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Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Achilles would be way better if:
1. Actually bi as hell
2. Patroclus didn't suck
3. No actually he's the bombastic four-color superhero from the cartoon. ALEPH legit gave these guys Optimus Prime as their leader and it is the job of Patroclus and Penthesilea to provide a much-needed dose of reality into his optimistic idealism.

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grassy gnoll
Aug 27, 2006

The pawsting business is tough work.

Cythereal posted:

If I were Aleph, I'd probably have gone with Perseus as the leader of the Greek heroes. Also keep Jason around somewhere.


In the Percy Jackson books, when Percy's mom was naming him after a Greek hero, she specifically chose Perseus as her son's name because he was about the only Greek hero who wasn't a complete rear end in a top hat and/or fuckup.

There is a Perseus! He's a rogue Myrmidon who works for Tunguska, and all we have is his stat block right now, so I didn't cover him. He's probably a lot cooler than everyone who isn't Diomedes!

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

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

Joe Slowboat posted:

So, I'm pretty sure the city is meant to be Great Zimbabwe, especially given the river with sea serpents (a reference to the Nyami Nyami of the Zambezi, I think?) and the 'curving and cyclopean' walls of the city. Also the lush farmland. Zimbabwe's not generally forested but frankly I'm basically onboard with Lignas, snakes are good and Zimbabwe is cool.

In general the Southlands seems like a really good resource, if you specifically want to run Fantasy Africa-analogue in D&D's particular register.

edit: also if fire is the most effective weapon against the Green Walker, they must burn the weed a lot in Kush

Interesting fact; I did not know that about Zimbabwe. Although they are few in number, the Fantasy Africa centric D&D books I have read are quite stellar. Spears of the Dawn and Nyambe come to mind, the former of which I made an F&F for as well. Kingdoms of Kalamar has Svimohzia: the Ancient Isle, although I have not read that and cannot attest to its quality. Given that KoK is known for "low-magic medieval realism," I can't help but imagine it looking something like Kingdom Come Deliverance: Africa Edition.

Anyhoo, I have another chapter up for review!





Chapter Six: The Corsair Coast


The Southlands’ densely-populated east is the heart of intercontinental maritime trade. Ships from Khandiria, Far Cathay, and the Mharoti Empire prize the Showka Passage for connecting them to western realms, and piracy on all sides is rampant. This region is more Arabian Nights in feel, calling upon Sinbad’s voyages with mythical islands of strange monsters and Near Eastern-inspired kingdoms such as Ishadia and the Sultanate of Shibai.

Ishadia

Positioned on a land-bridge connecting the Southlands and the Mharoti Empire, Ishadia is the second-most densely populated kingdom on the continent, standing at 9 million to Nuria Natal’s 13 million. A country of beautiful ruin, Ishadia’s marble halls portray angelic artwork and a minority of its populace bears celestial heritage as aasimar. Some of the buildings even contained portals to the upper planes, but now the country’s wonders stand inactive from generations-long war with the Mharoti Empire. As the only land-based gateway to the rest of the Southlands, Ishadia is of prominent importance for the dragon lords in conquering the rest of continent; as of now, the dragonkin have to make do with naval travel to get at the Southland’s riches.

Unsurprisingly most Ishadians are grimly deterministic and distrusting. They are proud of the fact that they stand resolute against the horrors of dragon fire and magic, but have few true allies beyond that of convenience against a common foe. Nurians, Lignans, and the people of the Fallen Kingdom of Asksaba (Sar-Shaba) are model minorities who the Ishadians respect from an advanced yet still foreign culture, but dismiss the rest of the Southlands as a savage and undeveloped realm. The Sultanate of Shibai was a former colony of theirs which declared independence, leading to skirmishes which may develop into full war.

Shuppurak is Ishadia’s holy capital, home to the Basilica of the White Lion. It is one of the oldest temples of Midgard, and holds daily rituals where mages cast mass versions of ability-enhancing spells such as bull’s strength to worshipers. Its reputation among the good-aligned religions is so great that people across Midgard undertake great pilgrimages here in great caravans. The city also holds the Grand Agiary, home to the Portal of the Heavens which leads to the celestial realms. Alas it is barred from travel except in direst need. The scholars of Kush possess an artifact known as the Oridian Papyrus, detailing a ritual to direct the portal to the Eleven Hells. Most Ishadi are unaware of this, but those in the know from Mharoti saboteurs to Kushite diabolists seek some way to take advantage of this forbidden knowledge.

Divine Spark: An order of lammasu patrol the flooded districts of the city of Khazephon, whose great dam was sundered during a Mharoti siege. The holy creatures are tight-lipped about their vigil’s true purpose: protecting the sacred flames still burning within the sanctums, for they house a divine spark split among them. A prophecy states that the spark waits for a true scion of Ishadia to unify it and sit upon the Phoenix Throne, leading the country to a new golden age.

Sar-Shaba, City of the Seal


Thousands of angelic seals lay across the borders of this ruined city, for within lay a small army of demons. Sar-Shaba was once the capital of Aksaba, a grand nation whose nobility joined with the Ishadians in a mutual lineage which lead both kingdoms to an era of prosperity. But this would not last, for the Aksaban crown was violently seized in a coup by a demonologist named Harnoch-Khedan. He turned Aksaba into a feared yet powerful state, extracting tribute from the rich Spice Coast while its princes slipped into violence and decadence. The last king regretted the path of this country, and via a series of covert public works projects rebuilt sections of Sar-Shaba into angelic runes. Using the last of his magical power he summoned Aksaba’s demons into the city and trapped them within forevermore. He saved the rest of his now-crumbled empire, at the cost of dooming the people within the city for generations to come.

Now numbering a few thousand souls, Sar-Shaba’s mortals are caught between the Heirs of Harnoch, the noble scions still pledged to Sar-Shaba’s remaining demons and devils, and the more numerous common descendants of the Azadim and Makudai lines. The latter were raised with the responsibility of holding a never-ending vigil over the city and keeping the demons contained. Mortals are free to travel to and from the city, but the demons remain trapped and can act through mortal intermediaries. Thus the need for a group to keep tabs on them.

Those aligned with evil included Beltih Hamona, the Gilded Queen who holds dominion over Sar-Shaba’s treasury. She was cursed into a metallic form when battle-magic fused much of her hoard to her body in a newly-created infernal pool. There is also the Cult of Ru-Ur, insane humans who worship Ruhabulgog the self-declared general of the remaining demons. Ezudai the Hunter is a mad hermit wild card, seeking to slay demons and innocent mortals alike and as such is an unreliable ally at best. Finally there’s the Amunath, also known as the Blades of Punishment, vengeful spirits powered by unholy relics from a fallen angel.

Mortal Aksabans are divided between two ethnic groups: the Azadim who act as warriors and belong to one of two organizations: the Knights of Azhanael who maintain guard duty upon Sar-Shaba’s walls, and the School of Salvation who believe that redeeming the souls fallen to demon-worship is the best way of restoring the city. The Makudai are the other ethnic group and compose the majority of the city’s population: they are tasked with preventing mortal cultists from entering and exiting the city. Their two major organizations include the Queen’s Guard, who no longer serve such a noble title but instead devote efforts to rebuilding the city; and the Swords of Sanctity, an extremist faction who believes that cleansing the realm of all mortals bearing the Azadim heritage will end Sar-Shaba’s woes. As Harnoch-Khedan and his bloodline were Azadim, they hold them as possessing a sort of “original sin.”

The Spice Coast

Isolated from the rest of the continental Southlands by a crescent-shaped mountain range, the shores of the Viungo Jungle are known as the Spice Coast for its year-round fertile harvest. Home to the top producers of all manner of spices and similar plant-based flavorings, its civilizations are split into autonomous farming communities known as zinjs (singular zinj). The zinjs are managed by rich agricultural companies whose labor force is comprised of slaves taken from all races and whose produce is sold across the Southlands and beyond. Ishadia, Shibai, and the remnants of Aksaba claim rulership over various zinjs, but their rich capital and relative isolation means that they can operate with relative impunity. Five beys, or leaders, more or less rule the Spice Coast, all competing against each other and undertaking raids and economic skullduggery to expand their own lands. All but one of them are your typical ruthless businessmen types save the dwarven paladin Gunnar Von Grisal, who operates his zinj as prison colonies using Ishadian convict labor instead of relying upon chattel slavery.

Naturally the Spice Coast’s beys have few allies. Even if they have lots of money, slavers and slave-hunters are not respected professions in much of the Southlands. Many pirates operating out of the Free Isles of Tethys love to conduct raids against the zinjs, and there’s a covert group of rebels known as Azadi who operate a network of safe houses and smuggler’s dens to help runaway slaves.

Free Islands of Tethys


This long chain of tropical islands hangs off the eastern coast of the Southlands. No single government or power group lays claim over its majority, making it a favored stop for all manner of pirates as well as sahuagin and merfolk tribes. Most of the “communities” here are fleets of vessels of varying loyalties, and the only mainland port which regularly trades with the Free Islands is the rowdy city of Mhalmet. Also known as the City of Freedom, this pirate-run community is governed by a council of raiders, swashbucklers, and thieves who collect taxes in the form of protection money from all manner of vessels. Mhalmet is also home to a social club of explorers and big game hunters known as the Sandalwood Club who use the community as a base of operations for future expeditions into the Southlands proper.

The three most notable fleets of the Free Island are as follows: The first is the Istagal Raiders, former slaves who wage a war against all those who would put others in bonds. They make liberal use of weather magic to grant concealment and mobility to their ships, and an alchemist among them recently invented a catapult shot which releases maddened mandrills upon impact. His ship is known as the Baboon's Fury for this very reason.

Fatima Al-Graghn leads the second fleet and is the undisputed pirate queen of the Spice Coast. An exile from the Mharoti Empire, her flagship is fond of raiding Ishadian vessels and capable of diving beneath the waves only to breach and soar above them for a quarter-league.

Intisar the Manacle is a psychotic pirate who spares nobody in his incessant raids along the Southlands’ eastern shore. He only spares survivors so that they can spread tales of his terrible deeds, and his hidden harbor is carved into deep tunnels.

Possible Divine Spark: Intisar has been known to wield magic of the titans, which some surmise to be from some lost treasure within his secret island stronghold.

Note: In the Southlands Bibliography thread on Paizo, one of the writers mentioned that he drew inspiration from Madagascar pirates of the Age of Sail.

Sultanate of Shibai


Founded by a conglomeration of Ishadian merchant houses, the island nation of Shibai sits at the crossroads of the maritime Showka Passage which brings them untold riches from all corners of the world. Ostentatious displays of wealth are not uncommon, including a literal street paved with gold in the capital protected by a magical wall of force to deter thieves. Its government has a sultan who is elected by popular vote, although he rules in name only as a hierarchy of 36 merchant houses controls various aspects of governance and trade. The capital of Mosylon is known as the City of Golden Towers where even the pauper’s homes are made of cut marble. The merchant princes and princesses are fond of building ever-taller and more elaborate towers to outdo each other; children, thieves, and heru are fond of climbing them.

Shibai is also the center of the slave trade in the eastern Southlands. Merchant ships are routed through the island nation in a network where spices, manufactured goods, and people are trafficked between the Spice Coast and eastern realms such as Far Cathay. In spite of being heavily armed it is not uncommon for Shibai’s ships to be the target of pirate attacks, whether by altruistic abolitionists or profiteering privateers.

Kesara, the Land of the Saffron Rajah


An isolated valley accessible only by a single well-patrolled road sits to the north of the Spice Coast. This kingdom is rich thanks to the cultivated saffron of its name, but its ruler is a mad rakshasa of great power. The isolation of the realm, along with his unmatched magical talent, means that he lives and is treated like a living god where the populace of slaves seek to please him and avoid his wrath. Unfortunately the Saffron Rajah is a mercurial, easily-bored being who finds entertainment in coming up with new ways to torment the populace. For this reason he relishes any and all visitors who come down his way. The lucky ones who entertain him may walk out of the valley with unique artifacts and riches; the unlucky ones never make it out at all.

Kesara’s culture can be surmised as an extended, demented piece of performance art conducted by a sociopathic manchild. The citizens are always smiling no matter the occasion, but they are the smiles of worn, tired men and women desperate to conceal their emotions. High positions such as advisor and royal cook are in fact punishments; the Rajah hates when his advisor simply agrees with him on everything even as he ignores said advice so even obsequiousness is a punishment. As for the royal cook, the Rajah has a fondness for the flesh of rebellious citizens and those who cannot please him. Even his own Saffron Watch is measured so that those who grow too skilled (and thus a threat to his power) are promoted to the Rajah’s Guard and never seen again. The Playing FIelds in the Palace of Water are where he hosts all manner of gruesome games, and is a place where visitors have a chance at betting something (usually their lives or freedom) in order to gain some rare treasure or lore from the mercurial rakshasa.

Two of the Rajah’s most notable treasures are the contents of the Royal Archives and the secret Godflesh Liquor. The Royal Archives are a series of chambers holding all manner of dark secrets the monster attained over his immortal lifespan. In fact, this is the only location of spells of the shadowflesh subschool (detailed in another Kobold Press product, Deep Magic), which include macabre rituals such as forming slaves out of darkness to hunt and eat one’s enemies.

Possible Divine Spark: The Godflesh Liquor is a potent drink of pomegranate wine distilled from a secret vat twice a year. Given only to his most favored subjects, the liquor is distilled from the body of a godling and has unpredictable effects on the imbiber. Sometimes they get prophetic visions, other times they experience strong urges of sin or loftier emotions such as charity and mercy.

Lion Kingdom of Omphaya

The savannah kingdom of Omphaya is the spiritual homeland of the nkosi, even though they are outnumbered by humans here 5 to 1. It is a warrior society where citizens are encouraged to strive for physical and mental excellence in all they do, and such feelings have only been magnified since the return of Gamka. One of the few surviving titans of Glorious Umbuso, Gamka broke out of his Veles-wrought prison beneath the Gorgonkin Mountains last year and claimed the Lion Throne of Omphaya. He fills his citizens with patriotic fervor, claiming that the country is but the first step on the resurrection of Glorious Umbuso and considers himself the sole legitimate ruler of all of the Southlands. Gamka goes out of his way to endear himself to his people, using his massive size and strength to help with fieldwork and pump the bellows for smiths.

But all is not well, for Gamka is insistent on adopting what he claims are the more controversial customs of his heritage, such as hosting gladiatorial games to the death of prisoners and consuming the flesh of those who anger him. He also violently drove the worshipers of Bastet from the country, claiming their temples as his new shrines. The populace is willing to overlook these things for now, treating them as strange obsessions of an overall lovable leader. It is Gamka’s second in command, the raskahsa vizier Bhukasta, who receives the brunt of Omphayan’s ill will. Bhukasta is in charge of the nation’s army which makes regular raids into trollkin lands and sends spies out to far-off kingdoms, and his secret police disappear those who object too loudly to Gamka’s cruel policies.

Interestingly one could surmise Gamka’s nature indirectly by looking at the pantheon entries of earlier kingdoms. Recall how the gods wear masks to appear as different entities? In the Lands of the Saffron Rajah, Gamka is listed as one of the gods worshiped, as a mask of Vardesain. Vardesain is one of the Dark Gods of gluttony and hunger from the Midgard Worldbook. Additionally, Bhukasta was the one who freed Gamka from his imprisonment at the hands of the world-serpent, manipulating him with insidious spells to believe that his blood-sports and cannibalism are “Umbuson traditions.” Bhukasta hopes to steal Gamka’s divinity for himself.

Divine Spark: Speaking of which, Gamka’s spark could not be easily re-absorbed, so he transferred it into a bone and gold Mantle of the Triumphant Fang. Made from the sharpened teeth of a thousand lions, he is slowly absorbing the spark’s power, and he can transform favored champions into nkosi. Someone mighty, bold, and lucky enough to wrest the spark from the titan can transform into nkosi or dire lion form at will.

Not all are satisfied with the new government. The Jaga Rebellion is an independent cell of resistance fighters who believe that the current Gamka is not the one of legend. As of now they are too small and disorganized to put up a sizable threat, but Bhukasta treats them as deadly as any other proclamation of sedition.

Cattle Queens of Terrotu

This sprawling country of mild climate and rolling hills and grassland is home to nomadic Zwana tribes whose livelihoods revolve around ankole herds. Their society is matriarchal: men serve as defenders and guard the animals, but the ankole are owned by women who virtually control every other societal aspect from government to trade. The “Cattle Queens,” or Malkia, are rulers of their own tent-cities and elect a Malkia Makem, or Queen of Queens, to be their leader.

Judging by the names and titles of some of the important NPCs via Google search (The Malkia Mazaber Aussa Mudiato; or Kedafu, Lord General of the Tramplers, etc), the names of the Terrotu are analogous to Ethiopian names of antiquity. Which is interesting, as I do not recall if Ethiopia was renown for a nomadic herding culture.

The Malkia Makem’s election process is held at the sacred Temple of Onyx and Ruby. This holy site is the only one of two permanent structures of the kingdom, the legendary resting place of their titan founder. The Temple also hosts a festival known as the Mustering every seven years, where priestly diviners predict whether the next bout of years in the intervening time will bear good fortune or ill by determining the state of Enkai’s battle against the demon.

Divine Spark: The Terrotu worship the woman titan Enkai, who created the ankole cattle as a blessed gift for her chosen people. She gave up her spark as an act of great sacrifice when a demon sought to possess her form, imprisoning herself in the Temple of Onyx and Ruby where it is said she still struggles to this day. This internal fight over her own soul is explained as the dual sides of nature itself: Enkai Narok, “the Black Goddess,” represents the benevolence of nature represented in rich bounty and beauty. Enkai Nanyoki, “the Red Slaughter,” represents the crueler and violent sides of nature.

The other permanent structure is the stonecut city of Mazabar, Terrotu’s primary trading hub for merchants across the Corsair Coast as well as the people of Ramag. The closest thing the country has to a military are the Tramplers, border guards who defend the nation from threats such as raiding bands and the tosculi of the Titan’s Hive. Both groups are fond of stealing ankole herds.

Perilous Sites of the Corsair Coast

This vast realm is a cornucopia of dangerous locations ripe with adventure, and quite a few of them are Sinbad-style islands home to some unique feature or group of monsters. Some of the more notable locations are as follows:

Behtu-Nari, an island was once home to a tribe of pygmy halflings known as the Behtu. When a brutal demon lord by the name of Mechuiti was spat into Midgard via a volcanic eruption, he unleashed great destruction on the island and spared the Behtu in exchange for their eternal servitude. He enacted a cross-breeding program with apes and demonic blood, turning them into his monstrous tiefling-ape minions.

So yeah. The whole “humans breeding with apes to become monsters” has all kinds of problems in a Fantasy Africa context, which makes it stand out all the more on account of how otherwise stellar this book has been in avoiding Unfortunate Implications.

Other locations in the Corsair Coast include a dangerous City of the Sahuagin who scavenge great treasures of the sea but view all landbound races as surface food; the Isle of the Rukhs, home to the massive birds of legend whose island is riddled with tunnels of unknown origin; the Kimona Proving Ground, where hopeful Omphayan warriors (and those from lands beyond) visit to take grueling challenges to join the elite Lopwe’s Fang warrior society; and the Twisting Tower, an ominous former retreat of a titan archmage home to all manner of dangerous forgotten experiments. The titan’s insane mind bonded with the tower, and is now capable of molding halls and rooms into all manner of dangerous traps and terrain.

We end this section with three adventure seeds: a dungeon-like massive baobab tree serving as a mausoleum for generations of jali bards now inhabited by a malevolent spirit; a Terrotu warrior who made a boast at a Muster of being able to climb the mountainous monuments of the Titan’s Spine and hires the PCs to accompany him on the trip; and a lost diamond mine in the Spice Coast, home to great riches but also deadly monsters and the odd rival treasure hunter band.

Character Options of the Corsair Coast


A surprisingly high amount of options for this chapter are Terrotu-centric. The text even mentions that their magical traditions dominate the region. Only the celestial-centric magic in the northern reaches is called out as the other one of note (here we’re helpfully pointed once again to Kobold Press’ Deep Magic sourcebook for more information).

Our sole archetype is the Holy Trampler (Slayer) who defend Terrotu’s herding grounds and sacred shrines. They trade in their sneak attack progression for Trampler’s Shape, a progressing form of of polymorph where for 1 minute per level each day they can change into a type of beast. At lower levels they can only take the forms of animals and ones close to Medium size, but as they increase in level they can shapeshift into magical beasts, humanoids with the giant subtype, and sizes from Diminutive to Huge. At 7th level they trade in their Stalker class feature for Above Notice, where they gain a +4 to stealth when they shapeshift into a form of at least Large size. Their 20th level capstone ability, Titanic Slayer, increases the size category an additional level when they transform into a giant subtype creature and increases their Above Notice bonus to +8.

We get some new complementary slayer talents, such as Minor/Major Nature Magic which grants the casting power a 0 or 1st level druid/ranger spell as a spell-like ability, or Spellgouge which deals bleed damage with an attack against an opponent about to cast magic and forces them to make concentration checks until the wound is healed.

Our two new feats include Lion’s Lope for natives and long-term residents of grassland areas which increases your base movement speed by 5 feet; and Trampler’s Scion, which imposes the sickened condition on targets which you demoralize via Intimidate (the target is sickened and demoralized, so both conditions stack for a whopping -4 penalty on attack rolls, saving throws, skill checks, and ability checks as well as -2 on weapon damage rolls).

For magic, our sole magic item is the Mantle of the Lion, a prized Omphayan relic which can allow the wearer to gain a bite attack (or doubled critical threat range if they already have it) and the ability to polymorph into a dire lion. The Ankole Sorcerer Bloodline is descended from those who had close ties to the titan goddess Enkai. Its bloodline arcana and powers center around the strength of the herd, such as adding twice your Strength bonus to CMB and CMD, projecting ghostly ankole horns to charge an enemy as a ranged attack, inherent bonuses to Strength and natural armor, the ability to cast righteous might as a spell-like ability, and a 20th level capstone ability which increases your size category by 1 permanently along with a host of other features: the scent quality, a 10 foot base speed increase, and even more permanent bonuses to Strength, Constitution, and natural armor.

The six new spells include Ankole Stampede, an AoE which summons a herd of ankole spirits; Healer’s Bane, which turn the most recent healed value of a restoration spell (cure x wounds, heal) into damage; Herdmind, which establishes a limited group telepathy with one ally per level; Horned Gore, which is a ranged attack that deals force and bleed damage; Leechspray, which damages and nauseates a targeted creature via a ball of summoned leeches; and Physician’s Eye, which attunes the target to the plagues and illnesses of the world, imposing a bonus on a single Heal or Survival check made anytime within the next X hours equal to the Caster Level of the spell.

Our chapter ends with stat blocks for two new animals common along the Corsair Coast. The Ankole is a massive elephant-sized cattle animal: a CR 3 Huge creature with an impressive 31 Strength and an even more impressive gore (+10, 2d6+15) and trample attack (3d6+15, Reflex save DC 21) to boot.

The Zwana Lion is a cousin to the standard lion but with the agility of a leopard. They are not as powerful as other big cats (Medium size) so they rely upon speed, group attacks, and high cunning for a creature of the Animal type. Zwana lions are Challenge Rating 2 and have weak natural attacks (bite is +4, 1d6+1 and grab) and 2 claws (+4, 1d3+1) along with the Pounce and Rake special attacks.

Interestingly the Zwana lion breaks the Pathfinder rules. Although of the Animal type, its Intelligence score is 4. Animals in Pathfinder can only be 2 or lower. There is no supernatural rationale for why these felines are so canny; they just are.

Thoughts So Far: The Corsair Coast is a cool region. You can find urban adventure in Shibai’s golden streets and Mahlmet’s rough and tumble port town. Swashbuckling adventure is a mainstay, and PCs can feel heroic when fighting the pirates and slavers of the Spice Coast or clashing wits with the mad Saffron Rajah. There aren’t many opportunities for traditional dungeon delves, and the racially problematic ape-hybrids of Behtu-Nari are the black mark on an otherwise stellar chapter and book.

Join us next time as we head to the Abandoned Lands, the treacherous geographic heart of the Southlands home to the fallen legacies of Glorious Umbuso!

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



How many Diomedes-es are there active at any one time?

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




Mors Rattus posted:

1. Actually bi as hell

All Greek heroes were bi as hell though?

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



wiegieman posted:

All Greek heroes were bi as hell though?

Exactly.

Ghost Leviathan
Mar 2, 2017

Exploration is ill-advised




I'm more wondering where a Daedalus should show up. (and probably Icarus as some suicidal idiot with a jetpack)

Feinne
Oct 9, 2007

When you fall, get right back up again.


Mors Rattus posted:

The Eshin are also decent by a Skaven standards - they are very clear on how their loyalty works, stick to it, and don’t backstab because they have a great racket going.

Yeah if you survive being a Night Runner you're nearly guaranteed to have a ton of success, with the caveat that this is a BIG 'if' because Night Runners who don't get the knack for 'not dying' don't live very long at all.

The interesting thing is Eshin does have Clanrats, you just don't see them very often.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Mors Rattus posted:

Achilles would be way better if:
1. Actually bi as hell
2. Patroclus didn't suck
3. No actually he's the bombastic four-color superhero from the cartoon. ALEPH legit gave these guys Optimus Prime as their leader and it is the job of Patroclus and Penthesilea to provide a much-needed dose of reality into his optimistic idealism.

Give us Agamemnon, that will end well.

Comrade Gorbash
Jul 12, 2011

My paper soldiers form a wall, five paces thick and twice as tall.


Night10194 posted:

Goddamnit ALEPH just make Cyber-Themistocles.

Whatever you do DO NOT make Cyber-Alcibiades, though. That would go SUPER BAD.
Counter point: it would go SUPER GREAT.

Edit: The MilHist thread decided a while ago that there was the right way, the wrong way, and the Alcibiades way - which is like the wrong way but faster and with more booze and sex.

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

IT *BZZT* WASP ME--
IT WASP ME ALL *BZZT* ALONG!




Comrade Gorbash posted:

Counter point: it would go SUPER GREAT.

Edit: The MilHist thread decided a while ago that there was the right way, the wrong way, and the Alcibiades way - which is like the wrong way but faster and with more booze and sex.

And if that don't sound like an awesome campaign to your players then it's time to switch groups.

MJ12
Apr 8, 2009



Night10194 posted:

Well, those greeks sure are kind of disappointing and not nearly as wild or interesting as I was hoping.

Also why the hell would ALEPH go with Achilles, the guy known for his sulking and dickbaggery.

E: I think if I was doing the crazy cartoon hero squad I'd have instead done ALEPH's favorite hits from mythology and history rather than wholly focusing on the Greeks. The base concept is so good! Trying to produce a ridiculous supersoldier army of dysfunctional bioroids is something all clumsy computer gods should aspire to. Just the execution...ergh.

The thing about the Assault Subsection is that they're the new builds after ALEPH found that its original forces were inadequate against the technological advantages of the EI. Basically, it's ALEPH trying to create anime protagonists. Every one of them is deliberately built to be unstable, because ALEPH is trying to beat an AI that is smarter than her and isn't going to manage to do that by making more cold professionals. The Phalanx is basically just enough semi-professional folks (Phoenix, Hector, Atalanta) to keep it from completely imploding and a bunch of dysfunctional special forces psychopaths who are intended to confuse the EI's logic circuits.

In that context, Achilles makes perfect sense. You want someone who isn't a consummate professional, but yet is a martial prodigy.

Also grassy knoll forgot to mention the most amusing thing about Achilles, which is that he's been nerfed several times because he gets pretty goddamn ludicrous. Generally, TAGs have significant weaknesses to make up for their speed, armor, extremely good accuracy, and high firepower. Most TAGs have really crap close combat skill, which means you can tarpit them with even basic troops-a generic Fusilier or Ghulam or Zhanshi getting into a knife fight with a TAG is often hilarious because there's a real chance that the TAG will miss ineffectually while your dude bounces a knife off of its thick armor. Few TAGs have more than basic camouflage or mimetism, and the only ones which do (the Sphinx and Avatar) are super expensive. Furthermore TAGs are huge and can be possessed by hackers, which takes a really powerful piece off the board very quickly. TAGs can't dodge for beans, which makes them vulnerable to suicide flamethrower dudes, and oftentimes they don't have a good weapon to respond to close-range threats.

Achilles basically stabs every one of these weaknesses in the dick. He has one of the highest close combat skills in the game, plus high martial arts, which means the 'tarpit with cheap CC troops' strategy doesn't work so well because Achilles can just cut those fuckers in half. He has ODD and 15 ballistic skill, which means he gunfights almost as well as an Avatar (although the Avatar has a better weapon). He has a pistol, which isn't really a good weapon, but the main benefit is that it means that he has more options to respond to close range gunfighters. And he's only the size of a standard infantry unit, which makes it much easier for him to hide, use cover, or negotiate buildings, and as infantry he can dodge much better than TAGs. Finally, because he has martial arts, he has Stealth, which means that he can safely cross hacking areas.

In his first appearance, he was ARM 6, PH 16, so just as strong as Ajax, with better armor and 3 full wounds rather than 2 + NWI. ARM 6 only shows up on one other HI unit (the Morat Sogarat) and is generally reserved for TAGs. In fact, there are light TAGs with less armor (like the Gecko). So basically, you had an infantry unit which could gunfight as well as literally the absolute best gunfighters in the entire game, had the armor, speed, and durability of a TAG, was much less vulnerable to the standard TAG weaknesses, and cost much less than most of the comparable TAGs.

The Sphinx is a slightly worse shot and cost 50% more. The Avatar costs nearly 80% more. The Cutter has better armor and equivalent gunfighting ability with a better weapon, but basically got completely dumpstered by hacking due to its trash WIP and also cost 50% more. Probably for this reason, literally the next book nerfed him to ARM 5 PH 16, and the changeover to N3 nerfed him to ARM 4 PH 15, and removed his heavy shotgun profile.

His V2 restores him to ARM6, but loses ODD for mimetism.

Also, rumor has it that until he was playtested, he was originally capable of linking with Myrmidons, which is just all kinds of ludicrous.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Comrade Gorbash posted:

Counter point: it would go SUPER GREAT.

Edit: The MilHist thread decided a while ago that there was the right way, the wrong way, and the Alcibiades way - which is like the wrong way but faster and with more booze and sex.

I think Cyber-Alcibiades would manage to betray and sleep with almost everything in the setting, up to and including the EI.

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

IT *BZZT* WASP ME--
IT WASP ME ALL *BZZT* ALONG!




That guy outdid Capt. Jack Sparrow at everything and was real to boot! How come there was never a big Hollywood biopic of him?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Don't forget that one of his historical powers was being goddamn smoking hot.

Okay I've come around on it, they should make Cyber-Alcibiades, it would go terribly for the Human Sphere but it would be awesome.

Feinne
Oct 9, 2007

When you fall, get right back up again.


We’re going to finish out the Mega-Social Attributes in today’s Aberrant update.

Mega-Appearance and Enhancements: They spend a bit of time talking about what in practical terms Mega-Appearance even looks like. So, you’re soft disallowed from having Mega-Appearance at ALL if you’re at Appearance 2. This is because there are two possible types of it. If you’re good looking, you have to have Appearance 3-5. You’re probably just as inhumanly beautiful as Novas with the Aberration that makes you so, but you just don’t cause the uncanny feelings such beauty generates. You automatically get an extra die to Style rolls for each dot if you’ve got this version. On the other hand, you can also be mega ugly. Take Appearance 1 (though they note an option to take high Appearance for the parts of you that look human, then Mega-Ugliness for the rest of you, like that spider lady from Dark Souls). The important thing is that if you’re Mega-Ugly you’re allowed to exceed the stat it’s based on, because you’d have to be. You get the bonus to Intimidation instead of Style.

Appearance Alteration: You’re allowed to make minor changes to your body to conform to the desires of those around you. They’d be enough to make you look like an entirely but not radically different person (hair, skin color, about 50 pounds plus or minus, about four inches plus or minus, and just in general about a 20% change if it’s not mentioned). That said, you can’t actually use this as a disguise per se. The whole point is that you’re still trying to look amazing, just to different people, so they’ll still essentially recognize you’re ‘you’. You spend a quantum point for the scene and boom you can do it. If you are targeting specific people, you need to be in their presence for about a minute to get the feel for the final result. You can spread the transformation over a bit of time if you’re worried about scaring people. You’re not allowed to copy specific people with this enhancement (that’s another one) and you’re not allowed to hide super gross Aberrations. Still, a nice little thing to have if you’re big on social interactions because you’ll always ‘fit in’.

Awe-Inspiring: A bit more mechanical now. You inspire awe in baselines. For each dot in Mega-Appearance, receive one automatic success when making Intimidation, Command, and Interrogation rolls. You get a similar bonus to any attempt to persuade or inspire people. You can’t be mega-ugly, though, and each physical Aberration you have reduces the automatic successes by one. This costs a quantum point per scene, but even when it’s not on you’re still pretty impressive.

Copycat: This is what you need if you want to look like someone specific. Study the target briefly (even in photograph, but it has to be very high quality), and spend a Quantum. You look like that person for a scene, no fuss no muss. Your biometrics, however, will still be you, so don’t go thinking you can murder someone looking like the President and leave his fingerprints and blood behind. Still, super good for Mission Impossible shenanigans.

Face of Terror: You can make yourself look scary as hell. This is common for mega-ugly characters but not restricted to them. Spend a quantum and your face will turn into some spooky poo poo for a scene (if you’re already mega-ugly it might not even actually change, of course, but you’ll still be way scarier). Get three extra dice to anything where being scary would help.

First Impression: You automatically make a good first impression. When you are meeting someone for the first time, or whom you haven’t met in a long time, spend a Quantum to activate. You always make a good first impression, because the other person will just be convinced that you did. You were just what they were looking for, and they’ll overlook any evidence to the contrary. They won’t necessarily let you do something they wouldn’t otherwise, but still. I really like this one and feel like you could pull some real bullshit with its creative use.

Mr. Nobody: You’re able to go full anti-Mega-Appearance. Spend a Quantum, and for a scene you are just Appearance 2, with no Mega. You won’t look like a Nova to a casual observer, though you’ll still detect as such. Alternatively, you can spend the Quantum to just become completely unobtrusive. This won’t cover up super gross Aberrations, though. It’s alright.

Seductive Looks: This was uncomfortable in Adventure, and now we see where it came from! Spend a quantum to make yourself perceived as looking exactly how a target wishes you’d look until you leave their presence. You get three automatic successes on basically all social rolls to influence them in your favor, it’s actually amazing and when combined with some of the other things we’ll see in the other Mega-Social Attributes would let you really do someone over. The effect is also pretty broad so shockingly this is very worth taking.

Mega-Manipulation: You’re great enough at manipulation that you can add your Mega-Manipulation as bonus dice to resist being tricked. Otherwise this works as normal.

Hypnotic Gaze: This is essentially a low-level power, a weaker version of the Hypnosis and Domination powers. Make eye contact with a target that isn’t disinclined to do what you’ll suggest, then spend a Quantum and make a Manipulation roll. If it succeeds, they’ll do it. The suggestion lasts for one day per dot of Manipulation and Mega-Manipulation. Subtle because you need to gauge what someone is willing to do to use it right, but still powerful.

Persuader: You’re great at getting people to agree with you. Spend a Quantum point, then gain between one and three automatic successes on the persuasion attempt. This depends on how radical the change in their position is, and how important they consider their position is. A great combo with Seductive Looks, because that’s three extra dice as well to this attempt.

Trickster: Sell some iceboxes to Inuits. Spend a Quantum, lasts for the duration of a situation, three automatic successes to anything you need to roll to trick a chump. These are all super strong automatic success abilities to make up for how ‘weak’ Mega-Socials can seem.

The Voice: A mediocre reality show. Wait, no. This is actually that Command Voice Knack, with the added bonus that you’re an amazing singer. Pick a person that can hear you, roll Manipulation. If you get any successes, that person has to do anything you say that can be accomplished in a single turn. They’re allowed to roll Wits, any successes on that cancel your successes 1:1. They can also spend Willpower to cancel successes. In addition, you get to add your Mega-Manipulation to rolls related to singing.

Mega-Charisma and Enhancements: No special rules for this one, kinda doesn’t need it.

Commanding Presence: If you ever wanted to be Salvatore the Magnificent from Disgaea 3 and constantly giving people ridiculous orders, well now you can. You take three automatic successes on any roll involving commanding people and giving them orders. They get to take whatever rolls they’d normally get to resist orders, of course. This doesn’t require you to actually have any real authority over the person, either. It does however suffer penalties if you’re actually part of the same organization and they’re above you.

Dreadful Mien: You’re really unpleasant when you’re angry with someone. Focus on a target and roll Charisma. Each success subtracts one from their roll to hit you, as they flinch away at the last second for fear of making you even more angry. This can cause them to totally miss. It lasts for the whole fight, but you’re not allowed to directly attack the target without the effect breaking. If you attack allies of theirs, they can make a Willpower roll to try and shake it off. Still, a pretty nice way to clown someone while you try and talk them down.

Natural Agitator: Do you like rousing up angry mobs and poo poo? Of course you do! You’re great at getting people and crowds to do things. Roll Charisma, and if you succeed the target or targets will just sort of do what you suggested as long as they’d be inclined to do it in general. If you get multiple successes, you can actually make them do things they wouldn’t have been inclined to do. They do get a Willpower roll to try and cancel your successes in that case, though. The effects generally last about an hour. Needless to say this synergizes well with the persuasion effects you can get from the other Megas.

Seductive: This is the other side of Seductive Looks, it makes the target perceive you as acting the way he wants you to. Roll Charisma to know and automatically adopt the behaviors the target is attracted to. You’ll get three automatic successes on social rolls against them for the scene, simple as that. If you’ve got Seductive Looks and Persuader then god drat.

Soothe: You are good at calming things down. Spend a quantum, roll Charisma, everyone in ten meters starts to feel way calmer. Nobody including you can attack or take any other hostile action unless they roll more successes on a Wits roll than you rolled on your Charisma roll, or spends a Willpower. Another great way to shut a fight down.

That’s the Megas done, next time we’ll start talking Powers.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


What an appropriate set of Megas after Alcibiades.

When I was running Aberrant d20 (I know this was a bad idea) one of my main villains (in place of Divis) was a guy who had nothing but Mega Socials and who was extremely good at convincing people with scary powers that his 'Null Manifesto' was genius. Mega Socials are fun.

grassy gnoll
Aug 27, 2006

The pawsting business is tough work.

MJ12 posted:

Also, rumor has it that until he was playtested, he was originally capable of linking with Myrmidons, which is just all kinds of ludicrous.

I would outright flip the drat table if someone put down a Myrm link with Achilles. There's no universe where that's a good idea.

I started around 2016, so I wasn't aware how far Achilles had been nerfed. Still, it's good that they pay attention to the game balance every once in a while.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Y'know, it'd be fun to run an RPG of 'we are the insane superhero fantasy clones made by ALEPH'

...as long as, y'know, Achilles and his partners got rewritten, of course.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


MJ12 posted:

Also grassy knoll forgot to mention the most amusing thing about Achilles, which is that he's been nerfed several times because he gets pretty goddamn ludicrous.

Thanks, I always wanted to know what the deal with him being called "the tag that walks" is.

His BTS isn't that bad, either, unlike Patrocles, who has a whooping 0.

Also, Thorakites ain't that bad, in that they bring Arm 3 into the game for the price of a Fusilier, basically, and have religious for some reason (religious prevents your trooper from running away after surviving a hit, but not many people remember that mechanic).

I think the Penthasilea being made into into Achilles fuckbuddy is messed up considering the story of the mythical Penthasilea, at least as described on the CB store.

JcDent fucked around with this message at 15:56 on Nov 14, 2018

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2e: Sigmar's Heirs

And then the fire nation Norse attacked

Hochland is a tiny province (the smallest Grand Province) of heavy forest in between Middenland and Ostland in the northern Empire. It's southern border is the River Talabec and the Middle Mountains lie to the north, while one of the great roads of the Empire (the Old Forest Road) cuts right through it on the way to Middenheim to the west. By the gazetteer of populations, Hochland has fewer than 1000 people left in the entire province (there is a reason I haven't been quoting that thing). The Hochlanders are some of the most rural people in the Empire, and the main notable feature of their province is that it's a crossroads between the northern, southern, western, and eastern regions; most people aren't going to Hochland, they're in Hochland going somewhere else. This has had the curious effect of making Hochlanders some of the most cosmopolitan and welcoming people in the Empire. Their economy depends on travelers and people from all over the Empire pass through Hochland regularly, so they're familiar with the customs of other lands and most villages support a nearby coaching inn. By having a reputation for being friendly and welcoming, they encourage people to spend money on their way through, which supplements the trapping, lumbering and farming of the province (they have some good agricultural land along the river that can feed their small-ish population).

The problem is Hochland is currently on fire. Like, all of it. In a peaceful time Hochland would be a nice place. But its towns are on fire, its people have been driven into other provinces, and the forests are more full of monsters than ever before because it was on the main approach path *and* retreat path of Archaon's army. Though as another nod to the Storm of Chaos campaign, all of Hochland's forts survived (with terrible damage) and its capital town of Hergig gave a hell of a good accounting of itself before falling. These are the people who gave the Empire the Hochland Longrifle, after all. Hochland suffers a fair bit from much of the writing being devoted to how badly damaged Hochland is. Almost no town or village survived unscathed, with Krudenwald (one of the larger towns in Hochland, though 'larger town in Hochland' is like 'particularly fierce mouse' as a descriptor) at the Middenland border falling with only a few survivors and Hergig losing something like 80% of its people in the siege and sack.

Still, if you're skipping the Storm or writing well after it (or before it), Hochlanders are nice folks and the book talks about it enough to still run them just fine. The ancestors of the Hochlanders were the Cherusen Tribe, a small clan that had split off from the founders of Talabheim because they weren't as fond of raiding and killing. They preferred to fall back into the forest and set traps when raided, and preferred a more peaceful hunting and gathering existence when they could get it. They served Sigmar with such distinction as scouts that he granted them leave to be a province of their own and made their tribal King Aloysis into a Count, much annoying the Talabeclanders, who had felt they should be given rule of Hochland, too. Still, even back in the old days, Hochlanders were chill.

Modern Hochlanders are known as some of the best hunters in the Empire, and the province is responsible for many of the most famous game dishes in Imperial cuisine. Halflings might be better chefs, but Hochlanders are the undisputed masters of game and cookouts. They're also known to be excellent shots, as evidenced by the province producing a variant firearm that is far beyond the common musket, using grooves in the barrel to give the bullet enough spin to stay accurate over long ranges. Jokes abound (both by Hochlanders and others) about huntsmen who get into trouble for loving their longrifle or bow more than their wife, but the truth is they produce the best bows in the Empire in addition to the famous rifle, and the riflemen of Hochland were critical in helping to defend the Empire during the Storm. There's sadly no mention of how they ended up producing rifles that reload as fast as an early musket, because that's a hell of an achievement, though there is note given to the fact that the Hochlanders appreciate education and intellectuals and the Count had been encouraging private academies to form a university in Hergig. Count Ludenhof had also been trying to encourage enough wizards to come by to found his own small wizard school, and the students and handful of instructors were very helpful in keeping parts of Hergig alive during the siege.

So yeah, Hochlanders were kind, honest people who liked visitors, respected all the Gods (though Taal and Rhya and Sigmar the most), and were generally improving their province and setting things up to be better in the future. Then a swarm of angry hellvikings showed up and burned most of their province to the ground. They remain relatively optimistic, but now they have to contend with lawlessness and devastation, and with hosts of crazed flagellants running around their province trying to use its ruin as disaster porn and proof that even with Archy beaten THE END IS NIGH. These flagellants are also likely to see Chaos everywhere and burn down more of Hochland to 'cleanse' it unless stopped. 2522 is a tough time to be a Hochlander, let me tell you.

The main place of note in Hochland is Hergig, the capital, which was doing SO WELL until those jerks set it on fire. Count Ludenhof survived the sack, and has bent everything his family has towards rebuilding his town and his province; the damage is just very extensive. It was even one of the first places outside the normal Colleges to receive an Imperial sanction to set up a wizard school! They were going to build a university! The economy was going well! Goddamn hellvikings! If you want to help rebuild Hergig and fight off insane doomsayers and Chaos Remnants this isn't a bad place to set a campaign (though of course, in the persistent flaw of the book, it doesn't mention it this way); the Count is hard up enough for people that he'd be happy to have 3-6 weirdos with Fate Points helping out. They don't have much on Ludenhof, but given all the school and infrastructure building and how he's gotten right back on the horse after surviving a major Chaos sack, I'd say he's probably a decent boss.

Our example Hochlander is an Outlaw Chief who used to be nothing but a brigand. In the wake of the Storm, though, Markus Eldebrandt both used his gang to go after vulnerable parts of Chaos supply lines and has found himself having a change of heart as he sees the plight of the refugees. His men have taken to robbing wealthy travelers and giving some of the food and clothing to the refugees instead of keeping all of it for themselves like they did before the war. They especially try to leave gold for the surviving Shallyans of the province in hopes that they'll do a better job of purchasing and distributing supplies than a bunch of outlaws. They don't have any official sanction for any of this, though, and as order gets restored they'll likely end up in conflict with State Troops over the robberies. PCs could be members of Markus' gang, or (in one of the actual adventure seeds!) could be hired to deal with them, only to find the situation is more complicated than simple bandits and end up having to choose what they do. The other adventure seed has the Count sending the PCs into the mountain town of Esk to try to verify rumors of a dark sorcerer there, because he doesn't need a goddamn necromancer moving in when his province is already flooded with bandits, insane Sigmarites with whips, and Chaos Remnants.

Hochland is a nice place and I like it. I've had an unusual number of Hochlanders in my games and they've always been good characters. There's certainly adventure to be had there, and if you're setting the story in happier times, it's actually really nice to see a part of the Empire that's friendly and hospitable without being run by Halflings.

Next Time: Middenland, The Province of Dicks.

Desiden
Mar 13, 2016

Mindless self indulgence is SRS BIZNS


Mors Rattus posted:

Y'know, it'd be fun to run an RPG of 'we are the insane superhero fantasy clones made by ALEPH'

...as long as, y'know, Achilles and his partners got rewritten, of course.

This is doable in the infinity RPG. Maybe not the superhero fantasy exactly, but there are rules in the core for doing recreation PCs.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Night10194 posted:

They don't have much on Ludenhof, but given all the school and infrastructure building and how he's gotten right back on the horse after surviving a major Chaos sack, I'd say he's probably a decent boss.

The one WHFRPG campaign I was in used Ludenhof, and our DM decided that Ludenhof was an unusually devout lay worshiper of Verena who thinks the best way to promote a wise and just society is through state-sponsored education - which he had also persuaded the Sigmarites was a great way to train up loyal and civic-minded people. And one of the few surviving major buildings in Hergig was a big library that was also a temple to Verena.

So while Hochland is mostly on fire, it's also seeing a major resurgence in Verena's worship and the Order of Everlasting Light is flocking to the province to help rebuild. So much so on both counts that the Sigmarites are starting to get very annoyed at how they've simultaneously given their blessing to all this stuff Ludenhof's doing but now people in Hochland are maybe starting to pay more attention to Verena and her doctrine than to Sigmar.

One of the players playing a Knight of the Blazing Sun who thought Hochland also presented an awesome opportunity for Myrmidians to come help out and preach the good word while helping rebuild did not help matters...

Cythereal fucked around with this message at 16:23 on Nov 14, 2018

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


I do like the bit that it isn't even Sigmarites, it's specifically Flagellant Orders that threaten Hochland. The mainline church is fine, it's just the crazy warboy types that have decided that a mostly-lawless province (for the moment) is a good place to prey on refugees and despair for their apocalyptic lunacy.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Night10194 posted:

I do like the bit that it isn't even Sigmarites, it's specifically Flagellant Orders that threaten Hochland. The mainline church is fine, it's just the crazy warboy types that have decided that a mostly-lawless province (for the moment) is a good place to prey on refugees and despair for their apocalyptic lunacy.

True, just the game I was in put a somewhat different spin on things, choosing to play with the political tensions of the mainline Sigmarite church realizing it's losing ground with the people of Hochland in favor of Verena and now all of a sudden there's a Knight of the Blazing Sun and her buddies telling the Hochlanders all about Myrmidia and generally proselytizing while collecting buckets of beastmen heads.

The game hadn't been intended to focus on Hochland, but we all got really into the place. Sadly the game petered out not long after we also discovered that a whole lot of Ranaldans were also thinking Hochland was a perfect opportunity to try some serious social change.

The flagellants were mostly presented as a further complication for the Sigmarites. The mainline church obviously doesn't want to start an open dispute with the Verenans or newly arrived Myrmidians (hard to argue with a Myrmidian presence in Hochland after all, they need the help), and the huge numbers of flagellants are making things so much worse.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




By popular demand posted:

The third big Hyperbrain zigs when she needs to zag and gets herself purged in a coup at the kremlin.
I love that being ultra brainy doesn't inoculate from making mistakes.
Actually, she dropped dead of a rare, undetected heart disease.

One of her comrades might have detected it, if she didn't have a power protecting her from psychic powers.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2e: Sigmar's Heirs

Just wall to wall assholes

Middenlanders are dicks. Really, I could end the summary right there, because it's all the book will be telling you over and over again the entire Middenland section. Middenland is one of the alternate centers of Imperial power, being to the northern Empire as the Reikland is to the southern, containing a huge amount of territory after absorbing the province of Drakwald during the 12th century collapse. Middenland is also weird because it's off the river networks outside of Carroburg in the south, but it has some of the most important roads in the Empire and a direct link to the Wasteland and Marienburg just west of its border. Middenland is, by geographical area, one of the largest provinces in the Empire. It likes to consider itself the most important of all provinces, and Middenlanders tend to feel they should rule the Empire. They are also the heart of Ulrican worship in the Empire, containing the eternal flame and the first High Temple of Ulric, and Middenheim itself is one of the most powerful defensive positions and most important historical cities in the Empire.

Middenland was founded by the Teutogens. You might remember them as the people who exterminated or enslaved most of the pre-existing human population of the norther Reik Basin during the great migrations. The Teutogens were brutal warriors who warred with pretty much everyone, trying to conquer anyone they came across. They are also the only tribe to refuse to join Sigmar until he killed their tribal king, Artur, in single combat. Modern Middenlanders consider this a point of pride rather than a sign that Artur was kind of an idiot, given that his peers ended up powerful nobles and important components of a larger tribal confederation while he took a runic warhammer to the skull and then a stint as worm food. Middenlanders carry forth being violent, stubborn reactionaries to this day as the main 'hat' of their province. They love rioting and street violence, they hate foreigners (the Middenland accent is refusing to use loan-words from other human languages) and people from other provinces, and they're known to jump people over ordering a Bretonnian vintage in a Middenland bar. The second someone actually stands up to them or fights back, though, they'll usually back off and claim the person 'must have some Teutogen in 'em, eh, Ulric knows our ancestors got around' (direct quote from the book). This is because they're kind of losers in addition to being bullies by nature.

Like I said, Middenlanders: Dicks.

Now we run into one of the other big problems of this book: Middenheim is really loving important, right? Worthy of a big write-up, especially with it being central to the big story event since it was key to the Empire winning its war against Archy? It gets like 3 paragraphs of cursory description. So does Altdorf, Talabheim and Nuln. These are the biggest urban centers in the Old World, places whose culture is absolutely essential to the Empire as a setting. The problem is, they're also the location of big campaign adventures, published separately, and a decision was made to hold off on the city descriptions and put them there. You can refer to my abandoned Ashes of Middenheim stuff for Middenheim's detailed writeup, but over there it got tons of plot hooks and flavor, such that you could easily set a game there without using the attached mini-campaign. A lot of material that should be in this book is cannibalized into other books; Realms of Sorcery, Tome of Salvation, even Tome of Corruption and the pre-made adventures contain stuff that I really would have wanted in an Empire book. Instead, the Empire Book is a tiny book rather than the huge 200+ page tomes of some of the other sourcebooks. This is one of the reasons Sigmar's Heirs on its own just doesn't feel complete or especially useful.

You might recognize Untergard from the intro adventure in the core book, as far as 'important' places in Middenheim. It's really only important for that, being a small town founded by peasants fleeing the unjust taxes of Graf Sternhauer, who can somehow lose his entire castle to a Lesser Demon a starting PC party could beat in a fight if they mess up the intro adventure (while never meeting him or having any reason to care about him, really; Through the Drakwald is a miserably bad introduction to WFRP).

Middenheim is Middenheim; refer to the archived Ashes of Middenheim material for it, because all you get in this book is 'It's very defensible' 'it's important' and 'ULRIC!'

Carroburg is interesting, being the southern city (and one time Imperial capital) sitting along the north bank of the Reik. Carroburg is known for its excellent greatswords, its school of oratory, and its liberal ideas and character, in defiance of the province's norms. Duke Leopold von Bildenhofen has shocked his peers by openly supporting a charter and constitution for the town and its surroundings, saying that such ideas are the wave of the future. He is extremely popular with his subjects as a result of his support for their self rule, and his use of much of his personal fortune for charity and the city's temples, even as his noble peers think he's gone mad for talking about the rights of the common man (and especially for lending them legal weight and limiting his own power without even being forced to). As it avoided the worst of the fighting, Carroburg is suffering some disorder from the huge number of refugees fleeing south. The city has been able to keep the peace and mostly provide for fleeing citizens, but there's no telling how long that will last, especially with the damage done to agriculture by having to call up so many citizens to war rather than harvest this year.

Our example Middenlander is actually a Knight of the Blazing Sun, a Middenlander woman who joined the church of Myrmidia after attending a service while visiting the city. She liked the idea of a Goddess that would permit her to be a soldier, and with her martial bent, ended up a Templar rather than a Priest. Dame Agnetha Weiltraub is now a full Knight of the Blazing Sun, but missed the battle at Middenheim. She tries to make up for it by recruiting PCs as mercenaries and allies to help her ride about and defend refugees or clear out overrun villages so people can return to their homes. I should mention all these characters have a full stat-line/character sheet. She's an Initiate, Squire, Knight of the Blazing Sun (we'll be getting their career later in this book) and a very respectable fighter, but she doesn't really feel representative of Middenland (especially as her background states she's from, uh, Wissenland. Which is a ways away. Just operating here). In general there's sort of no rhyme or reason to the 'example' characters from each province, but at least most of them have decent plot hooks and a bit of 'how to use as a replacement PC if someone's dead or a pre-made or an ally/enemy/patron'.

Our hooks for Middenland are similarly scattershot: A woman kidnapped by bandits whose kidnappers are all found dead and then the PCs have to save her from being sacrificed by whatever kidnapped her a second time, and a mission about an archeological dig that ends up stumbling on human traitors trying to work with Skaven. Note this is the first mention of Skaven in the entire book, and nearly the only one.

Middenland is a province full of annoying people, but at least they're fun to punch in the face.

Next Time: The Only Genuine Democratic State In The Old World

OvermanXAN
Nov 14, 2014


Halloween Jack posted:

Actually, she dropped dead of a rare, undetected heart disease.

I mean that does not, in fact, preclude it being part of a kremlin coup.

Edit: Yeah Middenland is a lovely place generally, but at least Carroburg is cool?

OvermanXAN fucked around with this message at 17:43 on Nov 14, 2018

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

IT *BZZT* WASP ME--
IT WASP ME ALL *BZZT* ALONG!




In my mind it became a euphemism for 'made the wrong friends'
but yeah it dosent say so in the text:

quote:

One of Bich’s power offspring breaks free of
her conditioning and sets up a rival faction within the Kremlin. But Bich
keeps Cam, Weeks and her own traitor in check while steadily preparing
the USSR for a Christian future, right up to the point that she drops dead of
asymptomatic hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in 1978.

Loxbourne
Apr 6, 2011

Tomorrow, doom!
But now, tea.

Night10194 posted:

Middenland is a province full of annoying people, but at least they're fun to punch in the face.

If I ever run a campaign, Middenland is being replaced wholesale by Germanic Yorkshire. Tone down the dickishness, tone up the smugness.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



(For comparison: the entirety of the 4e book's setting was Middenland. Middenlanders were characterized as being smug and mercantile but also talkative, cosmopolitan and accepting. Altdorfers still treat rioting as a form of entertainment, but, I mean, that's par for the course with the era's cities.)

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Mors Rattus posted:

(For comparison: the entirety of the 4e book's setting was Middenland. Middenlanders were characterized as being smug and mercantile but also talkative, cosmopolitan and accepting.)

It's Reikland in 4e, I thought? Which is about how Reikland is here, too.

E: Also, Middenlanders hate Reiklanders for being 'effete' and too accepting (but really because the Reikland is richer and more likely to command the Imperial throne since Magnus)

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 19:31 on Nov 14, 2018

HerraS
Apr 15, 2012

Looking professional when committing genocide is essential. This is mostly achieved by using a beret.

Olive drab colour ensures the genocider will remain hidden from his prey until it's too late for them to do anything.





Mors Rattus posted:

(For comparison: the entirety of the 4e book's setting was Middenland. Middenlanders were characterized as being smug and mercantile but also talkative, cosmopolitan and accepting. Altdorfers still treat rioting as a form of entertainment, but, I mean, that's par for the course with the era's cities.)

Reiklanders, not Middenlanders, you unwashed wolf-loving peasant :smug:

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



...oh right, Altdorf isn't in Middenland

look, I'm at work and it is sapping my brains

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Middenlanders would at least probably tell you it should be, before whining they wouldn't want it anyway even if it was because it's got foreigns in it.

HerraS
Apr 15, 2012

Looking professional when committing genocide is essential. This is mostly achieved by using a beret.

Olive drab colour ensures the genocider will remain hidden from his prey until it's too late for them to do anything.





The 1st edition of WFRP gave Middenheim it's own sourcebook and the fourth part of the Enemy Within campaign takes place there. Of course Boris Todbringer (like every other leader in Warhammer) was transformed from a tired old man with a drooling idiot for a heir to another moustache rocking badass warrior over time.

The best description of Middenlanders in 1st edition was that a lot of Dwarfs think Middenheim is a great place for a holiday.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


I don't think Todbringer ever actually gets any characterization in 2e except that that one Beastlord just loves loving with him. All the time. All days. Oh, and that he lost the election to Karl Franz in a big shock. Like, he isn't even mentioned here and the only mention he gets in the huge Middenheim writeup for Ashes of Middenheim is that his real son is an idiot, his bastard son is pretty good (and also may have hosed up the Ulrican vow of chastity because he got a priestess pregnant), and his daughter is considered a major political marriage goal for most of the northern Empire because the assumption is she'll inherit.

But there's nothing about his personality besides 'gruff, old, reasonably competent.'

HerraS
Apr 15, 2012

Looking professional when committing genocide is essential. This is mostly achieved by using a beret.

Olive drab colour ensures the genocider will remain hidden from his prey until it's too late for them to do anything.





Yeah, 2nd ed Boris is pretty much the wargame version of him being a grumpy grandpa who every now and then goes to smash some goatmen with his sword because he and Khazrak have such hateboners for each other.

In first edition hes a tired and broken old man who no longer cares about things around him enough to make any decisions himself and is instead completely under his councils control. And Karl-Franz was made Emperor because the other Electors rightly see him as an inefficient buffoon who wont try to meddle in their affairs. But then every faction leader had to become a badass murderman.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



I mean, I'm pretty okay with a baseline level of competence.

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OvermanXAN
Nov 14, 2014


HerraS posted:

In first edition hes a tired and broken old man who no longer cares about things around him enough to make any decisions himself and is instead completely under his councils control. And Karl-Franz was made Emperor because the other Electors rightly see him as an inefficient buffoon who wont try to meddle in their affairs. But then every faction leader had to become a badass murderman.

Honestly, I'm fine with every faction leader being a badass murderman. 1E just seems kinda depressing. Besides which, I think Karl Franz winds up way more interesting out of the deal.

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