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Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


OvermanXAN posted:

I'm guessing that Coran's alignment is because Siembieda's insistence that there can be no neutral means there's nowhere he fits into, and violence is 'evil', so he just gets tagged with that? I mean, it's partly an example of how alignment in general is so wonky because it completely ignores any nuance in motives and reasoning, but Palladium's version of it seems completely bizarre.

It seems to just be because he's ruthless. Palladium alignment is indeed weird where tilting on one point can make you evil. Being an indiscriminate liar puts you down into the ranks of of the dankest evil alignments (either miscreant or diabolic). Oh, did you want to play a benevolent trickster or a sensationalist bard? Well, bear in mind you also have to be true to your new alignment, which makes you willing to harm or kill innocents...

People complain about D&D alignments but at least those allow some degree of interpretation, where Palladium's alignments are set in comparative stone.

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SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

Horned Rat-Sempai Noticed Me! :swoon:


Alien Rope Burn posted:

It seems to just be because he's ruthless. Palladium alignment is indeed weird where tilting on one point can make you evil. Being an indiscriminate liar puts you down into the ranks of of the dankest evil alignments (either miscreant or diabolic). Oh, did you want to play a benevolent trickster or a sensationalist bard? Well, bear in mind you also have to be true to your new alignment, which makes you willing to harm or kill innocents...

People complain about D&D alignments but at least those allow some degree of interpretation, where Palladium's alignments are set in comparative stone.

So what's to stop a player from just saying "well I'm willing to kill and harm innocents...I just don't feel like it. :smug:"?

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


SirPhoebos posted:

So what's to stop a player from just saying "well I'm willing to kill and harm innocents...I just don't feel like it. :smug:"?

Not much other than the fingerwagging of the book's text.

I suppose it denies you the "play within alignment" XP bonus if it would otherwise come up. Mind, I'm realizing for the first time how heavily the XP tables are weighted towards good alignments in general otherwise - rewards for "avoiding unnecessary violence", "acts of kindness", "heroic action", "saving lives", "life or death self-sacrifice", etc. So even if you're diabolic, if you play it like scrupulous, you'll come ahead in the XP game. Mind, the game pretty well presumes you're playing good or at least selfish alignments. Even though it offers evil alignments, whenever you see a playable "evil" race, it's presumed that any PC is going to be some sort of benevolent oddball or mutation.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



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



PART 1: DON'T CALL IT A COMEBACK

Torg.

Man, Torg.

I've written a lot about Torg. I mean, a lot. Probably more than anyone not actively working on Torg has written about it.

Because just as I said ages ago, I do love it. Yes, I still maintain that it's the epitome of 90's RPG design: rules-as-physics, ridiculous metaplot, too many goddamn subsystems, needless levels of detail nobody cared about, and so on. And the rules were way too complicated for their own good.

But the thing is...I'm a sucker for anything "multiversal". That poo poo is straight up my jam. There's just something about the idea of different genres impacting each other and each being represented as a faction in a greater war? Hell yeah sign me up!

Thus my weird love/hate relationship with the game. It's what led me to decide to review the entire Torg game line. I loved the setting, but hated the system. And I like to think I brought a few people around here to that level of love/hate.

Torg became a sort-of forgotten game after the 90's, due in part to its owner West End Games going through a lot of bad choices and the rights to the game being effectively locked away. Then, last year, this happened:



German RPG publisher Ulisses Spiele (makers of The Dark Eye, Germany's #1 fantasy RPG) bought the rights to the game and launched a kickstarter for a new edition. They had a bunch of changes listed...a new perks system in place of the old powers stuff, more options for characters from places like Core Earth or Nippon Tech, and so on.

And of course, with any new edition comes the question: are they actually going to fix the old version's problems, or are they going to leave them in for the sake of "nostalgia"?

I still backed it anyway, knowing it was probably going to break my heart. And now, about a year later, I have the physical book in my hands.

So now, the question on the table is: Is Torg Eternity good?

Let's find out!


THERE CAME A TIME WHEN THE OLD GODSwait, wrong intro.

So right off the bat, we're told that this is going to be a different thing. Because it's not a reboot.

The events of the original Torg line happened, and more importantly they stayed happened. The invasion as described in the original novel trilogy, The Gaunt Man was trapped in a pocket dimension just before the "start" of the RPG, Tharkold's bridge into Russia was destroyed before they could touch down. Other events, which I haven't gotten to in the other Torg review, all still occurred. And in War's End, the Gaunt Man was defeated once and for all.

But in an infinite multiverse, there can't be one of anything.

This is a different Core Earth being targeted for invasion. These are different iterations of the invading cosms and their High Lords. The song's the same, just...by a different band.

So before getting into the mechanics of Torg Eternity, let's take a look at how the cosms have changed.

First up, Core Earth. It's, well...here, in the year 2018. Not much to really get into here in a general sense, but there have been a few changes to make things a little more game-able.

One of the main changes is in the nature of the Delphi Council. Originally, it was the "temporary" United States government put in place in the wake of DC getting Living Landed. Now, it's a multi-national concern focused on finding, training, and coordinating Storm Knights. Which is to say, they're an easy way for the GM to set up adventures as well as giving a reason why a ninja from Japan, a priest from France, and lizard dude would all be hanging out together.

The chief operative of the Council is Quinn Sebastian, who was a significant NPC in oTorg. He knows more than anyone who isn't a High Lord about the invasion.

quote:

Heís the prime motivator behind the Delphi Council. Heís parleyed his uncanny knowledge of the High Lords and their tactics into a position of power, but heís also a mistrusted outsider.

His knowledge also isnít complete. Itís roughly the equivalent to a player familiar with the previous edition of Torg, and relates mostly to how the war played out in those books.

But the war in Torg Eternity is different. Even some aspects of reality donít work quite the same, so Quinn has blind spots. His largest worry is PanPacifca. He is certain a High Lord is at work there, but of litle else beyond that.

As the war progresses and his knowledge becomes increasingly obsolete Quinn may be displaced from his leadership role. Likewise Quinnís destruction is a priority for all the High Lords, who consider him the most dangerous man on Core Earth.
There's an interesting implication here, in that Quinn has some level of knowledge of the original Torg timeline. There's nothing definitive, and it's not brought up again in the book, but it's still a pretty cool idea.

Asyle is in broad strokes, pretty much unchanged. Uthorion still possessed Lady Ardinay and ran the cosm as her without anyone knowing. He was a little more subtle this time around, though. Instead of just walking around in her body 24/7, Uthorion would possess her to sow discord between the major Houses and non-human races, and when done he'd just...leave. Ardinay's body would then sink to apparent deep sickness, which just further destabilized the throne. Around the time of the invasion, Tolwyn of House Tankred (ugh) popped up again and drove Uthorion out of Ardinay's body, curing her.

Of course, by that point a lot of damage had been done.

For starters, the dwarves were almost wiped out as a race due to Uthorion's workings. The survivors aren't sure they're buying this whole "I was possessed but I'm better now" thing, but they're still fighting for the Light because that's about all they have left. On the plus side, they figured out how to make cool magical power armor.


Support your local tank.

The elves, on the other hand...they're doing pretty well, actually. Although to be fair that's because they sold out to The Gaunt Man.

Back before the invasion, the elves figured out who Uthorion's boss was, and cut a deal with him to stop him from directly attacking the elven lands. In exchange for their safety, they pointed The Gaunt Man at another reality they'd discovered that contained a very powerful Possibility-altering weapon. So the elven lands were saved, but The Gaunt Man wasted no time in destroying the revealed cosm and seizing the weapon for himself. We'll get to that when we get to Orrorsh, but suffice to say the elves are not proud of what they did and are working hard for redemption. Preferable without anyone else finding out what they did.

As for Uthorion and Ardinay, they're both still active in their battle for control of the realm. This time around, Uthorion isn't just sitting on his hands; he's assembled a barely-allied Dark Council of monsters and general bad guys to be a series of back-up bodieshelp fight Ardinay's forces and expand the realm's territory.

Ardinay, meanwhile, is just trying to mitigate the damage done by the invasion. She's still the only real ally Core Earth has, and is still the Good And Pure Queen...except when Uthorion is involved. Ardinay is obsessed with killing Uthorion, to the point where she will drop everything and throw as many forces as she can at him whenever he pops up, regardless of the cost. So far she's managed to keep this a state secret, but if the knowledge ever leaks out it wouldn't be good for her already shaky position.


The Cyberpapacy has changed quite a bit, mostly due to how we (as a culture) have adapted to the internet and how it's changed since the mid 90's. A significant reason for this in-game is that the backstory of the Cyberpapacy has changed; this time around, Magna Verita has always been a cyberpunk world as opposed to it being an inflicted recent change. As such, the Church is very comfortable with high technology, thank you very much.

The GodNet still exists, and is once again both cut off from the larger internet and pervades every piece of technology in the realm. Thing is, while that was bad back in the 90's when we still didn't quite get this whole "internet" thing, it's a hell of a lot scarier in a post-"Internet of Things" world. The fact that your smartfridge could turn you in to the Inquisition for heresy is funny...until you think about it for a few seconds.

On top of that, Malraux has figured out how to gameify faith. Every citizen of the Cyberpapacy has a "piety score" that tracks how loyal they are to the Church. The better your score, the more favored you are, and the easier your access to legal cybertech.

quote:

Activities that show acceptance of the Cyberchurch and participation in its rituals add to the userís score. Violations (such as taking the Lordís or Jean Malrauxís names in vain) elicit reprimands and pleas for the sinner to go to confession, but never subtract points.

Some in the College of the Way find it distasteful that Malraux is turning worship into a game, but the practical results have been undeniably effective. Early achievements are simple and innocuous, while darker, hidden achievements worth more points unlock if performed or once certain score
milestones are reached.

Encourage players to track their Piety Score while inside the Cyberpapacy. There are no direct mechanical benefts to a high scoreóyet. Scores are readable, and might provide clues about an individualís atitude. Church Police are highly prejudicial based on these scores as well.


If I burn three more witches I can get a new GodNet avatar!

Oh, and just to point this out: cyberpsychosis is no longer a thing. That's not to say that cybernetics don't have their drawbacks, but we'll get to that later when I get to the new mechanics.


The Living Land has gotten a complete overhaul. It's still the low-tech/low-magic realm where dinosaurs roam and lizardmen run the show, but now there's actually more to it than just "the low-tech/low-magic realm where dinosaurs roam and lizardmen run the show". In fact, there's actually reasons to go there now!

Probably the most significant change to the Living Land is to Baruk Kaah himself. Originally, Kaah was basically the series' whipping boy who couldn't get a win if it was handed to him on a platter. In oTorg, Kaah lost half of his North American territory before the game even officially starts, kept losing territory after that, got clowned by pretty much everybody up to and including his Darkness Device, and ended up getting sucked into a wormhole-y thing through his own stupidity.

This iteration of Kaah is very different. In fact, he's probably the most successful High Lord so far in terms of expanding his territory; by the end of the first year of the invasion he's taken over about a third of the United States, and managed to get a foothold in Central America. He's also got a much better relationship with his Darkness Device, to the point where it transforms into a spear for when Kaah is personally hunting down Storm Knights.

That said, Kaah is still twisting the Keta Kalles religion to his own ends, to the point where the definition of "dead things" has been tweaked a bit. Now, things that were once alive aren't anathema, which means that the edenios are using bone, leather, and such to make weapons and armor. This has the nice side-effect of allowing different edenios tribes to have their own distinct shticks based on their individual styles. For instance, there's the Ghost Clan that specializes in camoflague and stealth, or the Whitespear clan that's actively fighting back against Kaah.

The biggest change to the Living Land, however, is the addition of "reality fragments". Littered throughout Kaah's territory are remnants of his past conquests: old forgotten temples that weren't there before the invasion, crystal spires, even cities from unknown civilizations. These shards, which maintain their own axioms, are high-priority targets for both Kaah and the Delphi Council due them containing all kinds of fun lost technologies, magic, lost tribes, or portals to who-knows-where. In fact, there are rumors that Meretteka is actually somewhere deep in Kaah's territory.


Nice crop of stargates coming in this year.

And just to pause: I really like these Living Land changes. The fact that Kaah is a serious threat now, combined with the fact that there's stuff to do in the LL (not to mention how disconnection is far less punishing now) make it a viable location for adventures. It has a point now, which was always sorely lacking in a lot of oTorg's material. I said back when I started reviewing the Land Below sourcebook that it felt like an attempt to "fix" the problems with the Living Land by replacing it rather than going back and fixing what was wrong with the original, and thankfully the new edition took the mistakes of the original line to heart.


Moving on, the Nile Empire is the realm that changed the least. In fact, it's pretty much the same as it was the first time around, which makes sense. After all, why mess with perfection?

Doctor Mobius is still the same monologuing wingnut we all know and love, and he's brought his second-in-command Wu Han along for the ride. Mobius has taken over Thebes as the seat of his empire, leaving Cairo to Wu Han. He's also not expanding anywhere near as much now; rather than controlling half of Africa out of the gate he's only really pushed into the Sudan, Ethiopia, and Saudi Arabia.


Orrorsh, on the other hand, has quite a few changes. The most important change, both to Orrorsh and the setting as a whole, is that the Gaunt Man is still around. Again, the novels didn't happen, so he didn't get sucked into a pocket dimension for the first year and change of the invasion. This means that Orrorshian territory is expanding steadily as opposed to stagnating due to not having a driving force.

The Gaunt Man's territory has been changed from Indonesia to India and Pakistan, but despite the new location the same old problems with the Core Earthers exist. The inherent racism of the Victorians has been heavily dialed down (or at least isn't so overt), but but this is still a part of the world that has had a problem with the colonials coming in, taking over, and saying "you're welcome". And while the Indian government has reluctantly allowed a few Victorians into the government as "consultants", those consultants are slowly working their way up to more power in the region...for its own good, of course. Not helping matters was the discovery that the Victorian leader Sir Avery Wellington was actually part of the Gaunt Man's inner circle.

In addition to the usual array of Horrors and gospog, the Gaunt Man has two new weapons in his arsenal: Nightmare Trees and Dimthread Trees. These are the weapons that the Ayslish elves traded their safety for: growable Orrorshian hardpoints that, at night, can turn the area into an Orrorshian mixed zone up to 40 km in diameter. On top of that, Dimthread trees allow the Gaunt Man's operatives to teleport between them as needed.

Conspicuous by his absence is Thratchen, who was fairly important the first time around. Presumably he might show up later, but it's nice to see that they're cutting down on major NPCs.


Nippon Tech has also seen a few changes, starting with a new name: Pan-Pacifica. Once again, the Kanawa Corporation managed to invade in secret, and Ryuchi Kanawa (apparently his real name now, not 3327) has managed to expand his holdings over all of Japan and a sizeable chunk of China. Even Quinn Sebastian, who seems to know too much about the invasion, doesn't know with 100% certainty that something's happened in that region.

The big problem Japan and China are dealing with now is, believe it or not, a straight-up zombie invasion. Since the invasion started, people have been mutating into jiangshi. Nobody knows where they came from (although the popular theory is Orrorsh), but people who become infected quickly mutate into fast-moving zombies, and the infection can be further spread via bite or scratch, and in fact jangshi can mutate further into bigger monsters. The appearance of the jiangshi caused a great deal of chaos in the early days of the invasion, but thankfully the Kanawa Corporation came to the aid of the government in its time of need in the form of corporate police forces and lots of weaponry. Isn't that nice of them? And they're very good at spotting infected people before they turn so they can get them off the streets and away from the populace at large.

Setting spoiler: The jiangshi were, of course, created by the Kanawa Corportaion. The plague is what you get when you turn gospog into an airborn virus. While the virus only lasts a few hours in its airborn state, once it infects someone it can be passed along in all kinds of fun ways.

In terms of tone, Pan-Pacifica has a very "Resident Evil by way of John Woo" feel now. Corporate culture is downplayed in favor of what life's like at street level for the average citizen. The Laws of Intrigue and Vengeance are still in effect, but now it feels more cinematic. It helps that the available character options give players a bit more identity than just "office worker" or "corporate ninja".

Oh, and Ryuci has brought his sister Reiko along for the invasion. Reiko has become a media darling, a lovely spokeswoman who moves easily from talented artist to humanitarian aid, all in front of the cameras and is in no way a distraction away from Kanawa's actually operations, nosiree Bob.


Lastly, we come to Tharkold, which has been reworked from the ground up. Like the Living Land, the basic ideas of the realm have been redone with an eye to making it worth people's time to go there.

The first change that needs to be brought up is that the Tharkoldu have won the War. Humanity on Tharkold have been fully subjugated, the Free Nations have fallen, and the technodemons are running the show.

As in the original timeline, Kranod's job was to invade Russia. This time around, the Russian government didn't have a Kanawa-funded psionic research project going on, which meant that the Tharkold stelae weren't uprooted and the maelstrom bridge did indeed touch down just outside of Moscow. There was a tense moment when it looked like where a Race resistance cell were going to manage to stop the bridge, but Kranod's chief thrall Jezrael managed to seize victory for her master.

That's probably the last good thing that's happened to Kranod.

In all the chaos of the initial invasion, worldwide communication was cut off. Not knowing what was going on elsewhere, and not knowing what else to do, Russian president Aleksandr "The Wolf" Volkov launched a tactical nuclear missile at the bridge.

Moscow was destroyed, as were thousands of Russian civilians and technodemons. As was the bridge, which suffered a direct hit from the nuke. But that was just the start of the problems.

It turns out that nuking a maelstrom bridge, while effective in the short term, is a really bad idea in the long term. Yes, the bridge was destroyed and stopped the flow of technodemons into Russia...but the combination of nuclear fallout, possibility energy, and two different realities all mixed together and spread as a mass of radioactive mixed-reality energy that spread throughout most of Siberia. This region was warped in the ensuing reality storm, spreading Tharkold-level technology with it and mutating the local wildlife that wasn't killed in the initial wave. What's more, this zone wasn't contained by stelae.


That can't be good for anyone involved.

So now most of Russia can best be described as "Clive Barker's Fury Road". Mutants, technodemons, Race soldiers, and Core Earths are all rocketing around a magically radioactive wasteland and scavenging the wreckage from the bridge's destruction to give their side an advantage over the other.

While Krandod did manage to get a second bridge dropped and a few actual stelae zones set up, the damage was done. And it was a lot of damage.

For starters, the explosion had a similar reaction to when the bridge was stopped in the original continuity: Core Earth's reality surged up the connection into Tharkold proper, causing reality storms that ravaged the cosm. But this time around, the sudden infusion of Core Earth's axioms caused all the high-tech methods of keeping the Race in line were destroyed, and Core Earth's world laws temporarily shorted out the Law of Domination, allowing the Race to start fighting back against the technodemons.

Second, there's the fact that Tharkold kind of operates on Chronicles-of-Riddick "you keep what you kill" rules. The nuke killed one of the higher-ranked demon Dukes, and since it was ultimately Volkov's finger on the button, Kranod has declared that Volkov is now the ruler of the dead Duke's demenses. Kranod and Volkov have signed a peace treaty, and now the Tharkoldu co-rule Russia with Volkov. The other Tharkoldu aren't happy about having a human on the same level as themselves (not to mention "making peace" with the monkeys), and there have been a few attempts to usurp Kranod. Fortuntely for him, Jezrael is there to pull his rear end out of the fire and kill his enemies.


I'm sure nothing will come of this.

Lastly, the destruction of the bridge was a major turning point of the invasion a a whole because it showed that the invaders weren't unstoppable. Yeah, there was a huge cost, but even this victory was enough to infuse Core Earth with a wave of hope, making the invaders' job that much harder.

Needless to say, the Gaunt Man is loving pissed at Kranod. Instead of doing his part like everyone else, he's botched his invasion to the point where he's actually made peace with the Core Earthers. it wasn't on purpose, but he's given them hope. Kranod is well aware of how precarious his position is now, and most of his energy is keeping as much of his weaknesses secret as he can.

Oh, and the humans from Tharkold are starting to manifest psychic powers. Just throwing that out there.

---

I really like these changes.

It's weird to think about how "so what do we actually do here?" is a relatively recent idea. But it's clear that it's one that's been asked here. It was very clear in the original game line that there were areas that weren't really intended for people to spend a lot of time in (Nippon Tech being the most obvious one) or didn't have enough thought put in the player-facing parts of the realm (pretty much half of the realms).

But that's not the case here. Each realm is presented as someplace where you can do things, there's good GM advice about the types of adventures you can do there, and as we'll see each realm has its own abilities so it's not just two or three realms that give you Cool Stuff.

So we've talked about the setting, but we all know I'm on board with the setting regardless. But what about the mechanics? Is it still a pile of subsystems or has it embraced modern game design? We'll find out...

NEXT TIME: Grand Unified Mechanics Theory

Daeren
Aug 17, 2009

YER MUSTACHE IS CROOKED


Noooot gonna lie, the concept of an extremely tense STALKER style adventure in the Blasted Lands where you're carefully trying to avoid anomalies like the Grinder, except it's suddenly interrupted by a bunch of cenobites ramping a biomechanical jeep off a hill behind you, blasting Gone Guru from the radio while a Terminator does the Doof Warrior bit from Fury Road? That may be the best game pitch I've heard in a long time.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Did you know: Ross Watson, one of the main designers on Torg: Eternity... was also one of the main designers on Savage Rifts?

He also worked on Accursed with former Palladium author and occasional goon Jason Marker.

Ratoslov
Feb 15, 2012

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



Pan-Pacifica looks awesome too. I'm not sold on new Orrosh, but a good implementation of the basic idea could go well.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Alien Rope Burn posted:

Did you know: Ross Watson, one of the main designers on Torg: Eternity... was also one of the main designers on Savage Rifts?

He also worked on Accursed with former Palladium author and occasional goon Jason Marker.
Shane Hensley got his start in game writing on Torg. As we'll see, that influenced Savage Worlds, and Torg Eternity has some Savage Worlds influence.

Ratoslov posted:

Pan-Pacifica looks awesome too. I'm not sold on new Orrosh, but a good implementation of the basic idea could go well.
Orrorshian characters can get some cool tricks now, but unfortunately stuff like occult rituals aren't in the core book.

On the plus side, it's implied that Skutharka is still around.

the main Torg review posted:

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.

Ratoslov
Feb 15, 2012

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



Werewolf Buisnessman is the CEO of my heart.

Lurks With Wolves
Jan 14, 2013

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


Ratoslov posted:

Pan-Pacifica looks awesome too. I'm not sold on new Orrosh, but a good implementation of the basic idea could go well.

I wasn't expecting much out of Pan-Pacifica, but having it go full Umbrella and driving out some of the 80s cyberpunk orientalism really does a lot to make it a good setting.

JackMann
Aug 11, 2010

Secure. Contain. Protect.


Fallen Rib

Alien Rope Burn posted:

Did you know: Ross Watson, one of the main designers on Torg: Eternity... was also one of the main designers on Savage Rifts?

He also worked on Accursed with former Palladium author and occasional goon Jason Marker.

He was also the lead designer for the 40K RPGs for Fantasy Flight. Of course, they lost that license, as we're all aware. It's now been taken up by... Ulysses Spiele, who have hired him to be the Line Developer for the new RPG.

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017





nuTorg sounds like it could only have been made my fans of the original, only they wanted it to work. I think I might be sold on the PDF when it drops from this opening bit alone.

Skutharka as an NPC sounds like a delight. I'm reminded of that scene in Gremlins 2 with the Gremlins in the stock exchange just yelling "Buy! Sell! Buy!" into the phones.

JackMann
Aug 11, 2010

Secure. Contain. Protect.


Fallen Rib

I mean, to do a game well, you have to be a fan of it, at least a bit. You have to be able to look at some part of it and say, "Man, that's awesome."

It isn't enough on its own, of course, but it's still a prerequisite.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Dawgstar posted:

Skutharka as an NPC sounds like a delight. I'm reminded of that scene in Gremlins 2 with the Gremlins in the stock exchange just yelling "Buy! Sell! Buy!" into the phones.
He is that...but he was also creating things like this:


Only instead of "stray cat" it was "person", and it would pay out...for a while, anyway.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Time to stop reading the Wrafrufru FnF and start rading oTorg to get the context.

Will finish Abandon All Hope one day.

Ghost Leviathan
Mar 2, 2017

Exploration is ill-advised




Evil Mastermind posted:

He is that...but he was also creating things like this:

Only instead of "stray cat" it was "person", and it would pay out...for a while, anyway.

Capitalism.txt?

Also reminds me of https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iV8_pSrAxgc. A capitalism demon who acts like Vincent Adultman? I don't know anything about this setting, but I can assume his greatest follower is an erzatz of Patrick Bateman.

potatocubed
Jul 26, 2012

*rathian noises*


Dawgstar posted:

I think I might be sold on the PDF when it drops from this opening bit alone.

Yeah, so long as the mechanics are decent I may well pick this one up when it goes on general sale.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts World Book 16: Federation of Magic, Part Four: "The ruins of Old Chicago and the southern tip of Lake Michigan are approximately 350 miles (560 km) away, Chi-Town 400 miles (640 km), New Lazlo and the ruins of Old Detroit 400 miles (640 km), Lazlo 600 miles (960 km), Dweomer 200 miles (320 km), the Devilís Gate (St. Louis) 220 miles (352 km), Fort El Dorado (Arkansas) 500 miles (800 km), the eastem border of the Pecos Empire 800 miles (1280 km), the Mississippi 100 miles (160 km) due west, and the Gulf of Mexico only 500 miles (800 km) due south; all distances are rough approximates and may be a bit off."


"Come, pull my finger."

The "True" Federation
By Kevin Siembieda with ideas from Peter Murphy


Oh, you thought you might be reading about some location or organization based on the title, right? But you're wrong. It's time for the Alistair Dunscon parade, starring Alistair Dunscon, in honor of Alistair Dunscon. Let's cover all the cool poo poo Alistair's done since his daddy got his head chopped off by Karl Prosek's daddy!
  • Became best buds with Lord Splynncryth, the Splugorth leader of Atlantis, and learned both wizardry and bio-wizardry from him.
  • Learned or created out a necromantic ritual of immortality (as long as he sacrifices somebody once a week).
  • Returned to the Magic Zone and killed the leaders of a number of magic brotherhoods who he saw as threats to his would-be leadership of the Federation (and also to prove that he was a tough guy who isn't afraid of nothin').
  • Apologized to the Lords of Magic but also announced his intent to take over the Federation so they'd best stay out of his way!
  • Discovered the City of Brass accidentally, and founded his kingdom on it.
  • Gathered a bunch of followers by offering vengeance, dark magic, or both, and declared that he would take revenge against the Coalition.
  • Sparked acts of terrorism against the Coalition.
  • Alienated a lot of the other members of the Federation of Magic by being the edgelordiest blowhard.
The Coalition mistakenly believes the Federation of Magic to be led by Alistair's "True Federation", though few believe Alistair himself to be the real deal outside of the better-informed Coalition leadership. The Proseks in particular are pretty sure he's real, however, and have been trying to locate him - at the cost of a good number of lost troops - to no avail.

And now:

:siren: A retcon interlude :siren:

See, we were previously told that a terrorist attack by the Federation of Magic killed Jo-Anna Prosek (Karl Prosek's wife and Joseph Prosek's mom) in 102 P.A., but that turns out to be a lie. She didn't die, she was kidnapped by Alistair Dunscon! (Her son, Jason Prosek, really did die trying to protect her... unless that gets retconned at some point as well.) She would be eventually get rescued by Lord Coake (the head of the Cyber-Knights) and a group of unnamed adventurers. Though she was imprisoned and verbally abused for three years by Alistair, they would pull her out just before Dunscon's first scheduled torture session. Then, they returned her to the Coalition. However, Karl Prosek just regards her capture and rescue it as part of an elaborate scheme to brainwash her, and has zero gratitude towards the Cyber-Knights and her other rescuers. Jo-Anna, however, is now seriously and quietly questioning the Coalition party line.

Apparently, keeping her imprisoned was part of Alistair's scheme to drive Karl to further extremes, increase the persecution of magic users, and bolster his own ranks and propaganda. What a clever guy, that Alistair! I mean, he's obviously too smart to capture a Coalition higher-up and try and actually get information from her, I mean, he only has like hundreds of people with mind-reading and mind control powers, and...

... anyway...

:siren: Retcon over :siren:


"I don't mind the lake of blood so much, but it's a real pain for my commute."

City of Brass

The City of Brass can be entered at the Mammoth Caves in Kentucky, where they have permanent dimensional portals. The city looks like it's part of the same cave system, but is actually in another dimension. Whadda coinkidink! A seemingly abandoned alien city made of brass-like materials, it's mechanized through mysterious means where various lights, doors, elevators, etc. are accessed through verbal commands or gestures. Though made of metal, the structure seems organic in shape, and mysteriously heals any damage done to it.

Mostly, it's home to bad guys - evil spellcasters, demons, monsters, and all sorts of thugs. Slavery is legal (sometimes slaves are imported from Atlantis) and though violence is discouraged, though human sacrifice is "commonplace". These are basically the generic villains that give the Federation of Magic a bad name, and they all somehow work together reasonably well despite being a horde of selfish pricks. Like in Atlantis or the Phoenix Empire, they seem to all belong to an alignment union where they don't dick each other over too much. It's like we're back to Dungeons & Dragons and its "alignment as a culture" notion.

The Kingdom of Dunscon

But the City of Brass isn't all! We also have Nostrous, a city which is another den of scum and villainy that has brass building trim to try and fool people into thinking it's the City of Brass because [ERROR: REASON NOT FOUND]. It's one of the few centers of Bio-Wizardry outside of Atlantis. There's also Dragon's Blood, a community named that because they murdered a dragon here and took his place!... it's full of necromancers and demons now because blooood. Shadowvillage is run by shifters and temporal raiders (time Dr. Dooms detailed in Rifts World Book 3: England) but some monsters use this a neutral ground. There's also Fort Knox, which was raided long ago but is used solely as a trap by monsters and bandits. Of course, there are also a wide number of small villages and wizarding communities that have declared loyalty to Dunscon.

Diplomatic Relations

Alistair has offered publicly to support Tolkeen in the upcoming war against the Coalition, but intends to back out at the last minute and let the Coalition destroy them as revenge for them leaving the Federation decades ago. He ultimately wants to see Dweomer destroyed, but might save them from the Coalition to earn good PR if he can. He wants to destroy Stormspire but finds them useful... for now. He generally either ignores or has fair-weather alliances with other communities. As if you had to ask, he really, really wants to destroy the Coalition States once he thinks he has a shot.


"FATAL & Friends?!"

Notables of the City of Brass

Lord Alistair Dunscon (10th level Ley Line Walker, 8th level Shifter) has a tremendous daddy complex and his plans of revenge are centered around that. Though he's a century old, he only looks thirty due to his form of immortality - not that he's thrilled with the inconvenience the whole "gotta murder a person a week for eternal life" deal. He's a sociopathic megalomanic sadi- gently caress, I feel like I need to keep that in my c/p file whenever a Rifts villain comes up. "Sadistic and insane and thinks he's a god? You don't say!" About the only thing that stands out is the fact that he's trying realllly hard to be patient as a newfound immortal, which boils down to thumbsitting (again) and doing little "s" schemes. He gets a litany of magical items and special powers and goodies, as one of the top baddies of the setting, but he's at least not loaded down with more than a few dozen M.D.C. We also get a number of fully-statted minions for him:
  • Bloodmist: A lion-headed raksasha who's Dunscon's closest advisor and is rumored to be the power behind the throne, but actually considers Dunscon to be a "most worthy and brilliant master". :rolleyes: He likes spy games and is pretty much a rubber-stamp raksasha other than his convenient lack of ambition. Oh, and he'll get drawn in the CCG as a tiger, but I guess as a shapeshifter, he can be any kind of cat head he wants. Do a Scottish Fold next, Bloodmist!
  • Mestoph Danali: Get it, it's a pun. :v: As Alistair's enforcer, she's rumored to be the first human of the Corrupt (more on them later) who pledged her soul to "the Liberator". She doesn't seem to have changed much physically or mentally upon becoming a Corrupt, presumably because she was soooo evil already, corruption didn't change her. That feels like it should be more of a punchline than trying to sell her up, but there it is. "Sold my soul, don't feel the difference...?"
  • Brok Redman: A Baal-Rog demon (maybe you're heard of them in some novel), he's Alistair's general and generally likes him (inexplicably) but doesn't like the company he keeps.
  • Cracius the Cunning: A Deevil of indeterminable type and intdeterminate role, he likes doing one-upmanship with the other servants to show off in front of Alistair, not that he likes him or anything...!

Liberated from a fashion sense, I guess.

And that's that for the most vanilla of darkest evil, and we can move on. I feel like they're cartoonishly exaggerated so the books can be like "Maybe the Coalition isn't so bad makes you think huh." mealy-mouthed nonsense. And it's fine to have two ethically compromised factions to show us that only madmen start terrible wars, if grossly simplistic. The problem is there's no nuance to the "True Federation" beyond Alistair's "they killed my daddy", which immediately just comes across as childish petulance given his father started the whole war and wanted to conquer the world. Their whole ethos against the Coalition comes across as "man, the fascists won't let us do evil magic and fill trash cans with dead babies!" So they're amazingly one-note, and this won't be helped by the fact that they don't even get a tenth of the attention and detail that the Coalition itself does. And whenever they do come up, it's usually "hey, Alistair did an eeevil experiment or summoned an eeevil creature!"

Next: ... and the rest.

Drakyn
Dec 26, 2012



Evil Mastermind posted:

That said, Kaah is still twisting the Keta Kalles religion to his own ends, to the point where the definition of "dead things" has been tweaked a bit. Now, things that were once alive aren't anathema, which means that the edenios are using bone, leather, and such to make weapons and armor. This has the nice side-effect of allowing different edenios tribes to have their own distinct shticks based on their individual styles. For instance, there's the Ghost Clan that specializes in camoflague and stealth, or the Whitespear clan that's actively fighting back against Kaah.
This is such a good yet amazingly obvious thing to do. 'No dead stuff' is a neat way to differentiate Lost World #3232 from all the others...until you think about the implications for like half a second and realize you just obsoleted 9/10ths of the stereotyped trappings of the setting and replaced them with, uh, 'they have magic treespears that they can safely replant after use no this isn't contrived SHUT UP.'
(seriously, who puts dinosaurs in a setting and then makes it impossible to use dinosaur skeletons as weapons, armour, vehicles, etc.)

quote:

On top of that, Malraux has figured out how to gameify faith. Every citizen of the Cyberpapacy has a "piety score" that tracks how loyal they are to the Church. The better your score, the more favored you are, and the easier your access to legal cybertech.
This, on the other hand, is amusingly horrible. The inquisition, downloadable on iPhone and Android.

Ratoslov posted:

Werewolf Buisnessman is the CEO of my heart.
The only good CEO is a lunatic CEO.

Drakyn fucked around with this message at 14:54 on Feb 27, 2018

Selachian
Oct 9, 2012



I kind of preferred the Cyberpapacy as a medieval society that just got uplifted rather than being cyberpunk all along, but the other changes sound cool.

The Piety Score thing sounds like a religious version of "Nosedive" or that one episode of The Orville.

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



Selachian posted:

I kind of preferred the Cyberpapacy as a medieval society that just got uplifted rather than being cyberpunk all along, but the other changes sound cool.

The Piety Score thing sounds like a religious version of "Nosedive" or that one episode of The Orville.

Given how insidious gamification can get, and definitely prey into those with addictive personalities, this does have some pretty frightening implications.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Selachian posted:

I kind of preferred the Cyberpapacy as a medieval society that just got uplifted rather than being cyberpunk all along, but the other changes sound cool.

The Piety Score thing sounds like a religious version of "Nosedive" or that one episode of The Orville.
I did like that factor too, but it seems like a big factor on the setting now is reducing the amount of off screen backstory. There was a ton of stuff that hinged on the original novel trilogy (Kranod's invasion completely failing, the Gaunt Man getting trapped in the pocket dimension, Ardinay getting her body back, Hachi Mara-Two and Kadandra, the False Papacy becoming the Cyberpapacy...), but of course knowing all that hinged on you reading those novels.

And while the Ardinay thing still happened pre-game, as did Kranod's failure (sort of), everything is now just presented as it is. Everything is happening "on camera", as it were. Which is nice, because now we can watch Kranod screw everything up in real time. :v:

Robindaybird posted:

Given how insidious gamification can get, and definitely prey into those with addictive personalities, this does have some pretty frightening implications.
One thing we came up with in the Discord was the idea of "indulgence lootboxes".

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Evil Mastermind posted:

.
And while the Ardinay thing still happened pre-game, as did Kranod's failure (sort of), everything is now just presented as it is. Everything is happening "on camera", as it were. Which is nice, because now we can watch Kranod screw everything up in real time. :v:

Yeah, I get the idea of Jezrael being a henchwoman that the players will have interactions with that will later end up being a major player later on when the Tharkold DD decides it's time for new leadership.

Actually, the Cyberpapacy changes are interesting. One of my thoughts is that them having banks that give out interest-free loans because usury is illegal.

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



Young Freud posted:

Yeah, I get the idea of Jezrael being a henchwoman that the players will have interactions with that will later end up being a major player later on when the Tharkold DD decides it's time for new leadership.

Actually, the Cyberpapacy changes are interesting. One of my thoughts is that them having banks that give out interest-free loans because usury is illegal.

or it'd be like the period where only non-believers can handle money, and of course they'll mysteriously get strung up for crimes when a bishop doesn't want to pay their loans back.

Ratoslov
Feb 15, 2012

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



Young Freud posted:

Actually, the Cyberpapacy changes are interesting. One of my thoughts is that them having banks that give out interest-free loans because usury is illegal.

'Interest-free' loans from the Church. It is, of course, customary to give a fair-sized donation as a way of saying thanks. Insufficiently large donations can be poor for your Piety.

Subjunctive
Sep 12, 2006

sparkle and shine



China is way ahead: http://www.wired.co.uk/article/chinese-government-social-credit-score-privacy-invasion

Ixjuvin
Aug 8, 2009

if smug was a motorcycle, it just jumped over a fucking canyon

Nap Ghost

Evil Mastermind posted:

One thing we came up with in the Discord was the idea of "indulgence lootboxes".

An actual jewelry box that when opened displays a hologram of a saint's fingerbone or a fragment of the True Cross

Wapole Languray
Jul 4, 2012



Just a quick poll of thoughts: I'm continuing the Heroquest F&F, because I do love the setting AND the game, but because the setting is SO big and detailed, I do have to cut some stuff out, or fill out some things that are missing or in other books, essentially to give a capsule feel of the entire game/line.

This means that locations will be tied into people or cultures or whatever that I haven't explained or elaborated upon yet, but I'm not sure how to begin. I think this last update and the one I'm working on now is causing this issue, as it's the man setting parts.

So, any advice? What order should I go over elements of the setting in? More detail on important NPCs? Start with outlining the cultures in the Dragon Pass/Prax region? Just carry on with detailing interesting/important locations and hope people can understand things with context and the occasional explanatory note?

Or refocus and start anew on the whole thing?

Wapole Languray fucked around with this message at 23:04 on Feb 27, 2018

Josef bugman
Nov 17, 2011

I'm a lovely person who deserves to be happy!


Detail the system, then add in stuff about characters if you want to.

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007






Came to post this, but have the anime Psycho-Pass for another example, in which citizens are given a score of how likely they are to commit a crime and will be apprehended or slain by police once that score exceeds a given threshold.

sexpig by night
Sep 8, 2011

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

Ixjuvin posted:

An actual jewelry box that when opened displays a hologram of a saint's fingerbone or a fragment of the True Cross

but 90% of them just email a prayer from some cyber-papacy middle man directly to your phone. It's not all bad though, collect 10 prayers and you can trade them in for a Deluxe Indulgence Box, a slightly nicer jewelry box that has 20% odds of getting a good hologram.

What, are the prayers of the cyber-papacy not pleasing rewards too? Someone's sounding kinda heretical...

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



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



PART 2: BRAVE NEW MECHANICS

Okay, so I know the big question is "how are the mechanics this time around?" After all, I've made no secret that I hated the original system, and the new systems that were in the cosm books (like gadgets and spell creation) were even worse. Have they fixed things?

Well, before we get into the nitty-gritty, let me hit some important bullet points that I know people want to know about :
  • First off, XP and Possibilities are separate pools now. You start every Act with 3 Possibilities, just like Fate's Refresh mechanic. You also get 5 XP per session.
  • Second, disconnection isn't a complete loving over. Not only is it much harder to disconnect, when it does happen you actually get to cash in any abilities that don't line up with your new cosm, then you get new ones to replace them one-for-one at no additional cost.
  • You can no longer convert someone to your religion by rolling really well when casting a miracle.
  • Being a non-human no longer has a per-adventure cost.
  • Axioms and World Laws still exist. However, every World Law now has a mechanical effect, although some of those effects are tied to the new card system.
  • Speaking of which: yes, the game still uses the cards, but split into multiple decks.
  • Yes, we're still using the Bonus Chart, but now it's tied to a universal mechanic instead of a bunch of different charts.

So let's talk about the Bonus Chart. For those who aren't aware, Torg used a logarithmic scale. This was represented by the Bonus Chart; you rolled a d20, then looked up the roll on the Chart to get your Bonus Value. Then you added the Value to your stat, and that gave you your final result.


As seen at the bottom of your character sheet.

Now, that can seem a bit clunky, but it's fine in practice. But the problem with oTorg wasn't so much the rolling-and-looking up, it was when the GM had to determine if you succeeded or not. In oTorg, that was a problem because the game had multiple resolution tables based on what you were trying to do.


Like so.

On top of that, a lot of times you also had to remember what your Bonus Value was on top of your final result, meaning you had to remember multiple values, so it could become a headache.

Fortunately, Torg Eternity has discovered the joy of the unified mechanic. Now, the default target value for most unopposed actions is just 10. Beat that number (or an opponent's defense) and you did what you wanted to do. If you beat the difficulty by 5 it's a "Good" success, and if you beat it by 10 or more that's an "Outstanding" success, each of which will get you bonuses depending on the skill or ability you're using. Oh, and as an added bonus, the d20 always explodes on 10s and 20s, instead of just 20s unless you were trained in the skill you're using.

And allow me to say: thank loving God.

One of oTorg's biggest problems, and one of the reasons I always say it's the epitome of 90's RPG design, was its loving tables and charts. Everything had a drat table, and the GM was supposed to calculate difficulties via more tables, plus various abilities had their own tables and so on and so on.

The fact that you just need to roll, total things up, and compare it to a fixed number makes running the game so much easier you have no idea.

The most complication you get with rolling is with damage; if you beat a target's defense, your weapon deals a flat damage number. Getting a Good or Outstanding success can get you Bonus Dice (basically d6's, where "6" is "5, but roll again and add") to add to the weapon's damage. Then you see how much your damage beats the target's Toughness. There is a table for this, yes, but it boils down to "for every 5 points you beat their Toughness by, you deal a Wound and 2 Shock damage. If you don't beat it by 5, you still do some Shock." Again, very simple, very easy.

Now, cards on the table: I've run Torg Eternity for a few months ever since I got my PDFs. I played it in person with my normal group and over Roll20 for some TradGame goons, and normal rolling and combat move pretty quickly. The people I've run it for haven't had a hard adjusting to the system, which is nice. The severe reduction in moving parts really comes out in play, and it's nice to see systems that aren't needed being removed.

Helping matters is the reduction in the skill list. oTorg had the problem of having a very granular skill list, stuffed with things like "Photography" and "Space Vehicles" that were either utterly useless or so specific they'd never come up.


You thought I made up the Space Vehicles skill, didn't you?

For the record, that's 99 skills listed; "Arcane Knowledges" and "Pulp Power Skill" are actually sub-lists that add another dozen or so skills. Torg Eternity managed to pare this list down to 40 skills, and even then eight of them are only needed if you want access to certain powers like magic. The rest are all things you'd be expected to roll for under normal circumstances. There are still the four base magic skills, but now you don't need the other skills that had no purpose outside of making spell prerequisites difficult to figure out and complicating the spell creation process.

One thing I have to give props for is how the character sheet is set up for your skills. There's specific sections for your combat skills, your interaction skills, and your three defenses. The way it's set up you can still fill in the default values for the skills you don't have in case it comes up, which cuts down on the "wait, what do I add to this again?" factor.


And everything in its place.

Interaction skills have been adjusted as well. Originally, each of the interaction skills had about a page of mechanics on how you could use them to perform social attacks in combat to do things like impose penalties, inflict one of about a dozen status effects, or knock cards out of people's hands. Now, all four skills work the same way, just keying off different stats. If you succeed at an interaction attack (the target's defense being their value of the same skill), you can make them either Stymied (-2 to all actions until the end of their next turn) or Vulnerable (everyone gets +2 to hit them until the end of their next turn). Higher successes can allow you to double up the effect, inflict both effects, or just narrate a drawback for the target like dropping their weapon or missing a turn.

Now some of you might be saying, "hey, that sounds a lot like creating advantages in Fate."

Yes. Yes it does.


Did I mention that the art is so much better now?

With that all out of the way, let's talk about characters. Specifically, let's talk about what characters can do.

Back in oTorg, it was the 90's and as such every power type worked differently. Magic spells worked differently from miracles, pulp gadgets were loving nightmare of rolling and blueprints, cybernetics were a headache, running the GodNet was the old "Netrunner's Magical Side Adventure" problem, and don't get me loving started on spell creation.

All that poo poo's out the window.

The power system has also been worked into a unified "Perks" system. The easiest way to describe it is as a sort of feat system with much smaller trees, or (to be more accurate) the Advantages system from Savage Worlds.

Perks cover skill boosts, supernatural abilities, special gear, cybernetics, natural talents, all kinds of things. There's just short of 90 of them in the core book, and they're conveniently split up into categories. Some of these categories, such as "Prowess" or "Leadership", can be bought by anyone regardless of where they're from. Most Perks do have prerequisites, but they're generally just skill or stat minimums.



Each cosm also has its own specific Perks, that cover what makes Storm Knights from that reality unique, although some are shared between worlds. I'll give a quick run-down of who gets what.

Core Earth gets access to Perks that cover how adaptable we are in terms of reality. This means that you can take perks that increase your personal axioms, let you give other people your Possibility points, or even become immune to causing contradictions. On top of that, Core Earthers get access to Perks that used to be things that anyone could do: negating NPC's Possibilities, and invoking reality storms.

Aysle gets "Light" and "Darkness" Perks, which tie into the oTorg Aysle ideas of Honor and Corruption. Things are a little less black-and-white now, though; it's made clear in the game that it's a more Paragon/Renegade distinction. Light Perks are more paladin-ish, whereas Darkness Perks are more sneaky. There are also racial Perks for elves and dwarves (such as the aforementioned dwarven power armor.

quote:

Dragon Warriors are the last champions of the dwarves who were virtually annihilated in Aysle. As a fnal desperate measure, they built suits of powerful, arcane armor designed to slay Uthorionís hated minions. Most knew they would perish in them.

Dragon Warrior armor contains incredible weapons, gadgets, and devices that transform the wearer into an engine of vengeance. It adds Armor +4, limits the wearerís Dexterity to 8, and causes two extra points of Shock any time Fatigued comes up on the Conflict Line.
Dragon Warrior is also what I guess you could call a "modular" Perk. It comes with a bunch of options that represent systems installed in the armor, like better plating or a flamethrower. You start with one option when you buy the armor, and then you can buy it again later to add more systems.

The Cyberpapacy, shockingly, gets access to cybernetics. Thankfully, this is nice and simple: the first time you buy the Perk, you get $10,000 worth of cyberware; each time after that you get $5,000 worth. Done. The list of upgrades is fairly short, but it's stuff you'd actually use instead of stuff like nasal implants. People from the Cyberpapacy can also get magic or miracles, and there's no penalties for mixing and matching. In fact, there's actually cyberware that aids in casting spells. Oh, and like I mentioned last time there's no more cyberpsychosis.

The Living Land mainly gets edeinos-specific abilities like Whip Tail or Chameleon Skin. That said, there's a Perk that lets you have a pet sabre-toothed cat, so that's pretty baller. Not a lot here, really, but I think that's okay given that edeinos can use stuff like bows and armor now.

The Nile Empire still has pulp powers, but all the bullshit like Adventure Costs and drawing up gadget blueprints are gone. Each pulp power is its own Perk, so you can just buy them and be done. Each power also has Enhancements you can take to improve them, but doing so requires you to give the power either one major or two minor limitations. Major limitations are things like "only works at night" or "doesn't work if stymied", minor ones are "can't be used in melee" or, yes, "is built into a gadget".



Orrorsh gets some pretty cool toys to represent how the Victorians have been fighting the good fight for centuries. You can be an alchemist and cook up elixirs, have special medals that reward your brave deeds with passive bonuses, or be a Bulletsmith and get access to a cool monster-hunting six-shooter that fires special ammo.


It's basically one of these.

Pan-Pacifica has martial arts abilities that synch nicely with the Perks that make you better with guns for the full Hong Kong action movie experience. There's also the "Electric Samurai"; a new movement that has just sort of...cropped up to fight the High Lords. Buying the appropriate Perk gets you a cool set of Ion Gosaku armor that can be enhanced by further Perks.


Pretty stylish, too.

Lastly, Tharkold still has Occultech, which is their version of cyberware, and buying works like it does with regular cyberware. Tharkold characters also get access to psionic powers, so they can blow poo poo up with their minds which is always fun.


Now that we've covered character abilities, we need to talk about disconnection and why it's not a "save vs. eat poo poo, player" concept anymore.

In Torg, using items or abilities not supported by local reality was a very risky propostion. Using stuff that was allowed by your reality but not the one you're in meant that you disconnected on a roll of 1, and using stuff not supported by local reality and your own reality meant disconnecting on a 1-4. Disconnecting means you're sort of "in flux" between the two worlds as reality tries to collapse your waveform. This hasn't changed. What has changed is what happens after that.

In oTorg, when you disconnected, pretty much the only thing you could do on your turn was make a reality skill check to reconnect, with the difficulty gotten by cross-referencing a chart based on where you're from and where you are. You couldn't play cards, you couldn't gain possibilities (which were also your XP), you couldn't do anything not supported by local reality. If you made the roll you reconnected and you were fine. If you failed, you wasted your turn and had to wait until the next go-round because you could only make one "rolled" action per turn. If the character runs out of Possibility points, or goes too long without being able to make the check, they transform to the new reality, and that's where things started to suck.

When someone transforms, any stuff they had that doesn't line up with local reality just...goes away. Oh, you were Joe Hackerman with some cool cyberware and a kick-rear end gun, and you disconnected in Aysle? Well tough poo poo, all that just vanished in a puff of smoke. Congratulations, your character's no longer able to do what you built him to do. Suck it up, buttercup.

And has been mentioned many times around here, that sucks. The difficulty number to reconnect was swingy as hell, because it was based on how different the two realites were. It's very easy for someone from Core Earth to reconnect while in Nippon Tech because they're very similar, but it's really hard for the same person to reconnect while in the Living Land.

In Torg Eternity, first off making the reconnection roll is a free action with a base difficulty of 10, with a higher difficulty if you're in a dominant or pure zone. While disconnected, you still can't use any ability or item not supported by local reality, but anything else is fair game. If a dwarf disconnects in the Nile Empire, they can't use their dragon armor's cool abilities but their battle axe is still an option. Unfortunately, they can't spend Possibilities, play cards, or even soak damage.

Failing the roll has no immediate consequence...unless you roll a 1. When that happens, you need to either lose a skill add from their reality skill, or switch to the new reality. If they can't lose another skill add, they have to transform.

When a character transforms in Torg Eternity, instead of your non-allowed stuff all breaking and/or vanishing, it will change to the nearest local equivalent if possible. In game terms, this means that you lose any skills or Perks you had that aren't allowed in the new reality.

BUT. And this is important: you then get to pick new Perks and skills, one-for-one, to reflect your post-transformation self. And they don't have to be "nearest equivalent", they just have to make sense for how your character's personality works as filtered through the new reality.

So let's go back to Joe Hackerman, and let's say he disconnected in Aysle after a series of really bad rolls. Let's say he had the Perks "Cyberware" twice and "Double Tap", which lets him fire two shots as one action. Obviously "Cyberware" isn't available to someone from fantasyland, so he needs to trade those two Perks in. Joe's been played as the type of guy who is good at sneaking into places and finding information, so he decides to take the Darkness perk "Shadow Step" to make him better at stealth, and "Spellcaster" so he has access to magic. The GM agrees that this makes sense and lets him move his +3 in science (which he wouldn't need anymore) to divination magic. The "Double Tap" perk is allowable to Aysle characters, so he can hold on to that; it means he can fire two arrows at once from the bow that used to be his gun. As an added bonus, he doesn't even need to shift his skill for that since fire combat covers most ranged weapons.

So yeah he's not a decker anymore, but he's still able to go where he's not supposed to and learn what he shouldn't, which was the core of the character. What's more, he's still playable. He's not stuck sitting on his hands because everything that made him effective was taken away. The book has an example of thinking through a cyberwitch flipping to Living Land and how you could make that work while keeping to the core of the character.

Needless to say, I really like this new system. Transformation is much less of a threat than it used to be (since it requires multiple 1's to be rolled), and even when it does happen it doesn't completely bone your character. Now yes, it can still suck to transform, especially when you can't come up with a new way to work your character into their new paradigm. But given how it's such an outside chance I don't think it's as much of a problem anymore.


Dammit, this is the third time I've fallen into a skull pile this week.

Spells, miracles, and psi powers have also been simplified thanks to unifying the stat blocks. Instead of needing multiple skills to qualify for a spell or to cast it, everything is based off each effect having one skill and just needing to beat a difficulty number. This means that casting spells and performing miracles work the same way now; no more skill mixing for spells, and no more worrying about everyone's religion when performing miracles. Getting spells/miracles/psi powers is easy; the first time you buy the appropriate Perk, you get three powers, and you can buy the Perk again to get one more power. On top of that, it looks like we're not getting a 500-spell-long list of useless spells this time around.

A nice touch is that they provide lists of what powers would be available starting out based on your home cosm. Each power also specifically lists what bonuses you get with Good and Outstanding successes.



The last thing I want to talk about are the changes to the World Law and card systems, because the two are actually connected.

Like oTorg, the game requires a special deck of cards that serve as the initiative system for the GM and generalized bonuses for the players.

Previously, each card was designed have both uses on each card, like so.



Now, the deck's been split into the Drama Deck (which has just the intiative parts) and the Destiny Deck, which has the player boots.


Drama Deck cards


Destiny Deck cards

So far, this is pretty much the same as the original go-round, only split into to decks and much better presented. But now, the card system ties into the World Laws as well.

As before, every realm has its own unique World Laws that basically define the "narrative physics" of that world. Originally, the World Laws were a mixed bag of usefulness. Some gave nice passive bonuses, others...were just pointless.

Now, each cosm has its own ten-card Cosm Deck. In addition to the normal hand of four Destiny cards, at the start of each Act every player also gets one Cosm Card. The Cosm cards cover the World Laws that can't really be utilized as mechanical effect, but can still be invoked by players to gain effects or bonuses.

By way of example, here are the World Laws for Aysle from oTorg:
  • The Law of Observation: Everything that is perceived is real; the world works as it is observed to work.
  • The Law of Magic: Magic exists.
  • The Law of Honor: Being honorable in your life will be reflected on you, and will make you more powerful the more honorable you are.
  • The Law of Corruption: Your dark deeds will be reflected in your appearance, but the more corrupt you are the more powerful you can become.
    [list]
    While the Laws of Honor and Corruption did have in-game mechanics tied to them, the first two had no mechanical effect whatsoever. Hell, the Law of Magic was completely pointless; magic exists it other realities even though they don't have that Law. Yes, the Law of Magic was ammended later to say "everyone in Aylse can inherently cast one spell", but even so you can see what I'm talking about.

    Now, each reality has three World Laws. Two of them are passive effects, while the other is represented by the Cosm Cards.

    Here are Aysle's new World Laws:
    [list]
  • The Law of Magic: Magic is very common in Aysle; you can take a number of Shock damage up to your skill adds to get a matching bonus to a spellcasting roll.
  • The Law of Light & Darkness: The concepts of Light and Darkness drive much of Aylse; Light isn't automatically "good" and Darkness isn't automatically "bad". This is covered by the cards.
  • The Law of Enchantment: Wild magic is so pervasive in the realm, getting a 60+ on an important action will enchant one of your items, either giving it a +1 bonus to its action or turning into a general magic item, as long as it fits Aysle axioms.
Here are some of the cards from the Aylse Cosm Deck.



Cosm cards generally fall into the "flat bonus" or "suffer a setback but get X Possibilities" categories, but of course there are exceptions. But really, what makes them so good is that it takes these narrative beats and puts them in the player's hands, as opposed to being blunt instruments for the GM to hit players with.





Now, there are a few more things I could get into, but I think I've hit most of the salient points. There's a few things I didn't cover, such as how Eternity Shards work and some more setting secrets, but I think you all get the jist of the new edition.

---

So what's my verdict?

Torg Eternity is...and I can't believe I'm saying this...it's actually good!

Believe me, nobody's more surprised than I am.

For ages I've been saying how I'd love a Fate-based version of Torg, and this new version has a lot of Fate in its DNA. Small adjustments like having a "refresh" and cards that act similar to invoking aspects really make a difference, but more than anything else the fact that mechanics have been unified and simplified are incredibly welcome.

Torg Eternity has learned the lessons of the present. There's no setting information that wouldn't be useful at the table, there's an understanding of how to make tone come through via mechanics, and the idea of needing ridiculous balancing mechanics because someone wanted a jectpack or to wanted to play an elf.

As I've said, I've run Torg Eternity for a few months now, and even with people who don't have tons of experience with non-D&D systems things move smoothly and quickly.

From day one of the oTorg review, I've said that Torg was my favorite setting with my least favorite system. Torg Eternity addresses the problems I had both with the systems and the setting to the point where it actually feels like a completely new game.

And believe me: I am so grateful you have no idea.

Now if you'll excuse me, I heard Dr. Mobius' forces are on the move. Time to team up with my lizardman archer and cyberwitch teammates and go to work.

Evil Mastermind fucked around with this message at 04:06 on Feb 28, 2018

JackMann
Aug 11, 2010

Secure. Contain. Protect.


Fallen Rib

Wapole Languray posted:

Just a quick poll of thoughts: I'm continuing the Heroquest F&F, because I do love the setting AND the game, but because the setting is SO big and detailed, I do have to cut some stuff out, or fill out some things that are missing or in other books, essentially to give a capsule feel of the entire game/line.

This means that locations will be tied into people or cultures or whatever that I haven't explained or elaborated upon yet, but I'm not sure how to begin. I think this last update and the one I'm working on now is causing this issue, as it's the man setting parts.

So, any advice? What order should I go over elements of the setting in? More detail on important NPCs? Start with outlining the cultures in the Dragon Pass/Prax region? Just carry on with detailing interesting/important locations and hope people can understand things with context and the occasional explanatory note?

Or refocus and start anew on the whole thing?

What gets us to the ducks the fastest?

Wapole Languray
Jul 4, 2012





Creating Your Hero

The book itself has a brief section on on the setting before we get to character creation, detailing a timeline of the setting, some important NPCs, and major locations. Iíve decided to skip it, and come back to it later: The setting is large enough that I would feel like Iím shorting all those elements if I tried to cover them now, and instead Iíll be going into that in-depth later on. So, skipping to Character Creation!

First off, we need to define some vocabulary. The game actually, explicitly does this: Terms first before going into mechanical explanations.
    Abilities
    An ability is essentially what your character is made up of and what you roll. Itís anything that lets your hero solve problems and overcome obstacles in the game. Skills, class features, attributes, magic, etc. would all be equivalents in other games.

    Keywords
    A keyword is a broad category of abilities (Occupation, Culture, Runes) that cover any ability, relationship, possession, etc that falls under it. These are the ďumbrellaĒ abilities that give broad competence to your hero.

    Breakout Abilities
    These are specialized abilities within Keywords, think of them like skill specializations in skills, or more narrow uses of abilities.

    Mastery (W)
    Represented by the Mastery rune, this is one of the unique parts of the Heroquest system. All abilities in HQ:G are rated from 1-20. If you raise an ability over 20, it does not go to 21, but 1W, 1, Mastery. Mastery in an ability continues to increase, with the number after the Masterly symbol representing how many masteries youíve racked up. So an ability score of 45 would be written as 4W2. More masteries is better, as the masteries of an opponent or obstacle cancel out, until neither or one of the contestants have no mastery remaining. The exact effect will be highlighted when we get to mechanics, but the book does give us some odds:

  • 1 Mastery Higher: 75% Chance of Victory
  • 2 Mastery Higher: 95% Change of Victory
  • 3 Mastery Higher: Donít Even Bother Chump
  • 4 Mastery Higher: Literally Canít Fail Mathematically

quote:

High Level Campaigns

HeroQuest Glorantha can easily handle a campaign where the heroes are full-blown heroes without needing elevated difficulty ratings. With an epic campaign, the usual ability ratings work just fine. If you were playing Harrek the Berserk, a virtual demigod, you donít need to roll a contest of strength against an ordinary person - Harrek simply succeeds. Instead, drama comes from him trying to fight Jar-eel, a Lunar Hero, and itís simpler to keep this a contest of 17 vs. 14 than 17W3 vs. 14W3. The latter may seem more impressive, but the masteries cancel out.

Campaign Premise & Theme

The first thing to do, especially in a setting as huge and complex as Glorantha, is to decideÖ well what youíre doing. The hero's should in some way be connected and have a shared goal, so as to promote adventuring. To this end, they suggest formatting your campaign prompt as: The heroes are X who do Y, i.e. The heroes are members of a clan in Dragon Pass struggling against the oppressive magical might of the Lunar Empire.

This premise sets limits on what and who the players can be, so that the freeform character creation rules donít break down by having people of wildly different natures stuck together in a party.

Create a Hero As-You-Go
Letís just outline the steps of character creation real quick: The book itself goes into detail on each step, and thisíll help track which part weíre on in the midst of digressions and complexities.

    Choose a Concept. Basically your idea of what your character is going to be. Gotta have an idea before starting, a freeform narrative game like this sort of requires it.
    Choose a cultural keyword which starts at 13. This is the broad culture of your character.
    Choose your community keyword which starts at 13. This defines the more specific community your character is a member of.
    Choose an occupational keyword which starts at 17. This is what your character does, either as a career or their main professional skillset.
    Choose three Runes. One at 1W, one at 17, and one at 13.
    Add a distinguishing characteristic, something that makes you unique or interesting, which starts at 17.
    Pick 5 additional abilities. These can be keywords themselves, or breakout abilities from a keyword or Rune. New abilites start at 13, breakouts start at +1 from the keyword or rune theyíre under. You donít have to pick all these at start of play, and can feel free to add them during play as you feel out your character.
    Spend up to 12 additional points on keywords, Runes, abilities, etc. You canít put more than 10 points into any one ability. You can save them for later if you want.
    Describe 3 flaws, one of which can count as your distinguishing characteristic.
    Come up with a name and appearance!

Pretty simple yeah? Nah, weíre just getting started. Letís drill down into this stuff!

Your Cultural Keyword
Essentially, whatever your culture is, you can do all the things a normal adult of your culture can do. There are four cultures outlined as examples, though of course you can come up with your own. This is our first introduction to some of the specific cultures of Glorantha, so Iíll be covering them as well!

    Esrolian

    The Esrolians are a highly civilized Orlanthi culture centered in the land of Esrolia. They are organized in large matrilineal family clans, ruled by great matriarchs known as Grandmothers. Each Esrolian city has its own Queen chosen by the clans that live in that city, and the Queen of Nochet, the largest city in the world, is the Queen of all Esrolia.

    As home to the largest and wealthiest city in the world, Esrolianís are more urban, more educated, and more cosmopolitan than any other culture in the area. They are generally more inclined to politics, diplomacy, and trade than warfare. Many Esrolians are literate, and know some degree of sorcery.

    The Esrolians primarily worship a pantheon known as the Ten Thousand Goddesses, a large grouping of Earth deities led by Ernalda, the Earth Queen. The primary menís god is Barntar, a son of Ernalda and god of Farming. The Orlanthi pantheon is also worshipped, though with their roles slightly changed to fit Esroliaís belief in feminine superiority. They also practice ancestor worship and reverence.

    quote:

    Esrolian scribe or merchant
    This figure is a male Esrolian from the city of Nochet, a scribe or a wealthy merchant. His meticulously groomed beard is plaited into a long narrow shape. He wears kohl to rim his eyes. He wears an embroidered and patterned tunic, and an ornate fringed skirt that goes down no further than his knees.


    Heortling
    The inhabitants of Sartar, Hendrikiland, Heortland, and Pavis County in Prax. They are a traditionalist Orlanthi culture, organized in patrilineal family clans, that are then members of larger tribal alliances, and in turn large confederations such as the Kingdom of Sartar and the Volsaxi Confederation.

    Heortlings are a rural and pastoral people, with the majority of their population living as farmers and herders, with even cityfolk familiar with the trades. They are also a warrior-folk: Both men and women learn to fight, and act as a shield wall as part of the local militia. Few Heortlingís can read though, the cult of Lhankor Mhy has a monopoly on professional scholars.

    Heortlings worship the traditional Orlanthi Pantheon, Led by Orlanth the Storm King and his wife Ernalda.

    quote:

    Heortling free woman
    She wears a short-sleeved tunic and a wrap-around skirt


    Heortling free man
    He wears a skirt and a stout, broad-brimmed hat.


    Tarshite
    The peoples of Tarsh are similar in many ways to the Heortlings and other Orlanthi peoples, they speak the same languages, have many of the same customs, and live the same way. The primary difference among the rural and lower class Tarshites is the more highly regimented style of their government. Tribal leaders are appointed by the King of Tarsh, and they must pay taxes in goods and coin.
    Upper class and urban Tarshites on the other hand are heavily Lunarized. They worship the Lunar pantheon of the Seven Mothers, Hon-eel the Artess, and the Red Goddess. They are heavily influenced by Pelorian styles and culture of the Lunar heartland, especially those who live in and around the city of Furthest. They are an important client state of the Lunar Empire.

    quote:

    Tarshitefree woman
    She wears a long skirt and shawl.


    Tarshite free man
    He wears a long tunic, cloak, and felt hat


    Praxian Tribes

    The Praxians are a nomadic culture that lives in the Praxian Wastes, a large arid steppe-region. Each tribe raises and herds a different type of animal, from which they take their name. There are five Great Tribes, Bison, High Llama, Impala, Sable, and Morokanth, and many lesser tribes. They worship the gods Waha, Eiritha, and Storm Bull, though practically most are shamans and animists who worship spirits over gods.

    Bison Tribe
    Bison Tribesfolk take after their beasts: They are large and brawny folk, who live in massive clans of up to a thousand or more members who travel in huge groups. They are polygynous, with clan Khans and important men having multiple wives. They prefer to charge into battle in mass waves, scorn ranged combat as weak, and prefer heavy lances and thick blades.

    quote:

    Bison Rider priestess
    This female bison rider is brown-skinned and dark-haired. She wears leather leggings and a short wraparound cloak made out of bison hide. She wears nothing underneath the cloak, and her arms are tattooed. At her waist are elaborately decorated leather bags that hold magical medicine bundles with which she appeases the goddess of the herds. She carries a stone-headed axe


    High Llama Tribe
    High Llama people are tall and lanky, and travel in small groups of 20 to 40 people. THey are the smallest Great Tribe, but the most individually powerful. Their beasts are taller and faster, and their long axes and spears make them deadly fighters.

    quote:

    High Llama spirit-talker
    This High Llama spirit-talker is a tall woman, with olive-colored skin and black hair and eyes. She shaves her heads except for a ponytail at the back. She dresses lightly, wearing little more than a loincloth. Around her waist are many medicine bundles and she has a long and wicked bronze dagger at her side. She wears a leather vest with a bronze chest plate. She carries a very long-handled bronze axe.


    Impala Tribe
    The Impala people are pygmies, with the average height under 5 feet tall. They are small and slightly built, but are the most numerous of all the tribes. They go into battle nearly naked, trusting to the speed of their mounts while they pelt their enemies with arrows.

    quote:

    Impala warrior
    This impala warrior is short, dark-skinned, and sinewy. He has shaved his head completely, and painted the lower half of his face. He wears nothing more than a loincloth and a belt that carries his essential tools. He is armed with a composite bow


    Sable Tribe
    The Sable Tribe is different than the other tribes in many ways. Their Herd Queens are more important than their Khans, even in matters of war. They are polygamous, but women choose shared husbands instead of men choosing wives. They are also allies with the Lunar Empire, while other tribes hate all foreigners.

    quote:

    Sable Rider
    This mercenary has black hair and dark eyes. He wears trousers, and a short cloak over front and back. He wears a helmet made of leather and sinew decorated with antelope horns. He wears a corselet of leather and beads.


    Morokanth Tribe
    The Morokanth are the only tribe of Prax that are not human. Instead, they resemble human-sized Tapir, and their beasts are ďHerd MenĒ, grazing animals that closely resemble humans. They do not ride Herd Men, but instead walk on four legs most of the time, only raising on two when they need to use their hooflike hands. They are vegetarians, and use Herd-men more like simple slaves to gather food for them.

    quote:

    The Chaos Wars destroyed Prax and there was little food, Waha made the tribes wager who would live off who. In all cases but one the two-legs won, to live off their animals. The four-legged Morokanth were the exception, and now live off their bestial human herds. The two-legs all claim that the Morokanth cheated, and they in turn claim that the two-legs cheated.



Next: More Character Creation

U.T. Raptor
May 11, 2010

Are you a pack of imbeciles!?



Drakyn posted:

This is such a good yet amazingly obvious thing to do. 'No dead stuff' is a neat way to differentiate Lost World #3232 from all the others...until you think about the implications for like half a second and realize you just obsoleted 9/10ths of the stereotyped trappings of the setting and replaced them with, uh, 'they have magic treespears that they can safely replant after use no this isn't contrived SHUT UP.'
(seriously, who puts dinosaurs in a setting and then makes it impossible to use dinosaur skeletons as weapons, armour, vehicles, etc.)
Honestly, I would also have accepted them using animals for purposes that people would otherwise use technology, which is basically a less lazy take on the original idea.

Kind of like the Yilane in the novel West of Eden (or the Flintstones :v:).

U.T. Raptor fucked around with this message at 07:52 on Feb 28, 2018

unseenlibrarian
Jun 4, 2012

There's only one thing in the mountains that leaves a track like this. The creature of legend that roams the Timberline. My people named him Sasquatch. You call him... Bigfoot.

Sounds like Orrosh Shapeshifters are gone as a PC option? Or are just pending the cosm/worldbook. (I ask mostly because my first TORG PC was an Orroshan Werewolf)

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



Evil Mastermind posted:

When a character transforms in Torg Eternity, instead of your non-allowed stuff all breaking and/or vanishing, it will change to the nearest local equivalent if possible. In game terms, this means that you lose any skills or Perks you had that aren't allowed in the new reality.

BUT. And this is important: you then get to pick new Perks and skills, one-for-one, to reflect your post-transformation self. And they don't have to be "nearest equivalent", they just have to make sense for how your character's personality works as filtered through the new reality.

This is how I've always assumed it worked, because the alternative is stupid.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts World Book 16: Federation of Magic, Part Five: "Still they and their Juicer Murder Wraiths linger like a pestilence, striking out at the living in small numbers by creating death and mayhem - the Grim Reapers generally have only one use for other life forms: target practice."


"I've come to tell you spines don't bend that way!" "Nooooo!"

Brotherhoods & Places of Note

Fadetowns

These are towns that "fade" from place to place or just out of existence entirely. We get a random table of effects that can occur there, and apparently people just get used to them, or even prefer them do to becoming temporarily inviolable or the like. (It doesn't really get into how people survive in a period they are cut off from the rest of the world, which I'd think would be an issue.) Most of them are isolated psychologically as well and shun outsiders, but not all - but there's a lot of superstition around them that keeps outsiders away as well.

The Grey Seers

These are mystic monks that specialize in clairvoyance, mainly using it to prevent major disasters. They're "neutral" in a factional sense (not an alignment sense, we know how Siembieda feels about that) and just try to preserve life and deliver truth in about that order. Most people respect them highly, but those who fear the supernatural naturally view them with a more suspicious eye.

The Grim Reapers Cult

The Death-worshippers that reanimate Juicers as undead horrors from Juicer Uprising, so you can look up the details in that review. They work with Lord Dunscon out of necromantic professional courtesy.'


"This is quite the mancave you've got going on."

The Society of Sages

Dragon-hunters that hold the secrets of making Dragon Juicer detailed in - once again - Juicer Uprising. So you can look them up there. Given their leader was exiled from Alistair's "True" Federation of Magic, so they undermine them whenever possible. They're also virulently opposed the Cult of Dragonwright for obvious reasons. Oh, and aforementioned Cult gets another short entry, as some Atlantis-sponsored dragons have taken over some small locales.


"Order of the Triad, GO!"

Mystic Triad & Magestar

Magestar is as close as we see to a straight-up goody-two shoes town, run by a trio of ex-Dweomer mages called the "Mystic Triad" (no relation to Venture Bros., tragically) who got tired of Dweomer's fence-sitting. They've tried to build a more inclusive community with assistance from the Grey Seers, and their leaders are:
  • Kara Zayne: A friendly Lord Magus who believes in the power of magic to help people, but who harbors secret doubts.
  • Hugh Madding: A Battle Magus who hopes Magestar will be able to gather a force to oppose the Coalition. Sounds likely. :rolleyes:
  • Dan Ironforge: A dwarven High Magus who hoped Magestar would mean greater exposure for his craftsmanship compared to Dweomer, but was chagrined to find out most of his time is being taken up by administration.

No joke, I just really like this picture.

Stormspire

Possibly the most advanced Techno-Wizard community, Stormspire is a huge but generally mercenary manufacturer of techno-wizard items. Despite having to hand-make all their times, supposedly they sell 30%+ of all Techno-Wizard goodies in North America! I guess they just forgot you can't really mass-manufacture those sorts of items - or if they can in some new fashion, it isn't mentioned. Technically they're part of the True Federation, but only due to Dunscon's intimidation. In any case, they largely just pay it lip service to Alistair's chagrin. The Coalition has attacked them, but they're able to teleport the area around the central tower of the city and rebuild in the ruins of Lexington. The Coalition forces were left isolated in the middle of Federation territory and suffered heavy losses on their way out with little to show for it. As a result, the Coalition is trying to find a way to disable the teleportation mechanism before making another assault.


The Mr. Burns and Waylon Smithers of the setting.

Stormspire is ethically bankrupt, allowing slavery to an extent, allows the most mustachey villains to hang out, and has nothing in the way of scruples. It's run by...
    K'zaa: A Lizard Mage (ancient super-powerful wizard lizards from Conversion Book), K'zaa got bored with attempting to conquer other worlds and decided to become rich and powerful on Earth for the lulz of messing with other Earthly powers. Seriously, that's his characterization. However, he's kind of Hank Scorpio and rewards his employees justly.
  • Dragonbane: A Dragon juicer who's K'zaa's number... one... guy. He likes killing dragons, killing dinosaurs, and asking K'zaa how high to jump.
Evil merchant kingdoms are a thing with Rifts; this is another.

Next: Siembieda and the no good, very bad magic system.


"Uh, is this consensual? Do I have to teach you about consent and human sacrifice?"

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




Evil Mastermind posted:

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



PART 2: BRAVE NEW MECHANICS

... Core Earth characters can become immune to causing contradictions? :monocle:

You can finally have somebody mixing and matching whatever bits they want??? Amazing.

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PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

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


poo poo, this actually makes me hype to try out Torg Eternity.

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