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The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



Speleothing posted:

An RPG where all the player races are slightly different types of dolphins, orcas are dangerous giants ....

Blue Planet?

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hyphz
Aug 5, 2003





I think there is actually an RPG called Everything Is Dolphins but it’s a terrible generic system with “dolphin” search-and-replaced in, giving even worse dissonance than Furry Pirates.

Down With People
Oct 31, 2012

The child delights in violence.




LITTLE COTTAGE IN THE WOOD – PART THREE

Ya'll Ever Listen To Italian Prog-Rock Band Goblin


The night the investigators come to the village, the Romani are planning to perform an ancient ritual. The prosperity of the village depends on good rains, and though they have been good so far Todor has accepted an offer from Venclovic to lead a ceremony that will extend the favourable weather. Kristijan objects to the ritual on general principles, as he feels that the villagers should instead have faith in the Lord, but Todor sees the ritual as harmless and a good way to lift spirits in both communities – and since they already have faith in the Lord, they can put a little something to the side just in case.

Ana vehemently disagrees with the ritual and refuses to let it be performed anywhere near the church or the Filopovic home. She'll beseech the investigators to join her in the church and pray for the souls of Orasac rather than taking any part in the ceremony. Psychology reveals her distress is genuine.

The ceremony begins an hour before dusk with the women of Orasac inviting the youngest daughter of Venclovic's family into the village, to the Nedic house. She emerges wearing a skirt and cape made of leaves, her face smeared with mud. The villagers carry burning torches as they escort her from household to household, swaying and chanting. The woman of each house ladles water over the girl while the man of each house gives her a gift as she leaves. They visit every house save the Filopovics' and by the end the girl is soaked to the skin and freezing cold. At the end, the women of the village bathe her, feed her, bundle her up and escort her home.

The villagers believe this to be a traditional fertility ritual. In actuality, it's a Mythos ritual that wards against the Black Goat, weaving a spell of protection around each house and tricking the Black Goat into thinking she's been fed. Investigators who examine the ritual with Anthropology will come up with a wide range of symbolic possibilities but will ultimately determine the ritual to be benign in nature and intention. Cthulhu Mythos lets them jump right to figuring it out as a ward against Shub-Niggurath.

Venclovic oversees the entire ritual. Investigators who have seen the bone whistle in the Nedic house can roll Spot Hidden to recognise a similar whistle worn around her neck. Venclovic doesn't take kindly to being stared at by strangers and fixes them with a glare that should probably do HP damage.

The investigators who are staying with the Nedics can enjoy the cheerful hospitality of Todor and falling asleep with a belly full of Slavic brandy/paint-stripper. The rest of the team in the Filopovic household can look forward to a frosty reception from Ana if they took part in the ritual. Later in the night, anyone who succeeds at a Listen roll is woken up by the sound of voices coming from the kitchen. It sounds like three people conversing in low, urgent tones. The language is unknown to them, but an Extreme success here will let them recognise it later. If they get out of bed to investigate, they'll need to succeed on a Hard Stealth roll. Otherwise, when they get to the kitchen they only see Ana, who kindly offers them some tea.

There was no-one else in the kitchen. Ana was warning her sister-priestesses and all three voices came out of her mouth.



I Highly Recommend Listening To The Soundtrack To Suspiria

The investigators at the Nedic household are treated to a hearty breakfast with the rest of the family. If they haven't received the bone whistle, Todor's sister gives it to the investigator with the highest Power and explains with signs and simple language that it protects them from wood spirits – if they're in danger, blowing on it will frighten the spirits away. Whether they believe that or not, it would be rude to refuse it.

The rest of the team gets similar treatment from the Filopovics, though obviously lacking the chaos of the 20+ extended family. Ana in particular is in high spirits this morning, a sharp change from the night before. Kristijan gives them directions through the woods, as well as cheese and bread and booze for the trip. Before they leave, Ana pulls an investigator aside and warns them that some of the people in Orasac cannot be trusted, especially those with Romani sympathies – 'they have had their way long enough', she says cryptically.


The illustrations for this scenario are fan-loving-tastic, thanks for asking.

The hut is only an hour's walk west into the woods, but the investigators will not find anyone willing to act as guide for any amount of money – anyone they recruit will barely walk beyond the village boundaries before making a lame excuse and ditching them. On their way, they'll see smoke coming from fireplaces in the Romani settlement and may want to make a brief detour to visit them. When they get to the borders of the woods they'll find rich green pasture but strangely, no-one seems to be bringing their animals to graze here. As they enter the forest, it's not long before they seem to find themselves in the deep woods where the evergreens grow to great heights and fungal life abounds. The smell of humus is heavy in the air and an Extreme Listen roll lets them detect a faint, omnipresent hum.

The smell of fresh bread cuts through the smell of rotting wood, and after climbing a low slope the investigators find themselves in a clearing faced with a cottage made of rough-hewn wood. It has a quaint briar-wood fence and a young girl can be heard humming inside. Investigators who find this scene suspicious are allowed to make a Spot Hidden roll to detect that there's just something slightly off about the cottage and that they keep seeing movement out of the corner of their eyes, even though nothing's changing. As they move through the gap in the fence, they must roll Luck, and the investigator with the worst roll trips over and gashes their right hand across the fence.

The door to the house is shut, but when the investigators knock, the woman inside calls them in.

Next time: dinner time!

Down With People fucked around with this message at 01:19 on Jan 6, 2018

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



I think the moment my usual group of players caught sight of that cottage, they'd be asking how much dynamite it would take to blow it up or failing that set it on fire. I can't see any of my players being gullible enough to try approaching it, especially if they know there's supernatural activity afoot.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



I mean at this point in the narrative that's definitely 1000% likely except for the fact that they still have to barter with the witches of the Suspiciously Fecund Idyllic Meadow.

On the other hand, at this point they have definitively learned that the pieces of the statue are indestructible and remember that according to fairy tales witches are weak to fire and burn Baba Yaga's house down.

Down With People
Oct 31, 2012

The child delights in violence.


Cythereal posted:

I think the moment my usual group of players caught sight of that cottage, they'd be asking how much dynamite it would take to blow it up or failing that set it on fire. I can't see any of my players being gullible enough to try approaching it, especially if they know there's supernatural activity afoot.

The book does acknowledge that and accommodates for that approach! That is, it accommodates for a variation on that approach. For reasons that will become apparent in the next two updates, trying to burn down or blow up the cottage is uh, inadvisable. If your players go straight for violence I'd gently remind them that they're here to make a deal and really, honestly, their characters don't have enough to go on to justify dynamiting the place right off the bat.

If they really can't be dissuaded, it's their funeral.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




Next time on It's Always Sunny in Essex County...

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



Rule 1 posted:

Do not act incautiously when confronting little bald wrinkly smiling men women!

If you're going to dynamite the cottage of someone called 'Grandmother' I suggest you use a lot of dynamite.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012







Part 2: Skills, Feats, etc.
Let's start off with Skills
Skills
Intimidate
Yes yes, Intimidate already exists, but now you can use it to initiate a DUEL OF WILLS!

Er... no, but good effort.
A Duel of Wills is when two fighters lock eyes across the battlefield and size each other up, attempting to awe the other into submission. You insitgate the duel by fixing a cold steely stare on an opponent with an Int Score of at least 3. They then have 3 options. Submit: they take a -2 penalty to init and a -1 penalty on attack rolls against you in the first round of combat. Ignore: You make a DC15 intimidate check and if you succeed you get a +1 morale bonus on atttack rolls against them for one round. Participate: Make opposed intimidate checks, the winner gets +1 attack and damage against the loser, and the loser get -1 against the winner for the encounter. This is basically a one-sided prisoner's dilemma, i can't think of a situation where choosing Ignore isn't the best option almost all of the time. But whatever

Knowledge (Local)
You can use this to locate local centers of Martial training like you could use Know(Arcane) to find a local wizard college. Sure I guess.

Martial Lore(Int: Trained only)
It's spellcraft but with a find replace of "Wizard poo poo" for "Martial poo poo".


Feats

Adaptive Style
This lets a Martial Adept swap out their readied maneuvers as a full round action. It doesn't actually require you to change your maneuvers though so a Swordsage could use this to turn their "Full round action to recover one move" into "Full round action to recover ALL moves".
Avenging Strike
If you're good you can smite Evil Outsiders! Just evil outsiders though.
Blade Meditation
Get an untyped bonus on damage rolls with a selected school's weapon group and a +2 bonus on their associated skill. Also increase the Save DC of moves from that school by 1. it doesn't say you can take this multiple times so while this is giving you a bunch of varied bonuses it's kind of a wash as to if you want the bonus to be towards a weapon you'd actually use, or towards a skill you need to pump for some of you rmoves.

Desert Fire
If you move at least 10 feet away from your starting square you can deal 1d6 fire damage on a desert wind strike!
Desert Wind Dodge
If you move at least 10 feet away from your starting square you get a +1 dodge bonus to AC and deal 1 point of fire damage with <GET DESERT WIND WEAPONS>, this, like a couple of other feats, can substitude for other feats in pre-requisites for Prestige Classes, other feats, etc. But this one substitutes for "Dodge", and doesn't strictly state, but implies that you can't ahve both this feat and Dodge at the same time.
Devoted Bulwark
If you have a devoted spirit maneuver you get a +1 morale bonus to AC after an enemy hits you with a melee attack that lasts until the end of your next turn.
Divine Spirit
While in a divine spirit stance you can spend uses of turn undead to heal for less than that other divine feat that lets you spend uses of turn undead to heal.
Evasive Reflexes
When you're given an opening to make an attack of opportunity, you can instead make a 5 foot step. This feat can substitute for combat reflexes and you can theoretically take both.11
Extra Granted Maneuver
Your crusader has one extra maneuver granted when his maneuvers refresh, you can only take this feat once.
Extra Readied Maneuver
Your swordsage can ready one extra maneuver. You can only take this feat once.
Falling Sun Attack
If you deliver a setting sun strike with an unarmed strike and also make that a stunning fist attack you can increase the save DC of the strike and the stun by one. woo.
Instant Clarity
3 times per day you can become instantly psionically focused after initiating a martial strike. This seems remarkably pointless! It also counts as Psionic Meditation, and you could theoretically take both.
Ironheart Aura
While in an Iron heart stance adjacent allies get a +2 bonus on saving throws, not bad.
Martial Study and Martial Stance
Martial Study lets you choose a discipline of martial maneuvers, gain it's key skill as a class skill for all your classes, and gain one of it's maneuvers(if you meet it's prerequisites). If you aren't a martial adept you can use it once per combat at a level equal to half your character level. If you are a martial adept you choose one of your classes to add this to as one of your maneuvers known. But you can only take Martial Study 3 times. Martial Stance lets you learn any stance that you meet the prerequisites for. But that's theoretically enough maneuvers to get the level 9 Devoted Spirit strike onto a Warblade. If you're willing to put 4 feats into it.
Psychic Renewal
You can recover any expended maneuver by expending your psionic focus... and power points equal to it's level. Next
Rapid Assault
In the first round of combat you deal +1d6 damage! Next.
Scribe Martial Script
Crusaders and Swordsages(but not Warblades for some reason) can make "Martial adept scrolls" basically.
Shadow Blade
While in a Shadow Hand Stance and using <GET SHADOW HAND WEAPONS> you can add your dexterity modifier to damage rolls in addition to your strength modifier. You can subsitute this feat for weapon finesse but if you do then any feats that key off of finesse weapons only apply to <SHADOW HAND WEAPONS>.
Shadow Trickster
While you're in a shadow hand stance you get a +2 DC bonus to the saves of illusion spells you cast and a +2 bonus when making a sneak attack, sudden strike, or flanking an opponent. Which is odd because this feat requires a caster level to take, but oh well.
Song of the White Raven
You can activate Inspire Courage as a swift action while in a White Raven stance and your crusader and warblade levels stack with Bard to determine how strong your inspire courage is.
Snap Kick
If you take a -2 penalty to all your attacks in a round, you can make one extra unarmed strike.
Stone Power
You can take a penalty on attack rolls to get temporary hit points for a round. This feat can substitute for power attack. and you could theoretically also take power attack.
Sudden Recovery
Once per day as a swift action you can instantly ready(and grant if necessary) one martial maneuver.
Superior Unarmed Strike
This gives non-monks something akin to Monk damage progression with unarmed strikes, and gives monk a +4 bonus to their level when determining unarmed strike damage.

Tiger Blooded
If you're in a rage, shifted, or wild shaped you can knock a creature your size or smaller back 5 feet when you hit them with a tiger claw strike unless they make a fort save.
Unnerving Calm
You can use concentration instead of intimidate in a duel of wills, get a +4 bonus on skill checks to resolve them, and a +2 morale bonus on attack rolls against people who ignore them.
Vital Recovery
You heal a small amount of damage once per combat when you recover maneuvers.
White Raven Defense
While in a White Raven stance and adjacent to an ally you get a +1 bonus to AC, if you're holding <WHITE RAVEN WEAPONS> adjacent allies get +1 bonus to AC.

There's also a bunch of Tactical Feats, which means they're fiddly as hell and of questionable usefulness. For completeness' sake let's discuss the one that has an image associated with it.


quote:

SHARDS OF GRANITE
Like the great Stone Dragon, you hammer through your opponents’ defenses using raw, brutal strength. Each blow sunders steel, shatters bone, and cleaves through flesh. With each successive attack you make, you hit with greater force.
Prerequisite: Stone Power, base attack bonus +6, two Stone Dragon maneuvers.
Benefit: The Shards of Granite feat enables the use of three tactical options.
Battering Smash: To use this option, you must make a successful melee attack using one of the preferred weapons of the Stone Dragon discipline (greatsword, greataxe, heavy mace, or unarmed strike) and take a –5 penalty on the attack roll using your Stone Power feat. If
you hit, you ignore the target’s hardness (if any).
Eviscerating Strike: To use this option, you must hit the same creature at least two times in the same round using one of the preferred weapons of the Stone Dragon discipline
(greatsword, greataxe, heavy mace, or unarmed strike). On your next turn, you ignore any penalty you take on your attack roll from your Stone Power feat when making a roll to
confirm a critical hit.
Unstoppable Onslaught: To use this option, you must make a successful melee attack using
one of the preferred weapons of the Stone Dragon discipline (greatsword, greataxe, heavy
mace, or unarmed strike), and take a –5 penalty on the attack roll using your Stone
Power feat. If you hit, your melee attacks against that creature on your next turn overcomes its damage reduction (if any).
Yes, now you can break down doors even harder, and ignore a rather substantial penalty to hit if you manage a 5% chance, or overcome damage reduction... next turn.

Blade Magic
This is a short chapter going over the mechanics of how Maneuvers work. Most of which I've gone over already in some form or another. You need to be able to move to initiate a maneuver, but you don't need to be able to speak. Initiating Boosts and stances requires a Swift action, and you can only use one Swift action a turn. Now go back and look at all those feats that are less attractive to Martial Adepts because of this. You stay in a stance indefinitely until you are rendered helpless for any reason, or until you use a swift action to change to a different stance. Or a swift action to end your current stance without entering another one I guess.
One wrinkle is that multiclassing for Martial Adepts is kind of dumb. Your track your readied maneuvers separately for your two classes, and each class counts at half it's levels for the other class to determine what maneuver levels you're able to choose on level up.
There's also rules for creating new maneuvers if your DM is insane and allows you to do that, but it's basically "Work with your DM, it'll definitely require an insane skill check and for you to dish out XP to do it, otherwise here be dragons." There, is, however, some sweet art of the various Discipline users next to the descriptions of the disciplines, which they're giving us, again.

Desert Wind, Devoted Spirit, Diamond Mind (Holy crap a drow. neat)


Iron Heart, Setting Sun, Shadow Hand


Tiger Claw, Stone Heart, White Ravephffffft oh my god what is wrong with that Avoral, he looks so hideously off model and emaciated, like someone used photoshop on him, badly. Also why is this one out of order going bottom to top rather than top to bottom?

Anyways.
Next Time: Barfing dragons from our swords

JackMann
Aug 11, 2010

Secure. Contain. Protect.


Fallen Rib

I'm pretty sure one of the devs came out and said Adaptive Style was intended as a feat tax for swordsages.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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





BOOK FOUR: Petty Conjuring and Sigil Magic

Or

Getting Frustrated You Didn't Prepare Anything Relevant


Petty Conjuring, as previously mentioned, is a form of enchantment. The Conjurer/Cunning Folk performs a ritualistic action to imbue an item with aether and Quintessence and sets up a specific trigger to activate the item's function whenever needed. Because technically everyone has Quintessence as long as they have positive Resolve, the trigger can be activated by whoever is holding it, not just the Conjurer. Conjuring doesn't draw power from Entropy or Order but it's rather like exploiting the functions of nature with One Weird Trick to get reality to what you want without seizing direct control and pulling. As a result, a Conjurer is generally looked down on as a pagan or someone consorting with the old gods. In more professional and technological settings, Conjurors are valued for being able to apply their triggers and enchantments to inventions.


Ah yes, the classic thinly-veiled "we had this idea when there was a fight with the GM" sidebar.

The upside of enchantment is that you prep and use when necessary. The downside is that prep takes time and planning. There are rules that basically boil down to "depending on how badly you fail a Resolve+Conjuring roll, you will lose Quintessence, materials, both or more". The game also doesn't want you to just sit at home enchanting your rear end off (though honestly it has no way to really enforce that outside of hours in the day and your Quintessence pool). To use an enchanted item, simply believe that it will work and perform the action necessary to trigger it (along with paying the Quintessence cost). It's possible to find enchanted things out in the wild but you have to determine what it does...without using it up.



And I legitimately have no idea if any of these things are multi-use enchanted items. I don't think they are, that would make a lot of them a lot more useful than they are. Why ever bother clarifying that point.

ENCHANTMENTS


  • Animal Companion is nice. It's not particularly great but hey there are probably some uses for an enterprising PC.
  • Befuddle is pretty handy...except for the fact that I'm pretty sure enchantments are single-use and so I'd generally just lean on the Hermetic equivalent of this spell.
  • Cat Nimble is great, save the buff for whenever you have to do excellent at murdering people.
  • Cloak of Shadows is nice and a good counterpart to invisibility needing you to be naked.
  • Create Heartstone is definitely good for a magic-focused party. The main use of this is to be a mana potion.

  • Edge Sharp is pretty drat useful...for guns. Does it work on guns? I don't know. gently caress melee.
  • Far Leap definitely has its fun uses and it's a shame it doesn't last too long.
  • Fury is not as good as it sounds. To resist flying into a rage, the target basically has to make a plain, unmodified Resolve roll. It's not too hard to get the successes one needs if they have a sturdy investment in the stat that lets them resist magic. It also runs the risk of an unnecessary rampage caused by the target going apeshit.
  • Hailstorm is a nice AOE attack on paper but it's just bruise damage. At least they say it works indoors.
  • Healing Poultice is definitely one of the abilities to take due to being able to stack and due to not needing a mage.

  • Instant Reload is very practical and useful with the major caveat of not saying if you can bless a whole mess of bullets at once.
  • Liken Shape is your answer to Druidic Shapeshifting...except it doesn't really give you any of those benefits, it's just "you're an animal now and you have natural attacks". The big benefit is the espionage potential of being an animal.
  • Living Vines is just lamely hindering instead of helpfully restraining.
  • Oceans Gift is a pretty practical thing when you need it.
  • Pebble Shine probably had a lot more use before the proliferation of torches and flashlights and gaslight. Either way it's just another stupid Light spell.

  • Powder of Decay has many fun uses for the enterprising, the problem is just making enough of the stuff to begin with.
  • Quiet Shot legitimately should have revolutionized warfare and assassination but whoops that requires considering the ramifications of magic and how it interacts with an environment, whoops. Multiple cloths+telescopic vision from Hermeticism+Whitfield rifle=World War I starting very early when a sufficiently motivated mage decides to start killing royalty for the cause of revolution.
  • Rainguard must be pretty prized by people who want to waterproof their machines or are just pretty vain.
  • Sleep is very useful sans how stat-based rolls function. Plus it's nice it still kinda works on people who are aware poo poo might be up.
  • Stone Cloth is definitely the better version of the Steely Skin spell what with lasting hours, definitely worth taking.
  • Stone Sight is...cool but debatably helpful.


Out of all of these, Quiet Shot, Healing Poultice, Heartstone, Cat Nimble and Stone Cloth are the standouts. Good for using on the rest of the party and preparing a shitload of them in advance. Outside of that...well what else can I say, Conjuring just kinda exists. It's alright. It really doesn't have a lot to do what with magic sliding into obsolescence.

And now it's time for the magic I hate the most.

SIGIL MAGIC

Sigil magic is simultaneously the easiest and the most complicated form of magic that exists in this goddamn book. Fundamentally, an inscriber with a Resolve of at least 1 can spend time etching a sigil on stone, metal, even paper (not flesh). You then pay out Quintessence equal to the level of power you want the sigil to have (up to your Resolve) and the difficulty of the act is Level of Sigil+3.

Here's where things get complicated: intent. A sigil can only do two things. First, they can add bonus dice to your pool. Second, they can remove hindrances from your rolls. That's all they can do, either adding bonus dice or removing black dice from your rolls. So when you're etching out a sigil you can think "hmm, I want to remove the penalties of shooting from a distance!" or "I want this spear to do more damage when it hits people!" and that's the bonus depending on how much power you want the sigil to have. A level 3 ranged attack black dice reduction would remove 3 black dice, have a difficulty of 6 to inscribe and to activate would have an Difficulty of 3 (half the difficulty of the inscription) on a Resolve+Inscription roll and a cost of 1+Sigil level to use. The third point is baffling: unlike enchantments from Conjuring, you have to know Inscription to activate a sigil, meaning that the sigil-crafter of the party will walk around with a bag full of stones that they will turn on and pass out to the others. The upside is that sigils at least last for hours. The other nice thing is that you can re-use sigils as long as they inscription isn't broken and that if tampered with sigils on paper will catch fire, sigils on stone will explode and sigils on metal will melt metal. There's no possible way this can be abused, no sir, and the fact that it'll deal damage equal to the sigil's bonus won't be abused either.


Ooh, two of these thinly-veiled sidebars! Must be my birthday.

Okay so that's not...awful. These rules are a little tricky but they outright say "well hey you want to inscribe runes that let you be creative about their use, bending and playing with their meaning" which hey at least that invites a certain type of creative player.

And here's where things get worse: you have to use either the Enochian language, the Futhark language or the Ogham language to etch sigils. The book includes a list of each along with each rune's meanings and why you'd want to pick this particular language.





Again, here is what Victoriana is saying: sigils grant bonuses or difficulty reductions in certain situations. You etch them onto things and then activate them and have them on your person for the bonuses. Anyway here are three languages you have to use, you loving work it out.

The book does say you can use another language like Hebrew. And then doesn't give any guidelines for using something like Hebrew. All runes all the time, ten thousand years of Norse runes, runes from a language that doesn't really directly translate to "I want a bonus to hitting people with a cudgel". Actual textual example from the book: "For example, a magician may use the Enochian letter Ceph to grant +2 dice to ranged attacks or -3 black dice when shooting at opponents behind cover. This guideline is left deliberately vague; a good magician is always thinking of creative ways to apply sigils." I mean. Can you? Ceph means "destruction, movement, war". That is a ludicrously specific application of a ludicrously broad word. This sounds like it's specifically designed to invite fights between the player and the GM where the player activates the Enochian word for war and then fights every step of the way to have a bonus for all things related to war. In a better system, you'd do away with the vague guidelines and say "you have to come up with a specific situation in which this is a bonus. Shooting people behind cover works, so does ranged combat. The rune itself really doesn't matter, it can be any design, it's just the intent of the craftsman that works". Now admittedly that's not a perfect system due to the fact that you're creating a crafting system that amounts to "make whatever and talk to the GM" but it's at least a more focused system. Instead this book continues to try to marriage existing real-world material to badly designed systems that feel like they exist solely because someone in a playtest had an idea for a character they didn't expect and they had to come up with something (except this is third edition).

Victoriana!

NEXT TIME: magic comes to an end with the Maleficium and the rules of Demonology and Necromancy. Remember how I said magic of the demons corrupts? Well...it sure does and that sure doesn't mean much, not when you can make people go comatose for days on end whenever you want with barely a ding to your karma meter.

Tasoth
Dec 12, 2011


Why do I get the feeling that if you're going to blow up the witches' cottage, you best plan on blowing up the surrounding forest as well?

JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!


I like how psychology shows genuine concern on the part of Baba Yaga. Sure, it's genuine concern over her getting disconnected from Black Goat or whatever, but it's a neat way to try and keep players/characters in the dark.

More campaigns should have players engaging in wholesome village fiests, tbh.

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



Has anyone discussed the Space Marine Mammal class in Apocalypse World?

Dallbun
Apr 21, 2010


When your players’ characters reach high enough levels, there’s little left in the world to challenge them except for

The Deck of Encounters Set One Part 70: The Deck of Will O’Wisps, Worms, Wyverns, and Zombies

391: The Darklights

Takes place in a swamp. Some will o’wisps (two or three, the card contradicts itself) imitate torchlights in the distance and try to lead the PCs into a murky bog. If that fails, they’ll try to attack them physically. If either of them gets down to 5 HP, they’ll surrender, offer to lead the PCs to treasure (a jade idol), and then try to drown them in the swamp again.

Yep, that sure is a will o’ wisp encounter - by the book, including the “offering to lead them to treasure thing.” Honestly, the only unusual thing is that they’re so willing to fight. Pass.


392: Bad Vibrations

A village near a castle by a dungeon (pretty much any old village in D&D-land) is plagued by earthquakes that threaten its livelihood. The PCs are offered everything they own (350 gp and a potion of speed) to find out why its happening and resolve the situation. Don’t bother praying, folks - the gods are useless. Aristotle was wrong; Player Characters are the true unmoved movers.

Well, okay, the local farms and ranches are riddled with huge holes, so that might be a clue that it’s a monster-type situation. If the PCs go down the tunnels and start poking around, the purple worm that’s the source of the problem will sense them and attack. The tunnels are, of course, lined with the occasional excretion of precious metals. And presumably they’ll connect back up to that aforementioned dungeon?

I guess it’s fine. Keep.


393: Wounded Wyvern

There are five healthy wyverns clustered around a wounded sixth in a forest clearing. Its wings are torn for some reason, and it can’t make it up again. The other wyverns will try to scare off anyone who approaches, and attack if the PCs are insistent. Contrary to the usual tropes, they show no gratitude to anyone who tries to help their wounded comrade, because they are dangerous wild animals who only want to kill and eat you. So that’s kind of nice as a change of pace, but it means there’s not really anything for the PCs to do here. I’ll pass.


394: The Lord of Carrion

The PCs are crossing over a battlefield. (The card can’t quite decide whether it’s “ancient,” or whether the bodies littering it are “recently-dead.”) Off in the distance, they see a zombie shambling towards them and, even father off, another figure standing and gesticulating. The latter is a zombie lord, raising zombies to fight them but then entering melee combat (because it seems zombie lords can only raise dead once per day). It’s clutching a dirty silver scepter worth 100 gp.

Pfft, if I’m having a random zombie lord encounter on a battlefield, you’d better believe he’ll be standing back and raising wave after wave of zombies, no matter what the Monstrous Manual says. Not that that’s going to be a problem for the PCs, since zombies are quite turnable and zombie lords aren’t super durable, but it’s a little more flavor. Also I’m putting the zombie lord in a broken-down chariot. The dead horses will twitch to life when melee combatants near.

Just a random monster attack, but fun flavor. Keep.

Dallbun fucked around with this message at 19:16 on Jan 6, 2018

Tevery Best
Oct 11, 2013

Hewlo Furriend




So, last time I outlined the reasons for doing this and gave you a brief introduction into how the game came to be. Let's talk a bit more about the game as we walk through the opening bits.

Tornado Blues

The book opens with a short story titled "Tornado Blues." It's nothing really to write home about, but it does a good job of establishing some themes that show up later, and, more importantly, the voice of the book. Because the entire book - aside from the obligatory chapter introducing the concept of role-playing games - is written in a conversational, in-character tone. And honestly, that is one of the things I like about it. It keeps you thinking about the game world, about the things that can happen in it, the characters you can meet - and honestly makes the entire thing more enjoyable to read than if it were more clinical. It does, however, mean that the book's formatting issues can get compounded by things looking like flavour text really quickly. No wonder Portal's board games used to have horrible rulebooks.



Role-Playing Games

Next we have the Obligatory What Is RPG Chapter. Like I said before, it is the only one in the book that acknowledges the author is not, in fact, a used car salesman in Wastelandville, population 6. I can't say for sure, but I think this is the one chapter that was definitely not written by Trzewiczek - maybe Blacha or Barylka; it is very different. The one thing that should be mentioned here is that it really bears the sign of the time it was released - I think the authors were aware that at the time there was a huge influx of new blood in the hobby and that most of the new people found out about tabletops from video game discussions. "Wow, there's a Baldur's Gate/Fallout game where I can make my own story with my friends? Maybe I should try that!" The chapter keeps mentioning Fallout and making references to gameplay conventions you could know from cRPGs of the time far more often than it calls back on stuff like Mad Max or post-apo novels (although it does that too). Also it introduces the basic ideas of gaming savoir-vivre: you're here to have fun, not compete against each other or outwit the GM (and the GM is here to make sure you have fun), you should bring some snacks, don't be an rear end etc. The original 1.0 Edition used to have an extended chapter dedicated solely to being a good player, both in the "how to play cool" and "how to not be an rear end" sense, with tips such as "the GM has worked hard to prepare this poo poo, cut him some slack," "chime in for pizza if you can," "don't leave cigarette butts in the potted plants when you're playing at somebody's house ffs." It didn't make the cut into 1.5. I don't know, I guess more books could use that nowadays. (There was - and still is - a chapter for GMs as well, of course.)

All right, enough of this. Let's get into the first real chapter.

The World: First Look


Every chapter opens with a splat page like this and a blurb. I cut the blurb off, since it scanner really poorly (I hope it gets better when we get deeper into the book and it will start to balance itself on the glass).

Chapter blurb posted:

I was born five years before the war broke out. When all hell broke loose, I was just a scared little kid. I don't remember much from those years, pretty much just the fear. I remember a horrible mess and terror. Then the long years of war began. I grew up in the south, then I went north to fight the Moloch, now, after a good fifteen years of struggle, I'm tired. I'm going back south, life's easier down there...

What a nice bit of optimism to begin! The entire chapter maintains more or less the same voice and gloomy outlook on life. It's not very long, barely five pages, and it's intended to give you a brief overview of the state of the game world. I'll just go along the subsections and summarise them - often briefly, since they are like a column long, and mostly flavour or anecdotes at that, or stories quoted from various mouthpieces, or vignettes. It really feels like a Trzewiczek part, if you recall what I said about the gawęda.

World: poo poo's bad, yo. Everything is ruin and despair, rubble and wreckage. Collapsed power lines, abandoned gas stations, bars that look like the owner left for a break twenty years ago and never came back. Rust, dust, broken glass, howling wind. The world became empty after the war, quiet, depopulated. Outside of city ruins it's hard to meet other people. And the time before the war is remembered as a time of fast cars, loud music, sexy ladies - the good life.

Cities: The largest cities are gone. If they're even habitable today, they're ruins. Bits of broken glass are everywhere, people live like rats in a dump, scavenging, salvaging. Most cities have some kind of a centre, even if it has nothing to do with where it used to be Before, but it's clean, has a market, a bar or two, maybe a gas station. Maybe a real shop. And human voices, dogs barking, guns shooting, music.

People: There is no such thing as society, at least in a way people of old used to think of it. Education, culture, television, the Web, all that contributed to making sure you could know what to expect of others. It's gone now. Anyone you meet can be a freak or a wannabe saviour of humanity. The first question when people meet is often "Where are you from?" People are prejudiced towards you based on where you were born, they put you into a stereotype and try to guess what to expect based on that. They're suspicious and aggressive.

Life: People are very different, but their lives are very similar. They're mostly gatherers, either larger or smaller scale. It seems unbelievable that back in the day old people would just get a pension from the President of the United States. Or buy poo poo for their wife and children on payday. Aside from gathering, people are also traders. The rich have their own shops and live off trade entirely. Some fortunate ones can ply their skills: mechanics, doctors, "especially dentists." Knowledge is valuable. And, well, there are career criminals. Perhaps it's they who are the most numerous. Gangs and bands of criminals raid, extort, and murder, barrelling down empty streets and highways.

Travel: Cities don't have much contact with one another. People prefer to stick to their more or less safe hiding holes rather than set out into the great emptiness. The United States are a couple cities, a few dozen larger cities, hundreds and thousands of settlements - and you never know what you'll find. Highways and old state routes are still frequented, and the few roadside bars are always full of all kinds of people with all kinds of stories. Travellers have no homes, few friends, and no sense of attachment. And they know how to fight for their lives.

Legends: Without TV, without books, without newspapers, people tell each other stories again. And that was always how legends were born. People have lost touch with what is real and what could be real, and whatever story you hear will definitely be colourised beyond recognition. But it's okay. Everyone knows it's just a story.

Moloch: Now we're getting to, you know, probably the most major of major facts about the setting. It gets namedropped in the previous paragraphs, but, only now is the reader told what the fuss is about. Moloch is a network of rebellious machines most likely responsible for the war in the first place. It entered the US from the northwest and has been spreading for the last 30 or so years, now occupying several states1, absorbing more and more cities and industrial installations into a huge machine city of wires and steel. Moloch's bases resemble nothing we know. The earth constantly quakes for miles away from the entity. The columns of smoke and exhaust fumes black out the sun. It is said the smell of the thing reaches a hundred miles south. Humans are at war with the Moloch, and they're very slowly losing.

The book is frequently interspersed with little vignettes in boxes off to the side. They tend to have little to do with whatever is currently being discussed and are not part of the narration. There's one here too, and I'll attach it for you - usually I'll only mention them if they're interesting.

Vignette posted:


There's this guy, they call him Dart. You know, he told me once he flew near the Moloch on that rotor flyer of his. He did not see much, but he snapped a lot of photographs. I haven't seen them. I haven't heard about anyone who has. But Dart says the photos are real. And that they show Moloch from above. And that when he gets the sonuvagun who stole his pics... The point is, Moloch has installed several hundred rocket launchers and whatever else. It's the largest tank in world history. And you know what? Dart says that the photos clearly showed the guns are aiming at the sky. No way those photos would show poo poo, all that smog means you can't see your own hand. But Dart keeps doubling down. "Moloch is scared of being bombed. We'll blow him up from above. I even have a plan..." Dart is high-grade bonkers.

Environment: In short: it's hell. Dry, humid. South is liveable, but if you start going north, at some point everything turns into a battlefield with no potable water, no green vegetation, no animals other than loving beasts. Moloch consistently poisons everything around it and everything it can reach. The ecosystem is hosed. Down south you can live without a geiger counter and water is good to drink - it's been thirty years after the first chemical attacks, and there's no-one to spread the venom that far away.

Gamble: This has nothing to do with gambling. Gamble (sing. gambel) are the stuff you carry and the stuff you trade. Thus, the trade is often called gambling. And it's pretty much barter nowadays - and value of goods can vary wildly. Plenty of people are good with it, though - they're scam artists and savvy traders who can take advantage of the system.

Narrator posted:

I never know how much a jug of beer is worth. It drives me nuts. I never even know if I can afford to get wasted.

Tornado: Possibly the most valuable good of all is a drug called Tornado. It usually comes in the shape of small black pills and people throughout the country are just dying to get some, even if it is hard as hell to obtain (for reasons to be discussed later in the book). The reason for it is that the drug lets you experience the pre-war world in your visions. Walk around the stores, meet people, have fun. Until the bomb goes down in the evening and you wake up. The narrator says it's one of the greatest ailments plaguing humanity - "after Moloch and mutants, and recently it may even be more effective than mutants."

We are then sent off with a promise that we will learn more of the world... later.

Next: Basic Mechanics!

1. Naturally, it never says which ones. The book does not really operate on that particular concept. But it is accepted as canon that Moloch stretches as far south as northern California and as far east as the Dakotas.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Dallbun posted:

391: The Darklights

I like that they make another go of it after leading the PCs to the treasure.

Also, your spin on the zombie lord is awesome. I love the wrecked chariot.

Lichtenstein
May 31, 2012

It'll make sense, eventually.


Tevery Best posted:

Gamble: This has nothing to do with gambling. Gamble (sing. gambel) are the stuff you carry and the stuff you trade. Thus, the trade is often called gambling. And it's pretty much barter nowadays - and value of goods can vary wildly. Plenty of people are good with it, though - they're scam artists and savvy traders who can take advantage of the system.

It's kind of a weird concept, really. They wanted all trade to be barter, to double-down on the theme of society having collapsed, but then somehow had to assign a numerical worth to items for baseline player convenience. So rather than repurpose something into a universal faux-currency (e.g. cigarettes) they've created this abstract currency equivalent that doesn't represent anything physical.

Falconier111
Jul 18, 2012

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



Part 8 – The Mansion



golly gee willickers

After their lakeside escapades, the party docks near a cabin and unloads their precious cargo. With Wong safe and sound (Marjorie is borderline catatonic and will be out of commission for the rest of the adventure) they can grill him on what he knows. According to him, Nash was a brilliant researcher who Wong fired for ethics violations and he swore revenge on him in classic mad scientist fashion before disappearing. Wong can’t tell the party what Nash did to get fired (nondisclosure agreements) or how Nash might be controlling the townsfolk (he knows but isn’t telling), though. While he refuses to budge from his position, he’ll hang out in the cabin for the rest of the adventure and dispense information and advice.

Next up: finding Nash. Link points the GM towards the old mine (situated in the laughably on-the-nose Mt. Baldy), but the party can still go back into Black Lake to sniff around for more clues. They find things largely the same but with a twist; occasionally someone will mention Nash in a conversation and it will grind to a halt, followed by everyone in earshot chanting his name (the PCs have to play along or they’ll get hauled off to jail). Everyone now reveres Nash (and someone who might be his mother, though she is less of a focus) and views him as something between a father figure and a savior. Psionic or magical investigations reveal this reverence to have been artificially implanted in their heads (no poo poo, Link) and it can be removed with psionics. If the attempt fails, they turn them into a vegetable. Even if they were involved in the firefight, the PCs will be largely ignored. However, they are looking for Wong still (unless they caught him back at the mansion, in which case patrols still roam the streets) and unfortunate questions will get the party hauled off to jail. Spend too much time in there, and the black van will come for you! The townsfolk also don’t have anything interesting to say, so why bother. I like imagining questions the PCs ask the townsfolk involving Nash, no matter how they are phrased, ending with them chanting “Nash! Nash! Nash! Nash!” Sounds like a great way to annoy your players.




So when the PCs actually reach Mount Baldy they find an old mine built into the cliff face. It looks like it’s been left untouched since the mine close except for tracks leading into and out of the mine, some trailers off to the side, and locks on the front gate. Also, the guard post built under the water tower. There’s a guard there that will try and warn off interlopers, only using force when words fail (and even then pausing to tell them to get out every so often); he’ll also call the cops, who will drag the PCs off to jail to wait for the black van to swing by and do its magic on them. There are a couple of ways into the mine involving breaking open doors, picking locks, etc. – your standard infiltrating-the-base shtick, you’ve seen it before. There’s even an air duct system for the PCs to crawl through!

This part of the book is mostly map descriptions, ways to get through the mine, and mechanics; I’ll just brush over these for the most part, only remarking on unusual features. The mine’s first level is dominated by a garage which contains the black van we’ve been seeing around town and a few motorcycles, including one modified for a little person. The party can also find a pit full of zombies in a nearby tunnel. Finally! On seeing the party will try to attack them but they can’t climb up the sides of the pit. It blocks off the way further into the mine and the PCs will have to find a way across (laydown planks, roll to balance), as well as spot an intercom and give “the password”. What password? I don’t know! If you don’t give the password, the mine’s primary protectors will mobilize from the floor below. Beyond lies a series of prison cells that contain the real Julie Goldblum as well as Capt. Fred to serve as extra muscle for the party (when was he captured? Am I missing something?), and beyond that lies the way down to the next floor.

Next time: The Thrilling Conclusion

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.





Bo9S is responsible for the most fun I've had playing 3e. Playing a Warblade rules. Running a mixed group of Bo9S classes and Tome of Magic classes rules.

oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!




Playing a halfling, two-axe warblade was pretty awesome. Neb, the mighty, killer of squirrels (and kneecaps).

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012






Halloween Jack posted:

Bo9S is responsible for the most fun I've had playing 3e. Playing a Warblade rules. Running a mixed group of Bo9S classes and Tome of Magic classes rules.

Not sure how much detail I should go into for the different maneuvers, though. Diamond Mind and Setting Sun are kind of boring on the whole compared to SUNLIGHT ENDS IMMEDIATELY

JackMann
Aug 11, 2010

Secure. Contain. Protect.


Fallen Rib

There are definitely a bunch that can be compressed into "Setting Sun contains a line of maneuvers that lets you throw a guy across the map" and so forth.

Reminds me, back in the day when I was heavy into 3.5 homebrew, I made martial discipline centered on the Far Realm. I'm still pretty happy with it. Looked for lots of weird ways to interact with mechanics, like moving an enemy's place in the initiative order.

MightyMatilda
Sep 2, 2015


@Kurieg: I really hope you talk about the example Ruby Knight Vindicator who worships St. Cuthbert.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012






MightyMatilda posted:

@Kurieg: I really hope you talk about the example Ruby Knight Vindicator who worships St. Cuthbert.

I Mean, to be fair the paragraph immediately prior says "you could likely apply this order to St Cuthbert as well" but yeah.

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010



Lipstick Apathy

Kurieg posted:

One wrinkle is that multiclassing for Martial Adepts is kind of dumb. Your track your readied maneuvers separately for your two classes, and each class counts at half it's levels for the other class to determine what maneuver levels you're able to choose on level up.

The innovation here is that letting half your character level count for your initiator level is a huge step-up for multi-classing into not-Martial Adept classes, and would have been huge for casters if it had been done for them.

There was a similar variant rule in Unearthed Arcana at one point, though I doubt it was used widely if at all.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.




Kurieg posted:

Not sure how much detail I should go into for the different maneuvers, though. Diamond Mind and Setting Sun are kind of boring on the whole compared to SUNLIGHT ENDS IMMEDIATELY
When I did Street Fighter, I just made a point to mention anything that was particularly neat, or really good, or embarrassingly bad.


If I remember right, Diamond Mind has kenjutsu overtones; it's mainly about a) blocking save-or-lose effects with pure willpower and b) single big attacks.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012






gradenko_2000 posted:

The innovation here is that letting half your character level count for your initiator level is a huge step-up for multi-classing into not-Martial Adept classes, and would have been huge for casters if it had been done for them.

There was a similar variant rule in Unearthed Arcana at one point, though I doubt it was used widely if at all.

Right, but the way it's handled in the book, and explained, isn't very intuitive.


Halloween Jack posted:

When I did Street Fighter, I just made a point to mention anything that was particularly neat, or really good, or embarrassingly bad.


If I remember right, Diamond Mind has kenjutsu overtones; it's mainly about a) blocking save-or-lose effects with pure willpower and b) single big attacks.

I'll definitely be going over all the level 9s, the one for diamond mind is "You get a full attack action right the gently caress now."

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010



Lipstick Apathy

I think that something that should be tackled in a Tome of Battle review, though probably something best saved for the end-of-book analysis, is how well it succeeded at creating better martial class alternatives.

* The most lauded talking point is that of course it makes martials more interactive, but there's a lot more to it than that

* from a CharOp standpoint, the power floor of a TOB class is a lot higher, since there's less that can go wrong and less dumpster-diving needed to make an effective class

* making maneuvers that can output comparable damage to full-attacks allows these characters to deal full-attack-level damage while still having full movement, which fixes a lot of the mobility problems of older martial classes. And then also you don't have to be familiar with a Shock Trooper/Pounce/Wall Crasher build to do it, which again helps ease charOp requirements

(of course, packing all that damage into a single ability and a single roll/action certainly looks like a lot at first glance, which probably played a lot into the perception that these classes were "OP")

* the ability to change your maneuvers (to a certain extent) helps with letting players adapt their characters to changing circumstances, unlike the problem of being locked-in to your feat choices (even with the PHB 2's retraining rules) and helps draw parity with a spellcaster's spellbook.

Down With People
Oct 31, 2012

The child delights in violence.




LITTLE COTTAGE IN THE WOOD – PART FOUR

She Seems Nice

The inside of the cottage is one large room, the walls of which are covered in shelves that are packed with bits of statuary. There's a large clay-brick oven and a tapestry frame where the young woman of the cottage is working. She gets up and introduces herself as Kcerca, speaking to the investigators in Serbo-Croatian. If they don't speak that, she does her best to make herself understood. If they ask about Grandmother, she says that she's away on an errand right now but that the investigators are more than welcome to take a seat here and wait for her. She prepares them slices of fresh-baked bread with berry jam, humming all the while.

The shelves are tantalising. There's dozens of statue arms in there, and anyone who looks for the Simulacrum piece will be able to see plenty of strong contenders, none of them easily removable from the shelves without bringing everything down – in fact, if an investigator fails a Dexterity roll while trying to yank out an arm, the whole shelf goes crashing to the floor, causing Kcerca to apologise on behalf of Grandmother for the lack of organisation. They're not gonna find it in the shelves; it'll take a Hard Spot Hidden roll to see a faint outline of porcelain up in the rafters of the cottage.

While they wait, Kcerca goes back to working on her tapestry. An investigator who goes around to look at it will see an in-progress depiction of a peasant village. Education reveals that it's actually a depiction of Orasac, while Spot Hidden reveals that not only is it Orasac, but it depicts the actual villagers right down to the clothes they were wearing today, calling for a SAN 0/1 roll. Kcerca doesn't stop humming the entire time.



Eventually, the investigators hear a fluttering noise outside before Grandmother walks in. She's the picture of a Slavic old lady and she smiles at the investigators with her few remaining teeth. Kcerca embraces her as she comes in and the two of them launch into a conversation in a strange dialect neither Serbian nor Serbo-Croatian. Science (Linguistics) identifies it as an oddly antiquated dialect, whereas anyone who got an Extreme Listen success back at the Filopovic house recognises it as the language they heard there. They sound happy and excited and they keep smiling at the investigators. When they're done, Grandmother speaks to them in broken English, inviting them to stay for supper.

As Kcerca tends to dinner preparations, Grandmother is willing to talk a little about her artefact collection, saying that her father was an archaeologist and she followed him around to dig sites as a little girl, where she developed a fascination. She moved to this area after finding out its proximity to an ancient Roman trade route and has made a living off the artefacts here ever since. She can't travel as far as she used to, so selling the antiques is more of a hobby now than anything else. That said, if she does have the statue they're looking for, they better be ready to pay up. Meanwhile, Kcerca greases a roasting pan and lines it with chopped vegetables.

As the investigators describe the artefact, Grandmother's keen eyes dart around the shelves. If they actually describe what they know of the Simulacrum, Grandmother will be surprised; she's familiar with the legends, but she never would have thought she would own part of the statue (Hard Psychology: she's not surprised at all). Soon, Grandmother directs a search of the entire cottage, probing every shelf and every nook and cranny to no avail. As before, it's easy to find dozens of statue arms in the cottage, but none of them seem to be quite right. Meanwhile, Kcerca inspects the heat of the oven and places the pan inside.

Then, Grandmother's eyes go wide. There it is! Up there in the rafters! How'd it get up there? There's nothing like a ladder in the cottage so the investigators are going to have to push some furniture together to climb up there. The piece is stuck in there real good and the investigator is gonna have trouble pulling it out. Grandmother murmurs something about being careful while Kcerca opens the oven to check the heat. Her eyes glazed over, Grandmother starts singing an odd peasant ditty and swaying slightly.

Then everything goes to poo poo.



OH poo poo

The investigator manages to pull out the piece, definitely the Right Arm of the Simulacrum. As it comes free, the arms on the shelves clench and grab the investigator. They're not statuary but real dismembered human arms, riddled with countless writhing filaments. So too is the roof not thatched but actually a roiling mat of moist cilia. Grandmother cackles and stands up straight while reaching for the bread shovel; she slides it under the feet of the trapped investigator and unerringly guides them towards the gaping oven – which, by the way, is now a hooked maw, stretching wide enough to accommodate a whole person. Kcerca shrieks paeans to Shub-Niggurath as she attacks the investigators with a knife.

That'll be SAN 1/1D6. You on the shovel, make that SAN 2/1D6+1.

To quote the book, the investigators are on the menu of an avatar of an Outer God. Escaping is going to take some good rolls. First, whoever's on the shovel has to roll Power to realise what's happening and be able to avoid getting dumped into the oven. Whoever's getting knifed by Kcerca has to Dodge her initial attack or take hefty damage. Everyone needs to make a Dexterity roll to avoid getting grabbed by the writhing, gripping former statuary. As the cottage starts to rise, everyone will need to roll Luck to keep their balance. Know will let them find the exit in the dancing, shifting walls of the cottage, with a Jump roll needed to get out safely. The book suggests skipping some of these rolls and I'd let it slide as long as my players looked you know, appropriately scared.

If they can make those rolls, they land safely outside of the cottage, now revealing its true form as the Walker in the Woods. It stands on two goat-like legs and unfurls six mighty tentacles as Grandmother and Kcerca sing a wailing song, the herding call of the shepherds of Leng. The trees beyond the clearing are moving – three Dark Young of Shub-Niggurath are approaching to help feed the investigators to the Walker. They look like nothing less than walking baobab trees covered with mouths and tentacles – that'll be SAN 1D3/1D10.

The investigators are sure to die here – that is, if they forget to blow the bone whistle.

Next time: huff and puff!

Wrestlepig
Feb 25, 2011

my mum says im cool



Toilet Rascal

So dynamite would probably not help.

Ratoslov
Feb 15, 2012

Now prepare yourselves! You're the guests of honor at the Greatest Kung Fu Cannibal BBQ Ever!



rumble in the bunghole posted:

So dynamite would probably not help.

This just means you need waaaay more dynamite.

8one6
May 20, 2012

When in doubt, err on the side of Awesome!



I would suggest the evil flaying knife might come in handy, but then I just imagine my old CoC GM steepling his his fingers and asking if I'm really suggesting fighting a forest with a knife.

BinaryDoubts
Jun 6, 2013

Looking at it now, it really is disgusting. The flesh is transparent. From the start, I had no idea if it would even make a clapping sound. So I diligently reproduced everything about human hands, the bones, joints, and muscles, and then made them slap each other pretty hard.


I can't imagine anyone I've ever played with sitting still for the whole Nice Grandma routine. Still a cool reveal, though.

Double Plus Undead
Dec 24, 2010


Yeah, I don't think they'd get past the creepy tapestry that is an exact copy of the village before shooting Kcerca in the back.

Dallbun
Apr 21, 2010


Not even a legend lore spell can determine the origins of

The Deck of Encounters Set One Part 71: The Deck of Machines, Zones, and Press Gangs

395: A Childish Manner

“This encounter may take place anywhere.” Literally anywhere? Yes, anywhere. See, the encounter is a loving 20-foot tall, steel-grey machine made of gears and pipes mysteriously protruding from the ground. So that’s appropriate for underwater, a desert, a rural village, whatever. Anywhere.

It’s humming, and has an obvious switch underneath an enormous (10x10 foot!) nozzle, such that you’re clearly going to be hit by whatever’s coming out of the nozzle if you turn it on. Come on, card - they’re going to hit the switch with a ten-foot pole. That’s obvious.

Anyway, when activated, the nozzle emits a fine mist that makes people save or turn into children (half Strength, two-thirds Dexterity, trouble using adult-sized things, etc.). “The effect lasts for 1d6 days, after which it wears off suddenly. In that time, horrid things should happen to the PCs.” Horrid things. Just horrid.

Not opposed to the gonzo, but I’m not big on the execution. Pass.


396: The Old Switcheroo

There is, for no particular reason, a 10 by 10 foot zone that magically switches peoples’ minds. If one person passes through, they’re magically, invisibly, marked; when the next person passes through, they switch minds with the first person. Indefinitely, apparently.

“Since it is only consciousness that transfers, none of the physical attributes of the PCs change. Thus, the reflexes and training that a PC has received do not transfer to the new body, though the knowledge of how to use them does. A mage in a fighter’s body will not gain knowledge of the fighter’s specialization, though he would still possess the bonuses to hit and for damage.” So wait, they do get the benefits of weapon specialization bonus because of muscle memory, they just don’t know what weapon their body is actually specialized in? I would just take a look at what’s hanging by my side!

The card suggests having the previous entity that passed through be very far away now, or perhaps a beast. “This could lead to endless complications for the PCs.” The card author clearly wasn’t thinking like a player, because they seem to conceive of this as a temporary obstacle/inconvenience for the PCs, rather than an amazing resource that everyone will immediately scheme how to abuse. (How can I get an ancient dragon to walk through here? I guess we’ll have to polymorph it into something harmless and portable like a sloth, bring it here, throw it through, then dispel the polymorph once I’m in my new body.) Not sure I want this as a random encounter. Pass.


397: The Old Campsite

There is what appears to be a wooded glen, perfect for camping for the night, “deep behind rugged, craggy cliffs.” It’s actually hallucinatory terrain cast very recently by an 18th-level wizard; his party just wanted prettier scenery to look at while they were camping. There is in reality a 100-foot deep rift running through the center of the place (10d6 damage), ending in jagged rocks (5d6 damage). It does allow DEX-3 checks to avoid it even if people aren’t moving cautiously, though.

A bit of a “screw you” encounter, I feel. Surely the previous wizard would still have marked off the incredibly dangerous pit so the other party members wouldn’t fall in? I personally wouldn’t run this. Pass.


398: Press Gang

In a lower-class, dangerous part of town, the PC or PCs encounter a, uh, press gang. (The card says it’s especially good for “those PCs who insist on wandering off by themselves all the time.”) The press gang is here to capture “even the most hardened criminal types” and force them to work for the army. They find “a solitary person who looks vaguely unwholesome” (so sure, a PC), slowly surround them and drift in, and then jump on them with clubs and nets.

Fair enough. How many press gangers are there? 20? Dang. 20 6th-level fighters with 45 HP each? Dang! “Priests and wizards travel with this group, keeping hold person, sleep, and other immobilizing spells ready”? Daaaaaang! I mean, it is a “high” danger encounter, but geeze - if they have this kind of force available to impress loiterers into the army, how much do they even need those loiterers?

It’s an interesting concept to have the PCs be profiled and assaulted by corrupt government, but the scope of this would balloon rather quickly. If the PC escapes, I guarantee they’re going to take it personally and want to strike back against the government; if they’re captured, I’d need to improvise a whole escape/breakout scenario. Either way, I’d need a good reason why the government is drafting people quite this aggressively. None of which is bad, but I may or may not be up to actually using it. Keep, and during a game I’d just throw it back if I need to.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012






Dallbun posted:

395: A Childish Manner

Uhh... is the deck implying that you should age-down the party and then summon people to molest them?

RocknRollaAyatollah
Nov 26, 2008



Lipstick Apathy

8one6 posted:

I would suggest the evil flaying knife might come in handy, but then I just imagine my old CoC GM steepling his his fingers and asking if I'm really suggesting fighting a forest with a knife.

The knife isn't that effective on them because you're getting into a magical knife fight with a super dark young. It gets past some of its defenses but it's got such an obscene amount of hit points that the 2d4+damage bonus isn't going to be that effective. The knife is very effective against Fenalik.

RocknRollaAyatollah fucked around with this message at 16:51 on Jan 7, 2018

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

IT *BZZT* WASP ME--
IT WASP ME ALL *BZZT* ALONG!




I quite enjoy the blending of mythos and Baba Yaga legend.

PS. My autocorrect keeps turning her into Baba GaGa

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Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Okay so maybe dynamite and fire is a bad idea. Maybe smart and enterprising PCs should just walk around tooting on that whistle.

"It's made of bone!"
"Yes but it was a gift and I intend to use it. Check it out, I think I figured out Camptown Races."

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