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DigitalRaven
Oct 9, 2012

When I kill you with a motor-car, you should have the common decency to stay dead, you horrid little object




Robindaybird posted:

And let's put it this way, if I discover my 'goddess' allowed me to be raped five times, become a junkie, I'm not putting that anathame to me, I'd loving shank her because who needs a god like that?

Every urban fantasy game should have at least one group of armed antitheists, out to murder the gods either because they could do better but didn't, or because this is the best they can manage.

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Lightning Lord
Feb 21, 2013

$200 a day, plus expenses



Looking at Abby Soto's Facebook page I notice she has Caomihe Ora Snow as a friend. Snow, the designer of Queen's Cavaliers, is transgender. Wtf?

Covok posted:

I keep hearing people mention that term, "intersectionality." What does it mean?

If this isn't sarcasm it means caring about people who aren't you and incorporating them and their concerns into social justice, not plowing over or actively insulting them, or implying their concerns are less important than yours or even made up.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


LatwPIAT posted:

In any case, it's not exactly in vogue among trans people to call them "transgendered" anyway, but it's not like Soto has done any research for the other parts of this pile of poo poo anyway.

That would require her to give a poo poo about them in writing something like this. Or people in general.

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.

Covok posted:

I keep hearing people mention that term, "intersectionality." What does it mean?

Basically, it's the idea that various forms of oppression are linked and can't really be separated from each other, even as they each have their own needs to address, so different groups fighting said oppression need to work together instead of throwing each other under the bus to advance their particular causes.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Alien Rope Burn posted:

That would require her to give a poo poo about them in writing something like this. Or people in general.
All others are just dust for the ashtray of Mistress Soto.




Oh god I hate that I just typed that ew ew ew

Covok
May 27, 2013

Yet where is that woman now? Tell me, in what heave does she reside? None of them. Because no God bothered to listen or care. If that is what you think it means to be a God, then you and all your teachings are welcome to do as that poor women did. And vanish from these realms forever.


Lightning Lord posted:

Looking at Abby Soto's Facebook page I notice she has Caomihe Ora Snow as a friend. Snow, the designer of Queen's Cavaliers, is transgender. Wtf?


If this isn't sarcasm it means caring about people who aren't you and incorporating them and their concerns into social justice, not plowing over or actively insulting them, or implying their concerns are less important than yours or even made up.

Why would it be sarcasm?

Anyway, thanks everyone for the explanation. I honestly didn't know.

Lightning Lord
Feb 21, 2013

$200 a day, plus expenses



Covok posted:

Why would it be sarcasm?

I thought maybe it was a burn, like "lol Soto doesn't know what intersectionality is"

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





If these things were written in like 2001 ignorance would be... not forgivable exactly, but more comprehensible.

NutritiousSnack
Jul 12, 2011


Lightning Lord posted:

I thought maybe it was a burn, like "lol Soto doesn't know what intersectionality is"

To be fair, while Soto is loving terrible there are plenty of legitimate civil right leaders and PoC feminists deeply skeptical of intersectionality and think of it as a way for white feminists to push their issues to the forefront.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Nessus posted:

If these things were written in like 2001 ignorance would be... not forgivable exactly, but more comprehensible.
I was wincing when I found out it came out in 2015.

girl dick energy
Sep 30, 2009

You think you have the wherewithal to figure out my puzzle vagina?


Intersectionality, when used right, means "no oppression exists in a vacuum, patriarchy, institutionalized racism, heteronormativity, etc. are all branches of the same hosed up tree". When used incorrectly, it means "nuh uh, I'm more oppressed than you are!"

Hostile V posted:

I was wincing when I found out it came out in 2015.
Christ. It couldn't even have been, like, 2011? At least before Laverne Cox was a household name, or something.

taichara
May 9, 2013

c:\>erase c:\reality.sys copy a:\gigacity\*.* c:


Lightning Lord posted:

Looking at Abby Soto's Facebook page I notice she has Caomihe Ora Snow as a friend. Snow, the designer of Queen's Cavaliers, is transgender. Wtf?

Snow (Kynn, Duck Call Lass, etc) is also a real piece of work herself.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




NutritiousSnack posted:

Didn't the same thing happen in Witch Girls Adventure? Like Witches where such assholes that muggle men blowing them up was in fact 100 rationale and just a means of self defense
Absolutely. WGA was like a neverending list of reasons witches needed to be eradicated.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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





Zereth posted:

Absolutely. WGA was like a neverending list of reasons witches needed to be eradicated.

The "Witch Chat" sidebar at the end of the character creation chapter is a latina witch (We know this because she types with an accent) talking about how she "Honky-Rigged" a spell to now deal damage by causing the target to violently poo poo themselves rather than burning them alive. The rest of the chat consists of both taking them to task for the racist language and talking about how a spell like that would be great for dom/sub play.


Bring back Salem.

SHY NUDIST GRRL
Feb 15, 2011

Communism will help more white people than anyone else. Any equal measures unfairly provide less to minority populations just because there's less of them. Democracy is truly the tyranny of the mob.



Wow I've already heard enough about that witch thing

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




Cotton Mather Did Nothing Wrong.

LongDarkNight
Oct 25, 2010

It's like watching the collapse of Western civilization in fast forward.

Oven Wrangler

Poison Mushroom posted:

Intersectionality, when used right, means "no oppression exists in a vacuum, patriarchy, institutionalized racism, heteronormativity, etc. are all branches of the same hosed up tree". When used incorrectly, it means "nuh uh, I'm more oppressed than you are!"

Christ. It couldn't even have been, like, 2011? At least before Laverne Cox was a household name, or something.

I'm always impressed by my ability to oppress people despite not trying or even caring.

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010



Lipstick Apathy

So this is something that I deliberately left out of the review because it didn't seem that germane, but how do you end up giving the players "too much" treasure?

Bill Webb seems to assume that that's a thing that happens, on a regular basis even, but I don't understand it. If you're handcrafting the dungeon prior to the players running it, why would you put treasure in excess of what you'd expect them to find? I've seen it said in other old-school guides that you should actually have twice as much treasure in a dungeon as you'd want the players to have, to account for stuff secrets that they don't find, encounters they back off of and clues that they miss, but if they do hit all those marks and manage to snag the extra loot, why would you want to take it away from them? They earned it! They're displaying their skills as players!

Maybe if you were procedurally generating the dungeon in real-time, and rolling the treasure in real-time, and you just roll really good on all the treasure parts and since you're doing it in real-time you don't have time to admit that the last 8000 GP gem was too much?

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


I imagine it comes of rolling on treasure tables, because that's what you do in a lot of old games, if you have a monster with Treasure Type Ψ, you just roll that poo poo. You don't choose for the players, that's what the table's there for.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




gradenko_2000 posted:

Maybe if you were procedurally generating the dungeon in real-time, and rolling the treasure in real-time, and you just roll really good on all the treasure parts and since you're doing it in real-time you don't have time to admit that the last 8000 GP gem was too much?

That's the only thing I can think of- that or all treasure is rolled on a random chart and he's too dense/tradition-bound to end that practice.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



gradenko_2000 posted:

So this is something that I deliberately left out of the review because it didn't seem that germane, but how do you end up giving the players "too much" treasure?

Bill Webb seems to assume that that's a thing that happens, on a regular basis even, but I don't understand it. If you're handcrafting the dungeon prior to the players running it, why would you put treasure in excess of what you'd expect them to find? I've seen it said in other old-school guides that you should actually have twice as much treasure in a dungeon as you'd want the players to have, to account for stuff secrets that they don't find, encounters they back off of and clues that they miss, but if they do hit all those marks and manage to snag the extra loot, why would you want to take it away from them? They earned it! They're displaying their skills as players!

Maybe if you were procedurally generating the dungeon in real-time, and rolling the treasure in real-time, and you just roll really good on all the treasure parts and since you're doing it in real-time you don't have time to admit that the last 8000 GP gem was too much?

You could just do what I did a few times, which was "not think about the prices of the stuff you're putting in front of the players and just throw stuff you think is cool into the mix". It started off with " those four farmhands are actually all Drow Spies with rings of disguise person" and got more fun from there.

Ratoslov
Feb 15, 2012

Now prepare yourselves! You're the guests of honor at the Greatest Kung Fu Cannibal BBQ Ever!



Hostile V posted:

You could just do what I did a few times, which was "not think about the prices of the stuff you're putting in front of the players and just throw stuff you think is cool into the mix". It started off with " those four farmhands are actually all Drow Spies with rings of disguise person" and got more fun from there.

Yeah, I remember hearing about a 3,x game where the game master introduced a huge double-door made out of adamantine into a mid-level dungeon in order to minimize the players' ability to circumvent it via shenanigans. The players immediately absconded with the door, since it was more valuable than all the treasure in the rest of the dungeon combined by a factor of ten.

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



Ratoslov posted:

Yeah, I remember hearing about a 3,x game where the game master introduced a huge double-door made out of adamantine into a mid-level dungeon in order to minimize the players' ability to circumvent it via shenanigans. The players immediately absconded with the door, since it was more valuable than all the treasure in the rest of the dungeon combined by a factor of ten.

I believe someone pointed that out about the Tomb of Horrors - which actually had crap treasure making even the golden runs a loss for the party cost-wise, but gates and doors made out of really valuable materials like Adamantine and Mithril, so the updated version specifically pointed out they became worthless pig iron if taken out.

oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!




being fair "too much treasure" is a mistake that new GMs can make in the sense that they end up giving players things "because it seems cool" (especially if they just got a new book with neath new items) and find out that creative players are now using those items to breeze through encounters or loophole a lot of their adventures with unexpected abilities. It's especially an issue if the GM has not gotten the hang of adjusting adventures on the fly.

Of course, the proper response to that problem is "let everyone have fun and just consider this a lesson learned for the future" and not "ALL THE RUST MONSTERS"

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


I ended up using almost solely randomly rolled treasure when I played Fantasy Craft, but it's very hard to randomly roll anything game-busting in that, especially since losing money steadily is baked into the system. But that's very, very rare to see in a dungeoneering game.

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010



Lipstick Apathy

oriongates posted:

Of course, the proper response to that problem is "let everyone have fun and just consider this a lesson learned for the future" and not "ALL THE RUST MONSTERS"

Well yeah, that part's a given - if you made a mistake, tell the players that you done goofed and work out an arrangement that you can all live with, rather than playing out an episode of Criminal Minds just to obfuscate your mistake.

Hunt11
Jul 24, 2013



Grimey Drawer

Ratoslov posted:

Yeah, I remember hearing about a 3,x game where the game master introduced a huge double-door made out of adamantine into a mid-level dungeon in order to minimize the players' ability to circumvent it via shenanigans. The players immediately absconded with the door, since it was more valuable than all the treasure in the rest of the dungeon combined by a factor of ten.

That should have been the start of an epic quest as the monsters track the party down to get back their door.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


gradenko_2000 posted:

Well yeah, that part's a given - if you made a mistake, tell the players that you done goofed and work out an arrangement that you can all live with, rather than playing out an episode of Criminal Minds just to obfuscate your mistake.

That sounds like admitting you were wrong, which is something clever Game Masterminds who are super geniuses like the characters in their favorite dragon novels, would never do.

The whole idea that GMing is a position of power that needs to cow your players needs to die.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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





Ratoslov posted:

Yeah, I remember hearing about a 3,x game where the game master introduced a huge double-door made out of adamantine into a mid-level dungeon in order to minimize the players' ability to circumvent it via shenanigans. The players immediately absconded with the door, since it was more valuable than all the treasure in the rest of the dungeon combined by a factor of ten.

One time we were exploring a castle and our DM was describing these large Ornate tapestries hanging from the walls. I idly asked how much they were worth and he threw out something like "25,000 gold." I immediately tasked the party with retrieving as many as we could while the DM started talking about how they would be worthless on the open market due to the iconography.

"Dude, you do remember my Ancestral weapon right?"
"Your what?"

quote:

ANCESTRAL RELIC [GENERAL]
You own an ancestral heirloom and can invest it with increasingpower.
Prerequisites:Any good alignment, character level 3rd.
Benefit: Choose an item you own. The item must be of masterwork quality, and it must be an item that once belonged to a member of your family. Alternatively, the item may have belonged to another person to whom you are somehow connected, such as another member of your religious order.
At any time, you may retreat to a consecrated or hallowed location and spend time in prayer in order to awaken the spirits in your ancestral relic. This requires a sacrifice of valuable items worth the difference between the market price of the magic item your relic will become and the market price of your current relic. This sacrifice does not have to be gold—you can sacrifice magic items or other goods worth the required amount, rather than selling your goods (at half value) to pay for the sacrifice. You must spend 1 day per 1,000 gp value you sacrifice. During this time, you must spend at least 8 hours each day in prayer or meditation, not stopping to eat or rest.
"That."
"Oh.....gently caress."

Thus began the finest embroidered fullblade ever to be crafted by the hand of man.

Bruceski
Aug 21, 2007

The tools of a hero mean nothing without a solid core.



One of my old campaigns with too much treasure resulted in us getting a wagon. Then armoring the wagon. With armored warhorses to pull it. And swivel-mounted crossbows (we were in high school, any weapon's better swivel-mounted when you're in high school). And a ballista on a separate cart after a run-in with a giant. The DM wound up throwing an infinite number of bandits at us until they managed to steal the wagon, which unfortunately also had the wizard's spellbook in it. And it left us in the middle of nowhere so he had no way to replace it and got to sit there being useless for a dungeon.

J Miracle
Mar 25, 2010
It took 32 years, but I finally figured out push-ups!

Apart from the example of tapestryblade I really don't get the "abandon the adventure to enter the non-stop thrillride of door and tapestry sales" thing.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



It assumes the goal of the game is to acquire wealth rather than any kind of story, which is a viable playstyle.

If one I don't personally understand.

J Miracle
Mar 25, 2010
It took 32 years, but I finally figured out push-ups!

Mors Rattus posted:

It assumes the goal of the game is to acquire wealth rather than any kind of story, which is a viable playstyle.

If one I don't personally understand.

I suppose...even playing oD&D and 2nd Edition in high school so many years ago I don't remember us really being that into the gp. Magic items, sure, but gold just kinda came as it came.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Mors Rattus posted:

It assumes the goal of the game is to acquire wealth rather than any kind of story, which is a viable playstyle.

If one I don't personally understand.

I've run a game where the story was they were rough and tumble mercenaries trying to survive and get rich enough to retire in Ironclaw 1e, where they certainly would've pillaged anything they could and gone off to have a fun time trying to find a buyer.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Mors Rattus posted:

It assumes the goal of the game is to acquire wealth rather than any kind of story, which is a viable playstyle.

It turns out when a game only rewards murder and theft, some people come to the conclusion that the game is about murder and theft.

Strange! But true.

oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!




The whole "adamantine door" thing actually worked out great for one of my groups.

After lugging the doors back the PCs were flush with cash and one of them, an Artificer decides he wants to craft a suit of enchanted adamantium full plate armor for the dwarf warrior by melting down the doors and forging it himself. Well, after doing the math he figured that actually making the plate armor would be quite the project on its own (never mind enchanting it) due to the crafting rules. However, if he hired forge assistants in large quantities the team-work bonus would allow a project that would normally take months to be finished in a matter of weeks.

We were playing in eberron and the artificer was a warforged, which came with a problem: he could work almost round the clock but his assistants couldn't, so he decides he'll hire warforged assistants...the skills required were minimal and even paying warforged for working twice as long plus overtime bonus the time saved on the project would easily offset the cost compared to paying regular joes.

Well, they're renting a smithy down in the lower levels of sharn (where its cheap) and word gets out among the community that they're hiring only warforged and paying them more on top of that. This sets of a series of anti-warforged protests outside the smithy. In order to chase them off they hire some cheap hobgoblin mercs to stand guard but one day things get particularly rowdy, the mercs get jumpy and the artificer gives them the extremely poorly thought out order to "get rid of them". This leads to bloodshed, dispersing the crowd but bringing in the guards, requiring some significant bluff/diplomacy rolls (something the dwarf and the warforged were exceptionally bad at) and finally a significant bribe to cover up. This increases tensions and even violence between the organic inhabitants of sharn and the warforged.

But by golly they got their armor.

Magnusth
Sep 25, 2014

Hello, Creature! Do You Despise Goat Hating Fascists? So Do We! Join Us at Paradise Lost!




So, I'll do something new (for me): Write a review instead of mostly lurking. So without further ado…



THE SECRETS OF CATS

The secrets of cats is a 58-page fate world about playing magical cats. It starts with the usual acknowledgements and ‘how to use this book.' Nothing revolutionary.

PART 1: THE DUTY OF CATS

First a half page or so of introductory fiction. It's okay fiction, i suppose, and it frames the entire chapter as an old cat giving kittens a lecture about what it means to be a cat, which i think helps set the mood for the game.

So. Cats live in a different world from their “Burdens”, which is just the cat word for humans, a hidden world full of spirits and sentient animals and monsters, most-but-not-all of which are hostile, and most myths are true. Lastly, evil cats who sacrifice sentient beings are the worst evil. Fair enough, pretty standard urban fantasy so far, but with cats.

Then it moves on to talking about Sentient animals. There are sentient animals of all species, but it's not every animal. Cats, crows and ravens are basically always sentient, while dogs, squirrels and mice rarely are. All sentient animals can communicate, and despite differences, many cats have allies among other animals. Mostly these are driven by self-interest, but with some exceptions. Lastly, ungifted animals respect and obey the gifted ones in most cases

The Duty of Cats is to protect humans. The world is bigger than they understand, but some of them, the open-minded and especially children, can see the monsters in the darkness. Luckily, cats know better than the humans, and thus they protect them. Sure, they spend the days being petted and napping in the sunlight, but come nightfall, they protect their Burdens with claws and ancient magic. They don't do so alone, however.

See, because most threats the cats face are more powerful than any single cat, cats in each region organise in a Parliament because cats are hard to get together. The Parliament of Cats is democratic and meets at least once a month to discuss trouble and settle disputes and disciplinary issues among its members. I'm not sure how much i like the idea that ALL parliaments are democratic, because IRL cat clowers have all sorts of different structures.

Then there's a lengthy part called ‘What Cats Do,' - that is, outside of defending their humans from monsters.

First, there's Territorial Disputes. Cats have Territories and are very territorial, so that makes sense. Everything is ‘my territory' ‘their territory' or ‘not my territory yet' and often, those last two are the same. Further, large territories means respect and makes it easier to do your job.
The second thing is basically gathering intel. Keeping up with parliament rumors and the local sapient animals and such. But it also means consulting with oracles and seekers who can tell the future, and taking turns to patrol known troublespots or haunted places.
Another thing cats do is educate their young. Usually, a parent would do it, but so many are taken from their parents at birth and send far away, and then it falls to an older cat in the community to do. I like this little detail; it could be very fun as the focus of a short adventure or two, to show young cats how to deal with a ghost, or just herd them together and get them to listen to you. It's something i wouldn't have thought of myself, and the game encourages it - it specifically ‘falls on experienced cats to train young cats in small, manageable groups.'

Cats don't just deal with supernatural threats to their burdens, either. They deal with mundane threats to themselves. Overzealous animal control, nasty children with firecrackers, vicious dogs and so on must be handled for their community to thrive. One of the most dangerous missions cats go on is the animal shelter run, where they attempt a dangerous infiltration to free their brothers and sister from captivity and possible death, which, honestly, seems like loving Perfect fodder for an adventure. Beyond that, they also deal with burglars, murderers or similar who threaten their burdens.
Lastly, cats deal with their own politics. Parliament may have a leader but every cat has an opinion on how to do things and many spend a lot of time to make certain their idea is the one that's heard best. Parliament also handles disputes, and so laws and legal matters are also very important. Every parliament has their own laws, but all of them follow the first law:
Don't let humans find out.
Cats may have been worshipped as gods, and their name may come from ‘lucky' in latin, but they have been burned and viewed as devils in disguise, and so they don't take any chances.

I have to say, i'm very happy this section is there and gets as much time as it does. It's important to answer the ‘what do the players do in this game' question, and for longer-running games, taking a break from dealing with the spirit or monster of the week to do some politics, or raid an animal shelter or whatever probably helps keep the game interesting, and even on more standard monster-hunting missions, keeping politics, territorial disputes and such in mind enriches the game.



Okay, with that picture, a small aside: i love the artwork in this game. It's fun, evocative, and all of the cats look like they have distinct personalities. Now back to the scheduled review.

The last, and longest, part of this chapter deals with Feline Magic. Like human magic, the magic of cats is based on the principle of sympathy. It uses the link between a thing's true name and the thing itself, so knowing your target's true name will make your magic much more powerful, and is required for some magic.
Finding true names is therefore a big and important part of the duty of cats. For humans, that's easy - their true names are their given names, and they are very careless with them. They often say them aloud and you can find them on pieces of paper (though most cats can't read, a few have learnt to do so.) Spirits and sentient animals are another matter. They hide their true names and use other names or epitets. Even those that were once humans learn to use nicknames or titles, and you will have to find a tombstone or old paper, trick them, interrogate their allies or eavesdrop.
The most powerful cat magic also uses sacrifices. To make their spells stronger or more powerful, you sacrifice a small animal, like a bird or a mouse. Of course, no decent cat would sacrifice a sentient being.
Cats practice four schools of magic, but can only master one each, which allows them to use the most advanced spells of that school. That said, most experienced cats have some skill with every school. The schools are:

*Warding which is about, well, what it sounds like. a master of the school is a Warden
*Naming is about manipulation and control, and a master is a namer. Don't worry, it gets explained better later.
*Shaping is the shapeshifting school. A master is a Shaper.
*Seeking
is the school of divination. A master is a Seer. In practise, it also has stuff like dreamwalking or astral travel.

NGDBSS
Dec 30, 2009








So I managed to find a weird unfinished RPG called New Horizon while participating in a video for the Fangames thread over at LP. Long story short, the mechanical basis has some interesting combat but lacks any comprehensive non-combat mechanics beyond rolling for some gradation of success/failure. But the setting? Hoo boy. The creators originally wanted to make some fangame spinoff based on the Mega Man Zero series and market it to Capcom. (Hence the video I mentioned.) For obvious reasons this didn't pan out so well...and thus they decided to make a foray into TRPGs instead. (They still kept the MMZ styling and mixed it up with some JRPG fare.) And I have no real clue as to why. For now, I'll leave the thread with some art from this heartbreaker.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



In Nomine Game Master's Guide: THE METATRON

One note - achieving destiny or fate must be through free choice. Possession of the victim can't make them do it. Forcing the victim at gunpoint can't make them do it. If they do something that way, it just doesn't count. Destiny and fate must be freely chosen, period. You accidentally kill a loved one, that doesn't count. You bring someone to just only with a gun to your head? Doesn't count. The exact amount of meddling allowed is up to the GM. Some meddling must be possible to give angels and demons of Destiny and Fate something to do. But you can choose how much.

Anyway. History! In the beginning, there is light. Some time after this, Yves is created and named God. Some time after that, Michael is created as the first angel followed, in order, by Lucifer, Baal, David, Eli, Uriel and Gabriel. Some point after this, the Metatron appears. He is the Voice of God, and is never seen, only heard. The others believe the Metatron is the Seraph, and some say it was he who spoke the words 'Let there be light.' Whenever God speaks to the angels, it is via Metatron. At some point after this, the angels begin creating the universe via orders from Metatron, and Yves begins to name things. The angels create lesser angels, including Asmodeus, Beleth, Blandine, Dominic, Jean, Kobal, Malphas and Raphael.

At about 4.6 billion BC, Earth is created. At 100 million BC, the Archanges Malphas, Gabriel and David, with the aid of Gabriel's servant Belial, heat, mvoe and break up the tectonic plates. Asmodeus and Dominic begin codifying the word of God while the Archangels Beleth and Blandine begin to explore the Marches and create their Tower. Yves, Jeand and Raphael begin transcribing knowledge, and Jean and Raphael are named Archangels. Kobal receives his still unknown special assignment. Andrealphus is created and in short order becomes Archangel of Love. Janus, Jordi and Oannes are created. Janus learns to control the waves and winds, and he teaches Oannes. They become the Archangels of the Wind and the Waters. Jordi discovers how to create corporeal vessels, and is given authority over all living creatures as Archangel of Animals. In 67 million BC, Saminga is created and witnesses the extinction of the dinosaurs.

At 500,000 BC, Lucifer teaches humans the use of fire, with aid from Jean. In 25,000 BC, humans begin to develop religion. The Marches are populated by the ethereals at this time. Humans become the most selfish of creatures. Jordi decides to destroy them, but Michael talks him out of this at God's behest. Jordi regrets to this day. Dominic and Marc are given their Words and assigned to teach humans and angels how to get along properly. 23,000 BC, Yves announces that humans are to be left alone and that Earth is henceforth off limits. Many are dismayed, including Lucifer. The Eden experiment is begun. Novalis, Angel of Flowers, creates the Garden of Eden at God's ocmmand. Adam and Lilith are created, but Lilith leaves. God creates Eve to replace her. Adam and Eve live in the Garden for several years before Ophis, a servant of Baal, sneaks in and taints the experiment. God declares the results inconclusive and forbids further celestial intervention. Dominic sets the Cherub Jophiel to guard the gates of Eden. Lucifer speaks with God via the Metatron for some time, but is not satisfied.

22,626 BC - the Fall occurs. Lucifer recruits a third of the Host into his Rebellion and begins the Fall by, in his final talk with God, destroying the Metatron. Uriel, once a Seraph, becomes the first Malakite, followed by David. Lucifer is hurled from Heaven by Michael, plummeting into the farthest reaches, followed by his fellow rebels. They are trapped in Hell for a time. The final ice age begins, and Michael is named Archangel of War and commander of Heaven's armies. God lifts the ban on celestial intervention, but insists on subtlety. In 22,000 BC, the Seraphim Council is created. Dominic is raised to Archangel and forms the Inquisition. Marc becomes the first elected Archangel, and with much more debate, Novalis becomes the second. The Archangels begin to organize their formal hierarchies.

In 16,000 BC, Lilith helps the demons escape from Hell, first into the Marches and from there to Earth. Beleth begins her Tower, opposite Blandine's, and Lilith is made Princess of Freedom. Demons begin to act more openly, and the Grigori are created to guard humanity against demonic influence. In 11,600 BC, the Grigori succumb to lust and begin to neglect their work in favor of siring monstrous children, the Nephilim. David and Uriel lead their angels in slaughtering the Nephilim and rounding up the Watchers. Dominic tries them, and they are found guilty, sentence to being Cast Out en masse. The War begins in earnest, and many humans die.

2000 BC: Ethereal gods are becoming very powerful, and the Seraphim Council decides something must be done. Yves suggests Monotheism. Abram leaves the city of Ur and becomes Abraham, making a pact with God. In 1700 BC, Oannes traps and destroys his former servant, Vephar, the Demon Prince of the Oceans. In 1627 BC, Oannes is himself slain by Belial. In the battle, the island of Thera explodes, destroying the Minoan civilization. In 1600 BC, Gebbeleth, the Prince of Secrets, vanishes. No one notices. 20 years later, Michael is put on trial for the sin of Pride, promoting pagan personality cults and creating too much Disturbance. He is found guilty but God acquits him. Michael steps down as Commander and is replaced by Uriel. Thirty years after that, Saminga arrives in Egypt. He begins study of their necromantic arts and becomes quite good at it, with the aid of some Egyptian gods. He is given the Word of Death. Within 50 years, Egyptians begin to remove mummy brains in order to thwart him. In 1200 BC, Saminga becomes Prince of Death and is given rule over Abaddon.

In 859 BC, Magog, the Angel of Fortitude, spurs the Hittites, Assyrians and Sea Peoples to conquest so he may fight against Saminga directly. David confronts Magog, and Magog Falls, being crowned as Prince of Cruelty. On the very next day, David imprisons Magog and his demons beneath the desert in Egypt, with aid from Khalid, Angel of Faith. 700 BC, Mammon is named Prince of Greed. 600 BC, Eli works with the proper Zoroaster in Persia to spread monotheism. 500 BC, Zadkiel is named Archangel of Protection. In 200 BC, Uriel begins supporting hte Roman Republic and tries to keep their pagan gods under control. In 146 BC, Demogrogon, the Demon of Destruction, is destroyed by Belial before he can be crowned a Prince. In 50 BC, Laurence is created by Uriel. In 6 BC, Gabriel announces the conception of Jesus Christ.

60 AD: Yves, Gabriel and Raphael work together and cause Christianity to spread so rapidly it cuts off amny pagan gods from their Essence flow. Michael eventually supports the Christians, but becomes hostile to Yves. 325 AD - the Council of Nicea is held. Constantine makes Christiantiy the official religion of Rome, and Uriel and Dominic declare their support for the faith. Litheroy is named Archangel of Revelation. 331 AD, Laurence is named Angel of the SWord. 400 AD, Haagenti is created. He will spend 600 years as an abused familiar. 455 AD, Beelzebub, Prince of Corruption is destroyed by Uriel. 610 AD, Yves sends Gabriel to visit Muhammad and recite the Quran over 23 years. 632 AD, Muhammad dies. Dominic summons Gabriel to try him for heresy, and Gabriel storms out of Heaven and begins self-imposed exile. Gabriel soon begins assuming female form more often.

715 AD: The Purification Crusade begins. Beleth offers ethereals sanctuary for a price, and some gods flee to the Far Marches instead. 732 AD, Laurence and Khalid are present at Poitiers, on opposite sides. 745 AD, Uriel is called before the Seraphim Council for the Crusade but is unrepentant. God orders Uriel into the Higher Heavens, some say via the voice of the dead Metatron. Laurence is made Archangel and Commender of the Host. Khalid begins promoting Islam. 750 AD, Khalid is named Archangel of Faith and begins withdrawing from the Seraphim Council. 793 AD, Valefor appears out of nowhere and steals the Word of Genubath, Prince of Rapine. Genubath vanishes and Lucifer names Valefor Prince of Theft. 900 AD, Kronos appears as Prince of Fate. Some believe Lucifer found him centuries before.

1008 AD: Legion, a Shedite of Saminga, discovers how to possess multiple hosts. Lucifer names him Prince of Corruption. Legion goes mad and begins possessh umans by the dozens, then hundreds. Heaven and Hell work together to kill him, and in the end, Raphael, Archangel of Knowledge, sacrifices herself to destroy Legion. During the battle, Haagenti distinguishes himself and Kobal adopts him as a brother. 1009 AD, Haagenti is named Demon of Gluttony. He gathers an army and devours Meserach, Prince of Sloth, even before being made a Prince. After his crowning, he devours Mariel, Princess of Oblivion. 1212 AD, the Children's Crusade prompts the naming of Christopher, Angel of Children, a servant of David. 1348 AD, Makatiel, the Renegade Prince of Disease, accelerates the spread of the Black Death in an attempt to destroy humanity. Asmodeus and Dominic collaborate openly for the first time to destroy Makatiel.

1517 AD: Laurence sponsors Martin Luther and accidentally causes the Protestant Reformation. 1771 AD: Vapula, Demon of Technology, is named Prince. Richard Arkwright invents the water frame and is believed to have been Vapula's servant. 1800 AD: Alaemon, a fallen Mercurian of Revelation, becomes the second Prince of Secrets. 1864 AD: Fleurity, a servant of Gluttony, is named Demon of Drugs. 1884 AD: Nybbas and several human allies create the television in service to Vapula. Nybbas is given the Word of the Media and crowned Prince by Lucifer, and takes over Perdition. 1900 AD: Kobal begins spending less time on Earth. Eli begins assigning his angels to other Archangels. 1957 AD: Eli goes AWOL. 1978 AD: Christopher is named the Archangel of Children. 1986 AD: Crack cocaine gets Fleurity raised to Prince of Drugs. 1997 AD: Furfur, Renegade servant of Fire and Demon of Hardcore, is named Prince. 1998 AD: Khalid is brought back from the brink of a Fall. This is the point of 'now' for the game.

So, Superiors! Superiors are godlike in power, sure. The most potent ethereal gods might approach the very weakest Superiors in raw power, but none have a Superior's influence on the Symphony. Any more, at least. Only God and Lucifer can surpass the Superiors. However, they are finite. None are omnipotent, omniscient, infallible or indestructible. They are not opponents to be fought in battle, but they also should not overwhelm the game. And they can be defeated. Even lesser beings can possess tricks they don't have. Second, Superiors are limited in their perceptions and intelligence, though their limits far outstrip most others. It is hard, but possible, to outmaneuver and outsmart them. They are canny, yes, but not immune to misdirection or ego. Lastly, they can be stretched too thin. They have a large but finite number of Forces and pools of Essence, even if that number is unquantified in play. Any single action might be trivial, and no one attack will cripple them, but many such actions and attacks can weaken them. A weakened Superior is vulnerable.

Superiors shouldn't show up in person very often - they don't fight individual battles. They are potent, unfathomable, mysterious beings of immense age and strength. They should inspire awe, and so appear rarely. Direct confrontation should never even be thought of. Superiors exist on a higher levle. You fight them by attacking their servants, destroying their Tethers and undermining their Word, not using main force. Still, sometimes they will appear and person and lesser beings will try to fight. The GM can handle this a few ways. The easiest is just to narrate whatever the Superior does to you, without need for dice. Some players feel cheated this way, as Superiors are not truly omnipotent. In that case, there is a sidebar.



Superiors rarely fight directly. It's risky - sure, you might be more powerful, but no one can be sure what a Superior has up their sleeve. No Superior can be defeated without cost. Sure, Baal can beat most lesser Archangels and Michael can outfight even Lucifer, but it takes a lot of their energy. Even the most powerful Superior can't afford to suffer that kind of drain twice i succession, and after the first win is when their enemies will want to strike. Besides, a Superior who knows they'll lose will probably flee and not fight in the first place. Few Superiors are dumb and friendless enough to stand alone, for that matter. Alliances and the threat of escalation keeps these fights from happening. More often, there will just be posturing and token swipes before both sides pull back. Sometimes, though, two Superiors do fight and won't back down. These encounters are rare and usually brief. One wins, the other heads home. The Disturbance may be massive, but onlookers might not even see a thing. And just because a Superior loses once won't mean they'll lose again - it might just have been who was more willing to expend Essence that time.

Sometimes, Superiors will mutually limit themselves - a duel in vessels, for example, or a staredown. The nature of the conflict and who's involved may have them limit to a particular venue. Marc likes to negotiate, for example, while Janus and Valefor like card games and Asmodeus likes chess. The winner here will not be sheer power, but who has more advantage in the domain of the contest. No Superior will take a challenge they think they'll lose, though. The most serious contests are celestial combat, which is exceptionally rare and almost always ends in retreat over the chance of being weakened further or killed. Only a few times has seen a Superior die in battle. Lucifer killed Metatron. Oannes killed Vephar. Belial killed Oannes. Haagenti killed Meserach and Mariel. Raphael killed Legion but died in the process. There's been a few others, but these events are exceptionally rare and take years of preparation in most cases. It is best for the GM to take these fights offstage if htey happen - the PCs don't need to witness it, just hear the results. Being around such a contest, even a 'peaceful' one, isn't a safe place, anyway. Either way, don't use dice for these things - just pick who wins and make a story out of it, keeping in mind the ramifications the contest will have politically and in terms of power.

Superiors have a lot of power. They can do anything a celestial of their side can do, with the exception of abilities that must be learned, such as secret Songs or the attunements of other Superiors. Some powers are only available to Superiors, however, or perhaps the greatest of ethereal gods as wlel. Superiors can control loose Forces, putting them together in order to create other celestials and their Hearts, among other things. This is also why Archangels can Redeem demons. This is also what allows them to attach Forces to other beings and to stabilize Tethers. Only Superiors can impose dissonance or Discord at will - or remove them instnatly, due to their ability to configure Forces. There are limits, however - unless a celestial serves their Word or they hold the celestial's Heart, they cannot do this involuntarily. Any Superior may impose a Geas, not just Lilith, but removing a Geas is difficult and painfil, even for Superiors - they require the celestial be taken apart and put together again, and only Lilith can remove Geases easily. She is also the only Superior who can transfer Geas ownership or remove Geas-hooks. She might be able to impose Geases on someone involuntarily, but it would go against her nature. Superiors can also inflict and remove Corporeal disadvantages from humans, but need the human's consent to do anything with Ethereal or Celestial disadvantages, though this consent can be obtained by trickery.

Superiors can manifest in more than one place at once. Each manifestation is invested with some of the Superior's Forces, split up much like a Kyriotate. Each divides the Superior's concentration, and how many manifestations are possible at once depends on the Superior. Kyriotate Archangels can manage dozens, while some, particularly Shedite Princes, cannot split at all. When something requires a Superior's undivided attention, such as confronting another Superior, they will almost certainly need to consolidate into one manifestation unless they are a Kyriotate and not dividing between multiple planes of existence. Superiors are also able to block out resonances and attunements - neither will function on a Superior if they don't want it. This requires conscious effort and possibly Essence, however, so you can manage it if they aren't aware. This is said to be why Dominic wears his concealing cloak. Some Superiors also partially block resonances, allowing angels only to read what information the Superior desires them to be able to access. The exception is when Superiors use their powers on each other, in which case it's handled like any other Superior conflict. Superiors are also the only beings that can emulate any resonance of their side while preserving their fundamental nature. (Kronos may be able to use angelic resonances, but that's it, unless you allow the optional rule for angels to pervert their resonances.)

Superiors are also capable of masking or delaying Disturbances for themselves or others, though they don't do it all the time, so it clearly requires concentration and/or Essence. Superiors can also grab and take someone with them in celestial form, though evne then, it's hard to carry someone resisting them. Archangels can take demons to Heaven and shield them from the Lighto f heaven for a time, however. Princes can drag demons back to Hell, and have sometimes even done this to Renegades or angels, usually requiring them to be willing or subdued first. Superiors always know their own servants on sight, in any form, and Lilith can always recognize Lilim. They can also notice any other celestial, but this requies some focus and scrutiny, and only the Humanity attunement can stop it for certain. It is unknown of Superiors can hide from each other. They can certainly hide from other beings, but don't have to. If they choose to be recognized, their servants will always know it is them, even just by the sound of their voice, no matter the form. Other celestials will know they are a Superior but may nor know which one. Humans, even mundanes, will sense their incredible presence as charisma, holiness or dread, but get little other information.

Next time: What Superiors Can't Do

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Ratoslov
Feb 15, 2012

Now prepare yourselves! You're the guests of honor at the Greatest Kung Fu Cannibal BBQ Ever!




I have absolutely no idea what's going on in this picture. Were Bikini Robot Lady and Slobbering Brokenhearted Giant Poor Anatomy Guy playing cards, and she suddenly turned towards the camera to pose? What does the quote mean, given that there are a total of zero humans in the artwork? I am totally confused.

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