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Josef bugman
Nov 17, 2011

Chomsky Boi

PurpleXVI posted:

Please stop daring me to do things, I'm physically unable to refuse.

Does "posting disturbing poo poo on the internet" count as something one of the poop monsters would make you do?

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Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




PurpleXVI posted:



Please stop daring me to do things, I'm physically unable to refuse.

Holy poo poo it's a Jenkem demon.

RedSnapper
Nov 22, 2016


Ok, it might be the heat, it might be the beer, but this thing here is just hilarious

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Christ, it's https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ToRhJWIBZrE

The Deleter
May 22, 2010


I hate it so much but I can't look away.

Wapole Languray
Jul 4, 2012





SPECIAL UPDATE I AM AN IDIOT EDITION: PASSIONS AND OBSESSIONS

This should have been back in the Character Creation section, but I'm an idiot and missed it because I was going to cover it after Identities and then had a brainfart.

When you make a character, you get to pick three passions and one obsession which define what your character really cares about.

The first passion is your Fear Passion. Your fear is essentially what you're most terrified of, concrete or abstract. It's what makes your character freak out, run away, break down in terror at. Crocodiles, giant spiders, college loan debt, getting dumped, The Government, whatever has a starring feature in their nightmares.

The second is your Rage Passion. This is what pisses you the gently caress off the most. This could be a righteous fury, or you could just have to hold back whenever someone doesn't enunciate their words properly. This can be a person, cops, yuppies, Jehova's Witnesses, or a thing or action, or even a concept. You might get fuming mad at the very idea of taxes, or hipsters, or being condescended to.

The third passion is your Noble Passion. This is represents whatever brings out the best in you. It's the better angel of your nature, what you sacrifice for and would do without thought of reward. You might be a die-hard NAACP activist, or unfailingly loyal to your friends, or can't stand to see another person cry. Maybe you feel compelled to help the homeless, or fight political corruption, or Save the Whales.

Regardless, if you are doing something in tune with your passions, you get a special thing: Re-rolls. If you're running from your fear, attacking your rage, or following your noble passion you can re-roll any failed roll, and once per session you can flip-flop a roll for acting along with your passions.

An obsession is whatever your really really care about. It's what your life revolves around and what motivates and fascinates you. You choose one of your identities to be your Obsession, and whenever you roll that identity, you get to flip-flop the results. Every single time. You don't get rerolls, but infinite free flip-flops can be incredibly powerful.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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7th Sea 2: Nations of Theah, Vol. 2 - mo monsters mo problems

The Commonwealth's Ussuran and Eisen visitors often seem relieved that, beyond the dievai, there are few monsters in the nation. Which is true - most of the apex predators of the area are entirely natural creatures, though a Curonian will cynically remark that wolves and bears still kill when they're hungry and that a man will kill you for no reason whatsoever. The dievai are a big deal, though. The Scholomance works to identify and define them, with 812 classified so far, out of some unknown number that exist. They are classified by known name, basic appearance (though this often changes), motif, known Deals and MO. Of those 812, three have been deemed by the Scholomance to be so dangerous that they officially recommend summary execution of anyone that bargains with them, simply because no one has ever dealt with them and not descended into villainy and madness.

Suale, the Burning Sun has not been seen in centuries, not since the days of King Petras, but she is still considered the single most dangerous dievas ever to exist. All of her known losejai ended up being villains unrestrained in their passions, who began intemperate and became ever moreso via her influence. She has ended up causing wars, starting love affairs that ended kingdoms, burned cities. In terms of raw, straightforward destructive power, she is the most powerful dievas ever known. However, since Saules Musis burned, there are no records of her making any Deals whatsoever. She might have changedh er guise, but study at the Scholomance indicates that it's very difficult for a dievas to entirely change its motifs. There are many theories about what happened. The most popular, albeit the one most angrily denied by the Ratas, is that she made the Seventh DEal with Petras before burning the city, and now she walks the world in physical form. Many who believe this believe she is also the pyre-maker of the Sanderas, Gabija the Red, despite Ratas claims that Gabija is not a dievas. When asked, some dievai agree that Saule is Gabija, and further claim that the pyres are made to atone for her suns. Even those losejai that distrust the Ratas consider this unlikely - remorseful is not a word generally associated with dievai.

Other theories claim that Saule never left the burning city, and at least one scholar has posited that the strange fruit of Saules Musis is her work, as Growth was one of her known Deals. If so, she is both terror and benefactor to the city, as she would presumably also be responsible for the screaming disappearances. Saule is known to prefer appearing as a beautiful woman surrounded by a corona of blazing light. She tends to seek out impulsive people for deals, then wearing down their resistance with temptation. The villains that result are destructive and self-indulgent, and she is known for taking them as lovers. She is the only dievas that the SCholomance suspects may have survived the Seventh Deal.

Laima, the Child Catcher is a dievas for clever children, who realize that growing older is terrible, that becoming an adult means you can never do all the fun things, and therefore, you wish to never grow old. Those she claims never do. They never age, nor change. They remain always as foolish and amoral as a child, in the body of a child, no matter what they do. It is said that she lives in the Sanderas, in a house of gingerbread, and that she will help any losejas she meets, if they tell her something about a child. Most refuse to do so.

Those who make Deals with Laima are a controversy in themselves. They are legitimately dangerous, having the morale naivete of a child and a total lack of self-restraint, along with Laima's unpredictable magic. Children are poorly equipped to undergo Katabasis, and once the Deal is made, they are likely to grow ever madder and more dangerous. However, many are also unwilling to simply kill these children. The last young girl who lived with Laima died in the Sanderas four years ago. Since then, Curonian parents have been terrified that she will come for theirs next. Laima usually appears as a very old woman with mossy teeth and hair. The only Deal that the Scholomance is certain she has is the 'Deal of Time', which so far seems unique to her. Laima's children can manipulate time, the most notable effect being that they do not age. Laima always appears to children who insist they won't grow up, though it's unknown how she finds them. Under her influence, maturity is typically lost quickly, and the child becomes amoral and self-indulgent, often quite vicious in a childlike way. They stop aging, but tend to die fast, as they are typically poorly equipped for self-preservation.

Perkunas, the Righteous Storm, is said to have first been called on by a losejas who mourned the fall of Saules Musis and was horrified by Sanderis, attempting to use its power to destroy all losejai, starting with the forming Ratas and ending with himself. For ten years, it is said, he led the Fallen Inquisition, and nearly wiped out the losejai before his sister, an experienced losejas, killed him and summoned Perkunas herself. As he had been devoted to rid the land of losejai, she wanted to rid it of Vaticine oppression...and so she began her own 20 year crusade, wiping out entire towns for 'collaborating' with the Vaticine until, two decades later, there was no Church in Curonia. Only when she turned on her own subordinates, for lack of other foes, and accused them of pro-Vaticine sympathies was she defeated. Those that call Perkunas always want to purge the world of evil, and Perkunas appears to agree. Often, he and his losejas succeed at defeating their declared evil. Most famously, a losejas once used Perkunas to commit genocide agianst the Khodynts, an ethnic group that once lived in northern Curonia.

Less famous are the ideas wiped out by Perkunas. One losejas claimed that Perkunas had eliminated the very concept of his family, removing them from his life because they were a distraction. The scholar that recorded this claim found an entire book on Perkunas, but swore they'd never seen it before. No one has any idea where that book is now. Perkunas is known to most often apear as a bearded man with a shadowed face, wearing black and white and riding a fiery steed. While most dievai carry no weapon, he always wears the Sarmatian cavalry saber. He does not approach people for Deals - you must summon him in the Sanderas. Unfortunately, there's always some idiot that thinks the evil they fight is worse than all that have come before, and therefore justify extreme tactics. Perkunas never asks his sorcerers to do anything that'd break their moral code. Rather, the terrible acts he calls for are always directly against only those that, somehow, embody the evil the losejas wants to fight. If it's not clear how, Perkunas will happily explain. This further radicalizes his sorcerers, in almost all cases.

Beyond the Dievai, there are tails of the Silver Knights, who appear when all seems hopeless. They always wear old-fashioned armor, usually described as 12th century, and they are always impeccably chivalrous no matter when they show up. They save children, fight villains and always wear full plate. They never speak, nor do they raise their helms to reveal their faces. Many claim they are the genius loci of the Commonwealth. They wander the nation and always act alone, though the zynys say that if the land was ever truly threatened, they would gather and fight as one force, and on that day, they will speak again.

The truth of the knights is that, when die Kreuzritter came from Eisen to find demons in the east, they joined a detachment of Rzeplitan and Curonian knights, the Silver Knights, who sought the origin of the dievai. In the trip through the Crescent Empire, the leader of the Silver Knights, who was called Anna, had dreams that led her to believe that origin place was 'in a garden, in a mountain' in the west. She and her knights split from the main force, heading into Ashur and plundering the First Garden. In doing so, they became immortal yet lost their voices. It was only after that that they met the Garden's Guardian. Anna kept the Knights from attacking, instead kneeling and writing out a plea in the dust for mercy, explaining that they were foreigners who had come seeking the birthplace of demons and had clearly done wrong here. The Guardian acknowledge their wrongdoing, but he agreed to let them go, if they would go home and never again leave their native soil. When they reached the border where the Empire, Rzeczpospolita and Curonia all met, they swore (silently) to become eternal protectors.

Legend claims that losejas will only ever raise toasts with alcohol. Toasting with water is forbidden, they say, as it gives the dievas a foothold into their mind, learning all their dark secrets and thus being better able to corrupt them. Of course, most Sarmatians prefer alcohol to water anyway. In rural areas, though, liquor is harder to find. Rumor has it that if you force a toast with water, you can spot losejai by who refuses to drink or even raise their glass. Those who don't want to anger the powerful often have alcohol on hand to offer instead of water when a toast is called.

In truth, the legend is entirely false. It dates back to a Curonian zynys named Motina, who made a fortune in her village trading in medicine, and was accused b y a rival of being a dangerous losejas. She was not, but was also not above lying to win back trust. Thus, she invented the rumor, then raised a toast to the accusing zynys with water on his birthday. That man did not believe the water was safe (and was in fact a losejas, but that's mostly coincidental), and so he filled his cup with wine before drinking, inadvertantly confirming the rumor. It's been a few centuries since, and the tale has gained a life of its own. Many losejai do in fact believe they tempt fate if they toast with water, because the dievai find the idea really funny and so will never correct it. Some losejai even travel with drops of mead hidden in hollow rings or containers in their sleeves. When these are found, which happens oftne, the rumor grows. To make things worse, many rural areas do have unsafe water, and travelers from those areas are viewed with suspicion when they refuse to drink water elsewhere. And, of course, Rzecsposplita has many protocols about when and when not to raise a glass to a toast, and a Rzeplitan aiming for honor may be suspected when they, for example, refuse to toast a stance they disagree with.

Next time: Rusalka and the suicide trees.

RedSnapper
Nov 22, 2016



Reading UA makes me want to grab the Kult authors by the head and rub their faces in the book screaming "See? This is what you were supposed to make!"

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Mors Rattus posted:

7th Sea 2: Nations of Theah, Vol. 2 - What If Lithuania, But Demons

Saules Musis

Saulės Mūšis is a bizarre choice for a name of a city as it is the name of a historical battle.

Other Lithuanian words are just fun to read, lol.

Ghost Leviathan
Mar 2, 2017

Exploration is ill-advised




I think the Commonwealth is turning out to be my favourite place in the new Seventh Sea. It's got democracy still working out the kinks, crystal caves, deals with demons and subcultures of the demon-dealers, a city of Lotus-Eaters and winged hussars.

Deptfordx
Dec 23, 2013



MonsterEnvy posted:

Speaking of Warhammer Fantasy. The new edition of the game is pseudo out here

By Pseudo out. It's because the rulebook which you can buy and download is not complete yet. it's missing a map, page refs and the index. Appearntly barring something going wrong it will be updated and completed within 2 weeks.

If anyones got it and can write-up anything about it that'd be great. I am humming and hawing about picking it up.

Josef bugman
Nov 17, 2011

Chomsky Boi

Ghost Leviathan posted:

I think the Commonwealth is turning out to be my favourite place in the new Seventh Sea. It's got democracy still working out the kinks, crystal caves, deals with demons and subcultures of the demon-dealers, a city of Lotus-Eaters and winged hussars.

It does seem like a particularly cool set up. I mean I am just stealing the ideas for a game I might DM later on.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

The tale of the Hanging Tree is this. Once, a young man saw all his fellows killed in war. When he came home, he couldn't handle the weight of being the only survivor, and in a moment of utter despair, he decided to kill himself. He wrapped his belt around the nearest oak and began to hang himself. As he dangled, however, his life came into clarity. His comrades were dead, ye,s but he was still alive. In the span of seconds, though it felt like minutes to him, each of the dead soldiers came to him, telling him a final wish that they needed him to do before he could die. Each time, they put a little cut in the belt. Once the last finished, and the man had realized that he had no true desire for death, the belt broke under his weight and he fell back to the ground, breaking his legs but surviving. As he lay dying, decades later, he asked his family to bury him under the tree. After, it was said that if someone wanted to die, they should first wrap their belt around one of the branches of the three and leave it there for a week. By week's end, the suicidal urge would be gone. And so, it became known as the Hanging Tree, and every year, hundreds wrap their belts around it and beg the ghost of that long-dead man to free them from the urge to die.

There are several Hanging Trees in the nation, each claimed to be the original. All are covered in belts and hose, and all have people, often formerly suicidal ones, who swear up and down to their benefits. Various explanations have been suggested. Some say the soldier's ghost haunts them all, some that each was the site of a suicide, unsuccessful or otherwise, and more recently the Castillian research Iratze Eneko has suggested that the trees and story act as a placebo to the suicidal. Because the placebo effect has only just been discovered and is not widely understood, this final theory is very controversial, and many send Eneko hate mail about her attempts to 'ruin' the trees. Regardless, all of the trees are greatly respected, and anyone seen tying a belt or visiting such a tree is likely to get a lot of sympathetic attention. Some people tend to the trees, bringing water and fertilizer as needed, and keep an eye out for would-be suicides to offer comfort and advice. Some say that just having others around to listen to and comfort them is enough to stop the suicidal ideation.

It is said that in the final days of the Numanari Empire, a dark mystery cult ruled Zablewo. EVery year, seven weeks after the spring solstice, they ritually drowned seven boys and seven girls over seven days, to call a thunderstorm to cleanse the city on the eighth. They seized the children of their political foes and potential rebels for this. However, seven years into their rule, they made the mistake of drowning the sister of a powerful necromancer. She tried to revive her beloved sister, but the cultists stopped her before she could finish, leaving the girl as an undead rusalka. In vengeance, the sorcerer cast a spell that raised all the spirits of the sacrificial victims as rusalka, and seve weeks after the solstice, for the seven days of sacrifice, these spirits entered Szablewo and stole the breath of all in and around it. Many died, until at last the people revolted and overthrew the mystery cult. When the rusalka were to return the next year, the people put on white masks to show mourning for the dead. This appeased the ghosts, but they grew angry at all who did not show such grief, and any who didn't wear a mask died of loss of breath. Thus, every citizen of Szablewo now puts on a mask for the seven days of sacrifice, seven weeks after the spring solstice, and to this day, none may enter the area around the city without a nose-and-mouth-covering mask during that period. An entire festival has grown up around Rusalka Week, though the locals always warn that the danger of not wearing a proper mask is very real, and the mask must be kept on even at home and while sleeping, or you risk being drowned by a rusalka.

So, the truth? Everyone does do the mask thing. There are actually laws prohibiting appearing in public during that period unmasked, because those who do not do, in fact, die, gasping and drowning on air. Sometimes bringing a victim indoors or giving them a mask will, it is said, dislodge the rusalka and save them, but most of the time, even that won't work. However, there are no rusakli in the Commonwealth. They are Ussuran creatures, and they don't travel. You can barely find them any further south than the Boyars River, and certainly not in Szablewo. In fact, the problem is caused by a small flowering plant called Plowman's Lace, which grows only in this area. For seven days, seven week after the solstice, it releases extremely poisonous pollen, and breathing in enough of the stuff will clench the bronchial tubes and kill you from lack of air. There was, in fact, a sinister Numanari cult that briefly ruled the city, but they had nothing to do with the plant. The story came about after an explorer came out of the Crystal Caves and claimed to have found mosaics telling the tale of the sorcerer, and what had seemed a total mystery now had some sort of explanation, so people accepted it. Revealing the truth probably wouldn't be very helpful, though. Rusalka Week has become a cultural institution over the centuries, a period in which actions and sins normally frowned on in the conservative city, such as gambling, anonymous sex and drunkenness, are allowed and celebrated. People compete through the year to make the most beautiful and elaborate masks, showing them off and trading them during the festival. In many parts of the city, it is seen as gauche and low class not to have a new mask each day. The festival gives the normally uptight citizenry a chance to let loose a little.

Next time: Ussura, the land of ice and snow.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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7th Sea 2: Nations of Theah, Vol. 2 - The Bad Idea Story

So, some time ago, Ussura was ruled by a might Czar. He and his husband had two sons, with the aide of one of their best friends as a surrogate. However, his husband and elder son both died, and so he disowned the younger son and married a young woman in hopes of begetting an heir. However, before he could, he died mysteriously, and both the wife and son claimed his throne. The son wanted to rule from the old capital, in the old ways. The bride built a new capital, modern and advanced, seeking to bring Ussura into the future. No one is sure what will happen after this, but if either is to clame the Czardom, they must bring together the many diverse people of Ussura, or they will not rule unopposed, no matter how capable either one actually is.

Ussura is a place where you can usually tell social class by appearance - primarily hair color. The boyars tends to have lighter colored hair and beards, often blond, while the muzhiks have darker hair and often darker skin from time in the sun and Cathayan ancestry. Different regions vary on how closely boyar and muzhik fraternize, of course, and it's not that rare for a boyar to be dark or a muzhik to be light. Ussurans are just likely to make assumptions about class, wealth and education based on coloration. The boyars tend to have more western Thean ancestry, while the muzhiks are more commonly descended from indigenous and Cathayan blood. The favorite of the Boyars is Ketheryna Fischler Dimitritova, ethnic Eisen, strawberry blonde and with light blue eyes. The muzhiks prefer Ilya Sladivgorod Nikolovich, whose dark eyes and hair come from his Crescent surrogate mother. Many muzhiks also suspect Ketheryna's push for modernization will only further the class divide. Despite what any Ussuran may claim, however, about their pure descent from someone or other, almost all have mixed heritage. EVen the boyars tend to have Khazari or Crescents somewhere in the family line.

There are several major ethnic groups in Ussura, from the Theans of the west to Crescents to the local steppes people. Centuries of intermarriage have blurred thel ines, but the cultures of these groups influence Ussura even today. The Khazari are nomadic horse riders and herders who live on the eastern and northeastern steppes of Molhynia, having come west across Szabla River to avoid Cathayan imperial expansion. They settled among the indigenous people of eastern Ussura, and their horsemanship has influecne all of Ussura. It's one reason why few worry about their lack of modern roads - the old horse trails remain very reliable, especially in winter when the rivers freeze. If foreigners can't figure that out, oh well. Khazars identify as Ussuran, but also consider their tribal affiliation extremely important. They have a long tradition of raiding and killing over livestock, though to the Khazari that's not something to take personally, it's just what you do. The other ethnic grou[s have tended to be much less happy about this no-hard-feelings attitude towards robbery and fighting. Khazari often travel, working as mercenaries, bodyguards or musicians for other Khazari or anyone that'll pay them throughout Theah, the Crescent Empire or even Cathay, returning to Ussura in their older years with money, stories and scars. Outside Ussura, these mercenaries are usually called Cossacks, a corruption of 'Khazar.' The Khazari are also notorious for collecting religions. The eldest tradition they have, Turaism, worships the sky god Tura. Many Khazari are now Orthodox, Madhyamika, Yachidi, Vaticine, Dinist and various combinations. It's very easy to convert the Khazari, but nearly impossible to get them to drop the beliefs they held before conversion, too. Khazari actually consider the idea of killing someone over religion to be morally repugnant on a deepl ever, as opposed to perfectly reasonable reasons for violence, such as horse theft, desire for grazing land or so on.

Crescents, while a minority, are very much dominant in the business realm. For as long as trade has existed, they have come to Ussura with their goods, medicines and resources to trade for fur, metal and crops. Ussurans didn't generally accept Dinist missionary work, though they were never violent, but Yachidi and Dinists have spread throughout southern Ussura with the merchants. Dinist congregations and Orthodox assemblies often share the same building with no conflict, there being no Inquisition at all in Ussura. Crescent influence shows in Ussuran architecture, especially government and religious buildings, and some historians claim the Ussuran onion domes originate from inspiration by Dinist minarets. The Crescents are an extremely powerful economic force in Ussura, and both Ilya and Ketheryna want their support. Ilya is technically half-Crescent, ethniocally, but he was not raised in their culture. He does, however, spend quite some time in their Ussuran enclaves and has good relations with prominent Crescent merchants. Ketheryna's capital is about half built on credit, and so she aggressively seeks Crescent support, promising increased trade and exclusive access to various rare resources, such as demantoid gems, or even boyardoms for generous contributrs. However, Lady Arzu of Gallenia, the most influential Crescent in the country, doubts these promises, which have also been made to many Thean diplomats.

The Tamatama are an ethnic group that originate southeast, in far Agnivarsa, but they travel through Ussura along the waterways and old horse trails, most often found in Veche. Ussuran Tamatama are primarily Dinist, and they occupy a comfortable position as entertainers in the nation. Their traveling lifestyle means they rarely intermarry with others, but that's out of convenience, not prejudice. Khazari often travle with Tamatama caravans, trading songs and maps. Some of the far-ranging Tamatama bands are responsible for stuff like the spread of dance styles across Theah. For example, they brought ballet from Montaigne to Ussura, where it is now extremely popular with the boyars, especially in Bashanta and Ketheryna's Imperial Theater, which uses mechanical devices and special effects systems to boost the work of the Tamatama performers that often put on shows there.

People! Ilya Sladivgorod Nikolovich is the son of Czar Gaius Iriney and his husband, Nikolai. Ilya and his elder brother david were both borne by a surrogate mother and fathered by Nikolai, though Gaius adopted them bother and loved them dearly. David was the heir, but Nikolai's family had a history of falling sickness - that is, epilepsy. It's rarely fatal, but both Nikolai and David eventually died of heart failure during particularly bad seizures, and while Ilya had seizures, they were not nearly so severe. Despite this, heartbreak and anxiety over Ilya's health led the Czar to disown the boy, planning to remarry and get a 'stronger' heir. Ilya, who was barely 14 at the time, confronted his father before the entire court. He'd already lost one father and a brother - he didn't want to lose his second father. After the undignified argument, the Czar banished Ilya, whose response was essentially 'you can't banish me, I'm leaving.' He fled Pavtlow in rage and vowed not to return, though he would not admit how much the decision his father had made pained him. He vowed to prove his worth by being a hero to the people, even if he couldn't be their czar. For four years, he rode as a bogatyr, a wandering knight, using the gifts of the Leshiye to right wrongs and fight evil. He stole horses with Khazari, danced in the taverns in Siev, defended Cathayan caravans, prayed in the mountain monasteries. When his father died, he returned to Pavtlow as fast as he could, where he found his old friend Ketheryna had already claimed the throne in Bashanta. Ilya's travels have earned him massive popular support, but the nobles back Ketheryna's modernist drive. Ilya is unsure of this plan, as he's spent time out with the rural folk, who will likely see no benefits from any of her inventions. Ilya is a traditionalist, a champion of the people, and his grief about his past and his friendship with Ketheryna are clear. He struggles to find a coherent vision for Ussura - everyone knows Ketheryna's plan, but Ilya can only speak of his qualifications, not what he'll do. He is always respectful when he speaks of her, if regretful and frustrated. His populism and personal charisma make him a good candidate for Czar, but his absence of specific ambitions is a huge weakness. His mother, Vera, wants to be part of his new government; he barely remembers her and has no idea what her agenda is, though she clealry has one.

We then get a sidebar on who murdered the Czar, presenting the various candidates. Dimitri Babineaux is not a fighter, but he is a big man, and had the most personal grievance with the old Czar, having been in mutual love with Ketheryna. Metropolitan Lyuba wants to modernize and lacks the native Ussuran respect for nature spirits, having grown up in Eisen. She isn't usually subtle but she can be quite violent. Ilya is a hero and probably wouldn't kill his own foster father, but he did have a very deep anger at the man, and there's plenty of false Ilyas trying to claim his title, who may have done it. General Winter, of course, is the most notorious ice-related killer in Ussura, and the Czar was stabbed by an icicle. Destabilizing the government divides opposition against him. He's a strong candidate. So is Matushka, who may have seen disowning Ilya and marrying Ketheryna without asking her first as an act that delegitimized him. An icicle in the heart would be her style, certainly. Ketheryna herself is a very practical woman and had more to lose with the Czar's death than most. But then again, she does love Dimitri, and is she truly too calculcating to refuse to kill if that was on the line?

Ketheryna Fischler Dimitritova was daughter to an Eisenfurst, though half Ussuran. When she was a child, her mother died in a Horror attack, and her father obsessed over preventing her from suffering the same fate. She was sheltered, though not secluded, and received the best education and combat training that Falk Fischler could afford. When the Czar's progressivist recruiters swept through Eisen to find scientists, Ketheryna's inventions shocked them. To amuse herself, she'd scavenged spare parts to make a latern that projected a map of Eisen via light and shadow, as well as a simple water-based thermometer and a slide rule, plus a clockwork songbird that could fly around and then, unfortunately, explode. She's still not entirely sure why it exploded. The recruiters offered her father a fortune to bring her to Pavtlow, and he jumped at the chance to send her somewher safe. She was happy there, falling in love with a half-Montaigne ballet dancer named Dimitri Babineaux...until she found out the Czar had gotten her father's permission to marry her without either even mentioning it to her.

On their wedding knight, Ketheryna found the Czar's corpse in their nuptial bed, an icicle in his heart. The household would later claim he died in his sleep after consummation of the marriage, of course. When Ketheryna claimed the throne and married Dimitri without even a mourning period, however, rumor spread that the two had assassinated the Czar. Ketheryna has moved the Czar's court to the city of Bashanta, which Prince Bogdan of Veche has expanded under her orders from a tiny village to a very modern city full of technology, Many doubt Ketheryna's intentions, however. An Ussura with paved roads and mahines like that - is it Ussura? Is she planning to sell them out to the west? Ketheryna is a genius and a visionary, who talks fast and thinks even faster, always testing new inventions. She likes to help people, but often assigns extremely strange or dangerous missions in return for her aid. She respects Ilya and his popularity, but thinks he aims far too low. They were once friends, and she's still sympathetic to him, but she'd rather him him working for her than keeping Ussura trapped in the past. She wants to turn Ussura now into what Castille was a century ago - a shining light of progress, even it means destroying old traditions. She is a brilliant, charming woman, but also a technocrat who has little idea what the rural muzhiks or Khazari raiders actually want or care about.

Altai Khatun descends from the legendary Iron Khan of centuries past. His hordes conquered much of Cathay and Theah, but after his death, logistics and individual ambition split his empire, the largest in history, into squabbling khanates. Altai Khatun (which is the female word for Khan) is the last scion of one of these. Her clan fled to Ussura to escape its foes, and she is now Ussura's most famous Knight of the Rose & Cross. She dreams of grand empire, but doesn't want political power, for a temporal empire will inevitably die. Culturee and ideas, these are eternal. Altai whants a khanate of the mind, a spreading of the ideals of bravery, camaraderie, strength and freedom of religion throughout the world. It's that last one that is the biggest issue. She sees the idea of there being only one correct faith as a deadly problem, especially after the War of the Cross and Verdugo's rise. Altai believes that Khazari interfaith ideas must spread across Theah. Why not follow half a dozen religions, in case any one of them is wrong? She and her kheshigs (Khazari elite honor guards) work to fight and defend the innocent against religious threats, always working to protect. While she is personable and friendly, she has many foes that worry her idea of a khanate of the mind is a precursor to more traditional conquest. Western progressives and Orthodox purists often do not appreciate her, especially Metropolitan Lyuba's Schismatists, who want to 'purify' the Ussuran Orthodox of their folkloric traditions. Schismatist mobs have attacked Altai's riders at public prayers and dinner parties, blaming her and her 'bloodthirsty Cossacks' for the ensuing chaos. Altai's own politics are unclear. She wants what's best for the nation, and believes both Ilya and Ketheryna might be it. She isn't sure which is best, and desperately wants to avoid a civil war. She is the perfect picture of a bogatyr, beautiful, brave and bold. She trusts anyone she thinks is heroic and honorable, and a good first impression will lead to her basically immediately inviting you to help fight bandits or Inquisitors. She recognizes her power among the Khazari, but doesn't want to get involved in politics and conspicuously changes the subject if asked about Ilya or Ketheryna.

Archduke Aleksi Pavtlow Markov v'Novgorov, who prefers to go by Alyosha, wasn't always a prince. Once, he was just a goblin merchant in the Borovoi Forest, who bought and sold at the goblin market under the protection of Borovoi, the Forest Walker. One night, though, he met a scared young woman named Masha, and turned himself int oa human to sit with her through the night, giving her gifts from his trading and telling her stories of the forest so she would not be scared. Masha was the runaway daughter of the Archduke of Novgorov, fleeing the stepmother she didn't get along with. When she went home, she insisted Alyosha come with her, though at the time she didn't know he was a goblin. She introduced him as the men that helped her, and they rewarded him with many gifts and adopted him as Masha's brother. When the old Archduke died, Alyosha was shocked to find he'd been named heir after Masha had declined the title to become a priest. The problem is, Alyosha's never been that good at being human; he's capricious and temperamental, which is entirely normal for a goblin, and he's had a hard time learning human etiquette and remembering to alter his appearance to reflect aging, though he thinks he's doing a decent job of it. Still, it's all he can do to keep up with the politics of Ussura. Traditionally, the Archduke Novgorov leads the Knias Douma, but Alyosha really doesn't want to. He supports Ilya strongly, sympathizing with the fact that he too was not a biological son to his father and that some dislike him for that. He also fears Metropolitan Lyuba's attempts at reforms, because they would eject goblins like him from the Orthodox faith. Alyosha has very little confidence in himself as a politician, but may have to step up, even if it risks revealing what he is. After all, there's not technically a rule saying a goblin can't sit on the Douma. He may be a goblin, but he is a fundamentally good person who likes to help people and is shockingly good at math. He masks his discomfort with human ways by mood swing and misdirection. He misses his goblin life, but cannot resist the challenge and fascination of human society. Masha is still his good friend, even though she is now a member of Pavtlow's Orthodox Church. Masha, Alyosha and Masha's confessor are the only people in the world who know Alyosha's secret.

Next time: More people.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


PurpleXVI posted:

Kult: Divinity Lost

Gonna keep rolling with this loving content warning because Jesus Christ this is getting grosser by the minute



BEYOND PASSION

These are the guys that supposedly would watch Efukt and think "yep, these porn people definitely have deep insight into the hidden truths of the world"

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Kavak posted:

Why are every single one of these "edgy" RPGs always so loving BORING? Are they so laser focused on pandering to the "Scare the normies" type of GM that they forget to make the rest of the game work?

I'd just skip adding sex stuff in an RPG period. Like, you might understand that the stuff that they're writing is repugnant, but it's not scary. Like, the spookiest part of pre-libith is that they explode out of you after you do sex crime.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Kavak posted:

Why are every single one of these "edgy" RPGs always so loving BORING? Are they so laser focused on pandering to the "Scare the normies" type of GM that they forget to make the rest of the game work?
Because they're trying to be "shocking". And here's the thing about "shocking": it has no value. It's like a jump scare; you're not getting a reaction by crafting something with skill, you're just counting on an automatic recoil reaction. And if you don't get that reaction then you've done nothing.

The other problem is that shocking doesn't work in volume. It's like this old Onion joke. The harder you try to shock people, the less shocking you are because after a certain point you're just doing stupid poo poo that makes you look like a jackass and that nobody cares about.

It's like people who do stupid poo poo to "own the libs"; they honestly think people are totally offended or shook or whatever, but at the end of the day they're the idiots wearing diapers in public and everyone else is just rolling their eyes.

MonsterEnvy
Feb 4, 2012


Deptfordx posted:

If anyones got it and can write-up anything about it that'd be great. I am humming and hawing about picking it up.

I would but I suck at writing and at analyzing.

MonsterEnvy fucked around with this message at 19:16 on Jul 29, 2018

Leraika
Jun 14, 2015

slime time



Altai and Alyosha rock. Ussura has a lot of good NPCs already.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



7th Sea 2: Nations of Theah, Vol. 2 - Prince of Betrayal

Prince Bogdan Siev Benediktov v'Vladimirovich is 38 and is absolutely certain he has bad luck. He's well-dressed but otherwise plain and unmemorable. Even his heard is very unimpressive by Ussuran standards. He is one of the most powerful boyars, sure, but he rules over Veche, which has the smallest population and thus less income from tax than the others on the Knias Douma. He's not notably smart or as charismatic as the others, either. He may be one of the most powerful men in Ussura, but he has extremely low confidence. He often takes dangerous risks, and they rarely pay off. When Ketheryna decided to make her capital, Bashanta, in his province, he swore he could build it in a ridiculously small timeframe. He pulled in muzhiks from across the province, working some of them to death ti build the city in just over a year. It was completed, but the fields of Veche were left fallow to make it happen, and he's not sure they'll have the food to survive the winter if he can't manage to buy enough. To make things worse, two years ago, when General Winter's army arrived, Bogdan decided he had a winner. He'd heard rumors of border raiders and aggressive boyars getting frozen to death and decided he could trust the general. Thne a soldier with frozen eyes showed up and demanded that Bogdan quarter and feed the silent army that was followed by the ice storms. Obviously, he agreed immediately.

There's just one problem: Bogdan had already sold out to the Inquisition, who have been paying him quite well to sneak their spies in through Five Sails. There are few Vaticines in Ussura, and of those most are Khazari, but Verdugo still has plans for Ussura. Bogdan's own court has an Inquisitor in it, and he's got no idea who they are. He dares not use his family's magic power of transformation into a bear, for fear that the Inquisitor will report him to Verdugo. Worse, the Inquisition wants to stop General Winter, who is a clearly dangerous sorcerer threatening the west. Bogdan is extremely insecure and has no confidence whatsoever. He apologizes frequently, but hates doing it. He is utterly convinced, despite his privilege and ability to turn into a giant goddamn bear, that he is inferior, and counteracts this by attaching himself to anyone that seems exceptional. He is desperately hoping that one of his two secret bosses will become so potent that the other will be unable to touch him, as long as he can stay in the right one's good books.

Lady Arzu Sousdal bint Erdogan v'Riasanova is 18, the youngest and most contentious of the Knias Douma. Her family descends from Ussuran nobles that married Crescent merchants, and she is a devout Dinist who dresses in the traditional furs, rubes, veil and turban of Iskandar. Her faith puts her at odds with the Orthodox Metropolitan Lyuba, and her outspoken desire to open the CAthayan border for trade and reduce Cossack border patrols worries both the Khazari and Koshchei of Molhynia. Arzu knows that Ilya worries over foreign influences, while Ketheryna is more focused on the west than the east. Her informants within various secret societies have also told her that Prince Bogdan may support General Winter, whom she hates and hfears. She's tried to warn the others about Winter without showing that she knows more of him than she should, but so far no one else sees him as a threat. Her only friend on the Douma is Archduke Alyosha. Her unpopularity also means she has to deal with frequent peasant revolts, assassination attempts and other such problems. She's alive largely due to her connections to multiple secret societies. Los Vagabundos have a longstanding relationship with her family and have saved her parents several times, and she contracts the Brotherhood river pirates the Ushkuiniks to move her goods. She is also friendly with Altai Khatun, who respects her family's commitment to religious freedom, even if she suspects Arzu is friends with foes of the Khazari to the east.

Only Arzu's closest confidants are aware that she is currently seriously considering an offer to leave the Ussuran state and join the Crescent Empire, not just out of culture but because most people in her province have family in the Empire and shared blood. Trade with them si what pays for their food. Under the Crescent Empress, Arzu would have less poersonal power, but she considers that to be a small price if she gets a government that'll offer Gallenia more support than Ilya or Ketheryna. Lady Arzu is extremely confident and fiery, but inexperienced. She is quick to speak and interrupt others, and she is very blunt and forceful in her speech. The Knias Douma grudgingly respects her strength, but finds her very annoying, especially since a lot of her arguments are sound, just very badly phrased. Her ties to secret societies giver her a lot of knowledge of secrets, and she knows more about the societies than anyone else in Ussura. She's probably in the best position to help coordinate multiple societies, if that's a thing you need.

Koschei "the Deathless" Breslau Aglayev v'Pietrov has a very bad reputation. You can tell it just by looking - he's like a skeleton with waxy, yellowish skin stretched over it. His hollow eyes are creepy. He rarely speaks at the Douma, and he never blinks. When he does give an opinion, it is terse. His voice sounds like a death rattle. He is this way because he took his soul and his death and hide them in an egg in a duck in a hare in a treasure chest buried under a tree on a far-off island off the coast of Vodacce. Until the egg is cracked open, he cannot die. When not at the Douma, he rides through Ussura, followed by a flock of ravens. He stops sometimes, always for the same thing. Sometimes he speaks, sometimes the giant raven on his shoulder speaks for him. He goes to a family, says he wants their child, and offers them a vast sum of money for them. Gold, jewels, livestock, sometimes even land. Rarely, the family will refuse. Sometimes the child will vanish anyway.

It's what happens next that gets weird. Koshchei and his new captive ride into his castle, and inside the black walls frozen with ice, they find a tiny city, its towers reaching into the sky and burrowing deep into the mountains. EVeryone in town, most of them women and children, is happy and busy and hasn't a care in the world. Koshchei has been playing the villainous black widower for centuries to hide what he actually does. He uses his network of ravens to spy on Ussuran families throughout the land, watching for mistreated and abused children. Then he uses his money, power and fear to keep their abusers from seeking them. He speaks as little as possible in public, moving with deliberate slowness and menace. He is attended by ravens, the largest of which perches on his shoulder and can speak for him. Inside his castle, however, he relaxes, and becomes polite, even solicitous of his charges, asking if they need anything from outside. A trusted few are even allowed to return to the world once he is certain they are safe from their former families, keeping in touch with them by raven and recalling them if they have trouble. Of course, they must swear never to reveal his secret. Koshchei must ensure his image of fear is maintained, or his charges will no longer be safe. Who would be terrified of a man, even an immortal, if they knew that all he spent his time doing was rescuing kids and letting them live in a little village inside a castle?

Metropolitan Lyuba Veche Klimentova v'Pscova could have had higher rank in the Orthodox hierarchy than a Metropolitan bishopric, given the Pscov family's pedigree. However, the Metropolitan is more than a spiritual leader - they're a community leader. Higher up in the religious hierarchy, you tend to be more limited in your political career. Lyuba's work with the Knias Douma occupies most of her time, keeping her from rising in religious rank. However, her ambitions have already threatened to bring chaos to Ussura. She believes that the Church's rituals to honor domovoi, Leshiye and other spirits are at best a distraction, and at worst diabolism. If the Orthodox are ever to reach beyond Ussura, they must abandon what makes them so Ussuran - especially the spirits. She has expressed these ideas extensively and often eloquently in public, as well as reforming major churches in every city and large town in Somojez. Her reforms alter the details of the symbolism, centralize power with ranking clergy she personally approves and strip out any mention of spirits. Her supports, the Schismatists, are a violent mob that want to purge the Church. When priests or others speak out against reform, Lyuba doesn't even have to do anything - Schismatist mobs besiege their homes, breaking windows and starting fires. Rumors say they've even figured out how to kill a house's domovoi.

Many boyars also support the reforms, because most senior priests are from their families and therefore benefit from the centralization of power. Plus, nobles are more likely to associate the Leshiye with superstition and think themselves above such things. However, many scholars and intelligentsia say that Lyuba's movement is disturbingly similar to the Third Prophet's. Lyuba is a pious, zealous woman who, while not conventionally attractive, is extremely powerful as a speaker. She does in fact see herself as the Orthodoxy's version of the Third Prophet, albeit with less explicit fire and brimstone. Indeed, she makes a point of keeping up an image of propriety and respectability, leaving the violence to her far more eager followers. She is a very dangerous kind of demagogue, polite on the surface but subtly inciting her followers to enforce her will violently. All of her speeches are planned and memorized ahead of time to better supply these dog whistles. While her intentions are not, in theory, villainous, her results absolutely are, and she is planning to set up an Orthodox Inquisition if she gets a chance.

Gertrude "Trudy" Schmidt was born in Ussuran, but abandoned in the Borovoi Forest as an infant near the Eisen border. A wolf took her in and raised her, and when she was old enough to walk, it led her to a tiny Eisen village. She remembers little of the time with the wolf, but sometimes she has dreams. She grew up on an Eisen farm, learning to fight Horrors, but she found farm life boring. At seventeen, she ran away, surviving by following animals in the woods and hiding from Horrors. Eventually, she went back into Ussura, and for the first time, she felt like it was home. The land itself seemed to lead her, until she met the wolf she had known in youth. Now, she realized it was no ordinary creature. It taught her how to speak to animals and even how to become a wolf herself. Eventually, she made her way to Veche, where she tried to help people. However, she's had bad luck - all of her friends and lovers have turned out to be horrible, up until she fell in love with a lovely lady named Ekaterina...wife of her good friend, the murderer and madman Timofey. She didn't realize his true nature until she fell in love with his wife, and has wielded Matushka's wrath to free Ekaterina and defeat Timofey. Now, the pair live outside Vehc,e near the Borovoi Forest, where Trudy continues to do Matushka's work. She is kind, powerful and rather naive. In other words, exactly what Matushka looks for in someone.

Owen Laslo was born in Inismore before the end of the War of the Cross, but he was three years too young to join the battles. He grew up loving the sea, hoping to join the navy before the war ended. Instead, he ended up on a merchantman, which was no real consolation. His first voyage took him to Vestenb y way of the Maw, landing in Vendal, where he met an Ussuran pirate named Dina. After drinking with her all night, he earned her respect and a post on her ship, leaving two days later. Dina was a Brotherhood pirate, competing with the Vesten Raiders, and Laslo worked happily for her for years before he got shipwrecked near Rurik after an attack by Raider ships that had gotten annopyed at Dina's constant efforts to get them to join the Brotherhood. Few of the sailors survived, and Dina was not among them. Laslo washed ashore, but found himself without any work or friends. As he looked for another ship, he learned that he'd made a huge reputation in Ussura, that everyone knew his name. No honest merchant would hire an infamous pirate, and few other pirate ships came to Rurik. On the other hand, people generally did whatever he asked, out of respect or fear. Soon, he decided to become a mercenary, working all kinds of jobs. He was good at it, and soon began hiring others to help. Now, he is the leader of a prominent mercenary company that employs fighters, guards, thieves and even some jennys. Anyone wanting to hire mercs in Rurik goes to him, and so Laslo spends much of his time working to keep the business a float, but he also owns a small riverboat that he occasionally uses to help the Ushkuiniks. He is gruff, strong man with deep red hair and a full beard. He is loyal to a fault, and his honor will not allow him to break any deal he's made. He is, however, an excellent businessman and will never take a job he's not sure he can handle. He holds his emplyoees to similarly high standards.

General Winter was born Major Akim Maksimovich Lagunov, and his tribe came when Koshchei called for defenders against Vesten raiders. However, after his general ordered him, against his recommendation, to chase retreating skirmishers, a storm whipped up and seperated the group from the army. The sun did not rise that morning, or the next. One by one, Akim's fellow soldiers fell to starvation and cold, but he pushed on with the few that remained. Then, light appeared - two white rendeers, drawing a gilded sledge that gleamed like candles. Mad with hunger, the soldiers attacked, planning to eat the reindeer, but the driver just sighed and turned them to snow. Only Akim kept staggering forward. The white-haired driver looked down at him, and nooded, saying that ice was already in his heart, and so she would make it more interesting. A week later, he went back to the old general's tent, slitting his throat with a knife of ice and taking over the army, which soon broke contact with Koshchei. One by one, he took out provincial boyars during unseasonal snowstorms. Each one's guards were given the choice to join his army or die. General Lagunov tells his men that Ussurans are blessed - Theah's worst winters slay the weak, leaving only the strong. He will bring this gift to the rest of Theah. He is a genius of tactics and strategy, followed by blizzards. He pays well in pillage and plunder, and his best he plunges his forzen hand into, turning their hearts to ice and freezing their blood. They never fall on ice, they can run atop snow without leaving trace. They are impervious to cold, to conscience, to emotion. Only logic remains. General Winter is now the avatar of the cold, caring not that his power antagonizes both Matushka and Tura, whom he views as weak. He doesn't negotiate or talk. He kills. He respects only those who agree with him or can survive him. Even his soldiers will not speak much. It is unclear what his next goal is - invasion of Eisen, the most serious military threat to Ussura traditionally, the invasion of the Sarmatian Commonwealth, whose warm-water ports have always been envied...or the Czar's throne, in nearby Bashanta.

Next time: Secret Societies

Mors Rattus fucked around with this message at 22:04 on Jul 29, 2018

MollyMetroid
Jan 20, 2004

Trout Clan Daimyo


I love 2e's take on Koschei.

psudonym55
Nov 22, 2014


Deptfordx posted:

If anyones got it and can write-up anything about it that'd be great. I am humming and hawing about picking it up.

To be honest at this moment in time it's kind of a mess.
It's filled with misspellings.

The name leadership skill's name changes between Leadership and Command throughout the book.

It currently has at least one missing talent. Quick Witted is one of the random talents you can get during character generation but is not present in the book.

Several missing rules such as rules on how to dodge, parry and what the mechanical effects of being outnumbered are. There is a talent that makes you count as two people when trying to figure out outnumbering. So there clearly should be rules for outnumbering someone present in the book.

The equipment chapter is currently missing equipment from some of the careers. The knight starts with a demilance which there are no stats for in the book. The same is true of the great weapon two of the careers have listed in their trappings.

The hedge mage is a little odd it starts with spells and all the talents to use them but does not have access to the arcane language skill needed to cast any of them and as it's an advanced skill
they can not use it untrained. They don't get access to it until the second tier where they get access to their Hedge lore spells. Which is different to every other casting career in the book.

Honestly feels like the copied and pasted some parts from the 2e book and then never updated it to their own terminology.

psudonym55 fucked around with this message at 21:18 on Jul 29, 2018

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





BEYOND THE DREAM

So, cutting through all the dense loving prose, the point here is that when we sleep, our souls go to the astral plane to party, because dreams are just some sort of collective unconscious thing that's centered on the mysterious spooky place called THE VORTEX. Now the secret here is that there's very little reason for us to give any sort of gently caress about Limbo, the dreamworld astral plane, because we can't kill someone in a dream and have them die for real and unless we encounter one of the rare spookcreatures that can actually make us DIE IN THE DREAM, DIE FOR REAL, there are no stakes whatsoever there. It doesn't even work as a cheap shortcut to Metropolis, Inferno, Gaia, etc. because it's something ONLY THE MOST POWERFUL DREAM WANDERERS CAN ACCOMPLISH(unfortunately there's no actual dreaming skill or other measure of how powerful a dreamer we are in this game. Oops. Guess they forgot that part. There IS a Dreamer skill, but that only lets us find people in dreams and talk to their dreaming self.). If the GM could be hosed to think up rules for it, though, we could dream ourselves into Godzilla and then go rampaging across the world of our choice(Elysium included) as a giant monster.

If we die while dreaming, though, we just become a permanent Dream Ghost(tm). So I guess that's a thing that there are no stats or other consequences for so who gives a poo poo.




The art for this section is legitimately good, though.

The DREAM PRINCES are super dreamers who've created more-or-less stable dream worlds that are all terrible dystopias and... again, why would we ever want to go there? They're realms of pointless danger and the Dream Princes are mostly just busy jerking off to their ideal worlds rather than being a danger to anyone. Also it's strange how all their dream worlds are named "Dream World of X and Y." Which reminds me strangely of Homestuck. I also realized why I hated the game's examples of play, which was because they reminded me of loving TVTropes when they went "GM: 'some gibberish(HERE THE GM IS USING NAME OF MOVE)'" and all it was lacking was a loving hyperlink to resemble some of the dumb poo poo on that site. But you're not here to hear me complain about dumb internet poo poo, you're here to hear me complain about stupid edgelord poo poo! Here you go!

Kult posted:

Visitors to this dream feel groggy and bloated, many soon begin bleeding from the eyes, mouth, and genitals. Everything seems to vibrate and tremble. Creatures initially appear two-dimensional and colorless, only to become painfully alive without warning. In a moldering temple hall at the dream’s heart lies the Maiden of Torment – blinded, genitally mutilated, bloated from pregnancy, and writhing with maggots, which crawl from the infected wounds of her amputated limbs. She is surrounded by grotesque apsara, which detach from the walls on which they have been carved, and dance on quashed feet around her bloody, stone bed. The Maiden wants everyone to suffer as she has suffered, filling her fevered nightmare with undead children, pregnant torture victims, and bestial demons in ivory masks.

It's eight dream realms which each have a short paragraph of description and zero reason for anyone to ever want to interact with them, ever. It's not even like in the original Kult, where at least one of the Dream Princes was actively capturing real-world dreamers and holding their minds captive. So journeying into Limbo to rescue a captive friend was a potential, interesting hook that could be spun off into some sort of lasting conflict with the Dream Prince or whatever.

In the waking world, we have two cults. The first is a bunch of religious fanatics who want to create Dream Heaven, and the second is a bunch of hackers who are, unintentionally, hacking into Limbo. Yes, that's right, because as you remember, Limbo connects to the internet. And so these guys are actually chatting with Dream Princes on AIM and literally hacking people's dreams, and some of them have started disappearing as they accidentally enter https://www.dreamworld.zzz into their browser and get sucked into the PC like loving Freakazoid or whatever. This is literally getting dumber with every loving line please send help.

We also need some DREAM MONSTERS, like the Icthyria that are weird tesseract dream leeches.

Kult posted:

Ichtyria exist in more dimensions than we are accustomed to or normally perceive. A dream wanderer viewing an ichtyrium from certain angles can see its true form: a mass of folded layers of skin, which move hypnotically like a sea anemone in an invisible current of water. The wanderer can enter its fleshy interior, crawling through these wet layers of skin, past corpulent outgrowths and pulsating veins, until they reach right into the creature’s eye. This turbid pearl, large enough to hold in your hand, can be pulled from its sinewy roots, and the helpless ichtyrium screams and rots away as a result. Everything the creature devoured remains conserved in the eye – all the memories, thoughts, wanderers, and predictions.

And yet again, no loving rules for it. We get this elaborate Mortal Kombat death maneuver to pull, but they're not statted up, there's no description for how you mechanically do this sick glory kill and there's no statting up of what you can actually do with the loving eye. Instead we get more spooky kids except this is just some great little baby full of moths that tries to drink your blood. Why does it keep statting up creepy children rather than the at least vaguely interesting monsters? Eat poo poo, Kult.

Next there's a LEGENDARY DREAM CRITTER, the Seamstress. Who gives you a nightmare where she cuts you apart and sews you back together... except for one important organ which she keeps as collateral so you're basically forced to be her servant. Except nothing says this actually affects our dreaming self and that we can't just wake up and forget about her. She also apparently has the MAGIC POWER to just arbitrarily rip people apart with dream magic, but this isn't actually statted up for fighting her.

There's also something called the CHILD COLLECTOR which like... okay, it starts out semi-interesting for Kult and then it goes loving downhill. Expectedly. Read this poo poo, emphasis mine:

Kult posted:

Late at night, a wardrobe’s doors slide back, and the shadows emit the lilting melodies of a music box, or colorful images sparkle on the computer or the TV. In this fashion, the Child Collector lures children into its dream world. In the morning, parents find empty beds, their little ones vanished without a trace, leaving only vague and anxious dreams from the night before. The Collector’s dream world is a nocturnal waterfront choked with rusted vessels, where fish float bloated and rotting in the bay. On an oil platform, wreathed in mist, the children are kept captive.

The creature feeds them and forces them to play with it. Hide and seek, peek-a-boo, dress up, and charades. During these moments, the Collector is truly happy. It wants the children to always remain its friends, but they always betray it by becoming adults. When this happens, the creature screams in sorrow over the victim’s treachery, tearing them apart and devouring them in front the other captives. The Collector constantly measures the children’s height, pokes and prods at them, sniffs their skin, and feels around to see if they are starting to develop breasts or pubic hair. Cunning children can conceal these signs of puberty for a while, but are only prolonging the inevitable. Some have succeeded in escaping back to Elysium, although the Collector never stops searching for these traitors.

Isn't the Dream Collector's realm just the loving City of Lost Children? You know, the loving movie? I swear to god these loving hacks. Like if this thing just stole children because it wanted to play with them forever but then got enraged when they grew up, you could kinda use it for a "RESCUE THE KIDS"-adventure that didn't have any creepy parts but then oh, wait, it gropes the children and smells their dicks or whatever to see if they're adults yet and for gently caress's sake, guys, you almost had it, but then you had to put in some more kiddyfucking.

gently caress the rest of this chapter, it's all garbage. Let's move on.

(really all there is are stats for a single DREAM PRINCE, we're not missing anything)

THE UNDERWORLD

Okay, this place they actually slightly improved on compared to the original Kult by giving it a purpose. Essentially, if you go down deep enough, especially if you're moving through urban infrastructure, you start to move out of orthodox reality(Elysium) and into the Underworld, which perches on the edge of total oblivion. It connects to the other realms(what doesn't, at this point? I'd expect to get to Inferno by walking out the back door of a Starbucks by now) but is also a realm of its own. In the original Kult it was more or less exclusively a spooky crossroads with a few minor locations and Achlys, in case you wanted to end the cycle of reincarnation and forgetting not with Divinity or Dream Immortality but by just completely annihilating yourself with zero takesie-backsies.

This time it's got something more, once you've pushed through several layers of further spookiness(level 1: urban infrastructure, level 2: spooky caves, level 3: spookier caves, etc. all that really is to deal with here is random monster encounters) you reach KTONOR, the city more or less at the edge of the abyss.


lookin' pretty Dark Souls, and I mean that as a good thing

KTONOR is an interesting location because it's what should, if we changed nothing else about the game, have been the starting point for the PC's. Because it's essentially the ravaged refugee camp of humanity's former victims. Everyone whose world we enslaved, whose lives we destroyed, who survived, in part or in full, now hides out in Ktonor where they try to retain some of their life and culture, occasionally dreaming just of survival, but as often dreaming of revenge against humanity, even in some cases being willing to ally with forces like Inferno to get back at us. Aside from the alien locals, there are also the descendants of some humans who ended up lost in the Underworld, the descendants of kidnapped children, etc. Everyone in Ktonor is having a bad day, because oblivion isn't an entirely static force, it actually resides just beyond their city and keeps whispering at the back of their heads that everything could be better if they'd just step outside and toss themselves into Achlys. They're not friends of the Demiurge, the Archons or their servants either, because to them, Ktonor and its residents are basically Divinity Evidence(tm) that could clue humans in to the past very effectively, often by having actually lived through it.

The residents of Ktonor deserve better, really, and they feel like they deserve to be fought for much more than humanity. Hell, playing characters who discover Ktonor and want to atone, want to help the residents there, is actually the first particularly compelling story hook I can imagine for the game.

Kult posted:

Wide stone steps lead downwards through a petrified sea bed. You wander amid forests of blackened coral, salt deposits, polished stone plateaus, and strange fossils. At the bottom of the steps stands the Coral Portal: a simultaneously beautiful and grotesque creation, which marks the entrance to the City of Ktonor. The portal requires a sacrifice. Anyone wishing to pass must smear their blood on its glossy surface. Doing so allows you to pass through, as though stepping through a wall of water.

It even feels like the prose improves for a bit, here, conjuring up an image of an interesting location.

Ktonor gets even more hosed when you learn that it's had dictators and wars, at least until they turned over rulership to the Biomechanical Keepers. Some race or another hammered, welded and cut them together as the ultimate power in Ktonor, by giving them control over every survivor species' continued survival... their reproduction. A lot of them can't reproduce well any longer, because of various forms of genetic damage, inbreeding from having been reduced by humanity to a comparatively tiny group of survivors, or simply the decay and hopelessness of living right next to Achlys. So the Keepers, instead, control their future by being in charge of the Birthing Chambers that produce new citizens for Ktonor, and continuity for the survivors. Of course, uh, the instant we get near anything vaguely related to sex, that's where everything breaks down.

Because, you see, the genetics of the residents of Ktonor are so severely damaged that it doesn't just take a quick paint job to fix their crippled DNA enough to make a new member, no. They need fresh genes. From humans. Yeah let's just get this show on the road.

Kult posted:

Only the Keepers have permission to set foot on the Birth Chambers’ hallowed ground. Here, the reproductive materials from the Children of the Underworld are manipulated and augmented with fresh genetic matter, usually obtained from humans. Stepping into the sealed halls, you are assaulted by an unspeakable stench and a grotesque sight. Humans of all types have been hooked up to the biomechanical machines. They have been crudely lobotomized and are fed via tubes in the nose and mouth. Waste matter is pumped out through catheters in their abdomens. Many of them have had their limbs amputated. All of them simply gaze uncomprehendingly into empty space. The men’s genitals are kept painfully erect and their semen collected in sacred vessels. Women are harvested, their stolen eggs inseminated and cultivated. The bodies of the Underworld’s peoples are preserved in containers with nutritional solution, cryotubes, and electrical fields, while their DNA is manipulated and interwoven with new genetic material. It is allowed to develop in tubes until the surviving fetuses are transferred to the wombs of the members of the Biomechanical Keepers.

Right after that it just makes a rapid, jarring step into the Underworld bestiary(the local cults are extremely dull and not worth mentioning). You've got Zeloths, which are corpses skinned by a cult and fed to giant, immobile poop leeches, which turns them into skinless zombies, until they melt into Cairath which are clumps of giant skinned corpses that just Katamari Damacy their way over victims, absorbing them into their mass and slowly digesting them into more Cairath matter until they become big enough to form Gransangthir, which are the poop leeches that create Zeloths. It's a beautiful, horrible garbage ecology. Also only the Cairath are statted so good luck using them in your game.

Gross weird poo poo aside, literally all of the game's missing plot hooks are here. The bestiary chapter provides a look at the weird residents of Ktonor, giving a good idea of just how varied they are and why they're in conflict with each other, because their only unifying trait is "humanity hosed us over."





You've got the Keepers, who though they control Ktonor's reproductive services, cannot themselves reproduce, and though it's rare that they die, as they're powerful and biologically immortal, they do die, and slowly their numbers are dwindling. You have the Famaria, who keep vast riches and vast slave hordes to serve them, who plot against the Keepers and make pacts with Inferno in their desire for revenge. The Azadaevae, whom humanity almost hunted to extinction just out of their desire for pretty slaves. The amphibious, swollen, toadlike Beryn that the Keepers keep around as advisors and technological savants. The Zatars, who may just hate humanity, but may in fact be renegade angels who rebelled against the Demiurge after being used for enough genocides to sicken even them, who carry around casks full of strange weapons that may be the swords of angels, react to mentions of the Demiurge with displays of screaming fury or abject sorrow and definitely had wings once.

Kult posted:

In addition to the above, there are Besh-Tanath, who live in their tightly-knit, reclusive families; the Tamars, whose songs echo sadly in the empty vaults; the Laishi, weapon-smiths who have been incarcerated in their grey halls after a violent revolt; and the Kadash, who can sculpt their own and others’ bodies. There are the Ones Without Names, who channel nothingness within themselves and discharge it as a black flood. The Kilotherna, who remain enshrouded in white veils of sorrow ever since their ruler took his own life. The magnificent Menonveem, who reside dreaming in ethereal thoughts. All of these and many others live beside tattered dream creatures, creatures of passion and insanity, and lost gods who wallow in their solitary existence. The Underworld is home to them all.

Ktonor is pretty much the strange Sigil analogy of Kult, and I love a lot of things about it. It's more or less the one bright spot, aside from the art, in this big turd of a poo poo game. gently caress playing a tortured artist or a weepy drug addict or whatever who's looking for meaning until a demon makes her put her baby in the oven. Let's play renegade angels, the former pleasure slaves of humanity and weapon-smith prisoners questing for survival and meaning in a bleak, merciless universe. gently caress you, Kult, for having the seeds of something good and then burying them under a big fat pile of gross rape garbage.

Josef bugman
Nov 17, 2011

Chomsky Boi

MollyMetroid posted:

I love 2e's take on Koschei.

Holy poo poo. He is just the best!

Daeren
Aug 17, 2009

YER MUSTACHE IS CROOKED


MollyMetroid posted:

I love 2e's take on Koschei.

God drat you could easily run an entire game about blundering into Koschei's secret and being drafted to be his terrifying nightmare hit squad except you're actually just going out and addressing social issues and saving abused children and spouses.

hyphz
Aug 5, 2003




Betrayal At House On The Hill, 16

It's more fun than trying to fix the timetable for the thousandth time. Hey, did anyone notice how Cabin In The Woods manages to meta-clone Betrayal At House On The Hill? I mean, ok, they're both just pastiches of every haunted house movie ever, but the mechanics actually tie them together as well. Now that'd be an expansion pack.

Death Doth Find Us All
Trigger: Find the Medallion in the Charred Room, Junk Room, or Master Bedroom.

Indeed it Doth. And before it Doth, we do yet another version of The Picture of Dorian Grey, because A Friend For The Ages wasn't enough. Instead of a creepy portrait, the traitor (who is the youngest explorer) has struck a bargain with the House itself; they bring a group of people to the House every ten years to have their lives sucked out, and the traitor gets a share of the life in form of 10 more years of youth.

As soon as the haunt starts, everyone except the traitor ages 1 decade, and everyone gets to roll a dice at the end of the traitor's turn for how many decades they age. Their new age is then compared to a table in the Traitor's Tome to see what effect it has. Aging to your 20s or 30s actually gains stats; aging to your 40s lowers Speed and increases Sanity, and aging to 50s, 60s, and 70s lowers 2, 3, and 4 traits respectively. Once you're over 70, every decade just drops all 4 traits by one. Whenever a hero dies, the traitor gets to add 3 dice worth of points to their traits in any combination they want.

You're probably expecting that this is going to result in some weird combinations as a result of heroes having been designed with their age as flavor information and not related to their traits, but it's actually not bad. If you have Missy or Zoe in the scenario, they'd age to 18 or 19.. but that can never happen, because they'll certainly be the youngest and thus chosen as the traitor, and they can't both be there at once because they're opposite sides of the same card.

Now, for the remaining heroes, the Medallion is all important. Whoever's got the Medallion ages more slowly than everyone else (one less decade than rolled), and the traitor can't take it. To escape, they have to.. do a bloody exorcism again. Well, ok, this time it's just called a "ritual", but it's the same exact mechanic - make Knowledge or Sanity rolls in particular rooms. Once a number have been made equal to the number of players, the aging stops and the heroes win.

So, uh, that's a thing. It's.. to go to a bunch of rooms, which are all randomly placed so the difficulty is all over the place, and make rolls within a time limit; and we already have quite enough of those scenarios by now, with the added bonus of the traitor not getting anything cool to do and the time limit being partially random. File under meh.

Tick, Tick, Tick
Trigger: Find the Madman in the Abandoned Room, Dining Room or Pentagram Chamber.

The hero with the highest Knowledge has.. somehow.. managed to strap a bomb to each of the other heroes! And none of them noticed until.. the madman laughed a bit! Also, the traitor has suddenly decided to just pull up where they are and stay there for the rest of the Haunt, building a Big Bomb. Who wouldn't want to build a big bomb in the Underground Lake? After 12 turns, the Big Bomb goes off, killing everyone, and winning the game for the traitor. So, yep. The traitor basically doesn't get to play in this scenario, since they can't move anywhere interesting - although they technically could play cards, I suppose, but not draw any. Thanks a bunch, guys.

The heroes have bombs strapped to them. The bombs go off in two circumstances: a) the traitor rolls 8+ in the regular roll, of an increasing number of dice, they make every round; and b) if a hero moves into the room with the traitor or any adjacent room (even if it is not connected). If a bomb goes off it kills the hero instantly and blows up all their items, omens, and any other heroes in the room (but not the traitor). Disarming a bomb can be done once a turn, and a hero can disarm their own bomb or someone else's; they need a Knowledge 7+ roll, with a +2 bonus if the Madman is in the room (um, I guess they had to work out something for him to do). If an attempt to disarm rolls 2 or less, the bomb goes off, with the same consequences as above.

So, yea.. that's, um, that's it. Someone disarms their bomb, goes into the room with the traitor, and then just straight up fights them. If they get unlucky on a Knowledge roll or the traitor rolls lucky, they blow up. They probably ought not to group up in the same room, but.. um, that seems to be about all the choice they have. Ugh.

The Feast
Trigger: Find the Dog in the Catacombs, Gymnasium, Junk Room or Kitchen.

You're invited to be the Guest of Honor at our feast. We're going to eat you. Yea, we used to be all subtle about that but it got really hackneyed, you know?

This Haunt immediately spawns Cannibal Freaks in the Dining Room (adding it to the map if it's not there), and Victims in the Attic. The objective for the traitor is to get all the Victims eaten, or all the Heroes dead. The Victims can escape; if one does, the only route to victory is killing all the heroes. Cannibal Freaks move like monsters but die instead of being stunned, and can beat on the heroes and the Victims with Might 4 attacks. If a hero or Victim dies, the traitor or a Cannibal can spend a turn eating the corpse, which adds 1 to all their traits (which means that the traitor has to keep track of stats for all the cannibals and note which is which, which is a nice pain in the rear end).

The Victims can't attack, and they move in a rather odd automated way: they move 2 squares in whichever direction they're facing (which means you have to track which way they're facing) unless they hit a wall or an unexplored area, in which case they turn left. The exception is if there's a hero in their room, in which case they don't move, but the Hero can escort them 2 spaces in any direction or combination of directions. Victims can't attack. If a Hero makes a Might or Knowledge roll in the Entrance Hall, they can break down the front door, and from that point on they can escort Victims out of the house. Heroes who leave the house with Victims can come back with 1 movement point. If all the Victims escape, the Heroes can then win by escaping too; but if any Victim gets killed, the Heroes must kill all the cannibals to win.

I like the idea here, especially the symmetry of the two factions, but there does seem a high chance of the cannibals just setting up in the Entrance Hall - especially since they start in the Dining Room, which is by definition going to be closer to the Entrance Hall than the Attic is. Also, if the traitor player focuses their feeding they could end up with one hell of a cannibal (Might 8, anyone)?

potatocubed
Jul 26, 2012

*rathian noises*


Kavak posted:

Why are every single one of these "edgy" RPGs always so loving BORING? Are they so laser focused on pandering to the "Scare the normies" type of GM that they forget to make the rest of the game work?

My theory is that stuff like this Kult remake and the new Vampire are replicating the form of 90s edginess without really understanding that culture -- and thus, what 'edgy' actually means -- has moved on in the 20-30 years between then and now.

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.




potatocubed posted:

My theory is that stuff like this Kult remake and the new Vampire are replicating the form of 90s edginess without really understanding that culture -- and thus, what 'edgy' actually means -- has moved on in the 20-30 years between then and now.

The thing is, 90s crazyness at least had passion behind it (usually, in the RPG world) while this just feels like soulless pandering.

Wapole Languray
Jul 4, 2012





COMBAT

quote:

Somewhere out there is someone who had loving parents, watched clouds on a summer’s day, fell in love, lost a friend, is kind to small animals, and knows how to say “please” and “thank you,” and yet somehow the two of you are going to end up in a dirty little room with one knife between you and you are going to have to kill that human being.

It’s a terrible thing. Not just because he’s come to the same realization and wants to survive just as much as you do, meaning he’s going to try and puncture your internal organs to set off a cascading trauma effect that ends with you voiding your bowels, dying alone and removed from everything you’ve ever loved. No, it’s a terrible thing because somewhere along the way you could have made a different choice. You could have avoided that knife, that room, and maybe even found some kind of common ground between the two of you. Or at least, you might have divvied up some turf and left each other alone. That would have been a lot smarter, wouldn’t it? Even dogs are smart enough to do that. Now you’re staring into the eyes of a fellow human and in a couple minutes one of you is going to be vomiting blood to the rhythm of a fading heartbeat. The survivor is going to remember this night for the rest of his or her life.

SIX WAYS TO STOP A FIGHT
So before you make a grab for that knife, you should maybe think about a few things. This moment is frozen in time. You can still make a better choice.

Surrender: Is your pride really worth a human life? Drop your weapon, put up your hands, and tell them you’re ready to cut a deal. You walk, and in exchange you give them something they need. Sidestep the current agenda. Offer them something unrelated to your dispute, and negotiate to find a solution.

Disarm: Knife on the table? Throw it out the window. Opponent with a gun? Dodge until he’s out of bullets. Deescalate the confrontation to fsts, if possible. You can settle your differences with some brawling and still walk away, plus neither one of you has to face a murder charge or a criminal investigation.

Re-channel: So you have a conflict. Settle it a smarter way. Arm wrestle, play cards, have a scavenger hunt, a drinking contest, anything that lets you establish a winner and a loser. Smart gamblers bet nothing they aren’t willing to lose. Why put your life on the line?

Pass the buck: Is there somebody more powerful than either one of you who is going to be angry that you two are coming to blows? Pretend you’re all in the mafia and you can’t just kill each other without kicking your dispute upstairs first. Let that symbolic superior make a decision. You both gain clout for not spilling blood.

Call the cops: If you’ve got a grievance against somebody, let the police do your dirty work. File charges. Get a restraining order. Sue him in civil court for wrongful harm. You can beat him down without throwing a punch.

Run away: The hell with it. Who needs this kind of heat? Blow town, get a job someplace else, build a new power base. Is the world really too small for the both of you? It’s a big planet out there.

OH WELL

Still determined? Backed into a corner with no way out? Have to fight for the greater good? Up against someone too stupid to know this is a bad idea? Or maybe just itching for some action? So be it. The rest of this section contains rules for simulating the murder of human beings. Have fun.

THE SO-CALLED COMBAT ROUND
As in most RPG’s, combat in Unknown Armies is abstracted out into “rounds”. Unlike some other games, this is not a hard number of seconds, but it’s just as much time as it takes for everyone to do one thing. This may be three seconds in a hectic bar brawl, or up to ten minutes for a tense mexican standoff where everyone slowly draws their weapons and slides into position for the coming carnage.

Everyone gets one turn, one chance to do a thing, every round. Unlike most games, there’s no hard initiative system to follow. People don’t start a fight by rolling to see who goes first, instead people just declare their actions whenever they want. The first person to draw a gun in a shootout is the first person to say “I draw my gun”. If there’s disagreement about who goes first in what situation, talk it out. Everyone should declare what they’re doing, and can change their minds based on what everyone else is doing. GM’s should arbitrate based on the fiction of the game as a general rule. Sometimes they might leave it up to a roll between whatever relevant identities or abilities. The one big exception is if someone has a Provides Initiative feature on one of their identities: That always takes precedence over anything else.

Attack rolls are like everything else: a percentile using a relevant identity, or Struggle. Generally you don’t bother with penalties or bonuses: The percentile rating of the ability is supposed to represent your chances under a stressful situation such as combat. Only apply modifiers if facing extraordinary difficulties or obstacles, and keep them at 10% or 20%, any more and you start risking mathematical unhappiness.

You can move about ten feet in a round and still do another action, if you wanna move more then roll Fitness or other appropriate identity, pass get up to 30 feet, fail only get twenty, matched drops that down to 10 feet, and a fumble you fall over and have to spend an action getting up off the ground.

NOT GETTING HURT
There’s two main ways to not die in Unknown Armies: Dodging and Armor. Dodging i spretty simple: you say you’re doing it and you are. It’s not a roll, but a -10% penalty to the rolls of anyone trying to smack you. If whatever ability or identity you are using is greater than the attackers, it’s a -20% penalty.

Armor works by “downgrading” damage. There’s three rough categories of armor, bulletproof/resistant armor, helmets, and Misc. Other Stuff. Bulletproof gear is your flak-jackets and kevlar vests. They effect firearm damage by downgrading it so it works like unarmed damage. This still means your character could get seriously injured and knocked out, but it’s nowhere near as devastating as getting shot unarmored. Helmets work the same as bulletproof clothes, but only once. After getting hit they lose their protective properties. They also work to reduce damage from falls and car crashes, and weaken melee weapons my preventing them from doing special stuff on matched successes. Finally, other stuff is for things like football pads, thick leather jackets, motorcycle clothing, and so on. These do nothing to gunshots, but they do make melee weapons treat matched successes like normal ones.

DAMAGE

As mentioned previously, by default all characters have 50 wounds, barring magick or an identity with the Provides Wound Threshhold feature. So, you take wounds when you take damage from attacks, get down to 0 wounds and you die.

Now, one big thing Unknown Armies does differently that other RPGs is, well…



If you look you’ll see a bit labeled “Wound Threshold”. You’ll notice that unlike a lot of RPGs it’s not a divided field, separated into “Max” and “Current”. That’s because players don’t track their own wounds! The GM does that. And never tells the player the numbers.

Yes, you, as a player, will never know exactly how healthy your character is unless your memory is really really good. This is to make the spectacle of violence more immediate, more visceral, and more terrifying. It’s not nerve wracking or tense to see you took 22 wounds out of 50 on your character sheet, but it sure as hell is when your GM describes just how much blood that knife wound is making you squirt out and you don’t know if you can take another stab, is it deeper than I think it is? How close to death am I? Oh god, I don’t wanna risk getting killed!

So, this does place onus on the GM to describe ever grisly wound and injury! You want to give your players a clear idea of how badly hosed they are! The game does provide some general rules: Damage up to half the wound threshold is generally considered “minor” damage. These are your shallow cuts, bruises, scrapes, and so on. The sorta hurts that will be sore as hell in the morning, but you probably don’t notice too bad in the middle of a scrap. At the halfway point you’re going to feel like hammered poo poo, probably be covered in blood, and definitely black and blue all over. Over half to three-quarters then you’re in the “Not moving at all for a few days” level, where going to the hospital seems like a really good idea and slamming prescription painkillers is really really nice. Over three-quarters and you’re into suppurating wounds and broken bones. This is when calling 911 immediately afterwards is a very good idea.

FISTS AND FEET
Damage with unarmed attacks calculate damage based on the total of the dice, treating each D10 as separate. You just add the numbers together to get how much damage you do. A 32 is 5 damage, a 46 is 10 damage, and so on. Matched successes do nothing special for unarmed attacks.

If you get a crit though, the fight is over. 1/100 unarmed attacks instantly end the fight: You choose to either knock them out cold or kill them. If you go for a KO then they’re unconscious for a few seconds, 1 to 5 rounds, then conscious but unable to fight for about ten minutes. Yeah, because it turns out being out cold for more than a few seconds means you’ve got severe brain damage. Still, after getting KO’d, even if they recover they’re probably not in the mood for a brawl, and you’ve got a good few minutes of them being doozy and weak to deal with them further. If you choose to kill them, welp, they’re dead. Maybe you snap their neck, or send a rib into their heart, crush their trachea, smack their head into a wall just so, whatever. They’re a corpse.

MELEE WEAPONS
Melee weapons calculate damage just like unarmed on a normal success, with some additional damage based on the type of weapon. Melee weapons have three possible properties: Is it sharp enough to cut flesh easily, is it big enough to need two hands to use, and is it heavy enough to break bones. Sharp weapons do +3 wounds and always do at least 1 damage even on a miss. Big weapons need two hands to wield, and do +3 wounds. Heavy weapons do another +3. So your typical kitchen knife does +3 wounds and 1 on a miss due to being sharp, a baseball bat would be Heavy and Large, for a +6 Wounds to any hit, and some nutter coming at you with an axe would be doing +9 damage and 1 on a miss for Big, Heavy and Sharp.

Melee weapons do act differently based on the result of the attack roll though! While unarmed only has miss, hit, or Crit, melee has something new for every result. If you fumble a melee attack, you take 1d10 wounds as you hit yourself with your own weapon. A matched failure disarms you: Either you dropped it like a moron or your enemy took it from you. A failure and a success is as normal: You do damage or you don’t. Matched successes make melee weapons do damage based on the result of the roll: Just read it straight as a D100, which means any matched success over 47, regardless of weapon, is an instant kill on a typical human. Crits are just straight insta-kills, no knocking out, they’re just dead.

GUNS
Guns always do damage according to the result of the roll, with crits doing maximum damage for the weapon. Yes, guns have a maximum damage rating, so some guns will do less damage than you rolled just because there’s only so much damage a hunk of lead can do. Bigger bullets are bigger, a .22 is not the same as a .45.

Ranges are loose, in Short, Medium, and Long. Short is about out to how far you can clearly see someones face, or how far you can huck a frisbee. Medium is around a city block, and long range is out to the point where you can see them.

Now who’s ready for pages of detailed gun stats!

First we have the Walther PPK. It fires a .380 ACP round and holds 6 rounds before reloading. Each shot does a maximum of…

Ok, nah there are no detailed gun stats at all.



There we go, that’s literally every gun stat in the game. Note, the only guns that can’t one-shot kill your typical human in a single attack are the Light Pistol and Light Rifle, everything else is perfectly happy to murder you with a single bullet.

nonlethal weapons
There’s also rules for tasers, tear gas/pepper spray, and nets/bolos/other entangling things. I’m not going into super detail on those because I realize I go on too much about this stuff, and am meant to give an overview of the setting not crazy detail. Basically electrical weapons paralyze the target for a few minutes if they hit for more damage than the target has remaining wounds, Pepper spray, tear gas, and mace makes you take penalties to physical actions, you’re blinded and can’t smell due to stinging pain, and there’s a chance you’ll just crumple up and roll around on the ground crying for a bit. Entangling stuff like nets tie you up. If the hits an even it’s your arms and you can’t attack, if it’s an odd your legs and you fall over. Entangled person has to roll to get out of it.

EXTREME TACTICS
You have several other special things you can do in a fight, this is the bit where they tell you how to arbitrate some of them. Most of these are nothing special: Aiming takes an action but gives you bonuses to your next attack, throwing stuff acts like a ranged unarmed attack, how to handle disarms, etc.

Some points that a lot of games gently caress up: Full Auto and Suppressive Fire. Full auto isn’t totally broken or a pain in the rear end to handle. It basically gives bonuses to damage for hitting, and lets you hit multiple targets with a single attack in exchange for burning through ammo. Suppressive fire acts by making the enemy face a Violence check to move while being suppressed, and can hit someone with the sprayed bullets if you get a matched or crit success. Of note, suppressing fire is the only thing people without the Provides Firearm Attacks feature can do. It also represents the wild spraying of an untrained combatant.

The last thing in this section is thee rules for Pointblanking someone. This basically means that if you attack someone who is either totally unaware or unable to resist your attack, you use these rolls. It’s your sneak attacks and coup de grace in one. If you have a weapon, you don’t have to roll: Say you’re going to kill the sucker and he’s dead. If you’re using your bare hands you do roll, but they do damage like a gun. Regardless of how you do it, this triggers a 7-8 Violence check, probably a Self check as well, and anyone watching gets hit with a 3-4 Violence check to boot. Cold-blooded murder is not easy on the soul.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

MonsieurChoc posted:

The thing is, 90s crazyness at least had passion behind it (usually, in the RPG world) while this just feels like soulless pandering.
Yep. It's been a quarter-century , time to spin up the ol' nostalgia engine.

The audience for this has to be middle-aged people who fondly remember the WoD/Kult games of their teens and twenties, right? I can't imaging any Millenial or GenZ-er regarding these particular bundles of edgy transgression as anything but ridiculous. "I've been doing school-shooting drills since third grade, recruiters are sniffing around my high school for warm bodies to throw into year seventeen of the forever war in the middle east, there are literal nazis marching in the streets, and my government is warehousing toddlers in filthy cages and sexually abusing them - but please, tell me more about your serial killer made entirely of severed penises or whatever the gently caress it is that you think is sooooo edgy, I could use a good laugh."

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



7th Sea 2: Nations of Theah, Vol. 2 - Mother Russia

The Explorer's Society is very interested in the monasteries high in the mountains of Somojez, which are often built into mountainside Syrneth structures. These structures appear to have been designed for dense occupation, given the many corridors and small cells in the labyrinthine tunnels, with grand plazas and bridges connecting them. Monasteries often build atop these things, some of which seem to just hang in midair, bridging two mountaintops and suspended by some science entirely unknown to modern Theans. All attempts to duplicate these structures have so far failed, and the Society is unsure whether it'd be a good idea to cut one open to see if that helps explain what's going on...assuming the monks would even let them do it. The Invisible College are quite happy with Ussura, where the Inquisition has no power and where Ketheryna has invited the best scientific minds to Bashanta, where she gives them places to study based on Castillian universities. Her court is a safe haven for Collegians, and they have the leisure of taking time to protect information and set up new projects. Bashanta is often the destination of choice for those fleeing the Inquisitors, if they can make the long trip. Los Vagabundos have trouble moving across Ussura due to the lack of roads, but have long tried to monitor the Czars, with mixed success. Gaius Iriney's deaht was seen by one of their members - one who had a mask. She chose, for some reason, not to involve herself, and then vanished, leaving the mask at a dead drop for her confused replacement. The society desperately wants to find this rogue member and find out why she's vanished and if the Czar's death was murder, self defense, accident or otherwise. What they learn will likely have great bearing on what they do next and who they end up supporting.

The Brotherhood of the Coast have a lot of trouble raiding the frozen waters of Grumfather Bay without joining the Vesten Raiders and working out of Vesten, though a few do base themselves in Saint Anderson or Rurik...though they have limited choice of prey. This has led to a greater focus on river piracy in Ussura, with a focus on the Ushkuiniks. Their name comes from ushkui, the light, flat-bottomed raiding boats they use for easy overland transport, and they've long worked the Ussura/Vesten border with their serpent-headed boats. They attack coastal and riverside communities, seize valuables, and flee to wilderness lairs, far beyond the reach of most civilized people. It is these hideouts that are the source of their greatest ability. See, Ussura's waterways and marshes are full of dangerous supernatural critters, most commonly the vodyanoi and rusalki. The vodyanoi are humanoids with fish or amphibian features, while rusalki are water spirits that resemble beautiful women. In the marshes, the Ushkuiniks learned how to communicate with these monsters, learning their etiquette and how to honor and placate them to prevent their attacks or their luring of people to be enslaved or killed in the depths.

For a very long time, the Ussuran rivers were the only reliable way to move cargo across the nation, but using the rivers without dealing with the monsters was a good way to die, lose money or get enslaved. Enter the Ushkuiniks. They map the rivers, navigating them faster than anyone else can by making deals with the local creatures or avoiding the worst ones. You hire their escorts to guard your cargo against bandits, placate any mermaids in the trees and shoo off the frogmen. Otherwise, well, hope for bandits finding you before the river creatures do. The bandits, of course, share their profits with the Ushkuiniks, and are likely to be members. Occasionally the Ushkuiniks head out into Grumfather Bay, and they've never liked the Vesten Raiders. However, when they first ran into a Brotherhood ship, after a brief fight, the Brotherhood captain suggested that perhaps they might be interested in the charter, and so a grand friendship began.

The Ushkuiniks serve Lazavik, a little old man with one glowing eye, who lives in a hut in a swamp. He is a Leshy, a nature spirit whose health and power reflects that of his home marsh. He was originally just one of the many spirits they dealt with, but slowly became first an advisor, then a leader. Now that Ussura is divided between the two Czar candidates, the Ushkuiniks, who until quite recently had just been deemed a criminal nuisance, have become an important political goal for both sides. Their connection to the land's spirits is vital, and their wealth often gets donated to the muzhiks, which many of the members hail from anyway. This payout ensure the locals support the Ushkuiniks. While you'd expect them to support Ilya, Ketheryna has offered some of their captains complex new boats. Of course, most Ushkuiniks, like other Brotherhood members, have no real interest in politics. They took the boats, but Ketheryna's in for a nasty surprise if she expects them to listen to any call to arms or request for support.

The Ushkuiniks care primarily about wealth, trade goods and river spirits. They follow the same Charter as any Brotherhood ships, but also seek to keep the vodyanoi and rusalki pacified, to ensure they can successfully navigate the rivers. Successfully negotiating passage through a major waterway with a powerful supernature creature is worth 3 Favor and 1 Wealth. Preventing a threat to a spirit-occupied wetland is worth 4 Favor. On top of the normal things you could ask the Brotherhood for to help, you may alsp spend 4 Favor to get the aid of a vodyanoi or rusalka, provided you don't need it to go away from its river. The creature will be a Strength 6 Aquatic Monster that will do just about anyhting you ask that doesn't endanger it or its home. It'll fight for you, but only if it thinks it'll win. OTherwise, it's mostly useful to clear out rivers, scare off critters or spirits, or speak for you with other spirits.

Die Kreuzritter and the Knights of the Rose and Cross have ended up essentially being the same people in Ussura, as the heroic archetype of the bogatyr serves both their agendas. The bogatyr derive from Crescent legend centuries ago, and probably came to Ussura via Khazari poets. They defend the weak, fight monsters and do good deeds. Thus, both the Rose and Cross and die Kreuzritter have found Ussura a great place to recruit people and patrons. For a lot of recent history, they didn't really get along, as the Knights insisted on reasoning with rampaging monsters and die Kreuzritter generally attacked first and asked questions later. However, recent kidnappings by the Sea King, an underwater Leshy near Rurik, forced the two to work together, with die Kreuzritter fighting his minions and the Rose and Cross appealing to his better nature once they got in. It's brought the two socieits to an unsteady equilibrium of cooperation, with members often partnering with each other to use their contrasting methods to the best effect. Performing a mission for the other Society is worth 4 Favor from years, when the mission is productive to the goals of both, though this doesn't stack with any Favor gained from doing something you were already asked to do.

Mociutes Skara's first work was done on the border of Ussura and Curonia, and they remain aggressive in protecting Ussura form war. Largescale warfare hasn't been an issue in years, but local territory and resource conflicts, or just fights between boyars over points of pride, are common. Outside Rurik, the boyars largely ignored the last Czar's ban on such fights, as his guards couldn't really do much to stop them, and these fights often ruin muzhik lives for no reason. Typically, the Shawl will just show up, tell the muzhiks of both sides what's happening, then move them all as far away as possible as fast as possible. Tensions tend to dry up fast when neither army is being fed, after all. However, the agents must know about an attack in advance to get there and do this. Thus, they have been researching a way to call on the Ussuran spirits of the land and households, such as domovoi, which seem to be able to somehow communicate with each other and predict misfortune. The Shawl hopes to be able to use that ability to prevent further violence. Stopping a fight between Orthodox and Schismatists is worth 3 Favor. Getting muzhiks out of harm's way in a noble war is worth 3 Favor for a village, or more if the population is larger than that. Recruiting a domovoi to the information network would be worth 5 Favor if you pulled it off.

The Rilasciare do not like the massive power gap between boyar and muzhik. Boyars have all the power and see muzhik lives as resources. Bogdan's near slave-driving to build Bashanta on Ketheryna's timetable killed thousands. However, the low population density and poor physical mobility makes it hard for muzhiks to organize. The Rilasciare has had small-scale success in getting muzhiks to revolt against weaker boyars, replacing them with democratic communes. In places like Breslau, the ideas of nobility and leadership are almostt gone, except for when visitors show up and demand to see Koshchei. However, that same initiative had led them to support General Winter, who began as a common conscript. When the Rilasciare first heard of a muzhik who could face the boyars in battle and win, they recruited for him and spread stories. Now, they realize their error and have no idea how to deal with the fact that they've made General Winter into something that they really very much do not want. Sophia's Daughters are fairly rare in the area. Both Ilya and Ketheryna are gracious to them, if somewhat distracted by their own issues. However, Koshchei has proven an unlikely benefactor. Even the Vodacce PRinces fear him, and when one of their daughters or wives ends up in his land, the Princes write them up as dead. Only a few strega have actually gotten to the safety of Koshchei's castle, but they want to bring more.

Locations! Rurik Province is the heart of Ussura and the densest populated province. It has four major cities - Ekatnava, Rurik, Pavtlow and Sladivgorod. Its Archduke has always been the most powerful of the boyars after the Czar, due to the financial security brought by the population and the ports. Rurik trades well with the Vendel League, and used to trade with Eisen before Eisen collapsed. It's also the endpoint of several important rivers that go into the continent proper, making it a natural meeting point for dignitaries. Rurik or Ekatnava were both originally considered as the seat of the Czar, but the other provinces protested, largely because a coastal capital would be difficult to attack if the Czar pissed them off. Rurik itself is mostly surrounded by hills and river valleys, with farming happening only in the easily irrigated valleys full of rich soil. There isn't a ton of grazing land, and much of the meat must come from the sea or wild hunting. The Ushkuiniks are most active in Rurik and easily hired there to help you out - or trap you, if you don't pay up. On the rare occasion that someone attacks the fishing fleet, they also serve as the Ussuran naval defense. The nearby islands are said to be home to the Leshy called the Sea King, who rules Grumfather Bay from an aquatic palace. Every so often, he will kidnap interesting people to either join his court forever...or escape, sometimes with the aid of die Kreuzritter or the Knights of the Rose and Cross.

Ekatnava is a city of fishers, whalers and merchants. Its economic power and wealth have made it the sporting capital of the nation, with fencing, boxing and wrestling being the most popular. Every few years, athletes from Vesten, Eisen and USsura gather to compete in the Ekatnava Games, which have field events, races, tests of strength and so on. Pavtlow's Sokolovskaya crime family have recently expanded into the city, taking advantage of its low crime rate to go undetected as it set up protection rackets in the harbor and muscled in on Ushkuinik smuggling and piracy. The local boss, Filippa Sokolovskaya, plans a grand campaign of illegal bets, match-fixing and performance enhancing alchemy for the next Games, next summer.

Sladivgorod sits on a huge rift lake on the border with Molhynia. Lake Vigil provides more clams, snails, amphipods and freshwater seals than the sea itself does. The hunters actually have to obey a strict limit on seal hunting, as overhunting angers the Riftguard, a massive water serpent that maintains the local balance of nature. Even in periods of war between Rurik and Molhynia, fightign on the lake itself is taboo, for it summons the serpent's wrath. Today, Sladivgorod remains as most of Ussura was a century or so ago, with picturesque cottages in the snowy hills and overlooking hte lake. Locals stay in at night, though, for Leshiye hold council with the Riftguard on Lake Vigil under starlight. Legend has it that no one has ever defeated the Riftguard save for Sarangerel Bogatyr, who tricked it into leaving her alone as she fought her greatest foe on the lake surface.

Next time: More places.

Tendales
Mar 9, 2012


Hahaha, Koschei makes me think the authors read those old posts about turning the Dread Emperor, from D&D3.5's BoVD, from a WOW SO EDGY child abductor into a 'pretends to be the devil so he can protect them' child rescuer.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



PurpleXVI posted:



Please stop daring me to do things, I'm physically unable to refuse.

Huh... my bathroom isn't tiled, am I immune to this thing?

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

MollyMetroid posted:

I love 2e's take on Koschei.

Koschei is one of my favourite mythic figures, and this version makes me love him even more.

Obligatum VII
May 5, 2014

Haunting you until no 8 arrives.

Daeren posted:

God drat you could easily run an entire game about blundering into Koschei's secret and being drafted to be his terrifying nightmare hit squad except you're actually just going out and addressing social issues and saving abused children and spouses.

Koschei, the friendly lich, the friendliest lich I know...

BinaryDoubts
Jun 6, 2013

Looking at it now, it really is disgusting. The flesh is transparent. From the start, I had no idea if it would even make a clapping sound. So I diligently reproduced everything about human hands, the bones, joints, and muscles, and then made them slap each other pretty hard.


The preamble to the combat chapter is still one of the best bits of writing in any RPG.

Ratoslov
Feb 15, 2012

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



Obligatum VII posted:

Koschei, the friendly lich, the friendliest lich I know...

Koschei is easily the best thing in this game and I love him.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


MonsieurChoc posted:

The thing is, 90s crazyness at least had passion behind it (usually, in the RPG world) while this just feels like soulless pandering.

Yeah, I think they mentioned "rusted needles" at least twice: once when talking about sucking blood out of rusted needles, and another time when talking about shooting up in Johannesburg, which... ugh, I don't thing junkies are that desperate to use rusted needles and you can probably find fresh ones to lick blood off (how much blood can there be on a needle anyways).

It makes me want to make a horror monster that is obsessed at keeping the needles clean.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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



Extremely triggered by AK-47 and M60 falling under the same category and being classed as SMGs.

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Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine


JcDent posted:

Extremely triggered by AK-47 and M60 falling under the same category and being classed as SMGs.

Could you actually loving not?

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