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Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Also at least Albedo did something interesting with the whole furry thing, with the various species actually being really seriously different but with the 'we are a created people' being used to fuel a sense of existential terror as they slowly try to fill in all the cultural mortar and glue we take for granted because they didn't start with millennia of history.

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Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Albedo and in general the early anthropomorphics are generally more interesting, IMO (full disclosure: I have seven volumes of the Usagi Yojimbo Saga on my shelf), because they predate the kind of softcore sexualized slurry that came to overwhelm a lot of the furry community as it is now. Not that you didn't have that sort of thing back then, too, it was just one flavor out of several.

Not that there's anything necessarily wrong with that sort of thing per se, but like most offbeat fetishes, it doesn't hold much appeal outside of its dedicated audience.

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007





Alien Rope Burn posted:

What's funny is that there are already two perfectly acceptable furries-in-space RPGs: Albedo and Mutants in Orbit. Neither is exactly a classic of the RPG industry, but it's trivial to find a better furry space game than Hc Svnt Dracones.

whoa whoa whoa

Let's not say things we can't take back.

Tasoth
Dec 12, 2011


I haven't read more than a handful of pages in Eclipse Phase, but wouldn't that be easy to reskin into scifi anthropomorphic things? I feel like it would given the concept behind the game.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Yes of course but then it'd be a game where Owl Slenderman wants to kick in the teeth of a bunch of heavily idealized anarchists using a reputation economy as opposed to the teeth of a bunch of heavily idealized libertarian capitalists using a credit and reputation economy.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Hostile V posted:

Yes of course but then it'd be a game where Owl Slenderman wants to kick in the teeth of a bunch of heavily idealized anarchists using a reputation economy as opposed to the teeth of a bunch of heavily idealized libertarian capitalists using a credit and reputation economy.

My favorite part of HSD's dumb as poo poo backstory is the smug corpers 'smiling slyly' in their boardrooms about how perfect their libertopia is going to be.

Then all being loving dead within 20 years.

Like none of the people who originally planned the crazy libertopia actually survived the nuclear war and slenderman issues.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012






Night10194 posted:

My favorite part of HSD's dumb as poo poo backstory is the smug corpers 'smiling slyly' in their boardrooms about how perfect their libertopia is going to be.

Then all being loving dead within 20 years.

Like none of the people who originally planned the crazy libertopia actually survived the nuclear war and slenderman issues.

"Hey lets explore earth"
*everyone dies*
"Hey let's go explore earth!"
*Everyone dies and the earth is covered in red crystal*
"Hey let's go explore earth!"
*everyone dies and the crystal expands to the moon*

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



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

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Kurieg posted:

"Hey lets explore earth"
*everyone dies*
"Hey let's go explore earth!"
*Everyone dies and the earth is covered in red crystal*
"Hey let's go explore earth!"
*everyone dies and the crystal expands to the moon*

I mean the gently caress else are you supposed to do in the game.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012






Night10194 posted:

I mean the gently caress else are you supposed to do in the game.

Fight against miscegenation and make sure that robo-moms can only have robo-babys with robo-dads.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

PurpleXVI posted:

Thanks for phrasing it that way, gives me an excuse not to post until we cross midnight CET.



It's happening.

That picture is a technological helltentacle away from being that eclipse phase cover.

DicktheCat
Feb 15, 2011



Has no one who made HSD had contact with a corporation in real life? Like ever?

They obviously don't know history and what happens when corporations actually have free reign to do whatever.

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




DicktheCat posted:

Has no one who made HSD had contact with a corporation in real life? Like ever?

They obviously don't know history and what happens when corporations actually have free reign to do whatever.

Captain Planet villains are, like, the least bad outcome of that.

LatwPIAT
Jun 6, 2011

Do I need a title?

Tasoth posted:

I haven't read more than a handful of pages in Eclipse Phase, but wouldn't that be easy to reskin into scifi anthropomorphic things? I feel like it would given the concept behind the game.

Eclipse Phase doesn't have nearly enough rules for playing winged antropomorphic animal-centaurs that can breed with robot-animals.

Tasoth
Dec 12, 2011


DicktheCat posted:

Has no one who made HSD had contact with a corporation in real life? Like ever?

They obviously don't know history and what happens when corporations actually have free reign to do whatever.

I'm going to make the assumption that the author of HSD is American, and therefore thinks that "corporations are made of people and people are good, so corporations will be good!" Or else they're young enough not to have actually work inside a corporation.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Hc Svnt Dracones: Sound and Silence



I figured there'd be no point to reposting the cover since you guys have already gotten a glimpse of that as a teaser(EDIT: but I was reminded that once this was archived, the teaser post wouldn't be. So I edited it back in.), so welcome to Sound and Silence, the HSD lore book. It's split into two parts, the Sound part, which is the stuff that anyone in-setting can figure out just by being gregarious and doing a bit of research, i.e. what player characters could reasonably expect to know, and the Silence part, which are the setting's DEEP DARK LORE SECRETS that you could base entire adventures around discovering, and which the book tells prospective players NOT TO READ! Because they could be spoiling themselves! Obviously I'd expect every drat player to completely ignore that warning.

The .PDF's got about 200 pages, roughly 100 of which are dedicated to the corporations(I'm sure that's gonna be a ride) and about another ten to the SHADOW PRESIDENCY which, if you'll remember, is HSD's weird political setup where there's a president, but no one knows who the president is, except the people who do, and somehow this makes him unaccountable because he can't be pushed around by the corps, and the SHADOW PRESIDENT can just decide to have people killed to maintain the balance, and like everything else in the lore writing it's a shitshow. Because somehow this means that their corporate wonderstate is actually a dictatorship where someone can laugh and push a button and assassins make you explode. But no guys it's actually good and promotes liberty because.


Don't forget the moon turned into a giant crystal eyeball full of blood space ghosts that's connected to Earth which is also a giant crystal full of blood space ghosts.

HISTORY

So the book starts off, after the index and that little author's note, with a recapping of the background fluff of the original game. Go ahead and read the original review if you can't remember all the intricacies: http://projects.inklesspen.com/fatal-and-friends/purplexvi/hc-svnt-dracones/ But it can basically be summarized as follows: "Nation states get annoyed that corporations are making genetically engineered furry slave labour, corporations declare all-out war against nation states, Mars is terraformed, corporations ship their furry slaves to Mars and emancipate them, Earth ends up getting nuked, all the human get eaten by bloodspace ghosts, years pass, furries now colonize and terraform essentially the entire solar system amidst their wondrous anarcho-liberal paradise society and also they've invented true AI and magic."

Mostly this recap is noteworthy in the book for being accompanied by some fresh art. In the first book, one of the first genetic experiments was described as a "lion with wings." This new art, uh.



I guess it's more like a lion with a distorted human face, wings and tits, presented by Tony Stark.

That aside, the actual history section starts with the interesting and novel idea that perhaps the history, as presented so far, has been subject to heavy corporate editing and may, in fact, be large amounts bullshit meant to keep the losers in line and stop them fantasizing about things like "governments."(Never mind that they basically have one anyway) This entire section also runs in two concurrent bars, one down each side of the page, which are split by a timeline that's incredibly blurry and unreadable even though the rest of the text is relatively crisp. What is editing. Anyway, then we get yet another, more detailed, re-run of the History So Far, but this time with "this is the stuff that's dubious." Except the reasons for it being dubious are, themselves, dubious. For instance...

Sound posted:

The number of pets that died or were created to begin with is also unconfirmed. The party line is tens to hundreds of thousands, but discrepancies exist with the proposed population of these large creatures (even the non-bipedal ones were close to human sized in most cases, if not larger) and food consumption data for the time. The original genomes for custom pets did not include any particular sort of metabolic curbing aside from their short lifespans. Each one of human stature should have eaten, drunk, and otherwise consumed a little less than a human would. Census data that has survived from this period has a hard time supporting the supposed bloom in numbers, suggesting that the overall population of the creatures may have been much lower than is generally taught.

The very idea that there would be enough data on "food consumption" in any case, much surviving data in the aftermath of an apocalypse, to extrapolate the number of living, human-sized creatures to within anything even vaguely accurate is absolutely retarded.

It also feels like this is generally written by someone other than whatever corporate fellators wrote the original book(at a check, there's only non-art credit for one guy for both books, Pierce Fraser, though an editor, Tim Wu, appears to have disappeared by the time of Sound and Silence), had a hand in this one, considering that Sound and Silence actually goes: "Hm, maybe people were pissed that corporations were seceding and refusing to pay taxes, and voted in people who'd start taking shots at them to win back some resources and sovereignty for nation states. This seems pretty understandable!" Like, for a moment it makes me go: "Well, yeah, gently caress those corporations, obviously they were the bad guys, this book seems like it's got things r-" and then I stop, and I remember that this is the sort of loving poo poo that got us 90's era garbage fluff like SLA Industries, where the first book or however many set up an indisputable fact-based fluff base and background history, and then whatever is latest in line goes: "YEAH WELL IT WAS ACTUALLY LIKE THIS, ALL THE WIZARDS WERE ACTUALLY SCIENTISTS AND THE ENTIRE SETTING WAS THE DREAM OF A CRAZY GUY WHO WAS BEING HALLUCINATED BY A DOG WHO WAS DYING IN A STORY WRITTEN BY A 12-YEAR-OLD AND THAT 12-YEAR-OLD WAS BARACK OBAMA."

It's dumb loving hack writing, "twists" like that have never been clever. So long story short probably the corps were in the wrong after all and they also committed a fuckload of war crimes and used nukes and bioweapons to have even the slightest chance of winning, that's why they got their dumb asses nuked which for mysterious reasons probably related to ghosts, aliens or alien ghosts, got the entire Earth nuked in the end.

ECONOMY

Note, this section is not just about the economy. And I'm glad for that because the things that ARE about the economy are very dumb and need diluting to not hurt me too badly.

Sound posted:

Sol does have government. Several, in fact. By human standards, most corptowns exist in what would probably be described as a benevolent dictatorship (and the “benevolence” is largely due to general changes in perception).

I wonder if the writer feels smug writing this. Like I really do. Did he really consider himself to have GOTTEN ONE OVER on the readers of the first book? Does he think he's blowing their minds? Or is this some desperate cover-my-rear end after all the critique of the fuckpile he wrote the first time around?

Sound posted:

Life persists and is able to thrive because the entities on the top of the heap can’t really get much higher through things like needless exploitation or enslavement, and generally have no ego-driven need to beat people down in order to enforce some sort of lifestyle model (primarily because, at that level, there’s pretty much no personal need that can’t be filled technologically instead).

Oh, phew, thank God here we loving go. It's back to just being normally retarded again. Did you guys know that once you're rich enough to basically have whatever you need, your corporation and its corporate practices are no longer overtly exploitative or dickish just because that wouldn't make any sense, huh guys, did you loving know that?

What follows is then like a high school essay on how corporations are totally FLIM-FLAMMING THE RUBES, MAN, and how value is, like, artificial, puff, puff, and oh man did you know that a CAR and a CHAIR are basically equally easy to 3D-print? And that corporations will sometimes have PLANNED OBSOLESENCE? I know my mind is blown. Ultimately it ends up as a lovely excuse for why and how, under the GLORIOUS DAY-TRADING BOT REGIME, there are both poor people and rich people. The takeaway is that everyone's basically rich but the ones who are less rich are the ones who are dumb enough to fall for corporate propaganda, and the truly rich and free(tm) are the ones who are survivalists holed up on asteroids with their own 3D printers and fusion reactors.

Then there's a schizophrenic bit about how the corporate wars are both pre-planned and pre-arranged, to the point of basically just being theater, but also somehow still being something that worries other corps if one corp engages in too much. But if it's all basically a pre-arranged deal just to make the CITIZENS accept that some territory or property changed hands, don't the other corps know that, too? That it isn't a real hostile action by a berserking raider corporation? And that they have nothing to worry about unless they make the call and agree to send a dozen data entry clerks to rumble with lead pipes and fire axes? But I guess it makes sense after all because then the next paragraph says that it actually is mostly unplanned and the result of illegal actions like industrial espionage and theft of property.

I think they should've kept the editor. I mean, not that he did them much good in the first book, but at least then they could've blamed him.

Also large-scale corporate wars are actually a clever and good thing because it keeps money in motion due to needing to pay mercenaries and weapon designers and strategic planners. IT STIMULATES THE SPACE DOG ECONOMY AND IS NECESSARY TO MAKE A POST-SCARCITY CORPORATE EXISTENCE FUNCTION AT ALL!

Attached to this bit about DARKWARS(which are good for the economy!) is also something we've come to know and love about HSD, statements about how the furries are truly much better and smarter than humans all along. Did you know that ON EARTH all mental illness is just perceived as something you throw drugs at until it goes away? But ON FURRY EARTH MARS furry therapists know about the value of therapy and are much better good at it than humans were. It also turns out that everyone is too stupid to realize that there are DARKWARS being held in their back yard every five days. The book starts off stating that they're mostly being fought outside the plane of the ecliptic, to keep them out of the public view, but then quickly starts noting that no wait they're actually happening all over the place and have happened in every single major habitable location!

And then there's the bit where this is in the Sound section, which is stuff that basically anyone should or could know with a bit of effort, except it both states and implies that fundamental to corporate control is the fact that most furry people do not know or understand these things. You know, all of the things I've just listed, which are specifically in the section they should and could easily find out.

Sob, gently caress this poo poo.

This was totally a great thing to ring in 2018 with.

HAPPY NEW YEAR, YOU ASSHOLES.

TO BE CONTINUED

PurpleXVI fucked around with this message at 22:52 on Jan 1, 2018

Cassa
Jan 29, 2009


Microsoft's accounting dept vs Adobe's sales dept sounds like a fantastic pretense for a necromunda style skirmish game.

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




LatwPIAT posted:

Eclipse Phase doesn't have nearly enough rules for playing winged antropomorphic animal-centaurs that can breed with robot-animals.

For real though, one of my biggest problems with the EP core book* was that the morphs were pretty uninspired for a ~transhuman~ post-apocalypse. Oo, wow, a hive-mind cloud of nanobots that…just takes the shape of a guy and is a hacker. I can feel the humanity slipping away already. They got more creative later, thankfully, particularly in their 1.5ish edition book with revised character creation and a ton of morphs.

* At least 1st edition, anyway. I think I backed the 2nd edition Kickstarter, so we'll see how that shakes out. I seem to recall they acknowledged the problem.

Angrymog
Jan 29, 2012

Really Madcats



Re: Anthropomorphic animals in space, what about Justifiers?

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




PurpleXVI posted:

Hc Svnt Dracones: Sound and Silence
Oh, phew, thank God here we loving go. It's back to just being normally retarded again. Did you guys know that once you're rich enough to basically have whatever you need, your corporation and its corporate practices are no longer overtly exploitative or dickish just because that wouldn't make any sense, huh guys, did you loving know that?
I love how in this game about owl slendermans and weird space magic and robots that can get pregnant and poo poo, the economics is consistently the most detached form reality part. Like this is exactly the opposite of what's actually happening in the real world.

Did you know people will put gold on their food? Gold doesn't taste like anything. The only thing this does is waste a bunch of money.

LatwPIAT
Jun 6, 2011

Do I need a title?

That Old Tree posted:

For real though, one of my biggest problems with the EP core book* was that the morphs were pretty uninspired for a ~transhuman~ post-apocalypse. Oo, wow, a hive-mind cloud of nanobots that…just takes the shape of a guy and is a hacker. I can feel the humanity slipping away already. They got more creative later, thankfully, particularly in their 1.5ish edition book with revised character creation and a ton of morphs.

* At least 1st edition, anyway. I think I backed the 2nd edition Kickstarter, so we'll see how that shakes out. I seem to recall they acknowledged the problem.

I think the morph selection in 1e was pretty decent. Yes, it's not radical-sleeve-into-a-flock-of-birds creative, but the setting is also one where doing that kind of weird exhuman stuff is frowned upon, so it made sense. And it also had stuff like the robot-spider, the oversized lobster, and the swarm of tiny robots (that has about the volume of a toddler, but the game doesn't imply you actually take human form with it).

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Why do the Darkwars happen, exactly, besides to give PCs something to do?

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012






You know what I just noticed?

No one has F&F'd the Book of Weeaboo Fightin' Magyk.

Tasoth
Dec 12, 2011


Wanna slip the HSD people a copy of Mutant Chronicles to see how MegaCorp control of the solar system is done right. And by right, the corps are going to drive humanity extinct through greed and destroying people who won't sign up to be exploited as workers.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012







Tome of Battle: The Book of Nine Swords

The Book of Nine Swords is from late in 3.5's life cycle, around the same time as Tome of Magic (which I reviewed previously) and Magic of Incarnum (which is a pile of fiddly min-maxing bad ideas and I might get around to it at some point). Most importantly Bo9S is good, rather than introduce a bunch of feats or prestige classes to plaster a functioning but restrictive build over the fighter or barbarian, it introduced three brand new classes that have special abilities that fit into 9 tiers of increasing power. If that sounds similar to Vancian magic, well, it is. That's not a bad thing. But grognards completely lost their minds and derided the book as the "Book of Weeaboo Fightin Magic".

But gently caress those guys, this book is awesome and I'm here to tell you why.


Introduction
The book opens up with some fluff that sets up how Martial Adepts are different from Fighters or Paladins, including a rather hilarious bit of tripping over their own feet trying to explain that having a bunch of Bonus Feats is an "Array of special maneuvers and attacks". But Adepts use the Sublime Way. The Way isn't magical, at least not really. A master of the Ways can perform martial feats that are superhuman, or supernatural, but they aren't spells.

Instead they are called Maneuvers, like spells they're one-shot effects that require an action to initiate. Unlike spells they aren't used up over the course of a day. Each encounter the adept has all the maneuvers that they prepared that day ready for use(though they can change which ones they have prepared any time they have 5 minutes to focus), once expended it's used up for that encounter until they take an action to recover their maneuvers. There are three basic types. Boosts augment a user's abilities, usually an attack, in some manner. Counters are reactions to an opponents attacks. And Strikes are attacks themselves. Adepts also have access to Stances which grant special benefits and options, though only one can be maintained at a time they have access to all stances they know throughout the day.

All maneuvers are divided up into one of nine Disciplines, each of which has one associated "Key Skill" and some Favored Weapons which are important for some class features but not necessarily for this review.
Desert Wind is about speed and mobility, also about fire. Lots and Lots of fire. This is perhaps the most overtly supernatural of the nine disciplines. It's key skill is Tumble.
Devoted Spirit is about faith and piety. Not necessarily to good, but definitely to an alignment, there are good/evil and law/chaos options in this discipline, but also some rather potent healing abilities. It's key skill is Intimidate.
Diamond Mind is about mind over matter, sometimes literally. Through feats of concentration you can move faster than other people, ignore pain, and seemingly stop time. Unsurprisingly it's key skill is Concentration.
Iron Heart You're good with weapons, no you're really good with weapons. You're so good with weapons you can hurl them like boomerangs and do whirlwind attacks that would make a Diablo 3 Barbarian blush. You're likely the best straight up warrior on any battlefield you are on. It's key skill is Balance.
Setting Sun is basically Ju Jitsu. Using your opponent's force against them through throws or imitative strikes. Sense Motive is it's key skill.
Shadow Hand the other overtly supernatural discipline, it focuses on cold, darkness, ninja poo poo. One of the stances gives you sneak attack damage. things like that. It's key skill is Hide.
Stone Dragon evokes the Strength and Endurance of the mountains. From a more metagamey standpoint it's the lowest common denominator of the Disciplines, every Martial Adept class has access to Stone Dragon maneuvers, they're functional but usually not the best or flashiest thing in your arsenal. It's key skill is also Balance for some reason.
Tiger Claw is about fighting like an animal, sometimes literally. It emphasizes dual-wielding, or triple, quadruple, etc, wielding if you can figure out how. It emphasizes strength and speed so it's key skill is Jump.
White Raven is about leadership. Almost none of the White Raven maneuvers do anything if you're fighting on your own, they're force multipliers rather than enhancements to yourself. Diplomacy is it's key skill.

Classes


Crusader
The crusader is roughly the Paladin stand in. Their ability to use Maneuvers comes primarily from their faith in their Divine cause. They are not trained, the ability cannot be taught anyways, so they wield their powers in a raw, untamed manner. The only restriction placed on Crusaders is that they cannot be neutral. They get Paladin weapon/armor proficiencies, A good Fort save, a D10 hit die, Full BAB, and 4+int skill points.

As far as Disciplines are concerned they have access to Stone Dragon and White Raven, as well as exclusive access to Devoted Spirit. They also use maneuvers in a rather.. unique way. You prepare your maneuvers for the day as normal, but you get them at random. For example, a starting crusader can ready 5 maneuvers, but only starts combat with 2 readied at random, the next round the third is granted to you, then the next round the fourth, and the next round the fifth. When the next round starts the cycle begins again. Regardless of whether or not you had any maneuvers readied or not they're 'shuffled' and you get another 2 at random. The game heavily suggests using index cards or something similar. I think this is something of a balancing choice because the Devoted Spirit maneuvers are pretty good, including healing, and giving a class unlimited use healing that they could use at will was probably a step too far for 3.5e.

The other claim to fame of the Crusader is a delayed damage pool called Steely Resolve. You can store incoming damage in reserve to take effect at the end of your next turn, up to 5 total at first level, increasing to 30 at max level. This, theoretically, gives you something of a buffer to smooth out incoming healing, but you also get a bonus on attack and damage rolls equal to your Delayed Damage divided by 5.

For additional notable class features they eventually get Mettle(Basically Evasion for fortitude and will saves) and Smite Anything(but only usable twice a day).


Swordsage
The book describes Swordsages as "Blade Wizards" which i guess is as good a description as any. Unlike the Crusader that has a very limited selection of disciplines, the Swordsage has the largest. Desert Wind, Diamond Mind, Setting Sun, Shadow Hand, Stone Dragon, and Tiger Claw. They're also the only ones who have access to Desert Wind, Setting Sun, and Shadow Hand. They also have the largest number of maneuvers and stances known, but the most restrictive method of recovering Maneuvers in combat. They can spend a Full Round Action doing nothing else but recovering a single maneuver. It's not great.

They get proficiency in simple/martial weapons and light armor (but not shields), a D8 hit die, good reflex and will saves, 3/4ths BAB, and 6+int skill points.
As they level up they get their wisdom bonus to AC, a stacking bonus to initiative checks, the ability to identify magic weapons or armor, evasion and improved evasion. They can also choose to specialize in disciplines as they level up, and their level 20 capstone ability is the ability to use two boosts at once 3 times per day (you can normally only use one).

All in All they're not my favorite class, but they're versatile, depending on how you build them they can be Wizards, monks, or rogues in function.


Warblade
We have arrived.
WOTC has tried multiple times in 3.5 to "fix" Fighters, the Warblade is probably the only time they actually succeeded. In they process they lost the ability to use Heavy Armor, but within the context of the Bo9S Crusaders are the Tanks. Swordsages are the mystics either conjuring fire or sneaking around to kill priority targets. Warblades are the guys at the front line smashing peoples face in with a large sword, cackling like a loon as enemies fall before him like wheat at the scythe.

Like I mentioned they're proficient in simple and martial melee weapons(and anything that can be thrown), light and medium armor, and all shields but tower shields. They have a d12 hit die, full BAB, good Fort saves, and 4+int skill points. They have access to Diamond mind, stone dragon, tiger claw, white raven, and exclusive access to Iron Heart. They're basically in a middle-ground between Crusaders and Swordsages when it comes to Maneuvers, they don't have to jump through hoops with their 'deck' of maneuvers to get access to them, and they can recover them all at once with a swift action followed by a standard action either making a single melee attack or a standard action to flourish your weapon. They can't use any other martial anythings during the round they refresh but they get back everything they've used so far.

They start out with Battle Clarity which gives you a bonus equal to your Int modifier on reflex saves as long as you aren't flat footed, and Weapon Aptitude, which might as well be titled "Hey we fixed fighter!" Weapon aptitude gives you two things. 1) It makes you count as a fighter of your level-2 to qualify for Fighter feats. 2)It lets you swap out what weapon you've chosen for feats like Weapon Focus/Specialization. In addition they get bonus feats from a rather abbreviated list at 5th level and every 4 levels thereafter.

At second level they get Uncanny Dodge which Improves at 6th level. At 3rd level Battle Clarity expands to give you your int bonus to confirm critical hits. At 7th level you get your int bonus on damage rolls against flat footed or flanked opponents. At 11th level you get your int bonus against opposed rolls to resist a bull rush, disarm, feint, overrun, sunder, or trip. At 15th level you get your int bonus on attack and damage rolls when making an attack of opportunity. And their level 20 capstone ability is the ability to maintain two stances at once.

You can tell I'm slightly biased towards the Warblade (I played one in a high level campaign, it was a blast), but all three of the classes have niches to fill. Most importantly none of them are objectively bad like the Truenamer or the Divine Mind, or the Soulborn.

That's it for the first chapter, though.
Next Time: We'll talk about Skills and Feats

Happy New Year Goons.

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers, stern and wild ones, and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss.


Clapping Larry

Alien Rope Burn posted:

What's funny is that there are already two perfectly acceptable furries-in-space RPGs: Albedo and Mutants in Orbit. Neither is exactly a classic of the RPG industry, but it's trivial to find a better furry space game than Hc Svnt Dracones.

Three. FGU released a game called 'Other Suns' back in the early 80s. It wasn't terrible (except that it is an FGU game with all the incomprehensibility and typos that implies).

edit: Four...I did forget about Justifiers. Another game I should F&F. Furry Slaves in Space being sent to shithole planets to die for the man's profits.

Humbug Scoolbus fucked around with this message at 06:25 on Jan 1, 2018

senrath
Nov 3, 2009

Look Professor, a destruct switch!




I think the Crusader is my favorite, but that's probably because they were the first of the classes I ever actually got to play. But it's also nice to have a "paladin" type character that has no actual code of conduct they have to follow beyond whatever the gently caress you want to personally come up with. Which you can then later change your mind on without losing anything mechanical.

They also have my favorites of the silly builds that you can do with Bo9S material, the d2 Crusader (as in the die type, not Diablo 2) and the "I have more maneuvers granted than known" Crusader.

senrath fucked around with this message at 06:28 on Jan 1, 2018

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012






My favorite gimmicky build is using Feats to get the Aura of Chaos stance on a Warblade then using one of the attacks that lets you add 15d6 damage to an attack.

Snorb
Nov 19, 2010


I'm the reason why my group isn't allowed to use the Book of Nine Swords (or its successor for Pathfinder, Path of War.)

When my group played Paizo's Curse of the Crimson Throne Adventure Path years ago, our DM was foolish enough to let me play a Crusader. Somewhere along the adventure, he picked up Divine Surge (as I wrote it on the notecard, "+8d8 damage. And that's it. Sorry.") and Greater Divine Surge: +6d8 damage, with the fun part of "For every 1 Con damage I take, +1 to hit/+2d8 add'l damage." His plan for the final boss fight was to use that as soon as possible, and death-or-glory drop his Constitution from 16 to 1. (My friends reacted with a mix of horror and derision when I described The Plan, and I told them I'd only burn half my Constitution. That was a lie.)

Turns out it didn't really matter anyway, because the first (and only) attack roll of the entire fight was an extremely lucky Divine Surge critical hit that pretty much instantly killed the final boss. I actually offered to cancel the critical hit so we could have a proper end guy fight, but the DM said (with barely restrained frustration) "Nah, it's okay. She's pretty much ripped apart in one cruel blow."

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




I like Bo9S, I just wish they'd slaughtered the sacred cow and fixed or consolidated feats.

"I one-hit killed the boss" is a problem that can be lessened or even solved by putting a number of paper thin Interchangeable Guards on the Towering Staircase with no safety rails leading up to his (or her) Imposing Throne for the players to cast aside with Heroic Ease. It really helps the feel of the thing.

wiegieman fucked around with this message at 09:23 on Jan 1, 2018

NGDBSS
Dec 30, 2009








Snorb posted:

Turns out it didn't really matter anyway, because the first (and only) attack roll of the entire fight was an extremely lucky Divine Surge critical hit that pretty much instantly killed the final boss. I actually offered to cancel the critical hit so we could have a proper end guy fight, but the DM said (with barely restrained frustration) "Nah, it's okay. She's pretty much ripped apart in one cruel blow."
This is why you always, always, pay attention to the action economy when designing fights. And when I say "pay attention to the action economy" I very much do not mean "have one boss, make it immune to effectively immune to everything but damage, and make it a Patchwerk fight". (My preferred solution is to grab a bunch of relevant minis, toss them over the playmat, and keep whichever ones don't fall off.)

Down With People
Oct 31, 2012

The child delights in violence.




BREAD OR STONE – PART 2

Mingling With Moric

Jazmina is grateful for the assistance of the investigators and asks them to drop her off at the Hotel Lehrner. She's willing to explain her whole situation to them if they ask. Jazmina received a letter from Dr. Moric explaining the situation with the Crusader's Tomb dig getting shut down, bidding her to meet him in Vinkovci. She knows that he's staying with Dr. Belenzada, though she has never met him personally. Her father was scant on providing details and told her not to talk to anyone until they could meet in person. She doesn't know who the men who tried to abduct her are nor why they would want to do such a thing. There were also some anomalies in the letter; it was written in English instead of Serbo-Croatian and it asked her to get his gun from the study next to his favourite book (Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire), when he actually kept it in a locked box in his bedroom. She asks the investigators to escort her into the hotel and wait with her until her father arrives.

Assuming they're willing to help her, they go to the Lehrner lobby where there is no sign of Dr. Moric. The hotel has no one in its registry under that name, but they do in fact have a letter for Jazmina. It has a cryptic series of Serbo-Croatian words that have no significance to Jazmina. I guess if the investigators are still totally uninterested in helping her the adventure ends here.

If they want to help her, they'll find that she's actually quite capable. Mechanically, Jazmina is a polyglot who speaks six languages along with her native Serbo-Croatian. She's mostly a socialiser type but she's got good skill with her revolver thanks to daddy's shooting lessons when she was younger. The book suggests that if an investigator happens to die here or later, Jazmina would make an excellent substitute.



If the investigators want to, they could try and get rooms in the Lehrner, but the Compagnie has booked rooms for them at the Lovacki Dvorac. This is a family-owned business in a massive estate converted into a hunting lodge. The rooms are huge, with roaring fireplaces and trophies on every wall. The kitchen offers up all the cevapi and cabbage rolls you can handle. The Loncar family who owns the place don't really know how to serve international guests but they're willing to give it a go. Upon seeing their lodgings, half of the Orient Express passengers are mortified and leave immediately. The other half are either willing to try and make do or are genuinely excited about the possibility of an impromptu hunting trip.

Oh, and the Wolves of Vinkovci don't give up after this. They'll tail the investigators and Jazmina in the hopes of being led to the Mims Sahis. They're much better at this than the Brothers in Trieste, since they're locals and easily blend in; noticing them is a Hard Spot Hidden roll and they'll melt away into the crowds if they think they've been seen. After noticing them, a Hard Stealth roll lets investigators track them back to the butcher that serves as chapter headquarters where they can have a good cheerful fight to the death, if they want. However, there'll usually only be three out of the seven Wolves working there at any time, so there's bound to be at least one or two ready to pounce at the end of the scenario.

So there's lots of avenues for the investigators to pursue here! As I've said before, this is a really well-designed scenario and doesn't make the assumption that the investigators have to pursue them in a certain order. I'll go through them in the order the book lists them, though.

The Isle of Dr. Belenzada

Belenzada is Jazmina's only real lead here. Sadly, he's not easy to get in touch with, since he's spending most of his waking hours having a merry time playing God in his private laboratory. Jazmina has his address, but chances are when they go there they'll only find his niece Kamila Hanak, who acts as his maid and explains that he's an extremely busy man. They might have more luck meeting him at the Vinkovci General Hospital where he spends his mornings, but only if they can succeed on a Credit Rating, Fast Talk or Persuade roll. If they fail, Belenzada is booked out for the day but will make time for them in the hour-and-a-half window he's at home in the morning. Otherwise, the same rolls above will get the address to his private medical facility.



Even if you don't know the hosed up poo poo going on in there, Belenzada's lab is creepy, a farm outside the city converted into a secure compound. It's got a six-foot brick wall and is constantly patrolled by three maimed veterans who owe Belenzada their lives. They'll refuse to let anyone in unless they happen to namedrop Dr. Moric, in which case Belenzada invites them in.

Belenzada's basically a nice guy, though the horrors of war and his corruption by a Mythos artefact have harmed his ability to relate to anyone who isn't a veteran or a farm animal. What he'll say about Moric is mostly true: Moric was staying with him but their conflicting schedules meant they didn't see each other much. Moric thought some of the things in the Tomb were dangerous and was furious when the story got published. He grew irrational and came to think the artefacts were wicked, though Belenzada tried to argue otherwise (this is true from Belenzada's perspective). He hasn't seen him for several days and thinks he might be in Kunjevci forest, since all of his stuff is gone and one of Belenzada's shotguns went missing (he hasn't seen him for several days because he dumped his body in Kunjevci. The thing about the shotgun is just a flat-out lie).

After the meeting, paranoia takes hold of Belenzada. He does not return to either his home or the hospital and sleeps in the facility. Then he decides to really use the Mims Sahis to its full potential.

Next time: it's alive!

Down With People fucked around with this message at 09:50 on Jan 1, 2018

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Night10194 posted:

Why do the Darkwars happen, exactly, besides to give PCs something to do?

Well, while HOT ZONES, i.e. little urban pre-planned rumbles basically entirely as theater for the commoners, happen for show. DARKWARS are ostensibly what happen when the corporations have a real grudge or issue that needs resolving with guns. Despite the HOT ZONE description saying this basically never happens and that almost any corporate disagreement can be resolved diplomatically. And also despite DARKWARS not being pre-planned theater, they always manage to happen in pre-planned areas that are well outside of where the normies might spot warships heaving railgun slugs at each other, except for the next paragraph that says they also happen in areas that are right next to where people live. So I guess ignore that other thing you just read. And this book is a loving mess and I hate the author.

senrath
Nov 3, 2009

Look Professor, a destruct switch!




Kurieg posted:

My favorite gimmicky build is using Feats to get the Aura of Chaos stance on a Warblade then using one of the attacks that lets you add 15d6 damage to an attack.

That sounds like something I'd actually play, unlike the ones I listed. The Idiot Crusader is a horrifying mishmash of prestige classes that was put together entirely to see if they could get more maneuvers granted than known (they succeeded, at level 20 it gets 12 out of its 10 maneuvers), and the d2 Crusader manages infinite damage by combining a weapon that does d2 damage, Aura of Chaos (to those not intimately familiar with Bo9S, this grants you exploding damage dice), and the Imbued Healing (Luck) feat (all damage rolls of 1 are 2 instead). Neither of which I'd ever actually like to see played in a real game.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Wasn't Bo9S an intentional 'We're testing to see if this might be a better paradigm for martials next edition' book? Or am I remembering dev history wrong?

Lynx Winters
May 1, 2003

Borderlawns: The Treehouse of Pandora

Is that the real art for crusader? Did they actually trace over the infamous Liefeld Captain America and act like that's good?

Dallbun
Apr 21, 2010


The attractive young woman who you met turns out to actually be

The Deck of Encounters Set One Part 65: The Deck of Hags, Ixitachitl, and Leucrotta

Happy New Year, and welcome back to your regularly-scheduled random encounter content!

368: A Cry For Help

The PCs are in a bog and hear piteous cries for help from nearby. “A breathless young maiden comes crashing through the swamp, cursing as she slips into a puddle of ooze.” What is it this time? Hags? Demons? Wolfweres? Werewolves? Wolf... wolves?

Greenhags. The woman begs the PCs to help her sisters out of a quicksand pool. Then she “nimbly” leads them back through the swamp because I guess she decided to pretend to be clumsy, but then forgot to keep it up (they get a INT-4 check to notice this). She leads them into a clearing, and the PCs get a net of entrapment that also prevents all spellcasting (!) dropped on top of them. At that point, the other two hags come out of the woods and they all attack.

That net is some seriously valuable treasure. But at this point, I’m passing on all breathless young maiden traps on general principle.


369: The Haggard Daughter

The PCs are going down a swamp path, when they are “accosted by a beautiful young maiden who” oh for god’s sake. Pass.

...I should probably finish what I started here. The woman claims that her mother slipped off her horse when it was started by a snake. She’ll lead them down the trail and into the swamp. When they’re sufficiently off the path she turns back and attacks. If she’s forced to break a sweat, two other hags will jump in and join her. If she’s forced to flee, she’ll follow them and try to use her magic to trick them into attacking each other later.

This is the third encounter in the deck that is a hag, disguised as a lone beautiful young woman, in a swamp. I already stated my opinion.

P.S. The card refers to the group of three hags as a “covey.” Twice.


370: The Cloak of Evil

The PCs are “deep in an underwater maze,” one of the most common adventuring locations. Near a cove, an aquatic elf beckons them over, asking for help fighting ixitachitl, who are slaughtering his people. He’s been “empowered by his queen” to offer them 3000 gp and a trident of warning as a reward for victory.

If they agree, the elf will also give them some pieces of purple seaweed that give a water breathing effect for 18 turns, which seems unnecessary since the PCs are already adventuring underwater.

Now what about those ixitachitl? Well, the horde “numbers considerably more than six dozen. However, the party will need only to slay several hunting parties to encourage the ixitachitl to withdraw.” So… wait. Where are they? Is there any terrain? How many in a hunting party? What are the hunting parties trying to do? Would there be any sea elves around to help? To protect? I dunno. Just go kill some ixitachitl and I’ll reward you with XP, a marginal leg armor upgrade, and 500 rep with the Sea Elf faction. Get 2000 rep and they’ll be willing to sell you a better helmet. Pass.


371: She-Beast

The PCs are in a desert and see a “half-beast, half-human female” off in the distance. When they get within 100 feet, they notice a herd of stampeding beasts (of… some sort?) rushing at them from behind. It’s an illusion by the lamia ahead. When they get closer, she’ll charm and suggestion them into killing each other, targeting apparent spellcasters first. She’s got a cache of gold and silver worth 5,200 gp in “the deserted ruins of an ancient city nearby.”

My main problem with this is that charm effects are often pretty unfun for the players. But maybe once in a while is okay? (Edit: and looking over their MM entry, at least lamia aren't able to spam those effects.) Keep.


372: The Cries of Death

The PCs are climbing a hillside and hear a man and a woman calling for help, as well as a crying baby. The voices are coming from a dark ravine inside lurk a pack of three leucrotta, which will jump out and attack. They’re very hungry and will focus on dragging any victims back into their lair and eating, letting others flee.

Obviously any trackers will be able to see that three pairs of stags apparently entered the area earlier in the day. (This reminder is a little awkwardly placed on the card.) Their treasure is three small gems worth 50 gp each, and a potion of gaseous form. Not flavorful.

Yeah, okay. Let’s remind the players that leucrotta are a thing. Keep.

Dallbun fucked around with this message at 05:20 on Jan 2, 2018

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012






Night10194 posted:

Wasn't Bo9S an intentional 'We're testing to see if this might be a better paradigm for martials next edition' book? Or am I remembering dev history wrong?

Yes, just like Tome of Magic was "Can we make casters less powerful but still be fun." And Magic of Incarnum was "Hey can we fix Psionics? OH GOD NO WE CAN'T!"

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




I forget, is 2nd Ed DnD the one where Charm can make you do all sorts of things the caster wants? I remember it just making you like them and not be willing to attack them in later editions.

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Dallbun
Apr 21, 2010


wiegieman posted:

I forget, is 2nd Ed DnD the one where Charm can make you do all sorts of things the caster wants? I remember it just making you like them and not be willing to attack them in later editions.

Charm Person posted:

If the spell recipient fails his saving throw, he regards the caster as a trusted friend and ally to be heeded and protected. The spell does not enable the caster to control the charmed creature as if it were an automaton, but any word or action of the caster is viewed in the most favorable way. Thus, a charmed person would not obey a suicide command, but he might believe the caster if assured that the only chance to save the caster's life is for the person to hold back an onrushing red dragon for "just a minute or two." Note also that the spell does not endow the caster with linguistic capabilities beyond those he normally possesses (i.e., he must speak the victim's language to communicate his commands).

Suggestion posted:

When this spell is cast by the wizard, he influences the actions of the chosen recipient by the utterance of a few words--phrases or a sentence or two--suggesting a course of action desirable to the spellcaster. The creature to be influenced must, of course, be able to understand the wizard's suggestion--it must be spoken in a language that the spell recipient understands.

The suggestion must be worded in such a manner as to make the action sound reasonable; asking the creature to stab itself, throw itself onto a spear, immolate itself, or do some other obviously harmful act automatically negates the effect of the spell. However, a suggestion that a pool of acid was actually pure water and that a quick dip would be refreshing is another matter. Urging a red dragon to stop attacking the wizard's party so that the dragon and party could jointly loot a rich treasure elsewhere is likewise a reasonable use of the spell's power.

The course of action of a suggestion can continue in effect for a considerable duration, such as in the case of the red dragon mentioned above.

There are lot of DM calls involved in these spells, and they're likely to trigger heated debates at the table, but here are their relevant descriptions. Suggestion is the more powerful one, and considering the acid example, it seems clear that it can make someone think the other members of their party are evil demon dopplegangers.

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