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sexpig by night
Sep 8, 2011
I AM A BIG FAT STUPID FUCKER WHO SHOULD STAY THE FUCK OUT OF CSPAM

unseenlibrarian posted:

The worst thing is we didn't get Vanara or sapient bear supernatural paths written up.

Yea it's a bummer there's like three different gender divided writeups for the same basic thing but really basic cool poo poo like Vanara get nothing.

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Communist Zombie
Nov 1, 2011


Im suprised the Kami history section didnt have something about Christianity. Doesnt the Japanese saying go "Born Buddhist, marry Christian, die Shinto" or something like that?

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Communist Zombie posted:

Im suprised the Kami history section didnt have something about Christianity. Doesnt the Japanese saying go "Born Buddhist, marry Christian, die Shinto" or something like that?

Thatís later.

Deptfordx
Dec 23, 2013



Night10194 posted:

they've been so well trained in fighting Xenos that against any Alien enemy they auto-confirm Righteous Fury (I forgot to mention, crits in 40k are RIGHTEOUS FURY instead of ULRIC'S FURY and RIGHTEOUS FURY! sounds fun and


Wow, I ran some deathwatch myself. I'm the guy who wrote-up a worked example of how OP the Heavy Bolter was in play a while back in the thread when the subject came up, and holy hell I'd completely missed that Righetous Fury is auto-confirmed against Xenos.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Robindaybird posted:

It's a pretty neat idea, and kind of reminds me of how in Islam, Jesus is considered a Prophet and a good man - just not the son of god - where there's respect towards an important figure of another religion, but is fundamentally wrong in the viewpoint of the other religion.
There's a thread in Ask/Tell if you want details, but broadly speaking Buddhism's answer to questions about gods and poo poo is "i guess, but it's not the point." Even gods can suffer and (very eventually) be reborn.

I am eventually going to be curious on what they do with the Buddhist "pantheon."

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Sadly, the Palas are not slated for release any time soon.

e: the next book will be the Companion, which is set to include the Yazatas, the Loa variant of the Orisha, and the Nemetondevos, or Gallic gods.

Mors Rattus fucked around with this message at 21:31 on Mar 23, 2018

echopapa
Jun 2, 2005

El Presidente smiles upon this thread.

Inescapable Duck posted:

Maybe because South Park's God is a Buddhist.

Which reminds me that Iím looking forward to Scionís take on the Mormons.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Scion: Hero
Sumo God

Takemikazuchi is the Amatsukami of Thunder, Swords and Sumo. He is also called Takefutsu, Toyofutsu and Ikazuchi-no-kami. He's a hardliner Heavenly Kami and really, really does not like the Earthly Kami. When Amaterasu needs a dirty job done, he always volunteers, expecially if he gets to be nasty to Earthly Kami. He was the one who came down when the Earthly Kami supported the unaligned clans against the Emperor, challenging the leaders of the rebels (who were Okuninushi's sons) to a fight. He beat them all. The first few he beat with swords, so the last challenged him to a battle of pure physical power, which he won as well, inventing sumo wrestling. However, his biggest job is keeping the Titan Namazu from destroying Japan. Namazu is a giant catfish that lives in the mud under Japan and really just wants to shake until all the land sinks and becomes more mud to lie in. Takemikazuchi fights Namazu, and he uses his thunderous shouts, his swordsmanship and his sumo to protect Japan. He often appears as an advisor who drives his charges to great heights, regardless of the cost. The unenlightened may believe sumo is just about getting fat, but the wise realize it is austere, punishing work that required perseverence. Self-sacrifice is in the nature of Takemikazuchi and his Scions, and many have died in battle. Scions of other Kami may complain about his methods, but no one is unhappy to have him or his kids on their side. His Callings are Guardian, Leader and Warrior, and his Purviews are BeastS (Deer), Epic Dexterity, Epic Stamina, Epic Strength, Sky (Thunder) and War.

Ebisu is the Fortune of Luck and Fishing. He is also called Yebisu, Hiroku and Kotoshiro-nushi-no-kami. He is one of the Shichifukujin, the Seven Fortunes, though he's the only one that's actually native to Japan originally. Unlike most Kami, he does not tie himself to any one place, event or shrine - he prefers the natural world and the company of humans or animals to other Kami. He's been pretending to be deaf ever since, so that when the Kami are called to Izumo for their annual party by the ringing of bells, he doesn't have to go. Today, he mostly works as a caretaker of Japan's seas or, when the other Kami are busy, Japan itself. He doesn't mind the work - he likes the quiet time for fishing. If he's lonely, he turns into a fish and gets caught. If the fisherman that catches him is kind and treats him well, he blesses them. Other times, Ebisu well turn into a shopper and mingle with the people. If shopkeepers treat him well, he blesses them, too. Ebisu's Scions, like him, tend to be strange. They are in crowds but never part of them. Many prefer nature and the outdoors, and enjoy anonymity, but will never hesitate to help others if treated well. They are also the Scions of the Kami most often found outside Japan, as they tend to enjoy traveling for the sake of it. Ebisu's Callings are Hunte, Liminal and Trickster, and his Purviews are Beasts (Fish, Sharks, Whales), Epic Stamina, Fortune, Prosperity and Wild.

Okuninushi is the Fortune of Heroes, Magic and Wealth. He is also called Onamuji, Daikoku, Daikokuten and Daikokutennyo. He began life as a Scion of Susano-O, but tricked his father so well that he was given the hall at Izumo that leads to Yomi, where you can speak to the ancestors. He didn't stop there, though. He went on to finish Izanagi's work of making the islands of Japan, along with countless other feats, allowing him to ascend as a Kunitsukami rivaling even Sarutahiko in power. His power was so great that his sons rebelled, supporting the unaligned clans over the Emperor. They lost, but Okinuninushi refused to speak for or against either side, for fear of either starting a war among the Kami or destroying his own honor and reputation by appearing a weak appeaser. Soon after that, the original Daikokuten, the Buddhist god Mahakala, wanted to return to China, but the Seven Fortunes feared a fracturing of their pact. They turned to Okuninushi for advice, and he volunteered to replace Daikokuten to solve both their problems, allowing him to be a Fortune rather than a Kunitsukami, so he could maintain his honor without being a rallying banner for rebellion and going into open war with Amaterasu, whom he admired. In the modern day, Okuninushi and his Scions often seek out worthy quests to improve the world. They are quite friendly with the Scions of Susano-O, trying to steer them away from meaningless diversions to important jobs. Often, they butt heads with Amaterasu's children, and most Heavenly Kami are cautious around Okuninushi and his Scions...but they're always handy when you need to solve a big problem. His Callings are Creator, Leader and Liminal, and his Purviews are Beasts, Darkness, Earth, Fortune and Prosperity.

Bishamon is the Fortune of War and Warriors, and the Punisher of Evil-Doers. He is also called Bishamonten, Tamonten and Vaisravna. He is brother to Kisshoten, and he stands as defender of the laws of the Buddha, one of the Seven Fortunes. He came to Japan from India via China, and formerly wore Chinese armor and wielded a Chinese halberd while carrying a pagoda containing a scroll bearing Buddha's laws. In the Warring States Period, he blessed his most loyal follower, Uesugi Kenshin (the Kanrei of Kanto) with such immense skill in battle that he could not lose, and it took a ninja while he was having his nightly poo poo to kill him. It is said that Bishamon guided the Japanese leaders in the early parts of the Pacific War, but abandoned them after discovering their unclean, anti-Buddhist actions in China. He's never really seemed to recover from that, and for decades, he appeared in the garb of a Buddhist monk. He cares about right action and Buddhist law over all else, but things might be changing for him soon. The past few generations of his Scions have focused on guarding temples, practicing law or being Buddhist priests. However, during the early days of the invasion of Iraq by Coalition forces, one of Bishamon's Scions was revealed when he drove a medical truck full of casualties through a hail of enemy fire and emerged with no one hurt. Bishamon appeared in full JSDF regalia and praised the man. Since then, several more Scions of Bishamon-as-Warrior have been found. Bishamon's Callings are Guardian, Sage and Warrior, and his Purviews are Epic Dexterity, Fortune, Prosperity and War.

Benzaiten is the Fortune of Talent and Eloquence. She is also called Bentensama, Benzaitennyo, Ichikishima-hime-no-mikoto and Ugajin. She began as a Buddhist goddess in India, but soon joined the other Fortunes, making her home by a river that flowed from Mount Meru. She played her biwa and sang, and at first the Kami of the river listened, then the Kami of the land and mountain, and at last all Kami stopped to listen to her beauty. They gifted her with the torii arch and all of the stars in the sky, so impressed were they. Now, Benzaiten continues to inspire all who watch or listen to her, and she grants artists fortune when performing. She often appears as a simple musician in a coffee shop, open mic night or concert, giving an impromptu performance to inspire others. Sometimes, her passion will bring out her other aspect, a goddess of love, and the Kami say that many children are conceived whenever she performs. Her Scions are pretty much all artists of some kind - mostly writing, painting, calligraphy, music or sculpture, but not nearly all. She also has a fair few sex worker or sex therapist Scions, as she sees sex as the greatest of all arts. Benzaiten's Callings are Creator, Lover and Sage, and her Purviews are Beasts (Snake), Artistry, Beauty, Fortune, Fertility and Stars.

Fukorokuju is the Fortune of Longevity and Wisdom. He is also called the Old Man of the South Pole. He is one of the eldest of kami, and the only one who knows the secret of defeating death and restoring life to the dead. When he arrived in Japan, he was already ancient. He is a short man but with a very large, bald head and a few whiskers. He always carries scrolls with him, which contain his secret wisdom, and is often followed by his pets, a deer, turtle and crane. He's gained a reputation, these days, as a dirty old man, and the Kami say he will flirt with just about any Kami. Ama-no-Uzume, however, says he knows what he's doing. To mortals, he often appears as a short or hunchbacked retiree, an old doctor or an aged businessman with a stack of books and a gleam in his eye that says he knows the meaning of life. He has many Scions, some of them the oldest still living, though new ones are born daily. Many of them work in medical fields, often geriatrics or oncology, or as research scientists of all kinds in medicine and biology. Almost all of them have active sex lives in their free time, but never let it detract from their work. Fukurokuju's Callings are Healer, Lover and Sage, and his Purviews are Beasts (Deer, Turtle, Crane), Epic Stamina, Fortune and Health.

Kisshoten is the Fortune of Beauty and Mercy. She is also called Kichijoten Kudokuten, Lakshmi and Mahasri. She is sister to Bishamon, and she first came to Japan as Lakshmi, but quickly realized she'd have to adapt. She changed her clothes, painted her face and learned the ways of the geisha. Every Kami she met was struck by her kindness and beauty, especially her care for children. Only a fool would call her just a pretty face, as the wise know her beauty is born of her mercy. Today, she is often found caring for the vulnerable, and she is always beautiful. She often works closely with Inari when working at clinics to help women in the sex trade, or with Hotei to aid poor children. Her Scions tend to look amazing, and they are all merciful. They care for the weak more than any others, working hard to find those in need, those most downtrodden, and giving them what they need. Kisshoten's Callings are Guardian, Healer and Lover, and her Purviews are Beauty, Fortune and Health.

Hotei is the Fortune of Joy and Contentment, and the Guardian of Children. He is also known as the Laughing Buddha, the Fat Buddha, Budai and Miroku. He traditionally appears as a Zen monk wearing Buddhist beads, with an exposed belly, a bald head and fat earlobes. His name is from the sack he carries, which has within it whatever the person he is helping most needs. Usually, that's candy or small gifts for the kids that follow him wherever he goes, whom he always protects from harm. A Zen story says that as Hotei was traveling, a monk recognized him and asked him the meaning of Zen. Hotei dropped his bag. The monk than asked him how one realizes Zen. Hotei picked up his bag and went on his way. Scions have reported meeting Hotei across the entire world, often as a friendly, fat and bald man. Wherever he goes, he is smiling and helping kids. While his Scions don't always share his appearance, they share his ability to find the good anywhere. Many work in service industries, as volunteers or even as monks, nuns or priests. A very special group of them is in child protective services or working as foster parents, to take care of kids others don't. Hotei's callings are Guardian, Liminal and Sage. His Purviews are Chaos, Fortune, Journeys and Passion (Joy).

Next time: Takamagahara and how to Kami.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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





FRIENDS DON'T LET FRIENDS HAVE NOSTALGIA

Hi again. How are you? I am fine, thank you for asking. Today we're here to sink our teeth into the latest edition of Paranoia, a series that's pretty near and dear to my heart. My first ever F&F was an awful rambling screed about how much I enjoyed the Internal Security expansion for the 25th anniversary edition and the newest version of Paranoia doesn't really get talked about much, so I figured hey, why not!

It's bad.

See you next time! I should probably finish something I'm working on.






Okay but seriously it isn't good, to which a reasonable RPG fan of taste would say "duh?". And that reasonable fan of taste would be correct! Always approach some Kickstarted tabletop games with a healthy degree of skepticism and questions you'd like answered before you give any credit card info. The problem is that I'm dumb as hell, saw Paranoia and immediately decided "I WANT IT".

I like Paranoia a whole lot. It is by far one of my favorite games and settings; I knew about the setting back in the far-off time of 2005 when I was a lovely teen who listened to Iron Maiden and a lot of heavy British rock-metal and read a lot of web comics. I knew more about Paranoia before I ever really paid attention to D&D and certain editions of Paranoia (okay let's be honest, XP) continue to be up there in my heart and mind. It helped that I had taken a gigantic shine to Orwell's 1984 due to high school lit classes and I was a lovely teen who was a huge fan of social satire but also dumb enough to not be picky about my consumption of media and what was good media. Anyway I'm getting a little too long in the tooth. The point is that I liked the world of Alpha Complex, the absurdity and the bureaucracy and the clones struggling against the system. You go find trouble and shoot it.

This is probably the groggiest you're ever gonna see me be. Don't mix nostalgia and hobbies, that only makes it worse when something ain't great.

In 2004 Mongoose got access to the Paranoia license and came up with Paranoia XP with most of the original crew from West End Games writing XP. 25th Anniversary came out in 2009 and Mongoose pulled all the remaining books and PDFs for XP. They did the same thing again in 2014 for Paranoia Rebooted (I'm calling it this due to a lack of a more proper name to my knowledge). I wasn't able to get some of the books I was looking for and I recognized one name attached to the Kickstarter (I like Grant Howitt's stuff) so I figured "an update? Sure, why not".

It's bad. Let's find out how it's bad.

PARANOIA REBOOTED

Core Rebooted is called Red Clearance edition and comes with a player's handbook, a mission guide, a GM guide, character sheets and a list of cards. That's right, Paranoia now requires cards to do stuff. O brave new world, That has such design choices in't! I joke but hoo doggy there are some Changes. We'll be starting with the player's handbook, then the cards, then the GM guide and ending with the mission guide. There is no good starting point 'cuz none of it is good but let's do this all authentic-like, starting with the player perspective before shifting into the GM Zone.

PLAYER'S HANDBOOK



Okay I'm lying, there are small pieces of things I like. I really like the minimalist artwork for this cover. It's really nice and striking and prepare for this design aesthetic to never be used again. I'm going to be using the eyeball art up top (which I made myself and it shows) for this entire rundown because otherwise the header art is going to be this:



but it has a different subtitle each time for each book. Speaking of art. There is a new art style for Paranoia and I am. Not a fan.



Like, just.


All of the art is tilted at an angle through the book and they all have those beady little eyes with the dot pupils and just ugh, a friend compared them to Cracked article art and he's super not wrong and I hate that he's right.

Ugh. I don't know why this was the art style they went with? It's weird. There are many weird and questionable decisions I don't understand because I stopped paying attention to updates when they went a few years over in production. Also: you may notice pun names are back. They never went away but now they're officially back.

Section One: How To Be A Troubleshooter

Or more accurately, how to read your character sheet. Let's take a look and go over some core terminologies.



In contrast to previous editions, Rebooted cuts Skills and Stats way back, a decision I don't disagree with. Health and damage has also been simplified. Let's get a little detail though.
  • Personality is actually a somewhat important thing that has some more explanation in character creation.
  • Treason Stars are the replacement for treason points. They basically act like stars in GTA and everyone can see how many stars you have. Hit 5 and everyone has a free license to murder you. There are problems with the treason system we'll get into later.
  • XP Points involve a whole system that is, uh, badly designed. I haven't hated a XP system in a while the way I feel about how this handles XP.
  • Stats range from 0-4 with 4 being the best you can be.
  • Skills range from -5 to +5. The skill system is weird and took me a bit to understand how exactly negative point skills function but it sure was a design decision. "Alpha Complex" refers to knowing details about the Complex like floor plans and important people/features, "Operate" involves using heavy machinery and "Engineer" involves building/tinkering with machinery. It's hard to tell but the lines beneath the skills are for skills you possibly pick up somewhere along the line.
  • Moxie is both Fate Points and Sanity Meter. Yeah.
  • Memory has to do with the fact that clone brains are much more machine than they ever were. The standard MemoMax system of black-boxed memories and PDC smart phones are out the window. The brain of a clone now hosts enough networked hardware to allow their eyes to act as cameras and their grey matter as computers. Memory indicates things installed on your clone's brain such as desktop backgrounds, targeting software and neurochemistry-stabilizing happiness programs.
CHARACTER CREATION

This is the part where knew that I would hate this game.

quote:

Every group of players will have a dynamic with friendships, likes and dislikes, favourites, animosities and simmering resentments. A party of characters should have a similar dynamic and most character creation systems donít model that at all. So Paranoia has a party-creation system Ė each player builds a character to play in the game, but youíre able to affect the making of other peopleís characters and that creates tensions and links within the group that will transfer into play, all without tearing the group apart in petty feuds and minor incidents of attempted homicide... or at least thatís the plan.
Narrator: It didn't work.

Default character creation is a group-based pre-game affair either as a session zero or right before you launch into the meat of play. Creation is broken down into six steps: Define, Skills, Stats, Optimizing, Details, Redefine. But first, a sidebar on gender and identity in Alpha Complex.



I legitimately appreciate the first part, even if it's wrapped up in a bit of bad wry humor. The second part I'm not so sure about. The entire sidebar is a pretty important and inclusive statement to make and then they undercut the sentiment with a cheap joke about gay sex. The first half of this sidebar is actually the thing I appreciate the most about this new edition and even then I would super love it if it was not attached to this game. Anyway, it's fine to make a character you're comfortable with and that's good because the rest of character creation is uncomfortable especially if you do this in group-mode.

Define

Pick a name, appearance and gender. We'll be playing along at home so our sample Troubleshooter will be Karen-R-SLN-1, agender masculine, he/him/his pronouns, androgynous but athletic body. There is no pun name here, we're doing this old-school. Write three adjectives under personality that describe your character. Generally speaking they will be positive ones. For example: Karen is Tenacious, Tough and Attentive.

Skills
  • The player (A) to the left of the GM gets to pick a skill they get at level 1.
  • The player on their left (B) receives that same skill at a -1 before selecting another skill which C then gets at a -1.
  • Each skill can only be chosen once a round and you are not allowed to select a skill you already have a rating for.
  • Quote: "Keep going round the group, slowly building the simmering resentments Ė ĎWhat do you mean, Iíve got a negative guns skill?í until everyone has one +1 and one -1 skill. Donít worry, simmering resentments are good! Interesting stories arise from conflict, so anything that is going to provoke conflict is good."
  • Repeat until everyone has five positive and five negative skills. Some skills will end up being zero even with a large crew of players.
It's an understatement to say this has some issues. Fostering a negative atmosphere between the players and depriving them of the chance to have a good angle with where their character is going is an inexplicable and bone-headed idea. I have mentioned this method to some people in the past year and it's invariably compared to Wraith: the Oblivion with good cause. Personally, I will never not compare it to 50 turn game of Mario Party: you don't win, you endure it and try to figure out where exactly it's going. Also let's be honest here: people will absolutely try to snap up the Violence skills ASAP so they know they have something they're good at when poo poo hits the fan.

Karen's skills:
  • Athletics 0, Guns 3, Melee 2, Throwing -1
  • Science 1, Psychology -3, Bureaucracy -2, Alpha Complex 5
  • Bluff 0, Charm -5, Intimidate 4, Stealth -4
  • Operate 0, Engineer 0, Program 0, Demolitions 0
Stats

Add up the number of positive skills in each stat group for four numbers and ignore the negatives. In Karen's case, that comes out to 2, 2, 1 and 0. Then the person to your left, the person who you have been repeatedly giving negative skills, selects where those go.

Karen's stats: Violence 0, Brains 2, Chutzpah 2, Mechanics 1.

Optimizing

You have most likely been dealt a bad hand in two different forms. Now you can mutilate your character to get what you actually want. Skills can be raised by permanently reducing your total Moxie pool at a 1:1 exchange for a minimum of 3 maximum Moxie. Stats can be raised by burning clones with a 1:1 exchange down to starting play on clone #6. Can't raise a Stat above 3, can't raise a skill above 5. The game fully admits that spending too much Moxie at this stage is a bad idea. No poo poo. It's your Sanity Meter. Burning your clones is also a particularly dumb idea. I will be doing neither of these.

Details

Find out your clearance. The GM then passes out a Secret Society card and a Mutant Power card to each player. Some cards are blank. It is completely possible to actually play Paranoia without a mutant power or being in a secret society. We're just going to ignore this for now because, well, that's a whole other kettle of fish. Troubleshooters also get a Red jumpsuit and a Red laser pistol. Please note how I did not say "Red Reflec armor and a laser pistol without a barrel". Write this down for the test later.

Redefine

The player to your left, who you have been loving over, gets to flip one of your positive adjectives into an antonym or some kind of opposite. The recipient of the flip is allowed to try to bribe the flipper using in-game resources and favors. I don't know why you would because this legitimately has no mechanical bearings. For the sake of Karen, let's say Attentive gets flipped to Inattentive. He daydreams a lot and has to be pointed at problems that need breaking.



Now, the terrible truth: I clearly didn't design Karen in a group setting. I designed him using the optional Solo Character Creation Rules. These come right after the group creation rules but the game admits "they are not nearly as fun as using group play, but I mean, like, I guess you can use these, sorta, maybe, if you don't like the original rules, but they're not as fun! C'mon. C'moooooon. C'mooooooon."


Honey, please, mind your goddamn tone.

Solo Character Creation Rules
  • Define remains the same.
  • Skills are hand-selected. Five have positive rankings, five have negative.
  • Stats are calculated using the same means (tally the amount of positive skills) but instead of choosing where they go they're shifted over one to the left. The score resulting from Violence goes to Brains, Brains goes to Chutzpah, etc.
  • Optimizing remains unchanged.
  • Details remains unchanged.
  • Redefine is done by the GM who gets to pick one adjective to flip.
Which is, honestly, a pretty fair and fine way to go about it. Can you game the system? Sure. Do you necessarily want to? Well maybe if you feel like having someone who is both incredibly good with guns and a mechanical whiz. The point is. The game takes this incredibly antagonistic and toxic character creation system and plops it down in front of you, the players, and says "THIS IS HOW IT IS! loving DEAL WITH IT! IT'S FUN AND YOU LIKE IT!". Then it very sheepishly slides out another system and mumbles meekly "but uh if you don't like it I guess there's this but y'know please try the first one, I'm sorry I'm being blustery and boisterous, I really do think you'd like group creation, b-but I understand if you want solo...".

The book keeps doing this and the tone makes it infuriating. I can handle there being Options. Options are fine, it's always better than being inflexible with your design process. The problem is that Option 1 is always posited as being the Best thanks to tone and Option 2 always feels like an afterthought. It reads like an obvious edit or emotional manipulation that's swinging between "HOW loving DARE YOU WANT SOMETHING DIFFERENT" or "I am apologizing and one sniffle away from crying so please take pity and accept this other option" at all times. I understand none of the design decisions behind this besides "we liked the pithy humor of Paranoia and this is our attempt at emulating it".

Which is a well I will keep returning to over and over. It reads the humor on a surface level and utterly fails at encapsulating understanding of the humor like your younger brother after watching comedians from the 90s. The jokes of "but we're great game designers" in XP and earlier editions was always written with the subtext of "we're taking the piss out of ourselves" due to phrasing and the fact that there were many forms of character creation (point buy, random rolling, assigned stats) that were used to cover the bases. This system is legitimately designed to foster animosity and negativity at the table before play starts and then the writing comes across as infuriatingly smug due to the context.

THOUGHTS

I really only have two thoughts to share at this juncture. One is a glimpse of the failing of mechanical design to come and the other is an indication of the kind of game they're selling to you.

First is the fact that the previous editions of Paranoia had a small but significant rule. All Troubleshooters go to training to know how to use their guns. In XP this is reflected as a mandatory +4 to Energy Weapons with no downside attached, it's a free buff. XP is a roll-under system and you're pretty likely to have 7s in a lot of skills. Having one skill give you a little bit of a fair shake at using it is great, especially because it's giving you one relatively reliable thing for you and the party to do: resort to violence, blast the poo poo out of your problems.

Rebooted does not do that. It's generally a crapshoot what you'll be able to do unless you go solo or manage to pick one of the skills you want to be good at. You're not guaranteed to have the fallback of violence, which is an issue when this is a game that relies heavily on combat as we will shortly see.

Second is the fact that Paranoia has...a mood. Some of it depends on what mode you're playing, but the general feel of Paranoia is to look out for your best interests, seize advantages and occasionally take a pie to the face for your scheming and self-serving. This is a tone that's repeatedly expressed either in passing or said to your face. You want to be smart and scheming but you want to have fun with it.

Rebooted does not have that mood. From the word go it's a far more hostile "everyone else is a fucker and I hate them" atmosphere. They try to put it in this veneer of "we're fostering competition!". I have seen games like Diplomacy or Catan or other less actively aggrandizing games whip people into a cold, calculated rage or a red-faced screaming fury. I have seen Pathfinder Society turn into a shouting match. Any game that intentionally rubs people against each other for pre-adventure chafing and agitation will set the mood of genuine hostility for the session to come and that's a pretty dangerous thing to do. And this is the game they want to sell you on. Will every group crash and burn? Probably not. At the very least it's an annoyance. And that's still not a great foot to start on.

Next time: Mechanics, where the regretful decisions continue and we understand how exactly the game functions.

Hostile V fucked around with this message at 16:09 on Mar 24, 2018

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Well, this is a fantastic example of how not to write comedy games, it seems.

Which is helpful! I'm working on a comedy game right now!

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.

I actually kinda like the Paranoia reboot art so far. It reminds me of the art in those safety pamphlets you find on airplanes, which I think is appropriate for the setting.

BinaryDoubts
Jun 6, 2013

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


Paranoia is one of the few RPGs I have genuine nostalgia for. I remember reading the Paranoia corebook while I was in high school until the binding got ragged and it started falling apart. I ran a short-lived campaign where I used a different system in every session since the Paranoia XP system was massively overcomplicated for a game about shooting your friends.

(It's loving unaccceptable that you can not get a secret society and/or mutant power!)

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





BinaryDoubts posted:

Paranoia is one of the few RPGs I have genuine nostalgia for. I remember reading the Paranoia corebook while I was in high school until the binding got ragged and it started falling apart. I ran a short-lived campaign where I used a different system in every session since the Paranoia XP system was massively overcomplicated for a game about shooting your friends.

(It's loving unaccceptable that you can not get a secret society and/or mutant power!)
I had the same problem... including the book falling apart!

Paranoia seems like one of the few systems where random rolling for abilities in some form would make perfect sense. Much like Jojo's Bizarre Adventure, you'll be succeeding through eccentric use of whatever bullshit you have anyway. I remember in XP there was something with the access stat, where it was explicitly "if you have a little, you have a small chance of exercising it at great cost. If you have a lot, you can constantly flex it without penalties or risk!"

Ratoslov
Feb 15, 2012

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



I think this is my least favorite character creation system ever.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




BinaryDoubts posted:

(It's loving unaccceptable that you can not get a secret society and/or mutant power!)
What?

Part of the joke with Paranoia was that literally everybody in the entire loving complex was both in a secret society and a mutant!

BinaryDoubts
Jun 6, 2013

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


For what it's worth, I like the idea of having part of your character be decided by other players. Hell, I even did something similar in the little hack I wrote for playing Paranoia. That said, it seems like almost too much here - in a system where you are usually assigned gear, missions, powers, factions, and more by the GM, you really do want to be able to define most of your character's core attributes.

edit: also the old art is so much better. (I might be a Paranoia grog, if such a thing exists?)

hectorgrey
Oct 14, 2011


drat, this bit took a while to write. Annoying thing about D&D combat is that if you want a good idea of how it works, there's very little that can easily be skipped. Also, while it's fun to engage in, and hopefully at least interesting to read about, it was really loving dull to write about. Ah well; at least I don't really need to describe each individual spell, so I'm actually nearly done with the PHB.

So my question now is this: would people prefer I go directly into the DMG, or would a detour into the Monster Manual be appropriate? The Monster Manual will take less time to write about, since pretty much all I'm likely to do is mention what some of the special abilities are and describe a couple of the more interesting monsters, and I'm considering doing a worked adventure example with the guidance given in the DMG as part of the writeup, which would be easier if I've already covered at least some of the lower level monsters.

D&D 3rd Edition - The Core Books

Part 5: Combat

Now we come to the combat system of D&D 3e. The chapter begins with an extend example of combat that I will quote here, with some rules explanations in between if they seem appropriate.

Setup posted:

Tordek, the dwarven fighter, Mialee, the elven wizard, Jozan, the human cleric of Pelor, and Lidda, the halfling rogue, are in a ten foot wide dungeon corridor at a door. Tordek is making Strength checks to try to break it down. The DM asks the players to tell him where their characters are. Tordek is in front of the door. Lidda and Jozan are to either side of it, and Mialee is behind Jozan. The players are playing with minatures, so they arrange their miniatures in a line: Lidda, tordek, Jozan and Mialee.

The DM looks at his notes, rolls some dice, and determines that a gang of four orc marauders has arrived, having heard Tordek banging against the door. The orcs have come around the corner of a T-shaped intersection at the end of the corridor. They're 50 feet away from the door, so they're 40 feet away from Mialee, 45 feet away from Jozan, 50 feet away from Tordek and 55 feet away from Lidda.

The orcs know that the adventurers are there. The DM needs to know who among the adventurers is aware of the orcs. Those who are caught unaware will be surprised. The DM asks each player to make a Listen check (DC 9). Jozan and Lidda succeed; Tordek and Mialee fail.

So yeah; fairly average start of a fight. The players were making a little too much noise, and so attracted some orcs (presumably from an area they hadn't explored yet). Not the best tactical situation (the mage is up front, and the tank is towards the back), but not all is currently lost.

Surprise Round posted:

During the surprise round, only the characters who are aware of their enemies can act, and each takes only a partial action. The orcs, Jozan and Lidda all act during the surprise round.

The DM asks Jozan and Lidda's players to make initiative checks. Jozan's initiative modifier is -1 (the same as his Dexterity penalty). Lidda's is +7 (+3 for her Dexterity bonus and +4 for her Improved Initiative). They get 7 and 19 as their initiative results. The DM rolls for all four orcs (+0) and gets a result of 11. The order of the battle during the surprise round is Lidda first, followed by the orcs, followed by Jozan.

The DM calls on Lidda's player. Lidda recognises the bloody eye symbols painted on the orcs' shields. The symbol identifies them as marauders. She steps to one side to get a clear line of sight past her friends and shoots a crossbow bolt at one of the orcs. Lidda's attack bonus with a crossbow is +4 (+0 base attack bonus, +3 Dexterity bonus, +1 size bonus). The orc is 55 feet away, well under the light crossbow's range increment of 80 feet. Lidda therefore suffer's no range penalty. Even though the orc is flat-footed, Lidda can't sneak attack it because it is more than 30 feet away.

Lidda's player rolls a 17 for an attack result of 21, well over the orc's AC of 16. She rolls 1d8 for damage and gets a 3. The orcs have 4 hit points each, so the wounded orc has 1 hit point left. "He staggers," says the DM, "but he doesn't fall."

Then it is the orcs' turn. Two orcs have javelins, and they throw them. The DM decides that the two javelins head towards Mialee, 40 feet away. Javelins have a range increment of 30 feet. The targets are located more than one range increment and less than two range increments away, for a range penalty of -2. So, the orcs have a -2 attack penalty with their javelins (+0 base attack bonus, +2 Dexterity bonus, +0 size bonus, -2 range penalty).

Mialee's AC is usually 13 (due to a +3 Dexterity bonus), but she can't use her Dexterity bonus while she's flat-footed, so her AC right now is 10. Rolling for the orcs, the DM gets an 18 and a 13 for results of 16 and 11. that means both javelins aimed at her hit. The orcs deal 1d6+2 points of damage with their javelins (1d6 for the javelin, +2 Strength bonus), so the DM rolls 2d6+4 and gets a result of 12 points of damage. Mialee is knocked from 7 hit points to -5. She falls to the stone floor, unconscious and dying.

Then Jozan takes his action. He is next to Mialee already. He reaches down and casts cure minor wounds on her. Her hit points rise to -4, and she is no longer dying. If he had not cured her, she would probably have lost another hit point at the end of the round.

With that, the surprise round ends.

Well, that went downhill fast - in older editions, Mialee's player would be rolling up a new character at this point. Mialee either has the toughness feat or a 16 Constitution (meaning she would have had to roll an 18), but a couple of javelins will still ruin her day. Cure Minor Wounds is a Level 0 spell that heals one point of damage - since that's the minimum magical healing needed to stop someone dying, it's not a bad option (particularly since she'd need at least 6 points of healing to actually get back into the fight).

First Regular Round posted:

The DM asks Tordek's player to make an initiative check because he's the only conscious character who hasn't done so. He gets a 14, so he goes after Lidda and before the orcs. The order of battle is: Lidda, Tordek, orcs, Jozan (Mialee is unconscous and can't take an action).

On her turn, Lidda fires another crossbow bolt, but she misses. She drops her crossbow and switches to her short sword (rather than reloading her crossbow).

Then Tordek moves 15 feet to get between the orcs and Mialee (the orcs are 50 feet away from him; too far for him to reach them and attack, even with a charge). The corridor is too wide (10 feet) for him to keep the orcs from getting past him, but he will at least get an attack of opportunity on any single orc that tries it.

On their attack, the orcs are 35 feet away from tordek. That's within charging range (they can charge 40 feet). The two orcs with battleaxes in hand charge and attack. In a 10 feet wide corridor, only two can fight side by side. The other two in the back ready their actions and wait to get in. One orc could try to move past Tordek so another orc could get at him, but then Tordek would get an attack of opportunity on the first orc.

The orcs have a +4 attack bonus on their attack rolls with their battleaxes (+0 base attack bonus, +2 Strength bonus, +2 charge bonus). Tordek's AC is 17 (+4 armour bonus, +2 shield bonus, +1 Dexterity bonus), and neither charging orc hits him. "Their battleaxes clang against your shield and armour," says the DM, "and you can feel the strength behind their blows, but you're not hurt."

Jozan casts cure light wounds (his first level domain spell) on Mialee. That spell restores 1d8+2 hit points to Mialee, but Jozan's player rolls a 1 for a result of only 3 hit points cured. Mialee's hit points rise to -1, but that's not enough to get her back on her feet.

Well, from a round where basically everything happened to a round where basically nothing happened. Still, at least the orcs weren't able to finish off the wizard due to Tordek's positioning.

Second Regular Round posted:

Lidda steps in next to Tordek and thrusts with her short sword at the orc she wounded with the crossbow bolt. Her attack bonus is +0 (+1 size, -1 Strength), and she misses even though the orc's AC is penalised by -2 because he charged in the previous round.

Tordek swings his dwarven waraxe at the orc in front of him. His attack bonus is +5 (+1 base attack onbus, +2 Strength bonus, +1 Weapon Focus bonus, +1 racial bonus against orcs). He hits the orc in front of him (whose AC is also penalised) and deals 1d10+2 points of damage. His total is 7, which is enough to take the orc out.

Another orc marauder steps over the body of his fallen comrade and swings his battleaxe at Tordek. He hits and deals 1d8+2 points of damage (1d8 for a battleaxe, +2 Strength bonus). Tordek sustains 7 points of damage, and his hit points drop to a 6. He's now hurt badly enough that one more hit could easily drop him.

The orc that Lidda tried to stab curses her for hitting him with a crossbow bolt, swings his battleaxe at her, misses, and curses again.

Jozan, worried that the team could lose its fighter, drops his prepared bless spell to spentaneously cast cure light wounds on Tordek. Jozan's player rolls a 7, for a result of 8 hit points cured. Tordek is now healed back to his original 13 hit points (he only needed 7 of the 8 points of curing).

Third Regular Round posted:

Lidda moves back away from the orc to let Jozan step in. Since Lidda is taking a double move (doing nothing but moving), and since she moves directly away from the orcs, the orcs don't get to make attacks of opportunity against her..

Tordek's player rolls a natural 20 on his attack roll. That's a threat (a possible critical hit). He makes a critical roll (1d20 + his total attack bonus) and the result is 17. Since that would hit the orc, Tordek's hit is a critical hit. Dwarven waraxes deal 1d10 damage on a normal hit and x3 damage on critical hits, so Tordek's player rolls 3d10. He gets a result of 19 points of damage, which is more than enough to kill the orc instantly.

The last orc steps in to attack Tordek. He swings and misses. The orc that had been attacking Ledda also attacks Tordek and misses.

Jozan steps in next to Tordek with his heavy mace, hits the orc that Lidda had wounded, and downs it.

Now only one orc is left, and he's 10 feet away from Tordek and Jozan.

So, that happened. This being a first level party, Tordek is easily the most reliably dangerous member of the group. At higher levels that would change, but currently the Fighter kicks rear end. Jozan was able to help Tordek to do his job, but was not yet able to outshine him at it.

Fourth Regular Round posted:

Lidda darts between Tordek and Jozan and swings at the orc, but she misses.

Tordek moves up and swings, but also misses.

The orc takes a double move and moves 25 feet back to the T-shaped intersection and 15 feet around the corner. Since this action involved only movement and the orc moved away from Tordek and Lidda without entering another area threatened by them, they do not get attacks of opportunity against him.

Jozan and Lidda each can run as fast as the orc. They might be able to catch him. but Tordek can't keep up and Mialee is still unconscious, so they let him go.

And yeah - the very first combat example involves the last enemy legging it, showing that enemies might not necessarily fight to the death.

That out of the way, the book explains the actual rules. Your attack bonus with a melee weapon is your base attack bonus, + your Strength modifier, + any size modifier. With a ranged weapon, replace Strength with Dexterity and add a range modifier. Damage, meanwhile, is a damage die, added to your strength modifier for melee weapons and certain ranged weapons. Even if your modifiers bring your total damage to 0, the total damage before damage resistance is still 1.

Multiplying damage multiplies the number of dice and all of the bonuses. It does not, however, multiply extra dice, such as those granted by sneak attack or flaming weapons.

Finally, ability scores can be damaged; temporarily reducing the score, and potentially reducing the associated modifier.

Armour Class (AC) is 10 + bonus from armour + bonus from shield + Dexterity modifier + size modifier. Touch attacks ignore the bonus from armour and shields, while if you're flat footed you lose your Dexterity modifier and any dodge modifiers. This means that while a Wizard's BAB is pretty low, they can still accurately hit people with spells that require attack rolls.

The game then describes hit points, speed and saving throws. Odds are, you're familiar with how all these work, but in case you're not, hit points are an abstract measure of fighting ability. At exactly 0, you become disabled, which allows you to either move or attack, but you take a point of damage if you attack. At -1 to -9, you're unconscious and dying. At -10, you're straight up dead. Speed is how far you can move in a single action, and saving throws are general rolls to represent toughness, reflexes and willpower as means of avoiding harm from stuff that will hit you pretty much regardless of what you do (such as the explosion from a Fireball spell).

During the surprise round, you get a partial action - this means you can either take a move action or a standard action, but unlike in normal combat you cannot take both. In regular combat, you get a standard action and a move action, or a full round action which takes both. You can multiple free actions on your turn (though the DM might decide that something isn't a free action if it logically shouldn't be - speaking is a free action on your turn, but reciting Shakespeare clearly isn't). You also get a single attack of opportunity each round - or more than one if you have Combat Reflexes. Certain actions will provoke attacks of opportunity, such as casting a spell, searching through your backpack for a potion or using a ranged weapon. A character armed with a melee weapon threatens any area they can attack - someone with a sword threatens a five foot radius around themselves, while someone with a longspear threatens a ring five to ten feet away from themselves, but not the area right next to them. Moving through or out of a threatened area provokes, unless the character is moving directly away from the threatening character and is not doing anything but move that round (you can move twice your movement speed, but you cannot run).

This is also where it is noted that a natural 20 always hits and always threatens a critical hit, and a natural 1 always misses with attack rolls. Note that there is no such thing as a fumble here; it's just a miss. Also, note that while this applies to saving throws and attack rolls, it does not apply to skill rolls.

After describing the above, it then moves onto casting spells. To cast a spell with a verbal component, you must speak in a clear, firm voice - you cannot whisper your spells. Somatic components likewise require a free hand and room to manoeuvre it. Material components or focuses must be easily to hand - if you don't have a pouch for your components, then you're going to have to go digging through your backpack for them before you get to start casting. Some spells require concentration to keep them going - concentrating on a spell is a standard action, but it doesn't provoke an attack of opportunity. If you take damage while casting the spell (or while concentrating on maintaining it) you must make a Concentration skill check of DC 10 + damage dealt + spell level or else the spell just fizzles (you still lose the prepared spell or the spell slot). You can choose to cast defensively to avoid provoking an attack of opportunity, but this requires a Concentration check of DC 15 + spell level or else the spell fizzles as before.

At early levels, this can make spell casting rather dangerous in enclosed spaces, because someone might get close enough to threaten attacks of opportunity. At higher levels, however, it isn't that difficult to get your Concentration skill high enough that you literally cannot fail to cast defensively. One of the best options against a spell caster is to grapple them - many spell casters neglect to prepare a stilled Freedom of Movement (or even to take Still Spell in the first place), since the Concentration DC while grappled is 20 + spell level, and if it has a somatic component, it simply cannot be cast.

Touch spells require a melee touch attack to hit; as mentioned before, this is a regular melee attack, except you ignore armour and shield since touching the armour works just as well as touching bare skin. Ray spells require a ranged touch attack. When you cast a touch spell, you can cast, move and touch all in the same round, and you can move between casting and touching. Alternatively, you can hold onto the spell and touch someone with it later on - so long as you don't touch anything with that hand, the charge will remain there. Inflict Light Wounds makes for an excellent knuckle duster, and yes, you can in fact cast cure light wounds from a distance before moving closer to apply it.

This is the point where the book goes into more detail about partial actions: basically, you can take a standard or a move action, but not both and not a full round action. You can, however, start a full round action and finish it the following round. This is useful if you're down to 0 hit points, for example, and still want to load a heavy crossbow (full round action). Also, as a standard action, you can choose to go total defence - this means that you can still move, but you can't attack, and you get a +4 dodge bonus to your AC. Useful if you're a Wizard stood next to something big and nasty.

Then we get to serious injury. If you go below 0 hit points and have your wounds treated, every hour you have a 10% chance of regaining consciousness. Even if you are still unconscious, natural healing occurs as normal, and you will wake up when you reach 1 hit point or higher if you haven't already by that point. If you stabilise by yourself and don't receive any treatment, you still have a 10% chance every hour of regaining consciousness, but if you don't, you lose a hit point, and natural healing doesn't happen. Once you regain consciousness, every day you have a 10% chance of natural healing beginning; if it doesn't, you lose a hit point. Once natural healing begins (assuming you don't die first), you are no longer in danger of losing further hit points (though your HP might still be in the negatives for a little while). How does natural healing work, you ask? Simply put, you rest. A full day of non-strenuous activity gives you one hit point per character level of healing. Complete bed rest for a full day gives your your level and a half of healing. For ability damage, light activity heals one point, and complete bed rest heals two. Resting in the middle of a dungeon? That nets you sweet gently caress all.

Beyond this we get some tactical advice, such as fighting in positions where fewer enemies can get to you, flanking where possible, and generally being smart about where you stand. Also, it discusses which kinds of characters you can pass through the spaces of - you can pass through the space of an ally or a fallen enemy without provoking an attack of opportunity, and may attempt a tumble check to pass through an enemy's space to do the same. If a creature is at least three sizes larger or smaller than you, then you can pass through its space too - a gnome can quite easily run between a cloud giant's legs, while a cloud giant can quite easily step over a gnome. This does provoke an attack of opportunity though.

We also get a table of size categories, and roughly how large those creatures are. A great red wyrm (basically, the oldest of the red dragons) takes up a space on the map of 8x16 5' squares (40'x80'), while a horse takes up 1x2 squares (5'x10').

Next we move onto combat modifiers. These include such things as invisibility (+2 to hit), having the high ground (+1 to hit - which might explain how Obi Wan got a crit after Anikin failed his Tumble roll), a prone defender (+4 to hit in melee, but -4 to hit at range), cover and concealment. Cover is part of the reason why a doorway is a good place to fight - if it's five feet wide, then only three enemies (assuming there aren't any behind you) can get to you at once - one in front, and one to each side of that one. The one in front of you attacks as normal, but you get half cover vs the ones to each side.

Cover goes from a quarter (+1 to reflex saves and +2 to AC; waste high walls count for this), a half (+2 to reflex saves and +4 to AC; fighting around a corner grants this), three quarters (+3 to reflex saves and +7 to AC; peering around a corner grants this), nine tenths (being behind an arrow slit or peering through a barely open door grants this; +10 to AC, +4 to reflex saves, and you only take half damage if you fail the save; none if you succeed), and total cover (you're on the other side of a solid stone wall; they can't attack you). Half cover is also granted by a person of your own size - if a shot misses you by the amount of AC given by the cover, then if the attack roll would be enough to hit the person giving you cover they take the damage instead of you.

Concealment, on the other hand, gives a flat percentage chance to miss because of concealment. Moderate darkness, light fog or light foliage gives a quarter concealment, for a 10% chance to miss. A blur spell or dense fog gives half conealment, for a 20% miss chance. Dense foliage gives three quarters concealment, for a 30% miss chance, near total darkness gives nine tenths concealment, for a 40% miss chance, and invisibility or total darkness give total concealment, for a 50% miss chance, assuming you even guess the right location for where the target is.

Now, we come to helpless defenders. You know the common complaint given about d20 by people who don't actually understand how it works; how if you tie a level 20 Fighter naked to a chair, you still have to stab them about a million times to kill them? As you might have guessed from the above, that's not entirely accurate. A helpless target is treated as though they have a Dexterity of 0 for the purposes of AC (for a -5 Dexterity penalty in place of whatever their bonus would be). Naturally, a Rogue can use their sneak attack against a helpless foe. A melee attack against such a foe also gets a +4 bonus to hit, though a ranged attack doesn't. If you have the time to use a full round action, you can do a coup de grace (pronounced coo duh grass - the e at the end means that the final consonent is pronounced) - this is an automatic critical hit, and the Rogue gets their sneak attack. If the target survives the damage, they must then make a fortitude save of DC 10 + damage dealt or just die on the spot.

Now, a level 20 Fighter is unlikely to fail this save if a Strength 8 Wizard does this with a dagger. However, this can be explained by the Wizard not really knowing where best to stick a knife, and not being quite strong enough to get past dense muscle and such. It's also worth noting that a level 20 Fighter is already capable of superhuman feats, so surviving a cut throat (something real human beings have done for a surprising amount of time) isn't exactly unreasonable. A Rogue with a shortsword, on the other hand, might be rolling 12d6 for that damage, giving the Fighter a much higher DC to save against.

Sometimes it's actually useful to have a lower initiative score - this is where delaying comes in. If you want to see what someone else is going to do before you act, you can delay until after they have gone. You lower your initiative count to one lower than theirs, and then you take your turn at that time. Your initiative then remains at that lower count for the rest of the fight. Of course, sometimes it is useful to be able to say "If the orc moves into view, I shoot them"; this is what readying an action is for. Basically, you can only ready a partial action (such as a single attack or move). You specify what you're going to do and what is going trigger that response; then if it happens at some point before your next turn, you get to interrupt whatever is happening to perform the action, before whoever was taking their turn gets to finish their turn. From then on, your initiative count is treated as the count on which you acted. While this is more restrictive than delaying an action, readying allows you to interrupt someone else's action, while delaying doesn't. The final action that modifies initiative is refocusing. Basically, you take a full round action to assess the situation, and from then on you treat your initiative as if you rolled a natural 20. Honestly, I'm not sure how useful this is - I mean, even if you go last in any given combat round, that's basically the same as going first in the next one anyway.

Finally, we have special attacks and damage. This section begins with Subdual damage (renamed in 3.5 to non-lethal damage, because frankly that's just a better name for it). The way subdual damage works is that if you receive more of it than you have hit points, you fall unconscious. This might happen from receiving more subdual damage, or if lethal damage takes your hit points below the amount of subdual damage you've taken. Healing magic heals both hit points and subdual damage (so if you receive four points of healing, you heal four points of each). Unarmed attacks deal subdual damage. If you want to deal subdual damage with a weapon that normally deals lethal damage, or lethal damage with a weapon that normally deals subdual damage, you take a -4 penalty to hit to represent using the weapon in a way that it wasn't intended. Subdual damage heals naturally at a rate of one point per hour.

Aiding another person isn't only something you do with skills; you can also do this in combat. As a standard action, you can make an attack roll vs AC 10. On a hit, you can either give an ally a +2 to their AC vs a given target or a +2 to attack that target. You can also use aid another to help an ally under the effect of sleep or hypnotism.

Attacking unattended objects is relatively simple - they have AC 5 + size modifier, hit points, and hardness. Hardness is deducted from damage taken, and when hit points reach 0, the object is ruined. Striking an opponent's weapon or shield provokes an attack of opportunity, and then you both make opposed attack rolls. If you got higher, you hit the weapon; if they got higher, you miss. Items can also be broken; this depends more on construction than material, so a wooden door with a really good lock might be easier to chop down with an axe than to kick open, while an iron door with a crap lock might be easier to force open.

A bull rush involves running into a person to try to force them back. You move into the target's space, provoking an attack of opportunity from anyone threatening the space you were in - attacks made by people who aren't the target have a 25% chance of hitting the target instead. Afterwards, there's an opposed strength check, with size modifiers given, as well as a +2 bonus to you if you charged and a +4 bonus to the target if they're unusually stable (such as if they have more than two legs). If you win, you can push your target back five feet; if you lose, you fall back five feet, going prone if the square is occupied. For every five that you won by, you can keep going, pushing the target back a further five feet and potentially provoking more attacks of opportunity both on your target and yourself.

Disarming provokes an attack of opportunity, and is as simple as an opposed attack roll. The combatant with the larger weapon gets a +4 bonus per difference in weapon size; unarmed counts as tiny. If you succeed and you're unarmed, you get to hold onto the weapon; otherwise it falls to the floor. If you get hit by the attack of opportunity, the attempt is automatically ruined. It's not an awful option against humanoid foes, but to be really useful it does require investing feats into it.

Grappling is relatively simple: there are four stages. Firstly, you provoke an attack of opportunity, even if you normally wouldn't with an unarmed attack. If the attack of opportunity hits, you don't get to grapple. Next, you make a melee touch attack to grab your target. If this fails, you don't get to grapple. Third, you make opposed grapple checks. Your grapple bonus is your BAB + Strength Modifier +/- 4 for every size category larger or smaller than medium. If you lose this, you don't get to grapple. Fourth, you move into your targets space. This provokes attacks of opportunity from anybody other than your target who threatens the square, but they won't prevent grappling.

Once you are grappling, you make an opposed grapple roll on your turn. If you win, you may deal your unarmed damage, you may pin your opponent, you may break a pin that your opponent is holding on an ally (because grappling can involve more than two people), or you may escape the grapple. Alternatively, if you don't expect to win a grapple roll, you can attack with a light weapon while grappling (but not with two weapons), you may cast a spell (so long as it has not somatic components and any material components are close to hand), or you may attempt to use the Escape Artist skill to wriggle free of the grapple.

Next, we have grenade-like attacks. These are a ranged touch attack, and on a miss they land somewhere nearby (1d6 feet away, in a direction indicated by a d8). They generally do splash damage in addition to whatever they do to someone on a direct hit. This is stuff like acid flasks and alchemists fire.

Mounted combat gets a more detailed description next; basically, if you're on horseback and the horse isn't a trained warhorse, it's a DC 20 Ride check to prevent the horse from panicking. This takes a move action. Your mount goes on your initiative, and acts separately to you. If it moves more than five feet, you only get a single attack that round - charging is often your best option on horseback. Ranged attacks from horseback come with attack penalties if the horse moves too quickly. If you're casting spells, then you can have your mount move before you cast, after, or both. If you pick both, it's a DC 10 + spell level Concentration check to successfully cast the spell. If your mount falls in combat, you need to make a DC 15 Ride check to avoid taking a d6 of falling damage; if you fall unconscious during combat, then you have a 50% chance of remaining in your saddle (75% with a military saddle), otherwise you fall off and take the d6 falling damage. A riderless horse (or one with an unconscious rider) will try to avoid combat.

You can also attempt to trip a foe. This is a Strength check opposed by the better of the opponent's Strength or Dexterity, with a +4 bonus to the larger creature per size category difference. If you win, your opponent is tripped; if you don't, then your opponent gets the opportunity to try and trip you. You can also try this on a mounted opponent, to pull them from their mount. They may use their Ride skill in place of a Dexterity or Strength check.

When charging, you can attempt to charge through an enemy space. This is called an overrun. The enemy may choose to either let you pass, or try to stop you. If they try to stop you, then you make a trip attempt. If you succeed, you keep moving; if you fail, you were stopped. If you fail and got tripped in turn, you are prone in the defender's space.

Clerics get to turn undead - they make a roll based on their Charisma modifier, and the result determines the number of hit dice the toughest undead they can turn is (from their level -4 to their level +4 in hit dice). After that, they roll "turning damage" to determine how many hit dice of undead they actually turn. Turned undead flee via the fasted route available to them. If they cannot flee, they cower. If you get within ten feet of them, however, they overcome being turned and may act normally again. If you have twice as many levels as the undead have hit dice, instead of being turned they are destroyed. Evil Clerics instead rebuke undead - any undead they would normally turn instead cower in awe, and any they would normally destroy are now under their direct command. They may also bolster undead under their control against being turned in the future. Neutral Clerics choose whether they turn or rebuke undead. This is why Clerics are actually the best necromancers.

Finally, we have unarmed attacks. Unarmed attacks provoke attacks of opportunity from armed foes. Note that a character with Improved Unarmed Strike counts as armed for this purpose - you still deal subdual damage, but you don't provoke attacks of opportunity, and unarmed attacks against you do provoke. Unarmed strikes do subdual damage, and they count as light weapons for the purposes of two weapon fighting and weapon finesse.

And so I have finally got to the end of this chapter. Just a few more to go now - one on general adventuring, one on how spell casting works, and then finally, the spell list. Hopefully they won't take quite so long to write about as this one did...

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!


The Paranoia Rebooted art would be acceptable... except that the older editions, like XP, set such a ridiculously high bar on the art quality, which just absolutely instantly sold you on both the setting and the mood from the word go. (I just looked up the artist for XP, Jim Holloway, and I'm amazed that he hasn't done more stuff, because drat he delivers super-consistent quality for an entire book which doesn't exactly skimp on the art.)

The Rebooted art is just... yeah... it feels kind of soulless and copypasted.

Loxbourne
Apr 6, 2011

Tomorrow, doom!
But now, tea.

Night10194 posted:

They take no penalties from Chapter because Marine chapters aren't allowed to have actual weaknesses in the official fluff.

This isn't just snark. Interviews with Fantasy Flight developers have made it clear this was a mandate from Games Workshop. Deathwatch apparently had very strict oversight because Space Marines are so central to the 40K brand that GW demanded a veto on anything that might make them look bad. So no weaknesses allowed, and no mechanics that might imply they are less than perfect.

Stuff like this is why I keep saying no, Games Workshop aren't being ironic. They actually believe this poo poo and they want you to believe it too.

Cassa
Jan 29, 2009


PurpleXVI posted:

The Rebooted art is just... yeah... it feels kind of soulless and copypasted.

I can't find it, but I'm sure pretty they remade this gag and it was the worst.

Cassa fucked around with this message at 12:21 on Mar 24, 2018

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Man, that character generation system makes me pine for Amber attribute auctions, and those were the worst.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Loxbourne posted:

This isn't just snark. Interviews with Fantasy Flight developers have made it clear this was a mandate from Games Workshop. Deathwatch apparently had very strict oversight because Space Marines are so central to the 40K brand that GW demanded a veto on anything that might make them look bad. So no weaknesses allowed, and no mechanics that might imply they are less than perfect.

Stuff like this is why I keep saying no, Games Workshop aren't being ironic. They actually believe this poo poo and they want you to believe it too.

I mean the reason I followed up with an example was to show it was the case. Every single Chapter has 'Is master of all aspects of war, but ESPECIALLY master of this one.'

I suspect it's a big reason we almost always made our own chapters.

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010



Lipstick Apathy

hectorgrey posted:

So my question now is this: would people prefer I go directly into the DMG, or would a detour into the Monster Manual be appropriate? The Monster Manual will take less time to write about, since pretty much all I'm likely to do is mention what some of the special abilities are and describe a couple of the more interesting monsters, and I'm considering doing a worked adventure example with the guidance given in the DMG as part of the writeup, which would be easier if I've already covered at least some of the lower level monsters.

I for one would like it if you went into the DMG, because that's really where the bulk of the "no, really, D&D 3rd Edition was about doing old-school dungeon crawling" feel comes through and where I am prepared to die on all the hills possible.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Night10194 posted:

I mean the reason I followed up with an example was to show it was the case. Every single Chapter has 'Is master of all aspects of war, but ESPECIALLY master of this one.'

I suspect it's a big reason we almost always made our own chapters.

To be fair, I can understand the appeal of not having to choose between benefits and drawbacks, just different benefits. That's something I've heard a lot of game designers (video and tabletop) discuss, and I think it's a valid approach.

But when you're discussing something as already over the top and massively hyped up as Space Marines, especially if you're already cynical, I can see how it would be irritating.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Scion: Hero
Cosmological Constants

The Amatsukami, or Heavenly Kami, are officially in charge, and they live in Takamagahara, the High Plain of Heaven. Amaterasu leads them, and very little else is known of the place, because even most Kami never, ever go there. Amaterasu has a palace there, it has rice paddies, it has important buildings. There's a big river that flows through it, but it's been dammed up so that there's enough space for all the Amatsukami to gather when needed. The place is very similar to early Japan, physically, and to get there you have to cross the Heavenly Bridge, which is also the Milky Way. It's along that route, somewhere, that Sarutahiko confronted the Imperial party.

The original land of the dead is Yomi, deep beneath the earth, and only the unclean reside in that place. Susano-O guarded its entrance at Izumo, until he gave the job to Okuninushi. There's said to be a river, and that Yomi is much like the land of the living, except everything is a shadowy, decaying reflection. However, when the Buddhists got syncretized into Japanese beliefs, many more Kami joined the realms of the dead, and the Underworld had to expand. Across the river from Yomi, Jigoku appeared, the Buddhist halls and halls of death. There, those who have not attained enlightenment are punished for their sins in life, and once that's done, they are sent up to be reborn. There are eight hot and eight cold regions, plus a capital city ruled over by Emma-O, who is King Yama. Besides him, there's a ton of demons in all kinds of ranks that help run Jigoku and manage the punishments.

Now, the Kami believe that all things have their proper place in the cycle, but...well, that's not always good. Your place might be an example of what not to do. Several Kami have become so focused on their specific place that they lose sight of balanace and become Titans. It's a path all Kami fear, but it's claimed more than a few. Some of the most notable are Fujin and Raijin, both very old Kami, brothers who protected Japan and the Buddha. Fujin was a master of magic and sailors, but now all he cares for is the blowing wind. He is a huge, green-skinned demon with red hair and a leopardskin loincloth, along with a big sack of wind. Raijin, his brother, became obsessed with the power of lightning, which he had used to protect, and now only uses to destroy. Their Purview is Sky. And, of course, there's Namazu, the catfish, who was once a carp Kami that could shake and get out of anything. Because he could not be trapped, he ate and grew for millenia, eventually gaining a taste for fish in the deepest caverns...where he became too large to fit until he shook himself, broke through, and trapped himself under Japan, causing earthquakes. Now all he wants is to escape, and Takemikazuchi is tasked to stop him. His Purview is Earth.

Shintoism, or the Way of the Gods, is the ancient religion of Japan. Most Japanese would say they're Shinto, but equally take part in some Christian and Buddhist beliefs in the modern day. Shinto is a synchronistic rleigion, and most people in Japan see no problem with religions and beliefs coexisting. It doesn't mean there's no rifts - if the devout Japanese of today had known about the kirishitan Kannon during the era of closed japan, they'd have torn down the shrines and killed the Christians, too. Similarly, there were fights between Buddhism and Shinto at first, with Buddhism winning a lot, until they came to an accord and incorporated each other. The basic principle is the Kannagara, the proper and natural order. This includes an understanding of what is clean or unclean, what is right action, sincerity or duty, and what the proper place for all things is, even outside beliefs and gods. Most Shinto practitioners visit shrines, pray to the Kami, light candles, ring bells and leave small offerings. You can do one, some or all of those - no specific action applies to all Kami, as each is different. Ebisu may not hear the bell, but he'll appreciate your gift of fish, for example.

Creatures of the Kami that might serve Scions include the Komainu, the magical lion dogs that protect temples and shrines, which have a lion-like maned head, a large mouth, bulging eyes, and a dog's body. Followers might include the Kitsune, Inari's magic foxes, whom they use as messengers and advisors. Some are just foxes, while others have multiple tails and can shapeshift. Guides include the Tengu, raven-headed Kami with wings and the body of a man, who live atop secluded mountains and are masters of the sword. They sometimes teach those that earn their respect. The most famous Relics of the Kami are the Yasakani no Magatama beads, which are the symbol of the right to rule the Kami, and which are kept the Kashikodokoro Shrine in the Tokyo Imperial Palace's Three Palace Sanctuaries, the Eight-Hand Mirror or Yata no Kagami, which was used to trick Amaterasu out of her cave but was lost in the 9th century and has the power to show any place or being you want to view, and the Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi, the Grass-Cutting Sword, which Susano-O gave to his sister. Its name comes from when the prince Yamato Takeru used it to free himself from fire by finding it could control the Kami of the air, but he lost the blade soon afterwards.

Understanding how the Kami relate to others means understanding face. Tatemae is the outward face, which is used to preserve harmony in social situations, while honne is thei nner face, or true feelings, which are shared only with family and friends. This is a problem when actions promised under tatemae never happen because of honne. Other pantheons typically find the Kami friendly but frustrating, as the Kami seek to preserve harmony and often agree to things or promise things that they can't or won't do, while the other gods have no idea why they're acting that way. The closest allies they have are the Buddhist and Hindu pantheons via their friendship with the Fortunes, who are the most diplomatic Kami. Many are different Incarnations of each other, and have good working relationships. Kannon also has a direct tie to the Catholic Virgin Mary, via her incarnation for crypto-Christians in the 16-1700s. After that, the Kami get along best with pantheons that have strong ties to nature, such as the Tuatha de Danann.

The biggest weakness of the Kami is their arrogance. They'd never say so in public, of course, but they know they're superior to all other pantheons. Saying it would destroy harmony, so they don't, but they think it's true. None work harder than Hachiman, none are more enlightened than Amaterasu and the Fortunes. All other gods and Scions will fail, and the Kami must plan for that failure. They get surprised when others don't fail, which can reveal their superiority complex and destroy that harmony they work so hard to preserve.

The Virtues of the Kami are Sincerity and Right Action. This, they feel, is the best way for any person to act. If you are sincere and wholehearted in all you do, and what you do is right and proper, you will always win and be happy. Some wrongly believe bushido is one of their Virtues - in truth, that's just the path of bushi, warriors. It'd be wrong for a farmer to follow it, as it would be wrong for a warrior to act as a farmer should. Sincerity means to believe in what you do with all your heart. Partial commitment means you will fail and be unhappy. No matter what you do, you should commit entirely to it. Right Action means doing what is proper for you to do, what you should do. Sometimes, right action means you have to die gloriously, or stay at home while your friends go off on a quest. It can be very hard to be sincere when you don't really feel good about what is right, and sometimes you sincerely want to do something that isn't the right thing for you.

The signature Purview of the Kami is Yaoyoruzo-no-Kamigami, or Eight Million Kami. See, everything is a Kami, and so you can talk to it and convince it to help. The pebbles below your feet are Kami, the road is a Kami, the city is a Kami, the dream of a dude in the city about Godzilla is a Kami. If you know the right way to appease a Kami, it can help you. A river Kami might know about all the places it goes to and anyone who has stepped in its streams, though probably not the kinds of shoes they were wearing. For that, you might ask a stone someone stepped on, which can tell you about the design, as long as you pray to it properly and give it respect.

Next time: The Manitou of the Anishinaabek

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay: Deathwatch and Rites of Battle: Part 3

Models of Hero: A catalogue

So the Black Templars are one of the first Successor chapters. They were founded by the Imperial Fists legion when the Codex Astartes was first implemented, and have been on permanent crusade ever since. This came after the Imperial Fists were originally branded heretics and threatened for refusing to break up into the chapter structure in the aftermath of the Horus Heresy. A unit on crusade is allowed to break some of the rules about numbers, organization, etc. The Templars just never stop declaring their constant-space-borne-murder-spree a single, continuous crusade. They have no direct recruiting worlds and instead do everything aboard their enormous battle-fleet, and by establishing keeps on the worlds they participate in conquering. These keeps supply them with a constant supply of brutalized children, taken in and forced into blood rites and insane religious trials and fights to the death to see if they are worthy of becoming Space Marines. Once an aspirant has been chosen, the Keep's staff will begin a bastardized version of the implantation ceremony; because the Marines are constantly on the move, their Implantation is rarely carried out by the best experts and has devolved into a highly religious event that includes purification by fasting (at a time when the recruit's body is trying to grow to massive proportions), flaggelation, and scarification to 'sanctify' the procedure. The book notes this makes their death rate in surgery significantly higher than most chapters.

In general, you'll find Templars are kind of idiots. One thing the setting likes to waffle back and forth about is how much Marines actually believe in the Emperor as God vs. the father of Space Marines/keeping to his old idea of not being a God. For the most part, it settles into a comfortable place where the Marines happily accept the religiosity when it gives them glory, while still sneering about how they're more enlightened than the common man and know it isn't 'real', enjoying the pomp and ceremony and aggrandizement while staying comfortably aloof. Black Templars? Oh, they absolutely go whole hog on the religious aspect and are absolutely true believers. Instead of a Scout company and a reasonably training regimen, a Templar takes a Neophyte as a squire and brings them into battle. You learn by fighting, and they don't care how many of their trainees they lose, because again, they're sort of stupid. They also hate psykers with a passion, and one wonders how that works when they're a fleet based chapter reliant on Navigators and Astropaths for all their navigation and communication. They don't really have a combat doctrine besides screaming and chanting hymns and then charging into gunfire waving their shields and swords in a mob. This works because A: Power armor and B: 40k. Their High Marshal is naturally noted as a 'military genius' because everyone in the Marines is, and again: I absolutely don't buy Marines being any smarter than humans.

In game terms, they get a bonus to WP and WS. Their Chapter Demeanor is Zealot: They hate psykers and will cause friction with a PC Librarian, with the Templar needing to take time to pray for forgiveness for allowing themselves to be allies with a psyker, though the book emphasizes the chapter *will not* send anyone who is insane enough to attack their fellow Marines over such things. The book is very clear this should be limited to grumbling and tension, or else the Marine wouldn't have been seconded to the Deathwatch for fear of causing an inter-chapter incident, and I appreciate this. They tend to spend all their off-duty time in prayer and hate the idea of fun. They're sort of miserable to play as.

Blood Angels are WHFRP Blood Dragon vampires except prettier, more vain, and immune to the sun. I'm not even joking; they sleep in magic coffin machines that filter their blood to help fight a dark curse called the Red Thirst triggered by them all remembering their Primarch, the weird magnificent hawkboy Sanguinius, getting killed by Horus during the Heresy. This desire for endless battle and bloodshed will eventually drive most of them insane, becoming a black rage that gets them rounded up, put into a company of similar frothing madmen, and then pointed at the enemy. Blood Angels enjoy art, especially of themselves, and come from a broken, irradiated hellhole world called Baal. The mutant scavengers of the world set out across the ash wastes and then have to jump off a cliff with icarus wings and do all sorts of other trials (and remember, these are still children) then fight one another to the death for the amusement of the Blood Angels before they select a few winners to turn into pristine, beautiful vampires like them. There's a lot of focus on how the transformation takes these twisted, broken genetic 'rejects' and turns them into Aryan superhumans and it sets my teeth on edge.

The Blood Angels are a fully codex chapter except for the Death Company of frothing madmen and the Sanguinary Priests, their version of Apothecaries, who are specialized in treating their fellows' crazy vampire blood condition. Their gameplay bonus is a +5 to WS and Agility, and they make fantastic Assault Marines. Their Chapter Demeanor is Red Thirst: They're vampires, for god's sake. They love to shed blood, they love to be covered in blood, but they have to hold their curse in check because indulging in it drives them crazier and crazier. This is played up as a great flaw that makes them more human because it grants them 'humility'.

The Dark Angels are a highly secretive chapter because everyone they left behind on their homeworld during the Crusade went Chaos. Or maybe everyone who went to the Crusade went Chaos and the ones at home were loyal. Nobody knows, it's a mystery. They fly around in a floating monastery carved out of a big chunk of their planet, because the aforementioned 'some of us are heretics and some of us aren't scuffle blew it up. They don't want anyone to know about the heresy thing, and they're obsessed with hunting down all the heretics and forcing them to repent, then killing them. Their entire chapter is organized around keeping this heresy mess a secret, with inner circles and secret grandmasters, and they will happily abandon a world to die to chase after a rumor of one of their fallen fellows. Marines don't even learn this is what's going on until they make it into the elite First Company, the Deathwing.

They're sort of dicks. Weirdly, there's no talk on how they recruit or where they sustain their crazy magic space fortress from. Which is unfortunate, because one reason I keep including everyone's Recruiting Trial is because it's an important part of a chapter's character. It tells you what they look for, and how brutal they prefer to be says a lot about their character. In all honesty, aside from the whole 'Conspiracy Marines' there's very little on the actual character of the Dark Angels in the book. They're just sort of generic, mysterious dicks who sometimes betray their allies to run off for no reason that makes sense to anyone but a few of their officers. Gameplay wise, they get +5 BS and Int. They have the Chapter Demeanor Sons of the Lion, which makes them insular, aloof, and elitist. Sure sounds like fun to have in a party.

Space Wolves are actually friendly and tend to do things other than just fight all the time, like drink and sing and have parties. They are also giant vikings. These two traits tend to make them fan-favorites. They come from Space Viking Planet, Fenrus, a terrible world full of krakens and ice-floes where the people are constantly migrating with the ice, having to sail in epic voyages and viking sagas all the time to find new temporary land that will let them farm and raise families and fight, which is actually sort of a neat idea for a sci-fantasy planet. The Space Wolves are completely non-Codex, and have 'Rune Priests' instead of librarian psykers. These chaps go down to watch over the battles and struggles of native heroes, and pick young warriors on the verge of death to rescue and take to become Marines, which is a bit on the nose but works fine. Space Wolf geneseed is crazy, though, and turns you a little wolfy, and if it turns you too wolfy they have to kill you lest you turn into a crazy giant werewolf with Space Marine powers.

Wolves are specifically noted as being some of the most friendly Marines you'll meet. They try to make friends with their fellows in the Deathwatch, they tend to try to make friends with the other forces they fight alongside, and as noted they are some of the only Marines said to do anything but fight and train to fight. They enjoy celebration and poetry, and they hate the Codex. They also don't like the Dark Angels, because their primarch thought the Dark Angels' primarch was a nerd and they used to fight sometimes. As a result, Wolf and Dark Angel units will each appoint a champion for a ceremonial duel with one another to settle any friction before they have to work together. A duel that is explicitly not to the death, at least. They've got 'Good Guy Marine' written all over them but I'll take it after the last three. They get +5 Perception and Fellowship, and their Demeanor as the Sons of Russ makes them prefer plain speech and openness, taking to their work with enthusiasm and joy.

The Storm Wardens are FFG's own chapter and they're fine. They live in Calixis and most of their prior command structure is in stasis after witnessing something awful, to be unfrozen and awakened in case of emergency. They hate the Calixis sector and find the place insufferable, giving the governor their emergency codes in case the sector catches fire but otherwise being clear he isn't to call, which instantly makes me like them a bit. They live in Space Scotland, a boggy, harsh planet full of trolls and feudal clans. There's also a big population of Ogryn on their planet, big ogre-type guys who are dumb and friendly and nice, and the Storm Wardens and local humans live in peace with them. They recruit from among young adventurers who make it to their fortress, who then compete in big games and tournaments that are, for once, not intended to kill them. Those who fail still made it to the fortress and are sent off with congratulations, often becoming heroes and leaders among their clans, which in turn encourages more adventurers to try to become Storm Wardens, which suits the Marines well.

Storm Wardens love their claymores, and a soldier's claymore is usually sent back to their clan after they die, enscribed with the deeds they did among the heavens. They can actually use those claymores in game, and they're pretty much a DH1e Great Weapon, taken in place of the Warden's combat knife or chainsword, and will actually outperform either by a little. Giant paladins swinging blessed monomolecular claymores around to cleave the forces of hell is a-okay by me. They're a little boring, with the weird note that they love vehicle combat for some reason, but there's nothing wrong with them and I appreciate the friendlier recruiting trial. They get +5 Strength and +2 Wounds, and the Demeanor Aspire to Glory, which makes them insular but very devoted to their close friends. Personal honor is everything to them, and building relationships is about assessing another's personal honor to see if they're worth getting close to.

And finally, we get the soldiers of legend, the greatest of all Marines, the descendants of everyone's Spiritual Liege Roboute Guilleman, The Ultramarines. These are the golden boys, the favored Marines both in-setting and by the company that writes them. Their founder wrote the Codex, they're the favored batch and geneseed template for expansion into successor chapters, and they love rules and order so long as those things are being set by an Ultramarine. Their writeup talks about how they are the most celebrated, the best, the most beloved of all Marines. Their genes are pure, their doctrine orthodox, and their faith unquestioned. They rule an entire subsector, the Realm of Ultramar, and it is totally the best place in the Imperium, believe me. Guilleman's leadership and genius absolutely saved the Imperium right after the Heresy (say the Ultramarines) despite the fact that they were so intact because they conveniently missed most of its serious battles. Then he got stabbed in the neck by a Demon Primarch and was put into stasis, barely alive. Later GW will haul him out to be the Imperium's mighty fascist figurehead, but that's a few years off from when this book was written.

Everything about the Ultramarines in the book talks up how great they are at absolutely everything and how admired they are, but I don't think it's just my imagination that it takes on a sort of tongue in cheek tone at a few points. Like when it points out how heroic they are to be able to base their entire lives around rules that are 10,000 years old and have not been edited or changed since. I will give the chaps one thing, though: They have the absolute sanest, smartest recruiting rite. They just...have a bunch of military academies for the human Planetary Defense Forces of their Realm, and they pick up the most promising cadets. No blood trial, no mass slaughter, no epic quest, just 'Hey these guys are top of their class, the right age, and show a spark of leadership potential, bring them in to discuss putting our geneseed in these fine young people.' There's an awful lot about how much they love duty and honor and glory, and very little actual personality because that would require them to have any texture.

Gameplay wise they get to *pick* what stats they get +5 to, and get two of 'em like anyone else. Their Demeanor is Honour the Codex. They love rules. They love rules they made. They try to take over and become leader in any situation and context they find themselves in. You can write fun Ultramarines, but not if you write them, uh, uncritically.

Next Time: We make a better chapter and begin making our Marine.

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010



Lipstick Apathy

The Book of Iron Might, by Mike Mearls



The last update to this F&F has been almost two years to the day. I lost steam at trying to cover The Ironborn, since there's a lot of lore and I personally am not that invested in covering that kind of thing.

The very short version is that the Ironborn is the book's attempt at presenting a Warforged-type race. Their backstory revolves around a wizard that created an entire race of these metallic, sentient automatons to serve as assistants and guardians of his tower. Over the course of his career, the wizard gathered a number of artifacts that drove him mad, and the Ironborn took it upon themselves to destroy these artifacts and restore their master to sanity. The wizard was so grateful to the Ironborn that he set them all free and allowed them to go forth into the world - though supposedly they were not that welcome to the rest of the races in the world, and so the reader is presented with a race that is not always accepted and sometimes placed under siege.



Mechanics

All Ironborn receive the folliowing:

* immunity to sleep and related effects
* only need to consume one-fourth as much food and water as other humanoids
* immortality (and thus immunity to aging effects)
* a +1 natural armor bonus to AC
* (as a drawback) take damage from effects that cause rusting
* (as a drawback) a -2 penalty to Bluff, Diplomacy, Gather Information, and Sense Motive checks (diegetically because Ironborn are ignorant to the ways of socializing)
* can designate any class as their Favored Class (diegetically because they were built for that purpose)

Because Ironborn are diegetically supposed to be tailor-made for specific purposes, this book presents them as being fairly customizable.



Ability Scores

Ironborn can get a +2 to any ability score except Strength ... in exchange for a -2 to any other ability score
Or, they can get a +2 to Strength, in exchange for -2 to two ability scores (ostensibly because Strength is more highly valued)



And then they can also pick from certain Ability Packages:

Acrobatic Ironborn get a +2 bonus to Escape Artist, Jump, and Tumble checks; and then they also gain +5 feet to their base speed

Centurion Ironborn get what is effectively free Plate armor (including the arcane spell failure chance and the need for heavy armor proficiency); and then they also get a 25% chance to negate a critical hit against them (effectively a free Light Fortification enchantment)

Divine Mark Ironborn get a +2 bonus to all Turn/Rebuke Undead checks, and a +2 bonus to damage rolls against enemies of an opposite alignment; and then they also get a +1 bonus to all saving throws against effects cast by enemies of an opposite alignment

Iron Heart Ironborn get an immunity to poisons, a +2 natural armor bonus, and no longer need to breathe; and then they also become immune to all mind-affecting effects. These Ironborn as described as being especially robotic, and so they've shed even more of their humanoid-ness

Shadow Friend Ironborn get a +2 bonus to Hide checks and a +4 bonus to Bluff checks to create a distraction; and then they also get Darkvision 60 feet

Slayer Seeker Ironborn get a +2 bonus to damage rolls against targets that they can Sneak Attack; and then they also get a free and built-within-themselves dagger weapon.

Spellmaster Ironborn get a +1 bonus to all attack rolls for the purposes of spell attacks; and then they also get a once-per-day ability to prevent the loss of a spell that would otherwise be lost because of a failed Concentration check.

Trailblazer Ironborn get resistance 2 to cold and fire and no longer need to eat or drink; and then they also get a +2 bonus to Handle Animal and Survival checks.



Size

Ironborn can choose to be Small sized, with all that that implies in 3rd Edition, in exchange for a taking -2 penalty to Strength, or losing the second clause ("and then they also get...") of their ability package.

Ironborn can also choose to be Large sized, in exchange for taking a -2 penalty to Dexterity and losing the second clause of their ability package.

Origin and Creator

Because the Ironborn are built / created, there's a section on how the Ironborn relate to their creator. Ironborn always share the alignment of their creator, and their creator can give them orders. The Ironborn needs to pass a DC 10 Will save in order to disobey such orders, and it automatically passes these saves if the order would cause the Ironborn to be destroyed or suicide. If the creator revokes their control over an Ironborn, then they no longer have such control, and this is an irrevocable step.

The book does say that the DM should use this "feature" sparingly, and that the Will save is set to a low DC deliberately.

The Ironborn's Burden

Since the Ironborn are purpose-built, there's this further diegetic feature where they're supposed to "practice" their purpose every day as a representation of their mechanical nature. A Fighter needs to practice combat every day, a Cleric needs to minister every day, and so on. If they don't, they need to pass a Will save with a DC equal to 10 + the number of days since they last "fulfilled their purpose".

If they then fail the save, then they're supposed to go berserk at some point in the day, attacking anyone or anything in reach for 2d6 rounds.

The book then provides further DM guidance: this isn't supposed to come up very often, and isn't intended to "counter-balance" all of the abilities that an Ironborn has. Rather, the purpose is supposed to be very easy to fulfill under normal circumstances, but can be a complication, such as an Ironborn that's in prison, or perhaps is the middle of a culture where it can't quite express its purpose out in the open.



Ironborn Feats

The book includes a number of feats made just for Ironborn:

* Craft Ironborn is basically a low-grade Leadership feat, except the follower is an Ironborn
* Holy Icon lets you spend spell slots to boost your Turning/Rebuke checks
* Improved Natural Armor gives you another +1 natural armor bonus (can only be taken once!)
* Spring-Loaded Reflexes gives you the Uncanny Dodge ability
* Intricate Joints requires Spring-Loaded Reflexes, and grants you ability to never be flanked
* Memory Bank gives you a +2 bonus to a skill check, but unlike Skill Focus, you can change to a different skill every day, since you're a robot and all
* Spell Runes lets you pick any three spells you know and etch them onto your body, so that you always have them available even without your spellbook. The spell also gains a +1 bonus to its save DC
* Weaponized Limb lets you turn one of your hands into a weapon. The upside is that it always has a 1.5x Strength damage modifier as if it were two-handed (even if the weapon isn't normally one), and it can't ever be disarmed from you. The downside is that you diegetically only ever have one free hand, and the DM can hit you with a -2 penalty on skill checks where only having one hand would matter.

All of these feats are fairly standard fare except perhaps for Weaponized Limb, but the other gimmick is that if you want to take them past level 1, then you also have to spend some low-4-digit value in gold to "buy" the raw materials needed to "upgrade" your Ironborn chassis.

Next: New Feats

Tendales
Mar 9, 2012


gradenko_2000 posted:

I for one would like it if you went into the DMG, because that's really where the bulk of the "no, really, D&D 3rd Edition was about doing old-school dungeon crawling" feel comes through and where I am prepared to die on all the hills possible.

The 3.0 DMG has my favorite example of 'artist did not understand instructions' illustration ever, so I'd love to see that.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Night10194 posted:

Well, this is a fantastic example of how not to write comedy games, it seems.
See also Paranoia 5th Edition, aka "the one everyone (including the XP edition book) pretends didn't exist because it was that bad."

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

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




gradenko_2000 posted:

The Book of Iron Might, by Mike Mearls

Christ I'm glad we left this sort of gaming in the past.
that berserk rage is especially egregious, is Mike Mearls an Ironborn?

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!


Night10194 posted:

Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay: Deathwatch and Rites of Battle: Part 3

Models of Hero: A catalogue

Next Time: We make a better chapter and begin making our Marine.

They don't give rules for all the canon chapters, or at least those original chapters that didn't go Chaos? That seems like a bit of a miss. Especially since, as you say, you kind of miss chapters that aren't broody psychopaths who love to torture people, and as I remember it, the Salamanders are also supposed to be non-bonkers and tend to actually associate with non-Marine people on a regular basis, as well as prioritizing protecting Imperial citizens.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay: Deathwatch and Rites of Battle: Part 4

Original Chapter, Do Not Steal

Rites of Battle has a lot of useful material, but the single most important part of it is the detailed rules for writing your own chapter and giving it mechanics. This is important because getting to make your own chapter is fun, and helps a lot with building investment in your Marine. My players would occasionally play a canon chapter they really liked, but for the most part they loved writing up their own chapter, making up their own recruiting rite, and getting to shape the culture their PC came from. Being a Warhams roleplay thing, this can all be done by massive tables to roll on, and honestly they tend to produce fairly coherent and fun chapters so I can't fault them. We'll also be getting into some of the other mechanical effects of the Chapter as we make it.

We start off with some suggestions for ways to make the recruiting rite matter to mechanics. These generally play into the Demeanor system, suggesting that, say, a chapter that recruited by ritual duel might get Demeanor improvement on a duel with an enemy champion, etc. You do not roll for Recruiting Rite and style; that's entirely on you to make up. I think my favorite recommended rite is the one where the recruit is expected to fight a full Marine. They aren't expected to win; chapters usually recruit the ones who are brave enough to stand and give it their all. Each also comes with a little adventure seed idea for how to tie a future adventure back to the Marine's past as a recruit. It's not a bad little idea.

First, you roll for why your chapter was founded, and when. Was there an inkling that the Imperium was short Marines in a specific region? Were they originally founded and sanctioned to fight a specific foe? Are they a rare garrison force? Our Marines were founded, according to a d10, for purposes of Strategic Prognostication. The Imperium just assumed by tarot card or data analysis or prophet that they were going to need some Marines. Then you roll for what millennium you were founded in; our Marines are, according to a d100, founded in the late 39th millennium and aren't especially old. Next you check which First Founding chapter you descend from, with Ultramarines being vastly more likely than others, the gits. You're very unlikely to be from any other than Ultras, Blood Angels, or Dark Angels because all the others either have weird flaws in their geneseed, hate the Codex, or whatever. Rolling a 63, we narrowly avoid being Ultramarine knock-offs and are instead Blood Angel descendants. Next comes the bit I dislike: You have 40% odds of rolling that you are exactly like your parent chapter, down to demeanor. C'mon, guys, where's the fun in that? You only have a 20%-30% chance of actually getting to use the rest of the creation system! We would always just flip a coin between the results that allow you to keep going on the tables rather than roll the risk of being a knock-off Marine, but I want to emphasize that 60% of the table will stop you from continuing in Chapter Creation aside from some fluff history stuff and while this is easily fixed it's a huge letdown.

Luckily for us, we rolled Flawed, anyway, with a 10 on d10. Flawed means our Chapter has something wrong with it, rolled on an additional table. These are things like 'really odd Chapter Cult' or 'Other Imperials don't trust these original characters'. We got a 9, for 'Really Odd Chapter Cult'. Our Marines do something weird when worshiping the Emperor and their ancestors that could cause them some trouble if it's found out. Just what is up to you; most of the suggestions involve murder, but who knows. We also have a 50-50 chance of having our own Demeanor, and thankfully, we do. The Demeanor table is a little limited, but still fun. We roll a 5 on the table and get Scions of Mars: Our vampire knock-offs absolutely adore technology and have close ties to the Mechanicus, genuinely believing in and assisting with the Quest for Knowledge while at the same time having an affinity for really fancy wargear and electronics. That could link back to their weird cult; perhaps they legitimately and genuinely worship the Emperor in aspect as the Omnissiah and have to hide that they're vampire techpriests.

Blood Angels also have a huge chance to have something wrong with their genetics, and we are no exception. 50-50 chance of a problem, we roll an 18, so problem comes up. Ultramarines, of course, are highly unlikely to have their noble genetic purity sullied. Our Marines roll a 10, which is 'roll again d3 times and take all results', and we get a 3. We're mutant as all hell. We get a 3, giving our marines a mutated brain implant that makes their 'can sleep parts of their brain at once' power run amok and give them turbo wakefulness and insomnia, we lose the ability to spit acid with a 6 and then an 81 (Dang), and our Marines suffer -10 Awareness in bright light without their helmets, but can see in the dark and have spooky glowing eyes. So they're insomniac night owls whose saliva can't eat through steel. Woe upon these cursed mutants.

Next you roll for what your stat boosts are, and they're much on par with the rest of the book. We get an 84, that gives +5 Weapon Skill and Fellowship. Marines of this chapter are known for being inspiring master duelists and champions. You roll for who your great hero was, from a past officer to a current, humble line-soldier, and we get that the greatest hero of our chapter was a Master of Sanctity, the person who is supposed to be watching over the geneseed so it doesn't mutate all crazy like ours did. The Master of Sanctity personally slew a Demon Prince in a duel, according to the table, which might explain all the mutations: Spite-curses are definitely a thing with demons. Or maybe it was damage control and they kept everything from being even worse, saving our OC Vampires while they only had a few minor inconveniences and cool plot hooks.

Next you check for your homeworld. The dice say we're Fleet Based, like the Black Templars. These Marines don't have a specific homeworld and draw from the worlds they visit during their duties, as well as having massive forge-ships and a regular route of travel and patrol. Our Marines rule their fleet Distantly, meaning they aren't in direct command of the huge migrant fleet they're attached to; this is kind of an interesting result. Perhaps they work among a massive group of ships that have formed a stable community as they travel, followed by a few Marine combat vessels that recruit from the void-born community they are attached to? That's sort of cool.

Next you roll for if you follow the Codex, with a strong weight towards 'yes' or 'yes, but'. We are lucky and get a 10, for 'no'. It also notes any Ultramarine chapter that rolls a 10 is hated by their progenitors. You actually get a separate table weighted much more towards orthodoxy if you're an Ultramarine successor. Our Marines either have too many Marines, don't organize by Company at all, or do something even wilder like focus on space battles or something. According to dice, our favored way of fighting is orbital strike and bombardment specialists, so our Marines are experts at drop-podding in and timing things with naval bombardment. That's quite fitting.

Now, there's a mechanic I have to describe because it comes up here, but I'll get into detail on it later. In general, your Marine is in what's called 'Solo' mode. They get passives based on their Chapter when in this mode. They can spend actions or roll against a resource called Cohesion to enter Squad Mode, losing those passives for the ability to declare action-economy breaking squad bonuses and special maneuvers, at the cost of Cohesion. I have made it sound a lot more simple and coherent than it is. You roll for a Solo and Squad ability for your Chapter. Ours is that our Marines are fast as hell. They get Lightning Reflexes when in Solo (doubling their Agility for initiative), get dodge bonuses at later ranks, can react in surprise rounds on reflex alone after that, and finally gain the ability to just say 'I pass this Agi test' once per session. They also roll that they just have the Blood Angel Squad ability, which is the ability to go into a crazy vampire kill-frenzy; I'll get to this more in later chapters. For our Defensive Squad pattern, we have the ability to set up an aura where other Marines (and our Marine, obviously) can move after Dodging attacks in order to get close to enemies quicker.

Since we are unique, we can't be of one class. Our Chapter has no actual Devastator squads; they don't like heavy weapons. I imagine this comes from being actual space Space Marines and orbital commandos. Our Marines also have a traditional weapon they hold as sacred (other options are things like animal companions, mounts, modified gear). We'll say they think of the Storm Bolter (two bolters taped together) as the mark of a masterful warrior. In addition to all their other cult weirdness, when rolling for beliefs they honor their Primarch above all (the most common one), but that meshes interestingly with the whole AdMech Marines angle. Perhaps they think of Sanguinius as the true heir of the Omnissiah, and have to hide this from other Blood Angel successors lest they get yelled at for improperly worshiping the golden hawkman.

Finally, you roll for your current status and strength, with a strong bias towards 'nominal' or 'under strength, but not in danger'. We get a 10 on the d10, which tells us we're Over Strength. Fits with not being a Codex chapter. We also get one unusual friend and enemy within the other organizations of the Imperium. Interestingly, we're particular friends of the Chartist Captains, the 'slow FTL' generation ship traders who do most of the Imperium's bulk commerce. Neat, and only a 2% chance of that. Our Marines also roll that they hate a particular Chaos aligned group, and one of the options mentioned is space pirates. Well, that's just dandy. They got their geneseed ganked by an evil demon pirate queen and now they battle devil pirates in hellspace to defend honest merchants in their wandering, giant planet-sized fleet of slow starships and Marine escorts.

The random table for names always produces hilarity. It's the X Ys. We roll that we are called the WAR DEATH, which is hilarious, then try again and get the Brothers Sons, which is also hilarious. Finally, on the third try, we get the Star Dragons and that will be acceptable.

The final thing you do is roll for a Chapter Advance Table. Every Chapter provides its own advance table that a Marine has available right away, in addition to their Class, base Deathwatch advance tables, and rank. We get 62, No Respite to the Enemy, which gives any Star Dragon immediate access to cheap Dodge+20, cheap Tactics+20 access to a Tactic you choose (probably Naval tactics), Gunslinger access, Mighty Shot access, and both dual-wielding talents. So our Marines a space vampires with glowing eyes that flit around a massive migrant fleet of void-born, defending them from demon pirates from hell, who cannot sleep and are masters of rapid, agile John-Woo gunfighting.

This is why people create their own chapters. Because it's hilarious and fun.

Next Time: Our Own Star Dragon

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


PurpleXVI posted:

They don't give rules for all the canon chapters, or at least those original chapters that didn't go Chaos? That seems like a bit of a miss. Especially since, as you say, you kind of miss chapters that aren't broody psychopaths who love to torture people, and as I remember it, the Salamanders are also supposed to be non-bonkers and tend to actually associate with non-Marine people on a regular basis, as well as prioritizing protecting Imperial citizens.

Salamanders are in an add-on book because they knew the Salamanders were cool enough dudes that people would buy a book to get them.

To skip ahead, their powers focus around power-walking towards you meaningfully, glaring at you, while firing flamethrowers. Also being nice and building things.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Night10194 posted:

There's a lot of focus on how the transformation takes these twisted, broken genetic 'rejects' and turns them into Aryan superhumans and it sets my teeth on edge.

This? This is Wraeththu.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Horrible Lurkbeast posted:

Christ I'm glad we left this sort of gaming in the past.
that berserk rage is especially egregious, is Mike Mearls an Ironborn?

In general it's a break from most d20 race design philosophy, where racial traits are simple and mechanical. You don't see any races in d20 core with notable RP restrictions; even oddball races like Elan don't have any particular restriction on what they can or can't do. There are some exceptions in the 3.5 line like the Buommans... but I'm of the opinion that the Buommans are pretty much the nadir of 3.5 race design, at least at Level Adjustment +0. YMMV.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Night10194 posted:

Salamanders are in an add-on book because they knew the Salamanders were cool enough dudes that people would buy a book to get them.

To skip ahead, their powers focus around power-walking towards you meaningfully, glaring at you, while firing flamethrowers. Also being nice and building things.

The other First Founding chapters are also present, like the Raven Guard who are also nice people and like sneaking around because they intelligently deemed the "Camoflauge is the color of cowardice" proverb to be nonsense.

They've also been refluffed in recent years to be based on Native Americans, so there's that.


Ironically, the actual German-based First Founding chapter/legion is one of the more visibly flawed chapters and mostly gets shat on whenever they appear in 40k fluff.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Bieeanshee posted:

This? This is Wraeththu.

Oh god it is.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




Cythereal posted:

Ironically, the actual German-based First Founding chapter/legion is one of the more visibly flawed chapters and mostly gets shat on whenever they appear in 40k fluff.

Which one is that?

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Hell yeah Space Dragons. Also go for the 3e DMG.

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Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Kavak posted:

Which one is that?

Imperial Fists. According to GW, they're based on Prussia and the Teutonic Knights.

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