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Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



I actually find it interesting that Dragonmech presented cyborgs as non-lawful because holy poo poo you absolute lunatic you are attaching a literal steam engine to your brain what is wrong with you.

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Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Dragonmech: I love first levels that don't do anything



The Vessel of Dotrak is a really weird prestige class. The god Dotrak may or may not be real, but there's some evidence of its existence - the trak traks, which are animate piles of gears that wander around aimlessly, and these guys. These guys, being...more than random pile of gears walking around, are more convincing. They aren't true clerics and have very little control over their powers or growth as vessels, and they can't commune with Dotrak like clerics can with their gods, but their power clearly comes from somewhere. There are less than two dozen of them in all of Highpoint, and all are dwarves at present, but there's no reason a non-dwarf couldn't become a vessel. You do have to meet certain criteria to be chosen. First, you must be Neutral. Second, you need Int 16 ands Wis 16. Third, you need 10 ranks of Knowledge (Steam Engines). And last, you need to worship Dotrak. At that point, the DM must decide if you'll be chosen, based on how well you spread engineering knowledge, spread the word of Dotrak and serve the few principles Dotrak can be said to have. If you do, there is a 10% chance each time you level that you will, instead, gain the first level of this prestige class. But, you know, further levelling is not guaranteed. Whenever you have enough XP to level, you roll 1d6. If you roll less than or equal to your level in this prestige class, you gain a level in it. Otherwise, you get a level in one of the classes you had before this. At 6th level you may choose to advance in this class automatically, but once you hit level 7 you may no longer advance in any other class except this one.

Vessels of Dotrak have a d6 hit die and their class skills are Concentration, Craft (Blacksmith), Craft (Mechcraft, Disable Device, Heal, all Knowledge skills, Listen, Mech Pilot, Profession (Engineer), Spellcraft and Spot. They are proficient with all exotic weapons and armor derived from steam or clockwork technology and get half-decent BAB and good Fort and Will. They do gain divine spells, cast as a cleric in all ways...but received differently. There's no prayer or meditation - the spells just appear spontaneously at a different time every day. (If this is relevant, roll 2d12 to determine what hour they show up.) You may choose which spells you receive...but Dotrak's not a real god yet, and so there's a 10% chance each day that 1d4 of your spells are randomly selected instead. Your domain spells are never substituted this way. Your domains are Engines and Knowledge, because Dotrak, and your favored weapon is a metal quarterstaff. Also, at level 1, you have two spells total - one, and your domain one.

Beyond this, all you get at level 1 is your heart is mystically transformed into a clockwork device - beautifully made of gold, silver and steel, though no one will see it until you die. Its ticking is audible to anyone within 5 feet with a DC 10 Listen check. It cannot rust and is immune to spells that normally damage constructs and engines. Pretty much all it does is tick. At level 2, however, you gain the ability to rebuke and command constructs in the way evil clerics do undead. This works only on animate constructs that move of their own will, like golems or shield guardians, not mechs or anything piloted. This requires a holy symbol of Dotrak, which takes the form of a toothed gear inset with ornate gold and platinum scrollwork, which costs 300 gp to make. Also at level 2, your fingernails become hard and silvery aluminum. At level 3, your teeth are also encased in metal. Neither of these do anything. At level 4, however, your entire skeleton is turned to steel, giving you +2 Constitution and a bonus +2 to your Fort saves on top of that. At level 6 - remember, the last one you can take if you want to level in any other class - your eyes become metal orbs, your joints become sockets and your skin is a thin layer of steel with extreme tensile strength. Its appearance varies as you like, but it gives a +2 natural armor bonus to AC and cannot be removed any more easily than skin can. You are now vulnerable to rust abilities, just as steamborgs are, but you only take half damage if you fail the Fort save and no damage on a success, because a sort-of-god likes you.

At lvel 8, your skin begins to glow faintly silver. This doesn't do anything. At level 9, however, your body is now entirely wrought from clockwork and is in all ways a living construct. You are immune to mind-influencing abilities of all kinds, to poison, sleep, paralysis, stunning, disease, death and necromancy. You are also immune to crits, subdual damage, ability damage, ability drain and energy drain, and anything requiring a Fort save unless it works on objects. You cannot die of massive damage, but you can no longer go into negative HP - if you hit 0, you are dead. Period. You can be resurrected or raised, as you have a soul, however, and you do heal normally and still need to eat and drink. At level 10, you become a prophet of Dotrak. Once per day, with a touch, you may restore a damaged mechanical or clockwork device to perfect functionality, though you can't fix any magical problems with it. This works on anything from a watch to a citymech as long as the thing only has one engine. You don't clean or improve it or make it look nicer - it just works at peak condition. This can repair up to half of an object's HP lost in battle - the rest has to be repaired normally as the damage is nonmechanical. Also, you are able to meditate for 30 minutes up to three times a day before examining a device. If you do, you get a +20 competence bonus to any Craft (Mechcraft), Disable Device, Knowledge (Mechs) or (Steam Engines), Profession (Engineering) or other skill rolls to identify or fix a problem, or build something, as you are communed with Dotrak, the Great Engine. Last, once per day, you may as a standard action animate any pile of gears as a trak trak for 3d10 minutes. It will obey you and, when the duration ends, collapse back into a pile of junk.

if you were somehow to stop worshipping Dotrak, you would lose all spells and abilities of this class, revert back to normal flesh and be unable to gain any more levels in this class, ever. So...good job, idiot. You hosed up being a rather underwhelming cleric variant that spent half its time giving you a robotic cosmetic makeover.

Anyway, then we get the new skills. Craft (Mechcraft) is used to make and repair steampunk poo poo, especially mechs, and to salvage from same. Handle Animal has a note - clockwork rangers and only clockwork rangers - can use this to influence constructs and clockwork robots in the same way as animals, provided they aren't made to go against their programming. No one else can do that. Mech Pilot is not needed to just operate a mech - anyone can do that, though without an appropriate feat you can either move or attack in the same round, and without an appropriate feat or a class that gives you a mech BAB, your BAB is equal to half your normal BAB. However, you need to make Mech Pilot checks to remain standing on uneven ground, to board or launch from a citymech, to stand up once your mech has fallen and, if your mech can even do it, to jump or climb.

Now, on to feats. One feat of note is a new metamagic one, Combine Spell. See, Dragonmech has decided that normal spells can only affect 'creatures' no more than twice the caster's size. Combine Spell allows multiple casters to combine the same spell together to double some aspect of it - or for one caster to cast the same spell several times in succession for the same effect. Each use can double range, target size or duration - though this doubles arithmetically, so x2 twice is x3, not x4. So, say you want to cast Endure Elements on a Gargantuan mech and you're Medium - you need three castings chained together with this feat to do it, and all casters involved need to have this feat. So mechs are actually pretty decent against wizards...at the moment, anyway...because wizards have to slow their roll pretty drat hard to be able to hit a mech at all.

Beyond this, there's feats for making steamtech stuff, mechs, etc., feats to gain more steam powers, a feat that lets you avoid hazards in a gear forest (what's that, you ask? it's the engine room of a citymech, they're dangerous places), one that lets you worship one of the moon gods to be able to mutate your body essentially at random, kind of like Jivya in Crawl...and some I want to talk about, the mech combat skills.

Mech Dancer (Dex 13+, Mech Pilot 10): You add your Dex mod to your mech's AC, its trip checks, the DC to avoid being trampled by it, to its Reflex saves and basically all mech stuff that relies on Dex. Also, you can make your mech dance. This has no mechanical effects, you can just do it.
Mech Fu (Dex 15+, Mech Dancer, trained by the Irontooths): 1/round, you may use unarmed mech attacks to counter melee mech attacks. You must ready an action to do this, but if the enemy mech hits you, you make a Mech Pilot check vs their attack roll, and if you succeed, you take no damage and the enemy loses any further attacks or movement. If you succeed by 5 or more, you also deal unarmed attack damage to them.
Mech Rider (Dex 13+, trained by rust riders or anklebiters or make a DC 13 Wis and Dex check): You don't have to make Balance checks to hold onto a moving mech or attack while doing so. You can also make a ride-by attack while on it by delaying to its initiative or having it delay to yours, at any point in the mech's movement.
Mech Weapon Proficiency: Pick a mech of size Colossal 3 or less. You can use any weapons mounted on it, or any different-sized version of those weapons.
Mechanized Combat Practice (Dex 13+): You can use your normal BAB while in a mech rather than halving it and losing any extra attacks.
Mechidextrous (Dex 15+, Mechwalker feat): You can use two mech weapons per round, as long as the mech's construction allows it, though you get -3 to both atacks. This is just flat impossible for other people.
Mechwalker (Dex 13+): You can attack and move in a mech in the same round.
Natural Pilot: You increase the maneuverability of any mech you are in by one level.
Speed Freak (Mech Pilot 5): Any mech you pilot is 10 feet faster than normal.
Unnatural Pilot (Natural Pilot, can cast divination spells, worships Dotrak): You are a newtype. You can spend two levels of spell slots to get a Newtype flash, improving your mech's maneuverability by one level for this and the next round only, stacking with Natural Pilot, gain +4 insight bonus to AC and +4 insight bonus to oppose enemy trip attacks, falling or otherwise losing control of your mech. Activating this is a free action and can be used for as long as you have spell slots to sacrifice.

This is to give you some idea of what mech combat is like. It's...it's real slow. Things fall over a lot. Unless you really invest in mech piloting, mechs are basically rockem-sockem robots. Sometimes guys with swords hang onto their knees to attack people as they go past.

Next time: It's magic, you know. Never believe it's not so.

inklesspen
Oct 17, 2007

Here I am coming, with the good news of me, and you hate it. You can think only of the bell and how much I have it, and you are never the goose. I will run around with my bell as much as I want and you will make despair.

Buglord

Hey, it's me, I'm back.

I've had a busy few months in my personal life, coupled with literally not being able to log into the archive admin panel since November. (Also SA changed their page layout slightly and that broke a few things in the code.) But that's fixed now, and I am catching up on my archiving. I'm on page 247 of this thread and moving forward.

I have had absolutely no luck actually reviewing things, though, so I'm marking my old reviews as abandoned. Anyone particularly interested in them can pick them up.

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007





inklesspen posted:

Hey, it's me, I'm back.

I've had a busy few months in my personal life, coupled with literally not being able to log into the archive admin panel since November. (Also SA changed their page layout slightly and that broke a few things in the code.) But that's fixed now, and I am catching up on my archiving. I'm on page 247 of this thread and moving forward.

I have had absolutely no luck actually reviewing things, though, so I'm marking my old reviews as abandoned. Anyone particularly interested in them can pick them up.

Welcome back!

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

What they said! :)

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





I understand it's not the a e s t h e t i c but you'd think some fantasy doohickey-wrangler concept would do mechanical crap with electric motors. Other than Cygnar in Iron Kingdoms it's 100% coal. You wouldn't even need much, just some handwaved alchemical bullshit process to create Good Batteries.

e: Hell, you can even have "magitech" work on a low key basis because grain millers would be able to have a profitable sideline generating electricity.

Nessus fucked around with this message at 19:23 on Apr 8, 2017

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


inklesspen posted:

Hey, it's me, I'm back.

I've had a busy few months in my personal life, coupled with literally not being able to log into the archive admin panel since November. (Also SA changed their page layout slightly and that broke a few things in the code.) But that's fixed now, and I am catching up on my archiving. I'm on page 247 of this thread and moving forward.

I have had absolutely no luck actually reviewing things, though, so I'm marking my old reviews as abandoned. Anyone particularly interested in them can pick them up.

Cheers man, what you do is appreciated.

LongDarkNight
Oct 25, 2010

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

Oven Wrangler

inklesspen posted:

Hey, it's me, I'm back.

I've had a busy few months in my personal life, coupled with literally not being able to log into the archive admin panel since November. (Also SA changed their page layout slightly and that broke a few things in the code.) But that's fixed now, and I am catching up on my archiving. I'm on page 247 of this thread and moving forward.

I have had absolutely no luck actually reviewing things, though, so I'm marking my old reviews as abandoned. Anyone particularly interested in them can pick them up.

Good to have you back.

Cease to Hope
Dec 12, 2011
Desine fata deum flecti sperare precando.



Interesting fact: Shadow Walk counts as an attack, so it generates Momentum. In fact, it's guaranteed Momentum for whatever it is that you're planning to do next turn, because you are disappeared for the interim.

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




inklesspen posted:

Hey, it's me, I'm back.

I've had a busy few months in my personal life, coupled with literally not being able to log into the archive admin panel since November. (Also SA changed their page layout slightly and that broke a few things in the code.) But that's fixed now, and I am catching up on my archiving. I'm on page 247 of this thread and moving forward.

I have had absolutely no luck actually reviewing things, though, so I'm marking my old reviews as abandoned. Anyone particularly interested in them can pick them up.

Thanks for all you're​ doing.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

inklesspen posted:

Hey, it's me, I'm back.

I've had a busy few months in my personal life, coupled with literally not being able to log into the archive admin panel since November. (Also SA changed their page layout slightly and that broke a few things in the code.) But that's fixed now, and I am catching up on my archiving. I'm on page 247 of this thread and moving forward.

I have had absolutely no luck actually reviewing things, though, so I'm marking my old reviews as abandoned. Anyone particularly interested in them can pick them up.

Archiving is the Lord's work.

It's all I can do just to keep up with the logs of the games I'm in*, and this is much bigger.

*it might be easier if I didn't insist on correcting grammar and punctuation after the fact.

Cease to Hope
Dec 12, 2011
Desine fata deum flecti sperare precando.



I updated the rogue post with some stuff that was in my notes but never made it to my draft. Including completely misunderstanding Shadow Walk like a moron and forgetting Swashbuckling entirely.

Cooked Auto posted:

The more 13A updates I read the more doubts I have about the system and the less willing I feel like using it for whenever I can convince myself to actually run the Warcraft campaign.
Which is further confounded by the fact that the three current player character concepts are a Warrior, a Paladin and possibly a Druid.

Right now, I'm being a little overly negative because I'm deep into the weeds on class design (and the rogue is not only really bad but also super disappointing to me). I'll get a little more holistic after I'm done with the fighter and bard, describing what the system as a whole does well and what it doesn't do well.

Cooked Auto posted:

Yeah I got some good usage out of that one alongside Sure Cut. Although in hindsight I must've gotten it wrong because I usually went with Shadow walk as my opening move and then attacked from that with Sure Cut, which can't be done since it requires momentum from making damage. I think both me and the GM forgot about that after a while. :v

Just wanted to say, this is actually legal. Shadow Walk is an attack, and Momentum doesn't say anything about doing damage. In fact, Shadow Walk is one of the most reliable ways of setting up Momentum, because you're disappeared for the time between your successful Walk attack and your next turn.

lifg posted:

This is a really nice and succinct way to describe how different classes are built.

Thanks!

Cease to Hope fucked around with this message at 20:17 on Apr 8, 2017

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Nessus posted:

e: Hell, you can even have "magitech" work on a low key basis because grain millers would be able to have a profitable sideline generating electricity.
There's not too many reasons to use coal if you have wizards who can generate lightning and fire out of nothing - or even better, summon elementals who are made out of that stuff.

Or do what I'd do for fantasy mecha: Create a big enough golem with a cockpit and lots of wand batteries for the Magic Missile Massacre.

Gobbeldygook
May 13, 2009
Hates Native American people and tries to justify their genocides.

Put this racist on ignore immediately!


Doresh posted:

There's not too many reasons to use coal if you have wizards who can generate lightning and fire out of nothing - or even better, summon elementals who are made out of that stuff.

Or do what I'd do for fantasy mecha: Create a big enough golem with a cockpit and lots of wand batteries for the Magic Missile Massacre.
A dude throwing a few fireballs per day does not enable an industrial revolution. If your fantasy world allows wizards to summon/bind elementals/spirits/etc in sufficient amounts to enable an industrial revolution, you also have to explain how/why PCs can't replace the party fighter with a half-dozen earth elementals.

Cease to Hope
Dec 12, 2011
Desine fata deum flecti sperare precando.



Gobbeldygook posted:

A dude throwing a few fireballs per day does not enable an industrial revolution. If your fantasy world allows wizards to summon/bind elementals/spirits/etc in sufficient amounts to enable an industrial revolution, you also have to explain how/why PCs can't replace the party fighter with a half-dozen earth elementals.

it's a 3e-based d20 game so yes they've already done that

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Gobbeldygook posted:

A dude throwing a few fireballs per day does not enable an industrial revolution. If your fantasy world allows wizards to summon/bind elementals/spirits/etc in sufficient amounts to enable an industrial revolution, you also have to explain how/why PCs can't replace the party fighter with a half-dozen earth elementals.
I don't see the problem here. That's just the same kind of progress that made pointed sticks obsolete.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Dragonmech: Stupid Robot Powers

First, the game introduces a number of spell variants for constructors and clockwork rangers, which basically take all of their 'talk to plants or animals' poo poo and replaces 'plants or animals' with 'robots'. Speak with constructs, Clockwork messenger, Hold construct, Gear stride (which lets you teleport between gears like tree stride), that kind of thing. The College of Constructors only accepts constructors, who need to pay 200 GP in dues per year. What you get for those dues is simple: you have access to all the new variant spells, to labs to make constructs in, to constructor-exclusive spells and to materials for the construction of clockwork familiars. Sharing any of the new or variant spells is grounds for punishment and possibly spellbook destruction. The labs are great - normally, you need a 500 gp lab to build golems and poo poo in, but you get access free in many major citymechs. Plus, working in a constructor lab reduces the cost of components and labor by 10%. Constructor-exclusive spells, never taught to any outsiders ever, are Animate gears, Clockwork double, Detect clockworks, Enginemaster's Grasp, Ironclad, Tick tock knock, Transpose spirit and Vanquish spirit.

Clockwork familiars are made by doing a familiar summoning ritual on a tiny robot. It is given life, and acts exactly like a normal familiar, with all the normal benefits and the normal drawbacks when it dies. However, it is a construct and so has all construct immunities, but cannot be healed - only repaired, for 2 gp per 1 HP restored and taking 10 minutes per HP restored. It has darkvision, gets a +2 natural armor bonus on top of the normal familiar bonuses and it can speak with intelligent constructs rather than animals of any kind. So...that's...worth it...?



We also get the Engines cleric domain, exclusive to Dotrak and his chosen. Its special power is that once a day, you can cause or cure 1d6 damage per caster level to any single construct, mech or other engine-driven thingy you touch. Very impressive, I'm sure. For new spells, the only real standouts are...

Animate Gears (Constructor 5/Clockwork Ranger 4): You make a pile of gears turn into a humanoid mass of angry metal that is basically a zombie.
Ironclad (Constructor/Clockwork Ranger 5): You temporarily turn someone into a robot that is super tough to hurt.
Rebuild Soul (Constructor/Cleric 4, Wizard/Sorcerer 5): You reincarnate someone as a robot, permanently.
Tick Tock Knock (Clockwork Ranger/Constructor/Engines Domain 3): You disrupt physics inside a relatively small machine, stunning it for quite some time if it can't make a Will save, which most robots can't.
Transpose Spirit (Constructor 7): Shove an elemental spirit into a golem to make it break temporarily.

Anyway, let's talk Steam Powers. These are what coglayers and a few other classes get to mess with, and they aren't magical in any way, though a few require magical components to create. They all require a steam engine, however, and water to keep it running. Steam powers, unlike spells, have no levels. Instead, they are constructed from parts. Say you want to make a flamethrower. First, you start with the Pilot Light, which is basically a tiny torch that lights up a small area and can deal 1d4 damage and maybe start some fires. Then you attach a Pump, which lets you shoot the fire effect up to 20 feet. Now you add an Amplifier, boosting the damage to 1d6 and making it easier to set poo poo on fire. Then you add a Billows to make the damage effect a cone spread. And this is all extremely diverse and cool and kind of stupidly complicated...

Except that it's all based on the base effects. You can make some really great utility stuff here - a walkie talkie, a telephone, a TV that shows you what's going on a mile away. You can give yourself a robot arm that is able to tell friend from foe and will automatically attack people with the sword you gave it to hold. That's all jsut fine. But see the flamethrower? All the amplifier does is raise die sizes and areas of effect. You will never go above, say, 1d20 without a lot of cash. Of course, once you get past that hurdle you'll be rolling multiple d20s, but that's gonna take you lots of cash and most of your steam powers. Meanwhile, your mage friend is rolling like 5d6 with his wand of fireball. That said, you can get some really crazy utility stuff going - and if you're doing a steam mage and can combo magic items and these parts, well, the sky's the limit when it comes to making wand-based murder machines. What parts do you have to work with?

  • Amplifier: You take any input that gives energy and boost it by one increment of its base value - if something had range 50, it's now range 100 with one amplifier, 150 with two, etc. If the effect causes damage, it increases by one die size per amplifier. The DC of any saves goes up by 2.
  • Animator: A steamwork brain that can allow a device to move on its own to perform a specific but open-ended function, such as 'fight in melee' or 'shoot things' or 'pilot a mech.' However, the rudimentary AI can't, say, tell friend from foe on its own. You need another power for that.
  • Automater: A device that performs a simple task on its own, such as 'reload a crossbow' or 'polish armor' or 'pick up a dropped object'. It isn't needed if you're making, say, an automaton that can already move on its own, but good if you want an autoloading crossbow. What task it does is determined when you make it, and that's all it will ever do.
  • Billows: Turn a normal attack into a cone with a range equal to its previous edge, and width at its farthest point equal to its raneg. So, say you have a light that hits 20x20 square. Now it's a cone with a range of 20 feet.
  • Blood Pump: A device that can fuel a steam engine with blood instead of water, and can slowly drain HP from someone or function as a particularly macabre artificial heart. They're illegal in most places.
  • Boiler: A device that doubles the physical output of another effect. It can lift twice as much now or hit twice as hard, say. Like the Amplifier, all increases are based on the original effect.
  • Cauterizer: A rudimentary healing device that restores 1d4 HP, but can only be used on a given target once a day. It can stack with itself for multiple dice, but each additional Cauterizer makes it take one turn longer.
  • Clockwork Puppet: A Tiny-size robot. Use two for Small, four for Medium, eight for Large, etc. It can't go over Huge. Unless given an Animator, it will just stand there; after that, it can mimic people if operated via its control box. Adding a Discriminator and Voice Command lets you tell it to attack stuff.
  • Darkness Generator: Produces a 20x20 field of darkness centered on itself (barring a Pump or whatever). Dispel magic can't get rid of it, but darkvision works in it and a Light Generator can cancel it out.
  • Dehumidifier: Produces half a pint of water every hour by pulling moisture from the air, or double that in rainy conditions, or half that in dry conditions. Extremely dry areas reduce it to a quarter but it still works.
  • Descrambler: Shove it in a lock and it will pick the lock in rounds equal to the lock's DC, as long as the lock isn't magical.
  • Discriminator: A steamwork brain that allows a device to make basic categorical decisions, such as determining friend from foe. It has effective Int 1 and, without an Animator, can't make anything actually do stuff without direct commands.
  • Drill: A foot-long steel drill bit that is two inches wide at the base and can drill through six inches of stone per round and deals 1d4 damage, doubled against grappled foes. Adding more doubles all those values each time.
  • Fin Apparatus: A device that can steer aerial or submarine vehicles or direct energy, such as making our flamethrower fire at a right angle. Adjusting the fire pattern is a free action once per round. Additional fins can make more complex patterns, like an S shape for two.
  • Flywheel: Double the movement speed of whatever it's attached to. Can't be used more than once.
  • Fog Generator: Make a 15x15x10 cloud centered on the device, expanding at 5 feet per round if you keep it going. It obscures all sight, even darkvision, beyond 5 feet and disperses in 1d4+1 rounds in normal conditions. It can be used four times before it runs out of water, and holds a gallon of water in its tank.
  • Folder: A device that folds up another device, reducing its size by one increment but rendering it unusable while folded. And yes, if you stack more of them together, it shrinks thinks even more. Add enough and you can store your mech in your pocket.
  • Force Generator: Creates a force barrier up to ten square feet in area in whatever shape you like as a full round action. The force field can float up to 3 feet off the ground and functions as per the spell Wall of force, except that it only takes 20 damage to puncture and has AC 10 and 10 Hardness. It can be used in combat to gain cover as per a large shield. You can't float the generator on the force field.
  • Identifier: Can identify any nonmagical, natural substance as if it had 20 ranks of the appropriate Knowledge skill, as long as it has an ounce of material to destroy.
  • Imagemaker: Can produce or transmit silent images with a transmission and reception range of 5 miles on a clear day without obstructions, or a mile or less underground or in a mech.
  • Iron Arm: A big robot arm with Strength 18 and Dexterity 8. It has Hardness 10 and 20 HP, and can attack for you. (If you use a Discriminator and Animator on it, it can attack on its own each round, so you get a free extra attack.)
  • Iron Jacket: A mechancial exoskeleton for Medium or smaller creature, giving +2 AC, but a max of +1 AC from Dex and a -4 armor check penalty. It can be locked in place with a switch on the back to restrain people.
  • Light Generator: Illuminates a 20x20 area centered on it. Can be used to blind people if mixed with a Pump and Amplifier.
  • Lobber: Turns an attack into an exploding glob - so a Pilot Light becomes an exploding fireball. The attacks have a burst radius equal to the attack's normal area and a range increment of 30 feet.
  • Metal Ear: Can detect noises. If combined with a Wavemaker, can transmit what it hears.
  • Metal Legs: Robot legs good enough to support up to a Large creature of no more than 1000 pounds.
  • Noisemaker: Can record and play up to one hour of noise on storage units similar to a CD.
  • Nozzle: Lets you swap what output source your device is using as a free action.
  • Optical Orb: A glass eye that can see things but is easily broken.
  • Pilot Light: Produces a small flame that illuminates a 5x5 area and deals 1d4 damage, but can't ignite a target unless it stays still for 2 rounds and has enough fuel to be fired 10 times. If the fuel source is ruptured it will explode, but requires a specific piercing attack, a long fall or extreme heat to rupture.
  • Pump: Fires an input out in a line to a maximum range equal to the input's total area divided by 5.
  • Ranger: Gives a +1 enhancement bonus to ranged attacks against targets more than 20 feet away. Does not stack with itself.
  • Rotor Arm: A 5-foot steel rod that rotates at speed. It can be used to get a +1 shield bonus to AC or to attack the two corner squares in front of you for 1d8 damage, but no the square directly in front of you. Any attack made by a rotor arm automatically hits both those front corner squares without any penalty. If pointed upwards, it also produces 40 pounds of lift at a speed of 40 feet and clumsy maneuverability.
  • Scanner: A detector that can detect any purely physical quality, such as 'is an elf' or 'is a dragon' or 'is made of gold.' It displays approximate location within 100 feet and approximate quantity. The thing detected is determined at construction and can't be changed.
  • Spark Generator: Produces a steady electrical current that at its highest setting can deal 1d4 subdual damage and gets a +2 circumstance bonus against metallic creatures or people in metal armor. If amplified, it first becomes normal damage, then goes up to 2d4 or 3d4 or whatever rather than increasing die size. Its range on a pump is 5 feet.
  • Targeter: Automatically acquires a target for a weapon. Without a discriminator, this is always the nearest creature. With one, it's the nearest enemy, and with a scanner it will target the nearest scan result.
  • Translator: Translates sound from one lanague to another, both chosen at creation.
  • Voice Command: Can detect its owner's voice at 5 feet, or 30 feet with a shout and allows verbal operation of controls. Will only respond to the owner's voice, determined at creation.
  • Wavemaker: transmits and receives sound via radio waves within 5 miles on a clear day, or a few dozen yards underground.

Figure out your own combinations! For added bonus, use magic items as a steam mage! It can get real stupid. And remember: order of operation counts. If you have a light source, pilot light and amplifier, it matters which you connect the amplifier to! The big limiter is that each part has a GP cost, a construction time, sometimes some esoteric components you need, and sometimes some assistants to help construct it. Oh, and how many steam powers you are capable of maintaining at once.

Next time: Religion, death and robots.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


So you can make yourself a super-powered third arm that discovers mischeavous elven spies by automatically suplexing them?

Doresh fucked around with this message at 22:41 on Apr 8, 2017

unzealous
Mar 24, 2009

Die, Die, DIE!




4. The Play
Alright, you’ve got your actor, you’ve got your role, you’ve picked out the plots and parts and props you’ll be using first. The Playwright sets the stage and scenery and gives an outline of the basic story that will be occurring in this act. What’s next is up to the group. By and large this game is about improvisational acting. Be as hammy as you want, have long speeches and soliloquies, chew the scenery, things like that.

An important thing of note is that if you’re off stage you can’t get on unless you’re specifically called to. If the actors on stage call on your character you can jump in without cost. Otherwise you can spend 3 Story Points at which point you can just hop on no matter what is happening.

The Playwright might periodically give instructions or reminders of how things are supposed to go, but of course if that were all to this game it wouldn’t be very entertaining. That’s where edits come in. Edits are the meat and potatos of the game mechanics. Its how everyone can make changes to the play as it's progressing, changing the plot, the set, whatever they fancy.

Edits
If the Actors start straying from the script but want to keep going they can spend a Story Point and yell “CUT!” From this point a few different things might happen. If the Playwright likes the change he can simply accept it and the play will now carry on in this new direction. If not they can decide to FORCE AN EDIT, which is where this game slows down but also the part that generates a lot of the enjoyment.

First, you have to figure out how big a change this is going to be.
A Trivial Edit is changing the name of someone or where someone else is standing, something small that won’t really impact the plot as written.
A Minor Edit is one that will or has the potential to change the narrative such as changing the set or forcing someone off the stage.
A Major Edit is one that’s going to greatly change how the story is going to play out. These are things like a character dying, a revelation which might add a Plot or Part to the story like Hamlet having an Evil Twin or Romeo actually falling in love with Tybalt.

Once you figure out how big an Edit it will be you need to figure out which of your Chops (Ethos, Pathos, Logos) you’ll be using depending on what your Edit will be affecting. Then you add up bonus dice from invoking a Part or Plot and/or for having the appropriate Prop or Set, though you only get one of each for any given roll. The example from the book lays it out rather nicely.

quote:

“The Earl of Kent says “I will change the King’s mind so that he does not banish Cordelia (+2 Logos). It is only right that I do so, as I am his Knight (+2) and his Friend (+2). I will call upon the Formal Court, as I am making my plea formally known (+1), and I am willing to donate a bag of Coin to the kingdom as a symbol of my loyalty to the throne (+1). I get eight dice.“ “

Of course someone else might not be on board with your edit. Whether they want to keep the play as pristine as possible or they’d rather see it play out according to their own machinations they can spend a Story Point and form up a dice pool using the same guidelines. Whoever rolls higher, assuming they beat the target number, has their Edit made into the play.

Assuming the Actor has rolled high enough the Playwright will narrate how their change has affected the scene and the direction of the play and will resume play usually by calling “Action!

Another important thing that can come up during the play is being Wounded or Poisoned in the play outside of the script. This is always an important event to the story and should be treated as such, but they will be fine if they get through the act. Being Wounded or Poisoned is a Minor Edit while its more severe counterpart of Mortally Wounded/Poisoned is a Major Edit. If an actor is Wounded or Poisoned a second time, or just straight up Mortally Wounded or Poisoned they will die, but not before they’re allowed a lengthy death speech. Between acts they can be Cast in a new role by the Playwright.

The last act of the play is similar to how the others have been described with the exception that the Playwright should also give an idea of how the Play is supposed to end. There’s likely going to be some singular events that need to happen to keep the play in line, there needs to be the death, the marriage, the speech, something like that. Of course this might have changed during the course of the Play so it’s up to the Actors and Playwright to figure out how to hammer out an ending with whatever's happened so far.


4.5 The Actors (Now with Context)
So now that you know how the rules work the types of Actors will make more sense. We’ve already discussed The Ham so now we can take a look at some of the other types.

The Lead is the thespian, the person in it for the love of the craft. While they take their job seriously that doesn’t mean they’re stodgy or dull, they just don’t let things distract them from their art.
Onstage Ability: You can spend a Story Point to bring an additional part onstage with you beyond the limit of your Logos. This can give you more options when looking to change the story to your liking by acting as an additional avenue for bonus dice.
Offstage Ability: You can spend Story Points on behalf of another actor. If someone has a good idea for an Edit or would love to use their ability but simply can’t at the moment you can graciously give them a bit of your prowess.
Direction: At the Playwrights direction you must stand and face a source of danger whether you really want to or not. If you had the bright idea of avoiding a duel you know you’re supposed to lose? Tough. Face them like the Actor you are.

The Villain always seems to look like they’re up to no good. No matter what role they’re playing people expect deception from them. They love the scenes where they can backstab and where things escalate to brutal (stage) violence.
Onstage Ability: You can spend a story point to immediately wound or poison another actor without requiring a roll. This may not seem like much but remember that everyone here is an actor. If you’ve been wounded you should play the part or else you’re kind of negating the premise.
Offstage Ability: You can spend a story point to whisper a nasty rumor to someone on the stage, likely one concerning another Actor. If you spend an additional Story Point they must believe the rumor is true and act accordingly. Like their onstage ability this relies on participation from the other parties but should be embraced as such.
Direction: When directed you cannot show mercy or justice to someone, no matter how insignificant or reasonable the request is.

The Ingenue is the person new to the craft who’s looking at this new world with wide, innocent eyes. They project a sort of naivete that others often find charming and even enthralling.
Onstage Ability: You can spend a Story Point to reroll a failed Pathos roll. If you’ll recall Pathos rolls are for Edits concerning the actions of the Actors.
Offstage Ability: You can spend a Story Point to allow someone else to reroll a failed Logos roll, which are used to effect the set and the setting.
Direction: If the Playwright asks you must put yourself in danger somehow, either the result of someone else’s actions or your own.

5. The Playwright
So this is the Dungeonmaster, Storyteller, Referee of the game. Your job is to keep things moving, to keep people engaged as best you can and look upset when they inevitably take your play and turn it into something entirely different. The book does give some suggestions on how to make the game run better and I think they’re quite important to this game in particular.

1. Be Prepared. This isn’t like other RPGs where you can just improv your way through the whole thing. You’re going to need a Cast List with Parts and Props set up ahead of time unless you want your players to twiddle their thumbs while you figure things out. Thankfully the book itself has pre written scripts for several plays that have done almost all of the heavy lifting for you which is extremely convenient. Especially if you want to play on short notice.

2. Don’t plan too much. This is a game where much of the fun comes specifically from things going off the rails, trying new things, letting people explore the space as it were.
Encourage your players to engage. This particular entry is important because it explicitly encourages doling out story points whenever people are engaged. Always ask if they’d like to make an Edit and encourage them to do so, after all it’s the crux of the game.

3. Use Directions and Compels. Every Actor type has a direction which can be used to help keep things moving. Using these not only engage and motivate the Actors it also provides them with Story Points they can use at their own discretion. The Author states they use them whenever possible which, again, is nice to see explicitly stated.

4. Focus on the Ending. You know how the play is going to end. In a death, a marriage, a huge speech, and you should be angling towards that during play. If they try to avoid the obvious fate it's not out of sorts to have their plans suddenly turn back on them fulfilling the prophecy they sought to avoid.


6. The Plays
The next section gives some advice that’s more specific to certain categories of Shakespeare's plays. It leads with an overview of the genre and follows with tips specific to be the Playwright for that sort of play. And this is also where I reveal my ignorance about Shakespeare’s plays as I largely summarize what’s in the book but if anyone has any more insight or information by all means post away.

Comedies generally focus on an entangled romantic relationship between highborn characters that ends in marriage. There are problems but they generally aren’t life threatening. There are additional lowborn characters that have a plot that intertwines with the lovers and the lowborn also serve as a source of slapstick humor and innuendo. The ending will generally be happy even if it’s not “and they lived happily ever after”.
As far as running a Comedy goes the player’s probably aren’t going to have a problem with the comedic parts as people tend to do that even in serious games albeit not always in character. Reward story points regularly for one-liners and pratfalls. If they try to avoid the marriage or marry someone else that’s fine. It’s ultimately the premise of the game itself and should be expected if not encouraged. With these plays your main job as a playwright is to ultimately keep the mood lighthearted and jovial.

Tragedies focus on how one’s actions can lead to one’s downfall. Even if it’s prophesied that they will come to a tragic end it is ultimately their decisions that lead to their undoing. These plays are very focused on the main plot. Terrible things will happen to those who deserve it and to those that don’t. There will be blood, and while not everyone may die it’s almost guaranteed the protagonist isn’t going to live through the end.
These plays can be a bit demoralizing, knowing how the ending will be riddled with death and destruction and their fate is all but certain but that’s no reason not to have fun doing it. The stakes in these are always high and people will probably take very little coaxing to start planning to murder each other off. And remember, when you die you always get a monologue.

Histories are about important events, usually about the English Monarchy, and then dramatizing it for a play. They tend to take some artistic licenses in portraying figures as good or evil depending on the play. These are known for onstage battles, long speeches and the replacing of one monarch with another.
With these plays there’s a lot less set in stone in terms of tone. They could be tales of coincidence and comedy or tales of hardship and sacrifice. While the play should definitely focus on the titular character it’s more up to the Actors to how they’re portrayed than the other genres. The main focus of the play is politics and all that includes. Scheming, plotting, murdering, rebelling are all part of the game.

There is one last small section here with a few frequently asked questions. Nothing spectacular but it does bring up a few important points. First is that, as the Playwright, you should be liberal with story points. This isn’t a game about survival, it’s about acting and collaborative storytelling and everyone should have the opportunity to participate. The second part concerns an eventuality that can happen in any game where death features, which is “What if my Character dies early?” Its important to know that from the perspective of both the Actor and Playwright this isn’t the end of the world and you won’t be spending the rest of the game in the quiet corner. The player who killed you might have a plan that would be interesting to see played out. And the Actor in question can either show up in another role or come back as a Spirit or some other form of undead, both of which factor heavily in Shakespeare’s plays. While not stated, if it seems like someone is dead set on just murdering everyone for no reason they’re just being an rear end in a top hat and they should probably be talked to.

So, the last third of the book is pre-written scripts for quite a number of Shakespeare’s plays. They’ve written up the Cast, doled out Parts and Props and done all the heavy lifting for you if you just wanted to jump in and start playing. It seems a bit unfair to do what would essentially just be copy pasting a large chunk of the book and what likely took a good amount of work, so instead I offer an alternative.

If anyone has any suggestions of a (preferably fairly short) play they’d like to see written up and made ready for play let me know and I’ll do my best to get it to a place where you could run a game with it.

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





I admit, I'm horribly curious how one could make Rozencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (any scene) work in this context. It seems a bit outside what this is meant to represent, but it's probably my favorite play, so it's what came to mind.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts Index & Adventures Volume 1, Part 6: “Having gotten quite drunk, the major staggers back to headquarters, notices young Prosek, and says ‘Skelebot, hie ... there's that blasted Prosek, shoot him!’”

The Mechanoids are terminators that hate humanity.

The Skelebots are terminators that help humanity.

What happens when they meet?

Well nothing loving interesting, I’m gonna spoil that. It’s two tastes that taste second-rate together in Rifts Index & Adventures Volume 1. Instead, why not read 1992’s Robocop vs. the Terminator instead, and dream of the adventure that could have been.

Here’s part 6 of the review! I’d count my regrets but the counter broke.

All of the art is copied from Rifts Sourcebook or Rifts Sourcebook 2: The Mechanoids, so check out those reviews for an idea of what the copy-pasted art is like.

Next: Cyber-Knights of the Dinner Table.

Cease to Hope
Dec 12, 2011
Desine fata deum flecti sperare precando.



Alien Rope Burn posted:

It’s two tastes that taste second-rate together

Instead, why not read 1992’s Robocop vs. the Terminator instead

or don't. how could a collaboration between frank miller and walt simonson, both at the height of their careers, turn out to be so awful

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Doresh posted:

So you can make yourself a super-powered third arm that discovers mischeavous elven spies by automatically suplexing them?

Sure, probably.

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012


The Importance of Being Earnest? The Threepenny Opera? Arcadia? Nixon in China? Harry Potter and the Cursed Child?

e: Dion Boucicault's play "The Octoroon" has a really interesting history and alternate endings for different audiences that lends itself well to The Play's The Thing. Reading your review reminded me of a really cool modern take on that play by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. I see why this game exists, there are so many plays about plays and it's easy to riff on theatre as a medium.

Kellsterik fucked around with this message at 00:33 on Apr 9, 2017

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Dragonmech: Elf Atheism

The religion section actually doesn't cover most of the actual religions of Highpoint - they get covered in other supplements. It just notes that most older faiths are broken. The disaster of the lunar rains has had people questioning their faith for a solid century. The gods do still exist, and still mostly grant their power to their clerics, but there's some solid reasons they couldn't stop the apocalypse. Firstly, physics. Altering the moon's orbit is far more than any one god could do. If they had all worked together collectively, it might have been possible to prevent the lunar rain...except there was a second reason: the lunar gods. The creatures of the moon have their own pantheon of gods, strange and otherworldly as they are, and those gods welcomed the invasion. It gave them a chance to escape the moon and find even more worshippers below, expanding their influence. They used the power gained by the moonfall to attack the old gods and slowly overwhelm them. The battle between the gods is what saps the strength from clerics, and the bickering earthly gods were too disorganized to work together properly.

A lot of people have become atheists, rejecting the gods and their faiths because the gods did not protect them properly. They believe in the power of machines and hard work. Why worship gods when you are building demigods with your own hands? There's also been a major rise in cults, ranging from the Regenerators who seek to bring life back to the surface of Highpoint to the cult of the treants of Lilat, who have been driven insane by the devastation of nature and now call themselves the forestrati, devouring the flesh of dragons and attacking anyone who gets too close. Others seek answers by studying the world, trying to understand why water works the way it does and why steam engines came along when they did, claiming that Dotrak, dwarven for 'the great engine,' set these things in motion and then sat back to watch the world. As yet, no one has proven that Dotrak actually exists. He has no churches or clerics - only his vessels. His worshippers tend to be pretty agnostic gearwrights. He has no myths, no legends - he just set the gears in motion. Other faiths scorn the Dotrak-worshippers because Dotrak, if he even exists, is clearly weak and lacks power.

The truth is that Dotrak does't quite exist yet. He will, and soon. The steam engine is a new thing, and the collective energies of the gearwrights who make them and believe in them has created a consciousness, an embryonic deity - at the moment, little more than a thought dancing through the world and slowly gaining power. This is Dotrak, and it does create the trak traks and the Vessels. He will continue to grow and, should he get enough followers, become a true deity. He is neutral, and while he lacks the power to grant spells to clerics, his domains are Engines and Knowledge.

Andakakilogitat is the lunar god of dragons. He is Chaotic Evil, and his name is spoken only in chants by the lunar dragons that worship him. He has many titles - One-God, Black Death, Enemy Watcher. He is depicted as a twisting mass of limbs, wings, dragon heads and so on. His symbol is an asymmetrical swiling pattern of dragon heads, and he is the only being that lunar dragons acknowledge as more potent than they are. Some earthly dragons have begun to worship him in the hopes that he will help them survive. He has wanted to take Highpoint for his own for millenia and has no care for the mortals that live there - they're just things to conquer. His domains are Chaos, Destruction and War.

Erefiviviasta is the lunar goddess of flight - goddess because her appearance is slightly more feminine than her peers. Sexes in lunar creatures aren't really...a thing, quite. A few lunar dragons follow her, but most have turned instead to her rival, Andakakilogitat, who was once a dragon but became a god. They are bitter rivals, but have put aside their differences for now in favor of attacking Highpoint and supporting the conquest by the lunar dragons. Her domains are not listed.

Seroficitacit is the lunar god of change. It - definitely it - is a pulpy mass of evershifting flesh. It has no symbol - each follower is expected to make their own. Many of the lunar races worship it, at least in part, but there is no cohesion or unity - even to the extent that anyone can understand unity among lunar beings. They seem to oppose tradition, and the god seems to gain power not from the number of worshippers, but from the changes its worshippers undergo. Since the rains started, it has grown steadily more powerful, and even some terrestrial creatures worship it now, thinking that the time of change has come. It also has no listed domains.

In addition to cleric stuff working weirdly in Dragonmech, so does resurrection. The gods feel that mortal souls after death are needed for their war on the lunar gods. Thus, they aren't eager to let them go back. Any attempt to resurrect a dead person by any means requires the raised character to make a Will save. The base DC is 10, but any cleric or paladin levels are added to the DC. If the save is made, the character returns to life as normal. If failed, however, they have been conscripted by the gods for service. They can never be resurrected by any means, and their soul is beyond any mortal reach.



Now, let's talk mechs. The real origins of mechs are long forgotten. The First Age of Walkers is entirely a mystery except in a few fragmented records and artifacts held by the Gearwrights Guild or the elves. Parilus spread the knowledge, and now mechs are everywhere. Even the orcs build mechs - hell, even some underdeep cultures are doing it, on a smaller scale. Mechs exist both to protect against the lunar rain and its creatures, and to keep moving. A castle that is sieged by a dragon either falls or starves - a mobile citymech, however, can find supplies for itself. The steam engine is the key, and since magic existed, at first no one thought much of them. Magic could make much better stuff. However, Parilus demonstrated that steam engines, long used for minor work by the dwarves, could efficiently be used to power much larger vehicles - larger than dragons, enough to match even the best magic. Now, there was a weapon that could fight lunar dragons, when before it had taken entire siege forces or potent mages. Now, a mech could just carry a siege weapon with it, or use giant axes or such at close range. One dwarf in a mech could do more than an army against a dragon, and could be trained in a tenth of the time a mage needed to become powerful. Early mechs were primarily wood and stone, with iron frames. Now, steel, adamantite and mithral are used. Humans prefer iron, and elves use magically maintained living trees. Some mages have made immense hollow golems, and some necromancers even make mechs out of corpses and dragon bones.

Most mechs are only brought out for patrols, raids and battles. After that, they return to their hangars in a city or citymech. Mech jockeys are invariably aggressively competitive, though they vary by race on other issues. Different forces often spawn terrible rivalries between opposing jockeys, who remember every detail of the enemies they face off against and will often go out of their way to get rematches. While no one officially allows these grudge matches, most groups look the other way when they happen on the field. The citymechs, meanwhile, sustain entire populations. Most of that is crew, support personnel and military, but there's a growing wealthy aristocracy that bribes its way onto citymechs, despite the fact that officially only 'useful' people can get on. They are the safest places to live in Highpoint right now, and in the early days, the rules about living there were strict. Crew first, then military, with only useful civilians getting on - blacksmiths, say. Traders were allowed only briefly. The Stenians and Legion are still pretty strict about this kind of thing, and miners, bankers and other specialists not useful to the citymech are going to be rare among them. They exercise martial law to enforce order on their citymechs, to ensure smooth functioning even when it's cruel.

However, residency has gotten less strict even there. The citymechs are no longer in constant siege mentality. 'Nonessential' residents are now just required to pay rent each month to prove their 'use'. It's like living in a big metal condo. Many thieves' guilds have sprung up to take advantage of this new laxity, controlling black market 'land' ownership and getting stowaways aboard. Daily life is much like in old surface cities, but more cramped. The best places have ended up being those at the top of the mechs, with common areas and peasants in the middle and criminals and poverty lower down. The legs are usually ghettos of the poor and menial laborers. Below these are the gear forests, the massive engine rooms that power the citymechs. The 'depths', as the feet and shins are known, vary wildly between citymechs. The better-built ones, usually Stenian or Legion, might have guard posts or mech hangars. The more advanced Gearwright citymechs often hold entire mech fleets. Others, such as Irontooth or orc mechs, intentionally leave these areas open for settlement and seal them off from the rest of the mech, allowing stowaways on baord to fight each other for the space. Some get filled by monsters or bandits. It's terrifying for those on levels near the depths, but it makes those mechs much harder to board, see. The depths inhabitants fight boarders off. Orc mechs are especially notorious for this, and unruly slaves are often sent to die in the depths.

Next time: I'm a pilot and so can you.

Mors Rattus fucked around with this message at 15:15 on Apr 9, 2017

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





unzealous posted:

If anyone has any suggestions of a (preferably fairly short) play they’d like to see written up and made ready for play let me know and I’ll do my best to get it to a place where you could run a game with it.


The main event of Wrestlemania 31, in which Seth Rollins saved the world by using his Money in the Bank contract to keep Roman Reigns from winning the title from Brock Lesnar. (Possible additional characters: the referee, the announcers, Vince McMahon)

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



Mors Rattus posted:

They tend to believe normal people are insane, and that being a mech loving owns.

They're right, of course.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Cease to Hope posted:

or don't. how could a collaboration between frank miller and walt simonson, both at the height of their careers, turn out to be so awful

Reading these awful adventures has given me a newfound appreciation for many merely bad things I did not appreciate before.

Barudak
May 7, 2007



For plays, could we do The Inspector General by Gogol? I feel like it has a couple of parts and lends well to either extreme farce or bizzare violence depending on the actors outcomes.

Cease to Hope
Dec 12, 2011
Desine fata deum flecti sperare precando.



unzealous posted:

If anyone has any suggestions of a (preferably fairly short) play they’d like to see written up and made ready for play let me know and I’ll do my best to get it to a place where you could run a game with it.



clearly the correct answer is Work Hard or Die Trying, Girl

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Barudak posted:

For plays, could we do The Inspector General by Gogol? I feel like it has a couple of parts and lends well to either extreme farce or bizzare violence depending on the actors outcomes.

I remember that play. This seems a particularly good suggestion.

LaSquida
Nov 1, 2012

Just keep on walkin'.


BinaryDoubts posted:

The 'zones' system from Old School Hack is something I've stolen and used in every other game I've run. (Shadow of the Demon Lord even has a supplement that includes rules for zone-based combat, and it's been working out great in my current game).

What supplement for Demon Lord has the zone based combat in it?

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



Barudak posted:

For plays, could we do The Inspector General by Gogol? I feel like it has a couple of parts and lends well to either extreme farce or bizzare violence depending on the actors outcomes.

I third this, as hilarious as it'd be to do Cursed Child, The Inspector General would be easier and just as hilarious.

lifg
Dec 4, 2000
The Young Turks committed the Armenian Genocide.


Muldoon

unzealous posted:

If anyone has any suggestions of a (preferably fairly short) play they’d like to see written up and made ready for play let me know and I’ll do my best to get it to a place where you could run a game with it.



Waiting for Godot.

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


Kellsterik posted:

The Importance of Being Earnest? The Threepenny Opera? Arcadia? Nixon in China? Harry Potter and the Cursed Child?

e: Dion Boucicault's play "The Octoroon" has a really interesting history and alternate endings for different audiences that lends itself well to The Play's The Thing. Reading your review reminded me of a really cool modern take on that play by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. I see why this game exists, there are so many plays about plays and it's easy to riff on theatre as a medium.

What's that meta as hell Tom Stoppard play that takes the piss out of Agatha Christie mysteries? I saw it performed and it was really fun.
Can the game handle more serious modern family drama like Chekhov, Tennessee Williams (Long Day's Journey into Night), or Tracey Letts (Bug, August Osage County)? Or depressing Beckett plays?

Try doing Our Town, I think that's a good one.

megane
Jun 20, 2008





Count Chocula posted:

What's that meta as hell Tom Stoppard play that takes the piss out of Agatha Christie mysteries? I saw it performed and it was really fun.

After Magritte maybe?

e: No, it's The Real Inspector Hound, I'd forgotten that one

megane fucked around with this message at 03:27 on Apr 9, 2017

Cease to Hope
Dec 12, 2011
Desine fata deum flecti sperare precando.





13th Age part 11: It's more of a gesture

I should've mentioned this with clerics, but it pops up with fighters as well.



Fighters and clerics - and only fighters and clerics - get a brief introduction to possible starting "builds," to help make sense of their talents and powers pulling in every different direction. It's not a bad idea, although I'm not sure why it's limited to just those two classes. The Ranger, Paladin, and Bard could all benefit from a primer for their their varied, often non-synergistic build options. The only reason I can think of is that Fighters and Clerics are classes people feel compelled to play to fill out a party - but they aren't necessary in 13th Age.

Since I'm talking about fighters, it's important to also talk about tanking in 13A. Without getting too far out into the weeds of describing combat, any character (both PCs and NPCs) who isn't currently engaged in melee can step up to intercept an enemy moving into melee with one of the character's allies. This isn't a thing you have to roll for, you just do it automatically as long as you aren't specifically obstructed from doing so. Because it's automatic, anyone can do it equally well. Characters like fighters and paladins aren't any better intercepting enemies by default; they're just happier being in single melee combat than most other classes. There isn't even any way to avoid being intercepted, either - you can't just eat an attack to bypass someone, you have to stop. Barring surprise or superior numbers, the melee characters will automatically find themselves facing off with other melee characters. This makes tanking, MMO style, a thing someone can actually do in 13th Age - but only one enemy at a time.

Lists of powers grow out of the point of a sword


This is a full-page illustration of a fighter in 13th Age. Naturally, 13A fighters are terrible at dual-wielding.
The illustration is by Aaron McConnell, one of two artists given front-page credit alongside Heinsoo and Tweet.

Fighters deck themselves out in heavy armor, arm themselves to the teeth, and apply metal to faces, point-first. Conceptually, there's not much separating them from a particularly stabby or shooty ranger other than being slightly tougher and stickier. Fighters get one more recovery per day than any other class. (For some reason this is written up as a proper class feature, whereas the paladin's higher AC is just on the usual chart for combat statistics.) It's just a little harder to disengage from melee from a fighter. Fighters can be archers, but it's fairly obvious that they're mainly intended to mix things up in melee.

Fighter talents are utility encounter powers in 4e terms. The majority of them are "Once per battle, under such-and-such conditions, you [do a thing]." (The odd man out is a talent that brings archer fighters close enough to archer rangers that I'd need to do a bunch of boring math to see which is better.) They're all statistically-driven combat buffs with no particular theme other than "being tough" and "hitting a dude" - you could probably switch them with any of the barbarian talents and nobody would notice.

What makes fighters different is that their basic attack is "flexible" - a fighter can attach one of their half-dozen or so Maneuver powers to it. Any attack that a fighter makes on their turn has a chance to activate a maneuver, based on the circumstances, the fighter's current armament, whether it hit or missed, and on the raw die roll. An even hit can trigger Deadly Assault, allowing the fighter to reroll 1s on damage dice. (You get [level] dice of a type determined by your weapon on a hit, so this is a bigger deal than most D&D-likes.) A miss while wielding two weapons can trigger Two Weapon Pressure, giving the fighter +2 to hit against that target next turn. (As this is literally the only dual-wielding ability fighters get, fighters should not dual wield.) All of the maneuvers are at-will, as long as their conditions are met.

Fighters are only weakly pigeonholed into a particular fighting style, although melee is more or less a default assumption. There are only a couple talents that require a shield, none that require a two-handed weapon or a particular sort of weapon, and enough "melee or ranged attack" maneuvers that a fighter who mainly uses a greataxe won't feel completely useless with a longbow. The only fighting style pigeonhole is ranged combat: bow fighters - crossbows still don't work with certain maneuvers for no good reason - will find themselves taking ranged-only maneuvers, which inexplicably run out after level 5. It's easy enough to simply remove "melee" from the requirements of some or all of the higher level talents, because there's no good reason to have limited them to melee in the first place.

13A fighters are cleverly designed in that their abilities are a mechanical extension of the cruder ones of the ranger and barbarian. A raging barbarian is looking for an 11+ on both dice. A ranger is looking for an even roll to trigger a second attack. The problem is that fighter maneuvers are not only individually less reliable than those, they're also significantly less impactful. "I hit the orc a little harder" doesn't have the emotional impact of "I hit the orc a second time." A fighter will execute a maneuver more often than a ranger gets a second attack, but that reliability is more than offset by the low impact and generally boring concept of maneuvers.

Fighters are still conceptually limited to strong or agile mundanes who swing a sword or string a bow. Combine this with the largely abstract nature of combat in 13A (by D&D standards), and their maneuvers don't have much space to explore. Out of 20 powers, five of them are "on a miss, do more damage this or next turn". Another example is Sword of Destiny, a 7th-level maneuver doesn't live up to the hype at all: it just gives some free healing when you roll a natural 20 on a melee attack. Even given this limited design space, there isn't anything as over-the-top as 4e's Storm of Blades or Rain of Blows. None of these are especially exciting - they're just a table of bonuses that may or may not trigger on any given turn. All of a fighter's interesting decisions are made at character generation and level-up - and they're not that interesting to begin with.

Next: One, two, three four five

Cease to Hope fucked around with this message at 19:20 on Apr 9, 2017

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


The 13th Age Fighter is the type of Fighter for those (hypothetical) players people often mention in arguments like "Well, but what if my player doesn't care about powers and just wants to hit people with his sword every turn without thinking?!". Just roll the die, have the die decide which maneuver is used, and go back to playing Angry Birds.

LeSquide posted:

What supplement for Demon Lord has the zone based combat in it?

Forbidden Rules, which also includes a spell point system, a new Novice Path for more blastery spellcasters, armor as DR, epic level progression and some hilarious downtime rules that might end up with you dying between adventures.

Doresh fucked around with this message at 07:45 on Apr 9, 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


megane posted:

After Magritte maybe?

e: No, it's The Real Inspector Hound, I'd forgotten that one

Real Inspector Hound, that's it.
On second thought, I'm not sure if it's a good idea to use metafictional/postmodern plays for the game. If the fun is in the players playing around with classic plays, doesn't it take some of the fun out of it if the play you're using is already doing that? So instead of Real Inspector Hound, use The Mousetrap or another mystery play, and let the players be the ones loving with it instead of the author?

I may be overthinking it.

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Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Dragonmech: My Giant Robot Is A Clock



Being inside most mechs is dark, with the exception of the cockpit, firing ports and anywhere right next to a porthole. Dwarves tend to leave them pitch black, but elves use magic to light them up and humans use gas lamps and torches. Citymechs have room to walk, but other mechs are more cramped, with little room to stretch out or move. Staying armored in a mech is painful - it chafes - and requires a DC 15 Fort save to avoid having to remove the armor...if it isn't plate, which takes more space to remove than exists. Keeping the armor on anyway causes 1 subdual damage per day. Normal mechs also move around in really jerky, jarring ways. The first time a character rides a normal mech, they need to make a DC 10 Fort save to not be nauseated for 1d4 hours and get a -1 to all rolls for a day. The controls, at least, are simple enough to learn, though. One lever for each leg, push them forward to make the leg go forward. The trick is just timing the levers and not falling over. Learning all the tricks is harder than it sounds, though, as it involves matching stride lengths properly and figuring out how to turn, among other things. Weapons are usually controlled by large joysticks that move the arms, to swing or aim, and then, if a ranged weapon, a button to fire with. This is part of why it's so hard to move and fire at once - there's too much to do. Advanced mech jockeys learn to mod their cockpits to better allow for multitasking, such as using a specially made bar to control both legs at once. It takes training to use properly, of course, but it's like the handlebars on a bike, really.

Steam-powered mechs also take lots of water and fuel - usually wood or coal. Most are designed to suck up water from rivers through their feet when they can, and often have built-in pulleys to load fuel. Other types of mechs typically do not require fuel, which makes them easier to maintain. Communications between mechs varies a lot. Elven mechs typically use magic items or spells to allow telepathy, while dwarven citymechs or especially large mechs use steam powers such as wavemakers. Others rely on signal flags, with signals varying by race and faction. (Orcs, infamously, have only three: attack, stop and retreat.) It's usually easy to tell at a glance which race made a mech, just from design and aesthetics. Beyond that, they usually fly a flag or paint a coat of arms on to declare allegiance, and smaller symbols are painted on to declare unit and any personal insignia of the pilot. There are also a few universal flags. A mech flying a sky blue flag is a merchant's, for example, and will usually not be shot at before questioning.

Mechs are generally classed by power source into five types: Steam-powered, man-powered, clockwork, animated and undead. Steam-powered mechs are the most common, and were the first ones built. Dwarves and humans favor them, and they're known to be durable and rugged if a bit slow and requiring a lot of maintenance to avoid mechanical problems. Man-powered mechs are more primitive, relying on human labor to make them move. Typically, that means dozens or hundreds of slaves on treadmills or manning gears. Orcs are the only race that regularly uses them, and they're slow and prone to slave revolts. Clockwork mechs are the peak of craft, made with extreme precision. They require winding every few days, but otherwise they run on their own power as the spring within uncoils and keeps the rest of the mech moving. They are rare and mostly owned by very good gearwrights. Animated mechs are essentially hollow golems, but rather than being self-motivated, they are designed to obey their pilots. Only the elves make regular use of them. They are easily the fastest, most agile of any mechs, but they have one fatal flaw: they can be taken down by coordinated dispellations, and the dwarves are learning how to make use of that. Undead mechs are quite rare, and rumored to mostly be made of zombie dragons. Little is generally known about these creations, which no nation fields.

Mech stats are somewhat different than those of creatures. All mechs have d10s for hit dice and always get 5.5 HP per HD. Their AC is generally so low that it's impossible to miss one, but they rely heavily on Hardness for protection instead. They also have 'critical thresholds' - divisions of HP which, as you get to the lower ones, make the mech more likely to take crits. These cause not just extra damage but also system failures. Every mech has four thresholds: green, yellow, orange and red, divided at various intervals depending on the mech. Mechs often have quite a few potential attacks but can rarely use all of them at once due to crew requirements. Mechs can make Fort and Ref saves but have no Will save, and their Ref save is usually negative. They have Strength and Dexterity but nothing else. In addition, they have a new stat: Payload Units. These determine how much space the mech has for...well, anything. Weapons take up PU, crew take up PU. Living space takes up PU. A Medium creature or weapon is 1 PU, and living space for a creature is at least equal to its PU - usually double that, for better living conditions, and even that's cramped. A mech stored aboard another mech takes up PU equal to twice its own PU, and 1 PU is also enough space for about 216 cubic feet of cargo (or 1000 pounds). Mechs also have crew requirements, with steam- and man-powered mechs often needing quite a few crewmen to keep them going. They also will have a number of firing ports to allow crew to shoot normal weapons through, plus a size and a maneuverability rating based on that size. Smaller mechs are more maneuverable, and larger ones are less. Man-powered and undead mechs have a penalty, while clockwork and animated mechs have a bonus. They will also have a rating for how far they have to move to be able to turn, and how much they can turn in a round, as well a modifier to trip attempts on the mech. Different mech types also use different crit tables. Basically, when a mech is hit by a crit, you roll percentile dice and check on its appropriate table, with the column for what crit threshold it is currently in.

Steam-powered mechs, by default, are big, noisy and hot. They hit Yellow threshold at 50% HP, Orange at 25% and Red at 10%. 25% of their PU must be taken up by crew - usually a jockey and a few gunners on a smaller mech, or a commander, lesser pilots, a navigator, engineers and gun crew on a big one. Crit effects range from 'lose some Strength until repaired' to 'lose use of one arm' to 'everyone on board has a 50% chance each round to take 1d3 damage from steam' to 'the boiler explodes, the mech is on fire and everyone on board is taking damage'.

Man-powered mechs are still noisy, but that's drumbeats rather than engines. They hit Yellow at 60%, Orange at 35% and Red at 20%. 50% of their PU must be taken up by 'crew' - usually slaves. All they do is power the mech, they aren't pilots or gunners. The rest of the crew is in the other 50% and is determined by the mech's arms and needs. Most of their crits are 'poo poo breaks, lose a limb' or 'damage random crew' but also include 'the mech attacks things randomly for a few rounds' and 'the robot begins to collapse on the crew'.



Clockwork mechs are smooth, sleek and actually quite quiet, apart from a minor humming or purring noise. Once a week, they need to rewind themselves, usually via an internal steam engine. The only real downside is that they're fragile - while they're tough, they have pretty bad Fort saves. They hit Yellw at 50%, Orange at 25% and Red at 10%. Only 10% of their PU needs to be crew, minimum 1. Their crits are usually broken gears causing nasty debuffs, damaged limbs, or 'gears explode and damage crew.'

Animated mechs run on magic and, in theory, could be made of any material. In practice, they're elven and made of wood. The larger ones resemble treants, while the smaller ones usually incorporate mithral or adamantine and look more artificial. Unlike mechanical mechs, they suffer no critical hits at all, having no engines or motors to damage. Only 10% of their PU needs to be crew, minimum 1.

Undead mechs are put together from a number of corpses. They are hideous, ugly and smell terrible. A necromancer rides inside to control them, and usually they also contain a small force of undead servants. They resemble gigantic zombies and are mostly hollow. They are silent, but their smell is clearly noticeable far before they are seen. They never require more than a single crew member - the animating necromancer. Any other crew is entirely optional. Like animated mechs, they are immune to critical hit effects - and, indeed, critical hits in general.

Next time: Mech loadouts and building a mech.

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