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wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




Night10194 posted:

Oh, also, for anyone who wants to run WHFRP2e, I strongly recommend the Old World Bestiary. I have no idea how I'll eventually cover it, but it's a great set of fluff and very helpful to have a ton of common and wild monsters and suggestions on using them. The whole 'Common View, Scholar's View, Our Own Words' style of describing each monster is fantastic.

There's a line from an Eshin assassin about which poison is best for each kind of monster in the book.

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The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



Night10194 posted:

Not gonna lie, I was really hoping this would be a ninja building contractor.

I want stealthy architects who use subtle jutsus to constract cages around people who don't expect them or undermine supports on fortresses.

In Exalted you can perform Ninja Interior Redecoration.
If you build a facility on a leyline nexus you can use finely calculated geomancy to force the essence to crystallise into a gem called a Hearthstone. Carrying this around with you grants you a magic power, including some that can be quite useful in combat.
So if you break into someone's house and... move some of the furniture around, poison the fishpond... that precise feng shui is disrupted and they lose the Hearthstone until they can get home and fix it.

potatocubed
Jul 26, 2012

*rathian noises*


Night10194 posted:

Not gonna lie, I was really hoping this would be a ninja building contractor.

I want stealthy architects who use subtle jutsus to constract cages around people who don't expect them or undermine supports on fortresses.

Advanced Jutsu
Castling: While your enemy is distracted by a ninja technique, you hastily build a trap-laden fortress of doom in which to lair like a spider.

(In all seriousness though, Ninja Crusade sounds ace.)

potatocubed fucked around with this message at 07:39 on Jul 12, 2017

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


wiegieman posted:

There's a line from an Eshin assassin about which poison is best for each kind of monster in the book.

Rik'tik, Eshin Scholar! Yes-yes!

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Ninja Crusade: Land of Seed and Blossom - The Animals Aren't Body Horror

Bats are a Wood-elemental Celestial Beast whose skill is Perception. See, the Celestial Bat is a master of observation, noticing things no one else does and eavesdropping by habit. They are often used by their summoners as spies and info gatherers, and generally are found flying around their summoner, napping in a pocket or out on a scouting mission. Their Trigger is that while they are excellent scouts and spies, even the best can crack. The party gains 1 Karma when the animal fumbles a stealth mission.

The example Major Animal is a Warrior, Hoshiko. He's about twice the size of a normal bat and vaguely humanoid. He is obsessed with learning gossip and news, and will do anything he can to get it - buy it, trade it, listen for it. He is one of the stealthiest of animals, able to become semi-invisible at will. He's also very friendly and chatty, and can spend hours talking about just about anything before getting bored and wandering away. Only once he leaves does it become clear that he learned much and revealed little. He prefers summoners that are skilled at conversation, and who can either give him valuable information or juicy gossip, or who can manipulate his conversation to get valuable info out of him...though that's not something that happens often. He has 6 Health, 11 Psyche, 5 dice to attack, 8 to defend, Initiative 8, 2 Actions per Round, Armor 1, Damage +0 and 1 Dynamic Action, plus 5 dice in various knowledge and survival skills. He's Speed (+), Stealth (+), Fighting (-) - Hoshiko's an excellent flier that is a master of evading battle, but is not actually a very good fighter. He knows any four jutsu of Beasts or Movement, focusing on extrasensory ones. He can also tell lies instantly, and is able to teach the Deception Proof jutsu even to non-Will of Iron. When he must fight, he can swoop in and go for the eyes, causing Sensory Loss 2 if he does damage.

Legend has it that the Greater Bats have wings so broad as to blot out the sun. This happened during hte Fifth Catastrophe, on top of the spreading of Fa Disease. It's said that the ninja came together and defeated the Greater Bat Suzu in a unified assault that brought peace to many conflicts. Suzu still seeks revenge on the Blossoms for that.

Boars are Metal-elemental and their skill is Intimidation. No one is as stubborn or scary as they are. They are huge, hulking beasts that can end battles before they start, and can teach others how to best intimidate. They are more level-headed than rams tend to be, but are extremely set in their ways. In a farming community it's easy for them to be ignored, but not in other, more urban places. Their Trigger is how stubborn they are - they may not be prone to outbursts, but they will happily sit there uselessly for hours waiting for you to apologize for some slight. The party gains 1 Karma when a disagreement halts progress and causes issues.

The example Major Animal is the Master known as Imasu the Bold. He's a giant humanoid boar, one of the largest boars - around 21 feet tall, and proud to brag about it. He likes being the center of attention, appears to have given himself his own title and is extremely confident. He's super, super muscular, has a long braided beard and wields a giant iron club. His eyes also glow, and he breathes smoke. He boasts that he's never lost, and the truth is that he rarely even fights - most are frightened away by his appearance. When he actively tries to scare someone, legend has it that he has made entire armies faint. Some believe he made these legends up himself, however. To gain his loyalty, a Summoner must be willing to stand against overwhelming odds without flinching, and he especially likes those who stand up for what they believe in even at risk of their own lives and reputations. He has 30 Health, 15 Psyche, 10 dice to attack, 8 to defend, Initiative 2, 2 Actions, Armor 2, Damage +2 and 1 Dynamic Action, plus 5 dice on a variety of physical skills. He is Might (++), Fighting (+), Speed (-), Crafts (-) - he's a skilled warrior and you aren't going to win a contest of strength, but he's slow and easily caught by traps. He knows five jutsu from the Warrior, Survival and Metal. He also knows pretty much all of the Blunt, Rhino and Wildcat styles, and he's immune to Afraid, Knockout, Poison and Embarrassed. While in his presence, his summoner gets +2 to resist those.

The Greater Boars were very powerful in the Plague of Trees period, and in fact the Land of Seed and Blossom was briefly ruled by Shingen the Large, who stood as tall as the highest tree and was once worshipped as a god in the Land. The Third Catastrophe saw his boar minions hunted near to extinction, however, and in the end, Shingen left. He has always wanted to return and reclaim his worshippers, however.

Frogs are Water-elemental and their skill is Holistics. They come in many shapes and sizes, and they know all about poison, as they are often poisonous themselves. They also knopw all about antidotes. They tend to be grumpy and mean unless bribed with meals of bugs, however. The Grim Creepers aren't fond of them, because they especially love the taste of suu. Their Trigger is that they work for food, and running out is bad. The party gains 1 Karma when the frog leaves you in a lurch because you ran out of the bribe.

The example Major Animal is the Warrior Ran. She is a frog about as big as a lion, striped in blue and green. She is the best jumper in the entirety of the Land, and she is a huge busybody. She prefers to hide, despite her size, and is shockingly good at it. She also has a seat on her back that you can ride on. She loves following the soap opera that is human life, and is a compulsive gambler who likes to bet on whether people will break up or not. She's not above nudging people along to keep her money, but most people aren't prone to listening to a giant talking frog, so she's become very good at sneaking around. To get a pact with her, you must have love in her heart. She's often got crushes on her Summoners, but is too shy to mention it and instead prefers to help them find a human lover. She is very bad at doing this. She can also be charmed by a kiss or by showing your love to other humans with grand gestures. She refuses to ever work with Yakubyo's Pox. She has Health 8, PSyche 7, 6 dice to attack, 7 to defend, Initiative 7, 1 Action, Armor 1, Damage +1 and 1 Dynamic Action. She also has 5 dice to anumber of physical and social skills. She is Athletics (+), Speed (+), Fighting (-), Deception (-) - she's fast and nimble, but not a trained fighter and rather gullible. She knows Tiger's Leap, plus four jutsu of Water and Survival. In fact, every jump she makes has Tiger's Leap on it automatically. In her presence, the summoner can use it even if they don't have the jutsu, and if they do, they get +2 to activate it. She can carry only one rider at a time, but since each jump is a mile, she moves very fast. It takes a Might+Travel check not to fall off, however, when she makes her longer jumps. If this is used for a Journey, you can skip every other stage.

Greater Frogs are believed to have prophetic dreams. They tend to have Birthstones, and they use them to sense the flow of the universe. No Greater Frog has ever been summoned to Earth - somehow, their connection to the Frog Realm makes this impossible. However, it is believed that if one were to do so, they could control everyone with a Birthstone with ease.

The book ends on an adventure.Basically, it focuses on the icty of Kiheki, one of the Izou-controlled cities, and could be urn by either Blossom or Izou ninja, or both. The idea is that the two forces both show up to gently caress with the Empire and wander into a ninja battle as bandits attack. The ideal is that the two sides befriend each other and try and build some kind of alliance...assuming the Izou helped save a bunch of Blossom lives. If not, well, there will be problems.

The End!

Remaining books: Firebrands (Blazing Dancers and Body Gardeners), Truth and Lies (Will of Iron and Hidden Strands), Clan Pack #1 (three minor clans).

unseenlibrarian
Jun 4, 2012

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

Minor clans! I'm guessing the minor clans from the 1st ed themed clan books got moved there?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Ninja Crusade is way better thought out than I'd have thought it'd be. I've had regular players of mine say they want to try it some time once we get through our backlog of other games.

It kinda feels like L5R without all the terrible Wickening. L5R if it acknowledged people wanted to be rad ninjas and samurai and have cool adventures.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Sort of. There are minor clans in the two clanbooks, as well, Clan Pack #1 is for three minor clans that lack association with any major clan enough to fight into one of the major clan clanbooks.

(Though I'm still not sure why the guys with tigers are in Truth and Lies. I want to say it's that one, anyway.)

E: and yeah, Ninja Crusade combines pure anime bullshit powers with 'okay, and now how would actual humans react politically and socially'

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


I also appreciate that it feels like the Ninja Crusade is the villain more than just the empire, which fits the title.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

The Lone Badger posted:

In Exalted you can perform Ninja Interior Redecoration.
If you build a facility on a leyline nexus you can use finely calculated geomancy to force the essence to crystallise into a gem called a Hearthstone. Carrying this around with you grants you a magic power, including some that can be quite useful in combat.
So if you break into someone's house and... move some of the furniture around, poison the fishpond... that precise feng shui is disrupted and they lose the Hearthstone until they can get home and fix it.

Or it explodes.

Which reminds me of the fun detail that in First Edition, the best manses were specifically really boring-looking. If you built it correctly, all the geomantic energy goes into the hearthstone, so any cosmetic magical features like fire fountains or attracting lots of bluebirds is a sign that the architect wasn't good enough to achieve this and had to vent the excess Essence into some superficial puff.

In Third Edition they're changing it on the grounds that telling players that making their magic house look cool and magical means they are bad at their job is improper, thus making Lea sad.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

I also like the font Ninja Crusade uses; is that Alegraya? (/font snob)

That said one day I will hunt down everybody who indents the first paragraph under a heading.

MollyMetroid
Jan 20, 2004

Trout Clan Daimyo


The minor clan pack are clans that were under first edition released as PDF only expansions separately. There are three of them. One of them was written by Mikan (the Harmonious Swarm if I recall correctly.)

For the most part the content of the expansion books that were adapted from 1st edition (everything but Empire's Reign) are untouched, so if a minor clan appeared in one of them in first edition, they'll be there in second edition. Textually too, unless it was rules text or needed to be updated to be brought in line with the 2nd edition's newer developments in the game's history (1e was before the founding of Danketsu and the Emperor dying, for example) the body of the works remains largely the same, cleaned up a little bit perhaps but otherwise close to identical.

The corebook got a huge overhaul from 1e and the rules are 100% different and frankly superior in every way to the first edition. If it wasn't broken, though, they didn't fix it.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



As a side note, the rules text in Seed and Blossom shows that it was kind of copy job, they've been updated but a number of things remain confusing. (Resistance rolls for Conditions, for example, which I don't believe are usually a big thing.)

Leraika
Jun 14, 2015

slime time



Night10194 posted:

Ninja Crusade is way better thought out than I'd have thought it'd be. I've had regular players of mine say they want to try it some time once we get through our backlog of other games.

It kinda feels like L5R without all the terrible Wickening. L5R if it acknowledged people wanted to be rad ninjas and samurai and have cool adventures.

Yeah, I keep wanting to homebrew up some L5R clans and run it in this system. It's so refreshing.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer Fantasy: Knights of the Grail.

It's time to dream the impossible dream

Knights of the Grail handles the Empire's neighbor to the west, the backwards but noble realm of Bretonnia, where everything is stuck a couple centuries behind the norm of the setting and noble knights rule over grateful peasants in perfect feudal harmony. The noble knights, who are all men of good bloodlines, stand as the shield of their people against the monsters and horrors of the old world. In return, the peasants work the fields and cheerfully build their castles and feed their lords' armies, happy to give over 9/10ths of their income to their masters. The Knights worship the Lady of the Lake, the ideal of chivalry and honor who first rose up Giles d' Breton and his mighty companions to become the first king and dukes of the land. Everyone knows their place, unlike the Empire with its upstart merchants and grasping politicians and rebellious 'free' cities. There is no need for guns and machines, for chivalry, honor, and the Lady's Blessing are stronger than any coward's invention!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60WQUG3XW3M The Warhammer Total War Bret Trailer is basically a perfect example of how Bretonnians would tell you everything works. It's not, but it's also not quite as far off as you'd initially assume, which gets at why Bretonnia is one of the most interesting places in Warhammer.

I've talked about the sidebar that starts this book a lot in the past, but it's an important one for two reasons. It starts out by addressing what's going to be an elephant in the room throughout all of the Bret Book: Women are second class citizens in Bretonnia as written. Many of the careers in the book are only open to a female character if she pretends to be a man. The sidebar is about two things: First, it assures players and GMs that if that bothers their group, they are free to discard it. If you want all the feudal shenanigans and nothing to do with the crossdressing and gender politics, that's 100% fine. It's not necessary to remind players of this, of course, but I think it's good to do so; I've seen enough 40k Deathwatch posts on Fantasy Flight's forums about 'I have a woman in my group who wants to play a female Space Marine! How can I possibly violate canon like that? What do I do!?' that I think explicit permission to bend things around might be needed for some players. But it also contains a bit of 'But see where we're going with this. We think we can make it interesting' reassurance that I think is borne out by the rest of the book.

You see, one of the keys to Knights of the Grail is that Bretonnia's society is so thoroughly based on outward appearances and performances, supplemented by so many people bending the rules to make this insanely rigid mess work, that it does something very intelligent with the idea of PCs as peasants pretending to be nobles, nobles pretending to be peasants, and women pretending to be men: None of these things require checks to maintain and outside one specific instance, none of them limit your ability to play as any class or character. Being a woman in disguise, a peasant who stole a noble's armor and identity, or a noble who has disguised themselves to go among the Merry Men and right the deeper injustices plays into the theme of a setting. In Bretonnia, everyone has a thousand little things they pretend not to notice to keep up the appearances of a fairy-tale kingdom, and what you dress like and act like is often what society treats you like. Playing as a woman in Bretonnia is a plot hook, rather than a restraint on who and what you can play as.

Bretonnia is a beautiful kingdom. Its fields have always been fertile, its forests green and lush, and its food some of the best in the world. Bretonnian wine is celebrated all across the continent (and their beer reviled as worse than horse's piss), and the knights are actually often quite brave and talented in battle. Recently, at the first hint of the Storm of Chaos, Bretonnia set aside its various squabbles with its neighbors and instantly declared a crusade to aid in defending the world from Archaon; the Bretonnian Errantry war contributed significantly to making sure Chaos did as little damage as it did. Relations between Bretonnia and the Empire have never been better, King Louen Leoncour is considered a man who lives up to the truest ideals of the land, and they avoided taking the sort of damage the northern Empire suffered in the Storm. At the moment, Bretonnia is poised to have a very good century. Anyone wandering Bretonnia will see fantastic agricultural land and bounteous harvests as the rule rather than the exception, with much of the land made up of pleasantly rolling hills and meadows dotted with castles and small towns.

The problem is that Bretonnia is also an inefficient feudal monarchy mired in constant bickering between the dukes and knights, four or five centuries behind the Empire in technology, with a middle class that has to pretend it doesn't exist (yet is still completely essential to the economy) and most of its people trapped in desperate poverty and backbreaking labor for most of their lives. It is also beset by (and aided by!) the mysterious Fae beings that live in the eastern Athel Loren, a terrifying forest where time doesn't seem to work right and no-one is safe. These creatures steal children from their cribs, taking any Bretonnian boy or girl who might have a talent for magick, and parents are forbidden on pain of death to try to protect their children lest the realm draw the wrath of the Fae. Some of the other great forests are infested with Beastmen and without a professional army to patrol regularly, the people are reliant on wandering knights errant and their Lords' castles to defend them from such monsters. The mountains of Southern and Northern Bretonnia often see invasions by Orcs and Goblins. The coasts are often raided by the Norse. And, of course, a land full of worthy opponents and possible students in the form of its famed knights is a positive beacon to Blood Dragons. There's no shortage of grim and perilous adventure to be had in Bretonnia.

Next Time: Details on the Land and the People.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 16:32 on Aug 4, 2017

RocknRollaAyatollah
Nov 26, 2008



Lipstick Apathy

Do they ever address what happens if a High Elf wanders into Bretonnia with an adventuring party? I know the High Elves and Wood Elves don't really talk but I would imagine the average Bretonnian peasant or noble would be pretty spooked. Then again, do the Bretonnians even know Athel Loren is lousy with elves or do they just view them as nebulous, mysterious forest spirits?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


RocknRollaAyatollah posted:

Do they ever address what happens if a High Elf wanders into Bretonnia with an adventuring party? I know the High Elves and Wood Elves don't really talk but I would imagine the average Bretonnian peasant or noble would be pretty spooked. Then again, do the Bretonnians even know Athel Loren is lousy with elves or do they just view them as nebulous, mysterious forest spirits?

They actually regularly do business with Ulthuan's merchant houses in L'Anguille, even having embassies and formal relations. They don't see a connection because the Wood Elves of Athel Loren are really, *really* weird even by Wood Elf standards; Imperial Wood Elves from Laurelorn in Nordland are mostly just elven homesteaders' descendants who refused to leave the colonies. The actual Loren elves are...different.

This is why a Bretonnian noble would point to an elf as a posh british chap with a seafaring background (or possibly a spike-covered murder-canadian) but completely refuse to believe the weird spirit-things that come out of the Athel Loren are anything but the Fae.

At the time the Bret Book for WHFRP2e was written, no-one really had a very solid idea what was going on with the Athel Loren, and it's best that way. That place is terrifying.

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: GANGS

Or

Mostly Assholes, Mostly Forgettable and a Sprinkling of Okay




There are four tiers to joining a gang and...joining a gang is something that works way better before Perdition than after it. This is mostly because it just feels weird and tacked on to do that while also dealing with the anarchy of Hell. Thing is, some of these gangs don't exist before Perdition and even if they did, a lot of gangs aren't worth joining.

To join a gang, you basically have to be like "I want to join". This nets you Probationary Status which means you're not really trusted or particularly affiliated with them unless you prove your worth. Doing so gets you Junior Standing. You're an official member of the gang but you don't really have a say and just have to do the majority of work needed. Higher than that is Senior Standing which gets you access to resources, bossing around Juniors and calling on favors. The highest level is Inner Circle, the elders of the gang who have followed their rules long enough to shape them and engage in decision making processes. That's how it's explained fluff-wise. In mechanical execution:
  • Probationary status requires you to meet certain criteria to qualify. Promotions only happen when the Warden decides it's appropriate, judging based on roleplaying and things done for the gang.
  • Junior standing gives you access to a free Trait or 50 BP if you already have the Trait they're offering. This Trait is often not worth it and 50 BP is kind of a piddly equivalent, it should be at least 100.
  • Senior standing gives you a chance to add +1 to one of two stats.
  • All inner circle members gain 100 BP whenever they complete a mission that furthers the goals of their gang. Depending on the gang and the character and the player squad in question, this can be very good or very annoying. Either way, this is the main reason to join a gang. It could be worth more BP but as we'll see later, the authors kind of expect you to be a little stingy with BP and this is still a good income of points.
THE GANGS

Daughters of Slaughter (Post-Perdition Only):
"When most cons think of the Daughters of Slaughter, they think gothic “pony girls” armed with vicious knives and other weapons." Off to a great start! The Daughters were a very small clique of female prisoners made up of amoral and vicious criminals before Perdition. After Perdition, they started stylizing themselves as a hedonistic cult. They're in Hell, death is certain, take off your pants and hurt people before you die. Most of the members of their gang are depraved or sadistic and are using their hedonistic pursuits as a distraction for the horrors of what's going on. You might be asking "but where does one get a pony-play costume?". Do not fear. This question will be answered. Just not in this book.
  • Probationary: must be a woman, must accept a tattoo of a Gorgon head on your rear end, breast or lower back.
  • Junior: get the Cold Blooded Trait.
  • Senior: +1 to Reflexes or Intimidation.
Embracers (Post-Perdition Only): The Embracers are another cult, a throng of madmen and zealots who believe that if they just surrender to the glory of Hell that they'll be rewarded with a place in it. They're all crazy but that doesn't mean they're not able to come up with plans or have strategies, and this makes them dangerous. Some groups of Embracers have actually managed to come to a sort of accord with the Demons for power and protection.
  • Probationary: must have Damnation as a goal.
  • Junior: get the Seen Beyond the Veil Trait, a shiv and two doses of Kaleidoscope.
  • Senior: +1 Willpower or Intimidation.
Family (Pre/Post-Perdition): The Family are the Italian mob on the inside, retaining their structure behind bars. Before Perdition, the Family was focused on information brokering and surviving by making themselves necessary for people who needed things. They also focused on recruiting whoever could be a good asset for making the Family grow. Post-Perdition their goal is predominantly to profit from the chaos. People need safety, security, medicine and weapons and they're willing to sell all of them.
  • Probationary: kill a member of a rival gang or pay 1000 smokes.
  • Junior: free Cold Blooded Trait.
  • Senior: +1 Social or Intimidation.

A Daughter, an Embracer and a Family member. I have been kinda holding back on sharing the art for this book. It's not really good! I'm gonna share more and eventually I'm going to have to find a little thing I'm going to use to cover up nipples. But yeah dig that line work and also the fact that her breasts are just grapefruits in a latex fruit bowl, nevermind Lumpy Squishface. Also for real I was not joking about there being pony bondage in this game.
Fittest (Post-Perdition Only): The Fittest are a loose coalition of prisoners who are all motivated to survive Hell. Their immediately apparent goal is to secure supplies, weapons, a stable food source and a niche. They didn't have a leader to begin with and are still mostly just disorganized, like-minded individuals, but there's now an unofficial leader who believes in a radical version of survival of the fittest. Since his ascendance, the Fittest are required to be combat-ready at all times and expected to abandon their wounded or disabled because they're considered to be a drain or a waste of time.
  • Probationary: own a weapon that can be used multiple times.
  • Junior: free Scrounger Trait and a choice between a shiv or two first-aid packs.
  • Senior: +1 Reflexes or Wits.
Furies (Pre/Post-Perdition): The Furies aren't that big of a gang but they're willing to take most people into their ranks if they're female or have suffered. They're an all-female gang and are renowned for being ferociously protective of members, often using castration as a weapon/threat against people who'd hurt their members. Their reputation for attacking first and asking second has lead to them keeping other gangs at an arm's length; an alliance would help them but it might invite too many enemies to handle, so they have to monitor and decide before they open up like that.
  • Probationary: must be a woman, which I'm fine with but then why say they're willing to take in "others who have suffered at the hands of the ship's gangs"? Kind of a weird oversight.
  • Junior: free Woodbourne Shuffle Trait.
  • Senior: +1 Prowess or Wits.
Jailhouse Giants (Pre/Post-Perdition): The Giants are one of the bigger factions to have survived into Hell. Their deal is that they started off as the weakest members of the prison: the weak, the tortured, the isolated, the minorities, the defenseless. Figuring that there would be strength in numbers, the Giants started reaching out to the victims and banded together to protect each other. Their attacks on the other gangs were well-coordinated and their willingness to kill known predators put them on the map as a force to be reckoned with.
  • Probationary: must have the Tortured Trait.
  • Junior: free Brawler Trait.
  • Senior: +1 Prowess or Intimidation.

A Fittest, a Fury and a Giant (the only black man in this whole lineup).
Jaybirds (Pre/Post-Perdition): The Jaybirds are prisoners who've spent most of their lives behind bars, steeped in prison culture and customs. Their position is two-fold: we're not really a part of the whole political scene between the gangs, and if there are disputes we know the rules and will act as fair arbitrators of Jail Law. Their main role is to act as neutral parties to settle conflicts. While a lot of gangs think they're full of poo poo, enough of the bigger gangs use them as judges and arbiters so that they're still treated as such regardless.
  • Probationary: must be an Old-Timer or Lifer, must have a blackbird tattoo on your shoulder, forearm or back of hand.
  • Junior: free Impressive Background Trait.
  • Senior: +1 Wits or Social.
Lion's Army (Pre/Post-Perdition): The Lion's Army is a group of prisoners who are loyal to Christian ideals/traditions and able to quote scripture. Their ostensible goal is to redeem themselves through hard work, piety and volunteer service (to the extent of actively pursuing Trustee status amongst its members). However they're pretty heavily criticized by outsiders who believe that the inner circle was either corrupt or has been corrupted. The general accusation is that they keep up the Christian trappings while running operations and rackets so they can have their Communion wafers and eat them too, that they're nothing more than self-righteous religious bullies and hypocrites.
  • Probationary: either Redemption or Power as a goal and a tattoo of either a cross, image of Jesus or a lion).
  • Junior: free Found the Lord Trait.
  • Senior: +1 Willpower or Intimidation.
Protectors (Post-Perdition Only): The Protectors have attempted to step up and become custodians in the absence of order on the ship. The majority of the Protectors are ex-military or political dissidents who understand leadership and they're armed with a sizable stockpile of riot weapons they managed to acquire. The problem is that they have a general air of self-righteousness or just plain "we're better than the rabble, we're not really prisoners". A lot of the members view themselves as innocent of their crimes or think that the wicked deserve their just punishment and they're not entitled to protect criminals.
  • Probationary: must either have the Innocent Trait or the Redemption goal.
  • Junior: free Brawler Trait.
  • Senior: +1 Willpower or Wits.

A Jaybird, a Lion who looks very happy to see you and a Protector.
Rimshank Rippers (Pre/Post-Perdition): The Rippers are...weird. They started off as an underground knife-fighting league, a coalition of fighters who would dual as entertainment. Over time they started to develop their own techniques and styles and became renowned killers and entertainers. Post-Perdition, they're putting their knife skills to the test against exciting new opponents. Mechanically speaking, they bring nothing new to the table.
  • Probationary: kill an opponent in a knife fight, have a blade tattooed on your arm, shoulder or back.
  • Junior: free Knife-Fighting Trait.
  • Senior: +1 Prowess or Reflexes.
Skinheads (Pre/Post-Perdition): The Skinheads are incredibly problematic and not because they're Nazis and white supremacists. I mean, that's all they are and the game says as such: they're a hate group that uses open violence to terrorize their targets and are generally focused on survival and their own little slice of land. No, what's problematic is this sentence: "Note that “Skinheads” is just a generic heading; this gang type could easily represent gangs of other ethnicities as well." Don't bother coming up with your own gang, just scratch the name off of the white supremacists and slap some new clothes on them! Barf.
  • Probationary: kill a member of a rival gang as specified by the Skinheads and then "receive the gang's tattoo (which could virtually be any symbol or icon)" because you're expected to use this gang's mechanics to also represent, like, the Muslim Brotherhood or the Black Panthers behind bars or the Crips or the Bloods.
  • Junior: free Streetwise Trait, free shiv.
  • Senior: +1 Reflexes or Intimidation.
Ultramax Psychos (Pre/Post-Perdition): The Psychos aims to be the social club of the worst people on the Gehenna, and as a result they'll only recruit the worst. See, there are Ultramax cell blocks on the Gehenna and they contain a lot of murderers, a lot of rapists and a lot of morally reprehensible people. They're not so much a gang as they're the cool kids' club, only picking the best of the worst to hang out with them. And post-Perdition, they're one of the biggest threats on the ship.
  • Probationary: must murder someone for the purpose of joining the Psychos, must get the gang's tattoo (a head with three screaming faces).
  • Junior: free Psychopath Trait, three doses of Jump.
  • Senior: +1 Prowess or Intimidation.

A Ripper wearing his Michael Myers mask, a Skinhead John McClane and a particularly anime Psycho.
So, as previously mentioned, there is a premade campaign for this game. Of the 12 gangs, only 6 of them get a significant amount of screen time: the Daughters, the Embracers, the Furies, the Giants, the Skinheads and the Psychos. The Family, the Fittest, the Jaybirds and the Protectors all play a minor part or at the very least have like one scene. The Rippers and the Lion's Army get absolutely zero play, which is just as well because they're very meh. The majority of the campaign is generally the Daughters, Embracers, Skinheads and Psychos banding together with the Giants and the Furies trying to stand against them.

Also I'm not sure if you've noticed but a lot of the gangs offer Traits that an average player A: would never want or B: have already obtained and have gotten a bit of a raw deal by getting a mediocre amount of BP for it. The real exception to that is the Furies; Woodbourne Shuffle is a decent enough Trait that one would plan to get, so getting it for free only helps. Anyway, gangs do bring something to the table but they don't bring much.

CHAPTER FIVE: COMBAT

Or

I Can't Believe It's Only Two Pages!


As a refresher, Combat is a contested roll, meaning that it's "whoever rolls higher wins". If you think it's amazing that a bunch of Modern d20 content creators managed to put all of their combat rules in two pages, well ha ha don't worry a lot of these are maneuvers. So, without further ado, a list!
  • Initiative is 1d12+Reflexes. Any ties are broken with another roll, higher goes first.
  • Generally speaking, a turn is One Action, One Movement. Actions vary depending on what the GM will let you do. You can move then act or act then move.
  • I hope you're using a grid where each square represents 5 feet, motherfuckers. All prisoners can move up to 6 squares a turn or can give up acting to move twice.
  • Attacking is 1d12+Prowess. The defender automatically rolls 1d12+Reflexes against any attack. If the attacker exceeds the defense roll, it hits. This, by the way, is what makes Peek-A-Boo a real good Trait; you roll 1d20 instead of 1d12.
  • Using a Trait is done instead of attacking (though sometimes Traits work as attacks).
  • Move 2+ spaces in a line and then attack for a Charge which adds +2 to damage.
  • An opponent in a corner that is surrounded gets +1 to Defense rolls that lasts until there's a clear way out.
  • Delaying turns is a thing.
  • If you're in combat and want to go somewhere else, you have to roll an opposed Reflexes check against your opponent to be able to move. Fail the check and you can't move until you try again next round.
  • Dragging people/things reduces your movement by half.
  • Any time a single being finds themselves outnumbered in melee combat (1 vs 3, for example), they're ganged up on. Because they have to split their attention between multiple attackers, the dice they roll for defense goes down one level (1d12 becomes 1d10, for example). This is the main benefit of the Backstabber Trait; a defense reduced to 1d10 gets reduced further to 1d8. While this is nice on paper, there are a lot of creatures you absolutely do not want to be in melee combat with even if you're tanking its defenses.
  • You can pass through an ally's square but not an enemy's.
  • Reloading costs an action.
  • Standing up costs 1 square of movement.
  • Surprise attacks reduce the defense of the victim like if they were being ganged up on but it only lasts one round.
  • You can throw items one square for every 2 points of Prowess you have. This only applies to items that aren't meant to be thrown. These attacks mean you use one dice lower than you normally would (1d10 instead of 1d12) to see if you hit. On the upside, this deals damage as if you were fighting in melee. If it doesn't normally have stats or if you're throwing an empty gun, consult the improvised weapons table to see what an appropriate amount of damage would be.
That's it for combat. It sure is combat made by folks who branched out into an indie system and started off knowing d20. That's all I have to say about that.

NEXT TIME: Chapter 6, the Warden Only chapter on how to run this game and use Despair/Guilt/Insanity. I hope you like d99 random tables 'cuz I have to figure out how to format those.

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



Is there enough to go on that if you wanted to have an adventure to rescue children taken by the Fae, you could try? I think they have enough to say on the Nordlands and Chaos Wastes that you could mount an adventure to rescue slaves taken north, and I think an adventure to rescue someone kidnapped by Skaven would be perfectly feasible, but I think the emphasis on mystery they put on Athel Loren might make that challenging.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


marshmallow creep posted:

Is there enough to go on that if you wanted to have an adventure to rescue children taken by the Fae, you could try? I think they have enough to say on the Nordlands and Chaos Wastes that you could mount an adventure to rescue slaves taken north, and I think an adventure to rescue someone kidnapped by Skaven would be perfectly feasible, but I think the emphasis on mystery they put on Athel Loren might make that challenging.

You could certainly try. The Loren is really strange about who it lets in and who it lets out, and why it does so. Just expect things to get weird. And expect to have to face wood elves, dryads, possibly a tree man if your GM is feeling like a bastard (those guys are a tough fight even for a vampire count) and all kinds of weird fairy-tale horror.

wdarkk
Oct 26, 2007

Friends: Protected
World: Saved
Crablettes: Eaten


That is some godawful art for Abandon All Hope. Was this printed on actual paper at some point?

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



wdarkk posted:

That is some godawful art for Abandon All Hope. Was this printed on actual paper at some point?
An excellent question. I'm gonna err on the side of no. I can't find any physical copies of this game. I did find the DeviantArt account for one of the creators who apparently did the art.

Subjunctive
Sep 12, 2006

sparkle and shine



Hostile V posted:

I did find the DeviantArt account for one of the creators who apparently did the art.

Is that enough to file charges?

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Subjunctive posted:

Is that enough to file charges?
It's all relatively tame, mediocre art for both AAH and Darwin's World along with other sketches. It's nothing too interesting, just some of it ends up getting used as a cover for a book. It's certainly not worth sharing for any real reason.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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





Ninja Crusade - The Outsiders: Straight to it.

This PDF is only 13 pages long and wastes no time whatsoever. We jump straight into the first of three minor clans: The Crawling Magpies, AKA the Doro Clan, the Swamp People and the Mud-Eaters. They practice Dragon and Snake styles, and their jutsu is the Way of Restless Earth. They get +1 Intimidation, +1 Perception, +1 Stealth and +1 Survival, as well as +1 Yin. See, when the Crusade began, the Army burned down a small mining village named Okasu. The villagers weren't ninja, but they did resist the Imperial advance and had valuable resources. Two of the villagers, the siblings Rinji and Una Kita, hid a cache of supplies in the local swamp and rescued as many townsfolk as they could. The brother and sister knew not to trust the Empire and had long prepared for this possibility, vowing that they would protect their next home better than the town had been.

Over the next few years, the two foraged in the countryside and stole from the new, more Imperial inhabitants of Okasu. It didn't take them long to become master thieves, and after a few years, the Okasu Guard were forced to negotiate with a new gang - the Crawling Magpies, who demanded offerings and supplies in return for no more theft. The gang, now a clan, focused their attention on bigger hauls. These self-taught ninja began robbing Imperial convoys, to get more resources and reputation. The first raid was a massive success, but caused heightened security that made the next two disasters. The Magpies decided they needed teachers. They found several Ronin, having them come to their hidden swamp village and train them in ki usage, combining this with their mastery of the swamps to develop new, specialized jutsu.

The Kita siblings are now dead, but are still revered as the clan's founders. A tree in the center of the Doro village is named Kit's Tree to honor them. The Empire, after one heist, attempted to cut down and burn out the swamp, but the Magpies drove them off while remaining hidden. This is important - the Recoiling Serpents would destroy them utterly if they knew the group existed. The Empire knows there are ninja in the swamp, but rarely take the time to differentiate between the Magpies and the Serpents. Guards are posted on common swamp entrances to contain the clan, but are often murdered. The size and harshness of the swamps make it hard for the Empire to search, too.

The Magpies have a unique perspective, thanks to the dangers of their swampy home. They've made it more dangerous, adding pitfalls and traps to the quicksand, giant lizards, diseases and other hazards of the swamp. They use their home to their advantage, able to make daring raids and then fall back without caring about pursuit. So far, no one has ever gotten to their village without their explicit help in doing so, and those few visitors could never retrace the route. The village's name is Zhazo, and it was originally just a hut on stilts, but has expanded to several raised structures and treehouses. The clan use the high vantage to watch for signs of invaders. They are deeply attached to their swamp in northern Triumph Province, and are taught to navigate it from childhood. Small offshoot villages have sprung up in other provinces but rarely survive long - the Magpies don't know the land as well and can't hide from the major clans there. Other clans tend to look down on them as robbers that can easily screw things up for every one, after all. They originally approached the Serpents for treaties, but the Serpents have taken to killing Magpies for sport as a message about who owns Triumph.

The Zhazo survive on trade, thievery and local support. They hate the Empire, but their primary concern is surviving day to day. They try to spread dissent and distrust of the Empire when they can, however, and they joined the Lotus Coalition...but mostly for the resources rather than out of any desire to help the other clans. They often work with other clans to achieve mutual goals, but avoid the Serpents at all cost when possible. When the war ends, the Doro plain to maintain their swampy home. They've adjusted to living there and can't imagine leaving. They want to work with other clans to resolve the old conflicts and stay united, and would happily see the Empire entirely replaced. They see themselves as on the side of justice, but will happily steal, murder and destroy to achieve their ends.

The Gift of the Doro is that they know their swampy home better than anyone, even the Recoiling Serpents. They get +1 to any checks when in a swamp environment, or +2 if it's a Survival check. Their Trigger is that they're a little overtrusting. They grow up pretty much entirely among friends and family that need to work together to survive, and betrayal is a shock for them. The party gains 1 Karma when they discover someone they trusted has now betrayed them.

Potential Contacts: Horigume Maru (Intuition), a local flower shop owner who uses rare swamp flowers brought to her by ninja traders. Okamura Yoshitomo (Fighting), a former Silver Blade who betrayed the Empire to remain loyal to his wife after discovering she was a ninja. Doro Chie (Perform), a shell game specialist and entertainer who hopes to take her show on the roado ne day. Hatayama Shogo (Perception), a village lookout with amazingly keen eyes, who is a secret ninja. Higo Kiyomitsu (Fortitude), a poisonmaker who tends to test his work on his own body. Imaizumi Sen (Intimidation), a cutthroat magistrate who is known to take bribes in some situations. Bonds:
  • Choose one ninja who you respect for their ability to survive regardless of the threat.
  • Choose one ninja who looks down on you because you grew up in a swamp.
  • Choose one ninja who is the best cook you've met to date, and finding out their recipes is always on your mind.

The Way of Restless Earth is actually a Water-elemental jutsu, because it's all about controlling the swamp. On a Boost during activation, you get +2 Movement and +1 Initiative while in a swamp. On a Backfire, you get either Poisoned 1 (for Yang) or Dazed 1 (for Yin).
Basic Jutsu
Bog Touch (Yang+Crafts): You turn stone and rock into mud with a touch, affecting several feet of material. A Knowledge+Crafts check will reveal what part of a building is most vulnerable to this.
Instant Submerging (Yin+Crafts): You touch something, instantly sinking it to the bottom of the swamp. The Difficulty to find it for anyone but you is reduced(??? that's what it says but it should be increased) by a fair amount.
Mud Walk (Yin+Discipline): You touch a piece of organic(??? it means inanimate) matter and pass through it as if it were mud. You have half Movement and can only stay in it while holding your breath. On a Boost, you may affect several others with this, too.
Nature's Cloak (Yang+Survival): You coat yourself in mud or dirt, becoming near invisible while outdoors. This lasts until you speak, attack, use a different jutsu, go indoors or otherwise draw attention to yourself. You can reuse this without extra chi if you find a new hiding spot. You get +2 Stealth, but halved Movement.
Powerful Lung Technique (Yin+Fortitude): You may hold your breath for the rest of the scene. This ends if you try to speak or take more than (Yin) physical damage in one hit. On a Boost, you can do one of those two things without ending the jutsu.

Median Jutsu
Deadly Swim (Yang+Athletics): You must have Nature's Cloak. When in water or mud over 3 feet deep, you may grapple a foe and use this jutsu to drag the target into the water and constrict them like a snake while rolling like an alligator. The target takes 3 damage per Round while in the Grapple. On a Boost, they also get -2 to break the Grapple.
Fever of the Swamp (Yin+Holistics): You strike a single target at Near range with a magical fever that causes nausea and hallucinations. They resist with Fortitude once per round to tell what's real amidst the illusory marsh horrors. On a failure, they lose 1 Dynamic Action per Round for several Rounds and get Dazed 1 and Confused 1. Even on a success, they get Confused 1.
Friend of the Swamp (Yang+Persuasion): You connect yourself to the swamp and bring it to life. For several Rounds, the land itself will fight for you, sending bugs or driftwood and detritus at the foe. You get a number of +1 bonuses or -1 penalties that you can apply to people in the Battle.
Mud Touch (Yang+Crafts): You must have Bog Touch. You attack using the activation to touch a foe, and must be Dodged. If you hit, you do +1 damage per point of the target's Armor and reduce their Armor by 1.
Sinking Attack (Yin+Discipline): You must have Instant Submerging. You may now touch someone to drag them beneath the swamp, resisted by Strength, but they get -1 per point of Armor they are wearing. The get Deprived 1 each Round they are submerged, passing out and floating to the surface at Deprived 5.

Advanced Jutsu
All to Mud (Yang+Crafts): You must have Mud Touch and Nature's Cloak. You turn every non-living thing in a wide area into mud, even weapons, armor and parts of buildings. This does not affect anything you're carrying or wearing, nor any magical or master-crafted weapons or armor.
Body of Mud (Yin+Fortitude): You must have Mud Walk. You turn into a person made of mud, able to seep through cracks or up pipes at a Movement based on Yin and -4 Initiative. You may suffocate others with Grapple checks, getting +2 to Initiate Grapple and causing Deprived (Air) 1 with each Action you take to do so. You take only half damage from physical attacks that aren't Water-aspected. This lasts for several Rounds.
One with the Swamp (Yin+Persuasion): You must have Friend of the Swamp. The swamp supports your actions. For several Rounds, any 1s you roll are counted as 10s while in a swamp.
Rain of the Gods (Yang+Survival): You create a rainstorm that lasts several minutes, dropping lots of rain and mud and lightning. Anyone that isn't a Magpie that is caught in the storm gets Confused 2 and Sensory Loss (Sight) 1. After 1 Round, the area is considered a swamp for all purposes and gives +1 to Restless Earth jutsu. It will return to its normal environment the next day.
The Start of All Life (Yin+Survival): You must have Fever of the Swamp. You submerge a wound in swamp water to heal it, recovering 1 damage of either type for every 5 minutes submerged. All Bleeding, Poisoned and Injured conditions are also reduced by 1 every 5 minutes after you run out of damage to heal.



Next time: Another clan of bug ninja.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Night10194 posted:

You could certainly try. The Loren is really strange about who it lets in and who it lets out, and why it does so. Just expect things to get weird. And expect to have to face wood elves, dryads, possibly a tree man if your GM is feeling like a bastard (those guys are a tough fight even for a vampire count) and all kinds of weird fairy-tale horror.

And that's assuming the Loren doesn't arrange for you to wander into any of the Beastmen, Imperials, vampires, Chaos warriors, skaven, and dwarves who entered the forest and got lost.

The one WHFRP game I ever played in treated Athel Loren like a leafy version of the Warp.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Cythereal posted:

And that's assuming the Loren doesn't arrange for you to wander into any of the Beastmen, Imperials, vampires, Chaos warriors, skaven, and dwarves who entered the forest and got lost.

The one WHFRP game I ever played in treated Athel Loren like a leafy version of the Warp.

That's because it is, though I generally think of it more like the Zone from STALKER.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Most of what I remember about Bretonnia is that the Green Knight is the best and I love him.

His superpower is that he is explicitly immortal, completely.

Like in the tabletop, the rules for getting rid of him are 'when he would die, roll a d6. On like a 2-6, he stands back up at full HP. On a 1, his head rolls off the battlefield and he wanders away to chase it.'

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Night10194 posted:

That's because it is, though I generally think of it more like the Zone from STALKER.

The setting never raised the possibility, but I've often thought that maybe Athel Loren is connected to the Old Ones and that the Lizardmen might know a great deal about it. The lizards are effectively biological robots going wonky after millennia without maintenance or new programming, and Athel Loren seems to me like the kind of place that could be something similar, perhaps run by a biological AI that's in the same trouble as the lizards.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


I prefer to think the Loren is either something native, an accident from the old terraforming, or otherwise just something no-one in setting really *gets*. The elves have no idea what it's doing to them because elves are really easy to trick; they don't think they can be tricked.

Hunt11
Jul 24, 2013



Grimey Drawer

Night10194 posted:

I prefer to think the Loren is either something native, an accident from the old terraforming, or otherwise just something no-one in setting really *gets*. The elves have no idea what it's doing to them because elves are really easy to trick; they don't think they can be tricked.

They understand it enough to understand the need to keep the drat thing contained.

Hunt11 fucked around with this message at 00:21 on Jul 13, 2017

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Hostile V posted:



CHAPTER FOUR: GANGS

Lion's Army (Pre/Post-Perdition): The Lion's Army is a group of prisoners who are loyal to Christian ideals/traditions and able to quote scripture. Their ostensible goal is to redeem themselves through hard work, piety and volunteer service (to the extent of actively pursuing Trustee status amongst its members). However they're pretty heavily criticized by outsiders who believe that the inner circle was either corrupt or has been corrupted. The general accusation is that they keep up the Christian trappings while running operations and rackets so they can have their Communion wafers and eat them too, that they're nothing more than self-righteous religious bullies and hypocrites.
  • Probationary: either Redemption or Power as a goal and a tattoo of either a cross, image of Jesus or a lion).
  • Junior: free Found the Lord Trait.
  • Senior: +1 Willpower or Intimidation.

...

[b]Skinheads (Pre/Post-Perdition):
The Skinheads are incredibly problematic and not because they're Nazis and white supremacists. I mean, that's all they are and the game says as such: they're a hate group that uses open violence to terrorize their targets and are generally focused on survival and their own little slice of land. No, what's problematic is this sentence: "Note that “Skinheads” is just a generic heading; this gang type could easily represent gangs of other ethnicities as well." Don't bother coming up with your own gang, just scratch the name off of the white supremacists and slap some new clothes on them! Barf.
  • Probationary: kill a member of a rival gang as specified by the Skinheads and then "receive the gang's tattoo (which could virtually be any symbol or icon)" because you're expected to use this gang's mechanics to also represent, like, the Muslim Brotherhood or the Black Panthers behind bars or the Crips or the Bloods.
  • Junior: free Streetwise Trait, free shiv.
  • Senior: +1 Reflexes or Intimidation.

Funny, you would think you could just scratch out the Christian elements from the Lion's army and make them the Muslim Brotherhood.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts World Book 14: New West: Part 17: " Their very appearance looks like something akin to the fanciful Jabberwocky from Lewis Carroll's imagination (is it possible Mr. Carroll had seen a Phantasm?)."


"So, you're up on the entangle rules, right?"

Oborus-Slitherer

So, this is a gorilla-snake-slug thing that is generically evil and particularly likes chilling with necromancers, because-



They're pretty tough and have high physical capabilities but aren't smart, charming, or pretty. They can climb on ceilings and have a prehensile tail but their damage is nothing to shout about. They have some minor spells and psionics, and... yeah. They like to torment people... because... I guess... the game needs generic monster #72? Ho-hum.


Checkin' out all the hottest Simvan.

Ostrosaurus

A reprinted theropod from Rifts Sourcebookthat's small enough that Simvan regularly ride them. New art and nothing else worth mentioning.


Scar: Perez edition.

Panthera-Tereon

So, this is a mega-damage sabertoothed lion "from another world", unsurprisingly. They're just simple high-tier predators that are strong and can mainly to damage by pouncing and raking-

-seriously why come up with different mechanics, just copy-paste with slightly different numbers-

It doesn't really have a gimmick other than that they're mega-damage lions. Yep. That's all Siembieda could do with Perez's evocative art.

Psi-Ponies R.C.C.

Yep, sandwiched in the middle of the monster section is a potential PC class, because why not? These are gold-and-blond ponies with sentience and psychic powers. Well, okay, they're actually horses, but "psi-horses" doesn't alliterate.

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

Note: A Psi-Pony can also make a very unique player character for players who can stay in character and love a challenge.

Friendship is Marlboro.

So, these really... have no draw backs compared to humans, though are mainly exceptional in (both types of) endurance, strength, and speed. Surprisingly, they don't have M.D.C., so you'll need to put in for that barding DLC. However, they get some basic sensitive psychic powers, and females get healing and a telekinetic force field (of course), while males get physical powers and a psi-sword as a psychic unihorn (of course). But they don't have hands, so you'll need to get a new one. As a psychic class they're pretty terrible since they barely get anything in the way of "super" psionic powers... but they do give riders a +5% on riding them if they cooperate. Yeah, for some reason you still need to make riding rolls with a sentient being?

Not great.


Rejected Muppet?

Phantasm

These are extradimensional crazy mixed-up creature that run around being rambling, annoying pests and idiots and generally being monkeycheese, and once somebody lashes out they retaliate with their powers. It may be the basis of the Jabberwocky, it's said, but... it doesn't really seem to have anything in common with it other than being somewhat nonsensical. If it wasn't already annoying enough, it likes to steal magical or valuable items.

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

Like most dragons, the Phantasm keeps its treasure hoard locked safely away in a pocket dimension that only it can access...

Wait, since when do Palladium dragons do that?

They're only about 4' tall, can fly, are ugly but don't really have any exceptional attributes, but have an insanity power that can inflict a variety of madnesses as they like. They also get a variety of debuffing and movement spells, and similarly get a number of mind control and telekinetic powers.

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

Enemies: Does the average Phantasm really have any friends?
Value: Absolutely none! Best to be avoided.

So it's one of those annoyance creatures pretty much just made to troll PCs.


Which part is like a buffalo?

Rhino-Buffalo

A rhinoesque predator reprinted from Rifts Sourcebook now given much less dynamic art. See that review if you care, it has better art there.

Silonar

Another generic riding theropod like the ostrosaurus, only this one is ridden by the eandroth, a race of psychic lizardmen from Palladium Fantasy not appearing in this book. Reprinted from Rifts Conversion Book, but I have no idea why.

Scorpions and Snakes

S.D.C. creatures with S.D.C. venom. Scorpions get prowl at 95%, making them the ninjas of the arachnid world. Only really worth bringing up when one sneaks into your glitter boy in the middle of the night. Leave that hatch shut!


This raptor insists they have a soul of a cat.

Tiger Claw Raptor

As if we haven't had enough generic theropods, here's another! These are mega-damage velociraptors - the Jurassic Park sort, that is, not the actual wee ones.

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

Against large prey like Tri-Tops and Duckbilled dinosaurs, 3-6 will leap on the back while one or two will strike at the legs, throat and underbelly. A pack of 10-16 have been known to bring down a Duckbill in less than two minutes, a buffalo, horse, or Desert Sleeper in 30 seconds, and even take down a Rhino-Buffalo or Tri-Tops within 8-10 minutes!

It took me 4-6 seconds to read these useless numbers!

So, they're light M.D.C. creatures designed to die in droves, and are exceptional physically but in no other day. And, like that one fake dino from Jurassic Park, they have poison spit they can use to blind people (but there are no rules for the effect it has). They fear magic and generally will go fight-or-flight when confronted with it, and avoid ley line storms. Slightly less generic! That's... okay, I'm still really bored of this. Help! I'm trapped in a monster section and I still have eight pages left! Help!


Excerpted from The Mist, I think.

Tree Spiders

See, they're not in trees, but rather, their legs are large enough that they look like trees. Also, they aren't really spiders, but some rift-spawned monster that uses tentacles to snatch critters off the ground for sky-high munching.

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

Because these entangling attacks come from above, prey are usually caught by surprise.

I would think the giant bug legs would be a tip-off. They're 150' tall bue for some reason still within human strength range, have about a dragon hatchling's toughness, and have Prowl 70% despite being 150 feet tall. They don't actually have any rules to grapple people with, in any case.

It's a great visual but the actual writeup is


Triceratops + Styracosaurus = well, this!

Tri-Tops

A triceratops analogue with mega-damage. It's pretty drat tough, and has a similar ram to the mammoth brontodon, only it does slightly less damage and only breaks 1d4 ribs. So if you want to stop glitter boys, get some triceratops. Their hide is used for mega-damage stuff and some simvan and psi-stalkers ride them, you know the drill by now.

This book really needed a "generic dino" writeup and then could have saved a ton of space just by noting the differences from the norm.


Just your usual gang of Turoks.

Tyrannosaurus Rex

Yes, they're mega-damage now, down to their 40 M.D.C. "useless" forearms. They have a high M.D.C. rating around that of a glitter boy, can smell blooood, and have decently high damage (around 50 mega-damge per chomp). Another damage-spongey dino and pretty much what you'd expect from that, just with some of the highest damage-taking and damage-dealing this time around.


Lovecrafterrier.

Whisker Coyote

These are coyote-like creatures but with tentacle faces, and are companions for the fennodi. Despite looking like a terrier hosed a squid, they have an average beauty of 13, higher than humans. They also have exceptional affinity, physical endurance, and speed, and most of their attributes are pretty impressive. However, they're just S.D.C. creatures, so you better fit them with enchanted doggie sweaters if you want them to live. They have a variety of sensitive magic powers and can sense magic like dog boys do, but are immune to the animal control powers of the simvan and psi-stalkers because-



Siembieda loves dogs and wants them to be awesome dog companions for fennodi buuut given their S.D.C. nature chances are you'll be reenacting Old Yeller Abridged unless you knit them a mega-sweater.


The early worm gets the gun?

Worm Wraith

This is a colony of worms that take on human form, and some suspect they're extensions or creations of an alien intelligence (or intelligences). Why do they take on human form and don dusters and ten-gallon hats?



However, it's not a mystery that they go around just finding ways to murder as many people as possible either through ambush or by causing disasters. They often seem to work in coordinated groups but don't make any noise other than a occasional hissing sound. They like going around with guns because it's in their art.

They have exceptional strength, prowess, and endurance, but low beauty, of course. They're slightly tougher than most armored humans, can detach worms to go around as spies, regenerate as long as one worm survives to divide back back into enough worms to make up the original (no food required, I guess), get some really random spells (turn dead? breath without air?) and have some sensitive psychic powers (and the ability to communicate with other worm wraiths. They get a skill package and combat leveling as if they were a PC class, though they really aren't. They're almost an interesting mystery, at least, but it's up to GMs to flesh them out into something with actual answers behind it.

And that's it for the critter compendium here. It just repeats so much - say what you want about the old Monster Manuals, there was at least more of an attempt to provide varying threats, whereas most of the animals here are just variations on "generic claw / bite predator" or "ramming herd animal".

Next: It's gun o'clock.

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





I'll be honest, I really like those tree spiders.
Of course, they're in absolutely the wrong environment.

Put them someplace with actual trees and lots of mist, and you have these incredibly tall, frail ambush predators that can cause a really impressive, surprising ambush ('You feel the trailing vines suddenly tighten around you, and you are dragged screaming above the trees!') without necessarily being a huge threat (they're not actually that strong, since their entire biological deal is desperately trying to outrun the square-cube law, so their body is ultra light and relatively low on muscles). For the players, the main danger is killing or escaping them without falling and splatting.

Plus, if you can tame or command them, they would be extremely cool mounts.
None of this is really present in the writeup, obviously, but the art is really evocative and sometimes a weird monster makes for a fun encounter.

AmiYumi
Oct 10, 2005

I Forgot To Hail King Torg


I mainly just skim the Rifts writeups for art, and I have to say this book is doing great on that front.

This...this is just a Zerg Hydralisk, right? Am I crazy?

I love this little guy and am now disappointed I traded my GM hat to another player for the time being and don't get to use him somehow.

JackMann
Aug 11, 2010

Secure. Contain. Protect.


Fallen Rib

Joe Slowboat posted:

I'll be honest, I really like those tree spiders.
Of course, they're in absolutely the wrong environment.

Put them someplace with actual trees and lots of mist, and you have these incredibly tall, frail ambush predators that can cause a really impressive, surprising ambush ('You feel the trailing vines suddenly tighten around you, and you are dragged screaming above the trees!') without necessarily being a huge threat (they're not actually that strong, since their entire biological deal is desperately trying to outrun the square-cube law, so their body is ultra light and relatively low on muscles). For the players, the main danger is killing or escaping them without falling and splatting.

They were pretty good in Kong: Skull Island.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Ninja Crusade - The Outsiders: Ant Man

The Harmonious Swarm are also known as the Mushi Clan, the Bugs and the Swarm. They practice Horse and Scorpion styles (Scorpion being a style from Firebrands) and their jutsu is the Way of the Hive Life. They get Deception +1, Empathy +1, Knowledge +1 and Might +1, plus +1 Yin. Originally, the Swarm were a small band of five or six Ronin who grew sick of wandering, but did not want to have the political, structure life of others. They decided they needed power, but had to deal with the fact that several were criminals or had burned bridges with the major clans. One morning, however, they found a series of anthills, swarming with thousands of identical ants. It was thus they were enlightened: they could find safety in conformity, infiltrating the human hive by disguisng themselves as normal people.

The Swarm studied the ants for months, learning how to take advantage of safety in numbers and how to meet the expectations of others, as well as developing the jutsu they would need. The fledgling clan remained small but vital in their communities, assuming a number of roles ot strengthen the local economy and their own safety. Some even set themselves up as leaders, directing things from the shadows. Thus, the Mushi evaded clan conflict and Imperial notice. They knew, however, that it could not last. So they joined a new hive to hide in - the Lotus Coalition, to keep their small membership safe. They focus on keeping ordered, safe communities now, both to fight the Empire and prepare for after the war.

The Mushi dress in whatever is normal for the community they infiltrate. They do their best never to stand out, fighting with subtle tools and threats. They have learned both conformity and ferocity from the insects they emulate, and they are unrelenting when attacked. That is why they joined the Coalition, andn ow they live among every kind of people, able to strike and fade back into anonymity. Most of them are charming, personable people that can easily slip between roles. However, it is only among other ninja that they can be themselves, and they tend to seek out other ninja or volunteer for dangerous missions in order to hang with ninja. They are a small clan, with no more than a handful active in any given area at a time and with too fragmented an infrastructure to provide much support. Other clans find it hard to trust the Swarm, too. They could be anyone, anywhere, at any time, and so exterminating them would be very hard. Worse, they aren't the most human people around, and some worry about how insectile they have become, or worry that they might put their own interests above the war effort.

The Mushi claim they want a peaceful, hidden life, free from influence. They claim they want a stronger society for the benefit of all. They claim to have the most noble intentions. In truth, what they actually want is control. They find safety in groups, but they always manipulate events to favor them if they can avoid getting caught. They want to survive, above all else, and will do anything for that. The Coalition is ultimately a means to survive. The Empire is powerful, yes, but the Crusade is too great a threat to ignore. Thus, the Harmonious Swarm plans to devote all resources to the destruction of the Izou Empire, then retreat back into their hiding to survive.

The Gift of the Mushi is that they know everyone. Every single one knows many people as friends and can hide just about anywhere. They get +2 Travel when on a Journey and get an additional Ally during chargen. Further, their bonus from involving Allies is +3 rather than +2. Their Trigger? They're cowards. The Swarm want to survive first, idealism is a distant second. Others distrust them, for good reason. The party gains 1 Karma when their temperance causes conflict.

Potential Contacts: Kashiwagi Gihei (Might), a sumo wrestler rising to the top. Mushi Toshie (Survival), a Swarm ninja who has spent most of her time learning how to blend into animal collectives rather than human ones. Kido Nobuatsu (Knowledge), a fisherman who has discovered several new species of fish. Iseya Kinnojo (Persuade), an advisor to a local mayor and a man loyal first to his village, even before the Emperor. Harada Mae (Athletics), a woman who is said to have swam across the Western Ocean to the Land of Crashing Waves without using any jutsu. Mizoguchi Oharu (Marksman), a knife-throwing performer of great skill. Bonds:
  • Choose one ninja who distrusts you because you're always so charming (and must be hiding something).
  • Choose one ninja whose company you enjoy while spending nights out on the town.
  • Choose one ninja who you see as an expert on a topic you are immensely interested in.

The Way of Hive Life is an Earth-elemental jutsu focusing on connecting with and assimilating to groups. On a Boost during activation, you get either +1 Empathy or +1 Persuade, your choice. On a Backifre, you get either Confused 1 or Dazed 1.
Basic Jutsu
Eyes Everywhere (Yang+Survival): You link to the insects in the area, getting a bonus to your next Perception skill against Stealth due to their senses.
Infiltrate the Hive (Yin+Empathy): You tune yourself to a society, getting +1 to any checks to integrate with that group. This does not affect any combat checks and cannot be used if you are already a member of that group or society.
Insect Mind (Yin+Discipline): You assume the mindset of an insect. You get +2 against fear or awe and +1 against pain.
Stronger Together (Yang+Persuade): You synchronize with your allies. Support checks made by the party may now benefit from a number of extra helpers, each adding another +2 to the roll.
Unspoken Communication (Yin+Knowledge): You communicate a message to the target, no longer than a sentence, entirely using facial tics. Your target instinctively knows exactly what you are communicating.

Median Jutsu
Defense Mechanism (Yin+Survival): If you are in a Battle and have at least two other allies, you may activate this. The next attack that would target you within Near range must instead target one of your allies. On a Boost, this lasts for the next two attacks instead.
Fly on the Wall (Yang+Perception): You must have Eyes Everywhere. You may view events up to a mile away, as long as there is an insect nearby. You must completely concentrate while doing so and can take no other actions. On a Boost, you also get sound.
One of the Swarm (Yin+Empathy): You must have Infiltrate the Hive. You alter your appearance, clothing included, to appear as a totally average, nondescript member of a particular group or society. Small and tight-knit groups may not be fooled, if they know every other member of the group, but you will still change appearance.
Poking the Wasp's Nest (Yang+Marksman): You send a swarm of insects against someone at Near range as an attack with the activation. This can only be Dodged. If they hit, they initiate a Grab using your stats, but at -1. If the target breaks the Grapple, the swarm disperses. On a Boost, you may make another reflexive activation check to keep your hold on the first dispersal, but a second will still end it.
Silent Sting (Yang+Stealth): You may activate this as an attack from hiding. The target gets -2 to resist due to your speed. If you hit, the target takes damage normally and must make a Fortitude+Athletics check to not take 3 more damage and Poisoned 2 due to bug toxins.

Advanced Jutsu
Aiding the Hive (Yang+Persuade): You must have Stronger Together. You tie yourselves to your allies in an hour-long ritual. For the Battle, the party gains 1 Karma whenever one of the affected characters takes an Action to help another, such as moving to protect an ally, distracting a foe from an ally, or healing an ally.
Bug in the Ear (Yang+Persuade): You must have Unspoken Communication. You make one of your statements magically addictive. The target can think of nothing but what you said to them for several hours.
Infestation (Yang+Empathy): You must have Insect Mind and Poking the Wasp's Nest. You create two copies of yourself made out of bugs. They cannot speak, but can fight, acting on your Initiative. All of you must perform the same Actions and Defenses. Each has 4 Health, and you may transfer damage you take to the copies. They cannot take Conditions. They vanish at the end of the Battle.
One with the Colony (Yin+Empathy): You must have One of the Swarm. You assert yourself as the mystic leader of your group, forming a limited hive mind with the party. At the start of each Round, you choose one ally. You and the ally get an extra Dynamic Action that Round.
Hive vs the World (Yang+Intuition): You must have Defense Mechanism. You align your spirit with your allies, getting a number of bonus dice equal to twice your number of current allies, max 10 dice. You may spend these at any time during the Battle to boost your rolls or add them to the Karma pool one for one.



Next time: Hair metal ninja.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


AmiYumi posted:

I mainly just skim the Rifts writeups for art, and I have to say this book is doing great on that front.

This...this is just a Zerg Hydralisk, right? Am I crazy?

You're not totally crazy, but New West was '97 and Starcraft was '98, so Palladium got first.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer Fantasy: Knights of the Grail

They're French.

Bretonnia is much more racially homogenous than the multicultural Empire. The Sea Elves (their name for the High Elves of Ulthuan) have embassies and trade with the port of L'Anguille, and the Dwarves come down to work and trade in Parravon in the east of the country, but most of the country is populated solely by humans. Bretonnians are, like all peoples, diverse in appearance and cultural, varying among their provinces and localities but as a whole they tend to prefer to live in the moment, rather than worry so much about the future. This doesn't mean they're crazed hedonists or idiots, but rather that the national character tends away from angst and anxiety; you do what you can now, you enjoy what you can now, and if difficulties arise in the future, you meet them the same way. Life can be unfair and life can be short; who knows what will happen next? Enjoy what you have now, fight for what's in front of you, and trust you can work out what happens next. This national character leads a surprising number of Bretonnians to become Adventurers, and as long as you're a noble (or following a noble around) they aren't looked down upon as strange like they are in the Empire.

There's a bunch on Bretonnian language, but...it's French. Just like Reikspiel is German.

Bretonnian social structures are all (officially) focused on the feudal order and the divide between peasant and noble. Most Bretonnians would find the idea that all people are equal to be insanity. A noble is anyone who can prove five generations of noble descent, recorded in the country's registers of nobility. Everyone else is a peasant, incapable of holding land or being granted titles. A noble's duty is to tend his land and protect it, raising professional men at arms to guard his fortifications and holdings, and training to fight for his people and for his own lord if called to his feudal master's banner. Emphasis on his. Peasants are to work the noble's land, serve in his army if chosen, and pay 9/10ths of their produce to their master for his upkeep and the upkeep of his family. Most nobles regard their duties to higher nobles (who can grant them more land) more important than their duties to their peasants, and nobles who consider peasants anything but beneath them are rare (the book notes that this is the kind of 'rare' that means 'player characters'). Peasants who regard nobles as useless parasites are far more common than nobles who regard peasants as people of equal standing!

There are two exceptions to this absolute stratification: Foreigners cannot be nobles or peasants, as they are not Bretonnians, and thus visiting ambassadors, merchants, and adventurers are outside the bounds of the system of serf and lord; they will be treated with the respect they seem due, which means they will be treated according to how well dressed, well armed, or well monied they seem to be. The other group that is completely outside the system are the mysterious Grail Damsels, the pupils of the Fae Enchantress. These are women who were taken as children by the Fae of Athel Loren, who return as powerful wizards and advisors, owed respect by all in the land. They are permitted to go where they wish, with escort only if they request it, and are even allowed to show their hair without scandal.

Nobles hold their position at pleasure of the King of Bretonnia, and he is the only human with the rights to strip them of their titles (though other lords above them could strip them of fiefs). The Fae Enchantress, representative of the Fae and the Lady, can also strip any noble of their title without the King's say so if she so wishes. She is also responsible for crowning the next King. A noble stripped of their land and title breaks the chain of descent for their descendants, meaning of your father were to be disgraced to a degree that the Enchantress or King declared him no longer a Noble, you, too, would become a peasant. A peasant can be raised to nobility if both King and Fae Enchantress agree; this has officially only happened a few times in all of Bretonnia's history (and would make a good plot for a campaign!). Even if this were done, though, because of the requirement of 5 generations, the children of an ennobled peasant would not be considered nobles unless their ancestors were retroactively knighted as well.

Male nobles are uniformly expected to train as Knights unless they are physically incapable. The overwhelming majority will try no matter what, as this is the main way to advance within Bretonnian society. Female nobles are expected solely to be ornaments to their household and convenient political tools to marry off. Men are expected to treat women with all courtesy and keep them firmly on a pedestal. Women are supposed to always eat first, be given the most comfortable room, be protected in all circumstances and while it is not required for a knight to be courteous to peasant women as well as noblewomen, they will be better regarded if they are. The book is correct to follow this by pointing out that these are trappings of courtesy only; women cannot hold property, are not free to travel, and are second class citizens in all ways, expected to be subservient to men.

Most women live with these constraints, because it's the overwhelming tradition in Bretonnian society. Because they are raised in them, many women even believe they're correct. But plenty also want to learn to fight, to travel, or to own property. To do this, they disguise themselves as men. No-one knows exactly how many of Bretonnia's men are secretly women, but it should be noted that it's been the style among knights to be cleanshaven for as long as anyone can remember. At least a few are found to be women when they die in battle every year, and that's just among the nobility. Who knows how many vinters, men at arms, and traveling merchants are secretly women? There are no tests necessary to disguise yourself; if you are dressed as a man at arms or armored as a knight, people assume you must be a man, because women don't do that. A woman is only revealed as a woman if her player chooses to reveal it to someone at a dramatic moment. And of course, if you leave Bretonnia, you're free to drop the pretense while abroad. The divide in sexes is annoying enough that women from other countries who travel to Bretonnia to do business as adventurers or merchants often choose to similarly disguise themselves, as it's less of a bother than no-one taking you seriously and everyone assuming your male partymates are in charge.

I like the way the gender divide in Bretonnia is treated. It's written with the absolute awareness that in-setting, much like the class divide, this is total bullshit. Female characters have the same stats, same careers, same EXP, same fate points as any male character, and the fact that no-one notices because you're doing male work and dressed in male clothes reinforces the artificiality of the divide between the genders' treatment in setting. It's a theme rather than an excuse to indulge in sexism because it's 'historical'. Class and gender are played as performative. A man (who is actually a man) dressed in armor and riding a horse must be a knight, because in a society this stratified who would risk punishment by pretending to be what they're not? A woman in armor and carrying a halberd must be a man at arms, because what else could she be? Leaving it mostly entirely in the players' hands to reveal exactly what they're lying about about themselves when and to whom they wish is the right way to go. I also really appreciate the little paragraph on how no, the fact that men hold the door for women does not mean that women secretly rule Bretonnia from the shadows. It's easy to infer that oneself but it's something better made explicit.

Next: Wine. So much wine.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 16:36 on Aug 4, 2017

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Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Night10194 posted:

I like the way the gender divide in Bretonnia is treated. It's written with the absolute awareness that in-setting, much like the class divide, this is total bullshit. Female characters have the same stats, same careers, same EXP, same fate points as any male character, and the fact that no-one notices because you're doing male work and dressed in male clothes reinforces the artificiality of the divide between the genders' treatment in setting. It's a theme rather than an excuse to indulge in sexism because it's 'historical'. Class and gender are played as performative. A man (who is actually a man) dressed in armor and riding a horse must be a knight, because in a society this stratified who would risk punishment by pretending to be what they're not? A woman in armor and carrying a halberd must be a man at arms, because what else could she be? Leaving it mostly entirely in the players' hands to reveal exactly what they're lying about about themselves when and to whom they wish is the right way to go. I also really appreciate the little paragraph on how no, the fact that men hold the door for women does not mean that women secretly rule Bretonnia from the shadows. It's easy to infer that oneself but it's something better made explicit.

Also makes me think Bretonnia might be, odd as it sounds, one of the easiest places in Warhammer Fantasy to be a gay woman.

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