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DNA Cowboys
Feb 22, 2012

BOYS I KNOW


Evil Mastermind posted:

Like all Darkness Devices, Core Earth's is not native to the reality it found itself in. It was previously in the possession of Kurst, High Lord of Kantovia. If that sounds familiar, it's because it was brought up in the Orrorsh book; Kantovia can best be described as a "Slavic Werewolf reality", and back even before the prequel novels took place Kurst was its High Lord. Kurst ended up getting the poo poo kicked out of him by the Gaunt Man and Heketon, and turned into one of the Gaunt Man's followers. Kurst's Darkness Device managed to escape by dimthreading to Core Earth, specifically Mexico during the height of the Olmec empire.

Evil Mastermind posted:

This realm is called "The Aztec Empire", and will have axiom levels close to Core Earth's, only with a higher Spiritual and Magic axioms. Which means you could have fanatical Aztec warriors armed with assault rifles and slinging spells spreading across Central America. Given the situation in North America, this is a huge danger to the stability of the States. On top of that, the Empire would declare war on Orrorsh because Huitzilopochtli wants revenge on the Gaunt Man. The War enters a whole new phase, knocking many of the other High Lords' plans into disarray.

How come The Aztec Empire isn't Slavic Werewolf-themed or influenced? Does the Darkness Device's original reality mean anything?

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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.

The Darkness device has actually gone crazy and thinks it actually is a Hummingbird of glorious combat and doesn't really remember anything but its grudges.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



DNA Cowboys posted:

How come The Aztec Empire isn't Slavic Werewolf-themed or influenced? Does the Darkness Device's original reality mean anything?

It's partially this:

unseenlibrarian posted:

The Darkness device has actually gone crazy and thinks it actually is a Hummingbird of glorious combat and doesn't really remember anything but its grudges.
and partially the fact that Darkness Devices tend to adapt to the worlds they appear in than the other way around. No real reason is given, but it makes sense given that their long-term goal is corrupt people in whatever world they land in, which is easier if you appeal to the target's native mindset than trying to twist them into a new way of thinking.

Huitzilopochtli is a special case since it's batshit insane and only recently vaguely remembered its original purpose.

e: here's an example: Malraux's Device appeared to him in the form of a glowing cross. This Device wasn't native to Malraux's cosm, it came from somewhere else. But odds are that it didn't come from another reality where the cross had the same symbolic weight as it would in Magna Verita, where the Church ran the show. So it appeared in a form that would make sense to its choice for High Lord and fit easily into his frame of reference.

Evil Mastermind fucked around with this message at 01:58 on Aug 31, 2017

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers, stern and wild ones, and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss.


Clapping Larry

I still think Kane winning is far more interesting than either of the other two choices. Aside from that, the writers on TORG were peak 80s in the worst way especially on adventure design.

OutOfPrint
Apr 9, 2009



Fun Shoe

It's been a while since the TORG review covered this, but don't non-Core Earthers need to pay points to exist in Core Earth without adopting the local cosm's rules? From the sound of it, that Orroshian vampyre on the train would be bleeding (HA!) points throughout the adventure.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Humbug Scoolbus posted:

I still think Kane winning is far more interesting than either of the other two choices. Aside from that, the writers on TORG were peak 80s in the worst way especially on adventure design.

Yeah but a Darkness Device is a terrible title belt.

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine


Mors Rattus posted:

Yeah but a Darkness Device is a terrible title belt.

Except, of course, the Darkness Device Superslam from the Kayfabe cosm.

Green Intern
Dec 29, 2008

Loon, Crazy and Laughable



Someone please write a dimension-hopping wrestling invasion RPG.

Edit: was there ever a Kinnikuman RPG?

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Turnbuckle post stelae.

Loxbourne
Apr 6, 2011

Tomorrow, doom!
But now, tea.

Green Intern posted:

Someone please write a dimension-hopping wrestling invasion RPG.

Isn't this technically the plot of Mortal Kombat?

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine


Bieeardo posted:

Turnbuckle post stelae.

The stelae are definitely posters for local fed shows on telephone poles.

Green Intern
Dec 29, 2008

Loon, Crazy and Laughable



Loxbourne posted:

Isn't this technically the plot of Mortal Kombat?

No. MK is Interdimensional Martial Arts Invasion.

I want Interdimensional NWO Invasion

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine


Green Intern posted:

No. MK is Interdimensional Martial Arts Invasion.

I want Interdimensional NWO Invasion

Making a Dennis Rodman playbook for WWW now.

chiasaur11
Oct 22, 2012





It might just be me (probably is) but something that bothers me about TORG is how things get more hosed. It presents things as a kind of cold war, where the heroes are trying to save Earth and the villains are trying to slowly expand, but then it keeps slamming apocalypses on the places it says are vital to having any kind of functional society.

It seems it'd be hard for players to feel like they were making any progress when in the time it takes them to make a dent in one invading world, three more have crashed into the middle of everything.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




What, you think you can effect change on THEIR setting? That's not how this works!

Also IIRC there's still a thriving film industry and something resembling international commerce even with multiple nations under extradimensional tech-warping rule so they probably don't think about the implications.

Freaking Crumbum
Apr 17, 2003

Too fuck to drunk








Welcome to Dark*Matter, a campaign setting for the Alternity Game System.

Yes, that Alternity Game System, the one was developed towards the very rear end-end of TSR's reign and that commits the cardinal gaming sin of trying to do everything but managing to do none of it well, not even bothering to fail in a spectacular fashion. I believe the Alternity Game System was a proto-d20 SRD, in that it really does attempt to be a very generic, flexible set of rules onto which you can bolt any kind of theme or setting and wind up with a functional game. It used the classic six ability scores (boo) to derive secondary abilities in non-intuitive ways (hiss) with a set of bare-bones classes (piss) that unfolded into an extremely fiddly skill-based resolution system (poo poo) and include a bunch of poorly thought out mechanics that tried to integrate multiple disparate science fiction tropes - cyber gear and virtual reality hacking and mutations and psychic powers and starship combat - in a way that could have only been less intuitive if it involved differential equations (gently caress).

Alternity's biggest crime was that it was completely uninspired and boring; although the game rules were functional, they failed to instill any sense of what sort of adventures you were actually supposed to play. Shadowrun in Space, or maybe Star Wars with Runners, is probably the closest coherent theme you could cobble from the core PC and DM handbooks. Maybe the best thing you can say about Alternity is that Brom did some pretty sick art pieces for the covers of most of the books, and provided a lot of memorable interior art as well (this is akin to saying the best off-brand microwave mac & cheese you ever ate was prepared for you by Gordon Ramsay).

But for me, Dark*Matter is more than just the lame Alternity Game System onto which it was grafted. Dark*Matter was the first role playing game supplement that I could find as a teen that even hinted at darker subject matter than D&D or Star Wars. I grew up in a small town with no FLGS and only a single regional bookstore chain (Hastings, if you can recall it), and while the late 90's weren't lacking for games and gaming content that tripped all over their own dicks boasting about how dark and edgy and mature they were, those kinds of books didn't get a lot of play in the limited shelf real estate that Hastings would oblige to role playing games. I was well into high school before the internet was really a thing, so most of my role playing game knowledge was fragmentary bits and pieces that I could glean from random copies of InQuest magazine or from friend's older relatives who had played a game with people in another town. I knew that things like Call of Cthulhu, Deadlands, and V:tM existed, but there was no realistic way for me to get my hands on them.

Hastings decided to carry the Alternity line, because it was a bare-bones sci-fi setting attached to a completely uninspired rule system, so when Dark*Matter launched in 1999, it slipped past whatever content review radar Hastings was using. As an adult, I can acknowledge that Dark*Matter is "subversive" and "dark" in the same way that The X-Files is "subversive" and the original Men In Black movie is "dark", but as a teenager without very much perspective Dark*Matter was mysterious and cool and it very lightly incorporated occult content - it was everything I thought I was missing in a role playing game.

I'm reviewing Dark*Matter partly for nostalgia and partly to see if my teenage enthusiasm was completely misplaced, or whether there still might be salvageable ideas mixed in with the Alternity mechanics.

Chapter 1: Everything You Know Is Wrong

Matt Adelsperger gets credited for being the interior graphic designer, and I gotta compliment him; much of the art within the book is wayyyyyy better than the quality of the content with which it is paired.

Chapter 1 is the stock-standard "What is a role playing game?" and while Dark*Matter provides a perfectly servicable explanation, it's not really anything worth remarking on - the players take on the role of regular people thrust into supernatural situations, with no training and even less understanding of what's really going on, and the GM sets up the scenarios and provides background flavor and plays all of the NPCs and arbitrates the rules and etc.

It lays out the central premise behind the campaign setting, which is "What if every crazy conspiracy theory involving the Greys, the Illuminati, the Free Masons, and the Reptilians were simultaneously all true, and humanity's only chance for survival rests on your unprepared group of heroes". It's straightforward and introduces the general themes and setting of the game; Dark*Matter is more Delta Green than Call of Cthulhu.

The main mechanical thing you need to know about Dark*Matter (and Alternity in general) is that the conflict resolution system is skill based d20 roll-under. It also incorporates non-binary success and failure states, which was a pretty significant departure from the legacy AD&D system that TSR had been using up to this point. If circumstances makes your skill check easier or harder, you assign applicable + bonuses or - penalties, and the sum of all bonuses and penalties becomes your situation die modifier.
pre:
Modifier          Situation Die
--------          -------------
 +/- 5               +/- d12
 +/- 4               +/- d10
 +/- 3               +/- d8
 +/- 2               +/- d6
 +/- 1               +/- d4
To attempt an action, you roll d20 +/- Situation Die, and then compare that to your character's relevant Broad Skill or Specialty Skill. Broad skills are the generic skill unbrellas that cover basic knowledge about a thing (Ranged Weapons) and are equal to your governing Attribute (Str, Dex, etc.), and Specialty Skills are the specialized knowledge you have about a specific part of the same thing (Assault Rifles) and add their ranks to the governing Attribute. If your roll is under 1/4 of your governing Attribute + Specialty Skill you get an Amazing success, if your roll is under 1/2 of your governing Attribute + Specialty Skill but greater than 1/4 you get a Good success, if your roll is under your governing Attribute + Specialty Skill but greater than 1/2 you get an Ordinary success, and if your roll is greater than your governing Attribute + Specialty Skill you failed. Also a natural 1 on the d20 is an automatic Amazing success (regardless of the Situation Die) and a natural 20 on the d20 is an automatic Critical Failure (likewise).

Putting it all together, if your investigator has 10 Dexterity, the Ranged Weapons broad skill, and 2 ranks in the Assault Rifle specialty skill, to shoot your rifle you'd roll a d20 and your target numbers for Ordinary/Good/Amazing success would look like 12/6/3. If there was any Situation die, you'd roll that too and add or subtract that result from your d20 to get your final skill check score.


That's all the relevant stuff for Chapter 1. There's an intro adventure that you can run some pre-made heroes through that I remember being not totally awful, but I think I'll save that til the end because there's another pre-made adventure at the end of the book, and the two of them kind of dovetail together if I am recalling correctly.

megane
Jun 20, 2008





Cover image is some generically spooky men with black hats and weird eyes, overlaid with the Sefirot, some random futhark and hieroglyphs, a DNA diagram, a couple of hydrocarbons, the number 23, and of course the Zener card symbols. Yyyep, got ourselves a 90s urban fantasy book here.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Definitely one of those games I've heard of but it's so far before my time I've seen nothing of it, should be interesting hopefully.

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012


Kavak posted:

What, you think you can effect change on THEIR setting? That's not how this works!

Also IIRC there's still a thriving film industry and something resembling international commerce even with multiple nations under extradimensional tech-warping rule so they probably don't think about the implications.

This is what's so confusing to me about these adventures back on Core Earth, and stuff like the Living Land sourcebook. I thought we were in "total societal collapse" territory, but it feels more like WW2 at worst. How is the United States government still a factor, like, at all? Who exactly is Kanawa selling stuff to? Who's watching movies right now? It's breaking my brain that this setting has "a tabletop game designer is invited by the President to address the Joint Chiefs of Staff" presented as a significant thing that's happening.

Terrible Opinions
Oct 17, 2013





megane posted:

Cover image is some generically spooky men with black hats and weird eyes, overlaid with the Sefirot, some random futhark and hieroglyphs, a DNA diagram, a couple of hydrocarbons, the number 23, and of course the Zener card symbols. Yyyep, got ourselves a 90s urban fantasy book here.
Well for what it's worth those spooky men are actually a fairly common somewhat creative enemy type in the game itself.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Night10194 posted:

As are elfs.

To be fair, all elves are female until proven otherwise :v:

Freaking Crumbum
Apr 17, 2003

Too fuck to drunk




megane posted:

Cover image is some generically spooky men with black hats and weird eyes, overlaid with the Sefirot, some random futhark and hieroglyphs, a DNA diagram, a couple of hydrocarbons, the number 23, and of course the Zener card symbols. Yyyep, got ourselves a 90s urban fantasy book here.

in true 90's fashion, the book seems to have weird tonal issues too. further along, it really wants to start pulling into Kult-style violent occult stuff, but that gets lumped together with bigfoots and Reptilians and also they're all wizards and also maybe everything in the bible is literally true and and

Ghost Leviathan
Mar 2, 2017

Exploration is ill-advised




I recall the Kinnikuman anime being about invading alien wrestlers. Also one of the few 4Kids dubs that was actually pretty good and funny.

Racism really is something that, if you want it to come up, you handle case by case. Especially in fantasy settings where the party can consist of god-knows-what. (I've had it on record that my current campaign's adventuring party is likely to be mistaken for a circus troupe when visiting human-majority settlements) Definitely not worth baking into the mechanics.

The problem is when designers think a game can't be taken seriously unless it has 'realistic' elements and have very skewed ideas of what 'realism' is, and it doesn't help when they get those ideas of 'realism' from RPGs in the first place.

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine


Inescapable Duck posted:

I recall the Kinnikuman anime being about invading alien wrestlers. Also one of the few 4Kids dubs that was actually pretty good and funny.

Kinnikuman literally started as a comedy manga parodying Ultraman that became a wrestling manga because it was written and drawn by huge wrestling nerds who made the American Superhero Rival character Terry Funk like a year and a half before the first actual wrestling storyline, so it's full of aliens and demons and all sorts of wacky poo poo.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


The d20 version of Dark Matter is one of the few d20 books I still have around, IIRC, though I never looked at the original. It felt very much like X-Files pressed into the standard RPG "investigate and shoot and you can cast spells too, don't worry about that" mold.

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.

Honestly the only thing I know about Dark Matter is that it's the game system that was the original core of an ongoing "Let me tell you about my campaign" story by John Rogers (The Leverage/Blue Beetle /Fell's Five guy) called "Drunk Southern Girls with Guns". I think it was originally on ENWorld until one of their various server reboots/crashes/rebuilds.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Inescapable Duck posted:

I recall the Kinnikuman anime being about invading alien wrestlers. Also one of the few 4Kids dubs that was actually pretty good and funny.

Racism really is something that, if you want it to come up, you handle case by case. Especially in fantasy settings where the party can consist of god-knows-what. (I've had it on record that my current campaign's adventuring party is likely to be mistaken for a circus troupe when visiting human-majority settlements) Definitely not worth baking into the mechanics.

The problem is when designers think a game can't be taken seriously unless it has 'realistic' elements and have very skewed ideas of what 'realism' is, and it doesn't help when they get those ideas of 'realism' from RPGs in the first place.

see "Phoenix Command" for what happens when NASA engineers decide to make realistic Cold War combat RPG.

Green Intern
Dec 29, 2008

Loon, Crazy and Laughable



Inescapable Duck posted:

I recall the Kinnikuman anime being about invading alien wrestlers. Also one of the few 4Kids dubs that was actually pretty good and funny.

The American translators turned Gazelleman into Dikdik Van Dik, so yeah, it was really good.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




unseenlibrarian posted:

Honestly the only thing I know about Dark Matter is that it's the game system that was the original core of an ongoing "Let me tell you about my campaign" story by John Rogers (The Leverage/Blue Beetle /Fell's Five guy) called "Drunk Southern Girls with Guns". I think it was originally on ENWorld until one of their various server reboots/crashes/rebuilds.
All I know about Dark Matter is that I used to get Dark Matter, Dark Conspiracy, and Conspiracy X confused.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer Fantasy: Realm of the Ice Queen

If the person is already dead, they walk the body through the funeral rite as if they were still alive for it

Kislevites don't celebrate birth right away. You never know what the Wise Woman is going to say about the child, and among Ungol the child isn't really considered born until they get cursed and checked for taint. The 'curse' is a minor stricture designed to ensure the spirits will be favorable to the baby; little things like 'This child must never wear silver jewelry' or 'Never ride a horse bareback under the full moon', with the implication that breaking those strictures will cause bad luck. Once people are certain the baby isn't going to die of illness in the first few days and that the child isn't mutated, they celebrate and commend the baby to Dazh's royal protection, welcoming them to the community. They do this by quickly passing the baby through a fire. Not, like, through the actual flames, just above them. It's considered bad luck if the baby doesn't cry or react and a terrible omen if the parents manage to actually hurt the child (by not passing them through fast enough). Then, the child can be celebrated and people can be relatively sure they will survive.

Marriage is one of the few times even Kislevites let themselves be happy and celebratory. Marriages are big occasions, where the friends and family of bride and groom get together to drink and feast until everyone falls asleep or the food and drink run out. Running out of food and drink before everyone passes out is a bad omen for the match! Everyone gathers around to make speeches, the groom's friends praising the bride in a tradition where they compete to see how long they can keep it from becoming ribald and obscene due to drunkeness and good humor. In some villages, the groom isn't actually decided until after the feast, where the last man standing after the drinking gets to marry the bride the following day. In places that follow this tradition, they devise all manner of clever ways to make sure the right man marries the right woman, like making the intended groom drink watered wine instead of kvas and giving the men with the reputation for being the best drinkers way more to drink (which they rarely object to!). This also leads to all sorts of shenanigans where brides spike the drink of their intended so they can marry the man they love, instead of the one their family wanted for them, sparking an entire genre of Kislevite comedy.

Kislevite funerals are unique. They don't hold them for the dead; rather, you have your funeral when you enter a profession or period in your life where you become likely to die, in order to get it out of the way and get everyone ready for it. A man (or woman, if she does so) joining the stanitsa's rota has a funeral held for him. A woman who has just become pregnant for the first time has a funeral held for her, to guard against bad luck in childbirth. That sort of thing. The family builds a fire in a public place, and the 'dead' person places a childhood possession in the fire to burn in remembrance of them. The family and friends sing mourning dirges, then tell stories of the 'dead' person's life and future deeds, designed to inspire them to live and die well. The 'dead' person follows behind each speaker, standing over them and listening to how they are supposed to die and what others think is best about them, and then they leave, ready for their new life and eventual end. Every now and then, someone dies before their funeral, at which point the family dresses the body up and moves it around to act out the normal rites. Yes, they Weekend at Bernies' their own funerals if you're inconsiderate enough to die before you have yours. Once you actually die, after your funeral, your body is cremated or strapped to your horse and sent out into the steppe. Publicly there is little mourning, though friends and family comfort one another informally. Foreigners tend to think this is insane, and that Kislevites are insensate to death, but the fact is they already said their goodbyes.

It isn't only Wise Women who believe in the spirits, the Wise Women are just the only ones who can see them. Normal Kislevites believe in them, make small offerings to them, and try to appease them. Given that the spirits are probably real, these 'backwards superstitions' are probably a good idea. If you stop by a spring to get a drink of fresh water, it would be unwise not to ask the spirit that dwells in it permission first; you could get sick, you might cause yourself bad luck, and it's only polite, anyway. The most common Kislevite spirit is the Domovoi, a well-meaning but mischievous critter who will help you with the cooking and cleaning if you respect him and leave a little food for him each day. If you don't, he'll get annoyed and cause you trouble, sliding plates off shelves, spilling the chamberpot, or ruining needlework. Peasants also make grain offerings to the Polevoi and Poludnitsa, nature spirits that can make the soil fertile or barren as they wish. The Leshii is a tree spirit that can disguise itself as anything, but can never wear a belt (which is an easy way to catch it) and who tries to lead young maids into the woods to never be seen again. It also likes to hide woodcutters' axes right before an angry bear appears. The Leshii is a dick. The Rusalka is the spirit of a murdered woman who tries to trick men into lakes in order to drown them for revenge, and the Vodianoi does the same, but instead appears as a helpless old man and begs for aid, saying it's drowning until it turns around and kills you. The Ryzhnyi Khoziaian, the Frostfiend, is a terrible monster. A winged spirit of frost and murder that wanders the northern steppe and troll country, this is the only spirit that gets stats in the back of the book, and it's a murder-machine. Powerful Ice Witches can also transform themselves into a Frostfiend as one of their mightier spells, and this terrible thing wanders the steppe, killing as it wishes, and there seems no way to placate it.

Next: How to get lost and die on the steppe while snow crazy.

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



Night10194 posted:

Next: Ice Witches, who have a cunning plan to make women and witches into a major power within Kislev by, uh, becoming generals, high nobles, and people of great importance and open authority. Huh. That isn't usually how that goes.

Seems to be working out for them though.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


The Lone Badger posted:

Seems to be working out for them though.

I just find it refreshing to see a sisterhood of mystics and wizards not go the tired 'we'll be the power behind the throne and rule from the shadows by moving the hearts of men!' route. The Ice Witches are secretive about the extent to which they're all working together, and about the importance they place on defending the source of their magic versus defending the country, but otherwise their scheme to be powerful and have the resources they need to do their duty to the Ancient Widow is 'Khan-Queen, here I come.'

Leraika
Jun 14, 2015

slime time



These Kislevite customs are amazing.

Loxbourne
Apr 6, 2011

Tomorrow, doom!
But now, tea.

Now I want to run a Kislevite wedding scenario where the PCs are hired by the bride to make sure the right guy stays upright until the end of the night.

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

IT *BZZT* WASP ME--
IT WASP ME ALL *BZZT* ALONG!




Bonus points if the family of the bride is actively working to prop up a different bridegroom.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer Fantasy: Realm of the Ice Queen

Cold

Oblast refers to an administrative and geographic region within Kislev. The Oblast is also a series of cold, snowy plains that are dangerous and dull to traverse.

It's difficult to write up dangerous areas and long-term environmental hazards in RPGs. You want to get across that a place is dangerous, that PCs need to take precautions, and that you need a tent or sheltered place and material to make a fire or you're going to die frozen and alone in the steppe. At the same time, doing what they do here ends up with a set of rules I'm pretty sure most players and GMs will just ignore or pare down. Out on the Oblast, if you're in a cold place, you have to test Toughness (with a bonus for wearing good Kislevite winter clothing and a further bonus if you've lived out here for a year or more) or take a -10 to all tests every six hours. You can prevent these tests by resting next to a fire, or sleeping in a pile with your livestock or your companions (which is fair enough, people used to bring their animals in to help heat their homes at night). You cannot actually undo the penalties and warm up until you rest in a sheltered area like a cave or set up a proper camp with a sheltered yurt or something. Extreme cold does the same damage, but does it every 3 hours, and also does 1 Wound per 10 you fail the Toughness test by. In either case, if your penalty builds up higher than your Toughness (Say you have 30 Toughness and fail 3 tests, getting to effectively 0 Toughness) you die. Now, on one hand, there's plenty of ways to mitigate this and it's not that hard to reach some kind of shelter before it kills you. On the other hand 'Roll a check every 6 hours of in-game time or suffer serious penalties' isn't compelling gameplay.

The Oblast and Steppe are also hard to navigate. The wide, flat areas have few landmarks and you have to make -10 Navigation checks every day to avoid getting turned around. You do get large bonuses for just trying to reach a general area and bigger bonuses still if you're in a region you're familiar with, but again, I don't really see these rules getting used. 'We got lost out in the steppe and wandered in circles until everyone froze to death because we failed a bunch of -10 tests in a row' is hardly a great adventure. Blizzards make navigation almost impossible (-30 to navigation tests) and it's best to just hunker down and wait it out if you can. Kislevites only travel in blizzard conditions if not doing so is even more of certain death than doing so. People who weren't raised in the steppe also gain insanity by being lost out there, rolling WP or gain 1 IP every day they're lost. I've already talked about how much I hate the IP system in general, and would never bother with this in a personal group. In general, the traveling rules just don't have any decisions to make, they're simply skill checks and places where you can get unlucky and get hosed.

The people and places you can encounter out in the deep Oblast are crazy. Strange ruins of non-human civilizations not found anywhere else in the world, shot through with beautiful roses growing in the middle of blizzards? Check. Bizarre village of paranoiacs who are afraid that anyone who has been to the top of the surrounding hills with draw horrible monsters onto them? Check. Strange island out in the middle of a lake guarded by the ghosts of dead lancers, who can be talked into helping you fight against Chaos? Check. All kinds of strange, tainted, or lost stuff out there, so at least there's fun stuff to be had.

Next come the Provinces, but in Kislev, you only have regions. North, South, East, and West Kislev, divided into the great Oblasts.

Southern Kislev is the most like the Empire. The land of southern Kislev is arable and suited to farming, portions of it are covered in dark forests full of evil and wonder, and very little of this region uses any of the rules for traveling in dangerous conditions. It also contains the actual city of Kislev and the Bohka Palaces, and with all the farming it's the most populous region of the country. Southern Kislev is also almost exclusively Gospodar. The people of the South are often accused of being soft, and so they put a large portion of their considerable wealth into equipping the best soldiers they can, marching north to prove their courage whenever there is a war. As Southern Kislev is rarely put to the torch by invaders, they have the population and wealth to provide serious forces, and so their valor in defense of the land helps to stifle some of the criticism of their cosmopolitan ways and wealthier life style. Southern Kislevites tend to dislike Imperials, mostly because Imperial troops pass through the south often and off-duty soldiers or foraging armies on the move almost always cause trouble.

Gerslev is the stereotypical prospering Kislevite stanitsa, to the point that its people try to achieve the heights of cosmopolitan fashion in order to cease looking like country bumpkins. This only causes the actual city Kislevites to mock them more, but foreign visitors find Gerslev a cultured and accepting place. The locals are almost all bilingual, the town has its own school, literacy is relatively common, it has a theater, you can find drinks other than vodka and kvas, and they even love Brionnian love poetry. The local Boyar, Irina, is also trying to put together her own unit of riflemen (using imported Longrifles from Hochland) and engineers, thinking these marvelous new weapons will surely come into fashion. Kislevites from the city mock her for trying to copy Erengard and their Streltsi.

Resov is a town of paranoiacs. Travelers are never allowed inside without good reason, and even when they do manage to visit, they find all the doors locked and barred. No-one knows why the people of this stanitsa live this way, but they pay the taxes on time and report to fight in the pulk whenever asked. Another little mystery for PCs to deal with.

Vitevko is a penal colony, guarded exclusively by the standing army of Kossars. It handles Kislev's salt mining, where prisoners are sentenced to brutal, back-breaking labor in the mines for crimes against the state. Chekists watch to prevent escapees. The villagers who serve the garrison are bored out of their mind and there's nothing at all to do besides watch miserable men and women get worked to death in forced labor, leading to all sorts of dark dalliances and temptations. It is a wicked and miserable village, and it produces wickedness and misery.

Next: The East, West, and North.

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



Being a "burned" baby and growing up waiting for the other shoe to drop would be a pretty good background for a paranoid kind of character. Might have some questions for Dazh's faithful about why you somehow weren't deserving of protection.

Loxbourne posted:

Now I want to run a Kislevite wedding scenario where the PCs are hired by the bride to make sure the right guy stays upright until the end of the night.

Horrible Lurkbeast posted:

Bonus points if the family of the bride is actively working to prop up a different bridegroom.

And then the groom himself also doesn't want to go through with it and was really just the wingman for someone else and things have gotten way out of hand and so is trying to prop up a third guy.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



marshmallow creep posted:

And then the groom himself also doesn't want to go through with it and was really just the wingman for someone else and things have gotten way out of hand and so is trying to prop up a third guy.

I'm just imagining a Bretonnian going to a Kislevite theater about a romantic comedy and the steadily increasing WTF look on the Bret's face. Literal Arthurian Fantasy meets not-Russia.

A wedding between a Bret noble and a Kislevite that tries to be respectful to both cultures must be goddamn hilarious.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



OutOfPrint posted:

It's been a while since the TORG review covered this, but don't non-Core Earthers need to pay points to exist in Core Earth without adopting the local cosm's rules? From the sound of it, that Orroshian vampyre on the train would be bleeding (HA!) points throughout the adventure.
Technically, yes they do. Unfortunately, the designers seem to have forgotten that most of Core Earth should (by RAW) be a pure zone, and as such non-Core Earth people have to do the Possibility-every-15-minutes thing.

I think in one of the other books (maybe the Revised core?) they said that Core Earth is technically a dominant zone, so people from other realities can hang out there, but I can't really easily confirm that one way or the other.

chiasaur11 posted:

It might just be me (probably is) but something that bothers me about TORG is how things get more hosed. It presents things as a kind of cold war, where the heroes are trying to save Earth and the villains are trying to slowly expand, but then it keeps slamming apocalypses on the places it says are vital to having any kind of functional society.
There's still one more reality that's going to slam onto Earth coming up. Yes, I know there are two realm books left. :ssh:

Besides, Torg's assumption is that despite the invasion, life goes on. Hell, at one point the Cyberpapacy takes over Boston and somehow Logan Airport is still making international flights.

quote:

It seems it'd be hard for players to feel like they were making any progress when in the time it takes them to make a dent in one invading world, three more have crashed into the middle of everything.
It actually is hard for PCs to make real headway against the High Lords, partially because of the hoops you have to jump through, mainly because each High Lord's progress was dictated by metaplot.

Updates on the "official" status of the war were done through the monthly newsletter, which were summarized in three annual sourcebooks that got everyone caught up on who was doing what and where the steale boundaries had moved to. If you wanted to keep your game hewing to canon, then you had to go by the updates, not by what your group did.

Which, of course, brings us back to the central problem with metaplot: that it'll more than likely override what's going on in your individual game, rendering later information less and less useful.

So yes, the ideal way to play Torg is in a cold war style; concentrating more on keeping the bad guys from gaining territory or putting some plan into motion, maybe taking back a zone here or there when the opportunity presents itself.

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Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Cythereal posted:

I'm just imagining a Bretonnian going to a Kislevite theater about a romantic comedy and the steadily increasing WTF look on the Bret's face. Literal Arthurian Fantasy meets not-Russia.

A wedding between a Bret noble and a Kislevite that tries to be respectful to both cultures must be goddamn hilarious.

One of the reasons I like Fantasy so much is that these people all deal with each other and don't just hate one another, so you get all kinds of fun interactions between iron age Scandinavians, 1600s Germany, Arthurian Romance, and Petrine Russia.

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