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Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
Likewise, I need to get back to Warhams. Just been distracted with getting back into grad school.


By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007


Letting real life interrupt your posting?
For shame.

Nov 26, 2008

Lipstick Apathy

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

Malkavian Orders

I forgot to include this in the previous write up of the Malkavians but this is from the Apocrypha of the Clans sections. It’s not very indepth but gives you an idea of how the orders play out. The orders given also get a special ritual that helps them with their focus. They're nothing crazy :rimshot: but I wanted to include them for completeness.

The Ordo Aenigmatis
The Order of Enigmas believe that math holds the secrets of the universe and it can allow them to understand the greater significance of things or to find the word of God.

They recognize:
1. Symbols Exist everywhere.
2. Not all symbols are relevant.
3. All symbols are important.
4. Every Enigmatic bears part of the load.
5. One cannot decipher all symbols.
6. Some symbols are too dangerous to decipher.
7. No symbols are too dangerous to decipher.

The Rite of Enigmas: After one hour of intense study, spending a Willpower, and making an Enigmas test, the Malkavian may ignore their Derangement for the night and gain +3 dice to Enigmas rolls. The difficulty of using Auspex and Dementation goes up by 1 for the night as they fight to maintain focus and not fall into their Derangement.

The Ordo Esctasis
The Order of Ecstatics believe that they can gain a greater understanding of the primordial elements of the universe by goading, punishing, and stoking their beast through hedonism, passion, and physical torture.

They recognize:
1. All things are one.
2. The body is a prison.
3. Prisons keep us from knowing all things.
4. We can distract the prison guards by shaking the bars.
5. We can escape.
6. We must always return.
7. Sometimes, we never return.

The Rite of Ecstasy: After engaging in an hour of pain, sexual activity, or sensory overload, spending 1 Willpower, and making a Willpower roll, the difficulties involved with using Auspex and Dementation by 1 for the night. During this period the Malkavian in question cannot spend Willpower and cannot ignore their Derangement.

Wapole Languray
Jul 4, 2012

Cultural Packages and Professions

After picking Race, the next step is cultural package! What this determines is where your character is from, what culture they were born and raised in, and gives them several starting skills and a +1 bonus to one attribute. I am not going over them, because there’s literally 100+ of them. The actual locations will be covered when I get to going over the Geographica, the setting book, but for now I’m skipping them. Of note, there is no rule-based racial exceptions for Cultural Package. While there are many that fit one race better than another, there’s nothing stopping you from playing a Triton with the Lemurian Cultural Package. So, moving on to…


It’s basically your class! Though a better way to understand it would be a starting package, as you’re in no way locked into or limited to any particular build. Still, it’s the biggest defining part of how your character will play, so picking something you enjoy is important.

Every Profession gives you a +1 to one of your stats, the majority of your skill ranks, one starting Talent (Feats essentially), your starting gear, and starting money (Abstracted out into a Pseudo-attribute called Wealth Rating). All professions have a starting Wealth Rating of +1, equivalent to the average spending power of a free laborer unless otherwise specified.

The Professions are split into four overall categories with specific professions being classified as The Slayers, The Takers, The Shapers, and The Teachers. As you can guess, these pretty well line up with traditional RPG Fighter, Rogue, Wizard, Priest themes. So with that explained, let’s get into what your choices actually are!

The Slayers
These are the Fighter types, focusing on skill in weapon based combat and martial skill. All Slayer professions in the core book get a +1 to CR.

Representing explorers, wilderness scouts, military recon, and your classic fantasy Ranger types. Dodgy fighters who are good at wilderness survival, guiding people through wilderness, being stealthy, and tracking people. They start with a complete set of Light Armor, a weapon of choice, a bow, horse, and set of Travelers Gear (Basic Adventuring Supplies).

The starting talent is Advanced Missile Training. This has two benefits, the first is that if the Hero spends an action to aim a ranged attack, they can add triple their PER (minimum +3) to any one ranged attack roll the next round. The Second is the ability to perform free multiple attacks with a ranged weapon. The Hero can perform his DEX +3 ranged attacks on their turn, a number of times per day equal to their CR (minimum of once) for free. This is incredibly good, as normally to make multiple attacks each extra one is subject to a stacking penalty that very quickly tanks your chances of succeeding.

Your professional warfighter. Career military men, professional mercenaries, and men-at-arms. They get a basic skill package of combat abilities, making them perfectly well rounded fighty-types, with the only interesting Skill being a Profession (Soldier) +10. They start with a full set of Heavy Armor, two weapons of choice, a bow, spear, horse, and Travelers Gear.

Soldier’s get Advanced Militia Training, which lets the Hero consider their STR doubled (minimum of +2) when determining armor penalties because of weight. This is better than it sounds: Heavy armor is really effective at keeping you alive in this game, but does come with some major penalties so this is a definite help for anyone wearing bronze-plate underoos.

This is more your master swordsman, dedicated martial-artist, tribal brave, mighty-thewed barbarian, etc. Basically a someone trained to fight in combat, but not in the context of military action. They’re also well-rounded fighting types, but are very skilled at unarmed combat in addition to the normal fighting skills like Weapons, Evade, and Parry. They start with a full suit of Medium armor, two weapons of choice, a horse, and Travelers Gear.

Warriors get that old-favorite Cleave! Yep, it works basically like what you think it does! If you successfully hit an enemy, and do at least half your weapon’s DR in damage to them (Meaning the hit wasn’t mostly absorbed by armor) then you can use that same attack roll to hit another enemy in range for half-damage. Special effects of the attack such as from critical hits only apply to the first enemy. Cleave can hit a number of enemies equal to the Hero’s CR, each enemy after the first getting hit for half-damage. The Cleave stops when you reach an enemy the attack roll would have missed, or you run out of targets. You can use Cleave a number of times equal to the Hero’s CR per day.

Your outlaws, bandits, pirates, and general criminal-y types who prefer violence over stealth to get what they want. Get’s skills to navigate, Pilot vehicles, Profession (Criminal), etc. in addition to standard combat skills. They start with a Half-Suit of Light Armor (Less protection than a full suit), a weapon of choice, dagger, horse, and Travelers Gear.

The starting Talent for Pirate/Brigands is Second Wind, which… yes works kinda like it did in 4th Edition D&D. Once per day the Hero can recover HP equal to 5 plus triple their CON (minimum of 5HP). You have to have less than 5 HP to do it though, and it can’t go over your normal max. Your average character has around 20 HP to start though, so this is a pretty hefty heal in a game where in-battle healing is not common at all.

The Takers

Your rogues, thieves, and sneaky-types. All Takers professions get a +1 to DEX.
Come on, you’re an assassin, hitman, killer-for-hire or a cause. Sneaky mc-stablsalot. They’re sneaky, and stabby, and good at assassinating. They get a Full Suit of Light Armor, weapon of choice, a vial of poison, bow, horse, and Travelers Gear. Assassin's get a Wealth Rating of +2, equivalent to a craftsman, artisan, or common merchant.

The Assassin’s starting Talent is Shadow Walking. This lets the hero triple their DEX (minimum of +3) and apply that to any rolls pertaining to stealth a number of times per day equal to their DEX (minimum of 3 times per day). So, a few times per day, they get big honking bonuses to any stealth-related rolls, not fancy but very useful.

Thieves, cat burglars, pickpockets, etc. This is the closes to your classic RPG Thief/Rogue type. Lots of stealth skills, bonuses to Investigate/Search and Shadowing, it’s a thief. They get a Half-Suit of Lightweight armor, a weapon of choice, dagger, thieves tools, a horse, and Travelers Gear.

Burglar’s get to start with Great Escape, which works kinda like Shadow Walking. Get to add triple your DEX or PER (Your choice, and a minimum of +3) to any roll involving escape. YOu can do this a number of times equal to your DEX (minimum of once). Since Burglar’s are meant to be sneaking into places and then getting out again, without a fight, this fits perfectly well.

Con artist, fast talkers, perfect for the party face. In addition to the standard stealthy-skills Swindler’s get Literacy, Lore (Etiquette), Perform, and a massive +9 in Deception to beef up their social skills. They start with a Half Suit of Lightweight armor, weapon of choice, dagger, cards, dice, a horse, and Traveler’s Gear.

Misdirection is the starting Talent of the Swindler! It’s similar to the others, but a bit more complex. Misdirection applies to either Influence or Sleight of Hand rolls. You can add triple your DEX or CHA (whichever makes sense) to any Influence (must be related to conning or tricking someone, honest discussion doesn’t count) or Sleight of Hand roll (minimum of +3), this may be done a number of times per day equal to the Hero’s DEX (minimum of 3).

Your Heavy, muscleman, brute, enforcer, criminal with muscles type of thing. Basic stealth-skills, but they also pack a bigger bonus to Unarmed Combat and a Weapon skill for extra punch. Basically a more combat-focused stealth character. They get a Half-Suit of Light armor, weapon of choice, dagger, club, a horse, and Travelers Gear.

The Thug gets to start the game with Amazing Dodge, which reinforces their nature as a hybrid Stealth/Combat profession. They get to add triple their DEX (minimum of +3) to any Evade roll. This can be done a number of times per day equal to the Hero’s DEX +3 (minimum of 3 times). As any Taker should be packing big DEX, this is a big boost to survivability when mixing it up.

The Shapers
This is the category for spellcasters, so there’s some explaining I’ll have to do to touch on the spellcasting system. First: What kind of magic you can cast is dictated by your Tradition. There are four: Shamanism, Sorcery, The Dark Arts, and Witchcraft, but I won’t go over them here. All you need to know is they determine the theme, methodology, and limitations of the characters magic. You should pick a Tradition before settling on a Profession, but I’ll cover them when we get to Magic. The other thing you need to know is what Modes are. The actual skills rolled when casting Magic are called Modes, and they define what the spell actually does. The Modes are: Attack, Illusion, Influence, Kinetic, Manifest, Manipulate, Sensory, Shield, Summoning. Now some can’t be used by certain traditions, and I’ll go over what they actually do when I cover the Magic chapter but for now you have enough to know roughly what “They start with 3 Modes” means. All Shapers get a +1 to MR.

The Sorcerer
This profession represents civilized, dedicated spellcasters. Another Profession covers more tribal or primitive magic-users, but this one represents your more typical city-dwelling mage or sorcerer. A dabble of social skills, literacy, several knowledge skills, etc. all make them better suited to polite society. Magic wise The Sorcerer starts skilled in 4 Modes of magic. They get a Light Half Suit of armor, dagger, two sets of Noble quality robes, a horse, and Traveler’s Gear. Sorcerer’s start with a Wealth Rating of +2, like Assassins.

This profession starts with The Gift. This talent is incredibly useful, and is basically mandatory if you want to be a dedicated spell-caster, but is kinda boring. This talent lets you cast spells with Spell Levels greater than 5. Basically, you need this to cast powerful magic.

This is a counterpart to the Sorcerer, representing more rural or wild spellcasters. Tribal shamans, witchdoctors, the village Wise Woman, etc. No social skills and less knowledge, but they get Medicine and Perform instead. They start with 3 Modes of magic. Shaman start with a Light Half Suit of armor, dagger, a horse, travelers gear, and an animal companion of the player’s choice (dog, cat, some small animal).

They get The Gift as well, see Sorcerer above.

The Martial Wizard
This is the Fighter/Wizard combo profession. You get some fighting skills, though lower than the Slayer professions, and 3 Modes of magic. They start with a Half-Suit of Medium armor, weapon of choice, dagger, Noble quality robes, a horse, and Travelers Gear.

They start with Fast Cast, which lets them work the spell and cast it in the same round without multiple action penalties.

The Charlatan
The Wizard/Rogue combo profession. Stealth skills in addition to 3 Modes of magic. They start with a Half-Suit of Light armor, a dagger, playing cards, divination bones, a horse, and Travelers Gear.

Their starting gift is Tradition which just means Charlatan’s start the game with two traditions instead of one.

The Teachers
This category is a sort-of-strange combination of professions, but in essence the unifying concept is learned people who don’t do Magic. They actually get varied attribute bonuses, so that will be covered in the respective Profession.

Ambassadors, diplomats, messengers, politicians, etc. This profession is the majority social focused one, Deception, Influence, high language and literacy skills, Perform, etc. If you want to be the party face, or are doing a political campaign emissary is a great choice. They start with a half suit of Light armor, a dagger, jewelry equal to +4 Treasure (Basically Hero Points for buying stuff), 3 noble quality robes, Travelers Gear, and a horse. They also start with a Wealth of +2. Emissaries recieve a +1 bonus to WIL.

The Emissary starting Talent is Righteous Words. When used, the Hero and their groupd gain a bonus to any one action equal to double the Hero’s CHA (minimum of +2). This bonus stays in effect until the task is done, or the Hero stops speaking. This bonus only applies to the first action taken by a character in a round, so it doesn’t apply to multiple actions after the first. This can be used a number of times per day equal to the Hero’s WIL (minimum of once). So, basically as long as the Emissary is giving motivational speeches, everyone else in the party gets a nice fat bonus to their actions as long as they’re working towards a unified goal. This Talent is a major force multiplier, and makes the Emissary very useful as a support character.

Representing people who are formally trained in religious matters. Priests skill-spread is very similar to the Emissary, but they trade Social Skills for better Lore (Theology) and a decent rating in Resolve, the skill used to withstand mental and emotional stress. They get a +1 to their CHA, and start with several religious texts, a half suit of light armor, a dagger, Travelers Gear, a holy relic worth +4 Treasure, and a mule.

Priests get to start with God’s Ear, which improves sacrificing or votive actions. Any Hero can make sacrifices or perform religious acts to get Hero Points, representing garnering the favor of the Gods. A number of times per session equal to their CHA (minimum of once) the Priest/Priestess gets double the Hero Points from their religious observation.

This is the Profession better suited to your typical D&D style Cleric or Paladin. This profession represents someone bestowed with some power of their chosen Gods, or is particularly favored by the Divine. Saints get basically the same skills as Priest/Priestess, with the addition of some bonus to Unarmed Fighting, and Instinct, the skill that basically acts as a sixth sense to sense danger, or improves your perception in social situations. Saints get a +1 to WIL, and start with a holy symbol, a holy relic worth +4 Treasure, a staff, a dagger, and Travelers Gear.

Saints start with the Dominion Access talent, which essentially gives them access to Atlantis’s version of Clerical magic. It’ll be explained later when I cover Gods and such, but it lets you perform a ritual that lets you perform various supernatural abilities or feats based on your chosen Gods’ dominions.

Learned folk, philosophers, scientists, academics, etc. THey get lots of Lore skills, big bonuses to Investigate/Search, and are the people who know and can find out lots of things. They get a bonus of +1 to INT, and start with several tomes of scholarly work, a dagger, ancient trinkets equal to +4 Treasure, a horse, and Travelers Gear.

Scholars get the Alchemical Scientist talent, giving them access to the Alchemy subsystem. This lets them make a variety of magical substances and objects.

And that’s it for Culture and Profession! The next section is the Lifepath system and a final Point Buy part to customize your character to your liking, and let you pick up any skills or Talents or such you didn’t get in the previous parts. These bits aren’t really going to work summarized, and it’s the point where you really need a character to apply them to to make sense, so that’s what I’ll be doing!

So, next time: Making A Character: Life Paths, Point Buy, and maybe Renown and Hero Points!

Apr 6, 2009

by vyelkin
I recall one of the Ravenloft books (probably 3E) featuring an early sidebar about how DMs should make the paladin's mount go out and do crimes at night based on the paladin's subconscious desires. That was about the point I put the book down with the realization it held nothing of use to me.

Jan 29, 2009
Your horse robbing an inn is a pretty cool idea though.

Just imagine the midnight climax when you finally catch them trotting out with saddlebags full of gold!

Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.

Grimey Drawer
"Your horse failed a Powers check. It's all sticky now, like a kelpie. Good luck dismounting."

Feb 13, 2012

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

Cassa posted:

Your horse robbing an inn is a pretty cool idea though.

Just imagine the midnight climax when you finally catch them trotting out with saddlebags full of gold!

The Bretonnia book in WHFRP's rules for raising a Hippogriff are: "Your GM may occasionally ask you to roll a Handle Animal check. If you fail, your hippogriff causes an adventure." That's the exact wording. It's great.

Rand Brittain
Mar 25, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."
I keep waiting for the D&D PDF re-releases to do a good version of the five Ravenloft Gazetteers because they were all really, really, good.

Cease to Hope
Dec 12, 2011
It's time for more...

:spooky::spooky: HORRIBLE ADVENTURES Part 2: Born With A Tail :spooky::spooky:

I neglected to link the d20 Call of Cthulhu sanity rules, which in turn were the basis for the D&D 3.5e Unearthed Arcana sanity rules, both of which are released under the OGL (and, annoyingly, neither of which is credited in this book). It's worth looking at them whenever talking about sanity scores in d20, because while I don't have any way of knowing whether the authors of these books referenced and adapted those rules, they certainly had to be aware of them. I'm going to talk more about sanity when we get to chapter 5, because the difference between PF Horror Adventures' sanity rules and previous d20 efforts hinges on the difference between this book's Madnesses and those books' treatment of mental disorders.

Lick My Taint


Next up is Corruption, and unlike a lot of the Pathfinder systems that share a name with older d20/D&D 3e systems, it's not based on the Open Game Licensed Corruption/Taint rules (originally in 3e's Oriental Adventures, reprised in 3.5e's Unearthed Arcana). Instead, the Corruption system covers the rules for turning into a vampire, werewolf, deep one, etc.

If a PC is cursed by some sort of monster, they begin taking on aspects of that monster. They gain that monster's Corruption. There are about a dozen different types of corruption. Some correspond to either a notable D&D 3e template: Hellbound (half-fiend), Lich, Lycanthrope, Vampire. Others are the result of being infected by a monster that is basically a communicable disease: Ghoul, Shadowbound, and Hive, which resembles but is legally distinct from a certain memorable series of films directed by Ridley Scott. To round things out, Accursed were cursed by something that casts curses (it's kind of a catchall), Prometheans are cyborgs that are obviously based directly on Tetsuo the Iron Man without all of the phallic imagery (so what is even the point), and Possessed are either fighting with a possessing spirit or a split personality.

When a character first contracts corruption, they are now Corruption Stage 0, and may have some sort of inescapable compulsion to act out their monstrous nature. Every week, or month, or whenever a certain trigger happens, a PC has to make a fort or will save or gain a stage of corruption, probably because they gave in and did something horrible. (Voluntarily doing something horrible can also add a stage.) Gaining a stage of corruption is 100% bad - the PC probably shifts alignment and may get a stacking penalty. Stage 3 corruption is terminal for your character sheet, because the PC turns into an uncontrollable monster. The specific triggers and save types for corruption checks, as well as the penalties for stacking corruption, depend on the specific sort of corruption.

The rules for each corruption stage were obviously made by different people who weren't very well coordinated. Usually, corrupted PCs have to make a corruption save every month on the month, or have to feed some compulsion every week or face a saving throw. Some corruption tracks, like Lich and Promethean, instead use triggered effects that are likely to happen in combat, which, given Pathfinder's largely adversarial GM/player interaction, has the risk of making people feel picked on or favored by the GM. Deep Ones are the worst case: not only do they have combat triggers that can force a save, but they also have to bathe in the ocean or a saltwater sea every day or make a save.

The corruption tracks aren't in and of themselves bad ideas, even if they aren't anything like balanced. If you want crunchy rules for getting monsteritis and fending off full monsterization, they're passable, and work about as well as (but do not meaningfully interact with) Pathfinder's extant rules for disease progression. Unless you've minmaxed your appropriate fort or will save or initially contracted your corruption at a fairly high level, your PC is headed for evil NPC town in less than half a year, maybe much less.

The problem is that you're expected to level up with your corruption as well.

If I had a tail / I'd swat the flies

A character with corruption develops Manifestations of that corruption: one immediately, then an additional one for approximately every two character levels they gain while they are infected. (GMs are encouraged to "catch up" higher-level characters who contract Hepatitis type G with manifestations from story events.) It's up to the GM what sort of campaign you're playing: either corruption is useful, so the player gets to pick what manifestation they want, or they're a vile curse, in which case the GM picks the manifestations and the players can either accept them or trade their possibly-useful monster powers for a bonus on saves against increasing their corruption stage. Unhelpfully, both of these are presented as "variants", with no default rule for who chooses which manifestations.

Manifestations have two aspects: a gift, and a stain. Gifts are a superpower. You grow claws, or can so something magical, or... you get +2 to a couple skills under certain limited circumstances. Look, they can't all be winners. Stains are some sort of corresponding drawback, like behavioral taboos, skill penalties, attribute penalties, or becoming vulnerable to that monster's traditional weakness.

Not all manifestations are available right away. You have a manifestation level equal to the number of manifestations you have, roughly corresponding to half of your character level, and your current manifestation level is added to any saves your manifestations cause, same as spell level would be for a spell-like power. Some manifestations can only be chosen if you already have a high enough manifestation level, and some manifestations become more powerful as your manifestation level increases. Depending on the sort of game you're playing, some manifestations may or may not add to your manifestation level.

It's exactly as clear as it sounds.

These manifestations resemble feats or class talents, but they aren't, and you don't want them. Stains are vicious - the standard stain for the common starter gifts that give d4 damage claws is -2 to all ranged attacks and all attacks with manufactured weapons. If you're going to play a corrupted character, you will absolutely have to min-max to avoid immediately succumbing to corruption and setting your character sheet on fire, but the rewards for doing so are less "use your phenomenal cosmic power" and more "gain +2 to Knowledge (Itty Bitty Living Space) checks".

Complete Races of the Essential Clanbook: Gross Monster Person

Of course, being a monster doesn't suck so bad that we can't devote 21 pages to options for customizing being a monster! I'm not going to run down every single manifestation, but these are the eleven…

...oh, right. "Corruption" is used to refer to both this whole system and each individual strain of monsteritis. :eng99:

If you have to pick a corruption and you choose to pick which one you can take, then your first concern is going to be what save you have to make. After that, some of the gifts aren't completely terrible, and may synergize with certain classes. I'll be covering that, because, yes, of course you're going to minmax the poo poo out of slowly turning into a CR 3 NPC. This is Pathfinder. A character with corruption probably isn't better off than one without, but because of a profusion of intentionally-designed trap options, minmaxing is extremely important to minimize the downsides.

A lot of the manifestations are copy-pasted. Once you've read one "you get claws but -2 to hit with weapons and ranged attacks" manifestation, you've read them all. Of course, they all have different names.

Accursed have been cursed by... you know, whoever, I guess... and are now turning into a magical being that curses other people. You have to make a will save to avoid gaining a corruption stage (and alignment shifting towards evil) any time you cast a magical curse on someone, any time you engage in disproportionate "brutal retaliation" against someone (GM's call, natch), and every month unless you already made a bunch of saves this month. I think the idea is that you're slowly turning into a vengeful faerie or something but mostly the curse turns you into a plain old rear end in a top hat.

Accursed can get a 1/day reroll on a d20 roll as their first manifestation, and the stain isn't a huge problem unless your party has a bard. (Horror Adventures hates bards - "immunity to morale bonuses" comes up a lot.). They can also get DR X/cold iron at the cost of not touching cold iron ever - how often do you ever use cold iron for anything? Beyond that, their manifestations are traps to get you to curse people, or come with hilariously debilitating stains that no reasonable person would want. "You can never speak or otherwise communicate the truth" and "you must attempt saves against your allies' spells and spell-like abilities, even if they are harmless" might work as short-term gimmicks, but not permanent things you write on your character sheet.

Deep Ones are turning into a fish, in case you really liked that one Lovecraft story about the evils of miscegenation. Pathfinder doesn't even bother to do anything about the thinly veiled racism:


Less common means of contracting a deep one corruption include ritualistic transformation, curses, or - in extreme cases - willing copulation with a deep one.


Did I mention that deep ones don't actually appear in this book? They're in Pathfinder Bestiary 5, which also has rules for playing a deep one hybrid as a standard PC race. I'm not sure what purpose Official H.P. Lovecraft Deep Ones serve when D&D already has sahuagin, kuo-toa, skum, and locathah, but whatever, you could be turning into a really hardcore locathah, maybe that's a thing that happens.

Being a deep one corrupted adventurer means you are completely hosed. You have to make a will save to keep from gaining a corruption stage (and alignment shifting towards chaotic evil) every day that you don't spend at least an hour chilling in a body of salt water, plus every single time you are affected by...

...hold up. "You also need to attempt [a will save to keep from gaining a corruption stage] whenever you are a target of (or in the area of) a divine spell or spell-like ability with the evil descriptor." Does that mean any divine spell, or only evil divine spells? The latter is sort of playable, the former is absolutely not.

Either way, your PC can't really ever leave the ocean coast. The manifestations are all about swimming and breathing water and developing fishy claws. :pseudo: Unless swimming is a big part of your game - and I guess it would have to be, seeing as you permanently turn into a fish after about a week away from the water - the only good thing about becoming a deep one is that you can get claws and a bite without that nasty -2 to all non-claw/bite attacks. Be careful, though: several of the deep one manifestations can remove your ability to breathe air.

Ghouls are cannibals, or maybe they contracted ghoulfluenza from another ghoul. This is one of the most playable corruptions. You only have to make will saves if you don't eat the flesh of sentient creatures at least once a week. If you don't eat flesh and then fail your will save, you go into a cannibalistic frenzy where you can't tell friend from foe, and eating someone innocent (either willingly or because of this frenzy) advances your corruption a stage and shifts your alignment towards evil. However, your appetite isn't limited to sentient humanoids. A working adventurer spends most of their time fighting monsters, and the vast majority of those monsters have intelligence 3 or higher. Eating dragons or myconids or otyughs is weird, but it's not gruesome cannibalism in the same way as a human eating another human or an elf. If you take advantage of this, it's less "body horror" and more Dungeon Meshi. The manifestations involve gaining a ghoul's claws and paralyzing attacks, or tough skin and paralyzing stench, and as long as you're willing to give up manufactured weapons (and possibly socializing with anyone but the rest of the party), a ghoulified PC can be workable in the right sort of campaign.

Hellbound creatures made a deal with a devil, and got a handful of spell-like powers in exchange for selling their soul. Unfortunately, every time you are offered "an opportunity to carry out a significant action that matches the devil’s portfolio comes up, you are tempted to take it" and have to roll a will save against doing so and advancing your corruption and alignment shifting towards lawful evil. This is at least weekly, but could be as often as the GM feels like it. If the GM is a real dick, any significant voluntary action that matches the devil's portfolio increases your corruption stage - hopefully you didn't make a deal with the devil of getting in fights! I like the manifestations' themes of "asking devils for advice" and "bearing the devil's mark," but most hellbound PCs are going to end up as lawful evil NPCs in extremely short order, even with a very generous GM.

Hive creatures were infected by a definitely-not-a-chestburster hive mind monster from later in this book, but have formed a symbiotic relationship with it, and are turning into a definitely-not-a-xenomorph. Every month, they have to make a fort save - the first fort save corruption in the book! - or else they becoming increasingly buglike and evil. The manifestations all make them buglike, but in a sort-of-useful way instead of just an ugly way.

I say sort-of-useful, because most of these abilities aren't very good, especially considering how nasty their stains (or the stains of their prerequisites) are. About half of the manifestations require the Living Weapon manifestation, which is that copy-paste claws-that-give-you-minus-2-to-everything-but-clawing-people power. There's even some obnoxious anti-synergy: covering yourself in chitinous plates with Living Armor requires concentration checks, but having a Hive Mind connection gives a penalty to concentration. One standout useless manifestation: Acid Blood breaks everything and anything you wear or carry after eight hours, and destroys those items after another eight hours. That's definitely worth doing a token amount of acid damage to anyone who attacks you in melee!

There's another half dozen of these fuckin' things but I need a break.

Next: Book of Vile Dorks

Cease to Hope fucked around with this message at 19:38 on May 11, 2017

Nov 26, 2008

Lipstick Apathy

Cassa posted:

Your horse robbing an inn is a pretty cool idea though.

Just imagine the midnight climax when you finally catch them trotting out with saddlebags full of gold!

In the lead up the party keeps on randomly seeing posters depicting a somewhat familiar looking individual.

Nov 8, 2009

I love the potoo,
and the potoo loves you.
Strange. You'd think that in a horror-based game, the class that has "excels at bolstering the spirits of the team" as a central mechanic would be a great class to have around.

Then again, the class that has "is literally immune to fear effects" as a notable selling point also apparently gets hosed.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

DragonMech: Steam Warriors: LOGIC

The Irontooth Ronin is another type of Irontooth noble warrior, not as famous as the mech devils. They are mech pilots that serve as wandering guardians and meditative masters of combat - specifically, mech combat. They strive first to protect all members of the Irontooth Clans, second to be honorable and respected members of the Clan, and third, to embody the lifestyle and virtues of the Clans. They travel constantly, always seeking new ways to serve these three goals. They are almost exclusively dwarven, with other races becoming ronins only if raised among the clans or otherwise intimately and permanently tied to them. They have a d8 HD. To become one, you must be lawful, have Dex 18 and Int 16, and have 13 ranks in Mech Pilot. You also need the feats Mechwalker, Mechidextrous, Mech Dancer, Mech Fu and Natural Pilot, and you must have the extraordinary pilot special ability and at least one of the special mech skill uses granted by some classes. Also, obviously, you must be an Irontooth. You get good BAB and mech BAB, and good Ref and Will.

Irontooth Ronins get unarmed mech damage as if they were mech devils, in all ways. However, their melee mech attacks also channel ki, and so are considered magical weapons with enhancement bonus equal to your Ronin level for purposes of getting past DR (and nothing else). Further, any successful melee attack deals +5 damage, increasing to +10 at 3rd and +15 at 5th level. At level 2, they get the Agile Mech bonus from the Flea, increasing to +2 at level 4. That's the total class.

The Logician is another cyborg class. This one wants to replace their brain with a machine in order to upgrade it. They think of themselves as naturally superior because of their augmented minds. They have a d4 HD. To become one, you must have Int 13, 8 ranks in Craft (mechcraft) and 8 in Knowledge (steam engines). Also, you need the Power Source feat or steam engine class ability, and you also need +2 worth of artificial parts. Class skills are Appraise, Concentration, Craft, Decipher Script, Diplomacy, Disable Device, Forgery, Heal, Knowledge, Listen and Profession. They have half decent BAB and good Will, and slowly gain more artificial parts and steam powers.

At 1st, 4th, 7th and 10th level, the Logician gets a +1 inherent bonus to Int, Wis or Cha, with any single inherent bonus being capped at +5. At 4th level, they also get a bonus equal to half their class level, rounded down, to all Will saves. That's it!0

The Lunarborg is a person who is super driven and has decided to get that power by using the dangerous material moonstone, which is also addictive. It's harmful, but they've decided it's worth the risk. They suffer the longterm effects of it, and can easily be told by their greenish steam, pale skin, horrible smell and vacant expression. Over time, they tend to become corrupted and evil due to the addictive moonstone. They slowly transform into lunar creatures, and other lunar beings tend to leave them alone. Fortunately, there are not many of them. They get a d10 HD. To become one, you must have Con 15 and Wis no higher than 13, and you need +5 points worth of artificial parts. On top of this, you must have taken at least 5 points worth of Con damage from use of moonstone or be addicted to moonstone gas. Also, you need GM permission. Class skills are Balance, Climb, Craft (mechcraft), Disable Device, Hide, Knowledge (steam engines), Move Silently, Profession (engineer) and Spot. They have half decent BAB and good Fort, and slowly gain new parts.

Whenever a Lunarborg gains a level, they must make a Will save of DC (15+class level) to take a level in any class but Lunarborg until they hit level 10 in the class. If they fail the save, they are also addicted to using moonstone until they make their next level check. Further, every time they gain a level of Lunarborg, they must make a DC (10+class level) Will save to avoid shifting one alignment step towards Chaotic Evil. If a Lunarborg is currently addicted to moonstone, they must only use moonstone to power their engine if they want to avoid penalties, and that poo poo's expensive - 5 gp per day, basically, and you can't find it in most places. As long as they are running on moonstone, however, they get a +4 bonus to Str and Con instead of the normal +2, and they get +4 to Spot and Listen. Further, they no longer produce visible external gases unless they use their noxious blast power, so they never have to worry about choking on fumes underwater or so on. However, when running on anything but moonstone while addicted, they get -4 Str and Dex and -10 speed.

What's the noxious blast? Well, see, Lunarborgs bottle up their gases in an external container which must be vented once per day to avoid a Fort save. Failing the save causes 1d6 Con damage. The gas can be released harmlessly or as an offensive weapon once per day. This causes a cone of gas that is (5*class level) feet long and forces a Fort save to avoid 1d6 Con damage and instantly kills any normal plants. (Plant monsters suffer double Con damage.) Lunarborgs are also immune to Con damage from moonstone gas. At 4th level, the Lunarborg can also corrupt other fuels by spraying the noxious blast over wood, coal or fuelstone, turning (class level) pounds per day of any other fuel into moonstone as a full action. At 6th level, the Lunarborg has begun transforming. Lunar creatures will not be hostile towards them unless provoked, and the Lunarborg can make a Wis check to forecast the lunar rain for 24 hours in the future. They also get +4 to all saves against mind-affected stuff, psionic attacks and any attempt to detect thoughts, read minds and so on. They are immune to lycanthropy as well, but can now be detected as a lunar creature by paladins or clerics, albeit at DC 20. At level 7, the lunarborg can expend five pounds of moonstone (enough to run for 5 days), once a day, to get +2 Str and Con for (3+Con mod) rounds. During this time, they can also use a noxious blast once without counting it as a daily use. For an hour after using the moonstone burn, however, the Lunarborg emits noxious fumes, filling all adjacent squares with moonstone gas and causing the Lunarborg to be fatigued. At 10th level, the Lunarborg is fully lunar after a 24-hour painful transformation during which no action is possible. They now get +10 vs mind-affecting powers, psionic attacks, etc. They also take half damage from air-, fire- and water-based attacks (or none on save) and double from earth-based effects and attacks. They no longer need to eat or drink, either. The DC to detect them is now 15.

Next time: Slaving, naked cyborg ladies and robopaladins.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 5, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!

Rifts World Book 11: Coalition War Campaign Part Eight: "Two to one confrontations showed the pair of PA-300s would devastate a single Glitter Boy better than three out of four times."

Coalition Power Armor & Robot Vehicles

That sound you can't hear is me slapping my book against my forehead as I steel myself for all the skull-wanking that is is to come in this section.
Thankfully, it's a softcover.

So, we start with power armor, which is explained for what I'm pretty sure is around the umpteenth time. But we can skip that and move on to-

Pretty sure this fought the Savage Dragon at some point.

Mauler Power Armor

Also known a "No Neck", this is a sluggish, middling suit of power armor designed for ground or underwater capabilities (and space, though they can't practically test that). It's designed as a tank, though most actual tanks will run this ugly thing down. It's slow for power armor, and has plasma bobs on the shoulders and blades and lasers from the wrists, but the only thing worth firing are volleys of mini-missiles. In addition, it starts off the Vince Martin designs of Coalition armors that look more like they stepped out of a rift than the assembly line.

Dreadfully dull and powerfully ugly, and not a great start.

How there isn't a mini of this, I don't know.

Terror Trooper Power Armor

So, this is a big, thuggish power armor, which makes it different from the Mauler in that... well, it looks a lot cooler, for one. It's tougher, for two. And for three, it gets a missile rifle or particle beam cannon that does alright damage (and crap lasers on the side).

Nothing too special but I do like the art. One of Breaux's better pics in the book.

Just stick weapons on any which way, who gives a gently caress?

Glitter Boy Killer

Hahahaha, nope.

So this is supposed to be a fast, close-combat power armor designed to counter the Glitter Boy, despite it having around one-third the firepower and about 60% of the M.D.C. The idea is that it's supposed to get in close and blow up the Glitter Boy's boom gun with missiles, and to be fair, if it can manage that the Glitter Boy is ponderous to take out but no longer has teeth. There are some problems with this plan, though:
  • It mentions having missiles to take out the boom gun in the description... that are never included in the statblock.
  • It has to be able to ambush the Glitter Boy from close range, despite being a distinctive 14' robot. Otherwise, the Glitter Boy will annihilate them at range.
  • To take out the boom gun, it has to make 5 or so called shots, which require a higher to-hit number. Meanwhile, the Glitter Boy can just annihilate the G.B. Killer in 4-5 shots. Now, that may sound even, but bear in mind the Glitter Boy will be hitting 40% more often.
  • It'll turn out the Free Quebec Glitter Boy forces will often have secondary weapon packages or handheld weapons, meaning wiping out the boom gun doesn't entirely take them out of the fight.
So even in an ideal situation, the G.B. Killer loses. Now, if it can ambush a Glitter Boy as a pair, it stands a chance, but it's not very unique in that regard. Most well-armed power armor suits can use the same tactic. In any case, it's overloaded with weapons, like a plasma gun and ion gun it can fire in tandem, a grenade launcher, vibro-blades, rail guns, and a laser turret. Firing the plasma and ion gun is about the only thing that does okay damage, and the missiles are, as mentioned, entirely absent even though they're illustrated and mentioned. Overall, it's underwhelming and oversold, and the Vince Martin weirdo Coalition designs continue here- look at those feet. What's the point of those feet? Is it supposed to kick toe-down? How would that loving even work?

Old-Style "Death's Head" SAMAS

They reprinted material from the core book to add 20 M.D.C. to the wings. Seriously, that's the only change, other than to mention this is based on an old American Empire design the Coalition discovered and replicated, and that now these original SAMAS units are used by law enforcement now that the military has new models for their SAMAS units. They somehow manage to squeeze nearly two pages out of that. Shameless.

Vince Martin Power Armor: a person in tights with a helm and jet pack.

New "Smiling Jack" Light Assault SAMAS

Despite a radical redesign, this is almost a statistical mirror of the "Death's Head SAMAS", save for the fact it has wing-mounted mini-missiles that increase the missile payload from two to six.

Really, that's it. More page filler, doubly so because they're literally just reprinting stats from the previous entry. Doubly shameless.

I shouldn't fat-shame.

New Super SAMAS

Aka the "Grinning Demon", this is where the SAMAS gets a big power bump. It's about 40% faster, about 50% tougher, and has about three times the firepower. In fact, it's just better, save for the fact it doesn't have mini-missiles to do a damage dump. So it gets dual plasma ejectors that do the lion's share of its damage, lasers and grenade launchers that do comparatively crap damage, and vibro-blades (those fins on the arms) that have special rules for taking out propellers and rotors. The blades have about a 45% chance of doing so, otherwise the SAMAS is just flung away looney-tunes style and just feels really embarrassed.

Once again, this continues the "muscle skeleton" style that Vince Martin seems to be going for. Look out, these skulls are pumpin' iron!

Wait, this looks cool again, I'm getting whiplash.

Special Forces "Striker" SAMAS

An enhanced version of the "Death's Head" SAMAS designed for use by the Special Forces, of course, this has modest increases - slightly tougher, slightly faster, same rail gun, and with a few more mini-missiles. Not much creativity on the SAMAS design front, it seems. I like the blocky design by Breaux better, but it's wasted on another cut-and-paste design.

Next: Still more skulls, ribs, bones wanted for salvage.

Dec 10, 2007


Cease, I can't begin to tell you how happy it makes me to see a Supersuckers reference in this thread :banjo:

Dec 22, 2003

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

All this Hi-Nu Coalition poo poo looks like the Skeleton Crew in the new MST3k. Or like those esquelitos in those Overwatch videos.

Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.
You guys want Bad Horse, I'm giving you Bad Horse.

Except I already covered evil Paladin horses in this post, so you get to experience the setting instead.

The Dream Realms I
Chapter four is all about the campaign setting, including short descriptions of every known Domains. However, it doesn't include information on the various Darklords, leaving that for further supplements. While some are easily guessed (Strahd, Azalin), others are not so obvious, forcing GMs to buy new books or make poo poo up. In fact, since the gameline was cancelled before they concluded the Gazetteer series, some new Domains got basically no info. Tough luck!

The chapter opens with a one-page fiction, as usual. This time, it's from the diary of wizard-king Azalin, giving us insight into what makes him tick. Basically, he's the king of Lawful Evil tyrant who puts a lot of emphasis on the LAW. To the point where he executed his own son (that he truly loved and considered his legacy) because he was rebelling. No one else is worthy to wear the crown, everyone else is too soft, and he'll bring back his son, and he'll have vengeance on the Dark Powers! *thunder crackling* A fun guy.

Next we get Traveling the Dread Realms, where we learn how to get around in the Land of Mists. It's harder than you think! Aside from being full of monster waiting to ambush, sometimes distance changes for no reason and you end up at the wrong place for no reason. Additionally, if you want to reach the various Clusters and Islands of Terrors , you need to go through the Mists. Time and space don't exist in the Mists, and you can come out anytime, anywhere... if you come out at all. Only the VIstani really know how to travel through the Mists. However, there are Mistways, semi-regular roads through the Mists that usually go from one place to another. There's a list, and each one has a reliability going from poor (drops at the wrong place 50% of the time) to excellent (drifts only 10% of the time). Some are one-way only, while others work both ways. My favorite is The Jackal's Ruse, which leads from the Sea of Sorrows to Har'Akir, the desert domain. One-way, of course.

First, we're going to look at the various lands of The Core, the central continent where most of the Domains are located.


Welcome to Hollywood Transylvania. It's a landlocked, mountainous region full of misty pine forests, wolves, and dour villagers who hate outsiders. The population is of 27000 people, 98% human, divided into two major ethnic groups: the native Barovian, and the similar Gundarakite. Duke Gundar was a neighboring Darklord who got his poo poo kicked in and his Domain was split between different Darklords. The Gundarakite are being oppressed, and many are thinking of rebellion. There are also two minor ethnic groups, only present in the Southern town of Immol. The Forfarians are refugees from the empty land of Forlorn, while the Thaani are the descendants of those who escaped the Mindflayer-ruled land of Bluetspur. The land is ruled by Count Strahd von Zarovich, the last in a long line of Strahd, known as the Devil Strahd to his subjects. He'S a cruel but distant ruler, leaving the day-to-day affairs of his realm to the local boyars and burgomasters. He doesn't even ask for tribute, however Boyars do levy burdensome tax to fund their militia and fill their coffers. The positions are supposedly hereditary, but there is a replacement rate as Strahd often executes them for any reason he might feel like (disloyalty, lack of hospitality, etc.). While the realm is fairly isolationist, many merchants travel through it, using the Old Svalich road to cross through the Core.


TO the North-East of Barovia stand Borca, a land of verdant forest overgrown with brambles and ivy. The once-happy populace is oppressed by the corrupt nobility, the church of Ezra often proving to be their only comfort. While smaller than Barovia, it boasts a larger and slightly more cosmopolitan population: 34200 people, 95% human, 4% halfling. Borca's mistress is Ivana Boritsi, also known as the Black Widow. As the only landowner in the realm (a title she inherited from her mother Camille, who died "unexpectedly"), the prominent aristocracy is a mere plaything to her, granting and revoking noble title as it pleases her. She demands severe taxation from her nobles, who in turn use enforcers to collect taxes from the commoners. Ivan Dilisnya, Ivana's cousin, maintains order in the realm with a gang of notoriously corrupt thugs and leg breakers. There is no law in Borca, save what can be bought through dirty coins. Despite this, though, Ivana Boritsi has managed to create a trading alliance with the neighboring realms of Dementlieu, Mordent and Richemulot, as well as a mutual defense pact in case of military aggression from their northern neighbor: Falkovnia. Recently, vistani-hunting mercenaries from Invidia have been a problem, and Ivan Dilisnya has warned that further threats to Borcan sovereignty will result in retaliation.

Next: More horror movie stereotype lands! Also, the map of the land (I'm too lazy to add it tonight).

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007

Alien Rope Burn posted:

[*]CR-1 Rocket Launcher vs CTT-M20 Missile Rifle: The new one has a high strength requirement, but is actually worth it for a change - it can fire volleys of four mini-missiles for damage over that of a Boom Gun.

If this is an infantry-scale weapon, can I attach a couple of dozen of them to my giant robot?

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

DragonMech: Steam Warriors: Okay, so plug me into the robot all over my right side, but not my left arm.

The Mech Slaver is a specialist in getting the most out of a man-powered mech. They are found primarily in the Legion and among the orcs, and they're also experts in slave trading, shockingly. They're kind of a loose brotherhood of pilots who teach each other how to be mech slavers and argue over which races and nationalities are the best slaves. The Legion and orc slavers hate each other and fight a lot. They all wield whips, but Legion slavers prefer black leather and orcs prefer white leather, and revealing your whip to another slaver of the other faction is seen as a duel challenge. Mech Slavers have a d8 hit die. To become one, you must be evil, have a BAB of +4, a mech BAB of +4, Char 13, 6 ranks of Mech Pilot and 6 of Intimidate. Also, you must have worked at least six months on a man-powered mech, either as worker or pilot. Your class skills are Balance, bluff, Climb, Diplomacy, Heal, Intimidate, Jump, Listen, Mech Pilot, Sense Motive, Spot and Use Rope. They have half decent BAB and good mech BAB, and good Ref and Fort.

At 1st level, Mech Slavers get proficiency with rope. At 1st, 4th, 7th and 10th, they also get proficiency with one mech weapon of their choice. At 1st level, they can also rally the workers powering their mech. At 1st level, just once per day, increasing to twice at 4 and three times at 8. While using this ability, their mech gets +4 Str and Dex and +10 speed, cumulative with any other abilities. This lasts for (3+Cha mod) rounds, and after that, the workers are stunned for one round, and you need to make a Diplomacy or Intimidate check to get them working again as a standard action. (Failure means they're still stunned and you need to make another check next round, to a max of 10 rounds.) At 6th level, the bonus becomes +8 to Str and Dex and +20 to speed. At 2nd level, the mech slaver can operate their man-powered mech at max efficiency. If they have the same crew for more than a month, the mech gets +2 Str and Dex as long as the crew is intact, and all crewmembers get +1 to all saves and +2 to Mech Pilot and Craft (mechcraft) checks while inside the mech. If anyone new is added or anyone is lost, however, it takes a month to get the bonuses back.

At 3rd level, you can rearrange the crew and vital systems to minimize damage to critical parts. The critical thresholds for any mech you get a crew bonus on are decreased by 5%, increased to 10% at level 7. Also at 3rd level, you no longer take any penalty for dealing subdual damage with a weapon that normall doesn't. At 5th level, when your mech gets the crew bonus, the crew can also work for 12 hours per day without fatigue or exhaustion rather than 8. At 9th level, while your mech gets the crew bonus, you can operate it normally (including all weapons) with only 40% crew...but you can only do that for 12 hours before you have to replace the entire crew. At level 10, you can keep the rally bonus going for longer, at the cost of the workers. For each round you extend your rally, all workers on the mech take 1 lethal damage. Assume workers have 5 HP and any worker that hits 0 will die unless special precautions for medical care are made.

The Mech Symbiote is a class seen as insane even by Assimilated standards. Rather than learning to pilot and augment their mechs, they try to become their mech by modifying their body biologically, until eventually their nerves are spread throughout the machine and it is part of their body. The less dedicated are just crazy guys with implanted mech controls, but the best and most insane are basically a brain in a mech. They are rarely found among humanoids, and more often among "abominations, extraplanar creatures, and lunar invaders." They require an arterial node - essentially, a biological connection to your mech that you take a feat for that lets you have intimate knowledge of the mech that is also implanted with your matching node. They have a d6 HD. To become a Mech Symbiote, you need to be Chaotic, have 12 ranks of Craft (mechcraft), 8 in Heal, 8 in Knowledge (mechs) and 8 in Mech Pilot. You also need the Arterial Node, Great Fortitude, Iron Will and Natural Pilot feats, and you must own a mech that shares an arterial node with you. Your class skills are Concentration, Craft (mechcraft), Heal, Knowledge (steam engines), Knowledge (mechs), Listen, Mech Pilot nad Spot. They have bad BAB but amazing mech BAB, and good Fort. They also get automatic proficiency with any weapons on their mech.

At level 1, while connected to their arterial node, the Mech Symbiote adds twice their Mech Symbiote levels to all Mech Pilot checks. At level 2, their muscle and blood vessels start to weave into the pipes, and they get double the benefits of rest when doing so while plugged into the arterial node. Also, while attached, they get +2 to Fort saves against disease and poison, going up to +4 at level 4. At 4rd level, their flesh and circulatory system are attuned to the mech and spread through it, allowing them to communicate with the mech telepathically, though they still need eyes to pilot if the mech doesn't have an optical interface. To disconnect, they now need a full action, and it deals 2d6 damage to both the symbiote and the mech each time. Reconnecting is harmless but a full action. At level 3, the Mech Symbiote also can't heal unless connected. At level 4, the Mech Symbiote has total knowledge at all times of the mech's physical condition, receiving direct feedback from any sensory devices in its hull and feeling all damage it takes. This also allows them to push the envelope, as per the mech jockey power, 5 times per day, stacking with any normal uses of that ability they have.

At 5th level, the Mech Symbiote becomes an Aberration if they weren't already and is no longer a Humanoid. They also gain darkvision out to 60 feet. Their flesh has now pervaded the mech, creating flesh cysts throughout the machine. Using these cysts, the Mech Symbiote may effectively teleport to any point on the mech by absorbing their body into a cyst and emerging from another as a pair of consecutive full actions. No matter where they are on the mech, they are considered connected, but can only pilot from the bridge. Finally, at 5th level, the Mech Symbiote is considered to be truly symbiotic with the mech, their soul pervading its entire form and allowing the mech to be targeted by necromancy, death effects, psionics and so on. For every hour they are not connected, they need a DC 20 Fort save or they take 1d6 damage, with the DC going up by +1 per hour of disconnection. While connected, however, the Mech Symbiote's HP are added to the mech's as a single pool, and killing the body while connected only removes that amount of HP but leaves the consciousness in the mech itself. Disconnecting still works and does damage as standard as well as removing the HP of the body from the mech's HP. A symbiote whose body dies while connected cannot disconnect for one month, during which their body regenerates from inside the mech.

The Mech Templar is a class first formed two decades ago in the Righteous Lancers Clan of the Irontooths, after a bunch of the clan's paladins and warriors had a dream that showed them how to fight evil with mechs. That's what Mech Templars do - they fight evil and protect the weak, with mechs. They are no longer limited to the Irontooths, either. They have a d10 HD. To become one, you need to be good, have a BAB of +5, 8 ranks in Mech Pilot and fhe Mech Walker and Improved Initiative feats. Your class skills are Balance, Climb, Craft (mechcraft), Jump, Listen, Sense Motive, Spot and Swim. They get good BAB and Fort, and gain proficiency with four mech weapons "if desired."

At 1st level they get the Mechanized Combat Practice feat free. They also get the power to smite evil once per day as a melee mech attack, adding their Mech Templar level to the attack and damage rolls. At 3rd level and every 3 levels after, they can do it one more time per day. Those who have Paladin levels and are still Lawful Good can add their Cha bonus to attack rolls and Paladin levels to damage, too, and can use their Paladin smite as this instead. At 2nd level, they choose a single mech weapon to focus on, getting +1 competence bonus to attacks with it. At 4th and 8th they get this with an additional weapon, or can improve their bonus to +2 (or +3, even!), which stacks with any other weapon bonuses. At 5th level, they can encase a mech of no bigger than Huge size in a magical shield that grants DR 10/- for (2+mech templar levels) rounds, once per day. At level 10, it becomes DR 15/- and twice a day. You must be piloting the mech to do it and can't do it when not piloting. At level 7, they get +2 to initiative and can reroll if they'd otherwise be surprised once per day per point of Wis bonus, but only once per encounter. This works even outside a mech. At 10th level, when piloting a Huge or smaller mech, the Mech Templar can add their saves to those of the mech, and may use any special powers or feats they have with the mech (at the GM's discretion), essentially treating their mech as their body while piloting.

Side note: Mech Templars basically must not do evil and must help those they need, or they will fall. However, they can disobey laws, lie, etc. just fine. If they cease to be good or willfully do evil, however, they lose all of their abilities and have to atone the same way paladins would.


To Protect Flavor
Feb 24, 2016
I get the problems 3.x Paladin has, but Mech Templar still seems hella rad to me.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 5, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!

The Lone Badger posted:

If this is an infantry-scale weapon, can I attach a couple of dozen of them to my giant robot?

Ask your GM.

My argument as a player would be "I have a power armor, can I dual-wield these"? (Well, okay, I know enough to do far worse in Rifts, but it seems like an argument that could be made.)

Mors Rattus posted:

DragonMech: Steam Warriors: Okay, so plug me into the robot all over my right side, but not my left arm.

The Mech Symbiote is a class seen as insane even by Assimilated standards.

(From the Car Wars comic.)

Apr 6, 2009

by vyelkin

Alien Rope Burn posted:

(From the Car Wars comic.)

Dec 10, 2007


One of the nicest things that 4e D&D did was make it so that Paladins and other divine classes are invested with power by their god. That way if the player decides his or her character has a radical change in belief, then at no point do they become a powerless doofus for what should be a narrative decision.

Cease to Hope
Dec 12, 2011
huh, I completely misread the possessed corruption. time to rewrite some poo poo

Halloween Jack
Sep 12, 2003

La morte non ha sesso

Godlike, Appendix A: Optional Rules

It’s optional rules! For Godlike! Alright, I’m gonna breeze through these very quickly. After the GMing chapter, it’s all just details.

Squishy Rolls: This lets you “squish” the Height and Width of your rolls after you roll them--a 3x4 becomes a 2x5, and so on. You can allow unlimited squishing, or just one step squishing, or none at all. Allowing the PCs to squish rolls makes for a more superheroic game.

Getting Really Nasty: This is what happens when you let Steve Harvey write house rules. These are a bunch of options more making wounds more realistic and more brutal, including options like:

Bullets/explosives force a roll not to be stunned for multiple rounds.
Bullets and blades cause bleeding that needs to be stabilized, or you take Shock damage until you die. There are also rules for internal bleeding that PCs may not notice.
Lots of damage to the head or limbs causes a permanent debility.

I don’t like any of these. Godlike combat is dangerous enough and ORE doesn’t need to get fiddly.

Die Hard: Simply increase the number of wound boxes per hit location, if you want tougher PCs.

Faulty Grenades: Any time you roll a 2x1 or 2x10 with a grenade, roll another die. If it’s a 1 or 10, the grenade is either a dud, or it explodes in your hand. I hate this rule and I don’t think I need to explain why.

Misfires, Jams, Accidental Discharge: If you’re using crap ammunition, or a gun prone to jamming, or you drop your gun, these can happen. If you roll a 2x1 and all the other die results are 5 or less, roll another die...yeah, these rules are fiddly as gently caress so gently caress them.

Gun Cleaning: Yeah, you can make your PCs prone to having bad poo poo happen if they can’t or won’t make a roll to clean their gun every few days.

Vehicle Hit Locations: I actually like these. Vehicles have hit locations, so you can hit the rear or undercarriage of a tank where it has less armor. Since PCs are more likely to be fighting tanks than driving them, I’m in favour of it.

Burning Experience: You can burn XP to increase the Height of a roll, or convert a point of Killing damage you take to Shock.
Burning Will: You can burn a point of Base Will for 10 points of Will, for those times when you really need to laserblast a Nazi.

Gaining New Powers: For more Four Color games, you can make it cheaper to buy new powers (including powers that aren’t even relevant to your original discovered Talent).

High Body and Machine Guns: Anyone with Body 4D can carry a light machine gun like a rifle. (This won’t work well with a belt-fed weapon.) With Body 5-6D, you can carry any machinegun this way. With Body 7D+ you can carry a machinegun in each hand, like Rambo on even more steroids.

Rolling Will: In a Battle of Wills, you roll the Will you bid rather than spending it.

Two Against One: Two Talents can team up against another in a Battle of Wills.

Godlike, Appendix B: The First 10

These are statblocks for the first 10 discovered Talents, worldwide, ranging in power from 25 Will (starting PC level) to 150 Will points. This doesn’t capture some of the more interesting Talent powers, but it is good insight into how the creators use their own system. I’m not going to get much into their mundane Stats and Skills--do you care that Der Flieger has Swimming 2?

Der Flieger: The first Talent in history, Der Flieger is built on 150 Will points and he’s a loving beast. He has Flight 2hd, with Extras to represent his immunity to altitude and shear stress from impossibly sharp turns, and a Barnstorming skill for maneuverability. He also has Harm 10d with the Area Extra representing his fearsome sonic boom power. He can only use it while flying at top speed.

I feel like Der Flieger’s effectiveness is somewhat based on the GM’s interpretation going beyond the mechanics. Key example: His Flight power Defends, but he only has 2hd, making him very vulnerable to a skillful attack or anything that interferes with his powers. But in real life he was hard to kill because it’s almost impossible to track an object moving 700mph.

Pevnost: This Talent’s incredible powers only add up to 30 Will points, which goes to show that a strategically valuable power isn’t necessarily high cost. He has Teleport 10hd with Extras boosting the amount of mass he can move. But the cost is cut down by the Slow and Forced Attendance Flaws, and only working via doorways. Pevnost is one of the most important Talents in the war, but also the definition of a “service troop” who hopefully won’t see combat at all.

Zindel: With powers costing 104 Will, this strikes me as an example of doing things in a roundabout way. Zindel’s power to transform his enemies into salt effigies is represented by a Transmutation power with a bunch of Extras and Flaws, whereas I think Instant Death makes more sense. I think they did it that way because it was easier to slap on Extras like Reflexive, and measure the power’s area effect. Oddly enough, there’s no Flaw representing that using his power was supposed to be fatiguing. Either way, I recommend you not gently caress with a guy who has Transmute Enemies to Salt 10hd with an area effect of 250 yards.

Cien: Cien’s unique power to control objects touched by his shadow is handled simply as a Telekinesis 10d power. He has a Power Stunt skill, Shadow Positioning, which he has to roll in order to determine how many of his Telekinesis dice he can actually use in a given round--Height determines die pool, Width determines the initiative of that action.

Viljo: Godlike’s stand-in for Simo “The White Death” Hayha, Viljo’s powers are rather simple. He has Hypercoordination 10d, Hypersense 7d, Hyper-Knife-Fighting 7d, and an Affinity for arctic conditions, so he can rock out with his cock out knifing Nazis.

Vogel: His power to redirect any missiles aimed at him is represented by a Heavy Armor 10 power. That this works by making missiles fail to hit him is a Side Effect with no alteration to the point cost. His power only works against ranged attacks.

Aesgir: Like Der Flieger, this guy is legit comic-book superpowerful, built on 150 Will. Heavy Armor 10, Hyper-Spear 2hd, Break, the ability to Fetch his spear, and a Teleport with global range. These are all limited in point cost by the requirement that he hold on to his “magic” spear, and the fact that “traveling through Valhalla” requires marching through tundra to get where you’re going.

Daegal: His powers are very simple. Control Light 7d+1wd, and a Perception power to let him see through his own supernatural light.

Vevel: Vevel is scary. His ability to go into a murderous “combat fugue” is essentially handled as an Alternate Form 2hd power, with multiple other powers Attached to the Fugue. While “transformed,” he has Hyperstrength 10d, Hypercoordination 10d, Go First 6, Side Step 2HD, and an Instant Death that only works by touch. (Touch based powers are a bitch in Godlike, since using powers requires concentration, you end up making a multiple action roll every time. I would’ve just handled it with Break 1 and Hyper-Brawl.)

Vevel’s Combat Fugue 2hd power has the Side Effect “does not remember actions while in Fugue,” which is honestly a sneaky way to get around making Cool+Mental Stability rolls when you rip a Nazi’s intestines out and use them to strangle his Sturmbannführer.

L’Invocateur: The Summoner’s real name is Luc Besont. (I thought the knife was the last thing you learn?) He’s built on 25 Will, the “weakest” of the first famous 10. He has Invisibility 2hd with the Unshakeable Extra, and of course, the very steep flaw that it only works while his eyes are closed. He has a Blind Fighting skill of 3, but I’m not sure how that’s supposed to work.

This appendix also has stats for generic soldiers, to give you an idea of what you’re up against. The average soldier in any army has Stats at 2d, most used combat skills at 2-3d, and supplemental skills (like Mortar or Map Reading) at 1d.

Godlike, Appendix C: Open Source Rules

This edition of Godlike has like 30 pages devoted to converting Godlike to D20, if you’re one of the brain-damaged morlocks that can’t play a game that isn’t D20. I could go through each and every conversion, commenting on what approach they took to the D20 rules and how well Godlike does or doesn’t fit into the D20 design space, but you know what?

Next time on Godlike: A few more special rules.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 5, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!

Rifts World Book 11: Coalition War Campaign Part Nine: "Indeed, to stand against a company of Skelebots (let alone an entire division), their black-hued skin reflecting in the cascade of light from the battlefield, eyes glowing red, and making with no sound as they rash forward with weapons blazing, is like fighting a tide of dead risen from the very pits of hell!"

Lil' chest skull should be the part that emotes.

Reprinted with updated material from the Rifts® Sourcebook One

As it just says, this is mostly just a reprint of materials from Rifts Sourcebook, which is more forgiveable because there's at least an outside chance a given Rifts player didn't own that book. (It's not likely, though.) As before, these are terminators-minus-the-human-guise, and are being prepped in massive quantities for the campaigns against Tolkeen and New Quebec to be launched on their own to "soften up" targets.

Rifts World Book 11: Coalition War Campaign posted:

Skelebots are comparatively inexpensive to mass produce, and although they have a high mortality/destruction rate considering their intended deployment, they are seen as the perfect substitute for human, front-line troops.

Rifts World Book 11: Coalition War Campaign posted:

Black Market Cost: Three million credits for a new, undamaged, fully powered unit complete with an assault rifle.

Of course, even though it tells us they're inexpensive, they aren't. Even if the black market sells it with an extra "0" on the end of the price tag, it still costs more than the entire kit of a Coalition solider and months of basic training. Granted, skelebots don't need benefits, but it still doesn't seem like the height of efficiency.

This is probably one of the few designs where I feel where Martin's more organic designs work.

Now there are two models, the old FASSAR-20 and the new FASSAR-30, but functionally they have the same statblock (which they at least have the "decency" to not print twice) despite their differing aesthetics. Though I've been hard on Vince Martin's art, his skelebots aren't too bad. I mean sure, they have the stupid little skull on their chest, and their spines look like they could be taken down with a particularly hard shove- okay, I'm still gonna be hard on his art. :(

Both models have gotten roughly a 25% increase in M.D.C., bizarrely. Because you'd think if anything is a mook foe in Rifts, this should be it, but nooope. Not in the Land of Siembiedia. The main difference between the two is that the FASSAR-20 gets the old CV-213 Robot Variable Laser Rifle and the FASSAR-30 gets the new C-200 "Dead Man's" Rail Gun, which fundamentally do the same damage. The former has better ammo capacity, while the latter has better range. Granted, I'm not sure why you'd give robots that are supposed to act autonomously a weapon with a limited ammo capacity, but that just seems like an obvious issue. Perhaps the sight of a dozens of robots coming at you, their weapons clicking and whirring with a lack of ammo is another genius tactic devised by Emperor Prosek.

Speaking of which, this does have the interesting note that ARCHIE-3 (the AI villain from Rifts Sourcebook has captured some skelebots, disabled their self-destruct devices, and figured out how to replicate them. The canny will notice this is the second time this has happened (the Mechanoids pulled a very similar trick in Rifts Index & Adventures 1) and it certainly won't be the last time. It's nice to see the Coalition get a bit of comeuppance - we'll be short on it for the rest of the book.

You don't have to put goofy styling on the chest, stopit-

Skelebot Hunter
FASSAR-40 Experimental Heavy Assault Robot

No, it doesn't hunt other skelebots.

So this is designed mainly to exterminate selected monsters or foes in an area, but it's also been used in a pinch by Coalition forces as a messenger for sensitive materials (usually also with a bit where it self-destructs if captured). It's a good deal tougher than your normal skelebot, gets some extra ambush, sneak, and tracking skills, but is still reliant on being assigned a handheld weapon. Nothing particularly special that makes it stand out other than being tougher, really.

Seems so strange I'd think your average Coalition solider would shoot it on sight.

Hellion Skelebot
FASSAR-50 Experimental Assault Robot

So, this robot is designed to look like a demon, which seems out of character for the Coalition, but I guess when you make a spider-skull walker, there's no going back. This robot is modestly tough, with its big thing with it being flexible and bouncy. I guess that's supposed to sound cool but mostly sounds kinda goofy, but it does give them an automatic dodge. It doesn't have any built-in weapons, so it has to be handed a rifle or whatever.

It honestly looks more like something that crawled out of Atlantis, but Siembieda is "waste not, want not" as far as concept art goes, so here we are.

"But I thought everybody liked horsies?"

Centaur Skelebot
FASSAR-60 Experimental Assault Robot

Rifts World Book 11: Coalition War Campaign posted:

The FASSAR-60 is a centaur design that is completely experimental and not likely to ever see mass production.

Rifts World Book 11: Coalition War Campaign posted:

The Emperor, his Executive Counsel and officers of the Military High Command don't want anything alien to become acceptable the human culture of the Coalition States. This design is just too alien.

Rifts World Book 11: Coalition War Campaign posted:

Only a dozen or so have been manufactured for preliminary field testing. The Centaur Skelebot will not be approved for phase two field tests.

Then why the gently caress does it get nearly two full pages of statblock?! Feels like shade being thrown on the artist when you probably should have just canned the art piece instead. Also it has mini-missiles on its butt. And lasers and ion blasters, but it does crap damage. Still, I think they're right in putting this one out to pasture.

Next: Kill the mecha and save the child.

Cease to Hope
Dec 12, 2011
I'm as scared as you are of more...

:spooky::spooky: HORRIBLE ADVENTURES Part 3: Book of Vile Dorks :spooky::spooky:

Notably missing from the subchapter on Corruption - or any part of this book - is advice on playing evil characters. It's assumed in the corruption rules that an inhuman murderous monster is not a viable player character: once you go full vampire, you don't come back. On the other hand, corruption stages frequently inflict involuntary alignment switches to evil before setting the character sheet on fire. What does that mean? How do you incorporate those characters into a party that is presumably not already composed of compulsive murderers? This book doesn't have any ideas. There's no advice on how to integrate evil characters into a mixed party, nor any on how to deal with the inevitable inter-party conflict that may come of, say, the party discovering that a party member is a flesh-eating monster, or from a party member's magical compulsion to always lie. Since there's no way to reverse corruption stages or remove manifestations other than to cure the entire corruption, parties are going to face these problems.

I don't worry about how these rules affect NPCs because Paizo didn't, either. These are obviously player-facing rules, with no consideration for corrupted NPC characters at all. There's no rules for what happens when an NPC hits corruption stage 3: it's just handwaved that they're "consumed by their hatred" or whatnot. These corruption rules aren't useful for creating NPCs who are three-seventeenths demon. Unlike D&D 3e's ECL and monster class system in Savage Species, all of the manifestations added together don't add up to match the templates they're loosely based on.

Complete Races of the Essential Clanbook: Gross Monster Person 2: the rest of them

Six more corruptions!

Liches are turning into a lich against their will, or possibly they screwed up trying to make themselves into a lich. It's also a catchall for turning into skeletal or ghostly undead - in fact, it works better for that, because no spellcaster with any sense is ever going to want to put themselves through this.

First off, the base corruption stage check rules are savage for liches. Any time you are "exposed to 25 points of negative energy damage or more from a single source," or fail a saving throw against a necromancy effect, or are subject to Death Ward, or learn a spell, you have to make a fort save against gaining another stage of corruption. If you fail, not only do you gain a corruption stage and alignment shift towards evil, but your spirit is temporarily banished to the negative energy plane for hours, while your body lays there helpless, possibly in the middle of combat. A reasonably lucky non-spellcaster could go without ever having to make any corruption checks! Of course, if they do, and they fail one, corruption may be the least of their problems. Spellcasters, even evil ones, won't want to touch this nonsense: not only do corruption stages give a charisma penalty (which makes no sense, because liches get a charisma bonus), but the third stage of corruption isn't lichdom, but rather permanent, irreversible death.

The only lich manifestation that is even slightly interesting and isn't gated behind nonsense like "manifestation level 6th" is Necromantic Knowledge, a manifestation that grants you knowledge of a necromancy spell of your choice from outside your class's spell list. Unfortunately, since spellcasters are badly screwed if they end up with this corruption, it's not the sort of thing that comes up much.

Lycanthropy comes from being attacked by another lycanthrope. Every month during the full moon, you need to make a will save or… you've seen the Wolf Man, with Lon Cheney and Bela Lugosi, right? You turn into whatever animal and black out and wake up covered in blood and advance a corruption stage because you hunted and killed something that didn't deserve it. Lycanthropes don't change alignment when they advance corruption, but every stage adds an additional monthly will save.

Almost all of the manifestations are gated behind Shift Form, a manifestation that allows you to spend a full-round action to attempt a CON check to shift into a form that has a bite attack for one minute, which you can do (manifestation level) times per day. Much is made of the fact that you can also unwillingly turn into an animal-human hybrid if you're suddenly surprised, but turning into weird things is not at all uncommon for PCs. This whole manifestation chain exists in the shadow of the four other base classes in Pathfinder that can turn into an animal - and they're all better at it, even if you stack up all of the manifestations perfectly optimally. The manifestations are about on par with most other corruptions', it's just that the contrast with druids and polymorph spells is especially obvious here. Many parties are going to show up the lycanthrope in what is supposed to be their specialty, and the Wolf Man's plot doesn't work very well if turning into an animal when you get in a fight is relatively common.

Possessed are intensely metagame-y. You are possessed by an evil spirit or a second personality that is struggling for control of your body. Every time you go to sleep, every time you are subjected to a laundry list of combat conditions (confused, stunned, dazed, and major fears), every time you use one of about half of your manifestations, that spirit gains a point of influence over you. If you rack up five points, you have to make a will save or the spirit takes over for a day and advances your corruption a stage, shifting your alignment a step towards its own. (Not necessarily towards evil.) This is a daily tally, however - every sunrise your total resets back to 1.

This is both a crunchy, mechanic-focused corruption and fishmalk heaven. Half of your manifestations' gifts and stains get more powerful from more influence points or only kick in when your influence is high enough. Some even give you special powers at the cost of increasing influence. Some of them involve bonuses or penalties tied to ridiculous overacting. It's possibly playable if the player has a keen eye for metagaming out whether they're likely to face stunning enemies later in the day, but as a GM I can't imagine actually wanting the hassle of dealing with a possessed PC.

Prometheans are wasting away, and the only way they can stay alive is to cut off parts of their body and replace them with artificial parts, powered by magic or exotic technology. Going to zero HP or failing a fort save means you need to take a fort save against wasting away. If you're wasting away, you have three days to replace another part of your body with artificial parts (adding a corruption stage and shifting your alignment towards neutral) or you'll die.

They do offer reasons why normal healing magic isn't sufficient and how you ended up in this situation, but they land hollow for me. The idea that technology is inherently dehumanizing is hardly new. However, I can't buy that this vaguely described magical technology is dehumanizing when the clearly explained, rigidly defined magic that PCs deal with every day isn't. Again, this is trying to fit something out of genre for D&D: handwaving away disease and long-term physical harm is something spellcasters do with trivial effort at mid levels.

In any case, a promethean character is more machine now than man, twisted and... well... neutral, and both tougher and prone to lapsing into barely-controlled rages. This has an obvious minmaxing path: almost all of the manifestations are aimed at a melee character, and both the trigger for gaining corruption stages and the save to prevent getting them is based on fort. The main possible hangups are that there's nothing but GM mercy to prevent frequent fort saves, and the Berserk Fury manifestation often involves the never-fun, always-disruptive frenzied-berserker-style uncontrollable rage that makes no distinction between friend and foe.

I just can't take Shadowbound seriously.

Look at this poo poo. The gnome bard has carved a skull into his chest. He's wearing a spiked collar. The entire corruption is about losing all hope and making will saves to avoid the compulsion to destroy something beautiful or terrorize people (which adds corruption stages, of course). I guess it's supposed to be about turning into a shadow or something but the manifestations all have names like "Wretched Pain" and "Regretful Gaze" and "Emptiness of the Void". Basically you are supernaturally depressing and make other people scared and depressed. If you wanted rules for getting bitten by a member of Linkin Park, here they are.

Vampirism is caused by being bitten by a vampire. Obviously. Vampiric corruption is will save based and it's more or less a copy-paste of the rules for ghoul corruption progression only instead of flesh you need to drain blood, doing some CON damage. This copy-paste leaves out some important topics: chiefly, there's no discussion of whether you're okay to drain your party members or not. Both vampires and ghouls get a corruption stage (and in so doing, alignment shift towards evil) from feeding on someone innocent, but ghouls eat corpses. Vampires can safely drain other party members - lesser restoration can patch up blood loss - but it isn't clear if that counts as feeding on an "innocent sentient creature". There's also no discussion of whether or not you can drain blood from someone who's recently dead, whether you can store blood, etc. This is notable because ghoul corruption did discuss this, albeit briefly.

In any case, vampirism is about as manageable as ghoul corruption, and the manifestations have much more practical stains. They are inconvenient, but as long as you don't do something silly like taking the high-level manifestation that causes you to be staggered (or, later, burst into flames) when exposed to sunlight, you'll mostly end up stuck with vampire taboos, like holy water, garlic, and being invited to enter a home.

In the end, it doesn't even matter

There is, in theory, a neat design concept in corruption: players try to minmax their way out of the worst of turning into a horrible monster, mirroring their characters' struggle to cope with the same. I don't hate that idea. In practice, corruptions are undermined by the fact that the trap options are just too punishing. Some corruptions, like Deep One and Hellbound, are going to set their character sheets on fire before they even gain a level. Other corruptions, like Accursed and Hive, have manifestations with penalties that are so punishing that you might as well retire any character who ends up with a "bonus" that means they can't ever speak the truth or automatically destroy all of their equipment. Even relatively playable and well-conceived corruptions like Ghoul have at least one manifestation that cuts off the PC from a large number of possible adventures.

I can't help but sense a sort of punitive impulse behind this system. In vanilla Pathfinder, turning into a vampire or a lycanthrope isn't all that bad! You get a bunch of bonuses, and, yeah, you're an inhuman murderous monster, but lots of adventures involve wandering around and killing things anyway - who cares if you're furry while you do it? Savage Species and 3e's ECL system (IIRC introduced after the core rulebooks but before 3.5 and SS, I'm honestly not sure when) even attempted to present being a werewolf or half-demon as a balanced character option. 3e's ECL was deliberately underpowered to discourage monster squad play (and was not ever revived by Paizo for Pathfinder), and I feel like this system is too. Corruptions work as a curse the PCs want to get rid of ASAP, but, despite being presented similarly to class talents, feats, and other options players would want to choose for their characters, they are almost always bad. Nobody is going to want to play a lich corrupted character for the twelve levels it takes to earn Master of the Dead - and even if they do, Master of the Dead is going to be a huge disappointment unless they minmax the heck out of the skeleton or zombie monster templates. The back of this book promises, "Corruptions that can turn your character into a powerful monster," but instead delivers a system that is an almost wholly negative curse.

Some Good Ol'-Fashioned Racism

It seems like every single Pathfinder book has "alternate racial traits" and "favored class options." Alternate racial traits replace the +1 to basketweaving that you normally get from being a dwarf for +1 to macrame. Favored class options replace the +1 HP or skill point you'd get as a benny for not multiclassing with some equally trivial bonus, like "+1/2 bonus on Strength checks to break objects and on sunder combat maneuver checks when under the effects of a mutagen that increases the alchemist’s Strength or Constitution score." They're super fiddly nonsense that chews up pagecount and generates huge option paralysis in anyone who isn't totally onboard with Pathfinder's profusion of options for every tiny thing you might write on your character sheet. None of these criticisms are particular to Horror Adventures: this filler chaff is in pretty much every player-facing Pathfinder book.

What is worth criticizing is how little any of this has to do with horror. Some of the traits give bonuses related to monsters or spells the creators think are somehow especially creepy. Dwarves can hate undead instead of giants. Elves can get a bonus on fear spells. A depressing number of traits are related to having an ancestor who was something creepy. Humans can be descended from deep ones or trolls. Half-elves can be descended from space elves(???). When they do try to add "horrifying" traits, they are a mess. For example, halflings can take "creepy doll," which lets them pretend to be a creepy doll. It's impossibly even less useful than it sounds.

The absolute worst is "deep jungle", an alternate racial trait for halflings. Deep jungle halflings don't speak Common, but can use blowguns and poison. I don't want to know who thought publishing a racial stereotype of actual black people was a good idea, nor do I especially want to play with anyone who thinks it's a good idea. It would be easy to miss, if not for the fact that a deep jungle halfling is illustrated on the facing page.

It could be worse, but that doesn't make it better.

Next: That Isn't What Archetype Means

Cease to Hope fucked around with this message at 06:20 on May 12, 2017

Apr 8, 2009

The one thing that bugs me about the Coalition being fascists is their whole 'we deliberately keep people illiterate' shtick.

Traditionally, even non-democratic nations loved mass literacy, because mass literacy means you can quickly, cheaply, and easily put pro-you propaganda everywhere and easily educate the young, which includes teaching them all the propaganda about how D-Bees and wizards are bad and will probably kill you if you don't do your chores.

It seems like if you wanted to make the Coalition even just a little nuanced, in the sense that "yeah it's made of actual people, not cartoon villains, but it's still evil and a net bad thing which needs to be destroyed eventually" the first thing you'd lose is the mass illiteracy. It makes even less sense in a world where if you aren't going to learn wizardry or psychic powers, technological familiarity and mass production is the only thing saving you from being eaten by demons since you sure as gently caress ain't gonna kill one of them with a non-Mega-Damage spear and some guts.


Jan 10, 2013

The time for
has come!
That would require to actually think through some of those things, and from what can be gleamed about Kevin S. that is just highly unlikely. If anything, he has a very particular, if not downright specific view of how RIFTS and the Coalition should look like, and nothing should ever come between him and that, or there´ll be doom to be had for all around.

Kinda sad really. Even from a grown up perspective, a good way to bring all the elements we loved as children together sounds like a rad idea, but it´s so deeply marred by its execution by the hands of mediocrity. And no, Savage Rifts isn´t better, it still requires Savage Worlds, a system marred by it´s own problems. Sorry, just my 2c.

Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.
Did anyone ask for more horror movie cliché countries? No one? Well, I'm doing it anyway!

Darkon is by far the largest realm in the Core, the most cosmopolite, the most diverse and the one with the most magic. It's the only realm to touch both seas. Boasting a population of 117 300, with a mere 75% human, it also includes 14% Halflings, 5% Gnomes and 3% Elves. Half-elves and Dwarves make up 1% of the population each. This is the basic D&D fantasy realm. It is ruled by the wizard-king Azalin Rex, recently returned after missing for 5 years. While the wizard-king prefers to study magic over politics, he has been moving to restore order after his return. Each major settlement is ruled by a Baron, who can freely name vassals, set local laws, control trade and appoint magistrates. Despite rarely appearing in public, the hand of Azalin is felt throughout the realm through his powerful secret police: the Kargat. Immune to Baronial law, they answer only to Azalin himself.

Dementlieu is one of the most scientifically and culturally advanced realms in the Core (CL 9). Despite it's small size, it's a bustling trade hub, thanks to it's many ports and well-traveled highways. The population counts 13600 people (94% human, 3% halfling). Arcane magic is accepted as a fact of life, but is seen mere distractions and entertainment, not a respectable pursuit. The realm is ruled by a Lord-Governor elected by the nobility, who then selects his Council of Brilliance to advise him. The current Governor is Marcel Guignol. The aristocracy is powerful, but has a long-standing tradition of providing for the needy, leading to the creation and maintenance of a food and housing network for the poor. Literacy is also almost universal. Despite this, the lower classes still suffer from desperate poverty and unspeakable crime, while the nobility believe their generosity gives them the right to abuse the poor as they wish. The realm is basically not-19th Century France, for all you fans of Les Misérables and Fantomas.

Interesting note: the capital of Port-a-Lucine is home to Alanik Ray, the famous detective.

Next: More realms, as I cover them through short posts instead of big walls of text to keep myself going.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

DragonMech: Steam Warriors: No really this is a prestige class and not a template.

The Necroborg is what happens when a steamorg decides they want to give up their humanity but not in the same way as the Assimilated. Instead, they want to become zombie cyborgs. They tend to pay necromancers to do this to them rather than learning magic themselves, however, and technically they are only partially undead at first after emerging from the Ritual of the Iron Death. Most necroborgs believe the ritual dates back to the First Age of Walkers, but no one can actually prove that. Fortunately for everyone, there aren't many of them. They have a d10 hit die. To become one, you need BAB +4, Con 15, Wis 13, Cha 13, 6 ranks of Craft (mechcraft) and the feats Great Fortitude and Iron Will. Also, you need +3 points worth of artificial parts, the Lose Self class feature and you must have lost sense of your humanity, as per the Assimilated. Also, you must find a necromancer to perform the Ritual of Iron Death for you, which takes a wizard able to cast Create Undead and 1000 gp worth of components, and also nvolves a Wis save to avoid Wis damage permanently. Your class skills are Balance, Climb, Craft (mechcraft), Disable Device, Heal, Jump, Knowledge (arcana), Knowledge (steam engines), Listen, Profession (engineer) and Spot. You get half decet BAB, good Fort and good Will, and you very slowly gain new artificial parts and steam powers.

At 1st level, your transformation has started. You get +4 to all saves vs negative energy, mind-affected effects, poison, sleep, paralysis, stunning and disease, and you reduce the crit multiplier of all weapons used against you by 1, to a minimum of x2. You also gain darkvision 60, and can no longer be affected by the Raise Dead or similar spells. Also, you are gaunt and pale and disturbing and so get -4 to all Cha-based skill checks except Intimidate. At level 2, you no longer need to eat, and you only need twice as much water as a normal human rather than four times as much, for as long as your steam engine is running. After 5th level, you heal normally for living creatures as long as your engine consumes at least 5 pounds of coal per day. At level 4, you get the Necroborg Engine steam power. It animates dead bodies as smoking dead under your control, and it takes up a slot when used, as normal.

At level 5, you complete your undead transformation in a painful process that takes 5 days of helpless agony. Once it's over, your type changes to Undead, rather than Humanoid, and you are now immune to mind-affecting effects, crits, poison, disease, stunning and paralysis. Your number of potential artificial parts, previously limited by Con, is now unlimited. At level 7, you can now use the blood of your foes to grease your engine. This requires the victim be immobile and you spend a full round action cutting them. They make a Fort save with DC based on your level and Cha bonus, and if they fail, they take 1d4 Con damage and you get 10 temporary HP for 10 minutes. At level 8, you can now create a Necroborg Harness steam power, which works as per the Necroborg Engine except it creates meat racks instead of smoking dead. At level 10, your hands grow claws, even if they're artificial. These claws are natural weapons that deal 1d6 damage and have 20/x2 crit. Any creature struck by them must make a Fort save or take 1d4 Con damage.

The Steam Monster is a steamborg that has lost touch with humanity and decided 'you know what? I want to be a goblin dog.' They aren't revolting like necroborgs, but they are crazy by steamborg standards and often want to leave humanoid society behind to live with animals anyway - though that rarely works out, because, you know, cyborg with steam engine. Most are former rangers who were crippled by injury rather than people who sought out implants by choice. They have a d8 HD. To become one, you need BAB +3, 6 ranks of Knowledge (nature) and 6 ranks of Survival. You also need +3 points worth of artificial parts, the Lose Self class ability and to have lost yourself, as above. Your class skills are Balance, Climb, Craft (mechcraft), Handle Animal, Heal, Jump, Knowledge (nature), Knowledge (steam engines), Listen, Profession (engineer), Spot and Survival. You get half-decent BAB, good Fort and Ref and are always proficient with anything implanted in your body. You also slowly gain new artificial parts.

You also get a -2 penalty to all Cha skill checks besides Intimidate and Handle Animal because you look scary and monstrous. However, at levels 1, 5 and 9 you get a Monster Part - essentially, a variant form of articial implant that replaces part of your body with an obviously inhuman part that guves you some new ability rather than a simple bonus. The options are below, and to get anything marked 2 or 3, you need the preceding steps in the tree. Monster parts can never be changed out, and count as artificial parts for rust effect resistance. Also, starting at 3rd level, when you fail a lose self check, you become feral and animalistic rather than mechanical, taking -4 to all Int-based skill checks and trying to satisfy your primal urges or running wild outdoors until you come back to yourself.

  • Aquatic 1: You can breathe water and stay underwater for an hour before your engine breaks down. You do not float, but you get low-light vision and immunity to any damage form being submerged in cold water.
  • Aquatic 2: You can now float and swim like a normal being. You gain the Aquatic subtype, the Amphibious special ability, a swim speed of 20 feet and can stay underwater for 6 hours before your engine breaks down.
  • Aquatic 3: You can stay underwater indefinitely now. Your swim speed increases to 30 feet and you gain Darkvision 60.
  • Burrow 1: You get a burrow speed of 5 feet and Darkvision 30.
  • Burrow 2: Your burrow speed increases to 10 feet and your Darkvision to 60.
  • Climbing 1: You get a climb speed of 20 feet and can make rope-like silk strands at a rate of 10 feet per round. Your rope supports 100 pounds of weight per class level and you can make it as long as you aren't starving or dehydrated. It has 6 hp and 0 hardness.
  • Climbing 2: Your climb speed increases to 30. You can now attack people with silk webs - statistically, a net with max range increment of 50 and range increment 10, effective up to Large size targets. You can produce one web per day per point of Con mod. Also, the Escape Artist or Str check needed to break out is based on your class level, and webs can't be reused.
  • Damage Resistance: You get DR 2/- per point of monster part put into this.
  • Energy Resistance: For each point of monster part put into this, you get energy resistance equal to your class level against one type of energy (acid, cold, sonic, heat or electricity), which can each be taken only once and don't stack with any other energy resistance.
  • Four-Legged 1: You can run on hands and knees at speed, as long as your hands are empty. When doing so, you get +20 speed. You also get +10 to Jump checks.
  • Four-legged 2: You are now a robo-centaur. You get your speed bonus at all times and can use your hands while doing so, and the bonus becomes +30. Any armor you wear must be custom-fitted and costs twice as much as normal, and you can no longer ride horses or other mounts without extreme effort.
  • Natural Weapon 1: You get either a bite or claw attack. Claws do 1d6 and grant the Pounce ability (allowing you to make a full attack after a charge, but only when using claws), while bites do 1d8 and grant a free action trip attack against anyone you hit with the bite, which cannot be turned on you and doesn't provoke AoOs. You may take this twice to get both.
  • Natural Weapon 2: The damage of your atural weapons increases by one die type. Claws allow you to use the Rake ability (you can make two claw attacks while grappling) and bite allows you to use the Improved Grab ability (you can start a grapple as a free action with no AoOs against you if you hit with a bite).
  • Tentacle 1: You have a tentacle. It can attack for 1d4 damage and increases your reach by 5 feet when using it as a weapon. It canot be used for fine manipulation or hold a weapon, but can pick things up or grab ledges or so on. You get the Improved Grab ability with your tentacle attack. You can take this more than once for more tentacles, which are treated as secondary natural attacks and take a -5 attack penalty without the Multiattack feat, which reduces that to -2.
  • Tentacle 2: Your tentacle damage increases by one die type. You get the Constrict ability with your tentacle(s) (you do your normal tentacle damage with each successful grapple check).
  • Wings 1: You have a big pair of wings that let you glide but not fly. You can move 10 feet horizontally for every 5 feet moved down vertically and you are immune to fall damage while conscious.
  • Wings 2: You can fly with a speed of 20 feet and poor maneuverability.
  • Wings 3: Your fly speed is 30 feet and you have average maneuverability.

The Steam Weapon Adept is a specialist in using steam weapons. They have a d10 hit die. To become one, you need BAB +5, Str 13 and 5 ranks of Knowledge (steam engines). Your class skills are Climb, Craft, Intimidate, Jump, Knowledge (steam engines) and Mech Pilot. You get good BAB and Fort, along with proficiency with all personal-scale steam weapons and offensive steam powers you maintain yourself. Also, all light, medium, heavy and hydraulic armor.

First, you get the Build Up power, which allows you not attack with a steam weapon for one round to improve its damage the next. If you do this, the built up attack, if it hits, automatically deals max damage. Second, you add your class level to all Knowledge (steam engines) checks dealing with steam weaponry (which doesn't stack with Coglayer machine empathy, if you have that). At 2nd, 4th, 5th, 7th, 8th and 10th level, you can master one steam weapon of your choice, gaining the Weapon Focus feat for that weapon if you didn't have it already and giving you special powers for the weapon. Buzzsaw mastery means anyone that takes damage from your buzzsaw must make a Fort save if they do any vigorous activity within 10 rounds. If they fail, they take 1d3 damage. Further, you can add your Str bonus to attack and damage with a buzzsaw. Chattersword mastery allows you to 'bounce' your weapon off hard surfaces once per encounter to immediately reroll a missed attack at a -5 penalty. Flame nozzle mastery adds your Steam Weapon Adept level to the Ref save DC to avoid being set on fire. Hydraulic armor mastery means that when in hydraulic armor you reduce the armor check penalty to -6 and get a +2 stability bonus (so a total of +6) against bull rushes and similar. Also, you can put on the armor in 15 minutes, unaided, or half that with help. Lobster claw mastery adds your Steam Weapon Adept level to the DC to avoid being grappled by the claw. Steam gun mastery lets you fire your steam gun every round, but at half range and damage if you fire it after it was fired last round. This applies to all steam gun variants, but not steam cannons. Steambreather mastery adds 5 feet of range. The GM is told to work with the player to invent masteries for other weapons but, if all else fails, to just give Weapon Focus and Weapon Specialization feats.

At level 3, 6 and 9, you get the ability to maintain a steam power as if you were a coglayer or steamborg. You can't make it unless you have another class that lets you do so, but once made, you can maintain it indefinitely as long as you spend an hour each day doing so. At 5th level, you get the Craft Steam Gear feat if you didn't have it.

Next time: More cyborgs, and un-cyborgs.

Dec 10, 2007


See, while the attempts at enforced horror are dumb, the setting itself is cool, and I like learning details about it.

EDIT: also, that necroborg is totally a Necron ripoff.

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007


I never played Ravenloft as by the time I heard about it I was pretty much over D&D.
But the idea of a bunch of different themed lands surrounded by mists and ruled by darklords seemed like it could be great.

Halloween Jack
Sep 12, 2003

La morte non ha sesso
Ravenloft is another tragedy of a neat setting crammed into a very overgrown and inflexible AD&d mold.

As someone who was weaned on White Wolf, I looked across the aisle at Ravenloft and was just sort of aghast, like I wondered why people felt the need for all these charts and weird stats I couldn't make head or tail of, to play a gothic horror game.

Edit: And I'm not saying I was entirely right; I had a pretty snotty attitude towards anything D&D related when I was a teenager.

Halloween Jack fucked around with this message at 16:14 on May 12, 2017

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Ravenloft suffers from being D&D and being forced into D&D-shaped holes. The actual setting material is often decent to good, with some glaring exceptions.

Oct 5, 2010

Lipstick Apathy

Mors Rattus posted:

Ravenloft suffers from being D&D and being forced into D&D-shaped holes. The actual setting material is often decent to good, with some glaring exceptions.

D&D is good, with a few exceptions

(I'm so very sorry)

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007


Once again, reality is way crazier than fantasy.

Halloween Jack
Sep 12, 2003

La morte non ha sesso
The more I learn about not only contemporary politics, but history in general, the more lenient I am about seemingly improbable historical events and situations in RPGs.

Oh, speaking of which, I forgot some poo poo:

PurpleXVI posted:

The issue is that it's largely a myth that fascist governments have any of those traits. Once you've got a government like that, it's going to be staffed based on cronyism, nepotism and ideological purity rather than merit, and it's going to be pure luck if those people also actually know how to do their goddamn jobs. There's a reason that most autocracies and their like are embattled and full of starving, miserable people as well as major crises at every level.

The only thing fascists are ever competent at is catchy propaganda.

Cythereal posted:

Yes, and my point is that making a fascist government actually efficient and well-organized would go a long way towards explaining how one can stay in power with popular support in a fictional setting, especially one of the post-apocalyptic variety. There's a reason almost every fascist government in real life has fallen apart, and most of them rather quickly.

FMguru posted:

Another big problem with autocracies and totalitarian governments is that the leader often structures them with multiple competing power groups (to prevent any underling from amassing a large enough power base to challenge him). People fight with each other for the resources and power and the leader's attention, which leads to enormous duplication and wastes of resources and internal sabotage. The nazis were really good for this, as it had several whole competing armies (not just the Regular Army and the SS, but even things like the Lufwaffe having 800,000 of its own ground troops) each with its own doctrine and procurement and organizational structure and equipment and chains of command. That was a lot of things, but efficient like a well-oiled machine wasn't one of them.
I think an element that's missing here is that fascist governments arose as a collusion between the Fascist Party and existing power elites--often for-profit corporations--to squelch class conflict by enlisting the public in a xenophobic nationalist movement. Fascism tends to fall apart because the Party leaders cannot form any sort of coherent economic plan, and because an aggressive warmongering stance must eventually explode into a destructive war. They also give positions of authority to useless cranks who spout the right fashionable nonsense (Darre, Lysenko, Gorka).

North Korea is probably the best example we have of an arguably fascist state that has persisted for decades. Kim il Sung established one-man rule through exactly the kind of let's-you-and-him-fight that FMguru describes, and the country has been on a perpetual wartime footing without actually going to war--since the Korean War, which was vastly destructive and nothing but awful for the DPRK. But the DPRK has always relied on massive external aid, first from the Soviets, now from a council of developed nations who don't want to foot the bill to rehabilitate the country when the regime inevitably collapses.

Anyway. The Coalition is in a position where they have all the external threats they need to mask class conflict and other internal pressures. It's a humanocentric barracks state that sees itself as perpetually under siege from monsters and wizards and poo poo, and unlike the threat of Jewish Bolshevism, it's not imaginary.

One thing I find striking about the Coalition is that it is absolutely not a "coalition," but a top-down autocracy that is absolutely opposed to coalitions of interests within its society. Much like the Nazis were not socialists at all and hated communism as much as they hated Jews.

Halloween Jack fucked around with this message at 17:20 on May 12, 2017

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Well, except insofar as all of the alien invaders consider them a laughable footnote.


Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.

Grimey Drawer

Mors Rattus posted:

Ravenloft suffers from being D&D and being forced into D&D-shaped holes. The actual setting material is often decent to good, with some glaring exceptions.

Ravenloft is your writer friend's attempt to create a campaign world, and make you play D&D like you're Supposed To. Lots of genre tropes, way too much opportunity for loss of character control, and stupid systems that punish you for playing 'traditional' murderhobo D&D.

Oh, and a central conceit that encourages him to hijack your regular campaign and characters and drag them all off to a place that you literally can't goddamn leave until he's good and ready.

The one offshoot box, basically Cthulhu by Gaslight using AD&D and the custom character class rules from the DMG, was even more baffling.

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