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Green Intern
Dec 29, 2008

Loon, Crazy and Laughable



I thought there was a slice of space-pizza in that Starfinder loot art up above.

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Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Freaking Crumbum posted:

i'm not sure if this is your phrase or the book's, but it made me laugh way too hard because i'm pretty sure that's the actual form people practice right now, today, in reality, without some imaginary plague to inspire it

the eye eating element is the thing that screams "THIS IS THE AUTHOR'S PRIVATE FETISH / WANK MATERIAL" to me. the rest of the setting is full of weird plot holes and involves fictional leaps of logic that basically no one would ever reach on their own, but the part about having to eat eyes to temporarily regain your sight is what sends the whole thing into piss wizard territory.
Nope, the book does actually call it that.

Tuxedo Catfish
Mar 17, 2007

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


Night10194 posted:

The core problem with magic in D20 has always been that everyone else has to ask to do something and then be given the odds. The spellcaster simply tells everyone what's happening, sets the odds for their target and says 'Deal with it.'

Everyone takes the wrong lesson from this, though. :v:

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer Fantasy: Realm of the Ice Queen

Mechanics!

Making a Kislevite PC is easy; you pick Gospodar or Ungol, then if you're Ungol, you pick between speaking Ungol or Kislevite. Gospodar get Consume Alcohol in addition to Common Knowledge (Kislev) and speaking Kislevite. Ungol get Ride. Ungol get the way better deal on that one, though both of them lose out a little for losing Gossip. Gospodar roll for 2 random human Talents, while Ungol get Very Resilient (+5 Tough) and roll for 1 other talent. There's also a sidebar on how if your game is going to take place outside of Kislev, you can either replace the Kislevite/Ungol speaking with the local language or you can give the character the local language, but they have to give up one of their other talents or skills from their starting class in return. They'll be able to buy that talent/skill later during their first class anyway. This isn't a bad way to handle this and Bretonnia did the same thing; knowing a few more languages is often helpful anyway. You also get some regional variations for the north, east, west, and south, and they work like the Bretonnian ones did with the exception of having Ungol and Gospodar options for both. There's also an option to play a mixed Ungol-Gospodar PC, from an intermarried family, at which point you roll a d10 for each starting skill/talent and on a 1-5, you get the Gospodar option, on a 6-10 you get the Ungol one. This is mostly pointless. There's also another little sidebar reminding you that both Ungol and Gospodar do not treat women as second class citizens and every profession is available to both genders in both cultures, without censure.

If you wanted to roll for things like height and eye color for some reason those are listed here in short tables to mark where Ungol and Gospodar differ from Imperials; Gospodar are taller than average for Imperials, particularly Gospodar women, Ungols are shorter. Ungols also get a little table with a hag's curse, something the village wise-woman warned about when you were born. Little things like 'Never bathe on a full moon.' or 'Don't go fishing at midday' or 'don't wear silver jewelry'. What happens if you break these is up to player and GM, but Ungol usually try to keep to their curse. Also a table on constructing and writing Kislevite names, which I appreciate. Also notable: Ungol don't gender their names and don't consider a name a 'man's name' or a 'woman's name', so their name table is entirely unisex.

Kislevites also use a different career table, much as the Bretonnians did. They mix in many core book careers with their own new, unique Careers. As per everything, Ungol and Gospodar use a different table. Some classes are slightly more likely for one or the other, and only Gospodar women can be Apprentice Ice Witches and only Ungol women can be Wise Women.

For some reason, we get Kislevite equipment right after that rather than the classes. Most Kislevite equipment is unremarkable, except their bows. Kislevite Bows, if loaded with more expensive Armor-Piercing arrows for killing Chaos Warriors, are the second best bow in the game and do not require Longbow proficiency. The AP arrows are more expensive, but they give the bow Armor Piercing (usually the advantage of a longbow) and the Kislevite bow has juuuuust slightly longer range (34/68 as opposed to 30/60). There's also a Kislevite Short Horse Bow, which has 16/32 range but gains Precise (making Critical hits with it 1 point stronger). Kislevite bows are only outmatched by Elfbows and are all designed to be used from the saddle. You can also get a rad winged banner for a Winged Lancer which will cause enemies you charge to make a WP save or lose one of their half-actions next turn the first time you charge them, which is amazingly good. Otherwise there's all sorts of stuff like slight variations on a warhorse or goods for cold weather travel. Nothing much exciting.

Finally, we get to the actual unique classes. Ambassadors are nobles from foreign lands and are a 3rd tier social class, getting the coveted +40% Fellowship advance and a ton of WP and Int. It should be noted: No class ever gets more than +40% in a stat. Even +40s are very rare. Ambassadors are exceptionally good at fellowship and political skills, and here we run into an oddity of the book. In prior books, Trappings were written succinctly, without fluff. Here, they're full of fluff and sort of unclear, which can be a problem if you're using the official Trappings rules whereby you have to have the stuff the class owns to enter the class.

Next we get the Apprentice Witch, and I'm going to use her to cover the whole Ice Witch line, since they're quite interesting in both fluff and rules. Every year in midwinter, on the coldest day of the year, Ice Witches go among the teenage girls of every Gospodar community to look for the shivering girls with the spark of magic. These girls are then lead out, away from their families, into the harsh winter to mentor with their masters and learn the basics of their magic. Those who survive a winter with their master are officially apprentices, on the first steps of learning the ancient powers of the Khan Queens. They do not return to their families or their homes, and indeed, are not permitted to rejoin normal society until they have mastered their powers. Apprentice Witches are surprisingly tough due to their wintering; they get +10 Toughness in place of some of the academics that an Imperial wizard would learn as an apprentice. They may not even learn Academic Lore (Magic), opting to instead be a more instinctive witch who learns to terrify people with Intimidate instead. They can still read and do all the basic magic stuff, and they get a Lesser Magic right at career 1, which is helpful. Petty Magic (Ice) is a fine Petty Magic list and still includes a basic simple attack spell and some utility. An Apprentice Witch is a tough, seasoned woman who can handle outdoor survival in place of the sheltered Imperial academic and their broader knowledge.

When a Witch makes it through her apprenticeship and learns the Lore of Ice, she becomes an Ice Maiden. Ice Maidens are charged to wander and practice, to join armies, to adventure, and to defend the land. They are also sworn to chastity to avoid ties of family while they master their powers, and to bring them closer to the spirit of the Ancient Widow that powers the land of Kislev. They can be found almost anywhere, doing almost anything, as they seek to understand the land and to feel the flow of its power. Many Witches cannot master their powers fully, stopping at this step and going into other careers. If this happens, they never rediscover how to fully re-integrate with other people, and remain forever alone and aloof. Ice Maidens get truly incredible Willpower advances and bravery talents, and they actually get the Lore of Ice. The problem is the Lore of Ice has a lot of spells that are very hard for a Mag 2 second tier caster and will require a place of power for the witch to pull off consistently. Even at this early level, though, Ice can be pretty frightening combat magic if the witch can find a good spot to sling her spells. They also begin to learn to lead. Ice Maiden can exit into a surprising number of 2nd tier fighter classes, too. If you wanted to do a brief detour into Veteran or Scout to pick up combat abilities then back to Ice Witchin', you can do that and if your game goes on long enough, it will make your Ice Maiden a total badass. They can also go into the Witch class, getting the unique 'pick your own lore at great cost' stuff like Witches. This may represent a fallen Maiden.

The unique thing about the Ice Witches is that Ice Witch, their 3rd tier, is terminal for the line. There's no 4th tier with a 4th point of Mag above it; you go right from a 2 Mag Ice Maiden to a 4 Mag Ice Witch at promotion. Ice Witches have mastered their powers and become guardians of the land. They get a +40% WP advance (remember what I said about +40s) and a ton of Intelligence, they're masters of outdoor survival and leadership, and they have maxed out magic in a frighteningly powerful Lore. An actual Ice Witch is a senior sister, one expected to begin taking apprentices or investigating matters of great import, and at this point in her training her vow of chastity comes to an end. A woman who has become a full Witch may marry, may return to her family, and may reunite with those she left as an Apprentice. She has mastered her powers, and so there would be no further reason to leave herself aloof and isolated from others; once one has mastered the self they may return to society in full. These women defend Kislev as a nation, but also protect the flows of Ice Magic itself, to ensure it remains unsullied by evil. They also get the unique Unsettling talent, where they cause enemies penalties until they make a WP save, because the Witch is goddamn terrifying and totally unafraid of anything any longer. They can also promote into Captain, which is a full, 3 Attacks 3rd tier fighter/leader hybrid. A Witch with those kinds of advances is the kind of woman who would lead entire armies.

By contrast, the Ungol Hags focus on Intelligence instead of WP. Where the Ice Witch is incredibly courageous, the Hag is incredibly wise. The starting career for a Hag doesn't even have a Mag advance; the Wise Woman is simply a very intelligent woman and doctor who has Magical Sense and a little knowledge of how to placate the spirits of the land. What's interesting is that Wise Woman has all kinds of non-magical exits possible, in addition to being a hybrid doctor, diplomat, and shaman (which is far from a bad starting place for a PC). She can go into Hag and learn spells, of course, but she can also go into political classes like Politician or Demagogue, or become a normal Steppe Nomad and learn to deal with the outdoors and battle. This means Wise Woman can be a jumping off point for playing a solid social or combat character who forever has the ability to see magic and who knows a little about how to deal with the spirits of the land. That's a really cool and fun option for an adventurer.

If a Wise Woman goes into Hag Witch, she continues to become wiser and smarter, and also begins to age beyond her years as price of her spells. She is still vital and vibrant (supernatural aging has few penalties), but she takes on the honorific of Baba to indicate she has the gift of spells. Many of these women develop their magic because they were a normal wise woman who suffered a great and terrible loss (usually of family) that brought them closer to the power of the Ancient Widow. Their magic is very different from an Ice Witch. There are no direct combat spells in Hag magic, but there are curses, augeries, and curious blessings and medicine. They continue to become better mundane doctors and alchemists, as well, mastering arts of healing and poison both. At this point, they can become Witches (Like the Ice Witch, falling into the advanced 'hedge magic' esque career) as they dabble with things they shouldn't, or can still detour into political classes to become leaders and advisors. They are only Mag 1 and will have to get by on wisdom and cleverness rather than combat.

Finally, a Hag Mother is a Mag 3 woman with the only Int +40 advance available to any normal PC class. Only some of the crazier Chaos classes get such wisdom. They also start to pick up darker knowledge, from fighting against demons and necromancers, and continue to grow as doctors and advisors. An actual Hag Mother has the actual Lore of the Hags, and can do stuff like turn herself into a giant and terrifying vision of the land's wrath, or curse a person to lose weight every day until they starve to death or perform a service for her. Their magic is still indirect, yes, but it can be very powerful. They are also the only class in the game that can outright cure mutation. No-one else gets that. Not Shallyans, not Chaos, no-body. But the Hag Mothers can do it. Also, unlike the Ice Witch, if you go into Hag Mother, you can only leave by spending 200 EXP to go into a new Basic class. They have become embodiment of the Spirits, and they cannot leave their calling any longer.

Hags are much more difficult to fit into a standard party than the frosty badass Ice Witches, but a Wise Woman makes a great starting place for an adventurer.

Next: Winged Hussars! Horse Archers! Shady Horse Dealers! And the moment everyone has waited for: The Bear Tamer!

Barudak
May 7, 2007



Found a bookstore that sells books by weight. See you later tonight thread

Green Intern
Dec 29, 2008

Loon, Crazy and Laughable



The Witch and Hag classes sound amazing. Also is that a reference to the movie Thinner?

AmiYumi
Oct 10, 2005

I FORGOT TO HAIL KING TORG


I’ve been skimming the Kidworld stuff after the first couple posts because it’s so aggressively unpleasant, but does it ever address people who were blind before the plague hit? They’d be much better adapted, after all.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



AmiYumi posted:

I’ve been skimming the Kidworld stuff after the first couple posts because it’s so aggressively unpleasant, but does it ever address people who were blind before the plague hit? They’d be much better adapted, after all.


This is the only grownup-only advantage you can take.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Green Intern posted:

The Witch and Hag classes sound amazing. Also is that a reference to the movie Thinner?

I was just trying to think of an example of the kind of poo poo that happens when you mess with a Baba. The actual rules are things like 'You gain a disease every day you fail Toughness until you die or she makes it stop' and stuff like that. Also, killing Baba will not help. She has to lift the curse.

Green Intern
Dec 29, 2008

Loon, Crazy and Laughable



Imagine a game with a party full of babas and ice witches, defending Not-Russian Angel Grove from Chaos.

Barudak
May 7, 2007





Last Exodus the Interactive Story Arc of the Third and Last Dance is a roleplaying game from Synister Creative Systems published in 2001 and designed Sean and Joshua Jaffe. It’s a metaplot heavy, playing card deck using, religious themed urban grunge game. Unless I am otherwise notified it appears to be completely out of print with no digital versions available. Should this be incorrect I will update to include where it can be bought to give the original developers income.


INRI does not appear in this game, so I don’t know what thats about on the cover
Model: Enigma / "Tattoo": Derek Stevens / Title and Design: Joshua Brain Jaffe / Sacred Heart Logo: Santino Alvarez, Frank B. Fallon, Joshua Brian Jaffe

Part 1: TLETISAOTTALD   

For those curious, no, I didn’t make up that title, the full name of the game is in fact “The Last Exodus the Interactive Story Arc of the Third and Last Dance.”* There is no semi-colon in that title, it just goes like that.

So as we start our Third and Last Dance, lets check out the back of TLETISAOTTALD, because normally when you dig into a game reading the back of the book is illustrative of the sort of thing you’re getting into. The back of TLETISAOTTALD has little text, but starts with, “In 1981 the second coming of Christ was born a Muslim girl in Medugorje, Yugoslavia.”* You may notice that this sentence is both theologically stupid and culturally suspect on several levels and missing a word that would make the two sentence ideas come together properly**. Welcome to TLETISAOTTALD.

In terms of general overview TLE (I’m not going to stick to using its full name, and the game sure as hell doesn’t after the outside cover and first time it is introduced) is a painfully 90s game coming out in 2001. It unironically uses the word “metaplot” to describe its story, is about the whole world lying to you, and is filled with grungy, urban aesthetics about a corrupt world. It’s unique things as far as I can tell is abysmally terrible page layout and using playing cards for conflict resolution. Something else that will stick out like a sore thumb to any reader is that the book came out in early 2001, pre-9/11 and boy loving howdy does that color a lot of this book.

The game is divided into 4 main sections, called “Testaments” which cover according to the game History, World, Character, and System. I won’t be sticking to one testament = one update simply because thats too much to cover in a post but we’ll be following the general structure of the book because I’m a firm believer that the way a book is laid out is part of the experience. See below for our first, worrying example of why book layout isn’t going to be this game’s strong suit.


I’ve actually managed to cut-off the barcode and barf top of the page frame and overexposed the page spanning watermark image so consider yourself lucky.

In terms of content, more products were planned and they’re mentioned in a section called “Upcming Products”, spelled exactly that way, but this review will only cover the core book. In true tabletop fashion one of the “Upcming Products”* appears to have been intended to cover fully half of the game’s core setting and the mechanics therein, and the sales pitch description of the book does a better job explaining the game’s setting than the entire first 56 pages of this book. Further, the only information I could find on TLE with a cursory search was post convention reviews of the core book before it released so I’ve got a suspicion those “Upcming Products” might never have come out. One of the reviews did give it a 5/4 so I must really be in for a treat or the reviewer used the same editor that TLE used.

Since I couldn’t find any art from the game online, no joke searching the game name gave me other tabletop games with completely different names because Bing doesn’t know what the gently caress, all the art moving into this is going to be my own attempts to upload this stuff and give credit based on the books credits page. Artwise, TLE is a complete and utter mess of styles with absolutely no coherent theme, but I’m pretty sure if you’ve read this far you’re not surprised. It also occasionally drops an errant secondary sexual characteristic into some of the work so I’m going to be selective in what I share.


Yes, the game has a fake film credits. Yes, half of those are real people and half are setting characters. Yes, there was a naked woman’s butt above this picture, so that’s why you’re only getting this part of the image.

Finally, in closing to our introduction, Joshua Brain Jaffe, I know that this book layout was done now 16 years ago but according to your LinkedIn you do this professionally still to this day so I just want to say please, do not include this in your portfolio of work or you will lose business. Your mustache also hurts those you love.

Next Time: Starting the Book, Badly

*For those wondering about typos, Gareth Michael-Skarka was the book’s sole editor, so presumably he planned to fix them about 7 years before the book went to print but never got around to it.
**If you are the first to correctly guess how this was supposed to read I will give you a shout-out in the form of an overly detailed song quote

Barudak fucked around with this message at 01:06 on Oct 16, 2017

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Green Intern posted:

Imagine a game with a party full of babas and ice witches, defending Not-Russian Angel Grove from Chaos.

I love the Hags in concept, but taking until 3rd tier to actually get their Lore at all is a huge drawback. I wish they got a few more tricks a little sooner.

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





"Born to" right?

some FUCKING LIAR
Sep 19, 2002



Fallen Rib

Joe Slowboat posted:

"Born to" right?

I'm guessing "born as."

Barudak
May 7, 2007



some loving LIAR posted:

I'm guessing "born as."

Winner. I would also have accepted a "." between the two statements making them separate sentences.

Expect your shoutout in the next part.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



I dunno what this is but I feel an instinctual lizard-brain revulsion to what it might have in store.

Valatar
Sep 26, 2011

A remarkable example of a pathetic species.


Lipstick Apathy

After having read the review for Kidsworld, I have my own, shorter review:

Buy Cybergeneration instead.

R. Talsorian's occasionally clumsy, occasionally cringey view of a future where an uncontrolled nanite has killed a lot of adults and made a lot of kids into X-Men has the benefits of having its heart in the right place, having a view of children that isn't insane or fetishy, and having the potential to be fun if handled by a decent GM.

Valatar fucked around with this message at 02:02 on Oct 16, 2017

Barudak
May 7, 2007



I was prepared to rip TLE apart mechanically which, oh my god wait until we talk about the system mechanics because holy poo poo did they forget to tell you something critically important, but I'm finishing the metaplot write-up right now and there are several parts where its obvious that nobody involved thought for two seconds what the implication of their edgelording meant.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Barudak posted:

I was prepared to rip TLE apart mechanically which, oh my god wait until we talk about the system mechanics because holy poo poo did they forget to tell you something critically important, but I'm finishing the metaplot write-up right now and there are several parts where its obvious that nobody involved thought for two seconds what the implication of their edgelording meant.
TLE might be the absolute worst of the late-90s/early-00s Vampire Heartbreaker games. It really does score a perfect 10/10 on every way you can gently caress up your "it's the World of Darkness, only so very much edgier" game and setting. Very much looking forward to this writeup.

Leraika
Jun 14, 2015

slime time



FMguru posted:

TLE might be the absolute worst of the late-90s/early-00s Vampire Heartbreaker games. It really does score a perfect 10/10 on every way you can gently caress up your "it's the World of Darkness, only so very much edgier" game and setting. Very much looking forward to this writeup.

Oh my goodness, I can't wait. :allears:

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.


Someone should do a write-up of Tribe-8 and it'S crazy metaplot one of these days. I'd do it, but a) I only have less than half the books and b)I've yet to finish any project in this thread aside from the Wraith Holocaust book.

wdarkk
Oct 26, 2007

Friends: Protected
World: Saved
Crablettes: Eaten


FMguru posted:

TLE might be the absolute worst of the late-90s/early-00s Vampire Heartbreaker games. It really does score a perfect 10/10 on every way you can gently caress up your "it's the World of Darkness, only so very much edgier" game and setting. Very much looking forward to this writeup.

That feels like an awfully high bar to clear. I'm filled with dread.

Angrymog
Jan 29, 2012

Really Madcats



Barudak posted:

I was prepared to rip TLE apart mechanically which, oh my god wait until we talk about the system mechanics because holy poo poo did they forget to tell you something critically important, but I'm finishing the metaplot write-up right now and there are several parts where its obvious that nobody involved thought for two seconds what the implication of their edgelording meant.

I actually have a copy of this, bought at one of the last UK Gencons. I have no idea what I was thinking when I bought it.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Starfinger HQ:
"How do we make this space lich more... space?"

"I dunno, give it an assault rifle?"

Only registered members can see post attachments!

Communist Zombie
Nov 1, 2011


JcDent posted:

Starfinger HQ:
"How do we make this space lich more... space?"

"I dunno, give it an assault rifle?"



:doh: That question is a gimme! Make their brain or chest or phylactery glow! Tron lines! Anything scifi other than 'weapon'.

Cassa
Jan 29, 2009


whoops

Cassa fucked around with this message at 09:33 on Oct 16, 2017

Cassa
Jan 29, 2009


Stick them in a space suit, those are always the coolest skeleton.

Cassa fucked around with this message at 14:09 on Oct 16, 2017

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Skelenauts are cool

DigitalRaven
Oct 9, 2012

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




wdarkk posted:

That feels like an awfully high bar to clear. I'm filled with dread.

I picked up a copy on a whim when it first came out.

It pole-vaults that bar with ease.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

MonsieurChoc posted:

Someone should do a write-up of Tribe-8 and it'S crazy metaplot one of these days. I'd do it, but a) I only have less than half the books and b)I've yet to finish any project in this thread aside from the Wraith Holocaust book.

I read some brochure for Tribe8 before it came out, and went from enthused to uncomfortable in record time.

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

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




FMguru posted:

Very much looking forward to this writeup.

Hell yeah! This sort of thing is why I read this thread!
Good and Bad RPGs aren't as enjoyable as tearing into the Ugly

Ratoslov
Feb 15, 2012

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



I am now very hyped for this review of TLE. I read GMS's blog entries about it on RPG.net when he made it and it sounded like it was gonna be a train wreck back then.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Waiting for TLE now, yes.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

FMguru posted:

TLE might be the absolute worst of the late-90s/early-00s Vampire Heartbreaker games. It really does score a perfect 10/10 on every way you can gently caress up your "it's the World of Darkness, only so very much edgier" game and setting. Very much looking forward to this writeup.
Well, you had the ones like Everlasting, which were all like "here's everything you can play in the WoD, crammed into one book," which makes them accidental(?) ripoffs of Nightlife by default. Then you had the ones like Tribe 8, Engel, and GODSEND Agenda which were all about 'dat metaplot.

Looking forward to this one.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Starfinger Core Rules Part #19: "There are a ton of different styles of science fiction and science fantasy being blended together in [Starfinger]—everything from space horror like Alien or Event Horizon to Firefly-esque comedic escapades to the political drama of The Expanse—but at its heart, this game is really about exploration, seeing worlds no one’s ever seen before."
(James Sutter, Starfinger Creative Director, Gnome Stew interview.)



Environment

Or, more specifically, "environments that harm or impede you".

We deal with space first, where radiation and suffocation are dangers, as well as automatic turn-by-turn damage from decompression. They do get it right that space isn't "cold" (something RPGs get wrong more often than not) and that it takes hours for a body to begin to suffer from cold issues. We get descriptions of various planetary bodies, and we're told that you can't survive a star's heat at all without Immunity to Fire - otherwise you instantly just die, no saving throw.

Pathfinger Core Rulebook posted:

Any creatures or items not immune to fire are instantly and utterly consumed down to the molecular level-only spells such as miracle or wish can bring back such victims.

Well, hope you've got a 20th level caster pal to help you out with that setback!

There are corrosive worlds (they do acid damage), worlds without atmospheres (vacuum rules), thick atmospheres (sickens or suffocates), thin atmospheres (fatigues or causes ability score damage), and toxic atmospheres (various poison effects). There are clouds that can obscure vision and maybe be toxic or corrosive on some worlds. Extreme water depths can have the effects of thick atmospheres but ironically, there are no rules for the crushing pressure involved, so you can sink forever and not have to deal with that, apparently.

We get all sorts of terrain and weather rules we can skim over, as Starfinger doesn't get into the obsessive terrain rules that Pathfinder with its rules for berms and fence-hopping. Most of it is relatively reasonable, but extreme environments can be farcically punishing... but you also end up with the old-school effect where high-level characters can take farcical punishment. For example, a 10th level Soldier can take a lightning bolt to the head, a quick immersion in boiling water, or fall from any height (on average). That classic Murphy's Rule holds true.

Well, unless you're in extreme gravity, which triples the damage. Try not to fall there. Gravity itself affects speed (lower in high, no effect in low), jumping distance, and carrying capacity in predictable ways. Movement in zero-g requires you to push off objects and then move in a fixed direction - colliding with another creature or object can put you both into the "off-kilter" state - or to climb along handholds. Granted, the DC to stop your movement when hitting a wall or when climbing along a surface is a whopping 20, which means everyday folks who live in zero-g environments spend a decent amount of time stuck on or bouncing off of walls.

You can now successfully die from drowning or suffocating, unlike many older d20 games. Radiation is treated as a poison, and at high enough levels of radiation and low enough fort saves, it's pretty much a death sentence without remove radioactivity, thanks to a poison save DC that can ramp up to 30. (Medicine just gives a bonus to saves, while remove radioactivity requires a caster level check versus the DC of the radiation.)

Overall, the environmental rules are refined from Pathfinder and generally cleaned up, though their punishing nature can discourage risk. Or exploration. "Y'know, let's go do a job someplace that doesn't make our eyeballs melt." Presumably GMs shouldn't throw PCs places they aren't ready for, but there are no particular guidelines on that.



Settlements

So, there are now stat blocks for settlements. They're more descriptive than mechanical, however, mainly dealing with the alignment and type of community, its level of population, government type (from anarchy to utopia), various settlement qualities (academic, devout, notorious, etc.). We then get a two sample communities:
  • 01: A space station over Aballon (?) infected by a virus called "Bureaucratic Syndrome" that caused all local machines to become subject to complex "hierarchy and ritual". While mechanical organisms are quarantined here, there hasn't been an attempt to quarantine it due to the "strange discoveries" and technology it produces.
  • Estuar: A community created to farm water from a melting ice cap to sell to the desert dwellers of Akiton. A generic scum / villainy producer.
Oh, and there's one more entry on the statblocks that's not actually mentioned or discussed: "Maximum Item Level". Yes, in contradiction to the equipment section that claimed all communities have level-appropriate gear for their locale, they instead have a maximum item level they can sell... which I guess means communities are divided into level zones, effectively? 01 has a level of 16, while Estuar has a level of 4, which means you effectively can't resupply some items in some areas now.

As if to underline that, the next section deals with "Settlement Technology", which isn't actually listed under settlement statblocks for some reason, but gives guidelines for how easy it is to hack into tech there. However, since the given level of settlement technology isn't actually listed in the statblock, it seems to be just left for GMs to wing it, like it was included as an afterthought. That then sequels into various durability scores for walls, doors, etc. We also get a few unusual materials:
  • Pure Adamantine: Like found in Pathfinder. Or D&D. Or Wolverine. About hardness 50.
  • Polycarbon Plate: Polycarbon is used to make bulletproof glass, certainly. It's tough stuff! For some reason, though, the Starfinger version is tougher than steel or adamantine alloys. I guess words like "polymer" sound futuristic even if the substance being described is laughably mundane.
  • Nanocarbon: Tubes are magic! They're hardness 35.
  • Adamantine Alloy: The impure version of adamantine, and it loses 20 hardness as a result, down to hardness 30.
  • Transparent Aluminum: For some reason Starfinger erroneously states it's made of aluminum, oxygen, and nitrogen, when the formula actually was hydrogen, accurentum, and aluminum. Hardness 10.
Of course, since weapon damage scales but substance durability does not, this has some weird effects. This means many ranged weapons under 5th level will have a hard if not impossible time shooting through a wooden door. Hell, an azimuth laser pistol wielded by a first level character will take about ten shots - half a clip - to put a hole in a hide hut. Even at 5th level, it's a coin flip whether or not that same pistol will be able to punch a hole in that same hide hut - if they have weapon specialization!

On the other hand, high-level characters in the teens will be be doing enough damage to make a Rifts character proud, any stray shot slicing through stone or steel readily and causing massive levels of property damage. Not that Starfinger tracks that kind of thing, but high-level characters would regularly risk bringing structures down on themselves - to say nothing of punching holes in a ship or station wall.



Traps

Traps are located with Perception, and then disabled with Engineering (mechanical traps) or Mysticism (magic traps). Let's get this out of the way: like the spaceship and computer rules, the trap DCs are busted because they use the same sort of formulae provided for general skill DCs in the gamemaster section. Now, unlike the spaceship rules, this can be compensated for by Envoys and Operatives with the appropriate builds, but once again, it's still an issue. It's worth mentioning that detect magic is explicitly no good for detecting magical traps, because traps are said to be specifically warded against that effect. However, unseen servants and other creative wizardly means are still fine for activating certain triggers remotely. Unlike Pathfinder, we don't get costs for traps, so it's not clear if a punji pit trap costs 750 credits to dig this time around.

Traps have very detailed statblocks complete with AC, HP, hardness, DCs, to reflect a variety of approaches, in case somebody wants to shoot them, blow them up, disarm them, whatever. And we get examples, like a pit trap, laser blast trap, jolting console trap, mind spore trap (poisonous spores that make it harder to think), hacker's curse trap (curses equipment with penalties), explosive detonation trap, nanoflechette launcher trap, obedience implant trap (shoots you with a "magic microchip" that takes you over), disintegration chamber trap, and a soul upload trap. It's always interesting how the more powerful you get, the more dire the consequences of the trap become...

Oh, and the most-detailed trap: a trash... compactor trap? Not sure why that was included, and I don't know why PCs would jump in a trash compactor. Maybe if they're really stupid? Don't just throw out a bunch of perfectly good PCs, GMs!

Next: I'm afflicted, you're addicted.

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 13:54 on Oct 16, 2017

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010




Lipstick Apathy

Alien Rope Burn posted:

Radiation is treated as a poison, and at high enough levels of radiation and low enough fort saves, it's pretty much a death sentence without remove radioactivity, thanks to a poison save DC that can ramp up to 30. (Medicine just gives a bonus to saves, while remove radioactivity requires a caster level check versus the DC of the radiation.)

Can you inoculate against radiation? Because that's going to be necessary for proper Star Trey Voyager fidelity :v:

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


I hate to ask, but do you need to have all that durability poo poo in a book anyways? Like, detail that some doors are bulletproof and leave it at that.

And for character stats, I'd cheat by looking at various olympian stats and setting thr human maximum on that, maybe giving Space Marine type dudes more. Why make formulas that make characters run faster that sound...

Barudak
May 7, 2007



Durability is one of those weird sacred horses. Its even weirder in Starfinger because while normally its a paean to realism and a way to dismissively tell strength characters oh but you can open doors too, gun damage seems pretty darn high and not tied to class so it feels like everybody at high levels should just be shooting doors opena nd blowing up walls straight to the big bad

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


gradenko_2000 posted:

Can you inoculate against radiation? Because that's going to be necessary for proper Star Trey Voyager fidelity :v:

Nope. Armor protects against low-level radiation, and at higher levels, against mid-level radiation. Remove radioactivity removes radiation sickness on a successful roll. But, ironically, it does not actually remove radioactivity, so if you're hanging out in a uranium mine, you could still be in trouble. Life bubble protects against a variety of hazardous conditions, but not radiation.

In another curious note, there's a Solarian ability that lets you emit radiation in an aura.... but it doesn't provide any protection against radiation, so you can be radioactive and get irradiated yourself.

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FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

A couple of minor elements as exemplars of TLE's Vampire Heartbreaker status

- It's a game of pre-millenial tension, of the world being on the cusp of a great change (or great dissolution), and it came out in...2001. Way to time that zeitgeist, lads.

- Like every good heartbreaker, there's a giant list of future supplements and expansions (Coming Soon!) in the back of the core book, and like all good heartbreakers, not a single one was ever released.

- They may have missed their target as far getting a game of pre-millenial tension out after the millenium, but don't worry - one of the future products announced was a series of scenarios set around the 9/11 attacks. Again, this was a game that came out in late 2001 while the rubble of the WTC was still smouldering. Ooooh, is that edgy enough for you?

- Finally, the core book itself, which was an oversized (so it won't fit on most bookshelves) black-and-white softcover with decent production values was way underpriced at $15 so they had no money coming in to publish all those planned supplements. There's nothing so heartbreaker-y as a complete misunderstanding of the economics of publishing, and TLE nailed this bingo space exactly.

And that's all without getting into anything about the game itself, the system, the world setting, the writing, the editing, the campaign framework...

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