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Kavak
Aug 23, 2009


When was this book written?

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Green Intern
Dec 29, 2008

Loon, Crazy and Laughable

Mors Rattus posted:

Wasn't there a DOG COMMANDOS tv show?

No(I think), but there was Road Rovers.

Edit: Ah, I see someone else has us covered.


Holy poo poo, that video watermark.

Green Intern fucked around with this message at 02:07 on May 19, 2017

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.
I've had an annoying headache all day, but I somehow managed to write a small Ravenloft post.



Outside of the Core, there are many smaller Clusters, usually of 2 or 3 Domains only. They can be reached through the various Mistways, or randomly whenever the Mists (aka the GM) feels like it.



The first Cluster we look at is The Amber Wastes, the desert one. There no seasons here, and the few who live there do so around oasis or wells.

Har'Akir
Har'Akir is an empty wasteland where once there was a thriving empire. Monuments and ruins are scatterred across the desert, and great tombs where ancient pharaohs sleep. The greatest is the tomb of Pharaoh Ankhtepot, legendary for his cruelty. Only one oasis exists in Har'Akir, near the small village of Mubar. The villagers take great pains to control this precious resource. Clerics rule over the small population, a pale shadow of the organization that once advised Pharaohs. The high priestess of Osiris, Snefu, is a stern woman with decadent tastes. Slavery is accepted in Har'Akir, and almost a third of the population are slaves. For the longest time the Domain was isolated, but tales of the buried treasures have recently reached the Core and many foolish adventurers could come and try to plunder the land.

Pharazia
Pharazia is a land of endless deserts, with a few rare oasis and muddy rivers helping the population survive. In the heart of the Domain is the city of Phiraz, the jewel of the desert. A large city with streets filled with many vendors, the inhabitants are nonetheless fearful. They are ruled by Diamabel, an angelic creature with feathered wings who demands perfect obedience to his edicts. Supposedly a celestial agent sent to teach the right word, though, and deed to humanity, no one knows where Diamabel really comes from or what God, if any, he follows. Confessors, wearing white and wielding scourges, patrol the streets accompanied by warrior zealots. At night, the mysterious Black Herald, said to be the embodiment of Diamabel's vengeance, slays the worst transgressors. In the desert, nomads who refuse to bow down to Diamabel have united under the leadership of Sheikh Allahn el Rashaan, a cunning warrior who leads thanks to his charisma, wealth and battle prowess.

Sebua
Between Pharazia and Har'Akir stands Sebua and the Valley of Death. The Valley is full of empty tombs and ruined temples to ancient gods. The Red Oasis swarms with mosquitoes. Black storm clouds gather over the valley and burst into torrential rain late at night. The city of Anhalla stands ruiend by time and the desert. Angry baboons occupy the city, as well as mysterious wild children. Speaking only their own unique wildspeak, these savage children fight and survive in this harsh land. Strangely, no one knows where they come from or why no one has seen them age after years. On the outskirts of Anhalla, a magnificent walled estate still stands untouched by the slow death that is gradually claiming the city. Travelers have reported hearing sweet music and laughter floating over the walls, but none has ever glimpsed the festivities within and returned. Outsiders rarely venture into Sebua, despite the resources such as water, food and minerals that can be found within, or the treasures that could be found in the Valley of Death. They are many monsters supposedly haunting the dunes of Sebua, such as the Scabrous One.

Next: We got from hot to cold.

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012
Pharazia and Diamabel are a little on the nose, but I do like that idea. Divine entities can be a good source of horror.

Wapole Languray
Jul 4, 2012



Life Paths!

Itís time to roll a mess of dice! Well, a D20 several times at least. First, letís remember what we have so far:

Character Sheet posted:

Race: Nemean
Culture: Nubia
Profession: Warrior

INT: +0 PER: +0
WIL: +0 CHA: +2
STR: +1 DEX: +0
CON: +1 SPD: +0
CR: +4 MR: -2

HP: 20
WR: +1

Skills
Athletics +4, Evade +9, Instinct +5, Lore (survival, Savannah) +1, Parry +6, Speak Language (Atlantean) +3, Speak Language (Khem) +10, Profession (slayer) +10, Unarmed Fighting +7, Weapon (playerís choice) +10, Weapon (players choice) +4, Weapon (melee) +4

Racial Abilities
  • Natural Weapons: Bite DR4, Claws DR3 (Armor Piercing). If first attack of round, claws can be used to attack twice without penalty.

  • Lord of the Beast-men: Bonus of (3 x CHA) to social interactions with other Andamen.

  • Beast Language: Bonus of (CHA) to Animal Handling Skill used with canine, feline, aquatic, or avian life.

  • Lionís Roar: Usable (CON) times per day. Either provide allies bonus of (2x CHA) to one dice roll or force enemies to perform WIL roll (DoD 3x CHA), if failed receive penalty of (CHA) for (CON+1) rounds.

Talents
  • Cleave: Can use (CR) times per day. When you deal at least half your weaponís DR to an opponent, can hit additional opponents in range. Keep original attack roll. All hits do half damage. Subsequent hits only succeed if Full or Critical success, partials count as failure. Critical hits and special effects only apply to initial target. Can hit number of enemies equal to (CR).

Inventory: Full Suit of Medium armor, two weapons of choice, a horse, Travelers Gear

Now letís get started going down the lifepaths!

Upbringing
This is the first roll, and all characters get to do it. First, you choose whether your characterís Upbringing would be considered Civilized, Rural, or Savage. As our Nemean is a Nubian, a people who mostly live as nomadic hunter-gatherer bands the best fit would be Savage. That gives us a bonus of Unarmed Fighting +2 and Instinct +3, before we roll. And letís do just that! Roll them bonesÖ.

Nat-20! Which is the 19-20 result: Child of a Warband Leader. Gain +1 Influence.

Hm, fits quite well. Possibly our Nemeanís parent was a captain or other officer in one of the Mercenary bands from Nubia. But, letís move on toÖ

Childhood Encounter
A less impressive name that what it means: The event that propels our character from Zero to Hero. Itís essentially some notable important event that marks your character as special and destined for greater things. Our result is:

9, You saw something, then 8, Witnessed the death of a parent you were helpless to stop.

Family Status
This is the next one, and the last for our characterís early-life. This is how our family is seen by both others and the Gods.

We roll a 3, Entire family killed in a great war.

Early Life Summary

Character Sheet posted:

Name: Babirye
Race: Nemean
Culture: Nubia
Profession: Warrior

INT: +0 PER: +0
WIL: +0 CHA: +2
STR: +1 DEX: +0
CON: +1 SPD: +0
CR: +4 MR: -2

HP: 20
WR: +1

Skills
Athletics +4, Evade +9, Instinct +8, Lore (survival, Savannah) +1, Parry +6, Speak Language (Atlantean) +3, Speak Language (Khem) +10, Profession (slayer) +10, Unarmed Fighting +9, Weapon (playerís choice) +10, Weapon (players choice) +4, Weapon (melee) +4, Influence +1

Racial Abilities
  • Natural Weapons: Bite DR4, Claws DR3 (Armor Piercing). If first attack of round, claws can be used to attack twice without penalty.

  • Lord of the Beast-men: Bonus of (3 x CHA) to social interactions with other Andamen.

  • Beast Language: Bonus of (CHA) to Animal Handling Skill used with canine, feline, aquatic, or avian life.

  • Lionís Roar: Usable (CON) times per day. Either provide allies bonus of (2x CHA) to one dice roll or force enemies to perform WIL roll (DoD 3x CHA), if failed receive penalty of (CHA) for (CON+1) rounds.

Talents
  • Cleave: Can use (CR) times per day. When you deal at least half your weaponís DR to an opponent, can hit additional opponents in range. Keep original attack roll. All hits do half damage. Subsequent hits only succeed if Full or Critical success, partials count as failure. Critical hits and special effects only apply to initial target. Can hit number of enemies equal to (CR).

Inventory: Full Suit of Medium armor, two weapons of choice, a horse, Travelers Gear

Child of a Warband Leader
Witnessed the death of a parent you were helpless to stop
Entire family killed in a great war

Previous Adventures

Now, our character is considered to have come of age, and started their life. The Previous Adventures section is split into several Life Paths: High Adventure, The Mage, The Priest, The Rogue, The Sailor, The Scholar, and The Warrior. You can pick up to five paths to roll on, and can pick the same multiple times. Each path takes a variable number of years to accomplish, affecting your characterís starting age.

Each path also has a sub table of events, noting a specific occurance that happened during your time: Scholarly Pursuit, Battle, Enemy, Relationship, Great Fortune, Tragedy, or a Special Event unique to that path.

So, letís go through a full 5, using a random number generator for any decisions as well. So, first let's pick 5 paths in order:
4: The Rogue, 3 Years
7: The Warrior, 1 Year
1: High Adventure, 6 Years
5: The Sailor, 4 Years
2: The Scholar, 3 Years

A nice spread of results, By the by, the Time for High Adventure is always doubled.

The Rogue, 34 Years

This represents time spent as a rogue, rapscallion, criminal, and general neíer do well. For picking this path, your character gets +1 Stealth.

We get 17 for the General Event, indicating a Rogue Special Event!

12: Crime does pay. You have spent 4 years in prison and learned from the best criminal
masterminds the known world has seen. Gain +1 in any skill you see fit. Instead of
rolling for age, add four years.

So, thatíll retroactively make the time spent 4 years, but a free +1 to anything we want is nothing to sneeze at. Plus, now we got Prison Pals! Like any GM can resist throwing in some guys from the slammer to complicate an adventure, toss out a plothook via favor owed, or to be invoked by the Hero as a resource or NPC connection.

The Warrior, 1 Year
Time spent as a fightman, warrior, mercenary, protector of the weak, caravan guard, etc. For picking this path, you get +1 Weapon Skill of your choice.

Appropriately we roll a 9, giving us the Battle result:

11: Battled alongside the great Nubian warrior Shabataka. He taught you the art of
misdirection and evasion. Gain +1 Evade.

So, another bonus to a very useful combat skill, and another connection to an NPC, this time named even.

High Adventure, 6 Years

High Adventure represents going out and doing typical PC stuff, exploring, having big adventures, etc. This path gives you a +1 to any skill of your choice.

We get a 2, for Scholarly Pursuits:

5: Found a golden, mechanical bird that whistles bits of wisdom. Heís become your constant
companion and grants you +4 to any ancient history lore roll when he is around.

Holy poo poo we got a Bubo!



Aww yeah, robot bird buddy with possible mysterious connections to ancient civilizations, effective skill in a useful adventuring Lore category, and the dang thing is basically an adventure dispenser for any half-competent GM.

The Sailor, 4 Years
Much more of the world is covered in ocean than in the modern days, and sailing is the number one way to get around. Itís sailing, spending time on the sea. You get a +1 Pilot (Sailing) for picking this one.

We get a 14, for Great Fortune!

10: Befriended by a Veddan prince and given one of his fastest horses. (+4 to its SPD)

Vedda is essentially an India-equivalent: Tropical caste-based society, from Jambu, the Asia-equivalent, and a major trading port. So, weíre buddies with a Prince, another nice NPC to throw into games, and we get a special super-horse. +4 SPD is insane bonus-wise for an attribute. By default a Riding Horse is SPD +4, so thatís a +8, equivalent in speed toÖ Well, itís faster than an Eagle can flyÖ Hell, your horse has a running speed equivalent to most ships, and definitely faster than pretty much every other animal natural or supernatural being in the world through sheer movement speed. Somethings have high speed, but thatís representing lightening fast strikes like cobras.

The Scholar, 3 years

This represents working as a philosopher, physician, academic, etc. a seeker of knowledge. This gives you a +1 Lore or Handicraft skill of your choice. We get a 6 for Enemy. THis is actually three table rolls:

We get 19, a Naga, one of the nobility of the Ophidians, a race of evil hearted and sorcerous serpent-men.

Then we get a 7, they are our enemy because we are fated to kill them.

And then a 10, indicating that they want us dead.

So, as a acting as a scholar of some sort, weíve made an enemy of a magical snake-man who wants us dead to thwart some prophecy foretelling their death.

So letís tally up everything:

+1 Stealth, +1 Skill of Choice, +1 Weapon Skill of Choice, +1 Evade, +1 Skill of Choice, a Magic Golden Bird, +1 Pilot (Sailing), a horse with +4 SPD, and +1 Lore or Handicraft of choice.

Letís try and resolve some of those: From Prison Iíll say we learned a bit more Stealth skills, to bump that up to a +2. For the High Adventure skill choice, Iíll decideÖ we tried our hand as a tomb-robber and ruin explorer, giving is a +1 to Lore (Ancient History) which matches well with our bird-bud. The Weapon skills Iíll finalize when we get to picking equipment, and the Lore or Handicraft I think Iíll but into Lore (Ancient History) to give us a bit more of an adventure-archeologist feel.

So letís see the changes:

Character Sheet posted:

Name: Babirye
Race: Nemean
Culture: Nubia
Profession: Warrior

INT: +0 PER: +0
WIL: +0 CHA: +2
STR: +1 DEX: +0
CON: +1 SPD: +0
CR: +4 MR: -2

HP: 20
WR: +1

Skills
Stealth +2, Lore (Ancient History) +2, Athletics +4, Evade +10, Instinct +8, Lore (survival, Savannah) +1, Parry +6, Speak Language (Atlantean) +3, Speak Language (Khem) +10, Profession (slayer) +10, Unarmed Fighting +9, Weapon (playerís choice) +10, Weapon (players choice) +4, Weapon (melee) +4, Weapon (players choice) +1, Influence +1, Pilot (Sailing) +1

Racial Abilities
  • Natural Weapons: Bite DR4, Claws DR3 (Armor Piercing). If first attack of round, claws can be used to attack twice without penalty.

  • Lord of the Beast-men: Bonus of (3 x CHA) to social interactions with other Andamen.

  • Beast Language: Bonus of (CHA) to Animal Handling Skill used with canine, feline, aquatic, or avian life.

  • Lionís Roar: Usable (CON) times per day. Either provide allies bonus of (2x CHA) to one dice roll or force enemies to perform WIL roll (DoD 3x CHA), if failed receive penalty of (CHA) for (CON+1) rounds.

Talents
  • Cleave: Can use (CR) times per day. When you deal at least half your weaponís DR to an opponent, can hit additional opponents in range. Keep original attack roll. All hits do half damage. Subsequent hits only succeed if Full or Critical success, partials count as failure. Critical hits and special effects only apply to initial target. Can hit number of enemies equal to (CR).

Inventory: Full Suit of Medium armor, two weapons of choice, a fine horse gifted by a Veddan Prince, a golden mechanical bird (+4 Lore (Ancient History)), Travelers Gear
    Child of a Warband Leader

    Witnessed the death of a parent you were helpless to stop

    Entire family killed in a great war

    Spent 4 Years on the Path of the Rogue: Crime does pay. You have spent 4 years in prison and learned from the best criminal masterminds the known world has seen.

    Spent 1 Year on the Path of the Warrior: Battled alongside the great Nubian warrior Shabataka. He taught you the art of misdirection and evasion.

    Spent 6 Years on the Path of High Adventure: Found a golden, mechanical bird that whistles bits of wisdom. Heís become your constant companion and grants you +4 to any ancient history lore roll when he is around.

    Spent 4 Years on the Path of the Sailor: Befriended by a Veddan prince and given one of his fastest horses. (+4 to its SPD)

    Spent 3 Years on the Path of the Scholar: Made an enemy of a Naga, they are our enemy because we are fated to kill them and they wish to see us dead.

So thatís it for the LIfe Path system, next up is the final section, which covers point buy, derived stats, and other such things!

Wapole Languray fucked around with this message at 04:57 on May 20, 2017

The Lord of Hats
Aug 22, 2010

Hello, yes! Is being very good day for posting, no?
That lifepath system looks pretty great, in an 'actually good' way, not the 'this is completely bonkers' way that Central Casting is great.

Obligatum VII
May 5, 2014

Haunting you until no 8 arrives.

Wapole Languray posted:

Childhood Encounter
A less impressive name that what it means: The event that propels our character from Zero to Hero. Itís essentially some notable important event that marks your character as special and destined for greater things. Our result is:

9, You saw something, then 8, Witnessed the death of a parent you were helpless to stop.

So, basically Simba, given he's a lion-man?

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 5, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Rifts World Book 11: Coalition War Campaign Part Sixteen: "Like a playful cat, the monster will frequently toy with its prey, using hit and run tactics as well as hiding, playing dead and lurking from behind concealment or underwater, and so on. "

Monsters Common to the Burbs

So I bet you thought they couldn't fit some monsters in this book! That this book was about the Coalition, not monsters! Oh, you sweet strawman summer children. For some reason two of these things are huge predators that'd have a hard time hiding in a shantytown. Maybe all the Coalition patrols are nearsighted or something. "Looks like a big hamster to me, sir." "Oh, that's okay. Hamsters are adorable!"


"Yo."

Devil Sloth

Not really a devil or a sloth, this is a creature that's part bug, part bear (but not a bugbear) that tends to react violently to perceived threads, and it tends to perceive them anywhere. It also hates supernatural beings because and will lash out at them, too. It can be trained - badly - and are sometimes used by bloodsport arenas or Simvan Monster riders. They're big, strong, dumb animals which can do modest damage with their claws, and can take a ridiculous amount of damage (average 500 M.D.C.) for some reason and have a whopping Horror Factor of 15, making them scarier than gods in some cases.


Casey Jones, nooooo...!

Vampire Flat Worm

This is a large 4' to 10' giant leech, more or less - it attacks people for their blood and then tries to entangle them to keep them still, though it can feed from fresh corpses and animals. It's only S.D.C., though, so it's mostly a thread to Earth's native life. It has some natural sneaking skills and can sense heat; but it generally doesn't do or take much damage. Overall, it's not much of a threat to PCs, but it's at least interesting as a flavor creature to emphasize the crappiness of some Burbs.


Is it coming or going?

Spiny Ravager

This is a large, aggressive predator that often nests near the Burbs and then travels in to raid it for easy prey. Why doesn't it just eat deer?

:iiam:

Anyway, it's a 25'-60' weirdo predator that'll chase down vehicles and will go into a fighting frenzy and- well, it's the sort of generically aggressive monster you have in these sorts of games. It can lean around and also has a tiny sack with arms that are used to tear prey apart as Siembieda desperately tries to find reasoning behind Lawson's oddball designs. Apparently since they have no natural predators, their numbers are exploding and the Coalition is trying to deliberately exterminate them.

Also Simvan like riding them, since no big and scary animal can go by without that mention. Like the Devil Sloth, they're ridiculously tough, can "see the invisible and all spectrums of light", track via scent (particularly bloodbloodblood-), leap around, can't be surprised because of hearing, and actually does solid damage with its bite, a rarity in melee combat. It also has a 80% chance of pinning vehicles and people up to half its size. I like Lawson's design, but the description is woefully generic.

Next: X-Ray Photo of Prosek's Brain: INSANE.

Cassa
Jan 29, 2009
Sooooooo why do people wanna join the Coalition again if living in the slums is full of loving nightmares?

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.

Cassa posted:

Sooooooo why do people wanna join the Coalition again if living in the slums is full of loving nightmares?

They've got cool skull merch.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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



Cassa posted:

Sooooooo why do people wanna join the Coalition again if living in the slums is full of loving nightmares?
If I recall original RIFTS, life in the Coalition cities as an actual citizen is, first, distinguished by not having all this crazy poo poo around, and second, by a reasonable amount of material comfort - sort of like how in Paranoia's recent books it's noted in passing that, as much as Alpha Complex is a wacky bureaucratic hellscape, there are huge numbers of people in real life who would, with full knowledge of all of the quirks of Alpha Complex, probably opt to become an INFRARED if they could - because an INFRARED is guaranteed security, a bunk, a shower, doctoring, and all the Hot Fun they can cram in their mouth.

That said, being aware of this standard of living would require the Coalition to have a non-skull-based messaging program and I have seen no signs of this whatsoever. How would they even do it? They specifically disdain loving literacy.

It would honestly make more sense if some kind of Motorhead Demon that feeds on skulls and fascism is behind the Coalition, and their ability to sustain an industrial state is because L'e'mm'y is able to use his satanic majesty to produce raw materials or just truck it in from Hell.

gourdcaptain
Nov 16, 2012

Nessus posted:

If I recall original RIFTS, life in the Coalition cities as an actual citizen is, first, distinguished by not having all this crazy poo poo around, and second, by a reasonable amount of material comfort - sort of like how in Paranoia's recent books it's noted in passing that, as much as Alpha Complex is a wacky bureaucratic hellscape, there are huge numbers of people in real life who would, with full knowledge of all of the quirks of Alpha Complex, probably opt to become an INFRARED if they could - because an INFRARED is guaranteed security, a bunk, a shower, doctoring, and all the Hot Fun they can cram in their mouth.

That said, being aware of this standard of living would require the Coalition to have a non-skull-based messaging program and I have seen no signs of this whatsoever. How would they even do it? They specifically disdain loving literacy.

It would honestly make more sense if some kind of Motorhead Demon that feeds on skulls and fascism is behind the Coalition, and their ability to sustain an industrial state is because L'e'mm'y is able to use his satanic majesty to produce raw materials or just truck it in from Hell.

Yeah, the CS's economy makes... very little sense. My GM just runs with the idea that the CS is basically imploding from all the wars its started while doing stuff that's destroying its base of knowledgeable workers.

The idea I've seen floated in a book somewhere is that outside secured settlements life in Rifts Earth has a short life expectancy - due to all the insane MDC monsters and such running about, the average person outside of a walled settlement has a 30-odd year life expectancy. So places like the CS, despite being _awful_ are desirable just to keep from getting killed even if the interiors stink. (Mind you, almost anyone else is better than the CS in so many ways.) Also explains the appeal of Juicers and going into service as one to get your family somewhere safe, if your life is likely to be short anyway. Although again, I might be confusing my relatively sane GM's reading of things with canon, and most of Rifts is nowhere near this thoughtful about it.

Dareon
Apr 6, 2009

by vyelkin

Nessus posted:

That said, being aware of this standard of living would require the Coalition to have a non-skull-based messaging program and I have seen no signs of this whatsoever. How would they even do it? They specifically disdain loving literacy.

"If you can read this, we don't want you - The Coalition"

But yeah, security or just basic access to the hierarchy of needs can cause people to ignore or justify all manner of atrocities.

Also that Quick-Flex Alien totally looks like Michael Jackson.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009


Do the books say how the Coalition States got started? Did a bunch of military or militias get together and decide to form a New Skull Order?

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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



Kavak posted:

Do the books say how the Coalition States got started? Did a bunch of military or militias get together and decide to form a New Skull Order?
I think they got started as something more like Prussia (i.e. militaristic but not turbo-Hitler) and this new guy Prosek decided to go Full Hitler. By which I mean the Motorhead Demon showed up.

e: Also the main determinator of life expectancy is usually infant mortality, which can skew the numbers hugely. If you make it to adulthood in just about any period of human history you can expect good odds on at least making it to your 50s or 60s, the trick is getting through childhood. That said, the Coalition clearly doesn't want high quality demographic info either.

Karatela
Sep 11, 2001

Clickzorz!!!


Grimey Drawer

Obligatum VII posted:

So, basically Simba, given he's a lion-man?

Has an owl-pal, dead parents, and is fated to kill a snake-man who wants him dead in turn. So I am pretty sure this thing spat out Harry Potter. (And the horse is the invisibility cloak in this analogy iunno)

How representative of the tables are these results? Like, what got pulled seems pretty cool, but are there some real :geno: things in there or is it fairly solid through?

Wapole Languray
Jul 4, 2012

Karatela posted:

Has an owl-pal, dead parents, and is fated to kill a snake-man who wants him dead in turn. So I am pretty sure this thing spat out Harry Potter. (And the horse is the invisibility cloak in this analogy iunno)

How representative of the tables are these results? Like, what got pulled seems pretty cool, but are there some real :geno: things in there or is it fairly solid through?

Pretty much. Some results are fairly dull, stuff like "Lived on Streets, +1 to Lore: Streetwise". Other times you get stuff like:

Stumbled upon an imp in a bottle and accidently set it free. From time to time, it
appears before you and plagues you unless you guess its riddle. Te riddles become
more difcult each time and he has promised to take you to his home if you fail.

Which basically means you get your own Mister Mxyzptlk to follow you around and make trouble.

From what I can tell, you generally get mostly cool stuff, with the occasional dull one. Because you'll be taking multiple though, every player should generally get 1 or 2 "cool" events.

The general trend is that dull things get you mechanical benefits like skill bonuses, while more flavorful plot hook-y ones generally don't. That way you aren't disappointed at getting the duller results as they come with mechanical bonuses, but the flavorful ones aren't inherently superior.

JackMann
Aug 11, 2010

Secure. Contain. Protect.
Fallen Rib

The Lord of Hats posted:

That lifepath system looks pretty great, in an 'actually good' way, not the 'this is completely bonkers' way that Central Casting is great.

Thanks for reminding me of Central Casting. I just did the future one. I got a flying alien professional skater who ended up marrying an ugly robot with whom he could use psychic powers.

I would never use Central Casting for a regular RPG, but it can be hilariously fun to make random characters with.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 5, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!

Nessus posted:

I think they got started as something more like Prussia (i.e. militaristic but not turbo-Hitler) and this new guy Prosek decided to go Full Hitler. By which I mean the Motorhead Demon showed up.

Essentially. As time goes on and we get more history we get the impression that Chi-Town used to be perhaps pro-human but relatively sane, and at one point allowed magic and were much more literate. But their war with the Federation of Magic pushed them towards extremism which the Proseks willfully exploited to take and maintain control. A lot of it is attributed to Joseph Prosek (the previous emperor) Karl Prosek having his wife killed by the Federation, but it's couched in a way that implies he may have actually either allowed his wife to be killed or did a false flag operation for the same in order to rally public opinion.

Edit: Whups, fixed.

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 19:26 on May 19, 2017

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.
Let's keep this going.



We now reach the Frozen Reaches, a cold Cluster that knows eternal winter.



Sanguinia
Sanguinia is a harsh mountainous land, dominated by Mount Radu. The population lives in small huts barricaded against the cold, somehow managing to survive in a terrible climate. The ruler is prince Ladislav Mircea, who resides in his grand castle Guirgiu. The Prince is cruel, but demands little from his people. His enforcers, clad in ashen clothes and wielding battle axes, come to collect taxes but otherwise stay near the castle. The Prince is supposedly beautiful, but he is rarely seen by the villager,s who dare not go to the castle. The land is also marked by mysterious menhirs, left by some vanished tribe no one remembers.

Vorostokov
Vorostokov is a vast, frozen valley terrorized by brutal warriors. Formerly independent, the various villages are becoming united by force. Now that the eternal winter has fallen, Gregor Zolnik has proclaimed himself boyar of the valley and recruited a loyal band of warriors, enforcers and thugs. Those who dare rebel against his rule are brutally dealt with: Gregor has all the hunters and trappers of a rebel village killed, condemning it to starvation. Gregor then offers the game caught by own hunters as the price of fealty. This way, Zolnik's reach is slowly extending toward the entire valley.

This was short, let's do another Cluster.



The Shadowlands are named after Shadowborn family, whose destiny seems intertwined with the region. Who are the Shadowborn? Not explained in the book, and since the Gazetteers never reached outside the Core, you're out of luck if you want info on this. Even Legacies of Blood, the book giving rules on playing members of important families, got jack poo poo on the Shadowborn. You have to go deep into obscure AD&D supplements or Dragon articles to find some info, or even *shudder* read some of the licensed novels.

Avonleigh
Avonleigh is an empty, haunted forest. There is a remnant of a King's highway going through, still somewhat intact. Other leftovers hint at when the Domain was inhabited. The only major landmark is Tergeron manor, a sprawling estate claimed by the forest. The belfry is illuminated by a strange light, leading to speculation of living people inside the Manor.

Nidala
Nidala is a relatively prosperous domain being strangled by it's Knight-Protector, Elena Faith-hold. She rules her realm through respect, order and fear. Her castle, the Faith-Hold, is constantly subject to a raging thunderstorm. Elena issues weekly decrees of faith, commandments and prohibitions that have accumulated into a mountain crushing the inhabitants. Through her knights, clerics and informants, Elena severely punishes anyone who breaks her decrees. This includes visitors, even if they have no way to know the law, leading many to find themselves in her torture dungeon within days of arrival. What stops the people from revolting, however, is the terrifying dragon Banemaw. Elena's presence alone is what keeps the monster at bay.

Shadowborn Manor
Somewhere, deep within the Phantasmal Forest of Avonleigh, lies Shadowborn Manor, the ancient lost home of the Shadowborn family. Some say the manor is haunted by the restless spirit of Shadowborn knights, while others say it is an enemy of the Shadowborn family that now holds sway over the Manor.

Next: Not-India and Not-London

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.


Grimey Drawer
Avonleigh, huh? I wonder if Shadowborn Manor has green gables.

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

IT *BZZT* WASP ME--
IT WASP ME ALL *BZZT* ALONG!


I remember telling a russian speaking friend about Vorostokov, he laughed at how generic (podunk) a name it is.

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.
Don't even get me started on how poo poo the french is.

It's bad.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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



Alien Rope Burn posted:

Essentially. As time goes on and we get more history we get the impression that Chi-Town used to be perhaps pro-human but relatively sane, and at one point allowed magic and were much more literate. But their war with the Federation of Magic pushed them towards extremism which the Proseks willfully exploited to take and maintain control. A lot of it is attributed to Joseph Prosek (the previous emperor) Karl Prosek having his wife killed by the Federation, but it's couched in a way that implies he may have actually either allowed his wife to be killed or did a false flag operation for the same in order to rally public opinion.

Edit: Whups, fixed.
This does present the dark joke that if you overthrow Prosek and reinstall some of the old generals and generally use your PC sparkle to reform the coalition, you're probably creating a far more effective engine of oppression, just perhaps spread out more thinly.

Simian_Prime
Nov 6, 2011

When they passed out body parts in the comics today, I got Cathy's nose and Dick Tracy's private parts.

Bieeardo posted:

Avonleigh, huh? I wonder if Shadowborn Manor has green gables.

It's the same Avonleigh but it's the one from that terrible Netflix adaption where Anne has PTSD.

Wapole Languray
Jul 4, 2012


Other Stuff: Age, Point Buy, and Derived Statistics

Itís time to finish up the last few parts of character creation, so as a reminder this is what we have:

Character Sheet posted:

Name: Babirye
Race: Nemean
Culture: Nubia
Profession: Warrior

INT: +0 PER: +0
WIL: +0 CHA: +2
STR: +1 DEX: +0
CON: +1 SPD: +0
CR: +4 MR: -2

HP: 20
WR: +1

Skills
Stealth +2, Lore (Ancient History) +2, Athletics +4, Evade +10, Instinct +8, Lore (survival, Savannah) +1, Parry +6, Speak Language (Atlantean) +3, Speak Language (Khem) +10, Profession (slayer) +10, Unarmed Fighting +9, Weapon (playerís choice) +10, Weapon (players choice) +4, Weapon (melee) +4, Weapon (players choice) +1, Influence +1, Pilot (Sailing) +1

Racial Abilities
  • Natural Weapons: Bite DR4, Claws DR3 (Armor Piercing). If first attack of round, claws can be used to attack twice without penalty.

  • Lord of the Beast-men: Bonus of (3 x CHA) to social interactions with other Andamen.

  • Beast Language: Bonus of (CHA) to Animal Handling Skill used with canine, feline, aquatic, or avian life.

  • Lionís Roar: Usable (CON) times per day. Either provide allies bonus of (2x CHA) to one dice roll or force enemies to perform WIL roll (DoD 3x CHA), if failed receive penalty of (CHA) for (CON+1) rounds.

Talents
  • Cleave: Can use (CR) times per day. When you deal at least half your weaponís DR to an opponent, can hit additional opponents in range. Keep original attack roll. All hits do half damage. Subsequent hits only succeed if Full or Critical success, partials count as failure. Critical hits and special effects only apply to initial target. Can hit number of enemies equal to (CR).

Inventory: Full Suit of Medium armor, two weapons of choice, a fine horse gifted by a Veddan Prince, a golden mechanical bird (+4 Lore (Ancient History)), Travelers Gear

Life Paths
    Child of a Warband Leader

    Witnessed the death of a parent you were helpless to stop

    Entire family killed in a great war

    Spent 4 Years on the Path of the Rogue: Crime does pay. You have spent 4 years in prison and learned from the best criminal masterminds the known world has seen.

    Spent 1 Year on the Path of the Warrior: Battled alongside the great Nubian warrior Shabataka. He taught you the art of misdirection and evasion.

    Spent 6 Years on the Path of High Adventure: Found a golden, mechanical bird that whistles bits of wisdom. Heís become your constant companion and grants you +4 to any ancient history lore roll when he is around.

    Spent 4 Years on the Path of the Sailor: Befriended by a Veddan prince and given one of his fastest horses. (+4 to its SPD)

    Spent 3 Years on the Path of the Scholar: Made an enemy of a Naga, they are our enemy because we are fated to kill them and they wish to see us dead.

Age
First step is our characterís Age, which is based on your race and life paths. The Age fits into four categories, Adolescent, Adult, Elder, and Venerable, with Attribute and Renown adjustments. All characters start calculating at the maximum Adolescent age minus 3 years.

For an Andaman like our Nemean that would be 15, so starting age calculation at 12 years old. We have a total of 18 years in our Life Paths for starting-play age of 30. That lands firmly in the Adult age category, which comes with no stat adjustments.

Adolescents get bonuses to STR and DEX, but lower INT and WIL, Elder gets lower STR, CON, and PER, but higher INT, WIL, and CHA, plus they start with 1d20 extra Renown. Venerable the same as Elder but with bigger bonuses and penalties, and +2d20 Renown.

Point Buy

Next players get to do some point buy to round out their characters, get any skills they didnít in creation, mess with their attributes a bit, or just buff your niche. Every character gets 30 Customization Points, and each type of thing you can buy has itís own little rules so let's go over them real quick.

Attributes
Probably the most complicated thing to spend points on. At its simplest, you spend 5 points to get a +1 to an attribute. Or, you can lower an attribute to get 2 customization points per attribute point you lower it down to a minimum of -5. If you raise at Attribute over your racial Attribute Maximum then it costs 10 points. The attribute maximums are based on race, but the average is +5. Itís a table, donít really need to go over it.

Skills
Raise a Skill by 1 for 1 point, easy peasy. You canít raise a skill over +10 at character creation through point buy. If life paths and such got you over +10 great! But you canít raise that skill any higher before play starts.

Talents
Yep, you can buy new Talents as well. Thereís not many here, but other supplements of course increase the number. Talents cost 5 points per if they are the in the same Profession category, or 10 points if part of a Profession in a different category.

Thatís it! So letís do that real quick.

5 Points to buff our DEX to +1, to round out our physical Attributes a bit and help with our defense in combat.
5 Points for our WIL, as if nothing else it helps us not get mind controlled by evil wizards.
5 Points to pick up the Advanced Missile Training talent, giving our ranged combat abilities some more teeth to match our melee skills.
3 Points in Stealth to bring us up to a +5 bonus.
3 Points in Influence to improve our social skills.
4 Points in Animal Handling so we can get our Beastmaster on, synergizing well with our racial abilities.
1 Point to get our Athletics up to +5.
4 Points in Ride, which also affects mounted combat.

And, just because we can, weíll also calculate our final HP, which is CON + our Racial base HP which is 20 for Nemeans. As part of finishing up our Skills, itís also time to pick and define any that need specializations or similar still. In our case that would be Instinct, our Profession, and all the Weapon skills.

Instinct is a special skill, as itís basically two in one. Instinct (Intuition) is modified by your PER and acts as a sort of sixth sense ability. Detecting ambushes, spotting traps, sensing danger, etc. It also lets you read people in social situations, detect if someoneís lying, bluffing, or detect hidden meaning in conversation and assess trustworthiness. Instinct (Initiative) is modified by SPD and just helps with Initiative rolls for when combat starts.

In our case we got three bonuses to our Instinct skill, a +1 from our Culture, +4 from Profession, and a +3 from our Savage upbringing. We can match those however we want, so Iíll make it a +4 in both categories to make it nice and even. Profession is specific but also flavorful, and the ones pre-provided are basically just suggestions. Iíll go with Profession (Mercenary).

Finally Weapons are category based: Melee, Ranged, Heavy (siege weapons), Guns, Thrown, and Vehicle. Iíll combine our Weapon (playerís choice) +10, and Weapon (melee) +4 for a Weapon (Melee) +14. Then the Weapon (players choice) +4 and Weapon (players choice) +1 to get a +5 Ranged.

So that all together gets us:

Character Sheet posted:

Name: Babirye
Gender: Female
Race: Nemean
Culture: Nubia
Profession: Warrior

INT: +0 PER: +0
WIL: +1 CHA: +2
STR: +1 DEX: +1
CON: +1 SPD: +0
CR: +4 MR: -2

HP: 21
WR: +1

Skills
Stealth +5 Athletics +5
Lore (Ancient History) +2 Lore (survival, Savannah) +1
Parry +6 Evade +10
Instinct (Initiative) +8 Instinct (Intuition) +4
Speak Language (Atlantean) +3 Speak Language (Khem) +10
Profession (Mercenary) +10 Unarmed Fighting +9
Weapon (Melee) +14 Weapon (Ranged) +5
Influence +4 Pilot (Sailing) +1
Animal Handling +4 Ride +4

Racial Abilities
  • Natural Weapons: Bite DR4, Claws DR3 (Armor Piercing). If first attack of round, claws can be used to attack twice without penalty.

  • Lord of the Beast-men: Bonus of +6 to social interactions with other Andamen.

  • Beast Language: Bonus of +2 to Animal Handling Skill used with canine, feline, aquatic, or avian life.

  • Lionís Roar: Usable 1 times per day. Either provide allies bonus of +4 to one dice roll or force enemies to perform WIL roll with DoD of +6, if failed receive penalty of 2 for 2 rounds.

Talents
  • Cleave: Can use 4 times per day. When you deal at least half your weaponís DR to an opponent, can hit additional opponents in range. Keep original attack roll. All hits do half damage. Subsequent hits only succeed if Full or Critical success, partials count as failure. Critical hits and special effects only apply to initial target. Can hit up to 4 enemies.

  • Advanced Missile Training: When aiming for at least one action, can add +3 to any one ranged attack roll in the next round. In addition may attack up to 4 times with ranged weapon in a round with no multiple action penalty 4 times per day.

Inventory
Full Suit of Medium armor, two weapons of choice, a fine horse gifted by a Veddan Prince, a golden mechanical bird (+4 Lore (Ancient History)), Travelers Gear

Life Paths
    Child of a Warband Leader

    Witnessed the death of a parent you were helpless to stop

    Entire family killed in a great war

    Spent 4 Years on the Path of the Rogue: Crime does pay. You have spent 4 years in prison and learned from the best criminal masterminds the known world has seen.

    Spent 1 Year on the Path of the Warrior: Battled alongside the great Nubian warrior Shabataka. He taught you the art of misdirection and evasion.

    Spent 6 Years on the Path of High Adventure: Found a golden, mechanical bird that whistles bits of wisdom. Heís become your constant companion and grants you +4 to any ancient history lore roll when he is around.

    Spent 4 Years on the Path of the Sailor: Befriended by a Veddan prince and given one of his fastest horses. (+4 to its SPD)

    Spent 3 Years on the Path of the Scholar: Made an enemy of a Naga, they are our enemy because we are fated to kill them and they wish to see us dead.

So, thatís it for the Point Buy section. Our Attributes, Skills, and Talents are done for now, and weíre ready to finish up! Sorta. Next time itís Renown and Hero Points!

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 5, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Rifts World Book 11: Coalition War Campaign Part Seventeen: "They are like a pair of master chess players about to engage in their ultimate challenge, and they are ready."

The Prosek Regime

Enough with the Burbs! Let's talk about the Coalition leadership. No, not Charles Reed Baxter, head general of the Coalition army. Siembieda has already forgotten about him. No, it's mostly the Proseks and other guys reprinted from Rifts Sourcebook, only now with descriptive text.


This piece is just reused here from earlier in the book. Palladium does that fairly often.

Emperor Karl Prosek
Circa 105 PA


Still an evil megalomanic, still brilliant, still charismatic, still bereft of any flaws but ambition. It details explicitly now that his wife and youngest son were killed years ago by the Federation of Magic, an event that doesn't seem to have had the slightest impact on him, perhaps because he possibly engineered it for propaganda purposes. He has had no interest in remarrying because

:iiam:

It'd be interesting to see if he was a different person before that, but the book doesn't care, so I guess I don't have to. He's gone up a level to "11th level scholar/diplomat/leader", continuing with Rifts' tendency to give NPCs nonexistent descriptive classes. He still has ridiculous stats nobody on Earth would be likely to roll (presuming the whole population of Earth played an average of one game of Rifts). It refers us back to Rifts Sourcebook for additional information, but honestly this already covers much of the information in that - nearly all of the Coalition info from that book, really, between the mech reprints and the Coalition information reprints. So the shill is unnecessary.


Dressed in the finest '04 skullsuit with alabaster touches and a fanny skull.

Joseph Prosek II
Head of Propaganda


The heir to the throne, Joseph doesn't have any ambitions of supplanting his father ahead of schedule, and he's a capable manipulator and brilliant strategist, but bereft of any flaws but ambition. Mostly he's just a carbon-copy of his father character-wise, but it says unlike his father, he views using power as a game and loves challenges. So he's more of a practical schemer sort, the Lotor to his King Zarkon. Oh, but don't think you can use his ego to make him do dumb stuff, he's too smart for that!

:rolleyes:

He's gone up from level 5 to 8 since Rifts Sourcebook, no doubt from rigorous XP rewards from backflip rolls. Not much else to add numbers-wise, other than the usual ridiculous stat levels.

The Prosek Family

Next we get the rest of the family members, most of which will be entirely forgotten after this. I suppose that's why I'm talking about them at all; I find this sort of forgotten minutia interesting. They hint at an interesting characterization for the Proseks that could have been, but alas. They are:
  • Kenneth Prosek (deceased): Karl's brother, married a "gentle woman named Camellia". and had four children (Edmond, Ryan, Lisa, and Meggan).
  • Edmond Prosek: A nephew to Karl and a Brigadier General serving in the campaign against Free Quebec.
  • Ryan Prosek A nephew to Karl, he was in the military in six years before retiring to become an idly rich drunkard and womanizer. Sorry, "playboy". That's the nice way of saying it, right?
  • Lisa Prosek: A niece to Karl who kept her name even after marrying (because Prosek), seemingly just a housewife? It's not clear.
  • Meggan Prosek: A niece to Karl, she's a college student in Chi-Town.
  • Quentin Turnbull: A second cousin to Karl, he's a childhood rival of Karl's and they haven't spoken it over two decades. He and his family feel outcast by the Proseks, and are fairly bitter as a result. He has a wife (Joyce) and three children (Martin, Victoria, and Katherine). His son, Martin Turnbull, has started thinking of exploring the world as an adventurer.
  • ???: There are rumors that Joseph Prosek I took a "beautiful female prisoner" who was a wizard as a mistress, who fell in love with him and they had a boy together, but Joseph eventually rejected or abandoned her. Thus, there are rumors of a brother to Karl out in the Magic Zone. Karl doesn't find these rumors particularly convincing, and Joseph has investigated them but found nothing. Seems like a hook for GMs, given I don't think anything more follows up on it.

"'Moff' is my middle name."

General Cabot
Military Counsel to the Emperor


A family friend to the Proseks, Cabot loves and admires them for their accomplishments. He's a great military hero (for what, we don't know) and is a brilliant and ruthless soldier, bereft of any flaws but age. He's their unconditionally trusted hand in the military. Given he was a 15th level Technical Officer to begin with and has maxed out, there's no more levels for him to gain. He's exceedingly boring as a character., and there's really no angle on this guy to make him interesting.


"Hey, somebody had to look like a generic Nazi stereotype around here."

General Ross Underhill
Commander of the 4th CS Mechanized Infantry Division


A hero of 94 military campaigns-

Wait, what? :eek: The Coalition must define campaigns differently, since that's more campaigns than the United States has had between four of its biggest wars (the Civil War, World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War). I can only guess that Siembieda didn't really understand that "campaign" isn't synonymous with "battle". I understand that the Coalition is military-driven, but that's a bit farcical for a guy that's only 44 years old.

Apparently he fought the Federation of Magic and the Legion of Dragons. Will the latter ever be mentioned again? We'll see. That aside, he's supposed to be a brilliant strategist and gets a lot of PR labeling as such, but he's also a complete Coalition fanatic and human supremacist. Basically, even Nazis think he's a real fuckin' Nazi. He's passionate to the point of foolishness, and Cabot does his best to direct him in ways where his fanaticism serves the Coalition. He's one of the main guys organizing the Tolkeen campaign, but won't be included in the actual offensive because it's a bit of a doof. To keep his ego in check, though, they've giving him busywork overseeing various expeditionary teams.

His level hasn't changed since Rifts Sourcebook, proving he hasn't learned a thing in the meantime, despite apparently multitasking dozens of military campaigns day and night.

Next: Adventure to win, or you'll adventure for him.

Cease to Hope
Dec 12, 2011
HP Lovecraft and some very unfortunate fantasy racism, and they aren't even related to each other in this installment of...



:spooky::spooky: HORRIBLE ADVENTURES Part 5: Not Actually Archetypical :spooky::spooky:

Archetypes! This book's got 'em!

For those who aren't familiar with Pathfinder's later books, archetypes are an overlay for a class that replaces a bunch of that class's normal abilities with new ones, to suit a new theme. They're clearly inspired by the character kits from the later AD&D 2e Player's Option books and the Alternate Class Features of the later 3.5e splatbooks in the Complete, Races of, and environment (Frostburn, Cityscape, etc.) series. They have a role in character building similar to that of 3e/3.5e prestige classes - but while they dominate your character's "build" from level 1, they usually provide abilities starting then, instead of waiting until level 6 or 7.

They're also pagechewing filler of wildly varying quality. Horror Adventures has such a narrow niche that most of these archetypes are straitjackets. They take over the entire concept, and are written with one particular sort of character in mind. A gingerbread witch or a Cthulhu cultist is a fairly narrow concept, and the revisions to the class tend to be major ones. Most of the low-hanging fruit for minor tweaks or combo pieces are in generalist books or in the same book that introduces a class.

This is also a late Pathfinder book, so there's options for all sorts of random classes, not just core classes. In fact, Ultimate Intrigue's odd fighter/rogue hybrid Vigilante class gets three archetypes, while fighters and rogues themselves aren't covered. There's options for five core classes (Barbarian, Cleric, Druid, Paladin, Wizard), three classes from Advanced Player's Guide (Alchemist, Inquisitor, Witch), two from the horrible hybrid class book Advanced Class Guide (Investigator and Slayer). Five of the six classes from Occult Adventures (all but the Psychic) have a section in this chapter, which isn't surprising given that book's emphasis on spirits and possession. The single class from Ultimate Intrigue appears here as well - HA came out in July 2016, and UI was out in April.

Several classes are conspicuous in their absence. The Pathfinder sorcerer can get its magical power from various horrible creatures, and one of the original prestige classes going back to 3e core turns sorcerers into clawed, scaled monsters. Summoners summon otherworldly beings. rogues stalk and ambush people, occasionally draw on shadowy power, and had the original evil-only prestige class. The concepts in this book for the investigator, slayer, and vigilante could easily have been rewritten for the rogue, making its exclusion especially noticeable.

Getting Red, Nude, and Mad (Science) Online

Alchemists are first up. For those not familiar with alchemists, they throw magic grenades and cast spells by making "extracts", special potions that they can (usually) only use on themselves. They don't get any new discoveries, but they do get two archetypes.

Blood alchemists trade their bombs for the ability to use alchemical circles to cast spells that involve making or unmaking things, like characters in Full Metal Alchemist. It's interesting, but there's two problems preventing it from being very playable. First, it takes a full minute to draw a circle and you have to give up your bombs and mutagens, so it's not clear what it is you're supposed to do in combat. Second, the "blood" part comes an evil-only ability to use the lifeblood of a recently slain humanoid to power a free spell, which isn't useful to a PC and doesn't make for a particularly effective villainous NPC, given the generally weak power level of alchemist spells.

Mad alchemists are chaos mages that do sanity damage to themselves. Unsurprisingly, they're incredibly badly designed. In return for doing d6 sanity damage or d3 WIS damage to themselves, they can turn a single extract (an alchemist spell in potion form) into a random extract of one level higher. There's a problem with this, and Horror Adventures even points it out:

quote:

There are 29 potential 2nd-level extracts, 23 potential 3rd-level extracts, 18 potential 4th-level extracts, 15 potential 5th-level extracts, and 15 potential 6th-level extracts. ed: It's not clear what books are included in this count.

I don't really feel like rolling a d29 every goddamned turn. That's not playable at a table. Even if you play with a computer open, many extracts are useless garbage like ignoring penalties from aging or absorbing an object into your body for days/level, or extremely situational like Remove Disease or Water Breathing.

Sanity damage isn't a big deal on its own, especially since alchemists get Lesser Restoration and Restoration to heal it back up during downtime. However, until you can get your sanity threshold to 7 or higher (or 9 or higher for the useless Mad Mutagen ability I didn't bother to detail), you risk inflicting permanent mental illness on yourself every time you use the signature gimmick of this archetype. It's just not playable at low levels.

Last and probably least, this archetype replaces the discovery gained at 2nd level and the discovery gained at 4th level. Why is it presented as an archetype instead of a pair of discoveries?

This archetype is a loving nightmare, but not the sort that you'd want in a horror RPG.

Wild Turkey Surprise
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOTlNOZB4Zo
The surprise is trap options.

Technically, chapter 2 is the "Archetypes and Character Options" chapter, so in addition to archetypes, barbarians get new rage powers. Unfortunately, all but one of those rage powers are totem powers and aren't Beast Totem, so there's no reason to use them.

I kid, but not that much. Totem powers are power chains, with a Lesser power at level 1, an unlabeled power at level 6, and a Greater power at level 10. You don't have to take all three, but you can only have one totem power chain active at once. Since Advanced Players' Guide had Beast Totem, where the first two feats (claws and a little bit of scaling natural armor) are pretty good and the final feat is full attack at the end of a charge, all later totem powers chains live in its shadow. Horror Adventures' totem chains aren't very good, even if they weren't totem powers.

Cult Totem is two absolutely terrible choices and one passably interesting tanking ability that is hamstrung by the lesser power. Lesser Cult Totem turns the +2 to hit from flanking into a +2 damage, which is an absolutely terrible tradeoff against the vast majority of enemies. You can turn that off, but that means turning off all of the Cult Totem powers. Greater Cult Totem is that stupid "keep fighting under 0 HP" ability that makes NPCs super annoying but is totally useless to PCs. Regular Cult Totem lets you take an opportunity attack against any enemy in reach who attacks someone who isn't you, but it's once per target per 24 hours, which is both a bunch of fiddly tracking and not better than pounce charge. It might make for a moderately annoying NPC bodyguard, but it'd be a lot more useful to just make a monster block with that ability built in than to cram this into a section for PC options.

Daemon Totem is a salad of life draining abilities. (Daemons are Pathfinder Bestiary 2's neutral evil outsiders who represent the inevitability of death, as opposed to the chaotic evil sadist demons. There's a separate Fiend Totem in APG for demon-themed barbarians.) Lesser is +2 to to saving throws against a bunch of random poo poo, regular is inflicting temporary negative levels on a critical hit, and greater is healing 5 HP (at level 10!) when you kill an appropriately-leveled enemy. Inflicting negative levels on a crit is pretty neat, although it's not going to come up very much until the barbarian is high enough level to start stacking crit bonuses, at which point Greater Beast Totem rears its ugly head.

The last rage power is Fight Response, which lets you burn a bunch of turns of rage to activate it on someone else's turn when they hit your barbarian with a fear effect. It's one of those stupid hypersituational d20 abilities that both costs to take in the first place and to use. It's not even good: if you can't afford to rage all the time in any fight that matters, you can't afford the three turns of rage that this ability wastes to activate.

The archetypes aren't much better.

Dreadnaughts are calm barbarians instead of angry ones. They only get half the benefit from rage, but they don't get a penalty to AC and can use whatever abilities they want since they're not raging out. This isn't a good tradeoff, but there's more: they're so calm that they can't goddamned charge. It's a good thing nobody's ever going to take this stupid archetype, because remember how chapter 1 told us that immunity to fear is a big problem in a game that's supposed to be scary?

quote:

Fearless Killer (Su): Starting at 14th level, a dreadnought becomes implacable in her pursuit of slaughter. While in rage, she is immune to fear effects.

The fearsome defender gets some bonuses to intimidate and can apply CHA to initiative and act in the surprise round even if they're surprised. It's not very interesting or very scary.

Mooncursed turn into a specific animal, or later an animal-humanoid hybrid, when they rage. It's a better name than Bear Warrior, at least. You can choose a bunch of different forms but you're a sucker if you don't choose bear or tiger, because you're turning into an actual animal, albeit sometimes an animal with human hands. (I don't even know how that's supposed to work with a shark.) It's not a bad idea, but it's noticeably much stronger than Lycanthrope Corruption from chapter 1, while also getting stronger and larger animal forms much later than a regular druid. It's also not clear on where you're supposed to get stats for a huge boar, but since nobody's going to play a boar mooncursed, it's probably not a big deal.

It's about his deep and abiding fear of the Welsh

The cleric gets one archetype and a domain with a bunch of subdomains, but they're all aimed at playing a cultist who worships Lovecraft's Great Old Ones.

It doesn't actually say anywhere in this book who the Outer Gods or Great Old Ones are. If you don't already know, they're Azathoth, Cthulhu, Hastur, and the other various gods and godlings of the fiction of HP Lovecraft and his successors and imitators. Despite the fact that this is the book for running horror adventures and it includes a number of explicit references to including Lovecraft-based material in your game, there's no mention of who mythos cults are, what they want, how they're organized, what they might be doing, or how to incorporate them into your game. In fact, no Pathfinder book does this, despite borrowing heavily from Lovecraft! Pathfinder Bestiary 4 has stats for mythos creatures ranging from club-footed human hybrids who look a little fishy all the way up to Cthulhu himself, but little in the way of practical advice for running a mythos-based game.

Lots of archetypes later in this book are only available to evil characters, and it serves as a implicit disclaimer that this isn't an option for PCs in a typical game. For some reason no sane person was meant to know, Elder Mythos cultist isn't one of those archetypes: it's available to chaotic evil or chaotic neutral characters, despite the fact that "an Elder Mythos cultist must worship an Outer God or Great Old One". It does helpfully point out that anyone who follows them is "often quite insane."

In any event, Elder Mythos cultists are really boring. They use CHA instead of WIS for everything - because apparently that's one of the side effects of incurable insanity in d20 games - including spellcasting and will saving throws, but get -2 to save against mind-affecting effects and automatically fail saves against the confusion, nightmare, and insanity spells and similar effects based on them. Their channel negative energy is untyped damage and they get a WIS-damaging, save-or-confused attack in place of one of their domains. Their other domain has to be Void or one of its subdomains, on the facing page.

Void Domain is a headscratcher. It's a special domain that only Lovecraft cultists can take, although they don't necessarily have to be clerics with that particular archetype. It's not especially evil, though. The domain power is all about mind-affecting effects - you can lace your mind-affecting spells with an extra confusion effect for anyone who fails the save - and the spells are all about summoning and, for some reason, flying? I don't understand what the levitate and overland flight spells have to do with worshipping Hastur.

There are subdomains, which are like archetypes for domains. They replace part of a domain with some other part. Dark Tapestry summons extra-creepy versions of creatures that have the "advanced creature simple template", which takes up only slightly less space than just saying they get +2 on all rolls and save DCs, +4 on AC and CMD, and +2 HP per hit die. Isolation has an aura of being super depressing, which is so depressing that it's difficult terrain. Stars can spontaneously cast domains spells while under the stars. Just ask ur-goon Howard P. Lovecraft: nothing is as scary as being outside.

Starring the Righteous Brothers, Mothersbaugh Brothers, and Nicholas Cage

The druid gets three archetypes, and they are all weird as poo poo.

Death druids are a hybrid of the druid and Occult Adventure's spiritualist class. Spiritualists are an OA remake of summoners: they're haunted by a phantom, which is a fairly hardcore combat pet when leaves its usual home in the PC's head and turns solid. Druids get a spiritualist's pet phantom in place of wild shape and their usual pets, plus a handful of extremely situational spells related to haunting and exorcism, and immunity to negative energy and energy drain instead of immunity to poison. This makes a playable character, but one that is both weaker than a regular druid in a particular, frustrating way, and one which is just plain better than a spiritualist.

A phantom may be stronger and smarter and more capable than an animal companion, but it isn't so much stronger that it makes up for the loss of wild shape. Even for a druid that doesn't turn into a tiger to mix it up in melee, that means losing always-on flight and a host of other useful utility abilities. Druids don't get any of that utility back through their spells, either: in particular, druids are one of the few nine-level spellcasters who don't get magical flight or the ability to detect invisible creatures.

On the other hand, death druids are still better spellcasters than spiritualists. Spiritualists are spontaneous casters with a limited list of spells known, and only get six levels of spells. Druids get nine levels and know all of their spells. While you can argue that the spiritualist gets some useful key spells that druids don't, they just aren't as versatile or powerful at spellcasting as proper druids. The handful of class abilities druids don't poach, like teleporting your phantom to your side as a swift action, just doesn't make up for this.

There's also a bit of the dreaded ludonarrative dissonance in here. Death druids aren't haunted by a particular phantom like spiritualists are, but rather a succession of phantoms, each trying to deal with some unresolved business in the living world before moving on. This is an excellent story hook, but for some reason death druids who successfully help a phantom don't get another one for up to a week. Why does it take so long? Why aren't death druids just haunted by a bunch of spirits, with one dominant pet phantom at all times? It's easy to fix as a GM just by not being a dick, but it's a pointless opportunity to take away a death druid PC's main class feature for doing what they're supposed to do.

This archetype makes for a strong and capable character with odd blind spots in its ability set, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. The only problem with the death druid comes from comparison to the core druid, who plays similarly but lacks those blind spots, and to the spiritualist, who is just overshadowed in both its thematic and mechanical specialty. Why would Paizo completely overshadow one of the few good classes from their last book like this?

The devolutionist is... uncomfortable. Devolutionists want to undo human(oid) civilization, particularly the domestication of animals, and can transform domesticated animals into murderous savages. That's fine. At higher levels, they can also do this to humanoids, turning them into feral, subsentient (INT 2) creatures with a lengthy ritual. On top of all of this, a devolutionist's pet isn't an animal, but rather a devolved humanoid that uses the stats for an ape.

On its face, this is a genuinely creepy character concept that can work as both a PC and an NPC. Devolutionists are weird and scary without needing demons, undead, or tentacles. The devolution ritual has a lot of potential for body horror, but is easily matched to the tastes and tolerances of your particular group. They're a viable dark-tinged PC that is compatible with a group. In a vacuum, this is one of the best-designed archetypes in this book, and one of the few that is actually suited to a horror book.

But games don't exist in a vacuum. In the real world where we keep our dice, racists regularly describe black people as "feral apes", and fantasize about a time when they could keep personal slaves. A depressingly large number of real people think some actual humans are inherently less intelligent and prone to savagery, and justify that with extremely sketchy appeals to evolutionary science. I hope (and do believe) this synchronicity with racists is a coincidence! But actual racists' "race science" casts an ugly pall over what would otherwise be an interesting archetype.

Life channelers are overcomplicated and surprisingly boring. They trade in wild shape and their animal companion for the plant domain, including one additional extra spell slot per spell level (on top of the usual extra slot from a domain) that can only be filled with spells from the plant domain. (Core PF druids can already trade in their animal companion for one of several domains, including Plant.) The problem is that these spell slots are represented by wicker talismans that hold souls, and they can only be filled ritually sacrificing a sentient humanoid of an appropriate level. These rules are pointlessly overcomplicated for an NPC - you can just say the evil druid ritually sacrifices people without needing rules for it - but for some reason this archetype is clearly meant to be available to PCs. Life channeler druids are only limited to "nongood" despite the whole humanoid sacrifice part, and they even get the Leadership feat to have a steady stream of willing sacrifices. This archetype is a huge paperwork-heavy hassle in order to make a character functionally indistinguishable from a cleric with the plant domain.

+1 Thesaurus of Wyrm Chastening

Inquisitors, the sneaky, smitey rogue/paladin hybrid from Advanced Players' Guide, get two archetypes, both of which are further hybrids with other non-core classes.

Hexenhammers trade in a bunch of random crap for for hexes from APG's witch class, and can add witch spells to their spell list. The problem is that using witch abilities shuts down a random cross-section of their abilities until they take a minute to atone, which makes combat bookkeeping even more of a headache for this already-overcomplicated class. The idea of an inquisitor who uses dark power but feels bad about it is a decent concept, but the extra layer of conditional numeric adjustments is not a good addition to a class that already has three or four layers of limited-use combat bonuses to begin with.


Pathfinder newcomer Hugh Pindur did several illustrations in this book. He's a good match to Pathfinder longtimer Wayne Reynolds.

Living Grimoires are a bizarre combination of inquisitors, Advanced Class Guide's warpriests, and wizards. Instead of having the free-floating Judgement combat bonus of normal inquisitors, they have a metal-bound holy book. The holy book is a magic weapon, with level-based weapon damage and scaling magical abilities taken directly from the warpriest. The book also doubles as a spellbook: instead of using WIS-based spontaneous casting, living grimoires are prepared spellcasters that use INT and scribe spells in their holy book like a wizard's spellbook. The end result is a significantly worse melee (or ranged) combatant than a standard inquisitor, but somewhat more effective spellcaster. It's not a good tradeoff - inquisitors will never be as good as a primary spellcaster - but it's certainly still playable.

I like this concept a lot! You beat people to death with a magic holy book! That said, I'm not sure what it has to do with horror, and I'm not sure what it has to do with inquisitors. It's an embellishment of the warpriest's signature Sacred Weapon ability and removes all of the signature inquisitor abilities like Judgement and Bane. If you're going to replace all of the inquisitor's abilities with warpriest abilities, why not just make this a warpriest archetype instead?

There's eleven more classes of this to cover, in a 33 page chapter. I wasn't kidding when I said this was pagechewing filler.

Next: CSI Golarion

Cease to Hope fucked around with this message at 06:42 on May 26, 2017

To Protect Flavor
Feb 24, 2016
The devolutionist sounds interesting in theory, but also like they're taking the exact worst bits of Lovecraft to heart.

On the plus side, having just looked it up, Pathfinder's Plant Domain isn't as boring as 3.5's.

Covok
May 27, 2013

Yet where is that woman now? Tell me, in what heave does she reside? None of them. Because no God bothered to listen or care. If that is what you think it means to be a God, then you and all your teachings are welcome to do as that poor women did. And vanish from these realms forever.
I see your argument on the devolutionsit, but the ape thing may just be a reference to mankind evolving from a shared ancestor with apes. Like, Gorrilla Grod (except not thinking he's upgrading people).

Cease to Hope
Dec 12, 2011

Covok posted:

I see your argument on the devolutionsit, but the ape thing may just be a reference to mankind evolving from a shared ancestor with apes. Like, Gorrilla Grod (except not thinking he's upgrading people).

i'm pretty sure that was the idea, but it's still ugly.

oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!


Probably wouldn't be such an issue if their philosophy (i.e. devolution is good) was applied to themselves rather than apparently only used as a weapon or to produce slave-apes. If it was a case where the character themselves also took on the traits of "devolution" then at least it would be philosophically consistent.

Berkshire Hunts
Nov 5, 2009
If there isn't an energy dome statted up for the devolutionist that's a missed opportunity.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009

I love the potoo,
and the potoo loves you.
On the other hand, there's good potential for the class to be fun/unpleasant without devolving humanoids. Turn some poor sap's pet cat into a saber-toothed tiger.

Cease to Hope
Dec 12, 2011

Cythereal posted:

On the other hand, there's good potential for the class to be fun/unpleasant without devolving humanoids. Turn some poor sap's pet cat into a saber-toothed tiger.

the devolutionist's animal companion is a devolved humanoid. you can just get rid of that, obviously, but then all you're left with is an ability that you could just as easy write up as a niche spell. (and it is a spell later in this book: Vile Dog Transformation turns any ordinary dog into an acid-mawed wolf monster)

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009

I love the potoo,
and the potoo loves you.

Cease to Hope posted:

the devolutionist's animal companion is a devolved humanoid. you can just get rid of that, obviously, but then all you're left with is an ability that you could just as easy write up as a niche spell. (and it is a spell later in this book: Vile Dog Transformation turns any ordinary dog into an acid-mawed wolf monster)

True, but I still feel it's an interesting niche for a body horror themed druid.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!
Well, it's not like any D&D setting has actual evolution going on. Elves didn't evolve from very dexterous apes. So you could just say that everyone devolves into lizardmen or squidfolk or whatever. Maybe fluff it so that the Devolutionists plan to "devolve" everyone, but they're saving themselves for last because at the moment their methods work fine on animals, but with sentient creatures it tends to cause weird effects like turning someone's head into a squid or making tentacles burst out of their eyeballs or whatever. If you restricted them to bad guys, you could make their apex ability some sort of desperation devolution used on themselves that caused them to explode into a horrific teeth-and-tentacles boss monster.

However. For me the highlight here is the Living Grimoire, because hell yeah smacking bad guys and monsters around with a huge book.

ZeroCount
Aug 12, 2013


The Living Grimoire is the best primarily because of the wide variety of puns and awful one-liners available.

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

WE HAVE TO CONTROL OUR ENVIRONMENT
IF YOU SEE ME POSTING OUTSIDE OF THE AUSPOL THREAD PLEASE TELL ME THAT I'M MISSED AND TO START POSTING AGAIN
All I can picture is Grimoire Weiss from Nier, floating around & talking smack.

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Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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



Cease to Hope posted:

Just ask ur-goon Howard P. Lovecraft: nothing is as scary as being outside.
Sure there is: the Portuguese

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