Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us money per month for bills, and since we don't believe in showing ads to our users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
 
  • Post
  • Reply
Barudak
May 7, 2007



Vietnam did not antagonize China unless you believe Vietnam to be an inextricable part of the middle kingdom along with Taiwan, Mongolia, Korea, Japan, etc.

Vietnam had to fight way too many goddamn people.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

RocknRollaAyatollah
Nov 26, 2008



Lipstick Apathy

Terrible Opinions posted:

I think it's kind unfair to say that Vietnam antagonized China given that China has been imperializing on Vietnam since before the concept of states properly existed. In the same way that I wouldn't say Poland antagonized Russia during the interbellum period.

Yeah, the casus belli for the war was Vietnam's overthrow of the Khmer Rouge and allegedly Vietnamese mistreatment of minorities but that's mostly bullshit. The Khmer Rouge were allies of opportunity, also no longer ideologically aligned, and the Vietnamese army was occupying Cambodia so they were drawn too thin to put up resistance to an invasion, making Vietnam an easy target. It was mostly just China showing Vietnam that the USSR wouldn't be there for them all the time and to show the USSR that China wasn't going to let them move into SEA. China also stole back most of the aid items they gave to Vietnam when they pulled out.

It was more confirming the Sino-American alliance, the US supplied satellite intelligence to China and blessed the invasion, than Vietnam bringing down a badly run invasion.

Freaking Crumbum
Apr 17, 2003

Too fuck to drunk




Leraika posted:

My first thought when reading Dark*Matter's magic system was 'you know, CTech does this better because at least there you don't have to level up every spell/parapsychic skill individually'.

That's probably not a good place for Dark*Matter to be in.

yeah, although that's more of an issue with Alternity itself. Since classes barely exist as a concept, no part of your character inherently improves as you gain levels. instead, you just use your XP to buy more skill ranks or other perks like more HP or more spell casting points or whatever. the problem is that these XP points aren't obviously measured against any kind of baseline cost, so it's really loving counter-intuitive to tell whether you should be buying things like +1 FX Point or whether you should be investing in higher skill ranks or buying Rank Benefits that you qualify for or etc.

it'd be like if 3.X D&D just gave you a "LEVEL UP" point every time you gained a level and you could trade it for +1 BAB or +1 Spell Caster Level or +Hit Die in HP or gain 4 ranks in a skill or gain 1 extra feat, and all of those buying options were presented like they were equally valuable.


Mors Rattus posted:

I love spending large amounts of pagespace on a magic system that is positioned for players to take but which is written in such a way that no player will ever take it outside of a Let's Play The Villains game.

oh ho ho, just wait until we get to the DM chapter and they give advice about players that want to play as "the Villians". it will make even less sense than what we've already seen

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Hi guys, here's a different war you could argue about. The war to save the ravaged planet of Rhand from the privations of the gas-crazed Vissers and the evil of the filthy alien Spectrals in our review of Leading Edge Games Living Steel RPG.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




Halloween Jack posted:

Whereas North Korea carefully positioned itself between China and the Soviet Union while also striving to present itself in a good light to the Non-Aligned Movement and American liberals, Vietnam antagonized China in such a way that forced them to rely heavily on the Soviets.

People have already touched on Vietnam's real relationship with China but I wouldn't describe the DPRK's positioning as "careful" as their strategy of letting the USSR and China compete for the "I love you more" award like divorced parents basically landed them where they are now. When the Cold War ended, the aid money they lived off of dried up and their economy was vaporized.

LatwPIAT
Jun 6, 2011

Do I need a title?

China and the USSR went into Vietnam as allies but later had a major falling out over Khrushchev's translator calling Mao an "old whore", and for a variety of reasons that probably include economic, military, and historical ones, North Vietnam ended up a staunch ally of the Soviet Union, which China did not like because neighbouring your enemies is generally no fun. At the same time, the Khmer Rouge pursued a policy heavily sourced in ethnic nationalism and persecuted ethnic Vietnamese in Cambodia - which North Vietnam didn't like because your neighbours genociding your distant cousins is generally no fun. Because Khmer Rouge didn't like Vietnam (Vietnam having, historically, dominated Cambodia) and Vietnam didn't like China (China having, historically, dominated Vietnam), China decided to throw its support behind Khmer Rouge, which annoyed North Vietnam something fierce, c.f. aforementioned genocide of distant cousins. There's a slight pause as everyone stops to celebrate the reunification of Vietnam and the spread of communism,

Then the Khmer Rouge decided to invade Vietnam to stop the spread of Marxist-Leninism, only to be reminded of why Vietnam had historically dominated Cambodia as 60,000 troops from the Vietnamese People's Army stomped around in Cambodia for a while before Vietnam decided to stop 38 km short of marching into Phnom Phen and installing a puppet regime, and withdraw from the country. The Khmer Rouge's response to being shown just how much bigger the Vietnamese penis was than the Cambodian penis was deciding that the best course of action was to expand their genocidal plans so instead of just killing the Vietnamese in Cambodia, they'd start killing a whole bunch of Vietnamese inside Vietnam too. Vietnam's response was to raise an army five times the size of Cambodia's and invade, which results rather quickly in the Khmer Rouge falling and the installation of a Vietnamese puppet regime, because it's only imperialism when the US does it.

Now, while the Khmer Rouge may be completely unreliable allies whose agrarian primitivism and ethnic nationalism are completely at odd with Maoism, at least they were enemies of Vietnam. So China decides to give Vietnam a polite, army-sized reminder of why China had historically dominated Vietnam, only to discover that Vietnam has spent the last 20 years embroiled in constant warfare against everything from minor tribes to nuclear superpowers and winning, and China has not. Fighting lasts 27 days and ends with a Chinese withdrawal, which they declare to be a victory.

Leraika
Jun 14, 2015

slime time



Freaking Crumbum posted:

yeah, although that's more of an issue with Alternity itself. Since classes barely exist as a concept, no part of your character inherently improves as you gain levels. instead, you just use your XP to buy more skill ranks or other perks like more HP or more spell casting points or whatever. the problem is that these XP points aren't obviously measured against any kind of baseline cost, so it's really loving counter-intuitive to tell whether you should be buying things like +1 FX Point or whether you should be investing in higher skill ranks or buying Rank Benefits that you qualify for or etc.

it'd be like if 3.X D&D just gave you a "LEVEL UP" point every time you gained a level and you could trade it for +1 BAB or +1 Spell Caster Level or +Hit Die in HP or gain 4 ranks in a skill or gain 1 extra feat, and all of those buying options were presented like they were equally valuable.


oh ho ho, just wait until we get to the DM chapter and they give advice about players that want to play as "the Villians". it will make even less sense than what we've already seen

Yeah, but you could do, like 'demonology' as a skill, or even 'demonology + stat' as a skill, instead of 'demonology - specific spell' as a skill.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




Kavak posted:

I wouldn't describe the DPRK's positioning as "careful" as their strategy of letting the USSR and China compete for the "I love you more" award like divorced parents basically landed them where they are now. When the Cold War ended, the aid money they lived off of dried up and their economy was vaporized.
The DPRK isn't in a mess because they solicited aid from as many sides as they could. (At their utmost they even pumped Cuba and Bulgaria for aid.) They're in a mess because at every point where modernizing their economy might require them to loosen the Kim il Sung personality cult, they chose to do without and fall back on mass mobilization movements as a solution.

Like, I'm actually very sympathetic to North Korea with regard to the specific issue of their current standoff with the US--although people are inclined to stereotype the DPRK as an insane cult, the US has made it clear that nuclear weapons are the only thing that guarantees the US won't invade you when they elect the Hamburglar to be their next President, so it's perfectly rational to seek nuclear weapons by hook or by crook. But the Kim regime is a crazy loving ethno-fascist cult and always has been.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




Halloween Jack posted:

The DPRK isn't in a mess because they solicited aid from as many sides as they could. (At their utmost they even pumped Cuba and Bulgaria for aid.) They're in a mess because at every point where modernizing their economy might require them to loosen the Kim il Sung personality cult, they chose to do without and fall back on mass mobilization movements as a solution.

It seems like the same difference to me- their economy was built on the idea that the good times with the Eastern Bloc & "friends" were going to last forever.

How would modernization have damaged the personality cult? Create centers of power and money that were not directly controllable by him?

Kavak fucked around with this message at 23:48 on Sep 25, 2017

Freaking Crumbum
Apr 17, 2003

Too fuck to drunk




Leraika posted:

Yeah, but you could do, like 'demonology' as a skill, or even 'demonology + stat' as a skill, instead of 'demonology - specific spell' as a skill.

oh, for sure. actually, if you squint real hard, it's even worse than it looks.

normally, every broad skill and specialty skill default to a single attribute, so you see something like Willpower: Resolve - Physical Resolve and you know that both Resolve and Physical Resolve default to your Willpower.

but, the arcane and faith FX powers start to include broad skills and specialty skills that default to different attributes! so, you can get stuff like Willpower: Diabolism - Hellfire and a separate entry for Personality: Diabolism - Command and the implication is that you'd have to buy the broad skill twice to use the different spells that default to different attributes. plus, if you want to get better base scores with (for example) Diabolism, you can't only buy Willpower attribute increases with your level up points, because the other half of your skills that default to Personality won't be improved.

it's like a really clumsy mash-up of the 2E AD&D non-weapon proficiency skill list and the percentage based skill system used in CoC. you can see what they were going for, but the execution is just awful

LatwPIAT
Jun 6, 2011

Do I need a title?

theironjef posted:

Hi guys, here's a different war you could argue about. The war to save the ravaged planet of Rhand from the privations of the gas-crazed Vissers and the evil of the filthy alien Spectrals in our review of Leading Edge Games Living Steel RPG.

Good review, but you made several factual mistakes, which I have outlined in the following document... :goonsay:

Nah, it's OK. I'm just one of those "a kind of gamer you don't see very often these days". :nyoron:

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




RocknRollaAyatollah posted:

It was a more a reference to the Park administration sending troops to Vietnam because the US government paid them to do so.
Well, dumb fascism is all like "Let's murder all of the nebulously defined conspirators that we blame for everything!" Smart fascism is all like "Hey Western *snicker* democracies, you should pay me to be a bulwark against communism."

Terrible Opinions posted:

I think it's kind unfair to say that Vietnam antagonized China given that China has been imperializing on Vietnam since before the concept of states properly existed. In the same way that I wouldn't say Poland antagonized Russia during the interbellum period.
I am totes going off of a Wikipedia level of knowledge, I admit. By "antagonizing China" I mean that Vietnam understandably refused to tolerate the Khmer Rouge as a neighbour, and that apparently pissed off China.

Kavak posted:

It seems like the same difference to me- their economy was built on the idea that the good times with the Eastern Bloc & "friends" were going to last forever.
Well, not entirely. They wanted to conduct profitable foreign trade that would make them self-sufficient. But their industry was poorly managed, it didn't deliver the goods, and they defaulted on the loans to foreign creditors that had allowed them to import new technology, making them poison to investors. Hell, just a few years ago, they invited an Egyptian company to built their mobile phone network and then basically booted them from the country and never paid them, ripping them off to the tune of half a billion dollars.

quote:

How would modernization have damaged the personality cult? Create centers of power and money that were not directly controllable by him?
You hit the nail on the head, plus allowing Western cultural product and values to invade the country via consumerism. To get any more specific than "created centers of power..." I'd have to start going through a history of threats to his autocracy that Kim tackled, starting with intra-party factions in the early 50s. Very boring stuff about squabbling commies.

Feinne
Oct 9, 2007

When you fall, get right back up again.


Freaking Crumbum posted:

oh, for sure. actually, if you squint real hard, it's even worse than it looks.

normally, every broad skill and specialty skill default to a single attribute, so you see something like Willpower: Resolve - Physical Resolve and you know that both Resolve and Physical Resolve default to your Willpower.

but, the arcane and faith FX powers start to include broad skills and specialty skills that default to different attributes! so, you can get stuff like Willpower: Diabolism - Hellfire and a separate entry for Personality: Diabolism - Command and the implication is that you'd have to buy the broad skill twice to use the different spells that default to different attributes. plus, if you want to get better base scores with (for example) Diabolism, you can't only buy Willpower attribute increases with your level up points, because the other half of your skills that default to Personality won't be improved.

it's like a really clumsy mash-up of the 2E AD&D non-weapon proficiency skill list and the percentage based skill system used in CoC. you can see what they were going for, but the execution is just awful

FX broad skills didn't have an ability score associated at all, the spells just used the ability score it said they did. Both the Dark*Matter chapter that introduces FX and Beyond Science are in agreement on this.

You are not wrong that you will not improve spells based on Willpower when you raise Personality and vice versa but that's neither here nor there.

Feinne fucked around with this message at 02:27 on Sep 26, 2017

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010

Ask me about mapping out all the best limousine routes in Moscow for you and the little miss ;)

Lipstick Apathy


PATROL is a great game, and I'm glad it's getting an F&F.

For my contribution, I'd like to see a draftee radio operator from Iowa.


Your Will Smith jokes got me thinking about a "The Quick and the Dead"-style forum game about betting on gun duels using Phoenix Command and the Wild Wild West supplement.

You also correctly identified that one of the issues with Leading Edge Games is the book organization. Out-of-hand, one book that does this better is HeroQuest 2e, where the tables are written twice: once right alongside the rules as they're being introduced/explained, and then again at the back for reference purposes.

gradenko_2000 fucked around with this message at 08:54 on Sep 26, 2017

GimpInBlack
Sep 27, 2012

That's right, kids, take lots of drugs, leave the universe behind, and pilot Enlightenment Voltron out into the cosmos to meet Alien Jesus.


Okay, I think we've got our squad. Post will be up later today with the full complement of the (entirely-fictional) 1st Squad, 2nd Platoon, Goon Company, 1st of the 86th. Plus the one poor bastard Marine sniper they're sent out to rescue.

chiasaur11
Oct 22, 2012





GimpInBlack posted:

Okay, I think we've got our squad. Post will be up later today with the full complement of the (entirely-fictional) 1st Squad, 2nd Platoon, Goon Company, 1st of the 86th. Plus the one poor bastard Marine sniper they're sent out to rescue.

Why do I get the feeling the sniper's going to be the only one alive by the end of this clusterfuck?

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



You probably read the Punisher: Born miniseries.

Terrible Opinions
Oct 17, 2013





Halloween Jack posted:

I am totes going off of a Wikipedia level of knowledge, I admit. By "antagonizing China" I mean that Vietnam understandably refused to tolerate the Khmer Rouge as a neighbour, and that apparently pissed off China.
Thing is the only reason China supported the Khmer Rouge was because Vietnam didn't like their genocide. China was looking for an excuse, and found one flimsier than Hitler's reasons for annexing parts of Europe.

Mr.Misfit
Jan 10, 2013

The time for
SkellyBones
has come!


Am I missing a joke here or is the link sending me to the wrong address? I get the "Perfect Strangers Opening" from that ironjef-link :(

Freaking Crumbum
Apr 17, 2003

Too fuck to drunk




Feinne posted:

FX broad skills didn't have an ability score associated at all, the spells just used the ability score it said they did.

huh, i never caught that in years of playing Alternity in high school (and evidently neither did anyone in my group). that's even dumber then, because now you're buying a broad skill with no associated attribute, so if you're trying to use some specific spell untrained you've got to re-figure what your action check is based on each individual attribute.

GimpInBlack
Sep 27, 2012

That's right, kids, take lots of drugs, leave the universe behind, and pilot Enlightenment Voltron out into the cosmos to meet Alien Jesus.




Table of Contents Part Two: Fortunate Sons
In the late summer of 1967, a USMC sniper team went into the jungle near Ta Dath to seek out and assassinate a Viet Cong officer on the Cambodian border. Contact with Firebase Katum was lost four days later. When contact was not reestablished within 2 days, S&R operations were undertaken by 2nd Platoon, Goon Company. This is the story of 1st Squad, 2nd Platoon:
  • SGT Andre "Dutch" Jackson
  • SPC Walter "Radar" O'Reilly
  • SPC Frank "Ferret Face" Burns
  • PFC Jenette "Alien" Vasquez
  • PVT Martin "Ratcatcher" Sigmar (& Bastard)
  • PVT Le Duc Quan (ARVN)
  • PFC Frank "Punisher" Castle (USMC)

(With apologies to Beetle, Armin, and the unnamed ROK Marine. Cartoon characters don't posterize well and we're already doing two non-standard characters, respectively.)

Carrying Capacity
Before we actually start with the characters, we need to skip ahead a bit to cover encumbrance and carrying capacity, because even though it's not covered until the Movement rules in the book, it matters to character creation.

All equipment (at least, all equipment that's worth tracking) has Weight, which is an abstraction of how heavy and awkward it is. (An adult human has a maximum Carrying Capacity of 10 Weight--it doesn't matter how strong you are, it's a matter of where to put all that stuff. Clothing you're wearing is treated as 0 Weight, and Equipment like Backpacks, Web Belts, etc. increase that capacity by giving you more space to store stuff.

Where strength comes into play is in how much your gear slows you down: You have a Strength rating equal to double your Fortitude Attribute. Remember how Pigmen get a +5 to Strength? Now you know what that means. Total up the Weight of all your gear and subtract the result from your Strength, and that's your Load. Cross-reference that with the Move Speed Chart and you get your Speed, which in turn dictates how far you can move in a Turn. It's a little convoluted, but doing it this way gives you a Speed that can easily modify with things like terrain and other modifiers.

Throughout the writeups, Skills and Gear marked * is the standard-issue gear for a starting character, while those marked ** are from MOS. I'm also not going to bother stocking all these characters up on consumables like ammo or food, because that would take way too long.

Cool? Cool.

SGT Jackson, Andre "Dutch"

NB I have never watched Black Lagoon so I have no idea how accurate any of this is, I'm just going with what makes sense for the squad.

SN: 12040806
Blood Type: A+
MOS: Point
Alignment: Righteous

Attributes: Fortitude 6, Vigilance 10, Proficiency 8
Skills: Assault Rifle (Medium)*, Battle Rifle (Medium)*, Basic Medical*, Detect Trap**, Guard*, Hand Grenade*, Observation**, Prepare Position*, Shotgun (Close), Stealth **

Equipment: Fatigues (Wt 2, Negated)*, Footwear (Wt 2, Negated)*, Shotgun (Wt 2), Steel Helmet (Wt 2)*, Poncho (Wt 2)*, Webbing Belt (Wt 0, +10 Capacity)*, Haversack (Wt 2, +10 Capacity)*, Entrenching Tool (Wt 2)*, First Aid Kit (Wt 1)*, Gas Mask (Wt 2)*, Knife (Wt 1)*, Machete (Wt 2)**, Dog Tags (Wt 0)*
Speed: 8 (Total Load: 4)

Dutch is the squad leader and, in my version at least, the pointman. Points need a shitton of Vigilance and to travel light enough to maintain mobility, so he ditches a decent amount of his starting gear--this doesn't give him any XP refunds, but it lightens his load--he ditches a Field Jacket (it's high summer after all), Flashlight (just gets you shot in the dark), Flak Jacket (too drat heavy), and Military Pack in favor of a smaller, lighter Haversack. His 6 XP go to a combat shotgun and the Skill to use it at Close Range.

SPC O'Reilly, Walter "Radar"

SN: 17012570
Blood Type: B-
MOS: Radio Operator
Alignment: Idealistic

Attributes: Fortitude 6, Vigilance 14, Proficiency 6
Skills: Assault Rifle (Medium)*, Battle Rifle (Medium)*, Basic Medical*, Electronics**, Forward Air Controller**, Forward Observer**, Guard*, Hand Grenade*, Prepare Position*

Equipment: Fatigues (Wt 2, Negated)*, Footwear (Wt 2, Negated)*, Assault Rifle (Wt 3), Steel Helmet (Wt 2)*, Flak Vest (Wt 4)*, Poncho (Wt 2)*, Webbing Belt (Wt 0, +10 Capacity)*, Entrenching Tool (Wt 2)*, First Aid Kit (Wt 1)*, Dog Tags (Wt 0)*, Portable Radio Telephone (Wt 6)
Speed: 7 (Total Load: 8)

Radar has to carry the squad's radio, which is heavy as gently caress and takes up his backpack slot, so he has to ditch a bunch of stuff just to come in under his carrying capacity. He spends his 6 XP on 1 point of Proficiency and 2 more of Vigilance, because c'mon--he's Radar!

SPC Burns, Frank "Ferret Face"

SN: 15102939
Blood Type: B+
MOS: Medic
Alignment: Egocentric

Attributes: Fortitude 9, Vigilance 10, Proficiency 5
Skills: Assault Rifle (Medium)*, Battle Rifle (Medium)*, Basic Medical*, Diplomacy, Guard*, Hand Grenade*, Medicine**, Prepare Position*, Survivalist, Trauma Care**

Equipment: Fatigues (Wt 2, Negated)*, Footwear (Wt 2, Negated)*, Assault Rifle (Wt 3)*, Steel Helmet (Wt 2)*, Field Jacket (Wt 2)*, Flak Vest (Wt 4)*, Poncho (Wt 2)*, Webbing Belt (Wt 0, +10 Capacity)*, Military Pack (Wt 4, +15 Capacity)*, Entrenching Tool (Wt 2)*, Flashlight (Wt 1)*, First Aid Kit (Wt 1)*, Gas Mask (Wt 2)*, Knife (Wt 1)*, Dog Tags (Wt 0)*, Medical Bag (Wt 3)**
Speed: 7 (Total Load: 9)

Burns is a pretty straightforward "medic with a god complex." He spent his 6 XP on Diplomacy for making shady deals and Survivalist for finding the fun mushrooms.

PFC Vasquez, Jenette "Alien"

SN: 31055426
Blood Type: O+
MOS: Gunner
Alignment: Righteous

Attributes: Fortitude 10, Vigilance 6, Proficiency 9
Skills: Assault Rifle (Medium)*, Battle Rifle (Medium)*, Basic Medical, Guard*, Hand Grenade*, Heavy Machine Gun (Close, Medium, Long)**, Observation**, Prepare Position*

Equipment: Fatigues (Wt 2, Negated)*, Footwear (Wt 2, Negated)*, Heavy Machine Gun (Wt 8)**, Tripod (Wt 5)**, Ammo Box (Wt 3)**, Steel Helmet (Wt 2)*, Field Jacket (Wt 2)*, Flak Vest (Wt 4)*, Poncho (Wt 2)*, Webbing Belt (Wt 0, +10 Capacity)*, Military Pack (Wt 4, +15 Capacity)*, Entrenching Tool (Wt 2)*, Flashlight (Wt 1)*, First Aid Kit (Wt 1)*, Gas Mask (Wt 2)*, Knife (Wt 1)*, Dog Tags (Wt 0)*
Speed: 5 (Total Load: 35)

Vasquez is our first character to hit maximum Carrying Capacity thanks to her heavy machine gun, which I figure is the closest you can get to a Smartgun in Vietnam. If I were doing a "real" equipment build and worrying about spare ammo, spare barrels, food, etc., I'd hand off the tripod and ammo box to other squad members to free up more space, but gently caress it. The HMG is also our first example of a multi-part weapon--before Vasquez can use it, she (and/or some assistants) will have to put it together. Still, the suppression it puts out is worth it. With no more space for gear, Vasquez drops all 6 XP on two additional range band Skills for her big gun.

PVT Sigmar, Martin "Ratcatcher"

SN: 24862051
Blood Type: O+
MOS: Handler
Alignment: Pragmatic

Attributes: Fortitude 8, Vigilance 8, Proficiency 8
Skills: Assault Rifle (Medium)*, Battle Rifle (Medium)*, Basic Medical, Guard*, Hand Grenade*, Prepare Position*
Commands: Find, Kill, Recall**

Equipment: Fatigues (Wt 2, Negated)*, Footwear (Wt 2, Negated)*, Battle Rifle (Wt 3)*, Steel Helmet (Wt 2)*, Field Jacket (Wt 2)*, Flak Vest (Wt 4)*, Poncho (Wt 2)*, Webbing Belt (Wt 0, +10 Capacity)*, Military Pack (Wt 4, +15 Capacity)*, Entrenching Tool (Wt 2)*, Flashlight (Wt 1)*, First Aid Kit (Wt 1)*, Gas Mask (Wt 2)*, Knife (Wt 1)*, Dog Tags (Wt 0)*, Whistle (Wt 1)**
Speed: 7 (Total Load: 8)

Bastard
Attributes: Fortitude 10, Vigilance 8
Skills: Aquatic, Bloodlust, Fleet Footed, Guard, Melee (Teeth), Observation, Stealth
Special: Teeth (+3 Melee), Tracking (Can follow Tracks twice as long as humans)

So the way Dogs work is they get 18 points to split between Fortitude and Vigilance, but they don't get Proficiency (obviously). By default, they follow their Handler, defend themselves and their Handler in melee, Forage if they get hungry, etc., but Ratcatcher can buy Commands as Skills to get Bastard to do other things. In this case, he's spent all 6 of his XP on two new Commands: Find and Kill, so Bastard can try to sniff out the missing PFC Castle and rip out throats.

PVT Le Duc "Chatterbox" Quan


ARVN character creation is slightly modified: First, they only get 21 points to divide up between their Attributes, secondly, they have a different list of standard issue Skills and Equipment, and thirdly, they have to roll a d6 for each piece of standard-issue gear: a 1 means that, due to supply issues, they never got issued that particular gear. Hilariously, Quan rolled a 1 for both his Fatigues and his Footwear, so he's going to have to spend some XP on pants. Life's tough in the ARVN.

SN: N/A
Blood Type: AB+
MOS: Intel
Alignment: Pragmatic

Attributes: Fortitude 5, Vigilance 10, Proficiency 7
Skills: Assault Rifle (Medium)*, Battle Rifle (Medium)*, Basic Medical*, Carbine (Medium)*, Diplomacy**, Guard*, Khmer, Hand Grenade*, Prepare Position*

Equipment: Fatigues (Wt 2, Negated), Footwear (Wt 2, Negated), Carbine (Wt 2)*, Steel Helmet (Wt 2)*, Webbing Belt (Wt 0, +10 Capacity)*, Military Pack (Wt 4, +15 Capacity)*, Entrenching Tool (Wt 2)*, Knife (Wt 1)*, Dog Tags (Wt 0)*, English Phrasebook (Wt 1)**, Camera (Wt 1)**
Speed: 8 (Total Load: 3)

When 4th Platoon was sent out on a mission so close to the Cambodian border, HQ requested an interpreter to assist. Unfortunately, due to a bureaucratic snafu, ARVN sent them an interpreter who speaks Khmer, not English. Fortunately, PVT Le has an English-language phrasebook, which is better than nothing. Still. Fuckin' Vietnam. PVT Le has to spend 1 XP on his own pair of boots, plus 3 more XP on Khmer Language skill.
For his last 2, he bumps up Vigilance by 1.


PFC Frank "Punisher" Castle, USMC


Another branch of service, another modified character creation system. All Marines get the Aquatic Skill for free, and since every Marine is a Rifleman, they get the benefits of the Rifleman MOS, no matter what MOS they choose.

NB, this is Castle as a relatively fresh USMC Scout Sniper--not the "cross-trained-with-every-drat-SpecOps-force-on-earth" version.

EDIT: Aaaaaand, I hosed up the first time around and forgot the downside of being a Marine--because of their supply chain issues, all non-free USMC gear costs +1 XP.


SN: 12129274
Blood Type: B+
MOS: Rifleman/Marksman
Alignment: Righteous

Attributes: Fortitude 7, Vigilance 6, Proficiency 15
Skills: Assault Rifle (Close**, Medium*), Battle Rifle (Close**, Medium*, Long**), Bolt Action Rifle (Medium**, Long**), Basic Medical, Guard*, Hand Grenade*, Prepare Position*

Equipment: Fatigues (Wt 2, Negated)*, Footwear (Wt 2, Negated)*, Bolt-Action Rifle (Wt 4), Telescopic Sight (Wt 2)**, Webbing Belt (Wt 0, +10 Capacity)*, Military Pack (Wt 4, +15 Capacity)*, Entrenching Tool (Wt 2)*, Knife (Wt 1)*, Dog Tags (Wt 0)*, Spotter's Dog Tags (Wt 0)
Speed: 9 (Total Load: -1)

Frank's in a bad way--turns out his mission had bad intel and he and his spotter walked into an entire Company of V.C. coming down the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Frank's spotter was killed, and Frank had to ditch most of his gear just to stay ahead of the enemy. He's spent the last week playing cat and mouse, taking out V.C. officers as the opportunity presents itself, but he's running low on ammo and he's reduced to foraging for food and water. He's spent 4 XP on a bolt-action sniper rifle (actually 5, see the edited note above), and the remaining 2 (actually 1) went to boosting his Fortitude.

Whew! That took a fair bit longer than I meant it to. Character creation isn't terribly complex in this game, but it involves a lot more flipping back and forth than I initially realized. Not too bad if you're just making one character, but like a jackass I went ahead and built seven, and that's without fiddling with supplies and consumables--assume most of these characters would have an additional 5-10 Weight (or more) of ammo, rations, grenades, and the like. In particular, it's likely everybody in the squad carries some spare ammo for Vasquez's HMG, and someone (probably Dutch) has a smoke grenade to mark an LZ for the Medevac chopper.

In an actual game, I'd probably flesh the squad out with 4-6 generic NPC riflemen, just to have some extra bodies to absorb hits and some grunts to do the boring work, but for now, I'm calling it done. Oh wait:

:siren:CONTEST TIME!:siren: I like doing these in F&Fs, so I tell you what: Hidden in the Serial Number of everyone in the squad is an easter egg reference to their inspirational character/source material (except Le, because he's a general concept and I don't know what ARVN SNs look like). First person who figures out all of them gets a copy of PATROL on me. You can post them in the thread or email me at my user name at gmail. As a reminder, the first two digits are determined by draft status and origin, it's the last 6 you should be looking at. Good luck!



Next Time: Run Through the Jungle - Gameplay Basics

GimpInBlack fucked around with this message at 14:35 on Oct 9, 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

LatwPIAT posted:

Good review, but you made several factual mistakes, which I have outlined in the following document... :goonsay:

Nah, it's OK. I'm just one of those "a kind of gamer you don't see very often these days". :nyoron:

I am also one of the few LEG fans still thrashing about. I love that game and Phoenix Command.

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010

Ask me about mapping out all the best limousine routes in Moscow for you and the little miss ;)

Lipstick Apathy

Humbug Scoolbus posted:

I am also one of the few LEG fans still thrashing about. I love that game and Phoenix Command.

:hellyeah:

Dareon
Apr 6, 2009



Aethera Campaign Setting

Part Nineteen - Gear & Magic III: The Death Cure


Music is a vital part of life in the Aethera system. Entwined with mystical forces, music is the only thing common to all cultures everywhere. Even the Progenitors recognized the power of music, and early records have been unearthed regarding the role of music in science, wondrous instruments, and early musical notation. As these archeological finds lead humans to the discovery of the Score, scholars have postulated that the Progenitors began seeking the power behind music before developing the Gate Hubs and their means of drawing power. Certainly, musical research declined as the Progenitors began developing harder science, perhaps because they failed to grasp the supernatural means to harness its power.

Humans possess unmatched mastery of and devotion to music. One of the few traditions to survive the Collapse, each tribe developed their own style of music, and those with more popular musical styles could exert influence and control over other tribes. Iím picturing literal Battles of the Bands here. Smaller tribes with less-popular tastes could be either subsumed entirely or cling to their musical traditions even harder, resulting in musical styles among Wasteland clans that remain unchanged for centuries. This civilization-wide musical appreciation allowed Luthias and his discovery of a great stellar symphony, the Score, to band the scattered tribes together under its promise. Humans produce and consume music more than any other race, and tend to favor large symphonic works. Many of these works utilize elements from the Score, either for mere creative potential or as actual prophecy. Holy listeners and maestros of the Symphonium are tasked with interpreting these prophetic works.

Erahthi find their music in nature, using the song of birds, the sound of running water, or the rustling of leaves in their compositions, and basing their musical structure on the stars. Astronomy and music are two sides of the same coin to erahthi, and many believe that the Tritarchs are capable of subconsciously hearing the Score and reacting to it to guide their people. Some erahthi musicians grow instruments directly on their body, such as hollow reed-like structures usable as wind instruments or thin, taut vines that can be plucked or strummed.

Phalanx have a talent for music primarily due to their human creators. Some believe that humans realized the phalanx had achieved sapience when they began producing meaningful music. Like erahthi, some phalanx have instruments installed in their body, although these are usually repurposed components rather than purpose-grown plants. Phalanx also possess an innate talent for playing aetherite-powered instruments. Phalanx are capable of reproducing music theyíve seen or heard before, and excel in improvisation and the creation of new musical styles. Phalanx ďsamplersĒ also exist, maintaining libraries of every sound theyíve heard before and combining them into novel compositions. Every once in a while, a piece of music resonates exceptionally strongly with a phalanx, causing them to act erratically or out of character. The theory is that this music reacts with the phalanxís aetherite core, but the actual reason why is unknown.

Nearly every okanta ceremony involves music, with powerful spirits said to dwell in the songs themselves. They are also the most likely simply to produce music for its own sake, with okantan melodies being lively and easy to dance to, heavy on percussion. Human tastes and styles have mingled with okanta traditions, and many humans have developed a taste for the okanta rhythms.

While the infused came from human stock and still place the same importance on music, many of the neurological changes of their transformation makes actually performing music a chore. The telepathic communication between infused often takes the form of musical passages, but these can grow dissonant if they pass through too many minds. Many infused have perfect pitch, and the basic dissonance of the rest of the universe sets their teeth on edge. However, some of the most innovative composers have come from the infused, with vivid, uncompromising visions brought to life by painstaking work, some even inventing new instruments to get the sound just right. However, many cannot stand to hear their pieces performed, thanks to the hyper-specific conceptions of how it should sound.

The Taur have no cultural musical tradition, seeing it as merely another way of exerting control, and one requiring more effort than pure physical or magical might. The only time a taur will attempt to pursue music is when it has devoured a powerful bard, cantor, or other musician, believing it has gained their musical proficiency and power. Even then, the taur performs devoid of cultural or personal connection, wielding its music as it would any other weapon.

Zahajin are unusually sensitive to music, perhaps, like phalanx, because of their close association with aetherite. Zahajin concerts are spontaneous euphoric reveries, occasionally ending in bloodshed or prophecy. Their musical traditions closely parallel those of the fey, with strong emotional themes and alien compositions.

Musical technology is a field of burgeoning research. Initially, instruments were created based on the elements: Percussion for earth, strings for wood, wind forÖ wind. Some instrument-makers have even created water-based instruments, such as singing glasses or the rainstick. Early Progenitor artifacts speak of the attempt to weave elemental fire into an instrument, but that research fell by the wayside as their focus turned towards more functional science and technology. The introduction of aetherite into the industrial base has created a boom in instrument technology, beginning with the farcaster. Along with performances being recorded on voxogram discs and played over public farcaster stations, instrument-makers have begun crafting formerly acoustic instruments as aethertech and hooking them directly to a farcaster, resulting in a new, otherworldly sound. So yes, you can have an electric guitar. And we donít get actual rules text for this, so thereís no difference in cost or anything.

There are a few new rules regarding magic. First, which weíve covered in passing in other places, is that there is no teleportation within the system, out to an unknown distance beyond Orbis Aurea. Any conjuration [teleportation] spells or similar effects simply do not function. Those with the [summoning] subtype send their subjects back just fine, but [calling] spells strand their subject in the system. This is discussed further in the bestiary. Most spellcasters simply do not have or even know about teleportation spells. Instead, the book provides several transmutation [warping] spells, and long-distance travel relies more on physically crossing the intervening space. DMs are suggested to allow players and creatures that innately learn teleportation effects to swap them out. The [warping] subschool of spells are usually higher-level than their corresponding teleportation spells or have side effects. They also do not function while within Folded Space, instead damaging the caster and targets.

There are also two new options for powering your spells: aetherite components and blood sacrifice. Instead of needing to carry around expensive material components and foci, you can simply use a similar amount of aetheric units, just pouring magic straight out of your aetheric capacitor. This is a pretty huge thing, giving PC spellcasters more of a reason to use those really interesting spells that they may have avoided because they didnít want to haul around a dozen separate expensive components. So in the next few paragraphs whenever I mention an expensive material component, just mentally add ďOr you can just use money.Ē And while casting spells that animate or resurrect the dead, you can avoid the material component cost by sacrificing a number of willing or helpless intelligent living creatures equal to the HD of the target of the spell. These sacrifices cannot be raised, and of course this is an evil act.

New spells! Well, mostly new. They do provide the Repair Damage series that was introduced in 3.5 but apparently never officially ported over to Pathfinder. For those unaware, it functions like the Cure Wounds series of spells, but for constructs. Amplifying Aura is a 5th-level spell for cantors, clerics, sor/wiz, and witches (4th level for bards) that provides a 30-foot aura of sonic force. Within this aura, it provides a +4 bonus on saves versus sonic effects, and allows the use of sonic effects in areas where sound does not travel, such as space. Additionally, you can dismiss it at any time to maximize the effect of a sonic effect within the area. Controlled Singularity is a level 9 sorcerer/wizard spell that summons a black hole. :black101: Itís just a little one, with a 150-foot event horizon and a 50-foot epicenter. But still, thatís pretty hefty. Anyone within the event horizon gains the effect of Blur, ranged attacks through the event horizon take a -20 penalty, and any misses are pulled in to attack those in the epicenter. Ranged attacks into the epicenter automatically target a random target in the epicenter. Creatures and objects in the epicenter take 20d6 damage per round (dying from this prevents resurrection except by Wish/Miracle) and are immobilized each round, Reflex for half and negates, respectively. Creatures within the event horizon are also pulled 5d10 feet toward the epicenter each round, Fort negates. It requires a 5,000-au black diamond for a material component.

Dawnwalk is a 6th-level [warping] spell for bards, cantors, druids, and sor/wiz that serves as a slightly safer version of Shadow Walk, safer in that you are not going anywhere near the Shadow. Itís still got its hazards. It has the same 60:1 ratio of distance that Shadow Walk does, but when the spell ends, it may turn out you were going through a wibbly-wobbly section of the Evermorn, and you roll d100 to find out how much time dilation you experience. 41 or higher is good, from 1 hour per hour up to 1 round on the Material passing for each hour in the Evermorn. Even rolling low isnít disastrous, even down to 3 youíre still making faster time with the 60:1 distance boost at one Material day per hour. But on a roll of 1 or 2 you take a full Material week for each hour on the Evermorn. Divine Concordance is a 2nd-level cantor spell, allowing the target to roll twice and take the better result for caster level and concentration checks for divine spells. The Greater version (4th level) also boosts the targetís divine caster level by 2. Itís a concentration spell, so itís mostly for buffing your friends. Enduring Hull is a 2nd-level cantor and sor/wiz spell that takes 2,000 au worth of duranite and turns it into DR /adamantine for an aethership, DR 5 + 2 per five caster levels.

Environment Sphere is a 3rd-level spell for clerics, druids, sor/wiz, and summoners that creates an area of breathable air around the caster, protecting them from the vacuum of space and granting a +4 bonus against inhaled poisons and effects. Itís not a substitute for Water Breathing, though. It can be made permanent. Gamblerís Bend is a 4th-level spell for alchemists, bards, bloodragers, cantors, and clerics, 5th-level for sor/wiz, and 6th-level for witches. Itís an immediate-action [warping] spell that warps the casterís own body to avoid the effects of an attack. It adds a 5% miss chance per level, topping out at 95%, that canít be bypassed by things like True Seeing. If the attack hits through the miss chance, itís automatically treated as a critical threat. Glimpse the Score is a 6th-level spell for bards and inquisitors, 5th level for cantors, that acts as a lower-level Moment of Prescience with a longer casting time, that blinds you until you choose to use the bonus from it. Gravity Armor is the little brother of Stoneskin, being a 2nd level spell for bloodragers and magi, 3rd level for clerics, that grants DR 5/- with an absorption pool of 5 points of damage per caster level to a max of 75. The spell can also be ended as an immediate action, triggering a bull rush effect that can use your spellcasting ability instead of Strength and gets a +2 bonus for every 5 damage left in its absorption pool. Thereís also a Mass version, which is a 6th-level cleric spell.

Gravityís Victim is 3rd level for a magus, 4th for sor/wiz and witch. It intensifies gravityís effects on a creature, acting as Slow and empowering force damage they take. They take a -4 penalty to resist bull rush, drag, reposition and trip maneuvers, and if flying need to make Fly checks at the spellís save DC each round or fall. Falling damage is doubled, and spellcasting under the effects of the spell needs a concentration check. Thereís also a Mass version, 7th level for sor/wiz and witch. Hear The Score is a 6th-level spell for cantors and bards, and 8th level on the cleric list. It deafens you as the Score floods your hearing, but you gain a +1 bonus to attack rolls, saving throws, skills, and ability checks. As a full-round action, you can discharge the spell and drop into a trance where the Score reveals answers to your questions as if with Legend Lore except it covers current events instead of history, revealing one answer per four caster levels. You may even see potential future events based on your questions. Nebula is a 2nd-level cantor, mesmerist, and sor/wiz spell. It can only be cast in space, and creates the illusion of a nebula. It provides total concealment for those within it, but those inside can see out perfectly. It also interferes with detection spells and is difficult to discern as unnatural.


I cast Force Push, then Quickened Summon Copyright Lawyer.

Repulsing Blast is 5th level for a cantor, and 6th level for a bloodrager, magus, sor/wiz, or witch. It creates a burst of force in the area around you, dealing a handful of d6s and knocking enemies prone. The spell can be charged up, extending casting time while boosting the damage and area. The damage dealt by the spell is half force and half sonic. Greater Shadow Walk (Sor/Wiz 7) functions as Shadow Walk, but increases the travel speed to 300 miles per hour, and the spell can be ended to drop you completely into the Shadow. Because thatís a place you want to be. Starwalk is a 9th level sor/Wiz spell requiring a shard of aetherite worth 1,000 au. It allows you to travel bodily through space using interplanetary travel times as if in an aetheric current. I canít think of a good reason for casting this rather than just spending 1,000 au on, say, a luxury aetherliner ticket. Store Recollection is 2nd level for cantors, mediums, mesmerists, occultists, psychics, and spiritualists, 3rd level for bards, sor/wiz, and witches. It lets you offload a memory into a shard of aetherite, you may choose to forget the memory or not, and anyone using psychometry on the aetherite can experience the memory as if it were their own. Verdant Embrace is a 2nd-level druid spell that causes rampant plant growth on nearby horizontal surfaces, rendering them into difficult terrain that has the potential to entangle people within them. The surfaces revert unless theyíre capable of supporting plants, and the spell doesnít work in a vacuum.

Warp is an offensive [warping] spell, 5th level for bard, sor/wiz, and summoner. It forcibly warps a creature through Folded Space, moving it up to 30 ft. plus 10 ft per caster level. The creature takes 1d6 damage per caster level, capped at 15d6, half of which is cold and half slashing. Aetherships do not take this damage (And neither does anyone inside one), and casting it in space instead moves the target up to 1,000 feet plus 100 per level. The Greater version (Sor/Wiz 8) allows casting at range, on multiple targets, increases the damage cap to 20d6, and casting it in space moves things up to 10,000 feet plus 1,000 per level. Whispers of the Score... Has the exact same mechanics as Glimpse the Score, except itís of a lower level and on the cleric list as well. Wormhole Strike is a 3rd level spell for bloodragers and magi, and allows them to designate a square where they essentially exist for the purposes of making attacks, AoOs, and line of sight/effect for spellcasting. This is in addition to where heís normally standing. Zero Gravity Field is 4th level for Sor/Wiz and summoner. It creates a localized area of zero gravity around the caster. Creatures that leave the bubble are immediately affected by gravity again, possibly falling, while those entering keep their existing momentum, doing nothing to save falling characters. Physical ranged weapons passing through the bubble count those squares as half for the purposes of range penalties. The Greater version is 7th level, and can be placed in an area and made permanent.

There are many artifacts still lingering about from the time of the Progenitors, ones that still operate on mysterious power sources from before the Collapse. Others date back to the time of the Era-Sharaat or the earliest okanta clans. Here are a few!


The Breastplate of the Legion was discovered in the vault on Prima with the bodies of the phalanx, but eventually lost in the Amrita Belt during a test deployment. Functionally, it is a masterwork breastplate, but when worn by a phalanx it gains the ability to multiply them into a singular fighting force. Three times per day it can cast a quasi-real version of Mirror Image at caster level 20. Each image produced by the breastplate increases the phalanxís space and reach by 5 feet, destroying them reduces it accordingly. Additionally, the wearer can transfer their consciousness into one of the images if they would take a critical hit. This essentially teleports them into a square at the edge of their enhanced reach and ends the Mirror Image effect. To destroy the breastplate, the wearer needs to take 50 points of electricity damage just as it is about to shunt its consciousness into a mirror image, which shuts the breastplate down for 1d4+1 rounds. Destroying the breastplate or its wearer in this time causes the breastplate to collapse and shrink to nothingness.


The Essencite Matrix is a Progenitor artifact that was repurposed by the okanta of Haj-Harmarandh. Originally an orrery used to track the movements of the planets, the center of the orrery now hosts a dodecahedron of essentite, aetherite holding the spirits of many creatures. The matrix can be used to cast Banishment, Call Spirit, Entrap Spirit, Magic Jar, and Purge Spirit at will. Additionally, someone with an eidolon or phantom can banish their companion into the matrix and pull out another one, essentially gaining a free respec for their pet. This inflicts a permanent negative level on the character, and anyone slain by this is trapped in the matrix themselves. To destroy it, a caster of 20th level or higher must ready an action to cast Mordenkainenís Mageís Disjunction on the matrix at the same time their soul is entrapped by it. This frees all the spirits held within.


The Gate Hub Complexes drift in orbit above their respective planets, allowing swift travel between the worlds of the system. Thereís a lot of words here about how you can only go through a Gate Hub in an aethership, and thereís a Fly check needed to pilot through, with a chance of a mishap if you fail and stray too close to the edge of one of the gate hexes. Despite age causing them to occasionally suffer mishaps like that, no attempt to destroy a Gate Hub has ever succeeded.


The Prophetís Mask was worn by the Prophet Luthias and is a jealously-guarded symbol of office to the Symphonium. The actual origin of the mask is debated, as it is clearly not a technological Progenitor device and appears hand-crafted. Anyone wearing the mask is blinded, but gains blindsense out to 500 feet and a +6 bonus to one mental ability score, their choice. The wearer gains a +5 bonus to Appraise, Perception, and Sense Motive checks. They can also cast any divination spell of 3rd level or lower with a caster level of 20th, three times a day. If the wearer has the bardic music, divine performance, or similar class feature, the mask provides its +6 bonus to all three mental scores, allows them to take 20 on Appraise, Perception, and Sense Motive, and cast any spell from the divination school three times a day (Instead of just 3rd level or lower). To be destroyed, the mask must take 500 points of sonic damage from a single attack. IÖ I donít know how youíd manage that.


The Spear of Athrakarus was lost centuries ago during a pivotal battle against the zahajin in the Darkwild. Outwardly a +5 Impervious Guardian Huntsman Spear, when wielded by a creature with the plant type, it gains several new abilities. It can shrink or grow on command, becoming a shortspear, spear, or longspear. The wielder may use any attribute modifier for their saving throws, such as Strength for Will. Three times a day, the wielder can cast Communal Resist Energy as an immediate action, and once per day they can cast either Greater Siege of Trees or Wooden Phalanx. The spear will regrow if broken or sundered, restoring itself within 8 hours. And if used to kill an Era-Sharaat, the wielder gains any mythic tiers that Era-Sharaat possessed. Whoís up for some deicide? The spear is destroyed if an erahthi uses it to strike the death blow against one of the great erahthi soul-plant-dragons, the amerta.


The Portable Terraforming Console is a wrist-mounted Progenitor device capable of making gross changes to a planetary bodyís geography, allowing them to use various gestures and pressures on the screen to alter terrain within a square mile at will as if with Move Earth, Control Water, Plant Growth/Diminish Plants, or simply raise or lower the ambient temperature. Once a day they can use the console to cast Terraform. It can also dominate or possess an amerta, wood elemental, or erahthi. Destroying it is as simple as having an erahthi wear it and command the console to possess themselves.

And that, my friends, is the end of the Gear & Magic chapter. Next up:

:ohdear:

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Mr.Misfit posted:

Am I missing a joke here or is the link sending me to the wrong address? I get the "Perfect Strangers Opening" from that ironjef-link :(

No, that's just a mistake on my part. We were simultaneously posting the show everywhere and planning to visit all the sites of that intro while we're in Chicago next month.

Here's the correct link: https://systemmasterypodcast.com/2017/09/25/living-steel-system-mastery-104/

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



You handled Dutch pretty well. He's...well, not a clear fit for any of the alignments, anyway. He mixes Righteous, Idealistic and Pragmatic pretty handily, being an AWOL Vietnam vet who is notable for enjoying shooting racist assholes in the face and for running his own smuggling delivery company for Southeast Asian criminals and who still has something of a conscience.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Mors Rattus posted:

You handled Dutch pretty well. He's...well, not a clear fit for any of the alignments, anyway. He mixes Righteous, Idealistic and Pragmatic pretty handily, being an AWOL Vietnam vet who is notable for enjoying shooting racist assholes in the face and for running his own smuggling delivery company for Southeast Asian criminals and who still has something of a conscience.

Dutch was easily the best character in that show.

GimpInBlack
Sep 27, 2012

That's right, kids, take lots of drugs, leave the universe behind, and pilot Enlightenment Voltron out into the cosmos to meet Alien Jesus.


Night10194 posted:

Dutch was easily the best character in that show.

I am 100% in favor of characters who enjoy shooting racists in the face.

open_sketchbook
Feb 26, 2017

the only genius in the whole fucking business

I regret not giving guidelines for how serial numbers work in other nations and branches of service, but to be fair there was effectively no way to find that information out for a country that collapsed fifteen years before I was born and which spoke a language I can't read, so...

It's really heartening seeing such a positive view of the game here, because I've been really down on it of late. Especially regretting my lack of oxford comma throughout the book, which is just some pleb-tier garbage. I'm also basically certain I could cull the rules volume by at least half if I rewrote it, and fit in stuff I ditched for complexity reasons, like multi-step long-range sniping that fills you in on personal information about your target while you adjust for wind speed. Plus there's a ton of equipment I wanted to add that I didn't. I've been considering writing some kind of The Revised Patrol but I can't justify it so soon after I actually released the dang thing, and I need to move on with my life and write about magical girls and such.

It's cool to see that maybe I didn't bone the whole game up as bad as I thought.

Cannibal Smiley
Feb 20, 2013


open_sketchbook posted:

I regret not giving guidelines for how serial numbers work in other nations and branches of service, but to be fair there was effectively no way to find that information out for a country that collapsed fifteen years before I was born and which spoke a language I can't read, so...

It's really heartening seeing such a positive view of the game here, because I've been really down on it of late. Especially regretting my lack of oxford comma throughout the book, which is just some pleb-tier garbage. I'm also basically certain I could cull the rules volume by at least half if I rewrote it, and fit in stuff I ditched for complexity reasons, like multi-step long-range sniping that fills you in on personal information about your target while you adjust for wind speed. Plus there's a ton of equipment I wanted to add that I didn't. I've been considering writing some kind of The Revised Patrol but I can't justify it so soon after I actually released the dang thing, and I need to move on with my life and write about magical girls and such.

It's cool to see that maybe I didn't bone the whole game up as bad as I thought.

For what it's worth, I'm going to grab it and see if I can run a one-shot of it the next time that I get a little money freed up. It sounds like a genuinely fascinating game.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


I'm always interested in stuff that tries to get across the stress of combat and dealing with lovely situations.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



I was going to write this yesterday, but I accidentally signed off at work and couldn't log back in. I am a little disappointed that PATROL just sticks to Vietnam, because, with the simplified MOS system, I could see it being used for something like an updated Twilight 2000 or something. Maybe LatwPIAT's Bush Wars might cover that, I don't know.

Also, I could see something like a Special Forces splatbook being made by just upping rank (like PFC would now be SGT, going to SGT now becoming COL) without changing the effects, and allowing your characters to dual- or multi-class from the existing classes, which would be on point with what special forces like Green Berets and Navy SEALs actually are, since they have dual specializations as backup in case one of the squad falls and another has to take over. IIRC, I think John Rambo canonically has something like Demolitions and Combat Medic, while also having helicopter training.

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

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




How would it perform for a modern war, or a near future one?

GimpInBlack
Sep 27, 2012

That's right, kids, take lots of drugs, leave the universe behind, and pilot Enlightenment Voltron out into the cosmos to meet Alien Jesus.


open_sketchbook posted:

I regret not giving guidelines for how serial numbers work in other nations and branches of service, but to be fair there was effectively no way to find that information out for a country that collapsed fifteen years before I was born and which spoke a language I can't read, so...

It's really heartening seeing such a positive view of the game here, because I've been really down on it of late. Especially regretting my lack of oxford comma throughout the book, which is just some pleb-tier garbage. I'm also basically certain I could cull the rules volume by at least half if I rewrote it, and fit in stuff I ditched for complexity reasons, like multi-step long-range sniping that fills you in on personal information about your target while you adjust for wind speed. Plus there's a ton of equipment I wanted to add that I didn't. I've been considering writing some kind of The Revised Patrol but I can't justify it so soon after I actually released the dang thing, and I need to move on with my life and write about magical girls and such.

It's cool to see that maybe I didn't bone the whole game up as bad as I thought.

Oh hey! I had no idea you were on SA. :) You should absolutely not be down on the game. Everyone who has ever written a game (or, y'know, anything) looks back on it and feels like they could have done it better in less space--that's just the nature of being a writer. PATROL is a great game--hell, it got me to come back to this thread after like a year or more just to talk about it. ;) I'm really excited to start getting into the mechanics over the next few updates. It's really hard to make resource management an interesting but also impactful minigame in TTRPGs, and PATROL walks that line really well, I think. It's been a blast to read, and I hope I get a chance to run it soon.

That sniper action sounds really cool. I love the idea of the marksman zeroing in for the kill while also unavoidably recognizing the humanity of his victim.

Young Freud posted:

Also, I could see something like a Special Forces splatbook being made by just upping rank (like PFC would now be SGT, going to SGT now becoming COL) without changing the effects, and allowing your characters to dual- or multi-class from the existing classes, which would be on point with what special forces like Green Berets and Navy SEALs actually are, since they have dual specializations as backup in case one of the squad falls and another has to take over. IIRC, I think John Rambo canonically has something like Demolitions and Combat Medic, while also having helicopter training.

We'll get to SpecOps toward the end of the write-up. They're covered. :)


Horrible Lurkbeast posted:

How would it perform for a modern war, or a near future one?

Other than the equipment list being Vietnam-era tech, the game absolutely works for any post-industrial military quagmire. In fact, the equipment is generally abstract enough that you probably don't need to change much--an assault rifle is pretty much an assault rifle. Cut the weight on electronics by half, maybe add a few new high-tech bits, and you'd be fine even without the forthcoming sourcebook on modern warfare.

GimpInBlack fucked around with this message at 19:46 on Sep 26, 2017

open_sketchbook
Feb 26, 2017

the only genius in the whole fucking business

Young Freud posted:

I was going to write this yesterday, but I accidentally signed off at work and couldn't log back in. I am a little disappointed that PATROL just sticks to Vietnam, because, with the simplified MOS system, I could see it being used for something like an updated Twilight 2000 or something. Maybe LatwPIAT's Bush Wars might cover that, I don't know.

Also, I could see something like a Special Forces splatbook being made by just upping rank (like PFC would now be SGT, going to SGT now becoming COL) without changing the effects, and allowing your characters to dual- or multi-class from the existing classes, which would be on point with what special forces like Green Berets and Navy SEALs actually are, since they have dual specializations as backup in case one of the squad falls and another has to take over. IIRC, I think John Rambo canonically has something like Demolitions and Combat Medic, while also having helicopter training.

I had actually been working on something like that, but I scrapped it because I couldn't work in enough content. The US special forces alt rules do indeed let you take multiple MOS.


Horrible Lurkbeast posted:

How would it perform for a modern war, or a near future one?
I have been working, slowly, on a modern warfare expansion, but it's rough. I don't have the luxury of decades of cultural introspection and history to draw on; a lot information about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are still too bound up in political bullshit. I generally prefer deriving from first-hand sources and memoirs (I read a lot of books for PATROL and most were autobiographical or gonzo in some way), and that'd be easy, except there's a whole cottage industry of Iraq war "memoirs" of dubious validity or overt pro-war posturing which has only accelerated since American Sniper. It'll take a few decades to shake out which have lasting value. Also, the wars are literally still happening, which makes it very raw, and makes me very nervous how I approach it. It's also difficult to nail down a theme because Afghanistan and Iraq are such different wars.

The rules for the book are actually well laid out, because it's mostly just character creation and equipment changes. Probably the biggest meaningful change is that coalition soldiers are effectively a lot tougher than their Vietnam counterparts, especially as the war drags on and body armour gets much, much better. Your advantage over the Taliban and Iraqi insurgency is hilariously one-sided and most of the threats are passive, so the game would have to revolve a lot around dealing with civilians and grappling with how little good you're often doing, especially when your presence draws violence that undoes trust and infrastructure work. That implies some long-term campaign framework stuff that I sort of have sketched out, but then I have to get into researching a lot of local cultural stuff and bleeeh.

As for near future, PATROL is not really designed too well for large stand-up fights between peers; it's about counterinsurgency, and it's about losing. So I'd just end up imagining a future Western intervention somewhere and that's just loving depressing. 2017 sucks enough.

(I am working on a big ol' Star Wars reskin I'll be releasing free... hopefully in the next day or so. It's like a hundred pages long and completely irresponsible.)

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Young Freud posted:

I was going to write this yesterday, but I accidentally signed off at work and couldn't log back in. I am a little disappointed that PATROL just sticks to Vietnam, because, with the simplified MOS system, I could see it being used for something like an updated Twilight 2000 or something. Maybe LatwPIAT's Bush Wars might cover that, I don't know.

Also, I could see something like a Special Forces splatbook being made by just upping rank (like PFC would now be SGT, going to SGT now becoming COL) without changing the effects, and allowing your characters to dual- or multi-class from the existing classes, which would be on point with what special forces like Green Berets and Navy SEALs actually are, since they have dual specializations as backup in case one of the squad falls and another has to take over. IIRC, I think John Rambo canonically has something like Demolitions and Combat Medic, while also having helicopter training.
There's actually an expansion to Patrol that apparently focuses on the Western Front in 1917 called Trench Raiders, so it doesn't look like she's done with the system and applying it to other wars just yet. Which is fine, I like what I see so far.

I also saw that she did two microRPGs that feel like a spin on Everyone Is John but with the T-800 and the T-1000 and their subroutines telling them to do stuff instead as part of a series of RPGs all based on the life, times and movies of Arnold Schwarzenegger, so I view that as a big sign more wars might be coming up the pipe. Also the Arnold RPGs are pretty fun and nice.

e: Ahhh, I didn't really get a counter-insurgency vibe but that's probably because of how I'm generally conditioned by Western media. That's a very neat spin, it's always cool to hear author's explain bit more about their inspiration and ideas going in.

Hostile V fucked around with this message at 19:56 on Sep 26, 2017

GimpInBlack
Sep 27, 2012

That's right, kids, take lots of drugs, leave the universe behind, and pilot Enlightenment Voltron out into the cosmos to meet Alien Jesus.



That is a much smarter and more thoughtful response than my "just rename stuff" nonsense. Go with this instead. :)

Hostile V posted:

There's actually an expansion to Patrol that apparently focuses on the Western Front in 1917 called Trench Raiders, so it doesn't look like she's done with the system and applying it to other wars just yet. Which is fine, I like what I see so far.

I also saw that she did two microRPGs that feel like a spin on Everyone Is John but with the T-800 and the T-1000 and their subroutines telling them to do stuff instead as part of a series of RPGs all based on the life, times and movies of Arnold Schwarzenegger, so I view that as a big sign more wars might be coming up the pipe. Also the Arnold RPGs are pretty fun and nice.

I might dive into Trench Raiders after the main book, I haven't picked it up just yet--but I'll definitely be covering the PATROL mini-expansion in One Ugly Motherfucker, which adds the Predator and 80s movie supercommandos to the game.

GimpInBlack fucked around with this message at 19:58 on Sep 26, 2017

open_sketchbook
Feb 26, 2017

the only genius in the whole fucking business

That's a good reminder for me to update those rules to actually match the finalized PATROL rules.

Freaking Crumbum
Apr 17, 2003

Too fuck to drunk






Chapter 4: Arcana - Enochian Arcane FX




Enochian magic was apparently pioneered by English magus John Dee, who is related to real-life occult tomes like the Book of Soyga and the Voynich Manuscript (which to this day has yet to have its cypher successfully cracked). In Dark*Matter, he developed the Enochian style of magic to be a counter school to Diabolism. It's based on making successful contact with supernatural entities and asking them to perform favors for you, but unlike the EEEEVIL school of Diabolism, Enochian spell casters are making bargains with benevolent outsiders. The book actually confirms that these are the same entities that answer the prayers of divine spell casters, which makes Enochian magic the non-denominational school of divine spell casting.



There's literally zero art included in the section for Enochian magic, so I'm going to include pictures of the real-life Voynich Manuscript instead. It's a real Unsolved Mystery and I think it's rad as hell.


Unlike Demons, these benevolent outsiders (the book says we can call them Angels) rarely manifest on the material plane, and take a more abstract interest in the prevalence of "good" as a concept instead of promoting some specific cause or agenda. Likewise, bargaining for power / casting spells with Angels doesn't require blood sacrifice; instead they require that the Enochian make a solemn Vow in return for their assistance. Vows can be anything really, as long as they include altruism and/or require the Enochian to perform some type of ritual behavior. They can be one-time deals where the Enochian agrees to perform some specific act in return for power, or they can include on-going commitments to honor an ideal or perform some kind of continual service. One-time Vows give the Enochian 30 days from the date a Vow is made to actually complete their Vow, and within that 30 day window the Enochian can request the same assistance / cast the same spell without having to make any further Vows. On-going Vows require that the Enochian make some attempt to make good on the Vow each week, but for as long as they keep their Vow they don't have to make further Vows to cast the same spell or summon help from the same Angel.

Example Vows provided by the book:

Marginal Vows - Offering a serious prayer at a temple or shrine associated with an Angel, or giving a small offering at the temple or shrine that is symbolic to the Angel. Marginal Vows shouldn't require more than an hour's worth of effort each month if made as an on-going Vow, or more than a day's worth of effort if made as a one-time Vow.

Ordinary Vows - Committing to tithe 10% of your salary to a church or group that worships the Angel, or spending one weekend each month building shelter for the homeless or volunteering in a soup kitchen, or donating a week's salary to a charity or organization that is symbolic to the Angel. Ordinary Vows should require several day's worth of effort each month if made as an on-going Vow, or up to a week's worth of effort if made as a one-time Vow.

Good Vows - Committing to tithe 25% of your salary to a church or group that worships the Angel, or making a pilgrimage to a specific holy site that is symbolic to the Angel, or Vows of silence or fasting that last for multiple days. Good Vows should require at least a week's worth of effort each month if made as an on-going Vow, or up to a month's worth of effort if made as a one-time Vow.

Amazing Vows - Amazing Vows are the most extreme pledges that an Enochian can make and should involve a great deal of personal sacrifice. Extreme fasting for an indeterminate amount of time (ex: until Palestine is recognized as a sovereign state), completely forsaking interaction with other humans, permanent Vows of silence or celibacy or pacifism, taking on full-time employment with a charity or non-profit organization that is symbolic to the Angel, promises to make pilgrimages to locations that don't exist on Earth, and of course sacrificing your own life to protect another or serve a higher purpose. Amazing Vows should occupy at least half of the Enochian's waking hours each month if made as an on-going Vow, or up to a year's worth of effort if made as a one-time Vow.



If the cypher utilized throughout the text is actually just a gibberish hoax, it's an insanely complex hoax for the time period from which the text originates, because it contains internally consistent things like word structures that follow phonological and orthographic laws.


Better hope that your GM enjoys plotting out a day calendar for a fictional character that can extend years into the future to accommodate all of the Vows you've made to ensure that your character is making good on their word! Why? Well, if an Enochian breaks a Vow (and there's no exception made for extenuating circumstances) then they Fall just like paladins! That's right, broken Vows immediately revoke your access to whatever spell you had cast with said broken Vow, and you take an on-going penalty to ALL of your actions (proportionate to the level of Vow that was broken) until you atone! Atoning requires that you make another Vow of the same quality and duration and successfully complete it, which can potentially leave someone with an unplayable hero if their GM is a dick and keeps putting them in situations where they continually break the atonement Vows. Amazing!

So what kind of power can Enochians wield for all of this inconvenient bullshit?

Willpower: Enochian - Eye of Fate is every divination spell ever written. You can see a target's future and divine one specific type of danger that the target may encounter. The GM has final say over what this spell can and can't reveal and you can't use it to thwart the GM's masterfully scripted plot or override the actions of their amazing GMPCs. Ordinary Vow.

Willpower: Enochian - Grace mystically forces someone to find you more likeable. Their attitude shifts one step further towards Ally on the NPC reaction scale for each level of success you achieve and you also get a proportionate bonus on all Personality skill checks you make against this person. It's not mind control, you're just making them more agreeable to what you're asking them to do. After the spell duration ends, the targets gets to check and see if they realize that you were mystically altering their mood. Ordinary Vow.

Willpower: Enochian - Halo is Mage Armor but better, because the amount of protection you get increases if you use your magical armor to protect someone that is helpless or defenseless (say, by throwing yourself between them and a source of harm). Halo also has a Rank Benefit that you can eventually purchase which causes the magic armor to deal damage to any Demon or Diabolist that makes contact with you, and nothing can prevent or reduce the damage taken. Good Vow.



Illustrations within the manuscript are used to break the work into 6 different sections, including broad topics like Herbal, Astronomical, Biological, Cosmological, Pharmaceutical, and Recipes. This crazy-rear end plant is from the Herbal section, and doesn't resemble any known terrestrial flora (current best-guess is a sun flower).


Willpower: Enochian - Lumen combines Light and Arcane Mark from D&D into a single spell. That's it and that's all. Marginal Vow

Willpower: Enochian - Peaceful Shroud is magical Novocain. It doesn't heal any damage, but it allows you to ignore up to 2 levels of wound penalties resulting from damage. Marginal Vow.

Willpower: Enochian - Unravel Shroud is just Disenchant. It's easier to perform on spells cast by someone weaker than you and harder to perform on spells cast by someone stronger than you, and you can always automatically disenchant your own spells. Marginal Vow.

Willpower: Enochian - White Salamander creates a mobile ball of fire that's invisible to everyone except you. You can move the ball of fire around at will and it will ignite any objects that it touches that could be lit on fire by a mundane source of fire. This spell can't deal damage directly, but if you place the fireball on top of someone then they have to roll to save against damage as if they stood in an open source of fire. Good Vow.


And that's all for the underwhelming school of Enochian magic! Seriously, they didn't even include an example of a spell that would require an Amazing Vow. Up next: Hermeticism!

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

MJ12
Apr 8, 2009



open_sketchbook posted:

That's a good reminder for me to update those rules to actually match the finalized PATROL rules.

Terminator rules for PATROL when?

Play a killer robot fighting the Tech-Com insurgency. Contemplate the fact that no matter how good you are at killing-and you are very good- you are still losing the war.

Well, or rather, you would contemplate this fact but your CPU was set to read-only and you can't.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Post
  • Reply