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Kaza42
Oct 3, 2013

Blood and Souls and all that

JcDent posted:

Flowers for Bright Wizard Algernon

Surely Algernon is the weird magic familiar that guides Bright Wizard Charlie through the process of gaining magic, getting corrupted and then departs before he gets lobotomized

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Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Except that they explicitly say that nobody is sure if that's what it is.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Oh, no, they know that's what it is. They don't know how exactly it's done, or why they do that instead of just shooting someone. The wizards won't really explain why it's important to do that before killing the person (or imprisoning them).

It's also implied in a sidebar that the first guy they did it to had his entire being cool like lava hitting water and slowly turned to stone, and that they keep the stone around to remind people of what can happen to the worst traitors.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 19:45 on Jun 11, 2018

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!


I could swear I remember some setting where powerful wizards had DEATH CURSES of some sort that made it a really bad idea to be the one landing the killing blow, maybe powerful tainted mages have something similar going on here, so it's important to snip their magical powers before killing them, or instead of killing them, unless you want the execution square to be a crater full of demons or something.

Kaza42
Oct 3, 2013

Blood and Souls and all that

PurpleXVI posted:

I could swear I remember some setting where powerful wizards had DEATH CURSES of some sort that made it a really bad idea to be the one landing the killing blow, maybe powerful tainted mages have something similar going on here, so it's important to snip their magical powers before killing them, or instead of killing them, unless you want the execution square to be a crater full of demons or something.

Dresden Files uses that name for it. They basically consume their life force to cast a single final spell, enhanced by the energy released upon death. Technically it's something you do as you are dying, rather than a reaction to it. A mercenary comments that the best way to kill a wizard is therefore supersonic bullet from long distance, so they die before they can release the curse.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

I think it's an object lesson. "No matter how big you get, how foul the atrocities you perform... we can drag you down and do you one worse."

Deptfordx
Dec 23, 2013



Kaza42 posted:

Dresden Files uses that name for it. They basically consume their life force to cast a single final spell, enhanced by the energy released upon death. Technically it's something you do as you are dying, rather than a reaction to it. A mercenary comments that the best way to kill a wizard is therefore supersonic bullet from long distance, so they die before they can release the curse.

Ehhh, it's a nice idea but death curses in the Dresden Files don't seem to have much punch. Butcher only seems to occasionally remember it's a thing. Wizards get killed all the time in the novels and short stories without it happening.

oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!




I think part of it is that the initial death curse was presented as a bit more of a literal curse, the ability to basically make a wish spell against your killer. Since then, it's moved more into the realms of just 'cast a big rear end spell before you die', so a lot of dying wizards do things like blow themselves up, but it's become much less of a big deal. And it was also established that sudden, immediate death gets around it. So one of those things in the setting that shifted a bit as the novels went on.

Speaking of cutting off wizards, I recall that being in Wheel of Time to, and I bet there's a couple other ones as well.

PoontifexMacksimus
Feb 14, 2012



PurpleXVI posted:

Why would he ruin the book with this poo poo when there's all the great watercolour art already?

Fear of drawing the ire of Osprey Publishing?

A long time ago I put these together, but forgot to post them, so might as well now before this game fades forever into deserved obscurity:







(Osprey Men-at-Arms 317 - Henry V and the Conquest of France and Osprey Warrior 68 - English Medieval Knight 1400-1500 are both illustrated by Graham Turner, one of the best-ever Osprey artists, so they have good taste at least.)

That's just what I could spot, of course, who knows what else lurks in there. In the last picture the pants on the brown-hatted guy looks like a photograph of slacks, and I'm pretty sure the crowd in the middle behind the flames are from a reenactment group.

I do find it weird that so many obvious lifts are primarily just from one book, but then I noted that the cover featured, not a trace, but an obvious reference (MaA 317, plate E):



And he even shows up like three times in that crowd! So I don't know, maybe the author just insisted all art look just like his one favourite Osprey pamphlet.

PoontifexMacksimus fucked around with this message at 00:26 on Jun 12, 2018

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Did you do the same uncovering for the Scythe dude that was making rounds on imgur recently?

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Cults: Spitalians, pt. 2



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults


New Goals

The doctors took more than ten years to finally get out of the Spital and back into the world. How did they manage to survive that long? “Lol, I dunno,” says the book, waves hands and mutters stuff about the fire that destroyed the records.

New Goals posted:

Today, we have no recordings of this process anymore. The great fire burned the documents and robbed the Spitalians of an important part of their genesis, including the secret of how they survived in the bleak Spital without outside support.

When the doctors rejoined the world, the word spread through Borca (as Germany had gotten totally borc-ed in 20ish years since the Eschaton ). At first, people came warily. But the folks in gasmasks and black suits weren't degenerate cosplayers or wild gimps; they healed people as best they could. The menacing outfit “was merely a disguise – for now,” whatever the gently caress that means.

But the people kept coming in and the trickle became a flood. Since mass lead inoculations or siege mentality were no longer options, the doctors organized. Consultants – the highest level/rank of Spitalians – convened and drew plans.

New Goals posted:

They considered a campaign against everything that was sick, schemed and gave orders like the generals of old.

Platoons of Spitalians divided the surrounding area into wards for specific diseases, sorted out the sick, quietly executed any antivaccers, fortified the compound and sent out Village Doctors (that's a class) to heal folks in the more remote settlements in exchange for money or protection. Thus, they started to grow in influence in West Borca.

Sepsis

For a while, the Spitalians had it good. Their databases they had helped heal all sorts of maladies, diseases, injuries, illnesses and boo-boos. But something new was happening; something connected to this cheap, powerful new drug called Burn. Spitalian warnings fell on deaf ears; nobody wanted to ban Burn and thus the influence of the Spital waned.

First mutations had started in Pollen in 2211. Then they reached Borca, too.

Sepsis posted:

Swarms of vermin flooded the land, entering body cavities and stinging, biting, laying eggs.



Spore fields were blossoming everywhere. The Mother Spore Fields in Pollen and Balkhan joined, cutting Europe off from Asia. People didn't care about that – they were high on Burn.

In 2300 (hell of a reaction speed there), the doctors went on the offense. Psychonauts and their Raptures (hey, a new unexplained proper noun!) were studied. Tech like Noumenon Vocalizer constructed by strange bug people in a spooky mansion allowed them to detect the etheric transmissions of the Chakra fields, which helped the Spitalians develop the Primer theory. Burn was identified as the prime vector of spore infestation, leading to its ban and the hunt for smugglers bringing it into the country (and yet Apocalyptics still exist).

Spitalians realized that they were witnessing a sustained assault on humanity and that they were the first line of defense.

Sepsis posted:

When twelve years after a Mother Spore Field developed in Menden, the doctors were ready. They triumphed and created the Festering. But the battle wasn’t over. In Pollen and Franka, it had only just begun.

Protectorate

In 2513 (that's the issue of setting your game 500 years after the apocalypse – you leave yourself with 500 years of history to fill, which leads to unrealistically slow developments) the Spital joined the Justitian Protectorate. They got a cushy deal: the Judges weren't allowed to enter the Spital and they had only limited access to the Appendix. The Spitalians would take part when any hygienic and medical issues arose (I don't think The Only Real Doctors In The Wasteland had to fight particularly hard to get that “privilege”). Spitalians with Mollusks (those saves with Sepsis sensing tissue) were posted to guard the entrances to the city.

But not everything went that smoothly.

Spitalians wanted the right to hunt Psychonauts and Leperos (the terminal Burn victims IIRC) in the Protectorate, but especially in Justitian.

Protectorate posted:

The Judges opposed them by saying that everyone within the city limits had to be judged by the Codex (which contains no Psychonaut law).

This type of reasonable, rational argument triggered the Spitalian snowflakes and there were even fights in the city, with some doctors getting arrested only to be freed again by Preservists (since we don't know who they are yet, we don't know if it was bribes, influence of stealth action that affected the escapes).

Luckily enough, the clans started to get uppity and the Judges needed every man they could muster. Platoons of Spitalians now fight the Cockroach Clan alongside the Judges and help guard the frontier cities. In return, they can have little detours to hunt down Psychonauts and the spore-afflicted. It's a win-win for everyone (except the clans and Psychonauts)!

Mollusks

TIME FOR A BIG-rear end SIDE SECTION!

When Sepsis infects an organism, it penetrates the tissues with extremely thin mycellum. When that reaches a critical mass, mutations occur and a person becomes a vehicle for an Earth Chakra to joyride.

The Spitalians use the Chakra field for detection purposes. First, they infect some bovine tissues with spores (the book gets more technical, but who cares). The infected muscle is then placed into a glass jar with a nutrient solution.

When Psychonauts or spore-infected people get near, the muscle starts spasming. The closer you are, the more violent the spasms, up to an infarct (but at that point you're probably stabbing a Psychonaut anyways).

The Mollusks are part of standard equipment and can be fitted to any Splayer (spear).

Next time: stupid sexy Spitalian

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: Realms of Sorcery

Not Exactly Atheists

Wizards still give the expected due to the Gods, like all intelligent people in the Old World's polytheistic culture. The friction comes in that wizards suspect they know what the Gods are. They believe the Gods are real, certainly, and definitely have a sort of independent existence from their creators, true, but that the Gods are an aethyric reflection of the hopes and dreams of sentient creatures, rather than mighty sacred beings that always existed. Some wizards might point to the stories of the Collapse and, if they know of the stories of Aenerion passed down through their association with Teclis, might claim that Asuryan may've been a myth until the outpouring of aethyric energy at the Collapse. So wizards don't deny the Gods, nor do they even deny their divinity, but some question its source. Also, suggesting the Gods may come from the same mechanisms as Chaos Demons (albeit in a much better and much more individually powerful direction) isn't likely to go over well with religious orders that already don't like wizards.

Some of the cults have tried to find common cause, though, since the wizards don't seem to be going anywhere and at the end of the day it's not in anyone's interests for the two groups to remain at one another's throats at all hours (only some hours). Some of the cults are even quite close to some of the orders; Jade and Amber wizards are very tight with the cults of Taal and Rhya, recognizing common cause in one another. The Amethyst Order works very closely with the cult of Morr on the topic of making sure the dead stay dead and that souls pass gently to Morr's realm. Some Orders have difficulties; the Bright Order seems bent on pissing off as many Gods as possible, including calling Manaan a 'damp, dull squib of a God', so they should probably stay off of boats. Many wizards will offer respect to Verena, some battle wizards will cite Myrmidia, but for the most part and individual wizard will not claim devotion to any individual god.

I've also mentioned that the Empire grandfathers in Ice Witches and Damsels by claiming they aren't subject to the Imperial Articles of Magic since they are 'divine' wizards. This is absolutely incorrect; Ice Witches use leyline magic and Damsels of the Lady are pointedly not granted anything but arcane spells (curiously, spells entirely from Lores the Wood Elves of the Athel Loren favor...), which should really cause some questions about the nature of the Lady of the Lake, but it's good enough to prevent diplomatic incidents. The Colleges being one of the only legitimate magical learning institutions in the human nations has also had the effect of making the Colleges extremely nationally diverse; nobles and wealthy scholars in Araby will regularly send gifted children to the Empire, as will people in Tilea, Estalia, and even Bretonnians who managed to hide them from the fae. If you want to be an Arabic mathematician who is also an Imperial wizard student, that is a 100% in-setting reasonable background.

Now, we finally get down to what it's like to go to wizard school. Apprentices are generally from the age of 10 to their mid twenties, and Magisters prefer to apprentice people as young as possible. The younger the student, the less time they'll have had to make some kind of dire mistake with their powers before they're introduced to proper training, and the easier of a time they'll have picking out their proper Wind of Magic. Being an apprentice involves a lot of drudgery; they are expected to do plenty of the College's menial labor under the guise of important moral lessons about not using magic for everything. Apprentices are the oil that makes the machinery of the colleges work, by literally doing the extremely boring gruntwork of preparing the oils and ingredients their masters need for their experiments, lifting heavy things and putting them back down, cooking and cleaning, and otherwise making themselves useful. In between all this manual labor, they are also expected to learn to read, drilled in arcane and foreign languages, and put through dozens of mental drills that will help hone their wizarding senses and shape their powers. This is another reason they prefer to apprentice their students young; a young student is less likely to realize how much of their apprenticing work isn't actually part of developing their powers, but rather grunt-work passed down by a master who 'fondly' remembers doing the same grunt work as an apprentice and now wants to never bother cleaning the chambers again.

Also note the Colleges demand either a huge financial gift for the Apprentice's signing up, or else place a burden of 10% tax on the Apprentice for their student loans for the rest of their life. This is mechanically enforced by all of the Wizard careers in the book. Add to this that if you're playing by the normal trappings rules a wizard character needs to earn a lot of money to buy the many hand-written grimoires they need to study and advance in tier, and you will find that dealing with their crushing student loan debt and trying to make a quick buck (or steal some magic tomes) occupies the mind of many wizard graduate students.

Also note that you don't have a choice about signing up to be a wizard if you're discovered. The wizard colleges aren't terribly brutal, but an untrained wizard is a significant potential threat to themselves and others. It really is for a student's own good to attend. Moreover, if you'll recall, the Colleges are very image conscious; every evil wizard or exploding witch that slips through their fingers and doesn't sign up is another black mark on the reputation of magic. Not only that, but if a user goes untrained and blows up, that's one more student the Colleges can't extract endless loan payments from. Really, it's lose lose situation for everyone involved.

I mentioned that a student will be drawn to their Wind. Whether you came to the Colleges to reveal yourself as magically talented, or were discovered by a wandering Hunter or Magister, a student will determine which Lore calls to them in solemn ceremony. Since the Lores are so closely associated with many of the passions and hopes of humankind, this is a matter of the student's personality and desires, and one of the times that the Magisters would not think of bullying or bossing an Apprentice into something. The matter of which Wind calls to a person's soul is a very personal, and almost sacred thing. It is also another reason to apprentice early; someone who has already been working with the Winds on their own without guidance is very likely to have accidentally used more than one at some point, which can make it harder to pick out their destiny with the proper clarity, since the Winds they have tasted and worked with may have already shaped them slightly. A ten year old girl finally coming to understand why she has always felt comfortable with order and numbers is a much clearer Gold Wizard than a twenty five year old Witch who has worked with potions and materials and possibly been shaped by both the Jade and Gold in her life to date.

We also get an overview of the roles and titles of the various tiers of Wizbiz:

Note that an actual Apprentice (and thus a starting PC) does not yet have an Order. They are still learning the very basics of magic (and how little they can get away with mopping the floor before the master notices) and thus have yet to discover which Wind has called them. They are sometimes made PCs and sent out on quests and things that their master doesn't want to bother with, ostensibly to teach them lessons. Apprentices are often known as drudges, hopefuls, or 'you there!'

A Journeyman is a wizard who has actually been initiated into their Order and learned their Lore. They can't easily use the upper (or even mid) levels of that Lore, and they are still very much students, but they are more likely to be sent out on quests and contracts that their masters don't want to bother with because they are essentially wizard graduate students, and anyone in Academia knows you can always throw more graduate students at any task you don't want to deal with. They are often known as seekers or 'Lad/lass'.

A Master Wizard is an actual Magister. They've graduated, been given full license, and then graduated from the drudgery of Wizard Grad School into realizing that they are now not only expected to constantly interrupt their very important research to go out on yet more quests and contracts for the good of their Order, but also possibly threatened with having to waste time teaching Apprentices and Journeymen. As consolation for this, they are (nominally) treated with respect both among their Order, their peer Orders, and by Imperial society at large, and no longer have demeaning nicknames, being known as Magister, Professor, or Sir/Madame.

Wizard Lords are the wizards who have made it to such a high level within their Order that they get to assign the annoying quests and contracts rather than needing to necessarily perform them themselves. Of course, if a Wizard Lord is getting involved in something personally, it's going to be a big deal for the Empire and the Order. They also finally outgrow their student loans! Once you hit this career you don't need to pay anymore. They are generally referred to as Lord, Master, or Master Magister.

Finally, the Magister Patriarch of an Order is the master of that Order. These men and women (despite the title, sometimes they are women; the early wizards didn't think of the possibility for some reason and they grumble about tradition and refuse to change the titles nowadays) are the highest mages in all of the Empire, and are all in the running to win the magic gauntlet necessary to become Supreme Patriarch of the Orders of Magic should a leadership contest come up. There is no Career for a Magister Patriarch; a PC who became one might well have finished their campaign by doing so, and mechanically a Magister Patriarch is 'just' a Wizard Lord who has all or almost all of the Wizard Lord advances. You know, 'just' a character who has completed four entire careers at minimum.

Next Time: Embarrassing sidebars on gender! What Happens If You Fail At Wizarding!

Kemper Boyd
Aug 6, 2007

no kings, no gods, no masters but a comfy chair and no socks


Wonder why the colleges never came up with giving kickbacks to the Witch Hunters for delivering them students.

kommy5
Dec 6, 2016


Probably because any possibility of the wizards giving bribes to their official watchdogs is the kind of thing that would make the Empire’s government come down like a ton of bricks.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: Realms of Sorcery

Women are naturally drawn to the gentle Jade wind

Okay, so, I like this series a lot, but much like the weirdly out of nowhere racist poo poo about the Hung in Tome of Corruption we're about to get a really unnecessary and lovely sidebar about women in the Colleges. You might assume the Colleges have plenty of female students since anyone who is magically talented is supposed to be brought there. Instead we get a sidebar about how women are rare in the colleges because 'communities are more likely to burn women who are odd rather than turn them over' (at least it says that the contemporary theories about how women's minds aren't suited to magic are all flat out wrong). Thus the Colleges have little place for women's dormitories and things and it confuses the Magisters and also women are naturally drawn primarily to Jade and Amber magic. And the non-magical cleaning ladies and things are a true power because they can pester the Wizard Lords by doing their laundry for them and the whole thing just sucks. It's stupid, doesn't fit with the rest of the fluff, and this is the only place where we get any hint of this dumb little plot point. It's just about every dumb pitfall you could have short of trying to forbid female PCs from playing most kinds of wizard stuffed into a couple short paragraphs and thankfully is pretty easy to ignore.

Now, back to the better stuff. As I said, Apprentices have a rough life. They don't get paid, they have to do a lot of scutwork while also being introduced to the basics of magical training and academics, and for many Apprentices, this is the first time they've ever been away from home. The lack of standardization in when people are recruited also means you have ten year old kids in among twenty year old newly-discovered apprentices, all studying at the same grade level and being given similar tasks. This means it's much harder for them to socialize with peers their own age group than it would be as an apprentice in a mundane profession.

Apprentices also aren't allowed outside much. This is because Petty Magic is already very tempting (even though Apprentices are forbidden to use it without their master present or with special dispensation like being on a quest) for causing mischief, and Apprentices are usually an age where 'I can make it sound like there's an entire army or a fire or something' and 'I can create lights and shapes' and 'I can make someone fall asleep' could combine with the truly awful creativity of a group of bored teens daring each other to play with their abilities to cause unimaginable shame to the Colleges. The last thing they need is groups of bored wizard teens going out to get hammered and throwing around illusionary armies and magic darts all over Altdorf. The surest way to make sure that Apprentices don't get time to invite that kind of trouble is to never give them that time, and so for most Apprentices the concept of 'free time' remains theoretical until they make Journeyman.

Similarly, the Oaths sworn to the Colleges aren't just a legal matter. They actually bind the Apprentice to their instructors, a little like a magical electronic parole bracelet. A teacher can sense the presence of their Apprentice out to a hundred meters in most cases, and older and wiser instructors may be able to track you out several kilometers. They will therefore also know if you leave. Apprentices are threatened with terrible punishments if they try to flee the Colleges, such as telling the Hunters who they are and where their family lives. The wizards almost never do this unless it is an actual emergency; most of the threatening is just bluster, and even a surly and unwilling (or extremely homesick) Apprentice usually learns there's no escape after the third or fourth failed attempt. The easiest way to escape an Apprenticeship is to just keep your head down and study hard.

Sometimes, though, someone had enough talent to sense and work with the pettiest of magics but never felt an actual Wind upon their soul. Some wizard candidates are simply too weak to ever be full members of their Orders. I bet you're assuming they'd be killed, right? Wrong. These are called 'Perpetual Apprentices'. They still swear to an Order, and they are still members (and still technically wizards) rather than civilians or outsiders. They are instead employed in all manner of non-magical jobs that the Order could use help with, from guards, to valets, to cooks, or teaching assistants. They get more freedom and better treatment than the younger Apprentices, and their needs are taken care of by the Order that employs them. Indeed, for someone from a poor background, this is hardly a bad lot in life; three guaranteed meals a day, a safe place to sleep, a trade to practice and an opportunity to continue studying academics? There are worse lots in the Old World.

These Apprentices-in-Perpetuity are also often sent out into the world to operate hostelries for their Order. These both keep an eye on things in cities and large towns far from Altdorf and assist their masters in their studies and duties, and serve as waypoints for young Journeymen out on their first adventures. Many a struggling wizard grad student has met what they think to be a fairly normal citizen of the Empire who reveals themselves to be a fellow (minor) wizard and helps the poor person out with a place to sleep while they look for adventure and jobs. They can provide a very welcome helping hand to young wizards in a world usually hostile to magic users.

I love Perpetual Apprentices. It's a lovely bit of averted grimdark that makes perfect sense; they fulfill a useful job for the Orders of Magic and they provide a ready-made NPC template to help your PCs out. They're also a good concept for a PC who chooses to Exit out of the Wizard track after Apprentice; nothing wrong with playing a mostly-mundane character who helps out the Orders of Magic and has second sight but who follows a totally different Career Path, after all. It would be fun to play a spy or fixer or allied adventurer for the Orders.

Senior Apprentices are Apprentices who have dispensation to use magic without the supervision of their master, and are explicitly linked to the actual Apprentice Wizard Career. These young men and women are on the cusp of becoming Journeymen, and if they're a PC, were probably sent out on some final test or errand that leads them into adventure with the PC party. Their masters are still usually keeping an eye on them and they have to keep their permission slip on hand on their 'field trip', but they're the starting point for the average PC wizard.

Next Time: Wizard Grad School

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Huh, I would have thought amethyst wizards would be among the most devoted and caring family men and women among wizards. No one's in a better position to appreciate life and the good things in it than those who wield the magic of death.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Being filled with the power of endings makes creating life very difficult. Amethyst magic can manifest in ways like an aura that kills plant life around the wizard, so they generally just can't reproduce and don't get the urge to.

Hunt11
Jul 24, 2013



Grimey Drawer

Minus not being allowed to party, it seems as though there is a touch of Discworld in how being a wizard is handled

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

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




they can still adopt though, a magister lord opening an orphanage is a kickass concept.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Fantasy takes from every other fantasy property some, they'd be fools not to seize on some Discworld, too.

Ratoslov
Feb 15, 2012

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



Horrible Lurkbeast posted:

they can still adopt though, a magister lord opening an orphanage is a kickass concept.

And then ripping their robe off before getting into wizard fights!

LazyAngel
Mar 17, 2009


Spire part 22



Last part of the main rulebook now; just the rest of the appendices and book/film/game/soundtrack recommendations to go. After that, there's the Black Magic sourcebook, at least those bits of it I haven't already talked about (Blood Witches, Graugachs, Deep Apiarists) which is basically the Occult source book.

Appendix 2: Random Items and Events
A whole bunch of d10 (and one inexplicable d12) tables to pull out for GM inspiration. Including;
  • What does the Aelfir have in their pocket?
  • Who’s this gutterkin, and what’s weird about them?
  • What else does this experimental retroengineered tech do?
  • What's strange about this tavern?
  • What art is on display at this Aelfir's mansion?
  • What is this plant and what does it do?
  • What are they singing at church?


There's 17 in total, and whilst you'd probably have to do some of your own work, it's a pretty good base for setting tone and filling in random details.

Appendix 3: Drow Glossary
Basic list of Spire-drow slang; bits of Ys - spoken in the Home Nations, with some Aliqua (from the Duchy of Aliquam) and a load of Aelfir loan words. Nothing as cringeworthy as shadowrun or planescape at least. They mentioned something about the drow language in the audio commentaries; can't quite remember, but I'm pretty sure alot is based on an esperanto-esque conlang.



Appendix 4: Rumoured Goats of Spire
Another backer request. Nine species of goat, any of which may or may not be present in a given game. Includes the Yssian Dark - which don't mind living underground, the Latchkey Fiddler which can pick locks with their horns and tongues and the Supravertical Bok which likes to get as high up as possible, and have evolved to use tools and rudimentary levers. A bit more light-hearted than the rest of the book.



Appendix 5: Known Arcologies
Some of the human-settled Prokratakos archologies. Apparently the Prokratakos were originally just going to be dwarves until the writers decided it was a bit close to the Elder Scrolls for comfort. So they're now entirely mysterious, known only through technology recovered by human expeditions. These include the Blessed Isle of Whitecross - where early human explorers found the secret of gunpowder. It's now nearly abandoned as the best and the brightest have gone elsewhere. There's Deepest Brazacott, where the crystal hive-mind came from, and notably, Magwan Porth where the engines were found for the Vermissian. On the other hand, there's places like Damned Saltash, the contents of which were so horrible that Quintrel the Kind, known as the most sympathetic of the Wanderer-Kings had all mention stricken from the records. The arcology has been sealed off by a rock slide and is guarded by a sacred order of warriors who let none enter.

Appendix 6: Antagonists
More random tables to quickly come up with antagonists in a pinch. Two d100 tables here - one for City-level antagonists, and another for Street-level ones. The recommendation is to roll once on the former to find out the major plotters behind the scenes, then twice on the latter to get their lackies. Do it again, and you can build an entire campaign over two warring factions.

Appendix 7: Suggested Media
Last page of the book, not counting character sheet, index (and a good index at that) and backer names. Music recommendations include the Bloodborne and Only Lovers Left Alive soundtracks. Book suggestions include Perdido Street Station, Gormenghast, the Lies of Locke Lamora and Neuromancer. Films and TV include the urban theme - Dredd, Dark City, Hellboy 2, Peaky Blinders. Pretty short and sweet (and not just everything the authors played/read/watched whilst writing).

And that's it for Spire! Black Magic next.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


I found it pretty weird they recommended Dark Heresy as one of their RPG inspirations. Though I suppose it's also a game about being low-level street agents with distant masters who won't help you one bit.

Subjunctive
Sep 12, 2006

sparkle and shine



Do the goats show up in any adventures or sourcebooks? I haven’t read anything but the core book so far.

Lynx Winters
May 1, 2003

Borderlawns: The Treehouse of Pandora

Night10194 posted:

I found it pretty weird they recommended Dark Heresy as one of their RPG inspirations. Though I suppose it's also a game about being low-level street agents with distant masters who won't help you one bit.

I think "what if we did this game's idea, but didn't beef it" counts as inspiration.

PoontifexMacksimus
Feb 14, 2012



JcDent posted:

Did you do the same uncovering for the Scythe dude that was making rounds on imgur recently?

Jakub Rozalski; this thing?
https://imgur.com/gallery/rmVIk

Nope, hadn't even seen it until you made me search for it. Ah, well.

potatocubed
Jul 26, 2012

*rathian noises*


Lynx Winters posted:

I think "what if we did this game's idea, but didn't beef it" counts as inspiration.

It's inspired at least three of my (as yet unfinished) creations.

LazyAngel
Mar 17, 2009


Night10194 posted:

I found it pretty weird they recommended Dark Heresy as one of their RPG inspirations. Though I suppose it's also a game about being low-level street agents with distant masters who won't help you one bit.

Oddly enough Spire was originally going to be a Dark Heresy hack, until they decided to do their own system (this is a few years ago, mind you).

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


LazyAngel posted:

Oddly enough Spire was originally going to be a Dark Heresy hack, until they decided to do their own system (this is a few years ago, mind you).

That is a really good decision. What they have is a much better system.

Where did you hear this?

E: Now I'm trying to imagine how you try to do Spire in DH2e or 1e and I can see the contours of it and MAN am I glad they made their own system.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 22:50 on Jun 12, 2018

Kemper Boyd
Aug 6, 2007

no kings, no gods, no masters but a comfy chair and no socks


kommy5 posted:

Probably because any possibility of the wizards giving bribes to their official watchdogs is the kind of thing that would make the Empire’s government come down like a ton of bricks.

That would be a modern concept. If it just encourages the Witch Hunters to do their jobs better, it would be ok in a pre-modern world like Warhammer Fantasy's.

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 3: And so Cyraxes begat Astyages who begat Cyrus who begat Cambyses

We now get into the meat and bones of the history section which I’m going to refer to as the Begat-itudes. For the next eight pages we are treated to a history of Earth that reads like a history text book yet is consistently wrong about almost every concrete detail it discusses to the point where it feels like the authors are purposefully trying to trick you. For example, the lineage of Xerxes I of Persia is included and takes up a half page of the book but skips several kings, has kings live for far longer than they historically did, and and attributes battles and conquests to different predecessors such as having Thermopylae happen under Darius the Great. Despite this complete inaccuracy, it makes everything sound like it knows what it’s doing between a droning authoritative tone and providing years for all of these things, noting for instance that Cyrus the Great was born in 574 BCE (he wasn’t) and started his rule in 557 (he didn’t). These years by the way, and the entirety of Xerxes lineage and Xerxes himself, have absolutely no bearing whatsoever on the actual setting of the game except as a way to say “history was influenced by demons” so I pity the poor sap who committed any of this fake history to memory after the game told you it would be important.

We should also take a moment to reflect on just how incredibly badly this section of the book is laid out. There is one picture in this entire section and the text is just a series of short paragraphs. There is a page long stretch where each paragraph starts with introducing the heir or inheritor of the previous paragraph's ruler, giving them a paragraph of story, then moving on to the next paragraph where the process repeats until you know the imaginary lineage of Xerxes I better than your own family. Even if the information provided here was remotely useable, actually educational, or important in-game no player is ever going to finish taking an Alt World-History 101 course when they could skip ahead and get closer to the promise of ultra-drugs.


Seriously, its page after page after page of this. The secret to everlasting life could be in these pages and the authors of this book still wouldn’t find it

Awkwardly kludged in between two paragraphs in this eight page pile of incorrect history information is something that is genuinely really important so of course the book calls absolutely zero attention to it even though it’s mandatory to understanding the setting. Each circle, has humans who worship its corrupted form and are called Kultists who are in a Kult. These Kults for some irritating reason have a name that isn’t just Kult of [Circle Name], so get used to having to learn that the Kult of the Internal is the Kult for the Circle of Lust which was once called the Circle of Avarice which it is also still called whenever the writers feel like it and the proof-reader stopped caring.

With that concept now introduced, that same paragraph introduces the idea that each Kult has a unique pact blade* that Kultists use to steal other people’s souls with and then sell it to the ruler of the Circle they worship in exchange for power. The Demons like this arrangement because it gives them direct feeds to the Earth’’ reservoir and by getting enough of this energy they can send their demons over to Earth from Sheol to gather it directly to send more demons over and so on**.


either this guy is a Kultist or he’s Jason Blum of Blumhouse Productions

I’m not going to bore you with the rest of incorrectly remembered history, especially because it’s basically as though Rudyard Kipling and Thomas Carlyle gave birth to a history professor. Instead of just recounting the noble effort of Great White Western Men of Alt-History, lets just stick to the highlights:
  • The name of the Kult of the Circle of Under is “Box of Under”. This isn’t historically weird, it just makes me chuckle
  • A Kult that was introduced as setting secret and implied to be working in the shadows has its entire history up through its total, 100% no take-backs destruction outlined in this section
  • The Mongols are “degenerates”
  • Jewish Kabbalahists are demons who stabbed the Jewish people in the back throughout history which is why the diaspora and genocides happened
  • The Azure Hyaline, Jesus, was basically a total failure so despite Obsidian hyping them up and having them be referenced in the first sentence of the first chapter of this book they aren’t really relevant to anything that happens
  • The word “well” is misspelled “wel” and it bugs me a lot because a basic click of spell-check would have fixed that
  • Islam isn’t worth talking about and is a mere footnote in human history and not even demons or Kultists are involved in it
  • The only mention of Hinduism is the Thuggee
  • Hitler and Napoleon are anti-christs, a term which isn’t defined by the game because it makes no sense given this setting’s Jesus.

If you’re finishing this update and wondering how absolutely any of this ties into the game as it is played with humans oblivious to the pre-apocalypse history and hopped up on drugs to help them gun down corporate rivals in a fast-food parking lot feel free to share your head-cannon reason because the game doesn't have one.

Next Time: It Turns Out Humans are Part Rabbit

*I’m not sure if the authors were being edgy or oblivious when they went with the letter K theme here
**Seriously, remember this entire basis of why Kults exist and how they work in mind for the next update. Or don’t, I can’t really blame you.

Barudak fucked around with this message at 06:06 on Jun 13, 2018

LazyAngel
Mar 17, 2009


Night10194 posted:

That is a really good decision. What they have is a much better system.

Where did you hear this?

E: Now I'm trying to imagine how you try to do Spire in DH2e or 1e and I can see the contours of it and MAN am I glad they made their own system.

There's a few hours of audio commentary the authors recorded and released to KS backers. I believe they're figuring out the best way to publish it generally, possibly via the Hearty Dice Friends podcast (which should be listened too anyway).

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



What do they do with the over-25s with magic potential?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


The Lone Badger posted:

What do they do with the over-25s with magic potential?

That depends a lot on their abilities and if they've made critical mistakes and gotten all Chaosy yet. If not, then the Magisters would train them the same as anyone else, it's just more likely something will have gone wrong already if they're older, and the Hunters are no longer obligated to bring them in (though they still have the option) rather than taking them out to be sure.

Deptfordx
Dec 23, 2013



Night10194 posted:

I found it pretty weird they recommended Dark Heresy as one of their RPG inspirations. Though I suppose it's also a game about being low-level street agents with distant masters who won't help you one bit.

They do specifically reference the Hive world stuff as what they're talking about, which makes sense in context.

Green Intern
Dec 29, 2008

Loon, Crazy and Laughable



Kult sounds German, which makes it more Metal. I am dead certain this was the thought process for the naming decision.

Edit: I assume the authors were into Lovecraft and recalled there is a fictional book called Unaussprechliche Kulten

AweStriker
Oct 6, 2014



Green Intern posted:

Kult sounds German, which makes it more Metal. I am dead certain this was the thought process for the naming decision.

Edit: I assume the authors were into Lovecraft and recalled there is a fictional book called Unaussprechliche Kulten

..."Unspeakable Cults"? That almost sounds more like a horror comic book in our cultural context.

Freaking Crumbum
Apr 17, 2003

Too fuck to drunk




Barudak posted:

If you’re finishing this update and wondering how absolutely any of this ties into the game as it is played with humans oblivious to the pre-apocalypse history and hopped up on drugs to help them gun down corporate rivals in a fast-food parking lot feel free to share your head-cannon reason because the game doesn't have one.

it's peak 90's poo poo to have an extremely detailed meta-plot that spans into antiquity and often pre-dates human existence, and to then have all of that poo poo count for nothing because it's not player facing info and it will never ever ever have any impact on the events that the players are expected to deal with. it'd be one thing if the game was supposed to be happening in the BCE time and the players were somehow involved in the circles of sheol splitting or whatever, but that's clearly not the case.

mostly it seems like this happens when the authors don't have a lot of faith in the strength of concept for the setting they're trying to present, and they think if they fluff up an insanely detailed "history" that will legitimize the actual setting.

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!


SenZar?

So, bad news, the review is probably permanently canned. I got tired of transcribing and scanning everything with my shoddy old scanner, so I sent my SenZar book to get OCR'd and PDF'd so the review would be easier and so the book wouldn't fall apart on me before I was done(because the binding was already coming off in the back).

And somehow the loving postal service managed to damage or destroy a book in a cardboard box which was, within that box, wrapped in three layers of bubble wrap. I say damage OR destroy because they've merely gone "whoop we broke it, here have some money and please don't ask any more questions." But now I'm pressing them for answers on HOW damaged it is, whether I can possibly still continue with the review with what's there, even if it might not be scannable any longer.

So, uh, if anyone else has a copy or can get one, feel free to continue, take over or restart the review. Because I think I literally got my hands on the last SenZar book for sale in all of Europe.

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Leraika
Jun 14, 2015

slime time



PurpleXVI posted:

SenZar?

So, bad news, the review is probably permanently canned. I got tired of transcribing and scanning everything with my shoddy old scanner, so I sent my SenZar book to get OCR'd and PDF'd so the review would be easier and so the book wouldn't fall apart on me before I was done(because the binding was already coming off in the back).

And somehow the loving postal service managed to damage or destroy a book in a cardboard box which was, within that box, wrapped in three layers of bubble wrap. I say damage OR destroy because they've merely gone "whoop we broke it, here have some money and please don't ask any more questions." But now I'm pressing them for answers on HOW damaged it is, whether I can possibly still continue with the review with what's there, even if it might not be scannable any longer.

So, uh, if anyone else has a copy or can get one, feel free to continue, take over or restart the review. Because I think I literally got my hands on the last SenZar book for sale in all of Europe.

found one on ebay but uh 100 bux and shipping to the us

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