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potatocubed
Jul 26, 2012

*rathian noises*


Doresh posted:

I'm waiting for a Universe Dragon who hits you with the concept of Entropy. Or a Glitch Dragon who can't use his breath weapon because it would break the multiverse.

Or how about a Funnel Dragon who barfs up smaller dragons?

The nigh-legendary Immortal's Handbook contains rules for time dragons, whose breath weapons (one at each end, because it has two heads) freeze you in temporal stasis, and nexus dragons, who eat reality and whose breath weapon shunts you into a parallel universe.

E: Oh God, I'm reading the stats for this sample Wyrmling nexus dragon. It's breath weapon is a 32000 foot cone -- that's about six miles long -- and anyone standing within half a mile of it go permanently insane if they fail a DC 382 Will save.

potatocubed fucked around with this message at 20:40 on Apr 18, 2017

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Sampatrick
Sep 26, 2012


potatocubed posted:

The nigh-legendary Immortal's Handbook contains rules for time dragons, whose breath weapons (one at each end, because it has two heads) freeze you in temporal stasis, and nexus dragons, who eat reality and whose breath weapon shunts you into a parallel universe.

Has anybody in the history of D&D actually used the Immortal's Handbook?

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


potatocubed posted:

The nigh-legendary Immortal's Handbook contains rules for time dragons, whose breath weapons (one at each end, because it has two heads) freeze you in temporal stasis, and nexus dragons, who eat reality and whose breath weapon shunts you into a parallel universe.

E: Oh God, I'm reading the stats for this sample Wyrmling nexus dragon. It's breath weapon is a 32000 foot cone -- that's about six miles long -- and anyone standing within half a mile of it go permanently insane if they fail a DC 382 Will save.

Reminds me of that one ridiculous template monster someone posted a while back that had an aura(unless it chose to suppress it) that killed everyone inside of it instantly with a radius somewhere in the neighborhood of "six times the size of the known observed universe"

Kaza42
Oct 3, 2013

Blood and Souls and all that

Sampatrick posted:

Has anybody in the history of D&D actually used the Immortal's Handbook?

Hell yeah, it's super awesome. I mean, it gets kinda ridiculous, so it's mostly just a fun exercise in "what happens after the campaign" but those rules for creating your own realities and duels between immor- wait sorry. You said Immortals Handbook. I was thinking of Immortals Rules from BECMI. I always get those mixed up.

No. Nobody has used that because it's the worst.

MJ12
Apr 8, 2009



Sampatrick posted:

Has anybody in the history of D&D actually used the Immortal's Handbook?

I'm pretty sure the answer is 'no' because it's entirely about huge, huge numbers and not about anything interesting.

Sampatrick
Sep 26, 2012


MJ12 posted:

I'm pretty sure the answer is 'no' because it's entirely about huge, huge numbers and not about anything interesting.

I don't know about you, but I find Graham's Number very interesting tyvm

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


MJ12 posted:

I'm pretty sure the answer is 'no' because it's entirely about huge, huge numbers and not about anything interesting.

It also doesn't help that it uses one of the most terrible fonts I have ever seen.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Council of Wyrms: Cultural Dragon Something Something

For the most part, the cultures of the Dragon's Blood are those of the clans that rule it. However, for the most part, in vassal villages and settlements, the vassals are allowed to express their own heritage and culture because no one actually cares. In areas claimed by multiple clans (or no clan), other cultures can thrive. Humanoid tribes of all sorts squat in these areas - sometimes as nomads or minor vassals, sometimes not. Most of these are primitive monster clans, little more than tribes of bugbears, ogres, yuan-ti or other such creatures. A few drow and duergar settlements exist underground, independent of the dragons, but try to avoid drawing attention to themselves anywhere near where a sapphire clan lives. The smallest group is easily the human remnant, the descendants of the few survivors of the dragon slayer fleet. They were trapped on the islands and lived as fugitives, and their modern descendants live on the run, hiding from dragons. They are usually ignored and left alone, however, unless they settle in large numbers and attract attention. They produce no dragon slayers any more - all of those now come from far off lands, when they come at all.

Dragons use the gold piece standard for money, but do not mint official coins much. Instead, they just assign a gold value to items for trade, and will as easily accept precious gems or metals as coinage, art, service or even magic items. It's essentially a barter economy that has developed a method of assigning a relatively objective value to things. Pretty much every domain has a signature 'native' industry - mining, metal or gemcrafting, producing food, making magic items...it all depends on what the local vassals are good at and the local dragons want them to do. No clan is truly self-sufficient, and trade between clans is the basis of the dragon economy. Most economic labor is performed by vassals rather than dragons, who largely supervise at best. Dragons, after all, have better things to do. You know because they say so.

All Clans Isle was once part of the personal domain of the dragon Starratiel, way back when. She moved her clan to Starshine Island and gave up her own to be the site of the Council of Wyrms. Every clan sent vassals, mainly dwarves and gnomes, to build the immense council aerie, while Exaurdon, Starratiel and Bloodtide came up with the rules. Starratiel gave her clan to her eldest son and dedicated herself to being the council caretaker, with her balanced and neutral perspective. To this day, the council caretaker is always an amethyst of lineal descent from Starratiel herself. The Council's laws are, at least theoretically, drawn up from the laws laid down by Io, as stated by the Custodians of Concordance. One wyrm from each clan sits on the Council, and their primary goal is avoiding clan wars. All Council decisions are final and binding on all dragons, no exceptions, and when disagreements cannot be resolved, they are to be solved by the Challenge of Claw and Wing in the sky above the aerie.

The Council is strictly divided into two bodies - the Platform of Wyrms, who vote, and the Platform of Dominates, who do not but can partake in debate. The members of the Platform of Wyrms are addressed as Councillor, or Grand Councillor for great wyrms. Every clan has a right to one representative on the Platform of Wyrms, but no dragon under the age of 1000 years may be a councillor, so not all clans can exercise their right. Relatively young clans often have no wyrms in membership. Further, some clans who do have wyrms choose not to attend meetings without a good reason (in their own minds). The Platform of Dominates, on the other hand, covers every dragon. Period. Any dragon of rank may sit on the Platform of Dominates, and often a clan's official Council representative will be a lesser ranking, younger dominate who does not vote. In practice, attendance is limited by space, so not all dragons can attend, but the Council will rarely hold meetings in the open air to allow more speakers. The Platform of Dominates may do anything except take part in the final vote, and even the children of clan dragon lords can't break that rule. Half-dragons and vassal races have no standing in the Council whatsoever, and are often barred from even attending meetings. If a meeting is so barred, any non-dragon who remains on the aerie is killed.

The Council Aerie is a massive artificial cave structure built on an island of rolling plains and hills. It is 16,000 feet long and at its highest point 5000 feet tall. It's made from a single piece of stone taken from a mountaintop on Exaurdon Island, and took 50 years of constant labor by many vassals to complete. Magic was used, but even so, it was a set of many great feats to make. There are fifteen entrances, equidistant, around the top of the aerie. Each is meant for one of the fifteen dragon types, and by tradition only those dragons may use the appropriate entrance. The custodians of the Aerie may use any portal, and are considered by law to belong to all clans simultaneously due to their duty in raising hatchlings and protecting the aerie. The aerie also has many basking surfaces for dragons to rest on and observe formal challenges from. Most of the interior is a great meeting hall, 10,000 feet long and 4000 wide. It is nearly 5000 feet high, with stone perches throughout the top 2000 feet. Tunnels lead to visitor lairs suitable for every dragon type. The Platform of Wyrms, obviously, get nicer ones. The custodians use some other caves as lairs, treasuries and hatcheries for the eggs that each clan must provide the Council.



The current Grand Custodian is the great wyrm Mykell. She and her family keep the Council operating, assisted by one tribe each of elves, gnomes and dwarves as well as a small group of dragons from the various clans. She moderates the debates, monitors decisions, keeps the records and oversees upkeep of the island and aerie. She is a dedicated devotee of the council's ideals, and she knows more history of the islands than just about anyone. When the Council meets, her word is law, to ensure debates do not devolve into chaos. However, she cannot vote except to break ties, in which case she is required to vote and may not abstain. Mykell does not use her authority lightly or without cause, and has kept the Council running smoothly for centuries. Everyone respects her, and she is always fair and balanced. Once a decision is reached by the Council, she sends one of her younger assistants to carry out the details, and only ever leaves the island herself in the most sensitive situations. She is usually able to persuade everyone to obey the Council, but will not hesitate to call a session to punish those who refuse to obey her words or implied threats. However, her goal is always to ensure compliance, never to humiliate. In rare situations, she may even assemble a strike force of dragons to enforce the Council's will. Between sessions, she and her attendants keep the island in good repair, mostly with the work of the vassals that serve them. Each clan tithes gems to the aerie annually, and the custodians also care for the treasures of the Council - magical items, gold, gems and objects of unusual origin, mostly.

The last and most important function of the Council custodians is to care for eggs. Every 25 years, each clan must turn one egg over to the Council, to be cared for in the Aerie hatcheries. These hatchlings are then raised by Mykell and the custodians, to be taught not just about their type and clan but also how to work together, in the way that Io commanded long ago. They serve the Council on various tasks, learn skills and engage in quests. Once they become juveniles, they are sent home and the next set of hatchlings takes their place. A few stay on as permanent custodians, to help teach the next generation. Most Custodians of Concordance, however, are descended from Starratiel. They are the priests of Io, promoting harmony among dragons, and few outside the council custodians recognize the religious connotations of the job. They keep their worship private and secret, even from the hatchlings they train, as most dragons would balk at the Council having obvious religious overtones. The Custodians of Concordance see it as their job to ensure the balance among dragons is never broken, to avoid another Dragon War.

A meeting of the Council can be called by one of three means. First, the Grand Custodian may call a meeting at any time, for any valid reasons. Mykell usually waits until enough petitions have piled up to fill an agenda before she summons a meeting, but will not hesitate if an emergency comes up or important information must be shared to the whole of dragonkind. Second, any dragon over the age of 1000 may summon the Council by use of an orb of Io, one of the magical artifacts given to each clan. Permission is not required, but tradition holds that this method should only be used for issues of crucial importance to the whole of dragonkind, rather than anything limited to mere single clan or dragon type. Otherwise, send your petition to the Custodians. Finally, a meeting of the Council can be called by a 'consensus of advocates.' At least three dominates of advocate rank or higher are considered a consensus, provided that they are all of different dragon types, and no more than two are of the same family (chromatic, metallic or gem). The consensus must take their request either to the Grand Custodian or a dragon lord, and tradition holds that this dragon is then honorbound to call the Council forth via the orbs of Io. Once the Council is asembled, the consensus is to address them, though they are still bound by council rules.

Next time: What exactly is an orb of Io, anyway?

Sampatrick
Sep 26, 2012


So you rub the orbs of Io in order to make the dragons come? Are we sure this supplement isn't by closet furries?

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Obligatum VII posted:

To be fair, it's probably fairly safe for their subjects. Remember, they consider the people in their domain their possessions, eg. you are are part of their hoard. Dragons defend their hoards pretty ferociously. Likewise, while the dragon may often make difficult demands, they are unlikely to demand you ever do something blatantly suicidal.

True. IIRC (been a long time since I've read the book), Draconomicon also made half-blues the most common of the half-chromatics due to blues associating far more with mortal races in a non-predatory capacity than the other chromatics, and that in an empire run by blue dragons those with draconic blood are likely to be instant nobility above most or even all subjects without draconic lineage.

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



Sampatrick posted:

So you rub the orbs of Io in order to make the dragons come? Are we sure this supplement isn't by closet furries?

this is the origin of half-dragons from dragonfucking so I don't think there's any closet involved

Green Intern
Dec 29, 2008

Loon, Crazy and Laughable



Mors Rattus posted:

Phirebolt, Phyre, and Phlame

I think we found out where the writers ran out of any pretensions of creativity.

But seriously, these dragon names are sounding awfully reminiscent of Warrior Cats

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGtR6kB3iMg

Green Intern fucked around with this message at 23:22 on Apr 18, 2017

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts World Book 10: Juicer Uprising, Part 5: "There is no known cure for the burnout; most Mega-Juicers who start showing symptoms will be killed (from a safe distance) or exiled into the wilderness."

New Juicer Variants

Yes, this is a Rifts book about Juicers, so get ready for some new Juicer types. Like, a lot of them. So many Juicers. It's too much juice. It's too much. So much juice.

We're told 74% of Juicers in North America are the corebook type, with 6% being Hyperion Juicers, 5% being Titan Juicers, 5% being Phaeton Juicers, and the rest being 2% or 1%. What are those kinds of Juicers? Well, read on. It also mentions that the New German Republic only has 10% of their Juicers being variants, while Japan only has the Ninja Juicer process.

It's time to enhance performance.


Some people were really upset when they remade Robocop with a female cast.

Hyperion Juicer O.C.C.

So, once upon a time a Juicer messed with his bio-comp harness to see if he could get a bigger rush, and became amazingly fast before he died three hours later. Medical researchers discovered the body and used the findings to make a faster Juicer. And so we get the Hyperion Juicer, who can run at 60+ MPH.

Compared to normal Juicers, they have lower strength and toughness and need to consume extra calories, but get extra speed and agility. There's also fluff about how they literally overreact to things, and have a "30% chance" of attacking somebody or drawing their weapon if surprised. They also have a 30% chance of flat-out having Metabolic Induced Voracity even if the Juicer treatment went perfectly. Oh, and they only give five to six years instead of six to ten years like normal Juicers. In general, they're kind of lousy compared to normal Juicers unless you just gotta go fast.


"The drugs go STRAIGHT into my loving NIPPLES, YEAH!"

Titan Juicer O.C.C.

Developed by generic researchers in Los Alamo trying to develop a mega-damage Juicer, they ran into a small issue where they developed subjects' muscle until their tiny human bones couldn't take it and they died under the weight of their own beef. So they found a way to lace human bones with metal, making them into the ultimate meatlords. They're so strong they generally have to wear armored gauntlets in combat, lest they mash their own fists into hamburger. That's realism! I have no idea why realism showed up to this! They're so poorly dressed for this party!

So, this is a meat tank with 1000+ S.D.C. (enough to take 10+ Mega-Damage, as a reminder). They're the strongest Juicer type, naturally, and can do mega-damage with punches. Of course, given they're doing at least 3d6 Mega-Damage, two Titan Juicers having a punch up will explode one another in one or two punches, because Mega-Damage is dumb! They suffer very minor damage if they go around punching without protection, as previously mentioned. They're naturally the slowest and least agile of the Juicer types, and they lose out on the Automatic Dodge (arguably one of the best Juicer features) as a result. That, and they only live 5-6 years, like the Hyperion. Ironically, they don't get much in the way of physical skills. I guess it's alright if you want to just throw punches as a Juicer, but punches (or even giant fuckoff chainsaws) aren't the best way to deal damage in Rifts.


The Fast and the Pharmaceutical.

Phaeton Juicer O.C.C.

Developed in Newtown by a company called Ultra-Tech Industries, Phaetons are designed as pilots with enhanced reflexes and ability to withstand greater G-forces. Though originally only available in Newtown and Fort El Dorado, the process has been pirated and become more widely available.

Compared to normal Juicers, they're slightly weaker and have reduced combat bonuses, but better combat bonuses in a vehicle and get bonuses on vehicle skills. They "can dodge even if piloting a vehicle that does normally have a dodge, such as a tank!" Well, I don't recall any rules about what vehicles can or can't dodge, actually... unsurprisingly, they get a good number of piloting skills. Ironically, though, they don't come with a vehicle, not even a hoverbike - you have to earn the ability to actually use you power in game. :(

Kinda weird how this action figure isn't a pack-in.


The before and after of Rifts' most radical weight loss program.

Mega-Juicer O.C.C.

Perhaps the most advanced Juicer type, this was originally developed by Northern Gun, who based it on a pre-rifts super-soldier project using psychics and using drugs to focus their powers towards self-enhancement, and then adding a normal Juicer treatment on top of that. In the post-apocalypse setting, this results in a mega-damage Juicer via psychic powers, though it robs the person of being able to direct their psychic power any other way. The main drawback is that only a small percentage of people have the psychic power to qualify for the process, and that Mega-Juicers have a tendency to literally explode at the end of their lifespan.

Obviously, the main advantage is that they become mega-damage beings about as tough as an armored human and improved strength. Unlike the Titan Juicer, however, their strength isn't supernatural, so it's not of great use. They also have the drawback of leaving a huge explosion of generic mega-damage energy when they go, but admittedly it's mainly a worry for those around them. Otherwise, they're pretty much like Juicers, only that they have a stiff 30 P.P.E. and psychic powers requirement, which means only 1% or 2% of randomly rolled human characters will qualify, though you could "cheat" by taking a psychic class and then volunteering for the Mega-Juicer treatment... but you potentially deal with one of the earlier tables of potential fuckery which you don't have to touch during character generation.


"It was supposed to look like a Jack Kirby costume- you don't know him?! Philistines."

Delphi Juicer O.C.C.

So, this is the product of a Dr. Heinrich Rommel who sometimes spoke of having worked with a "Engel de Vernichtung" (the Angel of Death from Mindwerks). He stole her psynetic implant technology used to create psychic Crazies, and had fled across the sea all the way to America. Here, he partnered with a fledgling Juicer company called "Hyper-Science Corporation", and offered his expertise. Trying to create a psychic Juicer, he had difficulty finding psychic subjects, so he just started kidnapping them instead. As a result, there are at least scores of Juicers that were forcibly created by his experiments. However, it was successful, and now they have Juicers with surgically attached helms that give them psychic powers.

They aren't as tough, strong, or fast as normal Juicers, but they get a decent spread of psychic powers (including one super), plus any non-healing power per level. The helmet boosts their psychic power and has a few extra vision types (nightvision, infared, and thermal). The helmet can specifically be wrecked and the Delphi Juicer will be practically crippled without it. Though they get the same lifespan as normal Juicers, they have their powers go out of control as they suffer from Last Call. In addition, if they detox, they lose most of their psychic power. Given a mental endurance requirement, you only have about a 26% chance to qualify to play one of these. Ultimately, they're one of those classes that does two different things but doesn't do either particularly well. My suggestion: just play a mind melter, then get a juicer willing to carry you around on their back, and become unstoppable. Or, at least, harder to stop than usual.


The new Coalition armor is previewed without even a mention here. Check the bony buttcrack.

Coalition Juicers
By C.J. Carella and Kevin Siembieda

As mentioned, the Coalition publicly speaks out against Juicers. However, privately, the Coalition military has always debated their use, including a pro-Juicer faction that claims the cost in money and lives would effectively be less (due to fewer overall casualities). However, Emperor Karl Prosek won't hear of it, seeing it as a foolish waste of human life, instead relying on alternatives like dog boys or skelebots. Joseph Prosek, however, gives less of a poo poo, and is apparently considering a plan in which non-citizens can earn citizenship for themselves and family members by volunteering to become Juicer warriors. Ultimately, the situation has been deadlocked for years. It's interesting to see the Coalition not be lock-step for a change... but that change won't last long. Not at all. That next loving book that's coming up...

Free Quebec originally had Juicers before joining the Coalition States, and supposedly disbanded them at Chi-Town's request. In reality, though, they just made their Juicer forces covert under the name of the "Liberty Reserve". Most of them aren't actually Juicers, but instead are trained and prepared to be augmented in the case of a military. Those that do undergo conversion work covertly, and are given bionic enhancements to soften the blow of detox at the end of their service. However, for every 1 Juicer they have, there are 20 "reserve members" waiting.

Finally, Colonel Thaddius Lyboc, the bad cop amongst the star Coalition members, has developed a secret army of Juicer operatives that have been operating for the past few months. General Cabot (the military right hand of the Proseks) in has quietly assisted him with the project, but has not given his explicit blessing.


"I'm a secret! Subtle! Covert!"

Secret CS Juicer
Coalition Special Trooper


Speaking of Lyboc's special Juicer unit, the Chi-Town 1st Special Forces Battalion, you can play one! Yes, you can work for one of the worst skull guys in the skull army. And I bet you're thinking "Well, I can be a renegade skull juice guy that isn't so bad.", but Lyboc put a bomb in your head just in case you were thinking that. So probably not. Volunteers go for two-year terms, generally being encouraged to detox after two years... but the program has only been going on for months? Why are they talking about it like it's gone on for years. Nice editing, Siembieda...

They're also developing cyborg soldiers. But forget about them, that isn't until the next book! Just forget you heard about that! That's a metaplot secret!

The Coalition Juicer is mostly just a regular Juicer with a slightly more military bent to their skillset and some bionic enhancements. Notably, they get cyber-armor (like a cyber-knight does), bionic hand with a climbing cord and laser finger (poo poo damage, pew pew), and a bomb in their head in case they go rogue. There are rules to remove the bomb but the roll is likely going to be dicey. They also get the "Forearm Integral Weapon System" that has some pretty decent particle beam blasters... and vibro-blades if you really need them.


"Welcome to Youngblood, kid!... er, I mean, the Coalition!

Psycho-Stalker O.C.C.
Juicer Psi-Stalkers


Created by accident, this is a result of a literal paperwork mixup where one of the Juicer volunteers was accidentally replaced with a Coalition Psi-Stalker (the psychic supernatural hunters from the corebook). Which is problematic, because previous attempts to make Psi-Stalkers into Juicers just killed them. Normally they would have noticed around the time of the surgery and reported the mistake, but the Psi-Stalker (John Dow) ended up in the hands of somebody with a nickname that was extremely on the nose: Shane "Miracle Worker" Charleston. Shane, who will never matter again, decided in true mad scientist fashion, "gently caress it, let's do this". With a specially tailored drug combination, he was able to not only make the Psi-Stalker into a Juicer, but also into a mega-damage being. John Dow then fled, leaving a Psi-Stalker-shaped hole in the wall. However, Lyboc thought Charleston was on to something, and has approved the creation of about a hundred more. However, the Coalition figures that are aware of the project are giving the whole thing the hairy eyeball, on account of Psi-Stalkers being subhumans and all.

So the Psycho-Stalker isn't as tough as a normal Juicer, but they're tougher than Hyperions or Phaetons. They're faster than an normal Juicer, but not as fast as a Hyperion. Aside from having a Psi-Stalker's psychic powers, their big deal is having a "Special Bio-Feedback Power" where they can make all their S.D.C. into M.D.C. and make their strength supernatural for short periods, after which they have tremendous hunger pangs and gain penalities until they can go on a Potential Psychic Energy feeding frenzy - 20 points, or about three ordinary peoples' worth. They get a variety of vehicle and roguish skills, and are honestly one of the stronger Juicer archetypes aside from their need to feed.

Man, that's a lot of Juicers. Seven new Juicer classes!

There's more. :rolleyes:

Next: The grave cannot hold me.

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 00:49 on Apr 19, 2017

MightyMatilda
Sep 2, 2015


Alien Rope Burn posted:

Yes, this is a Rifts book without Juicers, so get ready for some new Juicer types.

I assume there's a typo somewhere.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Council of Wyrms: The 89 Dragonballs

So, every clan possesses an orb of Io, and a matching orb also rests in the Council aerie. Any dragon of wyrm age or older can activate the orbs. When one orb is engaged, it forms a communication connection to the other 88. Through this, the wyrm can then speak to anyone near an orb. Anyone is able to hear and respond once the orbs are active, with the wyrm that activated them visible in the depths of the orbs. Activating an orb, however, is very taxing and the connection lasts only a brief time, so long conversation is impossible. Typically, the messages limited to necessary information - that a council has been called and everyone should attend. Sometimes, a topic will be mentioned. Once the summons has been issued, the council will meet in one dragon week - that is, 15 days.

Currently, there are 88 clans scattered throughout the islands. Each has an orb of Io and the right to one vote, but because not every clan has a wyrm, there's only actually 54 voting councillors. A quorum for the Council is half of its membership, so at least 27 wyrms must attend for a meeting to be held. A meeting begins after one week (again, 15 days), plus however much time it takes to reach quorum after that. It doesn't matter how many dominates show up - it's only the councillors that count for quorum. At that point, the Grand Custodian calls order and no one can leave until the debates are ended and all votes are complete. Every item on the agenda must be sponsored by either the Platform of Wyrms or the Platform of Dominates, and the sponsoring dragon must come forward to speak on its behalf. Through a mix of magic and good acoustic architecture, no one ever has to shout - the council chambers make everything audible. Once the item is presented by its sponsor, debate begins. Speakers have a set period of time based on their age, with the custodians measuring time in what I assume is a giant hourglass of some kind. Wyrms speak first and have the longest allotted time, while dominates speak after and have shorter. A member of the Platform of Dominates may only speak once on any given issue. Wyrms, however, are given a second chance to speak after the first round of debates ends. In the debates or the period after, councillors are expected to put forth potential solutions. The Grand Custodian selects the best of these and puts them to the vote, calling on the wyrms to render their votes or alternative proposals. Once a decision is reached, the custodians may form a task force from any dragons present to work out the details needed to enforce the ruling.

To speak, a dragon must be called by the Grand Custodian, and the order of selection is one based highly on tradition and respect for age. The arrangement of the agenda is entirely at the whim of the Grand Custodian, who usually tries to keep important items at the start of the meeting. The most common petitions are related to conflicts between dragon clans - hostile actions, disruption of trade routes, encroaching on hunting grounds, that kind of thing. Rather than war, the clan that is injured brings its problem to the Council in hopes of resolution, or at least prevention of further violence. The Council also arbitrates new territories, trade agreements, resource rights disputes, succession in cases where no other process exists and all the other major disagreements that dragons can come up with. Further, their purview covers any issue that could potentially affect more than one clan, such as plans for natural disasters, monster problems, invading outsiders or rogue dragons causing trouble. The most dangerous potential threat is the return of dragon slayers, and it is the one the Council is most watchful for.

The Council takes the threat of humans very, very seriously. They are shortlived, but they breed incredibly fast and in massive numbers. The Council maintains a very sharp watch on the island humans, because while they are few and primitive, the potential exists for them to rediscover dragon slaying. Thus, if any human tribe becomes too large or advanced, the Council sends a force to wipe them out. A few clans hate humans so much that they don't even wait - they just catch and eat the humans whenever they spot them.

The main job of the dragon PCs is to be the team of council wards, at least in early levels, and get missions handed to them by Mykell. It gives you a solid starting point for the characters to get to know each other despite being all from different clans and types. That usually gives them time to develop their personal goals for once they hit juvenile age and no longer need the Council to keep tossing them work. Eventually, they'll hit Wyrm and get to be one of the leaders of the Council, determining grand direction for the islands. They also keep the PCs from totally going off the reservation, because there...well, there is a dragon government of sorts, even if it's a very lax one, and if things get too hosed up, the dragons will send dragon cops.

Dragons are, on the whole, patient and rather laid back, compared to lesser races. They live for over a millenium, and so they see time differently than even elves, who to dragons are only slightly less of a brief, flighty existence. Most dragons are very patient, and they each tend to find some goal or task to obsess over for centuries, whether that's a particular field of lore, a political aim or something else. They tend to see everyone else as easily distracted and indecisive. Their anger can last for centuries, and their vengeance is often slow in coming - but it always comes, even if it's on descendants of the original targets. Dragons have no real desire to live for the now, as they have an endless supply of 'now'. They rarely hurry, and prefer to do something right over doing it fast. However, all that time means finding a way to not be bored. Often they enjoy puzzles or challenges, whether benign or malicious, or plotting to overtake their rivals. Some seek out knowledge and lore, becoming experts in some field and mastering it utterly over the centuries. They might study planes one at a time, or a particular trait found in various magical beasts, or master architecture in various styles. They rarely consider shorter-lived creatures as anything but inferiors, as they seem to be born and die so quickly, all while the dragons grow stronger.

Even an elf might live at best to 750, while a dwarf or gnome could hope for 450 to 500 years. A human, only 130 or so. A dragon can live for upwards of 3000. Thus, even the kindredbonded demihumans become...fragile. A dragon could have as many as 20 kindred over the course of their life, usually taking them on in adolescence and letting them retire when they become venerable. They seldom feel they fully know even this closest demihuman friend by the time the demihuman dies, and so it is far more common for a dragon to not feel much friendship for demihumans at all, save for their kindred and those related to them.

The keeping of hoards has many reasons - magical, biological and psychological. Precious metals, gems and magic items are key in dragon growth as they age. Dragons, unlike most beings, do not grow slowly over time. They maintain themselves in one physical size for a period, then undergo a massive growth spurt, cycling between stability and growth through their lives until they hit great wyrm and are as big as they will ever get. To facilitate this growth, a dragon needs three things. First, they need to be old enough. Second, they must accumulate enough life experience (in the form of XP). Last, they need a treasure hoard equal in gold piece value to the XP they needed. Get all those and you can achieve massive growth in a process known as 'shedding.' The dragon literally and metaphysically sheds its old age, mindset and skin, coming out with a new body and stronger mind. This process takes several months, during which the dragon enters 'dragon sleep,' a deep coma during the shedding. Once this is over, a sheath of scales is left behind. A portion of this is given to the dragon's vassals, to be made into armor and shields by tradition, while the rest is balled up and buried under the hoard, to enhance the dragon's ties to it. Over time, the sheath transforms into an appropriate metal or gem worth (age level*1000) gp. The dragon in dragon sleep gains an intimate knowledge of its bonded hoard, learning more about every object in it. A hatchling has a 40% chance to recognize any object in its hoard on sight, with the chance rising at every level. This connection also allows for the lair clairaudience power we mentioned last book. During dragon sleep, a dragon is incredibly vulnerable, so one's lair should always be kept secret and protected even from family and close friends, with traps and wards against intrusion or loyal vassals to guard it. A dragon cannot be awakened from dragon sleep early by any means.

The hoard is mechanically divided into two parts - the 'bonded hoard' and the 'accumulating hoard.' The bonded hoard is the part you've used to gain levels, while the accumulating hoard is what you've gotten since your last dragon sleep. If you lose any of your bonded hoard, you have some problems. First, until you get it back, you can't level up. Second, you start to lose powers as stuff goes missing. With the loss of part of your bonded hoard, you lose one power per time period - up to a year, for a small loss, to every six months, for a total loss. Your lost ability is chosen randomly by rolling on a table. If you lose all abilities of a single category, you loving die from sheer loss of will to live - so if you lose all your THAC0, all your Armor Class, all of your HP, all your saving throw bonuses, all your innate abilities or all of your spells, you die. Period. You may regain abilities by recovering the stolen items, or by replacing them with treasure of equal value. You do at least get a vague sense of where your stolen poo poo is if you get close to it. Once it's back in your lair, all your powers immediately come back. Replacing it is harder - you must enter dragon sleep with the replacement hoard as if you were leveling up from your last age level to your current one, regaining all lost abilities over the course of the sleep and severing your tie to the old treasure.

Next time: Mating and crossbreeding.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


MightyMatilda posted:

I assume there's a typo somewhere.

You can't prove anything anymore!

(thanks)

To Protect Flavor
Feb 24, 2016


Why is a dragon week 15 days?

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Because it is.

Dareon
Apr 6, 2009



Aethera Campaign Setting

Part Seven - Fortunately, no Space Hitler


In Luthian Measure 3913, war was beginning. The Hierarchy started turning out warships in great numbers, preparing for a quick invasion. The erahthi everse-engineered the downed aetherships on Kir-Sharaat and synthesized them with their symbiotic plant technology to create living ships to repulse a small invasion force. Both sides thought the war would be over quickly, and Indaarin was unable to steer his people away from war. Skirmishing occurred frequently in the early days of the war, with humanity attempting repeatedly to establish forward bases on the forest planet, but beat back each time by the hostile vegetation and erahthi guerilla raids.

The first generation of erahthi plant aetherships rolled out of whatever sort of buds they grew from in 3918, letting the erahthi take to space with ships capable of self-repair. The Hierarchy had only ever fought the scattered Wasteland clans, never in their history had they ever had to worry about an equally-skilled enemy or a technology they themselves did not possess. Initial losses for humanity were in the tens of thousands as they were pushed back through the Gate Hub. The erahthi tried repeatedly to disable or destroy the Gate Hub, to know avail. Thing's resilient and defended. The Hierarchy spent the next two years licking their wounds, skirmishing occasionally as scout ships came and went through the gate. The war might have ended there if not for humanity's aetherite shortage. Fear of the erahthi winning, beating the previously-unbeateable Hierarchy, swept through the arcologies, and the Hierarchy found itself committed to an unsustainable war.

To counteract the superiority of erahthi symbiont technology, the Hierarchy began programs to augment human troops with aethertech and magic. These resulted in many useful advances, like militarized automata prosthetics, powered armor... and the infused. Human aetherite experimentation was already practiced in secret in Hierarchy labs, both morally and legally gray areas. In 3919, a group of alchemists and occultists began the Paragon Project, intended to create superhuman soldiers capable of leading humanity to victory. After a few false starts that produced the same twisted abominations most aetherite biology experiments cause, they reached a breakthrough by starting from test subjects that were already suffering from aetherite radiation poisoning. These volunteers underwent torturous experimentation, losing their memories and bodily health, coming out the other end as the first infused. Before they could be fully evaluated for, you know, not being psychotic, they were trained and shipped to the front lines. The first infused soldiers saw combat in 3921, beginning a new human offensive.


I'm vaguely annoyed by those space battleships. Akasaat has no oceans, where are they even getting boat hull designs?

This new offensive intensified when the H.A.V. Harmonium, the first aethership battlecruiser, was brought online in the Prima shipyards. At the head of a fleet of nearly two hundred aetherships, the Harmonium proved devastating to the erahthi forces, especially coupled with the Hierarchy's newest tactic: orbital bombardment. Launching spears of fire-elemental metal mined from the asteroids around the sun Ashra, the bombardment created immense explosions of heat and light. The Harmonium could have killed tens of thousands of erahthi, if not for a surgical strike by Reaper-caste commandos in 3924 that destroyed the battleship from within. The Hierarchy still doesn't know how that happened. Still, the Harmonium did lead to the development of more heavily-armed and -armored aetherships designed to weather the fiercest assaults.

Meanwhile, the infused were kicking all kinds of rear end, so the Hierarchy threw more money at the Paragon Project, which resulted, in 3927, in the creation of 100 ubermenschen called, fittingly, the Paragons. Towering above a normal human, stronger than a soldier in power armor, and frighteningly intelligent. They entered the war as the erahthi were finalizing spore-based biological weapons. They were initially sent in at the head of squads of infused, but after a couple years of battle and observation, it was discovered the Paragons and infused shared a psychic link with each other, an unintentional capability that had not been in their design specs. The second generation of Paragons was put on hold while the Hierarchy mulled over this new development.

In 3930, the Hierarchy unveiled yet another new weapon of war: the dreadnought-class aethership. The size of a small city and designed for sustained long-range battle, bristling with weaponry, escorted by their own squadron of fighter craft, and with a crew complement numbering over three thousand. The first generation, the H.A.V. Concordant Measure, Defiant Hand, and Radiant Beacon, were used as forward operating bases that could go anywhere within the system. In 3939, the second-generation dreadnought H.A.V. Iconoclast was sent to Kir-Sharaat to lead a third-wave offensive. Unfortunately, industrial sabotage rendered the Iconoclast's weaponry inoperative shortly after arrival when the ship was ambushed by erahthi forces. Rather than die without firing a single shot, the Paragon captain, Aksandar, dropped the Iconoclast into the atmosphere, crashing into and destroying the district of Kir-Arkhal, claiming more than two hundred thousand lives. This is remembered as one of the greatest atrocities of the Century War.

Tritarch Indaarin, through all of this, has been noted as a very poor wartime leader. After the destruction of Kir-Arkhal, the desperate Tritarch violated the ritual that had been followed for thousands of years and awakened Athrakarus the Warrior from slumber. Athrakarus immediately seized control of the military and ordered an all-out assault on Akasaat. A fleet of erahthi aetherships attacked Akasaat in early 3940, leading to a massive battle in orbit. Dozens of small fighters dropped into the atmosphere on indiscriminate retaliatory suicide attacks on human settlements. Human casualties numbered in the tens of thousands, although a higher cost were the crucial aetherite refineries supplying the human war machine. Athrakarus then began moving into the rest of the system, with erahthi setting up mining operations in the Amrita Belt and around Seraos. Desperately low on aetherite, the Hierarchy began drilling deeper into Prima to try and find new veins, and sent the specially-equipped dreadnought H.A.V. Ray of Dawn with a contingent of Paragons to Orbis Aurea, to attempt a mining survey or die trying. Like every ship before it, the Ray of Dawn slipped below the cloud cover, never to return or communicate. All hands were presumed lost.

While the Ray of Dawn was destroyed, the Paragons survived the crash and discovered the Requiescat, the humans that survived the previous scouting attempts. They also discovered that Orbis Aurea was ridiculously rich in aetherite. The Paragons assumed command of the humans and cemented alliances with the local okanta tribes by aiding them against the indigenous frost giants. The Paragons' leader, Lietka, devised a bold plan and set about industrializing the human holdings, creating a city with the goal of reaching up, building their way out of the clouds enshrouding the planet. Over the next thirty years, the Paragon Ascendancy would lay the groundwork for a civilization where Paragon and infused could live outside their creators' control.

By 3947, only 12 of the original hundred Paragons remained alive, and those were lost by the end of 3949. The Hierarchy attempted seven times to besiege San-Kaishan, the capital district of Kir-Sharaat. The Paragons, as powerful as they were, were no match at all for the full might of the Tritach Athrakarus. Stories flow on both sides of the war of Athrakarus challenging Paragons to single combat, downing aetherships with a wave of his hand and turning the entire forest against the human forces. By 3951, a desperate Hierarchy had tripled the number of infused created every year and were conscripting prisoners and wastelanders into the Paragon Project to keep up with demand. It was around this time that the mining projects on Akasaat's moon Prima, while unable to find even a fragment of aetherite, broke into a Progenitor-era vault at the moon's core, containing millions of humanoid robotic constructs. They were rapidly reverse-engineered and fitted with aetherite power cores, trained, and sent into battle by the thousands. Thus was born the phalanx. With no need for food, sleep, or air, they rapidly began replacing the much more fragile infused. The Hierarchy made significant gains in this time period, pushing the erahthi back to Kir-Sharaat and gaining significant victories in the Amrita Belt and area around Seraos, but the last stores of aetherite were beginning to run dry, panicking the upper echelon of Hierarchy officials. With the human resurgence and erahthi numbers dwindling, Athrakarus began sending erahthi children on suicide missions against human targets. Indaarin confronted Athrakarus about this and was immediately returned to slumber. No one except Athrakarus knows if Indaarin put himself to sleep in protest or if Athrakarus forced him into it. Output of the erahthi war garden increased in this period, as well.

In 3955, new aetherite deposits discovered in the Amrita Belt shifted the focus of the war away from the planets and into the Gulf of deep space. Sabotage and counter-offensives ruled the day in this period known as the Long March of the Century War. Fatigue on both sides had begun to set in, and by 3970, the death toll on both sides had reached millions. Erahthi spies had infiltrated Akasaat and began a sabotage campaign to destroy the Hierarchy arcologies. They were successful once, destroying the city of Haven and killing hundreds of thousands. The other arcologies were saved by Protectorate counter-intelligence agents, but Haven whipped the Hierarchy into a frenzy, and for the next 20 years they fought over the skies of Kir-sharaat, leaving sweeping trails of aethership debris. And both sides were running low on resources. Erahthi aetherite reserves were claimed entirely from sunlit areas bordering the Darkwild, and any deeper excursions risked reigniting hostilities with the zahajin and forcing the erahthi to fight on two fronts. Neither side seemed willing to back down, but something had to give.

In 3974, the tide of war seemed to turn in favor of humanity. An aethership of unknown origin emerged from the Akasaat Gate Hub, declaring itself the P.A.V. Herald from Orbis Aurea with reinforcements of soldiers, aetherite, and okanta mercenaries. The Paragons offered to provide resources to the akasaati war machine to defeat the erahthi and end the war on their terms. Now, there was something of a split in opinions on the Paragons. The populace of Akasaat loved them, but high-ranking Hierarchy officials knew that they were a bit... problematic. So they had popular support, and the Hierarchy reluctantly agreed to their terms, recognizing Orbis Aurea as an independent colony. Together, they were poised to end the war once and for all.

But it was not by human action or even erahthi that the end of the war came about. In 4001, during a battle in orbit over Kir-Sharaat, the Gate Hub near the moon of Thycalese unleashed an armada of five thousand ships of unknown design, many of which were made from hollowed-out planetoids. The Taur had arrived. The battle descended into chaos as the Taur began shooting at both sides, launching raiding ships that bored into hulls and disgorged hordes of taur and demons. Quickly both sides turned their efforts on the new enemy, Erahthi fighters breached the walls of maze ships, discovering the atrocities the taur performed as a matter of course. Human battlecruisers bombarded taur world-ships, while phalanx fought tirelessly against taur raiding parties bent more on capture than slaughter. As the fight raged, five taur world-ships encircled the moon Thycalese and physically moved it out of orbit. Shortly afterward, the taur retreated into the Gulf of space, taking the moon with them. Humans and erahthi pursued them for a time, but were forced to limp back home without the resources to follow the taur into the trackless darkness. The Battle of Thycalese was both the longest and the last battle of the Century War.

An emergency summit was called, establishing a truce in the face of this obvious threat to both sides. Afterwards, aboard the P.A.V. Armitage, a series of negotiations by representatives of the Hierarchy, the Tritarch Dominion, and the Paragon Ascendancy resulted in the Century Accords, bringing all military actions by all signatories to a halt in the face of the taur threat. Pockets of violence continued to pop off, from hardliners, holdouts, and people who simply hadn't yet heard of the cease-fire. The taur continued to raid and skirmish, apparently able to travel rapidly across the Gulf without use of the Gate Hubs. All official military activity ceased by the middle of 4002. The Century Accords, however, were not a peace treaty, merely a cessation of hostilities in the face of a threat to both sides. In secret, both the erahthi and humans sent envoys to treat with the taur and enter into an alliance. None returned.

Travel opened between Akasaat and Kir-Sharaat in 4003, heralding a new era of cultural exchange. In 4004, the Hierarchy emancipated every single phalanx soldier, handily making an end-run around the possibility of a phalanx rebellion. At the same time, the Hierarchy introduced the Slotting system, which moved the goalposts on their traditional meritocracy. The Slot system guaranteed Hierarchy citizens a job and a stable income in exchange for their service to society, solidifying the social strata and trapping menial laborers in their current jobs with no recourse. So there's now a growing worker's rebellion, fueled by pirate radio.

The year is now 4006, and the darkest times still lie ahead. Old enemies die hard, racial violence sparks frequently, ideas and alliances are being shared and formed across racial lines, the civilians of the war are starting to express their resentment and frustration, and the threat of the taur looms over everyone. It is this tenuous peace that the player characters will be hurled into.

gourdcaptain
Nov 16, 2012



Alien Rope Burn posted:

Psycho-Stalker O.C.C.
Juicer Psi-Stalkers


Created by accident, this is a result of a literal paperwork mixup where one of the Juicer volunteers was accidentally replaced with a Coalition Psi-Stalker (the psychic supernatural hunters from the corebook). Which is problematic, because previous attempts to make Psi-Stalkers into Juicers just killed them. Normally they would have noticed around the time of the surgery and reported the mistake, but the Psi-Stalker (John Dow) ended up in the hands of somebody with a nickname that was extremely on the nose: Shane "Miracle Worker" Charleston. Shane, who will never matter again, decided in true mad scientist fashion, "gently caress it, let's do this". With a specially tailored drug combination, he was able to not only make the Psi-Stalker into a Juicer, but also into a mega-damage being. John Dow then fled, leaving a Psi-Stalker-shaped hole in the wall. However, Lyboc thought Charleston was on to something, and has approved the creation of about a hundred more. However, the Coalition figures that are aware of the project are giving the whole thing the hairy eyeball, on account of Psi-Stalkers being subhumans and all.

This backstory of Psycho-Stalkers being created by a doctor just creating one for the hell of it out of a paperwork mix up (and according to the book, he just had this idea sitting around) is my second favourite thing in the book (my favourite comes much later). It's just ridiculous in an amazing comic book villainous super-science meets Brazil way.

PoptartsNinja
May 9, 2008

He is still almost definitely not a spy




Soiled Meat

Dareon posted:

Regarding the Draconomicon cover and the horse, there's a simpler explanation. Look at the shield in the lower right corner. That's Tordek's shield, so it's probably his horse. :smaug:

If you look closer still, the horse still has a rider. Now we know what happened to Redgar!




There's also Doomguy's helmet alongside the eggs.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


gourdcaptain posted:

This backstory of Psycho-Stalkers being created by a doctor just creating one for the hell of it out of a paperwork mix up (and according to the book, he just had this idea sitting around) is my second favourite thing in the book (my favourite comes much later). It's just ridiculous in an amazing comic book villainous super-science meets Brazil way.

You can tell it's Siembieda writing it because it's so amazingly contrived, but at the same time the fact that it comes out of a paperwork goof is pretty amusing.

Granted, you'd think the Coalition would be more leery of creating mega-damage beings that feed on psychic energy given how terribly squishy they are. But Lyboc is an amazing tool, as we'll see later, so I guess it's not completely off the mark, just... mostly?

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



PoptartsNinja posted:

If you look closer still, the horse still has a rider. Now we know what happened to Redgar!




There's also Doomguy's helmet alongside the eggs.

that is regdar's helmet



for some reason "regdar gets owned" is a recurring theme in 3.5 art, dunno why

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




Cease to Hope posted:

that is regdar's helmet



for some reason "regdar gets owned" is a recurring theme in 3.5 art, dunno why

Because he's a fighter in 3.X D&D.

marshmallow creep
Dec 10, 2008

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



I seem to recall reading it was some executive mandate to include a white male human fighter, which annoyed the artists, and owning that guy was a rebellion on their part that later people kept up because it was funny.

gourdcaptain
Nov 16, 2012



Alien Rope Burn posted:

You can tell it's Siembieda writing it because it's so amazingly contrived, but at the same time the fact that it comes out of a paperwork goof is pretty amusing.

Granted, you'd think the Coalition would be more leery of creating mega-damage beings that feed on psychic energy given how terribly squishy they are. But Lyboc is an amazing tool, as we'll see later, so I guess it's not completely off the mark, just... mostly?

A lot of my Savage Rifts GM (the guy who got me into Rifts) and my enjoyment of the setting comes from the absurd stuff like that. (Also see our general love of anything involving ARCHIE-3 and Hagan, that failtastic duo.) It also helps for our game than the GM's personal vision of the CS when GMing comes from stuff like the Psycho Stalker, the end of this book which I will not spoil, and the other absurd stupidity they get up to from time to time. It's basically the opposite of tasteless CS fanboyism (which is the worst) and while they can be still threatening, he doesn't do them as hypercompetent or such. (Or even competent a good chunk of the time.)

RIFTS is ultimately very Saturday Morning Cartoon from the 80's in a lot of ways, and he runs them as Cobra.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Cease to Hope posted:

that is regdar's helmet



for some reason "regdar gets owned" is a recurring theme in 3.5 art, dunno why

As I've heard the tale, it's because Lockwood designed an iconic fighter (Tordek, the dwarf) but marketing decided you needed a white human male in the mix, so they got Regdar, but resentment towards that art direction often ended up with him meeting tragic fates in the art. I wish I could find a good copy of the Heroes of Horror cover, which features other iconic characters finding bloody pieces of his armor hanging from trees.

RocknRollaAyatollah
Nov 26, 2008



Lipstick Apathy

Alien Rope Burn posted:

As I've heard the tale, it's because Lockwood designed an iconic fighter (Tordek, the dwarf) but marketing decided you needed a white human male in the mix, so they got Regdar, but resentment towards that art direction often ended up with him meeting tragic fates in the art. I wish I could find a good copy of the Heroes of Horror cover, which features other iconic characters finding bloody pieces of his armor hanging from trees.



It's actually the back cover.

The gist is that no one wanted Redgar so it became an inside joke to have him killed a lot and in gruesome ways.

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010

by many accounts a diligent administrator and manager who was instrumental in increasing industrial productivity during the war

Lipstick Apathy

"The Fighter gets owned a lot because management insisted he had to be a white dude" is a far happier ending to this story than "The Fighter gets owned a lot because the artists were meta-aware that this was a Fighter in 3rd Edition D&D"

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




gradenko_2000 posted:

"The Fighter gets owned a lot because management insisted he had to be a white dude" is a far happier ending to this story than "The Fighter gets owned a lot because the artists were meta-aware that this was a Fighter in 3rd Edition D&D"

Not emptyquoting.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


gourdcaptain posted:

A lot of my Savage Rifts GM (the guy who got me into Rifts) and my enjoyment of the setting comes from the absurd stuff like that. (Also see our general love of anything involving ARCHIE-3 and Hagan, that failtastic duo.) It also helps for our game than the GM's personal vision of the CS when GMing comes from stuff like the Psycho Stalker, the end of this book which I will not spoil, and the other absurd stupidity they get up to from time to time. It's basically the opposite of tasteless CS fanboyism (which is the worst) and while they can be still threatening, he doesn't do them as hypercompetent or such. (Or even competent a good chunk of the time.)

Yeah, Coalition fandom is possibly the worst part of Rifts, and we'll have plenty of opportunities to bring that up over the next book in the line. As an evil empire goes, they can be a fun set of toys (because most Rifts concepts can be summed up as "toy line"), but the fact that they've always been a potential campaign type has always been fairly gross.

RocknRollaAyatollah posted:



It's actually the back cover.

I meant the cover in general, gosh! It's... effectively a wraparound? Kinda? I'm never wrong is what I'm getting at.

Dareon
Apr 6, 2009


The art for the Fire Spiders spell never fails to make me laugh. A quick google to find it resulted in nothing more than a bunch of "kill it with fire" memes and a collage of Regdar getting owned that does NOT include the spell.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Monte Cook posted:

When I worked at TSR, there was always basically a truism in cover art--the central figure had to be a white male. Most of us actually helping to create the cover art, either by conceiving it or actually creating it, hated that kind of outlook, but the powers that be believed that our audience was entirely white males and they needed someone that they could identify with on the cover.

So, when D&D was bought by WotC and we started working on 3E, we really felt that this was a time when we could break this mold. We worked with the artists to create iconic characters of different ethnicities (both in appearance and in name) and with equal representation of male and female. At some point in the process, someone said, "hey, you don't have a male human fighter in the mix.

It was a thumb to the nose of the old TSR requirement. Because, sadly, the people who noted that there was no "male human fighter" were basically saying "white human male fighter." It was our intention that while humans would be multi-ethnic, nonhumans were just that. So Tordek wasn't a white dwarf or a black dwarf, he was just a dwarf. So the core fighter wasn't a white guy. At least that was our intention.

Regdar intruded his way into 3E, empowered by marketing and sales people. At the last minute, in a matter of just those few short weeks, the old TSR standard reared its ugly head. Not only was Regdar on the scene, he was in the spotlight. This was the character that would be on the cardboard standees and other promotional items, and would usually take center stage in the covers. I was caught entirely off-guard and was far too late to even comment on him. Now, to his credit, the initial Regdar artist, Todd Lockwood, made Regdar's ethnicity kind of vague. (Regdar had shown up in Todd's earlier sketches when he designed the look of 3E armor.) It's only in later artwork that Regdar seems to be pretty clearly the white male fighter we tried to avoid. And to the credit of a number of people--artists, art directors, designers and editors alike--our disdain for Regdar made its way into a lot of art. If you look closely, Regdar is getting thrashed on most of the early pieces he shows up in. (Look for his ignominious fate on the original DM's Screen, for example.)

To Protect Flavor
Feb 24, 2016


Edit: Well I suck at formatting, I guess.

Fire Spiders

To Protect Flavor fucked around with this message at 13:08 on Apr 19, 2017

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



Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Silly marketing. What white males want to see is FemDrizzt in a chainmail bikini.

Alien Rope Burn posted:


Some people were really upset when they remade Robocop with a female cast.
Did a dog try to bite off her foot?

hyphz
Aug 5, 2003




Costume Fairy Adventures, 2: Everything is a talent of the Platypus

First things first: tidying up a few things from the previous post. First of all: art! We has it.



Left to right: Brownie, Goblin, Sprite, Fairy (head-desk), Pixie and Elf. There's quite a lot of art in the book and PDF - it's the other big contributor to the book's thickness, and most of it's good, although some of it's.. a bit too simple for its own good.



Second, a bit of missing history. It turns out that a very early version of CFA was actually written just a few months after the first draft of Eclipse Maid as a 24-hour RPG called Fairy Cosplay (it's not clear if it was entered in a 24-hour RPG contest or if Prokopetz just did it in 24 hours because he wanted to) and inspired by a post in a Touhou thread on RPG.net.

David Prokopetz posted:

So here is my RPG about cosplaying fairies. May God have mercy on us all.

Fairy Cosplay has been mostly expunged from the Internet, although there are a few traces on the Wayback Machine. Unfortunately, Wayback doesn't do PDFs, so the rulebook itself has been lost, but there is an ancient playtest thread on RPG.net. A fair amount seems to have changed since then, although the idea of the five Facets remains - although originally Moxie was called Spunk, Shine was called Luck, and Charm was called (ready for a groan?) Moe.

Lastly, there's the gender issue. Although it's assumed throughout the book, the book never actually states outright that all fairies are female. Many of the costumes are female-specific but could be fairly easily patched across if they needed to be, and there's *maybe* one illustration of a male fairy? It's not quite clear, and I'm guessing the general idea is "don't sweat it".

Ok? Let's roll some dice.

By the way, did I mention that in this book, every time a term is mentioned in rules text, there's a note in a sidebar telling you what page to find the rules for the related term on? And if you're using the PDF, that sidebar is a link to that page? Well, there is and it's great.

Here's how you dice in CFA. Pick a Facet to roll. The sandbox structure of the game encourages PCs to act proactively, so hopefully it's the player determining the Facet, but the GM can determine it if a sudden reaction is needed. You get one base d6 to roll, and you want to roll your Facet score or less. The higher you roll without going over your Facet, the better the result is (it's the Price is Right system from Unknown Armies but with d6s, essentially). If you go over, you fail.

However, where the Wushu influence comes in is that you can get more dice. You get more dice by "tagging" Quirks - that is, pointing out how a Quirk can relate to your action in the current situation. You can tag one Quirk from your character, one from your Costume, and one from your Location. If someone's helping you, you can tag one of their Quirks as well (if it's another PC, it can only be from their character or their Costume, though); and if you're working against someone else and you can argue that one of their Quirks disadvantages then, you can tag that too. So that's up to 6 dice you could be rolling. You get to pick the best one - that is, the one that's nearest your Facet without going over.

Also, magic! You start each session with 3 magic points and you can spend 1 before any roll to add an extra die to it (once). You get magic back by.. making bad rolls. For every 6 that shows in a roll, you get a point of Magic, and the GM gets a point of Trouble. Since Facets can't rise as far as 6, any such dice is a guaranteed failure, but hopefully it's not the best dice in the set you rolled.

If it's an unopposed roll, then if you got a success at any level, you succeed - which means you get to narrate the outcome. If you fail, the GM gets to narrate. It's stated that you're not actually required to narrate your success, nor is the GM required to narrate your failure, but it's generally open provided it's actually something to do with what you were trying to achieve and it doesn't directly interfere with another PC. Also, if another PC objects to what you're doing for other reasons, they can trigger a retroactive contest, in which their fairy tries to flit over and mess with you after it's become apparent what you're doing. This turns the roll into an opposed roll, but you get to keep your original result. The book does say that this should usually be used when it wasn't clear from the original statement of action what you were planning, and that it's "bad form" to pounce on an action you wouldn't have liked to begin with after you've seen the roll was bad. I don't like rules that require social shoring. This makes me sad.

If it's an opposed roll, then whoever rolls the highest success wins. So I hope you're careful if you're taking on someone with a higher Facet, because they can roll numbers higher than you're even allowed, no matter how many Quirks you tag! As before, the winner gets to narrate, and can make stuff happen to the opposition, but can't directly state what they do or take them out of play. Also, we mentioned Edge before; Edge is a bonus you add to your success result in an opposed roll to determine the winner. It doesn't turn a success into a failure, but it can compensate for a facet being lower. Also, if you manage to ambush your opponent completely, you can treat this as an opposed roll where they fail.

In addition, there's Stress. We mentioned that every PC has a Stress Limit; 15 if you're a Pixie, 10 if you're anything else. If you fail an unopposed test, the GM can hit you with Stress (1d6 in the worst case); if you fail an opposed test, you automatically take Stress equal to the winner's Result - even if the winner would rather you didn't. If you exceed your Stress Limit, then you're Stressed Out, which means you lose your active Costume and you have to sit out of the action for five real-time minutes (or five posts on a forum game), a la Falling Down in Toon. If something bad was obviously going to happen to your fairy, you can have that happen (they get squashed or swatted or whatever); if you can come up with something that happens, like them going off to sulk, you can do that too; and as a last resort, you can have a Stress Explosion. No, not Maid style. You literally explode into a shower of rainbows. Them fairies is unstable. You still get to come back after a few real-time minutes, though.

You can heal all your Stress by resting for a few hours, or you can recover 1d6 Stress by eating something. Fairies eat the same stuff humans do, and the same sizes of meal - so yes, they could quite easily be devouring their own weight or more.

In addition to Stress, you can also end up with Temporary Quirks, which are just like temporary Aspects in Fate. They act like regular quirks, and they count as their own category for the purpose of being added to rolls - on either side. They go away more or less when it makes sense they would based on what they are; or you can force them away by giving up at least 3 points of Stress recovery. You can also only have 3 at a time, so extra Temporary Quirks just fall off. The book also adds that fairies are somehow aware of this and deliberately overflowing themselves with Temporary Quirks is something they may do deliberately in order to lose particularly negative ones.

There's no Combat system in particular. Combat is referred to as "scuffling" but it's just another opposed roll, so there's no tactical positioning or initiative or anything like that.

An unusual feature of the game is that there's an explicit rule set for being off camera: a Break. A break happens if your character isn't doing much for a while, or if you actually leave the table or - on an online game - don't respond for a while. If you actually leave the table for a Break, then you don't get an update on the situation when you come back; since your fairy ducked off-camera, she comes back with no idea what's going on, which can apparently be hilarious (if it's not godawful frustrating). You can rule that while you were on Break, your fairy found one new costume; changed costume; and/or ate food to heal Stress, provided you can explain where she found unguarded food. If you Stressed Out, that counts as a Break, so you can do all these things too; although there's not a lot of point eating to heal Stress since you come back with your Stress fully healed, and you're going to have to change costume because you lost the one you were wearing when you Stressed Out. If there's a time gap in the narration that would logically allow everyone to take a Break, that's an Intermission, and it.. well, allows everyone to take a Break with no real-time constraints.

We've touched on Magic previously - that it can be used to add dice and change costumes while in-scene - but there's also overtly using magic. Wishful Thinking costs 3 Magic points, and has your fairy overtly trying to arrange that something happens (which can consist of twirling wands and muttering mumbo-jumbo if you want, but can also just consist of blindly flying in and hoping to God for a coincidence). You make an unopposed roll, and if you succeed, stuff goes your way. If you fail, stuff goes really badly.. although the GM is explicitly not allowed to hit you with Stress or Temporary Quirks for failing at Wishful Thinking; it just causes really bizarre sidetracks in the story. There's a few limitations about what you can Wish for - no instakilling other Fairies, etc - but the GM is only allowed to do the Evil Genie thing if you fail. (Also, the game says that if a fairy PC is silly enough to try to make a persuasion roll against another fairy PC, you should allow it, but the target is absolutely allowed to Evil Genie the heck out of it - because, hey, in folklore fairies did exactly that, right?)

One last mechanic we have to deal with - and apart from a few guidelines about how to roll for NPCs, this is the only rule in the GMs section of the book - is those Trouble points. (NPCs usually only have a couple Facets and can't use the others; they don't generate Magic or Trouble; they spend Trouble instead of Magic; mooks Stress Out if they suffer any stress at all, but bosses can have Stress Limits, although usually only 5 or so) Trouble points (which are called Trouble Dice for some reason, even though they're only used as dice in one potential situation) are spent for several reasons: to add dice to NPC rolls (unlike Magic, NPCs can spend several of them on a single roll); to invoke a Quirk against a PC in an opposed or unopposed test, losing them a die in the process; or to add a complication to a PCs narration, provided it doesn't undo what the PC was trying to do. For 3 Trouble, the GM can have an opposing NPC or hazard show up, even if it makes absolutely no sense for them to have done so or if they were Stressed Out earlier in the adventure.

And finally, for 5 Trouble, the GM can Invoke Disaster. This immediately redirects the entire scene onto a new occurrence - based on a random roll on a table. Yep, it's random events from Maid, but on the GM's side only. As an example, the given disaster table for an "Enchanted Forest" style game consists of: earthquakes rearranging the forest, the forest gods raging against the fairies personally, bandits showing up.. or encountering a girl who's in the middle of having her fairy-tale protagonist backstory and is downright dangerous to be around as a result. Some fun concepts, but could easily misdirect an entire session.

Ok, enough of the wall of rules text. Let's break up things with some reviews of a few Costume Cards. Start with a good one:



Here's your typical Costume Card. Relevant Quirks and a thematic triggered Power with a reasonable effect. No problems. Unfortunately, they aren't all like this - although a decent proportion are.



Oh look. It's a Stat Swapper. There's quite a few of these for different combinations of Facets, and they're all going to have the same problem that they can either be absolutely brilliantly awesome if one of those Facets is good, or utterly awful if they're both meh or the same. You can of course draw a new Costume, but that doesn't help if one of the other players drew their perfect combination.



Let's all fight a lot. One of quite a few Costumes that have a power dependent on being in a Scuffle - that's combat. Which kind of gives the lie to the whole "combat's just another roll" thing. Also, is our fairy potentially stabbing someone with a rapier here? Because while fairies are fun, fairies with sharp objects are terrifying; just ask the Dresden Files artists.



Absolutely my most disliked Costume Card in the game. Not only does it effectively have only one Quirk, but its power is incredibly situational, because it's dependent on the GM deciding to treat an inanimate object as a hazard and giving it a Stress Limit.

And lastly, there's this thing:



Everything is a talent of the Platypus. It isn't particularly unbalanced to be honest (it costs a Magic, which could have bought you an extra dice on a single roll anyway, so actually benefitting requires some thinking ahead to determine a Temporary Quirk that'll be useful in multiple situations), but still in a comedy game like this is it really going to be any restriction? Or, I guess, you could use it to give your fairy poisoned spines that inflect pain so excruciating that Morphine cannot dull it.

Next time - we'll look at the sandbox structural rules, aka the simple bit that suddenly makes everything really interesting.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Cease to Hope posted:

that is regdar's helmet



for some reason "regdar gets owned" is a recurring theme in 3.5 art, dunno why

Man, Regdar's armor looks dumb as all hell.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Council of Wyrms: Love and Marriage

So, every dragon type approaches family and mating in different ways. Concepts like fidelity, mates and partnership mean different things to different dragon types - and even to different, individual dragons. On the whole, the metallic dragons are most likely to mate for love. They frown heavily on inbreeding, even between very distant kin, and especially between siblings (most dragons forbid that, except black and white dragons, who don't care). Gold, silver and bronze dragons are usually completely monogamous and refuse even to take a new mate after their partner dies. Some of these will take on humanoid form to mate with a demihuman vassal and live with them in their polymorphed state, as well, and will be just as faithful to the demihuman mate as they would be to a dragon one. In these cases, a male dragon can impregnate a female demihuman with a half-dragon child; female dragons can never be impregnated by demihumans by any means. However, even for dragons that willingly lifemate with a demihuman, half-dragon children are socially unacceptable. Dragon society finds these creatures repugnant, and so they are rare. They are outsiders, at best, in the society of both dragons and demihumans. Brass dragons, meanwhile, are very dedicated to their spouses. They will remain with the same mate their entire lives, though if the mate dies, they will usually seek out a new partner. Copper dragons, on the other hand, change mates frequently in search of new experiences, at least until reaching mature adult growth, at which point they tend to settle down with one mate for the rest of their life.

Chromatic dragons tend to be greedy and selfish about who they mate with, regardless of the genetic or social consequences of their choice. Red dragons in particular prefer to have strong-willed and lusty mates, though they rarely share a lair. They have frequent love affairs, usually of short duration. Blue dragons are territorial by nature and will usually choose only a single mate for a long period of time - sometimes as many as four age levels - before they move on to the next. Green dragons are naturally polyamorous, and will often have intricate arrangements with multiple partners whom they move between. This can be polygamous, polyandrous or both, with no preference for any particular setup. Black and white dragons are the least formal of all chromatics - they mate when the mood strikes, essentially like very large animals. They do not seem to understand or care about love, and rarely seem to even notice the idea of inbreeding as a problem.

Gem dragons vary a bit more. Amethysts tend to be highly local in their approach, seeking out the optimal partner for the creation of ideal offspring, and rarely bring love or even pleasure into things. Emerald and sapphire dragons prefer to take single mates for long periods, but for different reasons. Emeralds prefer the security and protection offered by a trusted mate, while sapphire dragons tend to select mates for prestige and status. Topaz and crystal dragons mate with willing partners essentially whenever they feel like it, but are more selective about inbreeding than white and black dragons.

All dragons tend to favor their own type when choosing mates - gold with gold, red wth red. Sometimes, however, this is not the case. In most cross-type matings, there is no viable offspring. When two dragons of the same family but different types mate, there is a 30% chance that a viable clutch will result. For different families - a chromatic and a gem, say - the chance is only 5%. The number of eggs and their incubation period is always determined by the mother's type. For each egg, roll 1d8. On a 1-4, the hatchling is of the type of the parent with more Hit Dice. On a 5-7, it's of the type of the parent with fewer Hit Dice. On an 8, the hatchling has a mixed appearance and a combination of abilities of its parents, determined by the GM. However, mixed appearance crossbreeds are seen as abominations by most dragons. Chromatics tend to kill them immediately, while metallics banish them to other domains (or, rumor has it, other planes entirely). Gem dragons, however, hold that no dragon can ever be an abomination, and so will often raise them as a full member of their clans.

Dragon mating is neither entirely reptilian nor mammalian. Eggs are fertilized in the female body by the act of mating with a male, and are then carried for the first quarter of incubation, allowing a leathery, flexible shell to form around them. Then, the female lays her eggs in her lair (or, sometimes, a shared lair for the mated pair). Once the incubation period ends, assuming no complications, the eggs hatch into dragons. A female dragon can bear fertile, viable eggs from young adult through to very old stages of life. At venerable, they are no longer able to lay eggs. Males remain fertile until the wyrm stage. On average, a female dragon can bear one viable clutch during each fertile age category. Copper, brass, black and white dragons have a 40% chance of being able to bear a second clutch, while other dragons have only a 25% chance. No female dragon ever lays more than two clutches in one age category. Most dragons bear a clutch of 2-4 or 3-6 eggs, but Topaz, Crystal, Black and especially White dragons can be more prolific, with whites managing 5-9 eggs per clutch. Also, the more powerful a dragon is, the longer the incubation period, randing from 12 months for crystals to 24 for golds. However, dragon eggs are prone to 'cracking', a disease which causes them to shatter before the end of the incubation period. Every egg has a 40% chance of suffering from cracking. If an egg suffers this, roll a d10. On a 1-7, it happens in the first 3/4 of the incubation; the egg is nonviable and the dragon inside dies. On an 8-10, it happens in the final quarter and the dragon within will survive if it passes a Con check.

As dragons age, they never suffer from weakening of body or mind. They don't age gradually, either - remember, cycles of stability and massive growth. The first spurt is actually fueled by a precious metal or gem that the mother eats, which then gets passed into the egg with the embryo. It must be of an appropriate type for the dragon, and worth at least (hatchling's HD*1000) Gp or more. For each point of Con and Str the hatchling has, the metal or gem will lose 100 gp of value when the egg hatches, as that value is used to fuel the hatching and growth process. The remains will become the first piece of the dragon's bonded hoard. Many creatures ascribe magical properties to these precious metals and gems that are found in dragon eggs, but other than their efficiency when used as spell components, no intrinsic magic has ever been documented. The hoard fuels every subsequent growth, as discussed, but after hatching its value is not reduced. In the great wyrm stage, the dragon may use its hoard to fuel one final transformation, which we'll get to in a minute.

At some point in great wyrm status, a dragon will finally feel all the effects of old age in a single moment - the dulling of the mind and weakening of the body. This is known as dragon's twilight, and while it isn't feared, it's not welcomed, either. It just...is. Dragon's twilight takes place at some point after the 1201st birthday. You take the Con score and multiply by 100 (for metallics), 75 (for gems) or 50 (for chromatics) and add that value to 1200. That is the first possible year in which twilight can strike. AT that point, and every year thereafter, the dragon makes a Con check. Success and it only loses a point of Constitution. Failure and it enters twilight. (If the dragon's Con hits 0, it automatically enters twilight.) Twilight is...well, death by old age. In one sudden, pent-up rleease, the dragon's body and mind fail. Of course, that assumes a dragon makes it to that age - which is not guaranteed, given the monsters, disasters and presence of hostile dragons. The use of raise dead spells cannot resurrect a dragon, but the resurrection or wish spells can. However, the cost is extremely high, especially for young dragons, and few elders even have the ability to use those spells. However, the Council does have methods of resurrecting young dragons, and will use them for wards of the Council, so that's good for the PCs.

So, how do you get around this death by old age? There are several legends. The GM may decide the truth of any or all of them. First, some great wyrms transform themselves into guardians of the land. Before twilight kills them, they take their hoard to a location that suits their nature. Then, they enter a final dragon sleep, consuming the hoard and becoming one with the landscape, transforming into a feature such as a hill, grove, mountain, lake or desert. Legend holds that young dragons can seek out these slumbering guardians for advice, while some say that only part of the hoard is consumed and will go searching for the rest of the treasure, hidden somewhere in the terrain. Second, other great wyrms will hide their hoard in various locations and then depart the islands as twilight approaches. It is believed that they go out to some island on the Blood Sea to die, a legendary dragon's gaveyard covered in bones and wyrm scales.

Third, some have seen great wyrms consume their hoards in total. It is believed this is an effort to enter a new level of existence, transforming them into a semidivine status where they serve as companions to the god Io and travel the planes at his side. Fourth, some wyrms just...disappear. Some say they continue to grow and advance, becoming so large that this world could not contain them and instead pass on to some mythical dragon homeland that awaits the strongest and most powerful dragons.

And finally, a method that's definitely real, but is only used by some evil dragons. Via a mix of arcane and evil spells, these dragons turn themselves into undead dracoliches. These creatures are very rare, for even the chromatics hate and fear dracoliches. When one is discovered, the Council will gather an entire draconic army to destroy it.

Next time: Rogue dragons and religion.

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Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


Alien Rope Burn posted:

Yeah, Coalition fandom is possibly the worst part of Rifts, and we'll have plenty of opportunities to bring that up over the next book in the line. As an evil empire goes, they can be a fun set of toys (because most Rifts concepts can be summed up as "toy line"), but the fact that they've always been a potential campaign type has always been fairly gross.


I meant the cover in general, gosh! It's... effectively a wraparound? Kinda? I'm never wrong is what I'm getting at.

It's a wraparound, but the cover is just the bard, paladin, and wizard Icons kind of looking around a forest being confused as to how they landed themselves in the medieval blair witch remake. While the back cover has the Druid icon finding what remains of Rhegar.

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