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Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


JackMann posted:

The problem with this kind of fiddly bookkeeping is that it's not much fun, slows the game down a lot, and requires the GM to try and keep track of the components as well. It does a lot to rein spellcasters in, but at the cost of making the game much worse to play.

It would probably be fine if being a wizard is the core of your game and going to fulfill arbitrary requirements to get that sweet spell reward was a group endeavor and a group reward. As a subsystem of a subsystem, yeah, it's a real drag.

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Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





Alien Rope Burn posted:

It would probably be fine if being a wizard is the core of your game and going to fulfill arbitrary requirements to get that sweet spell reward was a group endeavor and a group reward.

Isn't this Ars Magicka

Foglet
Jun 17, 2014

Reality is an illusion.
The universe is a hologram.
Buy gold.


Joe Slowboat posted:

Isn't this Ars Magicka
Which is an actually good game where every single player is a wizard (additionally, every single player is a non-wizard).

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Joe Slowboat posted:

Isn't this Ars Magicka

Presumably, but I've never played it.

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.

The fluff of Scion 2e is great, but overall the system has the feeling of “FATE Core with a d10 dice pool systems and bunch of fiddly subsystems it didn’t really need.”

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!



NS5: Raven Banners Over Gatland



At this point in the Adventure Path, the PCs are most definitely heroes of renown especially given their last few quests. Even better, future plots make assumptions that they are famous rather than just random adventurers. Raven Banners Over Gatland is designed for parties of 9th to 11th level, and the first adventure proper to feature the Jomsvikings as a major antagonistic faction.

Fun Fact: The Jomsvikings have the same name as a semi-legendary order of Nordic mercenaries during the 10th to 11th centuries.

The backstory for this adventure is that the clan elders of the Gats and Hrolfs finally came to an agreement to end their mutual blood feud. Ljot Gatson and Magnus Hrolfsblood both agreed to marry their eldest heirs in Trotheim. As both wife and groom-to-be carry the bloodline of the last High Køenig, it also provides an opportunity for one of their descendants to regain that glorious title. Sveni Ljotsdottir was to sail into the city via a fleet of longships, but the Jomsvikings kidnapped her with the aid of weather and illusory magic. Naturally, this caused both sides to blame the other: the Gats blaming the Hrolfs for staging a kidnapping, the Hrolfs claiming that the bridal offering was but a ruse. Tensions are quite high, and the raven banners of war are being flown throughout Gatland.

The reason the Jomsvikings did this was because both clans are their biggest clients, and a peace treaty would be bad for business. Ten years ago they also made an exception to their male-only membership policy to recruit a witch by the name of Jasella. She gives them magical aid, which they used to conceal their ships. Our adventure begins while the party is traveling in the vicinity of Storstrøm Vale, perhaps as invitation to the wedding; Jarl Olaf Henrikson was an ally of the Gats, after all. And just like the start of a random encounter we open up with sounds of battle nearby. Njal Magnuson, heir of the Hrolf clan and husband-to-be, is under attack by Gat warriors. Already a score of them lie dead around the single man, and the boxed text shows off his desire for a fair fight when one of the attackers stumbles and trips but Njal lets him regain his footing.

Hrolfland for the Nords posted:

While simpering Southlanders might mock the beleaguered man for refusing to strike down a helpless opponent, PCs of Northlander stock will be duly impressed by his honor. Any Northlander PC that moves to help him receives an award of 100 XP for assisting a man obviously favored with the courage of Donar. Any PC who stands by and watches him fall (which he will in 3 rounds if not aided) or assists in attacking him receives an unfavorable wyrd and takes a –2 penalty on all attack rolls for 1 month as a result. It should be noted that even a PC who is a Gat receives this curse as mind’s-worth is thicker than even blood among the Northlanders.

The adventure presumes that the PCs will rush to Njal's aid. The Gat warriors are 11 strong already aided by potions of bull's strength. Now while 9th and 10th level PCs should be quite tough, the length and difficulty of this battle is predicated on the party make-up. The Gats are 7th level fighters with respectable HP and AC (78 and 22 respectively) plus they have good melee attacks and each of them wields +1 weapons and armor (wasn't this a low-magic setting?:witch: ). But their Reflex and Will saves are crap, their touch AC is a mere 12, and their sole ranged attacks are crappy 1d6 damage shortbows.

After the battle Njal thanks the party and explains who he is. He is suspicious of Sveni's disappearance because there was no wreckage of the ship nor dead bodies cast up on shore. While searching for clues he got attacked by Gatlanders and all his huscarls died in the attack, so he offers the party wealth if they help escort him to Trotheim. While on the way, they pass by a shephard's cottage which is randomly attacked by GIANT SCORPIONS from the Forest of Woe. The grateful shephards, upon recognizing Njal, explain how while watching their sheep they saw a strange fog following some dragon-headed longships. It seemed as though their presence was intentionally concealed by the weather itself. They began chasing another longship with white foxtails hanging from the spar (a Gatland ship). One final clue is that the fog-shrouded ships flew the banner of Jörumungandr the World Serpent, the symbol of the Jomsvikings.



I just love how the giant scorpions are entirely incidental to this revelation. I have to wonder how the players imagine this tying into the greater plot if at all; then again, with all the giant animals the PCs encountered this is probably par for the course in the wild North.

Incensed at this revelation, Njal pays the PCs to escort him to Trotheim, and once there he gathers a crew to head back home and plan what to do. He adamantly refuses for the PCs to come with him, as it is A MATTER OF FAMILY HONOR. :black101: The adventure fast-forwards 1 month later (the book suggests running a sidequest or interlude) where the PCs receive an urgent summons to go to an isolated farmstead outside Trotheim. It is in fact is an invitation to a secret meeting between the Hrolf and Gat elders. The sender does not reveal much save that "rich rewards" are promised. Also no divination magic or skill checks confirm the source of the summons, but confirm nothing to indicate that it's dangerous. The adventure doesn't explain how the jarls have autofail anti-divination measure. I get that they're well-connected, but the PCs are famed heroes and likely great mages of note by now.

Once inside the farmstead home, the PCs come into a dimly lit, tense meeting of the clan leaders along with a bunch of equally-surly huscarls. Jarl Magnus Hrolfsblood breaks the ice by thanking the party for saving his son, but mentions his son needs saving again. Shortly after Njal set sail to kick Jomsviking rear end, his father received a package from Jomsburg containing a severed ear and ruby red earring worn by his son (the boxed text earlier noted it in Njal's description). As much as Magnus and Ljot would love to take the fight to Jomsburg directly, their children are hostages. Additionally both clans purchased the services of the Jomsvikings in the past, who will use this as blackmail material on them. As the PCs are known as Top Men who laugh in the faces of beast cults and undead vikings, the elders wish to hire the party to undertake a stealth mission into Jomsburg. They will reward each PCs' weight in rings as reward, but if they fail the Gat-Hrolf blood feud will be unstoppable.

Fun Fact: if Njal died in the earlier encounters, the NPC to be saved is his younger brother Finni who went missing. This doesn't have the same bite to it; I get that Finni may be a "replacement" groom, but the circumstances of the first few encounters played up Njal as an important guy (plus the whole "distinctive ruby ear" warning doesn't work).

What I Changed: I found the whole scorpion and "don't come after us" thing to be a bit counter-intuitive in terms of PC motivation. Of course the players are going to bite down on the adventure hook, especially if it's to prevent the Northlands (and likely their homes) from becoming a raven's feast. I had it so that both Sveni and Njal were kidnapped before NS5's onset. The beach encounter was replaced with Granny Ǽstrid fending off a group of generic raiders. She mentions that while en route to Trotheim, her longship was attacked and ran ashore. Sveni was kidnapped in spite of the crew's best efforts and she was the sole survivor. The PCs investigated the nearby longship and noticed footprints of differing sizes in the sand: those of humans and common giants alike. With some Knowledge checks the PCs realized that the only group in the Northlands other than the Beast Cult who has non-hostile relations with the Jötnar are the Jomsvikings. She took them to the secret meeting in Ljot's place save it was in a seemingly abandoned building in Trotheim. I had Aluki (Leadership cohort character) suggest the idea of infiltrating Jomsburg by commandeering a Jomsviking vessel at sea and disguising themselves as the crewmembers they slain.

Navigating Hostile Waters



The PCs are lent control of the Grænir sea vessel in Trotheim's docks...which has the exact same ship stat block as the Tusked Whale. The voyage to Jomsburg Island calls for every 12 hours of sailing. The first two set-piece encounters are ho-hum (draugr undead sailors and four sea drake scouts working for the Jomsvikings), but the real fight here is when a pair of Jomsviking vessels cloaked in mirage arcana spells sneak up on the boat. The captains are not spellcasters but use rings of spell storing developed by Jasella to do this. They dematerialize when they're close enough that the PCs' ship cannot outmaneuver them, hoping to wedge the trapped vessel between them and clip their oars! We get a detailed one-and-a-half page description of naval action the PCs can take and how the Jomsvikings will react.

This is one of the more infamous "mook swarm" encounters in the Northlands Saga. Between the two Jomsviking longships is a total of 78 Jomsvikings along with 2 officers and a pair of common giants. Although the enemies attack 20 at a time, they still have 10 more to act as archers. The jomsviking rank-and-file are 4th level Barbarians with 51 hit points each, but the rest of their stat block isn't anything special. Combined with the Beast Cult last adventure, I have to wonder how the designers expect these encounters to be run. Was their entire party made up of blaster casters and battlefield control specialists wiping out a dozen enemies each with repeated castings of Fireball and Black Tentacles?! Killing half their number allows for an easy surrender with a DC 13 Intimidate, but that's still 41 enemies.

What I Changed: I cut down the Jomsviking mooks from 78 to 12. With the giants and officers there were still 16 enemies in total.

Beneath the Jomsburg



The adventure takes into account the possibility of commandeering a Jomsviking ship, as well as the PCs using the mirage arcana ring to mask the Grænir or even coming into port openly. However the adventure shoots down all of those ideas as the main harbor has a series of winches on stone columns with connected giant chains. The chains normally dip below the water's surface but can be raised to block entry from unwanted ships:

quote:

It is easy to see even from a distance that the passages between the island outposts are so narrow that their guards will easily be able to get a good look into any ships passing through (even those under a mirage arcana), and between the chains and the suspended logs, any attempt to do so would be incredibly risky. Even in the gear and longship of the Jomsvikings, the chance of discovery and the deadly consequences of such should lead the PCs to want to find alternate means to reach the island and have a chance of locating their quarry before escaping. The adventure assumes that the PCs will not attempt to sneak or force entry into the main harbor. If they do, the GM will have to adjudicate the near-insurmountable opponents that they face. Otherwise, see “Making Landfall” for an alternate means of reaching the fortress.

Boo to railroads.

The adventure presumes that the PCs will find a hidden cove with cliffs leading up to some caves as the only real entrance. The place is guarded by several monsters enscorcelled by Jasella. Later on they find some ancient headstones, where the original fey inhabitants of the isle take notice of the newcomers. With the strange feeling of being watched, a redcap named Drexelex approaches and explains how the Jomsfolk drove his people into hiding. He offers the players a deal: kill the Sea Wych (Jasella) and present proof of her death, and they'll help the party find the kidnapped heirs. A nearby patch of dreadweed parts to reveal a secret passage leading into the tunnels beneath Jomsburg (the above map). It's also revealed that the Jomsvikings and Jasella worship unknown dark gods.

What I Changed: I had the PCs meet Drexelax and the fey later, after Jasella's death. I let them go into Jomsburg with disguises. While inside they found themselves inside a huge "war room:" Lines of warriors took turns placing hands on a burning stone to hopefully become godi of Surtr (or combust in the process), siege architects debated whether to continue using the Northlands' or use the decimal system of the Ammuyad Caliphate, and officers planting flags on a map of the Northlands and beyond for strategic warfare. The PCs gathered information to find out that Jasella took Sveni to the cave system above (same map), but access was restricted. The witch PC bluffed the guards into thinking she was the Sea Wych's newest apprentice. Finally I changed the Jomsvikings to worship Surtr; it felt more keyed to the setting, explained how they have giants among their ranks, and allowed me to replace the last encounter with something thematically appropriate.

The Tunnels include encounters with half-ooze giant lobsters, a precarious harbor overlook where if a PC falls they land in the middle of a bunch of Jomsvikings and are captured (can be saved by Drexelex), an extraplanar spider eater which haunts the rest of the overlook, a torture chamber with a crucifixion spirit (isn't this from Roman/Christian mythology?:angel:) and some devil and giant guards. The last room with the pentagram is Jasella's hall, where she plans to sacrifice a captive Sveni Ljotsdottir to her dark gods.

Jasella is a 13th level witch and has an array of powerful spells, but she is likely to be overrun if the PCs approach with stealth and/or beat her in initiative. She opens up combat with a save-or-die blasphemy followed by turning invisible and summoning a monster, but all of these spells would take 3 rounds worth of actions for her. There's also a half-page dedicated to Jasella's backstory, which the PCs are unlikely to find out: basically she was unknown among the Northlands until 10 years ago she washed up naked on Jomsburg's shores. She strode up to the Jomsking, offering to serve him. In that time she spread the teachings of devil worship among the Jomsvikings' already-existing Dark Gods via subtle theological propaganda.

Once Sveni is is freed she can be taken safely back to the ship. Drexelex will honor his end of the deal and reveal that the other "princeling" is held captive in the higher tower in the back of the fortress-city. He mentions that that if they are willing to face the beast of the island and answer the riddle of the Bloody Stones, they can sneak directly into the tower. The PCs can spend the night at their ship to rest and recover, on account that Jasella's dark magic rituals require complete privacy and last for days. In fact, the PCs can technically complete this adventure with just Sveni; it does not have as happy an ending and less rewards, but it's a possibility.

What I Changed: I had the bearded devil guards in the same room as Jasella to provide more of a challenge. I also replaced Sveni's 4 Aristocrat levels with 8 levels in Fighter. I figured that as the eldest daughter of the Gats she could fight, but unless unbound and healed she would not be in any such condition to do so. She fought alongside the PCs, hoping to save Njal.

I had the door in the southern end of room 13 lead out to the standing stones with Drexelex, where the PCs met him for the first time. The deal was changed around: if they could slay the Jomsbeast, the fey will help them escape the wrath of the Jomsvikings if they fled to their tunnels. The fey told them the Riddle of the Stones as part of a secret passage into the tower where Njal was being held.

Continued in Next Post

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!



NS5: Raven Banners Over Gatland, Part Deux

The Stones and the Spire




Drexelex guides the party to another hidden trail near the coast, outside another cave which is home to the legendary Jomsbeast. They're even kind enough to tip off the creature's weakness (cleansing the spring). Naturally the spring and the river runoff is dirty and merely touching the water risks disease. The Jomsbeast is the only monster here, guarding a heaping helping of treasure both magical and mundane. Drexelex words the request that it seems that killing the Jomsbeast is a necessity, but only a few kinds of water-based and curative spells can unpollute the spring. Spells which not all parties may have. The monster has Fast Healing so theoretically the PCs can drop it and exit the room deeper into the caverns before it wakes up again, but fortunately there's a decanter of endless water among the treasure which can dilute the spring!

What I Changed: I altered the encounter so that using good-aligned magic and/or plunging a holy weapon into the lake at risk of disease can work for cleansing the spring.

The rest of the caverns have encounters with various aberrant creatures, and possible patrols of Jomsvikings. As for the Riddle of the Stones, the last room has a Cthulhoid horror known as a moon-beast sitting over a portal disguised as a stone feature. It offers the party the opportunity to answer a riddle to learn the secret of the Bloody Stones, but if they fail they must fight it in combat.



quote:

Pale queen in her cavern court
Mistress of waves and poet’s heart
She changes her face
With time and place
In the frozen forest a cracked glass
In the dry desert a bloody cast
At sea a twin she has

The answer is the moon.

quote:

It is possible your players may be true scholars of the Lost Lands and are aware that there are two moons over the world of Lloegyr. If they seem thrown off by the clues provided in regards to the Moon, feel free to inform them that Sybil the Dark Sister, the smaller moon, has little effect felt on the tides and is much less prominent in the night sky alongside Narrah the primary moon so that the riddle could refer to Narrah the Pale Sister. “Narrah” and “the Pale Sister” are both acceptable answers to the riddle. “Sibyl” and “the Dark Sister” are not.

This is kind of weird, on account that what came to my mind and the players was that the "twin" was its reflection in the water's surface. Additionally the cosmological features of the campaign setting should be one of the first things to tell the players. Espcecially where it differs from our own Earth, and certainly not halfway through the adventure path!

The moon-beast tells the PCs that the Bloody Stones secret is that of the blood of sacrifice. He then reveals glowing runes which teleport the PCs in a flash of blinding light. The party ends up at the top of a briar-choked hill with a stone alter and skeletons of past sacrifices (thus the moniker Bloody Stones). The spire of the Jomsburg fortress is nearby, lit by a single red light up top. There is one more encounter with some blood-sucking plants and plant-controlled giants and Jomsvikings. But spilling one's own blood on the altar spares them the plants' wrath.

What I Changed: I mixed in the lovecraftian horror with references to Norse mythology. The moonbeast mentioned that it existed since before Ymir's bones set into mountains and repeatedly referred to Midgard as a corpse-world. I cut the briar encounter due to time constraints.

The spire itself is a spacious place, the home of the Jomsking. Amid the roaring fireplace and luxurious surroundings lie the macabre idol of the Dark Gods and the chained, tortured form of Njal Magnusson. The Jomsking, a morbidly obese man named Ût the Fat, is a human cannibal who has been feasting on the flesh of Njal while keeping him alive. What follows is combat with the Jomsking and his rock troll bodyguard. If the idol is destroyed, Ût shrivels down to his frail true age (100 plus years) and suffers big stat penalties. The "dark god" in question is the Oinodaemon, which a Knowledge Religion check can reveal.

What I Changed: Ût the Fat's stat block is a level 10 Fighter of Large size category with the Broken Soul template. He's quite good in melee combat, but his Reflex and Will saves are awful: +5/+3. Our party witch would have turned him into anti-climactic mincemeat, so instead I replaced him with a fire giant and a pair of hell hounds. The battle took place in a luxurious hot spring, and one of the pools the Jomsking used as a two-way scrying filter to speak with the Emperor of the Huuns. The Emperor was less than pleased about his organization's failure in Estenfird, but the Jomsking happily announced that he sabotaged the Gat-Hrolf peace process. Presenting the form of a caged Njal, the Emperor's mood lightened. None of the PCs recognized him, as the continent of Libynos is virtually unknown in the Northlands. During the battle the Jomsking used his rock throwing ability to strike at the lids of hot tubs, spilling over gallons of scalding water as an area-effect attack.

Once Njal is rescued, the PCs can loot the room for some sweet magical items, and the Jomsking himself bears a unique crown. The crown grants +2 to the wearer's AC, attack rolls, damage rolls, and immunity to cold environmental conditions. Jomsvikings within 60 feet gain +2 to attack rolls and saves vs fear, but the crown's only weakness is that it is immediately recognizable in the Northlands and imposes a -5 penalty on social skills among the non-Jomsviking population (but +5 Intimidate). I don't know if the rock troll counts as a Jomsviking, but this 60 foot radius buff is kind of wasted given there are no Jomsvikings in this encounter and the organization cannot be taken over by the PCs as part of this Adventure Path.

The PCs must escape Jomsburg, and if they were particularly loud in fighting a warband is heading up the spire. The adventure suggests various means of escape like tying tapestries together to make an impromptu rope or using the Riddle of Stones to teleport. Although at this levels PCs with spellcasting potential can fly, teleport, turn invisible, summon monsters, and all manner of means of getting back to their ship safely. In fact in my own games the Nûklander witch teleported Sveni and Njal while the party members left behind leaped out of the tower and made a mad dash to the Bloody Stones.

The sail back to Trotheim is uneventful, and just in time for the wedding. The parents are happy, and a grand celebration is underway. The PCs receive their weight in arm-rings (15,000 hacksilver for medium PC, 5,000 for Small, and 60,000 for Large) and as a bonus, the Gats and Hrolfs show the PCs the contents of their familial vaults' greatest treasures. Each party member can choose a magic item of their choice. If only Sveni was rescued the magic item list is smaller.

But there's one person who doesn't like a happy ending, and that's Old Meg. The Daughter of Skuld makes her way into the feast hall as an overpowering divine force which subconsciously encourages people to step aside:

quote:

"Oh, dearies, you failed to invite me, your grandmothers’ grandmother to this wedding feast, yet you both sprang, many generations back, from this shriveled womb. You, who have not just the blood of heroes, but the blood of gods in your veins, yes, and the child that already grows in fair Sveni’s womb — for they were not as chaste as they should be on that long trip across the whale road from the Jomsburg, now were they? — will one day be not just Køenig, but High Køenig and ruler of all the Northlands. That is a tale for other days, though, a tale of battle-dew and bone-white ribs basking on foreign shores.

No, I bring you not fire and pain, though that is your wyrd and future; I bring you three gifts, yet you still have not offered me mead nor bread at this feast. “The first gift is happiness, for you will know three times three years of joy in wedded bliss. The second is glory, for you will both earn much in your lives, one beneath the raven’s wing, the other in the birthing bed, for that is where many women battle and die. Your last gift is courage, for you will need it in the days to come. As I speak, death stalks this very hall and a man lies dying in this city as his life’s blood fills his lungs. Plague has come to Trotheim, and both the high and low will feel its hand.”

Fun fact: Sveni's infidelity is never remarked upon by anyone, nor plays a role in future adventures. It sounds like this occurred during the PCs' travel back to Trotheim, but there's no opportunity for them to find out if Sveni's dallying with one of the crew. I'm thinking that this is here to paint Old Meg as a vindictive passive-aggressive woman who loves to hear herself talk.

She disappears in a flash of light, and the mood is totally soured. The adventure ends in media res, with NS6: Plague in Trotheim taking place next gaming session.

Alternate Endings: If only Sveni was saved, the Gats are happy but the Hrolfs slip away quietly; Njal will be murdered and his head and genitals will be mailed to Magnus Hrolfsblood. The PCs will earn the enmity of the Hrolf clan for failing to save him. There is still a feast instead of a wedding, and the Gats are hit harder by the plague in the next adventure. The Hrolfs are accused with claims of black magic and withcraft flying about, but full war is stymied for a time only due to the Gats' forces being much smaller from disease.

If the PCs cannot save either Sveni or Njal and return empty-handed, they will be branded as cowards and failures, unwelcome in all but the most wicked lands. Wherever they go people spit on and throw garbage at them. Rumors swirl around that the Hrolfs paid the party off to not find Sveni, and Jarl Ljot Gatson does everything in his power to ruin their reputations. This almost sounds like a Non-Standard Game Over, but the adventure suggests that curing the epidemic in the next adventure can earn them redemption.

Additionally NS10: the Broken Shieldwall assumes that Njal and Sveni survived and wedded to produce an heir, but if not then other nameless heirs take their place which kind of defeats the purpose of this adventure IMO.

Concluding Thoughts: Raven Banners Over Gatland is a bit railroady and feels artificially enforced in spite of potential magical infiltration. The moon-beast's riddle is good if not for unnecessary world-lore, and the Isle of Jomsburg is appropriately dark and foreboding. The encounters have a diversity of monsters with a more overtly supernatural flair. Its largest weaknesses are the opening scene and the huge amount of Jomsviking enemies during the sea travel section.

Join us next time as our heroes set out on a quest to cure the Plague in Trotheim (NS6)!

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010

Ask me about mapping out all the best limousine routes in Moscow for you and the little miss ;)

Lipstick Apathy



Pathfinder Unchained

The Alignment Track

This is a set of rules that seeks to "gamify" the alignment system (further). First, it presents us with this alignment track:



Then, it allows players to place themselves either in the middle of the track, or wherever they want to start as. Classes with alignment restrictions are instead automatically placed in the most central position that still hits their alignment prerequisites, such as a Paladin starting at position 3 Lawful and position 3 Good.

And then the book tells the GM that they should present the players with scenarios and decisions that will cause them to move across the track, with whatever repercussions that that implies.

And then, if a player is already on the extreme end of a track, and continues to make decisions that would have made them move beyond the end (even more Good when you're already at position 1 Good), then they gain an Affirmation, which is basically a meta-currency that you can use to obtain a thematically appropriate bonus.

For example, spending a Good Affirmation gives you a +2 bonus to damage or healing when using positive energy, or allows you to impose a -4 penalty to damage if the blow is about to made against an ally or an innocent character. Spending a Chaotic Affirmation allows you to roll twice and take either result when attempting a Reflex or Will save.

The section also has Alignment Feats, which are feats you can get at level 10 or later, and they allow you to store your Affirmation points for longer than 24 hours, as well as boosting the effects of the Affirmation spend, as well as granting you some other small active or passive ability, such as the Champion of Freedom feat for very Chaotic Good people letting them cast Freedom of Movement.

Personally, I'm someone who doesn't really bother with alignment at all, but if one were to use alignment, then this is probably more the shape of what it should probably be - as a descriptor of what one has done, rather than a prescriptor of one's behavior during gameplay.

On the other hand, the reason why I don't bother with alignment in the first place is because it gets into all these tricky questions of "who is innocent?" when you're trying to determine if the Affirmation can be used to protect a certain NPC.


Removing Alignment

This section suggests doing away with alignment completely. It has some class-specific guidelines on what to do, such as Smite Evil being redefined to "any foe whose loyalties are directly contrary to the paladin’s highest loyalty". This still strikes me as somewhat vague and narrow, but the book ultimately shies away from simply letting the player Smite whoever they well please.

The Full Removal option is perhaps too short to be useful, since it only says that you'll need to come up with something to replace all the alignment-specific stuff.

Shameless Plug posted:

but if one were to consider something more fleshed-out, I do recommend Quasar Knight's Death to Alignment supplement, which covers this topic extensively and in detail.

This section also proposes a couple of other alignment-model alternatives:

Aligned Loyalties lets you assume alignments are based on characters pledging loyalty to the various concepts of alignment. It's implied that this is different since it allows a person to behave however they want, so long as it's nominally in service of the loyalty that they have pledged to.

Outsiders Only lets you project alignments onto supernatural creatures only. Mortals exist in a world with shades of gray, but a devil is still Evil absolutely.

Radiant and Shadow lets you remove the normal alignment definitions, replace them with "Radiant" and "Shadow", presume that every creature is tied to or related to or is derived from one of these two forms of energies, and call it good. Like Aligned Loyalties, it frees people from the prescriptivism of normal alignment rules since it's simply something that you're both with, though this does come with some potentially unsavory implications.

Subjective Morality

quote:

You can make your world extremely complex by replacing all alignment-based effects with subjective morality based on loyalties.

In this kind of game, everyone is the hero of his own story, and the only alignment-based items and spells that exist are the ones named after the good alignment (such as holy weapons and holy word) plus detect evil. However, these effects apply not to good in the usual sense, but instead depend on the loyalties of their users.

When someone uses detect evil, it detects others who have loyalties that oppose the caster’s.

When a character wields a holy weapon, it deals extra damage to those with conflicting loyalties, and so on.

It’s up to the GM to decide when loyalties conflict. For instance, if a magus decides that his primary loyalty is to himself, he could not reasonably claim that everything that ever attacks him has a conflicting loyalty, but an enemy who constantly abused him in the past would have a conflicting loyalty. Against this enemy, the magus’s holy attacks would strike true.

This world might even do away with the idea of loyalties to the concept of good and allow paladins and antipaladins alike to use the paladin class and smite each other.

Since even outsiders no longer have an alignment subtype, you’ll need to add other subtypes to the list of choices for abilities such as bane or a ranger’s favored enemy class feature. This covers subtypes such as demon or devil, but some outsiders have no non-alignment subtype. If you want such creatures to be subject to these abilities, you could lump them together under a new subtype (such as “independent”), or add subtypes on a case-by-case basis—the astral leviathan might have the “astral” subtype, for example.

As I've said, I personally don't use alignment, but the Full Removal option here is lackluster because of how it doesn't really address the issue at all. Aligned Loyalties and Radiant and Shadow are perhaps the more easily-used options that don't require a lot of formal rejiggering of the rules. Subjective Morality sounds way too involved for someone to ever want to bother with. Maybe you should be playing something Dogs in the Vineyard or Fiasco for something like that.

Terratina
Jun 30, 2013


Simian_Prime posted:

The fluff of Scion 2e is great, but overall the system has the feeling of “FATE Core with a d10 dice pool systems and bunch of fiddly subsystems it didn’t really need.”

Y'know, I do know someone who turned to FATE for Scion-y stuff. Though there's echoes of it, he's been running his version of the setting long enough that it's mutated into something slightly different (supernatural stuff is on the down low, and Fatebinding is certainly more of a thing)

Ghost Leviathan
Mar 2, 2017

Exploration is ill-advised




First thought on Relics is wondering if there's Relics which have conflicting claims from different Pantheons. I'm sure there's real life examples that come to mind.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Inescapable Duck posted:

First thought on Relics is wondering if there's Relics which have conflicting claims from different Pantheons. I'm sure there's real life examples that come to mind.

Yes. Excalibur, for instance, can legitimately be claimed by both the Tuatha and the Welsh gods.

DAD LOST MY IPOD
Feb 3, 2012

Fats Dominar is on the case




Libertad! posted:


Fun fact: Sveni's infidelity is never remarked upon by anyone, nor plays a role in future adventures. It sounds like this occurred during the PCs' travel back to Trotheim, but there's no opportunity for them to find out if Sveni's dallying with one of the crew. I'm thinking that this is here to paint Old Meg as a vindictive passive-aggressive woman who loves to hear herself talk.


I think the implication isn’t that she was unfaithful, it’s that she hopped in bed with Njal before they were officially married (which would explain why nobody cares)

Ghost Leviathan
Mar 2, 2017

Exploration is ill-advised




Mors Rattus posted:

Yes. Excalibur, for instance, can legitimately be claimed by both the Tuatha and the Welsh gods.

And possibly even by Christians. It was mentioned that Scion may be saving the Abrahamic and other mainstream faiths for a splatbook? Presumably after the initial release there's less potential backlash from whatever of the religious right still cares about such things. Could get interesting if they're willing to muck about with all the variant Christian, Jewish and Islam-derived splinters and such. (and who knows where Scientology would fall into this)

Actually, Doc and Jackson know: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-uSYPbtkGs0

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Scion: Hero
All Things On Heaven and Earth

Beauty is the Purview of transcendent grace and allure, inner beauty and physical appeal. The Innate Power of Beauty is that whenever you roll to influence someone with your beauty, appearance or body language, you may attempt a Feat of Scale - even if you aren't trying to seduce them. You're just that good at body language.

Boons
Draw Back the Mask: You can bless someone to reveal their inner beauty or curse them with ugliness. Either way, this can either target one character or all trivial targets in range, and it's free on trivial targets. As a blessing, it is a Condition that lets the target use their beauty once per scene to gain Enhancement 2 on a social roll, a number of times based on your Legend. As a curse, it causes +2 Complication on any Social rolls in which appearance is a factor, and can be resolved with a sincere, heartfelt apology to someone the target has significantly wronged, or by anti-curse magic.
Lasting Impression: You can impress either one target or all trivial targets in range. They get +2 Attitude toward you, and this resolved by sharing a moment of physical intimacy with you or you rejecting their advances, or when you reclaim the Legend imbued.
Visage Great and Terrible: You become so immensely potent in appearance that your foes are filled with terror. Trivial targets automatically flee, and all others get +2 Complication on any action not related to fleeing your presence. (This Boon can also be learned by those descended from gods whose appearance is notably monstrous or terrifying, via an appropriate Purview - probably Death for Hel, say, War for Kali or Beasts for Monkey.)

Chaos is the Purview of unshaped form and entropy. It is both physical and social disorder, accidents and disasters. It is confusion and riots and anarchy. The Innate Power of Chaos is that you always walk unharmed through chaotic situations - you will never take harm from random or haphazard dangers like debris in a tornado or freak traffic accidents. You can still be harmed by anything that deliberately targets you or from actions done with intent to do harm, like gunfire in a shootout, however. Still, you are immune to any non-magical dangerous terrain unless it was made with the express intent to do harm. You still may face Complications - you just won't get hurt by, say, wandering through a busy freeway.

Boons
Hornet's Nest: All trivial targets near you, plus a number of non-trivial targets based on your Legend, stop whatever they're doing to instantly create a riot, mob or protest - whatever is most appropriate for the circumstance. The ST may veto some targets if they have specific plans for them, like the security you're using the riot to distract. You don't control the mob, but they're loud and reckless.
No Masters: You remove someone's authority over others. This suppresses any positive Attitude or Bonds any other character near them may feel towards them based on any form of authority, though negative emotions are unaffected. This is free if used on a trivial target.
Overwhelming Chaos: You overload a machine or a person with entropy. Against a person, each round they must combine any action they take with an Athletics+Stamina roll to maintain coherent thought. Trivial targets are simply rendered catatonic for the scene. Against a machine, you are limited to targets no larger than a car, but they break down completely until they receive maintenance. This damage is permanent, and you can't reclaim the imbued Legend until next scene.

Darkness is the Purview of night and concealment, of shadow and blindness and illusion. It can deceive the eye, snuff out the light and turn day to night. It also has power over sleep and dreams. The Innate Power of Darkness is that you can see in total darkness, even magical darkness. Also, you can see someone's dreams by watching them as they sleep.

Boons
Blinding Veil: You turn any number of nearby characters Blind for the scene. Against only trivial targets, this is free.
Dream Weaver: You send someone a dream of your design, targeting anyone you can give a unique description of. (A name works, but 'that guy I met on the subway with the red hair' is fine, too.) The next time they sleep, they have the dream, and you can make an influence roll against them with it. You choose how you appear to them in the dream, which can allow you to get around negative Attitudes or exploit positive ones towards other people. If you appear as yourself, you still improve their Attitude by 1 due to the intimacy of the dream.
Night's Caress: You send someone to sleep in moments, as long as they aren't in combat or another high-stakes situation. They remain asleep for the rest of the scene unless attacked or magically awakened. You can put as many trivial targets as you want to sleep at once, and can do so even in combat.

Death is the Purview of...death. It commands both the end of life and what comes after, has power over corpses and funerary ground, commands the undead and influences the underworlds. The Innate Power of Death is that you may see and communicate with shades, ghosts and other normally invisible or incomprehensible undead, and you can always perceive entrances to the Underworlds.

Boons
Unquiet Dead: You make a corpse speak, or summon up a ghost, shade or other culturally appropriate remnant of the dead from their gravesite. Whatever you're talking to, it can't act, just talk, but you may influence it as you can anyone. It starts with a positive Attitude of 3 towards you, and it retains all its memories of life, except for a blank space from about five minutes leading up to the moment of death. For as long as you imbue Legend, the answers it provides give you Enhancement 3 on any relevant rolls. You can only summon the same ghost once per session.
The Way of All Flesh: You steal away someone's life force. All attacks against them this scene get the Aggravated tag, and when they take damage, their Defense+Armor total is treated as one point lower than it is to determine how badly they are hurt. Alternatively, you can use this at no cost to instantly banish or destroy all trivial undead targets nearby.
Your Fault: You inflict guilt on the target over the last death they witnessed, and even attending a funeral or reading about a celebrity death counts. The precise effects of this vary depending on the target's personality and relation to the deceased, but by default it increases all Difficulties by 2, except for actions that have the potential for harming them or which might otherwise allow them to traumatically deal with their guilt. This ends when they confess their responsibility to someone that trusts them, or when you reclaim the Legend imbued.

Deception is the purview of lies, misdirection and illusion that confounds the mind and senses. It controls appearances, disguises and mirages as well as deceit. The Innate Power of Deception is that all others get +3 Complication on Empathy rolls or Assess Attitude rolls against you, and if they don't buy it off, you choose what result they get.

Boons
Ephemera: You make the illusion of a person, animal or object up to the size of a car. It is lifelike and utterly authentic, except it has no physical substance and can neither exert force nor cause harm. It can move, as long as it stays near you. A non-trivial target that beats you at a Clash of Wills can tell it's an illusion, and any attempt to touch or physically interact with the thing will prove its unreality because it...has no substance.
False History: You can make a single change to the target's memories of the last five minutes or so - something like 'my friends and I were never here' or 'all you saw were some dogs' or 'the room you were just in was ornately furnished.' Their memory remains altered until you reclaim the Legend. However, you can alter trivial targets' memories permanently, and can reclaim the Legend the next scene when you do.
Walk Unnoticed: You remove your own identity. You aren't invisible, but no one can process any distinguishing information about you, including your presence. Non-trivial targets that win a Clash of wills can resist being unable to even see you, but still can't distinguish your identity or even any distinguishing features, and get +3 Complication on rolls to notice you.

Next time: Earth, Epic Dexterity, Epic Stamina, Epic Strength, Fertility and Fire.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

RIP Lutri: 5/19/20-4/2/20
:blizz::gamefreak:


Please tell me they kept the epic strength knack that lets you use anything as a weapon without damaging it?

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Kurieg posted:

Please tell me they kept the epic strength knack that lets you use anything as a weapon without damaging it?

That's in Origin and isn't gone - it's a Warrior Knack now, so it's not even something that costs resources.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

RIP Lutri: 5/19/20-4/2/20
:blizz::gamefreak:


Mors Rattus posted:

That's in Origin and isn't gone - it's a Warrior Knack now, so it's not even something that costs resources.

Woo. I'm a big fan of improbable weapon wielders.

unseenlibrarian
Jun 4, 2012

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

Kurieg posted:

Woo. I'm a big fan of improbable weapon wielders.

In fact, I'm pretty sure death by teacup and the' knack that let you add extra weapon tags to anything are compatible, so at hero level someone with both can swing a folding chair so hard it sends a shockwave through the air and hits people behind the guy you were aiming at.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay: Deathwatch and Rites of Battle

The team assures you it's there

The Deathwatch keeps a bunch of aliens for study and interrogation, and these continue the general trend of 'enough detail to have a hook, enough ambiguity to make it yours'. We start with Aun'la Tsua'Malor Viorla, a Tau Ethereal. A low ranking Ethereal that the Imperium captured after intercepting word of his movements, he was taken in a careful covert operation that disabled his transport, stole him, then blew up the transport and made it look like an accident. However, the Deathwatch has found him a very odd prisoner. For one, the paranoid among the Inquisition question how smoothly and easily the operation to capture him went, especially the part where the Tau slipped up and made his movements known. Moreover, there doesn't seem to be anything special about him, and the Imperium was absolutely sure they'd find psychic brain worms or some other kind of evil magic that was letting the Ethereals control the other Tau. Some of them suspect he isn't an Ethereal at all, but some kind of diversion or spy, though they've found no signs of that, either. I like this because you can run multiple directions with it. It can be a trick! Watch Fortress Erioch could come under attack by Tau special forces slipping inside to rescue prisoners or collect intelligence or assassinate personnel and you can do Space Marine spy vs. spy fights in their giant gothic cathedral station. Or it could be played as 'there isn't actually anything super special about Ethereals and the Imperium is working on faulty assumptions'. Your PCs could escort him for a high profile prisoner exchange. There's lots of stuff you can do with a minor captured Ethereal ('Ethereal').

Larathyn Ki Tajell is an Eldar Corsair. He has also been having a very bad couple centuries. When the Deathwatch went to investigate an Eldar attack on one of their minor monitoring stations, they found the automated defenses had seen it off, but that there was a single male Eldar who presented himself as being under Inquisitorial protection and mandate, complete with the requisite scrolls and seals. He claimed to be a close friend and associate of an Ordo Xenos Inquisitor. Said Inquisitor had both disappeared, and was due to be put to the question if he was ever found again, unbeknownst to Larathyn. He was thus arrested and taken to Space Marine Jail. He has been there for three centuries, answering questions and pretending he is merely an honored guest waiting for his friend to arrive and put things straight. He will happily and politely insert himself into any investigation where he is consulted, and most of the Marines reckon he must be some kind of spy. A bumbling space elf who was arrested while trying to show the space cops his badge is funny to me, and you can go a lot of directions with Larathyn. Especially if the PCs discover they need to find his old Inquisitor friend. There are no rules for Eldar in the DW books, but if you want to get up to elf shenanigans he's not a bad plot hook for it.

Subject 696 is a xeno blob monster that offends the Marines on a deep and personal level: They have, to date, been completely unable to find a way to kill it. It was found aboard a Rogue Trader vessel by a team led by Chaplain Strome, who seemed to have a premonition that a mighty foe awaited aboard the derelict. It had consumed the crew and grown into a giant gribbly tentacle mass, and though the Marines tried, none of their guns or power swords hurt the creature. They eventually caught it in a stasis field and brought it home, to keep trying to kill it. They have tried everything they can think of to figure out what the hell it is and how to kill it, and nothing works. The current theory is that it might be a single feeding tentacle from some eldritch horror in the beyond, slipping through cracks into this reality. In which case the PCs may well end up *campers* who are *good for games*. *Spicy parties* might ensue if they find more of these creatures. Things could get *frumple*. Space Marines fighting the Orz is something I didn't know I wanted until now. (Star Control 2 was a masterpiece).

The Oathkeeper is a 2m tall silicate egg-monolith, from a silicate species. It can only speak telepathically, an experience that most find deeply unsettling. It calls itself the Oathkeeper of the 29th Intercession, and considers itself a willing hostage for an agreement the Deathwatch has no memory of. It also talks about the Omega Vault a lot, but is very difficult to understand. The records for the Bestiary say that this cell held a 1m tall, slow moving silicate being about 2000 years ago, and the creature appears to be partly artificial and heavily engineered. Apothecaries believe it is continuing to grow and become more mentally complex and powerful, while at the same time becoming unable to move. What it wants and why is unknown, but sometimes it will broadcast a very powerful psychic warning signal in an unknown language. The Imperials are ready to kill it at a moment's notice, just in case. I don't care for the Omega Vault, but it's nice to see some genuinely weird and mysterious aliens.

Verian-Holms Declacre is a former Imperial governor, formally executed but instead brought to Erioch for questioning. He was busy selling weapons to pro-Tau rebels, Rogue Traders, and Crusade Forces at the same time, and he has contacts to a wide-ranging pro-Tau peace/cooperation conspiracy in Jericho Reach. A conspiracy that may well reach into the Inquisition. It's a simple plot hook, and you don't get any real character for Declacre besides him being a generic, corrupt bureaucrat, but given the whole Ebongrave situation and the Tau's relative willingness to work together against the Tyranids at least, you could use this to present some interesting dilemmas or intrigues to a PC party.

The Devil Leech colony is a fairly minor xeno hive-mind of paralytic leeches, who work together to paralyze a target and then drain it of all its precious bodily fluids. They're notable for having a networked intelligence, though; the more leeches, the smarter the colony becomes and the better it is at solving problems. The colony aboard Erioch has been allowed to grow large indeed, and it's becoming hard to keep them in their cage; they've gotten very clever. If you want a tide of hive-minded leeches to cause trouble, they could always outwit the Imperials and escape into the vents.

The Mahir Leaper is interesting because it shows an example of Tyranid adaptation. The Death World of Mahir is locked in combat with Hive Fleet Dagon as we speak, because the invaders have struggled in their invasion upon finding the local ecosystem is almost as dangerous as they are. The Hive Mind is actively adapting its monsters to Mahir in a struggle to eat the planet before the planet eats the invasion fleet, and the Imperium is not entirely sure which will happen first. Mahir Leapers have adapted to be smaller and hunt in packs, as a variant of hormagaunts. They also have a harder-than-usual carapace to keep out the many poisonous insects of Mahir. The Marines maintain a breeding colony of these variant Gaunts, not so much for study as because they've found they make excellent target practice in their silly games in the Hunting Grounds. The idea of a dangerous as hell planet that is confusing the Tyranids and making a game attempt at eating the Hive Fleet splinter attacking it is pretty great and would be a fun place to send a Kill Team.

Finally, we get to the best alien. 'Tyranid Organism, Genus Unknown'. The Kill-Team that brought in the seemingly empty stasis trap that contained this creature insists it's real, because their auspex registered something entering the trap. So they put the empty trap in an empty cell, sealed it, put motion tracked guns outside of it, and deactivated the field. There has been no sign of the xeno since, which only convinces the Marines they are dealing with a lethal camouflage expert, maybe a new strain of Lictor. Battle Brothers regularly bravely volunteer to enter and fight the beast to prove it's there, but their requests are denied for fear of letting it escape. After all, it's so undetectable that it might not be there at all!

Next Time: THE OMEGA VAULT (eh)

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 15:23 on Apr 6, 2018

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Scion: Hero
Epic Dexterity No Longer Breaks The Game

Earth is the Purview of...earth. It covers stone, soil, sand, metal and crystal. It also covers the resilience of earth and stone and the fury of the earthquake and avalanche. The Innate Power of Earth is that as long as you are standing on the ground (or the bottom floor of a building), or on an earthen surface, you cannot be forcibly moved by any amount of physical force, and you get Enhancement 1 on Might and Stamina rolls.

Boons
Shaping Hand: You can shape and mold stone, metal and other earthen materials with your bare hands as easily as clay. When this assists in a roll, like climbing a cliff or pulling open a steel wall, you get Enhancement 3.
Skin Like Stone: You get +1 Soft Armor, or +3 if you are wearing no armor or any gear that grants soft armor.
Stony Heart: You harden a target's heart, preventing them from being changed in their ways by passionate or emotional pleas. This gives a +3 Complication to any Social action targeting them unless the ST decides it is totally devoid of emotional appeal. You can use this on yourself or others.

Epic Dexterity is the Purview of personal prowess in speed, agility and precision. It is swift running and also grace. The Innate Power of Epic Dexterity is that as long as you continue to move towards a destination, you always walk, run or jump with effortless grace, and any solid or liquid surface can hold your weight as if you weighed only as much as a feather. You may effortlessly scale or descend vertical surfaces without need for handholds.

Boons
The Falling Star: You may use your reflexive Move to cross two range bands, and you get Enhancement 3 on rolls to Disengage. You can't take fall damage.
Heavenly Stride: You move at superspeed, able to cross great distances in moments. You get Enhancement 3 on Rush actions and any actions taken in a race. Once per scene, you can make a Feat of Scale to enhance any action based on physical speed without having to pay for it.
Unerring Flight: You may make a ranged attack against anyone you can see, even at extreme range, and you can use Dexterity in place of any other attribute to do so. There is no increased difficulty for using weapons with the Ranged or Long Range tags at any range, and you can even attack an enemy behind full cover, as long as they're in your line of sight.

Epic Stamina is the Purview of personal prowess in vitality, endurance and resilience. It can withstand deadly attacks and danger easily, and provides limitless energy. The Innate Power of Epic Stamina is that you're immune to all poisons and disease that do not come from sources of greater Legend than your own, and you never face Complications or risk death from hunger, thirst or exhaustion.

Boons
Adamant Body: When you buy this, you pick a kind of damage you are Resistant to at all times, like bullets or fire. You can also activate this to become Resistant to another kind of damage of your choice and to get +1 Soft Armor.
Put Your Back Into It: When you roll a Physical Attribute as part of a complex action to do strenuous physical labor or other exercise, you can roll twice and take the better result.
Unbreakable: When you get hit and the enemy uses the Inflict Damage stunt, you can activate this to negate the injury completely, or to negate any Condition based on injury or physical incapacity, like Severed Limb or Broken Back.

Epic Strength is the Purview of personal prowess in raw might, force and strength. The Innate Power of Epic Strength is that you have +1 Scale at all times for the purposes of lifting, breaking or carrying large objects, and you can always use Strength instead of Presence for intimidation, seduction or building Bonds of friendship.

Boons
Heavy Lifter: You get Enhancement 3 to lift or carry heavy things. When you attack by throwing an improvised weapon, its range increases by one range band and it gets the Arcing tag. You may choose if it's Bashing or Lethal.
A World of Glass: You can tear down objects easily. Once per scene, you can make a Feat of Scale to enhance any Might-based action for free.
Pistons for Fists: When you hit with a Close Combat or Athletics attack, you can choose to either send the opponent flying back one range band or knock them prone. Enemies knocked prone must succeed on an Athletics roll to get up even if you aren't threatening them. When you use this to attack a group of trivial targets, your attack gains the Shockwave tag as long as all characters in the range band targeted are trivial.

Fertility is the Purview of growth, plants, family, sex and birth. It controls vitality in plants, animals and humans, and can bless entire families or fields...or curse them, as it also covers famine, blight and sterility. The Innate Power of Fertility is that, once per session, you can radiate an aura of vitality that causes nearby plant life, especially flowers, to bloom and grow, and all allies nearby to heal a single Bruised or Injured Condition.

Boons
Blessed Harvest: You prepare a meal, offer support or share a moment of physical intimacy with someone, which grants great vitality as a Condition. Once per scene, the target can call on this blessing to get Enhancement 3 on a roll made with a Force or Resilience attribute, a number of times based on your Legend. A Scion with this condition can end it to perform a Feat of Scale without paying the normal cost.
Favor of Nature: You can bless or blight a contiguous, recognized piece of land, or a family. (For land, basically you can pick 'this forest' but 'the 312 acres around me'.) Blessed land undergoes a growth surge in seconds, and grows a season's worth of development in a week. It remains fertile enough to give Enhancement 3 to any rolls to cultivate or harvest from it for years based on your Legend after the Boon ends. Blighted land causes great decay. Crops are instantly inedible, and all plant life dies in a week. Structures of wood or plant material decay greatly each day, and the land remains infertile for years based on your Legend after the Boon ends. Used to bless a family, you target a person and affect their direct ancestors and descendants. Blessed families get Enhancement 2 against poison or disease, never suffer infertility or complications in pregnancy, and are guaranteed to have healthy children that will survive adolescence unless targeted by unnatural causes; these children often become Prophets, Saints or even Scions. A blighted family becomes entirely infertile, unable to conceive by any means, and any existing pregnancies end in miscarriage. Weaker members of the family, usually kids or the elderly, that are trivial targets will probably die of natural causes unless given intensive medical care for as long as the Boon is active.
Hand of Blight: You curse a target with uncontrolled growth, which gives them the Blighted condition, with +2 Difficulty to all actions they perform until they resolve it via magical healing or extensive cancer treatments. You may target groups of trivial targets with this at once and at no cost, and may choose to have them die on the spot from rapid cancer growth during the scene.

Fire is the Purview of literal flame, but also the metaphorical flames in the heart - passion and enlightenment. Thus, while this Purview can make or control literal fire, heat and light, it can also cover sudden bursts of passion, emotion or inspiration. The Innate Power of Fire is that you and your belongings cannot be harmed in any way by fire, heat or smoke. You can walk through wildfires, microwaves or magma unharmed, and are likewise immune to extreme cold.

Boons
Eternal Flame: You grant a fire some of your power. It grows to the size of a large campfire if smaller, needs no fuel and cannot be put out by mundane means. You may take a Simple action to extend your senses through the fire, letting you see, hear and smell as if present. You can only have one blessed fire at a time.
Heaven's Fire: You can attack with the power of flame, manifested however you choose - heat rays, firebolts, spontaneous combustion. You can attack this way for the rest of the scene as a Simple action with Dexterity+Athletics, with the Aggravated, Ranged and Pushing tags.
Muse of Fire: You inspire someone else with the fire of enlightenment. Their next Cunning, Presence or Intellect roll gets Enhancement 3. If they do not use this in the next scene, however, the fire overwhelms them, raising the difficulty of all Social or Mental actions by 1 unless they are totally open and honest about everything they're thinking. This condition is resolved by expressing a deeply personal truth, potentially provocative opinion or other similarly inflammatory remark.

Next time: Forge, Fortune, Frost, Health, Journeys, Moon.

marshmallow creep
Dec 10, 2008

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



unseenlibrarian posted:

In fact, I'm pretty sure death by teacup and the' knack that let you add extra weapon tags to anything are compatible, so at hero level someone with both can swing a folding chair so hard it sends a shockwave through the air and hits people behind the guy you were aiming at.

Scion sounding the like good kind of anime.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay: Deathwatch and Rites of Battle

Get your Deus Ex Machina here!

The Omega Vault is a poorly thought out idea. The book's section on it brings it up as a 'built in arc' for a campaign, having sections of it unlock as the players complete their objectives and get involved in plots, until it opens up to reveal anything from plot hooks to super weapons, which will drastically alter the course of the Achilus Crusade. Before we discuss why this doesn't really work, let's go over their suggestions for what's in Fortress Mystery Box.

1: A super awesome Imperial Confessor from 2000 years ago, who was somehow preserved in his golden power armor and everything, and whose incredible preaching is so powerful it can turn one warzone around. Confessor Melcher El was a big part of St. Drusus' Angevin Crusade that captured Calixis 2000 years ago. After being released, PCs will have to guard him while he single-handedly makes the Imperium start winning one of the three losing wars, partly from the people involved in the two wars he doesn't choose to get involved in. This completely undermines what I saw as the theme of the crusade, namely that 'will' and 'attacking hard enough' weren't working and they were losing because the Imperials trusted to their own propaganda. There's also oddly little discussion of 'how the hell did a guy who just happened to be preserved in a weird vault for 2000 years turn out to be there and ready to win another war' and you'd really think something so obviously sinister would merit some more mention.

2. A magic child with super psychic powers who causes a civil war on the station between 'pro magic child' and 'anti-magic child' factions. Boring.

3. Powerful C'Tan (Necron knock-off Chaos Gods) artifacts. These could allow genuine control of the Warp Gate or possibly close the Hadox Anamoly, turning around the Acheros Salient. They might also cause angry Necrons. Well, 'angry'. That would imply they had personalities.

4. The literal father of the Kroot, the cannibalistic mercenary buddies the Tau use for close combat duties. As in, the progenitor of their species. The Kroot will instantly turn on the Tau everywhere if he can be persuaded to help the Imperials. Inquisitors and Marines want to shoot him in the head for being an alien instead, because genocide is way too ingrained in Imperial culture. Eh.

5. Random superweapon or powerful resource of your choice to deus ex machina a plot line.

6. THE TRUTH: A secret truth about the Imperium or Marines in general that will CHANGE EVERYTHING.

Now, the problem is, first of all, all of these are lame. But most importantly, they're all gotten by waiting for a magic mystery box to unlock. They're unrelated to the core gameplay of Deathwatch, which is about your team coming together while they do crazy techno-feudal special ops warrior-monk work. A magic vault of Deus Ex Machinas has no place in this story, especially as you're playing as Main Character Marines. If you want your Kill-Team to single-handedly turn around a warzone, that is entirely in keeping with the fluff and tone of the setting. They don't need a magic mystery box full of secrets; have them do it by killing sufficiently horrible gribblies and having adventures. The Omega Vault is a flawed idea that wouldn't have worked in any game in the line, but it would have been *less* of a bad idea in many of the others. Rogue Traders going on a grimdark One Piece adventure where they seek the keys to the vault that unlocks their dreams would have worked better. Dark Heresy people solving puzzles and mysteries to open the Vault and find terrible truths? I could see that. But Space Marines? You've got plenty of chapter politics and interservice intrigue, sure, but at heart your adventures aren't about seeking to unlock an ancient macguffin vault in your home base; they're about shooting hundreds of aliens and punching out a bug the size of a building with your giant power glove.

Next Time: More of the Sector

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

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




I wonder about the name of the Death planet.
That death planet is named Mahir, which is Hebrew for 'quick' but only in the 'fast' meaning and not the 'living' meaning.
Is this merely coincidence? Or a mistake?

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



How would the Empire even try to convince the First Kroot that working with them is a good idea over the guys who have been buddies with his kids and let them keep eating dead stuff?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Mors Rattus posted:

How would the Empire even try to convince the First Kroot that working with them is a good idea over the guys who have been buddies with his kids and let them keep eating dead stuff?

Nothing about the Omega Vault is well thought out.

kommy5
Dec 6, 2016


After playing the Mass Effect trilogy, put me firmly in the Anti Magic Child camp. Seriously, I hated that little bastard so much.

I am not sure what the writers were thinking with this Omega Vault. A vending machine for plot devices sounds like exactly the wrong thing to put in an RPG.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Like I said; I could see it for Rogue Trader. A mystical vault supposed to contain all the wealth and treasure you ever dreamed of if you just find the keys on this magical pirate quest across the sector. Note: Vault probably contains metaphors for man's greed or doom or a note saying the real treasure was the friends you made along the way.

Thankfully it's really easy to ignore.

JackMann
Aug 11, 2010

Secure. Contain. Protect.


Fallen Rib

Yes, the exact thing players want to find in a vault is someone else who will do the real heavy lifting of the campaign. Thank goodness someone is around to take away all that pesky agency they were stuck with.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay: Deathwatch and Rites of Battle

And they called it Outer Heaven-oh. Wrong game.

We finish up the fluff portions with a description of some of the weird places and things in the corners of Jericho, away from the major warzones. One of them is a crazy series of asteroid habitats where the Imperial Guard is fighting an orbital battle with an insane Imperial sect that believes the only purpose of life is to suffer and die for the Emperor. They have thus devoted themselves to suffering, dying, and making others suffer and die, which means the constant warfare in their crazy little ring around a massive gas giant suits them fine. For some reason, the Guard suspect these guys of being supported by the Tau solely because they have Kroot mercenaries fighting among their ranks. No-one is sure who is leading the Gilded Torment, the insane death cult, but if you had to ask me I'd say they're facing a radical Slaaneshi cult and not Tau backed terrorists. The environment is bad for the Guard; it's hard to deploy tanks and heavy weapons in artificial gravity and atmosphere. They might need your Marines if they intend to finish things here.

The Execution Eternal is an Oberon-class Battleship, and as a former Battlefleet Gothic player I can tell you that's a lot less impressive than most Imperial battleships. The Oberon is a sort of 'try to do absolutely everything, not end up great at anything' massive boondoggle of a ship. It is, however, still a goddamn Battleship and in this setting that means it's quite capable of serving as a battlefleet's flagship or blowing away an entire colony. This one was overtaken a year ago by a pro-Tau mutiny among its crew, but its officers managed to spike the warp engines and kill the Navigator before the traitors could escape. The Tau sent support, but so did the Navy, and the two sides are now locked in a year-long war aboard a massive combat cathedral the size of a small city. The Navy refuses overt assistance from any other branch of the Imperial armed forces, and unless something should change (like your Marines deciding 'gently caress the Navy's pride') there's no end in sight to this miniature war over a single capital ship.

Warzone Epsilon is the point at which Dagon Hive Splinters crashed into the combat between the Imperium and Tau in the Canis Salient. It is unknown if the Nids have an actual objective in the region or if they're simply attacking because they attack anything in their way, but Ebongrave refuses to consider them anything but a side battle to be held off with holding actions and the Navy while he 'finishes' the fight with the 'real' enemy, the Tau. The Navy has lost plenty of ships but managed to hold the Nids in place for now, and when the Nids lose in space they can't recoup the biomass. Were it not for the Navy holding them off, Ebongrave's lunatic policy of refusing to divert forces would probably have gotten the entire Canis Salient as shattered as Orpheus. As it is, he is also actively making it harder for the Tau to hold against the Nids, even though the Tau aren't as batshit crazy about trying to continue the war with the Imperium as he is. The Tau would probably be very happy to make a temporary truce and play spy games instead were it not for him. Meanwhile, the Tau and Nids are locked in combat in a region the Imperium has dubbed 'the Xenocide', since it's aliens fighting aliens. A few intelligent officers have suggested assisting, to deny the Hive Fleets biomass. Some stupider ones have suggested sabotaging the Tau to ensure the whole Sept is attacked by the Nids, but that would (and the book notes this) only strengthen the Hive to the point that the Canis Salient would likely be lost. Your Marines probably have plenty to do in the region.

The Deserter's Coil is a rumor spoken of among the many soldiers who want to get the hell out from between the Tau, Nids, and the lunacy of Lord Ebongrave. It's supposed to be a large series of life-bearing but mostly uncharted worlds where a soldier can live free on the fruits of their labors, with various Navy renegades being willing to ferry troops who seek to get out of the Guard out to this untamed region to build their ideal society away from the bureaucracy and madness of the Imperium or the hand of the Tau. It is, naturally, a trap by Chaos. When you arrive, it's all Chaos, all the time. And you've already deserted, so the Imperium will torture you to death if you go back, so might as well settle in and strap on your eight pointed star until Chaos also tortures you to death because it is equally as authoritarian and normative, the norms are just skulls. The idea is to build a Chaos army out of those seeking this subsector of soldiers and then flank the Canis Salient with it to fight through to Acheros. Your Marines could go and punch out some of the people responsible for this. Maybe lead a rebellion.

Menicus is the last bit of fluff in the book. It's a strange and exceedingly life-bearing fungal planet inhabited by a cult of 'The Young God', who lives in the Warp and who will come and make all the world alive and no longer drab and dull. The locals are fanatics who fled to this planet to witness as it becomes lush with life, and to beg for their Young God to come through to this world. This is a Chaos Cult, but it's not clear which God. If you're really unlucky, it could be an entirely new one (though it could reasonably be Slaanesh or Nurgle). Another little mystery for your PCs to stop.

And that's it for Deathwatch's fluff. I can cover the vehicle rules (they aren't very good) and other complexities and honors and things introduced in Rites of Battle, I could cover the First Founding book, or I could just get back to Fantasy after a final sum-up. All are fine with me.

Next Time: ?

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Eh if you're on a roll, why not First Founding?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


It is where they stuffed the good marines.

MonsterEnvy
Feb 4, 2012


I would like a bit more fantasy. Or maybe Rogue Trader or Only War.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


I'm not going to cover Rogue Trader because I have pretty much no nostalgia for it. I know it's a popular game but I found it really dull to run, because its zaniness is oddly predictable. Also its mechanics are really, really bad, and a lot of shipbuilding is mechanically tied to a victory points system that again, I'd never have any actual use for but without using, most of the ship components are useless. The space rules are like the ultimate poster-boy for 'looks like you have a lot of choices, you really don't.' The classes are badly designed and I'm pretty sure RT is the game that really soured people on the Career system because they're no fun at all to play in RT.

OW on the other hand feels like the game that told FFG they either needed a new system or they were going to stop making 40kRP games, and the latter ended up being what happened.

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!

DAD LOST MY IPOD posted:

I think the implication isn’t that she was unfaithful, it’s that she hopped in bed with Njal before they were officially married (which would explain why nobody cares)

Yeah, for some reason I read "chaste" as "faithful." In that case Old Meg is just telling unnecessary details about other peoples' sex lives.

I realized that in hindsight, the dying speech rules mean that the backstory accounts of people like Jasella can be learned by the PCs as they narrate their lives before their timely death. I am going to admit that I never did this in my campaign; partly because it feels unfamiliar, and partly because I don't have time to write flowery verses for every BBEG. Although that would be totes cool to do in an ideal campaign.

Feinne
Oct 9, 2007

When you fall, get right back up again.


The most awkward story progression in that fight for the battleship would be the 'Nids stumbling in and now there's a battleship-sized space whale making GBS threads Gaunts onto it as well.

The Imperial Navy are notably not fond of Hormagaunts, since they're the guys who get to be scythed to pieces trying to shotgun the things to death before giving up and overloading the engines. 'Regular dude with a shotgun' is not a good place to be against bioengineered nightmare monsters.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Feinne posted:

The most awkward story progression in that fight for the battleship would be the 'Nids stumbling in and now there's a battleship-sized space whale making GBS threads Gaunts onto it as well.

The Imperial Navy are notably not fond of Hormagaunts, since they're the guys who get to be scythed to pieces trying to shotgun the things to death before giving up and overloading the engines. 'Regular dude with a shotgun' is not a good place to be against bioengineered nightmare monsters.

Especially not at close quarters in a maze of 1980's esque 'everything is fog and clanking chains' industrial horror.

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:

I'm not going to cover Rogue Trader because I have pretty much no nostalgia for it. I know it's a popular game but I found it really dull to run, because its zaniness is oddly predictable. Also its mechanics are really, really bad, ... The classes are badly designed

See, this is exactly why I'd like to see a review of it, because gently caress the game design in Rogue Trader. The classes get puffed up as "YOU'RE SPACE SUPERMEN WITH LOTS OF EXPERIENCE WHO ARE GOOD AT DOING STUFF" yet at chargen most of the classes will flail about roughly as much as a Dark Heresy starter character. Plus, half of them don't actually advance well in what they're meant to do, as their intended role aboard the ship. The Arch-Militant being good at leadership? Perish the thought!

gently caress Rogue Trader.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


PurpleXVI posted:

See, this is exactly why I'd like to see a review of it, because gently caress the game design in Rogue Trader. The classes get puffed up as "YOU'RE SPACE SUPERMEN WITH LOTS OF EXPERIENCE WHO ARE GOOD AT DOING STUFF" yet at chargen most of the classes will flail about roughly as much as a Dark Heresy starter character. Plus, half of them don't actually advance well in what they're meant to do, as their intended role aboard the ship. The Arch-Militant being good at leadership? Perish the thought!

gently caress Rogue Trader.

Yeah, maybe I should do it just for gently caress Rogue Trader.

And for exactly the reason you described here. Hell, the loving Arch Militant is literally a 3.5 Fighter. They're not even allowed to be good at melee, let alone being a leader and officer. They're just sorta okay at pulling a trigger and watching the Techpriest punch god.

Oh, and don't forget RT is the game where they suddenly decided to change the costs on everything and make most things more expensive, while advising giving out little EXP. It is also the game where they made almost every rank take thousands of EXP, so I hope you like being stuck at each rank a very long time with few options.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 20:50 on Apr 6, 2018

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





What about Black Crusade?

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Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Night10194 posted:

Oh, and don't forget RT is the game where they suddenly decided to change the costs on everything and make most things more expensive, while advising giving out little EXP. It is also the game where they made almost every rank take thousands of EXP, so I hope you like being stuck at each rank a very long time with few options.

In all my years DMing in different systems, I've never actually tracked EXP. Players level up when I feel it makes sense for them to do so - I usually have a loose (players will be players) plan for each campaign, with a schedule for leveling up that I can adjust as necessary.

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