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Ghost Leviathan
Mar 2, 2017

Exploration is ill-advised.
The not-Greek gods had a lot more creativity to them (kinda) in combining them with each other, if you're doing a straight knockoff fantasy Egypt then either just use the names wholesale or try to do something creative with it. (all the commonly known names are actually the Greek names for everyone in Egypt anyway, and they were ruled by a Greek dynasty for quite a while) But the secret demigod-prince sounds like a helluva plot hook I must say.

I probably couldn't resist having said prince be really into games to pass the time.

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Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

7th Sea 2: Lands of Gold and Fire - How 2 Ifrian

First up, new backgrounds!
General Backrounds
Company Agent: You worked for the ATC. Earn a Hero Point when your past misdeeds as a member of the ATC get you into trouble.
Isifungo Senkosi Seeker: You hunted for the mystic metal Zahmeireen to keep it out of the wrong hands. Earn a Hero Point when you commit to a course of action that is dangerous or morally questionable in order to pursue a corrupted Zahmeireen artifact.
River Pirate: You were a river pirate. Earn a Hero Point when you use your knowledge of hidden smuggler docks, expertise with port worker slang or a carefully placed bribe to solve a problem.
Walhu Escapee: You were a slave. Earn a Hero Point when you save someone from slavery, capture or danger by taking their place.
Aksum-Only Backgrounds
Alhidaf Archer: You were a member of the best archers in the world. Earn a Hero Point when you adhere to old traditions or outdated ancient practices to solve a problem.
Anidi Hibiri Tefet'iro Missionary: You were a Hibiri Church priest. Earn a Hero Point when you seize an opportunity to preach, proselytize or try to convert someone to your religion and it gets you into trouble.
Dasusuo: You were a Melbur sorcerer. Earn a Hero Point when you put yourself in danger to save an innocent from falling to the influence of the abonsam or similar dark supernatural forces.
Nebiyi Monitor: You were a math genius. Earn a Hero Point when you solve a problem by using obscure knowledge, a complex calculation or deciphering it.
Khemet-Only Backgrounds
Awal Thmani Dancer: You were a sword-dancer duelist. Earn a Hero Point when you avoid a conflict by convincing people to focus on their similarities over their differences.
Masr Alley Dog: You were a street rat. Earn a Hero Point when you solve a problem by lying, cheating or swindling someone who has it better than others.
The Most High: You were a noble. Earn a Hero Point when your bloodline's reputation for corruption (magical or material) gets you in trouble.
Priest of the Ennead: You were a priest and Heka sorcerer. Earn a Hero Point when you take on danger to find more info about the Ennead, decrypt a mysterious pictogram or defend your beliefs and it gets you in trouble.
Maghreb-Only Backgrounds
Blade Singers: You were a sword-singer, a warrior of mysticism and history. Earn a Hero Point when you help an ally to solve a problem by supporting them, backing their play or following their lead.
Camel Raider: You rode a camel. Earn a Hero Point when you get yourself in trouble in order to save your beloved camel or when it rescues you.
Corsair: You were a pirate. Earn a Hero Point when your insistence on avoiding, mistrusting or misleading authority gets you into trouble.
Imajaghan Noble: You were a land-owner and noble. Earn a Hero Point when you get in trouble after standing against a crowd, defending an individual or small group against a crowd, or speaking out against your "betters."
Manden-Only Backgrounds
Alagbato Iya: You were a member of the Guardian Mothers. You must identify as female to take this. Earn a Hero Point when you put yourself in danger to protect another from immediate harm, whether physical or emotional.
Horon Noble: You were a noble. Earn a Hero Point when you defy superiors, refuse to obey orders or similarly buck authority to do what you think is right.
Kurufaba Attendant: You were an agent for the government. Earn a Hero Point when you take a risky or morally ambiguous action for the sake of Ifrian culture or resources.
Sofa Serf-Soldier: You were one of the warrior-serfs of Manden. Earn a Hero Point when you solve a problem by taking advantage of others underestimating you.
Mbey-Only
Adeyemi's Vassal: You stole and wielded corrupted Zahmeireen. Earn a Hero Point when you use dark magic, a corrupted artifact or questionable tactics in order to defeat evil.
Kangam: You were one of the respected leaders of Mbey. Earn a Hero Point when your insistence on leading by example gets you in trouble.
Rooi Heks: You were a sorcerer of the Red Touch. Earn a Hero Point when you convince another not to do something that would have resulted in Corruption.
Simb Warrior: You were a simb wrestler of the Second People. Earn a Hero Point when you end a fight before your opponent has a chance to act.

New advantages!
1 Point
Personal Stash (Knack): You can activate this when you receive Wealth to get 1 more Wealth.
Daredevil: After making Raises during a Risk, you may immediately spend all of your Raises to take a single Action before anyone else can act this round.
Helping Hand: You may activate this to give an ally the benefits of assistance (3 bonus dice) without spending a Hero Point. You may use this only once per session.

2 Point
Not On The Manifest: Costs 1 less for Maghrebi. You must have Married to the Sea. Your ship may store extra Cargo based on your Sailing skill. However, any Cargo stored in this extra space must be gained via illicit means, such as piracy.
Bodyguard (Knack): You can activate this when an ally would be dealt Wounds to spend Raises to directly reduce those Wounds, 1 for 1, rather than redirecting them to yourself.
Hand of Peace: Costs 1 less for Aksumites. Until you or your allies take an aggressive action in a scene, you may apply Pressure to any number of targets at once, though any given target can still only be affected by one instance of Pressure at a time.
One Against Many (Knack): You can activate this when spending Raises to deal Wounds to a Brute Squad. If you do, double the Wounds dealt.
Shadow Stalker (Knack): Costs 1 less for Khemeti. You may activate this to move in silence, vanish into darkness or otherwise demonstrate your affinity with shadows automatically.

3 Point
Blood of Fire: While you have at least 1 Dramatic Wound, you get a bonus die on all Athletics, Brawl, Warfare and Weaponry Risks.
Blood of Gold: While you have at least 1 Dramatic Wound, you get a bonus die on all Convince, Empathy, Perform and Tempt Risks.
Rich: Not changed, but costs 1 less for Mandenka.

4 Point
Kurufaba (Knack): Mandenka only. When you agree on a deal, spoken or written, you may activate this. If the other party breaks the deal, you may give them an Infamous Reputation of your choice, which gives their opposition a bonus die whenever that reputation can be used against them. You may maintain a number of such deals at any time based on your Wits. Once you're full, you may not activate this again until a deal ends, by any means. (This is basically what Manden has instead of a Sorcery.)
Moral Compass: Costs 1 less for Mbeyans. You must have completed a Redemption Story to remove Corruption (or get it during chargen). Whenever you help another PC complete any Step in a Redemption Story, that PC loses 2 Corruption instead of 1 at the end of the Story.
The Sword That Sings: Maghrebi only. Any time you use your ranks in Weaponry or Perform, you may instead choose to use your ranks in the other for any effect. You may spend a Hero Point once per round to add your Weaponry and Perform ranks together for a single effect. (This is what Maghreb has instead of a Sorcery.)

5 Point
I Stand Against You (Knack): Costs 2 less for Maghrebi. When rolling dice on a Risk, you can activate this to get bonus dice equal to twice the number of enemies you face. Each Villain, Brute Squad or Monster counts as one.
Blood of Sovereigns (Knack): Costs 2 less for Khemeti. When you make a Risk in which your noble status would be a direct and immediate benefit, you may activate this to get (Panache) automatic additional Raises.
Embrace Your Destiny (Knack): Costs 2 less for Mandenka. During an Action Sequence, you can activate this to be allowed to act before Villains on each Raise until the end of the round.
Lead By Example (Knack): Costs 2 less for Aksumites. After making a Risk, you may activate this and choose anyone that rolled fewer Raises than you. They may change their Approach to match yours and they gain 2 Raises.
Light In The Darkness (Knack): Costs 2 less for Mbeyans. After the GM spends one or more Danger Points, you may spend an equal number of Hero Points and activate this. The GM still loses the Danger Points, but whatever they were spent on doesn't activate.
Zahmeireen Weapon: You have a non-corrupted Mbeyan Zahmeireen blade.

Next time: New secret societies.

Mors Rattus fucked around with this message at 14:38 on Jul 11, 2018

ChaseSP
Mar 25, 2013


Ghost Leviathan posted:



I probably couldn't resist having said prince be really into games to pass the time.

"Gather around servants, for today we will explore the mystical land known only as Ethea!"

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

7th Sea 2: Lands of Gold and Fire - Secret Economics Heroism

The Atoka-ona Farasin originate with a griot named Olamide Ololade, who specializes in the history of Manden's wealth and economics. She headed to Castille early in life, to study the effects of the Inquisition on the economy. While there, she got the attention of the Invisible College, who approached her and offered to exchange private economic data and analytical techniques for information on Manden and Ifri. She made the deal, growing fascinated by the idea of rogue scholars preserving and spreading scientific knowledge for the future. When she returned, she applied her new techniques and was horrified to identify the spread of evil in Manden's economy - black markets had grown common, and Manden's careful trades were fraying at the edges. She used the techniques of the Invisible College to found her own organization, to protect Manden's economy and resources. She named it the Atoka-ona Farasin, the Hidden Compass, as it focuses on guiding the economy. She began by recruiting two people and charging them to each find two more.

As with the Invisible College, no member of the Atoka-ona Farasin knows more than two others. No one has any idea how big the society actually is, but Olamide believes, based on their accomplishments, that the membership is in the dozens. Members communicate using economically distributed codes - they buy selected items at selected markets using specificed amounts of currency to convey specific information, and code ledgers to move information over distances. Their primary concern is finding and protecting the riches of Manden's soil, to hide their existence from Bonsam's minions. They also track and catalogue black markets, rerouting any funds that destabilize the economy using their own resources or leaking information to the public as needed. They also help the Invisible College out, but their primary focus is the Mandenka economy and protecting business from evil manipulations.

Selling economic secrets or information to the Atoka-ona Farasin is worth 1 more Favor than usual if that information or secret poses a direct threat to Bonsam's plans or minions. Preventing a foreigner from plundering Ifrian wealth, by force or diplomacy, is worth 3 Favor. This is considered to include both material wealth and culture - they may be economists, but they love Ifrian culture deeply. You can exchange Favor for Wealth 1 for 1, calling on the society's resources, but depending on how you use it, you may be expected to pay it back at some point. Moving money secretly and securely costs 3 Favor, and may also require you to give a percentage to the society to further their cause.

The Ch'ewi (literally 'salt') are...not quite a secret society. They're not really secret and they're barely a society. The issue is that it's hard to explain this uniquely Aksumite idea to Theans. The best translation for what it is might be social movement. The Ch'ewi movement began not long after Aksum embraced the Hibiri Church. Some say it was sponsored by them, others that the Skia started it, others that it began with a communal gathering of salt miners. It doesn't really matter. What matters is Aksum holds Ch'ewi in great regard. They preserve and give flavor to life, as salt does to food. Being Ch'ewi is a way of life, a quality or strength of character and action. A soldier that protects the people might be Ch'ewi, the woman who pulls children from a fire is probably Ch'ewi. Some deliberately attempt it, others are just Ch'ewi for a moment because they must be. The key point is that they heal and help those in need.

Now, Aksum needs Ch'ewi more than ever before. The abonsam stalk the land without a dscah ru to stop them, and they are clever foes, while Ch'ewi come and go. Still, people feel the pull of Ch'ewi in their hearts. They find themselves drawn to each other, and what began as a social ideal has gradually grown to a loose affiliation of people who pool resources to help those in need, having found that working together magnifies what they can do greatly. Small groups come together, voting to decide on where to focus and relying on the quick-moving news that is the Aksumite grapevine to find those ine need. They may be less formally organized than most societies, but they do keep in contact now - moreso than ever before, given the abonsam dangers.

Aiding a Ch'ewi agent is worth 1 additional Favor, so 5 instead of 4. Helping others is a sign of being Ch'ewi, after all. Defeating an abonsam, abonsam cultist or character with Vile Dice (more on that later, it's dumb) is worth 10 Favor. It costs 4 Favor to inspire someone to become Ch'ewi, even if only briefly, which translates to a non-Villain NPC acting to help you or save you, with Strength assigned by the GM. There is one other thing: being Ch'ewi is not exclusive. Unique to secret societies, they are more a quality of spirit than a rigid membership, and so you can be a member of the Ch'ewi and also a member of another secret society simultaneously.

The Children of Esu are a legendary society of monster hunters. Monsters have plagued Ifri for centuries, and so they have wandered the land, telling stories and fighting evil. They began in Mbey, but now cover the continent, rarely staying in one place for long. They typically work alone or in mentor-student pairs, communicating via coded stories or songs, as well as simple yet nuanced trail signs to warn about threats or safe havens. Younger members typically focus on directly fighting monsters while their elders invent stories and songs that reveal monstrous weaknesses for those that listen. Occasionally, they will gather in larger numbers to share information on deadly threats, usually using a festival or gathering as cover.

The name of the society comes from the Ori Esu, patron of the crossroads. They wander, of course, as various nomadic professions, but more symbolically, they see themselves as at the crossroads of good and evil, of life and death. Esu teaches that once you choose a path, you must walk it to the end, no matter where it goes. Traditionally, members wear handcrafted Esu masks when doing their duties. A mentor typically gives a rough mask to a new recruit, which the recruit personalizes and completes over the course of their training. If Bonsam is weak in an area, most villagers probably know who 'Esu' is when they show up to tells tories, but will politely pretend not to. In more corrupted places, the secrecy of the mask is taken very seriously.

Recently, while hunting an abonsam working for the ATC, a group of the Children ran into a Kreuzritter hunting party that had tracked a corrupt Company agent from Theah. After the initial standoff, one of the Children recalled an old tale of a group of noble, pale-skinned monster hunters that had visited Ifri in the past, and the two groups worked together, succeeding massively in the hunt and making informal plans to share information and assistance in the future. Die Kreuzritter have insight into Thean threats and the Company's inner workings, while the Children know far more about the nature of Bonsam.

Writing a story or song that inspires another to join the Children or gives insight into a supernatural threat's weaknesses is worth 4 Favor. Restoring hope to an oppressed community is worth 6 Favor, even if there wasn't a supernatural threat involved - but this generally takes more work than just 'swoop in, defeat monster, leave', as it requires restoring the community's good spirit. You can spend 2 Favor to have the Children pass a message via their network of entertainers. It may take a while, but will be secret and will get there. The cost is reduced to 1 Favor if you can code the message into a popular song or story, and even then the code will not be broken, though someone may notice if you send a lot of messages to the same area in a short time. You can spend 4 Favor to meet with a local member and learn about the local landmarks and monsters, allowing you to reroll any or all dice on Scholarship rolls related to local information for the rest of the Story. You can only have this benefit for one area at at ime.

Last, the Keepers of the Sun are a society in Khemet dating back to the warrior-priest Ahmunemhat, in the earliest days of the kingdom. At first they were just a select group of eubayd, known as Lightbringers, but eventually they formed a codified set of teachings on how to live correctly and rightly. After Ahmunemhat passed, his successor, Kaaper, discovered a golden sun mask among his belongings, and began wearing it while leading the organization his mentor had founded, to remind people to focus on good deeds under open sun. The Keepers flourished as a beacon of instruction and good faith, weighing and committing themselves to justice for all, regardless of class. The mask became a badge of office for the leaders, until the reign of Nahashepsut.

She outlawed them after they began to criticize her decision to go to war, and they were forced into hiding. This has lasted to today - the Keepers work covertly to expose dark secrets to the light of day, especially now that their wisdom and oversight are so needed. They believe the shortening days are caused by wayward action and corruption among the Most High, and they work to expose and punish corrupt nobles and criminals, always leaving their symbol behind - the sun rising over the horizon. Their current leader is a person called Mahat, though few know anything about them - they wear the mask and voluminous robes to avoid identification. Mahat is extremely active, and almost all members of the Keepers have met them at some point.

The Lightbringers are primarily vigilantes, but also teachers and mentors to others. They are concerned with spreading the moral teachings of the Ennead and setting an example for Khemeti life. Selling them information that identifies or relates to a truly heroic noble is worth 3 Favor, as they seek to spread renown of the worthy. Defeating a villainous noble is worth 8 Favor, as the Most High have a responsibility to lead by example and betraying that is true evil. You can spend 10 Favor to call Mahat to aid you. They will help you out for one scene as a Strength 10 agent. It costs 2 Favor to get information about people you can trust and get help from, as the Keepers watch closely over those who do not give in to darkness.

Next time: Sorcery.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

7th Sea 2: Lands of Gold and Fire - Raaaaa Heliopooooolis

Heka is the sorcery of Khemet, developed after the Ennead left the land by the alchemist-king Theyt. He found that imbuing one's self, one's ka, into an object via words or symbols, you could bend the world to your will. The stronger your ka, the stronger the magic. Heka requires you to understand the connection between an object and its symbolic representation for other forces or materials. By inscribing a sympathetic object, you can make amulets or spells to manipulate the world. The catch is that all magic requires an investment of ka - life force. Overuse it, you get sick and die. You can, of course, siphon off ka from other people or from powerful objects, such as tomb goods or mummies.

Heka is a lesser form of the hieroglyphic magic of the Ennead. Theyt hoped to use it to revive his dead wife by storing massive amounts of life energy in some emerald tablets. It didn't work, but the magic proved quite useful. His study also revealed the whole thing where you could siphon ka off of grave goods and the dead to fuel Heka. Those who use plundered tomb artifacts to fuel their magic are said to practice Dark Heka, and no one is entirely sure what it does to the souls of the dead, if anything. Heka uses a small vocabulary of symbols to imbue ka into amulets, sculptures and inscriptions to gain sympathetic power. It is divided into the elemental signs - earth, air, fire and water - with each providing different blessings. Heka requires a deep understanding of language, culture and symbolism, to better visualize your intent while you work your ka. It is assumed that when you take Sorcery (Heka) at chargen, you have studied hieroglyphics, and learning it in-story will require you to do that study as part of your Story.

The first purchase of Heka gives you two Talismans from the same element, and one Inscription that you know the Talisman for. You must know a Talisman before you can learn its Inscription. Future purchases either give you one Talisman and one Inscription, or a Spell. To learn a Spell, you must already know the associated Inscription. To use the power, you must first create it. A Talisman takes the form of a statue, token or pendant created from natural materials, inscribed with the relevant pictogram. You can give it to another person to use, and no matter who uses it, it disintegrates once used. An Inscription is the relevant pictogram written or inscribed onto an object or structure, and once used, the pictogram disappears. A Talisman or Inscription cannot be erased or destroyed without use of magic.

At the start of each scene, you begin with one prepared Talisman or Inscription per instance of Sorcery you have. You don't have to do pre-prep of these, and can choose which they are when you use them, which you can do freely. However, if you run out for the scene, you must make more. To make an Inscription or Talisman, it must be your turn, and you must either spend a Hero Point or take a Dramatic Wound to infuse your ka. You can make any Talisman or Inscription you know, chosen at the moment you make the object. It lasts for 24 hours before losing its power, but after that you can recreate or reinscribe it by spending the cost again. Activating a Talisman or Inscription, regardless of if it's one of your free ones or one you make, takes a moment of concentration and some ka. Outside a Sequence you can do this without cost, and the effect lasts until a scene begins if it's not an instant effect. During a Sequence, you must spend a Raise or take a Wound to activate an Inscription or Talisman. Talismans have immediate or short-term effects, while Inscriptions are more potent and, if not instant, last for the rest of the scene.

Spells, as a note, are the most powerful form of Heka, requiring no physical object. They activate an effect with a mere spoken phrase. Their creation takes more time and effort, as you must come up with a unique phrase for yourself that represents your understanding of the element and hieroglyph you want to use. You only have to speak this phrase to activate the spell. When you activate it, you may freely use either the Talisman or Inscription effect of that hieroglyph without need for the actual physical object involved, making it much cheaper and easier to activate. However, while the spell remains active, using other, activating any other Talisman or Inscription costs two Dramatic Wounds rather than a Raise or Wound, as too much magic can be fatal.

Earth
Strength is the hieroglyph of the bull, representing stability. Its talismans are often in the shape of bulls.
Talisman: When you activate this, the bearer gains the ka within. For the rest of the round, they get a free Raise on any action using Brawn.
Inscription: When you activate this on a weapon, it deals extra Wounds on each hit equal to its wielder's Brawn for the rest of the scene.
Protection is the hieroglyph of the crocodile, representing endurance. Its talismans are usually made from river mud.
Talisman: When you activate this, the bearer's skin grows tough, like a crocodile's. The next 3 Wounds they would take are prevented.
Inscription: When you activate this on an object, structure or ship, the next 3 Hits (or equivalent) that it would take are prevented.

Air
Speed is the hieroglyph of the falcon, representing swiftness and flight. Its talismans often include leaves or feathers fallen from the sky.
Talisman: When you activate this, the bearer moves with preternatural speed. They do not need to pay Improvisation costs for any action for the rest of the Round.
Inscription: When you activate this on a ship or other conveyance, it moves at double speed for 24 hours. This does not work on living beings. (Well, actually, it kills them, but as a GM I'd rule against allowing it to be used at all because stealth instakill.)
Weightlessness is the hieroglyph of the feather, representing light. It is generally inscribed with a quill into clay or on paper, and its talismans usually have a feather attached.
Talisman: When you activate this, the bearer becomes more graceful. For the rest of the round, they get a free Raise on any action using Finesse.
Inscription: When you activate this, whatever it is inscribed on has its weight reduced by three times your body weight for 24 hours or until the end of the scene (depending on if it's a sequence or not).

Fire
Courage is the hieroglyph of the lion, representing bravery and steadfastness. Its talismans are often clay lions with tiiiiiny straw manes.
Talisman: When you activate this, the bearer becomes braver. For the rest of the round, they get a free Raise on any action using Resolve.
Inscription: When you activate this on a structure, ship or other conveyance, anyone inside the structure or conveyance gets an extra die on all actions using Resolve for the rest of the scene.
Warmth is the hieroglyph of the flame, representing light, heat and knowledge. Its talismans are always baked in kilns or hearths to trap heat within.
Talisman: When you activate this, the bearer is made as warm as they would be if sitting by a fire, which lasts either 24 hours or a scene, depending on if it's a sequence.
Inscription: When you activate this on a structure or object, it heats up to a temperature of your choice for 24 hours.

Water
Healing is the hieroglyph of life. It is often inscribed while the object is wet or in water, and talismans often take the form of small bottles of purified water.
Talisman: When you activate this, the bearer heals 2 Wounds.
Inscription: When you activate this on a structure or over a construction site, it removes all poisons and impurities from the area, with a maximum size of (10*instances of Sorcery) square feet.
Insight is the hieroglyph of the eye, representing dreams. Its talismans are always blue, with a stone in the center for the eye's pupil.
Talisman: When you activate this, the bearer gains understanding. They may ask the GM 3 yes/no questions concerning information they arguably might have, and the GM answers honestly. You can't save the questions up for later.
Inscription: When you activate this on an object or structure, you gain understanding of its past. You may ask the GM 3 yes/no questions about the structure or object, all concerning information you arguably might have. The GM answers honestly, and again, no saving questions for later.

There is also a brief section on Dark Heka, the ability to draw ka from tomb goods and mummies. The black market for tomb goods is at odds with the general Khemeti reverence for the dead, and no one is entirely sure which tomb goods are most likely to have ka energies. Few Khemeti will admit to tomb robbing, but the discussion of Dark Heka is considered an interesting theoretical one, and it is generally agreed that the most ka-rich objects are generally prized possessions and the corpse. Methods of extracting this ka are quite simple, as well. What keeps most sorcerers from using it, besides considering it wrong and evil, is the curses. Few mention them at first, but they're real, and tomb robbers know it. Many say it's just bad luck; they are wrong. Some whisper of vengeful spirits that often appear when stolen ka is used. Some say Dark Heka's effects are not themselves evil, but rather that the evil is in drawing ka from the objects and bodies of the dead. Either way, several link the rise in Dark Heka to the darkness sweeping Khemet. There are no mechanics, but I'd rule that any given grave good or corpse can pay the price for a Heka effect, but then angry loving ghosts are added to the list of things the GM can spend a Danger Point to have happen.

Next time: Melbur, which isn't Sanderis, really

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements



...so playing an Egyptian hermeticist pirate is super good, if I'm reading this right.
Air > Falcon > double speed ship at all times. That's the kind of thing that has pretty immense utility for anything naval, especially blockade running and piracy.

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017

Joe Slowboat posted:

...so playing an Egyptian hermeticist pirate is super good, if I'm reading this right.
Air > Falcon > double speed ship at all times. That's the kind of thing that has pretty immense utility for anything naval, especially blockade running and piracy.

You're not wrong, as far as I can tell.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

7th Sea 2: Lands of Gold and Fire - Dark Powers

The sorcerers of Melbur are Aksum's dasusuo. They are exceptionally powerful, because each of them is bound to a demonic abonsam, able to call on the abonsam for terrifying miracles. Of course, the demon wants nothing more than to corrupt them. Typically, the abonsam contacts the dasusuo at a young age, acting as an imaginary friend. Aksumites tend to be very careful about kids talking to air as a result - some of them really are chatting with demons. The children are offered whatever they want, but always at a cost, and that cost grows darker and heavier over time. Because of this, it is vital to find young sorcerers early, before the abonsam can corrupt them entirely. This duty belonged to the dscah ru, who would find the children and send them to proper training. With the position vacant, no one is doing that officially, and the job falls to the active dasusuo. It's not easy without the emperor's backing, however, and more and more children are growing up without proper guidance. More and more dasusuo are also developing their own little magical kid brigades, with no oversight, and they often end up in conflict.

Mechanically, uh, Melbur is basically Sanderis. Each time you purchase Sorcery, you get one Deal and two Minor Favors you can basically use freely. Invoking a Favor costs a Hero Point, and if it's a Minor Favor you have, the cost is simple, for a Minor Favor you don't, it's still simple but takes some effort, and for any Major Favor, the cost will be very high indeed and give you Corruption. There are no differences. We are told, however, that the abonsam and the dievai, in the rare occasions that they meet, hate each other. Dievai also almost universally make deals with adults, while abonsam almost universally make deals with children. Dievai tend to see themselves as better because of this.

The other difference is that there is only three deals that overlap: Fire, Knowledge and Darkness. All other Deals of Melbur are new.

Blood abonsam are variable in appearance but always covered in or deeply interested in blood. They can manipulate the blood in the living, allowing them to heal, control or harm others, or to cause terrifying bloodlust.
Major Favors
Completely exsanguinate something, killing it as the blood pours out every orifice immediately.
Take control of the blood inside someone, allowing you to select their actions when they spend Raises, as long as they aren't suicidal and are capable of performing the action in the first place.
Minor Favors
Find the precise location of any living being you want, with perfect accuracy.
Cause someone's wounds to bleed more, making any Wounds get increased by 1 until the end of the round.
Heal a target of 1 Dramatic Wound.
Cause the target to suffer indiscriminate bloodlust, attacking the nearest target on their next action.
Know the location of all living creatures in your immediate surroundings. You can automatically detect anyone hiding without spending a Raise.

Corruption abonsam tend to resemble normal people, but sickly and diseased. They control disease, and are able to make incurable, magical diseases.
Major Favors
Infect a target with magical plague. At the start of each day, the target suffers 1 Dramatic Wound. Anyone who touches them is also infected, and also becomes contagious. The disease cannot be cured except by magic.
Destroy a single Brute Squad instantly, healing yourself of Wounds equal to their Strength.
Minor Favors
Infect a target with a mundane disease you are familiar with. It can be cured normally.
Immediately cure a disease, which also immunizes the target to further infection by that disease until the next time you use this favor.
Cause 1 Wound to everyone present in a scene.
Desecrate an area so that anyone who has strong faith in a deity, such as a priest or true believer, will not willingly enter it except under extreme circumstances.
Cause a corpse or other inanimate but organic material to rot away to dust.

Earth abonsam are hulking, brutish-looking monstrosities. They can control the ground as they like, commanding any stone, gem or mineral at will.
Major Favors
Animate nearby earthen material into a giant Monster. It can obey single-word commands such as 'stay' or 'attack' but will ignore anything more complex.
Cause a sinkhole to appear, large enough to engulf a city.
Minor Favors
Make your skin as hard as stone. For the rest of the round, whenever you would take Wounds, reduce the Wounds by 1.
Change a small amount of earthen material (like dirt or iron) into a different kind of earthen material (like gold or sand) until the end of the scene, when it reverts.
Shatter a large amount of earthen material, such as a wall or boulder.
Cause the earth to ripple under someone's feet. Until the end of the round, they must spend an additional Raise to take any action besides standing still.
Merge yourself and anyone touching you into an amount of earthen material sufficient to encompass everyone involved. While in the earth, you are aware of your surroundings but cannot be detected. Only complete destruction of the material will expel you, unharmed.

Fear abonsam are typically masters of disguise that appear entirely human. They can command fear in others, even monsters.
Major Favors
Strike someone dead from terror instantly.
Gain Fear ranks equal to your highest Trait until the end of the scene.
Minor Favors
Learn the target's deepest, darkest fear.
Make someone wary of you. Until the end of the round, they must spend an additional Raise to take any direct action against you.
Cause everyone nearby to panic as if they'd witnessed something horrible, usually fleeing the area.
Ignore the Fear quality for one scene.
Reduce the Fear rating of every Monster present in the scene by 1.

Next time: The Red Touch

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Joe Slowboat posted:

...so playing an Egyptian hermeticist pirate is super good, if I'm reading this right.
Air > Falcon > double speed ship at all times. That's the kind of thing that has pretty immense utility for anything naval, especially blockade running and piracy.

Working as intended.

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements



Mors Rattus posted:

Working as intended.

I'm just surprised that it seems to be free in all contexts other than an action scene? Since you get one free Inscription per scene, and it lasts 24 hours, and can be activated for free outside of a Sequence. As long as you have one scene per day (which seems likely?) you can always show up way sooner than anyone could possibly expect.
This rules, obviously, and I've been assembling my ideal crew of various swashbucklers and sorcerers in my head. Also obviously a Mysterio/Heka joint practitioner to get that good good Thoth-Hermes vibe would be fantastic as a support wizard on a ship.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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7th Sea 2: Lands of Gold and Fire - Less Dark Powers

Mbey has fallen to corruption, and may yet fall further. However, it has survived, as well, because of corruption - a very different kind, a corruption of sorcery and sorcerers that can help. Only Mbeyans practice the Red Touch. They are those who have been touched in dreams by the Jok. The Jok are very potent creatures, and direct interaction with them causes reality to bend and twist. It is in the bending of reality that the rooi heks, as these sorcerers are known, find power - a power others often ignore or treat as collateral damage. Most see the blight magic that is the Red Touch as evil, but this is largely due to preconceived notions and the menacing red sheen around the eyes of the rooi heks. Most nations think of magic as good or evil, and in Mbey, it must be understood that 'red' magic has to balance both.

That is to say: an evil villain can use the Red Touch for terrible power. They are already corrupt, and so manipulating the gifts of the Jok and corrupting them is natural. The heroic rooi heks, however, uses their power to cleanse the souls of others, taking darkness into themselves to give other people the chance to be good. They must walk a delicate line, spreading chaos in the world via the Jok power and also being willing to take on the negative consequences of evil acts done by others. They must sacrifice their own mental and spiritual health for the good of others.

The first time you take Sorcery (Red Touch) you get one Disruption, and one more with each additional purchase. You can only learn the Red Touch either from another rooi heks or in dreams from the Jok. Some claim the first rooi heks was made by Bonsam, though this seems unlikely. Whatever the case, it is certainly true that the rooi heks allows their soul, willingly, to be tainted by darkness. Just enough to give them the power. It doesn't take away free will - not at first. While anyone can gain Corruption, rooi heks can also gain Blight, which is like Corruption but less dangerous. Whenever the rooi heks interacts with someone who has Corruption, they can spend 2 Hero Points to remove 1 point of that Corruption from the target and gain 2 Blight. This can only be done once per person per Main Story. The Blight can then be spent to fuel Disruptions.

However, Blight is added to your Corruption for purposes of checks to see if you turn into a Villain when you gain Corruption. Because this mechanic suuuuuucks. There's a fan-made PDF out there that replaces it with 'the GM gets extra Danger Points from your Corruption' and you should use that instead. If a rooi heks ever has 10 or more Blight, they immediately lose all Blight and gain 1 Corruption. So fuckin' spend your dang Blight. Disruption activations and effects often require spending Hero Points. If you have Blight, you can instead pay the cost in an equal amount of Blight. You may not, however, spend Hero Points on costs that specify Blight.

There are seven Disruptions, each the result of using the mighty power of the Jok through a mortal frame. The Red Touch is easily one of the most unnatural-feeling sorceries on the planet, even moreso than Porte or Hexe, because...well, it breaks reality and twists sorcerous power against itself.

Touch of Decay: You are able to warp the spirits that live within all objects. You touch an item and spend 1 Blight; the object now cannot be used. A gun falls apart, a suit of armor corrodes and rusts in seconds, a support beam crumbles to dust. Besides the narrative effects of this, you can instead create an Opportunity, which can be used by anyone as normal...including you, and you can activate it even when it's not your turn. Basically, once you use Touch of Decay in a Sequence, it takes effect when the Opportunity is activated, allowing you to interrupt an ongoing action using the object. This cancels the action but the Raise is still spent on it. Touch of Decay will hang out until you activate it or the scene ends, whichever comes first. If used on a magical item or Signature Item, the object is unusable only until the end of the scene, rather than forever.

Ill Luck: You are able to warp someone's luck. You can spend 1 Blight to become a beacon of bad luck. Everyone in the scene - you, other PCs, villains, everyone - gets -1 dice on all Risks for the rest of the scene. For every 2 additional Blight you spend, the penalty increases by 1. Why would you ever do this, you ask? Because you can spend 1 Hero Point - and only one - to immunize a single character to the bad luck before they make a roll. For that round only, they gain the penalty as a bonus instead. Only one person can be blessed this way at any time, and it only lasts for one round.

The Crimson Agreement: You can invite a Jok into your body to possess you. You select Death, Shadow, Blood, Memory or Heart as the type of Jok to determine the effects. This power is actually very similar - and explicitly tied to - Kap Sevi. (It also implies the Jok and the Lwa are the same kind of being.) Unlike a Lwa, however, you aren't limited in what you can call down...and you have your own price. The Jok, essentially, wants to get out of your body as fast as possible, and will leave at the end of the scene unless you spend a Hero Point to maintain control over it. Once the Jok leaves, you can't call on another Jok until the next sunrise. If you do spend the Hero Point it remains, but it's going to remember. The Jok very much do not enjoy being in your body. Whenever the Jok does leave, the GM immediately gains Danger Points equal to your current Blight, representing the displeasure of the Jok at being summoned.
  • Death: You can spend a Hero Point to target a character and prevent them from dying. For as long as you remain possessed, they can't be killed by any means, even while Helpless.
  • Shadow: You can turn your shadow sentient. It is semi-corporeal and obeys your commands. It can scout but not physically interact with anything. It has Strength 5 if it has to make a Risk, and if it takes even 1 Wound, it instantly returns to you and refuses to be animate again until the next sunset.
  • Blood: You can spend a Hero Point when you deal the third Dramatic Wound to someone to instantly render them Helpless. You can use this only once per session.
  • Memory: You may spend a Hero Point to speak as a proxy for anyone, living or dead, as long as you can touch their body or one of their valued possessions. Someone must be present to ask questions, as you can't question yourself. You gain no insight into the target - they just speak through you.
  • Heart: You can spend a Hero Point to cause any Helpless target to appear dead and become susceptible to suggestion, obeying your simple instructions.

Backlash: You can warp other magic. The next time Sorcery is used by the target, any costs are doubled - a losejas must gain 2 Corruption for a Major Favor, a Strega must pay double Lashes, etc. If there is no associated special cost, then the power costs double the normal amount of Hero Points to activate.

Muddle: You can warp minds that tap into otherworldly power. Touch someone and spend a Hero Point. Next time they receive information from a supernatural source, whether a Rahuri ancestor, a Sidhe owing a favor, a dievas or talking to an animal via Dar Matushki, the information is muddled, garbled or confusing. It's still accurate, but not necessarily true - misdirection, half-truth and changes of perspective are fine. It just won't be a lie. While you control OOCly what information is given, neither the rooi heks nor the victim are aware of when or how it happens, and the rooi heks has no IC control of what information is warped.

Deny: You can turn off magic. When another sorcerer in the same scene is you activates a sorcerous power while you can see them, you may immediately activate this. You may wager any number of Hero Points and Blight. If you pick a total that is greater than the number of times the target has the Sorcery advantage, their sorcery just fails to activate, though all costs associated with it are still paid. If you pick less than or equal to the number, however, the target's power goes off as normal. Supernatural effects that do not come from Sorcery, such as the Seeker of Soryana advantage or Monstrous Quality powers, require 3 points total to Deny.

Pay With Pain: You can warp sorcerous blood. You may pay a Hero Point to activate this for a scene. (I think. Cost is unclear.) After you do, anyone that uses a sorcerous power in your presence takes 1 Wound per Hero Point (or other associated cost) spent to activate it. This doesn't prevent any effects, even if it renders the sorcerer Helpless - it just hurts them.

Next time: Zahmeireen

MollyMetroid
Jan 20, 2004

Trout Clan Daimyo

Joe Slowboat posted:

I'm just surprised that it seems to be free in all contexts other than an action scene? Since you get one free Inscription per scene, and it lasts 24 hours, and can be activated for free outside of a Sequence. As long as you have one scene per day (which seems likely?) you can always show up way sooner than anyone could possibly expect.
This rules, obviously, and I've been assembling my ideal crew of various swashbucklers and sorcerers in my head. Also obviously a Mysterio/Heka joint practitioner to get that good good Thoth-Hermes vibe would be fantastic as a support wizard on a ship.

Sadly you can't have more than one type of Sorcery on a single character.

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements



MollyMetroid posted:

Sadly you can't have more than one type of Sorcery on a single character.

Oh that's disappointing. Does it break the system?

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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In most cases probably not, they just want the sorceries to be special and a big deal for your character so mixing them is verboten.

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements



Mors Rattus posted:

In most cases probably not, they just want the sorceries to be special and a big deal for your character so mixing them is verboten.

While I appreciate the general intent there I'm pretty sure 'syncretism as magical experimentation leading to strange results' is way too cool not to have in this swashbuckling setting.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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7th Sea 2: Lands of Gold and Fire - Magic Swords

So, Gelwaar is already a kingdom in darkness within Mbey. On its outskirts, however, there is a place of even greater suffering, a wound in the earth. It is a massive mine that is deeper than any other in Ifri - perhaps any in the world. Its name is Walhu, and that name is now a synonym for misery and death. For centuries, its workers were exceptionally well paid, because of the dangers involved. They sought out the most precious material in all of Mbey: Zahmeireen, a metal twice as strong as iron and half the weight. Further, zahmeireen reacts to magic and grows in strength alongside its master. It is a metal that has a soul, in a sense. Many of Ifri's greatest historical warriors wielded weapons made of zahmeireen. The metal was forged into great tools for heroes and villains.

all of this changed with the coming of the warlord Motuoka Gathaal. He was a ferocious, vicious killer, who conquered Walhu and built a prison on top of it. He sent messages to the other warlords and rulers in Mbey, offering to take their most dangerous criminals and prisoners for a small fee. And then he set them to work, digging out zahmeireen for him. Now, the metal that comes out of Walhu is different. Impure. Whether it is because of the coming of Bonsam or the suffering of the workers in Walhu for the past few decades doesn't matter. All metal that emerges from the mine is corrupted by pain and blood. The prisoner-slaves are forced to mine it under terrible conditions, often dying of exhaustion. On top of criminals, Walhu is now home to political dissidents, noble rivals of leaders and those who speak out against the tide of darkness. Each year, more innocents arrive, and they now outnumber the guilty by orders of magnitude, though those criminals within Walhu are the worst in Mbey. The guards pay very little attention to what goes on in the mines, as long as metal comes out and prisoners stay in. This means that prison gangs are common.

Ghallik the Speaker is an Aksumite Wiesone, sent to Walhu on charges of treason. He was a folk hero to some and made many allies in the mine. The guards don't care much about the petty disputes, but now they hear whispers of a prison rebellion coming. Jasai Tfala was once a major crime lord, and now runs a large gang in Walhu. It is not entirely clear how they got into the mine, especially with the influence they held outside. Surely they couldn't have come in willingly, right? Nyoka is a notorious loudmouth, and somehow her tongue got her thrown into the mines. However, her bite matches it - she is a thief and killer, easily the most dangerous single prisoner in Walhu for some time. Also the loudest.

The prisoners are made to work to exhaustion every day, going in with a pick and a single candle per person. The surface tunnels are long since stripped of zehmeireen veins, so they must dig ever deeper. Those that return receive a meager meal - their only one of the day - and given a few hours of sleep before it's back into the mines. More zehmeireen emerges now than ever before, and the Mbeyan smiths are busy making it into weapons. The metal appears less vibrant than it once did when refined, but that seems harmless to most. They are wrong. That much is clear if you look over the older prisoners.

In its raw state, zehmeireen resembles raw glass or crystal, but with a flat, metallic texture. It shines and pulses in the dark, and apparently looks quite pretty as a vein. It is also deadly. Exposure to unrefined zehmeireen over long periods causes an unnatural ochre glow in the eyes, visible only in darkness. Eventually, the whites of the eyes blacken, the hair thins and falls out, and a slow stream of blood tears leaks from the eyes. This condition, called Ukuthiwiri Oe ('demon's gaze') eventually causes death, typically from blood loss. Those aware of the risks associated with zehmeireen handle the raw metal with clothes and gloves lined in silver, which reduces the effects. The slaves of Walhu have no protection - that'd cost money.

When refined, zehmeireen loses its deadly quality, and its innate glimmer fades, leaving a flat, brown metal with an ochre gleam. It's easy to tell if a zehmeireen item is forged from corrupted metal or not - shine a light on it. Corrupted zehmeireen has the ochre gleam; uncorrupted does not. The metal is deeply valued throughout Ifri, and many collect it for various purposes - as weapons, for occult rituals, and more. Most notably, there is a sect of Mbeyan warriors called the Isifungo Senkosi, the King's Oath, who were entrusted long ago to wield zehmeireen in pursuit of justice, and their current leader, Zulkeha T'khul, has set them to collect corrupted zehmeireeen in order to ritually purify it. However, most of the corrupted blades have been stolen by the traitor Osei Adeyami, who wants to use them to arm a militia to fight Bonsam. Other notable names are Lady Zaleed the Cunning, a zehmeireen smuggler from Manden, Ras Kenta Manuke, an Aksumite noble plotting to use the weapons to fuel his quest to seize the imperial throne, and Captain Gormand of the Hope's Bane, who is gathering the stuff so he can make it into a misshapen idol meant to awaken something off the coast.

When you buy the Zehmeireen Advantage, you get a zehmeireen weapon. You select an Origin for it and two Facets. Its Origin may never be changed, but a three-Step Story allows you to swap one or both Facets. Further, you can upgrade it by completing Legends, which are sword achievements. The same rules can be used for non-weapon artifacts, such as a zehmeireen amulet, and the GM can rule which Origins, Legends and Facets are suitable for such a device. The game notes that items made of Cyrene red steel should be treated as Signature Items, as should those made of pure Orun Irin sky metal. However, especially rare and powerful items, such as the Sinifere Sarif blades of mixed red steel and sky metal should be treated as pure zehmeireen blades. Corrupted Zehmeireen is special. Anyone who has a corrupted zehmeireen item treats it as a Signature Item, even if they don't buy the advantage for it. However, anyone who doesn't buy the Advantage gains double Corruption from all sources, and the GM can spend a Danger Point to have the weapon removed from the PC's grasp. If you purchase the advantage, these penalties go away. To convert it to pure zehmeireen, you need a special ritual known only to the Isifungo Senkosi, and also a 3-Step Story involving contacting them and gaining their trust.

Origins
Fate: You found your weapon somewhere. You don't know why. When using the weapon as part of a Risk, you may reroll any 1s.
Legacy: You inherited your weapon from someone. You get 2 bonus dice on any Risk in which the history of your weapon or those that wielded it might be helpful to sway others.
Martyr: Your weapon is always wielded by those who would die for others. Once per session, you may deal a Dramatic Wound to yourself to gain (Weaponry) Hero Points immediately.
Master Crafted: Your weapon was made for you. If you take Signature Item and your signature item is the weapon, it costs only 2 points.
Treasure: You recovered your weapon from someone or something evil. Once per session, you may activate a Knack Advantage without paying a Hero Point.

Facets can only be taken once - you can't stack the same one twice. These are your weapon's magical properties.
Bane: When you take this Facet, select a type of monster, such as undead, abonsam or drachen. When you deal Wounds to such a Monster with it, you always deal 2 additional Wounds.
Dangerous: When you deal Wounds with your weapon, you may spend a Hero Point to deal extra Wounds equal to the Trait used in your Approach.
Destructive: You may spend a Hero Point to destroy an inanimate, roughly human-sized object with your weapon instantly. You may spend multiple Hero Points to destroy objects of larger size at the same rate (2 for an object twice the size of a man, etc).
Elemental: You may sheathe your weapon in fire, lightning or another elemental effect for one round by spending a Hero Point. Any time you use the weapon against a being that the element could damage, you deal 1 additional Wound. If they are especially weak to that element, you deal another 1 additional Wound. Further, while this is active, you prevent 1 Wound whenever you are damaged by the chosen element.
Life-Stealing: Once per session, you may spend a Hero Point when you cause Wounds to heal 1 Dramatic Wound.
Peaceful: When you are preventing Wounds, you may spend a Hero Point to prevent additional Wounds equal to the Trait you used in your Approach.
Quick: Once per round, when you take an action that causes Wounds to another character, you can spend a Hero Point to immediately act again. Your second action still costs Raises, you just get to do it immediately rather than have to wait for your next spot on the turn list for the round.
Veiled: When you attempt to evade notice or move silently as part of a Risk, you can spend a Hero Point to get 2 bonus dice.
Warded: When you are a target of a magical effect, you can spend a Hero Point to ignore its direct effects on you. Any other effects still happen, but you are not affected in any way.
Wounding: It costs 2 Raises to prevent a Wound this weapon deals, not 1.

Legends are Sword Achievements, much as there were Ship Achievements. They work the same way - meet the conditions during play, and you get a one-time bonus or new ability. The GM can, as always, invent new Legends, with the general rule being that they should be either hard, interesting and unusual, or evocative and fun. (Or, you know, more than one of those.)
Blade Master: Have an established weapons master note your skill. When making Weaponry Risks, you may reroll a single die, though you must keep the second roll.
Final Blow: Defeat a Villain in single combat. You may spend a Hero Point when you cause the third Dramatic Wound to an enemy to deal (Weaponry) additional Wounds.
Hero For Hire: Earn Wealth in exchange for services provided by you and your blade. You earn 1 more Wealth than usual whenever you are paid for your warrior skills.
Hero of Legend: Achieve 5 Legends. You get your choice of the Indomitable Will, Reputation or Valiant Spirit Advantages.
Named: Have a stranger comment on you and your weapon based on stories of your glorious past deeds. You get a bonus die on any Risk in which your sword's name is relevant.
Never Give Up: Be made Helpless. Once per scene, when you would take your fourth Dramatic Wound, you may spend a Hero Point to prevent that Dramatic Wound.
One Against Many: Defeat a Brute Squad by yourself. Any time a Brute Squad causes Wounds to you, you may spend a Hero Point to reduce those Wounds by 1.
Reforged: Have your weapon destroyed and get the shards remade into a new blade. You may choose a third Facet.
Warrior Without Fear: Defeat an enemy with the Fearsome Monster Quality. You may spend a Hero Point to ignore (Weaponry) Fear Ranks for the round, as long as your weapon is on your person.
Well Traveled: Visit every nation on your continent of origin. You get a bonus die on social Risks while outside your Nation or when in your Nation and interacting with foreigners.

Next time: Vile Dice

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: Realms of Sorcery

Much safer than Chaos Familiars

Now, Familiars function very similarly to how they did in the Tome of Corruption, except they're safer and saner for normal wizards. Having a familiar is very helpful; they give some excellent bonuses for wizbiz and potentially provide a colorful little sidekick for your PC. This book only covers Binding and Creating a Familiar, while Tome of Corruption covered Summoning one.

Creating a Familiar means you take unliving material and animate it into a living being, creating a haemonculus to be your little (or maybe not so little, depending on the charts) buddy. Light, Death, Metal, Fire, and Shadow wizards have the option of Creating a familiar, as do Dark wizards who practice Chaos magic or Necromancy. They also require a Mag of 3, so Creation is limited to Master Wizards and experienced Chaos sorcerers or necromancers. Depending on your magical style and the specific rituals you're trying to undertake, you will then need to assemble your clay, dead flesh, blood, mud, or vital organs in order to shape your Familiar. Finding these components and preparing them can take d10 weeks. It will also cost d10x100 gold crowns. Once again, this book is way more okay with the idea that play will stop for months so characters can make magic items or invent rituals, so you'd best hope your GM is going to factor in some downtime for you to make your little abomination against Sigmar and virtue. You then need another d10 weeks to put the pieces together, without interruption or adventure (ugh). At the end, you must make an Int-20 test or all the time is wasted and the Familiar doesn't work; you must spend another d10 weeks working immediately or waste your components. I doubt many groups actually use this sort of precise timekeeping and that most say 'Okay, it'll take you The Downtime Between These Plot Arcs, roll Int to see if you get your cool weird thing'.

Once you're finished, you roll on a table to see what form the familiar takes. It can be a tiny humanoid, a dwarf-sized humanoid, a man-sized humanoid, an animal-like creature, a small version of an animal, a big version of an animal, a weird chimera, or the player's choice (or GM's choice) depending on how you roll. Created familiars also have an Oddity of Form, like wings, or a tail where they shouldn't have a tail, or extra eyes. They're weird and people are going to think you're weird for having an artificially created servant who follows you around and does wizard stuff for you. They also roll their stats: Base 10+2d10 WS, 10+d10 BS, 10+4d10 S and T, 10+d10 Agi, 5+3d10 Int, 5+3d10 WP, and only d10 Fel with 6-10 Wounds, 1 Attack, and 1+d5 Movement. The Familiar advance scheme can also get them +1 Attacks, +10 WS, +10 S, +20 T, +50 Int and WP (!) and up to +35% Fel. Familiars gain 1 EXP for every 2 their master gains, so if you keep your Familiar alive the Created (or Bound, Bound familiars have the same Advance table) Familiar can eventually become a really handy bodyguard and fellow thinker. They can also learn to read!

Bound Familiars are generally easier to get and require you to have the Witchcraft talent or to be a Light, Shadow, Fire, Heavens, Beast, or Life mage. It also only requires Mag 2. You either need to spend d10 weeks looking for an appropriate animal or spend up to 500 gc to simply buy one outright. Next, you must spend d5 weeks playing with, training, petting, and spending time with your new pet to get to know one another and bond with one another. Finally, you need a Fel-10 and then an Int-10 test in succession for the petting and playtimes to take and awaken your Familiar to a magical bond with you. If you fail either, you must return to petting your would-be Familiar immediately. If you searched up a Bound familiar candidate, you roll on a table to see what kind of animal you captured. As the animals possible include wolves, warhorses, bears, and wardogs, and you still get those Familiar advances from above, your Familiar could turn into a heck of a useful buddy as well as a magical assistant and friend. It's an open question if it's better to have a big badass wolf or something small you can keep in your pocket like a cute pet rat with a little wizard hat.

Your familiar wasn't sentient until you began mucking around and made it so, and so how it reacts to you is randomized; your new magic sparrow may be accommodating or diffident. You roll a d10 and compare to a chart with results ranging from 'adoration' (a 1, the critter loves you to an embarrassing degree) to friendship (2-3, likes you and wants to help), to a servant (4-5, your familiar is happy to help but expects regular treats and 'payments'), to distant (6, prefers to be alone), to aloof (7, hates you and tries to avoid you) to at odds (8, actively works against you but doesn't try to get you killed since that kills the Familiar), with a 9 being player's choice and a 10 being GM's choice. When you roll, you also roll a Fel test. For each DoS on that Fel test you can alter the result of the personality roll 1 point (so, say you get 2 DoS and rolled a 2, you could have an Adoring, Friendly, or Servile Familiar at your choice, since you could alter the dice roll 2 points in either direction). The player generally plays and talks for the Familiar, unless the GM rules something important is coming up and overrides them to take control of the Familiar. The wizard can always make an opposed WP test to force the Familiar into line, but this will probably damage their relationship and the book recommends gentler persuasion when possible. You also have a big table of personality quirks to roll on if you want it, though this isn't required like the basic disposition.

The Familiar Abilities are actually the same as Tome of Corruption; your Familiar starts with 1 and can spend 300 of its EXP OR yours to roll for another one. Given these can do things like give you a permanent +1 Mag while your Familiar is alive, or help you dampen miscasts or make you both smarter via a mind-link, these abilities are very powerful and very much the main reason you'd go to the trouble of making or binding a Familiar.

The difficulty of Familiars is that they mark you as a wizard. They're weird and people might think they're demons. Wizards can also grow obsessed with their awesome pet/creation, having to make a Fel+20 save every time the Familiar levels up or becoming obsessed with and increasingly attached to their little buddy such that people can easily use their pet as leverage against them. Your Familiar can also be used by a hostile wizard to boost their spells against you, at the cost of doing great harm to your Familiar, which is distressing in many ways. Similarly, if your Familiar dies, a part of the wizard is wounded and they suffer serious penalties until they can properly mourn their pet.

Familiars are fun. They're useful, but don't detract too much from the rest of the game, I just wish they didn't take so damned long to make. It would be much easier to measure the time to create your Familiar in adventures or plot threads rather than game-weeks, but WHFRP comes from a time when measuring game time in actual in-setting time was still the norm and more narrative resolutions like 'it takes you the downtime between these two major plot chapters' weren't generally part of a game's design. Who doesn't want a cute little messed up cat-bird thing created by melding a potoo bird and a pallas cat to follow them around, warking boldly and getting into trouble while boosting their magic? Boring people, that's who.

Next Time: Potions and Alchemy!

White Coke
May 29, 2015

Night10194 posted:

It's an open question if it's better to have a big badass wolf or something small you can keep in your pocket like a cute pet rat with a little wizard hat.

What about a rat-ogre with a wizard hat?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
I believe they are actually too stupid to be made into a proper familiar.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

7th Sea 2: Lands of Gold and Fire - What If Corruption Had Even More Random Elements

So, because Ifri has a Satan working directly there, the evil abonsam spirits are pretty active in trying to corrupt people. The way this works is that the invisible abonsam spirits will typically hang out around people and wait for them to get into a really lovely situation, then offer them the chance to get out by doing whatever is necessary, justifying basically whatever you'd need to do to get out the simplest way possible. The way this works mechanically is that whenever you're in trouble, you can make a pact with an abonsam to gain Vile Dice. The GM will always warn you first and remind you of the rules for Vile Dice. The more Vile Dice you have, the stronger your character's darker impulses and brutal instincts, so you grow crueler and more violent.

The first time you take the offered help of the abonsam, you get 1 Vile Die to add to all rolls. Every time after that, you get another Vile Die and one of your normal dice is transformed into a Vile Die. The game suggests using dice of a different color to represent the Vile Dice. No matter how many Vile Dice you end up with, you can only make Raises out of a number of dice equal to your unmodified dicepool - any extras you don't or can't use get discarded. Vile Dice get added to every Risk you make, and are not tied to any trait or skill. However, every time you use a Vile Die as part of a Raise, it counts as an evil act. So if you use two Vile Dice, you gain 3 Corruption - 1 for the first, 2 for the second.

You can clear out Vile Dice with a Redemption Story. If you have no current Corruption, then a standard 5-Step Redemption Story will get rid of all your Vile Dice at once. You can also do 3-Step Redemption Stories to clear out Vile Dice one at a time, regardless of how much Corruption you have. You always lose the 'extra' dice first - only once they're gone do you start converting dice back into normal dice. If you have gained Corruption from using Vile Dice, you may clear all of it at once if your Redemption Story ends with you restoring your abonsam's stone to the Gelwaar resting place it once had, rendering it inert. Any Corruption from evil acts committed without being caused Vile Dice remain.

Note that to gain Vile Dice, you need to be doing something mean and nasty to get the abonsam to help you out. It can be difficult to do this in some scenes, and when that happens the GM can just say 'yeah no there's no abonsam offer right now.'

Anyway that mechanics sucks, let's talk about dueling instead. Single combat traditions obviously exist in Ifri. It'd be stupid to say they don't. It's always been a big part of most Ifrian cultures, a way to show skill and fitness for adult life, a way to resolve conflicts and tensions, and a way to prevent war. There are a number of rituals and rules to ensure fairness, if not safety, and only a coward or fool breaks them. This kind of ritual single combat is especially common on festival days or other holidays. Among the Ikodoku tribe, a traditional wedding involves formal spars between families of the couple, while among the Asabu, ritual duels are performed after a storm ends. Among the Masaesyli, children spar often in training for their rites of passage. With all this ritual combat playing such a big role, it's not surprising that Ifri has many fighting styles - wrestling, boxing, striking, grappling, stickfighting, fencing. Anyone that says they are a master of 'Ifrian combat' is lying because there isn't one style of Ifrian combat to master.

Wrestling matches often involve submitting, pinning or forcing a foe out of a ring. Fencing may use hooked shotels, wide akrafenas or slender takobas, among other blades, and sticks can be pointed, like the long asaya or short iklwa. Or not. One popular fighting style involves boxing with a wrapped hand and using a shield in the other. Understanding all this matters to understand how dueling works in Ifri. The techniques have been refined over centuries of effort, and traditions have been blended and mixed. Formal warrior dueling began as a sport and form of cultural exchange. Duelists used their duels to resolve conflicts, yes, and to earn respect. It was a way to recognize and honor differences while making common ground.

The most common Ifrian term for dueling is 'odo ija', the river fight. Duelists often challenge each other by asking to meet by the river or asking to have a talk by the river. The name recognizes the duel's cultural importance, and has nothing to do with where the fight actually happens. That said, many dueling houses (which in Ifri are any official enclosure that has at least one marked circle for combat) name themselves after the four Great Rivers. Duelists in Ifri have a complex reputation. While duels allowed for sharing and mixing of culture and ritual, some fear that it separates combat from its cultural role and widens the gap between the youth and their heritage. Some fear that Duelists will only learn fighting techniques, not the values and stories that often accompany them. Others say that it turns combat into a sport for fame rather than a way to resolve problems or create bonds. Some Duelists respond to this by using traditional music in their initial displays of skill, or only teach those who will learn the stories behind the techniques. Many prefer to donate any prize money from wins to help others. Others, however, say that duels and ritual combat are different, and that single combat is in no danger of fading, so there's no reason duels should be weighed down by the rituals.

Everyone, however, can recognize that odo ija and Thean-style dueling are not the same. There are four major differences that often cause cultural misunderstanding among Thean and Ifrian Duelists. First, anyone can go talk by the river. Odo ija tournaments may limit participation by age or experience, but no one is barred from initiating or participating in a duel, and the Duelist's Guild pin has little weight in Ifri. Any dueling house that requires Guild membership quickly loses native business. Secondly, most duels in Ifri begin with solo performances of skill, which can be as a simple as pre-emptive posturing or as complex as ornate and elaborate weapon dances. The current trend is for three to five minutes of performance to show off agility, strength and grace. If a Thean Duelist does not perform, they are likely to be mocked by the audience, and this has led some Thean Duelists to believe that Ifrians have no respect for dueling. Thirdly, Ifrian duels allow any style of single combat, while most Thean duels require weapons be used. Ifrians also allow a wider range of moves. Some Theans relish the challenge, but others use it as further basis for the stereotype of not respecting duels. Lastly, odo ija duels usually end with one Duelist recognizing the other's strength and surrendering. Formally, there are four points when the duel can end. First, by refusing the challenge and recognizing the other as superior in skill. Second, ceding after the display of skill. Third, after the first strike or first blood. Fourth, after being rendered unable to continue. If a duel lasts to that final, it is said that the river has run dry, and most Ifrian Duelists look down on those who often dry out the river. They have no pity for those who refuse to accept their own defeat when it becomes clear. This last is usually the easiest for Thean Duelists to pick up and understand.

Chaka is a style named for a legendary war leader, and it's based more on war techniques than ritual combat. It is unclear if Chaka invented war for his people or stole strategies from others, but either way, he is renowned for his skill and success in battle. The style focused originally on using two sticks, one to attack and one to defend, and is now mostly used with an attacking spear and a large, sturdy shield. Duelists have developed it to work with any bladed weapon and shield, however. It has a poor reputation among most Duelists for being too ruthless, but those who routinely fight until the river is dry like it for its brutality and speed. It is especially popular in Mbey. The bonus is the Isihlangu Lock. When you wield a bladed weapon and a shield, you may perform the Isihlangu Lock Maneuver, locking the outside of your shield against the foe's guard to make an opening to exploit, though you leave yourself open doing it. This deals (Finesse+Weaponry) Wounds, but for the rest of the round, you cannot perform any Maneuver that reduces Wounds you take. (You may still spend Raises normally to reduce damage, however.) You may use this technique only once per round.

Awal Thmani is a Khemeti fencing style that is performed as a series of elaborate dance movements in duels. Traditionally it uses the khopesh, but works with any one-handed sword or stick. It can be done with a shield or parrying weapon, or without. Not all who learn it use it for the sake of winning, however. Many dancers learn Awal Thmani to adapt to their own purposes in entertainment, and this has led to revival of ancient Kehmeti traditional music and story. Duelists defending the style often say this is a good thing, a success in dueling creating a cultural bridge to once-lost cultures. The bonus is the First Eight Maneuver. Whenever you wield a one-handed sword or stick, you get access to the First Eight Maneuver, a series of rapid slashes, punches and chops in the shape of the infinity symbol. Using the First Eight costs two Raises, and it deals (Weaponry+Brawl) Wounds. It can be used only once per round.

Omuhelo is a style named after one of the combat rituals using it. It is an athletic form of unarmed combat, relying on quick, one-handed handstands and other inversions of the body, as well as many jabs and sweep kicks. Duelists have adapted it to use with a one-handed weapon, usually a stick or sword, but the weapon is rarely used in favor of kicks. Those who practice Omuhelo often spend part of their training learning their ancestry and going on long journeys to meet distant kin or places from ancestors' pasts. The inversions the style uses are said to connect you to the reverse world where the dead live, and understanding your ancestors and what to expect from that connection is important. The style is usually very interesting to watch, and many Duelists perform solo at festivals to show skill, or fight duels that never get past the performance stage. It is one of the better-known Ifrian styles in Theah due to its showy nature. When you have at least one free hand, you may perform the Gazelle Kick Maneuver. This is a spinning, inverted kick that deals (Athletics) Wounds, minimum 1, and causes the next time the target deals Wounds this round to deal (Weaponry) less Wounds. You can use this only once per round.

The End.

Options now:
Heroes & Villains
Nations of Theah, Vol. 1
Nations of Theah, Vol. 2
The Crescent Empire
The New World

Mors Rattus fucked around with this message at 00:21 on Jul 12, 2018

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements



I vote New World.

OvermanXAN
Nov 14, 2014
I'd kinda like to see Nations of Theah vol. 1, so we can see just what is actually going down in the main setting beyond the brief and often somewhat copypasted stuff from the core. At the same time, the New World is tempting, and the Crescent Empire could potentially be cool as well...

Nah, sticking to my guns, Nations of Theah vol. 1

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine
Nations of Theah.

MollyMetroid
Jan 20, 2004

Trout Clan Daimyo
Go Nations please. We've had questions already about how magical the other parts of the setting are compared to Theah proper, and it's worth going over the changes between editions before jumping straight to the later releases...

Wrestlepig
Feb 25, 2011

my mum says im cool

Toilet Rascal



stop antagonising Gunda the Guilty, you're lucky you kissed Argrath's rear end 5 updates ago

Final chapters: Wealth, Between Adventures, and final summation
After a bit of reflection, I think the chapter on wealth is a lot more important than it is in other books. The guidelines on consumption and property are very helpful for establishing the bronze-age lifestyle of the setting, and feed into the community aspects very well. There are five given levels of wealth, ranging from destitution to being a Petty King, and itís only at the nobility range we catch up to modern standards of living where you eat meat most days and getting clothes more than once a year. Higher positions of authority also increase standards of living due to greater responsibilities. Thereís also a note on your basic hirelings and retinue, from scribes, tenant farmers to bodyguards. Family members are free, so if you arenít interested in the upcoming town management stuff itís worth giving your sister control of the family farm.

Farmland is abstracted to units called a Hide, which is enough to feed a standard family of average wealth. It gives a surplus of 80 lunars worth of goods a year, of which you tithe 20% to the main churches, as well as however much goes to the Cult youíre initiated in. Nobles tend to own multiple hides, and after the tenant farmers are finished they end up with 200 dollars, before tithing. Temples handle a lot of services most governments and business would in our days, like storing treasure and helping the community, so itís not a total loss. If youíre getting them to cast spells for you, the cost tends to be $20 for each rune point expended. Thereís an aside about the Healer Cult of Chalana Arroy: While they would never charge for their services, if they save your life, youíre culturally expected to repay them with a favor equivalent to your ransom, and if you donít you get a lower priority next time the other characters cart your corpse back. Very wealthy people are often ordered to pay for public goods out of pocket, like roads or triremes, although players by that point are probably powerful enough by that point that their finances are all run through a cult or theyíre globe-trotting and hard to find.

Each character has a Ransom, based on their profession, that determines how much someone needs to pay if they get captured. The game notes that this is very common, and pretty much only chaotic enemies wonít consider it. If you donít have the money on hand, you can get your family to bail you out with a successful passion roll. Most of the time the character ends up with a debt to the community, and the book recommends players store some treasure in the local temple to handle this.

Thereís a list of prices for things, which isnít worth repeating here. Thereís a bit on slaves but it mentions Orlanthi donít do it aside from the occasional captive, so most of the discussion on slavery will wait until Fonrit gets a write-up. The whole thing isnít bad as a flavor read if youíve actually got the book, with listings of common clothes or how much it costs to get an insulting poem written.

The chapter on Between Adventures is a lot more significant, lumping together character advancement and community life. The experience system was one of the biggest departures from D&D, focusing on individual advancement of skills rather than using an abstract concept of levels. To put it simply, if you use a skill or stat, you check to see if you can upgrade it. After each season (the game assumes one adventure a season, if there are more adventures the gm can do more advancement rolls if they want) If a character has used a skill or ability once, they roll it and add the category modifer derived from their stats. If the roll is Over the result, they add 1d6 to the ability. If this takes a skill or passion over 100%, it goes over 100. A roll of 100 or more is always a success. If a player is feeling unlucky or is shocked at how everything in this game is random, they can add 3% instead. Itís also assumed that your character is doing what their profession and cult demand outside of the adventure, so players get to pick 4 occupational and cult skills to check as well unless the adventure has been long and the character wouldnít have been able to get back to basics. Thereís also an option for Training, which doesnít require a test but only gives 1d6-1 points in the skill, is capped at 75% and maybe stops you from working, itís a little unclear. You can also research on your own, which is worse than training and gives you 1d6-2, potentially reducing your skill. These alternate paths need a benefit, theyíre treated like weaker forms of experience but with the cult and occupational skills youíre very rarely going to need to use them. Theyíd be better off as ways to increase very low skills quicker, in my opinion.

Stats can also be increased in a similar fashion. The most important and unusual version is POW, which is treated a lot like a skill. The advancement roll can be triggered by spirit combat or casting spells, using the Worship skill to recover spent Rune Points or training with an absurd price. The POW gain roll gets a strange formula where you subtract your current POW from your species maximum, which is the maximum and minimum you can roll (although they hosed up and wrote this before changing POW rolls to 2d6+6 from 3d6), then multiply that by 5 and roll under it on a d100. If you get that, roll 1d3-1 and add it to your POW. You can add 1 if you want. Higher-power characters like Rune-Priests get a 20% bonus to the roll, which is one of the biggest benefits. This isnít so bad since POW is a currency for a lot of things, so it encourages spending it on character features. Strength, Constitution, Dexterity and Charisma can be increased by training or research, with the stat gain roll as POW. Dex is capped at the starting score times 1.5 for some reason, and as an optional rule charisma can be increased by dressing fancily, heroic deeds or leadership. I think thereís a little identity crisis for the stat, but itís helpful for getting people to the higher tiers of power.

Advancement is pretty slow for a lot of things, especially lower skills. The system works well at a particular range of power, but it takes a long time to advance a skill from the bottom since the gains arenít better, so new sorcery spells, new cult skills and changing occupations. Stat advancement aside from POW is also very limited, due to how ineffective and costly training and research are. It really shouldnít take up the whole season, or cost 500 lunars to get an increase. The lack of levels or consistent benchmarks makes it difficult to introduce new characters, or provide balanced encounters. Thereís also a notable absence of seasons where a character might not be working, like a farmer in winter, that would be good for integrating training and research better into the gameís flow.

After advancement the book discusses Sacred Time and the health of the community. Story-wise, Sacred time is the end of the year and when every culture does their big rituals, so it happens every five or so adventures. Itís broken up into 7 different stages.

1. Worship: The players help out or lead great rituals of their cult, testing their Worship skills and getting better benefits than usual. Higher-tier characters also get some free cult spirit magic.
2. Heroquest: This is an optional step, and heroquests donít actually have any rules written in this book so I canít say much, but successfully heroquesting helps with the communityís harvest and omen rolls. Speaking of
3.Harvest: The harvest is a big deal, with most communities relying on agriculture. There are a few modifiers, like whether last years omens were good or bad, how much youíve been raided and how good last yearís harvest was. You roll a d100 and the higher the roll, the better the harvest, which modifies most professionís income roll.
4. Adventurer Income Roll: Each adventurer tests their most relevant occupational skill to see how much money they made themselves before covering their standard of living. Failed rolls can be pretty serious early on if the adventures arenít getting much loot from adventures. If you have people working under you thereís a special Manage Household Skill to see how much your peons leave as surplus.
5. Aging: the game doesnít wait until birthdays to check the effect it has. Characters are assumed to start at 21, and at the age of 40 they start needing to test if they lose physical stats. Characters can start older, but I canít imagine most games go long enough for this to matter much.
6. Family: A family is a useful thing, and important for giving character breadth and position in the world. If a player wants it abstracted, they can test Charisma or Custom (local) to find a spouse, although roleplaying is encouraged. Characters can also become parents, rolling a d100 and checking against a chart to see if they had a kid. Male characters can test for each female partner they had. The roll can be augmented by the characterís Fertility Rune, or decreased by testing their Death Rune. A lot of people donít like sex in their games, but this is abstracted and placed on a relationship/community level rather than as a creepy barmaid harassment thing most characters see, so I canít imagine it causing many issues. There is a weird overlap with the gender-neutral language and queer adventurers, but itís an obvious fix in play. The rolls for childbirth and survival are modified by the adventurerís standard of living, for a real bronze-age experience.
There are also some charts for seeing what happens to your immediate family, like deaths, scandals and blessings, that can be fun.
7. Omens: The game master either rolls for the next yearís incoming omens, or picks one to foreshadow upcoming adventures.

After all this thereís a conversion guide for old editions. Thereís a lot of overlap with RQ 2 and 3, which Iím unfamiliar with so thereís no point checking out.

Iíve been pretty negative on the game, but overall I really like the whole thing. The core system is simple and effective, runes and passions are augmented really well into the rules and it fits a lot of the core themes of the game. There is a definite tension between the Fantasy and the Gritty realism that I donít think has been resolved. Character generation is too involved to have very lethal combat, permanent stat penalties or slapstick fumble charts. A lot of the moving parts should really stay in 1978, and after the discussion of Maximum Game Fun at the start, the designers need to question whether the rules actually encourage it. If I was running the game, Iíd make a few changes to the whole thing, although I think the core is strong enough that Iíd do it without.

1. Stat arrays at character generation. This is going to be in the GMís guide, so itís not a big ask unless they gently caress it up.
2. Increase hitpoints. This reduces the lethality of the combat, while still keeping it gritty. Death sucks, getting your arm hosed up isnít as bad.
3. Change the combat over to movement Zones, where each zone acts as range for attacks and determines strike rank penalties for moving between them.
4. throw out special results for fumbles. The success tier system already found for special and critical successes works well enough. Iíd consider replacing special and critical successes outright for Higher roll wins like in Heroquest, but thatís probably going to have unseen consequences.
5. Mention skill use as combat augments. I donít think it says whether you can do that or not, but itís a good way to handle stunts. Itís not like thereís much use for anything youíd use as the augment.
5. Let training increase a skill to 50%, no roll required. Itís too hard to get something up from the bottom, which hurts sorcerers or people changing in station a lot. You could even do it with all occupation skills, although thatís a bigger deal
6. Make Spear use a starting skill for Argan Argar cultists, itís a cool as hell god and spear use is supposed to be a big deal for them, but itís a terrible deal to start as a guy who gets to speak to trolls and conjure darkness. I get that they donít want everyone to have access to combat equally, but itís the most important skillset in the game and you can handle that distribution better with magic.

All that out of the way, I encourage people who are curious to check it out. Itís a great introduction to the setting and the system is pretty fun, with a few fiddly bits that mostly pop up at character generation. Go Kick rear end in Dragon Pass



E: if you are playing for the first time, the free quickstart rules are an excellent resource for figuring out the basics

Wrestlepig fucked around with this message at 06:56 on Jul 17, 2018

White Coke
May 29, 2015

Night10194 posted:

I believe they are actually too stupid to be made into a proper familiar.

What's the minimum, and how many Bright Wizards have tried anyway?

JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!
Re: words in 7th Sea - yeah, the Chinese knockoff Egyptian gods are annoying, but you know what else is? Kurwa in a post-Polandball world. That one and Valytuvas would break all immersion every time they're mentioned.

The Jok powers don't seem that otherworldly when you have the dsousou farting around with Minor favours, tho.

Re: Tome of Magic - I would voluntarily take the Disney-princess-chipmunk-entourage mark, especially if the book literally calls them out as stealing croissants.

A lot of the other marks seem like they would majorly impact RP situations, especially for Death wizards.

Ghost Leviathan
Mar 2, 2017

Exploration is ill-advised.

JcDent posted:

Re: words in 7th Sea - yeah, the Chinese knockoff Egyptian gods are annoying, but you know what else is? Kurwa in a post-Polandball world. That one and Valytuvas would break all immersion every time they're mentioned.

Yeah, was also thinking that, but knowing our luck it's actually an African term that happens to sound the same.


ChaseSP posted:

"Gather around servants, for today we will explore the mystical land known only as Ethea!"

I was making a Yu-Gi-Oh! joke, but this is much funnier.

Prism
Dec 22, 2007

yospos

Ghost Leviathan posted:

Yeah, was also thinking that, but knowing our luck it's actually an African term that happens to sound the same.

'Kurwa' is the Hausa (a central African language) word for soul/spirit/ghost. I think it is supposed to have an accent on it.

Edit: Two. It's kýrwā.

Prism fucked around with this message at 06:06 on Jul 12, 2018

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009


Isn't that also Polish for gently caress/poo poo?

Arctic Bunny
Aug 3, 2012

A PERFECT LOOKING NOSE
Can Easily Be Yours
Tbh I think it would be nice to check out Heroes and Villains before the Nations books in case they get namedropped. Also there are a few fairly cool 7th Sea OCs donotsteal and a few really... special ones.

Azran
Sep 3, 2012

I am the real hero here.


I feel for any designer who attempts to have their made-up words make sense in other languages. I mean, you can avoid stuff like the main villainous entity in Fire Emblem 4 include a Spanish slur term for gay people (and Nintendo actually did change that name) but unless you go full Tolkien and micromanage all translations, I think there isn't much you can do about it. In the Iron Kingdoms setting, there are a number of words with "th" sounds - orgoth, tharn, kith, tuath, etc - that sound downright silly when read phonetically in Spanish due to the lack of that phoneme in most dialects (and unless the reader is trained in English phonology, you bet they are going to read it phonetically). I don't blame them for assuming most people won't know a specific meaning for "kurwa" or "Valytuvas".

While I'm complaining about phonetics, I would love to see more designers add a brief pronunciation section to their books.

Azran fucked around with this message at 07:41 on Jul 12, 2018

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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

Azran posted:

I don't blame them for assuming most people won't know a specific meaning for "kurwa"

If they know Polandball or live somewhere east of Germany, they do.

It would behoove the game devs to check if that a certain word is funny in, idk, English, Spanish, French and maybe Chinese? Whatever your bigger markets are expected to be.

I vote for Nations of Theas. I was famously the rear end in a top hat who claimed that non-Thean nations seemed more magical, so now I'd like to see just how much magical the not-Europe nations are in this swasharcaneshield game.

Plus, it's always fun to read about PC backgrounds and stuff.

GimpInBlack
Sep 27, 2012

That's right, kids, take lots of drugs, leave the universe behind, and pilot Enlightenment Voltron out into the cosmos to meet Alien Jesus.

Mors Rattus posted:

Options now:
Heroes & Villains
Nations of Theah, Vol. 1
Nations of Theah, Vol. 2
The Crescent Empire
The New World

Gonna buck the trend and say Nations of Theah Volume 2, because EISEN! :black101: and USSURA! :tbear:

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

7th Sea 2 - Nations of Theah, Vol. 1



This book opens with Wick's two-paragraph intro in the dedication, which again is his only bit in the book. He says the idea of the book is to give you a baseline of information for the nations, but no so much to choke people on the canon, a mistake he says 1st edition made. We'll see if they succeeded. The head dev for this book, Danielle Lauzon, is mostly notable for her writing credits on Demon: The Descent, some other Chronicles of Darkness titles, Chill 3e and Cavaliers of Mars. This book covers Avalon (and the other Glamour Isles), Castille, Montaigne and Vestenmennavenjar - collectively, the western nations of Theah. (Well, Vesten is arguable but it's not even on the continent proper so who cares?) The uniting factor of these nations besides, arguably, geography, is a general malcontent among the people, generally directed at...well, their neighbors. Fear of war, fear of Sidhe, fear of Inquisition, fear of cultural domination.

We open with Avalon. The United Kingdoms of Avalon are a land of legends and glory, resurrected from the ashes of war by mighty leadership and Sidhe magic. It is so far held together by the currently undisputed compact between Queen Elaine and the Sidhe. She received the Graal from them, and with it the right to rule. That came with a price. The Sidhe now annex lands once held by humans, and their Glamour overtakes the lands they live in, warping them to suit their own needs. In the process, they don't generally care what happens to the human inhabitants, and sometimes that's lethal. Tensions rise between human and Sidhe, yet Elaine speaks only of unity and goodwill towards them. And that's hardly the only issue the islands have got.

The history of the Glamour Isles is long and bloody. Avalon has fought for centuries to conquer and subjugate the other two, and Inismore especially has long suffered under Avalonian rule. Their last time they were conquered was as far back as the reign of the original O'Bannon. Even when they were able to free themselves from Avalon, they fell into civil war, with each clan seeking the throne. The Highlands have a history of uniting behind their High King to fight off Avalonian rule as well. The islands have seen three hundred years shaped almost entirely by war, and while Elaine's rise has brought peace, it has cost them their sovereignty.

The Isles were as involved in the War of the Cross as any other nations. Avalon sent ships to Eisen, and Montaigne and Castille both invaded on the regular. Near the end, Avalon's soldiers finally expelled the Montaignes, and Castille sent their Armada to Inish waters to take advantage. The clan leaders panicked, but the warrior legend Jack O'Bannon personally took up the sword and singlehandedly slew many invaders, driving Castille away. His actions and the blessing of the Fal Stone earned him the Inish throne. This gave the Glamour Islanders a chance to rebuild at last, though in the wake of the Castillian defeat, the Highlanders fell to civil war. It was not until ten years after the War of the Cross ended that Elaine emerged with the Graal, declaring herself Queen. The Graal made the O'Bannon bend knee to her, soon followed by King MacDuff in an attempt to save the Highlands. The Graal told the islands that Elaine had been accepted by the magic of their homelands as ruler, and since then, there's been a full decade of peace and prosperity.

Avalon itself is the seat of Elaine's power, and ground zero for the Sidhe incursions. It's hard to recognize it after a decade - things have changed massively. Economic growth has hit every part of society, and Avalonian merchants have expanded outward on the backs of Avalonian privateers, making the nation a major trading force. Its many ports have seen explorative missions launched to the Crescents, the Atabean and beyond. Many Avalonians look west, to the New World, for expansion, but tensions at home keep Elaine and her court busy. Underneath the prosperity, old resentments fester, and those who see Elaine as an unfit queen wait for their chance to strike.

Inismore still desires freedom. The Inish have spent 20 years rebuilding their kingdom, and they are not happy to spend ten of those shackled to Avalon. Well the average Inish would still raise a glass to the health of Elaine and the O'Bannon, they'd be more than happy to see Inismore free. They speak of the old days of legend, when the Inish fought the dark creatures of the land, tamed the island and lived in harmony with the Sidhe. Many cheered for the O'Bannon's return, but they didn't expect him to be so drat volatile. The old stories said he'd return in the hour of need, but he seems to have gone mad, disappearing for weeks at a time and fueling fears that one day, he'll just wander off and never return.

The Highland Marches have probably come out of things worst for swearing fealty to Elaine. They have not received the growth and resources that Avalon and Inismore have enjoyed nearly as much, and they seem to occupy a lesser place in Elaine's court. The Highlanders have to work twice as hard to get any recognition at all, no matter how much Avalon prospers. They have, at least, had a cultural renaissance, rededicating themselves to their heritage and ways. Holidays and traditions are returning...as are clan grudges and old gods. The Marches are extremely traditional and rather sexist, with women unable to lead households, run businesses or own property, and with Elaine's rise, a movement for women's equality has erupted among nobles and peasants alike - the Bonny Swans. Their fight for equality has fueled the anger of the conservative Seperatist movement, who see Avalon as corrupting Marcher values and believe that they should break away. This, along with the discontent over Sidhe annexation, may be enough to force the Highlands out of Avalonian control.

Queen Elaine was the bastard daughter of a king, and has risen to become one of the most powerful women in Theah. She was fostered to a noble's house as a child, convinced her life would be boring and unassuming. At 19, she was engaged to a young man, and she was pregnant at her wedding...which got interrupted by the wizard Derwyddon, who took her away from the altar and led her into the land of the Sidhe, Bryn Bresail, on a quest to recover the Graal. Elaine spent many years among the Sidhe, suffering many problems - including loss of her unborn child. Derwyddon prepared her for the trials of the Three Queens of Bryn Bresail, who tested her right to rule. When she returned, she found ten years had passed, her father was dead, her fiance was vanished and she was...still 19. She united the lands under her banner, creating the Unified Kingdoms. With each year that has passed, she has grown wiser and more confident, beloved by Avalon's people...but their love and her kindness are not enough for the challenges she faces. The Highlands sink into poverty despite her best efforts, and the O'Bannon just wanders the land rather than ruling his people. He may be loyal, but he's a terrible leader and uncontrollable. Derwyddon has left her court, leaving her without an expert on the Sidhe. The Seperatists gain ground daily, and many criticize her for not striking them down and instead leaving them to MacDuff to deal with. The Realists dislike her support of Glamour and the Sidhe. Others gossip about her personal relationships with Duchess Colleen MacLeod and her knight, Lawrence Lugh. He is her constant companion and personal guard, and some say he is an exiled Sidhe prince, others just a Knight of Elilodd. He certainly has potent Glamour, and many fear that Elaine is in too deep with the Sidhe to accurately assess that as a threat. Elaine takes it all with grace, doing what she can and making contingency plans for the rest. She struggles, knowing her people suffer but that she can do little to help. She is proud and slow to anger, but once her temper is provoked, her rage is impressive. She loves Avalon over all else, and while she enjoys some distractions from that, ruling the islands takes almost all of her time.

Duchess Colleen MacLeod was born Colleen Carlyle, daughter of a Duke of a small county across the water from the Highlands, which she grew up enamored with. It surprised no one when she married Monty MacLeod, second son of the Duke MacLeod, a powerful Highland clan leader. When Monty's elder brother died in an accident, he became the Duke, and Colleen quickly rose in status, despite being a woman in the Highlands. She has become a symbol of gender equality for the Bonny Swans. Publically, she supports King MacLeod, but in truth, she believes the Marches will never prosper until they are independent. She wants a peaceful separation, and to that end has maneuvered herself to become the Highlander ambassador to Elaine's court. She feared at first that she'd have to pretend to like Elaine, but that proved unnecessary - they quickly became true friends over their shared love of learning, and Colleen has become one of Elaine's confidantes. The Separatists have tried to discredit her by spreading rumors that the two are lovers...and, in fact, those rumors were what got the two women to acknowledge their love for each other, soon beginning a quiet relationship (with Duke Monty's blessing). Elaine has managed to balance her relationships with both Colleen and Lawrence Lugh so far, and has publically admitted to neither. Colleen is a practical, outspoken woman who doesn't give up easily, and she's still a closet Separatist despite being Elaine's lover. She's got a strong Marcher accent despite her Avalonian birth, and her feelings are often in turmoil because of her love for Elaine and her love for her adopted nation.

Derywddon, High Wizard of Avalon, is the most mysterious man on the island. Countless rumors circle about him - he ages backwards, they say, and when he dies, so will the Islands. He is the living incarnation of their magic, they say, as old as the islands themselves. Neither of those is true, but the truth is crazy: Derwyddon is the son of a Sidhe and one of the first Avalonian rulers to make a deal with Bryn Bresail. He was born speaking prophecy from the cradle, which scared his father so much that the man begged the Sidhe to take the boy. His mother raised him gladly, but knew his mortal lifespan would kill him one day, so to preserve him, she bound him to the timeless heart of Bryn Bresail. For as long as he remained there, his age would grow impossibly slowly. He grew up among the Seelie court, studying their magic and giving the Three Queens his prophesies for a dozen mortal lifetimes before he ever went back to the lands of men. That'd be when the Old Empire invaded Avalon in the 6th Century, and he realized he had to do something or the Glamour Isles would be wiped out. He left Bryn Bresail despite his mother's warnings, bargaining with the Three Queens to gain the power to draw down a wall of mist on the isles until the dangers had passed. That pact hid Avalon for nearly a century, frozen in time but safe. To do it, however, Derwyddon had to sell away his place in Bryn Bresail, forced to wander the mortal world, apart from his mother, in service to the Seelie and the Isles. This is why he serves Elaine - his future was foretold before she was ever born, foretold by his own prophecy. He spoke of a ruler who would reawaken the bonds of the Sidhe and the mortals, whose decisions would either bring a golden age or ruin and destruction. Derwyddon came to prepare Elaine, and only he knows the full truth of her ascendancy. It is unclear, however, if his true motive is, in fact, to just get back in the good graces of the Sidhe and go home once more. He is a master strategist, a genius who has been working to ensure everyone he has foreseen is where he has foreseen that they need to be. However, while he is a master wizard and a skilled manipulator, he refuses to influence the free choices of any person, instead allowing them to choose their own future, which may be why he looks so frustrated whenever he shows up. He has been aging faster the past few years, and this may be part of why he is rarely seen at court any more.

Elaine and Derwyddon are largely similar to their 1e incarnations, though Elaine being both explicitly bisexual and actually in relationships with Lawrence Lugh (and Colleen) are new. Derwyddon's history is new but it fits his old role fine. Colleen is a new character entirely and a good one - we needed more Separatist heroes.

Next time: EVEN MORE PEOPLE

Mors Rattus fucked around with this message at 13:55 on Jul 12, 2018

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
Never make peace with hosed up warped elves offering grails by ignoring the violence they do to your people.

Should really have learned from Bretonnia.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!
Didn't even get Pegasus Knights out of the bargain. Could have held out for a Green Knight, too.

Also, where does it say that Elaine is bi? Sure, she was pregnant a decade ago, but, ugh, noble marriages and pregnancies don't seem like a thing that bends to the whims of the parties involved.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

JcDent posted:

Didn't even get Pegasus Knights out of the bargain. Could have held out for a Green Knight, too.

Also, where does it say that Elaine is bi? Sure, she was pregnant a decade ago, but, ugh, noble marriages and pregnancies don't seem like a thing that bends to the whims of the parties involved.

The part where she's dating a lady and a dude at once. Lawrence Lugh's a man.

Comrade Gorbash
Jul 12, 2011

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

JcDent posted:

Didn't even get Pegasus Knights out of the bargain. Could have held out for a Green Knight, too.

Also, where does it say that Elaine is bi? Sure, she was pregnant a decade ago, but, ugh, noble marriages and pregnancies don't seem like a thing that bends to the whims of the parties involved.
It's in the text of the post and the book. She's explicitly in a relationship with both Colleen MacLeod and Lawrence Lugh. The Lugh writeup specifically is just in the next update.

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Ratoslov
Feb 15, 2012

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

So we're supposed to be stabbing Elaine, right? I mean, she is signing over the lives of her countrymen to the Sidhe for power.

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