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Black August
Sep 28, 2003



I don't get those types. Why are these people playing games when they just seem to want to make people angry and lose? Doesn't that get tiring and boring really fast? Where's the fun, the joy?

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girl dick energy
Sep 30, 2009

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


Black August posted:

I don't get those types. Why are these people playing games when they just seem to want to make people angry and lose? Doesn't that get tiring and boring really fast? Where's the fun, the joy?
Well, if they lose, then you win, and if you win, you're better than them, and therefore have value as a human being.

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



Black August posted:

I don't get those types. Why are these people playing games when they just seem to want to make people angry and lose? Doesn't that get tiring and boring really fast? Where's the fun, the joy?

Some people find it really fun to annoy and irritate people, and they're the type that's best to cut loose as they never learn why they keep losing friends. These tend to be the same people who tell offensive jokes and get angry when people get upset.

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!

gradenko_2000 posted:

Bill Webb's Book of Dirty Tricks

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)

Pathfinder has the spell Bull's Strength which is the main STR boosting ability, and it only grants a +4 bonus. In Pathfinder ability scores scale at a slower rate of magnitude than in old-school D&D. A 20 Strength might be phenomenal in OSR retroclones, but in Pathfinder it's very good for a 1st level fighter and rather low for a mid-level one.

So if we're to assume that this is a normal goblin quaffing this potion, his Strength would be 12, merely "above average" +1 modifier to attack and damage instead of tough enough to tear a breastplate. There's also the fact that sample objects have hit point values and hardness ratings, so the goblin would need a means of dealing a poo poo-ton of unarmed damage to rip through metal. Iron materials grant a Hardness rating of 10 (which deducts 10 points of damage from physical and most energy sources), and armor has a total hit point value equal to its bonus (+6 for breastplate) x 5.

So a goblin would need to deal at least 40 hit points of damage with his bare hands (which deal 1d2 + STR modifier for Small creatures) to tear a breastplate in half going strictly by the rules.

Oh yeah, you need at least levels in Brawler, Monk, or have the Improved Unarmed Strike feat to deal lethal damage with your bare fists, and objects ignore all nonlethal damage.

Prism
Dec 22, 2007

yospos


Libertad! posted:

Pathfinder has the spell Bull's Strength which is the main STR boosting ability, and it only grants a +4 bonus. In Pathfinder ability scores scale at a slower rate of magnitude than in old-school D&D. A 20 Strength might be phenomenal in OSR retroclones, but in Pathfinder it's very good for a 1st level fighter and rather low for a mid-level one.

So if we're to assume that this is a normal goblin quaffing this potion, his Strength would be 12, merely "above average" +1 modifier to attack and damage instead of tough enough to tear a breastplate. There's also the fact that sample objects have hit point values and hardness ratings, so the goblin would need a means of dealing a poo poo-ton of unarmed damage to rip through metal. Iron materials grant a Hardness rating of 10 (which deducts 10 points of damage from physical and most energy sources), and armor has a total hit point value equal to its bonus (+6 for breastplate) x 5.

So a goblin would need to deal at least 40 hit points of damage with his bare hands (which deal 1d2 + STR modifier for Small creatures) to tear a breastplate in half going strictly by the rules.

Oh yeah, you need at least levels in Brawler, Monk, or have the Improved Unarmed Strike feat to deal lethal damage with your bare fists, and objects ignore all nonlethal damage.

You can use the Breaking Items rule instead 'when a character tries to break or burst something with sudden force rather than by dealing damage', and I would think that trying to show off by bending a piece of metal with your bare hands probably counts in that case. You probably couldn't rip it with this rule, but bending it is intimidating too so let's try it.

Bending iron bars is a DC 24 strength check, and you get -4 on your check for being Small, so they still can't do it. They'd have to roll 24+ on 1d20-3.

Prism fucked around with this message at 23:53 on Feb 24, 2016

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



I'd let the goblin rip it up because that is cool and fun looking.

Prism
Dec 22, 2007

yospos


Black August posted:

I'd let the goblin rip it up because that is cool and fun looking.

I probably would too, honestly, though it's been a long time since I was a DM. 'Make buffed versions of normal enemies sometimes' is actually pretty good advice, especially when it's obvious which one is the suddenly scary one! It's just... the rest of it, not so much.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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#1 Builder
2014-2018



Corporeal Player's Guide: Org Chart

The government of a nation, no matter what nation, is usually the most powerful organization within it. Taking control of it would seem an obvious goal for those seeking to sway human society, but celestials rarely go for it. It's too obvious - any important government will have many watchers from either side. Secondly, governments are diffuse. It's not just subverting one group - even if the absolute monarch of a nation is your puppet, his ministers, generals and heirs won't be. Governments have been ruled by angels or demons before, but usually celestials focus instead on only one part of a government, picking those agencies within it that will be most effective.

Usually, the most potent branch of a government in terms of raw force is the military, but their political power varies wildly. In some countries, the military runs things, but in others, they obey civilian rule and have little overt influence. Most militaries are heavily celestially infiltrated but not controlled. Michael and Baal like to have agents in the armies, but almopst ever Superior has a few servants whose job is to be able to get heavy weapons when needed. Peacetime militaries are mostly only useful for training aud supplying arms, but during wars, most Superiors find chances to further their Words - particularly Princes. Military combatants also make good servants for either side.

Law enforcement, from local to federal or groups like the Treasury Department or BATF or even international groups like Interpol are popular infiltration targets. Having cops in your pocket is great if you want to help or hinder the law. Roles or cop servants are very useful, allowing you to carry guns - even in countries where police are not usually armed, they can still get guns easier. Most people also avoid causing trouble for law enforcement even outside their jurisdiction, too. Badges are powerful things. Of course, cops that break the law flagrantly will get noticed even in corrupt societies. Angels usually focus on finding the cops with the strongest morals, while demons like those that are more about control and violence.

Civil service may lack the firepower of the cops or the army, but they can be just as powerful. The IRS has destroyed folks like Al Capone, and regulatory agencies have broad and subtle influence. The Surgeon General or equivalent sets public policy on disease control, healthcare and public education on health. The Justice Department has powers over every law enforcement agency in America. The Education Department has a huge influence on what is taught. Of course, this all varies by country and even state. Infiltrating civilian agenceis takes social and political skills, plus a longterm agenda. Wordbound are most likely to be interested in the ones that set public policy.

Intelligence agencies are generally more about analysis than espionage, but that makes them valuable - they can reveal what others know and can track celestial agents. You can use the CIA to notice a large purchase of biological warfare agents, which could put Heaven on the alert that Vapula or Saminga are plannign something, and Baal loves the data his spies send him to help anticipate Laurence's moves. Intelligence agencies do engage in some espionage, too, which can be quite exciting.

Scientific agencies like NASA or the CDC are mostly of interest to Jean and Vapula, who use them to keep track of how quickly humanity is advancing, and occasionally to feed new information to them. Other Superiors need to take them into account mainly because they have a lot of resources and can spread information fast. Any artifact or supernatural event that they investigate might result in mortals learning a lot more than anyone wants, and some Superiors keep teams just to prevent that kind of thing.

The private sector is...well, everyone else. Business on all levels exist to make money, and while their nature can vary dramatically, both the gredy and the responsible are useful. Some business, particularly those that are fronts or collaborators, exist just to funnel money for the War. Others impact society with their products, and celestials want to influence that market. The media...well, many are infiltrated by Nybbas, but also other Words. The main thing is that Nybbas is so broadly powerful and influential...but he doesn't run everything, and if you're subtle, you can still make use of them. Academia covers both universities and independent scientific organizations. They have little overt power but a lot of influence. Their theories often become policies enforced by power, and infiltrating universities or think tanks can be a good way to influence society, if you have the right strategy. Plus, it's more subtle in disseminating information. Non-profits...well, they vary widely, but most are or pretend to selflessness, making them popular with angels and somewhat less useful to demons unless the demon enjoys corrupting altruists. Non-profits often support causes angels like, but with a little manipulation, demons can subvert them as well. PETA, for example, pleases both Jordi and Malphas. Most non-profits have little money or power, but some have a lot of popular support or huge impact, like the Red Cross. Fringe groups like hobbyist clubs, militias or 'zines are small, unconnected but potentially quite useful to more specialized Wordbounds. Their members tend to very dedicated to whatever their cause happens to be, after all. Some of those fringe groups are also researching the supernatural, which can be helpful or very, very annoying.

Organized religion is exceptionally powerful, and leaders often have great influence, sometimes even running governments. Religious organizations are obviously of interest to celestials, but generally more for their temporal influence and morals than their theology. Most angels don't care how humans worship, and most demons see religion as a tool of control. Religions have a lot of dedicated followers, many of whom would love to serve Heaven and many of whom can be easily tricked into serving Hell. Many Superiors do recruit heavily from religious organizations, but some, most notably Jean, Jordi, Belial and Vapula, see religion as irrelevant. The rest of this section is basically just a less good rehash of the stuff from the GM's Guide.

Anyway, some sample organizations! The Muradi Sufis are a mystical sect of Islam stressing harmonious coexistence. They are a Sufi brotherhood based out of Istanbul, secretly guided by the angel Murad, an Elohite Master of Fire. There's about 30 Muradi Soldiers and another 40 or so mundanes. Most are Turkish or Egyptian and the vast majority are male. The Muradis are pacifists towards other humans and will not deliberately kill even Hellsworn, but have no compunctions about destroying demonic Vessels. They defend themselves, but prefer nonviolent means. They have no official backing and must rely on their own funding. They keep a low profile and have many contacts in other Sufi organizations. Murad consider the Muradi Sufiss to be Soldiers of Fire, but they see themselves as Soldiers of God. Murad does not run the organization, though he approves their missions, and any requests from other angels for their help go through him. These days, he spends most of his time looking among them for Soldier potential, but he has been known to use ivolence where they cannot when they are threatened. All Muradis must follow the brotherhood's peaceful tenets. Deliberate killing is forbidden save for known demons. Accidental or unavoidable deaths must be atoned for with long fasting and prayer. Individuals who cannot abide by this or the priunciples of Sufism will be sent elsewhere.

The Purifiers are all Soldiers, most serving the Sword but some serving Judgment. All are very tough fighters. They are the Vatican's elite demon hunters, and they're good at it. Dominic and Laurence sponsored their creation within the Catholic Church. The Purifiers do not officially exist, and are loose and informal. Most are priests or monks, generally Jesuit or Dominican. Several are also current or former nuns. Some are practicing exorcists. There are a handful of devout lay members, including some IRA technicians. The Purifiers have 17 chapters, each with 10-12 members. The chapters are located in Italy, France, Spain, Germany, Poland, Ireland, Quebec, Baltimore, San Francisco, Mexico, Guatemala, Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Zaire and the Philippines. Besides the core membership, the Purifiers can mobilize allies and supporters for extram uscle. They can draw on the Vatican's artifact collection and archives, andi f they know what demon they're facing, they will check on their files to learn the target's strengths and weaknesses to better prepare. Demons fear the Purifiers, and they are quite intelligent. They take the time, do the research and learn all about their targets before striking, and they're quite professional.

The Seagull Society was set up after WW2 by a group of Mormon veterans who became Soldiers during their service. The name comes from an event in Utah's early history involving a plague of locusts being destroyed by a flock of seagulls. They're based out of Salt Lake City and were briefly sponsored by the Mormon church, but cut their ties in the 60s, when the Mormons became uneasy about the Society's violence. Recently, the Seagull Society has been forced undergorund as the FBI (with some demonic help) has classified them as right-wing paramilitary group, armed and extremely dangerous. To avoid further scrutiny, they have dispersed through the mountains, communicated via elaborate codes and drop sites. Few trust the Internet. No one celestial is their patron, but many cells have an angel or Saint supporting them, generally serving David, Janus or Michael. Three of the angels who helped found the Society are still tied to it - Evani, a Kyriotate Friend of the Sword does most of their recruiting, while Rand, a Malakite of Stone, and Tharael, an Ofanite Master of War, help train new Seagulls at a ranch in Idaho. Te Seagulls rn on a military chain of command, and most are army vets. They prefer camo fatigues and brown berets with a white seagull logo, and they are led by Colonel Howard Engels, an ex-Green Beret and a Soldier of War. There are around 20 Soldiers in the Seagulls and about twice that many mundane combatants and support personnel. Almost all are white, Mormon and male, though a few are mainstream Protestants. Lately, there's been some dispute over whether they should accept non-whites and Catholics. There are no women in the Society.

The Saint Christopher Society is named for the patron saint of travelers, though the Catholics decanonized him after determining he was probably never real. Still, he remains popular, and the Society was founded by the Church as a traveler's aid society. Several years ago, it became a Divine collaborator when Laurence decided it could do its job and also help members of the Host in need of transportation. He set Zadkiel, Archangel of Protection, to infiltrate the society. They are a non-profit that provides free travel information and helps travelers in distress with anything from emergency road service to wiring funds to those trapped in foreign countries. They have chapters on six continents and a worldwide toll-free number. The Catholics fund them in part, but most of their money is donated or fees from emergency rescue services. The Host knows that the Soceity will get angels, Saints and Soldiers where they need - usually in the form of mundane transportation, but in an emergency they can even send Ofanite rescuse teams. Those that use them are expected to reimburse them, preferably in favors. The headquarters are in a phone bank in New York, and most of the organization is mundane. However, a Kyriotate Friend of Protection oversees the Society in the goal of gaining the Word of Travelers in Distress.

The Hellforce are a large organization with strands across the world. They are directed by Baal and are the largest human operation in the War, as well as one of the only initiatives involving several Princes in cooperation. The backbone of the network is a group of agents, the Heralds, who usually serve demons of Technology and help to maintain computer records, phone connections and even physical messaging services to keep the army under command. Darkeyes are monitors, mostly serving the Game, who report any Disturbances or evidence of angelic activity to the nearest Herald. Response teams, or Hellhounds, are Soldiers of the War who are dispatched to investigate, followed up by demon gangs. Usually, a team will have bee in the area for a hwile when demons arrive, debrief them and send them on to their next assignment. Only Baal knows exactly how large the Hellforce is, but it's rumored that most major cities have hundreds of Hellforce agents, with dozens of Soldiers. If this is so, it means a lot of demons are dying in back alleys that could have been rescued. Special demonic operations are frequently backed up by the Hellforce for transport and fire support...or cannon fodder. Most attacks on divine Tethers, if Baal sanctions them, are supported by Hellforce Soldiers, and they are always mobilized to help defend infernal Tethers. Within the Hellforce is a second organization, the Shadow Corps. These are Malphas' Soldiers, using the organization to spy on other Princes. Sometimes Baal finds one of his Soldiers turns out to be a demon of Factions. No one knows how deeply the Shadow Corps has infiltrated Hellforce except Malphas, and it continues to be a source of friction between him and Baal.

Eminent Entertainment is one of the largest media conglomerates in the world, but it keeps its holdings hidden beneath a vast web of shell corporations and a legion of lawyers. They own newspapers, radio stations, magazines, book publishers, TV stations, prodcution companies, film studios, record labels, Internet providers, restaurents, wineries, toy companies, sports teams, travel agencies, amusement parks - anything that humans enjoy. This include an underground network of pornographers, prostitution rings, drug cartels and black marketeers. The Chairman is listed, should someone manage to get in that far, as Francis X. Bushman, a clue left by Nybbas to hint at his ownership. It is Nybbas' Earthly infrastructure, after all. It generates cash, has countletss outlets to produce mortal media and so on. The companies it owns are not 100% demonically controlled. Most have one or more demons of the Media in the upper ranks, but they are largely run by mundanes who know nothing of the War. Thus, they aren't always serving Hell and can even work at cross purposes. They've been infiltrated by both angels and other Pricnes, who oten don't even know that Nybbas owns the property. Andrealphus is a partner in the company, but not an equal one. EE is working to make their religion of media self-indulgence, and Andrealphus' part is FeatherFire Productions, dealing in porn, prophylactics and recreational drugs as well as the Hellfire Society (a chain of BDSM nightlcubs in the US, Europe and Japan) and also has been looking into sex tourism and mail-order brides. One of EE's major rivals is a smaller but similar group, the Simonson Group, which sponsors talk shows, Internet sites and town hall meetings with the goal of putting together people who will never agree and generate more vitriol than dialogue. The Simonson Group is a Malphas project, and Nybbas does not appreciate it.



The Midnight Screamers are children. Children, specifically, that Beleth has found to have immense selfishness and inventive cruelty. They just need a push into early psychosis, so they can't tell right from wrong or dreams from reality. They are groomed to be Soldiers, if they have potential. If not, well, mundane sadists also serve Beleth's purposes. The Midnight Screamrers are the elite of Dream Soldiers, children with 6 or more Forces. Each is guarded by a Djinn of Nightmares. They meet in the Marches almost exclusively, and Beleth has a secret fortess near her Tower for them to gather and gloat in, and to be taught by demons...who often learn as much as they teach. There's rarely more than a dozen Screamers at once, and usually less than half that. They terrorize dreamers Beleth designates, acquiring knowledge and experience so that, if they live to adulthood, they are her very best, knowledgeable and skilled. They're also quite mad, and once they pass adolescence Beleth sets them to independent work, so that they don't contaminate her next generation.

The Black ORder is your good old-fashioned black magic cult. They curse people, summon demons, sacrifice living beings for Essence, whatever. They have remained stable for almsot 100 years largley due to being the pet project of Hatiphas. She has groomed them as the elite of sorcerous cabals, with chapters in many cities in several countries. Other sorcerers, if succesful, will eventually either find or be found by the Black Order, and usually they aspirre to join to get access to their rituals and resources. (The resources are somewhat exaggerated, though many members are wealthy, and the rituals are taught only to the inner circle, who report to Hatiphas directly.) Hatiphas ensures that only the most reliable rise to lead, and purges those that threaten to destabilize the Order. Black ORder chapters are usually deadly rivals to any other local cabals.

The Sons of Lucifer have little to do with Lucifer. They were founded in the 1800s by a group of British aristocrats who did sorcery as a naughty hobby. They adopted the grand name to mock Victorian society and conventions, seeing themselves as wicked nonconformists. Mostly, they were mundane opium addicts, but a few were genuine sorcerers who allowed their peers to believe they were contributing. They made a vast fortune by recruiting young degenerates who sought to play at black magic, and even recruited a few real initiates. They had the Corporeal Song of Entropy and the formula for an immortality potion. The true sorcerers among them lived quite a long time, but during WW2, there was a schism between supporters of England and Nazi sympathizers. The cabal fought itself, and several died, but by the end of the war, the Nazi sympathizers were killed or driven into hiding. Today, the Sons of Lucifer remain an exclusive club, still doing sorcery, mostly for sport. Most of them know only Focus and Alchemy rituals - any summonings are purely show and they have no serious celestial attention. They accept only very wealthy members, and preferably those with claims to nobility. At least two of the founders, now over 150 years old, remain alive and active.

Next time: Not Much

MadScientistWorking
Jun 23, 2010

"I was going through a time period where I was looking up weird stories involving necrophilia..."


Prism posted:

You can use the Breaking Items rule instead 'when a character tries to break or burst something with sudden force rather than by dealing damage', and I would think that trying to show off by bending a piece of metal with your bare hands probably counts in that case. You probably couldn't rip it with this rule, but bending it is intimidating too so let's try it.

Bending iron bars is a DC 24 strength check, and you get -4 on your check for being Small, so they still can't do it. They'd have to roll 24+ on 1d20-3.
Or you could just use the item that Paizo introduced which is effectively a fake piece of armor meant to be used as a disguise.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





re: the Church in Banestorm, I think "Magic is basically just natural philosophy if you aren't doing rudes with it" is actually a pretty well supported position in Catholic jurisprudence, so that's not even necessarily convenient so much as what would probably prevail in an environment where magic was real wizard poo poo instead of just occult passes and astrology.

How did they find out about magic, anyway? Did the various hedge witches and random court fakers find their spells started actually working?

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



The Bible explicitly calls out certain forms of magic as being inherently sinful and bad, but it's poo poo like necromancy or attempting to foretell the future (which is obviously impossible because God, etc).

And even then, the real Church was totally okay with astrology based on the logic of Origen and the stars influencing but not actually preventing free will.

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



Midnight Screamers were always a fun concept for a small game. Beleth is fun if you play as her a whacked out sleepless aunt who will not stop hounding you while acting like a bad Maleficent impression she knows you hate. Which she needs because the Marches ain't too well defined or fun to be in mechanically. I always liked using them more as an excuse to journey to strange places that Earth can't offer and you don't want to bother with the endless politics of Heaven and Hell.

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 THREE


look it's just not proper bustin' without a smoke after
PARAPSYCHOLOGIST: Parapsychologists are academics and science-learnin' types who focus on ghosts and psychic phenomena. They operate entirely using the tools at their disposal, building and maintaining their own tech to hunt ghosts, capture them and measure supernatural phenomena. Despite supernatural shenanigans being an accepted fact of life, parapsychologists are low-ranking in the hierarchy of scientists. Even the nutjobs who try to bring the dead back as Mercurials have better governmental backing. You've still got funding and power, though, and it's enough to be a PC.

Parapsychologists start with FAMILIARITY: SPIRIT so they're never spooked by a ghost. They also gain bonus abilities depending on the strength of their Parapsychology skill.
  • Aethertech Engineer: The Parapsychologist gets their gear for half the price if they can craft it themselves or salvage it from broken tech. You also get one free reroll for Galvanics rolls that deal with building, repairing or maintaining Aethertech. This should not be an optional class ability. This should be a mandatory addition because good god your toys aren't cheap.
  • Credentials: You've got a good name like every other time someone takes this type of skill. Add your Parapsychologist stat to your Credibility rolls.
  • Ghost Hunter: One free reroll per Parapsychology roll when it comes to manipulating an Aetheric field.
  • Historian: One free reroll for every Intellect or Skill roll that has to do with history or finding history or plumbing archives.
  • Interns: The Parapsychologist has 3-10 assistants that can help them or come and go as long as you're not a dick to them. You should make up their back stories too.
  • Keen Eyed: One free reroll for every Perception roll.
  • Mental Bastion: Can't be affected by any supernatural attempts to get possessed or mind controlled.
  • Psychical Researcher: The Parapsychologist automatically senses the presence of an enemy Stand when it's used on them, successfully or not. They also get one free reroll for Parapsychology and Psychology rolls that have to do with psychic investigations.
  • Spectral Eliminations Agency: You've got your own firm. Business 3 and you have an Aether vault to hold spirits.
  • Spectral Investigator: One free reroll for each Parapsychology roll pertaining to spirits and knowledge of them.
  • Spirit Finder: Automatically detect the presence of ghosts in a Willx10 foot radius around you and their relative strength but nothing past that.
  • Spirit Photographer: No special materials needed to photograph ghosts.
Parapsychologists get to pick one of the following Qualities for free: Club Membership, Noctuary Membership, Order of Reason Membership, Resolve, Secret Occult Society Membership. They start with Parapsychology 2 and can pick five of the following: Concentration 2, Galvanics 2 (you take this or you can barely ever use your poo poo), History 2, Hypnosis 2, Medicine 2, Natural Science 2, Photography 2, Psychology 2, Thanatology 2. They start with a comfy flat or house and Wealth 5. They get 75 dollars to spend on gear and can save 5 of it. Did you take Aethertech Engineer? If you didn't, you really can't afford a good mix of your gear.

Thoughts on the Parapsychologist: Like an Artificer, Parapsychologists are totally reliant on their poo poo and being able to build their poo poo. They're also reliant on how much stuff they can carry at once, but if you take interns you can turn them into porters. Parapsychologists do get some fun toys to play with and they can also use Galvanic weapons like lightning guns, so they're quite good as a tech-focused class.


PSYCHIC: You know exactly what a psychic is. In London, licensed psychics are given training for their powers and then ranked in three groups by how powerful they are. A lot of psychic ability is borne from suffering and torment and a lot of psychics have mental issues as a result. So do PCs.

Psychics automatically start with LATENT INSANITY. The presence of psychic powers and a calm mind are holding back a mental disorder that the psychic has; as long as they're stable and calm, the disorder is at rest and they can function normally. It manifests in times of extreme stress or when they gain too many Instability Points from using their powers. You pick a Mental Disorder for free and don't get any points for having an impediment and you can't pick one you already have to be your Latent Insanity. The class abilities Psychics gain stem from their Concentration skill stat.
  • Dead Eye: One free reroll per missed ranged psychic attack.
  • Force of Will: One free reroll on failed psychic control checks.
  • Fortified Mind: Treat Chronic Mental Disorders as Minor Mental Disorders. If you start with this one, you can't start with a Chronic Disorder to game points.
  • Gifted Mind: Free Savant quality, creation choice only.
  • Latent Medium: Upgrade to Large for 50 cents more.
  • Mass Perceptions: Automatically succeed checks to split your perceptions while using your powers to view.
  • Meditations: Enter trances to use certain powers without needing to make a Will roll. When meditating, you can only hear things around and reply to questions. It's a free action to end the trance without a dice roll and if you're knocked out of a trance, it doesn't grant Instability Points.
  • Mind Shield: Reduce damage taken from Electrokinetic, Pyrokinetic and Telekinetic powers by 1. If you have one rank in the devotion attacking you, reduce it by 2.
  • Nexus: Extend the range of your powers by adding your Concentration stat to your Will for determining range.
  • Self Control: One free reroll per each failed Mental Disorder control checks.
  • Silence: Never suffer Empathic Backlash from Empathy powers, tune out the outside world while using your powers.
  • Sound Mind: Temporary Insanity from losing control only lasts one day. You can also remove two Instability Points instead of the normal one for eight hours of sleep/relaxation without powers.
  • Waking Mind: Use trance powers without totally trancing. -3 to Wit, Skill and Charm rolls and only take actions to activate powers or move but you can speak normally and just look very distracted instead of in a full trance.
  • Wrathful: If you have a wound, if you are attacking a hated foe or if a loved one is in danger, +2 to Electrokinesis, Pyrokinesis and Telekinesis damage rolls.
Psychics start the game with one Devotion chosen at level one. You can spend 6 points during chargen to bump that Devotion up to 2, or pick another Devotion at 1. You can't start play with a Devotion higher than 2. Psychics get Concentration 2 and can pick any three Basic, Criminal or Academic skills at rank 2 to be their skills. The average psychic has a small place to call their own or a modest house on the outskirts. An unlicensed psychic starts with Wealth 2, licensed with Empathy or any Psychokinetic devotion starts with 3, licensed with ESP/Prescience/Telepathy starts at 5. You are recommended to bump up your wealth/standing in life because a Psychic starts with 10 dollars for stuff and can only keep 5 as savings.

Thoughts on the Psychic: It's hard to get into them without talking about their powers. They're the squishy wizard splat and most of their class benefits are about making the facets of their class be less of an impediment. It's not too hard to smooth the edges and it's interesting that they only get a little bit of their abilities to be about increasing damage or hitting better. In the long run, it helps that the limits of Concentration are dictated by Willpower and Psychics need a high Willpower to handle Instability. There is also some backwards compatibility fuckery we will get into when I get deeper into psychic powers.

How powerful are they from the word go? Not very; level one devotions grant minor things, it takes second level to do more impressive/offensive things. Make sure you pick up some combat abilities to help you out.

NEXT TIME: Qualities and new Mental Disorders and the end of Chapter 2.

Quinn2win
Nov 9, 2011

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




THE 1894 NETWORK, PART 4



Tabitha Holmwood
Definitely not a vampire, considering how often her photos show up in tabloid magazines. Every other day, it seems that the queen of the Eurotrash is stumbling into some new flirtation or other PR disaster with a pop star, actor, or member of the Royal Family.

Tabitha is the great-great-granddaughter of Arthur Holmwood, and the black sheep of the family. High Society or Streetwise are the only ways to get even close to her.

Investigative Abilities: Art History, High Society, Photography
General Abilities: Disguise 4, Infiltration 4, Network 8, Surveillance 4

Innocent
Tabitha's everything she seems to be, but also a lot smarter. Flattery is the easiest way to influence her - she doesn't know anything about vampires, but she could get them into Ring or just about any exclusive social event. Her damage control publicist tries to improve her image by having her fundraise for charities, including Heal the Children - more on them later. It's not as nice as it sounds.

Asset
Tabitha's been cut off, and needs to do something to fund her lifestyle. She could be in the pockets of the Romanian Mafia, or arms runners, or all sorts of seedy underworld types. She parties with the rich and dangerous, and could be the perfect courier for drugs, information, or something more exotic. Flipping her could be a simple matter of getting her out of whatever mess she's gotten herself into today.

Minion
She's not a vampire... yet. The reason she lives so loudly is because she has a blood cell impairment that leads to leukemia, and only has five or six years to live. Unless she can find a way to cheat death.

Defining Quirks
Complains about paparazzi, but carefully checks lighting to ensure she photographs well. Checks phone constantly. Awake? Champagne.



Geerd Hoorn (Van Helsing)
Van Helsing had a son, Isaak, who died in 1894 - or at least, that's Stoker's story. Maybe Isaak's death was staged to protect him from vampiric retribution. He adopted the name Van Hoorn from then on - Geerd Van Hoorn is Abraham Van Helsing's great-great-grandson.

In his 70s, but looks 20 years younger. Worked on ships as a union organizer for the Dutch socialist left, dropping Van from his name. Family died during Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. He's now retired, acting as a political fixer for the Dutch left.

Investigative abilities: Accounting, Architecture (ships and shipyards), Intimidation, Languages (English, German, Greek, Romanian (if an asset or minion), Russian (if an asset)), Negotiation, Notice, Streetwise, Urban Survival, Tradecraft (if an asset), Vampirology (if an asset)
General Abilities: Athletics 8, Conceal 5, Cover 2 (5 if asset or minion), Hand-to-Hand 4, Mechanics 4, Network 8, Piloting 5 (ships), Weapons 4

Innocent
Knows nothing about vampires, and doesn't believe in them. His enemy forces are global capitalist decadence. He has a team of five men to keep timewasters and shiftless layabouts away from him - it takes solid, real information to get his attention.

Asset
Could be working for a lot of people. Maybe Edom got him during the 1945 liberation of the Netherlands, and he's been serving them and the Left ever since. Maybe the Russians recruited him during in Warsaw in 1954, and now he keeps tabs on vampire activity in Europe. Maybe he works for the CIA as a double agent. Maybe he works for the Germans, and Geerd is a fabrication - he's not Van Helsing's descendant at all.

Minion
Dracula made a Renfield of Geerd during his escape from London in 1978, by coincidence or by ill-planned Edom machination. Geerd can be deprogrammed with Shrink, but only if you have proof of his true ancestry. He may be able to out some other Conspiracy minions if flipped.

Defining Quirks
Rolls and smokes his own cigarettes from sailor's tobacco, clenches and unclenches his fist when irritated or concerned, stares right at whoever's talking.



Thad Morris
Could be anywhere from 20s to 40s, a freelance photojournalist working for a number of magazines. Has been photographing bats in South America and earthquake sites in northern Italy. Easy and approachable (Photography, Outdoor Survival, Flirting), his actual identity is the great-great-grandnephew of Quincey Morris.



Investigative Abilities: Art History, Electronic Surveillance, Human Terrain, Languages (Spanish), Notice, Outdoor Survival, Photography, Traffic Analysis
General Abilities: Athletics 4, Conceal 4, Driving 6, Filch 4, Infiltration 6, Medic 2, Network 6, Preparedness 4, Sense Trouble 4, Surveillance 6

Innocent
He's working on an article related to something dangerous but not directly connected to the vampire conspiracy - human traficking, drug trade, prostitution. If he gets into trouble, rescuing him can provide an ally, but not a high-level one.

Asset
Tradecraft to spot that Thad is CIA, not just a journalist. He could be sping on Edom activities in London or Romania. Cover name is James "Jam" Turner.

Minion
Quincy Morris survived and was turned by Dracula. Thad is Quincey, in disguise and scouting for potential victims for the Count. Or, Thad is human, and his goal is to doctor photos with the vampires in them, to make them look legitimate.

Defining Quirks
Taciturn, hitches his shoulder back of camera equipment back up, can fall asleep anywhere.



Carmilla Rojas
An officer for the Argentinian Secretariat of Intelligence, specializing in cleaning up other people's messes. She's in London now, protecting members of the Argentinian Ministry of Planning and Public Investment during oil company negotiations surrounding Vaca Muerta shale oil. She's the great-great-granddaughter of Quincey Morris. Carries an old silver bullet made by Quincey as a good luck charm.



Investigative Abilities: Criminology, Data Recovery, Human Terrain, Military Science, Tradecraft, Urban Survival
General Abilities: Abberance 13 (if minion), Athletics 8 (if human), Disguise 4, Filch 6, Gambling 4, Hand-to-Hand 8, Infiltration 10, Network 10, Preparedness 6, Sense Trouble 6, Shooting 8, Surveillance 6

Innocent
Rojas recently became aware of Dracula's conspiracy, or an Argentinian diplomat was recently assassinated - either way, she's digging around at the same time as the agents, but she doesn't have the Dossier to work from. Tradecraft and Vampirology convince her to listen, and she'll be a powerful ally if she doesn't decide to double-cross the party and take the Dossier for herself.

Asset
Edom recruited her before she joined the Secretariat, and she believes in their cause. Her goal is to leave the Secretariat and become an Edom Duke. The Dossier or the PCs lives could both be her ticket, Bullshit Detector or Flirting pick up on the danger signs when talking to her. She can be flipped if she finds out just how dangerous and uncontrollable the vampires are.



Jacqueline Seward
Respected hematologist and oncologist, specializing in the treatment of blood diseases like leukemia. Her co-workers call her the Shark - she can't sit still when she's not in the lab, and they say she can smell blood a mile away. Avid rock climber, great-great-granddaughter of Dr. Jack Seward.



Investigative Abilities: Chemistry, Forensic Pathology, Fringe Science (if asset or minion), Languages (Romanian), Outdoor Survival, Pharmacy, Vampirology (if asset or minion)
General Abilities: Athletics 6, Disguise 2, Driving 4, Hand-to-Hand 2, Infiltration 6, Medic 8, Preparedness 2, Sense Trouble 2

Innocent
Volunteers with Heal the Children, regularly travels to Romania. She and her partner want to adopt a child from there named Rena, but there's a ban on international adoption that's stopping her. Helping her with that can gain her trust.

Asset
Continuing Jack's work for Edom. She's the inventor of the strength-enhancing Seward Serum, and her trips to Romania include testing of the serum and experiments on Jacks. More charitably, Seward experiments with vampire blood to try and find cures to incurable diseases.

Minion
Jacqueline replicated Edom's Seward Serum without their knowledge, but its side effects left her vulnerable to Dracula's influence. Has she slipped through Edom's surveillance net, or are they letting her continue her twisted experiements in case she makes a major breakthrough?

Defining Quirks
Never stops moving - walks and talks. Precise, clinical choice of words, always carries a Dictaphone to record case notes.

Next: At last, the bad guys.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



The storm has a name... - Let's Read TORG


Part 14b: Your new-caught, sullen peoples, Half-devil and half-child

This is going to be a rough book to review, because it's one of those ones where the information is interwoven throughout the book instead of being laid out one concept at a time. So occasionally an important bit of background info is revealed in passing two chapters after it should.

The first chapter of the Orrorsh sourcebook is about Southeast Asia and is presumably about the region before the Gaunt Man showed up.

Instead, well...

quote:

We do not intend this book to cover every detail of so many different countries. Adequately describing even one of these nations would require a book containing hundreds of pages.
What we actually get is a whopping four pages of incredibly high-level detail about the Indonesian island chain, meaning that there's barely any detail on anything.

Well, anyway, lets take a look at that part of the world.

The territory now overrun by Orrorsh consists of over 13,000 islands of varying size, the largest being Borneo (which is also the third-largest island in the world). The overall population is around 150 million spread throughout the region.

quote:

Many of the people live in isolated tribes and by the laws of their ancestors. Others live in huge cities such as Singapore and Jakarta, the business people and factory workers and miners. Any discussion of Southeast Asia must keep in mind that the area has a tremendous mix of ancient traditions and modem technologies.
The cultures of the region consists of a rather eclectic mix of Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism, the actual mix levels depending on where you are at the time. The Cyberpapacy is starting to gain a foothold in the region, but is taking things slowly in order to try and keep the illusion that Malraux actually cares about people that aren't him. Religion plays a very important part in this part of the world, which is good because now the true believers are capable of using miracles to fight back against the spread of Orrorsh and its terrors.

The regions are described in what appears to be a pretty random order, so we might as well just run down the line.

Malaysia is split between the southernmost archipelago of southeat Asia and the northern edge of the island of Borneo. It's a constitutional monarchy (meaning the king or queen is the Head of State, and actual legislation is performed by an elected Parliament), with a population of about 60% Malays and 30% Chinese. The country has been hit pretty hard by the invading reality, with the seat of government retreating to Japan (in their defense, nobody knows about Kanawa yet) and leaving the cities to pretty much fend for themselves.

Singapore is a small republic that is actually the only city-state in the world. It's incredibly densely populated, and most of the major world religions have a presence here. Because it's really just one big industrialized city, Singapore is completely reliant on import for its agricultural needs. Singapore appears to be a Core Earth hardpoint, given that the horrors of Orrorsh seem to stop just outside the city, but in fact it's just in a mixed zone. A powerful dark entity named Skutharka has claimed the city for her own, and is slowly twisting the available technology into new and disturbing sources of fear.

For the most part, Burma hasn't been nailed too hard by the invasion. It's lost territory, yes, but it's still mostly outside the stelae zones. Unfortunately, this means that they have to deal with the influx of refugees from Malaysia and the nearby islands. The country's infrastructure is completely overwhelmed by the influx (not to mention trying to keep Orrorsh from pushing further north), and the Red Cross and the Cyberpapacy's Soldiers of Mercy are rushing in personnel, food, and medical supplies as fast as they can.

Thailand is in a similar situation as Burma, but has recently undergone a strong religious revival as the faithful flock to Bangkok. The strength of the Buddhist and Islam faiths does seem to have slowed Orrorsh's advancement into the country, but unfortunately that just means that the forces of darkness are putting more attention on Burma.

The Philippines have suffered very heavily from the invasion. Because the country is actually a collection of islands out on the edge of the overall region, they were cut off from pretty much everyone when the Gaunt Man dropped his personal bridge on Borneo shortly after the Victorians invaded. They haven't lost much territory (yet), but the invasion has fractured the Phillipine people pretty heavily. The government is currently focused on trying to reunite the islands before Orrorsh can make a significant push.

Indonesia is the largest country in this mess, and the one hit hardest by it. Indonesia consists of 13,667 islands (half of which aren't even named), but about a third of them are under Orrorshian axioms. Orrorsh has taken over Sumatra, Java, Borneo, and Timor, with the Victorian having conquered a sizable chunk of Sumatra as the colony of Majestic. The Gaunt Man also has a bridge of his own in Borneo, which is (well, was) the center of his operations. Indonesia has been invaded many times in its history by the Dutch, the British, the Portuguese, and the Chinese, and in fact did not achieve independence until its first general election in 1971 after 500 years of being under other people's thumbs.

Until the invasion happened, the capital of Indonesia was Jakarta, its largest city. The city is still there (and is an actual hardpoint), but the government has bugged out to Irian Jaya (now known as West Papua after 2002) because it's outside the stelae zone. The government is trying everything it can to get aid from Japan and the Soviet Union, but so far only the Soviet Union has seemed to be willing to send any form of aid.

Technically speaking, Australia is not part of Orrorsh, but given that they're within spitting distance of its southern border they're pretty much forced to be involved. They've allied themselves with the displaced Indonesian government, and have begun very cool relations with the Victorian forces. This is because the Australian government is treating the Victorian occupation as a revolutionary movement that has illegally ousted the old government, and the Victorians treat the Australian government like bunch of ignorant children who should mind their betters.

Monsters and horrors are starting to appear in northeastern Australia, but so far it seems that Core Earth weaponry is more than capable of taking out monsters. But as we will learn later on, this is not actually the case.


Pictured: the view in Borneo

And that's pretty much all we get for Southeast Asia! There's a little more, yes, but for the most part everyplace but Indonesia gets maybe two paragraphs, and most of Indonesia's entry is concerned with the history of the nation.

The next chapter is The World of Gaea, and is about the most recent world the invaders are coming from.

quote:

There is no longer a home cosm for Orrorsh. Like the other invading realities, the reality moves on from world to world. The reality of Orrorsh was so brutal that it eventually consumed each world the Gaunt Man invaded. He left no trail.
Orrorsh is a reality that has spread across the multiverse like a cancer, but it wasn't until he came across Gaea that he allowed an invaded world to live. Why? Because it's the world that introduced him to the wonders of colonialism.

The main divergence point between Core Earth and Gaea happened in 43 AD, when the British chieftain Caratacus led his people against the invading forces of the Roman Empire. In our world, he failed and the Roman forces took over the island.

quote:

In the history of Gaea, the Brits had in their number a warrior-woman named Viictoria. Just when the Romans seemed about to win, she turned the battle and brought her people to victory. They rallied around her and she unified the people of her island. She was a politically astute woman who realized that she would have to focus her peoples' attention upon an external force. Focus against Rome eased dissension in Britain. She turned her people toward the Roman Empire. Her subjects coined the phrase "Victoria For The World," and it never lost its value.
Victoria I died in 72 AD (with Britain fighting the Romans the whole time), and after her death rulership by royalty became the norm. The British isle was renamed "Victoria" in her honor.

Over the next century, the Victorians cut their way through Gaul on their way to Italy. But unlike Rome, Victoria didn't leave conquered territory to its own devices under the empire's aegis. Instead, they set up colonies everywhere, replacing the native cultures with their own and taking any available land or resources along the way.

Once Europe was conquered, Victoria turned its sights on the rest of the world. The Victorian naval force was very primitive compared to their neighbors such as the Vikings or Huns, because the arrogance of the Victorians made any form of technological advancement very difficult. When confronted by a new societal advance (especially if it was from another culture), the Victorians tended to dismiss it out of hand.


Really, it's for their own good.

Interestingly, the one major discovery they adopted for themselves was Christianity. Where the early "Martyr cults" were dismissed by the Romans, the Victorians saw a religious system that worked very well with their belief that dying for a cause (be it God, or the expansion of the empire) was the highest goal one could aim for.

Victoria was the Roman Empire of Gaea, except that the Victorian empire was much, much longer lived. The empire spread across the face of Europe and the Middle East, leaving colony after colony in its wake. The discovery of Islam led to three solid centuries of warfare as the Victorians finally found an enemy that could match it in religious and tribal furor. The only nation able to hold them back was Japan, although Victoria did enter (begrudging) trade with China.

Despite everything, some outside ideas did permeate into Victorian culture, shaping it into what we would consider "Victorian English culture". Overall societal advancement was still very slow, but by the 17th century Victoria controlled most of the Eurasian continent and was starting to move into what we think of as North America.

American colonization more or less followed the same path as they did on Core Earth, albeit for different reasons. Instead of seeking religious freedom, the colonists were interested in the potential for profit that could be wrung from this new land.

At the end of the 17th century, the second major world-changing event happened: the Battle of Medway. A series of strange murders occurred in the American colonies involving dismemberment and cannibalism. Believing the attacks were the work of the "heathen" natives, open warfare began between the colonists and the Native Americans.

To the colonist's shock, they learned that the "East Indians" were capable of powerful mystic feats (or, as one colonist put it, "alive with the fire of the Devil"). This was the Victorian's first encounter with anything supernatural, and they had no idea how to deal with it.

quote:

In 1692 ten girls in Salem, Massachusetts were convicted of murdering their own parents. The girls claimed to have been corrupted by the satanic powers of an East Indian named Tituba, a servant of the Reverend Samual Parris, and two other women of Salem. The girls all decreed that hell was unleashing its demons upon the world; only a return to the old way of blood and conquest could save the world. The morning after the girls made their statements, their bodies were found completely charred in their beds. Fire had touched nothing else in any of their rooms, including their bedding.

The Salem Witch Trials began.
Seemingly overnight, magic and spiritual power seemed to infuse the whole world. But while magic in the hands of non-Victorians was seen as universally "evil", minister Cotton Mather showed that the Victorians could draw on the power of their own strong (and rigid) faith to fight back.

(I should point out, by the way, that while Gaean history does involve real people from our history, the book doesn't actually point this out. If I hadn't thought to Google one of these names, I never would have realized that this was all a twist on human history. I guess they just assumed that the readers were familiar with the major players of the Salem Witch Trials and would just recognize the names.)

The supposed demonic work of Tituba resulted in a backlash against all the East Indians as being servants of Satan, and the push to kill the so-called "forces of darkness" led to a full-on holy war in America. And while the more monstrous beasts were an obvious target for the military, it wasn't long before creatures started appearing that could blend in with normal humans; werewolves, vampyres, and sorcerers began spreading through the Empire.

What the Victorians couldn't know, of course, was that the sudden appearance of the supernatural was the work of the Gaunt Man, who had dropped a bridge in the Grand Canyon. He sent his minions out under the guise of working for the Native Americans in order to ferment the natural Victorian racism into something larger. He also began possessing members of the aristocracy in order to begin steering Victorian culture to his desires. He cemented their instituional racism, he pushed for the growth of sweat shops for the "benefit of the lower classes", and generally encouraged the worst aspects of Victorian culture. Some of his followers learned what he actually was and worked with him voluntarily, but for the most part nobody realized how they were being manipulated both from within and without.

Eventually, Orrorsh managed to overwrite most of the reality of Gaea and reach the borders of the island of Victoria itself. Victoria was forced to write off its colonies as being destroyed, but every now and then a missive would work its way back home from the besieged colonies. The ruling class managed to put enough information together to learn the name of the force behind the invasion: The Gaunt Man. But to the evangelical Victorians, this is just another guise of Satan.

For the past century, the Victorians have been fighting to keep the horrors off their shores and maybe start pushing back. The Gaunt Man is smart enough to allow the Victorians the occasional victory so they have just enough hope to keep going. The Gaunt Man has learned how to gain more possibilities from people who were under the grip of fear, and has molded both Orrorsh and Gaea into a self-sustaining source of both possibility energy and unrelenting terror. He gains so much energy from the remnants of the Victorian people that it's worth not just wiping them out and moving to the next world. In fact, he's been known to provide aid to those who can fight back against the darkness in order to weed out his weaker creations.

But eventually the time came when the Gaunt Man discovered Core Earth, and with it his best chance at becoming Torg. So he allowed the plans for a makeshift maelstrom bridge to fall into the hands of one Dr. Wells, and...well, we all know what happened there.

Currently, the Victorians have taken over about a third of the island of Sumatra, driving out the native Indonesians and renaming the colony "Majestic". Technically the Victorians are here to fight the horrors they think they've unleashed on Core Earth, but what's actually happening is that they're feeding into the Gaunt Man's short-term plans. The Victorians are convinced that the "primitive" native Indonesians have "driven out the white settlers" of this region, and they honestly believe that it's their job to take the colony back and elevate the natives to a proper level of civilization (i.e., the Victorian's level). White Man's Burden, and all that. Of course, the Gaunt Man has a few loyal followers in the governments on both sides of the Victorian bridge, so that official stance isn't going to change anytime soon.


That'll teach her to not be White.

What this all boils down to is that the situation in southeast Asia is one of the worst out of all the conquered territory. Indonesia, having just regained its independence, finds itself dealing with a threat that might have stepped out of its own past. Monsters are spreading throughout the region, working their way out with no seeming way to stop them. The Victorians are driving people out of their homes in the name of an Empire that refuses to accept even the possibility that it might be doing the wrong thing.

It's a downward spiral of hopelessness, crafted with care by a madman who seeks to destroy both worlds, both in a physical and a spiritual sense.

And to make matters worse, he's not even controlling it anymore. The hand is off the leash, and now the beasts are running wild.

Yeah...this is gonna get uncomfortable.


NEXT TIME: As you sow, so shall ye reap.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Corporeal Player's Guide: gunsbrasters

The Esteemed Overlords of Sleep are a cult founded by a Korean Buddhist monk in the 1600s. He was kicked out of his temple for doing sorcery and mad his way to Japan, where he gathered a small circle of followers. The cult grew by attracting mystics from across Asia, developing a highly syncretic belief system. In the early 20th century, Japanese authorities cracked down on them, so the cult moved to Myanmar and built a temple there. They summon ethereals, who trade 'enlightenment' for Essence. Pilgrims visit their temple from across the world, and occasionally one of the sorcerers will leave it to start their own cabal.

Anyway, we then get rules for explosives and heavy weaponry. Most celestials can take a grenade to the face with no problems - they deal only 2d5 damage. Yadda yadda. There are rules for searching for information, but frankly none of this is interesting. There is a discussion on how autopsies on vessels will produce weirdness - no food in the stomach, no hydration, ovaeries and testicles that never functioned despite being fully functional. Plus Corporeal Discords and the traces of having been much faster at healing and immune to disease. Officially, In Nomine will never answer the questions raised by modern biology and instead handwaves them away, but the book suggests you could change that for your game.



Blah blah, security systems, cameras...there is a nice sidebar on weird magic gadgets.



Then there's poison and disease, which essentially deal damage on a recurring cycle. Celestials, ethereals and Saints are highly resistant to poison, and undead are totally immune to it. Any non-mortal is immune to disease. But the reason this is interesting is that it includes rules for drugs. Undead are immune to drugs, but no one else is. Drugs can raise stats (but not above 10, or 12 for celestials) or lower them, but not below 1, and changes do not alter HP in any realm. Anyone, even a celestial, who takes an addictive drug must make a Strength roll depending on how addictive it is, or gain an Addicted disadvantage or Discord. Non-addictive drugs do not require a roll. Mildly addictive ones check if you average more than 1 dose per day, and make you roll every (Corporeal Forces) weeks. Moderately addictive drugs check if you take them at least once a day or (Strength) times per week, and roll once per week. Very addictive drugs make a roll ever (Corporeal Forces) days even if you use the drug only once in that period. Withdrawal reduces Will due to Addicted. Humans reduce addiction after long withdrawal periods - but celestials don't. Also, withdrawal deals 1 mental damage per week for easy withdrawal, per day for tough and per hour for severe.

Alcohol is mildly addictive and tough withdrawal. 1 dose of it is 4 beers, 2 glasses of wine or 2 shots of hard liqour. Every dose reduces all stats by 1, which goes away aat 1 point per hour, 1 pint per 10 minutes for non-mortals. Alcohol also acts as a poison so it can cause physical damage if you drink a ton of it real fast. There are no beneficial effects to taking alcohol.
Caffeine is mildly addictive and easy withdrawal. One dose is a cup of coffee, two cups of tea and two cans of soda. The GM may allow it to give bonuses to Will to stay awake, or penalties to Will to fall asleep. At worst it can cause Precision penalties.
Cocaine is very addictive, easy withdrawal. One dose is a 100mg. Anyone high on coke gets +1 to all Will rolls, including infernal resonances, but each dose also gives -1 to Perception. Each dose lasts 1d6*10 minutes and also acts as a poison.
Crack cocaine is very addictive, tough withdrawal, and addiction rolls are at -2 because crack is apparently the most addictive thing known to man. 1 dose is 10mg, and it has the same effects as cocaine, but only lasts 1d6 minutes. So, if you plan to use cocaine for buffs, use the powder, not the rock.
Heroin is moderately addictive and severe withdrawal. Anyone high on heroin gets -3 to all stats, and also heroin is a poison. No benefits.
LSD is non-addictive. Each dose lasts 6+1d6 hours. The first dose gives +2 Perception but -1 Precision and Will; each dose after that cumulatively penalizes but gives no additional bonus. Unlike other drugs, LSD can reduce a stat to 0 - if that happens, the stat permanently drops by 1, and 1 again per additional dose.
Marijuana is mildly addictive, easy withdrawal. It causes -1 to all stats per dose, lasting 1 hour per dose.
Speed is moderately addictive, tough withdrawal. It gives +2 Agility for 6 hours, plus 1d6 hours per dose. It also gives +2 to Precision for 1d6 hours, but that becomes a -2 penalty after that period. Plus, it's a poison, except the poison deals both body and mind damage.
Tobacco is moderately addictive, easy withdrawal. One dose is 4 cigarettes. However, unlike most addictions, tobacco requires one dose per day per level of addiction. Tobacco gives +1 Precision, but while under withdrawal you suffer -2 Precision.

So now you know how to take drugs for fun and profit in In Nomine! Smoke cigarettes for gun accuracy, take LSD for angelic resonances, snort coke for demonic resonances.

The End

Next up: Angelic Player's Guide, Liber Canticorum or Revelations 1?

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Nessus posted:

re: the Church in Banestorm, I think "Magic is basically just natural philosophy if you aren't doing rudes with it" is actually a pretty well supported position in Catholic jurisprudence, so that's not even necessarily convenient so much as what would probably prevail in an environment where magic was real wizard poo poo instead of just occult passes and astrology.

Yeah, I can actually see this work after seeing the chapter. Seems all those whacky astrologers and alchemists are now actually legit, and you might also have some not-Clerics and not-Paladins running around.

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



I'd vote for Rev Cycle 1 just for the horroshow. APG is ok too. It's not very good, but it's better than the CPG.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Angelic; the sooner we get to Ethereal the better. It's all downhill from there.

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

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


quote:

Technically speaking, Australia is not part of Orrorsh, but given that they're within spitting distance of its southern border they're pretty much forced to be involved. They've allied themselves with the displaced Indonesian government, and have begun very cool relations with the Victorian forces. This is because the Australian government is treating the Victorian occupation as a revolutionary movement that has illegally ousted the old government, and the Victorians treat the Australian government like bunch of ignorant children who should mind their betters.

Monsters and horrors are starting to appear in northeastern Australia, but so far it seems that Core Earth weaponry is more than capable of taking out monsters. But as we will learn later on, this is not actually the case.

I can't imagine the current or previous Australian government NOT siding with the Victorians over the native Indonesians. They've got a serious hard-on for the English Royalty (Australia's still a commonwealth country, technically ruled by the Queen) and racism. The whole situation would probably also lead to even more refugees trying to enter Australia, but that gets too depressing to talk about.

On a lighter note, I'd totally give marijuana a small bonus to humans perceiving the Symphony in In Nomine. But YMMV.

I like the Ethereals the best. Screw Angelic and Demonic politics, let me play Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Warriors and lucid dream my way around fluid landscapes with pagan gods.

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



At the least you CAN involve Blandine and Beleth to some extent, because they're on record for loathing the poo poo out of the politics of Heaven and Hell. One of the fun parts of the setting is the fact those two fight their own entirely separate War, and they don't like other people getting involved. It can give ethereals and Dream Soldiers a lot of leeway to do their own thing without getting nailed to the wall by every murder-happy celestial in a 100 mile radius.

potatocubed
Jul 26, 2012

*rathian noises*


snip

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

Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012


Nessus posted:

How did they find out about magic, anyway? Did the various hedge witches and random court fakers find their spells started actually working?
The Elder Races of Yrth were already there to greet them, and they had magical powers pretty downpat. I imagine there might be some cases of "oh hey, our magic actually works now" as well, but I don't recall it being specifically stated.


Mors Rattus posted:

The Bible explicitly calls out certain forms of magic as being inherently sinful and bad, but it's poo poo like necromancy or attempting to foretell the future (which is obviously impossible because God, etc).

And even then, the real Church was totally okay with astrology based on the logic of Origen and the stars influencing but not actually preventing free will.
Fair enough. As I think I've said before, I grew up in a Southern Baptist family of the "thinks Jack Chick had some good ideas" category, so I know a lot more about that environment than I do Medieval Catholicism.

The horrible fact is that I actually have researched traditionalist Christian beliefs about magic a few years back, but I apparently have the memory retention of a squirrel sometimes.


Also, I'm putting in a vote for Angelic Player's Guide. Let the Revelation Cycle be the big finish we go out on.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


gradenko_2000 posted:

Bill Webb's Book of Dirty Tricks

quote:

Nothing has been more entertaining for me than to have the player characters slaughter the gorgeous (and innocent) princess, only to have the modestly dressed, normal-looking woman be the true villain.

Nothing has been more entertaining? Somebody needs to buy this guy an Etch-a-Sketch or a ball-and-cup, jeez, before he gets mistaken for a psychopath.

A lot of Bill Webb's book is just... watching him brag about how he can fool players is just... once I had a the sort of coworker brag about how he beat his kid in a game, or fooled his dog, and it's like of course you can do those things, you're in the position with all the power. Fooling players can be necessary for a scenario can be necessary, but it's not something to be proud of. You've put yourself in a position where people have to trust you and cede authority, and fooling them for the sake of fooling them isn't clever, it's just being Lucy with the football. It's just being a dick.

gradenko_2000 posted:

Play only with Psionics and Tome of Battle classes.

Well, friends don't let friends play Soulblades, but you could probably put something fun together by restricting folks to a choice selection of Tier 3 and Tier 4 classes in general, yeah.

Black August posted:

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.

I'm worried I might get to the Rifts books he illustrated and not be able to make jokes about art anymore.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


To be fair making my dumb dog put on silly hats and taking pictures of him is hilarious.

But yeah, a DM has a position with total control. 'Winning' at that by making the players lose is just stupid. You 'win' by EVERYONE HAVING A GOOD TIME, you included, because you're playing a game! With friends!

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Alien Rope Burn posted:


I'm worried I might get to the Rifts books he illustrated and not be able to make jokes about art anymore.

It's stuff like Psyscape and Federation of Magic though so I'm sure you'll be fine on mockable content.

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pins1y0XAa0

Curse and Powers Check

Curses are a staple of the Gothic and Horror genres, and as such are present in Ravenloft. When someone is wronged, a terrible crime is comitted, te victim's cries of anger and hate will sometimes be heard by the Dark Powers... and answered. There are three types of Curses: the usual D&D curses laid down by angry spellcasters (such as the cleric spell Bestow Curse), Curses of Vengeance where a wronged party is heard by the Dark Powers and self-inflicted curses (aka Powers Check).

Anyone can call a curse of vengeance, from the lowliest peasants to the mightiest lord. Here's a few examples:
• The lord of an estate sets his hounds on a young Vistani boy caught poaching. The slain boy's mother promises that the lord will also lose his firstborn. When the man later sires a child, it is born a murderous spirit naga.
• A hedge wizard is falsely accused of murdering children and burned as a witch. Even as the flames lick at her feet, she swears to one day return and destroy the village that wronged her.
Curses of Vengeance does not grant the target a Saving Throw, and Spell Resistance does not protect against it.

So how does it work? The first step is writing the Curse. The more melodramatic and over-the-top, the better. This is the chance to ham it up, to use rhyme or some other device. The Dark Powers love that poo poo, and they're the ones you're trying to win over. Don't say "Mark my words, I'll be back! And when I return, you'll all be sorry!", instead say "You would burn me in the name of seven slain babes. The blood of your children is not on my hands — but it will be! Seven children from each generation shall I claim! Seven children times seven winters! And once I have claimed my due, I shall be born again — as one of you! As one of your own children, I shall bring ruin to you all!"

Curses should suggest game mechanics, while never going into full "I curse you to lose 2 points of Strength!" territory. Since prohibiting the use of special abilities is more frustrating than tormenting, it's often better to add consequences to those abilities instead (such as a wizard suffering blinding headaches when casting a spell, suffering 1 point of subdual damage epr spell level). Curse effects can be triggered or constant. Curses should have an escape clause, a way for the target to dodge it. Triggered effects have one by default: just don't do the thing that causes the effect. Redemption clauses are something that the cursed had to accomplish to get rid of the curse, a quest or story in itself.

Curses have different Severities:
Embarassing curses are mostly cosmetic, such as glowing eyes or a forked tongue. Usually just give a +1 to Outcast Rating.
Frustating curses are usually invoked to repay moderate offenses. They give a +2 Outcast Rating when active and have game effects such as -2 to an ability score, -1 to attack rolls or saving throws, really significant cosmetic details or needing to eat strange subtances (raw meat, ashes, gold, etc.)
Troublesome curses change the sufferer's entire lifestyle and are given from major offenses. They give a +4 Outcast Rating and have game effects like a -4 to an ability score, a -2 to two ability scores, moderate Fear/Horror/Madness effect, Deafness, being haunted by a ghost or changing alignment.
Dangerous curses are big loving deals and give a +6 Outcast Rating when active. Their game effects are stuff such as a -6 to an ability score, -2 to three ability scores, Major Fear/Horror/Madness effect, lycanthropy, polymorphed into an animal, stalked by a monster or rise as an undead after death.
Lethal curses are invoked only for the vilest offenses and can kill instantly or worse. They give a +8 Outcast Rating when active and have game effects such as -8 to an ability score, -4 to two ability scores, -2 to four ability scores, melting to death, turning into a monster (hag, undead, construct, etc.), or must kill once a day.

The roll to summon the curse is a charisma check, the DC depending on how justified the curse is (20 for highly justified, 25 for justified and 30 for unjustified). The invoker then makes a Powers Check, difficulty depending on the Curse's severity, and if it fails then the invoker receives a +5 to his Curse Check. Other modifiers include:

Ravenloft 3E book, p82 posted:

Table 3-5: Curse Check Modifiers
Wording Modifier
Mentions Game Mechanics -3
Includes Broad Prohibitions -3
Not Tailored to Victim -3
No Escape Clause -3
Powers Check Result
Succeeded -5
Failed +5
Drama
High +5
Average +0
Low -5
Dying Words +2
Invoker's Background
Male -1
Female +2
Spellcaster +1
Nonspellcaster -1
Voice of Wrath Feat +4
Outlander -2
Invoker's Alignment
Lawful -1
Chaotic +1
Good -1
Evil +1
So a Chaotic Evil female spellcaster with the Voice of Wrath feat has an inherent +9 to casting a Curse.


Powers Check
What is a Powers Check? Well, whenever someone commits an evil act in Ravenloft, there's a chance the Dark Powers notice and "help" that person, granting powers in exchange of a curse. If the person keeps committing acts of greater and greater evil, the powers granted and the corresponding curses will likewise gain in power until the foolish mortal is eventually granted a Domain of his or her own and becomes a full-fledged Darklord.

How does this work? Well, every time a PC commits an evil act, the DM can have him roll a D% and if it comes out equal or under the chance of failure, then the character is cursed by the Dark Powers. There's a huge chart detailing these bases chances that I'm not going to quote. The chances vary from 0% (Unprovoked Assault on Evil NPCs) to 16% (laying down a Lethal Curse), with most between 1% (lying to your family) and 6% (Brutal Murder of Neutral NPCs). The difficulty for criminal acts vary depending on th victims, and the difficulty for blasphemous acts (breaking tenets of your religion) depends on the alignment of the Religion. Casting Evil or Necromantic spells require a check with a chance of the Spell Level x 1% (2% for a spell that is both), such that casting Waves of Exhaustion would require a 7% Powers Check. All gifts and curses are tailor-made for the characters, fitting their psychology in twisted and ironic ways.

The road to being a Darklord, called The Path of Corruption, goes from Innocence to Damnation. Innocents are people who's souls are still untainted, mortals of Good alignment who have never made a Powers Check. Inocents get a +3 Divine bonus to all Saving Throws against spells and abilities that require a Powers Check or are used by Evil creatures. That's pretty drat good. On the other hand you receive a -2 penalty on Horror checks and Evil Clerics can rebuke you as if Undead. You lose the benefit as soon as you make your first Powers Check though, whether it fails or not.

There are three example Paths given: the Path of the Ringleader (for those who prefer to work in the shadows and through patsies), the Path of the Brute for cruel and unsubtle bullies and the Path of the Coward for, well, cowards. Every time you fail a Powers Check, you advance a stage.

Stage One: The Caress
At this Stage, the villain receives a minor boon and an embarrassing curse. The signs can usually be hidden with clothing, like tinted glasses or gloves.
Path of the Ringleader: The character gains the ability to cast charm person once per day as a spelllike ability, but whenever he does so, a strange spider skitters out from under his clothing.
Path of the Brute: The character gains +2 Strength, but his features grow subtly coarse and ugly.
Path of the Coward: The character gains +10 to speed, but only when loping along on all fours.

Stage Two: The Enticement
The slightly greater power is now accompanied by a frustrating curse.
Path of the Ringleader: The character develops a ravenous appetite for vermin. On any day the character eats at least a handful of spiders, he gains venomous saliva; a successful bite attack carries the effects of Medium-size spider venom (see the Dungeon Master's Guide).
Path of the Brute: The character grows larger and more menacing. His ability score bonuses increase to +4 Strength and +2 Dexterity, but he suffers a -2 Charisma penalty.
Path of the Coward: The character gains a +4 bonus to Move Silently checks whenever moving on all fours. The character grows thick pads on his hands and feet, making them resemble paws.

Stage Three: The Invitation
The Dark Powers now offer a powerful boon and a troublesome curse.
Path of the Ringleader: The character can cast summon swarm twice a day as a supernatural ability. The swarm spews out of the character's nose and throat and crawls back inside his body when the spell's duration ends. The swarm always starts centered on the character, but he can move it as a druid. The character also develops a ravenous appetite for rotting meat; if he does not eat at least 10 pounds of meat each day, he suffers biting pains (and 1d4 points of temporary Constitution damage) as the swarm begins to devour him from the inside out.
Path of the Brute: The character's Strength bonus rises to +8, and he gains a +2 bonus to Constitution, but whenever he is angered he automatically flies into a mad Rage (as the horror effect).
Path of the Coward: When running on all fours, the character's bonus to speed rises to +30, plus he gains a +4 bonus to Jump checks. However, he finds that fear grips him all the more often; he suffers a -2 penalty to all Will saves.

Stage Four: The Embrace
There's no turning back now. With the ever-increasing boon now comes a Dangerous Curse.
Path of the Ringleader: The character can summon swarm four times a day. Additionally, twice a day the character can will his symbiotic minions to spew forth and spin a web as a supernatural ability. Vermin are visible rippling beneath the character's skin; he suffers penalties of -4 Constitution and -2 Charisma.
Path of the Brute: The character is massive for his race, but he appears distinctly degenerate. His ability score modifiers increase to +12 Strength, +4 Dexterity, +4 Constitution, -4 Intelligence, -4 Charisma.
Path of the Coward: The character becomes an afflicted lycanthrope, transforming into a jackal (use the Monster Manual dog) whenever he fails a fear save.

Stage Five: The Creature
At this level of evil, it's suggested the character becomes an NPC if it wasn't one already. Having fully become a creature of the night, the character is now afflicted with a Lethal Curse.
Path of the Ringleader: Once per day, the character can expel his vermin with the effects of an insect plague spell. The character is a walking hive for his minions; he grows cadaverous, his skin diseased. The character's ability score penalty increases to -6 Constitution and -8 Charisma. The character must rely on his dark gifts to keep his henchman obedient.
Path of the Brute: The character's ability score modifiers increase to +14 Strength, +8 Dexterity, +8 Constitution, -8 Intelligence, -4 Wisdom, and -4 Charisma. The character is a hulking, brutal creature resembling an ogre.
Path of the Coward: The character can assume jackal form at will, gaining the Improved Control Shape feat. Despite this, the character still transforms whenever he fails a Fear save. To make matters worse, the character suffers a -6 penalty to all Will saves.

And so at this point, our three example characters have respectively turned into Gary Oldman from Lost in Space, a fairy tale Ogre and a cowardly were-jackal.

Stage Six: Darklord
This stage can be reached only after the utmost acts of evil. The Dark Powers grant the character it's own Domain and related abilities, along with forever keeping the object of it's greatest desires out of reach. No example given for this level, each Darklord has to be personally crafted. Each Darklord gain the power to close the Borders of their Domain, generate a Sinkhole of Evil, gain Turn Resistance if Undead, can detest the Disruption caused by a Paladin and some cease to age or become immortal. Most Darklords posses powerful spell-like abilities.

Next time: Magic

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


theironjef posted:

It's stuff like Psyscape and Federation of Magic though so I'm sure you'll be fine on mockable content.

Lone Star is one of the best Rifts b- *snort* *snicker* sorry i can't say it with a straight face

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Angelic Player's Guide



Our opening fiction this time around is Yves telling the story of the creation of the universe, going for a rather informal and silly set of language because he's dealing with very young angels. He explains that God created other beings after discoviering the concept of language and communication but having nothing to communicate with. We also get told that angels' memories are imperfect because it allows them to better empathize with humans that way, by giving them some taste of mortality, even as God blinds Himself to the future of the world.

The book then gives us the angelic version of creation. God created the universe, and that is known. The rest is speculation and fallible memory from the eldest angels, but they have put together the history. God creates Yves, who names God. God then creates the angels, first Michael, then Lucifer, then Baal, David, Eli, Gabriel and Uriel. They work with God to shape the Symphony. Lucifer gathers the elements and starts the fire, while Baal and Michael stir it all. Gabriel and Uriel heat and purify the mix, and DAvid cools and tests it for strnegth. Eli gives form from raw material and adds the spark of life. Yves watches and reports it all to God, who approves. These first seven also help created many other angels, most notably Asmodeus, Beleth, Blandine, Dominic, Raphael, Jean, Kobal and Malphas. Asmodeus and Dominic codify the word of God into guidelines for behavior, and enforce these laws. Beleth and Blandine explore and map the ethereal realm, where they build a tower to live together. Malphas works with Gabriel and David to heat and break the tectonic plates, with help from the lesser angel Belial. Jean and Raphael assist Yves in transcribing all knowledge. Kobal receives a special mission, unknown to this day.

As the angels were made and increased, they began to display distinctive natures, which they named Choirs. The greatest Choirs were the Seraphim, Cherubim, Ofanim, Elohim, Kyriotates and Mercurians. Each served God differently, as different instruments each serve a conductor. The universe cooled and many angels found themselves studying life. It was no more challenging than maintaining the balances of the heart of stars, but it commanded much attention. Yves in particular was interested in the growth of life, and that was enough to get everyone interested. In those days, angels could only manifest briefly on Earth and only in celestial form. As time passed, they began to notice it getting harder and harder, and their presence began causing Disturbance. They turned to life, studying it for the answer.

The angel Janus discovered he could imbue the winds and waters with his Essence, shaping the world, and so he was given power and authority over the forces of change. Jordi, meanwhile, discovered how to make vessels based on existing life, and became the first angel to walk upon the Earth. For this, he was given authority over all living creatures. Even when in the forms of animals, however, angels had only the crudest tools for manipulating Earth's power. Then humanity arose. They offered a natural form of existence complex enough to be a proper vessel. Angels took to human forms quickly. God, however, warned them: they were not to tamper with human works nor damage human lives. Humans were the most complex creations of God and to be given deference. Many angels disliked this, seeing no true difference between men and animals. They saw the development of language, but pointed out that animals, too, could communicate. Monkeys could use tools. There was no ready comparison for art, of course, but God had no one adoring spiders for the beauty of their webs. There should be limits.

It was when humans created religion that no angel could longer deny that humans were special. In time, they learned that humans could think and reason, could deny and project and transfer. Humans could love, hate, lie, blame. And they seemed to not mind killing their own. Unlike animals, they could empathize with each other, but did so only when it suited them. Jordi, master of all life, decided humans needed to be gotten rid of. He announced his plans to turn the animals against all of humanity. Michael, urged by God, convinced him not to - humans were not animals, after all, and did not fall under Jordi's jurisdiction. Still, some angels proposed that despite the cruelty humans had, they must have a certain divinity, or God would not protect them. Lucifer promposed an experiment to satisfy everyone's curiosity. There would be an idyllic setting where humans could live without cares or needs. If they could survive in paradise, they deserved deference and their free will would be respected. If not, then God's hopes were wrong. God agreed.

First, Lucifer called for two perfect human specimens - one male, one female, each made fro mscratch to avoid tainting by the harshness of ordinary life. God made Adam and Lilith, giving them speech. Lucifer introduced himself to them and explained free will. Lilith essentially immediately asked to be excused from the experiment, so God had to make Eve instead, causing a brief delay. She worked out much better. Adam and EVe lived for several years in peace and harmony until one of Baal's angelic servants tainted the experiment by bringing in knowledge of the outside world. Lucifer claimed it was a failure, but God declared His curiosity satisfied and canceled the experiment. If celestials could not refraim from tampering with a perfect world, after all, they had no right to do so in any less perfect world. Lucifer disagreed, and he and God discussed it for a very long time.

Eventually, Lucifer rebelled against God, taking almost a third of the Host with him. Heaven has seen no such conflict before or since. The chaos led to the birth of the Malakim, formed of the purest angels who chose to face their siblings in defense of God's will. Michael, mightiest of angels, ejected Lucifer forcibly from Heaven, hurling him to the most distant edge of reality, a place most distant from God. Yves named it Hell. The remnants of the rebel force set out for Hell of their own accord. God appointed Michael in charge of Heaven's armies and named him Archangel of War, charging him to defend the Symphony from Lucifer. Relative peace lasted for a few millenia as the Fallen were in captivity in Hell. God lifted the ban on intervention, but warned it must be done delicately. Without God's omniscient direction, an angel could easily and unwittingly help the Rebels. The Seraphim Council was founded, made of the wisest and most divine angels. The Archangels each began to organize their forces into structures to defend and serve Heaven while serving the duties given them by God. Many Archangels, their previous tasks now complete, focused on helping humanity.

The angels first rediscovered the Fallen in the Marches, the lands of the ethereal plane. At the far end, opposite Blandine's Tower, a new structure was rising. Beleth had claimed Hell's side of the Marches and has been expanding ever since. After making their way to the ethereal, the demons discovered how to go to and from Earth and Hell. Thus they began to influence Earth. Some angels believe this was the true birth of 'civilization,' and they mean that as an insult.



God, meanwhile, had plans for civilization. He created the Grigori to help protect humans from Lucifer and his hordes, and set them to teach humans how to be civilized in God's image. The Grigori were large beings with stout hearts and spirits and much corporeal knowledge. They were made least divine on purpose, and were the most human of angels, able to work within the Symphony without Disturbance. They quickly, however, fell in love with humans. They advanced several civilizations, most notably in Mesopotamia and South America. The began to bear and father children, most of whom seemed normal or even angelic...but some children, about one in five, which were monsters, called the Nephilim. They had the immense stature of their angelic parents, but none of their divinity. They killed many, razing villages and marauding across the land. The angels of Stone slaughtered all they could find and detained the Grigori, who were banished from Heaven. Those few that survived their children were scattered, Outcast. No one knows what happened to them - Lucifer's meddling gave them the cover to escape scrutiny, and they may even survive to this day.

The War was fought in brutal battles for cneturies, but little resulted save many fallen vessels. Quickly, it was realized that it was in no one's interest to cause more damage than necessary. Some, like Belial, saw nothing wrong with burning down the universe to keep the Host from ahving it, but most Superiors on both sides preferred delicacy - it would be no victory to defeat the other side by wiping out the world. Michael, the most militant of the Archangels, refused to go for shadow war, however. Dominic had him brough to trial for breaking the new laws against corporeal activity and for his pride in doing so. Dominic argued that he sought war not for God's glory but for the glory of battle itself. Hod intervened, pardoning Michael in light of his valiant and selfless actions for Heaven, and Michael became disgusted by politics, stepping down as general. Uriel was raised instead, better suited to the colder War. This stalemate lasts even today, with each side jabbing at each other but never doing anything so large it justifies escalation beyond a mere counterattack.

Humans have always relied on religion for security, and Yves learned it was a powerful tool to make people be good - but demons soon found it could easily be twisted for evil. Saminga was the first demon to warp religion, using it to gain power among the ancient Egyptians. Magog, an angel of Stone, helped collapse the Egyptian empire before engaging Saminga in open war - forbidden then as now. He Fell soon after, and he and his loyalists were entombed below Egypt by David and Khalid. Magog is to remain imprisoned until Armageddon, when open battle will occur once more. Uriel, meanwhile, had his hands full supporting what would one day become the Roman Empire, riding herd on its many pagan gods. They were formed of dreams, born in the Marches and fueled by worsip. Some, it was feared, were almost as strong as a lesser Archangel. This would not do.

Yves saw religion as a way to offer humans strength without feeding the pagan gods. Eli made much progress with the prophet Zoroaster, whose teachings spread with Persia. Yves watched this for 40 years, then acted. With the help of Gabriel and Raphael, Yves grew Christianity in a near eyeblink. (We seem to have skipped the Jews, for some reason.) It consumed the worship of many pagan gods, cutting them off at the knees and losing them much power as their former Tethers were remade as temples to God. Many fled to serve Hell, while others tried to keep their faithful. Heaven was greatly bolstered, and as the Romans accepted Christianity, so did Uriel, who proclaimed himself its patron. Dominic also voiced support for it, particularly as a way to weaken the pagan gods.

Soon after came Islam. Gabriel, under Yves' orders, gave the Quran to Muhammad, who united his fellows in worship of Allah. Soon, Islam and Christianity were in violent conflict. Many saw this as a disaster, particularly Uriel and Dominic, who persecuted Gabriel over it. Dominic declared Gabriel a heretic and insisted on a trial. Gabriel cracked under the pressure, growing bitter and irrational, and while Yves intervened to get Dominic to forgive Gabriel, the Archangel of Fire stormed off to camp in the volcano that lay between Heaven's walls and Blandine's Marches.

Meanwhile, Uriel made an attempt to unite Heaven and serve his Word by wiping out the pagan gods and creatures of myth. His plan was to start on Earth, then chase them in the Marches. On Earth, he and his slew the dragons, fairies, unicorns and giants. Then they headed for the Marches, killing the pagan gods they could catch and any creatures of myth that remained. Many took refuge with Beleth, while others fled to the Far Marches. The Seraphim Council ordered Uriel to stop before he could raze Blandine's realm, calling him to trial. Before any verdict could be reached, however, God recalled Uriel to the Higher Heavens, where he has never been heard from since. Leadership was given to Laurence, Uriel's right hand. Like Uriel, Laurence was a Christian, and all but a few accepted him - with the notable exception of Khalid, who felt himself a better candidate. Shortly after, Khalid declared his patronage of Islam and became the Archangel of Faith. It would be centuries before Khalid bothered to stop the Muslims from attacking Christians, and some suspect he still regrets doing so, much as Jordi still regrets letting humans survive. (Ooooooh boy, that's some real creative understanding of history.)

At this point, a Shedite named Legion developed the power to control multiple humans at once. As his power grew, he became capable of turning any human within a mile into his slave. For the first time, Heaven and Hell worked to fight a common foe, but Legion was too potent to defeat even with their combined power. Only the sacrifice of Raphael, Archangel of Knowledge, stopped Legion in the end. Hell suffered many casualties, but none so great as that. Raphael's death shattered any illusion Heaven might have had for negotiation of a truce, for Legion could be reasoned with and could only be beaten back by the self-sacrifice of an Archangel.

In the last few centuries, Hell has grown to vastly outnumber the Host. The value of human life may now seem to be higher than it has ever been in Western civilization, but humans seem less inclined than ever to help the angels, and Heaven is cracking under strain, kept united only by their hatred of Hell and their love of God. Eli has now abandoned his Cathedral to walk the Earth as the Symphony leads him, and Dominic now seeks to bring him to trial. The War flares up and dies down again. Gabriel holds a mighty relic - the Trump of Doom. Under certain circumstances, she may blow it. If she blows it seven times in sequence, following the orders she was given long ago by God, it will usher in Armageddon, the final battle. Gabriel has actually blown the horn more than once before, but the seventh blast has always been prevented. The Archangels do not want to escalate that far, not when they're unsure of the outcome. Sure, the average angel is stronger than the average demon, but Hell has numbers. If the battle were fought today, Heaven could lose. The Archangels posture, claiming that God would prevent it, but even some Archangels question the outcome. Knowing that similar doubts keep Hell's Princes at bay is little comfort - all Heaven can do is hope and keep the faith.

Next time: Angelic thought

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



Angels And Demons: Bitter motherfuckers.

EDIT: And if you want a cool rear end plotline to revive and fool with for a high-level game, do something with Legion. Dude was basically everyone's worst nightmare in the form of a continent-sized shoggoth gobbling up humans, living and dead, to have your very own hivemind worst case scenario. A lot of In Nomine games veer into alternate timeline/universe concepts, including ones such as "Every time Legion achieves his Fate he wins the timeline and eats it up and then combines with other Legions who have done the same and go cruising around with Lucifer corpses for battle puppets to find more to absorb"

Black August fucked around with this message at 06:25 on Feb 26, 2016

Simian_Prime
Nov 6, 2011

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

One plot line I've toyed with is the idea that the story of Uriel reaching the Higher Heavens is false; Uriel actually Fell, after his murderous zeal had gone above and beyond what God had asked of him. Originally, only pagan creatures who worked directly for Lucifer, or engaged in heinous practices like human sacrifice, would be dealt with violently. It was hoped that Heaven and the virtuous pagans might reconcile... But Uriel put them all to the sword.

So his Damnation brought him straight to the Lower Hells, where he was not seen again. But a cover story was created about him going to the higher Heavens, because if all the Host knew this, it would expose that God had a flaw in his plan.

But, still fueled by the mindless hatred that led him to slaughter, Uriel festers in his Oubliette, feeding off of the massacres of humankind; the ethnic cleansings, the race and religious wars that remind him of his Purity Crusade.

The 20th century has done much to feed him (it?), and soon it will grow strong enough to emerge upon the world as The Demon Prince of Genocide.

Simian_Prime fucked around with this message at 19:49 on Feb 26, 2016

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010



Lipstick Apathy

Bill Webb's Book of Dirty Tricks

Part 7: Trickery

All the other parts are already trickery, so I'm guessing this is just trickery in general rather than against a specific theme.

Hidden Compartment within a Hidden Compartment

The player thinks they're a good player after they're managed to find the secret and managed to open it and get the goodies inside without killing themselves. Now you get to chuckle to yourself inwardly because there was actually another bit of loot, more valuable loot, inside the chest that they already emptied, presumably because they didn't explicitly declare that they're running their hands over the chest to check for a false bottom. You're supposed to place some loot in the first hidden compartment, just to make them think that they're all done now.

quote:

One of the keys to treasure distribution is that it should be hard to get. It should be either hard to find (e.g. hidden) or hard to carry. This trick makes a great tool in the GM’s arsenal to keep those pesky player characters from finding the loot. One of the biggest errors a GM can make is to make treasures obvious and easy to get. After all, most creatures would go to great lengths to hide their wealth lest it be stolen by their neighbors. I play this pretty tough. In honest estimation, I would bet that more than half the loot in my games is missed by player characters

What the gently caress, guy. If you're so contemptuous of your players actually making progress, why are you still playing this game?

Trap on a Trap

A variation on a theme. The player has already disarmed a trap, so they proceed down the corridor ... and ah-ha! Skewered by a second trap! You should make the initial trap easy to disarm and/or easily detected, just to lull players into complacency.

Another idea is to have a trap that does nothing, except it is impossible to disarm - the players won't want to proceed down the hall knowing that the mechanism is still active, but what they don't know is that triggering the mechanism doesn't actually cause any harm!

Yet another idea is to make disarming the trap, the trap itself: place a pit trap right in front of the exposed innards of a crushing pendulum mechanism and watch as the Rogue walks right into it!

There's also a conversion of Pathfinder's Phantom Trap spell, for use in your Swords & Wizardry game. It lets casters plant an illusion that will "set off" a Rogue's trapfinding ability, even if it doesn't actually do anything. Put it on a thimble, then place the thimble on the pressure plate of a spiked wall.

Time-Limited Magic Item

In order to inject a sense of urgency into your games, create magic items whose abilities are on a timer. A magical sword that only works for so many attacks/kills. A potion of flying that only lasts 1d6 rounds. Better yet, an item that grants waterbreathing, but only until 200 feet of depth, at which point it turns off and does nothing.

As an example of play, the author tells us a story of a scenario he ran at GenCon:

quote:

The Golem Pool

The party enters a circular room fully 60 feet in diameter. In the center of the room is a small pool of liquid, 6 feet in diameter. The pool is filled with a silvery liquid, and cold radiates from it. On the far side of the room is a large throne, upon which sits a large iron statue of a fully armored knight. Its visor is pulled back to reveal a close-fit iron grating like a tiny portcullis. Both the pool and the statue radiate magic if detect magic is cast.

The pool lining itself is magical and keeps the liquid from freezing as long as it remains in the pool. The pool’s contents are a chemical mixture that freezes rapidly if removed from the pool. Anything placed in the pool is immediately frozen (flesh is destroyed; 2d6 points of damage if an arm or leg is placed in, 1 point of damage for a finger, instant death for anyone diving in, no save). Use of metal implements (pots, helmets, etc.) to remove the liquid makes them very cold, with the liquid inside freezing to ice in 1d3+1 rounds after removal. The residue forms a strange silvery solid (worth 10 gp a pound to an alchemist). A total of 300 pounds of material could be removed. Any hasty attempt at removal (see combat below) requires a save to avoid being splashed for 1d3 points of damage as icy liquid sloshes about (DC 15 Reflex save in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game).

The statue is an iron golem enchanted with a fiery breath weapon instead of the usual poison cloud. The monster, like most of its kind, is immune to virtually everything. It does, however, have one major vulnerability — magical cold directed at its furnace face can harm it, making it vulnerable to the “freeze-shatter” effect.

The golem breathes fire every round it is able. During the round it does this, its face visor opens, revealing the grated head behind. If the icy liquid is tossed into its face (save or take 1d3 points of splash damage, and treat as a grenade-like missile), its breath fails to take effect, and for the next round, its head (targeting a creatures head gets a –2 to hit on the attack roll) is affected by normal weapons. In addition, any hit with a blunt object does double damage that round.

The Melting Lock

This one is fairly simple: create locks that either destroy a key that you put into it if it's not the correct matching key, or create locks that destroy the contents of its container if you try to lockpick it or open it with an incorrect key.

After all, just because the players have killed the monsters doesn't mean the players should have free and access to the loot.

Tesseracts and Teleporters

This one involves using teleporters, bottomless pits, one-way doors, and sealing/shifting corridors and rooms to create a dungeon that is not straightforward to navigate through. It's not implied that any of the features should necessary be lethal, but they should result in the players getting hopelessly lost if they can't figure it out.

I Can Get In and You Can’t!

This one involves creating threats and bounties that the players might want to get through, but cannot because they are 5-foot-tall humanoids. Rat lairs, bricked-up chambers, or even completely sealed rooms partnered with incorporeal monsters are all places that are inaccessible to players unless they can come up with creative solutions.

To be fair, he does say that the placement of the room should make "sense", as in placing a sealed-up room in the middle of nowhere with nothing to tempt the players into it or even clue them to its possible existence is useless.

A sample scenario follows:

quote:

Sealed in Stone

This 20-foot-by-20-foot room contains an 8-foot-by-3-foot crypt shaped like a man, with ancient paintings and runes detailing curses (non-magical) that befall any who open the tomb. No exits from the room, other than the one through which the party entered, are present.

The crypt can be opened using a crowbar or lever. Its lid weighs more than 300 pounds. If dislodged, it opens to reveal the mummified remains of a man dressed in rotten finery and adorned with several pieces of costume jewelry (6 pieces worth 2d6 gp each). The crypt itself contains no secret compartments of other means of hiding anything. The real treasure of course, lies underneath the nearly 1,400 pound sarcophagus itself. If the whole thing is moved, it can be noticed that instead of smooth stone, the floor beneath is composed of mud brick and mortar. If the bricks are removed, 6 pieces of jewelry almost identically matching the fakes found on the body are found. They include:

• A cat’s-eye ring, made of gold, worth 200 gp.
• A silver necklace, set with 10 small emeralds, worth 900 gp.
• A platinum-and-gold broach in the shape of a spider with rubies for eyes, worth 600 gp.
• A gold ring engraved with runes (read magic reveals the command word —“Cassius”). This is a ring of water elemental command (2 charges remaining).
• A gold bracelet set with a large polished red agate, worth 70 gp.
• A solid jade snuff bottle filled with “ancient snuff” (really dust of appearance, 6 uses), worth 1,200 gp.

This is also, in my view, a variation of the hidden compartment in a hidden compartment trick. The players have already checked the coffin - they would never think of checking underneath the coffin, right?

I Got It, Now What?

This one is the most devious bit of fuckery yet, so I'll leave you with another excerpt, as I could not possibly do it justice:

quote:

This one is also an entertaining trick that can test the players and make them work for the treasure you give them. A clear example of this is a magic item or gem secreted away inside a Rubik’s Cube. You simply pass the cube across the table, inform them that it rattles around a bit, and make them solve it (in real life) to get the goodies. Another thing I have done is used a ring puzzle — you know, one of those wire things with a ring that slides back and forth, but is almost impossible to get off. The only time I have ever given a player a ring of spell turning I used this. The player had to get the ring off the wire puzzle before I would let his character wear it. Of course, the ring is quite fragile, so attempts to cut it off would destroy it. Examples of these types of puzzles can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disentanglement_puzzle . It took the player four gaming sessions before he finally got the thing loose!

The loving gall of this guy to write a book, then throw you back to goddamned wikipedia for more examples of material!

Up Next: The Final Stretch

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Angelic Player's Guide: Houses of the Holy

Angels are individual, but are not individualists. They can act as they please as long as they avoid dissonance, and think about what they like, but all share one absolute purpose: serve God. Beyond that, they each serve their purpose in unique and occasionally contradictory ways. God cannot be selfish, self-centered or self-absorbed, because God is everything. Being unselfish is a very important part of divinity, caring about the whole of the universe. Humans are able to be strongly individual, but als strongly empathetic and with a sense of the world around them. Angels often have a bit of trouble with that.

quote:

An angel is a vital engine of reality, an instrument most fulfilled when its song blends perfectly with the Symphony, adding to its strength without detracting from the Big Picture. (By contrast, a demon can be seen as the jerk in the third row shouting "FREEBIRD!" at the conductor and laughing his head off.)

Angels are very aware of their place in the grand scheme, which can be a double-edged sword when dealing with humans, especially for the more divine Choirs. When a human sees someone crying, they see a person in pain. When an angel sees it, they see a wound in the fabric of the universe. Because an angel is aware of the depth and bredth of reality, they tend to see any one person as an abstraction. Relating to mortals as individuals can take some real concentration and a shift in view. Angels also, to an extent, see themselves that way, less as individuals and more as part of a greater whole. Even Cherubim, who can devote themselves to one person, often remain blind to that person's true feelings, seeing their well-being in terms too simple and broad to be really human. Angels that spend a lot of time on Earth are more sensitive to individuals and more aware of their own individuality, but even Mercurians must learn this by experience. The more time they spend with humans, the more human they become. That's what brought down the Grigori, and it's caused many Falls. Angels must learn to carefully balance between being too distant to understand humans and so close they need saving themselves.

Angels are beings of concept. They need to embody meaning, to become manifesttions of ideas. Angels are generally not as personally complex as humans. They don't feel the need to be. They love simplicity, and often the older and more powerful are the simpler angels. For an angel, social climbing involves becoming the embodiment of a single idea, after all. The first few years of angelic existence tend to focus on ravenous curiosity that becomes satisfied when the angel learns they are connected to all things, forever. Angels tend to be very secure, because they learn early that they're very important. Each of their actions is immortal, and it is only when they harm others that their confidence becomes shaken. In these early days, each angel tends to find a few concepts that feel personally important. These concepts shape their outlook and personality, and most Wordbound found their fascination with their Word while still quite young.

Angels act out of love - for God, for their Archangel, for their Word, for humans, for beauty, for a good fight. all angels burn with deep passions. They are rarely really bored, though some of them try at it, because they're always loving something. It makes it easy for demons, who care only about themselves, to hate angels. Huumans react to it based on how their life is going at the time - the passionate find it easier to understand angels than the self-absorbed. Cherubim are the clearest example of the extremity and simplictiy of angelic love. A Cherub, once attuned, will be devoted to your safety, comfort and happiness. But even the Malakim have the same capacity for intense and unconditional love. It just shows up differently. Angels love their Words and the Words they serve - a Windy doesn't just serve the idea of change, they love it. When an angel has a friend, they love them passionately, often as much as they love their Words.

Angels try to avoid dissonance. They believe that the Symphony's components should blend together into one potent force, all working in harmony. They do not always agree with each other, and they can be hostile, but every angel eventually realizes that God made everything for a reason. When two angels disagree and know it, they rarely fight directly. They instead prefer to avoid each other. Heaven's chain of command can be frustrating, but disobedience and argument would cause discordant ripples in the Symphony, and none of them want that. Angelic society does evolve over time, forming its own philosophies. One of the major issues that divides them is mankind's knowledge of the Divine. Some believe that, if the Host were to appear in their total glory, humanity would love Heaven so much that Hell would lose all strength. Others fear that would doom Heaven, opening old fears and forcing people to cower, afraid, and rely on the power of Nybbas and Beleth. The only thing they really agree on is that it would end the War prematurely, for better or worse, and probably isn't worth the risk. Some degree of secrecy is essential, at least for now.

Angels sometimes debate over the importance of humanity. Most of them love humans, but it's not entirely universal. Some angels see humans as the key to the War, but others see them as its cause, a symbolic prize causing needless conflict. Others think of humans as only the agreed-on token of victory, believing the War is about something greater than mere mortals. One school of thought holds that mankind is God's most perfect creation, a blend of qualities that is interesting and unique. These believers point out that humans were made last, after all other things, and thus must be the most perfect creation, for nothing came after. Many dismiss this by insisting that God is and has always been perfect, and thus it is ridiculous to suggest that his creations represent improvements over time, as you cannot improve pefection. Others say that if man isn't perfect, at least they can become it. The issue of humanity as a weapon is greatly debated in Heaven as well. Some angels hate the idea of Soldiers and human servants in the War, believing that humans should be kept from the War's danger and that angels should be trying to keep the War away from humans, that making human lives a battlefield gives Hell the advantage. Angels also argue over whether they can kill humans who seem to deserve it. Some believe so, while others say that it should not be done, as the living can still repent and the dead cannot.

The Host avoids Armageddon for several reasons. Firstly, unless God intervened, they might lose. The demons are more numerous and, in total, possibly more powerful. To assume God would intervene is either a necessary component of faith in God or incredible and insane hubris, depending on what angel you ask. Most angels would happily sacrifice themselves to serve the Symphony, but few will accept needless death and none want to trigger a battle that might lose the War. Secondly, Armageddon would destroy Earth as it is now and most mortals. (Some angels do not believe this is a bad thing, of course, but others do.) Thirdly, God hasn't commanded them to do it. That could mean it shouldn't be considered, or it could mean free will is involved.

Free will is actually a rather complex issue for most angels.

quote:

A typical discussion of it might go like this:
Angels have free will. Don't we?
Of course we do. We can Fall.
Those who Fall were fated to do so. They played their part. Thery were fated to believe they had free will, and that they were doing as they wished.
Does that mean that the selfish demons have free will, but we do not?
Everything they do is part of the Divine Plan, too. The demons are the part of the Plan that opposes, so the rest may grow stronger.
But if everything is part of the Divine Plan, what is the point of any part of it growing stronger? If the Plan is as it is, perfect and unchanging, what use is all the suffering and struggle?
We don't understand. It's ineffable. You were fated to ask that question.
(At this point, if in celestial form, one angel usually remembers urgent business elsewhere. If corporeal, crockery is thrown.)



Each Choir represents some facet of divinity, for no angel could hope to reflect more than a facet of God's nature. There are countless reflections of the divine, so countless Choirs might exist, but seven stand as the major themes. All angels know that their Choir is more than just a set of powers - it is a goal, a single point of perfection to strive towards. The other facets are not to be ignored, of course, but many angels make the foolish decision to do so, holding themselves only to their own Choir's standard. Choir natures define general trends, though individuals can vary from the norm. Angels may not be as individual as humans, but they aren't clones.

Seraphim, the Most Holy, are closest to God in thought and deed. They also have the hardest time dealing with humanity, and have the farthest to Fall. Among Archangels, they are represented primarily by Michael and Dominic, and those who claim truth is subjective point to the huge arguments between these two. Seraphim agree that knowing the truth and knowing how best to act on it are not the same. While the Most Holy demand respect and strive to be worthy of it, it is best to remember that Lucifer was also a Seraph. Some of the more famous Seraphim include Abdiel, the first Judge to lead a Triad to Earth, Jael, the Angel of Covenants, Jehoel, who created the Trisagion and leads the Trisagionists, Nathanael, Angel of Punishment, Metatron, the first Archangel destroyed by Lucifer, and Seraphiel, Angel of the Inquisition.

Traditionally, Seraphim are respected for their wisdom and insight, advising other angels when they doubt. Seraphim will not always be overt leaders, but they are looked to for approval and keep others going by the book. Their presence grants a certain moral authority. They tend to be highly perceptive, and while there are notably exceptions, most are not good at corporeal tasks. They do make excellent detectives, but their low tolerance of falsehood makes them awful diplomats and poor choices when finesse is needed...though their sheer skill in detecting truth means they can get sent on those jobs anyway, with a suaver angel to handle social situations. Seraphim also serve as each Word's internal affairs officers, monitoring their fellows with a vigilance that varies based on how concerned their Archangel is about such things. All keep an eye out, however, for dissonant behavior. If an Archange is afraid an angel is Falling, a Seraph will usually be sent to investigate. Seraphim also judge disputes within their Word, and their rulings are almost always accepted - the alternative is to escalate to taking the matter to the boss, after all.

In Heaven, Seraphim serve as judges and mediators. Lesser Choirs handle the mundane chores of Heaven, but Seraphim are nobility and management. The low-ranking Seraphim are usually given minor administrative tasks, like fielding requests for audiences with an Archangel, while the most important serve on the Seraphim Council, which is largely made of Seraphim, Archangels and a few very old and very wise members of other Choirs. The Council, presided over by Dominic, tries those angels accused of capital crimes, awards Words, hears accusations against Archangels and makes decisions that bind all of Heaven. Most of the voting members are old enough to have witnessed the Fall. Archangels sometimes consult with elder Seraphim before beginning their plans. It is rare for younger Seraphim to be invited onto the Council these days - it's much easier to get a Word than to become a Council member. Every Archange does keep their own circle of advisors, however, most of which are Seraphim. Archangels especially like Seraphim who serve well on Earth, giving them insights that elder celestials might miss.

Seraphim are known as the Trisagionists as they are traditionally responsible for reciting the Trisagion around the throne of God - 'Holy, Holy, Holy!' This is a ceremonial duty, and while the Seraphim Council always opens and closes its sessions with it, only a few Seraphim are chosen to recite it formally. Trisagionists serve for indefinite periods, often centuries. They are rarely Wordbound and almost never assigned Earth duty save when an Archangels stages a divine visitation of grand pomp. Trisagionists are members of the Council but have no voting rights.

On Earth, Seraphim are often lawyers, especially Judges, though it can be hard to deal with the deceptions and compromises lawyers need to make. They also like Roles that give them positions of leadership while limiting their worldly exposure. They make poor politicians, but excellent advisors, executives or military officers. Most Seraphim prefer high-status jobs where they can separate truth from faslehood, but some more adventurous ones go hunting for turth. They make great investigators (with help from a more social ally) and journalists (though almost always print - few can stand working in television). See, the mass media is a barrage of lies and fraud that bothers most Seraphim on a fundamental level. They can barely grasp the idea of fiction, and pop culture is like a cesspool. They respect and value a just legal system, but modern law can drive them mad. They believe courts should be about finding truth, not swaying the judge and jury by any means necessary, and tend to be staunch advocates of legal reform. Seraphim do understand imagination,l however, though they often lack much of it themselves. They don't see storytelling as lying, and many do enjoy literature and theatre...but only if it's honest effort and sincere talent. Pretentiousness and creativity in pursuit of money are insults to God's gifts.

Seraphim may use their resonance to pick up more than just spoken and written lies. Their resonance also covers a person's actions when they resonate them - a faked limp, a gesture towards a wrong door, knowingly using a counterfeit bill, wearing a disguise. These nonverbal lies won't trigger a Seraph's resonance unless they're aimed at the Seraph, however - if you give a Seraph a fake 20, he'll notice, but if you give it to his buddy, he won't. A Seraph's resonance must be CD 4+ to pick up every lie or deceit the target performs, however - otherwise it just shows the greatest one. Note that vessels are not a deceit - they're the corporeal manifestation of a celestial in truth, as is the host of a Kyriotate or Shedite. A disguised vessel is lying, but the lie is the disguise, not the vessel. Many actions are also lies in one context and not others - a woman who dyes her hair blonde to conceal her identity is lying, but one who dyes it just for fun is not. Seraphim also cannot detect deceit inherent to an object, like a fake ID they find on the ground - only people can speak lies. They will only detect a deceitful item if the person they resonate is aware it's deceitful, unless they roll a CD 6. This can limit their resonance in many ways - for example, it's hard for them to mine the news for hidden truths. The broadcast medium gives -1 to CD, making it hard to detect the objective truth, and most newscasters believe what the teleprompter tells them.

Next time: Choirs In Detail

Quinn2win
Nov 9, 2011

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




OPPOSITION FORCES, PART 1

Enough of the past! It's time to outline the characters who will be hunting the agents (or being hunted by the agents), and there's a lot of them. Nobody said this was gonna be easy.

Edom
Actually a fairly small group - only "D" and Dr. Drawes have a full picture of its structure, but the only real Edom forces are the Dukes and the staff/forces stationed at Ring, Carfax, the Asylum, and the HMS Prosperine. Edom's job is to monitor and try to guide Dracula's actions, and keep his existence a secret. GCHQ protects Edom as it does all of MI6; all Digital Intrusion attempts are Difficulty 8.



"D"
The chief of MI6 is codenamed "C" - those who even know there is someone codenamed "D" assume it's a reference to being next to "C". In reality, it stands for Doeg, the Edomite who killed the high priest on order of his king (1 Samuel 22).

"D" keeps a low profile even by MI6 standards, keeping no consistent schedule and having a small, unremarkable out-of-the-way office at an undisclosed location. He's always accompanied by two bodyguards, or one or more Dukes. "D"'s true identity is left to the Director - he should be someone the party has met or at least heard of before, for a proper last-act reveal. Some possibilities:
  • R. M. Renfield, the man who knows Dracula better than anyone.
  • An immortal Peter Hawkins, still active after the 1894 operation.
  • The current Lord Godalming, or even the original Lord Godalming.
  • Lucy Westerna or another surviving 1894 vampire.
  • The other survivor from the 1940 SOE mission to Romania - Lieutenant Lewis or Captain Spence.
  • Oswald A. "Jasper" Harker, slow-aging and having faked his death in 1968.



"Dr. Drawes"
Edom's main vampire researcher, and widely suspected as being the identity of "D". John L. Draws, MD, FRCS, is listed in government databases, but it's an umbrella identity used by Edom operatives. The real "Drawes" spends most of his time in Seward's Asylum or on the Prosperine, doing vampire research. His chief objectives are artificially duplicating vampire abilities, but his notes may also include anti-vampire measures, if agents spend 4 points total of Chemistry, Forensic Pathology and vampirology.

"Drawes" doesn't have to be someone the agents know - if he's more generic, it's a hint to the players that he's not the real mastermind. If you want to give him a secret identity, though:
  • An immortal Seward, Thornley Stoker or George Stoker.
  • The current Van Helsing or Seward Legacy.
  • Head of the German Ahnenerbe vampire program, recruited by Edom after WWII.

The Dukes of Edom
Edom's lead operatives. They're more skilled, better equipped, always one step ahead of the agents, and can show up anywhere in Europe where Edom needs them to be. When active, each Duke travels with one Prosperine rating, but otherwise generally works with regular MI6/MI5/SAS forces.

All Dukes have perfect Romanian passports and speak Romanian, Hungarian and Romany with no detectable accent. Each has two codenames - the first is the default name, and the second is the reference to Genesis 36 that the default name is a reference to. Use whichever ones suit your campaign tone better.

Aside from listed specialties, all Dukes have the same statblock:

quote:

General Abilities: Athletics 8, Disguise 2, Driving 4, Hand-to-Hand 8, Health 10, Infiltration 2, Medic 4, Shooting 6, Weapons 6
Hit Threshold: 4
Alertness Modifier: +2
Stealth Modifier: +1
Damage Modifier: -2 (fist, kick), +1 (9mm Glock 17 pistol)
Armor: -2 vs. bullets, -1 vs. other (tactical vest)



Elvis / Alvah
Runs Edom's Balkan network. Spends more time on the ground than most Dukes, so he can be bargained with more readily. Negotiation and a solid favor will get him off the agents' back for a while. Exposure to Edom's darker secrets might make it possible to flip him.

Specialties: Disguise 12, Infiltration 5



Fort / Mibzar
Edom's demolitions expert. Her specialty is formulations that burn at extreme heat levels, for burning out vampires. Also handles Edom's earthquakes if necessary. Is vulnerable to isolation and Interrogation, as long as you make sure to check her thoroughly for detonators and other escape tricks first.

Specialties: Conceal 8 (Perfect Holdout), Explosive Devices 12, Mechanics 5



Hound/Kenaz
Edom's go-to murderer. Speaks a dozen languages and has contacts in law enforcement wherever she goes. She doesn't care who she kills, so long as some of them are occasionally terrorists. Almost nothing will turn her against Edom, short of being turned by Dracula.

Specialties: Shooting 8, Surveillance 6, Weapons 8. Special Weapons Training with Glock (+2 damage) and baton (+0 damage). If the Agents haven't spent anything to cover their tracks, Hound always finds them. When she's in the area, all Heat and Surprise Difficulties for the Agents are 1 higher.



Ian/Iram
Clearly (Criminology) a Russian Mafiya killer, his weapon of choice being fast, dangerous cars. He's generally a peerless driver, but prefers to use his skills for offensive driving. Network can get a contact in the Russian Mafiya, who can get you pressure on Ian in exchange for unsavory favors.

Specialties: Driving 16, Explosive Devices 5, Mechanics 10. +1 damage to others from car crashes, can score Critical Hits with car impacts.



Nails/Jetheth
Ulster killer who was picked up by Edom during his youth in Ireland. Wants desperately to be a vampire, a fact that can be picked up with a 1-point spend of Flattery or Bullshit Detector. He'll sell out in exchange for vampire blood, may be susceptible to long cons.

Specialties: Athletics 10, Explosive Devices 4, Shooting 16, Weapons 10. Special Weapons Training with his sniper rifle and his Fairbairn fighting knife.



Oakes/Elah
Joined Edom right before the 1977 mole hunt, and doesn't believe that the mole was found (or that Edom even tried to find them). Tradecraft and real information about the 1977 mole gets his attention. Flattery can be spent to flip him if the agents have proof that Dracula's mole is running Edom.

Specialties: Conceal 6, Surveillance 4



Osprey/Oholibamah
Sifts field intel for "D" and Ring's analytical staff. Fades into the background, can't be co-opted because he's obsessed with Lucy Westerna. Will trade intel for intel with fellow professionals.

Specialties: Athletics 12, Disguise 8, Surveillance 16. Once Osprey spots the party, all Heat difficulties +1 in that city for 24 hours.



Pearl/Pinon
Edom's thief. Social climber who likes parties, he's the guy who Edom will send to steal anything important that the agents have.

Specialties: Athletics 12, Filch 12, Infiltration 14



Prince/Magdiel
Edom's hacker, addicted to vampire movies, computer exploits, and pain medications. May be looking with any source of a cure for her fibromyalgia (Diagnosis, Pharmacy to pick up on this).

Specialties: Digital Intrusion 16. Prince can use GCHQ resources to fully refresh her point pool every day.



Tyler/Timnah
Yellow belt in Wing Chun and parkour expert. Occult Studies or High Society after a handshake identifies him as a freemason. Interested in martial arts as an anti-vampire tactic.

Specialties: Athletics 15, Hand-to-Hand 15. Targets throat and wrists with Called Shots and Disarms. Has the Martial Arts and Parkour cherries.



Tinman/Teman
The guy who builds anti-vampire weapons and other advanced gear for Edom. Completely loyal, but if word gets out that Dracula runs Edom, he could either flip or try to blow Edom up.

Specialties: Explosive Devices 4, Mechanics 10, Piloting 6, Surveillance 6.

Next: Let's get some vampires up ins.

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!

quote:

This one is also an entertaining trick that can test the players and make them work for the treasure you give them. A clear example of this is a magic item or gem secreted away inside a Rubik’s Cube. You simply pass the cube across the table, inform them that it rattles around a bit, and make them solve it (in real life) to get the goodies. Another thing I have done is used a ring puzzle — you know, one of those wire things with a ring that slides back and forth, but is almost impossible to get off. The only time I have ever given a player a ring of spell turning I used this. The player had to get the ring off the wire puzzle before I would let his character wear it. Of course, the ring is quite fragile, so attempts to cut it off would destroy it. Examples of these types of puzzles can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disentanglement_puzzle . It took the player four gaming sessions before he finally got the thing loose!

This reminds me of how in video game RPGs characters have "Intelligence" and "Spirit" stats yet never seem to actually change the behavior of the characters as they increase or make them any more likely to solve the dungeon puzzles. Of course there are exceptions like Fallout which give bonus conversation choices for high stats, but this is a thing I see in various D&D tables where a PC is only as smart/well-spoken as his real-life player is.

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



Simian_Prime posted:

The 20th century has done much to feed him (it?), and soon it will grow strong enough to emerge upon the world as The Demon Prince of Genocide.

That'd be a hell of a kick to the nuts for poor Larry.

I had a slight turn around with the bug guy. Players traveled back in time to the Fall, one of them a Malakite. Had to keep hidden. But he ended up inspiring Uriel as a merciful being during the Fall, so he became the 'First' Malakite in that sense, and reset the tone for the entire Choir from one of slaying to defending when they went back to their present. Turns out Uriel had fought alongside Blandine to Beleth's Tower to try to reclaim her, but was fatally wounded and recalled King Arthur style.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Oh, god. I remember stories where the GM collected weird puzzles as a hobby, and took every opportunity to inflict them on his players. Sure, they could rely on their characters and their ability scores to bypass the puzzle and get back to the game they'd come over to play, but the GM would get pouty and only give them half the reward at best.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Night's Black Agents is pretty good and I appreciate that you're sharing it, Prof. It gives me good thoughts of vampire stories.



CHAPTER TWO PART FOUR

NEW QUALITIES AND IMPEDIMENTS: Qualities and Impediments are bonuses or drawbacks you take at character creation. As much as this kind of system tends to be a bad idea that doesn't integrate game mechanics and roleplaying properly, the vanilla options from Unhallowed Metropolis had a lot of just plain lovely choices you should never take such as: Good Tasting, Fits (aka seizures/epilepsy), Hemophilia, Consumptive, Leper, Syphilis (because you can't cure it for unknown reasons), Gigantism (because despite being a bonus, it has "realistic" drawbacks such as what ended up doing in Andre the Giant) and Malignity. So let's see what's on the menu this time around: bad choices and a lot of art to break up the text.

wrong thing to do but at least you tried
Social Qualities:
  • Church of England Clergy: Be a priest, a canon, a cathedral dean, a suffragan bishop or a diocesan bishop. PCs can't be higher in the church than diocesan bishop. Variable costs and each gives you various bonuses to call on.
  • Priest: Ordained by any other order than the Anglican church. Only one level. If you're not in your community, people will think you're a little off base with your beliefs and you're not necessarily in a good political position being a Buddhist or Taoist or Protestant or anything not Anglican. This isn't actually stated to give you anything besides the position of priest in an organization, there's no real ally hooks to call on or changes to wealth or benefits but I dunno, figure something out.
  • Psi Branch Investigator: Can only be taken by anyone with psychic powers with at least one level in Telepathy, ESP or Prescience. Also requires not having Wanted or Criminal Record impediments and must have 2 in Forensic Science, Streetwise and Law. What does this give you? You start with Wealth 4, a gun, handcuffs, whistle and the ability to arrest/detain people and be a cop.
  • Secret Government Agent: Exactly what it sounds like. +1 Wealth, gain a handler that gives you mission and access to safe houses.
  • Secret Occult Society Membership: Also what it sounds like. This can be as benign as pagan worship or exploring sexuality with erotic rituals (not my example, this is in the book) or as dangerous as the exploration of dark arts and other esoteric, dangerous things. You can call on the society for help or things, but don't be a dick and pay back what you owe. Requires Parapsychology 2 to take and talk it over with the GM.
Social Impediments:
  • Escaped Mental Patient: Ayup. And they want you back. This is much more dangerous if you're playing a psychic because they're willing to tell the cops about you.
  • Monthly Evaluation: Psychics only, can't have Escaped Mental Patient or Unlicensed Psychic. You had a meltdown somewhere and need to meet monthly to see if it's okay for you to still be out in the world. -1 Charm to talking to people who know about your evaluations and if you fail, chances are good you'll lose your license and get committed.
  • Quick Temper: EAT poo poo. DC 16 Will rolls to resist getting mad at being ignored or insulted.
  • Unlicensed Psychic: It got revoked or you never registered. You can't legally make money off your powers and worse: you don't start with Concentration 2 as a class skill. -2 to Credibility rolls with psychics and employers who know you're a psychic.

and for my next trick, I will pull a good quality out of my deck of magic cards
Supermundane (ugh I hate that word) Qualities:
  • Cipher (Telepath only): Your mind reading/telepathic sending comes with translate.
  • Dream Sight (Clairvoyant only): You can use ESP in your sleep instead of a trance. DC 14 Will check to remember your dream when you wake up, otherwise it's fleeting snippets.
  • Infectious Personality (Empath only): One free reroll on contested Will rolls using your Empathy because, well, you're just that forceful.
  • Psi-Null: Never become a psychic ever. Grants complete immunity to Empathy and Telepathy, automatically wins Will contests when targeted by a psychic power, causes all psychics within Willx10 feet of the psi-null to gain 1 Instability Point whenever they use a power.
  • Sensitive: lovely Second Sight. Sort of see/hear spirits depending on how much Will they have, but it's vague and requires Will rolls to understand them. Mediums can't take this.
  • Spirit-Touched: Higher Sensitivity/a near death experience/being born near a shitload of ghosts makes the PC a spirit-touched half lifer. Gives the Half Lifer benefits, +2 to Will to resist spiritual powers and the ability to see ghosts/hear them like a medium but depending on Will like Sensitivity. Also you can never be a psychic so psychics and other half-lifers can't take this.

pretty rad, she'd make a good PC
Supermundane Impediments:
  • Altered States: Can only use Second Sight/psychic powers when under the influence of a drug or substance. It can be specific or it can just be whatever is at hand, but it can't be a little or a sip; you have to have the effects of the substance to use your powers. Smoke a blunt, shoot lightning from your fingers.
  • Blinded Sight (Clairvoyant only): Can only use ESP powers when blindfolded, in the dark, your eyes are shut, etc. If you open your eyes, your powers shut off and you gain 1 Instability Point. If you're blinded this impediment no longer matters, but you can't pick both Blinded and Blinded Sight, you would have to be Blinded over the course of play.
  • Blood Work (Precog only): Can only use Prescience powers when you have an open wound on your body and can possibly only enter a trance if there's a blood focus to concentrate on. This is the same level of Impediment as "can only read minds when high on opium" and yet is much, much worse.
  • Burns (Pyrokinetic/Electrokinetic only): Failing a control check related to those two powers causes the psychic damage. Fail an Electrokinesis check, roll for damage with a modifier equal to the level of the power you failed to use. Fail a Pyrokinesis check, catch fire.
  • Combustible Dreams (Pyro only): The PC has nightmares that cause them to set fires in their sleep to try and protect themselves. Every night, the PC must beat a DC 14 Will save to wake up without setting everything around them on fire. Sedating the psychic means that they will automatically be unable to wake up before they start a fire, ensuring damage and danger. Psi-inhibitors are the way to go to sleep without worrying.
  • Delirium Tremens (Empath/Telepath): Your powers can't affect the awake, the sober or the sane. They have to be groggy, asleep, sedated or mad for you to affect them. This is a pretty big downside.
  • Dream Bound (Precog): Can only use Prescience while asleep. Like Dream Sight for Clairvoyants but it's the only way to use your powers. DC 14 Will to remember your dreams.
  • Ghost Lover: The PC is obsessed with a dead lover who is a ghost. Nothing living is as romantically satisfying as the ghost and the ghost is not guaranteed to give a poo poo anymore. On the other hand, the ghost may haunt their past lover.
  • Hands On (Empathy/Telepathy): You have to touch someone to use your powers on them.
  • Haunted: You're the focus of a ghost's attentions, severity depends on the level.
  • Heat Wave (Pyro): Everything within Willx3 feet of the psychic catches fire when they use their powers unless they make a control check. This includes the psychic's clothes, which won't hurt them, but will leave them naked every time.
  • Hellbent (Precog): Your visions are always tainted with doom, gloom and apocalyptic vision. This is only a 1 point Impediment but...why? This even applies to GOOD visions. Why would you make limiting yourself to depressing/gloomy visions less severe than "can only use your powers when sustaining an open wound"?
  • Inconsolable (Empathy/ESP/Prescience/Telepathy): Gain 1 Instability Point whenever someone living/half living dies within Willx10 feet of you. Never take this. Everyone's dropping like flies in London.
  • Mental Strain: If the psychic uses a thought/focus triggered power, they must make a control check to not go catatonic for 2d10+10 minutes.
  • Phantom Signal (Electrokinetic): Your thoughts are broadcasted as electrical signals over Willx1 mile, including your dreams. Anyone using a radio can hear you.
  • Psychospasm (Telekinetic): Extra poo poo breaks around you when you use your powers. It's not dangerous, but it's destructive.
  • Psychotrope (Empathy/Telepathy): Your mental disorders end up in the heads of the people you use your powers on if they fail a DC 11+Psychic's will Will roll. It lasts for 2d10 hours. You will most likely be pumping your Will up as a psychic so this is a terrible drawback to take. It also only gives you 2 points back.
  • Sandman (Empathy/Telepathy): Anyone you use your powers on will remember your mind the next time they sleep and will learn a secret of yours they can remember with a DC 14 Will roll.
  • Spirit Beacon: Ghosts dig you. They get +2 to Will rolls when around you.
  • Visible Manifestation (Telekinesis): People can see the strings when you use your powers.
  • Waking Dream: Taking this is a terrible idea. Every time you use your powers, make a DC 14 Will roll to not hallucinate for a hour. While hallucinating, -2 to all Charm, Wit, Will, Intellect and Skill rolls.
  • Weird (Clairvoyant): People can feel your presence like they're being watched when you use ESP.

me for most of this, sans rosary
Physical Qualities:
  • Living Furnace (Pyro): You're always warm and don't have to worry about blankets/the cold except for near freezing conditions. Also people can snuggle with you for warmth. This is it. This is the sole Physical Quality this book introduces.
Physical Impediments:
  • Ashen Breath (Pyro): Breath mints, dude. -1 to Guile and Seduction rolls.
  • Draw Lightning (Electrokinetic): Every time the psychic uses their electric powers, there's a chance they will be struck by lightning. Indoors it's not a problem, but there's always a chance it will happen outdoors and during a storm they're guaranteed to be hit at least once. This never hurts the psychic (except for bruises from being thrown from the impact) but everyone around them has to make a damage roll with a +5 modifier, including allies.
  • Eidolon (Precog/Clairvoyant): Having a body suuuuuucks, not being in a trance suuuuuucks, gently caress eating, gently caress bathing, it's tiring being in a body goddddd I just wanna trance out and use my powers. The psychic can never have a Vitality more than 4 and can't have Gigantism or Light Sleeper.
  • Entropic Presence (Half-Lifer/Electrokinetic): You kind of just suck the life and heat out of the room. -1 to all Vitality rolls for people around you, -1 to all Medicine rolls around you.
  • Haywire: Galvanic and aetheric tech breaks or goes bananas around you within 10 feet. In times of high emotions, this increases to Willx3 feet.
  • Internal Lights (Electrokinetic): You glow! It ebbs and flows depending on your emotions and even your wounds spark/glow. It's easier to hit you in the dark and doctors operating on you have -2 to Medicine because of distracting lights and mild shocks.
  • Void Marked (Electrokinetic): You've been marked by your powers. You're either bald or have Bride of Frankenstein hair (but pure white) and it's hard for you to be expressive, so -1 to Charm rolls.
  • Waking Fits: When waking up from sleep or a trance, spend 2d10 minutes in a epileptic fit. If not restrained or helped, make a 2d10-Vitality roll to determine how you hurt yourself from the seizure. NEVER TAKE THIS.

help i'm trapped in a bonus/drawback factory
Mental Qualities:
  • Dream Recall: Never have to make a roll to remember them. Yep.
  • Emotionally Dead: YEP. Free reroll per failed Fear rolls, +2 to Will contest rolls, Empaths never suffer Empathic backlash.
Mental Impediments:
  • Catalyst of Despair: Requires a Chronic Mental Disorder. Nobody around you can add Concentration to their roll for a Mental Disorder check and any psychics with Empathy, Prescience or Telepathy around you gain 1 Instability Point every time they use their powers.
  • Delamayn (Empath/Telepath): You're bored with people and with social stuff. gently caress all that noise and gently caress being polite. -2 to Charm unless using a power to manipulate someone. When you're done using the power, DC 14 Will roll to not be overcome with disgust and revulsion at the people around you and possibly undo what you just did.
  • Reversion: Act like a child in times of stress. Fail a DC 14 Will roll and this is the pain in the rear end the other players will have to put up with for 6d10 minutes.
  • Sexual Dysfunction: The equipment works but you can't get no satisfaction. DC 14 Will to not be disgusted in romantic/sexual situations, DC 11 if they're courting you already and you dig them.
  • Timeless (Precog): What if Doctor Manhattan had dementia? The Precog has no sense of time anymore and accidentally lives out the past/future without meaning to. This is a really lovely impediment to take, but they explicitly say it's not dementia, just the psychic's mind is unable to sort through the continuous visions they have. -2 to Credibility rolls, -2 to General Knowledge rolls.

man, lot of art of women in this section
New Mental Disorders:
  • Agrypnia: Minor or chronic insomnia, depending on severity. If you haven't slept the five hours out of the last day, -2 to Wit, Intellect and Initiative. Sleep requires a sedative and control check to enter a light slumber and if awoken you must make another control check to go back to sleep.
  • Multiple Personality Disorder: Ohhhh boy. Comes in Minor or Chronic. Control checks to resist switching personalities in times of stress or duress. Fail and you have to wait d10 hours to try and take control again. Fail again and you have to wait d10 hours to try again. Fail again and yeah. Vicious cycle.
  • Pyromania: Yup. Comes in Minor or Chronic. No sleep and -2 Intellect, Wit, Will, Charm and Skill not pertaining to starting a fire if you fail a control check. You can hold off with small fires, but it inflicts a cumulative -1 to the penalty for every day without a blaze to satisfy.

That's it for Chapter 2. A lot of those qualities are okay at best, a lot of those impediments are stupid to take and the new mental disorders don't really add anything new but they're there for the psychic players to pick from. There's not much to say about this part of 2, the character classes are much more interesting.

NEXT TIME: ALL ABOUT PSYCHIC POWERS AND OTHER BRAIN poo poo

this isn't from chapter 3, it's from 2, but trust me: it's incredibly appropriate for a lot of the content in 3

potatocubed
Jul 26, 2012

*rathian noises*


snip

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

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theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Libertad! posted:

This reminds me of how in video game RPGs characters have "Intelligence" and "Spirit" stats yet never seem to actually change the behavior of the characters as they increase or make them any more likely to solve the dungeon puzzles. Of course there are exceptions like Fallout which give bonus conversation choices for high stats, but this is a thing I see in various D&D tables where a PC is only as smart/well-spoken as his real-life player is.

The solution is to just smash whatever little toy they give you immediately and say you were roleplaying a strength check

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