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The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



Ghost Leviathan posted:

I did picture a Slayer ending up with a party of Zealots and feeling oddly at home.

A bunch of good-natured suicidal fanatics would make a hilarious adventuring party.

Arguing about who gets to take on the suicide mission.

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Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



mllaneza posted:

Not even Skynet thinks humanity deserves Stigmata.

My idea was less Skynet and more the science cadre of Rebellion/Resistance has a time machine and some Terminators (or some humans that have been made into Terminators). The time machine can only go back so far, so they can't just send them back and wipe out the Regime's leadership in the cradle, but they can at least send them back to a period where the Regime was weak: we can say that the Regime got stronger with an AI-run surveillance state, drones, and, cloned cyborg supersoldier infiltrators (getting tired of using Terminators as a short hand for this) so that the only effective way to fight back is in the past.

Maybe pull a little Trancers/Millennium and have the time travel be genetically-locked to people in the past or replacing them with clones (who are the players), so that they have an identity that finding out they're a Terminator is a bit of a shock and one they could risk losing if they decide to pull out all the stops.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





It is hilarious to me how even these period pieces have to fall over themselves to tell you that NO, THE COMMIES WEREN'T GOOD EITHER. I remember that WWII-with-Quirks game having to outline a bunch of different comical non-historical atrocities undertaken by the USSR in grisly detail (and none, of course, for poor old Germany).

I'm surprised nobody's had the stones yet to sit down and write out the alternate history where Lenin doesn't have a stroke and instead gains a Stand and the Soviet Union straddles the globe. Even leaving aside the massive problems with the USSR, that is the absolutely obvious place to turn for support if you are fighting Generically Fascist United States. That, or you eventually figure out that none of this implausible bullshit makes sense, and The Executive is actually Nyarlathotep loving with the planet.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




Nessus posted:

That, or you eventually figure out that none of this implausible bullshit makes sense, and The Executive is actually Nyarlathotep loving with the planet.

"But then why someone as unhealthy as McCarthy? Why didn't a nuclear war break out at some point with a U.S. this aggressive? What about the Eastern Blo-"
"I am the messenger of the Outer Gods, not a writer."

LazyAngel
Mar 17, 2009


mllaneza posted:

We should have a Spire thread. We should also have set of generic rules for running a revolution or insurgency in an RPG.

Well, the Resistance Toolbox - the SRD, essentially, for Spire - has just been released for free here

mllaneza
Apr 28, 2007


Veteran, Bermuda Triangle Expeditionary Force, 1993-1952





LazyAngel posted:

Well, the Resistance Toolbox - the SRD, essentially, for Spire - has just been released for free here

That's great news, but I'm not hearing it in a dedicated thread. Aftermarket support is good sign.

I picked up their Black Magic pdf, and hoo boy do I need to make an effort post about demonic magic and Fallout.


e. There's a supplement going to Kickstarter soon !

https://rowanrookanddecard.com/strata-authors-adventures-and-new-classes/

mllaneza fucked around with this message at 07:27 on Sep 25, 2018

Liquid Communism
Mar 9, 2004


Out here, everything hurts.




mllaneza posted:

That's great news, but I'm not hearing it in a dedicated thread. Aftermarket support is good sign.

I picked up their Black Magic pdf, and hoo boy do I need to make an effort post about demonic magic and Fallout.


e. There's a supplement going to Kickstarter soon !

https://rowanrookanddecard.com/strata-authors-adventures-and-new-classes/

Hopefully with a tier that comes with Spire, as I think I need both.

Nuns with Guns
Jul 23, 2010

....?


Nessus posted:

It is hilarious to me how even these period pieces have to fall over themselves to tell you that NO, THE COMMIES WEREN'T GOOD EITHER. I remember that WWII-with-Quirks game having to outline a bunch of different comical non-historical atrocities undertaken by the USSR in grisly detail (and none, of course, for poor old Germany).

I'm surprised nobody's had the stones yet to sit down and write out the alternate history where Lenin doesn't have a stroke and instead gains a Stand and the Soviet Union straddles the globe. Even leaving aside the massive problems with the USSR, that is the absolutely obvious place to turn for support if you are fighting Generically Fascist United States. That, or you eventually figure out that none of this implausible bullshit makes sense, and The Executive is actually Nyarlathotep loving with the planet.

Sigmata is pretty bad with history. As someone pointed out in the Industry thread, Joseph McCarthy was elected president in 1960 in the setting. Three years after his irl death. The entire alternate timeline split because nobody censured him or criticized him loudly enough to stop his red-scaremongering.

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010



Lipstick Apathy

an America with Eugene McCarthy as President would have been a more interesting premise

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



WFRP 4e - How Am Bear

The Bestiary chapter notes that it is providing generic examples, and that you, the GM, are encouraged to customize them - add skills or talents, even use the Career system for truly terrifying foes. However, the fastest way to make NPC foes is to just toss on Creature Traits. Each entry has one or more standard Traits, that all examples of that critter will have, and a list of Optional Traits, which are the most common ones to toss on as variants. You can, of course, ignore them and give any traits you want. We also get a discussion of hit locations. For anything like, horse-size or smaller, it's usually easy to adapt - arms become forelegs or wings or whatever. Some things require special ones, though, so we get new tables for snakes and spiders. For any creature 2 steps larger than you or more, you just hit the location closest to you, or pick one in line of sight to shoot. If a hit location has no critical table, use the one for Arms. Also, any creature is assumed to have Afraid, Animosity, Armor, Big, Brute, Clever, Cunning, Elite, Fast, Hardy, Leader, Prejudice, Tough or Weapon as Optional Traits, in addition to their normal list.

We start off with generic species statblocks for PC species. They're exactly what you'd expect from the PC starting stats. Humans get Prejudice (Pick One) by default and Elves get Animosity (Pick One) by default, though. Then we get Ogres. Ogres are large, brutish and violent creatures, driven largely by hunger. They aren't particularly smart, and default to finding food by...well, hitting things or otherwise using their strength. They come from far eastern lands, but are common in the Old World because they love to travel, hunting for new things to eat. As they pass through on their decades-long culinary excursions, they work hard to integrate into the societies they visit, wearing local clothes and following local customs as best they can, to better be able to get food. For reasons no one knows, Halflings and Ogres get on especially well. Most Halfling clan elders have Ogre bodyguards, and it's said that the Elder of the Moot rarely goes anywhere without his friend Zorarth Legbiter, an Ogre who's been in the Empire nearly a century. Many Ogre mercenary groups employ Halfling cooks, too. However, the relationship sometimes breaks down, as when Golgfag Maneater, captain of Golgfag's Maneaters, employed a small clan of Halflings to feed him and his regiment, but then realized the cooks tasted better than the actual food. Ogres are strong and tough, with not much ranged combat ability, speed or delicacy, and they're not very smart or charismatic, but they are very hard to kill. By default, they have Armor 1, Hungry, Prejudice (Thin People), Night Vision, Size (Large) and Weapon+8, with optional Belligerent, Infected or Tracker.

On Ogres posted:

"Yes, I summoned them because I needed reinforcements. Yes, I know they are eating your prize cattle. And, yes, I know Ogres have large appetites. I've put a notice on the local watch-house to anyone with the wherewithal to make them go. That should prove more than sufficient." - Augustus von Raushvel, Baron of Raush Vale

Then we get a pair of Human NPCs as examples. First is Black Bella, Human Brigand. Her full name is Bethilda, and her husband was killed when Beastmen raided the village Reikherz. Four months later, she was evicted from her home for failure to pay rent, and in desperation, she turned to her cousin Alwin, a wanted outlaw. After some persuasion, she joined his band to harass the Karstadt-Sieglund road and was shocked to find how fun robbery was. Now, she has a reputation as Black Bella, brutal and ruthless, and Alwin is actually quite worried about it. She has Animosity (The Rich, Beastmen), Arboreal, Armor (Light 2), Prejudice (Bailiffs, Lawyers), Ranged +8 (50), Brute, Hardy and Weapon+8. She's got decent attack skills, good strength and toughness, average speed, but poor agility and grace, and only average social and mental stats.

Pol Dankels, Human Witch, grew up thinking he'd follow his parents, inheriting the Blessed Bertham's Bakery of Tahme. However, on his 23rd birthday, the very day his wife found out he'd been cheating on her with her sister, got angry and tried to leave with their children, something in him snapped. Witnesses claim his eyes glowed yellow and terrible orange flame erupted from his hands. Pol just knew the world turned red as the bakery burned. That'd be seven months ago. Ever since, Pol has been on the road with his three kids ever since, fleeing the Witch Hunters and his wife's agents. He refuses to be caught - his children need him. He is Cunning, Clever, Prejudice (Sigmarites), Spellcaster (Witch), Tough and Weapon+5, with poor physical stats besides Toughness and Initiative, but amazing Intelligence and pretty good WP and Fel.

On to the Beasts of the Reikland! These are the things Amber Wizards can turn into. Bears are typically solitary, shy creatures becoming aggressive only when intruders threaten their young or they are wounded. When food is scarce, they may approach unprotected settlements and travelers, however, especially those careless with their provisions. Bears have Armor 1, Bestial, Bite+9, Night Vision, Size (Large), Skittish, Stride and Weapon+8 by default. Optionally, they may have Hungry, Infected, Infestation, Size (Enormous), Territorial, Trained (Broken, Entertain, War). For maximum combat ability as a wizard, you want to add on the Trained (War) trait to help mitigate Skittish and Territorial to mitigate the downsides of Bestial. (Or ask your GM to let you not gain the psychological weaknesses of animals, which is what those end up being.) Size (Enormous) is excellent, Infestation is handy. Infected isn't useful in the short term, and Hungry is a weakness, so avoid those. Bears are just pretty good combatants for animals, though their WS leaves a little to be desired, and their WP is abysmal. (Several of the universal optional traits are also handy, in general, for any form.)

Boars are reclusive creatures, but when cornered will fight with sharp tusks and terrible tenacity. While most are only five to six feet long, some grow to great size, with the largest being prized by Orcs as mounts. Boars get Armor 1, Bestial, Horns (Tusks), Night Vision, Skittish, Stride and Weapon+6. Optionally they may have Belligerent, Frenzy, Infected, Infestation, Size (Large), Territorial and Trained (Broken, Magic, Mount, War). Trained (Magic) and Trained (War) together eliminate the problems of Skiottish, Territorial and Frenzy both help eliminate the issues of Bestial and are good in general, and size is always good. The main weaknesses of the Boar are only average stats and even worse WP than the bear.

Dogs are bred for all kinds of stuff. While lapdogs are rarely a threat to anything but dignity, others can be quite formidable. Dogs are by default Bestial, Night Vision, Skittish, Size (Small), Stride and Weapon+5. Optionally they get Armor 1, Frenzy, Infected, Size (Little to Average), Territorial, Tracker, or Trained (Broken, Entertain, Fetch, Guard, Magic, War). I'd rule that the Ratcatcher's dog begins with Trained (Broken) and (War) by default. Dogs are...well, they're not great, with below average stats all around except for I and Ag, low Wounds and abysmal WP. However, they make a good combat minion, and at larger sizes can be scarier because they're tougher, especially if you get them Guard training to deal with their Bestial downsides or Fetch training to be useful in other ways. Magic training is also handy if you have a wizard, so they don't get terrified every time a spell is cast.

Giant Rats are everywhere, especially in cities and towns. The more densely people live, the more rats you get. Many are diseased, and while they're usually small, they can become monstrously large. Altdorf has reports of rats the size of Humans - or bigger. Giant Rats are by default Bestial, Infected, Night Vision, Size (Small), Skittish, Stride and Weapon+4. Optionally they are Armor 1, Disease (Ratte Fever or Black Plague), Size (Little to Average), Swarm and Trained (War). Rats are about on par with dogs.

Giant Spiders are mostly found in forests and caves, but you can really just find them anywhere if you're unlucky, even attics and cellars. Most trap their prey with webs, then inject them with venom. While most are no bigger than a large rat, some become immense. Forest Goblins often capture the bigger ones for mounts. Giant Spiders are by default Bestial, Night Vision, Size (Little), Wallcrawler, Web 40 and Weapon+3. Optionally they are Armor 1, Arboreal, Bite, Size (Little to Enormous), Swarm, Venom (Average) and Trained (Broken, Guard, Magic, Mount and WaR). Giant Spiders are pretty average at everything, but low Strength, Toughness and Initiative. Also they're dumb as rocks. They're not great WP, but better than a lot of animals. Being the stupidest animal so far actually helps them as an Amber Wizard form - they don't start with Skittish, so that's one weakness they lack. You can counteract Bestial's big flaw with Trained (Guard), and being able to hit Size (Enormous) fixes their terrifyingly small wound pool. Swarm is an interesting trait, too.

Next time: Horses, pigeons and beyond!

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


What, no cats that come with Trained (Magic) by default? Boo

quote:

While lapdogs are rarely a threat to anything but dignity

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2e: Tome of Salvation

I am the Scourge of God!

The actual religious punishments/extreme acts of faith section is pretty dull and about what you'd expect, but it does introduce a new class that's quite interesting. The Penitent is a dull take on the Zealot to reflect a different route into the crazy Flagellant class (their difference is a focus on Torture and Heal, rather than flails), but the Scourge of God is a new 3rd tier 'capstone' career for Flagellant types. These are the charismatic preachers and 'holy warriors' who run the Flagellant Orders, and they can be followers of any God, even Shallya; I suppose Shallyan Scourges are either those crazy Plague Wardens or people who are all in on finding and beating the poo poo out of Nurglites. They're a slightly below average 3rd tier fighter, given they only get +25% WS, no BS, and no special weaponry, but they still get 3 Attacks, good Wounds, and a ton of public speaking and Willpower. Plus they'll have Fearless and Strike Mighty from having been a Flagellant. They'll lack Dodge unless they took a different career track at some point, but the real point of interest for the Scourge of God is getting Resistance to Chaos. Remember this is the talent Halflings have, and Grail Knights have, that makes them totally immune to mutation and gives serious bonuses against any sort of Chaos magic or trick. So yeah, get crazy about your religion enough and maybe you'll become totally immune to Chaos Mutation. They can also exit into Witch Hunter and they're fairly short for a 3rd tier, plus they get Luck (+1 fortune a day) and some good stat talents; they're not a bad career at all.

Tensions between the cults don't normally take the form of the cults actually declaring one another illegitimate. As we were over in the last section, Monotheism is one of the only non-Chaos heresies that is (generally) persecuted out of hand by every single mainstream cult. However, this doesn't mean that a bunch of powerful organizations with very different ideas about how the world should work aren't going to get into it with each other from time to time. Theological differences tend to be the least common source of tension, specifically because most cults are content to stay in their lane and theology is mostly limited to scholars and priests, who are easier for the mainstream cult authorities to control. Verenans might argue that Ranaldans are trying to change the world wrong by not trusting to the power of law, but they aren't likely to argue Ranald isn't a God, that sort of thing. The main source of theological tension is the constant 'Sigmar is no God!' from some of the fanatics of Ulric. Even when no-one claims Sigmar wasn't a God, there is the issue of Sigmar being a pious worshiper of the Gods when he was mortal. Thus, Ulricans will sometimes claim that Sigmar was a follower of Ulric, and even after being crowned a God, remains a follower of Ulric, and that Ulric should be placed over his faithful worshiper. It is certainly true that Sigmar was a devout Ulrican when he was a man, but Sigmarites would claim Ulric raised him to the same level as Ulric when he entrusted him with divinity. I sometimes suspect this is why 4e put in a gospel of Sigmar but then had the Order of the Anvil keep it as secret as possible; Sigmar's actual life as a king following the Gods opens up an entire line of theological attack that leads to more tiresome civil wars and sniping.

Objections to behavior in another cult are the more common source of tensions. The example adventure given is a Shallyan High Priestess arguing that all corporal punishment is immoral, with a Sigmarite Priest considering that must mean she's been corrupted by evil, because only evil would object to beating your children or rolling them down a hill in a barrel to correct their behavior, since everyone knows this is just proper discipline and authority. The PCs would be asked to step in and stop this from coming to hammers and fire. Similarly, you can run into cases where cults generally agree on what's good, but not how to do it: The example given is that a Myrmidian would prefer a careful plan and the initiative of individual officers to win a battle, a Sigmarite would trust in obedience to a central authority and the strength of the soldiers as a group, and an Ulrican would be yelling about WHY ARE YOU PONCY GITS ARGUIN', GET THE AXES, WE'RE GETTIN' IN THERE. They all want to win the battle and agree they should be fighting, but none of them can agree on how, to the point that armies often have to divine their regiments by war-god or else they won't work well together. Similarly, Ranald, Sigmar, and Verena tend to squabble with one another over how the Sigmarite would rather things be done how they've always been done because that's how they're done, the Verenan would be willing to listen to the Ranaldan's critique but would want him arrested for all the theft, and the Ranaldan would want to embarrass both of them as potential tyrants. There's also ongoing arguments between Verenans and Sigmarites, because Verenans consider asking why a law is a law a religious duty and Sigmarites consider it heresy. The two usually stick to arguing with one another, though, because Sigmarites grudgingly admit that Verenan Investigators are about as good as the Witch Hunters at hunting down actual witches, and they both agree on what to do with actual dark wizards. Sigmarites are also deeply suspicious of books. I'm not sure how they feel about owls, but I'd guess it's ambivalent.

Finally, sometimes you run into a theological or cultic conflict where once you dig down, it turns out that two powerful religious figures just hate each other on a personal level. As they are powerful religious figures, they are prone to finding moral and theological justifications for their conflicts even when it comes down to a simple personal disagreement. These are the most prone to spinning out of control because of the inherent deception involved; when outside mediators don't have a solid idea of the cause of the conflict (because the real cause is just 'gently caress that guy!' and neither side wants to surrender the dignity of a real religious conflict by admitting it) it's more likely they won't be able to defuse things. Then the streets are knee deep in blood and you end up with a full blown heresy on your hands because the High Priestess of Shallya wouldn't sleep with a Morrite and then he got bitter and spread rumors she was a Slaaneshi (this is the example adventure for this sort of thing) and now those Doorkeeper lunatics have arrived on the scene screaming about how all doctors must die and he's encouraging them and oh dear, get some PCs on this before it gets worse.

Next Time: Other, Shittier Gods of Cattle Raiding, Trickle Down Capitalism, and Murder

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



WFRP 4e - Mister Ed

Horses, like dogs, are bred for many jobs, ranging from speed to combat to labor. They're so useful that horse trading is a highly competitive job, almost a sport. Unscrupulous horse copers, as salesmen are known, often paint up and file down the teeth of older horses or stuff rags up their noses to soak up mucus, making them appear younger and more lively. Caveat emptor and all that. Horses are actually pretty okay, though their WS isn't great and neither is their I. Or Int, WP or Fel. But, y'know, animals. By default they are Bestial, Size (Large), Skittish, Stride and Weapon+7. Optionally, they may have Armor or Trained (Broken, Drive, Entertain, Magic, Mount, War). Mount and Drive are both likely to be common, followed by War. Magic's a useful one but rare.

Pigeons are bred largely to be messengers. Recently, however, they have become famous for carrying a deadlier cargo - engineers have begun using the little birds as deployment for explosives, with varying degrees of success. They have absolutely awful stats except for Ag, but...pigeons. They are Bestial, Fly 100, Size (Tiny), Skittish and Weapon+0. Optionally they may have Size (Small) or Trained (Broken, Home).

Snakes are found everywhere, especially forests. Most are harmless creatures, but some have deadly venom or constrict victims to death, and like many Old World animals, can grow to truly terrifying sizes, like the immense Fen Worm. Snakes actually are pretty good - they have good WS by animal standards, pretty good stats in general, with only one under 25 - Int. They're morons. They have by default Armor 1, Bestial, Cold-blooded, Fast, Size (Small) and Weapon+5. Optionally they may have Constrictor, Size (Tiny to Enormous), Swamp-strider, Swarm or Venom (Very Easy to Very Hard). The main thing you need to improve as an Amber Wizard is size. That'll get their Wounds out of the pit. Everything else is just gravy. Very nice gravy. Can't do much about Bestial's weaknesses, though.

Wolves typically hunt in packs and have a reputation for tenacity, chasing prey for miles without rest. Several species are found in the Reikland, like the Giant Wolves that are captured by Goblins as guards or mounts. Wolves are slightly above average at everything but Int and WP, so that's nice! Their Traits are Armor 1, Bestial, Night Vision, Skittish, Stride, Tracker and Weapon+6. Optionally they can have Frenzy, Size (Large), Territorial or Trained (Broken, Drive, Fetch, Guard, Magic, Mount, War). Same advice in general about Skittish and Bestial, and getting Frenzy access is pretty good. A solid pick, if suffering the same low WP as a lot of animals.

Then we have the Monstrous Beasts of the Reikland! These are still animals, but bigger, nastier and more magical ones. Basilisks are solitary, elusive reptiles with eight legs. They are said to be one of the most ancients creations of Chaos, filled with such spite and venom that the very ground they walk on is poisoned. Their bite is also poisonous, but the most terrifying is their petrifying gaze. Basilisks are rarely seen these days but very dangerous. Their glands are valuable to wizards and alchemists, so some hunters chase down rumors of the creatures in the wild parts of the Vorbergland. Few return alive. Basilisks have excellent stats except for I, Ag, Int and WP, and are very tough. They have Armor 2, Bestial, Bite+9, Cold-blooded, Immunity (Poison), Night Vision, Petrifying Gaze, Size (Enormous), Stride, Tail+8, Venom and Weapon+9. Optionally they may have Mutant or Territorial.

Bog Octopuses (or, as I call them, bogtopi) are found in shallow water, usually in marshes or swamps. They sit perfectly still, waiting for prey and sensing them by vibration, then erupt upwards to grab and drown their victims. They tend to be a mottled green and brown, perfectly camouflaged for bogs, with only their immense eyes betraying their presence. Most have tentacles some twenty feet long or so, with a body around six feet, but there are tales of those twice that size or more, especially if given a ready supply of food. Bogtopi are insanely strong and tough, but dumb and low Initiative. They have Amphibious, Bestial, Constrictor, Size (Large), Stealthy, Swamp-strider and 8 instances of Tentacles+9. Optionally they may have Size (Enormous to Monstrous) or Territorial. Y'know, in case Str 80 wasn't enough.

Cave Squigs are large, roundish fungoid critters that live underground in dank, dark caves. They are mostly mouth and sharp teeth, and goblins love them for their useful skin and hide, and also as guards and pets. (They aren't actually tameable, mind you.) Cave Squigs are very scary fighters, with their main weakness being that they're not super tough and have low I and WP. Oh, and being dumb as rocks. They are Bestial, Bounce, Infected, Night Vision and Weapon+9. Optionally they can be Aquatic, Breath (Acid or Gas), Dark Vision, Frenzy, Fury, Horns, or Size (Tiny to Enormous).

Demigryphs have the head of an eagle and the body of a big cat. They are powerful, noble beasts that roam the forests and grasslands of the Empire, generally far from Human settlements. Captive demigryphs are used by the knightly orders of the Empire as war mounts. Unlike larger monstrous mounts, which are usually taken in youth or bred in captivity, capturing a fully grown demigryph is a rite of passage for some orders. They do not have wings. They do have excellent stats, though they're not very smart and have only average animal-level WP. They have Armor 1, Bestial, Bite+9, Night Vision, Size (Large), Stride and Weapon+9. Optionally they can have Trained (Broken, Drive, Guard, Mount, War). Basically they're a straight upgrade from a horse, but not significantly harder to deal with.

Dragons ruled the sky long, long before even the Elder Races came. While today's dragons are mere shadows of their ancient ancestors, they are still some of the most potent creatures known to exist, and the few surviving elder dragons are even larger and more formidable, albeit rarely roused from slumber. Adventurers that anger a dragon should run. Really. The only stats they're bad at are Ag, Fel and Dex, and frankly, when your Wounds are in the triple digits, you don't need to dodge, and you don't have to be charming. Their default Traits are Armor 5, Bite+10, Breath+15 (Various), Flight 80, Night Vision, Size (Enormous), Tail+9 and Weapon+10. Optionally they may have Arboreal, Immunity (Any), Infestation, Magical, Mental Corruption, Mutation, Size (Monstrous), Spellcaster (Various), Swamp-strider, Trained (Mount), Undead and Venom.

Fenbeasts are raised by spellcasters out of the marshes and bogs, and appear to be largely mindless automata animated by magic. They are vaguely humanoid creations of mud, bones, branches and slime, and it takes a lot of magic to maintain one. Occasionally they will be raised by Jade Wizards as bodyguards or to fulfill some task that needs brute strength or mindless killing ability. Sometimes they spawn independently in stagnant pools where the flow of magic has been corrupted. The Jade College is said to maintain a score or so of the things as drudges and servants to senior magisters, maintained by the channeling of magic by dozens of apprentices. Fenbeasts are pretty strong and tough, but slow and clumsy. They have Construct, Dark Vision, Die Hard, Infected, Regenerate, Size (Large), Stupidity, Swamp-strider, Unstable and Weapon+8. Optionally they may have Frenzy, Hungry, Infestation or Territorial. (Despite not actually having WP.)

Next time: Wait, these are mentioned?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Dragons were bad enough back when they only had 55 Wounds, DR 11, 6 Attacks, and Damage 7 Impact AP attacks (plus the fire breath, and -30% to Parry tests to stop a dragon's attacks, and you know, flying). I've killed one in 2e, but again: Bret Knight, Virtue of Heroism critical-kill, because Virtue of Heroism as written turned out to be pretty genuinely broken in play.

I always liked the implication the Dragon Ogres and Dragons are the original inhabitants of this world, who got totally hosed over by the Old Ones shifting the orbit.

LazyAngel
Mar 17, 2009


mllaneza posted:

That's great news, but I'm not hearing it in a dedicated thread. Aftermarket support is good sign.

I picked up their Black Magic pdf, and hoo boy do I need to make an effort post about demonic magic and Fallout.


e. There's a supplement going to Kickstarter soon !

https://rowanrookanddecard.com/strata-authors-adventures-and-new-classes/

Might scrabble together the effort for a separate thread unless someone with far more ability or energy gets it done first.

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017





Night10194 posted:

Dragons were bad enough back when they only had 55 Wounds, DR 11, 6 Attacks, and Damage 7 Impact AP attacks (plus the fire breath, and -30% to Parry tests to stop a dragon's attacks, and you know, flying). I've killed one in 2e, but again: Bret Knight, Virtue of Heroism critical-kill, because Virtue of Heroism as written turned out to be pretty genuinely broken in play.

I always liked the implication the Dragon Ogres and Dragons are the original inhabitants of this world, who got totally hosed over by the Old Ones shifting the orbit.

Similarly I've always liked that Dragon Ogres' attitudes toward Chaos seem to be 'oh, whatever but at least you'll leave us alone after.'

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Dawgstar posted:

Similarly I've always liked that Dragon Ogres' attitudes toward Chaos seem to be 'oh, whatever but at least you'll leave us alone after.'

Dragon Ogres in general are really cool and have a ton of potential as a weird thing for Adventurers to run into. Especially as unlike most Chaos allies they really give a poo poo about dying and I always imagine them dramatically playing up any injury they suffer for their masters, to give them a good excuse to back off and duck out of whatever stupid war they've been recruited for this time.

Ronwayne
Nov 20, 2007

That warm and fuzzy feeling.


Mors Rattus posted:



Pigeons are bred largely to be messengers. Recently, however, they have become famous for carrying a deadlier cargo - engineers have begun using the little birds as deployment for explosives, with varying degrees of success. They have absolutely awful stats except for Ag, but...pigeons. They are Bestial, Fly 100, Size (Tiny), Skittish and Weapon+0. Optionally they may have Size (Small) or Trained (Broken, Home).

Countdown until Nuln experiences a Bat Bomb incident?

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Pigeon testing was also part of WW2 insane weapons development, actually, and generally much more successful than the bats. The project was canned because the war ended before it was ready, though.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Imperial Pigeon Bombs have a long and illustrious tabletop history.

Imperial Engineers are great because they're the ultimate in gently caress IT WE'LL DO IT LIVE military engineers, and help get across how crazy firearms and weapon development really were. All sorts of the nutty ideas the Empire tries out with the Engineers are something someone actually stopped and said 'why don't we-' about, at some point.

Except maybe the alchemical robot horse, and really, that's more a failing of history.

ChaseSP
Mar 25, 2013



An important reminder that a genius engineer was able to create full on tanks ran by steam in basically the basically 1600s tech world of The Empire. If you're an engineer and not trying to recreate this you're not aiming high enough.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Mors Rattus posted:

Next time: Wait, these are mentioned?

Fimir, I'm guessing?

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017





ChaseSP posted:

An important reminder that a genius engineer was able to create full on tanks ran by steam in basically the basically 1600s tech world of The Empire. If you're an engineer and not trying to recreate this you're not aiming high enough.

Wasn't he the hams DaVinci equivalent?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Dawgstar posted:

Wasn't he the hams DaVinci equivalent?

Yep. Except this being hams, all the crazy military inventions worked and now you have a group of Tilean soldiers who fly around on DaVinci flying machines with repeating crossbows.

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers, stern and wild ones, and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss.


Clapping Larry

gradenko_2000 posted:

an America with Charlie McCarthy as President would have been a more interesting premise

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006




"Not a puppet. Not a puppet."

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Night10194 posted:

Imperial Pigeon Bombs have a long and illustrious tabletop history.

The WWII pidgeon experiment mentioned earlier was about getting pidgeons to guide bombs by pecking extremely early touchscreens. It had a good success rate.


WWII was wild.

Cythereal posted:

Fimir, I'm guessing?

I had that alarm going off since one of the location writeups mentioned something spooky in the misty swamps.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2e: Tome of Salvation

Overt and covert exploitation

We get two 'new' Gods who haven't quite been accepted yet here, and they suck. Not because they don't enable plots or anything, but because they're dicks. Gunndred is the god of cattle-rustling and thuggery. Explicitly and proudly. He's becoming popular in the Balkans/Mad Max/Wild West crossover that is the Border Princes, because they're a region where Bandit King Priests don't get stomped on by a large and angry contingent of the Imperial military. Gunndred is quite literally the God of Banditry, with his followers debating whether or not those froofy Highwaymen get to be counted as worshipers in between coming up with their scary torture gimmicks to scare cattle hands. You see, every priest of Gunndred has a gimmick, like biting people and eating part of their cheek in front of them, or telling people not to tell anyone who robbed them (then coming back and killing them if they don't disobey you and tell people who robbed them because REPUTATION MUST SPREAD). Gunndred followers aren't worshipers of Chaos, they're just kind of lovely people who like hurting people and being famous for hurting people. They also love loots. There really isn't that much more to him: Loots, sadism, have a gimmick and a costume so people remember you. In time, perhaps he'll become the God of Costumed Supervillainy if his worship isn't stamped out. He is depicted as either a huge man in poor clothes with a cudgel, or an extremely fat man covered in jewelry and robes with six shadowy thugs standing behind him. The cult of Ranald vociferously denies that these people have anything to do with Ranald, and indeed, many pray to Ranald for protection from Gunndred.

As an adventure seed, Gunndred isn't that complicated. You're adventurers, you're the sort of people who get hired to go deal with cattle rustlers all the time. Especially when all the local guards and mercenaries are scared stiff of Chief Bloodjaw, who's said to eat the faces of her prisoners (an actual example NPC, and one of the first to develop Gunndred's magic, indicating he favors face-eating for fearsome reputations). Are you bored of fighting occult-powered brigands with Chaos powers? Go fight some people empowered by a scary rear end in a top hat thug god, as a reminder that you don't need Chaos to be an rear end in a top hat. I suspect that's the real purpose of Gunndred: To remind you people can be evil all on their own, no tentacles required.

Handrich is a little more complicated, and about robbing people in more respectable ways. Handrich is the god of legitimate merchants, according to merchants' clubs, as opposed to Ranald, who is the god of 'legitimate' merchants. Pay no mind to the fact that they're both represented by a pair of crossed fingers, of course. Or to the fact that Handrich has as holy writ 'Don't get caught in a lie until you've left town'. Handrich's followers believe whatever is good for business will be good for the whole community, lobbying for lower taxes, conspiring together to raise prices, and giving to charity as ways to get around and dodge their taxes. Yessir, Handrich is the lovely capitalism god. I'll just quote the book here. "Our cult brings nothing but goodwill and fortune to the people! Through Handrich's blessing the money we bring in trickles down to those in need, eventually! It's the perfect system!" Handrich's followers love trusts, engineered monopolies, lobbying for the government to invest in their businesses, and giving to the poor to launder their money. Seems like a lovely God with nothing to do with Ranald outside of a love of money and tricking people into giving you that money, right?

Except for another little thing. When you use Handrich's magic or benefit from it, you take on a real material debt to the God. This debt is generally paid by charity, with the assumption that money moving is good for Handrich. If you don't pay your debts on time, Handrich will curse the hell out of you and your businesses will collapse until you pay your debts. What this means is that effectively, if you're going to run with 'Handrich is a long con by Ranald' rather than just 'Handrich is the God of voodoo economics and trickle-down' (which is presented as one of the possibilities) you can have the capitalism God trick bankers and merchants into being in crippling, usurious debt to street-urchins, especially as Handrich specifically has a spell where you go and beg for more time to pay your loans. If the image of wealthy Marienburgers all talking and scheming about how the 'free market' will make them lords of all the world while not noticing they're having to negotiate loan payments with orphanages doesn't please you I don't know what's wrong with you.

If you want to play up Handrich as the lovely capitalistic exploitation God, though, there's the fact that the cult can be played as being all about a fancy, respectable public face while at the same time doing backroom deals to fleece the public with fixed prices, tax dodges, and manufactured famines and shortages. Handrich in this mode is explicitly set up to be a different sort of challenge for an adventuring party, where they go to investigate crime only to find the thieves are working through purely 'legal' and 'respectable' means to enact a conspiracy against the public, and the heroes will have to turn to other means to stop the hoarders and speculators who are causing trouble. In this case, the parallel to Ranald is more that Handrich is all about pretending to be legitimate, while being an even bigger thief than any second story man ever could be.

Bit of a short update but these Gods aren't that complicated.

Next: Foreign Gods, Elf Gods, Dwarf Gods, and Halfling Gods.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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WFRP 4e - The Most Obscure Thing In The Book

Fimir. Fimir are secretive, one-eyed lizard-creatures that hide in the depths of swamps and bogs in the western Reikland. They hate sunlight and typically appear only at dawn and dusk or under fog cover to kidnap victims for "mysterious, loathsome purposes" which is probably the least gross interpretation of Fimir in the entire history of Warhammer. Witches reckless or desperate enough to work with Daemons have sometimes been known to seek out the Fimir for their knowledge of summoning and controlling such beings, and it is up for debate whether dealing with Chaos or Fimir is riskier. Fimir are matriarchal, with the leader of each clan being a powerful witch called a Meargh. She is always aided by lesser spellcasters, called Dirach. The rest of the clan are the lowest caste, Shearls, or the warrior caste, Fimm, who have bony, spiky knobs on their tails to break bones with. Fimir are average to above average at most things except BS, Ag, Dex and Fel, which they're not great at. By default they have Armor 2, Cold-blooded, Night Vision, Size (Large), Swamp-strider and Weapon+8. Optionally they have Tail+7 or Spellcaster (Daemonology).

On Fimir posted:

"We spent our honeymoon at the family's summer house by the sea. One morning, when taking the air along the bluffs, the mist closed in. It was suddenly calm and strangely quiet. Then, out of nowhere... Bog Daemons! Huge, one-eyed, barrel-chested brutes. I was sent crashing to the ground with a swipe of a tail. Another bundled Greta up and threw her over its shoulder. Then they just vanished into the mist, as swiftly and silently as they had appeared. I swear that is Verena's own truth." - Oleg Grauhof, Reiklander merchant, shortly before being hanged for the murder of his wife.

Giants are solitary beings that generally shun civilization. Most live in remote, high places around the Empire, living in caves or forgotten ruins far from smaller folk, though they may come down to the foothills for food. Giants have a reputation for ferocity and belligerence, in part because of their immense size, their tendency to eat cattle and the fact that Greenskins like to enslave them and force them to fight. In truth, most giants are gentle beings, if prone to tantrums and very protective of their privacy, and are not necessarily hostile to others. Because they are so long-lived, some say they hoard ancient lore, but most tend to not be especially lucid, and definitely more interested in drinking than history. Giants aren't especially accurate, but very strong and tough. Also not very bright or brave, most of the time. But, y'know, actually killing one is going to take a while. They have Armor 1, Night Vision, Size (Enormous), Stride, Tough and Weapon+10. They may have Bestial, Breath (Drunken Vomit), Hungry, Infected, Infestation, Size (Monstrous) or Stupid.

Griffons have the upper body and wings of an eagle and the lower body of a great cat, making them an elegant and regal beast of noble bearing. They live high in the mountains of the Empire and while they are swift, efficient killers, they are not prone to the indiscriminate rages of Manticores or Hippogryphs. Perhaps due to this, they are extremely popular in the Empire in heraldry and iconography, serving as a symbol of the Empire itself. They are one of the most intelligent of wild beasts, and if captured at a young age and trained correctly, they can be very loyal, able to anticipate and master many commands. They are so highly sought that hunters regularly die seeking their eggs to sell. The most renowned in the Reikland is Deathclaw, who lives in the Imperial Zoo when not serving as the mount and pet of Emperor Karl-Franz himself, who is said to have hatched the griffon personally...which has led to no small number of lewd political cartoons. Griffons are extremely good at basically everything they are capable of doing and therefore are the mount of choice if you can manage to get one. They have Armor 1, Bestial, Bite+9, Flight 80, Night Vision, Size (Enormous) and Weapon+9. Optionally they can get Trained (Broken, Guard, Magic, Mount, War).

Hydras are a many-headed reptile with a massive body and a maze of necks and fire-breathing heads. Also they bite. They are shockingly stealthy and tenacious for such a large beast, and will stalk their prey for miles. However, they also tend to be somewhat impatient once they get hungry and will charge, roaring, at anything they think they can take. They're big and strong and tough, if not especially clever or high-Initiative. They have Armor 3, Bestial, Breath+10 (Fire), Constrictor, Night Vision, Regeneration, Size (Enormous), Stealthy, Stride, Tracker and Weapon+9. Optionally they are Belligerent, Territorial or Venom.

Jabberslythes are ancient Chaos creatures that lurk in the deepest and darkest forests. They are a maddening mix of toad, sludge-drake and insect, full of a corrosive black blood that spurts from even the smallest cut. Even looking upon one risks madness, though no one is quite sure why, and the maddened antics of those who succumb make them easy prey. It has a sticky tongue it can shoot out to grab meals, and it moves in a strange, rolling gait that is surprisingly fast. It has wings, but they are far too small to allow for flight. Jabberslythes are basically good at whatever they want to do, as long as they don't have to think about it. They're dumb, not especially agile and not great at WP. They have Armor 3, Bestial, Bite+9, Bounce, Corrosive Blood, Distracting, Infected, Night Vision, Size (Enormous), Tail+8, Tongue Attack+5 (12), Venom and Weapon+9. Optionally they are Mutant or Territorial.

Manticores are thankfully rare creatures - thankfully, because they are ferocious beyond measure and almost compelled to clear their territory of any competing predator with extreme brutality. It's easy to tell, most of the time, that you're in Manticore territory. They decorate it by leaving the corpses of their fellow predators all over the place. They have the head and body of a twisted and corrupted great cat, though at times with a face that appears almost Human, the wings of a bat and a barbed tail. They're very good at fighting and have universally excellent stats, except mentally. They're dumb and only somewhat brave. They have Armor 2, Bestial, Bite+9, Flight 80, Size (Enormous), Tail+8, Territorial, Venom and Weapon+9. Optionally they may have Hatred (Predators), Mutant or Trained (Broken, Magic, Mount).

On Manticores posted:

"When I was travellin' with the Elves to Ulthuan, I seen a great many things as would astound most folks back 'ome. One time I saw a Manticore, only in the centre of its lion-head it had the face of a great Elf! I suppose it was less a Manticore, than an Elf-ticore." - Adhemar Fitztancred, Grey Guardian, Raconteur and Liar

Pegasi are beautiful white horses with swan-like wings of great size. They are nearly inexhaustible flyers that move in great flying herds in the mountains, apparently enjoyin aerial acrobatics on the thermals. They are obvious to most as good mounts, and many try to catch a Pegasus to ride. However, the beasts are very clever and some say they will only allow themselves to be caught if they feel like it, which has led to many fanciful and romantic legends that insist only the worthy or virtuous may be chosen by the Pegasi. A Pegasus is basically like a horse but better in every respect, including not being Skittish or Bestial, though that last may be a typo. It has Flight 100, Size (Large), Stride and Weapon+7, and may have Trained (Broken, Magic, Mount, War).

On Pegasi posted:

"Ayup, the fields are lush round these parts, as it 'appens. It's the Pegasi, see. No need to buy manure for fertiliser, it falls from the 'eavens, like a gift from the gods. Mind, you don't wanna be standin' underneath the 'erds when they fly over. Messy. Very messy." - Berthold Bruner, Farmer and Pegasus-watcher

Next time: ORC ORC ORC

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Jabberslythes are a lovely off-brand Jabberwock that lacks for the adorableness of the stupid eldritch murder-puppies.

Also, there's one bit about Fimir that is much more interesting and makes them worth using if you ignore all the dumb rapey poo poo that got them excised from the setting (I will give GW credit: They dumped a ton of weird rapey poo poo from the Beastmen and dropped the Fimir for it, so I think at one point someone working there had some sense about such things): The Dark Gods ignore them. Completely. They used to be favored of the Chaos Gods, and are implied to be another original inhabitant of the planet, like the dragon ogres. Then suddenly, Chaos just stopped taking their calls. Now they're desperately trying to get it to answer as everything they've built falls into decay, because it all depended on the favor of Chaos, while the occasional ambitious daemon prince fucks with them on the promise of 'Oh, sure, I'll talk to the boss for you if you just do me a little favor.'

Like, just go with that and remove the lust for kidnapping women for 'mysterious purposes' and you've got a decent monster to deal with.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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4e at least goes with 'they kidnap loving anyone' and leaves the implications up to the reader. I prefer 'these guys like to eat people alive' if I have to go with anything.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Also something I just noticed: Every original inhabitant of the planet is a reptile person. I suspect I know why the Old Ones made the Lizardmen now; probably to fit in with the world while they were working on it.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Night10194 posted:

Also something I just noticed: Every original inhabitant of the planet is a reptile person. I suspect I know why the Old Ones made the Lizardmen now; probably to fit in with the world while they were working on it.

Well, we don't know what the titans were like, and they may have been an original inhabitant of the world. Possibly giants, too.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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WFRP 4e - Waaaagh?

Trolls are disgusting, foul beasts found all over the Old World. They quickly adapt to their surroundings and come in a variety of types or breeds, but all are big and bulky. They're stupid and typically ruled by their instinct for food, but also like to hoard things and often fill their lairs with useful or valuable objects, along with the remains of their meals. While there are many Troll varieties, they are all idiots, they all regenerate and are hard to kill, and they are all able to vomit up their last meal as an acrid, bilious defense mechanism over a shocking distance, though they hate doing it because it leaves them very hungry. The most notable Reikland variants are Chaos Trolls, which have mutations 'gifted' them by the Dark Gods and are often enslaved by Beastmen or Chaos warbands due to the perceived favor of Chaos, River Trolls, which live in marshes along the Reik, are quite common and tend to pretend to be flotsam or clumps of weed until they can ambush people, and Stone Trolls, found in the mountains, with a rough, stone-like skin and armored plates that help them blend and protect them in their cave lairs. Trolls aren't super accurate but are super strong and tough. They're clumsy and stupid, but they hit like a train. They have Armor 2, Bite+8, Die Hard, Infected, Regenerate, Size (Large), Stupid, Tough, Vomit and Weapon+9. Optionally they may be Aquatic, Bestial, Frenzy, Hungry, Infestation, Magic Resistance, Mutation, Night Vision, Painless, Stealth or Swamp-strider.

On Trolls posted:

"I assure you, sir, we have done extensive surveys on the subject, and have lost soem of our bravest taxonomists in this endeavor. There are precisely twenty-three varieties of Troll living in the Empire at this moment - including seventeen sub-varieties and two unverified sightings that are yet to be classified. This level of detail is exactly what the Imperial Society was set up to do; we know our figures are accurate." - Ignatius of Nuln, Man of Letters

Wyverns, while often mistaken for dragons by the uneducated, are very much not dragons. There are at best superficial similarities. Wyverns are smelly, awful morons, cowards and scavengers with poor eyesight that prefer to prey on the defenseless, largely sheep and goats, while avoiding combat whenever they can. They are not generally very territorial, and if their hunting grounds get invaded by anything they cannot easily defeat they will usually just go somewhere else. They are still giant, strong, dangerous threats whose main weakness is being dumb, though. They have Armor 2, Bestial, Flight 90, Size (Enormous), Venom and Weapon+10. Optionally they may have Breath (Venom), Horns, Mount, Tail+9 or Trained (Broken, Guard, Magic, Mount, War)

The Greenskin Hordes! They're the scourge of civilization, constantly heading out to raid people, fight each other, do the whole shebang. Orcs are belligerent, brutal and practically immune to pain. They are muscular, hulking things with broad shoulders and a tendency to ignore little problems like missing arms if it means a good fight. They love fighting more than anything else, and when they have no one to fight, they'll fight each other. They aren't as numerous as Goblins, but they are bigger and tougher, and they're plenty loud about it. Orcs can become very large, and the bigger they are, the stronger, tougher and more aggressive they are, and therefore the more powerful within what passes for Orc society. Some Orcs ride boars into battle, which can be terrifying to see. Orcs are pretty much better than humans at all fighting-related stuff, but tend to be lower Initiative, clumsier, dumber and less charismatic. They have Armor 3, Belligerent, Die Hard, Infected, Night Vision and Weapon+8, plus optionally Painless, Ranged+8 (50) or Size (Large).

On Orcs posted:

"We iz the best. We iz not dem weedie Gobbos or stoopid Trollz, we iz well 'ard! An' if anywun sayz we ain't, we iz gunna stomp on der edz." - Gurkk Skulltaka, Orc Boss

Goblins are small, spiteful, quick and clever, with a deep and powerful instinct for survival. While they are cowards, they will happily band together if it'll make them overwhelming in terms of numbers. Goblins often join Orc armies, not always by choice, and will grab any spoils of war they can while avoiding as much of the actual fighting as possible. Goblins are basically like Humans, but better at BS, worse at WS, more cowardly and less charismatic. They have Animosity, Armor 1, Afraid (Elves), Infected, Night Vision and Weapon+7, plus optionally Arboreal, Hatred (Dwarfs), Night Vision, Ranged+7 (25) or Venom.

On Goblins posted:

"Goblins, sir, thousands of them!" - Lieutenant Bromkopf, Reikland's 24th Regiment Foot

Snotlings are basically small, humanoid, green, disgusting puppies. They're scavengers and natural mimics who just like to pick up shiny stuff or bones, or to copy whatever they see. If forced to fight by Goblins or Orcs, they mostly just overwhelm foes with sheer numbers, throwing any manner of gross poo poo, from poisonous fungi to poop, at foes. They're small, weak, dumb and surprisingly brave but easily killed. They are Bestial, Infected, Night Vision, Size (Small) and Weapon+4, and optionally Swarm, Trained (Broken, Fetch, Guard) or Venom.

The restless dead! The Undead are animate corpses, given unholy life by Necromancy. Skeletons are the fleshless bones of the dead, reanimated as a mockery of life. Those who died and were not laid to rest in the rituals prescribed by Morr may be called back in this form by sufficiently powerful necromancers. Skeletons are totally mindless and will fight until smashed to bits. They are not brave, because they feel no fear. They can't die, because they are not alive. They're not actually good at much, but are reasonably tough and never run away or feel pain. They have Armor 2, Construct, Dark Vision, Fear 2, Painless, Undead, Unstable and Weapon+7, plus optionally Corruption (Minor), Infected or Territorial. Not that Territorial actually, uh, does anything for them. Optionally there is a rule that they take -1 Damage from any weapon without the Pummel trait.

On Skeletons posted:

"I raised the heavy lid expecting to find the glorious gold death mask of Khetanken. But we had been misinformed. A bony hand flew out and grabbed my neck. Startled, I dropped the lid, and the hand and lower arm were severed, trapping the undead creature within the sarcophagus. But it held on tightly, squeezing my neck so I could hardly breathe! I thought I was going to die. But Sister Celestine threw some of her sacred water over the thing, and it became lifeless once more. I use it as a back scratcher now." - Hubert Karter, Tomb Robber

Next time: Dead People

hectorgrey
Oct 14, 2011


Sorry about the wait; gathering sufficient spoons for writing this stuff is not always easy. We're still getting there though - and I do have some plans for where the posts on this chapter are going to go. In particular, I plan to design at least some of a dungeon.

D&D 3rd Edition: The Core Books

Part 21: Adventures (Part 2)

So, where we left off last, we were given the reason for why dungeons are the default setting of this game. What follows are a few brief descriptions of what might be found in a dungeon. Walls, doors, corridors and rooms are covered, complete with the different materials they might be made of. As a note on walls, arrow slits grant a +10 bonus to AC - there is absolutely no reason why a properly built defensive structure wouldn't have them, and they will definitely make the adventurers' lives more difficult at low-mid level.

We move on to floors. Uneven floors may require a balance check if someone attempts to run over them (such as very old and cracked flagstone floors, hewn stone floors or natural stone floors). Additional floor types include grates, ledges, bridges, transparent floors, trick floors and sliding floors.

Doors are features in the dungeon which could technically count as an encounter in and of themselves, from being locked, trapped or generally something that requires serious attention from the PCs. A simple wooden door has a DC 13 to open if stuck, or 15 if locked. A good wooden door goes to 16 and 18 respectively, and a strong wooden door goes up to 23 and 25. Stone or iron doors have a DC of 28 if stuck or locked, while a portcullis has a DC 25 to lift, with breaking being the same as a normal door of the same material. This of course means that at level 1, only a half orc can actually lift a portcullis without some kind of buff (such as rage), and even then only if they got an 18 before racial modifications.

Locks, incidentally, can only be broken if the lock itself can be attacked separately from the thing being locked - a padlock can be broken with a crowbar or a big hammer, for example, but if the lock is built into the door and the party Rogue is unable to pick it, the door itself will need breaking down.

We then go into the different types of hinges a door may have, an example of the kind of traps a door may have, and a few examples of doors that are unusual in some way. After doors, we have rooms, corridors and miscellaneous features like stairs, chimneys, pillars, tapestries, pools and so on. I'm skipping past a lot of this, because frankly it's not very interesting to read about unless you're actually busy designing a dungeon.

That said, as we come to obstacles, hazards and traps, our first section is on falling. Simply put, falling damage is a d6 per ten feet fallen, to a maximum of 20d6. To those who dislike the idea of a level 20 Fighter falling a mile to the ground and surviving, I would first point out that terminal velocity is a thing, then point out that people have survived ridiculously long falls before, and finally point out that if you have a problem with someone at that high a level surviving a ridiculously long fall, but you don't have a problem with people killing massive dragons with human scale weaponry, then maybe don't play Dungeons and Dragons.

Falling into water is slightly less dangerous than falling onto solid rock - it's a d6 per 20 feet fallen, with the first d6 being non-lethal. If the watter is at least ten feet deep for every thirty feet fallen, then a character make a DC 15 Swim or Tumble check to avoid taking any damage, with the DC going up by 5 for every 50 feet of the dive.

After learning how falling works, we then get pits and chasms. Someone who is moving carefully but doesn't see a covered pit until it is too late gets a DC 20 Reflex save to avoid falling in; someone who is running or moving recklessly gets no save. Spikes at the bottom of a pit count as daggers with a +10 attack bonus and a +1 damage bonus for every 10 feet of the fall (to a maximum of +5). If there are multiple spikes, the victim is attacked by 1d4 of them. Such damage is naturally in addition to the falling damage. Naturally, sometimes monsters will live in pits - oozes and jellies often find that food eventually comes to them. Otherwise, a pit may have undead or constructs at the bottom, placed there because they don't require any upkeep.

The next danger is the cave-in. A weakened ceiling can be spotted by a successful Knowledge check (architecture or engineering) or a successful Craft check (Stonemasonry) at DC 20. A weakened ceiling could collapse due to a major impact to it or its supports. Those in the centre of a cave-in (known as the bury zone) take 8d6 points of damage (half that on a DC 15 Reflex save) and are pinned. Those on the periphery (the slide zone) take 3d6 damage (none on a DC 15 Reflex save), and are only pinned if they failed that save. Pinned characters then take a a d6 of non-lethal damage every minute until they pass out (or are rescued). Once they've passed out, they must make a DC 15 Constitution check - if they fail this, they take 1d6 of normal damage until rescued or dead.

Digging out one's friends takes time, but it can be done. If you don't have any suitable tools, you can dig out up to five times your heavy load per minute - at Strength 10, this means that a five foot cube can be cleared out in four minutes, while with Strength 20 it can be done in one. With an appropriate tool, this can be done twice as fast. Cave-ins are nasty. Even at mid-level, they're a potential total party wipe if everyone gets buried.

Next, we have mechanical traps. These include the classics like arrow traps, spear traps, pit traps of various depths, poison needle traps, scything blade traps, portcullis traps and so on. They range in CR from 1 (arrow traps) to 10 (crushing wall traps), and costs a thousand gold to construct per point of CR. Magic traps follow - these can incorporate drat near any spell you can think of, from using Transmute Rock to Mud to cause a cave-in to zapping a whole corridor with a Lightning Bolt spell. These can be incredibly nasty, and have Search, Disable Device and save DCs based on spell level. Some of the examples given here include the floor transforming into acid (CR 6) and all the air being sucked out of the room (CR 5).

This is followed by another side bar:

Behind the Curtain: Traps posted:

Why use traps? Traps change the play of the game. If the adventurers suspect traps or have encountered them frequently in the past, they're much more likely to be cautious on adventures and particularly in dungeons. While instilling a little fear and paranoia in players can be fun, you should be aware that this also tends to slow down play, and searching every square foot of a corridor can get tedious for players and DM alike.

The solution is to place traps only when appropriate. People trap tombs and vaults to keep out intruders, but traps can be annoying and inappropriate in well-traveled areas. An intelligent creature is never going to build a trap that it might fall victim to itself.

After traps, we come to dungeon ecology. First, we're told that the creatures that inhabit a dungeon must be able to move around. The inhabitants generally need to eat, drink, breathe and sleep, just like anyone else. If there are predators down there, they need prey. If you want a believable dungeon, then you should be taking this stuff into account. If the water is behind a locked door, then your giant rats are going to have a very time getting to it, and will die long before the adventurers even get there. Taking such details into account also allows the players to make well reasoned decisions about their actions, such as waiting in ambush at a water source rather than hunting down a particular enemy.

Dungeons inhabitants commonly include animals such as rats and bats, slimes, and molds. Yellow Mold is a particularly nasty one - it is CR 6. If it is disturbed, it bursts out poisonous spores - all within ten feet must make a DC 15 Fortitude save to avoid taking a d6 of Constitution damage. A minute later, a second save is required to avoid taking 2d6 Constitution damage. At low levels, this can easily kill a PC; at mid-level, they should have the resources to avoid dying, but may need further care. Fire destroys yellow mold, and sunlight renders it dormant. It is CR 6.

The other thing to consider in a dungeon is wandering monsters. In general, there is a 10% chance of a wandering monster, with a roll being made every hour the PCs are in the dungeon, when the characters make noise, or in high traffic areas. In areas that have been cleared out, such rolls usually won't be made. Depending on how heavily populated an area is, you might roll more often. If you prefer not to keep track of time too strictly, then whenever the characters do something that takes a long time, like taking 20 to search a room for secret doors, might be a roll instead. Making noise generally includes breaking down a door, having a typical fight (both at once counts as one instance of noise), having a loud argument, running up and down stairs in full kit and so on. Wandering monsters don't generally carry much treasure - after all, their valuables will typically be in their lairs.

Next, we have random dungeons. Honestly, the random dungeon generation here is nowhere near as good as in AD&D 1e or in 5e - it starts by telling you to draw a map (i.e. the main thing you probably wanted to do randomly). There are then tables for random door types, random room contents, random traps and random monsters. It's not particularly interesting to read through, and it's definitely one of this book's weaker areas.

This is followed by a sample dungeon that I could probably do an separate post on, and an example of play that runs through a few rooms in that dungeon and ends with the rogue getting paralysed by a ghoul. I find it interesting that the only sample of play in these core books is in the DMG, given how this would have been many people's first introduction to role playing.

Anyway, now that we're finished with dungeons, we move on to wilderness encounters. The chance of an encounter depends on the location; 5% for a desolate wasteland; 8% for frontier or wilderness areas; 10% for verdant or civilised areas; and 12% for heavily travelled areas. This, like with wandering monsters in a dungeon, is per hour. The DM is expected to create encounter tables for their own regions, since a pre-written one might not make sense for the place the PCs are travelling through. There is a sample one for a Dark Mountains region that ranges from CR 5 to 13, with 8 being the most common.

This is followed by town generation - which is perhaps easier to explain with a worked example. As such, I present to you: Goonsville.

The sizes of town are as follows: a Thorp has between 20 and 80 adults, a hamlet goes up to 400, a village goes up to 900, a small town goes up to 2,000, a large town goes up to 5,000, a small city goes up to 12,000, a large city goes up to 25,000 and anything larger than that is a metropolis. Some of those numbers may seem a little small (my hometown would be considered a small city by these numbers), but it's worth noting that the overwhelming majority of people of people live in rural areas in a medieval economy. As such, a randomly generated town will be a thorp on a 1-10 of a d%, a hamlet on an 11-30, a village on a 31-50, a small town on a 51-70, a large town on a 71-85, a small city on an 86-95, a large city on a 96-99, and a metropolis on a 100.

The size of a community determines how much money or gear is available. The most expensive equipment in a thorp will be 40 gold; 100 in a hamlet; 200 in a village; 800 in a small town; 3,000 in a large town; 15,000 in a small city, 40,000 in a large city, and 100,000 in a metropolis. A small town is therefore the smallest settlement you can reasonably expect to find masterwork equipment on sale, and you're looking at a small city for magical weapons and armour. Custom work may, of course, be available to anyone willing to pay up front - possibly in more than just money. The amount of coin in a community depends on the population - half the GP limit for available equipment, multiplied by a tenth of the adult population.

I didn't roll for the size of Goonsville; I decided that I'd make it a large-ish village, with an adult population of 800 people (probably around a thousand if you include the kids). As it is a village, masterwork equipment isn't available here; neither is any armour heavier than a breastplate. Most weapons will generally be available though. With an adult population of 800 people, there is roughly 8,000 GP in coin. Of that, maybe 5,000 will be in copper, 2,500 in silver, and 500 in gold.

Next, we come to the power centre for a community. On a d20, a 13 or less is a conventional power centre, a 14-18 is nonstandard, and a 19+ is magical. On a thorp, you subtract 1, on a village you add 1, on a small town 2, a large town 3. On a small city, you add 4 and roll twice; a large city you add 5 and roll three times; and for a metropolis you add 6 and roll four times. The power centre will naturally have an alignment - generally, lawful is more common than neutral, which is more common than chaotic; likewise good is more common than evil, which is more common than neutral.

So I rolled the dice, getting a nonstandard power centre that is Lawful Evil. Nonstandard power centres include things like guilds, temples, aristocrats and other groups with no official political power, but who hold the real power in a settlement. I didn't know what I wanted the power centre to be at this point, so I just noted this down.

Following this, we have the community authorities and the NPCs. There is a 60% chance that the sherrif/constable/guard captain/whatever will be the highest level Warrior, a 20% chance it'll be the highest level Fighter, and a 20% chance it'll be the second highest level Fighter. For every hundred people, rounded down, there will be one full time guard or soldier; for every 20 there will be one militia member or conscripted soldier. For each class, you roll the level of the highest level NPC in the community, modified based on the size of the community. Given that the PC classes are only one die each, there's a good chance of there being no members of a given PC class in a given settlement if it is small enough - anything smaller than a small town has a negative modifier. NPC classes tend to have multiple dice, making it far less likely that there will end up being no members of that class. If the highest level NPC of a class is greater than one, there are 2 at half that level, 4 at a quarter and so on until you reach level 1. The remainder of the population are 91% commoners, 5% warriors, 3% experts, and 1% divided between aristocrats and adepts.

In Goonsville, we have a level 1 Barbarian, a level 1 Bard, a level 3 Cleric, a level 5 Druid, a level 6 Fighter, a level 2 Monk, a level 1 Paladin, a level 2 Ranger, a level 1 Rogue, a level 3 Sorcerer and a level 1 Wizard. We also have a level 5 adept, a level 2 aristocrat, a level 12 commoner, a level 2 expert and a level 3 warrior. The village constable is a level 6 Elf Fighter, who has eight full time soldiers and forty militia members under his command. Out of 800 adults, 680 are level 1 commoners, 769 are members of an NPC class, and 777 are level 1. A party of four first level PCs are absolutely a cut above the average by virtue of having PC classes and rolling 4d6 drop the lowest for stats instead of 3d6, but they are by no means powerful enough to go on a murder rampage through the town.

With this information, I decided that the level 12 commoner would probably be the mayor - he'd be a Dwarf, since the long lifespan would suit the high level, and probably the best weaponsmith in the village. He is Lawful Good, and knows full well that his position is largely ceremonial. Who is the real power in the village? The local temple, devoted to Hextor; the Lawful Evil god of conquest. Such a god might be worshipped in a frontier village if, for example, they were at the frontier of an empire. As such, the Paladin and Druids are probably in hiding; doing what good works they can without drawing too much attention to themselves. The mayor knows they're being hidden by sympathetic commoners, but has chosen to turn a blind eye.

The village constable is Neutral Good; his loyalties lie with the mayor, and the full time guards' loyalties are to him, but he doesn't know where the militia members' loyalties lie. He would back they mayor if there were any trouble, but he recognises that they'd probably both die if it came to that. If a small band of sufficiently skilled and equipped trouble makers could be raised, however, they might be able to swing things - they're far from the capital, and Hextor is worshipped far more out of fear of his Clerics than out of any real devotion.

Finally, we come to Racial Demographics. There are three types of racial mix: Isolated, Mixed and Integrated. An Isolated settlement has 96% humans, 2% halflings, 1% elves and 1% for all the other races. A Mixed settlement has 79% humans, 9% halflings, 5% elves, 3% dwarves, 2% gnomes, 1% half elves and 1% half orcs. An integrated society has 37% humans, 20% halflings, 18% elves, 10% dwarves, 7% gnomes, 5% half elves and 3% half orcs. Settlements where a race other than Human is dominant should place humans in second place and shift the other races down appropriately - a dwarf settlement, because they're all isolated, would have 2% humans and 1% halflings, for example.

As a frontier village, Goonsville is probably Isolated. The mayor's family are probably the only dwarves in the village, and the rest of the population are almost all human. That way, the contrast between the village and the outside world will be significantly greater.

Next time, I'll be detailing the first level of a dungeon close to town - the ruin of a relatively recently destroyed temple, now being used as a bandit hideout.

SirFozzie
Mar 28, 2004
Goombatta!

Piggybacking off the Sigmata discussion I ended up getting the Dystopian Universe RPG. Not sure I like how much it puts on double agents etcetera, but I like how it has " skill trees" for both the government and the Resistance, basically depending on mission results (and "transgressions" made by players during the mission), the Resistance and the Government can advance a certain amount of points, and when they get enough, take an advance that gives their side an advantage in the ongoing war. The end points of each tree are critical advances, and depending on if you're playing a short, medium or long campaign, you need 1, 2, or 3 critical advances to unlock the final mission (either the Rebellion or the Purge, depending on which side hits that point first),

Here's a typical mission from it:

RENDITION
A high-value target will be presenting an opportunity for us very soon. You’ll take that opportunity, and take the target alive. Let me be clear: we need him alive. Someone is holding the purse strings, dangling incentives in front of our operatives and getting them to defect. This target, a former acquaintance of yours, can lead us to the Paymaster.

Set: The streets of Paris Nouveau, midday in a crowded plaza.


Mission Opposition: Good (+3)

Resistance Goals
» Take the target alive 3 advancement points
» Get the target back to la Cave alive 5 advancement points
» Lose or kill anyone pursuing you 3 advancement points


Government Goals
» Kill the target 5 advancement points
» Kill the PCs 3 advancement points per PC

Transgressions
» A PC kills someone other than the target 1 blowback
» A PC initiates overt violence while Amongst the Crowd 3 blowback
» A PC kills Hitomi von Krauss 5 blowback

Complications and Discoveries (The GM can spend blowback to make the characters life hell)

» Backup (5 blowback): Bring in mercenaries equal to the number of PCs.
» Panic! (5 blowback): The crowd panics! Anyone Amongst the Crowd must roll against the mission opposition to avoid taking harm.
» The Target Escapes (10 blowback): The target gets away, and the PCs can’t find him.
» The Target’s Motive (compel): The target didn’t really betray la Résistance; he’s acting as a double agent, and has been found out. That’s why von Krauss’s men attacked.


Each advance costs 10 advancement points, but you can earn immediate advances in some ways (for example, if a spy is caught, they can become a double agent, which gives the Resistance an immediate advance, or betray the Resistance, which allows them to make a new character with an extra level to replace the one that's dead, but the GOVERNMENT gets an immediate advance.

What I'm worried about is where the Spy just goes "Hey, Resistance? I'm a Spy, recruit me for the free advance", because players usually work together right?

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Wait, you get blowback for killing people actively trying to kill you?

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


This tidbit doesn't make the universe sound too Dystopian.

Also, ORKS ORKS ORKS ORKS

why are goblins afraid of elves, though? And I always considered them to be smaller than the average human.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



JcDent posted:

This tidbit doesn't make the universe sound too Dystopian.

Also, ORKS ORKS ORKS ORKS

why are goblins afraid of elves, though? And I always considered them to be smaller than the average human.

They're smaller but not Halfling size - Dwarfs also don't get Small.

And they're afraid of Elves because most Reikland Goblins live in the same places that Wood Elves like to hang out, I think.

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Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


The official reason is that elves are unnervingly clean and don't generally have poo poo all over them, and that confuses goblins.

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