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Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




gradenko_2000 posted:

Honestly you're better off just playing old-school D&D as-is. As long as you find an elegant way to deal with THAC0 (there are several), they're very well-designed, if not necessarily very well formatted and explained.

ArkInBlack posted:

You totally can, even if it means excising Icons in 13th Age's case, or just modifying them to fit whatever setting. The first one's easier, but I really like Icon dice as narrative currency to swing things in your favor by bringing in help from someone who you might owe for it.

Well, that's two/three new games for me to check out!

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Cthulhu Dreams
Dec 11, 2010

If I pretend to be Cthulhu no one will know I'm a baseball robot.


gradenko_2000 posted:

Honestly you're better off just playing old-school D&D as-is. As long as you find an elegant way to deal with THAC0 (there are several), they're very well-designed, if not necessarily very well formatted and explained.

You could play a heartbreaker - like Spears of Dawn reads great and played fine in a one shot./I have every reason to believe campaign play would work.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




gradenko_2000 posted:

To be fair, the author does say that "you put it on, and then you die"-type curses should be avoided, as the players cannot be taught a lesson if the item just straight up kills them. Rather, he suggests creating items are critically flawed in one way or another, such as:

* A Berserking Sword that looks perfectly normal until you enter combat, at which point the wielding starts randomly attacking any and every living being within 60 feet

* A Backbiter Spear that looks perfectly normal until it is either thrown or rolls a 1 during the melee attack. When either of those two happen, the wielder deals themselves twice the amount of damage that should have been dealt to the enemy.
... I've seen both of those in old D&D item lists. "Here's my clever, original idea: a thing I cribbed from the 1e D&D magic item list!"

potatocubed
Jul 26, 2012

*rathian noises*


snip

potatocubed fucked around with this message at 09:05 on Jan 10, 2019

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010



Lipstick Apathy

Zereth posted:

... I've seen both of those in old D&D item lists. "Here's my clever, original idea: a thing I cribbed from the 1e D&D magic item list!"

Oh, he doesn't claim that to be an original idea. He straight up recommends that the GM pick through the list of curses and flaws in the AD&D 1e DMG and use those.

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



gradenko_2000 posted:

Oh, he doesn't claim that to be an original idea. He straight up recommends that the GM pick through the list of curses and flaws in the AD&D 1e DMG and use those.

Those are lame though. Those just directly place you into physical danger without any sort of interesting caveat. Those aren't curses, they're traps.

Quinn2win
Nov 9, 2011

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




THE 1894 NETWORK, PART 2



Quincey Morris
American adventurer, friend of Arthur Holmwood and Jack Seward and the third courter of Lucy Westenra. Had a collection of firearms that he used to considerable effect when hunting Dracula, died delivering what Stoker reported to be the fatal blow to the Count. As we now know, Dracula survived this fatal encounter.

Edom
Was Quincey really American? Maybe he was actually Dracula's handler - he shows up right after Dracula's last attack on Lucy, was the first to mention vampires, and was constantly slipping off on vague 'patrols'. Taking out Dracula if things went south may have been part of his job, too.

Minion
Dracula recruited Quincey in Whitby, and used him as a spy. He 'fails' repeatedly to stop Dracula from accomplishing his goals, and ultimately kills Dracula - or does he? Dracula has the power to change forms at sunset or sunrise, and Quincey struck the killing blow at the moment of sunset! He didn't use any of the established vampire-killing methods, Dracula just evaporated to reform later. Quincey may still be working with Dracula to this day.

Other
Quincey's backstory is so blurry that almost anything is possible. He could be an inventor, a monster, or a spy for the American Secret Service, aiming to hijack Edom for US interests.

Clear Name
Brutus Marix, Quincy Adams, James Brown, Mark Franklin.



Kate Reed
Journalist and contributor to the Englishwoman's Review and the Westminster Gazette. Academic and lifelong friend of Mina Murray. Uncovered the true identity of Count de Ville when he came to London. Notably was cut completely from the published novel.

Edom
Reed could have been Edom's media filter, intercepting any leaks of vampire attacks before they hit the press. He references an 'uncle James' with an unclear job and an interest in train timetables, who could have been her Edom handler. Maybe that's why she wasn't in the book.



Minion
When Reed tried to poison Mina, the others accused her of being a vampire - she claimed she was trying to Euthanize Mina, but that can't be proven. Reed's description of Dracula's feast has several strange inconsistencies, suggesting that maybe she falsified parts of the story, maybe because she was actually attending the feast willingly. There's some evidence that Reed had a romantic entanglement with Johnathan Harker, giving her a motive to ally with Dracula against an old rival.



Other
Why was Kate Reed excised from the book? Possibility 1, Reed's father had connections to the X Club, a dinner club that served as Edom's advisory committee, and he got her pulled from the text to protect her. Possibility 2, Kate Reed's diary went missing before Stoker collected the report, and she was cut from the text to decredit any possible connections drawn by whoever found it later.

Clear Name
Genevieve Havelock, Barbara Ward, Catherine Cook. A real world option is Edith Craig, daughter of the actor Ellen Terry - she was sent to America in 1895 - to escape Dracula, or to escape Bram Stoker's employers?



R. M. Renfield
The most famous of Dracula's human minions. A patient in Dr. Seward's asylum, he sensed Dracula's approach long before he landed in England. His primary activity was to invite his master into the asylum to prey on Mina, but he was ignored by Dracula, and ended up attacking him. He was mortally wounded in the altercation, and died shortly afterwards.

Edom
Was Renfield wholly insane? If he was in place to spy on the Carfax estate, then all the fly eating would be some really deep cover. He's intelligent, has great powers of observation, and shows signs of physical training, too.

Minion
Renfield is obviously a minion of Dracula, but why him? If he's psychically sensitive enough to get hit by Dracula's aura remotely, how many others were similarly affected? Any number of incidents surrounding madmen could be Dracula's fault, and could then have become his leave-behind London network.

Other
Who killed Renfield? Was it really Dracula? Did he really die? Renfield is another possible candidate for Jack the Ripper, if he's in the game. Hell, he might still be Jack the Ripper.

Clear Name
James Kelly, Roderick Reynolds, Clark Maybrick. Real people who could be a Jack the Ripper whose death was faked by authorities: William Gull, Montague Druitt, William Bury, J.K. Stephen, Prince Albert Victor, Nathan Kaminsky. Real murderers who similarly could be Renfield: Richard Dadd, Charlie Peace, Neill Cream, George Henry Lamson, Percy Lefroy Mapleton.



Peter Hawkins
Johnathan Harker's employer. Died abruptly, leaving his house and business to the Harkers - Lucy and her mother also died at about the same time.

Edom
Possibly Operation Edom's mastermind. Hawkins contacted Dracula and lured him to England, Hawkins sent Harker to Castle Dracula, Hawkins invited Johnathan and Mina to live with him (and debrief them). Once Dracula was secure in Carfax, Hawkins vanished, because he never existed. This is also why he appears to have no family.

Minion
When Dracula got an obscure solicitor's name in Exeter, Hawkins provided it. Hawkins didn't really die, he just disappeared. Maybe he had a fatal disease, and sought out Dracula to cure it - maybe that was the whole point of Operation Edom. He was always one step ahead, making sure the vampire hunters were one step behind.

Clear Name
Abraham Aaronson, Arthur Abbott, John Gilbert. The head of Naval Intelligence was William Henry Hall until 1889, and he died unexpectedly in 1895. Rear Admiral Cyprian A. G. Bridge was his successor, and he suddenly retired in late 1894.



Inspector Cotford
Vanished during his own investigation into Dracula, remembered only by his notebook. He failed to spot the danger until it was far too late.

Edom
Cotford was a soldier before he was police. Even if he wasn't Edom, he may have assisted them unknowingly by reporting Dracula's movements to his superiors.

Minion
Cotford was locked in a tomb with a hungry young vampiress, then we don't know what happened to him. Dracula could have use for a police mole.

Clear Name
Ebenezer Crook, Thomas Snell, Athelstan Jones



Francis Aytown
Society painter, photographer. Asked to paint Lucy Westenra and Juliette Patron, both future victims of Dracula. Discovered the effect of vampirism on photographs. Painted a portrait of Dracula at great cost to his own sanity. Does not appear in the published novel.

Edom
Photography was his cover - Aytown was an Edom plant in high-society circles. He was removed from the novel to make sure nobody went looking for the pictures he took of Dracula.

Minion
Dracula enters Aytown's studio with no trouble - did Aytown invite him in? Maybe the Dracula portrait was a fraud.

Clear Name
Basil Hallward, Benedict Upton, Louis Vener. Could be a cover name for occultist murder-obsess painter and Ripper supsect Walter Sickert.

Next: The Legacies.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Corporeal Player's Guide: The Quick and the Dead

Human souls on the celestial plane are largely treated like Heartless celestials. They have the same Forces after death that they had in life, but no longer hae a limit on their potential Forces. They can gain them freely, by training or by Superior. The damned, of course, are forbidden new Forces by the Princes. Celestial souls retain all of their skills, Songs and attunements, though the latter are usually stripped from the damned. Human souls can learn and perform Songs in any realm after death if they have at least 6 Forces. Those with less still can't manipulate Essence or the Symphony. The blessed may learn any Song an angel is willing to teach, while the damned cannot learn anything without a Prince's permission, but some do anyway. Many Princes prefer to strip human souls down to 5 Forces ot prevent this. Souls can receive attunements and Distinctions, but the Archangels tend to give them only to Saints. Almost no Damned have any status - even those rare few that earned Knighthoods on Earth will tend to have them stripped in Hell.

Unlike Discord, disadvantages are not tied to your soul, and any mortal that enters Heaven may choose to abandon any disadvantages they had in life. Many newly ascended keep them at first, unaware that they might be able to shed their blindness or crippled...ness at will. The same is true of Ethereal or Celestial disadvantages - it might be harder to choose not to be Angry or Lustful or whatever, but it's still just a choice. Some angels and blessed souls patiently guide new arrivals through the process of releasing this baggage. In Hell, the damned can also lose themm but it's harder. No one tells them they can do it, and Hell tends to aggravate them rather than remove disadvantages. A damned soul must work them off with CP, as any living human might, and that's not exactly common.



Human souls can engage in celestial combat, and if they lose all Celestial Forces, they cease to exist. Of course, no blessed soul would ever attack someone and no angel would even consider harming a human soul. The damned, however, fight fairly frequently or are preyed on by demons. Princes usually forbid the wasteful destruction of the damned, as they are useful as Essence and Forces, but they will allow anything short of destroying the soul.

The blessed are those who achieve their destinies, and the majority ascend to the Higher Heavens, never seen again. Those that choose to remain in the lower Heaven with the angels, however, continue service. Some advise Laurence or the other Archangels, giving them a valuable human perspective on the War. Others seek to become Saints. Buddhists believe in Bodhisattvas, the enlightened who choose to stay behind in the cycle of reincarnation to help others. This term has become popular among the humans of Heaven, though Laurence prefers to use the word 'Saint' to refer to all blessed souls, whether they have corporeal forms or not. Blessed souls always have the option to ascend to the Higher Heavens, and they constantly feel the lure, knowing instinctively that they are a place of ultimate joy and peace. It takes immense selflessness to avoid ascension. Heaven's a very nice place, but the blessed know an even better one awaits. Most eventually move on, sometimes after a short time touring Heaven to meet famous souls and satisfy curiosity, sometimes after centuries of struggle and work. All blessed souls automatically gain the Blessed advantage, though it hardly matters except for Saints.

Humans that meet their fate become the damned in Hell. They have few options. Usually, they just suffer eternally. If they are lucky, they may be destroyed eventually, but the Princes prefer to keep them around as Essence batteries. Rarely, one of the damned might prove themselves useful, however. In some Principalities, like Sheol or Abaddon, the damned are never more than victims. But under Asmodeus, Baal and the Princes of Shal-Mari, there are some chances to earn higher position. Those who are cunning, have an instinct for politics and are good at bootlicking may end up in positions of authority over the resto f the damned, and a rare few even get to serve demons as lackeys instead of mere toys.

Some humans have unfinished business after death, and when they reincarnate, subconscious memories drive them to complete that business. Those who have achieved destiny or fate have no such chance, however. Some of these, those with a strong will and desire to remain on Earth, resist the lure of the celestial plane and become ghosts. To do so, they must have at least 2 Celestial Forces, must have achieved their destiny or fate, and must have something on the corporeal to anchor themselves to, preferably a focus for the obsession that keeps them around. Anchors can be people, places or objects. Attempting to anchor yourself costs one randomly chosen Force and requires a Will roll. If you succeed and retain 2 Celestial Forces, you become a ghost. If you fail, you can try again, losing another random Force. This continues until you succeed, give up or are dropped to 1 Celestial Force, in which case you must move on. This is why most ghosts are weak and incomplete.

Once a soul is a ghost, they cannot go beyond a certain distance from their anchor, based on their Celestial Forces and Will, generally not very far. In most respects, ghosts are treated like they are in celestial form. They cani nteract with the corporeal only by spending 1 Essence and making a Will + Celestial Forces roll. Success makes them visible, audible and able to touch things if they have any Corporeal Forces or speak if they have any Ethereal Forces, lasting for (10*CD) minutes. Failure means they can't try again for (CD) minutes, or all day on CD 6. Ghosts cannot be corporeally harmed, even when tangible - they have no bodies and no corporeal HP - but can suffer ethereal and celestial damage. Ghosts retain any skills and attunements they had in life, but if they lose all Forces in a realm, they lose all skills and Songs associated with that realm. If the ghost was Symphonically aware and/or had Songs and/or was a sorcerer, they retain those skills in death...if they retain 6+ Forces. Few ghosts do. Ghosts regenerate Essence as they did in life, retianing any Rites they had, and some ghosts after long periods develop a Rite based on their anchor. Ghosts cause no Disturbance except via spending Essence. Ghosts with no Ethereal Forces cannot speak or assume coherent form. At most, they appear as a mist, a ball of light or a chill. Ghosts with reduced Ethereal Forces appear incomplete, sich as only manifesting above the waist or being audible only as if from a great distance. Ghosts with no Corporeal Forces cannot manifest tangibly or produce sound. There are four basic types of ghosts.

Will'o'Wisps are those with no Corporeal or Ethereal Forces. They are the most common form of ghost and the simplest. They have sacrificed everything but the Will that keeps them anchored. They largely manifest only as vague balls of light or cold air, and cannot affect the corporeal. Even if they could, they aren't smart enough to do much. Many are never recognized as ghosts by humans. They do not know how to let go of the corporeal but do not remember why they wanted to stay.

Poltergeists have Corporeal Forces but no Ethereal Forces. They can be playful, friendly or malevolent, but are never intelligent, as they lost their minds in their struggle to remain. Now they are ony as bright as animals, guarding their anchors and expressing their feelings by using their limited ability to affect the corporeal. They rarely display any visible manifestations,a nd their celestial form is mostly just a ball of light. Some make inarticulate noises, even laughter or screams, but most are silent. They are usually detected only by cold patches and hurled objects.

Apparitions have Ethereal Forces but no Corporeal Forces. They have lost the ability to affect the world directly, but retain intellect and memories of the past - or at least some of them. Depending on how much of their mind remains, they might just replay loops of memory over and over, or they miught seek out humans to give messages to, in an effort to complete their wrk. They manifest as they remember appearing in life. They can be harmless or hateful, and while they cannot move objects or make noise, they have their own ways of making unwanted visitors uncomfortable.

Ghosts retain both Corporeal and Ethereal Forces. They usually have most of their intellect and awareness, and they may communicate both with the living and celestials. Since they are the ones most likely to either by exorcised or complete their work, they are the rarest ghosts. They appear almost as real and tangible as the living when they choose to manifest, and only bright sunlight reveals them as translucent. They usually have a morbid sense of humor, and those who no longer hope of completing their unfinishedb usiness tend to laugh at mortals as self-absorbed and meaningless. They generally wish they could live again, or seek an end to their eternal existence.

At any time, a ghost can release its anchor to move on to its final destination, unless they reanchor themselves via the same anchoring process as before. Ghosts tend to leave voluntarily only if they accomplish their goals, but destroying their anchor will force them to move on. Sorcerers may also destroy ghosts with an exorcism ritual or force them to move on with a banishment ritual. Ghosts may also be driven from the world by celestial combat. If reduced to 1 Celestial Force, they automatically move on to their final destination. Demons tend to ignore ghosts unless they're useful or a problem. Angels tend to pity ghosts and encourage them to move on, sometimes even helping them accomplish their tasks. They also frown on destroying ghosts instead of banishing them, as that renders their final reward or punishment impossible.



Dream-shades are ghosts that anchor themselves in the ethereal plane. Unlike corporeal ghosts, they need not have met their destiny or fate before dying, and they lose no Forces in the anchoring process. To become a dream-shade requires one of a few circumstances. First, any human that dies while asleep and dreaming can make a Dreaming skill roll to anchor their soul to wherever it happened to be at the time (usually their dreamscape), and non-lucid dreamers can attempt the roll at default by instinct. Failure means they move on to whatever awaits. Further, lucid dreamers (which is anyone with the Dreaming skill) can make an attempt at -2 even while awake. Success anchors them anywhere they know in the Marches or in their dreamscape, their choice. Humans who know the Song of Dreams can do the same, but must successfully perform the Song and have enough Essence when they die to do so. Humans with the Dream Walking attunement can do the same with a Percpetion roll. In either of these two cases, the dream-shade must anchor themselves in someone else's dreamscape, and is out of luck if the subject is not dreaming at the time of death. Certain potent ethereals can also anchor souls in their own Domains, but only if they're aware of the human's death as it happens and the soul is willing. Some worshoppers of pagan gods go to their gods on death this way. Blandine and Beleth can also anchor willing souls anywhere in their side of the Vale, but Blandine never does so. The final method is to use the Ethereal Song of Blood, which lets you murder a mortal in their sleep and bind them to their dreamscape.

Once anchored in the ethereal, a dream-shade can move on at any time - nothing can hold a soul against its will. Dream-shades who have fulfilled their fate or destiny will eventually move on to their final destination, while the rest reincarnate or disband. Dream-shades are treated as ethereals in most ways, and retain all Forces and abilities they had in life, but have no corporeal form. They regain Essence at midnight, like spirits, and can be attacked in celestial combat. They can learn and perform Ethereal Songs if they have 6+ Forces, but not Celestial Songs. Most can wander the Marches freely, but non-lucid dreamers who anchored themselves to their own dreamscape will be trapped within until someone shows them how to leave. They may reanchor themselves with a Dreaming roll, and the new anchor can be someone else's dreamscape or any location in the Marches. A failed attempt means you wait (CD) days before you can try again.

Unlike ethereals, dream-shades cannot create their own vessels. The only way for them to go to Earth is if a Superior or pagan god makes a vessel for them and they have at least 1 Corporeal Force. Dream-shades with vessels can manifest on Earth anywhere they've ever been before with 1 Essence and a Will roll, and may return to the Marches the same way. Dream-shades feel the constant pull of the afterlife, and each time their vessel is killed makes it harder to resist. Most dream-shades that die on Earth move on, but the few that cling to their existence suffer Trauma as an ethereal would, and then need to get someone to give them a new vessel. Dream-shades can be exorcised or banished, and if their anchor is destroyed they can be forced to move on - but that's not easy without killing a dreamer to get rid of their dreamscape, killing the pagan god or Superior that owns an ethereal Domain. Even then, the dream-shade gets one chance to roll Dremaing to reanchor.

Next time: Saints

Hypocrisy
Oct 4, 2006
Lord of Sarcasm



Kavak posted:

So why wasn't this the case in 1st and 2nd edition? What changed? If we had an answer for that we'd have the answer to balancing things.

It was still the case in 1st or 2nd edition. Don't trust anyone who says otherwise. Sleep has been Sleep in every version of D&D.

Kobold eBooks
Mar 5, 2007

EVERY MORNING I WAKE UP AN OPEN PALM SLAM A CARTRIDGE IN THE SUPER FAMICOM. ITS E-ZEAO AND RIGHT THEN AND THERE I START DOING THE MOVES ALONGSIDE THE MAIN CHARACTER, CORPORAL FALCOM.

Call my tastes trash, but my solution to "ugh what version of D&D do I play???? 2nd is insane to parse, 3/.5 is impossibly broken, 4th takes forever and I don't wanna write down all the powers, Pathfinder makes me scream directly into my own rear end in a top hat" is playing 5th ed. It's not perfect, but if you agree not to use Feats, it's a lot better about most of the Usual D&D Problems.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Hypocrisy posted:

It was still the case in 1st or 2nd edition. Don't trust anyone who says otherwise. Sleep has been Sleep in every version of D&D.

But Fighters had a monopoly on magical weapons.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Silent Legions


I think I'll make this a double feature, as the next chapter is a lot like stuff I've already covered in SWN:

Building Your World - Creating Dark Circumstances

The Lovecraftian sandbox of Silent Legions abstracts the "map" into regions. They can range in scale from a simple town to an entire nation (or a few smaller states), with the only limit being that whatever weird stuff is happening inside a single region rarely spreads out into other regions. What happens in Innsmouth stays in Innsmouth.
Inside every region are locations, which aside from free-floating shenanigans are the only points of interest for the players. The scale of the locations should depend on the scale of the region: If the region is "New England", a location might be "Innsmouth". If the region itself is Innsmouth, then a location could just be the little-known Innsmouth branch of Cheese Dudes or something.

The book recommends to start out with a region one is very familiar (like say your home state) and then pick three cities, rural areas and isolated places as starting locations. These can be based on actual real-life places, but the GM can also just make stuff up or change things around.
The region is then populated with at least one cult and alien species for the PCs to stumble into. If the GM feels nice, he might also sprinkle in an ally faction for the PCs, like a group of monster hunters or a secret agency.

When fleshing out locations, around 1/5 of them should be red herrings, aka locations without anything occult going on. This is just a friendly reminder that the players shouldn't expect crazy cults or Shoggoths behind every corner.
Actually fleshing out the locations is done in typicl Crawford-fashion by rolling up some tags that provide ideas for plots, places and NPCs. More specifically, each tag in Silent Legions provides multiple examples for enemies, friends, schemes, secrets and places.
True to modern day occult horror roots, the tags include fun stuff like "Alien Bloodline", "Breeding Program", "Corrupt Police", "Eldritch Radiation" and a friggin' "Lich Lair".

Adventure Templates

These are adventure frameworks for the GM to roll up between sessions and flesh out as needed, as simple dungeon crawls aren't really a thing in these sorts of games.
The book "warns" that these templates have a relative tight focus for a sandbox game. It's basically all about the PCs wandering the sandbox and picking an adventure road that looks interesting.

Each adventure template is made out of several scenes. The four primary types of scenes found in nearly every template are Hook scenes (the first nudge towards the main plot), Introduction scenes (where the PCs make themselves familiar with the location), Investigation scenes (where they try to find out just what the hell is going on) and Resolution scenes (where cults are busted). Typically, they happen in around this order.
Other possible scenes include Ambush scenes (surprise cultist attack!), Escape scenes (pretty much whenever something with tentacles and multiple mouths appears), Conflict scenes (combat!) and Respite scenes (time for recovery!).

The book recommends to build these templates backwards, starting with the final Resolution scene, adding multiple chains of Investigation scenes that lead to it, and finally an Introduction and Hook scene to get the ball rolling.

Once the template is fleshed out with NPCs and everything, the adventure can be run in one of two ways: oldschool-style were the entire adventure can fail spectacularly if the PCs mess up, or a more Gumshoe-ish approach where failsafes will make sure that the PCs will always get the minimum amount of clues necessary to get to the end - so they price they will have to pay for this can be steep.

Rewards

The surviving PCs gain an amount of XP that depend on the highest level anyone of them has, allowing the inevitable replacement PCs to catch up faster.

Wealth-related rewards are handled as abstract wealth tokens, each with their own wealth level that can be exchanged for equipment. These tokens can be split up into tokens of less worth, but they can't be combined to create a token of higher worth. The latter part is especially important since wealth tokens that are around two steps above your own wealth level can be used to permanently increase your wealth level by one.

Scenes and Challenges

This section is all about randomly generating the parts for your adventure templates. Each scene comes with one (sometimes two) ranodm tables, there's a random NPC and crime generator, and there are even challenge tables tailored to the individual classes, so that everyone gets something to do.

Cults - Sicknesses that never sleep

This section is essentially an adaption of the faction rules from Stars Without Number, focused on cults. Just like in SWN, these rules are for the GM to change the sandbox depending on how the various cults are doing trying to expand and outdo each other, and they can be used by PC onces they have enough influence to create their own cult (or rather agency in this regard).

Like in SWN, these rules are all about aquiring various Assets and using them to crush the opposition. The currency of this system is Power. Each location has its own rating depending on how important it is, but cults operating in a location can try to improve that rating.
The most important thing for each cult in any given location is its stronghold there. It acts as that location's HQ and is necessary to make use of its Power.

Due to the unpredicable nature of Eldritch horror, some of the more supernatural assets have the Berserk state. If you can't pay their upkeep for more than a turn, they will go on a rampage and continue to wreck your and everyone else's stuff until it is destroyed.

Each cult has 3 attributes, which grant access to different kinds of assets: Muscle is for brute force. It starts off harmless with corrupt cops and thugs, moves on to assassins and military weapons and ends at a friggin' army.
Sorcery is for your occult and Eldritch needs. Low Sorcery only allows for wannabe sorcerers and maybe a minor abomination, but higher scores grant access to a Kelipah and make you BFF (sorta) with an Outer Lord (whatever that is; though it doesn't sound very nice).
Influence is for gaining social and economic power. It starts of with a profitable business, moves onto connections with a Crime Boss and ends at the Inssmouth Response, aka the cult is now a national secret agency that allows them to totally wreck opposing cults with the small chance that their activities will backfire after getting compromised.

Next Time: The Bestiary - including one of the best Eldritch horror pictures ever.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Corporeal Player's Guide: Oh when the Saints, go marching in...



Blessed souls that do not ascend to the Higher Heavens usually stay in Heaven, but some petition to go back to Earth. These are Heaven's secret weapon - almost incurruptible, with human insight and celestial powers, and the power to live on Earth without Disturbance. Bodhisattva is the common term for blessed souls and Saints for those with vessels, but there is no real difference between them save the vessel. Still, Heaven has strict requirements for handing out vessels. A soul that wants to go to Earth must first petition an Archangel, usually the one whose goals and methods align closest to their own. If a human was a Soldier in life, they'll probably petition their former Archangel. Most Archangels have only a few dozen Saints on Earth at any time - the Seraphim Council doesn't want the dead to meddle with the living too much. An Archangel will question any petitioner very carefully, as a result. The blessed as selfless as any angel and cannot lie in Heaven, but they are as fallible as any human, and some want to go back for personal reasons, not to help all of humanity. Only those with an overwhelming desire to fight for the sake of all creation and who will forsake all former Earthly attachments are considered. Every Archangel also only wants to sponsor Saints that will advance Heaven's cause in accordance with their Word. Petitioners are expected to describe in detail what they plan to do on Earth and why, how it will be done and how it will help Heaven. The Archangel will then cosnider the proposal alongside the Saint's abilities. If they are swayed by it, they will send the new Saint to Earth.

To make a Saint, Archangels must first make a veseel as they would for an angel, but binding a blessed soul to a vessel is trickier than for an angel. There are two main methods. Either way, a Saint's body is treated as a vessel for purposes of HP, with level equal to Corporeal Forces. Archangels have also learned that Saintly vessels must require sleep - unlike angels, the human mind needs to sleep and dream when not in the celestial plane, and Saints are prone to forget this unless their body reminds them. Other needs depend on which of the two methods was used.

The simplest method is to create a vessel and just bind the soul into it. The Saint returns to Earth full-formed, with all memories of Heaven and the past life intact. Often, the vessel will be identical to their living body, though this is sometimes not desirable, like when a Saint died recently and may be recognized. A recorporealized Sain'ts vessel is like a celestial's in most ways - it does not age, it doesn't have to eat or drink and it's immune to most environmental extremes. Saints are recorporealized by those Archanges who have a specific reason for the Saint to be in a certain place at a certain time.

The other method, however, is literal rebirth - an Archangel picks out a woman to give birth to the Saint, who is invested in an embryonic vessel in the womb. The woman chosen to bear the Saint to term is always carefulyl slected, and sometimes is a volunteer Soldier. Often a Cherub will be assigned to guard the mother and newborn. Reborn Saints grow up as normal, but always very healthly and selfless. At some point in their life, an event triggers their dormant abilities and they remember who they are and why they were sent back to Earth. A reborn Saint's vessel is mortal - it will age and die if the Saint is not killed first, and when this happens, their soul returns to Heaven again and they can, if their Archangel allows it, go back for another round. These vessels must eat and drink and are as vulnerable to the environment as any human. Rebirth is used largely by Archangels hwo have no specific mission in mind, just a desire for the Saint to bring about positive change.

Angels fight demons directly and Soldiers work as guerrillas, but Saints attempt to avoid conflict. Their job is to attend to humans, ideally furthering their patron's Word but primarily just helping humans get by. Saints live among humans as helpful souls, working to save individual souls one at a time. Saints do not ignore demons, of course, and as they can hear Disturbance they make excellent sentries, and few will hesitate to fight a demon preying on their flock. They are much more formidable than Soldiers, as they do not fear death and cannot be told from normal humans unless they use powers. Demons despise and resent Saints, and enjoy hurting them, but they tend to come off the worse in confrontations with them, as Saints usually have angelic friends. Archangels do not waste them on jobs anyone else could do, and tend to work in the long term, so they make poor PCs - they tend to stick to individual lives for years on end. They will help angels if they can, but their first priority is always their charges. They won't chase a demon if it'd mean missing a meeting with a troubled teen they're counseling. Saints will call on angels for help only when absolutely needed, and they expect to be treated with respect. Any angel that tries to order tham around is likely to get yelled at by their Archangel.

Blandine's Saints, more than any of her servants, work on Earth to help brighten the world. They are always people who, in life, illuminated many dreamscapes or who were particularly brilliant lucid dreamers.
David's Saints are leaders, charismatic and driven, especially those who endured great suffering. They help people find purpose and encourage communities.
Dominic's Saints promote rule of law and work to fight unjust laws. They also keep an eye out for demonic influence, particularly the subtler kind. They're as quick to report angels as any Judge, and they always have an absolute set of morals.
Eli has few Saints, since he's been AWOL for years. The ones that remain are free spirits who make life better just by their existence. Most are artists, who created out of love for the world.
Gabriel has few Saints as well - she's hard to find and harder to talk to. Her few Saints tend to be wrathful vigilantes, but her oldest ones were artists, lovers, leaders or prophets that inspired others with their passion.
Janus' Saints are infiltrators, who work their way into stagnant organizations and engineer some radical change to get them moving again. Janus loves revolutionaries.
Jean's Saints watch over the works of mankind. They are engineers, mechanics, plumgers, sysadmins and other repairment, who ensure that equipment vital to human life keeps going. Their work is not glorious, but it is vital. Sometimes, Jean uses his Saints to subtly pass on knowledge he deems suitable for humanity, but he will always recall anyone that passes on Heavenly innovation without instructions. His Saints are sometimes brilliant innovators, but more often careful, precise and methodical researchers.
Jordi has almost no Saints, and chooses only those who love animals so much they're willing to live as them. Most of his Saints have animal vessels and work to save animals from abuse and extinction as well as attacking hunters.
Laurence's Saints tend to be Christiand and especially Catholic. He chooses great men and women of the Church, and he primarily sends them as missionaries or supporters of churches.
Marc's Saints are those who prospered by fair and good practice and used their money to help others. He sends them back to Earth to teach other people to do the same. They invest in promising companies, mentor young entrepreneurs and teach business ethics and economics.
Michael has over a thousand Saints, and he's been recruiting for a long time. Any of his former Soldiers that want to do the job get to. They infiltrate organizations Michael believes are demonic targets, get key positions, then wait. Some have been waiting for centuries. They watch for demons, report it to angels and oppose only passively, always remaining hidden. This vast conspiracy exists for when the Day finalyl comes - when ifnernal forces organize enough for a major strike. Then, Michael will give the order and the Saints will act by the hundreds. Queue mass bloodshed and the deaths of thousands of diabolical agents with no Disturbance whatsoever. The last time Michael mobilized his Saints was Normandy in WW2. The hope is that next time will be the Final Battle.
Novalis' Saints are sweet, kind and optimistic. They don't need to have done anything great - they just had to live happily and make others happy. That's all Novalis requires. Their job is to heal people, comfort and cheer them, and then move on to the next person in need. They're so saccharine even some angels can't stand them.
Yves' Saints are subtle, very subtle. They are sometimes sent to places where many reach a crossroads in life, but more often they are sent to mentor humans identified as having great destinies. Sometimes they become a permanent part of that human's life - a friend, a mentor, a lover, even a parent or sibling. These Saints may not have had great destinies themselves, though - Yves prefers souls who had a knack for guiding others to destiny.



Saints are human, but very potent. All Saints have 7 or more Forces and have only the same limits as celestials on Forces. Even those who are reborn are born with all of their Forces - their stats are just temporarily reduced until they reawaken, to allow them to live as normal humans. Saints are Symphonically aware (though, again, reborn Saints are not until they reawaken). As humans, they cause no Disturbance save by Essence spending, and if they are harmed by celestials it does cause Disturbance. All Saints also have the Blessed advantage. Saints may learn and perform Songs of all three realms, and while they have dreamscapes in the Marches, they may consciously leave them and travel in the same way as celestials. Saints cannot manifest in celestial form on Earth, except via Tethers. If they return to Heaven this way, they cannot get back to Earth save via a Tether or being sent back by an Archangel. In theory a Saint could go to Hell via an Infernal Tether or by following a demons; this is a terrible idea. When a Saint is killed, they suffer Trauma the same way as celestials. If they fail a Will roll to recover from Trauma, they may choose to ascend to the Higher Heavens forever. Once a Saint recovers from Trauma, they will need to get an ARchangel to give them a new vessel, but some archangels prefer not to let a Saint die a lot. Saints do not have or need Roles, and their vessel is free - but its level cannot be increased save by gaining Corporeal Forces. Saints cannot buy Toughness, either, and rarely have disadvantages.



Undead are the least human humans. Most are Hellsworn who voluntarily gave up mortlaity. The rest are the victims of dark sorcery or demons of Death. Undead have a lot of power, and are kind of immortal, but they are not very human. The Forces bound to their bodies are held together by Hell's power, and their souls are permanently tied to their bodies. They may never gain additional Forces on their own, though they can lose them, and when their body is destroyed or their Forces otherwise disbanded, their soul is gone forever, beyond even the powers of Superiors to save. Some believe this lets them off easy - after all, most would go to Hell otherwise, and it can be argued that oblivion is superior to Hell. This may be the motive of some Hellsworn volunteers...but even in Hell, a soul can hope for relative comfort over other damned souls, and when Armageddon comes, none knows what may happen to the damned. Some believe that if God wins, he will give them a second chance, or that those who are truly loyal will finally be rewarded by Lucifer when Hell wins. But none of that matters for the undead, who cease to be. Many mortals will take any existence, even Hell, over nothingness. For these people, undeath is the worst thing imaginable, for the undead know there is nothing for them after their existence. Saminga particularly likes turning those kind of people to undead - their anguish is far greater than any torment he might give them in Hell.

All undead share certain traits. First, they're human by the Symphony's definitions, with all the advantages and disadvantages that entails. However, due to the manipulation of their Forces that made them undead, they are Symphonically aware even if they have less than 6 Forces (though zombis are only technically so - they can hear the Symphony if they spend Essence, but few have the will to do so). Zombis can only perform Corporeal Songs, but other undead can learn Songs from all three realms. Princes can give attunements to undead, but rarely do, and can also give them Rites. Saminga (and Saminga alone) will sometimes grant them Distinctions. Being infernal creations, undead benefit from Infernal Intervention and suffer from Divine Intervention, even so-called redeemed undead. They regain Essence at sundown. They may use infernal Rites, but may no longer regain Essence via use of skills at level 6. Undead are still limited by their Force potential, but can acquire them like other humans if they have any extra potential after undying. (Wait, that contradicts - oh, whatever.) Undead are immortal and unaging, though zombis rot. Undead are immune to poison, disease and environmental conditions, and have no need of food, water, breath or sleep. They can do all of that, but neither have any use for nor enjoyment from them. They may be killed, but their bodies are treated as vessels of a level equal to (Corporeal Forces) for HP purposes. They regenreate 1 HP per day, except zombies, who do not naturally heal. Medicine cannot heal them, but the Corporeal Song of Healing can. Undead have no celestial form and no dreamscape, even if they will themself to sleep. The only method by which an undead may visit the Marches is via the Corporeal Song oF Dreams or Dream Walking attunement. Physically, an undead is a walking corpse. Their autonomous bodily functions do not work and they are room temperature. They may look normal if they maintain themselves, but even a cursory medical examination will reveal they are very, very wrong.



Saminga is the master of most undead, but he didn't invent undeath - the ancient Egyptians did. His demons are now the greatest experts of necromancy and guard its secrets carefully, but it is theoretically possible to learn from sources he doesn't control...though if he learned of those sources, he'd want to destroy them and anyone that learned from them. The most potent undead are mummies, made by special ritual. Vampires and zombis are usually the results of a botched mummy ritual. There are other ways to make undead, particularly by Saminga's Songs, attunements or special artifacts incorporating those powers. Because Saminga controls most sources of undead, most undead serve him. However, a few other Princes are patrons to sorcerers who can make undead. Even if a demon doesn't have those resources, it's generally pretty easy to make a deal with a demon of Death if you want an undead servant, and Saminga is fine with that - anything that spreads undead on Earth is okay by him.

Mummies are permanently bound to their vessels by the addition of a Force. Most mummies have 5 Forces before they become mummies, and Soldiers with 6+ Forces are especially good candidates. After the ritual, they gain 1 Force in any Realm. A new mummy thus gets 4 bonus points to raise stats with in htat realm, plus 10 character points to buy supernatural powers with. They can buy powers from their Prince or from Saminga, who is always willing to hand out attunements to mummies. Some mummies also take on disadvantages for extra points in order to buy other things, such as Rites of Death or the Prince they serve.

Vampires are almost mummies. Their soul was bound to their body, but the extra Force didn't attach, requiring the imposition of Discord to hold the Forces together. They have the same number of Forces they had in life, but do receive 10 CP to buy powers with. They automatically receive a level 3 Vulnerability to sunlight and a level 3 Need, typically but not always for blood. They receive no bonus CP for these. They can take on additional disadvntages for extra CP, too. They cannot buy Rites, as Princes do not see them as worth the investment, but might earn them later if they're really successful.

Zombis are created either by zombi ritual or badly failed mummy ritual. Unlike other undead, their soul is not bound to their body - rather, the soul of a corpse made into a zombi has already moved on. Someone who volunteers to be a mummy dies if the ritual fails, and their soul disbands, leaving only a zombified corpse. A zombie retains their memories and instincts, but their only personality remaining is what manifests by the reflex of their decaying brain. Zombis replace all of their Celestial Forces with Corporeal Forces, and automaticlaly gain a Numinous Corpus at a level equal to its Corporeal Forces, plus a level 3 Need, usually for blood or brains. They generally are not granted any other powers - they could be, but even Saminga won't waste resources on a zombi. Zombis rarely last very long, as they need a constant supply of Essence to avoid rotting. If a zombi fails to satisfy their daily Need, they not only do not gain Essence at sunset, but also take 1 damage at dawn - and zombis cannot heal naturally.

Next time: Remnants

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




Hypocrisy posted:

It was still the case in 1st or 2nd edition. Don't trust anyone who says otherwise. Sleep has been Sleep in every version of D&D.
Before 3rd edition it was much easier to interrupt a spell cast and then it was wasted, and various other details. Wizards were powerful, but there were balancing mechanisms.

Most of them were annoying bullshit to actually deal with in play, though. (For example, a higher level wizard could take something like 36 or more hours of work to re-memorize his full complement of spells.)

Hypocrisy
Oct 4, 2006
Lord of Sarcasm



You really get a sense of there being very different views of the way Heaven should act since every single Superior has the Superior talking about how humans are the most important things and how soldiers are so wonderful and then you have this book which kind of shrug its shoulders about it.


Zereth posted:

Before 3rd edition it was much easier to interrupt a spell cast and then it was wasted, and various other details. Wizards were powerful, but there were balancing mechanisms.

Most of them were annoying bullshit to actually deal with in play, though. (For example, a higher level wizard could take something like 36 or more hours of work to re-memorize his full complement of spells.)

Sure, like begging your DM to let you break the Wizard's cast of stoneskin with a hand full of pebbles.

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



Hypocrisy posted:

You really get a sense of there being very different views of the way Heaven should act since every single Superior has the Superior talking about how humans are the most important things and how soldiers are so wonderful and then you have this book which kind of shrug its shoulders about it.

Yup. Lots of writers, little oversight, lots of different ideas about MY Heaven and MY canon and MY setting, instead of a viciously enforced setting standard that is then given side options to deviant from. The Corporal Player's Guide does nothing to make you want to play a human. Or even a variant human. "Undead are useful to Heaven! Actually only a little more than a Soldier and useless compared to these super cool awesome celestials."

And why play a Saint. They're just Reliever-grade celestials without a resonances.

EDIT: Fun thing to do. Make Saminga genuinely dangerous by making undead be a very varied and powerful bunch. Punch them up to celestial levels so demons and angels who gently caress around with him too much end up in the middle of their own Resident Evil style bio nightmare of meat shoggoths and tyrants with claws that can shear through a Malakite of Stone. Saminga canonically likes undead more than demons, why wouldn't he have invested disgusting amounts of time and power into making shitloads of varied types with horrible powers?

Black August fucked around with this message at 23:59 on Feb 23, 2016

Bacon In A Wok
Jan 27, 2014


Zereth posted:

quote:

To be fair, the author does say that "you put it on, and then you die"-type curses should be avoided, as the players cannot be taught a lesson if the item just straight up kills them. Rather, he suggests creating items are critically flawed in one way or another, such as:

* A Berserking Sword that looks perfectly normal until you enter combat, at which point the wielding starts randomly attacking any and every living being within 60 feet

* A Backbiter Spear that looks perfectly normal until it is either thrown or rolls a 1 during the melee attack. When either of those two happen, the wielder deals themselves twice the amount of damage that should have been dealt to the enemy.
... I've seen both of those in old D&D item lists. "Here's my clever, original idea: a thing I cribbed from the 1e D&D magic item list!"
Yep, these appear in older editions, alright.

And the reason why they mostly don't appear in newer stuff isn't because the authors of Pathfinder, 4E and 5E are kill-happy sadists who don't want players being 'taught lessons'. It's because the magic item that turns against its wielder in a fight is sometimes nastier than "you put it on, and then you die", because it risks turning a tough-but-winnable fight into a TPK. Cursed treasure only really makes sense in a "too good to be true" setup, such as actively being planted on the PCs by an adversary too weak to face them in a stand-up fight.

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



I always liked openly cursed items as the nuclear option. The curse makes it grossly powerful, swinging way above its weight class with the bite to back it up, but there's a price to pay if you even think of using it. Which, you know, encourages players to think and connive and figure every way to cheat or assess risk and reward as needed, which seems fun? But nah let's just save or die or make it blow up with a 1 in 20 chance.

Hell, I don't even get why curses have to be bad for the player. Why not a berserking sword that gives you a huge boost to power, but hard caps your to-hit chance to something like 40%, or eats up some HP in some proportion to the amount of damage you dealt every time you land a successful blow? Or makes wounds you deal seem so horrific that anyone who witnesses what you did ends up spreading a bad rep about you? Something, ANYTHING interesting or with unusual consequences.

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010



Lipstick Apathy

Black August posted:

I always liked openly cursed items as the nuclear option. The curse makes it grossly powerful, swinging way above its weight class with the bite to back it up, but there's a price to pay if you even think of using it. Which, you know, encourages players to think and connive and figure every way to cheat or assess risk and reward as needed, which seems fun? But nah let's just save or die or make it blow up with a 1 in 20 chance.

Hell, I don't even get why curses have to be bad for the player. Why not a berserking sword that gives you a huge boost to power, but hard caps your to-hit chance to something like 40%, or eats up some HP in some proportion to the amount of damage you dealt every time you land a successful blow? Or makes wounds you deal seem so horrific that anyone who witnesses what you did ends up spreading a bad rep about you? Something, ANYTHING interesting or with unusual consequences.

I agree, a cursed item should be more on the scale of the kind of hard decision you might make about a Mythos tome in Call of Cthulhu - you know it's cursed, you know that you're going to trigger some repercussions when you need it, but you're also backed-up against the wall and you could really use that powerful shot of whatever right now.

The curse has to be a known quantity, the blowback should be at least partially predictable, and there needs to be a gain, however marginal or temporary and costly, to wanting to use it.

Of course, that makes it more of a "trade-off" item than a curse, but that's what makes for interesting decisions in gameplay.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




Black August posted:

I always liked openly cursed items as the nuclear option. The curse makes it grossly powerful, swinging way above its weight class with the bite to back it up, but there's a price to pay if you even think of using it. Which, you know, encourages players to think and connive and figure every way to cheat or assess risk and reward as needed, which seems fun? But nah let's just save or die or make it blow up with a 1 in 20 chance.

Hell, I don't even get why curses have to be bad for the player. Why not a berserking sword that gives you a huge boost to power, but hard caps your to-hit chance to something like 40%, or eats up some HP in some proportion to the amount of damage you dealt every time you land a successful blow? Or makes wounds you deal seem so horrific that anyone who witnesses what you did ends up spreading a bad rep about you? Something, ANYTHING interesting or with unusual consequences.

How are players supposed to Learn A Lesson if the items are not total punishment?

For a serious example, Baldur's Gate had a few of these. I used the "STR 19/INT 6" belt and berserker sword to great effect- running from Minsc after every battle got kind of tiresome, but the damage output was worth it.

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



I guess I come too much from a standpoint of someone who loves to tinker with systems and push them around to make an interesting result, or modify game variables that no power or advantage does normally. That and too many video games where I found a fascination with things like "Well if you use this you're strong but risk loving something up REALLY BAD" like, I dunno, Missing No from Pokemon. If an item is outright cursed and fucks you up and nothing else, why would you ever use it? Curses, to me, are willfully accepted burdens and malformations in exchange for serious drat power, usually at a time and place where that power is several steps above your current pay grade. But so much (visibly readable anyways) gaming culture is so caught up in a Me vs You gotcha war. So I'm not too surprised there's a bunch of crap items that just outright harm you with no benefit. It feels so, so lazy.

senrath
Nov 3, 2009

Look Professor, a destruct switch!




Bacon In A Wok posted:

Yep, these appear in older editions, alright.

And the reason why they mostly don't appear in newer stuff isn't because the authors of Pathfinder, 4E and 5E are kill-happy sadists who don't want players being 'taught lessons'. It's because the magic item that turns against its wielder in a fight is sometimes nastier than "you put it on, and then you die", because it risks turning a tough-but-winnable fight into a TPK. Cursed treasure only really makes sense in a "too good to be true" setup, such as actively being planted on the PCs by an adversary too weak to face them in a stand-up fight.

Uh, Pathfinder and 5e definitely have cursed items in them.

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



Oh right, I forgot that the GMG was posted. I may as well repost this.

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TIMELINE

???: Yves is the first soul. He names God.

???: Michael is the first angel, followed (in order) by Lucifer, Baal, David, Eli, Uriel, and Gabriel.

???: Metatron appears. So to speak. Never seen, Metatron is the Voice of God, who dictates orders to the rest. The others believe he is a Seraph, and some believe it was actually Metatron who spoke the words "Let there be light." Whenever God speaks to the angels, it is through Metatron.

???: Michael, Lucifer, Baal, David, Eli, Uriel, and Gabriel go about creating the universe, receiving orders from God (through Metatron), while Yves names things. They also begin creating lesser beings... other angels created during this time include Asmodeus, Beleth, Blandine, Dominic, Jean, Kobal, Malphas, and Raphael.

4.6 billion BC: The Earth is formed.

100 million BC: Malphas, Gabriel and David (all Archangels now), and a promising young Servitor of Gabriel named Belial, have been busy moving, heating, and breaking up tetonic plates. Asmodeus and Dominic begin codifying the word of God. Beleth and Blandine (both Archangels) are exploring the Marches, and soon build their Tower. Yves, Jean, and Raphael are transcribing knowledge; the latter two become Archangels at about this time. Kobal receives his special assignment, which is even yet unknown. Andrealphus is created, and (in a relatively short time) becomes the Archangel of Love. Janus, Jordi, and Oannes are also created during this epoch. Janus learns how to move ocean waves and winds, and teaches the trick to his friend Oannes. They become the Archangels of the Wind and the Waters, respectively. Jordi discovers how to create corporeal vessels, and is given authority over all living creatures as the Archangel of Animals.

67 million BD: Saminga is created. Coincidentally, he witnesses the extinction of the dinosaurs during his first visit to the Earth.

500,000 BC: Lucifer teaches early humans how to use fire (with some help from Jean).

25,000 BC: Humans are developing religion. The Marches are becoming populated with the ethereal creations of human imagination. Humans are also becoming the most selfish of all creatures. Jordi decides to wipe out humanity... but Michael (at God's behest) talks him out of it. Jordi still regrets this. Dominic and Marc are given their Words, and assigned the task of teaching angels (and humans) how to get along properly.

23,000 BC: Yves announces that humans are to be left alone, and the corporeal plane is henceforth off limits to angels. Many (especially Lucifer) are dismayed at this. The Eden experiment follows. Novalis, the Angel of Flowers, creates the Garden of Eden at God's behest. Adam and Lilith are created by God, and Lilith walks away. God creates Eve to replace her. Adam and Eve live in Eden for several years, before Ophis, a Servitor of Baal, sneaks in and taints the experiment. God calls the experiment inconclusive, and forbids further celestial intervention. Dominic places the Cherub Jophiel at the gates of Eden. Lucifer has a long talk with God (through Metatron), but is not satisfied.

22,625 BC: After recruiting 1/3 of the Host, Lucifer leads his Rebellion. In his last private talk with God, he destroys Metatron. Uriel, formerly a Seraph, becomes the first Malakite during the Rebellion; the Cherub David quickly follows. Michael kicks Lucifer out of Heaven. The Lightbringer plummets to the farthest reaches of the universe, followed by his fellow rebels. They are trapped in Hell (for a time). The last ice age begins. Michael is made Archangel of War and appointed general of Heaven's armies. God lifts the ban on celestial intervention, but insists on subtlety.

22,000 BC: The Seraphim Council is created. Dominic is elevated to Archangel, and forms the Divine Inquisition. Marc becomes the first Archangel elected to that position by the Seraphim Council; Novalis (with considerably more debate) becomes the second. Archangels begin organizing their Servitors into formal heirarchies.

16,000 BC: With Lilith's help, the Diabolicals escape Hell, first finding their way to the Marches, and from there to Earth. Beleth begins building her Tower, opposite Blandine's. Lilith becomes the Princess of Freedom. The demons gradually begin acting more openly. The Grigori Choir is created, to guard humanity against diabolical influences.

11,600 BC: The Second "Fall". The Grigori, assigned to protect humanity from demonic influence, succumb to lust, begin having children, and neglect their jobs. David and Uriel's angels intervene, slaughtering the Grigori's Nephallim children, and rounding up the Watchers. Dominic tried and finds them guilty; the Seraphim Council votes to cast them out. The War is beggining in earnest, as angels and demons do battle across the Earth, disturbing the Symphony and slaughtering many humans.

2000 BC: Ethereal spirits are becoming powerful pagan deities, sometimes rivaling the power of an Archangel. The Seraphim Council declares something must be done. Yves suggests promoting monotheism as a way to cut off ethereal worship. Abram (Abraham) leaves the city of Ur. He makes a pact with God, and becomes the Patriarch of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

1700 BC: Oannes traps and destroys his former Servitor, Vephar, the Demon Prince of the Oceans.

1627 BC: Oannes is slain by Belial. During the battle, the island of Thera explodes, leading to the collapse of the Minoan civilization.

1600 BC: Gebbeleth, Prince of Secrets, dissapears. No one notices.

1580 BC: The Trial of Michael. Dominic accuses Michael of Pride, promoting pagan personality cults, and creating too much disturbance with his actions. Michael is found guilty, but God aquits him. Michael steps down as leader of the Host. He is replaced by Uriel.

1550 BC: Saminga arrives in Egypt. He begins studying their necromantic arts, becomes very proficient at it (with some help from the Egyptian gods), and earns the Word of Death.

1500 BC: Egyptians start removing mummy brains to thwart Saminga.

1200 BC: Saminga becomes the Prince of Death. Lucifer grants him Abaddon.

859 BC: Magog, a Kyriotate of Stone and Angel of Fortitude, has been patronizing the Hittites, the Assyrians, and the Sea Peoples, spurring them toward conquest so he can strike directly against Saminga in Egypt. Finally, David confronts his Servitor. Magog Falls, and Lucifer crowns him Prince of Cruelty. The next day David, with help from Khalid, the Angel of Faith, imprisons Magog and his followers beneath the Egyptian desert.

700 BC: Mammon becomes the Prince of Greed.

600 BC: Eli works with the prophet Zoraoaster, in Persia, to promote monotheism.

500 BC: Zadkiel becomes the Archangel of Protection.

200 BC: Uriel begins patonizing the Roman Republic (later Empire), trying to keep the pagan gods they wirship under control.

146 BC: Demogorgon, the power Demon of Destruction, is destroyed by Belial amidst speculation that Lucifer is about to crown him Prince.

50 BC: Laurence is created by Uriel.

6 BC: Gabriel announces the conception of Jesus Christ.

60 AD: Yves, Gabriel, and Raphael work together and somehow cause Christianty to spread so rapidly that it begins cutting off many pagan gods from their worshippers. Michael eventually supports Christianity also, but becomes hostile to Yves at this time.

325 AD: Council of Nicea. Constantine begins making Christianity the official state religion of Rome. Uriel and Dominic both declare their support for the faith. Litheroy becomes the Archangel of Revelation.

331 AD: Laurence becomes the Angel of the Sword.

400 AD: Haagenti is created, and spends the next 600 years as an abused familiar.

455 AD: Beelzebub, the first Prince of Corruption, is slain by Uriel.

610 AD: At Yves' behest, Gabriel visits the Prophet Muhammad. Muhammad receives divine revelations (which become the Quaran) for the next 23 years.

632 AD: Muhammad dies. Dominic summons Gabriel to Heaven, to try him for heresy. The Archangel of Fire angrily storms out of the Seraphim Council, and begins his self-imposed exile from Heaven. Soon thereafter, Gabriel begins assuming female form more often.

715 AD: Purification Crusade begins. Beleth offers the ethereals sanctuary in her realm, for a price. Some pagan gods flee to the Far Marches instead.

732 AD: Laurence and Khalid (both Servitors of Purity) are present on opposite sides at Poitiers, France.

745 AD: As Uriel's forces raze the Marches, he is called before the Seraphim Council, but is unrepentant. God abruptly orders Uriel to the Higher Heavens (some claim it was the voice of the slain Metatron who called him); Laurence is elevated to Archangel and is made General of the Host in Uriel's place. Khalid begins promoting Islam.

750 AD: Khalid becomes Archangel of Faith. He begins withdrawing from the Seraphim Council, spending more time on Earth.

793 AD: Valefor appears for the first time. He steals the Word of Genubath, Prince of Rapine; Genubath dissapears, and Lucifer makes Valefor the Prince of Theft.

900 AD: Kronos first appears, as the Prince of Fate. (Legend spculates that Lucifer actually found him centuries before this.)

1008 AD: Legion, a Shedite Servitor of Saminga, learns how to possess multiple hosts. Lucifer is pleased, and makes him Prince of Corruption. Legion soon goes mad, and as he begins possessing humans by the dozens, then by the hundreds, Heaven and Hell team up for the first time to destroy him. In the end, Raphael, Archangel of Knowledge, sacrifices herself to destroy Legion. During this battle, the young demon Haagenti distinguishes himself. Kobal takes a liking to him, and adopts the creature as his "bother."

1009 AD: Haagenti becomes the Demon of Gluttony. He increases rapidly in power, gathers an army, and sweeps through Hell, devouring Meserach, Prince of Sloth, before Lucifer makes him a Prince. Following his ascension to Prince, he devours Mariel, Princess of Oblivion.

1212 AD: The Children's Crusade prompt the naming of an Angel of Children: Christopher, a Servitor of Stone.

1348 AD: Makatiel, the Renegade Demon Prince of Disease, accelerates the spread of the Black Death, trying to destroy mankind. Servitors of Asmodeus and Dominic collaborate openly for the first time, to hunt down and destroy the mad Prince.

1517 AD: Laurence's Last Lesson. By using his agent Martin Luther to instigate change in the Catholic Church, Laurence inadvertently sparks the Protestant Reformation.

1771 AD: As factories spread across England, Vapula, the Demon of Technology, is quietly elevated to Prince; Richard Arkwright (inventor of the water frame), is believed to have assisted as Vapula's servant.

1800 AD: Alaemon, once a Mercurian of Revelation, becomes the second Prince of Secrets around this time.

1864 AD: Fleurity, a Servitor of Gluttony, becomes the (latest) Demon of Drugs.

1884 AD: Nybbas (a peon Servitor of Vapula) and several human allies invent television. He is given the Word of the Media and simultaneously crowned Prince. He quickly takes over Perdition.

1900 AD: Kobal, growing jaded, begins spending less time on Earth. Meanwhile, Eli starts assigning his Servitors to other Archangels.

1957 AD: Eli goes AWOL, abandoning his Heavenly Cathedral.

1978 AD: Christopher becomes an Archangel.

1986 AD: Crack cocaine gets Fleurity named Prince.

1997 AD: Furfur, Renegade Calabite of Fire and Demon of Hardcore, is made Prince.

1998 AD: Khalid is brought back from the brink of a Fall, but remains somewhat isolated from the rest of the Host.

--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---

It'd be neat to see a Banestorm style update to the timeline if In Nomine ever gets a revival (it won't). Go Furfur.

Adnachiel
Oct 21, 2012



Oh hey, this thing. A few years ago, I remember Soto posting that picture with the witch standing on the melty head (on Facebook, I think) and saying it was for a game that was basically WGA with adult witches in a post-apocalyptic setting. (Knowing how Harris' and Soto's witches operate, they probably somehow caused said apocalypse and blamed the various mundane world governments on it.) As far as I know, there were no mentions of it being a feminist revenge fantasy whatsoever. I guess she discovered that getting mad over social justice issues gets you page views these days and changed it.

quote:

Coming Full Circe

I know the game has bigger problems than this, but this title is annoying the poo poo out of me. There's nothing I can find that indicates that the name Circe either means "circle" or is pronounced even remotely similarly to it. They just look similar if you use the English spelling of it. So if she's going for a play on the phrase "coming full circle", it doesn't work at all. The phrase itself would also imply that Soto's self-insert Mary Sue lost her powers at one point and got them back. Or her mom was a Maga that had a fall from grace of sorts. You know, something that implies things have gone back to how they used to be.

Adnachiel fucked around with this message at 07:59 on Feb 24, 2016

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




Adnachiel posted:

Oh hey, this thing. A few years ago, I remember Soto posting that picture with the witch standing on the melty head (on Facebook, I think) and saying it was for a game that was basically WGA with adult witches in a post-apocalyptic setting.
Wait so my joke of calling it "Witch Adult Adventures" was spot loving on?

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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





CHAPTER TWO PART TWO


weird drat picture for a character class...
MEDIUM: Mediums observe spirits thanks to having powers of Second Sight. Second Sight is always on and it can be tricky to tell the difference between London and the Spirit World. Most Mediums are self employed and part of London's booming post-mortem communications industry. Some end up getting attached to aristocratic families and groups or end up becoming entertainers. Nothing says "birthday fun" like a medium channeling your dead relatives to wish you a very happy sixth birthday.

Other classes can end up with Second Sight by way of Latent Medium (Mourners, Psychics). The difference is that they don't have access to what a Medium can do beyond paying into Second Sight's Quality to raise its levels. Mediums automatically get FAMILIARITY: SPIRIT and never make Fear rolls for ghosts. They also get SECOND SIGHT level 1 for free and can upgrade it with custom points at creation. They also get bonus abilities tied to their Thanatology skill rank.
  • Death Sense: You know when someone isn't going to live through the night and can sense when someone is hiding an Animate bite. The GM tells you when and why the sense is triggered. This is a pretty useless ability on a mechanical level. It's not bad for role-play, but eh.
  • Fame: You can reroll Charm for people who are fans of your work and get one free reroll on Acting and Performance rolls while performing.
  • Influential Circle: The Medium meets weekly with seven other people as part of a circle of spiritualists. There's no mechanical benefit, it's mostly just a way to give the Medium allies or leads as long as they keep up a good reputation.
  • Latent Psychic: You're a latent empath or telepath. You can get one level of Empathy or Telepathy for 5 points and then develop the ability further, but you can't access bonus features of the Psychic class or develop any other types of Devotions.
  • Living Conduit: You get one free reroll on Will rolls when using a Second Sight power.
  • Mortuary Scientist: Like Theologian, but instead this lets your Thanatology skill exceed your Intellect stat by 2 and you get one free reroll per roll. You're also well known as being a smart cookie when it comes to death stuff. You may be noticing that I'm not clamoring for you to take this skill like Theologian. Well...keep reading.
  • Powerful Medium: Add your Thanatology stat to Will to determine the range of your powers.
  • Primacy of Will: One free reroll per roll for Will contests when you're being ridden by a ghost you're manifesting or being possessed by.
  • Spirit Guide: Free ghost buddy that has Will 3. It can't actively hurt you, but it can be a cheeky fucker. It may also help you or defend you against your wishes. Talk to the GM about your ghost buddy.
  • Spirit Photography: You don't need special material to photograph ghosts.
Mediums don't get any Qualities to start and start with Thanatology 2 and can pick five of the following: Acting 2, Concentration 2, Etiquette 2, Parapsychology 2, Performance 2, Photography 2, Psychology 2, Streetwise 2, Theology 2. They start with a comfy home that suits their means, a wardrobe for their Medium Persona and social standing, and that's it. They also start with 20 dollars to spend on materials and can save 5.

Thoughts on the Medium: Okay, first, let's look at Second Sight before I go into my thoughts. I would normally hold off this until it appears in the book but it's kind of vital we take a crack at what exactly a Medium can do with their powers.

SECOND SIGHT: Second Sight comes in 5 levels of ability. Every time you raise a rank in it, you get all the abilities the rank has to offer. Some powers may require needing to enter a trance in order to use a power and each power has a Subject, Range, Trigger and Description (Trigger being when and how a power is activated). For Mediums, raising in rank in Second Sight costs 3xNew Level. With me so far? Cool.

Level One:
  • Death Speaker (Self/Self/Passive): Talk to/hear ghosts while in a trance. This doesn't defy the language barrier and using it in haunted locations may overwhelm you. Nobody else can hear the ghosts.
  • Ghost Sight (Self/Line of Sight/Passive or Maintained): See the dead and see who's possessed or not. If it's maintained, you can see the Spirit World and get -3 to all Wit and Vision rolls to navigate the real world while seeing the Spirit World.
  • Impression (Group/Radius Willx10/Maintained): Feel the presence of ghosts. Make a Will roll and all ghosts (active or dormant) in the area make separate contesting rolls to see if you notice their presence. The Medium can also tell the relative strength of each ghost.
Level Two:
  • Ectoplasmic Mist (Self/Radius Willx10/Maintained): Summon an ectoplasmic mist and you determine how strong it is. It only lasts as long as it's maintained. Attackers gain a -2 to hit with ranged attacks, the Medium gets +2 to Intimidation and anyone other than the Medium touched by the mists gets a -2 to all Vitality rolls involving poison, illness and infection for the next day.
  • Shroud (Self/Radius Willx10/Maintained): Charge an area with spiritual energy to help weaken the barrier between worlds, or charge with aetheric interference to make it harder for spirits to manifest. Spirits get +1 to Will when it's weaker, -1 when it's stronger.
  • Spirit Channeling (Self/Self/Maintained): Trance out and summon a ghost into your body. You can pick a spirit in your presence to bring into you (apparitions don't work out so well, poltergeists can't be channeled). If it's a willing channel, no rolls needed. If not, Will contest. Ghost successes reduce the Medium's Will by 1, KOing them at 0. If the Medium wins, the ghost gets into their body. Ghosts can really only talk to people and are trapped until they're released by the Medium, but a willing channel gets +3 to trying to possess the Medium. There's some more rules, but I think you get the point.

why the hell is this picture here in the section on second sight? I'm not kidding, it's there and it's ridiculous but I need some art to break up these words so yeah have...this.
Level Three:
  • Aetheric Disruption (Single target/Willx10 feet+LOS/Thought): Contested Will rolls to use aetheric static to disrupt or dissipate a ghost. Works the same as struggling with a channeled spirit: either the ghost is cowed and loses will until it's gone or the medium passes out for 1d5 hours. Using it on a possessing spirit doesn't eject it, but it gives the host an attempt to get control again.
  • Compel (Single target/Willx5 feet+LOS/Maintained) Will rolls to make spirits do poo poo for you. Same rules as above, repeated again. You need to do this every time you tell the spirit to do something.
  • Summoning (Single target/Limitless/Maintained): Call a ghost into your presence. You need a tether to call them. If it doesn't want to be called, Will contest like above. If it does, it shows up. Note two things: first, it doesn't have to manifest and it can stay hidden from everyone and second it sure as hell doesn't have to be friendly. Hit it with Compel the moment it shows up before everyone gets attacked by a ghost or it just fucks off. You have to be in a spirit's haunt if it's dormant, and summoning forbidden/quarantined spirits is a crime that carries a penalty of 10 years hard labor.
Level Four:
  • Expel (Single target/Willx5 feet+LOS/Thought): Will contest to end possessions for anyone in line of sight.
  • Manifest (Single target/Willx10 feet+LOS/Maintained): Use spiritual energy to make a ghost manifest and become both audible and visible. For every minute maintained, the Medium must beat a DR 16 Will roll or lose 1 Will every failure. At 0, the Medium naps for 1d10 minutes and regains 1 Will per hour of rest.
  • Soul Well (Single target/Willx10 feet+LOS/Thought): Buff/hinder a spirit, increasing/decreasing their Will by 1. Hit 0 Will and you nap again.
Level Five:
  • Deadlock (Self/Willx25 feet/Maintained): Will contests to prevent the ghosts from manifesting.
  • Oubliette (Single target/Willx5 feet+LOS/Thought): Lets the Medium cause people who die in their presence to live on as ghosts. They can roll to resist unless they want to be a ghost. This is a bad power unless you're going to get info from someone but don't need them alive.
  • Shepherd (Single target/Willx10 feet+LOS/Thought): Put ghosts to rest with Will contests or nap trying.
So that's Second Sight for you. What about the Medium?

Thoughts on the Medium: The Medium doesn't really do anything another class can't (with the exception of Ghost Buddy and even then).

That's an incredibly harsh thought but it's completely true. The problem with Latent Medium is that it lets other classes do more than just see ghosts with points pumped into it. They can't do any of the other Medium (optional!) class abilities but really what that boils down to is rerolls for Ghost Stuff and Will Contests. Mediums get the ability to raise it at a cheaper level and they get the first level for free, but the Latent Mediums can just do more with their own class abilities. Latent Medium is only available to Mourners and Psychics, but what else can they do?
  • Mourners are the dual-wielding melee badass types, good at combat and they can now be a good asset against ghosts.
  • Psychics are psychics and can now treat interacting with ghosts like the rest of their powers and they're already Will-focused.
  • The Exorcist even gets the heavy lifting abilities of the Second Sight even if they can't see ghosts, accessing the ability to banish and exorcise from the word go rather than pumping points into a quality. They also have absolutely nothing to lose by losing against a spirit in a Will roll to get rid of them, the sole downside is that it just takes a few minutes to channel up some mojo.
  • Parapsychologists just need physical equipment to do some of what a Medium can do but also get to play with wonderful Galvanic toys in the process and don't have to worry about naptime.
In contrast, Mediums don't really get anything. If you want them to have a combat skill, you have to take it as an out-of-class ability. Their optional (!) abilities don't carry any real weight: there's no Business aspect to their abilities and everything else is social. None of their class skills do much outside of social things or role-playing and they don't even start with a good gas mask. If there was something to sincerely suggest as a reason to play a Medium, believe me I would have told you already. They're like the Rogues in the group where the Wizard knows Knock: they're outclassed and overshadowed by the people who can do other things besides talk to ghosts. I would recommend the Medium far less than I would the Alienist because the Medium doesn't even bring common party buffs to the table (outside of ectoplasmic shenanigans). They are the absolute weakest class in this book and possibly in the whole game.

After reading through the Medium far more thoroughly, if it wasn't clear that they didn't play test or balance any of this it should be apparent now.

NEXT TIME: the Parapsychologist (I won't be including their gear for that update because there's way more than a Medium's abilities) and the Psychic (won't be including their powers either).

Hostile V fucked around with this message at 08:39 on Feb 24, 2016

SpookBus
Aug 22, 2015


On the topic of cursed items, Grim World in the *World line has some really interesting ones, like a chest that has a count down on it that descends when you put in coins, turns out it's rigged to teleport your coins to somewhere and never open; or a knife that drains blood at an alarming rate, and must be fed a half flask of blood per day or it starts to dull and break down. They're actually interesting and not just "It's a sword, but if you roll under a five you chop your own foot off, hahaha serves you right!"

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010



Lipstick Apathy

Bill Webb's Book of Dirty Tricks

Part 6: Sheep in Wolf's Clothing

The opposite of the previous section, this is about misdirecting your players into threats that they think are more serious than they actually are.

Kobold with a Glowing Stick (aka the “Wiz”)

He namedrops the Wizard of Oz as a great example of this concept: using flashy parlor tricks and whatnot to seem more powerful and intimidating than they actually are.

The objective is to make the party think that they're in for a killer encounter, and then scam them out of money when they pay the puffed-up monster for the privilege of passing through unharmed.

A low-level Wizard might use a Potion of Gaseous Form to try and look like a djinn.
A kobold might wear flashy threads, cast Light on the end of its stick, and threaten the party with oblivion
A goblin might quaff a Potion of Giant's Strength and tear a breastplate right in front of the players to make its point (I'm pretty sure the Pathfinder rules don't allow this)

quote:

the GM should not describe creatures as a “goblin,” but rather as “a small, fanged humanoid, covered with tattoos of mystical symbols, wearing numerous bone and metal amulets and talismans, carrying a two-foot-long glowing femur bone.

Stuffed Dragon

This is an extension of the first idea. Have the kobolds manipulate a junkyard dragon with lots of drums and loud clanking. Have the goblins put up "scarecrows" that look like the shadows of powerful monsters against the dungeon's limited light. Line the parapets with inanimate skeletons that all have bows and arrows to make it look like the party is horribly overmatched.

As with the first idea, this mostly relies on the GM being an unreliable narrator. I think this is rather unfair to the players - at the very least you should use Perception or Insight or Investigation or Will to first determine if the character can, in-character, see through the ruse. If you make the kobolds try to give the impression of a dragon, but you tell the players that there's all the real and literal sounds and smells of a dragon out there, you're not really giving them any chance to react in a manner that'd be logical or reasonable than if they knew exactly what they were getting into.

Scary Looking Things

When dressing your dungeons, leave things like puddles of blood, green slime on walls and large inexplicable paw and claw marks on the floors, to make the dungeon look more spoopy than it really is.

There's perhaps nothing directly wrong with this advice, but it kind of reminds me of Death Frost Doom where you're mostly just pulling off the tabletop equivalent of the jump scare with nothing "real" to back it up.

The point of doing this is to make players think that a big important encounter is about to come up, so that they'll waste time/wandering monster checks being careful, as well as throwing up defensive buffs for a fight that's never coming.

The Loud Leaping Ghoul

The next time the party fights Ghouls, have one of them be an acrobatic Ghoul that swings from trees and ledges and walls and hedges. Narrate how the Ghoul is screeching and angry and fidgety. Basically make it the most annoying Ghoul possibly in the hopes that the party will expend a disproportionate amount of resources and effort towards killing it, even if the statblock is functionally the same as all other Ghouls.

Illusions

quote:

First, in order to disbelieve an illusion, I require a “leap of faith” similar to Indiana Jones crossing the invisible bridge in The Last Crusade34. One must close his eyes and just walk right into/through the illusion, unless of course it is dispelled. Some reason must be present for a player character to even have a chance at disbelief. For example, if the demon suddenly changes places with the cleric (see Scramge in Rappan Athuk), this seems strange and could be disbelieved. If one falls through a floor and a splash is heard beneath it, it makes sense that the player characters would notice that “something is strange” about the floor, and would likely attempt to disbelieve.

* Illusions themselves cannot cause damage (some exception could be made for higher level spells). They cannot turn you to stone or incinerate you (yes, I know, Swords & Wizardry allows 2d6 damage — I do not).

* Illusions that are found out do not disappear.

* Failure to disbelieve prevents someone from successfully navigating past/through the illusion (think Harry Potter’s platform at the train station) because they veer off at the last second rather than hit the wall they “know” to be there.

* I allow players to use judgment to do things like “close their eyes and cross the invisible bridge” or “attack my friend the cleric, who I believe is really a demon” without making any rolls.

He goes on to describe effects like what happened in Conan the Destroyer where a phantasm was able to hurt people if they believed that it was actually real, or for Hallucinatory Terrain to provide actual movement rate penalties if the players fail to disbelieve.

You can also have illusions covering pits and traps, illusionary walls hiding the correct corridor to go down through, an entire illusionary camp that the players can sleep in only to be attacked in the middle of the night, and other such tricks.

Personally, I've never used illusions in my games, so I can't directly comment, but like the previous bits of "advice", it seems like these rely on the GM being an unreliable narrator, or that it requires pixelbitching players - I poke every wall and wait for my 10-foot-pole to pass through if it's an illusion.

Neither of which sounds very fun to me.


Up Next: Recursive rear end in a top hat GMing

potatocubed
Jul 26, 2012

*rathian noises*


snip

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

Quinn2win
Nov 9, 2011

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




THE 1894 NETWORK, PART 3

Legacies
Following are nine possible modern-day NPCs tied to the original network. How and when to use them was covered already, and the Director is free to make up more, or declare other modern-day characters to be Legacies.

The sections are slightly different:
  • Innocent: The superficial truth of the character, and possibly the whole truth.
  • Asset: The possible hidden truth that connects them to modern Edom.
  • Minion: The possible hidden truth that connects them to Dracula's network.
  • Defining Quirks: Little things that distinguish the character to make them stand out.
  • Abilities and Ratings: Statblock.

Playing a Legacy
Maybe one of the players wants to be a legacy. This can be done. If there are two or more Legacies in the party, they start with +1 Heat. A few new rules back up this option:

New Drive: In the Blood
If you're using Drives. You were born and bred for the vampire hunter's life, and you're determined to live up to your family's reputation.

New Background: Edom Legacy
You've been on MI6's radar since you were born. You got out before the work started, maybe because you uncovered one of their secrets, or escaped from Edom vampiric experiments. Now you've found out what they did to your ancestors, and it's time to settle the score.

Investigative abilities: Pick any regular Background, and then add Geology 1, Tradecraft 1, Vampirology 1.
General abilities: Pick any regular Background, then add Weapons 4.

That means it takes an extra 3 investigative / 4 general build points, naturally.

Legacies becoming player characters
If a Legacy starts as an NPC, then a player wants to pick them up, add enough points to their ability block from the list to get them in line with the other PCs. They don't need to spend them all at once.



Lucy Blythe
An old, fragile-looking woman. Nearly a hundred years old, but her mind is still as sharp as that of her grandmother, Mina Harker. She's in a retirement home in exeter, her bills possibly being paid by Edom. Her husband Gerald died in a car crash in the 70s, they never had children.

In the 70s, she was a First Aid Nursing yeomanry assigned to the SOE station at Grendon, decoding messages. After the war, she became a secretary in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Now, she listens to the BBC World Service reports about the Middle East, and gradually puts things together.

Investigative Abilities: History, Research, Traffic Analysis, Vampirology
General Abilities: Preparedness 4

Innocent
Lucy's always known that Edom wasn't to be trusted. She rejected an offer from MI6 after the war, and dedicates her life to studying Dracula. She's been waiting for the party to arrive for 70 years - Negotiation convinces her that they really are enemies of Dracula and Edom. She has a suitcase full of notes, some of them inherited from the original team (perfect chance to introduce some Objects). None of it is concrete, but some research off of them could uncover a new lead.

Asset
Lucy made a deal with Edom in the 50s to get her husband ahead on his political ambitions, working for them until a crisis of conscience in 1977. She doesn't know to this day whether Gerald's death was an accident or an Edom strike, but it broke her spirit either way. Lucy hates and fears Edom; Interrogation + knowledge of Gerald's death gets her to reveal her past with them, Reassurance can flip her. If not flipped, she'll report the agents' presence to Edom, then burn her notes and herself.

Minion
Dracula recruited Lucy when she was sixteen, and she's been spying on Edom ever since. She's very happy at the retirement home, knowing what's waiting for her when she dies. Bullshit Detector notes her strange self-confidence, Notice spots the pale sopt on the wall where a crucifix used to hang.

Defining Quirks
Writes everything down in her little books, always has the radio playing in the background, deaf as a post.



Billie Harker
A charming law student with a metromedia accent who never seems to be out of breath after a long run. She is the great-great-granddaughter of Mina and Johnathan Harker.

Investigative Abilities: Criminology, Human Terrain, Languages (Romanian, German), Law, Notice, Photography, Research, Vampirology
General Abilities: Athletics 5, Hand-to-Hand 3, Health 6, Medic 2, Preparedness 3, Sense Trouble 4

Innocent
Billie appears as an innocent law student at the University of London if met in England, and as a middle-class tourist if encountered abroad. Her Romanian is learned from Rosetta Stone, her German is better. Responds best to honesty and forthrightness.

Asset
Edom pays her student bills to keep tabs on her, and is planning to recruit her formally once she graduates. Agents who have seen photos of Mina might note a striking resemblance - Billie could also be Mina, surviving as a dhampir vampire hunter.

Minion
Mina died young, but was revived by Dracula in 1977. She uses her ancestry as a way to infiltrate vampire-hunter teams and prepare them for Dracula.

Defining Quirks
Carries a well-used laptop in her bag, Records notes to herself on her phone, toys with the crucifix around her neck.



J. Q. Harker
Jasper Quincey Harker (but everyone calls him J.Q.) is in his mid-50s but looks older. Ex-military, discharged on medical grounds after a tour in Iraq, now retired on his military pension and family assets. He writes history books (History, Military Science, Flattery), stammers when he speaks, and is much more comfortable keeping in touch via email. He's the great-grandson of Mina and Johnathan Harker.

Investigative Abilities: Cryptography, History, Languages (Arabic, French, Latin, Old English, Welsh), Outdoor Survival, Research
General Abilities: Athletics 5, Conceal 4, Driving 2, Explosive Devices 2, Hand-to-Hand 4, Health 6, Medic 4, Network 4, Shooting 6

Innocent
Forced into a military career by his father, J.Q. had a nervous breakdown after his Iraq tour. Scouring his books for clues (Research) reveals nothing. He believes the agents to be playing a prank or pulling a scam on him. He travels with his wife, who doesn't share his enthusiasm for Gothic ruins.

Asset
Harker is ex-Edom, injured in Iraq when a mission went wrong. His wife is also an Edom asset, either keeping an eye on him or as a vampire bodyguard. Diagnosis spots his injury, his bitterness is the key to flipping him against Edom.

Minion
Harker's 'wife' is a vampire or other such creature who found him in Iraq. He can't resist her powers, and quit Edom to protect her. The creature serves Dracula, and will be used to move Harker into action when the master requires it. He will try to warn the agents without alerting his keeper, Bullshit Detector or Tradecraft to pick up on it.

Defining Quirks
Stammers, carries a black notebook, military bearing under pressure.



Philip Holmwood, Lord Godalming
One of the more recognizable members of the House of Lords. On the Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy, advises on defense and long-term strategic planning. A loud voice in support of the War on Terror.

Investigative Abilities: Electronic Surveillance, Human Terrain, Military Science, Vampirology
General Abilities: Driving 4, Network 10, Shooting 4, Weapons 6



Innocent
As far as Godalming knows, Dracula is dead. If her ever becomes a problem, Edom has some blackmail photos to keep him in line. Mention Edom or Dracula and his guard goes up, Reassurance or Tradecraft to get through him. His political sway can make him a valuable ally.

Asset
Edom guided Lord Godalming's career in the '80s and '90s. He's a loyal ally and owes them deeply, and may also be a member of Edom - he could even be "D". He'll pretend to be on the agents' side, and support them all he can, while cheerfully reporting all their actions to Edom.

Minion
Fell into a Conspiracy trap in the '90s, and is now a double agent for Dracula within Edom. He wants to escape the Conspiracy's grip by killing the vampire who seduced him. May even be the mole from 1977.

Defining Quirks
Turns everything into a flight of oratory, carries a kukri knife in his briefcase, needs a stiff drink whenever vampires are mentioned.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
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Corporeal Player's Guide: What's Left Behind





Remnants aren't human, but they function as humans in most ways. A remnant, we recall, is a celestial who has no Celestial Forces but at least 1 Corporeal Force and a vessel. They appear on Earth in their vessel, losing all but their vaguest memories of their celestial existence. They are not celestials any more - they have no resonance, dissonance or Heart. They keep any attunements but can't use any that require resonance or celestial abilities. They have no celestial form and cannot switch vessels. They do not have dreamscapes, and while they could theoretically travel the Marches as celestials do if they have Ethereal Forces, few remember how and fewer have any reason to. Further, as entering and leaving the Marches requires a Will roll, only those with a lot of Essence can even manage it.

A Remnant with a Role assumes the Role in all ways, forgetting they were ever anything else. Remnants with no Role are amnesiac but have no history or place in society. If a Remnant had a Role, harming them causes Disturbance as if they were mortal. Remnants without a Role do not cause Disturbance when hurt. Some Remnants can manage to gain Roles, however, by living as if they were human, spending CP on the Role, with the level reflecting how 'real' they've become. Most, however, wander without motive or memory, lacking enough wherewithal to live as a human. Remnants cannot hear the Symphony, but can control their own Essence and perform Corporeal and Ethereal Songs, even if they have less than 6 Forces. Remnants do not cause Disturbance by their actions except when spending Essence. They generate Essence the same way they did when whole, and if they remember them, they can perform Rites. They do not gain Essence from using skills of level 6. Any Discords they had remain with them. Their body remains a vessel, HP calculated as before and healing as a vessel. Remnants need not eat, drink or sleep, but often do as they imitate humans around them. When they die, their Forces are forever dispersed. Remnants do have one 'advantage', though - they don't exist for purposes of Perception-based resonances, attunements or Songs. Any attempt to gain information on them via supernatural powers just fails entirely. This is usually the only way to identify a Remnant.

Most Remnants instinctively avoid the supernatural, finding it painful to be reminded of what they cannot recall. However, some do become reinvolved with the War. A default Remnant PC has 5 Forces, none Celestial. However, Remnants can gain new Forces the same way celestials can...with one exception. No Remnant may ever gain Celestial Forces without direct intervention by a Superior, and some - especially Princes - will not bother to help. If a Remnant were given a Celestial Force, they would become a celestial again, but would not be the same being they were before. They would have only vague, partial memories of the time before their 'rebirth' and would be much like a newly made angel or demon, just with all the Forces, skills and abilities of their last 'self.'



We get some basic advice on how to make mixed parties, none of which is very good - it's just, you know, humans don't cause Disturbance, maybe focus on that kind of thing, or make sure the humans have a niche that the celestials don't intrude on. It talks about human-only games, blah blah. The only real thing is this set of sidebars.









And then we get a chapter on human agencies. How much they participate in the War depends on how much they know about it. Unaware agencies are involved only indirectly, when celestials get into their area of interest. Misled groups frequently get involved, but more often as random interference than any kind of support, unless it ties into their goals. Government agencies hunting for evidence of the suparnetural can be a problem for anyone, while one that knows undead exist and are trying to find and destory them are a threat to Saminga and an unwitting ally of angels. Sorcerous cabals usually work for Hell, even if only by damning themsleves. Informed groups are usually active supporters of one side or the other...but not every group cooperates with or even communicates with their allies. For example, most secret societies of the Children of the Grigori are ultimately on the side of Heaven but avoid angels as much as possible. And some groups try to avoid being involved in the War entirely.



Celestials do involve themselves in human agencies. Mostly, they work with those that further their goals. Sometimes the organization itself is useful or hated by a Superior - Laurence and Dominic, for example, have made the Catholic Church integral to their strategies, while Saminga loves the right-to-die movement even if its greater significance is minimal. Novalis wants to see the military-industrial complex wither, and Lilith hates all governments on principle. Sometimes, infiltrated organizations are just providers of useful re surces - money, for example. The degree of infilration varies widely. Moist large groups like the military, national governments or organized religions are heavily infiltrated by celestials of many Words, each focusing on their own little corner. These groups are effectively as free of control as those with no infiltrators, as a result. Very small organizations, like a sorcerous cabal, a local church or a city government, may occasionally be entirely celestially controlled - maybe even by just one celestial, if they're very effective and unopposed. Groups that are openly run by celestials, of course, aren't really 'infiltrated.' Most groups secretly controlled by celestlals, however, have to be started that way, or else the celestials must be helped by hte members of the group they're trying to control.


I felt the need to share this just because I have no loving clue why Smif drew a Klingon or why it was put in the book.

Front organizations are those created by celestials for the purpose of recruiting humans to control. Sorcerous cabals are often demonic fronts, and many demons still use the wwhole Satanic cult idea, though most demons in the cult business these days pick less obvious demonic trappings. Malphans like conspiracy theorists, and Kobalites like UFO worshippers for example. Angels also make fronts, often using religion, but also peace activist groups for Flowers or martial arts dojos or gangs for Stone. The goals of a front organization are usually to just further their sponsor's Word. However, the larger they get, the harder they are to control and the more likely another celestial will infiltrate. Many celestials have found great success in creating and spreading a front organization, only to lose control of it entirely as it started to get really useful.

Collaborator groups are those iun which celestials recruit an existing group within the larger group, using it to take over. Subverting the leadership is the most obvious tactic, but a few influential members can also work, sometimes causing a change in leadership. Soldiers are particularly valued here, but mundanes work, too. Collaborator groups are preformed and often well-positioning, but have the disadvantage of being full of humans that are unknown quantities and possible capable of resisting takeover. Plus ,you never know if there's other infiltrators in there, watching you.



Next time: Organizations

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



At least the Hunters section is fun. There was a decent story examining the fallout of the war going full public, and projections, and it turns out most everyone ends up getting their asses blown clean back to Heaven and Hell, especially since Tethers can be annihilated by humans. In a weird way, the best end is forcing them all back home and making them stay there, but that leaves the Marches as the only battleground, and Blandine and Beleth are bloodnasty possessive and grim to celestials loving around there. And it'd leave the Grigori on Earth still since they're invisible anyways.

Then there's Lilith. It's psuedo-canon for most that God did give her the Word, or she manifested it of her own since she's a sort of "peek at the back of the book" for mankind's future, and Lucifer just brainfucked her into a corner using the Eden experiment to his advantage.

EDIT: Smif made some serious garbage art for the series. BAD stuff. It was about the time he discovered Photoshop filters and went hog wild. Perez was the only artist who ever understood the style of the game and got it right.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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





Zereth posted:

Wait so my joke of calling it "Witch Adult Adventures" was spot loving on?

More ore less yes? The character designs are all "grown up" Versions of the witch girls with crazy hair colors and "plus sized" Figures, and there's an entire branch of transformation spells attributed to a "Ms Sadie". The fact that the previously asian genki girl got turned into a hispanic death witch is not addressed.

potatocubed
Jul 26, 2012

*rathian noises*


Black August posted:

EDIT: Smif made some serious garbage art for the series. BAD stuff. It was about the time he discovered Photoshop filters and went hog wild. Perez was the only artist who ever understood the style of the game and got it right.

Ramon Perez always turns out quality stuff. It was his art that was at least partially responsible for my Rifts collection.

Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012




Chapter 3: Religion
Since we are discussing the topic of actual, real world religions (for the most part), I'm going to attempt to restrict myself primarily to discussing the stuff of religion that is unique to Ytarria. I am not a theologian, nor do I play one on TV.


Christianity
Ytarrian Christianity is almost entirely connected directly to Catholicism, so you have sacraments, communion, excommunication, bishops and archbishops, and all that jazz. Megalan canon declares that most races such as goblins and reptile men have souls and are thus subject to the original sin and salvation. Demons, spirits (which are considered demons by the Church even though they aren't), medusas, trolls, and vampires are beings explicitly claimed to not have souls. Lycanthropes are the most complicated subject, as it is believed that they have a soul but can have it disappear and become soulless if they act too much like animals compared to people.

Heresy
Out of what is mostly cynical pragmatism, the Church deemed magic to be a tool based around some strange manner of natural mechanics that is not innately good or evil, any sin coming from usage such as necromancy or the use of spells for murder. This wasn't how it started, however. The great conflicts between various splintered Christian groups after the Banestorm lead to many sects developing in both directions. The Penitentines were a sect that believed Yrth was Purgatory, all non-humans were demons, and that magic was Devilry rather than strange science, and while not all were on board for the Purgatory part, there were more than a few groups that believed the Devilry part. On the other end, there were also the cult of the Manites and their belief that mages were actually chosen miracle-makers of God and thus holier than the non-magic members of society. It was only the rise of Megalos to power and its ruthless purges and declarations of heresy that eventually forged the current dominant view of magic by the Church, since the Church is in and of itself Megalan-controlled. Protestantism is another heresy, of course, as are any syncretic religions or attempts to combine pagan rites with Christian practice.

The Curia
What is the Catholic Church without the Pope? That was a question that faced Megalos as it reunified the Church, and its answer was the Curia. The Curia is a council made up of the Grand Master of the Hospitaller Order, Grand Master of the Olybrian Order, Grand Master of the Templar Order, Grand Master of the Thomasite Order, an archbishop from Caithness, three archbishops from Cardiel, and five archbisohops from Megalos. As the Church's ruling body, the Curia is the group that decides who gets to be a bishop, what changes in doctrine happen, and advise rulers on how to keep to the Christly path. They also happen to have the most owned land in Ytarria, so that's not exactly a downside to the job. The Emperor of Megalos once also held sway over the Curia, but that had to end after the declaration of independence from Cardiel and Caithness, since even the Empire realized that it was probably better to allow Cardiel and Caithness their bishop and archbishop autonomy than to have the Church undergo a double schism.

Holy Orders
The Hospitallers: While they may have been an instrmental force in spreading Megalan Christianity through force early on, a lot of people consider the Hospitallers to be colossal assholes. That's fair, to be honest, given that they are in fact colossal assholes. Hospitallers consider non-humans in general to be unclean and refuse to allow them into their ranks in spite of official Church doctrine, claim that the Christianity-eschewing dwarves and elves are Satanically influenced, and get really excited whenever it's time to do some heresy purging and are usually the first to get out their swords and torture devices. Caithness and Cardiel in particular absolutely hate those bearing the sign of the white cross on a black flag, and the Templars have used this to gain influence in Cardien society.

The Olybrians: The Olybrian Order is named after Saint Michael Olybrius of Serrun. Goblin peasantry fell into line with Christianity in the 1190s after the preaching of Olybrius, and erected this order after goblin chieftains following the old religion of Gabrook put Olybrius to death. Olybrians are best known for their rather disparate mixture of deep introspection and fierce warriors. Their monks pour over the scripture and debate the nature of God and what constitutes revelation and heresy alike, but also train tirelessly in the art of swords and staves. Olybrians arguably hate Muslims even more than Hospitallers, which is no small feat, and are the primary voices in the call for a Fifth Ytarrian Crusade. Grand Master Jobert of Evrow feels that the only reason there hasn't been another Crusade already is that the people of Megalos are lukewarm spirits content in resting on their laurels. As opposed to, you know, the fact that the Fourth Ytarrian Crusade was a horrible failure.

The Templars: The Knights Templar in Ytarria are entirely descended from sixty Templars that came through the Banestorm on Halloween of 1310 and proclaimed their presence as noble warriors of God seeking sanctuary from prosecution. This was particularly strange, as the Banestorm was nearly entirely dormant during that century. Even stranger was the fact that nearly all of the Templars became extremely adept wizards and quickly welcomed non-humans into their ranks without fuss in spite of being newcomers to Ytarria. Unsurprisingly, some have claimed that the Templars know more than they let on, and possibly even knew of magic on Earth and found ways to open the Banestorm at will. Regardless of whether or not those rumors are true, what is definite fact is that the Templars are loyal and talented warriors. Their fortresses guard key trade routes, and their military academy in the city of Azer trains some of the best knights and battle mages for all of the Church's Orders and the Megalan Legion.

The Franciscans and Friedrichites: The followers of St. Francis are pretty content to be God-focused hermits in monasteries located in the wilderness. Many are illiterate, all follow a vow of poverty, and they don't really get involved in Church or secular politics. There is also a splinter group of friars known as the Order of Friedrich that follow the teachings of their namesake, a Franciscan monk in the 1800s who split off from the main order to follow his own path. Friedrichites proclaim that not only is the world sinful, but the very fabric of material existence is evil, and that all good Christians should seek to have as little impact on the physical world as possible before shuffling off the mortal coil. Not only do they keep the vow of poverty of their parent order, they also vow complete pacifism and a solitary existence. They are so dedicated to to this cause that some Friedrichites manifest mystic powers such as the ability to eschew food, drink, or sleep, very strong magic resistance, and even the power to become incorporeal. For reasons unknown, the Friedrichites keep some contact with the Templars, which has kept the Curia from declaring their order a heresy.

The Thomasites: The Order of Saint Thomas was founded by Benedictine abbot Gareth Aristophiles in the late 1300s. Aristophiles was obsessed with the works of the great philosophers such as Pythagoras and Aristotle, and more specifically the idea of science as the key to finding the truth of the universe and empirical proof of God's existence. Thomasites take strong positions on ethics in magic and natural philosophy, and most of their research has ended up landing in the field of healing spells, which they put to use in their hospitals in the cities of Megalos, Teridar, Calder, and Craine. Thomasites are one of the few Orders that accept women into their ranks, and are also welcoming of all species seen as possessing souls by the Church.

The Jesuits: After the first came to Ytarria in the 1570s as part of the whole Araterre business, the Church engaged in a brief persecution campaign, finding the closeness the Jesuits had to the Protestants uncomfortable. A combination of fervent missionary work and oaths of loyalty to the Church Curia, however, ended up leading to the Jesuits being accepted as a strange but nonetheless proper Catholic order. Jesuit monks share some similarities to the Franciscans, especially in their vows, but are very much extroverted rather than introverted and believe in bringing God to the peasantry and far-off lands. Their works are in architectural practice, teaching, medical aid, and diplomacy as much as it is in actual preaching. They also happen to be big on political wheeling and dealing, often being seen as aides of Megalan nobility, which has lead to some other Orders bearing suspicion that the Jesuit Order is plotting some grand unknown conspiracy.

The Michaelites: The Order of the Archangel Michael was created in 1412 to specifically be the go-to guys for Inquisition fun times. After two centuries of lots of torture, purging, and all that good stuff, heresies had pretty much either fallen to the sword or been driven underground, and the Michaelites had to find new jobs. The end result was the Michaelite Order becoming a paranormal investigative service, dealing with political intrigue and crimes performed through magic. While Michaelites in Megalos still sometimes go through the whole Inquisition song and dance if it comes up and are made up of fanatical zealous men, the technically separate Michaelites of Cardiel and Caithness are more or less Medieval magic FBI agents and are even willing to accept non-Church members (including Muslims in Cardiel's case).

The Constantinians: Named after a Megalan archivist named Constantine who lived in the 16th Century, the Constantinians are a small order that play a key role in both political and Church administrative functions. That's all that is stated about them, so I'm not surprised that they aren't represented in the Curia.



Islam
The Muslim castaways of the Banestorm religiously adapted to their new world far quicker than their Christian fellows. Magic powers and nonhuman species could be directly compared to the djinn, and like the djinn, it became clear that members of these species were varied sorts who had free will and could come to be People of the Book if they so chose. Those that crossed over originally were hugely of Bedouin, Berber, and Tuareg descent and had no intention of replicating any of the great empires of the Islamic peoples of Earth, but two events would lead to a shift in this paradigm. The first was the discovery of an immense onyx stone carved with holy scripture from bottom to top by tribesmen traveling through the great mountains known as the Fence of God, guarded by a wizened old man who told the tribesmen that he had been waiting to show the Muslims of Ytarria their holy city for over half a century. When the tribesmen returned with all the most learned mullahs of the land months later, the elder was dead but perfectly preserved. The combination of "non-decaying corpse" and "convenient second Kaaba out in the boonies" was seen as an obvious sign from God, and the holy city of Geb'al-Din was built around the great stone. This created a central point of focus for the religion, and helped bolster the growth of the nations of al-Haz and al-Wazif in the face of Crusaders from Megalos.

Most of Islam on Ytarria is pretty familiar stuff. You have the five pillars (with Geb'al-Din replacing Mecca for pilgrimage), sharia law, facing Geb'al-Din in prayer, etc. Without the clear-set prohibition against mystical powers that the Christians had, Muslim views on magic have mostly been shaped by Shi'ia vs. Sunni beliefs. The Shia-practicing believers of al-Haz see wizards as prideful and prone to falling into the evils of idolatry and malicious use of their powers, and are thus distrusted and likely to stray from the path to God. In Sunni al-Wazif, however, magic is seen as a tool that can be used for good or ill like any other, but one that should be tempered. This tempering is done by a two year service to the Caliph upon completing wizardly studies – service in the army for men and in administrative staff for women – that is meant to ensure that the wizard has the moral backbone to properly use their talents. Sufis are pretty devil-may-care on the whole topic and are fine with magic use in their already rather mysticism-focused traditions.

The Ghazi Orders
The greatest difference between the Islam of Earth and Yrth is the presence of the Ghazi orders, holy warriors that have taken to having an active knight-like social structure. They are very well-respected in both of the Muslim lands, and even respected more than the average Muslim in the Christian nations.

The Order of the Crescent Moon: A Hazi Ghazi order that is known for its extremely skilled warriors. They don't swear fealty to the Sultan of al-Haz, instead directly serving the Ulama (Islamic scholars).

The Order of the Pegasus: The personal bodyguards of the Caliph of al-Wazif. Sadly, they don't actually ride pegasi.

The Warriors of the Quill: Ghazis that take the whole "pen is mightier than the sword" adage to heart, as their combat skills take second place to their knowlege of the Q'uran. They travel across all the lands of Ytarria to judge the moral rightness of believers and preach the word to non-believers.

Fanatics and Heretics
Kharijites: The "scream about infidels and bathe in the blood of their enemies" crazy people sect. They mostly hang out on the northern border of al-Wazif, raiding Hospitaller and Templar fortresses and Christian towns. The Caliph of al-Wazif tolerates them for now, but he also won't raise a hand to save them from the noose if they are captured by the knights to the north. Al-Haz doesn't trust them at all, as the original Kharijites of Earth were the murderers of Mohammed's cousin 'Ali.

Hashishin: As mysterious as they are deadly, the Hashishin lived on in Ytarria even after their mountain fortresses were razed and their order crushed on Earth. Scattered Banestorm castaways were gathered back together and bean to build new fortresses in the arid mountains of al-Haz, the greatest of these being named Al-Amut ("Eagle's Nest") after the Turkish fortress of the same name that acted as their base on Earth. Their rare and calculated politically-motivated killings spread fear in both the Muslim and Christian lands of Ytarria, even if most citizens don't even know the identity of this sinister organization.

Balikites: The "scream about mages as infidels and bathe in the blood of their enemies" crazy people sect. They are lead by Balik Abdallah al-Firuz, a Shi'ite mullah from northern al-Haz who is extremely against magic. While the Sultan hates the Balikites with a passion for their murder of one of his most trusted advisors and has put a hefty bounty on Balik's head, most Hazi mullahs are very apathetic towards the sect in spite of their murderous brutality. In al-Wazif, where magic is far more accepted, Balikites are treated as criminals and are sentenced to death by public torture if they are captured.



Judaism
While they might not have a nation of their own or the same great numbers that the other Abrahamic religions have, the Jewish people are a sizable minority that has had far greater success in the lands of Ytarria than they had on Medieval Earth, even spreading as far as having several small communities in far-off Sahud. Jews are in a unique position in the empire of Megalos wherein they are barred from owning land but also not beholden to the serfdom, effectively becoming landless freemen that typically take jobs as advisers, craftsmen, doctors, merchants, and scholars. They are considered useful citizens in both the Christian and Muslim lands, though there are still pockets of antisemitism here and there. Ytarrian Jews are fairly orthodox, keeping heavily to the law and very rarely accepting converts to Judaism that are not already of Jewish birth.

Their rabbis have had many a discussion on matters of the state of kosher concerning various Ytarrian beasts, the nature of the planet Yrth concerning prophecies, and of course a great deal about magic. Rabbinical law on magic is very rules-lawery on what is and isn't acceptable. While they share the ban on necromancy, communing with spirits, and demonic contact that Islam and Christianity also have, Jewish magical prohibitions also look down on divination spells as meddling in the inscrutable will of God and consider all forms of magic involving sacrifices as idolatrous. On matters of the future, many rabbis believe that the Messiah will bring the Jewish people from Yrth back to Earth when he comes, and until then they should be settled in their new home. A small sect known as the Diasporists believe that there's still one last trek to make, especially with seemingly unbelievable tales about a new Israel that have been filtering in as of late, and seek to find Gate spells to return to Earth on their own accord.


Other Religions
The Old Religion: Followers of the Old Religion claim that it came from the lands of the Germanic tribes and the Celts before Christianity, the Hellenistic believers, and even the polytheistic pantheons of the later Irish peoples. Their deities are a married couple – the Goddess, the lady of summer and birth, and the Horned God, the lord of winter and death. Neither figure is entirely good or evil, with the Goddess sometimes expressing new life and growth through violent expansionism and the Horned God sheltering the soul in the peace of death and the promise of rebirth it brings. Old Religionists believe in nature spirits, magic as an extension of the Goddess's dominition over the wild realms, and a constant cycle of reincarnation without an afterlife for good or ill.

Greco-Roman Cults: Believers in the gods of Olympus are few and far between, and typically very much undergrund as both Christianity and Islam seek to stamp them out once again. It's unknown just how these cults even managed to crop up in the first place – some have speculated that Simon Menelaus resurrected the old gods as part of his whole Rome fetish and then discarded them when he realized sticking with Christianity would probably make his dreams of empire more palatable, but nobody can say for sure. Most Greco-Roman cults accept that a worshiper of Zeus and a worshiper of Jupiter or one of Hephaestus and one of Vulcan are ultimately talking about the same gods, as trying to part the Greek and Roman pantheons at this point would be dangerously splintering and an already tiny group.

Norse Cults: True believers in the entire Norse pantheon are surprisingly few and far between, most of them being content to stick to themselves and grumble about those new-fangled Old Religionists appropriating their gods while waiting for Ragnarok to come about. And appropriate the Old Religion has! The Horned God is sometimes specifically named as Odin, and in some particularly sexist clanships of the Nomad Lands he almost entirely eclipses the Goddess in Old Religionist worship. Thor is sometimes also included as the warrior son of the Goddess and the Horned God, and Loki as a diametrically opposed force that is blamed for when the powers of the Old Religion's godly husband and wife team seem to fail to prevent calamity.

Magic Cults: Rather eccentric types that believe magic is in and of itself divine. Magic cults see magic as a sacred gift to be reverently touched and embraced, with non-believing wizards painted as haughty and destructive figures that enslave the gods for their own benefit. More than a few charlatans start magic cults as part of long cons.

Bilit Islander Religion: Most people avoid the mysterious and mosnter-laden jungles of Bilit Island, but those who have seen it firsthand have told of its murderous priest-kings and their equally bloodthirsty gods. This pantheon is primarily made up of Mayan and Aztec gods with a few southeast Asian deities added in, all endlessly hungering for tribute from their fearful worshipers. These sacrifices are typically animals or treasures, but human sacrifice is practiced when it's convenient. Some Megalan missionaries claim that Bilit Islanders are also ritual cannibals, though this may be adding a dash of hyperbole on top of an already crazy situation.

Hinduism: Few and far between, a few Indian and Balinese Hindu clans exist in Araterre and other random islands. The majority of them worship Lakshmi, Shakti, Shiva, or Vishnu as their primary deity, with a scant few adherents of Kali practicing in secret due to both the Abrahamic believers and even some other Hindus seeing them as creepy worshipers of a thing more demon than deity. Most tenets of Hinduism still exist, especially key ones such as the samsara cycle of reincarnation, but the caste system has all but disappeared due to the lack of societal numbers to keep it relevant.

Buddhism: Buddhism is the whipping boy of Ytarria. It's actively persecuted in most parts of the Christian and Muslim lands, seen as a weird fad that is interesting to a few elites in Cardiel, and barely tolerated in Sahud. For this reason, Buddhists tend to stick to elven and dwarven lands, where they can build their monasteries deep in the wilderness without fear of religious reprisal.

Sahudese Religion: Like most things about Sahud, their religion is a clusterfuck. You've got the yin and yang and a lot of the general philosophy of Taoism, the moral code of Confucianism, the worship of kami from Shintoism, and beliefs from Mongolian Tengriism, Siberian folk beliefs, and various Native American religions that go unstated because they are, and I quote, "simply too bewilderingly diverse to go into here". The spiritual leader of Sahudese religion is the same as the physical leader, that being the Heavenking, emperor of the land and purported divinity tied to mortal flesh.


Nonhuman Religions
The Eternal: The native races of Ytarria all follow a deity known as the Eternal. The Eternal is a great gestalt consciousness that pervades every piece of the universe's fabric, from the greater star to the smallest mote of dust. Everything is slowly on a journey to become one with the Eternal, and in worshiping the Eternal you seek to fast track your way to that oneness. It is believed that by meditating and studying the inanimate on its way towards the Eternal, one can achieve that enlightenment. The elves worship the Eternal through animals and plants and see waste of life (murder, laziness, vast deforestation, etc.) as the greatest immortality against it, sea elves worship it through water and believe that their suffering during the Banestorm was retribution for not understanding the ocean well enough, dwarves worship stone and metal as their chosen part of the Eternal and see perfecting something so that it will endure the test of time to be the closest link to the divine, and gnomes see the Eternal in the propagation of new and healthy life. Orcs believe in the Eternal, but don't understand the idea of worshiping it to become one with it – after all, what in life is greater than victory, and how can you have victory if everyone is equal? – so their big religious idea is to go all JRPG and fight the god-universe. None of the Ytarrian races are likely to follow human religions, but when they do the elves typically go for Hinduism or Sahudese religion, dwarves gravitate toward Islam, and orcs go for either a pagan or Abrahamic religion.

Faiths of Gabrook: In the sandy deserts of Gabrook, two gods held sway over the minds of the people. To the goblins, it was a battle between the god of civilization Uunkuy protecting the people from the god of barbarians Bozdaag, while to the lizard men and hobgoblins it was the god of strength Bozdaag defending against the god of decadence and lethargy Uunkuy. Similarly, the role of the two gods in Gabrook's creation are altered in the tellings of the two species, with the goblins proclaiming that Bozdaag ripped a chunk of matter out of the primal chaos that Uunkuy proceeded to forge into something actually useful and the lizard men and hobgoblins stating that Bozdaag created a useful world from the Chaos and Uunkuy merely added useless decorations and polish to the end result.

Half of this equation doesn't even matter on Ytarria, of course, as extremely few goblins worship Uunkuy after the Christianization of their lands. Indeed, Uunkuy's very Christian-like worship and priestly caste system oddly similar to Catholicism were what helped create such an easy transition to the new religion. All that had to be done was replace Uunkuy with God and Bozdaag with Satan, and voila. Lizard men, on the other hand, mostly still worship Bozdaag. His worship focuses on self-sufficiency and personal strength. Over-reliance on others, especially in the form of civilization beyond the tribal level, is seen as a great weakness and affront to Bozdaag's gifts of might. While lizard men see the Christian interpretation of God as the same decadent wastefulness of Uunkuy, they partition Islam's God into his own category of a happy medium between between decadent civilization and "barbarism" due to the strenuous strength of pilgrimages and the lives of nomadic herdsmen outside of the great cities of al-Haz and al-Wazif, and some lizard men become devout Muslims as a result.

Faiths of Loren'dil: The gods of the forest realm were part of a complex and flawed pantheon of deities with often opposing views, with war in the heavens being a frequent event in their religious lore. The halflings worshiped Halaina, goddess of home and hearth, and Heclan, god of trickery and stealth, but have almost entirely converted to human religions of where they now live on Yrth. The giants had the god of strength Chane, earth goddess Therneen, and sea god Otrik, but in the travel to the lands of Ytarria they have mostly become atheists with the exception of a few followers of their old gods and a handful of worshipers of human religions. The centaurs are the only people of Loren'dil that have fully kept their faith in the old pantheon, especially in Atallie, goddess of learning and wisdom. Some have nonetheless become followers of pagan religions or the Eternal, however, and the majority that still do worship the gods of Loren'dil typically keep quiet about it when talking to humans.

Others: Dragons are the only of the Elder Races of Yrth that don't believe in worship of the Eternal, instead believing that every dragon itself becomes a god after shoring up enough knowledge and power to ascend to a higher plane of existence. The ancestors that have already become gods are worshiped but rarely called upon, as it is believed dragons that ascend to godhood with as little help as possible get a better reputation in the land of the god-dragons. There are also the two species of Olokun, neither of which seem to give much information about their old gods. The merfolk seem to have hated the gods of Olokun and are mostly atheists with a few Eternal worshipers mixed in, while the shark men worship their deities the same as always, hoping to be able to one day draw them over to Yrth. The book describes this as a bad thing, so I can only assume that the whole insinuation about their gods actually being Cthulhu-likes is meant to be true.



Next Time in GURPS Banestorm: We begin the tour of the lands of Ytarria with the empire of Megalos. Soldiers, slaves, gladiators, and goblins await!

Fossilized Rappy fucked around with this message at 20:35 on Feb 24, 2016

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



potatocubed posted:

Ramon Perez always turns out quality stuff. It was his art that was at least partially responsible for my Rifts collection.

Perez is seriously pro. His Superior splat pictures, especially for dudes like Magog, are amazing. He actually drew, you know, Choirs and Bands, Ofanim and Seraphim and all that, instead of Smifs disgusting melty blob art with nothing but winged humanoids and 20,000 lens flares.

oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!




potatocubed posted:



Chapter 6 - Paradigms
So, in Chapter 1 (2?) Paradigms were described as universal knowledges locked into Cornerstones. Five chapters later they're revealed to be... something else.

Paradigms are new rules for the game.

They are things like 'Critical Successes and Failures', or 'Use Dice Instead of the Balance'.

Wow, I actually just love that idea, but I have almost no idea how it could be implemented effectively or making sense in character. It reminds me a bit of the idea behind Evoland, an unfortunately disappointing JRPG-esque game with an interesting premise.

But the idea of just fundamentally altering the way the game itself works as a form of in-game progress is oddly appealing. Not just bigger numbers or new toys, but entire new styles of play.

Adnachiel
Oct 21, 2012


Kurieg posted:

More ore less yes? The character designs are all "grown up" Versions of the witch girls with crazy hair colors and "plus sized" Figures, and there's an entire branch of transformation spells attributed to a "Ms Sadie". The fact that the previously asian genki girl got turned into a hispanic death witch is not addressed.

Soto probably figured that there weren't a lot of Japanese people in El Paso.

Interestingly, Minerva also is/was a character in WGA. At least for sample character sheet purposes.



(Arm...)

This version probably just killed the guys who tried to rape her by turning them into cigarettes and smoking them, and threatened to do the same to the administrators who told her that they were not going to stop the entire school just so she could give a valedictorian speech when she graduated early.

Also, "Digahol", Minerva's cartoonishly right-wing hometown, is also a town in WGA. (One of the Willow-Mistt characters is from there. Her father worked with the police in some capacity.) But it's in Idaho, not Iowa. At least when it was in Idaho, it rhymed...

Soto and Harris seem to love taking ideas from each other.

LatwPIAT
Jun 6, 2011

Do I need a title?

Adnachiel posted:

Soto and Harris seem to love taking ideas from each other.

That's because characters like Circe, Minerva, etc. aren't originally made for the RPGs. The versions in the tabletop RPGs are just adapted from their online fetish collaborative writing/freeform roleplaying/whatever world.

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Crasical
Apr 22, 2014

GG!*
*GET GOOD


gradenko_2000 posted:

Bill Webb's Book of Dirty Tricks

As with the first idea, this mostly relies on the GM being an unreliable narrator. I think this is rather unfair to the players - at the very least you should use Perception or Insight or Investigation or Will to first determine if the character can, in-character, see through the ruse. If you make the kobolds try to give the impression of a dragon, but you tell the players that there's all the real and literal sounds and smells of a dragon out there, you're not really giving them any chance to react in a manner that'd be logical or reasonable than if they knew exactly what they were getting into.

I feel like this is perfectly in line with everything Webb has been angling at before. He's a big disbeliever in character power and a great believer in 'player skill'. He's already mentioned his great distaste for elves and dwarves and their ability to find secret doors, and how he's created his whole 'GM description hidden-door minigame' to disallow dice rolls for hidden doors.

I absolutely can believe that he'd expand that sort of behavior to perception checks, knowledge skills for monster identification, and the like. The uncharitable part of me wants to say that he does this because it's VASTLY easier to trick your players when you take away most of their mechanical tools for piercing through your deception.

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