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Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





OvermanXAN posted:

Ignorance that you are being sexist does not make you not sexist, it just means there's no malicious intent. It's still bad, and I wish G.U.R.P.S. Lensman didn't try to defend it. At least they offer ways around it, but oh boy, it doesn't make me happy.
Yes, it is like if Sandy Petersen had written rules for Level of Race-Mixture in Call of Cthulhu. (Editor's note: He didn't, although I believe the Innsmouth Look is purchasable in some of the GURPS derivations.)

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Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017





Reading the Lensman review I'm reminded of the Witcher RPG recently released that was like 'yeah, there aren't any female Witchers in the book but you can do what you want' and then didn't proceed to wring its hands about the impact of having Teh Ladiez in the clubhouse would do on their fantasy shenanigans.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!



Back during the nineties...

At the time of this release a friend of mine met the creators at GenCon; he was really digging the game, unsurprising given how much he liked Kult. Did I mention it was the nineties? Well, LARP was a big thing for us, so he asked if they'd ever do LARP rules for The End.

And so they wrote the LARP rules into his book as a signature, which simply read:

no for real posted:

LIVE ACTION = LIVE AMMO!

Well. It was definitely the nineties.

Ronwayne
Nov 20, 2007

That warm and fuzzy feeling.


Well, I suppose someone had to one up Wraeththu's suggestion of using bb guns for LARP play. :psyduck:

Angrymog
Jan 29, 2012

Really Madcats



Having mentioned it in the Eveningstar write-up, let's have a look at B11 - King's Festival.



Designed as an introductory adventure for Basic D&D, King's Festival contains both the adventure and a whole heap of advice for the newbie Dungeon Master. This is in direct contrast to Haunted Halls which throws you in at the deep end with bucolic verbiage and an unfinished dungeon.



The DM advice section starts with advice on player characters, including which of the pre-generated characters to use - #1-4 with a four player game + the DM using character #6 as a sidekick. With more than four players add in characters #5-7 in that order.

If players want to make their own characters the module advises that the first HD should have a minimum value of 3 for Wizards and Thieves, 4 for Clerics, and 5 for fighters before CON bonus, so that they're not as fragile as first level characters can be.

It also advises making sure that everyone knows what their spells can do, and to go through equipment lists to make sure that there's no glaringly obvious missing things - e.g. clerics without holy symbols, or the party having no rope or lanterns. That sort of thing.

Next there's advice on the running of the game; the general trend is towards eyeballing distance and duration except when there's spells running or the characters are trying to do things like escape from a group of enemies. There's a warning to both avoid being either too sparse or too verbose in your descriptions of the world, and a reminder not to forget senses other than sight in your description.

With regards to Wandering Monsters, Morale, and Reaction checks, the advice skews towards making the game fun for the players - don't use a WM if it would gently caress up the party, don't have key encounters roll for morale if it would be anti-climactic, and interpret reaction roles in a way that makes sense - e.g. a lone goblin isn't going to attack the party if you rolled hostile, nor is it going to be pals with them on a Friendly result if they just slaughtered the rest of its tribe.

There's some quick reminders about combat - people with two handed weapons go last in the round, and you do need to enforce the 1 action a round rule, and then the section rounds out with a large section on Roleplaying and how you should encourage the players to be engaged in the world, and think about the motivations of your NPCs and monsters.

All in all this is a really good set of advice; it's aimed at making the game both fun and immersive for the players; it flat out tells the DM not to be a slave to the dice if it wouldn't make sense or wouldn't be fun.

The next section is a trouble shooting guide for the newbie GM. Sections in it are:

When the players do something awkward - how to handle them going off-piste and trying to keep them headed towards the adventure you've prepared

When the PCs don't do (or find) something they should - don’t have the adventure hinge on a single clue or check, and have an alternate plan if they still manage to get stuck

What to do when a PC tries something not in the rules - use an ability check modified by how possible the action sounds

Quiet players - specifically direct your attention to them

Disruptive PCs and Players - it suggestions using in game methods first to reign them in, but ends with "if they don't change, stop asking them to play, too many groups have been broken up by a disruptive player"

Characters and alignments - you should give players at least two examples when they didn't follow their alignment if they're being consistently out of alignment - the implication I guess is that you lay a ground work for what the alignments mean to the table

You make a major blunder - don't panic, smooth over it as best as you're able; if it's a mapping issue correct the player's map if necessary, move a key encounter that you missed to somewhere ahead of the players and so on

What to do when a character dies - if you made a mistake, bring them back at 1 hp and get them to join up with the rest of the party ASAP, otherwise, let it ride. Also in this category is the advice to do a test run of any key fights, both with the party at full health, and 25% down on resources.

On the whole the advice is pretty good, especially given the era it was written in. More emphasis on using in game methods to curb problem players rather than jumping straight to the out of game talk than you'd expect to see these days, and the first section about keeping them on the road to the adventure again suggests using in game methods such as making their alternate choices sound really unappealing - e.g. having rumours of a plague if they want to go to a different city, or that the quest you want them to do is really lucrative - it stops shy of suggesting direct railroading, i.e. just put your intended adventure at the location your players want to go to instead of where you wanted it.

Next there's a one page DM's primer on the Duchy of Karameikos, the setting of this adventure and nominally the rest of the B series. Karameikos is more fully developed in GAZ 1. The TLDR is that Karameikos is a young nation, having only gained independence from the Empire of Thyatis 30 years ago. The land is fertile and has a lot of woodlands and foothills. Bugbears, goblins and other non-human races threaten the lands, and there's internal conflict between the two distinct human populations - those descended from Thyatians (including the Duke) and the native Traladarans.



The next section of the book is aimed at the players, including the introduction to the adventure, and a selection of pre-generated characters. Each pre-gen comes with a little paragraph of IC advice about how best to use their abilities. In order the characters are Fighter, Cleric, Elf, Thief, Wizard, Dwarf, and Cleric #2. There's no Halfling, which makes sense because they're really a weird lacklustre mix between fighters and thieves iirc, not being good at either role. An area map, blank character sheet, and timekeeping sheet round out this section.

Before we move on to the adventure, do we use the pre-generated characters or create our own?

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

Solving all of life's problems through enhanced casting of Occam's Razor. Reward yourself with an imaginary chalice.



Go for it and use the premades, let's see if the poo poo actually hangs together.

Deptfordx
Dec 23, 2013



I don't remember Palanians having any teleportation tricks. Did they make this up for the GURPS version?

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Deptfordx posted:

I don't remember Palanians having any teleportation tricks. Did they make this up for the GURPS version?
It comes up in Z-Lensman which has several Palainian characters as well as Nadreck. It was sort of a fourth dimensional "cross the room" teleport, not "teleport across interstellar distances" thing.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Nessus posted:

The (starkly) astonishing thing is that they honestly play it more up in this here supplement than they did in the original books. Doc Smith wouldn't win any feminist author awards, of course.

This happened in GURPS War Against the Chtorr, too. It's extraordinarily jingoistic and crawling with homophobia in the character section, and for the longest time I thought David Gerrold was a complete jackhole.

I'm willing to blame this on the compiler working from the original printings of the novels-- I looked the series up on Wikipedia, and apparently it had originally been published by the kind of macho imprint that churns out post-apocalyptic dreck like Deathlands, which put a significant skew on the 'America hosed up big' back story, and turned multiple characters' possible bisexuality into a weird collection of 'Rumored homosexual [-10]' on character sheets.

Deptfordx
Dec 23, 2013



Nessus posted:

It comes up in Z-Lensman which has several Palainian characters as well as Nadreck. It was sort of a fourth dimensional "cross the room" teleport, not "teleport across interstellar distances" thing.

Huh. An authorised sequel trilogy. I'd never heard of them before.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Z-Lensman-Lensman-David-Kyle/dp/0974889571

MIght have to check out at least the first one.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Bieeanshee posted:

This happened in GURPS War Against the Chtorr, too. It's extraordinarily jingoistic and crawling with homophobia in the character section, and for the longest time I thought David Gerrold was a complete jackhole.

I'm willing to blame this on the compiler working from the original printings of the novels-- I looked the series up on Wikipedia, and apparently it had originally been published by the kind of macho imprint that churns out post-apocalyptic dreck like Deathlands, which put a significant skew on the 'America hosed up big' back story, and turned multiple characters' possible bisexuality into a weird collection of 'Rumored homosexual [-10]' on character sheets.
Indeed. One wonders how much of this is "the people who wrote books for Steve Jackson" and how much is "Steve Jackson/Steve Jackson Games."

The Lensman books, meanwhile, demonstrate some glimmerings of actually progressive thought. One recurring challenge for the main hero is to realize that alien species think differently from him - and that that is equally valid and alright, within broad ethical parameters. The Patrol has adventures on a planet of straw-misandrist aliens, and then - having completed their mission... leave! They have to come back, of course, several times, but they have no interest in bossing the Lyranians around, seducing them, or somehow "fixing" their society. The main long-term impact the Patrol has on that planet is that many of the Lyranians begin to ease up a little on their kzin-level straw-person misandry.

Low bar, certainly, but it is not as if it requires substantial alteration to the setting to express more modern cultural values in the course of smashing planets into hyper-drug lords.

Tibalt
May 14, 2017

What, drawn, and talk of peace! I hate the word, As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee


Nessus posted:

1. Women can serve equally and nobody cares. (This seems like the bone-headed obvious answer from 2018. I suppose in 1993 this was still a topic of hot dispute?)
Wow, this sentence made me feel INCREDIBLY old.

But also to put 1993 in context, this was five years before G.I. Jane came out and women still can't serve combat roles in the US military today.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Tibalt posted:

Wow, this sentence made me feel INCREDIBLY old.

But also to put 1993 in context, this was five years before G.I. Jane came out and women still can't serve combat roles in the US military today.
Fear not, youth, we will all become grineer before long. I thought women were effectively serving in combat, or at least I have known of woman soldiers who were driving around humvees and shooting the humvee gun, at which point I reckon you're a combat troop even if you're officially a mechanic or whatever.

Since most of the Patrol seems to be a space-navy supplemented by mega-gravity monster men and death lasers, gender restrictions would seem pointless for Tellurians.

Tibalt
May 14, 2017

What, drawn, and talk of peace! I hate the word, As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee


"Nessus" posted:

Since most of the Patrol seems to be a space-navy supplemented by mega-gravity monster men and death lasers, gender restrictions would seem pointless for Tellurians.
Oh, absolutely. Just pointing out that full equality of women in the Green Lan- Jed- err, ur-Space Police wouldn't necessarily be as assumed in the early 90s as today.

Then again, Star Trek had very prominent female officers. Then again again, Counselor Troi and Doctor Crusher weren't command officers...

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Nessus posted:

Fear not, youth, we will all become grineer before long. I thought women were effectively serving in combat, or at least I have known of woman soldiers who were driving around humvees and shooting the humvee gun, at which point I reckon you're a combat troop even if you're officially a mechanic or whatever.

Since most of the Patrol seems to be a space-navy supplemented by mega-gravity monster men and death lasers, gender restrictions would seem pointless for Tellurians.


Direct combat roles like infantry have been off-limits until very recently. We've had twelve women become Airborne Rangers, the tip of the spear, since the Ranger School was opened up.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Dawgstar posted:

Reading the Lensman review I'm reminded of the Witcher RPG recently released that was like 'yeah, there aren't any female Witchers in the book but you can do what you want' and then didn't proceed to wring its hands about the impact of having Teh Ladiez in the clubhouse would do on their fantasy shenanigans.

I don't remember the books ever stating that there can't be lady Witchers.

Or if they did, it was a some passing remark related to Ciri somewhere.

On Infinity:

Shaswastii Seed-Embryos don't hatch during the game, they just stay there, not giving opponent points for killing them:
http://infinitythewiki.com/en/Spawn-Embryo

RocknRollaAyatollah
Nov 26, 2008



Lipstick Apathy

There can't be female Witchers due to the process of making Witchers but I think it's implied women are more adept at being magic users due to the laws of exchange.

From a a linguistic standpoint, wiedźmin translates to male witch. Witcher is a masculine term based on a real cultural thing. Wiedźma, the feminine form, translates to witch. There are wizards but they're rarer due to events and women are the political movers and shakers in the world of magic.

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017





RocknRollaAyatollah posted:

There can't be female Witchers due to the process of making Witchers but I think it's implied women are more adept at being magic users due to the laws of exchange.

Yeah, apparently the mutations and assorted only men can survive or something to that effect, not unlike the reason there can't be female Space Marines. (And is worth about as much when considering what your gender your characters can be in your game.)

DAD LOST MY IPOD
Feb 3, 2012

Fats Dominar is on the case




are we all agreeing to ignore that The End has a divinely-mandated and “objective” age of consent, and it’s 13?

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



DAD LOST MY IPOD posted:

are we all agreeing to ignore that The End has a divinely-mandated and “objective” age of consent, and it’s 13?

The Age of Accountability is just...it's a thing with Rapture types. They vary in where they place it, but 13-17 or so is average for it.

Tibalt
May 14, 2017

What, drawn, and talk of peace! I hate the word, As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee


To be fair, 13 is bar/bat mitzvah age. I assume the writers didn't really think through the implications.

Pieces of Peace
Jul 8, 2006
Hazardous in small doses.

Tibalt posted:

Oh, absolutely. Just pointing out that full equality of women in the Green Lan- Jed- err, ur-Space Police wouldn't necessarily be as assumed in the early 90s as today.

Then again, Star Trek had very prominent female officers. Then again again, Counselor Troi and Doctor Crusher weren't command officers...

:science: It wasn't until the end of TNG's run (Season Seven, in 1994), but Crusher commanded the Enterprise in a space battle in Descent, and Troi took the Bridge Command Test as the b-plot of Thine Own Self because she was tired of feeling like a civilian!

Plus I'm pretty sure Ensign Ro ended up in command on the Bridge at some point, but then Bajorans are kind of metaphorically IDF or PLO and it gets weird…

And Uhura commanded in The Animated Series! Admittedly it was at a planet where sinister space-sirens were seducing the male crew. Still, at least Roddenberry considered the possibility of women in command to be not entirely ridiculous! (Please ignore Turnabout Intruder)

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Tibalt posted:

To be fair, 13 is bar/bat mitzvah age. I assume the writers didn't really think through the implications.

Or they did :pedo: :aatrek: :reddit:

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2e: Sigmar's Heirs

Let us take strength from diversity

I bet the above quote isn't something you'd ever expect from a GW God Emperor type, is it? It's a very curious and interesting quote from Sigmar himself that starts the Imperial Government section. As we've been over several times, there is simply no way to administer the Empire entirely from a central location. Even if the political situation permitted it, simple geography won't; the Empire is one of the largest states in the Old World (barring great foreign empires like Cathay). When its original laws were set down, people were just coming out of the bronze age, thanks to their new mates the dwarfs showing them this awesome thing called iron. Also, according to the book, Sigmar himself felt that an Emperor who issued rare decrees from the center would be a counter-balance on the tribal Kings and Queens if any of them got out of hand, while their independence would prevent a central Emperor from ruling by total fiat.

One of the key problems for the Empire is that the Electors have very little reason to want to elect a particularly strong counter-balance to their independence. Outside periods where there is no truly recognized Emperor (which is, if you'll recall, roughly a millennium out of the 2522 years of Imperial history, not a great track record) the Emperor is most often chosen by electing someone who will leave their Electors alone. The Imperial Office doesn't have nearly as much power as the church of Sigmar teaches; Electors can often get away with just ignoring Imperial edicts, because who is going to enforce them? I suspect one of the reasons the Empire tends to equate 'strong Emperor' with 'talented Emperor' is that actually getting central authority out of the Imperial Office takes a very able politician or a very well respected figure as it is.

In theory the Emperor is an absolute ruler. In practice, the Emperor is stopped by size and Electors as mentioned, but also by the sheer number of things a truly supreme ruler would need to be doing even if they had perfect knowledge and loyal Electors. Thus, the Emperors have created the Council of State, a cabinet of ministers and officials who ensure only the most important matters reach the Imperial Office and who deal with lesser affairs of state themselves. The Council of State is made up of some of the most powerful officials in the Empire, including the Supreme Patriarch of the Colleges of Magic and the Grand Theoganist. We get names for a lot of these people, but for the most part they don't get any plot hooks or characterization, so I'll stick to describing the offices.

The Chancellor of the Riekland is a meaningless title to cover up that the person who holds this position is the Imperial spymaster. Karl Franz keeps a family member in this role, wanting someone he can trust. This office also technically controls the licensing and collates the reports of the secular Witch Hunters operating at the pleasure of the state. There are also the Counselors on Matters Magical and Affairs Spiritual, who are the current Patriarch and Grand Theoganist. The Chamberlain of the Seal handles matters of foreign affairs and diplomacy. The Reiksmarshall is one of the few characters who appears outside of WHFRP besides Gelt, the famous Kurt Helleborg, said to be the best in the Empire at swordfighting and growing a mustache. He had to coordinate the armies of the Empire against Archaon, a task that is said to have aged him several years during the 66 day siege of Middenheim. The Chancellor of the Imperial Fisc handles matters financial, which is very important as the Empire threw its entire central treasury at ensuring full and rapid mobilization. Also one of the positions to be held by a Baroness rather than a Baron at moment. The Supreme Law Lord is the Emperor's lawyer (and currently a High Priestess of Verena). Finally, the Chamberlain of the Imperial Household manages the actual Imperial estates; the current one is said to have been driven to drink, as the Emperor ordered many fine pieces of art and priceless works 'taken for cleaning' (auctioned off) to support the war effort.

Another interesting little bit of history: Karl Franz's grandfather tried to write an actual constitution for the Empire and formalize the Council's place in governance and decision making. He was stopped by the Elector Counts, because they worried he was trying to make a Council appointed entirely at the pleasure of the Emperor an official body with authority equal to theirs and rightly recognized that this would limit their power considerably. The Council actually has no official power, but they control access to the Emperor and have a large influence on the information the Emperor receives, which gives Councilors considerable influence.

The Electors are the other most powerful people in the Empire, each ruling their province (somewhat) like a King or Queen in their own right. In truth, they're bound by complex relations with their own vassals, made even more complicated by the addition of Freistadts and chartered lands. The Elector Counts are also limited by their relationships with one another; one of the Empire's hobbies is civil war. Each Elector also maintains a lobby in Altdorf to inform them of the decisions of the central government and try to influence what it does and does not do. Because the Electors are significantly more powerful nobles than, say, a Bretonnian Duke, the Imperial system is a much messier feudal patchwork. For instance, Karl Franz, Prince of Reikland (He is still an Elector) is also Emperor. He also holds some land in Talabecland as an old family holding, which technically makes him vassal to the Elector of Talabecland, who is also vassal to him in his role as Emperor. The same mess of purchases, fallout from civil wars, and messy marriages over the years leads to absurdities like the Cult of Ulric actually having feudal mastery of a major Sigmarite monastary in Wissenland.

Towns make matters even harder. In 1066, Kemperbad in Reikland became the Empire's first Freistadt when it gave Emperor Boris Goldgather a large quantity of very rare wine and got him to agree to relieve their feudal obligations to the province of Reikland, technically creating the town as a separate entity. Naturally, this is an appealing prospect for a town; a Freistadt can elect its own leaders, its taxes are lower, and most of the money can go to local potentates instead of being sent to a more distant potentate. Nobles hate this, but towns are often able to get away with it by making promises to a noble above their direct lord in the feudal chain. After a town has managed to free itself, its old lords will usually plot to take it back in some way or another. This whole description, by the way, is one of the examples of how the sourcebook writing changes; in other books, this description of the feudal mess of the Empire would be filled with 'And then when the lord tries to take back the town, here's an idea for how your adventurers could get involved on either side' or suggestions of missions trying to sort out messy inheritances. Here in Sigmar's Heirs, it's just a flat description of the Empire's governance.

Sorcery is another problem for the Counts. They don't like the fact that the Colleges are in Altdorf. While we know from Realms of Sorcery that wizards have some safeguards to try to prevent them being used as tools in a civil war, it's plain to see that the most important places for all the Colleges being in the Imperial Capital will give the Emperor a great deal of authority over their use. Moreover, Karl Franz has the support of the Colleges after supporting their failed bid to gain an Electoral Vote and generally acting as a patron to the mages. The Electors have two routes to deal with this problem: One is trying to establish their own magical academies in their own lands, which has met with limited success. Technically, only the official Colleges can issue licenses, and the Hunters already dislike them; the Emperor would certainly have routes to shut this down if he wished, though the costs could be high. The other route is working with the cults to undermine the overall influence of the Colleges, as the wizards and priests don't especially get along, especially the Warrior Priests.

Finally, we've a description of the foreign affairs of the Empire, but it doesn't differ from the core books at all; they're happy with Bretonnia and Kislev at the moment from winning a war together etc. The main point of interest is that Marienburg's corporate board is very concerned about the damage to the Empire and how many of their own mercenary troops left to fight in the Storm. They're worried that rather than the Empire trying to get them back, the Bretonnians might seize their port, which would be far worse than being ruled by the Emperor. They aren't quite sure what to do, and again, this should be written as a spot for PC adventure, but isn't.

Next Time: Inexplicably large amounts on the legal system that still don't tell you much

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


DAD LOST MY IPOD posted:

are we all agreeing to ignore that The End has a divinely-mandated and “objective” age of consent, and it’s 13?

I totally missed that spot, where was it?

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


DAD LOST MY IPOD posted:

are we all agreeing to ignore that The End has a divinely-mandated and “objective” age of consent, and it’s 13?

God is, also, apparently fine with consensual, of-age incest, if such a thing can be conceived.

Barring supporting evidence, though, I'd presume it's a combination of following Age of Accountability too religiously (getit) and general '90s edgelording connected to that.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Mors Rattus posted:

The Age of Accountability is just...it's a thing with Rapture types. They vary in where they place it, but 13-17 or so is average for it.

Which leads to the hilarious issue in the dumb Left Behind books where the authors never once considered the insane societal uproar that would happen if every child on the planet vanished.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Night10194 posted:

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2e: Sigmar's Heirs

Let us take strength from diversity

I bet the above quote isn't something you'd ever expect from a GW God Emperor type, is it?

I'll repeat it once again, even if nobody is asking me: I love 40K for how different the Imperium is from any other protagonist (or "protagonist") state in sci-fi. I also fukken love Empire because of how different that is, too. It has a massive bromance with dwarves and is more explicitly tolerant than generic fantasy kingdoms, it's HRE as gently caress (The Emperor! Actually, he doesn't have that much power over the Elector Counts! Actually, they...), it has a very detailed system of running, mages aren't just trusted magical fairies, and all that.

WHF fukken rocks.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Night10194 posted:

Which leads to the hilarious issue in the dumb Left Behind books where the authors never once considered the insane societal uproar that would happen if every child on the planet vanished.

The first book mentions that they captured a video a woman on a, ugh, birthing table and her belly just deflates.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Oh, also, in Night's Dark Masters they point out the Chancellor for the Reikland is actually mostly an incompetent and that his wife does most of the work.

His wife is a Lahmian.

She's actually very good at her job! Just also a double agent.

Barudak
May 7, 2007



Is the Chancellor oblivious to this and its a farce with nobody wanting to tell him despite knowing or does he know and acts incompetent so she gets to do things she shouldnt and the farce is him having to do escalatingly stupid things to convince inspectors he really is that stupid

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


I believe it's a case where he's pretty dumb but his office seems to be getting good results so the Emperor doesn't check on it, and she's a good enough commander that some of the spies who have figured it out just shrug and keep reporting to her.

E: Still, that's all in a much later book, I just find it a funny detail.

You'll also probably note from Mor's review that the Imperial Council is better developed and more thoroughly written up in 4e, and also completely different. One of the benefits of only focusing on the Reikland instead of trying to do the whole massive Empire is that you have room to zoom in more and give more of these people personalities, with more of an assumption PCs will be interacting with them.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 15:47 on Oct 26, 2018

DAD LOST MY IPOD
Feb 3, 2012

Fats Dominar is on the case




JcDent posted:

I totally missed that spot, where was it?

quote:

Oddly, many things that were thought to be sins before the Revelation turned out not to be. Drug use was not a sin, but drug abuse was. Adultery, bestiality, and rape (including sexual contact with someone under 13) were the ONLY sexual sins. Murder, bullying, and torture were sins, but other acts of violence were not. A frighteningly high percentage of soldiers were admitted into Heaven.

this is the religious rpg I would expect a typical gen-Xer conservative who played DnD in his formative years to write

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017





Night10194 posted:

Oh, also, in Night's Dark Masters they point out the Chancellor for the Reikland is actually mostly an incompetent and that his wife does most of the work.

His wife is a Lahmian.

She's actually very good at her job! Just also a double agent.

Do Hamspires have to sleep during the day or just stay out of sunlight?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Dawgstar posted:

Do Hamspires have to sleep during the day or just stay out of sunlight?

Just stay out of sunlight. Even thick clothes or a very expertly wielded parasol will protect them, as will a cloudy day.

They actually never have to sleep; most just like to do it sometimes to pass the time.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Which really just makes that one Von Carstein camped out in the darkened valley in Reikland even funnier, because he's not trapped there, he deliberately chooses to live in his tiny, idiotic village.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Our house-rule for it was that if a vamp trying the whole 'wearing thick clothes against the day' thing takes a wound, the sun sets them on fire as per normal.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Young Freud posted:

Direct combat roles like infantry have been off-limits until very recently. We've had twelve women become Airborne Rangers, the tip of the spear, since the Ranger School was opened up.
Makes sense. I could see, thus, that Barrett's emphasis here is rooted in substantial part in a failure of imagination, followed by rationalization to protect that failure of imagination. Which seems to be a theme with this book.

Presenting an alternative, less-computerized-than-GURPS Ultra-Tech technological arc makes sense, but Barrett puts words in an Arisian's mouth that having electronics would impair the mental discipline needed for Lens use (possibly), but also reduce humanity and others to "a race of punks and cripples, going so far as to implant electronics into their very bodies!"

Meanwhile in the first chapter of the first Lensman novel:

Doc Smith posted:

In company front, in a huge, square room devoid of furniture, the Class faced the Ogre--Lieutenant-Marshal Fritz von Hohendorff, Commandant of Cadets. Martinet, tyrant, dictator--he was known throughout the System as the embodiment of soullessness; and, insofar as he had ever been known to show emotion or feeling before any undergraduate, he seemed to glory in his repute of being the most pitilessly rigid disciplinarian that Earth had ever known. His thick, white hair was roached fiercely upward into a stiff pompadour. His left eye was artificial and his face bore dozens of tiny, threadlike scars; for not even the marvelous plastic surgery of that age could repair entirely the ravages of space-combat. Also, his right leg and left arm, although practically normal to all outward seeming, were in reality largely products of science and art instead of nature.
:thunk:

Freaking Crumbum
Apr 17, 2003

Too fuck to drunk




Tibalt posted:

To be fair, 13 is bar/bat mitzvah age. I assume the writers didn't really think through the implications.

the fact that 13 is specifically mentioned (although i too missed that at first skim) makes me doubt that it was an accident. like, if the intent was to say that only pedophilia was a sin, he could have just left it at that without doubling back to provide a specific age threshold.

i mean on the one hand the concept of child-brides have been a part of human history since forever and it would technically be consistent with some cultural practices of various "Christian" groups, but on the other hand it's an unnecessary detail, the inclusion of which provides no tangible benefit, and only serves to make the work as a whole even more skeevy.

my take here is that it was in no way an uninformed inclusion.

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Leraika
Jun 14, 2015

slime time



Everything is super stressful forever, which means it's time for...

Final Fantasy d6 Part 4 - Shared Abilities and Jobs 101

Shared Abilities are the Abilities that anyone can pick up, regardless of their Job. Most of them are pretty fluffy, which I like! Fluffy abilities are cool. I'm just less down with fluffy abilities that take up the same limited ability slots as everything else.

Here's a list of the highlights!

Animal Companion: You have some sort of companion critter! When you take this ability, you get 10 points to spend on its special abilities, which range in power (and cost) from the 1 point 'this character is unique (this doesn't do anything but the GM is encouraged to keep this in mind)' to the 6 point '1/battle, your pet does a an attack that scales off your Nature skill or heals you'. There are also options for making mounts, even party-carrying ones, making flying critters, and animal companions that can assist on skill checks or find items. The downside? All of the chances to use an animal companion's abilities are fairy sharply frequency-limited (you want an item-finding dog? It'll only kick in once a character level), the good ones require heavy investiture in a skill on top of the ability investment, and the good ones are pretty pricy. If you really really wanted to, you could take it multiple times for an additional 10 points per pick.

Bottomless Pockets: Don't ask why your character happens to have a tin of armor polish, an antique coin of the realm, and a pair of gardening shears on hand; they just do. 2/session, you can declare that your character has some mundane item on hand, as long as it was small enough for them to theoretically be carrying around. These items don't have any mechanical benefit, but "often" turn Godlike or Impossible checks into something easier. Fluff good! No real mechanical benefit bad!

Defy Gravity We wuxia now. A character that takes Defy Gravity ignores falling and jumping damage entirely and gains a +4 bonus to Supreme or harder Athletics checks. This is probably a decent balance point for shared abilities, honestly, but it still kind of irks me that it's once again dependent on a character already having the ability to invest heavily in Athletics (because it only kicks in at high difficulties).

Destructive Strike: +4 bonus on force checks to destroy objects. Pretty ho hum.

Evasion: 1/session, describe how you're stunting to avoid an attack for a +2 bonus to your or an ally's AVD score. Since you can pull it off whenever, it's essentially 1/session 'nah that didn't hit me'. Useful. If only it wasn't competing for a slot with Job abilities.

Favored Terrain Pick one of the geomancer terrains (plains/forest/town/desert, etc etc), get a +2 bonus to all skill checks, opposed rolls, and attack rolls in this environment. Super narrow. Great if you're running a game in FFXIII, I guess? I've never actually played FFXIII, whoops.

Heirloom: You gain a piece of equipment of a tier slightly better than you'd be able to get otherwise at your character's level. What do you do when you level up past the point where that item is useful? :shrug:

Limit Breaker: Describe something that'd make your character extremely angry or fearful - examples include someone hitting a child, the presence of a powerful demon, or just someone taking potshots at your airship. Once per session, seeing such an act committed gives the character the ability to use one of their Limit Breaks completely free of Destiny or HP cost. If they don't have Limit Breaks, then they get auto-hasted for a round and get a +4 bonus to their next roll. GMs are encouraged to keep an eye out for scenarios that could be triggered by other party members or bag of rats'd and shoot them down.

Onion Knight: Get a free Job change whenever you defeat a Boss-type enemy! In a system where a lot of power comes from mixing and matching abilities from different Jobs, this is dumb and broke. Literally the only downside is that you can't bank the Job change.

Skillfull Hero: Get more skill points (5) and a higher skill cap (+2) every time you take this ability, and yes, you can take it multiple times. It's very good! I once made a character who literally only took this and my gm hated me.

Special Vehicle: Animal Companion but for the party's airship. You get a lot less bang for your buck too (pick two abilities from a fairly comprehensive list, and that's it, though the GM is encouraged to let you get more upgrade points as the game goes on). I know there's precedent for it, but this feels like it really should be a fluff thing and not a 'someone actually has to pay for this' thing.

Status Resistant: Pick two status types, you're immune to them. Kind of cool, at least, in the fact that it suggests the benefits should extend into fluff territory (a character who's poison immune can't get drunk or drugged, for example).

Twin Soul: You've got a fated tie with another player (who has to pick up Twin Soul as well) or NPC (who gets it free). This gives you a whole grab bag of partner-centered abilities - you can pay to boost your partner's spells and vice versa, both of you do more damage to each other (but can't be forced into attacking each other by means of things like Charm), can reroll dice when making teamwork attacks, and, uh, if one dies, the other dies too, no matter how unlikely it may be (unless one Cheats Death to protect both). So, uh, don't take Twin Soul with the final boss, probably.

Unusual Species: This is what you take when you don't want to be a bog-standard human. Taking it gives you the following benefits:

Firstly, you can just choose to be eiter huge, giving you a bonus to PWR and RES but a penalty to AVD, or tiny, which makes gives you +1 AVD, +2 Stealth, and +1 force/finesse where your character's small size might come in handy. You don't get any of the other benefits of Unusual Species if you take this option.

The other option, and the way most players are probably going to go, is to be something completely unusual. You pick one of the game's various monster types (everything from Aerial to Construct to Fiend to Plant for those excellent people who want to play mandragoras to Undead) and count as that type for the purposes of any in-game effects that might pop up. You also lose the humanoid weakness to Shadow damage and get a +2 bonus to one attribute to represent your character's unusal abilities.

Weapon Training: Get access to two more weapon types or one armor type. Want to be a black mage casting in full plate? You do you.

Those with a copy of the PDF or who remember my last couple of posts will recall that I've left one noteworthy ability off this list: Grand Summoner. So, let's talk about summoning!

To summon a creature you've formed a pact with (you get one level-appropriate pact when you take Grand Summoner, and the GM may choose to grant summons to party members regardless of whether or not they have Grand Summoner as the plot demands), you need to first decide if it's a Party summon or an Individual summon. The latter cost destiny equal to their Rank (Carbuncle costs 1, Bahamut 5) and derive their attributes from the character that summons them; the former cost twice as much (split however you like between the party) and take the highest attributes among party members for each of their attribute scores.

No matter which way it's handled, the player controlling the summon (group pick if it's a Party summon) is removed from the battlefield, protected by the summon's power, and the summon itself appears in their place. It can fight for up to three rounds, and if it should survive until the third round, it uses a signature, often incredibly powerful, ability known as an Astral Flow before being dismissed.

So, that's Shared Abilities. Let's talk Jobs!

Each Job can be broken, roughly, into three parts: Innate skills, Abilities, and Limit Abilities.

Innate skills are things that are associated with the Job and which will (generally) change if you change into another Job. HP/MP bonuses, ACC and AVD, and starting Job points are all innate skills, and for the purposes of this writeup, so are weapon proficiencies and spell progression.

Abilities are cool tricks or techniques you pick up as you progress in your Job. You get to pick one from the Job/shared ability pool every even level, so up to 14 (out of 15). Abilities are permanent; you'll keep them as you change Jobes if you do.

Limit Abilities are (generally) much more powerful than normal abilities, and often have some sort of permanent effect on your character and/or require destiny to pull off. Each character will only get two such abilities, one at 5 and one at 10. Limit abilities are also permanent.

System basics are done! Next time, we'll start doing classes. I could use some feedback in that regard; would people prefer to see thematic classes grouped together or for me to just go down the list?

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