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
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.

ARB's just revealing their secret fandom of terrible Legion of Superhero villains. BEHOLD STARFINGER.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




You laugh, but Grant Morrison spun entire crossovers out of obscure terribly-costumed 70s DC villains.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Night10194 posted:

Wait, are we like, a thing people outside of SA know about.

FATAL and Friends, I mean.
I know Robert Bohl loved my Misspent Youth review, so yes. And someone linked to my Torg review over at RPGNet but nobody commented on it.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



My old Ars Magica reviews got discussion at the Atlas forums, with at least one writer thinking I had committed copyright violation and another being like 'what, no, this is excellent'.

MightyMatilda
Sep 2, 2015


Mors Rattus posted:

My old Ars Magica reviews got discussion at the Atlas forums, with at least one writer thinking I had committed copyright violation and another being like 'what, no, this is excellent'.

Then again, Fair Use laws can get very confusing if you're not a lawyer. As in, how much of the original material can you use before it becomes "too much"?

Josef bugman
Nov 17, 2011

I'm a lovely person who deserves to be happy!


I must admit I am enjoying the Guide to Glorantha summaries.

I never quite got how people were confused by it's morality not being the ridiculous "lawful/ chaotic" stuff and being cultural. Plus one of the rules is always Your Glorantha Will Vary. You are encouraged to make the Lunar Empire look better/less imperialist/more imperialist/ with a rotating bunch of emperors.

Its something I liked, the stories that that allows you to tell in the framework seem so interesting.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Nessus posted:

I hate to interrupt the dark reflections on the nature of war but
The tactical turtleneck is real!?!?!?

Combat shirts, these wicking, partly camo polyester turtlenecks have been a thing since Crye Precision was working on the Future Soldier projects in the 2000s. They've become more and more commonplace for frontline forces, since they're to be worn with armor (the wicking material makes it easier to cool off with a vest or plate carrier on) along with built in elbow protection.

The Ballistic Combat Shirt is a new thing, meant to replace bulky add-ons like DAPS deltoid, shoulder, and underarm protection.

https://www.army.mil/article/171752/army_engineer_invents_lightweight_ballistic_combat_shirt_wins_award

TwoWordName
Jan 3, 2013




open_sketchbook posted:

It's called 5 Across the Heart, and I've been writing it for about three years now. It's a medium-crunchy system designed to focus on strong characterization, with a focus on character goals and ideas like self-esteem and self-image. It's powered by a pretty weird d8 system and the core mechanic is wagering little chunks of your self-worth (which is also your magic) on your short and medium-term character goals, both to advance your cause and as forms of self-care. Basically, it's Sailor Moon meets spoons theory, attached to a fast-paced, shot-clock combat system, and you make your magical powers by tailoring a costume.

Oh, and the Dark Kingdom already won the battle, the world's been under their control for thousands of years, and you're a meguca resistance group fighting the magical patriarchy, with shades of The Matrix. In between fighting demons, sinister technomagical conspiracies, and evil magical girls cliques, you might find yourself battling the cops and their Witch Hunter swat teams.

By any chance was this ran at Metatopia last year?

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

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


Night10194 posted:

Wait, are we like, a thing people outside of SA know about.

FATAL and Friends, I mean.

As mentioned I had a guy seek me out specifically to do a review. :v:

(and then threaten me for LIBELING HIS TRADEMARK when my review wasn't abjectly worshipful enough for his tastes.)

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




The Worshipful Company of F.A.T.A.L. Friends is one of the oldest livery companies in Sigil.

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



PurpleXVI posted:

As mentioned I had a guy seek me out specifically to do a review. :v:

(and then threaten me for LIBELING HIS TRADEMARK when my review wasn't abjectly worshipful enough for his tastes.)

I have no idea what the hell he thought was going to happen

open_sketchbook
Feb 26, 2017

the only genius in the whole fucking business

TwoWordName posted:

By any chance was this ran at Metatopia last year?

Yep! And I'm bringing it back this year. It's changed a lot, though.

TwoWordName
Jan 3, 2013




open_sketchbook posted:

Yep! And I'm bringing it back this year. It's changed a lot, though.

Oh nice! I was one of your replacement testers for the Friday game.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Robindaybird posted:

I have no idea what the hell he thought was going to happen

Certainly not birdlords.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Starfinger Core Rules Part #02: "I mean, if Pathfinder is chocolate chip ice cream then this is chocolate chip mint ice cream."
(Credit: James Sutter, Starfinger Creative Director, Game Informer interview.)

Time to get right into the toybox.



We're told to create a concept. So I'm thinking about a froggy space race pilot, and he like, pilots ships using an interface built off of his arboreal race where there are levers everywhere! He has like four eyes (two on either side of its head) and has an advanced set of spatial awareness since they can see in four directions-

Well, no, we can't do that, at least not yet - there are only very specific character races listed. :( You lied to me, Starfinger. (Marketing'll do that.) Well, here's how it actually breaks down: choose a race package, choose a theme package, choose a class package, work out your ability scores, gain your class benefits, assign skills, choose feats, purchase equipment, choose alignment, and note a bunch of miscellaneous stuff, until you end up with processed character spread. More interestingly, you get a spaceship!... well, your group gets a starship, but we've got seven more chapters to go until we can discuss that part.

Now, I'm going to assume this isn't your first d20 rodeo. If you need a primer, you can find it elsewhere. Like with my Pathfinder Roleplaying Game review! (Coming soon never: Fatal & Friends Flip-Mats.) Instead, I'm just going to talk about the changes here, mostly, such as:
  • A form of point buy is the default. You just start with 10 in all abilities, modify by race and theme, then add 10 more points any which way you like. Abilities can't go over 18, even with racial adjustments. There are also "quick picks" where you have an array and... gently caress, they still the option of rolling like it's 1974. Well, at least purchasing is now front and center so it's like they've progressed to at least 1994. You get a bump to four different ability scores every five levels now by +2 if they're 16 or lower, or by +1 if they're 17 or higher. Why not just the more elegant solution of one ability bump per level? Well, given we have three means to generate ability scores, I have a feeling rules elegance is going to be in short order around here. The fact it's every four levels doesn't correspond to otherwise "empty" levels at all, either, so it's not that.
  • You have Hit Points and Stamina points and Resolve Points instead of just Hit Points. Stamina Points are your flesh wounds and grazes, where Hit Points are your serious injuries. SP come from your (class SP + Con bonus) and HP come from your (class HP), and both are multiplied by your class levels, and then you add in your race HP. Resolve Points are half of your level (round down, minimum 1) plus your primary ability mod for your class. They can be used to fuel some class abilities or regain all your SP for 1 RP + 10 minutes of rest. They also can be used to stave off death or keep from falling unconscious. A ongoing issue with RP as we go through the book is that they also activate many class abilities (and some feats and spells), making you have to decide between doing cool stuff and having the RP you need to heal or keep from bleeding out. (Also, though it's rarely confusing, having an abbreviation for a stat be the same as the abbreviation of "RolePlay" might be... well, elegance is in short supply, yes.)
  • Same alignments as ye olde D&D. Yes, seriously. There's a throwaway note that you can discard alignments if you want. Mostly, it only comes up with some magic is involved. Space magic, I'm sure.
  • Feats are at every odd-numbered level instead of every three levels.
  • There is the ability to retrain, but it's tied to an expensive piece of one-shot equipment detailed later, because it's not allowed to just happen, Starfinger needs a little more versimilitude.
And with that out of the way, let's move on to our first big mechanical element. Even though we were told races were first, they're not first in the book. Instead, we have themes.

Themes...

... stink. I hate to jump to being dismissive right off the cuff, but most of these are pretty dull. Back when I did my Pathfinder review, I noted "nickel bonuses" or "dime bonuses", fiddly little bonuses with miniscule impact on gameplay, which mostly just add one more thing to track without significantly impacting gameplay or providing new options. An example would be dwarves getting a +2 bonus on Appraise checks to determine the price of nonmagical goods containing precious metals or gemstones. Or gnomes getting +2 on a single Craft or Profession skill. Well, most themes offer tiny bonuses that are either nickel bonuses or weird situational poo poo, much like Pathfinder's traits. While Starfinger's traits are more robust than those of its ancestor, they're drip-fed so slowly the difference feels a bit academic.

Most themes offer the following: at 1st level, you get a +1 to an attribute, a reduced DC for checks for knowledge relating to your profession by 5, and +1 to a skill roll or an additional class skill. In addition, they give more stuff at 6th, 12th, and 18th level. The 18th level is almost invariably an additional means to gain 2 extra RP a day under certain circumstances, which is an effect actually legit disappointing to see have locked away only to characters who have almost reached Starfinger's endgame.



And I could cover every one, but they don't have a major impact worth focusing too deeply on. The Bounty Hunter gives you bonuses to tracking... only while on foot... in a space setting. The Icon has what I presume is a typo because it actually makes you worse at making Profession and Culture skill rolls in some situations. It's also got the awful "Celebrity" bonus where people recognize you more easily and might help you out or not, GM's call. The Mercenary gives you a +1 to Strength when working out your carrying capacity, which will be useful in corner cases. An Outlaw can bribe the authorities to get out of legal trouble at a cost that rises based on their level, so the more competent they are, the more they pay. The gently caress?

It's not all bad, an Ace Pilot gets to be a more competent pilot by reducing penalties... at 12th level, anyway. The Scholar can reroll knowledge checks every so often. A Xenoseeker can communicate and get improved impressions against unknown races - sometimes. But like most Pathfinder material, the balance is all over the place. Some are really useful, others are... well, the Icon. gently caress playing an Icon unless you're real tired of introducing yourself or something. Yay, people know who the gently caress you are! Does it matter? Who the gently caress knows?!

TBH, the Icon's low-level ability is basically a punishment level for their later ability to reduce costs by 10% - which may not seem like a big deal, but... well, you'll see. It's a big deal to Starfinger.



Alternatively, you can tell themes to take a hike and just get a "generic" theme that grants an ability bonus, an extra class skill, and extra skill benefits which will be useful, so there's that. Which is nice, because there aren't that many themes and it's easily possible your concept won't neatly slot into them. Mostly, themes seem extremely conservative by d20 standards, as if thinking granting somebody notable benefits outside of a class structure might shatter balance somehow and bring the whole system crashing down. What's more, they tend to reserve their more interesting benefits for level 12+, at which point characters will be getting far cooler stuff from their classes. There's a definite hesitancy in Starfinger, as if the writers are staring warily at charop boards in remembered trauma.

It's not the best start. But things'll get better before they get worse.

Next: No elves! (Until the appendix.)

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 21:03 on Sep 28, 2017

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



As someone who has generally enjoyed the d20 inability to actually map out nonlethal damage mechanically which leads to stuff like "drowning your way to good health" discussions or playing the Occult Adventures beta and one of the many flaws of the Kineticist being "take nonlethal damage to power your abilities" except explained awfully, I have only the feeling that the fact that non-lethal HP is finally separate is only going to go hilariously wrong in only the way d20 can do it.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Honestly, my favorite rules for nonlethal damage are usually along the lines of 'there is no such thing, only hurting people less.' But doing that requires there to be something more than a binary state between 'is completely capable of fighting' and 'is bleeding the gently caress out'

Red Metal
Oct 23, 2012

Let me tell you about Homestuck



Fun Shoe

Hostile V posted:

As someone who has generally enjoyed the d20 inability to actually map out nonlethal damage mechanically which leads to stuff like "drowning your way to good health" discussions or playing the Occult Adventures beta and one of the many flaws of the Kineticist being "take nonlethal damage to power your abilities" except explained awfully, I have only the feeling that the fact that non-lethal HP is finally separate is only going to go hilariously wrong in only the way d20 can do it.

spoilers: the stamina point/hit point divide has nothing to with dealing lethal/non-lethal damage

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Red Metal posted:

spoilers: the stamina point/hit point divide has nothing to with dealing lethal/non-lethal damage
I'd like to be surprised but I can't be. I take it it's like how it works in FantasyCraft then?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Mors Rattus posted:

Honestly, my favorite rules for nonlethal damage are usually along the lines of 'there is no such thing, only hurting people less.' But doing that requires there to be something more than a binary state between 'is completely capable of fighting' and 'is bleeding the gently caress out'

I mean, a lot of that is going to come down to tone, genre, and intention.

megane
Jun 20, 2008





There is a very real problem: if you offer players choices that you intend to be flavorful roleplaying options (e.g. "my mother was a blacksmith"), but then attach benefits to those choices that help some classes/builds more than others (e.g. "+1 to hit with hammers"), then players will either a) pick the choice that gives them the best mechanical benefit, story be damned, or b) be punished for making a cool, distinctive, flavorful choice. You can make a fighter whose family are all sorcerers... but it's objectively better for you if your mother was a smith. Just like every other fighter ever.

The thing is that Paizo saw this problem, and their solution was "well, what if the bonuses are really really small?". That doesn't fix the problem. I'm still pressured to be a smith's kid, the only difference is now I don't even get anything cool for doing so.

Leraika
Jun 14, 2015

slime time



megane posted:

There is a very real problem: if you offer players choices that you intend to be flavorful roleplaying options (e.g. "my mother was a blacksmith"), but then attach benefits to those choices that help some classes/builds more than others (e.g. "+1 to hit with hammers"), then players will either a) pick the choice that gives them the best mechanical benefit, story be damned, or b) be punished for making a cool, distinctive, flavorful choice. You can make a fighter whose family are all sorcerers... but it's objectively better for you if your mother was a smith. Just like every other fighter ever.

The thing is that Paizo saw this problem, and their solution was "well, what if the bonuses are really really small?". That doesn't fix the problem. I'm still pressured to be a smith's kid, the only difference is now I don't even get anything cool for doing so.

My favorite Dumb Pathfinder Thing (tm) is all the adventurers who were bullied as a child, because being bullied as a child gave you more benefits than basically anything else.

ZeroCount
Aug 12, 2013




PurpleXVI posted:

As mentioned I had a guy seek me out specifically to do a review. :v:

(and then threaten me for LIBELING HIS TRADEMARK when my review wasn't abjectly worshipful enough for his tastes.)

that dude should just embrace the whole birdlord thing and make his game about it imo

Simian_Prime
Nov 6, 2011

When they passed out body parts in the comics today, I got Cathy's nose and Dick Tracy's private parts.

Leraika posted:

My favorite Dumb Pathfinder Thing (tm) is all the adventurers who were bullied as a child, because being bullied as a child gave you more benefits than basically anything else.

well that's just pandering to its fanbase

MollyMetroid
Jan 20, 2004

Trout Clan Daimyo


I have disagreed with ARB before on the pathfinder issue. I do not on starfinger. What a letdown.

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010



Lipstick Apathy

Alien Rope Burn posted:

A form of point buy is the default. You just start with 10 in all abilities, modify by race and theme, then add 10 more points any which way you like. Abilities can't go over 18, even with racial adjustments. There are also "quick picks" where you have an array and... gently caress, they still the option of rolling like it's 1974. Well, at least purchasing is now front and center so it's like they've progressed to at least 1994.

I'm going to dispute that this exactly how 4th Edition D&D works: a point-buy is the default, a standard array is the second option that's equivalent to the point-buy, and rolled stats are a distant third option loaded with caveats.

Hostile V posted:

I'd like to be surprised but I can't be. I take it it's like how it works in FantasyCraft then?

The purpose of the Hit Point/Stamina Point divide in Starfinder is almost purely to give players more Hit Points over the course of an entire adventuring day, without giving them more Hit Points within the span of a single encounter.

It's been done before

quote:

Even though this variant effectively doubles a characterís number of hit points, he canít take a beating over and over again without depleting his capacity to recover. Reserve points effectively double the number of hit points a character can lose over the course of multiple fights but do not increase the damage a character can withstand in a single fight.

Except it's not quite as elegant as this 3.5-era variant rule because as ARB describes, Resolve Points are used to fuel other abilities besides restoring Stamina Points.

senrath
Nov 3, 2009

Look Professor, a destruct switch!




So I'm playing in a Starfinder game with some friends to see what it's like. So far our impressions have been a resounding "uuuuuuuugh" and this is a group where everyone at least tolerates Pathfinder.

The biggest thing that's stood out to me so far is that they looked at the problems the Truenamer had in 3.5 and just said "Hey, why don't we make every skill have that problem?"

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


senrath posted:

The biggest thing that's stood out to me so far is that they looked at the problems the Truenamer had in 3.5 and just said "Hey, why don't we make every skill have that problem?"

HOW. WHY.

(I played a Gestalt Paladin/Truenamer once)

senrath
Nov 3, 2009

Look Professor, a destruct switch!




Night10194 posted:

HOW. WHY.

(I played a Gestalt Paladin/Truenamer once)

Unless I've missed something, skill DCs scale faster than the ability to raise your skills. For an example, learning about a monster requires a DC 5, 10, or 15 + 1.5xCR check.

Oh and they nerfed Skill Focus from +3 untyped, +6 at 10 ranks to +3 insight.

Edit: After a double check, as far as I can tell yes, every skill that can be used in an opposed manner scales based on 1.5x the target's CR.

senrath fucked around with this message at 02:07 on Sep 28, 2017

Red Metal
Oct 23, 2012

Let me tell you about Homestuck



Fun Shoe

Night10194 posted:

HOW. WHY.

(I played a Gestalt Paladin/Truenamer once)

senrath posted:

Unless I've missed something, skill DCs scale faster than the ability to raise your skills. For an example, learning about a monster requires a DC 5, 10, or 15 + 1.5xCR check.

Oh and they nerfed Skill Focus from +3 untyped, +6 at 10 ranks to +3 insight.

Edit: After a double check, as far as I can tell yes, every skill that can be used in an opposed manner scales based on 1.5x the target's CR.

additionally, most starship skill DCs are (10 to 20) + 2*ship's tier, where the ship's tier will be equal to the average party level. unless you're bumping the skill's related attribute every chance you get AND you have a class feature that increases the skill, you end up falling behind the DCs really quickly and eventually reach a point where you cannot make the more difficult checks

if you DO boost the attribute every chance you get AND have a class feature that increases the skill, all that happens is you fall behind more slowly

DalaranJ
Apr 15, 2008

Yosuke will now die for you.


So Starfinger themes are intended to ape 4e D&D themes except they can't be interesting because the interesting part was the powers, and Starfinger doesn't have those, right?

Tuxedo Catfish
Mar 17, 2007

You've got guts! Come to my village, I'll buy you lunch.


open_sketchbook posted:

It's called 5 Across the Heart, and I've been writing it for about three years now. It's a medium-crunchy system designed to focus on strong characterization, with a focus on character goals and ideas like self-esteem and self-image. It's powered by a pretty weird d8 system and the core mechanic is wagering little chunks of your self-worth (which is also your magic) on your short and medium-term character goals, both to advance your cause and as forms of self-care. Basically, it's Sailor Moon meets spoons theory, attached to a fast-paced, shot-clock combat system, and you make your magical powers by tailoring a costume.

Oh, and the Dark Kingdom already won the battle, the world's been under their control for thousands of years, and you're a meguca resistance group fighting the magical patriarchy, with shades of The Matrix. In between fighting demons, sinister technomagical conspiracies, and evil magical girls cliques, you might find yourself battling the cops and their Witch Hunter swat teams.

I'm quoting this both to express my excitement and interest and also so I can find your name and the game's name for future reference.

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010



Lipstick Apathy

Night10194 posted:

HOW. WHY.

(I played a Gestalt Paladin/Truenamer once)

Starfinder designers missed the obvious gaping hole in the math that skill ranks only go up by 1 per level, with an occasional bump from ability score modifiers, versus increasing DCs at 1.5x or 2.0x per level

senrath
Nov 3, 2009

Look Professor, a destruct switch!




Also, as far as I can tell the +1 to a stat you get from a theme is literally worthless 99% of the time due to how stat increases work.

Tuxedo Catfish
Mar 17, 2007

You've got guts! Come to my village, I'll buy you lunch.


senrath posted:

Also, as far as I can tell the +1 to a stat you get from a theme is literally worthless 99% of the time due to how stat increases work.

3.5 has lots of feats with odd-numbered attribute prerequisites. I assume Pathfinder is similar.

senrath
Nov 3, 2009

Look Professor, a destruct switch!




Tuxedo Catfish posted:

3.5 has lots of feats with odd-numbered attribute prerequisites. I assume Pathfinder is similar.

There are a handful, but most of them are things that would typically only be taken by characters that already want that stat to be high.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


It's not like Pathfinder had any thought put into its design. Why would its 'sequel' be any different?

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


gradenko_2000 posted:

I'm going to dispute that this exactly how 4th Edition D&D works: a point-buy is the default, a standard array is the second option that's equivalent to the point-buy, and rolled stats are a distant third option loaded with caveats.

It is, but it was nearly a decade ago and I thought it was bullshit back then.

gradenko_2000 posted:

The purpose of the Hit Point/Stamina Point divide in Starfinder is almost purely to give players more Hit Points over the course of an entire adventuring day, without giving them more Hit Points within the span of a single encounter.

Except it's not quite as elegant as this 3.5-era variant rule because as ARB describes, Resolve Points are used to fuel other abilities besides restoring Stamina Points.

Yeah, essentially this. Since Stamina Points comprise somewhere in the vicinity of half your damage-taking capacity and it just takes a short rest and 1 RP to recharge them in full, in theory you should have enough Resolve Points to get through several encounters before having to rest. HP damage is harder to recover. You'd think that'd keep you from having to field an ersatz cleric in your party, right? Well... it'd be nice if that was true. It'd be nice. But we'll get to that.

In practice, this flow depends on you having to manage your RP properly, and if you go down, RP can drain fast, but we'll get to that later. You can also end up in situations where some characters have more RP-draining abilities than others and end up "out of sync" with the rest of the party, becoming the archetypal out-of-shape dork of the party that's like hey guys, slow down, I can't run so fast, gosh. Lastly, if you're running extremely low RP, like 0-2, you're very vulnerable to death at 0 HP, since spending RP is used in place of survival rolls. Granted, I think survival rolls were pretty bad for a game dependent on long campaign play, but this just changes the nature of the issue rather than fixing it.

senrath posted:

Also, as far as I can tell the +1 to a stat you get from a theme is literally worthless 99% of the time due to how stat increases work.

Largely so. Because stats can only max out at 18 to start irregardless, all the +1 really matters for is feat qualification, because they kept that sacred cow on life support. Certainly, because of how traits give an odd bonus, this means you're gonna have an odd-numbered attribute, which may be a bee in some bonnets. The other twist of an odd-numbered attribute is that you basically end up having to pay an extra advancement over an even attribute if you want to take it from 15 or lower to 18. You get enough attribute bumps that it's not a glaring issue, but it means you probably don't want that +1 in an attribute you're planning to raise real high, ironically, unless you're looking to qualify for a feat early.

Cassa
Jan 29, 2009


Odd Ability Score requirements, and it being one of the few times it comes up, did have me asking why Starfinger has ability scores at all, and not just crush it into the modifier.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Freaking Crumbum
Apr 17, 2003

Too fuck to drunk






Chapter 4: Arcana - Hermetic Arcane FX




The Hermeticism arcana is pretty short, compared to Diabolism and Enochian arcana, and there's really not a whole lot of fluff to cover. There's a couple paragraphs about how Hermeticism started as ritual spells discovered by the ancient Egyptians and their teachings were coded behind ciphers and hidden passages, but the long and the short of it is that Hermeticism is a D&D Wizard. It's the only Arcane FX to actually have rules governing how a character learns Hermetic spells; imagine having to roll a knowledge check to see if you can decode the spell and write it into your spell book like an D&D Wizard and you're on the right track. If you fail to scribe the spell, you can't try again until you improve your language skill for the language in which the original copy is written etc. etc. Oh also, Hermetic spells all have some kind of Critical Failure chance, but there's no flimsy, in-setting justification for why. And, some of the spells randomly have material components listed, but some do not; evidently the designers couldn't agree on just how close to a D&D wizard they wanted this arcane school to hew.

Intelligence: Hermetic - Daedalus Improved is just a re-skin of the D&D Wizard spell Flight. It's just as busted here as it can be in D&D; arguably even more so, because of the relative rarity of verifiable arcane power in-setting. You fly like Superman (no wings) and if you try to fly under water or through the vacuum of space this spell still works (although it doesn't provide the means to survive those environments).
Critical Failure: You suffer from vertigo and all of your actions made over the next 60 seconds take a +2 penalty and your natural movement speeds are reduced by half for the same duration.



The section for Hermeticism doesn't have dick for art either, so here's some pictures that are vaguely associated with the nonsense I'm typing. Daedalus Improved allows you to fly kinda like this, except you'd be asphyxiating and/or explosively decompressing at the same time. Still, what a rush!


Intelligence: Hermetic - Glamour is a combination of multiple spells from the D&D school of Illusion but the end result is an extremely versatile illusion spell that is really hard for anyone to disbelieve (+3 penalty to all attempts to disbelieve) unless you incorporate blatantly fantastic elements into the illusion (like green pigs reciting The Canterbury Tales in the original middle-English verse). The illusion lasts for one hour and can cover a total area of 30 m2 unless you walk further than 30 meters away from the illusion, in which case it continues to persist for d6 minutes before petering out.
Critical Failure: Whoops you illusion yourself and take a +1 penalty to all actions for the next hour as your brain struggles to differentiate between reality and the whammy you just cast on yourself.



If you try and make your illusion resemble an artistic depiction from the late 14th century of one of the Canterbury Tales, your victims get a bonus to disbelieve your illusion. IMO don't duplicate two images of Richard II in the same illusion and you should be fine.


Intelligence: Hermetic - Homunculus allows you to build your own familiar, so it's basically a re-skin of the D&D Wizard Find Familiar spell. You get all the same benefits - you can command it telepathically and share senses and etc. - but it always looks like a little shitgoblin no matter what formula you follow.
Critical Failure: The shitgoblin turns against you and seeks out one of your foes and pledges to become your foe's life-long servant and assist in bringing about your ruin. Interestingly, you still get all of the other features like telepathic communication and sense sharing, the shitgoblin just hates your guts.



I pulled this picture from the Dark*Matter bestiary because holy gently caress look at it. It's like the old Simpsons joke "My life is pain kill me now" because you can really see why this little shitgoblin might wish it never existed in the first place.


Intelligence: Hermetic - Ligature is Hold Person. Nothing more, nothing less, but it's an even better save or suck ability in a game that doesn't have saving throws or a myriad of ways to counter or remove harmful magical effects.
Critical Failure: You cast Hold Person on yourself. D'oh!

Intelligence: Hermetic - Shapechange is Polymorph and it's just as crazy busted in Dark*Matter as it is in every iteration D&D. You can morph into any creature for which you own a well-tanned hide, including non-terrestrial beings or supernatural outsiders (although the latter two impose a slight penalty on the attempt).
Critical Failure: You get your sense wires crossed and hear color and taste sound and everything is all FUBAR for an hour, which of course only imparts a +1 penalty to all of your actions. This is literally the same penalty as the Glamour Critical Fail and I'm unclear on whether that was intentional or not.

Intelligence: Hermetic - Sleep of Morpheus is Sleep. Goddamn, they just took a highlight reel of the busted poo poo a D&D Wizard can do and slightly changed the name of each spell but otherwise left the functionality intact. All of these spells are even more OP in Dark*Matter than they would be in D&D because the Alternity system doesn't have Saving Throws and there's no Hit Dice threshold to block the effect. Resisting any of these hostile effects requires the victim to make a successful skill check with a specific skill and if the victim doesn't have that skill, no matter how high their level, they're going to suck poo poo and become affected by the spell.
Critical Failure: You fall asleep like you just swallowed two Ambien and chased them with a whole flask of rye whiskey.

Intelligence: Hermetic - Transmutation is what everyone thinks of when they hear the word alchemy, except it works. If you can't come up with ways for your wizard to loving wreck the global economy once they learn this spell, your imagination is irreparably atrophied. There's bonuses and penalties for trying to convert unlike elements into dissimilar physical states (liquid > solid, for example) but who loving cares, once you can cast this spell the entire system just falls apart. The only real mitigating limitation is GM fiat, so as long as you can win a game of "Mother, May I?" your options for breaking poo poo are limitless.
Critical Failure: Oh no something in your process imposed a flaw in your creation. Who loving cares being able to reliably and predictably perform literal alchemy is worth whatever incidental 5% critical failure flaw you encounter.


That actually completes all of the Schools of Arcana for Chapter 4! Next, I will slog through the 3 schools of divine magic!

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