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PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Joe Slowboat posted:

I never really felt compelled to fight for humanity, reading Kult, the way I do reading Mage.

Part of that is that Kult humanity isn't necessarily good or deserves to be free. Like, as deities, humanity enslaved and used "lesser" species for sport and as servants, part of the monsters hunting us as mortals are our old slaves and servants who remember how we treated them. The "awakened" or borderline awakened humans that canonically exist are all completely insane and sociopathic by conventional human standards. You could argue that the Demiurge did the universe a favour by locking humanity away and limiting their excesses.

So in Kult, you can fight for a better world, certainly. But if you're actively fighting the demiurge with a full understanding of the conflict ahead, it's a fight for yourself and your own selfish desire to be a God, to some extent.

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JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Night10194 posted:

The Rune of Grudges is a CN 12 Weapon Rune that takes 4 months to make. It allows you to narrow your eyes, point your weapon at one specific guy per combat, and mutter 'That's a grudgin' as a free action. You then get one free reroll on all missed attacks against that specific enemy for the remainder of this combat. This is pretty great if you want to be able to pick out one specific dangerous enemy per combat and go after them like an angry, bearded homing missile, and if you didn't want to do that what's wrong with you?

Maaan, this would be so great on an axe, but since Imperial characters/landsknecht aren't great fans of axes, could probably be cool on Sigmarite priest's warhammer.

You and me, let's go!

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



7th Sea 2: Nations of Theah, Vol. 1 - Not To Be Confused With The OTHER Jotun

Allfather Ice Floes are a set of frozen glaciers and floes that, combined, are as big as the entire rest of the nation put together, at least during winter, when they double in size. In summer there is significant melt, allowing access to the northern coastline above Klorhulg for a few months of whaling, fishing and trade. The floes have always been vital hunting grounds for the locals, who often head out to the ice in search of seals, walrus, ice bears and other fat-rich animals to eat. Many do not return, though, for the ice is treacherous and the beasts dangerous. Also, there are monsters. In recent years, explorers have taken to heading out on glacier safaris to hunt big game, which is a good source of income for the locals who are willing to babysit rich idiot foreigners. Besides the great ice bears, walrus and other beasts, some explorers seek legends - most notably, the Jotun, a mythical tribe of cannibal half-human giants that were driven into exile in the early days of Vesten. They are not to be confused with the Jotun, mythic spirits or living legends that appear around the nation. These Jotun, the cannibal giants, are said to possess lost and ancient magic, such as the secret of survival on icy wastes. To date, no one has ever actually proven they exist. The local Vesten know that Jotun are real, but they aren't cannibals - at least, not all. If asked, they will explain that the Jotun are living myths, creatures and people of the past that continue to influence life today. This has never stopped them from lying to idiots about the cannibal ice giants for a buck, though.

Wyrd Lake is on the northern edge of Jarl Forest, formed in the remnants of an ancient volcano and fed by the purest of spring waters. It is the source of several major rivers and smaller tributaries. It and the island at its center have always been important in local folklore. Some say it is the home of the great tree that binds the living world to the afterlife, while others say it is where the ancient giants that fought the Vesten ancestors retreated to. This is the source of the island's name - Ivethay Island, either Island of the Crone or Witch Island depending on how you translate it. The island, it is said, and all within it are owned by an immortal witch that turns trespassers into trees, and so it is covered in forest.

Ivethay Island is large enough to, honestly, be a small nation of its own, but all that is there are a few tribal villages, most of which have very little contact with the outside world. These all belong to the Ukonsaari tribesmen, who have lived on the island for as long as anyone has ever known. They are notable for being a full head taller than most other Vesten, for being matriarchal and for having fought the other people of the land until driven back to Ivethay Island, which they defended fiercely. Over the centuries, various legends and rumors about them have spread, some out of lack of information and others actively fostered by the Ukonsaari for protection. While the island is more than large enough to support at least one town, there are none - just small villages that shelter the various Ukonsaari family groups. They are all related via a complex system of matriarchal lineages, and to prevent inbreeding, the women carefully track genealogy and arrange marriages, often fostering children out to other villages to help diplomatic relationships. Each village has its own leaders, but all look to the Ivethay, a single wise woman, to deal with inter-village disputes and important issues.

The legends of the Ivethay have actually been, historically, the solution to the island's potential inbreeding problem. See, one legend says that the giant witch living on the island loves children and will never harm them, and for centuries, a woman unable or unwilling to raise her own children has followed this folktale and brought her child to Ivethay Island, leaving them on the shore in the hope that Ivethay will watch over them. This was often done by unwed mothers or the very poor, though the Ukonsaari have also historically adopted children targeted for death, such as rivals for a throne or the bastard offspring of powerful nobles and leaders. Adopted children are raised as full Ukonsaari, with no social stigma, and in some ways even value them more, because of the greater ease in arranging their marriage genealogically. The Ukonsaari see this adoption of children as their sacred duty and honor, and this has occasionally caused conflict with the rest of the Vesten, who want to use those kids as pawns in their politics. The Ukonsaari have always known they can't beat the rest of Vesten, so they rely heavily on stealth, secrecy and superstition to keep people away from the island and its adopted children. Over time, the tradition of leaving children for Ivethay has started to fade, so the people are now desperate to get new blood in. Some want to open trade with outsiders to get people to immigrate, but others fear the changes that would bring. That said, the Ukonsaari do have some contact with the outside world. Sometimes, a tribesperson will leave the island to trade for goods they can't produce at home. However, they always hide their origins when doing this, passing themselves off as a traveling merchant or similar.

The western coast, meanwhile, has developed largely independently of the rest of Vesten. They are more isolated than others, as the western coastline is dangerous and far from most places, with rocky cliffs and dangerous storms. The largest of the coastal cities are Soroya, Costa and Thorshofn, but even they are rarely visited by sailors due to the dangers. Their dialects differ from the rest of Vesten, and they tend to consider themselves Western Coast rather than normal Vesten, though the three cities are not identical by any means.

Soroya, in the north, is like a place out of the past, when isolation was normal and each jarl was a foe to each other jarl. While most of Vesten has embraced the Vendel League, Soroya rejects their 'advancements' as weakness. Most Soroyans know they can't hope to stop the League, but they seek to remain as aloof and distant as possible from it without drawing its ire. The Soroyans are very proud, especially of the fact that the last High King was from their city, and their current jarl is his great-great-grandson. They do not like outside religions, and while they are generally xenophobic, they are especially cold towards openly Vaticine or Objectionist strangers. Officially, violence is forbidden against those of other faiths, but there's never been a guilty verdict in any case involving crimes against those spreading the teachings of either church. Probably due to its xenophobia and aloofness, Soroya is in decline. It has no mines to bolster it and it is in a very harsh area, with little resources to draw the League's interest. They rely on the sea for survival, as they always have. They often practice traditional raiding, albeit with more discretion than their ancestors needed. Unlike the Vesten Raider fleet, Soroyans will happily attack League ships, and when they attack, they kill everyone aboard to eliminate witnesses before ransacking the vassal and burning it. While this fleet is said to be lawless, they actually serve the Jarl of Soroya, and all stolen goods go directly to the city's treasury. So far, the League has not officially noticed anything, but they're probably aware and just deciding how to handle it. The Raiders do not like the Soroyan fleet, especially their murderous tendencies, and are entirely unaware that the Soroyans serve a jarl - so they have no one to target yet. It's only a matter of time before they learn of it, however, and decide to act.

Costa is southwest from Soroya, and it exists for two main reasons. First, it's sitting on top of a small but extremely deep bay that is a perfect harbor. Second, the small but healthy woodland nearby is excellent for making ships. And so, Costa is a city of shipwrights and explorers. Life there isn't that different from elsewhere on the western coast, but Costans are most likely to go on very long sailing trips away from home, rather than simple coastal fishing. Most of these are theoretically trade voyages, but Costa's actual imports and exports aren't numerous. Most of these crews are actually explorers and knowledge-seekers, who return with new tales and experiences. Exploration of the world is such a huge part of the Costan identity that most youths consider a sea voyage to a far-off land a vital rite of passage to adulthood. What they learn and bring back are considered to show what kind of person they will become, and Costans take on deed-based surnames based on their ocean voyages pretty often - Eagle-Eye for spotting an unknown island, Surfson for spending a long time out there, Twoship for surviving a vessel's sinking. Costa is one of the most cosmopolitan and places in Vesten, but in a very different way from, say, Vendel. They collect life experiences and worldly knowledge, not books and trade. Their jarl, Mara Eastman, is famous for her first sea journey, which took her to the Highland Marches, around the continent and all the way to the Crescent Empire. Travelers are treated as welcomed guests and pumped for information and stories of their homelands and travels, and many of the locals are foreigners that fell in love with a native and came home with them.

Thorshofn, literally Thor's Bay, is named for an ancient jarl of legend, and is the southernmost of the three cities. It, like the other western coast cities, relies heavily on the resources of the sea to survive, but it also is the most open to active trade with other nations. Compared to the rest of the western coast, its location means it's gotten far more foreign attention, though Avalonian and Eisen raiders typically underestimated the distance to get there and arrived wearied, often killed or captured by the townsfolk, their goods taken and integrated into Thorshofn's economy and culture. Eventually the foreigners came instead to trade, and Thorshofn is the biggest supplier of foreign goods for the entire Western Coast. Locals also export huge amounts of salt cod and sea-ready goods, and have traders coming in even from as far as Soroya to sell things that do better in foreign ports than at home. Thorshofn's jarl and carl work very closely together, working to profit off trade without becoming too big a target to steal from. While they remain traditionalist in fashion, most locals also own goods and clothes from foreign lands that took their fancy, and are most likely of the western coasters to be multilingual. They tend to find travelers who don't come to buy and sell things to be suspicious, but there are small communities of people from most Thean nations living there, so it's not nearly as bad as, say, Soroya. The people tend to be transient, often heading out on trade voyages in search of new deals.

Next time: Rune magic.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
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7th Sea 2: Nations of Theah, Vol. 1 - Words of Power

Galdr is the sorcery of runes, and while it isn't quite lost, it's pretty dang rare. The mythical hero Ekerila is said to be the one who discovered, or perhaps rediscovered, the futhark, the ancient language of the gods. However, she made a terrible mistake - she shared her knowledge with the wrong people, and power fell into the hands of those who misused it. She tried for the rest of her life to right this wrong and ensure only the worthy held the power of Galdr...but she failed, because that's impossible to do. Once the power has escaped, you can't get it back in the bottle. Use of Galdr is rare in modern Vesten, but has seen some resurgence. Traditionalists see it as one of the Old Ways, a reminder of the times when the gods spoke in words of thunder. More modern Vesten see it as a very useful tool, when they can find someone to teach them the power.

Those who know the futhark and how to use its power are known as vala. Some modern Vesten say that anyone who claims to be vala is merely a charlatan hiding beind a word of power, and that's often correct. However, the real vala can call on true power, and no one can deny that when it is invoked. The Seekers of the Word of Ekerila do their best to police the vala, but that's not an easy job. The vala usually have no desire to deal with them at all, and the Seekers have somewhat lacking political influence. Besides, no vala wants to see their power regulated to much extent, having seen what happened to the strega of Vodacce.

Each purchase of Sorcery (Galdr) grants you two runes, of which there are a total of twelve. Each rune has two words that it can be used for - the Stort Merke ('great mark') and the Litet Merke ('small mark'). The magic is not, however, in the shape of the runes. Anyone can draw a rune. Vala learn to do so while working their will into the script, infusing the rune with magic. However, even a magical rune doesn't do anything while it's sitting there. The power is released when the rune is broken. Vala typically carry around small clay tablets bearing their runic inscriptions, which they snap or hurl to the ground and shatter to activate. However, they even learn to draw runes so quickly that they can use a stick or finger to scratch one in the dirt or write it with chalk, then wipe it out to release the magic.

It is said that there is a thirteenth rune, one that Ekerila hid away before she ever taught Galdr to others. Some say this lost rune has power over life and death, and that even speaking it is enough to invoke it. Most vala know this story, but they tend to interpret it differently. Some say that the thirteenth rune is a metaphor for the power of the runes and a warning against using them too often or frivolously, due to the severe punishment the runes levy for doing so. Others believe Ekerila was able to commune with the gods directly, or that the final rune has the power to kill or to give life, or to transfer life from one to another. Few actively seek out the thirteenth rune, if it even exists. Most agree that whatever it is, Ekerila hid it away for good reason, and even the most selfish or foolhardy vala does not use the runes lightly. Only the wisest would be able to handle that power, and few vala today consider themselves that wise.

Activation of a Galdr inscription always involves two runes - one Stort Merke, modified by one Litet Merke. They are woven together in such a way that they're nearly inseparable. There is a third rune that is needed, however, and without the magic is impossible. This rune is the vala's own name, written by them. Because of this, the runes and tablets made by a vala are useless to anyone but them. It is only by binding your own name into the magic that you are able to shape it to your will. Each time you activate Galdr, you spend a Hero Point and choose one of your known runes' Stort Merke, gaining its effect. Then you choose one of your known runes' Litet Merke effects and gain that. They can be from the same rune, but they don't have to be. During a Sequence, this also costs one Raise. Most Litet Merke add an effect to the target of the Stort Merke. If your Stort Merke does not require you to choose a specific target, the Litet Merke may target anyone in the same Scene. Otherwise, it must target the same person as the Stort Merke.

Galdr is all about balance, however. The futhark represent both a thing and its opposite. A rune used to prosper causes a loss eventually, for example, even if not of the same kind. There is always balance. Using Galdr on your foes will eventually bring them good luck, though few vala mention this. Most people in Vesten fear them, after all, and the power of their runes, and they see no reason to mess with that. Thus, few foes will attribute any future good fortune to a vala's magic, even if it's caused by that in the long run. What's more important and even less known to non-vala is the cost on the vala. If you use Galdr without the specific will to do it, in the sense of using it in a moment of passion or for petty reasons, the rune's balance will reflect back on you. Vala train for several years to learn how to make runes with the correct purpose of will and how to use it, and they can inherently sense when they are using Galdr 'correctly' or when they risk backlash. Essentially, whenever your character uses Galdr out of spite, passion or for thoughtless reasons, the GM may spend a Danger Point to apply any negative effects of the Stort Merke to you as well. You gain none of its positive effects.

Futhark
Beast is the rune of hunting skill, primal instinct, animals and monsters. It is used to name great heroes with a tie to wild places, and by commoners to protect against wildlife.
Stort Merke: Choose one character present in the scene, which can be you. The target becomes immune to the Qualities of any Monster that specifically targets them until the end of the round, but any Wounds caused to them by a Monster or wild animal are increased by 1.
Litet Merke: The target can speak to and understand Monsters and animals for the rest of the scene. This does not ensure that they'll have anything interesting to say or will obey in any way, just that they're understandable.
Blood is the rune of family, kinship and community. It is used to name heroes with great lineage, whose families do great deeds, and by commeners to ensure communal health and safety.
Stort Merke: Spend any number of Hero Points. You may transfer all Hero Points spent to any other character in the scene.
Litet Merke: The target may immediately spend a Hero Point to gain 2 Raises.
Courage is the rune of legitimacy, rulership and nobility. It names heroes who once ruled the land and those of noble heart, and it is used by commoners to ensure truth and honesty in business.
Stort Merke: Spend any number of Hero Points. The GM loses that many Danger Points.
Litet Merke: Choose another character in the same scene as you. They may immediately activate an Opportunity without spending a Raise.
Storm is the rune of unpredictability and change. It names heroes who fell to villainy or villains redeemed, and is used by commoners to ask for rain in dry seasons.
Stort Merke: All characters in the current scene gain 1 Raise immediately. Choose one character. They gain 2 Raises instead.
Litet Merke: The target can immediately change their Approach.
Iron is the rune of trial, will and perseverence. It names heroes who overcome great setbacks, and many call on it to ward off disease and bad luck.
Stort Merke: Choose a character in the same scene as you, which cannot be you. Apply Pressure to them. If they choose to overcome the Pressure by spending the extra Raise required, they gain 1 Hero Point. If they choose instead to do what you Pressure them to do, they heal Wounds equal to their highest Trait.
Litet Merke: The target may choose to gain 1 Raise and take Wounds equal to their highest Trait.
Light is the rune of revelation, truth and sight. It names just and true heroes, and is used by commoners to attract wealth.
Stort Merke: Choose one character in the scene with you. Until the end of the scene, they cannot lie, but always know when someone else lies.
Litet Merke: The target can immediately take an action without spending a Raise, but that action must use either Notice or Empathy. (No improvisation cost is required.)
Spirit is the rune of freedom, emotion and empathy. It names heroes who gave of themselves to help others and is used by commoners as a love charm.
Stort Merke: Choose one character in the scene with you that is under Pressure. The Pressure is immediately removed, but for the rest of the round, they must spend 2 Raises rather than 1 to overcome any further Pressure.
Litet Merke: Choose a second character in the scene with you. They get the effects of the Stort Merke you used, just as the first target. If your Stort Merke already affects multiple characters, this has no effect.
Star is the rune of mystery, hidden danger and deception. It names heroes of unknown origin and is used by most to ward off danger.
Stort Merke: Choose one character in the scene with you besides yourself. They gain the Shapeshifting Monster Quality. However, they take 1 Wound each time they take an action while shapeshifted, and if they take a Dramatic Wound, they return to normal and lose the Quality.
Litet Merke: The target can immediately take an action without spending a Raise, but that action must use either Hide or Theft. (No improvisation cost is required.)
Stone is the rune of endurance, perseverence and stubbornness. It names heroes who fought against all odds, and is used by commoners as a charm for healthy crops and herds.
Stort Merke: Choose one character in the scene with you. The next time they are dealt Wounds this round, halve those Wounds (rounding up). The next time they deal Wounds this round, halve those Wounds (rounding up). Even if not used, these effects go away at the end of the round.
Litet Merke: the target can spend a Hero Point to ignore/delay any penalties resulting from Consequences, such as Wounds or dice penalties, until the end of the round.
Thunder is the rune of boldness, fury and pride in adversity. It names heroes who brought peace, and is commonly used to tell someone they're being too proud and should stop.
Stort Merke: Choose one character in the scene with you. The next time they deal Wounds this round, they deal extra Wounds equal to your highest Trait. The next time they are dealt Wounds this round, they take extra Wounds equal to your highest Trait. Even if not used, these effects go away at the end of the round.
Litet Merke: The target is immune to Fear until the end of the round.
Time is the rune of prophecy, destiny and cycles. It names heroes with great destinies and is used by commoners to ward against idleness.
Stort Merke: Choose one character in the scene with you (which can't be you). They immediately lose all remaining Raises. Next round, they get bonus Raises equal to double the amount lost.
Litet Merke: The target must take an action immediately, which costs Raises as normal. If this is combined with the Time Stort Merke, they act before losing their Raises.
Winter is the rune of hardship, darkness and inevitability. It names heroes who sacrificed much but failed, and is used by commoners to ward against hardship and bad luck.
Stort Merke: Choose an Opportunity in the current Scene with you. That Opportunity is destroyed; no one can activate it.
Litet Merke: the next time the target is dealt Wounds this round, they take 1 extra Wound.

Next time: Dueling

Haystack
Jan 23, 2005







Freaking Crumbum posted:

i would seriously buy a novel about whatever background story greg was telling with the setting fiction in UA3.

I'm told that that's basically Last Call by Tim Powers

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017





Haystack posted:

I'm told that that's basically Last Call by Tim Powers

The name would imply it's about everybody's favorite Dipsomancer (who also at the same time deserves every bad thing that ever came his way, and some that should have).

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





PurpleXVI posted:

Part of that is that Kult humanity isn't necessarily good or deserves to be free. Like, as deities, humanity enslaved and used "lesser" species for sport and as servants, part of the monsters hunting us as mortals are our old slaves and servants who remember how we treated them. The "awakened" or borderline awakened humans that canonically exist are all completely insane and sociopathic by conventional human standards. You could argue that the Demiurge did the universe a favour by locking humanity away and limiting their excesses.

So in Kult, you can fight for a better world, certainly. But if you're actively fighting the demiurge with a full understanding of the conflict ahead, it's a fight for yourself and your own selfish desire to be a God, to some extent.

Yeah, that's basically my situation with it - it's Gnostic, but it's also extremely amoral. The higher truth you might fight for is 'actually humans are incredibly awful and incredibly powerful in a state of nature' which puts us more or less on an even footing with the things currently running reality. The Mage cosmology has some deeply amoral elements, but the Lie is bad in a way that's deeply, infuriatingly unjust, and I think that's a powerful thing for driving players to act Gnostic, attempting to gain power in the name of truth.

Basically, Kult is Gnosticism as seen by people who think Gnostics are inherently selfish power-seekers, and Mage is Gnosticism as seen by Gnostics - there's selfish power-seeking, but the setting makes it clear that the better Gnostic is a metaphysical revolutionary, pursuing a higher truth. I'd much rather play the second one, because Gnosticism has a lot going for it, and it's a much more interesting conflict to my mind.

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.


Dawgstar posted:

The name would imply it's about everybody's favorite Dipsomancer (who also at the same time deserves every bad thing that ever came his way, and some that should have).

It's mostly about how you should never play poker with Tarot cards.

Freaking Crumbum
Apr 17, 2003

Too fuck to drunk




Haystack posted:

I'm told that that's basically Last Call by Tim Powers

Last Call is fantastic and i would strongly recommend it to anyone that is even mildly interested in a setting like UA, but i don't get the sense that UA3:Last Call is quite a 1:1 comparison.

the protagonist in the UA3 setting fiction already knows that the world we see is not the world that was, or that could be, and is openly aware of wizards and other unnatural poo poo going on just below the surface of "reality".

Last Call would be like the prequel to the UA3 setting. by the end of it the characters have the same level of familiarity with the fantastic, but at the outset they're all only vaguely aware that reality doesn't quite function the way we imagine it does, and most of their brushes with the unnatural get misattributed to their personal flaws until the big reveal.

like, the main protagonist in last call keeps seeing visions of his dead wife, but it only happens when he gets really drunk, and it's assumed he's just having extremely bad DTs/hangovers, or that it's otherwise the result of his liver emulsifying. eventually we learn it really is a manifestation of Death that's just taken the form of his dead wife to try and confuse him, and the alcoholism only matters because it was a method by which Death was trying to kill the protagonist.

MonsieurChoc posted:

It's mostly about how you should never play poker with Tarot cards.

this is also probably the most succinct description of the plot you could provide that doesn't give anything away and i think it's great

Freaking Crumbum fucked around with this message at 16:40 on Jul 20, 2018

Quinn2win
Nov 9, 2011

Foolish child of man...
After reading all this,
do you still not understand?




Panic at the Dojo is a brand new (currently only available for kickstarter backers!) indie system that emulates goofy over-the-top martial arts action movies. Kind of like Feng Shui, but with a lot more focus on tactical combat and customizing your own martial arts fighting style. It's pretty neat, and a lot of the mechanics are interesting in ways I've never seen other systems attempt - including an unexpectedly great system for out-of-combat scene resolution. Let's read about it!



The book opens with an explanation of the kind of universe it's trying to convey. It's a pretty loosely designed world, but we know a few things: Martial arts reign supreme, magic exists a little, people have kung fu battles for extremely petty reasons all the time. Examples listed for inspiration include Jackie Chan Adventures, Kung Fu Hustle, Shaolin Soccer, One Punch Man, and The Last Airbender. In terms of whether it's modern/sci-fi/fantasy/post-apocalyptic, everything is left to the GM Director's imagination.

Flow of Play
Following a quick "how to play tabletop RPGs" page, we move on to an explanation of the intended flow of the game. After chargen, each player introduces their character to the group via a Debut scene, where attendance by other characters is optional and they get to be a huge badass. Then, the party gets together and has a big fight, kicking off the main gameplay loop:
  • Motivation to fight.
  • Fight scene.
  • The winners get what they want.
  • The losers make their Last Stand.
  • Each hero faces a Trouble or Contest.
  • New fights appear on the horizon.
The game is pretty oneshot-friendly - it doesn't have any advancement system, so you just keep the loop going until the story ends or you're done playing.

From here, we get a quick rundown of important terms and a glossary, but rather than go through all of that, here's the basic flow of fighting:

  • During chargen, you take Forms (main building blocks of combat) and Styles (modifiers to forms to make them more customized), and combine them to make three Stances (a Form + a Style).
  • At the start of your turn, you pick a Stance, and the stance defines how you fight for the next round.
  • You roll a pile of 3-6 Action Dice of varying sizes, as dictated by your Stance's Form. These become your Action Pool for the round.
  • You can use each die in the Action Pool to take one action, either from a list of basic poo poo everyone can do or from the actions provided by your Stance.
  • Some actions can only be performed using an action die that rolled a certain value or higher, and some actions increase in power the higher the value on the die you use for it.
  • Actions resolve, combat continues until it stops continuing.
Next time, we'll dive face-first into the combat system.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



7th Sea 2: Nations of Theah, Vol. 1 - Masters of the Blade

Duelists occupy a very strange space in VEsten politics. The jarls protect the people and the carls provide the wealth. However, a Duelist needs no protection, and generally has sufficient income to stand apart form the carls as well. This makes the Dueling Houses a third pillar of power in Vesten. The carls and jarls often hire Duelists, but none except fools consider themselves to hold power over Duelists. The Houses work with, not for. It is generally not publically known, but no jarl would ever enforce justice on a criminal Duelist, because they police their own. No carl would ever break a deal with one, even if doing so made more money, because the repercussions would certainly come and they'd be very nasty.

The power the Dueling Houses of Vestenmennavenjar represent is not to rule, but the power of honor and oath. City officials often employ Duelists to oversee the settlement of disputes, keep the peace and even to be honor guards. Jarls and carls do not pay Duelists in this way, but are expected to donate handsomely to their Dueling Houses if they frequently call on Duelist aid. The Dueling Houses are well known for hiring out their Duelists. Anyone can submit a contract and pay the hefty hiring fee, and these contracts can be long-term or single-event. The House decides which Duelist, if any, to send to each contract, and requests for specific Duelists are always ignored. If a contract is declined, the petitioner gets a letter of rejection and a refund of half the hiring fee.

The Houses of Vesten do not consider themselves to be mercenaries. Rather, they offer a supply of trained Duelists to meet demand, and never accept any contract they consider beneath them. Once on assignment, the Duelist may interpret the contract as they see fit. The Dueling Houses, unique amongst Thean nations, do not require any tuition for fencing students. Their standards are extremely high, on par with the most elite and exclusive dueling academies, but they welcome anyone who can meet them to enroll. However, any Duelist traned in Vesten is contractually obligated to send a portion of their income back if they use any skills they gained at the academy. This accounts for a large portion of the income of Vesten each year, and is one reason that Vesten Duelists can afford to be outside the normal power structure. Since the Vendel League created them, these Duelists insist on payment in Guilders.

Vesten Duelists typically look down on mercenaries, and see themselves as above them even while on contract. Anyone can pick up a weapon and get paid to fight - a Duelist is an artist of combat. They dedicate their lives to understanding it, and to call them a mercenary is an insult, like calling a blacksmith a mere tinkerer. It is worth noting that outside Vesten, this view is not generally common. Other nations see the Vesten Duelists as mercenaries, though only idiots actually say so, learning the hard way that these Duelists take honor extremely seriously and, of course, are legally permitted to challenge people to duels.

Hallbjorn is a fencing style created by the legendary pirate Hallbjorn Ulfsen after his retirement to join a Dueling House. The style teaches how to use a shield, not only as defense but as a weapon. A master of this style can create openings for others and also simultaneously smash foes with their shield. Unlike the shields used by most other nations' armies, the Vesten round shield is wood not metal, though it is reinforced with a metal frame. It's not as durable as many other shields, but it is lighter and thus easier to use for strikes. These shields rarely last long when used actively, so many Hallbjorn Duelists also master the craft of making new shields. They typically refuse to use a shield made by anyone else, believing that in making the shield they give it some of their own ferocity. The style bonus is the Hallbjorn Slam. When you wield a heavy weapon, such as an axe, hammer or longsword, in one hand and a shield in the other, you can perform the Hallbjorn Slam Maneuver. When you do, you deal (Brawn) Wounds, and the next time your target takes Wounds this round, they take an additional (Brawn) Wounds. You can use this only once per round.

Now, myths! The people of Vesten hold to their old myths, and these are more than just stories. The spoken word is very important culturally, and the myths are passed down among families. Sometimes they are embellished but the core lesson remains the same. These lessons are not hyperbole, at least not just that, and serve as real warnings about or praises to people and creatures past. These myths are believed, because they are real. The land is essentially a memory palace, constructed to preserve these 'ghosts' of myth. A man who protected his village from a rabid bear may, centuries later, still serve as a ghostly guardian. These phantoms are called living legend by foreigners, but the Vesten generally call them Jotun - giants. This term is easily confused, and in more remote areas, the word Vaettir is prefrred - spirit. Some of these beings manifest unpredictably, others under certain conditions. Some are insubstantial, but the best-remembered can appear as flesh and blood, indistinguishable from the living except in how they act. Most Jotun are only locally famous, remembered in one town or region. A few, however, are nationally remembered, and those are the ones we're mostly going to talk about.

Sinterklaas can manifest anywhere, but most often in quiet, open spaces. Most say they've seen him in winter, but some claim he came to them on a cool summer night. Sinterklaas rarely visits people individually except on his special day. Each year on that day, a VEsten child will receive a toy in thir stocking, carved of pinewood. Always a toy - never anything but. This is the doing of Sinterklaas. It is said that he was a CAstillian missionary of the Vaticine who came with a pocket full of winter oranges. He was less focused on dogma than kindness, and while the Vaticine never really spread, he stayed in the land and made it his mission to bring joy to children. The day that the toys are given is known as Sinterklaas Day, or just Klaas Day. However, Sinterklaas is a finicky Jotun, and he gives his gifts only to good children. Naughty ones he swats with a switch. Sometimes other Jotun come with him, to tell him who has been bad, as they enjoy seeing him punish others.

Sinterklaas defines a child as anyone who has not yet married, so spinsters and bachelors also receive his gifts. He is one of the few Jotun that most people look forward to meeting each year, despite the threat of his switch. He manifests as an old man wit a heavy beard and the red robes of a Vaticine Cardinal. He speaks with a faint Castillian accent, and his gigantic, calloused hands always smell of pine. He carries a great red book. Some say it is a Vaticine Bible, others that it is an ever-growing list of every 'child' in Vesten. His pockets always bulge with winter oranges, and if you are cordial to him or he witnesses you perform an act of kindness, he will give you one. If you are rude to him or act poorly, he will hit you with the switch.

Next time: Living Legend

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.




So my thing with Kult...it's a little hard to describe. A lot of 90s games had that "...but what do you do with it" problem. All of the WoD games, with varying degrees of success, gave you a mode to play in. You wake up one day and find that you are a [ZONSTER]. You belong to [TRIBE]. Your [TRIBE] is part of [FACTION] and opposes the [OTHER] to achieve [GOAL].

Whereas Kult, it seems, is more like "Here is an impressively vivid horror setting that draws on a particular set of influences, namely Clive Barker. Make your transgressive psychological horror campaign happen in this setting." It's anything but formulaic, but seemingly at the cost of having any guiding structure at all.

PbtA games usually don't have a vast vague canyon of "But what do you do with it!" I wonder if the creators, with the help of the PbtA format, can sort of rescue Kult from itself.

Ghost Leviathan posted:

I swear there's a weird thing in tabletop RPGs specifically where all religion turns out to be secretly Gnosticism.
It's me, beating the same old drum again...I think this is very much down to the zeitgeist of the 90s, when we were told that the future was going to be the ever-expanding grey goo of Western liberal democracy, so people immediately found recourse in "hidden truths" and conspiracist narratives to explain every flaw in the system. With that going on in a Western Christian cultural context, any supernatural story is likely to be Gnostic as an emergent property, if not by design.

Joe Slowboat posted:

I feel like I go off about Gnosticism in Mage and why it's good every third week in the WoD thread but the gist of it is, by tying Gnosticism into human oppression (the 10 demiurges of the setting include Capitalism, Foucault's Panopticon, and Xenophobia) the Mage milieu manages to create a context in which the basic injustice of Gnosticism can be deeply felt in a direct way.

...

Mage does a better job of convincing me that the demiurge is not just making my life worse, but in general must be destroyed and overthrown for moral, spiritual reasons. In Kult, it feels more like the hidden burning truth is just 'you ought to be way more powerful than you are' rather than 'there's an entire cosmos hidden from our sight, and the human misery we are all intimately familiar with in society is itself a reflection of the demiurge.' I never really felt compelled to fight for humanity, reading Kult, the way I do reading Mage.
Conspiracism and conspiracy theories are what happens when you form a theory of power without class consciousness :anarchists:

Freaking Crumbum
Apr 17, 2003

Too fuck to drunk








Chapter 7: Places of Interest - To Infinity, and Beyond!






The Poles: Desolate Lands
The Hook(s):
1. In Antarctica, 3,373 meters up the side of the Queen Maud Mountains, the Greys bored a massive hole into Blizzard Peak and parked the station-ship Uulangti inside. It's guarded by an elite Sasquatch death squad, but the location is so remote that no human being has ever gotten close enough to get suspicious anyway. The Uulangti mostly exists as a monitoring post for meteorological and atmospheric and geographic changes, and although it originally also monitored HAM radio transmissions, in recent years the amount of data that humanity streams on a daily basis has made it impossible to meaningfully categorize all of it. Every 20 years the Uulangti takes on some captured human beings and vivisects them to monitor whatever genetic drift the human species has undergone.
2. The Greys have some light industry set up around the Arctic circle of the North Pole where they extract frozen water and ship it off to their colonies on the Moon and on Mars.
My Take: I can't even fathom why they'd bother detailing these locations so sparsely because there's a near 0% chance that any players ever wander this far off the map, and in the event that they do it's likely not at random which means the GM already has plans for why the investigators have been sent to a polar region. Either give a good meaty hook to justify including this in the book, or just leave it out entirely.


The Oceans: 2/3s of Earth's Surface
The Hook(s):
1. The ruins of Atlantis lurk untouched in the depths of the Aegean Sea, about 120km north of Crete. Nobody has found it yet because ??? and there's no information provided regarding what might happen if someone did stumble upon it (what they could find, who else is watching it, what would the Greys do, etc.) but it definitely exists, okay?
2. The Marianas Trench is the lowest point on the planet and not even a Grey station ship could survive the external atmosphere pressure required to explore it. Cool!
My Take: Nothing burger.


Near Earth Orbit
The Hook(s):
1. There's no permanent human or Grey settlements in Earth orbit. The Greys did launch a permanent observation relay into geosynchronous orbit near the North Pole, but that just monitors satellite traffic and helps coordinate the flight patterns of Grey vessels that want to enter or exit Earth's atmosphere (so they don't smash into a Viacom satellite or whatever).
2. The UN has their Project Glacier moon base Plato (as discussed in Chapter 6) and as mentioned visiting is a one-way ticket. It's got hydroponics and algae farms and aquaculture but the base is still dependent on shipments of supplies from Earth to remain sustainable - this is kind of a big deal because in the event that some global catastrophe does render Earth uninhabitable, the moon base would have to eliminate more than 50% of its current residents in order to reduce the population to the point where it could exist on the amount of food it can produce. Also it appears that humans are 10x more likely to develop psionic powers when they're born on the Moon, as 2 of the 20 children born on the station have exhibited psychic talents (as opposed to about 1 in 100 people in the general Earth population) although they haven't come up with a meaningful plan to capitalize on this information yet. Also, anybody born and raised on the Moon could likely never visit Earth for any significant amount of time, as the musculature and bone structure the human body develops in a low-G environment would be too brittle to survive in Earth atmosphere.
3. The Greys have long since abandoned their settlements on Earth's moon, and restaged everything up on Mars. The only functional remnant of their lunar occupation is the station ship Caluya which runs a skeleton crew and serves mostly as observation platform for astronomical activity around Earth-space. I guess this implies that there might be deserted Grey settlements somewhere on the moon, but it's not explicitly detailed and it's not like your average investigators would easily be able to acquire a means to explore them anyway.
4. Oh my bad, there are mysterious ruins on the moon that nobody (even the Greys) can explain but they're on the dark side of our moon so :lol: if you think your investigators are ever going to be able to explore them.
My Take: I get that there's moon bases because this is The X-files with the serial numbers filed off, but it still seems like a pointless endeavor to include these locations in the chapter that's ostensibly providing GMs with potential story hooks they could work into adventures. I guess you could still decide to send your investigators out to explore the various moon colonies / ruins but at that point you've jumped the rails on the implied aesthetic of the setting and you might as well be playing Alternity core rules, or even another entirely different system that's better focused around high sci-fi space horror.


Mars


Sasquatch in space is a decent enough concept but Dark*Matter doesn't have the chops to pull it off.

The Hook(s):
1. The Greys have always had ambitions that outreached their capabilities and millennia of their Machiavellian scheming is finally coming back to bite them in the rear end. They relocated almost all of their existing infrastructure and station-ships to Mars once humanity took our first faltering steps towards interstellar travel, but the terraforming of Mars into a hospitable environment hasn't gone as flawlessly as they would have liked; it's costing significantly more resources than they originally anticipated, and most of the resources required aren't easily available on Mars. They used to ship stuff up from unexplored corners of Earth, but humanity has basically expanded to cover the entire globe at this point and it's extremely difficult to strip-mine the planet without being discovered. On top of that, the Greys have long believed themselves to be the Shepards of humanity and have expended considerable time and resources into turning us into a pliable client species, except that hasn't gone well either (they've basically failed at every attempt to enslave us) and along the way they became the de-facto defender of humanity against a myriad of other Stranger species; more as a practical "protect our investment" thing than because of any genuine love for us, but they've been expanding a bunch of effort and resources trying to protect us that should have probably been spent on turning Mars habitable. Now the Greys feel like their back is up against the wall and they're starting to get desperate because it looks like all of the plotting and planning is going to amount to nothing in the very near future.
2. The Valles Marineris is deeper and longer than anything we're familiar with on Earth and the bottom of this massive canyon is the exact location where the Greys have placed their largest Martian settlement. That's all the book cares to say about this.
3. As impossibly deep as the Valles Marineris is, Olympus Mons is equally tall (it's currently the highest known surface-to-peak distance in our solar system). Greys have many rumors about the location, from "ancient Doorways sit atop the mountain and they're opening again and monsters are coming out to kill us" to "actually we killed the species that originally inhabited Mars millennia ago, before we ever visited Earth, and now the G-G-G-GHOSTS of that species are using the Doorways to come back and exact revenge". You know, because the god drat G-G-G-GHOSTS hook just had to be used one last time.
4. The region of Cydonia (which includes the infamous "face" on Mars that everybody has seen) is actually the location of a massive city that the Greys didn't build and refuse to visit because they believe it's haunted by the G-G-G-GHOSTS of the indigenous Martians that they've killed, and they fear reprisal or revenge.
My Take: Pounded in my rear end by G-G-G-GHOSTS one final time! You have run out of ideas when your plot hook for an alien world is that it might also be haunted, AND NOTHING ELSE OF INTEREST IS HAPPENING.


FINAL COUNT
TOTAL LOCATIONS DETAILED: 105
LOW/NO EFFORT HOOKS ABOUT G-G-G-GHOSTS: 10
LOOK-BUT-DON'T-TOUCH LOCATIONS: 32


FINAL ANALYSIS: Chapter 7 is a bunch of wasted potential. Out of 105 (give or take) locations, nearly 1 in 3 had no obvious or meaningful plot hook and 1 in 10 just said "I dunno, it's ghosts again". I would have rather they cut at least a third of the crap and spent more time developing the locations that actually got decent hooks. If I were to try and rewrite the whole thing, I would rather combine elements of Chapters 6 and 7 together and make the locations focus entirely around what the various Illuminati groups are doing at them - while enough of the locations make mention of an Illuminati group, most of these mentions are little more than "X conspiracy has a base here" which doesn't do much to flesh out the location for the GM.

There's a fair amount of hooks that I like, but I feel like even those don't really do enough to capture the weird horror vibe that Dark*Matter is trying to sell. The "good" ones were good because they provided at least enough information that a GM could cobble something together on the fly using said hook, but I still don't feel like they're objectively good from the perspective of "this is genuinely interesting and I would considering using it in an urban horror setting even if I weren't playing Dark*Matter specifically". Also, the overarching meta-plot regarding the final battle between Heaven and Hell isn't anywhere near what I would have guessed Dark*Matter would be about, but it's the thing that gets most consistently touched on and there's at least a published adventure path around the Final Church, so there's more of that to look forward to in the future.


NEXT TIME: Chapter 8 and the Manual Monsters

Freaking Crumbum fucked around with this message at 19:13 on Jul 20, 2018

Barudak
May 7, 2007



I need you to inject Panic at the Dojo into my veins

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Joe Slowboat posted:

Yeah, that's basically my situation with it - it's Gnostic, but it's also extremely amoral. The higher truth you might fight for is 'actually humans are incredibly awful and incredibly powerful in a state of nature' which puts us more or less on an even footing with the things currently running reality. The Mage cosmology has some deeply amoral elements, but the Lie is bad in a way that's deeply, infuriatingly unjust, and I think that's a powerful thing for driving players to act Gnostic, attempting to gain power in the name of truth.

Basically, Kult is Gnosticism as seen by people who think Gnostics are inherently selfish power-seekers, and Mage is Gnosticism as seen by Gnostics - there's selfish power-seeking, but the setting makes it clear that the better Gnostic is a metaphysical revolutionary, pursuing a higher truth. I'd much rather play the second one, because Gnosticism has a lot going for it, and it's a much more interesting conflict to my mind.

Honestly part of the problem is that Kult also misses options beyond "shoot at the bad cult" and "become god." Like, what if you stumble on the Demiurge's conspiracy, look at what he's been holding back and go: "Hello Lictors, I'd like to offer my services, because you seem like the good guys"? The concept that every human is a burgeoning, potential, amoral psychopath God that needs to be restrained in Hell or reincarnated without memories to keep them from loving over time and space is interesting... if you're the God Police out to prevent this. Mortals used by the Lictors and the Demiurge's other servants to help prevent that from happening, granted some degree of divine power access(but not enough to make you a threat), and used to prevent these assholes from ruining reality. Auxiliaries used because they can act in reality without violating the Illusion with their very presence, and because they still think like people, and thus are better at diplomatic solutions and info-gathering.

Tracking down near-deific humans in other worlds(Metropolis, Inferno, etc.) if they become powerful enough to breach the Illusion, and maybe even having showdowns with them in their otherworldly dream/alternate dimension hideouts when you finally manage to pin them down.

There's a game concept there, but I doubt Divinity Lost is gonna take that tack.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

IIRC, Kult also had the problem that the designers had a strong milsim/gunbunny bias, so this game of Clive Barker/Jacobs Ladder realityfuckery had an extremely detailed and realistic (and deadly) combat system, complete with pages and pages of weapon tables for different types of machine guns and anti-tank rockets.

Which created a pretty impressive clash between what the game was supposedly about and what kind of game play the game's rules pointed to.

Ratoslov
Feb 15, 2012

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



FMguru posted:

Which created a pretty impressive clash between what the game was supposedly about and what kind of game play the game's rules pointed to.

Are there any games which intentionally and successfully cause this kind of friction?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


It was the 90s. Every 90s/early 00s game had a shitload of gun-bunny silliness in it. When I was writing my own horror thing after being wowed by Eternal Darkness back in high school, one of the first things I did (because I thought it was expected of the genre) was go read a bunch of firearms junk to make sure I got them 'right'.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.




Ratoslov posted:

Are there any games which intentionally and successfully cause this kind of friction?

3:16 Carnage Among the Stars is the first game that comes to mind that deliberately points to "the fruitful void." The game can only come to an end when the Space Marines decide to turn against their own society.

Sometimes designers take advantage of emergent gameplay in future editions--Vampire: the Requiem is very much built around being a self-loathing vampire gangster as opposed to pure "personal horror," which turned out to be difficult to run in a traditional setup.

PurpleXVI posted:

The concept that every human is a burgeoning, potential, amoral psychopath God that needs to be restrained in Hell or reincarnated without memories to keep them from loving over time and space is interesting... if you're the God Police out to prevent this. Mortals used by the Lictors and the Demiurge's other servants to help prevent that from happening, granted some degree of divine power access(but not enough to make you a threat), and used to prevent these assholes from ruining reality.
That concept is not all that far off from The Whispering Vault!

Also, because I can't help myself: Billionaires. You're basically talking about billionaires.

Halloween Jack fucked around with this message at 18:53 on Jul 20, 2018

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



7th Sea 2: Nations of Theah, Vol. 1 - GHOST GIANTS IN THE SKY

Angrboda is found in the caves under Mount Ragnhild, far in the north. Going there is notoriously dangerous, however, and many epics exist of heroes going north to seek out Angrboda's wisdom. Legend has it that when the first settlers came to the land, they wandered among the ice floes because they knew no better. A blizzard blotted out the sun, and they stopped, desperate for shelter, in a deep cave under the mountain. In the bowels of the river, they found a frozen river and a woman of indeterminate age trapped in a block of ice. They thawed her out, and she told them she was part of an older civilization, that she had undergone a self-mummification and was fine. However, she found the woven cloth they carried to be utterly beautiful, saying that her people had only ever worn hides. When the settlers gave her all of the cloth they wore, she sang to them a song of their destinies, including their journey to the south to found a great city.

Angrboda now appears as a woman of indeterminate age with ice on her arms and legs. She is a crotchety, cryptic sage who prefers solitude but will not turn you away if you make the long journey to her home. Her eyes are milky and clouded, but it is said she can see everything that ever was or will be. Those who viist her often do so to learn how, or tp revent something that sees inevitable. She sings her prophecies in the form of songs, and it is up for debate as to if she can see the future or if her songs shape it. Those who threaten and disrespect her, after all, all end up cursed with dire futures in her song. She refuses any gift except woven cloth, and she likes reverence and respect but not flattery. She rarely attacks those who come to her, but she does have a temper and may harm those who do not bring her a gift. If so, she is Strength 6, Monstrous and Powerful.

The White Witch can appear anywhere that has snow or cie on the ground, but rarely manifests in any place where more than one person at a time might see her. Humans of Vesten tell that she was an enchanter who was sad and lonely. If she found someone alone in the woods, she would trick them to following her to her ice palace, from which there can be no escape. Any who refused her or saw past her tricks she would turn into a puff of snow. Vesten thus always travel in pairs in snowy country, as the White Witch never appears to groups. Trolls, however, say that she is their cruel creator, who carved them from stone, then cursed them when they refused to obey her as slaves. When she meets a troll, she freezes it in place and shatters it, out of spite. Both races deeply wish they could forget her, but they cannot, and their fear keeps her alive.

The White Witch appears as a tall, beautiful woman with white hair and an outfit of white fur, who rides a sledge pulled by two white reindeer. She typically appears near lone humans, offering them gifts and candy if they will come with her on the sledge. If they accept, they are never seen again. If they refuse or try to flee, she will transform them into snow with waves of her hand. The only way to escape her relatively safely is to refuse her as politely as possible and offer her a gift in your stead. It is considered extremely foolish among the Vesten to head out into the snow alone without a pocket full of chestnuts or candies, just in case. The White Witch is Strength 8, Powerful, Regenerating and Shapeshifting.

Trolls come in two types, the Vesten will tell you. Rock and Green. Rock Trolls, they say, are stupid. They smell of brimstone, they're savage, and they'll tear you apart if you accidentally wander into what they consider to be their territory. If a Rock Troll grabs you, only abject flattery, groveling or tricks can save you from death, and not always even then. To try and fight a Rock Troll is suicide - it is common among the Vesten to describe them as strong enough to hold a boulder on both shoulders. Also, they're made of stone and therefore immune to most harm and the elements. Fortunately, their territories tend to be inhospitable peaks that rarely see travel.

Green Trolls, the Vesten will tell you, are smart. The first of them was enchanted and carved by the White Witch, but because it defied her, she cursed it to wander forever, with bad luck coming to all who welcomed it and its descendants if it ever tried to find a home. She still haunts the land as a Jotun, and many Troll rituals exist solely to lessen her curse, allowing one or even several trolls to stay in a village for days or weeks at a time. A few rituals also exist to suppress her ability to manifest in the area of Green Trolls, because story says that if a Green Troll meets her, it must obey her. Green Trolls travel alone or in small groups, sometimes with a set of Rock Trolls following them. The Rock Trolls obey them without question, though they never explain how they manage that. Green Trolls are secretive creatures, whose language sounds like stones grinding, and so cannot be learned by humans. They travel from town to town, carrying sacks or in caravan decorated with stone charms, working as crafters and peddlers, especially stonework, which they are very skilled at. They never settle down; rather, they are bargainers, who never lose on a deal or at gambling, and track down any who steal from them to take back twice what was stolen. If you threaten them, they will try to kill you. It is said that meeting one is better than a Rock Troll, which may be true, but they're not very comforting either way. They tend to look almost identical, with green skin, high cheekbones and extremely, grotesquely wide mouths, and they all wear heavy cloaks with hoods up, even on the hottest days. They have many rituals they perform on nights of the waning moon, and will not allow humans near when they perform them. Only the evidence after is left - boulders marked in black wax, stained with blood, never any bones. No one knows what they sacrifice. Few wish to ask.

What is true, though? All trolls are made from stone. Rock Trolls are granite. Green Trolls are marble - and it is worth noting that most marble mined in Vesten is green. Rock Trolls llook like stone; Green Trolls appear to be fleshy, if green, except when exposed to direct sunlight. This turns them to stone until sunset, when they return to flesh. Trolls do not die of natural causes, though they can be killed by injury or trauma. Green Trolls are as vulnerable to wounds as humans, while Rock and petrified Green Trolls are able to be crushed like stone is. Further, they can starve. To stay animate, atroll must consume a diet of gravel frequently, and those who do not slowly become immobile. Green Trolls are lapidary magicians, whose stone charms are quite powerful. They reproduce by carving more of themselves from mrable blocks. All look identical when created, though they can change their appearance by being petrified and then recarved, or by scarring their flesh. Scarification is not uncommon among those Green Trolls that want humans to be able to tell them apart.

Green Trolls are entirely genderless beings. They will answer to any pronoun but, if asked, prefer 'it' as the singular. They do not pair bond. They tend to be secretive and cautious, to avoid people learning their sunlight weakness or ties to the White Witch. They are proud, however, of their near-universal policy to take offense to nothing except violent threats, which they react to with extreme prejudice. Most Green Trolls wield spears of volcanic glass, or sometimes staves, kept hidden up a sleeve. They are almost all very good with these. Every Rock Troll is born from being caved out of granite by a Green Troll. Newborn ones are unconscious stone robots, with no capacity for independence, just obedience. It takes around a century for them to become sentient, and when they do, they almost always leave their masters, which the Green Trolls almost always allow.

Sapient Rock Trolls are taciturn, stubborn and territorial. They aren't quite stupid, however. Rather, they learn things and process them more slowly than either humans or Green Trolls. What they do learn, however, they cannot ever forget, and elder Rock Trolls can be quite wise. They do often claim territory in the mountains, and are very vicious about defending it. They get even angrier when roads get blasted through their peaks. Some merchants and warlords have managed to hire Rock Trolls to guard and maintain out-of-the-way bridges or roads, which becomes a problem when said employer dies and the troll keeps guarding the place indefinitely. Rock Trolls are also genderless and do not pair bond, though they sometimes form groups with larger shared territory. The 'Wandering Curse' laid on Green Trolls has no effect on Rock Trolls, and they don't fear the White Witch. They need nothing but gravel, so rarely own much. The closest any troll usually comes to religion is music, which many trolls feel compelled to create without knowing why. Green Trolls are typically around Strengthg 4 and Chitinous. Rock Troll groups are usually STrength 6 Monster Squads, Chitinous and Powerful.

Next time: The Huntsman, Jotun (not to be confused with Jotun) and Hulda

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




I formally request that the Principal Art of Cutting be created via the rules contained in this martial arts tabletop rpg.

wiegieman fucked around with this message at 00:15 on Jul 21, 2018

Barudak
May 7, 2007



For a game about supernatural and secret societies, what the hey is going on with Dark Matter? Here are ghosts, here is a place that you can go and has no adventures

Freaking Crumbum
Apr 17, 2003

Too fuck to drunk




Barudak posted:

For a game about supernatural and secret societies, what the hey is going on with Dark Matter? Here are ghosts, here is a place that you can go and has no adventures

i don't know if Bauer or Cook ever did a post mortem on Dark*Matter because the line was unceremoniously ended when WotC bought out TSR and AFAIK there were never any efforts made to resurrect it. the first few chapters are really firmly grounded in "what should the players be doing?" and the answer is "you work for the Hoffman Institute and you solve X-Files type mysteries". after that though, everything becomes increasingly disjointed and disconnected and it feels like very little, if any, focus was put on "but why should the PLAYERS care about any of this stuff?"

chapter 5 is a Secret History of the World with almost no player facing info.

chapter 6 is a phonebook directory for all of the various illuminati groups, but they all read like monster manual entries and provide only the barest sense of "what is this group's day-to-day agenda? where/why would the players be likely to encounter them?" or anything else that you might actually need to run a game.

chapter 7 is supposed to be a geographic listing of plot hooks but since chapters 5 and 6 were not well thought out / organized, you get really inconsistent writing and most of the hooks are of really dubious quality. i get the sense that the people writing chapter 7 were in love with things being mysterious for mysterious sake, and maybe misunderstood "don't fill in all the edges of the map" to mean "barely provide any compelling details that would explain why players are going to care about visiting this location".

i'm actually most curious about why it seems like there's two entirely separate meta-plots running in the setting chapters. ostensibly the meta-plot is about all of the different times the Greys have attempted to turn humanity into their client species and how we've now developed to the point where it's increasingly difficulty for them to stay hidden from us and manipulate us from the shadows. but there's also a very significant thread about the final war between Heaven and Hell and what role humanity will play, and although the two plots get a little intermixing in chapter 5, they're otherwise almost completely separate from each other. also, the whole "DOORWAYS open and let STRANGERS visit Earth" feels like it was supposed to be more significant at some point in development, but in the end it just kind of winds up being the carte blanche justification to allow the GM to run a "monster of the week" style campaign.

the whole thing feels like everybody in the development process had what they thought was one really cool idea, but not one of the ideas were ever critically evaluated or allowed to develop as the main focal point, so the book winds up feeling half-assed and unfocused and crammed full of "wouldn't it be cool if . . ." ideas that don't congeal into a satisfying whole.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




Halloween Jack posted:

So my thing with Kult...it's a little hard to describe. A lot of 90s games had that "...but what do you do with it" problem. All of the WoD games, with varying degrees of success, gave you a mode to play in. You wake up one day and find that you are a [ZONSTER]. You belong to [TRIBE]. Your [TRIBE] is part of [FACTION] and opposes the [OTHER] to achieve [GOAL].

Whereas Kult, it seems, is more like "Here is an impressively vivid horror setting that draws on a particular set of influences, namely Clive Barker. Make your transgressive psychological horror campaign happen in this setting." It's anything but formulaic, but seemingly at the cost of having any guiding structure at all.
About the only thing I remember that resembled a goal in Kult from when I read it was the "Become an utter saint or complete monster to transcend your humanity", and well, while the game didn't have a "you're now no longer a PC" line to cross with getting too saintly/evil, the problems and behavioral restrictions you'd accumulate in the process would make it really hard to remain a functional member of a group of PCs.

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017





Given what I know of Kult - which admittedly is mostly here - I'm not sure why I would want to play it. Looking forward to reading the 2E's take.

Ratoslov
Feb 15, 2012

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



Dawgstar posted:

Given what I know of Kult - which admittedly is mostly here - I'm not sure why I would want to play it. Looking forward to reading the 2E's take.

Having read a fair bit of Kult 1e, I'm also not sure why I would want to play it.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



7th Sea 2: Nations of Theah, Vol. 1 - He's The Huntsmaaaan

The Huntsman manifests only in low-visibility conditions between noon and midnight. He and his hounds are never seen, only heard, and he always rides to the west. No one has any idea what his story is, but everyone knows how he appears, racing across the land with hounds following, his hunting horn always blaring. He is unforogtten, yet no one knows his origins. The only thing anyone agrees on is that he hunts the sun. Why? Well, there's a lot of reasons people give. He hunts for his lost love, his family, his life, for money, he hunts those who'd harm others, or those in trouble, or those who do not respect the Jotun. Some say he is a wolf, others a man, others that she is a woman. No one is sure - every town has its own story.

The Huntsman is never visible - something always cloaks him. Shadows, fog, snow. The Hunt is a scent and a sound and a feeling, howling dogs and thunder hooves and choking dread. Those who hear it get a strong desire to flee, but the Vesten say you must never do this. If you run, you will never be seen again - only heard, screaming. If you can hear the hunt, then stand still, be silent, and let it ride past you. The Huntsman is a Villain and a Monster, Strength 5, Influence 6, Fearful, Shadowy and Swift. He commands several Strength 4 Monster Squads that are Relentless and Shadowy.

Giants are Jotun, in the Vesten language. This should not be confused with Jotun in the sense of living myths. Giants are humanoid, ten to twenty feet taller than a man and they eat people. They are said to be ancient children of the Allfather, who live in the peaks and feast on human flesh and bone. They must always remain in cold temperatures, however, or they will melt, for they are made of ice. They can go years without eating, but it makes them angry, violent and unpredictable. It's usually possible to trick a giant into eating other meats, and you can gain an audience with one to learn ancient rites, but that's risky at best. If you go through the mountains in winter, you must carry meat, and leave it outside your camp by night for the giants, or else you will vanish without a trace because you will be eaten.

The entire naming confusion thing comes from the tales told about the cannibal giants. The word 'Jotun' refers to anything larger than life, y'see. In the mountains, the locals call these myths Vaettir, and the giants are Jotun. The ancient origins of the Jotun as children of the Allfather is mere story. They are, in fact, a form of Vaettir, forged from the superstitions and fear of the Vesten. Traveling by winter is always dangerous, and sometimes people vanish. In the thaw, villagers often found half-eaten animal remains, assumed they were human and blamed the giants. Over time, the legend grew, and people invented a backstory for them, and the Jotun myth took form. The tallest people in the mountains of the north is Jotun Fjell, and it is home to the Jotun. They are not all-powerful, but they are violent creatures of fear. Any tales of their magic are exaggerated, however - they have none beyond what they are. They are Strength 7, Elemental (Ice) and Powerful.

Hulda appear to be beautiful women with tiny tails, who cast no shadow. They conceal beneath their clothes that their backs are hollow and their feet face backwards. In the full and waxing moons, they hold great celebrations by rivers and lakes, beckoning travelers to join them. If you dance and drink with them, you will wake up with a terrible hangover, but that's not the worst they can do. Kiss one and, if she loves you true, she will lose her tail and become your companion. Otherwise, she will drown you with river water that pours from her mouth, holding you in place until you die. Those drowned by the Hulda can be seen, carved into rock faces by falling water. Many Vesten refuse to take alcohol when traveling, for fear of attracting a Hulda.

Most of this common folklore is actually true. Hulda do throw grand bacchanals near fresh water, can turn water into wine and can drown with a kiss, unless they truly love the person they kiss. If they do, they instead lose all their magical powers and their tail. They cast a shadow and become mostly human, though their hollow back and backwards feet remain, and they are often discriminated against by humans. Those drowned by the Hulda don't actually become stone carvings, however. They remain dead for one thousand years, then rise as a new Hulda. Hulda cannot breed with humans, and they often cannot return home again if they marry a human. They are not all women. None can grow beards, and all have very feminized facial features, but that doesn't mean they can't be male. Hulda are Strength 5, Aquatic and Nocturnal.

Natural bridges are common in Vesten. It is said that these, callled Devil's Bridges, are formed from an ancient pact with a god, goddess or Jotun (no one is quite sure which) in exchange for marriage. IT is said that the girl who made the pact wnet back on her word once the bridges were built, so all the bridges were cursed with misfortune against those that use them. The bridges do appear quite convenient, but an unusual number of accidents and disappearances occur around them.

This is not due to a pact or curse. Sometimes people just get nervous and fall off, and some of the bridges shake, freeze or thaw with the seasons, growing steadily narrower and more unstable. More often, however, the accidents are caused by bandits who use the superstitions of the people. Detailed maps of the bridges and the land around them go for huge sums in the criminal underworld, and rural Vesten can make an excellent living as 'devil's cartographers', making such maps...though more often than not they are often bribed or blackmailed into making certain bridges, claimed by established gangs, topographically inaccurate. Some of these cartographers, based out of Vendel, call themselves the Illusionists Guild, and they gain the trust of the bridge outlaws, learn their tricks, then sell the tricks to other bridge gangs at very high prices. Not all bridge gangs are identical, but they can largely be represented as Guard and Thief Brute Squads.

Next time: MECHANICS

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Freaking Crumbum posted:

i don't know if Bauer or Cook ever did a post mortem on Dark*Matter because the line was unceremoniously ended when WotC bought out TSR and AFAIK there were never any efforts made to resurrect it.

There's a d20 Dark Matter that was published by WotC for d20 Modern, and is pretty much everything you'd expect when I'd say that. It's one of the few d20 books I have on my shelf, though maybe not for long given I'm prepping for the GenCon auction and just got reminded I still own it. Hm.

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





Halloween Jack posted:

Conspiracism and conspiracy theories are what happens when you form a theory of power without class consciousness :anarchists:

It was a consistent, oddly meaningful conservative claim that Marxism is Gnostic all through the 20th Century. I agree, in the sense that both speak of a combined absolute opposition to the world as it is (Capitalism, human suffering in general) and a belief in human capacity to transform it by learning the right methods. Marxism absolutely believes that theory, through praxis, can transform reality into a never-before seen perfected form. There's nothing wrong with that.

This is why Mage the Awakening is good, because it's got a direct isomorphism between fighting God with sorcery and leftist organizing, and the player faction is Immanentize the Eschaton Team.

PS there's plenty of leftists who are terrible conspiracy theorists despite having class consciousness so I question your claim

Joe Slowboat fucked around with this message at 02:33 on Jul 21, 2018

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



The storm has a name... - Let's Read TORG


Part 20e: Savage Natives

Merretika, being a pulpy Lost World pastiche, is of course inhabited by numerous native tribes. We get details on five of them in the book, but it seems like these are the only five tribes there are. Which is fine by me, because god I'm so sick of this book you have no idea.

Before we get into the tribes, there's a few bits about some general ideas that apply to all the tribes:
  • Because there's no magnetic pole, there's no concept of north/south/east/west. The tribes use the sun Ret-Heleph as a reference point for moving towards or away from the edge of the dome, and the great waterfall as the reference point for lateral movement. That said, there's no standard measurements either.
  • Likewise, the fact that the sun never sets or dims (not to mention that there's no change of seasons) means there's no real concept of time. Tribesmen generally measure time from a personal perspective based on life events ("before that time I first killed a leopard."), but beyond that time just isn't a concept most can wrap their minds around. As such, all the timeframes for things in this chapter are given in "sleep cycles" for the most part.
  • It's also worth noting that, since there's no night, natives of Merretika are pretty much universally afraid of darkness. The only real darkness they'd normally encounter is in the deep caves, which most of the tribes consider "holes of death". Even seeing a well-lit night sky on the surface would be terrifying to a tribesman.
  • Lastly, the language problem. None of the tribes use the same language, which means that Torg's wonky language mechanics come into play: the first time you hear a language, you have to make a language skill roll of 12 to just magically understand it. Otherwise...

quote:

This will facilitate role playing in the realm by forcing characters to communicate with hand signals and grunts.
:what:

The first tribe to be discussed, and the one that seems to get the most page space, are the Darooni Wasp Riders.

The Darooni are a cannibalistic tribe who've based their culture and religion around a giant wasp hive. And when I say "giant wasp hive" I mean that in the sense of the wasps themselves are giant. In fact, they tend to be bigger than the Darooni themselves, who only average about five feet tall. They're called the "Wasp Riders" because, well, they've learned to bond with the giant wasps.

The Darooni occupy the region around the Misty Gorge, a.k.a. "that infinite pit full of poisonous gases that there's no reason to go to". For the most part, the Darooni proper keep to themselves; the only ones generally seen by the other tribes are the Wasp Riders themselves, who (and I quote) "capture children for food and religious sacrifices".

On the plus side, the tribe consists of only about 300 people and about 60 giant-rear end insects. The down side is that they basically worship the wasps and have built their culture around some on the most evil-minded bugs known to man.

quote:

The Darooni society is closely regulated by the religion, which regards the giant wasps as superior to humans. Darooni society is very clearly dominated by females, and only women may become Wasp Priestesses and Wasp Riders, the two most important classes in the society. The most important male is The Boatman, who is responsible for trade in Darooni society. Next are the Wasp Scouts, the only men who are entitled to fly with the giant wasps. Farmers form the largest caste. Wasp Consorts are men who are taken in by the priestesses for basic tasks, but they have no formal status in the society, and are considered property of the priestesses and the wasps.
Believe it or not (and at this point, I don't know why you'd believe it), we now get about a third of a page dedicated to describing how status in Darooni culture works: the higher your position in the society, the closer you get to live to the chasm and nearby river.

The remaining two thirds of a page are an in-depth description of Darooni trade, what they trade, how they prep it, and who in the tribe gets what based on caste.

And now you see why it's taken me so long to get to this part of the book: there is so much poo poo that I could never care about, let alone use. Do I, as a GM or player, really need to know how the scouts prep the game they capture? Does that help me play? I know the whole ~verisimilitude~ thing but come the gently caress on.

Ugh. Now I'm remembering why I burned out on this.


Crap, get the bug spray!

Darooni religion is based around their goddess Olakaa, who isn't described in terms of what they imagine he/she/it looks like, what it wants, or anything like that. The Darooni see themselves as the only "chosen" people, and everything else is there to benefit themselves. Hense why they don't differentiate between people and animals when it comes to hunting for food. The land, the river, everything in the area the Darooni occupy was made specifically for them (as far as they're concerned). This is especially true of the wasps; more than anything else the wasps are revered by the tribe, to the point where when a wasp dies, its rider will commit suicide rather that go on without her mount.

The leader of the Darooni is traditionally the Head Wasp Priestess, a position currently occupied by Okina Ko. Okina is shocking not described as beautiful, which I'm only pointing out because this is a 90's RPG setting based around mysterious tribes, and as such you'd expect her to be drop-dead gorgeous and barely clothed. Instead, Okina is pretty badly scarred up due to the initiation rites she had to go through as part of her initiation. Also surprising is the fact that she's not a calculating schemer, a seductive murderer, a bloodthirsty fanatic, or anything of the sort. In fact, the only real information we get about her is that she's afraid that the leader of the Wasp Riders may be getting ready to stage a coup.

Speaking of: the Wasp Riders. Every young girl in the tribe is groomed to become a wasp rider, and are trained in riding and spear hunting as early as possible. It's worth noting, however, that you can't just become a rider; there's a special bonding ceremony that I'll get to in a minute. As mentioned, men can also become riders, but they're not allowed to use (or to be trained with) weapons.

The current leader of the riders is Kihiti Dok, an ambitious young woman whose ability to communicate directly with the wasps marks her as "one with Olakaa" to many of the tribe members. And of course, she's begun buying into her own hype. Okina is smart enough to know she's a threat, and because she's P-rated, the Darkness Devices are keeping her in mind as a potential candidate for High Lordship.

And now we get to the two most important parts of the Darooni culture: the Hatching Ceremony and the Choosing Ceremony.

The Hatching Ceremony happens roughly every six months, and is a reaffirmation of the Darooni's position as the chosen of their god. When the priestess senses that the wasp queen is ready to lay eggs, riders are sent out to capture someone for the queen to lay her eggs in. Although, when things are hard, it's not unheard of to use one of the elderly former riders for this "honor".

The ritual involves the priestess using a miracle to paralyze the victim, after which the wasp queen is summoned. The queen then implants her eggs into the victim's chest, where they'll gestate for about thirty days. A large feast is held while the eggs hatch from the (I hope) corpse and the grubs eat their former host, and a grand time is had by all. The grubs are brought back to the main hive after the ceremony, and they generally hatch in groups of five or six.

The Choosing Ceremony takes place every three years, but the preparation happens for almost a year prior. Women (and the men too I suppose) can attempt to be chosen as riders, but before the ceremony even begins the applicants have to be tested. These tests take place over 300 days, and include such activities as combat (except for the men), fasting, and making sure the would-be riders are light enough to be carried by a giant wasp.

The ceremony proper is so basic it's anti-climactic.

quote:

The women and men enter the wasp hive for the final segment of the Choosing Ceremony. If a wasp chooses a woman to be its rider, the wasp will emerge from the hive with the woman. Male wasps may choose a scout, and will accompany the lucky man outside the hive.

If there is a vacancy amongst the Priestesses, all of the riderless female wasps will battle for the right to commune with the queen. The winner will choose one of the women to be a new Priestess, and will carry the young woman outside the hive and to the altar of the temple.
Anyone not chosen is stung, and have to be dragged out of the hive for healing.

Which brings us quite nicely to the wasps themselves. The events that led to the bonding between the Darooni and the wasps are lost to history, but it's undeniable now that the wasps are very dependent on the tribe for survival.

Instead of having to hunt for a host for her eggs, the queen just waits for the humans to bring her warm bodies. From the wasps' perspective, this is worth letting the humans ride them around once in a while. The female wasps have stingers, which not only do as much damage as a small handgun but also have a paralyzing toxin that the riders will usually coat on their spears.

It's worth pointing out that the riders don't sit astride the wasps, but instead hang below them in harnesses sort of like a hang glider in order to not block the wings or stinger. The wasps are about 5 meters long and have a 10 meter (~30 foot) wingspan.

And that wraps up the Darooni. They're pretty much the "obviously evil" tribe in the book, so of course there's a template for a playable one in the back of the book so you can play the One Good DrowWasp Rider if you're so inclined.

Next up on the hit parade at the Keefe.

quote:

Dotting the landscape of the realm's savannahs are tall, majestic Dalberry trees. Around all of these fruit-bearing trees live the tribes of the Keefee people. The Keefee people are relatively peaceful and knowledgeable folk compared to the other races of Merretika.

They have a structured, agricultural/gatherer society and indulge in the arts more than any other race in the realm. The Keefee build mound and burrow homes in the soil and care for their tribal Dalberry tree with religious zeal.
Oh, and by the way the Keefe are only about 12 inches tall. I wanted to mention that because the book doesn't for a few more paragraphs. Way to bury the lede, guys.


Ach, crivens...

Every dalberry tree in the realm has a Keefe tribe, because without the Keefe the trees couldn't grow and maintain themselves. The Keefe dig tunnels under the roots, but also generally keep tunnels inside the tree to get to the higher branches.

While each tribe is pretty much a "city" unto itself, the Keefe have no real leaders. Any internal problems are handled by getting everyone in the tribe together and talking it out, although the priests (the "Lallap") and the elderly are given extra consideration since they're considered to be wiser. In fact, a Keefe's "worth" is pretty much based on their wisdom. The greatest Keefe heroes are the ones who overcame their foes not by force, but by cleverness.

As you can probably guess from this, the Keffe are a very peaceful race; they barely have a concept of war. The other tribes consider them a curiosity at best, which suits the Keefe fine, since at the end of the day they just want to be left alone. The main activity of the tribe is creating art, which is practically unheard of in the other tribes.

In much the same way as the Darooni and the wasps, the Keefe's entire culture, from food to housing to religion, is focused around their particular dalberry tree. They live in its roots, they make tools from its wood, clothes from its fibers. They live off its fruits, shape its growth, even divine the future from it.

quote:

If the tree begins to sway when there is no breeze, it is a sign that the tribe has reached a decision which is unwise. If rotted fruit drop from the tree, it means that the tree is about to die and that the tribe should create a fruit with seeds using the seedberry miracle. The new fruit is then used to transplant the tribe to a new location on the savannahs. If the tree's leaves become wet without a recent rain, it means that there is opportunity for an alliance with a nearby Keefee tribe or a group of helpful strangers. By this omen, many individual Keefee tribes have temporarily joined just before a major disaster struck.
The religion of the Keefe is based around the goddess Raya, the great tree planter. They believe she created the sky and the grasses to "balance the world", created the dalberry trees to keep the grass from being lonely, and created the Keefe themselves to care for the trees. Each tree has a high priest or priestess, the aforementioned Lallup. The Lallup's main job is to make sure that everyone is taking care of the tree itself. But given that everyone understands that their tribe's tree is a combination home and temple, they don't have to push too hard on this.

One thing that's pointed out is that the Keefe will generally have two names: their birth name, which is then replaced by an "adult name" once they do something worthy of being an adult. The example given is Artho Tark, whose name translates to "Worm Wrestler", which he received after some worms dug into his home.

And...that's kinda it on the Keefe. Which sucks, because I actually like these guys as presented and wouldn't have minded a little more stuff to use with them, especially since they're clearly meant as trickster types and potential PC allies.


There's no way this won't end badly.

Anyway, time for the third major tribe: The Leopard Men. Whereas the Darooni were the "Evil Tribe" and the Keefe are the "Trickster Tribe", the Leopard Men are the "Honorable Warrior Tribe".

The Leopard Men occupy the western jungles of Merettika, and guard their territory fiercely. Death is usually the punishment for a first trespassing offense, although it's possible to earn their respect either through defeating one in single combat or performing a task of great (i.e.: suicidal) bravery. They don't attack people out of hatred (most of the time), and generally won't go out of their way to hurt people (unlike the Darooni, who the Leopard Men loathe).

The Leopard Men (and Women) are all built like brick shithouses. They average about six and a half feet tall and 230 pounds of solid muscle. The men are all shaved bald, ripped, and broad-chested, while the women are lithe, sculpted, and wear their hair down to the waist.

The one thing both genders have in common is the wearing of leopard skins. The men wear theirs so that the head of the pelt is over their own head, and the front legs (with the claws still attached) are tied to their arms and wrists. The women don't wear their skins for combat, but they're still the universal outfit.

It's also worth noting that the men are always the hunters, and the women are always the keepers of the lore and rituals. Every Leopard Child is taught their role at a young age, and given how violent their lives are there's really no such thing as a Leopard Elder.

The Leopard Men are arranged into multiple small tribes, each consisting of a handful of families where the father is always the one in charge. The head of each tribe is always male (I'm sensing a theme here) and is always the strongest; leadership passes on through trial by non-lethal combat. There's no formal challenge apart from "attacking the current leader" so I imagine this happens a lot.

Oh, and

quote:

If the tribe has several females who are ready to choose a mate, sometimes young men are abducted from a neighboring tribe if a suitable mate is not available in the female's tribe.
Just putting that out there since the book mentions it off-handedly out of nowhere.


This is the only picture in the Leopard Man section. It's not flattering.

The Leopard Men got their name from their rite of manhood, which involves a young man going out and single-handedly killing a leopard, claiming its skin, and eating its heart. The womenfolk don't have a specific adulthood ritual, they just teach the girls all the rituals and such, and they're considered "adults" when a man wants to marry them. At least the women have the right to refuse?

Oh, and men who complete the rite

quote:

will return to his tribe and claim a mate or will single-handedly attempt to kidnap a mate from another tribe. The male may not choose females that already have a mate.
Not gonna lie, the fact that both genders are constantly kidnapping mates from each other's tribes is kinda weird. Gotta do something to fill those long days, I suppose.

As you can no doubt infer, the men of the tribe love to hunt (although it's worth noting they only hunt for what's needed, not for pure pleasure). Hunting is generally done solo, unless the prey is a very large beast. Leopard Men revel in every aspect of the hunt, from the tracking to the takedown. No weapons are ever used apart from the claws of the hunter's personal leopard skin, which are modified to allow the hunter to retract the claws as needed. Oddly, there's nothing about what happens if a hunter's leopard skin is damaged beyond repair or stolen, because I'd imagine it's a pretty big deal.


Men are from Mars, women are from Venus.

The religon of the Leopard Men is called Holuku, and is an animistic religion with some similarities to Ketta Kales from the Living Land. The basic idea is that every living thing has a soul, and non-living things don't have souls but are protected by spirits.

The twist here is that the Leopard Men have a rather unique idea of what constitutes a "living thing". The short form is that anything that moves is alive (and therefore has a soul), whereas things that do not move are not. So a river is "alive" and has a soul, as do clouds in the sky. But a tree isn't "alive", so it's protected by a spirit.

This is an important distinction for the tribe, because when a Leopard Man kills something (or partakes of it, in the case of a river's water), he prays for that thing's soul. Doing so, they believe, grants them a portion of that soul's power. When they use a non-living thing (making a hut, for example), they give offerings of thanks to that thing's protector spirit for allowing that use.

(In fact, it's implied in the Leopard Man character template that not praying for a defeated foe's soul is a pretty major insult; you're so unimpressed you don't think their soul is worth taking for yourself.)

The Leopard Men tribes spend most of their time warring with each other over hunting grounds. Well, not "warring" so much as feuding. Some of these grudges have been going on for generations, since peace between the individual tribes is a pretty alien concept.

At least, it was until the rise to power of Damo Kil. Damo Kil is the first tribe leader able to become chieftan of two different Leopard Man tribes and combine them into one. His long-term goal is to unite all the Leopard Man tribes under himself and wage war on the rest of the Land Below. Given that he's managed to defeat everyone who's attempted to stand in his way, it's not outside the realm of possibility.

quote:

The Darkness Devices are ecstatic over Damo Kil. He is powerful, loyal but not subservient to his religion, and completely ruthless. Unlike most of his people, Damo Kil is an evil man. He is the beast that kills more than it can eat for the sheer joy of killing. He rules his people by fear and pain. Many ofthe hunters in his tribe have become fanatically loyal to Damo.
So yeah, he's the front runner for being picked as the local High Lord. Given that he's both a powerful fighter and a skilled strategist, this would be pretty bad for everyone else down here.

Now we come to the Ohibi, who are the "Plot Hook Tribe".

The Ohibi are a group of hunter-gatherers who keep to themselves so much, they barely know anything about what's going on in the rest of Merritika. There's exactly one Ohibi village with a population of 150. Their village is on the far side of the Wild River, pushed up against the edge of the dome, and due to apparently not knowing how to cross a river they've been stuck there for God-knows-how-long. There's just enough jungle in this little crook for them to hunt in, and there's a few small caverns in the wall of the dome that the Ohibi use for religious ceremonies. At least, used by one specific person; as mentioned before the Ohibi, like the rest of the Merretikans, are terrified by darkness.

The Ohibi themselves are pretty, well, basic. The men hunt, the women farm. Their leader, Mehret-Ahn, is also their head priest. They have almost no interest in exploring, although they're always interested by meeting outsiders. They have no reason to try crossing the river (there's more than enough food in the nearby jungles, so what's the point?), and they don't want to explore the nearby caves. They'll do the occasional animal sacrifice to their god Mehret, and will sacrifice anyone who seems to be wavering in their faith.

The Ohibi probably wouldn't even bear mentioning in general if it wasn't for one piece of very bad luck: their village is located near the bottom of the Nile Empire pit. As such, their tribe is under nearly constant threat from the Nile expeditions.

The first Nile contact with the Ohibi was made by Major Hopten-Ra, who convinced the tribe that he and his forces were sent by Mehret and that the tribe was to serve them. Fortunately, as often happens in the Nile Empire, his sceme was exposed and thwarted by the sudden arrival of a heroic Storm Knight.

Currently, the new leader of the Nile forces, Field Major Achmed Tunakakan, has set up camp near the village. He has a tenuous peace with the tribe, but that's only because he doesn't know he's set up his camp between the village and the secret temple known as The Sphere.

I talked a bit out this in my last post, but to reiterate: The Sphere is embedded in the caves nearby and can only be reached via secret tunnels. The Sphere itself is the largest known eternity shard; it's a hollow sphere just big enough to squeeze in a half-dozen people, accessed via a small crawlspace in the side. The Sphere itself isn't super-powerful: people can attune themselves to it to draw Possibilities from it as normal, but it's so heavily embedded in the rock it's almost impossible to move. On top of that, the purpose of The Sphere is to maintain the natual primitive nature of Merritika, and as such any Possibilities drawn from it must be used for this task.

What makes The Sphere valuable is the ritual that can be completed inside it. Mehret-Ahn knows the miracle, which requires taking a shard from inside the Sphere and meditating with it for 24 hours. Upon successful completion of the ritual, he can boots the stats of anyone inside the phere for a full day.

So far, Achmed doesn't know about the Sphere. The Ohibi haven't made any waves yet because the Nile forces aren't denying the tribesmen access to the caves...yet. If Achmed did learn of the Sphere, that'd change pretty quick. While Achmed does have modern weapons, he only has a dozen men and as such he's still outnumbered.

The Ohibi religion is based on the idea that their god Mehret created the world for them. They believe that the other peoples of the region were created after the fact, but fled across the river because they couldn't handle living here. They also believe that Mehret created the Sphere as a temple to challenge the Ohibi to enter the tunnels.

As stated, the high priest is Mehret-Ahn. He teaches the tribe to share between families and to protect their lands. He allows outsiders into the village, but only for short periods of time. He goes to the Sphere about once a month to perform his ritual. Mehret-Ahn himself is on the older side, and is naturally subborn. The most striking thing about him is the swirled red-and-blue tattoo on his chest; it's the symbol of leadership, but anyone who's been in the Possibility Wars for a while will recognize it as symbolic of an eternity shard.

Lastly, we come to the "Surprisingly Advanced Tribe": the Pyrian Fire Tamers.

The Pyrians occupy the southern end of the realm, which would normally be uninhabitable due to the large number of volcanoes and seismic activity. They've have not only settled here, they've actually managed to thrive by taming and controlling the volcanic activity.

The Pyrian capital is Tanta Kallar, which is the name of both the largest volcano in the region and the city built along its slopes. Like the Ohibi, the Pyrans are boxed in by their environment; they're also right up against the great dome's wall, and are surrounded on all sides by Smoke Canyon, the River With No Bottom, and (of course) more volcanoes. Unlike the Ohibi, however, they're not happy about this layout and are more staying out of stubborn pride and for religious reasons than anything else. After all, nothing can grow here and wildlife is almost unheard of, so the Pyrians rely on trade and the occasional raiding party to survive.

As a wise man once said, a harsh land breeds harsh people. Despite being the most advanced people of Merritika in both a social and technological sense, the Pyrian culture is very rigid and intolerant with a strictly enforces caste system.

Sitting at the top of the hierarchy is the military. Below them are the religious leaders, then craftsmen, laborers, and slaves way down at the bottom. Your caste is generally locked in from birth since jobs tend to follow along family lines.

The current leader of Tanta Kalla is Hadian Fel Ar, head of the military. His word is law, although he does have a few advisors he keeps on a short leash. He maintains his power by keeping everyone below him bickering amongst themselves, but anyone who gets enough power to be a thread will suddenly find themselves given the "important" job of being shipped to the edges of the empire far away from the court. That said, the biggest threat to his position right now is the high priestess Amethia Cor Tal, who has (so far) avoided any attempts to shift her from her goals.

The working classes are surprisingly well-regarded, being supported by the taxes of the wealthier castes, but slaves are, well...slaves. Most of them are prisoners of war from other tribes and are treated about as well as you'd expect.

Note that the book has tho thirds of a page going into the ins and outs of this caste system, who ranks where, even what foods you're likely to have at whatever level. I'm not going to go into those details, though, because nobody cares including myself.

You're welcome.

What is important to point out about the Pyrian working classes is that your job is pretty much your life. There's no time for anything resembling recreation or family time, to the point where if you gave a Pyrian a day off he honestly wouldn't know what to do besides keep working. As such, Pyrians are a very stolid, cold people. They are obsessed with whatever job they have, be it stone carving or running a temple. This isn't a way that the upper classes keep the lower classes in line; everyone thinks this way.

This extreme focus makes Pyrians a very aggressive nation. They've managed to take over most of the southern part of Merretika, and are looking to start pushing outwards. Of course, the natural obstacles are a problem, since it's hard to move a lot of troops over an insane river near volcanoes. Still, with a standing military of about 2000 thralls and trained soldiers, they vastly outnumber pretty much everyone else.


Looks like a nice place to visit.

I'm going to skip the two pages of stats for various named NPCs who really don't do anything to get to the section on religion.

quote:

The religion of the Pyrians is logically based around the violent terrain they call home. Their religion is an unusual monotheism. Instead of having a diametrically opposed evil power, as in many monotheistic religions, the Pyrians see their god as having two sides: one good, and one evil.

When the god is benevolent, he is called Karruk, the warmth-giver. When the god turns violent and evil, he is known as Darok,the hell-breather. This duality of being is based on the dual protective and destructive natures of fire.
The job of the priests is to keep track of when Karruk/Darok's alignment flips. When he turns evil, they perform human sacrifices to placate him and convince him to turn good again. Of course, the priests don't know when these flips happen, but outsiders will generally notice that they tend to line up with the current political climate in the city. At the end of the day, the change between the god's moods is determined by Amethia Cor Tal.

It's generally understood that Karruk/Darok makes his mood known through the volcano itself. As such, they've spent a lot of time reinforcing the city walls. That said, they still believe that the priests can placate Darok enough to prevent the volcano from fully erupting.

The chapter closes out with some information on the city of Tanta Kallar. The layout of the city matches the caste system: the richer people live in the better homes near the top of the volcano, and things get progressively more slum-like the closer you get to the base. The entire north face of the volcano is taken up by Lord Ar's mansion, which is designed to ensure that there's no doubt about the size of his dick.

quote:

Lord Ar's palace contains a main building which sweeps across the entire north face of the volcano (the ground floor runs 100 meters from end to end), towering 50 meters into the air and covered with bronze. Huge sculptures of Pyrian heroes line the lower wall of the palace, while smaller sculptures can be seen on the many balconies built into the upper floors. The entrance is an arch 20 meters tall, with numerous guards. Torches over four meters tall line the walls. The presence ofKarruk is seen throughout the building, as countless bronzed torches, from one to three meters tall, are within and on the outer walls of the palace. Two guard towers of seamless black stone, 70 meters tall and over 20 meters in diameter at the base, rise on the east and west slopes and connect to the palace.

At the top of the volcano, floating about 300 meters above the caldera, is the Fire Temple. The temple sits on a floating disc of solidified ash, which in turn is tethered to the volcano's rim by giant chains and a few bridges. The air here is poisonous to non-Pyrians (who've evolved a sort of internal air filter), to the tune of small-arms-level damage each round. Likewise, the metal bridges to the temple glow red-hot but do not burn Pyrians. The temple is where all rituals are held, and contains a convenient hole in the central temple to throw sacrifices down.

---
I think you can see why I had a hard time getting to this one. Like any "setting detail" section in Torg, things get weighed down with just...noise. There's some good potential here for interesting encounters, but the writers didn't seem to bother thinking about what those enconters may be.

On the plus side, we're pretty much through all the setting crap. Now comes the easy part: the mechanics!


NEXT TIME: Back to the safety of numbers

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Joe Slowboat posted:

PS there's plenty of leftists who are terrible conspiracy theorists despite having class consciousness so I question your claim
They subscribe to a conspiracy theory, you have a good idea of what's going on, but *I* really Get It.

Quinn2win
Nov 9, 2011

Foolish child of man...
After reading all this,
do you still not understand?




Panic at the Dojo: Tactical Combat



The first thing the book emphasizes in this chapter is not the how of fighting, but the why. Every fight happens for a reason.

quote:

"I want to punch his smug little face so he never talks to me again."
"This is revenge for last time. I want to hurt them."
"My buddy wants to fight, and I've got their back."
"They've got our money, and I need that money real bad."
"They insulted my hair. I like my hair. I need to teach 'em respect."
"If someone doesn't stop them, they'll detonate a bomb inside the white house and kill the president!"
"They crashed my concert, and need to be removed from the venue."
"Nobody messes with the tunnel snakes and gets away with it."
Hey, we didn't say they had to be GOOD reasons. The important thing is that there's no such thing as a random encounter here. Fights only happen because force A and force B want things, and those interests are in conflict.

Cinematic Weight
Now we get to the first really interesting bit! When designing encounters, you can fine-tune not only the difficulty, but the Weight of a fight. They don't change the difficulty of the fight, but heavier fights take longer, have higher stakes, and are more complicated, while lighter fights are quick and simple.

There are five weight classes:

Featherweight
Light battles with simple stakes and straightforward mechanics. Blitz tactics are valuable, healing not so much.
  • Each Health Bar has 6 HP. This is another weird mechanic - durability of characters is measured in health bars, and all health bars are (generally) the same length. We'll dig more into that later.
  • The Heal Value is 2, meaning that healing abilities restore 2 HP by default.
  • No Bonuses or Penalties are assigned. More on those later.

Lightweight
This and the next two are all about equal in weight, but different in feel. Lightweight fights are intense but fast, with people going down hard and everyone generally playing a lot of rocket tag.
  • Health Bars have 9 HP each.
  • Heal Value is 2.
  • Each Hero gets the default Bonus of +2 Max HP, but can forego them to give someone else a different bonus, or give one enemy a penalty.

Middleweight
Your standard fight. Offense and defense are in balance, no particular strategy is favored. Like Lightweight, but Health Bars have 12 HP, and Heal Value is 3.

Heavyweight
A big tough slog of a fight, favoring tough fighters over DPS blitz tactics. Like Middleweight, but Health Bars have 14 HP, and Heal Value is 4.

Weight of the World
Your final bosses, your big flashy setpiece fights. Use sparingly, for when you want something to feel massive and awesome.
  • Health Bars have 16 HP each.
  • Heal Value is 4.
  • Each Hero picks a bonus that applies to only them, or a penalty that applies to one enemy. The GM also does this, either giving a bonus to an NPC or giving a penalty to a PC.

Guest Heroes
If I have one main issue with this book, it's that the layout is pretty confusing - there's a bunch of little incidental rules like this before explaining some big important poo poo like how initiative works. I'm gonna skip a couple of them.

Anyway, allied NPCs! They're built just like PCs, but instead of the GM controlling them, the party collectively decides what they do each turn.

Uneven Fights
So, the basic rule of thumb for fights in Panic at the Dojo is that there's the same number of Health Bars on both sides of the fight. Normally, that means that a party of four PCs = four health bars, and then the enemies add up to four health bars between them. This is tricky if you want to have more than four real NPCs, or if you want to keep the pace of fights interesting, so if you want to adjust the feel of fights on yet another level, add some more health bars! This does NOT, actually, mean that the enemy force is necessarily stronger than the PCs. The golden rule is maintained, so more health bars for the enemies means more health bars for the party as well.

For an example, four PCs, and you want them to fight three warriors and a big tough boss character. Each warrior gets the standard single bar, but to make the boss feel tougher, you decide to give him three bars. That's a total of six bars for the enemy force, so that means that the PCs get six bars, too! That's one each, then two extras, which can be distributed in two ways: Either each PC gets half a bar of bonus HP on their first (and only) health bar, or the party picks two people to give the extra bars to. Or hell, one person to get two extra bars. It's all up to the party.

The book notes in particular that this should always be done for very small fights, because the game doesn't work very well if there aren't at least 3 bars on each side.

Higher Stakes
In fights with higher stakes, lean on bonuses and penalties. The GM can throw bonuses and penalties around willy-nilly, making the fight more complex and crazy - however, there's a similar rule as with health bars at play. The number of bonuses on the PCs + penalties on the enemies must be the same as the number of bonuses on the enemies + penalties on the PCs. So, if you give all four PCs bonuses, you could counterbalance it by also giving four bonuses to one enemy, or two penalties each on two PCs, et cetera. Keep it balanced, otherwise go nuts.

Next time, bonuses, penalties, and last stands.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

New backgrounds!
The following background is for Glamour Islanders only.
Sidhe Squire: You worked as a diplomat between human and Sidhe. Earn a Hero Point when you go out of your way to bridge the gap between Sidhe and mortal, leading to understanding between the two peoples.
The following is for Avalonians only.
Royal Conservationist: You were paid to ensure the land of Avalon remains beautiful and pure in nature. Earn a Hero Point when you seek to preserve a natural wonder and doing so gets you into trouble.
The following is for Highland Marchers only.
Shannagary Runner: You were an amazing helmsman. Earn a Hero Point when you sacrifice safety for speed and doing so gets you into trouble.
The following is for Inish only.
Dornalai: You were a bare-knuckle boxer. Earn a Hero Point when you let bygones be bygones after a fight, win or lose, and form a bond with your opponent.
The following are for Castillians only.
Boticario: You were an alchemist-mystic. Earn a Hero Point when you doggedly pursue an alchemical secret, and your persistence gets you into trouble.
La Joven Promesa: You were a promising young fencer at el Baile. Earn a Hero Point when you complicate a problem to improve your skills with a sword or expand your reputation.
Sabueso Real: You were a royal detective. Earn a Hero Point when you refuse to act until you have more information, causing even more trouble for you.
Tercio: You were a soldier, likely a reformed criminal. Earn a HEro Point when you take up a cause in pursuit of redemption, a pardon for past crimes or a chance at earning a noble title.
The following backgrounds are for Montaignois only.
Balayeur: You were a gunner. Earn a Hero Point when you successfully maintain control of a chaotic situation while you are outnumbered.
Epee Sanglante: You were a fencer and sorcerer both. Earn a Hero Point when you use your opponent's fear of your ability to avoid a conflict, whether his assumptions about you are correct or not.
La Souris du Marche: You were a street rat. Earn a Hero Point when you choose to share your ill-gotten gains with someone else, because they need it more than you do.
La Voix des Sans-Voix: You spoke for those who could not. Earn a Hero Point when you decline a solution that benefits you personally, but is detrimental to those you represent.
Walkway Escapee: You were trapped in the Walkway for a time, and it changed you and warped your mind. Earn a Hero Point wen your past comes back to haunt you, and it causes you problems.
The following backgrounds are for Vestenmennavenjar only.
Hrungnir: You were an unarmed fighter and improvised weapons specialist. Earn a Hero Point when someone underestimates you due to your lack of a weapon, and you turn this misconception to your advantage.
Murskaaja: You were a linebreaker. Earn a Hero Point when you hurl yourself headlong into a dangerous situation in order to throw your opponents off guard.
Pankkiiri: You were a League agent. Earn a Hero Point when you use your position or money to bully another character into a course of action, and it gets you into trouble.
Vala: You were a rune sorcerer. Earn a Hero Point when you refuse to solve a problem using magic when it owuld be easy to do so; the problem is not important enough to wield such power against it.

New advantages!
1 Point
Anything Can Be A Weapon If You Hold It Right: You must have Bar Fighter. When you make a Brawling Risk to fight using an improvised weapon, and you spend a Raise to inflict Wounds, you may choose to break your weapon. If you do, the Wounds you cause cannot be prevented in any way. You can't use this again until you next scene unless you pay a Hero Point.
Fish In A Barrel: You must have Deadeye. When you make an Aim Risk using a pistol, blunderbuss or thrown weapon, you can spend a Raise to reduce a Brute Squad's Strength by (Finesse).
Haymaker: You must have Boxer. When you make a Brawl Risk to punch, kick, headbutt or otherwise injure another character with nothing but your own body, you may spend all of your Raises on your first action. If you do, you inflict that many Wounds and the target loses half their current Raises, rounding down.
Into The Fray: You must have Bruiser. When you make a Weaponry Risk using a claymore, zweihander, battle axe, halberd or similar two-handed weapon, you can choose to roll no dice at the start of the Round and gain no Raises to spend this round. If you do, you eliminate a single Brute Squad regardless of its Strength.
Trigger Control: You must have Sniper. When you make an Aim Risk using a long-barrel musket, longbow or crossbow, the first time you spend a Raise to cause a Wound, you may also spend a Hero Point to cause a Dramatic Wound. Your target must be unaware of your presence for you to use this, and it can be used only once per scene.
Whirlwind of Steel: You must have Fencer. When you make a Weaponry Risk using a rapier, dagger, cutlass or similar one-handed weapon, you may choose not to roll dice at the start of the Round and gain no Raises to spend this round. If you do, halve the Strength of all Brute Squads in the Scene, rounding down.
2 Point
Adaptive Duelist (Knack): You must know two Dueling Styles. You may activate this to switch your Style mid-round, as long as you meet all requirements for te new Style. You can use this only once per round.
This Is My Town (Knack): You may activate this when in a familiar area to automatically lose a tail, spot a stranger that doesn't belong, recognize if you're being followed or find a shortcut.
3 Point
Catch the Wind (Knack): You may activate this while piloting a ship to arrive at your destination in 3/4 the normal time it would take. If you do, your ship also takes one Critical Hit. If you are being pursued over water, you may instead activate this at the same costs to escape your pursuit in a burst of impossible nautical speed.
Scathing Indictment (Knack): You may acticate this when you make an Intimidate or Convince Risk to halve the Strength of any one Brute Squad in the Scene, rounding down.
Student of Combat: You gain the Slash and Parry Maneuvers, plus one other basic Duelist Maneuver of your choice, which can't be a Style Bonus. You can use these as if you were a Duelist. The Duelist Academy Advantage costs only 3 points for you.
i]Sweeten the Pot[/i]: You may spend 1 Wealth to successfully bribe a character during an Action or Dramatic Sequence without spending a Raise, once per Sequence.

The End!

So, our options now:
Heroes and Villains
Nations of Theah, Vol. 2
The New World
The Crescent Empire

JesterOfAmerica
Sep 11, 2015


The new World please

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Oh god, I love those knacks for hamstringing Brute Squads.

Hattie Masters
Aug 29, 2012

COMICS CRIMINAL


Grimey Drawer

Finish up the Duology and look at my favourite nation. Nations of Theah Vol. 2

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Publication order is always easier, I think.

MollyMetroid
Jan 20, 2004

Trout Clan Daimyo


Nations 2, let's get Theah covered before we get carried off to new lands!

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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#1 Builder
2014-2018



Bieeanshee posted:

Oh god, I love those knacks for hamstringing Brute Squads.

They're also pretty drat good value for money. Against a Strength 5 Squad, maybe not, but anything bigger than that? Yeah, giving up your theoretical Raises for the turn to take out an entire Squad is really good, especially if you have a buddy who can cover for you because you've given up any defense against Villains or Consequences.

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Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017





Just to confirm, 'Student of Combat' is the Advantage you want if you want to be passable in combat but not spend five points on being an actual Duelist that has been talked about, right?

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