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Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



7th Sea 2: The Crescent Empire - Sword Fights Also Happen

There is very little discussion of the dueling etiquette of the Empire, possibly because Kavita have taken on a lot of the same social role that formal dueling has in Thean society. We just jump straight into the styles. Badayah is the signature style of the small nomadic Badayah tribe of the 8th Sea. Despite their size, they are some of the most dangerous fighters in the sands, masters of ambush that are known to lie in wait for days under sand cover. They are the only teachers of their fighting style around, and every Badayah Duelist is given a peshknife to serve as their primary weapon. These are jagged-bladed knives that are kept razor sharp, and they leave extremely painful wounds, often requiring the attention of a doctor to heal properly. It is said that the sign of any dispute among the Badayah escalating to violence is the peshknife being drawn, and the Badayah say that the peshknife cannot be sheathed until it tastes blood. Badayah duels are often to the death. The most scarred Badayah Duelists are often the most argumentative or skilled of the tribe - or both. The bonus is the Badayah Laceration. When you wield a light weapon, such as a dagger, knife or short sword, in one or both hands, you may perform the Badayah Laceration Maneuver. You cause one Wound to the target, but leave them with a bloody, terrible injury. Each time they take an action this round, they take an additional Wound. They may spend (your Weaponry) in Raises to end this early. You may use this only once per round.

Fa'tahib is the traditional dueling style of the elite in the Empire. It goes back generations, and has evolved from just a combat style to a form of performance art as well. Exhibitions of Fa'tahib are common at celebrations, where performers use the traditional asaaya, a four-foot long heavy stick, to demonstrate mastery of forms via choreographed stick dancing, in which both fighters perform complex patterns of movement with the asaaya but never truly strike a blow. While this dance is traditionally performed by those who have the brute strength to wield the asaaya, a new and more acrobatic form has emerged, equally popular. This is often performed simultaneously with the traditional demonstrations, but requires agility and speed rather than strength. Many traditionalists consider this an insult - the traditional dance is meant to show one's ability to use a weapon, while the new one seems to be a mockery of this that treats it as a mere dance. The style bonus is the Fa'tahib Step. When you wield a blunt weapon in each hand - usually asaaya, but equally usable with clubs or maces - you may perform the Fa'tahib Step Maneuver. You prevent 1 Wound and select a Maneuver you will perform on your next action. If you use the chosen Maneuver, you increase the Wounds it deals or prevents by (Perform). You may use this only once per round.

Mubarizdun is the style favored by soldiers in the Empire. It is relatively young, dating back to the Imperial General Sepideh, who invented it for use by her most elite unit, the Mubar. The Mubar were notable for always being the first to the field, and for challenging enemy generals to send their best fighter for a duel against the greatest of the Mubar, having the pair fight to the death in an effort to destroy enemy morale. It is said that no Mubar ever lost such a duel. While modern soldiers still use Mubarizdun, the intimidation duel tactic has fallen from favor in recent years, though the style remains quite powerful. It is designed for heavy weapons and fights while demoralizing the foe with shouted insults. The style bonus is Mubarizdun Shock. When you wield a heavy weapon, such as an axe, sword or mace, in two hands, you may perform the Mubarizdun Shock maneuver. You deal 1 Wound, and the next time any enemy that saw you perform the maneuver deals Wounds this round, they deal (Intimidate) fewer Wounds. You may use this only once per round.

Yurusiyya is the style of horsemen. The horse and its caretakers are respected deeply in the empire, because of the difficulty of raising them in most environments in the Crescent. Yurusiyya Duelists believe that the care and use of horses is the highest art, and that mounted combat is the highest form of combat. They only ever ride horses they feel a connection with, and they say these horses are extensions of their soul. There are no formal academies of the style. Rather, new Duelists are trained by individual Yurusiyya masters who take them on as apprentices. Many masters claim their horses choose their students. As long as someone chosen by the horse shows aptitude, the masters do not question them. Yurusiyya Duelists are among the finest cavalry on the planet. Most are horse archers, but the style works well with any form of mounted combat. The style bonus is Yurusiyya Blitz. First, while holding a bow, you may use Aim in place of Weaponry for all Duelist Maneuvers. Second, when you are on horseback, your Lunge is replaced with Yurusiyya Blitz. When you perform Yurusiyya Blitz, spend all your Raises. You deal Wounds equal to (Weaponry+Ride+Raises Spent), split as you choose among number of targets in the Scene.

The End!

Next up: the New World.

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Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts World Book 17: Warlords of Russia, Part 9: "With its M.D.C. wheelgrinder and battery of weapons, a squad (5-10) can 'pulp' the average village, D-Bee tribe or band of demons in short order."


"So what I'm saying is because we both have vehicles, our character types are perfectly balanced."

Russian Vehicles & War Machines

Firstly, it emphasizes most Russians use ordinary S.D.C. vehicles. You know, the kind that explode if a pixie looks at them the wrong way. We even get rules for "broken-down", cheaper mundane vehicles. Well, as long as they're disposable... ultimately, it takes up about two whole pages they could have dedicated to another cyborg or something. Wait, did I just say I needed more cyborgs? poo poo. Well, at least there are rules for plastering on mega-damage plates onto your jalopy to make it useful.


An example of the kind of art I'll be skipping.

Russian Combat Vehicles

In other words, mega-damage vehicles that PCs will actually want to use. However, the Warlords restrict a lot of their usage and may seize your cool ride if you're not with them. They get the sort of laundry list of features most Rifts vehicle get like sensors, locks, environmental shielding, and things like cyber-plugs for those with cyber-interfaces if the vehicle is cyber-small enough for it. There's also the Gromeko Battlefield Computer so you can be like "It's over 10!" and smash your dashboard in! Why did you do that? That's dumb.

A number of these are made by "Novyet Vehicles" which is some company that makes vehicles out of Kiev and New Moscow. The New Soviet government uses their stuff, usually tacking on guns- well get to them. We'll get to the Soviets. But first, hoverbikes. I know. I'd rather talk about Soviets too.
  • Novyet Arctic Hoverbike: I mean, I could be talking about some Rocky IV level stereotyping. But no, here we are, talking about a hoverbike that can keep driving up to -200 farenheit. Does it ever get that cold anywhere on Earth? No, it does not. Well, it has a special engine to keep it from making avalanches and snow slides.
  • Novyet Snow-Jetsled: We could have cyberbears, but no, I have to talk about how this has vectored jets that let you do jumps. However, this vehicle has a special damage mechanic where getting any decent amount of damage reduces this thing's top speed. Also we get a note from Kruger:

    Rifts World Book 17: Warlords of Russia posted:

    Kruger Note: I don't know how many of you have driven snowmobiles, but 150 mph better be reserved for flat-out open spaces like the steppes! Traveling through woodlands or rugged terrain will reduce maximum speed by 50-70%; to go faster is suicide (will crash into something).
  • Novyet Landcrawler-Sku: I mean, we could be going on about the glory of Lenin, but instead, here's a half-track. It can ascend inclines up to 55 degrees! Man, how many pages until the Soviets- 55 pages?! It feels like I'll never get there.
  • Novyet Explorer-Sku: We could be having hammer and sickle robots already, but instead, here's a tracked all-terrain vehicle. It has a mini-grill to cook sausages! I have no idea where that and a bathroom fit given the art seems to be pretty clearly a flat nose cab, but okay.

Seems stable.
  • Novyet Bear ATV: No glory of Communist revolution here. Instead, we only have one of those traditional Rifts vehicles with massive balloon tires in front. These are supposed to make it look more like a bear. I haven't seen any bears at the zoo with massive balloon tires, though. Maybe I'm going to the wrong zoo.
  • Heavy M.D.C. Snowmobile: Remember the Potemkin? Well, you're going to forget this snowmobile, so lame it doesn't even get a name. It also gets a long list of modifiers about when the locks freeze and penalties or stalling at temperatures, or the % chance of causing a landslide at certain speeds. In case you're wondering, only snowmobiles seem to get this finger-wagging. Maybe Krueger wrote these and Siembieda just left it in, even though the mechanics don't match any of the other vehicles.
  • Tek-12 YY110 Bushbike: The collectivizat... sigh. Who makes these? Who knows! They're popular amongst Reavers for "roaring heedlessly through thick forests, squashing through swampland" even after all the finger-wagging this book has previously given about running in the woods or crashing your snowmobiles. Oh, and it has a laser and Gratuitous Guns: two sets of Mini-Missile Launchers not shown in the art.

'Borg sold separately.
  • Tek-12 YY210 'Borgbike: Five-year plan or... something... I wonder when they come up with names like "YY210", do the numbers mean anything? What could "YY" stand for? Designed for cyborgs, this has special jet boosters but requires a cyberlink to control them or you'll get a tremendous penalty on your driving rolls. It has a laser in front, mini-missiles and- Gratuitous Guns: AR-44 Rail Gun (over the shoulder), Vibro-Lance (retractable, we're told). The vibro-lance gets nearly a half-page of special rules for slashing and impaling mooks with it. Oh, those guns on either side of the vehicle, the big ones with huge magazines? Those are never detailed.
  • Landflier: Not a landspeeder. No. Those are from Star Wars. This is a landflier. Totally different. Also it has lasers in front.
  • Warrior Assault Hoversled: Really just a fancy hoverbike with a rear-facing passenger seat to fire the rail gun in back. Gratuitous Guns: Mini-Missiles (somewhere...?) and Raker Blades (blades that unfold "beneath" it).

warrrr
  • War Chariot: Sunday! Sunday! Sunday! Come see the WAR CHARIOT piloted by the RADICAL REAVERS as it crushes an entire PEASANT VILLAGE under its EIGHT FOOT TIRES! See it take down fleeing people with his ROBO BUZZ SAWS as it spews HOT FIRE while gunners spew MAGNETIC METAL DEATH from the turrets. Stay for the LASER LIGHT SHOW from CYBER-CONTROLLED DEATH BEAMS. No tickets required, sponsored by the SADISTIC WARLORD ORLOFF. Be there or STAY ALIVE.
  • War Wagon / Mechanized Ram: A wheeled APC with a ram, and covered with lasers on the sides to broadside victims the pathetic enemies of our glorious Warlord. No art, so Siembieda is free to add 10 lasers on each side and 6 turrets (lasers, rail guns, mini-missiles). It has a ram system that does damage based on speed, but has the oddities of A) we don't know what kind of damage most mega-damage structures can take and B) if you're not wearing your seatbelt, passengers take mega-damage from getting thrown around during the collision for some unexplained reason.

Please do not snipe.
  • Warthrone: A big trap option for your local Warlord. It's a floating barge with guns, but as per the art, the Warlord is largely exposed to enemy fire from the front. We're reassured that there's a panel that can pop up to protect them, not shown in the art, of course. We're also told that the gunners have "clear bubble canopies" and "their heads barely show above the floor of the hover disk", but I'm not seeing any of that in the art. It still reassures us further that the Warlords wear armor while on these things, but also "are an insidious lure to Warlord egos and each and every one has one plus two spares". In any case, let's cover the weapons shown: combo laser / lightning / rail guns, Medium-Range Missiles in front. And, of course, Gratuitous Guns: Concealed Forward Lasers, Concealed Underbelly Lasers, and Mini-Missile Launchers (also concealed, of course).
  • Wingrider Flying Wing: Yes, the pilots and the vehicle have the same name. These are really cool looking if not very practical, and supposedly require master pilots with a lot of trailing. They have grappling books that can be used to grapple targets and yank them into the air, or to hook onto fixed structures for tight turns. Weirdly, even though Rifts has no detailed maneuvering rules - other Palladium games do, but Rifts doesn't even with its emphasis on vehicles - doing a cool hookturn forces enemies to automatically lose an attack as they gape in awe. Saving throw? Nope, just lose an attack. I can see a team of these just stunning an entire enemy troop by hooking onto things and darting around until nobody has any attacks left. They also have rules for clipping or ramming things for dodgy damage, but you have to roll piloting at a penalty or lose control. They also have lasers (a possible candidate for gratuitous, but I can kinda see them?), mini-missiles, and a special personal power armor that just gives strength and Gratuitous Guns: concealed Vibro-Sword and Vibro-Claws.

Fishing for peasants.

This section definitely has some weird whiplash were it was clearly written by two authors, where you have these weird diatribes about the limitations of snowmobiles and other pointedly specific limitations of certain vehicles, while then you have motorcycles dancing inbetween trees. One clearly wanted to make sure you knew what kind of inclines a vehicle could ride up, while another was more concerned with telling you how many wheelies you'll be popping.

Next: Russia rides.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Nothing in RIFTS seems as badly thought out as the SDC/MDC separation.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


oriongates posted:

This has to take the cake. Disguising a laser as a rocket-launcher...why!?

My best guess is to make sure it has a ranged fallback weapon when it runs out of missiles. It's not a big laser - it only does 3d6 damage, which is less than or equal to most laser rifles. Which, you know, if that's a big concern, it could just wield a rifle.

Young Freud posted:

Most of those Perez 'borgs look to be melee mongers, so I wonder why Siembedia didn't just write them up as such? The Aftermath and the Mantis having lovely melee weapons despite being large and cool-looking are particular travesties.

In general Rifts tends to understat melee, doubly so when technology is involved (since "robotic" strength is treated lesser than "supernatural" strength). The Aftermath's chainsaw arm is better than most at 5d6 mega-damage, but that's literally half the damage it does from its particle beam cannon (1d6 x 10).

The Mantis does a pathetic 3d6+2 mega-damage which may sound like a lot when compared to a 2d6 vibro-sword, but it actually does more damage with a kick (4d6). So it's best off kicking all the time if it's in melee. Even it's punch does 3d6 mega-damage, which means all those big blades do is effectively +2 damage. The forearm hooks do 4d4, which is actually less than a punch.

Barudak
May 7, 2007




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

Part 11: You Can Steal A Murder

Chapter 5, “Tools of Common”, is despite the name a grab bag chapter of basically everything you can spend money on in the game. Nestled in its pages are drugs, guns, body modifications, and what your monthly rent is. It makes this chapter difficult to flip through for reference and, as is almost always the case with things like this, important rules are buried in item descriptions and nowhere else in the book.

Before we start cataloging all the various sundries Obsidian has to offer, we have yet more story fluff. This time a cultist attacks a corporation officer, probably related to the heist that was plotted twice earlier in the book, and gets killed but not before doing something spooky to the computer. I think at this point Obsidian editors are just messing with people still reading these fluff sections by purposefully putting a story focusing entirely on combat and magical spells is in the section that’s about items and not the section about combat and magical spells.

The first thing we’re introduced to is the cost of basic necessities in Obsidian and what that entails. Basically, unless you’re rich you only own one cheap garment, live in a one bedroom, and eat gruel every day. This is supposed to show how depressing the world is but there is no student debt, the government controls the prices of housing so a one bedroom is less than 25% the poorest individuals monthly income, we already went over the strong and comprehensive labor laws, a half-months salary of the poorest individual pays for any cure or operation, the priciest clothing is only a month or so salary for the poorest worker, and the 6 or so richest people in the game only make 100 times the poorest individual in the game.

Shoved in the rules for medical care are the rules for how to use the Medical Knowledge skill that basically confirms its a complete trap option. You can either pay 500 credits (for a player character this is chump change) to heal all afflictions overnight or, if you do nothing but rest, change your bandages, eat well, and have an assistant with Medical Knowledge of 3 or higher you can regain a staggering 1 hit point per day. The game isn’t clear but the phrase “most often requires an assistant with a Medical Knowledge of 3D” implies that your own Medical Knowledge is irrelevant; if you’re by yourself you aren’t healing.


I like to imagine this man hunting these guns for his trophy room as they roam across the savannah in majestic herds

After that we get to the fun stuff; murders. Like anything else in the game, murders are a thing you can buy. A single assassination will run you 800 credits will an assassination of six people only runs you 2,000. Despite the game implying the Narrator can adjust these prices as appropriate the game says in no uncertain terms ”The price must be paid as follows”. There’s no odds of success here, though, so as written all you’re buying is an attempt and… that is it. There is not even a time frame for when this occurs either, so a particularly rude Narrator can just ignore all the money you spend on this stuff. Even sillier, in this section are rules for theft which state you simply pay 1/10 the items cost. If your Narrator allows this to succeed, there is no reason whatsoever to not just steal everything, and I mean everything, since a six-pack of murders is just as much an item as a briefcase.

On the note of briefcases, we’re introduced to a huge laundry list of items ranging from “a video camera which isn’t part of your cellphone”, “a walky talkie which isn’t your cellphone”, and my absolute favorite “a portable video-phone which is a distinct item entirely from your cellphone”. Also in here are some random upgrades to guns that are just poorly thought out such as being able to bolt as many barrels and scopes onto your gun as you can afford to holsters that make guns lighter even when the guns aren’t in them. A briefcase, for the record, has better armor values than a suit of power armor and a box for carrying grenades has armor almost that of a battle-tank.

One other oddity of this game is how money works. Everyone uses “Credbases” which are all-digital localized amounts of credits. This means when you go to the bank you are withdrawing digital credits from your account and transferring them to your credbase, so if you get robbed your money is unrecoverable and gone. It is extremely difficult to spoof your credbase ID but very easy to simply hack a credbase and steal all the money off of it or use the stolen credbase to impersonate someone else to avoid legal repercussions making the point of spoofing your ID completely pointless despite that being the much bigger crime. Obsidian, it seems, runs on Bitcoins.

After that it’s time to talk about prostitution and there is no mechanics whatsoever about why you would hire a prostitute but the game does have extremely thorough explanations of the prostitutes billing system and the various legal fees and stamps they need to collect. The important thing wedged into this section is this: every prostitute in the game has mid to high-tier military-grade combat enhancers and a personal firearm on them at all times making them absolute combat monsters.*


The two neck collars do nothing to hide her Giraffe ancestry

Armor follows up that section first with several paragraphs dedicated to the complete trap option “Soft Armor” which protect you from basically nothing in this game before segueing into “Hard Armors” which and “Mechanical Armors”. Hard Armor protects you just as good as Mechanical Armor but has no other benefits and has lots of fiddly rules and edge cases that will bite you and slow down play, while Mechanical Armors are what your party should be rocking at all times and their only major draw back, once you sort out the trap options, is being expensive. As you may recall, nothing in this game is that expensive so not only can starting characters easily have access to the best Mechanical Armors, even if they forego it at character creation after a session or two they’ll have the money.

The list of 25 guns is a similar exercise in trap options. All the guns have different abilities and weights and damage but no effort has been made to balance them against each other in the slightest. It does mean that you need to read every gun entry fully, but it also means the entire party will be using one gun, the Riot Control 13, as soon as they have the money which could be as soon as character creation. Special bonus trap points go the gun “Diagnostic Seven” which is more expensive, heavier, weaker, and no to hit bonus than any other gun in its tier because the fluff but not the rules state it is rarely modified to fire burst instead of single shot.

Next Time: If You Die in the Drug Trip, You Die In Real Life

*A starting character has a maximum five ranks in Dexterity. Prostitute by default have four to five ranks in dexterity, and depending on your Narrator, up to 8 ranks in it making them as deadly as Lazarus Manusmortem from earlier in this review.

Barudak fucked around with this message at 14:17 on Aug 17, 2018

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Ah, Dex the God Stat and its unintentional and wonderful effects on games.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


If real life were an RPG, militaries would recruit based on a juggling test.

Ratoslov
Feb 15, 2012

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



Nobody disrespects sex-workers in Obsidian. Fuckin' nobody.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




Does the game explain why every sex worker is packing heat and has wired reflexes?

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

Because Molly Millions, I guess.

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017



It's funny that even the couple of 'good' or 'honorable' or whatever Warlords' souls still cry out for multiples of an exceedingly pompous floating throne.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Dawgstar posted:

It's funny that even the couple of 'good' or 'honorable' or whatever Warlords' souls still cry out for multiples of an exceedingly pompous floating throne.

I like to call them "gargoyle serving trays".

Barudak
May 7, 2007



Zereth posted:

Does the game explain why every sex worker is packing heat and has wired reflexes?

I assume its because the designers didnt want to make any specific sex based upgrades or skills so they had to use whatever else they had written, decided Dex would control sex, and then realized the only item in the game that boosts Dex is combat cyborg modifications

As to why they carry guns I have no idea because their profession is 100% legal and they pay huge fees to the government just for the right to work. It comes up a lot but the developers of Obsidian wrote a lot of lore that they ignore so they can bolt on cyber parts and demons to how they percieved the united states was circa 2001.

For the record a prostitute’s actual “to hit” isnt great but their high income means they shouldnt be rocking anything but a double scoped triple barreled custom ammo full auto weapon which handily offsets any weakness in their accuracy.

Freaking Crumbum
Apr 17, 2003

Too fuck to drunk




Barudak posted:

A briefcase, for the record, has better armor values than a suit of power armor and a box for carrying grenades has armor almost that of a battle-tank.

so what's to prevent a player from just strapping several empty grenade cases to their limbs and torso and using that for armor? is mechanical armor still better than that, or is it a situation where the grenade case inexplicably loses its armor value once the grenades are removed?

Barudak
May 7, 2007



Freaking Crumbum posted:

so what's to prevent a player from just strapping several empty grenade cases to their limbs and torso and using that for armor? is mechanical armor still better than that, or is it a situation where the grenade case inexplicably loses its armor value once the grenades are removed?

For the briefcase it is a weight 1 item meaning that you simply wont have the strength for enough briefcases. The grenade case is explicitly empty and, despite having a higher armor value, has no weight so you could carry as many as you want.

The issue is basically strapping yourself with grenade cases comes down to Narrator fiat as the game has no rules for improvised armor/weapons but does have notes about how Hard Armor can have gaps in protection not that there are any rules for what that means. Mechanical armors have no gaps and can also provide other benefits like disease and radiation immunity, although several of them reduce your dexterity to the point where its very possible a character in it makes 0 actions a turn in combat.

Basically, ask your narrator if you can be Lord Trashington, Defender of the Dump

Barudak fucked around with this message at 16:48 on Aug 17, 2018

Ghost Leviathan
Mar 2, 2017

Exploration is ill-advised.


Barudak posted:

I assume its because the designers didnt want to make any specific sex based upgrades or skills so they had to use whatever else they had written, decided Dex would control sex, and then realized the only item in the game that boosts Dex is combat cyborg modifications

As to why they carry guns I have no idea because their profession is 100% legal and they pay huge fees to the government just for the right to work. It comes up a lot but the developers of Obsidian wrote a lot of lore that they ignore so they can bolt on cyber parts and demons to how they percieved the united states was circa 2001.

For the record a prostitute’s actual “to hit” isnt great but their high income means they shouldnt be rocking anything but a double scoped triple barreled custom ammo full auto weapon which handily offsets any weakness in their accuracy.

I mean, sex work is pretty traditionally a dangerous job even if it's legal, especially if you can expect to see combat cyborgs on the streets.

Mind you, from all experience it's pretty hard to get an RPG designer to not include assassin hookers.

Freaking Crumbum
Apr 17, 2003

Too fuck to drunk




Barudak posted:

For the briefcase it is a weight 1 item meaning that you simply wont have the strength for enough briefcases. The grenade case is explicitly empty and, despite having a higher armor value, has no weight so you could carry as many as you want.

The issue is basically strapping yourself with grenade cases comes down to Narrator fiat as the game has no rules for improvised armor/weapons but does have notes about how Hard Armor can have gaps in protection not that there are any rules for what that means. Mechanical armors have no gaps and can also provide other benefits like disease and radiation immunity, although several of them reduce your dexterity to the point where its very possible a character in it makes 0 actions a turn in combat.

Basically, ask your narrator if you can be Lord Trashington, Defender of the Dump

i just imagine a scenario where a player would either want to know what the grenade cases were actually made of and would then try to reverse engineer that material into armor, or else find a way to cut the cases into more efficient plates and then use those.

it's amazing how badly they missed the forest for the trees with all this stuff.

Quinn2win
Nov 9, 2011

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




Panic at the Dojo: Making Heroes



This chapter really should have been at the front of the book! It makes it a bit hard to parse on the first read-through that this overall structure of chargen isn't explained until halfway through the book.

So, step by step, how to make a kung fu hero.

Focused, Fused, or Frantic
The three kinds of heroes - this determines how many Archetypes you get. Focused means you take all three of your Styles from one Archetype, and get a strong, reliable Archetype Ability. Fused means you take two Styles from one Archetype and one from a second, and you get two Archetype Abilities, but each one is half as strong. Frantic means you get three Styles from three different Archetypes, and you don't build Stances - instead, you just pick one Archetype, one Style, and one Form each turn, and then you have to change it up every turn.

There's an optional rule here to forbid any two players from picking the same Style.

Stances
Now, it's time to build your basic fighting style! Pick three Styles, based on whether you're Focused, Fused or Frantic. Then, apply each one to a Form - each Form has to be distinct, so no doubling up. Now you have your Stances, and you pick one of those at the start of each turn to determine what you can do that turn.

The chosen Forms also provide your Skills. Each Form has a related Skill, and you get all three of those; however, if you don't like, you can replace one of them with a Skill from a Form you don't have. Your last Skill comes from writing down a two-word description of your character.

Build
This is one last extra layer of character creation to hammer out at the end. It gives a small bonus, and also a different representation for what your HP actually represents in the fiction. Kind of a neat idea!

Agile Build: Your HP is your ability to see things coming, dodging every attack until the one that sends you to 0 HP takes you out all at once. At the start of your turn, gain 2 Speed Tokens.
Bumbling Build: You're lucky, just barely avoiding every attack until your luck finally runs out. At the end of any turn where you took damage, move 1 space.
Mysterious Build: You hide behind smoke and illusions, until it's all been seen through, and then you're doomed. At the start of your turn, place a Copy or a Fog into an empty adjacent space.
Overpowering Build: You deflect, blast, or punch everything that comes your way, until you can't keep up. At the start of your turn, gain 1 Power Token.
Scheming Build: You throw dirty tricks out to thwart every attack until you finally run out. At the start or end of your turn, place a Trap into an adjacent space.
Tough Build: You're so huge that you just take hits to the face and don't care. At the start of your turn, gain 1 Iron Token.

Hero Building Advice
Something this book does in multiple places is provide serious advice about not just how to build a character, but how to build a GOOD character. This one emphasizes two ideas: Stance diversity, and character focus.

Stance diversity means that every one of your Stances should give you something the other two don't. Frantic Heroes do this best, but everyone should consider it - you don't want any two of them to be redundant. A mobility stance is good for getting out of trouble or getting into position - Shadow Form and Dance Form are strong picks. A defensive stance uses something like Control Form or Iron Form when you're in a bad place, and need to be on your guard for a while. Tanking stances (Zen, Reversal, actually also Shadow) are good for Challenging enemies and drawing heat from your allies. Damage stances (Blaster, Power, One-Two) are good for when you need to kill a specific enemy, right now. Support stances (Song, Vigilance, Iron) keep the team together when the poo poo has hit the fan. Finally, desperation stances (Vigilance, Wild) are for when everything is hosed and you just want to make sure you take the enemy down with you.

Character focus is the other end of the balancing act - you want lots of your abilities synergize with each other. The book explains this one through a Focused Winterblossom character - at the start of each turn, you hand out a Weakness Token every turn, so you want to build Stances that capitalize on this and reinforce it. Mobility and high range are useful, tanking is good for keeping enemies close to you, defensive stances are bad because you don't want enemies to keep away from you. The Winterblossom Styles tend to give you good range by default, but you want Forms that build into that by giving you tools for getting people into your range - Control or Blaster Form for extra range, Shadow or Reversal Form for out-of-turn mobility to stick to your mark. Pick one thing, then be good at it.

Sample Characters
We get three! One Focused, one Fused, one Frantic. I'm just going to go over one, so here they are:

PATTY NORTH

A little more fluff would've been nice for these characters, but here we get our first, a defensive support character who loves the thrill of a good bet more than the thrill of a fight. They go with the Teacher Archetype and Mysterious Build, combined into the Mysterious Teacher ability - at the start of their turn, they place a Copy or Fog into an adjacent empty space, and at the end of their turn, they gain 2 Inspired Tokens, which they can spend to add a d8 to an ally's Action Pool. For their Skills, they take Unmovable and Professional, but swap Unstoppable out for Perfect Timing, then add Eccentric Gambler for the last slot.

Training Mountain Stance
Action Dice: d6/d6/d6
Range: 1
One of the two support stances that will define their role as the back row ally who only intercedes directly as needed. They have Armor, but can only attack in melee, and half of their Speed Tokens get transformed into Iron Tokens. At the end of their turn, they give a Training Token to an ally, which can be spent to raise all the numbers in an Action's description by 1. A nice bit of synergy here: the Mountain unique actions are all Choose X, and that means that Training Tokens let them choose results at once in addition to making those results stronger.

3+: Watch Closely
Gain a Training Token. If you spend it before the end of the turn, give an ally a Training Token.

3+: Secure
Choose two: Gain 3 Iron Tokens, give an ally within range 2 Iron Tokens, heal someone within range.

3+: Contain
Choose two: Pull an enemy two spaces, Challenge an enemy you can see, place a Trap into a space within range.

6+: Protect
Choose four from the Secure and Contain lists.

Mastermind Control Stance
Action Dice: d10/d8/d6/d4
Range: --
Patty is all about letting the rest of the team shine, so why not give them your actions directly? In this stance, Patty takes no actions, instead spending her Action Pool to make allies take their actions for them. After each Action an ally performs on their turn, they can move one space. In this stance she also uses Control Tokens - she can spend one at any time to negate an enemy action, or two to redirect it to a new target.

3+: Suppression
Gain 1 Control token and move one space.
6+: Gain 1 Control token.
9+: Gain 1 Control token and move one space.
Notably, the Mastermind Style means that when they do this, it's one of their allies who gains the Control Tokens, not them.

Elder Power Stance
Action Dice: d10/d10/d4
Range: 1-2
Being a support commander type is all well and good, but sometimes you really do just have to hit someone really hard. In this stance, Patty can spend up to 3 Power Tokens on every hit, and can use any Unique Action from any of their Stances for free once per turn. If it's Tiered, it assumes a 7 was spent on it.

2+: Yell
Gain 3 Power Tokens.

5+: Crush
Deal 3 damage to an enemy within range. It can't be reacted to, reduced, or prevented in any way.
8+: You can spend any number of Power Tokens on this hit.

From there, we get two more sample heroes - Truth Crimson, the Agile Angel/Demon Fused Hero who fights with the Halcyon Beast, Vampire Eternity and Winged Moon stances; and Pompadour Rex, the Bumbling Frantic Punk/Cavalry/Underdog who does whatever the hell he wants.

Next: Enemy building.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


I might be repeating myself, but

whip-


-lash

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Barudak posted:

I assume its because the designers didnt want to make any specific sex based upgrades or skills so they had to use whatever else they had written, decided Dex would control sex, and then realized the only item in the game that boosts Dex is combat cyborg modifications

As to why they carry guns I have no idea because their profession is 100% legal and they pay huge fees to the government just for the right to work. It comes up a lot but the developers of Obsidian wrote a lot of lore that they ignore so they can bolt on cyber parts and demons to how they percieved the united states was circa 2001.

For the record a prostitute’s actual “to hit” isnt great but their high income means they shouldnt be rocking anything but a double scoped triple barreled custom ammo full auto weapon which handily offsets any weakness in their accuracy.
Wasn't this the premise of the prostitute-controlled crime zone in Sin City?

Lynx Winters
May 1, 2003

Borderlawns: The Treehouse of Pandora

ProfessorProf posted:

Panic at the Dojo: Making Heroes

This chapter really should have been at the front of the book! It makes it a bit hard to parse on the first read-through that this overall structure of chargen isn't explained until halfway through the book.


I'm a pretty big fan of games telling you what things mean and how stuff works before they ask you to make a character. If you're reading it front-to-back, that means you have a better understanding of your options.

Metallia
Sep 17, 2014





Deep Carbon Observatory is an indie OSR adventure module by Patrick Stuart that has sat in my mental library of ‘things I’d like to play, but realistically won’t ever be able to’ for a long time. Not because it’s bad, or offensive, or asks too much of players and GM, but because Deep Carbon is incredibly bleak and incredibly weird, and it’s a tough sell for a group of 4-6 adventurers of various classes that probably were expecting something different when you told them about your old-school leaning dungeon crawl game. I’m reviewing it here for the sake of going back to it myself - because I think it’s a very interesting adventure in terms of aesthetics and also partly because I want to share the evocative, frenzied art, done by Scrap Princess.



Part 1: “The adventure is suitable for a lucky mid-range party, a stupid high-level party or an exceedingly clever low level party.”

Blanket trigger warning here as a whole for general body horror in the rest of the adventure and a few brief descriptions of violence against minors.

The narration to the book as a whole is very terse, and contributes greatly to the ambiance of the entire thing as a whole work. The stat blocks for all creatures are given in the format of Lamentations of the Flame Princess, and the descriptive blurb on sites where you can buy the pdf describes the module as being easy to convert to any D&D edition, which is probably not untrue, since most creatures appear to be MM thematic re-skins with an occasional special ability. The module itself is the picture of AD&D for the most part however; the entire thing could be an easy Dark Sun addition, I feel.

The narration begins immediately, and tells us how the adventure starts - that once, long ago, there was a Kingdom, where, well:



After this brief bit of background info, the scene immediately shifts to Carrowmore, said village on the river. The GM is asked to quickly make note of how many days of food the PCs have left on them, and to also note almost all friendly NPCs will trade lamps and other hand-held illumination for food.

Carrowmore, in so many words, is a bit of a disaster. The PCs arrive incredibly soon after an incredibly destructive flood washes through the town, and the towns people have lost all of their livelihood, possessions, and hope. You’re instructed to immediately show the PC group three scenes of tragedy, with the implication the PCs must immediately choose to intervene in one, if at all. If the characters split up, they are rapidly separated from each other. This repeats itself several times, ending in one of three scenes of violence. Each scene also introduces an NPC or group, important to the overall plot. This all results in an Action Flowchart of Despair:




The game provides a minor amount of characterization information and short adventure hooks for each NPC below the flowchart, and also offers some hit or miss black comedy to help with the fact how bleak everything is. The town would be a pretty unsettling place for PCs to visit even if the flood hadn’t happened.

A brief summation of the events’ provided backstory, ordered by their number on the flow chart:

1. Curtis’ wife Sonya was a fortune teller. She predicted her own death - and told Curtis that a band of helpful strangers would help take her corpse to her family’s tomb. Sonya also mentioned that Curtis should never try to take her body to the tomb alone.

2.Tem is a cleric of the Optical God, the local religion of Carrowmore. He has the keys to the church, which is currently engulfed by the river.

3. Callao is saving the children of a place called Pollnagollum Village. If you intervene on their behalf, one of the children shares an ominous bit of muttering:



4. The children are named Oscar, Signus, Latikat, and Drone. If their mother isn’t saved the children are noted to eventually all become murderers or cultists. Drone becomes a baker.

5. Kon-I-Gut only speaks by denying things in the third person.

6. Busla Rant will show you her latest catch: a corpse with gold dust in its mouth. She will trade the dust for food, and also tell the PCs that many of the corpses ashes pulled out of the flood have such things in their mouths.

7. Hans Gokgul is in a state of pure despair. He demands the cause of the flood; the book notes the cause is 'Time,' but Hans will accept any true story that explains the events. He’s legit despite his grief, and has 30k gp buried nearby he will offer half of to a party that gives him an honest answer.

8. Sue Trouin is trying to shepard, no poo poo, 5d6 orphaned children. None of the children have any means of support if Sue dies.

9. Wit Tamdoun ‘Has a knife, a chipper grin and a Dex of 18.’

10. Uli Guria has 3d6 secret cannibal friends. You’re asked to roll on a 1d6 chart twice when you meet them for their personality.



11. Terbil Tem is perfectly innocent of all crimes, or so all the townspeople earnestly believe.

12 & 13. Both these characters are noted to be ‘as dull as they sound’.

14. Torca Jou is the child about to rob the scholar, and he doesn’t know what the scrolls are. However, a rival gang of adventurers in town called the Crows have his sister Christina and are demanding the theft of the scrolls for her return. If the PCs try to use the child to track the Crows and fail any ‘significant number’ of checks, the Crows will catch on and kill Torca at the first opportunity from a distance.

The scrolls are various useful dungeoneering cantrip and low level spells: Mending, Message, Identify, Locate object, and Speak With Animals. The last scroll contains a cryptic clue to a location later in the adventure.

Tzani herself knows several useful facts about the area, including knowledge of some encounters later on in the adventure, and will provide them freely if her scrolls are saved from the child.

15. The throng of people are threatening to lynch an obviously innocent man. The pack the man is accused of stealing is several feet away, in a puddle of mud, easily visible to anyone with a calm head.

16. The first of our capstone encounters. Stary Hrad is being meanced by another group of adventurers for protection money - they are a fighter, wizard, and cleric and all of them are weird in some manner: the fighter wears flashy armor, the sorceress has half her body wizened but the other half young and beautiful, and the cleric constantly wears an ominous smile and has shifting magic tattoos. He also has an obviously magical weapon, a mace. They won’t fight an obviously superior group of PC adventurers, but will sandbag and warn player characters they’ll be back while shaking their fists.

They won’t; the previously mentioned OTHER group of adventurers the Crows will kill them all by capsizing their boat and drowning them. The Crow's necromancer will also turn them all 3 of them into subservient zombies.

The Crows themselves are watching this entire scene with care from a distance - the GM is encouraged to only describe them in vague terms at first, only going into detail if the players specific ask. I feel like this is kind of a bad idea in general, since in my experience OSR players are going to immediately ask about anything that seems suspicious at all in the background.

Getting back to Hrad; she wants to hire helpful PCs to go upriver and prove there’s no treasure before her town is ruined by, well, adventurers. She reluctantly will pay 5000 gp for a report on the treasure, and 1000 gp extra for hard evidence there isn’t any. She will also provide a skiff boat to the party if they ask.

17. Tham Ruesie is the bishop of the local Optical God’s church. He stares out at the dark pillar of smoke rising on the riverbend and mutters about a spoon. Inside the church is a religious centerpiece featuring a concave mirror on a long metallic stalk. The stained glass portrays a man with a lens for a head, waving a spoon at a adoring but ‘obviously starving’ crowd. The votive corner features a lot of broken ceremonial clay bowls. If any of the PCs politely inquire what the gently caress any of this is to any surviving cleric, they will immediately look stupefied briefly, and then sprint into the church screaming about ‘the spoon’. They are looking for a religious relic that has been stolen. It was stolen by Torca Jou, the child from 14. The acolytes do not know this and Torca will not volunteer any information about the spoon without being interrogated about it.

18. Snail-Shell Zarathusa is the captain of the ship Lapitan. He also wants to know what’s going on upstream, and will pay 500 gp for any information from the unknown zone. If PCs take him up on the offer, he will provide a boat and equipment. His crew is selling the 2500 units of rations in the ship’s hold at about 50 per day. Both he and his crew value the ship heavily and will fight to the death to defend it.

So that’s the first chapter of Deep Carbon Observatory. I have mixed feelings about the Carrowmore chapter - A lot of the humor falls flat in the face of the sheer tragedy of everything going on, but at a certain point wraps back around again to genuine absurdity. I'm not fond of the child directed violence at all. The scenario also doesn't really mention what can be done if you have spellcasters that can create food and water. The antagonistic adventurer parties are a fun touch, though; 'evil power rangers' is basically my favorite trope in all of media so I always enjoy when modules make sure to include examples of antagonists in similar straits as the PCs.

Next update will be Chapter 2: The Crows.

Metallia fucked around with this message at 04:41 on Aug 18, 2018

Ghost Leviathan
Mar 2, 2017

Exploration is ill-advised.


Nessus posted:

Wasn't this the premise of the prostitute-controlled crime zone in Sin City?

That was more the prostitutes having unionised.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





That kid has that magic gruel spoon, doesn’t he? Also we’re a bit quick to resort to cannibalism aren’t we, mr NPC table

Metallia
Sep 17, 2014



The book doesn’t really have a suggested timeframe for all this, but I assume at least a few days pass between steps on the flowchart otherwise a lot of the adventure doesn’t make much sense. (this contributes a decent amount to how weirdly ethereal the whole thing is though, which is honestly part of the charm)

Even then, this all assumes a cannibal cult crops up basically over night. The village is hosed, but shouldn’t really be that hosed.

Metallia fucked around with this message at 07:08 on Aug 18, 2018

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine


Boy howdy that sure reads like a LotFP adventure, yeah.

Ghost Leviathan
Mar 2, 2017

Exploration is ill-advised.


Sounds more like that South Park episode where all the kids get the adults sent to jail and the town turns Mad Max overnight.

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



Metallia posted:

Even then, this all assumes a cannibal cult crops up basically over night. The village is hosed, but shouldn’t really be that hosed.
They may have been just undercover all this time. I'd join a cannibal cult if the only thing there was to eat was porridge off a Murlynd's Spoon. :colbert:

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts World Book 17: Warlords of Russia, Part 10: "They are cool to the touch and their eyes sparkle with (low) human intelligence (I.Q. 1D4+6)."

Mega-Steeds

One of the issues back in Rifts World Book 14: New West was that the game really, really wanted to have cowboys on horses, but it turns out horses die when you shoot them with guns, much less with the mega-guns and missile barrages of Rifts. And while it had hovercycles and robot horses, generally the book poo-pooed them because they really wanted things to look like a Marlboro ad with a cyborg. Warlords of Russia solves this issue by having its riders riding "mega-steeds", and it's a much better solution, to the point I'd suggest just retconning these critters into New West. In any case, let's get into this monster manual of terrifying transportation.


Imagine a horse, only more horsish.

Firstly and most prominently, we have the True Megahorse. Is there a "false" megahorse, then? We may never know. In any case, this is a white horse that looks like it's made of white marble with white hair, so you can make all the "on a pale horse" references you like. They're supernatural M.D.C. creatures with fantastic attributes all around save Intelligence (even Beauty is exceptional). They're also psionic and have a variety of Sensitive powers, but also psionic invisibility and limited telepathic communication. We're told "14% of all War-Knights have a traditional Megahorse" and "Most Megahorses are especially fond of genuine heroes, children and gentle or innocent people.", so I wonder what they think when a Warlord exterminates a D-Bee village. Well, it turns out they're an optional character type, so you can play one and find out:

Rifts World Book 17: Warlords of Russia posted:

The Megahorse is primarily intended to be a Non-Player Character (NPC), but is smart enough that it could, in theory, be played as a player character. This might be especially amusing if the Megahorse was smarter than the rider; its partner. Megahorses aren't usually spiteful or arrogant, so they would not snub a character with a low I.Q., provided the individual had a kind heart and/or the heart of a hero.


Dinosaur? Horse? Now you don't have to choose which to ride!

We also have the Horned Steed (aka Devil Horse) that's more of a dinosaur horse than a devil. Thanks for the convenience, convergent alien evolution! Bizarrely, they have an exceptional Affinity on average, so they're very charming dino-horse. Still, clearly they're weaker and less impressive than a true megahorse, so they're clearly just the "my friend won't play a megahorse for me" option.


"Wait, how did I mount this thing, again...?"

The Burkov Mastodon seems like a cross between a camel and a wooly mammoth, with tusks for stabbing. It has the advantage of doing the most damage of any of the mega-steeds - but ironically from its kicks, not from the tusks. It also has the highest strength and can carry a lot, so they're used as beasts of burden. Neat design, but average steed.


Kinda like this.

A lot of people think the Steppe Ostrich is a mutated chicken, but it's probably just an another rift import instead. Many use them, but Cossacks are too proud to use them because they're "unflattering". They have wild flocks that hunt in numbers, but-

Rifts World Book 17: Warlords of Russia posted:

Steppe Ostriches are (please forgive the pun) "chickens" ... cowards who will not battle potential prey who put up too much of a fight...
Never forgive, never forget. These have pathetic M.D.C. values (around 30+) and their only real advantage is running endurance, so they're definitely not (please forgive the pun) top-flight steeds.

Rifts World Book 17: Warlords of Russia posted:

Their meat is delicious, and yes, it tastes like chicken (actually, more like turkey, and the meat from wild birds tends to be a bit tougher, but still good).
We get it.


Near bear.

Lastly, we have the Ursan Forest Steed, which is a bear-like animal with a pounce attack used as a steed or beast of burden. Closest thing to a bear in this book, so if you want Russian super-bear, this is your only pick.


"Dead or alive, you're riding on me."

Bionic Horses

While you can get a robot horse imported from Europe, Russia doesn't have the A.I. technology to create them even though Triax sells robots right next door because Y'KNOW WHAT IS ALSO IMPORTANT, DENTAL HYGIENE. Which makes everything make mega-sense. Mega-damage barding is also used by poor folks, but Russia loves horses and cyborgs so sometimes they combine the two! So we get partial cyborg horses (with armor to protect the still-organic bits) and full cyborg horses. However, this reduces or eliminates their sensitivity to the supernatural - a power all animals have dating back to the core rules. They get a bonus against Horror Factor to balance this somewhat. Ironically, despite being a half-ton or heavier, they have less M.D.C. than human cyborgs on account of their inability to wear cyborg armor. We're told Germany thinks these things are "inhumane", but they're probably more humane than letting your horse get et by a random demon.

We also get a reminder that there's a -3 penalty to hit moving horses, a penalty never mentioned before as far as I can recall.

Horse Barding

It's about twice as tough as your average suit of M.D.C. armor, but gets an Armor Rating of 18 (meaning attack totals with a roll of 19 or higher kill horses instantly even with armor, unlike people). Also it reduces speed by "5%". Definitely the last choice you want to have in regards to having a mount.

Anyway, it's kind of neat to have a variety of things to tame and ride, and have a monster section that isn't just critters that consider humans an interdimensional delicacy. They did alright here!

Next: Equipment via Perez.

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



Took me a bit to get back to the book. :shobon: The appendices are all quite long compared to the earlier chapters, so I'm going to split them up into multiple updates. For magic I'm going to begin with the overview, and showcase a handful of spells in the next update. Let's get back to business!


For Gold & Glory: Appendix A, part I: Magic Overview

So, there's two kinds of magic: Wizard magic and priest magic. Wizard magic leans on "energy inherent to the universe" while priest magic usually comes from some kind of deity or their representative. But the book hastens to add that faiths with no deities can also grant magic to their faithful, in case you want to go the whole "no gods no masters" route.


Spell it out for me

The big thing that separates the two kinds of magic is that wizards need to learn their spells one by one, as well as keep a physical record of them. Spells are big things and learning them is taxing, which means a wizard can only learn so many spells. The specific limits are in the ability score section, because they're governed entirely by the character's intelligence. Here's the relevant table again:



Remember how I rolled a 16 for that example character I made a while ago? That's an all-round good score, but a wizard with Int 16 just flat-out couldn't learn 9th level spells until they find some kind of stat booster. They could learn 11 spells per spell level, which is reasonable, but still a slight limiter on Unlimited Batman Power. In an actual game these would both be late-game concerns, but there's something that would kick their rear end throughout their career: That 70% chance to learn new spells. That means that about a quarter of all spells found will just refuse to stick, and a wizard can't retry learning a spell until they've gained an entire level. Which is a bit annoying because wizards are the slowest to advance in level. So, uh, maybe consider just flat out shoveling scrolls at the party wizard if you decide to run the game?

The game seems a bit confused on how a wizard goes about learning new spells. The class description for the mage and the specialist mage says that they learn one free spell for every new spell level they get. Appendix A says wizards learn a new spell every "experience" level. Ask your GM, I guess! In any case, these spells are learned automatically and for free. In addition, the wizard can attempt to learn new spells by copying them from a scroll or a spell book to their own spell book. This is yet another money sink, since the process requires expensive material components that cost 50 gp per page. Like I mentioned in the last chapter, wizards are likely to charge you for the privilege of copying their spells. Regardless of its length, copying a spell takes an entire day of effort to make sure you get it just right, and the spell scroll you're copying from is destroyed in the process. (Spell books are unaffected.) And there's that failure chance I mentioned, presumably rolled after the scroll is consumed.

Every new spell requires a number of pages equal to the spell level plus 1d6-1. So a 1st-level spell averages 3.5 pages long, a 2nd-level spell 4.5, and so forth. Every 1st-level wizard starts out with a 100-page spell book. If they learn about 10 spells per level, they need to get a new spell book when they hit level 5 and get access to 3rd-level spells. New spell books aren't expensive as far as adventuring gear goes and they come in various sizes, but the logistics of traveling with your magical library might get a bit hairy. Paper has terrible saving throws, so remember to make backups!

Finally, before a wizard can cast a spell, they must memorize it. They need an uninterrupted full night's sleep before beginning the memorization process, which takes 10 minutes of study per spell level memorized. So, uh, hope you weren't in a rush because Fizzbang here needs to memorize some 6th-levels. Memorized spells don't go away until they're cast, and memorizing spells always requires a full rest to recharge your batteries, so you can't change your repertoire on the fly.

Priests don't have to worry about learning spells, since they get access to all their faith's magic through prayer. Priest spells are organized into "spheres" and priests gain minor or major access to them based on their chosen faith: Minor access means they can only memorize spells up to 3rd level, while major access goes all the way up to 7th. Priests memorize spells like wizards: After a good night's sleep, they must spend 10 minutes in prayer for each spell level memorized. The GM is encouraged to dick the priest over if they don't act according to their faith's tenets. (The text says "tenants", but I don't think clerics are meant to play divine janitor to people living on church land.)

If a spell doesn't exist, an enterprising spellcaster can attempt to invent one. The process begins with a player writing up the description for the new spell, casting time and all. The GM then looks at it and compares it to existing spells. If the spell's just "this cleric spell, but for wizards" it should go up a spell level, and upgrades for existing spells should go up two. When the GM and the player agree on the spell's level and effects, research begins. It takes at least 2 weeks per spell level and costs 100–1000 gp per level, but the GM might hike either number up at their pleasure. Research also requires a laboratory or place of worship, presumably like the ones described in the treasure chapter. Remarkably, the character can pause and resume their research at will to go on adventures. At the end of the research process, a check is made to see if the research bears any fruit: Wizards roll their learn spell chance while priests roll a regular wisdom check. (Incidentally, the spell learning chance is such that priests will have the better odds until the wizard reaches Int 19.) A successful roll means the spell is learned, while a failure means the time and money went to waste.


Colours of magic

Magic is categorised into nine different schools:
  • Abjuration protects against magical energies and banishes magical creatures.
  • Conjuration manipulates matter to create or summon objects and creatures.
  • Enchantment changes the qualities of matter and even the thoughts of creatures.
  • Divination grants the caster knowledge. It's divided into common "lesser divination" and the more specialised "greater divination" which can even peer into the future.
  • Illusion deceives minds and senses.
  • Evocation channels and shapes energies like, uh, fire and sound.
  • Necromancy is the manipulation of life force and negative energy.
  • Transmutation transforms things from one form to another and alters things like space and time
The schools are not exactly rigid, and spells you think should obviously belong in some school are probably transmutation instead. :v:

Incidentally, when we get to the spell list, even priest spells list which of these schools they belong in because there is some amount of overlap. Unlike wizard spells, priest spells also organised into 16 spheres: All, Animal, Astral, Charm, Combat, Creation, Divination, Elemental, Guardian, Healing, Necromantic, Plant, Protection, Summoning, Sun, and Weather. This list of spheres is hidden all the way back in the class chapter. Like I mentioned earlier, priests only gain access to some of these spheres, based on their faith. The baseline cleric gets a wide range of access, but I guess the implication is the GM should adjust it for their campaign setting.

Because their effects are explicitly not real, the school of illusions get a bunch of extra rules. Illusions are sensory figments with no physical substance, while phantasms exist only in the subject's mind. The subject's expectations and senses should affect any saving throws made against illusions: An frozen lake in the middle of a desert isn't entirely credible and the PCs should maybe get a bonus, for example. A successful saving throw usually makes a character immune to an illusion's effects, and they can grant their allies a +4 bonus on their next saving throw by warning them about the illusion. Willfully disbelieving an illusion takes a full round, but it's not quite clear what that means. I guess you get to roll a saving throw? The book specifically advises against letting NPCs roll to disbelieve, unless they have a very good reason to do so.

Since this is a violent game, illusions might fool characters into believing they've taken damage. The GM needs to track illusionary damage separately, since it goes away the moment the character successfully disbelieves the illusion. If a creature would die of illusionary damage, they go comatose and must roll a system shock roll. A failed roll means they die of shock, while a successful roll means they wake up 1d3 turns (so 10–30 minutes) later and realize it was all an illusion. If the illusionary situation (a falling wall, say) would kill them outright, they roll the system shock roll and if successful, get an immediate saving throw at a +4 bonus. A successful saving throw means they immediately disbelieve the illusion, while failure means they faint for 1d3 turns. It's very cute and clever, but illusionary damage sounds like a pain to track.


Coming up next: Appendix A, part II: Spells!

mllaneza
Apr 28, 2007


Veteran, Bermuda Triangle Expeditionary Force, 1993-1952





Vulpes Vulpes posted:

It kind of fell apart at that point, as I realized I didn't know enough about South American and African Food to stretch the gag any further to include Ifri and the New World.

Was Google down ? You couldn't do some research ? At the very least, you need to get into Argentinian barbecue. Look up a chimichurri sauce and get woke.

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



And depending on where in Not!Africa, you can use Ethopian, Moroccan, and Ghanaian cuisine, and for the south America, let's not forget Brazil's extremely varied cuisine.

Metallia
Sep 17, 2014



Deep Carbon Observatory
Part 2: “The Crows survive. At any cost.”




This chapter contains character sheets, biographies, magic items, and tactics for the recurring antagonist force in the rest of the adventure: The Crows. The Crows are a sociopathic mirror of a PC party, and you’re encouraged to use them as such. They uniformly seek power and wealth, and will almost never engage in a straight fight with the players.

They are depicted in the following order:

Hoolloch Frosen



Holloch is seemingly the leader of the Crows, or at least directs them with the least trouble. He has a photographic memory, especially when it comes to distances and speeds, and can learn these things in an instant by being witness to them once. His plans are always sound, and at the very least, will never endanger himself. He will never betray his sister; everything else is expendendable to him. His silent-moving mail armor leaves faint black stains on the fingers of the dead as a calling card, and this frustrates him.

He has a single magic item, the ‘ghost-like cloth’ in his inventory. If you wear it around your eyes, you gain ghost-sight and can see anything ethereal and with darksight. You become immune to blindness. This is because you are seeing from the point of view of a ghost that haunts the cloth - it walks behind its user for 12 hours or until the cloth is removed, at which point the ghost most feed on the soul of a named intelligence. Naturally, it eats you if none are available. Seems like a lot of work for darkvision.


Echo Frosen



Echo is Hoolloch’s sister and is just as loyal to him as he is to her. Echo believes she can smell distrust. She ‘senses discord like sharks smell blood drops in adjacent seas’. She is, probably, insane. But she hides it well. This is all that is said about her, though her item list also notes she has what is obviously a Murlynd’s spoon as well. It is not noted if this is Carrowmore’s spoon or not; given the relative mood of the module I’m guessing this is implication she takes it from Torca before moving on.

Ghar Zaghounan



Ghar is...honestly, I kinda just want to paste his descriptive block, because it sells itself pretty well.



Yeah.

Ghar has a magical bow. The bow was assembled by an alchemist-smith from a single piece of an ‘ultralight alloy’ that shines with a slight rainbow sheen over a blue-black plastic-esqe depth. Ghar keeps the smith’s wife at knife-point during the process; she lived.
The string of the bow is made of daemonweb, which was stolen from the church of a dead god by a thief that Ghar hired and subsequently murdered, burying his body and soul underneath a glacier ‘for some time’. The body is laminated dragon bone, the pivot-point of a wing; Ghar hunted the dragon-killing host of adventurers on their way back home, eventually killing them all one by one in a swamp. Naturally, he left the dragon’s hoard of gold in the swamp. It’s apparently still there.

Anyone who has unravelled the workings of the bow and what they’re holding (by means of d6 consecutive INT tests, separated by any passing of time) may use it to strike as if they were attacking as a thief of equal level, so long as you’re doing so from a concealed position.

Ghar also has a selection of poisons and trick-arrows he will use without hesitation.

1. Corpse and carrion meat-carrying-sickness
Doesn’t do anything until an hour after contact. If you don’t receive a cure disease spell by then, you save vs Poison. The actual infection causes you to lose 1 HP per HD each day, starting at 1 HP and then moving up by 1 more each day. It takes one heal spell per infected HD this way to cure the disease - if you get any less heals than the amount needed, the disease will resurface.

2.Mushrooms in jellyfish bile
Causes hallucinations and fear. The DM describes a hallucination to the player once per hour. The player rolls a fear test at the start of each combat or must flee. It lasts for 3d6 hours minus your CON modifier.

3. Eel cyst
Basically tapeworms. Eats all the food you consume before the food does anything for you. To get it out of you, you have to win initiative against the eel (??????) and then hit it on an AC of 19. Just like a real surgery, I guess. I’m skimping on this one a bit because it’s frankly sort of gross.

4. ‘Liquid dyslexia’ :sigh:
Lasts for d4 weeks. You can’t cure it like a disease, and it’s not a curse, either. Ghar uses this on wizards, presumably so...it makes it harder for them to read their spellbooks? I don’t know? There’s no negative effects listed here, so?

5. Thaumo-Conductor
A barbed bolt with a meter long hair thin copper wire attached. It does one HP damage on hit, 2d6 when you pull it out. The real nastiness is that it grounds all offensive magic cast within ten meters to the flesh of the person its in, regardless of who casts it. This is pretty neat, but will definitely kill one of your PCs if you have a trigger happy wizard around and you don’t explain it immediately.

6.Eye bolt
Tiny silver arrowhead that breaks off in your skin. Causes one of your eyes to develop a hemorrhage that doesn’t impede vision, but Ghar has a coin-sized mirror he can use to scry through your infected eye. Let’s move on!

Zolushika Von Der Linth



Zolushika is a socialite, prodigy, and pianist. She lost those things in scandal, and is now mostly a necromancer, which she approaches with the same level of ingenuity she shows for everything else she does. Her last name carries weight, and she tells the dying her name as they pass, hoping for some small flash of validating recognition. She hasn’t quite got it yet.

She has two magic items: the Snakewood Staff and the Displacement Doll. The Snakewood Staff can cast raise dead indefinitely, making permanent zombies that are stupid, but loyal. Each use of the staff costs 500 xp in debt. Once you use the staff, it cannot be discarded, and will animate nearby corpses if needed to bring itself to you. If destroyed, it reforms over the course of a day. If politely asked to leave, a zombie will take the staff up to 50 miles away, at which point it will turn around and come back.

The displacement doll deflects all mental based magic to itself. Reading the mind of the doll gives you the thoughts of a woman lost in the dark on the back of a giant. Zolushika invented the doll herself, if you couldn’t tell by her item list.

That’s all of the Crows. The next small section tells you what kind of tactics the Crows use and their methods of engagement. There’s nothing super surprising here; they mostly use corpses from the Snakewood Staff as ambushes. Zolushika will have zombies lay in wait in shallow water. Sometimes she’ll give one a rope snare that if a player steps into, the zombie will simply grab and start walking upstream with. Echo exploits any interpersonal conflicts with planted gold and treasure. Ghar hates magic users and fires on the PCs once an hour at night to prevent sleep and spell renewal. If pushed into a corner, Holloch will negotiate seriously, but will always find a way to use his terms to separate the party. They leave poisoned food out and sleep away from trapped campfires. They’re bad guys. You get it.

Next Chapter: The Drowned Lands.

Metallia fucked around with this message at 14:51 on Aug 18, 2018

DAD LOST MY IPOD
Feb 3, 2012

Fats Dominar is on the case




There are things about LOTFP and its style I really like, when Raggi isn’t being a pompous edgelord. He does the whole “the world is a strange and amoral place full of weirdness that doesn’t care about you” thing very well, but as is often the case with such people, his aesthetic/design philosophy produces much better content in other people’s hands than in his

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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





7th Sea 2e: The New World

John Wick's entire intro is basically 'I have no idea how to write Mesoamerican cultures. Fortunately, I hired people who do.' The primary scholarly voice behind this was apparnetly Anastasia Kotsoglou who, I believe, did a pretty good job of at least picking interpretations that are scholarly and historical from which to then run and 7th Sea-ize the various groups here, with the help of a lot of minority writers. So...good work, guys? Let's see how you did.

The proper name for what Theah knows as the New World is Aztlan. Long ago, it was united as the Aztlan Empire, whose old gods walked the earth and who made machines that even now people do not understand how to repair or use. An even came, the Fall, which lost the Aztlani the favor of their gods and saw the empire destroyed. Today's Aztlani are descended from the survivors of the Fall. Literal gods do still walk the land, but they are understood less, and no empire units all of the continent. Some want to reunify Aztlan, but it won't be easy, and each new nation has developed its own unique culture.

The Aztlani gods do walk among them, granting magic and power in exchange for worship. These gods have physical bodies and are people. Some are more involved than others with their people, but every Aztlani can recall seeing a god at least once, if not more. Gods often call on heroes for work or may even need to be saved by them. The gods are not always helpful, however. They have their own agendas, and are not heroes or villains. They may help or hinder either as they like, but are beyond such simple classification. They do, however, generally want good things for their people, and they do often like heroes. However, not all gods still walk the earth. The old gods no longer do, having long ago been sealed away. They were violent, dangerous beings who currently would like nothing more than to conquer Aztlan and force its people into bloody worship, as they did in ancient times.

Aztlan is used to change, given its many hostile landscapes. Stability is found only in the pockets of civilization its people have created and defended from the jungles and deserts, which actively resist attempts to map them given how quickly things change. They have had contact with Theah for a little more than a century, and in this time both groups have learned from each other. Travel between the two continents is not all that rare, and people do travel back and forth. Theans are found in Aztlan usually in small groups, typically those that have decided they prefer to live amongst the Aztlani. Thean districts in cities are rare. Theah made a very bad impression during first contact, and large groups of Theans are deeply suspicious to most Aztlani. Over in Theah, the largest number of Aztlani immigrants lives in the Flower Quarter of Odiseo.

Both continents have influenced each other. Aztlani food and engineering is now common (relatively speaking) in Theah, while guns are now found throughout Aztlan, and Thean ship designs have been adopted to increase Aztlani travel speed. While Aztlan's engineers have always been excellent, they never really focused on naval technologies much. Most Aztlani are relatively accepting people that enjoy learning and discovering new things, and they tend not to mind individual Theans - it's just when Theans gather in large groups that problems seem to happen. They find people from Theah to be exotic, strange, often untrustworthy but worth learning from, even if their ideas on divinity are silly and backwards.

There are three major Aztlani nations. The Nahuacan Alliance sits in the north, ruled over by a council from each of its four greatest cities - Milllahco, Tecuehtitlan, Oloxochicalco and Nexhuatipec, each dedicated to one of the gods of the Alliance. The only one that stands above this council is the Great Speaker, who is dedicated to speaking for the people and questioning the will of the gods. The Nahuacans are both a warrior people and one that believes firmly in law and order. They agree that Aztlan must be reunited, but few agree on how to do this. The current Great Speaker is often considered too young for the job, and the two strongest military forces of the Alliance are now at odds, as their leaders seek to control the Great Speaker.

Tzak K'an sits in the middle, in an area of jungles and Syrneth ruins. They are a group of largely unrelated city-states who are connected by culture alone, rather than any central government. Many of these city-states are dedicated to a speicfic god or god-king, and are generally ruled by different leaders. Their unifying factor is a shared respect for science, exploration and knowledge. Their inability to unite as a single entity leaves the mvulnerable to those that wish to conquer the continent, and the city-states themselves are now gearing up for an internal war which may collapse their rich culture.

The Kuraq Empire lies in the southern mountains, worshipping Suway, the god of death. They are ruled by their undead empress, Asiri Inkasisa, who has been in charge for a century. Their culture is built on veneration of the dead, and the dead walk among them in everyday life. The Empress is unhappy with current borders, hoping to unite all of Aztlan under her rule, driving out all other gods but Suway, the one and only. She has begun a God Hun, to destroy all of the other gods in Kuraq and, eventually, Aztlan itself. The commoners are tired of this corrupt leadership, and have set up a divinely-backed REsistance, in efforts to dethrone Asiri and return all gods to their rightful place in the empire.

Aztlan is a very, very old continent, with a history that stretches back further than any can recall. It had, in ancient times, civilizations of advanced technology and magic when Theans were barely organized at all. And yet, it is also a new world - new to Theah, yes, but also because the fall of the Aztlan Empire changed it utterly, marking it out as a new place, full of ancient ruins. Understanding the past and coping with the chaotic present is the constant challenge of the Aztlani. They have had nearly a century of conflict with invaders and each other, and they cannot afford to ignore the rest of the world. The gods desire worship, and they don't especially care who it comes from, while newcomers keep arriving on Aztlani shores.

Next time: The history of Aztlan.

MightyMatilda
Sep 2, 2015


@Alien Rope Burn: In case you don't know, the picture of the true megahorse is unavailable.

Ghost Leviathan
Mar 2, 2017

Exploration is ill-advised.


MightyMatilda posted:

@Alien Rope Burn: In case you don't know, the picture of the true megahorse is unavailable.

I have no idea what this is and I'm still disappointed.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



7th Sea 2e: The New World - Lost God-Kings of Time And Space

The history of Aztlan begins well before any of the nations of Theah existed. In a time of ancient darkness, the god-kings of Aztlan ruled over all of the civilized world as the sole point of light, their cities reaching to the heavens and communicating with the stars themselves. Some scholars claim that they had mastered the cycles of life and death the guide the universe. Under their rule, the continent of Aztlan stood apart from the mundane world, watching it flow but being disticnt from it. No one, even the most well-versed Aztlani scholars today, knows how the god-kings did such a thing. But it is known that they were majestic, graceful beings whose subjects knew their perfection. Their will alone made the crops grow, parted the jungles to make roads and buildings, kept peace. Disputes between people did not exist often, and when they did, the god-kings themselves would settle such conflicts. Today, such an empire seems a hallucinatory dream, a fevered imagining in a world of feuding and squabbling over resources and territory. However, all Aztlani agree that, in ancient times, the Aztlan Empire ruled over the entire continent in perfect harmony. However, such perfection could not last.

The Fall of the Aztlan Empire was surprising, quick and final. In one moment, the god-kings looked over their rule, timeless and secure, vain and perfect. In the next, it was ruin. The Empire ended well before they even realized that it was coming. The Aztlani fled the ancient cities and abandoned their homes. The old temples were looted and vandalized. The jungles and deserts, no longer held at bay by the magic of the god-kings, swept over the land like a plague. The earth itself turned against the Empire. No one knows precisely why. Some inner madness, perhaps, r an invasion from some distant enemies, or an offense the god-kings made to the gods. No one alive can say. Each civilization has its own stories of the Fall, its own explanations about why the Empire ended, but not even the gods themselves know the truth now. The Fall was an apocalypse, and end of the world, and the historical record is lost. However, its effects were clear. The god-kings vanished, their cities fell to ruins. Many ancient magics were lost forever. As the Aztlani struggled to survive, their culture seemed on the brink of annihilation. The scholar Chicuei Atzintli has summed it up as 'the bright candle of Aztlan burned in darkness, and the darkness grew tired of its arrogance. Who was such a candle to defy the end of all things?'

Eventually, however, the survivors did regroup and rebuild. They reclaimed the continent, hoping to tame the land as the Aztlan Empire once had. While they were not god-kings, they saw the Old Empire as a model for rule, even if many doubted they could unify the continent. When cities were raised and temples rebuilt, however, they found a strange new reality. The Fall had changed the continent itself. The jungle could be fought back with blade and fire, but it no longer held a consistent shape, and no longer retained any kind of ordered spatial existence within itself. The desert crossing was no longer just about preparing supplies - the sands would shift beneath feet, changing the path itself and taking you back where you came from. As the centuries passed, the land grew more consistent, but it has never returned to the pure solidity it had in ancient times. Whatever the Fall was, it was more than just a political event - it changed the land itself, and the new Aztlan was something alive, a cycle of chaos that would not remain constant.

As the Theans clawed their way out of early feudalism, the Aztlani reclaimed some of their great cities. They found the technologies of the old Empire foreign now, unknowable, but did their best to relearn how to use them. Some things were rediscovered. Others were lost. Three great poltical institutions emerged - the Nahuacan Alliance, the Tzak K'ani city-states and the Kuraq Empire, each distinct and independent. Aztlan would no longer be one people, and had no god-kings.

The many faiths and many gods of the Tzak K'ani drove them to be the earliest to reclaim cities after the Fall, rebuilding them into city-states that called forth the magic of the stars. Warfare dominated early Tazk K'an, but in the end, a fragile truce emerged. No one person would rule the city-states in their loose alliance, and they would remain independent of each other. Today, the Tzak K'ani are in decline, their detente falling to open war between cities as they make alliance with foreigners. Many believe that these days are the end of times once more, the closing of a great cycle. Only one thing has remained constant: everything changes. Why should now be different?

Centuries after the Tzak K'ani city-states were founded, the first great cities of the Nahuaca were built. While each Tzak K'ani city stood apart, the Nahuaca's four cities came together in alliance, ending their own conflicts with an agreement to share power among those worthy of rule. As Tzak K'an falls now, Nahucan rises. The Alliance's military victories against Thean forces have proven their strength, and their rigorous administrative bureaucracy has allowed them to easily integreate new territory. Many whisper that they may be the ones to reunify the continent.

Even younger than the Nahuaca, the Kuraq Empire has claimed the south, unified by an Empress. Once, it was a place of diverse city-states, but they were brought to heel under the power of the dead spirits wielded by potent leaders. Soon, they held all of the southern lands. While their rulers have often been despotic and stagnant, the most recent, Empress Inkasisa, has transformed the Kuraq Empire from a state to a totalitarian machine beyond any of her predecessors. Her agents are all over, hunting her foes even as a rebellion grows against her.

It is difficult to describe these events in terms of dates - all three nations have their own local calendars, which are not consistent with each other. From the Thean perspective, in 1553, an obscure sailor named Cristobal Gallegos asked the Castillians for funding to seek a sea route to Cathay, in an effort to get access to eastern goods without offering money to the hated Crescents or traveling through Ussura. King Carlos I funded him in an effort to give his nobles an outlet for their aggression rather than have them turn on him. While his astronomers warned the king that Cristobal had vastly underestimated the size of the planet, the king and his council ignored them in pursuit of wealth. Gallegos set forth in 1544 with ten ships; he returned with three. More on that in just a moment.

The old gods of the Empire were gone. They had been alien, resplendent beings; the new gods that emerged from the jungle and desert were not. They often appeared mortal, hiding their true nature in flesh and bone. These gods, unlike the god-kings, had no interest in rule. They wanted worship, not obedience. Honor us, they would say, and you will be rewarded. Worship us, and you will be shown the true path. Belive in us, and your enemies will be destroyed. And so, the people did. The gods never disappointed them - even when Theah arrived. Cristobal Gallegos made landing near the Nahuacan Alliance, greeted with cautious but open arms. They believed they'd arrived in Cathay, attempting to communicate in the Khazarian language, whole the Aztlani believed they came from the south, or were some remnant group they'd never met before. It didn't take long for both to realize things were different, however. Gallegos attempted to introduce the Aztlani to Theus and the Vaticine faith, teaching them his language with religion. In return, they taught their own language and told him of the new gods. Gallegos and his crew remained in Nahuacan for nine years before heading home, taking with them stories of gods written on sheets of gold as a sign of goodwill, along with his own writings about their exchange of ideas. He left with a promise to return with trade and wealth.

He confessed that he did not, in fact, reach Cathay, when he got home - but he had found a new land, unknown to anyone, and proved it with the ten sheets of gold engraved with heathen gods, and twenty converts whom he had brought back as proof that the locals could understand Theus. His crew spent their new wealth in San Cristobal, spreading tales of the people they'd met and the golden cities in distant jungles. Aztlan became a sensation in CAstille, a land where anyone could go to seek their fame and fortune. Soon, expeditions were launched for all purposes - exploration, trade, conquest. The VEndel League established the Aztlan Charter, a specific fund purely to award to those brave enough to sail west, across the Serpent's Sea, and the Castillians made a huge effort to recruit and supply expeditions, seeing great opportunity to extend their influence before anyone else was ready.

Unfortunately, it didn't work all that well. While some Odisean merchants were able to set up on the eastern Nahucan shores, other attempts to bring home the wealth of Aztlan dailed miserably. Many ships never got there, distracted by the Atabean or waylaid by pirates. Others landed, but were destroyed by the jungles before making any contact. EVentually, well-funded groups did manage to probe the heartlands of Aztlan, usually making contact with the Tzak K'ani before heading inland to Nahuaca or Kuraq. Most of these parties died to disease, natural hazards or local resistance, but enough succeeded in making someone extremely wealthy that they kept coming.

One such expedition was funded by Don Fernando Medellin, a minor Castillian noble who hit on the grand and certainly not stupid idea of pretending to be a god in Aztlan to win local support. Unfortunately, the god he was impersonating happened to be around that day and didn't appreciate it. While he was shown mercy the first time, he was so certain of his plan that he tried it again further south, ran into the god a second time and get loving smited. Other adventurers also failed. Franco Gonzalez, a poor but ambitious explroer, managed to become the first to meet the Empress of the Kuraq, where he decided to try and play the god gambit too. He wasn't killed - just chased out and humiliated. He spent five years brooding, then returned to kill as many Kuraq as possible. Little is known of how that ended for him, though the few terrified survivors of his group claim that he and his murderous followers were torn apart by the corpses of those they killed. Several other expeditions have vanished in the Tzak K'ani jungles. The locals just say this poo poo happens sometimes. Some Castillians believe it is a conspiracy by the Tzak K'ani to kidnap or kill them, but to anyone who actually pays attention it's clear that the jungles are just an awful, awful place that you want to avoid.

Despite these early issues, relaitons have settled into a cautious piece, with each continent making the best of what they can. Merchants, priests and scholars have had the best lot of it, trading goods and knowledge and ideas. The Theans who dreamed of colonial conquest have largely been thwarted by luck, military failure and gods. Castillians are easily the most dominant Thean group in Aztlan, and a few have even managed to integrate themselves into local politics. Don Francisco Schulz, son of a Castillian noblewoman and an Eisen war hero, set out to conquer, but quickly realized that conquest wasn't a great plan in Aztlan. Now, he serves as a local guide to new Theans in Nahuaca, as he knows all the local merchants, speaks the local lanauge and owns a large house in the city of Pepechotlan, which he claims was given to him by the Great Speaker himself.

Aztlan and Theah have deeply influenced each other. The potato has been imported from Kuraq and found a ready home in Eisen areas ravaged by the War of the CRoss, as well as as Ussura and Inismore. The Inqusitiion shouts angrily about 'Legion's Apple' but pretty much no one is listening to that. Tomatos were brought to Vodacce, and have now become extremely popular in sauces for pasta. Marinara has been invented and is much beloved. Thean livestock has proven vital to the Aztlani, with horses and oxen allowing the Nahuacan Alliance to cultivate ever-larger areas and expand their food production. Thean agricultural techniques have entirely replaced Tzak K'ani slash-and-burn farming, and manure has replaced ash as fertilizer, with crop rotation and single-crop fields replacing the old mixed plantings of maize, squash and beans. Kuraq farmers are growing Thean crops in research stations, experimenting with soil and temperature to decide which ones are suitable for general cultivation.

Next time: Modern Aztlan

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Ghost Leviathan posted:

I have no idea what this is and I'm still disappointed.

I think that's the joke.

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JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Also, jungles are terrible in real life, and the you have magical ones? gently caress it, let the Aztlan have 'em.

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