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Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.

The Mad Sultan's Melody is clearly a reference to Azathoth the blind idiot god who is constantly attended to with discordant drumming and flute music to keep him placated.

But it's pretty drat useless as a spell, and the name is a good one that's wasted.

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Prism
Dec 22, 2007

yospos

Cease to Hope posted:

The spell specifically says you make a separate move action and attack action to bite, and that "if the target lacks enough actions to attack on that turn, it moves as close to the creature as it can." Not only does it work badly, AFAICT it's intended to work badly.

That's weird! Well, I tried.

Halloween Jack
Sep 12, 2003

La morte non ha sesso

wiegieman posted:

Vampires do get access to quickblood which lets them dodge ranged attacks (normally you can't even try) but yeah, gunpowder weapons are serious business.
Whenever I saw a movie where they hunted vampires with crossbows and weird specialized weapons, I thought "Why not just pump 'em full of lead and then put a stake in the quivering mass?" WFRP gets it right.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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

Halloween Jack posted:

Whenever I saw a movie where they hunted vampires with crossbows and weird specialized weapons, I thought "Why not just pump 'em full of lead and then put a stake in the quivering mass?" WFRP gets it right.

Additionally, you're in a time where a crossbow isn't a weird specialized weapon, so using one and aiming for the heart to stun one of 'em is hardly a bad idea.

You'll notice every single vampire hunter career is good with ranged weapons. Vampires have no bonuses in ranged combat aside from being tougher and maybe having Quickblood if they have Lahmian or Dragon blood. They have every advantage hand to hand. Shooting the fuckers is the way to go if you have to fight directly.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

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

Cease to Hope posted:

Green Caress, at sixth-level, slowly turns the target into an ordinary shrub, dealing STR/CON/DEX damage every day for seven days. If a stat hits zero, they turn into a mundane plant. Or a mushroom I guess. I get what this is going for, but it doesn't belong in the spell section. This book has chapters for corruptions and curses and weird magical diseases, while this is baleful polymorph except weaker and slower and one higher spell level.

Pretty sure this is a Troll 2 reference in disguise or something.

Terrible Opinions
Oct 18, 2013



Cease to Hope posted:

Hunger For Flesh is a fourth-level evil reskin of confusion from Core, with a neat visual. (There's also a seventh-level Mass version.) The target is staggered, gets a bite attack, and has a chance each turn to be compelled to try to move and bite a creature of the same type and subtype.

This is a neat spell but it has three problems. The first, and largest, is that the big payoff - you're forced to bite your allies! - will almost never happen unless the target is already adjacent to a character of the exact same species, because the biter is staggered and thus can't move and attack. This mixes straight into the second problem, that unless there's another, friendly person of the exact same species nearby, this is a boring save-or-staggered effect. Lastly, since biting someone of the exact same species (willingly or otherwise) removes all of the penalties except for the compulsion to bite people, then you can just bite a friend every turn or so for fairly minor damage as part of a full attack action that is otherwise directed at enemies and mostly shrug off the whole spell.
There actually is a way to move and attack in a single action while staggered. It is however dumb and obscure and only really comes up for zombies.

Pathfinder SRD posted:

If you are able to take only a standard action on your turn, you can still charge, but you are only allowed to move up to your speed (instead of up to double your speed) and you cannot draw a weapon unless you possess the Quick Draw feat. You canít use this option unless you are restricted to taking only a standard action on your turn.

Cease to Hope posted:

Phantasmal Asphyxiation is a fourth-level remake of Core's phantasmal killer. Instead of killer's save-twice-or-die, instead if the target fails the will save, they think they're suffocating and has to make a fort save every round. One fort failure means they're staggered for a round, and a second fort failure means they pass out (and resume breathing by reflex). Phantasmal killer is only okay to begin with, so I'm not sure why a save-three-times-or-die variant is something anyone would want. I like that it isn't as all-or-nothing as phantasmal killer, but it is much weaker and (annoyingly) doesn't use Pathfinder's standard rules for suffocation.
This is strictly worse than Aboleth Lung a 2nd level spell.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008

I was listening to the System Mastery Gamma World character creation on my drive home from work, and in my tired state I actually found myself wondering if it'd be possible to convert GW's character creation stuff to Fragged Empire.

Ryuujin
Sep 26, 2007
Dragon God

Evil Mastermind posted:

I was listening to the System Mastery Gamma World character creation on my drive home from work, and in my tired state I actually found myself wondering if it'd be possible to convert GW's character creation stuff to Fragged Empire.

Oh man I must have missed this, do you have a link?

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008

Ryuujin posted:

Oh man I must have missed this, do you have a link?

https://systemmasterypodcast.com/2017/06/18/gamma-crawl-x-episode-1/

They're doing Gamma World meets X-Crawl, and my first thought was "you know, Fragged Empire is also a grid-based game, so...."

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 5, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Rifts World Book 13: Lone Star - Part Nine: "This is a menacing woman with the soul of a demon, the mind of a cold, calculating machine, and the face and outward appearance of an angel."


"The frustration of my hairline will be visited upon you."

Major Winston Claval
Head of Mutant Containment and Retrieval


A mean, nasty bully, Claval returns us to the parade of psychopaths. He is apparently devoted to his job of retrieving or murdering stray Lone Star mutants, though, and Bradford actually respects his relatively transparent lack of ethics and devotion to his work. He used to be Special Forces, but managed to get transferred on account of his antisocial nature. In general, he's supposed to be a tough-as-nails misanthropist.


Is it just me, or does the way Claval dresses his mutants have... implications?

He's a 9th level Special Forces fella with exceptional physical attributes (save beauty), and we get a lot of detail on his retrieval team known as the "Quiet Hunters". Of the ones illustrated, Bat is a human commando, Crackshot is a dog boy sniper, Claw is a bloodhound tracker, Lady is a mutant cat hunter, and Big Bear is a bionic... bear. Really, that's about the most characterization we get, and we get a bunch more including (sigh) a wolf named Ralphie Boy, because of course.

We get a lot of hooks based around the fact that the Quiet Hunters might go after a rogue mutant animal PC (or anybody they suspect of being a rogue mutant), or the PCs might get involved with the mutant animal underground and go up against them as a result. We get a lot of hooks based around two mutant rats, Mitch and Glitch who might try and sell Claval out or alternately try and draw the PCs into a trap, since they have no consistent characterization other than "dishonest". And, of course, if you kill Claval, Bradford will try and kill the PCs forever, which doesn't really make sense given his general psychopathy. Oh, so now he cares about someone? Give me a break.

I have no break, though. We've got Bradford's science personnel to go through.

:sigh:


"Don't draw me now- poo poo, I look all sinister. What will the PCs think of me now?"

Doctor Frederick Alexander

So, this is a "brilliant surgeon, cyber-doc, and genetic engineer" who no doubt graduated from the school of genre fiction science. He's actually revolted by Bradford and his work, but has had a bomb put in his head to ensure his loyalty. As such, he doesn't aim for outright sabotage, but definitely tries to slow certain projects and Bradford is starting to notice. As such, he might be a subject for experimental personality modifications soon. However, if convinced he might be able to perform an act that'll lead to Bradford's downfall, he'll do it - he just hasn't seen one yet. He's afraid of death, but even more afraid of being brainwashed. Exactly how he ended up in this sorry position is a mystery.

He's a 12th level "cyber-doc and genetic engineer" (the former is a class, the latter is not) with a high intelligence, will, and prowess. No adventure hooks are given but he's an obvious deep throat candidate.


"These aren't my crazy eyes, these are my normal eyes."

Doctor Laura Cunningham
One of Bradford's elite and super-secret scientists


On the other hand, women be crazy, amirite? Well, at least the women in Desmond's lab certainly are. Cunningham is a fanatical assistant and believes in Bradford's work to the point of murder or self-sacrifice. No reason or justification is given for this and her description is irredeemably lazy.

Another 12th-level "cyber-doc and genetic engineer", she has an extremely high intelligence and prowess, but shockingly actually has a low attribute (she's weak-willed). Her adventure notes mainly just detail that she'll seek revenge against anybody who kills Bradford, likely by trying to turn the people responsible into some kind of freakish experiment - mutant, cyborg, personality modification, "an altered state on a molecular level that changes the mind and emotions as well as deforms and/or hurts the physical body". How she'd perform the latter without magic I have no idea, but "she is not a nice lady." Thanks, Siembieda. The only point to her writeup seems to give us somebody to harass the PCs if Bradford is killed, since they're not likely to encounter her outside of the lab. And if they encounter her in the lab, she'll likely rush them with a vibro-scalpel and get murdered for her lack of characterization.


Just draw a baby and paste on a photoreferenced dog head. Instant dog tot!

Doctor Amanda Santiago
One of Bradford's elite and super-secret scientists


Rifts World Book 13: Lone Star posted:

This is a menacing woman with the soul of a demon, the mind of a cold, calculating machine, and the face and outward appearance of an angel. Her sweet, gentle disposition is so disarming that many an opponent has found a knife in their belly before realizing its handle rested in the hand of the smiling angel before them. Then as they lay bleeding, Santiago whispers vengeful words in their ears (sweet sounding yet filled with venom) while stroking her victim's brow with one hand and twisting the knife with the other.

is this fetish

I mean, seriously, after the Angel of Death in Mindwerks, I have to wonder. Anyway, Santiago is another psychopathic devotee of Bradford's, but her fandom is more stalkish and she's obsessed with trying to figure how he turned out. She's supposed to be sadistic and manipulative... because... um... you know. Science. Science does that.

With a very high intelligence, affinity, and prowess, she's once again another character you'll never roll up. She gets a long series of :words: involving around a number of children she goes around and looks after in the area around Arkansas and Missouri. It's revealed all of the children are secret clones of Bradford she's planted in different circumstances to try and understand how nuture might have affected his nature. It's an legitimately interesting hook for a relatively uninteresting character, but it's not clear on how to involve the PCs with it. If Bradford finds out, he'll just have her and the clones killed in anger because... well, who knows. Otherwise, one of them might become a leader or Coalition member and overthrow or outshine the original Bradford. A more interesting note is having one turn out to be something wilder like a tattooed slave of the Splugorth or an apprentice wizard in the Federation of Magic. While it doesn't make Bradford any less insufferable, it's at least an interesting notion to play around with, much more than Santiago herself.



Seriously though look at that art again, what the gently caress?

And that is fuckin' it, we can escape from the Lone Star complex, I'm free, I'm free, I'm free.

:dance:

But we've still got about a fourth of the book left to muster through...

Next: You won't find Judge Roy Bean here.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.


Grimey Drawer

Alien Rope Burn posted:

"an altered state on a molecular level that changes the mind and emotions as well as deforms and/or hurts the physical body". How she'd perform the latter without magic I have no idea, but "she is not a nice lady."

Ayahuasca. Lots and lots of ayahuasca.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkPM4M6bnB4

Cease to Hope
Dec 12, 2011

Terrible Opinions posted:

There actually is a way to move and attack in a single action while staggered. It is however dumb and obscure and only really comes up for zombies.

This is strictly worse than Aboleth Lung a 2nd level spell.

I played much more 3.5 than PF, I know about partial charges and like I said above the spell awkwardly seems to rule them out. (It's horrendously badly worded.)

As for Phantasmal Asphyxiation versus Aboleth Lung, they're not very similar except for the special effect. You can hold your breath for CON rounds in combat, longer than most combats last, so Aboleth Lung isn't very useful in a fight except for a particularly sadistic villain. Phantasmal Asphyxiation starts weakening enemies on their next turn, and can KO them in two. Also, PA is ranged, can work on fish, and isn't lethal.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely
Grimey Drawer
It's true, drugs in Rifts can turn you into a supernatural being! :v:

Also when I saw that there were two female science NPCs I was waiting for one of them to be a rebellious maternal figure who actually came to care for the Dog BoysPsi-Hounds and was secretly helping them to escape or rebel or something. Instead we got a rebellious maternal figure pulling a Boys from Brownsville, which is at least not what I expected even if it's a plot the PCs will never have to deal with or care about. Clones take time to grow after all.

Terrible Opinions
Oct 18, 2013



Cease to Hope posted:

I played much more 3.5 than PF, I know about partial charges and like I said above the spell awkwardly seems to rule them out. (It's horrendously badly worded.)

As for Phantasmal Asphyxiation versus Aboleth Lung, they're not very similar except for the special effect. You can hold your breath for CON rounds in combat, longer than most combats last, so Aboleth Lung isn't very useful in a fight except for a particularly sadistic villain. Phantasmal Asphyxiation starts weakening enemies on their next turn, and can KO them in two. Also, PA is ranged, can work on fish, and isn't lethal.
My bad on both counts. I thought Phantasmal Asphyxiation still allowed for holding your breath.

Dareon
Apr 6, 2009

by vyelkin

Alien Rope Burn posted:


Is it just me, or does the way Claval dresses his mutants have... implications?

Implications about purging the heretics and xenos, maybe, because all I'm seeing are those giant loving pauldrons. I mean, dog-boys in pteruges are already straying dangerously close to a furry subfetish as is, I'm not seeing anything in particular in this picture particularly.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.

Evil Mastermind posted:

https://systemmasterypodcast.com/2017/06/18/gamma-crawl-x-episode-1/

They're doing Gamma World meets X-Crawl, and my first thought was "you know, Fragged Empire is also a grid-based game, so...."

Yeah, and our first huge 4+ hour recording session this Saturday, now that we have our absolutely ridiculous characters. I think we're basically going to be playing with a high risk of death to encourage more crazy characters.

Oh also here's our next episode of System Mastery. We reviewed a weird little game called Exquisite Replicas which is... basically They Live except with Anonymous instead of Rowdy Roddy Piper and Keith David. A significant downgrade.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 5, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!
Exquisite Replicas just seemingly has you playing a serial killer with a metaphysical excuse and support network. It just makes me think of how much better games like Changeling: the Lost handled similar themes, where there was nuance and ambiguity. Meanwhile, Replicas is just "wouldn't it be tough to murder your own children?!" - yes, it would be, but it's not an interesting dilemma to confront from a detached player's perspective.

Halloween Jack
Sep 12, 2003

La morte non ha sesso
I remember reading a review of Exquisite Replicas a while back. Then I forgot the name, and for a good while I was like "what was that horror game where you just play really mentally ill people but you're right?"

Hostile V
May 31, 2013

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

Strip out the fact that the resistance calls themselves Anonymous and you might have a better idea and product because wow as it stands I can't think of another cover that is better for a product with that pitch.

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

WELL THAT JUST HAPPENED!

occamsnailfile posted:

It's true, drugs in Rifts can turn you into a supernatural being! :v:

Also when I saw that there were two female science NPCs I was waiting for one of them to be a rebellious maternal figure who actually came to care for the Dog BoysPsi-Hounds and was secretly helping them to escape or rebel or something. Instead we got a rebellious maternal figure pulling a Boys from Brownsville, which is at least not what I expected even if it's a plot the PCs will never have to deal with or care about. Clones take time to grow after all.

One idea is that Amanda Santiago has been doing this for a while, and the first generation of Bradford-clones are coming of age. The PCs travel from town to town, and in each town they encounter a young adult of exceptional abilities that look identical but have radically different personalities.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely
Grimey Drawer

SirPhoebos posted:

One idea is that Amanda Santiago has been doing this for a while, and the first generation of Bradford-clones are coming of age. The PCs travel from town to town, and in each town they encounter a young adult of exceptional abilities that look identical but have radically different personalities.

That's fair enough I guess. The whole thing just makes me mentally replace any other images of Bradford with Krieger which is...not far off the mark.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

Epyllion: The Dragon Is Wise, A Sage Among The Ignorant

Dragonia is ruled by a council selected by the Great Houses, who each represent a different viewpoint, to ensure a diversity of views overseeing dragon lands. These Houses are Brynback, Kebros, Myndoth, Rothscar, Semscale and Tessith. They are changed with maintaining the land and the dragon cities, but they focus less on physical territory and more on using resources in a certain way to bolster their perspective and Dragonia. Each has a role to play, and dragons take their house traditions seriously, "even when they find themselves rebelling against their elders." So I guess dragons never rebel against their House as a whole? "Older dragons often write of the day they realized that they were becoming their elders, the time in which they realized the value of ways that they once thought of as foolish and wasteful."



House Brynback, the House of Steel, is also known as the noble house due to its dedication to tradition and the status quo. Their symbol is the "two-horned skull of honor," which symbolizes that their commitment is bone-deep. The founders of the House were the first to call dragons to band together to make Dragonia a "better place to fly for the less fortunate," and this eventually formed the Great Houses. They train their dragonkin in the art of governing and leading wisely. To them, this tradition is everything, and it is keeping to their time-tested ways that keeps Dragonia strong. It is said that the finest of them of all was Barge the Steel Champion, now an Ancient. Dre never thought much about philosophy, but when a dragon needs advice, there's usually a story about Barge that's relevant, though they can often contradict each other. When asked about this, elders say "Steel is strong and resilient but interpretations must change and shift with the times." Sure, okay. Their motto is "True honor is bone deep."

House Kebros, the House of Ruby, is also known as the fallen house due to their role in the ancient War of Shadow. Their symbol is a blade piercing a gem, to represnet their dedication to serving Dragonia regardless of the cost. They see the threats to dragon society and are first to move to protect it, even if it will hurt them greatly to do so. They are highly pragmatic, based on the tradition of their founding elder, Keetsah the Chosen. Dre is renowned for using the magic of the moons to destroy a massive hoard of treasure that threatened to divide dragonkind out of envy and greed, despite the fact that dre had a very strong hatchright claim to it. I am using words from the book, which reads exactly like this at all times. Anyway, as a result of this, the Houses were formed to guard and protect the resources of Dragonia from misuse. However, many of House Kebros joined the corrupt forces of the Darkness in the War of Shadow, tranishing their reputation and causing many to distrust the house as a whole. While dre remains a powerful mystic, Keetsah's statue was covered in silk after the war, so no one could hear dris wisdom. Some of the house believe they must do anything they can to redeem themselves, while others try to justify the betrayal as a sacrifice made to ensure dragonkin had a future. Their motto is "We are but blind until all is lost."

House Myndoth, the House of Oak, is known as the house of secrets because they focus on perserving knowledge and gathering secret ritual. Their symbol is an oak tree and "armament", because "like growth rings of a tree, the most valuable secrets guard themselves." They have many strongholds made to hold artifacts and magical knowledge, and they believe that secrets should be carefully nurtured and respected. They can be dangerous, beautiful or helpful, just like plants, and wisdom, they say, is knowing how to use each. Their founder was Olgz Gentlemind, who planted the first Guardian grove to look after dragon eggs. It is said that dre waited to reveal the secret of making the Guardians until after the Council was formed, and dre never revealed how dre came upon it in the first place. Now, Olgz is an Ancient in service to the Spirit Moon. The House's membership often pledges itself to keeping one specific kind of secret each, mastering that type utterly, while others look for new mysteries to collect and preserve, which are not yet understood, because "a known unknown is better than an unknown unknown." Their motto is "A secret known by many is no secret at all."

House Rothscar, the House of Gold, is called the architect house due to their dedication in...making buildings. Their symbol is a crown, to symbolize "dominance over excellence." They are the ones that began the tradition of recognizing elders for their achievements and dedicating strongholds to them, started by the founder Riptide the Hungry, who saw the need to preserve the individuality of dragonkind even as dragons united together. He is now a Mystic, and his advice remains the same: reward ambition and excellence with rank and honor. Beyond that, the house's goals are basically just 'make really good buildings and plans and strategies.' Whatever you do, they want you to be perfect at it. Their motto is "Failure is temporary; excellence is eternal."

House Semscale is the House of Jade, known as the house of many paths because they encourage all dragons to pursue enlightenment no matter what they do. Their symbol is a "skycompass" full of stars, to show that there is no single right path. They encourage the young to find their own way. Their founder, Sish Wind Walker, is remember as 'the trailblaszer' who first guided dragons to join the Houses. Eventually dre became an Ancient, but legend holds that every Council member once met the Ancient Sish as young drakes, so many hope to eventually meet the Ancient in hopes of their future advancement. The house has a long tradition of mentoring younger drakes, believing that elders have much to teach the young, and many Semscale elders refuse to ascend until their mentees are "their equals, both in age and in wisdom." So...never, because everyone ages at the same rate? Their motto is "A path walked once is walked enough."

House Tessith, the House of Diamond, is known as the house without a home due to the loss of their lands in the War of Shadow. Their symbol ius a dragon on a diamond, to remind them that much can be made from constant pressure and little resources. They were formed when the dragon Hummsinger sang a song of celebration and the other dragon Tash Broken Beak gathered all the house founders, speaking to them and forming what would become the Dragon Council. The song is still credited today as inspiring Tash, and is still sung in the Council chambers. They once had many magnificent lands, but these were destroyed in the War of Shadow. Some, however, saw the loss as a new chance and led the house to its current nomaidc existence, building wilderness outposts and temporary strongholds rather than anything permanent. However, a few seek to regain the house's former glory, gathering wealth and building bigger and bigger strongholds. Their motto is "Many confuse need with comfort."

Next time: Moon magic.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
Those are really painfully generic.

Ego Trip
Aug 28, 2012

A tenacious little mouse!


Also, isn't one of PbtA's things that the setting is generated through play?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
None of this stuff feels like it's dragon-y, either. It just feels like people stuff. For all its flaws, Council of Wyrms was at least trying to really get in on 'You are playing as an ancient, arrogant (even when well intentioned) ten ton killing machine who views boredom as one of their greatest threats', you know?

wdarkk
Oct 26, 2007

Friends: Protected
World: Saved
Crablettes: Eaten
I feel like Epyllion would be a webcomic if the author could draw sequential art.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 5, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Rifts World Book 13: Lone Star - Part Ten: "Psi-Stalkers, Simvan and some American Indians settle disputes in combat, often to the death, and/or scar, disfigure or cripple the perpetrator for wrongdoings, such as amputating a hand for stealing from the tribe or clan, or castration for the rape of a group member."

The Pecos Empire
By Kevin Siembieda & Julius Rosenstein


Presumably named after the Pecos River (though it's never actually stated), we start with a population breakdown, of course, but this time we're given an official census-taker, the Coalition. Which makes me wonder how they did that. "Hey, it's one of those skull-guys at the door!" "What does he want?" "He wants us to take a survey!" "Oh, well, I really should just gut him and display his helm on a spike, but what the hell. I love surveys!"

So humans are the dominant race, with the second tier being psi-stalkers, simvan monster riders, quick-flex aliens*, vanguard brawlers*, and vampires. The third tier is brodkil, tokana, mutant animals, and... others. 1 in 3 people have the profession of "bandit", which must make for a rough life, given most of the other people they're robbing are bandits. "This loot again? This is the poo poo they robbed from us last week! Of course, we stole it from them the week before that. Pretty sure they got it from the bandits over the hill, too..." Seriously, "80%" of the communities are regularly robbed or harassed by bandit gangs, though a lot of them at least prefer it to skull-faced Nazis. "Well, she beat my pa to an inch of his life, but at leasts she believes in the equality of the face-beatings she provides." In general, the Coalition exaggerates the lawlessness in its propaganda even further in order to justify military action against them.

* Hope you picked up Coalition War Campaign for those!

Who Rules the Pecos Empire

Nobody; it's mostly just a notion. One warlord, Sabre Lasar, has proclaimed himself Emperor of the Pecos Empire and some gangs even take it seriously. In general, unity only comes up against major threats where a "War Chief" is designated by a group of bandit gangs. Lasar has been the most commonly elected one due to his popularity and success, so he's the closest one to a leader. There are a lot more :words: but that's what it boils down to.


"One of these days I'll get a D-Bee writeup!... not today, though..."

Life as a Bandit

It notes that bandits don't necessarily just rob, but that often they find other work as mercenaries or troubleshooters, or just life a life of rough leisure when they hit it big for awhile. Essentially they're "criminal mercenaries", though they vary wildly on personal ethics. It notes that outright Robin Hoods or slavering murderers are both rare, and most are just uneducated unfortunates who have gravitated to the only easily profitable work available in the Pecos Empire. There are also often wars, disputes, feuds, and competitions going on, and rarely are two bandit groups in lockstep. Different laws and social values amongst different D-Bee and social groups can be a source of friction as well. Generalities!

The Ways of the Nomad

There's more than one, I suppose. A lot of bandits are nomadic to avoid the Coalition or rivals, ranging outside of the Pecos Empire. Still, they probably have some regular stopping points and haunts. It notes a group of PCs might just be presumed to be a wandering gang if they're going around in force.


"Hey, look, you had to fight an orc in this game one of these days."

Modes of Transportation

Bandits prefer hover vehicles, motorcycles, or riding beasts, and don't like trucks or cars because... well, they don't fit Siembieda's vision of vandits, more or less. (See also my Dead Reign review. It notes that power armor and robot vehicles are relatively rare. For some reason we get eight paragraphs on ostrosaurs, the not-quite-velociraptors ridden by Simvan monster riders and how amazing they are. Yeah, they can leap real far! So can a hoverbike, so I feel comfortable giving it a skip.


Now time to play the classic game of mistaken identity: "Psi-stalkers or Skinheads?"

Bandit Organizations

Rifts World Book 13: Lone Star posted:

The term "tribesmen" will be used generically for men, women, and D-bees. No chauvinism is intended, this is just for ease of description.

Okay. So, this breaks down Pecos society by group types.

So, tribes are groups united by a common culture, like d-bees or "American Indian tribes". Some are bandits, some aren't. Some may take in outsiders, and some may not. Some may feel like a nut, some don't. We get a lot of :words:, but to sum up these tend to be 100 to 10,000 people wide, 50% are nomadic, and oddly only 20% have permanent settlements. What about the other 30%?

:iiam:

Then you have clans, which are family-based communities - though the extended family may be very large. Usually rulership is done by the eldest that set rules and mediate disputes, and violators are usually slain or banished. Those who are banished are generally considered to be persona non grata amongst all clans as traitors. 40% are nomadic, but the grand majority are bandits "for one reason or another". Sure.

Bandit gangs are small groups based around a criminal enterprise, and are always nomadic because... shut up, they are. They often have subgroups based around different families or cliques, with the gang as a "fraternity" that ties them together. Gangs tend to be ruled by force, and the leaders determine the policies thereof. Most are egalitarian, joined more by their enterprise than any species or culture. Which... that's not quite how most gangs work but... sure.

Rifts World Book 13: Lone Star posted:

If the leader turns a blind eye or encourages, torture, rape and murder, then his men will engage in all sorts of cruelty and atrocities.

Many Pecos Bandits avoid killing and hurting people if they can, though, recognizing they want to keep people around to rob twice, and that vengeful survivors are a PitA. We get tables for tribes, clans, and gangs so you can determine what meaningless population numbers they have as well.

Of course, a lot of bandits make their own settlements which are scums of villain and hivery, often with iniquities of den, and bad hombres all over. If you're an obvious good guy (lawmen, cyber-knights, etc.) they'll sneer at you and pick fights and raise prices because that's how alignment works, everyone. They generally see large groups of nomads as dangerous threats, naturally.


"Vampires? No, we haven't seen any."

Relationships

One again, it notes that while fractious, the groups of the Pecos will unite against outside forces - usually under Sabre Lasar, but it notes that another guy, King Macklin, is scheming to gain power. The Coalition is hesitant to wipe them out because it doesn't see them as a major threat and lets the Pecos serve as a buffer against the vampires (with 200k to 300k vampires in the Pecos Empire, that doesn't seem to be working too well). The CS thinks they can just work to sabotage or assassinate Lasar and keep them destabilized, and they have a secret partner in King Macklin, who's willing to sell the Pecos bandits out for... well, it doesn't say. Probably Charleston Chews. Bandits can't get enough of that delicious taffy taste!

Los Alamo (from Juicer Uprising) has opened its doors to the Pecos Empire as a "neutral" faction to try and gain their aid against the inevitable Coalition threat. It notes that in the near future Sabre Lasar will visit and make a trade agreement and offer to defend Los Alamos, which we're told will ward off the Coalition for at least several years. Metaplot? Well, not really, it'll be mostly forgotten. There are a number of metaplot-like elements in this book, like the Coalition invasion of the Kingdom of Worth, but they won't come to anything.

Reid's Rangers (from Vampire Kingdoms) are generally regarded as heroes and welcomed throughout the Pecos Empire for their vampire-fighting ways. Bandits usually don't go very far south of the Rio Grande on account of all the drat vampires, of course.

Rifts World Book 13: Lone Star posted:

The Indian Nations. Dozens of Native American Indian tribes have arisen in the American West, Southwest and Northwest. Most have resumed the "old ways" and use magic and mysticism, although some also use high-technology. Bandits, scouts, and adventurers who know enough to respect the Indians, their culture and gods, and avoid antagonizing them, can travel the Western Wilderness and peacefully associate with them without fear of danger from most of the tribes and clans. Those who attack, molest, cheat or endanger the people of a tribe can expect fierce resistance and deadly retribution. Most Cyber-Knights, rogue Dog Boys and other mutant animals are counted among most tribes as friends and allies. Strangely enough, many tribes of Psi-Stalkers and Simvan consider the American Indians to be rivals and enemies.

Not surprisingly, the Coalition States consider all Indians to be savage, retro-tech humans who have been seduced by magic and evil supernatural forces. As such, they are traitors to humanity and marked for genocide. However, currently the CS has no campaign against the Indians and greatly underestimates their mystic strength and numbers.
Uh-oh.


Some days you just have to draw a low-riding porcupine girl.

Next: Faces of (Moral Ambiguity).

Covok
May 27, 2013

Yet where is that woman now? Tell me, in what heave does she reside? None of them. Because no God bothered to listen or care. If that is what you think it means to be a God, then you and all your teachings are welcome to do as that poor women did. And vanish from these realms forever.

Ego Trip posted:

Also, isn't one of PbtA's things that the setting is generated through play?

Yes and no. You general get a nudge but what kind of nudge depends on the game. I know AW just saws "the world was once like it is now, but then psychic maelstrom hosed everything and now poo poo is bad" where as Masks goes into a brief, two page overiew of how superheroes evolved to fit in with the themes (you are the modern generation, here is where the previous guys did right and did wrong so keep this in mind). Urban Shadows is the most extreme since it has a book dedicated to giving an overview on how each major American city is in the 90s Urban fantasy future-past.

So, the real question is how far is Epyllion gonna go?

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

If you will not serve in combat, you will serve on the firing line!




Alien Rope Burn posted:


"One of these days I'll get a D-Bee writeup!... not today, though..."

I'm not sure if his other gun can even work. It seems to missing a trigger all together.

Hostile V
May 31, 2013

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

A quick Google search has revealed the faces of each important dragon.











/

Hostile V fucked around with this message at 00:23 on Jun 21, 2017

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 5, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!

Dareon posted:

Implications about purging the heretics and xenos, maybe, because all I'm seeing are those giant loving pauldrons. I mean, dog-boys in pteruges are already straying dangerously close to a furry subfetish as is, I'm not seeing anything in particular in this picture particularly.

Fair enough, I mostly just meant seeing a bunch of anthros in leather and not Coalition armor or anything. They're just not dressed for battle!... but it's not anything I meant too seriously.

If I ever do.

Well, Spirit West is coming up. :(

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

Epyllion: The Dragon Is As Agile As He Is Strong, Before The Wings Comes The Feline Leap

So, legend has it that the first Ancient was Orvash the Voiceless One. Apparently dragons pissed off the moons with their arrogance, so they took away their magic and threw a tsunami at Dragonia. For one hundred "sun cycles" Orvash kept it at bay with dris strength and will. Stories vary, but all end the same - Orvash, at dris final breath, faces down a wave that could destroy the entire world...so dre gives thanks to the moons for their service, dying as dre does. This calms the moons, the wave vanishes, and Orvash is raised as the first Ancient. Since then, the moons grant magic to dragons in recognition of Orvash's humility.

The five moons are the Liberty Moon, which has power over purification and freedom, the Spirit Moon, which has "vigor" over growth and healing, the Stone Moon, which has "strength" over protection and resilience, the Storm Moon, which has "fortitude" over force and chaos, and the Void Moon, which has "energy" over negation and deflection. Moon magic is shaped by your vision of it, but can be unpredictable and hard to control. Drakes lose access to moons over time, but become more potent in the moons they do have magic from.

The wild lands of Dragonia are dangerous even for dragons, with old ruins and strange creatures. All of the animals are chimerical mixes of normal ones from Earth. The example given is the monbaba, part monkey, part badger and part bat, which is a fierce flying thing with a prehensile tail. These animals tend to be mystical and magical in undefined ways. Few dragons understand these beasts, and even fewer can speak to them as if they were people.

The other kind of wild things out there are monsters. Monsters are "so foul, they display only one aspect of a beast." So...they're animals. Normal animals. Just really big ones. These are apparently terrifying. They seem empowered by the Darkness and they are extremely tough and hard to get rid of. Perhaps they are even tougher and more resilient than the Darkness. Those that hunt them are the monster stalkers, who head out into the wilderness to kill them. See, monsters mostly keep to themselves, but they're always growing and getting stronger. Sometimes they'll show up and go after eggs, and that's a problem.

Dragons have many kinds of clutch, the basic social unit. These are formal family groups that help each other out. You can only be in one clutch at a time, and it must be sponsored by an elder dragon, because reasons. The pilgrimage clutch is a clutch formed to do quests and solve problems. They do missions for the Council. Affinity clutches are dedicated to "care and compassion between clutchmates." Ceremony clutches are there to host parties. No, really, that's it. Cultivation clutches are there to care for nature and the wildlife. Trade clutches are like a trade guild or artist colony. Wellness clutches are dedicated to the physical and mental health of other dragons.

Now we get details on the War of Shadow! It happened long, long ago, so only elders were alive to experience it. All dragons across Dragonia had to fight to protect the world from a shadow so dark it could blot out the moons. So yes, the Darkness is literal darkness. It corrupted people, objects and animals, forcing them against each other, and evne made dragons disregard their traditions, the greatest of evils. Many dragons were lost in the War, fighting each other, and so were many lands. However, at the last moment, the dragonkin drove the Darkness back, the traitors were returned to the fold and all was well. The name of the war was in honor of Flyreign, whose visions of the Darkness helped lead Dragonia out of shadow, even though dre was struck down by dris own corrupted clutch. Since then, many have forgotten Flyreign's dying prophecy of the Darkness' return.

The Darkness lurks in every dragon, in the form of greed, selfishness and pride. It aims to corrupt dragons by force or temptation, turning them against their obligations and traditions. However, the Council is denying all rumors of the Darkness returning. They probably don't even believe it, because the Darkness is subtle for a giant magical cloud of darkness. They are happy to leave investigations of the rumors to pilgrimage clutches.

Next time: I skip ahead and do playbooks because we're in the chargen chapter but playbooks are at the end of the book. Actually I should probably explain the core moves before I do that, so chargen and those.

Mors Rattus fucked around with this message at 03:55 on Jun 21, 2017

Green Intern
Dec 29, 2008

Loon, Crazy and Laughable


:laffo:

Thanks for the Rifts.

Cooked Auto posted:

I'm not sure if his other gun can even work. It seems to missing a trigger all together.

He just slams the bolt forwards really fast or something.

Green Intern fucked around with this message at 04:10 on Jun 21, 2017

Hunt11
Jul 24, 2013

Grimey Drawer
Is there even a point to the darkness or is it just some evil force that exists in service of plot?

wdarkk
Oct 26, 2007

Friends: Protected
World: Saved
Crablettes: Eaten

Mors Rattus posted:

All of the animals are chimerical mixes of normal ones from Earth. The example given is the monbaba, part monkey, part badger and part bat, which is a fierce flying thing with a prehensile tail. These animals tend to be mystical and magical in undefined ways. Few dragons understand these beasts, and even fewer can speak to them as if they were people.

So, not content to rip off My Little Pony, it rips off Avatar: The Last Airbender? I'm wondering if we're going to see a Homestuck thing to complete the trifecta.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

Hunt11 posted:

Is there even a point to the darkness or is it just some evil force that exists in service of plot?

If it has a point, it is left to the GM to create it.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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

wdarkk posted:

So, not content to rip off My Little Pony, it rips off Avatar: The Last Airbender? I'm wondering if we're going to see a Homestuck thing to complete the trifecta.

Well. I mean, the Dragons are completely a-gendered and reproduce by getting approval from higher ups. Their eggs are then guarded by guardian beasts who become their surrogate parents.

Though I'm pretty sure they don't need to fill out a hate-spreadsheet before doing so.

Kurieg fucked around with this message at 14:25 on Jun 21, 2017

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.

There's something vaguely dystopian about the setting with the required approvals, the fact dragons don't care for their young and apparently every dragon eventually ends up going 'my elders were right!', but the writers don't see this and keeps trucking along.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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

Robindaybird posted:

There's something vaguely dystopian about the setting with the required approvals, the fact dragons don't care for their young and apparently every dragon eventually ends up going 'my elders were right!', but the writers don't see this and keeps trucking along.

Utopian, simplistic fiction often comes off really, really dystopian if you think about it. After all, "Everyone gets along and thinks exactly the same." is the core of a lot of dystopian fiction.

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Halloween Jack
Sep 12, 2003

La morte non ha sesso

theironjef posted:

Oh also here's our next episode of System Mastery. We reviewed a weird little game called Exquisite Replicas which is... basically They Live except with Anonymous instead of Rowdy Roddy Piper and Keith David. A significant downgrade.
So, having listened to the review: I have never seen a game where the true nature of the setting was hidden not only from the players but the GM, that managed to carry it off well. SLA Industries, Insylum, Noumenon, Lacuna, a|state, all of them are just half-baked as a result.

Also, this game sounds like a perfect example of people learning all the wrong lessons from Call of Cthulhu. Just, writing a game where every single thing the PCs try to do is just banging their heads against the wall, and the whole game is set up to punish the PCs for trying to accomplish anything.

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