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By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

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




I think we just found the level of simulationist pettiness that would make even Phenix Command puke.

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kommy5
Dec 6, 2016


Are there... second degree derived stats in that thing? I mean, stats derived from stats derived from stats? And spells for respiration? And 18 core stats?

HCFJ
Nov 29, 2009

WILL AMOUNT TO NOTHING IN LIFE.

weapons posted:

Weapons:
Choose a weapon at character creation. Unless you acquire a second weapon by means of a skill or talent or something, that weapon is your only weapon for life. Mortals must bond with their weapons so that they become a single entity (at least metaphysically); only immortals can use multiple weapons without special training. Having your weapon destroyed is like losing an arm; having it lost subjects you to so much ridicule that almost everyone just says that they were destroyed. You can replace a weapon with a ritual, but it must be the same kind of weapon. Weapons have different qualities. 2H means that you must use both hands to wield it.

Bladed
Claymore: +50% damage, +0% accuracy, 2H, Special: Can attack three adjacent squares per attack.
Longsword: +40% damage, +10% accuracy, Special: +10% charisma.
Shortsword: +20% damage, +30% accuracy, Special: +10% accuracy when dual-wielded.
Dagger: +10% damage, +40% accuracy, Special: +20% stealth checks.
Katana: +25% damage, +25% accuracy, Special: Offensive spells cost 10% less mana (minimum 1).
Polearms
Quarterstaff: +10% damage, +40% accuracy, 2H, Special: Double melee range, +10% to survival checks.
Spear: +30% damage, +20% accuracy, 2H, Special: Double melee range.
Halberd: +40% damage, +10% accuracy, 2H, Special: Double melee range.
Crushing
Club: +40% damage, +10% accuracy, Special: 50% to social interactions with animals.
Mace: +50% damage, +0% accuracy, Special: +20% wealth/treasure gained from any source.
Hammer: +50% damage, +0% accuracy, Special: +200% damage to objects.
Ranged
Longbow: +20% damage, +20% accuracy, 10 range, 2H, Special: Spells’ range is doubled. (even breathing?)
Crossbow: +10% damage, +30% accuracy, 10 range, 2H, Special: You can fight with no penalty below 0HP
Handgun: +10% damage, +30% accuracy, 10 range, Special: +10% accuracy when dual-wielded.
Shotgun: +40% damage, +0% accuracy, 5 range, 2H, Special: Can be fired in melee without provoking.
Rifle: +20% damage, +20% accuracy, 30 range, 2H, Special: Unusually long range.
Throwing: +10% damage, +30% accuracy, 5 range, Special: Applies physical power modifier.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Horrible Lurkbeast posted:

I think we just found the level of simulationist pettiness that would make even Phenix Command puke.

Really, I hope not. We'll have to refigure its encumbrance and figure out if its Combat Actions have changed upon the reduced stomach load.

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

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




Nicely done.

Barudak
May 7, 2007




Obsidian: The Age of Judgement is a roleplaying game by Apophis Consortium published first in 1999, and this review uses the 2nd Edition from 2001. Written by Micah Skaritka, Dav Harnish, and Frank Nolan. Obsidian is a post-apocalyptic anarchist corporatist literal hell on earth secret knowledge crunchy dice-pool game. It is purchasable online here if you’d like to support the authors of this work.

Part 2: Nine is Not Divisible by Four

We start the book proper then with a short story called “Maze” which in its roughly two page length commits every possible “secret truth” story cliche. A bunch of gun toting soldiers go into an abandoned research base, shoot a bunch of demons dead, rescue a guy sleeping in a pod, whereupon he wakes up and plays the “I know everything about the setting but will be patronizingly cryptic” card immediately and non-stop while portentous things are said. Then with the last survivor and him in a room, higher-ups show up to take him away, never to be seen again and the survivor is told to forget everything. Despite being narratively dull it does succinctly encapsulate one of the major themes of Obsidian; doing lovely jobs to make rent.

After “Maze” we go to the first chapter proper, “Obsidian Epoch”. This pretentiously named section includes both the history and setting sections of the book, and if you are dying to know what “Obsidian” means good luck because its a term not included in the index or glossary. As with all of these 90s secret-truth games the history section is written in an in-universe voice with annotations, but surprisingly the prose is rarely interrupted and the annotations short and pithy. Unfortunately, the text reads with all the passion and interest of a highschool history textbook from 1960 and the annotations read as direct apologia from the developers of the game.


Custom blindfolds and designer sneakers for all soon to be executed prisoners

The section starts by stating that by reading the history of the Obsidian Epoch we will learn that there are secret truths about the war between hell and earth. While this is technically accurate it is being extremely misleading about the phrase “secret truths”. Instead of details you’d want to hide as a Narrator to let characters organically uncover and connect the web of intrigue you get an accounting of the years various real historical rulers came to power or died. The game then suggests that you read this section twice before going any further into the book because it is so vitally important to running and understanding the game, so I guess make sure you remember that Cyrus the Great died in 530 BCE as it’ll be on the test.

The last thing it does before dumping us into another short bit of setting narrative we still have no framework for is to tell us that Obsidian will use many languages through the book but incorrectly. It tries to claim that this is because knowledge of Latin and other languages is lost and that demons are untrustworthy so these mistakes on the authors of Obsidian’s part are totally intentional. Sorry Obsidian authors, but as someone who actually had to pass Latin, cuiusvis hominis est errare, nullius nisi insipientis in errore perseverare*.


This symbol gets used to break up text at random. I have no idea what it means

The history then finally starts with the origin of the universe a staggering 12,000 years ago**, 10,000 years before the birth of the Azure Hyaline, otherwise known as Jesus Christ, at the beginning of time. Here there is a sacred land called Sheol filled with demons who aren’t bad ruled over by the boringly named Divinity of Sheol. Sheol is sustained by a reservoir of energy that all Demons feed from and maintains their undefined by implied to be idyllic existence. This reservoir of energy is the Earth, and human beings are described as parasitic organisms that thrive on Earth gobbling up this energy the demons need.

It turns out that humans doing this has has some very bad side effects for demons. You see, humans’ waste byproduct, sin, contaminates the energy supply from Earth that Demon’s feed and by eating this contaminated energy Demons go insane and turn evil. If you’re curious, the game never posits that there is anyway to reverse this process by being morally good, so enjoy roleplaying as the bacterial infection of creation that kills all other sentient life in the universe merely by existing.

Faced with the problem of humans’ sin deposits tainting the demon race, the Divinity of Sheol splits Sheol into four distinct elements called circles. This normally wouldn’t cause anyone to bat an eye, but the rest of the book talks about eight distinct circles and a bonus secret ninth circle and never, ever just four circles again. One of the many apologia annotations pops up here, in the one and only paragraph that mentions four circles, and has the in-universe author state that they have no idea why it mentions four circles here but nine moving forward but to just accept it. Why the authors of Obsidian didn’t just replace the word “four” with “nine” when they discovered this typo is also left up to the reader to ignore.


Wait is that art dated 1996? Is there another, secret edition from 1996? Is that the real conspiracy?

These four nine circles each had a ruler demon watching over them and were intended to shunt off specific types of taint from human beings. This obviously fails, and one by one throughout human history these circles get corrupted, fall, and reborn under a new name as places for evil related to the sin they were supposed to protect against. In what is another truly baffling decision, you would think that if these circles changed names they’d go from “positive name” to “evil name” but they actually just go from one evil to another. The circle that becomes the Circle of Lust started as the Circle of Avarice. The absolute dumbest, and obviously the writer’s pet, is the Circle of Sacrifice which turns into the Circle of Under and its cult of worshippers The Box of Under. These circles, with their leaders now evil, begin to separately plot to cross their demon citizens over to Earth so they can gobble up all that reservoir energy for themselves and kill whatever pesky humans they come across.

Then, as if the game wasn’t sure we had gotten that these circles fell to evil, re-introduces all of the circles but this time gives us a one paragraph story about how the circle fell to evil. Despite basically repeating information from not three paragraphs ago but now in story form, absolutely none of this matters except telling you the name of the demon which rules each realm because there is no way to travel to these realms even if they had any description. I’m not joking about that, despite all the backstory dedicated to these circles there is no actual description of any of them and they have no bearing on the gameplay or setting whatsoever.

The game then notes that only seven of the nine circles have fallen since the Azure Hyaline is protecting the eighth and nobody knows anything about the ninth but it’s the source of good caster character spells. Probably. With that we finally finish the “pre-history” section to transition into some of the most boringly written prose to ever be used to kill almost every human on the planet.

Next time: And so Cyraxes begat Astyages who begat Cyrus who begat Cambyses

*Anyone can err, but only a fool persists in his fault
**Are you legally required to be raised a Young Earth Creationist to make TTRPG based on poorly remembered christianity?

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!


It should be noted that dying is also a loving spell. What the gently caress.

The average human is level 12, apparently, which means we can have a max of 36 Vitality. Our HP is Vitality*level, so we have 102 HP if we max out our Vitality at chargen(presumably, this thing is a loving mess). Spit, a level 2 spell, does 1 Water Damage to the target. I can't find anything, anywhere, about damage reduction. Or really combat rules of any kind for that matter. So presumably if you spit on the average guy 100 times, he's going to melt.

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




You'll have to make a ranged tongue attack with a parabolic arc penalty, so it's really closer to 150 times.

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

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




What if I got him in a pit and I'm pouring a flask I've filled in my spare time?

oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!




Well then you make a counterspelling attempt on his breathing magic.

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




oriongates posted:

Well then you make a counterspelling attempt on his breathing magic.

Don't forget to modify by your potion expertise, which is derived from alchemy and dexterity.

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

If you will not serve in combat, you will serve on the firing line!




Oh yeah, that game. I remember the original /tg/ thread for it. Best part of it is really the goat spell.

quote:

ORB OF THE ALBINO DOOMGOAT
Level: 8
Element: Dark
Type: Active
Cast: 70
Mana: 140
Range: 10 squares
Area: See text
Group: Invocation
Duration: See text
Stealth: No
Damage: See text

You create a breach in the barrier between dimensions and momentarily allow Say-Tyr to exert his power in the Prime Realm. Say-Tyr manifests as an eight-legged goat the size of a semitruck with white fur. His twelve horns are extremely elaborate and stretch well beyond the back of his body, and are decorated with tattoos and murals. Each of his high priests since the beginning of time has added one new picture to the horns. A shimmering orb of 5x5 squares surrounds him. Say-Tyr will not follow your orders and will do as he pleases. Attempting to command him or use any kind of conjuration-controlling spell will cause him to target you. Otherwise he will under nearly all circumstances charge in a line of 30 squares before disappearing. Nothing can stop him except terrain blocking effects that explicitly say they are immune to damage. Anyone caught in the line takes (Lvl*100)+2000 damage. They can roll a physical resistance check with a -65 penalty to halve the damage. Anyone caught in the orb that surrounds him takes half the normal damage and the resistance check is at -32. Additionally, Say’Tyr’s bleating forces anyone caught in the orb to roll a mental resistance check with a -65 penalty. Success immunizes the target. Failure causes the target to become a goat. This is permanent but can be dispelled normally. If a target is turned into a goat and killed by the damage of this spell, he is permanently killed (in goat form) and his soul is claimed by the Bovidae Dimension to become one of Say-Tyr’s harem. Deafness makes you immune.

oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!




wiegieman posted:

Don't forget to modify by your potion expertise, which is derived from alchemy and dexterity.

And since water is a heavy element, you get +1 caster level vs life.

Ghost Leviathan
Mar 2, 2017

Exploration is ill-advised




This is basically the logical conclusion of 'rules as a physics engine' thinking.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




I don't care if this thing is a really elaborate joke or not, somebody needs to do a full writeup.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


At some point, it's too in depth to be a joke.

HCFJ
Nov 29, 2009

WILL AMOUNT TO NOTHING IN LIFE.

Zereth posted:

I don't care if this thing is a really elaborate joke or not, somebody needs to do a full writeup.

Is there more? After what I posted it's just pages and pages of ridiculous spells it looks like.

Spells posted:

Detect Pies
Level: 5
Element: Life
Type: Active
Cast: 1
Mana: 1
Range: You
Area: 100x100 squares
Group: Information
Duration: 10 rounds
Stealth: Yes
Damage: No
Automatically detects all pies in the area and tells you the following: type, flavor, quality of cooking, how
much is left, and how warm they are.

I'm putting a scroll of this in my next campaign for players to find and hopefully somehow utilize.

HCFJ fucked around with this message at 19:16 on Jun 10, 2018

White Coke
May 29, 2015


Deptfordx posted:

At one point they followed the village priest who had been spotted repeatedly sneaking out of the village at night, only to find he had acquired a small congregation of skinks who he was attempting to convert to the worship of Sigmar.

Did the Skinks tell him that he was just worshipping Sotek?

Deptfordx
Dec 23, 2013



White Coke posted:

Did the Skinks tell him that he was just worshipping Sotek?

I honestly don't remember how that turned out, this was just after WFRP 2nd was released, so years ago now.

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

Horned Rat-Sempai Noticed Me!


Okay, which wise guy here bought an ad for Middendare?

DalaranJ
Apr 15, 2008

Yosuke will now die for you.


PurpleXVI posted:

It should be noted that dying is also a loving spell. What the gently caress.

So if you're prevented from casting level 1 spells you can't breath. But you also can't die of suffocation?

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Since I'm reading the Torg write up, it seems that the dude saw Torg doing all those unnecessary explanations of world laws and went "hold my beer."

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Cults: Spitalians



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults




poo poo is about to get lit

Fukken finally! We finished up with the Cultures (though “Geography and Plot Hooks” would have been a more apt name) chapter and we can start getting introduced to organizations that gave birth to the player classes.

Wave Rider

But first, story time! This is short one about how a Spitalian is brought in as a prisoner and presented to an African woman named Malais, the Grand Buzzard of Corpse. He proceeds to beat up the Apocalyptics holding him (a fun detail is that he also gets hit a few painful times) and asks Malais to used her speedboat, Zuwena, to take him to a place near Quabis. The Scourgers are apparently searching the ship they're on (it's not entirely clear where they are, this being Degenesis and all that), but the Spitalians are ready to pay much more than they would. Malais agrees.



Spitalians

In The Light Of Salvation

This describes the Spitalians in general. Primer is a disease while Sepsis and Psychonauts are the symptoms. The Spitalians work to eradicate them, running experiments deep in the bowels of Spital. That's where most of the work concerning the eradication of the alien sickness is done; it's also where on transgenic horses is bred.

Outside of the labs is the Appendix, the sick quarter of the Spital. That's where the Spitalians act as your doctors, tending to the people.

In The Light of Salvation posted:

Chronicler Drafts, furs, glittering scrap, bottles of oil and other valuables change hands – relatives of the sick pile gifts in front of the Spitalians until they are ready to start treating the diseased with scalpel and saw or just give them some medicine. Their means are limited, but still, in the Appendix, in Justitian’s hygienics stations or in the public hospitals they help the populace; here are doctors who defend the Hippocratic Oath defiantly and determinedly.

But Spitalians are more than just nerds. They also take part in the more active fight against Psychonauts. The example here talks about a Spitalian woman on a horse overlooking a pool of blood on ice incefield. The pool has the sword-hacked bits of Psychokinetics floating about. Maybe they're easier to kill than they sound?

'In the Light of Salvation posted:

Every day in the labs brings them closer to understanding and to saving humankind. Every day they decide between destruction and healing. They fight cholera and destroy spore-afflicted villages. In Franka, they detonate the Pheromancers’ vents, in Pollen, they study the Fractal Forests, in Purgare, they burn swathes into the ticks’ and fleas’ millionfold army. And in the Balkhan, they bring thedissonance to the Dushani.
The Spitalians are humanity’s last bastion.

Sub-title drop!



I recognize that bulge!

Ancient Secrets

The wing that contained records of Spitalian history burned down, but enough lockers (not file cabinets, for some reason) remain intact that stuff about the earliest history can be pieced together.

Back in the days following the Eschaton, the Spital was known as Crisis Center Southern Ruhr. Things were kinda hard back then.

Ancient Secrets posted:

Looters stormed the facility, killed doctors and took what they could get. Medicine crates and bandages were pushed out on beds, and outside, the fighting continued. The transports from central storage crashed into barricades, were pushed over and robbed, too. The doctors defended themselves with scalpels and infusion stands and loaded injectors with cartridges full of sulfuric
acid. Oxygen and gas bottles intended for ventilation were turned into flame throwers. The doctors of the Crisis Center stood with their backs to the wall, were armed to the teeth with fear.



Dear nerds: this is the second or third time I had to read the paragraph. And the first bolded bit always throws me for a loop: it states or implies that all the doctors were killed before the looting commenced. But then the second bolded part comes and you see that some doctors survived and went on the defensive. So are my English skills failing me, or is this some lovely writing?

Anyways, UEO (United European Organization, counterpart to African UAO) forces arrived to save center, but by then the doctors had gone too far. What does that mean?

The Second Wave

gently caress if I know, because the book states that things at the Crisis Centre had normalized in the four following years. The center had been rechristened “The Spital” (much like the 'Ton hotel in New York) and the soldiers of the collapsed UEO served as the police/guards of the doctors.

The Second Wave posted:

With the efficiency of people who need not fear any lawsuit, they crushed flashpoints.

So they shot... looters? People who got really desperate? Gingers?

The city around the Spital was worthy of the opening shots of Terminator 2, and “skeletons in streaming rags lined the street, carelessly shoved aside by bulldozers.” Those might have been people who died from the environmental conditions, as well as any lead injections as proscribed by the Spital.

But with European megadeaths the influx of refugees thinned and the Situation (why did the book capitalize it?) became manageable. Doctors were regaining self-esteem, things were looking, and only one nagging question remained: did Hive die out in Africa, or did it reach Europe?

It reached Europe. The doctors flipped their poo poo, locked themselves up in Spital and told everyone else to

The Second Wave posted:

Those waiting for recovery in the infirmaries were told via speakers to leave the region: “The Spital is closed, effective immediately. Go home.” From helplessness, a wave of anger arose, leading once
again to violence. But HIVE was already rampant among the attackers, thinning out their ranks. Siege machinery and weapons fell from the infecteds’ hands. The resistance was broken long before the battle was joined.

Siege machinery. This idea that people in desperate straits would turn into utter, yet organized bastards seems either edgy or very reactionary. Anyways, you can't have your apocalypse without mass looting, now can you?

Back on topic, seeing those people dying outside the walls of the Spital wasn't easy for the doctors. Some even jumped. The others swore to never turn their backs on the world again.

Next time: You gonna get healed, boy

Comrade Gorbash
Jul 12, 2011

My paper soldiers form a wall, five paces thick and twice as tall.


JcDent posted:

Dear nerds: this is the second or third time I had to read the paragraph. And the first bolded bit always throws me for a loop: it states or implies that all the doctors were killed before the looting commenced. But then the second bolded part comes and you see that some doctors survived and went on the defensive. So are my English skills failing me, or is this some lovely writing?
It's a bit of clumsy wording, but no, the phrasing doesn't imply "all the doctors" in English. Using "doctors" without a modifier or article there only indicates more than one, without specifying how many more. Whether it's all, most, some, or a handful depends entirely on context. In this case I wouldn't read it as "all" but "many." Also the second part would work even if all the doctors died; a past tense explanation of how they fought before they went down would be perfectly reasonable.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Comrade Gorbash posted:

It's a bit of clumsy wording, but no, the phrasing doesn't imply "all the doctors" in English. Using "doctors" without a modifier or article there only indicates more than one, without specifying how many more. Whether it's all, most, some, or a handful depends entirely on context. In this case I wouldn't read it as "all" but "many." Also the second part would work even if all the doctors died; a past tense explanation of how they fought before they went down would be perfectly reasonable.

Farewell, my only marketable skill...

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

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




the Situation became manageable? Good for him, it's time to put the party lifestyle behind.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



JcDent posted:

Since I'm reading the Torg write up, it seems that the dude saw Torg doing all those unnecessary explanations of world laws and went "hold my beer."

If it's any consolation, the new version of Torg doesn't feel the need to explain everything. It just goes "this is the way things are" and moves on.

(The preview of the new Nile Empire book is out, and there's a new minor world law that states that if you are wearing a mask, no matter how miniscule, nobody will ever recognize you.)

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: Realms of Sorcery

Wizard College 101

Something that can't be emphasized enough is that the existence of the Colleges has yet to widely penetrate Imperial Society. The Empire doesn't have a robust, modern communication network nor a standardized system of mail, so there are no magic owls dropping off post saying 'Wait no, don't set Weird Heinrich on fire, he's invited to a fanciful wizard college'. This is one of the reasons Magisters are required to adventure: To go expose the wider Empire to the idea that there are a bunch of fancy men and women in magnificent hats who work spells for the good of the Empire, and to pick up Weird Heinrich and get him to college since outside of the cities almost no-one knows one could even aspire to go to Wizard College. This is unfortunate, because one of the Empire's best sources for wizards is the various spontaneously manifesting talents out in the countryside and small towns where the majority of the population resides.

This situation is further exacerbated by the fact that while magic is easily passed on to one's children, two entire orders have a strict vow of celibacy and moreover their Winds tend to remove any and all desire to break that vow (Death and Light wizards generally don't feel any urge to wed or have children). Bright Wizards are as quick to love as they are to throw fireballs as they fight and argue their way across the Empire, but they tend to be dangerously irresponsible parents and end up leaving their children to less on-fire relatives. Gold and Celestial wizards tend to get so caught up in nerding out that they forget to ever marry or have kids. Grey and Amber wizards are often marked by a misanthropic streak that can make intimacy difficult. Only Jade wizards are known for consistently having healthy family and love lives and being responsible parents. Given how often magical ability is passed down directly to one's children, one would think this may eventually lead to their being more Jade wizards than any other kind in the future.

The book has a very small bit where it mentions that students do not often get to leave their colleges to go drinking and gambling out on the town in Altdorf, and this is very disappointing to me. However, the wizards still tend to get up to plenty of mischief within their Colleges, and once they achieve a Journeyman status (or get sent out as a more capable, PC-level Apprentice) they still get unleashed upon the world to get in trouble, so it balances out well enough. The most important social function of the Colleges is providing a young wizard with a place where no-one is afraid of them for simply being a wizard. They are a safe space for people who have often faced suspicion and fear their whole lives, where they can talk freely to others who can see the strange aethyr as they can, where people can assure them they are not mad and that their power can be as much a gift as a curse.

Not every apprentice trains in the College buildings themselves, though the majority do. Some will be taken on as apprentice by a traveling Magister or one attached to an army, maintaining regular contact with the Orders in order to report on the status of their pupils. This is usually left to particularly trusted or eccentric Magisters, or those who are studying something too complicated to take their work to Altdorf but who can't escape from the eternal bane of Academia, being expected to teach.

Magnus not only established the Colleges, but he left them primarily to study and develop curriculum for his entire fifty year reign. He saw the Colleges as an investment in the future; now that the original emergency was passed, there was no need to hastily cobble together squads of half-trained battle wizards, and the Colleges were left free to try to understand their new arts and look for how they could aid the Empire in the future. The first students were also quite loyal to Loremaster Teclis, especially as he remained for several decades to continue to train human students before he was pulled home and made master of the Tower of Hoeth (High Elf Wizard College). Magnus tried to make the Colleges an Imperial institution, rather than a provincial or personal one, in hopes that they could not be easily wielded by individual Elector Counts once they got over their initial terror about sanctioned wizards. Leaving the first wizards to their Colleges to develop things helped initially isolate them from petty Imperial politics and kept them loyal to the central state that was their patron.

As years passed, the Empire passed direct laws about how and when wizards could be requested from the Colleges. So long as they were not used for civil war, it was eventually left to the Magisters to make their own individual treaties with nobles and merchant houses of the Empire, and as in all things in Imperial politics this quickly descended into a byzantine criss-cross of competing obligations and attempts to increase the influence of the Colleges, because if there's one thing Imperials love it's politics. The wizards seek influence and exposure, to protect themselves against the future in case a less understanding Emperor comes to the throne. Their position as the only legitimate authority on magical arcane knowledge in the Empire and their ceaseless pursuit of a better image (and more money) for their institutions is slowly overcoming the fear the people of the Empire have of magic, and more and more people are grudgingly admitting that one of the blokes in pointy hats can do more good than harm.

The Colleges are also fortunate that Karl Franz, current Emperor, is a patron of theirs. He stood behind them on a very risky political dispute, when they requested that the Supreme Patriarch of the Colleges be given an Imperial Elector's vote. It was defeated on the worry that it would grant too much power to the princes of Reikland, since Altdorf was traditionally the domain of the Prince of Reikland, and this would be another vote within Reikland's influence, but the Colleges have not forgotten that Franz stuck his neck out for them (and for his own advantage and that of his children, mind, being Reikland electors).

Magnus' decision to let the wizards study instead of demanding they churn out Battle Wizards at all costs has also born fruit: The Magisters have become a wide storehouse of useful knowledge on affairs besides war and the banishing of Chaos Demons. In turn, knowing spells and means to clear blights and grow crops or manufacture rare components or read the weather have helped the Colleges in their constant quest for influence and legitimacy, and have done tremendous things for the Empire. Some of the cults are starting to worry about the political influence and wealth of the wizards, rather than just the spiritual legitimacy of their arts; they fear that if the wizards continue to grow in power, one day the wizards will be in a position to remember and repay their long opposition.

Another major victory for the Colleges is a new writ of law that mandates the Witch Hunters to turn over any non-obviously-tainted magic user they find who is under 24 years of age. You may not get a magical owl telling you to go to college, but there's always the chance your PC was terrified by a grim looking man or woman in a big hat who looked them over carefully and then told their parents that this one was for the Colleges, not the Pyre, and made it clear you didn't have much choice but to leave the farm and learn to read. This also follows with the general increasing professionalization of the Hunters that we saw in Tome of Corruption. Hunters are also still the main legitimate law enforcement agency of the Empire for tracking down wizard crimes, but are forbidden from targeting Imperial Magisters unless they already have solid evidence of corruption or a request from the Colleges. The Colleges do everything they can to handle such things themselves and keep the Hunters out of their affairs.

Next: What it is to be a Magister: The Quest for Tenure

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.




I want there to be a Professor of Cruel and Unusual Geography.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: Realms of Sorcery

Non-insane magic users of skill are highly unusual

Magister started out as a title to ensure that wizards didn't take all the jobs and money. By declaring them Magisters and subordinate to the authority of the Lords and Patriarchs (who might be women, mind) of their Colleges, Magisters are not permitted to own wide swaths of property, nor manage businesses. They are limited to contract employment. However, as it has become increasingly profitable to contract with a wizard, Magisters' 'contracting fees' have risen, as has the rate at which their Colleges remind them that they have student loans to pay off. You see, the Colleges are 'free' insofar as a wizard goes and learns there because it is illegal for them not to do so. However, afterwards, they owe a portion of their contracting fees to their College and a general tithe of 1 in 10 gold crowns earned (This is mechanically enforced for Wizard PCs). So a Magister is a fully licensed practitioner available for contract work who yet owes significant loyalty and funds to their Order. The title was originally created as a limiter, but it has evolved into an honorific.

Most Magisters do not live at the Colleges, save the ones who have been nailed down into teaching full time or those whose research can be confined to the libraries and laboratories of their College. Most are, in fact, required to adventure and travel and find new students to bring in and contracts and quests to perform to fund their College (and their personal affairs) and bring glory and respectability to their art. Most are about as annoyed with having to do this as they would be with having to attend office hours. I don't think I need to point out that having wizards work on a quest/contract basis and having it be a mandate from their superiors that they go on adventures and show people that wizards are awesome is good for an RPG: It both easily explains wizard PCs and also supplies a steady stream of hapless Magisters who would really rather be reading or doing research trying to fob off their job on hired mercenaries (PCs).

Battle Wizards are a little silly, and exist to patch a minor fluff hole between the TT Wargame and the RPG. You see, in the TT Game, a Wizard's attack spells will regularly wipe out whole platoons of soldiers and their buffs and things can affect entire regiments. There are also some insanely powerful TT spells like turning into a dragon or calling down a meteor strike that just don't translate into the RPG. The section on Battle Wizards talks about how those TT Wizards are a special breed apart, trained wholly for war and possessed of immense power, with a level of killing and magical power that a normal PC will never achieve. The intent being to explain why a TT Bright Wizard's Fireball kills like 3-18 soldiers while a PC one does 3 Damage 4 Hits. This is annoying, though, because it A: Doesn't account for Vampires and Chaos Sorcerers and all and B: It feels wrong to present a major concept like this with no mechanical backing and a note saying there will never be mechanical backing for it. I'd prefer to just say that a TT combat turn is way longer than an RPG one and that the TT versions of spells are just bigger, more elaborate rituals performed on the field, while RPG spells are quick self-defense work.

Black Magisters are not necessarily Chaos Sorcerers, or weavers of the black arts, or Necromancers. They usually do one of those things, but the term technically refers to any wizard who has broken their vows to their Order and gone rogue. As enemies, Black Magisters tend to be much more dangerous than simple witches and self-taught warlocks; they have collegiate training and get to use the normal Wizard careers, they just usually know a Dark Lore or use the Dark Magic talent with a Color lore. The most common reason they go rogue is for trying to work with more than one Lore, which inevitably leads them into working with Dark Magic. Many of these will tell you Teclis taught the humans 'intentionally' limited magic so the elves could keep all the good spells for themselves, and that being a magical genius, they will surely unlock all the secrets of power hidden from humanity. Moments later, they usually explode, get sworded by an Adventurer, or get eaten by and unleash a tide of demons.

While Hunters are ready and able to take down rogue mages like that and burn them at the stake (to more thoroughly cleanse away any remaining Chaos taint), the Colleges would really, really prefer to keep the precedent for wizards getting burned down as much as possible. Accusing Magisters of crimes is very difficult; they have a license, and what constitutes crime as opposed to normal magic use isn't well known outside of the Hunters, and the Magisters like it this way. They prefer to handle their own justice and enforcement. A wizard caught defrauding, defaming, or breaking their Order's rules will find themselves subjected to a bevy of fines, flogging, public humiliation or stripping of titles before their peers, execution, or in the worst cases, Pacification.

Pacification is a terrible, terrible punishment. It is considered significantly worse than mere execution among wizards, and it takes doing considerable harm to your Order or the Empire to be subjected to it. No-one is quite sure what the rite involves, or what happens to those subjected to it; it has only been performed 6 times in the entire 250 year history of the Colleges. What is known is that it involves a sort of gelding of the soul, where the portion that can link to the Aethyr is cut away by magical rite. The first man this was performed on, an errant pyromancer named Lord Reichthard, is said to have screamed for sixteen days straight before it was done. It is not entirely certain what the benefits of doing this to someone are, compared to just shooting them in the head and burning the body, and the wizards who know the spells involved don't like to explain.

The Orders take hunting down fallen Magisters very seriously, and do their best to keep it quiet. They absolutely do not want cases of Chaos Magisters or hidden Necromancers coming to the Hunters unless it is absolutely necessary. They will, of course, sometimes hire ragamuffins who happen to accompany one of their younger students as deniable assets (PC parties) to track down and dispatch evil wizards, while quietly trying to hide any evidence the person was ever a Collegiate Magister to begin with.

Another important bit of Wizard Law is that a wizard is considered responsible for their students. Should a Journeyman or Apprentice fall, their master will be scrutinized to see if they could have prevented it, or more likely, if they were somehow complicit. One of the surest signs of a hidden Chaos wizard is a string of 'unlucky' apprentices winding up tainted, after all. Sometimes a wizard will be given the task of tracking down and defeating their old student, to satisfy the Colleges about their loyalty and also because they know their student best. Occasionally, a wizard who has had a run of bad apprentices will be exiled from Altdorf and the Reikland, or even from the Empire, remaining a member of their Order but no longer permitted to be in politically sensitive places. Where an Exiled Magister is ordered to operate tells you how much their Order is upset with them: One sent to Estalia, Marienburg, or Tilea likely did something minor. One sent to Bretonnia probably really pissed someone off, considering how Bretonnians feel about non-Damsel wizards.

Next: Wizards and Priests: A Mutual Distrust

Deptfordx
Dec 23, 2013



Night10194 posted:


Battle Wizards are a little silly, and exist to patch a minor fluff hole between the TT Wargame and the RPG. You see, in the TT Game, a Wizard's attack spells will regularly wipe out whole platoons of soldiers and their buffs and things can affect entire regiments. There are also some insanely powerful TT spells like turning into a dragon or calling down a meteor strike that just don't translate into the RPG. The section on Battle Wizards talks about how those TT Wizards are a special breed apart, trained wholly for war and possessed of immense power, with a level of killing and magical power that a normal PC will never achieve. The intent being to explain why a TT Bright Wizard's Fireball kills like 3-18 soldiers while a PC one does 3 Damage 4 Hits. This is annoying, though, because it A: Doesn't account for Vampires and Chaos Sorcerers and all and B: It feels wrong to present a major concept like this with no mechanical backing and a note saying there will never be mechanical backing for it. I'd prefer to just say that a TT combat turn is way longer than an RPG one and that the TT versions of spells are just bigger, more elaborate rituals performed on the field, while RPG spells are quick self-defense work.


I had exactly the same thought as you (in bold) when I first read through RoS. That whole Battle Wizard thing really is a bit of a solution in need of a problem.

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




Just say that Battle Wizards are a tier 4 career and it takes decades to get that powerful.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


There's already a Tier 4 Wizard, the Wizard Lord.

It's more, they dump this whole 'Battle Wizards are hyper-special super wizards!' plot point and then a sidebar going 'Also we don't have rules for them, never will have rules for them, and there's functionally no way to use them in your games, we out' that just sucks, especially with how much of the game and setting is right there to get used in the rest of the material.

MonsterEnvy
Feb 4, 2012


Hope they fix that in 4e.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Pacification seems like a pretty lame punishment for being "it's so horrifying and scary we don't even know what it does."

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


The other thing is there's no need to. A Mag 4 character with their full lore is already, by the scale the game takes place on, a total shitkicker on par with any other high level character. We'll get a lot into the relative utility of mages vs. mundanes in Warhammer when we get to the spells and mechanics new to this book, but mages can hang with just about anyone without really outclassing them. A Chaos Sorcerer with Tzeentch Mutations who has hit Mag 5 and is running around with Lore of Chaos and Lore of Tzeentch spells is already final boss material, a Wizard Lord PC is up there with Champions and Grail Knights. You don't need a super extra wizard; Mag 4 is already great.

ChaseSP
Mar 25, 2013



Rand Brittain posted:

Pacification seems like a pretty lame punishment for being "it's so horrifying and scary we don't even know what it does."

Makes think of a magical lobotomy that complete rips away a key part of your being you've had and developed all your life.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Basically the other issue with the Battle Wizard fluff is that wizards are already mechanically in a pretty good place in WHFRP2e and there doesn't need to be a turbowizard just to match a TT wargame.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


They even had the same magical lobotomy in Dragon Age. Night Watch verse has mages sentenced to be cut off from magic, too*.

I think most people agree that being cut off from the ability to perceive and shape the very stuff of creation is pretty drat bad.

*one dickish character convinced the court to leave the guilty just enough juice to perform minor cantrips like "where are my drat keys:" a mercy at the first glance, but actually a cruel thing that will constantly remind them of their loss.

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JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Flowers for Bright Wizard Algernon

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