Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us money per month for bills, and since we don't believe in showing ads to our users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
 
  • Post
  • Reply
Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



One of the better parts of it is that their special attacks aren't locked to a specific weapon - so a smart slayer will use a long bow to target the wing from the ground and drop dragons out of the sky.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


slap me and kiss me posted:

Darts every day. All day long.

2nd edition? Moar like Wuxia edition.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Night10194 posted:

The 2e fighter should never be confused with the 3e fighter. The 2e fighter could actually do stuff.

In pretty much every 2e game I've ever run, the fighter(or paladin, or ranger, etc.) were usually the MVP's of the party, to the point where I usually had to houserule advantages for mages to make them feel more useful.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




Doresh posted:

Class-based systems without class change rules (aside from like that Juicer stuff) make for easy class bloat.
Y'know, I'm always a little disappointed when the answer to a clunky old system is just "Run it in Fate." But Rifts is so bloated and clunky, and with so many different PC types, that I think it's hard to do otherwise. I suppose Savage Worlds does a good enough job? Strike! could probably handle it?

I still want to play Nightbane. I have these rules for running it in Unisystem...

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

Horned Rat-Sempai Noticed Me! :swoon:


Mors Rattus posted:

One of the better parts of it is that their special attacks aren't locked to a specific weapon - so a smart slayer will use a long bow to target the wing from the ground and drop dragons out of the sky.

Thanks to playing FFXIV a bunch I can't picture slayers as anything other than dragoons.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


SirPhoebos posted:

Thanks to playing FFXIV a bunch I can't picture slayers as anything other than dragoons.

Thanks to playing Monster Hunter I can picture them wielding all kinds of oversized weapons.

(Does D&D have rules for flashbangs?)

Barudak
May 7, 2007



SirPhoebos posted:

Thanks to playing FFXIV a bunch I can't picture slayers as anything other than dragoons.

I dont know how you plan to knock them out of the sky with a melee weapon unless you can jump so it checks out.

Green Intern
Dec 29, 2008

Loon, Crazy and Laughable



The dragon orbs seem like a really inconvenient communication tool. Extend your conversation for six seconds at a time, in exchange for your arcane power!

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Doresh posted:

Class-based systems without class change rules (aside from like that Juicer stuff) make for easy class bloat.

Yeah, the only way to cross-class in Rifts right now is through the human augmentation classes (Juicer, 'Borg, Crazy) where you get bounced back to 0 XP and all of your advancement is then "frozen" until you reach your former XP total. There's an exception we'll see to that later today, but it's... not great. Other Palladium books do have cross-classing rules but IIRC it has similar limitations - Rifts explicitly doesn't have cross-classing so far, though, even though you see cross-classed NPCs often enough, but Rifts NPCs aren't actually built "properly" much of the time. (Which wouldn't be an issue if it was deliberate, but in theory Rifts NPCs are made on the exact same rules as PCs for the most part.)

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




Doresh posted:

Thanks to playing Monster Hunter I can picture them wielding all kinds of oversized weapons.

(Does D&D have rules for flashbangs?)
Like everything useful or interesting in D&D, yes, there's a spell that does that.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


PurpleXVI posted:

In pretty much every 2e game I've ever run, the fighter(or paladin, or ranger, etc.) were usually the MVP's of the party, to the point where I usually had to houserule advantages for mages to make them feel more useful.

It's because having multiple attacks used to be the fighter's thing, the fighter could actually move and multiattack, you didn't get penalized for multiattacking, and the fighter straight up had some of the best Saving Throws in the game so it was very hard to knock them out of a fight with a stun. Also, stuff generally had less HP so pure damage was actually useful. I've heard a story before that so much of the insanely broken balancing of 3e came because the original playtesters played it like 2e, where stuns and disables were useful but risky (since they only had like a 25-40% chance of working on a good fighter) and artillery was the wizard's main role, and so they kinda missed it completely that stuns and disables were now the most powerful weapon in the entire game.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts World Book 10: Juicer Uprising, Part 7: "The better or more convincing the portrayal the more likely it is to be believed."

Juicer-Related O.C.C.s

Ten Juicer types wasn't enough.

It was never enough.

Three of these are basically alternate skill packages for Juicer classes, while two are garbage classes for non-Juicers.


The rat king of rat tails.

Juicer Gladiator O.C.C.

So, you can be an official Juicer sportsman and somehow get broadcast on televisions and videotapes. Apparently, the rifts brought VHS or Beta back - no details on which, maybe Rifts World Book 97: Holo-wood will cover that. They get a "Sport Specialty" where you get to choose one sport and get a very minor bonus to combat and skill rolls involving it. Other than that, you get a bunch of physical skills. It's actually a solid skill package, though the sport bonus is a joke, especially since you still have to go and buy the sport skill itself with your skill picks, bizarrely.


Unexplained headgear #1.

Juicer Assassin O.C.C.

So, apparently some people train as assassins, undergo Juicer conversion, then try and make enough money through murder. Apparently this is a thing, somehow, even though it seems like a more individual plan? In any case, they often "pattern themselves after such mythological figures as James Bond or Julian Amici". In any case, they get a suite of sneaking skills, and are generally a step up skill-wise for your average Juicer.


Unexplained headgear #2.

Juicer Scout O.C.C.

Wilderness Scout + Juicer = Juicer Scout. Not much else to add, like the others they get a good skill spread, this time towards wilderness skills. Only Juicers, Mega-Juicers, and Dragon Juicers can take this package, which is odd - I'd think a Hyperion would be perfectly suited for a scout role. Oh well~!

*
no art here

The Gambler O.C.C.

But why play a rad Juicer when you can instead play somebody that gambles on Juicer Sports? Eh? Anyone? Anyone? Who needs to throw cars and flip over buildings when you could play poker real well.

... so yeah, we get a bunch of gambling tropes, about them being risk-takers, involved with the underworld, might become managers to more or less fix games, etc. They get two key abilities - the first is "Fast-Talk", which is their ability to make up stories to decieve or impress people. There are no mechanics for this, players are just told to "role-play this to the hilt" and for the GM to just nod sagely and judge based on the quality of their ability to roleplay a convincing liar. The second is street contacts, where the player can create a specific number of contacts, and then has to make a roll to reach them at any given time. The higher their affinity is, the more contacts they get. They're also weird exclusionary mechanics - can a non-gambler fast-talk or acquire contacts? It's unclear.

They actually get a broad array of skills, focusing on gambling and crime, naturally. They're actually really good at it, for a change, though "modest" attribute requirements mean you only have a 46% chance of playing one. They're solid in their niche but it's not a niche most Rifts games are going to be steeped in, and they lack mechanical punch.


Unexplained headgear #3.

Wannabe Juicers O.C.C.

As mentioned before, dese are youts that belong to gangs, y'know? They get in fights and take drugs and dress in Juicer fashion. Some are criminal organizations, while others are neighborhood protection patrols. They're mainly distinguished from city rats by A) dreaming those Juicer dreams and B) taking lots of designer drugs. Which doesn't feel like enough to justify a whole other O.C.C., but I'm not a Palladium professional. About 1 in 3 make the dream, while 1 in 3 make the scream... which is to say, they die. Well, those are odds you can work out on a d6, at least.

We get some well-known wannabe gangs, such as:
  • The Deadheads: They wear red skull masks (or purloined Coalition helmets painted red)... but aren't Nazis, so don't get it mixed! Instead, they try to sell their services as mercs so that members can "make it to the finals" and become Juicers. They're found in New Chillicothe, Fort El Dorado, Ishpeming, and the Chi-Town 'Burbs, though they're heavily persecuted in the Coalition States.
  • The Juicer Disciples: Big in Northern Gun and apparently deep into criminal activity, the JD are known for their "shootouts that leave dozens of people dead". Obviously inspired by real-life gangs like the Black Disciples or Gangster Disciples, which is slightly problematic.
  • The Vigilantes: This is a gang that's mainly a neighborhood crime patrol organization in Kingsdale, and not all of them are Juicer Wannabes (only about half). Most of those who become Juicers do it by contracting with a group of mercenaries called Dormer's Division.
We're told this is mainly an NPC class, which is weird because its ability to "graduate" to a Juicer class and rules for drug addiction would only ever really matter to a PC character. And its only real key features are that they get some free drugs (with a lot of cautionary addiction percentages) and don't have to "reset" their level back to 1 when they become a Juicer - they can just upgrade their class and then advanced as a Juicer without worrying about that. They mainly have physical skills with a little criminal and weapon stuff on the side, and thoroughly unexceptional as classes go. Hilariously, their physical attribute requirements mean you only have a 24% chance of qualifying as one! It's literally over four times as hard to qualify to be a Juicer Wannabe than an actual Juicer, which has no requirements at all. I have to wonder if anybody has ever, in the history of the world, played a Juicer Wannabe. :raise:

Next: I don't take lessons from you.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




Alien Rope Burn posted:

*
no art here

The Gambler O.C.C.

But why play a rad Juicer when you can instead play somebody that gambles on Juicer Sports? Eh? Anyone? Anyone? Who needs to throw cars and flip over buildings when you could play poker real well.

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

Put this racist on ignore immediately!


Night10194 posted:

Also, stuff generally had less HP so pure damage was actually useful. I've heard a story before that so much of the insanely broken balancing of 3e came because the original playtesters played it like 2e, where stuns and disables were useful but risky (since they only had like a 25-40% chance of working on a good fighter) and artillery was the wizard's main role, and so they kinda missed it completely that stuns and disables were now the most powerful weapon in the entire game.
This is correct. For example, a troll in 2e had 30 hp, a troll in 3e has 66, and fireball does the same amount of damage in both editions. It would take a level 5 3e wizard four fireballs for kill a CR 5 troll, or he could cast Deep Slumber and the troll would roll his +3 will save vs the DC 17 spell or lose the combat.

This is also part of why they thought the sorcerer was fine. Their wizards just prepped a bunch of damage spells and wandered around dungeons casting fireballs and poo poo.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Council of Wyrms: Wherein Newborns Are Attacked By Monsters



There are four adventures in this book - Not the Draca (designed for 4-6 hatchlings), Color Blind (for 4-6 level 3 dragons), The Terrible Alliance (for 4-6 level 4 dragons and their kindred at once), and Stolen Hoards (for 4-6 level 6 dragons). They're pretty much designed to be all done by the same group, since there's a number of interconnecting characters. Not the Draca, specifically, is designed to be the first adventure of a dragon campaign, pitting the just-hatched party against a group of ogre egg thieves. It's designed to give a feel for playing as dragons. Also, it specifically notes that you should have the players roll on a table from book one to randomly select what kind of dragon they are, so that...

Council of Wyrms posted:

to ensure each player doesn't choose to play a gold dragon or other powerhouse.

Yeah. So, what's the adventure overview? We're in the Council Aerie hatcheries for this, as the eggs are about to hatch. However, rather than the dragons and vassals meant to receive them, there's a bunch of ogres! The ogres are led by Krug Bonebreaker, a new leader among the ogres due to successful raids on the topaz and green dragon hatcheries elsewhere in the isles. The ogres have dug a secret tunnel into the hatchery and have been waiting for the perfect moment. The aerie is mostly deserted as the adventure begins, as a Council session has just ended and everyone wants to go home, leaving only a few vassals and custodians behind. The ogres plan to loot the eggs for the metals within, sell some to the frost giants and eat the rest. They have 14 ogres ready to go, and Krug's pretty smart for an ogre, so he's actually got contingency plans for every scenario...except the eggs hatching mid-theft.

Which is what happens. If the PCs do not attempt to stop Krug and his thieves, the ogre will decide they are weak and try to kidnap them as slaves, so the PCs really have no option but to fight the ogres. Each PC, however, has to make a Con check as the adventure starts to see how long it takes them to get out of the egg and adjust to life. Depending on their Constitution and whether they passed or failed, they will generally be in hatching shock for between 7 and 14 rounds. Whoever rolls best is also the one to notice things first.

quote:

Your vision remains blurry, and the bright light outside your shell nearly blinds you after spending long months in the dark confines of your egg. Still, you force your eyes to open wide as you look around for your draca—your mother—or some other dragon to welcome you into the world. For a moment, you can barely determine the difference between one blurred shape and the next. Then you focus on one image nearby.
It is the shape of a large creature, but not the shape of a dragon. It stands upright on two legs, not down on four. No wings emerge from its back, no tail sweeps majestically behind it. It has long, greasy hair falling around a head that has no tapered snout. Its hide is a dull black-brown, covered by warts instead of scales. Whatever this creature is, it's not a dragon—but it carries an unhatched dragon egg!

But before they can confront the ogres we need to review what hatching shock is! While in hatching shock, a dragon gets -2 to attacks and does not apply their usual bonus to combat. They also get a -2 penalty to AC (which, because AD&D, makes their AC go up by 2) and they get -2 to all ability and proficiency checks. After this, we get literally three pages of exposition for the GM, before the PCs can confront the ogres. First, hatchlings instinctively possess their starting proficiencies, having learned them subliminally in the egg, by listening to the speech around them and by natural knowledge. Dragons also know their name and clan when born, because their parents will have whispered it to the egg, and the vassals of the Council have spent time lecturing the eggs on how to be dragons. The hatchlings also instinctively recognize each other as clutchmates - basically siblings, at least for now. That said, they have no idea what ogres are.

Krug and his gang of 14 ogres are brave thanks to their past successes in stealing eggs and have spent a lot of time digging their tunnel. Krug himself is ten feet tall, has Int 10 (making him a a pretty smart ogre) and uses a giant club. He also wears a necklace of dragon scales. He's got 872 gp worth of gems and gold and is smart enough to plan rather than just charge in. The rest of the ogres are normal ogres. Three are guarding the three metal egg carts they brought, whose size is unnecessarily given to us (5x7x12 feet). Each ogre has a club and 1d6 gems, each worth 2d6 gp. Some also have spears. The ogres are likely to see the PCs as a source of wealth at first, as frost giants love dragon slaves and they're dealing with the giants. Once they start to fight, however, Krug will realize they're a real threat and will use the terrain and his crew to his best advantage, seeking to subdue or kill the party before finishing the job of theft. If more than six ogres go down, Krug will order a fighting retreat with whatever eggs they've managed to grab. If Krug dies, the ogres will flee in panic, though they will fight to defend themselves as they run. Krug is pretty tough - 33 hp, AC 3 and 2d6+6 damage vs Medium or Small foes (or 1d6+6 vs Large ones). The other ogres are vary from 12 to 27 hp, have AC 5 and deal 1d6+6 to small/medium or 1d8+6 to large foes (with spears) or 1d6+6 to small/medium and 1d3+6 to large (with club).

Next time: About the Aerie Hatchery and fighting ogres.

Dareon
Apr 6, 2009


Alien Rope Burn posted:


Unexplained headgear #3.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!



If only the class was half that rad.


Sorry, it's a little early to start my coverage of Spirit West.

Barudak
May 7, 2007



Dammit Alien Rope Burn that sounds like a challenge. Gonna sit here rolling dice until I can be a Juicer Wannabe.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


For the record, you need a Physical Strength, Physical Prowess, and Physical Endurance of 10 or greater. (Bear in mind that's before any physical skills are applied.) Of course, this gives the loophole that it's easier to qualify as a Juicer Wannabe by playing a race that can't qualify to be a Juicer.

Barudak
May 7, 2007



Alien Rope Burn posted:

For the record, you need a Physical Strength, Physical Prowess, and Physical Endurance of 10 or greater. (Bear in mind that's before any physical skills are applied.) Of course, this gives the loophole that it's easier to qualify as a Juicer Wannabe by playing a race that can't qualify to be a Juicer.

You hear me, ARB, Im gonna build a posse of the most misguided OCCs and send them on a suicide mission against the Splurgorth. Its Aquatic Medicine checks and minimissles all the way down.

RocknRollaAyatollah
Nov 26, 2008



Lipstick Apathy



Chapter Two and Chapter Five: The Clans of Caine and the Gifts of the Blood

Malkavians
Nickname: Cassandras, Children of Malkav, Seers



Malkavians are kind of a clan that can go either way for most people and for good reason. One big aspect of this swing is that they depict mental illness in a way that is not really flattering and often used for comic relief. Regardless of the original intent, the “fish Malk,” which originates from Dark Ages, is what a good deal of people familiar with the clan think of when Malkavians are brought up. This mostly comes from people being unable to properly play a character like a Malkavian, it’s hard, and the way mental illness works in World of Darkness is most likely based on Call of Cthulhu’s take on mental illness because it was one of the only major games with it at that time.

In V20 Dark Ages, the Malkavians are at a crossroads and neither way looks good. The Malkavians at this time are commonly called Cassandras, after the character from the Iliad. Cassandra was given the gift of prophetic visions in one way or another, Apollo is a common source but apparently also snakes, but no one believed her. Malkavians are the same but instead of disbelief, they are cursed by mental illness. The book states that in 1242, the Classical concept of the humors influencing one’s mental health is falling to the wayside. The Church is now pushing an explanation for mental illness that attributes it to sin. This is generally bad for Malkavians because instead of Classical cures being used on them, they’re getting investigated by the Church and possibly persecuted.

Malkavians are generally stereotyped as seers at this time and are valued for this skill but that usefulness is coming to an end. Although the War of Princes is in full swing, the Malkavians know it will be over soon and when it is, their usefulness will wane. Even though they’re a low clan, they still get jobs as court seers and as accessories for Princes wishing to boast of how aware they are of what’s really going on. Some Malkavians view this as a need for them to double down on prophetic visions in order to bring themselves up, creating seer cults called Ordo. These Malkavians taught their beasts, torture themselves, and experiment with psychotropic laced blood in order to find wisdom by taking themselves to the edge of physical and mental safety. Some of these Ordo have been successful and share this knowledge with other Malkavians in order to raise up their lot and return the clan to their original, important position.

The Malkavians over the centuries have also made many enemies from their prophecies. As stated in the Brujah entry, the Malkavians had the ear of the Ventrue when they sacked Carthage and the Brujah have not forgotten this. The Malkavians know that it had to be done because of the Brujah being in league with the Baali but the Brujah won’t acknowledge that. Cainites, just like humans, generally hear what they want to hear and pick apart the messenger in response to the bad news.

Appearance: Some Malkavians look the part of a crazy person but they’re not common. The Church, Cainites, and sometimes their clanmates usually eliminate them because they stand out and that’s a bad thing for everyone, especially with the new direction the Church is going. The usual look of the Malkavians is bland normalcy. They learn quickly not to draw attention to themselves and to blend in for their own protection.

Haven: Most Malkavians choose havens that blend in at. The example given is a monk who lives in a monastery. It’s rare for them to keep lavish havens because it draws attention and trouble.

Backgrounds: Malkavians embrace based on unique needs and interests. No two Malkavians are the same and they view this as a strength. Not being predictable makes them hard to pin down. Most Malkavians are calm individuals and have an inherent sense of judgement. The embrace tends to magnify passions in Malkavians and passionate people usually make explosive Malkavians. Some Malkavians embrace loud and brash people in times of crisis to make warriors to fight for the clan though.

Clan Disciplines: Auspex, Dementation, Obfuscate

Weakness: All Malkavians have a derangement they can’t have cured and lose by spending experience points. Malkavians can only temporarily suppress the derangement by spending a willpower. Supernatural means used to cure it, such as using the discipline Valeren, a Salubri discipline that can cleanse the soul of a target, only cure it for a night. After that, the derangement comes back in full force and cannot be resisted with willpower for a week.

Organization: The Malkavians don’t really organize that much for fear of mortal persecution or fear of the Brujah marching on them as a threat. Outsiders often believe that the Malkavians secretly communicate and change their stories to sound alike but this is just a rumor.



Nosferatu
Nicknames: Priors



The Nosferatu are a clan obsessed with secrets and seek them out everywhere. This causes the Nosferatu to search everywhere for secrets and to dig deeply for them, sometimes literally since they live underground a lot. The Nosferatu as well believe that blood holds secrets and the dark secrets their blood holds causes them to have their cursed, hideous appearance.

The clan founder of the Nosferatu, Absimiliard, was said to be a covetous, beautiful person, obsessed with their own beauty who was cursed by Caine to be hideous for his crimes. Since then it’s said that Absimiliard has sought to kill those who have spurned him, including his old clan. Rumors tell of whole villages in the East being wiped out by blood witches hoping to kill one Nosferatu. The Nosferatu believe these are just rumors but still hoard knowledge to defend themselves because they know they are hunted for what they know and the only way to come out on top is to double down on learning stuff.

Learning secrets is a profitable business and Nosferatu are valued for their work by Princes and elders. Nosferatu are also more than happy to part with mundane secrets for profit because they’re just the cruft of what they’re really after.

Appearance: All Nosferatu is hideous and this ugliness is unique and personal to a Nosferatu. Some have claimed that it can sometimes be darkly poetic, representing that person’s inner ugliness in life.

Haven and Prey: Nosferatu tend to dwell in dark, forgotten places. They do this to escape notice and to hide away all the lore, documents, and lost artifacts they find or to possibly find new, buried secrets. Old Roman sewers and necropolises are given examples, as are crumbling, abandoned wings of castles or the basements of abbeys.

It’s rumored they keep giant rats and keep secret pools of blood to feed on. Despite being the easy targets, the disenfranchised are not the first targets of Nosferatu and they like to make their feeding moral lessons for those within society that they believe need to be dealt with.

The Embrace: The embrace is incredibly painful for Nosferatus because they become a Nosferatu over days, sometimes weeks. Their bodies gradually warp and painfully change into the hideous forms they’re known for.

Clan Disciplines: Animalism, Obfuscate, Potence

Weakness: Nosferatu permanently have 0 dots in appearance because they’re fug ugly. They fail all first impression rolls, other than to intimidate, for this reason so making a Nosferatu social butterfly is not an easy task.

Organization: Nosferatu are a tight clan and generally all work together. Nosferatu who live in cities will often live together in a large warren and maintain it together. Respect within the clan is gained by who and what you know, as opposed temporal political power.



Ravnos
Nicknames: Shapers, Charlatans, Seekers, Vagabonds, Unwelcome



The Ravnos are one of the most problematic clans in Vampire because of past depictions. Previously White Wolf leaned pretty hard on the “gypsy trickster” angle and that’s all I really want to say on that. White Wolf gradually moved more towards the Indian angle and Onyx Path chose to focus on that here.

Ravnos are not very well liked by most Cainites for a number of reasons. They have a reputation as lying tricksters because they subscribe to a philosophy that reality is an illusion, maya, and they are masters of that illusion through Chimerstry. Elders of the clan trace their lineage back to India, where they claim their Antediluvian originated from and travel in groups called jati. Younger Ravnos generally don’t subscribe to this ideology but follow its spirit, believing that because they can control illusions, that the world is their domain and they are above rules and laws. Ravnos most commonly use their powers to deceive and take advantage of others, like vampire snake oil salesmen or hucksters. This of course gives them a bad reputation among Cainites and they are generally treated poorly because of it.

Appearance: Ravnos tend to dress in adaptable traveling clothes that allow them to conceal items and layer appropriately. Elders often dress in South Asian attire, wearing brightly colored saris and sarongs but younger Ravnos prefer their native styles.

Haven: Ravnos tend to haven in roadside places like caravan camps and inns. They are constantly traveling so they don’t make permanent havens. They generally have a knack for finding out of the way places to haven in too, like secluded towns. Ravnos as a rule do not haven within a city held by a Prince because it makes it harder for them to operate. Princes as a rule though generally don’t arbitrarily punish Ravnos because it could draw the clan’s wrath on the Prince.

Clan Disciplines: Animalism, Chimerstry, Fortitude
Weakness: The Ravnos has a type of set behavior that they have problems resisting to do when it’s possible to do such. This can be something good like protecting the weak or something bad, like taking advantage of someone in a weaker position than your own. Usually jati will have this trait in common but it’s not set in stone. Ravnos have to make a Self-Control or Instinct roll to resist engaging in this activity.

Organization: The Ravnos appear to be an unorganized rabble but they follow a code of honor and the traditional jati grouping system, which is generally subdivided into castes. Although they generally don’t trust each other, they do uphold an honor system that prevents them from truly turning on each other and pushes them to protect each other. There are often rumors of scourges and seneschals being given their comeuppance by the Ravnos after they ran a member of the clan out of domain or destroyed them.



Disciplines

Chimerstry
Chimerstry is the signature discipline of the Ravnos. Debate within the clan differs as to what the power originates from. Eastern Ravnos who maintain their ties to India claim it’s an embodiment of their enlightenment and ability to see past maya. Western Ravnos attribute it to their founder drinking the blood of fairies. Either way, it’s a powerful discipline that targets can’t resist unless they have Auspex or prove the illusion is not real. The more fantastic the illusion, the easier to see through, and physically interacting with an illusion that’s not solid will result in it being dispelled.



Level One – Ignis Fatuus: The user spends one willpower creates an illusion that affects one of the five senses. The vampire has to be able to sense the area they’re affecting so they couldn’t do it in a closed space they can’t see. They can for instance create sounds coming from the closed door since they can see the outside of it but they couldn’t make sounds coming from inside the room unless they could see in. The illusion remains as long as the vampire wills it or they leave the area.
Level Two – Chimaera: The user spends one willpower and a blood can create a static illusion that draws on all five of the senses. The illusion cannot move under its own power but can be moved. A sword for instance created by this power can be moved by the user and it will appear to be real to onlookers and those that interact with it. The sword though cannot deal damage at this level and will pass through the target since the illusion is strong enough to stand up but not enough to actually do anything besides exist in a static state. The illusion remains as long as the vampire wills it or they leave the area.
Level Three – Phantasm: The Cainite can spend a blood and make illusions with the previous powers, after spending the cost for them, that move on their own and make sounds. The illusion requires concentration to maintain if it does more than a repetitive task, something akin to making a fireplace video that’s on loop, and willpower check. If the check is failed, the illusion dissipates.
Level Four – Permanency: This power modifies levels one and two and makes them permanent until dismissed after expending a blood.
Level Five – Horrid Reality: The user spends two willpower and creates a powerful illusion that effects a target. The illusion can damage the target through a Subterfuge roll with the their Perception + Self-Control/Instinct as the difficulty. Each success inflicts one health level of unsoakable lethal damage on the target and the user can make it do less damage or bashing if they want to. Victims can escape the illusion if they’re convinced it’s not real and they heal all the damage inflicted upon them. If they are not convinced within 24 hours the damage wasn’t real, it stays to be healed normally. Horrid Reality can’t kill a target but will put them into torpor if they’re severely damaged by it.

Dementation
Dementation is the signature discipline of the Malkavians and it’s based on the channeling of one’s derangements. The user breaks down the barriers within their own mind through the derangement and unlocks power by journeying beyond the surface of their own insanity. You have to have a derangement to learn the discipline and learning the discipline gives you a derangement. If you lose the derangement, you lose the ability to use Dementation but can get it back, along with the derangement, by dwelling on their studies.



Level One – Incubus Humor: The user of this discipline can influence the emotional state of a target by inflaming one of the four humors. Sanguine influences courage, hope, and lust, yellow bile influences anger and hate, black bile influences melancholia, and phlegm neutralizes emotions.
Level Two – Soul Haunting: The user makes a speech to the target that causes sacred or profane urges to afflict the target. The urges manifest as visions, scents, and sounds that reveal the divine or demonic all around the target. The urges generally follow a theme related to the speech, such as angels or demons recounting personal details about the target. Even if the victim ignores the hallucinations, their trust in their senses is compromised as they fight with deciding what is real and not real. The visions are determined by the storyteller too, they do not require the user to know intimate details about the target for instance to have a demon hound them about their secret vice.
Level Three – Eyes of Chaos: The Cainite using this power can scrutinize the random patterns that exist around themselves to answer specific questions about the situation they’re in. These questions range from, “What’s the worst choice I could make?” and “How relevant to our overarching goals is this scene?” Difficulty is based on how much information the vampire has about the situation. A failure gives an answer unrelated to the question at hand and a botch gives a false, though believable answer to the question. The answers are not straightforward and based on what the user is looking at.
Level Four – Fire Voice: The user of this power makes a fiery, fear inducing speech to a crowd and induces Rotschreck in the target of this power. The number of targets is determined by the number of successes made on the roll and affects Vampires, mortals, and other supernaturals. Mortals do not get to resist. The frenzy lasts for a scene and an effect similar to Soul Haunting lasts for an additional night. The user of this power also has to test for Rotschreck but is at -1 difficulty to do such. If they botch, they automatically go into Rotschreck.
Level Five – Shedding the Mask: The vampire gains the undivided attention of a target for a scene and afflicts the target with 5 derangements, 1 for each humor imbalance and the Lunacy derangement. The number of successes determines the length, ranging from 1 success lasting 1 turn and 5+ successes lasting 1 year. On a botch, the user is hit by these derangements and probably put into torpor as 6 derangements puts a vampire into torpor. The victim can spend a number of willpower points equal to the number of success to cancel the effects of Shedding the Mask permanently.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Council of Wyrms: I actually like Not the Draca.



We're going to need this map to understand the hatchery. The area marked 1 is the entry corridor. It's too small for most dragons, so Hatcheries 13, 14 and 15 (that'd be the cave complex here) are mostly tended by vassals. Krug learned this from a drunk dwarf vassal, so I guess there's bars in the isles where an ogre can go uncommented on. Sure, why not. Anyway, that's when Krug started his plan. He's had two ogres stand watch at the entrance, killing the two gnomes who'd been working in the area. They have a cart with three eggs in it, and could be surprised if the PCs take out the hatchery ogres in their starting area without a ton of noise. If they are aware of the dragons, however, they'll take up a defensive position and throw spears until the other ogres can arrive for help.



Location 2 is Hatchery 13, and it's where Krug and six of his boys are hanging out. They've got 21 unhatched eggs in there, examining them for precious metals and so on. There's a secret passage the connects the area and location 3 (Hatchery 14), which Krug and the ogres are unaware of. Krug has a 1 in 6 chance to notice it for each round he spends searching, but he won't start until he knows a fight is going on, and if he searches during a round, he can't take any other actions besides giving out orders. Two of the six ogres in here have spears, and the ogres are mostly trying to fill their cart with eggs. If they become aware of trouble, two will flee with the cart and Krug will take the other 4 to go fight.

Location 3 is the largest of the hatcheries, Hatchery 14, but has the fewest eggs, and it has a big stone pillar that divides it in half. This is where the hatchlings awaken, in the northeast corner. There's three ogres in the area with an empty cart, and one of the ogres has an egg. These guys are the first event of the adventure. They've left the gnome vassal assigned to the PC eggs for dead, but she's only unconscious. However, she will die if she gets no help within two hours of her injury - and at the start of the adventure, she has only 1d6+6 turns left, and will die on a random round in the final turn, determined by a d10 roll. (Remember: 10 rounds to a full turn in 2e, and each round everyone gets to act.) There's two secret passages to the other hatcheries, which no one but the gnome is aware of.

Location 4 is Hatchery 15, and it's where the ogres broke in through with their tunnel. There's three ogres inside, hunting for the eggs Krug wants most - red, gold, silver, amethyst and sapphire. They have a cart and one of them has spears. At the first sign of danger, they'll shove eggs in the cart and flee, with one remaining behind to stop pursuit and hold the tunnel, which is Location 5. The tunnel's about 13 feet wide and 11 feet high, and if any ogres escape through it, they'll be off the aerie in minutes. If the PCs can alert the custodians within a turn of an ogre's escape, however, the ogre will get caught before getting away.

So, we finally get to Event 1. The ogre gets initiative automatically, puts down his egg and grabs for the smallest PC. If he hits, he does no damage but will try to shove the PC in a sack. After that, roll initiative normally. If the PCs don't attack, the ogre will keep stuffing the caught PC into the sack, then head off to show them to Krug. The other two ogres will hang around doing nothing unless the PCs try to leave. In 1d6+2 rounds, Krug and his six ogre pals will arrive with sacks for the other PCs. If the PCs fight, the capturing ogre will fight back but his two buddies will just sit there making fun of him for 1d4+1 rounds, because the PCs are literal newborns. After that, or if a PC attacks them, they'll join the fight. If one of the ogres gets taken out, the other two will try to escape and warn Krug.

Once the ogres are either down or have fled to meet with Krug, Even 2 begins. The gnome they left for dead wakes up despite her wounds, and speaks to the hatchlings. She explains that she is Sviliffa, meant to welcome them into the world, and is very sorry she hosed up. She's dying and the ogres are trying to steal dragon eggs. She asks the PCs to stop them, because while ogres are strong, dragons are better. She tells the PCs about the secret passages and wishes them luck and Io's guidance. Then she falls unconscious again. She will die, as outlined above, unless help is summoned before her timer runs out.

The PCs now get to do what they want, but eventually, Krug is going to notice them, and Event 3 begins when he does. They might be able to ambush him if they took out the three ogres quietly, are lucky and work together. In that case, Krug fights in location 2. Or maybe Krug comes and gets them because they didn't start a fight. Krug will start the fight in Location 3, then. Or maybe the guards spot them. At that point it's a running battle through Locations 1, 4 and 5, as Krug tries to capture or kill the PCs, starting with spear throwing and then sending two ogres to each PC at the least. Krug will join the fight personally only when he sees an advantage - he's not impulsive or stupid, and will strike only when he can make a difference for his side. Otherwise, he'll hang back. He initially shows no respect for the PCs and will talk to them in ogrish baby talk. He will become extremely angry if things go poorly for him, however.

If Krug dies, the gang will try to flee, but will fight back if pursued. If the PCs don't manage to beat or drive off the ogres, they will be captured or killed. Captive PCs will be taken and sold to the frost giants, but the DM is encouraged to give the PCs a chance to escape before the meeting with the frost giants, as the giants are way more than baby dragons can handle. If Krug is killed and the gang is defeated or flees, however, things are looking better. Among Krug's possessions is a gold coin from the halls of the frost giant raider Odifal, and the custodians who arrive will realize that this means the ogres have been raiding for the frost giants, who will need to be dealt with eventually. Any fleeing ogres can be captured or killed if the PCs alert the custodians in time, and if Sviliffa isn't dead yet, she will be healed by them as well. Mykell will, eventually, take the PCs and meet with them, but neither she nor any of the others will apologize for what happened - dragons are strong and must deal with these things.

Next time: A white dragon fucks up repeatedly, like a particularly dim dog.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


The little mini campaign of adventures in Council of Wyrms is actually pretty okay, having run it years ago.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Barudak posted:

You hear me, ARB, Im gonna build a posse of the most misguided OCCs and send them on a suicide mission against the Splurgorth. Its Aquatic Medicine checks and minimissles all the way down.

Don't forget your Jungle Person R.C.C.!

Oh, man, I remembered that's an R.C.C., not an O.C.C. You know. Because some African ethnicities are as different from other humans as D-Bees, apparently.

potatocubed
Jul 26, 2012

*rathian noises*


Barudak posted:

You hear me, ARB, Im gonna build a posse of the most misguided OCCs and send them on a suicide mission against the Splurgorth. Its Aquatic Medicine checks and minimissles all the way down.

The Splugorth took everything from them -- except their lives. Now, a bunch of dropouts, ne'er-do-wells, and scum embark on a rip-roaring mission of revenge! Look out Splynncryth -- the Dregs are coming, and they've got nothing to lose!

I would totally play that.

In a different system.

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


The Gambler would be so cool if it was a Last Call poker wizard, or a Deadlands poker wizard, or even Literally Gambit, since this book is already 90s as hell.

Also here is a real sentence: He declared that his Juicer wields four tons of force—“enough to lift two Teslas,” he said.

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



did you miss me

man we are getting into the heavy rules and the layout is a jungle. these updates are a lot harder to write because i can't just lean on their writing as a template for laying out how this game works.



13th Age part 14: If you do it, roll a d20 to see if you do it

Because 13th Age is Dungeons & Dragons, the next section of the book is about combat. D&D is a game about killing the orc and taking the pie. This is still D&D, so we still have 18ish pages about how to handle combat, damage, healing, and so on. 13A is consciously designed to involve less fiddling in combat, especially with positioning and conditions. The positioning rules work well and could probably be stolen for other games! Some of the other efforts to streamline the math and dierolling, not so much.

As 13th Age is based on D&D 4e which is in turn based on 3e, you probably already know the basics. In case you don't:

The basics

D&D combat is a round robin, with the turn order determined by an initiative roll (d20+[DEX mod+level for PCs). Every turn, everyone gets a standard action which is usually used to attack, a self-explanatory move action, and a quick action for miscellaneous things you should only be able to do once a turn but don't stop you from moving an attacking. You can take your actions in any order you like on your turn. Mostly, you're trying to beat the stuffing out of the orcs or owlbears or whatnot, draining their hit points with your attacks, before they beat you down.

Two Minus Three Equals Negative Fun

In general, combat rolls are d20+[attribute modifier]+level versus Armor Class (or some other relevant defense), or roll 11+ to save against (and end) an ongoing effect or avoid some sort of negative consequence. The main departure is that there's much, much less that modifies the numbers. Class abilities can but generally do not add pluses or minuses to hit, magic items are a bit more streamlined, and there's no table of common situational modifiers like flanking, charging, etc. A natural 20 is an automatic critical hit and does double damage (and some effects can increase crit range), a natural 1 always misses and "at the GM’s discretion, rolling a 1 while in a precarious position might entail some other bad result" because :smugwizard: I guess. The only specifically described example of a fumble on a natural 1 is shooting an ally in the back when shooting into melee - there are otherwise no penalties for shooting into melee.

All attacks in 13th Age roll to hit, a 4e innovation. If an attack isn't an actual weapon, it will target Physical Defense if it primarily affects the body - this is a combination of both Fortitude and Reflex from 3e/4e - or Mental Defense if it targets the mind. Saving throws in 13A also work like 4e. Instead of being used to avoid the initial effects of a magical ability (or trap), they're used to end ongoing effects from an attack. You roll a saving throw at the end of each turn if you've been set on fire, terrified by a dragon, demoralized by a bard's insult, etc.

They tried to get away from the blizzard of ticky-tacky modifiers, some of which stack and some of which don't, that dominated previous editions of D&D. Feats don't give numeric bonuses any more, magic items are greatly streamlined, and situational modifiers are mostly gone.. It...sort of worked. It's significantly less minor addition and modifier tracking than, say, 4e and Pathfinder or other versions of D&D that relish their little +1/-1 mods.

Where math is much simpler is damage: in general, you roll [level]d[weapon]+stat for damage. For example, a third-level fighter with 20 strength (+5 mod) with a longsword (d8) damage does 3d8+5 damage to an orc. Spells don't work exactly like this - they have fixed die rolls based on the spell slot - but they end up in more or less the same place. You might have another couple of points from a magic weapon, but if you get a large amount of extra damage from something, it usually comes as a major class ability (like a rogue's Sneak Attack) and it's usually dice. Things don't get as upside-down as 3e or 4e: the dice matter as much or more in 13th Age than the mods.

Instead of attacking, a PC can use their standard action to rally, spending one of their recoveries to heal damage based on their class and CON. They're healing surges from 4e, and they do have the effect of making clerics optional. It's a good decision - and the sidebar explaining it more or less just says "suck it up, grognards" and points out that they explicitly intend hit points to be the will to keep on fighting, not ablative layers of meat. Players are encouraged to focus on what makes their character so determined to ignore their wounds and continue on fighting.

Ongoing damage effects stack, temporary HP (regardless of the source) doesn't.

The Escalation Die

This gets a non-silly header because it's a simple but very useful innovation: the escalation die. At the end of the first turn, put a big ugly die on the table, showing 1. At the end of every turn, increase the counter by 1. PCs - and certain special NPCs - get a bonus to hit equal to the escalation die. Character abilities are also based on the escalation die. For example, barbarians can take a feat to rage when the die reaches a certain number, and wizard cyclic spells are at-will on even-numbered turns.

The escalation die addresses two concerns about 4e combat: you had a strong incentive to spend daily and encounter powers right away to diminish enemies ASAP, and combat would drag on and on and on. The escalation die does a decent job of alleviating both problems, although its advantage is mainly psychological. Rather than shortening combat, it makes 13A's relatively longer combats feel less punishing because of the emotional reward of large bonuses when things run long.

Here, There, and Everywhere

The biggest departure from other editions of D&D is that 13th Age doesn't need miniatures and a grid. For real this time. There's no reference whatsoever to 5' squares or specific ranges or facing or anything like that. It codifies the loosely abstract positioning rules that are one of the most common houserule sets of previous editions of D&D, especially for those people who can't or don't care to use hex paper, grid maps, or character miniatures.

This change is addressing a common criticism of 4e, which is that it "needed miniatures to play". Now, people will point out that 3e (and 5e) also assumed you had miniatures and dealt with specific spacing, but it did not consider "move this enemy exactly 10' in a direction of your choice" to be a significant ability. All of the mainline editions of D&D are miniatures wargames that can be house-ruled into something else, while 4th Edition was a consciously designed miniatures wargame. 13th Age goes completely in a different direction.

Positioning is entirely abstract: there's engaged, in a group, nearby, and far away. Engaged is in melee: you can't leave it without rolling to disengage (11+ on a d20, failing wastes your move but not your turn) or eating an opportunity attack (a basic attack). (Some effects also cause someone to "pop free" and escape being stuck in melee.) Similarly, if you shoot at someone who isn't engaged with you while you're engaged, or try to cast a spell that isn't tagged "close quarters", you eat an opportunity attack.

Opportunity attacks are a single basic melee attack (without any flexible shenanigans), and you (or a monster) can do as many as they get opportunities. Note that using a bow in melee is perfectly reasonable as long as you're shooting the enemy in melee with you, but spellcasting without a close quarters spell can be painful.

If you're not engaged in melee with an enemy, then you're probably nearby your allies and enemies. "Nearby" is the default range for any non-melee ability, and is about as far as someone can move in one turn. "Far away" is twice as far as that or more, and you probably can't use most of your abilities from that range. In one turn, you can move from nearby to engaged or nearby to far away or vice versa, either before or after you attack. When an effect refers to "a group", it just means enemies or allies who are nearby each other and not obviously separated somehow. Yes, you can hit all of those orcs with that fireball, but maybe not if the party is surrounded.

You can't just engage anyone, though. If a character wants to move to engage someone, one of their allies can intercept, and and the would-be attacker ends up in melee with the interceptor instead. This doesn't involve a roll, it isn't dictated by initiative, it just happens. A character generally can't avoid being intercepted unless it's with a special ability (this is why the high elf teleport is kind of bullshit). It's a codified version of the often unstated assumption that the melee beaters fight the melee beaters. Again, this is something that can be defeated with superior positioning in a narrative way: maybe if you ambush the orcs, you can get the drop on the skinny one in the dress.

It's the notes that they don't play

There's no movespeed or running or charging. There's no special maneuvers, like tumbling to avoid opportunity attacks or grappling or tripping or bull rushing. There's no threatened areas or reach. Initiative fiddling like holding and readying actions is relegated to a sidebar that you can use "if you like, but don't feel obliged." Fighting with two weapons only allows you one attack that you can reroll on a natural 2. Any special combat maneuvers or actions are specific listings from your race or class, or specific monster abilities.

The only specifically called-out special maneuver is a coup de grace: if you take a whole turn to target a helpless enemy at melee range (even if the attack is a ranged or AOE attack) and make an attack that draws opportunity attacks, you automatically crit. This implies that you can't attack downed PCs - it specifically says that this rule exists to protect downed PCs - but that isn't actually stated anywhere.

In fact, Helpless is one listing on the drastically reduced Condition list. In general, conditions take away some or all of your actions and/or give you -4 to your defenses or to hit. There are oddballs, like Fear removing your ability to use the escalation die and Vulnerable increasing crit range against you, but the effects are very inclusive and have very clear effects - and multiple effects of the same type do not stack. There's no prone, there's no condition tracks (eg the fear and nausea tracks of other D&D editions). Notably, there's no ability damage/drain or level drain, either.

13th Age's authors make the occasionally-confusing choice of reusing terms from other editions of D&D for dissimilar effects. In 3e and 4e, Dazed means you lose some or all of your actions. In 13A, it means you have -4 to attack. Similarly, Weakened in 13A is -4 to both attacks/defenses, while in 4e it's half damage on all attacks with a to-hit roll. (Staggered, a condition from previous editions, exists in 13A but not even as a proper Condition - it's just the quality of being under half HP and has no inherent penalties. What was wrong with 4e's "bloodied"?) I realize these are common English words, but conditions are used without explanation in race and class entries, and not actually explained until page 172. It's not obvious that the gnome racial daze ability is an attack debuff, not a hugely debilitating stun.

Vulnerability makes a little more sense when paired with the Resistance rules. You're more likely to crit a white dragon with a fireball, because they are vulnerable to fire. On the other hand, a white dragon has Resist Cold 16+. Unless you roll a natural 16 or higher when you hit a white dragon with a cold attack, it does half damage. The way these mirror each other is neat as a design principle, although it isn't clear why vulnerability is in with the conditions while resistance is its own separate section, two pages later.

Failing and dying

Death is fairly generous: PCs are unconscious at 0 HP, and dead at negative HP equal to half their usual HP total. Each turn while you're down, you roll a hard save, and if you make this "last gasp" save, you revert to 0 HP then spend a recovery to heal and you're back in the fight. On a natural 20, you even get to take your turn normally after a heroic recovery. Four failed last gasp saves means death, but stabilizing allies so they don't risk dying is an easy skill check, and any sort of healing heals the PC up from zero HP, not their current negative total. A brief sidebar even namechecks 7th Sea and suggests using the rule from that game that nameless monsters can't kill PCs, just knock them out of the fight.

On top of this, the party can flee from any combat. They should expect to be successful in doing so unless they were warned beforehand that this isn't a fight you can flee from! If they do, all of them escape - including collecting downed allies - but suffer a "campaign loss". A campaign loss is some sort of narrative setback: the villain wins, the disaster isn't averted, etc. This is an excellent idea that can be ported to any game, but there's no good examples of how to play this at the table, only examples of what sort of consequences a campaign loss would entail. It would have been nice to illustrate both some ideas for how PCs make their uncanny escape from dire circumstances.

Aftermath

13th Age uses the same encounter/daily model as D&D 4e. After every fight, you get a "quick rest": you can spend your recoveries to heal yourself, you get all of your "once per encounter" abilities back, and you roll to see if you get any recharge powers back. Like I mentioned before, after every roughly every four battles, you get a full heal-up. A full heal-up restores all of your daily abilities, recoveries, and HP. The overtly stated intent of this rule is to prevent 15 minute working days where parties only fight once a day to maximize the use of their daily powers. The party can rest at any time, but at the cost of a campaign loss. (More on that below.)

Layout

The layout is bad, and even worse than my (IMO not great) attempt to sort them here. There's no rhyme or reason to what goes where. The actual outline is something like:
  • Rolling to hit and damage
  • Damage types (fire, cold, thunder, etc.)
  • An explanation of various combat stats that aren't to-hit and damage
  • Bonuses and penalties stack unless they are magic items, conditions, or the same effect twice
  • Initiative
  • The escalation die (which is a to-hit bonus, remember)
  • Action types
  • Positioning and movement - technically separate sections but intertangled visually because of art
  • Splash art page
  • Special actions that aren't attacks, including rallying and fleeing combat and sidebars justifying them. Campaign losses are mentioned here, as part of fleeing
  • More rules on attacks, including who you can attack and when, crits, damage on miss, and flexible attacks
  • More rules on damage, including being staggered, knocked out, and dying
  • Resting and recharging. Campaign losses are mentioned here again.
  • Combat modifiers. Mostly a note that you shouldn't sweat them, but this section includes shooting into melee and invisibility
  • Special attacks, including: conditions, coups de grace, the (extremely simple) monster grappling rules, ongoing damage, saving throws, resistance to damage types, a half-baked idea about certain weapons getting a damage boost in certain vaguely-described situations, teleportation, and temporary HP
  • A two and a half page example of combat

The next section is the GM's guide to running campaigns, and it's even worse. As a result, I need to go a bit off the FATAL & Friends script and give a whole update to how bad this salad of random ideas is, then critique the actual concepts within it in following updates.

Next: The Dungeon Master's Pile

Dareon
Apr 6, 2009


RocknRollaAyatollah posted:

Level One – Incubus Humor: The user of this discipline can influence the emotional state of a target by inflaming one of the four humors. Sanguine influences courage, hope, and lust, yellow bile influences anger and hate, black bile influences melancholia, and phlegm neutralizes emotions.

I have a mild interest in discredited scientific theories, and find it interesting how well that summary explains my own mental and physical state. :geno:

Also, the escalation die is a very useful mechanic, and one I wouldn't mind poaching for other game systems. Mostly the escalating to-hit bonus. The use as timer and cooldown is neat, but would be less susceptible to poaching.

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



Doresh posted:

(Does D&D have rules for flashbangs?)

3e/PF does but they're kind of overshadowed by tanglefoot bags

Dareon posted:

Also, the escalation die is a very useful mechanic, and one I wouldn't mind poaching for other game systems. Mostly the escalating to-hit bonus. The use as timer and cooldown is neat, but would be less susceptible to poaching.

it's good for systems where combat is not fast and brutal, but it's mostly a patch. a better solution would be a system where combat naturally builds to some sort of climax.

Cease to Hope fucked around with this message at 09:56 on Apr 21, 2017

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Dareon posted:

I have a mild interest in discredited scientific theories, and find it interesting how well that summary explains my own mental and physical state. :geno:

Also, the escalation die is a very useful mechanic, and one I wouldn't mind poaching for other game systems. Mostly the escalating to-hit bonus. The use as timer and cooldown is neat, but would be less susceptible to poaching.
The theory would not have lasted so long if it did not make at least a little practical sense, even if it wasn't much more than organized folk-observation.

LatwPIAT
Jun 6, 2011

Do I need a title?

RocknRollaAyatollah posted:

Malkavians are kind of a clan that can go either way for most people and for good reason. One big aspect of this swing is that they depict mental illness in a way that is not really flattering and often used for comic relief. Regardless of the original intent, the “fish Malk,” which originates from Dark Ages, is what a good deal of people familiar with the clan think of when Malkavians are brought up. This mostly comes from people being unable to properly play a character like a Malkavian, it’s hard, and the way mental illness works in World of Darkness is most likely based on Call of Cthulhu’s take on mental illness because it was one of the only major games with it at that time.

Not too long ago I read through Vampire 1e just to see how much had changed, and 1e Malkavians were 100% fishmalks. Their madness makes them tricksters and pranksters. That's an almost verbatim quote.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


It's like the clan was not a particularly good idea for serious stuff.

Dareon
Apr 6, 2009


You can do some very serious looks at things through the lens of mental illness. It's just I would not expect anything of that nature from the players of a roleplaying game.

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

Cease to Hope, I continue to enjoy your 13th Age write-up, please keep going! I appreciate that the layout of the book is less-than-stellar, and that it must be difficult to pull all of this into a cohesive post.

Cease to Hope posted:

Where math is much simpler is damage: in general, you roll [level]d[weapon]+stat for damage. For example, a third-level fighter with 20 strength (+5 mod) with a longsword (d8) damage does 3d8+5 damage to an orc. Spells don't work exactly like this - they have fixed die rolls based on the spell slot - but they end up in more or less the same place. You might have another couple of points from a magic weapon, but if you get a large amount of extra damage from something, it usually comes as a major class ability (like a rogue's Sneak Attack) and it's usually dice. Things don't get as upside-down as 3e or 4e: the dice matter as much or more in 13th Age than the mods.

I think that damage going up with every level is a good idea.

It's a problem that I noticed in examining 3e and 5e's design - it just doesn't get noticed as much because it's such a small thing that gets buried under all the piles of bullshit that those games already have, but essentially the lack of natural damage scaling (as opposed to natural hit point scaling) means that "combat length" has a tendency to increase over time, or at the very least resemble a staircase because your damage increases (such as a whole extra attack from the Fighter) tends to come at certain levels.

Cease to Hope posted:

13th Age's authors make the occasionally-confusing choice of reusing terms from other editions of D&D for dissimilar effects. In 3e and 4e, Dazed means you lose some or all of your actions. In 13A, it means you have -4 to attack. Similarly, Weakened in 13A is -4 to both attacks/defenses, while in 4e it's half damage on all attacks with a to-hit roll. (Staggered, a condition from previous editions, exists in 13A but not even as a proper Condition - it's just the quality of being under half HP and has no inherent penalties. What was wrong with 4e's "bloodied"?) I realize these are common English words, but conditions are used without explanation in race and class entries, and not actually explained until page 172. It's not obvious that the gnome racial daze ability is an attack debuff, not a hugely debilitating stun.

I had a sort of similar issue when running my first long-form 3e campaign when I at some point had to keep a Condition Summary page open on my DM screen because stuff just plain didn't do what I thought it did from my understanding of video games, like Stunned versus Nauseated versus Fatigued versus Dazed.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




My very brief drive-by analysis of the situation is: Mental degeneration in WoD games is generally based on a Romantic idea of "madness" instead of a serious treatment of either ethics or mental illness. This is a big stumbling block for every version of its Morality/Sanity sanity systems prior to the new system introduced in God Machine Chronicle. (Anyone doing WoD: Asylum?)

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Council of Wyrms: Help I Am Trapped In A Wood Cage

Color Blind is an adventure for level 2-3 PCs. Basically, the party goes to visit a dwarven village in amethyst lands, where they discover that the dwarves have captured a six-year-old white dragon and want to kill it as quickly as possible. The PCs have to find a way to convince the local amethyst dragon that something weird is going on, then find out what before the white dragon gets killed.



Specifically, the PCs are visiting Dwarftown, one of the vassal villages of Clan Majyst. Each of the three village elders, Hammerim, Malletal and Naluri, have a secret they'd kill to keep hidden, and each one has been threatened by the white dragon. Hammerim is the overseer for the village metallurgists, and he's been selling a pretty good chunk of Dwarftown's mining output to Clan Evilwood, without approval. The white dragon wandered into a secret meeting between Hammerim and the green dragons, and Hammerim is utterly certain that the white dragon noticed the meeting and the metal changing hands.

Malletal is the head of the guard, and while his job includes patorlling hte forest, for the last few years he's taken an annual bribe in diamonds to ignore a white dragon hunting party that shows up every year to catch food in the woods. The white dragon was a member of that hunting party, and his capture could reveal Malletal's corruption.

Naluri is a village elder who is actively betraying Clan Majyst and helping the frost giant chief Odifal plunder the islands. She recently met with him and received word that he was coming for the Majyst, which she has wanted for al ong time, as she blames Gemmenna, head of Clan Majyst, for hurting her family long ago. Naluri hates dragons and wants revenge, and her recent meeting with Odifal convinced the frost giant to focus on Majyst Isle...but she was witnessed by the white dragon.

The white dragon was captured by the dwarves, and all three elders are trying to get Keryst, the local amethyst, to let them kill him. The PCs' arrival has made Keryst order the dwarves to stand down and give proper hospitality first, however. The PCs are there to pick up a golden ring that Mykell commissioned from Hammerim a few months ago, and it's entirely luck that they've shown up when they did. The white dragon cearly wants their help, but he's not very good at talking and isn't very smart. As the PCs investigate the forests, they can find lots of evidence...but will begin to suffer 'accidents', as the three entirely unrelated corrupt dwarven leaders each try to protect their secrets.

Before we get to the events, though, we have 10 pages of backstory to get through. The six-year-old white dragon is named Snowfire, and he's from Clan Frostwind. This is his first time on the annual hunting trip, and it was meant to be a training exercise for him. He's not very big for a white dragon and he only speaks chromatic, which he can neither read nor write. He does know how to fly and fight, and he's learned to hunt from his elder brothers, but he's been heavily wounded by the dwarves and has only 14 hp rather than his normal 36, so even if he wasn't locked in a big wooden cage, he would be unable to fly. He still has no idea how to use his breath weapon. He met with Malletal alongside his brothers, and they let him hand over the diamonds to the dwarf so he would feel important. The hunting party went through the forests, and Snowfire found a stag, but he got distracted by a meeting between some dwarf lady and five frost giants, allowing the stag to escape. He has no idea what was said during the meeting and is terrified of frost giants, but he did notice that the giants gave a gift to the dwarf.

At that point, two of his brothers chase a herd of deer out of the forest, get attacked by the frost giants and are killed. Snowfire screams in terror and runs away, chased by the giants. The giants send Naluri after him after they lose sight of him, and tell her to kill Snowfire to silence him. Snowfire flees blindly in the forest, ramming into trees repeatedly, and accidentally stumbles on Hammerim and a small group of green dragons. Hammerim and the dragons attack him but don't do much damage. At this point, Naluri has taken command of a dwarven patrol and given chase, while Hammerim has sent the green dragons away, but not before they slashed Snowfire's throat, rendering him unable to speak. At this point, the dwarf patrol finds Snowfire, injure his vocal cords further and are about to kill him when a young dwarf named Torvin prevents him from being killed, saying that Keryst of Clan Majyst should decide his fate. Snowfire is shoved into a cage, his wounds still untended, and left there. He has no idea what the dwarves are doing and does not trust them, and he can only try to tell his story in gesture, which he isn't very good at. However, examining him reveals that some of his wounds were made by dragon claws, rather than dwarven weapons. Should Snowfire be fully healed, his voice will return, but until then he can't speak, and even if he could, he doesn't understand anything he saw.

Hammerim is the chief metallurgist of the village, with access to all the raw and processed ore Dwarftown produces. He's been selling metal to the green dragons of Clan Evilwood for several years and has grown used to the wealth from that. He is greedy, secretive and will do anything to keep his money flowing. He's already murdered one dwarf and gotten away with it. He believes Dwarftown produces a surplus of metal and if he can make some cash on it, there's no harm. He is certain that Snowfire has caught onto his scheme, and had to hide his latest payment in the forest. He plans to collect it as soon as the white dragon is dead. He is terrified that Keryst will discover his secret, and believes that Keryst's talk about increasing output and productivity is because the dragon suspects him. He claims that Snowfire tried to eat him and desperately wants to kill him. He will, however, hand over Mykell's gold ring if asked and will happily take the pearl offered as payment, in hopes of getting rid of the PCs ASAP.

Malletal is the head of the militia and personally leads the forest patrols. He's very good at it, and he's kept many monsters away. However, he loves diamonds. A few years ago, he ran into a group of white dragons poaching deer, and was about to have them arrested when one of them offered him a bag of diamonsd, so he let them go. This year, the dragons brought Snowfire with them and even let him offer the diamonds over. Malletal honestly thought that was very sweet and that Snowfire's a good kid, but he's afraid that the dragon will reveal what's been going on. Snowfire has been gesturing at him to ask for help and giving him the puppy eyes, and while Malletal doesn't think anyone's noticed, he wants to get this over with before anyone does. Malletal is an extremely powerful warrior with a magic warhammer and feels very guilty about letting the white dragons do their hunts. He will do anything he can to keep that secret, and has sworn that no matter the bribe, next year they won't be allowed back. Malletal is using his position as commander of the guard to convince Keryst that Snowfire is a danger to the community and needs to die for his poaching.

Next time: Naluri and Keryst, among other things.

hyphz
Aug 5, 2003




Costume Fairy Adventures, 3: How to Score with Fairies

ZorajitZorajit posted:

The Dark Elves of Norse myth share some of the same stories as the Black Dwarves of Germanic myth and the faeries of Celtic myth. Which is not to suggest those are all the interchangeable. But Elf / Faerie / and Goblin meant the same thing for thousands of years until nerds codified them.



(Although I guess some of those nerds were Victorian artists.)

So, here's the bit I've been holding off on a bit. We have these general rules, we have the Costume Cards, and then we have the neat bit that galvanizes this all into action.

Costume Fairy Adventures is played for score.

Well, it doesn't have to be. If you just want to hang around and do random stuff, that's fine too. But the designed game includes a scoring mechanic. The points scored are called Mischief Motes. They don't necessarily level your character up in the process, although there is an optional set of rules where they do.

The way you score points is by accomplishing Shenanigans, which is a horribly awkward word to have to use regularly at the table, but there it is. A Shenanigan is a goal - or the book describes it as "a dare" - to achieve something in the setting, usually the sillier the better. Fairies have an intrinsic sense of what's likely to cause the most chaos or confusion in an area, which is essentially an excuse for the GM to openly list any Shenanigans they have in mind in a given setting. Players can also suggest them themselves, although usually this must be done before the activity rather than after.

This also means that CFA doesn't have any prefab adventures. Instead, it has Playsets, which are prefabs sets of Locations, Shenanigans for those locations, and commonly a Disaster table as well. There may be an ongoing story as well that the fairies interact with, but it's basically down to proactive tasks.

I love this. It's an incredibly simple mechanic but it's brilliant - it keeps everything moving, gives the players goals without tying them to the railroad of an adventure plot (in fact the typical shenanigan will specifically involve making the train jump the tracks), and offers active motivation. It's the best antidote I've ever seen to the tired old saw that "this game's not supposed to be railroaded but the sample adventure is because we can't think of everything your players might do". Strangely enough, it turns out that turning this on its head - explicitly telling the players to have their characters act out as much as possible - ends up substantially helping the problem. Who'da thunk it?

So, the number of motes scored for a Shenanigan is based on how complicated it is.. and here's where I start to like things a bit less.

A 1 Mote Shenanigan is something that can be casually done, or repeated multiple times - although it can only be scored 5 times in a session. Usually this is just a side action or a running gag. A sample one is: "mix up a ridiculous cocktail and have a human drink it".

A 2 Mote Shenanigan is an opportunistic act that doesn't necessarily need a roll or challenge. If a player comes up with something neat on the hoof, it's probably a 2 Moter. A sample one: when a fairy's won a duel, having them make a wicked smile at the Crown Princess so she blushes a bit. Um, hang on, what happened to the fairy gender thing there?

A 5 Mote Shenanigan is a typical extended opportunity built into a scene or location. The assumption is that these will require..

Ugh. "At least three rolls, or one appropriate use of Wishful Thinking". And there a lot of my positive mood fades away. They're just judged by number of rolls? There is an alternative rule set where Shenanigans get a Stress Limit and are attacked in the same way other things would be, but the fact that this is so generic is rather disappointing. That said, some of the provided Playsets do include specific resolution rules, but it seems very vague. The sample given is "arrange a suitable gift for a baker to pay back for a pie that was stolen by fairies".

A 10 Mote Shenanigan is a major story-changer, something that's part of the basic assumptions of the setting. It requires five or more successful rolls (ugh) or multiple Wishful Thinkings. The given example is: "have the Empress appoint a fairy as Admiral of the Fleet".

Finally, a 15 Mote Shenanigan is either a secret one that requires extra effort to discovery, or else just a regular Shenanigan that the GM really, really wants the fairies to engage with. The book does say that overusing this can come down to railroading, but a small amount's ok.

There's a couple of other special rules. If PCs make an opposed roll against each other as part of trying for a Shenanigan, it counts as a success towards the Shenanigan no matter who wins. This is because fairies fighting each other is funny. Secondly, if PCs try to complete a Shenanigan too quickly, the GM gets a couple of options to rebalance the situation. One is to reclassify the Shenanigan at a lower score, but this is not recommended, because it penalizes the player for having a neat idea. The alternative is to warn the player that they're lowballing the Shenanigan, and if they go ahead anyway, the GM gets 2 trouble points for every roll less than the specified number made. Lack of trouble now means more trouble later.

Also, if the idea of simply having "a given number of rolls" isn't appealing, there is an alternative alternative ruleset where players can take action to create quantifyable Advantages. Advantages aren't Fate-like Quirks; they're considered Powers that allow a special action in a given circumstance, provided there's been some setup beforehand. The game divides these into three power categories, and gives suggestions for each, but they're basically fairly free.

So, overall.. I'm still kinda positive about these rules, but a bit less sure than I was. The idea of directing play in this way while maintaining the sandbox feel by offering a large range of explicit goals is neat, but I'm not at all sure about the "minimum roll count" as a way of scaling them, and the rules on giving extra Trouble still seem unnecessarily penal - although at the same time, from GMing experience in other games, I know exactly where they're coming from.

So, one last thing to look at:

The competitive rules.



Remember how I said CFA could resemble a storytelling parlor game at times? Well, the competitive rules take it that way logically. It has a couple of different settings: a free-for-all for who is Best Fairy, a team game, or having all of the fairies together up against an NPC conspiracy that can ruin all their plans.

First of all, in competitive mode you take turns in rounds. The GM goes first, and from there you go clockwise round the table. On a turn, you can make one Test that's proactive action; initiate a Contest; use Wishful Thinking once; hit someone else with a Power; change your Costume, or scrounge a Costume; eat unguarded food to heal stress; or take a Break if you're in a safe area (being around the other fairies in a competitive game isn't considered safe). Being drawn into a contest or having to make a Test for something that happens to you doesn't take up your turn. Quick Changing lets you take an action in the same turn you change costume; if you exceed your Stress Limit, you skip your next turn for the enforced Break.

Moving is abstracted: you need to have a general map divided into areas. On your turn, you can move to an "adjacent" location (adjacent in quotes since you can probably fly) as well as taking an action, or spend your whole turn to move anywhere on the map, provided moving doesn't require a Test (in which case your turn will be spent making that Test).

If fairies are competing, then the Shenanigan roll counts are "locked down" and can't vary, and there's no option to take Trouble - the Shenanigan straight up can't be completed in less than the required number of roles. Whichever fairy makes the final roll gets to complete the Shenanigan - on the grounds that this tends to result in the fairies getting into fights just before it finishes.

On the GMs turn, they can spend Trouble, and if there's an NPC conspiracy in play, it advances. This is usually represented either by a time (round) limit, or by a "tension limit". A tension limit acts the same as a round limit, except that on the GMs turn they can provide a special Shenanigan to suspend the count for that round. Alternatively, you can just count up accumulated Trouble points, although this has the problem that it tends to result in action slowing down rather than speeding up when the limit gets close.

So.. again, I'm not quite sure about these rules. Turn-taking rules in RPGs can end up going disasterously wrong, as with the infamous skill challenges in the original printing of D&D 4E, and there's few guidelines on how to write balanced scenarios, which could result in skewed results.

And, overall, I think we can leave CFA there. There's a bunch of random tables with suggestions for three different settings, and while they're pretty silly, that's all in keeping with the flavor of the game. There's also a couple provided Playsets, but I don't really want to go through those because it would inevitably spoil them, and probably the vast majority of play I see of this game online is focussed on one or both of them. It's a game I'd honestly like to run at some point, if I could ever actually sell it to a group, which admittedly seems unlikely. But, I hope some people have found this informative and/or entertaining to some degree.

Just to finish with, have the art showing their (apparently) recommended prep process:

Angry Salami
Jul 27, 2013

Don't trust the skull.


Halloween Jack posted:

My very brief drive-by analysis of the situation is: Mental degeneration in WoD games is generally based on a Romantic idea of "madness" instead of a serious treatment of either ethics or mental illness. This is a big stumbling block for every version of its Morality/Sanity sanity systems prior to the new system introduced in God Machine Chronicle. (Anyone doing WoD: Asylum?)

I can sort of see the logic that "Hey, we're writing about vampires, so our system should reflect more Gothic Horror ideas of madness than actual psychology". It's just that, if that's what they were going for, it's not clearly spelled out, and really shouldn't be the signature of just one clan if that is what was intended.

(Maybe Malkavians should have caused madness instead of being mad? Have everyone around them end up the protagonist of a Poe or Lovecraft short story and their ghouls go full Renfield. Be a bit more playable and more archetypal than 'the crazy vamps'...)

kaynorr
Dec 31, 2003



Angry Salami posted:

I can sort of see the logic that "Hey, we're writing about vampires, so our system should reflect more Gothic Horror ideas of madness than actual psychology". It's just that, if that's what they were going for, it's not clearly spelled out, and really shouldn't be the signature of just one clan if that is what was intended.

(Maybe Malkavians should have caused madness instead of being mad? Have everyone around them end up the protagonist of a Poe or Lovecraft short story and their ghouls go full Renfield. Be a bit more playable and more archetypal than 'the crazy vamps'...)

This is a good and important distinction. WoD madness isn't real madness any more than, say, WoD vampires aren't real vampires (because one of the two don't exist). You could do a game that is built (or at least incorporates as a foundation) around real-world understandings of mental illness, but criticizing * of Darkness for not being that game seems to miss the mark. I'm strenuously in favor of both game lines being more forthright about their foundations of Gothic/Romantic literature and horror, and if a sidebar or more of discussion on the differences between real-life mental illness and mental illness as it is drawn from genre within the game, everyone would be better for it.

That's an interesting take on the Malks, but it removes the kind of Divine Madness focus that they've always been going for. The fact that it is a hard concept to pull of in practice I'm torn on - I think the game would be worse off for its removal.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Halloween Jack posted:

My very brief drive-by analysis of the situation is: Mental degeneration in WoD games is generally based on a Romantic idea of "madness" instead of a serious treatment of either ethics or mental illness. This is a big stumbling block for every version of its Morality/Sanity sanity systems prior to the new system introduced in God Machine Chronicle. (Anyone doing WoD: Asylum?)
That's a reason why I like Silent Legion. Seeing an Eldritch spider assassin monster or reading from the Not-Necronomicon just fills your head with weird, non-Euclidian knowledge.
She definitely deserves some pizza.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Post
  • Reply