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PoontifexMacksimus
Feb 14, 2012

Cythereal posted:

Fair enough, you clearly know much more about Swedish history and culture than I do, and I bow to your greater knowledge.

I hope I didn't come off as dismissive! I had to slap my head that I hadn't thought of your lesbian warrior queen Christinia, that just makes perfect sense.

I would be happy to crib the idea if I ever write something more substantive, with your permission. :)

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Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009

I love the potoo,
and the potoo loves you.

NoWayToTheOldWay posted:

I hope I didn't come off as dismissive! I had to slap my head that I hadn't thought of your lesbian warrior queen Christinia, that just makes perfect sense.

I would be happy to crib the idea if I ever write something more substantive, with your permission. :)

Certainly. I don't actually know that much about Sweden's history beyond what I learned in Civilization 5 and reading about Queen Christina in a book about the history of homosexuality.

Hostile V
May 31, 2013

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

Rhapsody of Blood has a pretty good Corruption mechanic where you get two beneficial mutations and two stat boosts before the final level puts you at risk of becoming an enemy boss.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

7th Sea 2: Risk It All

Any action that isn't important and risky and dangerous isn't rolled. That'd be silly. Your PCs are Heroes, and Heroes don't gently caress up when doing totally normal things! That'd be dumb and bad narrative. So, all the game cares about are Risks. Risks are what you do when there's something on the line, something that matters. You roll dice when there's a Risk. Risks are considered to have three major elements: your Approach, the Consequences, and Opportunities. Your Approach is how you plan to solve a problem, which is composed of your Trait plus your Skill. This also determines how you can spend Raises when acting during a Sequence - any action you want to take that isn't covered by your Approach costs an extra Raise to do. The best way to define your Approach is think about why you're doing something, what you want and how you're going to get it, the game says. Any pairing works, though it may take some thought to describe how you plan to, like, do a thing with Resolve+Aim.

All Risks also have Consequences - stuff that can hurt or hinder you when you do it. You're running across a burning room? Catching on fire might be a Consequence, or revealing your secret identity due to your mask burning away. Once you've declared your action, you have to deal with the Consequences - no takebacks. Most Risks have one or two Consequences, but a really dangerous Risk could have up to four. Opportunities, on the other hand, are moments you can exploit based on your Approach. Maybe your tough stance means you can lock eyes with the pirate captain and force a one on one duel, or you spot a loaded pistol just as you need it, or spot a friend while running in a foot chase. The GM will tell you any available Opportunities when you announce your Approach, just like Consequences. Not all Risks have them, but a nice and very dramatic Risk usually has one, sometimes two.

So, in essence, the GM gives you your situation and asks what you're going to do. You tell them the GM your Approach - what you want to do, and how. The GM then decides if that's a Risk or not. If it isn't, you just do it, no roll. If it is, the GM tells you what pool you're using. You gather up the pool dice, plus any bonus dice you might have, and the GM will tell you the Consequences and Opportunities, as well as why what you're doing is a Risk. So let's say you want to run through a burning building. The Consequences here might be that you're going to take 2 Wounds, because of fire. But you have an Opportunity - you spot a documents on a desk containing useful secrets, but it's about to catch fire. All Risks have at least one Consequence, and may or may not have Opportunities, all determined before you roll. So here, you're going to need 1 Raise to cross the burning room, and you need 1 Raise to resist each Wound, and 1 Raise to seize the Opportunity and get the paperwork before it burns. Doing an action generally always costs just the 1 Raise - anything else is to mitigate Consequences, seize Opportunities or otherwise get extra stuff done. There is an exception: again, if you want to do an Action during an Action or Dramatic Sequence that is not covered by the Approach you're using, you have to spend an additional Raise to improvise.

So now you roll your dice. You want to add up the values on the dice to achieve sets of 10. Any set of 10 you make is a Raise. If you can't make a full set of 10 out of dice, they're useless. So, let's say you roll 10, 7, 5, 5, 2, 2. The 10 is 1 Raise. The two 5s can be grouped as 1 Raise. And the 7, 2 and 2 make 11 - enough for 1 Raise. So 3 Raises out of that roll! You get no special benefits for having a set that's larger than 10, but it counts as a Raise still. So now I have to choose - I spend one Raise to get across the room. I can now spend the remaining 2 and take no damage but lose the paper, or take 1 Wound and get the paper, as each Wound is a Consequence that must be resisted.

If you are making an Approach with a skill you do not have, you can roll as normal, but your pool is smaller and any action you take is going to cost an extra Raise. This can stack with the Improvising cost - so if you want to do something you have no skills in and it doesn't fit your Approach for the Sequence, well, that's 3 Raises total. If you make a roll and manage to get no Raises, something Interesting happens. You may not necessarily fail, but the scene changes. Maybe a new Villain shows up, maybe there's a dramatic shift. Regardless, the GM decides the outcome of the action you were trying, and you suffer any and all Consequences, and you miss all Opportunities.

As a note, when someone would take Wounds from Consequences, you may choose to interpose yourself and take some or all of them instead, by being close enough to help and spending 1 Raise per Wound you want to take in their place. The GM is strictly instructed to use Consequences only to make things more interesting and dramatic, and never to just screw over the party. That's not fun, and the GM's job is to ensure everyone is having fun. Don't just screw them and make them fail. Remember: at any point, a player may choose not to roll, to willingly just fail the roll and gain a Hero Point, taking any Consequences and missing any Opportunities. That's when the heroes should fail. Well, that and when they roll poorly and it makes the story more interesting for them. Gotta be fun, remember.

You may also spend Raises to create Opportunities for other Heroes. Specifically, you may spend a Raise to make an Opportunity for the next Hero to act. They're still going to have to spend a Raise to take advantage of it as normal, of course. But by making an Opportunity, you are basically writing them a permission slip to do something that otherwise couldn't be possible in that situation. You're giving them a narrative chance that didn't exist before you spent the Raise. Maybe you are fighting a guard and you spend a Raise to make an Opportunity by knocking the gun from his hand, causing it to skitter towards the jail cell where your friends are prisoners. They can now try to grab that as an Opportunity before the guard gets it back, and now they're armed in a situation they would otherwise not be able to be armed in. The key is that it has to make sense and be fun - interesting, not ridiculous or dumb.

There are also some ways to get extra dice: flair. There's two kinds of flair, and they can stack. First, the first time you use a unique skill in a scene, you get a bonus die. So the first time you use Brawl, you get a bonus die, but not the next time this scene you use Brawl. If you swapped to Athletics, though, you would get a bonus die the first time you used that. Further, if you give a description or quip as you act, or you interact with the scenery in a cool way, or otherwise make things more fun? Bonus die. These don't even have to be very long descriptions - 'I go for my sword and charge with a battle cry' counts, anything more than 'I'm gonna go with my Weaponry skill' or 'I roll Intimidate'.

There's one other thing you do with Raises: you can try to influence another character's actions. This is called Pressure, and is usable by Heroes and Villains. To apply Pressure, you pick your target, and name a specific action, like 'attack me' or 'run away'. The next time your target tries to do anything but that action, they must spend an additional Raise. The easiest way to apply Pressure is usually with social skills, even in ACtion Sequences, but if you're creative, nearly anything can work. However, once a character has been Pressured, no one else can Pressure them until the initial situation's been resolved and they are no longer under Pressure. (Note: the Pressure remains if they do what you told them to do. It will stay until the scene changes such that it's no longer relevant, or they spend the extra Raise to do something else.) Applying Pressure is an action like any other, with the same Raise cost as any other. However, a Villain may apply Pressure to all Heroes present in a scene by spending a Raise and a Danger Point, rather than just a Raise.

Hero Points and Danger Points are very important. A Hero begins play each session with 1 Hero Point, by default. You can gain them by activating your Hubris, choosing to fail rolls, following your Quirk (for a max of 1 Hero Point per Quirk per session), or by having the GM buy dice you were unable to use in Raises. For each die the GM buys this way, you get 1 Hero Point and the GM gets 1 Danger Point. Hero Points, besides activating Knacks, can be used in a number of ways! You can spend a Hero Point to add a die to your roll before rolling a Risk, one for one. You can spend a Hero Point to give another Hero 3 dice to their roll before a Risk by providing aid or moral support, but you can only spend one point on it and they can only get help from one person on a given Risk. You can spend a Hero Point to take an action while Helpless, acting as normal for that action. (Side note: if you choose to fail a roll? You get to narrate how you fail. You have total control, as long as you still end up...well, failing.)

The Danger Pool, on the other hand, fuels Villains. It begins each session with 1 point in it per Hero. The GM may spend Danger Points on several effects. First, a Danger Point can make it so that all Heroes must get a total of 15 for each Raise this Risk or for the entire Round in a Sequence. A single Danger Point will add two dice to a Villain's pool. A Danger Point can be spent to activate a Brute Squad's special ability or a Villain's special ability. And if a Hero is Helpless, a Billain can spend a Danger Point to murder them. The only one of these that can have multiple points spent on it is the dice adder - anything else, you only get to spend one Point at a time. The GM can't try to murder two people at once, or increase the total needed for Raises to 20.

Next time: Sequences, Wounds and Helplessness.

Mors Rattus fucked around with this message at 02:45 on Jun 23, 2018

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
Does the GM decide if you get the extra 'described my action' mechanical benefit or is it automatic?

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
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The book treats it as automatic.

Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009

We shall dive down through black abysses... and in that lair of the Deep Ones we shall dwell amidst wonder and glory forever.



That seems... surprisingly functional?

Like Iím not awed by it but seems fine. Kind of like a really light vaguely FATE thing.

Huh.

Or is the math borked and Iím missing something?

Selachian
Oct 9, 2012

Night10194 posted:

Has there ever been a Corruption system in an RPG that genuinely improved the game? I can't think of any.

The One Ring?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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

Mors Rattus posted:

The book treats it as automatic.

Good. There's a special place in hell for 'you must please your GM with X amount of purple prose or token description and it must be approved by them or your to-hit is worse' mechanics.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

Xiahou Dun posted:

That seems... surprisingly functional?

Like Iím not awed by it but seems fine. Kind of like a really light vaguely FATE thing.

Huh.

Or is the math borked and Iím missing something?

Nah, itís fine. There are a few hitches but we havenít hit them yet.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009

I love the potoo,
and the potoo loves you.

Night10194 posted:

Good. There's a special place in hell for 'you must please your GM with X amount of purple prose or token description and it must be approved by them or your to-hit is worse' mechanics.

And "Mother may I?" spells and mechanics in general. They're not fun for the player and they're not fun for the DM.


I'm curious, is Zerstorung still around in 7S2E? For all that it was supposedly extinct in 1E the books sure liked having it crop up.

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion


Eisen got it's own "not gonna end the world" flavor of magic in 2e so I don't think so.

RedSnapper
Nov 22, 2016

Night10194 posted:

Has there ever been a Corruption system in an RPG that genuinely improved the game? I can't think of any.

Kult?

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 5, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Rifts Dimension Book 4: Skraypers, Part 4: "This exterior skin ranges from from a hard rubbery texture, like that of a wet suit or bicycle tire, to a glossy smooth surface like thick latex or smooth stone with a bit of a give to it."

Beyond Charizolon

No, no, we're not going to cover the actual core part of the setting yet! We have to cover what's outside of the setting first! It's the Palladium way! So, we get three races from outside of the Charizard System - one race of superpowered meddlers, and two races of slavers. We'll also have Splugorth later on, for four factions of slavers in this setting. Basically, it's slavers all the way down. Also, we start getting references to the Phase World setting (from Rifts Dimension Book 2 and 3, previously reviewed by occamsnailfile) because - though it hasn't been clearly stated yet - it turns out Skraypers takes place in the backwater of that setting.


"Huh? You think flying around butt-first is weird?"

The first extra race are the Blhaze, "mega-hero" energy beings with fetishsuit-like exteriors. The "mega-hero" is a special class for unbalanced superheroes from Heroes Unlimited, so it's your keyword to remind you these aren't remotely balanced compared to, say, the monkey-like Shrilt. Granted, they don't get everything mega-heroes normally get, they're just classified that way for GMs that ban mega-heroes from play. They're generically good and forthright, and have come to Seeron to help the local populace fight off the Tarlok. But in the standard handwaving you see of superpowerful beings, they won't help out too much because they have to help them help themselves. This is supposed to be noble and wise, but just seems intensely patronizing to me. I'm sure all people being enslaved, oppressed, and imprisoned are like "Well, I guess learning to overcome this on our own is the important part!" :rolleyes:

Well, it's like Abe Lincoln said: "And by virtue of the power, and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated states, and parts of states, are, and henceforward shall be free, but only if they engage in their own rebellion, what am I, their nursemaid, free your own darn selves, you lazy so-and-sos." Well, okay, he didn't say that, but if he did, it would have been some paternalistic bullshit. But that's the Blhaze attitude: paternalistic, privileged bullshit, and I'm calling it out. Come at me, leather space bro.

In any case, their attributes are all very high, they can shoot lasers, take half damage from everything except punches, explosives, rail guns, and magic/psionics (very arbitrary), bend light, fly at supersonic speeds, are super-strong, have various forms of vision, can absorb energy, and... manipulate static electricity. That last one feels thrown-in, but sure. They can also leave their fetish suits to fly at lightspeed, but have to make a flat roll at the end of every round (after a grace period based on their level) to keep from gathering cumulative penalties and lose M.D.C. (which can result in death), but they can regenerate their skin in two rounds if necessary. They also get a flat but miniscule chance to resurrect upon death. Also, they're attracted to humans and find them sexy but can never really gently caress them, oh, the tragedy of being a cosmic fetishsuit!


Limbs: totally atrophied. Pecs: still awesome.

The Rithe are psionic, floating, manta-bug conquerors. They showed up to trade with the Tarlok as peers in interplanetary domination, but they have warp drive technology that they have so far kept to themselves. They generally trade technology for slaves (it's supposed to be a big mystery where they go, but I super don't care), and are most interested in superbeings. Oh, right, superbeings. We'll get to those. The Tarlok are hoping to get enough superbeings to trade for the warp tech. As for the Rithe, they're cold, calculating... and... sadistic, one of Siembieda's favorite villainous adjectives. It might be hard to find a Rifts book that doesn't use it. Apparently they exist in the Phase World setting as scummish villainy from some undetermined locale, and have heard about "Rifts Earth" and are trying to find a way there so they can access other worlds and generally gently caress with people.

In any case, they're generally... superior to humans in all but looks and smarts, can float naturally, turn invisible, have a "heightened sense of touch" superpower, a tail stinger, and have psionics focusing on detecting dimensional disturbances and telekinetics. Oh, and they're mega-damage, of course. Oh, and you can play a "young, inexperienced one", if being a mysterious space slaver is your thing. It's not your thing, right? That wouldn't be a great thing to have as your thing.


:p

Lastly, we have the Tandori, a delicious way to cook chicke- wait, no? Okay, these interstellar mercenaries that work in the slave trade. They're mysterious (again?) and have to wear environmental suits!... that let their tongues stick out. This made sense to somebody, I'm sure. Supposedly they generally work for various eeevil factions and profit. They're basically Boba Fett-rengis with loose tongues that have shown up to merc for the Tarloks in exchange for slaves.

So, their attributes aren't too weird outside of a high affinity and prowess, and a low beauty (but nobody knows what they look like, so...). Though they're not mega-damage creatures, they're always in mega-damage armor and die if removed from it. They get a military espionage package of skills and, most of their effects come from humanoid or serpentine power armor. The Tandori Robot Power Armor / Serpent's Tongue EVA Body Armor (80 M.D.C.) augments their strength, has a laundry list of gadgets and features, and a jet pack. The Tandori Serpent Power Armor (400 M.D.C.) is just slightly bulkier but is a more fully-featured power armor with mini-missiles and lasers. You get both if you decide to play one of these guys, but you get the usual passive-aggressive "everybody of your race is gonna think you're a dumb weirdo if you help people out, just FYI", because evil races never develop connections or debts or schemes beyond the most sinister and obvious, I suppose.

Next: Finally, a place that matters.

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017

"Ah, but I will take the Invulnerability power and totally be able to love my Bhlaze girlfriend! :smugbert:" - One of maybe the half-dozen people who played Skraypers.

OvermanXAN
Nov 14, 2014
The name Bhlaze being used for a race of energy beings makes me so angry. It's just incredibly uninspired.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 5, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!
Just wait until we get to "Skraypers", "Ruffnecks", and "Dark Quorn".

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017

Amusingly you could almost forgive it if it was still the guy who was mostly an artist writing it. Then Kevin had to come in to 'save' it.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

7th Sea 2: More Than One Thing Happening At Once!!

So, for a lot of times when it's just one Hero taking a Risk at a time, the GM just does that one Risk and moves on to the next. However, when multiple Heroes are involved, or when a Hero and Villain face off, or when timing is important? That's when you get an Action Sequences. A fight, an escape from a burning ship, a carriage race, boarding the enemy. These are often fast and confusing, so the GM has to maintain order without slowing down the action. These work by having everyone, at the start of the round, declare their Approach and make a roll using it, like a normal Risk. The GM then tells everyone what Consequences and Opportunities exist, if any, and when they will happen. Some may have time limits.

Now, you check to see who has the most Raises. That person goes first. If multiple characters have equal amounts, Villains go first, then the Heroes in any order they want. Once the first person acts, whoever has the most Raises then goes next, and so on, until everyone is out of Raises. You can spend more than one Raise at once, obviously, so you can often go from 'I have 5 Raises' to 'I have 2 Raises' in a single Action, what with Consequences and Opportunities and so on. Once you run out of Raises, you can't do anything else - Hero or Villain. When everyone is out of Raises, eithre the sequence ends or you go back to the top of the round and start over, depending on how things played out.

So, time limits? That's when Consequences or Opportunities either take effect or go away, respectively. So if you're in a burning ship, the powder room may explode at 2 Raises and deal 5 Wounds - so whenever the count hits 'okay, who's got 2 Raises?' and no one can say 'I do, I go now' as the next person acting, the powder room explodes and everyone takes 5 Wounds (assuming they haven't already bought down the Consequences or used their actions to get the hell out of the way by then). With an Opportunity, its time limit is 'you must use it by then, or it goes away.

Most things only cost 1 Raise to do, but again, you may have to spend extra due to being unskilled or acting outside your Approach, and of course you may spend Raises to avoid Consequences. One thing you'll often run into is that you may have to deal with Consequences immediately - so if you say you're running across the room, and that makes the Villain's minions fire on you, you have to spend your Raises to resist that Consequence now. You can't do it next time your turn comes up. If two characters are both trying to do the same thing, or to counter each other, you both have the option to spend as many Raises as you choose on that action. Whoever spends more is the one who gets what they want - but you have to do it all or nothing, you can't add more later.

So, let's tak damage. By default, you deal damage with Raises. When you make Raises during a Risk, you can spend them 1 for 1 to cause Wounds to your opponent. You may also spend Raises, 1 for 1, when someone spends Raises to inflict Wounds on you - again, 1 for 1, to reduce the damage you take. So if the Villain stabs you and spends 4 Raises on Wounds, you can spend 4 Raises to negate those, or 2 to negate 2 of the 4, or so on. There is one exception to this, though: guns. Guns actively raise the stakes, when in the hands of Heroes or Villains. (Brute Squads do not get a special gun bonus. They are Brutes, they just follow the Brute rules.) Anyone shot by a Hero or Villain takes a Dramatic Wound automatically, on top of the normal damage. While their target can spend Raises to reduce the normal damage, that automatic Dramatic Wound cannot be reduced. You can't dodge a bullet. However, it requires 5 Raises to reload a gun, though this can be done over multiple Actions.

When another Hero would take Wounds, you may spend your Raises to jump in the way and redirect damage to yourself, 1 for 1, even if it isn't your turn to act. At the end of each Scene, you recover all normal Wounds. Dramatic Wounds do not heal, however, until the end of the session or until you manage to get medical aid. Mundane healing is not cheap - it takes several hours per Dramatic Wound healed, and costs 1 Wealth per Dramatic Wound healed. Magical healing cannot be purchased with coin, though it does exist.

So, if you have four Dramatic Wounds, you're Helpless. A Helpless character is prone and can't stand. They may still roll dice for Risks, but must spend a Hero Point to take an Action - one point per action taken, in fact. A Villain may spend a Danger Point and declare that they are going to kill a Helpless Hero. They then spend all of their remaining Raises. This murder resolves at the end of the Round, after all other Actions. Any Hero may spend a Hero Point and all of their Raises to save the Helpless Hero, even if it isn't their turn. They describe how they get to and stop the murder, and the Helpless character is now safe for the rest of the scene, or until their savior becomes Helpless. If a Villain is attempting murder outside an Action Sequence, a Hero can spend a Hero Point to stop it, but that is the only action they can take.

The game also notes that there deliberately is no dodge skill. Just going 'I try not to get hit' is boring most of the time - it doesn't advance the plot or action, it just maintains the status quo. The only time it matters is when you're trying to delay a villain from getting to somewhere by interposing yourself for as long as possible - and in that case, be active with it. Use Weaponry to parry them and harass them, Athletics to dive around them and change the field, kick wax in their eyes with Brawl. Do things.

So what is a Dramatic Sequence? It's identical to an Action Sequence in most ways, except for timescale. Action Sequences are for things that are going to take only a few seconds - a fight, dodging immediate danger, escaping fire, that kind of thing. A Dramtic Sequence builds tension and takes time. It is a sneaking entry into a Villain's castle, seeking their hidden treasure. It's an interrogation by the city guard. It's a high society gala where you hope to find information, or an infiltration without getting caught. Dramatic Sequences use the same rules, but they're slower. There's more time to make decisions - they're just equally important decisions. The main difference is in pacing. Action Scenes are extremely high-paced, full of adrenaline and danger. Dramatic Sequences are slower, with questions of trust, resource and faith. They are tense and cerebral, but they're not high octane in the same way. The stakes are different. One type of Sequence can shift into the other and back - if you're sneaking, it's a Dramatic Sequence until you get caught, and then it's a fight - an Action Sequence. If you're dueling a pirate, that's ACtion...but if you decide to negotiate in the middle, even at swordpoint, now it's Dramatic.

Now we're into the GM section - and specifically, the rules on Brute Squads. Brute Squads have exactly one statistic: Strength. The number of Brutes in the squad is its Strength. Brute Squads don't really act the same way as other characters - they are a source of Consequence. When facing a Brute Squad, the Consequences are always this: take Wounds equal to the Squad's Strength. Only once all characters have acted does the Brute Squad get to do anything, normally. If it isn't taken out by then, it will deal its STrength in Wounds to a single Hero. Each Squad can only deal damage to one Hero at a time. Squads can, however, split into multiple Brute Squads of lower Strength. Brute Squads can reorganize this way at the end of each Round.

There are also five special kinds of Brute Squad, each of which has an Ability. The GM can activate this Ability by spending a Danger Point at any time. Guards can activate to forcibly retarget an attack made against a Villain onto themselves, reducing the Wounds dealt by that attack by 1. Assassins can activate to go before all other characters in the round, dealing their damage immediately, rather than going last. Duelists can activate to make a second attack, which can target a different Hero than their first one. Pirates can activate to abduct any non-Hero character from the scene. If they do, they reduce their Strength by 1, as one Brute escapes the scene with the abductee. Thieves can activate to steal any single item in a Hero's possession. If they do, they reduce their Strength by 1, as one Brute escapes the scene with the item.

Next time: Villains.

Young Freud
Nov 26, 2006

Dawgstar posted:

Amusingly you could almost forgive it if it was still the guy who was mostly an artist writing it. Then Kevin had to come in to 'save' it.

Pretty sure that Zeleznik had a basic but playable outline of the factions and setting, with images illustrating these concepts and perhaps some explanation on why and how they play in game, then Siembedia came in and cocked it all up by elaborating for pages on the most minute details.

Pretty sure Zeleznik's basic idea is a galaxy-spanning war between Gokus versus the Covenant.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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#1 Builder
2014-2018

7th Sea 2: Bad Guys Are Crazy Strong

Villains are, by design, much more capable than any single Hero. Villains have a fairly limited sheet, however. They have a Virtue, a Hubris, and then three stats: Influence, Strength and Villainy Rank. Strength is a Villain's personal capability. Any intellectual tricks, personal charm, sword skills, sorcery - that's all Strength. Strip away their money, their political power, their minions...what's left is Strength. A Villain's Strength determines how many Advantages they can have. Influence is the money, resources, minions, allies and political power. It's the power to change the world. Some Villains will have a lot of Strength and not much Influence, or vice versa. The really scary ones have both. Their Villainy Rank is their Strength plus their Influence.

Weak Villains tend to have Villainy Rank 5. This is your middle manager in the gang or your guard captain. Strong Villains - a mercenary captain or skilled assassin - woulld be about Villainy 10. Epic Villains - your generals or cult leaders - are around 15. And Mythic Villains, the best there are at hwatever they're doing? They're around 20. The reason for this is simple: dice. Whenever a Villain of any kind takes a Risk, they roll dice up to their Villainy Rank. Villains don't declare approaches - they just roll however many dice they want, up to their cap, and make Raises to do things. Villains do not have to use their true power if they don't want to - they may want to hide it from the Heroes. However, Villains only make Risks when trying to do stuff to the Heroes, most of the time. For most other things, they just spend Influence. And yes, this does mean that Villains are rolling huge dicepools and never have to spend Raises on improvising. Villains are nasty that way.

There are ways Heroes can weaken Villains. The big one? Undermining their Influence. Whenever a Hero acts indirectly against a Villain, such as by stopping their tax collectors or dueling their minions, or getting rid of their allies, that's going to reduce the Villain's Influence. Of ocurse, you do need to have some general idea of what you want to happen when you do this. Influence is a stat that changes often. As Villains complete their schemes, it grows. They gain underlings, kill rivals, bribe people and so on. As they are foiled, it shrinks - and with it, their Villainy Rank. It is much harder to reduce a Villain's Strength - that tends to be permanent. Unlike Heroes, Villains have larger Death Spirals, too. They can take Wounds equal to their Strength before taking a Dramatic Wound...so a Villain with Strength 10 takes 44 Wounds before they go down.

The main thing Villains are doing is Schemes. A Villain is always active. They're never just waiting for you. They want more Influence. A Scheme is a specific plot, crime, heist or other activity meant to increase a Villain's power. Villains must invest Influence into their Schemes. It's a bet - I bet you that you can't stop me this time. Villains cannot use Influence that is currently invested in Schemes, so that temporarily will lower their Villainy, too. Schemes always culminate in Action - if they're gathering information, they're going to have to rob a museum or kidnap someone to get it. Villains can be subtle, but they aren't timid. They don't just ask around - they grab you and rake you over the coals. Schemes are stuff like 'rob a bank' or 'rig the election in my favor' or 'murder the king' or 'steal this artifact.' Schemes are always active plans, not reactive, and they always result in action.

If the Heroes fail to stop a Scheme, the Villain gains double the Influence they spent on it. If the Heroes do foil the Scheme, well, the Influence spent on it is gone and nothing is gained. Whoops. Other stuff in the foiling may also reduce their Influence further, such as if you take out a minion they sent to accomplish the Scheme. That gets rid of their minion and foils the Scheme. Influence is good for Villains because it's currency. They spend it to get things - largely, recruiting other Villains or Brute Squads. Not that every Brute Squad or Villain you introduce is going to work for them. If the PCs piss off the cops, the cops are going to come after them but the Villain is not directly involved. If the Villain hires assassins, however, or bribes a judge to have the Heroes convicted - that, he pays for in Influence. It's when they're explicitly sending someone after you.

A Villain can spend 2 Influence per 5 Strength he wants to hire another Villain to serve him. He can spend 1 Influence per 10 Strength he wants to hire a Brute Squad. He can spend Influence equal to a Hero's Panache to get one of that Hero's allies to betray them. He can spend 1 Influence to bribe an official or to discover an NPC's true identity. He can spend Influence equal to a Hero's Wits to discover the Hero's identity. He can spend 1 Influence to find a secret location. And to get out of any scene without being killed or taken captive? Spend Influence equal to the highest Trait among Heroes present. Influence is obviously quite powerful, but what about Strength? It abstracts out all the stats that would otherwise be on the Villain's sheet. All Villains can have 5 points in Advantages, plus additional Advantages equal to their Strength. Any effect that would vary based on skill ranks or traits uses the Villain's (Strength/2) for those, rounding up.

Then you have Monsters. A Monster is similar to a Villain in a lot of ways, except that it's...something supernatural. They're all over the place in Thean legend. Vesten legends speak of a pack of wolves led by a telepathic wolf the size of a horse. Sarmatians speak of a creature whose fangs dripped venom and whose blood was purest shadow. Eisen legends have a ton of demons and monsters and vampires and poo poo. And you can say they're just stories. Most people believe that...except in Eisen, where they've always known better, thansk to the Walder being full of monstrous nightmares. Die Kreuzritter were founded specifically to hunt these creatures. Other groups, though, they say they're fiction. The real monster is tyranny, or ignorance, or heresy. They're wrong. The real monsters are Monsters.

Monsters are similar to Villains but only have STrength. Monstrous Villains do not have Influence, most of the time. Vampires or werewolves might, as they can pass for human and operate in human society, but most Monsters just have Strength. To make up for this, they also have Monstrous Qualities rather than Advantages, which give them powers that normal mortals couldn't dream of. Some Monsters also have Qualities that give them a Fear Rank. Anyone facing such a Monster loses 1 die on all Risks for each rank of Fear the monster has, barring use of special traits to get past it. If a Monster hunts in a large group, like a pack or horde, it's a Monster Squad - like a Brute Squad, but rather than having a special Type, like Assassin or Duelist, it has one or two Monstrous Qualities.

Monstrous Qualities
Aquatic: It operates easily underwater. If a Villain, it gets +5 dice while underwater to all Risks. If a Squad, it deals double damage while in water.
Chitinous: It's got a tough shell or skin. It can spend a Danger Point to ignoe all Wounds dealt by a single attack.
Elemental: It's made of elemental power. Pick an element. If a Villain, it gets +5 dice whenever exposed to or using that element in a Risk. If a Squad, it deals double damage when using that element. Also, no matter which, it cannot take Wounds from its element.
Fearsome: It gets Fear 1, plus 1 per 5 Strength, and can spend a Danger Point to double its Fear Rank for a round.
Nocturnal: If a Villain, it gets +5 dice to any Risk at night or in total darkness. If a Squad, it deals double damage in those circumstances.
Regenerating: Villain only. It can spend 1 Danger Point to heal all Wounds in its current tier (the space between Dramatic Wounds) and 2 Danger Points to heal 1 Dramatic Wound.
Relentless: Any attempts to evade or escape it cost 2 Raises instead of 1, and it can spend a Danger Point to just show up in any scene that it is physically possible for it to enter.
Shadowy: Any attempts to track or locate it cost 2 Raises, not 1.
Shapeshifting: It may spend 1 Danger Point to take on a new form, completely indistinguishable from whatever it is mimicking except for a single specific thing chosen by the GM, such as cat's eyes or fangs.
Swift: It can spend a Danger Point to immediately take an action, regardless of who would normally act right now.
Teleporting: It can spend a Danger Point to exit or enter any scene, even if it would normally be physically impossible, by teleporting somehow.
Tentacled: For every 5 Strength, it has one Tentacle. Tentacles are Strength 5 Monsters that are destroyed if they take a Dramatic Wound.
Unliving: Monster Squad only. The Squad can spend 1 Danger Point at the end of the round to return to full Strength.
Venomous: It can spend a DAnger Point at the start of the round. If it does, any time it deals damage this round, it also removes one Raise from its target.
Winged: If a Villain, it gets +5 dice if it has room to fly. It loses its ability to fly (and associated bonus) if it takes 2 Dramatic Wounds, lasting until it has time to recover. If a Monster Squad, any attempt to deal Wounds to the squad costs an additional Raise.

Lastly, we've got Stories and Corruption. GM Stories function very similarly to Hero Stories, but they drive the game forward. They have a Start, a Goal and some Steps. They should, however, be more flexible. You should always be able to shift the Goal to still be possible, regardless of what the Heroes end up doing. The PCs should never be penalized for not following your roadmap - just write the next Step and keep going, even if it seems like a non sequitur. Unlike a Hero Story, there is no definite reward attached to a GM Story. Rather, whenever the Story is completed, the PCs acan each select the reward they want for however many steps was done. You will usually share the Goal of your Stories with the players, but you don't have to, or can even tell them a false Goal...but the game warns not to do this much, as it can make the players resent you. Better to just give a vague or unclear Goal if you want to maintain the mystery, and to keep in mind what kind of style your players like in terms of information presented to them.

Also unlike Hero Stories, GM stories should have a few Steps outlined rather than just the next one. The trick is to start out early steps specifically, and be increasingly vague with later steps so you can go back and change them if needed. Only tell the players the very next Step, though - don't tell them your vague plans. The book defines a few kinds of GM Story: the Season Story, which is almost always five Steps long, takes place over several sessions and is meant to serve as a set of long-term story arcs for the big picture of the game, the Episode Story, which is a smaller arc that usually takes only one session, maybe two, to play out and is often only 2-3 Steps long, sometimes only 1 (though this should be rare - there's not a lot of useful one-Step rewards), the Character Story, in which you focus on learning more about or helping a specific NPC and which can vary wildly in length and Step number depending on complexity, and the Retroactive Story, which is where the GM goes 'wait, poo poo, I forgot to write down Story stuff for what we've been doing, uh, okay I'm gonna make one out of what we've done this session, the goal was achieved, now we just have to figure out the steps.' These are usually 1-3 Step stories, they're basically Episode Stories that were entirely unplanned.

Now, let's finish things off bad in this chapter: Corruption. Corruption is what happens when a Hero does villainous poo poo. You gain Corruption Points by performing evil actions. Evil actions are defined broadly as one of two things: 1. Intentionally causing unnecessary pain - not just temporary pain because you're doing something that hurts but is helpful in the long run, but...torture. Hurting the helpless. Any time you torture someone, that's an evil act. 2. Inaction. Any time that another character is in mortal danger and you could save them without risk to yourself...and you don't? That's an evil act. Heroes help people in need, especially when there's no risk to themselves. That's evil for this game - causing pointless suffering and not helping people. The first time you do an evil act, you get 1 Corruption Point. Second time? 2 Points. Third? 3 Points. And so on. The GM must always warn the PCs and give them a chance to back off from doing something that'd gain Corruption, but the GM is also the final arbiter on what gains Corruption.

Okay, fine so far. But whenever a Hero gains Corruption, the GM rolls a d10. If the result is less than or equal to the Hero's total current Corruption Points? The Hero is now an NPC Villain. You're not playing that guy any more. Done. And since, if you don't get rid of any, your 4th Evil Act will put you at 10 Points, total, well, goodbye character. The only way to remove Corruption Points is to do a Redemption Story - a 5-step Story which, the game says, must be completed before you can complete any other active Story. Do it, and you lose 1 Corruption Point. I would have far fewer problems with this if it wasn't a random lose-your-character button...and if some of the Sorceries, like Hexenwork or Sanderis, didn't play with the Corruption system as part of their gimmick. But because those are both true, this system suuuuuuuucks.

Next time: Sorcery.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
There's always been a weird obsession in 7th Sea with 'take your character sheet away and you're a VILLAIN now'.

Geizt
Dec 10, 2014



I think that's less of a 7th Sea thing and more of a Wick thing, really. Just from some of the other stuff of his people have done writeups on, he has a real thing for taking the player's character away.

Josef bugman
Nov 17, 2011

Pictured: Poster prepares to celebrate Holy Communion (probablY)

This avatar made possible by a gift from the Religionthread Posters Relief Fund

Night10194 posted:

and you're a VILLAIN now'.

This doesn't sound like a bad thing necessarily.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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



Geizt posted:

I think that's less of a 7th Sea thing and more of a Wick thing, really. Just from some of the other stuff of his people have done writeups on, he has a real thing for taking the player's character away.
I remember reading the entire thing where he allegedly made a player whose character was in jail show up for like 20 sessions which were basically 'character continues to be in jail,' admittedly for the payoff of 'now he gets out and puts on his mask,' but - dude was just sitting there that whole time.

Or so Wick claims.

marshmallow creep
Dec 10, 2008

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

I mean if you weave good character drama and plot into the prison episodes, that is one thing. But a guy just standing there and never getting a turn for twenty sessions sounds like something you do when you want to lose a friend but you're too passive aggressive to just tell him to gently caress off.

And most of the things that give you corruption are basically moments when you talk to the player and say "this isn't that kind of game, Mike. Why are you here if this isn't the kind of game you want to play?"

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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2014-2018

marshmallow creep posted:

I mean if you weave good character drama and plot into the prison episodes, that is one thing. But a guy just standing there and never getting a turn for twenty sessions sounds like something you do when you want to lose a friend but you're too passive aggressive to just tell him to gently caress off.

And most of the things that give you corruption are basically moments when you talk to the player and say "this isn't that kind of game, Mike. Why are you here if this isn't the kind of game you want to play?"

Yes. As I said, I would be fine with that if there weren't other things that gave you Corruption as part of their systems, because there are. Sanderis and the Not African sorcery that is very similar to it are real cool and I don't mind it giving you Bad Thing Points, but I mind that those Bad Thing Points are tied into the Corruption system where you then have to roll dice to see if your character is gone.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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

marshmallow creep posted:

And most of the things that give you corruption are basically moments when you talk to the player and say "this isn't that kind of game, Mike. Why are you here if this isn't the kind of game you want to play?"

That kind of function is generally better handled by talking to the player as you have written here rather than assigning Corruption Points with a die roll to remove their PC, though.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009

I love the potoo,
and the potoo loves you.

Night10194 posted:

That kind of function is generally better handled by talking to the player as you have written here rather than assigning Corruption Points with a die roll to remove their PC, though.

And speaking as someone who prefers to DM rather than be a player, I dislike the idea of some arbitrary point value to separating a hero from a villain. There's good drama to be had from good people sometimes doing bad things, or even being in a downward spiral. Many a good story has had "But was it worth it?" as a powerful and poignant question asked of the protagonist at the end. But that's the kind of thing that happens organically between the player, the other players, and the DM all telling a story together.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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#1 Builder
2014-2018

7th Sea 2: I Cast A Spell On You

Hexenwork is an exclusively Eisen form of sorcery. In much of Eisen, however, its use is illegal and punished by death. In others, however, it is seen as a necessary, if grim, tool to use against the monsters. Those who practice Hexenwork, known as hexe, use it to fight the undead...or for nefarious and disgusting ends. The undead, in this case, are defined as anything that was dead but no longer is. It doesn't matter how they got back up - if it died and started moving again, it shouldn't exist. When you learn how to use Hexenwork, you get the ability and knowledge to create an Unguent, a sort of greasy ointment made out of human corpses, various plants, poisons, monster bits and other gross and/or mystical poo poo. Unguents are used to help fight the monsters. However, due to the grisly nature of the components and the temptation to harvest those components from particularly fresh bodies, well...it can easily lead to evil. Those who practice Hexenwork must take great care that they focus on protecting others, and even then, some of the powers of the sorcery can ride up to just the edge of what is moral.

The game also literally gives this a content warning, because Hexenwork is loving gross and heavily involves desecration of the dead and sometimes cannibalism. So...be warned. This poo poo ain't classy.

Every time you take the Sorcery Advantage for Hexenwork, you get the recipe to one Major Unguent and two Minor Unguents. There are seven Majors and 13 Minors, and this is deliberate - if you want all of them, your last purchase is going to be less useful than any of the ones that came before. Unguents always use something that came out of a corpse - blood, eyeballs, tongues - and sometimes also require rare herbs, venoms or blessed water or wine. Normally, Unguents decay at the end of each session and you can only keep one unused Unguent between sessions. However, they can be used by anyone once made, though using them in an Action Sequence requires a Raise. However, any Unguent made using body parts from a hexe are more potent. These produce double the normal amount of doses and do not degrade at the end of sessions. As a result, many Villainous hexe hunt other hexe for their parts.

To make an Unguent, you need at least one hour, and a kitchen or lab to make one in. You spend a Hero Point and combine the materials to produce one dose Major Unguent you have the recipe for, and two doses of Minor Unguents per instance of the Sorcery Advantage. You can mix and match these Minor doses as you please - all the same Unguent or different, in any mixture you want. So if you have bought Sorcery (Hexenwork) 3 times, each time you make one of your three Major Unguents, you also produce 6 doses of any combination of Minor Unguents you know.

Major Unguents last for an entire scene, unless otherwise noted.
Dead Man's Blood: A mix of blood from a fresh corpse, some herbs, poisons, roots and similar. If introduced into the body of an undead Monster - either by getting it to eat the dose or injecting it - then it renders the Monster Helpless for the rest of the scene. However, doses are relatively large - you can't just coat a blade in it and stab the thing, you need an actual full syringe jabbed in, or mixed in with a meal somehow.
Ghost Eyes: You make a paste out of a recent corpse's eyes mixed with mandrake and holy water, then smear that on your eyelids. You can see, for the rest of the scene, any and all spirits, ghosts and other Monsters that'd normally be invisible.
Corpse Tongue: You take the severed tongue of a corpse, soak it in nightshade and grind it to a fine paste, which you rub on your tongue. You may then speak to a dead body, asking it about anything it new in life. You get (Resolve*2) questions, and it must answer honestly. Once your final question is asked, you vomit and the corpse disintegrates. It cannot be questioned further, even with another dose.
Master's Bread: You take a dead brain and mix with some hallucinogenic herbs and mushrooms into a sort of dough, which you then dry and eat. Once you eat it, you can give a single command to an undead Monster Squad, which they must immediately perform, such as attacking a particular target or smashing a barricade. They cannot be made to attack themselves. If used against an undead Villain, it instead gives one free Raise to any social Risk against that Villain.
Spectral Prison: You take moss from a tombstone or mausoleum, boil it, and then mix it with salt and bone meal into a thick paste. You can then use that to make a closed circle or other geometric figure. As long as the figure remains intact and closed, no undead Monster may cross it or use its powers to affect anything on the other side of the line. They can take other actions, like speaking or shooting a gun across the line, but cannot use any supernatural effects across it. Further, no undead Monster may break the line by any means, though it can try to get someone else to do so.
Funeral Porridge: You take the kidney and liver of a corpse and mash them into a porridge mixed with sedatives and poisons. A living person that eats the porridge suffers an immediate Dramatic Wound. If they die on the same day as consuming the porridge, they arise as an undead Monster under your command within three days, and you pick what kind of undead when you make it. The monster treats all of your commands as if permanently under the effect of Master's Bread. Creating Funeral Porridge is always an Evil Act, as is feeding it to someone.
Wraith Walk: You grind up a human heart and mix it with herbs and sedatives. When you consume it, you immediately fall unconscious and your spirit exits your body. as a spirit, you can move freely and have perfect awareness of your surroundings, but cannot sense anything going on around your body. You can fly, move through walls and are invisible, but are subject to any effects that affect undead, and may be seen by any means that allow detection of invisible Monsters. Your spirit is very fragile, and if it takes a Dramatic Wound, you immediately return to your body and take an additional Dramatic Wound. If you do not return to your body before the next sunrise or sunset, whichever is first, you die. If your spirit suffers a Dramatic Wound but cannot return to your body for some reason, you die.

Minor Unguents last a single round, unless otherwise noted.
Revenant Venom: You take potent venom from spiders or snakes, and mix it up. Then you apply it to a weapon, which must remain sheathed until you want to use it. The next time the weapon is drawn, for one round all of the Wounds it deals to an undead Monster are doubled. However, it cannot be applied to dracheneisen - the two materials do not coexist, and the venom boils away on contact with the metal.
Reaper's Poison: A blend of batural poisons and [ure silver shavings. When you throw a flask of it at an undead Monster, you can spend Raises as normal to cause Wounds. If the Monster takes at least 1 Wound, it suffers the poison for the rest of the round, taking an additional Wound every time it takes an action. It cannot reduce these poison-caused Wounds in any way.
Scourgebane: A mix of herbs, poisons and communion wine. When you throw a flask of it at an undead Monster, you can spend Raises as normal to cause Wounds. If the Monster takes at least 1 Wound, the GM cannot spend Danger Points to activate any of its Monstrous Qualities for the rest of the round.
Tears of the Prophet: A mix of anointing oil and rare spices. You may apply it to a dead body that has not been affected by any other Hexenwork. The body cannot return to life by any means.
Mother's Mercy: A soup of wild vegetables and holy water. Drinking it removes all effects of disease, curse or deblitation caused by the undead. If someone who has eaten Funeral Porridge drinks this, they die immediately but do not return as an undead Monster.
Father's Fury: You make a holly-wood stake and smear it with a mash of herbs and natural poisons, then get it blessed by a priest. You may take an action to use this on a Helpless undead Monster. If you do, the Monster is utterly destroyed and can never be returned to life again.
Black Broth: You mix moldy bread with Monster blood and swamp water. You choose a single Monstrous Quality at the time of brewing. When the broth is drunk, it gives that Quality to the consumer until the end of the scene. Willingly and knowingly drinking Black Broth is an Evil Act, as is tricking someone else into drinking it.
Red Thirst: You mix rotten meat and berries, then boil them with some herbs and roots. You may spend a Raise in an Action Sequence to smear it on yourself. Any undead Monsters that attack must target you with all of their attacks this round.
Summer's Smile: You make a poultice of water from a fast stream and some sickeningly sweet herbs. When it is applied to a Dramatic Wound caused by an undead Monster, the Dramatic Wound heals at the end of the scene.
Winter's Scowl: You mix holy water, a rose stem and a few drops of hexe blood. The water then hardens into an impossibly thin and sharp ice blade. When you attack an undead Monster with this, you spend Raises as normal to deal Wounds. If you inflict at least 1 Wound, the Monster is stunned for the rest of the round and may not take any actions, though it can still spend Raises to reduce damage, if it's a Villain. After one use, the blade shatters.
Autumn's Sigh: You mix seeds of a rotten pumpkin with red wine and a teardrop. Anyone that drinks it will sleep soundly for the night, with no nightmares, either natural or supernatural. They will awaken normally to stimuli, but fall asleep easily and have idyllic, restful sleep.
Spring's Laugh: You mix fresh spring flowers, tree sap and rainwater into a thick syrup. Anyone that consumes it is immune to Fear from an undead Monster for one scene.
Widow's Veil: You take a wilted chrysanthemum grown on a grave and wash it with holy water, then get it blessed by a priest. Anyone who pins it to their clothing is immune to the first attack or supernatural effect targeted on them by an undead Monster. After that attack or effect is prevented, the flower crumbles uselessly to dust.

In 1e, Eisen's magic was, instead, Zerstorung - a sorcery that destroyed things via disintegration. It was also completely gone. The real power of Eisen was dracheneisen, which does still exist, but you can't start the game with any, and to get it you either have to find it or make friends with Die Kreuzritter and convince them to let you have some. We'll cover what it does in this version when we get to secret societies.

Next time: The Knights of Elilodd

Wrestlepig
Feb 25, 2011

my mum says im cool

Toilet Rascal


Combat: The Most Society of Creative Anachronism system ever made


This guy will probably die defending a big cube
The main mechanical difference to typical D&D combat comes from Strike Ranks. Instead of rolling initiative randomly and picking an action when your turn comes, you all declare your actions at the start of the round and each actionís Strike Rank determines how many seconds it takes to accomplish. Lower strike ranks take less time, so they occur earlier and you can fit more actions in, although you only get one attack per round most of the time. This is determined by a few factors, like your DEX and SIZ and the weaponís reach. Thereís also a few modifiers, like moving and surprise. Magic attacks work slightly differently: They donít factor in SIZ and add an extra strike rank for each magic point used. Spirit Magic and Sorceries need an empty hand and putting weapons away can take a while, but Rune Magic always goes at 1 and only gets modified by adding magic points, not Rune Points, which makes offensive rune magic very powerful.

Itís not actually mentioned whether the game should be grid-based, and all the movements have actual distances given, but strike rank modifiers make it simple to run everything with Zones.

With how lethal Runequest can be in mind, they mentioned that most combatants wonít fight to the death and describes some common traditions of war. It mentions Challenges, where two characters will duel, and Skirmishes, where the two parties will exchange ranged attacks and pull back if victory isnít certain. It also talks about how common retreating is and some mechanical aspects, like using the Battle skill or Passions to keep your npcs in the fight. There are some mechanics to help with disengaging: If you donít attack in a round, you can disengage at Strike Rank 6 and move away, you can do a knockback attack that comes in at SR 12 and requires a STR+SIZ resistance roll against the opponent, or you can just leg it and lose your defending actions.

Each attack is a roll on the relevant skill, opposed by a defensive roll. You have a couple of options: If you want to target a specific location you must wait until the final skill rank and attack at half your score, which makes sense for ranged attacks but makes melee fighters look incompetent or game designers look confused about levels of abstraction. Defence is more complicated but also more abstract and doesnít factor into the Strike Rank Economy. Your main options are to try parrying the attack with a weapon or shield, or to Dodge it. Dodges are the simplest mechanically: When you are attacked, you roll your dodge and if it succeeds, the attack misses. You need at least the same tier of success as the attacker to avoid the hit, so a special or critical hit on the attack needs an equivalent success with Dodge. You probably wonít be dodging much since itís hard to get a high skill in it and itís penalised by your Encumbrance, but if you donít have a shield itís the only mundane defence against ranged attacks. Parries are a little more complicated: You roll with your weapon or shield skill and the same breakdown of success vs success applies, but each Parry only blocks as much damage as the weaponís Hit Points. If thereís more damage coming through it hits the defender. Shields get a modifier to the hit locations, so the arm is more likely to take damage. The object used to parry also loses a point of HP if there was any overflow. A better success at parrying counteracts better attacks and can deal damage the opponentís weapon. Thereís a helpful chart since itís a bit to remember.

Each subsequent defensive roll has a -20% penalty, so having multiple attacks or ganging up on people is very powerful. You can get access to multiple attacks if you have 100% or more in a combat skill by splitting up your skill into different parts with a minimum of 50%. This can theoretically go on forever, but each attack comes in at the next repeat of its strike rank and itís hard to mitigate those, so itís probably just for Boss Monsters.

Every skill in a combat is augmentable by Passions and Runes if theyíre relevant, and it doesnít take any strike ranks to do so. These augments work a little differently, which Iíll discuss later, but the main takeaway is that they last for the whole combat. This is a lifesaver at early levels when skills arenít super high. Thereís no mention of skill-based augments being a thing or not, but theyíd probably just work the same way if they do.

Thereís a discussion about Special Damage that comes from special successes on attacks in combat. Each damage type gets its own thing: Impaling weapons deal double damage and can get stuck in people. You need to roll to remove it, either half the weapon skill for the attacker or a heavily penalised Con check for the victim. If itís still stuck in you, it deals half damage each time the victim moves or rotates (despite there being no facing rules otherwise) from it twisting around or bumping into walls but they can fight normally because this game is a cartoon. Slashing attacks deal twice the amount of damage and hit locations are incapacitated easier. Crushing attacks get double the damage bonus you get from SIZ and STR. Critical hits get this effect and ignore all protection aside from parry mitigation. If you get critted, youíre probably hosed, and crits happen every 20th of the attack skill or on a 01. There are also fumbles on 100 or 5% of your chance of failing. Thereís a chart of results that are mostly stopping you from acting next turn or accidentally attacking yourself or a nearby ally. These are terrible. You encounter a lot of attack rolls and have a roughly 1 in 50 chance of dying per roll in a combat thatís already lethal. Crits already have an in-game effect of trumping opposed rolls, they donít need to make peopleís heads blow off. The game talks about both being an epic fantasy where your heroes are dragged into an apocalyptic conflict between Empires and how the GM should encourage Maximum Game Fun, and then makes every combat a dumb gamble for slapstick death. The critical hit effects should explicitly not be for enemies or just let you pick a hit location, and fumbles should be removed entirely.

Thereís a few smaller things aside from that after the main rules. Thereís a list of weapons, mostly what youíd expect. Reach is a big deal because of Strike Ranks, but aside from that thereís nothing unusual aside from Pole Lassos, which let you basically grapple at range. Armor is just reduced damage that can sometimes penalise stealth. You want as much as possible. Riding a Mount caps your skill rolls at your Ride Skill, but gives you a charge attack, lets you use their movement and ignore movement penalties for ranged attacks. Untrained mounts have a few complicating factors but if youíre going to ride things you probably started with one anyway. Chariots work the same except theyíre based on the driverís Drive Chariot skill, gets penalized too much for obstacles, works as very good armour for legs and have a very lethal trample attack.

After that thereís a bunch of bad rules for minor subsystems: Thereís also rules for fighting in a phalanx which nobody could give a poo poo about, a restating of the darkness penalties and Grappling rules that require separate checks for grabbing and immobilizing the limb. The rules for dual-wielding are awful: you make a left-handed version of a weapon skill that starts at 5% and knowing how to use it in your right offers no benefit, to get an extra attack at a different strike rank. Itís the most Maximum Game Fun choice over just adding extra damage, having a separate Dual Wield skill or letting you have half the base chance.

Thereís a sidebar about how to be effective in combat: Use ambushes, wear armor and magic, and pick your battles. Itís not bad advice but I feel like itís trying to counteract issues with the mechanics and doesnít encourage barbaric heroism, just shows the tension between Bronze Age Epic, Maximum Game Fun and Lethal Combat.

As much as I dislike a few parts intensely, I really like the combat overall. Itís quick, flexible, keeps people engaged and not super complicated if youíve got the attack vs parry chart somewhere and the players have their Strike Ranks written down. The things I dislike about it are common to other games and easier to work around than other balance issues. Random hit locations in melee are still dumb.
Next time: Runes

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017

Mors Rattus posted:

In 1e, Eisen's magic was, instead, Zerstorung - a sorcery that destroyed things via disintegration. It was also completely gone. The real power of Eisen was dracheneisen, which does still exist, but you can't start the game with any, and to get it you either have to find it or make friends with Die Kreuzritter and convince them to let you have some. We'll cover what it does in this version when we get to secret societies.

I guess that feels better than 1E's method of getting the stuff, which was paying through the nose for it.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009

I love the potoo,
and the potoo loves you.

Dawgstar posted:

I guess that feels better than 1E's method of getting the stuff, which was paying through the nose for it.

And anyone and anything you'd think a quasi-magical super-metal would be useful against and worth spending the points to have always included the notes "Cuts through dracheneisen like air" or "Dracheneisen weapons have no effect" or both.

DAD LOST MY IPOD
Feb 3, 2012

Fats Dominar is on the case


I think the only way to have Zerstorung in 1e was to be a Carl from the Midnight Archipelago (and therefore an inbred mutant), right?

Ghost Leviathan
Mar 2, 2017

Exploration is ill-advised.
The only canon way. They had a full writeup for it in the case you wanted to use it for whatever the hell reason, iirc, but otherwise it was in-universe extinct. (compare and contrast to the Castillan fire magic, which was almost extinct but had a full writeup for those who could use it)

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!
Hexenwork feels extremely Witcher, to me. Like, a creepy art for making magical potions and unguents, used by those who go around hunting the undead and other monsters.

Also, having a full write-up on something that no one was expected to have, neither player or villain, and which in-universe was completely lost, is some peak 90's RPG poo poo.

Ghost Leviathan
Mar 2, 2017

Exploration is ill-advised.
I dunno, it feels like a good idea to me; something that, in-universe, is long-lost but known to exist, is exactly the kind of poo poo players and GMs are going to find absolutely fascinating, so you might as well give them rules for when they inevitably want to use it.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 5, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Rifts Dimension Book 4: Skraypers, Part 5: "Yes, gentle reader, that is the foundation of the adventure you are about to embark upon."

The Story of Seeron

So, this is the most recent world the Tarlok have conquerered; it's essentially an Earth near-future equivalent, save for the face that there are mainly three humanoid races: Humans (you may be familiar with these), Seerman (psionic humans with bumpy chins), and Talus (simian-ish humans with tails). The only other large population is the large number of Seleniak (the duckbill dino people from Talavera) who immigrated here. Just about all the Tarlok slave races are here as part of their invasion force... and there are 50,000 Tandori here working with the Tarlok here and still nobody has seen their faces.

We get a long breakdown of the brutal invasion, perhaps the highlight is when the Terlok invaded the "pleasure moon" of Etopia and it's revealed that-

Rifts Dimension Book 4: Skraypers posted:

Of 23 million, only 53,791 survived, and most of them (75%) died under torture and vivisection at the hands of their Shertar interrogators.

That's roughly 17,209,656 torture and vivisection victims. Have they industrialized this, or something? I mean... why does Siembieda write these numbers when they clearly don't make the slightest bit of sense? Maybe they mean that of the survivors, 40,343 were vivisected? Then why are they survivors, if that's the case? I'm probably going to have to sit down for a bit on this one.

Tarlok UnderChief: "Greetings, bruh. What have we learned from the torture and vivisection process?"

Tarlok DreadChief: "After 213,351 successful torture sessions, I'm confident we've learned everything there is to know about these new species!"

Tarlok UnderChief: "Hm. You sure about that, bruh?"

Tarlok DreadChief: "Well, we are slavers. We should just enslave the rest, maybe sell them for a nice profit in space credits-"

Tarlok UnderChief: "Sounds like you're getting lazy, bruh, you'd best torture and vivisect the rest."

Tarlok DreadChief: "But-"

Tarlok UnderChief: "IT SAYS 'SADISTIC' ON ALL OF OUR CHARACTER SHEETS AND YOU ARE WASTING VALUABLE VIVISECTION TIME!... BRUH!"

Eventually, the Tarlok murdered Seeronians until they just surrendered. However, when they tried their plague-weapon they used on Talavera on this planet, it mutated and instead started granting people superpowers in children instead. Whoopsie! And so the Seeron gonvement went underground, hoping that they could create an underground of superhuman freedom fighters as people had super-babies. And so, though the Tarlok generally have control, it's rather tenuous, with large areas being outside of their influence. Right now, the Tarlok are focusing on trying to figure out what causes the superpowers and how to replicate them, but they're big dummies on both accounts so far.

The Cities of Seeron

So, with massive skyscrapers and flying cars, a lot of Seeronian cities are really tall, as for some reason they largely "built up" to give themselves flying sci-fi cities. This will be super-important to the origin of the "Skraypers". It's lamer than you might guess!


"A sword through one of our heads? That's the best symbol you could do?"

The Bureau of Control & Registration

Aka "Control" aka "BCR", this is the Tarlok agency that has been formed to try and register and monitor superbeings, mandating superhero registration... hm... anyway, they try and kill, capture, or intimidate anybody that's non-compliant. They're largely led by Dreadmasters and Dreadlor, but also have a variety of minions from throughout their empire, along with Tandori mercenaries (buttery, delicious mercenaries).


"The Tarlok will come to fear the name of Squiggly Forehead!"

Skraypers

Now, we're going to finally reveal it, who the Skraypers are.

We're going to find out where they come from.

What makes them tick.

Their ultimate secret.

The very premise of this game will be revealed soon.

Any day now, any day.

The truth will out.

Finally, the answers are here.

All about them.

The light will expose them.

What are they?

Soon, we'll all know.

The mystery will be solved.

On second thought.

Nah, it's stupid, we'll skip it.

Next: Okay, fine.

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 14:36 on Jun 24, 2018

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 5, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Rifts Dimension Book 4: Skraypers, Part 6: "Outraged and infuriated, Tarlok BloodChief Krynok issued a public warning denouncing these 'ruffnecks' and all who supported them."


"I will become what superstitious Tarlok fear, I will be... Ankylosaurusman!

Skraypers

Ooooohkay. Time to talk about the origin of the Skraypers.

uuuugh

So, at one point the Tarlok instituted things like a dress code and other oppressive laws in the city of Rylor on Seeron, along with the headquarters of the Bureau of Control and Registration. But some darn kids decided to flaunt their newfound superpowers by dressing in fancy clothes and fighting Tarlok oppression. Though their resistance was more symbolic than impactful, it started to inspire other resistance, and so... well, I'll let the book tell the tale.

Rifts Dimension Book 4: Skraypers posted:

Outraged and infuriated, Tarlok BloodChief Krynok issued a public warning denouncing these 'ruffnecks' and all who supported them. He walked about the skyscrapers serving as the rebels' battlefield of choice and how they used the maze of towering buildings to escape, hide, and launch new attacks. The BloodChief used the slang term, "scrapers", to refer to the gleaming 100-200 story skyscrapers of Rylor. However, the people took his words to be a metaphor for the heroes themselves.

"The 'scrapers stand bold and tall in the sun and you think they are strong. You think they can protect you. You take refuge in these 'scapers, but they cannot shield or hide you forever. No doubt, you have found some secret network within the buildings that shield you from us like rats scurrying into their holes. We are new, but we will learn the 'scrapers' secrets. We will sniff you out and, when found, we'll tear out you hearts and eat them. If all else fails, we will obliterate your 'scrapers and you with them. 'Scrapers are nothing to us. Do not press me on this. Stay in your rat holes. We don't care. Dare to rebuff us, and you and the 'scrapers shall be smashed into oblivion."

The "scraper rebels" increased their activities and continued to elude capture. Three months later, true to his word, the BloodChief, convinced that the local citizen in that sector of town were helping the rebels, made an example of them by having the space fleet atomize seven city blocks of Rylor. One hundred and sixty-two thousand people were killed. Apparently, the rebels along with them, for they were never seen again.

From that day forward, superbeings who dared to defy the will of the Tarlok became known as "Skraypers". The "K" substituted for the "C" and the "Y" added to make the distinction between the buildings and the heroes.

Yep. That's... that's the story. The story of 'Skraypers.

:cripes:

That it is.

Math-aware people take note: to get that kind of damage out of seven city blocks, the city would have to have a population density roughly five times that of Hong Kong. Maybe you could no-prize in some spillover damage to the surrounding area, or claim that they had densely-populated, closely-packed residential skyscrapers. But it's an odd number, at the very least. Also if the Tarlok can just atomize whole areas unopposed, that raises a whole set of other questions that will go entirely unanswered, such as "where is the moral high ground in punching bad guys and spray-painting walls if you know over a hundred thousand people might die as a result?" Moreover, if they do this over a group that was mostly an embarrassing nuisance, what would they do to a group capable of doing real damage to their occupation? I mean, their normal procedure is to annihilate half a planet's sentient life through biological warfare, so it's not like they really care about wiping out several billion people.

Then again, they'd have a lot less people to vivisect and torture in that case. Anyway, nitpicking aside, skraypers-

:cripes:

... I'm going to have to use this word and just get used to it. Skraypers. So, "Skraypers" generally refers to freedom fighters and superheroes of Seeron. And to some extent it's seen as a romantic ideal on Seeron to become a Skray... Skrayper, but we're quickly reminded their likely fate is to die in battle at a young age. Alternatives include turning traitor, surrendering to be enslaved or killed, or going underground to try and retire. Many Skraypers, however, aren't so much rebels as they are just colorful, superpowered gangs. Granted, not all group together, and some remain independent for various reasons. However, Skrayper groups often help cover for each other and provide secret identities and support. Though may Skraypers have to work day jobs to keep the lights on, some larger communities get secret support from the general populace. Though most are powered, it's not a prerequsite to be a hero. Er. I mean. A Skrayper. Granted, some aren't all good guys either, and either take up the cause for selfish reasons or as a cover for less savory activities. However, the Tarlok also recruit superpowered Seerons as their lackeys or "Supercons". No relation to Decepticons, mind.

Also, the Tarlok call freedom fighters "ruffnecks" as a reference to them being seen as dirty and crude. They never use terms like "freedom fighter" or "rebel", but instead like words like "terrorists" and "criminals".

Other than "Skraypers" or superhumans, and "Norms", people without powers, we have:


Yep, just your average human planet. Filled with humans. Like Earth!

Bio-Freaks

Bio-Freaks are just superhumans that are mutated in such a way as to look obviously "inhuman" or otherwise are repulsive. As such, they're popularly rejected by society. Which seems like a bit much for a society under the heel of fascists, but I guess we still have to learn a thing about not judging people for their looks, because this is a Siembieda thing where maybe the monsters aren't real monsters and makes you think, huh. Most are "noble and heroic" while others are "psychotic monsters and sociopaths".

Rifts Dimension Book 4: Skraypers posted:

Note: Such misanthropes and embittered villains are typically selfish or evil alignments. Five percent are the product of new, Shertars genetic experiments.

Did you know that, thanks to earlier numbers, there are one billion Bio-Freaks? (That is, about 5% of the overall populace.) That means if 5% of them are products of experimentation, that means the Tarlok have experimented on 50 million Seeronians. Okay, though, mind, maybe he just means 5 percent of the evil, turncoat bio-freaks. Even that's only 10% of them, that's still 5 million experiments in 30 years. And then you would have all the experiments that failed for whatever reason, which you'd presume would be larger.

Remember, game designers, use numbers responsibly.

Next: Make way for the homo superior.

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 14:37 on Jun 24, 2018

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Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009

I love the potoo,
and the potoo loves you.

Ghost Leviathan posted:

I dunno, it feels like a good idea to me; something that, in-universe, is long-lost but known to exist, is exactly the kind of poo poo players and GMs are going to find absolutely fascinating, so you might as well give them rules for when they inevitably want to use it.

And I've never met a DM who hasn't altered elements of the setting to suit the campaign. Rules for Zerstorung were given in the book about a secret society that among other things was trying to eradicate sorcery. To me, that was a giant flag labeled HERE'S A CAMPAIGN HOOK AND VILLAIN.

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