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Subjunctive
Sep 12, 2006

sparkle and shine



Nancy_Noxious posted:

Zak is much more talented and successful than any of the fat losers here.

I'd take that bet.

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Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Oubliette sounds decent and interesting, so I'm glad it's being tackled.

slap me and kiss me
Apr 1, 2008

You best protect ya neck


theironjef posted:

I mean in terms of running it as a setting, I have all the setting and species notes, people could run it in any system they want today. In terms of publishing it someday, I think Savage Worlds already had a blimp supplement. What we need is some designer with an established ruleset that is actively looking for cool settings to wander into this thread.


I actually also have a full story about Chester and his crew smuggling hooch in his custom blimp, the Arbor Devil.

How do you feel about push-ups?

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Mors Rattus posted:

Strike! might actually be it, then, though usually we just have to talk about it to get Jimbozig to show up.

Heck yeah let's get him in here! Strike! Is pretty great. Given the high test boners both of us have for 4e D&D and 7e Gamma World it's be rad as heck to work with an engine that's an evolution of that line. I wonder how adaptable it is to bolting on campaign worlds and new rules. Especially since Blimpleggers would have like ship to ship combat and a fairly structured magic system in-world.

slap me and kiss me posted:

How do you feel about push-ups?

If you're trying to sell me on adapting it to Muscle Marines I'm listening.

theironjef fucked around with this message at 23:47 on Jun 27, 2017

slap me and kiss me
Apr 1, 2008

You best protect ya neck


theironjef posted:

If you're trying to sell me on adapting it to Muscle Marines I'm listening.

"They" say that the world needs more Muscle Marines. I'm inclined to believe them.

Wrestlepig
Feb 25, 2011

my mum says im cool



Toilet Rascal

If it's a game about booze obviously you need a drinking game for rules.

Plutonis
Mar 25, 2011


theironjef posted:

Heck yeah let's get him in here! Strike! Is pretty great. Given the high test boners both of us have for 4e D&D and 7e Gamma World it's be rad as heck to work with an engine that's an evolution of that line. I wonder how adaptable it is to bolting on campaign worlds and new rules. Especially since Blimpleggers would have like ship to ship combat and a fairly structured magic system in-world.

It's a wonderful game.

Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012



I only just noticed how the kerning on the Third Edition GURPS logo upsets a broken part of my brain.

While things aren't quite ready yet for the next chapter of the Conspiracy X saga, I wanted to put out something for the thread, so I went back to the GURPS mines.

As I've noted before, GURPS Third Edition was a wellspring of weird and wondrous setting opportunities. Steve Jackson Games roped in licenses for everything from the 90s hearthrob that was the World of Darkness to atypical choices such as Bunnies and Burrows, Uplift, and Callahan's Crosstime Saloon. At the same time, freelancers for the company were working on new GURPS-original settings that included Reign of Steel, Technomancer, and Transhuman Space (which I plan on getting to one day, but that's a big setting to chew through). One such setting was GURPS Voodoo: the Shadow War, created by C.J. Carella and published in 1995. You may recall from Alien Rope Burn's odyssey through RIFTS that Carella is the man who blessed us with psychic capybara-men. Other GURPS works Carella wrote were GURPS Imperial Rome, GURPS Martial Arts, and GURPS War Against the Chtorr. He is also the creator of the Unisystem roleplaying game system, having penned its first iteration for his roleplaying game WitchCraft and worked on later Unisystem titles such as All Flesh Must be Eaten, Terra Primate, and the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Roleplaying Game.

So, why pick GURPS Voodoo for the thread? A few reasons. For one, at 128 pages counting indices and the like, it's not an overly long book. GURPS Voodoo is probably one of the more fair-handed looks at Voudou and Santeria in roleplaying games (though this is admittedly not a terribly hard feat). It also has had a lasting effect on GURPS itself, creating the first incarnation of what would become one of the most popular magic systems in GURPS Fourth Edition. Most important of all is that it has the same odd uniqueness that drew me to cover GURPS Technomancer, and there are some really fun ideas in here about incorporating Caribbean syncretic religions into an urban fantasy environment without losing the distinctive flavor of voudoun and company.

On the flip side...

quote:

The Corruptors prefer politicians whose words and actions will inspire chaos and violence. Their camp includes ultra-conservatives and revolutionaries, racists (and reverse racists), misogynists and radical feminists, fundamentalists railing about “Satan-spawned” ideas and secular humanists undermining spiritual concepts.

...it's also very....

quote:

The serial-killer problem is much bigger than even the most fanciful criminologists would have us believe. Over a thousand of these murderers plague North America alone, and many more are scattered around the world. Only a handful are caught every year.

...very...

quote:

From a supernatural point of view, slavery was one of the worst cases of human sacrifice in history, topped only recently by the Holocaust. The fact that most of the perpetrators were unaware of what they were doing did not help in the slightest. The sacrifice acted as a titanic summoning ritual, and evil entities answered the summons by the thousands.

...very 90s, both in writing and in artwork.

Oh, and there will be cat people. There's always cat people.



Next Time: Voodoo Priests and rear end in a top hat Wizards.

Fossilized Rappy fucked around with this message at 02:14 on Jun 29, 2017

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


MJ12 posted:

Oh yeah, and if you make 'ammo' a valuable trade good suddenly micromissiles don't seem as ridiculously OP, because you're literally burning cash when you fire them off in large volleys. I think like in the Metro games, the fact that military-grade bullets were also money made a lot of people wary of spending them as ammo, even though they were actually fairly plentiful. The moment you tell the players 'this is actually money' instead of that one-step-removed 'this is ammo you can sell for money' they seem to behave very differently on how willing they are to spend it.

Well, yeah. Granted, missiles are the most expensive thing to fire off in Rifts - I don't often get into it, but you probably can't fire them off willy-nilly unless you have a military backing you. In general ammo tends towards the ridiculously expensive unless you're using a rail gun, but a good deal of equipment seems to be priced as if a modern military was buying it, which doesn't square with the fact there are very few modern militaries in the game. On the other hand, thanks to errata giving them 1000 rounds, glitter boys are unlikely to run out of ammo during a campaign ever, unless they have it stolen... and it's usually the most powerful single-shot gun in the game! It doesn't add up, literally speaking.

SpookBus
Aug 22, 2015


Joe Slowboat posted:

You're missing the central ingredient, I think - Dark Souls.
The themes, the core conceit of 'you don't die permanently, but you might lose yourself,' the castle - this all screams Souls game. You even have an impressive Capitalized Noun for PCs which denotes what makes them immortal, like Chosen Undead or Unkindled. Unbroken is a clear hat-tip to that. Which isn't a huge surprise; Soulsborne RPGs are pretty clearly on the horizon the way souls-likes are becoming huge in video games. I hope it does it well!

Fragged Empire has a Soulsborne setting book in kickstarter right now actually, so it's coming soon than you'd think!

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




You all seem to be falling into the trap of think that Kevin Simbieda actually uses his own rules.

slap me and kiss me
Apr 1, 2008

You best protect ya neck


wiegieman posted:

You all seem to be falling into the trap of think that Kevin Simbieda actually uses his own rules.

KS plays D&D 3.5e, like god himself intended.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Alien Rope Burn posted:

Well, yeah. Granted, missiles are the most expensive thing to fire off in Rifts - I don't often get into it, but you probably can't fire them off willy-nilly unless you have a military backing you. In general ammo tends towards the ridiculously expensive unless you're using a rail gun, but a good deal of equipment seems to be priced as if a modern military was buying it, which doesn't square with the fact there are very few modern militaries in the game. On the other hand, thanks to errata giving them 1000 rounds, glitter boys are unlikely to run out of ammo during a campaign ever, unless they have it stolen... and it's usually the most powerful single-shot gun in the game! It doesn't add up, literally speaking.

Yeah, I'm never following that bit of errata. 100 rounds makes more sense largely because I remember doing the math and the Boom Gun shells come out to about 5x18cm (@2x7") based off the Long diagrams. I can see that fitting into the butt-mounted ammo drum, I can't see 1000 rounds at that size. For comparison, an ammo can for the Mark 19 grenade launcher that holds a 48-round belt of 40mm grenades is about 17-18 inches by 6 inches wide by 10 inches tall. Two ammo cans side by side puts that around a meter.

That and it makes them watch their ammo count instead of firing willy-nilly. I think the Boom Gun should be a limited thing, like a 4th D&D Encounter or Daily.

Young Freud fucked around with this message at 18:52 on Jun 28, 2017

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





SpookBus posted:

Fragged Empire has a Soulsborne setting book in kickstarter right now actually, so it's coming soon than you'd think!

That is in fact the very horizon I was referring to.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012


Young Freud posted:

Yeah, I'm never following that bit of errata. 100 rounds makes more sense largely because I remember doing the math and the Boom Gun shells come out to about 5x18cm (@2x7") based off the Long diagrams. I can see that fitting into the butt-mounted ammo drum, I can't see 1000 rounds at that size. For comparison, an ammo can for the Mark 19 grenade launcher that holds a 48-round belt of 40mm grenades is about 17-18 inches by 6 inches wide by 10 inches tall. Two ammo cans side by side puts that around a meter.

That and it makes them watch their ammo count instead of firing willy-nilly. I think the Boom Gun should be a limited thing, like a 4th D&D Encounter or Daily.

I think Guns in the version of Gamma World that 4e uses have a system by where you use them, then roll the dice to see if you've run out of ammo, and have to reload out of combat. And once you run out of reloads it's a paperweight unless you can figure out a way to resupply.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Kurieg posted:

I think Guns in the version of Gamma World that 4e uses have a system by where you use them, then roll the dice to see if you've run out of ammo, and have to reload out of combat. And once you run out of reloads it's a paperweight unless you can figure out a way to resupply.

Simpler than that. If you fire your gun once during a fight, you're conserving ammo and still have ammo at the end of the fight. If you fire it more than once, you're going full bore and will not have ammo after the fight. There's no limit to how many times you can fire in a fight if you have ammo though.

Resupply is also easy. There are three kinds of treasure you can find in gamma world 7e, which are random ancient junk, random omega tech, and ammo. If you find ammo, everyone who was out has ammo again. Also if you give ammo to another player when they're out, now you're out.

theironjef fucked around with this message at 20:23 on Jun 28, 2017

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



I'm confused, there are guns in Gamma World? Every time I played it there were just psychic rat swarms shooting mind blasts and flying cockroaches that divebombed people.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


wiegieman posted:

You all seem to be falling into the trap of think that Kevin Simbieda actually uses his own rules.

I'm pretty sure he uses the core Palladium mechanic, at least, which as far as I can tell is "Make them roll some dice, decide after the fact if it seems like a convincing number for the task or not, roll any old die of your own to make it seem like a thing it really happening, nod sagely from behind your screen, and declare the result."

It's actually a mechanic that gets used in a lot of games as it turns out.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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





CHAPTER FOUR PART ONE

LESSER IMMORTALS


Howdy and welcome to the end of the book! Let's get started.

VISITORS

The Visitors are spirits and they're somewhat recent in the comic scheme of things. They claim to be intergalactic travelers with a message of peace and understanding when they started popping up in the 1950s. Then, in the 70s and 80s, the Visitors claimed to be time travelers sent back in time to prevent a horrible future from occurring. In reality, the Visitors are mutated spirits created from nuclear bomb tests.

See, after the tests of plutonium bombs out in the deserts of Alamogordo, swathes of sand were turned into glass called Trinitite. Trinitite looks kind of cool and is a little green and is just a little bit radioactive, and there was a fad in the 1940s and 1950s of taking samples to sell to collectors. What nobody could have reasonably known was that the Shadow was also caught in the blast, warping some nature spirits and binding them to the glass in the form of little white worms. Now if the Visitors could use anyone as a host, the World of Darkness would have been overrun by spirit/human hybrids a few decades back. But the Visitors are picky and unintelligent in worm form and eventually they will figure out who to bond with.

When a Visitor finds a suitable host, they phase through the cocoons and the trinitite and enter the host's bloodstream with their ability to phase. The baby Visitor flows up into the brain of the host and happily phases in to make itself home. The next two years are spent growing by sipping on blood while larva and then consuming the brainstem and replicating the functions that the host is now missing. Pretty awful! This entire process is painless to the host; they mostly just have weird dreams of alien landscapes followed by the Visitor making themselves known to the host. Visitors are actually full of bullshit. All of their claims about being peaceful travelers or time travelers are just parroting the zeitgeist and culture, unable to really think for themselves and unconsciously adopting public belief. They don't know that they're not aliens or time travelers. The ones who instead position themselves as predators and superior beings...well okay they're not superior beings but they're actually being a lot more accurate than you think.

See, there are some upsides to a spirit-made-flesh-via-nuclear-explosion eating a large chunk of your brain and bonding with your body. For starters, you get healthier, feel better, feel smarter and feel more confident. Plus the only way your Visitor can be seen is through a brain scan or if someone cracks your skull open: the brain looks atrophied and anyone looking in can see a translucent and iridescent coils wrapped around the brain and probing into it, respectively. The mechanical upsides are that the host gets +1 to Intelligence, immunity to aging and all natural illnesses and diseases and enhanced regeneration. They heal four times as fast and can regrow lost limbs and organs. They're also attached to the hive mind of all other Visitors, which means they can share sensory info and images to another Visitor up to 100 miles away. Visitors are also able to imbue their host with access to some Numina that are powered by Willpower: Blast, Dement, Firestarter, Hallucinations, Heal, Left-Handed Spanner, Omen Trance, Telekinesis and Telepathy. However most Visitors don't have access to these abilities and the ones that do don't have more than two or three.

Now for downsides, which are...pretty major. For starters, if the Visitor wants to, they can just take over the host when they're asleep or knocked out and control them for up to six hours, the host completely unaware of anything that passes during that time. However, any pain can return the host's control and the Visitor can't remember anything the host knows. Second, open-air exposure kills a Visitor. Cracking someone's skull open tends to mean death for the Visitor...and the host. Yeah uh when something eats more than half of your brain and then it dies, you don't tend to survive. But let's be real: how often are you gonna get your skull split open? No, you're far more likely to die from the horrible reproductive process Visitors subject their hosts to. Which tends to involve your skull opening horizontally. Visitors are hermaphroditic but they're not all genetically compatible. Whenever two of them are close enough to pick up on the other and they're compatible, the Visitor assumes control of the host and will force them to get close to the other host in a private setting. Then the Visitor will release proteins and enzymes to soften the skulls of the host, stand up wearing the skullcap as a hat and then mingle tentacles with the other Visitor to implant eggs in each other's hosts bloodstreams.

This kills 75% of all hosts. Not like the Visitor cares. See, yeah, the Visitor is probably going to die from the mating attempt. The Visitor flat doesn't care. In the worst case scenario (the Visitor dies, the host dies) the eggs will lie dormant in the corpse until they can find a suitable host. Sometimes this doesn't work and the eggs end up destroyed as well. Sometimes a very unfortunate coroner gets a surprise two years down the road. In the best case scenario (the Visitor does not die, the host's head heals up), the Visitor will release control over the host and then guide the host into passing the eggs on to the host's children or any further children the host has will be born with a Visitor already installed.

These children are particularly rare (except with female hosts, they always give birth to altered children thanks to the ~magic of the human placenta~) and tend to be odd. These second-generation Visitors and hosts have no clear line between host and Visitor. Yes, the brain is a gribbly mutant spirit, but that's basically it. The psyche of the two beings are basically one and the same and as a result their perception of reality is pretty drat different from everyone else's. Nobody has seen a third generation Visitor/host yet. It's not clear if the second generation can get pregnant yet.

Story Hooks:
  • A handful of Visitors have decided to start a commune in upstate Washington because they want to band together in light of the world going to hell. All of the people chosen to come with the Visitors and their hosts are hand-picked for education and possible implantation and not all of them are there of their free will. To the outside world, they're a kidnapping doomsday cult. To the players, they're the motherfuckers who took one of the PCs' sons. The Visitors should be alien beings and the tip of the iceberg of the further world of immortals.
  • A handful of weird children have decided to run away to White Sands, all of them acting independent of each other. The kids are actually the second-generation hosts from female hosts and they have some kind of plan that involves going to the home of the first Visitor. Inspired by moves about Weird Children, like Escape to Witch Mountain, Children of the Damned, The Omen, etc.
  • A Visitor with the ability to heal people is running around...healing people. But then another Visitor swings by and meets the PCs and tells them that the healer is actually evil and they need help in a battle between good and evil. The question is who do the PCs trust. The bigger question is "are both sides delusional because the Visitors are full of poo poo and just don't know it".
Thoughts: I like the Visitors. They're weird and it's kind of enjoyable at how they really should be a bigger threat than they are but they're also pretty stupid and dangerous to their hosts. They make a good strange out-of-context enemy. The big downside is that the write-up has a passing nod to the existence of Pacific Island Visitors or Japanese Visitors or Russian Visitors but then doesn't do anything and focuses on North American Visitors. I think it'd be interesting to see more of those international forms.

THE PATCHWORK PEOPLE

The Patchwork People have been around since the 1800s when some forgotten scientists, alchemists and surgeons did some experiments on the poor and the dead to study life and resurrection. Centered in London and British strongholds in India, the creators of the Patchwork People were not Demiurges like you'd expect. See, while Prometheans are aberrations in the eyes of life and existence if you're not tuned into the Principle and the Divine Fire, Patchwork People are completely street-legal by the laws of the universe as written. They don't use Azoth (OR DO THEY) but instead use a complex pacemaker that completely negates the use of a standard heart; the heart is still left in the chest but all of the body's functions are powered by the small whirring box. At the heart of the pacemaker is an ornate clockwork gear that makes a strange spark of electricity as it turns and this is what provides life to the Patchwork.

The evolution of the special pacemaker follows the evolution of the Patchworks. First built in the 1820s, there are some who claim that the only reason the pacemaker works is because someone stole a spark of Pyros and figured out how to contain it in machinery. This was also when the first tests were performed on the "dregs of society" to get the small box working. This is not to say that the pacemaker procedure is flawless. The doctors who created the pacemaker hold the key to immortality, but here's a friendly reminder that immortality requires sacrifice. They're both hard to manufacture and the implantation procedure requires the recipient to have a shitload of surgery done to put them in the pinnacle of health. On the upside, the pacemaker makes the patient a universal recipient. On the downside, this requires a lot of organs from healthy people.

Which is why most Patchwork People are ludicrously rich. Once the initial tests were done, the doctors sold their services to the rich and powerful because they were both limited in number and needed protection for all of the kidnapping and murder. In the modern day, there's a secret network of doctors who maintain clinics across the world in less developed countries with looser laws that accept bribes (or in ex-Soviet facilities now controlled by the Russian mob). Someone with the right contacts can shake the tree to find a doctor who can perform the procedure, but at the end of the day this immortality is just paid for with money and the organs of the poor.

Mechanically, the benefit of being a Patchwork Person is that you no longer need to sleep and in fact can't be knocked out. The living energy put out by the titanium (or plastic) pacemaker just keeps you on constantly in addition to providing immortality. The big downside is the fact that your parts wear out. Every ten years the organs and the extracts and procedures start to wear off and the Patchwork Person needs to shell out the money and make a trip to a facility. This takes an entire month of surgeries and replacements; the only irreplaceable things are the brain, spinal column and pacemaker. Every month missed after the due date means the Patchwork Person takes 1 point of bashing damage that can only be repaired by getting a tune-up.

Story Hooks:
  • There's a nice ski resort in Utah that caters to all walks of life who enjoy skiing and the splendor of frozen nature. There's a weird trend of some skiers not returning sometimes, but whenever someone goes missing and can't be found the authorities chalk it up to a horrible environmental accident. Then a mix-up at the local airport's self storage units reveal a grisly collection of stolen organs and squishy bits. The PCs are investigators out to prove this is more than just a serial killer preying on skiers and taking trophies.
  • An auction house is selling an antique oddity: a clockwork heart. It's been running non-stop for the last couple centuries and has drawn a whole mess of bidders from around the world. Making things worse is that the person who found it (in an attic full of junk where it had been for 50 years) recently died of suspicious poisoning. Why does everyone want this weird curio? I mean, you and I know why, but the PCs have to find out.
Thoughts: The Patchwork People make good rich enemies. They're not particularly playable so keep walking if that's your interest. Like, they are, but they're just kinda boring. Anyway, the rich literally harvesting the poor for organs, etc. etc. It's not too original but it's decent.

WARDENS

Wardens are pretty simple and can be found all over the world. Anyone can become a Warden as long as they have a particular passion for a particular kind of place, a passion that draws the attention of a local spirit. See, spirits are fickle and random and weird and will just pick whoever to be the Warden of the area. You can schmooze them to a certain degree by being reverent and meditative and learning which areas are rich in Essence, but it only goes so far. This is the most common kind of way to become a Warden. The second most common (but still pretty rare) is for the current Warden to select a replacement and then pass the title on...whether the replacement knows it or not. Finally, there's always taking it by force through an open challenge to the current Warden.

So what is a Warden? A Warden is bound to the land and will protect and guard it to the best of their abilities. They're not the most powerful, but they're incredibly hard to kill. Depending on what your site is, this may be a boring and lonely existence where it's rare to find human interaction. Also there tends to be the problem of the spirit not telling the people it chose that they're a Warden now, they just have weird dreams and have to learn the hard way what's up.

For upsides, the Warden won't age and is immune to all diseases and illnesses. They also heal very fast: 1 point of bashing heals in 8 minutes, lethal in four hours, aggravated damage in a day, a limb in a month, an organ in a week. Reborn get +1 to all physical attributes as long as they're in their territory in addition to a free dot in Strength, Resolve and Stamina once they're chosen. They can spend Willpower to detach their sight from their body and see anywhere within their territory or spend Willpower to create positive or negative environmental modifiers. Finally, animals react to them with indifference and a Warden is safe from animal attack in their territory.

The downside is that all of this only applies if you're in the territory. Leaving your territory means you age one year per hour outside and also feel a constant, dull pain that acts as a -1 wound penalty and slowly increases to -3 max. Your regeneration turns off, your enhanced physical abilities turn off and all of this can only be restored by going back into the territory. Once you're back on home base, you regain your powers and your youth and health is restored.

Story Hooks:
  • A Warden of a fairly small bit of territory has been dealing with a threat they can't see. Something is littering and actively attacking the ground around them and then fleeing before the Warden can catch them. It's up to the PCs to help.
  • A Shinto shrine has been relocated to an American museum and rebuilt in a courtyard. In transporting the structure, the museum has managed to bring its spirit along for the ride. Now that it's in populated territory, the spirit has decided it wants to have a Warden watch over the shrine and a handful of people have been drawn to it. Since one of these possible Wardens is a relative of a player character, it's up to the PCs to figure out what's to be done about the whole affair.
Thoughts: Hilariously unplayable, they make for interesting background characters or one-off/recurring people of interest. You're going to see me say that a lot for the remaining few Lesser Immortals.

NEXT TIME: the remaining three Lesser Immortals and the end of the book.

Wapole Languray
Jul 4, 2012





§2 Oubliette’s Life Eternal


I live for one thing. It is something fleeting, something obscure,
and I am the only one who even knows of it. If not for my
light, my muse, I would be long since Broken.

She is beautiful beyond words, slinking from a dirty hole
in the wall of luto viam, across the street, and into the tiny
bakery two stair flights above the murky streets. She does it
every morning, and for just those few minutes, I am at peace.
Everything else is weariness and grime and discomfort. So
important are these glimpses of hope that I have ensconced
myself on the roof of a building not far away, my feet and
hands melding into the stone, immobile for decades.

It is her devotion, perhaps, that is so heartbreakingly lovely
about her. Not a day goes by that she does not tend the store.
No weekends, no respite. She is never ill, never even tired.
She is the dawn, the perpetual sun rising on my grim world.
Except for today.

Today she isn’t there.
—Sindorstone the Gargoyle


Oubliette is not the World of Life, not where we come from. Everything is very very different, even basic truths of nature and reality we take for granted do not exist. This is where the baffling, the strange, the unusual, the macabre, and the occult go when they stop existing, when they are forgotten, when they pass away. Oubliette is a city built on the strange, the bizarre, the impossible.

Oubliette is also old, ancient beyond belief, and nothing here passes, nothing is ever really destroyed, and so everything is endlessly scavenged, salvaged, rebuilt, renewed, and recycled. Buildings in Oubliette are built on more buildings, a paving stone could have been the lintel over a fireplace, the cornerstone of a fortress, a trebuchet’s ammunition, the idol of a barbarian tribe, and a dragon’s kneecap over the millennia.

Life in Castle Oubliette is hard, dangerous, wild, insane, confusing, and forever. No death, no escape, except into madness and catatonia. Any newcomer is going to need a lot of help surviving: And that’s why this section exists. To give you a cliff’s notes to the Afterlife, and get your head into the right place before something bites it off.

§2.1 The Key Truths posted:

There are several important axioms that newcomers must
come to grips with before they can even begin to adapt to
life in Oubliette.
  • You are Immortal.
    You will not remain dead, even if killed.
  • The Mind is Fragile.
    Staying sane is harder than staying alive.
  • Dying Hurts.
    It is better not to die, both for mind and body.
  • Life is Motion.
    Stagnation leads to senescence and Breaking.
  • Power is Structure.
    Caste binds and separates us.

§2.1.1 The Breaking

The Truth “Life is Motion” isn’t literal. You aren’t going to die from settling down for the night (depending on the spot in question). Instead it means that to keep from Breaking, from losing all hope and spending the rest of eternity as a near-zombie, an ennui paralyzed wreck wasting away in the gutter, is to do things. In Oubliette you have to find something to do, some goal to strive for, some ideal to uphold, or your mind will shatter beneath the weight of time and death.

§2.1.2 Reproduction

There isn’t any. It’s thought that some of the “native” creatures of the Oubliette such as edipedes may actually breed but there’s never been any evidence found. Oh all the mechanics still work of course, and the urges are still there, but nothing results. Because of this there is no such thing as children in Oubliette. Oh you may find people that look like children, but they certainly don’t think like them. The World of the Forgotten makes people grow up real fast. There are some exceptions though: Plants and fungi can reproduce, creating fruits and seeds, without issue, meaning plants can be raised and farmed with arable soil being the biggest limitation for food production. Animals also can produce the side-effects of reproduction, just without birth. Cows can be induced to produce milk, chickens still lay eggs, etc. Therefore cattle, chickens, and other animals that produce food besides their own flesh are incredibly valuable and carefully guarded by their owners.

§2.2 Survival
You can’t die in Oubliette, not permanently, and not even from neglect. The only thing that can kill your body is trauma, violence, being beaten and slashed and crushed and torn apart. But you still need to eat, drink, sleep. You still need to stay warm and keep cool. You still need friends, allies, socialization. You need them. To ignore the body, mind, and soul is a short track to Breaking.

§2.2.1 Food & Water

As mentioned: You want to get food and water. See, you won’t die from starvation or dehydration, but all those lovely physical effects will still happen. You still get thirsty and hungry. Go long enough and you start wasting way, your body consuming itself, withering into a catatonic skeletal waste.

Fortunately there is food in Oubliette! Unfortunately most of what would be considered “good” is jealously guarded, and your average know-nothing newcomer isn’t going to have the cash, or reputation, to get a decent meal, unless you want to raid one of the many heavily guarded farms and gardens about the city. But then you’ll probably die.

So, in that case most newcomers, and lower caste denizens, make most of their meals out of the “Three Staples" : eyeweed, spongemeat, and edipedes. They are all exactly as gross as they sound! But they’re common enough, and nutritious enough, to keep you from Breaking or wasting away.
First up is eyeweed! It looks like a woody vine that grows in garbage, sludge, dirt, sewage, and various other refuse. Oh, and it has human-like eyeballs growing from it on stalks! Helpfully the whole plant is edible. The roots taste like raw sewage, and the stems like wood pulp, and the eyeballs are bitter, and pop when you bite them. But at least they’re nutritious! Spongemeat is a type of fungus that looks like muscle fiber. Ew. It grows on moist stone and absorbs nutrients from rain, dirt, dust, etc. Polite policy is to leave some behind after scraping it off the wall to continue growing, for others to “enjoy”. Spongemeat is described as pungent, like strong cheese though, and can be quite complex depending on where it grows. You can eat it raw, but often it is boiled or dried. Finally edipedes are hand-sized arthropods, looking a bit like large pillbugs. Edipedes are actually fairly popular food, as they are easy to raise, can taste different depending on their diets, and can be cooked and served in any number of ways.

Water can also be hard to come by. If you're lucky, you can capture rainwater to store, but most low-caste people have to make do with “free” water, found in gutters, cisterns, potholes, and tarpaulins. Until your stomach gets used to it though, expect to get sick for a while whenever to get a drink.

It’s important to remember that as you get richer, or more powerful, you can afford better food and easier access to clean water. In the classier parts there are taverns, bars, restaurants, and inns that serve quality dishes, and the elite of society can afford personal chefs and private larders.



§2.2.2 Shelter

Finding shelter is actually pretty easy in Oubliette! Finding comfort is another matter. Even the lowest of the dregs can find a nice hole in the wall, or open sewer, or pile of debris to snuggle in when it gets cold and rainy. But, if you want something that doesn’t make you feel like a wild animal, you either need to scrape up some money or start social climbing. Joining a gang, or getting in with one of the many factions in the city is a good start. Most residents of the lower castes live in big ramshackle slums spread throughout the inner city.

§2.2.3 Materials

drat near everything in Oubliette is recycled, and has been recycled for tens of thousands of years. Trees are scarce, and mining works very differently from how it does in the World of Life, so salvage and reuse is the rule of thumb. Entire professions and cultures have rose up around deconstruction, reconstruction, scavenging, and improvisational construction. Most newcomers have a hard time dealing with this, as the city seems nearly barren of useful material for those not able to see with the proper eyes.

§2.2.4 Money and Barter
Oubliette doesn’t really have anything like a unified currency. Anything can be bought and sold in Oubliette, somewhere, if you have the connections and the knowhow to find the right place. Commerce uses a mixture of barter, coin, trade, bills, credit, futures, stocks, bonds, favors, debts, contracts, promises, and threats. Pretty much anyone will take any currency offered though, because they know someone somewhere will take it in turn.

§2.2.5 Companionship

In short: Join a Group. While the city, particularly the interior districts, are packed with people they aren’t going to give you the time of day. They’re wrapped up in their own issues, or their own subcultures, and experience teaches that getting involved in stuff that isn’t your business is a bad idea for most denizens of Oubliette. So, join a group. Join a street gang, get involved in a neighborhood militia, make some trading contacts, get involved in one of the major factions of the city, join a cult, get infected by a symbiotic fungal growth, become a terrorist, anything! Why? Well, first off, having someone in the city that actually gives a poo poo about you really extends your reincarnation intervals. It makes it easier to get food, water, shelter, and the luxuries that make life worth living. It gives you something to care about and work towards which is the best way to keep from Breaking. It’s important, and it means that parties have a legit reason to form and stick together: The world is hostile and uncaring and your party members really genuinely are important to keeping you sane and whole.

§2.2.6 Entertainment

Not much to this section, just that there’s fun stuff to do as well. Sports, competitions, hobbies, parties, etc. Edipede racing, eyeweed plinking, bladebird counting, etc. Some areas have their own unique sports as well. Grandhall has lots of amateur climbers, Spearfield is full of parties and dances and balls, and gambling is a big pastime in Cutting. There are also waves and fads of games, hobbies, sports, etc. that come and go.

And that wraps up the first few bits of §2, starting with §2.3 we’ll start getting into more concrete information about the setting, and some possible explanations for what Castle Oubliette even is.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Mors Rattus posted:

I'm confused, there are guns in Gamma World? Every time I played it there were just psychic rat swarms shooting mind blasts and flying cockroaches that divebombed people.

You need guns for Omega Tech to work, and then also because it's not hard to roll up a character that has no ranged attacks or flight and get wrecked by flying monsters, like say a Yeti Giant. Ranged characters never need them, though.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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





Ninja Crusade 2nd Edition: Naruto Got Nothing On Me

Ninja Crusade 2e is a game I picked up at Origins that is much, much better than Epyllion, though I find its organization somewhat, uh, lacking in places. It is about a world that is basically Not Japan mixed with Not China mixed with ninja bullshit at all corners. The word 'ninja' is honestly fairly meaningless in it - it's not just sneaky stealthy guys in pajamas. Ninjas can do loving anything. They use expert martial arts, and also use their ki to perform magical jutsus that do weird poo poo. They've been around for-loving-ever, their ninja clans battling for control of the world from the shadows. However, the latest emperor of the mighty Izou Empire got really mad at the ninjas, and he declared the Ninja Crusade: every ninja must die. As a result, the ninjas have lost a lot of power and been forced onto the defensive. They have put aside their centuries of rivalry to form the Lotus Coalition, a ninja army to defeat the imperial forces. The war's gotten loving weird in the time since it started, though, and the Empire's no slouch when it comes to bullshit, either.

The broad overview of the ninja clans, at least the ones in the core book that form the vast majority of the Lotus Coalition, is this:
  • Bamboo Herbalists: A clan of doctors and thrillseekers who are masters of drugs and medicinal jutsu.
  • Blazing Dancers: A clan of carnies and acrobats who are masters of performance and fire.
  • Grasping Shadows: The guys who are actually ninjas. Spies, assassins, shadow jutsu.
  • Hidden Strands of Fate: Ninja manipulator politicians who have magic string jutsu.
  • Living Chronicle: Nerd ninja historians who tattoo knowledge onto their own bodies to keep it safe.
  • Pack of the Black Moon: Ranch and farm ninjas who are experts at fighting alongside their trained ninja dogs.
  • Recoiling Serpents: Former foes of basically everyone, masters of poison and wilderness survival.
  • Virtuous Body Gardeners: Eccentric artists and warriors who use magical tattoo manipulation jutsu and weird body modifications.
  • Wardens of Equilibrium: Merchant ninjas that seek to balance the world by varying between extremes, and also get rich.
  • Will of Iron: Wandering police ninjas who serve the higher ideal of justice by beating people with iron clubs.
  • Ronin: The guys who don't want to be part of any of those guys.

Our basic system is a d10 dicepool, aiming to get a number of successes. A 7-9 is one success, while a 10 is two successes. You get the number of successes you need, you do the thing. Fewer, you don't. If you have no successes and also roll a 1, you get a critical failure. That's basically it. Most dicepools are going to be two of your skills added together; you have no attributes, only skills and ki.

The book gives that basic explanation and then jumps right into the history. First, it defines ninja, as I did above: ninja is a meaningless word. Often they are stealthy scouts or spies, or mighty warriors, but basically ninjas could be anyone. They come from all walks of life. What matters is how they train themselves and use their ki. Ninjas mostly die in battle - there's very few old ninjas, though they do exist. This is because ninjas fight all the time.

See, way back in history, before the ninja clans were formed, ki manipulation already existed. Most ki-users were mystics trained in secret arts by their families. The families followed strict rules of discipline and honor in combat, but argued a lot and were super arrogant, leading to a lot of generational blood feuds that lasted until some even more hated guy showed up and forced two enemies to team up to kill him. The greatest enemy in terms of the formation of ninja history, however, was the Orime Dynasty. They ruled over the land centuries ago, and under their rule, the rich and poor were heavily divided, with the poor starving as the rich grew fat. With the corruption came unrest, and several rebellions were crushed by the powerful Orime armies. That is, until the dormant Ensen Volcano erupted.

For days after the first eruption, stone and gas and fire rained down on the valleys around the volcano, and refugees flooded the safe areas. They begged the Orime shogun for aid, but he turned them away. The mystics, who had largely been unaffected by the taxation and corruption, found that this insulted their strict honor, and they met in secret. What was said is now lost and forgotten, but when the meeting was over, the world had changed. The families led a massive rebellion, facing the Orime without the binding rules of honor that they had held themselves to before. Not all of the families joined the rebels or abandoned their honor. Some withdrew to neutral lands, to ride the rebellion out. A few even sided with the Orime, having benefited from the tax. The transitions were not easy. Some families gave up their ritual armor and robes for camouflage and ambush. Others experimented in new martial arts using farm implements. Their secret, mystical arts evolved, gradually reworking themselves into the jutsu that ninjas know today. The earliest ninjas mastered many ways to find new uses for the old magic, and not all of them worked.

The newborn ninjas assassinated Orime officers constantly, disrupting discipline in the troops. Without the army's protection, the nobles became vulnerable. The Orime Dynasty slowly unraveled, and the rebellion succeeded. With each kill, rebels joined the ninja forces. Entire villages switched to their side, hiding fugitives and healing hte wounded. Some non-mystics even studied the methods of the ninja to assist them in battle by training to their physical limits. The ninja destabilized the Orime government, but only when the last noble died did they turn to breach the royal palace. This final battle, perhaps ironically, was not an assassination - it was a one on one battle that used the rules of honor that the ninja had abandoned. A single ninja fought the shogun for three days and three nights in a display of utter mastery of jutsu against a physically dominating powerhouse. At the end, the shogun's head was severed, and the land was free.

In the decades of unrest after, petty warlords rose and fell. The citizens looked to the ninja to aid them, but the ninja had lost many. Some families were entirely wiped out, their arts lost. People rebuilt, but it was slow, and repopulating the land took time. The effort was both aided and slowed by the ninja clans, who fell back into rivalry and feuding. The last remnants of the ancient families vanished, as the new clans split and merged with each other. Mostly by luck, each clan's territory broadly ended up landing in the hundred or so regions that rose from the fractured remnants of the Orime, and the borders of these territories became clan borders, guarded vigorously. The new governments were quick to take advantage of the ninja infighting, hiring clans as secret police, mercenaries and more. Which, of course, forced other nations to hire ninjas to do the same. Soon, everyone wanted ninjas. The clans grabbed at the chance to regain their fortunes, and so the Mercenary Wars, sometimes called the Second Ninja War, began.

The Mercenary Wars were a collection of small wars in which clients hired various ninja to do many things, especially fight each other. This was very lucrative, and the clans grew from humble martial artists to open members of courts. It became prestigious to hire ninja, and it was not long before every noble did so. Personal armies were abandoned in favor of battles between ninja champions. Those without patrons struggled to survive, and many lesser clans had to become bandits to feed themselves, while others went extinct due to their refusal to become mercenaries, leaving those who did more room to grow stronger. The arms race of ninja battle and spying might have lasted indefinitely, were it not for the Slithering Gods clan.

They began what is known as the Third Ninja War - the War of Withered Fangs. The ninja of the southern jungles were survivalists, masters of poison and Snake martial arts, not mercenaries like their northern cousins. The Slithering Gods had hidden in the jungles for decades, solidifying their control over the land there. Once it was conquered, they began to expand north, to conquer the entire Five Kingdoms. The northern ronins on the borders, weak and poor, were easy prey. They were given an ultimatum: surrender or die to the last child. Some fought, but many surrendered for the chance to gain power in service. Those that fought were slaughtered, and those that surrendered became foot soldiers of the Slithering Gods. The larger clans, complacent in their ritual patronage and single battles, were not prepared for the invasion.

It began as a shadow war, with the Slithering Gods striking from stealth and fading away, never revealing their real power and preferring to use ronin and decoys. Eventually, however, they would lure the northerners south, into their own lands - and then revealed themselves in force. A third of all the northern ninja died in the first hour, thanks to the diseases and poisons the Slithering Gods invoked with their jutsus. Another third died in the retreat north, harried by the Slithering Gods. Again, the clan heads met in neutral ground, putting aside their grudges to find a way to survive. Some wanted to surrender or buy off the foe. The Hidden Strands of Fate and Grasping Shadows, however, proposed using their influence to get the nobles to raise armies, thus negating the Slithering Gods' advantage of numbers. Of course, the other clans worried this would lose them their patronage. Thus, the Hidden Stands and Grasping Shadows decided to work on their own to do it, without knowledge of the others, until they were forced to follow the two clans with actual ideas. Thanks to new innovations in archery, raising an effective conscripted army was actually quite effective, and in the next battle, a dozen nations' armies stood against the Slithering Gods.

The southern ninja were forced back to their jungles, their power broken. They were given the same ultimatum they had offered: surrender or die. The Slithering Gods surrendered, even under the harsh and restrictive requirements, and so they survived. They abandoned their conquered lands, changing their name to the Recoiling Serpents to remind themselves of the consequences of their failure. The War of Withered Fangs was won, but the world was devastated. Pockets of loyalist Slithering God holdouts were still there, and the nations of the Five Kingdoms, reminded of their own martial strength and now shown the weaknesses of the ninja, relied less on their hired ninjas for protection. Individual ninja might make a living as mercenaries, but no more were there government-sponsored clans.

Next time: The rise of the Izou Empire

Mors Rattus fucked around with this message at 22:08 on Jun 29, 2017

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


theironjef posted:

Heck yeah let's get him in here! Strike! Is pretty great. Given the high test boners both of us have for 4e D&D and 7e Gamma World it's be rad as heck to work with an engine that's an evolution of that line. I wonder how adaptable it is to bolting on campaign worlds and new rules. Especially since Blimpleggers would have like ship to ship combat and a fairly structured magic system in-world.

It'd definitely be interesting, it's not really setting-specific, but more of a 4e slimmed down into general concepts. So as long as your game can have skirmish combat with focused roles and leveling, it can fit in pretty well. It can be a bit of a tricky read with how it's organized, but it's worth a look. Gotten to play in some short games of it, but no idea how well the vehicle rules work out.

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.


Mors Rattus posted:



Ninja Crusade 2nd Edition: Naruto Got Nothing On Me

Maybe it's because I used to like Naruto, but I've always wanted to play this game. Tried it to twice but no one bit. Too small name, unfortunately. Interested to see how your review goes.

Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012




Part 1: "...Undoubtedly, you will think these the ravings of a lunatic"'

Introduction

quote:

The world of GURPS Voodoo: The Shadow War is not unlike our own. Innocent people are victimized by criminals, governments and other predators that can be called “human” only by a stretch of that word’s definition. Illegal drugs are an industry that produces more money than the GNP of many nations, and 12 years of the so-called “War on Drugs” have not come close to solving the problem. The “artworks” of serial killers are displayed in galleries, and murderers go free. But in the world portrayed in these pages, those crimes, wars and natural disasters are all pieces of a puzzle — moves in a planetwide game with the souls of humankind at stake.

...And that part of the introduction “chapter” about sums up the whole introduction. Moving on.



Chapter 1: The Shadow War
As this is a fantasy roleplaying game title in the 90s, GURPS Voodoo starts off with a page and change of introductory fiction. It gives us the last minutes of a man named Deveraux, a member of Columbia University's anthropology department. After the death of his wife and child due to an unstated supernatural fate, Deveraux delved into the supernatural truth of the world, learning of the tremendous threats to humanity therein courtesy of the ravings of a straight-jacketed Haitian woman in an insane asylum. As he sends out his collected works in the hopes some other staff members will take the path to enlightenment, a monster he calls the Smiling Man appears wearing Deveraux's face, rips said face off while giving a manic grin, and then murders the real Deveraux.

After the introductory fiction, we get a few disclaimers. We are forewarned that the book is heavily entwined with the topics of racism and slavery, told that while the Voodoo cults (see below) are real practiced religions the magic spells inside here are not in fact actual real world rituals, and given a warning featuring Steve Jackson Games's favorite Discordian meme:

quote:

All the conspiracies mentioned in the book are the products of the author’s fevered imagination. They are not meant to describe actual institutions or organizations, and any resemblances are purely FNORD.



Behind the Facade
Moving into introducing the setting in more detail than the introduction, we are told that GURPS Voodoo is a world wherein spirits are very real and very much a part of everyday life. Knowledge of these spirits has been intentionally suppressed in Europe and "Western" cultures, keeping the power of magic in those regions held in the hands of a select few secret societies known as the Lodges. The powers that be allow science to grow, but keep religion and metaphysics stagnant, and also take time to discredit non-Western magicians as being primitive superstitious folk. Fear not, however! We are told that "the old ways" are thankfully not dead, as Voodoo (used here to collectively refer to various Caribbean and Latin American rites with a syncretic mix of European and west African religious traditions) stands firm in the Americas.

The ability to deal with the spirits is increasingly becoming a very big deal, as the world is spiritually sick. Government corruption, illegal drug trafficking, the decay of urban centers, and escalating violence are all being prodded on by the Corruptors, supernatural evils that feed on humanity's suffering. Corruptors include the Gnostic Demiurge and what Voodoo Initiates refer to as the Mayombe. Everything from the assassination of JFK (it was a black magic ritual) and Castro's rise to power (also black magic) to the creation of the USA and USSR (creations of the Lodges) and the Medieval Crusades (yep, the Lodges) is now pushed into action as part of the Shadow War, the spiritual struggle between light and darkness.

The spirit world itself is the invisible realm dominated by ghosts, angels, demons, and gods. These include both Voodoo patron spirits and the aforementioned Corruptors. Corruptors are created by the psychic resonance of intense negative emotions and gather around similarly negative-charged areas such as wargrounds, concentration camps, prisons, and serial killer hunting grounds. Anyone who can connect with the spirit world is known as an Initiate. Most are Initiated through intense ritual performance and ordeals of the body and soul, but some individuals can be Initiated naturally through certain less than pleasant circumstances. Quoth the book:

quote:

The consciousness of any human being who is exposed to a severe trauma is altered to such a degree that he may accidentally see a world that remains invisible to most of us. Therefore, one can find Initiates in the membership of secret societies or Voodoo temples – and also in insane asylums, concentration camps and other hellholes.

Properly trained Initiates are your magical priests and wizards, capable of performing supernatural feats and manipulating spirits. The two largest producers of Initiates are the Voodoo traditions and the Lodges of "the Western world" (which includes traditional Middle Eastern Judaism and Islam in this case). Other religious and cultural groups have Initiates too, but for the most part they aren't considered important to the setting's focus.



Voodoo
The Voodoo traditions are considered at the center of the Shadow War due to being syncretic practices made up of beliefs from across Europe, Africa, and the Americas, thus giving them a wide breadth of experience...and since, you know, this is called GURPS Voodoo, but now you know the in-universe explanation. The loas, or orishas, are the spiritual beings that are at the center of all the different Voodoo groups. Loas are divided into two categories, the first being old gods from central African traditions that came over with the slave trade or their New World counterparts and the second being lesser loas made manifest from spirits of dead humans. Just what the loas are is contentious among the Initiated: some claim they are merely the psychic effects of the collective unconscious made manifest, others believe they are genuine gods and demigods, and still others claim that they are spirits that intercede between humanity and the one true God (such as in the Catholicism-based world of Louisiana Voodoo).

Traditional Voodoo Initiates typically take either the path of priesthood or become black magic practitioners for hire known as bokkor/bokor or palo mayombes. These are a relatively small number amidst the millions of believers in the Voodoo religions, most of whom know little or nothing about the Shadow War, the Lodges and their machinations, and the looming threat of the Corruptors. Even Initiates don't always know everything, as the vast majority believe In-Betweeners (monsters, essentially, so called due to the fact that they are "in between" the material and spiritual realms) to be superstitions and myths. The main exception to this are the people of the more primitive (the book's word choice, not mine) parts of Haiti and the other Caribbean islands, where communities have more open encounters with the supernatural and know enough about In-Betweeners to hunt them down when they show up.



Voodoo Cults
It turns out that different religions in different parts of a diverse cultural region are, in fact, different! While they may all be gathered under the Voodoo brand, the disparate Voodoo traditions all have their own beliefs, certain unique loas, and often disagree with one another on various matters both material and spiritual. Two of these are real world religious sects, while the other six are both traditionalist and modern secret societies.

Voudoun: This is your “traditional” Voodoo, the one you're probably thinking of when you hear the word. Voudoun was birthed on the island of Haiti, and has since spread to other portions of the French Caribbean, French Guyana, and Haitian enclaves in the United States. The rough economic history of Haiti, combined with the rule of tyrants such as Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier, have made many Initiates of other Voodoo traditions suspicious of Voudoun practitioners on site, believing that the whole Haitian people have been influenced by the Corruptors ever since they won independence from France. This is definitely the case with almost all priests that have been in positions of power in the country, but most local village houngans and mambos (male and female Voudoun priests, respectively) care deeply about their communities. It's implied that if they were less isolationist, however, they could become a force of good for all of Haiti and stop being curbstomped every time a dictator with some tainted houngans in tow came to power.

Santeria: This Voodoo sect is found in Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Venezuela, having roots in the mixture of Yoruba culture with that of Spain and Portugal. Santeria has more white and Hispanic representation than the mostly black Voudoun due to its differing regional origins, but has also had to deal with more poo poo from the Lodges than the Voodoo Initiates in Haiti. A Santeria priest is referred to as a santero, with high priests in particular being known as babalawos. A babalawo has aspects of both teacher and godparent in the role they take concerning lower their santero pupils. Balawos are even forbidden from romance with those they teach, as it would be seen as spiritual incest and offend the orishas.

The Lucumi: Certain very private Voodoo fraternities, known as bizongues in French-speakings areas and cabildos in Spanish-speaking ones, gather together to take direct action in the Shadow War on one of the two sides. Three particular bizongues are detailed here, the largest being these guys. The Lucumi can match a European Lodge in size, and were born out of Initiates conducting meetings and in the dream world and finding that the future could unfold in two paths:

quote:

The Voodoo priests saw two different possible futures: one in which children of all races worked in harmony, mixing their blood until no one race dominated – and another where white slaughtered black and vice versa, where genocidal wars shattered civilization and humankind was lost in a sea of hatred and self-destruction.
To this end, the Lucumi supported the Haitian Revolution (only to pull out when they found out that both the French and the Haitian rebels were under the influence of Corruptors), aided the Underground Railroad, gave backing to the Freedom Riders and other aspects of the American civil rights movement, and continue to finance certain black-owned corporations. Their biggest beef is with the Lodges due to most Lodges being filled with racist assholes, though this meant they "lost sight of the true enemy, the Mayombe spirits".

The Dahomets: Members of this bizongue are descendants of soldiers of the Dahomey Kingdom that were brought to Haiti by King Henry Christophe in the 1810s. They're pretty much assassin wizards, combining their knowledge of magic and weaponry to kill people quite well. They worship either an unnamed and particularly assholish loa or straight up serve a Corruptor.

The Leopard Society: The bizongue known as the Leopard Society was originally created by descendants of the Egbo, a west African secret society with the leopard as its symbol. While they are masters of the typically bokor-oriented arts of poisoning and zombie creation, they use these and their other talents only against Corruptors, Lodges, and In-Betweeners. A less savory splinter faction was created by Papa Doc Duvalier for supernatural terror tactics during his rule, however; these Leopard separatists have now deified Papa Doc as their own patron loa and continue their atrocities in Cuba at the behest of Fidel Castro. The separatists are well known enough that mainstream Leopard Society members don't exactly advertise who they work for, and more often than not pose as free agents.

The Protectors: The Protectors are a group of Initiates in the United States and Canada made up of the children of Cuban and Haitian immigrants. They combine Voudoun religious beliefs with "a Western education and world view", which pisses off traditionalist Caribbean Initiates. Protectors always have their eyes on the Shadow War, engaging in both political activism and supernatural warfare against the Corruptors. As a group, they are willing to work with the Lodges and other non-Vooodoo Initiate societies, as they feel the goal of stopping the Corruptors is far more important than any centuries-old bad blood. Protectors can be from pretty much any background, as the group is "less concerned with racial heritage than with political correctness".



The Electronic Crossroads: Wizard hackers that are probably the most 90s thing in this very 90s book. Members of the Electronic Crossroads have created new magic rituals to crash systems, go into computers as a virtual reality pocket space, and allow spirits to travel through electronic pathways. They use these talents for goals of freeing information, uncovering secrets, helping the weak, and felling the strong. While technically listed as a Voodoo society, members of the EC can be of any magical tradition, and there's a fair number of Native American shamans, Wiccan spellcasters, and Taoist Initiates in its ranks.

The Loa Lords: Actually, I take back my statement about the Electronic Crossroads – these guys are the most 90s. A bunch of inner city kids from black and Hispanic communities, the Loa Lords have suffered from poverty and violence long enough that they want to take down the Corruptors just as bad as the Protectors. Unlike the Protectors, though, these guys aren't political activists. Instead, Loa Lords Initiates are on the streets, using either brute force or subtle maneuverings to take down drug pushers, cartels, street gangs, and the like. While Loa Lords and Protectors will work together, the two groups are on the opposite scales of pragmatism vs. idealism, which tends to lead to grinding gears from time to time.



Next Time: AIDS magic and Klan wizards

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Ninja game brings to mind the Warframe principle: You can still call yourself a stealthy operative who flows like fire over the battlefield as long as your bullshit amazing superpowers kill everyone who could've said otherwise.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts World Book 14: New West Part 5: "This traumatic event turned an innocent young man into a demon of vengeance."


"Look, I used my knife to cut bacon this morning! It's still got all that... delicious oil..."

1st Apocalyptic Cavalry
By Chris Kornmann & Kevin Siembieda


So, we start with a small fiction chunk of a "General Kenneth Sprite" (great lymon taste) giving a speech hundreds of troops that since the Cyber-Knights are riding forth in defense of Tolkeen (metaplot alert), they'll have to move to be vigilant and defeat some monsters. And by monsters, they also mean "innocent people". So, Kenneth Sprite (tart, tingling, and even ticklish), grew up in a lumber community before D-Bee outlaws demanded money and then ended up burning the town to the ground and slaughtering its inhabitants because



As one of only a half-dozen survivors, young Sprite (obey your thirst) was appropriately traumatized and went on a campaign of indiscriminate vengeance. Gathering together like-minded vigilantes and racists, and went around killing D-Bees as long as he suspected them of being raiders or bandits. It took him six years to kill the actual ones responsible, but by that time he had a following of folk heroes (or folk terrors, if you happened to be D-Bees or just not awful racists). They decided to call themselves the "The 1st Apocalyptic Cavalry" because they rode stuff (hoverbikes, horses, etc.). But why "Apocalyptic"?



Now dubbed General Sprite (it's perfectly clear) they've formed up to an army that sends out companies to patrol and explore regions to try and ensure peace by shooting bandits and outlaws... mainly D-Bees. We're told "at least 60%... were truly vile misanthropes who deserved death" but well then you have a 40% who didn't. They've massacred entire towns of D-Bees and while it seems they don't do genocide willy-nilly, they just need the slightest of pretenses to do so. I feel like this is one of those Siembieda moments where he leans in and says "They murder innocents but they they murder bad guys makes you think huh" and I'm like-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7FYTc55nGEI

The Coalition turns a blind eye to the Apocalyptic Cavalry for obvious reasons, and has even invited General Sprite (I like the Sprite in you) to join them, but he apparently discovered that the Coalition could have stopped the massacre of his hometown but filmed it instead to use as propaganda. He doesn't fight them because he "grudgingly sees them as humankind's salvation" against all reason.


naturally tart

General Kenneth Sprite (get the right Sprite) gets a statblock as a 9th level gunslinger with great prowess, physical endurance, and beauty, and above-average stats otherwise. He has a bizarrely high Potential Psychic Energy (180) for no readily discernable reason. We get a note that the Lyn-Srial, Cyber-Knights, and Justice Rangers have tried to reason with him (to no avail) and stop him (to some avail). We also get a writeup of their main base, Fort Prospect, built on the site of Fort Kearney in southern Nebraska. It's effectively a small town, and unlike the Coalition, there seems to be a small amount of magical technology in addition to normal technology. There are about four other forts listed in passing as well. What I have to wonder is: how are these guys funded? I mean, an army like this doesn't exactly feed itself. Do they rob those they raid? Are they supported by local communities? Does the Coalition slip them money under the table? This is a basic question of supply that never gets answered. I guess, like all cartoon bad guys, they just automatically have whatever resources the plot requires of them.


Finally, the art you're been waiting for... pictures of rocks!

Arizona

See, this book is organized!... alphabetically!... kind of? We start with a summary of indigenous people, like the Navajo, Hopi, Apache, and Papago. This book sure loves to give us laundry lists of tribes without actually giving them any character, description, or even a comment. Maybe we'll get something better in Rifts World Book 15-



- yeahno. We're told that there are dragons hiding in canyons, tectonic entities made of stone and wood, demons, monsters, psi-stalkers, gargoyles, etc.
  • We get Wormrot (formerly Prescott), a ghost town dominated by worm wraiths, and some believe a supernatural entity that created them lives somewhere beneath the city.
  • Phoenix is home to a human / cactus person community that is next to an encroaching forest of alien flora and fauna centered over Scottsdale.
  • Glendale is a mysterious crater.
  • Laveen is home to clans of cactus people.
  • Chadler is where the last of the Papago people live.
  • Tuscon and nearby military bases were raided or blown up ages ago.
  • Bisbee is home to a vampire stronghold that battle the Papago and Cyber-Knights, and Reid's Rangers is planning an attack against them.
  • Flagstaff and Williams have been replaced with a new set of volcanoes.
  • The Clarkdale Confederancy is made up of Clarkdale, Jerome, and Cottonwood, which has "God Fearing" simple people with Depression-era technology. Made up of mostly humans, fennodi, cactus people, and other d-bees, it has a decent amount of magic going on, with 1 in 4 practicing magic. I guess that "God Fearing" forgives wicked sorcery.
  • Winslow is a fennodi town with low technology.
  • Joseph City is home to Hopi and cactus people.
  • Rivercreek has 19th century technology save for the occasional laser pistol anachronism, and is home to an Apache tribe.
  • Most other locations were wiped out and only ruins remain.
We also get a long section on the Grand Canyon which is filled with geographic facts and details on vegetation. There's some alien plant life and it's full of ley lines, but they tend to be more quiet ones that don't have rifts open often.

Also, the cactus people and fennodi will be covered later. The "Papago" is an incorrect name for the Tohono O'odham, an indigenous American group of the Sonoran Desert.


Now starring more pictures of rocks!

Next: Arizona Gold (Bird People).

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Ninja Crusade 2nd Edition: In Which Ninjas Make Bad Decisions

After the war against the Slithering Gods, the ninja clans turned towards survival again, no longer funded by the coffers of nations. They withdrew from their alliance with each other and rebuilt themselves. Within a year, the alliance was dead. Each state had its own religion, government and even language, after all. Without an external menace to unite them, they fell back to their old rivalries. Two centuries of war followed, the Warring States period, but the ninjas remained largely aloof from the battles. They had found their own lands, populating them with hidden villages. The Warring States period came to an end some time after the birth of Izou Zurui, a simple fisherman and wrestler. When his nation and another went to war, the battles came to his village and destroyed his entire family. Zurui gathered the survivors, vowing to bring an end to the Warring States. Either he would die, or he would end the wars by force. He remembered the legends told of ninja, and so he sought out the Grasping Shadows, making alliance with them. They saw a chance they had not had for two centuries, and they agreed to train Zurui and his men into mighty warriors.

Zurui was an amazing warlord, with a nearly supernatural talent for tactics. With each village he took, his armies grew. He swiftly conquered his own state, conscripting men from among the farmers and fishermen, and then invaded the next. Within twenty years, he occupied every one of the many nations, and the Warring States were united in empire. The birth of the Izou Empire was a violent time, and one of growth for the ninjas. The strongest of the remaining Izou clans were the Grasping Shadows, the Hidden Strands and the Recoiling Serpents, but the chaos led to the birth of new clans as well, such as the Pack of the Black Moon and the Wardens of Equilibrium, while the Living Chronicle clan of the Land of Crashing Waves sent a delegation of their membership to found a branch in Izou and record to Empire's birth. After the founding came forty years of peace, until the rize of Emperor Izou Junshinichi, the nephew of Zurui, who turned his eyes toward further conquest.

Junshinichi was not content with only the land Zurui had conquered and began the Expansion Wars, also known as the Fourth Ninja War. He wanted the mountains of the Land of Five Blades, the many crops and medicines of the Land of Seed and Blossom, the magic of the Land of Exalted Flames and the pearl and coral of the Land of Crashing Waves. Meanwhile, the ninja outside the Izou lands had not done so well after the War of Withered Fangs. Perhaps the best idea Junshinichi had was to offer full citizenship and imperial assistance to any ninja clan that would betray their home nation and join him. The first clan to do so were the Will of Iron, who paved a path for the Emperor into the Land of Five Blades, the land of their birth. The many mines that were taken enriched the empire, but Junshinichi could not take more than a fraction of the land, perhaps due to double agents among the Will of Iron, and perhaps because he invaded Seed and Blossom too quickly, stretching his forces too thin. While the Izou Empire was able to conquer the Land of Seed and Blossom, destroying their temples to enforce the Izou state religion, they lost almost all of their holdings in the Land of Five Blades.

It was not a total loss, however. With the temples destroyed and with no other way to survive, the Bamboo Herbalist joined the Izou, bringing with them their advanced medical jutsu. Further, the news of the devastation the Izou caused spread to the Land of Exalted Flame, who knew they would be next. The local ninja used their mostpotent secret arts to make natural barriers between themselves and Izou - specifically, the scorching Great Desert and the dangerous Arashi Sea. Despite this, however, they knew that the Emperor's desire for power would also be a chance to get rid of their rival ninja, the Blazing Dancers, and drove that clan from the Land of Exalted Flames and into the Great desert. The Dancers chose to cross the desert rather than die, performing in the Izou court and serving under the emperor. This was the end of Junshinichi's campaign. The Land of Mountains and Valleys was too difficult to assault, with its cliffs and mountains, and the Land of Crashing Waves was too hard to conquer, as each time an island fell, another would rebel with the aid of a giant naval force. Many emeprors tried to finish the conquests, but they never managed it.

The century of relative peace that followed was the most prosperous for the clans since the Mercenary Wars. The Imperials didn't fully fund the clans, but contracts were plentiful and paid well. The final Izou clan, the Virtuous Body Gardeners, split off from the Living Chronicle to take their own territory. Most of the modern grudges between ninja clans date back to this period rather than to more ancient feuds. However, this was also the beginning of the ninja decline. By the time Izou Mamoru took the throne, they had been drive back into hiding and shadow rather than open existence. The Emperors grew increasingly paranoid of the danger the ninjas represented. The terror that would come, however, was entirely the making of the ninja clans. The heir to Mamoru, a boy named Yesui, had been caught in the crossfire of a war between two clans, and his death was seen by his brother, Kano. The Emperor declared it a high crime to perform any ninja technique or ki manipulation, with the sole exception of the Golden Lion clan, who were given Imperial license to serve the Emperor directly with their jutsu.

Ninja who worked illegally among the nobles for hunted out first, tried for their ki use and sentenced to work in labor camps for years. Ninja that swore to never practice their jutsu again were merely evicted from their homes but allowed to live free. Some of the clans fought back, but agains the Empire's might, they were not enough and were nearly wiped out. This resistance exacerbated the ninja battles when some unknown ninja assassinated the beloved consort of the Emperor, Izou Hana, and left her severed head on a pike. The only survivor of the attack was the Emperor's daughter, Megumi, and she was left sickened and wasting, doomed to a slow and painful death. No clan has ever claimed open credit for this, and indeed, no one even knew if it was the work of a clan or just some mad individuals or ronin clans. The Emperor, enraged by the loss of his children and consort, became determined to end the ninja clans for all time. He declared the Fifth Ninja War, the Ninja Crusade, and put a blood price on the head of every ninja of any clan at all.

In the aftermath of the massacre, all ninja in labor camps were executed without further trial. Even the few Bamboo Herbalists that came to offer their aid in treating the Princess' disease were murdered, their headless bodies sent back to their home villages via catapult before those villages were burned to the ground. The Emperor made a new force in his army, the Executioners, whose sole job was to find and kill ki-users. Ninja became a liability for the towns thato nce harbored them, and neighbor turned on neighbor to report hidden ninja to the Izou. The clans sought safety, losing forces and land with each passing year, until they had to keep solely to their secret, hidden villages where they trained and watched for foes. In the interest of mutual survival, they were forced to put aside their quarrels and come together, forming the Lotus Coalition to help defend themselves and resist the Empire. This worked amazingly well, allowing the ninja to dramatically improve their ability to resist.

Within two years, the ninja found a weakness in Mamoru's defenses. A strike force of the best ninja they had were sent to attack the palace, facing thousands of soldiers. Many died, each killing at least a dozen before they fell. Only one ninja survived to reach the Emperor, and with his final breath, he slew Mamoru, ending the Ninja Crusade...for now. After the Emperor's death, the clans solidified the Lotus Coalition in their newest and largest village: Danketsu, named for the ninja that brought down the Izou ruler. It was to be neutral ground where any ninja could live and work. It was slow at first, until two clan leaders put aside their public, lifelong feuding to swear to work together for the good of all. The year that followed was a brief respite...until ten thousand soldiers swept across the Empire, destroying any hidden village they found. Riding at the head of this army, rumor had it, was the Emperor Mamoru himself. The rumor was soon confirmed, and the clans knew: the Crusade had not truly ended.

The war, now renewed, devastated the land. The Emperor made law after law meant to find and destory the ninja, and any village even suspected of harboring a ninja would be taken in chains to the labor camps - down to the last child. Hidden villages were burned, the earth they stood on salted. In search of the ultimate weapon, the Empire called upon summoners to unleash giant celestial beasts to battle the ninja, who were forced to make their own summoning pacts for protection. These, the Summoner Skirmishes, were followed by howling storms and flash floods for months, possibly due to the rage of the celestial beasts. The elemental fury reached across the entire Empire, destroying towns, crops and people in its wake. After the storms ended camp starvation, disease and mass population displacement that killed many more.

It has been a full generation since the Ninja Crusade began, and the young ninja of today have known nothing but war. The Empire is exhausted. Rebuilding is slow, and goods and food shortages are everywhere. Banditry is rife, as the displaced are forced to turn to robbery and even murder to feed their families. Disease continues to plague the land, and taxation is harsh against those few that retain their homes. Voluntary armed service for the Empire as at an all-time low, and mandatory conscription is at an all-time high. The ninja raise their children knowing that on any given day, those children may have to give their own lives to protect their villages. Most pray for the war to end, but it rages on. However, a new, third side is beginning to form - the average citizens of the Empire, trapped between Imperial armies and ninja clans for too long, have begun to ponder open rebellion against both sides.

So what is life like for a ninja in the Izou Empire? It's hard. The Empire's forces get closer to clan villages every season, and the Year of Floods destroyed so many resources the clans once had. Even some of their civilian allies have grown tired of helping them. But all hope is not lost. New ninja are graduating, new apprentices are being raised. Every hidden village lost is replaced by a newly founded one in a different place. The clans take from their old families and from peasant stock alike, replenishing their numbers with new blood. Refugees come to Danketsu, knowing it to be the last safe haven left, defended with all the might of the Lotus Coalition.

Ninja track their lives by what they know as the Life Path, a series of seven steps that all ninja pass through on their road to maturity. No matter what clan, every ninja goes through these seven stages. First is the Ocean, or the Time Before. The ninja know all life was born in the limitless potential of the primordial ocean, and thus they call the earliest stage of life the Ocean. Most ninja are found early, with their talent for ki manipulation showing by their third or fourth year. They typically come from known bloodlines, hidden villages or ki-rich families, but some are not found until later childhood or even their teenage years due to not being born in a place the ninja knew of. Some even go undiscovered well into adulthood, perhaps developing a few crude natural abilities of ki usage before they are found. Some clans claim that the younger a ninja shows their power, the more potent they'll be, but there's no real evidence for this. One of the mightiest ninja of the last century, Tsutara Shishiro of the Hidden strands, did not find his own abilities until he was almost 30.

Second is the Village, or the apprenticeship period. Some ninja villages have made schools to teach their history, knowledge, combat skills and even more esoteric knowledge such as economics to their students, but the more common method is to be taken under the wing of a ninja master. The master-apprentice tradition stretches back thousands of years, all the way back to the ancient families that predated the ninja clans. The bond between teacher and student lasts a lifetime, and is so personal and deep that most never have more than two or three students at a time. Some prefer children from their village as students, or even only their own relatives. Whatever the case, a student is expected obey their master in all things, no matter what, period. Most apprenticeships end well and with mutually beneficial relationships, but not all. Some apprenticeships are harsh indeed, some masters less than noble, some and sometimes the relationship is strained at best. While fully severing ties with your master is seen as shemeful and dishonorable, sometimes it's what you need to do.

Third and fourth are the River and Forge, the stages of independence and honor. The Village is a period of learning nad making mistakes, but it ends when the River comes, sweeping a ninja away from safety and into tragedy and greatness. They are sent again and again into the Forge. Here, a ninja is a full member of their clan. They are full adults, regardless of actual physical age, and are seen as fully capable of choosing their own missions, jobs and training. They are responsible for themselves and their own deeds, and each lesson they learn forges them into what they will be one day. For ninja of this stage, personal honor is a huge deal. Sure, they are assassins at times, even thieves or spies, but most ninja follow a code of conduct that they will rarely break. They respect their clan liege, obey their elders and defend their villages. Only ronin are free of these expectations, and even they tend to have their own personal codes.

Fifth and sixth are the Mountain and Temple, the period of experience and middle age. Here, the wanderlust of youth is gone, and seasoned ninja often return to their villages and begin families. They work to help manage their villages, the economics and politics that keep these hidden strongholds alive. Their biggest job is to preserve the knowledge and skills they have learned, for in the past, many secret arts were lost, and the clans have resolved never to do this again. All ninja, no matter their clan or preference, are expected to take on at least one apprentice, if not more, before their death, to ensure that unique jutsu and techniques remain available.

Finally comes Sky, the period of mastery. The old and wise are deeply revered by the ninja, and to survive this long means to take on a leadership role. Even if they do not lead their clan, they are expected to bring honor to it and servei t. Sooner or later, however, everyone dies - passes on to the sky overhead, in which the spirits of the dead travel in the wind. Ninja know this, and generally they accept growing old and passing on. Some are content to die in bed, surrounded by students, friends and family, while others find a renewed need for the adventure of youth and perhaps undertake one final mission from which they do not plan to return. In death, their honor is locked in place, and even the bitterest and least spiritual rival will fear to desecrate the memory of a fallen ninja. Few will risk the grave dishonor that comes from publically holding a grudge against the dead.

Next time: What it means to be in a clan.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


I kinda like that the common man is starting to go 'You know, gently caress this ninja and crusader bullshit.'

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



Night10194 posted:

I kinda like that the common man is starting to go 'You know, gently caress this ninja and crusader bullshit.'

"Oh boy. I'm just so tired of all these Ninja Crusades."

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010



Lipstick Apathy

Whatever even is Unknown Armies? I'm listening to RPPR do an Actual Play of the 3rd Edition, and it revolves around a MAGA chud, a vaper, a Muslim, and a jazz musician being asked by a mysterious lady (to whom they all owe a life debt to) to recover the platonic ideal of a cookie from a failed baking show and then they get haunted by the ghost of Hitler because the cookies and the penis cake it came with can cure stage 4 brain cancer but turns you insane because there's nothing left in life to do once you've tasted Food, Period.

It's like a mash-up of a Coen Brothers movie, an X-Files episode, Borat, and Memento.

gradenko_2000 fucked around with this message at 05:14 on Jun 30, 2017

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





gradenko_2000 posted:

Whatever even is Unknown Armies? I'm listening to RPPR do an Actual Play of the 3rd Edition, and it revolves around a MAGA chud, a vaper, a Muslim, and a jazz musician being asked by a mysterious lady (to whom they all owe a life debt to) to recover the platonic ideal of a cookie from a failed baking show and then they get haunted by the ghost of Hitler because the cookies and the penis cake it came with can cure stage 4 brain cancer but turns you insane because there's nothing left in life to do once you've tasted Food, Period.

It's like a mash-up of a Coen Brothers movie, an X-Files episode, Borat, and Memento.
That sounds about accurate, really.

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




Unknown Armies is a game about broken people who are so crazy that they get magical powers from it trying to change the world.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

It's also a game that goes "what if all the batshit crazy urban legends and conspiracy theories were true" and works from how scary that would be. Unknown Armies is very much a response and critique to World of Darkness stuff, in that all of its horror originates from humanity. No supernatural monsters required. "You did it."

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.


gradenko_2000 posted:

Whatever even is Unknown Armies? I'm listening to RPPR do an Actual Play of the 3rd Edition, and it revolves around a MAGA chud, a vaper, a Muslim, and a jazz musician being asked by a mysterious lady (to whom they all owe a life debt to) to recover the platonic ideal of a cookie from a failed baking show and then they get haunted by the ghost of Hitler because the cookies and the penis cake it came with can cure stage 4 brain cancer but turns you insane because there's nothing left in life to do once you've tasted Food, Period.

It's like a mash-up of a Coen Brothers movie, an X-Files episode, Borat, and Memento.

Cosmic bumfights.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Night10194 posted:

I kinda like that the common man is starting to go 'You know, gently caress this ninja and crusader bullshit.'
We need more games where people are sick of whatever decades/centuries long war is going on.

gradenko_2000 posted:

Whatever even is Unknown Armies? I'm listening to RPPR do an Actual Play of the 3rd Edition, and it revolves around a MAGA chud, a vaper, a Muslim, and a jazz musician being asked by a mysterious lady (to whom they all owe a life debt to) to recover the platonic ideal of a cookie from a failed baking show and then they get haunted by the ghost of Hitler because the cookies and the penis cake it came with can cure stage 4 brain cancer but turns you insane because there's nothing left in life to do once you've tasted Food, Period.

It's like a mash-up of a Coen Brothers movie, an X-Files episode, Borat, and Memento.
Please report back after you listen to the second RPPR UA game.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts World Book 14: New West Part 6: "They are slightly bigger than humans and radiate a warm glow when happy or feeling positive."

The Golden Ones
The magic & nobility of the Lyn-Srial By Chris Kornmann & Kevin Siembieda


So, we're given a fiction chunk about a golden bird-guy who is "cloaked in regal fashion" in a "room... reminiscent of ancient Chinese architecture". He introduces his people as the Lyn-Srial, the "light of the universe". They once lived in a place named Vir-Riial amongst the clouds where they pursued the magical arts and gave no fucks about the ground. However, a storm called the Raging Skies came and flung them across the multiverse. A number of them arrived on Earth, and it seems like the Raging Skies may be related to the opening of the rifts. On Earth they seek to "start life anew, and bring wisdom and peace to those who crawl on the face of the planet". He explains how they've befriended the Cyber-Knights, Apache, and Navajo, and seek to oppose forces like the Coalition, Xiticix, vampires, and Simvan raiders. Many of them become Sky-Knights to wander the land to bring peace through wizardry.


Militant Big Birds.

The Lyn-Srial
More commonly known as Sky-Knights or the Golden Ones


So, they're golden bird people with four arms (two of which are their wings, and the other two are normal arms). They used to live in generically peaceful bliss in a dimension called the Skylands or Vii-Riial, but the dimensional cataclysm on Earth apparently sent shockwaves out that wrecked other dimensions like the Skylands. Whups. Those that arrived on Earth see themselves as embodiments of a prophecy that predicted they could be thrown throughout the universe to bring peace to numerous worlds... but only be successful on a third of the worlds they visit. Also, a tiny number will go eeevil, according to the prophecy. Dun dun okay that's not really surprising, that's pretty typical. See also: True Atlanteans. They generally live around Arizona, Utah, and Northern Mexico, where they seek to assist local communities and try to bring harmony.

Tryth-Sal, Arizona
The Cliff City of the Golden Ones


Carved out of the cliffs of the Grand Canyon, this is a idyllic place where they used the ley line to create a mist that hides their city, but also makes it 24/7 daylight time. Don't question it! Being here gets a small bonus on saves to avoid comas or death, a huge bonus against possession (+10!) and will melt any vampire unfortunate enough to visit outside of a sealed coffin. It's mostly Lyn-Srial, but also has a fair number of Fennodi, humans (mostly Apache), and D-Bees. There are 2d6 Cyber-Knights 80% of the time, except for three which live there permanently (so, really just 100% of the time), including the Navajo Cyber-Knight Lady Sharla Wild Wind. We're told around 3000 Sky-Knights are out in the world at any given time, but return for the "Festival of Light".

The Lyn-Srial are much by a Council of Elders which are the "oldest and wisest" but are somehow voted in for life? There are 20 of them, each with a different purview (art, magic, economy, etc.). The Council is traditionally obeyed without question because the Council is seen as "enlightened" and beyond reproach. Sounds like a great system of government. Crime is almost unheard of because the Lyn-Srial are peaceful and caring. They generally try and convince criminals to change their ways at length, and if that doesn't work, they're exile the person. They're willing to be violent in defense, but rarely kill if they can help it. They recognize that some creatures are inherently evil (see also: splugorth) but would rather repel such forces than destroy them because they think that mayyybe they're turn over another leaf, some day. They also accept that some creatures have to be evil as part of their nature. Essentially, they're ridiculous Pollyannas considering the number of "naturally evil" creatures in-setting.

Generally they're allied with the Cyber-Knights and local indigenous groups (they appreciate "noble savagery", I guess). Naturally, the Coalition will probably try and blow them to hell someday. The Lyn-Srial have generic "oriental designs" for building as if we didn't get enough of that in Rifts World Book 8: Japan. They respect technology but don't embrace it.

The Elegant Art of Cloudweaving

So, Lyn-Srial, being special goldflakes, get their own unique form of magic based around clouds. Other races can learn it, but only if they have an intelligence and mental endurance of 18+ (literally around a 1 in 100,000 roll, even taking the 16+ bonus roll into account). Lyn-Srial women are more adept at it because womens is mystical, and only women can become "Cloudweavers".

The magic is split into a number of categories: War, Defense, Peace, Mind, Travel, Survival, and Creation. Any Lyn-Srial can learn Defense, Travel, or Survival spells, and Sky-Knights and Cloudweavers get to learn the rest. Because it's "alien" to other races it imposes a -3 penalty to save against it unless one is "familiar with its use", which is rather vague. Learning requires one to have inner peace while under the tutelage of a Cloudweaver, otherwise they no doubt Yoda at you about learning control and fear leading to anger etc. Also, those seeing it for the first time must make a roll against "Awe Factor" of 16 or be stunned because it's so pretty and special and more pretty and more special.

They're laying it on awful loving thick.


If you thought pictures of rocks were exciting, this cloud may blow your mind.

Cloud Magic
By Chris Kornmann & Kevin Siembieda


Because "Cloud" is between Arizona and Colorado! Yep, that's how this is organized. In any case, the usual caveat: I'm not going to cover every one of the nearly sixty spells listed here.

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

Character Notes: Cloud Magic is more akin to Oriental mysticism than magic as understood and practiced by most humans and D-bees. Consequently, it is much more difficult for non-Lyn-Srial to master and grow in the mystic arts of the Cloudweaver or Sky-Knight. This means non-Lyn-Srial must expend 50% more P.P.E. when casting a spell, need an additional 1500 experience points to advance each level (use the Cloudweaver and Sky-Knight E.P. tables), and must have a minimum I.Q. and M.E. of 18 each, as well as an open and imaginative mind. Also note that the Golden Ones will not teach their magic to selfish, evil or vengeful people, and requires years of training.

It takes 1D4+4 years before the character advances to first level Sky-Knight and 2D4+14 years to become a Cloudweaver!



This sure is some World of Darkness-level "our new splat is sooo cool and unique you better work hard if you want to be half as rad"! nonsense. Yeah, I'm sure a PC has ~19 years to spend loving around with clouds. That's gonna happen. Enough of my petulance, though! On with the clouds!

Clouds of War
  • Cloud Disc: Does minor mega-damage with an automatic knock-down; you can try and dodge at -3, but you need a 17 (!) or higher to dodge. Maybe it's really big.
  • Clouds of Imprisonment: Locks a target in a cloud dimension for a number of turns. Successful save just reduces the duration. You can't do anything to stop it outside of dispel magic or the like.
  • Cloud Lance: One of a number of weapons that make lovely weapons out of clouds (1d6-4d6 M.D.). Maybe it's intentional that hitting people with cloud-swords isn't that effective.
  • Poisonous Cloud: Reduces combat bonuses and attacks and skills by half. A successful save means you're only debuffed by a fourth. Round up? Round down? It's a mystery aside from the fact we have a lot of "successful save still sucks".
  • Storm Cloud Lets you create a storm that gives a Horror Factor and direct pretty powerful lightning bolts at foes (average of 50 M.D., not bad for a spell) but only twice a round. Dodges are at -5, whee.
Clouds of Defense
  • Blinding Flash: Reprint corebook spell, call it a day.
  • Cloud of Darkness: Put somebody in darkness and blind them for minutes (no running away, the darkness sticks to the target). Even a successful saving throw just reduces the duration to 6 seconds. Or you can put it on yourself and people are -9 to hit you, but you can't see.
  • Storm Rider Armor: One of several armor spells, this provides paltry armor - (Level + 2 x 10) M.D.C. However, this makes you impervious to all elemental magic, lightning, ley line storms, all energy damage is halved, and you can fly and get a bonus to dodge. The Ronco package of spells: "And that's not all!"
Clouds of Peace
  • Cloud of Harmony: A blast radius of soothing music that makes people stop fighting and then not want to fight even after the duration's over. But if you save you can punch a bird and break the spell. (Now I want to play a Lyn-Siral that goes around and stops the Coalition with smooth jazz, poo poo.)
  • Cloud Haven: Transport willing people to a cloud dimension where they're safe for hours, before plopping them back where they were.
  • Winds of Change: This causes a character to "rethink his next immediate actions" by giving him insight to their ramifications. Mostly fluff, but I guess clouds are fluffy.
  • Winds of Regret: If somebody's about to seriously harm or kill somebody, this will stun them and show them the consequences of their actions. The target may or may not give a poo poo.
Clouds of Travel
  • Cloud of Ascension: A simple levitation spell all Lyn-Srial learn so they can Zenyatta around, as if natural flight wasn't smug enough.
  • Cloud Surfing: Let's you surf around on the wind on a tiny cloud. At high speeds you have to make balance rolls (at a penalty, never normally) or fall, and if you can't normally fly and you're not mega-damage, expect to die when you take 1d4 or 1d6 M.D. falling damage that ignores armor.
  • Portal to the Beyond: For a huge P.P.E. cost, teleport to Tryth-Sal or the astral plane. Mind, we have very, very little description of what's on the astral plane, how physical bodies work there, or... anything else there, so have fun making up poo poo, GMs!
Clouds of Survival
  • Breath of Life: Lets you ressurrect a dead person that isn't more than hour old, though it won't restore missing parts. A very rare reliable resurrection spell - not many of those in Rifts.
  • Cloud of Healing: 45 P.P.E. to restore 3d6 M.D.C.? That's a P.O.S.!
  • Warmth of the Sun: A space heating spell. Whee.
  • Calm Storms, Globe of Daylight, See the Invisible, Tongues... a lot of spells reprinted from the corebook.
Clouds of the Mind
  • Cloud of Insanity: Causes a bad trip that lasts a minute x caster level that completely incapacitates a target. Also gets a special extra-difficult saving throw. A pretty ridiculous save-or-suck spell, but cloud magic seems to be loaded with them.
  • Mind Over Matter: Gives you extra lifting capacity and also immunity to possession, mind control, and horror factor. One of these things is not like the other...
  • Mist of Illusion: A spell that makes those in the cloud -4 to save against Horror Factor, and then inflicts an increasing Horror Factor every round that's twice as effective as normal, meaning mathematically speaking a mid-level cloud-caster can make a spooky cloud more terrifying than the most powerful gods, demons, or entities.
  • Warrior's Mist: This makes your level appear "1d4+1 higher than is true", but... can people sense your level? I don't think they can.
Clouds of Creation
  • Cloudweaving: This lets you shape clouds for an amazingly overpriced 100 P.P.E. Granted, they're still clouds, so, uh, it's good for skywriting and not much else. "SURRENDER KARL."
  • Cloud Castles: Lets you shape clouds and make them solid... if you have 1000 P.P.E. lying around, it can last a year.
  • Paint the Sky: Uh, so, yeah. Make an area of the sky the exact color you want. Have fun.
Though a lot of it is situational or flavor magic, cloud magic is actually really strong on account of its ridiculous save-or-suck spells. It would really go off the rails in the hands of an evil lyn-srial, since it doesn't have any alignment actually associated with it. "Okay, I incapaciate you for five minutes and then shoot you in the head. Peace be upon you... forever!"

Next: Lost Boys.

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 20:07 on Jun 30, 2017

DalaranJ
Apr 15, 2008

Yosuke will now die for you.


Coalition Soldier 1: Hey, Kev, what does this place remind you of?
Coalition Soldier 2: I don't know, Bob, 1st century, maybe 2nd century Chinese?
Coalition Soldier 1: Yeah, that's what I was thinking, Han dynasty stuff. Well, the mech's here, let's go light up some bird d-bees.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Ninja Crusade 2nd Edition: Clan Clan Goes The Trolley

Every clan is different, with their own hierarchies and responsibilities, and rank within a clan is often a complex mix of power, experience and popularity. Clan structure dictates what kind of missions a ninja can take, if they can lead a squad or take an apprentice, and what punishments they can expect for mistakes or breaking clan laws. It gets even more complicated when several clans are in one place, such as in Danketsu. Still, most clans have a pretty basic framework. The clan's Master is at the top, the highest rank any ninja can achieve. Many achieve the skills needed to attain the rank, but few reach the rank itself - only the most powerful, wise and accomplished, in most clans, though in some it is also hereditary, requiring the correct bloodline. The Master's duty is to see to the safety and wellbeing of all under them, and even civilian allies and families in clan territories must obey the policies and commands of a clan's Master. They are the final authority on all advancement and visiting rights.

Below the Master are the various titled ninjas - those who have become so notable that they are given a special name to honor them, like the Devil of Seven Murders or Shinji the Blind. These ninja are usually older members of the clan and have proven histories of leadership, tactical skill and willingness to sacrifice their own health to succeed in missions. Titled ninja serve as advisors to the Master and ambassadors to other clans, and can range from only one or two ninja to a variety from many different walks of life. Beneath the titled ninja come all other full ninja, who may have various minor ranks but are much closer to each other than the Master or the titled. They are given respect and responsibility based on age, ki mastery and past accomplishments, with more respected ninja leading squads or overseeing assignments for lower ninja. The lowest obey those above, do their work as best they can and remember that they carry the entire clan's honor in their dealings with outsiders.

Most clans lack any formal justice system, but they do follow codes of behavior and punish those that violate the rulings of elders or clan traditions. These punishments can vary wildly in complexity and severity, based on the offense, the offender's rank, any history of disciplinary problems and any existing explanations or mitigating circumstances. A mild punishment may just be a verbal rebuke by the elders telling you not to do the thing again, but the higher rank you get, the less leeway you tend to get given - you're expected to know better. Apprentices are often exempt from many traditional punishments, as they are still learning the ropes, though their master is expected to punish them if they gently caress up hard enough. If they still don't learn, they may find themselves before the elders, however. Beyond the simple rebuke, a ninja can also be censured, with their behavior recorded in official clan records and used against them in future punishments. Ninjas can also be demoted, either temporarily or permanently, possibly even freezing any chance of promotion. (This does not receive the mechanical benefits of rank, but does remove social bonues.)

A ninja that does something even worse than that may be punished by ostracism. The entire village will ignore them as if they didn't exist. They are not made to leave, but may not take missions, purchase goods or participate in social activity. This is a very severe but generally temporary punishment, and often is enough to get those who suffer it back on the straight and narrow. For those who do not, there is exile - usually temporary, again, for perhaps a week to a season or even a year. It is rare but possible that exile can be permanent. Only the most extreme crimes against the clan merit death. Ninjas sentenced to death are generally given three options: they may commit ritual suicide, they may take a suicide mission for the clan, or they can fight an honor duel to the death with a village champion.

The clans often do not get along, but they have now banded togethr thanks to the Ninja Crusade. It is believed that leaders of the Hidden Strands of Fate were responsible for revealing the locations of several ninja villages in the early Crusade, to wipe out their enemies. This led to the total destruction of the Still Ponds and Suicide Kings clans, wiped out utterly by the Imperial Army. After this, the Imperials attempted to destroy the Recoiling Serpents and Grasping Shadows as well as the Hidden Strands, who were double-crossed by the Emperor in favor of the Golden Lions. Wanted posters were everywhere, and even those who didn't identify as ninja but had developed their own jutsus were hunted down. Those who refused to turn in known ninja were often imprisoned without trial. It was clear to everyone that they'd be picked off, one by one, if they did nothing.

It was at this time that the Warden of Equilibrium elder named Sakamoto Hanzo sent urgent letters to every major Izou clan master, reminding them of the roots of the ninja in the Orime Rebellion and War of Withered Fangs. He told them their fate was always to come together when needed, and that without cooperation, they would all die. It took months to convince everyone to listen. The first were the young clans, the Blazing Dancers, Bamboo Herbalists and Virtuous Body Gardeners. It was not until the Jade Kama were wiped out that the rest listened. After all, centuries of battle and feuding are not easily forgotten. The Lotus Coalition was unstable at first, but the Wardens took charge in making groups that worked well together. The Coalition was ultimately opened to any ninja, even a ronin, to join if they would fight the Empire.

It's gone relatively well. In exchange for safety in various villages, monasteries and compounds, ninja fought in various roles against the Empire. The mixing of clans gave them many tools to use in the war, allowing them to call on the secret traditions of each clan in battle to work with each other. It had never been done before, and it was amazingly potent. However, while the ninja worked well in battle, peaceful periods proved trying. Ninja are traditional sorts of people, on the whole, and rudeness and insolence from some of the younger clans was galling. Strict rules were enacted to avoid bloodshed, but it didn't keep people from seeing how some of their enemies truly thought of them.

The ninja, together, planned the assault on the capital Daiwa, to murder the Emperor. That murder was done by the ronin Danketsu, and it was in his honor that united village of Danketsu was founded. The idea was that in this village, all ninja were equal. It would be neutral ground, where violence was forbidden. It would be hidden in the far reaches of Oak Leaf Province, away from Imperial eyes. This allowed it to prosper even during the worst times, and the water-based jutsu of the Grasping Shadows and Living Chronicle helped them weather the Year of Floods. Allies from across the Empire were brought in, from peasant hunters and fishermen to teachers to even Imperial defectors. Most of the villagers, in fact, are not ninja and depend on the ninja to protect them. These are allowed to leave whenever they wish, as most have family in other lands. However, there are strict measures in place to keep Danketsu's location secret, and any citizen that betrays the location will die - and quickly.

The land of the village was provided by the Bamboo Herbalists, who control the area. They are few, but longlived, and they have often worked with other clans in the past. They now view Danketsu as their true home, and have built several schools of medicine and alchemy to teach anyone who wishes to learn how to heal others. The Blazing Dancers are in charge of celebrations and entertainment in the village, and a number of their troupes have been moved from their home base, the Wu Ji Theater, to Danketsu. They also serve as the dirge-singers at funerals for the fallen. The Grasping Shadows are highly traditional assassins, and many have come to Danketsu to serve as teachers, showing others how to fight, sneak and kill. Their veterans also take on assassination missions for the Coalition frequently. The Hidden Strands are politicians born, liars and traitors, but they are also excellent advisors and ambassadors to outsiders. They even work to infiltrate the Izou courts and manipulate them from within. Few trust them, but they are necessary.

The Living Chronicle are the historians of Danketsu and its premier teachers. They do not only teach their knowledge to ninja, but to any child that wishes to learn, in the hopes of improving future generations. Danketsu, as a result, has the highest literacy rate anywhere, even more than in Daiwa. The Pack of the Black Moon are used to living off the land with their dogs, and so they were put in charge of keeping the village self-sustaining. They manage all agricultural and animal husbandry-related projects for the village, and also allow other ninja to come play with their ninja puppies in a special kennel. The Recoiling Serpents have the fewest ninja in Danketsu, as their pride makes them stand alone. They do not have a special task, but serve where they are needed and are able to take on any role. However, almost no one trusts them, remembering their role in the War of Withered Fangs and the very, very nasty deeds they are renowned for.

The Virtuous Body Gardeners don't tend to like staying in one place, and while many have come to Danketsu, they rarely stay long. The ones who don't wander off, however, are the peacekeepers and wardens of the village (despite the efforts of the Will of Iron to take that job), and they make sure everyone else doesn't start trouble. This is probably good, as they understand nuance better. The Wardens of Equilibrium are the merchant ninja, and they have embraced Danketsu. Many run shops in the village, but their real task is keeping the place funded, negotiating with nearby villages for goods and managing the budgets. The Will of Iron stepped forward to be the wardens, but it was instead ruled that their skills were more needed in building. The Will of Iron, after all, are also notable craftsmen, and they were put to work in making the walls and towers that protect the village as well as forging the weapons that keep the war going. They'll also team up with the Gardeners when a crime is too big for one clan to handle. Ronin are also welcome, of course, but have no specific job. They are tolerated, if still somewhat marginalized, and are responsible for themselves, but are expected to contribute.

Danketsu is run by the Tribunal. Each of the Coalition's major clans elects three members to represent them on the Tribunals, and the Ronin and non-ninja also send 3 representatives each, for a total of 36 members. Each has one vote, and majority rules. When the Tribunal is tied, whifch has only ever happened twice, Sakamoto Hanzo is the tiebreaker vote. He remains deeply respected even to this day and was elected to his position nearly unanimously. The Tribunal meets once a month to listen to concerns fro mthe village and vote on them. They also meet in emergencies to pick squads for missions, and many have a hope that this democracy will spread when the war is over.

Danketsu has existed for seven years, and the war's been going on for 20. Anyone 20 or younger has known only war - and for most of that time, they have known that ninja work together, regardless of clan. This means the young tend to be more optimistic, while clan elders try to teach them the old rivalries and to hate and fear the old enemies of their clans. For the young, that is difficult - they only see the present, where their friends are of many clans, and they all work together to get the job done and teach each other. Many elders have found it impossible to push their youngsters against the friends and neighbors they have now, even if it may become necessary, when the Crusade is over, to fight and even kill those former friends. The elders hope that they can prepare the young for what they see as inevitable. The young ninja, however, see the world as better in Danketsu. Many have made secret pledges to defy their elders and leaders if asked to betray their friends, no matter what clan they come from. If this happens, Danketsu will likely erupt into an age-based civil war that may destroy it.

Next time: Clans! CLAAAAAANS!

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Wapole Languray
Jul 4, 2012





§2.3 Getting Along With Others
Let’s learn some useful hints about how to get along with our fellow sapient denizens of this eternal prison dimension! Cause if you don’t learn this then your brain is going to run out of your ears eventually after you get turbo-murdered or go bonkers from seeing a spider the size of a blue whale in the sky every day.

§2.3.1 Vulgish, Languages, and Dialects

Most people in Oubliette speak “Vulgish” a language unique to the city which is somewhat based on Latin, but with elements of French, German, English, ancient Saxon, Italian, Arabic, Hebrew, and loanwords from everywhere else imaginable. Most speakers have a colloquial dialect or creole based upon where they come from, and it’s reliably easy to pinpoint where someone lives based on their “accent”. Vulgish is mutually intelligible regardless of the dialect, and most can also speak some rough smattering of Vugish’s component languages. Some groups speak other languages as well: The Draculeans use Old-French, the Koom their native language of Rhol, many different goblinoid tongues, and the fae just speak whatever they want and seem to enjoy making up new languages for fun.

§2.3.2 People, Creatures, and Civilization

In short: Don’t judge by appearances. There’s lots of folk in Oubliette, and not all of them are human. Or humanoid. Every thinking being is made of the same basic soul-stuff, and over the eons beings can change radically in nature and form. You can’t look at someone or something and make any sort of assumptions about what they are, what they were, or what they will be. Gods may become beggars, and vice versa.

Lots of humanoids, particularly those who live in the Interior, have a nasty habit of falling into confirmation bias as to the nature of sentience. They start assuming humanoids are civilized, and anything else is an animal. But, just because something has fangs, and armored carapace, and feasts on human flesh doesn’t mean they can’t carry a conversation. In Oubliette even horrible drooling abominations can be engaged in pleasant conversation and maybe you can make a new friend with something twice your size that breathes fire and is made out of concrete.

Mind that if you aren’t humanoid yourself, some of the more mundane types might assume you’re a monster on first sight, so if you find yourself with a few extra limbs and an armored carapace maybe avoid the calmer districts if you don’t want the torches and pitchforks to come out.

§§2.2.3 & 2.3.4 Finding Companions & Joining Factions

One’s first priority should be to learn enough Vulgish to be able to talk to people, which should be fairly quick. Most Vulgish speakers can understand at least some of any other language, so you’ve got not far to go to be able to carry an at least rough conversation. Then, find somewhere to belong. This often involves going out and exploring the castle to find your place in the world, and it may take decades to do, but it’s time well spent.

Then once you’ve gotten a life and social situation sorted, you might look to join one of the major factions of the Castle. Or if you’ve got some gumption. Or if you’re unique and interesting enough, they may find you. Some factions are fairly open to membership, others are extremely selective, and some are functionally impossible to join.

Some of the factions newcomers will most likely run into are the Draculeans, especially in Spearfield, the Guild in Grandhall, the Thorns because good luck avoid them, and the Feeders who are always a welcome sight to the poor and downtrodden. If you’re really lucky you’ll even run into the New World, which is the best start you can get in the World of the Forgotten.

As for people who get snapped up by the factions proactively, High-blooded Vampires are always “invited” into the Draculeans. Saints, Crusaders, and other prominent religious figures are fought over b y the Thorns and Ordo Sancti. If you know your magic then the Magi and Transcendence Club will seek you out, and there are other racial, social, or talent based qualifications that will put you on a short list for membership with some power-group.



§2.3.5 Views on Castle Oubliette
So, what the hell is this place anyway? It’s known that the World of the Forgotten is the Afterlife. Or an Afterlife. At least it’s generally assumed it is. Probably? The fact is, if someone does know what’s actually going on they aren’t telling, so there’s lots of competing theories about just what the hell Castle Oubliette and the World of the Forgotten actually are.

  • Hell
    It’s HELL! Or Hells. Or some combination of all the “Hells” of many religions put together. People point to the existence of the Undead, to the fact there’s no trace of any sort of God or real ruling power, the presence of monsters and what seem to be legit literal demons, and the whole reincarnation thing that seems perfect for eternal punishment. It doesn’t help that some parts of the castle look straight out of a Hieronymus Bosch.

  • Heaven
    Nope, obviously heaven. It’s known that there are Angels, or things shockingly like them, in the city. People do in fact live forever. You can become, eventually, anything you want. You can make or find anything you can wish for as well. Honestly, most of the bad stuff comes from your fellow beings, and if people just got along the place could easily be a paradise. If Oubliette is Hell, says this camp, then it’s a really poo poo one.

  • Purgatory
    Some hold that Oubliette is a waiting room, a stopping place before going on to the legit actual afterlife. A place to separate the wheat from the chaff, and a second chance to find redemption. Or, more disturbingly, the afterlife for people who are neither good enough or evil enough to go to heaven or hell, a prison for the spiritually mediocre.

  • The Pagan Beyond
    Held by people and beings who either don’t adhere to the Abrahamic faiths or are older than their spread, this posits the World of the Forgotten is just the Afterlife, Underworld, Hades, etc, the singular afterlife found in many polytheistic religions, or at least a part of it. This theory is hard to refute, but as it offers no actual explanation most see it as kind of unsatisfactory.

  • The Abrahamic Something Else
    Maybe it’s outside of creation, the “Outer Darkness”, or the non-creation of primal chaos, or the rough draft of a new creation, or the remnants of a far future post-Revelation Earth, or some other thing yanked out of the reams of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim apocrypha and scripture.

  • The Insane God
    Essentially the Gnostic view. Oubliette is obviously a product of God or the Creator or the Demiurge or whatever going nutso and Heaven and Hell getting all mashed up together into a chaotic madhouse. Nothing makes sense and everything’s weird because the World of the Forgotten is the twisted product of the diseased mind of a mad divinity.

  • The Dead God
    God is Dead! Castle Oubliette is the Afterlife devoid of God, as creation crumbles and mixes like dust in the wind. Everything’s mixed up and poo poo because no one's there running things anymore and we’re just waiting to dissolve into entropy and chaos. Popular among the completely nihilistically depressed and the utterly hopeless. Not very popular a belief for obvious reasons.

  • The Un-God
    Oubliette is a maddened torture prison created by some cosmic embodiment of total evil and depravity, the dark mirror of creation made by an evil, or insane, or idiotic being equal to God. If God is Omnibenevolent, Omniscient, and Omnipotent then whoever made Oubliette was Omnimalevolent, Omni-Ignorant, and Omni-Impotent.

  • Fae Land
    The Otherworld, Land of the Fae, invaded my Mundane people who fell through the cracks of reality into this Wonderland. Faeries are here, and magic and wonder! This is a belief held only by those who are not and do not deal with the Fae, and don’t really know how they work within Oubliette.

  • Over the Edge
    The baffling belief that the world is flat, and Oubliette is on the flipside of Earth. While the World of the Forgotten is apparently actually flat, there is a sun that crosses the sky daily, and most people who know for a fact Earth is y’know… spherical dismiss this out of hand.

  • Atlantis
    The remnant ruins of Atlantis that was sucked into a pocket dimension! Dimensional space-rifts! It’s on the inside of the Hollow Earth! SPACE ALIENS! Insert wackadoo New Age-y belief here about Vril energies and lost civilizations.

  • Solipsism
    The Castle is actually all a dream within the imagination of an autistic boy who really likes snow globes. In essence, these people think everything is imaginary and they’re pulling an Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge, or are in a coma, or have some sort of turbo-schizophrenia. This generally gets these people in trouble with others who assert they do, in fact, exist.


Next time, §§2.4 and 2.5, which covers the natural laws of Oubliette, biology, time, and space.

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