Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us money per month for bills, and since we don't believe in showing ads to our users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
 
  • Post
  • Reply
Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Dawgstar posted:

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?

Correct. It gives you the two most important Maneuvers, plus one other.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Barudak
May 7, 2007




Obsidian: The Age of Judgement is a roleplaying game by Apophis Consortium published first in 1999, and this review uses the 2nd Edition from 2001. Written by Micah Skaritka, Dav Harnish, and Frank Nolan. Obsidian is a post-apocalyptic anarchist corporatist literal hell on earth secret knowledge crunchy dice-pool game. It is purchasable online here if you’d like to support the authors of this work.

Part 9: What is the Latin for “Omae Wa Mou Shindeiru”?

We left off last time just having wrapped up the combat rules, so let’s go even further with how poorly conceived they are even for just a starting character. We’ll start by building a character who exploits the gunplay system to its maximum and then we’ll build a character who is game-destroyingly broken from a combat perspective yet doesn’t interact with a single mechanic from the combat chapter.

With no further delay, we introduce you to the first of our examples; Lazarus Manusmortem

We start by selecting Lazarus’ Ethos, and looking over the options note that two of them give bonuses to Knowledge stat and none give bonuses directly to Dexterity, the stat that controls how often he goes in combat. Therefore we have to pick the Ethos “Corporate” which instead of making him tied to the occult aspects of this game makes him a valued asset of a corporation and committed to advancing in their ranks.

For that he gets a +1 rank to two different Attributes of his choice so we’ll take +1 to Dexterity and +1 to Perception. The perception is just for flavor, at rank 3 perception lets him “spot a credbase across the room” which sounds good for our little corporate climber. Also as part of his Corporate package he gets a major contact, so he selects an arms dealer, which lets him legally buy weapons of any class, and he gets 15 corporation points which we’ll assign later as they’re a whole nother subsystem covered in another chapter.

Next, Lazarus needs a primary and secondary Social. As a primary, he takes Executive, which gives him another major contact where he selects a cyber-implanter this time, another 10 corporation points, 3 weeks pay from his corporation (this will eventually be 1,800 credits), and +2 ranks to the Manipulation Skill. As a secondary, he takes Contractor which gives him +1 rank to Dexterity, an Assassin’s License and 1,500 more credits. Our Corporate climber is now Lazarus Manusmortem, Senior Vice President of External Human Relations who is RIP9000 and SixSixSixSigma certified.

We then roll for SVP Lazarus’ stats, getting 16 Lethal HP, 10 Non-Lethal HP, 5,000 more credits, and 3 Spirit.
After that it is time to spend Lazarus’ 20 generation points, which go to raising Dexterity to maximum rank of 5, pushing the Firearms skill to its max rank at character creation of 6, and the remaining points to raise the Lift skill to rank 4.

With that all done, it is time to spend those 25 corporation points. 16 points are spent to give Lazarus the perfect resume to get hired by a Level 4 corporation that is a Cybernetics Designer, 4 points are spent to get Lazarus a well deserved promotion, one point to get a 50% discount on all of the company’s products, and the last 4 points to get 2 months pay in advance for 6,400 credits.

The corporation, being level 4, then has 45 points to spend improving itself. For this combat example, we only need to spend four points to give everyone in our corporation free guns up to Class 3. Everything else is unecessary, but presumably we spend it in the way that gets Lazarus the finest techno-mahogany credits can buy. Thanks to giving everyone in the corporation free guns, Lazarus doesn’t even have to pay for the gun “Riot Control 13” which his Assassin’s License and arms dealer contact make him legal and registered to use.

With our pay advances and savings and rolled cash, Lazarus has 12,900 credits to spend. He doesn’t want to just stay a human, and with 20 humanity points he can spend 4 of them without an repercussions on cybernetics. Luckily, the company Lazarus works for makes them and he gets to buy them at 50% discount due to the point we spent earlier. Lazarus is itching to get the most out of the free gun he got, so he elects for the extremely experimental BioBoosters at max rank of 3 spending 8,000 credits. Lazarus knows the item lets him treat his Dexterity Attribute as if it was three ranks higher, but due to the poorly written instruction manual he’s not sure if it makes all his skills under Dexterity 3 ranks higher or just gives him +9 to any roll using those skills. He decides it must be the latter as the former is just too ridiculous.

Feeling newly invincible, Lazarus decides that armor is for chumps and spends all of the rest of his money on nearly 50 magazines of Class 3 ammo with tracer rounds.

Lazarus Manusmortem is now best summarized as the following:
8 Dexterity
6 Firearms
1 Riot Control 13 Gun
Bullets


Lazarus and his personal assistant

Now let’s get our SVP into combat with someone, and since Lazarus is climbing the ranks and a real go-getter, he picks a max-health enemy corporation rival wearing the highest value combat armor riding inside a tank. The opposing target has 64 Armor over the entire body (24 personal + 40 tank) with 36 Lethal Health (they invested in Strength to get that bonus health).

Combat begins and Lazarus loses the initiative roll, but before Lazarus’s opponent can go as Lazurus Dexterit is higher, Lazarus spends 1 turn to ignore intiative order and go first. He uses this turn to then spend a turn aiming for a +2 ranks to hit. He then does this 2 more times while his foe can only helplessly stare on, for a total of +6 ranks to aim. Then on his last boosted to go first action to fire full auto for another +2 to aim and thanks to using tracer rounds he gets a final +1 to aim so he decides to shoot aiming at their head which is -3 ranks to aim and his gun has a -1 penalty to aim. The opponent, luckily, was already traveling at 60 miles per hour which reduces Lazarus’ aim by another 3 ranks.

The max range for Lazarus’s gun is 700 ft, so let’s assume he’s standing exactly 700 ft away from the target. All ranges of over 120 ft are considered an impossible check. The opponent has wisely managed to lower Lazarus’ accuracy by 7 ranks beyond that, but unfortunately, Lazarus has a +9 ranks to Firearms at this point, so instead of looking at an impossible check, he’s looking at a skill check that is merely “Difficult”. As you may recall, based on your ranks in an associated skill you may not even have to do the check, which thanks to Lazarus’ 6 Firearms skill rank, means he automatically succeeds at all Difficult checks with no need to roll.

With a hit on the opponent’s head, we now roll Lazarus’ damage. Full auto uses every bullet in the clip, but for every five bullets one additional point of damage is dealt. The Riot Control 13 has a special property, it carries two clips of ammunition that it fires if used full auto, doubling the ammo consumed but also doubling the damage. The number of bullets though, is all that matters for calculating the number of hits the full auto mode will deal. This means Lazarus’ attack consists 14 hits of 6d10 damage. Remember, every hit that lands in the same place stacks damage before armor is subtracted at the end. The head’s maximum health is actually only 1/3rd the total lethal HP, so we only need to deal 13 points of damage after armor.

On average, Lazarus Manusmortem does 398 damage to the opponents head, after reducing the damage from armor.

But what if the other character is actually a teeny-tiny mouse, they’re dodging around inside the tank, going its max speed of 200 miles an hour, and was in the middle of moving around inside the tank between cover and Lazarus has decided he’s ok with having to roll for the difficulty? Well unfortunately for the person he’s shooting at, every reduction to aiming doesn’t actually add any number directly to the skill check, it simply makes it one more rank difficult. The game is actually weirdly explicit about this, probably a mistake caused by using natural language here, but it has a very very bad outcome. There is no rank more difficult than “Hopeless”, so the maximum difficulty for shooting at someone as a skill check is 24. Lazarus has 6d6 to roll when he uses the firearm skill, and his bio boosters give him an additional flat +9 to the roll so, on average, Lazarus rolls a 30 for this check.

There is basically no opponent Lazarus can’t simply turn order jump in front of and instantly shoot to death, and can do this to four opponents a round.

Lazarus can’t beat the next character we create no matter how hard he tries

Let’s introduce you to Lilith Kapital.


It’s already too late, you know that somewhere, somehow, she exists

Lilith actually chose the same Ethos and Socials as Lazarus, but she’s not even going to worry about herself and is going to devote herself entirely to her corporate career. She’s going to use her generation points to boost her corporation, Lilith Kapital, LLC of which she is the only member, which gives giving her 20 more points for a total of 45 corporation points to start with. She’ll spend 24 of these to join a Class 6 corporation, something on par with the Government of the Zone, and 16 points to schmooze the right people to get herself promoted to the highest level you can buy your way into, Rank 4. She doesn’t need the five leftover points and presumably donates them to a charity that prepares children for a career by crushing their hopes and dreams.

The corporation she joins, being Class 6, has 90 points to spend improving itself. The company she works for spends all of these points buying the corporation feature “Fear and Respect” 9 times. This skill makes it so that members of the corporation get two terror points per rank in the corporation per purchase of this feature + the class of the level of the corporation. Lillith is rank 4 position in a corporation, meaning each purchase of this skill is worth 8 terror points to her, for a total rating of 78 after including the corporation level of 6. For comparison sake, the highest terror rating by any monster in the book is 25.

Anyone who is in range of any sensory stimuli of her, or attempts to interact with her mechanically like by combat, or as the book states are simply aware that Lilith exists at all must make a Restraint Skill check with the difficulty score equal to her Terror Rating. A starting character can have up to a Restraint rank of 6, for a maximum possible roll of 36 compared to Lilith’s terror rating of 78.

Anyone who fails a terror rating induced restraint skill check by 24 or more immediately dies from the fear.

Upon completing character creation everyone who ever knew Lilith dies immediately, anyone who sees or hears her dies, anybody who tries to lay a trap for the thing that killed everyone else dies because their trap had to interact with her, and presumably everyone else left alive dies because after realizing that something is killing everyone else the idea that something could do that is, itself, Lilith which triggers a terror rating check.

Maybe players should stick to the overpowered firearms if they’re going to play Obsidian.

Next Time: A Monthly Crate of Random Rules

Barudak fucked around with this message at 03:21 on Jul 22, 2018

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




This is the stuff I read the thread for. Reminds me of how Tagers in Cthulhutech are supposed to slowly gain insanity points but the roll to avoid gaining one uses their primary stat.

Wrestlepig
Feb 25, 2011

my mum says im cool



Toilet Rascal

lilith's death aura is incredible

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




Does the book explicitly state that Lilith is immune to her own fear effect?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


90s Point buy, 90s point buy never changes.

DalaranJ
Apr 15, 2008

Yosuke will now die for you.


Halloween Jack posted:

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.

Do you think it’s better to design a game with this void in mind or to let it emerge as part of the process of design?

Barudak
May 7, 2007



Zereth posted:

Does the book explicitly state that Lilith is immune to her own fear effect?

Creatures with natural terror ratings rules as written have no immunity to their own effects, except this specific source of the power has a note that the terror rating beneft it grants only affects others. So while the big bad of this game could reasonably roll badly enough to put themself into a vegetative state at the sight of their own visage, Lilith is 100% immune to herself

Ratoslov
Feb 15, 2012

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



Lilith Kapital is amazing.

sexpig by night
Sep 8, 2011
Probation
Can't post for 3 days!


Dawgstar posted:

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?

yep, the two moves it gives you are the bread and butter that sets Duelists so far apart from 'dick with a sword' and then you get a freebie to specialize better. Perfect cheaper option for 'I'm a good fighter but not a full on Duelist'.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




Barudak posted:

Creatures with natural terror ratings rules as written have no immunity to their own effects, except this specific source of the power has a note that the terror rating beneft it grants only affects others. So while the big bad of this game could reasonably roll badly enough to put themself into a vegetative state at the sight of their own visage, Lilith is 100% immune to herself
Ah, so demons aren't, but Senior Employee At TerrorCorp is immune to her own effect.


... Wait, do other employees of the same corporation with the Ultimate Terror Aura affect Lilith, or her co-workers affect her?

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




Ratoslov posted:

Lilith Kapital is amazing.

Barudak
May 7, 2007



Zereth posted:

Ah, so demons aren't, but Senior Employee At TerrorCorp is immune to her own effect.


... Wait, do other employees of the same corporation with the Ultimate Terror Aura affect Lilith, or her co-workers affect her?

If anyone else was employed by the company, it would either start a terror cascade the moment the ink was dry on the deal or the books natural language means fellow employees are immune. Either way though, Lilith made a new company at character creation and when you make a new company, due to natural language, all it comes with is open job positions, the lowest of which Lilith bought for herself.

Lilith Kapital, LLC.

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017





sexpig by night posted:

yep, the two moves it gives you are the bread and butter that sets Duelists so far apart from 'dick with a sword' and then you get a freebie to specialize better. Perfect cheaper option for 'I'm a good fighter but not a full on Duelist'.

Cool. While it maybe sucks for some that you have to spend points to get it, I think it's a nice signal to the GM 'hey I want to get in a scrape now and then but it's not my raison d'être' or some other fancy Montaigne term.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




Barudak posted:

If anyone else was employed by the company, it would either start a terror cascade the moment the ink was dry on the deal or the books natural language means fellow employees are immune. Either way though, Lilith made a new company at character creation and when you make a new company, due to natural language, all it comes with is open job positions, the lowest of which Lilith bought for herself.

Lilith Kapital, LLC.
So wait, can you obtain a position in the company and then, as its only employee, promote yourself to the CEO? I mean, there's nobody else to stop you.

Barudak
May 7, 2007



Zereth posted:

So wait, can you obtain a position in the company and then, as its only employee, promote yourself to the CEO? I mean, there's nobody else to stop you.

Unfortunately you can't promote yourself straight there. Corporation politics are probably the best defined system in the game (there is a way to buy sick-days) so there are strict rules for advancement requiring more points the bigger the company is, not being able to earn that type of corporate XP until the game proper starts, multiple rules for how you earn it and how much you get, and these XP must be paid even if the position you're applying for is vacant.

If we try the other way, at character creation, it explicitly says those two titles are not available to starting characters. Actually I lied, and it says it is not available to "Stating" characters but I'm going to cut Obsidian some slack.

Just Dan Again
Dec 16, 2012

Adventure!


DalaranJ posted:

Do you think it’s better to design a game with this void in mind or to let it emerge as part of the process of design?

It seems like a lot of more modern games try to avoid having this void at all. They set out from the beginning of design to fulfill a purpose that is stated outright to the players. Is that a result of game design moving away from reality simulation and into genre simulation, or have I missed the point of the fruitful void entirely?

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.




Lilith Kapital.

sexpig by night
Sep 8, 2011
Probation
Can't post for 3 days!


Dawgstar posted:

Cool. While it maybe sucks for some that you have to spend points to get it, I think it's a nice signal to the GM 'hey I want to get in a scrape now and then but it's not my raison d'être' or some other fancy Montaigne term.

yea. A basic dude who just puts points into brawling and all that kinda stats can hold up ok against mooks and all. You spend points to be able to take on Real Fighters, basically. That option's there for 'hey I may not be super specc'd into dueling, but I'm down to buckle some swashes if the chance comes'.

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




Backgrounds are a great way for the GM to know what the player is interested in, like how Spire gives suggestions for the classes. If you pick ex- company agent, it's a safe bet that you're all about fighting ultracolonialism. And since the atc is everywhere, they're easy to work into most stories.

Ghost Leviathan
Mar 2, 2017

Exploration is ill-advised




Just Dan Again posted:

It seems like a lot of more modern games try to avoid having this void at all. They set out from the beginning of design to fulfill a purpose that is stated outright to the players. Is that a result of game design moving away from reality simulation and into genre simulation, or have I missed the point of the fruitful void entirely?

I think a lot of it was people sick of games that don't do what they're supposed to, or having to use generic systems for everything, so they deliberately set out to do one thing and try to make sure they do it well or at least make sure it's clear what you're supposed to do with it.

NGDBSS
Dec 30, 2009








Kavak posted:

This is the stuff I read the thread for. Reminds me of how Tagers in Cthulhutech are supposed to slowly gain insanity points but the roll to avoid gaining one uses their primary stat.
I have this collection of oddball things I want to review but can't find enough motivation to write about, and Cthulhutech V2 is one of them. Sure, the design is sort of cleaned up and the setting is scrubbed of most (but not all ) of V1's many issues. But somehow Tenacity of all things is still a god-stat, affecting things like health/fear checks/insanity checks/avoiding the consequences of your flaws for free points.

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!


Kult: Divinity Lost



So, we're still in chargen, and it's immediately obvious that they've changed this a good deal from the original. Primarily, it's been simplified more. You've got your Dark Secret, which is your personal plot hook, they have no actual mechanical effects, which is kind of a shame. It would be interesting if your Dark Secret somehow defined your availability of Advantages and Disadvantages(and, in fact, possibly more interesting than the archetypes we've got, which more or less just tells us what your day job is). Then you've got your Disadvantages, which I already loving hate just from reading them, which is more or less "you pick these situations, and whenever they come up, the GM can roll to gently caress you over and disrupt the story." Most of them are just "if you roll bad, you get a random encounter with some people who don't like you," while others are stuff like, "you've got a permanent tickdown to your eventual death, roll badly and one more spot gets marked on that ticker, lol." And a few are just "do this dumb thing if you roll badly, or you lose Sanity."

I'm sorry, not Sanity, Stability. Totally different thing, guys. Don't sue us.

If you want an idea of what's on the list, just imagine every list of 90's game social disadvantages you can think of. Everything from being greedy to being cursed, it's ALL there, short of, like, being a werewolf or a vampire. Sadly they seem to have removed the Yelling Vampire as a character concept.


Why yes, I'll go ahead and pick Sexual Neurosis so the GM can literally COMPEL that my PC has to gently caress an NPC. What the gently caress, game.

Some disadvantages also give the GM "holds," which he can later spend to gently caress over the PC's.

And I'll be honest, I feel like this is a lovely system. I GM a lot myself, and I can never make use of systems like this, not even if a PC picks something like "Unlucky" in a game with disadvantages. Because when I consciously reach in and go: "Okay, time to gently caress this guy's day up." It makes me feel like a lovely, adversarial GM who's doing a bad job of it. If something bad happens to the PC's, it shouldn't be because I want it to happen. Or rather, not because I want it to happen, it should be because the PC's did something that logically leads to a bad consequence, or because some NPC in the game decided it was time to ruin their day. And while I realize those are still things I'm in control of, they feel much less arbitrary, to me, and like something the PC's can actually react to, or avert, or not cause in the first place, rather than me going "lol gently caress you guys for playing this game."

A much better implementation of Disadvantages would be to have them be "do something long-term or short-term disadvantageous, gain some benefit to spend at a later time." So players choose to gently caress THEMSELVES and the rest of the party over for a gain. Player choice is important.

Anyway, RANT OVER. Next up is Advantages. Basically they're our special abilities, and man they are most definitely not equal. For instance, compare Academic Network, which would allow you to be friends with people at universities, with Artistic Talent, which allows you to hypnotize an entire audience with no apparent save to resist for an entire "performance" or Authority, which more or less allows you to bluff yourself access to ANYWHERE as long as you can bullshit it being related to a given research field that you've chosen to be an authority on.

Kult, Divinity Lost posted:

Gain access to people or places under the pretense of engaging in your research or studies.

Nowhere does it mention anything about a sanity check, or a limit or anything like the GM having a fiat say on whether it works or not. By RAW it just works. So just say you're a professor of Applied Metaphysics at the University of Stockholm and bluff your way into Hell.

Other comparisons would be Parkour allowing you to "scale an impossible obstacle" vs Elite Education letting you get literal government favours. That impossible obstacle? Hell, just get a loving military helicopter to give you a lift over it! Like... so many of these abilities are so incredibly poorly worded with, again, no form of sanity checks or limits, that you can just... do whatever. Who the gently caress needs divine magic when you can pull this sort of garbage out of your sleeve from chargen.



Now, note. Any sort of acrobatics lets us make a roll. If we hit 15+, we get to save one of our successes for later, but it doesn't say how much later, some of the abilities at least try to define it as a "scene" or some such. So in this case, we can do handstands in our apartment, in perfect safety, until we hit a 15+, which will allow us to bank a perfect action for later. Also nothing really defines "seemingly impossible obstacle." Can we leap over a skyscraper? Do a backflip over Mt. Everest?

Friends posted:

10:31 - Ghost Robot: i need the Parkour to get over the mental blocks keeping me from improving my life in any meaningful way, can it do that?

You know what? MAYBE IT COULD. Because nothing defines the loving obstacle, or what's seemingly impossible vs what's actually impossible!

Friends posted:

10:34 - Ghost Robot: it's also hilarious to me that "Coolness" is a stat or skill in TYOOL 2018
10:35 - Ghost Robot: that's something i imagine White Wolf thinking about for oWoD and saying "Hm, nah, too kitschy."
10:36 - PurpleXVI: You can also mind control animals with one of these.
10:36 - PurpleXVI: And talking to your cat at home lets you bank up to two perfect animal mind controls.
10:36 - Ghost Robot: so you can talk to your cat, then use that to mind control a blue whale or a grizzly bear.
10:36 - PurpleXVI: Oh my God.
10:36 - PurpleXVI: There's a loving YOU CAN USE THE INTERNAT advantage.

I'm sorry to just be posting chat logs like some lovely Homestuck roleplay here, but I had to share some of the dumber poo poo with a friend and my raw bafflement is hard to replicate.

But it's not all insane, and there ARE some sanity checks, I mean, for instance:



We're limited by our time and resources. So we can't just, you know, straight up build a nuke, because reasonably only governments would have acc-



PSYCH. WE DO HAVE ACCESS TO URANIUM. Shortest loving "time to nuclear weapons" I've seen in any sort of RPG chargen so far. I mean, notice, if we have the time and resources, we don't need to roll for making our nuke. On the Elite Education, we can either get tons of options, some options, or one option with a "debt" attached. Nothing will NOT get us an option. So we will ALWAYS get our uranium, or plutonium, or whatever fissile product we require.

Also without getting too much into the mechanics yet, with our primary stat, we're likely to roll up with something approximating an 85% chance of getting a 10+ on our rolls.

Just. I know this is a short post, but I'm loving EXHAUSTED by it already. There are already SO MANY POOR DECISIONS on display. What the poo poo, Kult Guys.

Wrestlepig
Feb 25, 2011

my mum says im cool



Toilet Rascal

I am hype for this kult writeup. Imagine what a mess this would be in play

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!


Wrestlepig posted:

I am hype for this kult writeup. Imagine what a mess this would be in play

No poo poo, just look at these two abilities which share a page:



The first "even if you only roll a 10+, you perfectly paralyze someone." And it doesn't come with any of the usual RPG "paralysis" caveats like "if you start cutting off his ears or do something aggressive, it breaks the hypnosis." No, this is a perfect, no-limitations, zero time limit, paralysis on any NPC unless the NPC gets blinded, you get blinded, they don't have eyes, or something explicitly says they're immune to the ability or paralysis in general. So for each character in the party that has Deadly Stare and doesn't have Violence penalized or weak, one enemy is more or less an instant kill.

Meanwhile, you have the second ability, where even at a 15+ roll, an NPC can still go "eh he has a gun to my head and his finger on the trigger of a nuke, whatevs, just gonna do what I want." What a great ability!!!!!! Like, keep in mind, at 10-14, they might ALSO do what they want, except you can choose to give them a penalty for it. But on the 15+, if they don't give a poo poo? Zero penalties. They just keep going. loving great design, guys.

The Deleter
May 22, 2010


This looks like someone read a Powered by the Apocalypse game and didn't get it. Except it was also a bad gane that didn't get how moves worked. And the reader had only ever read White Wolf RPGs.

Wrestlepig
Feb 25, 2011

my mum says im cool



Toilet Rascal

The Deleter posted:

This looks like someone read a Powered by the Apocalypse game and didn't get it. Except it was also a bad gane that didn't get how moves worked. And the reader had only ever read White Wolf RPGs.

These are blatant reworkings of a couple of moves from Apocalypse World. Deadly Stare is the Battlebabe's Dangerous and Sexy, which is tied to a social stat rather than an explicit combat stat, so they missed the point of the move as a combat trick for a character that isn't a straight-up fighter. Enforcer is just Go Aggro, but they made it seem more like the target can actually do the thing, unlike how AW guarantees the damage if they don't. Also neither of the moves fit anyway because KULT is a horror game and doesn't have the same focus on action or PC power level as AW.

Wrestlepig fucked around with this message at 10:01 on Jul 22, 2018

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



7th Sea 2: Nations of Theah, Vol. 2



This book is on the eastern half of Theah, and I will note that while John Wick didn't write the book, he does note in his brief intro that Vodacce remains largely unchanged from 1e. The rest of the nations don't, not least because one of them didn't exist. Generally speaking, the eastern nations have all come through chaos and emerged on the other side, battered but stading. They typically have a more flexible class system, or on the brink of massive social changes. They tend to be somewhat hopeful about the future, even in Eisen. (Mostly.)

Eisen is struggling, yes, it's nearly collapsed, it's still recovering from the War of the Cross decades later, it's full of monsters. However, the people have a strong sense of national identity and unity. All Eisen are Eisen first, anything else second, and Eisen help each other. The Sarmatians have just become the first true democracy in Theah, with every citizen having a vote, regardless of wealth or nobility. However, they still suffer old grudges between the Rzeplitan and Curonian peoples, and their future is in turmoil as they must select their next king. Ussura is on the brink of greatness, but now there are two possible Czars, and the nation is split between them, as each works to prove their worthiness, and Matushka has refused to favor either one. Civil war may come, especially if neither potential Czar can solidify power, with the threat of a military coup hanging in the background. Vodacce is closest in thought to the west, but even it has no one ruler, just seven princes, three of whom hold enough power to aim for a takeover...and the rest of whom hold the power to stop them. It would take little to upset that balance, and the peasants and especially the women strive for freedom from the Princes.

First off, we had to Eisen. Nearly 20 years ago, the War of the Cross ravaged an entire generation, particularly in Eisen. The nation collapsed, its monarchy was ended, its industry torn to shreds. Now monsters roam the land, things most Theans can't even imagine. Eisen struggles now to unify and rebuild, and the youth that are now grown chafe under the reminders of a war they had nothing to do with. They look to the Eisenfursten to lead them forward - if only any could agree on what the way forward was.

While the Horrors are easily the biggest issue in rebuilding Eisen, the lack of a central ruler isn't helping, and neither is the massively decreased population or the emigration to other lands. At least they have money, though. Even the poorest Bauern has more wealth than the peasants of other lands, and the Adel have untold riches - but little to buy. Labor is hard to purchase, even at excellent wages, in modern Eisen. Many Eisenfursten do their best to entice anyone they can to live under them, often offering great rewards just to farm the soil. Others see potential in this, particularly the Vendel League, but only a few Eisenfursten have bothered to take their help, so it's had less impact than could be hoped.

While most of modern Eisen is Objectionist, with only a few pockets of Vaticine faith remaining, most Eisen are just too exhausted by religion to care, and many are atheists. What they are loyal to is the idea of Eisen and the goal of making it safe - at least, the parts they live in. Every Eisen is a warrior by necessity. Few die to the Horrors after the age of ten, because by then they have learned how to most efficiently drive off or kill the monsters, and that could be enough to beat them back if the people could be organized. Thus, several factions have sprung up, each proposing new Imperator to lead them to stability. Unfortunately, none of them agree on who it should, and not all the candidates even want the job. Besides, some Eisenfursten want no part in a new Imperator, as they prefer life without oversight or laws.

Before the War of the Cross, the Imperator's family had ruled for a long, long time. The death of Imperator Riefenstahl left a power vacuum that still hasn't been filled, though the former barons that split the land into seven konigreiche have certainly tried. Each Eisenfurst is a possible candidate for the throne, and their rule sets the tone for their entire konigreich. The locals are often fiercely loyal, even if they have private qualms.

Niklas Trage is the most enigmatic yet most popular Eisenfurst. He didn't begin life as a baron, but rather was a commoner that bought the title from the Imperator after discovering a cache of dracheneisen during the War. Everyone forgets to mention the part where he only found the old wepaons and armor after he lost his unit in battle and went wandering - that much power can cleanse any dishonor, it seems. Trage, however, has never forgiven himself for the loss. After the war ended, everyone expected him to take care of his konigreich. Instead, he spent over a decade hunting monsters to try and forget his mistakes. He only returned to his wreck of a realm when he ran out of funds. The result has been Freiburg, the Free City. There is no centralized law in Trage's territory, as he considers it a grand social experiment he watches from atop the Wachtturm, generally drunk. He is a solitary, haunted man who feels unworthy of power. He has no interest in political ambition, and instead works to maintain the city and keep other Eisenfursten out of it. He's aware that many see him as a good choice for chancellor or even Imperator, but pretty much nothing could get him to accept such a job. Freiburg is all the responsibility he wants, and he's heavily reliant on his second-in-command, Wilma Probst, to keep the place from burning itself down. Trage spends most of his time reading books, especially books of poetry, in his great library. His most proized possession is the gauntlet of the Imperator, a reminder of the tragically fallen leader of Eisen.

Roswitha von Wirsche was the young wife of Baron Reinhard when the war began, and he and their sons Edgard, Frederick and Siegrud went off to fight. She has Vesten heritage and was renowned as a beauty, but her world was destroyed when her husband and children died in battle. She went into seclusion, and many believed that Reinhard's brother would take over...but it was Roswitha who went to the first meeting of the Eisenfursten, and none have even heard from said brother since. When she went, she was different. Very different. Her beauty and strength were back, and she took up vigorous management of her lands. She has worked tirelessly to rebuild her land, and Wirsche is a success story for Eisen, protected by her fanatically loyal Iron Guard. This success helps everyone ignore the rumors of servants and travelers going missing at Roswitha's manor, probably because of her. The few bodies that do show up often seem to be short on blood, and many have noticed that the Countess hasn't aged a day in 20 years. Everyone is fairly certain she's a vampire. However, without evidence, accusing one of the most powerful women in Eisen would be pretty much impossible, so her evergrowing collection of foes stays silent, and she keeps Wirsche growing via incentives for hard work and punishments for failure to live up to her quotas. She is a ruthless, efficient ruler dedicated to growth, and she is a frontrunner to unite the nation. She is supported by Heinrich Dray, her lover and leader of her Iron Guard. Dray has even publically challenged Niklas Trage to hand over the Imperator's gauntlet to Roswitha, that she might wear it and rule. Certainly she has been working to slowly annex territory from the other konigreiche around Wirsche, and no one seems able to stop her.

Elsa Posen's territory survived the War largely unscathed, and it is a bastion of pre-War Eisen culture. That sense of peace there had not stopped her from marching south with her father's warriors to help the war effort, however. She distinguished herself as an amazing leader and warrior, and when her father died, she was the obvious pick for successor, which is when the problems began. Once the War ended, Horrors began emerging from Posen's swamps, and the warriors had to fight them immediately, while still weary from the war. Elsa worked to immediately bring them to order and set up patrols, and she used her brilliant tactics to organize her military forces into mercenary bands that protect traveling merchants coming in from Vesten. With the funds form that, she renovated Posen's ports to control the flow of goods into Eisen and solidify her power base. She is a proud, arrogant warrior, as much at home fighting monsters as arguing with other Eisenfursten. She is cannier than many can see below her arrogance, and has been secretly supporting Fischler and the Drachenblut, in the hopes that Commander Rosamund Roth is the hero that Eisen needs to unite itself.

Next time: Eisenfursten

megane
Jun 20, 2008






Wrestlepig noticed a key thing here, and I wanted to explain a bit more:

AW2E posted:

When you go aggro on someone, make it clear what you want them to do and what you’ll do to them. Roll+hard. On a 10+, they have to choose:
- Force your hand and suck it up.
- Cave and do what you want.
On a 7–9, they can choose 1 of the above, or 1 of the following:
- Get the hell out of your way.
- Barricade themselves securely in.
- Give you something they think you want, or tell you what you want to hear.
- Back off calmly, hands where you can see.
On a miss, be prepared for the worst.

First, the "go aggro" wording is a little ambiguous, but it's clarified elsewhere that this isn't for, like, idly shouting threats at a guy, this is when you charge in and stick your gun in his face and start pulling the trigger. (You can do that with words, of course, depending on the situation.) That's partly because: if they end up picking "force your hand," you shoot them. You don't get to chicken out, you can't miss or whatever, and they don't get to do anything else before they get shot. It's not a threat, it's an attack.

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017





So is Roswitha von Wirsche our Elizabeth Bathory?

Quinn2win
Nov 9, 2011

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




Panic at the Dojo: Combat Part 2

Last time, we learned a lot about how bonuses and penalties are assigned. Now, let's actually talk about what they do!

Bonuses
Small, impactful boosts to your strength that can turn the fight in your favor. These are usually applied at the start of a fight, but can happen in mid-battle, too. I'll try to sum these up, but there's a lot of Rules going on here, so some I'll have to explain later.

Default: +2 Max HP. This is a special bonus, applicable by default in all Light/Middle/Heavyweight fights to all PCs. If you're picking a bonus off the list, then you can't take the default bonus.

Counter: Gain 2 Control Tokens. More on that when we get to Forms.

Defensive: Gain Armor until the end of the round. Armor is a simple on/off switch, and means that all hits against you do 1 point less damage.

Found an Opening: Add a 5 to your Action Pool, which you can save between rounds until you need it. That's effectively having another action die in the pool, but you assume that it rolled a 5.

Freedom: For the rest of the round, gain 2 Speed Tokens at the start of everyone's turn. Speed Tokens are spent to move around the battlefield, and discarded at the end of the turn - but if you have some from an ability like this, you can spend them to move regardless of whose turn it is.

Power Up: Gain 2 Iron Tokens, 2 Power Tokens, and 2 Speed Tokens. More on those later.

Talk Big: Challenge an enemy you can see, then pull them up to 4 spaces towards you. More on Challenges when we talk about tokens.

Tactics: Place four Obstacles onto the battlefield, on any empty spaces. More on those when I get to terrain.

Vigor: Restore HP equal to twice the Heal Value.

Willpower: Gain a 4-point Shield. More on those later.

Penalties
The opposite of bonuses, these make your life harder. They're a bit less general and a bit more specific to certain kinds of builds, which means that they can get a lot nastier.

Burned: Gain 4 Burning Tokens. At the end of your turn, if you have any Burning Tokens, you discard 1 and take 1 damage.

Dazed: You can't use any of the unique actions granted by your Stance this round.

Defenseless: Any shields you have break, and you can't benefit from shields or Armor for the rest of the round.

Enraged: For the rest of the round, when someone damages you, you also get Challenged by them, replacing any outstanding Challenge.

Handcuffed: The fun one. Pick someone within 2 spaces, and pull them adjacent to you. You can now only move to spaces adjacent to your new partner. Forced movement against one moves the other, and you can both use Speed Tokens to move either one of you.

Missed Opportunity: On your next turn, when you roll your Action Dice, discard the highest number.

Power Down: You lose all Basic Tokens you're holding, and can't gain any Power Tokens or Iron Tokens for the rest of the round.

Spotlight: Destroy any Copies you're using. For the rest of the round, enemies can ignore Fog when targeting you.

Trapped: A Trap is placed on your space, and every adjacent space.

The Last Stand
Eventually, one side or the other wins in a fight. This can happen when they all run out of HP, or when they concede. The winners get to win, but the losers aren't out everything - they still get to make a Last Stand. When making their Last Stand, the losing side declares three things:

quote:

1: What do you want most out of this fight?
2: How far are you willing to go to get what you want?
3: What's your last ditch plan to get what you want?
A last stand, particularly from a big badguy boss, can even involve briefly turning the tables back against the foes. However, it can't prevent the winners from getting what they wanted. Once that's been taken care of, the winners declare:

quote:

1: How do you stop their last ditch plan?
2: What punishment do you dish out to them? How much punishment you can give them is dependent on how far they were willing to go - the farther they go, the more you can hurt them for it.
3: What are you willing to give them, and what do you take for yourself?
This is all pretty noodly and vague, but the idea is that the more punishment you took during a fight you won, the more you should concede to their last stand. If they gave up right away, then you don't owe them poo poo, but if they came within inches of victory, decide the outcome in a more balanced way.

Next: How to do fighting.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




PbtA is easy to do badly. Incidentally, Kult is built on doing kinds of horror that are easy to do badly, especially in the context of tabletop, but this looks like it's purely a case of mishandling PbtA.

It's okay if a PbtA move requires good judgment in interpretation, but those moves could be much better written. As is I'm not even sure of the designer's intent.

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!


Halloween Jack posted:

PbtA is easy to do badly. Incidentally, Kult is built on doing kinds of horror that are easy to do badly, especially in the context of tabletop, but this looks like it's purely a case of mishandling PbtA.

It's okay if a PbtA move requires good judgment in interpretation, but those moves could be much better written. As is I'm not even sure of the designer's intent.

Maybe the true existential dread is bad game design.

potatocubed
Jul 26, 2012

*rathian noises*


Lilith Kapital deserves to go down in legend.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



7th Sea 2: Nations of Theah, Vol. 2 - In Which Everyone Has Bad Ideas

Stefan Heilgrund is youngest of the Eisenfursten, born at the end of the War of the Cross. He believes that the nation must set aside the past and move on to the future. He's the only son of the old Baron Peter Heilgrund, and he seized control of Heilgrund from his uncles almost immediately after his father's death, leading with aggressive reform and youthful energy. He actively wants to rule the entirety of Eisen and has little worry for day-to-day problems. He's certain he's the perfect Imperator, and he's very happy to tell anyone that, even the other Eisenfursten. They tend to dislike and mock him, so he continually seeks new and greater displays of power to earn their respect. He splits his time between leading his Iron Guard on grand military expeditions to show leadership and studying occult lore from anywhere he can. He believes the key to winning over the nation is to find a magical solution to the Horrors, y'see, and to that end he often funds expeditions across the world to Syrneth ruins and in search of drachenbone. He believes combining drachenbone and Syrneth technology will grant untold power, if he can just figure out how to do it. He's also way, way less sinister in this edition.

Falk Fischler began life as the second son of a poor merchant and the husband to a poor Ussuran traveler named Olga. They had little money, but they were happy. When the War came, however, both Falk's father and his brother Dieter went to fight, while Falk stayed behind due to poor health. He never imagined that the bravery of his family would earn them a barony. Dieter died, but Falks' father was given a title and land taken out of Sieger and Hainzl territories. When Falk's father died shortly after, Falk inherited the title. He was overwhelmed by the duties involved, and mostly just moved to a better villa than his old hovel. Shortly after, the Horrors attacked, killing Olga, though Falk and their young daughter, Ketheryna, survived. (This is a major change - in 1e, Ketheryna was his sister.) Falk wanted to give his daughter all the opportunities he never had, and became obsessed with keeping her safe. To that end, he fostered her in Ussura's courts, where she grew up and caught the eye of the Czar. Falk was excited by the idea of her being a queen and accepted the Czar's proposal without actually asking his daughter's permission. The two have not spoken since. Falk, now apart from his beloved daughter, watches his land struggle. The fishing industry in the Sudsee grows worse by the day, and the nobles disrespect his rule and do as they wish. That Ketheryna is now in the contending to become the Czarina would overjoy Falk if she would say even one word to him, but she doesn't. Worse, even his Iron Guard seems to have turned against him, taking bribes to protect nobles over commoners. Only the Drachenblut, a newly founded organization to protect Eisen, seem intent to help him defend his land, and their call to Eisen pride and power is about all that is keeping him from eternal depression funk, inspiring him to heroism for the first time in his life.

Erich Sieger is a desperate man, and it has made him driven and ferocious. He's ruled Sieger since his youth during the War, and at that time he was an idealist, a passionate follower of the Imperator and a strong Objectionist. He believed that his service would be rewarded by his ruler. Instead, he watched as Riefenstahl took some of his land and gave it to the Fischlers. Sieger was originally quite large, and therefore prime territory for invasion from Montaigne and Castille. It was home to some of the worst battles of the War, ravaging its people and its land alike. Erich's hope was that peace would bring prosperity...but Riefenstahl again chopped off part of his land to give to Castille during the negotiations. Intent on keeping what little land he had left, Erich had his farmers salt their fields to stop the invaders. Between this and the Horrors, no one wanted anything to do with Sieger - even its own people. In the last two decades, many have fled across the continent to find new lives. Only Erich and the most dedicated remain. Sieger is now old, exhausted and paranoid. He often flies into rages, consumed with the idea that others will take all he has left. That Wirsche has made attempts to annex parts of his land has not been helping.

Georg Hainzl has chosen to reject the harshness of reality. He is a generous, friendly man who refuses to accept that Eisen has fallen, and instead calls it a land of grand beauty and adventure. Some find this charming, others delusional. His rule is backed by the mines of the Dracheneisen Mountains, historically the source of the legendary material. While the dracheneisen veins are long dry, the mountains are also full of silver, iron ore and gems, which keep Hainzl rich. He's used the money to beautify his land, which remained largely untouched in the War, and has been welcoming to refugees. Many believe his focus on beauty is due to the tragedies in his life. He lost his family in the war, including his lover, Kurt, a musician slain by Horrors while traveling. Isolated and alone, his advisors whisper, he could not handle seeing Eisen as it truly was. Instead, he buries himself in music and beauty, in tribute to fallen Kurt and his family. Only his Iron Guard and the Drachenblut, who are based out of his mountains, keep the monsters from consuming his konigreich. The other Eisenfursten, particularly Elsa Posen, caution him to be more wary, but he will not. He's far too busy spending money on grand parties, beautification efforts and concerts.

So what are the Drachenblut? Well, Eisen was once home to the drachen. No one is entirely sure where they went, but legends of drachenslayers resonate today. The drachen is an icon of the sleeping power of Eisen, a symbol to unite around when there is no leader. Thus, the Drachenblut. They are largely knights errant, former Iron Guards and ex-soldiers, and the organization was formed from the idea that, to heal Eisen, warriors must become as grand and potent as the drachen. Potential recruits travel through Eisen to the monster-infested passes of the mountains to reach Burg Wachesherz, their base, where they must train for three years to become a member. They ride under the banner of the golden drachen with outstretched wings, fighting to protect all the people of Eisen from danger of any kind. Many see them as the true saviors of the land, who will lead them to the future.

The organization's leader, a veteran named Rosamund Roth, is a powerful contendor to be Chancellor or even Imperator. She has never publically denied interest in leadership, but focuses her time and effort on the Drachenblut and the hunting of monsters. The group takes no political stances, instead serving all of the people. They aren't without foes, however. Many Iron Guards see them as a threat to their military and police powers, and there have been fights over jurisdiction in several konigreiche - and for good reason, as the Drachenblut do, in fact, claim jurisdiction over the entire dang nation. Others are scared by rumors of their initiations. Stories of recruits bathing in monster blood, eating animal hearts or even biting into living animals abound, and it is unclear how true they might be. Burg Wacheshurz is so isolated that few ever visit without express permission and survive. However, everyone at least agrees the Drachenblut's hearts are in the right place, and the group is always recruiting. Sometimes they work with die Kreuzritter, but their methods are unsavory and extreme to the secret society, who fear the Drachenblut are in danger of falling to evil, especially given their active recruitment of hexe. More recently, the Drachenblut have announced their search for dracheneisen weapons, which has the Eisenfursten and Iron Guard alternatively mocking them and enraged.

The Iron Guard are some of most feared fighting forces in the world. They have existed since the dawn of Eisen under Stefan the Great, serving the ruler and the people of Eisen ever since. Because the leadership of the nation is now in question, the Guard has been split into seven private armies for the Eisenfursten, but each unit swears the same oath: Geschmiedet aus Eisen, Gehartet in Blut. Forged from Iron, Tempered in Blood. The warriors come from across Eisen, common or noble, and they give up their entire old life to join the Guard. Recruits must already know how to track, fence and ride before entering training, and the training is some of the most rigorous on the planet. They must also have a letter of introduction from a person of note in their home konigreich before the heads of recruitment will even see them. Many never pass the training, but those that do are some of the best fighters in Eisen. The reason is that they are trained as a seamless unit. Iron Guard units are made of 20 soldiers, but they operate as one entity, trained to anticipate each other and move in concert without need for communication. They protect each other because otherwise, they leave themselves exposed. Historically, units have a low turnover rate, and any death in the unit is deeply mourned by the rest.

In older times, the Iron Guard all served one commander, who served the Imperator. Now, each of the seven Iron Guard forces have their own skilled leaders. Two of the best are Kurt Valrund, an old but powerful man in charge of the Swamp Dogs of Posen, and Selena von Hoff, a sneaky young woman who commands Trague's Wacchunde. The most famous, though, is Heinrich Dray of Wirsche, who gave up his noble rank and wealth to command the Roaring Drachen for Roswitha von Wirsche. The lack of centralized leadership has been a problem, but the Iron Guard by and large have fought and died to keep things in some semblance of order. They are supposedly apolitical, but they often find staying out of politics impossible. The seven divisions have begun to see each other as enemies, not compatriots, and they've often fought as enforcers for their Eisenfursten rather than guardians of the people. This has lead to a few defections, as Iron Guards become jaded with the organization and choose to uphold their oath to protect Eisen alone, often joining small independent fighting bands or even striking it out as a lone mercenary. Others have left to join the Drachenblut, seeing them as a throwback to what the Iron Guard once were and should have remained.

Now, other major figures! Perchta is a Sidhe spirit who walked the land and protected the people long before Eisen was a nation. She was expelled from Avalon in ancient days for reasons long forgotten, settling in the land that would be Eisen in a time when the drachen ruled the skies. She was revered as a goddess by the local tribes, and their stories of her as a benevolent yet capricious nurturer changed her. She remained a force for good until the coming of the Vaticine, whose anti-magic doctrine forced her into hiding and lost her many followers. Eventually, she settled into the Angnehme Wald, which she swore to turn into a haven for magic and a safe place for those in need. Still, all magic has a price, even for an immortal Sidhe. Cut off from the power of Bryn Bresail, she has had to find other ways. Those that wish to live in her forest must swear never to leave, tying their life force to her and feeding her magic. Perchta hates the arrangement, but has no idea what else to try. She'd love if Eisen could be proud again, accepting of all magic...and to that end, she's trying to find someone who might do so. She has chosen Rosamund Roth of the Drachenblut as her favored leader, and has appeared to her to prophesy her rise to greatness. Perchta knows many secrets, and often acts the role of the ancient witch, wise and potent. Her biggest secret is that despite being inhuman, she has pretended to care for Eisen for so long that even she isn't sure if it's genuine or not. She is, however, tired of hiding and being invisible. She wants to be free once more.

Kevistoph "Two Stripes Jack" Braun was born near Wirsche in the tail end of the War, and was quickly made an orphan. His parents were both soldiers, and while they survived the War, they didn't survive the Horrors. Braun grew up among the Waisen, but rather than be broken by the shock of it all, he learned to fight. His size and strength gave him an advantage over other kids, and he learned to use that to do...well, whatever he liked, which generally wasn't anything too bad. He was never fond of the sea, despite his youth in a port city, and spent much of his life serving as a mercenary and spending his coin on booze and women...until, one night, drunk as poo poo, he bargained his work for a pair of pants. He didn't realize the work would be aboard the schooner Shoal Seeker, and he was already brigged for insubordination on his first day, and got eight lashes the next. He was determined to prove he was tough enough to take it, and remained silent to the first lash. He stayed silent on the second, but passed out, earning himself the name Two Stripes Jack. Despite the rocky start, he thrived aboard the ship and made his way up to midshipman before the ship ran into trouble with Roswitha von Wirsche, who hired them to bring in goods to Gottkirchen. When they arrived, the locals had little to pay with, so the captain sold what he could and returned with the rest. The Countess, who expecting the ship to just leave the rest, was furious and tried to imprison the whole crew. Two Stripes, along with a few others, escaped - but not before the Iron Guard scuttled the Shoal Seeker. Now, he and his fellows are looking for a way to rescue the captain and crew. There are warrants out for their arrest, but to this day, none of them have any idea what crime they committed. Kevistoph is a kind-hearted fellow who likes a good drink and a good fight. At heart, he's a landlubber, and while he wants to rescue his crew, he plans to stay off the sea after this, once he founds out what Roswitha's up to and possibly stopping her.

Next time: Shockingly, a Verdugo-aligned Inquisitor who's mostly not a terrible person.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




Wrestlepig posted:

Enforcer is just Go Aggro, but they made it seem more like the target can actually do the thing, unlike how AW guarantees the damage if they don't. Also neither of the moves fit anyway because KULT is a horror game and doesn't have the same focus on action or PC power level as AW.

megane posted:

First, the "go aggro" wording is a little ambiguous, but it's clarified elsewhere that this isn't for, like, idly shouting threats at a guy, this is when you charge in and stick your gun in his face and start pulling the trigger. (You can do that with words, of course, depending on the situation.) That's partly because: if they end up picking "force your hand," you shoot them. You don't get to chicken out, you can't miss or whatever, and they don't get to do anything else before they get shot. It's not a threat, it's an attack.
This is just theorycrafting at this point, but I think Go Aggro is just fine for Kult, because Go Aggro fills a mechanical need for something that happens all the time in fiction, but is rarely reflected in roleplaying games--combat typically goes straight to "Roll initiative, everyone draws weapons and fights to the death now."

Quinn2win
Nov 9, 2011

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




Panic at the Dojo: Combat Part 3

All of the stuff up until now was basically tangential rules surrounding fights, how they're set up, and how they resolve. Now, it's time to sink our teeth into the middle bit!

Fights take place on a grid, like D&D 4e and its ilk. Suggested size is between 10x10 and 20x20, with non-square shapes being encouraged as well. Anything off the end of the grid is an Edge.

Free Movement
Movement doesn't take any actions, it just takes Speed Tokens. As long as you're holding any of those, you can move one space in any direction, then discard Speed Tokens - 1 for horizontal or vertical, 2 for a diagonal, +1 if you're moving on to Rubble. You can repeat this any number of times in a turn to get where you want to go, but at the end of every turn, everyone discards every Speed Token they're holding. In practice, this means that having 8 speed tokens means you can move 8 spaces, but there are some quirks to how it's handled here - for example, if you're holding one Speed Token, you can still do a diagonal move onto Rubble, since movement comes before discarding Speed Tokens. Also, you can do your movement in between actions arbitrarily until your turn ends, and if you find a way to pick up new Speed Tokens when it isn't your turn, you can keep moving around. If you want to move during an enemy turn, it has to be at the beginning or end of the turn.

Terrain
The main kinds of terrain you'll be dealing with are Walls and Edges. The GM draws out the arena's general shape, and indicates which parts of the edge are Walls, and which are Edges. Walls block movement, but Edges don't - if you fall off one, you're out of play for the rest of the turn. At the end, you can jump back into the fray at any space along that Edge. Once that's done, though, it's time for the players to spice things up: Each gets to choose one kind of obstacle, and place six continuous spaces of it on any empty spaces on the map.

There's an optional rule for ultra high-powered settings, where any forced movement that pushes or pulls you into a wall destroys the wall, replacing it with rubble, and you keep moving.

Health Bars
As mentioned before, health is measured in Health Bars, which are divided from there into HP. You usually have one bar, but depending on the circumstances and weight of the fight, you might have several. All Health Bars in a scene have the same amount of HP, unless someone has the Default bonus, in which case theirs are 2 HP longer. Damage notably doesn't carry over between Health Bars - if your first of two bars is at 4 HP, and you get hit for 6 damage, the last 2 damage are lost as the first bar breaks. However, if you were hit by an attack that does two hits of 5 damage each, then the first hit would break your Health Bar and the second hit would start on your next Health Bar, for a total of 9 damage.

The Initiative Meter
This thing is pretty interesting and unconventional in terms of how it handles turns. There's no rolling for initiative; instead, you have a track with a number of slots on it equal to the number of Health Bars in the fight. Slots alternate between hero slots and villain slots (the first is always a hero slot), and within the party, you can choose whatever order you want to take your turns. If someone has multiple Health Bars, they can accordingly take extra turns over the course of the round. So, you start with a PC's turn, then the GM picks an enemy to act, and you repeat, until each person has taken a turn for each Health Bar. If the party split up a health bar evenly, then anyone can take that bonus turn during the round.

This gets really interesting when combat gets more complicated or when people get taken out, but we'll save that for later.

The Turn
At the start of the turn, you pick one of your three Stances. Then, you roll a pile of dice, based on your Stance's Form - for example, if your Stance uses the Iron Form, then you roll d8/d6/d6 for your Action Pool on any turn when you're in that stance. Those numbers then become your Action Pool - you don't add them up, just keep the individual numbers that rolled. From there, you spend as many Action Dice as you can on various actions, until you run out or decide you're done. Most actions have a number requirement at the start of their name, like "5+: Rescue" - this means that you can only spend a die that rolled a 5 or higher on that action. If it starts with an X instead, then the power of the action is determined by the value of the die spent on it.

Then your turn is over, and you discard any remaining Action Dice or Speed Tokens, and the ball is passed to the other side's court for the next turn.

Each Stance has one or more Unique Actions associated with it, which can only be used while in that Stance. In addition to those, and a couple other sources to talk about later, your main source of actions is the Basic Action list. These are things that anyone can do, regardless of Stance or condition. Here they are:

X: Movement
Gain X Speed Tokens.

1+: Damage
Deal 1 damage to one enemy in your range.
3+: Deal 2 damage instead.
5+: Deal 3 damage instead, and push them 1 space away.
7+: Deal 4 damage instead, and push them 1 more space.
9+: Deal 5 damage instead, and push them 1 more space.

X: Throw
Choose an adjacent enemy or ally, and push them X spaces.

X: Grapple
Choose an enemy or ally within range, and pull them X spaces towards you.

1+: Open the Path
Destroy one Obstacle within range.
4+: Also destroy Obstacles adjacent to it.
8+: Also destroy Obstacles adjacent to those.

1+ A Challenger Approaches
Challenge an enemy within range 1-4.

2+: Put It Out!
Remove one token from someone in range.
4+: Remove another token.
7+: Remove another token.

4+: Bring it on!
Challenge any number of enemies you can see.

5+: Rescue
Pick an ally within range who's at 0 HP, and heal them. If they aren't in play, they return to play on the space of their choice.

Next: Finally wrapping up these combat rules.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



7th Sea 2: Nations of Theah, Vol. 2 - Oh Right Jews Exist Now

Knight Inquisitor Friedrich is a devout Vaticine from Sieger, who fought in the War for three years before it ended. He's always hated Objectionists and he blames the encroaching Horrors on the Imperator abandoning the true faith. (He's not a terrible person, just a bad one. I never said he wouldn't be bad.) He didn't stay to fight them, however, instead going to Vaticine City to reaffirm his faith, joining the priesthood and learning all he could to find a way to fight Horrors. He reached the conclusion that he'd been wrong - Hexenwork was the real culprit, not Objectionism, and decided that Sorcery had to be extinguished. It was this that drew him to Verdugo's attention, and Friedrich is now one of Verdugo's most ardent supporters. Armed with his hatred of monsters and sorcery, Friedrich has returned to Eisen to fight the Horrors, rooting them out and destroying them anywhere he can. He lives in Posen and advises Elsa Posen on monsters, and has convinced her it'll be a great idea to catalogue all the hexen in Posen, perhaps all of Eisen. He is dedicated to cleansing Eisen of evil...but he doesn't especially care about collateral damage. He's a guy who does the wrong thing for the right reasons, and he's devoted so fiercely that if anyone really understood how single-minded he was, they'd be terrified.

Wilma Probst is what keeps Freiburg from collapsing into an inferno of chaos. She grew up during the War, learned to read early and, rather than be a soldier, became a page to a knight named Barhelm who served at court. She was fascinated by government, and studied both politics and bureaucracy while there, during her free time. Her job let her see and hear all kinds of stuff as she ran messages for the knights and eventually even the barons. She was there when Niklas Trage bought his barony, and she saw potential in him early - or, rather, saw that he had a lot of good ideas but absolutely no idea how to run a household or manage his position. She presented herself to him and laid out in certain terms how he needed her...and, to her surprise, he hired her immediately, leaving her to run his barony while he hunted monsters. When Freiburg was established, he stepped back and did nothing, and she knew she'd have to run things and enforce what few rules existed. She has been ever since. She knows everything that goes on in Freiburg, and she's been watching the rest of the nation rebuild. She is a member of Sophia's Daughters, and she thinks it's time for someone to step up and lead, using her considerable skill to maneuver people into the idae of a chancellorship with equal rights for all, similar to the Sarmatian Commonwealth. She is always calm, no matter what happens, and rarely raises her voice. Her anger is cold, clipped and icy, and she is unafraid to freeze people out of business if they cross her. She is a firm believer in women's rights and has made Freiburg a safe haven for Vodacce strega fleeing home, which has been a sticking point between her and Trague, who dislikes that much interference in anything. She and Elsa Posen are currently working together to support the rise of Rosamund Roth and get her to lead the nation.

Rosamund Roth was born in the small town of Grunfeld, at the edge of the Walder. Her father rescued the son of an Adel from being run over by a cart, and in return, he asked to be taken in to the noble's household. The Adel, Lord Hans Dieter, agreed, and the family moved to his estate. Roth's mother was a lady's maid in the house, and one night, the Imperator showed up in need of shelter from the weather. The storm lasted three days, and the Imperator spent a lot of time with Rosamund's mom. Nine months later, Rosamund was born. The circumstances, however, were kept a close secret, though from an early age she got special treatment. She showed skill as a warrior, so she was trained alongside Lord Dieter's warriors and became a squire by age 12. Despite her family's concerns, she and her two elder brothers went to fight in the War alongside Lord Dieter. Near the end of the war, Rosamund had earned a command and risen through the ranks under the watch of the Imperator. His death hit her hard, and the fracturing of the government infuriated her. Thus, she was driven to found the Drachenblut, to protect the people without political allegiance and without the squabbling of the Eisenfursten. 20 years later, with no end to the strife in sight, she has become restless. When the witch Perchta appeared to her and revealed her true father, she came to accept that she might need to be the one to lead. News spread of her as a good choice, and support for her has swelled in the veterans and youth populations. She's still unsure if she wants to rule, however, and would prefer to just fight to keep Eisen together. She leads from the front, and has tried her best to stay out of politics. She is a practical woman, but secretly a huge romantic, desperate for the legendary age of grand heroes. However, she has yet to accept that she can be such a hero, and secretly fears being branded illegitimate.

Chaim Ledovid is a Yachidi, a member of a religious and ethnic group derived from the Crescent Empire. His full name is Chaid ben Dovid ben Shimon of Tribe Binyomin, and he was born far from Eisen, but traveled there with his parents, alongside ten other families. They first settled in Castille, to work at the universities and share Crescent medical techniques. His parents were honored for saving a noble daughter's life, and changed their name to Ledovid to appear more Castillian. They were even given a land grant near San Cristobal, where Chaim's aged parents and five brothers still live. Chaim was only 10 when the War ended, and he felt its impact keenly. At 18, he organized a group of Yachidi families from across Theah to head to Eisen to help the people. He settled in the town of Heimstatt, starting a small Yachidi population there and bringing his vast knowledge of healing medicine to Heiligherz-Krankenhaus and Eisengeist-Universitat. He soon became the spokesman for the local Yachidi community, helping them navigate dealing with the mostly Vaticine and atheist population of Heimstatt. The town is now a major stopping point for Yachidi in Theah, an outpost of home away from the Crescent Empire. When the Eisenfursten need to reach out to the Yachidi, they go to Chaim. When he isn't working as a doctor or lecturer, he travels Eisen spreading his knowledge and that of other Yachidi scholars. He lives with his wife, Batsheva, and their six children. His son Mayron is his medical assistant. The two and their Dinist friend Amira are often seen running through the city, going from patient to patient. Chaim is a thoughtful, eloquent polyglot who despises fighting and weapons, preferring to settle things with words. While more militant Yachidi groups seek his support, he is staunch in defending all life, not just his own people. He also hates ignorance, and while he tolerates persecution of those who use magic on a grand scale, he does all he can to stop the organizations of those who hunt sorcerers, openly spreading the idea of acceptning magic and science together. He enjoys whiskey and philosophical debate, as well as spending time with his kids.

Heinrich Dray is a very powerful leader who captures the thoughts of the public easily. He is captain of the Roaring Drachen division of the Iron Guard, the second son of a large Adel family. They were poor after the War, often selling family heirlooms just to eat. Heinrich's eldest sister, Nadina, wanted to be the head of the household, which enraghed Heinrich, who thought it was a man's job, and he aimed to prove his leadership talents in the military. This opinion went over poorly with his family, and they soon had a falling out. Heinrich's father didn't like his son's prejudices but at least was glad to see him dedicating himself to a cause, negotiating a commission in the Iron Guard for him based on the family name. Heinrich never forgave him for what he saw as trying to push him out of the spotlight, and he didn't even come visit the man when he was dying. When Nadina and her husband Konrad took over the family lands, Heinrich swore never to return. He proved himself as a skilled knight and warrior, and he got assigned to Wirsche after an incursion of undead wiped out nearly half their unit. He arrived to see the Roaring Drachens failing and leaderless, seizing the chance to work up the ranks and leading the campaign to crush the undead horde successfully. He was invited to dine with the Countess, and he fell in love with her on sight, even daring to tell her so. She laughed at him and told him to prove his worth before she'd consider it. He took up the cause, spending a year slaying every monster he could find and getting the Roaring Drachens back into fighting form. He returned on the anniversary of their meeting with trophies and another declaration of love, and the two have been inseparable since. He is a charming but ruthless man who is utterly devoted to Roswitha von Wirsche, despite being fully aware of her connection to the deaths and drained blood in the area. He doesn't care, and pushes her as a new leader for Eisen, citing her success in rebuilding Wirsche. That he'll rule at her side is, clearly, a foregone conclusion, for he would die before he's parted with her. His sister does not trust him at all, and would very much like to know his and Roswitha's secrets, given how the two are being bandied about as possible Imperator candidates.

Secret societies! The Explorer's Society has been asked by the Eisenfursten to explore the mountains looking for new dracheneisen veins, and they're willing to pay handsomely for the work. There's plenty of other stuff to look into, too, like the Auswogene Ort Syrneth ruins in the swamps of Posen and possible relics under Freiburg. The Rilasciare are extremely excited over Eisen's potential, given it has no current monarchy and the Church's power there is broken. It's a great place to forge a new nation, and there are Rilasciare agents everywhere, hoping to establish and empower Eisen to a new form before the monarchy can be remade. Sophia's Daughters have many allies in Eisen, where the women are often quite powerful. With so many veterans in need of purpose, the Daughters often hire fighting women as bodyguards and leaders to help the Vodacce Fate Witches and to teach self-defense and literacy. Many of the best warriors in the Daughters are Eisen expatriates, working both as guards and as instructors and advisors. The Daughters use the disorganized situation of Eisen to more easily smuggle women on the run into safe communities, with one of their largest camps being in the village of Mieben, under Perchta's protection. They are the only large group permitted to come and go freely in Perchta's forest, under the condition that ten women remain there for the rest of their lives to maintain the camp's protection.

The Brotherhood of the Coast have decided to give Eisen an unofficial break from their activities, with there being a truce and cessation of raids on Eisen ports and coastal cities until the nation is back on its feet. The Brotherhood honor this, and their ships enforce the ban. However, many renegade pirates still break it, and the Brotherhood hunts them down and kills them when it can. They often take cargo from those raiders and redistribute it to coastal communities in Eisen, turning over any survivors to Eisen justice. They recruit heavily from Eisen sailors, as their military training is usually very helpful. Reporting a raiding vessel attacking Eisen ships is worth 3 Favor, and 2 Wealth if you help dispatch them. Getting safe passage from Eisen to Vesten or back costs 2 Favor. Los Vagabundos believe Eisen desperately needs a leader. No one has yet stepped up, but they're going to find someone. They've narrowed it down to three possibilities, all of whom have support from some members: Niklas Trage, Elsa Posen or Rosamund Roth. They'll support any worthy leader who ends up in charge, but they know any candidate must be tested and tested and tested for worthiness and ability to protect the people. Presenting definitive evidence for or against any given candidate is worth 3 Favor, especially if it's about their direct actions, and managing to substantially assist one of them in towards being in charge is worth 5 Favor.

The Kinder von Morgen are a breakaway sect of Rilasciare since the founding of the Sarmatian Commonwealth. The name means 'Children of Tomorrow' and they believe the Commonwealth is the appropriate blueprint for a new Eisen. Many are former Rilasciare from the Commonwealth, looking to teach and mentor young Eisen. They are extremely organized, with a functional hierarchy and common banner, and they stage rallies across Eisen, printing pamphlets and hiring town criers to inform the common people of their opportunities. They also execute more daring activities to prevent the rise of a new monarch, primarily targeting the Eisenfursten, especially those that mistreat their people. Many hold Niklas Trague in a sort of reverance and want to convince him to support their cause. They primarily recruit from the Waisen and the common folk, rejecting the nobles and military as the old leadership. They also are suspicious of the Vaticine and want to keep it out. Their symbol is the fist clenched around the drachen's throat, to represent the stranglehold of power the nobles hold.

The Kinder headquarters is a noble's household turned into a tavern in Freiburg, the Amber Eye. The place is run by jennys, all of whom are society members and experts at information gathering. They are primarily focused on convincing Eisen to be a democracy and watching out for any who'd claim to be the next Imperator. They don't like murder, but love public embarassment. Organizing a rally or demonstration is worth 3 Favor, particularly if it's well-attended or gets government notice. Destabilizing the rule of an Eisenfurst is worth 7 Favor, or 10 if it pushes a konigreich to a more democratic system. Publically humiliating an Eisenfurst or other candidate for Imperator is worth 5 Favor. Access to the Kinder von Morgen's libraries costs 2 Favor, and as the group is primarily scholars, academics and politicians, they have quite a few useful tomes. Getting aid from a Kinder agent costs only 3 Favor, and they have base Strength 6 and one of the Academy, Lyceum or University advantages, plus 4 points of extra Advantages of your choice per additional 2 Favor spent.

Die Kreuzritter are organizing for a massive campaign against the Horrors, including those that are more entrenched than your average zombie or ghoul. They just need support. Thus, they've made die Eisensanger, the Iron Singers, who cross the nation carrying messages on Horror attacks, monster hunts and political information, posting them on public boards marked 'the Song of Eisen.' They've helped a lot to bring Eisen together. The Knights of the Rose and Cross are much-needed, and their ranks have been massively lessened in Eisen due to all the disasters, though they help keep hope alive. Many of their recruits post-War have defected to the Drachenblut, however, after the Knights failed to provide sufficient financial support in outlying areas. Relations remain strained, as the Drachenblut see the Knights as ineffectual and the Knights see the Drachenblut as an upstart group that won't last. The Invisible College find monsters fascinating to study, and have come to do so in numbers. They want to know why so many seem attracted to the area, and solving that puzzle will bring much glory and acclaim. Some worry that the number of Horrors is actually on the rise despite all the hunting, though, and they often work with die Kreuzritter to help stop that. Mociutes Skara is hugely overworked in Eisen, trying to bring in medical supplies and food and weapons to fight monsters from Ussura and the Commonwealth. They have been reaching out to the Yachidi community recently to get more Crescent trade going, and it's doing well, as the Yachidi consider helping others to be a religious ideal. They are also hoping no one is dumb enough to start another war over rule of Eisen, and are willing to do a lot to stop that before it can start.

Next time: Places

Wapole Languray
Jul 4, 2012





IDENTITIES

Identities are the meat of your character. Abilities change over time, waxing and waning, but Identities don’t. They just get better. These are your skills, traits, special abilities, unique talents, and everything else all rolled into one.



So, an identity is as it says: An identity. The actual name of it can be whatever you can think of. A job, a talent, a social role, a hobby, a rank, whatever. The important thing is that it is an identity, not just a descriptor. You can’t have “First Aid” as an identity, but you sure can be a “Paramedic” or “Registered Nurse”. You don’t know “Gunfighting” you are a “Retired Marine” or “Competitive Shooter”. Like with anything, Identities come with a percentage that shows how good you are at what they do. By default you get between two and four to start, and split up 120% between however many you have. Minimum of 15% and maximum of 90%, though that is of course modifiable by the GM if desired.

When do you use identities instead of an ability? Most of the time it’s obvious. Just say of ”Of course I can _____ I’m _______”. If it fits in, then it makes sense you can roll that identity. Firemen know how to drive a firetruck and move around in a burning building, a car salesman can talk fast and knows their way around financial paperwork, and so on. The GM can make the final call of course, this is mostly so you don’t get an identity like “Supergenius” and try and use it for everything. Doing differential calculus in your head? Sure! Calculating the trajectory of a bullet in flight instantly to ricochet it around a blind corner? … No. So as a general rule, if it makes sense for your identity to give you the ability to do a thing, and the GM agrees, you can roll it instead of the relevant ability.

FEATURES

Of course this is still a bit wishy-washy. That’d just be the old freeform skills of previous editions, and those never worked well because total free form generally causes analysis paralysis, arguments, and balance worries. So identities are beefed up by hard mechanical guidelines called features.

Every identity gets one Feature built in: Substitutes For…, which means that you can always replace an ability roll with that identity. This way you can essentially “Lock” an ability into always being good, regardless of your current mental state. A Gym Rat can choose Substitutes For Fitness and make sure that no matter how beat down and weak they feel, they’ll still be able to bench 450 and run a 5k without getting a stitch.

You then pick two other Features to round it out:

CASTS RITUALS
This ties into the Magick systems later, but in essence: Rituals are your pentagrams and chicken blood arcane arts. Your hermetic chanting old-fashioned wizard stuff. This feature lets you use your identity when performing magickal rituals based on thaumaturgy and years of research and study.

COERCES A METER
Coercion is the social-combat esque system in Unknown Armies, but in essence this means you can use the identity to attack another person’s Shock Gauge and manipulate them into doing things you want them to do.
EVALUATES A METER
This lets you know “read” another's Shock Meter. You pick one of the meters and you can make a roll using the identity to learn what their meter is. How hardened they are, how many failed notches they have, and so on. This is handy when paired with coercion for obvious reasons: It lets you know where to hit them.

MEDICAL
You know how to physically heal people and keep their meat-parts working. This covers traditional stuff like Nurses, doctors, paramedics and so on, but can also apply to chiropractors, Reiki practitioners, faith healers, and curanderos.

PROVIDES FIREARM ATTACKS
You’re trained enough in using a gun to be able to actually hit poo poo with it. See, most people who aren’t trained suck at using a gun in any sort of stressful situation. I mean, it’s not super hard to hit some targets down at the range, but it is another thing when that target has a face and a personality and a goddamn machete and he’s running right at you screaming oh god why isn’t the safety off… you get the idea. Without this you can just fire wildly in the vague direction of your enemy, while this feature gives you the ability to shoot someone semi-competently.

PROVIDES WOUND THRESHOLD
Unless you take this feature you have 50 wounds, same as every other normal human in the world. This one lets you use your Identity percentage instead. Great if you’re over 50% to start, and it improves over time.

PROVIDES INITIATIVE
Essentially this identity gives you an edge whenever poo poo goes down and speed and reaction matters. Instead of using an ability like Dodge or Struggle, you can use your identity, helping you get off the mark first and get an edge when poo poo hits the fan.

RESISTS SHOCKS TO A METER
This lets you resist stress checks against a single meter using the identity. This is of course very useful: If you see yourself possibly getting a lot of shocks to one of the meters this lets you keep your Hardened status reasonable and lessens the chances of getting a failed notch. Good for shoring up weaknesses in your psychological armor as well.

THERAPEUTIC
This is like medical, but for the mind and soul. You can help people heal up their shock gauges, clearing failed notches and opening up hardened ones. While psychologists and such count, this feature also works for priests, yogic gurus, loving grandmas, and just plain soothing people. Anybody who makes the inside hurts go away.

UNIQUE
Catch all whatever the heck for people who want something special that isn’t covered by anything else. This essentially acts as a universal “GM says it’s OK” clause. If there’s something you want to be guaranteed to always be able to use your identity for, this is what you want.

quote:

Want to own and be able to safely, legally operate a hot air balloon? Unique feature. Want to be famous enough that a certain segment of middle-aged women goes absolutely nuts when they see you? Unique. Be able to forge documents and recognize others’ forged documents? Build and disarm explosive devices? Sculpt beautifully in clay? Unique.

USE GUTTER MAGICK
Gutter magick is your modern day, chaos/sympathetic type improv magick. While technically any character can do it using Secrecy, this lets you roll with an identity for more consistency and bigger numbers.

IMPROVING IDENTITIES
Identities go up, never down. That’s why they’re better than abilities! The first time in a session you roll on an identity and fail, you get to add 1-5% to that identity (1d10, divide by 2 and round up) at the end of the session. Once per session if you fail a roll during that session. Don’t fail a roll? Why are you complaining?

NEW IDENTITIES
Want a new identity? Well, not counting magick, which can do all sorts a bullshit, this is a group objective to give one of the PCs a new one. This will be covered in book 2, but essentially get ready for a sidequest. New identities start at 15%.

SUPERNATURAL IDENTITIES

These identities are the ones that give you in-built fancy special powers! These work a bit differently, and are much more mechanically rigid than mundane identities. This is because too much leeway can make them way too powerful, or lead to arguing with the GM about what exactly an “Indigo Child” is.



Supernatural identities don’t get to substitute for any ability. They can include Cast Rituals and Use Gutter Magick if the GM allows it, but it’s not required. Instead Supernatural identities get a single supernatural feature defining what exactly (mechanically speaking) they can do.

VAGUE INFORMATION

quote:

Examples: Prophetic Dreams, Tarot Reader, Haruspex, Visionary
This feature represents any sort of premonitions or precognitions. Vague information is vague: It has breadth of application but lacks specificity. Use of this identity shouldn’t be effortless to do: getting this information should be a bit of a hassle. Maybe visions of the future happen randomly when the GM wants, maybe they require meditative silence, or an hour of uninterrupted card reading, or star gazing, or communing with the spirits.

Mechanically speaking this gives you two things: GM provided hints and hunch rolls. Better the result, the more useful the information the GM gives you. A success is just a useful hint, a matched succes a big clue which is based on what the GM wants you to know, and a crit means the GM tells you a big clue about some personal goal of your character. Success and matched success also give you a hunch roll, with a crit giving you two. A fumble hits you with a stress-check as you witness something horrific and scarring which is vague enough you just get freaked out with no useful information.

SPECIFIC INFORMATION

quote:

Examples: Aura Sight, Clairvoyant, Astral Projector, See Dead People.
This feature represents something like a specific supernatural “sense” that lets you get detailed specific information in a specific way. You essentially pick a thing you can view, a method of viewing it, and discuss with the GM any limitations this power may have. You are limited to scanning a single person/place/thing per use of the identity, and the duration is based on the roll with better successes giving you a longer time to gather what information you need.

quote:

Fumble: You’ve come to the attention of some powerful person or entity or force which now seeks to use your powers as part of its grand cosmic scheme. But on the plus side, you see something — you see what that entity wants to show you to lead you into its clutches…

VAGUE PROTECTION

quote:

Examples: Good Luck, Guardian Angel, Blessing, Quantum Psychic Positivity, Precognition
Vague protection is your overall-handy Keep From Getting Murdered magickal powers. The main mechanical use for it is acting as an alternative to the Dodge skill for the purposes of dodging damage. You have to take some action to “activate” the power, and can’t do anything else at the same time but it can let you use this fancy supernatural identity to Dodge damage instead of investing in a “Replaces Dodge” identity. Of course this also comes with another benefit: Pick one category of effect that normally can’t be dodged, and you can use this identity to defend against that. Magick spells, stress checks a meter, poisons and illness, and even roll penalties in general can all be chosen. Whether your power just acts like Dodge or gets some other way of protection like a roll to avoid is up to you and the GM.

SPECIFIC PROTECTION

quote:

Examples: Bulletproof Agimat, Protective Palad Khik Tattoo, Enchanted Molar Twin Decoy, Spiritual Colonic
You get to pick a very specific narrow form of harm, and are now totally immune to that. Whatever you’re protected against should be specific enough that there’s big obvious limitations, but not so specific it will never come up. There are some guidelines for certain types of protection though. If it’s protecting your mind, you get to pick three shock meters you can defend with this identity. Physical harm has to be specific, and requires an action to protect against. Succeed on the roll, and you get no damage. Magickal protection can work just like protection against physical for active spells, and can be used to dis-spell ongoing effects and malignant magickal influences.

VAGUE HARM

quote:

Examples: Hexing, Curses, Psychic Vampirism.
Vague harm isn’t used to directly hurt someone, instead it fucks their ability to succeed at tasks: Vague harm can hit someone with a persistent -20% to all their rolls if you get a matched success with it. Regular successes give them a -10% until they fail a roll because of the penalty. It’s limited to about once per hour, and can only affect one person with each use.

SPECIFIC HARM

quote:

Examples: Evil Eye, Psychic Assault, Dim Mak.
This is what you go for to get your general magickal attack deals. This power lets you do damage to someone using your supernatural identity, but with some restrictions. Any use of this power has to have some limitations to it based on what the power is. Maybe you need to make eye contact, or physically touch them, or need a calm quiet place to meditate while give them a stroke from three blocks over. You also can only make this attack about once per hour, but on the upside it’s totally undodgeable. If you meet the conditions to hit with it, the harm goes through regardless of whatever the other person does, and gives them a level 4-5 Unnatural check. This power does the equivalent of unarmed attacks, but matched successes include a -20% penalty on the targets next action and crits do max damage and make them lose their next action.

INFLUENCE

Influence is bad. Like, this is the first bit of the rules I actually don’t like, so I’m not just telling you what it is here, I’m telling you WHY. See, the only thing it gives is vague fictional positioning advantage, which has no actual mechanical effect.

Now I do like the increased fictional positioning, that’s fine, that should be a thing, but I want some beneficial mechanics too! Every other feature interacts directly with the mechanics of the game some way in a positive manner, this one does not. It just interacts with it negatively in the extended conflict resolution rules with no actual positive benefit from it. So no, bad Greg Stolze. Still, every RPG has to have a dud somewhere.

Now, I’m going to propose how we fix it: First, give it some positive benefit to make up for failures in gridiron conflicts being more severe than the default resolution system, so that using your powers is more of a gamble: You could win big or lose big with them. I’d keep the rules in as of now, and simple add:

Success You move the conflict two steps in the direction you prefer.
Crit The other person jumps immediately to the most positive result. If you have a relationship with that person, it increases by 10%

That fixes the gridiron issue by making this power both more useful, while at the same time a big gamble! Failures are more punishing but successes are more rewarding.

I’d also give this power a +10% to any Coerce rolls using the identity, making it better at social conflict in general. Since it gives no other benefits and can backfire catastrophically if you roll poorly, I think this makes it powerful but still balanced, in line with the other supernatural identities.

Now, you people who don’t know the game may think this is a bit OVERpowered, compared to the others. But it’s not, because this interacts with the social mechanics of Unknown Armies, and it’s important to remember this: In Unknown Armies, Nobody can make you do anything but die. Winning a social conflict is not mind control, it does not MAKE the other party do what you want. It makes it much more convincing from a fictional perspective that they SHOULD do the thing, but you can’t ever force them to do it. You can’t just talk someone into shooting themselves, unless they already wanted to and you’re just pushing them over the edge for example. I’ll cover this more when we get to Conflicts next update.

VERSATILITY

quote:

Examples: Telekinesis, Telepathy, Ancestral Memories, Spirit Guide.

This is your catch all for abilities that do a wide variety of stuff. If your chosen power can do all sorts of things, a massive variety of abilities and you don’t want to but strict restrictions on it, then use this. Similarly, this is what you use if your supernatural power is actually specific, but is widely applicable to many many situations so that it could essentially obsolete every other Identity.

How this works mechanically is simple: One per in-game day you can roll this identity to replicate the ability of any other supernatural identity.

quote:

You want to use Ancestral Memories to hurt someone? Describe it as utilizing the lost hand-to-hand combat secrets of the Maya, or brewing a poison used by your illegitimate Borgia forebears. Want to learn something with TK? Describe picking the latch on someone’s shrink’s briefcase and teasing out their file. Want to protect yourself with your spirit guide? Tell the GM and then cup your hand to your ear. “What’s that, Ramtha? You say she’s going to stab me?!?”

The GM should be careful about this: If the player can’t come up with a good reason that their power can do the thing they want, or if they look like they’re abusing this ability, the GM is encouraged to shut that down.

quote:

But by all means, use a lot of other identities and then paint them as uses of this talent. You won’t fool the rules, but you might impress someone if they believe you deflected their knife by millimeters with your psychic powers, instead of just dodging it. Your character might actually believe it’s his ancestors telling him how to solve a geometry problem when, in fact, it’s an unheralded triumph for his high school math teacher.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




I've seen plenty of RPGs that substitute identities ("roles," "professions," whatever) for skills--Mortal Coil first came to mind, since it's also a modern fantasy game. But I think this is the first one that actually had rules for whether or not a role immediately provided offensive or defensive capability, which is probably a good thing to encode in the rules.

I've always been a little fuzzy on how games that use roles-as-skills deal with common fictional archetypes that cover a wide range of competencies to varying degrees depending on the milieu. Like, you don't have to be a powergamer who deliberately writes down "Ninja" and tries to use it for everything; something like "Detective" is very prone to abuse.

Halloween Jack fucked around with this message at 18:57 on Jul 23, 2018

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Post
  • Reply