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Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


PurpleXVI posted:

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, so welcome to Sound and Silence, the HSD lore book.

Bear in mind this does get archived, so later readers won't necessarily see it.

All the talk of corporations not overtly exploiting people just makes me think of the sort of people that argue that (American) slaveowners didn't beat slaves because you wouldn't wreck your own property. But, of course, they're horrifically wrong, because that sort of homo economicus did not and does not exist.

Also the DARKWARS makes me think that the authors played through Metal Gear Solid 4 and actually took the long-winded WAR ECONOMY diatribes at face value.

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wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




Most libertards and econotards make the mistake of assuming that there are rational actors involved in any human action. The others are just dumb.

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



a friend of mine's ex seriously believed that less regulations favors small businesses while hurting the big corps, they're anarcho-capitalist. Also a total idiot.

Comrade Koba
Jul 2, 2007



Robindaybird posted:

they're anarcho-capitalist. Also a total idiot.

no need to repeat yourself :v:

NGDBSS
Dec 30, 2009








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?
Not quite, but close. There were several drafts of what 4E would become before the final release, and one of those was promising enough that it was recycled into Bo9S.

As for ToM and Magic of Incarnum, I dunno beyond "let's throw experimental poo poo at the wall and see what sticks". Despite the failures and qualified successes that mostly resulted it was still less regressive than any new design work Paizo has done for PF.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Robindaybird posted:

a friend of mine's ex seriously believed that less regulations favors small businesses while hurting the big corps, they're anarcho-capitalist. Also a total idiot.
It IS true that "REGULATION" is a fungible meter of completely interchangeable Oppresso-Tokens rather than a network of legal structures.

Snorb
Nov 19, 2010


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?

From what I remember, Tome of Magic, Book of Nine Swords, Magic of Incarnum, and Star Wars: Saga Edition were all testbeds for Fourth Edition.

It's most obvious with Bo9S and Saga Edition. Our group didn't get a whole lot of mileage out of Tome of Magic (though I remember the Binder class wasn't bad with some third-party soulbinds) and I never used Incarnum. One player in our group loves it, and I looked through the book but I'm not seeing too too much of 4e concepts in it.

LongDarkNight
Oct 25, 2010

It's like watching the collapse of Western civilization in fast forward.

Oven Wrangler

PurpleXVI posted:

Hc Svnt Dracones: Sound and Silence


2018 is going to be terrible.

Dallbun posted:

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!
2018 is going to be great.

Leraika
Jun 14, 2015

slime time



Snorb posted:

From what I remember, Tome of Magic, Book of Nine Swords, Magic of Incarnum, and Star Wars: Saga Edition were all testbeds for Fourth Edition.

It's most obvious with Bo9S and Saga Edition. Our group didn't get a whole lot of mileage out of Tome of Magic (though I remember the Binder class wasn't bad with some third-party soulbinds) and I never used Incarnum. One player in our group loves it, and I looked through the book but I'm not seeing too too much of 4e concepts in it.

Yeah, Binder's the only reason to pick up Tome of Magic (unless you want a cautionary tale of how NOT to do a class in the truenamer, which is hilariously hosed).

Binder's also the best 3.5 class period, though, so it's not a huge sacrifice.

Falconier111
Jul 18, 2012

S T A R M E T A L C A S T E



Part 7 – The Mansion


jesus christ more maps

Allies are a bit sparse on the ground in Black Lake. The party can try to enlist Mrs. Brown, but oh man, that’s a bad idea (see her bio). Less :gonk: options include Capt. Fred, the groundskeeper from the cemetery (he has a stash of ancient dynamite if you feel like taking a risk) and Maria Ortega and Uncle, who were convinced something is wrong with Jesus and will happily join forces. However, as useful as they might be, the party will hit a real gold mine if they convince Marjorie Goldblum to talk (i.e. convince her she’s safe with them).

A few months ago, Marjorie was approached about making a documentary about Black Lake by a company called Labac Inc. If the PCs have any knowledge about the occult they realize it’s a shell company run by the Cabal (GURPS’s conspiracy of evil wizards). So scary it warrants a Fright Check! One Mr. Bob Smith set her up with a crew and funds before sending her out, but in her biweekly checkup calls Smith began giving her tips on bizarre things before they happened, most notably the zombie attack the party foiled earlier. When she tried to refuse one of these “suggestions” Smith teleported in from Los Angeles, told her he kidnapped her daughter, and threatened to kill her if she didn’t comply. The last time Smith contacted her he told her one Mr. Walter Wong was going to get his “long-deserved reward as the armies of God roll over his beloved green lawns" at the mansion on the hill before laughing maniacally. Marjorie is terrified and suicidally depressed and she’s desperate to get out of this situation. Naturally, the moment she finishes her explanation her camera crew rushes in to kill her with clubs (when was the last time you saw and honest to God club? Where do they sell them? :shrug:). If they can’t kill her and get away, they laugh and die through inexplicable means. Fright Check!



FREE REFILLS AT THE MANSION! TONIGHT ONLY!

Eventually the next plot hook emerges: Smith calls Goldblum and implies her daughter is at the mansion on the hill. What happens if she’s dead? According to the book, just substitute in some other character! (The book tells you to just re-skin or dump any plot lines involving dead characters.) The book’s description of the lakeside manor takes up a page and a half alone; it’s pretty, isolated, well manicured, etc. etc. etc. It’s owned by the aforementioned Walter Wong, Columbus MediTech’s VP of Research; anyone familiar with medicine will recognize his department as famous for its ethical standards. The PCs are welcome to try and warn Wong, but his security is rigorous and suspicious, so unless they have the Sheriff along with them to smooth the way they are unlikely to talk their way in and if they are dumb enough to try and sneak in or fight their way past they’ll end up suffering. Even if everything goes right, Wong and his staff are unlikely to take them seriously.

That night, a bell begins to ring and the townsfolk mindlessly shuffle out into a mob outside the senior center. Everyone brings their weapons (except in Autoduel, when some of the old folks stay behind unarmed to man the tank gun). At their head is a black van with two mercenaries (who might have helped drive the van the PCs encountered earlier) their leader, the hilariously-named Linda Lovewar, and a bald dude in a lab coat who leads the mob. Any attempts to interfere with them are first ignored, then met with gunfire until the PCs run away; if they try to kill the bald guy, his body drops dead but his voice keeps coming out of his loudspeaker. Spooky! Then the mob opens fire and continues their march. Either way, this man – Ezra Nash a.k.a. Bob Smith – revs up the crowd by chanting “Slay the Beast!” and they all march on the mansion. According to the book this is, mechanically speaking, the scariest thing the PCs have seen yet.

Once the mob reaches the mansion a battle breaks out – including shelling by the tank gun if applicable. The mob will gradually chew through the guards before targeting the PCs (the GM is encouraged to fudge roles to make sure they survive) until the survivors arrive at the docks, before the obligatory boat chase scene breaks out until any mob members following them are killed. However, when the party reaches the docks, they find none other than a waiting Julie Goldblum! Who whips out a shotgun, shoots Wong and/or her mother, pulls the pin on a grenade, and blows up in a shower of green goo! :staredog:

Next time: time for the mine!

sexpig by night
Sep 8, 2011

Endorsed by:
Pentecoastal Elites!
fart_man_69!
Terminal autist!
Ruzihm!
Judakel!
Dixon Chisholm!
Nix Panicus!
Neurolimal!

the only thing I can possibly say to defend HVC's absurd libertarian justification world is that I think the 'corp wars are theater' thing was basically all saying 'corp wars tend to be more for display/money movement than real goals because all the things that could spark one are just normal corp espionage poo poo that would better be handled with more shadowy subtle poo poo. They do big crazy fights because it's a show of force for the plebes and they can profit off the war enough so the original reason becomes moot. People are scared of them because show or not it's still a war and there's always a chance you could piss someone off enough they're willing to take the hit and just go hog wild wrecking your poo poo instead of having a big dramatized dick waving contest.'

HVC is dumb and really has no need to exist in a world where Eclipse Phase does body horror/transhumanism better without a weird libertarians are right coating, but...I dunno I kinda like it as a concept? Like, if they actually stuck to the 'ok that wishy washy poo poo before was corp propaganda, the truth is the only freedom is in saying gently caress your boss and living on an asteroid commune with others like you' without having to also say 'buuuuut you know rational actors...' and cut the hilarious fetish stuff (we gave the winged lion bare titties. Why, what purpose would that serve in our hyper capitalist world? Don't worry about it.) you kinda could have a neat concept around 'we're living in the bones of the creators who played god to make us' stuff.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



sexpig by night posted:

HVC is dumb and really has no need to exist in a world where Eclipse Phase does body horror/transhumanism better without a weird libertarians are right coating, but...

quote:

without a weird libertarians are right coating

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

E: basically Scum Fleets are the most hilariously impossible thing if you aren't full-on buying into rational actor anarchist libertopia

sexpig by night
Sep 8, 2011

Endorsed by:
Pentecoastal Elites!
fart_man_69!
Terminal autist!
Ruzihm!
Judakel!
Dixon Chisholm!
Nix Panicus!
Neurolimal!

Mors Rattus posted:

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

I mean the libertarian faction in EP is as close to 'civilization' as most people will get but they're also shown as oppressive and harmful to transhumanity's development without any real punches pulled. If HVC just went the route of 'yep poo poo sucks, the megacorps provide civilization for most average people...animals...but it comes at the cost of a strict and predatory system. There's freedom in the fringes but you're not gonna have anyone to stop a pirate showing up at your door with a laser gun saying 'this is mine now' unless you have a bigger/more guns' it'd be...better at least.

e: Oh, Scum, yea they're pretty dumb but they're presented as pretty much a group of absolute nuts that not even the other underclass want to gently caress around with unless they're desperate. Like, they're literally described as being into Hitler morphs of various gender and racial variants and their signature morph is built around being able to do ALL the drugs. They're not exactly humanity's guiding light.

sexpig by night fucked around with this message at 00:04 on Jan 2, 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!


Hc Svnt Dracones: Sound and Silence



THE MEGACORPS



So far the main theme of Sound and Silence is that every time something's been stated, it's either wholly or partially refuted a few paragraphs later. I swear it's not me going insane, the book really is this way, and its frankly infuriating as gently caress. Like, imagine trying to genuinely run a game with this poo poo, you'd have nothing even vaguely approaching a coherent feeling for what the loving gameworld is like.

This time we start with a chapter detailing yet more stuff about the Megacorps. The first page can essentially be summarized as "corporations are made up of a lot of people, their structure is opaque both to outsiders and insiders, if stuff involving them happens, just handwave and go 'that was a fun adventure, but nothing really changed afterwards,' because corporate organizations are self-correcting, which fits the setting." Seriously, I'm not kidding.

Sound posted:

you can arrange plots where very powerful people can do a slew of horrible things that the party is hired to stop, prevent, or counteract, without having to wonder so much about how the corp endures it, or how it gets covered up afterward. It’s rather self-cleaning, which suits the universe well.

And then it moves on to the Megacorp rivalries. Now, I'm in no way expecting anyone to remember the stupid loving corporations from the core book. I could hardly even do that myself. But there are four major rivalries in-setting:

ASR vs Pulse, which is basically jocks fighting jocks and it's all in good humour and no one really dies unless it's an accident, because all they disagree on is whether you should do drugs or replace your arm with a robot arm to get really strong.

IRPF vs Spyglass, which is like if the cops decided to pick a fight with the CIA, and both of them were private megacorps and also the CIA rather than hoarding and selling secrets, apparently wanted to liberate all secrets, and this is somehow a functional source of revenue rather than a reason for everyone to burn them to the ground. Also keep in mind that this section directly contradicts the earlier bit about HOTZONES mostly being play-acting, since outside of ASR vs Pulse, all these rivalries are legit and unplanned.

This section also states, without any sort of irony or caveats, that most businesses are started with some sort of illegal, embarrassing or otherwise underhanded deal to get them off the ground, which is just a fact of modern society and something we should probably learn to live with. In some games I'd just go "oh this is how it is because there's so much corruption in the setting" but in this case I think the author really thinks this is how businesses work.

Then there's Progenitus vs TTI, which is like if a franchise chain of hospitals and medics decided to get into a brawl with a cult of incompetent space wizards, mostly over the fact that the space wizards like to do secret culty stuff in space, and the space medics like to go save people in space. And sometimes the space medics are trying to save people where the cultists are trying to do their cultist poo poo. So these guys are basically at legit, "blow up a city, nuke a spaceship, gently caress the world"-tier war on a semi-regular basis. So much for DARKWARS being mostly hidden like we were told like... five pages back. It says they loving level city blocks, and yet their war is "almost invisible at the civilian level." THIS ISN'T EVEN CHAPTERS APART, OR A FULL PAGE APART. IT'S LIKE A HALF PAGE, TOPS.

Lastly there's MarsCo vs Lumen, which is basically the most generic, undefined, "we just have a bunch of money i guess"-corp fighting some dudes who think FTL travel is nifty, because "oh no, FTL travel undermines our fictional economy and somehow makes it even more obvious that we're existing in a post-scarcity paradise that we inexplicitly don't let most people partake in!" I don't even remember if we told told that FTL travel exists in the setting before, but there it is, I guess, it's confirmed that it's a thing. But to the relief of all the non-Lumen corporations, Lumen is run by a bunch of WACKY LITTLE SPACE KENDER assholes(or maybe more like tinker gnomes from Krynn, I guess. Except they're tiny cyborg foxes.) which is all that prevents them from totally screwing over the established order in the solar system. I'm still not sure why FTL tech is a threat to the established order, you'd figure that extrasolar colonization projects and the like would be a good way to ease population pressure and get the more restless parts of society shunted out to the fringes rather than stirring up poo poo in the middle of whatever stupid town full of dogpeople is the capital of Mars.



Next, there are individual sections on the various megacorps. I've read through the entire MarsCo one and I've yet to find a single thing that defines them, in any way, at all. They're just "a corporation that makes a lot of money," they don't have any unique products or services or anything at all that gives them any sort of personality at all. Each of the sections is also started with a piece of in-setting fluff and, again, MarsCo's was just... I can't even summarize it beyond "a teacher tells some kids that flying is hard and they gotta exercise for it." Why are these people even in the loving gameworld.

ASR is next, and their starting fluff is somewhat retarded, but actually a story. Basically some kids are playing an AR game where the subscription fee is hefty enough that they get to stop traffic and even clear stores of customers and staff temporarily so they can run around shooting virtual things in their AR MMO. The concept is stupid but actually, you know, tells you what people do in a wacky sci-fi world that they can't just do in our modern world? Anyway, the kids find themselves lost, and so they take off their AR goggles to get their bearings. It turns out some shady criminal operation is hijacking the game to lure kids into places where they can, essentially, forknap them. You know, just casually copy their brains by having them hang around beating up EPIC MOBS for RARE LOOT for a few minutes, and then do... whatever, with them. Probably some sort of slave trade its implied? Anyway this fluff is less garbage than the MarsCo one, that's what matters.

Their corporate personality is "all the tech, all the time," ranging from people who're essentially Shadowrun BTL junkies to people who just replace as much of their body with metal as they possibly can. And of course they've got a ton of robots and holograms everywhere, excessive even by future standards, and they sometimes arrest people just for thinking about crime rather than for actually doing it. Oh and also I guess this means they can casually read your loving mind when you're walking down the street. Why does this setting even need spies again? Their fluff also casually mentions that the furries may have proven the existence of God, or something? I don't loving know. Because apparently "there are physics we don't understand yet" translates to "probably God is real."

These idiots also police against the rise of Skynet or TITANs... by using adaptive AIs that have a high chance of turning into AIs or TITANs themselves simply by interacting with reality in a casual sense which eventually apparently makes them go insane. Oh and also the furries have ALSO invented long-range teleportation, pure matter/energy conversion and energy shielding and the only reason everyone doesn't have it is that ASR keeps it restrained like they're the loving Technocracy. Like what the gently caress is even left to strive or fight for in this loving setting? Maybe a swift death to escape it. I don't know. gently caress these writers.



Then there's IRPF. The starter fluff is about a pair of furry space cops lamenting that the law sometimes makes lovely things happen, in this case a technical fuckup means a resleeving basically copied a dude's personality into two bodies, and now one of them needs to be euthanized, because that's what the contract says. So anyway these guys are space cops for hire and they do space cop things. I mean that's loving it, what did you expect, and of course the book hails their professionalism because clearly a privatized police force is a great idea and sometimes they even represent JUSTICE over what their employer says. Go salute a crying eagle with tits for our brave boys in neon-blue fur.

And then the loving text starts jerking off to how efficient and superior it is for the cops to cooperate with organized crime that doesn't do a lot of damage, in order to take down the really bad disorganized criminals. And some stuff that makes no sense about how sometimes if you let criminals get away with a bit of crime, they never turn into really dangerous criminals who can shoot back at you. None it makes any sense. It's loving stupid.


I can't tell if she's eating some non-descript food item or giggling at a severed head in a bag.

Tune in next time when we get to the space wizard cult corporation

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



She's eating a piece of popcorn because she is a mouse and it is proportionally big to her small size.

Also in retrospect the first gengineered furry put out for public display is a sphinx which makes sense, it honestly does, why not start with mythological creatures to win the public over.

Feel like the art has gotten better for this book. Or maybe they didn't have to rush getting the art for the product because followup book.

Obligatum VII
May 5, 2014

Haunting you until no 8 arrives.

Leraika posted:

Yeah, Binder's the only reason to pick up Tome of Magic (unless you want a cautionary tale of how NOT to do a class in the truenamer, which is hilariously hosed).

Binder's also the best 3.5 class period, though, so it's not a huge sacrifice.

Poor truenamer, they could have done something really interesting like combining magic words into sentences that have varying effects based on the component words (and potentially order if you wanted to get complicated) instead of... what they did.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


I really like the little bit about 'All your adventures are fundamentally pointless'. That's a real good thing to put in your dumbass book.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


Night10194 posted:

I really like the little bit about 'All your adventures are fundamentally pointless'. That's a real good thing to put in your dumbass book.

It's also demonstrably untrue, since in-universe their culture advanced to where it is now from our culture. Unless they're operating under the delusion that furcorpratbertarian mars is the natural equilibrium for every society.

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!


Kurieg posted:

It's also demonstrably untrue, since in-universe their culture advanced to where it is now from our culture. Unless they're operating under the delusion that furcorpratbertarian mars is the natural equilibrium for every society.

Maybe they're just implying that the only way to truly change or destroy a corporation is to nuke the entire world its on and start over from radioactive glass or on a different planet. This is secretly pro-Communist satire/propaganda and we're just not smart enough to properly parse it.

sexpig by night
Sep 8, 2011

Endorsed by:
Pentecoastal Elites!
fart_man_69!
Terminal autist!
Ruzihm!
Judakel!
Dixon Chisholm!
Nix Panicus!
Neurolimal!

Kurieg posted:

It's also demonstrably untrue, since in-universe their culture advanced to where it is now from our culture. Unless they're operating under the delusion that furcorpratbertarian mars is the natural equilibrium for every society.

I imagine the writer literally does expect generic marscorp life to be the neutral baseline for civilized society.

Cassa
Jan 29, 2009



If these had rocked up in Starfinger I would not have batted an eye, and then been mad they weren't PCs.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


It's not terrible art besides the burning question of "how the gently caress did the shark put that thing on?"

senrath
Nov 3, 2009

Look Professor, a destruct switch!




Snorb posted:

From what I remember, Tome of Magic, Book of Nine Swords, Magic of Incarnum, and Star Wars: Saga Edition were all testbeds for Fourth Edition.

It's most obvious with Bo9S and Saga Edition. Our group didn't get a whole lot of mileage out of Tome of Magic (though I remember the Binder class wasn't bad with some third-party soulbinds) and I never used Incarnum. One player in our group loves it, and I looked through the book but I'm not seeing too too much of 4e concepts in it.

Yeah, MoI has pretty much nothing in common with 4e, though I do recommend it to anyone still playing 3.5. It's a bit tricky to learn, but it is interesting, even if most of what it produces are various flavors of magically powered martials.

Leraika posted:

Yeah, Binder's the only reason to pick up Tome of Magic (unless you want a cautionary tale of how NOT to do a class in the truenamer, which is hilariously hosed).

Binder's also the best 3.5 class period, though, so it's not a huge sacrifice.

The Shadowcaster is also a fairly easy salvage if you're interested in that kind of thing.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Night10194 posted:

I really like the little bit about 'All your adventures are fundamentally pointless'. That's a real good thing to put in your dumbass book.

I admit my memories of the first book are mostly "This video has been removed by the user. Sorry about that. :/ ", but what point is there to go out in adventures in their awesome post-scarcity setting? Either it seems like you're just playing wargames to no personal benefit or throwing yourself in a crystalpasta meat grinder with nothing inbetween.

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




There's an offensive number of fetishes contained in that first picture and it annoys me that it even exists.

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



Falconier111 posted:

Naturally, the moment she finishes her explanation her camera crew rushes in to kill her with clubs (when was the last time you saw and honest to God club? Where do they sell them? :shrug:).

'Club' is generic for any kind of low-grade bludgeoning implement. Metal pipe, axe handle, tyre iron, half a stardropper, two-by-four-with-nails-in-it, whatever. Something made-for-purpose might be a 'warclub' if it's wooden or 'mace' if it's metal.

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010



Lipstick Apathy

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, it was. I wrote about that:

Project Orcus: the 4th Edition that never was

JackMann
Aug 11, 2010

Secure. Contain. Protect.


Fallen Rib

Robindaybird posted:

a friend of mine's ex seriously believed that less regulations favors small businesses while hurting the big corps, they're anarcho-capitalist. Also a total idiot.

I have a friend like that. He imagines the only thing keeping "innovators" from rising up and unseating those stodgy old corporations are corporate welfare and too much regulation keeping the little man down.

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



THE MEGACORPS(Continued)

Next up is TTI. As a refresher on them, they're the inventors of Transcendent Technology, AKA "here, get this thing jammed into your brain and you can do space magic." In-setting this is meant to make them mysterious, otherworldly and powerful. Practically, space magic implants are heavily reliant on weird attributes like your physical beauty, and have a large chance of making you explode if you use them in inclement conditions(which will not be obvious until you try to use them). Alternately, if you flubbed a random roll when they were installed, they may be permanently stuck on "your pyrokinesis implant triggers a nuclear explosion with you at the center, no, you don't get any protection from it" or "your teleportation implant flings you into deep space or another universe."-mode, which means if you ever try to use them, it's time to reroll. What I'm trying to say is that Transcendent Technology is poo poo and the writers are retarded.

Their intro fluff is about an operative wearing sentient armor which is more nervous than she is. Why would you let your sentient armor be able to know fear? So it can poo poo itself and run when the agent wearing it is still able to do something? This is stupid. Anyway, they're exploring a TTI bioship that has mysteriously died. Because you see TTI doesn't use normal spaceships, they use giant zombie organic ships powered by Vitae(Vitae is another of their inventions which, unlike the space magic, is actually handy. It's an artificial blood replacement that basically makes you immortal as long as it's in your system, but for no real reason at all, the rest of furry space society thinks that it's criminal and unnatural to use. Despite everything else about them also being unnatural, this is apparently TOO unnatural. It's retarded). But anyway they walk through some dead flesh corridors and OH NO, THE SHIP WAS KILLED BY THE SAME EVIL SPACE VIRUS THAT MADE ALL THE NUKES ON EARTH FIRE AT ONCE AND DESTROY EARTH. HORRIFYING. Though why a supposedly subtle and efficient digital saboteur would leave an identifying and extremely obvious "glyph" behind at the site of every hacking is beyond me. Maybe just... not give everyone a chance to identify you. Or something.

They may be retarded, but at least they've got some degree of personality beyond "does business things," in that their business largely relies on doing unnatural things for profit, even compared to the rest of space furry society. Primarily making novel new lifeforms both for sinister and normal uses, and any area where they're in charge, there are going to be bunches of these around. Sometimes for decoration, sometimes to do things that machines do elsewhere. Of course it can't just be mildly neat for more than a page without HSD deciding to gently caress things up. Firstly, it's confirmed that aliens exist, just sort of casually, in the "everyone knows or could easily find out" section of the book, and secondly, TTI has decided to up the post-scarcity ante by having discovered alien genes that can allow an organism to exist without ever eating, breathing or sleeping. What loving unresolved problems are left in this stupid universe?

So anyway after discovering these ALIEN GENES on Europa, TTI just... casually resurrects the alien species. I mean, why not. Why not resurrect a bunch of immortals that may also be telepathic and telekinetic and potentially highly intelligent, but with very alien brain structures, just to make a theme park out of it.


At least they look moderately alien and not just like someone's fantasy fuckpet.

Mostly they spend their time trolling TTI's researchers by pretending to want peaceful dialogue and coexistence and like they want to learn to talk to us. And then when some researchers float out into the European seas to see what to make of it, the aliens call up a bunch of their buddies to tear them apart. Apparently without any motive other than really hating furries. Also some of them are "as big as battleships." That's pretty fuckin' huge.

Oh and remember how I said the furries might have proven God exists? Well, TTI has definitely proven that souls exist, because their space wizard tech actively fucks around with souls, and they can transfer your soul into an ashtray and then give that ashtray wizard powers if they want. gently caress this game.

Anyway. Time for Progenitus, the space doctors. Which brings us back to another retarded point worth remembering from the core review. LATERALS. Laterals are furries that are just, you know, normal animals. Not anthropomorphic. That is to say usually they don't have hands and they're just like, a cat, or a mouse, or in the case of this intro a loving deer. Why these aren't instantly resleeved into non-hosed bodies, or just euthanized before birth, I don't know, furries are retarded like that I guess. Anyway for the intro fluff, it turns out that one of Progenitus' best SPACE MEDICS is a loving deer. HOW CAN YOU EVEN BE A MEDIC WITHOUT OPPOSABLE THUMBS. Also the loving story is retarded, so, the medics, including ULTRA MEDIC THE DEER, are trying to save a guy that TTI really wants dead. So their genius plan is to clone him a new body in the field(in an area being watched by satellites so TTI knows exactly how many people have entered and how many should be leaving), fuel the new body's growth with the deer's own severed limbs(no really), transfer the guy's mind into the new body, and toss TTI's mutants the old one. And it works, TTI doesn't care that a person who wasn't there before is now walking out of there. They're not even suspicious, they just let the medics go. It's loving retarded.

These guys are like someone's terrible stereotype of what a Welfare State is like. In that they mean well, but you're constantly accompanied by advisors and state guidance who, for instance, decide what food you should be buying so you stay healthy and otherwise babysit you in an intolerable way that, nonetheless, endears them to the furries.

[quotes=Sound]In Progenitus proper corptowns, the corp will monitor your activity levels, have representatives meet you at your workplace, make your nutritional purchases for you, and have a hand (if an automated one) in your day to day decisions. It’s much more invasive than other corps, but Progenitus has structured it into their society in such a way as to compel certain behavior socially rather than through force of arms. Punishment for not living up to certain ideals of health and service manifest in the form of lost privilege, which means the corp does less for you.[/quote]

I guess you can be persona non grata in their corporate society for being too fat, though, which I can't say I entirely disapprove of. It's also noted that despite Progenitus getting their start by selling "cures rather than treatments," they're essentially pulling the same poo poo on their corporate citizens by selling them everything as a service rather than a product. A loan that they can revoke at any time, for instance if you get too fat they can instantly repo your car and your apartment, because you never actually owned either. Eventually it'll probably entertain me that the furry doctors will ban you from society if you become too fat, but that hasn't happened yet. Probably won't by the end of this review, either.

Also to get back on the "Progenitus is hypocritical and I don't think the author has noticed it"-train, is the fact that on one page it goes: "Progenitus hates TTI because they're too 'ends justify the means' and cause too much suffering! Progenitus wants to save everyone!" then on the next page it goes: "Progenitus has large, secret populations of clones that it tortures, infects and horribly maims just so it has someone it can do medical research on and learn more about treatments and cures from working with. They do this because the ends justify the means." Progenitus has also teamed up with the space cops to find out whether morality is determined biologically or by society. Trying to breed the ultimate ethical creature. That's kind of a creepy far-future thing that work with, could be interesting. And for once the author resists the temptation to go: "yo the furries figured this one out and the answer is X" so there's actually still something to strive for! Kind of! Probably this will be ruined entirely in the Silence part of the book, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.


HOW CAN YOU BE A MEDIC WITHOUT loving OPPOSABLE THUMBS. EAT poo poo, HSD.

So, next up on the corporate roll is Pulse and-


What is this dumb poo poo

-ahem, anyway. Pulse. Their intro fiction is about a pair of executives trying to figure out what to do next in the wild, wacky universe of filmed fistfights and bloodsports. What they end up coming up with is something that actually sounds like compelling watching(albeit hilariously unethical), basically releasing a monster into civilian premises, tossing a few of the civilians some guns and a bit of forewarning, and then seeing if they try to save others, fight the monster or just get themselves out. Their corporate mentality is sort of like they're the more corporate version of the Ultimates from Eclipse Phase, it's all about bettering and strengthening yourself, keeping on fighting, etc. and there are no situations where you're really hosed, you're just not applying enough effort. BOOTSTRAPS, SON.


Even consistently bad art from the same artist would've been better than whatever revolving door of morons they had for their art crew.


Why is the art for "Arena Combat" a shark in a swimsuit.

Living in Pulsetown must also suck since they apparently will casually gently caress with your genes just for laughs, marketing or playful experimentation. So if you ever wake up glowing green or your left arm shrivels up and falls off because some virus engineer forgot to carry the one, ha ha! That's just a wacky result of living here. It's not even portrayed as horrific by the writer. More just as wacky and casual fun. Pulse also pays guys to run around and start poo poo. Like breaking things, mugging people or setting fires. Just so people have something to "react to," to see what they're made of. Aren't they just a wacky bunch of lovable jocks? And they've got people who go around randomly injecting people with "turn you into a monster for a few hours"-serums, apparently as advertising for Pulse. This is, again, portrayed as... a non-horrifying, non-traumatizing thing and instead as something that a lot of people are totally into and enjoy so much they move over to live in a Pulse town where it happens more regularly.

Phew. With that we're almost done with the corporations. Just two more to go, where we're going to learn about the Corporate Nega-CIA and what dumbshit things the author has to say about FTL travel in a capitalist society, and then we can move on to the TRULY SPOOKY SECRETS of HSD.

Down With People
Oct 31, 2012

The child delights in violence.




BREAD OR STONE – PART 3

The Cudoviste Kasa

After they've met Belenzada, the investigators can look forward to spending the rest of the scenario hunted by his home-made abominations. They're called cudoviste (literally 'monster') after someone's sighting of one gets reported in the paper. They're amalgamations of various animal and human parts combined together to make one really super dangerous animal. The first cudoviste has the head of a wild boar, the upper body of a gorilla and the lower body of a person. It's not clear where Belenzada is getting all of his apes for this project, but whatever.

The cudoviste is not particularly intelligent but it is cunning and absolutely loyal to its creator. It's also loving strong and loving fast and only takes half-damage from firearms. It's been instructed to kill the investigators and to that end, the first cudoviste they're likely to encounter is waiting for them outside their hotel, wearing a hat and a coat to hide its appearance. Seeing it costs 1/1D6 SAN. It'll try to pick off an isolated investigator rather than taking on the whole group at once. If they kill it, no problem – Belenzada just makes another one. There's a little thing you can roll on to mix and match your own crime against nature.


oh poo poo oh gently caress

While Strolling Through The Woods One Day

Investigators who want to follow up on Belenzada's tips will be heading to Kunjevci hunting preserve. They're going to have their work cut out for them: there's six popular trails that each take 1-2 hours to hike, with a 1 in 6 chance they find Moric on each one (that is, assuming they only search one at a time). About a mile down one of the trails, an investigator can spot a strange shape not far from the main path. It's a corpse lying face-up, and Jazmina recognises the clothes as belonging to her father (if she's absent, he's still got his wallet on him).

Moric's face has been blown apart by a shotgun blast, but there's also a bunch of suspicious details here. Moric's wearing a dark suit as opposed to something suited for hunting. Medicine reveals that there's too little blood present at the scene, while Track reveals that someone dragged him here and dumped him. There's hydraulic fluid on his fingers and grey dust on his legs and shoes that Science (Geology) will detect as granite. There's also an entry wound for a small-calibre bullet on his back, which Medicine will reveal to be the actual cause of death, with the shotgun blast done post-mortem.

Jazmina is crushed by this discovery, but is now determined to find his killer. If investigators don't find him, he's discovered by a hunting party around day 3 in Vinkovci.



Tomb Raiders

The investigators might want to check out the Crusader's Tomb site. That's a break-in. Getting past the fence isn't difficult, but better do it late at night unless you want witnesses calling the cops about the LPV agents they saw hopping the fence. The site is a series of rooms that was once the basement to a well-fortified medieval building. All of the really interesting stuff has been moved off-site already, but the stone 'sarcophagus' where the Mims Sahis was found is still here. It's clearly too small to have held a body, and the interior is lined with lead tiles. The removed lid has a carving of St. Michael defeating Lucifer, and on the inside there's a stone with an unusual rune that Cthulhu Mythos identifies as an active Elder Sign.

Stop The Presses

Investigators might want to look up Vesna Femic, the journalist who published the article on the Crusader's Tomb. A visit to the office of the Cibalis newspaper that published it will quickly reveal that no-one has seen Femic for several days – the secretary will say that 'she's likely on her back somewhere, researching her next story'. She can be persuaded to give investigators Femic's address. The journalist lives in a single-storey cottage that's had the front door forced open. It's deserted and it won't be hard for investigators to find bloodstains in the bathroom and living room, the latter of which is also missing a rug. There's a darkroom and a writing desk, both of which have been totally cleaned out. A jacket hanging by the door has Femic's notebook, and inside that is a letter from Lazar Andic asking her to meet him at the Rose Garden.

The Rose Garden is a sleazy rooming house primarily used by sex workers and couples having illicit affairs. They pride themselves on maintaining discretion and as such will require a sizable bribe in pounds sterling before they'll admit that one of their recent guests was a student from Zagreb who stole a rug before he left. Of more interest to the investigators is the rubbish wagon behind the building, piled high and partially frozen over. Hidden under the rubbish are two blood-stained rugs which have been rolled around the bodies of Femic and Andic. Both have had their faces removed from their heads, but have been preserved wonderfully by the cold. That's 1/1D4 SAN. If the investigators want to call the cops about this, best to leave an anonymous tip and clear out.

After this, investigators may catch glimpses of a woman who looks like Femic around town. This is actually one of the Wolves, wearing Femic's face.



gently caress The Police

If the investigators contact the police at any point, they'll quickly find them to be useless. The cops are totally consumed with the hunt for the LPV to the point that they just flat-out won't care about anything the investigators try to tell them. Dr. Moric's missing? Well, he was a Croatian, so blame his brothers in the LPV. Investigators got attacked? LPV. Rotting corpses discovered? Those drat LPV again. Investigators who push too heavily can look forward to getting arrested and more thoroughly interrogated by Captain Karkunica for their trouble.

They don't care about the obvious evidence for Moric's murder either, and if the investigators push too hard on that front, Major Boskovic of the army will become certain that he was a co-conspirator in the LPV and will want to bring Jazmina in for questioning. Jazmina doesn't give a gently caress; she cuts her hair and wears a hat to avoid being spotted. Nothing will stop her getting revenge for her dad.

Next time: knife fights!

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


I don't think anyone's ever managed to write a 'SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST, STRUGGLE TO BE STRONG' group in a sci-fi RPG (especially a loving post-scarcity one) without them just being stupid dicks.

Dallbun
Apr 21, 2010


You must cast read magic to understand

The Deck of Encounters Set One Part 66: The Deck of Mind Flayers, Mummies, and Naga

373: Hands of Darkness

Takes place in an inn near several caverns. The PCs wake up and the staff are trying to tie them up. They’ll probably escape, investigate, and find a trap door in a storeroom that leads to the lair of four mind flayers who run the place. They like gladiatorial combat and eating brains, and will use captives for one, then the other. The card suggests some ways the PCs can escape if captured, as well - smuggling a dagger out from the arena, mostly.

Alright, sounds fine. Though you’d think the staff would have drugged the PCs before trying to capture them. Keep.

P.S. “Note: this can lead to Minds of Death.” Don’t mind if I do.


374: Minds of Death

The PCs are travelling in the wilderness, when a massive storm is supposed to force them to take refuge in a tunnel complex with three mind flayers. (The party’s wizard isn’t classy enough to spend their one 7th-level spell slot on Mordenkainen’s magnificent mansion every day.) Basically, the mind flayers “hide” while the PCs investigate the cave and then attack when they’re sleeping, to eat brains and capture gladitorial slaves. Where they hide and how they escape detection from the players, who have all read The Hobbit and will be at least as thorough as Thorin’s party before they lay down to bed, is not explained.

The treasure horde is 1,500 pp and a necklace of prayer beads. The card suggests that the caves can connect to the previous encounter.

Not particularly interested in this as a random encounter, but I like the idea of the PCs following a secret tunnel from one encounter to the other, and getting the jump on the other set of illithid. Keep.


375: The Tomb

A room for a dungeon. It’s large and has eight sarcophagi with stone coffins that “are impossible to move with less than a combined Strength of at least 100.” Because in AD&D, two people with 10 Strength can produce the same amount of force as one person with 20 Strength. (Note: this is not true.)

In the center of the room is “a large gold and platinum urn” with 4,500 gp, 6,000 sp, and 20 opals each worth 100 gp. ...but how much is the urn itself worth?

If the PCs come close to the urn, all the sarcophagi open and the mummies come out, attacking like berserkers until the PCs flee. If they grab any treasure on the way out, the mummies will pursue indefinitely.

Not particularly interesting. However, the general concept of “obvious trap that the PCs are tempted to activate anyway out of greed” is key to the dungeon-delving D&D experience, and I give it points for that. Keep.


376: The Inheritance

The PCs are chillin’ in a tavern and are approached by an employer, like in all good adventures. In this case it’s the young heir of a wealthy miser. He says his “ancestors” (actually just his parents) were so greedy they were buried with their wealth instead of leaving it to their offspring. His family’s starving, so it’s time to break open the ol’ family tomb. He offers them half of the treasure as payment.

The fact that he’s turning to tavern murderhobos for this indicates that he knows there’s going to be trouble. The trouble is six mummies: his two parents and their four servants. The treasure: Around 10,000 gp total.

Weird. As a PC, I would think this story sounded extremely suspicious, and expect there to be a twist somewhere. But no, the heir’s story checks out, the undead are doing what you’d expect the undead to do, and it’s all very straightforward. Keep...?


377: The Gauntlet

The PCs are in a dungeon, and while proceeding through a maze of unspecified traps, attract the attention of the spirit naga who set them. (Spirit nagas are the evil ones.) It observes them, waits for an opportune moment, and jumps them. The card describes its tactics a little, and says it will negotiate for its life by offering to lead them to a stash of treasure (about 1,072 gp and a potion of gaseous form, “all covered by the remains of the naga’s latest victims.”

Without the context of the “maze of traps,” this is just a monster attack. But the maze of traps isn’t described at all, which limits the use of this card. I mean, I could hold on to it and play it in an area that was already heavily trapped, if there was such a place in this dungeon… but eh. Not worth it. Pass.

Dallbun fucked around with this message at 19:33 on Jan 2, 2018

Bar Crow
Oct 10, 2012


Night10194 posted:

I don't think anyone's ever managed to write a 'SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST, STRUGGLE TO BE STRONG' group in a sci-fi RPG (especially a loving post-scarcity one) without them just being stupid dicks.

Sci-fi writers can't figure out what evolution is so they assume it's like grinding exp.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Like would it really be so hard to write it as a society where people are constantly encouraged to seek out new skills and maybe even strongly rewarded by their employer for branching out into new areas of education or training. "You should be the best you can be!" and "Everyone encouraged to their fullest potential!" isn't that hard to do as schticks!

E: Like the cool 'Do you have the strength and honor to FARM!?' guys from Fragged Empire.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 15:50 on Jan 2, 2018

LongDarkNight
Oct 25, 2010

It's like watching the collapse of Western civilization in fast forward.

Oven Wrangler

Dallbun posted:

376: The Inheritance

The PCs are chillin’ in a tavern and are approached by an employer, like in all good adventures. In this case it’s the young heir of a wealthy miser. He says his “ancestors” (actually just his parents) were so greedy they were buried with their wealth instead of leaving it to their offspring. His family’s starving, so it’s time to break open the ol’ family tomb. He offers them half of the treasure as payment.

The fact that he’s turning to tavern murderhobos for this indicates that he knows there’s going to be trouble. The trouble is six mummies: his two parents and their four servants. The treasure: Around 10,000 gp total.

Weird. As a PC, I would think this story sounded extremely suspicious, and expect there to be a twist somewhere. But no, the heir’s story checks out, the undead are doing what you’d expect the undead to do, and it’s all very straightforward. Keep...?

I like this one since it highlights in D&D that; yes, you can take it with you. Also some good questions to be raised a guy having his own parents graves robbed.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Dallbun posted:

375: The Tomb

A room for a dungeon. It’s large and has eight sarcophagi with stone coffins that “are impossible to move with less than a combined Strength of at least 100.” Because in AD&D, two people with 10 Strength can produce the same amount of force as one person with 20 Strength. (Note: this is not true.)
In the center of the room is “a large gold and platinum urn” with 4,500 gp, 6,000 gp, and 20 opals each worth 100 gp. ...so, how much is the urn worth?

If the PCs come close to the urn, all the sarcophagi open and the mummies come out, attacking like berserkers until the PCs flee. If they grab any treasure on the way out, the mummies will pursue indefinitely.

Not particularly interesting. However, the general concept of “obvious trap that the PCs are tempted to activate anyway out of greed” is key to the dungeon-delving D&D experience, and I give it points for that. Keep.

Here we see why Hennet's 50 goddamn belts outfit is actually practical. I used to love encountering the "room full of sarcophagi" encounter because it was super fun to rope or chain them up before activating the obvious trap button.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Night10194 posted:

I don't think anyone's ever managed to write a 'SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST, STRUGGLE TO BE STRONG' group in a sci-fi RPG (especially a loving post-scarcity one) without them just being stupid dicks.

Even the Ultimates in Eclipse Phase have been removed as a player option in the new edition because that attitude fosters fascist "will to power" tendencies. Also, you already have Exhumans, which are even more hosed up versions of the Ultimates.

Prism
Dec 22, 2007

yospos


LongDarkNight posted:

I like this one since it highlights in D&D that; yes, you can take it with you. Also some good questions to be raised a guy having his own parents graves robbed.

I would probably make it so, rather than being starving now, they actually left him a small amount and expected him to make a fortune like they did, and he decided his best investment was in a down payment on adventurers to get the rest of the buried wealth. (Your choice as to whether that was a party before the PCs that failed, which is why he has to take a less favourable to him split now.)

That gold is right there. It would be immoral to ignore it.

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!


Young Freud posted:

Even the Ultimates in Eclipse Phase have been removed as a player option in the new edition because that attitude fosters fascist "will to power" tendencies. Also, you already have Exhumans, which are even more hosed up versions of the Ultimates.

What, really? Is that their reasoning for removing them? Then they might as well remove all of the factions as player factions, because almost any of them could be extrapolated into a really horrendous ideology. Besides, the Ultimates are about the most PC faction there is(at least when they're reasonably moderate). "Oughta go challenge myself with some gatecrashing and mercenary ops so I can grow as a person and become better, smarter stronger and more fit to fight the universe! These Firewall missions are about the coolest challenges around, too."

I honestly hope they also cut back on the expectation that the PC's will be Firewall agents. Or at least acknowledge that someone might want to play, say, Oversight auditors instead.

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Lurks With Wolves
Jan 14, 2013

At least I don't dance with them, right?


PurpleXVI posted:

What, really? Is that their reasoning for removing them? Then they might as well remove all of the factions as player factions, because almost any of them could be extrapolated into a really horrendous ideology. Besides, the Ultimates are about the most PC faction there is(at least when they're reasonably moderate). "Oughta go challenge myself with some gatecrashing and mercenary ops so I can grow as a person and become better, smarter stronger and more fit to fight the universe! These Firewall missions are about the coolest challenges around, too."

Listen, it's just a bad time for militarized eugenicists as a PC faction. The whole "you, person seeking something out of life, can join us and be a superior being above all the weak-willed masses" thing they kind of have going doesn't really help the comparison either.

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