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Nullkigan
Jul 3, 2009


Didn't the 'Orks come from spores' thing only really come up around the time of Gorkamorka? It's a fantastic hook for explaining how Ork society as-written can function at all (i.e. populations springing out of nowhere because they're their own ecosystem), but is a rather recent invention as far as it goes.

Not that logic ever mattered all that much to the settings, but I vaguely remember fantasy did used to have literal orc villages up in the mountains at one point to act as the source of the hordes. I think a WHFRP 1.0 adventure even had players butchering one to set up a shocking reveal of Orc Matrons being a thing. At that point the hand-wave explanation for everything was 'squigs' though, so it could be played a bit to taste (i.e. hair squigs, squigs stuffed into dresses, and so on) if you didn't want to stray far into the subject of orcish women and children. There's also whatever the hell was going on with orc cheerleaders in blood bowl.

It sort of makes a vague amount of sense in comparison to 40k - the 40k Ork Klanz had the Blood Axes who rejected natural ork yobbishness for discipline, training, and uniforms as a youth rebellion thing, imitating humans. Orc villages in fantasy imitating local humans is a sort of parallel. Then you have black orcs, savage orcs, forest / night goblins, and so on to make up the fantasy orc diversity.

Haven't actually paid attention to this stuff for well over a decade though.

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Firstborn
Oct 14, 2012

i'm the heckin best
yeah
yeah
yeah
frig all the rest


Knight helmets are fantastic.



(granted, this is an empire knight)

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



There's some pretty amazing examples from tournament armor to use

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Night10194 posted:

Couronne also has one notably weird place: The Landrell Barrow near its southern border. Every few years, exactly 4,373 skeletons and zombies march out of the barrow, patrol a pre-set path, ignore anyone who doesn't attack them, and march back. The count is that precise because they ignored a wandering scholar long enough for him to get an accurate estimate. Inside the Barrow, no-one ever finds evidence of all these dead during the off years, and light doesn't seem to penetrate the gloom. No adventurer has yet been able to solve the mystery of what on earth these undead are doing, or why.

Next time: Gisoreux, whose hat is having a ton of hats.

Makes me think of the Great Modron March a bit.

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



I wonder why 4373? It is, from what I can tell, the 599th prime number, 599 itself being a prime number.

Firstborn
Oct 14, 2012

i'm the heckin best
yeah
yeah
yeah
frig all the rest


We'll never know. Bret, along with Tomb Kings, was discontinued as far as Age of Sigmar. I think they also confirmed that the Brets were being lied to be because the Lady is a Wood Elf, and tried to keep them weak by telling them it's unchivalrous to use missile weapons and stuff to keep a thumb on them. Basically the worst poo poo ever.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


I think being discontinued rather than dragged into Age of Sigmar is really a plus for a people.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts World Book 15: Spirit West, Part 9: "The Traditionalists and Pure Ones/Ancients counter with the fact that Modern Native Americans have lost or abandoned many of the old ways and reliance on technology has closed them (at least in part) to the spirits and a closeness with nature and their ancestors —and that they are closer to the white man and other races than "true" Native Americans."


What do I write below pictures like this? Make suggestions.

Fetishes
By Wayne Breaux Jr. & Kevin Siembieda

Just to be clear, we're not talking about sexual fetishes, but-

Rifts World Book 15: Spirit West posted:

Fe-tish also fe-tich Vfet-ish ...\ n ... 1: an object ... believed to have magical powers ...

Oh, okay, that clears everything up, it's not about sexual fetis-

Rifts World Book 15: Spirit West posted:

2. An object of unreasoning devotion or concern ...

GODDAMMIT RIFTS YOU HAD ONE JOB, ONE JOB AND YOU hosed IT UP.

Well, at least I can get on with this without any more outrage, right-

Rifts World Book 15: Spirit West posted:

The following perspectives and beliefs are from the point of view of Native Americans on Rifts Earth. This is what they have come to believe and how they see the spirits. This perspective is based on, but is not meant to accurately duplicate, the spiritual beliefs of actual Native American tribes. Additional details on Indian spirits, gods, and magic are found elsewhere in this book.

:eng101:

DAMMIT

just let me catch my breath will you

So, apparently Native Americans have a special relationship with animals and are "closer to the animal spirit world". Apparently animal spirits have sponsored the return of Native American nations after the return of magic. Apparently according to myth, all (emphasis theirs) Native Americans were originally animals who were given human forms by the "gods and great spirits" by giving them a human "toma-ta" (form). So that's why they respect animals so much! Because they might be literal relatives (which they kill and eat sometimes, like you do with relatives, welcome to the family, son).

:eng99:

But it's okay for them to kill their relatives, because they kill them with respect and perform a ritual to thank them and release their spirit down into the spirit caves into the spirit world. Apparently, there's a big divide between the moderns and traditionalists where the moderns think raising livestock in imprisonment is okay as long as they do the same rituals while the traditionalists think that letting an animal live free until you make it live in sudden agonizing terror for its last moments is more important.

Maybe the truth is somewhere in the middle! :ssh:

ahahahahaha no. It turns out that the traditionals are objectively correct and that the animal spirits really do prefer being hunted and are just choosing not punish the moderns for their faults as not to alienate them because they'll come around, bless their hearts.

So everything has a spirit but requires a physical body or "toma-ta" to take actual form, which is usually matched up with the spirit. So a tree spirit has a tree toma-ta (form), and a bat spirit has a bat toma-ta. But when you kill an animal, you can ask its spirit to use its toma-ta and retain some of its power for magic. That's a fetish, it is!

A similar process is used to empower Totem Warriors and Spirit Warriors where they trade a significant amount of their own human spirit for an animal or elemental spirit. However, it's possible to trade more of your spirit for more power (over "three-quarters") but you become an evil monster filled with "bad medicine". Powerful spirits don't need a toma-ta themselves, though, and just get to make their own forms because reasons, I guess.


Not like the bloody wars of The White Man. Totally different.

Magical Fetishes

As keeping with the above, fetishes are made of dead animal pieces-parts imbued with the kickass magical energy I bet they wish they had in life before they caught an arrow. Fetishes made from predators are rarer because you're not supposed to hunt them. And no, because Rifts only accounts for "natural animals", there aren't fetishes based off of dinosaurs, fury beetles, or rhino-buffaloes, even though in theory they should be as natural as anything else, M.D.C. or no. In keeping with indigneous exceptionalism, only Native Americans who believe in "Indian traditions and spirits" can use them - otherwise they're just rabbit skulls and wolf paws. There are three "levels" of fetish - minor, major, and legendary. We're told non-shamans can only use one of each type (so no more than three), but the character classes already contradict that - even the Tribal Warrior breaks this limitation, and it's very explicitly not a shaman.

I know, you're thinking "bad editing - in a PALLADIUM book?!" But it's true.

Also, you can use fetishes and technology at the same time, but fetish items won't benefit technology - so if you have a stealth fetish, it won't silence your laser rifle. Wait, I forgot Siembieda said laser rifles are silent, maybe it's a plasma rifle or pump gun or whatever. This is because-

Rifts World Book 15: Spirit West posted:

Advanced technology is the magic of the white man.

:stonklol:


Contents of Medicine Bag: one (1) thingy, one (1) whachamacalit, one (1) doodad.

Minor Fetishes

These are lesser effects that usually only effect the user.

Rifts World 15: Spirit West posted:

Nearly all Native Americans will have one minor fetish...

Must not... can't... joke...

Most of these have decent utility. The most useful fetishes in my opinion are the Armor Fetish, which acts as mild M.D.C. armor, Luck Fetish, because you never turn down a Dodge bonus in this game, and Speed Fetish, which allows you to run at 35 MPH. A number of them give mild skill bonuses, in the middle of the road. Some of the worst are those that boost useless S.D.C. values, like Body Fetish, grants extra S.D.C., Damage Fetish, which doubles S.D.C. damage. The absolute worst is the Heritage & Self Fetish, which "serves as a reminder of your heritage and values" with no mechanical effect. Yeah, sure, let's put that on the same level as being bulletproof, why not?


Tattoo Fetishes: no relation to Magic Tattoos. Different things!

Major Fetishes

So, these often can tap into major effects provided by elemental spirits or totems, or create effects beyond the user. Higher-level characters can "share" the effects of a major fetish with two other characters temporarily with a short handholding. These are supposed to be pretty rare and only owned by accomplished warriors, hunters, leaders, shamen, etc. (Curiously, though, PCs generally start with at least one if not two or three.)

So, my picks for best are the Great Armor Fetish, because the armor is pretty great, the "War" Tattoo Fetish that gives permanent combat bonuses, and the Wing Flight Fetish that lets you fly. Some of the worst are the Great Body Fetish, because it's like the Great Armor Fetish but almost always worse, "Steady-Hand" Tattoo Fetish, because a miniscule bonus to attacks and a few skills really feels like a minor fetish, and the Great Song Fetish, because though a bonus to singing and making animal calls isn't the worst thing, it's pretty niche. Overall, though, there aren't a lot of really bad fetishes in this category (though all of the offensive - er, offensive in terms of attacking - ones are pretty weak and weren't even worth mentioning).


How do you tell a fetish axe from a normal axe? You can't! Just draw them both the same.

Legendary Fetishes

... are not actually legendary, but using one supposedly makes you capable of forging legends. That sounds much more clever than how they actually phrase it, though. They're supposed to be only for the best of the best, once in a lifetime achievement... or for the few classes that get one automatically. (It says only the Fetish Shaman gets access to them, but that objectively isn't true.) Conversely to all the other times it's harped on only Native Americans using these, it's said that great spirits or gods have very rarely granted one of these to members of other races to the chagrin of Native Americans, but only after great services.

The best in my opinion would be the Cosmic Awareness Fetish, granting combat bonuses, super-senses, resistance to death, and a number of skills at 90%+. Next up would be the Spirit Weapon Fetish for the only worthwhile amount of damage you'll see from a fetish, and the Sweat Lodge that lets you resurrect at a success rate otherwise unseen by similar effects in Rifts. The worst legendaries for my spirit dollar are the Life Fetish, which grants a turn dead effect and modest healing, Serpent Fetish, which lets you befriend normal snakes and get bonuses against poison, and the Wind-Rider Fetish, which lets you ride the wind but when there are both major and legendary fetishes that let you outright fly, it's a bit weak by comparison.

That's my speed-run through the fetish section, and now time to '90s it up with-

Next: Wear wolf.

So very, very sick of typing "fetish" with a relatively straight face.

Firstborn
Oct 14, 2012

i'm the heckin best
yeah
yeah
yeah
frig all the rest


Night10194 posted:

I think being discontinued rather than dragged into Age of Sigmar is really a plus for a people.

I'm just sore my favorite faction got "squatted". The Cav nerfs also made it so the Empire has better Cav than Bret pretty much. I'm just sour about the treatment of the army.

Loxbourne
Apr 6, 2011

Tomorrow, doom!
But now, tea.

Night10194 posted:

I think being discontinued rather than dragged into Age of Sigmar is really a plus for a people.

It wasn't mere "discontinuance", there's a one-line mention in the Skaven End Times book that Bretonnia and Tilea have been destroyed offscreen. No valiant stand, no nothing.

Then the latest undead cavalry unit came out with obviously undead Bret knight models, just to make the middle finger to the playerbase more obvious.

loving End Times.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Loxbourne posted:

It wasn't mere "discontinuance", there's a one-line mention in the Skaven End Times book that Bretonnia and Tilea have been destroyed offscreen. No valiant stand, no nothing.

Then the latest undead cavalry unit came out with obviously undead Bret knight models, just to make the middle finger to the playerbase more obvious.

loving End Times.

Wow. I knew it was really bad with the dumb 'we're trying to make Loren a magic space ship to save people from Chaos' inevitable victory!' stuff, but not that it was that *spiteful*.

Firstborn
Oct 14, 2012

i'm the heckin best
yeah
yeah
yeah
frig all the rest


Don't they also say that Gilles is reborn, keeps the secret of the Lady's elven race for morale among his knights, and then we get the line about Skaven murdering everything?

I'd also like to see that undead Bret cav. I never saw that.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Like, I'd be fine with a campaign where the answer is 'We've been used' for a Bret party. Because I think that would then lead to 'We're going to burn down the Athel Loren and kill those child-stealing bastards.' A campaign about the 'fake' ideals and country they created turning around and surpassing the monsters that tried to manipulate it would be fun.

Firstborn
Oct 14, 2012

i'm the heckin best
yeah
yeah
yeah
frig all the rest


Yeah, but I also like the unconfirmed nature of those things. The End Times tells us that the Lady is Lileath.
http://warhammerfantasy.wikia.com/wiki/Lileath

Also, Louen gets beheaded. Lileath raises him to "godhood" after, but nothing comes of it.

Firstborn fucked around with this message at 22:53 on Jul 28, 2017

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Yeah. All this 'Here's a weird mystery, and we don't know the answer, maybe you and your players will figure it out' is a way better way to pose a game story.

Firstborn
Oct 14, 2012

i'm the heckin best
yeah
yeah
yeah
frig all the rest


Other stuff:
- Lots of Bret nobility becomes vampires.
- Louen's bastard son starts a civil war that fucks up everything.
- Green Knight revealed to be Gilles. Beats up a whole bunch of people, then declares Errantry War on all of Bret's enemies.
- Plague kills 50% of all peasants in Bret, making Nurgle happy.
- Lileth (still going by The Lady) tells Louen that the Empire is key to the safety of the world. Louen leads a fuckton of knights through Athel Loren, slaughtering Beastmen (so the Elves can settle), and saves Empire.
- Lileth reveals that everyone who drank from the Grail will become part of the next human pantheon after the world restarts.
- A stupid giant Sigmarine stomps around and kills stuff.
- Gilles leading Blood Knights, Red Duke rejoins temporarily and they go kick rear end. Could be a good story, but nothing comes of it.
- Fay Enchantress sacrificed by Volkmar to summon Nagash's spirit.
- The remaining knights that stomped off to Altdorf to save the Empire are told that The Lady is Lileath, and get super depressed. Duke Jerrod (Quenelles) tells Bela'kor (the big fuckoff demon prince) where Lileath's secret back-up world is (where Louen and the Grail Knights are), ending any hope of the restart she planned.

Firstborn fucked around with this message at 23:05 on Jul 28, 2017

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



The Green Knight being Gilles is at least a reasonable if not especially creative take.

Hunt11
Jul 24, 2013



Grimey Drawer

Firstborn posted:

- Fay Enchantress sacrificed by Volkmar to summon Nagash's spirit.
It is amazing just how inventively awful the End Times were.

Firstborn
Oct 14, 2012

i'm the heckin best
yeah
yeah
yeah
frig all the rest


Sorry, I was typing fast. I meant to say she was sacrificed ALONGSIDE Volkmar. He's dead, too, for Nagash.
(is that better?)

Hunt11
Jul 24, 2013



Grimey Drawer

Firstborn posted:

Sorry, I was typing fast. I meant to say she was sacrificed ALONGSIDE Volkmar. He's dead, too, for Nagash.
(is that better?)

That actually makes some sense so yes.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Mors Rattus posted:

The Green Knight being Gilles is at least a reasonable if not especially creative take.

I always kind of assumed he was. It fits, especially when we get to how the Green Knight personally tests every knight who will drink from the Grail. Giles sticking around to personally ensure the legacy of the Grail is up to snuff makes sense.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


potatocubed posted:

...where are his legs?

The deer is his legs, presumably.

Firstborn
Oct 14, 2012

i'm the heckin best
yeah
yeah
yeah
frig all the rest


One of my favorite end times thing is that each of the chaos gods sent a champion to help out Archaon, and Slaanesh really liked how Slaanesh the world of WHF is, and so he/she sent his/her weakest champion to help in hopes they fail.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Night10194 posted:

I always kind of assumed he was. It fits, especially when we get to how the Green Knight personally tests every knight who will drink from the Grail. Giles sticking around to personally ensure the legacy of the Grail is up to snuff makes sense.

He also makes a good case for the "daemons of order" concept that the lizardmen ended up becoming in Age of Sigmar.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Cythereal posted:

He also makes a good case for the "daemons of order" concept that the lizardmen ended up becoming in Age of Sigmar.

Nothing makes a good case for that. Giving both sides equivalents of each other doesn't really work out well. Chaos Warriors are one of the parts of Chaos that stands out and does pretty well, because outside of Saurus (who really aren't directly equivalent, just close), good doesn't really have something similar.

Also, Order never really struck me as a 'thing'. The opposite of Chaos is just Absolutely Everyone Else Who Exists.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 23:45 on Jul 28, 2017

Firstborn
Oct 14, 2012

i'm the heckin best
yeah
yeah
yeah
frig all the rest


I didn't mean to derail. Tell us about hats.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer Fantasy: Knights of the Grail

Gisoreux: Diversity is a strength. Absentee Dukes are not.

Gisoreux is divided by rivers, forests, and mountains, forming four different and distinct regions that all get along and consider themselves stronger for their diversity. Gisorens are friendly people who are generally hospitable to travelers, because there is much travel within the bounds of their duchy and they are usually happy to receive visitors. The plains of Gisoreux are actually very hilly, pastoral country for raising animals, and most of the people live here, in the area between the Arden, the Grey Mountains, the Pale Sisters range, and the River Gismerie. This is also where the capital sits. North of it, near the River Sannez, you find arable land that can grow food crops, and Northern Gisoreux is home to about a quarter of the population. It used to be heavily forested, but was cleared out to grow food over the last thousand years. South and east of the river lies the Arden, and the areas in Gisoreux are better tamed than the ones in Artois. The loggers and woodsmen make sure to travel so they don't end up isolated and 'odd' like Artois' lost villages. Finally, there's the mountains, where people live as miners and mountaineers, and occasionally raise sheep and goats. Very few people live in that part of the duchy, but their work is important.

The key to understanding Gisorans is that they don't see any of this division as a problem. They see it as a blessing. As mentioned, they're hospitable people, and surprisingly cosmopolitan for folk who live in small villages in woods, mountains, and hilly places. They also hold an important mountain pass at the Gisoreux Gap, which allows access through the Grey Mountains. The actual populace mostly get along, but the nobles are more divided; the difficulty of reaching some of the parts of the duchy mean some of the locals are very used to being independent, and not used to their liege lord actually bothering to spend time ruling them.

Gisoreux's big problem is its duke. Duke Hagen is a brave and utterly honorable Grail Knight, totally devoted to his king and the principles of chivalry. As a result, he is primarily a ruler in absentia, having moved to Couronne to ensure he can offer his advice to the King on proper knightly behavior at all times. He always insists on the strictest action in accordance with chivalry, something the King sometimes disregards in order to avoid losing hundreds of lives over every minor diplomatic insult or refusing to allow a beaten army to retreat in order. Hagen has been watching the King, concerned that even this paragon of Knighthood is being corrupted, and meanwhile his dukedom suffers without his presence. Without him there, there is no-one to deal with the independence of many of the local nobility, or to deal with their petty feuds. Without him, some have started to consider swearing allegiance to the Duke of Bastonne instead, and some do indeed hold land from him as well. The border is straining and the Duke is too busy making sure the King, who is already a paragon of knighthood, holds directly to the letter of the law (which the king does not) to fulfill his actual responsibilities as ruler.

Gisoreux itself is a very important city, because it's located on one of the safe trade routes overland with the Empire. Imperial merchants and travelers are common, and warmly welcome so long as they don't cause any trouble. The people of the city are likely to know Reikspiel in addition to Breton, and they happily import Imperial goods and watch over the export of Bretonnian produce. The noble quarter of the city is in disrepair, because the nobles tend to prefer their countryside estates and the Duke is never home as it is.

Castle Desflauve is a very important defensive emplacement watching over the center of the Gisoreux gap, keeping the road to the Empire open. It is ruled by the Marquis Desflauve, a young man who has inherited the title after the death of his father a year ago. Ever since, he's established a reputation as a fine knight and a good leader of the defenses, and young Frederic has been talking about finding a good steward so he can go on Quest. This is because he has a big problem: He's a she. His father couldn't bare to remarry, and only had a daughter, so he raised her as a son. This turned out to be an excellent decision, as Frederic is a good strategist, a good knight, and an inspiring leader, but she's panicking about the need to eventually marry and produce an heir. Panicking enough that she might get some trustworthy PCs involved in discretely finding her a woman who would be okay with marrying her and then producing heirs by surrogate or something. PCs can easily get involved fighting for the Marquis in the mountains and slowly gain enough trust to learn her secret (or earn it by showing her their own) and then get in on this drama.

There's also the Valle Florida, a strange place in the Grey Mountains where trapped sunlight and weather lead to wine-growing country in the middle of the mountains. Because it is difficult to get here, and because the wine is a unique vintage, it's a valuable commodity that adventurers often carry for clients, since they need to do some mountaineering to transport it and probably have to fight off orcs. The place is a little suspicious of strangers after a passing Witch Hunter tried to frame them for Chaos Worship by spiking some of their wine with warpstone. They tried to drown him in the warpstone wine when they discovered his treachery, but he grew gills inside the barrel, so they settled for throwing it off a mountain.

Next: Lyonesse, You Treasonous Bastards.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 17:41 on Aug 4, 2017

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



The Saurus have personalities, anyway. Those personalities are all just biologically bound to the tune of 'you are a great warrior who serves a great cause - nothing else matters.'

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts World Book 15: Spirit West, Part 10: "According to tradition and creation myths, all Native Americans began life as animals and went through this transformation process."


So totems should be evocative spiritual- nah they just look like regular animals.

Totems
By Wayne Breaux & Kevin Siembieda


As detailed under fetishes, Native Americans have "animal spirit potential" (their words) and dress with symbols and preserved parts of their totem. Not all advertise their alleigances, tho. Those with totems are obligated to protect and care for their chosen aimal, though those with totems of a game animal can still hunt it, but only for practical purposes.

Then the text gets... odd.

:siren:

Rifts World Book 15: Spirit West posted:

Only Native Americans and members of a few other peoples and societies draw power from totem animals (most shamans worldwide, some druids, and others). Most races have lost the ethnic purity and/or strong beliefs needed to do so. By living with 'other cultures and borrowing and sharing their beliefs, ways, habits, and speech without actively maintaining their own ways, a culture slowly gives away its "spirit potential" until it is lost. The result is that their spirit potential is no longer pure and many little parts of the spirit have been replaced with what it has traded to others. Left with so little spirit potential, it cannot be recognized, shared or accepted by the greater spirits and totems. This is why most white people cannot interact with or understand the spirits around them. Only Pure Ones and Ancients those untainted or who have forsaken other cultures and strive to relearn and restore their inner spirit — can have totems. Likewise, many of the people of Africa, bushmen, aborigines, and some island peoples have remained close to nature and spirits and still draw upon them for power and wisdom. This is why the Native Americans commonly refer to themselves as the "Pure Ones," because they are among the few peoples of the world who have not cluttered their spirits with hundreds of little bits of other cultures, beliefs, religions, science and technology.

:siren:

Yes, that's right, it's saying that miscengation and cultural diversity reduces one's "spirit potential". I don't even know where to start with this, seriously, I, wait, I know. I know how to start.

:barf:

Throughout this book we've gotten all sorts of overapologetic racial and cultural superiority nonsense hedged with "well the White Man has his own way". And while white Americans are often the last folks that need defense, when you bring genetics into it, things turn into a stupid slurry real quick. Claiming one's magical potential is basically tied to race is... well... race... something... racish? It's racish. Can you imagine a setting where the mixing of races can be measured as the potential destruction of the human spirit? Well, you don't have to, Rifts already did it.

So, thankfully moving onward from that tire fire, we learn that that each animal has a special totem spirit that watches over that species. Humans in theory (and by "humans" I think it just means "Native Americans") are watched over by totems based on what "animal spirit potential" they have. Those closely aligned will have some of the animal's personality traits. There's a lot of handwringing about how characters should have a spirit animal aligned with their feels and personality rather than just selecting a cool animal. Maybe you'd like a hummingbird or crawfish or dead parrot* instead of a wolf or bear or eagle? Think about it, players!

:ssh:

* Well, okay, that totem was from Human Occupied Landfill.

So after all that, what do totems actually get you? Well, three main things. You get a free set of skills (or a small bonus if you already have the skill in question). You get small bonuses to attributes or combat rolls. Lastly, Totem Warriors (and those that use the equivalent shaman animal spells) get a special set of attribute bonuses when shapechanging. A "paladin clause" is included - if you don't embody the animal's theme, the GM can take this toy away.


Lookin' as cock-eyed as I feel after reading that.

Not gonna cover all of these, I'll just cover the three that seem most likely to get chosen... and the three that seem least likely. Let's start with the most likely:
  • Bear: Free physical skills and physical attribute bonuses guarantee buffness, mostly, as well as resistance to fear. For some reason, shapeshifted bears have a Horror Factor of 14 - scarier than some undead or legit demons.
  • Eagle: Bonuses to fishing, hunting, and mostly just speed bonuses otherwise.
  • Wolf: Bonuses to running, hunting, and tracking, as well as some mental attribute bonuses. Wolves are charismatic, don't you know? Not like those eagles or bears!
And possibly the least likely:
  • Beaver: Swimming, carpentry, construction and sculpting are your bag! Also reduced fatigue.
  • Crawfish: Fishing and paired weapons are where it's at, and bonuses to endurance and against fear.
  • Opossum: Climbing, acrobatics, resistance to fear, and... a special bonus against any effect that immobilizes.
Nothing too thrilling, but the book plays it up a lot. It's better to have a totem if you can get one because the only cost is having to ask "am I really being ferret enough?" But it isn't a game-changer that has to be carefully regulated by the fun police like this game seems to think. So what if a PC has a few extra skills and a +1 to a few attributes? That's not much in a game where you can play a godling who is also a triple wizard, y'know.

Next: 'Murican Monsters.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



"ethnic purity"

:sigh:

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Well, that's got all kinds of incredibly unfortunate implications right there.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


We have just hit rock bottom, folks.

Barudak
May 7, 2007



So how many generations back do you need purity? We talking one drop rule or like, iceland's dating market?

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Barudak posted:

So how many generations back do you need purity? We talking one drop rule or like, iceland's dating market?

:iiam:

It also ignores that the tragedies of colonization played holy hell with any "ethnic purity" of most Native Americans but they, you can still play a descendant of the people who didn't vanish off to the Happy Hunting Grounds and take totems.

Oh, and here's a bonus that I kind of missed in my abject disgust:

Rifts World Book 15: Spirit West posted:

The respect Native Americans have for animals and plants comes from their belief that they are descended from animals (something that theories of evolution would seem to support).

I'm pretty sure that owls and humans are on different branches of that tree. I mean, I'm no biologist, but I'm really certain there aren't any totem animals listed we're actually descended from. (In fact, chances are we don't really have an extant ancestors?)

megane
Jun 20, 2008





Keep in mind, it specifically noted that you also lose purity by experiencing other cultures. That means that even having a friendly conversation with someone of another race actively harms your soul. Imagine how this would work in-game: "By sharing a cup of borscht with Victor, you have sullied your perfect Native American spirit with the White Man's culture, and your totem animal abandons you. Erase that +5% bonus to Identify Plants and Fungi from your sheet!"

I used to have some sympathy for Siembieda; his mechanics are terrible, but being bad at game design is not a moral failing. But this is a whole other thing. gently caress you, Siembieda.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

WTF posted:

Rifts World Book 15: Spirit West, Part 10: "According to tradition and creation myths, all Native Americans began life as animals and went through this transformation process."

We have successfully made the transition from Procrustean Bed to goddamn Procrustean Trampoline.

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.

I think I need to go re-read Ehdrigor and get the taste of Spirit West out of my mouth, goddamn.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


megane posted:

Keep in mind, it specifically noted that you also lose purity by experiencing other cultures. That means that even having a friendly conversation with someone of another race actively harms your soul. Imagine how this would work in-game: "By sharing a cup of borscht with Victor, you have sullied your perfect Native American spirit with the White Man's culture, and your totem animal abandons you. Erase that +5% bonus to Identify Plants and Fungi from your sheet!"

I'm pretty sure they didn't think about it that hard... or a lot of things nearly hard enough.

megane posted:

I used to have some sympathy for Siembieda; his mechanics are terrible, but being bad at game design is not a moral failing. But this is a whole other thing. gently caress you, Siembieda.

To be clear, the name on the cover is Wayne Breaux. Now, I don't know how much Siembieda contributed, parts of the book have his writefeels (particularly the monster section), but it's harder to pin down than some books.

Of course, ultimately Siembieda is the publisher and the buck stops at his door, I just wouldn't give him all the... credit?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Alien Rope Burn posted:

I'm pretty sure they didn't think about it that hard... or a lot of things nearly hard enough.


To be clear, the name on the cover is Wayne Breaux. Now, I don't know how much Siembieda contributed, parts of the book have his writefeels (particularly the monster section), but it's harder to pin down than some books.

Of course, ultimately Siembieda is the publisher and the buck stops at his door, I just wouldn't give him all the... credit?

Isn't he also responsible for a lot of the Coalition Is Actually Real Brave And Good nonsense?

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Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Night10194 posted:

Isn't he also responsible for a lot of the Coalition Is Actually Real Brave And Good nonsense?

Yes, if by 'he' you mean Siembieda. Patrick Nowak also plays a part in that, tho.

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