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marshmallow creep
Dec 10, 2008

I've been sitting here for 5 mins trying to think of a joke to make but I just realised the animators of Mass Effect already did it for me



Speaking of adaptations, I was looking at Night's Dark Masters and the attire and weapons of some of the vampire hunters reminded me of Bloodborne. Now I want to see the boomhammer and pizza cutter carve up some beastmen and chaos spawn. Trick weapons seem like a natural fit to the warhammer idea of better monster slaying through better technology.

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wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




marshmallow creep posted:

Speaking of adaptations, I was looking at Night's Dark Masters and the attire and weapons of some of the vampire hunters reminded me of Bloodborne. Now I want to see the boomhammer and pizza cutter carve up some beastmen and chaos spawn. Trick weapons seem like a natural fit to the warhammer idea of better monster slaying through better technology.

Bloodborne and Warhammer 2e are like adjacent to each other in style. Trick weapons are exactly what the engineers in Nuln would come up with.

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



Some of the engineers might even survive the first field trial!
(I kid. That's what apprentices are for.)

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



The Lone Badger posted:

Some of the engineers might even survive the first field trial!
(I kid. That's what apprentices are for.)

"We need another timmy!"

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




" A gunpowder fueled spike glove?! Sigmar, get this man a grant!"

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


wiegieman posted:

Bloodborne and Warhammer 2e are like adjacent to each other in style. Trick weapons are exactly what the engineers in Nuln would come up with.

My current WHFRP2e character is literally using the Threaded Cane, though it's originally a Dark Elf weapon.

Bladed cane that can split into a sharp whip? Sounds Druchii.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Night10194 posted:

Bladed cane that can split into a sharp whip? Sounds Druchii.

It's also more or less a dark eldar razorflail, though razorflails are designed to whip around attempts at blocking or parrying the seemingly solid blade.

Demon_Corsair
Mar 22, 2004

Goodbye stealing souls, hello stealing booty.

Humbug Scoolbus posted:

I really want to play or run a Fragged Empire game online or face to face. It is such a good system and setting. Will you be covering the Protag Archive too, EM? (edit: I guess not!)

You should definitely run an online game....

I love the setting and some of the systems like resources and weapon building, but I don't know if I can handle the super crunchy minis combat.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012


wiegieman posted:

Bloodborne and Warhammer 2e are like adjacent to each other in style. Trick weapons are exactly what the engineers in Nuln would come up with.

what about the kos parasite?

DalaranJ
Apr 15, 2008

Yosuke will now die for you.


wdarkk posted:

So out of curiosity, what is the ideal number of stats for a PbtA game in your opinion? Monsterhearts uses four, Dungeon World uses six, and Apocalypse World itself uses five.

Dungeon World only gets to use six because it's an ungodly hybrid. I think it would also be possible to do three reasonably, in a game where you can't take stat advancements at all.

Serf
May 5, 2011





Shadow of the Demon Lord Part 13: Master Paths Completed!

I'm back and here to finish off the Master Paths in Shadow of the Demon Lord. Without any further ado, let's jump right in:

Pyromancer
This is the Path to take if you’re really into the Fire tradition, and just want to burn poo poo up. It can make you into a low-rent version of The Fury, and really what more do you want?

Level 7 Pyromancer
Standard Attribute increase, as well as a little bit of Health and +1 Power. You also get either another language or a profession, and you either discover the Fire tradition or learn 1 Fire spell. Flame Blessing just makes it so that you flat take half damage from fire across the board.

Level 10 Pyromancer
More Health and another spell, and Immolating Flames, which forces any creature that is hit by one of your Fire spells to make an Agility challenge roll. If they fail, they catch on fire, which is 1d6 damage per turn.

quote:


Runesmith
This one is a little barebones. It enables you to buff yourself while using Rune magic, but… that’s all it does. I can’t say I would recommend it, and it could use a little love in a future Paths of supplement.

Level 7 Runesmith
You get your Attribute bump, as well as a little Health and a point of Power and either another language or a profession. You discover the Rune tradition or learn one Rune spell. You get Sigils of Power, which lets you buff weapons/armor for 1 minute, giving you 1d6 extra damage with weapons and +1d3 Defense with armor after casting a Rune spell.

Level 10 Runesmith
More Health and another spell, and Sigils of Power just bumps up from 1 minute to 1 hour in duration. That’s it. Like I said, the Path is a little barebones.


Savant
If you’ve been reading along and thinking “spellcasters don’t get that many spells”, then this is the Path for you. The Savant trades off raw magical power for a deeper understanding of spells, getting more spells than any other Path. If you don’t mind being restricted to lower-tier spells and having fewer castings, but you want a bigger magical toolbox, the Savant is worth a look.

Level 7 Savant
Attribute increase, as well as a little Health and either another language or a profession. You then get 2 picks, and you can use them to either discover a new tradition or learn another spell. You also get Tradition Focus, which lets you pick two Traditions you’ve already discovered; when you attack with spells from those Traditions, you get 1 boon, and creatures roll to resist them with 1 bane.

Level 10 Savant
You get a little boost to Health and you learn 2 more spells from the Traditions you picked with Tradition Focus.

quote:

Sentinel
This is a bit of an oddball Path. It focuses on edge case abilities, like not being surprised and defeating invisibility, and the capstone talent is all about creating a zone that makes you better at fighting (sort of). It’s a Path that I think could use to reworking to give it a stronger focus or at least buff its abilities to make you want to take it.

Level 7 Sentinel
Standard Attribute increase, along with +1 to Perception and a good chunk of Health. Perfect Awareness is your big talent, which prevents you from ever being stunned or surprised, gives you 1 boon to all Perception rolls, and lets you faintly see invisible creatures, letting you treat them as if they were only partially obscured.

Level 10 Sentinel
More Health, and Stand Guard. This is a big talent that lets you create a 5-yard zone centered on you that lasts until you use the talent again or you become unconscious. While in the zone, you get all of the following:

  • 1 boon to attack rolls
  • You know the location of all creatures in the zone and they cannot be hidden from you
  • You cannot be charmed, compelled, frightened, surprised or put to sleep by magic
  • You cannot be moved out of the area


Shapeshifter
This Path specializes in Transformation magic, and is focused around the idea of letting you transform into other forms with more benefits and transform faster and more often. Also, this was a huge missed opportunity to call the Path the Transformer.

Level 7 Shapeshifter
You get your standard Attribute increase, along with a little more Health and a point of Power. You can learn another language or a profession and you either discover the Transformation tradition or learn 1 Transformation spell. You gain Superior Transformation, which grants you one of the following bonuses when you transform yourself:

  • +1 to Defense
  • +2 to Speed
  • +4 to Perception
  • +5 to Health
Level 10 Shapeshifter
You get a smidge of Health and another spell, along with Swift Transformation, which lets you spend triggered actions to cast Transformation spells.

quote:


Sharpshooter
Remember how the Pyromancer lets you be The Fury? Well the Sharpshooter allows you to play a passable version of The End. This Path lets you be the baddest of asses with ranged weapons, whether that is a bow or a gun, and before long you’ll be pulling off Hawkeye-esque poo poo where you never miss. Ever.

Level 7 Sharpshooter
Attribute increase, +1 to Perception and some Health plus the choice between another language or a profession. Deadly Aim lets you take an action to make a Perception attack against a creature’s Agility. If you hit, for the next round, when you attack that creature with a ranged weapon you do so with 3 boons and if you hit you deal 3d6 extra damage. So every other turn you get a very powerful attack, provided that you can hit that Perception attack.

Level 10 Sharpshooter
More Health and Perfect Shot, which allows you to spend a triggered action when you miss with a ranged weapon to turn that miss into a hit.


Stormbringer
This Path is all about bringing the pain with Storm magic and loving people up by feeding off of electricity. It gives you boosts to mobility and your defenses as well. Overall, if you want to zip around the battlefield throwing lightning bolts and eating electricity, this Path is great.

Level 7 Stormbringer
You get you Attribute increase, more Health, a point of Power and +2 to Speed, as well as another language or profession. You either discover the Storm tradition or learn 1 Storm spell, and you get Ride the Lightning, which grants you the ability to, after casting a Storm spell, spend a triggered action to fly your Speed.

Level 10 Stormbringer
More Health and another spell, as well as Powered by the Storm, which means that whenever you would take damage from lightning or thunder, you reduce that damage to 0 and gain a +5 bonus to Health for 1 minute (which is cumulative). Also, while affected by the talent, you get 1 boon when attacking with Storm spells, and creatures resisting you take 1 bane.

quote:

Technomancer
For as cool as the Technomancy tradition is, the Technomancer is a little underwhelming. It doesn’t do anything particularly well and lacks the synergy of some other Master Paths, but it has flavorful abilities that fit with the theme and scope of Technomancy.

Level 7 Technomancer
You get your Attribute increase, as well as a little bit of Health and a point of Power. You choose between another language or a profession and you either discover the Technomancy tradition or learn one Technomancy spell. When you cast a Technomancy spell, your Inventionability lets you generate a small technomagical device in one hand that lasts until you expend it or until you complete a rest. When making an attack or challenge roll you can expend the device to make the roll with 1 boon.

Level 10 Technomancer
You get more Health, another spell, and you learn the rank-1 spell animate object, which does just what you think it does. Overall, not a great mix of abilities, but if you really want to play a techno-mage, this is the way to go.



Templar
This reminds me of the Sentinel, as it is another Path focused around creating a zone to kick rear end in. I think that it needs a little more to finish it out, as the abilities are nice and flavorful, but it just needs a little more bang to really get people’s attention.

Level 7 Templar
Standard Attribute bump, +1 to Perception and a nice chunk of Health supplemented by either a language or a religious profession and you get Temple of Faith, which teaches you the temple of faith spell. When you lay down the temple of faith, it affects a radius 5 yards around you and lasting for 1 minute. While the zone persists, any creature that moves into it allows you to spend a triggered action to move towards it and attack it. If you succeed, they are also immobilized for 1 round.

Level 10 Templar
More Health and your Temple of Faith now grants you 1d6 extra damage to targets inside it. I think in the end the Templar is a little half-baked. You could have plenty of fun with it, but the main talent needs a little love. A boon to the attack, or giving your Defense a boost inside the zone, anything would really add a lot to it.


quote:


Tenebrist
The ultimate expression of the Shadow tradition, the Tenebrist is a good choice for casters who want to sneak more easily and for sneaky characters who want to increase their sneaking powers. Also, you can turn into a shadow monster!

Level 7 Tenebrist
Attribute bump, more Health and a point of Power. You can speak another language or add a profession, and you either discover the Shadow tradition or learn 1 Shadow spell. You get Cloak of Shadows, which means that while you are in a lit area, you are treated as if you were actually in an area of shadows (this is incorrect in the book, but I’m using the errata here).

Level 10 Tenebrist
You get a little Health and another spell, and Shadow Form gives you the shadow form spell. This is a rank-1 Shadow spell that lasts for 1 minute and gives you the following benefits:

  • Creatures attacking your Defense or Agility do so with 1 bane, and if they miss you can spend a triggered action to move up to your speed without triggering free attacks
  • You are invisible when you are in areas obscured by shadows or darkness
  • You can move through other creatures




Thaumaturge
Do you like chaos? Well this is the Path for the Chaos tradition, and it allows you to be pretty drat chaotic, both to your benefit and detriment.

Level 7 Thaumaturge
Attribute bump and a little Health and 1 point of Power. You either learn another language or a profession and you either discover the Chaos tradition or learn 1 Chaos spell. You gain the talent Seize Chaos, meaning that when you make an attack or challenge roll and dislike the result, you can spend a triggered action to roll 2d20. You must replace the original roll with one of the numbers and take Damage equal to the other number.

Level 10 Thaumaturge
You get a little more Health and another Spell. Have you ever wanted to cast a spell but you’re out of castings of it? Well Fluid Magic makes that a thing of the past, as now you can expend a casting of another spell of equal or higher rank to cast a spell that you have no more castings of.


quote:

Theurge
If what you want to do is be a cleric, then this Path is right up your alley. It has all the things you want as a cleric: healing, holy magic and the ability to scare the poo poo out of the infidels and nonbelievers who stand against you.

Level 7 Theurge
You get your Attribute increase plus some Health and +1 Power. You speak another language or learn a religious profession and you either discover the Theurgy tradition or learn 1 Theurgy spell. Pious Restoration lets you use an action to expend the casting of a rank 1 or higher Theurgy spell to heal damage equal to 1d6 per rank of the expended spell.

Level 10 Theurge
More Health and another spell and Invocation, which lets you use a triggered action after casting a Theurgy spell to pulse out energy around you in a radius of yards equal to 1 + the spell’s rank. Each creature in that area that you choose has to make a Will challenge roll, and if they fail they become frightened until the end of the round. If they were already frightened, they are stunned until the end of the round instead.


Transmuter
Transmuters are the ultimate users of the Alteration tradition. To them all things can be altered and ultimately everything is fluid, capable of changing for the better or worse at any moment. This is a very simple Path that has a tight focus, but it might not be on what you think.

Level 7 Transmuter
You got your standard Attribute bump, some Health and +1 to Power, as well as either another language or profession and you either discover the Alteration tradition or learn an Alteration spell. Optimization lets you, after completing a rest, reduce one of your Attributes by 2 to raise another by 2. This lasts until you complete a rest.

Level 10 Transmuter
You increase all your Attributes by 1. Yep, that’s exactly as awesome as it sounds. Transmuters just get an across-the-board Attribute increase to make themselves even better. In return, the only other things you get at this level are some Health and another spell.

quote:



Traveler
If you were wondering if the Teleportation tradition would get its moment in the sun, well wonder no longer. This is a Path that is obviously all about mobility and blinking around the place, staying ahead of your foes.

Level 7 Traveler
You get the Attribute bump, as well as some Health and +1 Power, as well as +2 Speed. You either discover the Teleportation tradition or learn 1 Teleportation spell. You get Hasty Escape, which allows you to spend a triggered action when attacked by a creature to expend a rank-1 or higher Teleportation spell to teleport to an open space a number of yards away equal to 1d6 per rank of the spell expended. If the creature that was attacking you could no longer do so from your new position, their attack is wasted.

Level 10 Traveler
More Health and another spell. Far Traveler increases the range on all of your Teleportation spells by 1 increment and Spatial Disturbance means that when you cast a Teleportation spell, all creatures treat you as if you were partially obscured for 1 minute.


Weapon Master
Sort of a cross between the zen master and the crusty old soldier, the Weapon Master is about picking a weapon and being the absolute best with it. But because Shadow of the Demon Lord is such a cool game, you’re not locked in to just one weapon. And in fact, you get a lot more flexibility than you might imagine.

Level 7 Weapon Master
Standard Attribute increase, and a good bit of Health, as well as another language or profession. Favored Weapon is your core ability, and it comes up after completing a rest. When you do so, you choose a weapon, and that weapon becomes your favored weapon until you use this talent again. When wielding your favored weapon, you get +1 Defense and you make all attack rolls with 1 boon.

Level 10 Weapon Master
Another nice chunk of Health and Weapon Specialization, which adds 1d6 damage to your attacks with your favored weapon.

quote:

Woodwose
Our last Tradition-focused Path, this is all about the Nature tradition, and it has a hefty amount of abilities and care put into its design that makes it one of the more meaty and satisfying Paths to mess around with.

Level 7 Woodwose
Attribute increase, a little Health and +1 Power. You get either another language or a wilderness profession, and you either discover the Nature tradition or learn 1 Nature spell. In a first for a Path, the Power of Nature spell has specific interactions with two Nature spells: oak hide now makes you take half damage from fire, and now when you attack with a weapon imbued by the magic acorns spell, your attack deals 1d6 extra damage. When you are in an area obscured by foliage, you can expend the casting of a Nature spell and use Forest Hide, which renders you invisible for a number of rounds equal to 1+ the rank of the expended spell.

Level 10 Woodwose
More Health and you can discover a tradition or learn one spell. Nature Bond lets you transform into a tree or bush or other plant that suits the environment you are in. In this form you can still perceive the world as normal, and if you complete a rest in this form you heal all Damage. Nature’s Resilience is a strong talent that gives you a bonus to Health equal to your Power for 1 minute after you cast a Nature spell. This talent is cumulative.


Zealot
This is the Path to take if you want to be the most extreme sort of crusader or soldier of the faithful. Zealots are people willing to drive themselves mad for their devotion to the gods, and quite happily do so in order to destroy their enemies.

Level 7 Zealot
Attribute increase and a big boost to Health. You get another language or a religious profession. Zeal is your core talent, and it allows you to, when you fail an attack or challenge roll, to gain 1d3 insanity and reroll. You have to use the second result, and when you use this talent, you can’t be charmed, compelled, or frightened until the end of the round. Violent Madness removes uncertainty from your Insanity, meaning that when you go mad, you always get the violence result.

Level 10 Zealot
Another big chunk of Health and Divine Might, a talent that lets you make a second roll with 1 boon after using Zeal. If you use this for an attack, it deals 1d6 extra damage.

And that’s it for the Paths! As you can probably see by now, not all of them are balanced or have the same amount of attention devoted to them, probably because there are a shitload of them. I’m not a fan of all of them, and I think there are definite improvements that could be made, but overall the variety and choice present in the game means that you’re always gonna end up with an interesting character who is very different from anyone else in the party.

Serf fucked around with this message at 19:04 on Jun 26, 2017

kommy5
Dec 6, 2016


By way of quick introduction, I’m a longtime player/game master for Night10194. If he mentioned a game master for WFRP, it was probably referring to me. I tend to read more than I write and have read a good year or two of the thread(s). Lets make up for lost time.

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (2E) is probably my favorite go-to fantasy RPG. Its mechanics are simple and robust, it makes decent enough characters, I really enjoy the Career system as a good bridge between point-buy and class leveling advancement schemes, and the great majority of the splatbooks are just fun to read and to use. I’ll be covering one of them here seeing that the core book has already been gone over by Night. Maybe I’ll do a quick review of where I differ in opinions from Night regarding the basic mechanics and writing later, but I’d rather start off by doing a proper book review.

The book we’ll be looking at today is Children of the Horned Rat


This is the splatbook covering the Skaven, easily one of the more distinctive and original looking additions to the Warhammer Fantasy universe. Demons, undead, elfs, orcs… Those are standard, but Skaven? They’re a luxury option. I can’t help but love the crazed, spastic, and paranoid rat-people. I could describe them more here, but that will just retread the book a fair bit. Lets dive right in with chapter one.


Chapter I: THE SKAVEN ARE REAL AND THEY ARE AMONG US!

The entire first chapter is presented as a text written by one Ammelie Meyer, priestess of Verena, the goddess of wisdom and justice. The title of her work being “THE SKAVEN ARE REAL AND THEY ARE AMONG US!” Yes, in all caps. She wasn’t one to mince around her central thesis. Officially, the Skaven do not exist according to the worthies of the Empire and Ammelie here has put together this book to spread the truth. There are two major myths about the Skaven: The first is that they do not exist. The second is that anyone believes the first myth.

I’m not sure if this has been noted before, but massive in-character texts are something of a tradition for WFRP books. There is in fact a fairly standard way these books are laid out, too. They start with common knowledge which every native of the Empire is expected to know, then moves on to what scholars, intelligentsia, and other ‘superior’ races would know. This may be interspersed with some quotes by the subject being studied. Only after that does it get to the full truth as presented to the GM, followed by the mechanics and campaign advice.

Here, this full chapter is all in-character as a treatise by a Verenan priestess, a scholar. She cites other works, interviews, woodcuts, and adds in notes and drawings from other sources. It’s not a bad job to make it look like something a scholar of her time period would put together in something of a hurry.

Legends of the Ratmen
It starts after a couple paragraphs of introduction by citing in full two common stories told in the Empire concerning the terrible rat people known as the Skaven whom legend says constantly commit quiet evils upon humanity, “Graf Mandred the Ratslayer and the Incredible Cheese” and “The Horrible Tale of Trespass the Ratboy.”
The story of Manfred concerns Count Mandred, ruler of Middenland, saving his people from a plague of rats and their fantastical rat-kings, the Skaven. He eventually does this by collecting a giant pot of sausages and cheeses, melting and cooking it all together, and letting the smell drive the rats mad with hunger and leading them into a trap beneath his city of Middenheim, killing them all in a flood in the tunnels.

The story of Trespass is said to be a common story often adapted to match whatever city it’s being told in. This particular version has a six toed boy named Trespass. Being a horrible mutant with six toes, he is immediately ostracized when it is discovered by other children he plays with. A wizard kidnaps him and together he and the Skaven use the child to spread plague throughout the city, causing him greater mutations and he revels in bringing misery upon the boys who mocked him earlier. The moral here being to kill every mutant immediately and do whatever you mother tells you like a good boy.

In case you haven’t noticed, these are both children’s tales and are the most common information everyone in the Empire has heard at one time or another. Ammelie derides this, especially regarding the tale of Mandred who was in reality a legitimate hero of the Empire who has been reduced to a fairy tale character.

After these two tales, there is also a song ‘The Lazy Sone’ or ‘The Skaven Crept In’, plus some collected quotes from common denizens of the Empire. These are especially amusing. One is a teacher decrying that he’s been instructed to ‘teach the controversy’ regarding the Skaven. Another using the question to say that Skaven probably have the same origin as the sheep-loving Averlanders. Others are more typical nobles blaming that Skaven are an excuse by poor people to not work and others recount crazed tales of torture, beatings, and worse.

After this, we move to the scholarly section. Here, the ‘official’ explanations are examined more thoroughly and it’s noted that many scholars acknowledge the Skaven, just that they carefully hedge their words and talk about them in the hypothetical sense. They also create a variety of unusual theories discussing their origins and purpose. Those who openly write or speak about Skaven with authority are forced to recant on pain of censure and being cast into the streets, committed, or possibly assassinated.
Of course, some of these upper class citizens know a very great deal about Skaven. They collaborate with the rats, hiring their services with coin or warpstone to enlist their exceptional services as spies and assassins.

Next section details the foreign perspective on Skaven. Other nations of the Old World have dealt with the Skaven and none of them have this peculiar notion that they do not exist. Bretonnians, Tileans, High Elves, and Dwarfs are all cited on their common attitudes towards the ratmen.

After these extremely lengthy sections regarding what people say about the Skaven, Ammelie finally gets to trying to describe the Skaven herself. She starts with noting the hallmarks of Skaven presence, such as their distinctive smell, poison, warpstone contamination, typical methods of entry into a building, etc.

She then describes the best ways for a common person to deal with Skaven. Namely, get someone else to do it. Ideally a dedicated Skaven Hunter. More commonly, hire some Adventurers and throw them at the problem instead. You win either way. No more Skaven or no more Adventurers. If none of these are available, there are a few measures she lists that can at least keep your own home safe. Her last piece of advice is to keep some arsenic around. Not for the rats, but for yourself. Being a Skaven prisoner is not something to look forward to.

Her next section is for those souls who wish to take up the sword and go on the offensive. Since Skaven do not officially exist, being a dedicated Skaven fighter is one of the worst specialties in the Empire. People will stiff you out of pay since you’re charging for fighting things that don’t exist, you have zero legal recourse, and absolutely zero glory. Plus you’ll probably end up reeking of Skaven piss. Still, Ammelie here has your back and roots for you. She lists common tools of the trade and some basic strategy that served her well when she and her Adventuring party did it.

Form and Function
The Form and Function section finally lays out some specific details about what the Skaven are actually like in person. Ammelie cites a letter and the attached drawings of a scholar performing dissections on a group of Skaven corpses that were found.

Skaven are rat-human hybrids. Fast and spastic in movement and standing roughly the same height as men, though with a stooped posture. Larger, black furred Skaven can tower at over six feet tall and are heavily muscled. Their fur is fine and thick, covering their bodies save for their faces, paws, and tails. Their claws are large and dangerous, their tails are potentially prehensile, and their teeth are huge.

It’s also obvious they have some kind of caste system. At the top are grey Skaven who also carry thick curled horns growing from their skulls, then the black furred muscular Skaven, and at the bottom are the brown ‘normal’ Skaven.

One of the corpses is not at all like the others, being absolutely enormous. The size of an ogre, but containing all of a Skaven’s twitchy speed. It’s also obviously manufactured somehow due to obvious stitching, bolting, and nailing various pieces together.

Ammelie also adds in her own personal descriptions of the Skaven and things the dissection missed or glossed over. The first notable thing is the smell. Skaven absolutely stink. And they can stink a whole variety of ways. They communicate via scents and musks, principally their emotional states.

Second, Skaven are not just your garden variety beastmen or mutants. They craft and use weapons, armor, clothes, flags, and various other accoutrements of civilization. And not just blades and chainmail, they also manufacture and use firearms, flamethrowers, poison gas, and other horrific weapons. Many of which use warpstone, the exceedingly dangerous substance that is Chaos magick distilled into a solid form.

Skaven are also noticeable for their extreme appetite and the extreme diet that results from it. They can and will eat nearly anything, though they prefer raw, fresh meat. They are not too picky about the sources. Cows, rats, humans, halfings, each other… It’s all good. They also rarely leave a battlefield with corpses still there if they can help it.

Ammelie then writes about the rare female of the species. She postulates about only one in ten Skaven are female, but they are remarkably fecund. A single female Skaven can produce 100 new Skaven a year according to her estimates. They form warrens and nests deep underground where they breed and fight for every advantage and scrap of food they can get while also doing their utmost to preserve their own lives.

An individual skaven is cowardly, but when population and food pressures mount, they will charge out and try to take more food and space by force and do so in great hordes, using every trick, lie, and artifice they can muster to make these offensives as one-sided as possible.

Leading these offensives are usually their priests, the grey furred priest caste who lead the ratmen in the worship of their god, the Horned Rat. While certainly seeming to be some variety of Chaos God, how exactly the rat god relates to the four Dark Powers is a bit of a mystery to people. The priests of the Horned Rat don’t really stop to discuss theology with humans. Instead, they wreak terrible magicks upon their foes, both skaven and non-skaven. These displays ensure a proper degree of piety among the lay-rats.

Ammelie takes a brief aside here to draw a picture of herself and her old adventuring party, describing each of them. One of them is shockingly similar to the example PC Halfling Night made, a super strong wrestler Halfling.

Chronicles of the Skaven
The final section of this chapter is ‘Chronicles of the Skaven’. This attempts to establish a history and origin of the Skaven. There is precious little to go on, however. Ammelie cites in full two ancient works, each attempting to explain the origin of the Skaven. The first is ‘The Great Battle and the Rise of the Skaven,’ a religious legend that tells of the great battle between gods and Chaos and how it spawned the beastmen and Skaven. The second is the classic ‘The Doom that Came to Kavzar,’ an epic poem that tells the story of a proud city of men and dwarfs that struck a poor deal with a mysterious grey figure, cursing their city with a rain of warpstone and poison that the rats greedily overran and inherited, eventually turning into Skaven.

This is the end of Priestess Meyer’s text and is probably the longest and most complex of the chapters in the book, consisting entirely of an Imperial perspective on the Skaven. There are things that are incomplete that get cleared up later in the book. Also, I should note the Kavzar poem is actually something that comes up a few times in other Warhammer fluff as the origin of the Skaven, but this particular version is written exceptionally well, retaining rhyming and meter. This chapter does a solid job of getting across the loathsomeness of the Skaven, why the Empire fears them, and how limited what they really know about them is. It is really long, though. And because we still have chapters to go about what the Skaven are really like, it can feel repetitive. Still, having such a collection of quotes, songs, poems, children stories, an epistolary, and more provides a lot of character to the Skaven and the people describing them.

Future chapters will describe Skaven society, culture, psychology, magick, and technology in more detail. But this chapter lays out everything a well-informed Imperial would know of the ratmen. Skaven are numerous and belligerent, voracious in appetite, filthy, and fond of taking prisoners for slave labor, experimental subjects, religious sacrifices, and self-propelled food. They’re also clever and grasp for every advantage they can find in any struggle. There is also a noted tendency for them to backstab each other, sacrifice their fellows for any advantage, and a fondness for weapons and magick that can (and will) fail catastrophically. They're basically a people consisting entirely of Starscreams.

These aren't your standard furries, no sir.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


The Skaven book is where we really get into why i think it's actually good, for once, that WHFRP uses a standardized system for PCs and enemies both. Systems like that are usually a huge pain in games like Pathfinder and 3e, but in Fantasy they really get into using it as a way to let every book work for antagonists or for very unusual PCs. The base system is also simple enough that it doesn't get in the way when designing monsters and creatures (usually). Because of that, you can have stuff like 'Look, here's an entire new book of enemy options for the horrible ratmen but would you like to play a game of Paranoia+Cobra Commander, yourself? We can totally do that' without needing to add a massive amount of page count.

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.


WFRP Alex Jones warning us of the Skaven menace.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


MonsieurChoc posted:

WFRP Alex Jones warning us of the Skaven menace.

Agitator and Demagogue are classes.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Epyllion: Phsyician, heal thyself

We begin with the GM's three agendas for Epyllion, and I'll take them one by one.

First: Make Dragonia feel draconic. The book advice is to be creative and to avoid using 'human' language and perspective in explaining - a restaurant table is a giant rough basin or dining slab, sports involve boulders and lakes. Except...so much of the game as it's written seems to ignore that its protagonists are all dragons. Hell, someone brought up to me recently that the art includes a lot of swords in some of the sigils, which are definitely not designed for use by critters with claws and giant fangs.

Second: Make the clutch's choices meaningful. The players should be allowed to change large things about the setting, including traditions or the land itself. The DM should remind them that their decisions mattered when the world and NPCs come up. Okay, sure, that's decent enough advice, and the game doesn't seem to directly contradict it.

Third: Play to find out what happens. So, you know, the Apocalypse Engine standard. Don't try to control what the group does, let them make their own choices.

Then we start to go over the DM's Principles, which are the rules the DM has to follow, as opposed to the agendas, which are goals to pursue.

First: Fill Dragonia with adventure, mystery, and wonder. Quote: "Dragonia isn't a monotonous slog of dragon happenings, and neither is your story!" So put in weird landscapes, things and plots. We are told that literally anything could be corrupted by Darkness or blessed by the moons, so I guess your default adventure is 'a random magic thing happens to your stuff.'

Second: Address the dragons, not the players.. So, again, Apocalypse World standard.

Third: Make your move, but root it in the fiction. Your standard 'don't use the name of a DM move, describe it'. Except the advice on how to describe it is not necessarily the best - it just says to "work a little magic into the description" and only has one example. This is a thing that I feel is better done in other * World games.

Fourth: Make the history and traditions of Dragonia matter. We're big on those traditions, here. Bringing up history and traditions in your game and making them important to current events is very important, regardless of how the clutch reacts to tradition, apparently. (Except, again, the game is very clear that Tradition Is Always Good.)

Fifth: Present the houses as dynamic and evolving, but root them in the past. We are told that all politics, obligations and traditions should be filtered through the Houses, but also that we should be showing how different two dragons of the same House can be despite being united in loyalty to the traditions. Also that dragons should treat the different Houses differently from each other. So again, basically #4 but more setting-specific.

Sixth: Ask provocative questions and build on the answers. Which it turns out broadly translates to 'when you need ideas about people or places, ask your players to answer questions about them to get the history behind it for ideas.' Decent enough advice.

Seventh: Exaggerate the hierarchy of size and age across Dragonia. Which is to say, the game is again going 'Dragonia is built on top of a hierarchy of age and size, be sure to play that up constantly.' Everything is built for old dragons and the society is designed for them, and young dragons don't yet fit in.

Eighth: Name each dragon, give them a description and desire. So basically, make sure the clutch cares about NPCs, make them more than a faceless mob and give them stuff they want.

Ninth: Challenge the clutch's preconceptions and prejudices. Basically, the advice here is to go 'ah, but what is true evil after all' even when the Darkness is, in fact, the manifest cloud of evil darkness. The example is to have a dragon who kidnaps a Council member turn out to instead by just desperate for supplies and vulnerable, or a big animal terrorizing a festival has actually been hurt by the locals. "Explore the ways the Darkness can manifest in good intentions, and show how cruelty and evil deeds can be enacted without corruption." Except, again, corruption is defined as anger, selfishness, pride, etc.

Tenth: Be a fan of the players' characters. We all know what htis means by now, it's an Apocalypse World standby.

Last: Remind them of the creeping Darkness. Essentially, every problem should ultimately lead back to the Darkness. Even small conflicts and issues are doors for the Darkness to take hold, because it's everywhere and in everyone.

Next time: More advice.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Dragonia seems to be, precisely, a monotonous slog of dragon (ish) happenings.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

Warning!

Welp.

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

Violence and the Supernatural

Mmhm.

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

The fictional World of Rifts® is violent, deadly and filled with supernatural monsters. Other dimensional beings, often referred to as "demons," torment, stalk and prey on humans. Other alien life forms, monsters, gods and demigod, as well as magic, insanity, and war are all elements in this book.

Ayup.

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

Some parents may find the violence and supernatural elements of the game inappropriate for young readers/players. We suggest parental discretion.

Un-huh.

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

Please note that none of us at Palladium Books® condone or encourage the occult, the practice of magic, the use of drugs, or violence.

Reckon so.



Rifts World Book 14: New West Part 1: "That little desert-elf is sneakier than a starvin' rattlesnake."

So, this time around a certain portion of this book is being done by a Rifts first-timer - Christopher R. Kornmann. As far as I can tell, this is not only Kornmann's only Palladium book, but his only published contribution to RPGdom. I get the impression that Siembieda ran roughshod over his manuscript as he often does with contributing writers, and gives Kornmann co-writer credit. Kornmann writes about how he submitted the project independently and Siembieda opted to incorporate it into what he was already writing. Siembieda, of course, points out that there will be other books that flesh out the region like Rifts Spirit West (hoooo boy) and that there will be Cyber-Knights and Black Market books. There will be both, but not for a long time.



Where in past books we at times wonder how much research Siembieda does, given the questionable veracity of some of his writing, here he actually mentions referring to "over 30 books" and gives a small bibilography, including:
  • The Old West by Time/Life Books.
  • The Wild West by Warner Books.
  • The Taming of the West: Age of the Gunfighter by Joseph G. Rosa.
  • Native American Mythology by Gill & Sullivan.
  • The People Called the Apache by Thomas E. Mails.
  • Atlas of the North American Indian by (unmentioned).
  • Various travel handbooks by Moon Publications.
I don't know any of the above books personally so I have no comment, and we can mosey on to the introduction.


This scene not appearing in this book.

A glimpse of the New West
From the Diary of William McKinnith
By Christopher Kornmann


So, rather than getting some Erin Tarn, we get McKinnith this time in a page-long tale that likes excising the letter "g". Those that know their Deadlands will be familiar with this kind of overly-familiar faux-western drawl, but thankfully it doesn't fill the whole book. McKinnith killed a mayor's son over cards and is on the run from a posse out to get him. While traveling, he spots a "drat injun scout" and manages to avoid the scout's notice, deciding not to kill the scout to lure the posse into a trap. The Apaches then ambush the posse for no obvious reason.

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

The guy on the horse put some kinda magic shield up and started to blaze away with his Wilk's. I think he actually hit one of the Apaches 'fore one o' their shaman sent some spirit wolf into his brain. He was dead 'bout four seconds later. drat Apache mind magic. Can't fight what ain't real.

No such spell appearing in this or any previous book, or in the upcoming Spirit West. He avoids a "Gwylack Burrow", which is apparently some giant spider / scorpion hybrid that "injuns catch and eat". He comes into a town named Purespring to meet with friends, but the whole town has been devastated. McKinnith assumes it's "drat injuns", but there's no obvious evidence of that. He then arrives in Mesa Bay, but the posse somehow beat him there. Though there's a brief gunfight, their psychic just disarms him and throws him telekinetically into a jail cell. He's hung the next day, and the account we have is from an audio diary. So. We don't have to worry about him Erin Tarning any more about injuns and desert-elves. "William McKinnith was just one of a thousand such outlaws who have lived and died in this new world."

Next: Meet the New West. Same as the Old West.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



I do like the detail of "if you ask literally anyone else outside of the empire, they will tell you that the Skaven exist. Yes, even those weird Brettonian questors."

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


I've always said Skaven actually have a lot in common with UFO paranoia. Green, glowing technology, sinister as hell, kidnapping and probing citizens, and the government tries to pretend they don't exist to stop people realizing it can't stop them.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Having been reading up on my Fafhrd & the Grey Mouser lately, I have to wonder if the Skaven are basically pulled from The Swords of Lankhmar, which is about an invasion of the city by ratmen from below. The similarities are notable, but it's hard to find anything more than just supposition on the matter.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

That Lankhmar story is pretty much agreed to be the ur-source for all fantasy stories and settings with organized intelligent rat-races, including D&D's wererats and WH's Skaven.

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.

If it's not a direct inspiration, it probably goes something like Swords of Lankhmar- D&D's wererats who were self-admittedly inspired by it- Skaven.

My favorite fantasy rat-people probably owe the least to that story though- the rat-people from Glen Cook's Garrett Files are all just descended from discarded lab animals back when the wizard nobility were on a big life creation/uplift kick several generations back and have since mostly integrated into the city population.

unseenlibrarian fucked around with this message at 16:23 on Jun 24, 2017

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.




MonsieurChoc posted:

WFRP Alex Jones warning us of the Skaven menace.
Read the documents, folks. If your career gives you Read/Write.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


It is 100% canon that despite all their powers, the greatest line of defense the Empire has against Skaven is the brave rat catchers and their small (but vicious) dogs fighting a never-ending secret war in the sewers.

thatbastardken
Apr 23, 2010

strewth


Skaven bug the hell out of me for some reason. They feel like they're better than every other race at their shtick and it seems obvious that they're some authors darling. Maybe I'm rat racist.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


thatbastardken posted:

Skaven bug the hell out of me for some reason. They feel like they're better than every other race at their shtick and it seems obvious that they're some authors darling. Maybe I'm rat racist.

The whole point of Skaven is that (up until the terrible End Times that we ignore) they fail at absolutely everything they do while running off and screaming "COBRA RETREAT!"

They bring flamethrowers and machine guns to fight terriers and lose.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



thatbastardken posted:

Skaven bug the hell out of me for some reason. They feel like they're better than every other race at their shtick and it seems obvious that they're some authors darling. Maybe I'm rat racist.

Skaven Coalition States, led by Rat Stone.

poo poo, why couldn't WH40K had some sort of Skaven analog? Not talking about ratlings either.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


That said, whenever GW lost the joke, GW did absolutely suddenly just go 'Wait Skaven have machine guns they beat everyone forever' and ruin everything, but given that was in the middle of GW blowing the entire setting up in the stupidest way possible I think that can be written off as an aberration.

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.


Random question but when and why did Games Workshop forget that the setting of Warhammer 40K is meant as a joke?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Covok posted:

Random question but when and why did Games Workshop forget that the setting of Warhammer 40K is meant as a joke?

It mostly happened when they started hiring more and more fans to write their stuff and also as their writing staff/fandom got more infested with nazis rather than people here to laugh at nazis.

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

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




Young Freud posted:

poo poo, why couldn't WH40K had some sort of Skaven analog? Not talking about ratlings either.

It's a big universe so why shouldn't it?
But on a more serious note the 3rd edition codex has a line up of various less known aliens, including a Hrud with a rats tail poking out underneath its tattered robes. Which has led some to believe that they're the Skaven of 40k.
The Xenology book has shown that isn't really the case but that book seems to have a very tenuous canon state so are Hrud space skaven or giant fungus monsters with powers of time?


Covok posted:

Random question but when and why did Games Workshop forget that the setting of Warhammer 40K is meant as a joke?

Progress of time pretty much as old authors get replaced by new one that see the universe in a whole different light as their predecessors.
Aside from GW wanting to establish it as a very serious universe because they thought selling a setting that considers itself to be a joke rather hard to do.

RocknRollaAyatollah
Nov 26, 2008



Lipstick Apathy

It's my understanding that the Hrud were originally meant to be space Skaven but soon after 3rd they reversed on that because they wanted to separate the two settings.

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:

It mostly happened when they started hiring more and more fans to write their stuff and also as their writing staff/fandom got more infested with nazis rather than people here to laugh at nazis.

I was wondering why so many Nazis were liking that series. It had been getting a lot of support from people who were unironically in support of fascism. I just chalked it up the fact that any series that has an fascist Empire tends to get people who on unironically support it and don't get that their supposed to be villains.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




There is a correct level of seriousness to take Warhammer 40,000, and it's this series.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IEGo41443iI

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

Tendales
Mar 9, 2012


The lack of an official Space Skaven army list in 40k is really the only proof anyone needs that Games Workshop hates success and money.

I mean, the background could literally just be 'rats infesting a ship mutate into ratmans when the ship is lost in the warp, come back wearing cute pointy gas masks and fighting everyone with WWI style chemical warfare', bam, done.

kommy5
Dec 6, 2016


Tendales posted:

The lack of an official Space Skaven army list in 40k is really the only proof anyone needs that Games Workshop hates success and money.

I mean, the background could literally just be 'rats infesting a ship mutate into ratmans when the ship is lost in the warp, come back wearing cute pointy gas masks and fighting everyone with WWI style chemical warfare', bam, done.

I think that's one of those ideas that occurs to everyone except GW. Long list of things, that. Hell, I think my game group came up with some to use in Dark Heresy. That grim WWI aesthetic seems to fit right in with 40k and the Space Skaven would be a natural fit for it.

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!


thatbastardken posted:

Skaven bug the hell out of me for some reason. They feel like they're better than every other race at their shtick and it seems obvious that they're some authors darling. Maybe I'm rat racist.

The thing is, that's very true. The Skaven are much better than every other race at their schtick. They're as numerous as Chaos and the Greenskins, they've got warriors to rival knights and chaos champions. They have assassins as agile as elves. They've got mages that put specialized casters of every race to shame. Their war machines make dwarven beards go green with envy.

But. BUT.

The Skaven are ALWAYS going to gently caress themselves up. Because any Skaven, given the choice between a victory that gives glory to someone he hates(i.e. anyone ranked higher than him) or a defeat that gives glory to himself, is going to pick the latter if he can get away with it.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



PurpleXVI posted:

The thing is, that's very true. The Skaven are much better than every other race at their schtick. They're as numerous as Chaos and the Greenskins, they've got warriors to rival knights and chaos champions. They have assassins as agile as elves. They've got mages that put specialized casters of every race to shame. Their war machines make dwarven beards go green with envy.

But. BUT.

The Skaven are ALWAYS going to gently caress themselves up. Because any Skaven, given the choice between a victory that gives glory to someone he hates(i.e. anyone ranked higher than him) or a defeat that gives glory to himself, is going to pick the latter if he can get away with it.

Eh. To me, the Skaven are intensely boring. They're so powerful no one's going to seriously gently caress their poo poo up and they're never going to lose. They're so incompetent they're never going to win, either. They exist to win victories against other races and victories against them in turn are pretty much meaningless and there's never going to be meaningful headway against them.

Of all the races of Warhammer Fantasy, the Skaven are the one that could be removed and I'd never notice their absence.

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Cease to Hope
Dec 12, 2011
the forum where people post about insurance in case they have to kill someone is mad at this guy again lol

skaven leadership is also both entirely insane and addicted to magic mutagen cocaine

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