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Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

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'
One of my favourite systems for damage was Masterbook's. The problem is that it's fiddly and very 80s in the same way as Chill and Gamma World: "Man, using a different chart for everything sucks! Let's have one master chart instead!" The idea of just not using charts still hadn't occured to most people, I guess.

PCs have Wounds, Shock Points, and K/O. Wounds inflict spiraling penalties and can kill you. Take too much Shock and you drop from exhaustion. Taking both a K and an O knocks you out. So if you beat your opponent's defense roll by 12 points, that might inflict 2 Wounds, 4 Shock, and a K according to the chart.

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Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Halloween Jack posted:

PCs have Wounds, Shock Points, and K/O. Wounds inflict spiraling penalties and can kill you. Take too much Shock and you drop from exhaustion. Taking both a K and an O knocks you out. So if you beat your opponent's defense roll by 12 points, that might inflict 2 Wounds, 4 Shock, and a K according to the chart.
That's the same damage system from oTorg (which was the game from which Masterbook was derived), except that the damage table had two columns; one for Possibility-rated targets, and one for Ords. P-rated characters always took less damage than Ords given the same damage result. So in Torg, the 12 result against an Ord is 2 Wounds, K/O, and 12 Shock; but against a P-rated character a 12 result is one Wound, K, and 5 Shock.

(Torg Eternity does away with the damage table and KO results, thank god. Now, every 5 points your damage beats the target's Toughness by is a Wound and 2 Shock, not beating the Toughness just does a point or two of Shock.)

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

Night10194 posted:

People have been asking this question since 3e came out.

It's never been answered.
Uh, yeah, it has. This is what happens when one of your primary design goals is Don't Make Baby Cry.

Speleothing
May 6, 2008

Spare batteries are pretty key.

Freaking Crumbum posted:

i think you win the award for most dated pop culture reference (1968) I've seen in the thread.

edit: holy poo poo almost 50 years old. that joke's an antique

Book was '64, and much better than the disney musical.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Why do they even bother rewriting the classes? Why not just 'Space Bard' or 'Space Ranger' or 'Space Fighter'.

Leraika
Jun 14, 2015

slime time



Night10194 posted:

Why do they even bother rewriting the classes? Why not just 'Space Bard' or 'Space Ranger' or 'Space Fighter'.

Your choice of 'they're trying to address balance issues' or 'this way they can sell you more books'.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Leraika posted:

Your choice of 'they're trying to address balance issues' or 'this way they can sell you more books'.

We all know which one it is.

The balance issues are so deeply ingrained that they're a feature, not a bug, for the people who play 3.Pathfinder

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Night10194 posted:

Why do they even bother rewriting the classes? Why not just 'Space Bard' or 'Space Ranger' or 'Space Fighter'.

To be fair, the new designs are largely better, at least on average, compared to 2003's greatest hits. You have a lot more in the way of options (well, taking aside the fact the number of spellcasting classes has been profoundly dropped) and those options are often more meaningful. The last thing we need is a warmed-over monk or fighter.
.
There are issues, to be sure, like the big magical elephant in the room. But the class design has improved, I think; just not nearly as much as it should have given the age of the system and the experience of the writers.

Cassa
Jan 29, 2009


I think the worst sin of Starfinger, on reflection, is showing goblin space pirates and only letting the PCs be tall hamster things.

marshmallow creep
Dec 10, 2008

I've been sitting here for 5 mins trying to think of a joke to make but I just realised the animators of Mass Effect already did it for me



Do Paizo make a goblin centric side game? Those little blighters are adorable.

Red Metal
Oct 23, 2012

Let me tell you about Homestuck



Fun Shoe

there's their line of "we be goblins!" modules which they released for free rpg day in previous years

senrath
Nov 3, 2009

Look Professor, a destruct switch!




Personally I find goblins more annoying than adorable, as their entire shtick is lolrandom fire and explosions and murdering everything that moves.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Starfinger Core Rules Part #05: "So I wrote up a rules treatment for [druids] - as a specialization within the Mystic class - and presented them to the team, who went: 'Meh.'"

James Sutter, Starfinger Creative Director, Black Gate interview posted:

At which point I think I shut the door and said something like "Then none us are leaving here until we make it cool!"

Time for the Mystic, aka "somebody better loving play one of these" because an erzatz Cleric is still a Cleric, and the Operative, the Swiss Army knife of sneaking skills.



Mystic

This is our first spellcasting class, the equivalent of a Cleric or Druid, with spells being based on Wisdom. They also have a lot of psychic flavor, though. Unlike Pathfinder, they only get spells that go from levels 0 to 6 instead of 0 to 9, and it's interesting to see the game try and curb spellcasters somewhat. As they level up and get more spells, they can discard one old spell afor a new spell... of the same level. As a full action, they can basically read magic, because it sucked having to use up a spell slot on that one. In addition, they can heal HP on some once per day by taking 10 minutes to do so, so combat healing isn't a given anymore. However, most Mystics will be taking the mystic cure spell - perhaps the most reliable way to heal HP, making them as essential as Clerics ever were. As they level up, they can talk telepathically and... well, stuff at top level I'm not going to cover because who gets to 19th level before a game ends, anyway? Mostly, they gain spells. We're told the arcane / divine division doesn't exist anymore, but Mystics are functionally indistinguishable from the general concept of a divine casting class, save for the aforementioned psychic flavor - so they get some mind-affecting spells in place of the broader "everybody gets bonuses" sorts of spells, which the Envoy fills in for.

It's worth noting that they don't have to prepare spells, they can just cast anything they know as long as they have a slot to cast it with. Everybody is like sorcerers, more or less.

In addition to spellcasting, they get a "Connection" where they choose a god some force that grants them magical powers. This can be "any entity or concept", so I'm looking forward to my Mystic of Breakfast Cereals. "Behold my O of power, the Cheery O!" However, they have deific recommendations I'm likely to ignore. Connections give you special powers, extra spells, and skill bonuses, more akin to the bonuses Sorcerers got in Pathfinder. They include various benefits as you level up, such as:
  • Akashic: Knowledge stuff. Lets you boost skills, see the future, read minds, etc. Gives mostly divination spells.
  • Empath: Reading brains and ESP stuff. Lets you sense emotions, mindlink, tell lies, etc. Mostly just ESP and mind-reading spells. Man, who needs Envoys when you can have one of these around...? loving seriously, Starfinger? They're right there and Sense Motive is their thing. Well, who needs skills when you can just get root access on a failed save?
  • Healer: Fairly self-explanatory. Lets you heal people in combat by spending RP, take on their damage, sense others' conditions, vampire-drain people's lifeforce by spending RP, etc. Spells mostly center around removing conditions and afflictions.
  • Mindbreaker: Psychic attacks, mainly. Lets you spend RP to hurt people (no save) when they hurt you, damage people when they save against your spells, inflict conditions by spending RP, nauseate people, etc. They get a number of mental attacks and conditions for their spells. Very much the "gently caress you for overcoming my weaknesses as a spellcaster" Connection by letting you screw over anybody that picks on you. Oh, and "Explode Head" if you make it to 19th level that'll insta-kill a foe with 20 HP or less for an RP.
  • Overlord: The flipside of "who needs an Envoy, again?", letting you control people directly. "Oh," you may guess, "at least the Envoy is subtle and isn't likely to cause as much backlash when people are influenced by skills instead of spells?" Well, no, the 1st-level ability of the Overlord means that people forget that they were magically controlled, no save (they remember what they did, but not the control). Other than that, you can make people become friendly, grant penalties even if they save against your spells, make monsters more friendly, etc.
  • Star Shaman: Spooky space stuff. Become immune to vacuum, fly in space, glow in a blinding sense, reroll rolls sometimes (because... astrology... or something...), etc. You get a variety of spells from shoot magic missiles shooting stars to darkvision to making people radioactive or not.
  • Xenodruid: You're a druid!... only more... xeno? You can talk with animals, spend RP to entangle people in plants (whether or not there are plants, so it works on the surface of a spaceship), gain modest shapeshifting benefits, gain energy resistance (of any type you like, gently caress Energy Shields). Your spells revolve around helping people survive stuff and random nature poo poo including reincarnate because why not? Yes, that spell is still in Starfinger, because who doesn't want to become a random gnome? Maybe you can work in some Star Trek III references.
In general spellcasting seems as good as ever - not as good, but still able to step on the toes of a lot of other classes and also unquestionably gets the best healing. Their ability to overcome conditions and afflictions is so unparalleled that they're pretty essential, since otherwise characters are left laid out once a bad save vs. curses, poisons, and diseases roll out. As for the deities, they're mostly are word salad to me so far. Well, except for Nyarlathotep because we can't let Lovecraft just loving go. I know some people are going to be like "I can be a priest of a racist monster an old racist dreamt of nearly a century ago!" and find it super exciting. I know you're out there!

Uuugh. Anyway, so, yeah, Starfinger is still Pathfinder, only less so. There are also a lot of healing effects only the Mystic gets convenient access to. If your character gets the space plague, loses an arm, or gets chopped in half and thrown down a shaft, you're gonna need a Mystic, pay for a Mystic's services, or... suffer. Suffer a lot. But we'll get to that much later.



Operative

These are the puckish rogues.

This time around, they get an bonus with initiative and skill checks, and choose a Specialization. Each Specialization gives specialty skills and a specific Exploit (this class' flavor of special benefits). They also each get a special power... at 11th level, so I'm not going to worry about covering all of those those. They are: Daredevil, Detective, Explorer, Ghost, Hacker, Spy, or Thief. About the most interesting 11th level power is that of the Thief, which lets you declare a backup plan during a heist to get a single benefit like a specific piece of gear you need or an ally that shows up in the nick of time.... but then it requires a skill roll with skill declared by the GM and a DC adeclared by the GM, and if you fail the roll you just say bye-bye to the RP spent. Pretty neat, but it has to come with a gamble because this is Starfinger, buckos.

Sneak Trick Attacks let you get bonus damage with small weapons but you have to make a social or stealth skill check against a difficulty equal to (20 + the CR of the foe), so be prepared to make some extra die rolls whenever you make an attack, but it can add up to big damage... at higher levels (around 5th level or higher). But it slows down the game more than Sneak Attacks, as you make an extra roll against an entirely arbitrary DC you have to check with the GM about. You get Evasion eventually because rogues got that back in Pathfinder, and as you level up you get extra speed, inflict conditions with trick attacks, ignore being flat-footed, and get extra attacks with small weapons (on full attacks only, so forget that extra movement you just got, this is Starfinger).

They also get their choice of Exploits every even level. I'll focus mainly on the ones you'll see based on Specialization:
  • Cloaking Field: You can become invisible for 10 rounds; attacking reveals your position but you can hide again the next round. It recharges 1 round per minute.
  • Glimpse the Truth: Get true seeing by spending 1 RP.
  • Elusive Hacker: If your hacking attempt would set off a countermeasure, there's a flat 50% chance it doesn't.
  • Ever Vigilant: You can make Perception checks while asleep or always act during a surprise round, but you always go no sooner than second during the latter.
  • Holographic Distraction: You can psychically or technologically made a duplicate of yourself that runs off in a different direction, but people can Will save against it. Requires the "Holographic Clone" Exploit despite the fact that this ability is gained by the the Thief for free without it. Whoops.
  • Master of Disguise: You can disguise yourself as a standard action with bonuses, which lasts up to (10 minutes x level), after which your disguise apparently bubbles and sloughs off like Darkman. It was a movie? The one with the guy with the melting disguises? We were desperate for superhero movies enough back then to watch an off-brand version of The Question, sad to say. If you disguise as a single person, it lasts a number of minutes equal to your level. Is this... really... a Master of Disguise?
    Versatile Movement: You can climb or swim equal to your land speed. Does not synergize with any extra movement abilities... like the one this class gets.
Mind, all those are advanced abilities you have to wait 11+ levels for if you don't get it as a starter. Here are some of the basic ones:
  • Field Treatment: Spend an RP to gain back HP, if you have a literal minute.
  • Inoculation: You get a bonus against poisons and disease! Just what every miscellaneous stack of abilities needs, so you can be like "I hope this comes up!... or maybe not...?"
  • Nightvision: Because in the far future, you have to spend ability slots to see in the dark.
  • Uncanny Pilot: Halves penalties to attack while in a vehicle and gets bonuses to certain piloting actions.
That's operatives, they're... more flexible than rogues, but lack their damage until higher levels. They're really good at some stuff like sneaking or hacking, but those are something other classes do too now. It's kind of weird where they're the best at what they focus to do, but they have an extremely loose theme where they're the sneaky class that's social but not too social (because Envoys) and good with tech but not too good with tech (because Engineers) and good at fighting but not too good at fighting (because Soldiers).

Next: Indecisive Jedi and Shooter Guys.

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 16:25 on Sep 30, 2017

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


You know I finally looked at that thing Mors posted ages ago for playable Slaan in WHFRP and while I'd never do a playable Slaan, when/if Slaan are on the field in my Lustria game I might actually use those rules for high magic and how to represent how incredibly powerful they are.

Every now and then you get a fat frog off the wizard internet long enough to show people why the ancients used them to terraform a biosphere onto a tide-locked ice-ball.

Ghost Leviathan
Mar 2, 2017

Exploration is ill-advised.


Night10194 posted:

You know I finally looked at that thing Mors posted ages ago for playable Slaan in WHFRP and while I'd never do a playable Slaan, when/if Slaan are on the field in my Lustria game I might actually use those rules for high magic and how to represent how incredibly powerful they are.

Every now and then you get a fat frog off the wizard internet long enough to show people why the ancients used them to terraform a biosphere onto a tide-locked ice-ball.

I missed that one, link?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Inescapable Duck posted:

I missed that one, link?

https://ratujmywfrp2pl.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/children-old-ones2.pdf

It'd need tweaking, but the basic concept for a truly apocalyptic powerful mage is thus: Ignore some of the first matching dice for miscasts, a way to use Rituals on a time-scale that would make some of them possible in battle (albeit at tremendous risk), and reducing the time to cast normal spells while removing the one spell per round restriction to let them double-cast some magic. It's not a terrible idea for trying to represent them, though really, Realm of Sorcery's advice to leave stuff like Slaan or Teclis as plot devices rather than try to fit them into the system is acceptable, too.

Also, just lol at the idea of playing AS a Slaan. The system is not made to handle that, at all.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Alternatively, enforce that a playable Slann should never leave their IC chair or acknowledge most of the game. Require they be played by the GM's pet cat.

DalaranJ
Apr 15, 2008

Yosuke will now die for you.


Alien Rope Burn posted:

[*]Healer: Fairly self-explanatory. Lets you heal people in combat by spending RP, take on their damage, sense others' conditions, vampire-drain people's lifeforce by spending RP, etc. Spells mostly center around removing conditions and afflictions.

What does a healing spell look like? Or maybe I should wait for, shudder, the spell lists.

Chernobyl Peace Prize
May 7, 2007

Or later, later's fine.
But now would be good.



Alien Rope Burn posted:

Sneak Trick Attacks let you get bonus damage with small weapons but you have to make a social skill check against a difficulty equal to (20 + the CR of the foe), so be prepared to make some extra die rolls whenever you make an attack, but it can add up to big damage... at higher levels (around 5th level or higher). But it slows down the game more than Sneak Attacks, as you make an extra roll against an entirely arbitrary DC you have to check with the GM about. You get Evasion eventually because rogues got that back in Pathfinder, and as you level up you get extra speed, inflict conditions with trick attacks, ignore being flat-footed, and get extra attacks with small weapons (on full attacks only, so forget that extra movement you just got, this is Starfinger).
Sneak Attack but you have to buy Skill Focus and dump a bunch of points into Cha to use it seems like a very bold Paizo style innovation. Also please tell me that some enemies are still immune to it.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


DalaranJ posted:

What does a healing spell look like? Or maybe I should wait for, shudder, the spell lists.

I'll just say for now that, for some reason, the Starfinger devs thought the cure wounds spells weren't powerful enough.

This is something they thought.

Seriously, it's true.

:ohdear:

Chernobyl Peace Prize posted:

Sneak Attack but you have to buy Skill Focus and dump a bunch of points into Cha to use it seems like a very bold Paizo style innovation. Also please tell me that some enemies are still immune to it.

To be fair, many specialties get an alternate skill for trick attacks. Like, if you're a Daredevil, you can use Acrobatics, and a Hacker can use Computers (but only if they have access to a computer). But by default it's Bluff, Intimidate, or Stealth, so I just went back and clarified that.

No, there's no immunity to trick attacks, but they do require you to use operative weapons - i.e. weapons that are specially tagged for it. If you would guess that those weapons generally do less damage, you'd be right.

senrath
Nov 3, 2009

Look Professor, a destruct switch!




Alien Rope Burn posted:

I'll just say for now that, for some reason, the Starfinger devs thought the cure wounds spells weren't powerful enough.

This is something they thought.

Seriously, it's true.

:ohdear:

I mean, the various cure wounds spells in 3.X generally weren't worth the action it took to cast them, so I don't see a problem with that.

Wrestlepig
Feb 25, 2011

my mum says im cool



Toilet Rascal

That starfinder operative's Schtick would be wayyyyy better set up in the same structure as spells. It's not unexpected they didn't do that but it's such an obvious way to represent a known ability you have a limited amount of that requires prep time and triggers reliably. It's an easy non-fantasy wizard alternative.

Selachian
Oct 9, 2012



rumble in the bunghole posted:

That starfinder operative's Schtick would be wayyyyy better set up in the same structure as spells. It's not unexpected they didn't do that but it's such an obvious way to represent a known ability you have a limited amount of that requires prep time and triggers reliably. It's an easy non-fantasy wizard alternative.

But that might suggest that it's a good idea to give the other classes special abilities of the same general power level as spells, arranged in some sort of universal structure. And that would just be crazy.

Lynx Winters
May 1, 2003

Borderlawns: The Treehouse of Pandora

rumble in the bunghole posted:

That starfinder operative's Schtick would be wayyyyy better set up in the same structure as spells. It's not unexpected they didn't do that but it's such an obvious way to represent a known ability you have a limited amount of that requires prep time and triggers reliably. It's an easy non-fantasy wizard alternative.

Can you imagine if there was an entire game where every PC had the ability to just declare they did something in the past to help them in a present situation? God, it would just be unreasonable.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


rumble in the bunghole posted:

That starfinder operative's Schtick would be wayyyyy better set up in the same structure as spells. It's not unexpected they didn't do that but it's such an obvious way to represent a known ability you have a limited amount of that requires prep time and triggers reliably. It's an easy non-fantasy wizard alternative.

Given nearly every class other than the Mystic gets "select from class-exclusive powers every X levels", it comes close to it. But not quite, given there's also spellcasting in the mix. It's also got the slight issue that about half the classes have both combat and non-combat powers available and it's up to the player to balance the two different needs.

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010




Lipstick Apathy

You can kind of see a glimpse of Star Wars SAGA Edition trying hard to break through (and there was evidence of this even in Pathfinder) insofar as there's a list of special abilities that are exclusive to your class (read: not feats) that you pick and choose from as you gain in levels.

D&D 4e eventually took this model and ran with it entirely by reformatting those abilities as powers, as well as level-gating them so that

A. you'd only ever have two to three options to pick from with every level rather than having to consider the whole list (also a problem with feats)

as well as B. tiering the abilities so that you wouldn't fall into the "problem" of taking the best ones at the lowest level, leaving lame ones to take as you're supposedly getting more powerful (also a problem with some feats, also a problem with, say, D&D 5e's Battlemaster Maneuvers)

It's just that the abilities are so conservative and reined-in that they're not that exciting anyway.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


I have been a very lazy goon as of late. Letís see if we can get some of this show back on the road.



Degenesis: Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 2: Cultures

Welcome to ďadventure hooks the chapterĒ if memory serves! It will basically describe the cultural areas (Borca and such) and stuff thatís happening in them. So, you know, adventure hooks. But first,

STARDUST

Itís a short fluff piece about a Preservist (a Spitalian) and an Anabaptist (flame thrower dude) going to negotiate with a Pheromancer. This fluff piece is as close as the book gets to anything lewd for quite some time (I actually donít know if itís gets lewder somewhere waaay down the line, tho).

quote:

The Preservist stopped and raised his head. A bloated, pale body was nestled in a nest of shimmering mud. Several naked women pressed against it, sheltering the Pheromancer from the rain. They shivered; their hair was plastered to their heads. Their hands stroked the pale flesh, caressing glands or inserting fingers into them. They did not notice the Preservist.

I hope you loving love glands, because they are mentioned every time pheromancers are around, boy howdy. By the away, do any of you nerds know if there are any species around that explode their glands to spread pheromones?

Anyways, the Spitalians struck a deal with the odorous sack of fat: we retreat our troops, you give us a vial that containsÖ something.

quote:

One of the women slid down and crawled through the mud towards the Preservist. Her hair was matted, the body emaciated, eyes hollow. The Preservist saw every rib, recognized the pricks in the groin. He breathed heavily, closed his fists. The woman held out something to him. He took it, touched her hand and searched for her gaze, looked for a spark of resistance or even a plea for help.
Nothing.
The woman scurried back. A small, stoppered vial was in his hand.

The vial contains black swirling vortexes, so I guess itís the black meteorite stuff. Anyways, the Ďmancer wants to know why they need it (ĎWHAT FORí he asks, since pheromancers speak in short, clipped sentences of all caps) and tries to phero-manipulate the Spitalian. He manages to get some effect on him, but he actually draws in the hiding Anabaptist, who loses his flamethrower (called a Spitfire) on the way.

However, the Anabaptist kinda shakes it off and gets into a melee with the fatty and his bugs. Meanwhile, the Spitalian breaches the flamer backpack with his sword, runs out of the room and fires flares inside to make it all go BOOM.
He ends up admiring the stuff in the vial, calling it Ďstardustí (dat title drop), which basically confirms that this is meteor stuff.



BORCA
Legacy of the Ancients



A Borcan, probably

Crater Ash

Borca is probably most characterized by city ruins; I guess German cities kept merging and merging and merging. Thereís also red dust that covers a lot of stuff, possibly rust of the Ruhr region?

quote:

Borca is a wilderness of stone and dust full of giant buildings, endless stone labyrinths, overgrown craters and wide plains. Eroded signs, surrounded by gossamer and lichen, point to sunken cities.
Under the centuriesí varnish, baked into ash and earth, technical wonders wait for the spade that unearths them. The people in this area are tough and stubborn like plain grass that grows in spite of the dust. They donít see the decay; they see opportunities. The ruins and the rich artifact fields aretheir legacy, but they arenít their future by far. Piece by piece, they build a new world, erecting metropolises like Justitian, Cathedral City or Osman from the ruins, dividing the land into parcels to claim and fortify.

The ruins are also full of savages and clanners, driven underground by people who like having toilets that flush and whatever. So if you play in Borca, expect to be going hunting for archeotech and fighting a lot of savages.

Please, donít tell me about the chances of remains of modern human cities surviving 500 years into the future.

One Body Split In Two

This mostly says that Reaperís Blow is a huge, cataclysmic gash, a sort of uninhabitable Mordor hellscape, that splits Borca in two, going from the icy North, through the Alps and reaching Africa.

quote:

Borca was cut in two by the Reaperís Blow Ė like twins, both parts share the same memories of the Bygones, their beliefs and cultural roots. But the people west of the Reaperís Blow differ from those of the east, for the twins had to spend their youth separated from each other.

Berlin Wall pt. 2: This Time, Itís Space Rocks.

West Borca

West Borca has rockíníroll, jeans and a strange obsession with David Hasselhoff. Wait, no, thatís not it.

The north is where the sea dried up; while thereís water that comes from glaciers melting, it canít wash the salt out the earth, making that part lovely. However, the more to the south you go, the better things get. You can see steppes and wild animals (such as Gendo dogs?) and, most importantly, ruins of the cities.

Red dust comes and goes, and getting stuck in the storm means youíll choke and die. It my come from the Wupper Crater (loving really? Was Borca impacted by a Burger Kind La Grange station or something?), it might just be metal dust, itís not clear. Whatís clear is that your character will look like a proper post apocalyptic nomad, all gasmasks and stuff.

The ruins get bigger the further south you get, and the Germans Borcans make a killing looting itÖ for scrap metal.

quote:

Metal is everywhere, and itís cheap. Bridges are built from it. Doors and walls are bound by it. Pathways are paved with it. Rust creaks under boot soles. Wind chimes made from scrap adorn the buildings. Soup is eaten from tin bowls. Wood, on the other hand, is rare and must be imported from afar. Close to the settlements, all that remain are swamps and the forests that have eluded the
axe far off the routes.

They tried making metal toilet paper, but that didnít catch on :v:

Justitian



Justitian, probably

If the name didnít key you in, this city is THE LAW.

Itís fed by the providers (or the Providers, if the book feels like), who grow food, which is then checked for Sepsis before being allowed for consumption. The providers are oppressed by capitalism or something, as they only get water from Spitalians by paying in metal chips issued by Chroniclers. They are pissed off and announce the formation of the Providersí Collective, which turn into the the communist revolution that will overrun Justitian.

Downtown is where everyone gets together. Anabaptists sit in their Cross Quarter and give Jehemedans in the creatively named Jehemedan Quater the stink eye, Apocalyptics peddle sin, and street kids have the Stukov Quarter to themselves. Metal walkways are patrolled by Judges who ďsmoke weedĒ (what, literally cannabis?) and maintain order, while Chronicler loudspeaker rise above all to provide that Big Brother PA system vibe.

quote:

Amidst a maze of corrugated iron sheets, gangways, walls made of coaches and machines, and tarpaulin covered dens, a truncated monolith has risen. Broken down, its facade splits off, more mountain than ruin: the Tech Central. Thousands of Scrappers nest within like cockroaches; digging into it, expanding tunnels and reinforcing halls, shaping it. Here, those that like solitude unite. Dust gray Lone Wolves drag sacks full of artifacts, coughing ceaselessly; Cave Bears look for a bride, among humans for the first time for many winters; Mice scuttle around the Badgers, doing tricks to market their agility. The Manufacturers in the Tech Central are known beyond Borcaís borders. From their workshops, they produce not only weapons or highly complex locks and traps, butlegendary mechanical wonders, aimless constructs that can only be a testimony to their creatorsí mad genius.
Another stone colossus seems to guard the Uptown Plateau: the Steel Monolith. The Steel Mastersí hammer blows ring down, providing the city with a beat. The forge fires blaze.
Here, barrels are made, stocks are carved, fittings are chiseled and refined by a ďFiat LuxĒ. Every Judgeís musket has passed through the Steel Mastersí hands.


What are the people called by the names I bolded? Player classes? Cultural sub-classes? Organizations? Who knows, and the book is in no hurry to explain.

The uptown is reserved for Judges and Chroniclers, and their Central Cluster looks fittingly out of place in this technologically less advanced time.

Protectorate

Justitian was established in a region called Black Lung (now thatís a nice, inviting name) via the combined efforts of Judges and Chroniclers. The former like law and order, the later like running electricity, so it makes perfect sense to form a city. The Judges were strong back then, and they cleaned the place up from savages, shooting and beating them dead.

Judges, being Judges, established a Codex of law, that tied everyone together. Providers had their food checked for Sepsis by Spitaliers, and all that. People who didnít like the law could go take a hike in the wasteland. People who broke the law could go to work camps.

Apparently, the law is too restricting, but in the absence of descriptions other than ďthe food must be checked for traces of deadly alien infection,Ē that might just be some libertarians grumbling (maybe the author is one?), since Iím sure those roaches would survive the end of the world.

In the end, the Protectorate was born, taking in cities like Ferropol and Mobilis. Judgment halls were established in towns, judgment stones engraved with hammers erected in their squares.

quote:

But that was yesterday.

Next Time: Borca, part 2 Ė savages and Ossies (but I repeat myself)

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Starfinger Core Rules Part #06: "Dwarf Solarian. His name is Wrothor Ironstar."
(Credit: Owen K.C. Stephens, Starfinger Design Lead, Diamond Bookshelf interview.)

This time, we have the Solarian, the attempt to make a monk that isn't a lotus flower filled with a curly turd, and the Soldier, who fights.



Solarian

Starfinger Core Rules posted:

The stars guide the planets with gravity, create life with light and heat, and utterly consume worlds in supernovas and black holes. You understand that these acts of creation and destruction are not opposites, but rather two parts of a natural, dualistic cycle. You seek to be an agents of that cycle, and enlightened warrior witht he ability to manipulate the forces of the starts themselves. Constantly accompanied by a mote of fundamental energy or entropy, you can shape this essence in combat to create weapons and armor of gleaming stellar light or pure, devouring darkness.

Yes, because you understand stars real well, you can make magic swords representing, if you will, the light side of stellar bodies and, if I may, their dark side. This is Starfinger's most original class, I have to say, a wholly new concept with no previous precedent in pop culture.

Unlike other magic-themed classes, this is a fighting class, and you can tell because it gets 1 more HP and SP a level than any other class we've seen so far. They can generate a solar armor or a solar weapon. Solar armor, being a cosmic expression of pure might, gives you... +1 to AC. But hey, at 10th level, it's... +2. Starfinger! But at every 5th level, you get Energy Resistance +5 to fire or cold, and can switch it at will. Do other Solarians do fire or cold damage? Oh, lordy no. Solar weapons do 1d6 + Str, 2d6 at 6th level, and +1d6 per 3 levels after that. Weapon crystals are a type of equipment you can get if you want to do more damage, to focus your light weapon in various ways. Clever, I wonder how they came up with that idea? As they level up, they can do faster attack flurries, like Monks.

They can also go into "Graviton Mode" where they get a bonus to reflex saves and gain gravity attunement points, and "Photon Mode" where they add to damage and get photon attunement points, representing the darkness of a black hole and the light of a star, respectively. This novel duality is something they can switch at the start of a turn, though if they have points from either they have to go into an "unattuned" mode for a turn to dump their existing points before switching modes. They can also, as they level up, use these modes outside of combat for bonuses on certain skills, Graviton lets you be sneaky and insightful and Photon lets you be social and in touch with life. They get "Revelations" which are abilities they can only use by powering up these dark and light- er, Graviton and Photon meters.

Examples include, as their level increases:
  • Black Hole (graviton): You can pull others a distance closer within a short range, as if by force. No save.
  • Flare (photon): Create light, and blind somebody for one round unless they save.
  • Gravity Boost (graviton): Let's you leap and climb and swim around better. Yes, the power of the black hole helps you swim! Because gravity.
  • Plasma Sheath (photon): Lets you deal fire damage with your light sword. Better hope your Solarian rival didn't pick that. Wait, of course they did! Solarians have no ability to deal cold damage.
  • Astrologic Sense (photon): Lets you see the future, because "you can sense the movement of all objects influencing you". Astrology was real all along. Sorry, science.
  • Crush (gravition): Lets you crush the internal organs or workings of a target, like, say, their throat. Staggers people for a round and you can maintain it as a move action as long as they keep failing their save. An RP can also let you stun people.
  • Gravity Surge (graviton): Lets you disarm or trip at a range, as if by telekinesis. Or pull your weapon from them when you're fully powered up with that disarm.
  • Hypnotic Glow (photon): Lets you charm people and make them your friend briefly, with the power of... starlight? Twinkle, twinkle.
Top-level lets you end afflictions, go into stealth mode, block attacks, shoot starbolts, get bonus attacks, and there's even more but... hey... wait...

I get it now! These guys are kind of like Monks... but aren't they just Solar and Abyssal exalted from Exalted? I figured you out, Starfinger!



Soldier

Fighters. +1 HP and SP per level tells us that. So, they get bonus feats like Fighters every two levels (meaning they basically get a feat every level with the increased basic feat rate). They also have bonus attacks at high level, and have to choose a "Primary Fighting Style" (you get a second one at 9th level). The styles are:
  • Arcane Assailant: You're a wizard, but only where stabbing is concerned. You can make your weapon magical (for ghoststabs), and as you level up you can add elemental damage to your weapon or spend RP to cancel some conditions.
  • Armor Storm: This focuses on putting on armor and getting ready for some football (in space). You get to punch extra hard when in heavy or powered armor, and as you level up you get proficiency with powered armor for free, can buy an extra upgrade for your armor beyond its normal limitations (because sponsors, it says), and can damage targets if you bull rush them good enough.
  • Blitz: This boosts your speed and initiative. As you level up, you can make charge attacks without penalties and regain SP by spending RP, which is useful because you just charge headlong into fights all the time, you Scrappy-Doo.
  • Bombard: The sane bomber sort of soldier. You can throw grenades further and can automatically create a free grenade by taking 10 minutes, but only one extra grenade at a time and if anybody else tries to throw it, it becomes a dud. :v: Oookay. As you level up, you can add yout Strength bonus to ranged attacks (as a full action, because fuuuck soldiers), or inflict conditions along with your attacks by spending an RP.
  • Guard: This is the bodyguard soldier. You reduce penalties from armor, level up to powered armor proficiency, get the ability to intercede to take half of somebody's damage, and spend RP to temporarily surpress conditions for 10 minutes. (This game really likes puts a price on straight-up ending conditions, presumably because it likes inflicting the extra busywork of tracking sur=pressed conditions?)
  • Hit-and-Run: The not-running-away-but-tactically-withdrawing sort of soldier. They get Opening Volley (gives a bonus on a melee attack in round two of combat if you shoot them with a ranged on round one, nothing if you miss or don't damage) as a bonus feat. After that as they level onward, they can make half their speed before or after a full attack, and spend an RP to ignore attacks of opportunity from movement or a ranged attack (each time, so if you trigger multiple ones, spend multiple times, so enjoy that as you get your bonus attacks).
  • Sharpshoot: Sniper, minus keeping your piss in jars. This lets you reduce cover penalties against enemies, unless it's total cover (because that would be too powerful... for a non-spellcaster). As your level goes up, you get reduced penalities when making multiple ranged attacks agains the same creature, or spend an RP to negate cover and reduce concealment when making a shot (unless it's total cover, because of course).
They also get Gear Boosts at 3rd level and every 4 levels afterward, which let them get more out of equipment. Some have minimum level requirements. Examples are:
  • Armored Advantage: +1 to Kinetic Armor Class. So, not energy. Yep. An extra 5% defense that only works about half the time takes a whole slot.
  • Bullet Barrage: +1 to +5 damage with projectile damage depending on level.
  • Flash Freeze: Reduces the movement of somebody you hit with a cryo weapon (not just cold damage, but specifically one of those). There are a number of these specialty weapon boosts for elemental damage.
  • Laser Accuracy: +1 to hit with laser weapons. That's all. +1. With lasers only. Yayyy.
Overall, Soldiers have it better than fighters, and they're legit great at doing damage, they're just... dull, mostly, and have to wait for fights to do anything. A lot of people presume the old Fighter problem was that spellcasters could take out enemies better, and that was true, but one of the core "Fighter issues" is that they're often just not relevant in any scene that doesn't involve a gridmap. As such, Soldiers still have similar issues that Fighter classes have in other d20 games, but they're at least better and more interesting damage dealers when the initiative dice go down.

Next: "Do you believe in such a thing as magic?"

The Deleter
May 22, 2010


Mors Rattus posted:

Alternatively, enforce that a playable Slann should never leave their IC chair or acknowledge most of the game. Require they be played by the GM's pet cat.

The best way to do a playable Slann would have to be a Slann sitting in their chair, staring into space, AND their entourage of temple guard and Skink handlers. So most of the work is done by a surrounding group - a Skink Priest as the face to actually talk to the party and do social stuff, and Saurus for handling combat encounters. Occasionally, once per session, the Slann blinks, twitches a finger and evaporates a guy in a cloud of magic before going back to sleep.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


The Deleter posted:

The best way to do a playable Slann would have to be a Slann sitting in their chair, staring into space, AND their entourage of temple guard and Skink handlers. So most of the work is done by a surrounding group - a Skink Priest as the face to actually talk to the party and do social stuff, and Saurus for handling combat encounters. Occasionally, once per session, the Slann blinks, twitches a finger and evaporates a guy in a cloud of magic before going back to sleep.

Sometimes, it's even a guy people actually wanted evaporated!

Other times, hello international incident.

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




The Slaan shifts in his sleep a little bit, sending his attendants into a paroxysm of prophetic interpretation and several holy wars. He's really happy he scratched that spot.

Haystack
Jan 23, 2005







The Deleter posted:

The best way to do a playable Slann would have to be a Slann sitting in their chair, staring into space, AND their entourage of temple guard and Skink handlers. So most of the work is done by a surrounding group - a Skink Priest as the face to actually talk to the party and do social stuff, and Saurus for handling combat encounters. Occasionally, once per session, the Slann blinks, twitches a finger and evaporates a guy in a cloud of magic before going back to sleep.

Ars Ribbeta

Josef bugman
Nov 17, 2011

I AM A DEEPLY DECENT PERSON, WITH THE LOVE OF HUMANITY IN MY HEART


Haystack posted:

Ars Ribbeta

Now I really want to play this.

Like the intro of just seeing a large invasion force of exciled mercs from the old world showing up and demanding to be shown to the place where all the gold is and taking the slann "hostage" practically writes itself.

Green Intern
Dec 29, 2008

Loon, Crazy and Laughable



That Soldier bit from Starfinder about their free grenade is just the Alchemist from Pathfinder in a different hat.

Leraika
Jun 14, 2015

slime time



Speaking of, does Jedi solarian fix the monk's biggest problems (ie: MAD as gently caress and being presumably a mobility-focused class that needs to full attack all the time?)

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




quote:

You understand that these acts of creation and destruction are not opposites, but rather two parts of a natural, dualistic cycle.

This is so goddamn dumb.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Leraika posted:

Speaking of, does Jedi solarian fix the monk's biggest problems (ie: MAD as gently caress and being presumably a mobility-focused class that needs to full attack all the time?)

It's not really MAD, no (you mostly just need Charisma and Strength, though Constitution doesn't hurt as a melee-oriented class). It has the dilemma that it does become full attack-oriented and a lot of the powers are move or standard actions, so no, that really isn't fixed. In fact, it may be a sightly bigger issue given the general shift towards ranged combat and the general melee focus of the Solarian, forcing them to take move actions to close with their foes. In addition, summoning their poo poo is a move action unless you take the Quick Draw feat.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


What is MAD?

Also, since you see like a knowledgeble lot, what are Legit Good Modern Game mechanics that Starfinger is ignoring? And what sacred cows remain way past their expiration date?

E: sad that the game has so many flaws, the art looks super lovely. Then again, it's still set in Pathfinder's world-as-prison-for-world-ending-monster setting, right? I hate that.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


That Old Tree posted:

This is so goddamn dumb.

"Monks have to be all vaguely spiritual in the Yin-Yang sense, and we're in space, what can we do... oooh, I have an idea?"

Also, what game started the "Richard Dawkins might play our game, best make paladins and clerics gain their power from non-godly sources, guys" trend? I remember Spoony getting frustrated over that when 4e DnD (I think) was introduced...

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8one6
May 20, 2012

When in doubt, err on the side of Awesome!



JcDent posted:

What is MAD?
...

Multiple Ability Dependency

It's when you want more than one high stat. A wizard, for example, can get away with just a high Int, but a fighter wants a high Str, a high Dex, and a decent Con. Monks have always sucked because the only stat they didn't need to be decent to high was Cha because they still hit with Str or Dex, still needed Con for hit points, need Wis for their monk powers, and had poo poo for skill points so wanted a non-negative Int score.

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