Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us money per month for bills, and since we don't believe in showing ads to our users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
 
  • Post
  • Reply
Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Yeah, I've always considered a hard dungeon sort of setting where if you die, you become a ghost and can assist the party in different ways, at least until they can resurrect or reincarnate you back at home, probably with some appropriate trauma. At least, of course, until the next trauma replaces it.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Paranoia did it with the clone gimmick long, long ago.

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 THREE: THROUGH A GLASS DARKLY
PART ONE


It is the duty of all proud, patriotic citizens of the British Empire to register if they have psychic powers. A lot don't, especially because you can lose your license. A licensed psychic has to fill out the proper paperwork to get ordained to use their powers for money followed by training and lessons. You have to reregister and get retested annually. However, most psychics only register one or two of their abilities and hide the rest because there's nothing requiring you to register ALL of your powers.

PSI LAW: Empathy and Telepathy cannot legally be used to dominate or influence people. It's two years of prison for minor nudges, ten of hard labor for fraud or contracts the influenced signs and surveillance/eavesdropping using powers is illegal (gathering sensory info isn't). These rules, of course, change if you become a psychic cop. Precogs are not liable for if their predictions aren't right, but intentionally misleading/lying is fraud. Psychokinetics are licensed weapons and are liable for the damage they cause but can still profit using their powers. And, of course, misusing your powers isn't illegal if you don't get caught but if the police see you they will ask for your license.

So what happens if you're caught and get imprisoned? You either go to prison and go to solitary or if you're especially unwell, you go to an asylum. You don't want to go to an asylum.

I told you.
Asylums suck. They're the personification of every horror game trope rolled up into a Cuban cigar wrapper of "suffering tends to induce psychic powers in the desperate". Most people with minor or mundane or "hopeless" cases get thrown out onto the streets with a scolding to make room for a psychics. The regulars and the psychics are kept separate with psychic captivity resembling supermax cells that can pump in gas. Psychics in asylums are experimented on, studied, poked and prodded and kept on a healthy diet of scop, sedatives and inhibitor drugs. If you can't be used for experimentation, develop a resistance to the drugs, try to escape too much or are too dangerous to be safely kept, you're lobotomized.

So let's say you're a talented enough psychic and you're willing to play ball with the law and they're willing to let you join the Psi-Branch. You don't actually have to be the best of the best to join Psi-Branch; the majority of them are Rank 2 or Rank 3 psychics. Psi-Branch is made up Psi Crime, Special Interrogation and Oracle. Psi Crime is the department that solves crimes using their assets (generally precognition and clairvoyance). Psi Crime has five rapid response teams made of up to four to six psychics who handle major problems beyond simple investigation. Special Interrogation uses telepaths to extract information from suspects and witnesses. Special Interrogation telepaths don't ever make an appearance in court (not like the worst criminals ever make it to court) and the project itself is a closely guarded open secret. Oracle tries to predict the future by using precogs and analysts but they're generally not very accurate. The most accurate thing that Oracle does is predict Lost Days (when the smog is so thick it can kill and reanimate a body in a minute) and print the info ahead of time. Despite that, it has the highest funding out of all of the departments. Alienists, Mediums and Parapsychologists can also find good employment in Psi-Branch if they're willing to support the main assets or work with the dead. The only people Psi-Branch will not employ are Empaths, considering them to be too unpredictable and believing that their powers influence and change police work too much.

PSYCHIC RULES
Let's talk about all the things that make psychics tick. For starters, your level in a Devotion gives you all the powers of that level and below (this system is also used for Second Sight). Sometimes when you use a power, you have to make a Control check which is a Will check with DC 11+Power Levelx2 (so 13, 15, 17, 19, 21). Success means nothing, failure means +1 Instability Point.

What exactly are Instability Points? They're how much stress and strain the mind of the psychic can take before their latent insanity manifests and they return to their old self, unable to use/control their powers properly. Your limit for points is directly equal to your Will score. Matching that amount is what's called a Breakdown and the player has three choices for how a breakdown plays out:
  • Temporary Insanity: Your Latent Insanity returns for 1d10 days (rolled by the GM and the GM is not supposed to tell the player how long they're going to be out of their gourd which is a dick move). When this period is up, the character is back to normal. You can't pick this if you're already undergoing Temporary Insanity.
  • Degeneration: Your Latent Insanity becomes permanent and you have to pick a new Latent Insanity.
  • Chronic Madness: One of your active Mental Disorders becomes permanently chronic.
None of those are particularly good or fun but we'll talk more about this in a little bit.

Trances are necessary for some abilities and requires one point in Concentration to be able to perform, automatically entered after five minutes of meditation in a peaceful environment. That's the ideal case, so of course there's rules for trancing under duress: Will rolls with a minimum DC of 11 and entering a trance becomes easier with something to focus on or sedatives. You can trance as long as you like but requires a DC 11 Will roll to exit one peacefully. If you're brought out by force, gain one Instability Point.

Finally, psychic powers have four aspects: a subject, a range, a trigger and a description. This is pretty much the same as the Second Sight powers except for the fact that a Psychic can maintain certain amounts of psychic abilities up to their Concentration skill stat.

That's the rules for how to track and use psychic powers and world fluff. So far, this has been a pretty boring, dry update. I don't even have much art to offer to spice things up. Let's do something different before we finish then. Let's see how hard we can break the system or at the very least game it.

First of all, there's a backwards compatibility issue I'm not sure the developers thought of when they made Concentration the bonus power skill for Psychics. However, what they've done with the first game (and have done since) is give you bonuses for every point in some skills besides "gun better". For example, every point in Rifles gives you one bonus ability to pick, like Night Fighter, Sniper, Headhunter or Trick Shot. This applies to Concentration: every point in Concentration lets you pick a little bonus. Some of them are quite good, but in the core game alone they're entirely situational because Concentration and trances weren't used for much. Let's take a look:
  • Compress Sleep: Get the equivalent of a good night's sleep with four hours of meditation.
  • Dull Pain: Reduce the penalties caused by wounds to skills and such by 1.
  • Focused Healing: Recover from wounds a week faster than normal with the help of trances.
  • Suppression: No physical side effects to going without sleep or food but you can still starve to death or go crazy, you just don't feel the distraction of the detrimental effects.
  • Thought Mask: One free reroll per failed Will rolls to resist external mental influence.
  • Willpower: One free reroll per failed Will roll to resist addiction.
Suppression and Willpower are alright, but the important ones are definitely Compress Sleep, Focused Healing and Thought Mask. Focused Healing helps reduce downtime, Thought Mask gives the Psychic extra defense against mind control and Compress Sleep is part of what will make things tilt in our advantage.

The bonus abilities of the Psychic class rely on being somewhat situational, unfortunately. You're not going to take Wrathful if you don't have those offensive powers, you're not going to take Mass Perception without a scrying-type power. Let's assume that we're playing a Psychic with 5 Will and 5 Concentration. Without even picking a main Devotion, let's choose the following bonuses for maximum cheese and gaming.

When it comes to Concentration bonuses, we pick Focused Healing, Thought Mask, Compress Sleep, Dull Pain and Willpower (because drugs are handy things, sadly). Now for class bonuses. First, Meditations so we don't get IP from getting shocked out of trances and getting in and out of a trance faster. Second, Sound Mind which reduces Temporary Insanity to one day only plus removes 2 IP instead of 1 when you rest. Mix Sound Mind with Compressed Sleep and you can easily flush out all of the accumulated IP over the course of a day and still have time left over. Or, if you want to engage in Maximum Cheese, trance for eight hours while everyone else is sleeping their required eight to be super rested and lose up to 4 IP. Third, take Force of Will; failing Control Checks with those other safeguards in place are the biggest source of IP and a reroll to help deny those means you've got less to worry about. More importantly, it helps keep Temporary Insanity much more manageable so you don't have to choose those worse options.

Now, unless you have other active Mental Disorders it's not worth taking Fortified Mind or Self Control because they relate actively to handling Mental Disorder rolls. Hanging out with the right crowd (coughanexorcistcough) will help protect the Psychic against any future mental disorders, leaving them with a latent disorder that they have created a system of control and prevention to manage. Your other two ability choices are just gravy and personal choice, depending on the type of powers you choose to take. You'll still accumulate IP, there's no bones about it because a good GM would test your limits and push you and account for your trippy mind powers. You're just much more equipped to flush and purge it with a good night's sleep. Aside from that, there's not a lot of ways to break the system besides taking Wrathful and cutting yourself every now and again to shoot lightning better. They only really excel at breaking the rules and restrictions imposed on them (as opposed to the Exorcist who does VERY well at breaking the actual game rules). That being said, don't take their ability to break the restrictions lightly; without worrying much about the pressure of IP they can use their powers all day every day if needed and in the hands of some of the more destructive psychokinetic powers this can be quite a tasty benefit.

NEXT TIME: THE ACTUAL POWERS, STARTING WITH EMPATHY

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Nessus posted:

Paranoia did it with the clone gimmick long, long ago.

Not really what I'm thinking of. Probably closer to Ghostwalk, only, you know. Good.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Alien Rope Burn posted:

Not really what I'm thinking of. Probably closer to Ghostwalk, only, you know. Good.
Upon reflection, Wraith kind of did this too, because running out of HP (so to speak) didn't murder you directly (although again, like Dark Souls, there were Full Life Death Consequences).

girl dick energy
Sep 30, 2009

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


I just want you to know I appreciate that terrible joke/reference.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Yeah, for me to the key difference would be death would provide a parallel but different play state to living characters and just keep you from sitting on your thumbs (or worse yet, never taking risks), as opposed to just having a revolving door. Or alternately, avoiding an issue like Wraith has, where dying basically hijacks the game while you have an abstract sequence trying to figure out how to crawl back to the world of the unliving unless the ST just waives the whole process..

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


Libertad! posted:

I've been playing quite a bit of Dark Souls II recently on account of my friends getting back into the series, and like Bill Webb's campaign it's full of traps and "gently caress you!" moments which can make mincemeat of your character.

However, the core idea is that you're an undead, so whenever you die you get reincarnated minus the experience you collected. However, death is not very bad punishment-wise, for you lose a small bit of max health (which can be restored with a semi-common item) and you can regain the lost EXP if you get back to your original place of death without dying again.

There's also the fact that most monsters have a predictable attack pattern, so as you try again you get better and less likely to die except through impatience from that same enemy.

I feel that a lot of these Killer DMs can take a page or two from Dark Souls. I understand that PC gen is really fast in Original and OSR D&D, but there's no expectation that a new PC will start at the group's level or whatever to minimize the sting. That, and there's the expectation that a TPK in D&D spells the end of the campaign, because you can't run the same adventure again without the players preemptively knowing what's going to happen ahead of time.

To be honest, until I played Dark Souls I thought old school killer GMing sounded stupid. I'm still a dirty storygaming swine, but if Tomb of Horrors or whatever can deliver the same rush at defeating impossible odds than I'll admit the grognards had a point.

Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012




Pathfinder Bestiary 2: Badgers to Bunyip

Badgers
The badger (CR ½ Small Animal) – specifically implicated here to be the European badger Meles meles – is an animal from the Monster Manual/SRD of Dungeons and Dragons that was missed by Pathfinder Bestiary Prime, so it shows up here. There is also the dire badger (CR 2 Medium Animal), which is where we first learn that Pathfinder Bestiary 2 has abandoned its predecessor's attempt to shoehorn actual prehistoric animal species into the roles of dire animals. No fossil creature here, just a big, ornery man-sized badger with thick muscles and large claws. Gnomes respect and fear dire badgers because they are ferocious murder-beasts that can dig through solid rock.



Banshee (CR 13 Medium Undead [Incorporeal])
The origin of the banshee is in Irish folklore, where she was a faerie or spirit that wailed to foretell the death of someone in the listener's family, most likely inspired by actual funerary wailing practices from the British Isles ("keening") given a mythological slant. This doesn't matter at all to the Pathfinder banshee at all, mind you. It instead traces its heritage back to the Dungeons and Dragons interpretation of the monster. Big surprise, I know. In its first, second, and fifth editions, the banshee of D&D has been presented as the undead soul of an evil and corrupt elf woman. Pathfinder very much takes this ball and runs with it. The banshee always elven and always female, and is also specifically either betrayed or was betrayed by people she loved rather than generically corrupt.

No keener for the dead, the banshee here is an active and malevolent force that seeks to slay the living, and she mainly does that through her wail. This wail has a forty foot radius, can be used once per minute as a full round action, and forces a DC 23 Fortitude save to avoid taking a flat 140 untyped damage (which is pretty much a save or die anyway for the levels you'd be fighting one). Her touch also inflicts 14d6 negative energy damage and induces a Will save to avoid spending 1d3 rounds just huddled up in fear.


Bats
Two more bats to add to the dire, familiar, and swarm sorts of the first Pathfinder Bestiary. The mobat (CR 3 Large Magical Beast) has been around since the 1E module The Lost Caverns of Tsojacanth, and for whatever reason it was in the Tome of Horrors and has thus come to rest here as well. They are omnivorous dire bats that technically have the same Intelligence score as an ogre but don't actually do anything with it, since the only things they do differently from other bats is that they like to prey on live warm-blooded prey (as opposed to other predatory bats that do exactly the same thing, so...huh?) and like shiny objects.

Skavelings (CR 5 Large Undead) are literally just mobats that have contracted ghoul fever and thus risen as undead with the paralytic bite and slightly greater Strength associated with human ghouls. They are even straight up called ghoul bats, which makes me wonder why D&D and Pathfinder never just straight up went a ghoul template from the start like d20 Modern did, since it would probably lessen the amount of ghoul bats, ghoul wolves, and ghoul god-knows-what-else you see in various bestiaries of both systems. Skavelings are intentionally created as mounts by the urdefhans, weird half ghoul half daemon Outsiders from way later in this book.


Bees
Giant bees (CR 1 Medium Vermin) and their queens (CR 5 Large Vermin) are more of the beasts and bugs from the 3E Monster Manual and subsequent System Reference Document that didn't make it into the first Pathfinder Bestiary and thus washed up here. Since they are giant honeybees, they go around pollinating giant flowers, defending their hives, and other things honeybees tend to do. They also have developed stingers that don't rip out and kill them after one sting like real bees, so they can and will repeatedly stab you with their venom-laden rear end daggers if you anger them. Giant bumblebees get the Advanced Creature simple template slapped on them and deal Constitution damage rather than Strength damage with their stings.

There is also a note on royal jelly, the substance that is fed to a giant bee larva to induce its metamorphosis into a queen rather than a worker. There's 2d6 pounds of it deep in the hive, and eating a pound of it acts as a full day's nourishment, grants a +4 bonus to all saving throws against disease for a full day, and heals twice the amount of HP and ability damage you'd normally heal by sleeping if you sleep within that twenty four hour period. It can also be sound for a hundred gold per pound.


Beetles
Two more giant beetles, if you're of the sort that's into them. Giant stag beetles (CR 8 Huge Vermin) are elephant-sized stag beetles that are carnivorous instead of herbivorous like normal-sized stag beetles. Because everyone knows that herbivores can't be scary, right? It's not like there's an existing giant herbivore that is feared for its power and temperament, like, say, an elephant. Even AD&D had giant stag beetles as herbivores, specifically marking them as dangers to farmers due to their tempers and tendency to devour entire crop fields. Anyway, they're big, mean, and trample prey before eating them.

Its page counterpart is the slicer beetle (CR 4 Large Vermin), a remnant from the first edition Monster Manual II and the world of Greyhawk that came to Pathfinder through the Tome of Horrors. They're giant death watch beetles that have lost their wings and their eyes due to a life spent entirely underground, leaving this nasty flat-bodied critter with large jaws that do exactly what the name implies. These slicing jaws deal 1d6 bleed damage and stagger the foe for 1d3 rounds on a critical hit thanks to how immensely strong and painful the bite is. This is a merciful step down from AD&D and Tome of Horrors's "save or this beetle amputates a limb".



Belker (CR 6 Large Outsider [Air, Elemental, Evil])
Belkers are violent, smoky elementals from either the Para-elemental Plane of Smoke (if you're following AD&D's Planescape setting, where they first appeared) or the Elemental Plane of Air (according to 3E's Monster Manual). They were presented as reclusive and even sometimes conversational creatures that were nonetheless Neutral Evil due to the fact that they enjoyed causing pain to those they hunted. The belker of Pathfinder is a bit less nuanced, as it is entirely xenophobic and very unlikely to chat you up. Belkers hate all non-elemental life, as well as djinn and jann, and will stalk and kill all things they perceive as threats. In spite of appearing to be weird smoke demons, belkers are apparently fully solid, as they have a bite attack, two claw attacks, and two wing attacks. They can also transform into an incorporeal smoke form for up to twenty rounds, at which point they can force a DC 17 Fortitude save or be intentionally inhaled by a foe. Once it's inside a foe, the belker can deal 3d4 untyped damage per round, with the victim continuing to make a Fortitude save each round to attempt to finally cough the belker back up.


Blindheim (CR 2 Small Magical Beast)
Would you be surprised to learn that a humanoid frog with flashlight eyes was originally from the 1E Fiend Folio? I'd guess not. In the first two editions of the game, blindheims were sometimes of animal intellect and sometimes dumb but sapient, as well as color-coded in the manner of true dragons in that different skin colors of blindheim could produce different supernatural effects from their eyes. Neither of these things were retained in the Tome of Horrors, and it is thus that we have Pathfinder blindheims that are more or less the frogfolk equivalent of chimpanzees. They are clever but not sapient omnivores that feed mainly on fungi and small rodents in their cavern dwellings and sometimes hunt in packs. Their main method of both defense and offense is the ability to let loose a thirty foot beam of light from their eyes, forcing a DC 13 Fortitude save to avoid being blinded for an hour. Some races train blindheims to act as living light sources, and both drow and duergar are known to capture them and use them as distractions during raids.


Blink Dog (CR 2 Medium Magical Beast)
These fellows have been around since the classic Greyhawk supplement, so good for them on surviving this long. Over the editions, they have been described as looking like African wild dogs, dingos, and various domestic dogs of all stripes, but their two consistent features have been that they are either Lawful, Good, or both and that they are capable of "blinking" in and out of the physical world. Since they were in the 3E Monster Manual but not in Pathfinder Bestiary Uno, they get dumped here. Blink dogs here are slender hounds with rabbit-like ears, human intellect, and a Paladin mentality. They are loyal to a fault, especially to their pack's alpha, and spend their time traversing the land slaying evil beings. Their greatest foes are the similarly dimension-walking phase spiders. They also have a big culture of astrology, because why not.


Bodak (CR 8 Medium Undead [Extraplanar])
The bodak takes its name from the Gaelic bodach ("old man", or "old penis" if you translate it extremely literally), a rather horrible spirit or faerie that crawls down chimneys to steal away disobedient children and eat them. Besides the name, however, the bodak of D&D and Pathfinder has nothing to do with the Irish boogeyman. Instead, it is the result of a humanoid that has fallen in the most vile parts of the Abyss and become a charred grayish-black undead abomination as a result. It has been around since The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth, and even appeared in d20 Modern's version of the Monster Manual as an undead Gray alien that has been warped beyond comprehension after being exposed to ultimate evil.

Bodaks in Pathfinder are still residents of the Abyss, though not necessarily created there, instead being the afterlife-dwelling result of any soul's warping by "a horrific, occult phenomenon". They are dim-witted beasts that only know their hatred and suffering, wishing nothing more than to inflict suffering on others. Some liches and powerful demons even use this to their advantage and have bodaks as henchmen for murderous purposes. While it can just punch you if it wants to, a bodak prefers to utilize its gaze attack. This gaze has a thirty foot range and forces a DC 18 Fortitude save to avoid 1d4 negative levels if that gaze is met; a humanoid that is killed by a bodak becomes another bodak after twenty-four hours. Luckily, like shadows and most other plague undead, bodaks suffer 3d6 damage per round if exposed to direct sunlight because of their "impure flesh".



Brownie (CR 1 Tiny Fey)
Another creature that went the path of AD&D 1E and 2E to the Tome of Horrors and then Pathfinder. Like their mythological namesakes, brownies are helpful sorts, doing various chores and tasks in exchange for taking a bit of food. Unlike their namesakes, the brownies of D&D and Pathfinder usually live in the woods, only rarely shacking up in households like the Gaelic fair folk do. All brownies carry blades, but are extremely hesitant to actually use it, instead preferring to trick foes with spell-like abilities such as Dancing Lights, Lesser Confusion, Mirror Image, and Prestidigitation before using Dimension Door to whisk themselves away from danger. Also, for whatever reason, these books seem to love having brownies' art make them look like little shits. If you don't get that vibe from the Pathfinder Bestiary 2 image above, you'll probably at least get it from the art in the Tome of Horrors. I mean, look at this little fucker:




Bunyip (CR 3 Medium Magical Beast [Aquatic])
The bunyip is probably one of my favorite creatures from Australian aboriginal folklore. It's a big, mean, and loud aquatic monster that has any number of varying and conflicting appearances, just this beautiful encapsulation of the fear of the unknown into one ephemeral nightmare. And what form has the bunyip taken here? Out of all of its potential nightmarish visages, what one graces the pages of Pathfinder?

...A man-sized hybrid of shark and seal, just like it has was in the Fiend Folio and Tome of Horrors before it.

Bunyips are found in all major shallow waters, both freshwater and saltwater from the tropics to the poles. They are temperamental, especially in the mating season, and feed on all sorts of creatures Small size or smaller. While usually solitary, they come together to mate each spring, with the female giving birth to between four and six pups. A bunyip can go into a Barbarian-style rage if it smells blood, and its hundred-foot radius roar forces all creatures with 4 or less HD to make a DC 13 will save to avoid become panicked for 2d4 rounds.



Next time in the Pathfinder Bestiary: C is for centipede, cockroaches too. They crawl forth from shadows to mutilate you.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Last time, on SYSTEM MASTERY: With nothing better to do, two podcasters unhappily trudged through the ruins of the Synnibarr game system. But little did they know that far in the distance an evil and yet more dangerous book was descending upon the Earth. Now, do our brave dudes stand a chance against this new and terrible threat? Find out, on todays

DRAGON BALL Z... the Anime Adventure Game.

theironjef fucked around with this message at 07:15 on Mar 1, 2016

Asimo
Sep 23, 2007




I still say Mike Pondsmith was one of the best and most unsung writers in the hobby.

... The DBZ RPG is very much not the example I would choose to show this.

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




theironjef posted:

Last time, on SYSTEM MASTERY: With nothing better to do, two podcasters unhappily trudged through the ruins of the Synnibarr game system. But little did they know that far in the distance an evil and yet more dangerous book was descending upon the Earth. Now, do our brave dudes stand a chance against this new and terrible threat? Find out, on todays

DRAGON BALL Z... the Anime Adventure Game.



One of the great things about the following books in this series is that a good chunk of them were just rules kludges and errata to fix the system so that it would work at the rapidly increasing power levels and also could faithfully include stats for the powers they had not planned for. The game was written either without awareness or without foresight, which I guess is true-to-source.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Asimo posted:

I still say Mike Pondsmith was one of the best and most unsung writers in the hobby.

I think Pondsmith has excellent design ideas but often fell down at figuring numbers, which is why games like Castle Falkenstein or Teenagers From Outer Space hold up much better these days as math-lite games.

Quinn2win
Nov 9, 2011

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




OPPOSITION FORCES, PART 3



Count Dracula
The man himself. Invisible to mirrors and cameras, casts no shadows. Staking only immobilizes him until the stake is removed. Burn him, and he'll revive if blood is spilled on his ashes. He can only be slain if his head is separated from his body.

A possibility: Dracula can only be repelled using holy symbols from his time or earlier. So, in order to keep him at bay, you need a crucifix from 1476 (if he's Vlad Tepes) or before. Even trickier is finding a consecrated host that would have any effect on him - even the 'old' form of Mass only dates back to 1570. A 2-point Human Terrain spend finds one of the old churches in Milan that still uses the 8th-century Ambrosian Rite.

The book just straight up says to make Dracula's ability scores as high as you want. If these numbers aren't insane enough for you, go nuts. He's the final boss. +13 Aberrance and +6 Health Regeneration per round on St. George's Eve and St. Andrew's Eve.

quote:

General Abilities: Aberrance 50, Hand-to-Hand 33, Health 33, Weapons 20
Hit Threshold: 8 (Fast, terrifying, experienced fighter)
Alertness Modifier: +3
Stealth Modifier: +3
Damage Modifier: +3 (sword), +1 (bite), +0 (fist, kick)
Armor: -1 (tough skin)
Free Powers: Drain, Infravision, Regeneration (all physical damage at sunset), Unfeeling
Other Powers: Addictive Bite, Apportation (into any place holding his native earth or any room he has been invited into), Break Will, Clairvoyance (assigns, Renfields, anyone he's bitten), Cloak of Darkness, Control Weather, Dominance, Infection, Magic, Mesmerism, Necromancy, Send to Sleep, Spider Climb, Strength, Summoning (bats, foxes, moths, owls, rats, wolves), Turn to Creature (bat, wolf), Turn to Mist, Vampiric Speed
Banes: Beheading, Stake to the heart, Sunlight (blocks all powers). To permanently kill him, you must stake and behead him, fill his mouth with garlic, burn his body, and cast the ashes into running water.
Blocks: Cannot enter a room without being invited, holy symbols, running water (except at slack or flood tide), wild roses, cannot move while staked in his coffin.
Compulsions: None
Dreads: Holy symbols, garlic, mirrors
Requirements: Drink blood, sleep in native soil or a suicide's grave each night
Have fun with that.



The Brides of Dracula

The identities of the Brides are left largely up to the Director. The list may include a Legacy, historical likelies such as Countes Dolingen or Ida Varkony, or one of the other major third-party players, such as [spoilers]Elizabeth Bathory[/spoilers]. The stats given are for Brides who are weaker than their master, but if you want more badass Brides, just take Dracula's block and shave 10 points off of his abilities.



quote:

General Abilities: Aberrance 19, Hand-to-Hand 9, Health 11, Weapons 7
Hit Threshold: 5
Alertness Modifier: +2
Stealth Modifier: +1
Damage Modifier: +0 (dagger), +0 (bite), -1 (fist, kick)
Armor: -1 (tough skin)
Free Powers: Drain, Infravision
Other Powers: Addictive Bite, Cloak of Darkness, Control Weather, Mesmerism (eye contact or voice), Spider Climb, Strength, Turn to Creature (wolf), Turn to Mist, Vampiric Speed
Banes: Beheading, holy symbols, stake to the heart, sunlight (blocks all powers)
Blocks: Can't enter a room without being invited, holy symbols, running water, wild roses, can't move while staked in coffin
Compulsions: Obey Dracula
Dreads: Holy symbols, garlic, mirrors
Requirements: Drink blood, sleep in native soil each night



Renfields

Most of Dracula's Renfields are former Edom operatives or Romanian "Vulturii" special forces, tapped during maneuvers near his castle. Dracula is picky about who drinks his blood, he prefers female subjects to male ones in most cases.

Dracula can spend 2 Aberrance to break the will of any NPC by staring into their eyes, and then another 2 to give his new minion one power from the "Other Powers" list below.

Edomite Renfields: Use the stats of the Edom characters, then add 12 points to General Abilities and +2 to Alertness and melee damage.

Romanian Renfields:

quote:

General Abilities: Aberrance 10, Driving 3, Hand-to-Hand 14, Health 8, Shooting 14, Weapons 10
Hit Threshold: 4
Alertness Modifier: +3
Stealth Modifier: +1
Damage Modifier: +0 (fist, kick), +1 (combat knife, pistol), +0 (AK-74)
Armor: -3 vs bullets and explosions, -1 otherwise (military-grade armor)
Free Powers: Infravision, Unfeeling
Other Powers: Choose one: Spider Climb, Strength, Vampiric Speed, Attacks, Jump In, Mook Shield, +2 to Hit Threshold for a round. In addition: Serve as Dracula's eyes, gaining Pack Attack if he's watching through multiple Renfields at once.
Banes: Sunlight (blocks all powers)
Compulsions: Obey Dracula



The Silent Servants
Stoker's notes refer to an elderly deaf-mute woman and a silent man employed by the Count in England. The fact that both of them are mute is a security consideration - they can't readily spill his secrets.

The Silent Servants may come from Strasba Orphanage, or they might be Dracula's trusted agents, super-Renfields sustained for centuries by his blood. Getting their secrets will require massive Interrogation spends, Notice will be needed to identify them as a threat at all.

quote:

General Abilities: Aberrance 13, Hand-to-Hand 10, Health 9, Weapons 15
Hit Threshold: 4
Alertness Modifier: +2
Stealth Modifier: +2
Damage Modifier: +0 (knife)
Armor: -1 (tough skin)
Free Powers: Infravision, Regeneration (3 Health per roudn), Spider Climb, Track by Smell, Unfeeling
Other Powers: Apportation, Strength, Vampiric Speed (Extra Attacks, Jumping In, Mook Shield, +2 Hit Threshold for a scene, all 2 Aberrance spends)
Compulsions: Eat human flesh, obey Dracula

Next: Other strange creatures.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Angelic Player's Guide: Holy Crap

Kyriotate-specific Discords include Fractured Forces, a Celestial Discord which isolates (Discord's level) Forces. These isolated Forces can still be used to possess hosts, but cannot be combned with the rest of the angel's Forces - so at level 2, you'd have two Forces that could possess something, but could not be used for anything requiring more than 2 Forces. Contrariness is an Ethereal Discord that occasionally causes a Kyriotate's Forces to act against them. Any time the Kyriotate controls a host with Forces less than or equal to the Discod levle, the GM can call for a Will roll. If this fails and the CD is less than or equal to the Discord's level, the vessel acts opposite to the Kyriotate's desires. Inner Echoes is an Ethereal Discord. While in a host, the Kyriotate suffers the effects of an Ethereal Discord based on the host's personality quirks at a level equal to Inner Echoes, as the trait becomes magnified by the angel's presence. Inseparable Forces is a Celestial Discord similar to Fractured Forces. The Discord causes (1+Level) Forces to be inseparable - so if you have it at level 5, you have to put at least six Forces all in one host.

Stereotypes posted:

Seraphim: They know nothing of tact or subtlety. They know the truth without recognizing truth can be relative. Truth, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.
Cherubim: How they stand being tied to a single charge is completely beyond us. They are steadfast and devoted to their duty, but their single-mindedness blinds them to seeing the bigger picture.
Ofanim: They understand our need for movement. If they could experience what is like to be in many different places at once, they would like it. They just need to learn patience to go with their boundless energy.
Elohim: If any of the Choris can understand the challenge we face, it's the Elohim. The Powers know how difficult it is to avoid drowning in all the different feelings and perspectives of humanity.
Malakim: They only understand one point of view, honor. They are like lasers: intensely focused and burning hot. They are powerful allies when you need a job done, but don't try reasoning with a Malakite or getting in his way, or you'll regret it.
Mercurians: They share our interest in humanity and the corporeal world. They are smooth. They should give lessons on how to work a crowd.
Balseraphs: They know a little too nuch about subtlety. They can tell you night is day and make it seem true. Learning to see things from different perspectives can help expose some of their lies.
Djinn: Perversity incarnate, they take the holy guardian role once theirs and twist it until it is unrecognizable. We must protect humans from their gentle "care."
Calabim: They take the easy way out. They know it is easier to destroy than to create. We help build up what they tear down.
Habbalah: These are sad creatures. They lost their hold on reality, and subsequently lost their place in the Symphony. Do not become drawn into their twisted beliefs.
Lilim: Beware their webs or you'll end up losing the freedom they claim to spring from.
Shedim: They are our dark reflections. They use mortal lives without any concern for their well-being, trying to draw humans down into Hell with them. They've lost their divine multiplicity...it's up to us to protect humanity from their ever-increasing corruption.
Impudites: They may be good at taking, but we're better at giving.

Mercurians are charged with relating to mankind, and are the least divine of the angels. In the Archangels, they are represented by Eli and Marc. Famous Mercurians include Iptriel, Angel of Haggling, Elysia, Angel of Toys, Nisroc, Angel of Spies, Requel, Angel of Counsel, Lang, Angel of Foresight, and Etienne, Angel of Diplomacy.

Mercurians typically do work that invoplves observing or influence humanity from within. They are spies, propagandists and envoys, and also work as patrons of the arts and preachers of faith. Many Mercurians dislike organized churches, however. They have an innate sense of politics and relationships, and they see churches as instruments of control rather than faith. They especially dislike televangelists. Un Heaven, Mercurians are politicians. It was Mercurians that tried (and failed) to prevent the Rebellion, and now they work closely with and advise the saints and bodhisattva. They also act as spies for their Archangels, keeping an eye on everyone else and ensuring no one group is counterproductive to the whole. Mercurians prefer Roles that put them in contact with many people, such as administrators, bartenders, couriers, detectives, doctors, entertainers, journalists, lawyers, politicians, psychologists or religious leaders.

Mercurians adore humans and their ability to have itnense emotions. They love all forms of artistic expression, as long as the motivation is pure. They curse any art born of impurities like hate or greed, and any art that encourages evil behavior. More than anything, they weep for the degeneration of modern artistic culture. Because they are so closely tied to humans, they overlook nothing. Humanity and society are like art - to be studied and experienced in their fullest.

A Mercurian that focuses on an individual rather than a group can discern characteristics about a person. They roll at -2, but are able to tell what a person enjoys or desires via their resonance. CD 1 gives the target's most immediate desire - what they most obviously enjoy or need. CD 2 tells you what desire currently motivates them or would bring a smile to their face. CD 3 gives their basic desires or what would make them happy for a few days. CD 4 gives deeper desires, which would make them happy for an extended period. CD 5 tells you their deepest desires, which would make them very happy indeed. CD 6 gives secret desires, whic would grant the greatest amount of joy or fulfillment for a very, very long time. A Mercurian may focus even deeper, rolling at -4 to tell what must be done to get someone to trust them. CD 1 tells what would be needed to gain trust for at least a conversation. CD 2 for a day. CD 3 for a few weeks. CD 4 for a few months. CD 5 for as long as a close relationship is maintained. CD 6 is forever. This doesn't help you actually do the thing - you just know what's needed.

While Mercurians prefer to help rather than harm, they must sometimes be aggressive. They do so by creating social trouble. Using their knowledge, they can generally take someone out of action for a long time without causing physical harm. Cops and trumped-up charges are a favorite. However, that's not simple. Sure, some hot-button accusations like child abuse can eat up hours without any proof, but most of the time you need evidence. You may need to plant evidence - but ehy, now you have a use for the bodies that drop around your Malakite friends. Mercurians find pretty easy to frame someone, though - they can tell if someone's had legal trouble before with their resonance, after all. They also know how to distract a target with their friends and relationsips. They don't hurt people, but they can manipulate them very, very easily.

Mercurians gain dissonance by violence except against demons. Unfortunately, sometimes violence seems unavoidable. You can get attacked by humans - and in those cases, you still have to solve things nonviolently. Songs can help with that. Hellsworn, of course, are still human - you get dissonance if you hurt them. Better have friends who can fight for you. Sometimes, even then, you have no choice. A human has left you no other option, or is so wicked that you have to end them. As long as you're sure you're doing right, you have to eat the dissonance and hope it can be removed later. The best way for a Mercurian to remove dissonance is to directly atone for their sins, righting the wrongs they did to their victims. If you kill a human, no atonement is possible, of course. But nonlethal violence can be atoned for by receiving forgiveness and mending any damage done.

Common Discords among Mercurians include Unnerving Stare, a Corporeal Discord that makes your gaze really creepy and penalizes all interpersonal relations, though it is not unique to Mercurians. Tongue Tied is an Ethereal Discord that penalizes all verbal communication due to difficulty speaking. Oblivious is a Celestial Discord that blinds you to emotional states and cues that you'd normally pick up on. Other Choirs sometimes get a version of this, except related to their own resonance instead of the Mercurian grasp of social stuff.

Stereotypes posted:

Seraphim: When we talk about the "straights," this is who we mean. They just don't get it. Why can't they learn to deal with mortals?
Cherubim: They show admriable dedication and are pretty cool guys, but they're so darn focused. Cherubs should look up from what they're protecting for once, and experience the world in which their wards live.
Ofanim: Whoo-hoo! Slow down, Tex! The Ofanim are a bit frazzled, but they can be a lot of fun.
Elohim: How can they live like that? There's a place for objectivity, but all the time? The Elohim need to let their hair down, so they can enjoy God's creation. That's what it's here for.
Malakim: Surprisingly enough, we get along. We do the talking, and when the talking doesn't work they come in and clean things up. Not to mention the fact that they cut out the cancer within society.
Kyriotates: They know how to experience. Rock on. They're probably our favorite teammates when a job needs to be done.
Balseraphs: As if there weren't enough problems in society without some demon who can make his lies real. Loath them, for their work makes life more andm ore difficult for those humans they affect.
Djinn: Yes, they understand dedication. But a Djinn's understanding of dedication is sick.
Calabim: Life is about creation, not destruction. Works of art that took a lifetime of inspiration and dedication to complete withstand but a thought from these monsters.
Habbalah: Emotions are sacred, part of what makes humanity special, and not to be toyed with. People have enough trouble keeping control of their emotions without the Habbalah to make things worse. "Oh, you're an angel, eh? Come here, I'll show you an angel."
Lilim: They may be fun, but keep two things in mind about the Lilim. One: wrong kind of relationship, kids. Two: beauty is only skin deep.
Shedim: There are some things people need not experience.
Impudites: Our Fallen brethren are sick perversions of what we are. We hate them, and reserve our repressed violence for them.

So, Archangels! Archangels are some of the bueiest beings in the world. They concentrate on the big picture of the War and their Word. Most are preoccupied with Heavenly duties and politics, and all of them spend a lot of time dealing with the work of Heaven and thousands of people each day - to say nothing of their angels on Earth that may need attention. While Archangels can be in many places at once, they can't divide themselves infinitely. They are pretty accessible, but prefer not to be troubles unless it's real important. Getting to Earth means they like you, even if you rarely speak to them. Archangels know every one of their angels by sight and name, but they expect you to be self-sufficient. Visits are generally rare, and your direct boss is probably a Wordbound if you even have one.

Still, an Archangel doesn't want you out of touch too long. Most Archangels delegate the direction of their Earthly servitors a lot, except for Jean and Dominic, but they do expect reports to come up the chain of command. You might be close to your direct boss, or they may just contact you by phone once a week for progress reports. Some angels operate outside the chain of command, however - favored servants for special missions often reprot direct to an Archangel. Even so, they shouldn't expect to see their Superior too regularly. There's only two times an Archangel usually wants a meeting - when giving orders for an assignment, and when hearing from them after an assignment is completed. If they have to communicate in the interim, typically they'll send a messenger instead. Likewise, not all invocations result in a personal apperance - an Archangel can send intermediaries to answer invocations.

When meeting your boss, it is best to be discreet. You don't air dirty laundry in front of other Words, and rewards and punishments are almost always handled one-on-one unless public praise is part of the reward. Invocations are best done in private, and if you dare to question, criticize or deliver bad news, it's definitely best to do so in private. Archangels are also very busy, so it's be st to be brief and to the point. They appreciate that. Be reasonable, as well - even Archangels have finite resources. If you need help, ask, but never ask for more than you need and never ask for help you can get from elsewhere. If your Archangel gives you a gift, don't get greedy, either. A Rite, Song or material reward is probably a reasonable request after a moderatly important success, but don't ask for more than you expect to get. Archangels don't haggle and they value humility over pride. And, of course, always be polite. Even the most casual Archangels expect respect. Dissent may be permitted, but always be tactful. Rudeness will get you nowhere, and no Archangel tolerates insubordination...but remember, no one likes groveling.

So, when will you get a personal audience? Pretty rarely. The most likely reason is that the PCs invoke an Archangel. That gets their attention and a response, even if not a personal manifestation. They might project an image or speak to their angel telepathically, or they might send a minion...or, if they already know what you want, they might just provide that without showing up. This is often preferable - Superiors manifesting is really, really loud. Some Archangels give orders directly before each mission, at a time and place of their choosing. And if they assign the mission personally, debriefing is also probably personal as well. Just as questioning or refusing orders is a bad idea, reporting failure is rarely pleasant. Debriefings can be scheeduled or by invocation. Success makes these meetings more pleasant, but never be arrogant or expect massive gratitude. You're just doing your job.

However, sometimes an Archangel will just drop in on you. These visits are often to check on progress or demand explanation for questionable actions. However, Archangels do have relationships, and often quite like their angels. Sometimes they really do just want to see how you're doing. This can cause anxiety, but it never hurts to invite them for dinner when they show up. Sometimes they even like to socialize! However, Archangels do nothing without ar eason. They may be friendly and casual, but there's something on their mind, and you should probably wonder what. Some Archangels also prefer their audiences to be held in Heaven. This is usually more formal, and always less private - other angels will be around taking notes, relaying messages and obeying orders. Be polite. Any angel can choose to ascend to Heaven, and Archangels always know if one of theirs has arrived in Heaven. They usually won't meet them quickly, if at all. If it's a Kyriotate forced off Earth, an intermediary will probably demand explanation, then send the angel back to Earth, though the Archangel will likely ask about it later. If it's an angel in trauma, there are angelic 'nurses' around to tend to them. Those that ascend to Heaven to meet their ARchangel can expect a long wait - no one but another Archangel can meet an Archangel without an appointment.



Sometimes, an Archangel will give you a job they expect to fail. Usually they won't tell you, but there's ways to find out. Sometimes they'll explain why after, sometimes not. ARchangels have a lot of balls in the air at any time, and even the most important angel is just another resource. Most Archangels don't like to send you off on suicide missions, but sometimes, it must be done. Some missions are just distractions, too, to divert the other side from a real mission elsewhere. Sometimes they're even trying to misleado ther Archangels. Angels on those jobs are bait, and while the objectives may be valid, they might just be drawing fire. Sometimes, an Archangel just wants recon, too, and feints can provide that...but they're not easy on the angels involved. It's rare for an Archangel to say a mission was intended to fail even afterwards - it's bad for security and morale. Angels chosen for those jobs might be troublemakers that aren't worth so much, or proven warriors guaranteed to cause a lot of chaos and reaction. Either way, if they survive, they're going to be rewarded, and success will be rewarded far more than usual. An ARchangel's favorable reaction after a disaster might be the only clue that something was up, though. And sometimes, you're set up to fail as a lesson in humility, to try and keep you far from a Fall. Archangels worry about dissonant angels, and missions designed to teach them may be hard on the ego but can really help. And, of course, sometimes they want to see how you react. If you endure without complaint, they'll respect you more - but that doesn't always mean you get rewarded. Those that lose faith or get angry afterwards become suspect, unlikely to be given greater responsibilities.

We've seen how Archangels act in person, so we quickly move on...divine intervention! Most commonly, what you get out of a divine intervention is just a beneficial coincidence - some unexpected piece of luck. The car chasing you blows a tire, a clue falls into your path, a noise distracts the people looking for you. These are usually low-key, though sometimes they can be dramatic. An amplification is the next most common - a temporary increase in ability, making you succeed massively. These aren't obvious, but are noticeable. An amplification might increase a stat for a roll or an attack' Power, and they'll definitely effectively give a CD of at least 6 on whatever you were trying. Respite is a form intervention that grants relief - you get exactly what you need. Your wounds might heal supernaturally, your Essence might refill, you might find money in your wallet or gas in your tank. It's rarely dramatic but certainly obvious. Intercession is one of the more overt forms of intervention. Angels might descend from Heaven to help you, a friendly Soldier shows up, an angry bear appears to chase your enemies away. Usually, this aid will return where it came from when it is not needed any more, but not always. The Hand of God is the rarest form of intervention - a literal divine miracle. Perhaps not a dramatic or overwhelming one, but one which everyone can tell is Divine power in action. This sort of intervention should generally be reserved for climactic events.

The game then provides guidelines on each type of intervention based on how important the roll involved is. This is not very interesting.

Next time: Angelic Youth

Lynx Winters
May 1, 2003

Borderlawns: The Treehouse of Pandora

That Old Tree posted:

One of the great things about the following books in this series is that a good chunk of them were just rules kludges and errata to fix the system so that it would work at the rapidly increasing power levels and also could faithfully include stats for the powers they had not planned for. The game was written either without awareness or without foresight, which I guess is true-to-source.

After the line was cancelled, the one of the supplement writers went on record as saying they knew the system was busted from the ground up and had to write like it wasn't.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Fossilized Rappy posted:

Bodak (CR 8 Medium Undead [Extraplanar])
The bodak takes its name from the Gaelic bodach ("old man", or "old penis" if you translate it extremely literally), a rather horrible spirit or faerie that crawls down chimneys to steal away disobedient children and eat them. Besides the name, however, the bodak of D&D and Pathfinder has nothing to do with the Irish boogeyman. Instead, it is the result of a humanoid that has fallen in the most vile parts of the Abyss and become a charred grayish-black undead abomination as a result. It has been around since The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth, and even appeared in d20 Modern's version of the Monster Manual as an undead Gray alien that has been warped beyond comprehension after being exposed to ultimate evil.

Bodaks in Pathfinder are still residents of the Abyss, though not necessarily created there, instead being the afterlife-dwelling result of any soul's warping by "a horrific, occult phenomenon". They are dim-witted beasts that only know their hatred and suffering, wishing nothing more than to inflict suffering on others. Some liches and powerful demons even use this to their advantage and have bodaks as henchmen for murderous purposes. While it can just punch you if it wants to, a bodak prefers to utilize its gaze attack. This gaze has a thirty foot range and forces a DC 18 Fortitude save to avoid 1d4 negative levels if that gaze is met; a humanoid that is killed by a bodak becomes another bodak after twenty-four hours. Luckily, like shadows and most other plague undead, bodaks suffer 3d6 damage per round if exposed to direct sunlight because of their "impure flesh".

As someone with a soft spot for skeletons and skeleton-like undead (thanks, Harryhausen), I really like these Bodaks. One of their possible origins is that of the all too curious scientists who observed the multiverse and saw something now mortal was meant to see, essentially burning out his eyes and sanity in the process.

That Old Tree posted:

One of the great things about the following books in this series is that a good chunk of them were just rules kludges and errata to fix the system so that it would work at the rapidly increasing power levels and also could faithfully include stats for the powers they had not planned for. The game was written either without awareness or without foresight, which I guess is true-to-source.

I can only assume they only kinda-sorta tested the game for starting characters and found it to be good enough. Why it didn't occur to them to have the numbers scale exponentially or even logarithmically (if you really have to do DBZ in a non-abstract way), I have no idea.

OvermanXAN
Nov 14, 2014


Doresh posted:

I can only assume they only kinda-sorta tested the game for starting characters and found it to be good enough. Why it didn't occur to them to have the numbers scale exponentially or even logarithmically (if you really have to do DBZ in a non-abstract way), I have no idea.

One thing I've gotten from reading these threads is that a lot of RPGs seem to have this problem. I mean, on the one hand with Rifts, White Wolf, or [Insert Heartbreaker Here] you can credit it to lack of (good) editing, amateurishness, or what have you, but it seems to just be common in general that people don't consider probabilities, how numbers are going to scale, or how things are going to balance in general. It seems like a systemic thing in the industry.

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:

Still, an Archangel doesn't want you out of touch too long. Most Archangels delegate the direction of their Earthly servitors a lot, except for Jean and Dominic, but they do expect reports to come up the chain of command. You might be close to your direct boss, or they may just contact you by phone once a week for progress reports. Some angels operate outside the chain of command, however - favored servants for special missions often reprot direct to an Archangel. Even so, they shouldn't expect to see their Superior too regularly. There's only two times an Archangel usually wants a meeting - when giving orders for an assignment, and when hearing from them after an assignment is completed. If they have to communicate in the interim, typically they'll send a messenger instead. Likewise, not all invocations result in a personal apperance - an Archangel can send intermediaries to answer invocations.

When meeting your boss, it is best to be discreet. You don't air dirty laundry in front of other Words, and rewards and punishments are almost always handled one-on-one unless public praise is part of the reward. Invocations are best done in private, and if you dare to question, criticize or deliver bad news, it's definitely best to do so in private. Archangels are also very busy, so it's be st to be brief and to the point. They appreciate that. Be reasonable, as well - even Archangels have finite resources. If you need help, ask, but never ask for more than you need and never ask for help you can get from elsewhere. If your Archangel gives you a gift, don't get greedy, either. A Rite, Song or material reward is probably a reasonable request after a moderatly important success, but don't ask for more than you expect to get. Archangels don't haggle and they value humility over pride. And, of course, always be polite. Even the most casual Archangels expect respect. Dissent may be permitted, but always be tactful. Rudeness will get you nowhere, and no Archangel tolerates insubordination...but remember, no one likes groveling.

This is like those gag comics of monsters playing Actuaries and Accountants. It's two paragraphs of how to act in a corporate setting, and as somebody who's just been exposed to that for the first time I can't tell if Angels working like that is sad or hilarious. If it's part of the satire it's brilliant: Angelic middle-managers! Heavenly KPIs! Dress codes for Vessels?

I want to know if it's part of the French satirical origins of the game.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Silent Legions


Game Master Resources - Red Rags and Shards of Bone

This final chapter includes several optional rules and charts, a lot of which was commissioned by the highest backers of the original Kickstarter campaign. So a big thanks to Matthew B., the guy who commissioned my favoite part of this chapter (which you'll surely find out once we get there). You rock.

Aside from the excellent Lovecraftian Name Generator which I used for the pantheon, there are the Secret Adepts of the World, which lets you quickly roll out the origin and backstory for a historical occult figure to splice into the PC's investigations (like say a Greek philosopher who wanted to become a god, became as strong as Heracles in the process and actually managed to accomplish his goal - sorta.).

Conversion Rules

Now here comes the fun part. The new rules and mechanics introduced in Silent Legions can be readily adapted to Starts Without Number, Other Dust and other Crawfordian games.

As there are a couple additional skills in Silent Legions, and the classes have more skills in general, it is recommended to give all of the old classes one additional skill point per level. Madness rules can be use as-is, and they replaced the attribute damage from torching, which makes life for Psychics a bit more easier.

To make combat even more dangerous, the Slaughter Die can introduced as well. Since a lot of weapons didn't make it into this book (this being modern day and all), there are guidelines to figure out the die size for the other weapons. Suffice to say, you really don't want to get hit by a Gunnery weapon.

Sorcery and Disciplines can also be used by anyone, so now your space marine can use pyrokinesis to punch aliens.

When Expertise is ported over to the SWN classes, a couple things change: Warriors can spend Expertise to not only reroll, but also attack rolls, which is amazing.
As the Expert's old "Like a Charm" ability basically worked like Expertise, it now ha the Expert pick a number of his skills which are now rolled on a 1d6+6 instead of a 2d6, guaranteeing average or above-average results.
Psychics don't really get much, but they can now spend Expertise to essentially torch without repercussions, just like how everyone can spend Expertise to avoid the Madness gained from Sorcery and Disciplines.

It should also be noticed that laser pistols and plasme rifles still don't do anything against critters that are immune against ordinary weapons. You still need magical or truly alien weaponry.

As all OSR games are kinda sorta similar in structure, one can use the mechanics in this book for other retroclones and old editions. The book more or less recommends to just wing it: Keep the Saving Throws from the other edition and pick the one that makes the most sense for the occasion, and instead of combing up with class skill lists for every class, just pick the list from the Silent Legion (or SWN class) that seems to be the most fitting.
Speaking of skills, the combat skills might not be a good choice for other OSR editions, as they primarily exist to make up for the lack of magical +x weapons.
As for Vancian magic, just use it as normal, without Madness or anything.

Since Silent Legions is inspired by Call of Cthulhu, there are conversion rules for that system as well. For the most part, you can use CoC monsters and critters as-is. Just replace SAN loss with Madness, convert hit chances to attack bonuses, figure out which Saving Throws to use to counter which supernatural ability, and you're more or less done.

And now for our main program. Sometimes, you want a more noblebright game aout Lovecraftian horror. Sometimes, you have to bring out the natural enemy of Cthulhu and his nefarious gang.

Sometimes, you need El Santo.

Luchadores Against Cthulhu

Luchadores are a class choice for Crawfords Solo Heroes rules (and by extension Exemplars & Eidolons), which allow you to run a typical D&D adventure with a single PC.

They aren't a real class, you just add the luchadore stuff on top of your actual class(es). Their unarmed attacks are treated as magical (so they can suplex Cthulhu), they deal non-lethal damage by default and don't gain Madness from beating people up that way, they gain automatic levels in the Combat/Unarmed skill, and they can spend Expertise to reroll attack rolls.
Unlike everyone else, a Luchadore's Madness only goes to 20, at which they don't become insane, but instead go into a heroic frenzy that only stops until they have accomplished their goal. It's like a Maid Stress Explosion, basically.

Luchadores also gain one special ability form a list each level, but most of them can only use them while in their masked persona. Nobody is lalowed to see them change into this persona, but once the mask is on, nobody will recognize them, and they can only be unmasked if they want to.

The abilities in question are just amazing. Here's a highlight reel:

  • Adoring Fans: Turns out one of the NPCs was a big fan of you all along.
  • Bulletproof: Spend Expertise to become immune against gunfire for a round. You can even wait until you're actually hit before using this.
  • Defender of Innocents: Enemies must succeed at a Magic save to target innocent bystanders instead of you.
  • Friend of the People: Don't know where to go? Just summon a friendly NPC out of nowhere.
  • Invincible Will: You can stay concious for a few rounds after hitting 0 HP.
  • Mano a Mano: If you're alone, your opponent's entourage can't interfere with your duel.

Dark Visions

These optional rules give the PCs a chance to get "infected" with random visions upon reaching enough Madness. The vision is usually not very helpful, but the PC can concentrate to gain possible insight (a way for the GM to give some clues they have missed). This does however cause further Madness and additional side effects, like going blind for a moment or spontaneous bleeding.

The Secret Degress of Prince Hall Freemasonry

This is an example for a benevolent organization that might help out the PCs. More specifically, it's an African-American branch of the Freemasons largely made up of survivors of occult and Eldritch activity. They are heavy into the study of traditional magic, which gives the GM an excuse to introduce more traditional arcane spellcaster classes form other retroclones.

The Palimpsest Society

These guys are hilarious. On the outside, it's just a splintered sect whose members waste their time with silly conspiracy theories. But what's actually going on is that the higher-ups of the cult are serving Azug-Koth, the White Wind of Revision. They deliberately spread conspiracy theories, and if enough people believe they are real, Azug-Koth makes them real. Including chemtrails.

This also opens additional options to crash a cult of the society: Instead of just killing everyone, the PCs can convince them that they're wrong, or they can dilute the conspiracy theory by making poo poo up themselves, for the whole trick only works if the right pieces and names are used.

The Goat Mother

The Goat Mother is a fertility goddess of sorts, though she not only birthes life, but also ideas. This does mean that her cults don't just do sex orgies. Jam sessions are also fine.

The leader of any Goat Mother cult will use their meetings to sap attribute points from the rest. Once he has gathered enough, he can have the Goat Mother give birth, be it new life, an invetion or idea. Unfortunately for the leader, these creations will always oppose their actual purpose.

All in all, followers of the Goat Mother never get what they want.

Mythos Abberations

This is a short list of charts to roll up all sorts of Eldritch-related stuff, be it the motivations of a monster, or what's especially weird and uncanny about them.

Shadows in the Sky

These are some ideas about how to include occult horror into Stars Without Number, with a few examples. Basically, it might be something in the background, something that's the main focus of the entire campaign, or something that happens for a single adventure or two.

The Ordo Sevorum Lux

It turns out that faith can actually create gods, though they don't hold a candle to the outer gods and are more like larvae.

The Ordo Sevorum Lux was created after the fall of Rome and is tasked with finding forgotten shrines and other places of faith where these larvae are still bound to. If possible, they have to somehow retrieve them and bring them back to base, like some kind of religious Pokemon.

School Days

Campaigning in a university setting! Probably not something for long-term campaigns unless you make it Harry Potter I suppose. Man, imagine having an Elder Thing as a teacher...

Unit 13

Another organization of Eldritch survivors, this time being a military brotherhood that has members in almost every army.

They didn't put a 13 in their name for nothing, for each and every one of them is cursed to die a violent death. This is also their main motivation for keeping all this Eldritch stuff secret from the rest of the world, as facing people with the truth can actually spread this curse.

Next Time: That's it, ladies and gents. How to play CoC in OSR format without making it about murder hobos. For my next topic, I have considered Valor, but I'll wait a bit with that one as I've just entered a campaign. So in the meantime, I will take a look at the other natural enemy of the Eldritch forces aside from El Santo: magical girls. It's time for Sparks of Light, which I think is Princess the Hopeful, FATE and Noblebright Edition.

Doresh fucked around with this message at 21:47 on Mar 1, 2016

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



OvermanXAN posted:

One thing I've gotten from reading these threads is that a lot of RPGs seem to have this problem. I mean, on the one hand with Rifts, White Wolf, or [Insert Heartbreaker Here] you can credit it to lack of (good) editing, amateurishness, or what have you, but it seems to just be common in general that people don't consider probabilities, how numbers are going to scale, or how things are going to balance in general. It seems like a systemic thing in the industry.
I think it's a case of the author knowing how they want the system to work, but not being able to put that into a book other people can use to learn it on their own because a) the original author isn't good at writing, and b) they've internalized so much of the system they probably don't think about it anymore, or will auto-house-rule anything that doesn't work.

A lot of it is also probably a lack of blindtesting.

Hunt11
Jul 24, 2013



Grimey Drawer

Count Chocula posted:

This is like those gag comics of monsters playing Actuaries and Accountants. It's two paragraphs of how to act in a corporate setting, and as somebody who's just been exposed to that for the first time I can't tell if Angels working like that is sad or hilarious. If it's part of the satire it's brilliant: Angelic middle-managers! Heavenly KPIs! Dress codes for Vessels?

I want to know if it's part of the French satirical origins of the game.

It could be. Reading a lot of the content for the setting and it does really feel like the war between heaven and hell is a clash between two businesses

Asimo
Sep 23, 2007




Alien Rope Burn posted:

I think Pondsmith has excellent design ideas but often fell down at figuring numbers, which is why games like Castle Falkenstein or Teenagers From Outer Space hold up much better these days as math-lite games.
Yeah, that's definitely fair. It doesn't help that the late-era RTG stuff was generally pretty bad due to the horrible Fuzion system, which is rather annoying since Interlock (the Cyberpunk ruleset) wasn't bad and HERO wasn't bad (... mostly) but the two together was... well it's a good example of 90's-era generic system design failures. It had the worst elements of both.

TFOS is still great too, since it looks and plays like most modern rules-lite stuff with most of the rules focused around keeping to genre... except it came out thirty years ago.

OvermanXAN posted:

One thing I've gotten from reading these threads is that a lot of RPGs seem to have this problem. I mean, on the one hand with Rifts, White Wolf, or [Insert Heartbreaker Here] you can credit it to lack of (good) editing, amateurishness, or what have you, but it seems to just be common in general that people don't consider probabilities, how numbers are going to scale, or how things are going to balance in general. It seems like a systemic thing in the industry.
Definitely. There's a lot of reasons for it, but a few big ones are things like the idea that if something's broken then the players at home can houserule it (and thus why bother making the rules tight and transparent), and a long held idea that focusing on rule mechanics means you're a bad roleplayer and you just shouldn't care about balance man have fun!! (as seen in 90's white wolf).

Evil Mastermind posted:

I think it's a case of the author knowing how they want the system to work, but not being able to put that into a book other people can use to learn it on their own because a) the original author isn't good at writing, and b) they've internalized so much of the system they probably don't think about it anymore, or will auto-house-rule anything that doesn't work.

A lot of it is also probably a lack of blindtesting.
This too. Technical writing is surprisingly hard, and RPG rulebooks require technical writing and good editing and the hobby just isn't really big enough for most of the smaller companies to pay for that when a clunky set of "good enough" rules sells the same amount.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



The one I'm reading now for next episode shoots itself in the foot by being by overly specific and poorly edited, such that a lot of the spelling errors just turn pointless noodly skill sections I probably would have just skimmed into hilarious comedies.

OvermanXAN
Nov 14, 2014


Oh man, is it going to be as amazing as the skills in Haven: City of Violence? Because I want to know what my chance to Loch Ness Monster is in whatever glorious mess you've found now is.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



OvermanXAN posted:

Oh man, is it going to be as amazing as the skills in Haven: City of Violence? Because I want to know what my chance to Loch Ness Monster is in whatever glorious mess you've found now is.

Well if this spoils it for anyone don't announce it to anyone else but you have a chance in surgery to remove a gaul bladder. Presumably that means that everyone in this world has a 2200 year old Celtic guy's bladder in them.

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010



Lipstick Apathy

Cross-posting from the TG Kickstarter thread

Covok posted:

Has [Monte Cook] still not fixed the Death Spiral in [Cypher/Numenera] yet?

Okay, I'm going to end up defending Monte Cook's Cypher System here, because the shittiness of the "your stats are also your health" is a little overblown and underrepresented. It's something that neither I nor Tulul managed to cover in our respective F&F's before they petered out:

On taking damage:

* Whenever a character takes damage that is untyped, it first reduces their Might stat. Certain effects/attacks will sometimes specify whether they'll hit your Might, Speed or Intellect stats directly.
* If the character's Might is already 0, then the damage goes to Speed instead
* If the character's Speed is already 0, then the damage does to Intellect instead
* Any damage reduction applicable against the original type of damage still applies. That is, if the character has 1 Armor, and then takes 3 damage, but their Might is already 0, then they take 2 damage to their Speed stat.

On Numenera's damage track:

* If all three of your stats are positive, then you are considered Hale. No penalties
* If one stat is at 0, then you are considered Impaired. That means that applying Effort (spending stat points to reduce the DC of a task) costs more, cannot gain the benefit of a Minor Effect (an marginally better check result obtained when the player rolls a natural 19), cannot gain the benefit of a Major Effect (an exceptionally good check result obtained when the player rolls a natural 20), and only deals 1 extra point of damage if their attack roll is a natural 17 or higher
* If two stats are at 0, then you are considered Debilitated. That means that they cannot do anything except crawl to things that are within an Immediate distance away. If their Speed pool is one of those that are set to 0, then they cannot move at all.
* If all three stats are at 0, then they are dead.

On recovering stat points:

* Make a Recovery Roll, which is a d6 + character level tier.
* The result is how many points you can restore to your three pools, to be distributed as you wish, up to their maximum value
* The first Recovery Roll you make only costs one Action, or your one turn during combat time
* The second Recovery Roll you make costs 10 minutes
* The third Recovery Roll you make costs 1 hour
* The fourth Recovery Roll you make costs 10 hours. It's assumed that making the fourth Recovery Roll means you bed down for the day, such that your next Recovery Roll after this costs one Action again
* The book does mention a certain expectation that players might want to do the first and second Recovery Rolls back-to-back, and it allows that.

Now, I'm still not going to recommend Cypher as A Good Game, but it's not nearly as dire as it's sometimes made out to be.

The bigger issue, at least in my mind is that the ad copy says this:

quote:

Character generation in the Cypher System is smooth and concept driven: Your character is literally defined by a sentence—I’m a [_____] [_____] who [_____s].

I'm a Driven Explorer who Hunts with Great Skill.
I'm an Honorable Warrior who Stands Like a Bastion.
I'm a Tongue-Tied Adept who Exists in Two Places at Once.

Your stats, skills, abilities, and even your connections to the other characters are defined by those choices. Character creation is really easy, and puts concept first. At the GM’s end of the table, the Cypher System is a dream to run. The game system frees you from onerous mechanical details and lets you focus on building awesome, imaginative campaigns, encounters, and stories.

And then the rulebook has this:




Barudak
May 7, 2007



gradenko_2000 posted:

On taking damage:

* Whenever a character takes damage that is untyped, it first reduces their Might stat. Certain effects/attacks will sometimes specify whether they'll hit your Might, Speed or Intellect stats directly.
* If the character's Might is already 0, then the damage goes to Speed instead
* If the character's Speed is already 0, then the damage does to Intellect instead
* Any damage reduction applicable against the original type of damage still applies. That is, if the character has 1 Armor, and then takes 3 damage, but their Might is already 0, then they take 2 damage to their Speed stat.


Based on how I'm reading this, it sounds like even worse than I was imagining in so far as it targets and cripples might or dex characters over int characters. Are there plenty of int attacks or some other mechanic to balance out that they have a larger health pool/damage buffer before they start taking hits?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


OvermanXAN posted:

One thing I've gotten from reading these threads is that a lot of RPGs seem to have this problem. I mean, on the one hand with Rifts, White Wolf, or [Insert Heartbreaker Here] you can credit it to lack of (good) editing, amateurishness, or what have you, but it seems to just be common in general that people don't consider probabilities, how numbers are going to scale, or how things are going to balance in general. It seems like a systemic thing in the industry.

One of the reasons I will always go to bat for Sanguine (Ironclaw's designers) is that it feels like they're one of the only companies I've played that has a clear idea of how to handle scale in their system. For instance, every PC in Ironclaw will have, at least, two d8 level stats. One of the core conceits of the system is most enemies will only have d6s unless they can finagle situational modifiers. So you always, always have something where you're a cut above and that translates directly into a die with a 25% chance of rolling a number the average mook literally can't beat no matter how well he rolls. It's a good, solid way to get across that the PCs are significant people, but can't totally brush the common soldier aside.

I'll be starting a genuine review soon. IC2e has, over the course of running it a bit, basically taken the prize as my favorite low-fantasy RPG. They fixed most of my complaints from 1e, really got the most out of their system, and even dropped the dumb numerical merits and flaws system!

Plus, I think Mors Rattus called it 'Walt Disney Presents The Borgias' and that is completely accurate.

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010



Lipstick Apathy

Okay, something else that caught my eye.
Look at that Jump Distance chart:



To be able to jump 30 feet with a short running start is a Difficulty 10 Task

Then, lets go to the the basic task difficulty chart:



A Difficulty 10 Task has a Target Number of 30 on a roll of d20.

You know what else needs you to roll 30 on a roll of d20?



That's right, the long jump rules from the D&D 3rd Edition Player's Handbook.

LatwPIAT
Jun 6, 2011

Do I need a title?

gradenko_2000 posted:

You know what else needs you to roll 30 on a roll of d20?



That's right, the long jump rules from the D&D 3rd Edition Player's Handbook.

Two systems both topping out at a 30 feet jump being the most difficult, at DC 30, could just be a coincidence. However, I'd note that the "Immediate Run" jump distances are exactly half the "Short Run" jump distances - mathematically equivalent to the PHB 3e rule that having less than 20 feet of running before the jump doubles DCs. Is the Cypher/Numerana rule for "Short Run" that it has to be at least 20 feet long?

Crasical
Apr 22, 2014

GG!*
*GET GOOD


Barudak posted:

Based on how I'm reading this, it sounds like even worse than I was imagining in so far as it targets and cripples might or dex characters over int characters. Are there plenty of int attacks or some other mechanic to balance out that they have a larger health pool/damage buffer before they start taking hits?

Yeah, I'm with Barudak, that looks pretty drat bad insofar as 'death spirals' go.

Mystic Mongol
Jan 5, 2007

Your life's been thrown in disarray already--I wouldn't want you to feel pressured.



College Slice

Two jumping systems, scaling at two different geometric rates, are going to cross somewhere. One system jumps 3 DC every 2 feet, the other 3 every 3. This is just the insufficiency of small numbers, rearing its ugly head once again.

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010



Lipstick Apathy

LatwPIAT posted:

Two systems both topping out at a 30 feet jump being the most difficult, at DC 30, could just be a coincidence. However, I'd note that the "Immediate Run" jump distances are exactly half the "Short Run" jump distances - mathematically equivalent to the PHB 3e rule that having less than 20 feet of running before the jump doubles DCs. Is the Cypher/Numerana rule for "Short Run" that it has to be at least 20 feet long?

Cypher defines Immediate distance as "within reach, or within a few steps, at most 10 feet", and Short distance as "anything greater than Immediate distance but less than 50 feet".

So a "Short Run" in Cypher is at least 10 feet long.

Covok
May 27, 2013

Yet where is that woman now? Tell me, in what heave does she reside? None of them. Because no God bothered to listen or care. If that is what you think it means to be a God, then you and all your teachings are welcome to do as that poor women did. And vanish from these realms forever.


gradenko_2000 posted:

Cross-posting from the TG Kickstarter thread


Okay, I'm going to end up defending Monte Cook's Cypher System here, because the shittiness of the "your stats are also your health" is a little overblown and underrepresented. It's something that neither I nor Tulul managed to cover in our respective F&F's before they petered out:

On taking damage:

* Whenever a character takes damage that is untyped, it first reduces their Might stat. Certain effects/attacks will sometimes specify whether they'll hit your Might, Speed or Intellect stats directly.
* If the character's Might is already 0, then the damage goes to Speed instead
* If the character's Speed is already 0, then the damage does to Intellect instead
* Any damage reduction applicable against the original type of damage still applies. That is, if the character has 1 Armor, and then takes 3 damage, but their Might is already 0, then they take 2 damage to their Speed stat.

On Numenera's damage track:

* If all three of your stats are positive, then you are considered Hale. No penalties
* If one stat is at 0, then you are considered Impaired. That means that applying Effort (spending stat points to reduce the DC of a task) costs more, cannot gain the benefit of a Minor Effect (an marginally better check result obtained when the player rolls a natural 19), cannot gain the benefit of a Major Effect (an exceptionally good check result obtained when the player rolls a natural 20), and only deals 1 extra point of damage if their attack roll is a natural 17 or higher
* If two stats are at 0, then you are considered Debilitated. That means that they cannot do anything except crawl to things that are within an Immediate distance away. If their Speed pool is one of those that are set to 0, then they cannot move at all.
* If all three stats are at 0, then they are dead.

On recovering stat points:

* Make a Recovery Roll, which is a d6 + character level tier.
* The result is how many points you can restore to your three pools, to be distributed as you wish, up to their maximum value
* The first Recovery Roll you make only costs one Action, or your one turn during combat time
* The second Recovery Roll you make costs 10 minutes
* The third Recovery Roll you make costs 1 hour
* The fourth Recovery Roll you make costs 10 hours. It's assumed that making the fourth Recovery Roll means you bed down for the day, such that your next Recovery Roll after this costs one Action again
* The book does mention a certain expectation that players might want to do the first and second Recovery Rolls back-to-back, and it allows that.

I'm aware of how the system says to take damage, how the damage track works, and recovering stat points: it's still a pretty rough death spiral.

As you either take hits or use your stat pool, you both lose the ability to use more points and, eventually, start going down the condition track which makes you spend even more points. Once you lose two stat pools, you're just useless and waiting for death anyway. And, still, your boosts to every action are your hit points so applying effort to anything is putting you one step closer to character death.

While Recovery Rolls mitigate this slightly, remember the system has combat. Only your first recovery roll of the day can save you in-combat. A tough battle is really vulnerable to the death spiral effect.

Furthermore, not only does it gently caress might based characters even more, it's worth noting that players can and are expected to expend effort to avoid damage.

It, really, feels like it could be easily fixed by just making the Health system something like "PCs Health is equal to the total of the maximum value of their Stat Pools and + 10 if you're a Warrior." Then the condition track doesn't make you bleed health quicker and you could put the "do nothing" option at a more reasonable 1 HP than just 2/3rds of your overall health.

Quinn2win
Nov 9, 2011

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




OPPOSITION FORCES, PART 4

Telluric Vampires
Don't want Dracula to be a minion of hell? Want a more comic book science explanation? Go for telluric vampires! The short version: Van Helsing was wrong, vampires are a mutation born of bacterial infection and a connection to Earth's natural cycles.

Telluric Powers
Telluric vampires get their own list of special powers they can use, each one being an Aberrance spend as per normal vampire powers. Some of them are established powers, but working slightly differently.
  • Clairvoyance: Achieved via attuning to the bioelectric field of an infected minion.
  • Control Earthquakes: Agitate fault lines, trigger earthquakes or volcanic eruptions. The further from a tectonically unstable position, the more Aberrance this costs.
  • Control Weather: Manipulate ground temperature and electrical fields to impact weather over land. Harder over sea.
  • Dominance: Resonate telluric currents with victim's bio-electric field to hypnotize them. Insulating the victim from the ground disrupts the signal.
  • Electrical Distortion: Aberrance spends scramble electronics in the area, disrupting phones, cameras, computers, or other sensitive equipment.
  • Electrical Senses: See electrical fields. 360-degree perception, vision in total darkness, sense movement at great distance.
  • Invisibility: Manipulate charges in the optic nerve, making it impossible to look directly at the vampire without seeing strange optical illusions.
  • Necromancy: Use bacteria and telluric stimulation of the nervous system to create ghouls or zombies.
  • Regeneration: Health regeneration rate varies from 2 (in a Faraday cage) to 16 (standing on native soil) per hour.
  • Summoning: The bacteria can spread to warm-blooded organisms, and then telluric wave signals can be used to signal the colony to rejoin the host.
  • Tracking: Not by blood, but by gait and movement pattern. Whenever the target walks, it's like a sonar ping for the vampire.

Banes
  • Destructive Resonance: Vampire electric fields cycle in harmony with telluric currents. Disrupting it will mess up their powers.
  • Lunar Rocks: The moon's telluric field is alien to the earth's telluric field, so it messes them up. A bullet made of lunar rock is fatal to a vampire.
  • Stake to the Heart - Wood's no good, the stake must be an electrical conductor. As long as it stays in, the vampire is paralyzed.
  • Sunlight: Telluric currents shift during the day, making vampires lose their powers by day regardless of light exposure. On the flip side, some vampires might have inverted polarities, losing their powers by night.
  • Meteoric Iron: Same concept as the lunar rocks - the Widmanstätten lines found in metallic meteors short out earthly telluric fields. These lines would be broken down by melting the meteorite into the bullet, though, so creating any tools to use this method would be its own operation.



Blocks
  • Discontinuities: If a telluric vampire had to move from a granite mountain range to a sedimentary basin, they'd have to stop and adjust to the shift in telluric intensity at the boundary. Running water is a hard block, building foundations are a soft block.
  • Garlic: Certain plants absorb a telluric signature from the soil they grow in. A string of garlic bulbs has the same effect as a discontinuity, intensity depending on the type and growth conditions.
  • UV Light: It damages the bacteria in upper tissue layers, causing immediate damage. 1d6-1 damage per hour from exposure.

Dreads
  • Garlic: Alternative take, garlick strengthens human immunity to the vampire bacteria, and gives the vampire the equivalent of a debilitating fever.
  • Mirrors: As the counter to the telluric invisibility method, vampires instinctively loathe them.

Requirements
  • Drink Blood: Replenishing cells ravaged by bacteria.
  • Sleep on native soil: Acts like a transformer, changing foreign telluric currents into something the vampire is more attuned to.

Third Forces
So, that covers Edom and Dracula, but who says they were the only players in the game? These are all totally optional, and a lot of them could either be Independent, Edom, or Conspiracy aligned.



Abhartach
Blood-drinking dwarf from Irish myth, only slain by a sword made of yew wood. A tyrant magician in life, an undead menace in death. The Tour Guide might have a connection with Abhartach, or even be one.

quote:

General Abilities: Aberrance 23, Hand-to-Hand 12, Health 15, Weapons 8
Hit Threshold: 5
Alertness Modifier: +2
Stealth Modifier: +1
Damage: +0 (bite), -1 (fist)
Armor: -2 (leathery skin)
Free Powers: Drain, Infravision, Regeneration (all physical damage at sunset)
Other Powers: Control Weather, Howl, Leap on Shoulders (works like Mook Shield but applies to melee attacks), Levitation, Magic, Strength, Vampiric Speed
Banes: Beheading, stake to the heart, sunlight (blocks all powers), only permanently dead if staked, beheaded, and buried upside-down
Blocks: Can't enter a room without being invited, running water, yew wood
Dreads: Specific holy symbols (Christian? Druidic?)
Requirements: Drink blood, sleep in native soil



Alraune
The military documents from Projekt Mandragora vanished shortly after World War II. So, no record of Abteilung agent "Alraune" exist, but she did. She was active from 1901 to 1910... and born in 1899.

Alraune is the product of secret German eugenics experiments. She matured unnaturally quickly, and was manufacturing disasters by 1905. In 1910, she provoked the burning of a barn in Ököritófülpös, killing hundreds. Frank Braun, the head of Projekt Mandragora, decided to distance himself from Alraune as she became more and more casually lethal.

Things went downhill from there, as Alraune infiltrated Councilor Jakob ten Brinken's home and extracted all the secrets of her origins from him over the course of two months. Now having enough material to duplicate the research that created her, Alraune vanished.

It's not clear whether Alraune was a genetic experiment, an evolutionary leap, or a plant monster, and she's probably still at large. Over the 20th century, she may have been trying to establish a new race, meld her own gifts with vampiric blood, or pursue beings that may lay claim to her evolutionary pinnacle.



Alraune can plant a mandragora seed in fertile ground or (for extra Aberrance) someone she has seduced. Three weeks later, a mandragora with all of its mother's memories emerges, killing the host. If Alraune is killed, her howl does 1d6+4 damage to anyone who hears it, and if she has any mandragoras, one will grow into a perfect copy of her in 2 to 8 years.

Independent
Alraune has been gaining power since 1911, all the while trying to avoid drawing attention to herself. She seeks to better understand her own origins, which may involve digging into occult lore or vampiric secrets. The Psychic, The Anthropologist, or The Petroleum Executive might be backed by her. If it suits her needs, she may help the agents, before all evidence of her involvement vanishes in another mysterious fire.

Edom
Is Alraune a prisoner of Edom on board the Prosperine? Is she a special asset, working through an arrangement with "D"? What does Edom have that Alraune needs or wants?

Conspiracy
Alraune may have fallen under Dracula's influence, maybe even being a Bride. She could be running a midlevel Conspiracy node, such as Leutner Fabrichen or Klopstock & Billreuth.

quote:

General Abilities: Aberrance 10, Hand-to-Hand 6, Health 10, Shooting 9, Weapons 8
Hit Threshold: 5
Alertness Modifier: +2 (+4 in dense vegetation)
Stealth Modifier: +1 (+3 in dense vegetation)
Damage Modifier: +1 (stiletto), -1 (fist, kick), +1 (pistol), +0 (bite)
Armor: -1 (fibrous skin)
Free Powers: Addictive Bite, Drain, Heightened Senses (smell blood), Hive Mind (with other Mandragora), Regeneration (all damage after spending 6 hours in contact with fertile soil), Unfeeling
Other Powers: Howl (3 points, aim at one target, +4 damage as extreme shock), Lustful Dreams (damages Stability), Mesmerism, Seduction, Summoning (vines), Stealth, Tunneling, Vampiric Speed
Banes: Fire (additional +1 damage), defoliant
Compulsions: Reproduce
Requirements: Must sleep in fertile soil once per week



The American Vampire

In 1866, James Brown was discovered drinking the blood of a fellow sailor in the hold of the Atlantic. Officially, he was sentenced to death, but President Andrew Johnson thought (or was adviced by Edwin Stanton) that a vampire would be a valuable asset for American agendas. James spent the next 25 years evading attempts to enlist him, records eventually reporting his transfer to the US Government Insane Asylum in Washington DC, in 1892. Nobody knows all the details, but the American government finally had a vampire.

The American Vampire has been discreetly involved in conflicts ever since, under the Secret Service, then the OSS, then the CIA. Then, in 1977, something happened - the details are blurry, but the vampire went insane during a mission in Romania, killing a lot of people before the asset could be stabilized and reclaimed. Maybe Edom knows the details, maybe someone else does.

The Carter administration moved the vampire over to the Defense Department. New goals: Push R&D on vampire blood and military applications. The information gets blurry again here - the asset was compromised by an outside force, or one of the bodies from the Romania incident was a relative of the CIA director, or the vampire was comatose after the incident. Now, the American Vampire is housed at Fort Detrick, Maryland, hidden from the outside world until he's needed again.

CIA
The whole last paragraph up there is a lie. The American Vampire is still active and still working for the CIA. America's vampire program is why Edom keeps poking the Dracula beehive - the US has a success story, a microcosm of what could be possible if they could get him on their side.

Edom
An encounter with Dracula during the 1977 mole hunt drove the American insane. Afterwards, he was picked up and brainwashed by Edom during the cleanup. The vampire is now a double agent, hijacking America's biowarfare research for Edom ends. This is how the Seward Serum was created.

Conspiracy
Following the Romania incident, the vampire was left under Dracula's control. All of the Serum V made by the CIA is tainted with Dracula's blood. Whenever he deems it necessary, Dracula can awaken a midnight army inside America's defenses.

Alternate Names
Caroline Harrison, Edwin Brown, Quincey Morris(!).

Alternate Descriptions
Late-50s heavyset woman, pale skin, 19th-century sensibilities and style mixed with modern day fashion. Early 20s, intense predatory eyes, dark hair, wiry build, black nondescript clothing. Late 30s, rangy, gray eyes, long hair neatly styled.

Defining Quirks
As still as the dead, wears sunglasses at night, conversation is always direct and to the point.

Next: History's baddest ladies, plus more weird poo poo.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Angelic Player's Guide: Holy Insert Word Here, Batman

Angels are people, and they can vary a lot within the general bounds of being angelic and being part of their Choir. Young angels are relative - the eldest angels predate the creation of the universe, while others are young even by human standards. The youngest are those who were made to replace casualties or those who were made to eventually contest for a Word that did not exist in the past. A few are children of other celestials, while others are relievers newly made into full angels. Archangels don't create angels as often as Princes create demons - they prefer quality over quantity.

A young angel will have 9 Forces, but will rarelyh ave many attunements and certainly no Discordo f any kind. They will generally have only one vessel - there's enough problem with learning to act human before they start worrying about multiple identities, as a gneeral rule. Typically they will have had a few years in Heaven before going to Earth, and their Roles rarely have a Role over level 2. They are rarely given artifacts or understand how useful they can be - or servants, for that matter. They tend, instead, to be quite good at Skills and Songs.

Young angels tend to be rather ignorant of the power struggles between Superiors and the tricks you can use your attunements for. They also know practically nothing about human society, and tend to find most human practices baffling. They aren't, however, ignorant. They learn very quickly, and they know a lot of facts - it's just the interpretation of them that tends to confuse them. They often take things at face value. It's impossible to lie in Heaven, so they often have trouble with the ideas of lies or hypocrisy. They may have trouble grasping that a government may not always act in the best interests of its citizens, or that charities might spend more on their administrators than on helping people. Oftne, they are assigned to work with more experienced angels, who will act as mentors and show them the ropes. These rookie celestials are also rarely given missions of critical importance unless there's no one else around...but often their assignments do end up quite important due to chaos encountered on the job. These younger angels can end up ignored or pushed aside by their elders if they are insufficiently assertive, as well.



Veteran angels, who have been around for centuries without becoming Wordbound, are the NCOs of Heaven, training new recruits and preventing disasters. They have a lot of room to pick up obscure tricks, artifacts or attunements. Many have Forces beyond the standard 9, but others do not, perhaps because they lost Forces in battle over the years. This is even possible for angels who have been around since before the Rebellion. Age and power aren't the same, after all. Still, elder angels do have some advantages. They may have attunements from other Archangels or very high Role levels. They might even have special Rites or distinctions if the GM allows it. However, they also are the angels that most often start play with dissonance or concealed Discord. Malakim may have extra oaths, while elder Seraphim might have names thatm ake Earthly dealings more difficult.





Elder angels tend to be more independent and assertive, which can be good or bad depending on your Archangel. They are often somewhat burned out and apathetic, especially if they've spent a lot of time on Earth. Many have fallen in love with the world and care rather less about celestial politics than they probably should. They are also given the tougher jobs, as they have more experience. They are expected to have finesse and discretion, able to handle diplomacy with Hell or other Archangels. Some of them are fanatics, weakened by battles against Hell and lacking Words and rank because they're too busy fighting the War directly.

Most angels are made, not born. Archangels create them by an act of will, binding together loose Forces and imbuing them with knowledge. Superiors rarely make many angels - they're mostly done to replace dead or Fallen ones. Archangels prefer fewer but higher quality servants to hordes. However, once in a while two angels will fall in love and want a child of their own. This is most common among angels who serve a Word related to families or children, and the most frequent angels who wish to have a child are those of Creation, Children and Flowers, but even War will start families once in a while. Angel reproduction is rather more complex than that of humans. Most celestials lack the power to bind Forces into a new being, so they need an Archangel's help. (The Grigori were the exception to this.) Eli will always help, and Novalis almost always, but others will ask a lot of questions, particularly Dominic, who finds the request highly irregular. A couple that serves different Superiors can ask either for help, but it's prudent to get permission from both.

Not, mind you, that Archangels helping must be either parent's Superior. That's just tradition and manners. Angels who are desperate can approach anyone...but few except Eli will want to meddle, as most see this defiance indicates closeness to a Fall. (Eli will never refuse to help create new life.) Once an Archangel cooperates, the two angels join their celestial forms in union. Each parent contributes at least 1 Force to make the new angel, and can give up to 1 of each type. The Archangel takes these Forces and binds them along with loose Forces from the Symphony to create a new 9-Force angel. (In theory, you might make a reliever, but it is not done.) The newborn angel's Choir depends on the parents. If the parents are the same Choir, so is the child. If not, the child is whatever Choir the parent that gave more forces was, or randomly determined if they gave equally. The newborn angel's sex is entirely up to that angel, as an angel's sex has no biological component at all, and many angels don't have one at all. It is tradition for the new angel to join the service of the Archangel that helped with the birth, but it is not required. Only the Grigori did not require the help of an Archangel, as their vessels could reproduce freely.

Angelic childrearing is quite different from humans - a newborn is fully functional and adult. The parents generally provide them with training, teaching them all the things angels can only learn by experience - tricks with attunements, the unwritten rules, how to handle dissonance and Discord or get along with other Choirs, and of course how to avoid demonic traps. Most angels, however, are made. 'Born' angels are rare, and there is often a sense that they are somehow a bit different. They have a reputation for independence and even rebelliousness, and some elder angels claim that these children act more human than other angels.



Angels and demons can produce children the same way...but few Superiors will help. Only Eli of any Archangel might help, and even then, the demon would need to be a Renegade on the path to Redemption. The Princes of Hell will usually help, though, because a child is a hostage for Hell and a step towards the angelic parent Falling. Only Saminga would refuse. The newborn is always an angel - they haven't had a chance to Fall. Their Choir is that of the parent that contributed the most Forces, with the exception of Lilim - the child of a Lilim and an angel always takes after the angel. The newborn has no Heart and is born Outcast and Renegade. They rarely survive long unless they get to a Superior fast. Usually they will side with Hell and the Prince that helped make them, but a few choose Heaven and appeal to the mercy of an Archangel. A very few remain neutral, surviving by the help of allies. Those who live in Hell Fall very quickly, while those that remain in Heaven tend to be scrutizined closely for signs of backsliding.

Celestials in corporeal form can have sex, but vessels are sterile. The Grigori, of course, could reproduce normally, but otherwise you need the Song of Fruition. Angels are forbidden to interbreed with mortals and even knowing the Song is grounds for trial. The Princes aren't so strict, but there still aren't many demonic children out there - there's good practical reasons not to have kids. A child is a target for anyone that wants to hurt a demon, and desiring achild requires a certain level of affection and commitment few demons possess. Angels also really do not like it, and do their best to kill any demonic parents. Human children require 9 months to gestate, and an angel in a female vessel will need to conceal the pregnancy somehow - possible for those serving less attentive Superiors, but good luck doing it to Dominic. This is why most angelic children have angels for fathers, not mothers. The offspring of a celestial and a human is human, mostly, as we covered in the Corporeal Player's Guide. Kyriotates, of course, may have sex and produce children normally...but it's the child of the host, not the Kyriotate.

Relievers, meanwhile, are heavenly spirits of lesser power than angels. They have no Choir and have between 3 and 8 Forces. They are sent to Earth only to accomplish small and specific goals, such as watching over something important but not important enough for an angel. They also assist angels on Earth as servants. They rarely have vessels, save for those that become Familiars. Relievers can use Songs and celestial abilities, but cause Disturbance much like any angel does and are more vulnerable to celestial combat than human servants. They tend to do small tasks and helpful deeds, but are often very knowledgeable about their job and the things around it. You can play as a reliever, if you wanted to for some reason. They're essentially identical to angels in most ways, save that they have no Choir or resonance and have less than 9 Forces. They most often end up facing off against their counterparts from Hell, the imps and gremlins. When a reliever gains a 9th Force, they become an angel of whatever Choir their player and the GM feel is most appropriate, usually based on their personality, attunements and jobs they've done.

Then we get some talk about mixed games, but it's basically the same as from the GM's guide, but less interesting and more longwinded. so, instead, we get talk about Heaven's hierarchy. At the top you've got oyur Superiors, who command the Host. Below them you have, generally speaking, angels with Words and distinctions. As one gains distinctions and rises in the ranks, they will be given command over others - typically Soldiers, relievers and other non-angels at first, and only other angels once leadership potential is proven. Not every favored angel is given command duties, however - especially if they are really, really good field agents. They get rank and can usually expect cooperation from others, but tend not to have direct subordinates.



Most angels ultimately seek to gain a Word. There's a lot more Words than there are angels. When an Archangel wants a Word filled, they'll first look over their ranks. If someone seems suited for the Word, the angel will begin to be groomed for it, often without their knowledge. When the Archangel believes them ready, they will approach and offer them the chance to apply for the Word. If there is no clear choice for candidate, an Archangel will carefully observe and test the possibilities and weed out the unworthy first, then set the rest to compete. Some prefer this method, since it relies on merit and ability, but others prefer to have only one candidate to present before starting. Occasionally, there will be no suitable angel, and sometimes an Archangel will create an angel with the goal of filling the Word. This is rare, but does happen. Typically, this celestial will not be told they're being gromed for a Word until they become worthy of it.

Any angel can apply for any vacant Word, but if the Word falls under their Superior's umbrella, the Superior's support is needed. If it falls under someone else's Word, that Archangel's support iwll be needed - not just for the Word, but to switch Superiors. You can't gain a Word without transferring to the service of the Archangel it falls under. If the Word doesn't seem to fall under any Superior's word, you can apply for it and it will become part of your boss's Word, which can result in some strangeness. An applicant's petition is public and can be contested or supported by any other angel. The Council considers all petitions and chooses whether or not to grant the Word. They must first consider if the Word needs an angel to oversee it, and it's best if you can demonstrate how your prospective Word will serve Heaven and not be counter to the Host's policies. (For example, the Word of Purity has remained vacant on the basis that Uriel's recall means that Purity is unlikely to serve Heaven's current strategy correctly.)

Next time: Teaching to the test

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010



Lipstick Apathy

Barudak posted:

Based on how I'm reading this, it sounds like even worse than I was imagining in so far as it targets and cripples might or dex characters over int characters. Are there plenty of int attacks or some other mechanic to balance out that they have a larger health pool/damage buffer before they start taking hits?

Crasical posted:

Yeah, I'm with Barudak, that looks pretty drat bad insofar as 'death spirals' go.

Covok posted:

I'm aware of how the system says to take damage, how the damage track works, and recovering stat points: it's still a pretty rough death spiral.

Okay, yeah, I concede the point if it's still actually really death spirally. I just really wanted to make sure we were covering the appropriate rules since, as I mentioned, it's never been gone over before in F&F's.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Barudak posted:

Based on how I'm reading this, it sounds like even worse than I was imagining in so far as it targets and cripples might or dex characters over int characters. Are there plenty of int attacks or some other mechanic to balance out that they have a larger health pool/damage buffer before they start taking hits?

Non-spellcasters can never have nice things. Some things never change.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Mr.Misfit
Jan 10, 2013

The time for
SkellyBones
has come!


Not, if Monte Cook has a say about it.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Post
  • Reply