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Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017

Night10194 posted:

Why would that be a bug in a supers setting?

Too narrative for some, I suppose.

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Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
Eh, the two ways to properly do Supers are either very heavy mechanics to provide a lot of crunch in combat while leaving the fluff entirely open to players or very, very narrative and written with a strong acknowledgment that the answer to 'can batman beat superman' is 'which one does the author like better/which one would fit the themes of this current story'. It would be hard to be too narrative in writing a supers story.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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The biggest issue with Cortex+ Marvel, which I am hoping that the non-branded version will solve when it finally comes out, is that there are next to no guidelines on how to build a character, and the game's approach to character balance is to shrug.

In my experience the latter is actually not a huge deal - I'm in a game right now where my character is without doubt more powerful in terms of raw numbers than any other PC, being able to reliably throw around a d12 whenever he wants.

He has not been significantly more successful than anyone else, and does not have more spotlight time. He just hits like a train when he gets going.

The former is harder to deal with - it's a lot easier to convert an existing comic character to Cortex+ Marvel than to make a new original character with no set canon to tell you what their stats and rules should be.

Halloween Jack
Sep 12, 2003

La morte non ha sesso
The biggest issue with Marvel Heroic Roleplaying is how dogshit it is at actually teaching you how to play.

It wants to tell you about every single trait on your sheet, and all the funny tricks you can play with the dice, before telling you why you're rolling dice and what happens when you do. It's unbelievably awful.

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017

Mors Rattus posted:

The biggest issue with Cortex+ Marvel, which I am hoping that the non-branded version will solve when it finally comes out, is that there are next to no guidelines on how to build a character, and the game's approach to character balance is to shrug.

In my experience the latter is actually not a huge deal - I'm in a game right now where my character is without doubt more powerful in terms of raw numbers than any other PC, being able to reliably throw around a d12 whenever he wants.

He has not been significantly more successful than anyone else, and does not have more spotlight time. He just hits like a train when he gets going.

The former is harder to deal with - it's a lot easier to convert an existing comic character to Cortex+ Marvel than to make a new original character with no set canon to tell you what their stats and rules should be.

This also matches my experience just flat-out playing the Avengers. Black Widow contributes as much as Thor, often in different ways but either one can be the one to finish the big boss. Chargen would be nice, though.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009

I love the potoo,
and the potoo loves you.

oriongates posted:

It comes down to relativity and is really brain-hurty.

But basically, if you assume relativity exists (and it's required to exist for general physics to work) you can't have FTL without violating causality. You'd have to have a physics system where Relativity is not a thing. And on a zoomed out level that's fine, you're just dealing with Star-Wars esque space opera.

Basically, it's not just information (i.e. the reflected light) that propagates at the speed of light, it's also cause and effect. So if you can travel faster than the speed of light then you can, with the right arrangement, arrive somewhere before you left. Or if your mom calls you from pluto and asks you to come visit, you could get there so fast (again, with the direction of travel) that you'd arrive before she calls you and then she wouldn't have to.

One faux-FTL system I read in a book once posited this: faster than light travel is impossible. Time travel is easy. So when going on an interstellar voyage, you're packed into cold sleep and the ship slowboats to your destination. Then when near the destination, travels back in time so when the ship finally reaches the destination, less than an apparent week has passed between the ship's departure and arrival even though the ship may now be millions of years old.

That system has plenty of plot holes of its own, but I thought it was a fascinating idea.

Halloween Jack
Sep 12, 2003

La morte non ha sesso
That reminds me of how Continuum says it's normal for time travelers to decorate their headquarters with classic works of art, because they just steal them, then they or someone else puts them back five seconds later.

...But I don't remember them saying anything about a time-stasis field that stops the Mona Lisa from continuing to fall apart in your sanctum sanctorum.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Continuum wasn't, perhaps, the best at thinking about the more mundane details of time travel unless they involved carefully tracking when you washed your socks on an index card.

Feinne
Oct 9, 2007

When you fall, get right back up again.
Letís get back to Adventure with the chapter on Knacks.

Chapter 4: Knacks

So, Knacks are our weird powers in this game. They come in three flavors, Heroic, Psychic, and Dynamic, and you can only take the ones that are associated with your type of Inspiration. They start with Heroic, the powers of Daredevils. Iím going to split these up by Inspired category, thereís a lot of these and I want to talk about them all.

Heroic Knacks:

Heroic Knacks are interesting. None of them cost Inspiration to use, and they tend to be really subtle in how they work. They also require minimum values of Traits, because at some level they operate under what it is plausible you could do (even if what youíre doing doesnít make any goddamn sense if you think about it for too long). Heroic Knacks donít have levels, unlike the other two types, so they all cost the same to buy (assuming again that you meet the Trait minimum).

One guidance on Heroic Knacks is that they never really SEEM like thereís anything strange going on. There is, but people just watch it and suspend disbelief because it seems like whatís happening is perfectly normal and fine. Basically, being a Daredevil is being an action movie hero. Youíre Indiana Jones pulling off some straight bullshit that shouldnít remotely work or would get you killed 9 times out of 10 in the real world but for you, itís just Tuesday.

Complete Privacy: This Knack protects you from covert attempts to monitor you. The more subtle the attempt is, the less successful it will be. Some improbable poo poo will intervene to spoil it without you doing anything particularly yourself. Things like phone taps just plain donít work on you, and people who want to tail you suffer a +2 difficulty. Itís JUST covert attempts though amusingly, people overtly prying into your poo poo have no problems. Itís also entirely passive, thereís nothing you do or can do about this. You need to have either two dots each of Stealth and Subterfuge or 3 dots of Cipher to take this. This is pretty cool for spies but again it falls apart if things start getting real.

Death Defiance: This Knack lets you spend Willpower as well as or instead of Inspiration when youíre using the Dramatic Editing rules to avoid death. It requires you to have at least 8 permanent Willpower to take it, so in practice it makes you really loving hard to kill. There is one downside, if you use this Knack to avoid death you are still apparently dead for the rest of the scene before dramatically returning. So, you canít just keep not dying in a combat over and over again as long as youíve got any resources at all. Still, getting 8 Willpower at creation wouldnít really be THAT expensive and since there are other Knacks that need it this is super solid.

Dramatic Entrance: A really weird social Knack. You get three bonus dice on all Social rolls against anyone during the scene you first meet in person. This doesnít work on anything other than the first meeting and doesnít work anything other than in person. It also prevents you from botching connected rolls during this timeframe. There is a downside, if more than half of the people around havenít seen you before you are at +1 difficulty to remain inconspicuous. If youíre a social character this is kinda bananas, three dice is enormous and really most NPCs show up exactly once. You need to have at least three Appearance to take this.

Eagle Eyes: You get two extra dice on all rolls related to long-distance or precise visual perception, all difficulty penalties due to poor visibility are reduced by two, and all difficulty penalties for long-ranged attacks with ranged weapons are halved, rounding down. And presumably since said long-ranged attacks are in fact also rolls related to long-distance perception, you get two bonus dice on them as well as the reduction. If you like shooting things from far away then this is a no-brainer, itís pretty drat good. You need to have at least Perception 3 to take this.

Enhanced Impact: This Knack owns. You pick one of Archery, Brawl, Firearms, Martial Arts, and Melee (and you can take this multiple times to get another Abilityís version). When you land an attack using that Ability, theyíre knocked back one meter for every health level of damage you do (though Inspired targets may spend a point of Inspiration to negate this on themselves for the scene). It doesnít do any extra damage on its own but it can knock people into danger and more importantly is just loving amazing. You can shoot a man with an arrow and then knock them back like ten feet which makes no loving sense but is incredible. You need three dots in the Ability in question to take this.

Fists of Stone: Your bare-handed attacks do base Strength + 3 dice of bashing damage (as opposed to the normal Strength + 2). You get two extra dice for anything where your grip strength comes up, and your hands never get damaged by anything short of punching solid metal. This is pretty okay and will be a good thing to contrast to the more over the top Knacks the other flavors of Inspired get. You just always do a little bit more damage with your fists, and presumably youíll be punching lots of Nazis and dinosaurs and poo poo if you take this. You need to have Strength 3 to take this, which given youíre relying on punching for damage isnít really a hard ask.

Forgettable: This is a super nebulous one. People youíre not good friends with forget you soon after you leave their direct presence, and itís hard to capture images of you. The penalties depend on your Intuitive Facet, making this our first Knack that has scaling with a Facet (but nowhere near the last). It goes all the way to +4 difficulty on rolls to remember or photograph you at Intuitive 5, which is kinda crazy. You cannot have any Reputation and have this Knack. If you would gain Reputation, it is suggested you be allowed to convert it into a Background like Allies or Contacts to represent specific people remembering you.

Gadgeteer: You never suffer penalties for trying to use something you havenít been trained to use. You can just look at poo poo and kinda understand how it works, though if itís complicated it can take a minute or so. If youíve got Ability Mastery in Engineering, Medicine, or Science you can also use this Knack to boost your ability to make Super-science Gadgets, though weíll be talking about those next chapter. You need Intelligence, Wits, and Inspiration of 3 or more to take this, but itís pretty great.

Indomitable Will: Youíre really hard to influence with mind poo poo. Mundane hypnosis and brainwashing take three times as long and require three times the successes to succeed, and Knacks that in any way invade your mind are at +2 difficulty. This doesnít impact anything that creates perceptual illusions, though, and you canít turn it off so for example itís hard for a friend to contact you telepathically. You need at least 8 Willpower to take this. If youíve got the Willpower (say for Death Defiance) you might as well take this but itís pretty niche and has some downsides if youíve got a friendly Mesmerist.

Instant Expert: Another Knack that requires you to spend Willpower, you can spend a Willpower to add your Intuitive Facet to the rating of any Ability that you have zero dots in for a single task. You can only do this for any given Ability once per game session, and again you can only do it for Abilities youíre completely untrained on. It works for the full duration of the task as well, so for example you can just do surgery on some dude because you saw someone do it once (but you canít replicate that feat). You need at least three Wits to take this. loving love it, action movie as hell.

Jack of All Tongues: You know twice as many languages as youíd otherwise know (which is controlled by the Linquistics Ability), you never have an accent, and itís easier for you to learn new languages. You know two extra languages even if you donít have Linguistics at all, though that feels a bit silly to take this in that case. You can also make a difficult Linguistics roll to just translate some poo poo you have no idea what it is, whatever guys. You need three Intelligence to take this. This is pretty great honestly, it makes it really easy to avoid sticking out as a foreigner if youíre undercover and being able to translate things from first principles might not come up much but could let you clip all sorts of corners the storyteller hasnít thought of.

Lie Detector: Non-Inspired characters are at +2 difficulty to lie to you, and if they donít have at least two dots in Subterfuge they canít succeed at all. Note that this just lets you know they lied, not what the truth is. Inspired characters with Subterfuge donít suffer any penalties, but those without are treated like normal characters. You need Perception 3 to take this. This is pretty drat good, especially since Perception 3 was already a requirement for Eagle Eye which is great.

Lightning Reflexes: If you roll lower than 4 for Initiative, count it as a 4. Going earlier in combat is pretty great for obvious reasons, since you ideally want to make enemies dead before they get a chance to make you dead. The interesting thing though is that again this doesnít actually increase your Initiative value per se, it just cuts out the worst possible results on the roll. Youíre paradoxically much more likely to get the lowest possible Initiative roll than before (since four results out of ten will give you it) but that lowest possible roll is higher than before. You need to have either Dexterity or Wits 4 to take this, but you get no benefit for having both.

Master of Dissimulation: This one loving rocks. You can roll a standard difficulty Subterfuge check to appear to be an expert in whatever the gently caress you claim to be. As long as itís just talking people will just assume youíre a detective or doctor or whatever and treat you as though thatís the case. For someone to detect your ruse, they need both to have more Perception than the number of successes you get AND to actually be whatever youíre pretending to be. If you ever have to actually act on your purported knowledge, you will of course be exposed (unless it turns out you do know something about the subject). The big advantage of this Knack is that you donít need any props to back it up, youíre able to bullshit your way past anything so crass. You need at least Wits and Manipulation 3 to take this. This is a great Knack to remember that you can spend an Inspiration to double the dice pool, because getting a bunch of successes will make you super hard to expose.

Navigation Hazard: So whenever youíre in a race, chase, or combat and are in or on a vehicle of any kind that you are steering, any opposing vehicle that suffers damage for any reason (whether you bump into them or they just screw up a roll) they take automatic damage equal to your Destructive Facet. This also applies as a bashing damage effect to any passengers, in addition to any damage theyíd otherwise take. If the vehicle is destroyed by this and contains anything even remotely flammable it explodes, because why not. Passengers need to roll a difficult Athletics check or spend an Inspiration point to get out of the wreck before getting lit on fire. This doesnít apply to weapons unless the other vehicle just ran into the weapon in question. This would be pretty fun before the explosions, with them itís amazing. If youíre a Daredevil and have the pre-req (three dots in Animal Handling, Drive, or Pilot) just take this on principle.

One-Man Army: Youíre amazing at fighting multiple enemies in close combat. You donít get any penalties for being outnumbered, and you get one bonus die to all combat rolls for each extra target past the first, up to a maximum of +4 dice. In addition, if you are up against at least four opponents you gain an additional full action at half your normal initiative. You can split this action as normal. So on one hand you have to be in adverse situations for this to trigger, but on the other hand itís loving fantastic. If youíre super outnumbered theyíre probably Extras that arenít really a threat once youíve negated their bonuses for outnumbering you, and getting an extra action with no penalties is What Is Best In Life. For one thing, consider that all the bonus dice you get for this can cut deep into the penalties for splitting actions, meaning you can quickly turn being outnumbered into everyone else being punched all to hell. Or stabbed or sworded all to hell, because again this is any close combat not just unarmed. You could Jackie Chan your way into some savage hits on the main enemy because they decided to bring friends. You need three dots in a close combat Ability to take this.

Perfect Poise: You never panic unless itís caused by an Inspired power, and you have to actively choose to in order to display any signs of surprise. You gain two dice on any roll where this could come up, and an additional die if youíre bluffing in a gambling situation. You never trip or spill drinks, and your clothes never get dirty when poo poo would otherwise rumple or splash them. Itís pretty flavorful and useful for a social character (consider making a Dramatic Entrance into a situation where your poise matters and needing to bum some dice off someone else because you only brought ten d10s). You need Willpower 7 or Wits 3 to take this.

Resilient: You heal all wounds as though they were one level lower, and halve your healing time for the lowest level of wound. This stacks with medical attention. This largely just lowers your downtime, making this way weaker than the Mesmerist and Stalwart equivalents. The essential problem is that even with this Knack itís a half hour to heal the Bruised level, and thatís only if it was Bashing damage. Take it if youíve got Stamina 3 and feel like it, but itís very blah.

Steely Gaze: You always win staredowns against non-Inspired and get a two dice bonus against Inspired. If you make eye-contact with a non-Inspired target (who has to have Willpower equal or lower than your Charisma) and roll Intimidation at +1 difficulty. They lose their next combat action or automatically fail their next opposed Social roll if you succeed, and you can do it to any given person at most twice a day. Itís not QUITE a save-or-die but itís a really loving powerful thing someone whoís otherwise a social character can do in combat that ALSO has out of combat uses. You need Charisma 3, and definitely take this if youíre socially focused.

Trick Shot: You have to pick Firearms, Archery, or Thrown Weapons when you pick this (and you can take it more than once). You reduce all the difficulty penalties for everything besides your wounds and visibility by half when dealing with that sort of weapon. THEN you get bonus dice equal to the difficulty penalty before you halved it, up to the dots in the Ability youíre using. The downside if you take advantage of this Knack is that you halve your extra successes before applying them to damage, as your focus was on doing crazy bullshit instead. That said, doing damage at ALL in the situations where youíd gain from this would be hard so itís super worth it. You need three dice in the relevant Ability to take this. Pair with Eagle Eye for best effect. If you are able to talk the storyteller into it they suggest you could take this for close-combat attacks in theory, at which point pair it with One Man Army and nunchuck the gently caress out of people Bruce Lee style.

Untouchable: If you start a fight without a firearm, while you arenít armed with a gun people suffer a penalty to shoot you proportional to your Destructive Facet (up to +4 at Destructive 5). You canít have a gun on your person at any point during the fight in order to take advantage of this, but if youíre a melee character thatís a minor problem. +4 is really drat good, absolutely take this if you are a melee character. You should never not have the pre-requisites, Athletics/Martial Arts 3 and Dexterity 3.

Wheelman: There are four versions of this, one for land vehicles, one for air vehicles, one for boats, and one for riding animals. You get to move faster based on your Intuitive Facet, and you get that many more dice for doing maneuvers as well. When the vehicle or mount is moving attacks against it that youíre aware of suffer a difficulty penalty equal to half your Wits, rounded down. You donít suffer penalties to your rolls due to the damage to your vehicle or mount until itís completed destroyed or killed, and if youíre injured you canít lose control as long as the vehicle/mount is moving and hasnít been destroyed yet. You need three dots in the relevant Ability to take this Knack, with a further caveat that you need a specialty in aircraft or watercraft (both use the Pilot skill) to take Wheelman for those. Itís pretty good if youíre into crazy vehicle stunts I guess.

So, these are going to seem potentially really weak once we see the Knacks of Mesmerists and Stalwarts. The thing to remember is that almost all of this is just stuff that happens with no expenditure of any resources on your part, and none of it costs Inspiration. This gives you lots of free Inspiration to do poo poo like double your dice pools that other types of Inspired have to save for doing their super poo poo. That Stalwartís sweet powers or the Mentalistís crazy mind mojo donít mean anything if you throw down like twenty dice and knock them the gently caress out in one punch. Being a Daredevil is about being just as over the top as the other two, just in ways that donít seem obviously unnatural.

Thatís it for Heroic Knacks. Next time, weíll have the Psychic Knacks.

Zodiac5000
Jun 19, 2006

Protects the Pack!

Doctor Rope
Man, these heroic knacks would make a hilarious baseball player/adventurer. Thrown weapons are even an option to pick. You could have Nolan Ryan throwing 100mph heaters into mooks knocking them back ten feet into traffic, or use trick shot to throw a curveball right into somebody's face from behind a riot shield or something.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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This is the old Trinity Continuum stuff, right, not the new releases? I haven't been following as close as I should be.

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017

Some of the Heroic Knacks are more fun than I remembered.

Tibalt
May 14, 2017

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

Mors Rattus posted:

Continuum wasn't, perhaps, the best at thinking about the more mundane details of time travel unless they involved carefully tracking when you washed your socks on an index card.
Continuum is a slice-of-life sitcom maid game with a time travel gimmick, they just didn't present it well.

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

Night10194 posted:

Eh, the two ways to properly do Supers are either very heavy mechanics to provide a lot of crunch in combat while leaving the fluff entirely open to players or very, very narrative and written with a strong acknowledgment that the answer to 'can batman beat superman' is 'which one does the author like better/which one would fit the themes of this current story'. It would be hard to be too narrative in writing a supers story.

Groggy as it may be, I still think Champions/Hero System is the best superhero system just for having the heavy mechanics needed. It's absolutely not perfect, but it's better than any of the others.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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Any system which legitimately needs a digital character builder because of the fractional points and complexity of chargen is not great.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
Making a character for Champions was one of the most miserable experiences of my roleplaying career.

Halloween Jack
Sep 12, 2003

La morte non ha sesso
Edit: ^^^ Palladium is the system that makes me give up in frustration just trying to roll up a character. Sure, the Nightbane tables are fun, but the mundane process of rolling up your basic attributes in a Palladium game is a special kind of purgatory.

AFAIK, if you have to run superheroes in a system where you can measure exactly how much Thor can bench-press, Hero is one of the best.

Snorb
Nov 19, 2010
I gave up once making a character for Decipher Inc.'s Star Trek: The Roleplaying Game. Not only was that book poorly organized as far as where everything you need to go through chargen was, I had some really badly OCR'ed copy of the core rulebook, so I got to play the extra game "Okay, what's the actual name of this Edge or Skill, again?"

(Plus, I don't want to say the game system is imbalanced, but any character fresh out of character creation can one-shot-kill Captain Sisko with a phaser pistol. That, and Captain Janeway has absolutely zero Flaws.)

Feinne
Oct 9, 2007

When you fall, get right back up again.

Mors Rattus posted:

This is the old Trinity Continuum stuff, right, not the new releases? I haven't been following as close as I should be.

Yeah this is the old stuff. Beyond the main books (I've even got the weird hardcover ring-bound version of the Trinity rules) I've got some of the Aberrant sourcebooks and a series of Trinity modules I might cover.

megane
Jun 20, 2008



I'm amused by the concept of a character who wins a car chase by glaring at his enemies so hard they gently caress up driving, sideswipe the median, and then explode in a huge fireball.

Barudak
May 7, 2007

MonsterEnvy posted:

I decided to try doing one of these.

Dungeons and Dragons Volo's Guide to Monsters

Have fun doing this!

Also, Volos is the one where they introduce some template lairs for a few of the nastier tentpole foes, right? Curious to see how that worked out.

MonsterEnvy
Feb 4, 2012

Truly Cursed
Volo's Guide to Monsters: Beholder's Bad Dreams Come True Part 1

Previous Entry



Beholders are one of the most Iconic D&D monsters originating from the first D&D supplement Greyhawk in 1975, and appearing in every edition of the game after. They are D&D Original Monsters and one of the few creatures considered Product Identity by WotC.

Volo's Guide decides to go a fair amount in depth with them, describing their ecology for the new edition.
They are described as alien beings, whose behaviors and motives can be seem as similar to other intelligent creatures, but heightened to absurd degrees. They are all supremely arrogant, thinking themselves better then all other creatures, other beholders included. They are also very intelligent, their minds being able account for any possibility, which it prepares for making it difficult to surprise. Volo's Guide says this could be seen as a form of paranoia, to which it agrees that it is the most extreme form of paranoia imaginable. A beholder is eternally vigilant and obsesses over all threats it can imagine.

Elminster posted:

Think ye weave cunning schemes and elaborate intrigues with fallback plans and positions? Beholders change, refine, discard, and spin anew scores of such plans, all the time. To the average beholder, human intrigues are the fumblings of babies.

Inhuman Intellect
A Beholder is always semi awake, even when sleeping it's lesser eyes scan for threats. It is always imagining and on the lookout for hidden attackers and deception. This lack of rest and paranoia is accepted by the Beholder's mind as normal and necessary rather then the psychosis that it is.
To accompany it's paranoia is it's genius level intellect. Even if one or two events happen seem to be coincidental and unrelated The Beholder imagines all the ways however implausible they could be related and prepares accordingly.
They always have plans on top of plans for any circumstance imagining and planning for them all. " It doesnít matter if invading adventurers arrive at its lair with summoned angel allies or enslaved demons, by breaking through the floor, by teleporting or riding dinosaurs, or girded with layers of magical defenses and armed with advanced weapons." It has already calculated a reaction and a response. Though while it may have thought about the situation, it's plans might have flaws or be under prepared for the threat, due to their arrogance.

Despotic Perspective
Beholders think of all other creatures as food, pets, or minions. With their only true rivals being other Beholders.
Beholders spend most of their mental activity planning attacks on known rivals, unearthing threats (Real and imaginary.) and considering itself the center of the world. "Of course the clan of duergar moving into its territory is because a rival is trying to oust it, of course the gang of adventurers in its lair were sent to kill it by a cowardly rival, and so on, because it is the perfect example of beholderness and all other creatures are jealous."
Despite their arrogance Beholders are not the types to brag, rather they prefer the school of putdowns, Being dismissive and insulting of the abilities of others instead. Creatures challenging a Beholder can earn a measure of respect from it, that it will pacify them rather then killing them. However this mercy's purpose to gain new minions, and anyone captured is interrogated, subjected, and broken over time. A beholder might view a group of skilled adventures as a prize to be captured, viewing them as potential guards, spies or assassins to send against a rival. "Refusal means, at best, servitude as a charmed minion, and at worst, disintegration."

Birth of a Beholder
Beholders do not reproduce in the traditional way. And their reproduction in fact has nothing to do with biology. Beholders are one of the few creatures capable of altering reality by their presence. When Beholder's are in their semi sleep state. They still dream and once in a while their dreams are dominated by images of themselves or another beholder (Real or imaginary.) On the rare occasions when Beholders dream of other Beholders this causes reality to shift and a new Beholder comes into existence from thin air. the "offspring" can take nearly any form depending on how it's parent imagined it, or it could be one of the Beholder-Kin creatures similar to Beholders with completely different abilities. But for the most part, what comes into existence is one of the three main types of Beholder: a solitary beholder, a hive, or a death tyrant.

Volo posted:

When beholders dream of beholders, thatís when the real trouble starts.

Solitary Beholders
The most common type of Beholder. When dreamed into existence the Beholder's nature means that it and it's "Parent" try to kill each other. Stopping only when one of them is killed or driven off. After which a Beholder will start a lair, ether making one itself, or taking the lair of the Beholder that birthed it.
After getting set up, Solitary Beholders gather (or inherits) lesser creatures to use as minions. Beholders then use as guards, and to plunder nearby areas for knowledge and treasure. After getting what they want, the remaining loot is left to the minions to divide up.

Eye Tyrants
Eye Tyrants are Solitary Beholders that have largely suppressed their xenophobia and paranoia, and have instead decided to take leadership in a community or group of other creatures. They still largely don't respect or understand the creatures they choose to work with, but see differences between the individuals and communicate with them regularly. They are still ruthless in eliminating threats, but lack the fear that any creature not under their control works for an enemy. Most Beholders that interact with humanoid society are Eye Tyrants. And an example of a Eye Tyrant Organization is given a bit later in the book with the Xanathar Guild.

Beholder Hives
A beholder hive is created when a Beholder in their dreams encounters several copies of itself or imagines a sensation like multiple personalities in itself. The result is a group of a beholders called a beholder hive, that are identical to their parent but slightly smaller.
The Prime Beholder views the Hive Beholders as extensions of itself in new bodies, and so has no urge to kill them. The united Beholder group does not actually have a hive intelligence, but are so similar in personalty and goals that they can assume the others behavior. The Prime Beholder normally is dominant, and takes leadership. A hive consists of three to ten Beholders. (Plus any minions)

Death Tyrants
When Beholders start to worry about their mortality, they might start dreaming about themselves living on in a state after death. And when they awaken they find themselves transformed into an undead Death Tyrant. However it still fears being killed.
Death Tyrants fear their own deaths and tend to imagine or have dreams about how it might happen. " For example, a death tyrant who imagined it would eventually be slain by frost giants might relocate its lair to the inside of a volcano, send its minions to hunt down all frost giants within 100 miles, or take some other drastic measure to ensure that the fear never becomes reality."


Beholder-kin
These are creatures created by beholders that resemble them in that they are spherical body with eyes. We shall discuss some of the Beholder Kin types later on.

Next Time Beholders continued.

Chernobyl Peace Prize
May 7, 2007

Or later, later's fine.
But now would be good.

Deptfordx posted:

Very true. It tends to be either nerfed to near uselessness or game breakingly powerful.

What systems would you say handle it well?
In addition to what others have said, it looks like Storypath (new Scion, will be new Aeon games) might be good for it, since the way they handle scale means you can model a bunch of speedy bullshit without defaulting to "oh and they get 10x as many turns as other people."

Loxbourne
Apr 6, 2011

Tomorrow, doom!
But now, tea.

megane posted:

I'm amused by the concept of a character who wins a car chase by glaring at his enemies so hard they gently caress up driving, sideswipe the median, and then explode in a huge fireball.

I rather enjoyed Inevitability, the power you could give Angels of Stone in In Nomine. You invoked horror movie physics on the target.

Cellphones lose signal. Streetlamps fail. Cars won't start. The target fumbles items, drops keys, jams doorknobs, all as the PC walks slowly and purposefully towards them.

MonsterEnvy
Feb 4, 2012

Truly Cursed
Volo's Guide to Monsters: Beholder's Bad Dreams Come True Part 2 AKA Our Beholder

Previous Entry

Physical Characteristics
Beholders come in a wide verity of shapes and looks. Due to how they reproduce Beholder located near each other tend to look similar, with variations becoming more notable the further you go from that area. However even slight variations like the skin texture or the shape of an eye stalk is enough for beholders to consider the other to be a flawed abomination that must be destroyed.



After this we get into randomization tables for creating a custom Beholder. With various features to be determined.

Lets make a Beholder for the thread.

Beholder Body Diameter: 2d6 result 10 for a 5Ĺ feet diameter.
Beholder Skin Color: 1d12 result 10 getting a Mottled Purple-blue and Green Skin Color.
Beholder Skin Texture: 1d10 result 3 for a Pitted skin texture.
Beholder Eye Color: 1d10 result 2 Orange eyes
Beholder Iris Shape: 1d20 result 10 Oval Irises
Beholder Eye Size: 2d6 result 11 the central eye is 25% bigger then normal. 4 while the smaller eyes are 25% smaller then normal.
Beholder Eyestalk texture: 1d6 result 3 the eyestalks are Ridged like an earthworm.
Beholder Eyestalk shape: 1d4 result 1 Thick and short eyestalks.
Beholder Mouth shape and size: d6 result 3 Normal
Beholder Teeth Shape: 1d10 result 4 Humanlike Teeth.

Roleplaying a Beholder

Elminster posted:

Until yeíve come to know a beholder ó not an easy thing to do, Iíll grant ó ye donít know true paranoia.

For the most part some information is repeated here about a beholder's paranoia and arrogance. But brings up that beholders dislike other creatures that act arrogant, and are more likely to act favorably to creatures that humble themselves and praise the beholder for being the perfect example of it's kind. And as beholders consider other beholders their greatest rivals, they might be willing to cooperate with Adventurers who bring news about a rival and their activities.

We then get into more Random tables for generating personalty traits for a Beholder.

Here are our Beholder's Traits

Personality Trait: d8 result 4 I frequently dream of [a particular creature] and am certain it is trying to manipulate me.
Ideal: d6 result 6 Power. I will be secure when I rule over all. (Evil)
Bonds: d6 result 6 I scheme endlessly to recover an ancient tome that contains the secret of creating perfect, obedient clones of myself.
Flaws: d6 result 5 I often take out my frustrations on my minions.

Personalty wise we got a pretty typically evil Beholder. Lets get him a name.

Example Names: d20 result 6 Our Beholder's name is Irv

Next Time: Beholder tactics, Variant abilities and Lairs.

MonsterEnvy fucked around with this message at 20:26 on Oct 31, 2018

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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



Snorb posted:

I gave up once making a character for Decipher Inc.'s Star Trek: The Roleplaying Game. Not only was that book poorly organized as far as where everything you need to go through chargen was, I had some really badly OCR'ed copy of the core rulebook, so I got to play the extra game "Okay, what's the actual name of this Edge or Skill, again?"

(Plus, I don't want to say the game system is imbalanced, but any character fresh out of character creation can one-shot-kill Captain Sisko with a phaser pistol. That, and Captain Janeway has absolutely zero Flaws.)
It is not dramatically correct, but is not *fictionally* incorrect to be able to one-shot any human with a phaser in Trek... but surely Janeway would have a flaw or two, come on folks.

OvermanXAN
Nov 14, 2014

Nessus posted:

It is not dramatically correct, but is not *fictionally* incorrect to be able to one-shot any human with a phaser in Trek... but surely Janeway would have a flaw or two, come on folks.

I mean, given the way some of the writers on Voyager treated her, it checks out.

Feinne
Oct 9, 2007

When you fall, get right back up again.

Nessus posted:

It is not dramatically correct, but is not *fictionally* incorrect to be able to one-shot any human with a phaser in Trek... but surely Janeway would have a flaw or two, come on folks.

As I recall Mulgrew was pretty sure Janeway was legit crazy, as it was the only thing that made her actions from episode to episode have any consistency, and that guided her acting.

Snorb
Nov 19, 2010
Nope, no Flaws. I double-checked her NPC writeup and everything. No Flaws at all!

(She has Craft: Knitting among her twenty lines of Skills for some reason.)

Barudak
May 7, 2007

Feinne posted:

As I recall Mulgrew was pretty sure Janeway was legit crazy, as it was the only thing that made her actions from episode to episode have any consistency, and that guided her acting.

Take me closer to the coffee nebula says person insane enough to murder a man to resurrect neelix

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!


Chapter Two:Nuria Natal


Our first stop in the Southlands is the River Kingdom of Nuria Natal and a few of its autonomous neighbors. The region is heavily Ancient Egyptian in flavor, with its geography centered around the River Nuria whose waters are infused with the magic of ley lines. The kingdomís earliest founders built their civilizations around said river in order to exploit its supernatural properties as well as its use as a fertile agricultural basin. The pyramids and tombs dotting the cities and countryside are actually complex engines of resurrection designed to bring fallen god-kings back from the veil of death in times of greatest need.

Although united in language and culture, the grandest cities are closely keyed to specific deities of the Nurian pantheon. Horus is the godsí kingly head, but the cults of Anu-Akma (Anubis), Bastet, and Thoth-Hermes are the three most popular and powerful religious organizations in the nation. Anu-Akmaís cult handle affairs of ensuring the transferral of souls into a proper afterlife. Additionally they fund the creation of the many traps, mystical guardians, and other defenses of pyramids and tombs.

The worshipers of Bastet are a diverse sort, ranging from alchemists and farmers to hunters and soldiers. She claims the city of Per-Bastet as her home, often walking its streets in disguise as a mortal or feline. Said realm is a vibrant trading hub ruled by a council of secular and religious authorities, resulting in a quite ordered religion for a Chaotic goddess.

The worshipers of Thoth-Hermes have heavy representation among the Heru ravenfolk as well as a heavy hand in promoting education and knowledge. The cult is quite active in a secret mission of finding the lost Emerald Tablets of Wisdom. It is believed that said tablets contain writings by their god for altering the face of Midgard or communing with the World-Serpent. Perhaps ironically more than a few militant sects resorted to theft and tomb-robbing in hopes of collecting the tablets; to them, it is but a lesser heresy than letting the knowledge slip into the lost annals of history.

The write-up for Nuria Natalís capital (the same name as the kingdom as a whole) is surprisingly brief. It talks about the god-kingís massive palace which includes a ceiling portraying a perfect copy of the night sky at all hours, to a Well of Ascension whose lotus-infused waters must be drunk in order to undertake the Tests of Inheritance necessary for claiming the throne.

Eastern City-States

Before diving into Nuria Natal proper we cover three city-states east of the kingdom who maintain heavy trade and cultural exchange with the River Kingdom. Siwal, Saph-Saph, and Makuria were founded as strongholds in the eastern deserts to better connect Nuria Natalís trade network to the eastern realms, but now exist as independent political entities in and of themselves. Theyíre more medieval Arabia in culture and feel, and manage large caravans which include magical ships capable of sailing over sand dunes like water in addition to mundane transports.

The largest of these cities, Siwal, is called the city of Gardens for its large natural oasis. Elemental magic is built into urban planning to make lush vegetation grow throughout most of the city, including the tops of its walls. It is also home to the Grand Necropolis, the largest of its kind in the northern portion of the continent. Housing great heroes as well as paupers, it has modest natural protections but is heavily guarded by Anu-Akmaís guardians and mages known as gravebinders whose task is to ensure that no undead rise to plague Siwalís citizens. Interestingly enough, the Necropolis is home to an undead community of ghosts, ghouls, and vampires who hold court at nightfall. They have an arrangement of sorts with the gravebinders to not attack the living (save in self-defense and against tomb-robbers) and to rise only at night, but otherwise can have the necropolis to themselves until the sun rises. This arrangement works out for both parties, even if it does give Siwal a macabre reputation at night.

Saph-Saph occupies a deep natural depression filled with springs and groves. The fortress of Per-Saph is its largest community, home to a temple-school of Aten which trains new generations of the godís priests and paladins. The settlement of Saph-Ket is home to the Oracle of the Sun whose occupation has foretold prophecies for Nurian leaders for a thousand years. The cityís fertile groves are capable of building one new sandship each year.

Makuria is not as grand or rich as the former two cities, but it makes up for this with expert guard and mercenary work. Their primary clients are the border cities of Nuriaís south and Kushís north, accepting coin from and against both sides. The more moral Order of Horus employs a cavalry tasked with keeping vital trade routes open, fighting against banditry and annexation by hostile powers.

Per-Bastet, Everlasting City of the Cat


The most famous city of Nuria Natal is not its capital, but one further south along its banks. Named for its relationship with the feline goddess, Per-Bastet is the Southlandsí Waterdeep: a cosmopolitan crossroads of cultures from southern Kush to the Mharoti Empire and beyond, a vibrant city home to all manner of factions, a chaotic council of government which doesnít see eye to eye, and more than a few villainous figures skulking in the dark.

Per-Bastetís history stretches back millennia, but the oldest historical evidence is lost to time. Bastetís faithful claim their goddess chose it as a space to revel and host parties with the other gods, and whose divine tears of joy sank into underground caverns which nine great pyramids were built over. Gnolls claim they founded the city, and Nuria Natalís first god-king claimed it as the capital for a time. Its geographic position as a trade hub placed it at the brunt of clashes with various forces, its most recent enemies the Mharoti Empire of the past 400 years.

Legends say that the city has been defeated and razed nine times in its millennia-long history, only to be reborn and rise again to glory. Like a precious jewel everyone wants, Per-Bastet has lured many hands to claim it. This, along with receiving nominal support from the rest of the country in recent campaigns against the Mharoti, has caused its diverse population to be fiercely patriotic of their hometown. Human or gnoll, living or dead, it is a chaotic city unlike anywhere else in the world...and they wouldnít have it any other way.

Neighborhoods and Locations


Per-Bastet is a riverside port of 60,000 souls. The cityís fed by a series of canals and irrigation ditches home to orchards and grain fields along with cattle. A series of monolith colonnades line the western harbor as a magical defense grid, where nine or more clerics or oracles of Per-Bastet can perform a ritual in a specific temple. This summons up mists and silt-filled eddies to teleport hostile creatures and vessels past the colonnadeís outer ring. The level and magical skill of said priestesses matters not, meaning that Per-Bastet has a potent naval defense.

Tors line the roads south of the city, home to a gorge known as the Path of the Gods, where immense statues over 80 feet tall are carved in the godsí likenesses. The last four are so weathered they are unrecognizable and known as the forgotten gods. Temples between the statuesí feet lead into unknown places, whose doors remain locked by long-lost magical keys.

The much drier second river of the city is the River of Sand, an always-mobile quarter-mile wide flood of sand winding from the eastern desert into Per-Bastetís east before ending in a funnel-shaped crater. Many objects and people lost in the flow are sometimes found years, decades, or centuries later in seemingly random locations in the farther deserts. Such ďsand-touchedĒ objects are prized for their supposed good luck charms. The riverís magical reputation is further reinforced by the presence of earth elementals swimming within its flow much like fish.

The cats of Per-Bastet are numerous and have free roam of the city. They can access a unique form of transportation known as catslide alleys, out-of-the-way magical portals which can lead elsewhere in the city and even farther-flung places such as northern cities or a hellcat den in the Eleven Hells.

For neighborhoods proper, Per-Bastet is divided into nine districts. The Palace District occupies a plateau at the feet of Bastetís statue, an invitation-only neighborhood home to the opulent mansions of the cityís rulers. The District of the Lioness is the cityís spiritual center, a mixture of rich and poor people along with a sizeable presence of feline races from nkosi to werecats, as well as cat-loving humanoids and endless hordes of normal cats. The Dome of the Divine Face of Bastet, the goddessí greatest temple, calls the Lioness home, and most businesses here are dedicated to entertainment from theaters to brothels. The District of the Cat is a labyrinthine market district most active at dark, whose nkosi inhabitants have their own internal social laws but nonetheless more than happy to welcome visitors. The Wharf District sees to the cityís waterbound trade: it houses the largest slave market in Nuria Natal, mostly derived from the draconic races taken as prisoners of war. Werecrocodiles live in the district and are surprisingly well-mannered...save when gnolls hunt the crocodiles they raise as a rite of passage, which leads to tensions between the two races in the city.

The Monument District is the cityís administrative center. Its academies, granaries, and public works buildings sit beneath grand sphinxes and pedestal-clad statues testament to patriotic glory. Of particular shock to most visitors is that the Dead, or Per-Bastetís name for undead citizens, outnumber the living as civil servants in this district. The God-Queen Meskhenit and an army of the Dead lair in the neighborhoodís local pyramid, capable of fielding the largest army in Nuria Natal. The Guard District is the other undead-majority neighborhood, housing the offices, courts, and jails along with a Sandship Harbor.

The Hunt is Per-Bastetís bad section of town. Occupied by mostly-abandoned builds inhabited by various monsters and elementals, the cityís laws hold no sway here. Fugitives and criminal organizations use the district as a temporary refuge, and its westernmost tip holds an island containing the vampire-run Pallid Court. The districtís Great Sand Pyramid host an amazing phenomenon where a trail of sand falls to the structureís top from an unknown location high in the sky.

The District of the Hyena is a gnoll-majority neighborhood which sits upon multiple layers of ancient buildings comprising a series of underground warrens. The gnolls are mostly self-governing and resolve disputes through blood debts. Its two notable locations are the Temple of Anu-Akma who grant blessings to the departed and decide who is worthy enough to be raised into the Dead. Finally, the Perfume District sits downstream at the cityís northern edge. It hosts the smelliest occupations in a series of bridge-connected islands, and thereís a thriving black market for poison, alchemic constructs, and ingredients for necromantic rites.

Government and Military

Its own leadership varies wildly on who you ask: King Thutmoses XXIII, the present god-king of Nuria Natal, claims that his brother Haty-a Haakim rules this great jewel of the city. But most citizens point to the Reborn Queen-Goddess Meskhenit as their ruler. The undead sorceress-priestess of Bastet commands a legion of undead and whose inhuman charisma holds the city together. But even she is subservient to her patron deity, who would replace both rulers in rank if she ever bothered to sit on the throne long-term. The Council of Sands acts as an advisory capacity to Haakim, which includes the prototypical traitorous vizier who plans to assassinate said monarch and usurp Meskhenitís command over the Dead. The other council members are more mundane in their pursuits, such as a rigid lawyer who finds the cityís discordant way of doing things nightmarish for her job. Other notable power players in Per-Bastet include the Pallid Court, a society of rich vampires who are treated as ordinary citizens (if ones the average street-goer doesnít want to mess with) due to a mixed relationship of deals and tit-for-tat power jockeying with Meskhenit; and the Gnoll Warlord Raykar-Takur, who can field 6,000 elite fighters from the Gnoll Corner in times of war but busies himself with desert hunts and fighting in the Great Arena.

Per-Bastetís major military forces include the living Army of Summer, who comprise the infantry and charioteers along with Raykar-Takurís gnoll legions. The Legion of Wadjet holds dominion over the river, made up of barges supplemented by aquatic monsters, nagas, and werecrocodiles. The Legion also contains a dire spinosaurus as a secret weapon submerged beneath the city. The Sky Guard of Horus are the cityís air force, made up of griffon-riders, air elementals, and sphinxes. Finally, Reborn Queen-Goddess Meskhenit leads the Dead to battle, who are called the Army of Night by the cityís living soldiers.

Tes-Luria, Seat of the Carnidine Kingdom

The ruins of Tes-Luria are the last legacy of a long-forgotten kingdom founded by Bastet. It was one of the most powerful nations in the Southlands before collapsing. The causes of this are unknown and debated by scholars, although the most popular explanations are known as the Three Dooms of Tes-Luria. The Dooms point to drought, being forsaken by their patron deity, or the loss of key ley lines from enemy countriesí magical manipulations. What is known now is that its walls are empty, home to none but brave expeditions of tomb-robbers, pilgrims, and undead and golem guardians. We get a write-up of several archeological mysteries to be found within, such as a fane to the demon god of gnolls whose frescoes strangely portray him as a much kinder figure than he is now. We also learn about five tombs holding famed figures and their treasures, such as a werelion warrior believed to be the son of the Hunter, a sinister deity, his corpse encased with his holy ax in a solid block of basalt.

Per-Anu, City of Crimson Pillars


Hidden among hills and open only to the faithful of Anu-Akma and his allies, the city of Per-Anu is a strange domain devoted to death in all its forms. Its macabre Red Market is home to trade in necromancy, blood, and spiritual manners, including many sacred tokens and binding agents useful against the undead. Some people swear that newly awakened god-kings and goddess-queens can be spotted in the streets in search of potent charms. Healers find their trade here as well: devotees of Isis operate out of the Temple of White Blossoms, and the famed Embalmerís Guild know of the secret rites of preparing proper burials for nobles, god-kings, and other Nurian heroes. Their status is so high in the city that any attempts at harming a member of the guild is a great crime which will bring down the wrath of the god-kings themselves.

Irsu, Per-Anuís god-king, is a darakhul, a special type of Midgard ghoul. He arrived at the city as a pilgrim and ruled for centuries since. Irsu prioritizes research into the Red Portals, local extraplanar gateways which grant a direct line of travel into the many Underworlds of the dearly departed. Said portals are watched closely and presided over by the cityís elite guards, which is a good thing as all manner of monsters and fiends seem drawn to them. There is even a grand school of magic, the Society of Portal Wizards, which funds travelling beyond the mortal realm into the myriad worlds beyond. Per-Anuís other great academy, the Order of Tombkeepers, focuses on all things spiritual and undead along with the guardianship of cemeteries and other places of rest.

Perilous Sights of the River Kingdom

Rounding out our travellerís almanac for this chapter is a list of miscellaneous adventure locales for Nuria Natal along with a sidebar containing 20 adventure hooks. I will not list them all, but some of the more interesting ones include the devil-operated Ghatazi Salt Pits whose slaves work the salt mines. Their iconic trade good is colored red, said to be wettened from the minerís own blood. There is also the Lost Armyís Field, a mass grave of Mharoti soldiers and dragons consumed by the desert and whose spirits haunt this desolate stretch. For some good old-fashioned dungeon-crawling we have the Corrupted Pyramid of Khensu, a structure haunted by the ghosts of slaves perished from the mass sacrifice of a Nurian vizier seeking godhood.

We get a page or two of common wilderness terrain types, trade routes and goods along with the game statistics for sandships. Basically itís a template applied to a mundane vessel which allows it to travel over desert and tundra. We also get a lengthy description of the Eyes of Aten, an organization dedicated to the Nurian sun god.

Aten is a rather unique case as far as gods go; in the base Midgard setting, the gods wear masks to obscure their number and allow themselves to appear as different identities in different cultures. Aten and his faithful insist that such deities are but very powerful pretenders and he is the true divinity of reality. His faith holds sway in the Nurian city of Per-Xor, which has an army of its own. But the Eyes of Aten are a secret cult whose members are chosen by the god himself via specific dreaming premonitions and prophecies. It is said that Aten used to unleash the powerful monster Sekhmet and his own burning gaze upon evil, but their powers were so great that they would leave the earth a lifeless, charred ruin if they continued. So he appointed the Eyes as servants to carry out his will in the mortal realm.

The Eyes of Aten are part spy agency, part terrorist cell. They are decentralized and clandestine although they do have a clear hierarchy of order. The Eyes prefer to act through unwitting third parties, mercenaries, and bribed civil servants to gain funds and strike at their enemies. They have their own sub-orders dedicated to specialized tasks, such as the Chosen of Sekhmet who are vicious werelion ďclean up crewsĒ unleashed when the chips are down, and the Shadowed Suns who are mummies created for long-term surveillance of areas of interest to their god.

New Rules


Instead of combining all the crunch into chapters on their own, the Southlands compiles the rulesy bits of character options, equipment, spells, and so on at the end of respective chapters. Said rules are themed for the region in question, and with Nuria Natal weíll be getting lots of Egyptian-themed goodies.

The Necrology of the Mummy takes the iconic monster archetype and expands on it. Unlike most other D&D/Pathfinder settings, Nurian undead and mummies arenít always evil spreaders of rotting plague; they are sacred sentinels watching over the sleeping heroes of times long past. We get new templates and abilities such as an Animated Shroud attack where a mummy can use its wrappings to entangle opponents; revenant mummies created to exact revenge; mummy death-curses capable of delivering debilitating afflictions to those who destroy them; scholarly tomes which can grant benefits to those studying them for all things mummy, and even alternative plays on the monster trope such as star-crossed lovers who undergo mummification and burial in the hopes of meeting each other in another era.

We have new archetypes for existing classes, such as the the Chosen of Aten for the theurge who specializes in evocation and necromancy spells; the Face of Bastet for Clerics, who receive less spells per day and give up a divine domain in exchange for the ability to gain physical properties and attacks of a big cat such as a lion or panther; a gravebinder for the white necromancer who gains a pseudo-favored enemy against undead as well as the ability to permanently sanctify corpses among other themed abilities; and the Sword-Dancer for the Fighter who specializes in lightly-armored stylish moves, such as using attacks of opportunity as counterattacks to melee strikes and adding their Charisma bonus to Armor Class. The only prestige class is the Ray of Aten (he seems to be getting lots of love) which focuses around marking targets as an enemy of the faith for extra damage, using fear-based effects, and an easier ability to cast certain divination spells a limited number of times per day (no material components and shorter casting times).



The last major section of this chapter is Hieroglyphic Magic. Known among the Nurians as the Words of Truth or Weret Hekau, they can inscribe pictographic runes on physical objects associated with concepts and deities in order to grant wards and boons upon the building or wearer. Mechanically, this is a sub-system of magic which actually plays off a system from one of Kobold Pressí other sourcebooks, Deep Magic, so I cannot comment on it holistically. But from what I surmise you take a Rune Mastery feat to gain a mastery bonus which is some mechanical benefit, and treat yourself as having knowledge of certain spells for the purposes of crafting magical items. Finally, knowledge of a rune grants you one of two special once-per-day powers (one or the other can be used, not both): one to use on yourself, or one to inscribe the rune on an object and grant powers to said object.

The hieroglyphs are split up by deities they are associated with and have flowery names: The Godís Company Is Like Light is associated with Thoth-Hermes and grants bonuses on knowledge checks, a 1/day increasing bonus to Intelligence-related rolls or cast magic weapon spell if inscribed on a weapon, and youíre treated as having knowledge of spells such as true seeing, tongues, and legend lore. Dress the Wind in the Cloying and Fair is associated with Bastet and grants bonuses on social roles, treats you as having knowledge of enchantment spells such as calm emotions and beguiling gift, a 1/day bonus to increase the DC or saving throw bonus related to enchantment effects for yourself, or can inscribe the rune on an amulet to gain a one-time +10 check to Diplomacy.

Our chapter ends with a pair of new spells; Dessicating Breath, a 4th/5th level spell which deals 1d6 strength damage to all living creatures in a 25 foot cone; and Speak with Inanimate Objects, a 1st-level spell which allows you to ask and receive answers from spirits embedded within an inanimate object. The former spell is a bit underwhelming for one of its level, while the latter is rather overpowered in that it more or less does what Speak with Plants does but is lower level and affects a larger criteria of beings.

Thoughts So Far: I really like this chapter. Nuria Natal has a healthy mixture of urban intrigue, classic dungeon crawls of pyramids and ruined sites, and wilderness terrain of sufficient danger. I like the incorporation of undead into society, from Per-Bastetís civil servants to Siwalís nightly courts. Per-Bastet comes off as an iconic city of adventure, and the touch of metropoli favored by specific gods is a cool touch and one based upon actual ancient Egyptian theology. The variant mummy templates are a good inclusion to keep the iconic Egyptian monster from getting stale in encounters, although the new class archetypes left me a bit cold. The Sword-Dancer was the most interesting conceptually, although I cannot help but feel that the concept is better represented by Paizoís own Swashbuckler or high-quality martial alternatives from the Path of War or Spheres of Might. What can I say, those books spoiled me on martials. This chapter alone has enough material to generate an entire campaign within Fantasy Not-Egypt, so weíre off to a very strong start!

Join us next time as we traverse the Dominion of the Wind Lords, of vast deserts and nomadic tribes presided over by elemental rulers!

mllaneza
Apr 28, 2007

Veteran, Bermuda Triangle Expeditionary Force, 1993-1952




Pieces of Peace posted:

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)

Going back a bit for this, but I do like to emphasize just how progressive Lt. Uhura's character is. She's not just a black woman on the bridge of a starship in a utopian future. She's a department head, probably reporting to Scotty. She mentions "my people" at least once in TOS, clearly referring to people that she is responsible for. She's also a qualified watch stander. In at least 3 episodes Kirk names off a couple of people on the bridge as "you're with me" and gives Uhura the conn. She just moves down to Sulu's station and carries on.

Being a qualified watch stander is kind of a big deal in a contemporary navy, you're allowed to drive the ship, and that takes extensive training and supervised experience. The US Navy started running destroyers into other ships in large part because the training hours were just not available, leading to a shortage of qualified personnel.

Put those two things together and you don't have a token, you have an officer on the command track. Do watch the TAS episode where she ends up in command. It's S01E04, "The Lorelei Signal". It's good Trek and on Netflix.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.


Grimey Drawer

Humbug Scoolbus posted:

Groggy as it may be, I still think Champions/Hero System is the best superhero system just for having the heavy mechanics needed. It's absolutely not perfect, but it's better than any of the others.

I can't loving stand HERO, but I'll admit that it's probably the best system for superheroics if you're dead set on something with solid mechanics rather than narratively winging it.

Angry Salami
Jul 27, 2013

Don't trust the skull.

Nessus posted:

It is not dramatically correct, but is not *fictionally* incorrect to be able to one-shot any human with a phaser in Trek... but surely Janeway would have a flaw or two, come on folks.

Even going by stuff that was intended by the writers, she explicitly suffers from depression in one episode, there's a couple of episodes where Tuvok says she's being reckless even for a human, and there's more than a few stories where she's unwilling to let go of a grudge while other characters are advising her "Dude, let it go and let's just get out of here..."

What are Sisko's flaws in the game, by the way? Besides "Unhealthy Obsession (Baseball)".

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
I love the Hero system even with the 'fiddly' math (if for some reason you consider something unbelievably simple like multiplying or dividing in .25 increments fiddly).

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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



Angry Salami posted:

Even going by stuff that was intended by the writers, she explicitly suffers from depression in one episode, there's a couple of episodes where Tuvok says she's being reckless even for a human, and there's more than a few stories where she's unwilling to let go of a grudge while other characters are advising her "Dude, let it go and let's just get out of here..."

What are Sisko's flaws in the game, by the way? Besides "Unhealthy Obsession (Baseball)".
The Sisko has no flaws, only passions, such as baseball and acting for the people in the cheap seats.

Lynx Winters
May 1, 2003

Borderlawns: The Treehouse of Pandora

Humbug Scoolbus posted:

I love the Hero system even with the 'fiddly' math (if for some reason you consider something unbelievably simple like multiplying or dividing in .25 increments fiddly).

Nobody said fiddly means hard.

Halloween Jack
Sep 12, 2003

La morte non ha sesso
It's true that most systems criticized for having difficult math do not actually have difficult math.

What they actually have is a whole lot of tedious and time-consuming math.

Young Freud
Nov 26, 2006

Halloween Jack posted:

It's true that most systems criticized for having difficult math do not actually have difficult math.

What they actually have is a whole lot of tedious and time-consuming math.

Or the math is mostly done for you, but you have to consult a bunch of charts to resolve anything. Looking at you, Phoenix Command.

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Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009

I love the potoo,
and the potoo loves you.

Angry Salami posted:

What are Sisko's flaws in the game, by the way? Besides "Unhealthy Obsession (Baseball)".

What sticks out in my mind is how he takes things way too personally when he gets hurt, physically or emotionally. See: the Borg, Eddington, Dukat.

Hand in hand with that, I think he's much harder on himself than he has to be when he fails.

Sisko holds himself to exceptionally high standards of behavior and performance, and he does not take it well when he fails to meet his own self-imposed standards.

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