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Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



JcDent posted:

Well... who really cares if the gods are just symbolical representations of inner qualities.

The inner quality of being a bloodthirsty, homicidal lesbian, apparently.

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JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Would it be better if it was not-Ares, bloodthirsty, homicidal gay man? :v:

Like, the god of plenty/Sisiphometheus has talk if symbolism of grain cycle... but then the goddess of insane people appears in their dream in the exact same shape.

Which is it, book?!

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



They're mystery cults. It can be both.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Well, they seem to be leaning closer to the Roman gods than the Greek gods; where they share a lot of the same stories, but at the same time they were treated more abstractly, as expressions of their domains. They were still gods, but they weren't necessarily the anthropomorphic characters we usually think of with the Greek gods they were derived from. They still did the appropriate sacrifices and sought their favor, because they were were part of the world and could affect it. Their stories were still important because they taught important lessons or "history". But you wouldn't meet Jupiter on the road.

Of course, it's hard to generalize too much because Roman theology was all over the place over time and locale, but in general they had a more abstract view of their gods.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: Realms of Socrery

Game mechanics? Who the hell came here for game mechanics

Would you believe all the fluff was more than half the book? Just barely, but it was. The next bits are about as dense on mechanics as the last bits were on fluff, though; we've got a lot to get through. Tons of new spells (many of which really help out the core Lores), the 'spell list' system, rules for enchanting a tiny frog or cat to be your witty sidekick, rules for building your own ill-advised magical ritual of tremendous narrative power, rules for potion-making, rules for an entire system of dwarven runic craftsmanship with attendant career line, and plenty on what makes a good Warhams magic item.

Now, with Lores, I won't be going over every single new spell in detail but I will cover some of the new standouts. Most importantly, when they added a bunch of spells to each Lore, they recognized that if a wizard automatically got all of those they'd essentially get a power boost for buying a sourcebook. As a result, they introduced the Spell List system that we saw in Tome of Corruption and Realm of the Ice Queen: You still only get 10 spells for taking your Lore talent. You get the option of taking the full core-rulebook Lore or one of two mixed core-book and new spell lore lists, labeled as Elemental (Core Book), Mystical (New Spells), and Cardinal (Mixed). Your PC can also buy individual spells they don't learn with their base list for 100 EXP each, though it mentions your GM may rule you have to find a Grimoire or a teacher to pick up new spells (which gives wizards a reason to be hunting down rare and expensive books even if you aren't using the Trappings system for class promotions). I'm glad they recognized that just giving each wizard double their old spell list for free might have messed them up a bit, but I wish there was a little more flexibility in what spells you learn and what spells you don't. For instance, taking all New Spells as a Bright Wizard would leave a Bright Wizard lacking in the ability to actually blow people up, since many of their new spells are about controlling passion and animosity rather than slinging fire. A Bright Wizard who can't explode someone is a sad Bright Wizard.

The Lore of Beasts is still a sad lore. I've gone over its weaknesses before, and it doesn't get anything that really makes up for them in its 10 new spells. They get spells like 'If someone is cruel to this animal, they take a Fellowship penalty from your curse!' or the ability to destroy leather goods. A minor Fellowship penalty is hardly the kind of curse that merits learning an entire lore of magic. They can turn into a horse now, I guess? The two useful new spells are The Ox Stands (A cheap, easy, very wide-area anti-fear spell that cancels Fear and Terror on any of your allies for CN 11) and Repugnant Transformation. Repugnant Transformation takes 2 full actions to cast, and it's a Touch spell, so you have to hit on a WS test (which can be Dodged with a -20 Dodge or Parry check) and hit CN 21, then get past a WP-10 save. If it works, it destroys a person's sentience and makes them act randomly in combat, permanently. The spell can only be reversed by a powerful success on Dispel Magic or by being cast again on the same target. This is a lot of trouble, but if it succeeds it essentially instantly defeats that target. Beasts just isn't a worthwhile Lore.

Lore of Death was underwhelming in the first book. Lore of Death is not underwhelming with the added spells. They get more spells for talking with the dead, more spells for scaring the hell out of people by invoking the fear of death, some spells for helping ease insanity and emotional pain from the death of friends and loved ones, a large AoE stun spell that lasts until each individual hit makes a WP save, the ability to temporarily destroy the use of a limb, the ability to put someone's soul in a jar (not sure why you'd do this) and maybe release them back into their body later, and the only non-Chaos instant-kill spell in the game. Life's End is a CN 31 spell (so insanely hard to cast unless you're Channeling and using the ingredient, the preserved eyeball of a beheaded murderer) but it 'only' takes a single Full Action and causes a WP vs. WP test between you and the target. If it succeeds, they are dead. It doesn't matter what they were; there's no exception for Demons or Vampires or Undead. They die. This is another of those 'every wizard within 5 miles feels you cast it' cataclysmic spells, with the note that the Order only condones its use in an emergency, but I doubt anyone is going to be busting out a CN 31 spell without pretty drat good cause. Lore of Death is way better with its new spells, especially since a Wizard Lord can do their signature 'thing', now.

Lore of Fire was already pretty effective, if one-note. Its new spells try to expand it a little, giving it spells for controlling passions and sparking animosity between opponents and rivals. The ability to make people hate each other is valuable and interesting, but it's probably best to take the mixed lore so that you can still explode people. That said, Boiling Blood is a new attack spell that requires CN 21 and a touch attack, but that causes an enemy to take a Damage 3 hit that ignores armor every round for rounds equal to your Mag. If they die, they explode in a fountain of superheated blood that hits everyone in a 2 yard radius around them for Damage 1 via superheated blood explosion. Burning Vengeance is a CN 26 spell that induces SUCH A LUST FOR REVENGE that the character becomes a fierce rival to another character for a year and a day, without ever being able to explain why beyond 'I HATE THAT GUY'. Choleric is a lesser version (and at CN 6, easy for Journeymen!) that causes someone to become very irate with a second target the caster chooses. If you can't think of ways to use 'Inspire Blood Feud' to adventure, something is wrong with you. Oh, and they can also make food really spicey.

Lore of the Heavens was also pretty useful before hand. Now they get the ability to answer an ancient question: What are birds? Astromancers know. Specifically with the spell Birdspeak, which is a CN 10 spell that lets them understand birds. Note that 'a cunning bird may lie or ask for recompense' but the spell grants the wizard insight into 'the customs and mindset' of birds. They also get an awesome spell called Fortune's Renewal that gives a PC tomorrow's complement of Fortune Points today, fully recovering their Fortune stock for CN 13 but at the cost of the character not regenerating them naturally the next game day. Perfect for extended emergencies where you need the rerolls badly. You can only use this once until the character has recovered Fortune naturally, after. They can also cause an overcast or stormy day to clear up with Clear Sky, for CN 12, clearing a 100 yard shaft of sunlight or moonlight. Imagine the Von Carstein's surprise when their Summon Forth Thunder is replaced with a sunny day, focused precisely on the Von Carstein. They can also turn their eyes into telescopes. Heavens is pretty good and its new spells are fun.

The Lore of Life gets some much needed mid-tier combat magic. I have seen the difference the new spells make for Lore of Life, directly. Father of Thorns is an amazing combat spell, a CN 14 Full Action spell that causes a Large Template of thornbushes and grasping briars to inflict Damage 4 on anyone in the area if they try to move, plus halves their movement. A Life Wizard in one of my games used this during a massive siege with the undead to just shut down siege ladders and slaughter slow moving zombies, killing dozens of them. They also get an amazing new easy spell called Ferment, for CN 4, that turns 'liquid enough to sustain 12 people for a day' into drinkable, clean water or any sort of mildly alcoholic beverage you wish, which remains this way for 24 hours. So a Life Wizard can take swamp water and turn it into small beer, or mead, or a diluted but decent wine, cleaning it of all diseases and parasites in the process. They can cause seeds to grow into full trees with Vital Growth, a CN 15 spell that can make a full oak tree in an hour. My same player used this to erode part of a mountaintop and essentially throw the top of a mountain at a dark lord's army. They gain the ability to talk to trees and speak to the land, or ask the land to hide them. They can summon falling leaves to give them concealment from gunfire. They can turn themselves to stone and grant massive strength and toughness in return for their speed. Life Wizards got so much good stuff in this book that it's like a new Lore.

The Lore of Light was also already quite good. Now it gains access to more healing magic, the ability to enchant weapons to gently caress up demons, more shields of protection, the ability to purify food and water (though they can't turn it into booze, point to the Life Wizard), and the ability to summon forth a beam of pure demon-stunning power. The healing magic is very useful; it ranges from being able to cure penalties to mental stats with Clarity (CN 7), to being able to cancel out poison and treat (but not cure, it only reduces the duration by 1/2) disease with Ill-Bane (CN 16, but affects characters up to your Mag), to a total full heal that restores a person to their ideal state with Boon of Hysh at CN 27. Instantly cures all wounds, diseases, poisons, and stat penalties. Not sure if it will heal, say, a lost limb, but I don't see why not. Radiant Weapon (CN 9) lets them make a melee weapon count as Magical and do +2 damage against demons (and if you remember, demons generally get +2 TB against any non-magical weapon, so this is effectively +4 damage) for minutes equal to their Mag. Radiant Sentinel (CN 14) summons an orb of light that defends the wizard, parrying one attack per turn using their WP that doesn't count against their dodge/parry limits. Light is a very powerful lore, mechanically.

The Lore of Metal was also already really good. It gains the ability to either strengthen or weaken inanimate materials with Law of Age and Law of Form, it can learn about the history of a crafted item (and its functions) with Tale of Metal, it can create magical blast furnaces for forging and alchemy with Stoke the Forge (and at only CN 4!), it can actually cast identify like a D&D character at CN 22 with Breach the Unknown, discovering the magical properties of a material or item, and it generally gains more ways to learn more about materials and mess around with what they can do. Lore of Metal was a very powerful Lore to begin with, and I don't feel the new spells really change its character much. It doesn't have many exciting new ones, but it didn't need them since it was already great. The new abilities to do more science and crafting stuff with it are certainly welcome. It can also manipulate perception of value with Fool's Gold (CN 17), making an object appear ten times as vaulable (using this for simple fraud is highly frowned upon by the Gold Order). Metal's new magic is a little underwhelming but it isn't such a big deal when the core Lore was so solid.

Shadow Magic was also already pretty good at what it does (though it is one of the Lores that would benefit the most from multiclassing into an actual Stealth class like Thief). They get some actual combat magic besides their inexplicably hard to use and powerful Shadow Knives from the base Lore: They can magically strangle someone, slowly ramping up damage after someone fails a Toughness save vs. force choke with Throttling (CN 13). They can hit everyone who is currently in 'shadow' for Damage 3 with Burning Shadows (CN 14). They learn how to cast spells that make people ignore and overlook them, they can erase themselves from a person's mind and memory with Mindhole for only CN 8 and an Opposed WP test (something a Shadow Wizard used to trick a Champion of Tzeentch into forgetting he existed, letting him spark a Chaos civil war during an adventure in one of my games), and generally they get better at loving with perception and changing how people see them. They can even make someone convincingly dead for a couple days before reviving them, which if you combine it with Mindhole can effectively let you fake someone's death. They can also summon a rad shadow horse that makes no noise, hides itself at +30, and never gets tired, but when the spell wears off it rounds a corner and then is gone as if it was never there (CN 11, lasts until you get off or until dawn on the next day). Wizard Spies are fun.

We also get a few new Rituals, but Rituals in general aren't very interesting because they're more a plot point than anything. A spell that makes people dance until they die, a terrible 'start plague' ritual for Nurglites, a spell that lets Gold Wizards slowly cybernetically enhance themselves into a golden robot man with tremendous bonuses as long as they can find enough gold, that sort of thing. Okay, I lied, the Gilding is pretty awesome. If a Gold Wizard succeeds on multiple Gilding rituals they can come out of it with +2 Movement, +10% Str, +10% to tests involving manual dexterity, +10% to sense tests, AV 2 on all locations that won't hurt their spellcasting, etc. But they have to gild each body part separately, and any failed ritual castings (CN 22) will cause terrible, permanent penalties (and Insanity, if you're using it) instead. There's also a ritual to let a unit of troops reach any place they could reach in the Old World on foot by traveling for a single night. So you could walk all the way to Norsca from the Empire in one casting of this spell. If it fails you end up someplace random, instead.

Next: Making up Rituals, hoping you don't explode

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017





JcDent posted:

I'm still baffled over how these gods are both gods AND some redditor going "well akshulee, they're just symbolic representations of virtues western cilivizati*faaart*"

That probably ties into how Wick gets about The Power Of Story and so on.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



7th Sea 2 - Pirate Nations: Prison, Pork and Power

La Bucca, the Isle of Temptation, was once the most notorious prison in Thean history, full of violent criminals and political prisoners. Now, it is a free nation, run by a mix of direct democracy and stern leaders. In theory, everyone is equal there. In practice, it gets complicated. The island's original purpose dated back to its discovery by Cardinal Alfonso Ordunez, whose ship was blown off course in a storm and ended up in an island chain west of Castille and Ifri. The crew named it La Palabra de Dios, as it had saved their lives. They spent some time provisioning while the Cardinal and his fellow Church members scouted the isle. There, they discovered a Syrneth ruin, with a single artifact in it along with a number of pictographic tablets that all showed various scenes that included a strange, tentacled monster. Ordunez would not realize the power of the artifact until the crew tried to leave a few days later. A huge creature, monstrous and potent, circled the isle as they set sail - the creature from the tablets. The ship was forced back aggressively, and while the crew wanted to attack it, the Cardinal decided the solution lay in the tablets and the artifact.

Within a week, Ordunez had a basic understanding of the thing's function. It could, in a way, control the monster's movements, directing it to specific islands. He refused to share this secret with any, not even writing them down, for fear that someone else would learn of it. He sent the beast to the opposite side of the island, allowing his ship to escape. A few miles out, he destroyed most of the tablets to prevent anyone else from learning how to use the artifact, hurling the shards into the ocean. However, he also became obsessed with the island and the artifact, envisioning it as a magnificent fortress. He ended up building that fort to keep the artifact under lock and key, believing it to be the key to unlocking the opportunities the island represented. He was not wrong.

Prior to now, public execution was common in Theah, despite the Church's objections. Cardinal Ordunez saw the island as a chance to change that, using the Church to urge the nations to save these damned souls by sequestering them away rather than killing them. At first, only Castille sent its worst prisoners to the island, using them to build barracks and guard houses. Soon, other nations followed suit...but instead of the hardened criminals Castille sent, they shipped off their political prisoners, who were more dangerous as martyrs than as exiles. Ordunez became the warden of this prison and its moral leader, as the Church put him in total command of the island. He brought a group of loyal guards and priests with him, hoping that they could convert the prisoners to a, quote, "philosophically minded lifestyle." The Cardinal wanted order from chaos, redeeming the souls of the prisoners. He saw them as his children, in a way. He also spent a lot of time studying and mastering the beast that lived in the waters.

This all worked out for many years, until one winter morning, when the prisoners revolted under the direction of a masked woman named Allende. (In 1e and, indeed, the core book, Allende was a man. She isn't any more.) They pretended illness, bringing what appeared a pus-laden corpse to the Cardinal's office - White Plague, the ancient disease that once wiped out a third of the Thean population in the 12th and 13th centuries. Allende said the man had been a water carrier for the guardhouses, and they were unsure how long he'd been sick. The water supply was probably contaminated. Within an hour, the Cardinal got all his men onto ships and set sail, leaving the prisoners behind. He'd hoped the plague would run itself out within a few years and he could then return. He had no idea it was all staged.

Allende immediately set up a representative government, with the prisoners electing leaders and herself serving as de facto president until everything was sorted. The biggest issue was the Creature, as they referred to the monster of the waters. No one has any real idea what it is, other than something that can sink ships and occasionally ate prisoners the guards felt were problems and wouldn't be noticed by the Cardinal. The Cardinal had a way to tame it, clearly, because it never attacked supply or prison ships, but any stolen ship would be sunk. The best Allende and her crew could manage was putting the thing to sleep using a single text Ordunez had forgotten to pack. Word soon spread of the White Plague outbreak on the island, and the Cardinal claimed that Theus had judged the prisoners unfit, and that he had left so he could save the island. By the end of the year, none dared to go near the place.

Two years later, the Cardinal returned, though it was hard for him to get ships to join him despite his payments of gold, and he managed to only get one Castillian vessel. The Vendel sent a ship as well when they heard he was going, hoping to beat him there and claim the isle. The Vodacce prince Vincenzo Caligari sent a third, to investigate the rumors of Syrne ruins. On arrival, all three ships held back, as they had seen each other and none wished to be the first to land and put their backs to possible foes - and to avoid attracting the Creature, which the Cardinal feared had become wild. The prisoners, meanwhile, had rallied behind Allende, fearing that the ships would invade. She had still not found a way to command the Creature, and knew that it wouldn't be long before someone called her bluff aboard those ships, so she sent out prisoners to swim out and wave makeshift tentacles, to keep the ruse going. For days, she sent out her decoys and struck at the food and water supplies of the three ships, which would neither draw closer nor leave. After a month, she knew the ships had run out of supplies and could not return home on what they had. She had her men prepare smoked pork and fresh water, sending emissaries to each ship to offer it and safety from the Creature if they would surrender. All three did. She prepared a contract, and gave each crewmember a choice: restorck and leave, or stay on as a citizen. The Treaty of Three Fleets was signed, and Cardinal Ordunez was among the ones who stayed.

Today, despite La Bucca's reputation, it has become a popular port. They welcome visitors, and the island is called La Bucca now after a Montaigne poet decided to name it for the smoked pork on offer. The locals refer to themselves as Buccaneers as a way to reclaim the name, not realizing that it'd eventually become a term used generically to mean 'criminal.' The place is known for being a place where you can buy anything - for a price. Its tentative democracy has also given it a sense of political freedom, drawing in ambassadors from across Theah. Every ship that enters is given a gift of smoked pork and water - the only thing they'll be getting for free, and Allende refuses to end the custom. She says it distinguishes the isle as civilized and a nation, rather than a repository for criminals. The Buccaneers are a diverse lot, but all of them are hardworking and loyal to Allende. Despite this, they do fight each other fairly often, and to maintain order, they have established the Chapters. Each Chapter has charge of some part of island life. Most don't belong to one - just the free life of La Bucca is enough for them. For members of a Chapter, however, they have a chance to protect that freedom and be part of something more.

When Allende took over the place, she had a grand dream of how to run it, with a representative government of the people. Within days of the Cardinal leaving, she held elections for guard master, commissary master and overseer, with prisoners being elected - some more honest than others. At the time, Allende wore a velvet mask as part of her prison sentence, and she promised not to remove it until a general election for president could be held, to remind everyone that she, too, was a prisoner. There were all kinds of nasty rumors about her true identity, but those who worked with her spoke favorably of her. The election happened a month later...with her as the only person running, and all votes going to her. She removed her mask, telling her constituents that she wanted them to feel free to speak to her about anything, but that she would wear it still for visitors, to remind them of the island's roots.

A general election is now held every year for Chapter heads, watch captain and president. Anyone can run, anyone can vote...and every year, every person runs unopposed. For all the claims of democracy, it's pretty clear not everyone agrees with Allende's system. No one dares run against her - which she optimistically believes means her leadership is just too inspiring - and threats and bribes run rampant around election day each year to secure the rest. Allende is not totally unaware of this corruption, but she has no idea how to stop it. She's managed to keep order so far and while she's aware of plots against her, she believes that if she's no longer in charge, the island will devolve into anarchy and crime...so she lets the corruption continue in order to maintain the loyalties of those who benefit from it.

She is not without enemies, of course. Primarily, these are Uwe and Greta Lehmann, a pair of Eisen siblings that came seeking fortune but were stymied by the Chapters. They decided, in the Buccaneer spirit, that if they couldn't get what they wanted, they'd take it from someone else who already had it. Allende is vaguely aware they want her power, and she openly reminds them they can run for president any year, but they see this is a threat and work in secret. The Chapter heads tend, instead, to want to maintain the status quo. They undermine Allende's efforts to get rid of corruption and actively work to keep her in charge, seeing her as a useful puppet. No one seems to get how tentative the government actually is, or that if any of the major players lost an election, it could send the whole thing to ruin. Outside the island, the story of Allende is one of rumor and legend. Few realize La Bucca is a democracy until they get there, and most only know of her as the leader of the island. Honestly, they tend not to know much, thanks to the rumors - Allende is a man, Allende is a dread pirate returned to the isle, Allende is an illegitimate child of l'Empereur, who knows. Some even claim she died years ago and one of her followers took up the name. The truth is a lot more fragile: Allende has only partial control of what she's made, but she's the only one willing to take responsibility for ensuring the island doesn't fall back to chaos or go back to the hands of its former jailors.

Next time: Chapters

Mors Rattus fucked around with this message at 15:57 on Jun 28, 2018

Hattie Masters
Aug 29, 2012

COMICS CRIMINAL


Grimey Drawer

Mors Rattus posted:

7th Sea 2 - Pirate Nations: Prison, Pork and Power
(In 1e and, indeed, the core book, Allende was a man. She isn't any more.)

I just find it infuriating that they didn't bother to think ahead before making the Corebook what changes they might make. It's not like they didn't know they'd be making Pirate Nations and stuff. Argh.

Also I forgot to mention it but any pirate ship with a Storm or Sea Losejas is set for life, either because they can cause sudden tidal waves, pinpoint where ships are and stuff or, and I think this is way more useful, they suddenly have control over the wind. I can only believe that literal murders would happen over the chance to recruit one.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts Dimension Book 4: Skraypers, Part 8: "Alias: 'DangerDespair' and 'No Hope' - he often carves the words 'No Hope' into his victims or scrawls it in their blood."

Bad Guys

As if the Tarlok weren't enough, we get some supervillains to fight our superheroes.


"I have other people to hold things for me."

First we get The Burning Scythe, who's the would-be world conquering Dr. Doom sort. He used to be a major Talus crime lord who apparently was one of the first mutated by the Tarlok's plague attack. With perfect retconned timing, he was able to raise an army of superbeings (wait, what, I thought it had taken longer for them to notice powers?) and led an evil team called the Epoch Riders to try and overthrow the government of the "Eastern Sector" (Rylor, the city mentioned earlier, is in the "Western Sector"). However, he was caught and sent to a prison on the moon, where the Tarlok freed him during their invasion. He convinced the Tarlok that he hated his homeworld and was allowed to organize a number of the prisoners to undermine the Eastern Sector during the invasion. It was all a ruse, though, and he personally blew up the Tarlok command ship, delaying their invasion. The Tarlok seemingly killed him shortly thereafter.

However, Burning Scythe reemerged as a freedom fighter a few years ago, along with a new version of the Epoch Riders. It turns out he's been taking over the underground there, as well as undermining rebels in the Eastern Sector to ensure that they would be desperate upon his reemergence - as well as willing to accept his leadership. It emphasizes a lot of the people under him are either just criminals-in-rebellious-clothing or extraordinarily ruthless freedom fighters, and wants to make sure we know his rebellion is a bad thing and he's just looking to take over the the planet... or the Eastern Sector, at least. However, he's supposedly putting on a good enough show that most people in that region support him. Well, "30% + 6D6%", so maybe a majority, maybe not? A majority on an average roll

He's a "mega-being", which means he gets the mega-hero buffs from Heroes Unlimited (mainly immortality), and is a 10th level... it doesn't say. I guess he's built with Heroes Unlimited so he doesn't get a class. In any case, he's a modest mega-damage being with a ridiculously high Affinity and exceptional attributes across the board except for Beauty. He has super-strength, doesn't have to breathe, is near-immortal and regenerates quickly, can make energy sickles on command, shoot energy beams, fly, and gets a ridiculous number of attacks along with an automatic dodge due to being a Talus. He's vulnerable to magic!... which is convenient given that there's hardly any magic in this setting. Also he's a literal trillionaire, which I swear is not a joke. Sure, okay, that's a lot of dirty money. In any case, this is enormously self-congratulatory and back-patty, as many Siembieda villain writeups are, but there's at least some interesting nuance in him being eeevil but also loyal enough to the world to fight the Tarlok.



Do what you can with the hair you have.

Then, we get his thugs, the first of which is Three Eyed Klynt, a bad seed psionic Bio-Freak who joined with the Tarlok to do bad things, but found them boorish and escaped their training. Scythe recruited him and he sees working for Scythe as being on the winning side. Most of his psionic powers learn towards mental fuckery with a side of combat, and he has a bionic hand that has undetailed torture devices.


The carefully calculated 'weasel" look.

The second thug is Pytr Piper, a psionic Seerman being mentored by Klynt. His powers are more combat fuckery with a side of mental, and he's a generic crime hardass.


I guess that's a boomerang? Maybe?

Lastly, we have Booma, a cyborg that's somehow of no relation to Bubblegum Crisis - apparently this world has cybernetic technology, which is news to me - who originally was turned into a cyborg Skrayper to get vengeance on her family members killed by the Tarlok. Who did this? How did they- nevermind that, because she was eventually captured by the Tarlok, who tortured her for two weeks. Though her friends rescued her, but the torture made her insane and evil, like torture does. So she basically went around willing to murder and torture anyone if it meant another Tarlok dead, and so her friends disowned her. Scythe recruited her, and when her friend and former lover "Glory Guy" tried to stop her, she killed him and went full evil. Also she has a weapon that's kind of like a boomerang? Sort of?


Good at murder, bad at cat's cradle.

Next, we move on to independent villains. We have DangerDespair, a serial killer and freelance hitman who is - sigh - sadistic and prefers to target beautiful people. It's unclear if he's a Bio-Freak or an alien, but can go intangible, negate superpowers, inflict various bad touches (blindness, paralysis, pain, or save-or-coma), and fly. He's a bunch of boring edgy serial killer tropes in character form with no actual personality, and they forgot to give him mega-damage armor so a single shot from a mega-damage weapon will murder him if he turns tangible.


"GOKU!!!"

Dark Quorn is "yet another deranged superbeing", making it sound like even Siembieda is tired of these guys. He was a Skrayper named Thelgiar Quorn who was captured by Control and brainwashed to be their servant, but broke their mind control and became... Dark Quorn. Yep, another hero who was tortured into evil. He leads a gang of supercriminals, but his twist is that he has three personalities - the evil Dark Quorn, the heroic Quorn, and also a rarely-manifested child Quorn. So sometimes he'll randomly show mercy or rescue somebody. He actually has a impressive amount of M.D.C. (429), super-strength, flight, invulnerability, and can shoot lightning. We get very brief glimpses at his gang, and I'll just give the names: "Quizzler", "Red Mad", "Bad Axe", "Nax Malc, the Imitator", and "Killer Klav". Well, it was the nineties.


Not to be confused with Peacestik.

After that, we have some villains that are turncoats working for the Tarlok and their Control organization. There's Fightstik, the result of a illegal genetics experiment that went on during the invasion. He became a superior physical specimen and came to dominate a sport known as "Quikstik", which we get no details on. He became bored with being a super-rich sports star and decided to go around committing robberies in disguise, but Control caught him and he now works for them. The Tarlok were hoping they could turn his fans to their side by coopting Fightstik, but most people just see him as a traitor. He has a special unique power that lets him copy the melee bonuses of anybody he fights (including doing mega-damage if they do mega-damage) and he has super-healing. The way his power works means you only ever have a flat 25% chance of hitting or defending against him in melee.


I wonder why this picture got way more detail? Hm.

Shok was "a super model at the tender age of 15" who then had electric powers emerge. Control snapped her up and made her into a model agent for the Turlok. She enjoys the power and fame and is mostly just remarkably self-centered. Other than having electricity powers, she also is super-tough and is treated as mega-damage.


Slinger uses a hook, Hammerjack uses fists, and Nightwitch uses... um... what is that?

Lastly, we have the Power Brigade, a supervillain group that works out of the Western Sector. They include:
  • The Slinger: A former freedom fighter that decided crime pays. He's super-tough and strong, heals fast, and has the ability to manipulate kinetic energy. For weapons, he carries around a variety of thrown weapons to use with his kinetic powers, and a ball and chain because that's in the art.
  • Hammerjack: An ill-tempered Bio-Freak in love with Nightwitch. He's super-strong and invulnerable. Hates most people, but sometimes stands up for fellow Bio-Freaks. Deeply generic.
  • Nightwitch: The leader of the Power Brigade, Nightwitch sees the fight against the Tarlok as hopeless and is content getting her group of thugs together to grab whatever they need to survive and gently caress all y'all. She gets bonuses and stealth in darkness, and can manipulate wind and darkness. She also has a variety of sensitive psionic powers, and is supposed to be a brilliant tactician, but there's no real way to represent that in the combat rules other than ambushes.
  • Skullknocker: A laid-back Bio-Freak who likes having fun and showing off, and occasionally beating the crap of those that insult him. He's super-strong, super-tough, can flame on like the Human Torch, and also manipulate gravity. Though powerful, he basically doesn't contest the leadership because he's lazy and content.
  • Six-Barrel: A contact for for the Power Brigade who was helping them steal a robot for the cut of the profits, he was cut down in the ensuing firefight but managed to use a device to transfer his brain into the robot. Now he's a human mind in a robot body. He's pretty bitter about the whole thing, but joined the Power Brigade because he had nowhere else to go. Is probably going insane, though!

Knocker and... Five-Barrel? I'm only counting five.

In case you had to ask at this point, many of these characters have overblown or ridiculous stats, some of which would be literally unrollable by PCs. In addition, none of them have classes because they're built with Heroes Unlimited and not Rifts, which has you pick a power category and random roll an education to lay out your skills. Of course, a number of that defy that character creation process too... but there's only so much nitpicking I can be bothered with. Really!

Next: Good dudes.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



JcDent posted:

I'm still baffled over how these gods are both gods AND some redditor going "well akshulee, they're just symbolic representations of virtues western cilivizati*faaart*"

In both tabletop games and video games, I keep getting the feeling that some middle-aged men still resent their parents for making them go to church on Sundays.

Freaking Crumbum
Apr 17, 2003

Too fuck to drunk








Chapter 7: Places of Interest - Asia part 2






Japan :japan:
The Hook(s):
1. They Greys loved how isolationist Japan was/is and supposedly they attempted to ingratiate themselves with a few favored warlords during the Tokugawa period (roughly 1600-1854 CE). No living human knows why, or whether or not the Greys accomplished whatever they set out to do (and the Greys that do know refuse to elaborate further). The Japanese were likewise influenced by Grey cultural values, and this contributed to their focus on things like efficiency and self-sufficiency and etc. Apparently rogue Greys still have active contacts with the Yakuza and with prominent political parties and they pay for their favors exclusively with gold (bars, coins, whatever) so if somebody were able to suss out that fact they'd have a leg up on pinpointing which specific groups likely have Grey benefactors.
2. The town of Ena on the island of Honshu has a series of standing stone monoliths that resemble miniature versions of the Great Pyramids in Egypt. Local legends relate the pyramids to the island's prehistoric ancestors and their worship of a great white serpent, although different versions of the legend conflict over whether the serpent was a benign figure that caused the island to flourish or whether it was a malevolent figure that had to be supplicated. The region's rice is also farmed in a very specific way, making use of terraces that are similar to the agricultural practices of the Incans in the Andes. Supposedly the Grey's sudden interest in Japan occurs almost exactly around the same time they disappear from from Central/South America, and it's speculated that Ena may be the historical location where the Greys first made contact with Japanese people.
My Take: The first hook at least kind of gives some indication of intrigue that the players could explore, but the second hook is another "Hey what about this?" thing that seems vaguely significant but offers no clear adventure hook for a party of investigators.

Russia :ussr:
The Hook(s):
1. Kamchatka exists and isn't just an unusually memorable location on the board game Risk! It's also a literal and figurative backwater that pretty much nobody visits because there's nothing remarkable happening here.
2. Magnitogorsk is a city based around the refinement of raw materials into heavy industrial components and the entire place is a toxic iron hellhole. Tales of child sacrifice, cancerous mutants, G-G-G-GHOSTS, and literal demonic manifestation are openly circulated among those who live outside the city. People inside the city have extremely short average lifespans (31 for men, 35 for women) and to top it off, the Etoile have decided the horrors of the city are the perfect cover to initiate another Sandman invasion plot. It's speculated that the same malevolent Stranger entity that seems to be guiding all of the chapters of the Final Church is also responsible for all of the horrific poo poo happening in Magnitogorsk, and if there's actually a Doorway to that creature's realm hidden here, it could serve as the Final Boss Dungeon for a campaign centered around destroying the Final Church.
3. The Trinity Chapterhouse is a small enclave of agents from the Hidden Order of St. Gregory that is tucked away in a valley near Vladivostok. There's no other significance or purpose given for this location, so it's just another pointless landmark.
4. The swampy taiga that surrounds the Tunguska River is the final resting place of the Grey station-ship Znutirj. The Znutirj had been permanently moored to the Earth so that it could be better incorporated with the Grey's settlement. The infamous Tunguska explosion was the result of the Greys getting too nervous about encroaching human settlements, and their decision to abandon the site was sealed in 1906 CE when the station-ship was almost discovered by a group of cartographers sent by the Czar to map the region. They used their considerable psychic and technological prowess to locate a small comet and redirect its path so that it would land squarely on top of the station-ship and utterly obliterate it. The resulting explosion became a matter of scientific inquiry for decades to come, but the comet did its job and destroyed the station-ship. There's still various pieces of potentially functional Grey technology scattered for miles around ground zero, but the year-round permafrost and remoteness of the location make it extremely unlikely that anybody will stumble upon them by accident.
My Take: WHY IS KAMCHATKA OR THE TRINITY CHAPTERHOUSE EVEN MENTIONED? The book literally says that there's nothing happening in both of those locations, so why include them? Fortunately Magnitogorsk and Tunguska both have excellent story hooks, so the section isn't a complete waste. I especially like that the Stranger entity leading the Final Church is mentioned again outside the U.S. as it gives the impression that some of these problems span the entire globe and that things the players do can have repercussions outside their immediate neighborhood.


AUSTRALIA :australia: : The Island Continent Hey, at least it isn't a cringeworthy reference to Aboriginal people!

Ayers Rock
The Hook: This large, red, stone formation is located at the nexus of several telluric leylines and can function as a Doorway if the right conditions are met. Specifically, the Doorway leads to the same dimension from which the Mothmen originate, which makes the Aboriginal people of Australia the second group of indigenous humans to have made contact with them (the others being the Anasazi peoples of North America). Then, when the English got the bright idea to exile a bunch of "undesirables" to Australia in the 18th century, they unwittingly shipped an entire coven of diabolists directly to the area around Ayers Rock. It didn't take them long to figure out that there was a dormant Doorway nearby, and when they managed to open it they instead decided to make blasphemous pacts with the mortal enemy of the Mothmen, the Wendigo. Although the area has become a major tourist destination in modern times, there's still descendants of the original diabolists (now operating as agents of the Final Church) engaging in profane rituals with the Wendigo at Ayers Rock, and bloody knives and mangled human remains have sometimes been uncovered by unwitting tourists. A cadre of Aboriginal people and their Mothmen allies have waged a secret war against these diabolists and their Wendigo minions for centuries, hoping to prevent their influence from spreading across the entire continent; they've had limited success so far, but it's unlikely they'll be able to hold out forever without some external support.
My Take: The Final Church gets another plot hook, and the inclusion of the Mothmen/Wendigo Doorway helps expand their potential influence beyond North America.I like this hook as it gives the players multiple reasons for wanting to visit Ayers Rock.

New Corp
The Hook: Agents of News Corp could tail players that poke their noses into places where they don't belong, either to intimidate them into dropping their investigations, blackmail them with photographs of their illicit actions, or otherwise just be a thorn in their side. Since Rupert Murdoch is a real life super villain who has built a media empire based on empowering fascism, racism, economic inequality, and authoritarian regimes, I can't see wanting to include this group in the make believe game you play to relax unless you've got serious masochistic tendencies.
My Take: They're bad guys in real life so I don't know how objective I could be if I included them in a game. I can see the value in having some kind of yellow journalism outlet hound investigators that frequently get up to quasi-legal shenanigans, but I don't think it'd be productive to use such a divisive real life organization.

The Pine Gap Facility
The Hook: It's Groom Lake but for Australia (and of course it's a joint military operation with the U.S. government). The main focus of the research conducted at Pine Gap pertains to harnessing geomagnetic forces; essentially the goal is to create a weapon that could manipulate telluric currents, magma, and tectonic plates to cause earthquakes with pin-point global accuracy. An Earthquake gun would be pretty sweet because the damage you inflict on your target ostensibly looks like a natural disaster, so there's no reason for them to suspect you actually targeted them unless for some reason you admit to doing it.
My Take: An earthquake gun isn't a new concept in the realm of sci-fi weapons, and the location is another "Look But Don't Touch" military site that players would not normally be able to enter. Either the GM decides this location is going to be a feature in the campaign or it might as well not exist. Boring!


LOW/NO EFFORT HOOKS ABOUT G-G-G-GHOSTS: 6
LOOK-BUT-DON'T-TOUCH LOCATIONS: 13


NEXT TIME: Europe!

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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7th Sea 2 - Pirate Nations: Chapter 2

La Bucca's government has five Chapters - the Eye, the Tentacle, the Fin, the Scale and the Pint. All but the Pint derive their names from the Creature under La Bucca. Originally, these names were given to the people who helped Allende perform the rites that sent the thing to sleep, but they spread from the individual to the office itself, and eventually the Chapters formed from the offices. The Eye handles all communication and security within the island proper. Members wear a scarf bearing a stylized eye to show membership, and their most prominent role is the City Watch, made mainly of older residents of La Bucca. The current head is a man named Alesio, who is said to speak only when there is trouble.

The Tentacle handles travel issues, including maintenance of the tidal rope bridges used when the tide comes in and covers the beach arches leading into the fortress. They are in a lot of ways the guides of La Bucca's guests, and Allende is their official head, though she leaves the day to day business to her subordinates. The Fin handle foreign communications. All members must speak at least three languages, and they take care of all trade records for La Bucca as well as serving as harbormasters, customs officials and the authorities on who can and can't dock. They consider secrets and information their most important commodity - the only one worth trading. Their current head is the infamous Baron Victor Maison.

The Scale is in charge of residential issues and land usage for commercial enterprise. Residents are required to raise at least two pigs a year to support the smoked pork supplies, and the Scale tracks that as well as all businesses on the island. They decide on and impose the tariffs and taxes on foreign and domestic goods, and also control the island treasury to fund public works. Their leader is the Mother. Yes, that's her name. The Mother of La Bucca. The Pint serves to represent the entertainment industry - the jennys, taverns and musicians. They have kept the Vendel League out of control of the island's economy so far. Their head is former prisoner Gwyn Sharps.

There is a rumor of a sixth Chapter, a secret one: the Sirens, who ensure that the privacy of business deals are respected. The name comes from the saying that if you break that privacy, the sirens will come from the sea to get you. Some claim to have encounterd Siren agents who murder transgressors, but the Watch officially denies their existence. The truth? There are Sirens...sort of. When a breach of privacy protocols happens or there's a danger to the island, the Chapter heads may call on trusted Buccaneers as their agents of justice, with each of the five selecting a single Buccaneer for the team, which is given the mission of dealing with the issue. That's what the Sirens are - teams set up for specific jobs, not a Chapter in their own right.

The City Watch work to keep some semblance of order in the streets, despite the very free atmosphere of La Bucca. Even criminals look down on some crimes - mostly public ones. The Watch have the right to enter any establishment at any time, in theory to keep the peace. They break up fights and trouble, punishing those who fight too openly. The Fin prohibits them from boarding ships, however, with the explicit permission of the ship's captain. The Pint also tries to keep them out of gambling houses and taverns - typically via bribes. While crime is thriving, no one questions Watch authority openly. Everyone knows to do their business behind closed doors or risk punishment, and each Chapter supports their work, though Alesio and the Eye are their true patrons, who provide them the power they use. The position of Watch Captain is elected, and currently held by Lucia, a Fate Witch who came to the island five years ago. She keeps a tight rein on the Watch, forbidding its members to drink on duty and requiring that any bribes or monetary exchanges be approved by her. She's pretty much all that keeps them from just being another street gang, and so she has been given leave by the Chapter heads to organize them as she likes.

There is no nation quite as diverse as La Bucca, thanks to the fact that its original inhabitants were undesirables from all over. Some parts of the island are melting pots, while others are favored by certain groups...for a while. It's not rare for a Vesten district to be taken over by Castillians or vice versa, for example. The island's not quite cosmopolitan, but it's very diverse. Buccaneers tend see each other as uneasy allies, bound by an unspoken oath to keep things broadly civilized. This only goes so far, of course...and visitors? They're open season. Said visitors tend to be shocked at how many children are on the island. Many are nativeborn, but many more are orphans. No one's entirely sure how they all keep arriving, as new ones seem to show up daily. The Mother maintains a residential building for the orphans and takes special care of them.

Residents have also developed a complex system of symbols to tell the Watch things while strangers are present. Any offer to buy a Watch member "a drink of your choice" is a way of telling them you're in trouble but can't openly ask for aid, for example, with subsequent offers being code to narrow down the issue - rum means trouble at port, gin is kidnapping, wine means a Chapter head is in danger. Hanging your underpants out a window is another clandestine communication - white means a call for help, while black is a request to help move contraband or a corpse - and no matter what, the call promises payment.

To gain residency, you must pay a small fee and submit an application to the Scale. The Mother looks over each application herself, deciding who to accept or not, typically by considering if you can contribute to the island. Her decision is final. No one's entirely sure what she thinks a good application looks like, however, though she seems to value unique skills. Plenty are coming to visit, at least, since it's the only neutral market in the Atabean Sea - a key place for spies and diplomats, as well as merchants hunting for rare or illicit goods. The market is truly free in every sense - anything and everything can be bought or sold, from artifacts to slaves to art. Food, water and crew are usually reasonably costed, as the more money spent overall is better for La Bucca, and the Tentacle and Fin work together to keep the harbors open constantly. Various merchant ships make generous bribes to the Scale in order to set up stalls, and you can just show up at the docks to find work any time. Nothing is too illicit to discuss except, perhaps, espionage and assassination, and many shops or stalls offer services - and even some homes do, for a more personal touch. They even sell nautical charts at high prices - mostly because every nation considers them a national secret. No one's sure where La Bucca gets them, but diplomats do love to buy them up. After charts, entertainment is probably most in demand. The Pint doesn't bother with monitors, and only gets involved when money or crime becomes an actual problem. As a result, the entertainment availably is extremely diverse and often debauched, with as few questions asked as necessary.

The best markets, though, are the marche noir - the black markets. Even if it's not actually illegal in La Bucca, you keep some stuff secretive, usually in hidden coves or private rooms. The Pint is happy to sell privacy for coin or a promised favor. The favor, on La Bucca, is worth more than gold. This is called the grip economy - that is, handshakes. A Buccaneer that's given their word is expected to keep it until called on or dead. Those who promise favors and don't pay up...well, they get dead. Fast. Your word is sacred on La Bucca, and there are no second chances.

Because Buccaneers need something to do between contracts, the island's become adept in finding side jobs, and has a thriving secondary market in letters of marque. These offer royal authority to collect a percentage of plunder in service to a nation, and the Buccaneers have formalized it heavily. While in other places, this might lead to national tensions, La Bucca offers a level of separation between the crown and its agents. The Buccaneers get legal documents that say they're allowed to do the thing, and the nation gets plausible deniability. Everyone gets what they want, except for the folks being looted.

Next time: Places.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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7th Sea 2 - Pirate Nations: Island S

Technically, La Bucca is actually three extremely close islands rather than a single one, arranged in a letter S shape, with two arched beaches that connect the arms with the central tidal island. Both beache arches are walkable in low tide but submerged at high tide. In the prison years, the central island was Cardinal Ordunez's HQ, with the northern and southern isles being the prisoner islands. Today, La Bucca is separated into four districts - Northern Arc and Sunrise Haven in the north, and Southern Arc and Sunset Haven in the south, with the central island covering both haven harbors.

The Northern Arc presents a sheer cliff towards the ocean, with onyl the inner crescent forming safe harbor. Dense trees cover most of it, and few people live on the far north shore, leaving it for the pigs. The south side has a large harbor and much of the merchant district, however. The Crown lies at the north tip of the island. One side is a natural wall of rock, guarded by a coral reef that stops larger ships from reaching the hidden caverns along the cliff. For those that can find these caves, they make excellent private spots for secret meetings. A few anglers also fish off the Crown, claiming to 'keep the Creature at bay.' On the beach side, there are embankments placed to allow the Buccaneers to climb up to the ten cannons nestled along key positions to fire on unwelcome guests in the north. It's not perfect, and the gunners are pretty inexperienced, but the appearance is probably more useful than the guns themselves.

Port Sacred is a natural harbor east of the Crown, a set of caverns only enterable by low tide. The cave is large enough for three ships, and few know where the entrance is, though rumor has it that smugglers and pirates use it as a safe haven free even from La Bucca's authorities. Others claim that the place is dangerous, full of monsters and dark magic. It's not - it's a safe port for political exiles. Allende uses it to meet people in the wee hours, smuggling them past the other harbors and providing false papers claiming they've been residents for years. The Mother works with her to set these refugees up safely without the other Chapters realizing. It also houses a rather nastier secret that even fewer know: it's where Allende and the others that took part in her ritual imprisoned the Creature and sent it to sleep. Gibbet Lake is named for the gibbets hung on the shores to punish prisoners for fighting guards. The Cardinal preached forgiveness, but the guards preferred to make examples. Today, the cages sit empty, aside from old bones, as a reminder of the island's legacy. Allende has forbidden them to be removed, as she feels La Bucca must never forget its history.

Sunrise Haven and the Hook are the names for the sheltered inner crescent of the north isle, with the Hook specifically referring to the bit that's on the middle island. It's a large natural harbor with room for a good 20 ships, and its name is because the harbor is sheltered from the sun in the morning. Piers have extended past the natural end of the harbor, to make room for up to 20 larger vessels. The Tentacle tracks all arrivals, renting out harbor spots for various lengths and handing out travel permits. At that point, the Fin shows up to force captains to fill out forms detailing their planned length of stay and crew occupancy. It's honestly pretty fast, as the Chapter reps hang out at the docks. The water is dark with oil and waste, and small rowboats crewed by children serve as taxis between ships for a small fee. Shops and stalls clog the dock walkways and the warehouse streets, and just off the main drag you can easily find taverns and gambling halls as well as more permanent shops.

Le Gros Vert is the most prominent gambler's hall in Sunrise Haven, a mere five minutes from the dock. Its namesake is the stuffed 40-foot crocodile that hangs over the door. The building is two stories tall and bright green, so it's hard to miss. The lower floor is for dice and card games, while the upper floor is used to watch and bet on boat races in the harbor. Behind the building is a boxing ring, in which fighters can pay a small fee to fight and try to win big. Betting on fights is also popular, with many having a favorite regular contestant whom they will buy drinks or food for when they get a chance. The owner is a Montaigne woman, Madame Murmur, who forbids all weapons in her hall, enforced extremely harshly. She has a reputation for never, ever losing, and it's said she won the hall in a game of cards, bluffing until the former owner had nothing left to bet at all - even his own home. She has remained owner despite regular challenges to cards or dice with the hall on the line.

The Brown Hall is in the Hook, named for its dark stones and darkened wood. Once, it was the prison chapel, and it's one of the few prison structures left intact. It is an octagonal building with three entrances and enough space inside to hold all residents of the Northern Arc. The benches have been removed, but the high windows and thick wooden shutters have not. Allende uses the Hall for meetings with the Chapter heads and to run elections. During election time, it is open to anyone running for office to make speeches at or campaign. For the rest of the year, the Hall is used to host public meetings or stage votes by the five Chapter heads. The Chapter symbols have been painted on the floor, and traditionally anyone voicing an issue stands on the most related symbol. Typically no more than one of these meetings happens per year and most heads treat it as a farce. The rest of the time, it goes unused. Allende encourages meetings, but getting folks to attend is ever harder. The best she can usually manage is public meetings with the Thean diplomats on the island.

The Free Balconies is the largest inn on the central isle, facing Sunrise Harbor and next to the Brown Hall. It was once a barracks and visitor house, and it's made of really nice wood, with one balcony facing each cardinal direction to catch the wind and keep the rooms cool. It has rope bridges to the Northern and Southern Arcs and a great view. It is extremely expensive and well-guarded by the City Watch, who pass it four times a day on patrol and often stop in for a chat. The owner, a fat and balding Avalon named Roger Gould, pays them to stop by often and offers them free drinks when off duty. The Guard is unaware that Gould runs as much illegal business out of the Balconies as he can, with his friendly policies towards them being an effort to keep them out of his inn when they look for criminals. Some suspect he's up to no good, but no one has yet been able to prove his kindness isn't genuine.

Jacob's Ladder is the largest tidal rope bridge maintained by the Tentacle, made to go from the Hook to the southern island, where msot Buccaneers make their actual homes. It is also used for illegal boarding of ships during high tide, in blatant violation of Tentacle procedure, which has meant that no matter who runs the Tentacle, traffic in and out is actually nearly impossible to police. West of the Hook is Deadlight's Island, one of the main strongholds of the Watch. It is used to store weapons and hold meetings, to avoid exposing their secrets to normal civilians. Allende has granted the Watch total control of the island and its comings and goings, but recently residents have complained of strange lights and noises coming from it in the middle of the night. The Watch denies all such reports.

Next time: South Side

Ghost Leviathan
Mar 2, 2017

Exploration is ill-advised




RPG writers and players having a grudge against organised religion isn't exactly surprising or unjustified.

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





Ghost Leviathan posted:

RPG writers and players having a grudge against organised religion isn't exactly surprising or unjustified.

I'm honestly not getting why a 'religion of the mysteries' take on the Greek Pantheon is particularly antireligious. Plato and similar philosophers absolutely suggested that the gods were patterns and ideas for human life, which were divine by reason of their meaning. In fact you can find Hindu traditions that say something similar. None of them would disavow the existence of powers or entities with similar natures, just that the particular anthropomorphic way we think about them aren't truly accurate.

The specifically humanist mode here might be new, but that's actually a pretty cool way to make the Dodecatheon relevant to a Renaissance Europe game with Renaissance ideologies.

potatocubed
Jul 26, 2012

*rathian noises*


Alien Rope Burn posted:

We get very brief glimpses at his gang, and I'll just give the names: "Red Mad"

Now all I can imagine is a supervillain who is eternally Nude Online.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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7th Sea 2 - Pirate Nations: Southlands

The Southern Arc is a much greener place than the Northern, full of jungle and fields and beaches, with a shallow bay in its inner crescent. Most of the Buccaneers live here, with the level land and cool breezes. Jenny's Jungle is the largest feature of the island. It's not an official name, but has gotten onto maps by virtue of there being no official name. It is rumored to have artifacts and ruins, but has a tendency to complicate any search for them more than it's worth...hence the name, as it is a jungle of ill repute. Deep within the jungle are, in fact, Syrne ruins. The stones used to build them could not possibly have been quarried on the island, and the Vaticine was never able to figure out hwo they were put together. There is only one formal entrance, but a collapsed wall has created a second. It consists of three rooms that lead to a central chamber with a dried out well. Few know of the ruins, much less how to get to them. These were the key to Cardinal Ordunez' control of the Creature, but he removed all artifacts and tablets he found, leaving only the ruin itself. Every so often, someone finds them and attempts to enter the well to find what lies below. So far, no one has ever found the bottom of the well, and each returns with rumors of a ghost in the ruins. It isn't actually that hard to find a map leading to them, but no one expects much to come out of any expedition any more.

St. Renee's Chapel is named for one of the several Vaticine patron saints of orphans. It is the only church still standing in La Bucca, with the rest having been dismantled for materials. It's small and some distance from the southern harbor, off the main track, but the view from it is amazing. Its only priest is Sister Scarlett O'Donoghue, known to the locals as Sister Scotty. She is in fact the only Vaticine priest still on the island - all the others that came with Cardinal Ordunez when he returned were driven off. While she's rather laconic, she is dedicated to saving the souls of the island, doing her best for any who visit. She's no fool, and the last to try and steal from her got his arm broken and the rest of him beat to hell and back for his troubles. She avoids the Mother, though she leaves the door open to any children that want a lesson or a meal. The chapel is often visited by various ambassadors as a sort of reminder of home. The Montaigne ambassador, Anaelle Cabot, lives right nearby and while she's not very devout, she finds Sister Scotty an inspiration and shows up to help regularly.

Sunset Haven is the bay-side part of the Southern Arc, facing north. Its harbor has room for nearly 40 ships, but the waters are shallow by comparison, so larger vessels must dock at Sunrise Haven. Typically, Sunset is used for passenger vessels and small cargo ships, plus the personal fishing ships and pirate vessels that make their home at La Bucca. Sunset's docks are more industrial than Sunrise's, and only merchants that cater specifically to ships tend to set up shop there - though the main shipwrights and building contractors have. Sunset tends to feel less festive and more dangerous than its northern counterpart.

Shanty Town, aka the Maze, is a labyrinthine mess that spreads from Sunset Haven all the way to the jungles, and it's the real city of La Bucca. Most locals live there, in a mix of permanent and temporary housing that mesh into a dense maze full of homes, small businesses and civil offices. Buildings often shift overnight as temporary housing is relocated or converted to more permanent structures, and newcomers often get confused. The locals are happy about that - they can charge a fee to get you un-lost. This is no place for tourists, even if the best and most affordable goods are found there. Strangers aren't particularly welcome without a local guide...and not all of the guides are anything more than con artists.

The Betting Barnacle is just beyond the Sunset Haven docks, and it's the gambling hall for the locals. It's lively, but lacks Le Gros Vert's high stakes games. Instead, it is the preferred hangout of spies and gossips, especially if they want to hire a local for something illegal or unethical. It is also home to the Ambassador Wall. Whenever a new diplomat or ambassador arrives on the island, their name goes on the wall. The locals bet on them - typically over how long they'll last, but some have death pools, sex pools or...well, anything that a bettor will lay money on.

The local tavern of choice is the Yellow Fin, and it's where Allende holds court. She keeps toughs around her for protection and conducts all official business out of the back room. Anyone who seeks her audience can find her there, but the locals are extremely loyal, so rudeness is quite dangerous. Allende tries to avoid violence, but her allies have no such compunctions. Once, a man tried to threaten her with a pistol, and every other customer in the bar - all 47 of them - drew their own weapons on him. No one's entirely sure which shot killed the man, and some whisper that the soul of Billy Bilgewater, the idiot involved, now haunts the isle, cursed to remain. Allende refuses to listen to such rumors, but does put out milk on the doorstep to commemorate his death.

Now we're into NPCs! With Allende being our first one. The truth? She was born Comtesse Marguerite Duchateau of Montaigne, the fifth child of a major noble family...and so without many prospects. She joined the military in the War of the Cross, but grew tired of seeing people fight and die as the nobles discussed fashion, so she began riling up peasant revolts as her unit moved through towns. Eventually, l'Empereur heard about it and decided it'd be best to silence her, but didn't want to martyr her for the revolutionaries. Thus, he had her drugged, kidnapped and shipped off to prison with a hood on her head and strict orders for no one to look at her face. The sergeant called her Allende when he handed her over and that was it. The prison gave her a velvet hood and told her never to remove it. At first, she was a troublemaker, shouting until the guards beat her unconscious, but she soon began to not speak at all. She was held for a year before La Bucca opened up and she was put on the first ship from Montaigne to the island. She refused to speak to anyone until she arrived, where she began restarting her revolutionary ideas. Most of the prisoners, being political ones themselves, were happy to support 'Allende' - the name she'd accepted as her own now - and helped sway the more violent ones. She spoke of freedom and democracy, and it began to appeal, even if the execution's not been great. She's spent a long time hiding her real identity to avoid l'Empereur taking his wrath out on her family, and she refuses to perform official business without her mask to this day. She reveals her face only to those she trusts, and her name to no one if she can help it. The past 30 years have worked mainly on force of personality, but she has a number of detractors now who will happily cause her problems. Few know her true name or associate her with Montaigne at all, and she's gotten rid of her accent. So far, the only person she's sure knows her name is Baron Maisen, and he uses that against her whenever he can. Allenda often comes off as brash and in-your-face, believing she can learn the most from people under pressure. She keeps her distance personally and has no time for small talk, but all the time in the world for people with real concerns. She never meets in public without her mask, and sometimes has her personal assistant, Leanne, wear the mask in her stead and pretend to be her while she listens in secretly. Leanne is well-versed in La Bucca's needs and problems and can play Allende quite well.

The Mother of La Bucca is known only as the Mother. She is always surrounded by children, the orphans of La Bucca, and she loves to help them out. They are both her family now and her spies, the best on the island. She supports Allende presently, though she cares about her kids' safety far, far more than La Bucca and its government. She has been on the island for as long as anyone can remember, but no one is sure if she was a prisoner or where she came from. She never seems to age, and has run the Scale with an iron fist since day one. Her true name was once Sophie-Angelique de l'Ecuyer, an accomplished Porte sorcier...but an accident involving a mirror trapped her in the space between worlds for nearly a century and even she isn't sure how she survived it. One day, she just woke up on the island, inside the Syrneth ruins, with a voice in her head. She remembers making a deal - in exchange for her freedom, she would bring children to the island. That was the price. Since then, she has used Porte to cross Theah, though her Porte is much different than any other. She can go anywhere...but only where she is needed. She hears a child crying out in her blood, and she goes to them. She has taught her children a secret Porte trick, lost to modern sorciers: whispering through the blood. Mother doesn't really know how she got to La Bucca or who she spoke to when she arrived. She hasn't aged in 50 years, and thinks it may be related to her magic or the time she spent trapped. She works to protect the island, and particularly the children she brings there. No one hurts a child without her coming for them. She prefers not to think about why she's bringing them to La Bucca. She speaks rarely, and while Allende doesn't really enjoy her presence or her mothering treatment, she is Allende's biggest current supporter. Many fear her, but she is kind to all she speaks to, even when collecting taxes. She considers herself mother to everyone on the island and acts the part, with no compunction about putting a naughty child in their place. Occasionally, she has flashes of memory of her old life, becoming lost in them for minutes at a time. She may even suddenly begin speaking Montaigne unexpectedly or confuse someone for a person she knew years ago. Los Ninos, as the children she cares for are known, are extremely loyal. Mother helped them when they needed it, after all, and most will never willingly describe how she brought them to the island or why she intervened.

Next time: Baron Maison, the Lehmanns, Lucia and more.

Ghost Leviathan
Mar 2, 2017

Exploration is ill-advised




It's like they've adopted the Creature as a mascot. I'm picturing the Buccaneers selling cutesy merchandise of it.

Tibalt
May 14, 2017

What, drawn, and talk of peace! I hate the word, As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee


So maybe I missed it, but what happened to The Creature? Allende figured out how to make it sleep, so it's still floating around the island, and you just have certain hours where it's safe to go sailing?

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Tibalt posted:

So maybe I missed it, but what happened to The Creature? Allende figured out how to make it sleep, so it's still floating around the island, and you just have certain hours where it's safe to go sailing?

It is currently locked in slumber underneath Port Sacred's waters, until someone manages to awaken it.

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



What about Ordunez? He should know how to wake it, no? He signed on with Allende in the treaty, I'm surprised he hasn't done something. Or did I miss where he lost the artifact?

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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marshmallow creep posted:

What about Ordunez? He should know how to wake it, no? He signed on with Allende in the treaty, I'm surprised he hasn't done something. Or did I miss where he lost the artifact?

About that...

7th Sea 2 - Pirate Nations: And Then There's This rear end in a top hat

Baron Victor Maison is the leader of the Fin and calls himself the most recognized face in La Bucca. He says he has connections in every nation in Theah, can get into any party and can bring as many people as he wants. He deals in information and loves food and wine. He thinks he's the suavest, most charming person on the planet, cultured and popular. Everyone else is pretty sure he's a crude, sleazy rear end in a top hat whose reach exceeds his grasp. Of course, saying so in his presence causes him to go into a vengeful fury. Some wonder why he's tolerated at all, given he's such an oaf, but others realize he really does know things and people. He's an excellent information broker with lots of blackmail material, and for all his bragging, he's not lying when he says he has those connections and abilities. And so far? He's been using them to help La Bucca grow. Commerce relies on his goodwill, and at a word, he could end it and close the ports. He knows it, too. He knows everything - who Allende is, who the Mother is, all the little secrets. His spies are legion, and the grip market was his innovation. His favors are worth more than anyone else's. He actually scares Allende, and she keeps him close so she can at least try to steer him. He sees himself as the true power of the island...and he's not far wrong. His pride is enormous, despite his penchant for malapropism and mispronunciation. He was a Castillian political prisoner, charged with trespassing on noble lands as a spy. (In fact, he just wanted to mingle.) He is actually quite friendly if you can put up with his buffoonery and arrogance...and his vengeful nature and love of blackmail.

Uwe and Greta Lehmann showed up ten years ago as refugees from the War of the Cross. They dismissed the idea of the Creature as madness...until Uwe stumbled into Port Sacred and saw the shadow under the water. He became obsessed with it. Somehow, he learned that Allende could control it and was keeping it asleep. Greta felt her brother's obsession was unhealthy and suggested asking Allende if he could see the Creature, but he wanted to control it, use it as an unstoppable force. Greta was terrified of her brother's mad ambitions, but she agreed to help, for fear of what he'd do if she didn't. For three years, they've been hunting for ways to control the Creature. Greta has tried to focuse Uwe on just taking over the island from Allende, plotting to remove him and rule it herself once he does. Uwe, meanwhile, seeks information anywhere he can. He has no idea that Baron Maison is aware of his actions, and he's nowhere near as subtle as his sister, ending up often having to kill potential witnesses. His body count is growing almost daily. Greta is far more practical, and has been hiding weapons for an uprising. Her problem is that she has few places to privately meet with her coconspirators - she's considered setting up somewhere in Jenny's Jungle, but her last try led to near death from pneumonia. If she can't find one soon, the Watch is likely to find her cache and blow the whole scheme open, or her brother will ruin it for her. She knows she has to get things started soon or it's all going to go out of control. Both she and Uwe hang out at Le Gros Vert. Uwe thinks he's the brains of the pair, but his obsession has made him so lost he can't even see the consequences of his crimes, obsessively reading arcane texts and trying to invent blood rituals. He constantly dreams nightmares of the Creature and will go to any length to control it. He cares for nothing except Greta. Greta cares for Uwe, and is unable to escape from her brother's madness, but refuses to join it. She actually doesn't dislike Allende - she just thinks being in charge will let her get out of her brother's insanity and end his obsession. She has no real idea how far Uwe's gone or what his plans for the Creature might be.

Lucia, Captain of the Guard, is a Fate Witch who's been constantly going from one bad situation to another. She left Vodacce to work for a noble in Castille, until he begged her to marry him. (She's a lesbian and was into his sister, but when she told him that, he banished her from his estate.) So then she went to Eisen, but decided she was sick of working for all these assholes trying to take over, so she left. Eventually she reached Montaigne and worked as a governess for some nobles. She liked her charge, wild as the boy was, but his father managed to gently caress up in Montaigne politics...and rather than take the rap, he sent his heir into political exile, sending the boy to La Bucca. When Lucia found out, she followed, afraid for her charge's safety. There was no sign of the boy when she arrived, however, nor any trace of him in the weave of Fate. Unsure of what to do, she conscripted the Watch into her search for the child. The next year, she ran for and won the captaincy - the first time anyone had challenged an incumbent. Allende fully supported it, and many say that's why Lucia won...but others blame sorcery. Lucia hides her magic, however, to avoid being used by those around her. She still hopes to one day find the boy she came to help, and occasionally still looks for him. Beyond that, she has placed her old life behind her. The Watch is deeply loyal to her, and she doesn't put up with trouble. She likes La Bucca but has learned she has to be heavy-handed to get anything done.

The Ghost is believed to be Billy Bilgewater, mentioned last time. He is said to haunt the jungle ruins mostly, but has been spotted across the island. Most think he's just a myth to scare visitors, but he is not. He's real, if not particularly scary. He appears as a translucent humanoid figure concealed by a hooded cloak. Some say he isn't Billy but the ghost of someone who tried to harm one of Mother's children. He is neither - the ghost is Cardinal Ordunez. After his return, the prisoners wanted him dead, but Allende wouldn't allow it. Instead, she forced him to live in isolation, visiting him to try and gain the knowledge to control the Creature. He refused to help her, assuring her it'd be far better to leave it asleep and out of anyone's control. Eventually, he died of illness, still having revealed nothing. Allende has been unable to find his relics that were used to control the Creature, but is certain he retained them. Ordunez began appearing shortly after Uwe began his research and rituals. He's doing his best to stop Uwe, but he has limited ability to do things, because he's a ghost. He remains devout and sees his undeath as a chance to make things right that he did wrong in life. He wants to regain control of the Creature so he can destroy it, but he has no idea how to do that as a ghost. Until he can find someone willing to destroy it for him, he works to stop anyone from discovering the artifacts and rituals he used to control the Creature. Sometimes he will test people by giving them dangerous jobs to do before he'll speak to them, promising them lore and power. (He can't give that except for teaching how to control the Creature; he wants to see how they'll act and how skilled they are.)

Wynne Lynch is the son of an Inish nobleman, sent to Carleon at a young age to study at the university there. He was ordained by the Vaticine early and joined the Invisible College shortly after, studying the link between Sidhe Glamour and science. Wynne believes the Sidhe are the source of all magic, that they are trying to guide humanity and improve the world. His ideas were beloved by certain philosophical circles, which led to the Inquisition catching him and sending him to La Bucca on false charges to get rid of him. He didn't even get to defend himself. Wynne was crucial in Allende's efforts to control the Creature, and is the central contact on the island for the College at this point. He's been working to pass information on the Syrneth ruins and the Creature back to Theah - and more importantly, he's got a network among the dock regulars to ship scientific research across the globe from his relative position of safety. He is a Glamour Knight who spends most of his time in his lab in the Maze. He has an interest in training young scientists and has a Montaigne girl named Josette as his apprentice. he has not yet realized Josette is a spy for the Inquisition and a possible assassin. He doesn't realize how precarious his position truly is. Allende protects him, but he's not at home around criminals and pirates, and is rather reckless and headstrong in his ideals, which can easily get him into trouble.

Ambassador Maximo Zorita represents Castillian interests on La Bucca. He's very friendly, smiles a lot, and trusts no one. He's a thin, tall man with unkempt black hair and a quickly-growing beard. He's done his best to get in good with the power players, giving out information and work freely to those he thinks he can invest in. No one's entirely sure who he works for in Castille, but he can hand out Letters of Marque to privateers. Even he's not really sure who pays his salary. His contact at court goes by La Miria, the Blackbird, and communicates entirely by sealed letter. She gives him the Letters of Marque and plenty of bribe money, but never tells him why, or who she really is. His free gifting of things is an act to develop a network of agents he can call on, and he's begun to suspect La Miria is herself just a pawn in a larger game - or perhaps a rook, some other chess metaphor - and that this is all part of a plot to help secure Allende's power. The instructions he gets are always well-planned, but he's noticed a pattern over time that has him acting against Allende's enemies and working with her friends when possible. Maximo is sick of all the secrecy, and would happily expend what influence he's got to find out who, exactly, he is working for. He is always in the know and good at avoiding trouble, and he's always fashionable and slick, even when dealing with pirates. His good nature makes many look past his obvious status as a royal spy. He does trust his handlers enough to stay and follow orders, but he fears he's being used as a fool and catspaw. He wants certainty.

Ambassador Annabelle de Vitry is the Montaigne ambassador, in theory as a punishment for an insult she made at court. However, she also has a secret mission entrusted to her by the Comte de la Fontaine. His daughter, Josette, was sent as a political prisoner years ago, and he wanted to know if she still lived. Annabelle took the job with a sense of patriotism and tries to represent Montaigne well, even though no one really cares. She is the longest-serving ambassador so far, and has been working closely with Sister Scotty for three years now. She considers herself the Baron Maison's ally, using him to gather information on the other ambassadors. She suspects that Mother is a sorcier but is too intimidated by her to ask. She is known to be gracious, forthright and cheerful...and she's accomplished her mission. She knows Josette is working with a branch of the Invisible College, and has even joined it herself and used her political power and ties to the Baron to help the group. She remains entirely unaware of Josette's true mission and loyalties. Annabelle is relentlessly positive, regardless of stress, and never insults anyone. She works hard to support the Invisible College and to push Montaigne culture on anyone who's willing to sit still long enough. She loves teaching art and dance, and she actually does care about the Buccaneers, but she knows how fragile her place is and that they still see her as an outsider, even after three years.

Next time: The Atabean Sea

ChaseSP
Mar 25, 2013



Goddamn if a spell that makes your blood boil and explode into a fountain of superheated spell isn't the most warhammer thing I don't know what isn't.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts Dimension Book 4: Skraypers, Part 9: "The most famous and respected Skrayper in the world (Enemy Number One on the Tarlok's list, with the Burning Scythe number two), Victor has become a symbol of nobility, courage, compassion, and hope; a, seemingly, incorruptible power for good."

Skraypers of Note
Time to note all the famous Skraypers that are more famous and accomplished than the ones you'll be playing. :toot:


This is actually the first illustration in the book.

Victor is a 12th level Blhaze alien (the energy super-beings from earlier) who showed up after the Tarlok claimed Seeron, and was become the most famous Skrayper in the world; its Superman, essentially. He mainly wants to help Seeron fight for itself in the same paternalistic sense as the main Blhaze description. He's aware of Scythe's schemes, but apparently just hasn't had the time to worry about them too much.


For those wondering: no, she doesn't actually look like the Blhaze description.

Nebular is another Blhaze alien that's far more ruthless, seeking to drive the Tarlok back to their homeworld. She's supposed to be the morally questionable sort... but given the Tarlok have been demonstrated to be as evil as evil can be, with their torture and dissection farms, so it feels a bit late to try and make killing a bunch of genocidal, baby-eating slavers a moral quandary. But apparently she wiped out a species once... wait, and she's "leaning" towards evil? Man, pay attention to your own alignment system. :rolleyes:


The eye doesn't actually do anything.

Dragon Eye is a veteran hero famous across the world; apparently the fact that he's a Bio-Freak is generally ignored. His name comes from the fact that he looks "dragon-like" - Seeron has dragon legends or dragon visitations, I guess? He's super-strong, invulnerability, can manipulate fire, perform mental attacks, and gets a variety of sensitive psychic powers. He's generically heroic.


Spike Tail. And spike arms. And spike hair.

Then there's Spike Tail, a Bio-Freak who started live as a rebel before going to a "juvenile correctional facility for Bio_Freaks". But he escaped from Control, and most of his family was executed as a result. He joined a gang, but during a robbery-

Rifts Dimension Book 4: Skraypers posted:

When five of his cohorts began roughing up the terrified victims and threatened to rape one of the women, Spike Tail to action prevent it.

That's not a typo- well, not my typo, anyway. It turned out Dragon Eye was watching the scene and helped him out, and mentored him until Spike Tail became his own Skrayper. He "no longer lives for revenge" (did he ever?) and has become the cocky, devil-may-care sort of swashbuckling hero.


The optimal mode of movement.

I think it's pure coincidence that Truk moves like a monkey, not a truck. He's a Seerman genetically modified by the Shertar, and has a bunch of superpowers PC Seerman can't have or roll up, like super-strength, invulnerability, can stick to walls, modest super-speed, and healing factor. He also gets a super-willlpower (one of the few powers that PC Seerman can roll) and some sensitive psychic powers. In any case, he was freed by Victor and has dedicated his life to fighting the Tarlok. He has his own team that includes the following luminaries: Night Tiger, Mad Melbone, and Thrashmaster. However, he's looking for some new recruits, which I guess could be PCs? Personally, I'm looking forward to the fight between Red Mad and Mad Melbone to determine the maddest superhuman around.

Of the above, only Nebular and Spike Tail seem to have any discernable personality, and so having these guys be the baddest ever doesn't really do much but show the player characters up. I mean, if somebody like Victor, Dragon Eye, or Truk had an angle other than "show up and nod sagely at the PCs' efforts", it'd be fine having them be these top-level heroes, but as it is, they feel an awful like like the dreaded "gamemaster player characters". Also they have stupid unrollable stats, but you knew that by now. These are Palladium NPCs.

Also, for all the talk of the rebels having colorful superhero costumes, they all seem to be in regular clothes - except for the aliens. Weird. It's almost as if the artist and writer weren't entirely in sync. But that's a ridiculous notion!

Next: Things to stab player characters with.

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017





Huh. I always assumed that 'Nebular' (for that finest in Masters of the Universe naming conventions) was the Blhaze lady on the cover.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Dawgstar posted:

Huh. I always assumed that 'Nebular' (for that finest in Masters of the Universe naming conventions) was the Blhaze lady on the cover.

There's no description of her appearance, but that's the art that's next to her entry.

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017





Alien Rope Burn posted:

There's no description of her appearance, but that's the art that's next to her entry.

Oh, I don't doubt it at all, I just let what was logical over-write what was Palladium.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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7th Sea 2 - Pirate Nations: MONSTERS MONSTERS MONSTERS

The Atabean Sea is the gateway to Aztlan, known to Theans as the New World. It is surrounded by a large island chain, which is home to the native Rahuri people, who tend to all that lives above and below the waves. Their legends hold that they once lived on the Aztlan mainland, but fled in fear of the wrath of a great god, heading out to the open sea. There, they founded a nation along several islands and made peace with the god. In return for their safety, they swore to tend to the sea and its inhabitants, regardless of what they were. It proved a very dangerous oath, because the Atabean Sea has a second name - a name that is, translated, 'the Sea of Monsters.'

The Rahuri history stretches back as far as anything written, and it is recorded both in legend and in the memory of the ancestral spirits whom the Rahuri call on for guidance. Even spirits have faulty memories, however, and the tales change in the telling. There is no single truth about the Atabean Sea, not at this point. But as it goes, long before any Vaticine existed, the people that became the Rahuri lived on the mainland, deep in what is now called Aztlan. Legends say that they tried to live in peace, but their leaders angered the greatest of Aztlan's protectors, the feathered serpent Apocoatl. They tried to use magic to find more fertile ground, in violation of Apocoatl's desire to keep his people isolated and protected. Thus, they were in danger of eradication by the feathered serpent. Then, a great water spirit came to them, leading them to a river and out into the sea, protecting them from tis dangers. They sailed for days before finding the island chain in the dark sea. There, they made a pact with Apocoatl.

The Rahuri swore that in exchange for their safety, they would become the custodians and protectors of the islands and their waters. They settled the ocean, naming it Atabea in honor of the water spirit that guided them. Over generations, they spread over all the islands, breaking into smaller groups and establishing trade routes. As they traveled, the spirit Atabea stayed with them, taking on a new name and a new job: Mama Yaya, the sea mother. When other nations arrived, they found a large network of Rahuri villages and tribes, sailing the ocean and expertly harvesting the fish and seaweed for food and trade, but also tracking and killing the larger creatures of the sea. This hunt became the center of their trade and diet, as a sea monster could feed an entire village for an entire season. They would then send the parts to other islands, creating a strong trade network that united the many villages into the united Rahuri Nation. Because of that unity, they controlled the sea for centuries. Smaller nations came, challenged them and fought, but that just kept their settlements shifting and moving. The central network remained, including its main center, the Rahur settlement Naca'an on the northernmost island.

From Naca'an, the Rahur lieaders, called caciques, gathered from the many settlements and chose one cacique to maintain the sea itself, as promised to the feathered serpent. No one knows the date of the first Great Cacique, but records indicate that since the first, there were 20 of them before the first sighting of a Thean ship. The first Theans to arrive in the Sea of Monsters were entirely unprepared. Storms rose from nowhere, reefs seemed invisible, sea creatures attacked in what appeared to be peaceful lagoons, tearing apart even the strongest ship. Others entered the passage now called the Devil's Strait and were never seen again. There are no records on how many Theans reached the Atabean after crossing the Serpent's Sea before the first officially recognized encounter, but tales of ships heading west and finding monsters and danger abound. These stories eventually reached the courts of Castille, who organized a fleet to cross the Serpent's Sea and find, once and for all, what was on the other side. They decided not to sacrifice their own for this, however, and instead supplemented three Castillian naval vessels with three hired privateers. Of the six, only one ever made it back.

Thgree ships were lost to monsters and weather before the Castillians could set aside pride and ask the natives for help. Privateer-explroer Alejandro Dantes and his ship, the Sydonia, made port at Borequen in Primus of 1533, making the first official contact with the Rahuri. While this went without any incident, the early relations were, at best, strained. The Rahuri distrusted the outsiders, a concern inherited from their Aztlan ancestors. Once the Castillians offered fair trade, however, they began to interact more. Castille offered technology and production methods from Theah, which intrigued Borequen's cacique enough to get him to open further negotiations. A meeting was arranged between Captain Dantes and the Grand Cacique at Naca'an in Nonus, 1543, though the Rahuri did send word to neighboring isles in case of treachery.

It is unclear from reports as to whether Castille meant to threaten the Rahuri or to negotiate fairly. It doesn't matter - no one ever found out, because when the Castillians arrived, they found two Montaigne ships (Cyrielle and Le Alexandre) and one Vodacce (Egress) already there. Apparently, word had leaked and the other nations had raced to find their own course. the Vodacce arrived first, led by Enrico Fontana, who made port on the central island Kiskeya, right near Naca'an, while the Montaigne sailed into the heart of the Atabean. Both delegations had taken heavy damage and needed to justify their expenses.Each wanted to open trade immediately, though records show the Vodacce had intended to just take the place over until they met a large and well-armed Rahuri contingent and decided to adjust their approach. The three Thean nations prepared to fight at the heart of the Rahuri nation, overseen by the 21st Great Cacique, Manicato. He ordered them all to sit and negotiate peacefully for travel rights, but...well, they didn't.

No one can say who struck the first blow - one account claims the Vodacce tried to bribe the Grand Cacique, which so offended him that he shut down all negotiations. Another says the Montaignes tried to poison the other two delegtions. Whatever the case, Captain Dantes wrote of being forced from his bed at spearpoint and hurled into the water. The Rahuri had apparently been so offended that they expected the visitors to swim back to their ships in monster-infested water. Most of the explorers never made it. They did, however, begin a massive naval battle against each other. The Castillian ships were unprepared and damaged, and the Montaigne tore them apart. The Egress rammed the Cyrielle, sinking both, and this stirred up the monsters. The Rahuri believe what happened next was just nature. The Sydonia's crew agree that something unnaturally foul came from the depths. Captain Dantes had pulled out of the harbor to escape the Montaigne cannons and turned back to see an immense, tentacled beast erupt from the ocean and tear the other ships apart.

Only the Cyrielle managed to avoid destruction in the harbor as the Rahuri launched their fishing boats to attack the giant squid and rescue survivors. Captain Dantes turned the Sydonia back and helped kill the squid, winning the Grand Cacique's respect. When the waters were again calm, hundreds were dead. The surviving Montaigne ship fled, leaving Dantes to negotiate for Castille. In the night, he met with the survivors of the Montaigne and Vodacce crews, who told him of deceit and treachery. Then, one of his own crew came forward, showing him a letter from the Castillian royalty. It revealed that man as a spy, sent to watch Dantes and, if necessary, "deal with the Captain in any manner necessary to ensure Castille's interests." Dantes, of course, was outraged. Rather than negotiate for Castille, he chose to negotiate on behalf of pirates and privateers everywhere, establishing an outpost on Borequen to serve as a Thean trade and travel hub. The settlement would be Castillian only nominally, controlled by a governor that had to be approved of by the Rahuri and entirely independent of official Thean influences.

Naturally, the Castillian diplomats were furious, but Dantes' heroism had earned him the respect needed to seal trade deals, and so he took them back out to sea, handed them to the first Castillian ship he saw, and returned to the Atabean. He never left it again, and lived out his life as the first governor of the settlement San Sancha, and was known to the Rahuri people as their forever friend. Later accounts from the Rahuri revealed that Dantes' actions had confused them very much. They had no idea how one people could be at war with themselves so, or why there was all this mistrust if they all came from one place, or what they intended. And, of course, that wasn't where things ended. Dantes and his crew spent time at Naca'an, explaining the realities of Theah, the many cultures and politics there. He taught many Rahuri to read and write in Old Thean, Avalon and other common languages, in anticipation of the next wave of delegates and diplomats. When they did come, the Rahuri were prepared, with a much deeper understanding of their politics and the history of the Vaticine. Thus, the Grand Cacique gathered the delegates at a high mountain village for a grand summit on harmony between Theah and the Rahuri.

For a full day, the Grand Cacique listened to explanations on anything from trade to religion to economics, from trade delegates to pirates to diplomats - any who presented themselves. And then the sun went down and red moon rose, and the Great Cacique laid out the laws of trade that he'd accept. This became known as the Declaration of the Ris Moon. The Rahuri would allow trade outposts, but would favor organizations and privateers over governments. There would be no other rulers in their waters but the caciques and their gods. Any attmept to change this owuld result in devastation for all Theans in the Atabean Sea. Since then, it's been hard for Thean governments to establish any permanent settlements. Only three large cities have ben made, and each time only with grudging acceptance from the Rahuri. The first, San Sancha, was ruled by Dantes until he abdicated and returned to piracy after the arrival of Castillian authorities in 1574. The second, Fortunato, was founded by the Vodacce in 1561, but after a fight, they were cast out and the port is now controlled by the Rahuri. The last major settlement is Sylviette, a Montaigne colony meant to bring the height of culture to the Atabean.

Tensions grow between Thean and Rahuri with each new ship and each now piece of ground taken. In recent years, they've had to cede many smaller islands to their neighbors or to Thean settlers or private interests. However, whenever the Rahuri pull out of a place, those who remain note a significant rise in attacks by sea monsters. Rahuri fishers are often hired to stay in "foreign" waters in the hopes of keeping the monsters at bay. It's worth it, many felt, to get access to the valuable exports. Sugar is the most common, but they also produce rum, molasses, indigo, coffee, tobacco, hemp and bananas. Gold, silver and bauxite are also exported, along with "whale oil" (read: opils extracted from the blubber of larger ocean monsters) and ambergris.

Thean respect for the Rahuri seamen remained until the coming of the Atabean Trading Company, which marked the beginning of the end for Rahuri control of most of the Atabean Sea. Their fleet insinuated itself into many ports as a trade partner and economic power. It wasn't long until they drove out smaller merchant groups, forcing most fleets to work with them or with no one. They then, having secured their powerbase, began imprisoning and enslaving native populations - particularly the Rahuri. Thousands were put in chains by the Company, who then brought in Theans to the cleared-out land and sold the slaves to them to tend it. Many Rahuri soon found themselves slaves in what had once been their own homes. The Great Cacique demanded that Thean diplomats act, reminding them of his promised doom, but each nation disclaims any responsibility for the ATC's actions. They also consider it far out of their jurisdiction, as an entity that is not of any nation but is funded, supplied and maintained by private citizens that live half a world away.

The Rahuri now cling to their three central islands by means of their indubitably dangerous fleet, but the Atabean is more and more Thean thanks to the Company. This is also quite dangerous for any local independent pirates, who must now face the Company's fleet and their influential friends back home. However, with the political danger comes monstrous danger, as the Sea of Monsters grows rougher and more unpredictable. The Rahuri have a special role in maintaining the ecological balance of monsters, and the loss of so many of them threatens to destroy that balance forever. The Company doesn't care - they can afford to lsoe a few ships in the name of profit.

Next time: The Rahuri

The Deleter
May 22, 2010


Skrayper is a really bad name. I'm sure I'm late to the party on this but that was the first thing that jumped out at me.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


The Deleter posted:

Skrayper is a really bad name. I'm sure I'm late to the party on this but that was the first thing that jumped out at me.

This book is just buried in silly names like "Bloodchief" or "Mad Melbone". It says something that I didn't notice that I mistyped "Thrashmaster" as "Trashmaster" until right before I posted, because it's entirely believable. I'm still not sure which name is actually worse.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




Trashmasters are the garbage trucks in Grand Theft Auto games.

Wrestlepig
Feb 25, 2011

my mum says im cool



Toilet Rascal



The Spirit Realm
The chapter on becoming a Shaman is above this in the book, but most of the mechanics of spirits are in this one, and I found myself saying ďwait how does that actually workĒ a lot of the time when reading about shamans, so in the interest of clarity Iím breaking the sequence. Everything natural has a spirit, whether itís an animal or a lake. When the spirit and corporeal form are separated, it dies. There are also a lot of spirits that donít have a physical equivalent, called Discorporate spirits. Mechanically, they only have POW, CHA and sometimes INT, and can detect anything with POW within a limited range. The ones you encounter normally will have their own passions and motivations. You might meet the ghost of a king who wants his tomb fixed, or a Fire Spirit that loves to burn things. The most basic form of cutting a deal with spirits is to offer a Magic Point for each point of POW they have, and theyíll always act consistently with their Passions. You can also bind spirits into objects or animals, and use them as fuel or access their spells.

If you end up fighting with a Spirit, youíll mostly be using Spirit Combat. Itís used when two spirits are fighting, or a corporeal being is fighting with a spirit, or two casters Discorporate and have crazy spirit fights. Mechanically its opposed Spirit Combat checks, and you canít do anything on the corporeal plane unless you succeed on an Intelligence check. Spirit Combat deals damage to Magic Points rather than HP, with the amount based off your POW+CHA with some bonuses for being a Shaman. If a spirit gets to 0, a Shaman can take control of it, and anyone can force the spirit to teach it a magic spell.

If you arenít good at Spirit Fights, you can damage spirits with magic or enchanted weapons, although buff spells only deal the magical part of the damage, and thereís a spell called Distraction that forces spirits to engage with the caster, so your shaman can save you. Magic armour also defends with the magical part.

If a Spirit wins in Spirit Combat, it can Possess a corporeal victim and takes control. It replaces the victimís INT and POW, has their baseline for skills and canít recover magic points or heal. Itís not a bad deal if itís an animal but it canít really take over a person and be as powerful. Thereís an option for covert possession, which doesnít take control but has effects depending on the spirit. This is what youíd use for hauntings and diseases.

The Spirit World is a strange, subjective place full of life and beauty, but occasionally nightmares and horror. It doesnít really follow regular geography or anything when youíre there. When youíre exploring there, you tend to start at your Inner Region, which is defined by your traditions and culture. A Praxian shaman is going to see a lush plain with plenty of their herd animal, for example. The further you branch out from there, the weirder and more indistinct it gets, with overlapping and shifting locations and strange spirits. It does have a symbolic overlap with the material world, and sometimes there are doorways between them, where you can push through the realms easier.


dont go looking for spirits in battlefields that had lots of lunar magic and chaos though

If a Shaman wants to track down something in the Spirit World, probably a specific spirit, they have to test their Spirit Travel skill. This gets modified by how powerful the spirit is, or whether youíre in a place thatís appropriate to the spirit, like ghosts in a graveyard.
There are also special Spirit Cults that worship a particular spirit a lot like a Rune Cult. They donít really offer rune magic on the level of the Gods and use Shamans instead of Priests, but thereís often some good stuff on offer and itís not a big investment. There are a couple of examples: The Black Fang Brotherhood, which is a criminal syndicate offering the very useful spells of Invisibility, Shatter and Shield, and Oakfed the fire spirit gives access to summoning Fire Elementals and creating Wildfire. The writeup feels designed for players to found their own, which would be interesting.

Next Time:Shamans kick rear end

Wrestlepig fucked around with this message at 23:46 on Jun 29, 2018

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.


If I ever get a chance to play 7th Sea 2E (doubtful), I'll make a Sarmation Rilasciare named Slavoj éiěek.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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7th Sea 2 - Pirate Nations: We speak for the sea.

The Rahuri are the primary native population around the Atabean. They fled from the Aztlan mainland when their ancient leader, Locuo, angered the storm serpent Apocoatl by believing he could harness the power of the earth instead of relying on Apocoatl. He had, after all, been descended from a god himself, and legend says he created such terrible earthquakes that he ripped up enough land to piss off Apocoatl. The entire Rahuri nation would have been punished if the water spirit called Mama Yaya hadn't intervened to lead them into the Atabean Sea and make their deal with Apocoatl to become the sea's protectors and custodians for all of time. The Rahuri all claim descent from this single group of settlers, but their society is now spread out into villages over thousands of miles of water. The islands they live on consist of three large islands and many smaller ones.

Borequen is the island on the easternmost side of Rahuri territory and is the first stop for most Thean ships in the Atabean. The Borequen Rahuri are hearty and have integrated much from Thean visitors, particularly the Castillians. They now split their time betwen hunting the monsters of the Atabean and heading east, to the Serpent's Sea, to explore the lands that Theans come from. Borequen is densely populated and often raided by slavers, with fishers returning to find their villages razed and their families enslaved. The Borequen are thus the most vocal against the Atabean Trading Company their slaving. The term 'boriqua,' the common word for a Rahuri warrior, comes from the island's name, even if many boriquas aren't actually from there.

Kiskeya lies at the center of the Rahuri waters and is home to the Grand Cacique in Naca'an. It is a wild island, full of jungle as well as villages, and its central city faces out into a large bay on the shore. It is a monument to Rahuri culture, its main hall, the Great Bohio (or Roundhouse), is a huge structure made of carved wood said to be from the first Rahuri boats that made landfall. Here, Great Cacique Jibaro, lineal descendant of Manicato, rules as the maintainer of the bargain with Apocoatl and the keeper of the Rahuri peace. He is a strong, spiritual man with deep ties to his ancestors. The Kiskeya Rahuri are usually concerned with history, and have many storytellers and historian-elders. They view the ancient pact and their duty not as historic, but as very present.

Yamaka is the oldest Rahuri settlement, on the western edge of the Atabean Sea. It was here that they first landed after leaving Aztlan, and the mainland influences can still be found in the forests of Yamaka. The Yamaka Rahuri tend to be the most isolationist of the major groups, focused on maintaining their traditions and culture against outsiders. They are aggressive about borders, and their warriors often patrol the Sea to defend their people. They watch not only the Theans but the people of Aztlan, who often raid them. They also keep an eye out for signs of Apocoatl becoming angry at them once more, and prepare for the possibility of that day by training to be the greatest warriors.

The Rahuri believed that as long as they upheld their duty, they would rule over the Atabean. It kept their islands united for generations. However, the destruction of so many villages by slavers and the raids of their neighbors has destabilized their society, and now, they are arguing amongst themselves. The leaders, after all, still deal with the Theans and even the ATC despite their slaving. The caciques mainly negotiate with the ATC out of fear of open war, but the Rahuri are growing tired of waiting while their people are taken and their islands are stolen. A resistance, the Riroco, has come together to stop slavers and slave-owners, wherever they may be. So far, their activities are limited by numbers and equipment, so they can't just assault the Company. The negotiators try to stop the slave trade peacefully, but the Company has been ruthlessly hunting the Riroco and destroying any strongholds they can find. Without support and arms, they may be destroyed before they can really make a difference. However, the Rahuri have magic that may help them turn the tide - the power to bring their ancestors back to help.

Way back when the deal was made, Apocoatl created a home for the ancestral spirits of the Rahuri within the Sea of Monsters: Soryana. It is an island that exists mostly in the land of the dead, but a living sailor can find it if they look hard enough. The Rahuri had always revered their ancestors, and they believe that those who die merely go to "the other side of the island", waitig to be called on. If they need aid, they may ask their ancestors for advice, or even journey to Soryana and bring them back to help for whatever issue - monsters, slavers, sure. The process is always the same. First, you find a bohiti, a pathfinder, to take you to Soryana via a natural gate, usually found underground or in caves. From there, you and they must find and ask your ancestor spirit for help. If the spirit agrees, you then go before Locuo, King of Soryana, and convince him that the spirit is needed. If Locuo agrees, the spirit can leave Soryana for the length of time needed to do the task, or until the time Locuo says they must return by, whichever comes first. If the spirit tries to stay past that time, they go insane, becoming one of the Mabuya, the Lost, ravening ghosts that float across the ocean hunting for souls to drag into the depths.

Rahuri magic can be very startling for outsiders, who aren't used to glowing green ghosts being around. To the Rahuri, though, drawing forth a spirit is a simple and well-known task. The Rahuri as for ancestral advice or assistance for all kinds of important jobs, or even just to teach the young their future professions. Tiny frogs, called coqui, are the messengers of the dead. Jungles around Rahuri villages tend to be full of the things, which chirp in a sort of high whistle. If a spirit needs to send a message, a coqui will find the recipient and whisper the message to them. This is the only time coqui speak rather than chirping. They tend to hang around pockets of land that connect to Soryana and thus are good places to speak to the ancestors. Generations of Rahuri typically write the names of their dead ancestors on the walls and offer up sacrifices. Once you find the name of your ancestor, you put an offering of fresh water out and attempt contact. If the dead wants to talk, you then speak to them. Beyond the name caves, you find the entrances to Soryana, the other side of the island, where the dead live in villages that very much resemble living ones. They wait to be called on there, ready to help the Rahuri.

Among the peoples of the Atabean, the Rahuri are considered worm and friendly, as long as you respect their authority over the sea. Once a visitor proves trustworthy, the Rahuri share freely with them and include them in all aspects of village life, including monster hunts. Intermarriage is common, though if you remain in the community you are expected to raise any childred with strict adherence to Rahuri beliefs. Among Rahuri, you typically find multiple generations under one roof. Families are egalitarian and may be led by men or women, with the head of household being the wisest and most able to provide. Marriage is negotiated between families but requires consent from both parties. Same-sex couples are not unusual and are given full equality. Rahuri clothing and possessions are typically made from sea salvage. Their weapons and furniture are often bone, their candles made of whale fat, their clothes made of skins. Children are considered to become adult between the ages of 12 and 14, when they go on their first hunt. Traditionally, they are to bring back pieces of the kill to make into weapons and jewelry to gift to their relatives as thanks for their childhood.

After the first hunt, a Rahuri youth is considered a legal adult and may speak at gatherings and make their own decisions. Weddings, however, are not performed until they have settled down and learned a trade. The Rahuri language, Taiya, is the common tongue of the Atabean and has made inroads as a trade tongue for pirates and colonists around the Sea. The Rahuri also maintain a deep spiritual heritage tying back to their time on the mainland. They believe Mama Yaya led them safely to their new home, and it was her who forged the pact with Apocoatl and helped to create Soryana. They venerate her and numerous other spirits of water, air and other elements, which are her children, as are the giant, sentient monsters of the sea. Mama Yaya's symbol is the turtle, and her main children are the lobster, dolphin, shark and seagull. The Rahuri do not consider their belief in spirits to be faith, but rather common sense - after all, they see the dead walk and help the tribe, so why not other spirits? Priests and holy leaders are not masters of the unknown, but rather leaders that guide the people in service to the sea. They teach that the magic of the dead is a gift, not to be feared or venerated, but used as a tool to help the people. It serves the tribe, and must never be used selfishly, or else the spirits will be corrupted.

The Rahuri practical approach to magic and spirits has led to conflict with Vaticine missionaries. The Rahuri see the Vaticine focus on science and hatred of magic as a denial of a power that manifestly exists, and they question if the Church is more about control than belief. However, their societal politeness and desire to keep the peace have allowed the Vaticine priests ot build churches across the Atabean, and some Rahuri have grown curious. Converts tend to be seen as confused by other Rahuri, who laugh at them and wonder why they'd turn against their traditions.

Rahuri politics require an organized structure in order to maintain the Rahuri culture across so many islands. They are united not just by language and religion, but by the leadership zstructure of the caciques. Every settlement, even the smallest, has its own structure that answers to the central authority of the Rahuri Nation. They gather under a single cacique, whose job is to protect the community, listen to requests for aid, officiate ceremonies, mediate disputes and serve as judge. The cacique is a leader in both war and peace, and is in charge of initiations of the youth and approving those who wish to visit Soryana and bring back an ancestor. A cacique remains in office to death or until a challenger proves to be a better alternative before all adults in the tribe. When a cacique dies, a number of successors are chosen based on deeds, then selected by vote of all adults, who are advised by the ancestors that choose to get involved. These successors are often advisors or children to the last cacique, but that isn't guaranteed. The Rahuri require children of caciques prove themselves even more than others, as they are wary of dynasties.

An island may have multiple caciques - one for each settlement. Each answers to the Great Cacique in Naca'an, typically by sending an ambassador to live there and sit on the Council of Renown. These ambassadors negotiate on behalf of their settlements and resolve intertribal disputes. Diplomacy is a key virtue for the Rahuri, who wish to remain united, and they see war between villages a failure for all involved. Rahuri law is also fairly simple. A household must maintain order over its people, animals and property. A trespass must be negotiated based on what is best for the tribe. If two households cannot agree, the cacique steps in to negotiate. There aren't many formal penal codes. Theft or harm of property is usually repaid with money or debt service. A Rahuri that is violent to another is punished by having to serve the Great Cacique or the village, under careful watch by guards, with length of service based on severity of injury.

Murder's a bit more complex. A murderer must pay his victim's family, but also take a trip to Soryana and beg the victim's forgiveness. The victim then accompanies them on a task to serve the entire tribe - usually harrowing and often deadly to the murderer. If they are successful, they are made part of society again.If they fail, they are forever banished from the tribe. Mass murderers are executed by the cacique via drowning and being fed to the monsters, and then by having Locuo destroy their soul.

Next time: Important People and Monsters

Deptfordx
Dec 23, 2013



Night10194 posted:

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: Realms of Socrery

Life's End is a CN 31 spell (so insanely hard to cast unless you're Channeling and using the ingredient, the preserved eyeball of a beheaded murderer) but it 'only' takes a single Full Action and causes a WP vs. WP test between you and the target.

The whole ingredients thing is thematically interesting, but suffers from the usual problem with such a game mechanic. They tend to be either trivially easy to aquire, or as in this case crazy difficult. For something that adds only a similar bonus to channeling.

I ended up abstracting it almost immediately. If you spend coin/time in a location you can make a appropriate skill check to find some crystals/coin/4-leaf clover/etc that is thematically appropriate to your lore that will aid your magic one time. Or kill a powerful foe, that Orc's tusk, pommel of that sword, lock of mane has picked up a trace of useful magic.

Kind of like Vis from Ars Magica, but less powerful. Expend it to get an ingredients bonus for that spell.

Deptfordx fucked around with this message at 08:24 on Jun 30, 2018

Ghost Leviathan
Mar 2, 2017

Exploration is ill-advised




This all seems like a setup for an adventure learning how to command the Creature, give it an ironically cutesy name and take it for a joyride.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts Dimension Book 4: Skraypers, Part 10: "Tarlok weapon bonuses never apply to anybody except the Tarlok (requires strength and training)."

Yes, even though it's a game where most of your fighting is done with eyebeams or falcon punches, we still get-

Weapons & Technology

but mostly just weapons


Practical weapons.

So we get "Tarlok Energy Melee Weapons" first, which are all so big anybody without massive super-strength can't use them without penalties (though apparently they make downsized versions for minions with reduced damage), and non-Tarlok get none of their bonuses. Almost all of them can do mega-damage or shoot blasts of non-denominational energy. The Tarlok Energy War Club is the only one that really feels unique, since it has a built-in taser that inflicts horrendous combat penalities for a good minute or so. The Byomer-Axe is a vibro-weapon that can't shoot blasts but gets the highest combat bonuses, and the Tarlok Battlecleaver does the most damage. Other than that, there's nothing particularly exceptional about the Tarlok Energy Beaked Axe, Tarlok Energy Mace "Skullbasher", Tarlok Energy Short Sword, Tarlok Energy Dread Axe, Tarlok Energy Spear, Tarlok Energy Death Pike, and the Tarlok Slayzer. They do different damage values, but the first three weapons are the only ones you ever need to choose between.


You can tell the alien weapons by the fact you could accidentally stab yourself with them.

Next up are "Guns, Rifles, & Cannons" - specifically Tarlok ones, though that isn't in the header. The Tarlok Tranquilizer Gun knocks you out on a failed save, but if your Physical Endurance is high you just get horrendous penalties. Completely unclear as to whether or not it can affect mega-damage targets. The Tarlok Ripper Pistol and Tarlok Tri-Blaster do modest damage, though the pistol has a bayonet with no damage value. The Tarlok Sidewinder Plasma Cannon is the only one you're like to actually use, though, since it does 1d6 x 10 damage, a far cry from the 4d6 you might get from a pistol or the 6d6 from a battlecleaver.

We get only one suit of armor, the Loksuit Power Armor, because it's used by TarLoks, get it- it's basically a really heavy suit of armor (115 M.D.C., with a 230 M.D.C. variant that has no balancing drawbacks) that doubles as a spacesuit. It also has a built-in vibro-sword, lasers, and grappling hook, but all of those are weapons of desperation at best.


Oh, did you spend a power slot on shooting lasers? Sorry, you could've just bought one.

"Seeronian Weapons" are generic and unexceptional if you've ever seen a Rifts weapon section. The Seer-10 Ion Blaster, Seer-15 Laser Mini-Pistol, Seer-100 Dual Pulse Rifle, and the Seer-230 Shattergun all do thoroughly average damage for their given weapon types, leaning towards the lower end to reflect their lower technology level compared to the Tarlok. The SR-05 Sub-Machinegun is "used by the rebel forces" for some reason even though it doesn't do mega-damage and can only tickle Tarloks. The Seer-200 Double-Rifle is the only one to really use, though, at 1d4 x 10 mega-damage.


If it flies and has no wheels, is it still a car?

A variety of flying cars round out "Vehicles". There's the Seeron Urban Assault Car (240 M.D.C.) which apparently was used by the police and now by Control - it has lasers and mini-missiles, and can fly at 320 MPH. The Aerial Road Slider (190 M.D.C.) is a civilian car that goes about 150 MPH, ho hum. The Tarlok Annihilator (350 M.D.C.) is a transatmospheric fighter that goes up to MACH 5 and has lasers and mini-missiles. The Tarlok Killship (600 M.D.C.) is the tanky version of the Annihilator that goes up to MACH 6, but gives a penalty on skill rolls with it. It has more powerful lasers, mini-missiles, and medium or long-range missiles in case you need to provide intercontinental fire support to bombard the PCs with. Sure, makes sense.


How much more exciting would Star Wars have been if tie fighters took 20 shots to kill? Twenty times as exciting, I'll bet.

It bears mentioning that there are no alterations to the damage values to cope with the fact that the average character is going to be much more durable in this setting, due to the addition of powers. Did I mention the average Tarlok (going by the average age of 200 years and 8th level from the tables provided) has 520+ M.D.C.? Man, I already thought fighting Coalition soldiers with 90 M.D.C. body armor was sloggy, but an armored Tarlok warrior (not the kind you can play, which are way weaker, of course) will have 600-700+ M.D.C.! That's verging on Glitter Boy or Invulnerable superhero levels of durability, and is nearly unplayable in terms of actual repeated conflict. If you're firing a Seeronian Double-Rifle, it's going to take about 20 to 30 successful hits to bring down a Tarlok. Even if you're equivalent (8th) level and can shoot lasers from your hands, you can only do about 10d6 damage, which means it'll still take 15-20 blasts to bring down one of these baddies. It's exceedingly bad design, making players have to rely solely on dirty tricks like gravity manipulation or status effects to win fights. Doctor Laserhands is way, way better off blinding his Tarlok foes than actually trying to hurt them, and that's a real problem.

But this setting is full of problems. This is just one more.

Next: The writer remembers to make this a Rifts book.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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7th Sea 2 - Pirate Nations: Whaling On The Moon

Great Cacique Jibaro is the grandson of Manicato, the cacique who made the first pacts with the Thean. He is nearly 70 and has been Great Cacique since the age of 14. Under his rule, the Rahuri have prospered, but the Atabean Trading Company has overrun much of their territory. Jibaro works hard to keep control and maintain peace, but with so many caciques near open revolt, he believes he has been too lenient with the Theans for too long. He intended to step down and name his granddaughter Tanama as his successor, but she ran off to lead the Riroco against the Company, and so he has no protege. He struggles now, in his old age, trying to save his people and find someone to carry on his legacy.

Tanama is the granddaughter of Jibaro and had been his presumptive heir when he thought he was dying. She was raised on Borequen and has been educated by both Rahuri and Castillian teachers. She and her wife, Risa, have raising two daughters. Tanama left for Naca'an to prepare to take the throne...but when she did, her village was attacked and Risa and her children were captured. Tanama was infuriated and demanded the caciques bring justice against the slavers. They proved no help, so she turned her back on the throne and took her fastest ship, the Tiburon, out to sea with anyone that would help. This was the birth of the Riroco. Tanama has become the glue that holds the guerillas together, leading them in the hope of saving her people and her family.

Yuke Merritt is one of the most famous navigators and monster hunters in the Sea of Monsters. He is the son of an Avalon pirate and his Rahuri wife, and was named for the white beaches he was raised on. He grew up watching his father go out to sea in his ship, the White Sands, coming back with tales of the monsters the Rahuri slew. One day, however, his father didn't return. Yuke and his mother found the White Sands nearly destroyed at the entrance to Devil's Strait, and the Rahuri salvaged the vessel and gave it to Yuke, who used it and its surviving crew to find the sea serpent that slew his father and kill it. Truthfully, it was essentially luck, but the kill built his reputation, and soon people were coming from all over to hire Captain Merritt of the White Sands to help solve monster problems.

Those problems are, in fact, everywhere. The Atabean is full of giant eels, whales, squid and sharks - and that's just the normal animals. There's far weirder things down there. Rahuri legend says that these monsters are the food of the feathered serpent Apocoatl, and they cull the ocean so he can come and eat at any time he wants. Everyone else just shrugs and says they're monsters. Pretty much all sea life in the Atabean is larger than normal and more dangerous. Fish and even normally gentle creatures are big and generally aggressive, while the predators are insanely large, often able to drag down whole ships. The sea is also far deeper than might be expected - it's clear near the shores, letting you spot trouble, but once you get out into deep water, it becomes dark and hides monsters well. The sheer size of the sea creatures does, however, make for excellent fishing. The fishers use long and sturdy nets to pull up fish, crabs and eels as large as a man - or more. One catch could feed a dozen people. Fishing on the Atabean is dangerous, though, given the other creatures around. The Rahuri deeply respect fisherfolk and sailors as warriors and providers. Anyone that chooses to go out and hunt monsters is doing the will of the gods. Theans on the sea know that anyone who faces down these creatures is worth a free drink and a prayer - many who go out never return. Funerals with a body are rare, and the sailors and fishers consider lost limbs a badge of honor - distressingly common one.

Besides the sharks, eels and squid, there are unnatural beasts in the waters. Sailors have spoken of sharks with massive tentacles, able to pull entire ships into their mouths, or of whirlpools that come from nowhere and pull down a ship, then disappear. Some nights they hear voices singing, or speaking to them in the voices of their relative,s calling them to jump overboard. Most sailors know - they probably won't survive. Those who do, however, become wealthy beyond measure by slaying monsters and selling the bits. Monsters are the lifeblood of the Atabean, and almost every local industry involves hunting, processing and selling their parts. When the Theans came, they were amazed at how the Rahuri used every part of the creatures in their lives, and they began to export whalebone, eelskin, giant fish - all kinds of stuff. An entire trade grew out of what is now called 'extreme whaling.' it's easy to spot a ship preparing for a hunt. By tradition and pragmatism, each has at least one Rahuri hunter or whaler aboard, who will mark the ship with long white stripes, to resemble the Atabean sharks. You only need to ask for the captain to sign onto the crew - they're always looking for more sailors given the high mortality rate. They get plenty every time, though - the rewards are too rich to give up.

Once at sea, the whaling ships follow schools of fish, watching to see if they suddenly veer away from an area. That tells them a monster is nearby. Seasoned hunters will often know of a particular beast's hunting grounds and will stalk it for days or weeks. The hulls are filled up with chum to lure the monsters upwards, sometimes even dragging entire carcasses behind them. Each ship also has many harpoons, nets, dive lines and harnesses. The sailors leap off the ship into battle, climbing atop the backs of the monsters, armed only with a weapon and a harness. These ships will hunt any creature, not just whales, and every season, some go down. But again, the payday is astronomical. They drag the beasts aboard ship with hooks, processing them on deck to reduce their size. Sometimes, they can't, and have to use immense rafts to drag the body home, which can draw in more monsters. Once the carcass is at port, it is chopped, cut, cured and sold - every bit. The captain and crew split the profits, and hunters claim trophies as needed. Every ship keeps one piece of the kill as a trophy. Most of these whalers are primarily crewed by Rahuri, and always have at least one Rahuri aboard even if Thean. Often, they also have Rahuri spirits on board to help - seasoned whalers seeking revenge for their own deaths. Dead names on a crew are marked by a star on the roster to indicate their unlife. Theans often find the idea of crewing a ghost ship scary, but they tend to get used to it once the hunt begins in earnest - the ghost that wants to help you is less frightening than the squid that wants to kill you.

While Theans have documented all kinds of monsters on the sea, there are two that bear special mention. Mama Tortue, the Giant Sea Turtle, is the size of an island, with plants growing upon her back. For generations, she has been told of in Rahuri story. She is the daughter of Mama Yaya, and spotting her is a sign of good luck on a long voyage. She is a sentient (and immense) sea turtle, and her kindness has saved many a sailor from death. Legend goes that when the Rahuri came to the Sea, Mama Tortue was found trapped in a reef. The Rahuri fishers spotted her and worked to free her. She was already ancient, even then, and she thanked them and pledged to return the favor. Ever since, those lost at sea or swept overboard are occasionally found on the back of a sea turtle that sings them to sleep and delivers them to safety.

Tiburon, the Shark Whose Maw Consumes, is not so benevolent. He is a gigantic megashark of great intelligence that likes to rise under ships, tear out their hulls and occasionally swallow the smaller ones whole. He is almost invisible under the waves, his dark hide broken only by pale white tiger stripes. He is ever moving, never sleeps. Despite his terrifying appetite, however, he is not just a monster. Legend has it that Tiburon can become a man, or take over the body of a man, to check on the Rahuri. He is their guardian, who can be called on for aid in the face of great danger. Three times - and only three - have the Great Caciques called on Tiburon to destroy their foes. Once, against Aztlan raiders, and twice against nearby nations' raiding parties. Each time, the entire fleet was consumed in an orgy of death. Young Rahuri often seek out Tiburon as a rite of adulthood, asking him for one of his many teeth. They must climb into his mouth ot retrieve it, but if he judges them worthy, he will let them leave safely. However, those who are unworthy or who cut themselves on any of the many teeth, will be swallowed. It is said that these lost warriors are reborn as Tiburon's offspring, the smaller sharks. Most Theans initially dismissed the legends around Tiburon, but now, most who know of them believe. They've had a chance to run into him. ...and, of course, to blame him for all kinds of accidents, lost ships and general mischief which he was not actually responsible for. He's become kind of a bogeyman.

Places! Soryana is the island that is in both this world and the next. It is the home of the Rahuri ancestral dead, and to reach it, you need to be on a mission to seek out one of those dead. You can spot it sometimes if you're not - but you won't get there. Legend has it that Soryana was created by Apocoatl's oath - that the Rahuri bound themselves to the sea even in death. Their ancestors lingered, restless and lost, many going mad and attacking their people. Mama Yaya took pity on them and made an island for them to live in peace on until they were needed. Soryana. It appears and disappears on the horizon without warning, and most pathfinders that seek it either use gateways deep in the earth or head out to sea with no heading planned. If their intentions are pure, they will find a way.

Once there, the dead great visitors with food and refreshment...and if you eat of them, you may never leave the island. You must find the person you seek among the thousands of dead souls, and the island is much larger than it initially seems, full of both modern and ancient villages. The Rahuri work and live there as they did in life, tending the sea and the ghosts of the monsters. On finding your spirit, you then go to the great roundhouse of Locuo, the king of Soryana, who sits upon a throne of ancient sea beast bones at the foot of the only mountain. He is the ancient ancestor of the Rahuri, who led them to the Sea, and now is king of their dead. He decides if your reasons for needing the dead are worthy and sets the length of their trip. Only once he accepts a petition may a visitor leave, either by walking back over land to the mountain or sailing into the night. This practice is considered so common among the Rahuri that most have been to Soryana several times and understand the rules implicitly. Foreigners are welcome to try, but theey're going to need a Rahuri pathfinder and also most prove that their goals are for the greater good of the Rahuri and the Sea. Making Locuo angry can get your soul torn apart by the dead and used as chum.

Then you have the Devil's Strait - the dangerous passage between the Serpent's Sea and the Atabean. It lies just south of Guare Island and is nearly five miles long, surrounded by misty cliffs. On a clearer day, you can spot the two mountains on Guare, where the Rahuri elders retire to contemplate. But most days, it's full of fog that leaves you open to running into reefs and getting caught by monsters - ferocious giant squid, carnivorous flying fish and more. At the end of the strait is Haakenssen's Lighthouse, built by a Vesten architect, which provides a signal that you near the end of the strait. 'Seeing Haakenssen's light' is now a metaphor for the end of a long or hard journey. It has two beacons - one red, one green - that line up properly only if you're on the right course. There are other, secret ways into the sea...but those are all guarded by pirates and smugglers. The Thean nations have long sought charts that show all of them, but so far, none have been acquired.

The two greatest threats of the Devil's Strait are the ghost-sirens and Wu'a, the mouth of the Sea. Any sailor heading into the strait learns to cover their ears if they hear voices in the water. Chances are they're the voices of the restless dead - dishonored Rahuri who refused to return to Soryana or who were misused and driven mad. And even they are wary when the waters boil and the lights come from the mist, because those are the only warning of the doom that is Wu'a, the charybids that haunts the STait. Any ship that follows the lights will be caught in a whirlpool and dragged into Wu'a's waiting mouth. Once it feeds, it moves on, leaving only shards of hull in its wake. Its name comes from the Rahuri word most often shouted when it's found - "Wu'a" means "no".

Thorindin's Spires are a small island chain on the far northern edge of the Sea, too small to be considered individually. Collectively, they are the spires - a range of undersea mountains whose barren peaks stick up from the water. The Rahuri never settled them because there was nothing there, so htey were left basically untouched until the Vendel pirate Erik Thorindin came. He saw the colonies appearing on the southern isles amd sought out a territory to use as a Vesten outpost. He managed to pick the Spires, which was a really dumb move. They'd been abandoned by the Rahuri because the area was full of bad weather, possibly caused by a cursed spirit, and because the islands have essentially no plant life and only a few springs of fresh water, and because each is little more than the top part of an undersee tower, with how much island is even there shifting with the tide, making them very hard to map. Oh, and the islands are also full of underwater caves that are revealed and hidden by the tides, which you can get pulled into if you dock too close when the tide goes out, or be trapped in when it comes in. This makes them terrible for actually living on, but they're excellent for secret meetings, hiding places for treasure and ambush spots for raiders. The Riroco hide their ships in the Spires, using the caves on the larger islands to house freed slaves until they can be smuggled to real freedom, and if you feel like braving the eye of the needle, you can go between the Spires to head north to the mainland of Wabanahkik...if you don't smash yourself on the Spires themselves.

There are also three major Thean colonies. First is San Sancha, high on the cliffs above Borequen's western shore. It was named for Alejandro Dantes' first daughter - the first Thean child born in the Atabean. Legend has it he tried to negotiate to have the entire island named for her but couldn't convince the Rahuri. The Grand Cacique was amused, however, and let him name the outpost that instead. It was his reward for being friend to the Rahuri - a retirement village for him and his crew, which blossomed into a trade center for pirates and merchants. It is mostly Castillian and is a welcome reminder of home for Theans. Dantes was the first governor, but had to flee when the Castillians showed up to arrest him. They tried to take over, but when warned that if they did, the Rahuri would seize the city, so they gave up. The settlement is now run by a board of governors - a mix of pirates and anyone that can bribe their way in. It officially swears to no flag, recognizing the Rahuri as owners of the land, and is a firm ally to the Rahuri Nation.

Sylviette is a Montaigne colony on the Ile de Sylviette, a wooded island that proved the first totally Thean settlement in the Atabean. It is now a bastion of Montaigne culture and society. It was founded by the disgraced Mariquise Sylviette du Morne, and is said to be the only place of "real Thean civilization" in the West. It is home to music halls, artists and estates in the latest Montaigne designs, with the locals wearing hgigh fashion and holding opulent parties, all on the back of slaves purchased from the ATC. The gilded exterior hides the truth, however - it is a military outpost with a party culture overlaid on top. It was built and operates under guidance from Montaigne top intelligence, with hidden weapons stockpiles under the estates and ships ready to fight for l'Empereur. Marquise du Morne was never disgraced - rather, the Marquise was dispatched forrty years ago by the Sun King himself. As the Marquise ages, it is unclear who will inherit the island, its slaves and its secrets. The court there waits uneasily, and the parties continue.

Last is Fortunato, a cautionary tale to colonists. It was first proposed to the Rahuri as a Vodacce outpost on a small island near Yamaka, a home for traders. The original settlers built a small Vodacce town alongside the Rahuri, but they brought a strong Vaticine presence with them. The Church saw Fortunato as a perfect base for missionary work, and even began to plan expeditions from it to Aztlan. Soon, there were tons of priests and emissaries there. The Rahuri were patient and amused at first when the pushy and insistent missionaries came to them, but the fire and brimstone tactics employed soon ended that. When the Vaticines began to call the gates to Soryana unholy and tried to seal the entrance to a sacred cave system, the Rahuri revolted. In three nights, they seized Fortunato in a largely bloodless coup. The civilians were not harmed - the missionaries, however, were driven into the jungles or put out to sea in small boats, most never to be seen again. Since then, the Rahuri have run the place with the aid of Sorello, a former Vodacce shipping clerk who helped negotiate the new peace. For two years, Fortunato was closed to all Thean traffic, but it has recently reopened for trade and settlement under Rahuri management.

Next time: Aragosta

MadDogMike
Apr 9, 2008

Can I come out and play?

OK, the thought of ghost Ahab hiring living crew to help avenge his death on the White Whale is an amazing idea, and helps sell the idea of the living and the dead interacting a lot in the area very nicely. Of course a job with a high mortality rate would have a bunch of ghost employees, they donít have as much to lose anymore.

MadDogMike fucked around with this message at 22:37 on Jul 1, 2018

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Hattie Masters
Aug 29, 2012

COMICS CRIMINAL


Grimey Drawer

Mors Rattus posted:


Next time: Aragosta

gently caress yeah. I love Aragosta, mainly because I'm a complete sucker for pirate stuff and Aragosta is the most pirate.

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