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Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

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

TheTatteredKing posted:

I'm more worried about them "not getting" the tone of the setting. The fun is found in the wealth of detail. And I'm not selling my friends on a game by handing them the book and asking them to read everything.
Well that and I've heard running at Street level isn't a great idea, if only to start out. There's a lot to introduce.

Take your group out to McDonalds. Pick one random member of the group and explain that they've got a bit of magic thanks to the secret cabal who works there. If you've got a member who likes to drink (but isn't like an actual alcoholic), explain that the way he feels while drunk could be the gateway...to magic! And magic is all around you!

Or just read them a bunch of UA rumors. Those are awesome. Make up your own!

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Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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



I think it's a genre conceit so it doesn't really need a detailed mechanical explanation beyond "those school years can seem to last forever" and maybe some kind of Fairy United Nations to allow for team-ups and, if necessary, handwave why that problem got solved by some other squadron of sparklemeisters.

Like by analogy, D&D's common playstyle of "you're looting dungeons out of some mixture of abstract humanitarianism and naked loot-lust" doesn't require an extended treatise on the economic methodology that takes out that gold and reinvests it into cow futures.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015

Nessus posted:

I think it's a genre conceit so it doesn't really need a detailed mechanical explanation beyond "those school years can seem to last forever" and maybe some kind of Fairy United Nations to allow for team-ups and, if necessary, handwave why that problem got solved by some other squadron of sparklemeisters.

My favorite solution for team-ups is a magical girl HQ of sorts that hides in plain sight by being in Akihabara. Just leave a note on the board if you're looking for a team or team-up.

oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!


TheTatteredKing posted:

I'm more worried about them "not getting" the tone of the setting. The fun is found in the wealth of detail. And I'm not selling my friends on a game by handing them the book and asking them to read everything.
Well that and I've heard running at Street level isn't a great idea, if only to start out. There's a lot to introduce.

UA is definitely like that. It's one of those games that is hard to "get" without reading the book fully and completely...but at the same time that removes some (but not all of course) of the weird mystery elements and the quality of the writing is high enough that it can feel intimidating for a GM who isn't sure how they're going to create the same level of intrigue, bizareness and wonder in their game. We're not all a bunch of Neil Gaimens god-dammit!

However, from my reading for F&F and my limited experience with the game in play here's some suggestions to keep in mind.

First, although its not explicitly spelled out, you should not look at the "levels" (Street, Global, Cosmic) as a progression. They work best if they are entirely separate games that happen to take place in the same world.

So, if you play a Street-level game, you shouldn't be thinking about how this is going to move eventually to Global games or and finally to Cosmic, you should probably just keep playing it at Street level for a full campaign. Street-level games are about relatively normal people who find themselves on the edge of the abyss. Their goals should usually be to fight to keep from slipping into that abyss, not seeking to gaze into it. Your ordinary dude is probably never going to get "upgraded" to a Dipsomancer or Avatar and although they might fight them they'll never really understand them. A good example of something at Street level is something like Twin Peaks, the characters are involved in the machinations of greater forces, but ultimately their understanding of them is shallow and learning more about them just makes them more mysterious.

Second, and most important players must have an agenda. UA is a terrible "sandbox" or "mission of the week" style game, especially at Global or Cosmic level. You NEED to have a driving force, characters in UA are almost all inherently self-destructive and do not play well together and if they aren't unified by a overriding goal then a group will simply fall apart. You can't just say "lets make characters and you all meet in a nightclub." (well, at least not if you are planning on a long-term game). One thing UA is really missing is a FATE-style collaborative background and goal building session for Global or Cosmic games (in Street level games the agenda is usually some dominating mystery or danger that the players must investigate or fight against).

Third, don't use everything. This is especially true for Street or Global level games. Don't feel like you've got to shoehorn every element of the UA cosmology or supernatural system into a game. Think of UA's cosmology as a toolbox and only use the bits that are interesting and relevant. You don't have to make sure that your game includes Adepts, Avatars, artifacts, authentic thaumaturges, rooms of renunciation, archetypes, unnatural beings, the Sleepers, etc. etc. This is especially true for Street level games. Pick and choose what is relevant and interesting for your game.

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

WE HAVE TO CONTROL OUR ENVIRONMENT
IF YOU SEE ME POSTING OUTSIDE OF THE AUSPOL THREAD PLEASE TELL ME THAT I'M MISSED AND TO START POSTING AGAIN
Just walk away. Don't try and 'get' UA, because once you do, you won't be able to avoid Unknown Armies. It's everywhere.

But seriously, there's a ton of good intro scenarios and sample teams in the sourcebooks. The simplest is just rip-off Scooby Doo. But like Mystery Inc, with the Black Lodge and Nibiru.

SHY NUDIST GRRL
Feb 15, 2011

Communism will help more white people than anyone else. Any equal measures unfairly provide less to minority populations just because there's less of them. Democracy is truly the tyranny of the mob.

Igotirony.txt

Thanks for the advice. I think I'm going to pick up break today. It's the one faction book I'm missing.
A TNI squad seemed like a pretty good framing device for people used to the questing party.

ganonso
Aug 1, 2011
Let’s Read Nephilim 2nd Edition Corebook Introduction

Nephilim is a French roleplaying game from the early nineties who share with In Nomine the honor of having an English “translation” (From what I gathered more a total rewrite than anything else). While I don’t know anything of the Chaosium version of the game, I own nearly the entire run from 2nd edition to the newest 4th edition

Nephilim is a strange game in its setting assumptions. You play the titular Nephilim, an elemental spirit member of a race who dominated the world in ages past and were reduced to parasite human bodies. Your character is mostly fine with the fact they steal human lives to pursue their own esoteric ends and most of their angst is related to their need to have a body at all while they dimly remember being able to soar the ethers as a pure spirit.

Socially speaking you are most likely to be a member of one of the 22 Major Arcana, 22 occult societies each proposing a path to end your dependence on human bodies and regain your might. Each Arcanum is both a social society filling a niche in Nephilim society and a path to enlightenment. By instance the 14th Arcanum: Temperance is a society of healers whose members try to reach wisdom by healing the ills of the world or taking them for their own.

Your enemies are most often the Minor Arcana, four secret societies dedicated to enslaving/wiping you out and take over the world. They are the R+C hiding beneath the mask of the Rosicrucian movement, the Mysteries a gathering of pagan cults dating back to the time where the predecessors of the Nephilim ruled over mankind, the Knights of the Temple of Life, basically the Templars searching to master the profane world and the Synarchy a mysterious group of mortals and immortals seeking the answer to all questions.

While you can easily play the game with different genres in mind (I tend to prefer horror a la World of Darkness, others play it as mystical superheroes), the default mood is a mix between conspiracies thrillers and mystical philosophies. Your characters are embroiled in personal quests for their own salvation and tentative to manipulate the profane world against their enemies. Their Occult Sciences, Nephilim’s magic system, are both science, magic and path to enlightenment as well and are meant to be roleplayed as such.

To show a bit of the aesthetic, here are some spell names (mostly high level but still)

Hermetic Kiss of the Mineral Judas
Liquor of Father Dagon
Warrior Maiden, Ametyst Watching over the North
Raphael the Crucified Prince on the Tree of Life, Pentarch of Tipheret

So first things first, the layout. Nearly all Nephilim corebook with the debatable of the Third Edition’s one are atrocious in that regard. The Second Edition corebook is composed of great slabs of fluffy texts, interspersed with pages of rules. The Character Creation rules are haphazardly sown in the first part, making the reading hazardous if you’re not using a bookmarked pdf. On one hand I think it’s a least partially deliberate to force the player to emulate the experience of sifting through occult lore. On the other, gently caress you 90’s editing.

I will try to follow the layout minimally so that means next time is Antedilluvian History time!

Also by advance I beg you to forgive the somewhat atrocious English of the text excerpts I will quote. Nephilim has a very flowery style in French who doesn’t translate well at all. An example to finish:

quote:

His speech shifted to a serene and melodious song. The silence around us was enlivened by the chant and air pulsed to its rhythm. The imperial mask of the Green Lion was at peace. Perhaps he needed rest. This dive into the fertile ground of memories seemed to have been exhausting to him. Moreover, I suspected he used many a spell to guide his storytelling. Slowly, cradled by the musical harmonies of the master, I felt my memory coming back. I was a Kaïm anew, essence and substance of the world. Soon walked before my eyes my first rising with their suites of magical construction and philosophical enlightenment. The Kaïm built many fraternities, these ones hostile and warlike, these others peaceful and harmonious. So the elemental brotherhoods, so the polemic phanlansteries, so the spiritual concordat, so the Four Elements’ Tutelage. This last organization was the first universal reunion of all Kaïm. Turned toward the exploration of the four elements, it banished the Moon of its studies and made the Onirim the Moon Kaïm into outcasts and pariahs. That couldn’t last. The Kaïm Morpheus defeated the elemental tutors in an occult fight. They fell into a deep sleep while they travelled on the Moon field carried by their too-long neglected Moon-Ka. We had to recognize that we were composed of five elements and take back our brethren.

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Hostile V
May 31, 2013

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

I think Condemned: Criminal Origins and Condemned: Bloodshot could be good Unknown Armies plots if you tone down and dial back the whole "murdering the homeless in great numbers" angle. Start off collecting dead birds and pieces of metal as the dregs of the city slip into despair, madness and corruption, then transition to firing magickal blasts by screaming and using metal braces as charge-holding amplifiers for spells and rituals.

Hostile V fucked around with this message at 00:40 on Mar 7, 2016

Black August
Sep 28, 2003

I always wanted to do something fun with In Nomine's Nephallim. The concept of 'giant angel mutant' is pretty hardcore. But the default setting is allergic to it unless you make it a CoC style remote wilderness enclave sort of deal. At the least, the setting didn't skimp on adventure seed ideas and fill-in-the-blank mysteries to play with, instead of explaining everything.

Crasical
Apr 22, 2014

GG!*
*GET GOOD

Doresh posted:

\you can't turn a bad guy good by punching or beam-spamming him hard enough (though isn't that the basic concept of Nanoha, and sometimes Pretty Cure?). Or maybe that's just for irredeemable villains, which makes sense I guess.

Presumably this is to give the GM some wriggle room as to when/which the bad guys get Befriended, so they can milk as many stories from an antagonist as they deem fitting before they finally succumb to the beam-spam.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

Typically, as a note, Precure villains take a shitload of effort to turn. Monsters of the week, on the other hand, typically return to being normal people once beaten up if they were once people, usually with no memory of what happened. (They are not actually people very often.)

When a villain turns, it's usually based on up to half a season of concerted effort to talk to them in between shooting them with lasers.

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007

Doresh posted:

[*]Rainbow (Seizure) Spark: A technicolor staff that definitely has an announcer voice and apprently thinks it's the onboard computer of a giant robot.

Reactor: online
Sensors: online
Weapons: online
All systems nominal.


Can we rename her mana stat to 'heat capacity'?

Crasical
Apr 22, 2014

GG!*
*GET GOOD

The Lone Badger posted:

Reactor: online
Sensors: online
Weapons: online
All systems nominal.


Can we rename her mana stat to 'heat capacity'?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9eaatgUxsNs

Bacon In A Wok
Jan 27, 2014

Covok posted:

I love that it goes "d12+7 --> d20."

There is so much loving wrong with that.
A competent game designer could probably do something interesting with a system where d12+4 and d20 represented the same level of (high) raw skill+capability, but with different sources. Say, d12+4 representing extremely well-trained human excellence while d20 represented a dragon or other monstrosity. Some untrained chump rolling d4 against a d20 opponent might just manage to win, because there's always the chance that the d20 monster could roll a 1. But at the same time, the monster has around a 20% chance of being able to just chump even the best efforts of even a d12+4 legendary hero... which means that a smart hero never enters into such a contest without a line of retreat.

And now I've put probably at least five minutes more thought into comparative statistics and influence on game design than ever passed in WGA.

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010

HELL SERPENT
Lipstick Apathy
Escalating dice should really be more dice instead of larger dice in order to avoid the inconsistency/swingy problem.

Comedy Option: ink a deal with Dungeon Crawl Classics so you can do d12 -> d16

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

Infernal Player's Guide: Hell's Angels

Shedim are monsters, twisted creatures that find pleasure in reducing everyone else to being like them. When they take a host, they lead them down a path of sin, abandoning them when they have nothing left. They can only have one host, able to understand only their own point of view. Saminga and Malphas represent them among major princeses. Other famous Shedim include Legion, the late Prince of Corruption, Masheth, Demon of Mutiny, Porris, Demon of Looting and Cremnian, Demon of Orgies.

Shedim are corruptors - that's about all they do. Either they carefully nurture evil or spread wild chaos. They are infamously effective at this - if you need a human's life wrecked, a Shedite can handle it. If you need virtue corroded, they can do it. They are very good at destroying a human life and everything it touches. When not directly ordered, they wander about, degrading the human population at large, spreading chaos and doing their bit to drat everyone they meet. The experienced Shedim are often set loose to just do as they will, as their natural tendencies advance Hell's cause fairly well if they are at least minimally cautious. Younger or more reckless Shedim are usually given specific jobs, as their careless corruption is, while useful, possibly dangerous due to the attention they draw. Shedim, in Hell, tend to have little to do except serve as guards and envoys intended to unnerve other demons. They are terrifying in appearance and cannot be swayed by mercy or virtue. They are sadists, vicious and cruel.

Shedim don't do Roles, but instead adopt the lives of their hosts. They're very good at it, and so often know ow to do all kinds of mortal jobs, drawn from the memories of their hosts. They love Satanic imagery and wrongness. They also enjoy strip clubs, rock music, drugs, alcohol, live sacrifice, orgies, porn, fights, car crashes, vandalism, rape, murder, burglary and really any kind of malice or excess. They like it because it lets them be what they are and corrupt their hosts. They really enjoy modern society, which has made sin easy to indulge and embrace. They also like communities of the virtuous and places that try to maintain ethical standards, however. These provide the longest-lasting hosts, who can be slowly degraded, and are the most enjoyable to defile. In conversation, Shedim usually adopt the mannerisms of their host unless they see a chance to corrupt someone. If danger or necessity threatens, however, they communicate as they would in Hell, which is often drastically unusual and unsettling from a mortal form. Their natural motions are more sinuous, their accent inhuman.

Shedim resonance allows them inhabit a host and slowly corrupt them. They may also try to alter or implant memories in the host, making them easier to corrupt. This takes hours equal to the highest possible check digit the Shedite hopes to achieve on a resonance roll. A CD of 1 can alter something like a license plate number or distant relative's name, while CD 6 can alter the details of a relationship with an old friend. If you achieve the required CD, you get +1 to all TNs for corrupting the host as long as they involve that memory. If you fail, nothing changes. If you succeed but don't hit the CD needed, the memory is changed but gives no bonus. Shedim may also use their resonance to silently pass between hosts. Normally, they must assume celestial form and cause Disturbance...but if they can cause physical contact between their host and their prospective new host, they can 'ooze' into the new host without exposure. This requires concentration and cannot be done while doing anything else, even grappling with the potential host. The new host must not break contact, either. The resonance roll is made normally, and the process requires (total Forces) seconds, no roll made until after that. If the roll fails or is resisted, the Shedite is left hostless and causes normal Disturbance as they assume celestial form. If contact is broken before the transfer is complete, the Shedite remains in their current host.

Enthusiastic Shedim will have a number of hosts, hopping between them regularly. The mechanics of moving between them can be awkward, as it takes either time and contact or Disturbance. Because of this, Shedim often try to find some ways to make crossings less obvious, by inhabiting a family group or some club or people that have an excuse to touch others, like physiotherapists, nurses or people with long handshakes. Some also stay on the outskirts, where Disturbance might be missed. They can also make transfers in Tethers, where their Disturbance can be hidden in the cacophony, but that's not easy.

Shedim gain dissonance when they fail to get their host to do one or more acts of self-corruption each day, or when their hosts dies with them inside. They can rid themselves of dissonance via what is known as the Long Ride: pick a virtually pristine host and ride them to the depths of depravity, ending only when they die, either by their own hand or another's. This act of dedicated corruption of the pure removes one dissonance.

Why avoid corruption? Most often, it is to avoid breaking cover and spoiling a bigger plan, or because someone is watching for them. Hosts can also attempt suicide when the Shedite is in them, or might just get killed. You can try to persuade them away from suicide, but if they do die, you risk being drawn backto Hell. Avoid this by any means necessary. It is sensible to stay in close range of low-Will potential hosts, and jails are a good option.

Common Shedite Discords include Oozing, a Corporeal Discord that causes their celestial form to show through faintly in their hosts, making them move in unnatural and wrong ways, subtracing the Discord's level from the TN of all rolls involving social interaction, and also the CDs of these rolls. Cold-Blooded is an Ethereal Discord that deadens Shedite empathy even further than normal, subtracing the Discord's level from the TN of all rolls involving empathy or understanding of human feelings. Driven is a Celestial Discord that makes the Shedite eager to use their resonance and corrupt others. They add the Discord's level to the number of corruptions they must cause each day to avoid dissonance.

Stereotypes posted:

Seraphim: So proud, so pure - it would be a pleasant thing to lead them down into corruption and let them recognize that truth.
Cherubim: They cannot hurt those they guard - which makes it that much sweeter when you guide their little pets into hurting them.
Ofanim: Run as fast as you like, I can stay one step in front of you.
Elohim: I'm perfectly objective. Objectively evil. Taste my emotions and see how much I love it.
Malakim: When I have finished with the games I play around them, there's none of their precious honor left.
Kyriotates: All talk, no focus - their knack for multiplicity is their weakness. They lack direction.
Mercurians: I enjoy using human hands to kill them, and watching them unable to strike back.
Balseraphs: They lie to the ears; wel ie to the soul: it comes out the same in the end. We just get there a little faster.
Djinn: Give me one good reason why you should know where I am. I thought as much.
Calabim: Effective, in a brutish and destructive way; as useful in the physical field as we are in the mental.
Lilim: Mmmm. So sweet, so pretty...and they hate us so. Pleasant to see how far you can push them - and then take it a little further.
Habbalah: Follow after me by all means, and punish the corruption that I raise up.
Impudites: Petty, playful, obsessed with humanity. They can be useful in educating one's host in certain vices.[/b]

Impudites really enjoy people. Most Bands despise humanity, but not them. They like talking and working with people, and many have intimate relationships with humans. They love humanity, in the same way that a human loves a good steak. Many are genuinely fond of those they drain, of course, but not all. Some see humans as cattle, while others have limited empathy, but all of them are far more concerned with their own gratification than their victims' well-being. Among major Princes, they are represented by Andrealphus, Nybbas and Kobal. Other famous Impudites include Alaemon, Prince of Secrets, Alastor, a Gamester who claims to have been the first lawyer, Carniel, the first and long-dead Demon of Gluttony, Marou, a Lust demon who was both the Biblical Delilah and Salome, Moloch, Demon of Blood Sacrifices, Saleos, Demon of Fecundity (who inspired succubus and incubus legends), and Vaphoron, one of the few former angels of Purity in Hell, who Fell after being Outcast for befriending ethereals.

Impudites generally have jobs directly working with human society. They are moles, assigned to places for years before they are strictly needed. They make friends, insinuate themselves into communities and often hope they'll never be called on to do a real mission - they usually quite enjoy their 'lives' in deep cover. They are, however, expected to corrupt society in the manner of their Prince's Word. The understand humans better than any other Band, so they often have to teach other demons how to deal with them. Few enjoy this job, but they reason that well-socialized demons cause fewer deaths of their 'friends.' They also provide material aid to other demons, as they tend to have more material goods. They are also much better seducers than Lilim - they don't have to find what someone wants or even do much beyond smiling and resonating. They are used when a mortal must be enthralled but oblivious and still free-willed. They are also the demmons most likely to interact with angels, though they rarely enjoy doing so. They avoid Hell whenever possible, finding it dismal, nasty and full of boring damned souls. The ones in Hell tend to be of very low rank, usually teaching other demons about Earth or interrogating new damned souls. Some do hold important diplomatic posts, however, or envoys to Heaven. The only real prized job for them in Hell, however, is to advise a Prince on human psychology. Not every Prince listens to them, but those that do are often the most successful. Even lesser Wordbound have been known to use Impudite consultants for this purpose.

Impudites prefer Roles that let them meet and befriend many people. Doctors, nurses, teachers, nannies, clergy - any job with comfort, respctability and access. Prostitute is also common, if less respectable, and many Impudites like to use sex as a disguise for draining humans of their Essence and energy. Others prefer to be husbands or housewives, draining their adopted families. They don't need intimate Roles, however - anyone who works with the public can drain Essence and go unnoticed if they're careful. They don't like cops for the risk of having to kill, but they can be bus drivers, ushers or even just drifters. They like human society, but not very strongly. They value humans for their Essence. They might enjoy the arts, technology or fine dining, but they can be equally happy in squalor as long as they're safe and full. They develop preferences, sure, but they don't care that deeply about them. Impudites are shallow. Transience is a modern trend they do love, however - it used to be that people would notice when someone seemed to make people tired or unhealthy, but in modern society, people rarely even know their neighbors or notice when they get tired and downtrodden. Modern society is also deeply selfish, pushing instant gratification. Impudites like that. People take what they need and then discard others. Impudites are quite proud of how human they've ended up being.

Impudites can easily use their resonance to manipulate people. They can enslave a human's will, and to do so, they must charm their victim at least once a day for a number of days equal to (victim's Ethereal + Celestial Forces). During this time, no resonance roll on the victim may fail or be resisted, either to charm or drain, or else you have to start over. The victim must also maintain a positive attitude toward the victim, without fights or breach of trust. Once this is done, the Impudite gets +1 to the TN of all uses of their resonance on the victim, invluding draining. This lasts as long as they remain in daily contact, even if a resonance roll fails, unless a Divine Intervention is rolled. This bonus can be earned cumulatively to a maximum of (victim's Ethereal + Celestial Forces). The bonus vanishes if the victim becomes hostile to the Impudite, and drops by 1 every full day they are apart after the first. There is no limit to how many victims can be charmed this way, however.

the Impudite resonace is often underestimated. It can be tricky, but they rarely have much trouble with humans. They like to pick big, strong people - a human with many Corporeal Forces probably has few of the other kinds. Their charm isn't mind control, either - just trust. Sure, the charmed might be willing to lend a lot of money or break the law...but only if they'd do that for any friend they trusted deeply. Humans won't abandon their real loved ones for the Impudites or forsake their convictions, though conflcts of loyalty will distress them. Impudites in a good situation also have a nearly infinite supply of Essence, though they can only hold as much as their Forces at any one time. They love relics and reliquaries as banks of saved Essence. While random people won't have much at any time, the people an Impudite knows are usually predictable. They have routines, and an Impudite will learn what time is best to drain them, what they tend to spend Essence on and so on. However, too much casual drain does risk a resonance backfire - though even then, there's no Disturbance, at least. Impudites cannot use their resonance on animals or the undead...except for those of Death, who can drain even animated corpses.

Impudites gain dissonance by killing humans or letting humans die. If the Impudite had no control over the situation at all, then deaths won't cause dissonance, but they can't stand by and let a human die when they have a chance to save them. Impudites also despise Discord, especially those that make them look unattractive or make it hard to deal with humans. They will almost always try to get rid of dissonance by some other means. However, it's not easy - you can't un-kill someone. However, they can rid themselves of dissonance by spending Essence. A lot of it. It requires twice their Forces in Essence, spent solely to remove dissonance within the same 24-hour period between sunsets. This means you fill up and drain yourself entirely, twice, using only Essence gained from your resonance and Rites. (Any Essence gained from other means doesn't count.)

Impudites in general prefer to avoid violence. They avoid violent people because they might be forced to kill in self-defense, and avoid violent demons if they can. They aren't pacifists, though. They can hurt humans. They just can't kill them. As long as a situation is under control and no one will be killed, Impudites can be violent if they want to. Some are even very abusive to their victims. Most, however, find violence of any sort wasteful and risky.

Common Impudite Discords include Infatuation, an Ethereal Discord that makes an Impudite's charm able to backfire much as their drain can. When they try to charm someone and fail or get resisted, they must roll Will with a penalty of the Discord's level or become charmed by the victim. Reduced Essence Capacity is a Corporeal Discord that...well, does that. Subtract the Discord's level from your Forces to determine how much Essence you can hold. Tainted Essence is a Celestial Discord that limits when an Impudite can drain Essence, with the level of the Discord determining the criteria. Level 1 might require you to touch your victim, 3 might require you to gently caress them or only drain at night, 6 might require you drain only those in comas or only those in an infernal Tether.

Stereotypes posted:

Seraphim: We didn't like them much as Mercurians, and they're absolutely insufferable now.
Cherubim: Dull. And when they're not dull, they're violent. Don't mess with their charges, unless you like getting your teeth kicked in.
Ofanim: Spastic idiots! Keep out of their wy and they usually won't even notice you. It's really a pity, all that energy going to waste.
Elohim: They put up a good front, but there's an awful lot of passion brewing under the surface, if the Habbalah are any indication.
Malakim: One word: run.
Kyriotates: Can't stand them. One moment you're sweet-talking a little Essence out of someone, the next, that little old lady is hitting you over the head with a tire iron.
Mercurians: If they only knew what they're missing...
Balseraphs: For would-be "royalty," they have zero class. They're all talk, and none of it true.
Djinn: How depressing. They should get out and live a little...there's a whole wide world to exploit!
Calabim: Let them bust heads with angels, but keep them away from people.
Habbalah: How can you trust a demon who thinks he's an angel? They're almost as good as we are at manipulating people, though.
Lilim: They think they're so crafty. They have to give something to get something...we just take.
Shedim: Brrrrrr! These creeps are no fun, no fun at all.

Next time: Masters of Evil

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008

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


Part 14c: The architects of fear

And now, it's finally time to really talk about The Gaunt Man.

Very little is known about the Gaunt Man's history. Where the other High Lords will spend hours monologueing about their greatness and conquests, the Gaunt Man rarely (if ever) talks about his past. The commonly held beliefs are that he either doesn't want to accidentally let some obscure weakness slip, or that he actually doesn't remember it himself.


The Gaunt Man, High Lord of Orrorsh and mastermind behind the Core Earth invasion

What is known is that the Gaunt Man is not really "human" in any traditional sense anymore. He is an entity capable of possessing body after body in order to further his goals. This possession is very rough on the host bodies and gives him his defining characteristic, but he is capable of casting illusions over himself to blend in with mundanes. Currently he's posing as Lord Bryon Salisbury, a Victorian cavalry hero, and this is the name the other High Lords also know him under.

As stated previously, the Gaunt Man is the mastermind behind the whole Core Earth invasion. He was the one who managed to get the other High Lords to work together to help him become a god, promising that he would give favorable treatment to those who aided him in this endeavor. His overall plan was to strip Core Earth of its incredibly high amount of Possibility energy, then kick off a major natural disaster to give him the physical energy needed to complete his apotheosis.

Unfortunately for him, during the events of the original trilogy of novels, the Gaunt Man was trapped in a pocket dimension by a Core Earth eternity shard called The Heart of Coyote. The Gaunt Man and the Heart are currently "outside" our reality, trapped in an eternal cycle of creation and destruction. The Gaunt Man is painfully disintegrated and reformed hundreds of times a minute, leaving the Possibility Raiders without their mastermind and Orrorsh without its High Lord. He is slowly draining Possibilities from the Heart of Coyote, so really his freedom is only a matter of time.

That said, despite being trapped and cut off from his power, the Gaunt Man is still High Lord of Orrorsh. His Darkness Device is still bound to him (and vice versa), and until it decides to release him and find a new High Lord nobody will be capable of taking the realm over.

The other High Lords don't know what's happened to the Gaunt Man yet. They do know he seems to be out of the picture for a while, though. The Gaunt Man's lieutenant Thratchen has been telling the other High Lords that the Gaunt Man is in seclusion to prepare for the next stage of the invasion, but nobody's really buying that. Until the Gaunt Man can break free, the other High Lords are free to pursue their own agendas and possibly become Torg.

All that being said, what's the Gaunt Man's overall priority list outside of "escape the eternal reality storm"?

His top priority is gaining knowledge of the Nameless One. The Gaunt Man is obsessed with this entity, and believes that the only way to gain true understanding of a cosmic entity is to become Torg.

(Remember the Nameless One? Of course you don't; it's because the Nameless One is one of the two cosmic entities mentioned in the brief description of the creation of the multiverse way the gently caress back in the Basic Set, where he's only mentioned in the creation myth and that it's the force that created the Darkness Devices in the first place. The Nameless one (and Apeiros) are actually really important to the overall three-and-a-half-year metaplot, despite being brought up in official material once in a blue moon. It really does bring into sharp relief how the overall metaphysics and such weren't for the players, they were for the writers.)

Anyway, his second bullet point is to gain as much power as possible. This feeds into his overall top priority; after all becoming Torg requires an insane amount of both Possibility and physical energy.

Third, he wants to spread the reality of Orrorsh across Core Earth. Inspired by the Victorians, he wants to set up "colonies of fear" across not just Earth but the realities of the other invaders. Ideally, Orrorsh would spread across Core Earth, over the various realms, then up the now-conveniently-placed bridges to the other High Lords' cosms.

Fourth is maintaining the culture of fear throughout his realm. He does this by creating horrors and letting them lose on the general populace. That said, he's always careful to keep things to the shadows; he's smart enough to realize that if the horrific becomes common, the fear will vanish and people will be able to really fight back. So he keeps things subtle (for the most part) in order to reap the benefits of fear.

Lastly, he wants eternity shards. There are two reasons for this; first off, he wants them as sources of Possibility energy. Second, and more important, eternity shards are the only weapon effective against him. Unless killed with an eternity shard, he'll just come back like nothing happened.

Despite being a total megalomaniacal tyrant, the Gaunt Man is a surprisingly calm person. He comes across as very cool and calculating, and that's the case for the most part. The only times he shows any real emotion are when he flies into a rage when his plans are thwarted, or the disturbing joy he feels when his machinations instill more fear on his subjects. In a lot of ways, he's a kid burning ants with a magnifying glass, laughing when they flee and throwing fits when his toys are taken away.

The Gaunt Man's Darkness Device is Heketon, which appears as an obsidian heart about the size of a fist. Heketon is one of (of not the) oldest and most powerful Darkness Devices. Heketon and the Gaunt Man have worked together for millennia, and together they are the only known force ever able to defeat another Darkness Device. Long before discovering Gaea, the Gaunt Man and Heketon invaded the feral werewolf cosm of Kantovia and defeated its High Lord, Dairoga. While the Gaunt Man was able to brainwash Dairoga into being one of his personal agents, Dairoga's weakened Darkness Device managed to dimthread out of there and escape to a new cosm: Earth. This is how the Gaunt Man learned of Core Earth, and was the spark that set off his whole plan.

This being Torg, both the Gaunt Man and Heketon are given full stat blocks. This is despite the fact that the Gaunt Man is (as of the release of the book) out of the picture and unreachable, and that Heketon (being a Darkness Device) is impossible to destroy. And to make sure that they can't be beaten before the metaplot says so, their stats are through the roof because somehow that makes more sense than saying "these are entities that can squash you like a bug". The Gaunt Man's lowest skill is an 18, and the skills he can use to inflict effects like stymied or setback are in the mid-30's. On top of that, Heketon itself has completed an occult ritual that allows it to use any of its powers through any active Orrorshian stelae.

quote:

Heketon carefully observed the opening days of the Possibility Wars. It was disturbed by what it saw, and what the ravagons reported. While not likely, the chance of defeat existed. One or more realms might fall, and then the possibility energy of Earth would surge in a storm across the remaining realms, shattering the stelae which bounded them. All the work of Heketon and its High Lord undone in one furious cataclysm. The Gaunt Man believed the plan still worked well enough. Heketon did not.

Heketon researched the problem with the blinding speed and power available to it as the master of Orrorsh's reality. The answer was an occult ritual, one of daring complexity and scope requiring great sacrifice. The first sacrifice was betraying the Gaunt Man to his enemies. Many others were necessary. The final sacrifice involved itself, giving up part of itself to use the power of the occult.
One upshot of this ritual (apart from the "can use powers anywhere in the realm" factor) is that Heketon can now create dimthreads anywhere it wants from the Orrorsh realm to any of the cosms it's previously destroyed. This is a sort of release valve in case Core Earth's Possibility energy surges too strongly; Heketon can take the influx of Core Earth's energy and shunt it back along some dimthreads back to ravage Gaea or any of the other worlds it's destroyed. This actually means that Orrorsh is the only realm capable of surviving on its own without any other realms around to draw Core Earth's energy.

Currently, Heketon is waiting to see if the Gaunt Man can escape from the Heart of Coyote's reality storm. It's maintaining its bond with the Gaunt Man for the time being, but if it becomes clear the Gaunt Man is gone for good, or if he escapes and is too weak to stop anyone trying to usurp him, then Heketon will abandon him to his fate.

Which brings us nicely to the Gaunt Man's inner circle. Only one of his lieutenants is detailed in this book, but I'll mention the others as well.

The most powerful of the Gaunt Man's inner circle is the techno-demon Thratchen. Thratchen is from the cosm of Tharkhold, which you may remember suffered a one-two punch of losses when its High Lord first attempted and failed to invade the transhuman cyberpunk reality of Kandara (which would lead to the creation of the Cyberpapacy), then got his bridge in Russia destroyed thanks to the Soviet psychic Katarina Tovarish (groan) and the Soviet psychic research program that was secretly bankrolled by the Kanawa Corporation. Thratchen was the Gaunt Man's second-in-command, and is currently stuck on Core Earth thanks to recent events.


Thratchen, techno-demon and pretender to the throne

Not one to rest on his cyber-laurels, Thratchen has declared himself Regent of Orrorsh. He knows what happened to the Gaunt Man, and is trying to find Heketon while maintaining the illusion that the Gaunt Man is just "in seclusion to prepare for the next phase of the invasion". So far it's working, but the other High Lords are beginning to suspect that something's up. Currently, Thratchen's main priority is seizing the Darkness Device for himself before anyone else can get their hands on it. Slightly below that priority is killing the poo poo out of 3327 for causing the Tharkhold bridge in Russia to fail.

As a techno-demon, Thratchen is cybered to the gills. He has all sorts of fun toys like retractable hand blades, internal computer systems, and wing enhancements. He also has the ability to cast miracles, but these being miracles of his rather...unique culture they're rather messed up. Only two are given in this book: Mechanization turns a person into a literal robot slave for five minutes, and Animate Cables causes any cables touching a person to either tie them up or choke them.

For the sake of completeness, let's see the rest of the Gaunt Man's special followers from other books.

Kurst is a werewolf, and was the Gaunt Man's primary hunter. He's also actually Dairoga, former High Lord of Kantovia. The Gaunt Man wiped his memory after Kurst's Darkness Device abandoned him, and used him as an assassin for a few centuries. Kurst's defeat happened around 1250 BC our time, and his Darkness Device Tagharra fell into the Olmec empire and influenced the peoples of that region over the next few centuries. Over the course of the novel trilogy, Kurst regained his memories and allied himself with the Core Earth forces, and is in fact the one who threw his former master into the reality storm. He doesn't seem to know that Tagharra is on Earth, and really it's hard to say what he'd do if he did. Really, Kurst pretty much vanishes from the line after the novels, getting like a dozen mentions here and there until popping back up during the War's End adventure, a.k.a. the "poo poo this is the last book we have to tie up all these loose ends NOW" adventure.

Malcolm Kane is your standard-issue 90's RPG badass serial killer. He's from Core Earth, and was recruited by the Gaunt Man to hunt down the main characters of the novel trilogy. He's supposed to be hunting down Storm Knights for the Gaunt Man (like Stone was for Deadlands), but again he doesn't even get a mention in the core game line. In fact, he's barely mentioned until the adventure High Lord of Earth, where Kane learns about Tagharra and attempts to seize it for himself. Technically he dies in that adventure, so again kind of a waste.

Lastly, there's Utherion. He was (technically) the most successful of the Gaunt Man's lieutenants, in that he was allowed to become a High Lord. Specifically, he became High Lord of Aysle, but in a rather roundabout way. The Gaunt Man convinced him to let his soul be removed from his body, at which point he possessed the queen of Aysle, Lady Pella Ardinay, and attuned her body to Aysle's Darkness Device. This didn't work out too well for him; during the novel trilogy he was ousted from her body. It turned out that the bond between a person and the Darkness Device is tied to the body, not the soul, so now Utherion is stuck trying to find a new body to take over so he can re-attune to the Darkness Device, which is still bound to Ardinay. We'll see more of this once we get to the Aysle cosm book.

With that little detour taken care of, it's time to discuss The Structure of Orrorsh. This section starts out with close to a page of Kurst monologing in a very unnatural manner about the overall tone of Orrorsh's power structure, and if you think you're strong enough try and get through this:

Kurst posted:

"Know that fear rules Orrorsh. The Gaunt Man made it no secret that he drew his power from Heketon, the Darkness Device of Orrorsh. He let all under his command know that it is fear that appeases the device, and that he received the device's favor for creating fear on Gaea and Earth. In turn, whichever subjects created fear on Gaea and Earth would receive rewards from the Gaunt Man. Orrorsh became a pyramid of fear, with zombies vying to create fear beneath the powerful vampyres, each creature supporting the fear of the greater monster above it. Atop the pyramid rested the Gaunt Man. Above him, floating just over the pyramid's peak, was Heketon. The entire structure served the Darkness Device; it was the system's sole purpose.

"You ask me what the organization of the Gaunt Man is. This is hard for me to put into words you know, for your minds, your world, are used to organizing the world. The point of organizing the world is to remove fear. You catalogue the stars, name all the animals, study the motions of the planets so that they are no longer mysterious. You, Bryce, your people, from what you have told me, created a government based upon logic and social law. Men gathered and debated. The government arose out of rational arguments.

"This is not the case of Orrorsh. Orrorsh is a place of fear. It is a place where fear rules, not rational thought. The notion of having a regulated bureaucracy has no place in the Realm. But still, there are positions of power in Orrorsh. Not always of authority, mind you, but of power.

"Ruling Orrorsh is the Gaunt Man, the High Lord of the Realm. He draws his power from the Darkness Device, and all of his minions were taught this. The Gaunt Man made this clear to his minions so they would not try to overthrow him - every one of the Gaunt Man's servants knew that without the power of the mysterious Darkness Device to support him, he had little chance of challenging the Gaunt Man.

"The Gaunt Man is the mastermind of Orrorsh and its invasions. It is he who decides what core areas of an invaded world the horrors attack next. He decides who sits on the Hellion Court, which of his minions rules different parts of the realm, and which corrupted souls are assigned to what creatures.

"As to his methods of invasion: It is his policy to 'soften' an area with random attacks of terror in an area he wants to conquer. He destabilizes the government with mysterious murders of political leaders, and supernatural slaughter of the general populace. From what I understand Thratchen has followed this policy and shown its effectiveness within the borders of Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. He has used zombie death squads to spread fear and panic throughout the general populace and the governments of the nations. The supernatural elements tended to confuse the people who confronted the zombies.

"In one of the nations, Vietnam I think, nationalist forces captured and studied a zombie. Did this calm the people who studied the creature? Certainly not. For in your world such a monstrosity brings every underlying precept of the nature of reality into question. You have all spent so much time on Earth figuring out how reality really works. When confronted by a creature that defies all you know a sense of dread passes over you. One of the scientists who studied the zombie, Dr. Nu Pham, took his own life after studying the creature. In his note he wrote - 'How can we survive the invasion? They have the power to create the horrors that mankind dreams. As mirrors of our subconscious such monsters were ours to control. But as physical realities ... ? - No. We are doomed.'

"You may think that since Vietnam has heard about the invasion in the East Indies the impact of monsters running through their countryside would be lessened. This is not the case. Until a person sees a monstrosity with his own eyes or holds in his own arms the body of a loved one killed by a creature of Orrorsh, there is a denial of the reality of such beings. I saw the same thing occur on Gaea, for the citizens of Victoria believed that the colonists of India and the New World were reading to intense loneliness when the first reports of monsters started filtering back to the Mother Country. It was not until the creatures overran the continent that the full impact took place.

"Of course, if the High Lord sends too many monsters into the areas to be "softened" then the impact is lost. People become used to the beasts and terrors. For this reason the Gaunt Man, and now Thratchen, keeps tight control on which horrors are sent where. No Nightmare is allowed to send any creatures outside of his province without the express permission of the High Lord, and this is rarely done. It is usually members of the Court or their assistants that are sent on missions outside the realm.

"The Gaunt Man has no concern for taxes or any other monetary wealth. He does not want tribute or glory or the respect of his allies or enemies. He only craves power. And he generates this power through the fear his minions create."
- from a transcript of an interview with Kurst, a former servant of the Gaunt Man
Dammit nobody talks like that! :argh:

While the realm is ultimately controlled by the Gaunt Man and Heketon, the actual "control" of Orrorsh is done by a group known as The Hellion Court. They're the power level below the Gaunt Man himself, and report directly to him. The Court consists of powerful supernatural creatures and power-hungry morals whose job it is to maintain the atmosphere of constant fear throughout the realm. The membership has shifted throughout the centuries, but it always consists of the most powerful nightmares of the realm.

Since the Gaunt Man's disappearance, Thratchen has instituted some personnel changes to the Court, eliminating those he didn't trust and paring it down to five members:
  • Baron Victor Manwaring is a vampyre, and the newest member of the court. He had been demanding the Gaunt Man allow him to join the court, but it wasn't until Thratchen took over that he was elevated to the big leagues. Victor knows that Thratchen is actually running the show, and will do whatever it takes to keep Thratchen in charge so he can maintain his position.
  • Basjas is a giant, intelligent spider, but she can also change her shape into that of a young girl or an attractive Victorian woman in her early 30's. She's one of the oldest and most powerful of the members of the Court, and is the only one who knows what actually happened to the Gaunt Man (since she watched it happen from the shadows). She remains loyal to the High Lord despite this, and is assembling a power base to oust Thratchen for when her true master returns.
  • General Avery Wellington is one of two "normal" humans in the Court, albeit one granted supernatural strength by his former master. He's the commander of the Victorian forces in Majestic, and his role under the Gaunt Man was to lead his forces to "victories" over monsters as needed to keep the spark of hope alive in the Victorian populace. Wellington isn't really loyal to the Gaunt Man or Thratchen; he's happy to serve whoever's in charge as long as he can maintain his power and feed his desires.
  • Lord Stanton Cheltenham is the other "human" member of the court, and is over 300 years old. He is highly placed in the Victorian government and was instrumental in allowing the Gaunt Man to expand as easily as he did by convincing the Victorians that reports of the supernatural from the colonies were just "superstitious rubbish". Cheltenham is an accomplished occultist, and spends most of his time researching new rituals to inflict on people.
  • Parok is a ravagon; a species from a dying world that had pledged their loyalty to the Gaunt Man. Ravagons are winged lizard-like primitive warriors with the unique ability to track P-rated people by their "possibility signatures", and as a result are used by the Gaunt Man to hunt down storm knights. Ravagons is another of those concepts that were introduced in the novel trilogy but wound up being mostly forgotten as things went along.


Basjas has a guest over for dinner.

The majority of the Gaunt Man's empire is controlled by beings collectively known as Nightmares. Each Nightmare controls its own territory as assigned by the Gaunt Man himself. There are hundreds of Nightmares throughout Gaea, and the Gaunt Man brought down about 200 Nightmares to control the Orrorsh realm, and has spread them across the islands to start building up the atmosphere of terror.

A few of the more active Nightmares are listed:
  • Ahjebax is, and I quote, a "giant mound of pus and ooze". He has been assigned the area around Jakarta, and moves through his territory via a series of underground tunnels he's dug under the city. His creatures tend to be as formless and disgusting as himself. Ahjebax is also an accomplished sorcerer, and used to be human until his meddling with Gaean dream spirits resulted in his current form.
  • Dr. Willhem Sconce lives in an appropriately spooky castle close to the southernmost point of the Majestic colony. Originally, Dr. Sconce was attempting to meld science and occultism to find a way to stop the Gaunt Man's forces, but his experiments drove him insane and into the service of the man he was once trying to stop. Dr. Sconce is the prototypical mad scientist, constantly experimenting in the reanimation of dead tissue, usually after assembling monsters from parts of his victims.
  • Sabathina is one of the oldest vampyres in Orrorsh, having come from a world conquered by the Gaunt Man eons ago. She controls the northeastern edge of the realm, and is attempting to gain power while not looking like too much of a threat to the other Nightmares. She maintains a core power group of ten vampyres from her original home cosm, and bolsters her numbers as needed from the populace.
  • Skutharka is the three-meter tall wolf-man that controls Singapore. Formerly close to the bottom of the Nightmare power structure, his fascination with Core Earth's "cutthroat corporate culture" has combined with his fascination of Thratchen's techno-horror nature and resulted in a meteoric rise in power. This is because, instead of utilizing "normal" methods, Skutharka has begun twisting "mundane" Core Earth technologies into new sources of fear that flourish in Core Earth's urban environments. He's set up shop at the top of one of the largest business skyscrapers in the city, where he "plays businessman" like a kid would, doing things like grabbing dead phones and having fake business conversations into them. His personal assistant is a Core Earth Chinese martial artist known as Mr. Ho.
  • Patches doesn't get any real mention until the Creatures of Orrorsh sourcebook, but all you need to know is that he is a demonic killer clown. Because there's always a demonic killer clown.


It creeps, and seeps, and glides and slides across the floor...

Now, given how many creatures there are running around, the question arises about how this whole system actually works without collapsing in on itself. The answer to that is what is referred to as the Ecology of Fear.

quote:

Unlike the other realities that have invaded Earth there is no room for a true society in Orrorsh. Societies are designed to provide comfort and structure. Comfort and structure discourage fear, and since it is fear that Heketon wants, society has no place. However, a High Lord and his Darkness Device draw power from the possibility energy drained from people living in the realm. If the monsters and terrors of Orrorsh are too fierce and chaotic and destroy too much of the planet's population then the invasion is for nothing, for there is no more energy to be drained. On the other hand, if the monsters are too organized, like the Cyberpapacy or Dr. Mobius' Empire, then although they are strange invaders they produce less fear. Much fear rests in the unknown. An army of werewolves might be terrifying at first, but soon they are no more frightening than any other army. The horrors of Orrorsh are the terrors of the dark comers and footsteps walking behind you late at night.
The Gaunt Man has spent centuries finding the perfect balance that would allow his minions to inflict as much fear as possible on the populace without tipping over the line to the point where the monstrous became the mundane. In addition, he needed his forces to have enough leeway to inflict fear in the ways that were natural to them, while at the same time needing them to be organized enough to aid in an invasion.

It's taken him centuries, but he finally managed to hit a state of equilibrium where the entire system is self-sustaining. The monsters of the realm do not actively fight each other for territory anymore, and can focus on the humans. The humans, meanwhile, have just enough hope to keep fighting back, but not enough power to win.

The whole system runs off three points, which the Gaunt Man has transformed into Orrorsh's world laws: The Power of Fear, the Power of Corruption, and the law of Eternal Corruption. I touched on these in brief back at the beginning of this book's posts, and will get into more detail on them next chapter.

So where do all these beasts and monsters come from? It turns out, from a bunch of places.

Monsters of the "Nightmare tier" or higher are capable of creating monsters on their own, and they tend to do so quite often. Generally these monsters follow the thematic mold of their creators; Ahjebax creates ooze-like monsters, Dr. Sconce creates patchwork creatures, and so on. This is where a good chunk of your "fodder" monsters come from.

Humans can become horrors if they tap into the Power of Corruption enough times. Once someone has taken advantage of the Power of Corruption for any reason, when they die they will have the option to enter the Gaunt Man's cycle of reincarnation and keep coming back to the world instead of going to the afterlife and receiving his just deserts.

Third, some horrors can turn humans into other horrors against the person's will. This is the purview of vampyres, werewolves, and things of that kidney. It's interesting to note that then a person is transformed this way, they're not subject to the reincarnation cycle. Instead, their soul is released to whatever afterlife awaits it, and a waiting corrupted soul is taken from Heketon's "storage" and used to animate the body. Interestingly, this means that every horror has a soul of some sort, even lowly creatures like zombies.

Lastly, there's "wild horror". Wild horrors are very rare, but no less dangerous. These are horrors that are created on their own, with no guiding hand other than the general belief of the humans of the area and the local magic and fear levels. Wild horrors tend to not slot into the Ecology very well, but the Gaunt Man and Heketon find them useful to give the humans a target they can fight without knocking the rest of the system out of whack.

quote:

A prime example of "wild horror" is the fortress of Muslim zombies that sprang upon Majestic's northern shore when the reality of Orrorsh washed over the land. The zombies are the corpses of Muslims of Earth desecrated by Portuguese sailors hundreds of years ago. The souls of the zombies are the same souls of the Muslims who died hundreds of years ago. Orrorsh is not part of controlling this terror. The zombies are acting on their own will. The arrival of Orrorsh only acted as a catalyst for the creation of the zombies.


I say!

One thing that does need to be pointed out before we close this section out is the concept of Strong Life and True Death.

As pointed out, the horrors of Orrorsh are technically immortal. When they are "killed", their souls are fielded by Heketon and sent to special storage zones known as Waiting Villages. There, the soul waits for a new body to become available through one means or another, and once that happens it just re-enters the world and picks up where it left off. Corrupted souls can "degrade" if they reincarnate enough, but that's just survival of the fittest. As souls become weaker, they get put in less and less powerful bodies until they are so worn down that they just remain in the Village, used for nothing and feeling nothing.

In order to keep his monsters in line, the Gaunt Man instituted the rule of the True Death. Every corrupted soul has one specific weakness that, if used on a horror, will kill its soul off for good and send it straight to the afterlife. Sometimes it's well-known (stake through the heart for vamps, silver for werewolves, destroy the head for zombies), but for the more individual horrors it's going to take some research to figure out what the monster's weakness is. And even then, it's probably not going to be easy to do. For example, Basjas needs to be wrapped in her own webs for three days (at which point she will die), Skuthharka must be decapitated and have a mixture of bee's honey and rose petals poured down his throat, and General Wellington must be killed at sunrise in a one-on-one duel.

The more powerful Nightmares go to great lengths to keep the methods of their True Deaths hidden (for obvious reasons). The longer a horror can stay in the world, the more powerful it gets, and the hard it is to kill. Even a non-True Death death is a major setback, the first step in a downward spiral towards becoming a forgotten voice in a Waiting Village. Every horror knows this; the Ecology of Fear is a world of survival of the fittest, and a moment's weakness towards stormers or other horrors can result in a loss of rank and territory. Every Nightmare knows, deep down, that all it takes is one misstep to fall out of favor and wind up in Hell...or worse.

It's very rare that a Nightmare realizes that it's trapped in the same web of fear as the humans. And when one does...the Gaunt Man just laughs.


NEXT TIME: People, places, and...things.

Quinn2win
Nov 9, 2011

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


OPPOSITION FORCES, PART 6



Orlok
The word nosferatu appeared before Stoker used it, in an 1865 travel journal by Wilhelm Schmidt. Its origins are as mysterious as the subject of the film of the same name, Count Orlok. Orlok was created by the Germans using knowledge gathered from the 1894 operation. Orlok was summoned or created by Albin Grau, the magician who designed the film. Orlok was created by Dracula himself. Wherever he came from, Orlok knows deep German secrets that give him leverage over any German NPCs.



Independent
Orlok is Dracula's spiteful rival - there are two vampire conspiracies to unravel, not just one. Orlok could also be a vampiric assassin of a surviving Agentinian Nazi vampire program. More on Hitler later.

Asset
If Edom has Orlok, why do they need Dracula? Maybe Dracula created Orlok, but overall this probably just muddies the motivations a bit too much.

Conspiracy
Dracula can control any vampire created by his own blood. He could still be in any of the other roles - maybe Orlok himself doesn't know that he's under Dracula's control. Thematically, Orlok's minions are the contaminants of society - drug lords, human traffickers, et cetera.

quote:

General Abilities: Aberrance 20, Hand-to-Hand 20, Health 13
Hit Threshold: 6 (cunning, superhuman reflexes)
Alertness Modifier: +2
Stealth Modifier: +1
Damage Modifier: +2 (talons, fangs)
Armor: -2 (leathery hide); weapons do half damage, car crashes and falls do 1 point of damage.
Free Powers: Darkvision, Drain, Regeneration (all Health every day), Tracking by Smell, Unfeeling
Other Powers: Cannot Drown, Extra Attacks (first is free, further attacks cost 2 Aberrance or Hand-to-Hand), Levitation, Magic (inscribe mind-controlling sigils onto documents), Mesmerism, Plague, Spider Climb, Strength, Summoning (rats), Telekinesis, Turn Invisible, Turn to Mist, Vampiric Speed
Banes: Direct sunlight (Hurt, damages as fire each round), while feeding on a woman of pure heart
Blocks: Direct sunlight
Compulsions: Pursue sexually attractive target
Dreads: Direct sunlight
Requirements: Drink blood, sleep in unconsecrated grave earth



Queen Tera
Who's to say Dracula was the first dead royal who Britain tried to recruit? Before going to Romania, there were plenty of dead royals being shipped right into London. One of them was the mummy of an 11th-dynasty Egyptian queen (code-)named Tera. Professor Abel Trelawny became obsessed with the mummy, eventually leading to an attempt to resurrect her in 1886. Everyone involved in the experiment died, but the mummy was never recovered.

Stoker's cover story for this one was even shakier than Dracula - it was even edited in 1912 to have a new ending where Tera dies. To find the ancient queen, the agents will have to retrace Trelawny's old experiments and figuring out what happened next.

Independent
Trelawny was acting on his own - Tera was resurrected, and doesn't have any ties to Edom. Her motives are wholly her own.

Edom
The goal of Edom was to get a supernatural agent, not necessarily just Dracula - the mummy project was another branch. If it didn't work, the notes are buried in the Edom archive, waiting for someone else to give it a shot. If it did work, Tera might be waiting in a sarcophagus at any of the major Edom sites - but maybe not. University College Cork acquired a mummy in shady circumstances during the 1890s, allegedly sent to them by mistake. Or maybe Tera's in Egypt, hunting down terrorists for Edom. Maybe Abel Trelawny is still alive, and is the true identity of Dr. Drawes, or even "D".

Conspiracy
Maybe Tera saw Dracula as a fellow corpse who could help her adapt to the new world of the living. Maybe Dracula saw a chance to gain secrets and magic from an even more ancient menace. Tera was probably part of Dracula's 1894 London network, and might be masquerading as a mortal - The Online Mystic or The Sculptor could be Tera.

General mummy stats:

quote:

General Abilities: Aberrance 12, Hand-to-Hand 10, Health 10, Hypnosis 16, Weapons 8
Hit Threshold: 4
Alertness Modifier: +1 (+3 in tombs)
Stealth Modifier: +2 (+4 in tombs)
Damage Modifier: +1 (claws or fists)
Armor: -2 (mummified skin), weapons do half damage, firearms do 1 damage
Free Powers: Darkvision, Regeneration (1 Health per night)
Other Powers: Apportation (into a sarcophagus), Curse, Heat Drain, Mimic Form (their own living form), Mimicry, Necromancy, Plague, Strength, Summoning (insects, carrion-eaters), Turn into Creature (hawk, jackal, scarab, swarm)
Banes: Proper Egyptian ceremonial reburial in own tomb
Blocks: Areas sanctified by the Book of the Dead

Added on top of that for Tera:

quote:

Investigative Abilities: Archaeology, Astronomy, Fringe Science, High Society, Occult Studies
Other Powers: Astral Projection, Hive Mind (with cat familiar), Induce Dreams, Mesmerism, Resurrection (using enchanted ruby and astral projection), Turn into Creature (cat)

Red Jack
The metaphorical ghost of Jack the Ripper haunts both the Dracula novel and the Dossier. The easy route is to make Jack a vampire or Renfield, but here's a more fun version: Red Jack is an evil spirit residing inside a cursed knife, possessing whoever holds it. Where did it come from? Maybe...
  • The cult of Dracula summoned Red Jack as part of Dracula's revival ceremony.
  • Edom attempted to create a vampire via summoning a servitor of Buné, Great Duke of Hell, but it escaped in the form of Red Jack.
  • Vampire bacteria infected one of the surgical knives used by George Stoker to dissect vampires - "Red Jack" is an alternate personality induced by telluric fever.
  • The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn awakened Red Jack through sloppy magic.
  • R. M. Renfield was driven mad by the act of summoning Red Jack.
  • The blade was discovered on one of Seward's previous adventures with Quincey and Holmwood.
  • Dracula himself bound Red Jack into the blade.

Independent
Red Jack is a distraction - its current holder is cutting up women in the vicinity of the agents. Either the knife or its demonic master may have information pointing to Dracula, or stopping Red Jack could be the leverage needed to get a favor from another powerful NPC.

Edom
One of the Dukes is Red Jack. Freeing them from Red Jack's influence could potentially flip the Duke.

Conspiracy
Red Jack is a tool Dracula granted to a lower-level node - breaking it gives the agents a 6-point pool to use against that node.

Abilities of the holder:

quote:

General Abilities: Aberrance 8 (+14 at the site of a past ritual murder, such as Whitechapel), Hand-to-Hand +4, Health +2 per woman murdered in the past year by the blade, Weapons +10 with the blade only
Hit Threshold: 4
Alertness Modifier: +2
Stealth Modifier: +2 (+3 in shadows, fog or night)
Damage Modifier: +0 (ignores armor)
Armor: Immune to all knives but his own
Free Powers: Darkvision, Drain (+1 to Health for every 2 damage the blade does), Memory Wipe (on holder)
Other Powers: Apportation (into fog), Create Fog, Possession (holder only), Stealth, Vampiric Speed
Banes: Holder can die normally, Red Jack can be killed if the holder is stabbed with his own blade
Blocks: Holy Symbols (block possession), elevated serotonin levels (block possession)
Compulsions: Kill women



Solomonari
Romanian legend says that one who survives the training of the Devil himself in the occult arts becomes a Solomonar. Whether they're actually Satan's apprentices or cultists or visitors from another world, a Solomonar may be found at the top of any occult conspiracy. They use ancient magic to extend their own lifespans and guide history from the sahdows.

Only nine Solomonars exist at a time, and all of them know Dracula and are known by him. Maybe he studied with them in the past, maybe he betrayed them after learning their secrets. Maybe Edom's invitation to Britain was his ticket to smuggle Solomonari grimoires away from Romania.

A Solomonar can spend 1 Aberrance to conjure firebolts, swarms of gnashing teeth, or other such supernatural destruction at Near range, effecting as a Class 1 Explosion. The explosion class can be raised by doubling the Aberrance spent - two Solomonars can sacrifice their lives to spend 32 Aberrance and manifest a nuclear device equivalent event.

Edom
It'll change the game dramatically of Edom has a full-on wizard on their staff. Alternately, maybe the Solomonari aren't real (or Edom thinks they aren't real), and Edom is using the legend as a cover-up for their own weird agendas.

Conspiracy
Maybe Dracula didn't break his ties with the Solomonari - maybe they're his backers. If you think your players aren't being tormented enough by their enemies, maybe what Dracula needs is an unstoppable cabal of superwizards.

quote:

General Abilities: Aberrance 16, Hand-to-Hand 6, Health 10
Hit Threshold: 4
Alertness Modifier: +4
Stealth Modifier: +2
Damage Modifier: +0 (fist)
Armor: +3 (bend physics)
Free Powers: Heightened Senses (sense life)
Other Powers: Apportation, Clairvoyance (eyes of animals), Command Beasts, Command Weather, Infrasound, Levitation, Magic, Mimicry, Resurrection (via ritual at key sites), Send to Sleep, Summon (natural creatures), Telekinesis, Turn into Creature, Turn Invisible
Banes: Ritual in Le Dragon Noir, beheaded and buried beneath a church threshold
Blocks: Grimoir rituals/spells
Compulsions: Magically consult with peers/master

Other national vampire programs
It's been hinted at a few times that other nations have their own vampire programs - Edom aren't the only ones after Dracula. But who else is on the playing field?



China
Room 452 came from investigations of the jin-gui, now under the Ministry of State Security. They may have some tame vampires, but they're probably not active in Europe. Room 452's agents likely just want to get information - get down everything the party knows about vampires, get the Dossier, head back home.

Germany
If it's still active, Germany's vampire program Undernehmen Braun is a part of the Federal Intelligence Service (BND). Where did it start? Maybe with Van Helsing, maybe in George Stoker's war in the balkans, maybe Nazi secrets from the 40s. If the Germans have an active vampire program, they may have created Orlok or Alraune.

More about Vampire Hitler later, if you want to go there.

Israel
Sayeret Aluka is an anti-vampire kill team that learned its secrets from spying on Edom or from their own archaeological research. They're more likely to be good guys sthan most of these.

Russia
Turf wars could lead to just about anyone running Russia's vampire program - SVR, FSB, GRU, who knows. Maybe an anti-vampire kill bureau came out of the secret police of Catherine the Great. Russian vampire programs are careful not to make too much noise in Europe, lest the Kremlin have to answer some ugly questions.

Turkey
The Kirmizatlar is an anti-vampire group, in theory - they'll kill vampires, they'll kill anyone who likes vampires, they'll kill anyone they think might like vampires. In practice, that usually means a lot of Kurds, Jews, and Roma. Keeping them out of prison and well-funded is a nest of patrons within Turkish Special Forces Command (OKK).

United States
America's vampire program is code-named Find Forever, and is run by the CIA or the Pentagon. The Places chapter later includes several locations that might be part of Find Forever, like the Black Light interrogation site or Nox Therapeutics. Their vampire knowledge could have come from a lot of places, most of them Quincey Morris or the American Vampire.

The Vatican
Two options here. First is The Society of St. Lazarus of Bethany, a program mounted back in 2000 by weird fringe exorcists. Second is The Pontifical College of Romania, founded in 1937 by an old cardinal looking to bring absolute proof of vampires to the attention of the right people.

Next: Some NPCs.

Adnachiel
Oct 21, 2012

Doresh posted:

EDIT: And I've just listened to the System Mastery episode of the WGA Director's Cit [sic] again. Seems a lot of the 1.5 edition stuff was already there (techies, extra turns, unified stat array...). No wonder that book is no longer available...

I assume the reason is "I'm $9,000 in the hole and I need money". Hence why Book of Shadows still doesn't exist, yet there's 10 supplements for sale on Drivethru. Though I've seen people who were commissioned to do work for the original book mention that they weren't paid in full...

Alien Rope Burn posted:

Yeah, this sounds a little more like Princess than I was hoping for. I'd like to see a straightforward magical girl game without any swerves, but I guess this isn't it.

That "magical girls are ageless" bit seems more like someone trying to answer a question no one asked than someone trying to make the game more grimdark to me. "But how do the Pretty Cure crossovers work if some of the characters were made a decade ago?! They still look like they're in middle school!:spergin:"

But I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015

Mors Rattus posted:

Typically, as a note, Precure villains take a shitload of effort to turn. Monsters of the week, on the other hand, typically return to being normal people once beaten up if they were once people, usually with no memory of what happened. (They are not actually people very often.)

When a villain turns, it's usually based on up to half a season of concerted effort to talk to them in between shooting them with lasers.

Except when it's the true final boss and they've only started actually fighting him in the last two episodes. Then it's time to bring out the Giga Heart Breaker.

gradenko_2000 posted:

Escalating dice should really be more dice instead of larger dice in order to avoid the inconsistency/swingy problem.

Comedy Option: ink a deal with Dungeon Crawl Classics so you can do d12 -> d16

Are there d18s as well?

The Lone Badger posted:

Can we rename her mana stat to 'heat capacity'?

I don't think this even has a mana stat.

Adnachiel posted:

I assume the reason is "I'm $9,000 in the hole and I need money". Hence why Book of Shadows still doesn't exist, yet there's 10 supplements for sale on Drivethru. Though I've seen people who were commissioned to do work for the original book mention that they weren't paid in full...

Nothing beats some good old crowd-funding scamming.

quote:

That "magical girls are ageless" bit seems more like someone trying to answer a question no one asked than someone trying to make the game more grimdark to me. "But how do the Pretty Cure crossovers work if some of the characters were made a decade ago?! They still look like they're in middle school!:spergin:"

This is like coming up with an in-universe justification for why magical girls have such a limited wardrobe in their civilian form.

Doresh fucked around with this message at 19:47 on Mar 7, 2016

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

Whether or not the final villain is turned or banished is a coinflip and largely the same either way, yes. But then the show ends, so, y'know.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015
Sparks of Light


Pure Hearts: The Morality of the Light

The magical girl society has come up with a number of rules throughout the ages, though they can be easily summarized: The Rules of Grey basically amount to "Don't use your powers for selfish reasons, and maybe kinda sorta let yourself age a little every now and then", and the Morals of the Light are basically the Paladin code of conduct, except they can actually lie if it's absolutely necessary - which will probably happen quite a lot whenever they have to leave the house to beat up some monsters with their fellow Nakama. Fortunately for magical girls, the Light they are connected to knows when breaking a rule was necessary.


Now that's a much saner color scheme than the one on the cover.

The book is helpful to remind us that there is no grey morality to be found. The Light isn't an emotionless cosmic horror that screws everyone over to delay the heat death of the universe, it is a shining embodiment of good. The Courts aren't corrupt and will eventually ruin everything, they're just Lawful Stupid.

Speaking of Courts...

The Five Courts

Courts are your splats, describing what kind of magical girl you are what how you go about punching or shooting love into bad guys. They can be quickly described in D&D terms: Champions (Fighters, Paladins), Keepers (Druids, Elves, Rangers), Menders (Clerics), Seekers (Wizards) and Graces (Bards).

Now that does sound familiar, doesn't it? Well, that's because they're almost the exact same as the Callings from Princess: The Hopeful, with the major difference being that the Troubadours have been absorbed into the Graces to make room for the Keepers, which are nature-loving tree huggers.
The game also features Queens, but these are just linked to a Court instead of being a separate splat to pick from.

Each Queen and her Court hangs out in a Hall, a pocket dimension that is inaccessible to bad guys thanks to a magical crystal protection. Courts also have their own set of themes that influence the typical appearance of their magical girl's costume and weapons, and they often have a specific kind of good Yomi they like to hang out with.

The Grand Court of the Champions

The most paladin-like of all the Courts, residing in the fortress of Queen Dawn. They have a sun-theme going on, prefer actual armor (or bits of armor) and proper weapons like swords. It's the Rayearth Court.
Their favorite Yomi are lions [insert a Harry Potter or Narnia joke here].

The Endless Wood Hall of the Keepers

As the Green Peace of the Courts, they hang out in a jungle and love all Yomi equally. Their Queen Rona hangs out in a throne of living wood, so they might also be elfkin.
Aside from preferring hunting weapons, they also wear fur, leather or general amazon attire. So basically nothing you'd actually see in a magical girl anime which have influenced the appearance of real magical girls.

The Grand Temple of the Menders

These healbots in their silvery hall heal wounds (both physically and spiritually) in the name of the moon, under the guise of Queen Serenity Eulipia on her onyx throne.
Their weapons are the most classic, as they prefer wands and other magical itesm. Their costumes are also extra glittery, and their Yomi of choice are giant white spiders. But don't worry, they're nice vegetarian spiders who weave really good bandages.

The Grand Library of the Seekers

Queen Sophia rules in her sky castle (or at least a very tall castle) for her nerd Court to research and records history and other forms of knowledge.
Their weapons of choice are books and pens, and their costume accessories are pretty weird and include stuff like hoods and blindfolds. Their favorite Yomi is the eagle.

The Grand Menagerie of the Graces

A bunch of villas and pavilions rules over by Queen Blanc. Her magical girls have a thing for asymmetric looks, and they like to rock out with electric guitars. Or a lute, if they're one of the boring girls.
Their Yomi of choce is the songbird.

Backstory

Nobody actually knows when the Courts were originally created. The only ones who could tell that are some of the oldest Yomi, but they are a bit dickish and like to give contradictory answers.
What is more or less certain is that the war between Light and Dark - and even the concept of magical girls - is older than humanity itself.

The two sides were warring throughout most of ancient human history (Hannibal's invasion and Pompeii might be their fault) until one Queen from each side lost a daughter and they decided to call a truce and leave the world for good.

To the surprise of absolutely nobody, the Dark spend the next thousand years to learn how to mind control Yomi and then managed to almost steamroll the Light if it wasn't for a Keeper newbie called Morgana who managed to get the non-brainwashed Yomi on her side.

Apparently, the Renaissance was caused by the Light almost managing to defeat the Dark for good and herald in the utopia they have always dreamed of. These connections to history are a bit weird.

Speaking of a bit weird: In 1925, the Twilight was formed as a bunch of magical girls went "Screw you, girls" and left the Light. And this was apparently caused by capitalism, as they felt the fast treasuries of the Courts should be put to good use.

The Grey Wardens are a group of magical girls who make sure that nobody goes Twilight or Dark on their watch. Depending on the GM, they can be just an informal gathering or an actual Internal Affairs organization.

Social Structure

Your typical magical girl group is known as a Troupe, consisting anywhere between two (oldschool Pretty Cure) or ten (Sailor Moon) members. Each Troupe leader reports to their Court leader, who in turn reports to the Paladin, the supreme general of the magical girl army.

As Queens are so closely connected with the Light that they tend to zone out, the daily affairs of a Court are usually handled by a Princess.

Ranks in the magical girl society are separated into Might (fighers), Wisodm (casters) and Hearth (teachers and trainees). An active magical girl can have ranks in both Might and Wisdom.

About twice per month, each Court holds a Chapel, which is a gathering of most (if not all) magical girls of that Court where even the family members who know their secret are allowd (if they pass the magic crystal test). Not sure how they are allowed to know with all the secrecy, but I digress.

When it comes to punishing magical girls, the Courts have learned that rehabilitation is the way to go. Locking them up just ends up having them join the "Screw you, girls" club, or switch to hot black leather.

Jobs for a magical girl is not always about kicking monster butt. Young magical girls usually start out as mere couriers (so you can play Kiki's Delivery Service), and there are other glamorous jobs like cooks and repair crew waiting for them.

Knights are magical boys. They make up maybe 10% of the Spark population, and instead of hanging out with a crapload of cute girls, they prefer to be brooding lone wolf who occasionally show up to rescue one of their female comrades by throwing a rose and spouting some words of encouragement. That's a bind odd seeing how Bonds are sources of power.

And bloody hell, this is pretty overkill for a magical girl setting.

Next Time: Let's look at the bad guys.

Doresh fucked around with this message at 20:49 on Mar 7, 2016

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

You know what I want out of earnest magical girls? Fuckin' court politics.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 5, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!

Adnachiel posted:

I assume the reason is "I'm $9,000 in the hole and I need money". Hence why Book of Shadows still doesn't exist, yet there's 10 supplements for sale on Drivethru. Though I've seen people who were commissioned to do work for the original book mention that they weren't paid in full...

The fact that they only paid an artist $20 a page is essentially exploitation of a young artist's naivete.

Adnachiel posted:

That "magical girls are ageless" bit seems more like someone trying to answer a question no one asked than someone trying to make the game more grimdark to me. "But how do the Pretty Cure crossovers work if some of the characters were made a decade ago?! They still look like they're in middle school!:spergin:"

But I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt.

The reason I brought up Princess is not because of grimdark, but more on the tendency to heavily define the magical girl condition like an entry from The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe.

I suspect the immortality aspect may relate to the Silver Millennium / Crystal Tokyo settings from Sailor Moon with their ageless Guardian Senshi (which is an important plot point later on with Chibiusa). Mind, in Sailor Moon that immortality relates to exposure to a magic crystal, and isn't a necessarily part of being a magical girl as far as I can recall.

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 20:50 on Mar 7, 2016

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015

Mors Rattus posted:

Whether or not the final villain is turned or banished is a coinflip and largely the same either way, yes. But then the show ends, so, y'know.

But I have to know which keywords to apply to the attack.

Mors Rattus posted:

You know what I want out of earnest magical girls? Fuckin' court politics.

Versimilitude.

Alien Rope Burn posted:

I suspect the immortality aspect may relate to the Silver Millennium / Crystal Tokyo settings from Sailor Moon with their ageless Guardian Senshi (which is an important plot point later on with Chibiusa). Mind, in Sailor Moon that immortality relates to exposure to a magic crystal, and isn't a necessarily part of being a magical girl as far as soon I can recall.

The issue with both of these Sailor Moon utopias (at least Crystal Tokyo) is that the longevity affects everyone, magical girl or normal dude. And nobody has to bother with secrecy at that point, either.

This might also be a reference to Madoka (of course), since I think they technically don't age either. Not that the show itself delves into this, or why you would make this the standard for every magical girl campaign. They also don't have to worry about secrecy because Megucas naturally turn into lone murder hobos.

Doresh fucked around with this message at 20:56 on Mar 7, 2016

ganonso
Aug 1, 2011
Let's Read Nephilim: 1st part: Ancient History part 1

Like I said before Nephilim 2nd edition is interesting in its layout and even in the beginning it shows. The book open on an intro by someone named the Scribe, a Nephilim who announces himself as the compiler of the present book and treats us to a summary of their life. In forgotten times he was the spiritual leader of a tribe from the Atlas before sleeping the ages and taking the flesh of a byzantine monk. After being rescued from magical madnessby their current Fraternity the Thrice-Great he became a librarian and dedicated his life to provide an extensive primer on Nephilim existence, the result being the fluffy parts of the core. They indicatew also the greater part of their work come from the Velins Carminae, a series of red scrolls penned by a certain Sybil and exhort us to take these as a starting point for our own quest for wisdom.

The intro takes only one page but is efficient enough in presenting the core aspects of the game:

1 The Nephilim are body-snatchers who incarnate at different moment of history and spend the rest of the time in the confines of a Stasis, a magical item serving both as their prison and anchor to the world.

2 They are on a quest to Agartha, a mystical state whose few definitions exist.

3 They are not solitary creatures bur organize themselves in groups with names taken from occult lore.

4 They really, really love acquiring lore and knowledge.

5 They love CAPITAL LETTERS and big concepts.

Then we introduced to the first and longest of these Velins Carminae, seven pages with two pages of base character creation rules put in the middle.

quote:

It can happen that a conversation led us to the farthest reaches of our understanding and the coming and going of questions and answers leaves us shaken to the core. Something like that just happened to me with another character, one of these meetings that mold and shape us for the rest of our days. The meeting itself, its place and its date are of no import, only its setting is important. We were sitting cross-legged on one of the last summit standing above the orichalcum’s oceans. The rocks, mutilated by the bitter struggles of the elements, were arrayed in grinning and pained faces. Walls, gates, gates to the outside, strongholds, all these stones painted with victim’s blood were a figuration of our Fallen condition. Our world just sundered. The Flood, this formidable cataclysm, has brought our grand project of the Golden Path to a definitive closure. The sundered lands took with them our most beautiful truths along with our most dangerous secrets.

[…]

The first to lead the boat of my memories was he who much latter would be known as the Green Lion.

As you can see Sybil our narrator for these next parts is having kind of a bad day. We are at the beginning of Nephilim history proper, Atlantis the island-continent ruled by the Kaïms recently sank beneath the waves, and the Kaïms became Nephilim condemned to wander through stolen bodies. Sybil plays for the moment the role of the reader, asking questions to the Green Lion and being enlightened.

As for who is the Green Lion , well he’s your special Elder/Mentor/Enemy character, an Agarthian founder of the Occult Science of Alchemy. Unlike White Wolf and unlike what we could expect from a conspiracy/occult game, the ultimate authorities like the Green Lion are generally good in Nephilim. So the Green Lion serves as quest-giver and mentor to the PCs rather than thwart their ambitions.

Sybil’s first question is about the differences between his elemental perceptions and the material words which prompts the Green Lion to show off and explaining the whole history of the universe.

Basically in Nephilim matter is formed at its basest core by interaction between different radiations: The Magical Fields. They coalesce in celestial bodies who emit in their turn their own magical radiance, influencing other objects in a never-ending symphony. While the number of magical fields is potentially infinite, those naturally influencing Earth are:

Sun emitted by the Sun associated with life, especially intelligent life and humanity
Water emitted by Mercury
Earth emitted by Venus
Fire emitted by Mars
Air emitted by Jupiter
Moon emitted by the Moon associated with dreams, the unconscious, reptiles and madness

Earth has known several cycles before humanity began to evolve. First the Mineral Cycles where the Magical Fields were embodied by stone, metal and jewels. From this time remains the association of some materials with a specific element. By instance quicksilver is associated with Water, rupee with Fire and so on. Nephilim Alchemists use these materials by extracting the portion of Ka, magical essence, still present in them.

Life came with the Vegetal and Animal Cycles. In the Vegetal Cycle, the Magical Fields organized themselves in pairs of traditional opposites, by instance Fire is opposed to Moon and Water, Air is opposed to Earth and Moon. The Moon Ka, who contains both hidden energies and the potential for mutation took the ascendant and the first sentient creature of the Animal Cycle: The Saurians came to be;

What are the Saurians? Dinosaurs. Sentient Dinosaurs with a natural affinity for dreaming and vegetal magic. They existed in multiple species, all intelligent, and built immense cathedrals-forests where they could focus their dreams and attain even greater magical mastery. They worshipped the night’s aster by building oneiric kingdoms and forsaking the material world.

Until the coming of Mu.

Mu was the last prophet of the Saurians desired make them the eternal masters of the world by the creation of something undreamt of. He proposed to create a new moon, a Black Moon whose sympathetic relations with the real Moon would enable the Saurians to bask in new magical energies. And he succeeded in his plan. He gathered followers, stormed the ancient cities of his peers, slaughtered anyone who argued against his project then bent all resources to his ambition. The Black Moon took the skies and hang in low orbit, its rays wreaking havoc in the symphony of the Magical Fields for where the Moon is the mistress of dreams Black Moon Ka is analogically linked to death, undeath and morbidity.

Fortunately for the world the Kaïms awoke and fought their first war.

Kaïms were purely ethereal creatures, born when the five Magical Fields congregated in one place. While they were born of the five elements, they chose one as the main object of their studies and it became dominant. After choosing an element they decided to express their choice by emulating a manifestation of this elements. While ethereal Kaïms could clothe themselves in elemental energies and appear physically as they could inhabit a physical manifestation of their elements. They were raging infernos, diamond elementals, lumps of coral, tornadoes or even sentient diseases. Slowly but surely they learned to influence the world around them, posing the foundations of the first of the Occult Science: Magic.

For these elementals, Mu’s project were death. The Black Moon Field gnawed the others, threatening to dismantle their own elemental architecture. They acted quickly and warred against the Saurians. What really happened in this conflict is unknown but there are some things Nephilim are sure of.

The Black Moon was destroyed but its fragments dropped on earth, some of them large enough to create a global extinction event. Moreover, their continued presence meant the Moon Field was irremediably tainted. The Kaïms were afterwards unable to dream, and were forced to mistrust an essential part of their being.

The Saurians mostly died in the event. The time of dinosaurs had passed and the Spiritual Cycle could begin.

After their victory against the Saurians, the Kaïms returned to their esoterical studies. For millennia they followed the Devolution. They would learn everything they could about a single Magical Field then dissolve themselves in the ether. Sometimes they would reemerge with clear memories of their past lives and begin the process anew. The Green Lion by instance endured five of these cycles and always came back whole.

After a while they tired of the whole thing and decided to move on other projects. They gathered in groups dedicated to an element and decided on a sort of syllabus to teach to every Kaïm the magical lore of the five elements. When came the turn of the Onirim, the Kaïm with Moon as the dominant element to rule, the other passed them over named their society: The Four Elements’ Tutelage and decided to marginalize, “cure”, or outright destroy their kin. They mostly failed but the Kaïm Morpheus was forced to descend from his lunar refuge (long story not elaborated in the core) to battle the Four Tutors who led this fratricidal regime and defeat them.

After two attempted genocides, you’d think the Kaïms would at least slow down on the idiocy and for the next part most did. They regrouped themselves in Ar Ka Na, Ka’s Arches, esoteric groups dedicated to a peculiar magical working. Some explored the world, some started the fad of wearing forms that were no longer pure elemental but symbolic: Phoenixes, Efreets, Tritons, Medusae, Satyrs and the like. And everything well for everyone.

That did not last. You see the Ar Ka Na were united by oaths linking the very essence of their members. Some Kaïms decided it would be a superb idea to use these oaths to fuse with one another and become great magical beasts. That worked. They became Drakons, terrible creatures as above the Nephilim as they are above humans. And they predictably decided to be kings of the world, ruling forever and ever.

So started a new war. The Kaïms won but decided they needed to unite their society to avoid anyone making such mess again. Integrating the Sun Ka, the only magical energy the Kaïms did not possess was judged a worthy goal and look at that: Some dumb evolved monkeys had an unusual concentration of the stuff in them. The Kaïms promptly took enough specimens to have a breeding population, raised a continent in the middle of the Atlantic, then began their Golden Path, the tentative to integrate humanity’s Sun Ka in the Kaïm’s essence.
Next Time: The Golden Path: More Atrocities

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
It's time for more Ironclaw: Squaring the Circle!

One of the cardinal sins most RPGs commit is that they describe PC creation and what a roleplaying game is before they actually describe the dice/resolution system. Ironclaw commits this sin and also makes a pretty bad first impression by putting stuff like this front and center in the intro:



Doesn't that just grab you and say 'Man, this looks like an interesting, gritty low-fantasy game of kingmakers and social mobility'? It doesn't? It looks like the kind of poo poo you'd see in that dumb furry Libertopia game. This isn't a good way to sell the game, and it's especially painful because once you get to the species section you get amazing stuff like this:


Oh, right, pi-rat. I get it.

(https://www.flickr.com/photos/eselkunst/sets/72157623388958572/ This link contains basically all the good art from IC and is worth checking out. I won't be posting any of the other stuff except to occasionally make fun of Bishonen Foxboy)

Not sure why that isn't the headliner, but anyway. The game has a particularly good 'what is a roleplaying game' section where they talk about three different kinds: One for people who have never played a TTRPG before, explaining some of the conventions of the genre, one for people who have played TTRPGs but never played Ironclaw, and then a short section for people who played 1e about the major changes in the system. This is a good idea and they get their point across pretty well, but god help me if we haven't all read a million 'what is an RPG' sections as is.

Now, they then get into 'how to build your PC' but they do it before describing the actual resolution system. Games have got to stop doing this, so I'm going to get into the basic resolution system before I describe PC creation, myself.

IC's system is a dicepool system. You put together a pool of all your applicable dice (bonus dice from special abilities called Gifts, bonus dice from situational modifiers, base stat dice, base skill dice, additional base stat dice if your Career or Species boosts the skill) and then roll against a target number. The target number is either 3 (for simple tasks or tasks where how many successes you get matter more than anything else, like Soaking damage) or an opposing dicepool. Usually, the opposing dicepool is the dicepool of the other character you're trying to hit, trick, sneak past, etc. If there's no other person involved, it'll just be determined by how hard the task is. You do not add the dice together; you compare your dice to their single highest showing number and however many exceed it is how many degrees of success you make. If all of your dice show a 1, you botch; botching is (usually) very rare providing you have any kind of training at a task but it's always really, really bad.

Now we can make sense of PC creation. You have 6 stats: Mind, Body, Will, Speed, Species, and Career. Species and Career are sort of extra dice that get included with the things you're particularly well trained with or represent natural extra aptitude from your race. For instance, foxes are really good at sneaking and lions are really good at showing off, so a Fox would add his species die to any Stealth tests and a Lion would add it to Presence (the skill for making a big impression). Career is something you choose, and like Species, it has about 3 skills it gets added to (so say, a Soldier would buff his ranged, melee, and tactics skills with his Career die) and represents what your primary job has trained you to do. Mind is for persuasive argument, perception, and mental acuity, Speed is grace and agility, Body is endurance and strength, and Will is your mental endurance and willpower. You assign 2 d8 sized dice, 3 d6s, and 1 d4 to these stats to begin with; d6 is the 'average' for a competent person. Most of the foes you'll face in game who aren't of much note will top out at d6 dice, and running the math means no matter how many of those they have a d8 has a 25% chance to just beat them outright. PCs are meant to be special people of great talent and ability; even if you don't spend anything on being better at your base stats you'll still be above average for the most part.

Next, you choose a species and career. The species are very, very numerous, but they all function the same, mechanically. You get 3 skills that get to use your Species die, some natural weapons (which also get to add Species die to their attacks), some stuff about preferred diet and time of day, and then 3 Gifts. Gifts are one of the building blocks of character advancement; they represent special abilities (like being able to sprint hard to an enemy and then make an attack for Charging Strike), passive buffs (like getting to add a d8 to all melee/throwing attacks for having the Gift of Strength), magic spells, or social and skill edges. They can also outright increase a stat; a fair number of Species have Increased Trait (Speed/Body) as a Gift. Similarly, your career gives you 3 more set gifts and 3 Career skills. After that, you may pick 3 Gifts of your own from the giant, kinda poorly organized list later on in the book. After that, you get 13 Skill Marks. Each point put in a Skill increases its die size by 1 (From 0, to d4, to d6, to d8, to d10, to d12, and then to d12+d4, etc) and you may put up to a d8 in an individual skill during creation. Note there are no non-proficient penalties; skills represent additional learning on top of natural aptitude, species edges, and career training. Someone with a d12 Body but no points in melee might be totally untrained but still strong enough to fake it in a fight, BUT the Botch rule is designed to make it so that their lack of training means they risk serious failure. As the game points out, someone rolling d12 has a 1-12 chance of Botching, but someone with d4+d12 has a 1-48; even the slightest basic training could make that hulking guy way less likely to screw up catastrophically.

I like the character creation system a lot, especially as you may take a Gift to let you use any stat for hand to hand combat (Will, Speed, or Mind) instead of Body. It's been very easy to make a wide variety of characters who arrive at being exceptional or badass from a lot of different routes. It also avoids making Speed the god-stat, which was a serious problem in IC1e (IC1e used Speed for all to-hit rolls and all defense rolls, with Body only contributing to Soak and Damage, which means speed was just more important). We'll get into how they solved that problem when we get to combat. Would people like more detail on the Gifts, Species, and Skills, or to see an example PC?

Adnachiel
Oct 21, 2012

Witch Girls Adventures: Respelled: Part 4: Skills

WGAR posted:

Skills received a large enough overhaul to require a near complete rewrite.

Most of the Skills chapter is copied word-for-word from the original book. There’s even still a line pointing readers to the Director 101 section, which doesn’t exist in this version. Surprise surprise.

The basic rules for skills are still the same: Skill ranks can go from 0 to 10. There are separate pools of points for Mundane and Magical skills. You can only put a maximum of 6 in any given skill at character creation. (7 if you have a bonus from your clique and niche.) Every skill’s got an attribute die associated with it that is used for skill checks.

Rolling for skills that you don’t have ranks in now requires you to make a Mind + Basics roll with a -2 penalty instead of whatever skill the roll is for. (The original version made you do the original roll with a -1 penalty.) To make it even less likely that you’ll have to do a roll with a 0, all characters automatically get 3 ranks of Basics for free at character creation. Along with a free rank of Casting. So disregard the example for the Maximum Roll rule at the start because even that gets the math wrong. :v: You can’t do this for magical skill checks. There isn't even a separate rule for doing it with those skills.

There are a couple of changes to mundane skills. “Fix-Electronic”, “Fix-Mechanical”, “Garden”, “Hear”, and “Look” are gone. “Build/Repair”, “Charm”, “Hiding” (renamed from “Hide”), “Investigate”, “Languages”, and “Riding” are new. Some skills have also had tiny tweaks to their stat bonuses. Most of these come in the form of clarifying that any skill that gives a bonus to stat gives it at a rate of 1 for every 3 ranks in the skill.

Build/Repair: Ranks in this skill let you build and repair loving EVERYTHING; from electronics to houses to planes to whatever that doesn’t involve magic and isn’t a computer. (Those are covered under the Computer skill.) Characters can take a specialization in this that gives them a +1 to build and repair that specific type of thing while getting a -1 to all other things. Thankfully, the wording makes this out to be an optional thing. So feel free to not use it and be an omnicrafter.

Under the skill explanation is the rules for building and repairing items. The difficulty and time needed to build an object is based on its cost. Here, have a chart.



The cost to build an item is half its cost “if purchased of a shelf”.

The difficulty of repairing an item is also determined by a difficulty roll.



I would think rebuilding something from near scratch would require more than a day. Also, wouldn’t that count as being “devastated”?

You can also decrease the time needed to build or repair something by making a higher difficulty roll. The example given is making a Hard item completable in 1 day by making a Very Hard roll.

WGAR posted:

Failing a Build Repair rolls means the Build or repair fails.

Thanks, WGA. I never would’ve figured that.

Failure also means that half of the materials used are rendered useless.

Charm: A Social skill; the ability to use charisma to control and negotiate your way into getting people on your side. Resisted with Will. The book points out that this isn’t the same as using Mentalism to just mind control people, in case you are an idiot and confusing the two. Charming groups is done by making a difficulty roll of Hard or higher.

Computers: Pretty much the same as before (in that if you can use an operating system, you can also build websites and hack the Gibson), except now there’s a new set of rules on hacking computers and servers.



(Hacking a government computer is listed as one of the examples for Extreme on the normal difficulty chart back in the first chapter. So which is it, Harris?)

Naturally, this chart doesn’t account for human error or the idiot companies that still have “password” as their network password. I guess witchspiracy.com also has excellent security.

Making a hacking roll at a higher difficulty from what it would normally be also decreases the time needed to complete the hack. Failure allows the DM the option of planting a virus or making the character traceable.

Fighting: Along with granting a +1 damage for every 2 ranks, characters with ranks in Fighting also now get a +1 to Life points and Reflex for every 3 ranks they have. A system for combat maneuvers has also been added to the system.



Using individual maneuvers costs an Action point each. Some also grant minor abilities if they land. Most of the ones that do are not on the chart.

Grappling: The target can't move. Requires either a Grapple vs Grapple or Body vs Grapple if they have no points in Fighting. The wording makes it sound like Grappling is a separate skill you can put points in. There's no mention of having to put points in the separate maneuvers to be able to use them.
Knockdown: Target has to spend an Action to get back up.
Parry: No damage is taken from an attack. Can be used for arrows as well as hand-held and thrown weapons. (Unless it’s an arrow with a spell on it. Then you’re SOL, I guess.)
Stagger: Target takes a -1 to their next roll.

First Aid: Different medical maneuvers and their difficulties now have a chart dedicated to them.



Investigate: A Senses skill used to analyze information about people and places. Difficulty ratings are given to the clues and pieces of information to be deciphered.

Hide: According to the blurb, this is still resisted with the Hearing and Look skills. Both, according to the chart at the top of the chapter, no longer exist.

Languages: Every rank in this skill makes you fluent in one language. In addition to regular languages, you can also take a host of new otherkin based ones. The ones given are Dragoon (spoken by dragons :downs:), Pix (fae :downs::downs:), Runic (giants and dwarves), Thul (vampires and creatures of shadow), and Whyck (“the ancient language of witches”).

Look: Despite supposedly no longer existing, its blurb is still in the book.

Riding: A Body skill that covers maneuvering and staying on mundane horses, donkeys, and the like. I guess all of those endangered unicorns that witches use fall under another skill. Resisted with Will.

In magical skills, “Broom Riding”, “Magical Etiquette”, and “Spell Breaker” have been replaced with “Flying”, “Leyology”, and “Rites”.

Casting: Spell Breaker is now a part of the Casting skill which, like Fighting, now has a bunch of sub-Actions.

Detect Magic: Make a Senses roll to detect magic and magical beings within 10 feet, or 20 at the cost of a Zap point.
Prep a Spell: Spend 2 Zap to cast a spell as if it were one magic rank higher.
Spell Breaker: Casting vs Casting result. Win and you gently caress up a person’s spell.

Cryptozoology: The Social roll bonus has been removed. However, if you make a Hard Crypto roll during combat, you can do +2 damage and ignore 3 points of their armor.

Enchantment: Build/Repair for magical items. Uses the same rules.

Flying: Same as Broom Flying from the core.

Focus: Also has a chart associated with it now.



Herbalism: An added bonus of +1 to any Casting roll for spells that involve plants in some way.

Leyology: A Mind skill; the study of ley lines and magical places. With this new skill comes a list of the different types of magical places.

Dead Zone: There ain’t no magic in these places. Spells might not work. Creatures that rely on magic to live stop existing. -4 to all magical skill rolls, regenerating isn’t allowed, and Zap pools are halved.
Haunting: Places with spooky ghosts in them. +1 Casting bonus and -1 Zap cost to all Necromancy rolls and ghosts get +1 to their Body die and all of their rolls.
Minor Place of Magic: Magical towns and constructs usually fall into this category. +1 to Casting rolls.
Major Place of Magic: Places that are fed by many ley lines and produce their own magical energy. Useful for rites. Usually regulated by the Witches World Council. +2 to Casting, +1 to Magic die types, -2 to spell costs, and…

WGAR posted:

spells that would normally cost 0 zap points no longer cost 1 zap point but instead cost zero zap points.
Warp: The most numerous and fickle, these are portals to pocket dimensions and parallel worlds. +1 rank in Time and Space magic and +2 to Casting such spells.

Potions: Now gives +1 to rolls to resist the negative effects of potions.

Rites: The ability to organize and cast group spells. This is rolled in place of Casting when used.

All rites are led by an appointed leader, whose magical knowledge limits what spells can be cast. Leaders always make the first roll of a rite, and if they fail it, the others can’t make their rolls. If any of the other characters’ rolls fail, the whole rite fails.

The difficulty of their individual rolls is determined by the action that they’re trying to do. This can be lowering the cost of the spell by 1 (Easy); adding a rank to the spell’s range, size, or defense (Hard); or adding a rank to its duration, number of targets, or damage (Very Hard). A rite’s spell cost is basically whatever the spell would normally cost, with the Zap cost divided up among everyone.

The time it takes to do a rite is determined by the spell’s magic rank.



And that’s it for skills. Have another new picture.



Of course Lucinda and Circe will play chess together despite hating each other's guts. Consistency in characterization is optional in the WGAverse.

Next: Traits

(By the way, here's the other commissioned artist that I found. The one that didn't get paid in full.)

Adnachiel fucked around with this message at 21:58 on Mar 7, 2016

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008

quote:

Failing a Build Repair rolls means the Build or repair fails.
That is some game loving design right there.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012
Fallen Rib

Adnachiel posted:

Of course Lucinda and Circe will play chess together despite hating each other's guts. Consistency in characterization is optional in the WGAverse.

From what I've heard, Abby Soto literally doesn't grasp the concept of consistency. Apparently she would do disruptive poo poo in her weird MUD/Mush/whatever games to other characters but then act completely baffled when they held a grudge about it afterwards, as though every scene was supposed to be a fresh start and nothing really counted. I mean, of all the bad poo poo to be found in WGA this is kind of scraping the bottom of the barrel, but there you go.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
At least there's a specific Punch action for Punch Witch.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008

Kai Tave posted:

From what I've heard, Abby Soto literally doesn't grasp the concept of consistency. Apparently she would do disruptive poo poo in her weird MUD/Mush/whatever games to other characters but then act completely baffled when they held a grudge about it afterwards, as though every scene was supposed to be a fresh start and nothing really counted.
That...explains a lot, really.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

It really does.

She also seems to just not grasp how horrifying 'I turn this person into a thing and then break it' actually is.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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

Kai Tave posted:

From what I've heard, Abby Soto literally doesn't grasp the concept of consistency. Apparently she would do disruptive poo poo in her weird MUD/Mush/whatever games to other characters but then act completely baffled when they held a grudge about it afterwards, as though every scene was supposed to be a fresh start and nothing really counted. I mean, of all the bad poo poo to be found in WGA this is kind of scraping the bottom of the barrel, but there you go.

She might actually just have a legit mental problem, it sounds like.

Doesn't make WGA any better.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008

Mors Rattus posted:

It really does.

She also seems to just not grasp how horrifying 'I turn this person into a thing and then break it' actually is.
Well, of course not. Nothing has consequences, remember?

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

WE HAVE TO CONTROL OUR ENVIRONMENT
IF YOU SEE ME POSTING OUTSIDE OF THE AUSPOL THREAD PLEASE TELL ME THAT I'M MISSED AND TO START POSTING AGAIN
In a silly cartoon universe, you can have people changing forms constantly. Like in Looney Tunes or Plastic Man. And 'consistency' is only forced on us because we live in a physical world. If you're just making stuff up in a MUD or bullshitting in a game with friends, why wouldn't you change things around? Even in things like Mario or Batman characters can be enemies in one game and go-karting buddies in the next.
WGA has terrible art and writing, so I'm not defending it, but I'm kinda opposed to an obsession with 'consistency' and 'coherent plotting' and all that, especially when there's no reason to do it. But my desired end goal is to hang out in the Ethereal Marches/Marauder Ascension/weird magic moon from Nephilim.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

Count Chocula posted:

In a silly cartoon universe, you can have people changing forms constantly. Like in Looney Tunes or Plastic Man. And 'consistency' is only forced on us because we live in a physical world. If you're just making stuff up in a MUD or bullshitting in a game with friends, why wouldn't you change things around? Even in things like Mario or Batman characters can be enemies in one game and go-karting buddies in the next.
WGA has terrible art and writing, so I'm not defending it, but I'm kinda opposed to an obsession with 'consistency' and 'coherent plotting' and all that, especially when there's no reason to do it. But my desired end goal is to hang out in the Ethereal Marches/Marauder Ascension/weird magic moon from Nephilim.

Because most MUDs and MUSHes have ongoing continuities and worlds. They aren't just a set of random scenes in a void, for the most part. They are ongoing, persistent games in which people expect to carry things from scene to scene, often for years.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012
Fallen Rib

Count Chocula posted:

In a silly cartoon universe, you can have people changing forms constantly. Like in Looney Tunes or Plastic Man. And 'consistency' is only forced on us because we live in a physical world. If you're just making stuff up in a MUD or bullshitting in a game with friends, why wouldn't you change things around? Even in things like Mario or Batman characters can be enemies in one game and go-karting buddies in the next.
WGA has terrible art and writing, so I'm not defending it, but I'm kinda opposed to an obsession with 'consistency' and 'coherent plotting' and all that, especially when there's no reason to do it. But my desired end goal is to hang out in the Ethereal Marches/Marauder Ascension/weird magic moon from Nephilim.

And most RPG campaigns aren't run like a series of disconnected cartoon shorts. If that's the actual way WGA is supposed to be run there's literally nothing to support that assertion in the text, and it takes a willful dedication to obtuseness to conflate basic adherence to the idea that actions have consequences with some kind of weird obsession.

Put it another way, the next time you sit down to play an RPG with your friends, just start arbitrarily murdering their characters or stealing their stuff and see how many of them thank you for tearing the veil from their eyes as opposed to telling you to quit acting like an rear end in a top hat.

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

WE HAVE TO CONTROL OUR ENVIRONMENT
IF YOU SEE ME POSTING OUTSIDE OF THE AUSPOL THREAD PLEASE TELL ME THAT I'M MISSED AND TO START POSTING AGAIN
Sure, but they still exist in Ideaspace. 'Actions' only have 'consequences' because we're forced to obey the rules of a physical world. In the imaginative world we can ignore or suspend that rule. But so many RPGs seem to go in the opposite direction, adding MORE rules, until you get things like TORG turning what should be a post-modern play of genres into a mesh of interlocking systems, or that magical girl game turning stylistic choices from cartoons into rules.

WGA sucks, but it doesn't suck because it's too silly and playful. If the authors want a world where form and personality ar mutable, more power to them.

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Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

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

Kai Tave posted:

And most RPG campaigns aren't run like a series of disconnected cartoon shorts. If that's the actual way WGA is supposed to be run there's literally nothing to support that assertion in the text, and it takes a willful dedication to obtuseness to conflate basic adherence to the idea that actions have consequences with some kind of weird obsession.

Put it another way, the next time you sit down to play an RPG with your friends, just start arbitrarily murdering their characters or stealing their stuff and see how many of them thank you for tearing the veil from their eyes as opposed to telling you to quit acting like an rear end in a top hat.

I did that when my character was possessed in Unknown Armies - straight up ripped out my eye and melted another PC into goo. It was a horror game tho.
I assume everyone playing WGA is down for silliness.
And until recently, characters that changed in every appearance, comedia del arte style, were the norm.

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