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Lucas Archer
Dec 1, 2007
Falling...

FMguru posted:

Are you familiar with E. Gary Gygax, noted game designer and writer of module S3 Expedition To The Barrier Peaks?
:negative: Of course. Maybe it's good I never played this module, with my puzzle solving skills on full display here.

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Ratoslov
Feb 15, 2012

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



Ghost Leviathan posted:

not enough angelic prostitute representation imo

Modron and Slaad prostitutes.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


Mind the gears, and the eggs/diseases.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




Nessus posted:

If this critter is actually just riding down the summon chute and convincing evil wizards and dabblers in meta-satanism to be glorious heroes - while informing them on their deathbed that the legendary destinies they fulfilled were in fact a creation of theirs -

That's not a demon, that's an angel!
"There was no destiny! The real heroism was inside you all along!" seems like a very poor choice for what's supposed to be a horror monster, yeah.

Ratoslov
Feb 15, 2012

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



Zereth posted:

"There was no destiny! The real heroism was inside you all along!" seems like a very poor choice for what's supposed to be a horror monster, yeah.

But once again, it's a great comedy monster. It has a ridiculously circuitous plan that ultimately fails at the last step because it's too stupid to be effectively evil.

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers, stern and wild ones, and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss.


Clapping Larry

With Barrier Peaks, all that 'alien' text is actually a simple substitution cypher, and the wheely sled text gives its operation instructions I seem to remember.

Prism
Dec 22, 2007

yospos


Lucas Archer posted:

:negative: Of course. Maybe it's good I never played this module, with my puzzle solving skills on full display here.

To be fair, I don't think a lot of people who weren't playing back then know his first name is not actually Gary.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Scion: Hero
Can We Build It

Forge is the Purview of craft and technology. It is wielded by the divine smiths and makers, but it covers just about any art that produces useful things - from blacksmiths to programming. The Innate Power of Forge is that whenever one of your craft projects would suffer Flaws for any reason, it gets one point less from the total amount of Flaws, to a minimum of 0.

Boons
Celestial Artifice: You lower the Tier of a craft project by 1; however, this doesn't let you do projects of a Tier you normally couldn't. It just makes them easier.
Reclaim From Ruin: You can repair anything, no matter how badly it's been damaged, to the extent of actually reversing entropy. You can reconstruct a burnt book from its ashes or a sword from melted slag or even reconstruct a hard drive from its remains after a nuke.
While the Iron Is Hot: You get Enhancement 3 to a roll to jury-rig a craft project, and can even put together contraptions that a mortal could not attempt due to feasibility. As long as it's even theoretically possible you could make it normally with a number of days of work based on your Legend, you can try to make the jury-rig roll.

Fortune is the Purview of luck, of blessings and curses and chance. It controls coincidence and synchronicitiy, and while it isn't prophecy, it can easily arrange improbable events and enable extreme feats through luck. The Innate Power of Fortune is that you can sense the presence of Fatebindings in those you interact with. If you later meet the other 'half' of a sensed Fatebinding, you can tell that the two are bound together. You may also sense when a Prophet or Sorcerer uses their Knacks to manipulate Fate and can identify them as the source of the effect even if it can't normally be perceived.

Boons
Divination: You can sense someone's luck in the near future; out of character, you actually decide if they'll get good or bad luck. This creates a condition. Once per scene, before they make a roll, you can declare that their luck intervenes. Good luck lowers the target number by 1, bad luck increases it by 1. (I can't tell if this is meant to reduce/increase Difficulty or literally the target number of rolls. I think it's the latter.) Good luck ends after a number of uses based on your Legend, while bad luck ends at the end of a scene in which a failure on the penalized roll causes significant consequences, ot the victim accepts an offered botch on any action.
Fateful Connection: You may invoke the Fatebinding of one of your Fatebound without it counting against the usual once per session limit, as synchronicity arranges for them to be nearby enough to plausibly show up - even, with ST agreement, in Terra Incognitae or other realms of existence.
Nine Lives: You are so lucky you can survive things you should not. You get +1 Defense and Enhancement 2 on any roll that might have you suffer physical harm as a direct result of failure.

Frost is the Purview of cold, snow, winter and ice. It also has power over associations with cold or winter - inaction, cold-heartedness, the death of plants, hibernation. The Innate Power of Frost is that you are immune to all harm from extreme cold and to difficult terrain or Complications from snow, hail or ice. You can walk on water or clouds, turning them to solid ice underfoot just long enough to support you.

Boons
Cooler Heads: You can cool tempers easily. This can be used on characters in combat, argument, reckless action or other emotionally charged scenarios. They become almost emotionless and stop whatever they were doing, and will not return to it for the rest of the scene. They may still defend themselves from harm, but will not initiate any form of hostilities.
Flash Freeze: You may drain the heat from the world, freezing over an entire area - including your foes. This is an attack using your highest Power attribute + Occult, with the Bashing, Piercing, Ranged and Shockwave tags. All water in the targeted range band is intantly frozen solid, as well, and ground becomes ice-slick difficult terrain, along with any other environmental changes associated with water freezing or pipes bursting.
Glacial Pace: You slow the world around you. If you use this on a character that has speed-based Scale, like cheetah or a Scion using a Feat of Scale, that Scale is reduced by 1. Characters without Scale get +2 Difficulty to all rols based on physical speed. You may use this against all trivial targets in range for free. Alternately, you may slow any number of moving objects in range, reducing their Scale in regards to speed by 1, such as bringing traffic to a grinding halt by slowing the cars.

Health is the Purview of physical well-being and life force. It can mend and cure and cleanse. However, it also holds sway over illness, age and pestilence, and can inflict them just as easily. The Innate Power of Healt is that, once per session, when you successfully give treatment to an NPC ally that resolves an Injury Condition, a Poisoned Condition or a disease, you gain 1 Legend.

Boons
Healing Hands: You can touch someone to instantly resolve any Injury Conditions they have, even Maimed conditions, or to resolve Conditions such as Poisoned, Disease, or even other physical or mental health problems, even if caused by magic.
Flawless Diagnosis: You may look at someone and ask the ST one question:
  • What's wrong with this person, and how could I help them?
  • What were this person's last moments like?
  • How can I end this [disease outbreak, mass poisoning or similar crisis]?
  • Who is responsibile for this harm?
You get Enhancement 3 on applicable rolls when you follow the answer.
Master of Disease: You can withdraw the benefits of Health from foes. This causes a +5 Complication based on disease and the Divine Plague Condition. Until that Condition is resolved via magic healing, the target cannot buy off the Complication or have it treated mundanely. Mortal targets that do not resolve this condition in a number of months based on Legend dies.

Journeys is the Purview of roads, routes, travel, portals, movement, vehicles, trade routes and transit infrastructure. The Innate Power of Journeys is that you have an unerring sense of direction, and you can always find a route that leads to anywhere in the World you want to go without a roll, unless the place is obscured by magic. You can sense the presence of an Axis Mundi or other gate between worlds at a distance based on Legend.

Boons
Chariot of the Gods: You may bless a vehicle with divine power, increasing the Scale of all speed-based actions it takes by 1, and giving +2 Complication to all attempts to steal, damage or impede it by foes.
Here There Be Dragons: You curse someone with obstacles. Any time they roll to travel or navigate, they get a +3 Complication. If they are trying to move across difficult terrain that already exists, they get +1 Difficulty on the action.
Unbarred Passage: You may remove a single Complication obstructing your travel. Locked doors open, traffic parts, turbulence vanishes. This benefits anyone traveling with you, as well.

Moon is the Purview of moonlight, revelation or distortion of truth, change, mutability and the lunar cycle. The Innate Power of Moon is that you can radiate an aura of moonlight reflexively. Only you and those you choose can perceive this light, however, and no others can benefit from it. You may spend Legend to reveal the true form of any shapeshifters or transformed characters in the moonlight, with a roll if they want to conceal their nature.

Boons
Enchanting Evening: You cause moonlight to make the familiar feel new. The target reconsiders their feelings for someone or something they see, getting Attitude 2 towards your chosen thing or person, or changing their existing attitude by +2 or -2. The target's player chooses the exact nature of the change - they simply have to change somehow.
Phase Cloak: You become totally invisible, gaining Enhancement 3 to avoid being seen, even by electronic surveillence or magical scrying based on sight.
Three-Faced Moon: You may change the target's apparent age to whatever you like, though it does not physically alter their body - just their appearance. Used on yourself, you also get bonuses based on the age. As a young child, you get Enhancement 2 to Empathy rolls, as an adult, you get Enhancement 2 to Medicine rolls, and as an elder, you get Enhancement 2 to Occult rolls.

Next time: Order, Passion, Prosperity, Sky, Stars, Sun

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

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



NS7: The Return of Hallbjorn



This adventure is suited for levels 11th through 13th. I'm not going to be doing What I Changed notes for this one. All of that will be in a post of its own, as I more or less had to rewrite this module from the ground up. Why?

Two words: Skraeling trolls.

After saving Trotheim from a dire fate, the PCs have 2 years of leisure time and by now are famous throughout the whole Northlands if they aren't already. But since their rising days from Vengeance of the Long Serpent, Hallbjorn's been busy. The former captain of said ship is very much alive, and not because of resurrection magic either. After being knocked off his ship, he caught hold of a lone kayak once manned by the Ulnat warrior Kelvani by sheer luck. It had enough supplies to last him for a bit, and the brave Viking paddled using the currents and the position of the stars in the sky. Eventually his kayak came upon the shores of a warm new land known as the Oestyrn Isles, also home to stranded Northlanders who originally meant to sail north to Estenfird 70 years ago. From their view, this colony of "Nieuland" was a fertile paradise of mild winters where old clan grudges were forgotten. But Hallbjorn still longs for home, and with a newly-built ship he sets off for the Northlands.

It is a warm fine day in Halfstead when Hallbjorn's ship comes into harbor. The sighting of his face causes a stir and it's not long before news reaches the PC's ears. Hallbjorn is more than happy to see his old friends from half a decade ago, and just as eager to hear of their many exploits. In a game of one-upmanship he tells them and everyone within earshot of the land of Nieuland and its many untamed lands and lost treasures. Tales grow wildly out of proportion, claiming that the legendary Viking of the Henrikson household slain a dragon, married a princess, and many other wild tales. Naturally the Køenig of Hordaland (now 14 years old) is interested in arranging a meeting with Hallbjorn and the PCs at his hall. During the feasting the party can make skill checks to separate truth from fiction of the wild tales. Eventually Hallbjorn tells the truth of things to the Køenig's mother and the PCs: a group of thrydreg trolls the colonists call Skraelings (term for "barbarian or "foreigner" in Nørsk), long indigenous to the island, have been attacking the people of Nieuland. Hallbjorn fears that they are massing in numbers great enough which they won't be able to withstand. The regent mentions that she secured a deal with him: that Hordaland will help settle the new land via trade agreements and with grandiose plans to enrich Halfstead even further.

The adventure points out a minigame system in the adventure's appendix for PCs seeking to become jarls, along with Regent Gudrid promising 10,000 hacksilver as a forward loan. Hallbjorn knows of a secret fast route to the Oestryn Isles, but all the other colonists have to use Halfstead's trading ports. The expedition takes a year of planning, and during this time the Isles see a new influx of colonists. Unfortunately word has spread to many ears, including the Jomsvikings who begin making raids on colonist and skraeling settlements alike. What's more, a monstrous shaman known as Half-Face is stirring the skraelings into a larger warband. This, combined with the strained resources, is enough to push the skraelings over the edge.

quote:

It is only a matter of time before they come into contact with the Northlanders and bloody war rips through the forests. Only the timely intervention of the PCs can spare the fledgling colonies from the dual threats of the Jomsvikings and the skraelings.

Dual threats you say? Guess how many set-piece encounters involve Native American trolls? 17. Guess how many involve Jomsvikings? 1, and it is optional.

So, where to start? Although the skraeling's stat blocks are mostly Chaotic Neutral, they are the villains of this adventure. Besides one NPC there is no resource or option to broker a peace deal, unite against the Jomsvikings, or even convince Hallbjorn and the colonists that their expanding settlements are only going to make things worse.

Even the boxed text is biased:

quote:

Nieuland is the home of an evil and secretive race, an age-old enemy of the Men of the North, the thrydregs. Unlike the thrydregs of the Northlands, these trollish folk descended from survivors of a once-great island nation far to the south now sunken beneath the waves of the Great Ocean who came northward after the fall of their nation in mighty ocean-going canoes. This wandering people found the Oestryn Isles and settled there, only to discover the waters around the islands already the home of many clans of trow. The trow and southerners warred for many years, decimating both sides, but ultimately the trow overcame the newcomers and enslaved them, creating a new breed of thrydregs unique to the Oestryn Isles. The Northlander colonists who have encountered them call them skraelings, which means simply “foreigner” or “barbarian” in the Nørsk tongue, though it has come to be identified with this specific race of thrydregs to the Nieulander colonists.

So are they Evil, or are they Chaotic Neutral?

Upon the Transborean Current



The first chapter is a linear ocean voyage. The Oestryn Islands are 7,200 miles east of the North Sea, which would ordinarily take 100 days but Hallbjorn's secret Transborean Current shortens this to 81 days. In addition to a colony of glowing jellyfish which the sailors take for a good omen, there is a set-piece encounter with 5 coral giant scavengers. Later on, the crew briefly catches an ominous sighting of a Jomsviking ship before it mysteriously disappears. Finally, the fleet comes under attack by 11 trow (aquatic trolls) astride a dragon turtle.

The Colony of Nieuland



This section of the adventure is an open-world Colonialist Sandbox. There's a host of stand-alone encounters and settlements. The western colony of Kasternack is where Hallbjorn's fleet makes first landing, and the PCs will gain a warm welcome by the local jarl. The laws are different: land is free for the taking as long as nobody else already laid a claim to it. The adventure encourages the use of the Jarl mini-game rules to encourage settlement building and for the GM to use existing encounters and ones of his own design. In terms of locations, there are 19, one of which is Hammer Cleft Mountain and covered in its own chapter. Not all of them are notable or interesting enough to include in this review, so I'll focus on a few. C, G, K, and P are skraeling villages, a few of which have Native American-style names (Beaver Lodge, Running Wolf Village) with description of the number of warriors and noncombatants who include children (who have no stats thank god). D is an abandoned camp which has the corpses of people tortured and nailed to the trees by Jomsvikings (which is in fact the title image of this adventure). The massacre site can give some clues to the identity of the attackers. H is a pool where a green hag and her dire crocodile pets seek to ambush boats and swimmers, while J is the ruins of a Northlander village where the Jomsvikings set up camp. They are a third party in this adventure, equally hostile to the colonists and skraelings alike and are not too fond of the PCs' sabotaging of their island fortress.

L is a hill home to several huge monstrous statues which can animate into stone golems. If the PCs attacked the skraeling villages mentioned above and Half-Face is still alive, then he'll lead a war party to attack and kidnap several Northlander farmers to perform a human sacrifice here. If he is not stopped, the golems will animate and he'll command them to besiege Kasternack. Half-Face will not fight to the death, instead dimension dooring back to Hammer Cleft Mountain.

O is home to a sasquatch family and their young. They are not eager to start combat, instead using traps and howls to frighten anyone away. If the PCs rescued a sasquatch from a viper vine (one of the random encounters) the family will look on cautiously. The rescued one's among them, and out of respect they gift the PCs fresh game, water, and a masterwork shortbow. They can be allies of the PCs if a communication channel is opened (they only speak their own tongue), fighting the skraelings if necessary yet not a sustained war, and can show them a secret passage in area Q to ambush the camp up there.

So what I'm getting is: Sasquatches good. Indians bad.

Q is a valley home to a camp of skraeling warriors guarding the trail to the Highvale's lakes and rivers.

R is home to an overlook containing a beautiful sight of the Highvale, a set of interconnected lakes and rivers home to many skraelings which is beyond the scope of this adventure. Giant beavers can be fought here and have their pelts skinned for hacksilver, but Survival checks show that a large number of skraelings headed up to Hammer Cleft Mountain, area S.

Hammer Cleft Mountain



This oddly-shaped mountain is a dormant volcano long regarded as sacred to the skraeling tribes. We get a write-up of Half-Face's backstory. Basically he's a dorvae fiend with Wizard levels (Illusionist) disguised as a thyrdreg troll. Half-Face gained popularity among the skraelings by passing himself off as a great prophet, insisting that recent maladies are divine punishments for tolerating the presence of the colonists. All so he can gradually build a miniature kingdom in this tiny corner of the world with himself as head.

Half-Face and the bulk of his forces lair in a fortress known as Smoky Lake Crannog which is on an artificial island surrounded by the crater's lake. The trail leading up to the mountain and the surrounding lake has a few monstrous encounters: undead skraelings, gnasher lizards, and some raggoths. The crannog has a large contingent of skraeling warriors and shamans, 5 biclopses, and 7 wolf-like raggoths to act as hunters. The adventure mentions the patrols and troop placements of the enemies around the fortress depending on whether or not the alarm has been raised. If Half-Face dies the chain of command passes down to his shamans, and if they and half the forces die the remaining skraelings flee into the Highvale. Some of the rooms hold monsters in captivity such as giant assassins bugs and a rogue froghemoth which lairs in a lagoon the inhabitants give a wide berth.

However, there may be one person in this complex willing to reason with the PCs. A blind skraeling shaman by the name of Gray Bear is not too fond of Half-Face's ascension and has an inkling at his origins. Although not a fan of the colonists, he is undecided as to whether his new leader is ultimately helpful or harmful to his people. Gray Bear has an invisible pipefox companion to whisper into his ear if the PCs try to take advantage of his lack of vision. If the PCs remain nonviolent, Gray Bear tells them his suspicions and makes a deal: if the PCs kill Half-Face but spare any other skraelings they meet, the shaman will give them some healing potions as well as the dorvae's personal quarters. After which he'll dive into the lake and make his way to the Highvale.



Half-Face's personal lair is high security. A plank covering twilight mushrooms is triggered to smoosh them and release poisonous spores. This trap also alerts him to intruders, and his secret door closet is home to an adamantine cobra construct. Half-Face will reveal his true form to the PCs, exposing him as that of the Sceadugengan and forcing a Will save which stuns instead of shakens.

Half-Face has quite a few good spells, which he'll but to use if he has time to buff himself before combat: Blur, mirror image, invisibility as self-enhancement, then black tentacles as a readied action on the next person who passes through his doorway. If the PCs are still alive, he'll follow up with save-or-suck spells such as feeblemind, phantasmal killer, and rainbow pattern. Like the encounter on the hill, he'll use dimension door to retreat if he suffers enough damage.

The adventure's conclusion is open-ended. If Half-Face is dead, the skraelings give up their war against the colonists and withdraw into the Highvale. The PCs gain great reputations among Nieuland, but the adventure intones this is not the end of troubles. The Jomsvikings intend to send out more fleets to the Oestryn Isles even if their initial raiders were killed. If Gray Bear survived, he'll take control over the tribes, and Half-Face if he survives is now an outcast with no political power. The colonists will further encroach into the lands of Highvale and beyond.

quote:

The PCs can be involved in waging a war of conquest against the indigenous tribes or even ensuring that future contact with the skraelings are not hostile if they’d rather engender peaceful relations with the natives of the Oestryn Isles. Whichever way such future contact between the cultures might go, the PCs can be at the forefront of determining its course.

:shepface:

What a hard choice. On the one hand, I can re-enact an historical ethnic cleansing of a fantasy-coded real world group still suffering the effects of colonialism in modern day North America. Or we can not do that.

Rise of a Jarl Minigame: So a PC who wants to become a jarl must fill out several requirements: they must have Leadership feat, must be at least 9th level in a martial class (or bard) and have no levels in a primary spellcasting class (unusual powers are scary), be 50% human, have 50,000 hacksilver worth of land, and a longship and crew worth at least 10,000 hacksilver. Once these are met, the PC jarl may make Diplomacy or Intimidate checks once a month to attract huscarls and freemen, who must be paid regularly for their services or else have them disperse. A jarl who risks losing his household may lose his followers and assets, and must make a Charisma check to hold onto them. Penalties are imposed for a variety of reasons, but a check may be bypassed upon a successful related quest or leading a financially lucrative raid.

This is simplified, but it sounds like there's a lot of complications and difficulties in becoming a jarl? So what are the benefits?

Only one. The huscarls have at least 3 levels in one of the appropriate jarl-friendly classes and may accompany the PC on adventures. But at this point we're 12th to 14th level and such characters will be of minimal use in combat.

Concluding Thoughts: Even barring the racist overtones of reducing Native Americans into monsters for loot and EXP, The Return of Hallbjorn has a lot of flaws. One, Hallbjorn himself does not play a large role beyond the initial opening. Second is the fact that it seems that the writing process took a sudden left turn: the Jomsviking threat was initially played up in the text and even featured their handiwork on the cover art, but then were reduced to a single optional encounter. Unlike Raven Banners Over Gatland or Plague in Trotheim there is not a sense of impending doom to spur PCs onward. The open world sandbox may be interesting, but the vast majority of locations are single encounters with nothing in the way of dungeons or complexes to explore. Although there's an impetus of "we must save the colonists," this adventure is very greed-driven whereas prior ones just as strongly played on PCs' possible altruistic intentions.

But what gets me most of all is the fact that Ken Spencer was the same writer for this as the adventures in Ulnataland. Comparing them is so jarring that it feels like there was an entirely different writer for this part. The Ulnat were fantasy counterpart indigenous Americans, but had several things going for them. They were human, the major conflict was a civil war with a demonic cult and not the people as a whole, they were just as willing to fight for their freedom than let themselves be rescued, only the cultists had levels in barbarian (most Ulnat were Rangers), and the backstory of Heroes' Rock shown that they had a story of legendary figures in the Northlands Saga alongside the more familiar Nordic heroes.

Join us next time for NS8: the Hallburning, where the PCs must bring to justice a group of cowardly murderers and unmask a conspiracy in the making!

Edit: For what it's worth, Ken Spencer commented on the review on another site about this adventure:

quote:

I normally do not comment on let's read or reviews of my work, but I feel there is something that needs to be brought up. I wrote the settings guide and NS 0-4. By the time of NS-5+ I was heavily involved with my work on Rocket Age and other projects. The rest of the Saga was completed based off of my notes and outlines by Greg Vaughn and Kevin Wright, thus the change in tone and style. Partially this is because of the break in time between working on the earlier part of the series and when work on the compilation book was started. Freelancer have to take the gigs they can, which sometimes precludes doing the gigs they want.

Libertad! fucked around with this message at 02:52 on Apr 8, 2018

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



Is anyone planning to do the Kill Six Billion Demons rpgs?

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

Libertad! posted:

Concluding Thoughts: Even barring the racist overtones of reducing Native Americans into monsters for loot and EXP, The Return of Hallbjorn has a lot of flaws. One, Hallbjorn himself does not play a large role beyond the initial opening. Second is the fact that it seems that the writing process took a sudden left turn: the Jomsviking threat was initially played up in the text and even featured their handiwork on the cover art, but then were reduced to a single optional encounter. Unlike Raven Banners Over Gatland or Plague in Trotheim there is not a sense of impending doom to spur PCs onward. The open world sandbox may be interesting, but the vast majority of locations are single encounters with nothing in the way of dungeons or complexes to explore. Although there's an impetus of "we must save the colonists," this adventure is very greed-driven whereas prior ones just as strongly played on PCs' possible altruistic intentions.

But what gets me most of all is the fact that Ken Spencer was the same writer for this as the adventures in Ulnataland. Comparing them is so jarring that it feels like there was an entirely different writer for this part. The Ulnat were fantasy counterpart indigenous Americans, but had several things going for them. They were human, the major conflict was a civil war with a demonic cult and not the people as a whole, they were just as willing to fight for their freedom than let themselves be rescued, only the cultists had levels in barbarian (most Ulnat were Rangers), and the backstory of Heroes' Rock shown that they had a story of legendary figures in the Northlands Saga alongside the more familiar Nordic heroes.

Between this and all of the sex stuff you've had to excise, I kinda feel bad for how many rewrites this campaign is requiring.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Ratoslov posted:

Modron and Slaad prostitutes.

I would imagine a Modron prostitute would basically be a walking Fleshlight and/or a really awkward-looking ReBoot binome.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Young Freud posted:

I would imagine a Modron prostitute would basically be a walking Fleshlight and/or a really awkward-looking ReBoot binome.
Compensated Companion Cube.

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

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




Please don't imagine anything of the sort.

DAD LOST MY IPOD
Feb 3, 2012

Fats Dominar is on the case




well we’ve seen Modrons separate from the March and “go native,” I guess it just depends where they fall off

Wrestlepig
Feb 25, 2011

my mum says im cool



Toilet Rascal

A modron prostitute wouldn't have sex, they'd do something weird and dumb like screw a nail into a hole and pass you a doll, or clone you.

Wrestlepig fucked around with this message at 12:42 on Apr 8, 2018

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay: Deathwatch and Rites of Battle

Retrospective

There's more I could cover, especially about vehicle rules. The simple fact of the matter is they're pretty uninteresting and mostly notable for having the same problem as the rest of the system: Most vehicles have, say, 40+ Armor on their front, 20 or so on their back, then 30-40 HP. They also have all kinds of weird facing and movement rules that don't add anything and buckets of powerful heavy weapons, like heavy bolters that inexplicably do even more damage than hand-carried bolters or massive 'turbo-lasers' on the Thunderhawk gunship that do more than a lascannon. For the most part if a vehicle is on the field, you start needing to field anti-tank weapons to destroy it. This becomes a much bigger problem if you give PCs a vehicle in a game like Only War, where any PC exposed to an anti-tank weapon (which, remember, can be fired at PCs without penalty) will evaporate into a mist whereas Marines *might* be able to take one hit.

But what I'd like to talk about is why I remember Deathwatch fondly, despite it being a mess of a game who stretches its system to the extreme limits of what it will handle and a game about one of the worst aspects of 40k. Deathwatch is not a great game from a design perspective. It is a game where your gender is decided by GW and every single PC is playing as an elite stormtrooper for a genocidal regime of space fascists. Its fluff will occasionally remind you that one of your jobs is actually wiping out alien species that have no means to fight back against a bunch of power-armored jackboots.

The thing is, first of all, the setting is full of enough actual plot hooks and stuff to do to ignore those portions and get to fighting actual battles. The framing device of serving in the Deathwatch gives you a reason to put Marines in an uncomfortable position where they have to adapt outside the familiarity of their Chapter. The game can be played as special forces commando homeric epic heroes. The setting never stops reminding you that there isn't anything glorious about the murderous nature of the Imperium, unlike some 40k stuff. Stuff like the Invisible Alien In A Box, the silly Marine hunting ground games, the incompetent commanders who are following Standard GW Brilliant General tactics and getting wrecked for it? All of it contributes to a setting where you're free to do more with Space Marines than make them invincible glorious heroes. It's also surprisingly fun to play a game where yes, every single PC is extremely good at fighting and you expect fighting to come up often as stress relief from contemplating whether or not your 3-5 heroes even matter in a war of billions of people. It's also fun to play as one of the main character types that actually gets agency in 40k.

There are tiny seeds of interesting ideas all over Warhammer 40,000. Most of them are not realized in any sense, or momentarily realized by one author for one book or edition and then cast out in favor of the Marines being more invincible, the Imperium more unambiguously the 'lesser evil' at the very least, etc etc. I've used the term 'manufactured hero' a lot during this review because to me, that is the most interesting part of a Marine. You actually aren't that special as a Space Marine Hero. You're the baseline. The expected level of exceptional performance. You're a mass-produced epic legend, who is a mighty slayer of foes and elite warrior exactly like all the other people who look just like you in your big frowny-faced armor. Your Chapter of 1000 people like you have a glorious history where they recount how they did much the same as every other Chapter. You'll win every fire-fight you're put into but unless they're the exact right fire-fights (and in an RPG campaign, of course, they often will be) it probably won't make that much of a difference. The average Marine is only ever allowed to enjoy glory and aspires mainly to die heroically some day. They're pathetic creatures, kept around and supplied extravagantly because they make for great propaganda and when you get them to stop showboating they can be useful special forces. You don't have to stay in this sort of mould, obviously, but keeping it in mind as a baseline is why I find Marines interesting; your PCs will obviously diverge and develop much more of an actual individual personality, because they're PCs, but this is the picture you get of Marines past all the talk of how epic and wonderful they are.

Roleplaying people like that trying to have actual emotional relationships with each other and getting involved in epic struggles beyond the simple 'shoot the alien, receive the medal' urge they all share is simply fun. Especially when you're given a setting where people believing their own hype is destroying the sector and putting billions at risk. It feels like there's an actual theme, and like there's pride and programming to transcend as well as external challenges to shoot with a rocket propelled assault rifle. There's a surprising amount of room to give your Marine a real character because they're in a situation that doesn't correspond to their workaday norm. Combined with actually having fun (if simple) gameplay and big, cathartic action sequences to balance out the character drama, and having powerful characters with enough agency to possibly turn some of these warzones around, the game can produce surprisingly good stories. The system has a lot of mechanical complexity in the name of trying to add more decisions to combat, most of which is unnecessary (they even mention in a sidebar that they realize Squad Mode is probably unneeded and it's fine to only play in Solo) because PCs are so powerful and combat is on such a high level of lethality. It has a lot of numbers and moving parts that don't add a lot to it. But it's still playable, and you would not believe how much it helps to actually have a setting with a theme and some adventure hooks. There's a good balance between enough detail to hang a story concept on but enough ambiguity to let you make it yours.

Also I won't be getting to the Monster Manual but it has a bunch of NPCs who actually make surprisingly good main villains or allies, like the heroic Commander Flamewing, a Tau commander who won a ground war with the bugs and who is now absolutely desperate to end the war between the Imperium and Tau to focus on them. Or the evil Magos Biologis who has figured out how to eat Space Marine geneseed to give himself Space Marine powers, and who is experimenting with making his own Marines or even better Marines with what he's learned. He was good enough that I actually used him as a main villain, mostly unaltered, for a campaign. Everything in Deathwatch feels like it's written towards the idea of PCs actually interacting with it and having stakes in doing so, outside dumb stuff like THE OMEGA VAULT.

Thus, as terrible of a setting as 40k is, as boring as Marines usually are, the Space Marine Game for 40kRP is surprisingly good, demonstrates FFG's actual growing talent at writing fluff for the game and setting, and is at least a very interesting game to play. It's still full of holes and not that well designed (though it is playable), there are still some baffling decisions (like how hard it is to increase your HP), but the Jericho Reach is an interesting place to shoot ten thousand bug aliens and then contemplate your role in galactic warfare and the meaning of your glories.

Next Time: Rogue Trader: Terribly Designed Space Colonialism.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Scion: Hero
Law & Order: Supernatural Victims Unit

Order is the Purview of law, society, justice, sovereignty, wisdom, custom and authority. The Innate Power of Order allows you to innately sense the laws that govern any jurisdiction you're in, telling you whether anything witness or think about doing would be legal under those laws. Any mortal law enforcement acting in their official capacity is physically unable to take action against you for any legal act you perform, and physically cannot overreach their authority against you, as their body betrays them in the name of true justice.

Boons
Code of Heaven: When you explain laws to anyone, as long as you are truthful and accurate, they know you are correct. If, as part of the explanation, you declare someone or a group to be innocent, then for the duration, those people gain the protection of the Innate Power. If you declare someone guilty, you and all who hear you get Enhancement 2 on any actions taken to bring them to justice.
Divine Right: You declare yourself or someone else to be a divine ruler, making all who see them sense proof of their authority. Everyone treats their Attitude towards the ruler as 1 point higher than normal. Further, for the purpose of any Order Boons or marvels that care, it is unlawful to harm or betray the ruler.
Nothing but The Truth: You become to terrifying to lie to. Anyone affected by this cannot lie, omit the truth or make any misrepresentation of material fact, period. They cannot mislead you.

Passion is the Purview of emotion. It rules over hearts, controlling every human emotion, and may stir them to the strength that they overwhelm rational thought. However, this is one of the Purviews you can specialize - Love, Fear, Joy, etc. If you do that, you can only create, manipulate and draw on that emotion, but you get a Motif based on it that you can use with any Purview, such as 'sensuality, pleasure and desire' or 'a mother will always do what's best for her kids' for Love. The Innate Power of Passion is that you get Enhancement 3 on all Assess Attitude rolls due to seeing into hearts, and if you see someone who has a Bond towards someone else in the scene, you can intuitively sense the Bond's existence.

Boons
Blurt It Out: You overwhelm someone with sudden emotion, causing them to unwittingly say whatever they are thinking. Anyone hearing it gets Enhancement 3 on Assess Attitude actions or other Social rolls to understand the context of the utterance for the duration.
Irresistable Impulse: You fill someone with an emotion of your choice, giving them a Condition based on that emotion. The effect may vary, but generically, it gives +3 Difficulty when they do something contrary to the emotion, such as being polite while angry or fighting while lovestruck. Others get Enhancement 3 on rolls to detect the emotion. The condition is resolved by taking significant action with potential for consequences which is motivated by the emotion, or when you reclaim the Legend.
Tugging at Heartstrings: Once you know someone's Attitude towards something, you cen intensify or stifle the emotions it draws on, raising or lower the Attitude by 1. This can't stack with other magical modifiers - none of them do - but it can cancel out a bonus or penalty, unlike most.

Prosperity is the Purview of wealth, commerce, the prosperity of people and cities, and blessings of providence. It is common among tutelary deities, who are patrons to a kingdom or tribe. The Innate Power of Prosperity is that whenever you use your wealth of financial status to influence someone, their Attitude is treated as one point higher.

Boons
All That Glitters: You may use this on any luxury good you've purchased this session, or on any object or locale you have either concretly or symbolically dedicated to a group of people. The blessed object or place catches the attention of anyone seeing it, and gives Enhancement 2 to influence that plays on their feelings towards it.
Blessed Wealth: You call forth roughly $10,000 in riches (though tracking exact sums is not needed). This takes any form you choose - a wad of bills, coins in precious metals, a deposit to your account, whatever. However, it wants to be spent - any that is still in your possession at the end of the session vanishes. Once given away, however, it retains your blessing - a mortal that receives it gets Enhancement 3 on a single roll to run a business or maintain a comfortable lifestyle, on top of now having money. If the money gets divided among multiple people, only the first to make such a roll gets the Enhancement.
Divine Providence: You bless a specific group of mortals that belong to an organization or live in a place - the employees of a business, the members of a cult, the people of a city. You ward away economic misfortune from them, negating any mundane Conditions that might be caused by poverty or the stabilizing of economies. A blessing on the homeless, for example, ensures they will all find enough resources to maintain their basic needs, while a blessing on a city means that it will handle recessions or other economic issues somewhat better than others in the region. If you have a relationship to the blessed target as represented by a Path, you may use that Path freely an additional time each session.

Sky is the Purview of weather, wind, lightning - and all other aspects of the sky. The Innate Power is that you have perfect foreknowledge of the weather and climate around you at least a day in advance, and you may ignore any Complications caused by rain, wind or other weather.

Boons
Bolt from The Blue: You call down a bolt of lightning as an attack using Occult+(highest Power attribute), with the Aggravated, Ranged and Shockwave tags. You may use this to attack enemies in a building, but this gives a Defense bonus ranging from +1 (for a one-story building with a light roof) to +5 (for a skyscraper with a lightning rod).
Flight: You can fly with your movement actions. However, you cannot Rush or Disengage while flying. When this ends, you descend gracefully and take no fall damage on landing.
Voice of Seven Thunders: Your voice can be heard clearly out to far range, and you do not need to spend successes to use the Spectacle stunt. If you benefit from Threats, the Enhancement you receive is increased by 1, to a max of 3.

Stars is the Purview of the stars and everything they do. They can provide guidance at sea, track seasonal changes and trace out the bounds of spacetime. They look down from above, infinitely distant yet fundamentally bound to the patterns of existence. The Innate Power of Stars is that, as long as you are under the open sky, you can take a simple action to shift your senses to a God's eye view, looking down on everything out to Long range from a top-down perspective.

Boons
Cosmic Perspective: You can observe the past in the area, specifying some point in time or some event that has occurred in the past thousand years, but nothing more recent than the last dawn. If you use this as part of an investigation complex action or similar, you can ignore up to 5 Complication caused by the passage of time since whatever you were observing.
Guiding Star: You create a mystic beacon that leads either to you, the location you are in when you activate this, or to any locale you know well. The target may sense this beacon from anywhere in the same realm of existence, and may navigate to it with a flawless sense of direction. Once the target chooses to follow the beacon, you may sense their location as a simple action, determining the exact distance and direction to them.
Starry Path: You focus on a location and cause motes of starlight to appear around you. You must maintain your focus as a complex action over the course of a few minutes, and cannot do this at all while in combat or similar fast-paced action. Once you finish, you disappear in a burst of starlight and reappear, instantly, anywhere in the World. You may bring a number of willing passengers with you based on your Legend, and other Scions and any mortals Fatebound to you do not count towards that limit. You cannot use this to teleport between realms of existence, however. While in the World you can appear anywhere on Earth that you choose, in a Terra Incognita, Overworld or Underworld, you can only teleport out to a distance equivalent to five days and nights of travel.

Sun is the Purview of all aspects of the sun - life-giving rays, scorching heat and drought. It also draws on the symbolism of the rising and setting sun to grant rebirth and fulfill hope, or to purify against the evils of the night. The Innate Power of Sun is that you can choose to radiate an aura of sunlight that will light up darkness out to Long range, reflexively. You can spend Legend to make this radiance blindingly bright, causing +2 Complication to any attack rolls against you or any allies within your light.

Boons
Blinding Glory: You unleash a flash of light, blinding all foes in range. When you spend Legend on the Innate Power, you may reflexively use this Boon without any cost. Further, any use of this Boon solely against trivial targets is free.
Hope Reborn: You embody the glory of the sun. Any mortals that see you will instinctively know you are the answer to all their hopes, and you get Enhancement 3 to identify those hopes or use them as leverage to influence people.
Penetrating Glare: You can see through the darkness of lies and confusion. You get Enhancement 3 to all rolls to see if someone is lying, to see through disguises, to pierce illusions or to otherwise see through deceptions. Any use of the Misleading Complication against you has its rating reduced by 1.

Next time: War, Water, Wild, Wyrd, Yoga, Yaoyorozu-no-Kamigami

Leraika
Jun 14, 2015

slime time



Goddamn, Order is pretty awesome.

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





Is it just me or is the third Order Boon a strictly superior version of the third Sun boon?

Leraika
Jun 14, 2015

slime time



Joe Slowboat posted:

Is it just me or is the third Order Boon a strictly superior version of the third Sun boon?

I feel like Sun has a different focus in that it's also helping you see through deceptions that don't depend on direct interactions with you - like disguises, long-standing illusions, or Fairy Bullshit for example.

Sorta the difference between True Seeing and Zone of Truth.

Speleothing
May 6, 2008

Spare batteries are pretty key.

People being too afraid to lie to you actually seems way less useful than seeing through bullshit.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay: Rogue Trader

Fully automated luxury space capitalism

Rogue Trader sounds like it should be perfect for an RPG. You play as a Rogue Trader, someone with a license to be an conquistador from the Imperium of Man. Your Warrant of Trade, possibly granted by the Emperor himself back during the Crusade, empowers you to own a Warp-capable Void Ship and alliances with the Navigator Houses grant you someone who can help the party make their way through uncharted space to find new planets, exterminate or enslave new alien species, and generally get up to Space Colonialism and Space Piracy. Instead of a lowly Acolyte of the Inquisition, you are either the actual Rogue Trader or one of their closest advisors, playing as the officer corps of your ship and its teeming masses of thousands of expendable ratings. It wants to be a much more high power, high adventure game rather than the low-level investigative work from Dark Heresy.

It is probably the worst game in its entire line, and I bounced off it *hard* even back when I was a 40k fan, with my group trying it for an arc or two before electing to play something else. I've tried running it a few times since, and the same thing always happens. It is an absolute mess of awkward mechanics, poor class and gear design, badly thought out subsystems, and inconsistent power. Space Combat and Spaceship design are full of the illusion of choice, and also require interacting directly with one of the worst subsystems in the book or else the majority of choices made there won't matter anyway. Advancement is a huge mess, and the Career system is so badly done in this game that I strongly suspect this is the game that killed the Career system, even if a smaller version of it was still in Deathwatch. Rogue Trader wants you to play as daring, swashbuckling masters of the universe and fails. I also don't quite know how to get this across, but Rogue Trader's fluff often feels like it's really lacking in the critical edge and self-awareness necessary to handle writing about murderous Space Colonialists. Think the bad kind of Steampunk and you'll get the tone of a lot of the fluff in RT, where you're all the daring, swashbuckling Great Men out to bring Civilization and Order and get fabulously wealthy on your adventures while crushing and stealing from the natives and 'savages'.

Character Creation works a lot like the other 40kRP games, save your base stats start at 25+2d10 before world modifiers (Intended to make you higher powered, fair enough) and you also have a new subsystem: The Origin Path. This is an attempt at a little Life Path system for your character. As you move down the origin path, you can only pick the next origin option directly blow your previous one or one point to the right or left. This leads to hilarity like a Death Worlder being unable to be an Ex-Mercenary (Stubjack) while a Forge Worlder *has* to be either a beloved scion of the IMPERIAL CREED, an ex-Merc, or a criminal, etc. You're also supposed to look for spots where your Origin Path intersected another player's to explain how you all met, which also feels unnecessary. Each step also has significant mechanical implications.

The most important step is obviously your Homeworld. Characters actually get skills from their homeworld now! Wonder of wonders, the Death Worlder actually fixed a bunch of the Feral Worlder's problems, and also aren't explicitly from a primitive world anymore; you could be from somewhere like Catachan where you're shotgunning the wildlife daily and getting into knife-fights with giant scorpions, but you know what a radio is. They still get a WP and Fel penalty in return for +5 Str and Tough, BUT they specifically get a +10 to saves against Pinning and Fear to make up for it, since they've seen some poo poo growing up on a planet where the natural environment is constantly trying to kill them. They take a penalty when using Interaction skills in formal environments but they're all hardened survivors and get the fairly useless 'You can use Primitive melee weapons regardless of your class' ability, since any class suited for Death Worlder is going to know how to use melee weapons already. They also introduce one of the dumbest ideas in RT: Your starting wounds are now 2xToughness Bonus+d5+minor homeworld modifier. On average, RT characters have *less HP* than Acolytes due to this rule; the average world gives 6 (average TB is still 3)+d5, which was the lovely Void Born number in DH. Yes, your High Power Explorers are generally more fragile than the lovely Acolytes. Characters generally have more Fate, at least: Death Worlder gets 2-3, with 50-50 odds of either.

Void Born (people who live in space) are exactly like they were in DH, with +5 WP for -5 Str, some trouble dealing with non-void-born, and they don't even get actual Skills, just 'you can use space skills as Basic if you don't have training', which is lame. They still get the 10% chance not to use up Fate Points when spending them, which is nice. Their whole 'never get messed up in Zero G and space' ability is also much more likely to come into play in a game about being space ship crew, so the marginal utility of some of their flavor abilities is quite a bit higher in RT. They get TBx2+d5 Wounds and 3-4 Fate, 50-50 odds of both. They're generally pretty solid and still great at being wizards.

Forge Worlders grew up on one of the huge Adeptus Mechanicus manufacturing and research planets. They get -5 WS and +5 Int, and they get the ability to whack their gun on a table and unjam it from their technological prowess (The talent is literally called Technical Knock). You also get to pick a single stat and add +3 to it since you'd have been crushed in giant gears if you weren't useful or something. You have trouble dealing with the Imperial Creed because you grew up with the Creedo Omnissiah instead. Obvious choice for Techpriests. d5+1+2xTB HP, 50% chance of 2 Fate, 40% of 3, 10% of 4.

Hive Worlders are, again, almost exactly like in DH. They grew up in massive megacities, they don't deal with low-tech surroundings very well, they're good with people and not too tough (+5 Fel, -5 Tough) and they react fast to trouble. There isn't much more to say about Hive Worlders. d5+1+2xTB Wounds (And with the Toughness penalty, you could be starting with a few as 6 Wounds) and 50% chance of 2 Fate, 30% of 3, 20% of 4.

Imperial Worlders are literally copy-pasted from DH; exactly the same +3 Willpower, no downside, and -5 on Forbidden Lore tests, exactly the same large series of academic and history skills they get to treat as Basic, but now they have a terrible d5+2xTB wounds and 80% odds of 3 Fate, 20% of 4. Again: With a bad Toughness, an Imperial Worlder can be starting the High Powered Game with 5 Wounds.

Noble Born are new. You're a Noble, someone of vast wealth and relative personal freedom. Your actual homeworld could be any sort of world, but wherever you're from, you're the Space 1%. You get +5 Fellowship, -5 Willpower, +10 on any social checks in formal surroundings, a random subplot about a vendetta someone has against your family as a 'drawback' (A dramatic enemy trying to kill you is hardly a drawback in a roleplaying game about adventures and noble vendettas!) and your group gets +1 Profit Factor (A % chance to acquire items that serves as your measure of group spending power) per Noble PC. You also get d5+2xTB Wounds and 30% odds of 2 Fate, 60% of 3, 10% of 4.

After that, you begin to pick your birthright, your destiny, and the many other steps on your Origin Path.

Next Time: Those many steps.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Joe Slowboat posted:

Is it just me or is the third Order Boon a strictly superior version of the third Sun boon?
The Boons do not seem to be tightly optimized in this way. Indeed it seemed like most broad sorts of effects were explicitly made so you can get something like that from multiple sources, probably to avoid any bullshit along the lines of "well Loki is objectively inferior to even Violent H, juggalo trash sculptor and Scion of Hephasteus, because Violent H has Metamorphosis and Loki doesn't."

Part of what I like about Scion here is that it really seems to have landed in my own personal sweet spot of "flexible and narrative, but with a clearly established (though broad) theme." Some of this may be that I am conditioned to count dots and roll D10s, of course.

Chernobyl Peace Prize
May 7, 2007

Or later, later's fine.
But now would be good.



Nessus posted:

The Boons do not seem to be tightly optimized in this way. Indeed it seemed like most broad sorts of effects were explicitly made so you can get something like that from multiple sources, probably to avoid any bullshit along the lines of "well Loki is objectively inferior to even Violent H, juggalo trash sculptor and Scion of Hephasteus, because Violent H has Metamorphosis and Loki doesn't."

Part of what I like about Scion here is that it really seems to have landed in my own personal sweet spot of "flexible and narrative, but with a clearly established (though broad) theme." Some of this may be that I am conditioned to count dots and roll D10s, of course.
The other thing is, because of how marvels and Motifs work, distinctions between stuff like "you can't lie to me" and "I see the truth" make sense to have in the game (and indeed, if you have access to one and want access to the other, you can probably make a marvel of it). Kind of like portfolio bullet points for characters in Nobilis.

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





This all makes sense; I was just a bit miffed that Sun doesn't by default let me fire orbital death lasers from the eye of Ra, so I was looking for issues with the Sun boons.

Chernobyl Peace Prize
May 7, 2007

Or later, later's fine.
But now would be good.



Joe Slowboat posted:

This all makes sense; I was just a bit miffed that Sun doesn't by default let me fire orbital death lasers from the eye of Ra, so I was looking for issues with the Sun boons.
I mean that'd probably either be a basic "make attacks with the Purview" marvel, or even build a DIY Relic (Eye of Ra) that gives you access to the Fire and Sun Purviews, and then you just buy the Fire "the attacks marvel but Imbue instead of Spend Legend" Boon.

Splash in something to give you access to the Stars Purview to get the Innate eyes-in-the-sky power, and you can even go with orbital death lasers.

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





Chernobyl Peace Prize posted:

I mean that'd probably either be a basic "make attacks with the Purview" marvel, or even build a DIY Relic (Eye of Ra) that gives you access to the Fire and Sun Purviews, and then you just buy the Fire "the attacks marvel but Imbue instead of Spend Legend" Boon.

Splash in something to give you access to the Stars Purview to get the Innate eyes-in-the-sky power, and you can even go with orbital death lasers.

Thank you very much, and yeah, the Stars, Sun, and Fire purviews have stood out the most to me so far, so I enjoy this potent combination.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Chernobyl Peace Prize posted:

I mean that'd probably either be a basic "make attacks with the Purview" marvel, or even build a DIY Relic (Eye of Ra) that gives you access to the Fire and Sun Purviews, and then you just buy the Fire "the attacks marvel but Imbue instead of Spend Legend" Boon.

Splash in something to give you access to the Stars Purview to get the Innate eyes-in-the-sky power, and you can even go with orbital death lasers.
What I personally like is that while you can specialize in "fight good," any nerd can drop a Legend point and activate their spell card to whip rear end for a scene.

Deptfordx
Dec 23, 2013



Yeah Rogue Trader really is a heartbreaker.

The basic concept, "What if Harry Mudd was captain of the Enterprise" is awesome, it's just the terrible, terrible execution.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



It's one of those games that I too am perennially interested in but never get around to actually touching so I'm glad you're taking a crack at it.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Deptfordx posted:

Yeah Rogue Trader really is a heartbreaker.

The basic concept, "What if Harry Mudd was captain of the Enterprise" is awesome, it's just the terrible, terrible execution.

I consider it more Star Wars than Trek. Except instead of a beat-up old freighter that's still got plenty of tricks, you're smuggling and pirating from the deck of your very own Super Star Destroyer.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Scion: Hero
What Is It Good For

War is the Purview of...war. It covers fights and armed conflict, but also strife on a conceptual level. War can shape battles, bless soldiers or generals, or shatter peace. The Innate Power of War is that you can select a group of Heavy followers and bless them, giving them the Savage tag. This lasts indefinitely, but you can only bless one group at a time.

Boons
Herald of Victory: You choose a side in a fight. All characters on that side get Enhancement 1 to all actions for the rest of the scene. If you are simply observing a battle rather than taking part, and none of your allies are involved, you may use this Boon for free to favor one of the sides.
Marching Orders: You grant Enhancement 2 to any one person, potentially yourself, on rolls to command Heavy followers for one scene. If the target interacts with someone who is their subordinate in a military or paramilitary group, the subordinate's Attitude is treatd as 1 point higher.
Understanding the Battlefield: You may activate this to ask one of the following:
  • What is the best way to provoke a fight in the current scene? It need not be a lethal fight but will be an ugly one.
  • What's the best way out of or into this room?
  • Where should I look to find a tactical advantage? This might be a shotgun behind the bar, a corridor too narrow for the full security squad to move through, or the blessed altar of a war god, for example.
  • What should I be on the lookout for?
Following whatever answer the ST gives will give you Enhancement 3 to relevant rolls. However, this never directly benefits attack or defense - if you learn about that shotgun, you get the Enhancement to find it and get it before anyone else can, but not to shoot with it.

Water is the Purview of all things water. It controls the tides, the sustaining and cleansing power of water and the danger of the waves and the deep sea. The Innate Power of Water is that you can breathe water as easily as air and may swim with flawless grace. You never suffer any Complications for moving or acting underwater, and you are immune to harm from water pressure or temperature.

Boons
Changing Tides: You control the tides and currents of water. You may calm it and make it still and placid even in the midst of a storm, or you may alter the flow of the currents - a river might flow uphill or a riptide might drag swimmers to shore. The water reverts back when you reclaim your imbued Legend. However, if you spend Legend rather than imbuing, you may call up a giant wave to crush your foes as an attack using Occult+(highest Power attribute), with the Bashing, Long Range, Pushing and Shockwave tags.
Reborn in the Depths: You may heal yourself by submerging in a body of water, resolving one Injury Condition of your choice at the end of a scene spent immersed in water. You can only use this healing once per session. Further, you may extend your senses through the water, displacing your perspective as a simple action to any point within Long range that is within the same body of water, seeing through that point as if physically present.
Sink Hopes: You overwhelm someone with the sensation of endless drowning as a Condition. They know they can breathe, but they succumb to panic or despair from the feeling of suffocation and darkness. All rolls with Social or Mental Attributes are at +2 Difficulty. If they are in water or at risk of becoming submerged in water, this also applies to Physical Attributes. This is resolved when the target suffers near-drowning or comparable mortal peril due to water, or when you choose to reclaim your Legend.

Wild is the Purview of the untamed land, of the living plants of nature. It commands all wilderness - forest, jungle, desert, taiga, it doesn't matter. It can command and animate plants, stop human econroachment or even draw on symbolic associations of wild things, unleashing the inner beast in animals and people. The Innate Power is that you ignore all difficult or dangerous terrain based on undergrowth, fallen trees, briars or other plant-based hazards. You also get Enhancement 2 to all rolls to establish stealth in a wilderness area.

Boons
Call of the Wild: You may use this on a human, human-like being or domesticated animal. They suffer a Condition that awakens their atavistic instinct, giving +2 Difficulty to all Academics, Culture, Firearms, Medicine, Pilot, Scions and Technology rolls, but Enhancement 2 on Athletics, Close Combat, Integrity and Survival rolls. This resolves when failure on a roll of a penalized skill causes significant consequences. This can be used for free against all trivial targets in range simultaneously.
Lay of the Land: When in a wilderness area, you can ask the ST one of the following:
  • What happened here recently?
  • What should I be on the lookout for?
  • What's my best escape route/way in/way around?
  • What here is useful or valuable to me?
You get Enhancement 3 to relevant rolls when following the answer.
Overgrowth: You cause massive growth in local plant life. It emerges from the soil, cracks in concrete or any other surface that can support it. This can make difficult terrain anywhere in range and create one or more terrain features that provide a total of 3 points worth of Complication or Enhancement. For the rest of the scene, you may direct these plants to attack enemies with a Presence+Survival roll, and they have the Bashing, Grappling and Versatile tags.

Wyrd is the Pantheon Signature Purview of the Aesir. It encompasses all of the magic they use, and which their worshippers use to foretell and manipulate the fates spun by the Nornir. This includes galdr charms cast by runes or chanting, spa (or prophecy), and seidr. The Innate Power of Wyrd is that you have a personal fate you know you're destined for. It's never good - you might be destined to die in a way mirroring your divine parent's doom at Ragnarok, or you might be betrayed by those closest to you, or your ambitions may fail grandly, or something else. Whenever you have narrative difficulties that advance your fate or echo it, or come from you trying to avoid your fate, you gain 1 Momentum.

Boons
Cast the Runes: Once per session, you may perform a ritual divination by casting runes of some kind over a few minutes. The ST will give you a lead or clue about what they expect to happen in the current session. If you use a Boon or marvel later in the session and the ST agrees that it'll help bring about what was foretold, you may waive 1 Legend out of its cost in imbued or spent Legend. This can only be done once.
Spin the Thread: You call on seidr to cast a blessing or curse on someone else via a ritual trance that lasts one scene, as you envision the future. You predict a specific triumph or downfall for them, placing it as a Condition. If an action is likely to bring about the prophecy, it gets Enhancement 2. Actions that go against the destiny have +1 Difficulty, or +2 if they'd make it completely impossible. This cuts both ways - a blessing can make life harder if you go against it, and a Curse will empower actions that lead to its fruition. The Condition resolves when the prophecy happens, when the ST decides it is no longer possible, or when you reclaim the Legend, whichever comes first. Magic that can alter destiny, such as Wyrd or Fortune marvels, can also end it prematurely.

Yoga is the Pantheon Signature Purview of the Deva. The yogas are disciplines of liberation of the spirit, via selfless action, personal devotion and understanding of the divine. The Deva use this to gain divine favor and blessings via austerities and selflessness. The Innate Power of Yoga is that, once per scene, when you selflessly act despite hardship in order to uphold your duty or serve someone, you may allow another PC to spend Momentum on an action without having to draw on their Virtues, and every point of Momentum spent this way adds a free second die, as if they had the Virtuous Condition.

Boons
Devotion's Reward: You may spend a scene to put on an act of devotion that calls on one of the Deva, such as a dance, a sacrifice or performing austerities. You may then ask for a specific Boon or power, or a more open-ended request. A specific request will have a limitation imposed on it by the Deva granting it, but you get whatever you asked for. If you go open-ended, the ST picks what you get, but it has no restrictions to its use. Typically, power granted this way is in the form of use of a Boon, a Knack or a Relic, and any blessing lasts until the end of the session. The ST may also offer a more customized blessing, but no matter what, you cannot gain any power that is beyond your normal ability to learn, such as a God-tier Boon while you're a Hero. You may also use this to call on the favor of an asura (IE, a Deva-associated Titan), or even, with the ST's permission, a deity outside the Deva, but it may require a good deal of work to figure out what kind of devotion they would want.
Eyes of Knowledge: You may look at a God, Scion, Titan, titanspawn or other divine being and ask one of the following:
  • What do they intend to do?
  • How are they really feeling?
  • What do they wish I'd do?
  • How could I get them to do <x>?
The ST will try to answer you in the form of a spontaneous, in-character speech, monologue or other form of expository dialogue by the character in question, but can choose to just tell you the answer if that's too much work. Following whatever answer is revealed gives Enhancement 3 on relevant rolls while you keep your Legend imbued.

Yaoyorozu-no-Kamigami is the Signature Purview of the Kami. It states that all things are kami, and so all things can be influenced by speech and propitiation. The Innate Power is that you can speak to the kami of objects and animals, allowing you to talk to and try to influence them. They have Attitude 2 towards you by default. Kami of objects have limited agency - mostly, they can do things that their object might be able to do without rolling. A kami of a car could start the engine without keys, but not drive it, for example.

Boons
Appeasing the Kami: You offer respect and decorum to the kami of an object. Its Enhancement is increased by 1 when you or an ally use it, and any enemy that uses it gets +2 Complication. Failure to buy this off causes the object to 'misbehave' and avoid harming or disadvantaging you.
The Watchful Spirit: You can ask the kami of an object or animal to watch for intruders, wath out for a specific person or event, or do some other passive task. Once it finds what it's looking for or otherwise completes the task, it will notify you regardless of distance, either by whispering to you or sending a portent. This can provide +2 Enhancement if it benefits an action. If you use this again before the task is complete, the first task ends immediately and the kami is released from its duty as you give another kami a new one.

Next time: Cheval/Gun, Dodaem, Heku, Tianming, Nextlahualli and Metamorphosis

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Rifts Index & Adventures Volume Two posted:

Warning!

There's one thing that comes to mind when this warning comes up.

Rifts Index & Adventures Volume Two posted:

Violence and the Supernatural

It only comes to my mind, I'm pretty certain.

Rifts Index & Adventures Volume Two posted:

The fictional World of Rifts® is violent, deadly and filled with supernatural monsters and strange powers. Other dimensional beings, often referred to as "demons," torment, stalk and prey on humans. Other alien life forms, monsters, gods and demigod, as well as magic, psychic powers, insanity, and war are all elements in this
book.

I'm confident I'm unique in this.

Rifts Index & Adventures Volume Two posted:

Some parents may find the violence, magic and supernatural elements of the game inappropriate for young readers/players. We suggest parental discretion. Please note that none of us at Palladium Books® condone or encourage the occult, the practice of magic, the use of drugs, suicide, or violence.

Four words: "Here we goooo... again..."


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqI5_RA-o4s#t=19s



Rifts Index & Adventures Volume Two, Part 1: "It can also be fun for the player characters to role play the creature once he or she has become a victim (I usually offer experience toward a new P.C. both as compensation and as an incentive for good role-playing of the creature)."

In case you're wondering, there's a book and I in that video metaphor, and I'm not the ape. Who knew this was one of the rougher reviews I'd have to handle? Well, it doesn't start that bad, but by the end... In any case, it's time for another audio review, and this time I like to think of it as "almost a podcast" quality. Still, this is likely the last time you'll see this particular format - but like a Noh actor, I must leave this book series the way I came in.


Here at Palladium, they use every part of the Kevin Long backlog.

Click here for Part 1 of the review!

Review Notes:
  • This part covers the Hook, Line, and Sinker adventure seeds written by Craig Crawford, who also wrote the index.
  • Production values! Kind of. The audio protion was definitely produced, no promises of value.
  • This is one of the few books with no apparent sign of Kevin Siembieda writing in it. It's Siembieda-free! Don't get your hopes up based on that.
  • Craig Crawford wrote the indexes. Kevin Crawford does OSR innovation. They're different Crawfords!
  • As far as I can tell, all of the art is reused or unused art for other books, and is appro of nothing.
  • The index is way more convoluted than I have the time or patience to really get into. Suffice it to say that there are entries like "Coalition Views on Native Americans" or "Game Masters Tips on Juicer Sports". It's like they literally just tried to index every header in a Rifts book, even though section headers for Palladium games are disorganized and arbitrary.
  • The music used is "Hook, Line, and Sinker" by Apache Tomcat and is used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license.


"'You'll get to menace adventurers!', he says. 'You'll be iconic!', he says. Instead I end up as filler in a index book? loving agents."

Next: Does a Baal-Rog poo poo in the woods?

sexpig by night
Sep 8, 2011

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

I really love new Scion's War domain. I don't think enough media makes 'war' fittingly 'war' themed and just goes to generic 'fighty god' stuff.

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

Stamina and Combat Tricks

This section details a fairly extensive set of rules to introduce a new mechanic: Combat Tricks, which are powered by Stamina points.

First, how do you get it?

The simplest way is to make it into a feat
Another suggestion is make it into a feat, and then make it into a free feat that Fighters get at level 1, since it's supposed to boost them (and other martial classes)
Yet another suggestion is to make it into a free feat that all martial classes get at level 1
One last suggestion is to make it into a Fighter-only ability, so that Fighters get the new abilities, but not anyone else

What does it do?

Combat Stamina, as a baseline, lets you earn Stamina points. You have a maximum equal to your BAB + your CON modifier.
You regenerate 1 Stamina point per 1 minute of non-strenuous activity. This practically means that you get all of them back after every fight/encounter, unless you're a real stickler for detail.

The ability, all by itself, lets you spend 1 Stamina point to gain a +1 bonus to your attack roll. You can spend them after you make the roll, but before you're told of the result. You can spend up to 5 of them in this way.

This is a marginally useful ability all on its own, but the real meat-and-potatoes of this rules section is supposed to be its interactions will all of the combat feats - you're supposed to be able to pull of "Combat Tricks" by spending Stamina points to gain special effects based on what combat feats you have.

For example, if you spend 2 Stamina points on Power Attack, you can shorten the effects to just until the end of your turn, instead of until the end of your next turn. This is supposed to be advantageous since your Attacks of Opportunity then won't suffer from the attack penalty (in exchange for the damage bonus).

I'm going to draw mostly from Core Rulebook feats here so that they're most familiar with you all, but to demonstrate the kind of things that these Combat Tricks are supposed to let you do:

* Combat Reflexes - if you miss with an AOO, you can spend 5 Stamina points to make another AOO (triggered by the same action). This second AOO has a -5 penalty, and it costs one of your AOOs for the turn.
* Improved Critical - if your attack roll is short of threatening a crit by 3 or less (so like a nat 16, 17, or 18 on a 19-20 weapon), you can spend 5 Stamina points. If you do, you can roll to confirm a critical. If this confirmation roll is successful, you deal double damage (specifically only double, not whatever crit multiplier you would normally have).
* Improved Trip - you can take this feat even if you don't have 13 Intelligence, but it will only work as long as you still have 1 Stamina point. Also, you can spend a number of Stamina points equal to your Str or Dex modifier to gain a CMD (that's DEFENSE) bonus against Trip attempts made against you.
* Greater Trip - you can take this feat even if you don't have 13 Intelligence, but it will only work as long as you still have 1 Stamina point. Also, you can spend 2 Stamina points after a successful Trip attempt to deal an additional 1d6 points of falling damage against the tripped target.
* Point-Blank Shot - you can spend up to 6 Stamina points to increase the point-blank range by 5 feet per point spent
* Precise Shot - you can spend 2 Stamina points to make a ranged attack against an enemy engaged with an ally. If it hits, the attack deals no damage, but the ally can choose to either get a +2 AC bonus against that enemy, or a +2 attack bonus against that enemy
* Quick Draw - as long as you have 1 Stamina point, you can sheathe a weapon as a swift action
* Rapid Reload - you can spend 5 Stamina points to reduce the action economy of the reload action by one more step
* Shield Focus - you can spend up to 2 Stamina points to gain an AC bonus against one attack. The bonus is equal to the number of points you spent.
* Stunning Fist - you can spend 5 Stamina points to be able to declare a use of Stunning Fist only after you already know that the unarmed attack has hit
* Weapon Specialization/Focus - you can spend 2 Stamina points to make this feat work with a weapon that you don't currently have it selected for, for one round
* Whirlwind Attack - you can spend 5 Stamina points in order to make one more extra/bonus attack that you'd normally be able to do.

If all of this sounds underwhelming, that's because it really is. The Combat Reflexes and Improved Critical effects are probably the most blatant examples of how unambitious all this poo poo is. It's very similar to Skill Unlocks in that the concept is laudable, but the execution leaves you something to be desired because it's all just nickel-and-dime poo poo.

One of Sid Meier's design rules is that if you're going to adjust something in a game that's too small or too large, you shouldn't dick around with 5% or 10% adjustments because nobody is going to notice that, and since you have a limited number of patch cycles/development time, you need maximum impact. I feel like the same should apply here: notwithstanding that none of these things ever makes a martial class capable of "supernatural" abilities, it's also the case that asking someone to track Stamina points and spend them to ... get a CHANCE to do an extra thing is just tedious busywork for not much results.

If you're going to staple-on a new system to the game, it had better have some real impact: spend a point to guarantee a crit and a confirm. Spend a point to do a full-attack where all your attacks are whirlwind attacks. Spend a point to guarantee a Trip attempt. Spend a point to guarantee an AOO. And so on and so forth.

Mind you, they covered all the combat feats from all of the heretofore released supplements, Ultimate Combat, Advanced Class Guide, Advanced Race Guide, etc etc etc. For them to spend 23 pages on this stuff only to have it be this piss-weak is frustrating to say the least.

TheGreatEvilKing
Mar 28, 2016



4e PHB Critical Review

Chapter 5: Skills

Hoo boy.

Skills in D&D have a long and mostly stupid history. They started out as a bizarre optional subsystem in 2e but ended up introducing new skills so that by the end of 2e you could raise the dead to talk to them just with a few NWP selections. 3e took this and codified it into the core rules, creating a system that had very defined outputs in some cases (you roll X on climb you move Y feet) but required a pointlessly large amount of accounting. A lot of these skills were just plain bad, ranging from taxes to use class features (Concentration, Performance), overpowered bullshit (Diplomacy), worthless flavor crap (Profession), poo poo that was outclassed by magic early on (disguise if the beholder didn't have true seeing), or just plain worthless in general (Heal). One of the major complaints of people going into 4th edition was that skills were terrible because people could burn spells to automatically succeed at the task in a fashion skills couldn't match while having no chance of failure at all.

4e's solution was to yank as many trump cards as they could out of the powers list - though Athletics still gets chumped by the mage brigade - and leave skills for the most part as they were in 3.5. The list has been pared down a bit, with Climb/Jump/Swim becoming Athletics and Balance/Escape Artist becoming Acrobatics, but skills are still under the 3.5 paradigm of not being allowed to do anything a generic dude in our world couldn't do with the exception of sensing and identifying magic. There is nothing like 2e's speak with dead skill, or any use of Athletics that would let you smash castles and mountains despite the game supposedly ending with stories of people who can take on gods in hand to hand combat.

The other big elephant in the room is that this chapter introduces the Skill Challenge rules. Skill challenges are in the Dungeon Master's Guide proper, so I won't go into them much here other than to say they're terrible. Much was made out of how the initial math for skill challenges didn't work...which was overhauled into a different set of math that didn't work...and at the end of the day I legitimately don't know what the rules are for skill challenges any more because they've been overhauled so many drat times. I've even heard that there are published adventures with "skill challenges" that don't match the mechanics in the DMG or the errata'd mechanics when they were written. The point is that the system doesn't work and doesn't fix any of the problems with them.

That said, the best I can say about this chapter is that it's 3.5's skill system mostly cleaned up with much less accounting, so good on 4e's devs for getting something right. I mean, I still don't actually care about 3.5 or 4e's skill systems at all as for the most part they don't let you do cool stuff, but they're there I guess.

Chapter 6: Feats

Feats are another fairly recent subsystem. They were introduced in 3e as a set of character customization perks which immediately shot the game to poo poo. Nobody ever seemed to take the time to sit down and figure out what exactly a feat should do. Should it be a harmless fluff thing like making your character a better dancer? Should it provide a small stat buff? Should it interact with your class features, powering them up or giving them alternative uses? Perhaps it should just straight up give you new powers! All of this was stuff that was in 3.X, and all of this helped explode the edition wide open and create power gaps between players. A warrior with Robilar's Gambit was a lot better than some poor newbie who assumed that having 10 levels of paladin meant he could fight real good and took flavor feats. As these things got shoveled into every book, more stupid combos arose out of them where you would put all your feats into having 1 big bonus to fire damage or spell power or whatever and end up hitting wayyyyy above your actual level. This isn't even getting into the poor editing where you get crap like Natural Spell that's just a straight up insane powerup in the core rules.

However, the shovelware nature and ease of writing made feats a subsystem that was of course going to be included in 4e! The designers and marketers were very eager to tell us all in 2007 about how everything was going to be core and there were going to be a ton of new splatbooks that you could use. Much was made of how the classes were going to be split up and there were going to be a bunch of books to buy, so of course there's room for feats because a game designer can crank out a whole feat chapter in an afternoon.

To make things even better the vast majority of feats in this chapter are small and apply to an incredibly small subset of characters. For example, take Eladrin Soldier: it gives you a +2 bonus to damage when you are fighting with a spear or a longsword, and proficiency in spears. Setting aside the fact that longswords and spears rely on strength to make their attacks* and that eladrins don't get a strength bonus, this feat is both terrible - as there's another feat that gives any character a +1 bonus to damage with weapons of their choice but doesn't stack with this one - and leaves the door wide open to shovel in more feats of this caliber. Hell, this book has a similar feat for dwarves with axes and hammers, and it's not hard to imagine that future books could introduce "Vulcan lirpa master", "Drow rapier/shortsword master", "kobold sling/crossbow master" and so on and so forth. The optimal route to go with this chapter is to pick a shtick - say, fire damage or scimitars - and just stack everything that's vaguely related to your schtick onto your character sheet. Your reward will be several fewer rounds of spamming at-will attacks until the monsters are finally gone. Don't stack too hard though - some of the feats have arbitrary feat bonuses (which don't stack) or typeless bonuses (which do!) so enjoy combing through the feats chapter to make The Greatest Pyromancer. Even worse, a lot of the feats have ability score prerequisites which can really gently caress you based on your class. The warlock gets most of the psychic and necrotic powers in the book, but to take the feat that boosts power damage for psychic and necrotic you're supposed to fit a 13 wisdom onto your character sheet while possibly having to buff Con, Cha, AND Int. Just don't do it. It's more tedious busywork in a supposedly simpler game.

Lastly we get to the multiclassing system of 4e, and hoo boy is it a doozy. There are 8 feats, one for each class, you can take at paragon tier to get a minor version of one of the class' schticks (usually using an at-will from the class 1/encounter) but more importantly letting you count as a member of that class for the purpose of looting paragon paths and feats. You can be a strength/wisdom beatstick cleric, take the fighter multiclass feat, and get into Pit Fighter which lets you add both your strength and wisdom to your weapons damage. There are also power-swap feats which let you swap a power off your list for a power off another list, which is almost never worth it due to stat discrepancies and the fact you're wasting a feat. If you take all these feats, you can choose to grab more powers off your secondary classes' list instead of taking a paragon path...which you won't do because you lose out on the passives, and those tend to be the real meat of most paragon paths. It's a trap option in a system advertised as having gotten rid of all the trap options. It also clashes with the roles system in a hilarious way, because if I have half defender and half striker powers on my character sheet...what the hell am I, exactly?

Next up: The return of the Christmas Tree the designers promised to get rid of!



*Look, no one gives a gently caress about Wizard of the Spiral Tower, ok? Adventurer's Vault isn't out yet with the cunning longswords for the orbizard and Blood Mage push builds/orb builds were the power and the glory.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



So what skills exist do in 4e. I don't have the core book and am more familiar with Gamma World 7e 4e. Also it sucks how poo poo changes but then what is the initial RAW for Skill Challenges?

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

TheGreatEvilKing posted:

The other big elephant in the room is that this chapter introduces the Skill Challenge rules. Skill challenges are in the Dungeon Master's Guide proper, so I won't go into them much here other than to say they're terrible. Much was made out of how the initial math for skill challenges didn't work...which was overhauled into a different set of math that didn't work...and at the end of the day I legitimately don't know what the rules are for skill challenges any more because they've been overhauled so many drat times. I've even heard that there are published adventures with "skill challenges" that don't match the mechanics in the DMG or the errata'd mechanics when they were written. The point is that the system doesn't work and doesn't fix any of the problems with them.

Perhaps one of the biggest by-the-book flaws regards skills was that, deliberately or otherwise, the DM was never (clearly) told that they could resolve singular tasks with singular skill checks. It was implied as far as the skill definitions including how to use them to resolve singular tasks, but the DMG would go straight to describing things in terms of Skill Challenges, and adventure modules would only ever frame such things in terms of whole encounters being skill challenges.

It probably would have gone over a little better if they had a few examples of "there is a 20-foot chasm across the dungeon" and you can solve it without invoking the entire Skill Challenge framework.

Hostile V posted:

So what skills exist do in 4e. I don't have the core book and am more familiar with Gamma World 7e 4e. Also it sucks how poo poo changes but then what is the initial RAW for Skill Challenges?

The 4e skill list:

Acrobatics
Arcana
Athletics
Bluff
Diplomacy
Dungeoneering
Endurance
Heal
History
Insight
Intimidate
Nature
Perception
Religion
Stealth
Streetwise
Thievery

In contrast, D&D 3.5 had 45 skills, and Pathfinder had 35 skills. D&D 3.0 had more still.

This is what the recommended DCs were in the DMG 1



They were later revised in DMG 2



They underwent one more revision going into Essentials, and this is how they looked like in the Rules Compendium



The Rules Compendium finally did provide an explanation for what these DCs were supposed to represent/how they were arrived at:

quote:

Easy: An easy DC is a reasonable challenge for creatures that do not have training in a particular skill. Such creatures have about a 65 percent chance of meeting an easy DC of their level. An easy DC is a minimal challenge for a creature that has training in the skill, and it is almost a guaranteed success for one that also has a high bonus with the skill. In group checks (page 128) or when every adventurer in a party is expected to attempt a given skill check, particularly when no one necessarily has training, an easy DC is the standard choice for the scenario.

Moderate: A moderate DC is a reasonable challenge for creatures that have training in a particular skill as well as for creatures that don’t have training but do have a high score (18 or higher) in the skill’s key ability. Such creatures have about a 65 percent chance of meeting a moderate DC of their level. In a skill challenge (page 157), a moderate DC is the standard choice for a skill check that a single creature is expected to make.

Hard: A hard DC is a reasonable challenge for creatures that have training in a particular skill and also have a high score (18 or higher) in the skill’s key ability. Such creatures have about a 65 percent chance of meeting a hard DC of their level. A hard DC is the standard choice for a skill check that only an expert is expected to succeed at consistently.

So for example:
Level 1 character, 18/+4, with Training (+5):
100% chance to pass an Easy check DC 8
90% chance to pass a Moderate check DC 12
55% chance to pass a Hard check DC 19

Level 1 character, 8/-1, without training:
60% chance to pass an Easy check DC 8
40% chance to pass a Moderate check DC 12
5% chance to pass a Hard check DC 19

The DMG 1 numbers would have been ludicrously hard, while the DMG 2 numbers would have been too easy.

gradenko_2000 fucked around with this message at 06:47 on Apr 9, 2018

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Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Ah, I see, thank you. They're pretty much what I thought they were because of Gamma World and the logic of skill checks are also explained in Gamma World pretty handily.

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