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Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


ZorajitZorajit posted:

Nope. I'll die on this hill because I love the 3.0 covers. Granted I was eleven or twelve when I first owned them but those covers drew me in. The little latches printed on the illustration and the sorta "I Spy" look of them said to pre-teen me: "There are secrets and wonders in here that no one else knows."

I like the idea but the actual noisy design with all the gems has aged really badly for me. Compared to later covers like Draconomicon or the Forgotten Realms trade dress, it doesn't hold up nearly as well in my opinion.

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JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!


Changelings or fae aren't human, so for them the idealized past existed.

Also, always fight corps or Technocracy in the name of Legitimate Government (that has a chance of being some combination of "fully automated," "luxury," "gay," "space," and "communist"), which is I guess a post punk/ post cyberpunk in the vein of Culture or Polity series.

So while there's no legitimate Mage gov't in oWoD, you still have stuff like NEG in Ctech (Ettin is a brilliant writer)

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

C20 is about how we should all eat the sidhe, anyways.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




JcDent posted:

Changelings or fae aren't human, so for them the idealized past existed.
Don't fall into that trap; that doesn't matter. Someone is presentinga world where this idealized past existed.

To use an extreme example, in the fictional reality of Birth of a Nation, all mulattoes are just evil. That doesn't mean the film's not racist.

Halloween Jack fucked around with this message at 19:30 on Aug 1, 2017

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



The storm has a name... - Let's Read TORG


Part 18f: Lock and load

Since we're dealing with a cyberpunk(ish) reality, we have to have cybernetics and awesome future guns. Which means it's time for the Cyberware and Equipment chapters.

Mechanically speaking, cyberware from Tharkold is pretty similar to stuff from the Cyberpapacy. In fact, characters from one realm can use cyberware from the other if they can get their hands on it.

The main differences between Tharkold cyberware and Cyberpapal stuff is in how the technology is viewed and its availability.

As you may recall, cybernetics are very important in CyberPapal beliefs. Cybernetics are the "body of Christ", and as such is treated with a degree of reverence. Cyberware is treated as a "reward" in the church, a way of becoming closer to God. As such, cyberware tends to be designed to be shown off; what's the point of being holier-than-thou if you don't have proof, right? Cyberpapal tech is heavy on the chrome and designed to be aesthetically pleasing; for instance a cyberarm will be molded and designed to look like a flesh-and-blood arm, even if it's obviously metal. Even minor systems like datajacks are intended to be shown off. They're status symbols. Proof that the Church trusts you enough to grant you this boon. It's also a lot more common, especially when you take illegal chopshops into account.

The cyberware from Tharkoldu is almost the direct opposite. Cyberware is designed to either look as frightening as possible (for Tharkoldu) or is built for base functionality and no regard for the look of the thing (for the Race). It's not a reward, it's not a gift, it's a weapon. Soldiers are more likely to be given implants by their government, especially if they're experienced soldiers, but you can't just go to the cyberware shop and ask for a replacement arm.

That's not to say there aren't cyberware shops in LA, it's just that there's barely any. Cyberware hasn't really caught on with the natives, and what few facilities there are in the city haven't gotten things down 100% yet.

Getting cyberware involves surgery and recovery time. This is (again) pretty similar to how it's done in the Cyberpapacy, but since cybernetics have existed in this reality for longer, the surgery rolls are easier. The Tharkoldu also recently developed bacta tanksurgical reconstruction vats that make surgery even easier and speed the patient's recovery.

Cyberware also has its downsides, because this is a 90's RPG and heaven forefend we have a mechanical system without drawbacks. The first downside is systems failure, which can happen when you roll a 1 when using a cybernetically boosted ability. When this happens, the GM rolls a bonus value and looks it up on the Systems Failure chart. I should point out that this table is about 10 pages away from where it's mentioned.



The other potential problem is our ol' buddy cyberpsychosis. Every piece of cybergear has a "cyber rating", which is totaled up for the character who has poo poo installed. Whenever the character gets a setback result from cards or whatever, then the GM rolls the PC's cyber rating versus their Spirit stat, and looks up the difference on the appropriate table. Which, again, is like 10 pages ahead of this point in the chapter and not with the Systems Failure chart.


Tharkold cyberware isn't designed for looks, okay?

An interesting thing about this table is that it's only used when characters are in Tharkold reality, regardless of where they got their cyber. That said, the book doesn't say anything about suffering from cyberpsychosis when you're not under Tharkold's axioms, so I guess everywhere else you're good?

Regardless, a character can't have a cyber rating more than 10 points higher than their Spirit stat. If you go higher than that and suffer from cyberpsychosis in Tharkold, then instead of the normal result you just snap and turn into an NPC. And again, they specify that this happens if the character in in Tharkold, but not what happens if they're somewhere else.

From here on out, we're just dealing with lists of gear. Let's talk about the general mechanics first, then we'll hit the highlights of the list.

Any piece of gear can be used by either species, but if you're stripping people for parts it's important to note that cyberware from one species doesn't work well for the other. Tharkoldu need to enchant cyberware via the occultech skill in order to be able to use it, and that energy doesn't mesh will with a human's soul; any occultech device implanted in a human has +2 to its cyber rating. If a Tharkoldu tries to use un-enchanted cyberware, it suffers a systems failure on a roll of 1-4.

So with all that out of the way, let's see what kinds of things you can jam into your body.

The fundamental system needed to use any cyberware is Nanocord. Nanocord is a permanent upgrade to the nervous system (it requires an injection of nanites that take a week to rebuild your nervous system) that allows it interaction with various other cybersystems. It's pretty similar in function to NeuraCal and Jaz from the Cyberpapacy, to the point where characters with those installed can use Tharkold cybertech. Convienient, isn't it?

Moving on, the other basic implant is the Nervejack, which is your standard-issue "plug your brain directly into computer systems" implant. You know how this works, right?

Cybereyes get all the kinds of things you'd expect (video cameras, zoom lenses, IR/low-light vision, HUDs, and so on). But since this is Tharkold, they all have silly names. The zoom function is "Farsight", IR vision is "Heathunter", and stuff like that. That said, since the demons love body horroring themselves, you can give yourself an additional cybereye wherever you can fit it on your body. Technically you could add more, but you can only have one of your "extra" eyes active at a time.


I know you were all thinking it.

There's also a bunch of auditory systems you can jam into your earholes. Bug sweepers, recording software, audio filtering (excuse me, "Freqfilter"), radio receivers, and so on. You can also get sonar installed if that's your idea of a good time.

We also get the (small) array of enhancements for taste, touch, and smell, but they pretty much boil down to getting a bonus to certain skills.


Horrifying, but impractical.

From there we go to Metasensory Systems, which actually give you new, enhanced senses. Inbuilt electronic detection systems, Biostat systems that show your current vitals, radio communication, and nanotech-powered self-healing. Okay, yes, none of those are technically "senses" but that's what they're listed under so who cares. We're all just trying to get through this, okay?

There's a few Vocal and Structural Systems available, but again this is all stuff you'd recognize from every cyberpunk RPG ever. The only one that feels new is "tendon augmentation", which you need if you have a cyberlimb that grants a Strength bonus of +3 or more, because otherwise your meat body couldn't handle the strain. Getting a cyberlimb with a Strength between +6 to +10 requires a BodyMax system, which is basically the same as the tendon augmentation except it's a separate installation that doesn't stack.

Which brings us nicely to Prosthetics. The usual array of cyberlimbs and related augmentations are available, but (once again) since this is Torg we need special rules for cyberlimb strength.

quote:

Cybernetic limbs can be made far stronger than natural ones. All adds are based on the user's natural Strength. A limb can have a Strength add of up to +2 without any other structural modifications to the body. A Strength add of +3 to +5 can be supported by Tendon Augmentation. A Strength add of +6 to +10 requires a Bodyrnax. Naturally, a Bodymax can also support limbs with Strength adds below +6.

The maximum add for cyberlimbs routinely available on Tharkold is +10. Experimental models with higher adds, developed by the military scientists of the Race, have so far proven as dangerous to the user as to any opponents.

Cyberlimbs with adds operate off of a power cell that requires monthly recharging.
Yes, you have to recharge your cyberlimb because who could possibly care. Oh, and of you have two cyberlimbs you have an effective +1 to your Armor value. Each limb by itself has +6 Armor, but since Torg doesn't use hit locations this isn't going to come up that much.

And again, you can jam all the usual suspects into a cyberlimb. Gun mounts, blades, drug injectors, and such. Yeah I'm kinda rushing through this but like I said it's nothing we haven't all seen a million times before.

One fun trick you can do is to get yourself a cyberorgan of your choosing for a whopping +1 cyberrating. What does a cyberorgan do, you ask? It lets you install up to three shock buffers at no additional cyber cost. And what does a shock buffer do? Oh, it just increases your max shock rating by 10. Each. Normally they have a cyber rating of +2, but for a total of one whole point of cyber rating, you can get +30 shock damage. Since a character can normally take shock damage up to their Toughness stat (average 10), by doing this you can effectively triple the amount of shock damage you can take before you fall over.

There are also a few things I want to touch on when it comes to Chipware. Like most other cybersettings, you can get a chip socket installed in your back and upload new skills as needed. No surprise there. But there are still a few points that should be addressed:

First off, unlike other cyberware, Tharkold and CyberPapal chips are incompatible with the other realm's chipreaders. The Tharkoldu have developed special adapters (from when they were fighting Kadandra, who were the basis for the Cyberpapacy's tech), but outside of that this is the first tech that's not cross-compatable. And even with the adapter, the system will fail on a 1-4 roll.

Second, the Spirit Chips from the Cyberpapacy cannot work with Tharkoldu systems, no matter what. The Tharkoldu have spent a good amount of time and effort trying to crack the technology for themselves, but so far it seems impossible; the working theory is that Spirit Chips are only possible due to the unique nature of the GodNet and how it's powered by a Darkness Device. That said, the cyberdemons have put out a standing reward for Spirit Chips for anyone willing to bring them some. Unsurprisingly, not a lot of takers on that one.

Third, there's SlaveChips. SlaveChips were developed by the Tharkoldu to keep their human slaves in line with minimal effort. While SlaveChips can be installed into any normal chipware slot, they work just as well when surgically installed directly into the host.

SlaveChips impose a mental program into their host that forces him to follow Tharkoldu orders to the best of their abilities. Each chip is designed to make its host recognize a specific Tharkoldu as his "master", and the slave will prioritize that particular demon's orders. SlaveChips also allow for the scanning and tracking of the host's DNA.

So you're probably wondering why they'd need SlaveChips when the Law of Domination exists. The fact of the matter is that SlaveChips actually reinforce and strengthen the effects of the Law by increasing the difficulty of resisting an order. On top of that, the chip can receive orders from the host's master via radio transmission, can zap the host (dealing stun damage), trigger an intense and very distracting burst of pleasure for 30 seconds, or (if you've really pissed off your master) explode with the approximate strength of a 15 mm cannon shell. The host still resists with their Toughness stat as normal, and assuming they live (and if they're Ords, they probably won't) the chip is destroyed.

Note that SlaveChips only work on humans, not Tharkoldu. Note also that the Race have developed SlaveChip technology of their own that works on Tharkoldu. They don't want to use them, but they have the technology to do so.


I know what they're going for, but really she looks cross-eyed.

The rest of the chapter is a discussion of Technomagical Implants. The Tharkoldu developed this technology during the decline of the cosm's Magic axiom to allow them to survive, and when the Magic axiom was increased by the Darkness Device this also increased the power of these devices. Now, the Tharkoldu have developed cybertech that increases the user's magical skills.

These come in three flavors. You can get any of the magic skills as chipware, although just having the skill via chipware won't let you create spells. You can also get "technomagical enablers" that increase your normal magical skills.

Lastly, you can get SpellChips, which are "the high-tech equivalent of the ornate scrolls and grimoires of Aysle." A SpellChip has to be plugged into a Nervejack instead of a normal chipware reader, so if you want to use multiple SpellChips at once you need multiple Nervejacks. It also costs a Possibility to attune the SpellChip to yourself.

The short form is that once you have a SpellChip attuned, you can slot it and cast the spell as per normal, which means that backlash is still a possibility. And that's "normal" for Torgian spellcasting, which means we have to take all kinds of poo poo into account.

quote:

SpellChips also contain a sophisticated VX simulation system that allows the technomage to perform mimicry or use any props that the spell may require under the Theorems of Similarity or Contagion. For example, a magician casting Altered Fireball using a SpellChip does not need the traditional ball of burning pitch physically, since he is experiencing the somatic component of the spell virtually, through the VX circuits of the SpellChip. The Law of Domination is again at work, allowing technology to substitute for integral parts of the spell casting process.

However, if a spell uses Specific Contagion, then either the usual sample of material from the target is needed, or else the SpellChip must be programmed with the target's DNA pattern or molecular structure using occultech skill. This requires the same sample of material that the spell itself would use.

SpellChips can be used to cast impressed spells without contradiction in Tharkold, even though the Magic axiom is 12. The mage casts the spell with the chip on-line. If successful the chip stores the impressed spell. A Tharkoldu or Race mage who casts an impressed spell without the SpellChip causes a four-case contradiction, as the spell has a higher axiom level than Tharkold or the caster.
You can also get a Backlash buffer installed, which increases the user's resistance to backlash damage by its rating. And you're going to want one, because backlash can damage your technomagical systems.

It's worth pointing out that there's nothing stopping an Ayslish mage from getting this stuff installed, apart from the usual issues with using gear outside your axiom levels.

And...that's it.

---
This is where I'd normally summarize things, but there's really nothing to summarize here. See you all next time!

NEXT TIME: Revisiting the console cowboys

Evil Mastermind fucked around with this message at 01:32 on Sep 8, 2017

ZeroCount
Aug 12, 2013




The problem with joining a megacorp or whatever to change it from within is that by the point you've reached any sort of authority to make decisions, you're already directly complicit in an awful lot of human suffering.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Yeah, you can say, "Oh, well, I'll just pretend to do the Pogrom," but at the end of the day, the boss wants teenaged wizbrains to harvest for combative cyborgs, and either you bring her a wizard brain or she uses yours.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Rand Brittain posted:

Yeah, you can say, "Oh, well, I'll just pretend to do the Pogrom," but at the end of the day, the boss wants teenaged wizbrains to harvest for combative cyborgs, and either you bring her a wizard brain or she uses yours.

Unless you figure a way around that, too. Which, assuming players and the DM are on the same page, the DM has planned for.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


The way you wind up with this stuff is by having grimdark settings where absolutely everyone is a crazy rear end in a top hat and constant violence and horror is the norm.

E: At that point some readers will go 'which of these assholes is at least more recognizable?' And that's how you end up with The Imperium Is Good, etc.

All Sides Are Corrupt And Awful tends to be a plot conceit that ends up making really awful poo poo come off 'well'.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 19:55 on Aug 1, 2017

Bendigeidfran
Dec 17, 2013

Wait a minute...


MollyMetroid posted:

There are seven Fates to choose from in Witch: Heks, Druid, Djinn, Yokai, Sósyé, Lich, and Seer.

So, if my character (lets call them Mitchell) were to own a shop of knick-knacks they could be a Kitsch Lich Witch Mitch? And if this were a very successful shop of knick-knacks, they'd be Rich Kitsch Lich Witch Mitch?

MollyMetroid
Jan 20, 2004

Trout Clan Daimyo


Yes, but...

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




Thousands of small businesses lose revenue to flood damage every year. Make sure that there's proper drainage around your shop. I recommend that you buy your own trencher, which you can haul if you own a van or truck like most small retail businesses. All you need is a simple trailer hitch accessory. That's my Rich Kitsch Lich Witch Mitch Ditch Witch Hitch Pitch.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




And if she's an rear end in a top hat than that'd be the Rich Kitsch Lich Witch Bitch Mitch Ditch Witch Hitch Pitch!

Davin Valkri
Apr 8, 2011

Maybe you're weighing the moral pros and cons but let me assure you that OH MY GOD
SHOOT ME IN THE GODDAMNED FACE
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!


I thought "Lich" in this context was pronounced closer to "lick"?

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




Its root word is līċ, which is pronounced with a 'ch' sound, so lich is right.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts World Book 15: Spirit West, Part 13: "Inexplicable link to Native Americans: For reasons unknown, perhaps even to the spirits themselves, they are concerned only with the welfare and prosperity of Native Americans and the forces, plants and animals of the North American continent."

Inexplicable indeed. Like, I said to friends the other day that the book has a cosmology only centered around the behavior and well-being of Native Americans, and then I'm reminded that statement isn't exaggeration, it's literal truth.


Put WESTERN CIVILIZATION on the demon, and it's a Rifts political cartoon!

The Spirits
By Wayne Breaux Jr. and Kevin Siembieda

So, there's a Spirit Realm now! It's never before mentioned in Rifts and likely to rarely be mentioned again, given that it only really applies to Native American characters. It guesses that it might be related to the Astral Plane, but we don't know much about that either, even after all these books. To get to the Spirit Realm, you have to find secret entrances within caves or forests that are "sacred to Native Americans". It notes that spirits are different from gods in that they're immaterial and comprised of "energy" or elemental forces. Though gods might take on different or even exist in multiple locations at once, they're still physical beings. So they're different! Except not, as we'll see later

The Spirit Realm is essentially just more dramatic wilderness with spirits there. Humans don't age while there and are infertile unless the gods grant the ability to have offspring (which explains why you didn't have hundreds of millions of Native Americans bursting out post-exile). There are spirit animals but also normal animals that have been imported either for preservation or for the hunting convenience of human guests. There are apparently a number of animals here that are extinct, but seemingly not every extinct animal (there's no mention of dinos, for example). However, humans have to ask permission from a spirit to hunt, otherwise "the Realm itself will strike down the offender.". Technology doesn't work here unless augmented by fetishes. If that wasn't enough, magic or psionics directed at spirits only have half effect. In addition, spirits can draw upon extra power here, so this is basically a big fingerwag about being a good guest, lest the spirits smite the gently caress out of you.

We're referred to Nightbane World Book 1: Between the Shadows for more on the Astral Plane, and then told that nobody has found a connection between the Spirit Realm and and the Astral Plane. But hey, maybe if you buy that book, a connection exists...? It's feels like a very, very labored attempt to pitch an extra sale without being like "Well you need to buy this."

We've given a few ways to get to the Spirit Realm, even though there's seemingly not much compelling reason to do so yet. Apparently the caves under Bear Butte (snort) have an entrance, maybe with our fetishes, we could penetrate the Bear Butte, and enter the Spirit Realm! ... That aside, there's apparently an entrance in the Black Hills and another at the Wyoming Medicine Wheel. The portals are invisible and hard to locate, and are hard to locate again because... that's they way the myth goes. The other way to get there is via the guidance of a spirit or god, or by using a Spirit Quest spell.

Oh, and if you try and force your way in or attack you'll be warned and then "1d4 x 100 lesser spirits" will attack (more if you have an army "which has never occurred"). If that doesn't work, 2d6 greater spirits or 1d4 gods will show up to throw you out, and if that doesn't work, they'll summon another 1d4 x 100 lesser spirits or 2d6 greater spirits every five minutes.

Just say "YOU LOSE", geez, but no, they have to put ungamable numbers behind it.

Spirits that enter our realm have to create or possess physical forms within a few hours to remain. It's pointed out this means not all animals or plants are necessarily actually related to a totem spirit or the like, but that's the form this spirit manifests in. For some reason spirits have to manifest in forms similar to those that exist in nature, which is treated as a big mysterly.

Features Common to all Spirits

So:
  • All spirits are associated with a particular species (i.e. their "totem form"), with only greater spirits taking on "the form of man (typically that of a Native American)". Typically lesser spirits taken on small animals, birds, grazing animals, and small plants. Greater spirits are larger predators, larger grazing animals, and trees. However, this is apparently just a general tendency and not a rule. They can only become North American animals and plants... 'cause.
  • As an energy being, they can fly around at the speed of sound immaterially and become briefly audible and visible if they like. However, shamans, psychics, and pre-adolescent children can see them. They're immune to physical form but energy attacks and some forms of magic and psionic assault can hurt them.
  • If they possess a body, they have all the traits of that body, but can manifest as a mega-damage version of their totem instead, with all the physical limitations of that form (i.e. a wolf spirit can't fly). At this point I realize a spirit could become a mega-damage bush, the most terrifying of all forms.
  • Apparently sometimes spirits possess animals so they can be more easily killed for food by Native Americans. That's a thing.
  • Killing a creature possessed by a spirit just forces that spirit back to the spirit realm for months (weeks for greater spirits, days for spirit gods). Killing a spirit that's actually manifested kills them.
  • All spirits are psionic and have access to some degree of spells.
  • Spirits can travel to the Astral Plane, with apparently a silver cord that links back to the Spirit Realm.
  • Spirits are specifically linked with Native Americans and the "forces, plants, and animals" of North America. Why?
Yep, in case you haven't realized, almost none of this matters to non-Native Americans / Wendigo. They just don't give a gently caress about immigrants.

Next: The spiritual hoi palloi.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Ninja Crusade 2e - Truth and Lies: The Worst People

For this one, I'm going to assume our trainee is male. Aynway, we open with him at the end of his tougi, his clan test of worthiness. He is sobbing and terrified. A woman has come to him and told him that while she doesn't want to, she will cause him great pain if he does not obey her entirely. Her name is Hasekura Nanami. She is one of the most creative of the Hidden Strands, and she demands respect. Shge's barely over 30, but everyone knows she is an amazing strategist with a knack for creative murders. She serves as an extremely high class escort to many nobles, using her position to root out secrets and corrupt the Empire's nobility. She also collects children for training, and is often responsible for the challenges of each year's tougi, which determines who can actually join the clan. She is rather sadistic and takes a joy in all of her plotting and planning.

She has been following our initiate's life from birth, and was actually present for that birth. The initiate is from a family that has produced Strand ninja for centuries - mostly the first and secondborn, who usually end up having to kill one another to pass the tougi. She says that there is no right or wrong way to feel about the tougi and what had to be done. She has prepared for this one for years, monitoring every moment. It's rare that only one student survives, but she believes this shows great potential. The tougi, after all, is a tool to teach lessons. Pain, survival, hatred - these teach far more than any person might be able to.

The initiate, we are told, has been born to be in the clan, and that is why he was not taken to be part of it immediately. Only orphans and those without special rank get that. Being a noble does not make the initiate better, however - rather, it makes them more useful as part of society if allowed to grow up with nobility. Lower classes are not inferior - merely less able to use their status to control things. All children taken by the Strands become ninja, taught far beyond even nobles get. Noble children, however, live a life that is predetermined. Everything about their upbringing is orchestrated - in the initiate's case, by Nanami herself. She watched over his growth, tested him to see if he could survive poison as a baby, controlled how his family treated him and how he was raised. She recites some events from his childhood and how those that tried to harm him were punished for it, and implies she caused that.

She then explains that this is how all students with potential are treated, and she saw his potential very young indeed. She also says that few ever get to meet their steward kafu, as the ninja that crafts your pre-Strands life is called, in person. She thought he could benefit from it. It was approved by the Masters of the clan, but only if she could test her theory - and that is why the tougi the initiate went through was so vicious and nasty even by Strands standards. Only one tougi is held per season, each designed to teach unique lessons and predict which initiates will be successful ninja. Summer tougi are excellent for endurance challenges due to the intense heat, while autumn is an excellent time for traps. Winter is another endurance test from the cold - and spring? Spring is a lovely time for biological and chemical warfare, and Nanami prefers it. (Of course, the initiate had some advantages, having been exposed to the poisons and diseases used in earlier life.)

Nanami explains that every challenge the initiate could face in a tougi is potentially deadly - especially rival ninjas, captured and told they can only escape through the initiates. This is because the real purpose of hte tougi is to test ruthlessness, resilience and how one deals with other ninja. Ruthless action is rewarded - taking the lead, betraying those that trust you when it benefits you, removing anyone that is a liability. Even those you have grown up with are tools to discard as you need, as the initiate has done - betrayed every single other member of the group, though it pained him to do so. She reveals that he didn't have to - she'd written it in the letter, yes, but that was to see if he would do it. That he has has convinced her that he is truly worthy.

She then has the initiate think on the power and influence he wielded over the other initiates - especially his childhood friend Nao, and the gain for his family now that she has died. Then, while he thinks on this with his eyes closed, she traps him in a cage, naked and unarmed. She says that the lesson here is that you should never trust someone - and should always know that you can lose everything, if you make the wrong decision or hesitate. Even she herself cannot be trusted. Perhaps especially her.

She then wakes him the next day, having failed to escape the cage, despite injuring himself on the bars. Nanami explains that this is good - the pain he feels is something to endure. Enemies will harm you, but survival instinct must defeat this pain. She then gives him a knife and explains that he must cut himself to the point where he can take no more pain, but must survive it. He fails the first night - not deep enough. The second night, he does much better, because he has gone unfed and will not be released until he does it. Nanami approves, having taught him the pain that he can do to himself, and that now he must learn both how to cause and to avoid it. Pain is the best teacher in the world - except for hatred. She knows the initiate hates her. This is good, as long as the hate can be controlled. Hate must be used, not obeyed. All things in the Strands are aobut control. Loss of control is the ultimate failure. She leaves, returning the next day to find the initiate's hatred is weaker than his need to survive by obedience - and that's good. He needs the clan. She tells him he exists solely by the clan's will - and without it, he will die alone. He accepts, and she frees him, to head to his next teacher.

Next time: This time he gets beaten up.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


MightyMatilda posted:

Okay, so it's perfectly fine for people to play as Coalition officers, but playing as a race that was nearly wiped out is over the line.

Huh.

Rifts is also completely inconsistent within that notion. A lot of R.C.C.s are very passive-aggressively like "If you reallly want you can play the one good Gargoyle / Vampire / etc., but everybody good will assume you're bad and all your old friends will consider you a traitor!" Others are like "Nope, all evil, not playable." But then you can just go and play an utterly psychopathic human anyway. Go figure.

And yeah, the implication is that wiping the Star-People out was a fine and good idea which definitely has ironic implications given the subject matter of this book.

Man Dancer posted:

Apologies if this has been posted already (I hunted through this thread and could have missed it), but I've been deriving tremendous enjoyment from the MegaDumbCast:
"A daily podcast identifying the single dumbest thing on every goddamn page of Palladium’s Ninjas & Superspies."

It was not posted previously. Also: this is amazing and I need to contact this person.

Selachian
Oct 9, 2012



Kavak posted:

And if she's an rear end in a top hat than that'd be the Rich Kitsch Lich Witch Bitch Mitch Ditch Witch Hitch Pitch!

And if I secretly informed the authorities about all this, I'd be a Rich Kitsch Lich Witch Bitch Mitch Ditch Witch Hitch Pitch snitch.

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



Dr Seuss and Friends

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Evil Mastermind posted:

The storm has a name... - Let's Read TORG


Part 18f: Lock and load

And...that's it.

Woah, woah, woah, I feel that we didn't cover awesome guns. Or Ultra CAD. Or how game breaking the combination of Cyberorgans and Shock Buffers are.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Night10194 posted:

The way you wind up with this stuff is by having grimdark settings where absolutely everyone is a crazy rear end in a top hat and constant violence and horror is the norm.

E: At that point some readers will go 'which of these assholes is at least more recognizable?' And that's how you end up with The Imperium Is Good, etc.

All Sides Are Corrupt And Awful tends to be a plot conceit that ends up making really awful poo poo come off 'well'.
I think a lot of it comes down to the Superman conundrum: Do you think it is possible to use power responsibly? Not in the sense of inevitability or some divine right of kings, or some kind of "I have the might, therefore I am axiomatically right," but rather, is it possible to exercise power to positive ends. In other words, is the corruption of power inevitable?

In oWoD the answer seemed to be: "No," pretty resoundingly.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Ninja Crusade 2e - Truth and Lies: Giant rear end in a top hat

Our new trainer is Asaito Ganryu, a warrior of the Strands who is noted to have pure Asaito blood dating all the way back. He is undefeated in any battle, despite all efforts, and is one of the best martial arts trainers in the clan. However, he only ever takes one student at a time. He knows, completely and totally, that he is superior to anyone he meets. He is not subtle in the slightest, but everything he does is deliberate. In the rare instances when he doesn't get his way, he gets angry quickly. He is young, but extremely powerful within the clan.

He brings the initiate into his dojo and is very mean about it. He explains that he doesn't care to pretend to niceness - his dojo is a place of total honesty, you see. No lies. He then slaps the kid across the face, to see what he'll do. The initiate doesn't even try to block. Ganryu is no impressed. He isn't sure why Nanami sent the kid to him, except to teach him focus. Nanami was his kafu as well, he explains. They then fight for a bit as training, and beats the poo poo out of the kid. He is very unimpressed. Then he starts explaining the origin of the clan.

Few know the origins of the Asaito - but they claim, internally, to be the first ninja, though only those of pure Asaito blood are usually taught this. The first of them was Ganryu's ancestor, Asaito Kazu, a trusted advisor to the Orime king who worked to benefit his own family and the wealthy, though only Kazu had any true power among the Asaito. He knew that to empower himself and them, he'd need something special. He traveled the land, and there he saw the poor and downtrodden. He had little care for them, but he did notice a hunger among them, and that sent him home to think. However, then his caravan was attacked by a silver dragon that killed everyone except Kazu. It spoke to him, telling him he had been chosen to carry a burden - to free the people from unjust rule with a magic it would teach.

And so Kazu returned home and taught his family how to manipulate ki. They used the silk they made and other threads to command this power subtly, and Kazu taught other, more common families, how to use ki as well. This and his cunning and use of surprise allowed him to lead the Orime Rebellion. Other clans fear the Asaito for this reason - they were born of betrayal. Big heroes? Sure. They saved the poor and needy from injustice. However, Kazu personally murdered many of his former friends - even his king. The Asaito had a heavy burden indeed. In the Mercenary Wars, they profited, becoming the Hidden Strands of Fate, striking from nowhere and fading just as quickly. They became experts at murder, equal even to the Hrasping Shadows, and became leaders among the ninja clans - though from the shadows, with manipulation. Only the Slithering Gods could resist them.

The Asaito thus claim to have turned the other clans against the Slithering Gods, claiming they had great numbers and were planning to conquer the land. When the Slithering Gods proved too much to defeat, the Asaito orchestrated the alliance between the ninja and the noble forces that would eventually become the Izou, insinuating themselves into the noble and warrior classes. And that is why the Strands control the world. The Ninja Crusade is, of course, merely a temporary hurdle, soon to be ended. Ganryu is certain of that. He is also happy that the initiate is not, in fact, dead.

The next day they keep training - in betrayal, now, and why it is important. It is the key to survival. Even allies and friends must be watched carefully, and one must never be fearful of giving or accepting a challenge. But ultimtely, in all things, it's about power. Power through fear is easy, obvious. It is a powerful motivator...but the fear of death and injury is too easily gained and lost, with even the right opening or hidden weapon turning the tide. A Strand knows death waits behind every mistake. Competition and danger are everywhere, and sometimes even a friend must die for you to succeed. Mourn in secret and move on. Behind fear is the power of choice. Officially, no one in the Empire has the right or power to choose their destiny. One's fate is determined by one's birth. This is a tool to use to your advantage, even as it limits you. As you gain power, however, you gain more freedom, so long as you are careful.

The final use of power is protection. However, that is more than just protecting your property and home. Above all others is the ability to protect those oyu care about. Yes, the Strands are seen as selfish, but they are one and all concerned with protecting things. Their families, the clan, their honor. Sometimes they even have a strong conscience. The important thing is that they can protect what they love - and for that, they need power. Without power, these things can be taken or destroyed. No matter what happens, no matter what issues are between Strand ninja, there is no threat they will not unite against and destroy. If you do not help your fellow Strands against the enemy, you are the enemy.

Now the real training begins, with Ganryu teaching the initiate how to fight a faster, stronger foe. Physical training, he says, is as important as social manipulation, even if not all Strands agree with that. Understanding how the foe moves and thinks is vital. He also makes a lot of vision puns, because he blinded the initiate with a quick eye strike. (Temporarily.) The job, he explains, is not to destroy the foe, most of the time. Outlasting them works just as well, most of the time. Keeping the foe off balance is vital. Throughout all this, Ganryu keeps beating the poo poo out of the initiate and mocking him. This is because he is showing that an opponent blinded by anger cannot fight effectively. Emotions must be controlled and contained to be a proper STrand fighter. This, too, is power: the power to control the fight. Ganryu ends by saying he expects the initiate to try and murder him pretty much constantly, and will be disappointed if this does not happen, but also that he is certain the kid will not succeed.

Next time: Jerks about clans

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Young Freud posted:

Woah, woah, woah, I feel that we didn't cover awesome guns. Or Ultra CAD. Or how game breaking the combination of Cyberorgans and Shock Buffers are.

Guns are next chapter, as is UltraCAD.

e: I went back and added the cyberorgan/shock buffer trick, which I didn't even know existed until you pointed it out.

Evil Mastermind fucked around with this message at 03:13 on Aug 2, 2017

JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!


Night10194 posted:

The way you wind up with this stuff is by having grimdark settings where absolutely everyone is a crazy rear end in a top hat and constant violence and horror is the norm.

E: At that point some readers will go 'which of these assholes is at least more recognizable?' And that's how you end up with The Imperium Is Good, etc.

All Sides Are Corrupt And Awful tends to be a plot conceit that ends up making really awful poo poo come off 'well'.

To be fair, IoM had to face down all sorts of lovely aliens during the Great Crusade, so small wonder that their policy is shoot on sight. The only time they didn't do that, we got Jokaero, and we should all agree that was a perfect target for application of "shoot on sight."

Plus, that's what Termight did in Nemesis the Warlock, so there you go.

I personally like that IoM isn't just Star Trek Federation With A Different Name like The Good Human Regime in many other settings. That, and skulls and gothic architecture every really helps to make the sell.

Though if you view it through a "is corruption an inevitability of power" lens, you do end up shooting a lot of Nobles and Planetary governors, which is always the right call.

Davin Valkri
Apr 8, 2011

Maybe you're weighing the moral pros and cons but let me assure you that OH MY GOD
SHOOT ME IN THE GODDAMNED FACE
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!


Night10194 posted:

The way you wind up with this stuff is by having grimdark settings where absolutely everyone is a crazy rear end in a top hat and constant violence and horror is the norm.

E: At that point some readers will go 'which of these assholes is at least more recognizable?' And that's how you end up with The Imperium Is Good, etc.

All Sides Are Corrupt And Awful tends to be a plot conceit that ends up making really awful poo poo come off 'well'.

This seems like the path to a very boring setting, to be honest. If everybody's an rear end in a top hat, why should I care who wins the setting's conflict?

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



don't you dare insult good gun ape boys

JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!


Davin Valkri posted:

This seems like the path to a very boring setting, to be honest. If everybody's an rear end in a top hat, why should I care who wins the setting's conflict?

Everyone's the Good Guys is a hard setting to pitch and make well.

In 40K, you just ask yourself whether CHAOS CONSUME US on a galactic scale would be the preferable state of things, and also how do you feel about everything you know getting nommed by GIANT SPACE BUGS.

At the very least, IoM isn't racist or sexist (...except for the part in Tempestus Scions book - the worst book - where women can't join the navy anymore) in the classical sense, in that everyone can die for the Emperor equally! Considering that as of last week, not everyone can die for Trump the US anymore, that's something to aspire to.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Davin Valkri posted:

This seems like the path to a very boring setting, to be honest. If everybody's an rear end in a top hat, why should I care who wins the setting's conflict?

Yes, that was my point.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




They need to do like Warhammer Fantasy and make everyone an awesome rear end in a top hat. Bretonnia's super-feudal but its knights are actually true and noble, the Tomb Kings are shambling undead hordes that still think and feel like humans, the Orks are Orks, etc.

thatbastardken
Apr 23, 2010

strewth


JcDent posted:

(...except for the part in Tempestus Scions book - the worst book - where women can't join the navy anymore)

what

loving seriously?

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





thatbastardken posted:

what

loving seriously?
Isn't the Imperium's navy this massive thing where the ships are practically Zeonic colonies unto themselves with entire generations of void-born spawning and mutating and poo poo beyond the hallowed surface of a planet?

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



I have toyed for a while with reviewing some 40k novels, because in the many, many, many dedicated threads it already has, chat always ends up turning to the novels about the Chapter Master type guys and I can't see them as anything but Saturday morning cartoon characters where every one has a color and a single personality trait and spend their time emptily threatening each other and learning lessons about not sharing. Best part is it's always big fans and readers describing it so they seem to miss this. It's always like "It was super awesome that time the Blue one taught the Red and Green a lesson about trusting unverified information channels when he helped them narrowly evade Purple's trap." Strip off the layers of gunporn and homoerotic posturing and they're basically the cast of Strawberry Shortcake in there.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



But enough about Age of Sigmar...

(I totally agree, especially with how it started as an 80s product to begin with)

thatbastardken
Apr 23, 2010

strewth


Nessus posted:

Isn't the Imperium's navy this massive thing where the ships are practically Zeonic colonies unto themselves with entire generations of void-born spawning and mutating and poo poo beyond the hallowed surface of a planet?

that was my understanding, yes

ZeroCount
Aug 12, 2013




Nessus posted:

Isn't the Imperium's navy this massive thing where the ships are practically Zeonic colonies unto themselves with entire generations of void-born spawning and mutating and poo poo beyond the hallowed surface of a planet?

except for the women apparently

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Evil Mastermind posted:

Guns are next chapter, as is UltraCAD.

e: I went back and added the cyberorgan/shock buffer trick, which I didn't even know existed until you pointed it out.

Here's another thing: it doesn't say that you can't multiple cyberorgans either. While the title says Cyberorgans, the text reads as a single organ, so you could get multiple organs like a cyberheart, cyberlungs, cyberkidney, cyberappendix, etc. so you could repeat ad infinitium the cyberorgan/shock buffer trick.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





ZeroCount posted:

except for the women apparently
I'd bet that there's a section on how the navy has in the lower decks to serve the needs of the crew, such as laundering bedsheets, sewing, and providing stereotypical feminine labor

JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!


thatbastardken posted:

what

loving seriously?

I think the new book says that women are taken by Inquisition, Administratum and SoBs (duh?) while Commissariat , TEMPESTUS REGISTERED TRADEMARKS and Navis Nobilite take the men. Or, since we're talking about Space Orphanage Of The Virtuous Dead, girls and boys.

I guess women can still be naval ratings, but w/e, nobody cares about ratings.

That book was super stupid and I hate it.

Nessus posted:

I'd bet that there's a section on how the navy has in the lower decks to serve the needs of the crew, such as laundering bedsheets, sewing, and providing stereotypical feminine labor

Lower decks are usually hives of scum and villainy because Imperium's ships are big enough to have seedy under worlds develop in places nobody goes to anymore. Them's the underdecks.


theironjef posted:

I have toyed for a while with reviewing some 40k novels, because in the many, many, many dedicated threads it already has, chat always ends up turning to the novels about the Chapter Master type guys and I can't see them as anything but Saturday morning cartoon characters where every one has a color and a single personality trait and spend their time emptily threatening each other and learning lessons about not sharing.

But isn't that a failing of sci-fi in general?

I think Space Marine is the best book about Space Marines and Sons of Dorn the worst 40K book I have ever tried reading.

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Crasical
Apr 22, 2014

GG!*
*GET GOOD



Update 9 (Society and Technology)

Last time, we ended with a mini-update about the state of the Catholic church, who are still hurting a little for adopting a radical anti-metahuman, anti-magic stance post-Awakening, even if they’ve since softened their stance and gone with a more moderate position since then.

Meanwhile, in Iran, the Shia Islamic population has NOT softened their stance and gone with a more moderate position since the Awakening. If anything they’ve escalated, shifting from mandatory deportation of all metahumans to execution of any dwarf or elf found in the country’s borders, even going so far as to execute any mother found to be carrying an ‘unholy’ child in utero. The metahuman population has mostly fled to Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Afghanistan. Many notable figures (Including President Jarman and the greatly-diminished United States) have decried the atrocities and demanded immediate cessation. In response, a noted Ayatollah made a public proclamation to the faithful that it was their duty to drive out and purge the new unholy taint on the world that the metahuman races represented, laying the blame for their existence on Western Technology.

The new Jihad that had been called lasted only a week before being brought to a dramatic end. Eight years ago, during the Awakening, sightings had been made of an enormous sirrush, a Middle-Eastern form of dragon. It had apparently been content to keep to its hidden lair in Mount Arat and unlike Dunkelzahn or Lofwyr had not made any contact with humans. The proclamation of Jihad changed that. The sirrush made its way from Kurdistan to Iran, hunting the Ayatollah that had made the proclamation, tracking him to his compound in Tehran and making a proclamation of his own: He was Aden, and proclaimed “if you would choose war, then see what you would war against!”



*Not at all muffled Dragonforce playing at incredible volume*

It is unconfirmed if the Ayatollah or his family was present at the compound at the time, but in the draconic rampage that followed the Iranian air force was unable to duplicate Germany’s success against Feurschwing and now no-one can ever go back to Tehran.
In the aftermath, the American public (perhaps with Aden’s rampage showing precisely how much damage unleashed magical forces could really do fresh in mind) decided to re-elect President Jarman for another term. The Iranian capital is moved to Esfahan, and Seattle swells with the hundreds displaced by the creation of the NAN who cannot prove any native ancestry, eventually swelling and merging with nearby counties to form a sprawling urban megaplex. The world spins on.

Libya, which had basically ceased to exist as a state in the 10 Minute War, finally had UN peacekeepers pull out. The withered wasteland was deemed a lost cause with the flow of refugees fleeing the radiated desert having dropped to a trickle. Seeing their chance, Egypt quietly annexed the territory seeing no-one really opposing them. Cuba falls as well; Fidel Castro steps down due to failing health and the government essentially dissolves. VITAS had struck the caribbean especially hard with the once-beautiful tourist destinations having as high as 1 in 3 citizens contracting the deadly disease. They had essentially been a puppet state for some time. In truth the megacorporations had happily moved in and sold medicine in exchange for mineral, undersea, and land rights. Castro’s sickness was enough to let them shed the pretense and step in as the new de-facto government. The South African government also dissolves due to the simple strain of fighting VITAS and other natural disasters, Belgium splitting in half when Wallonia leaves the nation via referendum, sparked by the tensions of the constant influx of refugees fleeing VITAS afflicted areas. Wallonia remains independent for several years before eventually joining France due to economic pressures, while Flanders goes to join the Netherlands, forming the United Netherlands.

In the East, China is continuing to fragment. Having Tibet magically-enforce their succession was only the first step: like in 2013, the Xinjiang province secedes from what they see as a weakened China, naming itself Uighurstan. Two years later Hong Kong secedes as well, declaring itself an independent city. The British government exerts its influence the protect Hong Kong from retribution, but finds their prize stolen from under them when the Megacorporations in the city (including Wuxing, an ostensibly chinese megacorporation) buy up a majority of the assets and lean on their powers of extraterritoriality to declare Hong Kong a Free Enterprise Zone. What this makes Hong Kong is a city under corporate control, independant from any nation. China desperately grasps at any straw it can to maintain its powerbase, but when an Earthquake hits the Taihei mountains in 2017 it destroys China’s nuclear stockpile. Suddenly every general in the nation realizes that the central government is vulnerable to a conventional uprising. Twenty five years earlier the Chairman at the time, Deng Xiaoping, had instituted economic reform that allowed the various provinces to manage their own funds and enact their own trade deals, a rebuke to the failed Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution. With the sword of Damocles that a nuclear strike represented suddenly gone, it was every province for themselves. China balkanized instantly, splitting from their Communist masters into many pieces: Manchuria, Xinjiang, Guangxi, the Canton Confederation are all created in this action. Beijing became the Republic of China, and experienced an internal coup that threw the Communists out of power in favor of the New Progress Party formed of businessmen and rising apparatchiks kept outside the Communist Party leadership by the old guard. The transition was not a smooth one however and for years afterward the NPP would struggle with the remaining CP elements.

Across the globe, you may recall that the German government had fallen and that for the past six years the country had been being controlled by a military junta. The Bundeswehr, lead by General Horst Stockter, had seized control from an impotent and failing state in desperate bid to survive the toxic storms, VITAS plagues, and general chaos surrounding the Awakening. Germany had survived NATO collapsing following the Americans pulling its military out of europe, and the EU being put into suspension due to budgetary issues. And in what might be called a miracle, with relatively normalcy having been restored, General Stockter and his men stepped down from power, having put elections into place. Germany is a democracy once more but Berlin is not. Berlin has become an exclusion zone where anarchy rules. The Bundeswehr choose containment over crushing the insurrection, the Festimano movement, who broadcast a lengthy manifesto in return:

The Festimano posted:

Berlin is ours now and not yours now so get over it.
It’s ours now but we don’t speak for it. Because no one speaks for it. No one should speak for it. We speak for ourselves, others speak for themselves, and if you don’t speak for yourself, then what the gently caress is wrong with you?
We could make a long list of the things we’re not doing—we’re not explaining ourselves, we’re not making a constitution, we’re not sitting down and writing a coherent thesis on the nature of anarchy and a defense of its principles. Other people can do that if they want. We’re not going to.
There’s other things we’re not going to do, and one of them is not spend a whole lot of time talking about what we’re not going to do, because haven’t we all had enough of people who think they have authority trying to limit what other people do? We have far better things to do with our time than try to assert authority over other people. We have walls to paint. We have plants to grow. We have ruins to tear down and concrete to break up and ground to till so there can be a little more life in this city. We have music to play and dances to dance and stories to tell, and we’re sorry if that doesn’t match with the expectations of the profit-obsessed world out there, but we’ll make you a deal—you keep your money, we’ll keep the things that matter.
We’d invite people to come by and join us, but we don’t want anyone else. We’ve seen what you’ve done to the rest of the world and we’re not anxious to have you here. So stay in your cities, despoil them all you want, invent excuses to treat people like cattle and herd them around and enjoy it. We’ll live our lives here and we’ll do just fine without you.
It will not be perfect, and we are not naïve enough to think it will be. Things will go wrong, people will screw up. But we all made mistakes when we moved away from our parents, and we knew we’d make them, but we moved anyway because that was the only way for us to become ourselves. That’s what Berlin is now. It is itself, and we will be ourselves.
We understand that maybe there are a few people out there who want to come here because they want to be like us. That’s fine, but why travel? Make your own Berlin wherever you are. No one has power over you but you. All you have to do to make your own Berlin is to live like that’s true, because it is.
You don’t have to organize an opposition party, you don’t have to vote the bums out of office, and you don’t have to get your guns together and prepare for a revolution. All you have to do is realize that they don’t have the authority they’ve always pretended to have, they are not the bosses of you, and you don’t have to deal with them for a second more. Do your thing regardless of their thing. Like the petulant bullies they are, they will go away if you ignore them long enough. But you won’t be free then. Because you are already free. So act like it.

Berlin is, for now, left in the hands of the anarchists as an exclusion zone.

Scientific progress continues to run rampant. In 2017, the Harris-3M corporation launches the first privately-funded human-habitable space station: Halo. Two years later, Ares unveils Apollo station, another corporate space station grown from the fruits of their buy-out of NASA. Dr. Hosato Hikita, a scientist working for ESP Systems, Inc. in Chicago tests the first generation of Artificial Sensory Induction System Technology (ASIST), otherwise known as simsense. Using this, it’s possible to record and play-back sensory data: the smell of roses, the touch of sun on skin, the sensation of orgasm, even purely emotive senses. It’s real virtual reality, something that indulges all the senses at once to transport you to a place that may never have been. Transys Neuronet follows that up with their own technological advancement: Leonora Bartoli, a virtuoso violinist who had lost her left hand in an accident involving a bullet train, had voluntarily subjected herself to a seventeen hour surgery that was the collaborative effort of five doctors, two of which were pioneers in the field of cybernetic engineering. The prosthetic was one of the first working examples of a direct neural interface: the nervous system of the arm melded with delicate and intricate technology to allow the wearer to seamlessly control the cybernetic as if it was their own limb. Even with this, it was still expected to take eight to ten hours of rehab and training to manipulate the arm, and four to six months before she was able to play the violin again. But the benefits were undeniable: Within a year, Leonara had regained all functionality and manual dexterity in that hand.



Ain’t Cybernetics grand?

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