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Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Ettin posted:

This isn't really the thread for Atlas Shrugged chat!

rumble in the bunghole posted:

Please stop bringing up the holocaust, thread

Indeed, this is getting way off topic of the actual review, and the exceedingly ugly real-world analogues being used are making this a lot nastier than it needs to be. I'm all for discussion of Glorantha here, but let's try to avoid the perils of Mage chat.

Unfortunately, the Glorantha thread fell into archives, or I'd point folks to it. Might be time for a new one.

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Skellybones
May 31, 2011






Fun Shoe

Why does the concept of a fantasy setting following different rules from reality drive you nerds insane?

JackMann
Aug 11, 2010

Secure. Contain. Protect.


Fallen Rib

Tuxedo Catfish posted:

It's mostly the idea that trying to formalize and understand the physical laws of your world is wrong, by way of analogy from the idea that Campbell trying to formalize myth was wrong. It's not evil for a wizard to want to understand magic and make it work for them in D&D, but in Glorantha (as I understand it) the people who made the most progress in that kind of understanding don't just happen to be evil, but are evil because that kind of formal understanding is both inherently tainted and also error-prone.

If you just take it as a statement about the dangers of formalizing myth, then there isn't a problem.

They weren't wrong for trying to understand the laws of their world.

They were wrong because they did awful things with it. Also, they didn't understand the laws of their world as well as they thought because they were too arrogant to adjust their worldview. It's not that they were scientists, it's that they were bad scientists.

It's like, car companies found that adding lead to gasoline would help eliminate knock. They weren't bad for figuring that out. They were bad because they didn't consider any of the consequences of their actions and let it ruin the lives of millions of people for their personal advantage.

The thing to understand is that the "physics" of hero questing are tied up in anthropological methodology. It's basically saying, "What if we took the way we as anthropologists approach mythology and made a world where that's literally how legends work?" and extrapolates from there. So the God Learners represent older methodologies that were harmful and wrong.

There ultimately is a solid, firm truth to the Glorantha setting. There are hard and fast physics. It's just that they're very different from real world physics.

potatocubed
Jul 26, 2012

*rathian noises*


Mr. Maltose posted:

Also, I feel like this could be relevant to talking about things like Monomyth, it's a bit 101 but it's a good article: http://www.naturalhistorymag.com/editors_pick/1966_08-09_pick.html

That was really interesting, thanks!

Deptfordx
Dec 23, 2013



unseenlibrarian posted:


(I remember seeing reports of a Lunar convention game from the eighties featuring a Priest of the Crimson Bat Cult who was literally Batman, using his crime-fighting vigilante activities to identify good prospects to be bat-food. I do not think that this is still a thing, unfortunately.)

Josef bugman posted:


I missed this but I remember reading a write up of it and it is still my default when I imagine the Lunar empire.


Knew that sounded familiar, with a little digging ........

https://web.archive.org/web/20150302045452/http://www.etyries.com:80/moonson/paulis-longvale.htm

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

Horned Rat-Sempai Noticed Me! :swoon:


"Wow a hundred new replies. I can't wait to see what's been revie-" :yikes:

ARB, I think this thread needs a time out for a bit.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Skellybones posted:

Why does the concept of a fantasy setting following different rules from reality drive you nerds insane?

Let me tell you my indignant views about a world where men ride side-saddle...

Subjunctive
Sep 12, 2006

sparkle and shine



Or where men can’t ride at all, as in Reign’s default setting.

darthbob88
Oct 13, 2011

YOSPOS


JackMann posted:

It's like, car companies found that adding lead to gasoline would help eliminate knock. They weren't bad for figuring that out. They were bad because they didn't consider any of the consequences of their actions and let it ruin the lives of millions of people for their personal advantage.

Side note, but they absolutely did consider the consequences of their actions.

quote:

On October 30, 1924, Midgley participated in a press conference to demonstrate the apparent safety of TEL [Tetra-Ethyl Lead, the anti-knock additive], in which he poured TEL over his hands, placed a bottle of the chemical under his nose, and inhaled its vapor for 60 seconds, declaring that he could do this every day without succumbing to any problems.[5][8] However, the State of New Jersey ordered the Bayway plant to be closed a few days later [due to many many cases of lead poisoning among the workers], and Jersey Standard was forbidden to manufacture TEL again without state permission. Midgley would later have to take leave of absence from work after being diagnosed with lead poisoning.[9] He was relieved of his position as vice president of GMCC in April 1925, reportedly due to his inexperience in organizational matters, but he remained an employee of General Motors.[5]
That same dude also invented dichlorodifluoromethane as a safer refrigerant, which you might know better as Freon.

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



I think the better analogy is the initial introduction of rabbits to Australia, especially their release for the purpose of hunting.

Or the motherfucking Shakespeare fanboy who brought Starlings to the US

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.

Subjunctive posted:

Or where men can’t ride at all, as in Reign’s default setting.

Nah, men can ride in Reign, it's just, as Bieeanshee said, they have to ride side-saddle or they become impotent/sterile because a long history of cultural conditioning.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Robindaybird posted:

I think the better analogy is the initial introduction of rabbits to Australia, especially their release for the purpose of hunting.

Or the motherfucking Shakespeare fanboy who brought Starlings to the US

The Australian war with their goddamn rabbits up to and including tailored biological warfare is tragicomic.

Subjunctive
Sep 12, 2006

sparkle and shine



unseenlibrarian posted:

Nah, men can ride in Reign, it's just, as Bieeanshee said, they have to ride side-saddle or they become impotent/sterile because a long history of cultural conditioning.

Oh, that's right. My bad.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts World Book 16, Federation of Magic: Part Seven: "Like legendary Oriental mystic warriors, the Battle Magi learn focus, concentration and mastery of body, mind and magic."

Suddenly, Dungeons & Dragons tropes attack! We get a note that practioners of magic-

Rifts World Book 16: Federation of Magic posted:

Remember, that “practitioners of magic” (Conjurers, Ley Line Walkers, Shifters, Magi, etc.) CANNOT be covered in metal and most types of “full” M.D.C. body armor because it interferes with the flow and channeling of magic energy.

Wait, what the gently caress? This has never been mentioned before. Weren't we just talking about how wizards have a hard time already in the last chapter? I mean, yeah, sure, there are other forms of body armor, but they tend to be more expensive and difficult to repair. In addition, spellcasters in older books just got normal body armor and it was never a big deal. Well, now it is. Seriously, why is this a thing, other than "well, D&D done it"? It's not like wearing normal armor is something that makes you more potent than the average character - it's a basic requirement of the game! Not being able to replace and repair it normally is a huge drawback!

:tizzy:

Okay. I'm okay. This is okay. Let's move on to the classes.


The Buttle Magus, Bird Magus, and the Bugeye Magus.


"Alright, let's break this system down."

Magus O.C.C.

So, this covers spellcaster who are taught special secrets by the Lords of Magic. And they're notably more powerful than the core spellcasters. Their main drawback is that, like most spellcasters that aren't the Ley Line Walker, they can't add spells greater than 4th level or their current level to their repitoire (whichever is higher)... with one notable exception that'll be coming later. To be fair, they're at least conceptually and get some neat Perez art, but the actual execution has issues. Once again, the % listed in your chance of qualifying for the class as a human character.
  • Battle Magus O.C.C. (3%): A jedi wizard that gets a farcical number of combat bonuses, as well as quick-draw / sharpshooting / dual-wielding (including for spells, even though that generally doesn't actually work because they're usually not aimed) like a gunfighter. Can pilot automatons, which are magic mecha we'll be seeing later. But they have restricted access to spells, mostly just getting combat casting. They get a full suit of armor that doesn't restrict spellcasting because it isn't "environmental". Didn't know that was a limitation that wizards had as well, but okay.
  • Controller O.C.C. (6%): A variant on the Battle Magus that trades the gunslinger-styled abilities for a wide variety of bonuses when controlling automatons, including controlling multiple automatons at once. For those interested in busting down the action economy, this is a good start. Of course, good luck obtaining and maintaining the 5+ automatons you can control at once, but I'm sure you'll find a way as an enterprising murderhobo. Hell, you do end up getting 4 free ones by level 5-6 if you're working for Dweomer, after all, including the likely possibility of getting a friggin' 1600 M.D.C. Kilairgh Automaton (in addition to the other ones!). Ridiculously not well thought-out, combine this with a powerful race that can take an O.C.C. and go to fuckin' town on the game. Glad we already decided balance isn't important and characters don't need to be equal. :rolleyes:
  • Lord Magus O.C.C. (1%): Special meditation techniques let them channel magic to become a "creature of magic" and become an M.D.C. creature, and they specialize in low-to-mid level spells, and can't cast anything above 10th level. Not much else to add, especially given that so few characters are going to qualify for this class that it may as well not exist.
  • High Magus O.C.C. (5%): So, this is supposed to be an enchanter and crafter, and works in the creation of magic items, and are supposed to be nice and sensitive and creative... because. (Now if we only had rules or even guidelines for magical item creation!) Because they're "attuned to magic" they get a lesser version of the Battle Magus' combat bonuses. They can also assist with creating automatons and can "bond" them to new users. In addition, they get stacks of bonuses and get a special ability every level, with the big defining one being able to turn invisible at will from first level. They're supposed to be leader sorts, but there's nothing really in their skill or ability sets that gives them any particular facility with leadership. The particularly bizarre thing is though they get a huge laundry list of lower-level spells, other than those fixed picks they can only ever learn spells above 7th level, and automatically clear all spells of spell levels 11-15 by class level 5. Unlike other fantasy games, though, this is actually heavily restrictive because of the high power and action cost of those spells - they can do a lot of big ritual stuff but don't get nearly as much practical magic.

"Once you ssstrap in you don't ssstrap out."


KaelCon, for very specific fans of Lucas' greatest masterpiece.

Next, let's move on to some eeevil classes that personify the True Federation of Magic.
  • The Corrupt O.C.C. (100%): Want to sell your soul and you don't particularly care who? Why, pledge your soul to be mysterious "Liberator" who gives you power in exchange for going around making people afraid, sad, and dead. Side effects include a sudden lust for leather, spikes, and spooky armor. Become a scary mega-damage monster with claws and super-strength, as well as a few powers based around sneaking around. If you're really strong willed, you can look normal most of the time (save for dressing entirely in belts) but only go Buffy-style vampface when you unleash your powers. If you want to go full doomed manchild, you can play one of these as a good guy but all your bonuses get sliced in half and you're really more of a dark gimp than a dark lord at that point. My advice is: don't!
  • Mystic Knight O.C.C. (9%): The evil dark magic answer to Cyber-Knight, complete with a code of dishonor that expouses ruthlessness and loyalty. How to become one? :iiam: But they're supposedly bad dudes. They can channel magical energy to power items, shoot blasts, and ignore non-magical energy attacks. They get some ley line powers, modest combat bonuses, and low level magic and psionics. That, and a skull mask, apparently. Basically just dark jedis minus lightsabers.

Would you let this man in your party?

Lastly, we get some miscellaneous magic folks:
  • Conjurer O.C.C. (9%):

    Rifts World Book 16: Federation of Magic posted:

    “Some folks say we ain't nothing but a pack of T-Man wannabes. But let me ask you this: Who’s more likely to catch ya with yer pants down? A beefed up, hay-naked tattooed freak, or a kindly old man who ya met walking dawn the road?"

    - Hawkfire the Hidden

    Maybe you'd have better chances at catching people with your pants down if you didn't brag about it, Hawkfire. These are gimmick spellcasters created by Doug Coughler and coopted by Siembieda, and who specialize in their namesake. They can create items and animals temporarily, but most of them are non-technological and S.D.C., rendering it pretty much useful for tricks and not most of confrontations. You can make some M.D.C. objects, but only at high expenditures. Making permanent stuff has permanent costs. There's also a laundry list of limitations to keep you from dropping whales onto villains or poofing snakes into their pants, so the fun police ride high here... though you can still probably find some wiggle room to argue with the GM when you try to summon a bear in the Coalition Officers' outhouse. Otherwise, they get some very basic spells and are generally really, really lovely spellcasters outside of conjuring, so unless you like their smirky trickster gimmick, you can give them a pass.
  • The Grey Seer O.C.C. (38%): These are independent, neutral, pacifist mystics who try to aid people with their precognitive gifts. They're universally opposed to the True Federation, seeing Alistair a possible "5th Horseman" that endangers the world (from a prophecy wayyy back in Rifts Sourcebook 2: the Mechanoids). As a class, they're basically just variants on the corebook Mystic O.C.C., trading some of its psychic powers for the ability to sense death or life, whether or not somebody causes death or protects life, and a completely GM fiat precognition ability. Will it be useful? Ask your GM! :v:

Insert your own caption!

And that's our class stack for the book. Overall, it's a power-up for spellcasters, particularly that ridiculous Controller O.C.C., though the Ley Line Walker still has role protection in that they're the only ones able to completely ignore their class level when selecting spells. Mind, this is all assuming your GM lets you cheat on your attribute rolls, as you're unlikely to qualify for most of these classes if you're playing by the book.

Next: Magitek armor.

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 12:10 on Mar 3, 2018

DalaranJ
Apr 15, 2008

Yosuke will now die for you.


The battle magus specifically learned a spell that makes his spine work that way.

marshmallow creep
Dec 10, 2008

I've been sitting here for 5 mins trying to think of a joke to make but I just realised the animators of Mass Effect already did it for me



I was going to say Buttle Magus looks like a Jojo.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


One thing I didn't realize until this book for some reason is how Mignola-influenced Perez is. It seems obvious in retrospect.

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017





Alien Rope Burn posted:

One thing I didn't realize until this book for some reason is how Mignola-influenced Perez is. It seems obvious in retrospect.

Huh. So he is. I knew I liked him for a reason.

Cassa
Jan 29, 2009


Not-Robocop at least looks to be wearing armour, and what a stupid penalty.

DicktheCat
Feb 15, 2011



So, this is from pages ago, but I'm so happy Torg Eternity is good. The art's good, the system sounds good, it doesn't seem to punish the player for daring to want cool powers. It's kind of a relief.

I'm also a little sad it isn't terrible though, because I apparently enjoy being hurt by terrible things. I had so much fun with the Torg f and f, and subjecting my long-suffering husband to tales of terrible mechanics. Nothing has scratched the itch since. (Well, that Dracones game came close, but it was for different reasons. Infuriating ones.) Are you planning to finish it one day, Evil Mastermind? Also, thanks for the review of the new game! Still mostly glad it was good.


I... I can't believe I'm saying this, but I actually want to play some Torg.

marshmallow creep
Dec 10, 2008

I've been sitting here for 5 mins trying to think of a joke to make but I just realised the animators of Mass Effect already did it for me



I am not sure I want to play a full multiverse TORG game but with the options available it seems like it would be a fun kind of universal system.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



DicktheCat posted:

I'm also a little sad it isn't terrible though, because I apparently enjoy being hurt by terrible things. I had so much fun with the Torg f and f, and subjecting my long-suffering husband to tales of terrible mechanics. Nothing has scratched the itch since. (Well, that Dracones game came close, but it was for different reasons. Infuriating ones.) Are you planning to finish it one day, Evil Mastermind? Also, thanks for the review of the new game! Still mostly glad it was good.
I do want to finish the oTorg review, yes, I just haven't written anything in a while.

(Basically, I did most of my F&F writing at work while I was waiting for people to deploy builds or remember I existed. Then I lost my job back in October, which killed my writing mood, plus I had review notes on my work laptop that are gone now.)

quote:

I... I can't believe I'm saying this, but I actually want to play some Torg.
Well, it's only out for backers until like July, so you can't. Yet.

Simian_Prime
Nov 6, 2011

When they passed out body parts in the comics today, I got Cathy's nose and Dick Tracy's private parts.

DicktheCat posted:

So, this is from pages ago, but I'm so happy Torg Eternity is good. The art's good, the system sounds good, it doesn't seem to punish the player for daring to want cool powers. It's kind of a relief.

I'm also a little sad it isn't terrible though, because I apparently enjoy being hurt by terrible things. I had so much fun with the Torg f and f, and subjecting my long-suffering husband to tales of terrible mechanics. Nothing has scratched the itch since. (Well, that Dracones game came close, but it was for different reasons. Infuriating ones.) Are you planning to finish it one day, Evil Mastermind? Also, thanks for the review of the new game! Still mostly glad it was good.


I... I can't believe I'm saying this, but I actually want to play some Torg.

As someone who likes painfully bad games too, I’m enjoying the review of Phil Brucato Ruins Music and Everything Else- I mean, “PowerChords”

I’m also legitimately enjoying the CoC adventure reviews and looking forward to more.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts World Book 16, Federation of Magic: Part Eight: "Pilots other than Controllers and the Lords of Magic must be in physical contact (seated in the drat thing) to control/pilot it."


"Did you have to give the war machine nipples?" "Look, the fireballs gotta come from somewhere."

Magic Automatons
By Kevin Siembieda and Peter Murphy


So, these are the special golems built exclusviely by Dweomer that controllers and the other "magi" classes can run. They have to meditate for 24 hours of attunement and a nominal cost. However, these hyper-advanced mages still struggle with sophisticated "roof" or "cockpit" technology. Instead, mages are expected to ride on top where missiles and bombs can be conveniently deposited, going BYOA (Bring Your Own Armor). Controllers can remotely run them up to 200 feet away, which means they can use the better tactics to hide via camouflage or invisibility spells and remotely run their automaton.s Most magi can only run one at a time; as aforementioned, controllers can run more than one. It's said the Lords of Magic can run a hundred at a time, which is the sort of combat ability that causes the Palladium combat system to immediately collapse into failure hole too deep for the bottom to ever be seen. Only controllers and the LoM can multitask while running an automaton, though; otherwise you have to use your attacks normally to run one. Which... is a problem, because unlike normal power armor and robot vehicles, there aren't combat styles or bonus attacks for running one, which means that in terms attacks per turn and combat bonuses, they're notably weaker if they're not being run by controllers.


The Earth Thunder gets a neat design, at least.

Most of the automatons have a common issue to high-scale supernatural combatants in Rifts: high M.D.C., low damage, so any combat with them is going to be sloggy. Some have the ability to cast magic spells, which is usually of limited utility save in the few corner cases where a given spell breaks vehicular combat. Most of the defensive spells, for example, are slow to cast and situational, and generally they won't stop a sufficient quantity of mini-missiles. They can also be put into a regeneration mode that lets them recover, but due to badly stated rules, can't regenerate unless they're under 100 M.D.C. (it's probably intended for them to regenerate 100 at a time, mind). If their pilot is knocked out, they're programmed to grab them and high-tail it to a pre-designated safe zone (usually not Dweomer itself, as to not just lead enemies there). Controllers can see through them at a distance, but only the top-level ones have magical loudspeakers for their pilots.

Rifts World book 16: Federation of Magic posted:

Automatons are magical, golem-like constructions designed to take on dragons, demon hordes, tanks, robots, power armor, ‘Borgs, and entire armies. These powerful magic robots can go head-to-head with anything the Coalition can throw at them.


"Love this Colossus, glad nobody's found a way to shoot things from above!"

We have seven flavors of automaton, and since the gauntlet has been thrown down, I'm gonna put them in rumbles and the skulliest and fascistiest of the Coalition.
  • Battlelord Automaton (1000 M.D.C.): Swings a big sword that can shoot lightning or fire eyebeams. Versus Coalition: It's modestly damaging, but its defensive over offense measure means missiles and rail gun blasts will likely tear it apart; SAMAS power armors can dance out of the range of its damaging melee attacks and strafe it into rubble. Coalition 1, Dweomer 0.
  • Colossus Automaton (2000 M.D.C.): Though its iron mace does a ton of damage for an automaton, its eyeblasts only do passable damage. Its big effect is to be able to cause stompy shockwaves that can effectively stunlock infantry and many human-scale landbound creatures, leaving them stuck on their rear end. In addition, its ability to cast disharmonize, firequake, or collapse will make the going impossible for most groundpounders. Lastly, it can cast annihilate once or twice a fight to just do 700 M.D.C. with magical antimatter, or 100+ on a miss. And all of that seems pretty badass until you remember only high magi can pilot this, which means they have to sit in the missile impact zone as the skullfaces drop high ordinance on his head from miles away. Whups. Gonna call this one early, score is now Coalition 2, Dweomer 0.
  • Earth Thunder Automaton (500 M.D.C.): It's a smaller one with a hooked sword that is an "anti-dragon" weapon that acts like a "can opener". Damage? 25 M.D.C. That's 10+ successful hits just to take down a suit of power armor, just less the 50-100 hits you'd need to kill a dragon. It has some short-range spells, so all the Coalition has to do is set up a fire zone and have one side withdraw if it starts getting close. Laser rifles and rail guns can take this thing apart at range pretty easily without even bringing missiles and artillery to bear. Coalition 3, Dweomer 0.
  • Fire Demon Automaton (500 M.D.C.): A big flaming minotaur statue, and we're told that "few things can stand before its brutal fire attacks". However, given its fire attacks do between 1d4 and 6d6 mega-damage, even a suit of dinky Plastic-Man armor holds up to that for at least a single shot. Even though it has a ton of redundant fire spells, once again the Coalition can just set a line of laser rifle guys and gun it down. Coalition 4, Dweomer 0.
  • Ice Drake Automaton (300 M.D.C.): A flying drake that radiates cold, its ability to coat targets with blinding frost and ability to outspeed a SAMAS means it could actually catch up to flying power armor and keep it blinded while raining down magical attacks. Pretty cool! Unfortunately, the Coalition also has sky cycles and jet fighters that can dogfight circles around this thing and missile it out of the sky. Coalition 5, Dweomer 0.
  • Kilairgh Automaton (1600 M.D.C.): Named after supernatural predator not appearing in this game, this is basically a big bugbot with pincers. This is the top of the wizard game, folks: pincers. To be fair, it has some nasty spells, like the damage-reflecting house of glass, but its limited range puts it in the same camp as the Colossus. It's more or less the diet colossus, with an even more limited arsenal. I don't even need to get into the details: Coalition 6, Dweomer 0.
  • Infiltrator Automaton (220 M.D.C.): A human-sized automation made out of magic glass that can pass through walls and gets a variety of sneaky spells. As such, it requires a controller to tag along after it. Its success pretty much depends on the response times of dog boys and psi-stalkers to a supernatural assassin, but given this thing can run 50 MPH, I'm gonna say it can ghost into a Coalition compound, murder some high-ranking officials in their skivvies, and get out unless they happen to have psycho-stalkers who can both sense and react to it fast enough (and very few units will, given there about fifty of the guys in the world). Dweomer picks up a point in the final stretch. Coalition 6, Dweomer 1.

"Kill!" "ARGH!" "Hey, that's a good name."

It's kind of weird to think that these things are a match for any modern mechanized armor. It's like saying "Yeah, we don't have artillery... very little recon, very little air support... but we have really big swords!" It's like they expect the Coalition to act like a scene from the Starship Troopers film, just shouting and running into melee in a parody of a '50s war movie. But the very mechanics of Palladium combat, with their farcical ranges, speeds, and the high durability of automatons... all discourage that. Granted, automatons can be notably stronger with a very experienced wizard at the helm. But they also do a lot to actually reduce a wizard's strengths. In Palladium, spellcasters are pretty bad at straightforward damage exchanges, but excel at dirty tricks. By putting them atop a giant fighting statue, they become spell turrets at best and half-assed robot pilots at worst. Though automatons shield them from ground-level forces, a Coalition soldier with a good throwing arm and a satchel charge can take one out, which one would think would be a key problem. C'mon, Dweomer, at least give them an armor of ithan spell! Yeesh.

Next: Magic bullets.


"Hugs!"

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017





It was post Coalition War Campaign that I truly realized Palladium's tendency of cranking out the new hotness and then spend the next several books telling us about things that could tear it apart like wet tissue. (Whether they could is up for debate, as seen here.)

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


The sad part is one of the recent sets of books (the Northern Gun series) the vehicles and armor are deliberately low-powered presumably as to comply with the fact they're supposed to be below the Coalition in-setting. But the net effect is that you get two whole books of equipment (some of which with really cool designs!) that knowledgeable players won't want to use because their firepower is hilariously low compared to a Glitter Boy or Super SAMAS.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


The imbalance between the forces is also staggering. You need a learned and wise wizard to control an automaton or two, and they're probably not that easy to build.

Meanwhile, I assume you can stick a skinhead in whatever skull power armor you have as long as you can keep cranking out power armor.

Well, OK, power armor might not be easy to make. Maybe give a bunch of skinheads laser rifles and see how they fare?

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





I feel like it should be extremely easy to give magical automata defensive spells that make artillery useless?

I really like the towering automata art and the image of a wizard sitting on the brow of one of those things as it strides through battle is extremely old-school pulp fantasy.

The fact that it's miserably unsupported mechanically is just how Rifts is, isn't it?

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017





Joe Slowboat posted:

I feel like it should be extremely easy to give magical automata defensive spells that make artillery useless?

I really like the towering automata art and the image of a wizard sitting on the brow of one of those things as it strides through battle is extremely old-school pulp fantasy.

The fact that it's miserably unsupported mechanically is just how Rifts is, isn't it?

Yeah, it's a nice idea. Good visual. Wouldn't have taken much to say something like 'the automaton's system powered by pixie dust and dragon toenails let it generate a 'bubble' around the pilot to protect it while they ride in the open.' Or just make the silly thing a magic giant robot and give it a cockpit, but just something you sit lotus position in and touch sigils to make it work or something.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Coalition soldiers need specialized training to pilot robot vehicles and power armor, and those who qualify it are categorized as "elite", but it specifically says anybody can learn power armor training given time. So presumably it's at least easier than being a wizard. Power armor and vehicles get combat bonuses that are a relic of the Robotech rules, based on the notion that protoculture technology was supposed to create an enhanced link between the pilot and the mecha. In Rifts, trained pilots get the same bonuses because... they did in Robotech, I guess?

The basic idea is fine enough, but the main problem is that their limited speeds and range allow high-tech vehicles to just pepper them from afar.There's some handwaving that the magical forces are so powerful they can't make a cockpit on the interior of the automation because you'd just die from the force of the enchantments within. That doesn't explain why you couldn't have a roof, or just some variant on invulnerability on the pilot or the like, but, you know... :effort:

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





The Coalition is running off of a mimicking of a crude deposit of Anime, and really we should be impressed they've done as well as they have.

Mr.Misfit
Jan 10, 2013

The time for
SkellyBones
has come!


Wait, has it really been almost two weeks? drat, time flies when you're working.


Part 3 - New York, New Yooooooorkkkkkk…..



With all said and done, we enter Chapter One, for the timeframe of September 1st to 5th 1933 and it opens with the following text…

”Beyond the Mountains of Madness” posted:

It is September, 1933. The New Deal passed during the spring, but swarms of unemployed workmen still haunt the streets. Artist and philanthropist Nicholas Roerich is to host a $100-a-plate charity dinner for drought-stricken Chinese in two weeks, while thousands starve in New York State alone. Just down 34th Street the new Empire State Building looms. A couple of months ago Primo Camera knocked out Jack Sharkey here in New York City, in six rounds to take the heavyweight title. The New York Giants lead the National League. Monopoly is a popular new parlor game. The New York Society for the Suppression of Vice is preparing its "friend of the court" brief for the upcoming trial United States v. One Book Entitled "Ulysses. " Prohibition will be repealed soon....
And tied up on the north side of Pier 74 along the Hudson River shore of New York City is the SS Gabrielle, her stem to the city, her bow to the open sea.



This also implies one of the bigger problems with the campaign itself. The stringent timing that makes some actions or events problematic if they don't happen in time or at the correct time slot, but we´ll get to those. In either case, it´s the moment our brave investigators actually arrive in New York. On a side note, for comparative purposes, you can see the 1999 version of pictures or handouts on the left, and the 2011 on the right, should there be one, of course.



The chapter begins by actually laying out the most important bits in an overview. The expeditions members have mostly been decided. Everything is being readied and those who take part arrive to get on board or actually get to know the other people of the expedition. Meanwhile the keeper´s being advised on how to handle the different parts, that the players should learn of whom´s actually accompanying them to the ice and where to find their stats (it says in the appendix, but no actual page is given. A minor layout sin, but always dreadful when it happens).

It also advises against any sort of contact with Ms.Lexington, a NPC we´re going to learn more about during this chapter, who is the make-believe antagonist for the players to focus on due to the intense hatred Starkweather bears her. And of course the fact that she's basically having her own little expedition to thwart the Starkweather-Moore-Expedition, but all in due time.

The story continues at the morning of September 1st. A german, an argentinian and a canadian pour out of the far too small New York taxi that has brought them to the Amherst Hotel, and start helping each other get their respective belongings out. What sounds like the start of a very weird joke actually turns out to be a blessing in disguise. Ernst Carl Winkler speaks english well enough to understand everything below the rough canadian exterior that Yukon Cornelius exudes and the two have been able to strike up some semblance of conversation. During that same conversation they found to not only share a destination (Starkweather/Moore at the Amherst), but also a purpose (Joining the expedition). The weird argentinian with the long skiers seems to have the same target, but since most of what he says is either in spanish or some smattering of spanglish, it´s difficult even for the expert linguist Ernst to decipher.

As our intrepid protagonists arrive at the Amherst, and begin asking after Starkweather/Moore, they are given rooms and a letter by Moore, as seen below.



Following up the letter brings the group to Pier 74 along the Hudson River, where they can see the SS. Gabrielle in port. An amusing paragraph tells us that the entire pier 74 is quite shabby compared to the next one over with the Italian Royal Mail, brightly lit and with well-maintained facilities. Here, at the foot of West 34th Street and over the cross of Twelfth Avenue they can see the small sign nailed between two large pier shed doors.



The overweight guardsman checks their names with his clipboard, and then tells them to “Get on in, bud.”. Walking alongside the ships hull on the pier, they can board and quickly find Moore in the mess hall.



Right. I´m going to summarize a bit more, because unlike the campaign I´m not actually going to spout a continuous stream of words at you. Moore informs the characters of a meeting in the Amherst the next morning, 8 AM sharp, and tells them to see Peter Sykes, the leading polar guide the expedition has.



Sykes, a professional through and though takes their measurements and gives first instructions for use of the clothing kit, about 15 pound of clothes, informing them that their clothes should arrive in the following two days. Afterwards, each character is checked by Dr. Richard Greene, expedition doctor and general physician.



After that, comes the part for Starkweather, where everyone's is to dress up in cold-weather gear and some publicity pictures are taken. Then, a quick dentist visit, and then they are free for the afternoon. Our three adventurers disperse for the evening, each looking to find their salvation in some sort of hobby or similar. Winkler reads up on Antarctica in his room, Peron takes his skier to the cellar and attempts some dry training exercises, while Cornelius goes to drink in some shady, seedy, scummy bar which shall not be named for its name actually only appears in the 2010 version of BtMoM.

As September 2nd arrives, it's 8AM, and our intrepid heroes arrive for the meeting in the Rose Room of the Amherst. A steaming breakfast is laid out, while people greet each other, get to know the others, and share the joy of eating breakfast in a luxurious hotel. A few minutes later, Starkweather and Moore arrive, greeting everyone by name, and then giving the general infos.

”James Starkweather recounts...” posted:

- Departure is on September 14th
- The route takes the expedition from New York along the Caribbean through the Panama Canal, to Melbourne, Australia, and then southwards to the Ross Sea of Antarctica, hopefully on November 1st
- The ship will carry 4 air planes, three Boeing 247s and one Fairchild FC-2 (Remember that, it´s going to be important later on)
- Three destinations and camps are planned at Antarctica.
- The Ross Sea Camp will be base, the second at the Lake site and the final one will be on the ancient high plateau of the Miskatonic Mountains
- The expedition plans to leave Antarctica towards February 1st, 1934, best case scenario at the end of Antarctic summer, taking the remains of the previous expedition members with them “to bring them home”



Now I´ll break with the current flow because you might have noticed something up there. You see, the campaign begins by speaking about creating a third camp up on high at the Miskatonic mountain range. This is weird, because the actual events as described make no sense to get up there for anything, really. There is a key object later on, which the campaign changed around in the 2010 version, which makes it even weirder to have the objective of creating a third camp here. Furthermore, both versions make characters state that the actual intent of the expedition is to clear up what actually happened at the lost 1930s expedition camp and bring home what they've found, if any scientific value is behind it.

However, as far as ANYONE knows, the mountains are just that. Really high mountains. But I digress. We´ll get to that later on, but do keep this in mind, I´ll harp on it some more as we continue.

After this little overview, Moore continues by explaining what they plan to do, and comparing their expedition with the other three planned ones, two of which I´ve mentioned during the prologue already, and the third being the german Barsmeier-Falken-expedition, which is another fictional one set up for the campaign. Hope your player´s don´t know too much about antarctic expeditions yet, or this will clue them in really early about those possible nazi shenanigans (By february of 1933 the Machtergreifung had already happened, Hitler was chancellor and all hope would be lost..).

Those currently at the breakfast meeting are assigned jobs, just as well as the players will. And what a job that is. You see, Moore assigns the characters to check the cargo lists and gives each player one or more sheets with cargo to be checked, which they are to do at their own leisure. And at this point, those who´ve played BtMoM will be sucking in air. Well, at least in german cthulhu circles those lists are infamous. You see, the campaign expects the players to take the seven handouts, each representing a single sheet, and check them with knowledge rolls etc. for correctness.



Unless you´re an accountant who lives for this stuff, you might see why this is problematic. It also further compounds another problem. Most of the cargo at hand has been ordered or selected by Starkweather, and the characters are made aware of this, when they check the cargo list. Not a good thing if you want to establish your leader as a glorious hero, but ...well. The other thing is that there's quite a lot among the cargo sheets that´s problematic, but ...well….

NONE OF IT MATTERS.

Frack. Got that out of my system. Whew. That feels good. You can see the lists above, each with their old and remade variant from 2010. See, the thing is, the entire campaign does not care one bit for this stuff. It´s drudgery, something to keep the players occupied and involved, yet offers up no actual value. They could have gotten the same amount of content had they just gone “okay, do a few rolls here or there, you find one, two, maybe three things you need to check up on, that's what you´ll mostly do for the time until day X…”. Yet they didn´t. The actively went and made these lists, and then, even worse, reworked and EXPANDED them in the 2010-version.

Now you might ask, but what of the consequences? There aren't any. It doesn't matter if the players eff up here. You can, for example, have thirty crates contain sardine oil, instead of sardines, or the caustic soda missing, or the harmonicas, or the astronomy instruments and geiger counters, or SOME of the dynamite and a box of blasting caps. The last one is especially bad because the campaign explicitly goes “Well, the ship will have SOME dynamite in their safe in either case” which is hilariously absurd.

Of course, messing up here could have serious consequences and as this is a Cthulhu campaign, death is always close at hand and therefore you might not actually want consequences, but I'm astonished at the amount of care they've put into what amounts to useless drudgery & drivel for all intents and purposes.

Rants over. After the meeting, Moore takes the most discreet member, in our case amusingly good ol´Cornelius aside, and tells him that they´ve engaged the previous expeditions captain, J.B.Douglas, and he´s to arrive on September 6th. Moore also informs him of the location at the time, the Westbury at 440 Scammel Street, where he´s to meet the captain that same day, asking for his discretion on the matter.

Now, with a good keeper, this can be a fun moment, because it forces a player into a role of responsibility. Sadly, the campaign wastes NO space in what happens if the player attempts to go there before September 6th, which might result in some time paradoxon. You see, Douglas will be at the Westbury before the date set. He´ll also die without ever having met the player characters. If the campaign get´s to do as it wants. And if your players are like mine, that means Cornelius will of course go there and look. But nope, the man´s out, so no luck. The train moves on.

The following days are specified, usually filled with the same kind of work, checking cargo, bringing aboard previous glass instruments and working with the pilots.



It's the morning of September 3rd, that Starkweather announces to the world on the pages of the Arkham Herald, that they´ve engaged Douglas. Moore mentions this at breakfast of the same day, and also that

”Moore continues...” posted:

Starkweather has spoken to Douglas on the Telephone. Mister Douglas has asked that he be not disturbed by the press or the public,[...] he´ll meet with the crew [...] on his own schedule.

The timeline continues on, as everyone slowly finds their place among the expedition, and we find ourselves on September 4th. HARK!



It's just before sunrise, when Starkweather, pounding with the fury of a man scorned, on Moores doors, wakes our protagonists from their slumber. The dishevelled look leads to an opened door, though not by Moore but by Starkweather slamming against the door and crashing it open, and as Starkweather storms in, our fearless few follow. I think it's best if I just quote you the passage:

”James Starkweather, furious” posted:

It's her, Moore! All the time it was her! I should have known! Who else could it have been? The conniving witch! I should have suspected her hand in things from the beginning! Blast it, Moore, listen to me! How else could she stop me? Who else would have switched those cans of fish with oil? Who else has the money to spy on us? To throw things in our way? Ruin our goods! Sabotage the dog cages! Delay our trains! Poison the minds of trusted employees! To bribe, to steal, to throw barricades before us, for her own spiteful little reasons! I won't allow it, Moore! Not this time! She won't get the upper hand this time! I'll prove to everyone that she's nothing more than a-
Starkweather stops in mid-sentence. He looks around, still breathing heavily, suddenly aware of the watchers in the hall, and visibly makes a decision. Throwing the newspaper down with a snap in front of the dishevelled professor, he says, in a terrible steely voice, "Advance the schedule, Moore! We're leaving on the 9th. The 9th, Moore! See to it! And Moore . . get me a woman!

Brash choices and decisions are best made by someone who just slammed down a door to tell his “friend” about how much he abhors a woman. Our hero, everyone. Starkweather leaves the scene, leaving moore to instruct the PCs after reading the article that enraged glorious leader. The article speaks of Acacia Lexington and her planned expedition, which Starkweather takes as a personal affront. Of course.



The players are sent to breakfast, where they are instructed to “Find a Woman”, someone who might actually be a good fit for the group or just for publicities sake a woman they can take to Antarctica. As previously stated, the book offers up Mrs. Charlene Whitston, but we´re saying haberdash to that.



As such, our heroes make their way to the New York University Library, to meet Mrs.Nadine Bergen. Unfortunately, as it turns out, Mrs.Bergen has since found herself part of a group of travellers back to Europe, where she plans to meet old friends in London for a possible trip on the Orient Express. Target Nr.2, Mme LeFevre, is found at the infamous Cotton Club, where she has since met a charming man by the name of J.D.Rockefeller and has other thoughts than to travel into the Antarctic cold. Again, leaving without a dame.

It is with luck, that Herr Winkler remembers the final madame that was waiting alongside them during the interviews, a Madison Claremont. It´s with luck, that she is found at the 21 Club then, where she was indeed the hired bouncer, making sure that, even with Prohibition repealed, no problems found their way into the club itself. Pleading, hearty talk, and a tacit nod from Yukon later the Mistress of Headbutting all important problems is convinced and brought to the Amherst.


[Mrs. Madison Claremont]

The press, already besieging Starkweather at this point, descends upon the poor thing like vultures on day-old meat. Worse, the earlier starting date plays hell with all schedule (not really, because it's all narrative anyway, again a no-consequence issue), and Starkweather becomes very much an arsehole, driving his people to ever more speed, but not diligence.

It is on September 5th, that some clerk gives a character currently at the hotel at that point, a letter, which includes our first warning, as shown below. The chapter concludes with the idea that the keeper could, if he so want´s complicate the player´s life further by using the press, but I always find that sparse use of such events makes them all the more memorable.



In the meantime, players investigating Acacia Lexington can actually find a number of articles but may not, as you might remember, meet with her, unless is to drive up the antagonism between both groups. Those who do however, can discover that she and Starkweather were part of a safari Starkweather led that encountered some bad luck in Africa, but was mostly ok at the end.

The only other thing we can learn about Ms.Lexington is that her father is dead, suicide by two bullets in the head. She originally claimed it was murder, the NYPD claimed different, also a famous manuscript, the “finished” version of Poes Arthur Gordon Pym being stolen, but in a later article recants, calling it a suicide and the manuscript having been found, and of some financial troubles on her part. Other than that, we´ll have to look forward to CHAPTER 2…

Chapter 1 done. 36 pages in, 403 left.

Mr.Misfit fucked around with this message at 01:49 on Mar 4, 2018

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



Christ, at this rate, Starkweather is going to be plucky if he makes it to the equator - I can think of several players... and characters that'd have no issue in having him 'fall overboard'.

Ratoslov
Feb 15, 2012

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



Mr.Misfit posted:

Rants over. After the meeting, Moore takes the most discrete member, in our case amusingly good ol´Cornelius aside, and tells him that they´ve engaged the previous expeditions captain, J.B.Douglas, and he´s to arrive on September 6th.

I think you mean 'discreet', unless you are implying the other two PCs are continuous.

Subjunctive
Sep 12, 2006

sparkle and shine



Ratoslov posted:

I think you mean 'discreet', unless you are implying the other two PCs are continuous.

Everyone else is a Siamese twin.

Mr.Misfit
Jan 10, 2013

The time for
SkellyBones
has come!


Ratoslov posted:

I think you mean 'discreet', unless you are implying the other two PCs are continuous.

Amusing. You are correct, of course :D

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

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




No chance of ditching the rear end in a top hat and joining the other expedition is there?
I knew some players who'd just get a supply of laudenum and keep him gentle and pliable.

Ratoslov
Feb 15, 2012

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



Yeah, I don't think he'd be fragged quite yet, but the PCs would already be plotting it and have picked out their preferred assassination weapon.

Mr.Misfit
Jan 10, 2013

The time for
SkellyBones
has come!


Robindaybird posted:

Christ, at this rate, Starkweather is going to be plucky if he makes it to the equator - I can think of several players... and characters that'd have no issue in having him 'fall overboard'.

Horrible Lurkbeast posted:

No chance of ditching the rear end in a top hat and joining the other expedition is there?
I knew some players who'd just get a supply of laudenum and keep him gentle and pliable.

If you really like to do a major rewrite campaigns, then sure, ditch him, kill him off, go with Lexington.
Otherwise, you´re stuck with him, for now, as nothing in the book actually offers up anything on not going with the SME.

I mean, really now, can you...nay, should you really think so badly of the HERO of our story?

Edit: There are possible ways around it, but it´ll take some time till we get there.

Mr.Misfit fucked around with this message at 01:59 on Mar 4, 2018

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Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


I think my players would be asking if there was any way to sign on with the Lexington expedition at this point.

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