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Alien Rope Burn
Dec 5, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Rifts Game Shield & Rifts Adventure Book: Part 4 - "The giggling children hand plastic rings with handles to any who want to make bubbles."

So, I somehow missed one of the Hook, Link, Sinker Adventure seeds in the audio review, so I'll just write it up here as a preview. It's not a mistake, it's bonus content!


"My name is Nadia Vampeer."

Angels of Mercy
By Kevin Siembieda


So, the player characters show up at a village decimated by bandits, but thankfully, there's a medical crew already present! Given the lack of basic human services in Rifts, they might find this suspicious, but people will refuse any assistance. Then, a child runs up to the player characters and explodes!... I kid, he shouts that the doctors and nurses "aren't human They're monsters!!" A "beautiful human or elf nurse" will reassure the players that the child's just taken a blow to the head and if the PCs do any sort of magical or psionic probing they can find out that the "beauty is evil and not human". Specifically the, the so-called medical professionals are really just vampires that use their cover to kidnap and feed on people. They're more or less in for a fight unless they just hand the kid over and walk away, like you do!

What, another gotcha adventure hook? You just can't trust a random beautiful nurse in the dangerous world of Rifts! This is probably the best part of the review as we get into the Hook, Line, gently caress You PCs Sinker adventures - and you can listen to part 4 of the review here. And if you just want the complete audio portion of the review, you can download parts 1 through 4 here. And that's all for the Rifts Game Shield and Adventures! I did mention it'd be short. For me. So, like, around an hour?

Time for the visual companion and the exciting conclusion!


"Quest of the Cyber-Knight


"Two-Gun Sally"


"More Trouble With Magic"


"Monsters"


"A Good Deal, Buy Now!"


"Gift of Power"


"Help Wanted"


"The Diner"? "Seeds"? I don't even know what's being illustrated here.


"From Other Worlds"

Next: This book's done, so... Dogs.

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 19:34 on Jun 4, 2017

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Barudak
May 7, 2007

Thank you Dragonmech, for giving a list which contains an object which is 10% of a cloaking device and 50% of a holographic projector array in the same list as "a clock"

OvermanXAN
Nov 14, 2014
Well, on the other hand, Rifts gives you the clock whether you want it or not. Apparently clock calendars are super important for murderhobos.

gourdcaptain
Nov 16, 2012

OvermanXAN posted:

Well, on the other hand, Rifts gives you the clock whether you want it or not. Apparently clock calendars are super important for murderhobos.

On a semi-related tangent of bizarre Rifts logic involving technology, Savage Rifts, as awkward as the random roll tables in charge can be gave my illiterate minimum allowable smarts cyborg a d8 in Knowledge (Computer) and a +2 to penetrate electronic security. Queue us just running it as his onboard computer doing all the work and him just repeating what it says to him to the rest of the group Galaxy Quest style. But hey, he's now being taught to read by the Dragon Hatchling that hatched last session... and is literate and has better knowledge rolls than him. :P

gourdcaptain fucked around with this message at 07:06 on Jun 5, 2017

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.

Hello folks, who likes Nexus: The Infinite City? We sorta did.

Angrymog
Jan 30, 2012

Really Madcats

theironjef posted:

Hello folks, who likes Nexus: The Infinite City? We sorta did.

I do. Never ran it, but I always thought it was a cool setting. Mechanics are the ancestor of Fengshui's system iirc.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 5, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!
I'm gonna be that guy and point out Rifts came out in 1990, so it barely squeaks by as a '90s game (but definitely rooted in '80s sensibilities). Cross-dimensional / cross-genre games had been around since the early eighties (I think the first was Chaosium's Worlds of Wonder) but it wasn't until Rifts and Torg both landed in 1990 that they became more popular.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Alien Rope Burn posted:

I'm gonna be that guy and point out Rifts came out in 1990, so it barely squeaks by as a '90s game (but definitely rooted in '80s sensibilities). Cross-dimensional / cross-genre games had been around since the early eighties (I think the first was Chaosium's Worlds of Wonder) but it wasn't until Rifts and Torg both landed in 1990 that they became more popular.
I always think of Torg as the first game of the 1990s, because it embodied all of that decade's design pathologies (metaplot, supplement treadmill, books filled with in-character fiction, wonky dice mechanic, etc) despite coming out at the very dawn of the decade.

unseenlibrarian
Jun 4, 2012

There's only one thing in the mountains that leaves a track like this. The creature of legend that roams the Timberline. My people named him Sasquatch. You call him... Bigfoot.
The big multi-genre crossover game I remember seeing advertised pre-Rifts was Lords of Creation, which came out like a year after Worlds of Wonder. I never actually played, I just remember it being the first game I ever saw with a writeup for both La Maupin and Cyrano de Bergerac with the idea being that you would fight them. (And probably die because holy poo poo)

It also had a post-apocalyptic mega-adventure set in Akron, Ohio for some reason.

Halloween Jack
Sep 12, 2003

La morte non ha sesso
Multiverser was a sort-of legend on RPG message boards, mostly because it stated that Christianity was the true religion (across every conceivable alternate reality), Judaism is "incomplete," and Islam is heresy. For some reason, people were not only outraged at this but remembered the game for a long time because of it; the game is otherwise obscure and hard to find.

Rifts is, to me, the culmination of 80s design sense--when innovation meant "fixing D&D" and/or "playing something besides D&D-style high fantasy." Thus it's a huge bloated mess of a system and a setting, essentially based on AD&D.

1990 also gave us Nightlife, Buck Rogers XXVC, and the second editions of Cyberpunk and Chill. People probably assume that Chill became more dark and serious because of White Wolf's influence, but Vampire didn't come along until 1991.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Halloween Jack posted:

Rifts is, to me, the culmination of 80s design sense--when innovation meant "fixing D&D" and/or "playing something besides D&D-style high fantasy." Thus it's a huge bloated mess of a system and a setting, essentially based on AD&D.
1980s design means, to me, building a game around a unified resolution system (Marvel Super Heroes colored success table, the task system from Megatraveller and 2300AD, Star Wars and Shadowrun with their dice pools, GURPS and Hero with their comprehensive generic engines, etc.) with some occasional stabs at narrativism (Paranoia and Toon and James Bond 007 and Call of Cthulhu). Someone's efforts to pile more and more stuff on top of D&D was more of a late 1970s thing (Arduin and Rolemaster/MERP and Palladium Fantasy and AD&D) and Rifts fits right into that (house-ruled D&D plus mechs and robots and vampire armies and cybergear and machineguns and flying aircraft carriers and and and...)

quote:

1990 also gave us Nightlife, Buck Rogers XXVC, and the second editions of Cyberpunk and Chill. People probably assume that Chill became more dark and serious because of White Wolf's influence, but Vampire didn't come along until 1991.
A good year.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 5, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!

theironjef posted:

Hello folks, who likes Nexus: The Infinite City? We sorta did.

I never thought I'd laugh at a pimp joke again but you folks did the impossible. :ssh:

Halloween Jack posted:

Rifts is, to me, the culmination of 80s design sense--when innovation meant "fixing D&D" and/or "playing something besides D&D-style high fantasy." Thus it's a huge bloated mess of a system and a setting, essentially based on AD&D.

Yeah, it's literally the culmination of everything they did in the '80s in a '90s wrapper. Literally the only thing missing from the games they'd done before was ninjas, and eventually they got around to that.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.


Grimey Drawer

FMguru posted:

I always think of Torg as the first game of the 1990s, because it embodied all of that decade's design pathologies (metaplot, supplement treadmill, books filled with in-character fiction, wonky dice mechanic, etc) despite coming out at the very dawn of the decade.

Clearly, it established the 90s design World Laws.

Halloween Jack
Sep 12, 2003

La morte non ha sesso

FMguru posted:

1980s design means, to me, building a game around a unified resolution system (Marvel Super Heroes colored success table, the task system from Megatraveller and 2300AD, Star Wars and Shadowrun with their dice pools, GURPS and Hero with their comprehensive generic engines, etc.) with some occasional stabs at narrativism (Paranoia and Toon and James Bond 007 and Call of Cthulhu). Someone's efforts to pile more and more stuff on top of D&D was more of a late 1970s thing (Arduin and Rolemaster/MERP and Palladium Fantasy and AD&D) and Rifts fits right into that (house-ruled D&D plus mechs and robots and vampire armies and cybergear and machineguns and flying aircraft carriers and and and...)
Well, the sort of design I'm talking about isn't necessarily "D&D plus bloat"--after all, that description fits AD&D--but games that can't help but define themselves in regard to D&D, as was the case for most products up until the very early 80s--I suppose the design era I'm proposing culminates with the early BRP releases and Palladium Fantasy.

Even the early BRP games, which are very self-consciously Not Dungeons & Dragons, seem to have D&D's fingerprints all over them. (RuneQuest has a detailed combat system for a setting that doesn't really demand it, and CoC's stats for monsters and gods always struck me as tools for beating the players over the head with the point that they're not playing a D&D dungeoncrawl anymore.) That's why BRP, despite being a straightforward logical system, always strikes me as baroque and clunky.

It's odd to me that as the 80s went on, so many games were made where the central attraction to the system was a single unified chart (MSH, Chill, Masterbook, Gamma World). It's like it took most people way too long to figure out that you could have a single unified resolution mechanic without any chart at all.

Anyway, my pet theory is that defining one's game in opposition to D&D is a general pathology of the hobby that didn't really fade until after TSR died as a company. D&D is an incredibly idiosyncratic game, and I think it kinda drove people nuts that the same system kept getting published in new editions with relatively little design evolution all the way through the mid-90s.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 5, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!

Halloween Jack posted:

Anyway, my pet theory is that defining one's game in opposition to D&D is a general pathology of the hobby that didn't really fade until after TSR died as a company. D&D is an incredibly idiosyncratic game, and I think it kinda drove people nuts that the same system kept getting published in new editions with relatively little design evolution all the way through the mid-90s.

I don't think it's really so much faded as just updating to whatever the most popular edition is to rail against.

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010

HELL SERPENT
Lipstick Apathy

Halloween Jack posted:

Even the early BRP games, which are very self-consciously Not Dungeons & Dragons, seem to have D&D's fingerprints all over them. (RuneQuest has a detailed combat system for a setting that doesn't really demand it, and CoC's stats for monsters and gods always struck me as tools for beating the players over the head with the point that they're not playing a D&D dungeoncrawl anymore.) That's why BRP, despite being a straightforward logical system, always strikes me as baroque and clunky.

I got the impression that RuneQuest was originally a not-D&D game what with its percentile rolls and skill system and class-less characters (as opposed to a D&D-But-Better game), and then you get CoC as the most popular "adaptation" or "spin-off" of RuneQuest's basic engine, and then you get Basic RolePlaying as a "genericized" engine on top of that, but all three of them still have way too much emphasis on stuff that's really only relevant to D&D because RuneQuest defined itself as being an alternative to D&D even as it covered a lot of the same tropes and gameplay territory.

Cease to Hope
Dec 12, 2011
You deliver a confusing but fascinating monologue, relaying conspiracies or metaphysical revelations that confound your audience, BUT ITS TOO LATE IM ALREADY HOLLERIN ABOUT THE



:spooky::spooky: HORRIBLE ADVENTURES Part 9: I Put 53 Pages of Spells On You :spooky::spooky:

Horror Adventures has a gigantic list of spells, and they are the same mix of random poo poo with the evil tag and so-gross-it's-silly nonsense as 3e's similar Book of Vile Darkness. There's also a list of "horror spells from other sources," but that list includes curse water, which turns a pint of water into unholy water. Something tells me it was mostly compiled by searching d20PFSRD for spells with "evil" or "curse" in their descriptions.

Something I forgot to mention before: remember that "spooked" condition that applies whenever you're in a spooky place and doesn't give a save? Psychic spellcasters - all of the classes from Occult Adventures plus a few archetypes from that book - can't cast spells with their equivalent of the somatic component while under the effect of any fear effect. The classes who specialize in dealing with ghosts and spirits can't cast a good two-thirds of their spell list while in the sorts of places ghosts and spirits tend to haunt.

Alignment vs Spell Lists 3D, coming to theaters this Halloween

There are fifty-three loving pages of this bullshit. Nine pages of that is just the summary of which of nineteen different spellcasting classes get which spells. This is a giant pile of garbage and I know for certain that no single player will ever use even a tenth of this mess.

Before digging into the pile, let's talk about "evil" spells. Horror Adventures has plenty of evil-tagged spells, but unlike the archetypes, a fair few of them aren't unreasonable for a PC to use. Anything even tangentially related to undead is evil, which is consistent if not clearly explained anywhere that I'm aware of. The debate about whether animate dead should be evil when animate object is not is older than Pathfinder, and Paizo copy-pasted D&D 3.5e's decision on the matter and hasn't ever properly given any reason for it. Any spell that is a variation on a Core spell keeps that spell's tags or lack thereof: that's why giving people nightmares is evil but cursing them is not. There are also spells that attack with the power of evil, along the lines of Core's unholy blight, which are tagged evil for the same reason fireball is tagged fire.

However, much like Book of Vile Darkness, a bunch of spells in here are just especially gross or weird or awesome and tagged evil for no clear reason. Killing someone by desiccating them to death with Core's horrid wilting isn't evil, but apparently tearing out their heart or throwing screaming flaming skulls is. Pathfinder can't make up its mind if a spell is evil because it is powered by the evil element in the same way cone of cold is powered by ice, or if a spell is evil because it involves doing something no compassionate person could countenance. Pathfinder tries to have it both ways, which makes it unclear if it's okay to use an evil spell in a non-malevolent way.

Horror Adventures tries to solve that dilemma:

Horror Adventures posted:

This section includes a large number of evil spells. Casting an evil spell is an evil act, but for most characters simply casting such a spell once isnít enough to change her alignment; this only occurs if the spell is used for a truly abhorrent act, or if the caster established a pattern of casting evil spells over a long period. A wizard who uses animate dead to create guardians for defenseless people wonít turn evil, but he will if he does it over and over again. The GM decides whether the characterís alignment changes, but typically casting two evil spells is enough to turn a good creature nongood, and three or more evils spells move the caster from nongood to evil. The greater the amount of time between castings, the less likely alignment will change. Some spells require sacrificing a sentient creature, a major evil act that makes the caster evil in almost every circumstance.

Those who are forbidden from casting spells with an opposed alignment might lose their divine abilities if they circumvent that restriction (via Use Magic Device, for example), depending on how strict their deities are.

Though this advice talks about evil spells, it also applies to spells with other alignment descriptors.

Bolding is mine.

This not only doesn't solve the problem of fighting about whether animate dead or the screaming flaming skull spell should be available to PCs - it says that it should, but not too much - it generates entirely new problems. No spellcaster ever needs to worry about alignment shifting, because they can just cast protection from evil a few times and fix up any alignment problems easy as pie! In fact, if you worship a neutral god but fight demons a little too often, maybe you'll just need to balance out your karma with some puppykicking.

Only one way out and that's through

I don't know how to organize this poo poo, so let's do this the good old-fashioned seat-of-the-pants way.

Absurdity is an appropriate place to start. It's a second-level spell that gives a fifty-fifty chance to ignore any lesser fear effect, at the cost of penalties to sense motive and initiative because you can't take anything seriously. Why would you put a spell about not taking scary things seriously in a book about taking horror seriously?

Alleviate Corruption is an expensive 6th-level spell that can roll back a stage of corruption or remove one corruption gift/stain, but requires a hard caster check. If the caster fails the check too hard, they get the corruption. Personally, I'd have written some rules for temporarily buying time for your corruption that kick in before 11th level and leave a little more room for creativity and specificity to each corruption's condition, but I guess that's why I'm not one of the twenty-two authors and designers credited for creating this book.

Appearance of Life is AOE disguise self but for undead only. It's third-level, a level higher than disguise other from Ultimate Magic, and it's evil for some reason.

Assume Appearance is third-level alter self except you can imitate a particular person but you need their fresh or well-preserved corpse(!). That's great and all but disguise self, a core first-level spell, already lets you assume the appearance of whoever or whatever you want. Greater Assume Appearance, at fourth level, removes the corpse requirement and lets you imitate their voice if you've heard it.

Barbed Chains is first-level Bigby's Single Mildly Scary Tentacle. It can poke people or trip people and it can scare them if it succeeds in doing that. You get more chains at higher levels.

Blood Ties is an evil fifth-level spell that allows you to do damage to a helpless hostage and duplicate that damage on a blood relative, with unlimited range. (There isn't even any mention of being on the same plane!) If a villain casts it with impunity and has access to magical healing, they can just quickly and efficiently murder everyone in a family who doesn't make the DC 20+ will save. It might make an interesting ability for a one-off special ritual or a major artifact, but as a spell it's so powerful and indiscriminate that it short-circuits intrigue stories badly.

Bloodbath is a second-level spell that let you cut yourself to cause AOE bleed.

Boneshaker is only middling for a second-level spell but has an amazing visual. You shake a skeleton marionette at someone to control their skeleton. If they're alive, they take some damage and you can shuffle them a five-foot step. If they're undead, you control them for a single move and basic attack. This owns bones, and is perfect for both a creepy NPC or a PC who wants a weird, situational spell that doesn't complete shut off against most enemies.

Borrow Corruption is a fourth-level spell that temporarily gives you a corruption gift and stain from a touched corrupted creature. Also it's evil and it causes you permanent sanity damage that can only be removed with greater restoration, miracle, or wish. Why would you ever cast this garbage?

Charnel House is a fifth-level shadow illusion that creates the illusion of rotting massacred flesh. The grossness can make people sick, and the illusion is semi-real and can make people slip and fall. It's like stinking cloud but two levels higher and with a ten minute casting time and also much worse. It's tagged evil, in a way that only raises further questions: the material component is a living creature, of Tiny size or larger. So... does that creature get a saving throw? Do you have to fight them to the death in the casting time? No GP cost is listed, so does that mean you have an arbitrary number of living creatures of arbitrary size in your material component pouch?

Compelling Rant is a fifth-level spell that builds on Core's first-level hypnotism, turning you into Alex Jones. Not only do you hold many more creatures' attention, but you do WIS/sanity damage to them and implant a permanent new notion in their head. The spell description is kind of vague about what sort of message you can implant: they can be "conspiracies or metaphysical revelations that confound your audience" even if those ideas would result in "contradictory beliefs", but "you canít force beliefs on a target if such beliefs would be necessarily against the nature of its alignment and prior beliefs." :shrug: Also this spell does WIS drain or super-hard-to-remove sanity damage to you as part of the casting. No details on whether it causes permanent rosacea or loss of custody of your children.

Contact Entity is a chain of spells that are like contact other plane but for creatures made up by HP Lovecraft. There's a whole chart, from using the second-level spell to contact a ratling to bholes or star-spawn of Cthulhu at seventh-level. I can understand why you'd want spells to contact horrible things from outside space - it's definitely in genre - but I'm not clear at all why Pathfinder can't just tack this onto the existing contact other plane spell. A sidebar even says that you can't use contact other plane because they aren't outsiders and sometimes they aren't on other planes, but it seems like it would be easier to handwave those details than to make a whole chain of spells that let you speak to a deep one but not a locathah. This list is also all-inclusive of Lovecraft creatures but isn't made with any sort of practical utility in mind: a ratling is a rat that smarter than an average person, a deep one is just a person who is a fish, a bhole is a barely-sentient giant worm. What are you even going to ask them?

Cruel Jaunt is a sixth level spell that lets you sense characters who are afraid and teleport to a random location near them. Why is this evil? :shrug:

Curse of Fell Seasons is a ninth-level spell that permanently locks in the weather in a two-mile radius. Until you let it go, of course.

Curse of Night is the same deal but eighth level and blotting out sunlight instead. Maybe you're Montgomery Burns or nostalgic for Ravenloft. Both of these spells refer to the curse section in the next chapter, but "unnatural weather" and "endless night" are not some super confusing poo poo you need to cross-reference.

Curse Terrain, on the other hand, is four different evil spells, ranging from lesser at level 2 to supreme at level 8, does require you actually check the next chapter. Somewhere in a 300ft radius, a number of unnatural hazards appear, per the "perilous demense curse" on pg 144-145. The spell doesn't say what these hazards entail, just that you can't choose when the hazards appear or end or where they appear. Page 145 in turn tells you to check page 154 for the actual hazards, which are all like "evil tree" and "swarms of things." These spells are pointless. They're never, ever going to actually be cast in a game, and their narrative role - a spellcaster can blight the land with a magic ritual - can be handwaved in the same way that the origins of owlbears are handwaved. A wizard did it.

Damnation is, unexpectedly, a good-aligned spell! The concept is neat: it's a divine smite that damages anyone in the burst who can cast or is buffed with an evil spell. Unfortunately, it's d8 damage (will-save for half) per spell level of the highest level spell/spell-like/buff - that's garbage, even as an ally-friendly third-level cleric spell.

Death Clutch is a rehash of Book of Vile Darkness's heartclutch. It's a save or die that tears out the victim's heart, and it's evil even though horrid wilting and finger of death and disintegrate aren't. The main difference between this and BOVD's genuinely controversial heartclutch and stop heart is that nobody's going to want to cast death clutch - it's an 8th-level save-or-die with a HP cap. The BOVD spells were competitive with staples like hold monster or baleful polymorph; this, not so much.

Decapitate is a sixth-level spell that isn't evil. It isn't good, either, though. "You can cast this spell only as a response to a confirmed critical hit against the target that would deal slashing damage." The target takes 4d6 damage and, if they don't make a fort save, the crit modifier of the weapon is increased by 1. There's some flavor rules about decapitating the target if they're brought to zero HP or less but who cares.

Decollate is an extremely bizarre fifth-level buff. It allows you to remove your head for a day, giving you short-range blindsense (but no normal eyesight, even from your detached head) and DR 2/-. The visual is neat, but there's no reason you'd actually cast this other than to be a creepy guy with no head.

Dreadscape is an extremely stylish spell, but it's somewhat overcomplicated and not very good. It causes all of the targets to be scared (a new fear condition from chapter 1 - shaken with an extra -2 to saves on any new fear effects) and hostile towards any new creatures they see during the duration, and if they become frightened or panicked, they take WIS/sanity damage. The problem is that it's a fourth-level spell, same level as Core's fear, which causes panic in an AOE and still has an effect on targets that save. The longish duration makes me think it's intended to be cast by a villain who then runs away afterward, like Strahd in the original Castle Ravenloft module, but that's not ever made explicit.

I am only up to the letter F. Man, gently caress spell lists in d20 books, honestly.

Next time on HORRIBLE ADVENTURES:


Seriously.

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007

Cease to Hope posted:

Cruel Jaunt is a sixth level spell that lets you sense characters who are afraid and teleport to a random location near them.

Isn't that a straight-up superhero power? Teleport to the nearest citizen-in-danger and save them.

Dareon
Apr 6, 2009

by vyelkin

The Lone Badger posted:

Isn't that a straight-up superhero power? Teleport to the nearest citizen-in-danger and save them.

It definitely could be, but the apparent intended use is the slasher villain turn-around-and-he's-there jumpscare. Which loses a little impact when the mystic bathrobe man is using a sixth-level spell slot to do it, which could have been filled with any of a vast panoply of more effective spells. Even if the intended effect is to scare someone.

Leraika
Jun 14, 2015

slime time


Oh yeah, I remember when HA came out and people would not loving shut up about how all cruelties up to and including genocide were totally okay if you just cast protection from evil a few times, and conversely how you might as well just hand your sheet to the GM if you plan on casting infernal healing more than once.

These alignment rules are supremely stupid.

ZeroCount
Aug 12, 2013


Your first mistake was thinking that Good and Evil in Pathfinder had anything to do with actual morality.

Barudak
May 7, 2007

How close of a blood relative do you need for blood ties to work? Because that rapidly turns into "grab literally anyone to use to kill anyone you dont like"

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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

The Lone Badger posted:

Isn't that a straight-up superhero power? Teleport to the nearest citizen-in-danger and save them.

"Oh my god! There's a brown person on my lawn!"
<Teleport>
"Never fear citizen I'm here to.. oh god drat it it's you again, STOP DOING THIS!"

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009

I love the potoo,
and the potoo loves you.

Kurieg posted:

"Oh my god! There's a brown person on my lawn!"
<Teleport>
"Never fear citizen I'm here to.. oh god drat it it's you again, STOP DOING THIS!"

"Dammit, kid, stop playing Five Nights At Freddy's!"

Halloween Jack
Sep 12, 2003

La morte non ha sesso

Alien Rope Burn posted:

I don't think it's really so much faded as just updating to whatever the most popular edition is to rail against.
In the 90s, there were a lot of games that were explicitly about "roleplaying over roll-playing" :rolleye:, but they were also very crunchy systems that were rational and logical compared to AD&D. This was the norm for awhile, but such games eventually became weird anachronisms just as "D&D but fixed" games did after the mid-80s. (The last prominent example I can think of is actually the Wraeththu game, where the system is a generic one that the author had been playing with for years, and that doesn't suit the setting much at all.)

There were definitely people saying "Oh God, I just want to play something that's not D20" during the Glut. I was one of them. But I don't think there were so many games that were self-consciously designed in opposition to D&D 3 in the manner of RuneQuest or The Fantasy Trip books, or in the style of the 90s games I mentioned. If D&D 3e had a great effect on design outside D20, it may have spurred people to really think about how their system fit their setting--but the Forge scene probably had more to do with that. D20 was itself a proposed "solution" for the glut of poorly-playtested house systems in the late 90s.

As for 4e, I don't think any games were really designed with the mindset of spurning or correcting its idiosyncrasies.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: Night's Dark Masters

Strigoi: Can't even get a break with Blood Gifts.

The Strigoi kind of get the short end of the stick on Blood Gifts. Their schtick is supposed to be monstrous, incredible superhuman strength, brute force to go beyond even a Blood Dragon. Instead they just get access to the Dragon's Iron Sinews ability (which is still great, giving people -30% to Parry your attacks because you're so goddamn strong is cool and useful) and none of the Dragon's other martial powers, which just makes them feel like inferior fighters. I'd have liked for them to get a Gift that, say, just increased Str and Tough by 10 each or something similar to let them be truly over the top in their physical might.

Aside from Iron Sinews, they can also get a Necharch's Blood Sated gift, which helps the furtive and hidden Strigoi ghoul kings to keep out of trouble. Only needing to feed half as often is a blessing when you're a monstrous horror that can't hide. They can also get Unhallowed Soul and Waterwalker from Dragon, allowing a Strigoi to potentially negate weaknesses to Holy Objects and running water.

For their actual unique abilities, they're the only vampires who can turn into bats! Bats rule. Like the wolf form for the Dragons, it takes a half action to change shape and a half action to change back, and you take any equipment and clothing with you. The Vampire Bat you turn into isn't very strong or tough, and isn't great at combat; this ability is mostly only useful for the ability to fly.

Next is Curse of the Revenant. Strigoi are incredibly hard to kill, even for vampires. A Strigoi with this ability counts any Critical Hit they take as 2 points lower, minimum 1. In other words, your Toughness is effectively 20 higher for purposes of avoiding damage that goes into Critical zones. This ability is actually quite useful, though you'd ideally want to avoid running out of Wounds and taking Crits in the first place as even a +1 Critical can do some bad stuff if you roll badly on the table.

There's also Monstrous Mass: Did I mention Strigoi are tough? If you get this ability, you're too huge to easily bring down. Whenever you're taking crits and rolling on the crit table, you roll twice and take the more favorable result. Combine this with Curse of the Revenant and it can be really hard to kill a Strigoi by just chopping it to pieces.

The rapport Strigoi have with the twisted cannibals that become Ghouls shows up in Summon Ghouls. The Strigoi calls out to their kin, and if there are any nearby, they arrive in 2-5 combat rounds, with 3-6 of them showing up (the longer it will take them, the sooner they arrive) to fight for the vampire. The Ghouls will do exactly as they are told, and given they're 2 Attack mooks with poisoned claws, a foe as dangerous as a Strigoi getting 3-6 reasonably dangerous expendable minions is actually pretty useful.

They also get Summon Vermin, which can be used to call swarms of normal vermin to annoy or cause mischief, or used to summon Giant Rats or giant Vampire Bats (the same thing they can turn into) to aid them in combat. Summoning works just like with Ghouls, and again, vampire bats are flying 2 attack minions that have a Damage 4 melee attack. Adventurers already facing a superhuman monster who refuses to die won't like having 3-6 large, angry bats added to the mix.

Finally, Strigoi can get Walking Death. A Strigoi's size, strength, and appearance become so horrifying to mortals that they cause Terror instead of Fear, meaning that if you're using Insanity the Strigoi inflicts 1 IP on a failed WP check when you encounter them. They also cause people who fail WP to flee, instead of just stand stock still, until they break out of the panic with a WP test. This lets a Strigoi split up an attacking party much more effectively.

Next: The Last, And Obviously Best, Line: The Von Carsteins.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 16:37 on Aug 4, 2017

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010

HELL SERPENT
Lipstick Apathy
Fantasy Alex Jones seems like a cool character concept to try and kick around.

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

WELL THAT JUST HAPPENED!

ZeroCount posted:

Your first mistake was thinking that Good and Evil in Pathfinder had anything to do with actual morality.

I came up with an idea that [good] and [evil] tags are just conduits of opposing Outer Planar energies, and any attachment to morality is the planar beings that grew up around it.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: Night's Dark Masters

The Von Carsteins: I Cast Summon Dramatic Thunderstorm

The Von Carsteins start their Gifts off strong, with quite possibly the coolest (and one of the most useful) Gifts of all: Call Forth Thunder. Any Von Carstein with this ability can summon a dark, dramatic thunderstorm (and cloud cover enough to protect an entire battlefield during the day) as a full action. This makes flight impossible, gives everyone within 1 mile -10% to BS tests, and again: Will protect any and all vampires under its curtain from the sun. It also lasts for hours equal to your Magic stat. A Von Carstein army with enough vampires can bring the gloom and mud of their homeland everywhere they go AND protect themselves completely from the sun. Also, it just seems right for their family to be able to say 'Welcome, to Castle DRAKENHOF!' and actually have the dramatic thunder crack out right when they need it.

Being generals and nobles, they also get the Dark Majesty ability the Necharchs do, letting them command large armies of the undead. Being arrogant as hell, they can also pick up a Lahmian's Defy the Dawn, potentially learning to pull a Kars and pose fabulously rather than turn to dust in the light of the rising sun. Being classic Draculas, they can also turn to Ethereal Mist like a Lahmian.

The arrogance of Carsteins often leads to an obsession with having their portrait taken, as few in the family cast reflections. Some are so annoyed by being unable to look on their majesty that they cultivate a Persistent Image, gaining the ability to reflect in mirrors and puddles of water once again.

Silver is often a bane to vampires, but Carsteins can eventually work around it like a noble building up an arsenic immunity. Enough effort and exposure can bring about Silvered Blood, removing weaknesses to Silver if the vampire has one.

While the Strigoi are limited to vermin and twisted madmen, the noble Von Carsteins can use Summon Wolves to call out to the children of the night, joining in their wonderful music to call their loyal hunting hounds to their side. The summoned Dire Wolves are actually pretty nasty, probably the strongest of the summonable minions for vampires.

The signature of their line is their Transfixing Gaze. A Carstein focuses their majesty and contempt into their eyes and stares down a target, stunning them and rendering them helpless until the vampire looks away or chooses to release the mortal. The Lahmians claim to be able to do the same, of course, but it lacks the style and dignitas of a true aristocrat!

Similarly, a Von Carstein can develop Walking Death the same as a Strigoi, though it tends to take the form of a terrifying, all-consuming dread at seeing the mask of a Midnight Aristocrat taken away and the horrifying predator beneath, rather than being a function of their massive size or claws.

And last, and definitely least, much like a Dragon a Carstein can turn into a wolf. There are about as few reasons to do it as there are for a Dragon, though it does make you blisteringly fast and able to flee easily.

Seriously, though, Call Thunder is awesome for Castlevania Times, and Von Carsteins are all about the dramatics.

Next: Vampire Careers and weaknesses! And maybe a few words on 'independent' (Read: Mutant, lesser) vampires.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 16:39 on Aug 4, 2017

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: Night's Dark Masters

Independent Gifts: Who knows?

Independents are weird. It's never really covered what makes a vampire independent, and when you see their abilities, well...It seems like they're meant to illustrate Varghulfs and other overfed or mutated vampires. Varghulfs are what happens when a vampire feeds too much and too often; they go mad and turn into a terrible mutant beast that lives only to hunt and loses higher thought.

First is Blood Burst: You don't fully process blood, and it forms horrible pouches and stale, sticky blobs in your flesh that spray out and hinder attackers (-20% to-hit for d5 rounds) that hit you. Eww.

Next is Carrier: You feed too widely and without restraint, and now your fangs and blood are permanently tainted with illness. You cause diseases when you feed on people, if they survive.

Then comes Host: You have all kinds of horrible little things living in your corpse-flesh, and when you're wounded a shower of beetles and centipedes comes scurrying out of the injury. This causes a WP-10% test or gain one Insanity for mortals who witness this because holy poo poo.

Malformed makes an Independent especially awful to look at, with terrible, rotting flesh and twisted mutations. Any Fear or Terror you cause gives people a -20% on their WP to resist.

Then comes Psychic Drain, which is exceptionally weird: You drain stats from people with 8 yards of you. They must succeed WP tests or lose 10% to every stat, every round, minimum of 1%, with the stats returning at 10% per hour away from you. This ability cannot be turned off, as far as I can tell. Oh, 'energy vampires'.

Ravenous is another 'Oh boy, look, it's that useless Frenzy talent but conditional' power, which seems to come up a lot in WHFRP because the developers never figured out a talent that takes control of your PC, costs you 10% to-hit, and only gives +1 to melee damage in return is the very definition of useless. You can use Frenzy if you're close to a bleeding creature. That's all.

Scent Blood is frighteningly useful. A vampire with this ability automatically detects the presence of any living creature with a working circulatory system within 16 yards, so directly that they count as being able to see them. This will automatically defeat any stealth skill and even magical invisibility.

Stench gives anyone who gets close enough -10% to all tests while they stay close to you, unless they take precautions like a scented handkerchief wrapped around the mouth. Behold, the dark majesty of stink.

Swarm Form lets you turn into a swarm of vermin, bats, or birds, unable to be hurt or to hurt others for minutes equal to your Mag characteristic. Which is actually pretty cool.

Wings gives you permanent, working wings that won't let you pass for human anymore unless you hide them and appear to be cloaked hunchback, which will generally make people suspect you're a mutant anyway.

So that's Independents. They're weird.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 16:40 on Aug 4, 2017

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers, stern and wild ones, and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss.
Clapping Larry

gradenko_2000 posted:

I got the impression that RuneQuest was originally a not-D&D game what with its percentile rolls and skill system and class-less characters (as opposed to a D&D-But-Better game), and then you get CoC as the most popular "adaptation" or "spin-off" of RuneQuest's basic engine, and then you get Basic RolePlaying as a "genericized" engine on top of that, but all three of them still have way too much emphasis on stuff that's really only relevant to D&D because RuneQuest defined itself as being an alternative to D&D even as it covered a lot of the same tropes and gameplay territory.

In that late-70s timeframe along with Runequest there were also; Tunnels and Trolls (with its spinoff Monsters! Monsters!), The Fantasy Trip (proto-GURPS), Chivalry and Sorcery, Archworld, Odysseus (those last three all by Fantasy Games Unlimited); all of which were classless systems more or less.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 5, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!

Halloween Jack posted:

As for 4e, I don't think any games were really designed with the mindset of spurning or correcting its idiosyncrasies.

I think the OSR was in large part a revolt against 4e. It's a different direction, but a lot of the industry bent towards "reclaiming" D&D, defining themselves largely by their relation to it. You even have games like GURPS going back towards its Fantasy Trip roots after around two decades of sneering at D&D.

Halloween Jack
Sep 12, 2003

La morte non ha sesso
A reaction and a revolt, definitely. But from a design POV, nearly all OSR games are based on cloning, house-ruling, or at its best, reimagining a favoured edition of D&D. (For the more obscure and less commercial examples--like, I don't even remember the names of most of them--the OSR is very much about reliving that first era of game design, when simply adding patch rules to D&D made for a viable product.)

Lots of games and modules produced that were reacting against what they perceived to be the ethos of D&D 4e, but virtually nothing that actually proceeded from it in terms of design. For example, when a OSR game introduces a unified task resolution system or skill system, it either imitates 3e or expands something in early D&D or AD&D--it doesn't propose to "fix" 4e skill challenges. OSR games owe less of a design debt to 4e than BRP, Rolemaster, or even GURPS owe to earlier editions of D&D. I've seen attempts to do an "old school Warlord" and other OSRified 4e stuff on message boards, but never in a published product.

I think the cherry on top of what I'm trying to say is that even D&D 5e, which was blatantly pandering to the OSR, didn't build on 4e at all. It didn't try to fix it, simplify it, or cram old-school "feel" into it--instead they pretended 4e never happened, and went back to 3e as a starting point.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
Interestingly, that looks like it might be what happens with WHFRP4e.

Oh, yeah, they announced a WHFRP4e is being worked on now, by the folks who made The One Ring, and it will be set in the Old World, and take its cues 'mostly from 1 and 2e'.

Kaza42
Oct 3, 2013

Blood and Souls and all that

Night10194 posted:

Interestingly, that looks like it might be what happens with WHFRP4e.

Oh, yeah, they announced a WHFRP4e is being worked on now, by the folks who made The One Ring, and it will be set in the Old World, and take its cues 'mostly from 1 and 2e'.

The One Ring is great, The Old World is great, and 1e and 2e were much better than 3e. Everything about this announcement is great news

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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

Kaza42 posted:

The One Ring is great, The Old World is great, and 1e and 2e were much better than 3e. Everything about this announcement is great news

I like 2e a lot (never played 1e) and didn't care for 3e myself, but it's one of those cases where it's very much a matter of feel and taste rather than 3e actually being a bad game. Also, 3e had the misfortune to be saddled with 'You gotta move time to back to the Storm of Chaos and pretend Archaon is really scary.' from GW.

I worry 4e might suffer similar problems. Being Right After The Big Massive Army Battle Times is one of my favorite parts of 2e.

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers, stern and wild ones, and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss.
Clapping Larry

Halloween Jack posted:

A reaction and a revolt, definitely. But from a design POV, nearly all OSR games are based on cloning, house-ruling, or at its best, reimagining a favoured edition of D&D. (For the more obscure and less commercial examples--like, I don't even remember the names of most of them--the OSR is very much about reliving that first era of game design, when simply adding patch rules to D&D made for a viable product.)

Lots of games and modules produced that were reacting against what they perceived to be the ethos of D&D 4e, but virtually nothing that actually proceeded from it in terms of design. For example, when a OSR game introduces a unified task resolution system or skill system, it either imitates 3e or expands something in early D&D or AD&D--it doesn't propose to "fix" 4e skill challenges. OSR games owe less of a design debt to 4e than BRP, Rolemaster, or even GURPS owe to earlier editions of D&D. I've seen attempts to do an "old school Warlord" and other OSRified 4e stuff on message boards, but never in a published product.

I think the cherry on top of what I'm trying to say is that even D&D 5e, which was blatantly pandering to the OSR, didn't build on 4e at all. It didn't try to fix it, simplify it, or cram old-school "feel" into it--instead they pretended 4e never happened, and went back to 3e as a starting point.

For patch rules to OD&D, the biggest of its time were Arduin Grimoire and the various Judges Guild products like Masters of the Mind.

TSR and Palladium were really the largest proponents of class-based systems. Even old school Traveller had occupations that only mattered during initial character generation and controlled what initial skills and gear you got but could be swapped between freely. MAny of the games I played in the late-70s-early-80s period were mostly or completely class-less.

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.

Night10194 posted:

Interestingly, that looks like it might be what happens with WHFRP4e.

Oh, yeah, they announced a WHFRP4e is being worked on now, by the folks who made The One Ring, and it will be set in the Old World, and take its cues 'mostly from 1 and 2e'.

I liked 3E a lot, but I trust that team to make a great product. :)

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
Really, regardless of preferred WHFRP edition, I think everyone's just really excited and relieved it'll still be the Old World. Silly as the place can be, I really love it.

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wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion


Wfrp 3e was the unrefined version of the dice system in ffg's star wars, so I can see where the pushback is coming from.

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