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megane
Jun 20, 2008





Of the jokes in Paranoia Rebooted, about what percent are just "haha here's a list but one of the entries is [REDACTED] or $no_data, how wacky"? Because it got on my nerves and I'm just seeing the handful of bits you scanned in for the review.

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FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

megane posted:

Of the jokes in Paranoia Rebooted, about what percent are just "haha here's a list but one of the entries is [REDACTED] or $no_data, how wacky"? Because it got on my nerves and I'm just seeing the handful of bits you scanned in for the review.
IIRC that was the vein of about 60% of the humor in the justly-loathed 5th edition.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



megane posted:

Of the jokes in Paranoia Rebooted, about what percent are just "haha here's a list but one of the entries is [REDACTED] or $no_data, how wacky"? Because it got on my nerves and I'm just seeing the handful of bits you scanned in for the review.
A substantial amount. Maybe about 25-40% of the jokes. There's also a lot of jokes that feel like they were written in 2012 or in five minutes, like the robot unicorn jokes and stuff like that. The rest is kinda straight-laced in-setting humor, like "if you find yourself carrying Oversize equipment alone, please report yourself immediately for possession of a mutant power". If you didn't laugh at that (cuz I sure didn't), welp.

hectorgrey
Oct 14, 2011


D&D 3rd Edition - The Core Books

Part 15: Running the Game (Part 2)

To kick us off for the second part of this chapter, we have subdual damage. Subdual damage should always be described differently and marked differently from normal damage - it should be obvious which is happening at all times. It is useful in situations where you want PCs to be captured or defeated without killing them (and, though not mentioned in the DMG, for bar fights, since most bartenders tend to frown on people stabbing their guests). It should be used sparingly, but it shouldn't be used overly often.

Next, we have some more variant rules; the first of which is the idea of being clobbered. If you take a hit of equal to or greater than your current hit points, you are clobbered and may only take a partial action on your next turn. After that, you're no longer clobbered. I kind of like this as an option - it makes individual hits more important and makes spreading the damage out (such as by doing a whirlwind attack) a more viable tactic.

The second is for death by massive damage to be based on size - the idea of this is to make it so that smaller creatures are easier to kill with a sufficiently hard hit, while larger ones are harder to kill that way. This generally favours monsters over PCs, and particularly screws halflings, gnomes, and anybody with small animal companions or familiars.

The third variant rule is damage to specific areas. Simply put, if a specific body part takes damage, you can apply a -2 penalty to anything the character does involving that portion of their body. Other conditions can be added based on this. It lasts until the wound is healed (either magically or through rest). Fortitude saves can also be used to tough it out, as it were - DC 10 + damage dealt to ignore the penalty. Finally, the penalties shouldn't stack. I actually kinda like this, and I wish I'd paid attention to it sooner - I would probably give the any attacks to such places a penalty based on size (for example, a limb might be a -2 to hit, an extremity a -5 and the eyes or ears a -10), but I feel like such things would give extra options to the martial classes without too much extra work.

With that out of the way, we move onto the use of grids and minis. It begins by noting why one would use them - to avoid confusion given the amount of movement that's going to happen in a fight. The standard scale, as I'm sure everybody is aware of by now, is a 1" square represents a 5'x5' square, and that a 30mm figure is a human sized creature. Creatures tiny or smaller can fit more than one into a square with plenty of room to manoeuvre, and can only attack a creature in the same square as it without sufficiently long weapons.

Line of sight is measured by measuring a line from the centre of one square to the centre of another - if nothing blocks the line, there is line of sight to that square. Only one square of a creature's position needs to have line of sight for a person to count as having line of sight on that creature. If line of sight is completely blocked, then ranged attacks are impossible; if it is only partially blocked then the target gets a cover bonus to AC against any attacks.

Grenadelike weapons, such as alchemists fire or flasks of acid, tend to deal damage in a radius. Just as importantly, if the throw misses its intended target, there's a chance that it could end up elsewhere. If an attack roll with such a weapon misses, then you roll a d6, +1 for every range increment of distance the weapon was thrown. This tells you how far off target you were. You then roll a d4, d8 or d12, depending on the distance (1-5 is a d4, 6-10 is a d8 and 11-16 a d12) and use this to determine where the weapon lands.

Next, we see area spells, and how to apply them to a grid. Examples are given for the cone and the quarter circle (both straight ahead and diagonally), radius bursts and semicircles.

After that, we have movement. In addition to regular ground movement, we have flying. Flight comes with a speed and manoeuvrability. Manoeuvrability has five rankings: Clumsy, Poor, Average, Good and Perfect.

A creature with Perfect manoeuvrability (such as a Will-o'-wisp) may hover in place, may fly in any direction, may instantly change direction in flight, may fly at full speed going up and requires no time to level out between going down and going up.

A creature with Good manoeuvrability (such as a Beholder) may still hover in place and fly in any direction, but needs to spend five feet in order to turn by more than 90 degrees in any five feet of movement. It may only travel at half speed going up, but may still go from down to up without levelling out. This is the manouvrability that the Fly spell gives you.

A creature with Average manoeuvrability (such as a Gargoyle) must move at least half its movement speed forward in order to maintain flight, meaning that it cannot hover or fly backwards. When turning, it may turn 45 degrees per five feet of movement, or up to 90 degrees if it spends five feet of its movement speed. Downward flight can be done at any angle, but upwards flight requires at most a sixty degree angle and is done at half speed, and five feet must be spent levelling out after going down before going up again. Overland Flight doesn't exist in the 3.0 Players Handbook, but the 3.5 version gives you this level of Manoeuvrability.

A creature with Poor manoeuvrability (such as a Wyvern) must likewise spend half of its movement moving foward at minimum, and may turn 45 degrees per five feet of movement at maximum. It may fly upwards at half speed at a maximum of a 45 degree angle, or downward at a 45 degree angle, and requires 10 feet of levelling out before it may fly up again.

A greature with Clumsy manoeuvrability (such as a Manticore) has all of the requirements of Poor, except that it can only turn 45 degrees for every 10 feet of movement, and requires 20 feet of levelling out before flying upwards again.

Regardless of manoeuvrability, downward flight is done at double speed.

Flight is probably not the easiest of systems to run off the top of one's head - the manoeuvrability table is one that I would definitely want on my DM screen (or at least have bookmarked ready for use if I'm liable to be using it). Having said that, I still like it - it allows for variety among flying enemies, with winged creatures having to keep moving forwards while a duel between high level Fighters or Monks with access to Fly looks like something out of Dragon Ball Z.

After that, we come to evasion and pursuit. The first thing a DM should do is determine the speed of the characters involved - someone with 30' speed can outrun someone with 20' speed pretty much any day of the week, provided there aren't other factors at play. If the characters have the same speed, then it comes down to die rolls - for a short chase, it'll generally be Dexterity, while for a long one, Constitution.

At the end of movement, we come to moving around using the grid system. Simply put, outside of combat the grid should be ignored. A person might need that much space when actively engaging in combat, but when walking down a corridor? There's no point. Likewise, an ally can generally move through another ally's space, since the latter would presumably not try to block the former.

This is followed by advice on describing the action. The general gist of this is that when describing the actions of a creature, you should be descriptive. You need to be clear about which one you're referring to, what they're doing, and how it changes the scene. Sometimes a little pantomime can be helpful. That's not to say that "You miss, he hits, you take 12 points of damage" is always a bad thing, but for the most part it should be more interesting.

In addition, it suggests adding other features to an area, and notes how they might affect the combat on a mechanical level.

With general combat advice out of the way, we come to special abilities. These are all the various nasty things that creatures can do to each other, and how they work in practice.

We begin with Ability Score loss, either through draining or damage. If all of the points in a stat are lost, the effects depend on the stat. Strength 0 means the creature cannot support its own weight, and collapses helpless ot the ground. Dexterity 0 means that the creature is unable to move, all of its limbs completely tense; if it was standing, it remains standing. Constitution 0 means that you die. Intelligence 0 means that you're unable to think, and so collapse into a stupor. Wisdom 0 means that you fall into a deep, nightmare filled sleep. Charisma 0 means you become catatonic. In all cases, if you're not dead, you're helpless.

Not having an ability score is not the same as having one reduced to 0 - a clay golem has no Intelligence score because it is incapable of thought, but that doesn't mean that it falls into a coma.

A variant is given to this - to track ability loss separately rather than reduce the stat. Mathematically it works the same, and it's easier in terms of book keeping, so I'm not sure why this isn't the default.

Antimagic prevents supernatural abilities, spell like abilities and spells from working in the area of effect, but it does not dispel magic. The duration of a spell should still be tracked, because it will go up again once the area of antimagic is no longer there. If the antimagic area overlaps another magical area, it only suppresses the spell if the centre is within the antimagic; otherwise the effect simply doesn't take place within the antimagic. Magic items of continuous effect do not function, but their effects are not cancelled - for example, a bag of holding within an antimagic field cannot be opened, but its contents won't just spill out onto the floor. Finally, the only dispelling spell that can effect antimagic is Mordenkainen's Disjunction (a spell that permanently disenchants magical items - including potentially artifacts - in addition to ending spell effects) - it has a 1% chance per caster level of destroying the field; if it does not, then items within the field are protected.

Blindsight allows you to use nonvisual senses to replace sight almost entirely. It works underwater, but not in a vacuum; it does not give colour or visual contrast and so cannot be used to read, it does not subject you to gaze attacks, it cannot be disrupted by being blinded, but it can be disrupted by being deafened, if it is based on acute hearing.

A breath weapon takes a standard action to use, and it fills an area. If a creature within the area fails their save, they suffer the full effect; on a successful save, they may still take a portion of the effect (such as half damage). Most creatures with breath weapons are limited to a number of uses per day or minimum length of time between uses, and tend to be smart enough to only use it when necessary. It is generally a supernatural ability unless otherwise noted in the description of the source of the breath weapon. Creatures are immune to their own breath weapons (so if you gain the ability to breathe fire, you won't instantly barbeque your insides), and in spite of their name, you need not be able to breathe in order to actually use the breath weapon.

Charm and Compulsion are related, but not identical. A charmed creature retains their original alignment and alliegences (with the exception of their newfound friend, whom they will trust implicitly and respect the judgement of), they only fight former allies if they threaten the new friend (and even then, only use the least lethal means at their disposal that are likely to work), may make an opposed Charisma check to resist instructions or commands that would make them do something they normally wouldn't even do for a close friend (on a success they don't go along with it, but they are still charmed), never obeys an obviously suicidal or harmful order, and does not gain any ability to understand their new friend that they didn't already have. Any order that the charmed person would be violently opposed to grant a new saving throw to break the charm; any attacks by the charmer or their apparent allies immediately breaks the charm.

Damage Reduction is exactly that; it is labelled as an amount followed by a weakness (for example, 5/+3 gives DR 5 vs all attacks unless they are made with a magical weapon with a +3 enhancement bonus or better). Any weapon more powerful than the weakness given will also work - special materials are the lowest in rank, so any magical weapon will work against a werewolf (whose weakness is silver). Personally, I prefer how 3.5 changed this - magical weapons just became a type of weakness, weaknesses could be mixed and magical weapons couldn't be used in place of special materials.

Darkvision works in areas with absolutely no light, and is not spoiled by light. It does not protect against illusions or gaze attacks, nor does it show you the invisible. It is entirely in black and white, so I would personally argue that that would make it impossible to read ink on paper, but not runes carved into stone (which would explain why Dwarves might still use runes for their writing).

Death Attacks slay instantly - and you cannot be brought back with Raise Dead (though Resurection works). The only protection against such things is Death Ward.

Diseases can be really nasty. Simply put, if you are exposed to a disease, you make a Fortitude save. If you succeed, you're fine; if you fail, you're infected. If you're infected, there is an incubation period (1 to 1d4 days, typically). After that time, you take ability damage. After that, a save must be made every day to avoid further ability damage. It is suggested that the GM make the first roll rather than the player, so that the player doesn't know whether or not a disease has taken hold.

Blinding Sickness, for example, is picked up by injesting tainted water. It has a Fortitude DC of 16 and an incubation time of 1d3 days. On a failed save, it does 1d4 Strength damage. Each time it deals 2 or more damage, another Fortitude save must be made; on a failure, the victim is permanently blind.

Energy Drain is particularly nasty; simply put, you receive negative levels. Each negative level reduces most of your checks by 1, and reduces your effective level by 1 for the purposes of anything that is level based. After 24 hours, you make a Fortitude save. The negative level goes away regardless, but if you fail you lose an actual level, with your XP placed midway between the minimum for your new level and the amount required to level up. A character reduced to level 0, or who has negative levels equal to their actual level, they die. The next night they rise from the grave as some variety of undead.

DalaranJ
Apr 15, 2008

Yosuke will now die for you.


Wow, Paranoia has a serious D&D peasant problem. A soda costs 5 days wages.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



DalaranJ posted:

Wow, Paranoia has a serious D&D peasant problem. A soda costs 5 days wages.
To be fair, a soda is also an incredibly cost-effective grenade. Work hard five days for a weapon to kill your coworkers and take their stuff on the sixth.

MonsterEnvy
Feb 4, 2012


hectorgrey posted:

Energy Drain is particularly nasty; simply put, you receive negative levels. Each negative level reduces most of your checks by 1, and reduces your effective level by 1 for the purposes of anything that is level based. After 24 hours, you make a Fortitude save. The negative level goes away regardless, but if you fail you lose an actual level, with your XP placed midway between the minimum for your new level and the amount required to level up. A character reduced to level 0, or who has negative levels equal to their actual level, they die. The next night they rise from the grave as some variety of undead.

I think by default if killed by Energy drain they rise as a Wight. The spell Enervation being particularly useful for creating Wights.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



DalaranJ posted:

Wow, Paranoia has a serious D&D peasant problem. A soda costs 5 days wages.

One of the XP gags I always liked was that plasticreds had little readouts on them that told you what their monetary value was right now because the economy was in such an insane state of flux. Hope it doesn't change mid-transaction!

hectorgrey
Oct 14, 2011


MonsterEnvy posted:

I think by default if killed by Energy drain they rise as a Wight. The spell Enervation being particularly useful for creating Wights.

Yes, though some sources of energy drain can turn you into a different kind of undead. Energy Drain was something I particularly hated when playing 3.5; not because of the penalties, or even what it would do to you if you died (since that wasn't really a threat the one time we came across it), but just because of how much of a pain in the arse levelling down is in that edition.

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




Evil Mastermind posted:

One of the XP gags I always liked was that plasticreds had little readouts on them that told you what their monetary value was right now because the economy was in such an insane state of flux. Hope it doesn't change mid-transaction!

A currency that volatile would just encourage people to adopt an ad-hoc medium of exchange that wasn't.

Tsilkani
Jul 28, 2013



wiegieman posted:

A currency that volatile would just encourage people to adopt an ad-hoc medium of exchange that wasn't.

Non-standard currencies are treason, Citizen.

hectorgrey
Oct 14, 2011


wiegieman posted:

A currency that volatile would just encourage people to adopt an ad-hoc medium of exchange that wasn't.

But that would be treason. Surely you trust Friend Computer's economic decisions... Joking, obviously

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

hectorgrey posted:

Yes, though some sources of energy drain can turn you into a different kind of undead. Energy Drain was something I particularly hated when playing 3.5; not because of the penalties, or even what it would do to you if you died (since that wasn't really a threat the one time we came across it), but just because of how much of a pain in the arse levelling down is in that edition.

Level drain has always been one of those stupid sacred cows intended to gently caress more with the player than with the character.

hectorgrey
Oct 14, 2011


Bieeanshee posted:

Level drain has always been one of those stupid sacred cows intended to gently caress more with the player than with the character.

To be fair, it worked better in old school D&D just because there was significantly less to change between levels - you'd get slightly worse saves (maybe) slightly worse thac0 (maybe), lose a proficiency (maybe) and lose a hit die. Once more complex character creation was introduced though, keeping it around was a mistake.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




Yeah, I swore off using the level drain abilities of any of my monsters because gently caress calculating that poo poo.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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





GAMEPLAY CARDS

Alright so with all those boring playerís guide rules out of the way, itís time for cards! And boy howdy itís not great. Iím not a gigantic fan of cards in tabletop. Gamma World 7e is kinda the highlight of card/game integration and even then, itís tolerable because WOTC gave up trying with that and the card lists exist everywhere. The upside of Paranoia Rebooted is that itís not trying to do a booster thing outside of more Mutant Power cards and more Secret Society cards. The downside is that everything else is kinda mehhhhhhhhh. 90% of the equipment from the equipment section exists in card form and Paranoia shenanigans that your players might be thinking about doing require cards. Itís weird and bad and lame to limit stuff and creativity as much as they do.

This is just gonna be all one post by the way because itís 40 pages of cards with 3 cards to a page. 120ish cards. Hooray. Strap in and donít go looking for art because all the art is attached to cards and I really canít be bothered to post these cards and all of their bad art.

ACTION CARDS
  • A Gun in the Right Place: Suggest a random useful ranged weapon that you can find. The GM can veto your suggestion. +1 dice to your NODE if itís useful/functional. If you come up with something super creative, +2 for the first action and then +1. Kinda hope you all are in the mood for some GM May I freeform improv Ďcuz welcome to the cards.
  • Adaptive Resources: As above but a melee weapon.
  • An Unexpected Boon: Play after target has rolled but GM has described outcome. Adds +1 to targetís result if you narrate something useful. GM can veto.
  • Called Shot to the Groin: Roll 1d6. If you shoot an NPC, theyíre incapacitated for that many rounds or half if theyíre a PC.
  • Collateral Damage: Played in direct response to someoneís action, that action then breaks something. GM can veto the suggestion.
  • Colossal SNAFU: To quote, ďGM, pull out the thumbscrews.Ē
  • Combined Assault: Pick another player to either attack the same target as you with +1 to hit or attack you with a +1, their choice. Does not count as their turn.
  • Critical Failure: Now in card form because they wanted players to be able to choose when this happened and they couldnít bother to figure out how this would work in a Pile Oí D6s system!
  • Critical Success: See above!
  • Drop It: Played before the GM resolves a targetís action. Target fumbles and drops one piece of equipment, GM can veto/ignore suggestion.
  • Easy Come, Easy Go: Immediately neutralize any card played on the table and force it to go to the bottom of the deck it came from.
  • Everything Looks Like a Nail: Like Adaptive Resource/Gun in the Right Place but for tools.
  • Feint: Describe a situation that will help you bamboozle a foe and roll Chutzpah+Bluff if the GM likes your idea. If you succeed, describe what the enemy does.
  • Flesh Wound: Play on a target just as someone/you are about to attack someone. This causes the attack to make the target lose a limb. I guess itís just a free damage upgrade to Maimed? Kinda nice.
  • Fourís a Crowd: Create a group of NPCs who are either helpful or hindering to the moment, GM can veto suggestion and controls them after the next around.
  • Function Over Form: Adaptive Resource/Gun/Nail but with terrain features.
  • Great Victory: Get what you wanted for a few seconds, GM describes how.
  • Iím Going First: Cut in the initiative line.
  • Iím Thinking: Draw three cards, pick one, pass another to another player, put the third at the bottom of the deck.
  • Iíve Got A Plan: Improvise!: Declare an action before you roll, draw an Action Card and mash Ďem together.
  • Improvised Defenses: oh for gently caressís sake like those other four cards that give you +1/+2-+1 but with armor.
  • Jam: Targetís weapon jams or their gun still works but now jam is involved in the moment somehow. Jam as in spreadable sugary fruit preserves. It is a punne, or a play on words.
  • Ka-Boom!: Add an explosive thing to the scene that has a three-meter blast radius that the GM can veto.
  • Keep Your Head Down: Hide behind/in/under something and automatically dodge all attacks for a round at the cost of not being able to do anything else.
  • Lucky Manual: A piece of equipment is destroyed to negate damage you would take.
  • Man, Am I Pleased To See You: like all those other improv things but this is a dude you know who can choose to help or hinder.
  • Miss Identified: see above but a lady. please make the hurting stop.
  • Mistaken Identity: Foist the blame for your actions on someone else, GM can veto suggestion.
  • My Lucky Vent: IMPROV BUT FURTHER USEFUL TERRAIN FEATURES GOD drat IT
  • Not So Hot: Remove a targetís success due to hindrance.
  • Opposite Day: Play in response to someoneís actions so the exact opposite of what they want happens.
  • Party Trick: Convince the GM that a nonstandard Stat+Skill combo is applicable to this moment. If they agree, +2 successes. If not, -1 successes to the attempt.
  • Risky Trick: Make an action dangerous. +2 dice to any action but take 1 level of harm per 1 rolled on dice. There are two of these cards.
  • Safety First: SAFETY EQUIPMENT. USEFUL. IMPROV. IMPROV! IMPROV!
  • Should Have Killed You: Lose a point of Moxie to negate all damage from an attack because it missed you but it was too close.
  • Slightly Worse Than Expected: Not So Hot but renamed and applies to everyone, not just enemies.
  • Snap Decision: Go first but at the cost of 1 dice in your NODE. There are two of these cards and if played at the same time they negate and neither player goes at all this round.
  • Sneak Attack: +2 to an attack NODE but swap Violence for Chutzpah, Stealth for Melee or both.
  • Sudden Death: Upgrade any damage done by an attack to be immediately lethal to the recipient. GM can veto description.
  • Suddenly, Knives!: hand-to-hand improv weapon spiderman elsa pregnant clone stabbing happy happy treason
  • Surprise Bot: improv robot hinder help bonus call the police Iím dying
  • Tactical Assessment: Brains+Skill roll to make a useful plan. If you succeed everyone acting on your advice gets +1 dice or -1 if you fail.
  • Take Your Time: Go last in the round but get +2 dice. There are two of these cards but resolve at the same time if used together.
  • Taxi: improv vehicle.
  • Up High: improv elevated terrain.
  • The Wetter The Better: improv helpful/hindering liquid. probably piss. piss all the way down. pisssssssssssss.
  • Wrong Target: Convince the GM to let an attack hit someone else the attacker didnít intend to hit.
  • Blank Card: Make your own cards. Now itís you who needs to improv. loving mindfreaked.
EQUIPMENT
  • Grenades: Comes with 3 grenades. Has a five second timer, ďyou could probablyĒ set them to a fuse or detonator. Small equipment.
  • Minigun: Has 1d6 ammo rolled by the GM. You donít know how many shots it has unless you disassemble it. Large equipment.
  • Sniper Rifle: If you take the time to calibrate and aim with it, bonus dice. If you try to hip-fire this thing, penalty dice. Medium equipment.
  • Multi-adaptor: Recharges a lot of things from a single power outlet. No real mechanical use from what I can see. Small.
  • Gauss Rocket Launcher: Either launches explosives via electromagnetic propulsion or fires gauss rockets. Either way, three charges, large.
  • Grapple Gun: Can be used as a weapon that will then attach you to your target. Medium.
  • Body Armor: +2 Defense but itís noisy, really finnicky to keep on and prone to running out of power at inopportune times. Large.
  • Medkit: Heals real good-like, has three charges. Full of delicious painkillers and regeneration nanomachines. Small.
  • Electro-Knuckles: Brass knuckles with a battery attached good for four charges. Small.
  • Sedatives: Great for stopping panic attacks. Three charges. Small.
  • Data Bomb: Basically a chaff grenade mixed with an EMP. Turns off all electronic activity in an area for 1-3 minutes and makes tech easier to tamper with. One use only. Medium.
  • Taxi Pod: Basically a golf cart with an electric motor that can carry 4 lightly equipped clones or one heavily armed clone. Oversize.
  • Megaphone: Great for screaming. Medium.
  • Needler: A handgun that shoots darts up to 15 meters. Normally carries tranquilizers that take hold in a few minutes but you can request special darts. Medium.
  • Friction Enhancer: A gun attached to a heavy backpack that either increases or decreases friction by 500% in a 30 degree beam that ranges up to 15 metersÖas long as the trigger is pressed. Backpack weighs 65 kilograms and drains in 20 seconds. Either buy a new battery or wait 8 hours for it to recharge off a plug. Large.
  • Laser Tripwire: Emits invisible laser beam from a brick-sized box that can attach to most surfaces. Laser beam projects up to 10 meters and things that break the beam are cut in half. The on/off switch only applies to it being stuck to surfaces, the only other controls are for clearance access or bots/no bots. Explodes if tampered with. Medium.
  • Foam Grenade: Comes in packs of three. Each explosion makes 30 cubic meters of expanding foam that solidify in 2 rounds and trap anything inside. You can escape the foam before it hardens but once itís firm thereís no escape short of death/amputation/dissolving fluid that also likes to melt skin. Anyone completely covered will suffocate to death in a few minutes. Small.
  • K@ Companion Bot: ROBOKITTY. Robokitty has a 12 hour battery life, night-vision and titanium claws/teeth and acts as a remote sentry/surveillance unit. If robokittyís whiskers are damaged, it goes feral on a failed Mechanics+Operate roll and must be recaptured. Also has a penchant for attacking other robokitties and lasers. Medium.
  • Hygiene-O-Matic 9000: Basically a flamethrower and mounted pack but with five canisters of cleaning products. You can choose a setting but on a failure the GM gets to pick which product is used and used up completely instead. Contains a combination of soap/shampoo/mouthwash, industrial solvent/paint-stripper, pure bleach, flammable sanitation gel and finally quick-dry superglue. Large.
  • UBT Hypersense Device: A full-head hat-mask thing with diodes and cups attached used to enhance one sense at the cost of any of the othersÖif used properly. Side effects include synesthesia and disorientation. Small.
  • Casey-Bís Bombaboots: Essentially rocket-jumping boots sans rocket that are controlled via Cerebral Coretech. Boots have four charges of superheated mercury vapor in soles that grant user 7-meter vertical leap or 10-meter horizontal leap. Failure tends to result in user losing legs, also bad idea to stand within 2 meters of user. Even if used correctly, horrendously messy scuff-marks/scorch-marks. Medium.
  • Fake Mustache: As advertised. Attaches via nasal clamps, causes all Cerebral Coretechs/bots to view user as John-R-DOE-1 or any other name programmed. Will not work with Friend Computer. Small.
  • Blank Card: Yeah, here too. How do you balance and design equipment? gently caress off.
MUTANT POWERS

Reminder: pay Moxie to activate, pay more Moxie to power more gooder harder better faster stronger for yesser effects.
  • Telepathy: Either read a dominant thought or implant a simple suggestion.
  • Anomaly: Something happens. Does this mean the GM must improv? YES. YES IT DOES.
  • Corrode: Destroy a Small item youíre touching within the next 30 seconds. Requires more power to affect things bigger than Small or that youíre not actively touching.
  • Cryokinesis: Either lower the temperature within a line of sight or creates a small patch of ice where you want it. Requires more power to hurt people/freeze them in blocks of ice.
  • Electroshock: Zap with a touch. Requires more oomph to zap at a range.
  • Invisibility: Turn yourself and all of your equipment invisible. Only lasts for a few seconds and is hard to use in bright light without expending more mojo. Regardless of how much mojo you spend, you canít turn others invisible.
  • Levitation: Baseline levitation is a meter off the ground at a walking pace. Spend more Moxie to go faster or rise. Itís also good for slowing falls or stopping them entirely.
  • Machine Empathy: Pay more Moxie for it to work better for longer than a scene or affect more bots. Explicitly does not work on the Computer slash you are not allowed to use it on Friend Computer.
  • Mental Blast: Cause a point-blank AoE blast of nosebleeds and headaches. Can be amped up to cause blackouts, injury, seizures and death.
  • Puppeteer: Control a single limb of another within line of sight. Requires more power to be spent to control multiple limbs or perform precise actions.
  • Pyrokinesis: Cause flames to happen near you. Requires more effort to set them at a distance or set big fires or set a moving target on fire.
  • Strength: Basically the old standby of Adrenal Control without the crash and muscle fatigue. Run faster, jump higher, hit harder, pay more Moxie to really amp up the gains.
  • Telekinesis: Push or pull one Small item with your mind. Requires more focus to either move bigger items or make precise movements like pulling the trigger of a gun.
  • Teleport: Uh. Teleport. Requires a greater expenditure of thesaurus words to bring people with you or go further. Cannot be used to teleport things by themselves; you must go with them.
  • Adhesive: Sweat glue, stick things to other things or yourself to things. Up the output of requiring an expenditure of Moxie to make more glue or make it last longer.
  • Charm: Basic use targets one other clone for a scene, can target more with a harder push of power.
  • Blank Card: Yep.
THE REST OF THE CARDS

What remains? Well as previously mentioned, Secret Societies are drawn at random from a deck of them. Weíll be going over them later. The only particularly relevant thing to mention is that there are two cards that amount to ďno Secret SocietyĒ. The first is that you have no Secret Society and youíre on the hunt for them to get that sweet achievement XP. The other is that you have no Secret Society but you really would like to join one and should bug the other players to let you join by assisting them in their own tasks. The former is bad. The latter is better and is at least good for fostering the good kind of party friction.

There are also cards that outline the duties of team members, which are a little bit different than usual because of the replacement of the Communications and Recording Officer due to the fact that everyone now has a camera phone brain.
  • Team Leader: Ensure mission directives, give directions, make sure everyone else is doing their job, be the scapegoat due to the mantle of being team leader.
  • Loyalty Officer: Ensure loyalty, report disloyalty, execute traitors, suffer not a witch to live foster an environment of fear of you.
  • Combat Officer: Give commands in combat, provide tactics and maneuvers, fight from the rear.
  • Happiness Officer: Ensure happiness, dispense drugs, request drugs, make sure that therapy flows from the barrel of your gun.
  • Science Officer: Ensure science is done properly, make sure everyone is clean, be rational, use acid as a solution to messes and science being done wrong.
  • Equipment Officer: Hand out equipment, carry equipment, maintain equipment, tamper with equipment.
Honestly? I donít care about the Combat Officer. I think you could keep the Hygiene Officer and then make the Science Officer their own thing, Science Officer is a fine enough thing to have. You donít need to try to replace the cameraclone by dividing the labor of the Team Leader.

There is also one last card I will actually provide the art for it.



This is the #1 Card. What does it do? Who knows! Okay I do know. Its true purpose is sinister.

Alright fine itís just a means to foster more resentment and friction at the table.

NEXT TIME: the GM Handbook. Hooray. Yíall ready for more lacking rules and weird ideas and setting information? What do you mean no. Where are you going. Donít leave me here alone with this book!

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010



Lipstick Apathy

Has anyone in the history of D&D ever used the flight rules? Because it keeps showing up in the rules and I can't imagine where it would ever be so relevant as to need to be worked out that precisely

Kavak posted:

Yeah, I swore off using the level drain abilities of any of my monsters because gently caress calculating that poo poo.

Pathfinder actually solved that issue by making level drain simply apply a -1 penalty to all relevant d20 rolls instead of making you redo your whole character 1 level lower

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

hectorgrey posted:

To be fair, it worked better in old school D&D just because there was significantly less to change between levels - you'd get slightly worse saves (maybe) slightly worse thac0 (maybe), lose a proficiency (maybe) and lose a hit die. Once more complex character creation was introduced though, keeping it around was a mistake.

Hit dice were the most immediate pain in the rear end, since nobody ever kept track of HP rolls from level to level. Thieves would have to rejigger their array of thieving skills, and casters sort out their reduced spell availability. 3.X just made it that much worse.

MonsterEnvy
Feb 4, 2012


hectorgrey posted:

To be fair, it worked better in old school D&D just because there was significantly less to change between levels - you'd get slightly worse saves (maybe) slightly worse thac0 (maybe), lose a proficiency (maybe) and lose a hit die. Once more complex character creation was introduced though, keeping it around was a mistake.

5e I feel did Energy Drain pretty well. Your Max HP is reduced by "Amount" until a long rest/you are uncursed or whatever. No real negative numbers to worry about and it's still pretty scary.

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

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





For some reason I think about the Ikana Castle music from Majora's Mask whenever I look at the above picture.

The Mharoti Empire is the largest country in the known setting of Midgard, both in land and population size.* Although a lot of their culture, titles, and religion are dragon-focused, they have an Ottoman/Arabian vibe with more than a few names containing the "al" prefix, marketplaces being open-air bazaars, as well as their emperor being referred to as a Sultan. The Mharoti Empire is an aggressively expansionist country, with propaganda teaching that dragons and the related reptilian races are destined to rule the world. Even many citizens away from the front lines are more than eager to support such campaigns as troops bring back much in the way of looted wealth. The newfound trade revenue flowing in from newly-claimed territories is just icing on the cake. For most of the 400 years since their founding, things only seemed to look up for the Mharoti. However the dragons are biting off more than they can chew: they are making way too many enemies too fast, fighting simultaneous war fronts in Ishadia, Khandira, and the Magdar Kingdoms not to mention the ongoing pacification of the newly-conquered Illyrians. Diplomats from Nuria Natal and Zobeck are forging mutual defense pacts with other city-states and nations, and there's a fair chance the Khazzaki tribes may invade. Anti-dragonkin pogroms in Capleon are being used as justification for a campaign against city-state, and there is talk the Mharoti might invade Nuria Natal next as their first foot in the Southlands.

METAPLOT: The Nurian alliances and Capleon riots are metaplot things, but perhaps the biggest change is the crowning of a new Sultan. The previous Sultana was Casmara Azrabahir, a human woman with draconic blood. A violent coup was raised against her due to recent military failures in the Seven Cities and Khandira. Such losses resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of soldiers and an their dragon generals. She managed to take refuge in the Republic of Valera in the Seven Cities. Now for once in its history, a dragonkin and not a human sits upon the throne, Ozmir al-Stragul. Although he's proving to be a competent ruler so far, millions of Mharoti humans worry about their last great point of pride being taken over by their fellow reptilian citizens.

*For an overview of their might, the Empire's population is 48 million (47 of that 48 dragonborn, humans, and kobolds) and its far western reaches are in Rumela, with a vassal state of Parthia in the east. Semi-related. There's an official interactive map of Midgard here. No other country comes close to the sheer manpower of the Mharoti. I made a list of most populous countries in the sourcebook after the Empire: Muria Natal at 13 million, Ishadia around 9 million, the Greater Ducy of Morgau, Doresh, and Krakovar at 4,356,000, and finally the Grand Duchy of Dornig at nearly 4 million. Most countries and city-states can barely push one million if they're not in the low hundred-thousands, and Dornig and Morgau are both influential enough to get their own chapters. In addition to airborne dragons and magical troops, it's not hard at all for the Mharoti to throw in human (and dragonkin) waves as a tactic to overwhelm smaller armies, and in most cases this works.

Before diving into the imperial provinces we get a run-down of the Mharoti government structure. The empire's divided into provinces ruled over the most powerful and noble of dragons who have some degree of sway over the Sultan, while the Sultan (who cannot be a dragon) administers day-to-day affairs and commands the army. It is a species-based caste system: the bottom caste is the Jambuka, anyone who is not a reptilian and comprise mostly low-class laborers and servants. Above them are the Kobaldi who more or less fill the same social role as Jambuka, save they have an inflated sense of superiority for being "dragonkin" and control most of the mining and weaving guilds. Sekban are the lowest ranks of dragonkin (dragonborn and dragon-blood humans) who may be more skilled laborers. Edjet are military units of dragonkin who are raised to fight in a variety of ways from magic to martial might. Akinji are minor landholders and administrators who serve as officers and skilled troops in war. Timarli are the nobles and include dragons, drakes, wyverns, and related species who can range from owners of large farmlands and guilds to high priests, gentry, and generals. The Urmanli are 500 of the most well-connected true dragons. Finally are the Morza, nine Great Dragon Lords who administer each of the Empire's provinces, act as advisers for the Sultan, and are drawn from the ranks of the Urmanli when one of them dies. Finally we get a full-page sidebar discussing the make-up of a typical 30,000 Mharoti Legion, along with a list of troop types by caste and their roles (archers, infantry, air support, etc).



We have a sidebar about the Dragoncoil Mountains, a natural feature dominating the central Empire. The region's strong in ley line magic, a great resource which enhances the imperial spellcasters' magical projects. Now we get into the Provinces and the Morza, describing not only the land but also its ruler's relations and ambitions. Our first province is Gizmiri, a wasteland of red desert whose only major industries are mines and coastal fishing. The provincial capital of Sarkland is a trading hub famed for its magical carpets, and the Morza Ateshah's mere fiery presence causes nearby land to change into desert. Ateshah's secret goal is to research ancient knowledge to spread this across all of Midgard, which needless to say won't sit well with the rest of the Empire.

Satarah al-Beldestani is the morza of Harkesh, although she wasn't always a true dragon. She was once a dragonborn paladin who ascended the Sky Stairs of Beldestan and returned transformed into a star drake. She's one of the more hawkish morza, seeking an all-out war with Nuria Natal which even by the sultan's standards is regarded as foolhardy. Harkesh is the capital of the Empire proper and is known as the Golden City. It's a trade hub where even merchants from enemy countries come: commerce and coin knows no national allegiance. We get a full-page map of Harkesh along with brief descriptions of various interesting locations, such as the Four Pillars of Wisdom which engage in ritualized rival school street fights with each other based on one of their god Azuran's directional winds.

Although the Empire's founder Mharot is still alive and kicking, he is not one for politics anymore and is content to be ruler of the rural mountain province of Kalpostan. He spends most of his time sleeping but on rare occasions he speaks the Words of Transformation to ascend kobolds and dragonkins to the next higher form in the caste system.

METAPLOT: A human soothsayer known as Enver Demir Demir al-Kaa'Nesh has the ability to read the dreams of Mharot, which he uses to relay his proclamations to the other members of his court. However al-Kaa'Nesh is getting up there in years and there is worry of who, if any, is trusted enough to replace him. The city of Kaa'Nesh is known for its blood mages, who found a way to grant magical ogres tattoos to drain the life force of those they wound in hand-to-hand combat. Due to this they make for valuable shock troopers.

Ibbalan the Illustrious' claim to fame is being the eldest ruling morza thanks to a sacrifice to the god Baal. Now his very spirit possess his own treasure horde and capable of forming into a dragon-like form of coins and jewels. He oversees Mezar Province, secured on a vital trade route between the eastern and western realms of Midgard. It has two capitals based on the season, while Ibbalan's home city of Irkaly is home to the Elemental Academy which trains many edjet war-mages and timarli.

Lashmaraq Talshah rules over Hariz Province, the easternmost realm of the Empire. She's a ruthless taskmaster and perfectionist, having spent decades to build an elite army one day capable of extending territory into Khandira and Beldestan. The other Dragon Lords fear her for her spy network and as such hope she remains distracted enough in this remote region. The province is mostly unsettled and poor, and the numerous nomads and Khazzaki raiders make enforcement difficult at best.

Parsis the Hidden is the ruler of Betik Province and one of the two only golden dragons in the Empire. He is not one to delegate and loves to shapeshift into dragonborn and non-reptilian forms to take a "hands-on" approach of surveying the state of his province. The region is home to the Empire's greatest centers of learning; the Hidden University is notable for allowing entry to anyone capable of passing the exam's skills regardless of their race or economic status. The region is riddled with invisible castles and fortresses in the clouds, and its ley line-enhanced scrying is used to give directions to the Empire's armies and various other grandiose tasks.

RŁzgar is a simple cave dragon. He cares little for governing Zaldri Province, his favorite thing instead to pit his armies against great foes and eat the greatest among the opposition. He gets on with the current Sultan in trading war stories and hypothetical invasions. His province is lightly populated, and its proximity to the borders of Perunalia and the Magdar Kingdom mean there are always legions patrolling the border.

Marea Province's morza Yiraz Azah is unique in more ways than one. She's the only morza not from the Dragoncoil Mountains region, instead hailing from an unknown realm in the North. Yiraz prefers a honey-over-vinegar approach to imperialism, suggesting that future realms should be voluntarily absorbed via mutually-beneficial treaties, although this was before she became morza. She still talks the talk, but commits military forces against the cities of Kyprion and Triolo under self-justification that she would be a fairer ruler than the other morza. Her province is an exception in that dragonkin and kobolds are in the minority, and she tolerates local religious traditions outside the dragon pantheon.

METAPLOT: The religious tolerance has come to a violent end when priests of Seggotan were believed to be organizing a rebellion after they started occupying and restoring abandoned temples. The Mharoti soldiers' murder of these overwise-peaceful people has only served to martyr them among the populace and inflame local resentment.



Rumela is the newest territory of the Mharoti Empire, formerly the Seven City realm of Illyria. They lost a long and taxing war with the dragons, its noble families fled to other cities, its Duchess chained to a massive stone block. She is kept alive by food and magic for all citizens to see how low their former leader fell. The Mharoti Empire is investing heavily in farm and pasture creation to recoup their losses along with rebuilding the capital city and palace. The latter especially to be more "dragon-friendly" in accessibility. Illyria/Rumela's non-dragonkin populace are awash with anger and depression over their loss. Many would-be rebels still lie rotting in mass graves and the remaining noble families are pitted against each other by the ruling morza to prevent them from reaching a united front.

Glauvistus was the general responsible for the country's subjugation and is now its new morza. She is is intentionally making laws and taxes crueler to "drive out the rebellious spirit of risky citizens" in the belief that killing them right then and there will help subjugate the last threats to her rule. The White Mountain Marches are perhaps the last true area of resistance, although the Dragon Empire's struggles up there are more due to orc-human hybrid worshipers of the White Goddess who lair in the innumerable mountain caverns and peaks. Additionally there is the Lonely Spire, a small magical academy which is in a tense ceasefire with the invaders. This is because it's home to a great archmage notable for producing students of unsurpassed skill and Glauvistus' soldiers do not exactly know the true capabilities of what they might face.

METAPLOT: Zrandres was a copper dragon prisoner who the Duchess put on display in Palasi, promising a grand reward to anyone who can extract a truthful statement from the constantly-lying dragon. Now the very same Baba Yaga-enchanted shackles which held him hold the Duchess, and he's now the morza's sadistic head of the occupier's secret police.


Pathia is a vassal state of the Mharoti Empire. The reason they haven't been conquered outright is that the Parthians pay plenty in tribute, worship the dragon pantheon, and acts as a buffer zone between Khandira and the Rothenian Plain. Parthians are mostly humans who live off of trade and industry rather than agriculture. Their society places a high degree of politeness and hospitality even with outsiders, but they have a large number of blood feuds between their own cities and clans. Their capital of Isphahan is protected with enchanted stone and home to many temples. The city of Rhaga is home to the Collegium Elemental which sells iron spheres known as voidfire orbs capable of calling down a one-time flame strike spell.

South of the country are numerous battlefield graveyards haunted by ghosts and latent magic of Mharoti-Khandiran wars. The Red Wastes are dry and inhospitable to most life, with the only major features the Halls of the Cobra home to a ghoulish death cult and Black Lion Castle which is filled with otherworldly hounds, oozes, and demons. Finally there's the bandit stronghold of Dorin's Tower which manages to avoid destruction for being a major supplier of water and provisions to to passing armies.

The Forbidden Mountains of Beldestan is our first non-Mharoti nation in this chapter. We covered evil nations before, although in Morgau's case it was mostly an undead overclass. Even Niemheim has the gnomes between the rock and hard place that is choosing devil worship and sacrifice or suffer total genocide. But in Beldestan it's all evil all the time for fun! Human sacrifices are held every day, people praise the dark gods openly and fervently, slavery is used for manual labor, blasphemers have holes drilled into their skulls, kidnapping would-be brides is commonplace, and families betray and kill one another for entertainment. If it weren't for its crazy populace, the pilgrimage site sacred to all gods known as the Sky Stairs would get a lot more visitors. Said Stairs are home to many challenges, from giant eagles to strong winds and all variety of undead, but those who ascend to the last stair become favored in the eyes of the gods.

The Towers of Khubara is a mountain nation of dwarves and humans who raise the fastest falcons in the world and mine all manner of metals. They are most known for mithral and the unique wave-washed steel. The latter can be forged into weapons capable of reducing the AC bonus of shields and worn armor on a critical hit against a target (no sunder mechanics necessary)! We have additional lists of interesting locations, such as the Giant Throne fortress which has an observatory detailing the process of how dragons turn into stars and stars into gods, the Grove of Silence populated by satyrs who worship evil gods, poppy fields presided over by gnoll-priests and ragers of Veles who derive the plants' seeds into addictive drug known as dragonsmoke or dragonpipe, and a miles-high World Tree home to the gods Vashnaya and the Monkey King. The Trees' wood can be fashioned into amulets to ward off darkness.

Despotate of the Ruby Sea



Our final nation is the much-villified peninsular country of the Ruby Sea. Its claim to fame is slavery of all kinds, and its respectable war-galleys house possessed demons capable of being controlled by the forbidden magic of ship captains. They search far and wide for new people to shackle, and some of their best clients are the gnomes of Niemheim, the priests of Baal, the Mharoti Empire, and the Tsar of Vidim. The Despot Veltrin rules over the country as an absolute dictator, who forged his empire of shackles from asking Baba Yaga the secret to taking control of a beached demonbound ship. From her lessons he learned ways to make more of those ships and thus form a veritable army. Beyond this dark power, Veltrin's flesh golem bodyguards are animated from the corpses of former generals who plotted a failed coup against him.

Slaves are kept in line with false hope and minor acts of "mercy" to keep them in line. Not having to serve the galley oars, magical healing, or a days' respite from labor make for powerful motivators, but so do starvation and lashes when those fail. In fact, the slaves are the city's greatest defense in a roundabout way. Via blood sacrifices to the White Goddess, slave-masters can temporarily transform slaves into hulking monstrous warriors. They were used to great effect in repelling Khazzaki raiders and Mharoti legions. Speaking of which, there is an unofficial alliance of sorts by said raiders: the Khazzaki give clandestine messages to the amazons of Perunalia to sail a warship and recover any of their captives while their mounted and centaur warriors plunder the Despotate's grain and farmland. Such widespread attacks cause much disarray among slaveholders, and many slaves use the opportunity to run off into the wilderness in hopes of making it to the Rothenian Plains or Perunalia or getting picked up by a friendly vessel.

METAPLOT: The Mharoti's new Sultan demanded the Despotate to send him tribute, but Veltrin is ignoring him so far.


Thoughts So Far: Far from your typical evil empire of doom and gloom, the Mharoti Empire is an interesting and varied land which gives a lot of fodder for adventuring opportunity, be they for or against the government. From the newly-conquered province to the private schemes of the Morza, it feels like a lot is going on in the region. Magic carpet shops, elementalist academies, ruins filled with the legacies of bygone times, and monstrous rulers make the Dragon Empire and surrounding lands feel full of great wonders and dangers. The Despotate of the Ruby Sea makes for a classic "fight the slavers" adventure hook, and the demon-bound ships are a novel idea. Parthia did not strike any strong feelings in me, but Beldestan's mustache-twirling populace is too ludicrous to be believable. It felt like the author wanted to make drow as a nation, but with none of the cool or sexy features that made those elves popular in the first place. But overall I liked this chapter.

Join us next time as we venture into the Southlands, home of the Nurian god-kings and the swashbuckling Corsair Coast!

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Wait, why doesnít Machine Empathy work on the Computer now? Itís always worked on the Computer before.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




Mors Rattus posted:

Wait, why doesnít Machine Empathy work on the Computer now? Itís always worked on the Computer before.
Yeah, that's why it's extra treasonous compared to normal mutant powers.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

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


Kavak posted:

Yeah, I swore off using the level drain abilities of any of my monsters because gently caress calculating that poo poo.

I swore off using it from the day I saw it because wow is it ever some hostile anti-player garbage in any edition or at any power level without relatively simple access to spells or effects that undo it.

Unless you're playing Disposable Rolled-In-Two-Minutes Dudes Simulator: the Pen And Paper RPG, permanent player crippling at the random roll of a combat die is a loving terrible idea.

DalaranJ
Apr 15, 2008

Yosuke will now die for you.


Hostile V posted:

GAMEPLAY CARDS

So just to be clear, my opinion is:
Mutant/Secret Society cards, Good, eliminates the go into the other room and explain everything to a single person phase of the game.
Equipment, Okay maybe? but the card selection is very disappointing and it's also tied into the awful combat system
Action cards, complete garbage

The grenades and foam grenades are, correctly, nearly reuse of the same art.

Cassa
Jan 29, 2009


That's a lot of ''mother may I" choices there.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Mors Rattus posted:

Wait, why doesnít Machine Empathy work on the Computer now? Itís always worked on the Computer before.
The stuff on the right side is the back of the card.



If I had to hazard a guess it doesn't work on Friend Computer anymore because that would require them to stick to the old standby of "Machine Empathy is the one legitimately dangerous mutation to have" because they want to create friction constantly but they don't want to tell one player to immediately kill their character and go sit in the corner. This wasn't as much of an issue in earlier editions than it is now because of new changes to chargen and group dynamics and blah blah blah.

TheGreatEvilKing
Mar 28, 2016



I thought Machine Empathy just meant you had to be super duper extra careful about using it back in the day?

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Yeah because if you were caught using it you had to make a new character because it was a direct threat to Alpha Complex. You were terminated, your entire clone line was purged, make a new character that starts at clone #1. Which isn't as much of a punishment as it sounds because it's not that hard to make a new character and it's still not that hard even in this new edition! You're just really supposed to be playing the game as A Group rather than individually, hence all the emphasis on group chargen over individual chargen. There's just, like, a lot of tone things they didn't think through though. They soften a lot of edges (and outright omit rules for certain standbys of the game) because they want to foster an environment of Mario Party instead so Machine Empathy is no longer an actual death sentence but also it does less.

Wapole Languray
Jul 4, 2012



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72ZV0u991gk



Davinia Marrow


A lovely Lich. Davinia Marrow was your typical evil sorceress type (She's also the one responsible for all the lovely sense-based monsters around, so thanks for that.) who got waxed by another evil sorceress and she basically liched herself into this gauntlet. Normally Davinia is an incorporeal invisible spirit, and it looks like the gauntlet just floats around doing... stuff.



So besides that plot hook she's more a weird... I guess big bad? She can cast a few spell-like attacks, most of which are total bullshit.

The first does 1d8 damage and you have to make a save vs. magic or lose a point of Wisdom. So, yay, more attribute loss.

The next is an area effect that does 1d6 damage per person in the area that doesn't make a Save vs. Breath Weapon. Note, I don't mean that if you Save vs. Breath Weapon you avoid the damage: You still take some unless EVERYONE with in 50' of the glove makes the save. So if she happens to trigger that in say, a crowded room with I don't know... 10 goblins in it in addition to the party and said goblins probably have lovely saves and there fore all fail then I hope you like eating between 16 and 54 damage with an average of 35!

She's also totally immune to all physical attacks, you have to use magic. If you kill her then you can take the gauntlet, which if you wear it allows you to cast animate dead once per day. No, she herself can't animate the dead, why do you ask?

Dirge Sac



Smells like an open manhole and leaks rancid jizz, and likes to stalk the funerals of children! See it gets it juicy jollies off on anguish and pain. It attacks by forcing people to experience psychic visions.





Not crippling, annoying, and just an excuse for the GM to jerk off over more torture porn. Thanks.

The death blow is also... bizarre?


I don't really know what to say, this is just kinda... lovely and weird. And lame.

Dismal Scryer

Ball covered in eyes with one leg looking at an elf who is crying while using a giant knife to cut his own teeth out.

The Dismal Scryer using MIND POWERS to make you try to commit suicide. If it looks at you, you have to make a Save vs Magic or immediately attack yourself with whatever weapon you have on hand, and it can do this twice a round.

To kill it you have to dip your weapon in the blood of an innocent humanoid, or y'know... use magic.



If you kill it you can see through illusions. Also, you get some magic jewels it has inside its body for some reason.

loving more excuses for the GM to violently murder NPCs and just make corpses to make the players feel bad or some poo poo. Fight it and commit multiple murder, or just run away and miss treasure or XP. Fun!

Deseridatum



Y'know, I actually like this monster! The Deseridatum is a chimera made by a now-dead nation as a magical weapon of mass destruction. The people that made it are dead, but it still lives on. It lives underground at the center of a massive network of caverns and tunnels where it is slowly building an army of insects.

Each head can bite for a different effect, all of which are fine. The Hornet can spit poison which gives a -3 to the next attack roll, the Beetle head grapples, and the Ant causes a damage over time effect.

From the second round on it can hit people with the claws and they cause a variety of.. well honestly nothing su per bad but just weird effects. You start barfing eels that do damage to you, but then serve you loyally as minions afterwords. You get super disoriented for a day, and afterwords are permanently ambidextrous. Your stomach bacteria become sentient and start talking to you telepathically... just bizarre poo poo. I don't hate them? But they make no sense with the insect theme.

Otherwise, it's not bad. It has a lair full of dead people to feed the insect hordes so it's got a huge amount of treasure. The Killing Blow is dogshit though:



Even the sorta cool monsters are ruined by this dudes loving hard-on for mass death.

potatocubed
Jul 26, 2012

*rathian noises*


Wapole Languray posted:

See it gets it juicy jollies off on anguish and pain. It attacks by forcing people to experience psychic visions.

Interesting. Plenty of the monsters in the Teratic Tome also feed off anguish and pain, and also have descriptive attacks which in the end do gently caress all but hit point damage.

Wapole Languray posted:

The Dismal Scryer using MIND POWERS to make you try to commit suicide. If it looks at you, you have to make a Save vs Magic or immediately attack yourself with whatever weapon you have on hand, and it can do this twice a round.

Also the whole 'compelling someone to commit suicide' thing. That's not new.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

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


Wapole Languray posted:

Otherwise, it's not bad. It has a lair full of dead people to feed the insect hordes so it's got a huge amount of treasure. The Killing Blow is dogshit though:



Even the sorta cool monsters are ruined by this dudes loving hard-on for mass death.

This implies some weird things, though. Like, for one thing, that there are no natural insects in the area at all, only this weird creature's army. Secondly, that a CREATURE OF MASS DESTRUCTION with presumably total control of its insect minions commands them to go fertilize plants and stuff. It'd make more sense if it being ALIVE was causing the damage, as insects from other areas flocked to its lair, ruining the ecosystem for miles around, and that once it dies, all the insects can go back to doing their insecty things. Thirdly, it also implies that this thing is literally doing nothing, while in its lair, because apparently within a decent range of its lair, people are just farming like it's no biggie. So maybe the Desiderata just isn't causing that much damage and just wants to amass bug buddies.

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

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




Some of these would work well as a singular demon terrorising a region, one with strange powers, motivations and weaknesses.
But adapting that would take more effort than the designer gave.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Hostile V posted:

Yeah because if you were caught using it you had to make a new character because it was a direct threat to Alpha Complex. You were terminated, your entire clone line was purged, make a new character that starts at clone #1. Which isn't as much of a punishment as it sounds because it's not that hard to make a new character and it's still not that hard even in this new edition! You're just really supposed to be playing the game as A Group rather than individually, hence all the emphasis on group chargen over individual chargen. There's just, like, a lot of tone things they didn't think through though. They soften a lot of edges (and outright omit rules for certain standbys of the game) because they want to foster an environment of Mario Party instead so Machine Empathy is no longer an actual death sentence but also it does less.

Jesus, if they're going to go that route, just remove it entirely as a playable mutant power, but keep it around to explain why there's Ultraviolet-status programmer class, who have rewrote the law (er Computer programming) that only Ultraviolet-level personnel can be a mutant but can only have the Machine Empathy power (but not vice versa, so they can maintain their power).

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts Index & Adventures Volume Two, Part 5: "And any robot pilot worth their marbles will tell ya that the materials used in the armor composition will block magic and psychic energies needed to casts spells."

It's time for the second full adventure, and this one might seem really incoherent, because this adventure is really incoherent and kind of meanders around before delivering a limp noodle of a conclusion. Does a mystery the players don't have to solve really need a huge red herring or two? This author thought so!

Click here for Part 1 of the review!
Click here for Part 2 of the review!
Click here for Part 3 of the review!
Click here for Part 4 of the review!
Click here for Part 5 of the review!

Review Notes:
  • This part covers the adventure "Adventure in the Big City" written by Eric Thompson, who will contribute to Rifts World Book 20: Canada and Rifts World Book 23: Xiticix Invasion, once Siembieda pushes him aside to grab the mic.
  • Apologies for the dramatic readings in advance. There were too many parts that are just written for a GM to blather at the PCs without interruption. I couldn't resist.
  • I had to read the whole "holographic netting in a garbage dump" description many, many times before coming up with an interpretation I thought sounded correct. And it doesn't even have anything to do with the plot! There was a lot of rereading to make sure I was understanding what the plot here was. I felt like I was trying to interpret a google translation at times.
  • Do that many Rifts campaigns take place in the 'Burbs? Because this and the next adventure assumes that too, but there's no reason for most PCs to be the Coalition's neighbors.
  • Spoiler: A crazy is killing people? What a fuckin' twist that was. Who could imagined?
  • The music used is "Hook, Line, and Sinker" by Apache Tomcat and is used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license.

Meanwhile, in a different game... how do I know it it isn't Rifts? Guy isn't hermetically sealed in mega-damage armor.

Next: A rail disaster.

U.T. Raptor
May 11, 2010

Are you a pack of imbeciles!?



Honestly, that is a rad as hell insect hydra.

Ghost Leviathan
Mar 2, 2017

Exploration is ill-advised




I found D&D 4e's setting stuff... Mixed. The Feywild is rad, the Elemental Chaos is pretty cool (basically Super Mario Galaxy) while the Shadowfell is a punchline for a reason and the Astral Sea seems like leftovers.

MonsterEnvy
Feb 4, 2012


Ghost Leviathan posted:

I found D&D 4e's setting stuff... Mixed. The Feywild is rad, the Elemental Chaos is pretty cool (basically Super Mario Galaxy) while the Shadowfell is a punchline for a reason and the Astral Sea seems like leftovers.

The Primary Issue I have with the Elemental Chaos is that it seems too much like a renamed version of Limbo. Plus I kind of prefer my Elemental Planes to come in sets rather then just be one big hodgepodge. I think the way 5e did the Elemental Planes was the best so far.

potatocubed
Jul 26, 2012

*rathian noises*



CONTENT WARNING: misogyny, dead children, torture

LAMIA, BONEGRINDER
A four-armed serpent-woman. Naturally, she has perfect tits.

Back in the realms of wacky plans with little payoff, she murders clerics and druids, makes bread from their bones, imbues it with healing powers, disguises herself as a harmless little old lady then sells her bread to adventurers.

The only mechanical consequence to eating the bread, by the way, is hit point recovery. No corruption, no taste for human flesh, nothing. I suppose it could promote a(nother) huge fight about whether or not your paladin should fall, and whether it should happen at the moment of eating or the moment of revelation, and are they responsible for being tricked into evil acts----

But if you're playing a paladin in a game which uses monsters from the Teratic Tome you're probably either inured to the bullshit or you're just winding up the GM, so.

As a side note, I get that the horror here is the revelation that the tasty bread you've been eating all this time is made of people, but that shoe may never drop. It's entirely possible for a group to never look too closely at the woman who sells the healing bread and never realise that it's healing powers are derived from ground up priests.

LAMIA, SCALPTAKER
A lizard-woman centaur, with snakes that grow out of her shoulders. (Naturally, she has perfect tits.) The snakes "hiss obscenities" as they bite, which is ridiculous -- you can't speak and bite at the same time because they require the jaw to move in different directions!

Other than that I like the idea of these serpent heads going 'gently caress you!' before they inject you with deadly poison. It's hilarious.

The scalptaker is a powerful hunter that doesn't allow any other monster (or adventuring party) to interfere with its prey. It's also, like, the fourth or fifth monster in this book which leaves people notes or poetry written in the blood and organs of its victims.

LEYAK
It's a floating skull like the lost soul enemies from DOOM. Apparently they serve as dungeon-builders for an evil goddess -- I was about to make some crack about them not having hands but they have telekinesis at will, along with a whole bunch of other handy spell-likes. These are pretty cool! Plus I like the idea of a wizard using passwall to get into a fortress only for some janitor-skull to pop up on the other end of the breach and go "NO" before closing it again.

LOCUST MYRMIDON
Vaguely humanoid bug-men who are mindless 1 HD enemies suitable for low-level dungeon-crawling. When killed they barf up something so rank that it does temporary Con damage.

LUNAMIC
Lunamic is a unique, anticapitalist scorpion-man which adores the written word and has a vast library. It wrecks merchant caravans and steals their books and I think there's a lot of potential here that goes untapped. It's presented as a monster but it's not really monstrous -- it's a violent thief, but it's intelligent, with understandable motivations, can be bribed or negotiated with, can act as a story hook in a whole bunch of different ways... it's a cut above most of what this book presents!

Next Time: One of the most eyeroll-inducing creatures in the book, and a bunch of tedious filler.

STATS SO FAR
Monsters: 76
Female Monsters: 13 (I'm deliberately skipping unique female NPCs for this count)
Female Monsters With Their Tits Out: 14 (I'm including unique female NPCs in this one though.)
Anti-Theist Monsters: 5
Worm Monsters: 4

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010



Lipstick Apathy


Pathfinder Unchained

Esoteric Material Components

This is a fairly simple rule on its surface: whenever a character casts a spell, they have to pay a certain amount of money, as referenced against the chart below, as the abstraction of buying and consuming material components for spells.



quote:

A Wizard 8 wants to cast Fireball. It would cost them 24 GP to do so.

There's a couple of frills you can add onto this system:

If you're playing with the Limited Magic rules, you can have the player pay for material components in exchange for letting them cast at the normal caster level rather than with the bare minimum.

Players can deliberately reduce their caster level for spells (down to the minimum needed) in order to make spells cheaper to cast.

quote:

A Wizard 8 wants to cast Fireball. They can choose to cast the Caster Level 5 version instead. It would only cost 15 GP instead of 24 GP, but it would also only deal 5d6 damage instead of 8d6 damage

There are four specific kinds of components illustrated in the book. Each of them covers spells from two different schools. You can have players buy them (measured in equivalent gold amounts) and then expend them separately. If the player doesn't have the correct component, then they can use twice as much of another component. They can also use twice as much of a component to activate a particular additional effect.

* Entropic Resin is used for evocation and necromancy spells. The additional effect is to allow you to treat your caster level as 1 higher for the purpose of calculating damage dice, even beyond the normal maximum
* Prismatic Sand is ued for conjuration and illusion spells. The additional effect is to allow you to treat your caster level as 4 higher for determining the spell's range, or allow you to modify the area/spread/radius of a spell by 5 feet larger or smaller
* Geodes are used for abjuration and transmutation spells. The additional effect is to allow you treat your caster level as 2 higher for determining the spell's duration
* Verdant Salts are used for divination and enchantment spells. The additional effect is to allow you increase the save DC for the spell by 1.

A Wizard 8 goes shopping in town before leaving for their adventure. They buy 300 GP worth on Entropic Resin, 150 GP worth of Prismatic Sand, 200 GP worth of Geodes, and 100 GP worth of Verdant Salts

quote:

They cast a Fireball, and consume 24 GP worth of Entropic Resin to do so. They now have 276 GP worth of Entropic Resin left.

...

While fighting a particularly powerful enemy, the Wizard decides to spend twice the amount of Entropic Resin to increase the power of their Fireball. They spend 48 GP worth of Entropic Resin, and their Fireball deals 9d6 damage instead of 8d6. From 276 GP worth of Entropic Resin, they now only have 228 GP left.

(if they were a Wizard 10, casting a Fireball at caster level 10 would cost 30 GP. If they tapped the additional effect of Entropic Resin, it would cost 60 GP, and the Fireball would deal 11d6 damage, even if Fireballs are normally capped at 10d6 damage)

...

After lots of fighting, they've used up all of their Entropic Resin, but they still want to cast a Fireball. They can choose to spend 48 GP worth of any of the other material components to force the issue.

There's a fifth material component, called Yliaster, that can be used to let you completely uncap a spell's damage dice, AND let you treat yourself as 2 caster levels higher, AND increase the save DC by 1, but the cost is supposed to be exorbitant: 200 GP for every 1 caster level, so casting a Fireball as a Wizard 5 would cost 1,000 GP.

quote:

If a Wizard 12 wanted to cast Fireball with Yliaster, it would cost them 2,400 GP, but the Fireball would deal 14d6 damage: first, the damage is uncapped, so it can scale up to 12d6 instead of the normal limit of 10d6, and then it goes up another 2 caster levels beyond that to 14d6.

It's difficult to judge how well this rule would actually end up working in practice, since a lot of it hinges upon how much loot the party gets and how much that loot respects the wealth-by-level rules, but it seems like a decent way of putting some kind of opportunity cost to spells without the complete hand-waving done by default PF, but also without delving into the fiddly BS of TSR-era D&D. By assigning a generic cost per level of spell, there's a workable framework here. I'd certainly be open to trying it, and the ability to spend extra on your spells doesn't make this a purely punitive rules change.

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Jarvisi
Apr 17, 2001

Green is still best.


I'm still really mad that I kick-started paranoia, only for it to end up two years late and terrible to boot. There's a few things worth salvaging, i guess?

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