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Ratoslov
Feb 15, 2012

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



gradenko_2000 posted:


The difference was that this treadmill was all randomized - if you were playing it by the book, the DM would create dungeons, roll randomly for their contents, and you'd go in and loot them ... and if you didn't quite get the item you wanted, you just had to keep going into more dungeons until you got it.

Also, the random tables everywhere granted magical longswords more often than any other melee weapon by an order of magnitude or two. Planescape: Torment's aversion to longswords was a reaction to this.

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PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

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


The random loot tables in 2e AD&D weren't "how it was meant to be played," it was an optional way to play it if the GM didn't have anything particular planned out. :v: If your GM rolled for literally all loot, then your GM was just lazy or uninspired. You'll notice that in actual modules, which is probably the best way to see "how it was meant to be played" in action, there's usually very little randomly rolled loot.

Ghost Leviathan
Mar 2, 2017

Exploration is ill-advised.


Yeah, it's a relatively recent thing that DMs are encouraged to create custom loot, and outright wishlists for characters, rather than use random tables.

I think it might well be that if players wanted that they could just go play video games.

Also a big problem with RPGs is that a lot of players took the rulebooks as gospel rather than a guide. See also rules-as-physics.

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



Night10194 posted:

The canon explanation is that the Halflings were the Old One's 'gently caress it, I don't care how it comes out, just make it immune to Chaos' creation.

Considering the Ogres were the next race they made, I like to imagine that instead of all the canon BS about the Ogres being the perfect being but unfinished, an over-excited Old One was like 'We did it! We got the Chaos problem taken care of! I think the key is they need to be really fat and eat a lot, make me some really fat supersoldiers!"

The history of the Old Ones' supersoldier program is a series of overcompensations.

Model 1 ('Elf'). Long lifespan, good, magical aptitude, good, but can we do something about the tendency to die if they stub their toe? We'd run out of elves before we got halfway through the war.
Model 2 ('Dwarf') OK yes they're resistant to any kind of change, like say injury. But it takes several centuries to get a new idea into the head of just one dwarf. We need more flexibility.
Model 3 ('Human') Yes I said 'open to new ideas'. I didn't mean so open they put on cultist robes and sprout 14 exciting new appendages the moment someone even mentions the word 'chaos'.
Model 4 ('Halfling') Completely immune to demonic corruption, but that's only because they're so useless no demon would even bother trying. I'm starting to get the impression your heart isn't in this anymore Steve.
Model 5 ('Ogre') Big and aggressive is what I asked for oh god it's got me someone help *crunch crunch crunch*

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010




Lipstick Apathy

Ratoslov posted:

Also, the random tables everywhere granted magical longswords more often than any other melee weapon by an order of magnitude or two. Planescape: Torment's aversion to longswords was a reaction to this.

I think part of that was due to how Clerics can't use bladed weapons, but Fighters can, so weighing the drops towards longswords is an indirect buff to letting Fighters getting Fighter-exclusive weapons sooner and oftener.

PurpleXVI posted:

The random loot tables in 2e AD&D weren't "how it was meant to be played," it was an optional way to play it if the GM didn't have anything particular planned out. :v: If your GM rolled for literally all loot, then your GM was just lazy or uninspired. You'll notice that in actual modules, which is probably the best way to see "how it was meant to be played" in action, there's usually very little randomly rolled loot.

Okay, I'll cop to that, but I still stand by my point that there were certain equipment benchmarks that people wanted (if not needed) to hit, and that it formed a base for how the loot rules were formed for 3e.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




Nessus posted:

It almost seems like the idea is that the US did become a Soviet state, which, I mean, was unlikely but hardly impossible. Did the creator consider that and then realize that given the national mood in the tabletop gamer tranche the reaction would have been more like



no matter how many "but GUYS the Soviets did bad things TOO" entries there were?
I'm getting the feeling the creator of Stigmata was way more interested in jacking off over communication technology and numbers stations than actually properly thinking out the politics.

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



Does the game have anything at all to do with Christ's crucifixion wounds?

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010




Lipstick Apathy

I think the metaphor they were going for is that the Signal causes these people to have special growths on their bodies, marking them as different the same way that Jesus had the Stigmata.

Liquid Communism
Mar 9, 2004


Out here, everything hurts.






PurpleXVI posted:

Thing is, in 2E, even a Thing of +1 At Stuff was more magical than in 3E, for two reasons. Firstly, magical items were vastly more rare, you couldn't just slap them together on a bench with a bunch of gold and XP, instead creating a magical item was a vaguely defined adventure in itself. And 5% of the time that drains a permanent point of Constitution from the caster to lock the enchantment in. So assuming most mages are weedy 9 Con nerds or so, that puts a pretty strict limit on how many Permanencied magical items they can create in their life time or simply without being a fragile, wheezing stick of a person.

The second thing is that while in 3.x a +1 is forgettable because you rapidly end up with double digit +'s to everything from your base advantages, and AC and the like rapidly shoot up into the double digits as well, 2E has a much more bounded scale. Few things have an AC better than 0, for instance, so a +1 weapon is always going to be a pretty meaningful upgrade in actually landing hits, and likewise armor in terms of dodging them. Stats are also usually more static, so they're likely to provide less new bonuses during gameplay, etc.

It's generally a game with more of an intentional dearth of exceptional resources.

I think the only thing I'd say 2E really lacks is that Player's Option should be integrated more into the base game(or at least most of it, gently caress the combat supplement, I do like a lot of the changes Spells & Powers, or was that Skill's & Powers, made to the chargen thing, making the classes more variable and interesting) and that it could have used a more robust skill system, because the NWP system was pretty barebones, honestly.

We always incorporated the weapon mastery stuff out of the Rules Compendium for playing 2e, and it worked pretty well.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


gradenko_2000 posted:

I think the metaphor they were going for is that the Signal causes these people to have special growths on their bodies, marking them as different the same way that Jesus had the Stigmata.

I bet his understanding of Christianity is as deep as of politics.

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



I... Guess that makes sense?

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



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

Just about everyone in Vodacce fears a Fate Witch, even their husbands. However, every noble also craves their power. Strega exist in their own social stratum and identity, raised from birth to harness their power. They form a tight-knit community of sorceresses, teaching their power to the young and aiding the nobles. Most if not all noble families in Vodacce have Sorte somewhere, and sons of potent strega are often married off exclusively to other strega in order to keep the bloodlines strong. Fortunately, the practice is widespread enough to avoid inbreeding. The gift can lie dormant in male lines, who will still cite their sorcerous ancestry with pride. Generally speaking, a strega is identified at birth. Almost all of them bear il bacio de destino, the kiss of Fate - a red birthmark on the cheek or neck, typically either shaped roughly like a heart or lips. The birth of a new witch is often celebrated with lavish parties, and they are typically betrothed within months to cement alliances. This is one reason few would dare to attack even an untrained witch - you draw not just family retaliation, but their allies, too. Most strega are born to nobles, but any Vodacce girl has a chance of having the gift. The nobles find strega born to common families quickly, raising them as nobles in exchange for, usually, vast sums of money paid to their families.

Streghe raise younger sorceresses from birth in the rules of the sorcery. Girls born to nobles study under their mother, usually, while those of the lower classes study with the families they will marry into. The education includes etiquette and behavior, of course, and the men of the house frequently police it to ensure nothing forbidden is part of it. All training is by rote and experience, as literacy is forbidden. Streghe spend most of their lives isolated, learning only from each other how to handle the social structure of Vodacce. They are taught quickly how potent their power is, and their real training begins at age 10, when they receive their first deck. This deck contains only the Lesser Cards, which are used to learn how to read the Weave. By the age of 12, when they begin practical training in other Tesse, they must have a strong grasp of the Lesser Cards and may begin incorporating Greater Cards, starting with those that resonate most with them.

Upon mastery of the basic deck, a strega may begin to learn Tesse. While they will study all four Weaves in time, they may choose which to start with. Most tend to begin with the Arcana Tesse, which is the most common of all four. Not all do so, but the habit of constantly Reading the world around them leads most to find ways to learn more and manipulate that information. Many work to command all four Weaves, and those who have equal mastery of all are viewed with awe and fear. If a young strega wishes to learn but has no appropriate mentor in her own family, she will often be sent to another family for a time to study. The education of young streghe takes precedence over any political alliance or rivalry, and it is common for nobles to turn a blind eye to this fosterage. Streghe themselves rarely care about political relations between their families, forming tight friendships regardless of politics. They can't take part in most public affairs until married and are still isolated even after, so they only end up bonding with their own communities. They tend to be quite pragmatic, seeing the results of their magic as purely business and unrelated to personal relationships.

While nobles almost exclusively marry streghe, there are always rumors of middle-class and peasant families secretly keeping their daughters and marrying them within their own social circles. There are also rumors of streghe serving as headmistresses in schools for young girls near the borders. It's hard to get any detail on such schools, though, and many doubt that they actually exist. Any streghe that exist outside the nobility are very careful to hide their abilities, for fear of societal retaliation.

Streghe are universally considered noblewomen by virtue of their gift, regardless of birth. Vodacce makes this easier to handle by the fact that it generally doesn't use or have surnames, as it means that it's not immediately obvious that someone was born to a common family just from their name. Streghe often adopt the surname 'Destine', as they are typically considered to be their own family. While streghe are often betrothed from a very young age, they rarely meet their fiances until the wedding. During training, a strega is almost entirely isolated from the world, to minimize the potential fallout from their early pulling of the strands. If not betrothed by the time training is complete, they remain in their family's home until marriage. Typically this isn't a very long time, and most streghe learn far more from their teachers than their actual family.

To learn etiquette, powerful families host mock social events that emulate the obligations a noblewoman will face in society. These are typically open to any witch in training and their teachers, offering a chance not only to test their abilities but also to learn the complex social cues of Vodacce life and to become accustomed to the gowns and veils they will have to wear outside the home. To practice among actual nobles would risk disgrace, however, and so the roles of the actual nobility (besides the witches) are played by hired courtesans, who understand noble society intimately but do not cause any risk of losing face. Courtesans are also happy to receive the blessings of the young streghe, and generally accept that the price of these blessings is the occasional curse practice, too, with the understanding that such curses will not last long. Pulls are, of course, prohibited at such events - using a Pull in a social gathering would be a major faux pas.

After the party ends, the courtesans and teachers meet privately. Most believe it is to discuss and evaluate the students, but few noblemen ever actually learn what happens behind those closed doors. Those that know do not admit to it, because what it is is a quiet alliance of courtesans and streghe that lets them actually influence politics. Outsiders often wonder why Fate Witches accept their lot so readily, and the truth is that they don't, but instead work around it. Their existence is restrictive, and while an individual husband may give his wife much private leeway, in public they must remain demure and obedient. Not all men give private luxuries, either. Thus, the streghe often suffer and need the aid of the courtesans. They often trust the courtesans, who are better educated and versed in politics, to give them political advice and help. In exchange, the streghe wield their power for the benefit of their helpers. The guise of veiled disapproval and hatred between the two groups is largely a public facade, though on individual levels, many streghe do indeed hate many courtesans or vice versa. Just, for the betterment of women, they put aside their differences behind closed doors to help each other to a common goal.

This women's alliance is mostly about schemes within Vodacce, but the highest echelons of power among women almost all work with Sophia's Daughters, spreading from trusted allies of its original founders. The group uses the rumoured schools on the borders to educate streghe, using agents to carefully suggest the schools are merely false gossip. Outside the gaze of the nobles, the schools have it much easier arranging safe passage out for their women. It is easier to transport young girls still in training, but it isn't unheard of for adult women to flee either, even those married for years. Outside Vodacce, however, the streghe remain adamant about controlling the training of new witches. Many safehouses also serve as schools of Sorte as well as the topics more generally forbidden to Vodacce women, like literacy, or survival skills for outside a court setting. The schools in the safehouses are generally run by prominent escapees, who typically stay underground to avoid recapture, but are often some of the best witches alive. They often have to make makeshift decks for their students, using them to teach literacy alongside magic. (This often helps the grown women involved to learn to read and write in the frame of teaching the younger girls the meanings of the Arcana, too, and they've begun starting written records on how to cast Tesse properly and deal with Lashes.)

Next time: Sorte Untrained

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



JcDent posted:

Cogmunist Manifesto: This Machine Mauls Capitalists - an RPG Of Revolution In Steam-covered Cities

TBF, Communism historically is steampunk. It came out as a reaction to both industrialization and a Europe largely monarchist, among other things (like American chattel slavery)

Which is why I question Gears' use of a revolutionary figure like Lenin for it's face of the Empire instead of basing it off Victorians or the Habsburgs. poo poo why not Lord Kirchner or Bismarck?

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

Young Freud posted:

TBF, Communism historically is steampunk. It came out as a reaction to both industrialization and a Europe largely monarchist, among other things (like American chattel slavery)

Which is why I question Gears' use of a revolutionary figure like Lenin for it's face of the Empire instead of basing it off Victorians or the Habsburgs. poo poo why not Lord Kirchner or Bismarck?
Are you American? Our educational system is basically designed to make you terrified of any revolution that isn't about elections and free markets. Looking back on my primary school history education, there was a recurring theme that too much democracy, too much unrest and activism, opens the way for demagogues and mob violence and systematic purges, e.g. France, the Soviet Union, and Nazi Germany. As opposed to the way America did it, which was only cruel to the Native Americans.

Strangely, I learned absolutely nothing about South America in the 20th century

Halloween Jack fucked around with this message at 13:17 on Aug 3, 2018

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




Halloween Jack posted:

Our educational system is basically designed to make you terrified of any revolution that isn't about elections and free markets.

I would call that part a perfectly sensible fear. Gears of Defiance is definitely too cutesy and cartoony for its subject matter though, on top of the whole using a Lenin figure for the evil regime in a way that doesn't feel like a deliberate reversal or commentary.

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012




For Gold & Glory: Chapter 2: Races

As we all know, in all fantasy worlds there are six races: Grouchy humans, beardless humans, short humans, half-beardless humans, tall humans, and hobbits.

In the last update we learned that you need to have high enough ability scores to qualify as a demi-human (which is D&Dese for "playable non-humans"). Don't worry, all the races come with ability modifiers and you only need to meet the requirements after modifiers. The requirements are also fairly lax, with only dwarves and halflings requiring ability scores over 8.

More strictly, not all races can pick all classes. I have no idea why, but so it goes. Only humans and half-elves can become druids, for instance, and half-elf druids can only advance to level nine out of what I assume to be twenty. I have no idea how this is supposed to work in practice.

Demi-humans can choose to multiclass instead of picking only a single class. The combinations are almost always some mix of fighter, cleric, mage and thief.

Dwarves
Dwarves are gruff and live in the mountains. They get +1 con and -1 dex, are slightly slower than humans and see in the dark. They can become fighters, thieves or clerics, or multiclass as fighter/clerics or fighter/thieves.

They're extra resistant to poison (which explains why they don't get the regular saving throw bonus from constitution) and magic, to the point that they have trouble using activated magic items not made for their class.

Dwarves are huge racists and get +1 to attack orcs and goblins. Ogres, trolls and giants get a whopping -4 to attack dwarves.

Growing up underground has also given dwarves a mysterious ability to notice things like hidden walls or traps built in natural stone, as well as tell how deep underground they are.

Elves
Elves are very pretty, long-lived and standoffish. They get +1 dex and -1 con and see in the dark. They can become fighters, mages, thieves, clerics or rangers, or multiclass in any combination of fighter, mage and thief.

Elves get +1 to attack with bows, short swords and long swords. They're resistant to sleep and charm spells and can notice secret doors.

Elves are also sneaky as long as they're not wearing metal armour or hanging out with the rest of the party, so basically never. It's not even any kind of skill bonus, it's a bonus to surprise checks.

Gnomes
Gnomes are smaller, less grouchy dwarves who live in the boonies. They get +1 to int and -1 to wisdom, are half as fast as humans and see in the dark. They're small, which is probably a massive mechanical pain. They can be fighters, clerics, thieves or illusionists, which are a special kind of mage. They can multiclass any two of these classes, even illusionist.

Gnomes get many of the dwarven abilities remixed: They are magic resistant like dwarves, and suffer even more magical item malfunctions. Like dwarves, they're also racists, getting attack bonuses against kobolds and goblins and giving penalties when attacked by gnolls, trolls, ogres, etc. They also get a version of the dwarves' stone cunning ability that works in natural underground spaces.

Half-elves
Half-elves are less pretty, shorter-lived, more approachable elves. They don't get ability modifiers, but they see in the dark. They can be any class by illusionist or paladin, and they can multiclass in a whole bunch of ways.

They're resistant to sleep and charm spells and can detect secret doors. They're worse at both of these things than elves. That's it.

Halflings
Halflings are hobbits: Sociable, socially conservative. They don't know how to make shoes. They get +1 to dex and -1 to strength, are half as fast as humans and see in the dark. They're as small as gnomes. They can be fighters, clerics, thieves or fighter/thieves.

They're resistant to magic and poison like dwarves (but don't have issues with magical items), stealthy like elves and get +1 to hit with slings. They can also tell directions outdoors.

Humans
Humans can't multiclass or see in the dark.

Jan Mostaert: Portrait of an African man (Oil on oak panel, circa 1520–1530)

To cap the chapter off, there's some tables for randomising your character's height, weight and age. There are age penalties.

Restricting classes by race makes no sense because so few of these racial abilities are even any good. What a weird game.

Coming up next: Chapter 3: Classes!

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

Kavak posted:

I would call that part a perfectly sensible fear. Gears of Defiance is definitely too cutesy and cartoony for its subject matter though, on top of the whole using a Lenin figure for the evil regime in a way that doesn't feel like a deliberate reversal or commentary.
Well, I should have just said liberal capitalism--it's not like my teacher told me that George Washington got the British to leave America by voting them out.

JcDent posted:

Except that nobody is saying that in this thread.
Yes I am.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Can humans still DUAL CLASS because if they can you are in for endless fun and by fun I mean pain.

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



Night10194 posted:

Can humans still DUAL CLASS because if they can you are in for endless fun and by fun I mean pain.
It wouldn't be second edition otherwise. :unsmigghh:

Ultiville
Jan 14, 2005

The law protects no one unless it binds everyone, binds no one unless it protects everyone.



gradenko_2000 posted:

Okay, I'll cop to that, but I still stand by my point that there were certain equipment benchmarks that people wanted (if not needed) to hit, and that it formed a base for how the loot rules were formed for 3e.

Sure, and my broad characterization of 3e was broad too, since in practice players got ahead of the treadmill, rather than just keeping up, because supplement creep quickly meant things like attack rolls and save DCs could grow far faster than monster defenses did. But neither of these things mean there wasn’t a clear design intent that’s importantly different. Wealth-by-level was a good guideline to have, but it came with a design philosophy that was much more “numbers all go up” than 2E’s was. In D&D3 your numbers go up a lot, but unless you’re a specllcaster, who gets increasingly absurd ways to rewrite the narrative, your life doesn’t change that much in terms of your tactical considerations. On-level monsters stay about as hard to hit, and assuming they get to full attack you, hit about as hard (difficulty of discovering what’s an appropriate monster in 3E aside).

Between saves and the more tightly bound armor classes, 2E isn’t like this. Your higher level character is going to hit more often and save more often than your lower level one, regardless of opponent. Items are related, but they’re not the major component of what’s going on, and it creates a very different feel. High level 3e characters feel more mechanically powerful almost exclusively through access to magic. It’d be just an interesting style variance if everyone got equal access to magic or if high level feats bridged the gap, but neither of these things is really true, so instead it’s a major contributor to caster supremacy.

Leraika
Jun 14, 2015

slime time



I really wish Wick's pet nation wasn't so WEIRD about women.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Leraika posted:

I really wish Wick's pet nation wasn't so WEIRD about women.

The setting would be better if it just rewrote Voddace entirely, as in didn't try to connect them to their 1e incarnation in the slightest and went with a wholly new concept for Not-Italy. All of Voddace feels like it should be returned to the author covered in red marks and 'see me'.

Alternately, replaced with 'Voddace: These Guys Are Just The Worst' and then leave it there. No further explanation.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

You can't have the Doomed Highborn Manchildren without the Arrogant Goth Prostitute Assassins.


VVV Somehow holding it together while you're superstitious because you have a procession of rulers dying horribly is a very Italian thing.

Halloween Jack fucked around with this message at 15:13 on Aug 3, 2018

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


The situation with women in Voddace should be 'Holy poo poo, they can do this and your solution is to try to piss them off as much as possible? No wonder your entire country is constantly on fire'.

Also Voddace should be on fire all the time, all its rulers suffering incredible misfortune at every turn and then wondering why beating the luck witches isn't making them luckier.

Alternately just drop all the creepy weird poo poo and write a normal fantasy swashbuckly pastiche like all the other places. I'm sure Italy can do with a hat besides 'Awful Doomed Highborn Manchildren' and 'Issues With Women'.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



7th Sea 2: Nations of Theah, Vol. 2 - How To gently caress Up

As more and more streghe escape Vodacce, the possibility of growing up either unaware of the power or using it without training increases massively. Streghe insist on training all young witches they are aware of for good reason - Fate demands a price, even if you don't know it. Ask too much, and it whips back on you. A trained strega understands how to repay Fate and how not to ask too much, but the untrained rarely understand how, if they know they incur a debt at all. The power of Sorte does not manifest until the age of 10, and without training, they may think themselves just abnormally lucky. In youth, things just bend to their favor. However, as they age, Fate turns slowly but surely against them. Even without the benefit of a deck, they learn to read the world and pull at the threads by trial and error, causing good and bad luck. Within Vodacce, Fate Witches that gently caress up usually only end up taking down themselves and their families, maybe a small part of town. Getting too many Lashes is hard, because other streghe can see them and will force you to atone and stop the potential tragedy.

Outside Vodacce, these things can grow to cataclysmic proportions, gathering years' worth of Lashes and condemning the world around them to a terrible fate. Famine, plague, entire towns swallowed up by the earth. Fate's backlash is not just against you, but everyone you use your power on. Entire communities have been decimated or damned by an untrained witch not understanding the costs of her own power. Streghe do all they can to follow such rumors, to locate and train those who don't understand their gifts.

Mechanically, this means you can take Sorcery (Sorte Untrained) if you want. Doing so reduces the cost of the Sorcery advantage to 1 rather than 2 each time you buy Sorte Untrained rather than normal Sorte. You can mix and match trained and untrained Sorte, unlike most other Sorceries. You can also pay that one extra point later to upgrade a purchase Sorte Untrained to normal Sorte. Further, every time you learn a new Tesse via Sorte Untrained, you gain a Lash, and the various Tesse also have extra negative effects when used via Sorte Untrained.

Untrained Tesse
Read: Functions entirely normally.
Arcana: When using the Minor version, roll a die. On an even roll, you activate the target's Virtue. On an odd roll, you activate the target's Vice. Major version functions normally.
Blessings and Curses: You do not choose how many Lashes you are willing to take. Instead, when activating these, roll a die; that is how many Lashes (and thus how powerful) your Tesse is this time. You may spend Hero Points to roll an additional die per point spent and choose which die you prefer.
Pull: When you Pull someone, you also Pull yourself. Any time the target moves, you move in the opposite direction. Whenever your target takes Wounds from your Pull, you take an equal amount.

So, dueling! Let's talk dueling. Life as a Vodacce Duelist can be tricky, given the speed at which Vodacce men can and do take offense. They've never had any controversy over dueling, of course - duels have always been a part of life, tacitly approved by the local Vaticine teachings that see inaction versus acting on one's anger to be the true sin. Even so, few opposed the coming of the Guild and its laws, though they are only respected to the same extent any other Vodacce law is respected. Between rich fencers and courtesans following the lead of Veronica Amborgia, there are now far more people who want to become Duelists than there are people to train them. This is a problem, because while there's many qualified training candidates, there is also a lot of illegal dueling. Were the Guild to become involved in all of them, its members would have no time to fight for themselves. Most illegal duels are spontaneous, erupting in a fit of passion. Taking the time to find a Duelist to issue the formal challenge is unthinkable, often seen as a cowardly delaying tactic. Vodacce Duelists often privately agree, but the Guild still has to involve itself in illegal duels to keep the peace, make its money and justify its existence.

The Guild picks when to get involved wisely. If it were to try to stop every fight, it'd quickly run out of both support and manpower. Largely, they issue fines for illegal duels, which discourages casual dueling...sort of. They're high enough fines that many nobles engage in illegal duels for the thrill of the chase from the Guild. It may seem prudent for the Guild to find and fine these nobles, but doing so to, say, a Prince's son would be disastrous if they wanted to stay in the Prince's lands - which, generally, they do. Still, they justify their existence well to the fencers of Vodacce. While many fencers in the land are skilled, Duelists are legend, their names striking fear into the hearts of lesser swordsmen. Even the most eager fighter often backs down when learning they face a Duelist. Besides their superior skill, Vodacce's Guildhouses teach students how to control their emotions. This is useful anywhere, but for the Vodacce, who are known for their quick and volatile tempers, it can prove extremely helpful, making them more calculating and deadly.

The solution to the Guild's illegal dueling problem has often involved trading on the fear and respect that Duelists command. Some Duelists in each House are skilled gossips, tracking local feuds and dramas in order to get ahead of the game and be on hand when potential duels break out. Typically, a Duelist will contact both parties of a dispute they learn of to offer their services early, assuming that there will be a need sooner or later, and to ensure they know the Guild is watching. Larger Guildhouses have even taken to sending out nightly patrols to retroactively officiate impromptu duels and collect a fee from the challenger (or the winner, if the challenger is dead or unconscious). Most of the Princes and many of the richer merchants keep a Duelist on staff to ensure that any fights that happen under their auspice are approved. Rumor also has it that the Vodacce Guild quietly offers its aid to any man or woman, no matter their origin or skill, if they come to fight for revenge. Vengeance, in Vodacce, is always free.

Many nobles avoid Guild fines by hiring a bravo, a fighter that will serve as their bodyguard. Often the bravo is a Duelist, though not always. The Guild only concerns itself with duels where it's likely to see a profit by getting involved, and it's far less likely to fine a random bravo for dueling than a wealthy merchant or noble...unless they learn about the bravo's benefactor. Sometimes, a warrior will pledge themself as the bravo for a family member, friend or lover, putting their own reputation on the line for whoever they've sworn to protect. The bravo tradition is likely the most honorable tradition Vodacce has. They may serve as watchdogs, but they are devoted and loyal ones as long as the pay keeps coming - and some do not even ask for pay, serving only out of a sense of duty.

No one is sure who invented the Le Strade style of dueling, though many make the claim that they did. It is named for the narrow streets it was born on, designed for fights in the tight and twisting boulevards and high spires of Vodacce. Students of Le Strade view the environment as an obstacle course and a way to gain advantage. They favor lighter swords and a free offhand, to better aid them in vaulting walls, swinging from bridges and so on. They take training very seriously, and often make runs through new locations in order to learn the distances between buildings, the height of obstacles and the strength of railings - it's better to know ahead of time than risk death pulling stunts unaware in a duel. When two Le Strade fencers meet, they tend to show off their latest tricks to each other, and when this happens at a Guildhouse, it can gather huge crowds that bet on the outcomes. The style bonus is La Furia delle Strade. When you wield a fencing sword in one hand and nothing in the other, and you fight in an environment with a number of obstacles to climb, jump or swing on, such as a city, a town or a ship, you may perform the La Furia delle Strade Maneuver. This prevents (Athletics) Wounds, and creates an environment-related Consequence for your foe with (Finesse) Ranks. They can overcome this with a single Raise, but if they don't by the end of the round, they take the Consequence's Rank in Wounds. You may use this only once per round.

Next time: Legends.

Aschlafly
Jan 5, 2004

I identify as smart.
(But that doesn't make it so...)


It was definitely better than life under the Tsar.

Nessus posted:

I am sure someone is out there who will say that this is a fundamental misunderstanding of both projects, simultaneously both liberal and neo-liberal. That said are you talking about Sigmata or Gears of Defiance?
I'm unironically liberal (lol). I was just wondering if either setting's underlying ideology might not be anti-left wing despite superficial appearances of an anti-left wing bent. Co-opting left-wing imagery and symbolism for right-wing purposes is very much a thing.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



2e Vodacce does not, IMO, go nearly far enough in changing 1e. The focus on Giovanni Villanova is dropped and some more interesting folks are added, but it's basically the same as 1e.

Which is odd, because the context has changed. Vodacce women are supported by something like four foreign nations and between three and five different international conspiracies, plus various systems and groups within their own nation.

I have no loving clue how they haven't taken over the country yet.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

Aschlafly posted:

The 2e fighter feels like at least a passing attempt at mimicking some of the mythical/fantasy material the class is supposedly based on. It's not a great facsimile, but it feels much more heroic than... whatever the hell happened in 3e.
1. Feats seem like something meant to empower PCs, but the combat system and combat feats are built around "everything not explicitly permitted is forbidden." Disarm, Sunder, Overrun, Trip, all provoke an attack of opportunity and a penalty...unless you have the feat. The default is that you're complete poo poo at everything. You're not buying feats to specialize, you're buying them to not always suck.

2. Giving monsters PC stats caused hit point inflation. Very bad if your only way to win encounters is hit point damage.

3. Fighters just have poorer saves than in 2e, and the dodgy math caused save DCs to go through the roof.

4. Spellcasters are more powerful, and plenty of monsters are basically spellcasters.

5. To the extent that monsters were balanced at all, they were balanced against a fighter operating at peak efficiency. As fighters go up in level, they become increasingly helpless if they lose one piece of equipment or can't use their best tactic in this situation. At level 4, if you lose your preferred weapon you lose access to Weapon Focus and Weapon Specialization, so -1 to hit and -2 damage. Higher levels assume you'll have magic weapons and armor and thus a big penalty if you can't use all your best gear for any reason.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


The other weird thing is it sounds like no-one looked at poo poo like the Strega and asked 'does this sound like any fun to actually play or interact with.'

I know I go back to Hams all the time because working on the Hams reviews is my thing, but look at Bretonnia. The entire point there was that being a lady in disguise or a peasant pretending to be a noble or a noble pretending to be a peasant revolutionary was so central to the game that it was opt in opt out on whether or not anyone discovered you. The legal punishment for getting caught could even be 'go continue to be a PC! But technically punitively!' It was a non-disruptive plot hook that was there to get played with and to be a running joke about the way the country papers over all the cracks in its fairy-tale existence with polite fictions. It could either be a minor running joke or a major personal plot hook. What actual gameplay and fun to interact with stuff is enabled by all this weird Voddace stuff?

DAD LOST MY IPOD
Feb 3, 2012

Fats Dominar is on the case




vodacce has always been kind of weird and hosed up because it’s totally under the thumb of seven dudes of varying degrees of evil or uselessness. there’s no sense of progress— like in Montaigne you’ve got the revolution, in Castille the young king might be able to bring his nation into the future, in eisen you can help rebuild and shape the fate of the nation by backing the Eisenfursten or Freiburg. about the best you can do in vodacce is help one bastard beat another.

Aschlafly
Jan 5, 2004

I identify as smart.
(But that doesn't make it so...)


I still think a big part of the problem with the degeneration of the fighter class is that "fighter" has never really been a clearly defined role in gaming/narrative space. In basic D&D it literally just meant "guy who is good at physical fighting". In advanced D&D it was more like "guy who is good at physical fighting but is not qualified to be a special warrior like a ranger or paladin", since you had to have special ability scores or alignment to be either one of those. This meant fighters were the sort of default/everyman warrior class, and deviations from the fighter archetype were rare and special.

3e got rid of ability score prerequisites altogether (and was half-hearted about alignment restrictions), which is a good thing, but then what the hell is a fighter? Why would anyone choose to just be "regular badass with a sword" when you could be "badass with a sword who detects evil and can heal" or "badass with a sword who can rage and has skin made of iron" or "badass with a sword who gets a free pet bear and low level spellcasting"? "Well," they must have said, "the fighter can do the basic fighty things everyone else can do, but better." Then you end up with a bland, flavorless class that people nonetheless gravitate toward because "regular guy with armor and a sword" is still an attractive trope from a narrative point of view, if not a mechanical one, and then 4e comes out, and people get pissy because "hey I can't play a fighter who uses a bow, this is some bullshit" or "my fighter can't be a swashbuckler, what gives?" and yadda yadda.

I still like the way Legend d20 dealt with the fighter class, which was to not have one at all. If you just want to be a "regular guy with armor and a sword", pick the barbarian or ranger class, then multiclass to get rid of whichever bits don't seem fighter-y enough and replace them with another set of abilities (like the knight's bonuses to combat maneuvers and stickiness). Voilà. You have your own, personal fighter "class" that grants you interesting mechanics and choices and still keeps you on par with the rest of the party.

Shame Legend d20 was such a clunky mess and never got completed, because the spirit was great, and it was the only d20 game I've ever seen that handled multiclassing in something approaching an intelligent way.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

The conventional wisdom for a long time is that D&D fails to be the flexible fantasy game that people would like it to be, so you should just have 3-4 classes with lots of options and branching paths.

I'm starting to think D&D would be better off as its own thing that leans as hard into its own weird peculiar mythos as much as possible--so eliminate generic classes like Fighter and Wizard in favour of rangers, paladins, bards, warlocks, hexblades, all of that.

Aschlafly posted:

"Well," they must have said, "the fighter can do the basic fighty things everyone else can do, but better." Then you end up with a bland, flavorless class that people nonetheless gravitate toward because
because the fighter actually sucks at it

quote:

and then 4e comes out, and people get pissy because "hey I can't play a fighter who uses a bow, this is some bullshit" or "my fighter can't be a swashbuckler, what gives?" and yadda yadda.
I once tried to explain to someone that if he wants to play a lightly-armored dual-wielding fighter, that's called the ranger, play that. "Nooo," he wailed, "I want to play a Fighter!" He didn't actually want to play a fighter, and he also had brain worms.

Halloween Jack fucked around with this message at 15:43 on Aug 3, 2018

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


I played Pathfinder with an entire group of 'half casters' and not a single mundane character and people actually had a great time until the system math broke down and the players revolted against the concept of Feats (rightly). A Bard, an Alchemist, and an Inquisitor investigating wizard crimes feels like what that system really wishes it was.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Halloween Jack posted:

I'm starting to think D&D would be better off as its own thing that leans as hard into its own weird peculiar mythos as much as possible--so eliminate generic classes like Fighter and Wizard in favour of rangers, paladins, bards, warlocks, hexblades, all of that.
Agreed, but the conservatism of D&D's base would create all kinds of whining if they removed something as "iconic" as the fighter (see: 4e not having gnomes in first PHB1), or gave him something interesting and unique relative to other classes (see: 4e, again, or the 3.5e Book Of Weeaboo Fightin' Magic) and accusations of it Not Being Real D&D.

And yeah, Fighter was always the guy who wasn't cool or good enough to be a barbarian or paladin or ranger. At least 1e/2e gave you a mini-army at high levels, or let you kick up your combat effectiveness with weapon specialization. I always thought fighters should be the class that just straight-up murders people, doing shitloads of damage, instakilling things that are lower level than him, getting free continuation attacks, and having that all those abilities be unique to fighters. While you were learning how to cure light wounds or giving belly skritches to your animal companion, I was studying The Blade, motherfuckers.

An 8th-level fighter showing up should scare the crap out of everyone and be the immediate focus for missiles and spells (which he can take because his class has high HP and good saves).

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

This is why I don't bother with official D&D anymore. They've made it clear that their #1 priority is not making baby cry. I don't give a gently caress if baby cries.

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.


I'm playing a fighter in a game of 4E D&D right now and it's amazingly fun.

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017



DAD LOST MY IPOD posted:

vodacce has always been kind of weird and hosed up because it’s totally under the thumb of seven dudes of varying degrees of evil or uselessness. there’s no sense of progress— like in Montaigne you’ve got the revolution, in Castille the young king might be able to bring his nation into the future, in eisen you can help rebuild and shape the fate of the nation by backing the Eisenfursten or Freiburg. about the best you can do in vodacce is help one bastard beat another.

Vodacce's always been the place a PC comes from, never goes to, in my experience. You want to play an escaped Strega who's now working on a Brotherhood of the Coast ship? Go with God. At best it feels like a collection of morally dubious quest-givers.

megane
Jun 20, 2008





I mean, Vodacce is basically the Drow. So it makes sense that the only way they pop up in normal games is a PC going "I am an exile who cast aside and/or escaped from the evil ways of my people."

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


After Spire I can never accept lovely standard drow again.

E: Your regular reminder that Spire rules and lets you play as a heroic and horrifying spider paladin.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 16:15 on Aug 3, 2018

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Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Halloween Jack posted:

I once tried to explain to someone that if he wants to play a lightly-armored dual-wielding fighter, that's called the ranger, play that. "Nooo," he wailed, "I want to play a Fighter!" He didn't actually want to play a fighter, and he also had brain worms.

I'll admit, I feel like I'm leaving gear on the table when I play a class that does what I want in broad strokes, but can't be bothered to use the rest of the class's functionality.

It doesn't help at all that Fighter, especially in a feat-strewn system, has this undeserved rep as the build-a-bruiser class.

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