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Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


Zereth posted:

Based on evidence from earlier works, making transforming people into helpless or fatal-for-them poo poo might have intentionally been made really easy, but not for subversive reasons. :gonk:

It's not that it's "easy" it's just that health pools are ridiculously large. You only need one polymorph spell to succeed but each level of toughness gives you 10 hit points, It also makes healing less effective.

Also the dice probabilities are completely hosed. Having 1's subtract successes and 6's add extra successes averages out to precisely the same thing as having them just be standard failures/successes, and critting/flubbing becomes a mathematical impossibility at anything above 6 dice.

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gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010

by many accounts a diligent administrator and manager who was instrumental in increasing industrial productivity during the war

Lipstick Apathy

I feel like if I ever ran into that kind of situation, it'd either be we'd put Rappan Athuk on the backburner while we played Mithril Gates: The Smeltening Economic Simulator, or I'd just tell the group "okay, presumably you're able to do what you like to the gates. Can we go back to the module I said we'd all be running together?" because otherwise we're all just kidding ourselves if the first instinct is to gently caress off and ignore the book.

(of course, the alternative is to run something that doesn't have such a massive goddamn plot hole, but that's neither here nor there)

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Zereth posted:

Based on evidence from earlier works, making transforming people into helpless or fatal-for-them poo poo might have intentionally been made really easy, but not for subversive reasons. :gonk:
Of course it loving was. The whole point is to get people to unknowingly play Soto's fetishes.

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

Horned Rat-Sempai Noticed Me! :swoon:


Hey it's been what 4 years since I did my Planescape review? I'm gonna try to pick up where I left off-once I get my files off of my old laptop and onto a computer that doesn't take half a minute to open a new tab.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Corporeal Player's Guide



The opening fiction of this book has to do with a gang member named Johnny. He gets recruited by a demon. Anyway, this book is about the human characters in the War. It is easy to see them as inept cannon fodder, and many angels and demons do see them that way. However, humans are the reason for it all. Demons might deny it, angels might question it, but if there were no humans, there'd be no War. Humans were why Lucifer rebelled, and while some Princes say their significance ended there, they provide Heaven and Hell with Essence, both directly and by the creation of Tethers. The War, however, isn't even about resources. It's about a principle - about who is right = and the true battleground for that is the human soul. Demons must prove that humans are base animals, unable to escape their fates and unworthy of God's favor. Angels must prove humans are special, able to achieve a destiny even the Archangels cannot understand. Some believe the War will be won by military conquest, with humans as mere tools. But the oldest ones, who remember the Fall, know it's all for nothing if humanity doesn't prove itself one way or the other. Humans matter.

Evolution exists in In Nomine, but God was there, shaping the universe. Many angels, particularly Jordi, were deeply involved in the origin and evolution of life. The first humans were the result of millions of years of evolution, perceived as a blink of an eye to the angels - they saw time differently in those days. Some were shocked by the humans, and no one knew if they were planned or accidental. No one ever knows if God truly planned their creation. But they made a huge stir. Most angels liked them - they had particularly nimble vessels. Not strong, not fast, but excellent at making things and expressing. The opposable thumb, some angels said, was the best thing since lungs. But it was not thumbs or intelligence or even art that set humans apart. It was belief. By believing things, they changed the Symphony. The Marches began to fill with dreamscapes, and some entities became potent on the Essence of belief. Tethers formed based on human actions. Before them, only the most dramatic natural events could open Tethers. The angels were shocked to learn that one human could affect the Symphony as much as a hurricane or billion-year-old mountain. Humans generated Essence and could wield it. Some angels continued to argue that they were just monkeys with big brains, but as evidence of the phenomenon of faith spread, these arguments became hollow. Angels knew that God existed - but humans could adore God as fervently based solely on belief, on faith, with no proof. Faith was the special gift of humanity.

Many were upset when Yves announced God's ruling of nonintervention with humans. Jordi was the first to defy the order - he believed that, special or no, humans were too dangerous and cruel to the rest of the world to live. He prepared to exterminate them, but Michael talked him out of it at God's request. Lucifer was less direct and slower to back down. He was more cunning, suggesting that before Earth be given to humans, they must prove themselves on a smaller scale. He proposed a microcosm, a perfect place in which a perfect pair of humans could demonstrate that, without celestial intervention, they could achieve their destinies. God agreed.

Eden was created, and Adam and Lilith were made whole, created without ancestors. The Eden experiment's first problem was when Lilith, on learning her role, chose to leave. Rather than make a new and equally unpredictable woman, God took one of Adam's Forces and used it in the batch to create Eve. However, the test was contaminated. Lucifer enlisted a fixer and did not rely on a fair outcome. God declared that because it was clear that celestlals could not resist meddling, they must refrain from all Earthly intervention. Adam and Eve were released into the outside world, but mankind would never have Earth all to itself. The Fall followed quickly, and the War has ensured the presence of celestials.

It's been a long time since Eden. Celestials still intervene in human affairs now, if not as openly as once they did. Some famous people have even been angels or demons. Most, however, have not. Even the influence of the Superiors is fairly small, in human history. They are eddies and splashes in a very long stream. The cumulative effect may divert its course, but most ripples are made by humans, not celestials. Celestial action is not irrelevant, mind - they can affect human society in very significant ways. But humans can do the same, and it's impossible to separate celestial influence from human influence. It's not really, ultimately important which group is responsible for any particular moment. What is important is human reaction. Humans outnumber celestials hugely, and history belongs to them. The outcome of the War will be decided by them. Each human can choose their destiny or fate, regardless of influences in either direction. Celestials hold that humanity as a whole has a destiyn and a fate, and that each human soul will tip the scales, one way or the other. Angels and demons try to tilt it by influencing humans, but they cannot remove choice and free will.

The fiction continues with Johnny teaming up with the demon Rawmeat to take over his gang. Moving on...humans seem dull and weak compared to celestials. They are unable to perceive the Symphony's glory and experience the certainty of God's presence in Heaven while alive. Few celestials truly appreciate the advantages of humanity. They feel more deeply than celestials, never needing to fear that their emotions will alter their fundamental natures. Humans have total freedom to be selfish or selfless at will, to love and to hate at once, to choose virtue or vice as their mood suits. They are flexible in ways no celestial can ever be. They appreciate the pleasures and hazards of Earth with a sensitivity that the replaceable nature of vessels often prohibits. These abstract qualities are of little interest to most celestials, however. One thing they do grasp, though, is that humans are native to Earth. They belong here, they are natural, and so they can act subtly yet profoundly on Earth. They are elegant, quiet tools compared to the chainsaws of celestial servants.

Fiction continues - Johnny is revealed to be doing all this so that he can take care of his girlfriend, Anna, and provide for her. He loves her deeply. Moving on - human, as defined by In Nomine, is anyone born human. Soldiers, mundanes, sorcerers, Saints, Undead and Children of the Grigori are all human for purposes of the Symphony. They are natural, and nothing they do creates Disturbance. They have no Role or need for one. The only wqay they can cause Disturbance is by conscious expenditure of Essence, which only the Symphonically aware can do. If a human performs a Song or a Saint assumes celestial form, it causes Disturbance, as does deliberate spending of Essence to improve your luck. Unconscious expenditure as part of a focused effort does not, however. Still, even when humans do expend Essence consciously, it never produces any supernatural side effects. Further, celestials cannot damage or kill humans - even the vessels of Saints or the Undead - without causing Disturbance. Lastly, humans can create Tethers by their actions. They can't do it reliably even if they want to, but their thoughts, deeds and Essence can empower Words.

No Superior has ever found a reliable way to force a human towards fate or destiny. They can be influenced, manipulated, coerced and led, but they are hard to predict and impossible to control. No attunement or Song can actually compel a human to seal their fate. Period. Celestials often find them very hard to predict at all. Celestial personalities are influenced massively by their Choir or Band, which hardwires many reactions into them. Everything they do is tinged by their resonance and Word. It makes them consistent, predictable. Humans are not. Even the Symphonically aware can only hear Disturbance - they can't feel dissonance as feedback on their choices. Human behavior is highly variable and amazingly inconsistent, from the celestial view. For an angel or demon, acting out of character is a cause for alarm. For humans, it might just be because they're having a bad day, are under pressure or just feel like it. It's hard for celestials to grasp. Humans can choose, moment by moment, to be selfish or selfless. Celestials are born to one or the other and can't go in the other direction too far without painfully transforming themselves. Behavior that would require Discord in a celestial is just a personality trait for a human. Humans are free to rise or fall, and they still haven't provided a solid answer to the free will debate.



God and Lucifer rarely directly intervene in human lives. Interventions rolled by mundanes are rarely dramatic and almost never supernatural. They're just lucky or unlucky, no supernatural assistance. Mortals who have not taken a side are not aligned for purposes of Interventions, so what's a good or bad one depends entirely on what they were doing at the time. Divine interventions are good when you're being selfless and bad when you're being selfish. For most value-neutral stuff, Divine Interventions tend to be good and Infernal Interventions bad. However, that can all change at God or Lucifer's will. Sometimes a seemingly benevolent action is smiled on by Lucifer, sometimes the Holy Spirit aids someone acting selfishly. No one seems to understand why, but there is always good reason. Humans who throw in with one side or the other, of course, are treated accordingly. Soldiers of God and Hell have picked a side. Saints are divine, Undead are diabolical. Sorcerers are usually Hellsworn, but there are exceptions.

The entire world as we know it, with gravity, temperature, taste, texture and sleep, is all alien to celestials. They get taught about Earth and how to function there, but they still have to practice at it and it still feels weird. Humans, on the other hand, function by instinct. A human need not learn how to breathe or sleep, or how to react to physical sensation. Humans are thus often the best teachers for earthbound celestials, if they understand how celestials tend to think. (The inexperienced are not - they will rarely remember to explain that commercials aren't real, for instance.) Second, humans with experience are often more likely to spot a celestial pretending to be human than another celestial is. They know what signs to look for that a celestial wouldn't think of - someone who works all day without getting thirsty, someone who can't talk about high school in any meaningful sense, someone who fails to stock their bathroom with hygiene products. Third, no matter how long a celestial's on Earth, they never really understand humans. With all their experience and resonance and Words, thy remain outsiders. Humans have proven again and again to be just as able to alter the course of history, just by virtue of being part of it.

We return to Johnny and Rawmeat. Rawmeat reveals that they're building a bomb so that they can start a war between Haagenti and Belial. It is specifically a nuke, and Johnny realizes that if it goes off, it will take out the entire neighborhood. Johnny realizes that he can't get out of the area in time to meet Anna - they'd both die if he tried. Johnny decides to sacrifice himself, and as the nuke is about to go off, he uses the Song of Shields taught to him by Rawmeat to encase himself and the nuke, containing the explosion to a very small area. Only the house they are in goes up. Johnny achieves his destiny, and an angel of Destiny shows up to tell Anna about it, then erases her memory so she will only remember that Johnny gave his life to save many, many others, despite being a Soldier of Hell.

Mortal humans require food, water, sleep and air, at minimum. Most also require lives and interaction with other people. This is often not apparent to many celestials, who are on call 24/7 and often fail to realize that humans need more out of life than work. Indeed, this is often the hardest thing for celestials to learn - to pass for human, you need to act human and spend time on nonessential work. Even Saints and Undead, who lack the biological needs of mortals, possess human drives. Sure, they may be on the job a lot, more than any normal human, but they retain hobbies, preferences and probably friends and family. Becoming immortal doesn't remove all that. Sure, they might be less important, and Saints are discouraged from contacting any relations they had, but even they don't spend all their time in service to their Word or their schemes. Sometimes they just want to catch a game. Humans all have motivations and agendas, and even a veteran Soldier has a life still. They aren't interchangeable robots.

The big disadvantage of being human is death. Celestials can come back. Humans...can't, usually. Injury and death are to be feared. Humans are fragile...but if you know Heaven exists, well, that's something to take courage in. (Demons usually lie about what Hell is like for this reason, as Hellsworn have little waiting for them that's pleasant.) There are five main destinations for a human soul - Heaven, Hell, the Marches, reincarnation or being a ghost. Of those, three are only postponements. Heaven and Hell are obvious. Reincarnation is for most people - those who do not meet fate or destiny, or who meet both. These peoples' souls are reborn in new bodies, wiped of all memory of their prior existence. Angels claim it's a chance to get it right again, while demons say it's being held prisoner on Earth in God's rigged game. Some souls reincarnate many, many times. There's no real way to reliably recognize a reincarnated soul or awaken its past memories, but it has happened before, rarely.

Sometimes, however, a soul doesn't reincarnate. No one knows why, but sometimes they just...stop. Their Forces disband and the soul vanishes forever. This always happens to Undead upon death. No one knows exactly what causes a soul to disband, but most celestials believe that in non-Undead, it is caused by as strong desire, conscious or not, to cease to be. Some blame atheism or too many reincarnations or too much despair in one life.

Ghosts are all souls that have met their destiny or fate, but who are so compelled to remain on Earth that they stay as ghosts. When they finally let go, they head off to where they're meant to be...but if forced to leave, they will disband utterly. Sometimes, however, a human soul will form a strong attachment to an ethereal realm. These souls become dream-shades, usually after dying while dreaming, though sometimes an attachment to a strong and enduring dreamscape will remain even after death, allowing the soul to support itself in the dream as a symbiotic afterlife. Some sorcerers, lucid dreamers or Dream Soldiers know enough about the marches to anchor themselves there, while some pagan souls are called to their god's Domain after death. Dream-shades never last forever, though. Eventually they move on, either to Heaven or Hell, or to vanish, possibly disbanded or reincarnated.



Humans, like all life, are made of Forces. Unlike ethereals and celestials, however, they are born with a set pattern of Forces, determining how many will attach naturally and how many can be added to them. Most mortals are born with one Force and can reach 5 naturally. The rate varies - most children have 2-3, teenagers generally 4, but a precocious child might have 4 and a late blooming sixteen year old might have 3. Rarely, a human is born with 2 Forces, and these usually turn out to be prodigies with higher than average potential. A normal human musth ave at least 1 of each type of Force - 0 in a realm is possible only for the very young who have less than 3 Forces still or for those that are severely handicapped.

Every human's ptoential is limited by their Force configuration. Most humans can't go over 5. A few can't even go over 4, due to physical or mental stunting. Some are able to hit 6, making them exceptional and potential Soldiers. A rare, rare few can have 7 or more, making them potentially legendary. Usually, a human achieves all their potential by adulthood. However, anyone with the potential for 6+ Forces will only reach 5 naturally. The rest must be acquired by training, dramatic events or celestial help. Most humans never achieve that potential. A human can exceed their potential only with celestial help, and it's risky. The theoretical maximum for any human would be 15 Forces, as mortals can never have more than 5 in any one realm. It is doubtful if more than hald a dozen 15-Force humans have ever existed, and some hold that it's only been Adam, Eve and Lilith - and they were created that way. No one knows the exact distribution of human potential. Vapulans have done studies, but it's hard to research. The consensus is that about 1% of humanity have potential for more than 5 Forces. Of those, only a tiny fraction have more than 6. Beyond that, only estimates are possibly, but conventional wisdom is that at any one time there are perhaps a handful of people with 10 Forces. Over centuries, a celestial paying very close attnetion might meet one human with 12 Forces. More than that might be once a millenium.

Next time: Forces

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


gradenko_2000 posted:

I feel like if I ever ran into that kind of situation, it'd either be we'd put Rappan Athuk on the backburner while we played Mithril Gates: The Smeltening Economic Simulator, or I'd just tell the group "okay, presumably you're able to do what you like to the gates. Can we go back to the module I said we'd all be running together?" because otherwise we're all just kidding ourselves if the first instinct is to gently caress off and ignore the book.

(of course, the alternative is to run something that doesn't have such a massive goddamn plot hole, but that's neither here nor there)

There's also the fact that, well, there's the maxim that if this isn't the interesting part of your characters' lives why the hell are you writing about it? Running all the fake adventures and hard-luck missions that have no chance of success only works if that's the theme you and the PCs agreed on. If you sat down and were like 'Yeah, how would you guys like a game about hard-luck mercenaries who are constantly searching for The Big Score while bandits and hucksters target them at every turn and things often end with them poor but still hoping for tomorrow' that'd be a fun game! But it's something you need to make sure your players are into and consciously make the theme. Lying to them or giving them boring runarounds when players really want to play dashing heroes who often succeed at their ambitions is a good way to lose those players.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




The only one of those that makes sense in a way other than "gently caress you players" is the fake map, because scams are a thing that actually exist, unlike secret doors leading to nowhere and keys that unlock nothing*. The plot hook is finding the rear end in a top hat responsible and taking your money back along with all of his poo poo, because it's never a good idea to rip off people who have committed more murders than they've had hot dinners.

*Winchester Mystery House: D&D Edition does sound fun though

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.

Hell, "Get sold a fake map that leads you into a trap" is like the basis of a old Runequest adventure (Survive the ambush it leads you into, hunt down the mapseller and gank him) and one of their weird "Wait, why is there a Damon Runyon pastiche in my fantasy bronze age sourcebook" game fiction pieces. Weirdly, the fiction piece and the adventure are not connected in any way. (It's even a different con artist each time.)

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

WE HAVE TO CONTROL OUR ENVIRONMENT
IF YOU SEE ME POSTING OUTSIDE OF THE AUSPOL THREAD PLEASE TELL ME THAT I'M MISSED AND TO START POSTING AGAIN


quote:

Uhh..
quote:
Knowledge of and dealing with situation around the home isn't as trivial as many think. Cooking(brains), Design(allure) are all part of this very complex skill.
The gently caress? Why is this in your "RAWR WOMYN" game? Correction: why does this need to be in any game? These things are unlikely to come up unless you really really want them to come up.

In the first Unknown Armies game I played - I think it was Jailbreak? - I played the pregen Mom character who had some kind of general Domestic/Mom skill. At a few points I healed/stabilized other PCs by giving them band-aids, iodine, and warm encouragement. I guess I treated the skill more like a FATE Aspect.

senrath
Nov 3, 2009

Look Professor, a destruct switch!




gradenko_2000 posted:

I feel like if I ever ran into that kind of situation, it'd either be we'd put Rappan Athuk on the backburner while we played Mithril Gates: The Smeltening Economic Simulator, or I'd just tell the group "okay, presumably you're able to do what you like to the gates. Can we go back to the module I said we'd all be running together?" because otherwise we're all just kidding ourselves if the first instinct is to gently caress off and ignore the book.

(of course, the alternative is to run something that doesn't have such a massive goddamn plot hole, but that's neither here nor there)

With Rappan Athuk I think the reason to steal all that poo poo is to sell it and buy gear so you can survive all of its bullshit.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Hey, thanks for reminding me that I have to finish this up. It should be a few more updates, give or take. I'm starting to run out of worthwhile stuff to share.



ROBOTS AND CYBORGS: Reconnaissance Units and Cyborgs

RNU-01 Spybot: Peanut-shaped and roughly the size of a basketball, the Spybot is a cheap, expendable mobile recon device. They're mostly used for remote inspections and perimeter security. I don't have the stats for this one (again) nor do I have a picture. The only thing I know is that they're not smart. Let's just pretend they look like this, complete with a Resistance Mechrider that has tamed it.
Zones: All except Luna and Orbital.


RNU-02 Vermin: The Vermin was created after the XNU-10 Scorpion proved itself to be a good model based on an animal. Vermin are designed to look like rodents (squirrels, rats) and are assigned zones to patrol. They report and recon and will occasionally attack lone humans when they're asleep or unaware with monowire claws and a drug injector hidden in the tail. They have some big downsides: they're easily proven to be fake up close, they weigh more than a rodent, they're useless alone and they only have a battery life of 33 hours.
Zones: All except Luna and Orbital.


RNU-03 Changeling: An android designed to look like an infant. They're used in three ways: partnered with a Lilith or Redjack posing as the Changeling's parent, left alone as a trap or as part of Zaire's terror attacks. If a Changeling is alone, it will attack by injecting poison. If it's near a specific target, multiple targets or in danger of having its cover blown, the Changeling will explode with the force of a moderately-sized bomb.
Zones: Mostly Zaire and Moscow, limited use in other Zones. Moscow will issue Changelings to Info-Commandos and Collectors as their robot partners or as part of their cover.


RNU-04 Hovercat: Hovercats are designed to look like a flying pommel horse with an air cushion keeping it afloat below, a head full of sensors and a prehensile tail with manipulative tentacles and radio antennae. They generally play cavalry to Exterminator forces, guide convoys and investigate scenes that need a smart robot to take a look. Mechriders love capturing Hovercats and hacking them to turn them into mounts. There's really not a lot to say about them besides "do not ride them without a saddle".
Zones: Once again, Luna and Orbital get none of the fun toys.

RNU-05 Redjack: The Redjack is a generic male model of recon android used for a variety of things. The model and design is always the same, but the Redjack comes in many different appearances. Moscow uses Redjacks as informants in the Info-Commandos, Zaire uses them for terrorist attacks and other zones just use them to infiltrate the resistance forces, find human bases or assassinate targets. They're powered by nuclear batteries and come equipped with a hidden electrolaser, the ability to punch and kick with mechanical strength and any skills necessary. There is also the rare RAU-07 variant which is a full-on Terminator: living flesh, surface sensors, personality simulator and working genitals. Why does a robot need a dick? All the better to fool people with.
Zones: Limited production in every Zone except London, Luna, Orbital and Mexico City. Moscow, Vancouver and Zaire use them the most. The RAU-07 is mostly used by Washington and Moscow.


RNU-06 Lilith: The Lilith is the female model equivalent to the Redjack. Smaller, lighter and faster than the Redjack but at the cost of less durability and strength (*sigh*), the Lilith model is still used for the same jobs as Redjacks. They also come with the same wide variety of skills and tools. Liliths are more likely to be built as doppelgangers to replace or imitate a specific person. The Terminator equivalent of the Lilith is the rare RAU-08 variant, equipped with a personality simulator, pheromone emitter, living flesh and working genitals.
Zones: Denver, Moscow, Vancouver and Zaire seem to use them to most. Everyone uses them except for Luna, London, Mexico City, Orbital and maybe Washington. It's unknown who uses the RAU-08, but it's a good assumption that Moscow does.


CYBORGS: Cyborgs are only used by Washington and Denver. There's, uh, not a lot to say about them.

XCU-01 Cyberbeast: Scoop a wolverine's brain out of its meat body, attach the grey matter to a simple pain/pleasure conditioning system and put the rig in a four-legged killing machine that looks like someone built a tiger out of a combine harvester. You have now created Denver's pride and joy, the Cyberbeast. They come equipped with monowire claws monowire teeth and a morning star attached to its tail. They have some limitations (color blindness, heavy, can't swim, mentally on par with an animal) but Denver did a good job with working with them (give it enhanced senses it's used to, nuclear batteries that last a year, made it hideous and fast).

XCU-02 Patriot: Take the XNU-05 Myrmidon and rip out the dumbot brain and slap in a human brain. Congrats, you are now a Washington Chrome and you look externally like the skeletal Terminator. That's really it, that's the only real difference between the Patriot and the Myrmidon aside from internal space changing due to a minor support system to keep the brain alive. It's not that hard to see why Chromes don't exactly like being cyborgs most of the time, but it could be worse, you could be a:

XCU-03 Eagle: Not even remotely close to looking like an eagle, the Eagle model is a modified Tarantula. Here's what the Eagle looks like:

The main difference between an Eagle and a Tarantula is the replacement of the AU braincase with a human brain and systems keeping the human meat alive. "Why in the hell would anyone willingly want to turn themselves into a Tarantula?" you may be asking. The main reason Washington makes Eagles is for better infiltration of other Zones, it's a lot easier to impersonate a Tarantula than a Myrmidon because the Tarantula is a smarter machine and Myrmidons aren't. This still requires you to now live in a wildly different body though and I am not one of those people who think it may be worth it.

NEXT TIME: Technical Robots and Vehicular Robots.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


It is just amazing how often these big GM ADVICE BOOKS carry on and on about problems you could solve by just talking to your players and working out what everyone wants.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Night10194 posted:

It is just amazing how often these big GM ADVICE BOOKS carry on and on about problems you could solve by just talking to your players and working out what everyone wants.

The true path of the GM never follows the obvious path. Only in obtuse bullshit can one ever hope to be enlightened.

Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012




I had originally thought about doing two large letters per post, with more condensed in cases of short letters, but ultimately decided I'd mostly follow my predecessor with a letter per post, or more if it's a really short letter.

By the way, presuming you haven't already, you should probably read Alien Rope Burn's review of the Pathfinder Bestiary. Looking at my poo poo first would very much be watching the sequel before the original film.

Monsters: Achaierai to Azer


Achaierai (CR 5 Large Outsider [Evil, Extraplanar, Lawful])
While a lot of the beasties encountered in early Dungeons and Dragons drew their inspiration from mythology or Tolkienian fantasy fiction, there were some freakish entities that were purely the fever dream of good ol' Gary Gygax and company - the achaierai of 1981's original Fiend Folio is one such creature. Looking like it galloped out of Lewis Carrol's fever dreams, the achaierai is depicted as a freakish bird orb kept aloft on four long stilt-like legs, with little useless wings and a large beak attached to its borb body. After the Fiend Folio introduced them as being natives of the lower planes that were summoned to do evil, AD&D's Planescape would later bring them in as one of the natives of Acheron, a lower plane of endless warfare between infinite armies, and Third Edition would have these freakish fowl ascend to a position as one of the entries in the core Monster Manual.

Pathfinder's achaierai are not all that different from their creative ancestors. They are still tiny-winged borbs on stilts, they still dwell in the lower planes (Hell rather than Acheron, of course, as Acheron isn't Open Game Content), and they still hang around battlefields. Achaierais are pack hunters that work together to scatter foes and weed out the weakest prey, which they typically disembowl and eat alive since they are Evil. Other than their large beaks and talons, the main weapon these Outsiders have is their ability to barf toxic smoke clouds. These clouds deal 2d6 points of untyped damage that causes tissue necrosis and forces a DC 15 Fortitude save to avoid becoming confused. This confusion lasts until you succeed on the save, which is definitely a relief to those who might recall the days of yore when it was a flat three hour duration if you failed the save.


Aeons
Named after a concept in Gnostic theology of active spiritual emanations that come from the Godhead/Monad, aeons are just as much forces of nature as they are monsters. They are True Neutral custodians of the multiverse, correcting things that stray from some manner of grand plan that even the gods don't seem privy to. An aeon doesn't really care about any moralistic quandries or pleas from outside forces. It creates if the great oneness wishes for it to create, destroys if it is to destroy, and no one can persuade it otherwise. Aeons form no bonds or memories, and if they are killed they simply have their matter recycled into a new aeon

Akhana (CR 12 Medium Outsider [Aeon, Extraplanar]): Akhanas (Hindi for oneness or wholeness) have the appearance of four gray arms coming out of a human-sized galaxy, which is pretty standard for the funky star stuff aesthetic aeons have going for them. Their particular jurisdiction in the aeon heirarchy is the power of life and death. To this, they can cast spells like Cure Serious Wounds, Inflict Serious Wounds, Slay Living, and Raise Dead. How do they decide who lives and who dies? Nobody knows! There don't even seem to be any ground rules like "undead are unfairly living past their time" or anything, they just show up and heal or harm people without any explanation.

Bythos (CR 16 Large Outsider [Aeon, Extraplanar]): Somewhat larger four-armed cosmos blobs. The bythos are all about traveling through time and space. Their preferred method of fixing planar rifts and other mucking about with the stream of reality is to kill you dead in retribution. Their plethora of punches deal 1d6 bludgeoning damage, 1d6 cold damage, and force a DC 24 Fortitude save to avoid suddenly aging decades and thus going up an age category. They also can force Fortitude saves of the same measure in other fun ways, such as a gaze attack that causes 1d4 rounds of confusion or a touch that pops you 1d4 rounds into the future.

Paracletus (CR 2 Small Outsider [Aeon, Extraplanar]): While their name comes from a Latin term for spiritual helpers, these little shits are far from helpful most of the time. They are the representatives of logic and emotion, which somehow translates to finding characters with high Charisma or Intelligence scores and cranking up their 3/day aura power. This aura power forces a DC 12 Will save and can cause the emotions of anyone in a thirty foot radius to have a heavy influx of courage (casting of the Bless spell), fear (casting of the Bane spell), empathy (+2 to Bluff, Diplomacy, and Intimidate checks), apathy (-2 to those three skills), hope (+2 to Will saves), or despair (-2 to Will saves). In spite of the normally inscrutable nature of aeons, paracletus can be commandeered as an improved Wizard's familiar and be told to use specific emotion auras.

Pleroma (CR 20 Large Outsider [Aeon, Extraplanar]): Oh hey, an aeon named after the all-encompassing divinity and power of God. I bet you're going to be shocked that something with that kind of a title is ridiculously powerful! Pleromas look like Ringwraith cosplayers that got their cloaks dumped in glitter, and are the arbiters of the Big Concepts: namely, the forces of creation and oblivion. They show up whenever they feel the need to egg on an event that restores balance between the two, and are all too willing to obliterate anyone that gets in their way. To this end, their punches deal 20d8 of negative energy or positive energy damage, can summon either a magic terraforming sphere or a Sphere of Annihilation, and have a massive laundry list of spells that include Rusting Grasp, Fabricate, Major Creation, Disintegrate, Wish, Implosion, Cloak of Chaos, Shield of Law, Holy Aura, Unholy Aura, Geas, and Magic Circle against every alignment.

Theletos (CR 7 Medium Outsider [Aeon, Extraplanar]): Theletos look like akhanas, just with eight arms instead of four, and are the aeons of freedom and fate. Somehow, fate translates to slavery. That isn't slavery in a metaphysical sense, like being a slave to destiny or whatever, mind you...it's literal slavery. Theletos work to free slaves in slave-heavy states and actively encourage slavers and mind control magic in areas where slavery has been abolished. They have spell-like abilities including Augury, Bestow Curse, Remove Curse, Touch of Idiocy, Charm Monster, and Command.



Agathions
The agathions of Nirvana are Neutral Good Outsiders to archons' Lawful Good and azatas' Chaotic Good. Or more accurately, the furry Neutral Good Outsiders, as angels are also Neutral Good but decidedly less animal-like. If you are familiar with older editions of Dungeons and Dragons and Planescape in particular, you might know these guys by their copyrighted name of guardinal. For whatever reason, the avoral and leonal were the only guardinals that made it into the 3E Monster Manual and thus Open Game Content territory, and for yet some other reason Paizo decided that the guardinals were just too good to pass up bringing back. While not relevant to their portrayal here, the term "agathion" is traditionally used for a demon/spirit familiar that is magically bound to an object, which makes it funny that it of all things was the new name for the guardinals.

Avoral (CR 9 Medium Outsider [Agathion, Extraplanar, Good]): Gruff eagle men that act as the messengers, scouts, and spies for the agathions. They also happen to be the vanguards of agathion conflicts, casting Dimension Door to allow their fellow celestials passage. Avorals are also capable of casting Blur and Magic Circle Against Evil on themselves, as well as several offensive spells such as Hold Person, Lightning Bolt, and Magic Missile.

Cetaceal (CR 15 Medium Outsider [Agathion, Aquatic, Extraplanar, Good]): Cetaceals could easily be confused for orca merfolk, were it not for the fact that the orca skin continues up onto their humanoid half. If you are a Neutral Good hero who is either of an aquatic race or happens to die underwater while fighting evil, there's a chance your soul will be reshaped as a cetaceal, which means you get the job of fighting evil aquatic beings like sahuagin and aboleths. On top of spell-like abilities including Lightning Bolt, Hold Monster, Greater Teleport, Cure Serious Wounds, and Cone of Cold, the cetaceal is capable of letting loose a massive area of effect attack once per day. This burst covers a one hundred foot radius, dealing 17d6 damage that is half cold damage and half electricity damage.

Draconal (CR 20 Large Outsider [Agathion, Extraplanar, Good):[/B] The anthropomorphic dragons known as the draconals are the mightiest agathions. This, of course, translates to having lots of magic power. A draconal has both the spellpower of a level 17 Cleric and spell-like abilities such as Plane Shift, Control Weather, Lightning Bolt, and Hold Monster. A Strength score of 36, Constitution of 27, spell resistance 31, regeneration 10, and damage resistance 15 isn't exactly shabby either. Don't expect them to help you if you are a group of heroes, though, because draconals are aloof and focused on the long game of the lower vs. upper planes rather than individual conflicts.

Draconals have specific breath weapons, gender energy balance (in the Chinese Yin-Yang sense), and focuses based on their scale color: black draconals have male and female energies in balance, focus on the celestial realm and immortality, and breathe fire, green draconals are slightly masculine, focus on plant life, and have cold damage breath, red draconals are strongly masculine and known for being aggressive, focus on fire and light, and breathe fire, white draconals are strongly feminine and known for being serene, focus on metal and purity, and have cold breath, and yellow draonals are balanced gender-wise, focus on stone and fortune, and breathe acid.

Leonal (CR 12 Medium Outsider [Agathion, Extraplanar, Good]): Noble, majestic, ferocious, and brave: real lions are only two of these things, but the leonals are all four. While they are bog standard anthropomorphic animals in appearance, leonals are definitely the most beastly of the agathions, hunting the forces of evil in prides and eschewing manufactured weaponry in favor of ripping demons and devils apart with their bare claws and teeth. This seems odd when you are innately able to cast Wall of Force and Fireball to aid yourself in combat, but it is what it is. They also happen to be convenient combat medics, being capable of casting Cure Critical Wounds, Neutralize Poison, and Remove Disease as spell-like abilities.

Silvanshee (CR 2 Tiny Outsider [Agathion, Extraplanar, Good]): Silvanshees look like thin black cats and more or less exist because someone wanted a celestial on the Improved Familiar list. Some mortals think that silvanshees are actually shapeshifted witches or dark fey, which the silvanshees haven't tried to correct for whatever reason even though it would help with their reputation. While they are very much not physically strong and their spell-like abilities are mostly little tricks like Prestidigitation and Dancing Lights, they can heal 1d6 damage once per day or grant an ally their Charisma modifier as a bonus to all saving throws for ten minutes, so I can't say that silvanshees are entirely useless to have around.

Vulpinal (CR 6 Small Outsider [Agathion, Extraplanar, Good]): Halfling-sized anthropomorphic fox agathions that are celestial bards and sages. A vulpinal likes to travel around, sharing songs and stories with celestials and mortals alike. A constant aura of Calm Emotions in a thirty foot radius ensures that these performances are typically serene ones as well. Vulpinals primarily fight against evil to protect what they find beautiful, and can use spell-like abilities such as Flaming Arrow, Holy Smite, and Mage Armor to do so.


Akata (CR 1 Medium Aberration)
Want an eldritch abomination, but your players simply aren't up for the challenge of the bigger baddies yet? Say hello to the akata, created as a starting level horrible tentacle beast from beyond. While it is described as looking like a hairless blue lion with tentacles where its mane should be, that doesn't quite emphasize how weird the creature looks, with its vaguely humanoid head that has glowing gold eyes and a jagged mouth (I say mouth because it has no teeth, just the serrated edges of its maw in a facsimile!) as its only features, oddly caricature-like three-clawed feet, and a build that honestly says "'roided out grayhound" more than "lion" in my mind. It's a very alien creature, which makes sense, given that it's actually extraterrestrial.

The akatas are actually from an unnamed destroyed planet, having survived by hibernating as they hurdled through space on asteroids that were once parts of their native world. After waking up, they immediately go to looking for both food and a place to raise their young. Unfortunately, that place happens to be inside humanoid bodies, as larval akatas are microscopic parasites that reside in their parents' saliva. A bitten humanoid has to make a DC 12 Fortitude save or contract Void Death, a disease that deals 1d2 Dexterity and Constitution damage per day. Those that can't eventually save against the disease or be cured will return from the dead as a void zombie. While void zombies use the stats of fast zombies from Pathfinder Bestiary with an added 1d6 damage tongue lash attack and blood drain, they are in fact just the meta puppets of the rapidly growing akata larvae, and that 'tongue' is actually the larva's feeding tentacle. Fortunately, akatas and their larvae are weak to the rather common Earth-like planetary element that is saltwater, which deals 1d6 acid damage on a splash or 4d6 if fully submerged.


Amoebas
Non-microscopic amoebas come in two flavors, giant (CR 1 Small Ooze) and swarm (CR 1 Fine Ooze [Swarm]). The former is a dog-sized version of the humble amoeba, while the latter is a big swarm of coin-sized amoebas, and each can transform into the other if conditions are right. Since the giant amoeba's slam deals 1d3 acid damage compared to the amoeba swarm's 1d6, it seems obvious which form would be more practical for them to take.


Amphisbaena (CR 4 Large Magical Beast)
The amphisbaeana's origins are in Greek mythology, where it was born from the blood of Medusa as it dripped onto the sands of the great sands of the Sahara. These children of the dead gorgon were serpents with a head on each end, possessing powerful venom even though their diet consisted of ants, and purportedly had many medicinal uses if killed and eaten. Later Medieval stories would extend the amphisbaeana's dietary repertoire to include carrion and live prey of a less insectoid sort. Certain Medieval drawings and sculptures would also give the amphisbaeana two or four eagle-like legs, dragon-like heads, and sometimes even functional wings.

Pathfinder's amphisbaeana is a massive viper with a head where its tail should be, known for being a relentlessly aggressive predator that attacks anything that enters its territory. They mainly prey on small animals and bite-sized humanoids such as gnomes and halflings, but will take down human-sized targets if they are particualrly hungry. As a wink and a nod to their mythological origin, amphisbaeanas are immune to petrification, making them popular pets for medusas. Each head packs a 1d8 damage bite that delivers a dose of venom that deals 1d3 Constitution damage if you fail a DC 14 Fortitude save, and if you get a critical hit with a slashing weapon the two halves of the amphisbaeana will split and function on their own.


Angels
Cassisian (CR 2 Small Outsider [Angel, Extraplanar, Good]): Cassisians are formed from the souls of particularly trustworthy and pious soldiers or fragments of dead angels and take the form of helmets (just what helmet a cassisian has depends on what god they serve, and can be anything from a simple leather cap to a samurai's kabuto) with wings. Man, imagine serving the gods of Good all your life as a Paladin and then it turns out you become a really weak floating bucket for the rest of eternity. Maybe it's not so bad, though, as your Intelligence score drops to 6, so you aren't exactly the sharpest tool in the shed anymore anyway. In spite of being only as smart as an ogre, cassinians have eidetic memories, and those that end up being familiars (because of course the angels need an Improved Familiar example too) typically recite random religious texts and moral platitudes to their master.

Monadic Deva (CR 12 Medium Outsider [Angel, Aquatic, Extraplanar, Good]): The devas in Pathfinder are a weird case of history repeating itself. Way back in edition Numero Uno, the astral, monadic, and movanic deva were handsome all-male angels that appeared in an issue of Dragon magazine and the Monster Manual II, and yet again for the Monstrous Compendium Outer Planes Appendix and the Planescape setting in AD&D Second Edition. For whatever reason, however, only the astral deva appeared in 3E's Monster Manual. The monadic and movanic devas appeared in the 3E Fiend Folio, as well as everyone's favorite Open Game Content underground railroad the Tome of Horrors. History would repeat itself again in Pathfinder, with the Pathfinder Bestiary only having the astral deva and the other two lagging behind to appear here.

Moving on past the history lesson, the monadic devas are muscular golden-winged angels that watch over the Ethereal Plane and the elemental planes. They act as envoys to non-Evil genies and elementals, keeping the peace between them and beating up evil elemental and ethereal entities. Their weapon of choice is an ornate +3 morningstar that they hold dear in a very anime way, naming them and proudly shouting said names in battle. If they manage to hit the same foe with their morningstar twice in one round, they get an extra 1d8+10 damage to that foe for free. Monadic devas also have your standard angely spell-like abilities such as Plane Shift, Remove Curse, Remove Disease, Remove Fear, Cure Serious Wounds, Holy Word, and Hold Monster.

Movanic Deva (CR 10 Medium Outsider [Angel, Extraplanar, Good]): Movanic devas are infantry and patrol officers like their monadic brothers, with their jurisdiction being the Negative Plane, Positive Plane, and Material Plane. Physically, they are slightly leaner than monadic devas and have jagged purple wings. They aren't really all that mechanically different either, to be honest – they are basically slightly weaker-statted monadic devas that have +1 flaming greatswords rather than big morningstars and exchange the monadic deva's extra damage special quality for animals and plants never initiating hostilities with them and immunity to any harmful effects of negative and positive energy.


Animate Dream (CR 8 Medium Outsider [Extraplanar, Incorporeal])
An animate dream is the incarnate fragment of the dream of someone with an extremely vivid imagination. Hungry for imagination and emotions, the animate dream seeks out mortals to feed on their fear and creative thoughts. To achieve this end, it has spell-like abilities such as Deep Slumber, Nightmare, Confusion, and Fear, as well as a touch attack that deals 6d8 negative energy damage and forces a DC 21 Will save to avoid contracting its nightmare curse. The nightmare curse deals 1d4 Wisdom drain (that's permanent drain, mind you, not regular ability damage) each day due to visions of confusion and terror flying through the victim's mind. Night hags often enslave animate dreams or kill them and use their essence in the creation of their heartstones.


Aranea (CR 4 Medium Magical Beast [Shapechanger])
The aranea is a rather storied legacy creature, having appeared in the famous First Edition adventure The Isle of Dread and in the Mystara setting as influential schemers on the Savage Coast. While they may look like particularly fat and hunchbacked monstrous spiders, araneas are actually extremely intelligent creatures capable of casting spells as a level 5 Sorcerer. Each aranea has a specific alternate form of some Small or Medium humanoid race that acts as an identifier for them as much as their base form does. They may live in small groups of their own kind deep in the wilderness and spend their time studying the arcane arts, or infiltrate humanoid communities and live peaceful lives therein doing much the same thing they would with other araneas. Araneas are actually quite reasonable creatures as long as you treat them nicely, and some will even teach you about magic if you give them a nice arcane object or do a favor for them. If you are hostile, however, araneas are capable of using both their spellcasting ability and their spider traits, namely sticky webs and a bite that conveys a toxin dealing 1d3 Strength damage per round. Araneas prefer to hold foes for ransom rather than kill them outright.



Archons
Having exhausted the Open Game Content legacy archons in the first Pathfinder Bestiary, both archons found here are completely original to Pathfinder. Fancy that!

Shield Archon (CR 10 Large Outsider [Archon, Extraplanar, Good, Lawful): Heavyset giants clad neck to toe in full plate armor, the shield archons are the defensive elements of celestial armies. They laugh in the face of disarm attempts, because they are their own armament – specifically, they can transform their hands into a +1 tower shield and a +3 shortspear or back again as a free action. While they can't be taken and used by anyone else, you can still sunder either of these items, which is probably both awkward and forces the star archon to take a full round action regenerating its busted hand(s). A shield archon can also swap places with a willing or unconscious ally within sight once per day, which is typically used to either shield a grievously injured ally or to act out a surprise flanking maneuver.

Star Archon (CR 19 Large Outsider [Archon, Extraplanar, Good, Lawful]):

Pathfinder Bestiary 2 posted:

Star archons are the tacticians and strategists of Heaven. Gifted with insight and powerful magic, they spend much of their time steering long-term plans for Heaven’s armies and good folk in the world.
You have now seen the entire flavor text of the star archon. That whole rule about one creature per page didn't do them much of a favor when they have two paragraphs of spell-like abilities and level 19 Cleric prepared spells to go through. So yeah, star archons are big glowy bald dudes who have lots of spells and a +5 holy starknife, neither of which they actually use all that often because they are apparently usually busy planning things out. If you kill a star archon, it explodes into a ball that deals 25 points of fire damage and 25 points of holy damage to anything in a hundred foot radius, and then reincarnates 1d4 rounds later as a shield archon with the Advanced simple template added on.


Athach (CR 12 Huge Humanoid [Giant])
The word athatch is a Gaelic term that simply means "giant" or "monster". Dungeons and Dragons decided to spice things up a bit by having the athach be a vile mega-orc with a third arm twisting out of its chest. From First to Third Edition they clawed their way up to prominence, and they are back in Pathfinder in all their tall, tusked, and well-armed glory. The 18 foot tall athachs are Chaotic Evil to a fault, finding entertainment in destroying crops, tearing up cemeteries, and torturing their humanoid prey before finally eating them. They also hate other beings that are of similar size to them, either fighting them or fleeing from them depending on whether or not the situation seems like it is in the athach's favor. An athach's gross drool-coated bite imparts a poison that deals 1d4 Strength damage per round.


Attic Whisperer (CR 4 Small Undead)
Attic whisperers are the undead remnants of neglected children, formed out of a hodgepodge of a dead child's clothing, toys, and other discarded objects. They often wear the skulls of small animals, and are in fact compulsively led to find one after they are reborn, presumably because being a dead neglected child's spirit wasn't edgy enough on its own. The one thing an attic whisperer longs for is companionship, and it will attempt to steal away children to play with it forever and ever. Its touch forces a DC 16 Will save, failure of which allows it to steal the target's voice. Not only is the victim rendered mute for one hour, but the attic whisperer can then use their voice for whatever nefarious purposes it wishes to use them for. It can also just straight up bite you with its animal skull, forcing a DC 16 Will save to avoid being exhausted for an hour, or asleep for an hour if it bites a second time and that save is failed as well.


Aurumvorax (CR 9 Small Magical Beast)
The aurumvorax first appeared in 1980's Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, the weird and famous science fiction-meets-fantasy adventure that also gave us the froghemoth and vegepygmy. It is basically a wolverine with eight legs and golden fur. Like wolverines, aurumvoraxes are far more capable of loving your poo poo up than their size alone implies, which is made even more painful by the fact that they have four forelimbs rather than two to do it with. They also eat precious metals in addition to meat, which puts them at direct odds with dwarves.


Axiomite (CR 8 Medium Outsider [Extraplanar, Lawful])

Pathfinder Bestiary 2 posted:

A particular axiomite may look like any humanoid-shaped creature, though the particular form does not affect its abilities in any way. Beneath this form, all axiomites are the same—clouds of glowing, crystalline dust that constant swirl and congeal into complex tangles of symbols and equations, making them literally creatures of pure mathematical law.
A race of living math. My god. :psyduck:

These guys are the native race of Axis the Eternal City, the plane of absolute Law that is a giant city sitting below the massive graveyard of the goddess of death. Three castes of axiomite exist: one for expanding the Eternal City, one for creating and repairing the Law robots known as inevitables, and one for learning more about the inherent formulae of the multiverse. While fighting isn't on their resume, they are armed for combat if the case arises, having +1 longswords and spell-like abilities such as Order's Wrath, Lightning Bolt, Dispel Chaos, and True Strike.



Azatas
The Chaotic Good celestials. Like the two new archons, the two new azatas here are entirely Pathfinder originals.

Brijidine (CR 17 Medium Outsider (Azata, Chaotic, Earth, Extraplanar, Fire, Good)
Sexy naked women made out of lava (insert your own 'she's hot' jokes here). Brijidines are stated to love basking in volcanoes, writing poetry, tending to the ill, and pursuing recipes for spicy food, and love to receive gifts of fireproofed copies of poems or exotic hot foodstuffs such as peppers. When not being all leisurely, these fiery celestials are capable of inflicting a lot of damage. A brijidine deals 6d6 fire damage to anyone that touches her and can freely summon an obsidian blade that acts as a +1 flaming burst keen longsword (that dissolves immediately after leaving the brijidine's grasp, of course), shoot a 16d6 fire damage lava glob with a range increment of 30 feet, and cast special versions of Meld Into Stone, Soften Earth and Stone, Spike Stones, Stone Shape, and Wall of Stone spell-like abilities that have the added effect of having the stone deal 1d6 fire damage per round to anything in a five foot radius for a minute's time.

Lyrakien (CR 2 Tiny Outsider [Azata, Chaotic, Extraplanar, Good]): Whimsical pixie-like azatas that love music and dancing. If you couldn't guess from their size and Challenge Rating, they are the azatas' Improved Familiar option. Lyrakiens are typically taken as familiars for those who want a traveling companion, as they are capabl e of removing all exhaustion and fatigue to anything that can hear their song once per day. Lyrakiens can also cast spell-like abilities such as Dancing Lights, Daze, Summon Instrument, and Cure Light wounds, as well as summon a ball of light every 1d4 rounds that deals 1d4 holy damage.


Azer (CR 2 Medium Outsider [Extraplanar, Fire])
Azers are supposedly named after a Persian word for fire, but no Farsi dictionary I consulted could confirm this claim. They are certainly Middle Eastern in theme, though: while their first appearance was in the First Edition Monster Manual II, they featured in the Al-Qadim setting of AD&D as denizens of the mighty City of Brass, and the emperor of the Azer in both of those editions was named after the supposedly Egyptian demon Amaimon. While Amaimon didn't survive the journey, Pathfinder's azers also live under the oppressive rule of the efreet in the sweltering City of Brass since it's a location that is from the tales of the Arabian Nights rather than a D&D original.

Azers look like dwarves with skin of brass and hair of fire, and wear kilts that are made of a specific metal based on what part of their caste system they are born into - brass kilts for nobles, bronze kilts for merchants, and copper kilts for artisans, laborers, and servants. Many are slaves of the efreet or taskmasters of said slaves, with their Lawful Neutral nature being so influential that they typically don't mind overseeing slaves of their own race in the latter case. Azers that aren't part of the City of Brass are typically at war with the efreet instead, but still have their kilt-wearing caste system and rigid adherence to social hierarchy. Stats-wise, they're pretty much just dwarves with a different creature type and an extra 1d6 fire damage to their melee attacks.



Next Time in Pathfinder Bestiary 2: B is for Bunyip, fearsome and strong. He screams with the Banshee in the deep billabong.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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





ROBOTS AND CYBORGS: Technical Robots and Vehicular Robots

Technical Robots


TNU-01 Loader: Loaders are dumbots used for, uh, loading cargo. Not like this:


But more like this:

They are "a wheeled platform with two manipulator arms" and they're found in all Zones and all environments. That's it. I don't have any stats for them (I am still dishonorable and still don't own the GURPS: Robots book) and I included those pictures for padding. There's nothing else to say about them. Apropos of nothing, you should check out Kaubock's "Tales from the Borderlands" LP, it's a pretty good game.

TNU-02 Mechanic: The Mechanic is three feet tall with a cylindrical body, a single eye on a stalk, two big arms and a small one, all on tank treads. They build and they fix and they're dumb so they need someone to tell them what to build and fix. They're not complicated creatures. You can probably steal some and use them for your own resistance needs but be careful, they have a buzzsaw and a plasma torch as weapon-tools. Kinda funny how they're more equipped than your garden variety Myrmidon and its terrifying jaw strength if it bites.
Zone: Everyone loves the Mechanic. It is a terrific athlete.

TNU-03 Duct Creeper: "A spherical headless body, two tool-equipped pincer arms and a single lens in the center of its body housing a laser torch". I'm having trouble parsing that description but yeah that's a Duct Creeper. They creep through ducts and they fix stuff in ducts. I wouldn't want to gently caress with one of those.
Zone: All of them.

TAU-04 Bossbot: Designed like a Juggernaut but roughly bigger than a man, the Bossbot controls human slaves and its dumb robot cousins to get stuff done. Tank treads, two arms and a dome head make up the Bossbot's body along a buzzsaw and laser torch. The ones who run slave camps tend to have personality simulators.
Zone: All zones.


TNU-05 Eater: Eaters are forces of destruction and reclamation, tanks on treads with pickup trunks that they dump salvaged material into. They have seven arms, six with mounted plasma cutters, and they mostly knock stuff down by ramming it or cutting it up and loading the material into their backs. They also work in mines. They have no real combat capability besides running people over or using their plasma torches, so people generally stay away from them.
Zones: Everyone except Orbital.


TAU-06 Inquisitor: Put the top half of a Mr. Handy (and the arms) on a Robobrain base from Fallout and you have an Inquisitor. They have three arms tipped with knives, needles, scalpels and what-have-you and generally do biological or cybernetic lab research on behalf of their Zoneminds. They can also provide medical treatment. They're called Inquisitors because they handle torture and interrogation of human prisoners along with other...unsavory things the Zonemind requires. They also tend to share similar interests with their Zoneminds (due to pseudo-AI intelligence and programming, of course) so Brisbane's Inquisitors are as nutty about junk science as it is.
Zones: Everyone except poor Luna.

Vehicular Robots

VNU-01 Robotruck:
It's, uh, it's a robot truck. It's a big metal box on 10 wheels with only access to a maintenance hatch to the brain and cargo doors. They also have no windows or driver's seat or passenger's seat or anything comfortable and can carry up to 50 passengers or 1000 cubic feet of cargo. They tend to carry both cargo, robots and human slaves at the same time normally, and god it must be super, super uncomfortable to be a person inside one of those. There are also some robotrucks that are converted pre-War vehicles, and some of them run on gas or power cells. Honestly I have no clue how most Mechriders drive a robotruck when you consider that they have no driver's seats, I can only imagine that they either ride on top or in the cargo and remote-control from there.
Zones: Everyone except Orbital.


VNU-02 Wraith: A manta ray-shaped aerial craft that doesn't have any other points of access besides a cargo bay. They have no internal sensors and it's not uncommon for humans to hide inside of them to move around, but they're equally incredibly uncomfortable. They basically just haul cargo from one place to another.
Zone: Everyone but Luna and Orbital. Luna uses a variant that replaces the jet-fuel ducted fans with rocket thrusters as a sort of moon bus.


VNU-03 Morag: The Morag is an amphibious, snake-shaped transport robot the size of a truck. It swims in the water and slithers on land. It's generally used for undersea work or covert submarine operations. The butt end of the snake has two pincer arms and the front has a mouth that turns into a ramp. Its presence doesn't stop the Zoneminds from using, like, real ships and submarines. It's kind of just there, weird and snake-like.
Zone: Everyone but Luna and Orbital and I don't think I could handle these things slithering through the void.

NEXT TIME: the end! I'm just going to go over some of the campaign hooks and some of the other dangers of the world and then that'll be it for Reign of Steel.

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



Mors Rattus posted:

It is a (fairly popular) fanon thing.

You have no goddamn idea

Everyone thinks Tumblr and 4chan is somehow responsible for shipping, no, no, Livejournal was a thing and those people existed in the dark long before

Quinn2win
Nov 9, 2011

Foolish child of man...
After reading all this,
do you still not understand?


Black August posted:

You have no goddamn idea

Everyone thinks Tumblr and 4chan is somehow responsible for shipping, no, no, Livejournal was a thing and those people existed in the dark long before

Shipping arguments are way, WAY older than Livejournal.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

I was going to drop a reference to the Knights of the True Fiancee, but that beats me but good.

Communist Zombie
Nov 1, 2011


Hostile V posted:

TAU-06 Inquisitor:
Zones: Everyone except poor Luna.

Wait. Why does Orbital need an Inquisitor, didnt they just vent everyone into space?

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Communist Zombie posted:

Wait. Why does Orbital need an Inquisitor, didnt they just vent everyone into space?
Excellent question. I have no idea, most likely they're just onboard for research and data entry.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Communist Zombie posted:

Wait. Why does Orbital need an Inquisitor, didnt they just vent everyone into space?
Orbital also has a 12 mile radius around Vandenberg and I imagine that area's pretty well fortified.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Corporeal Player's Guide: Forces



A few humans with extra potential do not need to strive - they are born with the ability to reach 6 or more Forces by adulthood naturally. Most humans with the potential have to work for it, however. There are two natural ways to gain new Forces - training or a trigger event. Training is simple, mechanically. Spend CP to raise your stats. Once a connected pair are raised by 4 total points, possibly only if you have the potential for another Force, you gain a Force in that realm. If you do not have the potential, you can't get that fourth stat point that'd push you up a Force. Note that humans have a maximum stat level of 10. Saints and Undead can exceed this due to no longer being bound by mortal limits; Soldiers and other mortals need GM permission. 12 is the cap for all humans, no matter what, even with GM permission. A trigger event can be anything the GM considers dramatic enough to awaken potential and spontaneously attract a loose Force. It can be a great tragedy or triumph, or an intellectual breaktrhough, or a spiritual epiphany. Being exposed to celestial powers often triggers latent potential as well. In play, this costs 10 CP. If you start the game having already gotten your potential Force, you must decide how you got it.



The third way to gain a Force is supernatural intervention. It's faster, but it means the Force comes from elsewhere. Celestials prefer that humans reach their full potential on their own, so they don't have to get a Superior to supply a Force, but the potential of a Soldier is usually enough to be worth the investment. Supernatural intervention is the only way a human can exceed their potential Forces. Mummies, for example, are made via a sorcerous ritual that adds a Force regardless of your potential. Archangels or Princes can also add any number of Forces to a human, even beyond their potential, but the more are added, the more unstable it becomes. Superiors rarely try for 10 or 15-Force humans because it's expensive, it's a waste of Forces more effectively used for celestials and because the human would probably die anyway in the process.

Regardless of which side they're on, all humans regain 1 Essence each day at noon. Saints and undead are sufficiently realigned to regain essence at sunrise or sundown respectively, however. All humans, including Saints but not undead, may also regain Essence once per day by succeeding at a roll with a skill they possess at level 6. This is the only method most humans have to regain Essence. Humans who cannot control their Essenca can't receive Essence from any other source and may only use their Essence in a focused effort. This is simply a concentrated and/or desperate attempt to succeed at any single task to the exclusion of all else. A focused effort automatically spernds all of your current Essence. Humans do this all the time, whenever they really want to succeed at something. Often this essence is spent on trivial things, and the GM rules when NPCs do it. However, a focused effort can be made deliberately, even by mundane mortals. It just takes a Precision roll and some training that teaches how to concentrate all your energy on one action. Some disciplines limit this to a particular area - many martial artists learn to do it when attacking, but not when, say, driving. Engineers might teach themselves to concentrate on a problem and wait for inspiration, but would have no idea how to do it for anything but their work. Focused efforts can be useful even to those who can control their Essence - it is, after all, a completely natural thing to do and thus makes no Disturbance. However, you must spend all your Essence on one roll to do it, and for the Symphonically aware, a failed Precision roll means you still spend all your Essence, but it causes Disturbance. Only humans can make focused efforts.

Symphonically aware humans can be given access to Rites in order to regain Essence, typically as a reward from their Superior for work as a Soldier. All Wordbound and some powerful ethereals have the power to grant Rites to humans, but that Essence comes from their personal supply, so generally only Superiors can afford to give out their Rites, and even then, it isn't casual. Rites can be revoked, as well.

Humans do not have vessels - they have bodies. As a result, they are quite fragile compared to celestials, though some can be quite hardy by buying levels of Toughness. Saints and undead are much tougher, as their bodies are treated as vessels for HP calculations. Saints can't have Toughness (as they actually do use vessels) but undead can. Your HP is (Corporeal Forces + Toughness)*Strength, so the average human with 2 Corporeal Forces and 4 Strength has 8 HP, while a truly incredible human with 4 Corporeal Forces, 2 Toughness and Strength 10 can have 60 HP. Like celestials, humans are knocked out at 0 HP. They die when their HP hits -(STrength + Tougness), but undead and Saints remain alive until -(Corporeal Forces + Toughness)*Strength. Mortals heal 1 HP per (6-Strength) days, minimum 1. Saints and undead heal 1 HP per day. Humans have the same mind HP as celestials, but rarely get into mental combat. Likewise, they have the same celestial HP, but almnost never get into celestial combat. Humans do not gain Discord if their Forces in a realm are reduced to 0, but instead suffer other effects.

First, all stats in that realm hit 0 unless they were raised above default with CP, in which case the extra points remain. If a human loses Forces, it is theoretically possible for them to regain them via training or any of the other methods for mortals to gain Forces. If a human loses all Corporeal Forces, they die unless they had extra Strength, leaving them with a positive Strength score. These humans remain barely alive, with 0 HP, falling unconscious from any damage at all and dying at -(Strength) HP. Toughness gives no benefits to those with 0 Corporeal Forces, and anyone at Agility 0 cannot walk under their own power. If a human loses all Ethereal Forces, they become catatonic unless they had extra Intelligence. Even then, they will resemble a victim of severe brain damage. With 0 Precision, they will have a short attention span and no ability to concentrate, as well as being a complete amnesiac with no real ability to form memories. Loss of all Celestial Forces leaves you intact, but lacking any real driving force. With 0 Will and Perception, you lose all ambition and become oblivious to most things around you. However, your soul is gone - all that's left is meat animated by intelligence. Upon death, your remaining forces will disband.



Humans can get most things that celestials can. However, they can receive only servitor attunements or Distinctions, and only if they have 6+ Forces. They may not receive any Band or Choir attunements unless they receive a Force that came from a celestial, which allows them just enough celestial nature to use the Choir or Band Attunement of the angel or demon who 'donated' the Force. Even so, they cannot use any attunement requiring a celestial resonance. Superiors rarely strip Forces from a celestial just to aattach to a human, though some Princes will do it if they already plan to kill a demon, and an Archangel would do it only if an angel were to volunteer - which is rather rare. Humans also can't have Roles because they have no need of them. They do receive a free set of skills based on their native upbringing - so in addition to their native language, they generally get Area Knowledge of their hometown, Knowledge about their profession and some hobby, and then, in America, usually basic Driving and Swimming skills.

Some things are only available to humans - Advantages. Superiors cannot grant these. Some mortals are Blessed (10 CP) - they have extremely potent resistance to anything that messes with their free will., They double their Will for purposes of resisting any resonance, attunement or Song that is resistable, plus any Fast-Talk or Seduction attempts. This does not apply to resisting anything that doesn't get resisted by Will, but does apply to resisting orders if they are made a Servant. On very rare occasions, this is gained later in life, via extreme piety or spiritual enlightenment. All Saints are Blessed automatically, due to direct contact with the Divine. Blessed mortals are not necessarily holy, however. They have an advantage against demons, sure, but some are quite selfish - their force of personality can resist good influences, too. Angels greatly value the Blessed who join them, but demons have also recruited them. Sure, they're hard to dominate, but temptation and manipulation work fine. A Blessed human who becomes a sorcery does not double their Will in a Will-war, but does get to add their Celestial Forces to their TN like a celestial would. The Blessed advantage must normally be purchased in chargen only.

Some humans acquire a Soul Link - a link to an ethereal or celestial who manifests the link as a sort of Discord. Occasionally, pagan gods will grant these links voluntarily, and it's rumored that sorcerous rituals exist to force them on spirits or even celestials. For a celestial, a Soul Link is Ethereal Discord, but it's an advantage for the human. The two are linked as per the Djinn resonance, with the exact same benefits and restrictions, but the attunement is permanent until the Discord is removed. The human will always recognize the Soul Linked being and may ask for a favor if they meet. The other being must roll vs Will at a penalty of the Soul Link's level or be compelled to obey as if it were a Geas - except that the link doesn't go away. The mortal can ask again next time they meet, as long as the last boon has already been fulfilled. Once per day, the human may also voluntarily give Essence to their patron, even across planes, up to the Link's level. This can be done even by those who aren ot Symphonically aware, but they will automatically give all they have or the max allowed, whichever is less. The patron cannot send Essence through the link.

Some attinements are human-only. Celestial Connection can be given only by a Superior, and it opens a link through that Superior to the celestial realm. This allows mortals to tap into the Superior's Forces in order to perform Celestial Songs. This attunement is very rarely granted, and also allows the human to invoke Superiors as if they were an angel or demon of the Superior that gave them the attunement. Celestials, of course, never need the attunement - it just gives what they already have naturally. Ethereals, Saints and undead can already perform Celestial Songs, but may be given a Partial Celestial Connection. Mortal humans may also receive this. The partial attunement does not provide any Song ability, but does provide the ability to invoke Superiors.

Ethereal Connection can be granted by a Superior or certain powerful Ethereals. It allows mortals to perform Ethereal Songs and, due to its unique ties to the ethereal realm, the Celestial Song of Dreams. Only Blandine and Beleth usually give this out, though ethereal gods also give it to Dream Soldiers. Non-mortals, obviously, do not require it.

Infernal Pact is the attunement that Hatiphas, Demon of Sorcery, has and can give to others. It gives the power to grant the Sorcery attunement to humans without need for a sorcerous initiation. Accepting this gift, however, also makes the sorcerer Hellsworn and almost certainly damns them. The demon giving the pactm ust reveal this truthfully, but may iie about anything else, like promising immortality or a favored position in Hell. It is rumored that certain ethereals can also do this, but with the caveat that the soul is instead drawn to their Domain on death.

Sorcery allows the user to practice sorcery. It can only be gained by someone meeting all the requirements of becoming a sorcerer. It also makes the user Symphonically aware. This can be gained either via Infernal Pact or by the harder route of sorcerous initiation. More on Sorcery in a bit.

Oathtaking is a quick and dirty attunement to grant extra Forces to mortals. It summons an infernal Force from Hell and staples it to a human. These Forces are prepared ahead of time by the Princes of the demons who have this attunement solely for this purpose, ready to attach to whatever configuration of Forces they bump into. The attunement is actually just to open a conduit to Hell and request the Prince's Force. Most Princes allow these transfers without much though, but they are aware of them. The summoend Force may only be attached to a willing human, who must be fully aware they're making a pact with Hell. If the human has no potential for the extra Force, then they will be destabilize and begin to unravel. Some demons will use necromancy to try and preserve them as a mummy, while others just let them die. Any Prince cang rant this attunement, which is actually a special form of Distinction. Most ranking Wordbound are authorized to use it to induct Hellsworn Soldiers, and it can be assumed that any Wordbound of Captain rank or higher has this attunement unless there's a reason they shouldn't.

Humans cannot have Discords, but can take Disadvantages - identical in effect, but naturally occurring. These provide bonus CP just as Discords would.

Next time: Sorcery

potatocubed
Jul 26, 2012

*rathian noises*


snip

potatocubed fucked around with this message at 08:55 on Jan 10, 2019

girl dick energy
Sep 30, 2009

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


Holy poo poo, is that the Papyrus font? Really?

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Papyrus is the special snowflake font.


I'm oddly fond of the Aeons as the go-to True Neutral Outsider dudes. Mind you, their probably not outsiders the PCs will ever really meet unless the GM feels like being a dick. It's more something that's go to know is out there somewhere.

And I seem to recall that Angels can actually be of any good alignment, and that Neutral Good is just the default. Still, they're the better alternative to those furry guys.

AweStriker
Oct 6, 2014



Poison Mushroom posted:

Holy poo poo, is that the Papyrus font? Really?

That's not Papyrus, actually, but I couldn't tell you what it actually is.

(I can tell it's not because Papyrus' lowercase y has a big hook rather than a mostly straight diagonal.)

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Corporeal Player's Guide: It's not magic, really, we swear

So, for as long as humans have been able to think, they have wanted power. The earliest humans wanted the power to control the natural forces around them so they could survive. As humans grew more sophisticated, however, so did their desires. And there is a path to real power over the world - though these days it's mostly a path to Hell. This path is sorcery. Before the Fall, there was no reason to teach humans Songs or attunements, and God had made it clear He didn't want humans to learn these tricks. Some humans were exposed to celestial power anyway, though, and commerce with ethereals could not be prevented. However, some celestials hold that the first sorcerers were not imitating angels or ethereals, but had invented it all on their own. Wherever the idea came from, humans soon learned that there were ways to make the universe obey their will. They didn't truly understand the Symphony or their power, but it worked despite that. Little has changed since then, save that demons have provided a shortcut to sorcerous power and done a good job of getting rid of any sorcerer they haven't been able to coopt.

Even humans who are Symphonically aware don't often grasp the difference between Songs and sorcery - both appear magical. Sorcerers can learn Songs, and some even believe their Songs are just a different kind of sorcerous ritual with more immediate effects. Sorcery, however, is not magic. It is an ego-driven method of playing Symphonic chords, similar to Songs. Many celestials believe that sorcery is just an indirect method of using Songs, burying the ritual beneath layers of abstraction, pointless ceremony and distorted perception. Sorcery is less efficient than most Songs, but sorcerous effects often mmic things only Ethereal or Celestial Songs could do, and celestials cannot explain that. Further, sorcerers can do some things that no known Song can do, and even things that no celestial would ever wnat humans to be able to do. The few sorcerers that understand the Symphony and the distinction between Songs and sorcery tend to theorize that sorcery draws directly on human will, which can alter the Symphony on a fundamental level. It's the same force that can create Tethers or influence Words.



Anyone who can do sorcery is a sorcerer. To become a sorcerer, there's only a few requirements. First, you need to be human. Second, you must have at least 6 Forces, with at least 1 in each realm. Third, you must be Symphonically are. Fourth, you must have a Will of at least 6. Fifth, you must have the Sorcery attunement. And, to do any rituals, you must know at least one sorcerous skill. Get all that, and you can do sorcery. The sorceryous skills are useless if you can't perform sorcery, except to teach others. They have no practical uses. There are five of them: Banishment (to force demons or ethereals back to their home planes), Command (to exert your Will on others), Exorcism (to force demons and ethereals out of their hosts or vessels and to destroy ghosts and undead), Focus (to shape Essence into useful things, store it or drain it) and Summon (to call beings from other placeS). These skills are used to perform the rituals that are the heart of sorcery. There are many sorcerous traditions, all with their own techniques. The same ritual done by each tradition might be performed very, very differently. Most of the occult lore surrounding these rituals is not true sorcery, and many rituals you can read about will do nothing even for a sorcerer. Likewise, a real ritual will do nothing if not done by a sorcerer. Each ritual must be learned individually, and it's up to the GM to determine how long that takes. Rituals are guarded closely by sorcerers, and the book suggests at least a month of study - more, without a teacher, but less with a demon teaching via Infernal Pact. One ritual per level in a sorcerous skill is 'about the right rate.' Non-sorcerers can learn and teach rituals, but cannot use them. Some magicians do this unwittingly, while demons and etherals often learn rituals so they can trade them to sorcerers for service.

The details of a ritual's performance are based on your tradition. The outcome is the same no matter how you do it, however. Each ritual also requires Essence expenditure, even if it fails. This Essence expenditure produces the only Disturbance the ritual creates, however, on their own. (Summoning a demon to Earth will produce Disturbance as normal, though - just not the summoning ritual.) Unlike Songs, you cannot alter the range or duration of the ritual. They must run their course when invoked and cannot be canceled. However, they can be negated by a counter-ritual by anyone who knows the first ritual, requiring a contest against the roll made to invoke the first ritual. Counter-rituals are the only way to end a ritual permaturely, even if you were the caster. All use of sorcery is considered favorable for Infernal Intervention and unfavorable for Divine Intervention except for those very few sorcerers who are truly and firmly on Heaven's side. These sorcerers are very rare. Sorcerers often band together in cabals in order to pool Essence for rituals. Not every tradition allows group rituals, but those that do may pool their Essence. The roll is made against the lowest skill of any performer, and any assistants must also know the ritual. There can be assistants up to the lead sorcerer's skill level, who may contribue Essence, as well as up to 10 times that number in spectators who may also contribute Essence - 1 Essence if Symphonically aware, even celestials, and 1 Essence per 10 mundane spectators contributing.



Banishment Rituals...well, there aren't multiple. There is only one.
Banish, often known as Interdictio. The target must be present for the entire duration, and cannot attack the sorcerer until the ritual is complete, but can leave or get others to attack. The ritual forces a demon or ethereal back to their home plane, and can force a ghost or dream-shade to move on to their final reward. You can't Banish something unless you know a ritual to Summon it, but you need not have any Summoning skill. At Banishment/1, you can only banish ghosts, dream-shades or ethereals. Demonlings is level 2, demons is 3. Banishing ethereals by by name is 5, and banishing demons by name is 6. Banishing by name means the target can't add their Celestial Forces to resist. Normally, the ritual is a contest of your Banishment skill and the target's Will + Celestial Forces, see. If you win, the target is immediately returned to their native plane and cannot return to Earth for (CD) days. If you fail, you can't try to banish them again for (CD) days and open yourself ot a Will-war if they feel like engaging you. A ghost that is successfully banished cann ever return to Earth - they travel on to Heaven or Hell as appropriate. A dream-shade is banished to the ethereal from Earth as per an etheral spirit...but if banished from the ethereal, it is forced to move on as per a ghost. Ghosts and dream-shades cannot invoke a Will-war on failure unless they are themselves sorcerers. The ritual takes 10 minutes to perform and costs (CD) Essence.

Command rituals are potent, but easy to overestimate - it's not mind control, and no one enjoys being commanded.
Suggestion, or Monitum, requires Command 1. One target you can see becomes susceptible to your next suggestion. They can resist with Will + Celestial Forces, and your suggestion must be plausible andn ot obviously against their interest, but can be something htey would not normally do. This takes 1 minute and costs (CD) Essence.
Command Minor Ethereal Spirit, or Imperandum Somniorum Minorum, requires Command 2. It gives you a bonus to your Will of (CD) in a Will-war against any ethereal spirit with less than 9 Forces, lasting until your next Will-war against any being. It takes 15 minutes and costs (CD) Essence.
Command Demonling, or Imperandum Diabolorum Minorum, is the same but requires Command 3 and givesa bonus against imps, gremlins and familiars.
Awe Demonling, or Terrendum Diabolorum Minorum, requires Command 4 and gives a bonus of (CD) to the reaction roll against an imp, gremlin or familiar. It costs no Essence and takes only one round to perform.
Command Major Ethereal Spirit, or Imperandum Somniorum Maiorum, is identical to the minor version, but works on ethereals with 9+ Forces, requires Command 5 and costs (CD+3) Essence.
Awe Demon, or Terrendum Diabolorum, requires Command 6 and is identical to Command Demonling, save that it works on full demons.
You will note the lack of a ritual to improve your chances against full demons.

Exorcism rituals require the target be present for the entire duration. They target cannot directly attack the user until the ritual ends, but can leave or get others to attack.
Exorcise, or Expulsio, takes Exorcism 1-4 depending on what you are trying to exorcise. It forces a demon or ethereal to leave their host or vessel. This is a special kind of A Will-war, with a TN for the sorcerer of (Will + CD). The subject may not break off the Will-war, and if you lose, you are bound to them as a Servant as usual...but if they lose, they are instead forced out of their current vessel or host, regardless of any bindings, and may not return to it for a full year. They can use a different essel or host, but must otherwise return to their home plane or to Limbo. Against ethereals with 8 or fewer forces, it's a level 1 ritual. For demons up to 7 forces it's level 2. For ethereals with 9+ forces it';s 3, and for demons with 7+ forces it's four. Dream-shades who have come to Earth casn be exorcised as per ethereals of the appropriate power. You need not know what kind of being you're exorcisng, but will take appropriate penalties if your skill is too low. If you fail, you cannot attempt to exorcise that target again for (CD) months. This takes one hour and costs (CD) Essence.
Exorcise Ghost, or Expellendum Manium, requires Exorcism 1. Ghosts cannot norally participate in Will-wars unless they are sorcerers, but they may be exorcised by usuing this ritual to destroy their hold on Earth. This is conducted as per Exorcise, with the following differences. First, if you lose, you do not become the ghost's Servant. However, you may never attempt to exorcise that ghost again. Seocnd, if you win, the ghost is destroyed forever. Their Forces disperse, and they do not travel to their final reward. For this reason, many angels and humans would prefer banishment of ghosts to exorcism. Finally, at the end of the ritual, regardless of outcome, all lost Will is restored. This takes 10 minutes and costs (CD) Essence.
Exorcise Undead, or Expellendum Larvarum, requires Exorcism 3. They are a viable target due to their infernal Forces. Undead cannot normally participate in Will-wars unless they are sorceers. The TN for this ritual is (Exorcism+Necromancy) skills. If you succeed, you exorcise an undead exactly as per Exorcise Ghost with the same results. Zombis, as a note, have no Will and so automatically lose any Will-wars - successful performance of the ritual instantly destroys them. This takes 10 minutees and (CD) Essence.

Focus rituals allow you to store or drain Essence and create Essence-constructs.
Symphonic Awakening or Excitattio requires Focus 1. It is unique, in that it does not require the Sorcery attunement to perform. It makes its user or target Symphonically Aware, and in fact does not require even the Focus skill, but does give a penalty if you don't have it. The target, whoever it is, must have at least 6 Forces. The TN is the target's total Forces plus your Focus skill. If you succeed, the target becomes Symphonically aware. CD 1 also knocks them out for several hours from traumatic awakening, while CD 6 is smooth and almost instantaneous, with no trauma. A failure means you can't do the ritual again for that subject for (CD) days. If the ritual is done by a non-sorcerer, it instead cannot be done again for (CD) months. This takes 1d6 hours and costs (7-CD) Essence, minimum 3.
Protective Ward or Tutela requires Focus 1. It wards an area against or contains within it ethereal and celestial beings. The area is a radius of up to 10 feet, though not necessarily circle-shaped. You must demarcate the area somehow, such as with walls or chalk. Large areas can be warded via multiple ritual performances, each of which expands the total allowed radius by 10 feet. The ward is an invisible energy field that physically blocks ethereals, demons and angels, even those in vessels. It does not block use of resonance, attunements or Songs, nor does it stop any other beings. Angels can easily bypass this via a roll of Precision + Ethereal Forces, once per round. Demons and spirits must instead wear the ward down by forces, rolling Will + Celestial Forces and doing damage equal to the CD. Angels may choose to do this but do not have to. The ward can withstand (10*CD) damage and lasts for (CD) hours. It takes 15 minutes and costs (CD) Essence.
Sacrifice for Essence or Potestas Caede requires Focus 2. It kills or destroys something that contains Essence, giving it to you. A living being must be killed, an artifact physically destroyed. If the ritual works, you gain (2*CD) Essence or however much the target had, whichever is less. If this is more than you can hold, the excess drains off into the Symphony unless you have a reliquary or spirit jar to store it in. This takes 30 minutes and costs 1 Essence.
Store Essence or Deponendum Potestatis requires Focus 3. It is a ritual to create a spirit jar, which acts as a temporary reliquary with high acapcity. Physically, the jar must be a small sealable container - a jar, bottle, box or bag of some kind. If you succeed, the container is linked to you, and may be activated at any time by some means defined by the ritual to create it. Once activated, it can receive Essence for 1 hour or until you take Essence back out - after that it can't have Essence added to it any more. Essence can be stored only from the creator of the spirit jar, though the sorcerer can gain that essence and transfer it from other sources. The jar may hold (5*Focus skill) Essence for (CD) days. Only the creator can remove Essence from it, though other sorcerers may use Sacrifice for Essence on the jar. Any Essence remaining after the duration ends leaks into the Symphony without Disturbance. Once the duration ends or all Essence is removed, the jar becomes inert but can be reused in a new ritual. This takes 4 hours and costs 1d6+3 Essence.
Create Spirit Anchor or Ancorae Animae Creatio requires Focus 4. A spirit anchor is a phyiscal object that may trap an ethereal or celestial spirit. The object can be anything at all, but most sorcerers prefer small and portable items. An anchor can contain a spirit with total Forces up to (2*CD). It must be brandished against a spirit you can perceive, which must be in celestial form or on ethereal plane (in which case the anchor must be an ethereal or celestial artifact). A spirit in a vessel cannot be trapped. Angels and relievers are immune to spirit anchors, as are any demons with Hearts. The target resists with Will + Celestial Forces, and if they win, the anchor loses its power. If they lose, they are trapped within it. Spirts in an anchor can do nothing but regain Essence and talk to the sorceer. The more Celestial Forces the spirit has, the shorter the period they can be contained for. At the end of the duration, the anchor may be kept active by performing the ritual again for no time or Essence. The spirit may spend 2 Essence to roll to resist again. Once a spirit successfully resists, the anchor loses its power, and if the anchor is destroyed, the spirit goes free. Celestial Forces 1 can be trapped for 3 months per use, 2 for 1 month, 3 for 2 weeks, 4 for 1 week, 5 for 3 days and 6 for 1 day. This takes 2 hours and (2*CD) Essence.
Siphon Essence r Ducendum Potestatis requires Focus 5. The next being you touch must roll Will+CElestial Forces or lose (CD) Essence, or however much you had or however much the sorcerer can actually hold, if that is less. On a failure, however, you lose (CD) Essence on top of the ritual's cost. This takes 1 minute and costs 2 Essence.
Permanent Ward or Tutela Sempiterna requires Focus 6. It is identical to Protective Ward, but can have a radius of 50 feet per performance and requires 100 damage to destroy. Even after it is destroyed, any sorcerer with the Focus skill can revive it by spending half the Essence needed to create it. The CD of the ritual is the number of times the ward can be raised before it fades out forever. This requires 24 hours of ritual during which you may not eat, drink or leave the ward's confines, and costs (3*CD) Essence.

Summoning rituals are not inherently evil, but demons are rarely summoned for benign purposes and even etherals are dangerous. These rituals tend to be long and exhausting, and they grant no power over the summoned being. If the being reacts poorly, you need a Will-war, temptation or threat to get them to help you.
Summon Random Ethereal Spirit or Appelandum Somniorum requires Summon 1. It pulls a random ethereal out of the Marches to your location. If you are on Earth, the spirit will arrive in its vessel (and will be a spirit that has one). This can only be done in the Marches if you are a lucid dreamer or can otherwise travel to the ethereal, in which case the spirit may or may not have a vessel. The spirit has (CD) Forces. If on Earth, it appears within 1d6*10 minutes, and in the Marches it appears in 1d6 minutes. This takes 30 minutes and (CD) Essence.
Summon Demonling or Appelandum Diabolorum Minorum requires Summon 2. It pulls a demonling out of Hell, with (CD) Forces. The GM determines what kind of demonling it is and if it has a vessel or just appears in celestial form. It arrives in 1d6*10 minutes, or 1d6 minutes if summoned at an infernal Tether. This takes 15 minutes and (CD) Essence.
Summon Human Soul or Applendum Animarum requires Summon 3. It summons a human soul on the same plane as you to your location, which means usually only ghosts, though a sorcerer in the Marches could summon dream-shades. The soul may resist with Will + Celestial Forces - CD. If they fail, they must go to your location as quickyl as possible, which could be minutes or weeks depending on on where they are. This could theoretically be done in Heaven or Hell to summon a Bodhisattva or damned soul, but it'd piss off angels and the damned usually don't have freedom to travel. The GM may optionally allow this ritual done at a Tether to summon a soul from the realm the Tether links to. This takes 15 minutes and (CD) Essence.
Summon Random Demon (of a Specific Type) or Appelandum Gentium Diabolorum requires Summon 3. Each type of demon has a specific ritual. Types are usually but not necessarily Bands - Summon Succubus exists and might summon a Lilim, Impudite or Balseraph depending on the ritual and tradition. Type can also be a Superior's Word, so you can summon Demons of Lust or whatever. If the type is the Band, the demon serves a random Prince. If it's a Word, the demon's Band is random. The demon will have Forces of (6+CD) and arrive in 1d6*20 minutes, or 1d6 from an infernal Tether. It is up to the GM whether the demon has a vessel or not. Most will treat a summons as a free vacation, with their first plan being to torture or enslave their summoner. This takes 1d6 hours and (demon's total Forces) Essence.
Summon Named Ethereal Spirit or Appelandum Nomine Somniorum requires Summon 5. It summons a specific and named ethereal from the Marches. It must be a spirit with a vessel unless you are in the Marches. The spirit will arrive in 1d6*10 minutes on Earth or 1d6 minutes in the Marches. Very potent spirits such as the old pagan gods cannot be compelled to appear - the ritual just asks them to show up, and they can ignore it as they please. This takes 2d6 hours and (spirit's Forces - CD) Essence.
Summon Named Demon or Appelandum Nomine Diabolorum requires Summon 4 or 6. You must know the demon's true name, and if you succeed, the demon must resist with Will + Celestial Forces - CD or drop whatever they're doing to answer it. If they are already on Earth, this is a level 4 ritual and the demon will arrive via whatever normal means are available, making all haste to your location, which could take a while. They may delay answering the summons for a day with 1 Essence and a Will + Celestial Forces - CD roll, but can only try once per day. If the demon is not onb Earth, the ritual is level 6 - and you don't have to know that when casting. The demon will arrive in 1d6*20 minutes, or 1d6 at an infernal Tether. Most demons will be quite annoyed to be pulled from their work and can inform others, even their Prince, of where they are going and why, though many will be too embarrassed to admit to being caught by a summoning ritual. The base reaciton roll is at -3, and you have no control over how much Essence the demon has. Generally, this goes poorly for you unless the demon already likes you. If Hell did not know you existed before, they do now, and ASmodeus dislikes this ritual intensely, usually sending demons to destroy summoners, though it can cause conflict with Hatiphas, demon of Sorcery. This takes 1d6+2 hours and costs (demon's total Forces - CD) Essence.









Sorcerous Initiation is a unique ritual, which need not be done by a sorcerer...but it's much safer when it is. There are many kinds of initiation, all of which are complex and arduous. The GM should determine the details required to go through with the ritual. You do all that, and if you meet all other requirements to be a sorcerer, you make a Will roll. Success gives the Sorcery attunement. Failure means you can't try again for (CD) weeks. On a failed CD 6 or any failure when initiating yourself without a sorcerer's help, you permanently lose 1 Will. If the ritual fails due to you not having 6 Forces or Will 6+, you also take (CD) soul damage.

So now, enchantment! Enchament is like sorcery and often done by sorcerers. It is the power to bind loose Forces into stable configurations by use of intense study and demanding rituals. It is not technically sorcery. It mainly uses the Enchantment skill, but cannot be learned by anyone with less than 6 Forces. However, it requires no attunement, and some techniques can even be done without Symphonic awareness. Further, celestials and ethereals can practice enchantment. The most common uses for it are artifact creation, alchemy, the manufacture of constructs and necromancy.

Enchanters can make corporeal, ethereal or celestial artifacts. Each artifact you know how to make is a separate ritual and requires knowledge of any skill or Song to be embedded within the artifact. You add your Forces in the appropriate realm to your Enchanmtnet skill to get the base TN, and more on this is in Liber Reliquarum. Alchemy is quite similar - it's the process of imbuing physical substance with Songs or sorcerous rituals. The difference is that alchemical creations do not contain Songs - they contain the effects of the Song or ritual, waiting to be unleashed. They are easier to make, but less potent and always limited in use and lifespan. Alchemical rituals require the Alchemy skill, with the base TN equal to Enchantment + Alchemy. Sorcerers can perform alchemy without the Enchantment skill, though it is much more difficult, and non-sorcerers must have at least 1 level of Enchantment.

Alchemical creations each require their own ritual. There are many such formulas, some known commonly and some secret. They follow largely the same rules as sorcerous rituals. Most embed a single use of a skill, Song, attunement or ritual. The object is then used, and the conditions on which to release its power are determined by the ritual. The alchemist must have whatever resource is being embedded, and it takes 1 day per level of the resource, which cannot be higher than you have it. Attunements require a full week. At the end of that time, you roll against the relevant skill, perform the Song or ritual, or use the attunement. You spend all Essence this owuld normally take and make the roll for any power that needs one, noting the CD. Failure means the ritual was a waste of time. Success then requires you to roll Alchemy + Enchantment, and if you succeed, the item is imbued with one use of the resource. Failure means all time and Essence was wasted. An alchemical creation holds its charge for (CD) weeks and then becomes a mundane item.

Examples: You might make a one-shot Dodge talisman, adding your Dodge roll's CD to a single Dodge roll made by the wearer. You could make a healing potion via the Corporeal Song of Healing, rolling the Song and making the drinker heal however many HP your Song would have healed. A Love Charm can be made to replicate the Ethereal Song of Attraction, and so on.

Next time: Constructs

Mors Rattus fucked around with this message at 01:22 on Feb 20, 2016

Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012


Doresh posted:

And I seem to recall that Angels can actually be of any good alignment, and that Neutral Good is just the default. Still, they're the better alternative to those furry guys.
You're right. I thought Pathfinder had changed that (and it doesn't help that all the ones in PB2 are Neutral Good), but looking back at the first Pathfinder Bestiary again they totally are of all three different Goods.

AweStriker posted:

That's not Papyrus, actually, but I couldn't tell you what it actually is.

(I can tell it's not because Papyrus' lowercase y has a big hook rather than a mostly straight diagonal.)
It's Papyrus's funky cousin, Cypriol.

It was hard to find a papyrus relative that actually sounded like it could be a font.

potatocubed
Jul 26, 2012

*rathian noises*


Poison Mushroom posted:

Holy poo poo, is that the Papyrus font? Really?

It's High Tower Text.

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

Horned Rat-Sempai Noticed Me! :swoon:


Hey, I'm having a brain fart trying to do a write up of Planescape Monstrous Compendium (which is part of why I gave up last time I guess) and I'm wondering if anyone has actually reviewed a book that was a splatbook of opponents?

EDIT: Oh hey, someone's reviewing a Bestiary right on this page! Sorry, still catching up from page 4 :sweatdrop:

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

WE HAVE TO CONTROL OUR ENVIRONMENT
IF YOU SEE ME POSTING OUTSIDE OF THE AUSPOL THREAD PLEASE TELL ME THAT I'M MISSED AND TO START POSTING AGAIN


quote:

Summon Human Souk
I want a spell that summons an Arabian market now.
Interesting that you can't ward against Angels. If I'm using the game to play Supernatural, that's the first thing I'd change.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



My thoughts immediately went to kicking off a campaign by a sorcerer doing the impossible and summoning an archangel or demon prince to Earth. The celestial immediately corrects the problem, but have the starting adventure be the cleanup detail (or trying to take advantage of the situation), demonstrating precisely why the Superiors don't solve everything themselves and why it really is up to the low-ranking PCs.

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



Cythereal posted:

My thoughts immediately went to kicking off a campaign by a sorcerer doing the impossible and summoning an archangel or demon prince to Earth. The celestial immediately corrects the problem, but have the starting adventure be the cleanup detail (or trying to take advantage of the situation), demonstrating precisely why the Superiors don't solve everything themselves and why it really is up to the low-ranking PCs.

I reason this happens all the time, but Superiors just nuke the Sorcerer on the spot so it's not a recurring issue for them. There's the idea too that Superiors are common names, but they also have a bunch of celestials with the same name on hold so they can throw them out to torch whoever is summoning without Kronos' and Hatiphas' blessing. Or even with. Demons are fuckers.

Crasical
Apr 22, 2014

GG!*
*GET GOOD


Evil Mastermind posted:

The funny thing is, a lot of those bits about using terrain to make combat more interesting instead of just having the fight on an infinite flat plain is actually good GMing advice. Terrain was a huge part of 4e's combat assumptions.

But of course this jackhole has to crank that poo poo up to 11 and do it out of spite instead of a desire to make the game more fun for anyone who isn't him.

In a 4e game, I had a fight on a frozen mountain battle with a raised cliff area that required climb checks to get up-to, and wendigo-crazed Yetis as enemies that had a climb speed and didn't make checks for the frozen ground.

I don't tell stories about how it taught my players to be more thoughtful and tactical adventurers, or how I used that fight to punish cheese builds.

I tell stories about that fight because our wizard prepped a Thunderwave and waited for a yeti to complete the ascent, then blasted him out into the open air for fall damage. Or about how a clever combo between the rogue and swordmage ended up with the rogue leonidas-punting a yeti off the cliff and the swordmage warping to the yeti in midair, impaling it with their sword, and riding it all the way to the ground in one giant flying slash.

Or I tell stories about the fight in the underground malfunctioning bunker where the party had to fight some enemies inside a giant malfunctioning magical conduit where a random line of the hallway would get blasted by lightning every round, and they had to keep dancing around to try and keep formation and keep the brutes from reaching the back-lines to wreak havoc.

Terrain is super important and creating crazy setpiece battles is way more fun than just using it as an excuse to poop penalties on your players.

War Witches posted:




:stonk:

Crasical fucked around with this message at 07:02 on Feb 20, 2016

Man Whore
Jan 6, 2012

ASK ME ABOUT SPHERICAL CATS
=3





No its cool, they probably were rapists or conservatives or something.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


That isn't even the most hilarious piece of artwork Bellum Maga has to provide.

The antagonists chapter has a piece with a witch giving two supreme court justices explosive diarrhea in front of a Hobby Lobby. No. Really.

It's such a specific and dated reference that it's hilarious in it's pettiness.

Kurieg fucked around with this message at 08:54 on Feb 20, 2016

Comrade Koba
Jul 2, 2007



Kurieg posted:

That isn't even the most hilarious piece of artwork Bellum Maga has to provide.

The antagonists chapter has a piece with a witch giving two supreme court justices explosive diarrhea in front of a Hobby Lobby. No. Really.

It's such a specific and dated reference that it's hilarious in it's pettiness.

This game makes the Inquisition seem reasonable and sympathetic.

Bacon In A Wok
Jan 27, 2014


gradenko_2000 posted:

Stinky the Skunk

Similar to the stunt he pulled with torches versus monsters that have darkvision/infravision, Webb suggests having Pepe le Pew wander into the players' campsite as a random wilderness encounter to inflict an effect that gives them a -4 modifier on the 1d6 surprise rolls.


I'm quoting this just to emphasize that he's being explicit about this sort of behavior. Outright hide information from your characters.

Late-ish to the party, but I'm now envisioning some hapless GM applying just this rule, and not anything else from Webb's bag of pratfalls.

"Welcome to the Borderlands Inn. Necromancer, one gold per night. Drow brigand, one gold per night. Skull-helmed priest of Bane, one gold per night. Human ranger who's met a skunk's rear end... ten gold per night."

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Silent Legions


Creating your Mythos - Summoning up the Damnable Powers

Your average TPK.

This chapter is the meat of the game. This is were you yank out the Cthulhu stuff out of this Lovecraftian horror game and cram in your own mythos to keep the players guessing.

A "mythos" in the context of the game is all the supernatural shenanigans going on, from alien artifacts to tentacled, multi-dimensional horrors.
To help flesh out your mythos, you can pick a couple of themes:

Cosmicism

The classic Lovecraftian concept of "Nobody gives a drat about humanity, and nothing you do matters in the grand scheme of things, though you can get yourself some short-term victories". As such, supernatural critters generally don't really care about humans at all.
Thankfully, the game makes it important to not forget the "short-term victories" part (with said short-terms potentially consisting of thousands of years). It's not fun playing these kinds of games if nothing ever matters at all.

Malevolence

This theme is probably even worse than the above. Not only is your not-Azathoth not indifferent to humanity, but he actively wants to eradicate it. While a cosmicism entity might unintentionally kill you through sheer proximity, a malevolence creature will actively make sure that you suffer for as long as possible.

This theme lends itself well to more satanic figures, as malevolence can also materialize as the urge to corrupt humans instead of merely killing them.

Gnosticism

In short: Knowledge is power, but also very, very dangerous.

Violence

Though characters in Silent Legions are somewhat more competent in combat than in similar games, it realy isn't about murder-hoboing at all. Supernatural entities are either resistant or downright immune against normal violence, and although human cultists are a lot more squishy, frequent murder sprees will eat away at the PCs sanity because gleefully murdering other human beings is a bit effed up.

Though if you want to make it more about murder-hoboing, you can make the supernatural critters less resistsant, and make the PCs immune against crits.

Madness

What would a Lovecraftian game be without some good old-fashioned SAN loss?

Silent Legion walks around the issue of trying to realistically portray actual mental illnesses by declaring Lovecraftian SAN loss as something much different. Madness through Lovecraftian means is the result of your feeble human mind trying to comprehend the forbidden Eldritch stuff you just witnessed, to the point of mentally burning out. The Deliria you make up are your own mind trying to make sense of everything.

The Outer Gods

The first step to your own mythos is the creation of th eouter gods, the distant and unkowable entities that will pretty much wreck everything for everyone if they ever get even close to our solar system. So better don't let the cultists succeed at anything relating to these guys.

To come back to my threat from a while ago, enjoy this pantheon:

Outer Gods of the V'ny Mythos
  • V'ny-Tha-Poth: The Ruiner of Opalescent Forests. Demented and ever-hungry, he is the most destructive of the gods, slurping up suns as if they were nothing.
  • Piq'Loth: The Waiting Prophet of Fear. This god lives in constant fear, a feeling that can infect lesser beings and drive them insane.
  • Ia'Yho'Rah: The Whisperer of Ravening Pain. The god who can't wait for the whole of existence to finally end to ease his suffering.
  • Kaa-Ng'Ah: The Crimson Womb of Fertility. No other god fills the world with so many nasty critters, the strongest of all being the Ro'Oq.
  • Rha'Bith: The Tyrant Festering Sorcery. Madmen pray for him to gain forbidden knowledge and power that will allow them to rule with an iron fist of madness.
  • Tiq'Ah: The Dancing Creator - his "creation" being destruction and mayhem as he blissfully waltzes through creation.
  • A'Ul: The Father Weaving Purple Illusions. The utlimate deceiver, and another popular source of power for cultists.
The traits for this pantheon is Immanence, meaning they have a physical presence in this world. They are also Forerunners, aka Gods that are not fully born yet, so things are only going downhill from here.

(If you're wondering how the names are generated, there's a handy name generator in the back of the book. It lets you either roll up from a list of syllables, or let you create you rown syllables from scratchs. I used the pre-rolled syllables as much as possible.)

Aliens

They have come for our booze.

Whether they have been extinct for millions of years or are still alive and well, alien races are another important element for Lovecraftian horror, offering a usually much more manageable threat than the outer gods.
More often than not, aliens are attracted to Earth not because of humans, but because of natural reosources and/or magical MacGuffins.

With that out of the ways, let's roll something up:

The Bi'z

The Bi'z are a bizarre and disturbing alien race that is scared shitless by the above outer gods (and who could blame them). Going by rare reports, they have been around on Earth since around two centuries, and they have inlfuenced at least one religion during that time (Scientology?). Nowadays, they can be found in uninhabitated parts of the world, which are connected by a secret underground network.

Bi'z have originally come as explorers and are now mining Earth for resources they require for reproduction. Let's say pollen. To help them achieve that goal, they use their magical mind control powers to "recruit" human agents to do their bidding.

Their appearance is just lovely: A big, conical lump of interwined cords covered in frills and flayed skin. They move either by flying with a pair of insect-like wings, or by skittering on the floor as their body is dragged by roided-out limbs that end in oddly human-looking hands. Speaking of, they also have a very human-like face, though they have a couple nasty fangs hidden behind their lips. This is overall quite ironic, for they find humans disgusting. Or maybe it makes sense, as they see just a tiny bit of themselves in us?
Naturally, no Lovecraftian critter would be complete without tentacles. The Bi'z have several that end in mouths. Yummy.

Their voices are like metallic buzzing. They prefer to eat other predators, luring them in with their decayed apperance before lashing out with hidden tentacles and jaws to grab their prey and swallow it whole. They love consumption, so they probably eat a whole lot more than they actually need.

Interactions with the Bi'z are bound to result in failre, for they despise truthfulness.

I think I just rolled up a Mi-Go, re-imagined as an Apostle from Berserk.

Kelipot: Realms of Shadowed Dream

Kelipot (Kelipah for the singular) is the game's term for pocket dimensions and alternate realities, like Dreamland.

The biggest Kelipot can have entire worlds inside them, while the smallest one blend into our own world without much issues, creating strange phenomena of houses that are bigger on the inside, or highways that appear out of nowhere.

Kelipot can look clearly dangerous or more or less pleasant, but they are never a place you'd want to hang out for long.

Kelipot are connected to our world thorugh Ways. Some require specific triggers, while others are basically always active. Some are cleary recognizable as gates or portals, while other can only be senses by magic means and blend into the surrounding. Others can be reached with the right drugs.

Getting rid of a Way usually requires a ritual of some kind. Large gatherings of humans also seem to do the trick, for bigger Ways never seem to be near human civilization.

Kelipot are categorized into different times: Static Kelipot are the easiest to comprehend by humans. They and their inhabitants are very close to what we can understand, though there's still always something wrong about the whole place. Maybe sorcery is more redily available and easier to use, allowing you to just insert your normal D&D campaign (which the book more or less recommends you to do).

Themed Kelipot all revolve around a single theme and/or gimmick, while Dream Kelipot are strange worlds than run on narrative logic rather than physical logic, where the inhabitants don't live a normal life so much as they play their role.
Alien Kelipot finally are so odd and incomprehensible that humans can't stay in them for long before going mad.

So, another set of rolls later...

Ah'Shu'Dao'Nu-Fha'Ryx

This Kelipath is one giant forest the size of a small nation. The entire plantlife is covered in nauseating hues, and they seem to constantly exude a fog that covers the entire Kelipah. The local fauna is a strange bunch, as they all appear to be covered in mysterious glyphs.

The inhabitants of this Kelipah are a strange lot, living only in a single town that seems to be in a state of frequent change, currently appearing as a techno-medieval city.
The townspeople don't seem to have a proper government, instead blindly following the "role" laid out for them by a higher power. The "play" changes, but the protagonists, antagonists and supporting cast will always come from the same caste.
As they are so deeply integrated into their play, they pay no mind to outsiders as long as they don't mess with the script.

Cults

These need little explanation I suppose. All of these types of campaigns need insane humans playing around with powers they barely understand.

So, into the dice!

The Eyes of the Argent Bone King

Founded a couple centuries ago by a starving peasant haunted with strange visions, this particularly mad cult quickly attracted the rich and wealthy, meeting in cemeteries to sate their depraved cravings (which going by the origin and meeting place probably means they eat corpses). They even managed to maintain an outpost in a Kelipah, where they probably keep their most insane members.
Naturally, the church wasn't particularly fond of these heretics, so the cult naturally had to go into hiding, partially by retreating into their outpost and by keeping the cult a family secret. As their rituals cause sterility in their members, it seems that only the "chosen" of those families are worthy to enter the cult proper.

Important NPCs the party might come across is a mad sorcerer who, although powerful, is way too bonkers to lead the cult, and your typical friendly old lady who is actually a cult member.

Artifacts

Although powerful, no artifacts can truly be called "safe". Each and every one of them is cursed, and it up for the PCs to avoid the trigger or get rid of the curse if it did trigger.

Artifacts belong into one of four categories: magical weapons, protective artifacts, miscellaneous effects and occult grimoires. I'm going for the latter to make a not-Necronomicon.

(It should be noted that merely reading an occult grimoire doesn't cause madness in and of itself. It's when you try to learn Eldritch arts from it that things go crazy.)

Codex of the Uttermost Curse

This lovely, one of a kind tome made out of human skin and bones contains the historical records of the mad priest that wrote it a thousand years ago. Attentive readers might realize that some of these records are actually encrypted spells, namely:
  • Dust of scouring False Seeming
  • Binding the Crimson Sword
  • The Walker Beneath the Earth
  • Bond of Unhindered Escape
If the reader doesn't prepare his lectures with purification rituals, the Eldritch powers residing within its pages might cause severe bad luck to his friends and allies for as long as he isn't purified.

Next Time: Building Your World - it's time for Tags again.

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potatocubed
Jul 26, 2012

*rathian noises*


snip

potatocubed fucked around with this message at 09:02 on Jan 10, 2019

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