRA profession can reap the rewards of weird Cold War killing gear. These are more or less all regular firearms built into a mundane object, which disguises the weapon at the cost of a -1 combat roll penalty and quarter the normal ammo capacity. An example is given in the machine pistol briefcase (an SMG built into a briefcase), but otherwise it's up to the GM and players to figure out what these kinds of weapons are like.

SR-71 Blackbird: After the military decommissioned the SR-71, most of the stock that didn't get transferred to NASA went into the hands of Aegis, and players with a pilot profession can access these famously fast spy planes for their own use. The Blackbird is the only non-secret aircraft that is actually fast enough to take on extraterrestrial vessels in combat, and as a result Aegis SR-71s are often fitted up with salvos of heat-seeking missiles. Players are required to keep their SR-71s in a hanger whenever they aren't in use as part of secrecy and security protocols.



Next Time: Enter the Ruleschat zone.

Asehujiko
Apr 6, 2011



Polaris RPG(2016)
Part 12, Book 1, Chapter 1: The World of the Deep, section 1.2: Civilizations of the Deep


The thread's character is almost complete and just needs a good pun for a name to get started on the chargen rules, which are a third longer than all the fluff. Speaking of which, it's time for the last(but not really because most of the Cult/Equinox stuff is hidden behind the minor powers) major nation in the book...

The Mediterranean Union

It's a flag that somebody could actually draw from memory! Wait no, there's a barely visible triangles pattern all over the background for some idiotic reason.

History
The Union started in 467 as an idea of a wealthy Galian businessman called Omar Selanko, who suggested solidifying the unofficial alliance between the local stations for the purpose of some unspecified megaproject. One problem was that the largest station, Calnais, was ruled by an rear end in a top hat called baron Narwhal who, upon hearing the idea, threw a tantrum and sent assassins after all the station's leaders as well as Selanko and prepared to invade Galia in retaliation. The assassins were drawn from the Celestial Voice, a militant sect of the Heavenly Voice religion, led by the baron. Selanko survived and in 469 he discovered that Narwhal was coming back for another attempt, this time sending agents infected with mind control parasites to every station. Selanko revealed the baron's evil scheme and all the other stations responded with outrage, declaring war on Calnais(you mean they didn't already do that when the baron sent religious fanatics to kill their leaders?). On march 26, during the so called Night of Heresy they exterminate all the Heavenly Voice followers(wait if all the Voice people are dead, who named it like that?) and marched on Calnais. The allied fleets encounter the outgoing Calnais fleet just outside the settlement and after six days of fighting, Calnais and it's defenders are wiped out.

After the war, Narwhal was found in hiding near the current day city of Tamez and the main Celestial voice temple was discovered in a ruined surface city, together with a colony of the mind control parasites. The site was destroyed, the baron and his remaining followers executed and the region returned to internal bickering, even though the very first sentence of this text block stated that there was an informal alliance that had already been around for centuries. This continued until 477 when the neighbouring Empire of Ziar invaded and destroyed the frontier town of Clanaon. Ziar collapsed a few months later without doing much and got split into the Rift States and the Kingdom of the Indus but their attack finally convinced the Mediterranean factions to merge together in 478. A week before the signing of the treaty, Omar Selanko died, taking the plans for whatever he was going to build with a united Med with him to the grave. So much for that plot thread. Lesiur Narkal became the first president of newly founded Mediterranean Union, made peace with the Rift States and the Empire of Ziar(shouldn't this be the Rift States and the Kingdom of the Indus? The two mentioned do not coexist at any point in the timeline) and grew the country out to be of the major world players in under a century.

In 543 Pietrich Van Dyn became the next president, who continued following an expansionist policy and apparently sucking at it because the Union still owns nothing beyond Gribraltar or Suez. They're better at tech though, being world leaders at supercavitation and hypercavitation torpedoes, causing the other major nations to take notice and fill up the whole nation with spies to steal all their delicious delicious tech. Aside from that, there are whispers that the new religion, creatively titled the Church of the Prophet, might actually be the Heavenly Voice reformed, mind control bugs & all(that's some master grade taqiyya they've got going on there if a country populated solely by spies still can't do better than some rumors). Lastly, there's some unspecified "grave threat" looming over the Union. Dead end metaplot reference count: 15.

Society
The Union's government encourages all it's citizens to come up with new technology and to work hard. The research bureaus accept all proposals from citizen, which is how they stumbled upon supercavitation weapons and the "famous" anti-field thrower(no the book will never tell us what this is) but spend a lot of time researching garbage as well because of this. The Union has a growing population, mostly from immigrants, but even with the Council constantly funding new settlements, they're slowly running out of housing space. Said Council is the ruling body of the Union and made up out of the leaders of the 26 founding stations. Pietrich van Dyn, a well respected and charismatic statesman is it's current president. The council votes on major decisions and allocates budgets to the Union's ministries of which there are apparently "over 38" which is oddly specific and also means nothing. 39? 40? 70? 2438? The book lists the few most important ones:
-Ministry of Research, the largest and bestest one in the Union, further split into a bunch of sub-ministries, those being Synar Department(pharmaceuticals and genetics), Omar Department(industry), Nexus Department(military), Antares Department (space), Yrix Department(electronics) and Rea Department(agriculture)
-Ministry of Industry, which does exactly what you think it does
-Ministry of Colonization, which in addition to being the nationwide zoning board, is also in charge of surface and underground outposts as if that somehow makes sense
-Ministry of Defence, they distribute budgets to the armed forces and nothing else
-Ministry of Security, which is another one of those institutes split up into vaguely thematically named subsections, those being Ulysses Division(intelligence), Agamemnon(counterespionage) and Aea(police)
-Ministry of Education and Demographics, also known as Priapus(of all the loving things they named the school board after an ancient dick joke) which is in charge of the education system and reproductive programs

Officially there are no social classes but politicians and higherups of the research bureaus are still practically in charge of everything. The only official measure of one's status is productivity, with the unemployed being forcibly drafted into mining crews or the armed forces, mutants are only tolerated as long as they can work and used for test subjects otherwise. Children born with disabilities are typically killed because we were short on our grimdark for the sake of grimdark quota. The only vulnerable group Galt's Trench has any kind of compassion for are productive workers who were crippled in workplace accidents, they get sent to retirement homes. Fertile citizen are barred from working in any hazardous professions but unless they're actually in a maternity ward, they're still expected to show up to work otherwise. Children are raised by the Ministry of Education and Demographics from birth until age eight, after which they are sent to private contractor companies who handle their education until adulthood.

Territory
The Union holds the largest reserve of oil as well as significant amount of Cylast, gold, other metals and salt, a substance incredibly hard to come by in the middle of the ocean. The Union operates a bunch of automatic factories on the surface and many underwater farms, which together with their mineral wealth, make up the bulk of their resources. They own six major cities, twenty smaller ones and over sixty villages, all of which are cramped and look more like enormous factories from a distance.

Armed Forces
The Union's army is also compartmentalized into a bunch of old Greek names this time being
-Heracles Division, the fleet which is small but equipped with the most modern ships in the world
-Achilles Division, underground and surface troops, larger than the other three due to the Burrower threat
-Perseus Division, this being infantry and sea floor tanks
-Aeneas Division, special forces
While it's not big enough yet to compete with the likes of the Hegemony or the Red League, the Union armies are among the best equipped and trained in the world because Tessier has completely forgotten what he wrote last page about the Union filling it's ranks by forcibly conscripting the homeless.

Personalities
-Pietrich Van Dyn
The council's president for the last 25 years(actually 26), is 58 years of age(or maybe 59? who knows) and generally popular for his successful leadership. Lately he appeared ill and rumours say he is infected with a mind control parasite.

-Nez Dorir
A council member in his fifties. He his cunning and is rumoured to the next in line for the presidency. There are rumours that he is associated with the Church of the Prophet.

-Aea Tyss
The reclusive director of the Mistral megacorp, the largest in the Mediterranean Union. Mistral perfected the supercavitation torpedo. She has never appeared in public, leading to rumours that she doesn't even exist. The few who claim to have met her all describe her a beautiful and intelligent woman in her thirties, a description that has not changed since the company was founded fifteen years ago. This is clearly some attempt at being spooky but it kinda falls flat because make-up exists, as does cosmetic surgery and 15 years is not all that long. Doing this without any supernatural means is made even easier by the fact that the official art is yet another face concealing hood and mask.


Pietrich Van Dyn, may or may not include mind control parasite

Stations

Galia
Population: 500.00
Depth: -400 to -1.700m
Fertile population: 19%
Mutant population: 19%
Galia in an industrial city that is primarily occupied by managing the automated surface factories. Wait no, it's actually a research hub that sends out pirates to bring back relics from the surrounding sunken cities. Sorry, I got that wrong, it's a mining city that mines up Cylast and tri-terranium from a depth of 2850 meters. Make up your loving mind already Tessier. Err, hang on, I believe it's a fortress city in the war against the Burrowers now.

Ka
Population: 60.000
Depth: -200 to -250m
Fertile population: 37%
Mutant population: 23%
The Union's breadbasket and major agricultural research hub, branching out into a few surface factories and research outposts. It is a pleasant place to live, with houses on average having 20m² space per inhabitants, over five times the world's average. So much for Union cities being more cramped than everybody else's.

Neo-Troy
Population: 100.000
Depth: -490m
Fertile population: 27%
Mutant population: 12%
Here be the government. Located nowhere near Troy.

Omeross
Population: 50.000
Depth: -1.700m
Fertile population: 12%
Mutant population: 23%
A fortress city and the westernmost border of the Union. Most trade flows through here and it's detection systems are so advanced that it is impossible to sneak through the strait of Gibraltar without being noticed.

Syrte
Population: 60.000
Depth: -3.900 to 4.200m
Fertile population: 17%
Mutant population: 23%
Home to the Church of the Prophet, which got started following archeological discoveries among the neighbouring ruins. Some say the Prophet is a Genetician, others that he's a spiritual guide incarnated to lead humanity back to the surface. They have their own language called Nezraisian, also taken from the surrounding ruins and most members are scientists or scholars. Aside from the CotP, the Fellows of the Deep(fantasy daesh) are also rumoured to be present here. Lastly, like Neo-Troy it's several hundred kilometers off from it's namesake, being located more closely to Benghazi than Sirte.

Tamez
Population: 60.000
Depth: -2.990 to 3.200m
Fertile population: 16%
Mutant population: 14%
An industrial city dedicated to processing raw materials. It's position also makes it a "frontier" town towards the Rift States whatever that means because the Mediterranean Union and the Rift States are supposed to be allies now.

Next time: Minor nations

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





What the devil are these fertile percentages meant to represent again? Or is that another thing never explained?

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Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



How much of the population is capable of making babies to repopulate.

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