Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us money per month for bills, and since we don't believe in showing ads to our users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
 
Selachian
Oct 9, 2012

Leraika posted:

So I'm still not seeing where this thing isn't just My Little Pony with scales.

Friendship gems seems like a really fiddly mechanic.

Especially since it sounds as if you have to track which gems are yours and which you've gotten from other people.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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



Servetus posted:

Exactly. it duplicated you, and then another mechanism dropped the original into the water-filled case to drown. Or in that episode's case, it duplicated Riker but then failed to kill the original through disintegration.

Except it doesn't work like that in other episodes, just like characters will have different backgrounds depending on the needs of the story. Star Trek has never really been about an internally consistent universe, but about exploring ideas around technology.
See I'd agree, but this is a situation where I think exploration gets halted. "It kills you and creates a perfect duplicate who doesn't even realize it was just killed, and nobody in the universe behaves at all like this about the story conceit device." So this means any examination of the implications of these technologies comes to a halt - or it's meant to throw an incredible degree of grotesque dystopia into a fictional work.

Some of this can be good fun but I think it gets commonly bandied about to the point of interfering with actually examining themes or ideas in a work. I ran into this in literature courses I took too, when a book had fantastic elements in it, like Slaughterhouse-5 did; you could just short-circuit any consideration there by saying "The hero is an unreliable narrator and is mentally ill."

Speleothing
May 6, 2008

Spare batteries are pretty key.
The only good version of that concept I ever read was a short book about people who get teleported to an alien zoo. They realize the zookeeper is replicated when they kill it, then are allowed to view their originals being interviewed on TV about the space mission they came back from.

These humans still don't put 2 & 2 together, make their escape, get to the teleporter, and when the light turns off and the doors open there are a bunch of zookeepers waiting for them, because they just sent a new set of copies back to earth-orbit.

oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!


Well, SOMA did a really good job with it, although reduced to its purest form in the sense that there is no teleporter and everyone is just an electronic copy of someone...but the main character just can't wrap his head around the fact that when he is "downloaded" it doesn't mean the original magically disappears.

GANTZ played with it in an interesting way since the characters are copied (they refer to it as being faxed, which is a good way to sum up the analogy) just before death with their original bodies being erased...except in one case where the original survived her death leading to a clone situation.

Leraika
Jun 14, 2015

slime time


Selachian posted:

Especially since it sounds as if you have to track which gems are yours and which you've gotten from other people.

To be fair, at least in that regard they've thought it through - your cutie marks friendship gems are a you-specific color.

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010

HELL SERPENT
Lipstick Apathy

Night10194 posted:

This is the big key to why they fall flat. I will never totally be down on 'The Big Reveal' as a DMing trick because one of the best campaigns I ever played in relied on it; an old Spycraft 1e game where the twist was we were playing a prologue to X-COM without ever being told that until we pieced it together in game. The key to that was, none of that invalidated our accomplishments or made our characters useless; one of my PCs (everyone had a Combat/Field and Support PC) was a badass Marine supply officer recruited for security and her ability to wield a 23mm anti-vehicular shotgun turned out really goddamn useful when we had to kill a Muton with human weapons in the finale, etc. It also never betrayed the pitch; we were still an NSA black ops team that happened to piece together, then save the fledgingly X-COM project from thin-men, sectoids, and a couple Mutons sent in to strangle it in the crib at the climax. Us being a bunch of hyper-competent g-men and action heroes was still the core of the game and why that big surprise was exciting and fun instead of being a huge letdown.

That sounds kickin' rad and a great example of a BIG REVEAL that doesn't undermine the rest of the preceding campaign.

Nessus posted:

As for Call of Cthulhu, I don't know if there's a fixed opinion there but it seems to me like the setting has always made it clear that while in the grand and cosmic sense you can't beat Cthulhu or slay all the Elder Gods or what-have-you, you can understand things and protect the world. So it's bleak but you know it up front that you're in a horror game. Sort of like the "Dark Fate" flaw in WOD!

All of my CoC experience has been with Delta Green, but yeah, that setting does make it clear that while some (or even all) of you are going to die trying to stop Unknowable Horrors, you can stop them, for now.

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.

Nessus posted:


Some of this can be good fun but I think it gets commonly bandied about to the point of interfering with actually examining themes or ideas in a work. I ran into this in literature courses I took too, when a book had fantastic elements in it, like Slaughterhouse-5 did; you could just short-circuit any consideration there by saying "The hero is an unreliable narrator and is mentally ill."

I hate this kind of literary analysis, it's either 'the hero is Jesus', 'everything is a pro-communist screed', and 'the hero is mentally ill' - the last one was infuriating as the teacher reduced The Yellow Paper to just the narrator being mad, and not at all about the oppression and lack of autonomy that women had over their own health, or the lengths one goes to find a voice when their means of communicating is cut off.

oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!


Robindaybird posted:

I hate this kind of literary analysis, it's either 'the hero is Jesus', 'everything is a pro-communist screed', and 'the hero is mentally ill' - the last one was infuriating as the teacher reduced The Yellow Paper to just the narrator being mad, and not at all about the oppression and lack of autonomy that women had over their own health, or the lengths one goes to find a voice when their means of communicating is cut off.

Wow, that is some weapons grade irony right there. Somehow their analysis of the story that, even if you boil off most of the subtext and not-so-sub-text, is about the injust imprisonment of a woman whose failure to adhere to social roles is labeled as a mental illness is..."yeah, they were probably right"

I mean, I'd imagine the back of the book summary probably has a more in-depth reading of the text than that.

DalaranJ
Apr 15, 2008

Yosuke will now die for you.

Mors Rattus posted:

Epyllion: The Dragon is perceptive, his eyes alert as his mind. Only he discerns a difference in a mirror.

So, moves! Let's see what they actually are.

When you stand up to an older dragon (NPC), roll +Courage. On a hit, they acknowledge your worth and address your concerns. Pick one:

This is potentially fascinating because it implies that one of the primary actions in the game is sticking it to the man dre?

Hostile V
May 31, 2013

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



CHAPTER FOUR PART TWO

CREATING THE PURIFIED


There are two handy little charts here. Letís just defer to them.




Innate Abilities

For starts, genuine immortality. Youíre in peak health forever in a body thatís roughly in their mid-20s. All burns, scars, tattoos and piercings fade away and heal after a few days unless you pay points of Willpower out to keep the alterations to your body. Youíre immune to all disease, get +2 to resisting poison and heal faster (1 bashing every 5 minutes, 1 lethal every 4, 1 aggravated every 12) but canít pick any further faster healing abilities. You can automatically see and hear all ghosts/beings of Twilight (or choose not to) and are capable of speaking the language of spirits (albeit you have to be actually speaking). Finally, they get an altered type of Unseen Sense that gives them unerring ability to detect supernatural powers (but not their sources), anything regarding spirits and the Shadow Realm and the ability to sense loci and verges.

They also get Chi, the measure of the ability to control Essence like a spirit can. Chi is one to five dots and is fuel for powers along with acting as supernatural defense/advantage, how much Essence you can hold and rough measure of power/standing in the Shadow Realm.



Uses of points of Essence.

Essence canít be generated by the Purified because theyíre no longer human, theyíre more like spirits. To get more Essence, a Purified must go to loci and project out of their bodies and do some rolls to get 1 point of Essence per success. This amount is limited; a Purified can only eat Essence from a single locus equal to 3xRating of locus. Want more Essence? Simply forcibly take it from a spirit or from another Purified.

So You ďDiedĒ

Whoops! Good news: as long as your mind exists and your spirit body is uneaten, you can reform your body even if itís been broken down to ash. As previously indicated in that list a bit up, a minimum of 5 Essence will reconstitute your body and let you slide back in. If the body is still intact, you still pay some Essence to undo any rot or damage. Once the body is reconstituted, it looks like itís in a deep coma for up to a month as long as youíve sunk 1 point into the rebuilt body. You can spend the other 4 to fully come back to life. So, in short, Average Jenny Purified falls into an atomic wood chipper and dies. 5 Essence to rebuild her body from scratch, 5 Essence to crawl back in and reanimate it and as long as you spend 1 Essence to get back in it doesnít rot.



However, I previously mentioned that itís not particularly safe for a Purified to be reduced to their spirit form. As long as you have 1 Essence left in your bank, you can survive the destruction of your mind while in the Shadow Realm. Youíll be scattered to the winds and have to regenerate, but youíll survive as long as you can regain Essence equal to your Willpower. Get destroyed when thereís 0 Essence in reserve and thatís it, youíre truly done for.

Fabulous Powers of the Immortal Dead

Numina are what all ghosts and spirits know, and the Purified are allowed to know some of those too: Blast, Camouflage, Commune, Concealment, Ghost Sign, Heal, Left-Handed Spanner, Omen Trance, Speed, Telekinesis, Wilds Sense. Or, in order:
  • Lethal ranged attacks.
  • Hide as long as you stay still.
  • Learn the lay of the land of/intuit the general state of any place you've slept in for at least one night.
  • Summon Greater Fog.
  • Create visible message.
  • Spend Essence to heal.
  • Temporarily disable tech.
  • Attempt to get a warning about the future.
  • Move faster in any realm where you're a spirit.
  • Throw things with your mind.
  • Sense details about loci and other spirits.
The downside is that these powers aren't free and will need to be taught to you/paid for. The upside is that they only have one level's worth of cost. And, well, Blast is one of the few offensive abilities that a Purified can know.

When making a Purified, they get 4 dots of powers. Okay actually they get 3; one of those dots is immediately assigned to the Spirit Projection ability. Without that, the Purified couldn't enter the Shadow. So you have three points to spend on Numina or Siddhi.

Siddhi are powers only the Purified can wield. They only go up to 3 in each little tree but fortunately a lot of them are Essence-friendly (and even if they aren't, you can gather the Essence you need across turns). You also have to buy the Siddhi in order up the little progression tree. Siddhi have the benefit of being usable regardless of distance if the Purified has a strong enough bond with the target to redirect it through the Shadow Realm. On the other hand, the Gauntlet provides a hindrance with some powers; if the Gauntlet between the Mortal Realm and Shadow Realm is too thick in places, it's harder to punch through. These rules don't apply to every roll though; the rule of Mystical Connection only applies to bypassing distance limitations, the rule of the Gauntlet only apply to mentally/physically passing through it or to see/sense across it.




Blargh, I thought I was going to be concise. ONTO THE POWERS!


Costs of upgrading a Purified character.

COMMAND
  • Influence Spirit (1): Cause a spirit to feel an emotion of choice. This gives a benefit to social rolls or means the spirit has trouble resisting an emotion they're already feeling. Only works on spirits, no Essence cost.
  • Influence Beasts and Mortals (2): Costs 1 Essence to use. This augments the previous power to allow you to manipulate groups of spirits at once or individual beings that are not spirits. This includes supernatural beings with ties to the mortal world, like werewolves or vampires.
  • Command the Rebellious Spirit (3): Costs 2 Essence + 1 Willpower. Beat a contest to make a Spirit do something. Each success is worth one command. It's a lot easier to make a spirit to do something in line with its nature.
PIERCING THE DISTANCE

These powers are all about using the Shadow as a short-cut and the TN is 5xSiddhi's rank; mystical connection applies and so do Gauntlet strength rules. The Purified can't do anything other than focus and use these powers.
  • Distant Vision (1): Throw your senses to the place of choice and see and hear what's going on in there. You can use this to gaze across realms even if you're not in them and get a bonus to using this power if you have a crystal ball or focus item. You can also respond to questions, speak and write while using this power. Costs 1 Essence.
  • Ethereal Presence (2): Create a completely intangible illusory image while doing the same as the above. You roll every 10 minutes while doing this to maintain your phantom, which is fortunately immune to everything and can float through walls and go to places you've never seen. Downside: entering an unfamiliar location means you have to make another roll to sustain this ability. Costs 1 Essence.
  • Walking the Hidden Shortcut: Like an Imperial Warp Ship, the Purified is able to skim along the Gauntlet to fold space from one point to the other. You roll for every hour of transit. This costs 3 Essence for just you; this can also bring a vehicle along for 3 more Essence +2 Willpower if they're driving/piloting or a person along for the cost of 1 Essence per person and maintained contact. This is hilariously dangerous and also not particularly exact; the power functions as long as the Purified/vehicle is in movement and requires a reasonably open entrance. You can appear beneath a bridge, for example, but not inside of a locked closet or an open desert. This exact only gets worse and more awkward depending on how badly they fail the rolls to leave. At least one success means you'll end up somewhere nearby but awkward (this also applies to passengers who lose contact during transit). A dramatic failure means you end up wherever.
PROJECTION

Projection is where the rules about having your spirit detached from your body go into play. Your spirit heals separately from your body, your body is in a coma and you can actually bring other people and items along with you this way. Return to your body by finding a locus, any locus. You don't want to lose the spirits of normal people while doing this. This power can also be used to bring things Size 3 or less back from the Shadow Realm, Twilight or Underworld.
  • Spirit Projection (1): All Purified know this ability; pop your spirit out and go get some more Essence. Return to your body via a locus. This costs 0 Essence. If your body has been destroyed, you appear in Twilight over your body. You can go back into the Shadow to get more Essence to rebuilding it and in Twilight you can't go too far away from your body if you don't know...
  • Twilight Projection (2): Explore Twilight for the cost of 1 Essence. You can see and hear things happening in the Mortal World. It's basically like being in the real world but the only people who can see you are psychics, ghosts, spirits and some supernatural beings like Sin Eaters.
  • Underworld Projection (3): For the low low price of 3 Essence, you can go to the Underworld. Why you would ever want to go there is beyond me. It's a weird place full of weird beings and weird laws. There's not a lot of poo poo happening there and it requires a TN 5 roll every 10 minutes to enter or every turn to leave. "Come To The Underworld: It's Hard To Get In But You'll Want To Immediately Leave When You Get Here!"
SHIFTING
The Purified very carefully works their way towards being able to physically enter Twilight, not just via spirit.
  • Tread Lightly (1): Temporarily displace your weight into Twilight for the low price of nothing. You still have mass, but you take only Bashing damage from falling and are light enough to walk on water, thin glass, weak substances and also climb on structures that wouldn't normally support you, all without leaving a single footprint.
  • Breaching Barriers (2): Walk through walls and other objects for 1 Essence as long as they're not thicker than 3 feet. You just walk towards the solid item and then appear right on the other side. Any attempt to do this with 3+ feet of item just doesn't work and you walk into a solid wall.
  • Twilight Shift (3): Push your whole body into Twilight using 2 Essence and 1 Willpower. Turn completely invisible and completely intangible, walk into one place and shift back to get in without opening a single door. You can also physically interact with ghosts and spirits. Punch them if you need to. It doesn't cost anything to leave Twilight, you can just do it.
SPIRITUAL DEFENSE
  • Exorcism (1): Force a ghost/spirit out of its vessel (object, person, living being) in the mortal world for 1 day. Costs 1 Willpower to attempt. Doesn't work on Spirit-Claimed but does work on Spirit-Urged or Spirit-Thieved.
  • Touch of Death or Life (2): Touching the ghost or spirit allows you to hurt it or heal it. Either way it costs 1 Essence and does damage/healing equal to successes. The Purified can also burn 1 Willpower to make the damage be aggravated.
  • Mass Banishing (3): Banish ghosts/spirits in Twilight or physically manifested in the mortal world for 3 Essence and 2 Willpower. If it works, they get sent back home for a full day.
SUMMONING

Summoning requires you to beat a TN of 2xSpirit's highest attribute. The rules for the Gauntlet apply unless the being is in Twilight or you're at a Verge.
  • Summoning Spirits (1): Get either a specific spirit or one of a general description of domains (electricity, water) or general power level. These beings come from the Shadow Realm and appear in Twilight, invisible to mortal eyes and where you asked it to come. If you don't have the ability to bind it, you'll have to negotiate with the being to get what you want. Also sometimes spirits don't want to come. Costs 1 Essence.
  • Summon the Wandering Shade (2): The rules of above but this time you're calling a ghost. Costs 2 Essence.
  • Call Spirit (3): Regardless of wherever the spirit was or if it can't go further than its Anchor, it's here now in the mortal realm. Only applies to spirits. Costs 2 Essence, spend 1 Willpower to make the spirit materialize.
WARDING

Spiritual Defense is about immediate results. Warding is about long-term defense. TN is 5xSiddhi level and can either be temporary (until next sun-up or sunset) or be long-lasting (last for a full lunar month). For the former, the Purified must walk along the area. For the latter, the Purified must mark the area physically and the ward fails if the mark is disrupted. Wards can't be mobile and can only cover up to 100 yards on each side.
  • Ward Against Supernatural Beings (1): This ward has two different functions that can't operate in the same area at the same time. First, it can either raise or lower the Gauntlet down to 1 or up to 5 depending on Chi. This ward is only temporary. Second, spirits or ghosts or extradimensional beings can't enter the area without having to try to overcome the ward. Costs 1 Essence to make either ward and +1 Willpower to make the second one long-lasting.
  • Ward Against Magic (2): The creator and up to 24 named people can use supernatural abilities inside of the area. Everyone else needs to overcome the resistances of everyone in the area at the time being subjected to this. Even if the attacker wins, the Purified's successes are subtracted from the attacker's successes. This protects against Disciplines, Gifts, Magic, all sorts of crazy crap. Costs 2 Essence, add +1 Willpower for a long-lasting effect.
  • Ward Against the Living (3): Keep people out! Well, it comes in two forms. 1: keep a specific group out (children, dogs, vampires). 2: keep all living or once-living beings out. In either form, the Purified can designate up to 24 other people to pass freely. 3 Essence, 1 Willpower for long-lasting.
PURIFIED MERIITS

Purified can take Contacts, Mentors, Allies and Status with spirits with restrictions and a chat with the GM. They can also take Fetishes, Imbued Items, Libraries, Relics and Totems.
  • Alternate Identity (1, 2, 4): You can have more than one of these; 1 is something that doesn't stand up to any inspection harder than a casual glance, 2 is good unless there's a thorough investigation, 4 is pretty much a real person, they're just not in the room. Upside of high levels is that it's hard to disprove the identity doesn't exist. Downside is that anything higher than a 1 means you have to sink some investment into making that person exist by living the identity.
  • Chi (3): +1 Chi dot.
  • Dream (1-5): Once per session, you can meditate/sleep to get a vision that will help you figure things out. Successfully do so and you'll get 1 clue per dot.
  • Essence Reservoir (1-2): You can sink Essence into these items or withdraw from it and can be made into any form; though Purified can't make these, they can ask to be made into certain items/shapes. A 1 dot item holds up to 3 Essence and is roughly quarter-sized while a 2 dot holds 6 and takes up space in your hand or pocket (cell-phone sized). The upside is that these items can exist across the Underworld, Twilight and Shadow and will physically travel with you for you to tap into them.
  • Familiar (3): Spirit buddy! There are rules but basically you can have a spirit pet from the weakest form of spirits.
  • Locus (1-3): You've managed to claim access to a locus of either 1 or 2 dots; an extra dot can be added to make it mobile but then the locus can't be smaller than Size 5 and combining multiples doesn't increase their potency. It's pretty smart for a Purified to use a ward on their locus and keep them in a special location. Purified can't start play with a locus they own higher than 2 dots because spirits tend to be ferociously territorial of anything 3 dots or higher.
  • Occultation (1-3): As long as you have no Fame merit dots, dots in Occultation inflict a penalty on any supernatural attempts to spy on you or learn about you. Such Purified tend to live on the fringes of society and civilization because any public attention or strong presence amongst mortals inhibits your ability to hide until they forget about you. Supernatural beings can know you just fine, though.
  • Ritual Crypt (1): As long as a designated space is maintained via ritual and undisturbed in a room with windows and doors that close and has something to hold a body, this counts as a ritual crypt. Should you die or your body get destroyed, it'll reappear at the crypt for the cost of 5 Essence. If it's still intact, this is because you've destroyed it to regrow it. Downside is that you lose this if the ritual equipment is disrupted and this is the old edition where you have to buy this again to have it.
  • Shadow Sanctum (1-4): Somehow you've managed to get a little piece of the Shadow carved out for you to call it home. Or, at the very least, it's a safe place for you to retreat to. At one dot, the sanctum is small but comfy, secure but devoid of amenities. There are three upgrades you can buy that don't stack: make it as big as a large house/small mansion and include water and food and electricity and entertainment, make it more formidable and secure and harder to find, add a house spirit that's intelligent and loyal but can't move.
Thoughts: Well honestly I might've jumped the gun a bit with how mechanically sound I thought they were. Reading it over, they did seem quite solid, but they're quite a bit Essence hungry. Though within reason, I think. Anyway. As a whole, I still enjoy their abilities quite a lot. They have a wide variety of powers to play with if you don't want them to just be a servant of the spirits and I think the lack of offensive powers is actually kind of nice? Like they could stand a fight power outside of Blast, I suppose, but then that would make them even more Essence hungry and I think being able to reasonably recover from being gut-shot or splattered all over a wall lets them have fun in combat with being incredibly hard to put down for good.

Oh, as for the merits, they're a pretty decent spread of useful abilities. I quite like Shadow Sanctum; thematically it's nice and it would be a cool place for your Purified to bring their living buddies to if they had to.

NEXT TIME: Playing Purified and sample characters, the end of this chapter and us being officially 3/4ths of the way through the book.

Hostile V fucked around with this message at 07:05 on Jun 22, 2017

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 5, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Rifts World Book 13: Lone Star - Part Eleven: "King Macklin has tried to make a few shady deals with his CS contact (whom he knows only as Mr. Gene), including them throwing in together to usurp control of the Northern Quadrant and ruling the State of Lone Star as partners (yeah, right)."

Leaders of the Pecos Empire
By Julius Rosenstein & Kevin Siembieda



Native American + Old = Like, Double Wise, or Something.

Gray Fox

A cyber-ninja that formerly worked as a soldier for Big Boss- wait- no- start over-

The leader of the largest Pecos tribe, the Apaches, Gray Fox once took over the Pecos Empire for two years during a time of plague before stepping down once the crisis is over. While himself an Apache by blood, his group of the Apache tribe seems to accept outsiders and d-bees in addition to indigenous Americans. (This will not be entirely true of the Apache later on.) He is, of course, wise and peaceful and more wise and even more peaceful and everybody respects and loves him him except pure jackasses like Macklin. In short, he's the wise old chief stereotype writ large. About the best thing it can be said is that though the Apaches follow the "old traditions" and "live off the land" (of course they do) they use a mixture of purloined and purchased technology in addition to magic.


"It's a heroic goatee."

King Macklin
The Legend


Since he's being set up as the villain of the Pecos Empire, Macklin gets a lot of :words: about his life story. Essentially, he was a warlord's son given as a hostage to a rival tribe as part of a treaty as an adolescent, and was treated like crap but eventually returned. However, when his home tribe celebrated, the nameless rival tribe killed all of his home tribe's potential leadership except for him. And so, he lead a guerrila war that slaughtered the rival tribe, using his inside information against them and building an elite army. He became their King, and started raiding other tribes, like you do. As time has gone on, he's started stating an intent to take over the Pecos Empire and unite them against the Coalition and other threats.

But then we get "The Truth - GM's Eyes Only." and "Players who read this section about King Macklin may ruin some of the enjoyment and mystery surrounding encounters with this character." This next part is a Gamemaster Klubhouse- players keep out! But most folks I think will be able to guess the truth - in reality he was working with the rival clan to eliminate any rivals to his kingship, then double-crossed them and killed their unsuspecting leaders during a peaceful meeting and took control of the rival tribe as well. He's also made a deal with Bradford (he doesn't know it's Bradford, just a "Mr. Gene" - get it?) to basically use his troops as hitmen against Coalition targets (Bradford's internal enemies). His troops have never faced a major Coalition force and probably are in for a surprise when the skull-jets come screaming in. But he gets by on being a demagogue and blowhard calling for war against the Coalition to try and unite the various tribes.

Naturally, underneath it all, like almost every Siembieda villain, he's a megalomaniac. He's paranoid and pretty much nothing is beneath him to achieve his ends of conquest. Oh! And he's sadistic too! Like so many other Siembieda villains. For all the talk of him building a legend and being charming and deceptive, his only exceptional attribute is strength (though his attributes are, as with every NPC in this book, still unrollable nonsense). He's a 10th level Pecos Raider and we get a summary of his immediate henches. We're pointed to the Kingdom of Worth to learn more. Thanks, I'm good.

Orpheus the Titan

No relation to the actual Orpheus, as far as I can tell, but instead just a generic good guy "9th level warrior / mystic" (dear Rifts: please stop using Palladium classes and presuming Rifts players will just go out and buy that game, thanks) who is somehow dual classed and is a generic good guy - a paladin in all but name. He used to hang out with Gilgamesh and Endiku (as detailed in Pantheons of the Megaverse) after arriving on Rifts Earth, but went forth on his own and came across the community of Houstown, where most of their warriors had been killed by unspecified sea serpents. Orpheus rallied them to build more defenses and helped fight them off, after which he was welcomed as their new Mayor (though he prefers the title "Lord"). He's been trying to teach them that raiding is wrong, but they aren't particularly convinced.

He's physically exceptional across the board and beautiful, and is is a skilled fighter and a middling spellcaster and psionic (as a mystic). He has silver hair and "dark eyes" so he might be a little anime.


It took us over twenty sourcebooks to get a named Simvan, here you go.

Zimchex - Simvan

The leader of the Percic Simvan tribe, Zimchex's older bother was slain by the Coalition during a peaceful trading journey, and so loving with them on the regular is a hobby of his. His tribe works in breeding horses, ostrosaurs, and other odd creatures, and they often raid Coalition forces or release dangerous creatures near them to cause havoc. He's also big into accepting runaway mutant animals, and so his tribe has a tiny minority of mutant animals in addition to Simvan. They also have a bloody rivalry with the "Long Knives" tribe of psi-stalkers - not that Zimchex hates psi-stalkers in general, but sure as hell hates the Long Knives for reasons that are probably long forgotten. His tribe also has a tradition of vampire hunting he upholds.

Surprisingly, he's a perfectly decent guy who listens to his people and only really acts insensibly when it comes to the Coalition or Long Knives. There's no mention of the Simvans' usual "eat humans" policy and they seem to be largely just traders and not raiders. Bizarrely for a leader, both his affinity and beauty are the pits, with his prowess and endurance being his major traits as a 8th level Simvan Monster Rider. Also, he gets to use hand to hand: assassin without having the usual evil requirement, because well, that requirement's only to mess with PCs, no doubt.


Looks fine.

Lianna the Wild

Kidnapped and taken to be a raider chief's mistress as a teenager, Lianna pretended to become loyal to him in order to learn how to ride and shoot. When the raiders had a hard spot and was being jeered, he challenged somebody to try and take his place. Lianna took up the challenge, killing him in the resulting pistol duel, and took over the gang. Leading the gang on successful raids after that, she managed to silence opposition with further pistol duels, and renamed the raider gang the "She-Devils". Despite the name, the gang doesn't have any particular feminist theme - most of the gang is still male. They raid nomadically through Texas, Arkansas, and Louisana. Though she puts up a hard front, she has a heart of gold and doesn't allow her gang to victimize innocents, despite her Aberrant alignment, or raid a community to the point of starvation or hardship. We're told that she's famous enough that three (inaccurate) films have been made about her exploits.

She's a 9th level Gunslinger (class not included in this book) with exceptional prowess. She's a minor psionic with just the ability to resist hunger or thirst. Honestly, she's interesting enough, all things considered. After the Coalition section, the bandit leaders feel like a breath of fresh air.


:effort:

Sundance

As in Sundance Kid, this guy claims to be the real wild west outlaw, who randomly got thrown through a rift when he leapt off a cliff to escape the Bolivian army. I guess that could happen? And he popped out safely? In any case, he's adapted to the new wild west well enough, though he's amazed by magic and hates vampires, like you do. Though a lot of people doubt his bonafides, he has rebuilt a Rifts version of the Wild Bunch. Some people in the Coalition want to try and catch him to see if his physiology might prove him to be an genuine pre-rifts human. But Bradford, bizarrely bereft of scientific curiosity, could care less. Still, some Coalition officials are worried he might become famous enough to unite the Pecos Empire.

Sundance is convinced Butch Cassidy also made the journey, but got separated somehow, and is offering a bounty to anybody who can locate him, which is offered as an adventure hook. There's a joking hint that he might actually be Robert Redford reprising his role, but it's not expanded upon. There's another cute note that part of the reason a lot of folks take him seriously is that if he really was a wild west hero, he'd know of other famous "historical" figures like Clint Eastwood or the Lone Ranger. He's a 10th level Gunslinger, and has a high affinity, prowess, and endurance. He generally seems like a neat hook GMs could take in several directions.

Warlord Grange

Allen Grange is head of the Pecos Riders, one of the Pecos' most powerful gangs. As a young man, he was often discontent with raider leadership, and would often make up his own tactics and plans. He was a tactical smarty guy who went on to form his own gang, and built a rep he organized his gang on, as well as a small "kingdom" (though it feels more just like a town to me). Though his gang is large, his ability to organize other gangs to follow him is what makes him more of a contender as the leader of the Pecos Empire, and he acts as a rival to Sabre Lasar.

He's a straightforward raider, though he's not vindictive and seems people fighting back against them as just something to be expected. He tries to innovate tactically and not rest on his laurels. Despite being a "genius" his intelligence is only above-average, and his mental endurance and affinity is where his strength lies. He's an 11th-level wilderness scout, and doesn't get a whole lot more than that. Oh, and this is a reprint from the last book, in case you missed him there, I supose


Guest starring Ladytron.

Emperor Sabre Lasar
The man who would be Emperor


Head of the strongest gang in the Pecos Empire, and often able to gather other gangs under him, we don't get much background on Lasar. Which is weird given how much he's been played up so far. It turns out he's a young dragon (that is, to the tune of 3000 M.D.C. in disguise as a human), and the fact that he's more than human isn't a secret, though the fact that he's a dragon is. He's often merciful and has a strong sense of humor and is generally kind of idealized and flawless. As a 10th level fire dragon, he's got exceptional attributes all over, a poo poo-ton of spells and minor psionics.

We also get a detailed breakdown of the Sabre Warriors (mostly humans, psi-stalkers, and simvan) but no real useful details other than a lot of numbers and percentage symbols. It's kind of surprising after all this buildup we get what amounts to a dry fart of a writeup.


"Haircut? No, I really did get my ears lowered."

Warlord Don Marco
Leader of the Silver Dagger Gang


More akin to a criminal kingpin, the Silver Daggers have taken up the tactic of setting up permanent communities throughout the Pecos Empire that cater to nomadic and bandit needs and vices, and also act as central ports for organized raiders under his command, or for smuggling. Wait, where they smuggling to? It's not like anything is technically "illegal" in the Pecos Empire... in any case, they seem to be outdoing the Black Market (TM) in the Pecos Empire. Since he doesn't raid the Coalition much, they see him as a useful destabilizing force, and have infiltrated a psychic into his group of advisors to try and influence him to act against Sabre Lasar... and if he should be able to deal with Lasar, they plan to kill him and put a Coalition puppet in his place.

Don Marco is another natural leader and genius (okay, these are starting to get a little old) who's a master organizer (though his intelligence is, once again, only above average). His big strengths are his mental endurance, affinity, and prowess. He has a nasty temper that reveals a sadistic side. Hey, sadism, the villainous Siembieda standby. Out of nowhere (not mentioned in his description) it turns out he's a 9th level mind melter with a lot of mental and telekinetic powers, and that he already knows about the Coalition spy... but hasn't decided what to do with them. The psychic twist puts him over into interesting, at least, though the Silver Dagger gang, like the Sabre Warriors, only gets a lot of % symbols without much detail.

Next: Classes without class.

Young Freud
Nov 26, 2006

oriongates posted:

Well, SOMA did a really good job with it, although reduced to its purest form in the sense that there is no teleporter and everyone is just an electronic copy of someone...but the main character just can't wrap his head around the fact that when he is "downloaded" it doesn't mean the original magically disappears.

GANTZ played with it in an interesting way since the characters are copied (they refer to it as being faxed, which is a good way to sum up the analogy) just before death with their original bodies being erased...except in one case where the original survived her death leading to a clone situation.

Have we brought up Eclipse Phase yet, where it's not bodies but minds being "teleported" via farcasting?

Cassa
Jan 29, 2009

Alien Rope Burn posted:


Guest starring Ladytron.

Emperor Sabre Lasar
The man who would be Emperor


Head of the strongest gang in the Pecos Empire, and often able to gather other gangs under him, we don't get much background on Lasar. Which is weird given how much he's been played up so far. It turns out he's a young dragon (that is, to the tune of 3000 M.D.C. in disguise as a human), and the fact that he's more than human isn't a secret, though the fact that he's a dragon is. He's often merciful and has a strong sense of humor and is generally kind of idealized and flawless. As a 10th level fire dragon, he's got exceptional attributes all over, a poo poo-ton of spells and minor psionics.

We also get a detailed breakdown of the Sabre Warriors (mostly humans, psi-stalkers, and simvan) but no real useful details other than a lot of numbers and percentage symbols. It's kind of surprising after all this buildup we get what amounts to a dry fart of a writeup.


Soooooooooooooo why's he hiding as a human instead of just being a dragon and leading by dint of being a dragon?

Tendales
Mar 9, 2012
In TNG, the transporter pretty clearly makes a replicator copy at the target, what with all the talk of pattern buffers and double Rikers and so on. Ok, fine.

In TOS, though, they don't have replicator technology. That means the transporters had to be actually moving your for real body through space, or warping you there, or something, but the original is clearly moved, not duplicated.

That means that starfleet used to have a transporter that didn't kill you, but they decided to replace it with a model that does.

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements



Tendales posted:

In TNG, the transporter pretty clearly makes a replicator copy at the target, what with all the talk of pattern buffers and double Rikers and so on. Ok, fine.

In TOS, though, they don't have replicator technology. That means the transporters had to be actually moving your for real body through space, or warping you there, or something, but the original is clearly moved, not duplicated.

That means that starfleet used to have a transporter that didn't kill you, but they decided to replace it with a model that does.

I just want to point out that it is actually a matter of philosophical debate whether the 'disintegration teleporter' kills you. Some of us do think the Ship of Theseus is still the Ship of Theseus after you take it apart and ship it somewhere else.

hyphz
Aug 5, 2003

Number 1 Nerd Tear Farmer 2022.

Keep it up, champ.

Also you're a skeleton warrior now. Kree.
Unlockable Ben

Joe Slowboat posted:

I just want to point out that it is actually a matter of philosophical debate whether the 'disintegration teleporter' kills you. Some of us do think the Ship of Theseus is still the Ship of Theseus after you take it apart and ship it somewhere else.

The Teletransportation Paradox is years old. Wikipedia claims it was mentioned in 1775! The core problem is that the only person who could tell you if they died in transportation was the person who went in, but after they're transported it's too late to ask them (it might be their clone you're talking to)

Essentially, having a teleporter and characters knowing correctly that it is safe implies a whole bunch of other metaphysical science should also exist, plus whole new ways of making observations.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009

I love the potoo,
and the potoo loves you.

Joe Slowboat posted:

I just want to point out that it is actually a matter of philosophical debate whether the 'disintegration teleporter' kills you. Some of us do think the Ship of Theseus is still the Ship of Theseus after you take it apart and ship it somewhere else.

Also, this is Star Trek, the setting where one of the TOS writers famously answered an interviewer asking how a particular piece of technology works with "Quite well, thank you." How the transporters work is not one of the questions the shows try to raise and make you think about.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

Epyllion: Do you glow with radiant moonlight and emerge changed?

So, in Raw-Scaled Drake, your XP bar is five ticks long, you get a base of +0 to call on the moons before spending Friendship Gems and you can call on all five moons. Your three advances are 'Take another move from your playbook', 'advance your signature move' and 'take +1 to any stat (max +3)'. Then you become a Winged Drake and can fly. Your XP bar is now four ticks long, you only get access to four of the moons, and you still have base +0 to call on the moons. You get the same three advances before you move to the next weight age class. At that point you move to Long-Toothed Dragon. You lose access to a second moon, but now you get a base of +1 to call on the moons. Your XP bar is still four ticks, but instead of being able to take a move from your playbook, that advance is 'take another move from another playbook'.

When you advance to Bearded Dragon, your XP bar is now three ticks long, you have a base of +2 to call on the moons and you lose access to a third moon. You have only two advances this time - advancing your signature move and 'take a ritual of your House':
  • Brynback: The Thunder of Dragonia. When you roar to the heavens with the primal force of House Brynback, any dragon within 100 miles knows where you are and what aid you need to protect Dragonia. If they are needed, they will rally to your side.
  • Kebros: The Veil of Ignorance. When you draw a circle in the dirt and mark it with House Kebros's sigil, your conversation is shrouded from the outside world. None outside the circle shall overhear your secret whispers, and nothing from the outside world will disturb your conversation.
  • Myndoth: The Light of Truth. When you light a candle bearing the mark of House Myndoth, the light from the candle pierces all deceptions. No magic can stand against it, and any lie told in the presence of the flame will be instantly recognizable as falsehood.
  • Rothscar: The Sound of Perfection. When you create a new puzzle in silence, the rhythm of your heartbeat syncs with Dragonia's quiet drumming: you may ask the DM to reveal the true interworkings of something you find puzzling or interesting.
  • Semscale: The Breath of Time. When you whisper the name of House Semscale into the ears of the dead, you can reach a dragon who has already flown through the valley of death. You may ask them three questions; they will answer honestly.
  • Tessith: The Avatar of Nature. When you make an offering to the Wild in the name of House Tessith, the weather of Dragonia itself rises to protect you, creating a powerful avatar that will rise and serve you for one day.

When you hit Elder, you get base of +3 to call on the moons but only have one moon to call on. Your XP bar is three ticks, and you have two advances: 'your House dedicates a stronghold to you' and 'retire your character into a Mystic or Ancient'. When you get the stronghold, you get to decide what it's for and where it is. When you become an Ancient, you tell the DM where it happens and what you look like after, as well as where you go after and why your moon wants you there. If you become a Mystic, you tell the DM instead what your statue looks like and what's written on its base. You become an NPC either way and, if you want to keep playing, have to start over with a new playbook and a baby dragon.

Speaking of playbooks...our list is the Academic, the Crafter, the Daredevil, the Nature Adept, the Seer and the Warrior. You know, all basic dragon archetypes.



We start with the Academic, or nerd dragon. They get a base of Charm +0. Courage -1 qand Cunning +1, and their Virtue is either Curiosity or Honesty. Their Obligation is either Myndoth (Discover something important about an ancient mystery) or Semscale (Defuse a tense situation between dragons from different houses). They give one Friendship Gem to one dragon because dre guided the Clutch when lost in the capital, and a second to a dragon that showed them the threat of the Darkness by getting their nose out of a book. They take a Friendship Gem from a dragon that doesn't understand dragon history and the importance of the old ways, as they will teach that dragon.

The core move of the Academic is Field of Expertise: You carry one of the Great Tomes of Dragon Knowledge. Mark which one you keep with you always:
  • Dagon's History of the War with Darkness
  • Lung-Kwan's Famous Dragons and What They Did
  • Fafnir von Grimtooth's Famous Moments in Dragon History
  • Dewlash De Golderin's Guide to the Creatures of Dragonia
  • Amelia Drakovich's Geographical Primer on Dragonia's Rivers, Mountains, and Major Islands
When you consult the tomes you carry for information, tell the DM what you find and roll +tomes consulted. On a 10+, the information is accurate and complete; take +1 forward to act on the answers. On a 7-9, something is missing or mythic, useful but not everything you need. On a miss, you've got something terribly wrong; the DM will let you know what you got wrong when you need to know.
When you advance the move, you mark a new tome and tell the DM who gave it to you.

Other moves:

Old Debts: When you stand up to an older dragon by reminding them of debts and obligations long forgotten, roll +Cunning instead of +Courage.

An Ear For The Arcane: When you listen closely to a magic ritual, roll +Cunning. On a 10+, ask 2. On a 7-9, ask 1. Take +1 forward to acting on the answers. On a miss, the ritual ensnares you, the DM will tell you how.
  • What arcane effects does the ritual have?
  • How can I disrupt the ritual?
  • Who is the intended target?
  • How could I reproduce this ritual?

Peer Review: When you go to your friends for advice about a specific problem, give them a Friendship Gem and hear what they have to say. If you follow their advice, tell them to mark experience; you get a +1 ongoing to see it through. If you ignore their advice, mark a Shadow.

Familiar With The Old Ways: When you study a Bearded or Elder Dragon, add these questions to the move list:
  • What is whispered about you within your House?
  • How are you vulnerable to the Darkness?
  • Who in Dragonia opposes your goals and machinations?

The Academic's Shadowself is: You've Held your tongue for too long. You have the best plans to move your Clutch forward and no one knows the history of Dragonia better than you do. Make sure your clutch knows how smart you truly are. You are The Academic. Return from your Shadowself when a friend convinces you to admit that you don't have all the answers.

Next time: The Crafter and the Daredevil.

Mors Rattus fucked around with this message at 13:42 on Jun 22, 2017

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009


Also I went through the transporter at the Star Trek Experience (RIP :() many times so I can conclusively tell you it's just darkness and wind and my molecules were definitely not being reassembled in such a way as to call into question a continuity of conscience.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
"Your dark and lurking self, the assembled horror of the shadow, is that you tend to lecture people a little about subjects you're passionate about."

Lame.

DalaranJ
Apr 15, 2008

Yosuke will now die for you.
Saber Lasar, yeah that sounds like a human name
- a dragon

Hostile V
May 31, 2013

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

Some would go so far as to say that when the Academic dragon is in Shadowself, the darkness of twilight sparkles.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008

I dunno, I like the idea that the nerd dragon's Shadowself is to become the insufferable nerd who won't shut up about their fanfic/character/nerd obsession.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQyuNpzp29E

unseenlibrarian
Jun 4, 2012

There's only one thing in the mountains that leaves a track like this. The creature of legend that roams the Timberline. My people named him Sasquatch. You call him... Bigfoot.

Night10194 posted:

"Your dark and lurking self, the assembled horror of the shadow, is that you tend to lecture people a little about subjects you're passionate about."

Lame.

Look, some evil dark sides just aren't all that dark.

Strange Matter
Oct 6, 2009

Ask me about Genocide

oriongates posted:

Well, SOMA did a really good job with it, although reduced to its purest form in the sense that there is no teleporter and everyone is just an electronic copy of someone...but the main character just can't wrap his head around the fact that when he is "downloaded" it doesn't mean the original magically disappears.

GANTZ played with it in an interesting way since the characters are copied (they refer to it as being faxed, which is a good way to sum up the analogy) just before death with their original bodies being erased...except in one case where the original survived her death leading to a clone situation.
Hannu Rajaneimi's Quantum Thief novels also kind of tackle the problem head on, to the point where the two major transhuman organizations in the solar system went to war over the issue. The Sobornost, a civilization of endlessly copied uploaded human minds, believed that as long as the memories and thought patterns are the same then there's no issue. The Zoku, a culture of minds (descended from MMO-clans) distributed across quantum networks, were firmly in the camp of the "no-clone theorem" that you need continuity of substance to preserve a person's innate self-ness.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
I mean I get that Dragonia is a softer, gentler RPG probably primarily meant for a younger audience, but it feels kind of like how lots of older kid's cartoons softened things so much that there wasn't any real conflict and everything was sort of a mush.

Also still not seeing why they're dragons instead of people (or horses, it sounded like the MLP Adventures RPG was actually perfectly serviceable for younger, newer players from its own review)

DalaranJ
Apr 15, 2008

Yosuke will now die for you.

Night10194 posted:

Also still not seeing why they're dragons instead of people (or horses, it sounded like the MLP Adventures RPG was actually perfectly serviceable for younger, newer players from its own review)

The age category thing would be pretty hard to grasp with human characters.

I may be jaded from too much D&D, but I think that a game about Pegasus and Unicorns seems more interesting than boring old dragons.

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.

Night10194 posted:

I mean I get that Dragonia is a softer, gentler RPG probably primarily meant for a younger audience, but it feels kind of like how lots of older kid's cartoons softened things so much that there wasn't any real conflict and everything was sort of a mush.

Also still not seeing why they're dragons instead of people (or horses, it sounded like the MLP Adventures RPG was actually perfectly serviceable for younger, newer players from its own review)

I mean, a lot of kids shows aimed at that group use inhuman characters. Be it Superheroes, talking horses, dragons, dudes riding giant robot fireflies, gargoyles, turtles, robot that turned into animals and dinosaurs, a giant mutated lizard from new york with a team of lovely researchers, a jaded robot pilot who has to pretend to actually be a giant robot and not-Astroboy, etc., they love using inhuman characters in these shows to spice things up.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 5, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!

Cassa posted:

Soooooooooooooo why's he hiding as a human instead of just being a dragon and leading by dint of being a dragon?

It doesn't say.

Presumably given Siembieda's writing tics it's either A) he presumes humans wouldn't follow a dragon or B) he doesn't want the Coalition or others reacting to him like they would react to a dragon trying to raise an army. But Lasar gets no background and very little characterization, so I can't say with authority.

Dareon
Apr 6, 2009

by vyelkin

Hostile V posted:

[*]Locus (1-3): You've managed to claim access to a locus of either 1 or 2 dots; an extra dot can be added to make it mobile but then the locus can't be smaller than Size 5 and combining multiples doesn't increase their potency. It's pretty smart for a Purified to use a ward on their locus and keep them in a special location. Purified can't start play with a locus they own higher than 2 dots because spirits tend to be ferociously territorial of anything 3 dots or higher.

So could you play an immortal tourist bumming around the world in a mystic Winnebago? Like how big is size 5 in this frame of reference?

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 5, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Rifts World Book 13: Lone Star - Part Twelve: "This may affect the credibility of the entire player group ó guilt by association, leading to conclusions like, "if so and so is a friend/comrade, then they all must be bandits and cutthroats" (and can't be trusted and may not be wanted)."


Making an awful class look alright.

Pecos Bandits
O.C.C. & R.C.C. Notes


It notes that despite there being a Pecos Raider class, Pecos Bandits can be any number of O.C.C.s, the most common being the various Man at Arms classes, Vagabonds, City Rats, most of the Mercenaries classes, and a number of classes that will supposedly appear in Rifts World Book 14: New West, like gunslingers (yes), wired slingers ("wired gunslingers" in the actual book), psi-slingers (yes), gunmen ("gunfighters" in the actual book), saloon bums (yes), and saddle tramps (yes). Yes, saloon bums. Prepare yourself for some poo poo classes in that book. Of course, given we've had probably the three worst classes in the corebook listed already... grunt, city rat, and vagabond, if you're wondering.

We're reminded that most people in the Pecos Empire are jus' folks, and that banditry is widespread but the minority of actual people. Like 60%, guys! That's... huh, that's still a fuckton of bandits when you count in "people who can't easily engage in banditry" (like children and the elderly). Then again, maybe babies grow up with lord humongous masks already attached. We're told that only 15% are "career outlaws". Which is a little more sane. Of course, to most in the Coalition, everybody in the Pecos is poo poo and probably worth shooting over saving.

Pecos Raider O.C.C.

So, these are supposed to be poor folk turned raider to escape poverty. The majority, we're told, are male, and "less than 1% are even partially literate". We get a finger-wag that if a player wants to play one of these, they're probably treated like the scum of the earth and are wanted, and have bounty hunters or lawmen after them and- okay, Rifts, you're laying it on kinda thick.

They get some basic riding and fighting and surviving skills, and poo poo secondary picks. The only consolation they get is a tiny S.D.C. bonus, which is pretty useless. Ultimately, they're barely a step above the Vagabond O.C.C. and this class seems mostly to give people mooks to shoot.


The Tokanii is the one on the far left.

Tokanii R.C.C.
By Julius Rosenstein & Kevin Siembieda


Spooky scary skeletal-lizard people from a dinosaur-ish world, the Tokanii had gotten to their Bronze Age when a meteor more or less destroyed their world, and some shamans with their powers combined opened a rift to refugee out of their doomed world. They popped into Coalition territory in Lone Star a half-century ago, and the skullguys set to work slaughting them, but the Tokanii fought back, fleeing East and fighting bandits and monsters and more. However, abut 10,000 survived, and they've somehow become 50,000+ in 50 years, because... Palladium is bad at numbers. We get a note that there are three tribes present in America:
  • The Tokae live in Texas / Arkansas / Louisana in the forests and are a constant threat to human and Coalition settlements.
  • The Kreenae are more "savage" and aggressive, and mostly stick around forests in East Texas and Louisana, and have a strong vindictive streak, seeking to repay any slight with buckets of blood.
  • The Ronii have taken up an existence on the plains and prairies where they made allies with the Pervic Simvan and have taken up "heretical" notions like riding animals or using magic.
In general they're big on vendetta, and we're told most outside of the Ronii are evil. Leadership is decided by duels without rules, so sometimes leadership can literaly go to the biggest gun. It's kind of interesting to actually give a D-Bee race different societies, but not much is done with it.

The Tokanii are modest M.D.C. creatures, though they have a odd mechanic where both age and level increase their M.D.C. They can regenerate, and also completely regrow hands or feet (but not arms or legs). They have claws and teeth and horns that can all do M.D.C., and are mainly strong and tough, but ugly (the typical D-Bee tradeoff). They come with their own Tokanii Warrior class that's your generic riding / wilderness / weapons layout we see a lot from any "primitive" race, with crummy selections of other skills. They can take the Mystic O.C.C., which gives them magic and psionics, and Ronii can select any Man at Arms O.C.C., any Practitioner of Magic O.C.C., or Wilderness Scout. Taking a O.C.C. is generally a hilariously good upgrade for them - Wilderness Scout being the funniest because it's very similar to the "Tokanii Warrior", only better.


But will we ever get art of them stalking psi...?

Psi-Stalker R.C.C.

These guys get a lot more :words: but this is mostly a shameless reprinting of material from the corebook. The main new notes is that there are wild psi-stalkers throughout texas and tend to congregate around supernatural hotbeds for prey, or feed on vampires. They also supposedly like and help out the cyber-knights but don't become them because "balance reasons" they lack discipline. Moving on.


Riding a- well, it's in the next book.

Simvan Monster Rider R.C.C.

Another reprint, this time from Rifts Sourcebook. Not much new other than the fact they're all around the Pecos Empire and are feared because they eat people and ride dinosaurs (who, presumably, will also eat people). Moving on.

The Brodkil
A Demon from the Rifts


Reprinted for the third time (they were in both Rifts Sourcebook and Rifts Sourcebook 3: Mindwerks) and for no apparent reason, because they aren't particularly common in this region, though some few are Pecos raiders. Moving on.

And that's it for classes. Embarassingly, we have about eight pages of reprinted material compared to three to four pages of new material. Well, at least the new art is quite nice.

Next: Mess with Texas.

Halloween Jack
Sep 12, 2003

La morte non ha sesso

Night10194 posted:

This is the big key to why they fall flat. I will never totally be down on 'The Big Reveal' as a DMing trick because one of the best campaigns I ever played in relied on it; an old Spycraft 1e game where the twist was we were playing a prologue to X-COM without ever being told that until we pieced it together in game. The key to that was, none of that invalidated our accomplishments or made our characters useless; one of my PCs (everyone had a Combat/Field and Support PC) was a badass Marine supply officer recruited for security and her ability to wield a 23mm anti-vehicular shotgun turned out really goddamn useful when we had to kill a Muton with human weapons in the finale, etc. It also never betrayed the pitch; we were still an NSA black ops team that happened to piece together, then save the fledgingly X-COM project from thin-men, sectoids, and a couple Mutons sent in to strangle it in the crib at the climax. Us being a bunch of hyper-competent g-men and action heroes was still the core of the game and why that big surprise was exciting and fun instead of being a huge letdown.
Yeah, I think a game based around a Big Reveal can be great, but there are a lot of rules you have to follow. You can follow all the rules your GM did and the players might still be unimpressed when they learn the truth, but I suppose that's also possible in any game based around investigation.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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

Dareon posted:

So could you play an immortal tourist bumming around the world in a mystic Winnebago? Like how big is size 5 in this frame of reference?

If they're talking in terms of the size stat as it relates to everything other than loci, a human is Size 7, wolves are size 5 I believe.

Big Mad Drongo
Nov 10, 2006

I feel like Fellowship can be a better PbtA game about Dragons and Friendship despite not necessarily being about either. Just bring along a Squire and a Dragon and you're golden.

Hostile V
May 31, 2013

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

Kurieg posted:

If they're talking in terms of the size stat as it relates to everything other than loci, a human is Size 7, wolves are size 5 I believe.
I think that's right. Either way you'd probably be better making your locus not have mechanical part and being less obtrusive. The Winnebago isn't a portal to the ghost dimension, but the godawful shag carpeting you can roll up and move is.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 5, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!

Big Mad Drongo posted:

I feel like Fellowship can be a better PbtA game about Dragons and Friendship despite not necessarily being about either. Just bring along a Squire and a Dragon and you're golden.

Alternately, just reskin everything as dragons.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008

The storm has a name... - Let's Read TORG


Part 18d: Basic Training

Now that the boring fluff is out of the way, it's time to get into the boring mechanics. On the plus side, the chapters are shorter now so I can get through the faster.

The next chapter is the obligatory Axioms and World Laws, which means it's time to quote myself again!

Evil Mastermind posted:

Magic axiom: 12 The magic axiom level has actually fluxuated over the centuries, starting at 9 during the beginning of the War and slowly rising and falling since then due Kranod adjusting the axioms. It stabilized at 12 about 80 years ago, and for some reason Kranod was never able to raise it any higher. Magic is more the domain of the Tharkoldu than the Race, due to the Race seeing magic as a tool of the demons. Magic knowledge isn't common, and any new spells that are developed are kept as secret weapons rather than disseminated to the populace. A unique aspect of Tharkold is the existence of technomagic, the binding of magical energies into weapons or cybernetics. Right now Tharkold is about equivalent to the Nile Empire in terms of magic: it's there, but it needs to be highly ritualized.

Social axiom: 20 While the social axiom of Tharkold is high (due to the Race coming together and uniting under a common cause) and only one point less than Core Earth's, Tharkoldu culture itself is rather primitive. The cyberdemons barely have anything approaching what we'd think of as art or literature; what they tend to have instead are epic poems or litanies of personal genealogies. Even among the Race, there's not really much of a culture outside of the needs of a military livelihood. Everyone is expected to fight, and even the most "liberal" of the Race nations is still a military oligarchy. It's worth pointing out that due to one of the cosm's World Laws, the social axiom is limited to 12 for non-violent social interaction.

Spiritual axiom: 17 The Race and the Tharkoldu each have their own religions, and unsurprisingly they're diametrically opposed to each other. The religion of the Tharkoldu is actually very integrated with the demons' use of technology for survival, leading to some very...unique miracles. The religion of the Tharkoldu is called the Cult of the Dominant, and any differing religions the Race may have had at one point have all ended up homogenized together into The Way of the Race. Like pretty much everything else on Tharkold, the War has pared down peoples' needs to the bare essentials.

Technological axiom: 26 The tech axiom of Tharkold is the same as the Cyberpapacy's, and as a result they have a very similar level of technological progress. There's a global computer network ("The Grid") that is accessed via direct neural interface, cybernetics exist, and weapon technology has advanced in leaps and bounds. What's different about the two worlds is their attitude towards their technologies. For example, in the Cyberpapacy cybernetics are treated as gifts from God and are designed as much for aesthetics as usability. On Tharkold, cybernetics are a tool, with form being a distant second to functionality; no chrome, just steel. For the Race, cybernetics are really more for veterans who've suffered massive damage but are too valuable to just let die than something you just go to a chop-shop and get. For the Tharkoldu, cybernetics are a method of expression: the demons love using implants to twist themselves into even more horrific appearances.
Just to expand a bit on the technology side: Tharkold's tech is more advanced than anyone else's (except for the Cyberpapacy), but this advancement has come solely because of military needs and as such pretty much all their advanced tech is for direct survival or combat purposes. The main power source for both races is clean fusion power, all natural infectious diseases have been cured, and cyberware is fairly common but used primarily for functionality rather than for personal or aesthetic choices.

The high tech axiom also allows for the existence of The Grid, which is the Tharkold equivalent of the internet. Like the Cyberpapacy's GodNet, the Grid is a virtual reality experience that is accessed via direct user-to-computer wired connections. In an amazing coincidence, the Grid and the GodNet are mutually compatible; someone from Tharkold with a datajack and a cyberdeck can jack into the GodNet, and the same applies in the other direction. Despite this, it's important to realize that the Grid and the GodNet are not otherwise connected or similar in any way (for starters, the Grid isn't a pseudo-pocket-dimension powered by a Darkness Device).

As for magic; despite the decent magic axiom and the fact that the technodemons need magic to live, actual magic-users are fairly rare. Magic needs to be self taught (or you can submit to a teacher because we need to keep that going), and the only spells available are the basic spells from the core book and the "generic" spells from the Aysle sourcebook. Casters from Tharkold can learn other spells as they go along, of course, but for the most part mages jealously guard their knowledge since it's technically another weapon.

Oh yeah, and technomagic exists. A grimoire can be kept digitally, cybernetics can be enchanted, and so on. How does it work?

quote:

Technomagic is a product of the Law of Domination, bending technology to support and augment magic.
:pseudo:

With the axioms out of the way, we get to the details of the World Laws. To remind everyone:

The Law of Ferocity states that when someone takes an all out attack action will ignore potential knockout results scored against them, and that the intimidation and taunt skills get +3 to their results. In addition, everyone gets a +3 defense bonus against charm and persuasion attempts.

The Law of Pain grants a roll-again-and-add when you inflict pain (as in actual wound damage) on someone.

The Law of Domination is that weird one that defines what happens and what you can/can't do when you formally submit to a master. This law has a page and a half of rules so forgive me for not re-summarizing beyond "it's hard to work against someone you've submitted to, also it's creepy".

With that thankfully out of the way, we can look at the new skills available to Tharkold characters.

First off, the flight skill from the core set is available to Tharkoldu characters. Which makes them the third type of character who'd ever need the spell. (The other two were pulp heroes with the flight power and wizards who knew spells that let them fly. Tharkoldu are the only one's who'd have a realistic need for this skill.)

Cyberdeck operation is used to access the Grid via a cyberdeck. Amazingly, despite being from a completely different reality with different technological standards, this works the same way as the skill of the same name from the Cyberpapacy. The same deal applies to the cybertech skill, which is used to build, install, and maintain cyberware, and the psychology skill, which is used to counteract the effects of cyberpsycosis, and the science (computers) skill, which is pretty much the same as cyberdeck operation only worse. So out of the skills presented here, four are from another book.

The first of the three actually new skills is occultech, which is basically the same as the cybertech skill, only it applies to demon-specific cyberware. In addtion to letting you install occultech, it also allows you to attempt to exorcise it. What this means is that you're trying to cancel the magical attunement that allows the Tharkoldu metabolism to handle the technology. It has to be used on occultech that isn't actually in a cyberdemon (mainly because it takes a day to do this), and successfully using the skill will "cleanse" the occult taint from the cyberware and allow it to be put in a human. On the flip side, the skill can also let Tharkoldu take non-magical cybernetics and attune them for Tharkoldu use.

The other use of occultech is to make vril batteries, which are special infinite powers sources that can only be created by Tharkoldu. Vril batteries are fueled by the life forces of P-rated beings as they are slowly, painfully killed. Because, in case you missed it, the Tharkoldu are pretty evil. And make sure we get it, there are detailed mechanics telling you how long it takes for someone to get turned into a battery, which I suppose would actually be useful when you want to have a "save someone before they get killed" scenario.

The second new skill is pain weapons, which is just a weapon skill for the new Tharkoldu weapon type presented in this book. Pain weapons are like normal weapons, only they have the potential to do spiritual stun damage, which is a thing from the miracle system back in the core book. The silly thing is that to use a pain weapon, you still use the normal melee weapon skill to attack with the Pain Weapon, then you make a pain weapons skill roll to see if you do the extra damage.

The last new skill is UltraCAD Operation. This skill isn't tied to a specific stat, but is added to a different skill when making something with an UltraCAD setup. So if you want to make a gun, you add this skill to your fire weapons skill.


That's one way to keep your cables from tangling, I guess.

The next chapter is about Magic, which means we're about to get a list of spells. But it also means we're going to get a bit more info on occultech and technomagic. That's not as interesting as it sounds, because really it's just more BS about how the cosm's axioms mix together to allow technology and magic to overlap and how the Spasm altered the magic axiom and some spells are tied to the Law of Ferocity and who could possibly care stop explaining everything nobody loving cares and this has nothing to do with anything.

Anyway we get a list of spells from other books that are available to Tharkoldu (and I would assume Race casters as well, but the book only mentions Tharkoldu), which is odd because this is the first and I think only time they've done this. Then we get into the new spells and once again I'm going to hit the highlights.

And boy howdy are these spells something else.
  • Alpha Stech lets the caster transfer damage from themselves to anyone who's submitted to them. "Stech" is a Tharkoldu term meaning "to have others take consequences for you", in case you were wondering.
  • Attack Dominant is a damage-over-time spell that does damage by changing the target's cellular structure. If they die from the spell, they melt.
  • Corpse Keep is, AND I QUOTE: "actually two inanimate forces spells which have been joined together, one spell dominating the other." This spell lets someone move a corpse of someone they've killed to a pre-specified location. Note that I said "move", not "teleport"; the spell description says the corpse moves at speed value 12, but doesn't specify if it floats there, walks, ragdolls along the floor, or even what happens if it hits a wall or a door.
  • Foeblaster does a bunch of damage to everyone within 40 meters (so 131 feet, or an approximate radius of a 13-story building's height) except the caster and anyone who's submitted to them.
  • Flesh Captive requires two things: a slave locked up somewhere, and some physical remnant of the spell's target (like a lock of hair or something). You touch the remnant to the slave, and then any damage done to the slave is also done to the target, with a range of 1,500 km (~932 miles, which is 200 miles longer than the state of Texas) for one week. Oh, and the damage bypasses armor so gently caress you.
  • Laser Armor is actually what you'd think from hearing the name: it gives you armor made of lasers and not only acts as real armor, but causes your unarmed attacks to do more damage. For reasons unknown to magical scholars, Race casters get cobalt blue armor, and Tharkoldu get green lasers.

Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye #28, in case you're wondering
  • Monkey Form and Monkey Mimic are very similar illusion spells that allow Tharkoldu to appear as normal humans. The difference is that Monkey Form doesn't let you look like a specific person, whereas Monkey Mimic does. Also this spell can only make a Tharkoldu look human, so you couldn't look like an elf or edenios or something.
  • Pain Flip and Pleasure Flip are also similar spells. Pain Flip makes the target makes pain feel like pleasure, allowing the caster to suggest dangerous actions to the target that the target might do if they fail a willpower check. Pleasure Flip is the opposite; the target won't be able to do something they like without feeling intense pain unless they make a check. So basically they're charm spells.
  • Pop is just a teleportation spell with a non-horror name that only works on the caster. The Tharkoldu actually have a different spell for teleporting human slaves, which is pretty much the same spell but it gets a seprarte entry anyway.
  • Slave Tough can only be cast on people who've submitted to you, and to cast it "the caster has the recipient mimic his own actions. These actions are pantomime acts of speed, stealth, strength or hardiness." Succeeding at the spell increases the target's Strength and Toughness.


Oddly, no spells for creating cyberzombie soldiers.

The next chapter is Miracles, and they're divided into the two religions of the realm: the Tharkoldu's "Cult of the Dominant", and the humans' "Way of the Race". There aren't a lot of miracles listed for either religion, because in case you haven't noticed Torg doesn't think miracles are as interesting as magic. Oh, and there are also "cybermiracles" but we'll get to those in a minute.

One thing the book does mention is that due to the nature of the War, some miracles are "War miracles", which means they ignore the rules about casting miracles on people of other faiths. Which is to say, difficulty modifiers and the idea that you can convert someone if you roll high enough.

Since there's so few religion-specific miracles, I'll just hit them all. You're welcome.

The Cult-specific miracles are:
  • Conceive is used to allow to Tharkorlu to...y'know. It's worth noting that for this spell to work, the caster's faith roll total has to exceed the Toughness of both the targets. That's the least creepy thing about this spell.
  • Enslavement forces the target to become utterly obedient to the caster until the caster chooses to drop the effect. When given an order, the target must make a Spirit roll or do what he's ordered to do.
  • Mark Prey is a ritual that requires a sample from the target. Successfully casting the ritual gives the Tharkoldu bonuses to tracking the target, increases the Tharkoldu's defenses from attacks from the target, and gives resistance to any interaction skills used by the target.
  • Ritual of Power restores damage done to a Tharkoldu's faith skill.
  • Temptation gives the caster bonuses to charm and persuasion rolls. The better the casting roll, the higher the bonus. If you succeed enough at the spell, you can break slavery/submission links.


I like how the demon seems to be going "Oh poo poo my stomach blew up!"

The Race miracles are:
  • Good of the Race is...uh...

quote:

This tragic miracle came into being during the various times in the history of the Race when a community could not afford to support anyone who would not contribute to racial survival. It was, and on occasion still is, invoked to test infants whose fitness is in question. The miracle will instantly and painlessly kill a baby that is too sickly to grow to healthy adulthood.

Apparently weak infants who survive this test frequently tum out to be possibility-rated in later life.
Is...is that last line an anti-abortion thing?

What's more insane is that this spell has no mechanic for determining if the baby is "fit". That was the entire spell description up there. Torg, a game that has mechanics for loving ev-er-y-thing, doesn't have mechanics for this particular miracle.

But the more important question is: what is the loving point of this miracle? Why would a character cast this? What kind of situation needs to have this miracle available? Why do we, as players or GMs, need to know this exists? Why mechanicize it? What is the point of it?

What's more insane is that no criteria is given for "worth". Is it checking the baby's stats? Reading its future? Basing things on the parents' DNA? Examining the community the baby was born into to see if there's enough resources for another person? Flipping a coin? Who knows!

Jesus...

Anyway. Back to the list.
  • Liberation is a ritual that's performed via rousing sermon. This is another more-effects-with-a-better-success miracle, but the basic idea is that it breaks people out from submission, either from the Law of Submission or spell effects.
  • Uprising works like Liberation, except that it gives everyone targeted by it combat bonuses against demons or slave troops.
  • Will of the Race is an attack spell, with the added bonus of damaging the caster if he flubs the roll.

Lastly, we have cybermiracles.

quote:

Technology achieved mythic significance for the Race during the dark age that followed the Spasm. The technological wonders of the shattered civilization seemed like memories of a paradise lost. Ancient bits of technology were treated as sacred objects, and indeed, the preservation of such artifacts and of scientific texts helped hasten the Race's climb back from barbarism.

During the fall of magic, when the development of LifeCyber enabled them to survive, the Demons also formed a mystical perception of technology. Demons felt religious awe at the powers that allowed the contemptible humans to defeat them. Yet they also saw the salvation of their species as a sign that they were still the favored children of Omoo-Zhan.

Tharkoldu religion became linked to technology and both the Cult and the Way can perform cybermiracles.

Cybermiracles are all related to technology, cybernetics, and the Grid (Tharkold's cyberspace). Highlights include:
  • Animate Cables is the technomagic equivalent of that D&D spell that animates vines, except that it only affects wires that the target is in contact with, or are in a machine that the target is in contact with. The better your success, the more cables animate, and yes they have their own stats.
  • Cyberharmony has two uses. When used as a normal prayer, it stops a cyberpsychotic episode. When used as a ritual (which takes two hours a day, three times a day, for a week), it reduces the cyber rating of one of the target's implants.
  • Killmachine lets the user animate a machine within the range of her voice and command it to attack anyone it can "see".
  • Mechanization "transforms the cursed character into a gleaming, metal robotic version of himself. His eyes become glowing lights, his skin smooth chromed metal, his ears are radio receivers, and a NerveJack appears in the middle of his forehead." Sadly, the coolness factor of being turned into an 80's Trapper Keeper character is downplayed by the fact that the target becomes the roboslave of the caster. There's no way to resist the caster's commands, but at least the spell only lasts five minutes...unless a SlaveChip is installed in the target's forehead slot, in which case the effect lasts until the chip is removed.
  • Souldeck lets you transmit your mind into any computer network as if you were using a cyberdeck. This works on any computer network regardless of its tech level, so yes you can take this to Nippon Tech and upload yourself into Kanawa's mainframes. However, since you don't have a cyberdeck, you can't use programs or upload/download files.

And that brings us to the end of this chunk of book.
--

Wow, that got dark quick, didn't it? Apart from That Miracle, again there's nothing really interesting here. It's just a lot of stuff that seems like it's trying to worldbuild but either doesn't add much (the skills) or give any sort of impression beyond "this cosm is creepy as hell."

I know I've said this before, but Torg always had a problem presenting and maintaing tone. And with Tharkold, since the subject matter is "darker" it gets so much worse.

NEXT TIME: Roll call

Young Freud
Nov 26, 2006

DalaranJ posted:

Saber Lasar, yeah that sounds like a human name
- a dragon

You say this when there's a character in "Fiddler On The Roof" named Lazar Wolf. No, he isn't a lycanthrope that shoots lasers from his eyes.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

Lazar is a respectable Ashkenazi name, it was my grandfather's Russo-Hungarian name. It is roughly cognate with Larry.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Barudak
May 7, 2007

Young Freud posted:

You say this when there's a character in "Fiddler On The Roof" named Lazar Wolf. No, he isn't a lycanthrope that shoots lasers from his eyes.

As a kid I was like his daughters being really stupid, who wouldnt marry a Laser Wolf? But then it turns out the film is historically grounded and Lazar Wolf is a fine, if old, man and basically maybe 5 year olds arent the target audience for the greatest musical of all time.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5