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Green Intern
Dec 29, 2008

Loon, Crazy and Laughable


They modeled the outline of a dong on this thing.

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Alien Rope Burn
Dec 5, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!

theironjef posted:

He's not a mastermind, he's a statistical anomaly.

Well, I called them "bizarre theories" for a reason.

And yeah, he got into RPGs at a lucky time where he could throw together little 48 page books of weapons and armor and not just make money, but make a surprisingly large amount of money that he could found a company on. I suppose every time I'm wondering why there's another list of Rifts weapons, I can look back at Weapons & Armor and be like "oh, that's why".

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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

Green Intern posted:

They modeled the outline of a dong on this thing.

It could just be the coccyx...

darthbob88
Oct 13, 2011

YOSPOS

Kurieg posted:

It could just be the coccyx...
Yeah, but that leaves the same sort of problem; I can see why whomever would want to model tik'toks on a basically humanoid two-arms-two-legs-one-head form, but why would they bother including the dongus or the tailbone?

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.


Grimey Drawer
Clearly it's just the bolt keeping its hips attached to its spine.

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007



Alien Rope Burn posted:

As much as I rag on the guy, I wouldn't suggest it myself. I'd certainly have some curious questions if I was able to regarding how he runs and writes games, what he actually thinks about the role of rules in RPGs is and what's important for good game mechanics, that sort of thing. Using it as a venue to just be critical or go full John Walker wouldn't make for an interesting interview.

Picking on Palladium mechanics is easy, but I don't think there are interesting answers at the bottom of that hole to seek out. I have no doubt he's well aware of what people think of Palladium, and I don't think any of my criticism will necessarily change Palladium - maybe the Savage Worlds adaptation was done with the flak thrown at the Megaversal system in mind, but I have no way of knowing. It'd be interesting to find out what led into that.

That linked interview with Molyneux is brutal. Please don't do that to K-Sim, Cheese Dudes.

Barudak
May 7, 2007

Green Intern posted:

They modeled the outline of a dong on this thing.

It looks more like a Dong-Adapter Socket. Compatible with any Dong Device version 4 or earlier, from steam canon to light projector.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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Dragonmech: Steam Warriors: I made a flamethrower and now it won't stop talking.

Chatterbox is a template applied to certain assemblages of steam powers. See, sometimes, coglayers treat these machines as if they're alive. Eccentric, maybe. But sometimes, they're right - and the thing is not only alive, it can think. In large combinations, these machines can show signs of thought and personaltiy even when they have no apparent source of this intellect or animator. These mechanisms are usually given names by their owners, and eventually, they may begin to speak. These are 'chatterboxes,' and some say they are a sign of Dotrak's presence, while others say that coglayers make them deliberately. Some wonder if this means the citymechs themselves are alive - which you'll recall, Cogworms believe they are. Combinations of more than five steam powers can develop signs of personality, but that few is not enough to speak. However, if kept intact long enough, it may begin to feel gendered or to have a name assigned to it. If the device gets up to more than eight powers, its moods may become clear to the owner.

However, if such an object is damaged or rebuilt from the ground up, its personality can be destroyed, while a device that starts out very large may jump straight to being a full chatterbox. Other large devices never become chatterboxes; it tends to happen only to beloved creations. Many wonder what the motives of these things are, and if they are predestined to exist or not. They tend to be inquisitive and curious, and also tend to take on the alignment of their owner as well as being loyal to them. Often, trak traks appear before a chatterbox is generated, usually docile and harmless. Some believe that chatterboxes are actually trak trak spirits in a more structured home, while others believe they are a mediator between Dotrak's presence and the creator's affection. Others believe chatterboxes are something new and different. Chatterboxes al claim to remember nothing before they begin speaking.

To be a full chatterbox, a device must have at least 11 steam powers and must not be animated by spirits or necromantic energy, and must not be a mech. The assembly becomes a Construct-type creature, with one d10 HD per steam power over the 10th. The chatterbox can trigger any of its own functions at will, but cannot aim or move unless it was built to be specifically able to do so. It can also choose not to function even if triggered. If it has an animator, it can fight as if it had the Two Weapon Fighgting ffeat, and use up to four weapons in a full attack with a -4 penalty. With two, it takes no penalty for using two weapons in an attack, can attack with four at -4, and can do a full attack with six at -4. This continues for each animator on it.

In addition to whatever it could do with its parts, the chatterbox gets low-light vision, darkvision 60, may semi-telepathically communicate (that is, as long as you can hear its engine, you can understand what it says if it wants you to), the ability to hear even if it couldn't before (via the same semi-telepathic method), immunity to all mind-affecting effects, poison, sleep, paralysis, stunning, disease, death effects and necromancy, an inability to heal damage but often an ability to be healed by certain effects or craftwork, immunity to crits, subdual damage, ability damage, ability drain, fatigue, exhaustion and energy drain, immunity to anything requiring a Fort save unless it works on objects, immunity to massive damage, inability to be raised or resurrected by any means, and a one-time bonus to HP based on its size. It also gets Int, Wis and Cha based on its HD, and has the same Str and Dex it had as a machine - which may well be 'none'. You can theoretically play one, and they have a Level Adjustment of +1 per 2 Hit Dice they have.

We also get a story about two chatterboxes made by two rival dwarves, several generations ago. The first was made by an old woman named Glippa who was greedy and cruel and nasty, and the other made by a pious man named Shentrip who was uncompromising in his morals, exceptionally strict and very judgmental. The two were rival shopkeeps, remembered as Glip and Trip, and made fun of by everyone else. They hated each other, and their apprentices often defected between their workshops. Because of this, none can say which first came up with the idea of making a machine to maintain their other machines. When each learned of the other's work, they decided to try and beat each other in a race to finish the devices. As it turned out, they finished on the same day and got in a fight over who won the race, which almost grew into a street fight before the mayor said he'd pick judges to see which machine was better. The next morning, however, neither mechanic showed up, and it is believed that the two machines had absorbed the hatred of their creators and had each murdered the other creator, as their bodies were found covered in holes made by an oilcan spout.

Refugees claimed to have seen the devices leaving town together. Now, the two rogue devices maintain each other, and have taken on the names of their creators. The only difference between them is that Glip is Chaotic Evil and Trip is Lawful Good. Should they meet a group that has no members of those two alignments, they may be friendly and ask to buy some spare parts. However, Glip instantly attacks anyone that is LG except Trip, and Trip does likewise for anyone but Glip that is CE. They stay out of each others' way and cannot be convinced to harm each other. They are also not especially dangerous, really, so it's kind of more a side diversion, though they are worth quite a bit of money - around 6000gp each.

We get some side rules on repairing and sabotaging devices with Craft (blacksmith) and Disable Device, and detecting devices with Listen checks or piloting mechs underwater with Mech Pilot. (Spoilers: it's a bad idea.) We also get some new magical materials. First: organic steel, developed by elves to allow elders who have become allergic to magic to survive via cybernetics. Organic steel is full of a special mold that eats it and takes on its properties, though it cannot really be reshaped once the mold is introduced. It heals 1 HP per day per level (or HD), just as a normal person would. Healing and repair spells both work on it, as it is both construct and alive. It is vulnerable to poison and is treated as a plant by spells and other effects, and it can survive to -10 HP. If killed, it rusts over a day and crumbles in a week. It will not increase the healing of a steamborg whose parts are made of it, but they also don't need special tools for repairs. It costs 10 times as much as normal steel. Also, steamborgs made entirely from organic steel parts cannot lose themselves and mixed borgs do not treat organic steel as parts for lose self checks. However, you need someone that can cast 5th level druid spells to make the stuff, so that's not so eas. It resembles tree bark of varying colors (green, blue and brown are common, changing to yellow, orange, red or purple in the latter half of the year). In winter, it gives -2 to Str, but gets a +2 to Str in summer.

A construct made entirely of organic steel is considered a plant-construct, with d10 HD, BAB as a cleric, no good sves, not many skill points, a Con score, otherwise normal construct traits, but also a need to breathe or eat. Also, it can be hit by mind-affecting, disease, death and necromancy effects, can surffer crits, subdual damage, ability damage and drain, fatigue, energy drain, Fort-save effects, massive damage and can be resurrected from death.

Next time: ZOMBIE STEEL

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Dragonmech: Steam Warriors: apparently metal can be evil

Necrotic steel is the necromantic versio nof organic steel. It's evil. So evil you can detect it it with detect evil. Making it is evil, done either via horrific ritual or by necromantic reanimation of recently dead organic steel. Despite the fact that it's undead mold, it has faces and bones embedded in it, somehow. It also bleeds. Necrotic steel, unlike organic steel, cannot heal itself, but can be repaired with mending or harming spells, because it's both a construct and undead. It is damaged by holy water and steams upon entering holy ground. Steamborgs with necrotic steel implants are considered evil for the purposes of magic as well as their actual alignment. They can also be turned as if they werre undead.

In direct sunlight, anything with necrotic steel in it gets -4 Str, and -2 in indirect sunlight. In natural darkness, however, they get +2 Str. Steamborgs made entirely from necrotic steel implants do not make normal lose self checks, but must make one once a month or else move one step on the alignment chart toward Chaotic Evil. Partially necrotic steel borgs also make this check, but only count their necrotic parts, and do not count their necrotic parts towards normal lose self checks. Necrotic steel also costs 3 times the cost of steel, rather than ten times, because reasons.

Undead-constructs (made with necrotic steel) function as normal constructs, but get d12 HD instead, can be healed by negative energy, and can be restored to their state in life (if a creature) via true resurrection or resurrection. However, this will not revert necrotic steel to organic steel.

Then we get some side materials. Coglayers can work in teams, combining their ability to support steam powers to produce machines with more than either could handle alone. In fact, anyone, not just coglayers, can do that. They can pool their powers all together as much as they want. However, the danger of this is that if someone leaves the team, the entire thing has to be scrapped and built all over again. The larger the team, the more likely such a conflict will happen, so only in really structured societies do you really get teams of more than three.

So, you ask, how does a mech balance? It's a nightmare in our modern world to get something to balance on two legs. Well, the answer is that a device was invented called the dwarven level. It's more advanced than anything in our modern world, but looks pretty simple and helps the mech balance. The reason it exists is magic and necromancy. See, dwarves were able to remove the balance center from the brain of a dead dwarf and study it, keeping it 'alive' with necromancy. Gradually, they learned how to replicate it mechanically, developing the dwarven level. The details of all this are long forgotten, which is probably good, because it's believed that living sujects were used to test the level during development. All that remains is the plan, which is a duplicate of the dwarven balance center in the brain. It's pretty easy to construct from the plans or by reverse engineering a working level.

How do steam engines manage to control such massive machines? Well, the power of steam engines were limited in our world because they could not contain the heat and pressure as well as the modern combustion engine. The dwarven steam engine is able to, however, and more besides. They have magical metals to use, after all, and techniques refined over millenia. Plus, they desperately need it to work, so all their ingenuity is turned towards it.

Heat radiation was and is still a problem, however. Early steamborgs had huge problems with radiant heat from the engine, until a steam-powered refrigeration system was made and built into all current steamborg engines to prevent too much heat from damaging the body. Optionally, this can be turned down to remain warm even in freezing temperatures, but it makes the user fatigued while doing this.

Now, pressure could be a problem still, if it weren't for the dwarven pressure tank, a small metal sphere at the heart of the engine. Its design is carefully kept secret by the dwarves, but it can hold immense amounts of heat and pressure, allowing the engine to store power efficiently and use it easily. It's very strong...but if it is damaged, the results are usually disastrous and explosive, so it's also protected by layers of metal armor around it. Many believe that it's just a tank reinforced with mithril or other magical materials.

So, with all these technologies, why not internal combustion? Firstly, steam power works well enough right now. Second, making new tech is more costly than using what exists. Third, decades of damage to the surface has rendered oil mining and refinement essentially impossible. Any facility that could process crude oil would have been destroyed long ago. Plus, there's not that much crude oil easily minable, as underground creatures have been burning it as lamp fuel for centuries, and a number of underground monsters eat it. Because of this, crude oil is hard to find and getting it isn't worth the effort. But wait, you say, how do clockwork and man-powered mechs work? Well, they work in similar ways - efficient use of flywheels, weights, counterbalances and springs to make use of energy as effectively as possible. Each action helps start the next. Clockwork mechs use gigantic springs to store the required energy, while man-powered mechs need tons of people in constant motion to do it.

The End

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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

Mors Rattus posted:

until a steam-powered refrigeration system was made

NO

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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i don't understand why are you upset its just a steam engine cooling itself with a fridge powered by the steam engine

Daeren
Aug 18, 2009

YER MUSTACHE IS CROOKED
It's like someone trying to describe an absorption refrigerator with absolutely no understanding of how it works :psyduck:

oh wait that's exactly what it is

megane
Jun 20, 2008



Uh, it's real simple, guys; you just start a fire, use the fire to boil water into steam, then use the steam pressure to turn a bunch of fans, which counteracts the heat from the fire. DUH. :colbert:

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine
It's literally a world where dragons from the moon fight giant robots of course physics are different.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.


Grimey Drawer
You put a cursed O ring of Contrariness on a pipe, and presto.

Hostile V
May 31, 2013

Solving all of life's problems through enhanced casting of Occam's Razor. Reward yourself with an imaginary chalice.

For all of its moral faults and ethical failings and mundane limitations, it's well known that necrotic steel can make one hell of an ashtray I tell you what.

Prism
Dec 22, 2007

yospos

I mean, on one hand, it sounds stupid.

And on the other hand, fridges that use heat to power the cooling systems exist. It's not efficient, and you need some ammonia or other chemicals, but it exists.

Given all the other poo poo steamtech can do in Dragonmech, the concept of steam-powered fridges isn't the breaking point for me. The exact system of using it on a mech is pretty bizarre but, eh, you do you.

Prism fucked around with this message at 00:29 on Jun 13, 2017

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 5, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Rifts World Book 13: Lone Star - Part Five: "Chimpanzees represent 95% of all Monkey Boys."


Not slavery.

GED Mutant Experiments

So, the Coalition doesn't just do dogs, they've done other sorts of mutants in vastly smaller numbers. They have a harder time controlling them and creating them, however, and generally use them in even more disposable ways than dog boys. As with the dog boys, the Coalition just considers them animals on two legs.

Rifts World Book 13: Lone Star posted:

Although outsiders and enemies of the CS contend this is nothing more than cruel arrogance and slavery, the CS asks, one, how can one enslave an animal, and two, if the animal is happy and does not consider itself a slave (if they are even capable of such a distinction), is it a slave or a willing partner? The vast majority of Dog Boys (over 85%) contend they are willing and happy partners. A paradox that may never be unravelled.

I'll unravel it for you: it's still slavery. :argh:

They note that thanks to genetic engineering, they only really need one sample of an animal (since they can alter the sex of the creature). It's noted that genetic engineering is a highly restricted science in the Coalition, and heavy secrecy arounds it. Of course, that shield of secrecy is also what allows Bradford to get away with ridiculous bullshit. It actually states directly that if Emperor Prosek realizes everything that's going on at Lone Star under Bradford, he'll have the whole facility purged.

It also refers to Coalition psychics as "CS Mind Mages" because apparently Siembieda forgot for a hot moment that he's not writing for Palladium Fantasy, since that's the class name for psychics there.


"I haven't been guarding this door so long that I've gone insane! Have I, 02?"

Practical Genetic Engineering

Most of the Coalition's knowledge of genetic engineering was taken from the Lone Star Complex, and the dog boy program was mostly taken from US military research. Over time, they've worked out basic genetic tweaks for dozens of animals. However, they don't generally use it for civilian usage, because they're concerned that enhanced GMOs will just be replicated by their enemies, so they keep a tight lid on those. In general, they're paranoid fucks that are too worried to make the most of what they have. In addition, they're inclined to ensure that other communities have resource shortages so they're tempted by the Coalition's offers of membership. Most Coalition citizens don't even know that GMO-enhanced food exists.

Rifts World Book 13: Lone Star posted:

How could the citizens of the CS have let this happen? Get real. The separation of fundamental knowledge and the average person who uses it occurs to varying degrees in every advanced civilization. Let's take a look at ourselves for a minute. Probably half the people reading this book know how to use a computer, but how many know how to program one? Probably a third as many as users. Now, how many actually understand how the computer works, well enough to fix hardware? Probably less than 5%. Okay, how many know how to make the microchips and processors and could build a computer? Probably zero. Along those lines, how many know how electricity works or even think about it when we turn on a light? Probably only when you loose electrical power and must wait by candle light until somebody else restores it. This can be said about almost everything. Do you know how your refrigerator works? How about your TV, or wristwatch, or the preservatives in your food? I don't. Probably 90% of those reading this book can drive (or plan to drive) an automobile, but probably less than 1% know how to repair one. If our car breaks down, we go to a repairman we count on somebody else to fix our things or buy a new one. If there was nobody to fix the car and no way to buy one, we would walk or ride a bike a sudden and dramatic drop in technology, and infinitely less efficient (more time consuming, tiring, etc.). This same basic principle applies to the world of Rifts Earth.

Oh, reactionary writing, I never asked that. But now you have me questioning everything you wrote just to be contrary. Mostly, this feels like the usual "and no, the PCs can't have any!" reaction about genetic engineering that we also saw with the Gene-Splicers. I don't know why Siembieda seems concerned that PCs will get their hands on this in a game where you can play dragons, wizards, or literal gods, but for some reason genetic engineering is a real sore spot. Do they seriously think PCs are going to pop out some super-creature and wait years for it to come to adulthood and then- what? It'll still get et by a baby dragon. Probably.

:confused:

That aside, the Coalition also uses gene therapy to control or prevent genetic diseases and cancers... and AIDS, for some reason AIDS is name-dropped. They've cured that. Also they've developed treatments for aging to the point people live as long as 130 years of age. (It also randomly notes that Lazlo has it as far as 140, the New German Republic is up to 140, and that Japan is up to 200.) However, mental deterioration is inevitable around 90, which means that Japan has to have some doddering fuckers out there. We get some extremely loose rules for having your skills drop due to aging and dementia, as if any PC in Rifts is gonna make it age 50, much less 100. The Coalition has cloning, but mainly only use it for scientific or GMO purposes, and human cloning is forbidden... which isn't to say it doesn't happen. But it's forbidden.

Rifts World Book 13: Lone Star posted:

Even obesity and dieting is a thing of the past, at least for citizens of the Coalition States.

:raise:

In general, they can only modify genes around the embryo stage, and we get a laundry list of modifiable traits from enhanced stats to things like modifying aggression or "dislike of the supernatural" which is apparently a natural instinct animals have. Sure. It refers us to Monsters & Animals for Palladium Fantasy if we need more animal stats, but honestly the statistics for non-M.D.C. animals is more than a little academic.


"Run more tests, Siembieda needs some filler percentages for the next section."

Other Notable CS Mutant Creations

Some of these are officially sanctioned Coalition creations, and others are not. But before we get to them, we get the "Mutations Gone Wrong" table which 1 in 10 of non-doggie mutant creations have to roll on, which can result from anything from supernatural strength to passivity to having animal brains. "Sorry you rolled bad on your character, but now you're basically just a bear with thumbs. Have fun."


How many pictures are there of mutants breaking loose and attacking Coalition personnel in this book? (A lot.)

The Ursa-Warrior

These are various mutant bears. They're supposedly lazy, dumb, and easily distracted, and rely on others for guidance a lot. Despite the fact that factually bears aren't dumb, they're supposedly childlike idiots, because this is a big ball of human preconceptions regarding bears. 80% of those created are female because they're "less aggressive", speaking of which. And, of course, when cornered, they can go bear-serk. They've tried to enhance their intelligence, but run into the problem that this apparently correlates with them being more independent, which the Coalition naturally doesn't want.

As a class their Intelligence, mental Endurance, Affinity, and Beauty are low, with a high Strength. There are four different types (Black, Brown, Grizzly, and Polar) that get varying bonuses. They can smell the supernatural like dog boys, but not as well, but can climb and swim and sprint very well. They get some minor physical psionics, and a rather paltry stack of skills. They're not terribly impressive, but have the same issue the Kill Hounds have is that their main strength is... well, their strength, but it's no good against supernatural or robotic foes, which are the main super-strong enemies to face.


Puma Man.

Battle Cats

So, these are much like dog boys, but fall into all the cat stereotypes - aloof, blunt, snide, but with a heart of gold - you know. Garfield. However, unlike that cartoon cat, they're slim and trim and there's nary a mention of lasagna. Ultimately, though, the Coalition doesn't consider them particularly useful like the dog boys because cats actually expect respect, rewards, and action. It should be noted that these are based on large cats - lynxes through lions - and not housecats.


Sexy cat girl, check.

They get similar psychic abilities to dog boys, though, and specific bonuses based on breed. They need to be agile and fast regardless of the breed, and lions and tigers can be "genetically improved" to do mega-damage because... cats are cool? Doesn't make any sense, but we'll roll with it. They get cat vision and cat hearing and cat climbing and cat running and cat... swimming? Yeah, sure. They have a similar weakness to ley lines, but not to ley line storms, because... cats are cool? Oh, and their stats are just better than dog boys, with modestly better-than-human charisma, strength, prowess, physical endurance, and beauty (yeeeep) because... cats are cool. (I wouldn't be surprised if Siembieda just straight-up forgot dog boys get baseline human stats outside of breed bonuses.) It notes most of them get a basic Coalition training package with a lot of physical and wilderness skills, though some of them are fascinated and get to become wizards unlike other mutant animals because.... well, you know by now.


Got prosthetic claws on his real claws.

Kill Cat

Loner badasses made from the toughest of tough cats, and are just assigned a territory and directed to kill all nonhumans "who are not CS personnel". So that refers to mutant animals, I guess. Though apparently it's okay for them to let people through if they "seem completely harmless", but in general they're scouts that keep an eye on a given area as badass loners, though sometimes they operate in small groups.

Stat-wise they're almost just like battle cats except they're stronger and not as personable or pretty. Note that battle cats were listed as 6' and 200-300 lbs., making them bodybuilder types, I guess, but kill cats are listed as 6' and 500 lbs., which I guess does make them Garfields. That fits the weight of a large cat, but not the accompanying size. Ooops. There's a one-third chance of them having supernatural strength to do mega-damage with but not mega-damage capacity, making them literal paper tigers. However, they have the same brain issues kill hounds have. They're a little better than kill hounds, but have most of the same issues. Unlike "normal" battle cats, they have no interest in wizardry, presumably because they're big jock fatty footsball cats.

Also they're super-loyal to the Coalition, with only a 2% defection rate, with no stated reason other than irony.

Mini Monkey Spies

These are Monkeys that have been uplifted - only barely - to low human intelligence with no change in their physical bodies. They can only speak sparingly in toddler talk, which isn't helped by the fact that the Coalition doesn't even give them a grade school education. You'd think you'd want spies to be smart, but apparently the Coalition just sees these guys as delivery systems for cameras and listening devices. (I say "guys", but most are female because they're "less aggressive", once again. Mmhm.) I'm not sure how you keep these guys given that they're pretty much monkeys. One would think they'd run off at the first sign of apples.

They're dumb and weak, but are agile and healthy, and usually only around 2' or so minus the tail. They're very good climbers and acrobatics, though their stealth is only modest. They also get a bonus to dodge, moreso in trees, and can "identify edible plants, fruits, nuts, leaves, and roots"... though, you know, only edible to themselves. They get poo poo for skills, mainly surveillance tech knowledge (they know to take the lens cap off). It notes they're too small to effectively use most human weapons, with associated crippling penalties, can't drive vehicles, and are vulnerable to cold weather.

Rifts World Book 12: Lone Star posted:

Mini Monkey Spies can be fun to play, especially as a Non-Player Character (NPC) for the G.M., but they are not ideally suited for most player characters, especially hack and slash players who are used to combat and action.

Y'think?


"We just let them break out every Tuesday to keep the poindexters on their toes, actually."

Monkey Boys

Chimps, orangs, and gorillas, these are another attempt at creating dog boys, only... "monkeys". Though they have the same kind of PR cache that dogs do, they're too curious and aggressive for the Coalition's tastes to see wider use. Most are chimpanzees used as soldiers. Though Desmond Bradford thinks they'd be better suited to technical jobs, the Coalition higher-ups have banned any notion of giving the monkey boys higher education. Nonetheless, Desmond has several dozen that have been trained as scientists that work in his lab, and figures he can use them to make his point later.


This one is literally named Heston.

So, monkey boys are pretty much superior to humans in nearly every way save for looks (slightly lower) and willpower (pretty much the same). They're mainly just stronger, but it's worth noting they're smarter, too. Somebody, chimp + human = double the brains? They're good climbers and gymnasts, and can identify all the loving edible roots they want, as well as some decent compbat bonuses. Gorillas get lower bonuses but are slightly tougher, for that that's worth in a world where a pixie's pinky will tear either one equally in half. Unlike some other critters, they just get psionics at the same rate as humans. In any case, they get a general soldier program, or can take the illegal technician program that makes them even smarter, wiser, and more charming than humans. I guess that's science for you. It also notes that rogue ones can become wizards, if you're into that sort of gimmick.

There's also an error where 40% of Monkey Boy technicians become psionic, "roughly the same as humans". 25% of humans are psionic, so... not so much.


"Let me tell you how much of a genius Desmond Bradford is-" "NOT NOW."

Mutant Rodents

Though the idea of having fast-breeding mutant cannon fodder appealed to the Coalition, but the rats pretty much recognized the intent the Coalition had with them early in their development and didn't care for it. Of all the mutant animals developed, rats had the highest degree of desertion and defiance, and are "naturally anarchist" and show "no allegiance to others, even fellow members of their own kind".

This is about as accurate as dolphins being able to track UFOs in Underseas, and falls in line with Siembieda relying more on his preconcieved notions than actually doing research. So rats are basically opportunistic scumbags who'd sell you out for a scrap of cheese and are greed and power-hungry and stupid. Other words used to describe them: "vile and treacherous", "foul, vengeful", "maniacs", "incredibly cruel", and that they "torture, rape, murder"-

Wow, Siembieda, did a rat gun down your parents in a dark alley or something?


"My knife... carries a terrible sting."

So a bunch of them escaped through a rift from Lone Star, which actually turns out to be an accident relating to Bradford experimenting around with the dimensional technology in the bottom level. A lot of them have infested the sewers and unfinished areas of the complex, if the stereotype wasn't complete.

They're smarter and way more agile than humans, but weak-willed and not charming or pretty. They have your usual animal senses, climbing, swimming, sneaking, etc. and 1 in 4 gets minor ESP powers. Their soldier package is mostly weapons and sneaking skills. They can take other adventurer or mercenary O.C.C. but with half skills because they "tend to be less educated". Well, I bet it's because they're so busy torturing, murdering, and raping. They've got a full schedule!


"I am the night! Unfortunately, it's still the day."

Mutant Bats

This seemed like a cool idea, but it turns out that having a slow-moving flyer who shows up like a beacon on most sensor systems isn't as hot a notion as it sounds. They made a batch of them but don't plan to make any more once they've passed on. Also the bats hate the rats for some reason. There isn't much on these guys.

Weak-willed and ugly, they're at least really agile. They can fly, climb, and sneak, and get scent and echolocation, but require sunglasses to see very far in the day. They get a scouting skill package and that's that.


Thinking insecticide might have been simpler.

Xiticix Killer

The cover girl of this book, this is a uniquely designed mutant using an unknown d-bee found to prey on Xiticix (the insect-like invaders from the core) as well as a melange of DNA from dinosaurs to cats. The goal was to create an anti-Xiticix predator that looked alien: they didn't want others to know just how far along they are in genetic engineering or that they were going to such lengths against the Xiticix. It has a bionic claw with a tentacle in it used to pierce the exoskeleton and then do a blender impression on the Xiticx insides, while its other arm is a tentacle used to snare with a energy blaster that fires P.P.E. blasts-

Wait, isn't that basically techno-wizardry? Something the Coalition doesn't want, use, or understand?

That aside, it's about 13' tall and can leap around like crazy. However, it can only survive by feeding on Xiticix, which is intended so that when the Xiticix menace is ended, the Coalition doesn't have to worry about these critters anymore... but it also means they so frequently get into fights and die trying to feed that their numbers are dying out and the Coalition needs to keep pumping them out. They're just big dumb animals, though, so they're not a PC option. Of course, you're not likely to encounter them around Lone Star, given the Xiticix are up towards Canada, but they have to justify the cover pin somehow. Also, they've been breeding, but it doesn't explain how new ones get all the cybernetic geegaws in that case. Not real well thought out.

Next: The Next Mutation

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 00:35 on Jun 13, 2017

Halloween Jack
Sep 12, 2003

La morte non ha sesso
I only just learned that DragonMech was one of the games that White Wolf published during the period when they were big into creating imprints to publish other people's games.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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

Prism posted:

I mean, on one hand, it sounds stupid.

And on the other hand, fridges that use heat to power the cooling systems exist. It's not efficient, and you need some ammonia or other chemicals, but it exists.

That is the problem, it's not efficient. For this fictional steam engine to cool itself enough to function and power the robot it's attached to it would need to be greater than 100% efficient. It literally needs to remove heat from a closed system without sending it anywhere. If they just said it was magic, sure, fine, but this is just so.. dumb..


Alien Rope Burn posted:

The Ursa-Warrior

These are various mutant bears. They're supposedly lazy, dumb, and easily distracted, and rely on others for guidance a lot. Despite the fact that factually bears aren't dumb, they're supposedly childlike idiots, because this is a big ball of human preconceptions regarding bears. 80% of those created are female because they're "less aggressive", speaking of which. And, of course, when cornered, they can go bear-serk. They've tried to enhance their intelligence, but run into the problem that this apparently correlates with them being more independent, which the Coalition naturally doesn't want.

*deep all consuming sigh*

wdarkk
Oct 26, 2007

Friends: Protected
World: Saved
Crablettes: Eaten

Kurieg posted:

*deep all consuming sigh*

I see Kevin has never heard the phrase "mama bear" before.

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007

Kurieg posted:

That is the problem, it's not efficient. For this fictional steam engine to cool itself enough to function and power the robot it's attached to it would need to be greater than 100% efficient. It literally needs to remove heat from a closed system without sending it anywhere. If they just said it was magic, sure, fine, but this is just so.. dumb..

A refrigerator is a heat pump. And what the dwarves want to do here is to pump heat from the core of the mech to radiators on the outside. Makes sense to me.
(Although ammonia leaks will probably kill everyone from time to time)

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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

The Lone Badger posted:

A refrigerator is a heat pump. And what the dwarves want to do here is to pump heat from the core of the mech to radiators on the outside. Makes sense to me.
(Although ammonia leaks will probably kill everyone from time to time)

It sort of makes sense when you're talking about city mechs, but only sort of. For a steamborg they'd be dangerously red hot all the time. More to the point since "steam is hot and under pressure within an enclosed loop" is the entire way steam engines work, sending energy to make it less efficient is just...


Seriously, just make it be magic. Why didn't he just let it be magic rather than super steam science.

Karatela
Sep 11, 2001

Clickzorz!!!


Grimey Drawer

Kurieg posted:

It sort of makes sense when you're talking about city mechs, but only sort of. For a steamborg they'd be dangerously red hot all the time. More to the point since "steam is hot and under pressure within an enclosed loop" is the entire way steam engines work, sending energy to make it less efficient is just...


Seriously, just make it be magic. Why didn't he just let it be magic rather than super steam science.

I'm not sure you get steam-spunk steam-punk.

(And yes, it is in fact dumb but its surely not the dumbest thing in the book, is it?)

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
My first ever exposure to Steampunk was Arcanum. Man, did that ever give me the wrong idea about the genre. I actually thought the whole thing was about being in a liminal period in history between two eras where the old fantasy and the coming industrialism conflict, and the ancient horrors and fresh injustices of the two compete to bring down the world as the better natures of both seek to win out.

You know, I thought it was actually interesting.

E: Alternatively, steampunk could use way more unions and labor struggles.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 14:52 on Jun 13, 2017

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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



Night10194 posted:

My first ever exposure to Steampunk was Arcanum. Man, did that ever give me the wrong idea about the genre. I actually thought the whole thing was about being in a liminal period in history between two eras where the old fantasy and the coming industrialism conflict, and the ancient horrors and fresh injustices of the two compete to bring down the world as the better natures of both seek to win out.

You know, I thought it was actually interesting.

E: Alternatively, steampunk could use way more unions and labor struggles.
Well I think those are meaningful things in the Difference Engine and in the Fallen London materials; these are, as far as I can tell, the only steampunk that is GOOD. There is also some that is inoffensive or where it's primarily the style rather than a like, big statement. Then you got a whole bunch of dumb fan wank.

Also let me get this straight, did the Coalition invent Winston from Overwatch?

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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

Karatela posted:

I'm not sure you get steam-spunk steam-punk.

(And yes, it is in fact dumb but its surely not the dumbest thing in the book, is it?)

No, I get steampunk. The point is that these things don't become issues if you don't draw attention to them. Drawing attention to them and then handwaving away the issues you create with something that's patently impossible is doubly stupid.

And no, its not the dumbest thing in the book, but this is just on the bad side of the "So dumb it's hilarious" line.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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

How To Build A Successful Career As Vampire Overlord

Now, on one hand, vampire careers are incredibly powerful. You get very high physical stats (on top of the boosts for vampirism), new blood gifts, and the more you're in your vampiric careers, the less you have to actually drink blood. A vampire who has not actually taken any Vampiric careers has to drink enough blood to do damage to someone (d10 Strength per round of drinking blood means you're hurting someone fairly badly, especially as they die if they run out of Str) once every couple hours (Hours equal to their Toughness Bonus). Getting into Vampire Thrall, however, raises that interval to days rather than hours and makes unlife far more bearable. After Thrall, a Vampire can go into Count (obviously the advanced vampire career is becoming a Count. Who doesn't want to be a Count(ess)?) to increase the interval to Toughness Bonus in weeks. And if a vampire becomes a Lord, they increase it to Toughness Bonus in *months*. A Vampire Lord feeds when they wish to, not when they must.

The trade-off is that the Vampire Careers are very, very long. A Thrall changes what they learn based on their bloodline, though all vampires get a solid understanding of hunting, cruelty, and murder as a baseline. A Dragon Thrall, for instance, will never learn Speak Arcane Language (Magic) or Channeling, meaning that unless a Blood Dragon has mortal careers that taught them magic, Dragons actually never learn to use necromancy and have to rely solely on their swords (which they will learn more about than most Thralls). A Von Carstein Thrall has to spend a lot of time learning to fence, be fancy, make dramatic speeches, and cast spells. A Lahmian Thrall takes something like 5600 EXP to get through the sheer breadth and depth of education they get, learning everything from a full university education to poisoning and statecraft and spying. Lahmians either need to already be highly talented self-made women to get through Thrall in any reasonable amount of time, or they'll come out of the career an expert in an enormous variety of skills (Seriously, they learn everything from philosophy to business to the arts in their career). Necharchs naturally learn more about magic and treachery than other bloodlines, and Strigoi have the shortest Thrall career of the major bloodlines; in addition to the basic skills and stats, all they have to learn are stealth, hitting people really hard, and how to deal with the wilderness.

Now, once a vampire finishes Thrall (because, especially if you're a PC vampire, you're going to have to go into Thrall just so you aren't draining entire villages every week) they have a choice. They can, obviously, try to go straight into Count. This will be much more difficult if you're using the RAW Trappings system, since a Count requires a degree of wealth, trusted followers and retainers, a proper villain's lair, and most importantly, an Evil Laugh and Rampant Megalomania before you can have the proper trappings to enter it. Counts are not differentiated between the bloodlines, but a few of the optional talents will let you adjust what sort of vampire they are. At multiple junctures they can take either fightin' or wizardin' talents (though as these are Either-Or choices, a Count who stays in long enough will learn both). They also get sky high physical stats, on par with a 3rd Tier human career, though their actual WS and BS growth is not great (+20 and +10 respectively, on par with 2nd tier fighting careers). They do, however, get +2 Attacks. Combined with the innate +1 Attacks for being a vampire, Count is the level where vampiric murder ability really takes off, as they surpass the normal human limit of 3 attacks per round. A Vampire Count is meant to be a villain who can give an entire party a run for their money in a straight fight. They also get +2 Mag, which will take them to 3 Mag, on par with a Master Wizard.

Then you get the Lords. Vampire Lords are mostly suitable as the main villain of an entire campaign. They can buy up to +30 or +35 in every stat except BS (which is only +20), they get up to 5 attacks and 4 Magic, and they gain the ability to buy a Color Magic lore to go with their Dark Lore from Count. They learn how to cast spells in armor and negate armor penalties. They lose all remaining fear of their enemies. They master a ton of skills and knowledges. A Vampire Lord is either a truly exceptional vampire or one who is centuries old, and every single one of them can make a claim to being one of the movers and shakers of the Old World. Their Trappings are great: "Wealth Beyond Avarice, Ambition Beyond Possibility, Pride Beyond Hubris, and the Fate of Kings and Empires." A PC vampire lord would reach a point where the system begins to struggle to deal with their power. As a villain, the only way to beat a Lord is either to have an entire party of 3rd tier advanced characters corner the thing or to have a *really* good plan. Alternatively, tackle them off the battlements onto a bunch of spikes. That can always work.

Next: For A Class Of Monster Unintended To Be PCs, These Sure Are A Lot Of Rules You'd Only Need If You Had Vampire PCs

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 16:45 on Aug 4, 2017

Halloween Jack
Sep 12, 2003

La morte non ha sesso
The thing about Fallen London is that it's hardly steampunk at all. (Maybe moreso in Sunless Sea.) I mean it's Victorian, and it's extremely punk, but as far as the technology is concerned, zee-ships are just steamships except for the one steam-powered Zubmarine you can build.

Night10194 posted:

Next: For A Class Of Monster Unintended To Be PCs, These Sure Are A Lot Of Rules You'd Only Need If You Had Vampire PCs
Yes, yes! :drac:

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

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


I like that path to hubris thing a lot more than the oWOD whiny goth punk attitude.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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

Horrible Lurkbeast posted:

I like that path to hubris thing a lot more than the oWOD whiny goth punk attitude.

The key to Vlad von Carstein's desire to rule the world was always that he was pretty sure he'd be good at it.

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.

Halloween Jack posted:

The thing about Fallen London is that it's hardly steampunk at all. (Maybe moreso in Sunless Sea.) I mean it's Victorian, and it's extremely punk, but as far as the technology is concerned, zee-ships are just steamships except for the one steam-powered Zubmarine you can build.

Yes, yes! :drac:

Honestly Fallen London is more weird fiction with Steampunk trappings, hell Alexis Kennedy (the main creator of FL) was pretty resistant to labeling it Steam Punk for the longest time because he felt it didn't fit.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009

I love the potoo,
and the potoo loves you.

Night10194 posted:

My first ever exposure to Steampunk was Arcanum. Man, did that ever give me the wrong idea about the genre. I actually thought the whole thing was about being in a liminal period in history between two eras where the old fantasy and the coming industrialism conflict, and the ancient horrors and fresh injustices of the two compete to bring down the world as the better natures of both seek to win out.

You know, I thought it was actually interesting.

E: Alternatively, steampunk could use way more unions and labor struggles.

Rise of Legends handles steampunk pretty well. Your player faction in the first campaign represents the idealistic end of steampunk, but the evil factions you face throughout the campaign are horrible in various different steampunk-appropriate ways.

Then you take your clockwork mechs and steam-powered battlesuits into the desert to beat up on genies, dragons, and flying cities of glass levitating above the desert sands. And later still, into the deep jungle to confront the Aztecs with lasers whose giant stone idols truly do move and fire immense energy beams courtesy of their alien rulers.

Halloween Jack
Sep 12, 2003

La morte non ha sesso

Robindaybird posted:

Honestly Fallen London is more weird fiction with Steampunk trappings, hell Alexis Kennedy (the main creator of FL) was pretty resistant to labeling it Steam Punk for the longest time because he felt it didn't fit.

It's punk as China Mieville, though; the hidden mythology of the setting is about literally rebelling against God and your assigned place in the universe.

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.

Halloween Jack posted:

It's punk as China Mieville, though; the hidden mythology of the setting is about literally rebelling against God and your assigned place in the universe.

it's definitely more punk, though I suspect Kennedy was leery of the 'jolly good time with gears' sense a lot of stuff labeled Steampunk is actually.

Hostile V
May 31, 2013

Solving all of life's problems through enhanced casting of Occam's Razor. Reward yourself with an imaginary chalice.

And the stuff that is explicitly steampunk by way of being mechanical and steam-powered in Fallen London also tends to be a tool of oppression for the Empire or tied to abuse of power in some kind. The biggest example being the Dawn Machine, the government's attempt to build an artificial clockwork star (because the light of stars dictate the laws of the universe) underground (where there is no light and therefore looser laws) to ensure supremacy of the Empire. Any laws they plug into the Dawn Machine will become law for all of the Neath and what they want is Progress Without Change. So they do use steampunk, but it's used lightly and also used relatively well.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
I liked the label 'cogservative' for Steampunk that's just 'Man it'd be awesome to be a noble with a zeppelin hunting the poors for sport'.

Hostile V
May 31, 2013

Solving all of life's problems through enhanced casting of Occam's Razor. Reward yourself with an imaginary chalice.

It's a goodass term. I should get back on the Victoriana horse one day and show off some more nonsense.

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.

I would love if the steampunks and cogservatives realize there's colors other than brown, brass, gray, white, and black - because if you look at actual Victorian homes and fashion they love their bright gaudy colors - if Day-Glo and Neon existed back then, they'd be wearing those colors.

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Halloween Jack
Sep 12, 2003

La morte non ha sesso
Oh, I forgot that I'd brought up Fallen London so that I could add this: The only way Hc Svnt Dracones multiple finance stats makes sense to me is if they were inspired by Storynexus type games where you gain and spend reputation with multiple important factions, and/or you have multiple intangible currencies (like trading knowledge and gossip).

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