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LongDarkNight
Oct 25, 2010

It's like watching the collapse of Western civilization in fast forward.

Oven Wrangler

PurpleXVI posted:

So once I get off my rear end and resume the 2e AD&D review, and then finish it, I got my hands on a Pathfinder product called Legacy of Fire, entirely because I was told it was some really weird Magical Realm poo poo from Paizo involving non-consensual mpreg and the like.

I ran that AP and I don't recall any of that. It was quite a few years ago so maybe I've forgotten. Books 4 and 5 were pretty good with the players trapped in and exploring a dying pocket dimension and then a haunted fortress in the City of Brass. I don't usually like to kill PCs but I definitely got my all time favorite kill from that campaign.

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PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

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


JcDent posted:

They're just giant.

The only inspiration to draw from Red Alert 3 is not to make it again.

Man, are you kidding me? Red Alert 3 was the best of all the Red Alerts because it was the most absurd.

Hipster Occultist
Aug 16, 2008

He's an ancient, obscure god. You probably haven't heard of him.




grassy gnoll posted:


Russia
Scotland


These two.

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

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




PurpleXVI posted:

Man, are you kidding me? Red Alert 3 was the best of all the Red Alerts because it was the most absurd.

Thematically and storywise it was great. Gameplay on the other hand was kinda lacklustre.

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.


Young Freud posted:

Yeah, the fact was that he was adaptable and thought outside the box made him the envy of the other daimyos, and which will always piss off the traditionalists and the romantics. wiegieman's comment about Nobunuga being Obama was dead-on. He was fascinated with European culture, namely clothes and guns, and introduced Christianity to Japan, even though he never converted. You can see why a lot of people thought he consorted with demons, because foreigners are just as bad.

Well, he also called himself the Demon Lord of the Sixth Heaven.

Freaking Crumbum
Apr 17, 2003

Too fuck to drunk




Night10194 posted:

The sad part is, 'We made Cyber Musashi and he's a little too accurate, by which we mean he's the kind of guy who gets drunk and forgets his sword and then beats a guy with a sword made out of an oar, but translated to an artificial superhuman actor for a TV show' could've ended up cool. Especially when he gets bored with just doing show-biz stuff and wanders off to get involved in the wonderful world of killing aliens with swords or else just tries to wander his way into the Steel Phalanx and show them 'real' swordsmanship or whatever.

An incredible swordsman they can't stop from wandering around and challenging Joan to a swordfight just because he's heard she's good at it in between TV shoots (that he hates) would be cool.

E: Even better if his show is actually really popular, and he's an incredibly expensive and valuable asset that the company that had him made depends on. "Oh god he's wandered off to enter another deniable conflict to 'see what it's like to swordfight an alien gorilla', hire some of those Nomad guys to back him up or we're going to go bankrupt."

really really really want to play an RPG based entirely on this premise now. i have fallen for your elevator pitch

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


I wanna see Russia vs. Corregidor.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

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


Cooked Auto posted:

Thematically and storywise it was great. Gameplay on the other hand was kinda lacklustre.

The Command & Conquer have always been pretty lackluster and uninspired in terms of actual gameplay, whether they're mainline, Generals or RA games. So when one of them manages to actually entertain me with the non-gameplay elements, it's a step up from the crowd.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2e: Sigmar's Heirs

Oh my god everything is on fire!

So, Ostland is not doing well. Ostland was rarely doing well; they're the furthest north province of the Empire, bordering Kislev to their east. They used to have plenty of good land in southern Kislev, but those expansions were lost when the modern Kislevite state took them back during the Time of Three Emperors. Now most of Ostland is covered by the Forest of Shadows, which is infested with giant spiders, goblins, and goatmen. Ostland had a significant Chaos presence even before a giant army of the bastards came sweeping through on their way to raze Hochland and besiege Middenland, and Ostland suffered more from the Storm than any other province in the Empire. Every major town and city was destroyed, with only a few fortifications surviving and some of the population managing to escape. Ostland was always a poor province, but now there's an open question as to whether or not they can survive, period.

The Ostlanders descend from the Udose tribe, and it's said that even dwarfs found the Udoses argumentative and stubborn. When Sigmar came to convince them to join him, it took him 3 days of arguing (presumably without pause) with their Chief Wolfilia before the Udoses joined his confederation. The Ostlanders proudly carry this forward to this day, thinking of themselves as cool-headed and thrifty people. They have a very strong conservative streak, but it comes of their relative poverty; when you have almost nothing, it's hard to keep updating to the latest and greatest every couple of years. Ostlanders do what they can to make do with what they have; sometimes this is a good thing in times of crisis, sometimes it leads to the province spending a couple centuries not bothering to adopt 'newfangled' guns because 'a crossbow was good enough for my grandfather'. Being a border region full of monsters, Ostlanders are also known as especially good soldiers, and the province is very proud of its military history.

One of those military adventures, the legend of which is helping the province keep going, is the Battle of Bohsenfels. During the Storm, Archaon's entire army tried to sweep past the fortress at Bohsenfels, a fortification built atop a large pile of rocks and a cave system. Bohsenfels was always called 'little Middenheim' by the locals, and when the war hit, the garrison of 350 soldiers proved that quite true; Archaon lost so many men trying to take it that he eventually gave up and was forced to bypass the fortress rather than take it, leaving the 150 survivors bloodied but victorious. They've already entered the popular lexicon of Ostland, with a common toast of 'Bohsenfels, bloodied but unbowed!' accompanying much of the beer and vodka flowing in the province. All through Ostland, the people made similar stands wherever they could; Bohsenfels is simply one of the few places where they won. Ostland's resistance significantly weakened the armies of Chaos even as their province burned, and what was supposed to be a 'minor' obstacle on the path to the 'real' battle at Middenheim instead bled the enemy for every inch. Whatever happens to their province, Ostland did everything it could to help win the war.

Ostland also originally contained one of the largest eastern temples of Sigmar, at the city of Wolfenburg. Ostlanders are unusual for eastern Imperials in that they give the highest prominence to Sigmar, rather than worshiping Taal, Rhya, or Ulric and then also honoring Sigmar. They claim this is because Sigmar came to their land and personally aided their chief in killing a dragon during the early Imperial period when no-one else would help them. Cynics say this is because Ostland is a very poor province, and the great eastern temple provided pilgrims (and their money) as well as investment by the church. Similarly, Ostland's nobility have always depended on Reiklander and Wissenlander loans and money when times are hard; building pious shrines to the chief God worshiped in the southern Empire improved relations and made it easier to get good terms. The great temple of Wolfenburg is in ruins, now, along with the rest of the city. Its Lector fled to Ostermark, and it's become a scandal that he escaped so soon rather than dying at his post in defense of the city.

Our significant places for Ostland are the Blood Fane, which is a terrible shrine to Khorne tended by a Champion who went AWOL from Archy's army. Bogoslav Tammas is a Kurgan warrior who was drawn to this dark glen, and killed the Beastman shaman that tended it before his arrival. Now he's gathering beastmen to his side and planning to raid the refugee camps near the few surviving towns, hoping to find slaughter and collect blood and skulls as Khornates always do. He's one of the adventure seeds for the region, with the PCs having to navigate an insane Flagellant Order that is taking root with the refugees before organizing people to fight off Bogoslav and his goatmen.

Salkalten is a small fishing town in the north of Ostland, near Erengrad. Much like Neues Emskrank in Nordland, it was established to try to build a port to compete with Erengrad and Marienburg, and failed miserably. Unlike Neues Emskrank, it was content to fade into obscurity and just be a normal, sleepy little Imperial town on the Sea of Claws. However, the invaders bypassed much of the coastal region of Ostland and so this is one of the largest towns that wasn't destroyed in the war. It was never even besieged. Count Vladimir von Raukov has made it his new center of operations and declared it the temporary provincial capital, and it has suddenly found itself extremely important to the future of Ostland. Building is going on day and night, as Count von Raukov organizes troops and sends scouts to see what's still there, what's still on fire, and where he needs to send his remaining soldiers. Being the temporary capital, it's also become the hub of regional diplomacy, where the Count sends emissaries (like your PCs, I wish the book would mention) out to negotiate loans, to ask the Emperor if he can borrow the Reiksguard, and to check the the intentions of neighboring Nordland and Talabecland. Meanwhile, Chaos has tried to put spies and saboteurs in the area under the cover of the influx of people, hoping to sabotage rebuilding efforts. Nordland and Talabecland have also sent spies and agents, wondering if they can expand into prostrate Ostland and trying to check on just how bad the damage is. It certainly seems an exciting place to drop some PCs.

Wolfenburg was the capital and site of the great Temple, and now it's a ruin. A ruin so bad that the people who survived are afraid to actually enter the city, for fear that it's going to turn out like Praag in Kislev after Kul had his way with it. The ruins are (supposedly) infested with monsters and left-behind corruption, and the thousand or so refugees camped outside of the city don't know what to do. Count von Raukov doesn't have the soldiers to spare to re-establish order, and apocalyptic doomsaying and strange cults risk taking root among the refugees. A good place for PCs who want to go in and help clean up. Our example Ostlander is a mercenary captain named Bruno Haupleiter who survived the sack with only a few of his men, and who is now trying to maintain order among the refugees. The kind of guy who, seeing as he's only got like 8 men left, could really use 3-6 trustworthy and effective PCs helping him out.

Finally, Wurzen wasn't sacked in the war and is one of the most prosperous towns still remaining in the region. Baron von Wallenstein of Wurzen has shown tremendous ability in keeping his home safe, managing to somehow force a Slaaneshi army to bypass the town and somehow finding enough food and supplies to care for the thousand or so extra refugees swelling the small walled town's population. He's done so well that he's caused a plot hole: The Elector of Talabecland is said to be supporting him for a coup against Raukov. The Elector of Talabecland, we'll find later, is, uh, missing since the war and presumed dead, so this is a bit of a plot hole. We could just say that Talabecland's nobles are backing him and be done with it. They're quietly helping him with the supplies necessary to show his 'organizational skill'. They don't realize they aren't the only thing backing him, and that von Wallenstein is more of a traitor than they know: He sold out the defenses of a nearby fortress and converted to Slaanesh worship to get the Champion passing through his lands to bypass him. He hopes to push Talabecland into trying to make territorial gains in Ostland to increase the chaos and disorder of the province, plus being made Elector Count (while also receiving the blessings of Slaanesh for his service) once it's all done would be a nice bonus. This is a decent setup for a campaign villain.

You might notice, Ostland actually has a lot going on! The places are all decent campaign seeds and it seems like a pretty fun place to have adventures. Monster infested forests, intrigue, Chaos traitors, remnants of the enemy armies, and an active and involved Elector Count who is in the kind of straits that will get PCs to get his attention would make for a good setting for a campaign about trying to put things back together after the Storm.

Next Time: The Jewel of the Empire, According To Themselves

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

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




PurpleXVI posted:

The Command & Conquer have always been pretty lackluster and uninspired in terms of actual gameplay, whether they're mainline, Generals or RA games. So when one of them manages to actually entertain me with the non-gameplay elements, it's a step up from the crowd.

I was mostly talking about the forced co-op implementation which annoyed me back when I got the game. Always thought 2 was one of the finer comp stomp game to kill some time with.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2e: Sigmar's Heirs

Actually, literally Sigmar's Heirs

So, the Reikland. Those who have seen Mor's 4e writing will note Reikland is so big and important that it can serve as an entire campaign setting on its own and sod the rest of the Empire. This is a sentiment sometimes shared by Reiklanders, who tend to consider themselves something of a country above the rest of the country. Reikland is the richest and safest province in all of Sigmar's Empire, with rich mining in the Grey Mountains, fertile fields, much of the province within a reasonable distance of the great trade artery that is the River Reik, and good lumbering in the northern Reikwald forest. The last 200 years have seen Altdorf as the center of the Empire's government, as well, which has brought investment, infrastructure, and plenty of trade. Reikland has an actual, formal network of proper roads and canals that make travel much safer and easier here (though something can always go terribly wrong), and the river itself is a massive and productive highway between most of the prominent towns and cities of the region.

Really, part of the reason the Unberogen Tribe came to dominate the Reik Basin is because Reiksdorf (later Altdorf) was one of the first actual human cities in the region, which came about because Reikland is some of the best land in the Empire. Sitting at the juncture of River Talabec and the River Reik, almost every truly major city in the Empire (including Marienburg, secession or no) can be reached on the river routes meeting at Altdorf. The people of the Reikland have always been a center of regional diplomacy; the Unberogen were already one of the most prosperous tribes and rivals to the militant Teutogen to their north long before Sigmar was born. Sigmar didn't have a hard time convincing the Unberogen of his plans because he was their king, his mother having been killed in a Greenskin raid when he was a boy and his father falling in battle against the Norsii tribes, who Sigmar had driven into the north in vengeance. The Reiklanders of the modern world point to their most famous ancestor and his tribe and see themselves as the natural leaders of the Empire. After all, Sigmar was a Reiklander!

Other people tend to see them as busy bodies and know it alls, always saying 'something should be done' in some far-flung province and quickly sending money and workers who taper off as soon as the next 'crisis' pops up. Reiklanders have a reputation for meddling from safety and then wandering off when they get bored. Reiklanders made up much of the Emperor's relief army at Middenheim, and the Emperor now struggles to convince them they need to stay mobilized and keep on Archy until they deal with his army's remnants; agitators fill the streets of Reikland's towns saying the Emperor has already won his great victory, the war is over, and it's time for the soldiers to come home. Middenlanders also despise them as 'effete' (book's words) for being relatively cosmopolitan and open to foreign customs, visitors, and inventions. Reikland prides itself on its tolerance and worldliness, because the Imperial capital is legitimately one of the largest centers of international diplomacy in the entire setting. Altdorf is one of the few places where a common citizen is likely to see High Elf Princes, Imperial Wizard Lords, Dwarven Kings, Bretonnian Barons, Kislevite Ice Witches and Imperial officials all arguing over who breached what treaty and why. Reiklanders are also very common as officers in the Imperial army, with a Reikland noble's pedigree making it much easier to advance in rank regardless of merit.

Reikland also sees an interesting touch: The merchants and freistadts of the region want to see power centralized and the Emperor strengthened against the Electors. The Electors, of course, don't want this. The merchants hope that weakening local authority will give them more free reign and allow for the passing of unitary trade laws, helping to ease their tax burden when moving goods between provinces and simplify trade. The freistadts would like to see their potential feudal masters and local lords weakened because it will make it easier for them to maintain their charters without threat.

We don't get much on dear Karl Franz in this book; Fantasy 2e generally tries to avoid spending too much page count on Big Important Setting NPCs. You'll get enough for character with the rest left blank, rather than long recountings of their deeds and the sense that the setting is about them. What we do get is mostly earlier in the book, but I thought I'd put it here. He's a good politician and diplomat, a competent general, and like most Imperial special characters, not the greatest of warriors. The thing is, you kind of don't need to be when you have A: A huge army and an international coalition of asskicking and B: Ghal Maraz. We obviously never got game stats for the hammer of Sigmar, but if you infer from TT stats? Yeah, anyone who is even halfway competent at fighting who has that thing will be a terror. Anyway, Karl's whole deal is being very good at judging what people want, and where their 'line' is, so to speak. He's a good haggler with a sense of what others value and what they'll give up for it; honestly, he sounds like the kind of guy who would've made a good charlatan or Ranaldan 'merchant' if he hadn't been born Prince of Reikland.

Reiklanders love fashion. They love fashion a lot. While slashed sleeves and outrageous codpieces are always in style and can be counted on no matter the social season, everything else changes rapidly. One year it will be in fashion to go cleanshaven and wear a Bretonnian half-cape like their knights do, the next everyone will be going wild for increasingly impressive feathered hats. Clothes make the man in Reikland, and keeping up with the changing demands of fashion keeps the clothing industry in business and puts a serious strain on the finances of the burgher class (and petty nobility, but they'd never admit they can't afford the fanciest pants).

As you might imagine, being his actual birthplace, Sigmar is the chief God of Reikland. The Grand Temple sits in Altdorf, and most of the important business of the larger central cult structure happens somewhere in Reikland.

Like Middenhim, Altdorf barely gets an entry despite being possibly one of the most important cities in the world. This is again because important parts of this book were cannibalized for the campaign books, though the campaign book with Altdorf in it doesn't do as well with Altdorf as Ashes does with Middenheim. It's much more generalist and indistinct. Altdorf's brief description here is that it's rich, populous, has wizards, and has crushing wealth inequality.

Frederheim is only important because it has the largest Shallyan insane asylum in the Empire. There's a weird little plot hook about it being a place where they bring 'insane' heirs and people who have 'seen too much' to lock them away and keep them hidden, rather than just a place for treating the sick and bereaved, but who would ever believe the Shallyans would do such a thing? (The book even puts it this way).

Kemperbad is famous because it was the first Freistadt. The legal precedent set here has been very important to the political struggles that grow more and more central to Imperial governance. The city subsists on its wine industry and is ruled by a town council, made up of the local high priestess of Shallya, the local high Sigmarite, and 11 representatives elected by the town to represent the largest merchant concerns. They also have problems with the Tilean mafia moving into their city and their wealth has attracted all kinds of other crime. I suppose if you want a game about wandering the city, getting into trouble and occasionally breaking things over the head of a number of extremely overconfident thugs in streetfights, you could have a good time with Kemperbad.

Ubersreik is not currently infested with rat people. This was written long before it would be infested with rat people and become famous as the site of Ratfight (er, Vermintide). Ubersreik sits on the edge of the Grey Mountains and manages much of the best mining in the region, and unusually for an Imperial town, it has representatives of the local dwarf clans invited to and sitting on its town council. A genuine joint human-dwarf government manages the mining rights between the Grey Mountain Dwarfs and the humans of prosperous Ubersreik. Along with Helmgart in the west, it is also one of the prime defenses against Bretonnian invasion. Ubsereik is a good medium sized Imperial city if you want a game set somewhere besides Altdorf and want to deal with Bretonnians and international diplomacy between man and dwarf.

Our example Reiklander is Hargin, son of Thorgrim, a dwarf engineer and guildmaster intended as a patron for groups working in Ubersreik. He's a relatively open and cosmopolitan dwarf who shocked his community by moving his guild headquarters from Karak Baldrak to Ubersreik, in hopes of maintaining good relations and having better access to Imperial politicians. It has been thus for the last fifty years, and the old dwarf is unusual for his many and varied friends; most dwarfs, especially older ones, aren't nearly as eager to meet new people and make as many contacts as they can. Yes, Networking Dwarf is our example for Reikland, and he'd be happy to hire your PCs to send messages among his 'friends' or deal with affairs threatening his guild or town.

Reikland is a big place hurt badly by how little space there is for the cities, when Altdorf itself could be an entire campaign setting. Still, it's nice to see a pleasant place that's doing pretty well in the Empire. It suffers a little from a lack of actual adventuring material, too. The other thing I have to put some time to: This is where the gazetteer becomes truly ridiculous. All of Reikland, the land described as teeming with people, has less than 200,000 people in a pretty huge area. Even Altdorf, the biggest city in the setting, is listed as having only 105,000 residents. Yes, this is the teeming, giant early-modern metropolis. The Gazetteer is worthless, but more importantly it's taking up a *ton* of page space. Reikland's entry takes up about 5 pages of writing. The Gazeteer for Reikland takes up about 2 full printed pages, while providing nothing of worth to gaming and being completely ridiculous. I wouldn't be so big on harping on the terrible population numbers and all if this wasn't taking up a ton of the very limited page space of this book; in a book where most of the entries feel too thin, a huge waste of space is a glaring problem.

Next Time: Stirland, The People Who Were Such Dicks Sylvannia Preferred The Vampires

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 20:15 on Nov 20, 2018

MonsterEnvy
Feb 4, 2012


Volo's Guide to Monsters: Giants: World Shakers Part 5 Frost and Hill Giants

Previous Entry

Frost Giants



While giants are Norse based in general, frost giants are by far the most viking like. As their name suggests they like cold places, regarding most positive tempere's as near unbearable. (Though it does not harm them any more than anyone else, it's just uncomfortable.) Anyone that lives in the northern climates tend to live in fear of frost giant raids.

Ordning of Might
Frost giants rank themselves by brute strength. While they know that cunning, agility and magic can allow someone to overcome power, it's never in a fair or straightforward manner by their views. So they consider those acts maug, while pure strength alone is maat.

Any disagreements between frost giants about who is stronger are solved by tests of strength. Normally wrestling, but rock throwing contests, hunts and one-on-one combat are also popular.

Frost giants like to keep trophies as reminders and proof of their strength and superiority. Normally the body parts of impressive monsters, some humanoids memorialized as trophies, though it's normally their gear rather than their bodies.

Frost giants also like to keep trophies on their person rather than just at home, along with records of battle. Notches in their weapon hafts for each kill, and claws, horns and feathers decorating their armor.

Because the ordening is determined by strength alone, there is no difference in treatment between the sexes of the frost giants. (Child Rearing is handled by the elderly.) With one exception, namely that it is considered highly maug to attack or challenge a pregnant female. Roughly on par with a attacking a frost giant when they sleep in dishonourable conduct.

Frost giants that are innately weaker than their kin hold a low rank and have little chance of rising in the ordening. If frustrated enough a giant may turn to secret worship of Vaprak the Destroyer, god of trolls and ogres. A giant touched by Vaprak's blessing becomes an everlasting one - a giant with more than enough power to rival the leaders to rival the clan leaders, but destined to be cast out or killed if their true nature is discovered.

Because strength is the only measurement of value for them, frost giants are more likely than other giant types to accept non giants into their ranks. A human who can hunt polar bears bare handed or wrestle a frost giant into submission can't be denied. While they could never become leader of the group, they can earn a place of honor as one blessed by their god Thrym.

Ruthless Raiders
Frost giants have no real industry. They take what they want and if they can't take it, then they don't need it. Frost giants do make leather, clothes, tools and adornments from what they hunt, but that accounts for pretty much all craftwork.

Frost giants plan raids to happen at the same time as blizzards. Viewing it as sign from Thrym that their targets are ready to be plundered, much like a human farmer might view a rainstorm as a blessing from a harvest god.

When on a raid they separate loot into two categories: Rod (Red) and Kvit (White). Rod loot is living creatures like livestock or slaves. Kvit loot is material things the most prized being objects of steel, alcohol, and large gems. Giants like to decorate with gems. Small currency is normally left behind as it holds little value to them.

Because frost giants can't stand a forge's heat. They don't mine metals or craft weapons and armor. But fire-forged items of steel and iron are very valuable to them. They also keep an eye out for gear like that on raids, but are unlikely to find gear large enough for them. Most metal armor and weapons are passed down from their ancestors. Others made due with stuff cobbled together. For example a bunch of shields lashed together to serve as a suit of scale mail, and a anvil riveted onto a log to serve as a warhammer.

Masters of Beasts
Frost giants are fond of taking monstrous creatures for hunting companions and as a showing of their strength that they tamed the beasts. They don't have a great grasp on animal husbandry however, so the "pets" are more just beaten into submission then trained. When a frost giant says attack to one of them, it's more an acknowledgement that the creature won't be beaten for satisfying it's hunger. Creatures that prove too willful or resist the "Training" are fated to eaten.

The types of creatures the giants keep include polar bears, mammoths, and winter wolves, but the most valued pets are remorhazes. Adult remorhazes can't be tamed except with magical compulsion, but a remorhaz taken as an egg can be trained as it is raised, and remorhaz hatchlings actually respond well to frost giant training by bullying.


THRYM'S FRIGID MIGHT posted:

Thrym has long rivaled his twin brother Surtur for Annamís affection and pride. Frost giants pride themselves on Thrymís victories over Surtur and other legendary threats when he proved to have more strength or a steadier heart. Yet, Annam was swayed more by Surturís well-crafted gifts than by the trophy heads Thrym laid at his feet. For this reason, frost giants bear more ill will toward Annam than most other giants do.

Unlike his brothers, Thrym is seldom depicted alone. He is usually accompanied by up to ten shield-brothers and shield-sisters, heroic frost giants that won such great glory during the war between giants and dragons that Thrym granted them the honor of fighting forever at his side.

Hill Giants



"Hill giants live to eat. Anyone who understands this one fact about them knows everything there is to know."

Ordning of Gluttony
"Hill giants are the weakest of the true giants. They have the shortest stature, the smallest brains, and the least ambition. The only area in which they excel is girth."

Because eating is all they care about, hill giant tribes are led by the biggest, fattest member, and by extension the most successful and most admired one among them. All other qualities in leaders such as intelligence, charisma, and decision making skill hold no value to hill giants - except to the extent that a hill giant with above average smarts, may use trickery or intimidation to grab more food then it's fellows.

Dens of Squalor and Stench
Hill giants pay no attention to what they put in their mouths. Even tossing in the most repulsive things without hesitation. (Meaning ether they have no sense of taste, or thier hunger is so consuming that flavor does not matter to them.) As a result of this hill giant dens are filthy places, with decaying carcasses scattered around. The ground is covered in blood and the hill giant's filth.

Not every hill giants digestive system is indiscriminate however. From time to time a hill giant will get sick, though normally they recover and learn nothing. The exceptions are called the Mouths of Grolantor - sick giants that are confined and starved to emaciation, only being released during a battle or raid.

The stench that comes from a hill giant den attracts some monstrous scavengers. Hill giants don't domesticate or care for these creatures, but tolerate their presence. As a visit from a gelatinous cube or carrion crawler is pretty much the only cleaning a hill giant den will see.

Ghouls are known to lurk around the edges of hill giant encampments, but they are less welcome then other scavengers. Because their higher intelligence allows them to use trickery and steal the giants meals. A hill giant would not care if a roper took away a few scraps, but would be enraged if ghouls stole a whole carcass.

Stuff-Stuff
Hill giants like to entertain themselves with inane games involving eating. One of which is called stuff-stuff. The game is seeing which hill giant can stuff more halflings, goblins, or gnomes into their mouths at once without swallowing.

GROLANTOR: ALWAYS HUNGRY, NEVER FULL posted:

The deity most revered by hill giants is Grolantor, the least of Annamís six sons, the black sheep of the family who was scorned by his siblings and his parents. Most of Grolantorís problems, however, were of his own doing.

Proud of his great strength (his only redeeming quality), Grolantor refused to recognize the superiority of his older, smarter, stronger siblings, and insisted on being treated as their equal. He complained constantly of his endless hunger, but rather than hunt for himself, he snatched food from the plates of his siblings and his parents.

This behavior caused many fights between Grolantor and his siblings, most of which Grolantor lost. Tales about Grolantor invariably end with his gaining yet another scar on his back, received as he escaped the wrath of a family member who had been pushed too far by Grolantorís insulting boasts and selfishness.

*Giants in general seem to see acknowledging your better's superiority instead of trying to be an equal as a positive quality.

Next time: Stone and Storm Giants.

Feinne
Oct 9, 2007

When you fall, get right back up again.


Quantum this, Quantum that, on a very special edition of Aberrant.

Quantum Bolt: Level 2, Quantum 1. The offensive power, the one which all others compare to. When we buy it, we choose whether it does bashing or lethal damage (and just in general what sort of energy itís supposed to be). Bashing bolts do [Quantum x 3] levels + (rating x 4) dice and lethal bolts do [Quantum x 2] + (power rating x 4). This can add up really drat fast, if youíve got the stats to really kick things up you start doing some real work. Extras that specifically exist for this include letting you use another form of energy or letting you supercharge the bolt to do extra damage but lol if youíre going to take an extra youíre going to take Aggravated, because it essentially gives you Quantum Minimum 1 Disintegrate (the errata in the playerís handbook actually notes that if you have Quantum 5 and an Aggravated Quantum Bolt you should just use the system for Disintegrate at that point). The fact that you can take an Extra and the low Quantum minimum do make this strictly superior to the fake versions you get from the multi-technique powers, though less efficient since you do get a bunch of poo poo out of one power for those.

Quantum Construct: Level 3, Quantum 4, requires a dot in Force Field. This lets you create animate creatures out of a mix of quantum energies and force fields. The number of successes on a Manipulation + Quantum Construct roll tells you how large a thing you can make. Youíre allowed to consume Ďexcessí successes to create multiple creatures. Youíre also able to convert successes into Nova Points for your creation, five for each success. The amount of energy from the surroundings that is consumed by this makes it much harder to use twice in a scene. Something that can take hits and get some cool bonuses for a relatively small expenditure is always nice, blow up that there action economy.

Quantum Conversion: Level 1, Quantum 1. This lets you convert quantum energies into a more prosaic sort of energy. Choose a normal form of energy, and you can just sort of do it. You can inflict damage with this if you touch someone then use it, one quantum point per bashing level or two per lethal. You can convert a quantum per dot in the power per unit time. An extra lets you pick another energy type. Flavorful and you could come up with some fun uses. And I guess at least itís cheap.

Quantum Imprint: Level 3, Quantum 4. This lets you copy someone elseís powers by touching them. Roll your Dexterity + Quantum Imprint to touch someone, for each success you get one of their powers for a maintenance duration. There are some caveats. First, your dots in that power are limited by your dots in Imprint. Second, you have to pay one more quantum point for any expenditures. Third, you only get to roll the base Attribute when using things you steal this way, not the power rating. I think you can also copy things like Abilities (which would work the same way, just the base Attribute but at least youíre Ďtrainedí). Presumably you can copy Mega-Attributes but Iím not sure how that works with the Ďyou have to use the base Attribute onlyí, Iím guessing thereís errata for this. This oneís kinda weak since you use a whole turn to do it while they murder you.

Quantum Leech: Level 2, Quantum 2. This lets you steal quantum points from others. Pay a single quantum (not two like a normal level 2) and roll the normal contested Dexterity to touch. Then roll Intelligence + Quantum Leech against Willpower. If you win you get to steal Quantum + power rating quantum points from the target, which are allowed to exceed your normal pool maximum. An Extra lets you use this at a range, which is really nice since it skips the touch portion of it. Itís a good way of recovering quantum and is probably why Clone got changed, because otherwise you could spend quantum to gain more than you spent with the combo of these powers.

Quantum Regeneration: Level 2, Quantum 3. This lets you recover quantum points more quickly than usual. Spend a Willpower, and add twice your power rating to the points you recover per hour for each. You can Extra this to double the effect per point. Useful, just remember itís got some lead time. This doesnít mean poo poo in combat.

Quantum Vampire: Level 2, Quantum 3. Quantum Vampire is a more limited but in some ways more powerful version of Quantum Imprint. You choose a power, Attribute, or Trait, and youíre able to steal that from your targets temporarily. Pay, touch, roll Stamina + Quantum Vampire against Willpower. Each success is a dot of the Trait that you can steal for yourself. You canít reduce Traits below zero. You can raise yourself into the Mega range with stolen dots, but if they werenít Mega-Attributes themselves you need two dots per point. You can also have this as a power that steals health, doing an automatic bashing damage while giving you a new bashing health level temporarily. You can get Extras to extend the duration or steal from multiple traits. A good way to nerf someone but kind of a weak offensive move on its own, the health stealing version is a bit janky.

Sensory Shield: Level 1, Quantum 1. Protects you from sensory attacks. Each dot is just an automatic two successes against such things. A solid defense against a rare form of attack. Bleh.

Shapeshift: Level 3, Quantum 4. You know your shape? You can shift it. You roll your Stamina + Shapeshift and you can convert your successes into things like Powers and Mega-Attributes that Ďfití what youíre trying to turn into. You can also try and turn into another actual person, or just Ďnot youí, or all sorts of other things. It can only duplicate physical powers, though. You canít have a fake rating in a power higher than your Shapeshift, and hey itís another power thatís Ďroll dice to be way more versatile than someone who took normal powers like a chumpí (though a more questionable one than the previous ones).

Shroud: Level 2, Quantum 1. You can create fields of darkness. Your darkness can be really drat dark, even obscuring special vision, if you spend a Willpower when you activate. Roll Dexterity + Shroud, each success subtracts one from the effective Perception of those in the area. Extras include multiple senses (so like sonar as well) and making the shroud semi-solid, slowing the movement of those in it and able to be formed into walls that can soak damage. I donít hate this one, though itís still pretty weak overall.

Sizemorph (Grow): Level 2, Quantum 1. You can embiggen yourself. Each dot doubles your height, reach, and mass. It also gives you two Strength and one Stamina, and adds two to your Dexterity for your run speed. The Strength and Stamina can roll over into Mega forms. You also get an extra Bruised health level for each dot. However youíre also easier to hit and if you take more damage while large than your health when normal sized and donít do something about that you are in gently caress city when you eventually shrink. A way cheaper way to get high Mega-Attributes with the caveat that theyíre temporary, but that usually shouldnít matter much. Just be careful your bigliness doesnít bite you in the rear end.

Sizemorph (Shrink): Level 2, Quantum 1. Youíre able to turn tiny. The more dots and Quantum you have, the smaller youíre able to be. Normally this reduces your Strength and offensive powers, but you can take an Extra for that not to happen. Without the Extra this is kinda poo poo, honestly, they just donít spell out a lot of reasons youíd want to be small.

Strobe: Level 2, Quantum 1. This is a sensory attack. The name implies itís visual but it doesnít have to be. You have to choose the sense when you buy this, and you canít change it (itís got the obligatory extra that makes it hit more than one sense). You roll Wits + Strobe and get one turn of loss of sense for each success. At five successes, it works for the whole scene. This is actually kind of nice, it doesnít really let them defend themselves against it and blinding someone is really good if they donít have a counter.

Stun Attack: Level 2, Quantum 1. This has come up a few times as the sort of damage that some attacks do. Itís a sub-bashing attack, roll Dexterity + Stun Attack and compare to the successes the target rolls on Stamina. The Effect portion says that this does (Quantum + successes) damage that only dazes or knocks out the target but then the systems in the description donít really match that. What it says is that if you get at least their Stamina in net successes, the target is Dazed. If you exceed it by 2, they are knocked out. This ability is janky as hell, Iím guessing thereís errata in the playerís guide because Iím only barely sure Iím understanding this right.

Telekinesis: Level 2, Quantum 2. You can lift and move objects, more successes on a Dexterity + Telekinesis roll gives you more weight. You can also use it as an attack, dealing your successes on such a roll as bashing levels. You can ALSO use telekinesis to add your rating in dice to a projectile attackís attack or damage roll, which is nice. Iím a fan of this as a power, and for once this one is way better than the copy ones in multi-technique powers.

Telepathy: Level 2, Quantum 3. Mind reading stuff, you can communicate, sense people, and roll to gently caress with someoneís memories. You couldnít communicate with an actual psychic though, because your powers are incompatible with theirs. Take it if you like psychic shenanigans I guess.

Teleport: Level 2, Quantum 2. You can teleport. You roll Perception + Teleport to determine how far you can go, and if you arenít very familiar with the location you can end up in the wrong place if you fail. Accidentally teleporting into a solid object really hurts, try not to do that. Ideally donít teleport places youíve never been at all, just use this as a great way to escape at any time. Two extras just for this exist, one makes it safer to blind teleport (you have less increased difficulty and take less damage from ending up in an object) and another lets you teleport without taking up your action in combat which increases your dodge dice if you do so.

Temporal Manipulation: Level 3, Quantum 5. You are a crazy time wizard. This is where many of The Flashís powers really are hidden. Itís also a multi-technique power, and MAN is it a doozy.

Internal Clock: Lol, not this one though. You just always know what time it is and how much time has passed between two events. There are uses but just lol if you took one dot of the power and just took the forever watch.

Age Alteration: You can gently caress with someoneís age. You roll Manipulation + Temporal Manipulation, add or subtract up to two years per success. They can resist with Stamina. You can also use this on objects. Thereís no specific guidance on how loving with someoneís age fucks with them, youíll need to play it by ear.

Accelerate Time: Here is the money right here. Roll Wits + Temporal Manipulation, speed up time for you or someone else. Each success, up to your Temporal Manipulation, gives you an extra full action you can only use for a physical action. Combine this with Quickness and Multitasking, make everyone hate you. Why not.

Dilate Time: This is the opposite power, you can slow time down for someone else. Each success on Intelligence + Temporal Manipulation reduces their Initiative by 1. If it falls below 1, they are counted as having a 1 but lose every other turn. So yeah also really good.

Stop Time: You can drop someone into temporal stasis if you roll baller. You roll Intelligence + Temporal Manipulation with a + 2 difficulty and if you succeed and they fail a Willpower roll to resist then boom thatís that. Someone or something in stasis canít do anything and canít be affected by anything.

Warp: Level 3, Quantum 3. Like teleport, but it creates a gate that others can pass through as well. You can try to use it to attack by forcibly creating a Warp right in front of someone but thatís really awkward to the point of being useless.

Weather Manipulation: Our last power is also our last multi-technique one, you can be Storm.

Alter Temperature: Itís what it says, I think weíve seen this before.

Fog: Roll and add the successes to the difficulty penalties for anything visual in an area. Also presumably it makes you feel really damp and gross, thus this is the strongest power. Who needs five extra actions every turn.

Lightning Bolt: If you are wondering if this is basically a lethal Quantum Bolt, you got it in one. Itís not actually quite as strong, though.

Weather Alteration: You can mess with the weather, the more successes you roll the more you can change things. You can literally create natural disaster level weather with this so this is maybe technically the strongest power.

Windriding: You can fly sort of. White Wolf are really creative.

Thatís all the powers, weíll talk about Extras a bit next time because there are some generic ones.

Ronwayne
Nov 20, 2007

That warm and fuzzy feeling.


Feinne posted:

You roll a bit higher difficulty and then you get your EXTREMELY NASTY poo poo.

It should be noted that your immunity to your own powers would not cover the exciting consequences of creating degenerate matter outside the sort of physical situations where it is comfortable existing. Or the still exciting but less so consequences of not bothering to look into what constitutes a critical mass of plutonium.

I guess the standard for a superhero/modern magic game is "how, at chargen, or soon thereafter, can you destroy the earth?" I think someone calculated that with forces 4+earth something in NMage you could rupture the earth's crust.

Deptfordx
Dec 23, 2013



My absolute favourite for broken mechanic superpowers was Elder Godlike. The not very well known supplement that added Godlike (The stand-alone RPG) superpowers to Call of Cthulhu/Achtung Cthulhu. The supplement defaults to WW2 play as per Godlike.

TBF up front.

Specifically this is from the playtest rules.

Short version. You got 5 build points with which you could buy stat points, bonus actions, massive skill boosts, or actual superpowers.

There were a couple of dozen superpowers of the standard array.

The more BP you spent, higher the percentage you had in the skill. Roll under that number to activate it.

The higher the skill rating, the more powerful the power. So the higher your Telekinesis skill, the more you can lift.

So 60% in Telekinesis, lift up to a ton (or whatever it was), roll under to use it in typical CoC fashion.

There was also a customisation process with Extras and Limits. Take a 5% penalty on your skill to take an extra, a 5% bonus for a limit.

Here's where it gets hinky.

There's an extra called (x) Capacity, where you take one extra in return for greater range/strength on your ability.

Each extra costs 5%, but it makes your skill count as 40% higher for purposes of assessing it's power.

There are no limits to how many times you could take Extras and stacking them.

So you could take 100% Telekinesis.

Take 18 shots of extra range and mass capacity, and end up with 10% skill, but range and strength ratings pushing 500%.

But still only 1 in 10 chance of doing anything right?

Now let me introduce you to the Freak Dice, which are supposed to demonstrate the probability and reality warping capabilities of our Lovecraftian Supers.

Cost's half a BP to buy one and attach it to a skill or power, comes in two flavours, but we need only concern ourselves with the 'Show-off Dice'.

What this does is allow you to roll 1d10 on a skill check rather than a 100 (fumble on a 10). It's not one-use per scene or anything either, it's whenever you like, 90% chance of success, 10% chance of a fumble.

Now the DM was encouraged to make the fumbles bad. It's clearly designed for cinematic superheroics allowing your PC's to pull of impossible stunts, but with hilarious fumbles at unfortunate moments etc.

But the designers never spotted how Freak Dice and Extras abuse could be weaponised.

Which is how I worked out that for 4BP you could build a Teleportation power that would allow you (90% chance) to Teleport something the size of a Battleship up to 750 Light Years away.

Or with 5 points of Telekinesis you could push the Earth out of it's orbit. :ohdear:

It didn't even have to be that extreme. You could easily give yourself say, melt a Tiger Tank with eyelasers from 10 miles away with only 2BP.

Needless to say Freak Dice did not make it into the final version.

Extra Actions sure did though! One BP per, you want to burn 5BP and have 6 attacks a round with your SMG. You are living your best life!

Deptfordx fucked around with this message at 10:35 on Nov 22, 2018

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

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




Pushing the earth out of orbit is when elder gods finally invite you to join the big boys club.
You get an official jacket and everything.

Feinne
Oct 9, 2007

When you fall, get right back up again.


Looking at the chart you'd need ~30 successes to move the Earth with Telekinesis in Aberrant. You get 50,000 kg out of 10 successes and multiply by 10 every further success, and Earth weighs ~6*10^24 kg.

So, you roll Dexterity + Telekinesis and add your Quantum as automatic successes. If you've got Dexterity, Mega-Dexterity (which remember applies to all Dexterity rolls) and Telekinesis maxed out, your maximum possible number of rolled successes is 10 from your normal dice and 15 from your Mega dice, and if we're Quantum 10 gods then our success could go as high as 35. We could also Max the power to try and add as many as ten more successes. But what's the actual total from something like that usually going to look? This is pretty easy since it's all d10s. We have a 40% chance of a success so on average we 'expect' four successes out of the normal pool. The Mega pool is generally going to have two success results, so four actual successes (could be five or six if we got tens but let's say four). Now we're at eight, and if we Max at Quantum 10 we basically get to roll a second shot at our normal pool and add four more successes. So the average maxed out attempt at telekinesis is going to get us 12 successes on top of the 10 we got from Quantum 10, in other words 12 orders of magnitude above 50k kg. In other words, enjoy hurling Mount Everest at a motherfucker but you're well short of moving the Earth, not even really close to the Moon.

Also at Quantum 10 you wouldn't bother because there is a Level 6 power where you hit fuckers with a kamehameha for (Quantum + rating) x 50 bashing, (Quantum + rating) x 25 lethal, or (Quantum + rating) x 10 aggravated. You know, whenever you need to kill an Antediluvian or Caine or YHVH or w/e.

Feinne fucked around with this message at 15:51 on Nov 22, 2018

Deptfordx
Dec 23, 2013



I ran a fun non-WW2 set Elder Godlike game, where the party unexpectedly got superpowers a few sessions into the campaign.

Powers which i very carefully designed in advance.

Because the key problem with EG is our old friend ludonarrative dissonance.

The background is all Hellboy type adventures against the Nazi menace!

The sample characters in the adventure are all atmospheric and tonally appropriate.

'Ack-Ack' Harvey who can defend himself and the party by shooting down incoming bullets and shells out of the air with his Tommy Gun!

'Matilda*' Newland who has extra HP and 10 points of natural armour.

*Like the early war Tank.

'Dartsman' Robinson who's really good at throwing?

Vs Germans who can create stinking fog, or supernaturally stealthy, can inflict pain. That sort of thing.

Now hand the rules over to a bunch of players and watch them create characters who can laugh off a Shoggoth attacking.

Another example in the spirit of the thread.

Private 'Laser' Larkins.

Spends 4EP on laser eyes. These have the qualities Attacking, Defending.

Attacking - Obvious
Defending - Can use his skill as a defensive action, burn bullets out of the air, that sort of thing.

These 2 qualites means he gets 30% per point he spend. 4EP gives him the skill at 120%

So he can do eye lasers for 1d8 damage with a range of up to 12 miles.

Lets take a Flaw, Blatant (Literally glowing eye lasers - Pew! Pew!)

Pushes your skill to 125%. Now lets take some Extras.

Vicious 9 times, each adds 1d8 damage.

Grit-fueled. If you miss spend 1Mp to reroll (once per round.)

-50% for those lot.

So now his laser eyes, do 10d8 damage with a range of 700 yards, double damage on a crit. The power goes off 75% of the time, and I can spend 1MP for a free reroll if i do fail. Plus he can vaporise incoming attacks with a skill check.

That's 45Hp of damage on average, in a game with Cthulhu level stat ranges.

Plus I've got an extra EP to play with, how about an extra action per round?

Note I could have reduced the ludicrous damage a little and added extras for multiple targets, setting targets on fire etc, or just added the spare EP for an even more over the top blast.

Deptfordx fucked around with this message at 16:48 on Nov 22, 2018

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





By popular demand posted:

Pushing the earth out of orbit is when elder gods finally invite you to join the big boys club.
You get an official jacket and everything.
"Good work my bifuricate child, you succeeded where Wilbur failed. Hotty toddy."

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

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




Come to think of it, killing everything on earth just to get God to notice you is probably the motive of several anime villains.

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

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




By popular demand posted:

Come to think of it, killing everything on earth just to get God to notice you is probably the motive of several anime villains.

Yeah it feels like something I would hear in a JRPG or shonen anime. But any direct examples eludes me.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2e: Sigmar's Heirs

The Other Province of Reactionary Dickheads

Stirlanders are jerks. They're more passive aggressive than Middenlanders and more prone to spending a lot of time whining rather than forming mobs, but you have to remember: This is the province that, after it was given rule of Sylvannia after the Wars of the Vampire Counts, did such a bad job of ruling the province (because the Stirlanders hated the Sylvannians and hated being assigned to govern their land) that the local welcomed the vampires back. A popular provincial saying is that 'quick thinking makes fast mistakes', referring to the way Stirlanders hate new inventions or ideas. Also the mad bastards drink ale hot. They'll shove a heated fireplace poker into their ale before they drink it. It's one of the provincial quirks, and it drives dwarf visitors goddamn up the wall. Stirlanders will tell you any new idea or new invention is a thing of Chaos because tradition is the most important thing in the world and changing anything is Tzeentch worship. Then they'll whine some more about how they deserve to own the Moot and how unfair it was that Sylvannia rebelled against them. I think I dislike Stirlanders even more than Middenlanders and that's a high bar to cross.

Anyway, about the province, it's an eastern province that isn't nearly as underdeveloped as its reputation suggests; it's actually a good bit wealthier than people think it is and has several important towns. Just it's right next to Sylvannia and has something of a reputation as a province of sore losers, due to losing the Moot and later losing Sylvannia, and the whole 'everything modern is bad!!!' attitude makes people from the west look down on them as a bunch of country bumpkins. The Stirlanders descend from the Asoborn Tribe, whose only notable characteristic seems to have been being suspicious and insular. Stirlanders like to claim their bloodline is the 'purest' in all the Empire because of their dislike of strangers and outsiders; others point out this means their nobility is inbred as all hell, even by the standards of nobility (it is). Stirlanders actually still claim they own Sylvannia and won't admit they lost it, but they haven't been able to tax Waldenhof in years and it seems to be ruled by a completely different 'Count' than Count Alberic Haupt-Anderssen.

Stirlanders are noted for their many odd customs, which they refuse to change because again, examining a thing and changing what you do would be 'Chaos'. These customs include encouraging local children to throw poo poo at visitors to a village, claiming this wards off evil spirits (in reality, I imagine it mostly wards off visitors). They also love racing animals against one another; if it's an animal, Stirlanders will make it race. Goose races, pig races, rat races, small but vicious dog agility trials, Stirlanders love them all. The common prize for a winning animal is a blue ribbon that marks it as being off-limits for eating. One wonders; they give these to the small but vicious dogs, too. Does that mean Stirlanders normally eat them in hard times? Strings of garlic are a common decoration in the province, with the locals claiming they ward off 'The Count's Men' in the east of the province. When people go missing despite their garlic, the Stirlanders refuse to believe that garlic might not stop many vampires and instead blame the garlic for being too old. These are not smart people.

Most of the Empire is content to ignore or employ halflings, but Stirlanders actively hate the little guys. They think halflings stole their land and their jobs, and think the little guys will steal everything else. I bet this does wonders for the local food. It's a common practice in the province to tie up a straw halfling and then have blindfolded children whack it with sticks to knock candy it 'stole' out of it as a birthday celebration. Local drunks will sometimes tie up a real halfling and then beat them to death in the same way. Stirlanders: Dicks. They also hate their Sylvannian neighbors, but the Sylvannians hate them right back, and don't bother leaving Sylvannia most of the time.

Our first place is the town of Leicheburg, ruled by a Count Petr von Stolpe, a veteran undead fighter. He keeps trying to press people to put together an army and take out Sylvannia before Mannfred von Carstein does something stupid and/or destructive, but nobody listens to him. The Count has taken to making large donations to the Morrites in order to try to get help, and he is terrified that he will be Mannfred's first target in a war he sees as inevitable. Definitely the kind of guy who hires vampire hunting PCs.

Siegfriedhof is an odd town because it isn't ruled by normal Imperial nobility, but rather has been ruled by the splinter Morrite Templar Order of the Raven Knights. You might remember these guys as totally badass 3rd tier bow/gun-knights from Night's Dark Masters. The town was given to their Order for their help at the climactic battle of Hel Fenn 400 years ago, where Mannfred ran away and was run down and murdered after he managed to get his forces encircled. As you might imagine, these knights are pretty pissed to realize Manny is alive (ish) again and are joining voices like Petr von Stolpe in calling for retaking Sylvannia. Their town is also constantly targeted by Sylvannian and vampire-linked saboteurs, making them a bit paranoid. If your PCs can get past that, another good place for undead fighters to find work.

Waldenhof and the attendant Castle of the Count von Carstein is the capital of Sylvannia. It's basically just Castlevania, though Sylvannia is a land of many Castlevanias. A dark and dreary place where the sun never seems to shine and the people bolt their doors at night, the inns and taverns are welcoming, warm, and open at all hours. This is on order of the Count, who likes to let his men come and prey on any foolish travelers who are enjoying the unusually good service and low, low prices.

Wurtbad is the capital of Stirland, and the only place given in the places section that does not primarily have to do with Sylvannia because it's really clear Oh God Von Carsteins is the main intended plot hook for Stirland. It has many inns, it's surprisingly prosperous, and it's doing well. It also has a bunch of hot springs and a vibrant bathing culture. The nobles on vacation mean it's also full of spies. It's not especially interesting compared to fighting rad hammy vampires.

Our example Stirlander is a very generic halfling spy turned innkeeper, who is doing good business and gets no real mention of how the province she lives in has constant threats of racial violence against short people.

The plot hooks for the region are one about a bunch of the southern Electors meeting to plot to carve up Hochland and Ostland and maybe part of Middenland in the aftermath of the damage they suffered, while meanwhile a mysterious enemy (up to the GM to choose who and why) is trying to kill one of the Electors. It's a thin plot hook. The other is investigating a group of ghosts that seem to be the ghosts of a group of bandits Count von Stolpe's ancestor had hung. He thinks they've been raised by the Carsteins to harass him, but they rob travelers as if they weren't ghosts at all. Are they Old Man Withers trying to scare away merchants? Are they bandit-ghosts who are still bandits? Why do they only steal silver? All up to you.

Stirlanders are dicks and the fact that almost all the plot hooks in their province relate to avoiding the actual province proper to go bother Von Carsteins and have fun in Sylvannia instead says a lot about how little they actually have going on. Even their tribal ancestors only get like a one sentence description that leads to a joke about the local nobility being super inbred. Their main characteristic seems to be whining about all the losing they've done. My advice? Head straight for Sylvannia and have an actual plot instead of sticking around with these jerks.

Next Time: Impact Crater.

Relevant Tangent
Nov 18, 2016

Tangentially Relevant



In the 'Lucifer' comic an entire reality basically holds a gun to Its head because It wants to ask God some questions.

Loxbourne
Apr 6, 2011

Tomorrow, doom!
But now, tea.

You could have some fun with the hot springs. Fighting vampires in the bath.

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

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




If Stirland falls into the hands of the vampires nothing of value would be lost.

Would probably be a significant improvement even.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2e: Sigmar's Heirs

WOOD LAW

Talabecland is a weird province. Talabeclanders are originally descended from the Taleutan Tribe, another tribe that had a good claim to being one of the great powers of the pre-Imperial era, though they never seem to have been as important as the extremely aggressive Teutogens or the wealthy Unberogens. What they had was Talabheim. The entire province of modern Talabecland centers around Talabheim in a way that I'd argue is pretty unique among Imperial provinces. Talabheim is a massive city built into a huge impact crater; we're talking a crater large enough to fit the city, a lake, and significant farming and foresting land inside, with only one real passable way into the interior past the mountainous crater walls. Whatever hit this place in ancient times hit it hard as hell; there's no real speculation as to what scooped out such a massive chunk of the earth. It could be a cosmic impact, it could be the result of reality getting all goopy during the Great Collapse, it could be an intentional habitat constructed by the Old Ones like Ulthuan, or it could be the result of an Old One weapon or something; my money's on impact crater but it's a little bit of a shame that they don't present a mystery of 'what caused this thing?' Still, with only one good way into the inner ring of the crater and enough land and fresh water to supply the city in long sieges, Talabheim has been declared impregnable by both Imperial military theorists and the dwarfs they've asked to check their work. Middenheim's an impressive defensive location, but it doesn't have its own supply lines within its strongest defense like Talabheim does. Archy's probably lucky he was stopped at Middenheim and didn't have to try to think about taking this place.

Talabecland is one of the largest by land area provinces in the Empire, but almost all of it is forest. Which means the further you get from the roads, the less likely you find anything Imperial and the more commonly you find Beastmen everywhere. Talabeclanders honor Taal above all other Gods, and this province is the center of his worship (and Talabheim his holy city) in roughly the same way as Middenland is Ulric's focus. As a result, fatherhood is very important to Talabeclander culture. A father has many obligations to teach their children in the same way as Taal stands watch over the transition from child to adult, and the loss of many Talabeclander soldiers in defense of Middenheim and the rest of the northern Empire threatens to spark a cultural crisis in the province; lots of kids don't have a dad anymore.

The locals are also known for a preference for collective glory. Talabeclander regiments prefer to assign battle honors to the regiment as a whole, and it's considered impolite in the region to talk up your personal deeds. Knights of Talabecland prefer to wear their provincial rather than family colors. Noble actions are characterized as honoring a person's community and province, rather than belonging to an individual, due to a belief that it is a whole people who produce a hero, rather than the actions of a single person. Individual Talabeclanders tend to be seen as humble and self-effacing as a result, but very proud of their communities. It's an interesting little cultural quirk and feels like it relates to the importance they put on raising and watching over their children.

Talabecland is also a major crossroads of the Empire for both river and overland travel, because it centers around a solid and impregnable bastion whose edge also sits on a river route, unlike the landlocked Middenheim. You can always rely on Talabheim to provide sanctuary and safe harbor, which makes Talabecland into a sort of much larger and more politically powerful Hochland. The two provinces are very similar, being major crossroads that are full of forests and people who mostly aren't dicks. They just don't get along well because Talabecland has always thought it ought to own Hochland, ever since Sigmar surprised them by giving Hochland its own count and province rather than granting its rule to the Taleutans.

Much of the stuff about the places of Talabecland centers around the refugee crisis. Hochlanders and Ostlanders have flooded into the province and threaten to overwhelm local resources. There simply isn't space for all of them in the smaller towns and villages, and traveling even further to Talabheim is difficult. Matters are made worse by Talabheim being an insanely litigious city; the 'City of Laws' has a complicated law code that the Litigant's Guild resists any attempt to streamline, because the constant law-suits and trials make them wealthy and powerful. Also, Elector Count Feuerbach is probably dead, given he's missing, and so Countess Elise Krieglitz-Untern has taken over in his stead. She gets a bunch of characterization (and Talabheim gets its actual description) in Terror in Talabheim, a mini-campaign, continuing the trend of the really important urban centers and all their plot hooks being chopped out of the Empire book and stuffed into the campaign books. I still hate this!

We get two example Talabeclanders for some reason: A generic Tilean smuggler and a generic Waywatcher wood elf who hates Chaos. Neither of them are very interesting. One is your standard smuggler who might hire your PCs or who they might chase, the other is an extremely lethal 3rd tier elf ranger gal who doesn't have any real plot hooks linked to her besides 'helps people who don't like Chaos'.

Our plot hooks here are a simple crime drama about a false accusation of murder where the PCs have to step in and prove a corrupt Roadwarden is using a murder accusation to murder someone with proof of his corruption via hanging (simple, but effective plot hook), and a much more interesting one. The PCs are hired to go into the forest to investigate a 'new breed' of mutant. Instead, they encounter a completely sane and reasonable mutant, who is gathering a community of other mutants to shelter them and try to avoid working for Chaos. The PCs now have an issue: The guy is a charming, well-read, intelligent 'gentlemutant' (the book's term), but they get paid a lot if they drag him back to an order of Sigmarite monks to be tortured to death to try to 'study' him. What do they do with this? I mentioned before; the hint with the Shallyans is the first hint of how the line's going to treat mutation. The whole 'mutation is being dealt with wrong' thing goes all the way back to this, the first supplement released for 2e.

So that's Talabecland. It's an interesting place and one of the nicer 'big' provinces to be from that isn't Reikland or Middenland, but like all the major provinces it's let down by some of its most important material being chopped out for another book.

Next Time: Wissenland and the end of Provinces

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Talabecland is super funny because the Cult of Taal and the lawyers are such a weird combo. The Talabeclanders honor nature and then spend very little time there.

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

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




It's been my experience that the people who idolise nature the most know absolutely nothing of ecology, wilderness survival, zoology etc...

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2e: Sigmar's Heirs

Sadness, but also Bohemia!

Wissenland reminds me a lot of New York State. Mostly rural, lots of mountains, and then a massive cosmopolitan center that everyone thinks of as if it was the whole province. Wissenland is most famous as the home of Nuln, the 'second city' of the Empire after Altdorf. Nuln sits at the border and meeting point of Wissenland (which is itself the southernmost province of the Empire), Averland, and Reikland, and at the meeting point of multiple important river routes. Nuln has been an international trading center since pre-Imperial times, and is one of the very few Imperial cities built over an elven ruin. It was a major meeting point for the pre-Imperials and the ancient Tileans/Estalians and one of the places where Verena and Shallya worship spread into the Reik Basin. The rest of Wissenland is primarily farming country in the Reik floodplains and mining country elsewhere, with a side order of facilitating international trade by maintaining some of the Empire's foreign overland routes along the mountain passes and borders. The mountainous nature of Wissenland means that the locals have to deal with harsh, cold winters despite being in the southern Empire.

Wissenlanders are descendents of the Merogen Tribe, who were known as dwarf-allies even before the Unberogen. They may not have been as powerful, but they always traded with and spoke with the dwarfs, and there has been significant cultural bleedthrough over the years. The average rural Wissenlander adopts plenty of dwarven linguistic tics, like shorter sentences and a preference for literalism. The rural areas prefer craft to art, so to speak; something solidly made is considered beautiful, rather than something heavily decorated, and they don't have much patience for poetry. The region is also scarred by the loss of their neighboring province of Solland to Orcs 800 years back; they consider themselves to blame for not assisting the Sollanders, and consider it something of a provincial shame that they now own and govern the land their neighbors lost. They're also unusual in the prevalence of ancestor worship, with shrines to prominent families set up all throughout Wissenland. Another bit of cultural contact with their dwarf neighbors. Sigmar's cult is also especially popular in its aspect as preaching unity and friendship between man and dwarf, rather than 'hit Chaos with a hammer'.

Wissenlanders are described as having the best wine outside of Averland, but terrible food to go with it. They honestly don't get that much description; just that they're humorless, dour folk who look up to and have been heavily influenced by their dwarf neighbors.

This is because the majority of material on Wissenland would be on the very different region of Nuln, which is absolutely not dour nor literalist, and is one of the biggest centers of art and learning in the Empire. It was, in fact, the site of the very first Imperial university. It is also the site of the Gunnery School and some of the best engineering schools in the world, while having great arms and cannon factories on one side of the river and then gleaming spires and teeming art galleries on the next. Nuln is currently ruled by Elector Countess Emanuelle von Liebwitz, who adores her city and hates the rest of Wissenland. To the degree that she is currently petitioning the Emperor to create Nuln a fully independent city-state (though it is effectively already thus, just the Elector traditionally rules it and Wissenland and only has one vote) and create a new Electoral position as Count of Wissenland for another family.

I have to spare a moment here to talk about Liebwitz. She is a very, very oddly treated character. In supplementary material for this setting, I think she's accused of every single kind of depravity possible, from being a Sybarite cultist to considering using Dark Elf blood-bathing techniques to stay young to being accused of being a Lahmian agent. In the campaign book for Nuln (because of course, Nuln only gets a paragraph or two here and then is chopped up for Act 3 of the Paths of the Damned campaign), she is portrayed as a stupid embarrassment to her city who is only ever concerned with pretty dresses and costume balls. If there is a bad thing, there is a book accusing the Elector Countess of it. It's just bizarre. My group took the tack of making all the outlandish accusations a sign of general Imperial sexism towards one of the only Elector Countesses rather than Counts at the moment, because it is just weird how many different things she's rumored to be, and had her just be a fairly normal Imperial noble.

The rest of Wissenland isn't very interesting, but Janna Colburg, the Example Wissenlander, would be a great PC or ally. She's a young Journeyman Gold Wizard from a poor family who was picked up out of non-magical university when she proved too good at engineering to be natural. She loves magic, and she loves academics, but she's got crippling student loan debts and has had absolutely no luck with legitimate business to pay them back. She's hit the point where she might lose her license and so she's gotten so desperate she's trying to plan a heist. She is a college student with absolutely no criminal experience and only minor gold magic. She has no goddamn idea what she's doing and is presented as someone your PCs could either help out with said heist (what kind of gang wouldn't want a gold wizard in their debt?) or help find the money another way; she's really intelligent and a good wizard, just not an experienced or hardened criminal.

And there we go. That's the Imperial provinces. They're...okay. They're missing a huge amount of material since it went into other books, the book wastes a lot of time with its population tracker despite it being useless, and it's just too thin, in general. Too thin and not written with the later books 'here's how to use it in an adventure' sensibility. That I can forgive, this being the first book, but the removal of almost all detail on the great cities of the Empire is really annoying. The Empire is the ostensible 'main' setting for the RPG, and it has less material and less of a setting book than Kislev or the Brets when it needed more. If ever there was a place for the huge 200+ page books you see for ToS, ToC, and Realms of Sorcery, Sigmar's Heirs should have been it. The basic ideas aren't bad, there's just not enough. Look at Wissenland. It barely has an entry because so much of its entry would be Nuln, and Nuln is cut out of the book for the most part. There just isn't enough history and material to justify the book compared to the overview in the core book; you don't get enough material to really do a big Imperial campaign without filling in a lot of gaps yourself.

Next Time: Are you tired of Chaos? Fight THESE sinister cults instead!

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Mors Rattus posted:

Talabecland is super funny because the Cult of Taal and the lawyers are such a weird combo. The Talabeclanders honor nature and then spend very little time there.

I mean, they spend a lot of time in the woods, too. It isn't uncommon for Talabeclanders to just wander off into the woods for weeks at a time sometimes, even city folk. If anything, Talabheim's law thing feels a little like a weird gimmick they nailed to the city after spinning a wheel of weird gimmicks rather than an organic thing and I think it makes the city feel a bit weaker in the writing.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Wait, I thought Nuln was ruled by an amethyst archmage with her own dragon?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Think that's a change from past 2007.

E: Thinking back, at this point, according to Realms of Sorcery, the current fluff was that while politically important, wizards are still specifically forbid holding temporal office outside their colleges directly. I think Elpseth was added in 8th ed, probably.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 20:02 on Nov 23, 2018

kommy5
Dec 6, 2016


Does the Countess also run a child sex ring out of a Nuln pizzeria?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


kommy5 posted:

Does the Countess also run a child sex ring out of a Nuln pizzeria?

I don't think it's intentional, but the 'Liebwitz did every bad thing we can think of' dance really does remind me of the exceedingly harsh assessments generally leveled at politically powerful women, hence how I see that bit of writing.

I'd personally draw more of a 'Catherine the Great hosed a horse' comparison myself.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 19:55 on Nov 23, 2018

Ratoslov
Feb 15, 2012

Now prepare yourselves! You're the guests of honor at the Greatest Kung Fu Cannibal BBQ Ever!



Night10194 posted:

I'd personally draw more of a 'Catherine the Great hosed a horse' comparison myself.

I always think of that as being one of the most spectacularly successful bits of political slander in the history of the human race, given that I know that and absolutely nothing about any of her contemporaries.

Feinne
Oct 9, 2007

When you fall, get right back up again.


Relevant Tangent posted:

In the 'Lucifer' comic an entire reality basically holds a gun to Its head because It wants to ask God some questions.

And luckily for them their god was mostly cool but just kind of didn't know what they were doing and therefore responded to their concerns.

OvermanXAN
Nov 14, 2014


Are you going to cover the useful fluff bits of the adventures, even if you don't actually go through them and why they're terrible?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


I will eventually, yes. Those cities need it.

NGDBSS
Dec 30, 2009








Cooked Auto posted:

Yeah it feels like something I would hear in a JRPG or shonen anime. But any direct examples eludes me.
Wasn't that the plot of FF13? The other two games are :can: and frankly so is the whole setting but at least that's what I recall from LP.

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a computing pun
Jan 1, 2013


Isn't it basically Thanos's motivation? (Well, in the comics, not in the movies.)

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