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Internet Wizard
Aug 9, 2009


Subjunctive posted:

Sorry, I was making a Shakespeare joke that didn't land.

You should've waited until the twelfth night before making your joke


Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006

Halloween Jack posted:

Okay, now that I've finally found the time to go back and read it, Abandon All Hope's premise kinda gets my motor running, in the bad way. The way where I yell at the television and quote Zizek and my wife has to tell me to stop reading the news.

So the world was consumed with war, and a utopian internationalist movement somehow rose up, seized control of all major armies and governments and dismantled them, removing all their agents from power. But this was a bad thing, because the new One World Government was basically every paranoid fantasy about the Liberal Agenda.

Yeah, the first thing I thought when I was reading that is that quote that's often misattributed to George Orwell (it actually comes from a Washington Times columnist interpreting some of Orwell's themes) "We sleep peaceably in our beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on our behalf." Who is making these mass arrests without them turning into John Rambo vs. Brian Dennehy and his deputies times a million? Or the Capitol Police revolt from Kereberos Saga? And if you have a globe-spanning internal security service that can overwhelm and apprehend entire armies and spy networks, what's keeping them from taking over (queue "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?"). Usually, when the hatchetmen and hangmen are through with the state's enemies, they often find themselves on the platform.

Apr 22, 2014

Oh hey I'm finally caught up to the front page again.

So I haven't abandoned Shadowrun, I just got a Real Boy 9-5 full time job and It kinda took me three months to adjust to that. I'm feeling comfortable in being able to resume that now, though, so I'll try and get another backstory bundle out within a week or so.

Nov 1, 2012

Just keep on walkin'.
So, with all the high quality Ninja Crusade posting, I'm curious: Is there a good example of combat anywhere online?

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Ninja Crusade - The Outsiders: HAIR FIGHT

The Wicked Quills are also known as the Kami Clan, the Whiskers and the Quills. They practice Bear and Eagle styles and use the Way of the Piercing Jacket as their unique kung fu. They get Crafts +1, Fortitude +1, Holistics +1, Perform +1 and +1 Yang. The Kami clan has always existed in a state of trouble. They live in a small strip of land between the Land of Seed and Blossom and the Izou Empire, which officially belongs to neither. During original conquest of Seed and Blossom, the Kami fought against the Izou and helped stave them off for a few extra years. However, during the occupation, the Wicked Quill leaders were replaced by less honorable and more corrupt sorts, believers in might-makes-right. If the Izou could take the Land, it was theirs, they saw...though they were happy to keep raiding.

The Wicked Quills take great interest in both the Ninja Crusade and the Blossom Uprising. They aren't sure which to join. They could side with the Lotus Coalition against the Emperor in hopes of making allies for later. Or they could help the Blossom ninja, who see them as the same kind of vaguely treacherous, rather estranged cousins as the Bamboo Herbalists. That could get them into their good graces - but without an Immortal's blessing, they'd always be second class to the seven Blossom clans.

The Kami fight cosntantly, even from youth. They're masters of winning against impossible odds. They also never cut their hair, and indeed, it is considered blasphemous to do so. Many Quills captured by the Izou are disgraced by being shaved before they are hanged - in part because they learn to control every follicle on their bodies. However, anyone that can seize that control from them does earn some of their respect. Their land is known as Mitsuami, the Braids, and it's a long strip along the Blossom/Izou border, full of streams and game to hunt and eat. It'd be great, if they weren't fighting basically every day with Izou soldiers. They tend not even to move the corpses, instead leaving them out to warn trespassers.

The Quills have ruled Mitsuami for a long time, but it's not a big piece of land. They want to broaden their territory, and don't especially care if they have to take Izou or Blossom land to do it. They don't ever take prisoners, either. They border on Bamboo Herbalist and Crystal Bearer land, so neither clan is especially fond of them, and they hold an old grudge against the Hidden Strands for stealing some of their techniques. Honestly, they treat everyone as a potential foe until proven otherwise.

The Gift of the Kami is that they're used to being the underdog. With a look, they can instantly tell if someone is more or less powerful than them, and broadly by how much. By spendng 1 ki, they can then raise one of their combat bonuses of their choice to match that of their foe for one Battle. However, they can only have one such bonus at a time. Their Trigger is that they aren't known for being nice. Even at their best, they are uncivilized. They revere strength over all else. The party gains 1 Karma when showing their strength causes problems rather than solving them.

Potential Contacts: Iwasa Kaneko (Crafts), a jewel appraiser who'll pay anything for a certain priceless gem. Marugo Hanae (Speed), a hunter who's able to take down even the fastest prey and who likes to share her take with her friends. Kami Kantaro (Holistics), a ninja known for collecting cadavers and preserving them for battle practice and testing his blade. Fujita Nao (Deception), a wealthy noblewoman who has put a bounty on her cheating husband and who has many secrets of her own. Fujito Yozo (Travel), a man falsely accused of treason, now on the run and willing to trade his expertise in getting around the Empire for protection. Inao Sanetomo (Discipline), a champion Go player who has never lost a match due to his immense focus. Bonds:
  • Choose one ninja who you are determined to teach to better wield a blade and survive on the battlefield.
  • Choose one ninja who has a head of beautiful hair that you fully respect.
  • Choose one ninja who you insists they'll win in a battle against you, but always has an excuse for not fighting.

The Way of the Piercing Jacket is a Wood-elemental jutsu that teaches how to control your hair. On a Boost, you get +1 Intimidation against anyone that can see you. On a Backfire, you get -2 to Initiative.
Basic Jutsu
Like Hands (Yin+Fortitude): Your hair grows up to 10 feet and can be used as easily as your hands. You can make any skill check with only your hair at a -2, and can make them out to Near range. On a Boost, you get no penalty.
Needle Shower (Yang+Marksman): Your hair becomes needles that fire off your body, attacking everything in a 20 foot radius with the activation. Everyone in that range must Dodge or take 2 damage. You may spend any amount of ki to fire the attack off that many extra times with the same exact roll, requiring multiple Defense checks.
Protective Coat (Yang+Fortitude): You harden your body hair into a protective shell, gaining Armor 1 agianst physical attacks and immunizing you to any effect requiring a touch.
Split Ends (Yang+Fighting): You make your hair much deadlier, dealing +1 damage for several attacks. On a Boost, it lasts the entire Battle. (Obviously, your hair can be used as an unarmed attack if it's long enough. That's just normal.)
Tool for the Job (Yang+Crafts): Your hair grows and hardens into a shape that can replicate any tool you need. This can be used several times before it becomes just hair again.

Median Jutsu
Cocoon Atttack (Yin+Fighting): You touch someone and send your hair to capture them tightly. You give up all your Actions for the Round, but your target can do nothing but try to escape. After the first Round, they can make a Strength check against your activation to get free, and you can spend Dynamic Actions to give them a -1 penalty per Action spent. If they succeed, they're free. If they fail, you can give up your Actions again for the same effect. This can last for up to several Rounds.
Long and Luxurious (Yang+Fortitude): You make your hair beautiful. You get +2 to Persuade and your social attacks cause Confused 1 on a Boost.
Razor Jacket (Yin+Fortitude): You must have Needle Shower and Protective Coat. Your hair grows all over your body in the form of sharp spikes and a cocoon with Health based on your Yin. While inside, you can take no physical ACtions. Most ranged attacks are negated entirely, and anyone attacking in melee must make a Dodge check to avoid being struck by hair spikes. If you use this with a Deflect Attack dynamic action, the first Dodge is harder. This lasts until you end it or the cocoon is destroyed.
Strong Roots (Yang+Fortitude): You may use your hair to assist in feats of strength. For the rest of the scene, your Strength is tripled. On a Boost it is quadrupled instead.
Whip of My Own (Yang+Crafts): You must have Tool for the Job. Your hair extends out to 10 feet long, and you can use it as a whip, but it also has Brutal on top of its normal qualities. It cannot be cut by any means and is razor thing.

Advanced Jutsu
All Tangled Up (Yin+Survival): Your hair extends everywhere within a wide area, tangling all it touches. Anyone in the are gets Slowed 1, which goes up by 1 every time they take a Move action. They may spend an Action to make a check to struggle with the hair, lowering Slowed by 1 on a success.
Sewn Shut (Yang+Holistics): You seal your wounds with hair, healing 2 dmaage and lowering Bleeding, Injured or Broken. You can use this on another, but the conditions aren't lowered by as much.
Stranglehold (Yin+Athletics): You must have Whip of my Own. You force the target's hair to lengthen and wrap itself around their throat for as long as you concentrate. They may resist with an Action and a Yang+Fortitude check against your activation. Each time they fail, they take damage and, after two failures, Deprived 1 each time.
Unbreakable (Yang+Fortitude): Your hair becomes entirely unbreakable, period, no matter what. If you use this with Razor Jacket or Cocoon Attack, you increase the Health of the hair coccoons but don't make them unbreakable.
Whiplash Assault (Yang+Fortitude): You must have Razor Jacket. You launch your hair off in all directions as an attack with the activation, hitting anything in a wide area for 3 damage that ignores 2 Armor. Anyone or anything not tied down then flies into the air as you start spinning and dragging them around, doing another 3 damage from hitting stuff.

The End!

So, what do you guys want next - Firebrands or Truth and Lies?

Nov 8, 2009

I love the potoo,
and the potoo loves you.

Mors Rattus posted:

The Way of the Piercing Jacket is a Wood-elemental jutsu that teaches how to control your hair. On a Boost, you get +1 Intimidation against anyone that can see you. On a Backfire, you get -2 to Initiative.

Oh hey, Sindel, was wondering when you'd show up.

Jul 19, 2012

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

Cythereal posted:

Oh hey, Sindel, was wondering when you'd show up.

Reading the rest of the jutsu summary comes off more like this

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!

Rifts World Book 14: New West: Part 19: "When a Super Slinger comes to town, one word comes to mind...Duck!."


Yes, because this is the west, we need to have special Western cyborgs. A lot of this is to expand the mining 'borg's arsenal, in case you want to play out the exciting adventures of digging tunnels and shafts. Alternately, we get cyber-gunslingers, because of course we do.

New Cybernetics

So, get exciting new items like a built-in flashlight, an acid spray to clean ores, a laser hand, a shovel hand, a big monster claw, an... air blaster, drills, torches, and picks. Alternately, there's stuff like water jets, customized paint and features (before you could just describe your cyborg however, now you have to pay), quick-draw spring holsters, stabilizing anchors (like a glitter boy), or a western wilderness kit with the following:

Rifts New West 14: New West posted:

Pocket tool kit
20 feet (6 m) of wire
12 Rubber Bands
6 Safety Pins
6 Sewing Needles and a spool of thread
Fishing line and hooks
Pocket Mirror
6 hand flares
Pocket Knife Bottle of Aspirin (50 tablets)
Laser Scalpel
Cigarette Lighter
Small Flashlight
Small Silver Cross
1 IRMSS kit
1 RMK kit
One week's dried food rations.

Rifts New West 14: New West posted:

Cost: 75,000 credits

And yeah, the list price for the IRMSS (Internal Robot Medical Surgeon System) and the RMK (Robot Medical Kit) is 66,000, but that means you're still paying 9,000 credits for poo poo like rubber bands and sewing needles. Maybe the laser scalpel costs 9,000? Maybe?

New West Cyborgs

So, this is the "cyberslinger" series of cyborgs that are produced by oh the book doesn't really care, it says that Northern Gun and Bandito Arms both make them and both accuse each other of stealing the designs. But who's right?


These are all full conversions because nobody much cares about partial conversions, and apparently it's not unusual to get one of these bodies provided for 10-15 years of indentured service to a community or organization. (You still start at 1st level, though, clever players.) They're available to anybody who takes the 'Borg class.

Check out that cyber-butt...

"The Kid"

This is a light cyborg for the vain, since it provides a convincing replica of one's original face and hands. The main cost, though, is in the fact that you aren't very tough or strong for a cyborg, but you get a variety of cyborg features from super-senses to a grappling hook to leg holsters (hope you get specially fitted pants). Also you can go for 90 MPH slo-mo jogs.

... and cyber-boobs...

"Super Slinger" Cyborg

Essentially a four-armed upgrade to "The Kid" with a bit more durability, this lets you fire all four weapons at once... but it takes up two actions. So not as much of an upgrade as you'd expect, though I guess you could go nova on normal foes with the right weapons. Also has vibro-sabres in two of the arms. Which ones? That's a mystery, folks!

... and cyber... is that a gun in those holsters? "Sure, sounds legit."

"Gringo" Cyborg

Classy name.

This is more of a traditional 9' mega-murder 'borg with an ion cannon in the chest, missiles on each shoulder (don't tilt your head while firing), and vibro-sabres in the arms. It's relatively tough if armored and the missiles can do some real damage, but all of its other weapons are crummy. Only runs at 60 MPH in slo-mo. Boring but relatively effective.

Next: Beast Machines.

Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?


Hey folks! The new HC SVNT DRACONES book, Sound and Silence, is kickstarting now! This comprehensive lore compendium is purely narrative and dives into the history, the corp behavior, and all sorts of fun topics about the setting.

Since I'm still waiting on Kult to get finished, I'm probably gonna cover this once it's out of KS.

Jul 19, 2012

RIP Lutri: 5/19/20-4/2/20
So, the poster child setting for "over-explaining plot holes that didn't exist" is getting a book that is nothing but a setting bible?

Will they finally explain why female robots can't have sex?

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder


I cannot wait for the lore bible of Sad Tigers And Fuckdogs

Feb 13, 2012

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

PurpleXVI posted:

Since I'm still waiting on Kult to get finished, I'm probably gonna cover this once it's out of KS.

The game so awful it made me start reviewing things to try to contrast it!

Wonder how many new species of sparkledog libertarians it'll introduce.

Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion

Night10194 posted:

The game so awful it made me start reviewing things to try to contrast it!

Wonder how many new species of sparkledog libertarians it'll introduce.

excuse me sir are you assuming their species?

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

okay no gently caress off with transphobic jokes

if you don't know that 'assuming my <x>' jokes are transphobic, you do now

Cease to Hope
Dec 12, 2011

wiegieman posted:

excuse me sir are you assuming their species?


Nov 6, 2011

When they passed out body parts in the comics today, I got Cathy's nose and Dick Tracy's private parts.
With all the stripperiffic women's outfits in Ninja Crusade, I'm surprised there isn't a clan based around pole dancing.

Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion

I don't give two shits if someone's trans or not, but if you dress up in an animal costume I'm going to make fun of you. It's that simple.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006

Simian_Prime posted:

With all the stripperiffic women's outfits in Ninja Crusade, I'm surprised there isn't a clan based around pole dancing.

Polearm dancing, you mean?

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

wiegieman posted:

I don't give two shits if someone's trans or not, but if you dress up in an animal costume I'm going to make fun of you. It's that simple.

Can you maybe not use transphobic stuff to do it?

Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion

Mors Rattus posted:

Can you maybe not use transphobic stuff to do it?

Sometimes a joke doesn't land, but sure, you got it.

Nov 8, 2009

I love the potoo,
and the potoo loves you.

Young Freud posted:

Polearm dancing, you mean?

I think a reasonable goal of a Ninja Crusade game would be to replicate the cast of Mortal Kombat, and need to fit in Jade and Tanya. :v:

Now where's the actors who are also the world's greatest mortal champion and punch people in the nuts?

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.
I think all the questions about actors and dancers means the next book reviewed should be Firebrands obviously.

Nov 8, 2009

I love the potoo,
and the potoo loves you.

unseenlibrarian posted:

I think all the questions about actors and dancers means the next book reviewed should be Firebrands obviously.

Just being an actor doesn't make for Johnny Cage. The dick punch is an important aspect.

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

Mors Rattus posted:


I cannot wait for the lore bible of Sad Tigers And Fuckdogs

I...must have missed when this first came up. Wtf?

Jul 19, 2012

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

marshmallow creep posted:

I...must have missed when this first came up. Wtf?

Hic Sunt Dracones. Post Scarcity Lolbertarian Furry Fetish RPG that goes out of it's way to very specifically say that certain things are impossible and have never been done shortly before contradicting itself.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Gehenna Againna and the Brain Pain Crew

What say I relax a little bit and dig into the list of tips and tricks for GMs that this book has to offer?

How To Warden Basic

A good, decent point. Worth keeping in mind.

Literally point one but rephrased and with a lot of examples.

It says a lot when you're comparing fellow prisoners, the majority of the survivors being folks who just want to survive, to Orcs.

The game is going to break this rule over and over, especially in the campaign. On top of that, there's how madness works. But we'll get to that when we get to that.

This here is a Demon and seeing as how I am a good boy and a fair and righteous GM with the greatest of tastes to run this game, I am gonna follow the rules I put forth and post them sparingly for this review.


The Gehenna is huge, meant to contain around 10 million in a reasonable amount of space that could still fly. The adventures of the players will generally take place on a small fragment of the ship, meaning there might be entire sections that the players have never seen before that they'll stumble across in their quest for survival. That's generally what this whole section does, focusing on a series of places to visit and what they're like. This section also explains the concept of a prison transport ship, the fact that Australia and Tasmania were penal colonies and the fact that the Gehenna is based on 25th century technology. Which is the important part to me, really, because it also plays into just how loose the timeline is. The 25th century was when man colonized the stars, but isn't that also supposed to be when the Last War was? And let's not even get into the fact that the map of the Earth is dated 2657 AD. Like, I know for a fact I'm getting some of this wrong and that's because the game is maddeningly nebulous. Anyway.

There's no way to line up both halves of the picture perfectly so I did my best; it's spread out across two pages and there's a definite virtual seam I couldn't quite line up.

Agricultural Habitats

The Agro-Domes dot the "top" half the ship and are roughly 300 yards beneath a glass dome, which is insane because isn't the hull of the ship made of beryllium for its resistant properties? Glass would break tremendously easily. Anyway. The Domes are contained ecosystems of trees, algae ponds and crops all maintained by autonomous irrigation, lights and humidifying systems. They provide air for the ship, food for well-behaving convicts and work so the prisoners have something to do. Someone still has to till the soil, pick the food, apply general care and also apply the proper chemicals. Food and tobacco are placed in transports for sorting and use throughout the ship. The Domes also provide plants specimens for if the Gehenna actually lands and they need to introduce foreign plants into the ecosystem.

However, Perdition hasn't been particularly kind to the Domes. On the low end of things, you have Domes that are starting to suffer from their caretakers being unable to tend to them and fix systems disrupted by the ship-wide damage. On the high end of things, you have Domes that are being bombarded with energy from this strange dimension and are starting to mutate and grow rapidly. These Domes are overlooked in the chaos, left to fester and mutate and become something big and alien.

Cell Blocks

Your average cell block contains 12 10x10 cells. Each cell contains one bed or bunk beds, a locker and a toilet. These twelve cells tend to be centered around an annex or a corridor, six on one half and six on the other. At the end of the corridor is a shower room and the other end has a secure door that leads in. The block will also contain two Custodians to monitor the inhabitants, an alarm for Trustees to raise, a first aid station and a vent system that services the whole block by depositing the air in the middle of the block. Everything (except for the outer walls of a block) is made out of transparent plastisteel including the doors, meaning that privacy ain't gonna happen. And there are a little under 2 million of these cell blocks. That's life on the Gehenna for most people.

After Perdition, the vast majority of the cell blocks are abandoned. Some of them were destroyed from damage, some of them are just empty except for the corpses of their occupants. The rest are empty because the prisoners ran for safety in the panic. As a whole, they're quiet now, quiet and empty.


In lieu of profiting off of prison/slave labor like in the US, the Gehenna’s workshops and such are all for the purposes of keeping the Gehenna up and running. Shifts of convicts would work throughout the day manipulating heavy machinery and automated systems to build spare parts for the Custodians and recycle scrap metal for repairs. The work centers are massive and advanced, containing precise equipment needed to make high tech items and weapons for the Custodians. While the centers are a great way for the prisoners to pass the time, it’s also a great way for them to steal things and make stuff to bring home (and as such the places are swarming with Custodians at all times).

After Perdition, the workshops are also generally abandoned. The majority of them are flat empty or patrolled by Custodians still. There are a few troubled locations where the state of abandonment has led to fires, especially when the foundries were left derelict.


There are no shortages of hospitals on the Gehenna. A lot of them are simply small clinics or infirmaries. On the higher end of population, there are a lot of psychiatric facilities built into various levels meant to hold prisoners for good. They’re not just places to get patched up; there are dental clinics, emergencies and morgues. There’s not much too them; they’re run by the Warden with some prisoners acting as orderlies and all of the medical services are automated and controlled by Custodians.

After Perdition, they are (once again) generally abandoned. If they’re abandoned, they tend to be slaughterhouses and full of dead prisoners. If they’re not, that’s because the patients never left and are now running the facility. And yes, it’s as typical as you would think it would be in a horror environment like this. The worst case scenario is that they’re occupied by Demons drawn to the madness.

Maintenance Tunnels

The tunnels were generally used by the Custodians with occasional Trustee access. The tunnels are a tangled maze of pipes, electrical lines, air ducts and dehumidifiers to fight rust. You can travel through them, but they’re cramped and noisy and damp with temperatures that fluctuate depending where you’re at in the ship. They’re also not lit as a general rule of thumb. If you go in, you need a flashlight or light rod.

After Perdition, you really don’t want to go into the tunnels. They’re still dark, they’re still tangled, and they’re still noisy. They’ve also got some damage in places and have started to flood with sewage or water and have become dangerous due to the threat of drowning or electrocution. They’re also home to prisoners desperate enough to try and make a home in there and the Demons who are preying on said prisoners.

Recreation Arcade

Imagine a mall. Now imagine there’s a mall on the Gehenna. Kinda hosed up, right? Well that’s a recreation arcade. Well, they’re malls mixed with a YMCA mixed with a college student center. The recreation arcades are something that’s generally unknown to the majority of the populace. They were intended to be rewards for the prisoners who have been doing well and doing consistently well. In execution, Trustees knew more about them than the average prisoner. The recreation arcades are home to sports centers, gardens, holovid theaters, galleries, arcades, libraries and more. They’re also done up with escalators and elevators and glass walkways and poo poo.

After Perdition, they too suffer abandonment issues. I joke but it’s rather boring to just say that they’re abandoned. I mean, yes, that’s what tends to happen when 5-8 million out of 10 million people die all at once. It’s still just not particularly interesting. Anyway yeah they’re just sitting empty most of the time.

Recycling Centers

The recycling centers are hip, happening places and yeah no they’re not. Everything thrown away goes into the recycling centers where a handful of convict workers help the Custodians and automated systems sort garbage. Waste, fluids and garbage get sent out to make new water, make fertilizer, make new food or simply get loaded up into containers to get sent to a foundry or workshop for processing. They’re also just incredibly dangerous places due to all of the compactors and shredders and automated arms and machines that cleanse stuff with chemicals/radiation.

Guess what, they’re abandoned! Actually they’re the part of the ship that is running at near 100% of how it used to, having been so automated and full of Custodians that there weren’t many prisoners there to begin with. The robots will probably chase you off or try to arrest you for trespassing.


The tram system uses a whole collection of maglev trains that fly up and down all over the Gehenna to move prisoners and materials. It’s essentially a series of subway trains in space that move the prisoners wherever they need to go.

After Perdition, the tunnels are one of the most dangerous places to go. A lot of the prisoners attempted to flee to safety through the tram tunnels and died in droves. The damage of flying into Hell lead to a lot of the intricate track systems getting damaged or losing power, resulting in large chunks of the tunnels being collapsed, on fire or electrocution hazards.


Ultramax differs from the regular blocks by being multiple floors of cells based around stair/elevator shaft. The Ultramax facilities are kept behind many security doors and are basically kept far, far away from the other blocks and parts of the ship to protect the other prisoners. In a sense, Ultramax runs parallel with the whole of the ship like its spine but they’re all still individual facilities, kept separate using security corridors full of automated gun turrets. Each Ultramax facility also has a window that looks out into space that acts as a last-ditch containment measure. In case of a sufficiently bad riot or threat to the rest of the Gehenna, the Warden would be able to blow detonation charges attached to the window and void the entire block’s atmosphere (and most of the prisoners, probably). The only way out of Ultramax is in a body bag or incredibly rare good behavior/rehabilitation transfer.

Perdition hit Ultramax the hardest due to the fact that so many madmen and awful people were like a bright beacon that drew a gigantic swarm of Demons to their location. The Demons only moved on to the rest of the ship when they finished feasting on the Ultramax prisoners. Most of the blocks are now blood-splattered killing floors. The problems are the ones that aren’t. The still-occupied blocks of Ultramax are invariably home to the Psychos, the Daughters and the Embracers. And unfortunately some of them have figured out how to reprogram the gun turrets to keep regular prisoners out so they can plot and plan from their headquarters.


The vaults are home to everything that was supposed to be used in case of colonization. They’re warehouses that are dozens of stories tall and plenty wide, containing prefab buildings, vehicles, weapon caches, medicines, technologies and building materials. Nobody knew about the vaults outside of the prisoners who were selected to act as a colonial government and societal elite in case of colonization. These prisoners were generally in the know of this plan and told to keep quiet while other prisoners were put in stasis or cryo to sleep if they were too vital to risk accidental death in prison.

After Perdition, the vaults are largely untouched and unopened. Not everyone who knew about them survived the trip into Hell and even if they did, the vaults are drat near untouchable without a concentrated effort to pop open the security. A squad of prisoners could certainly live like kings or find immeasurable power in the form of military technology...if only they could figure out a way to get past all of the sealed corridors and locked doors.

Hoofah. That sure is a lot of words! Let's make it worse. The game contains two d99 charts, one for random finds and one for random prisoner encounters. They're not great! If you have a d100 chart in your game (as in there's 100 different results), you probably don't have as many good ideas as you think you do and you're gonna run into a problem of filler or repeating variations on the same thing. If you have two of these charts, you're either severely overestimating the quality of your work or you're Games Workshop (the two are not mutually exclusive). Also I'm just going to say a general content warning on the charts below: the word "rape" comes up, there are weird portrayals of women and there's just weird poorly aged horror poo poo.

A derpy Demon to break up the charts and text and all that jazz. Look at this goofball.

So You Got Your rear end Kicked

Characters with Doc or Medical Knowledge are able to heal folks but it takes them a while and it's generally like an out of combat thing. Combat Medic is for quick patches in combat. Outside of that, you either need a medical kit or to sleep it off and regain 1d4 health with a good night's sleep.

Now for a little bit of mechanical fuckery. See, the game has said that 0 HP means you're unconscious. This doesn't mean you're not at a risk for death, despite explicitly saying earlier that you have to be in the negatives for that to be a risk. You have a five minute window where medical attention (kit or a medicine-oriented character) has to be applied or your character flat-out dies. Then you roll on the Recovery table to see what happens to your character.

Yeah, see that? You have a 70% chance of getting hosed over (I'm counting Found The Lord as getting hosed over). Take Survivor, pay out the extra 50 BP to skip the requirement of having been brought to near death, it's worth the extra amount paid. You absolutely want to be able to roll twice on this stupid chart to avoid a bad fate for your character. Really, just throw this whole chart out, this chart is garbage.


And now we get to the heart of how the psychological system of this psychological horror game works. In short, this is true for all gauges (Despair, Guilt, Insanity): every even number on the notch, something happens and every time most of them reach 10 something worse happens.


The higher your character's Despair, the more likely they'll freeze up or buckle under the pressure caused by fear.

To clarify this chart further:
  • the Shakes at level 2 only last for a hour before the penalty wears off and the character acclimates to this level of fear.
  • Panic only happens once every time a character hits this level.
  • I believe Freeze Up only happens once per threshold, otherwise this would make psychic characters incredibly hard to use in combat scenarios because they have to be at this level of Despair to use their powers.
  • Your character's psychic powers fire before you pass out at level 8 if they do manifest. If you're not an Awakened Psychic, then you have to reach Despair 8 in order to use psychic powers at all.
  • So yeah, hitting Despair 10 summons a Demon of Despair to your location. This can either be nothing to sneeze at or this can be a horrific TPK depending on how the roll goes. The "upside" of hitting Despair 10 is that as long as you're still in danger/exposed to the thing causing you distress, you can't keep accumulating Despair and manifesting more Demons.
Hitting 10 Despair is the "easiest" way to lose all Despair, trading the full bar for +1 Insanity and 0 Despair. Despair is also lost by spending 24 hours outside of danger (ha ha good luck) but can be juggled somewhat easily by finishing adventures or being a Chain Smoker or pounding Cardiolax. The latter is by far the best way to deal with Despair really, so much so that one of the best ways to survive in Hell is to just be bombed out of your mind on medical tranquilizers at all times.


Guilt measures how bad the character feels about their past and present deeds. It is...a much more dangerous thing than Despair in some ways.

To clarify further:
  • Guilty works like Shakes, in that it lasts for one hour before wearing off.
  • As far as I can tell, Ashamed is permanent until Guilt gets lowered. Also you're compelled to flee if your friends find out what you did, which is just the worst. Probably the worst part of this is the fact that it's harder to hurt people less Guilty than how does that translate against Demons and Custodians, who don't have Guilt gauges?
  • Haunted turns Will rolls into a death spiral of snowballing failure if you fail this, and this is what makes Guilt so dangerous.
  • gently caress you for trying to foster mandatory team killing.
They don't explain, exactly, how the whole "permanent Guilt level" thing works. One would assume that this means that every time the gauge reaches 10 and you summon a Demon and gain +1 Insanity that the Guilt level returns to this basic tally mark. But the game never really confirms or denies that. Either way, Guilt does not reduce over time. Guilt only lowers through effort and sacrifice on the part of the guilty party. This, mixed with the fact that Guilt severely fucks up your character's ability to act, means that you definitely want to do the absolute most you can to limit accrual of Guilt.


The weird thing is that Insanity really isn't that bad; it's harder to gain it and it's not really that much of a problem for the first half of the gauge.

See, to understand exactly how the Insanity chart works...we have to look at the madness chart. When you get up to Insanity 4, you roll 1d10 and get one of five forms of madness: Delusion, Detachment, Lunacy, Nihilism and Rage.

You remember our buddy Pincushion? You remember how he ended up with Nihilism? Yeah. Nihilism is by far the best possible result on this chart. Short of Lunacy, I mean. Either way, a few things to consider: your Madness goes away whenever you hit Insanity 3 again, that's it, you're cured of it. You can basically dance around with lowering Insanity thanks to repeatedly taking Mental Health until you get the madness you want. The other thing to consider is that Insanity really just doesn't even have that much of an effect on your character, it's all just totally arbitrary. The third upside is that once you're at Insanity 4, you can just always see the Demons and always see any supernatural threat. Meaning that our buddy Pincushion may have started at 4 Insanity and he does generally suck at doing anything but he can also be used as a reliable way to detect danger/do things the other characters can't do. Anyway you want to keep your Insanity at 5 maximum because you actually lose the benefit of the minor form of it whenever it gets to moderate or severe. Any form of lowering Insanity outside of Mental Health or Lobotomy is totally up to the GM to figure out.

Oh, one last thing. I bet you're wondering what happens when you hit Insanity 10. Well, you have to make a Will roll to do anything (which can be circumvented by getting slapped silly) for 1d4 hours. You also summon a Demon. And the text has this to say: "At this level the character’s mind may be effectively shattered, too overloaded with mental strain to react to even the most basic instincts and stimuli."

And that's it. Your character is still playable, the game doesn't really say that this is, like, it. Hell you can just get a lobotomy and walk it off or sink some points into more Mental Health to just get better.

Psychological horror!


Oh yeah ironically there's a mechanic called Hope. Hope is basically Warhammer Fate Points; you get one per adventure and can be used for the following:

Alright big problem 1: the fact that this is per group and not per character. And the benefits are, uh. Kinda lackluster in that regard. Problem 2: a shitload of Demons can straight-up turn off the ability to call on Hope. This entire mechanic just reeks of a hasty patch they threw in and then intentionally hobbled regardless.


Our dear friend Pincushion has a 45% chance of Psy Potential and this is because I minmaxed him as best as I could. It's really hard to build for a psychic character and that's good because they're just not very good. Say Pincushion does in fact manage to reach Despair 8 and then the GM rolls 1d100 and they rolled under 45. Congrats! Pincushion is now able to buy the Awakened Psychic Trait so he doesn't have to repeatedly hit Despair 8 to do anything. He also now has Psy Strength 6 once he gets that. So as an Awakened Psychic with access to Real Ultimate Power, the kind that lets your brain flip out and kill people, he can roll on the Random Psychic Power table as an attack action as long as he's at Despair 5.

Hm. Not great. The majority of them are useable, sure. It's just that instead of rolling on the Perils of the Warp table, Pincushion has to deal with slinging somewhat mild Psyker powers that have friendly fire on. In fact, always on. If the rest of G-Unit want to deal with his newfound power, they have to stay pretty far away from him and Pincushion and his relatively weak physique and Prowess basically have to be front and center against the convicts/robots/Demons threatening the crew. Which is...not ideal, one would say, for Pincushion's prolonged survival. But I mean hey, these are the random powers. Pincushion can also purchase powers to use!

And these powers are all universally worse than the random ones. The sole upside is they increase your Psy Strength, meaning that your results on the random table are better and that's it. Though that's not to say that Pincushion can't really use these powers, he absolutely can. In fact if he's not careful with using them, G-Unit's pet psychic is just going to be chronically depressed about the futility of life and actively resigned to an existence of torment and damnation, moping about how existence is pain and useless as he shuffles behind them or scoots into battle to unleash some random ability, his gauge stuck drat near permanently at Insanity 10 but too uncaring about how far gone he is.

But hey, you got what you wanted. It's just a shame that what you wanted sucks beyond imagining.

NEXT TIME: the bestiary of Demons as we creep closer to the end of the book. Not included: this guy!

Just look at this weird lumpy rascal.

Hostile V fucked around with this message at 08:31 on Jul 15, 2017

Aug 12, 2013

That's surprisingly good GMing advice, considering what I was expecting.

Jul 26, 2012

*rathian noises*
FATAL and Friends: You got what you wanted. It's just a shame that what you wanted sucks beyond imagining.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Ninja Crusade - The Firebrands: Storytime

Firebrands is written a bit weirdly - the non-mechanics chapters are all written in character. We start off with a short diary series by a Blazing Dancer who is sent on a mission to capture a traitr to the clan, but gets spotted, shot, and then gets captured by soldiers and lets her prey escape. Then she goes home and returns to her work as an actor. We then cut to the chapter proper, which is written in the form of lectures to a Grasping Shadow initiate who had been sent to murder a Blazing Dancer elder. Specifically, an 80-year-old woman named Nozomi Hayakawa, one of the head teachers of the Wy Ji Theater. These days, she is mostly a clan recruiter, picking up ronin or those who do not fit their clans. Most other clans hate her as a result. She sees her students as her children and tries to teach them to put everything into their performances.

Nozomi reminesces about her youth and the time one of her fellow actors murdered a man onstage to uproarious applause. She then explains to her would-be assassin that the real power that the Emperor has taken to defeat the ninja was convincing the people that ninja are horrible. The Blazing Dancers, she says, have two main jobs - drawing attention and convincing people that ninja are...whatever they say ninja are. If the Emperor wants to hunt down criminals, they will force the Empire to target innocents and the bloved. They are not direct warriors, but masters of opinion.

The Odoriko see no real value in front lines combat - it's just a way to get killed or beaten down, even if you win. Instead, they infiltrate the enemy, finding out who gives the orders and who doesn't want to fight. From there, it's not usually hard, she says, to turn a soldier or get an officer to fall in love with a ninja. Changing even one opinion can turn the tide, and that's what they focus on doing. Let other clans fight and destroy - the Dancers will encourage the citizens to come out and be influenced. To like them, to believe in them. It's a longer war, but the benefits, they feel, are far greater. They turn enemies into allies and stubborn foes into outcasts.

She then reveals that she noticed the poison in her wine and chides the assassin for it because now she can't share the bottle. She says she left the Shadow alive because she believes they have no idea how to plan a murder and was sent here because their masters saw does she. She believes the Shadows want her dead to silence her beliefs about how to handle the war, since they prefer violence. She then launches into a history of the clan. They started out in the Land of Exalted Flame, where obedience is prized far more than individuality. There, they were a group that secretly loved music and dance, forbidden under the Way, the philosophy that rules Exalted Flame. All that matters is loyalty to the country, service to the elders and sex purely for the procreation of children. It is about being effective, not happy. And it works...if you reject your own emotions.

The Odoriko family were stifled by the Way. They loved the arts and their passion, and they quietly rebelled. The King of Exalted Flame gave them one chance - to put on a show that embraced the Way. If he was impressed, he said, he would indulge in small things such as painting or decoration. If it proved a waste, the clan would be disbanded by force, if necessary. It was a challenge to succeed or die - because a life without art is death. They performed dance, juggling and fire manipulation tricks, hoping to impress the King. They failed, in part because one of their pieces was a satire about turning to the arts to repair the spirit, in an effort to show the King their vision. He was insulted by it and banished the Odoriko for insulting his beliefs and those of his people.

The clan master of the time was forced to commit suicide to spare his family and those that made the sets. All of the actors, however, were thrown into a volcano. The rest of the clan was hunted in the streets, and many were tortured before they were killed. The survivors fled into the night, with little food and no real supplies, caught between Exalted Flame and the Desert of Black Sand. All others that had tried to cross the Great Desert had failed. It took weeks for the Odoriko to travel, and they survived only by sheer will and mastery of fire. Many of the clan elders died in the trip, and with then, a lot of information - stories, set building expertise, rare martial arts and jutsu. In the trip, the Odoriko were forced to abandon their pride and their vanity, embracing only survival. They became sharp and focused in the desert, forged with new determination to live. The survivors would perform again - but now with a purpose. Now, they would never let anyone know their true meaning, becoming a force to transform others.

Once on the other side of the Desert, the clan needed to find ways to feed their starving mouths. They knew they could never return to Exalted Flame - so instead, they turned to their new land, hodling performances and struggling to make a new way of life. They never gave up. They became nomads, traveling across the land of the Izou, performing for small crowds. They were something new, something different, and soon, the crowds grew. Wealth poured in as more and more came to see their shows. In fact, the Emperor once tried to tax them to fund a new castle and the fans of the Dancers protested en masse. The Odoriko knew the game, though, and when the tax was withdrawn, they chose to fund the castle in full as a gift. In return, they became the official entertainers of the Empire, replacing the old traditions that came before and doubling their audience overnight.

Nobles would often call upon the Odoriko to perform for them, and everyone loved them. Their goal was complete...and, of course, the Emperor ended it. The greatest of the clan were invited to perform in his honor, in a massive stadium. They opened with a dance and fire show, then moved into a comic play. It never got past that. The Emperor's youngest godson, you see, was having problems with his people - taxation, that kind of thing. One of the shows featured a boy trying to shove goats into a pen too small for them, meant to play up the Emperor's comment to his godson that he would grow wise through his dealings with people. The clan master was even supposed to come on as the Emperor to direct the boy. The Odoriko had not heard the news - the godson's lands had revolted and killed him, then mounted his head on a goat pen stake.

The Odoriko were declared blasphemers before the Emperor and their reputation was damaged in spite of their apologies. Their master again had to commit suicide to atone, and their audiences practically evaporated. Their name was spat upon for years, and the clan fled the Imperial forces that harassed them. Eventually, they settled in the peaks of the Takiyama mountains and around the Ensen Volcano, building a small town that would form the core of what would become the Wu Ji Theater. They started over under a new name - the Blazing Dancers. They began with small audiences, and this time they decided they would not pursue wealth so avidly. Instead, they would pursue true art, performing only for the poor or for charity. This allowed them to find their focus and reclaim the love of the people. Admission was free or for a small donation, and they slowly began to bring in the nobles by inviting a selected few to watch and waiting for the others to follow. After all, when they left, their replacements were nowhere near as good as the Odoriko had been.

It really wasn't long before the Empire was officially funding the DAncers again, in honor of the culture they brought to the poor and the delights to the rich. Students came from across the world to study their methods, though they were selective about who to take. It would have been easy to fall back into the lures of wealth - but they never did. The Dancers decided they would need a central location to perform at. The Wu Ji, or Infinite Theater, was built at the base of Ensen Volcano as their headquarters and training center. They built paths to guide the lava flows around it, so the town was never in danger. Regular performances were held - spectacular to see. The theater is amazingly well made now, and has many secret passages.

Of course, the Crusade ended the performances. After one final show, the Wu Ji Theater was closed to the public, though the sound of music can still be heard within at times. This mystery is intentional, and brings a few to try and sneak in and dsicover the truth. Those that succeed are either killed or recruited. Within the walls, the Theater is now used as a pure training grounds for actors...and for ninja. They teach how to spread rumor, how to turn opinion, how to blend in, how to fight - and how to do all these things without anyone noticing. And so, Nozomi turns back to the Shadow assassin...and offers them a place in the Dancers, having seen the inner pain they feel as part of the Shadows.

She explains the initiation - the new student sits in the center of a circle of fire and DAncers, always growing closer. Finally, after an hour of fear and sweat, they leap to their feet and instinctively mimic the movements of the other Dancers. All involved are coated in ash and soot by the end, to symblize the great journey it has taken to arrive in that place and to thank the Great Desert for its lessons. Training will begin in the morning.

Next time: Life in the Blazing Dancers

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!

Rifts World Book 14: New West: Part 20: "The vehicle is deliberately made to resemble a giant spider to frighten potential humanoid and animal antagonists — plus it looks cool (and cool always sells)."

Robots & Vehicles

Just like its natural counterpart, the robot spider defends itself with mini-missiles.

The Tarantula ATV

This is a car-sized robot designed to look like a giant spider. Originally built by Bandito Arms as the Bandito Tarantula, Northern Gun has a knock-off version called the NG Spider. Apparently, vehicles designed to look like giant spiders are hot stuff, even though I'd think it'd get you shot at unnecessarily because you look like a giant spider.

Its M.D.C. isn't hot for a vehicle, but it has a decent pair of rail guns in front, middling ion guns in the rear end, and mini-missiles from the top ("concealed" to justify them not being in the art). Apparently it moves silently and has IR and radar dampening, so it can stealth around except for the fact that you look like a giant spider. I'm sure nobody will see your 14' spider coming.

Robot Horses

Though giving a passing statblock in Vampire Kingdoms, after books mentioning them over and over, we finally get rules for robot horsies. Because people in the west apparently love horses in an impure manner, they're real popular... for people that can afford them. They can be given complex commands, have friends encoded, be programmed to shoot at known hostile species (if armed), coded to only let certain people ride it, and be given voice recognition and feedback for... Google, what is the overestimated future cost of a talking horse?

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

... an extra 100,000 credits...

Well, don't throw out your smartphone. There are other features, like extra armor, chemical spray (acid neeiiiigh), concealed weapon "rod" (we know what you're talking about, Siembieda), head lasers, light machinegun, or mini-missiles. Most of the weapons are trash except for the mini-missiles or the weapon rods that do not make me think of other rods horses might conceal.

it's a dick joke :ssh:

Draw real horse, call it a robot... you know the deal by now.

Appaloosa or Pony

It's yours, if not little. Designed for "female riders, children, and small D-bees". Has modest M.D.C. and runs at 75 M.P.H., and is strong as a... well, horse. Gets a bonus to dodging while running. Has a beauty of 15 if you get the fur coating, in case you needed to know. (This has no effect on anything except your dreams.)

Engage trot speed.

Mustang or Pinto

Like above, but a bit tougher, goes 100 MPH, and costs more. Presumably too much horse for a girl to ride. Beauty is only 14 with the fur covering. Well, the ponies have booty marks, so that explains that.

No riders, no masters.


Like the mustang, but goes 120 MPH, and costs even more. Horse beautywatch is at 17, so it can charm/impress people, and can probably do it with dulcet robot tones if you've ponied up your 100K for chatterbox software.

get it

ponied up

War Horse

This is a Clydesdale-style horse that's apparently common amongst cyber-knights and the 1st Apocalyptic Cavalry who apparently somehow can earn 6.1 million to spend on a robot horse despite the dearth of income from either group. It's much tougher and stronger than the others, but only goes 75 MPH. The guy at the bar who's really into robot horses gives it a 7 (that's a beauty of 14 in Palladium terms).

The Terminatorrier.

Bandit K-9 Companion

So, this is designed to act like a real dog, only this one actually obeys your commands. It can do more complex orders, howl around enemies, and can chat for that 100K surcharge. They can get a lot of the same options horses can except some of the heavier weapons. The have relatively light M.D.C., run at 40 MPH, and get a tracking program to use with the molecular analyzer. Truly, man's best realdog.

For all the poo poo this thing gets in the text, it looks like a blast.

Bronco Scooter

Also known as a "hobby horse", this is a hovercycle with a horse-styled set of handlebars. "Despite this, the Bronco Scooter is incredibly popular, especially among Greenhorns, City Slickers and would-be cowboys." Remember, robot horses are legit, but a hovercycle with a horse head - that's a step too far, pardner! It doesn't have much M.D.C., but you can pay extra for a bit of extra armor. It can go at 190 MPH, though, leaving all those robot horses in the dust and flying over buildings. drat your city contraptions and their inexplicable effectiveness!

Cavalry War Wagon

A knock-off of the Coalition "Scarab" hover car, but with a completely redesigned exterior, a large ram prow, and a rail gun in a cupola. (That's a small person-manned turret.) Popular with large organizations like the "1st Cavalry Justice Rangers", in a confused turn of phrase that mixes up the Apocalyptic Cavalry and the Justice Rangers. Funny, that. It's not very durable for something it's size, and has weak lasers up front, mini-missiles on the side, and a weak rail gun. But it can go 200 MPH and get away from everybody on horses, robo or no.

Next: Really wilking those guns.

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 19:38 on Jul 15, 2017

Nov 4, 2007

zamtrios so lonely
Grimey Drawer
At 6.1 million credits for the war horse you might as well just plate it with solid gold and also put sign on it saying "do not steal."

Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.

Grimey Drawer
Butt stallion demands diamonds.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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

occamsnailfile posted:

At 6.1 million credits for the war horse you might as well just plate it with solid gold and also put sign on it saying "do not steal."
"The horse economy will never collapse!"
[someone steals a single war horse]
"The horse economy is collapsing!"

Jul 26, 2012

*rathian noises*

Alien Rope Burn posted:

Just like its natural counterpart, the robot spider defends itself with mini-missiles.

You say that in jest, but...

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!

occamsnailfile posted:

At 6.1 million credits for the war horse you might as well just plate it with solid gold and also put sign on it saying "do not steal."

I sometimes wonder if there's inflation, and e-clips are really just $20 in modern money, and mecha-horses are $6,000.

But then I can say definitively - "nah".

Fair point, but I'm betting they don't come with plasma warheads.

(Looking for you to prove me wrong there.)

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.

Thank you for the psychological trauma.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Ninja Crusade - The Firebrands: Dance, Magic, Dance

We cut to a training lecture by Odoriko Minori. Dude's an amazing performer that was the face of the clan in public for years, mastering acrobatic feats and firebreathing. After spending years as a star performer, he returned to the Theater as a teacher. He's a fun-loving, cheery guy, but he can't stand laziness or lack of determination. He's quick with a joke and knows the power of positivity to help people turn it around, however. He's also a skilled warrior, having racked up a very impressive body count in the times he's been on the front lines. He prefers not to discuss that part.

Minori teaches the Shadow that they - okay, she, because it's she - needs to get better at dodging while dancing. There are six dancers besides her, and only one is trying to hit her, after all. He says that combat and the dance should only differ by two steps or so, so mastery of the dance is vital, especially since dancing is a lot easier to do without getting arrested. The Odoriko are not above killing, he says - they may paint themselves as heroes, but this is war. However, they prefer to do their murders in disguise - either as other clans or in such a way that they don't seem like a threat. They especially enjoy pretending to be Shadows, for their most special missions.

But why? Minori explains - without the Blazing Dancers, the war would be lost. The masses would have their spirits broken. The other clans would lack their tricks and distractions, and so would both become consumed by infighting and get caught by the Empire. Entire clans would be wiped out, and the survivors would be enslaved by the Emperor. The Blazing Dancers hold things together with laughter and trickery - and that's why the new recruit needs to master her training. Yes, he tells her, most clans think the Dancers are just clowns and thieves. That's fine. They can think that. Their value is made clear, slowly, by doing what no one else can. They can recruit the Empire's own people to their side, you see. It's a long war, and it's one the Odoriko fight essentially alone. It's just hard to notice while it's happening.

The Dancers are also highly social. They can get on with just about anyone, and that lets them get into places others can't. They're great distractions, and they're no slouches in combat if that fails. Other clans only think of advancing the mission goals, because they are detached from others. The Dancers remember how important socializing is - it's fun, and it makes people love you. It can even get you food, shelter, money. Other clans prefer to work only in secret; the Odoriko reject that. Yes, everyone knows the Blazing Dancers have ninja. But everyone knows they're no threat. In a way, the Emperor's PR campaign has only helped them - it makes people get the thrill of rebellion from attending their shows, makes it all the more exciting.

That said, they know the Coalition is all that keeps them alive. Without the rest of the clans, the Empire would have time enough to pay more attention and figure them out. Every clan is like that - they'd all die, alone. That said, not all the clans are allies all the time, and it's important for a Dancer to know where problems might come from. And so, we begin to discuss Odoriko views on other clans.

The Shadows do not like the Dancers at all. The Dancers know the Shadows excel at murder, but they feel it is overused - they rely too much on killing, and they too blindly obey their masters. The targets may well not deserve a drat thing done to them. They forget that every killed victim is just replaced, making an endless cycle of death and changes no minds. They remind the Dancers a lot of the old Exalted Flame people, who gave up all for duty. They'd feel bad about that if the Shadows didn't keep trying to kill them and never compromised.

The Recoiling Serpents buy into the clown act. That's fine - it's not like they'd be loyal if they didn't believe it. Best to just leave the entitled assholes alone and let them have their delusions of greatness. The Hidden Strands are entirely untrustworthy and self-centered and treacherous, but they're very good at their jobs as long as you remember that, so they aren't a major threat. ...assuming you don't trust them with anything you don't want used against you. The Will of Iron are vicious and untrusting, assuming everyone has done something bad and having little room for doubt in that belief. The Odoriko would get on better with them if they had some sense of how to not be on all the time, and could smile a bit.

The other clans see the Herbalists as just a tool to get people back on their feet, but the Dancers prefer to view them as friends and comrades to be aided. It's mutually beneficial - both groups like exciting lives and travel, and the two clans are very close. Likewise, they get on pretty will with the Living Chronicle, who are mostly just socially awkward. Sure, their death rituals can be weird and gross, and there's not much in common, but you can't be picky about company in the war. The closest allies, however, are the Virtuous Body Gardeners. They both focus on freedom of expression, after all, and are seen as rebels. While the Dancers are subtle where the Inks are brash, they work very well together.

The Wardens of Equilibrium are not friends - they don't really do friends. All they care for, say the Dancers, is money and power, and are happy to betray and manipulate. Their methods are nasty, but they get results...just don't expect loyalty. The Black Moons, on the other hand, are loyal friends. They're good people, though they could use some education in how to best take advantage of their reputation for being hicks. Sadly, they're stubborn about changing their ways. As for Ronin...well, they're mostly interesting and neat. You can use them as messengers and allies, and they choose their own paths. Many also petition to join the Dancers if treated well. So do that.

The training ends for a brief break, and Minori explains the various sects within the clan. On a general level you have groups like the caravan drivers and traders that maintain the clan infrastructure and ensure the show actually gets where it has to go, and you've got the trainers and teachers. Beyond these general jobs, though, there are some more specific duties - most notably, the Bellows, the Tamers, the Thousand and the Hands.

Tamers manage a vital aspect of a circus: the animals. They teach dogs, cats, monkeys - all sorts of critters - how to do tricks. Tricks like dancing and tightrope walking and planting evidence. While they're not as close to their animals as the Pack of the Black Moon, the Tamers bond with their pets and use them for many tasks. Mostly circus tricks, yes, but some very useful war tricks, too, or stuff like picking locks and retrieving keys. Very handy ninjas to have around. The Bellows, on the other hand, are what the Dancers call their performing stars. They bring joy to the masses, parade around in public, become famous. They are expected to party and live large, to make friends and be the idol of the people. It helps grab attention that way.

The Thousand were named a century ago - a group of infiltrators in Daiwa that helped hunt out Imperial spies during an internal clan struggle. They were a group of six, but by calling themselves the Thousand, they left their foes hunting for a large group. No one is entirely sure what the Thousand do most of the time - they're a largely autonomous group, and they go masked to hide their identities. They refuse to remove those in the company of others, ever, save for the others of the Thousand. They learn to dance in perfect sync with each other, too, and it's unclear how many exist now. (More than six.) They live separate from the rest of the clan, a necessary evil, but at heart they remain Dancers. The final sect, the Hands, are the strangest. They are the best actors of the clan, but they never act on stage, really. They can take on any role needed, and what they do is go to places, settle down for a few years and wait to set a plan in motion. They gather intelligence and prepare others for quicker missions, as well as providing shelter when needed. They avoid suspicion and live out a false life. The Dancers try to have one in every major city at least, so they can pretend to be visiting relatives.

We end with another training exercise - the ex-Shadow must now have eight monkeys climb on her body and prevent one of them from putting a clay statue in her pocket, to represent the difficulty of avoiding capture by guards in the Imperial Palace. Then she will need to watch a crowded area for ten seconds and then dance, blindfolded, for a crwod there without breaking anything...and will have to do so in a way that entertains the crowd.

Next time: The lands of the Dancers.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!

Rifts World Book 14: New West: Part 21: "However, there is a 01-65% likelihood that the round will explode in the gun and inflict double damage to the shooter (roll for each shot/attempt) — this is a good way to lose fingers or a hand."

Wilk's Laser Technologies
By Kevin Siembieda with ideas and additional text by Chris Kornmann

poo poo. Glad I'll be giving up doing this type of gun coverage soon. So this is another list of worthless guns. This time they're by Wilk's, who's always been an oft-cited laser company, but only had a few weapons in the corebook and the first Rifts Sourcebook. Well, we get look at their larger product line, and guess what?

It's a long list of garbage.

This is mainly because for some reason Siembieda values range as a balancing factor in weaponry except... range isn't really something that's a big deal in most Palladium fights. Lasers are low-damage, but high-range. The game has no range modifiers, so if you're beyond the maximum range of a target, you can shoot them, if you're not beyond it, you can't shoot them. So unless you're having sniper duels at a quarter-mile or trying to plug high-flying aircraft, Wilk's weapons don't have any inherent advantage. So when I rag on them in just a bit, that's why.

So, joining the ranks of pre-rifts survivors, it turns out Wilk's was a company founded before the cataclysm by a "John Harrington Wilk" who got his start making medical lasers, rangefinders, laser sights, etc. Apparently, this was a trillion-dollar industry and he became a genius billionaire in the 2070s despite everything being described being old hat by the 1980s. I guess they were really, really good laser rangefinders?

So when the cataclysm came, Wilk's had a factory in South Dakota that survived largely intact or... was abandoned or something? Coinkadinkally, Wallace John Wilk, post-rifts descendant of John Harrington Wilk, rediscovered the base "as fate would have it". By taking out a loan from Tolkeen, they were able to rebuild the factory and keep their business secret until they started actually started mass-producing guns several decades ago. Northern Gun immediately took to making inferior copies (that look different, somehow, but how is not mentioned). It notes that Wilk's has always focused on civilian applications of lasers, but hahahaha like that'll get covered much, time for some guns!

Most Wilk's weapons are essentially permutations on the SEGA Zapper, for the record.

Wilk's Laser Weapons
  • Wilk's 210 "Pocket Pistol": poo poo. A laser derringer that won't kill anything a normal derringer couldn't kill. Well, actually probably not, Palladium damage rules are bizarre. Point is, it does about the minimum damage we'll see a laser do - 1d6.
  • Wilk's 227 Pulse Pistol: Kinda poo poo. Does alright damage for a pistol because of its pulse fire and is supposed to be cutting-edge. It's not very hot compared to other weapons in general, but compared to the other pistols it's some hot poo poo.
  • Wilk's 320 Laser Pistol: poo poo damage at 1d6, but it can apparently burst fire now. Not sure of that's legit or an oversight.
  • Wilk's 330 Sniper Laser Pistol: poo poo. A +3 bonus to hit on a aimed shot might be worthwhile if it did more than 2d6 damage.
  • Wilk's 247 "Hero" Dual Pistol: poo poo. This is supposedly "designed on the principles of the old, automatic sub-machineguns" but is only semi-automatic. It basically has two different lasers built into one but they're both crappy and it's not like you can fire both at once. It fits two e-clips... somehow... within it s small frame. Maybe they're side-by-side where the picture doesn't show?
  • Wilk's 237 "Backup": "... sacrificing range for firepower." makes this about the only decent Wilk's pistol. It can kill a Coalition soldier in 3-5 shots! That's perfectly alright considering the original pistol takes 15-30 shots to do the same.
  • Wilk's 447 Traditional Laser Rifle: poo poo. There are worse rifles (like the original Coalition light laser rifle) but not many.
  • Wilk's 457 Laser Pulse Rifle: One of the original high-damage weapons with a 1d6x10 pulse fire shot. Still pretty solid.
  • Wilk's 547 "Double-Dealer": poo poo. This is just the 447 with a grenade launcher attached. Grenades are awful in Rifts and this is no exception.
  • Wilk's VFALR "Chameleon"": poo poo. Oh my, it's so bad. See, this is one of those "variable frequency" lasers designed to counter laser-reflective armor. Except the only major thing that uses that is glitter boys, and this thing's average damage means it'll take 37 shots to take down a glitter boy. Amount of shots the glitter boy needs to take down an infantryman using one of these: 1 shot. So if you have three dozen guys maybe you have a shot? Except... your chance of finding the right frequency to counter the specific armor of a glitter boy (and each GB is different) is 1 in 24. So it's more like... 48 or so shots to take down a glitter boy. Yeah. Don't. Don't even try. What the gently caress?
  • Wilk's 567 "Long Gun": poo poo. A long-range rifle that can adjust its damage between "worthless" and "passable".
Wilk's-Remi Firearms
High-Tech Laser Weapons with Old West Styling

So, because Westerners love their old-timey Cracker Barrel Pepperidge Farm weapons, Wilk's makes laser weapons that look like faux-revolvers and Winchester rifles, yeehaw.

Just drawin' real guns now.
  • Wilk's-Remi 104 Derringer: poo poo.
  • Wilk's-Remi 130 "Six Shooter": poo poo. For some reason is listed as fully automatic but I'm presuming that's in error.
  • Wilk's-Remi 136 "Big Man": poo poo. For some reason is listed as fully automatic but I'm presuming that's in error, again.
  • Wilk's-Remi 137 "Kingdom Come": A pulse pistol that's okay and not... entirely poo poo.
  • Wilk's-Remi 147 "Sharp Shooter": poo poo.
  • Wilk's-Remi 150 "Volcanic": Not too poo poo until you realize it does only as much damage as the "Kingdom Come", then you realize it really is poo poo after all.
  • Wilk's-Remi 157 "Judgement Day: Basically the Wilk's 457 with better visual design. It's okay!

Over a dozen pictures of real guns.

We also have the Wilk's Beehive Grenade, which is a grenade that shoots lasers in all directions. It has a weird mechanic where it does more damage the larger a target is, making it... less poo poo when using it against giant robots, but not great. There's the Wilk's Blinder Grenade that gives a horrible combat debuff for 15-60 seconds with no save, and even bypasses light-shielding mechanisms and blows out cameras... but Lyn-Syral are specifically immune. Sure. There's a Wilk's Laser Knife that projects a "stable laser field". It does more damage than vibro-knives but you can't parry with it (no lightsaber effect). There's a Wilk's Laser Cane, for those who want to do poo poo damage in style. There's a Laser Torch, Laser Wand, Laser Scalpel, and the PC-2020 Laser Holographic Portable Computer which are all reprints from earlier books as far as I'm aware.

Conventional Revolvers

This section is for S.D.C. pistols, and is only really of use for psi-slingers to use their ability to convert S.D.C. pistols to to M.D.C. weapons. In case if you're wondering if this makes those weapons particularly great, it doesn't. It makes them useable, at best, but given damage caps at around 3d6 or 5d6 with no automatic fire, you're better off with a (good) laser weapon.

I've already typed too much, we can move on to page 212.

CFT Experimental Weapons

Now, we've had:
  • Bandito ion weapons designed to look like Old West guns.
  • Bandito explosive weapons designed to look like Old West guns.
  • Wilk's laser weapons designed to look like Old West guns.
  • Psychic powers that let you use Old West guns.
But that weren't enough. No. Why would it be? So, we have Wilk's creating a special technology that uses special one-shot energy cartridges that fire lasers out of a barrel so you can fire lasers out of an otherwise just reinforced revolver.


They put it out under the CFT brand in case it was a big flop, but it turns out Rifts westerners love their Hee Haw fuckin' rodeo guns, because of course they do.

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

CFT weapons have four notable disadvantages, most of which don't seem to bother the users of these popular weapons...

Of course they don't, because old Western films apparently caused meme trauma for these half-assed Revolver Ocelots. Of course, they have a limited ammo capacity, require you to reload chambers because that's a great idea in the face of belt-fed skull-faced hyper-tech Nazis, have an artificial "kick"-

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

- something that many Westerners like (it keeps with tradition and has the look and feel of a real S.D.C. six-shooter but with mega-damage power).

Ah, the "tradition" of not being able to aim your poo poo because your old-time Bonanza garbage kicks all over the place because there's a fake mechanism to make it feel like a "real" gun. Brilliant. loving brilliant. You can try and fire these cartridges out of a regular revolver, but have a 65% chance of having the gun blow up and firing more than two rounds a minute will melt the gun. So don't do that.

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

The CFT weapons are not illustrated because they look like the classic Colt revolvers of the old west and similar to those already shown.

All of them do poo poo for damage, in case you're actually wondering. It's worth noting that since each revolver shot counts as an attack, your average gunfighter is only going to be able to fire off a round every 2 or 3 seconds, so forget fan-firing poo poo or "It's Hiiiigh Noon", McCrees. Also, it takes a full round (15 seconds) to reload a revolver, or half your attacks if you're a gunfighter, lawman, gunslinger, or bounty hunter. (Psi-slingers and their ordinary revolvers can get hosed, apparently.)

It's just tons of drawings of real revolvers even gun nuts might struggle to tell apart.

There's the CFT "Peacebringer" that looks like a Colt .45 "Peacemaker". The CFT "1886er" looks like an Army Colt .45 "Hog Leg". The CFT "Auto-Shoote"r looks like a M1911A1. The CFT "Cavalryman" which looks like a Spencer rifle. Lastly, there's the CFT "Rangemaster" that looks like a Winchester Model 1876[/i].

Whew. That has got to be all the old faux rootin-tootin cowboy bang bang yeeeehaw, right?

Next: Nope, gently caress, there's more.

Jan 29, 2009
So is using the MDC bullets in a duel cheating?

Also, why are these all so bad in the face of so many MDC toting wildlife?


The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007

Are there giant robots (sorry, 'robot vehicles') with spurs and cowboy hats?
If so, are there giant robot horses for them to ride?

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