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Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

I think UA, being a smaller game line with fewer writers and projects to manage, is more consistent about presenting a world that is basically the world you know, with appropriate consequences if you do something like get in a shootout in broad daylight.

Alternately, more games in the "modern urban dark fantasy" vein could benefit with some mechanic measuring your cover and how much heat you're bringing down on yourself.

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Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



7th Sea 2: The Crescent Empire - Survival in the Worst Desert Ever

Once, all of the Tribes were Yasnavan, using the seasonal festivals as cues as to when to move tents. The greatest of these, the Ahura festival, celebrated the jinn with feasts, fire and processions to the ruins of ancient temples. Makeshift shrines still exist through the desert, often near watering holes, to give thanks and make offerings easily while on a journey. These offerings are increasingly important as the jinn have grown more numerous, and even al-Thi'b Dinists tend to leave gifts, just in case. Learning to navigate the desert and learning about the jinn go together, as the stories of the jinn mark out landmarks. For example, an unusual rock formation may be remembered as showing Sanaea and his horse at the spot where he first saw his wife, al-Iza. The next oasis may have a shrine to al-Iza, marking where she first landed in the desert. The stories of Ahurayasna are written in the sands and songs and stars, helping the Tribes connect to the old ways and remember the paths they travel by making them part of holy stories. Even the al-Thi'b learn these tales, to master the desert, and the Yasnavan tribes make a big deal out of stopping to recognize sunrise and sunset. The al-Thi'b and other Dinist tribes are often at a disadvantage in this environment, because staying true to al-Din means having to ignore the rituals that many secretly believe keep them safe. To pray daily, they must outline the walls of a mosque with stones, and to wash their hands they must use sand rather than precious water. Still, the Dinists do their best to adapt to the 8th Sea that is their home.

To outsiders, the 8th Sea is a forbidding hellscape. To the Tribes, however, it has many trails, marked by wells and watering holes, which connect people and ruins and trade. Some of these watering holes are natural springs on mountains, others waterskins tied between rocks to catch rainwater, such as it is, or ancient aqueducts. Mastering water is only part of surviving the 8th Sea, however. The jinn have returned there in number, with so many Dinists and others in more 'civilized' lands rejecting them. Tribespeople learn to read the wind and weather to predict rain and to recognize which jinn are dangerous and what signs they leave. Their survival depends a lot on animal herding, with each tribe staying in their traditional ranges, rotating locations through the seasons to exploit watering holes and shrub grass while leaving where they have been to regrow until the following year.

Tribes aren't singular units. Families move and shift at their own pace, choosing tent locations based on weather, proximity to resources and proximity to neighbors. After all, any tent in a spear's throw of another is part of the same protection group, and too many tents near each other can overwork the local sheikh and overtax their abilities. Responsibility for a sheikh's neighborhood isn't just about family, either. If a visitor or traveler is injured in a tribe's territory, a local family will take great pains to nurse them back to health. If the injury was bad enough, the local sheikh may even adopt the traveler to care for them for the rest of their life. Social relations in the Tribes rely a lot on honor and custom. When visiting a tent, a visitor should always stop a brief way from the entrance, on the pretense of fixing a sandal or a camel's burden, to allow the head of household to exit the tent and greet them. Guests are treated royally, but must be careful not to exploit this hospitality. Traditionally, they don't stay more than three days, and should avoid asking questions about anything the host does not express interest in discussing. Of course, in some cases, a host becomes so eager to give a guest what they like that they will fabricate stories to have an excuse to do so.

The family unit is centered on the tent, which can be packed and moved within a few hours. Tents are typically made of goat hair cut into sixty-foot strips. Once erected, the public area consists of the entrance, the kitchen area and an area full of pillows for sitting and entertaining guests. A couple's sleeping area will be curtained for privacy, though voices carry easily in tents. Tents of a sheikh or a leader of a large extended family will often be quite large, and there may be a second tent exclusively for animals. Tribespeople typically unwind in the evening with entertainment, chatting and the argilah. An argilah is a water pipe, which filters a fragrant herb similar to tobacco through water. Entertainment is often love songs accompanied by the rebab or recitations of poetry. Some sorcerers are also known to use smoke from their pipes to make dancing figures to accompany the songs or poetry. Typically, tribespeople marry within the tribe, though the al-Hisan and al-Jamal have been known to intermarry. Al-Thi'b forbid marriage outside the tribe unless the outsider willingly converts to Dinism and joins the al-Thi'b.

8th Sea cuisine must be practical first and good second, as the Tribes lack the luxury of traveling to the market to pick high quality foods. They eat what they have on hand, and never waste water. Goats and sheep form an incredibly important part of tribal life, as they provide meat as well as the milk used to make herb butter and cheese. Theft of a family's goat is punishable by death because it will kill the victim for lack of food and milk. Hosts welcome all visitors, even strangers, as guests of honor and feast them, called mansef. Typically, for a mansef the host will slaughter a lamb and mix the fat with rice to make a stew. All the neighbors drop in to join the feast, but the guest of honor must be first to eat. The host never eats until all others do. Hosts with the best food earn a good reputation in the tribe, and some travelers go out of their way to visit such families.

Clothing is also built on functionality before any kind of aesthetics. Days are often blisteringly hot and nights freezing cold, especially in winter. The locals favor long, sturdy robes of cotton or wool, called t'ob. These tend to be a few feet longer than the wearer is tall, gathered at the waist with a belt. Robe color usually shows tribal affiliation, but anyone can wear brown or black. Men and women both cover their heads with scarves secured by a ring of camel wool, and both often wear angular leather masks while traveling or when visitors come over. Masks were adopted during the spread of al-Din as a form of modesty and self-respect. They are also highly functional, keeping sand and grit out of the face.

The Quabilat al-Jamal, the Camel Tribe, believe themselves to be the oldest and purest of the tribes, dependent only on the camel and the gods. They aren't the largest tribe, but do control the largest territory, especially with the retreat of al-Thi'b. Al-Jamal tribespeople survive on herding, but are also known for breeding camels, unsurprisingly. Their camels are highly prized by all tribes for endurance and sense of direction. Most camels seem to have a natural instinct to find other camels, but al-Jamal camels follow trails to watering holes pretty much without human intervention, which is extremely useful in sandstorms. The al-Jamal must master the routes of the 8th Sea, and their coming-of-age ritual involves crossing the desert alone, with only a camel and some food, at the age of 13. Once the ritual is completed, they return with the camel and go through a rite of initiation invoking the jinn. This earns them their reins, which they carry for the rest of their lives.

The al-Jamal control a large portion of 8th Sea trade. They trade goat cheese to Ashur for fruit and dates, and they move most of the coinage and jewelry in the 8th Sea. With the angering of Saghira, they are also often hired to protect and guide other merchants through the desert. However, like all tribespeople, they trust family first and strangers last, and drive a very hard bargain for their service. Despite their distrusting nature, they are rarely warlike, and when they do go into battle, it is usually on a camel rather than a horse. Their war camels are excellent at long distance travel, until they charge at the enemy. Those camels that cannot fight perform a terrifying, ululating war cry to protect the warrior camel. Al-Jamal raiders do not take prisoners and have no particular bad feeling toward their foes - they'll usually just kill the leaders and let the rest go home. The richest of the al-Jamal, usually the wali and sheikhs, are permitted to have more than one spouse. This custom allows more to benefit from concentrated wealth, but also means that they are more likely to banish their romantic companions when they grow unhappy. Magic users that do not serve their leaders are often ostracized among the al-Jamal, despite the Empress' wishes, and so between these facts there's plenty of solo nomads among the tribe, tending small flocks for a bare subsistence living.

The Quabilat al-Hisan, the Horse Tribe, are the largest of the warrior tribes, and they breed and ride most of the horses in the 8th Sea. These horses are valued and sold at high prices throughout the world. Other tribes may own horses, but the al-Hisan developed the breed that thrives in the desert sands. Their unique fighting style also earns them a reputation that has grown so large it benefits the entire community of tribes. While all tribes have warrior history, the al-Hisan make it core to their lives. They learn to ride as young children, including the tricks used in tribal raids. They are trained either to rish in and fight in close combat before quickly withdrawing, or to focus on ranged support with the aid of magic and bows. They can often recite epic deeds of their forebears dating all the way back to the Katabi of Raqmu. It is rare but not unheard of for a warrior to learn both styles, and the tribe gathers each year to test their skills and broker marriages and horse trades.

Marriage among the al-Hisan is sealed by the trading of fine horses between the families of the couple. Horses are so vital to al-Hisan life that they even decide who leads the tribe. A wali who gains their position by inheritance may be challenged to a duel of horsemanship, with the winner taking over the leadership of the tribe, with all its benefits. The al-Hisan, like the al-Jamal, are Yasnavan, especially now that the jinn are showing up in numbers. Their skill in managing both spirits and foes has been very good in protecting their herds, and some of their sorcerers have even reported their power growing, suggesting a ginnaya may be favoring them. Even so, they have had to fight several of the darker jinn, and they don't always win those fights. The al-Hisan do still tend to be wealthy and to look down on their al-Thi'b neighbors, even sometimes resenting them for forcing the al-Hisan to protect them.

Next time: The Wolf.

Freaking Crumbum
Apr 17, 2003

Too fuck to drunk




Halloween Jack posted:

I think UA, being a smaller game line with fewer writers and projects to manage, is more consistent about presenting a world that is basically the world you know, with appropriate consequences if you do something like get in a shootout in broad daylight.

Alternately, more games in the "modern urban dark fantasy" vein could benefit with some mechanic measuring your cover and how much heat you're bringing down on yourself.

i really think the biggest issue is that D&D descended from tabletop war games and so combat was the central resolution mechanic and every system not related to combat has been bolted on after the fact. this is fine in a tabletop war game because of course you're going to be murdering a bunch of other humans. it even works in most generic RPG settings because there's a horde of mooks that are acceptable to kill (goblins or robots or storm troopers or etc.) so the game can still retain the combat centric approach without having to explore the moral and legal implications of the characters' actions.

the shortcoming is most apparent to me in games that purport to take place on contemporary Earth, because murder can't meaningfully be the central resolution mechanic any more. i mean, you can certainly murder another human being, but our modern world has been built around the idea that wanton murder is not an acceptable problem resolution method. i think a lot of people have a hard time conceptualizing how an adventure in 20th/21st century Earth would work, because they're still stuck in the mindset of "alright which bad guy do i have to kill" but in a game that was trying to approximate reality, killing other people to solve your problems would realistically only cause much greater problems. poo poo, even physical violence that didn't end in murder but still left someone injured is extremely like to land you in some amount of trouble.

given that though, it seems like games using modern Earth as a setting have had a hard time coming up with a conflict resolution system that didn't heavily feature harming/murdering someone else. either the game goes to great lengths to justify why the murder is okay (you're soldiers fighting the taliban and they're bad guys!) or it just invents threats wholecloth that the rest of the world isn't even aware of (it's okay to kill this vampire because nobody believes they exist any way and besides they're obviously evil and you're doing a net good by removing them from Earth).

UA3 has my favorite approach to resolving this conundrum, where your stress gauges are your abilities and using a skill to cause someone to take stress on a gauge is a much more realistic approximation of how people try and nag or wheedle or coerce each other in real life, without needing to have everything devolve into literal physical violence to make things happen.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts World Book 17: Warlords of Russia, Part 6: "In fact, 'We are Cossack,' is a frequent answer to the question, 'why did you do that?'"

Warlord Troops & Men at Arms

Time for the fightin' classes. We get a long set of details of how they fill out the various forces of the Warlords... mostly just cyborgs, soldiers, and "reavers". The percentages took me a bit to realize that some are supposed to be sub-percentages and don't add up above 100%... editing! It's as difficult as ever.

Then, things get a little weird.


Rad art like this is what you open up a Rifts book for, frankly.

Rifts World Book 17: Warlords of Russia posted:

Cossack: An elite cavalry of horsemen who specialize in riding bionic and real horses, as well as exotic, monstrous riding creatures. They are feared more than respected, and often have a mixed (and questionable) heritage that can be Russian, or a mixture of Russian and Ukrainian, Polish and Mongolian.

Aren't Cossacks an ethnicity? Well, they still are, but- well, let's get to the classes. As always, the percentage is the number of average humans that can qualify for the class.


But can cyborgs get cancer?!
  • Cossack O.C.C. (35%): "Most Cossacks are of mixed heritage of 2-4 different peoples, typically Russian, Polish, Mongolian and/or Chinese." "... Russians tend to regard then as their uncivilized, mongrel cousins." Uhhhh... so. The Cossacks where are presented as stoic, nebulously honorable ur-horsemen with a mercenary attitude. Apparently they've accepted some D-Bees into their ranks! So you can be an alien Cossack adoptee. As a class, they get a special Horsemanship: Cossack skill that gives them extra bonuses while on horseback, as well as special skills for taming wild horses, herding cattle, and trick riding. They get a wide variety of small physical attribute bonuses (and are more charming). They get all of the trick shooting abilities from New West as well. Lastly, they get a "unearthly riding animal; probably a Horned Steed". However, as you'll note above, their Prowess requirement of 12 means only 35% of Cossacks will qualify to take the Cossack O.C.C... wait. Does that mean if you fail to roll to qualify to take the Cossack O.C.C., that you can't be a Cossack? Or does it mean that there are Cossacks that can't be Cossacks and- y'know, I'm just going to sit down for a bit, this is heavy.
  • Reaver O.C.C. (59%): These are the low peons of the Warlords' power structure, as aforementioned, and now you can play one! It's emphasized that this is a step up in terms of class and wealth for most "peasants", but otherwise is a perfectly unexpectional soldier class.
  • Reaver Mechanized Cavalry O.C.C. (5%): "Daredevil maniacs", "devil-may-care lunatics", and "hot-shot heroes", these are stuntmen bikers that ride so cool they literally and mechanically stun their opponents with their rad driving. In fact, they get a Horror Factor of 16 when they BMX into battle. Pretty cool!... and it also inflicts special penalties that are likely to stun opponents for a full round or send them fleeing, making them scarier than some literal gods. They also get half of the trick shooting tricks, tiny combat bonuses, reduced penalties on driving / piloting checks, and combat bonuses while driving. Granted, their high requirements mean you're not likely to ever see one. It also says "43%" are partial cyborgs and "12%" are full cyborgs, but you can't actually start as a ridin' cyborg, despite the majority of your peers getting to be one. Other than that, they're a piloting class. They pilot stuff.

Horror Factor 16.
  • Reaver Assassin O.C.C. (7%): Deadly assassins put through extreme training, which is seemingly inspired by the kind of ridiculous nonsense some Russian Special Forces go through. However, assassins are automatically "evil", "sadistic", and "torturers" who "profit for themselves from the very organization they are secretly undermining" and "about one third will, someday, betray their comrades". Why do we recruit these guys again? Well, some "are secretly humanists as a result of the disproportionate amount of death they've been witness to." Anyway, they get a bunch of combat bonuses and the coveted "automatic dodge" like a Juicer gets, but otherwise are a fairly generic special ops / military guys. Also, they get a bionic arm or hand and some cybernetic extras. Because sometimes you don't want the whole arm. You just want the hand.
  • Reaver Military Scout O.C.C. (27%): Need another variation on the Wilderness Scout from the corebook? No? Well, tough, here's another. "Also known as a Reaver Woodsman and Nature Boy." Are they? Are they really known as Nature Boys? I'm not buying it.
  • Reaver Bandit/Raider O.C.C. (100%): These are shady guerilla fighters and raiders, and serves as the fallback trash class. They get one (as opposed to six) trick shot, nearly meaningless combat bonuses, and a pathetic number of skills which includes such oft-used ones as "Gemology", "Rope Works", and "Weapon Proficiency: Siege Weapons". Oh, and everybody hates you, even your compatriots! But remember, it's not about your class being balanced or good, it's about the role-playing experience.
  • Soldati O.C.C. (100%): These are supposed to be proper soldiers working under the Warlords as opposed to the rougher, less ranked Reavers. Ironically, they have no requirements, and get better skills than most Reavers, even if their combat bonuses are still only modest. We're told they're really ruthless because Russia is a hard place that makes hard men and women! (35% are female.) Also they get a cybernetic compass in their head. Humans only need apply.
  • "Soldati Dimiye"/Smoke Soldiers — Warlord Agent O.C.C. (5%): "The Smoke Soldier is a combination Commando, Spy and Ninja!" That's an intelligence agent. You can just describe them as intelligence agent, authors. They get decent combat bonuses, a wide variety of intelligence skills, and a very loosely-defined set of contacts. Once again, humans only, and it goes on and on about how they are the elite of the elite of the elite that answer directly to the warlords. Only 1 in 800 or so troops can be a smoker, according to the book.
  • War-Knight O.C.C. (9%): So, these are the elite officers who are loved and honorable and basically we've got our paladin archetype for this book, except when they're just shitheels beating up unarmored peasants. People like them even when they're evil! Have some standards, people. In any case, they get some pretty middling combat bonuses and skills, but stand out in what they get - a 180 M.D.C. suit of power armor and a roll to see what special steed they get (robot horse, bionic horse, "mega-steed", "mega-horse", or some more exotic riding animal). They also, bizarrely, have a 2% roll to get master psionics and combine this class with the Mind Melter, at a good chunk of your skills. Pretty cool if you're one of the 0.18% of players that roll that up!

This is how you cyberize D&D the classy way.
  • Warlord Cyber-Doc O.C.C. (18%): Want to play a slightly improved version of the core cyber-doc? No, you don't. Don't even lie. You don't. Nobody does. Everybody wants to be the cyberbride, never the cybermaid.
  • Wingrider RPA Pilot O.C.C. (1%): Yes, it's one of those "class dedicated to a single vehicle" classes. In this case, they ride Green Goblin-styled rocket sleds which require you to be a superelitebestgood pilot to fly around on. Your reward? Flying around on an exposed wing with no parachute! Well, you look cool doing it, at least. They get solid combat bonuses. "Many enjoy listening to loud Russian Dog muzik while flying missions, and take the names of heros from the songs; 'Electrocutioner,' 'Marching Ludmilla' and 'Captain Zuko,' to name a few." I have no idea what that means, but I choose to presume there are music-playing Russian dogs. I gotta liven up this supplement where I can... not that you'll ever get to play one of these guys RAW.

WINGRIDER, WARLORD PILOT with AIR CHARIOT (weapons do not shoot)

Rifts World Book 17: Warlords of Russia posted:

See Rifts® World Book Five: Triax™ & The NGR for other military O.C.C.s suitable for a Russian campaign, including the Communications Officer, Medic/Medical Officer, Field Mechanic, Intelligence Officer, Euro-Juicer and others. These can be NCR expeditionary forces, deserters/rogue troops and mercenaries. Gypsies too.

Oh, don't worry about picking that book up for your ethnic wanderer fix. They'll be reprinted soon enough.

Next: So you wanna be a robo?


"I'll just start ramming machines into your skull, you tell me when to stop."

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Big desert, wandering tribes, half-a-mile long serpents... it's basically spiceless dune, isn't it?



I wanna play that guy. Or a wingrider. One of the first things I remember reading about Rifts is that it's called "the best illustrated game that nobody plays" or some such.

JcDent fucked around with this message at 06:14 on Aug 14, 2018

Ghost Leviathan
Mar 2, 2017

Exploration is ill-advised.


JcDent posted:

Big desert, wandering tribes, half-a-mile long serpents... it's basically spiceless dune, isnxt it?

I was waiting for Dune references. But we're kinda getting recursive here.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Ghost Leviathan posted:

I was waiting for Dune references. But we're kinda getting recursive here.

To be fair, without spice and glowing blue eyes, it's hardly a Dune reference.

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017



I miss Ramon Perez game book art.

Ghost Leviathan
Mar 2, 2017

Exploration is ill-advised.


JcDent posted:

To be fair, without spice and glowing blue eyes, it's hardly a Dune reference.

I mean more that Dune's setting is based on the Middle East in the first place (and Paul's story is a combination of Mohammed and Lawrence of Arabia), though that's probably fairly obvious. (Hell, the Fremen are explicitly said to be descended from Muslims, who are NOT happy they were denied the Hajj)

Also, stillsuits.

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012




For Gold & Glory: Chapter 13: Hirelings and Henchmen

"Hirelings & Henchmen" sounds like the title for some infinitely lamer retroclone.

Not everyone has the talent and gumption to become a mighty adventurer, which honestly makes sense considering the monsters waiting for us in appendix B. Instead, the vast majority of people live quiet lives practicing a trade or whatever, and as a result develop skills that adventurers might find very handy.

Mechanically, these average people are 0-level characters. Their ability scores range between 3–18 like usual, but they don't get any racial modifiers to them, presumably for the sake of simplicity. Note, however, that any racial modifiers to combat stuff still apply, so ogres are going to have a hard time hitting dwarven NPCs. The hit points of 0-level characters vary by profession: Soldiers start with a respectable 1d8+1, a craftsman a 1d6 and a scholar a measly 1d3. Their THACO is always 20 and all their saves suck. They start skilled in one appropriate weapon and one appropriate trade skill.

quote:

Hirelings generally refuse to go on adventures, but they’ll accompany PCs and wait at safe locations, such as a camp outside a dungeon.
In addition to regular old labourers and handymen, there are also four kinds of expert hirelings: Assassins, spies, sages and soldiers. The game suggests that finding the right people to hire could be an adventure in itself. After all, who wants to hire an assassin who is easy to find?

Assassins murder people. Not monsters, just people. It's more of a mindset than an occupation. :ese: They charge completely arbitrary amounts of money and hiring one is never either good or lawful. What are the odds of a successful hit? It's all up to the GM! If it'd be more interesting that they fail, get captured and spill the beans, maybe do that. Or don't. I'm not the city watch.

Spies are like assassins but they don't kill people. :ninja:

Sages are experts in their fields who can be hired to explain stuff to the PCs. They like to hang out in cities since that's where the university libraries are. There's a table for determining the chance to find a sage of a particular field. Lots of sociologists and linguists around, but very few architects, it looks like. The sage should know as much as necessary to keep the adventure progressing, but in case it's not critical info, you could also leave it to a die roll. There's a proficiency roll (exactly like a skill roll) that gets harder the more specific questions the PCs ask. The sage needs some time (up to a month, for a very specific question) to do their research, and the PCs are expected to pay the library fees.

Soldiers are 0-level characters who, unlike the other hirelings, have no qualms about participating in adventures. They provide their own kit, but expect to be fed and lodged. There's a bunch of different sorts the players can hire, from simple footmen and shield bearers to artillerists and siege engineers.

The book helpfully reminds the GM that the players can only hire hirelings if there's a ready labour supply, and most professionals already have a job. Also, word might get around it the party gets employees killed on the reg. I guess that's so the GM can ixnay the players' entirely original idea of filling the entire Tomb of Horrors with the bodies of the locals.

There's a table for weekly wages, but the players are expected to foot the bill for expenses like food and lodging.That must be why the equipment chapter had all those tables for provisions and lodging.

In addition to hiring people, players can also pay a spellcaster to cast a spell. There's a big list of prices, with the caveat that priests are picky about the spells they cast. There's no suggested cost for a raise dead spell, for instance, even though a footnote suggests that even PCs of the correct alignment might owe the temple a payment or a service. How much money is your buddy's life worth? :iiam: It's suggested that the same list could be used if the party wizard wants to copy a particular spell to their spell book. (Looking at the prices, spell piracy is probably absolutely rampant in mage academies. :filez: )

If common hirelings don't provide enough muscle, the situation calls for henchmen. Henchmen are NPCs with actual levels in a class, hired or otherwise persuaded to join the PCs in their adventures. Unlike hirelings, henchmen gain experience from adventuring (albeit only half) and expect a cut of any treasure. It's not said outright, but the book implies that every henchman follows a specific player character. The number of henchmen a character can have is determined by their charisma score. If, through roleplaying, the PC and their henchman become "close friends or allies", the GM should hand the henchman's character sheet over to the player and let them control both characters.


Coming up next: Appendix A: Magic Overview and Spells


The next update might take a day or two, since I need to go through the entire spell list

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Lol @ spell piracy

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





You wouldn't download sleep, would you?

8one6
May 20, 2012

When in doubt, err on the side of Awesome!



Nessus posted:

You wouldn't download sleep, would you?

Oh if loving only!

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Nessus posted:

You wouldn't download sleep, would you?

gently caress you, buddy, I'd download cantrips if I could, I don't give a gently caress!

Cassa
Jan 29, 2009


No cost for copying spells, like in the new dnd edition?

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010




Lipstick Apathy

One of the Warlords being a descendant of the Romanovs is a pitch-perfect target, but the OCCs are just completely unsuited for being Cyber-Bolsheviks leading the Neo-Soviets

SirPhoebos posted:

Unless they added rules, then you won't be finding any guidelines to starting above 1st level. And the reason given by TSR was "Because starting at level one is so important to developing a hero and we can't deny players that crucial experience."

This is from AD&D 1st Edition, but it did actually have rules for creating higher-than-level-1 characters:




These rules weren't that good, mind you - as you can see, you were supposed to roll for your character level, and the items that you got were also largely random, and not even that high of a chance, though they did at least acknowledge that you were supposed to have them.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


The obsession of rolling for everything in early elf games is super bizzare.

Not even elf games - early WHFB and Rogue Trader are all about rolling for you miniature army, what the gently caress.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


I have players who love rolling for lots of stuff because it's how they start piecing a character and concept together, but even then there's always plenty of room for rerolling or editing the results if what's coming together doesn't work for them.

I'm happy to let people do it if it helps them come up with ideas, but it's the sort of thing that should usually be optional since it doesn't work for everyone.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Side note, real glad that WFRP 4e decided to formalize the 'you can choose, or you can get bonus XP for rolling randomly' houserule everyone used.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Huh, I never gave out bonus EXP for it, it was just a matter of 'roll 3 classes and see if one's one you want to play, then roll again if they aren't.' for concept generation with my group.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



4e basically goes ‘you can use point buy or pick what you want or whatever, but the more random you go, the more xp you get’ at every step of chargen.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

Siivola posted:

You're essentially taking a hacksaw to the core combat mechanic of the game for the sake of aesthetics here. I'm not saying it's wrong as such to do so, but you have considered trying some other game first, right?
I agree that in many cases, insisting on using some variant of D&D for every genre is just cargo-culting. I think it's reasonable to want an OSR variant that accommodates Solomon Kane, or even some sci-fi settings that are essentially dungeons (Dead Space or Blame!). But anything that decenters the "combat encounter" or the dungeon, eh, it doesn't really make sense.

marshmallow creep
Dec 10, 2008

I've been sitting here for 5 mins trying to think of a joke to make but I just realised the animators of Mass Effect already did it for me



Mors Rattus posted:

4e basically goes ‘you can use point buy or pick what you want or whatever, but the more random you go, the more xp you get’ at every step of chargen.

So is this something that's decided by the group as a whole or character by character, because it sounds like something that could make character growth increasingly divergent over a long game. I know a lot of people that just do "milestones" for their games because they can't be bothered to track XP values.

MonsterEnvy
Feb 4, 2012

Truly Cursed


marshmallow creep posted:

So is this something that's decided by the group as a whole or character by character, because it sounds like something that could make character growth increasingly divergent over a long game. I know a lot of people that just do "milestones" for their games because they can't be bothered to track XP values.

It's not so much xp that it makes a huge difference. Also xp works differently in that game. Namely that it's more of a currency that you spend on upgrades for your characters talents, skills and attributes.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Character by character, but it likely won't be a huge deal because accepting randomness means a significantly greater chance that you start out with lovely stats or in a career that is unsuited to your stats, and the total amount of XP is only going to put you maybe 3 advances ahead of someone who goes totally non-random.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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7th Sea 2: The Crescent Empire - Peter And The Wolf

The Quabilat al-Thi'b are the only Dinists among the three leading tribes, claiming descent from hunters that accepted al-Din. They remain very proud of both their herding and hunting skills, even if there are no more gazelle in the 8th Sea. They are the smallest of the three tribes, surviving on herding and making Dinist inscriptions on bone or stone and selling them as exotic materials to the Empire. They tend to be poorer than the other two, especially since Saghira forced them from their traditional lands. While they are versed in the old ways for survival, they value al-Din over all else, and tend to be more educated and literate than the other tribes despite their poorer economic position. While they are currently loyal to the Empress, their ancestral ties to Persis suggest they may change allegiances for the right price. However, they have taken the greatest efforts to follow the Empress' new laws, implementing most of her changes. The exception is magic - they still hold sorcerers at arm's length, and known sorcerers are often shunned and pushed out of the tribe, regardless of the Empress' desires.

The al-Thi'b also have one connection the other tribes don't - kin in Persis. The group that remained in Persis rather than maintaining the nomadic lifestyle has now settled into agriculture, study and sometimes even sorcery, bolstered by their reputation of ties to the mysterious 8th Sea. They retain enough in common with the al-Thi'b, however, that they continue to communicate with them via messages written in a code the other tribes never learned. Only the shah of Persis is aware of this connection.

Locations! Asham is a city of history, its walls having stood since the days of lost Katab. It is built on a plateau near Sarmion, and is home to many faiths. Its infrastructure has existed for so long that no one can actually say how old the place is. Its main gate, Bab Yasmin, is wreathed in jasmine flowers and leads to the golden Grand Mosque. New buildings are built atop the old, the ancient stones are repaved - everything is still a living, breathing place. When the Numanari invaded in the 4th century, they reached the 8th Sea's borders, but proved unable to defeat the jinn and giant animals of the desert, so they settled for conquering Asham and using it as their outpost. The Tribes decided not to be broken like the Sarmions and essentially abandoned the city, except for one: the Quabilat al-Tuban, the Snake Tribe. The al-Tuban used ancient tunnels to invade the city and strike at the occuyping Numanari by night, forcing the invaders back to Sarmion. The al-Tuban have run Asham ever since.

With them came the snakes that the tribe takes its name from. They can often be seen around the city, lazing on the altars, and they live in huge numbers within the city's expansive sewers. Locals are used to them and peacefully coexist alongside the reptiles, often leaving offerings of flowers and sweet fruits for them. While most of the city is Dinist these days, many still pay respects to the many-headed serpent jinn that is said to protect the city. There are surprisingly few guards in the city, and most of the locals joke about the thriving Thieves' Guild, though it's the kind of joke you make about a very real problem. However, the guards are not without weapons. Each guard is given a silver cane with gilding along it, which they may slam on the ground to produce vibrations imperceptible to humans, but very loud to the snakes. Serpents will swarm to them, assisting the guard in fighting whoever they are engaged with, which helps put down major crime. The system would be simple and elegant, if a cane had not recently fallen into the hands of criminals.

Recently, more tribes have been coming to Asham, and the government has shifted more towards Crescent law than tribal tradition. Asham serves as a hub for international trade, where most tribes can pick up caravans that want to cross the 8th Sea. Gahdir, the bey of Asham and wali of the al-Tuban, is actively trying to push her city into the modern world, and she plans to build a university in the many underground ruins beneath the city - she just needs to drive the Thieves' Guild out of them first.

Raqmu's location is known only to the tribes, kept a secret for long, long years by those that revere and respect it. It serves as a sort of makeshift capital for the 8th Sea Tribes. It was built from solid stone by the Katabi, long ago, and with each century it grew - new halls, passages, souqs and so on, carved into the stone. Now, it stretches far further into the rocks around it than anyone actually realizes. It's said that it would take an entire lifetime to visit every room of Raqmu; few bother to try. Legend has it that sleeping jinn live within its depths, feeding off the ambient reverence of the tribes. Many believe that if the city were ever attacked, the jinn would awaken and protect them, which may be part of why the other nations have never really made a big effort to discover Raqmu's precise location. Besides its sheer size, Raqmu is also notable for its impressive plumbing system, which brings fresh running water to anyone staying there and safely carries waste out. The water system is extremely ancient, and while the Tribes know how to maintain it, none of them really understand how it was made.

Shakar Hunting Lodge is a well-known landmark on the edge of the Black Desert. In older times, it was the center of an oasis with an underground spring, brought to the surface by tribal ingenuity. However, the machines that brought the water to the surface have long since ceased to work, and no one remembers how to repair them. The lodge is in ruins, though enough remains to tell what happened there. Paintings on the walls depict ostrich, gazelle and other prey that once roamed the area, and the fountain's stone basin sits, dry and unused. Legend has it that the water could even be heated for baths, attended even by the royalty of Persis. Today, the lodge itself is largely ignored. A well has been bored down to the spring beneath, though the rope and pulley require two people or a camel to operate it due to its weight, and another person to steady the bucket as it reaches the top. No tribes settle in the area, but many camp there for a night before moving on. The reason becomes clear by night. The ruins, long abandoned, emit a noise that sounds like knocking on the walls. The wise leave a cup of tea at the entrance and do not enter the ruins themselves, to avoid curses from the jinn that live there. (Or camel theft, as they have been known to do that, too.) In the morning, the tea is gone but the camels are usually still present.

Current Relations posted:

Anatol Ayh: The Tribes owe fealty to the empress, as long as the empire pays their retainer to fight in any upcoming conflict. Most of the Tribes are neutral to her and her reforms. Al-Thi'b especially follow her teachings, attempting to adapt to the changes she demands. At the same time, the Tribes suspect that her traitorous brother has found sanctuary in the 8th Sea and are both eager and wary to be proven right.
Ashur: The Tribes once had an easy relationship with the people of Ashur, trading homemade cheese for figs from Ashur's forest. The Tribes never held much respect for them, viewing their war-making capabilities with disdain. Now that the fig trees are dying, al-Hisan have grown bold and raid within the borders to get the figs they use to feed their horses.
Persis: The Tribes like Persis for the goods and coin it sends in hopes of winning them to its side, but otherwise they feel no particular loyalty. Moreover, international relations between the Tribes and Persis have begun to break down due to the large influx of Yasnavan refugees entering the 8th Sea. Tribal cities bordering Persis feel the strain of supporting more people than they can sustain, and many 'awliya' have reached out to Persic officials, demanding they adhere to the empress' orders and stem the influx of refugees.
Sarmion: The Tribes have historically held a neutral opinion of Sarmion. After the Numanari invasion of Sarmion, relations have been on the upswing. Sarmion has been particularly helpful to the Tribes in relation to the refugees entering the 8th Sea, offering shelter and land within their borders to people fleeing the Persic regime.

And, of course, people. Hala bint Raff is claimed as a member by the al-Jamal. She disagrees. She attracted attention for her green eyes and long hair as a youth, and her skills as a nomadic wanderer who knew every trail in the desert. Her skill and passion have earned her a loyal following. She is one of several daughters of a modestly successful al-Jamal family, and her only brother was a strong, handsome man ready to lead the family. However, the local sheikh saw him as a rival for marriages, and during a sandstorm some of the sheikh's camels went missing due to drunken guards. This gave the sheikh an excuse to banish Hala's brother into the desert. The family was devastated, but nothing could be done. Hala insisted on going with her brother, but she was too young and was not allowed to. It took her months to get a camel and ride out after him...and ultimately, she found his body, mummified by the sands, with strange red marks on his skin and a tiny lizard sheltering in his armpit. From that day on, she renounced her position in her family. Now, she wanders the lands of the al-Jamal, gathering the ostracized and lost under her banner to create a new tribe, the Quabilat al-Suhulia, the Lizard Tribe. She intends two things - first, to find her new people a permanent home, whether that is on the lands of the al-Jamal or elsewhere, and second, to find the ginnaye called Am Alssahali, who might give her the power to speak with the lizard she found on her brother's corpse, so she can learn what, exactly, happened to him.

Baha ibn Quasim al-Zummena is a young man who is much stronger than he looks, fast and agile even by his tribe's standards. While he is respectful of his sheikh, he often wanders off on his own to go exploring, sometimes getting into trouble for it. He is insatiably curious about foreign cultures and peoples, and he's happy to endanger himself to learn more about them. He has spent most of his life with the small Zummena tribe, though some of them claim he was found as an infant and adopted. The Zummena, unlike most of the tribes, spend only half the year herding their goats and horses in the desert, selling or slaughtering their herds after this to spend the other half living along the coastline. Baha took things a step further at the age of ten, stowing away on a merchant's camel headed for Sarmion. By the time he got back home, he'd seen half the empire. Since then, he's been a kind of unofficial ambassador for his tribe in more settled lands, taking goods to sell and helping his fellow tribespeople handle the strange customs of foreigners from beyond the sea. He is also known to help those foreigners without much care for reward, as long as he can learn. He recently ran into an elderly Sarmion man in the desert, who died the day after despite his best efforts, but told Baha that he was Taavi of the Raam, and begged Baha to find his daughter Kanah bat Mirah and tell her that Raam was not lost - it was somewhere in the desert. Baha now hopes to gather a team to find the Raam in Taavi's memory.

Al-Fiddata claims to be al-Hisan, but she has not lived among them for a while now. No one is quite sure how old she is, either. Her 'name' is taken from her silver hair, and this and her weathered skin suggest she's been around for decades. While she could be a sheikh or even wali, she prefers to keep to herself. Some say she prefers the company of jinn to people. No one can name her as family, so all stories of her early life are rumor. Some say she showed an early knack for horses, becoming a breeder whose care for her horses was more than her care for their owners. It is said she could break a stallion with words alone, and her mares brought forth only the finest foals. When a young man rejected her interests, it is said, she retaliated by slaughtering his family's whole herd. She was exiled, they say, and vowed revenge on the entire tribe, and that since then all horses flee her in fear. Other stories claim she has always been ally to the jinn, selling her soul for power over others. When this was discovered, she was exiled, and the reason horses flee her presence is their sensitivity to evil. The truth is unknown, but rumor has it that al-Fiddata trafficks with ginnaye and afarit, focusing on the growth of her own powers. Some say she will aid certain travelers, but always at a price - often a far greater price than one expects. She is Strength 5, Influence 9.

Mumtez ibn Talal al-Thi'b is an al-Thi'b sheikh, greatly respected. He is not large, but his presence is imposing due to a forceful tone and quick wit. He is a perfect exemplar of custom and hospitality, but he is also terrifying. He lies easily and bends rules to serve his own needs. He wants to become the wali of the tribe, and perhaps more. He is his family's elder following his brother's death when an al-Hisan horse given as a gift threw his brother and killed him. The al-Hisan were horrified and quickly apologized, giving the al-Thi'b their own wali's horse as recompense. Abd ibn Alet, wali of al-Thi'b, accepted the gift, smoothing over relations. However, Mumtez refuses to let the incident go, using it to spread dissent against the wali. What no one knows is that Mumtez doesn't even care about his brother's death, which was caused by Mumtez putting a burr under the saddle to ensure the horse threw and trampled him. He's manufactured a crisis as well, forcing the wali of al-Hisan to provide defense for his family by manipulating custom. Mumtez is planning to fake another death in the family so he can blame the al-Hisan and start a war. (Specifically, his wife, whom he has hired mercenaries to attack while dressed in al-Hisan clothing as she escorts a Thean caravan to Persis.) Mumtez does love his own son, Rahim, but Rahim has fallen in love with the al-Hisan wali's daughter. Mumtez plans to prevent any marriage by publically humiliating Jamila via spoiling her horse feed, to ensure his son has no choice but to shun her. He is Strength 4, Influence 5.

Next time: Mechanics!

Tricky
Jun 12, 2007

after a great meal i like to lie on the ground and feel like garbage




Mors Rattus posted:

Character by character, but it likely won't be a huge deal because accepting randomness means a significantly greater chance that you start out with lovely stats or in a career that is unsuited to your stats, and the total amount of XP is only going to put you maybe 3 advances ahead of someone who goes totally non-random.

I think, absolute max, it puts a completely random character about two sessions of XP (using the recommended "per session" pacing) ahead of a completely crafted one. It's not a huge deal, though it does put you that much closer to hitting rank 2 in your career and getting a little bit of breadth that the hyperfocused deterministic character will probably be lacking.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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7th Sea 2: The Crescent Empire - How 2 Crescent

Backgrounds!
General Backgrounds
Castaway: You were lost and alone. Earn a Hero Point when you go out of your way to save another character from isolation.
Poet: You were a wordsmith. Earn a Hero Point when your insistence on protecting or expanding your reputation gets you into trouble.
Tactician: You were a strategist and planner. Earn a Hero Point when you successfully disarm the threat of a war, large or small, without resorting to battle.
Treasure Hunter: You were a treasure hunter. Earn a Hero Point when your hunger for rare trinkets, lost artifacts or similar gets you into trouble.
Anatoli Only
Alharis: You learned the Art of the Second Prophet, the magic of the world's beauty. Earn a Hero Point when you use your Sorcery to bring comfort to the disenfranchised or downtrodden.
Ghazi: You were a master of the warlike heritage of the Anatoli. Earn a Hero Point when your insistence on a martial solution to a problem backfires and causes you trouble.
Kurtanoglu: You were a savage hunter of glory and battle, though you have since distanced yourself from your savage kin. Earn a Hero Point when you involve yourself in a conflict solely for the glory it will bring.
Yol Seeker: You walked the paths of enlightenment. Earn a Hero Point when you help another character achieve a moment of enlightenment, clarity or a similar breakthrough.
Ashurite Only
Climber of the Green Mountain: You were an Assassin. Earn a Hero Point when a problem could be easily solved by murder, but you find a less bloody solution.
Elohim: You were a caretaker of nature and a follower of Yesu. Earn a Hero Point when you defend a natural wonder or protect the natural world from destruction.
Hatapu: You inherited an Assassin's mystic collar and its sorcerous power. Earn a Hero Point when your commitment to saving someone else from witnessing the horror and pain of death causes you trouble.
Pleroma: You tried to govern the ungovernable. Earn a Hero Point when you successfully persuade a group of people to aid their neighbors with a problem that does not directly affect them.
Persic Only
Immortal: You were a soldier of honor and skill, a member of the Immortals. Earn a Hero Point when your commitment to protecting the reputation of the Immortals gets you into trouble.
Khahesh: You wielded the magic of the Ahuras. Earn a Hero Point when your connection to the Ahuras becomes known and complicates a problem, rather than solves it.
Persic Rebel: You fought against the shah. Earn a Hero Point when you tell someone in authority exactly what you think of him, even when you really shouldn't.
Student of Firuzeh: You were trained by Firuzeh, one of the greatest living poets. Earn a Hero Point when you turn a rival into an ally, student or friend.
Sarmion Only
Chavra: You were one of the elite warrior-investigators of Sarmion. Earn a Hero Point when you choose to take on a problem alone, in order to protect others from the task's potential danger.
Chayalim: You were a soldier, trained in combined arms. Earn a Hero Point when you defy your superiors, refuse to obey orders or similarly buck authority in order to do what you think is right.
Divine Lyrist: You wielded the power of Chozeh, the magic of Elohah's promises. Earn a Hero Point when you keep a promise that it would be to your advantage to break.
Yachidi Doctor: You were a trained physician. Earn a Hero Point when you coerce, persuade, threaten, cajole or otherwise force a character to allow you to give them medical attention.
Tribes of the 8th Sea Only
Khadim: You wield the sorcery of trust and obedience. Earn a Hero Point when you retrieve your thiqa from another character.
Murshid: You were a trainer in the ways of survival. Earn a Hero Point when you help another character avoid danger through leading by example.
Mustakshaf: You were a ruin raider. Earn a Hero Point when your pursuit of ancient treasure and fabulous riches gets you into trouble.
Zahrah's Cousin: You trained with Zahrah bint Marwa al-Amin, one of the greatest living poets and mistress of history. Earn a Hero Point when you convince another character to commit to a course of action by appealing to their bloodline, family honor, national pride or a similar aspect of their personal history.

Advantages! Some notes - each nation has its own sorcery, but that sorcery isn't quite as restricted. The Art of the Second Prophet can be learned by anyone from Anatol Ayh or by any Dinist. Chozeh can be learned by anyone from Sarmion or any Yachidi. Khahesh-Ahura can be learned by anyone from Persis or any Yasnavan. Mithaq Alqadim is still restricted to just the 8th Sea Tribes, and Nawaru is actually extra-restricted. Nawaru cannot be learned in chargen except if you are both Ashurite and have either the Hatapu or Climber of the Green Mountain background.
1 Point
The Old Traditions: You know the rites of hospitality and may request them whenever you need food, water, shelter, medical aid or so on. You will be offered this by any other character, so long as they don't think it puts them in danger and as long as you promise to do the same for others. This does not work against Villains or their direct underlings, or any character that has reason to already dislike or distrust you.
Well Read: You always know where to find information about a particular historical subject. You know what texts to consult, even unique and one-of-a-kind ones, and which libraries have them. If no such text exists, then you know where to find the next best thing, such as a renowned expert on the subject.
2 Points
Ambuscade: When you are acting as a General in Mass Combat, you always count as having surprise over your foe. If the other General also has this, you both get the surprise penalty.
Amab Almadaa (Knack): You must have the Rhyme and Verse advantage. When you have fewer raises than your opponent during the first Bayt of a poetry duel, you may activate this to reassign the skills you have chosen between your three Bayts.
Cover Name (Knack): Costs 1 less for Ashurites. Choose any non-national Background as a cover identity. You may activate this to assume that identity for the rest of the scene. While using this cover identity, once per Round during a Dramatic Sequence, you may change your Approach to any Skill from your cover's Background. You may only have one cover identity at a time, and must repurchase this advantage to swap it out.
Delay the Inevitable (Knack): Costs 1 less for Persics. During a Sequence, you may activate this and spend any number of Raises to select any Consequence with a time limit. You may delay that time limit by as many Raises as you chose to spend. However, that Consequence can no longer be overcome or reduced by anyone via Raises.
Desperate Deflection: When you take Wounds, you may immediately spend one Raise to prevent all of them. The next time this round you would suffer Wounds, you double them and cannot reduce them in any way.
Kwa Damu: You must have the Rhyme and Verse advantage. If you gain 5 Raises more than your opponent in a single Bayt of a poetry duel, you automatically win the duel, period.
Rhyme and Verse: You are a Kavi, a poetry duelist. The first purchase of this lets you select one of Damu, Chamsin, Griot or Hakawati styles. The second purchase lets you select one of Goftar-e nik, Masquerade or Khol styles. The third purchase allows you to pick any one Skill you have ranks in. When you use this skill in a Kavita, you get a Bonus die. The fourth (and all subsequent) purchase, you may learn any one style you like.
Skirmisher: When you fight in Mass Combat as a Solo, enemy units lose (higher of Wits or Finesse) dice on all rolls directed at you.
Triage (Knack): Costs 1 less for Sarmions. You may activate this to identify a poison or disease, determine someone's injuries and how best to treat them, or save someone from an immediate medical threat, such as choking or a collapsed lung.
3 Points
Experienced Commander: When you begin Mass Combat attached to a unit, you may select a single Edge. The unit gains that Edge at no cost. Selecting a second Edge costs 1 Hero Point and grows exponentially from there.
Heedless Assault (Knack): When you inflict Wounds, you may activate this. The Wounds you inflict cannot be reduced by any means. For the rest of the Round, you may not spend Raises to reduce Wounds that you or any other character take.
Multi-Tasker (Knack) Costs 1 less for Tribespeople. When you spend a Raise on your action to activate an Opportunity, you may activate this to also reduce a Consequence as if you had spent a single Raise to do so.
Osda: Costs 1 less for Anatoli. You are considered an Osda, an honorable and well-spoken person in Anatol Ayh. You can recite classic poetry, know the protocols of Anatoli hospitality and are held in high esteem by those who honor the ideals of the Osda. These people will freely offer you food, drink, shelter and so on. Further, you get 2 Bonus Dice for any social Risks against any characters who respect the Way of Anatol Ayh and its Osda traditions.
Support Lines: When determining who goes first in Mass Combat, you may add (Wits) to your total of Raises for the purposes of going first only. You do not gain extra Raises to spend.
4 Points
Never Say Die: While you are attached to a unit in Mass Combat, that unit always rolls its full Strength, regardless of any damage it has taken.
Rally to Me (Knack): While you are acting as a General, on your unit's action, you may activate this to rally your troops with a stirring speech or similar. They recover (Panache) Strength.
5 Points
I've Been Waiting For This (Knack): Costs 2 less if Ashurite. You may activate this to meditate on a trial or ordeal to come, or a Villain you know you will face soon. You may not use this if the danger is present in the current scene. Until the end of the session, whenever you spend a Hero Point to get Bonus Dice or to give another PC Bonus Dice in a Risk directly related to the contemplated threat, you may choose a second PC to gain the same benefit. You may not use this to give yourself Bonus Dice. You may use this only once per session.
My Soul Still Shines (Knack): Costs 2 less if Persic. Choose a Trait. If you roll zero Raises using that trait, you may activate this to take one Dramatic Wound and gain Raises equal to that Trait. You may use this only once per session.
My Weakness Is Your Strength (Knack): Costs 2 less if Sarmion. When you have 3 Dramatic Wounds, you may activate this before making a Risk. For the rest of the scene, your 10s no longer explode, and all other Heroes' 10s explode, no matter what. You may choose to end this effect early at no cost.
Remember My Name (Knack): Costs 2 less if Anatoli. You may activate this before you roll dice in a Risk against someone you've encountered before. Remind them of what happened last time you met, if it went in your favor, or tell them how it will be different this time, if it did not. You get 5 Bonus Dice on all Risks against that character for the rest of the scene.
Step Where I Step (Knack): Costs 2 less if Tribesperson. You may activate this when you spend a Raise to perform any action involving movement, navigating a dangerous environment, avoiding a trap, leaping a chasm or similar. Another PC of your choice comes with you, avoiding the threats as if they had also spent a Raise.

Next time: New secret societies!

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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7th Sea 2: The Crescent Empire - EAGLE VISION

The Alnniqabat Lilnusr, the Guild of the Eagle, date back to 1388, when a team of Assassins went to deal with Anatoli aggression. Empress Seyma had grown tired of capitulating to their threats, which had historically kept Anatol Ayh out of Ashur. She was not dissuaded by daggers on the pillow or even when she was sickened by poison. She swore that her Janissaries were no less skilled or brave, and that the cowardly Assassins should face them in battle. Mahmoud, leader of the team, came up with a plan. With the Guardian's blessing, he would show her the brutality the Assassins could stoop to, ordering his team to murder the Empress' children by drowning them in oil and leaving their bodies in her chambers. This, he said, would show her that they could get anyone, anywhere. Atef, another member of the team, objected. To murder innocent children for their mother's threats would be wicked. Mahmoud was not swayed, and the Guardian would not meet with Atef.

Atef did the only thing he could think of: he protected the children of the Empress against the other Assassins. When they went to strike, they found not children sleeping, but Atef pleading with them to stop and turn back. The Guardian, he said, must have gone insane if he agreed to this. Atef defended the prince and princess of Anatol Ayh with his life, yet he would not kill his fellow Assassins, either. He left them bloodied or wounded or knocked out, but alive. Only Mahmoud defeated him, and to Mahmoud's shock, Atef used his dying breath to plead for mercy for the children. It convinced Mahmoud of Atef's nobility and purity of spirit, and he relented, unable to slay the kids. He spent the rest of the night extracting his wounded team from the palace, including Atef's body. When the others awoke, he told them what happened, and they all pledged to honor Atef's sacrifice. This was the formation of the Alnniqabat Lilnusr. They are probably the most secret of secret societies, for they began in treachery to the Assassins. They declared themselves the watchers of the holy killers, determined to keep the cause pure and to ensure that the Assassins were righteous, to police each other and even the Guardian, their honored leader.

The Guild of the Eagle exists to keep the Assassins honest. Sometimes this means allowing them to do their task, if a guilty target deserves to die. Sometimes it means tipping off a target, causing a distraction or otherwise foiling a murder attempt. Sometimes it means convincing the Assassin to back off. And sometimes, it means placing themselves in the path of the knife, dying so that the target might live. In the decades following Atef's death, it became clear that the Guardian had, in fact, gone mad. More recently, he has changed, as if waking from a long sleep and seeing the corruption within the Assassins for the first time. Now, he works with the Guild to restore their honor. Many of the members of the society are Assassins who committed terrible acts, given a chance to redeem themselves by other Eagles. They have also, in the past, recruited non-Assassins, too. After all, with the Guardian's past orders, many Assassins were little better than common mercenaries, or worse. The Guild relentlessly hunts such hired killers, but they always offer the chance of redemption. After all, a person is more and better than their worst act.

Favor with the Alnniqabat Lilnusr is earned in several ways. Capturing a rogue Assassin is worth 5 Favor. Such rogues are treated as victims, not enemies - victims brainwashed and turned to darkness, but not necessarily by their own hand. They work to rehabilitate these rogues, to awaken them to the sins they have committed and return them to righteousness. Taking the place of an intended victim is worth 8 Favor. Of course, this is not done lightly - it is extremely honorable, but seen as a sign of a death wish. You can only dodge the blades of other killers for so long before they strike home. Getting an audience with a particular Assassin costs 4 Favor, though you usually won't need their name to do it - just their area of operation or target. The Assassin will usually hide during the meeting to protect their identity. At this meeting, any attempt to get an Assassin to do something, like delay their attack or trade info, gets 2 Bonus Dice. A visit to the First Garden costs 8 Favor, and during it you may meet the Guardian and ask for information from him, though it should be noted that the Assassins say he tells you what you need to hear, not what you want to.

The Angel's Hand know of the secrets of the Black Desert, deep in the 8th Sea. In a place deep within the Black Desert, hidden even from the Tribes, is an oasis and a palace. The Black Desert is nearly impassable by day due to the massive heat reflected off the black sand. Only by night can anyone reach its center. There, in a verdant oasis among the dark sand, are the ruins of Irem. The people of Irem fled to the desert as their city collapsed and the sands burned black. All that remains standing today is the Grand Palace, where the sun shines on the broken stained glass and reflects through holes in its domes. When it seemed the daevas were going to defeat the ahuras in the battle that blackened the sands, a few brave people rushed back into the city to assist the forces of Good against the forces of Evil. They turned the tide, and while the city lay in ruins, most of them survived. They dedicated themselves to fighting for Good and restoring power to Zenea, the deity of Ahurayasna. They considered themselves righteous asavans fighting evil dragvants. Outsiders knew them as the Angel's Hand.

However, the Angel's Hand survived beyond legends of Irem. Their membership now comes from all nations in the empire and from all levels of society. While most of the group are Yasnavan, they do not look down on Dinists or other faiths as long as they work for the greater good. The Angel's Hand will watch prospective members for a while before approaching them, to determine if they are worthy. If a prospective member passes this vetting, they are taken to the ruins of Irem and, in a secret ceremony, 'awoken to the worlds beyond.' They are given three things. First, a new name for use within the Angel's Hand. This name is always that of a bird, as birds that flock about the ahuras are said to be extensions of their will. The second is a piece of jewelry containing a shard of stained glass - any kind of jewelry will do. The stained glass is to remind the wearer of Irem and helps guide them back to the ruins. The last is a ritual scar made with black sand. A design is cut into the flesh, then rubbed with black sand, then sealed with a hot iron press. This is to remember that the battle against Evil is never painless. As one advances in the Angel's Hand, one receives more ritual scars until, at last, the final one is placed on the face, to display one's allegiance for all to see.

The Hand is a structured meritocracy with a strong emphasis on experience. They are frequently debriefed, discussing the actions of agents of Evil they have witnessed as well as their own plans. Yasnavan belief forbids members from lying to each other or fellow faithful, so these reports never contain boasts or fictions. When members of the group meet, they clasp each other's wrists and touch foreheads in a silent prayer. This recognizes that Evil cannot be fought alone, and so all members willingly accept aid from each other as long as it doesn't detract from the helper's own mission. Of course, their devotion requires constant vigilance. Veneration of the Five Ahuras and the spirits of the 8th Sea has waned, which disturbs the Angel's Hand. They suspect dragvants and daevas are behind it, growing more potent by the day. The Hand wish to prevent the disaster at Irem from ever being repeated.

The Hand is devoted to fighting Evil and specifically the daevas. They work to stymie dragvants everywhere, helping to return power to the ahuras and local spirits that help humankind. Going on a quest for the Hand, which generally means aiding another agent already facing a dragvant or daeva, is worth Favor equal to the Story steps required for it. Defeating a daeva is worth 10 Favor; the Hand despises these evil, corrupting spirits and see it as their duty to remove them from the world whenever possible. Getting the aid of the Hand for a Story costs Favor equal to the Story's steps, and the assistance may come in the form of Wealth, favors or the use of a Brute Squad with Strength equal to twice the Favor cost. An audience with an ahura costs 10 Favor. This must happen at Irem, and gives you an evening of conversation with an angel. (Technically, most ahuras are jinn, but don't call them that.) The ahura will answer questions honestly and may grant you mystic powers for a single Story.

Next time: Holy magic.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



7th Sea 2: The Crescent Empire - Art Is Magic

Al-Musawwir, the Divine Artist, calls on His followers to make Wonders, miniature reflections of his masterpiece, Terra. Each is wonderful, beautiful and imperfect, just as the world is. The Second Prophet made many himself, including his staff, which was carved with an epic about the world and which he used to absorb and even reflect magic. The Prophet said that those who found wonder in His art will be its guardians, and so the users of the Art of the Second Prophet, who create and use Wonders, are known as alharis - or alhuris, for plural - which means 'guardian' or 'sentry.' A Wonder can be anything - a beautiful necklace with a rare gem, a book that tells of world-spanning adventure, a statue of clay showing a dancer. What matters is that it is unique and reflects the wielder's view of the world, its people and faith.

The first time you buy Sorcery (Art of the Second Prophet), you get your Wonder. It is unique to you, and can be anything you want. Most alhuris make their own Wonders from beautiful or meaningful materials, but others are inherited or are simply objects of great sentimental value that remind the alharis of their faith and devotion. The main thing is: it's unique to you, and it represents your view of Terra and its people. Once you have your Wonder, you select two Miracles and one Path, which you receive the first Step of. Until you complete a Path, you cannot choose any other. Each time you buy Sorcery after this, you get the next Step on your Path. Once the path is completed, when you next purchase Sorcery, you construct a new Wonder, get two more Miracles, and start a new Path.

Miracles are the powers that do not require you to carry your Wonder. They show the protection that al-Musawwir grants to His creations, to watch over them and guide them. Any specific Wonder only ever grants two Miracles, and all Miracles require a Hero Point to activate.
Beckon: Your Wonder flies to your hand, avoiding obstacles and harming no one and nothing in the way. If someone or something is holding it, it pulls firmly (but harmlessly) until the grasp is broken, and it may not lift anything off the ground to any distance that would harm it. If your Wonder is somehow trapped, by magic or otherwise, the power fails. However, in most cases, this will not happen. The Wonder will arrive this Scene or the next - and it must be very far away, such as several day's travel by foot, to not arrive this Scene. It will fly at impressive speed before gently landing next to you or in your hand.
Effigy: You create a clay effigy of any animal that could fit in the palm of your hand. The effigy cannot be distinguished from a natural animal of its type, and it remains 'alive' until the end of the Scene, when it reverts to mere clay. While it is active, you may see through its eyes and command it telepathically to move, look at things and so on. You must have a ball of clay, mud or similar material to activate this, as it forms the effigy.
Flourish: You cause a plant to grow or heal at immense speed. This can make vines form a ladder, or make a tree tilt and grow over a canyon as a bridge - your limits are just the plant's natural capacity to grow to sufficient size. This cannot create vegetation and only works on existing plant life.
Purify: You render any water clean and healthy to drink for a Scene. This can be used on a source of water, such as a spring or lake, or a drinking vessel. The source or vessel will cleanse any liquid that passes through it of all impurities, making it drinkable with no side effects whatsoever.
Radiate: You or your Wonder glow for a Scene. The glow is as bright as an oil lamp, and you may dim or brighten it at will until the Scene ends.
Rain: You may control rain for one Scene. You can make it rain as little or as much as you want. After the Scene, the weather returns to normal.
Restore: You permanently cure someone's blindness, muteness, deafness, paralysis or similar malady. Until the end of the Scene, you suffer from the same malady in their stead.

Paths determine how you demonstrate your faith magically. Your Path reveals the teachings of al-Musawwir that you place over all others. Each Path has three Steps that teach wisdom and grant power. All Paths require your Wonder to be carried for you to be able to use any of their Steps. Unless otherwise specified, all Steps require a Hero Point to activate.

The Path of the Devout teaches you to protect yourself and others from magic. The Second Prophet often stopped magic used against him, and so can you.
Detect (Step 1): You learn to find magic, to better help you discover that which is used for bad purposes. Your Wonder gains the power to detect Sorcery and the supernatural; each reacts differently. It might glow or hum or become light as a feather or be drawn to magic like a magnet. This power is costless and always on. Your Wonder will react to any Sorcery used in an area in the past 24 hours, and you may tell exactly where it was used and what type of magic it was, though not who did it or how it was used.
Absorb (Step 2): You learn how to absorb magic used near you, teaching you that magic can often be used for evil, and that you can stop it. You may activate this immediately whenever another character uses Sorcery or a similar ability. Your Wonder absorbs the effect and negates it. You must do this before any effects of the magic are known, and may only use it once per scene.
Rebound (Step 3): You learn that there is a correct way to use magic, and how to demonstrate this to others. You may activate this on your action any time in a Scene after you have Absorbed an effect from someone else. You activate the power they used instead, and may choose new targets if the power is targeted.

The Path of the Humble teaches you that there are more important things than you, and that is wonderful. This allows you to keep your composure even at the worst of times.
Pacify (Step 1): You learn to spread an aura of calm, which you may direct at others so you can reasonably discuss what troubles them. You may activate this power to cause someone to become calm and tranquil. If threatened or attacked, they react normally, and they know you used magic to alter their mood. They will remain calm until the end of the Scene, or until attacked or threatened. If used in an Action Sequence, the affected character is under Pressure not to attack, which automatically reapplies at the start of each Round.
Project (Step 2): You learn how to project your thoughts, to achieve true understanding without obstacles like words. This manifests differently for each Wonder - some might whisper in a way only certain people can hear, or an angelic voice might speak in the ears of your allies, or they may just know what you intended to say. You may activate this to speak mentally to another willing character in the same Scene. You need not share a language, though they must be approximately as intelligent as a human for this to work - it won't talk to squirrels, say.
Unlock (Step 3): You learn that al-Musawwir guides your path, and this allows you entry anywhere you are needed. You may activate this to unlock any door, latch, windor or other passage that is barred with a mere touch of your Wonder for the rest of the Scene.

The Path of the Just teaches you that all life deserves a fair chance. Your abilities are used to protect those that need it, to feed those that need it, to make sure everything gets a fair chance to enjoy the beauty of al-Musawwir's world.
Nourish (Step 1): You learn that all people deserve to eat, for sustenance is life and life is a gift from al-Musawwir. Your Wonder allows you to feed the masses. You may activate this to feed any number of people in a Scene for a single meal. You need a small amount of food to activate this, at least enough to feed a single person. All food you currently have is consumed in the activation of this power.
Protect (Step 2): You learn that protecting those who cannot protect themselves is the heart of justice, allowing you to tap your Wonder to grant your strength to others. Activate this and choose another character in the Scene. The next time they take Wounds, they take (your Resolve) fewer Wounds.
Absolve (Step 3): You learn that violence is not always the answer, but sometimes cannot be avoided. You must control it and point it in a direction that will not harm the weak, and so your Wonder grants the power to redirect aggression at yourself. Activate this and choose another character in the Scene. For the rest of the Round, if they take any Action that does not attempt to cause Wounds to you, they take 1 Wound.

The Path of the Merciful teaches you to heal others, to make caring for the suffering your gift to the world. It shows that al-Musawwir watches over and cares for all.
Mend (Step 1): You learn to help the weak, using your Wonder to heal broken bones and other injuries. You may activate this once per Scene to heal 1 Dramatic Wound on any single character you can touch.
Penance (Step 2): You learn that al-Musawwir protects you even in your time of pain, and your Wonder channels His protection. After you activate this, the next time you receive Wounds, you deal an equal amount of Wounds to your attacker. You may use this only once per round.
Revive (Step 3): You learn that the greatest gift that has ever been given is life, and your Wonder allows you to grant this gift by calling on the mercy of al-Musawwir. You may activate this and take 1 Dramatic Wound to bring a character back to life. You heal them of all Wounds except for 1 Dramatic Wound. You and your target can never heal those Dramatic Wounds with any effect, even magic, and you lose the ability to use Revive. Both Dramatic Wounds manifest as noticeable scars, identical on both you and the target. Your target must have died within the same Scene you use this in.

The Path of the Pariah teaches that even if you are an outcast, it is your duty to show others that the world is beautiful and full of wonder.
Float (Step 1): You learn that even the smallest of gifts can be helpful, allowing you to hover. You may activate this to hover just aove the ground for a Scene. This prevents your footsteps from appearing and means your weight has no effect on the environment, as you put no pressure on any surface. You are not protected from environmental dangers, however. Floating over fire can burn you, floating over the ocean can get you drowned by a large wave. You may navigate as if you were walking normally.
Push (Step 2): You learn that any obstacle can be cleared from your path. You may activate this to move an object or character away from you, well out of arm's length. You cannot hurt or damage the target in any way, such as launching them straight up or off a cliff. You only move them directly away from you, and it stops if they are blocked by something. If you use this against a character, they can still move themselves, just not towards you. They could circle you, but cannot get closer. This effect ends immediately if you move closer to the taget.
Sanctuary (Step 3): You learn that if well rested, you can follow any path, and so your Wonder cna protect you and your friends to let you rest. You may activate this to create a safe zone. Overnight, you and any allies within may sleep undisturbed. The area is soundproof and is safe from animals and anyone that is hunting you. Any attempt to find you while it is active automatically fail unless magic is used, and the costs for any magical tracking double, both in Raises and any points spent. Once anyone wakes up in the safe zone, the power ends.

The Path of the Righteous teaches you to go where you are needed, and gives you the tools to get there is fast as possible as well as to have what you need there.
Guidance (Step 1): Your Wonder guides you to the correct path, wherever that may lie. You may activate this to know which direction you should go for the rest of the Scene to reach a particular destination. You tell the GM what you want to find - a source of clean water, where some people went, a specific city, those are all fine. The GM will tell you the direction to the destination directly, though not how far it is or what obstacles are in your path.
Hasten (Step 2): You learn how to get where you need to be faster, your Wonder granting you speed. Activate this to move faster than normal. In short distances, anyone that wants to match your speed must spend 2 Raises to do so, either fleeing or chasing. If you are traveling a long distance, instead you reduce the time needed to arrive by half.
Create (Step 3): You learn how to call something form nothing, to do what you need to do when you get where you need to be. Your Wonder may create it from sand or air or light - every Wonder is different - but you just pull it from nothing. Activate this to summon a simple tool or weapon, such as a hammer or sword, for a Scene. It functions exactly as a normal version, and it is warm to the touch. If used to attack, it deals 1 additional Wound on top of normal. It works only in your hands, vanishing if anyone else picks it up.

The Path of the True teaches you the beauty of words, allowing you to communicate with others, even animals, and to ensure that communication is truth.
Locate (Step 1): You learn to find what you are looking for, as your Wonder points you and pulls you in the right way, or perhaps floats to it. Activate this to find what you are looking for, such as a hidden safe or lurking person, as long as it is in the immediate searchable area.
Steed (Step 2): You learn to communicate with any beast, speaking to them as a person through your Wonder and gaining their aid. You may activate this to choose a non-aggressive animal large enough to support your weight. That animal will allow you to ride it for one Scene, obeying your simple commands without complaint. It will go in any direction, move at any speed it can, stay quiet if you ask, and so on. When riding it, you get a free Raise on any Ride Risk. If the animal is threatened or endangered for any reason, the powerr ends, and the beast forces you to dismount so it can flee.
Unburden (Step 3): You leanr that truth is the best form of communication. Your Wonder allows you to ensure truth is what is spoken. You may activate this to prevent a single target from lying for the rest of the scene. They must speak honestly to the best of their knowledge and ability, though they gain no supernatural accuracy - if they don't know the truth, they can't tell you it.

Next time: Chozeh

Wapole Languray
Jul 4, 2012





THE NAKED GODDESS

quote:

She’s visible, present, close enough to touch. But you can’t touch her. Her pedestal is too high, she’s too perfect, and you don’t even deserve to know her name. She’s above you, and worst of all, you put her there because that’s what you do with a goddess, right? No one knows what she wants, no one knows what she’s up to, her moods are mercurial and her passions violent and ever shifting. Everyone wants to tear her down, everyone wants to build her up.

The Naked Goddess is one of the most recently ascended archetypes, and one of the very few who who’s ascension is a matter of (occult) record. The avatars of the Naked Goddess are… very strange. This path is one of the hardest to follow of any archetype, and in fact it took decades of people knowing about the Goddess before anybody figured out how to actually channel her. Even then it took, what is essentially, divine intervention to figure it out.

The Naked Goddess is… sort of the embodiment of female objectification. She was a porn-star before ascension after all. It is women seen as an object of beauty and sexual desire while denying their existence as a flesh-and-blood person. Paradoxically while based around a phenomenon and cognition that disempowers women, avatars of the Naked Goddess are quite possibly the most powerful, terrifying, and unstoppable in the world.

TABOOS
This is the main reason that nobody figured out how to channel the Goddess for ages: this is the single worst most restrictive and difficult to maintain taboos. An avatar of the Naked Goddess has to actively deny any understanding or categorization, changing their identity, personality, and appearance constantly to prevent being “known”. She has to be capricious, unknowable, flighty, and mysterious. Being a fully fleshed person in the eyes of others is anathema to the archetype. These avatars must create intricate webs of lies and misdirection, being defined by lies and illusion.

CHANNELS
1%-50%: This is, essentially, supernatural magnetism. This channel has two levels of power: the avatar can choose to simply interest the target of her supernatural pursuasion, causing them to beinterested and come closer to interact with her in some way with a Self check to resist the compulsion. Or, the avatar can stoke full on obsession. The target then is compelled, or face a Self check, to investigate her. They obsess and feel compelled to learn as much about the avatar and to spend as much time as possible around her until the next sunset. If the avatar rejects these compulsive attentions, then the subject gets whacked with a Helpless check as well.

51%-70%: This is where the Naked Goddess starts getting kind of insane. The avatar now doesn’t appear as herself to observers, but instead those who look at her see their ideal woman. THeir fetishes and obsessions and ideals given physical form. The avatar can suppress this for five or ten minutes, but otherwise is constant. An observer can see through the illusion with a Self check, but without effort they can’t see her for her. If the avatar can figure out what they’re seeing her as she can play along for great effect.

71%-90%: The avatar is now actively being erased from people's minds. To describe anything specific about her is a Knowledge check at -20% and you can’t use an identity to do it either. Photos exist, but as soon as you stop looking at it you forget what she looked like. The avatar can also use this power willingly, actively deleting one memory per successful roll about her out of a target's mind.

91%+: She can now teleport. Whenever an avatar of the Naked Goddess is unobserved by human eyes: Camera’s don’t count unless someone is actively watching the feed, she can vanish. Even covering the camera, or the observer blinking, gives a chance. She immediately vanishes from where she was, everyone who saw her in the last hour forgets her presence, and she reappears in the nearest theater, restaurant, or hotel lobby.

So. The Naked Goddess turns her avatar into a woman that can escape any situation or confinement, becomes impossible to track, recognize, or identify in any way, and can actively delete memories about her. An avatar of the Naked Goddess could shoot the President on national TV and get away with it. Of course as a trade, you’re going to be very very messed up. Just pursuing this path means racking up Self and Isolation checks left and right. So you get to be totally untraceable and able to escape from any situation without consequence, but also are probably deeply mentally scarred. That’s a good combination, yeah?

THE OPPORTUNIST

quote:

The Opportunist is always looking for an opening, a shot at the goose that lays the golden eggs. It’s not necessarily a case of selfishness: Opportunists love a win-win situation where everyone benefits; call it rather a need to optimize outcomes, and an aversion to wasted resources or circumstances.

The Opportunist is one who pursues a goal by any means necessary. THis goal and achieving it are all they care about, and even that goal is just a means to an end: Winning. Real Opportunists will change goals at a heartbeat if they see a better opportunity for success, because that’s what fuels them. Winning, success, being The Best. Wealth, fame, power, affection, glory, all of it is secondary to the neverending drive to success.

Avatars of the Opportunist must always be pursuing some objective, a definite ambition they work to accomplish. It should be achievable but difficult, and definitely ambitious. You can change plans if desired once per day, which is important as this connects to your taboos.

TABOOS

The Opportunist has two main taboos, which drive and enforce their obsessive competitiveness and need to take every advantage. First, they cannot pass up any advantage or opportunity. If they have a chance to do something that gives them some sort of personal benefit they have to do it. By the inverse, they break taboo if they ever do anything that’s totally selfless and gives them no benefit at all.

The second is that an Opportunist can never stand defeat. If something happens that means they cannot accomplish their goal, if they fail or lose or just give up in defeat, that’s breaking taboo.

CHANNELS

1%-50%: The avatar can flip-flop a roll once per day if they’re in a competitive situation where winning means they get some advantage or just get a moment to shine and bask in the glory. You have to be competing directly with another person for this to apply.

51%-70%: This channel lets the avatar know, by observing someone for a few minutes, whether that person is acting to oppose their avatar goal. This works once per person per day, and failure means you get nothing from them.

71%-90%: Any time an Opportunist succeeds on a roll they carry a +10% bonus to the next roll as long as it’s part of an ongoing process. This bonus persists until the avatar either fails a roll, or does something else that doesn’t naturally flow from the last success.

91%+: Same as the last channel, but now the bonuses accumulate up to a whopping +50%. This means an Opportunist who’s doing something consistently starts getting terrifyingly competent.

Overall the Opportunist seems a bit dull, but that’s just because instead of discrete cool powers they’re all about loving with the math of the game. That last channel can make a lot of rolls all-but guaranteed successes if they’re allowed to build up a head of steam.

THE SOLID CITIZEN

quote:

Sometimes an ordinary person, seemingly destined for mundane obscurity, is thrown by circumstance into a crucible of fire from which she emerges unexpectedly triumphant, made greater by the experience. The truck driver who selflessly runs to pull the victim of a road accident out of a flaming car, the grandfather on a fishing trip who rescues a drowning man from the ice-cold river, the teacher who hides her students from the crazed gunman may all be examples. You may know the Solid Citizen under another name, like the Everyman Hero — though “hero” can be a misnomer — the Dark Horse, or the Unexpected Leader. Sometimes it’s the obscure little corporal who emerges from a brutal losing war to become a national luminary, then a tyrant. The self-appointed vigilante who shoots a teenager to “defend the neighborhood” may also be a Solid Citizen. In all cases, though, the Solid Citizen does what she does to express the rightness of her actions. She cares passionately about people, her people, and does whatever it takes to protect them, improve their lives, or lead them to take their rightful place. Or at least, that’s how she has to make it look.

An avatar of the Solid Citizen is defined by their noble passion and obsession. Their obsession identity is the main way the act upon their noble passion, which defines what driving motivation makes them act above and beyond the call of duty.

TABOOS
A Solid Citizen must identify themselves with some group of people. Nation, club, ideology, race, industry, social class, age group, all work. A Solid Citizen cannot refuse to help a member of that group that is in serious trouble, or refuse an urgent call to action from those people. This does not mean they have to be slaves to their chosen group, or martyr themselves, but when the chips are down a Solid Citizen has to step up.

CHANNELS
1%-50%: The Solid Citizen gets some help from the universe when the chips are down. Whenever they are pursuing their Noble Passion and are racing against time or fighting against some opposition to accomplish their goal, they get to flip-flop any rolls. This doesn’t help them do the thing they actually need to do, just helps make sure that they’re where they need to be when they need to.

51%-70%: The avatar now has a sixth sense, alerting them to relevant danger. This sense gives Solid Citizens an ability to know when they’re needed, and helps them know where to go to do what they need to do. Passively this just provides a feeling of “I’m needed!” and a rough direction, but a successful roll can give distance, location, and even premonition of what the situation is before they ever arrive.

71%-90%: When aiding a member of their chosen group, the avatar can retcon a failed roll. As long as the result of the roll is below their avatar identity, they can declare it an automatic success. This only works once an hour though, so no abusing it.

91+%: At this level of power a Solid Citizen is always where they need to be. Roll an avatar check and you magickally transport to wherever you most need to be right at that moment. Distance and space don’t matter, you can walk from Manhattan to Mekong if that’s where you need to be. You don’t get to choose where you go or why you’re going through, so sometimes you end up in surprising situations. And of course there’s no guarantee you can actually do whatever you have to when you get there.

THE STAR

quote:

There have always been singers, actors, and similar artists who perform for a love of their craft. Others do it for the paycheck. But avatars of the Star become performers to be the center of attention, loved by fans and admired as great artists. For these avatars, success and happiness are defined solely by others’ delight. If there is an inner sense of accomplishment, that’s nice but not important. Producing an acclaimed album with poor sales is a failure. The Star needs a trilogy of critically-panned films that millions see, or a book series derided by the media but loved by the people. Yet this isn’t some sort of populism or anti-elitism. It’s simply a case of numbers. The more people who say he’s number one, the more true it becomes. 50,000,000 Elvis fans can’t be wrong.
A Star doesn’t simply have to be an artist or traditional celebrity. Sports stars count, but so do politicians, preachers, reality TV show contestants, social media mavens, and twitch streamers. The Star is anyone who favors popularity and mass appeal to create a cult of personality.

TABOOS
The Star cannot let anyone else take center stage. If they have a chance to be the center of attention they have to take it. They can share the limelight, but if you don’t at least try to get a “Featuring” credit in the situation you’re breaking taboo.

CHANNELS
1%-50%: The Star always knows when someone is paying attention to them. It’s automatic in person, and requires a roll if mediated by technology. This doesn’t tell them who is watching but it gives them a vibe on which direction the gaze is coming from.

51%-70%: You can use this channel to negate a failed Notch from a stress check with the help of a avatar: Star check. This applies to one meter, the one that closest relates to the Star’s Fear passion. It also requires someone be watching the Star as they get traumatized, if nobody is watching there’s nothing to console themselves with.

71%-90%: The Star can use their avatar identity to turn any performance into a, to the fans, success. Even if they gently caress up and make an embarrassment of themselves, this will salvage the show and make everyone forgive any transgressions for essentially no harm. Alternately you can choose to re-roll instead of just negating the fail. If this succeeds then the performance was retroactively mind blowing, everyone’s talking about it and you get a big bonus to the next roll that capitalizes on that success. If you fail though, it’s a bomb so bad that it breaks taboo.

The avatar can also focus the full force of their unnatural charisma and fame onto a single person. As long as they’re acting the part and working to keep them enthralled, the target is glued to the Star, hanging off their every move and word unless they accept a helplessness check to pull away.

91+%: This channel allows the Star and their entourage (up to 5 other people) to have always retroactively been at any sort of media event. The star just has to know the event is happening, and can immediately rewrite reality so them and their entourage are there, either just before or in the middle of the shindig. To the people the channel is used on it’s a sudden teleportation, but to everyone else they’ve always been there. They have invites, people remember them walking in, small talk retroactively occured, drinks were drunk, and so on.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




Okay yeah I can see how nobody found that taboo for the Naked Goddess for ages. :staredog:

It seems hard to make work as a member of a PC group, though.

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



Maintaining taboo seems to get easier as you get channels that do precisely that though.

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017



Wow. So if there is a Godwalker of the Goddess, then nobody would know because that would break the taboo. You'd have to peace her together from where she wasn't. Again I say, wow.

I'd wonder what Her cult thought, but they're probably clipped in that big fracas Wapole mentioned.

(How does that tie in with The Woman Everyone Can Have But You? Well, you didn't know her.)

Dawgstar fucked around with this message at 02:54 on Aug 15, 2018

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




The Lone Badger posted:

Maintaining taboo seems to get easier as you get channels that do precisely that though.
Oh yeah, once you know what it is, being an avatar of her makes it easier to maintain taboo. It's knowing enough about the taboo to start on the path that's the problem.

Wapole Languray
Jul 4, 2012



Yeah, the first Avatar of the Naked Goddess LITERALLY had the Naked Goddess manifest in physical reality (A feat that is NOT supposed to every happen) and then spontaneously started following the Path. Others are trying to do it too, but most people STILL can't figure it out because she can't actually tell anyone how to follow it.

Also the first Avatar of the Naked Goddess is a transwoman.

Oh, and a point I don't think I've got across is the biggest weakness of avatars: They're literally walking cliches.

If you know what path someone is following you can read them like a book because their behaviors are so tied to their taboo, especially when they get up there in power.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




Does Pornomancy still function?

Wapole Languray
Jul 4, 2012



Sure, it's an adept school. There's actually a pornomancy splinter, because some people realized that the Naked Goddess has jack-all to do with it and it can be fueled by normal porn acts too. Things got crazy with them, but that's all in book 2.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

Wapole Languray posted:

Also the first Avatar of the Naked Goddess is a transwoman.
Wait, is the Naked Goddess related to the Mystic Hermaphrodite at all, or just a coincidence? It's been a while since I read Godwalker.

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Wapole Languray
Jul 4, 2012



Nope, just the first and most prominent avatar of the Naked Goddess is a transwoman former FBI agent. And the Mystic Hermaphrodite got a namechange: It's now called the Sexual Rebis, because Stolze realized the old one is sorta offensive.

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