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Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

If you will not serve in combat, you will serve on the firing line!




MonsterEnvy posted:

Wonder what the Pathfinder 2 Monk is going to be like.

Awful and fiddly most likely.

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The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



Can't they just clone the Pillars of Eternity monk?

LSD monks best monks.

grassy gnoll
Aug 27, 2006

The pawsting business is tough work.

Wales Grey posted:

I like the Blackjack and Ratnik! They're cool models with decent profiles and the Blackjack has a spectacularly silly background:[url=https://www.infinitythegame.com/blog/news/item/413-blackjacks-10th-heavy-ranger-bat-t2-sniper-rifle]


Edgy writing aside, the Blackjack's sniper profile is pretty much a turret with BS 13, ARM 5, and 2 wounds for the low, low price of 36 points and 1 SWC. Getting cover for ARM 8 is also pretty easy despite being S5: it's not a TAG—just have the unit go prone! (TAGs and Remotes can't go prone, but heavy infantry can!) The Ratnik does the same thing for TAK that the Taskmaster does for Bakunin: a bulky attacker who can get upfield quickly without wasting too many orders and isn't overly threatened by rifles. Actually, I think the Ratnik might be a more effective unit than the Taskmaster in a straight gunfight. It doesn't waste points on frivolous stuff like CC19 or martial arts prowess, brings AP weapons to shoot other lads, and can be dogged to force your opponent to kill it again. On the other hand, the Taskmasters have slightly better range bands on their weapons, and vastly superior hacking support/defense options in their list while being 1 SWC less for the red fury plus heavy rocket launcher team. Plus, all Taskmaster profiles have koalas.

I respect your opinion and strongly disagree! :v:

I'm definitely of the mindset that more pieces over a distributed area is a better idea than elite units in general. In fairness, a large part of this comes from my dice rolling. There's the usual odds for everybody else, and then there's whatever entropic shroud that hangs over me and nudges my dice rolls in the direction I least want them to go whenever possible. For what it's worth, I don't like the Taskmaster either, for the same reasons.

If I'm gonna drop ~50 points and 1+ SWC on a thing, it's gotta do more than kill people. Having a beastly turret isn't going to win me points (unless ITS keeps going in for killy missions, but I guess we'll see about that). Those same points for a durable specialist with a helpful ability, like a Hospitaller doctor, sure, that sounds great. Otherwise, give me a grunt link with an HMG or impact template any day of the week.

For everyone playing at home, Wales' opinion is completely legitimate and something to strongly consider, should you pick the game up for yourself. I'm absolutely filtering these lists through my own preferences.

One of the greatest strengths of Infinity is that it's sufficiently solid and complex enough that you can make up any army list with almost any kind of composition, and if you're a canny player, you'll still do well. I can pick any of the tournament-winning lists from around the globe, and even if I'm familiar with their individual units, I can still get by clock cleaned by someone playing a "less optimal" list that they're more experienced with. You can build an order-spam Military Order list, you can run a bully Nomad list, you can take a 10-man elite Ariadna list, and as long as you know what you're doing, you can absolutely kick someone else in the teeth. It's one of the best features of the game.

There's a truism in the Infinity community that goes "It's not your list, it's you." Netlisting just isn't a thing in this game, if for no other reason than the individual setup of a table is such a huge factor in gameplay. You have to know what you're doing, you have to have a plan, and you have to know what you're going to do when your opponent inevitably wrecks that plan seconds after the start of the game. The tradeoff for this really high skill ceiling is the gigantic, awful learning curve, and I'm not sure how to fix that, truth told.

LatwPIAT posted:

My engagement with Infinity is 90% "this setting lets me vicariously be a redheaded woman in British Army smock commanding an assault squad of werewolves". It's something I didn't know I wanted in my life, but it turns out, I want it in my life.

I like Ariadna, and even the werewolves, precisely because of how over-the-top it is. If nothing else, it feels like the Ariadna lists are played up to such stereotypes that CB is in on the joke, for a change. I'll gladly exchange green soccer hooligans for angry Uncle Vanya and his three squabbling nephews, MacScotch, Croissant and Freedom.

Sage Genesis
Aug 14, 2014


If the werewolves trip you up, just wait until we get to the Nomad Reverends.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



I just like werewolves. Gets me with the Circle Orboros, too.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Sage Genesis posted:

If the werewolves trip you up, just wait until we get to the Nomad Reverends.

Or Morats.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




grassy gnoll posted:

There's a truism in the Infinity community that goes "It's not your list, it's you." Netlisting just isn't a thing in this game, if for no other reason than the individual setup of a table is such a huge factor in gameplay. You have to know what you're doing, you have to have a plan, and you have to know what you're going to do when your opponent inevitably wrecks that plan seconds after the start of the game. The tradeoff for this really high skill ceiling is the gigantic, awful learning curve, and I'm not sure how to fix that, truth told.
I'm not a wargamer, so: I gather that because it's a skirmish game with few units, you have to have a fallback plan when one piece of your perfect synergy combo gets shot in the face?

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Halloween Jack posted:

I'm not a wargamer, so: I gather that because it's a skirmish game with few units, you have to have a fallback plan when one piece of your perfect synergy combo gets shot in the face?

Yes, and also Infinity itself is interesting in that objectives are not known, I believe. Which is to say - each side has an objective, but the opponent doesn't necessarily know that objective, and it is rarely just 'kill all the other guys.'

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2e: Tome of Salvation

A very different Black Crusade

Alright, with the lovely Crusades stuff out of the way let's get into the actual flavors of Paladin you can play as in Hams. There's a lot of them, and most have gotten a little mention before now.

Our first on the list is the most famous Templar order in the Empire, singlehandedly keeping the faith of Ulric somewhat popular, the White Wolves. The White Wolves are the very first Templar Order in the Empire, dating back to the 500s; they are the first 'heavy' religious unit the Empire ever fielded. To honor that ancient tradition, and because they're still Ulricans, they go into battle without helmets and with huge fur-lined capes so that everyone can see their magnificent hair and beards. Despite the wild appearance, they have two thousand years of organization and experience behind them, and they fight in a disciplined unit of horsemen or foot knights. One oddity is that they don't use lances, preferring short cavalry hammers and getting stuck in. Their specialized hammers actually get a special rule entry in Old World Armory (Not sure why it isn't repeated in this book): Like an Orc Choppa, their hammer does more damage on the charge, but takes an entire proficiency to use that you can only buy as a Knight or Inner Circle Knight of the White Wolf. However, it's an SB+2 On the Charge hand weapon that does SB+1 normally; this is pretty goddamn worth investing in. On foot, they prefer great axes and great hammers.

The Wolves are assigned all over the Empire, being a tremendously popular and old Order. They guard every notable temple of Ulric and a unit of Wolves is stationed in every city, with other packs out in the field fighting in the name of Ulric and going on quests to increase the reputation of the Order. The Order is keenly aware that they are one of the most popular parts of their church, and do all they can to remind people that Ulric is still a powerful and important God. Part of their prestige comes from their antiquity; Imperials are impressed by the long history of the White Wolves. The rest comes from the fact that they've involved themselves in almost every famous military campaign in the Empire's history. When Mannfred Skavenslayer charged out of Middenheim to crush the rats besieging it, his vanguard were White Wolves. When Magnus marched on Asuvar Kul, the Wolves joined him. When Mannfred was beaten at Hel Fenn, the Wolves were charging his undead lines. The sheer number and energy of the Knights of the White Wolf, and their drive to glorify the Lord of Battles by, uh, fighting a lot of battles, has made them heroes in the eyes of much of the Empire. Even people who don't like Ulric will say those guys are alright.

The Black Guard of Morr are my personal favorite knights in this chapter, though it's a hard choice. You might remember them from Knight's Dark Masters, where they got a (pretty cool) unique Career of their own. These are the silent, black-armored guardians of the most important priests of Morr and the most strategically important graveyards. They dress entirely in concealing black plate, with the joints specially padded to make them quieter and the armor designed to hide their face and identity; the reason for this is that they fight users of black magic. A lot. They don't want their enemies to be able to touch exposed flesh, they don't want vampires to be able to get at their necks, and they don't want their names or identities known to black mages who can do spooky ghost magic. They also avoid talking in combat, taking a vow of silence when on duty (outside of obvious exceptions for, say, warning a fellow knight something's behind them), and so present a solid line of silent, black-armored warriors with halberds and bows. The prohibition on talking is apocryphally so that you can't get vampire blood in your mouth while fighting, since that can be fatal.

While everyone else was off spearing sneering stereotypes during the Crusades, the Black Guard embarked on a secret mission. They ignored the fight with Araby and instead moved into Khemri, on a mission known as the Black Crusade. There, they challenged the Tomb Kings (who are still an abomination to Morr) in search of ancient Egyptian lore that could help their temples prepare against a return of Nagash. Braving mummy's curses and battling the immortal lords of Khemri, they took many ancient scrolls and treasures and returned them to secret places among the Temples of Morr to avoid the wrath of the Tomb Kings. This is a hell of a lot cooler than the rest of the Crusades! Black Knights striving silently against massive Egyptian skeleton armies and constructs to steal the book of the dead? That is way better than whatever else was going on with the Crusades.

The Black Guard are a defensive order outside of important missions like the Black Crusade. They tend to be quiet, intense individuals who are content to spend their lives defending the peace of the dead. There's a bit of a sidebar on the Raven Knights, the unique 3rd tier knight from Night's Dark Masters, saying these are often ex-Black Guard who join this allied sister order to go onto the offensive and actually hunt down vampires and undead.

The Knights of the Blazing Sun are the Myrmidian equivalent of the Knights of the White Wolf, in that the Empire loves and respects their Order even among people who don't care for Myrmidians. They were formed by a unit of secular knights who converted to Myrmidian worship when a statue of Myrmidia fell on their enemies and saved them during the Siege of Magritta. The Order guards pilgrimage routes between Magritta and the Empire, a duty that has made them rich, and spends that money on recruiting promising knights and sending them out to serve as roving officers that spread the word of Myrmidia as they organize local militias and fight in local conflicts. They missionary by example, just like the White Wolves, but where the Wolves are heroic warriors, the Blazing Suns are organizers and instructors.

The Blazing Suns also have their own special career in Sigmar's Heirs, and they're a normal 2nd tier Knight but with more focus on academic skills, leadership, and fencing to go with their lance and steed. Every Blazing Sun must spend several years after being raised to a full knight wandering the world and offering aid to any acceptable military campaign, as both an officer and a soldier. They are also notable for being the very first knightly Order to recognize Magnus the Pious as Emperor and swear to aid him, an action that singlehandedly put Myrmidian worship on the map as a new up and coming faith in the Empire; this is why the Myrmidians are on the Grand Conclave. I feel like they're an intentional parallel to the Ulrican White Wolves, in that while the Wolves keep the flame of Ulrican worship alive, the Blazing Suns are key to igniting faith in Myrmidia in the Empire.

The Knights of Everlasting Light are the most famous Templars of Verena. Not because they're amazing soldiers, but because they're cursed. During the Crusades, this Order murdered and pillaged like mad and got cursed by a vengeful spirit, such that the knights will almost never die gloriously. They have since taken their vows very seriously and try to be champions to those no-one else will fight for, hoping to satisfy the curse by serving justice. Thus, the career of most Everlasting Light Knights is 'Heroic battles for people no-one has ever heard of, in places no-one will ever remember, then later fall down the stairs, get kicked by a horse, or choke on a chicken bone.' Accepting that they will likely die to something embarrassing and stupid later makes these knights brave and self-sacrificing, and willing to get down into the muck so to speak.

The fact that they're cursed makes them take up grand quests and military campaigns rather than simply guarding temples. The knights hope to one day serve truth, justice, and liberty well enough to make up for the murderous brutality of their predecessors, or at least, to find some kind of powerful enchantment or knowledge that can undo the curse. In the meantime, most accept that they're going to have a career of defending plague villages and fighting monsters no-one believes exists, before dying like a Sierra adventure game protagonist the minute they get too close to water in their armor or falling off a cliff.

The Longshanks are the Taalite and Rhyan Knights, and they don't fight like Knights at all. They're an order of Scouts, to the point that the Longshanks don't take a variation on the Knight career and just do Scout instead. They're your standard good guy rangers, wandering around and shooting Beastmen, getting into adventures with the saner elves that live in Laurelorn forest, and protecting the sacred places and priesthood of their cult. They are not permitted to stay in the same place more than a week, and wander about on long and constant patrols in packs of rangers. There isn't really much more to say about them; if you've seen a fantasy ranger, you know these guys (and gals, they're currently led by a woman).

The Knights Griffon are a Sigmarite order founded by Magnus the Pious, because Magnus goddamn loved catbirds. I'm serious, the Griffon was made a noble Imperial symbol entirely because Magnus loved them and rode one during his campaign against Kul. The Knights Griffon are an extremely generic order who guard the High Temple of Sigmar and are generally extremely stuck up and arrogant, something they take as a strength. They're the shining knights who don't actually see much combat since they're mostly busy guarding dignitaries in the safest part of the Empire, all while talking themselves up and annoying the Reiksguard, the secular knights charged with guarding the Reikland and the order of the Emperor's Marshal. There really isn't much more to say about them, either; they're just kind of there.

The Sons of Manaan are our requisite sea-paladins, the poorer knights who guard the northern parts of the Empire's shore and who have an enduring rivalry with the much better paid Marienburger Knights-Mariner. The leadership of the cult, in turn, doesn't like the Sons because it thinks of them as too Imperial and not Manaanite enough. The Sons are unusual for Manaanites because they plan to fight on the shore as well as on board ships, training their white warhorses in the surf of the northern Empire. They use white horses on the principle that they want their charge to look like a crashing wave of angry ocean paladins. They also serve as marines on northern merchant ships, of course, but being willing to fight on the shore has seen them derided as landlubbers by the Marienburgers. When aboard a ship, they use the cutlass and buckler like other Manaanites, and when on their horses, they use tridents rather than lances.

So yeah, if you want to play a nautical paladin, there are those guys, fighting pirates and sea monsters and vikings.

We also get a summation of the extra skills/talents each God grants to Templars; every God/Order gives 3 extra advances to the Knight career, except the Longshanks, who don't get anything extra and who need to be Scouts instead. As mentioned, we also have actual classes (in other books, annoyingly) for the Black Guard and the Blazing Suns. The Black Guard career is awesome, too, getting you some solid ranged skills and a longbow to go with your halberd.

We also finally get the Warrior Priest, as an alternate option to the Anointed Priest as a 3rd tier career. In contrast to the Anointed Priest, the Warrior Priest is a better fighter, gaining Dodge and Strike Mighty, and a Weapon sacred to their God (usually Two-Handed, but the player can choose in discussion with the GM). Note that the only faith excluded from taking Warrior Priest is Shallyan. You can be a Warrior Priest of any of the other Gods, though Ulricans, Myrmidians, and the famous Sigmarite Silver Hammers are the most common Warrior Priests. The class picture is, of course, the iconic Imperial Sigmarite, bald and with two hammers and their customary armor.

We also get a class for Grandmaster of a Knightly Order, which is weird. They aren't really any better at fighting than a Champion, but have amazing stats across the board, great leadership, and their trappings call for 'a full suit of magical plate armor', which is more than a little weird. I'm not sure why there's a Grandmaster class, as Lord-level characters are usually depicted as a little beyond the scope of the average murder-hobo.

We also get a cursory set of equipment options for religious warriors, but they're very sparse because there's only so much gear porn you can do in a system that doesn't differentiate much between gear. None of it is really very exciting, except maybe the very poorly written Comet Flail. The Comet Flail is a flail with two hollow heads full of flaming oil, to symbolize Sigmar's comet. It acts exactly like a normal flail, except it can accidentally set its user on fire (2% chance per swing, 99-00), and any hit while it's ignited has 'a chance' to set enemies on fire (chance not actually listed; do they get an Agi save? Is it a percentage thing? We just don't know) and inflicts an extra Damage 2 hit on top of the SB+1 Impact Tiring hit from the flail.

We also get some example stats for a 'generic' squire, knight, and inner circle knight, but they aren't very exciting and they aren't nearly as thorough as the generic priest stats in the last section.

Next Time: Finally, Divine Magic!

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Mors Rattus posted:

Yes, and also Infinity itself is interesting in that objectives are not known, I believe. Which is to say - each side has an objective, but the opponent doesn't necessarily know that objective, and it is rarely just 'kill all the other guys.'

Oh no, you know the objective of any mission. It's that there's also a secret objective deck that can give points for doing your randomly drawn objective, or it can be converted into an end game benefit.

While it's possible to do some missions without killing anyone, peeps often start by trying to cripple the enemy crew.

DAD LOST MY IPOD
Feb 3, 2012

Fats Dominar is on the case




This was the experience of my one game of Infinity ever:
I deploy my dudes (Haqqislam)
My opponent deploys his dudes (Yu Jing)
My opponent has a ninja hidden-deployed in the middle of my force. He tries to move it and botches the roll that lets him do so while still being in stealth. His ninja appears. I think there was another roll here to try to hide or something, I forget, but if so he failed that too.
I ARO to shoot it as it decloaks. My viral sniper rifle crits it. He sadly takes it off the table. That was like a third of his list.
I have not yet taken any action in the game.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



The White Wolves are my favorite Templars because they're the sane Ulricans and are basically a group that spend their entire time trying to be the best people they can by Ulrican standards and shoving the Howling Wolves/mainline priesthood behind trees or walls so no one can notice their batshit insanity.

also because they're ulricans who have realized you can wear pants and still be ulrican, so long as you wear a wolfskin over your armor and look wistfully at kilts

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Mors Rattus posted:

The White Wolves are my favorite Templars because they're the sane Ulricans and are basically a group that spend their entire time trying to be the best people they can by Ulrican standards and shoving the Howling Wolves/mainline priesthood behind trees or walls so no one can notice their batshit insanity.

also because they're ulricans who have realized you can wear pants and still be ulrican, so long as you wear a wolfskin over your armor and look wistfully at kilts

Still don't wear helmets, though.

Gotta show off that amazing hair.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


DAD LOST MY IPOD posted:

This was the experience of my one game of Infinity ever:
I deploy my dudes (Haqqislam)
My opponent deploys his dudes (Yu Jing)
My opponent has a ninja hidden-deployed in the middle of my force. He tries to move it and botches the roll that lets him do so while still being in stealth. His ninja appears. I think there was another roll here to try to hide or something, I forget, but if so he failed that too.
I ARO to shoot it as it decloaks. My viral sniper rifle crits it. He sadly takes it off the table. That was like a third of his list.
I have not yet taken any action in the game.

Yesterday, I lost without taking an action.

Ghost Leviathan
Mar 2, 2017

Exploration is ill-advised




The Knights of Everlasting Light are amazing. Playing one of those as a PC sounds like a strong temptation for the GM at every turn.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Ghost Leviathan posted:

The Knights of Everlasting Light are amazing. Playing one of those as a PC sounds like a strong temptation for the GM at every turn.

I didn't go into the example knights because most of them are pretty generic, but the Everlasting Light Knight is pretty great. Hilda van der Kratt is a Nordlander aristocrat from a family cursed to have all their young men die in battle, so they've traditionally encouraged the family men to go into accounting and the daughters to join the army instead. She decided she was sick of dodging curses like a coward and so intentionally joined a cursed order of knights to fight for justice and liberty. She has since been mistaken for a wanted criminal multiple times, lost 7 horses to friendly fire, and misplaced 14 different swords, and absolutely none of it slows her down as she throws herself into her duties and seeks a cure for both her family's curse and her order's.

grassy gnoll
Aug 27, 2006

The pawsting business is tough work.

Halloween Jack posted:

I'm not a wargamer, so: I gather that because it's a skirmish game with few units, you have to have a fallback plan when one piece of your perfect synergy combo gets shot in the face?

Yes. Ohh, yes. It's not probable, but it's still entirely possible your 120-point TAG will get merked by some 10-point rear end in a top hat with a perfect three-hit combirifle attack. Which, in fairness, feels amazing when you're on the giving side of the equation.

In general, you should always tailor your list to the mission or slate of missions you know you'll be playing. From there, have a plan A, a plan B, and then a plan C to try and make your opponent lose if you can't win. This isn't always possible based on your army or the mission, but it's a good general notion.

Like many things in Infinity, this kind of list-building strategy is entirely subjective and if you're a great player, you just won't give a poo poo because you have a finely-honed list that you've played exclusively for years or whatever. Other people go by rule of cool, practice with their list, and drat the consequences.

Mors Rattus posted:

Yes, and also Infinity itself is interesting in that objectives are not known, I believe. Which is to say - each side has an objective, but the opponent doesn't necessarily know that objective, and it is rarely just 'kill all the other guys.'

Sort of.

In the vaguest generalities, you missions where you'll fight the other guys or ones where you go accomplish objectives. While there is one (out of 26 missions this season) that boils down to "go kill more of them than they kill of you," there tends to be a specific point to the carnage. Often times you're fighting for territory, like having more points in a zone or occupying a specific room. Other times, there's a specific goal to things, like Decapitation, where you don't have the Loss of Lieutenant rule, but you can only score points by killing the enemy LTs. Objective missions can be as simple as touch this console and make a WIP check, or capture this supply box and drag it back to your DZ, or they can be as complicated as sorting out which civilian miniature is actually a spy, or playing tic-tac-toe with objective consoles.

Within those missions, you'll have randomized classified objectives. These are the hidden goals you have to accomplish. They can vary, but tend to be things like "coup de grace at least one enemy soldier," or "repair one of your mechanical units from unconsciousness," or "get a medic in range of the enemy civilian target and do experiments on them." There's also a mission called "Highly Classified," which may be what you're thinking of, where all your scoring is based off of these random hidden objectives. I quite like it, other people hate it.

Season 10 also has a lot of points tied up in what's basically an achievement system. It's a nice idea in theory, but in practice it boils down to an uninteresting order tax instead of "accomplish this cool thing in a specific way."

grassy gnoll fucked around with this message at 16:03 on Oct 19, 2018

Kaza42
Oct 3, 2013

Blood and Souls and all that

grassy gnoll posted:

In general, you should always tailor your list to the mission or slate of missions you know you'll be playing. From there, have a plan A, a plan B, and then a plan C to try and make your opponent lose if you can't win. This isn't always possible based on your army or the mission, but it's a good general notion.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2e: Tome of Salvation

A long time coming

Wow, we're 215 pages in before we finally get to the main mechanical section of the book, the expanded Divine Spells. But because this is Tome of Salvation, we're getting some fluff first. As I've said, there's maybe a little too much in this book, but this part is good.

You see, humans both are and aren't aware that miracle using priests are people with magical potential. The orthodox teaching is that anyone who prays the words is asking the Gods for aid (which is why the non-magic variant priests still learn Speak Arcane Language), but that the Gods only answer for truly pious individuals. Similarly, magic-using priests are generally more common than people with the potential to become wizards. The elves will tell you that all human priests are just using a form of arcane magic, but they're genuinely wrong about that; divine magic works differently, both mechanically and fluff wise, and anyone with magical sense who isn't as shackled to an elf's perception of magic as being wholly limited to color/high magic can see it. It's a matter of debate between priests and wizards how much a priest's magic comes from the priest versus the God.

Priests experience Magical Sense differently depending on what God they serve. The example given is a Taalite and a Sigmarite looking at a Jade Magister working a plant spell. The Taalite sees an individual encased in ivy and natural magic, because Jade magic isn't opposed to Taalite beliefs. The Sigmarite sees tendrils of faint corruption; not quite full on Chaos or darkness, but something reflecting their suspicion of magic. Divine preconception helps drive a priest's ability to see into the world of mysticism and aethryic energy. Similarly, the Speak Arcane (Magic) that priests know varies by cult. It isn't actually known where the original cultic languages come from, and many of them predate written language. Scholars whisper that these are, like all Arcane languages, based in the grammar and words of the Old Ones and derived from the 'mother tongue' of all mortal language. Priestly magic also appears very differently on magical sense; you won't see them carefully gathering up the right proportions of winds and then weaving them into a spell. To magically sensitive people, a priest's chant can have wildly varied effects, ranging from a faint nimbus of holy light to the priest seeming to take on the appearance of the God, becoming almost a momentary earthly avatar. The book leaves open what this means about divine magic vs. arcane; it's specifically up to the GM and group to decide.

We also get many more spells. Even more Petty spells for Mag 1 priests, which can be bought on top of the normal Petty spellbook for 50 EXP apiece. Much like wizards, priests still get the same number of spells for selecting a Divine Lore (6), and so get 3 different lists, one of all core rulebook spells, one mixed list, and one of new spells for this book. They can also buy additional Lore spells for 100 EXP apiece and the GM is free to demand they need training to do so, as with wizards. I actually like that they do this, so that adding on to the spell lists isn't a flat increase in power for casters.

The new petty spells aren't much to write home about but they fulfill an important fluff niche: They let you use non-generic, god-flavored magic at 2nd career instead of having to wait for Anointed/Warrior Priest. This has always been one of the frustrating parts of playing Priests; you don't get your full flavor until you're a long way into being a Priest. That was, I suspect, always the real purpose of the Initiate and Priest extra skills and talents, to make up for that wait. We get God-flavored petty magic like Manaanites being able to hold their breath a long time, Morrites blessing weapons to hurt ghosts, Ranaldans granting a reroll at a penalty on a failed test, or Sigmarites having a spell to help stop Imperials and traditional Imperial allies like dwarfs from fighting long enough to exhort them to unity. They're a nice extra touch and most of them are useful. We also get some new Lesser Magics that allow for things like magically amplified preaching so you can be heard by hundreds of people, or spells to bless a location and make it harder to fight in, or a genuine divine vow that hurts the target to break. They're also nice to have.

But the real meat is the Lores. The Lores of Handrich, Khaine and Gunndred get added to the list of spells, and they're kind of meh for the most part. Gunndred gets spells about hurting people and stealing cattle because he is a lovely bandit god, while Handrich gets strictly worse than Ranald spells about mercantile affairs with the added interest rates (all the spells cost money/debt if you want to activate their Ingredient) and Handrich cursing you if you gently caress up. Seriously, while Handrich has more spells about making money and haggling than Ranald does, Ranald's are much better and Handrich remains just kind of the lovely capitalism God. The main 'good' spell Handrich has is Bought Loyalty, where you instill someone with a terrifying fear of breaking CONTRACTS after they have created joinder with you. They must make a WP test to break the contract, and if they do, they suffer a -10% to basically all fellowship and mercantile skills until they make up for it. The example used in the book is a Handrich priestess using that spell to ensure some people she bribed to avoid taxes stay bribed.

Khaine is a little stronger, but limited by almost all of his spells focusing on daggers, which are still just SB-3 weapons. None of the spells like '+1 damage with daggers!' really make up for that base penalty. The most powerful Khainite spell at CN 20 gives +1 Attacks and lets you half action Swift Attack, which is great, but it's a CN 20 spell that takes a full round action to cast and only lasts for Mag rounds. All three of the new Lores are just a little weak and forgettable.

Manaan's new CN 20 kind of rocks, though: Blessing of the Albatross. You summon a magic Albatross and as long as no-one on your ship shoots it, for one hour, NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS your ship will not sink. Kraken tries to drag it under? It stays floating and it loses its grip. Hurricane waves wash over the deck? Somehow it bobs to the surface. Sailors can still be washed overboard or killed, but the ship will not sink. So you can have your sea priest standing on top of a ship during a battle with a sea monster in a storm, yelling a bird into existence that ensures your battered ship stays standing no matter what. They get new spells for sensing fish, but also new spells to address 'what happens if you aren't playing in a sea-based game', where they can bring sea-like terrain penalties to people on dry land by making their balance shift like they were caught in a storm at sea. They can also drown you on dry land by making your lungs fill with salt water. An interesting bit: Every Lore separates the 3 new spell-lists by theology. The rulebook lore for Manaan is his aspect as the Lord of Journeys, while the entirely new spells are his aspect as the Lord of Storms, while the mixed list focuses on gentler magic and invokes his presence as the Lord of Bounty.

Morr's new spells are almost entirely related to augury and fulfill his aspect as the God of Dreams and Prophecy. The new spells are all about talking to the dead, receiving visions, and interpreting dreams, which is potentially useful if a little limiting. At the same time, think of how many mysteries you can solve with Speech of Morr, a spell that summons a spirit from the realm of the dead (CN 20, so this is High Priest level magic) to answer your questions honestly. This spell can only ever be used on an individual once; Morr won't risk a soul by letting it out more than once. Any attempt to cast it on someone who has already had it cast on them invokes an immediate miscast. The new spells also let Morrites communicate over long distances by dreams, and mimic some of the Lore of the Heavens' bonuses from augury spells, since they know what's coming. Morrite magic can become an interesting mixture between death and augury with the new list.

Myrmidians have always been about buffing and commanding, and the new spells for Myrmidia include spells like 'see through the eyes of a magical eagle to command a battlefield from an elevated position' or a simple but effective buff that gives all allies in range +10% WS. They also get a spell for relaying commands accurately at extreme ranges as if they had a magical radio, a spell that makes them much better at Strategy knowledge checks while letting allies reroll fear tests, an armor buff, and a spell that makes all Myrmidians, Estalians, and Tileans in range Fearless. Interestingly, the much more personal-combat focused spell list from the main book is Myrmidia the Wrathful, reflecting her aspect as manifest in Fury and her hatred of injustice, while the new ones are Myrmidia the Captain and Myrmidia the Commander, depending on if you're mixing personal combat and command or going full command.

Next Time: Ranald, Shallya, Siggy, Taal, Rhya, Ulric, and Verena

WhitemageofDOOM
Sep 13, 2010

... It's magic. I ain't gotta explain shit.

grassy gnoll posted:

There's the usual odds for everybody else, and then there's whatever entropic shroud that hangs over me and nudges my dice rolls in the direction I least want them to go whenever possible.

So you have Godna dice as my group calls them.
His big complaint about 4e "You know why I played a caster in 3e? I didn't have to roll attack rolls the GM did it for me, freeing them from my luck."

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



The Second Seal

On Febuary 3rd, 2003, the Second Seal broken, is War.

We start off with some faux transcripts...

Transcript from President Mitchell's Address to a Joint Session of Congress, February 3, 2003, 17:13 EST

quote:

"Ladies and Gentleman of Congress, At 3 a.m. this morning, a combined force of soldiers from Iraq, Iran, Jordan, and Syria crossed the border into Saudi Arabia and attacked three United States military installations. Our soldiers fought nobly and well, but ultimately in vain against an overwhelming number of enemy troops. The wounded American soldiers, we have been informed, have been executed without trial for resisting the invasion force."

"The Islamic Purity Alliance have seized, by force, three fully operational American Army bases. This can not be tolerated. I will not attempt to sway you with patriotic words. Ladies and gentlemen of Congress, at this point your path is clear. I urge you to declare war upon the nations that claim membership in the Islamic Purity Alliance immediately. Our response to this unprovoked attack must be swift, and it must be terrible."
"I will be in the Oval Office, awaiting your decision."

and

Top Secret Communique from the Joint Chiefs to President Harrison Mitchell, February 3, 2003, 06:44:22 EST

quote:

TALLY OF SEIZED AND LOST EQUIPMENT COMPLETE. X
THREE APACHE ATTACK HELICOPTERS XX THREE HARRIER
VTOL ATTACK AIRCRAFT XXX FIFTEEN F-15 COMBAT AIR-
CRAFT XXXX RADIO AND DEENCRYPTION APPARATUS
XXXXX SURVEILLANCE GT15/9 BASE CAMP READY BOXES
XXXXXX 7 INTERMEDIATE RANGE "HOTHEAD" MISSILES
WITH COVERT DIRTY NUCLEAR WARHEADS
STEALTH BOMBER XXXXXXXX ADVISE IMMEDIATE AND
EXTREME COUNTERMEASURESXXXXXXXXX DESTROY THIS
COMMUNIQUE... UPON COMPLETION XXXXXXXXX END
TRANSMISSION
TRANSMISSION CODED 590GM/4

So Saudi Arabia gets invaded by a coalition including Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Jordan. The invaders manage to capture and hold three US military bases in the name of the Islamic Purity Alliance.

When they grabbed the base at Sakakah, the IPA they also managed to get seven IRBMs that War had managed to get transferred there. Because War arranged this, these nukes were being kept there without the knowledge or consent of Congress or NATO. Rather than asking about how the hell they got there, President Harrison Mitchell, under the influence of War, convinced Congress to declare war in a worldwide broadcast speech.

As soon as Congress approved it, the USS Alaska fired its full complement of missiles at the area of Sakakah. Intelligence had determined that the missiles had been moved, there had not been enough time for them to be moved far and a large part of Saudi Arabia became glass.

Winds encouraged by war and Pestilence spread the fallout wide, and after the 'wars' end in three days; about 200 million people were dead or suffering from radiation sickness.

President Mitchell was impeached by a unanimous vote less than two weeks later for his 'failure' to report the existence of these captured missiles to Congress and NATO, and for his hasty use of nuclear force. He committed suicide on Valentine's Day, unclear to the end as to what the hell had made him do something so vile.

Ronwayne
Nov 20, 2007

That warm and fuzzy feeling.


Mind control is only an interesting theme for me when its encouraging someone to do what they already wanted to do. When its just outright hijacking someone and driving them around like a car, my feeling is a resounding "meh."

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Ronwayne posted:

Mind control is only an interesting theme for me when its encouraging someone to do what they already wanted to do. When its just outright hijacking someone and driving them around like a car, my feeling is a resounding "meh."

This smacks of old WoD 'supernaturals are really behind eeeeeeeverything!', too.

WhitemageofDOOM
Sep 13, 2010

... It's magic. I ain't gotta explain shit.

FFRRPG 4e Part 17: I think i can jam everything after classes into one post

Magic section
It's just spell selection as I've said spells come in 3-4 packs as you level, not a lot to note.
The Gravity lines difficulty is the % of hp they lose, making quarter and black hole harder to hit than death, also those aren't group targeting for some reason, also hard to simplify.

Summoning only has 3 tiers 14th level with lvl34 grand summons(only Valefor has a good grand summon, group !Jump, and fenris who gives group status, the rest is more damage/healing that falls off), 24th level with 54 grand summons, and 44th level and 64th grand summons. It really does lack any good summons till 24, then you get carbuncle and golem but not a lot else.
The lvl44 You get some interesting stuff. In general while 3e overstuff the high level summons, summons at least got their interesting weirdness over spells here a lot of the 9 slots per rank are tank by damage(4-5) then you've got a heal summon, not a lot of room for the fun stuff.
Criticism: You only need about 3 summons devoted to damage per tier(I get this is harder at tier 1 but Valefor is a great example of what you can do.), give the summoner more breathing room. Also it's not clear that !Summon included a !Call as part of it's action in the ability but is here.

Geomancy is a lot of words for a small part of the series, and the terrain chart, make everything work like cosmic and you just need to pay speed, or let me master terrains i can always use.

Performances we covered.

Economy
Mundane poo poo is free, ok, awesome money is only for combat poo poo, i accept this. Also keeping those lines distinct.
But just because it's mundane doesn't mean you can just have it(like your inevitable airship.)
If you want expensive train passes or whatever you use your social skills, and use aquiring the airship as a IC goal.

quote:

That's the spirit of mundane items: something that helps you tell a story, not an exercise to prepare the best shopping list.
It then mentions of course treasure hunters are going to turn mundane items into gil, duh.

It then talks about earning gp(at least 8 per exp), and including random treasure(especially if your rogue has treasure hunt or steal ofc!).
It reminds the GM that if it's something the party is likely to sell off then you need to think of it as it's sell price(1/2 off).
It explicitly talks about the rogue and not screwing them out of their bonus now, like making sure to include helpful items for coming encounters on treasure lists if they have treasure hunter/steal. It straight up says the opposite of 3e that rogues should bring more money to the table.

Equipment
There's only three types of armor. None of that hands/hands/body slot stuff, so much more reason to keep up. Also Equipment has minimum levels.
Light- Low Arm, High M.Arm
Medium- Balanced Arm & M.Arm
Heavy- High Arm, Low M.Arm
criticism: there's still only 3 items per slot at each tier so it's easy to run out of unique gear for a party, and few enchantment options in each slot.

Then there's weapon where it is mentioned weapon abilities only apply to !Attack, now !Attack is a more relevant command than 3e I admit, but it still sucks to only treat my weapon as a stat stick half the time and heavily encourages more damage weapons. Also All weapons use only one of 2 code damage ranks instead of /5/, one handed(x2-x16) or two handed(x3-x20), and each has some kind of use. If a weapon group offers more than one damage type you choose the type as types can cover a lot of grounds, but sometimes are specific.
Light Blades- Do 1 handed puncture damage, Use your wind(for attack and damage) and are defended against with Wind, Can use !Parry a reaction that works on all physicals as Wind vs. (4+Wind)
Medium Weapons & Shields- Do 1 handed Cut or Crush damage, Use earth(fore attack and damage) and are defended against with Earth, Can use !Block which is the same as !Parry except using Earth for Attack&Defense.
Criticism: Considering shields are part of this weapon type, I really feel that Medium Weapons should get defensive enchantments.
Heavy Weapons: Do 2 handed Cut or Crush damage, Use Earth and are defended against with Earth.
Polearms: Do 2 handed puncture damage, Use Earth OR Wind and are defended against with Wind.
Claws/Gloves: Do 1 handed cut or crush damage, Use Earth and are defended against with Wind.
Katanas: Do 2 Handed Cut damage, Use Wind and are defended against with Earth. All enchanted Katanas have the Spellweaver property, which allows you to "Break" the item to cast a spell(it is fixed at end of combat.). So the Draw Out ability of Samurai from FFT became part of Katana's....Neet.
Bows: Do 2 handed ranged puncture damage, Use wind and are defended against with Wind.
Thrown Weapons: Do 1 handed ranged puncture damage, Use Earth and are defended against with Wind.
Rifles/Crossbows: Do 2 handed ranged puncture damage, Use Fire and are defended against with Wind.
Wands/Rods: Do 1 handed ranged magical crush damage, Use Fire and are defended against with Fire. Most have arcane focus(Can cast a spell even if you don't know it) and spell weaver for a stronger version.
Staves: Do 2 handed magical crush damage, Use Fire and are defended against with Water. Like rods most have arcane focus/spell weaver.

Then we have the accessory list, you can equip 2 of these now, there's still some stinkers.
Criticism:Rip out most stuff with I: Individual Status, and give us stuff to resist status groups, you made R:Status actually use it.

There are then battle items which notably don't have level limits to let characters get things above there level....this is a 4e rituals thing where i need to give them items so they will actually use that feature isn't it? It is? Ok.
Also the cost of some items is....wonky, an item that casts stone is cheaper than stop, and an item that casts break is cheaper than stone. In fact I can mix Stone+Break for less than stop and get Mass Break.....which if i am ever in the designer's campaign, i will do, incessantly, until everything has I:Transform.

Gming chapter

Blah blah, assigning exp. About 200 a session(but exp costs go up....), not group exp costs by default but mentioned as an option.

There's a thing about not worrying about min/maxers as the stat system hurts them, but uhhhhh i worry about the guy who just picks Primary+Secondary job and doesn't know their specialization path, not the guy throwing all their points into one stat.

Monster Creation

Oh man man, I've been looking forward to this chapter.
Check out this system.

Assign a monster stat totals, that's it's level as usual.
Here's about the hp, mp, arm, m.arm and damage multipliers appropriate to that level range.
Now give it any abilities you feel appropriate, either auto statuses, spells, special commands, poo poo you made up. Oh and don't forget to assign the stats of it's !Attack.
Normal monsters get three init dice, notorious get 4 and more hp, Bosses get 5 and tons of hp. (I'd do 2/4/6 myself, but it's nice to see the fact bosses just get more actions is assumed.)

........This is so much easier than 3e I can't begin to describe how happy that makes me.

Status conditions

Are way less organized, they also instead of stuffing all buffing statuses into own group have a positive/negative distinction(meh).
Mini is gone, as are heat/freeze.
Gravity is fully classed as a status type.
Confuse is still a mess.

Criticisms: Fix the formatting of the status list, negatives by type, then positives by type. Not alphabetical.
Suggestions: Rename toad polymorph to also cover mini, make it less all consumingly sucktastic there's enough save or dies. Make Stone, Stop and Charm also classed as fatal in addition to their normal type because they are save or dies especially since "Don't take stop so your GM won't give bosses I:Time" doesn't work. Make confuse simpler like 1-3 !Attack a random ally, 4+ act normally.

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

Not really. Up until this point the Horsemen weren't doing poo poo. This is the End Times though so they can do whatever is necessary to make sure Judgment Day comes.

I'm not saying it's an original idea, but the game is very consistant.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Bieeanshee posted:

This smacks of old WoD 'supernaturals are really behind eeeeeeeverything!', too.

If there is any one event where this actually fits it's the crazy Rapture theology view of the End of Days.

This doesn't make it a good story, mind you.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

It's just so cack-handed. Someone had those warheads built in the first place. A little shave with Occam's razor, and it's very human elements panicking and trying to clean up their political mess. Have War transpose a digit or two after the order has been given-- amplify things, but keep the causes human. Make the Horsemen manifest as opportunists, not world-straddling Captain Planet villains.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


That's just the thing, though. The theology they're writing about IS about them (and the anti-christ, who isn't actually in Revelations in the way they think one is at all) being cack-handed, cackling captain planet villains, because it's a theology about how everyone who ever laughed at your lovely calvinism is going to burn in hell while you enjoy watching them suffer.

Even if this book is doing something different, that's absolutely a fundamental part of the original Rapture theology.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Which is its own flavour of awful.

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





If they're going for that they should play it up - Nobody, literally nobody, made a conscious decision to fire the nukes. War just said 'Nukes fire.' Something like how the Good Omens climax might have gone, if the main characters hadn't intervened.
Like, Pestilence didn't need to justify letting out the hell-diseases, or playing the hits with the Black Death. That's something that the apocalypse in Revelation has that most post-apocalyptic stories don't have, the total awareness that no, no decisions could have been made to prevent this. It's ineffable, the plan has been in place since creation, and this is the terrible hand of God. It's a certain flavor of apocalypse that doesn't have any pretense of it being the fault of human evil, or mistakes: Malevolent forces hit us with War the way aliens might invade in a schlocky SF story.

grassy gnoll
Aug 27, 2006

The pawsting business is tough work.


The Nomads



The Nomads are a kind of collective of collectives. They’re the dispossessed, they’re anarchists, they’re outright criminals. They’ve banded together out of necessity, and found they’re a power to be reckoned with as a result. They’re an inherently criminal element just by existing outside ALEPH’s purview, but living as a people apart and away from the all-seeing eye means they’re the last folks around who can keep a secret, and they charge richly for such a service.

quote:

The attitude of the Sphere powers, and of ALEPH, is largely to pretend that Nomads are nothing but a slight annoyance, unworthy of wasting time or money on. However, in truth, all of them would rather see the Nomad vessels disappear into a particularly hot sun.

The majority of the Nomad populace lives on three giant spaceships, the Tunguska, Corregidor and Bakunin. The other two ships probably would have survived on the fringes for a time, but it took Tunguska to unite them under one somewhat shared, fairly dirty banner. This founding state was in turn established by a bunch of vory and triad agents looking for an untouchable tax haven, data crypt and money laundering enterprise; they only got nicer from there.

Aside from the three great motherships, numerous independent vessels, standalone stations, and microcollectives fly the Nomad banner. The way most folks meet a Nomad is through one of their Commercial Missions. The Nomads will set up shop, very literally, on a station or in a city or what have you, and basically operate a combination consulate and service kiosk out of whatever space they can afford. Sometimes that’s a closet, sometimes that’s an entire space station, sometimes that’s a sprawling embassy with the best electronic security around built to spoil the local aristos’ view.

The missions will usually have a security detachment, representatives of the myriad companies and collectives of the nation, some bureaucrats and administrators, and a cultural office. Sometimes the cultural office is exactly what it seems, which is a way to show off to the proles of the Sphere that life is better down where it’s less-ALEPH-er, but most of the time it’s a front for the Black Hand, the Nomad intelligence service, like at any good diplomatic outpost. Commercial Missions and Delegations are prime spots to run away from home and join the cyber-circus, to pass along dead drops to your other intel agents, and to score the best space drugs, among the more legitimate services they offer.

The other thing Nomads bring with them is the Arachne network. If there’s one thing every Nomad out there can agree on, it’s that ALEPH and the powers that be are bastards never to be trusted. ALEPH owns the modern internet, so the Nomads eschew it altogether. Arachne nodes run the best encryption and security protocols humans have developed, and Nomad legations beam that business out everywhere they go, like an obnoxious digital frat party. In contrast to the carefully control datastreams, banking and content of the Mayanet, Arachne is every gritty cyberpunk ~*dark web*~ rolled into one and beamed out at the impressionable youth of Yu Jing, the money launderers and inside traders of PanO, and every other rear end in a top hat in between. From dissident documentaries to pirated AR games, Arachne’s got your libertarian internet ideals covered.

The closest thing the Nomads have to a home system is Human Edge, appropriately located at the furthest edge of the colonization wavefront. Human Edge is pretty much a brown dwarf with some protoplanets and a hell of a lot of loose asteroids. As such, it’s not great territory for anyone to put down a permanent settlement, but it’s a fantastic location for space mining. Even then, nobody really lives there, and the other powers have just as much a claim on Human Edge as the Nomads.

Every twenty-five years, the three motherships and as many independent traders that can make it hold a huge party called a Krug. The locals tend not to appreciate the Nomads showing up unannounced on their space lawns and having a space kegger, making GBS threads in their interplanetary pathways and vomiting on their dataspheres. The Nomads use the gathering of the kruggalos to keep a national spirit of sorts alive, to do business with each other, and to engage in intellectual and sexual intercourse. This is the typical time for someone to have a bad idea that becomes infectious, then go on to revolutionize some aspect of something or other and make the Nomads more money and bring prestige, yadda yadda yadda. Space party!

There is a government of sorts amid all this anarchism. An executive board comprising six members makes decisions for the whole of the nation. Each mothership appoints two members, selected internally however they so desire. The two Tunguska representatives hold veto power, since they’re nominally the ones who make all this work.

Prior to their recognition by the space UN, O-12, the Nomads had established a tentative political unity, but were still fair targets for open military intervention. Originally, they were disunified groups of weirdos on starships that occasionally were more useful than they were annoying. As their influence and technological expertise grew, however, that started to change, and the AI got worried. Since Tunguska had blackmail material and Corregidor was full of hardened criminals, ALEPH decided to kick sand in the nerds’ faces.

Bakunin was selected as the site of an ALEPH special operations insertion. The commandos initially spread out through the ship, then began an open attack on the ship’s core while simultaneously detonating bombs secreted about the ship’s habitation modules. The ALEPH commandos were eventually repulsed, but at the cost of hundreds of casualties and thousands of civilian deaths. There’s no record of this event outside the Nomad datasphere, as the AI is certainly not above manipulating records to maintain its innocence. A longer-term, lower-grade conflict ensued, with ALEPH pushing PanO and the State Empire to using their own deniable forces to harass and pressure the Nomads. This covert war is still ongoing as of the current point in the timeline.

So, Tunguska. Tunguska is a seething collection of mobsters and criminal bankers and genius hackers, and are consequently the most boring of the three motherships. The central portion of the ship is dedicated to a single vast datacrypt, where any illicit operation in the Sphere keeps its money and its records. Security is provided by a gigantic team of hackers, quantum physicists, and mobsters, who keep the peace by holding a knife to each other’s throats, sometimes literally. Anyone who breaks the rules gets shut down by sudden mob violence, and probably tortured by their creditors for a long time. Libertarianism: the humanitarian choice.

Because Tunguska was the one holding everyone else’s dirty money and secrets, they had substantial pull when it came time for the O-12 to recognize the Nomads as a sovereign polity. Let no one saw Don Corleone was not a diplomat. If you want to do business without ALEPH prying into your secrets, you do business with Tunguska.

Bakunin is like if you blended Las Vegas, Los Alamos and a library full of anarchist pamphlets and extruded the slurry into the form of a spaceship. Bakunin’s manifesto is straight forward - society serves the individual, not the other way around. Anyone is welcome on Bakunin, provided they follow the very limited law onboard, which goes:


    Do not endanger the ship

    What you do in the confines of your hab module is your business, not ours

    Don’t endanger the ship

Because Bakinin allowed everybody in, it didn’t take log for people to violate the laws. Crackdowns and the occasional banishment happened until people got their act together. Nowadays, Bakunin is home to cultists, perverts, ecoterrorists, wizards, eccentric rich people, poets, transhumanists, rockstars, mutants, malevolent scientists, and a whole other gigantic crop of punky noun-verbs verb-nouners that I’m sparing you. Rather than continuing to exile or shoot people, a new form of social currency was established. It’s basically the rep system from Eclipse Phase, only this time with a treasury department behind it - the Moderators. Moderators aren’t quite cops, because they’re anarchists, and they’re not quite revenuers, because that implies profit, but they do go out and crack heads when someone won’t abide by collective decision-making in the general habitat or when someone endangers the goddamn ship, again.

Bakunin can be divided into two approximate districts. There’s Vaudeville, which is the glitzy, social side of the ship. Behold the cyberpunk extravagance. Vaudeville is where you go for the most outre entertainments, body mods, memory surgeries, fashions, and bioengineered forms of life. This is Vegas on space cocaine. The shadier side of the ship is Praxis, site of the notorious Nomad Black Laboratories. These much less friendly black labs operate under the principle that discovery must be unchecked by restraint or ethics. On one hand, Praxis tech has stopped birth defects in an entirely spaceborne radiation-soaked population. On the other hand, Dr. Frankenstein. Praxis isn’t as horrible as the rest of the Sphere things, but it’s not much better, either. Notable creations of Praxis include the highest-end Nomad tech, the Equinox terrorist organization that was hunted down and destroyed by the Hassassins, and Svengali, a mobster AI dedicated to savoring its own criminality.

Corregidor is the best and its people are the best. The ship was initially built as a prison for the worst of the worst - it’s not much more than some ultramax holding cells and air and water recyclers, hung out at the end of a space elevator. Because people are people, soon the facility was enlarged to hold more people in increasingly awful conditions, including refugees from international collapses and displaced persons from the construction of additional space elevators. By the time things got real interesting, there was a six-figure population in the habitat and even basic order began to break down due to neglect at the hands of prison officials.

People again just had to go and be people: after a while, the funding for this space Alcatraz was cut, then cut off. Faced with impending apocalypse, the inhabitants turned to their one resource - warm bodies.

Corregidor lives and dies, very literally, by its manpower. Everything on the ship comes at a premium, and that premium is paid in labor. Air isn’t free; water has to be mined from comets; materials to expand the habitats or provide goods for the people have to be sourced and refined and distributed. People, though, they’re easy. They keep making more of themselves, for god’s sake. Corregidorians sell their labor, as some of the best miners, zero-gee workers, and mercenaries in the Human Sphere. They’re good enough these days that they can largely pick and choose their clients, and they come down on crooked contracts, scabs, and other criminal capitalists with an iron boot.

But they didn’t always have the luxury of choice. Back in the first days, after the money and the food ran out, they still had people. Some very special people, as it turned out. An interim government, not much more than some remaindered prison officials and some of the refugees who could keep their heads about them, started looking into the cells and the secure cryo pods. The logic was simple - if someone got sent to Corregidor ultramax, it was for a reason. They’d either have friends who’d love to have the prisoners back in their arms, or enemies, who’d love even more to get their hands on the convicts. Anyone who could be used in this new worker’s state was retained. Valuable pieces were sold to the highest bidder. And any prisoners left after that, well, they were surplus.

Everything on Corregidor has a price.

Life on Corregidor is hard, but fair, for the most part. Inhabitants start working on their sixth birthday, pulling a certain number of hours per week working on basic maintenance tasks and learning procedures, zero-gee training, and other instructional tasks. Things continue like this, with more complex tasks given to older workers, until they reach the age of majority, where they can either pay their way in money or labor, or get out. Any shirkers are sentenced to a maintenance battalion until they pay off their debt.

As a side note, Corregidor has gender-neutral bathrooms. The prose is pretty terrible, but the short version is that a bunch of idiots decided to prank a women’s labor group by changing the bathroom signs in a fit of juvenile posturing signs. Rather than use the bathrooms with an insulting name on the doors, the women just shrugged and occupied the men’s rooms. At this point, it’s become a tradition, and nobody cares what you use when you go to the head, so long as you piss down the recycler tube.

There’s a section of the second fluff book devoted to a showcase of Corregidor’s mining contractors and how they work, then a description of how that same mining colony’s owners got greedy, the ensuing strike and revolt, and finally a military report on the Mobile Brigada kicking down the company owner’s doors to relieve the strikers. Corregidor is basically the best.

Next: The nomad units, and it’s gonna be another big one.

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

The End does do some interesting things, but the depiction of War is not one of them. Until the Washington DC sourcebook for the d20 version

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

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


AD&D: 2nd Edition



Welcome to AD&D: 2nd Edition. While I can appreciate things about, almost, every other edition of D&D, this has always been the one that's been special to my heart. Not because it was my first, that was the actual first edition playing in a Dragonlance game when I was like... eight, or so. Not entirely because of all the cool settings and expansions for it, though they did play some part. But because, to me, it's always felt like the D&D that was closest to getting it right. And I could write a rambling, happy essay about what I felt they got right.

Halloween Jack posted:

Sure, especially if you can compare it to other rulesets. Seems like some old-schoolers have very strong feelings about 2e that are based more on the overall trends in campaign settings during that period rather than the actual ruleset.

But I think what's more interesting is what they got right that I feel other editions didn't, which is probably a good starting point for reviewing 2nd ed. Because the corebook, even the monster book and the DMG, are completely void of any actual setting. There's an assumption that you'll be playing in something medieval-verging-on-renaissance, with some magic and monsters and heroes, but that's it. No world map, no great conflicts, no premade NPC's, nada. All that was the realm of the various sourcebooks you could snag, of which we've seen a few reviewed(Birthright, Dark Sun and Planescape for sure). So without some compare and contrast, it's a pretty dry matter if you haven't experienced and aren't hype for it.

And I'll be honest: I'm probably one of the very few people who actually love 2nd ed. In a way it's kind of the "lost" or "forgotten" edition. The old schoolers are big fans of BECMI and older, champions of OSR, and consider 2nd ed a muddled, over-complicated build on top of their perfect game(sorry if I'm misrepresenting anyone, but these are the OSR guys I know). People who came in with 3rd ed or 4th ed make fun of Thac0 and consider it a game for the die-hard grogs who've yet to get with the times. gently caress 'em, though, 2nd ed is the best D&D we got, and it has the best cover that any of the PHB's ever got.


Did I mention this book is packed with loving sweet art?

The Real Basics

Like most books, it's got a foreword(even in 1995 they were struggling to figure out what was actually core to D&D when making a new edition, if you can believe it), and then the usual "hey man, let's get you playing some games"-bit. It encourages people to just jump into the game with some experienced players and learn the ropes as they go along, and then describes, for the complete newcomer, what a roleplaying game is, and what the goal of one is.


These images are from a scan of a book, so sometimes they'll be a bit slanted, my b

I think it's one of of the few, if not the only time, I can recall a game describing the purpose of the game as being fun. There's also an example of play which I'm not going to copypaste, except to say that it actually captures pretty well what a game is like(except that no one's playing a wizard, there's always someone playing a wizard, it's a constant).


If you can believe it, quite a few of the art pieces in the book illustrate an adventurer about to have a very bad day

Chapter 1: Player Character Ability Scores

Ability scores are more or less the heart of any character, so for a book focused on creating adventurers, it's a natural starting point. We're given 3d6 down the line as the basic rolling method for generating stats(Method I), but it comes with commentary on what sort of characters it'll generate and then we're immediately given another five methods to use, II through VI. And already here, we've got what, to me, really feels like a major departure from at least the later games... the commentary. It's heavier in the DMG than in the PHB, since the DMG is really all about explaining the reasons for the decisions the devs made, and the consequences(both good and bad) of altering them in certain ways. But the fact that we're actually told, "oh, this method will generate these sorts of characters" and "that method will give you more powerful PC's," so on. It makes you feel like the designers were actually pretty aware of what they were making.

As for the stats themselves, there will be no surprises there for folks coming in from earlier editions, but compared to the later editions, there are some serious deviations. Not in what the stats are, it's still Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma. But rather in what the stats provide. Because from 8 to 14, most of the stats provide nothing. No advantages, no penalties such that you'd notice. It helps give a sense that the guy with 16 Strength isn't just 50% stronger than the guy with 14 Strength, getting a +3 instead of a +2. But that the 15-and-upwards crowd are notable, standing out and being able to do stuff that others can't easily accomplish.

It's also where we get some of the poo poo show that is 2nd ed's dark side. I mean... well...



Strength is probably the worst example, but seriously. You've got both percentile dice and D20's involved in resolving things just for one stat. Even just for rolling it, if it's a Warrior(Fighter, Ranger or Paladin).

But aside from that, if you're not familiar with 2nd ed, but are familiar with the later eds, you might wonder: What's the big deal? A high Strength gets you +1's and +2's just like in the later editions, except that the game apparently doesn't expect your Strength to scale quite as far. And you've almost hit on the point, because the lack of scaling is the point. In the later editions, there's no upper scaling for anything, essentially. Not for stats, armor, saves, save DC's or attack bonuses, but 2nd ed uses an extremely bounded scale. 20 is the upper limit for Thac0, while AC essentially caps out around -10 in the most extreme of events(but more realistically probably around -5, and it'll almost never be quite that low).

This means that the +1 to hit that you'd laugh off as being the result of a garbage newbie trap feat in 3rd ed is loving sweet in 2nd ed. Because of the bounded scale, it'll almost never be less than a straight +5% chance to hit. The bounded scales will have other, important consequences, but they're for later chapters. But suffice to say that the bounded scales are part of what'll always keep the early D&D editions above the later ones to me, because there's no room for any stat bloat or difficulty scaling to make your theoretical badass a practical wimplord. That +10 you ended up getting will never end up being pointless because the DC just scaled up another ten points, too.

Another thing that fell out of the rulebooks after 2nd ed is the Prime Statistic Bonus(tm). Basically, every class had one or more stats that were their Prime stats, Strength for a Fighter, Dexterity for a Rogue, Intelligence for a Mage and so on. If they had a 16 or better in that stat, they got a flat +10% to all XP gained. It didn't make an awful lot of sense, and if your stats were randomly rolled it kind of smacked of double-benefiting someone who might already be pulling well ahead because of a lucky roll of triple six or similar. It feels like one of those things that slipped through as nostalgic carry-over without really being considered.

TheGreatEvilKing
Mar 28, 2016



Pathfinder 2: We're gonna need more booze

Welcome back! Last time I abandoned the class chapter in disgust because everything was boring and overly complicated.

Let's continue the classes, shall we?

Druid:

Another do everything class that was much better than dedicated specialists in 3.5, they lost stat-independent wildshapde for domain abilities in Pathfinder. Never actually seen one played, but I didn't play a lot of PF.

Anyway, these guys get "primal" spells instead of divine, the same weird-rear end spell point/slot split, and vague code of conducts where you have to argue with the DM whether or not you've become civilized or committing cruelty to plants (the text actually says this).

Druid feats get stupid and overcomplicated. At first level, you get to pick from an animal companion, a familiar, reach spell, or wild shape. If you pick wild shape you get a THIRD points pool you get to gently caress around with that gains points based on how much you love animals (did you pick the animal path, if yes get bonus points). You then need to spend more feats to opt into better animal forms or just ignore the forms at that level to grab, uh...thousand faces? Why would you do that? I've been harping on how many of the feat lists so far are filled with situational garbage, and it just bears repeating because the book is so eager to mash it in my face.

Fighter:

Given Pathfinder's love of nerfing fighter feats, I don't have high hopes for this class. Let's dive into this inevitable shitshow, shall we?

Well fighters seem to be the only guys with opportunity attacks baked into their class. OK...

Fighter feats are a lot of the old bonus feats folded into a wacky combo system, including stances, enhancements, readied actions, and finishing moves - wait a minute? Book of 9 swords? Good to see you again, old buddy! Powers seem to be grouped by sword and shield, archery, fear, dual wielding, and two handed along with a bit of grappling. This of course means that there's not a feat for each archetype at every level (it takes till level 4 for dual wielding feats to appear) so have fun! This also leads to the 4e D&D problem where your power selection is locked to your weapon choice, but you can't win them all I guess. It will probably not surprise readers to learn the fighter gets no useful out of combat abilities or particularly mythic abilities at high level.

Monk:

Monks are the poster child for useless D&D character. It's stupid, because they're a supernaturally based character concept that should be as good as a wizard or something in a fight, but alas they are cursed by developers with useless class features and an unwillingness to give them actual fighting prowess to compensate for their slow fall abilities.

This monk gets save boosts and punching abilities, and the usual long collection of class feats. Do you want to be a better puncher, or have an ageless body? Which do YOU think is better in an actual game, and more likely to come up? Do you want some half-assed spellcasting? You got it! Is any of this good? We'll look at some characters and the sample adventure...later.

Paladin:

If you enjoy being that guy who yells about how his character would sabotage the team's battle plan the paladin is the go to class.

The class opens with "Code of Conduct" as the first class feature. This is not a good sign.

Pathfinder posted:

For instance, if an evil king asked you if innocent lawbreakers were hiding in your church so he could execute them, you could lie to him, since the tenet forbidding you to lie is less important than the tenet prohibiting the harm of an innocent. An attempt to subvert the paladin code by engineering a situation allowing you to use a higher tenet to ignore a lower tenet (telling someone you won't respect lawful authorities so that the tenet of not lying supersedes the tnet of respecting lawful authorities, for example) is a violation of the paladin code.


Oh boy.

The tenets, ranked, are:
-No evil acts (examples include murder, torture, and casting evil spells)
-No hurting innocents through direct action or inaction but your're not forces to take action against possible harm or to sacrifice "your life or potential"
-Act with honor, never cheating, lying, or taking advantage of others
-Respect the lawful authority of the legitimate ruler or leadership in whichever land you may be, following their laws unless they conflict with a higher tenet

Now this gets REALLY stupid in that the paladin features include dragonslayer oaths, fiendslayer oaths, and undeadslayer oaths that explicitly let you ignore them as legitimate authorities. I have no idea how the hell this is supposed to work - if Demon King Bob runs for president and wins, that makes him the legitimate authority and you must obey Demon King Bob's laws about burning all holy symbols of good deities within 30 feet of the palace.

The usual class feats just end up being augments to the paladin's not-a-divine-challenge-from-4e, loving with spell points, getting a mount/righteous ally. Evaluating them is a challenge to the reader because my eyes are glazing over hard.

Ranger:

Wow, look, it's the hunter's mark from 4e and 5e but with reduced multiattack penalties instead of a damage buff. Class feats include animal companion, shooting better, traps, and being really loving boring. No high level abilities comparable to high level Pathfinder magic. Next.

Rogue:

You sneak attack people and can pick passive bonuses to your sneak attack or combat skills. Did you know that thief was originally a class everyone could qualify for, unlike other classes that you had to be lucky enough to roll f- wait, at 16th level you can walk on water? Like Jesus? And air? This sounds actually awesome - oh, you sink at the end of your turn, much like my hopes of finding interesting and useful abilities in this book. You can walk through walls at 18th level but only wood, plaster, or stone. At 20th level you can turn invisible for 1 minute (1/hour) and be completely undetectable and murder people with impunity. That seems pretty good, not sure why rogue is allowed to be supernaturally useful and fighter is not.

Sorcerer:

Instead of studying books like a nerd you inherited your magic power without having to do anything at all. Sorcerers get to pick whether they cast occult, arcane, divine, or primal spells based on bloodline (demons are divine weirdly) and you can opt into the spell points system because having a unified spellcasting system is just too normal or something. Your sorcerer feats are mostly metamagic feats, but you can grab a cleric's channel energy too. I don't know why this class still exists when all they do is duplicate another classes' spellcasting.

On the plus side, we learn that occult spellcasting is linked to aberrations, meaning that bards are Cthulhu. What the gently caress?

Wizard:

Oh look, arcane specialization is back, but it's done in the "modern" game design fashion of giving you piddly bonuses to your favored school. The idea that you can maybe split up mind controllers, shapeshifters, necromancers, demon summoners and what not into their own classes never seems to occur to the modern game designers instead of just tacking skeletons onto a DPS class and then professing profound shock when said DPS class combines skeletons with their normal abilities to outdamage everyone else.

This of course translates to minor bonuses to cast from your specialty school. The rest of the wizard class feats are metamagic and other boring crap, but having the only spell DC increase feat (so far) makes it stand out as maybe you could actually kill a dude with a Finger of Death.

Speaking of necromancers, we should note that the blurb for necromancy calls out that you could also be a healing master instead of having undead. This will be important later.

Chapter 4: Skills:

What if we took all the uses out of skills, then made you take skill feats to get uses back? What if instead of just being able to identify a spell, you had to take a feat to do it? And then your class gave you a skill feat progression?

The skills do all have uses if you don't take the feats, but it's a very strange design choice. Unlike D&D 5e there are explicit rules for how to use the skills with outputs, but you can seriously be a legendary occultist and be unable to identify spells as they're being cast. This leads us to

Chapter 5: Feats:

The vast majority of these feats add new effects to your skills, raising questions like "couldn't these have just been part of the skill in the first place" and "why did we need more moving parts when we already have 3 separate feat progressions on each character"? Taking 10 or 20 is removed from the game in favor of a feat that sets your TOTAL roll to 10, 15, 20, or 30 depending on skill training level. We haven't seen any DCs yet, but already I dislike this system.

Next time: We go through equipment and spells!

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


How many feats do you get now? Is it every even level or whatever or once per 3?

E: I also loved 2nd Edition, but that's a mixture of Baldur's Gate being in Second Ed (which I thought was the coolest loving game ever when I was a kid) and it being the first RPG I was ever exposed to or ever ran/played in.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 01:39 on Oct 20, 2018

Monathin
Sep 1, 2011


Jesus PF2 sounds like an overcomplicated mess.

e:

Night10194 posted:

How many feats do you get now? Is it every even level or whatever or once per 3?

E: I also loved 2nd Edition, but that's a mixture of Baldur's Gate being in Second Ed (which I thought was the coolest loving game ever when I was a kid) and it being the first RPG I was ever exposed to or ever ran/played in.

PF1 was once every other, I'd be surprised if they went back to once-per-three.

TheGreatEvilKing
Mar 28, 2016



Night10194 posted:

How many feats do you get now? Is it every even level or whatever or once per 3?

Ha ha ha ha, naive poster! There are 4 separate feat tracks:
-class feats
-ancestry feats
-skill feats
-general feats

Everyone gets 5 ancestry feats, and then for the rest you look at your class and it's based on that.

If you enjoy lots of bookkeeping for small, situational bonuses you've got GOTY 2019 right here!

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




The Nomads are the faction I like most, particularly Corregidor. And I like the sculpts a lot. I would buy the Infinity RPG just to do a campaign with that faction.

But when you actually know what anarchism is as a philosophy, it's really silly that they even used Bakunin's name, in this game it means "I'm gonna make my own future! With blackjack! And hookers!"

KingKalamari
Aug 24, 2007

Fuzzy dice, bongos in the back
My ship of love is ready to attack


PurpleXVI posted:

AD&D: 2nd Edition


Did I mention this book is packed with loving sweet art?


I've got to say that I think overall 2e had some of my favorite art. 1e was always a little hit and miss in terms of art direction while the art from 3e onward tended too much towards the more "modern" style of fantasy art and design for my tastes (Not that it's bad or anything, just not as much my style) but 2e's art just captured all the best aspects of cheesy pulp fantasy novel covers.

The only other edition that gives 2e art a run for its money is BECMI and it's badass cover illustrations.


Look at that poo poo. That is a motherfucking dragon in a motherfucking dungeon.

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MonsterEnvy
Feb 4, 2012


PurpleXVI posted:


But aside from that, if you're not familiar with 2nd ed, but are familiar with the later eds, you might wonder: What's the big deal? A high Strength gets you +1's and +2's just like in the later editions, except that the game apparently doesn't expect your Strength to scale quite as far. And you've almost hit on the point, because the lack of scaling is the point. In the later editions, there's no upper scaling for anything, essentially. Not for stats, armor, saves, save DC's or attack bonuses, but 2nd ed uses an extremely bounded scale. 20 is the upper limit for Thac0, while AC essentially caps out around -10 in the most extreme of events(but more realistically probably around -5, and it'll almost never be quite that low).

This means that the +1 to hit that you'd laugh off as being the result of a garbage newbie trap feat in 3rd ed is loving sweet in 2nd ed. Because of the bounded scale, it'll almost never be less than a straight +5% chance to hit. The bounded scales will have other, important consequences, but they're for later chapters. But suffice to say that the bounded scales are part of what'll always keep the early D&D editions above the later ones to me, because there's no room for any stat bloat or difficulty scaling to make your theoretical badass a practical wimplord. That +10 you ended up getting will never end up being pointless because the DC just scaled up another ten points, too.


This is something mentioned in 5e as something they deliberately wanted to return to. Namely that the numbers are kept lower so all the bonuses are more meaningful. For example all stats for Players are soft capped at 20. Certain abilities and magic can allow a player to exceed that, but it's pretty rare, and everything is hard capped at 30. Lots of the other stuff is quite similar to this as well.

Night10194 posted:

E: I also loved 2nd Edition, but that's a mixture of Baldur's Gate being in Second Ed (which I thought was the coolest loving game ever when I was a kid) and it being the first RPG I was ever exposed to or ever ran/played in.

Pretty much the same situation with me, cept I was imagine I was younger and I never actually got to play 2e outside of stuff like Baldur's Gate. (Which I love.)

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