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Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





a computing pun posted:

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

I thought he was crushing on Death and thought he could impress her by being the biggest murderer.

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Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

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




Joe Slowboat posted:

I thought he was crushing on Death and thought he could impress her by being the biggest murderer.

I mean it's not too far off in that case, Death being more or less a god.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




With regard to this whole Elder Godlike thing, maaan, I know some of you don't like dice pools on principle, but I see no point in trying to port Godlike straight over to the BRP system.

MonsterEnvy
Feb 4, 2012


On Countess Emanuelle

An early Gotrek and Felix novel talked about her. Namely the book discounted a lot of the rumors stating there were just a lot of rumors about her many contradicting. The main facts about her were, average intelligence, really pretty, enjoyed parties, loved Nuln, hated the rest of Wiessenland. (Also quite courageous, the skaven invaded her place in the middle of a costume party, Thanquol disintegrating anyone that did not answer his questions. And she revealed herself and stood up to him.)

The various rumors about her were part of the plot in the early part of the books as one of the villains was Emanuelle's Spy Master. A creepy guy with a huge crush on her (Even thinking of her as the purest maiden in the land.) and also a paranoid and warped mindset holding too much power. He was also stupid and entered into an alliance with the Skaven, believing them to be obedient spies that just wanted to be left alone. Thanquol laughed about him as they could pretty much tell him anyone was a chaos worshiper and he would believe it, particularly if they brought up Emanuelle and rumors about her with it. The masterstroke was a plan to cause a war between Nuln and Reikland when Karl Franz's brother came to visit. They were going to tell the Spy Master that he was a chaos worshiper and also that he had an affair with Emanuelle. The Spymaster would believe them and have Karl's brother killed and hopefully set off a conflict between Nuln and Reikland. Gotrek and Felix solved the problem however.

Barudak
May 7, 2007



NGDBSS posted:

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.

It is indeed the plot of FF13. The lesser gods made by the divine creator gods are pissed that theyre stuck with humans while their makers wandered off looking for their own maker so their plan is to kill all humans so the creator gods come back. If that fails, since theyre basically clockwork automatons not having any humans left will mean they dont have any reason to exist and will get to die. Basically genocide as a tantrum.

Feinne
Oct 9, 2007

When you fall, get right back up again.


Okay, weíve got one more short section on powers in Aberrant, just a quick little update today on Extras.

I talked about them a bit at the start and Iíve mentioned some power-specific ones, but Extras are bonuses you add onto a Power in exchange for increasing its Level by 1. This means the Power costs more Quantum to use and more Experience/Nova Points to raise. Powers canít currently be above Level 3, so no Level 3 power can have one and Level 2 powers can only have one. Once youíve bought an Extra for a power, itís part of that power for good and canít be turned off. You can upgrade an existing power with an Extra if you like, but it costs the entire difference in cost between what your current power would cost and what the upgraded one would have cost from scratch. So letís talk about the generic Extras, which can apply to any applicable power in theory.

Aggravated: Weíre starting with one of the best ones. This takes a power that does Bashing or Lethal damage and converts it to Aggravated. The base damage is Quantum + successes, though Iím not sure how thatís supposed to apply to anything but Quantum Bolt really. Itís like this Extra wasnít well thought through! And it wasnít because basically anything that does damage that isnít Quantum Bolt either has systems that arenít compatible with that calculation or is a technique for a Level 3 that canít take this. You should probably not let anyone take this because the actual thing anyone wants to do is take Aggravated Claws and just do aggravated damage with all their melee.

Area: Allows a power that does not already affect an area to do so. Youíre pretty much always going to be using this on something like Quantum Bolt but at least itís not goddamn broken like Aggravated so whatever. Iím sure you can find some way to break this that White Wolf didnít consider.

Armor Piercing: A power with this Extra can ignore two levels of soak per success. It only works on powers that inflict damage and lol why would you take this when you can take Aggravated and ignore ALL their soak 99% of the time? And why does this even need to exist when soak already scales so badly compared to damage?

Burning: This makes (usually an offensive) power apply a damage over time effect equal to half the initial damage for turns equal to the power rating. This is at least a unique effect and is certainly a lot more fair than loving Aggravated even though itís still basically only for Quantum Bolt.

Cloud: Makes an attack in the form of a cloud that therefore hits an area in a lingering fashion. Itís a bit more indiscriminate than Area but does some extra damage overall since it lasts more than one turn.

Explosion: Makes an attack hit a sphere with dropoff damage. It can be a bigger radius than Area in theory but in practice itís kinda poo poo because White Wolf kinda didnít think any of these through.

Homing: Yay something new! A Homing attack ignores range penalties and the targetís first dodge success. Itís still probably worse than doing aggravated damage but at least itís not a bunch of ways of doing an AoE that you can easily see which is worst.

Impervious: A defensive Extra for once! The power ignores Armor Piercing and converts incoming aggravated damage into lethal, which is pretty drat nice overall. Though it doesnít make your soak be high enough to live through the highest damage totals.

Increased Duration: Your power lasts twice as long. Boring but usually pretty good, since itís one more quantum point to get double the duration. And at least itís applicable to things that arenít Quantum Bolt.

Increased Range: Doubles the medium range of a power, and lets you use it at long range as far as you can see. This is actually pretty good if you pair it with Mega-Perception to make that long range super nuts. Otherwise, kinda poo poo.

MIRV: You can split the attack between multiple targets. You roll once against the very worst possible modifiers among the targets, then split your damage dice among them. If your power has base damage like say Quantum Bolt, then that remains unsplit. This is really friggin nasty honestly, the base damage on a QB is quite a lot so you can hit a whole bunch of fragile targets for plenty enough to frag them. Just be glad it HAS to be multiple targets otherwise this would be intensely broken.

Range: This makes a Touch ranged power work at a range. Boring but actually pretty useful probably for some.

Reduced Quantum Cost: Halve the cost, rounding down. Iím pretty sure this ALSO doesnít actually raise the cost as normal, because it makes a Level 1 power free. Thereís some nice Level 1ís that you might like to be free, I guess.

Spray/Jet: This lets a power be a, well, spray or jet instead of a single hit. You can fire continuously as a jet, and if you do you increase your accuracy by one each turn (up to 5) but halve your maximum range. If you spray, that adds 10 dice to the attack but increases the difficulty the more area youíre trying to cover.

These are honestly mostly underwhelming, most are basically specifically for Quantum Bolt and most of THOSE are underwhelming compared to the other options. Extras are probably a good thing but not implemented well at all.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




Joe Slowboat posted:

I thought he was crushing on Death and thought he could impress her by being the biggest murderer.
Yep.

(It didn't work.)

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


MonsieurChoc posted:

It varies a lot from depiction to depiction. He's either a reformer, a revolutionary, or literally satan.

Historical accuracy:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Au4DR7UUIWg

("Golden Evil Statue" is one of the few lines from this game that will probably stick in my mind forever.)

Feinne
Oct 9, 2007

When you fall, get right back up again.


Weíre finally past Powers, but thereís still more Aberrant. Today weíre starting Chapter 6.

Chapter 6: Drama

Now we start getting rules for doing poo poo. A lot of the actions have little caveats for how they interact with Powers like Claws helping you with climbing or all the goofy ways Mega-Strength interacts with poo poo because its systems donít work like any of the others. Weíre skipping right past to some combat stuff.

So, we have a sidebar on weak baseline attacks vs nova defenses. Basically they suggest that if you have twice as much soak as a normal humanís damage effect then gently caress them, they donít even get to roll the pity die to attempt to damage you. Thatís about right, you donít just shoot Superman with normal bullets until you luck out and he dies.

Damage comes in the three proper White Wolf flavors, as weíve seen, bashing, lethal, and aggravated. Aggravated damage is Lethal But Worse, itís a fucker to soak and hard to heal. As weíve seen in their descriptions Nova powers often have a Damage Add in addition to a damage effect. These are the automatic successes added to the effect. Soak always subtracts from them first. Novas, unlike normal humans, can soak Lethal effects.

Novas have some special combat maneuvers, letís talk about those. So first thereís the idea of the Power Block, that is using a Power to block an attack. This works like a normal block attempt, but you get to roll Dexterity + Power Rating instead of a physical combat ability and itís way safer since youíre not literally using your body.

The Aerial Slam is basically doing the Superhero Landing on a motherfucker. You do Strength + 3 bashing base and add two dice for each dot of Flight (or its equivalent). You take half the damage you deal, so take care. You can reduce your own damage effect as much as youíd like to mitigate this. The defender has to check to resist being knocked back, and you need to roll to stay oriented. Hypermovement also adds dice to the damage pool, one per. If youíre a big fan of Double Edge or Flame Charge then congrats, now you have it in Aberrant.

Aerial Strike is a flyby attack. You roll at +1 difficulty but add your Flight and Hypermovement to the damage effect, which is potentially pretty loving great. Especially since you are doing it while moving and are therefore nearly impossible to hit.

The Asphyxiation Attack is using a fluid body to smother a foe. It uses the drowning rules and itís pretty okay against targets that works on.

Hyperspeed Slam is like the Aerial Slam, but uses the Hypermovement Power and Enhanced Movement Enhancement. Itís still got recoil and the damage cap is slightly lower than that of the Aerial Slam since thereís not an extra power to apply to it, but unless your soak is crazy you donít really WANT too much extra damage. Just use the running equivalent of the Aerial StrikeÖ

The Hyperspeed Strike. Itís a normal strike at + 1 difficulty but you add one die to the damage effect per Hypermovement and two for having Enhanced Movement. Itís kinda really good, +1 difficulty is who cares and as many as seven extra dice that stack with your other stuff.

The Smackdown is a special physical attack thatís kind of a waste. Itís Mega-Strength only and you spend a whole turn charging up and spend a Willpower to attack at + 2 difficulty and do Strength + 6 damage with a VERY high chance to knock the enemy down too. OR. Just OR. You could blow up the action economy and punch them like five times with your Mega-Strength for WAY more damage.

We get a bunch of other stuff that works like every other White Wolf game now. If youíve read oneís rules youíve read Ďem all, itís a blessing and a curse.

grassy gnoll
Aug 27, 2006

The pawsting business is tough work.


Mission Brief

The Infinity Tournament System is basically what it sounds like. CB publishes a set of missions each season, which is typically a calendar year ending in the companyís big tournament in their hometown. The missions are designed around a set of known objectives, though sometimes youíre meant to keep which objective youíre pursuing from your opponent.

As of the current season, the tenth, the mission selection is oriented towards high order count lists. Some of the objectives as written are basically ďspend an order, make a die roll, then do it again when you fail.Ē Theyíre not very interesting. As such, Iím going to use the mission list from the current edition core book, without the seasonal fluff and frills. Weíll be going through a Direct Action mission, ďThe Armory.Ē

ITS missions come in Direct Action, Special Operations, and Joint Operations categories. In general, DA missions involve killing enemy models and controlling territory, Special Operations tasks are oriented more towards discreet actions based around either mobile or stationary objectives, and Joint Operations takes from both.

The Armory is a favorite of mine. Hereís the basic board setup.



Infinity boards use a hell of a lot of terrain, so this is just a thumbnail showing your deployment zones and the position of the armory building itself, in the center of the map. The armory is an 8Ē x 8Ē square, considered to be infinitely tall for the purposes of drawing line of sight. There are four person-sized gates on the center of each wall, which can be attacked to blow them open, or you can unlock the doors with a specialist passing a WIP roll.

The little circles in the corner are panoplies, loot boxes that each trooper can use once to draw out a random piece of equipment. Troops that already have the Booty or Scavenger skills get to automatically pass their check to do so, and can pick which chart they want to roll on for their item. You can also use the panoplies to top up any limited ammo your model may have as a simple order expenditure.

The green zone around the armory is an exclusion zone, stretching eight inches on either side of the center of the board. You canít deploy anyone there, regardless of their special deployment rules - no ninjas waiting to pop out, no parachute infantry dropping in there. The only exception is if someone scatters into the zone.

ITS missions score on a ten-point system; each objective will be weighted based on the individual mission. The scoring looks like this for The Armory:

    One point for having more points-value of troops in the building at the end of a round.

    Four points for having the most points-value of troops in the building at the end of the game.

    Two points for pulling the most items out of the panoplies.

    One point for accomplishing your classified objective.

One of the reasons I love this mission is that itís simple and easy to understand, while being spiralingly complex once the game starts. Right off, the big draw is obvious - you want to be the last one holding the armory at the end of the game. But how do you go about that task? Is it better to take the initiative and barricade yourself in the room with mines and reactive pieces? Should you go second in the game, hoping you still have enough firepower to retake the armory at the last second for the big points? Meanwhile, should you cram as many of your guys inside as you can, or spread them out to prevent your opponent from even entering the building? All of this, meanwhile, is going on while you and your opponent maneuver to a relatively small, fixed point on the map.

Since there was a single vote for two factions that deviate from the gameís norms in similar ways, I put my faith in random.org. The armies for this mission will be vanilla Ariadna, and ALEPH Operations.

Ariadna
──────────────────────────────────────────────────

GROUP 1 10
SCOUT Lieutenant Ojotnik, D-Charges, Antipersonnel Mines / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 29)
CHASSEUR (Forward Observer) Rifle, Light Flamethrower, Antipersonnel Mines / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 20)
CHASSEUR (Minelayer) Rifle, Light Flamethrower, Antipersonnel Mines / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | 20)
FOXTROT (Forward Observer) Rifle, Antipersonnel Mines / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 18)
FOXTROT Boarding Shotgun, Antipersonnel Mines / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 19)
GRUNT (Inferior Infiltration) Heavy Flamethrower, Light Shotgun / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | 11)
GRUNT (Inferior Infiltration) Heavy Flamethrower, Light Shotgun / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | 11)
UXÕA McNEILL (Covert Action) (CH: Limited Camouflage, Superior Infiltration, Specialist Operative) Boarding Shotgun, D-Charges, Smoke Grenades / 2 Assault Pistols, AP CCW, Knife. (0 | 27)
VOLUNTEER Chain Rifle, Light Shotgun / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 6)
VOLUNTEER Chain Rifle, Light Shotgun / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 6)

GROUP 2 3 4 4
EQUIPE MIRAGE-5 . (2 | 69)
MARGOT AP Rifle + Light Grenade Launcher / Pistol, Knife. (37)
DUROC 2 Chain Rifles, Grenades, Smoke Grenades / AP CC Weapon. (32)
IRMANDINHO Chain Rifle, D-Charges, Smoke Grenades / Pistol, AP CCW. (0 | 8)
IRMANDINHO Chain Rifle, D-Charges, Smoke Grenades / Pistol, AP CCW. (0 | 8)
112 Light Shotgun / Pistol, CCW. (0 | 12)
LINE KAZAK AP HMG / Pistol, Knife. (1 | 23)
DESPERADO Chain Rifle, Smoke Grenades / 2 Assault Pistols, CC Weapon. (0 | 13)

4.5 SWC | 300 Points

Open in Infinity Army


The Infinity list builder is free at https://army.infinitythegame.com Itís pretty handy.

The first thing I did in this case was to pick a Lieutenant, here a Scout with a hunting rifle. I donít expect the generally lower WIP values of Ariadna to beat ALEPH at the LT roll, so Iím not going to invest a lot of points in my LT. The Scout can hang back, in camo, so heís not hugely vulnerable and he can be an ARO piece if I need him to do something. Mostly though, heís cheap and decent at what he does.

There are a few chain of command profiles available in vanilla Ariadna, but theyíre a lot better at fighting than my LT, so they cost a lot. I elected to skip Chain of Command here.

My plan is to immediately swamp the armory in specialists and gunfighters, to break in and then fill it up with armed lunatics to keep the robot ubermenchen out. Ariadnaís key strength, camo spam, is going to help me out here. I wonít be able to deploy any of my infiltrators directly in the exclusion zone, but I can put them right up to the edge on my side without a roll, and take a gamble on them being able to set up on the ALEPH side of the board to slow the enemy advance. Case in point, the FO Chasseurís going to stay on my side, while Iím going to risk blowing my infiltration roll to put the minelayer on the other side of the centerline to harry any ALEPH advance. Same with the infiltrating Grunts, who will probably just blow their roll and turn into order batteries.

Uxia will be across the board 85% of the time, and her job will be to kill anything really scary with a surprise attack. I added her later in my list building, since I had some points to spare and needed some firepower to go along with my camo spam.

The two volunteers are just there to watch the back field and generate orders. At six points a pop, Iíd be crazy not to take Ďem.

Group two starts with Margot and Duroc. Iím going to keep them in reserve until at least turn two, and walk them in off the ALEPH back line to kill anything insufficiently guarded. I know the ALEPH units are going to be bigger and nastier than my guys in the armory, so I want to starve their rambo units of orders. Also, Margot and Duroc are cool.

Imandinos are cheap and fast, so once Iíve opened the armory, Iím going to send these guys up to loot the panoplies. Hopefully theyíll get something defensive and not a motorcycle.

I donít expect to get much use out of the 112 doctor, but heís not terrible and itís nice to have a potential way to pick people back up if I need it.

The Kazak with AP HMG is an ARO piece primarily, and will fill the same roll as Uxia, but back on my side of the board. Heíll probably get sniped to death.

The Desperado will dispense smoke and probably suicide charge something that stumbles into his range. Weíll see if he can even maneuver in the board setup.

Operations Subsection of the S.S.S.
──────────────────────────────────────────────────

10
ASURA Lieutenant L2 Hacker (Hacking Device Plus UPGRADE: Redrum) MULTI Rifle, Nanopulser / Pistol, AP CCW. (0.5 | 78)
SOPHOTECT Combi Rifle, D-Charges / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 31)
YUDBOT Electric Pulse. (0 | 3)
YUDBOT Electric Pulse. (0 | 3)
SHUKRA (Chain of Command) Boarding Shotgun, Nanopulser / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 25)
NAGA (Minelayer) Boarding Shotgun, Antipersonnel Mines / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | 27)
PROXY Mk.3 Spitfire, Nanopulser / Pistol, Knife. (2 | 21)
PROXY Mk.5 (Marksmanship LX) Mk12, Nanopulser / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | 17)
NETROD . (0 | 4)
NETROD . (0 | 4)
DEVA (Fireteam: Haris, Sensor) Combi Rifle, Nanopulser / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | 25)
DEVA (Multispectral Visor L2) Spitfire, Nanopulser / Pistol, Knife. (1 | 33)
DEVA (Sensor) Combi Rifle, Nanopulser / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 24)

5 SWC | 295 Points

Open in Infinity Army

Immediately, I pick an Asura with Lieutenant level 2. I want something beastly strong that comes with MSV3 to see the inevitable Ariadna camo spam, and LT 2 provides a lot of extra orders to go break down doors and accomplish objectives. I had to deliberate between the light machine gun and hacker options - on one hand, the LMG is actually not optimal for fighting in an eight-inch square room, but on the other, a hacking device is useless against Ariadna. I ultimately took the hacker, since she was cheaper in terms of Special Weapon Cost.

Next, the Sophotect with two Yudbot helpers. One of those is going to be glued to the Asura, because I really, really donít want her dying.

If, however, the Asura dies, I donít want to be in Loss of Lieutenant. The Shukra should keep that from happening, and heís going to stay in the rear with his back to a wall.

A momentary panic hits me as Iím almost at half my total army points for taking a whopping three units. Still, thatís how ALEPH does.

A Naga minelayer will forward deploy across the board and hopefully kick some primitive teeth in with its mines.

Next, some proxies to build out my capabilities and bring down my costs. The Mk 3 is fast and can kill stuff, plus she can run interference for the LT as a more disposable piece. The Mk 1 engineer can either open or blow down the doors, and the Mk 2 sniper will try and infiltrate across the board to set up in hidden deployment (I know, hold on). No idea if thatíll work. Netrods are just a good idea, and doubly so when youíre running proxies - I take as many as I can, which sadly is a mere two.

Then I delete the Mk 2 sniper when I realize itís not really a huge part of my plan, especially when I can take a trio of Devas with an LMG and Sensor to really root out hidden and camoíd units. These should be very efficient, while still being hard to kill.

At this point, I have a problem, because Iím at 10 units, which is one combat group. Anything I add wonít pull from the same order pool, which will wildly limit its effectiveness. Iím also pretty much limited to taking another proxy, since they all count as one ďunit.Ē Lacking any better combination of available points, I elect to take a Mk 5 proxy. It can go hurt stuff, or take up a suppressive fire position inside the armory.

Letís see the armies, so you can compare numbers, and also know what the hell Iím pointing the camera at.





Thatís what a high-model-count, full-points-cost army looks like in this game. Skirmish-scale is real good, yo.

Proxies include a Spetznaz HMG in leiu of the Kazak HMG, two Metros for the two Volunteers, and two engineer-esque models for the Irmandinhos.



I havenít had my ALEPH for anywhere near as long as my Ariadna models. Could you tell?

Model-proxies, not unit-Proxies, are Joan 2.0 v2 for the Asura, and a Bagh Mari for the Proxy Mk 5. Proxy.

Letís go ahead and do deployment, since thatís what happens before the fun starts.

Hereís the board.



Image altered to disguise the sickening amount of hobby crap occupying my kitchen table and to protect the identities of my nosy loving pets.

This is a little sparse as far as Infinity tables go, honestly. I need to build some more terrain. You want a lot of cover on both sides of the board. When setting up you want to make sure thereís not a single line of fire that covers the entire table (another reason this mission is great, since thereís that great big LOS blocker smack dab in the middle), as well as having a measurable advantage to the terrain on one side; that way, deployment is an interesting choice. Here, the right-hand side has thicker terrain, better lines of sight, and that huge stupid sniper tower.

The two armies pick their classified objectives. Ariadna chooses between Telemetry and HVT: Innoculation. Thatís to either make a successful Forward Observer test on an enemy, or make a doctor roll on the enemy High Value Target. Telemetry is vastly easier, so thatís the natural choice. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to their primitive opponents, ALEPH picks between HVT: Retroengineering, the engineering equivalent of Innoculation, or Data Scan, where a hacker must make a WIP -3 roll against an enemy target in their hacking area. Good thing I picked that crazy combat hacker; ALEPH takes Data Scan. Both sides can, failing these classified objectives, attempt to secure the enemy HVT. This task is accomplished by being within eight inches of the enemy HVT at the end of the game, while keeping the other player from doing the same to your HVT.

The two armies make their LT roll, with ALEPH trying to beat a 15 and Ariadna against WIP 13. Ariadna rolls a 9, a success, but ALEPH rolls a 15 on the dot, winning the roll. After some deliberation, ALEPH elects to take deployment over turn order, picking the right-hand side and forcing Ariadna to deploy first. Ariadna decides to take first turn, which may prove to be a mistake. HVTs are placed where theyíre hard to get to (ALEPH) or out away from cover (Ariadna).

Ariadna holds the AP HMG in reserve, reasoning that itís best to deploy the big gun somewhere when you know where the big nasty things are going to go. ALEPH keeps the proxies in reserve, since theyíre heavy hitters and you can deploy two models for the price of one.

Infiltration doesnít go so well for Ariadna. The Scout LT elects to deploy on his table half, along with the FO Chasseur and FO Foxtrot. The infiltration experts blow it totally, so the minelayer Chasseur and shotgun Foxtrot have to deploy in their own smaller deployment area along a table edge. So much for slowing down the ALEPH advance.

Of course, the Inferior infiltrating grunts, who deploy at a 45% chance, both pass their rolls with flying colors. One hides behind a wall near the ALEPH deployment zone, and the other elects to take a spot in the sniper tower, hoping to deny that area to the enemy through the expedient of setting anyone who pokes their head up there on fire.

Margot and Duroc stay off the board for now. Volunteers go into heavy cover, and the button-pushers line up so that they can get to the armory door in good time and hopefully not get shot to death too much on the way there. The Desperado goes where I can keep him in relative cover, since heís a little suicidal, but also where he has enough room to pass his enormous base through obstacles.

ALEPH has its own deployment shenanigans. The Netrods have to come down on a template, like so. The little buildings are just a hair too small to fit the template, so thereís no good.



This one made it safely, no problems.



Not so much this one. It blows its landing roll, so it has to scatter based on the template. I rolled a 20, which immediately puts it off the board. Like when you fail your Infiltrate roll, you have to set your failed deployer somewhere in your deployment zone touching a table edge. Perversely, thereís an even more out-of-the-way location to stick this thing along a table edge, so dropping wrong was to ALEPHís net advantage.

Knowing that Grunt is up on the sniper tower, ALEPH decides to counter deploy, like so.



I ran out of camo tokens, so mines are deployed upside down to represent they come out as camo markers. Just roll with it.

Minelayers can set out a mine on deployment without revealing themselves. Flamethrowers can still burn you if youíre in a camo state. Mines go off as a reactive action, though. In short, the first one to twitch up here is going to have a bad day.

When allís said and done, hereís what the board looks like.




Ultimately, ALEPH is in a stronger immediate position with tougher units. Ariadna will have to get into the Armory quickly and hope they can rely on pulling guns out of the panoplies to stay there. ALEPH will want to jump forward rapidly, and hope they donít take too many losses to a bad crit or a dumb positioning mistake. Letís see how it goes.

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

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




Have to say that's an impressive runthrough of a tabletop wargame round and not something you see that often. Well done.

Also who is going to have the dubious honor of covering John Wicks new Santa Vaca game? I took one glance of the intro and was drenched in just huge amounts of smugness.

tankfish
May 31, 2013


Oh boy even the product description is insufferable

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

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



Chapter Nine: Gods of the Southlands


Our final chapter covers not a region, but the deities who hold sway over the people of the Southlands. We start out with a brief description on how the gods of this continent are more involved among mortal affairs, walking the physical world and taking delight in the mundane. The reason for this is that in the times of Glorious Umbuso the titansí Great Web of ley lines made it difficult for any deities to manifest in the Southlands; the titans for their part worshipped long-forgotten Far Ones who do not interfere in mortal affairs. Only after the empire collapsed did the gods return to fill the power vacuum, earning the respect of many people who were otherwise left defenseless in the chaotic days that followed.

Most of the Southlands deities are relatively unknown on other continents in Midgard save as masked disguises. The three exceptions are Veles, Thoth-Hermes, and Isis whose names are just as well known in the northern kingdoms as well as the south. Veles is one of the patron gods of the Mharoti Empire, and Thoth-Hermes is beloved by scholars, thieves, and wizards the world over. Isis has a large following due to her association with healing and love, and wears the mask of Lada in the northern region of the Crossroads.

We also get a sidebar reiterating the rules of the gods in Midgard, whose true number is unknown due to their ability to disguise their very identities and appear as different forms. Known as masks, this is primarily a practical form of defense as it is possible for one god to gain anotherís power via murder, enslavement, or any other number of horrible fates. It also allows a god to further cement their power: if their name and faith falls out of favor in one culture or region, they can carry on with another mask. The concept of masks are public knowledge among religious scholars, although there is much debate over what gods are masks of the other.

Finally, most gods and goddesses of the Southlands do not have specific alignments. Much like the wider Midgard setting, they only have one aspect of an alignment axis. For instance, Horus is Lawful and can be worshiped by clerics of any lawful alignment.

Gods of Nuria Natal


The only pantheon to remain untouched by the Great Web, the deities of the River Kingdom are perhaps the oldest and most well-known to those beyond the continent. There are hundreds of Nurian deities although most are of limited power and reach. Every city has its own patron, and gaining a large settlement of followers to call your own is a sign of great prestige in Nurian culture. Although many appear as epicurean animal-headed folk content to sleep in their worshiperís temples, they have millennia worth of experience and wisdom and are not to be underestimated.

Anu-Akma holds a prominent position in Nurian society for his dominion over souls and the afterlife. His priests are a diverse lot, ranging from gnolls and undead to royalty and the elderly. They are tasked with the preservation of bodies, proper burial rites, and the construction of pyramids and tombs. He takes a humble role in spite of his duties, and his comfortable temples are made easily accessible for the sick and disabled.

Aten Is a jealous sun god who forbids his worshipers to give respect or credence to any other being. Although he takes a role as a defender of the weak and vanquisher of all manner of evil and monsters, his worshipers are violent to the shrines and practices of most other gods. The god has many military orders as a result to protect against his many enemies. His greatest center of worship is in Per-Xor, although he has faithful in Siwal and the independent city-states east of Nuria Natal proper.

Worshipers of Heretical Aten belong to a renegade cult who worship the sun god as a destructive fire aspect and make pacts with demons. Naturally they are hated by the mainstream faith, and there is belief that this false Aten is a mask of Kwansi, Baal-Hotep, or some other god seeking to discredit the sun deity.

Bastet is a free-spirited goddess of desire, hunters, felines and a friend to alchemists. Cats are a beloved Nurian pet, so she has many followers among farmers who prize the creaturesí rat-killing prowess as well as those who look to lions, cheetahs, and great cats for their hunting prowess. The goddess only grants spells to women, but men are allowed to worship her, and due to her wide portfolio said clerics range in professions from alchemists and temple prostitutes to hunters and warriors.



Interestingly Bastet gets a host of new material in this chapter, unlike any other deity: four and a half pages worth of new spells, domains, and magic items!

The three new domains include the following: the Cat domain which grant Acrobatics and Stealth as class skills, a per-day use to grant a bonus to a touched targetís agility-related abilities (AC, ranged attack rolls, Dex based skills, checks, and Reflex saves) equal to half your cleric level, as well as the ability to shapechange into a feline monster at 6th level. The domain spells include presence and animal-themed magic. The Perfume Subdomain is keyed to the Charm domain and trades in the 8th level power to instead cast Allure Senses (new spell) as a swift action against a single target, along with replacing the charm person and heroism domain spells with allure senses and rainbow pattern respectively. Overall, it is a worthy replacement; although charm person has more utility, the allure senses spell imposes the fascinate debuff on a target and can be more useful in combat situations.

Finally the Predation subdomain is keyed to the Animal domain, replacing the speak with animals power with Silent Hunter which is a per-day ability that grants you a bonus equal to half your cleric level on any single melee attack you make when you begin a turn using the Stealth skill. It replaces hold animal, dominate animal, and beast shape III spells with bullís strength, blood scent, and summon huntress (new spell) respectively. By a literal reading, the domain merely states that you need to use the Stealth skill rather than it being successful or not, so this can be a very good option for more martial clerics.

Our six new spells are associated with Bastet, but are capable of being learned by worshipers of other deities. The text notes that this would be a case of parallel magical research akin to how various cultures around the real world independently invented the bow and arrow.

The spells include Allure Senses, a 1st-level AoE cone which fascinates affected enemies with rainbow auras and hypnotic words; the 0-level Clowder of Cats which signals up to nine non-magical common cats within a wide range to come to your presence; the 2nd-level Feline Gaze which allows you to see through the eyes and hear through the ears of a cat; 1st-level Gnollsí Ally with is a 50 foot AoE burst which makes you appear more gnoll-like and grants a +5 Diplomacy check on all gnolls within the area; the 4th-level Kitten to Lioness which temporarily transforms at least 9 mundane cats within range into a celestial or fiendish dire lion; and finally the 5th-level Summon Huntress, which summons a female dire tiger immune to mind-affecting spells to your side to pursue and retrieve a specific creature of Small or smaller size of 6 HD or less.

Allure Senses is perhaps the most versatile of the spells; most are rather situational or can be replicated by other existing spells in the Paizo rulebooks.

Our five magic items include the Catís Claw Pendant which grants the wearer natural claw attacks and the rend monster ability; the Mask of Hisses and Purrs which grant you a +3 to Diplomacy or Intimidate checks depending on your catlike expression, but makes you inadvertently mew and meow while speaking and thus imposes a 10% chance of failing to cast spells with verbal components; the Ring of Cat Folk which can let the wearer transform into a tiny black house cat for up to 8 minutes per day; the Ring of Lion Form which allows the wearer to transform into a large black-furred lion up to 11 minutes per day and can emit a damaging deafening roar in an AoE cone in any form; and finally the Statue of Nine Lives, a unique artifact with nine charges capable of reviving a wear from fatal harm, but at the cost of becoming more feline in demeanor and shape. This comes complete with game effects both positive and negative for the progression.

Horus is the regal warrior-god of the Nurian pantheon. He encourages his followers to dispense justice and defend the nation from demons, Mharoti incursions, and other maladies. His holy book, the Code of Horus, was the legal foundation upon which the River Kingdom was built. His worshipers also include Tamasheq nomads, heru ravenfolk, and harpy priestesses managing his most famous temple, Khepri Khnum.

Ninkash is the dwarven goddess of beer, and has followers beyond Nuria Natal including the dwarves and Romani-like Kariv humans of the North. She can impart guidance through drunken visions. Her matronly attitude means that many of her holidays are joyous festivals and social occasions.

Thoth-Hermes is the god of knowledge and has a following among scribes, thieves, wizards, and travelers. His priests view libraries as temples to their god in spirit, and to that end all books are holy books of Thoth no matter the subject. To burn or desecrate the written word is a great sin among his followers. He also was the deity to teach mortals the secrets of hieroglyphic magic and is patron of Nurian theurges who utilize both arcane and divine spells.

Gods of the Desert Lands


The gods of the burning sands and badlands are beings of extremes. Some such as Kwansi are tricksters, while others grant the faithful the ability to find safe havens and see through mirages and other deceptions.

Kwansi is a spider god whose chaotic nature means that he wears many masks and roles. He is a constant thorn in the side of tyrants and oppressors of all kinds, encouraging the downtrodden to revolt and inspires hope with laughter and optimism. One of Kwansiís masks is the iconic African folkloric spider Anansi.

Kwansi also comes with a new Vermin subdomain, which is keyed to the Animal domain. It replaces the speak with animals power with Vermin Sanctuary, which can force a hostile vermin to stop attacking you on a failed Will save. Its domain spells include various swarm and bug-related abilities. We also get a new 4th level spell, Greater Summon Swarm, which can summon more powerful vermin such as centipedes, crabs, scorpions, wasps, or death butterflies (a new creature from the Midgard Bestiary).

Mbanu is a dwarven god of labor, the forge, and law and justice. He counts blacksmiths and artisans along with judges and officers among his ranks. The god is known as a dependable and honorable man whose inventions and leadership bring security and prosperity to communities. He is worshiped among the Narumbeki as well as the dwarves.


Sabateus is a mysterious figured, clad in deep blue djebella* designed with sparkling stars. He is worshiped at night when the stars and the moon can be seen in full, representing the guiding light of knowledge of ancient mysteries and forgotten eras. Lamia worship Sabateus as the Moonís husband, and he is often associated with arcane magic.


*apparently a misspelling of Djellaba, a Morroccan garment.

Takhar Takhar is a god of war, worshiped by many cultures beyond the desert. He is popular among the Narumbeki Legions, the gravebinders of Siwal, and the Tamasheq nomads; even some gnolls and dwarves honor him. He represents the Lawful unity of battle, and his followers are opposed to all of the Dark Gods and focus just as much on raising morale and defending the wounded as straightforward offensive assaults.

Yemaja of the Waters is perhaps the most popular goddess of the inhabitants of arid lands. She was also originally known as the Keeper of Time, only for the title to be stolen by her husband who is said to be either the dragon-god Seggotan or the sea-god Nethus depending on the culture. She was worshiped in the northern kingdoms as the siren Mnemosyne.

In the Southlands, Yemaja is worshiped as a protector of women and children as well as a patron of water, rivers, and the oases of the desert which symbolize hope to the lost and parched. She has major temples in Shibai, Cindass, Narumbeki, and even Lignas. Oddly enough, the worshipers of Sabateus despise her even though the two gods are on great terms with each other.

Gods of the Green Lands


The gods of the fertile savannah and jungles of the Southlands are so named for their connection to the living things of the world. They technically number three: Ogun, Xevioso, and Yemaja, although the deities Ptah and the World Serpent Veles are counted among their number. Ptah because he and his followers are living in exile from Nuria Natal after the rise of Aten, and the World-Serpent for his connection to the lizardfolk kingdom of Veles-Sa and his repository of earthly wisdom.

Ogun is an ideal warrior who also covers metalworking and smithing, leading more than a few to associate him as a mask of Mbanu or vice versa. He is associated with keys, for his dominion over jailers and justices as well as his skill in unlocking any doors. His priesthood and worshipers hew heavily male in membership, and the Fire Legion of the Narumbeki and the prison wardens of Lignasí Coil of Memory revere him.

Ptah is a dwarven god of architecture who was burned to death by Aten and reborn in the mountains of Sebbek Sobor. His is a humorless god without much cause for frivolities, and it is said that only his first wife Ninkash can coax a smile out of him. He is associated with helping build some of the greatest pyramids and tombs of the god-kings and is a maker of everything from weapons to mills and barges. In part due to persecution at the hands of Aten, his priests are meager, wishing for their faith to speak through their creations and charitable endeavors rather than elaborate festivals and grand temples. Many outsiders presume that Ptah and Mbanu are masks of each other due to overlapping portfolios, although dwarves view this as a ridiculous fantasy.

The World Serpent goes by many names. He is known as Veles in the Mharoti Empire, Djyy (pronounced ďDID-zhahĒ) in Lignas, Ouroboros in the Western Sea, and JŲrmungandr in the Northlands. But in all tales he is the grand god whose form encircles the world of Midgard, biting his own tail to keep the oceansí waters contained. Some sailors claim to have seen his mossy green mountain-sized scales at the farthest reaches of the world. The World-Serpent cares little for the afterlife, instead encouraging his followers to attend to worldly affairs and safeguard the ley lines from corruption. His faith is rather nihilistic, focused on the inevitable end of all things and the paltry lives of mortals.

Xevioso is an agile god of war and thunder, encouraging battle and strife for its own sake. Many offer prayers to him when the time to spill blood has come, whether out of a personal vendetta or for loftier ideals. His temples are secluded in caverns where his priests stand ready to resurrect his greatest warriors, and in northern lands shield-maidens are associated with his masks. Xevioso is thought to be a mask of Perun, Thor, or Mavros in said lands, and his priesthood is 80% male much like that of Mavros (detailed in Midgard Worldbook).

Xevioso has a new Speed domain, which has a per-day ability to grant an enhancement bonus of ranged attacks, combat maneuvers, and Dexterity-based skills, saves, and ability checks equal to half your cleric level as well as a 10 foot increase to the targetís base speed. The domainís 8th level ability, Quickness of the Gods, adds the clericís class level to their Dexterity score for a number of rounds per day equal to their class level, but only applies to Dexterity ability and skill checks (no radical AC bonus for you!). Its domain spells include agility and time-based magic such as haste, call lightning storm, ethereal jaunt, and time stop. A new 8th level spell is also included, Speed of Thought: the spell grants greatly heightened speed to one target per level, allowing them to make 3 extra attacks as part of a full attack, a +4 bonus on attack rolls, AC, and Reflex saves, can cast full-round and standard action spells as standard and swift actions respectively, and finally increases all modes of movement by 60 feet.

Speed of Thought is basically a mega-haste and thus super-powerful in regards to action economy. The extra attacks and shortened casting times make it a must-have for just about any character.

Yemaja of the Waters is also worshiped here. Although half of her domains are different reflecting altered cultures. In her desert entry she had Life, Knowledge, Protection, Song, and Water. In the Green Lands she switches out Life and Protection for the Birth and Time domains. Said Song and Time domains are in another Midgard book, Journeys to the West.

Gods of the Corsair Coast


The faiths of the Corsair Coast are younger and less stable than the ones of its neighbors, for the seaside settlements are home to people and faiths from gods of many places. It is also one of the few regions where goddesses hold greater sway than gods, and some assume this is related to the high amount of slaves and thralls in the regionís mines and farms.** Others presume the seafaring cultures are a friendlier atmosphere to the goddesses of water, sun, and community.

Eshu is the only deity known to originate from the Corsair Coast. He is a chaotic trickster god of travelers and wizards, carrying news and tales between villages and tribes, and his worshipers include all those who make a living off of traveling the roads. He has no holy books, his teachings are carried via oral lore, and his shrines are either mobile tents or small permanent structures built around red sacred stones. He is assumed to be the mask of many other gods, especially Kwansi and Thoth-Hermes. Some claim he is either the mask or resurrected form of a long-dead Nurian god by the name of Osiris.

Ninkash has the same domains in the Corsair Coast as she does Nuria Natal: Beer, Charm, Community, Liberation, and Strength

Isis is a goddess of Nurian origin who is associated with healing, love, and mercy. In fact, quite a bit of her text and even her portrait are the same as the goddess Lada from the Midgard Worldbook because said deity is one of her masks. She takes the form of a woman of various races depending on local followers, and her temples face east on high ground such as hills and mountaintops to greet the rising sun. Her personality and portfolio means that she has few enemies save the Dark Gods and those of war such as Takhar and Xevioso. Even the priesthood of Aten treat Isis as the offspring of their sole deity, but still regard her followers as deluded rather than actively wicked.

Sabateus has the Travel domain rather than Void here (his original domains being Darkness, Magic, Moon, and Transformation).

Yemaja has Birth, Knowledge, Protection, Song and Water domains among the Coastís worshipers.


Dark Gods of the South


The Dark Gods are associated with evil and other blighted things by mainstream society. But a few specifically champion the downtrodden and voiceless who the other gods shun, although this is not always done out of charity or liberation. The Dark Gods are not associated with any one region; rather, they are a catch-all term for the Southlandsí ďevil pantheonĒ although only 6 out of 9 are of this alignment. Baal-Hotep is Lawful, while Selket and Set are Chaotic. These three are grouped among the Dark Gods due to their hostile nature with most Southlands civilizations.

Note: the Midgard Worldbook went into more detail regarding the specific status of the Dark Gods. One, they were not true divinities so much as those whose power grew smaller to the point that they were ďdemotedĒ to archfiends. Thus they crave mortal souls and sacrifice as a means of rebuilding their power base. They were also jealous gods and much like Aten they demanded that their followers worship them exclusively (Baal-Hotep being an exception).

Aposis is an eternally-hungry enormous serpent seeking the worldís destruction. He is associated with many apocalyptic prophecies, and most of his priests assume he is a dark mask of Veles the World Serpent. His worshipers seek to bring about the end times and in so doing commit acts of violence to make the world an ever more worse place.

Baal-Hotep is known as Baal in the Mharoti Empire, but in Nuria Natal and the Corsair Coast he is associated with war, rage, and fire. Among the dragonkin and kobolds he is associated with laws and public service, his priests reciting his teachings orally and commit his 444 sacred stories to memory.

The Hunter goes by countless names and wears an equally uncountable number of forms, although his worshipers claim that their god wears no masks. He is the cruelty of nature made manifest, of Darwinian tooth and claw where all that lives must kill to survive. Bandits, raiders, monsters, enraptured fey, and decadent nobles seeking to hunt their fellow men and women are counted among the Hunterís priesthood.

Mot is a being of nothingness and death, a god of endings in all forms. From drought-plagued fields to the genocide of nations and bloodlines, Mot waits for all on a black throne near the River Styx. His treasury is rumored to contain all the wealth of the dead who fall into his hands. Many intelligent undead and some among Narumekiís Fire Legion worship him, as do stranger beings such as the orcs of the Green Abyss and the Denizens of Leng. In Nuria Natal his priests share a strange common camaraderie with other inhabitants of the River Kingdom, for his faithful despise Baal and go out of their way to attack his legions.

Nakresh originated among worshipers of the eastern realms. He is a monkey-demon whose bottomless avarice encourages him to steal and deceive others. His six to eight hands clutch many items, but one is always empty symbolizing his never-ending grasp for more. Thieves, slavers, tomb-robbers, and those desperate for wealth make offerings to him. The headquarters of his priesthood is a well-defended hidden fortress somewhere below Nuria Natalís capital city. His priesthood acts much like a thievesí guild and is led by a conclave of his greatest worshipers known as the Five.


Nkishi was known as being more benevolent during the era of the Carnidine Kingdom, but after that civilization fell something changed. Laughing Nkishiís smiles grew bitter and his patience ran thin, quarreling with other deities over all manner of things. Now he is a cruel god who encourages violence and is a favored deity among many gnoll tribes. He does not view other gods and goddesses as actual deities, but rather as evil spirits whose influence must be purged. His priests engage in bloody battle against other races as well as their own who are perceived to be weak or who integrated into other civilizations (such as Nuria Natal or the Mharoti Empire). In the latter case they offer captured gnolls the choice of offering up their religious leaders for execution and turn to Nkishiís faith, or be hunted and slaughtered like beasts of the wilds.

Selket is a goddess of contrasts. Worshiped among Tamasheq nomads and Lignans, she is simultaneously a patron of healing and protection as well as poison and vengeance. Her devotees guard the faithful and act via assassinations and charmed animals to bring death to those who oppose her and harm her followers. Her cult has become more aggressive in recent years, striking out at merchants in Per-Kush cheating Tamasheq nomads, driving domesticated animals mad among Nurian River settlements, and even poisoning cats in Per-Bastet.

Set is the rival of Horus, a former contender for the title of Protector of Nuria Natal before the falcon-headed god claimed it from him. Set is a self-styled defender of peasants, farmers, and the oppressed, protecting villagers from crocodiles and lions, his priests bringing medicines to the ill and dying, and casting illusions to help commoners shelter crops and bread from Nurian armies seeking the plunder as tax. He is also a patron deity of revolutionaries and usurpers, which puts him at odds with established government. He does not trust many gods, viewing many as arrogant bullies. He makes an exception for Bastet who is his sometimes hunting companion, Isis who he admires for her charity, and Selketís role as a vengeful protector. He is also Yemajaís husband.

The White Goddess was birthed from the skin of the world, and just as soon became the enemy of the sun god: Aten, Horus, or Mbantu depending on the mask and culture. She stared him down, chasing him to the ends of the horizon and reaping a path of destruction among the surface races in her wake. Her primary worshipers are orcs, a small and failing race in Midgard confined to the dark and remote corners of the world. They build altars, armor, and weapons from the bones of her enemies, and solar eclipses are her holiest days where her orc followers rise from their lairs to raid and slaughter.

Cults and Sects of the Southlands

Beyond the major deities are thousands of lesser outsiders and semi-divine creatures who gather their own following of worshipers. Even in these cases real actual power can be granted to faithful who bond themselves to said beings, and this is expressed in a new series of Cult Feats. The more bonded worshipers such an outsider has, the more powerful they get. 20 sworn and bound worshipers with the Outsider Bond feat grant the false god the advanced template. Every 500 additional worshipers beyond this amount grants the outsider one bonus hit die, to a maximum of 5,020 worshipers for 10 bonus hit die.

Feats with the [Cult] descriptor cannot be retrained or replaced until the magical being associated with the feat either dies or releases the character from service. Those who attempt to leave without permission gain a penalty on skill checks equal to the number of [Cult] feats they possess until a restoration spell is cast on them by a fellow cultist.

The three [Cult] feats include the following: the base Outsider Bond feat, which grants the worshiper use of one of the outsiderís spell-like abilities of 2nd level or lower or a +2 sacred/profane bonus to AC a number of rounds per day if the outsider has no spell-like abilities. Dedicated Follower increases the amount of times this SLA can be used or the AC bonus to +3. Unflagging Conviction allows the cultist to roll a saving throw twice and take the better result by sacrificing two uses of the SLA/AC ability.

Additionally, any character with [Cult] feats gains a negative level if the Outsider they pledged loyalty to dies; if this negative level would kill them, they rise as an undead monster known as a shadow.

Infinite Variety is a related [Monster] feat, only able to be taken by monsters with the Outsider type. It grants the creature a new spell-like ability of a level equal to or less than their highest existing SLA, or a level equal to half its Hit Dice minus 1 whichever is lower. They can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 1 + their Charisma modifier (minimum once), and can be accessed by worshipers via the Outsider Bond feat.

After this chapter we get two appendices consolidating all of the equipment and feats of the Southlands and their page numbers.

Thoughts So Far: The pantheons of gods and goddesses are quite cool, and itís nice to see more variety than the iconic Egyptian pantheon, I do not know how many of the non-Egyptian deities are from real folklore versus creations of Kobold Press, but I managed to find a few such as the Sumerian Baal, the West African Anansi/Kwansi, and the Yoruban Yemaja.

The Cult feats are cool and thematic, as well as being good options for both religious PCs and the prototypical evil cults. The new spells, domains, and magic items did not really wow me.

**One thing I wanted to touch on was the implied gender roles of the Southlands and how it tied in to divinities. In my review of the Midgard Worldbook I mentioned how the setting overall has an implied patriarchal world due to several world-building elements. They included things which were individual entries of social institutions and organizations, but when read together created a larger picture. The Southlands overall is more subdued in comparison, and the only times we see gender relations referenced is when a few societies or orders are explicitly called out as being matriarchal: gnoll and nkosi tribes, Terrotu and Lignasí succession rules, and Bastetís priesthood come to mind. Which makes the association of goddesses with slaves and the oppressed in the Corsair Coast rather strange, in that the region chapter earlier did not paint it as a place where women are a subjugated underclass.

Concluding Thoughts: Southlands puts a fresh and unique spin on the mythology and folklore of a criminally underutilized continent. Its vibrant Fantasy Africa setting is something you donít see often in the D&D/Pathfinder fandom beyond the typical ďvine-choked ruins.Ē While the setting has more than a few such places, there is enough variety in national and cultural groups to avoid becoming one-note and stereotypical. It has lots of strong, worthwhile game mechanics and adventuring hooks in every chapter, and I can see myself running multiple campaigns in this world without coming close to exhausting its material.

In conclusion the Southlands is a worthwhile addition to the already fantastic setting of Midgard and, good enough to be played as its own self-contained setting or transplanted onto another world of your choice with some adjustments. Kobold Press knocked this one out of the park, and I look forward to seeing what other lands and worlds they develop in the future!

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




Cooked Auto posted:

Have to say that's an impressive runthrough of a tabletop wargame round and not something you see that often. Well done.

Also who is going to have the dubious honor of covering John Wicks new Santa Vaca game? I took one glance of the intro and was drenched in just huge amounts of smugness.


Mrs. Wick's Baby Boy posted:

Sacred cows make the best steaks.

ó The Tao of Zen Nihilism

Pay close attention. Iím gonna tell you the big secret of game design. But not at first. Near the end. Nothing up my sleeve...

This all started as a dare. A dare I made to myself. Actually, it started a lot earlier than that, so letís jump all the way to the beginning, back to 1999 when the folks at Wizards of the Coast gave permission for other game designers to play with their toys. Iím talking, of course, about the d20 SRD, or ďStandard Reference Document.Ē

Now, most folks see that and say to themselves, ďHey, I could make a few new feats!Ē or ďHey, I could make a new prestige class!Ē or ďHey, Iíve got a few spells I could throw in there.Ē

I donít see it that way at all. I see it as an invitation to come in and mess things up. You want me to play with your toys? Fine.

Iíll take the heads off all your dolls and put tinker toys in their place.

Iíll switch the voice boxes on your G.I. Joes and Barbies.

Iíll take your Legos and some superglue and make laser sights and other accessories for your super powered squirt guns.

If you tell me I can do whatever I want with your toys, when you get them back, you wonít recognize them.

Like I said, most people see an OGL as permission to write adventures and add on more features. I see it in a completely different light. I see it as permission to really screw things up.

And thatís the point, isnít it? Thatís the whole point. Experiment. Donít just think outside the box; throw the drat thing out the window.

A 50-year-old man published this under his own name.

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007





Halloween Jack posted:

A 50-year-old man published this under his own name.

I feel like I've read a really similar screed before but can't quite place it.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Midjack posted:

I feel like I've read a really similar screed before but can't quite place it.

Anything else Wick has written?

megane
Jun 20, 2008





Wick seems to honestly believe that "but actually she's a demon" and "you can pick this option, but I'll punish you in-game for doing so" and so on are the most fresh and innovative thoughts anyone has ever had, and that he is God's gift to humanity for having turned our world on its head by introducing us to them.

It'd be kind of sad except that people somehow keep buying the poo poo he makes.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Didn't he have to fire all the non-Wick writers from 7th Sea 2e because he horribly mismanaged the business side of the project?

oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!




Sounds like someone is a certified badass...a grade A rebel...a maverick who doesn't play by the rules.

Or maybe they're that kid from the first Toy Story movie.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Actually, Mr. Wick, you're hardly the first one to think, 'I'll make some unplayable high-concept bullshit.'

LaSquida
Nov 1, 2012

Just keep on walkin'.


Night10194 posted:

Didn't he have to fire all the non-Wick writers from 7th Sea 2e because he horribly mismanaged the business side of the project?

He had to let go his full time staff. Not quite the same thing; I believe at least some of them will still be freelancing for 7th Sea, Khitai, etc.

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017





LeSquide posted:

He had to let go his full time staff. Not quite the same thing; I believe at least some of them will still be freelancing for 7th Sea, Khitai, etc.

Although the reason he had to is he gave away the entire 7th Sea product line - everything before Khitai - to Kickstarter Backers if they paid in as little as 40 bucks American.

OvermanXAN
Nov 14, 2014


I suppose the reason 7th Sea 2E seems fairly okay is because Wick was minimally involved.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





John Wick is a cover identity for Galactic Patrol officers investigating Boskonian money in politics, pass it on




The first entry is for DeLameters - which are actually a generic trademark for a particular style of energy pistol produced on Tellus, by "DeLameter Beam Weapons, Pty." (What the hell acronym is that for a company? Novel?)

It is never specified what kind of beam DeLameters shoot. They have three settings. Before we list these off in all their glory we will briefly summarize the damage output of several weapons from the GURPS 3E core rules. (Figures are per shot.)

Colt M1911 automatic pistol, .45: 2d damage, crushing
Disruptor, 6d damage, impaling

Keep in mind that the statistically average human being will have between 8 and 12 HP.



In a minor novelty, there is no giant fuckoff table of specific models of firearm or laser. DeLameters are presented as pretty much the best you're going to get in terms of a pistol. The "Lewiston" entries come from the First Lensman period; the M5 and M23 are slugthrowers, the M17 is also a beam. There are several clear reasons why the sacred and holy bullet have largely been abandoned by the main period of the book. One of these is inertialessness: a bullet would do no actual damage to an inertialess object. Another is the armor, which we will reach presently.

There is information on a "semi-portable," a integrated system that contains a beam weapon - a larger version of the DeLameter - a force screen and a grenade launcher, the latter being useful against armored-but-not-inertialess targets, or against things like bulkheads.

So there's no additional sort of super death ray - oh, wait -



Oh.

Well, that sounds useful, doesn't it?

You may have noticed some "TS" figures here and there. This does not refer to secrecy levels, but is a sort of alternate, more granular version of the GURPS Tech Levels, a system meant to kind of sort of ballpark the distinctions in historical levels of technology. "Modern Earth" was usually put around TL7, although many a GURPS nerd annoyingly observed that various new discoveries were putting society into the realm of TL8. The Tech Stages (that's the TS, right there) are a clever idea, especially in the context of Lensman's "WWII in space" - WWII saw a lot of swift technical and engineering progress, by necessity. If you were creating a long-term space opera setting, or planning out something involving major long-running space war, making your own "Tech Stages" - even if only in thumbnail form - might be a quick way to add savor and flavor, as well as giving you hooks to toss to engineering/science types in the PC group.

There is armor. This is probably where the term "Space Marine" armor was first used. It does about what you would expect. The reason for these daffy huge ray gun numbers is because "light" space armor - basically a spacesuit with some reinforcement - has Passive Defense 3, Damage Resistance 10. The Space Marine armor has PD 4... and DR 75; plus 150, with some details, for the integral force-screen armor. (It's great against beams, less against physical attacks.) There is a special version for Valerians, which is DR 150 + 300 for the screen. Valerians are big beefy boys (and girls) and are often employed as shock troops.

Now what do you do if you've had your butt shot off by one of these lasers? Well... despite the author's prejudices, the books make it pretty clear that Civilization is able to give people cyborg rebuilds (in practice if not by name), and the medical corps is good enough that if you can crawl back to base alive, you'll survive. There is no nuanced detail about supplementary medications. Instead, there is Phillips Regeneration.



Invented by a Posenian (a four-armed species with the sense of perception; "Phillips" was the courtesy name of a physician), this system uses the sense of perception and medical radiation beams to stimulate the pineal gland. If the doctor fucks up, the subject develops malignant sarcomatosis and must make a HT check daily - for the rest of their life - because the first time they fail, they die!

The benefits are considerable. The subject gains Slow Regeneration - 1 HP per day, guaranteed - and the Regrowth advantage, which will allow missing limbs and members to come back, if slowly. There are no exceptions, requiring the removal of prosthetics etc. The new body parts are healthy but share the body's natural age and any intrinsic disadvantages (if you had Bad Sight due to natural causes, you still have it). New limbs require physical therapy. At long last - a treatment for infantile paralysis... polio!

Yes, some things do change.

This selection was certainly much lighter on torturous justifications for tired military-sci-fi misogyny and the absence of an intricate, tedious list of yet another goddamn dozen special-use firearms was a breath of fresh air.

Next time we will discuss Civilization's drug policy and list of prohibited substances, as well as other highlights of technology. From there, I intend to hit the bonkers psychic powers and the villain-driven GM system the author proposes - which was perhaps the most forwardlooking thing present. This is also the debut of the Space Opera Combat System which never thrilled me but may be of Interest to the F&F society.

Deptfordx
Dec 23, 2013



Nessus posted:


The first entry is for DeLameters - which are actually a generic trademark for a particular style of energy pistol produced on Tellus, by "DeLameter Beam Weapons, Pty." (What the hell acronym is that for a company? Novel?)


Pty = Proprietary Company.

Alternate Company setup used in some countries.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proprietary_company

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2e: Sigmar's Heirs

Cults I guess

I forgot just how vestigial the 'non-Chaos cult enemies' section is. Now, cults are a sort of standard enemy in WHFRP, to the point that I'd say 'oh no a hidden cult is operating in this township' is to WHFRP what 'goblins are harassing my chickens' is to D&D. This section tries to spice that up by adding two non-Chaos cults to deal with so your early game isn't a solid mass of confused burghers in funny robes with curved daggers trying (and failing) to pronounce Dark Speech while a Rat Catcher's dog savages their leg.

It does not succeed.

The reason it doesn't succeed is because it doesn't really examine the assumptions of the cult narrative and instead just alters the flavor slightly. Our first cult is the Yellow Fang, who are a bunch of idiots who want to try to bow and scrape before the Rat Nazis in hopes of being appointed the Vichy Empire government after the Skaven Inherit-Inherit and take over the world. Yep, it's a bunch of people who looked at a group of insane, homicidally racist rat-people who are openly saying 'we enslave-enslave, eat-kill all no-furs! YES-YES! I mean, no-no, not you, treaty-pledge, promise-promise' and gone 'Yes, this is a well thought out scheme, I should do everything I can to help these people and trust their promises that they will let me rule my neighbors'.

Gee, a group of very foolish people who have given up in the face of a significant threat and who are going to secretly try to subvert the Empire's defenses in a vain hope that their conqueror will reward them later? That sounds almost like the exact narrative of a Chaos Cult, doesn't it? They even worship the Great Horned Rat (who pays them no mind, because no-furs). In the end, the only thing the Skaven angle really changes is that instead of demons, they might have the occasional ratman advisor, and the fact that one of their chief goals in life is to undermine and discredit the Rat Catcher's Guild. Which is novel enough, especially if you have a Rat Catcher. In the end, the plot against them is still going to play out as a standard cult narrative most of the time: They're just not meaningfully different from a Chaos Cult in effect despite the rat flavoring.

Our second cult is Ahalt the Drinker, who is like a lovely version of Taal that was replaced by Taal worship because Taal doesn't demand you re-enact the (specifically Nicholas Cage, Ahalt isn't cool enough for the original) Wicker Man to get back your goddamn honey. Somehow the worship of 'Basically just Taal but with more human sacrifice' survives, and is spreading through the various woodlandy and rural areas of the Empire according to the book. Effectively, again, Ahalt's plot is the same as a stock Chaos Cult story, even though his entire point is 'players run into a spooky cult, but it's not Chaos! Surprise!': The Plot Hook has the players come to investigate a missing scholar, get sucked into local intrigue, and slowly discover prominent townspeople are behind a cult of eldritch power and human sacrifice that will force them to fight or escape the populace. It's not actually meaningfully different from running into a Khorne Cult or whatever; the only thing that changes is there's less tentacles and the name they're yelling as they say 'GIVE YOUR BLOOD TO AHALT THE DRINKER!'. The specific intent, stated in the book, is to have a non-Chaos cult to prevent the threat of Chaos from growing stale for players. This is a good intent! The problem is they operate exactly like a Chaos Cult!

And...that's it. For the whole section. It's two pages long. Just a weird little afterthought that doesn't achieve its goal at all.

So I'm going to keep going. We get our Pre-Made Adventure, but like all Pre-Mades it isn't great. Players get involved in a scheme to take over the riverport of Bogenhafen, lots of random intrigue, then it ends with the halfling mafia tricking the players and taking over the town's council while the book explicitly says the players can't do anything about this should they object (I kind of imagine most PCs shrugging, taking the money, and leaving anyway). It's not bad, just kind of dull and ends with the 'clever' twist that the halfling the players helped was a lovely crook who gloats about it a bit. Also doesn't really plan on what happens if the players figure that out before handing him a major seat on the town council and dirt on two prominent merchant families that he needs to insulate himself from being kicked around by pissed off adventurer pawns, but whatever. The main problem with it is it feels like it's someone else's plot and the PCs are just kind of incidental to it.

Finally, we get some new classes. The Gambler, the Apothecary, the Raconteur, the Astrologer, the Exorcist, the Forger, the Verenan Investigator (easily the best thing in this book), and the Knight of the Blazing Sun. Most of them aren't all that interesting, and more importantly, they had some trouble finding 'Imperial' classes the same way Bretonnia's and Kislev's books could bring in 'native' new classes because the default book's classes are all assumed to be Imperials by default. Nothing about the added classes really screams 'Imperial'. There's nothing really wrong with them, but the only interesting ones are the Investigator and the Knight. The Knight is interesting because it's specifically presented as an intended guideline for altering the base Knight class to fit various famous Templar orders as a DIY guide for GMs. They get a bit less heavy combat stuff than a base Knight but are better at fencing, strategy, and a more refined, Estalian flavor to them; effectively they're very similar to the base Knight but just different enough to be worth it. The authors would later think better of this approach and just add Templar/Cult skills to the Knight class in ToS, as we saw, but this is an interesting look at their original plan for Templars.

I've talked about the Verenian Investigator before, but they bear mentioning now: They are one of the cooler 2nd tiers in the game. The class is already mechanically interesting and fun: You get some okay combat skills (and a 2nd attack), but a ton of spying, thieving, and intellectual skills and the very valuable Keen Senses talent (+20 to Per tests). They also get street fighting, so they're handy with their fists in a bar brawl or when trying to subdue a suspect. But their fluff and their Career Entries are the particularly interesting part. Verenans, in the interest of truth and justice, are trying very hard to invent criminology. Thus, they commission talented people from a huge variety of scholastic, religious, and even criminal backgrounds into church Investigators, who assist the Watch, Roadwardens and Witch Hunters with criminal cases in the interest of providing the truth and thus moving the world towards justice. You can be an ex-thief or cat-burgler who swears penance before Verena after being caught and becomes a cool private religious investigator/spy. They're useful, mechanically interesting, and they can go into Witch Hunter or Verenan Priest tracks afterwards. Just a cool class all around and they seem really fun to play.

And...that's it. That's Sigmar's Heirs. Tell me, did this book help you get a good feel for the Empire? It has a daunting task, since the Empire is both huge and central to the setting. It doesn't quite manage it, but it's failure is more a matter of being too thin and having huge, important chunks taken out to put into campaign books later rather than the material in here actually being bad. I was actually pleasantly surprised by the book on a close read for this; there's more hints of good ideas than I remembered. Nordland's complicated relationship with the elves is fun! Ostland actually has enough material for a game. Hochlanders and Talabeclanders are pretty cool people. Middenlanders are still assholes and Stirlanders are the worst, though.

More importantly, this was the first supplement book for the line. Look at how much they improved for Bretonnia and Kislev, whose setting books are two of my favorite in the whole series (Brets are probably the best book in the line, I'd say). The fact that the line's staff learned from mistakes made in the early books and continued to (mostly) improve throughout the line's life speaks well of them.

Plus, I've got the next book to show you what an ACTUAL bad Hams supplement looks like! That's right, we're going to the Warhammer Companion next, and ooooooh boy. You want some inexplicable horseshit? Because we're headed into some inexplicable horseshit!

Next Time: Inexplicable Horseshit

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



I hope 4e sticks to the core's idea and goes for like, province books, or maybe two to three provinces to a book. More space to fully detail them and give plot hooks and let you really get to know why this province is full of the (worst/best/most annoying/drunkest) Imperials.

hyphz
Aug 5, 2003




Cooked Auto posted:

Have to say that's an impressive runthrough of a tabletop wargame round and not something you see that often. Well done.

Also who is going to have the dubious honor of covering John Wicks new Santa Vaca game? I took one glance of the intro and was drenched in just huge amounts of smugness.

I did a brief write up of it on the TG thread; there's not a whole lot to it honestly, but I don't know if anyone wants to do it in more detail. Highlights include:

* The revolutionary new dice mechanic is roll under.
* The alignments are turned into Primal Powers a la 13th age, but being Neutral gets a ludicrous (and incomprehensible) dice advantage.
* Explicit downtime rules. Which are the primary way of levelling up, so you can just go on holiday and come back incredibly powerful.
* Only 3 classes (Fighter, Wizard, Thief) and the rules for levelling up Wizards are missing. Either that or mislabeled as the Thief rules.
* You can make a character immune to physical damage within a few adventuring sessions. It does require some illegal training, so the fighters' guild will send well armed guys after you. But you're immune to physical damage so owell.
* There's no bestiary or any guide for opponents.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Yeah, I bristled a little at 'This is just the Reikland' when I first saw it but then I thought back to Sigmar's Heirs and it was definitely the right call rather than trying to do the whole Empire in one go.

My favorite Imperial PCs are still a Hochlander and a Nordlander, though, and the book had enough in it to inform being a proper Hochlander (be less of a dick) and Nordlander (lots of shouting and braggadocio, paranoia about coastal raids, REALLY loving SURPRISED to find out what Bretonnian Wood Elves are like compared to the reasonable guys back home) at least.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


quote:

the Mask of Hisses and Purrs which grant you a +3 to Diplomacy or Intimidate checks depending on your catlike expression, but makes you inadvertently mew and meow while speaking and thus imposes a 10% chance of failing to cast spells with verbal components; the Ring of Cat Folk which can let the wearer transform into a tiny black house cat for up to 8 minutes per day

:allears:

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2e: WHFRP Companion

Here we go!

Were it not for the introduction to this collection of small articles (it really isn't a single cohesive book), this book would be far more baffling. The Companion is explicitly a bunch of shorter submissions from freelancers. This is literally a book thrown together in a month and a half from submissions on short articles for 'material that won't fit in other books', I.E. ideas that are too weak to sustain another book. Thus, we end up with a rag tag collection of bad ideas scraped off the cutting room floor of an RPG line, tossed together in a short time span, and then poo poo out onto the shelves. I'm going to level with you: This is pretty much the only book in the entire Hams line where I don't think I'd use any of its material. I guess I used the Giant Enemy Crab stats for the Promethean in the back of the books(it's literally a Giant Enemy Crab) for an Amazon heroine to fight in gladiatorial combat to amuse the Dark Elves once but that's about it.

So what's actually in here? We're going to get cursory descriptions of places that aren't the Empire, but without enough material or mechanical backing to actually use them (the Guide to the World is, say, a paragraph on Lustria here, a mention of Ulthuan there, but no actual detail). We'll get a description of life as carnies in the Empire. We'll get a bunch of rules for living on the river routes of the Empire but they mostly just consist of very detailed drowning and water-borne disease rules. We'll get rules for 'trade units' and stuff if you want to play your campaign about being mustard merchants which you know, if you wanted it I'm not going to complain about it but I'd rather that kind of stuff be the initiating incident that causes an adventure rather than stuff I need 6 pages of charts for. We'll get the chapter I hate the most, the one on 'medicine in the Old World', which ho boy we're gonna have some loving WORDS about later, just you wait. We'll get a bit about star signs that somehow doesn't actually add anything to the concept despite taking many pages. Social Combat Rules that suck AND include detailed torture rules!

The only possibly useful stuff is some stuff on the cities of Sartosa (Tortuga/pirate town) and a city called Tobaro to have some material on Estalia. You also get detailed stuff on a very generic Illuminati-style cult that, of course, has its fingers in everything in the Empire and we swear they'd make a good main campaign villain your players want to deal with a cult for their entire campaign right? Right? They're Tzeentch AND Slaanesh at the same time! That'll make them cool, right? (they're not cool). Then a section on pub crawls, a section on a random rear end shop in the middle of nowhere, some stuff about Nuln's gunnery school, and finally a bunch of random monsters, most of which aren't that well designed.

So join me on this, a journey through a true pile of a book built out of bad ideas that should've stayed on the cutting room floor. It's finally time for the actually bad book in the Warhammer Companion, the book they shouldn't have bothered with!

Next Time: A Wider World

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Side note, the Amazons are such a weirdly undetailed thing. Basically: they may or may not be descended from Norscan women who went native in Lustria, or may just be a thing that exists over there, but the Lizardmen have basically a client state of...well, Amazons. Who got army stats once maybe? But they barely get discussed.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Mors Rattus posted:

Side note, the Amazons are such a weirdly undetailed thing. Basically: they may or may not be descended from Norscan women who went native in Lustria, or may just be a thing that exists over there, but the Lizardmen have basically a client state of...well, Amazons. Who got army stats once maybe? But they barely get discussed.

Inspired by discussion in this thread last year while writing up Bretonnia, I did a bunch of reworking to make the Amazons into a playable group over in Lustria. Extremely non-canon, but I rewrote them into the 'face' of Lustria that the lizards use to stop people from going deeper and asking questions about lizards. Descended from Norscan settlers who lost most of their settlement's men fighting lizards over stolen tablets before the Jarl's surviving wife (now a Jarl) just...like, gave the tablets back and a Skink Priest who was retrieving them decided she seemed reasonable enough to explain some stuff to. Then they ended up in on and supporting the Great Plan.

Hence the game where an Amazon PC was up in Naggaroth having a pit fight with a giant enemy crab.

"Hey, trade with this colorful matriarchal society and don't ask questions or go any deeper into the jungle, please."

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




"It turns out they want lots of gold."
"Do they write on it? We write on it."
"No, they use it as money."
"What? No. That's crazy."
"No, seriously. They use gold as money. They write on wood pulp."
"What? That's even worse. Okay. Will they leave if we give them some?"
"They say they'll fight for it."
"Really? Fine. Send them north."

DAD LOST MY IPOD
Feb 3, 2012

Fats Dominar is on the case




there was an Amazon blood bowl team. They were slightly more expensive humans who all came with Dodge (like Norscans were slightly more expensive humans who all came with Block).

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2e: WHFRP Companion

Wide and Shallow

As you might see by the above discussion, Hams has always been bigger than the nations with actual army books. There's always been supplemental material about 'there's probably some kinda turbo wuxia China over to the east' or 'Amazons with a royal laser cannon?!???' in the margins, but never much actually written about them. The idea here is to provide players with material to let them go beyond the Empire and 'act like obnoxious tourists', but there just isn't going to be enough material to really make it work.

We start off with a short section on why you shouldn't leave the Empire and on the heavy taxes and tolls levied if you do. Yay. Let's use an example entry here to talk about the problems of this whole article: Kislev's entry is 'They live in a cold land with some ice witches, furry hats, and iron-fisted tsars. They're a small and unimportant kingdom (which is untrue) of funny hats and vodka'. Yes, it takes 2 short paragraphs to say that in a few more words, but that's loving it. That's all you get on Kislev. Can you run a game on that? You'll be writing all of Kislev yourself if you try.

Which, again, fine, I don't mind making poo poo up, but I don't exactly need this book to say 'Hey they're fantasy Russia/Eastern Europe, look at their funny hats'. I can just say 'Hey I feel like running a game in fantasy Russia'. Every single nation section in this book is the same shallow 2 paragraph deal, and they're all the broadest, shallowest possible descriptions.

Norsca? Vicious barbarians and nothing more (unlike the cool Norsca section in Tome of Corruption). Also like to rub seal-fat on their naked bodies to keep in the warmth without having to hide their rippling Conan muscles despite living in the cold.

Border Princes? Fantasy Balkans, knife-fights, an idiot tried to build his castle with skeleton labor but the skeletons killed him and took it (???)

Tilea? Hey, I'ma tryin' to havea racist accent ovah hehe! Also Machiavellian schemes and 'too much free thought, producing flying machines and powerful unreliable technology'.

Estalia? Wrong mustaches, terrible accents, silly rapiers, but actually a really nice place to live. Also, an entire valley of windmills for tilting with.

The Badlands? Orcs. Lots of orcs. Not much else.

Araby? Magic caliphs and 1001 Arabian Nights, also hands getting chopped off.

Khemri? Don't loving go to Khemri, Tomb Kings.

The Southlands (Africa)? Just some lizardmen and endless jungle. No mention of any Africans.

The Darklands (eastern steppe)? Chorfs, Hobgoblins (who are Mongol Goblins) and Ogres.

The Ogre Kingdoms? Uh. More Ogres. Also a decently funny sidebar on hiring an Ogre bodyguard (look for the fattest guy or gal. Fatter means stronger with ogres. Compliment their girth). Still no playable Ogres. This makes me sad.

Ind? Some really racist poo poo about how dumb hinduism is. Seriously, the entire section on Ind is making fun of the 'contented locals' praying to 'their mouse or weevil or whatever' and making fun of not eating beef. gently caress whoever wrote this. Oh, right, your name's on the article. gently caress you, Owen Barnes. gently caress you for giving me the first Turbo Racism section since the goddamn Hung back in ToC.

Cathay? They're really big, powerful, important, and we're not going to talk about them but rest assured they're important. Also, stats for a Cathayan Longsword (It's a Greatsword but instead of Impact it has +1 damage, Armor Piercing, Fast, and Precise (+1 to Critical damage once someone's past 0). I'm actually of the mind that that's a fair tradeoff, I can't overstate how powerful Impact is when interacting with A: Fury and B: The d10 damage die).

Nippon? Uh, ninjas, I guess. They don't even get *two* paragraphs.

Bretonnia? Silly dumb peasants and knights. Only make fun of the peasants because the knights are actually badasses.

Ulthuan? Elfs. Who would ever want to go to a place that's full of [i]elfs]/i]? (The book's words).

Lustria? Lizard people, gold, ancient cities. Other people trying to get the gold. Plant that eats souls. Don't go to Lustria.

Naggaroth? Canadian bondage murder elves, don't go there.

Albion? The British are terrible, do you get it, this was written by British people.

And that's it. I've given you everything you get from chapter 1. It's loving useless! There's not enough here to actually do anything with. You'd learn more by looking up army books on a wiki or something. I don't have any use for a tiny pamphlet with a shallow description of a dozen places. I could write that myself. There's no sense of the actual flavor of these places; look, I know, you're writing an 8-10 page article for a dumb pitch project and have limited room. The idea of a short pamphlet almanac of the wider world was doomed from the start. But that just goes to illustrate the problem with this book and its concept. There's no room for details, flavor, or adventure seeds because there's no room for goddamn anything because this book is made of scraps.

Next Time: Carnies

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 18:40 on Nov 26, 2018

OvermanXAN
Nov 14, 2014


There's also issue that the point of talking about places you can go to in a setting, even in brief, should make you want to go there, rather than just insulting the locations.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


OvermanXAN posted:

There's also issue that the point of talking about places you can go to in a setting, even in brief, should make you want to go there, rather than just insulting the locations.

Yes, I should also point out the incredibly dumb tone of the section is 'Haha, we are superior Imperials and these are funny lands of stupid people' which is not productive, interesting to read, or helpful in making anyone want to actually use the material.

But seriously the Ind section is the first time in awhile I've had to bring out the 'yo this is racist as gently caress' line in a LONG TIME (well, except the Crusades stuff) and so Owen Barnes, author of this section, deserves an extra gently caress you.

Man, I wish that would stop happening occasionally. It's made even worse by knowing this specific line is usually better and can definitely be better.

E: Also I'm using the guy's name specifically because this time I know exactly which of the several authors on a book wrote a section and if you write that poo poo you should be named by name and told you're a prick.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 22:27 on Nov 26, 2018

Just Dan Again
Dec 16, 2012

Adventure!


I know that people have lives and families (and holidays to celebrate), but man I have a hankering for some Rifts. Don't get me wrong, I'm loving all of the content that's rolling through the thread right now! It just doesn't seem like FATAL & Friends without a Rifts review churning away.

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Angry Salami
Jul 27, 2013

Don't trust the skull.


Night10194 posted:

Nippon? Uh, ninjas, I guess. They don't even get *two* paragraphs.

Hey, it also says that "doubtless... it will be populated by its own unique and deadly monsters"! There's some useful and specific information to base a campaign around!

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