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DigitalRaven
Oct 9, 2012

When I kill you with a motor-car, you should have the common decency to stay dead, you horrid little object




PurpleXVI posted:

I don't know why, but "aquatic barbarian" just gives me the strangest mental images. Mostly because I'm imagining a berserking barbarian crossing the sea bed by yelling all the time and never stopping to take a breath, so he can't drown, or a furious barbarian just swimming out to a ship in the middle of the ocean and suplexing it into Davy Jones' locker.

Every setting is better with supercavitating barbarian hordes.

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Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Double Cross

Poor Neumann

Hanuman's new powers focus on their role as hyper-bard. They get a heal they can combo off their Negotiate buffs, which is nice; being able to heal people while handing out a ton of buffs, or being able to make that heal multi-target with Wind's Messenger? These are very useful options for making Hanuman better at support. They also get a cheap +Level dice buff that they can throw out to an ally once a round as a reaction to an ally making a check (max level 5). They also get an amazing new passive: Any round where they've Broken Away or Dashed (and remember, Hanuman gets another passive that lets them melee after Dashing or Breaking Away) they get a bonus to damage. So you can pinball around the battlefield from fight to fight, hitting harder than ever because you're making dash attacks. Also boosts any attack, not just melee. Hanuman's new 80 is just 'use an ability you can only use once a round twice', their new 100 lets the Hanuman take a hit for an ally but disallows them using any damage reducers when doing so so it's kind of questionable, and their new 120 is really confusingly worded. They can cancel an enemy power, but only if it's an Auto action, a Restrict - power (as in, not a restricted power), or an Enemy Only power. So it's kind of a shittier version of something an Exile can do all the time, but as a 4d10 Encroach Restrict 120.

Morpheus gets some new magic riders: One is a guard break that lowers enemy Guard for the rest of the scene until they take a minor action to shake it off, which is great for opening an enemy up for allies. The other is a support magic power that throws down a +2 per level (max 5) armor boost for an ally, stacking with any armor they're wearing and lasting all scene. Note they can also cast this on themselves, stacking it with their amazing summoned armor. Still, a nice way to help support your buddies. They also get a power that sounds cool but is mostly useless: They can customize two handed weapons and make them one handed. Not many weapons are two handed. This power also permanently raises Encroach by 2. And if you're a Morpheus, you're almost certainly summoning better gear than you can buy, eventually. Still, two winners and one meh isn't bad. They also get a new Restrict 80 that lets them target multiple foes with a magic attack (up to Level+1, max level 5) at the cost of -5 Attack and -4 Dice, making this a shittier version of something that, again, Exile does normally with Festival of the Twisted. Still potentially useful. Their new Restrict 100 lets them get +2 per level to a skill for the rest of the scene, which is...eh? For a 100? And their new 120 is awesome and lets them reactively add +4d10 to an ally's check, or their own, after seeing the original result.

Neumann's new normal powers suck. They get the ability to attack and dodge with Negotiate. That's it. These powers are almost precisely copied from Solaris' Negotiate combat abilities, save instead of one of the best debuffs in the game, they get the ability to cause Pressure. Again, Social is not a well implemented stat: It should have just been a full fourth fighting stat in general. Because if you're buying these and you don't have Solaris, you're missing most of the decent Negotiate offensive moves. If you do have Solaris, these powers are useless to combo with it because paying 3 more Encroach and 35 EXP to add +5 damage to a combo that isn't primarily about doing damage in the first place is a massive, massive waste of resources. Similar, you've already got a Negotiate Dodge from Solaris and you probably don't have a high Social to use with it unless you're Solaris anyway. Just not a well thought out addition to Neumann. They also get a really lovely damage reducer 80, where they cause someone to take 10 less damage in response to a hit. It's not BAD, just not very impressive for a ultimate. They also get a 100 where they can swap places with an ally, Reacting in their place, taking damage in their place, which could be useful. And a 120 'take no damage' no-sell, which is always handy to have around at that level. So, two potentially useful ults and not much else. Good thing Neumann base was already really solid.

Orcus, by contrast, gets one kinda meh power and then after that it's all good. They get the ability to turn a ranged attack into an unlimited range attack with -5 Guard against it, which is okay but not that special. Then they get the ability to add a -Level Dodge dice debuff to their magic attacks, which lasts all scene until the enemy spends a Minor to shake it off. Not bad. Then they get 'teleports behind u'. Backstab adds a massive levelx3 damage buff to melee attacks after using their great teleport spell, max level 5. You want an Orcus-Chimera who just dips the Orcus for the amazing teleport and some armor? They can now pick up a hell of a backstab move out of it, too. It really opens up the possibility to add an Orcus dip to a melee fighter of any kind, for both the teleport and now this power attack after it. Their new Restricts are mostly great, too. At 80, they can put a huge static debuff on someone's check score in response to their roll; -5 per level, max 3, cast after you see if they were going to hit in the first place and if you can make them miss. Once per adventure, but still nice. Their new 100 is loving AMAZING. They can take ANY attack performed by ANY character and make it target everyone you want it to in the entire scene, at the cost of taking 20 damage and only doing this once an adventure. Your big bruiser just pulled out their strongest single-target only attack? Suddenly they're teleporting around the whole scene, simultaneously killing every enemy out there. Their new 120 makes it hard to remove status effects inflicted this turn. It's meh. But holy poo poo that 100!

Salamandra gets an amazing ability that turns one of their magic attacks into a powerful AoE burst without restriction, except it also makes it melee range. It's still (Select), so you won't hit yourself or allies, but you have to be tough enough to hang in melee to get the best use out of it. Luckily, Salamandra usually are. They also get a huge, huge buff to the Fire and Ice Sword summonable, which adds +2 to Guard or Attack per level (choose one or the other when casting it) max level 5. +10 Guard on a weapon with Guard 6, that also does reasonable damage? Huge boon to Guard Tank. Alternately, makes the sword stronger than Reaming Claw, potentially. Barely, but still. They also get a (fairly expensive) regeneration, where they heal some HP during the Cleanup phase without using an action. Designed to help the close in Salamandra Guard Tank. Their new 80 lets them take their great damage reducer spell and make it AoE, defending more of their team. Their new 100 lets them Guard an unguardable attack with an energy shield. And their new 120 is basically just the Neumann Restrict Pure that gives a massive attack boost to the whole team, except it also affects the Salamandra. +4 damage per level, 5 levels, but you're at 120 and have to spend 4d10 Encroach to turn it on while the Neumann Pure can choose when they want it. Decent fight-ender.

Solaris focuses on giving it more flexibility to not use Negotiate for combat, which is hilarious given the Neumann stuff. They get a basic magic attack that kind of sucks (+5 damage at level 5, ignores a small portion of enemy armor, costs 2 Encroach), an AoE magic attack that adds +8 damage in the process which is awesome, and the ability to charge any attack with Taint as a Minor rather than needing to use a magic attack and Bloodletting Spores like before. Simple and useful for comboing Solaris better with other sets. Their new Restrict 80 is an AoE Rigor inflicting magic attack that doesn't do damage unless you combine it with stuff. Their new 100 stops enemies Guarding against whatever the Solaris is doing that turn. Their new 120 is a lovely power. It kills the Solaris to get an ally up at high HP. But they already HAVE two ultimate 'get back up' powers. Why would you bother? In general, most of the new ultimates are less impressive than the core book's.

The new common powers are EXP intensive, but potentially worth it. Focused Weapon is a simple one: Pick a weapon your character has Stocked. It gets +Level dice on attacks (max level 3). You take 3 more Encroach permanently. Not a bad trade for a mundane weapon user. One lets you run supremely fast once per scene for 1 Encroach. One gives a buff to your HP when getting back up with Res, at no extra Encroach cost besides the 2 you pay for buying it. It can go up to 10 level and gives +2 Res HP per level. Getting up at 20+d10 is significantly better than d10; you might survive an attack at that point. Healing Virus is interesting: It's a chip heal for a whole AoE, performed in the after-round cleanup. 1 Encroach to cast, heals 1 HP per level to an AoE, max level 10. It's so cheap to use that while the EXP cost is huge, it can be a useful way to extend a team's health. Another lets you take an extra Minor action that turn that can't use Powers, so you can more easily shake off all those 'spend a Minor to break free' powers. And finally, there's a Common Restrict 100! It lets you take a turn after successfully Dodging, once per adventure, at the cost of 10 HP. Nice and efficient way to turn a dodge into a counter.

You also get some 'common Simples', now. You can have freakish scarring or odd mutations that mark you as you. You can turn into a completely different person as a result of your powers, changing age, gender, appearance however you want, such that people who knew the old you will never recognize you. You can mark areas in ways only superhumans can see, you can communicate on a level only superhumans hear (YOUR CELLS ARE COMMUNICATING), and you can stare down normals so hard they shrink away in fear. You can also make your Simples able to affect superhumans who want to let them affect them (it is time for the Solaris to become the true drugmaster), you can become incredibly resilient to minor illness and heal quickly at the cost of needing tons more food than a normal human, and you can hide your status as a superhuman.

And that's it for what I'll be covering from Infinity Code. Many of the new powers do a great job of opening up new options for combining power sets and builds in interesting ways, or build on cool themes from the original set. Shame about Neumann, but they were already cool.

Next Time: A word on Scenarios and their baffling structure

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

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




Hell yeah put that chill music worm into my brain.:weed:

BinaryDoubts
Jun 6, 2013

Looking at it now, it really is disgusting. The flesh is transparent. From the start, I had no idea if it would even make a clapping sound. So I diligently reproduced everything about human hands, the bones, joints, and muscles, and then made them slap each other pretty hard.


I'd love to read an interview with the designer(s) of Double Cross, since they seem to be one of the very few teams putting out mechanically-complex RPGs who actually understand their own system. Seems like the book doesn't always do a great job of explaining how it's supposed to fit together, but this is the first crunchy RPG I've been interested in in ages.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Also the 'item cards' in Infinity Code are so much better than the item readouts in the core book that it isn't even funny. They list them like a 'card' like the powers, with Attack, Guard, Accuracy, Procure/Stock, short description, Range, and then any special rules clearly delineated. Compared to the core book where it's a one line entry with Attack, Guard, Accuracy, then another on another page with rules, Range, and Procure/Stock which is a loving nightmare to read in a PDF.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

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


AD&D: 2nd Edition



Player's Option

Chapter 6: Non-Weapon Proficiencies

In base 2nd ed, NWP's were kind of vestigial, you were only likely to ever get a couple, and they were super expensive to upgraded compared to how few and how rare points you got. That's no longer quite the case. Firstly, everyone generally starts off with more points to spend on them, as a consequence of rolling with CP's meaning that Intelligence directly contributes. This also means that the Mage's general fragility and questionable utility in combat is supported by probably being the party's skill monkey outside of combat, and that Intelligence is now a meaningful stat for everyone. Getting CP's on literally every level-up also means that upgrading your skills or getting new skills is something you'll probably be doing every level, not just three or four times during your character's 1 to 20 career.

The way proficiencies are resolved is also slightly changed, it's still a D20 roll-under, but rather than having an associated stat as the base target to roll under, each NWP instead has a base difficulty to roll under, which is then increased(or lowered, if you suck at the related stat) by having a good stat attached to it. The table of proficiency +'s and -'s for stats looks pretty D20. The way the math of this works out, is that you're less likely to start with proficiencies that you have a 60+% chance of using(though the book reminds us to only force rolls when there's a genuine chance of failure, not for every little use), but instead you can actually get up to those proficiency levels some time before level 20.

Another addition to the NWP chapter, bought and earned with CP's like everything else, is Traits and... oh boy, Disadvantages. Traits are stuff that doesn't quite fit under racial or class skills, and isn't exactly rolled, so it's not quite a proficiency. Stuff like minor immunities, keen senses, fast healing and ambidexterity. The Disadvantages, like most other games that have them, is where you score free bonus character points if your GM isn't on the ball, at least until a troll whaps you with a garlic sausage and suddenly that Severe Allergy: Garlic is forcing a save vs death.

Most of the traits aren't super game-changing, though ambidexterity is amazing, basically being a slightly worse version of the Ranger's class ability(the Ranger's version is zero dual-wielding penalties, but can only be done in light armor. Ambidexterity is a -2 on the off hand, but can wear whatever armor you like.), poison resistance(a +1 to your save vs poison) is also nice considering how absolutely brutal AD&D poison is if you get hit with it and flub your save.

The Traits are generally of the "the GM can gently caress you over for free now"-type(allergies, for instance, or the nebulous "Unlucky" and "Clumsy") mixed in with the bane of the 90's: Roleplaying Disadvantages. Figuring out something you can be fanatical about without it being party-disruptive, or having compulsive honesty and just making sure the party gags your character any time lying is required, and you've got a nice bag of free points. It's by no means as bad as some games, but Disadvantages more or less never work in games. I don't think I can remember a single one where they do.

Nice changes, overall, but the real gamechanger is what comes next. Because you know who needed to be more kickass than in base 2nd ed? Fighters. Fighters needed to be more kickass with updates to...

Chapter 7: Weapon Proficiency and Mastery

So, firstly, any leftover points from the NWP's will carry on to the WP's. So if you want, your Fighter can be an illiterate who has no idea how to ride a horse or do anything useful other than Fight just to drag all his points on to this stage of the game to really party. Not that you'll likely need all that many, unless you invested in being able to specialize in multiple weapons(really not a bad idea), since the Fighter classes get the biggest point pools and the cheapest buying costs here.

Warriors get an additional bonus right from the basic proficiency stage, which is that they can pay a surcharge to learn an entire weapon group as a proficiency at once, rather than a single weapon at a time. It can be either very broad, like ALL SWORDS or more specific like ALL MACES(but not hammers, picks or flails).

Oh and the amount of things you can be proficient with are also increased. Sword & Board Fighters get a bonus by being able to be proficient with shield types for extra AC, and why don't you also learn the Sword & Shield fighting style, so you get another AC+1 and a +1 to attack when in that configuration? At this point the correctly built Human or Half-Ogre Fighter hardly needs actual body armor any longer.

Weapon Specialization remains largely unchanged, except that non-Fighters can now pay points to have access to it at the class abilities stage, while Fighters can pay to gain access to multiple Specializations at this same stage(a melee weapon and a ranged weapon would definitely be a strong combo to specialize in). Aside from that, the main difference is that ranged specializations are now even better and you can specialize in punching people(Combat & Tactics features a new and exciting system for how to beat someone so hard around the head with your mailed fists that his eyes come out of his ears). It's still a badass boost to power, but now it's really just what the Fighter does while waiting to truly eclipse everyone else.

The next thing is Weapon Mastery. Usually, level 5 is a really cool level. It's where Mages and Clerics start to pick up some of their proper signature options, like Fireball, and really start becoming useful as something other than budget Fighters. Comparatively, it used to be a bit of a let-down to the Fighters who were still badass, but mostly it worked as a milestone saying they were halfway to 9th level. Now, 5th level is where Fighters get access to Weapon Mastery, which is a step up from Specialization. It upgrades melee Specialization to a +3 attack and +3 damage, as opposed to its former +1 attack, +2 damage. This is a no-brainer choice for any Fighter as its effectively the same as instantly levelling up twice, adding a bonus +10% chance to hit any target.

It makes Fighters a lot more powerful, but that's about all they g-


Hold it right there! Badass cover comin' through!

Player's Option: Combat & Tactics

You think that's all Player's Option has for Fighters? THINK AGAIN. By the time he hits 6th level, the Fighter can gain High Mastery, this gains him the ability to crit on an insane 16+(no loner needing natural 20's) as long as he rolls 5 or more than what he minimum needed to hit. There are very good odds he will roll this well. And just for a bit of icing, his weapon also straight up improves in speed factor. The next step is becoming a Grand Master, which you can, if you have the spare CP's, do the instant you become a High Master. This starts by upgrading your weapons damage die(d4 to d6 to d8 to d10 to d12) and then gives you another attack per round on top of what you'd normally get. Obviously, the GM is encouraged to require a quest to find some legendary super badass warrior to train you to High and Grand mastery, but why wouldn't you go on that quest? The rewards are insane.

If you're using Combat & Tactics, on top of that, there will be severed limbs sailing in every direction. But we'll get back to that after Skills & Powers...

Player's Option: Skills & Powers

Chapter 7: Weapon Proficiency and Mastery

Oddly enough, immediately after detailing Weapon Mastery, this chapter launches into a section on how to master capitalism instead, talking a lot about character wealth. It points out how your character may well own several thousand gold pieces, but how is he going to cart that much around? And how can be avoid the messy business of being a jingling mountain attracting every wandering monster for miles? The answer is mostly business and investments. Loan the money out, charge ruinous interest rates, invest it in a business, replace it with lighter high-value trade goods, engage in charity(if you just want to get rid of the drat stuff and cross your fingers the GM remembers that you donated it later on). We're also taught the exact value of an education: 4,000GP per free CP we want. It's not detailed that's how it works, it just says characters can pay 4k GP per CP they want, so perhaps they eat it, or offer it to the gods who grant them power in return.

There's also an updated equipment chapter where Crossbows finally start doing decent damage, enough to be reasonably competitive with melee weapons(though still not really a great choice since bows beat them out due to their higher RoF. Heavy Crossbows in particular hit like two-handers, and then some, against large enemies. So if nothing else, worth equipping henchmen with if you're going big-monster hunting.)

Chapter 8: New Schools of Magic

This is basically just four new specialist wizards. Alchemists and Geometers, whose special thing is that they have lists of spells they can cast without any verbal components, with the Alchemist being more combat focused and the Geometer more utility-focused. Decent if you want to maintain some surprise or just cast a utility spell without alerting anyone. Shadow Mages, whose thing is that they have one of the game's rare few ways of penalizing enemy saving throws: The darker the area, the greater a save penalty their enemy gets. Their big downside is that they miss out on Evocation and thus lose all of the game's biggest blasty spells, but since they actually have some chance of sticking save or die/suck spells, they may not need them. They can, of course, also see perfectly in the dark, so they don't blind themselves with it. Lastly, Song Mages, who are the inverse of Alchemists and Geometers, in that they have a selection of spells they can cast with only verbal components, so in some sticky situations they can literally sing their way free even if another mage would be completely unable to use magic. Like Shadow Mages, they don't have much in the way of direct combat spells, instead their Song Mage spell list is mostly summons and alteration/charm effects.

Chapter 9: Psionics

For this to make sense, I would have to review the Complete Psionicist's Handbook first, because Psionics in AD&D are their entire own system. At core, they have more or less the same gear/combat abilities as a Thief(though nothing really ranged) and then their Psionics. They buy into six separate schools of abilities(Clairvoyance, which sucks, Telepathy, which adds yet another subsystem on top of the psionics subsystem, Psychometabolism, which only kind of sucks, Psychokinetics, which have a few awesome powers, Psychoportation, which also have a few useful things, and Metapsionics, which super sucks), buy abilities from those schools, power them with PSP's(Psionic Strength Points, it's just brain mana) and roll to hit with all their powers(it's like a proficiency check, a stat roll-under, and it can both crit succeed and crit fail).

Conceptually it's alright, but they peak around level 3 and then its all downhill, because the original Psionicists never actually improved their abilities. They were entirely bounded by their starting stats, and all they got was more PSP's and HP over time. On the other hand, very few of their abilities had level limits, so you could Disintegrate enemies or teleport them miles away(or up, if you were cruel) by the time you were a couple of levels into the class. But aside from that, they had no solid attack options, no solid defense options, no powerful buffs, etc. Psychoportation was super useful because it gave you access to stuff Mages wouldn't get until level 7 or 9 right off the bat, but once they got there, they had the advantage that they were a lot less likely to crit fail and teleport the entire party into solid rock, even if they could only do their trick once a day and the psionic could accidentally kill the party like ten times if he wanted to.

Telepathy technically similarly gave you access to powerful charm/dominate options, but did so without the enemy getting a conventional save. Instead, it took between one and three rounds of psionic attack checks(assuming they all passed) to hook into their brain, and then you also had to successfully use the dominating power, by which point the party's Fighter had likely already minced the entire encounter. Since all psi powers had no real "tells" when used, you could, technically, use them in ambush to mind control someone and make him start stabbing his buddies, causing trouble before the Fighter cleaned up, but it was an awful lot of rolling for relatively little result. It also had its own little telepathy combat minigame for use against psionic enemies when, again, your Fighter could just walk up and stab the poo poo out of them.

Generally the only place Psionics was useful was as Wild Talents. In Dark Sun, all characters, more or less, had Wild Talent psi powers alongside their normal class(which translated to them having one or two psionic abilities and a PSP pool for them, without having to fully invest in being a Psionicist and still having an actually useful character class to use 90% of the time, but with one new utility trick). In every other setting, you can visit a psionicist who tries to unlock your DEEPEST POTENTIAL. For most characters, this means a 90% chance of nothing happening, about a 5% chance of gaining a Wild Talent and a 5% chance of your character irrevocably becoming a drooling vegetable with 3's for all his mental stats.

So, what does Skills & Powers do? Not enough, really. Primarily it unfucks the Psionics' power usage by making their success chances actually scale with level, with the drawback that at early levels the chance of loving up is all the greater. Which means that the TRUE ULTIMATE POWER psionics eventually gain, they can't really reliably use until they've already been eclipsed even by weedy wizards. Psionic critical successes and failures were also removed. Ultimately, even this couldn't unfuck psionicists, and there's a good reason even hardcore 2nd ed fanatics like myself wouldn't touch them. Pretty much everything useful they can do would only be useful in a setting without common wizards and clerics, with much higher mortality than most 2nd ed and more of a requirement for subtlety. Maybe in a game where everyone was playing either a Rogue or a Psionic they'd be a cool choice. Fat chance of that happening, though.

That's about it for Skills & Powers, though, which remains in my mind an absolute must-use for anyone running 2nd ed AD&D. And if you ever played Baldur's Gate 2, you probably recognize parts of it: The changes from BG1 that weren't weirdly lifted from 3rd ed and jammed into 2nd ed were instead lifted from Player's Option(some of the kits, essentially and the crazy higher levels of weapon skill). I'll also do a post or two on Combat & Tactics, because it really makes combat a mess of rolls, at times, and I never really use it myself, but it tried to change things up.

AmiYumi
Oct 10, 2005
The Biden administration is actively fighting to withhold COVID vaccinations from our child concentration camps and pointing out that somebody used the word "democrat" as an adjective will not make that fact go away

Night10194 posted:

Also the 'item cards' in Infinity Code are so much better than the item readouts in the core book that it isn't even funny. They list them like a 'card' like the powers, with Attack, Guard, Accuracy, Procure/Stock, short description, Range, and then any special rules clearly delineated. Compared to the core book where it's a one line entry with Attack, Guard, Accuracy, then another on another page with rules, Range, and Procure/Stock which is a loving nightmare to read in a PDF.
Yeah, the next item Ver Blue was working on before vanishing into the ether was a revised Corebook in that style, IIRC also printed at full-size (I’ll have to take some pics of my collection to show what I mean)

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Yeah, I can confirm that. The original English printing of DX was also riddled with mistakes, but they would send out an errata packet by request. When I talked to their representative at Origins a few years back and mentioned I'd gotten it at launch (just before they vanished), he was kind enough to give me a free PDF of the second printing by way of apology.

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



PurpleXVI posted:

The Traits are generally of the "the GM can gently caress you over for free now"-type(allergies, for instance, or the nebulous "Unlucky" and "Clumsy") mixed in with the bane of the 90's: Roleplaying Disadvantages. Figuring out something you can be fanatical about without it being party-disruptive, or having compulsive honesty and just making sure the party gags your character any time lying is required, and you've got a nice bag of free points. It's by no means as bad as some games, but Disadvantages more or less never work in games. I don't think I can remember a single one where they do.

An approach I like is in games like Weapons of the Gods and FATE, where disadvantages don't give you points. Sometimes they cost points. But whenever a disad screws your character over during play you get a benny.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

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


The Lone Badger posted:

An approach I like is in games like Weapons of the Gods and FATE, where disadvantages don't give you points. Sometimes they cost points. But whenever a disad screws your character over during play you get a benny.

I've said it before, but my main problem with all these sorts of "ha ha, now I, the GM, can gently caress you over!"-disads is that I just don't like using them as a GM. It just feels much too adversarial in play. I prefer ones that just have a straight mechanical effect so I'm not directly the one making GBS threads on a player in their moment of greatest duress.

Piell
Sep 3, 2006

Grey Worm's Ken doll-like groin throbbed with the anticipatory pleasure that only a slightly warm and moist piece of lemoncake could offer



Young Orc

PurpleXVI posted:

I've said it before, but my main problem with all these sorts of "ha ha, now I, the GM, can gently caress you over!"-disads is that I just don't like using them as a GM. It just feels much too adversarial in play. I prefer ones that just have a straight mechanical effect so I'm not directly the one making GBS threads on a player in their moment of greatest duress.

You can run FATE pretty much entirely off of player-initiated compels.

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



PurpleXVI posted:

I've said it before, but my main problem with all these sorts of "ha ha, now I, the GM, can gently caress you over!"-disads is that I just don't like using them as a GM. It just feels much too adversarial in play. I prefer ones that just have a straight mechanical effect so I'm not directly the one making GBS threads on a player in their moment of greatest duress.

That's why the reward is there. The character gets shat all over, but the player gets a reward.

Chernobyl Peace Prize
May 7, 2007

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



PurpleXVI posted:


Chapter 9: Psionics

For this to make sense, I would have to review the Complete Psionicist's Handbook first, because Psionics in AD&D are their entire own system.
Please do this next, even if it's just to summarize the Psionic Attack/Defense Modes system as

quote:

it was an awful lot of rolling for relatively little result. It also had its own little telepathy combat minigame

because more people need to know that it existed, and was bad.

Leraika
Jun 14, 2015

slime time



BinaryDoubts posted:

I'd love to read an interview with the designer(s) of Double Cross, since they seem to be one of the very few teams putting out mechanically-complex RPGs who actually understand their own system. Seems like the book doesn't always do a great job of explaining how it's supposed to fit together, but this is the first crunchy RPG I've been interested in in ages.

The company responsible for making DX also did a whole bunch of other games using roughly the same engine, from what I'm given to understand.

MonsterEnvy
Feb 4, 2012


Volo's Guide to Monsters: Hags: Dark Sisterhood Part 4

Previous Entry

Hag Lairs
A hags home is like a hag. "It is ugly, eerie, or unnerving in some way, often incorporating some aspect of decay, such as a dead tree, a ruined tower, or a menacing cave entrance that resembles a skull."

No matter the method of creation, the lair is well defended. It might be reachable only by a steep path, or it might be surrounded by a fence the hag builds out of posts capped with magically warded skulls. Often, a lair reflects the outlook of its owner — "a murderous hag’s home might be crafted to look like a coffin or a mausoleum, and that of a gluttonous one might look like a tavern or a gingerbread house. Because such places are convenient for them, sea hags often establish their lairs inside the hulls of wrecked or abandoned ships."



Best of Both Worlds
Many hags settle where the barriers between the Material Plane and Feywild are thin, making it easy for them to interact and bargain with creatures of both realms. "Other popular choices are a place where the ambient energy augments certain kinds of magic, a site related to death such as a burial ground, and within a ring of fallen standing stones that still resonate with ancient power." In order to bargain with mortals, the home must be near enough to a populated area that it attracts occasional visitors, but not so close that a community would see the hag’s presence as a threat and try to defeat her or drive her off.

Treasure, Treasure Everywhere
A hag’s home is cluttered with strange items, objects that hint of a magical purpose, preserved specimens, scraps of lore, and curiosities that have a supernatural origin but aren’t inherently magical.

Exit Strategy
A hag always has an escape plan, in case ambitious do-gooders try to slay her. If she is outmatched, or wants to vacate her lair quickly for some other reason, she uses a mix of her innate spellcasting, rare magic, guile, and the assistance of minions to escape. Most hags have three plans prepared: one for general threats and two others for specific likely scenarios, such as “They’ve set the house on fire” or “A necromancer with undead are attacking.”

If a hag is forced abandon her home, she immediately begins to plot her retaliation against those that caused her to flee. Like a vampire or a demon, a hag has a long life and plenty of time, "and no dish of revenge is sweeter than one served cold and to the next three generations of her enemy’s family."

Elminster posted:

Hags hate to be in debt to someone who’s done them a favor spontaneously, outside of any bargain, and so will return favors unexpectedly to such folk

Hag Lair Actions

Hag grandmothers have lair actions in their lairs. Covens that include grandmothers can use them as well, but the grandmother can deny the ability to use them to the lesser members. Powerful aunties (and their covens) can also have lair actions, but it's generally more limited, like only working at certain times of the year.

A grandmother will normally have three to five lair actions, while a auntie will normally have one (or none). If not listed any Save DC's for a hags lair action uses her best ability score.

Example lair actions posted:

Hag Lair Actions
On initiative count 20 (losing initiative ties), the hag can take a lair action to cause one of the following effects, but can’t use the same effect two rounds in a row:

    Until initiative count 20 on the next round, the hag can pass through solid walls, doors, ceilings, and floors as if the surfaces weren’t there.
    The hag targets any number of doors and windows that she can see, causing each one to either open or close as she wishes. Closed doors can be magically locked (requiring a successful DC 20 Strength check to force open) until she chooses to make them unlocked, or until she uses this lair action again to open them.

A powerful annis hag might have the following additional lair action:

    The hag creates a thick cloud of caustic black smoke that fills a 20-foot-radius sphere centered on a point she can see within 120 feet her. The cloud lasts until initiative count 20 on the next round. Creatures and objects in or behind the smoke are heavily obscured. A creature that enters the cloud for the first time on a turn or starts its turn there takes 10 (3d6) acid damage.

A powerful bheur hag might have the following additional lair action:

    The hag creates a blizzard in a 40-foot-high, 20-foot radius cylinder centered on a point she can see within 120 feet of her. The effect lasts until initiative count 20 on the next round. The blizzard lightly obscures every creature and object in the area for the duration. A creature that enters the blizzard for the first time on a turn or starts its turn there is blinded until initiative count 20 on the next round.

A powerful green hag might have the following additional lair action:

    The hag creates an illusory duplicate of herself, which appears in its own space. As long as she can see her duplicate, the hag can move it a distance equal to her walking speed as well as make the illusion speak on her turn (no action required). The illusion has the same statistics as the hag but can’t take actions or reactions. It can interact with its environment and even pick up and hold real objects. The illusion seems real in every way but disappears if it takes any amount of damage. Otherwise, it lasts until the hag dismisses it (no action required) or can no longer see it. If the hag uses this lair action to create a new duplicate, the previous one vanishes, dropping any real objects in its possession.

A powerful night hag might have the following additional lair actions:

    One creature the hag can see within 120 feet of her must succeed on a DC 15 Charisma saving throw or be banished to a prison demiplane. To escape, the creature must use its action to make a Charisma check contested by the hag’s. If the creature wins, it escapes the demiplane. Otherwise, the effect ends on initiative count 20 on the next round. When the effect ends, the creature reappears in the space it left or in the nearest unoccupied space if that one is occupied.
    The hag targets up to three creatures that she can see within 60 feet of her. Each target must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or be flung up to 30 feet through the air. A creature that strikes a solid object or is released in midair takes 1d6 bludgeoning damage for every 10 feet moved or fallen.

A powerful sea hag might have the following additional lair actions:

    The hag fills up to four 10-foot cubes of water with ink. The inky areas are heavily obscured for 1 minute, although a steady, strong underwater current disperses the ink on initiative count 10. The hag ignores the obscuring effect of the ink.
    The hag chooses one humanoid within the lair and instantly creates a simulacrum of that creature (as if created with the simulacrum spell). This hideous simulacrum is formed out of seaweed, slime, half-eaten fish, and other garbage, but still generally resembles the creature it is imitating. This simulacrum obeys the hag’s commands and is destroyed on initiative count 20 on the next round.

Regional Effects
When a hag is present in an area they start to corrupt it towards evil.

Each hag lair has three to five regional effects. Grandmother, aunties and covens have more regional effects then a single hag, some of which can directly harm other creatures. Any regional effect that requires a creature to make a saving throw uses the save DC of the hag’s best ability score. These effects either end immediately if the hag dies or abandons the lair, or take up to 2d10 days to fade away.

Example Hag Regional Effects posted:

Hag Regional Effects
The region within 1 mile of a grandmother hag’s lair is warped by the creature’s fell magic, which creates one or more of the following effects:

    Birds, rodents, snakes, spiders, or toads (or some other creatures appropriate to the hag) are found in great profusion.
    Beasts that have an Intelligence score of 2 or lower are charmed by the hag and directed to be aggressive toward intruders in the area.
    Strange carved figurines, twig fetishes, or rag dolls magically appear in trees.

A powerful annis hag creates one or more of the following additional regional effects within 1 mile of her lair:

    The gravel stones on a safe-looking path, road, or trails occasionally become sharp for 100-foot intervals. Walking on these areas is like walking on caltrops.
    Small avalanches of rock intermittently fall, blocking a path or burying intruders. A buried creature is restrained and has to hold its breath until it is dug out.
    Strange laughter, sounding like that of children or the hag herself, occasionally pierces the silence.
    Small cairns appear along the route of travelers, containing anything from mysterious bones to nothing at all. These cairns might be haunted by skeletons, specters, or hostile fey.

A powerful bheur hag creates one or more of the following additional regional effects within 1 mile of her lair:

    Small avalanches of snow intermittently fall, blocking a path or burying intruders. A buried creature is restrained and has to hold its breath until it is dug out.
    Human-sized blocks of ice appear, containing frozen corpses. These corpses might break free and attack as zombies, or their spirits might attack as specters.
    Blizzards come without warning. A blizzard occurs once every 2d12 hours and lasts 1d3 hours. During a storm, creatures moving overland travel at half normal speed, and normal visibility is reduced to 30 feet.
    Roads, paths, and trails twist and turn back on themselves, making navigation in the area exceedingly difficult.

A powerful green hag creates one or more of the following additional regional effects within 1 mile of her lair:

    Illusory duplicates of the hag appear in random places at random times (but never more than one in any given location). An illusory duplicate has no substance, but it looks, sounds, and moves like the hag. The hag can sense when one or more creatures are within 60 feet of her duplicate and can interact with them as if she were present and standing in the duplicate’s space. If the illusory duplicate takes any damage, it disappears.
    The region takes twice as long as normal to traverse, since the plants grow thick and twisted, and the swamps are thick with reeking mud.
    Trees transform into awakened trees and attack when hostile intruders are near.

A powerful night hag creates one or more of the following additional regional effects within 1 mile of her lair:

    Shadows seem abnormally gaunt and sometimes move on their own as though alive.
    Creatures are transported to a harmless but eerie demiplane filled with shadowy forms, waxy corpses, and cackling. The creatures are trapped there for a minute or two, and then returned to the place where they vanished from.
    Intelligent creatures see hallucinations of dead friends, family members, and even themselves littering the hag’s realm. Any attempt to interact with a hallucinatory image causes it to disappear.

A powerful sea hag creates one or more of the following additional regional effects within 1 mile of her lair:

    Most surfaces are covered by a thin film of slime, which is slick and sticks to anything that touches it.
    Currents and tides are exceptionally strong and treacherous. Any ability check made to safely navigate or control a vessel moving through these waters has disadvantage.
    Shores are littered with dead, rotting fish. The hag can sense when one of the fish is handled and cause it to speak with her voice.

Volo posted:

You will know Rickety Zilla’s lair by its shape in the moonlight: a dead tree with a bent spine, it's great roots reaching out for a boulder like a man for his severed head.

Minions and Pets
Hags sometimes feel the need for companionship. They normally scratch that itch by obtaining servants she can insult and slab around as she wishes. These creatures might be charmed into compliance, or under a spell that stops its heart if it disobeys, or just afraid of corporal punishment for failure. Most hags have some kind of minion creature living with or near them as a defense against attackers, even if it’s just a common animal.

Hags particularly delight in using mortals bound to their service as minions. A paladin might have no qualms about putting a hag coven to the sword, but her conviction will likely falter if she must first fight through a crowd of innocent farmers that the hag has compelled to defend her. Ordinary folk are also useful as minions because they can serve the hag as her eyes and ears in a nearby settlement, either operating secretly or actively trying to persuade other townsfolk to pay her a visit.

The weird magic at a hag’s disposal means that she might have nearly any type of creature helping or serving her. Even creatures much more powerful than her might be under her command, working off the debt of a bargain. "Favors beget favors, and under duress a hag might speak a magic word to call upon a blood debt from a dragon, a noble, or another hag, making her able to wield magical, political, or physical power in a way she can’t do by herself."

Like the land near a hag’s lair, over time her minions are altered, becoming twisted versions of their former selves (in a dark fey sort of way), but still recognizable. "She might alter them with magic, making them tireless, resistant to fire, able to transform into a flock of crows, or able to teleport through shadows — whatever the hag thinks best defends or serves her."

Random Hag Minions
We have some table for determining some minions for a hag. They come in two forms: servants and brutes.

"The Servants table includes faithful, trusted helpers that a hag uses to protect herself and her home. These creatures are either naturally wicked or warped by the hag to better serve her. In either case, a hag is confident that her servants will obey her orders without question."

"The Brutes table gives examples of the muscle a hag might employ, mercenaries that serve the hag only so long as it benefits them. These creatures run errands and take care of roughing up enemies or patrolling areas that the hag considers beneath her personal attention. Hags prefer to employ clever, cruel creatures rather than dumb oafs."

Servants d8 (6) 2d4 (4) shadow mastiffs

Brutes d12 (8) 1d4 (3) oni

Treasure
Much of a hag’s treasure is strewn along her lair, making it difficult for intruders to quickly identify all the items that have use or value. But the hag knows what, and where, everything is.

"Every hag is infallible when it comes to keeping track of her treasures and other possessions. Her organization and labeling, if such a system exists, is designed to foil thieves and serve as a final, vexing puzzle for anyone who tries to make use of an item without her consent."

A hag’s treasure should be doubted and even feared rather than simply being scooped up and carted away. Treasure-seekers are likely to fare better if they consider a hag’s items to be trapped, exercising caution rather than giving in to greed or curiosity. Handling a container or other item without knowing what’s inside or what it does (or without knowing the proper password or technique) is likely to be very dangerous. At best, whatever was held in a container merely escapes or dissipates. At worst, just about anything can happen, none of it good.

Volo posted:

A hag always has some potion or amulet that puts the odds in her favor. If you’re lucky, she only wants to make you miserable instead of just killing you.

One-of-a-Kind Objects
Along with the obvious items of value a hag owns, they also tend to have a few bizarre and unique items. Here are a few samples from the table.

Hag Objects
d10 (8) An oval-shaped disc made of an unknown metal. If it is tossed in the air, it flies in circles around the tosser for a minute, tiny lights winking on its surface, before settling to the ground nearby.
d10 (2) The leathery, preserved head of a dwarf. Anyone who holds its 5-foot-long beard can see through its eyes.
d10 (5) A seemingly empty, sealed jar. If opened, the person standing closest to the jar suddenly recalls 1d6 happy memories from the life of a long dead elf lord.

Next time: Kobold: Little Dragons

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts World Book 21: Splynn Dimension Market, Part 12: "Whenever one of the staff's powers is used, the pixies are subjected to incredible pain, usually accompanied by incredible screaming."

The Art of Bio-Wizardry

Finally, rules and details on bio-wizardry-

- no?

No.

This is just a long reminder that bio-wizardry is eeevil; we're told the thing that makes it distinct is that it involves "enslaving the living to empower the living". And this seems to be true for some elements, but not others - for example, there were the treatments that make you mega-damage, super-strong, or breathe fire from Rifts World Book 2: Atlantis that didn't seem to be sacrificing a living being to perform, but maybe there are mega-puppies being turned inside-out behind the scenes for their mega-organs. We just don't know.

In any case, we're told it's different from mystic herbology in that the herbs are not "permanently" damaged, and that Biomancy is like a pact with other living beings for mutual protection, but that Bio-Wizardry is about turning living things into weapons, mutilating them, or enslaving them. You may remember, once again, there are guys like the Powerlords that mostly just seem buffer thanks to Bio-Wizardry, but we're told there are psychological scars that always remain. Somewhere. Look, it's time to roll on the insanity charts. Or, in other words, Tuesday.

Rifts World Book 21: Splynn Dimensional Market posted:

So without any further rhetoric, here are more products of this dark craft.

So we can move on.

Rifts World Book 21: Splynn Dimensional Market posted:

Remember, only the truly evil or the truly ignorant will desire these tainted weapons, since they draw upon the energy of enslaved creatures.

So we can move on.

Rifts World Book 21: Splynn Dimensional Market posted:

And only the Splugorth, their High Lords, and a scant few others know the secrets behind their creation.

Moving on any day now.

Rifts World Book 21: Splynn Dimensional Market posted:

Anyone else wishing to learn their secrets will be hunted down and slain by the Minions of Splugorth or given the opportunity to experience the Bio-Wizardry conversion process firsthand!

:sigh:

New Bio-Wizard Weapons

So, we start with weapons using Faerie Folk Components. And we're not talking about something like the Zembahk, where they're lobotomized and attached to a magic item. Or something like the Eyes of Eylor, where a magic eye is removed and plugged into a device. No, this is taking a tiny, naked, magic humanoid, putting them in a bottle, and using them as a clip for a magic gun, and generally traumatizing them. Careful that you don't cut yourself on the edge here, because it's wicked.

Naturally, faeries view this very dimly.

The only people that sell new ones are the Splugorth, because nobody really knows how to make them. Images have been spoilered for mild nudity and bondage.



  • Blizzard Staff: The worst part about being a pair of frost pixies chained to fuel the wintery spells of a magic item is realizing that your enslavers never even bothered to give it a cool name. However, the edge is sharpened by the fact this keeps the faeries conscious and they make an eerie shriek whenever you use its powers. Even if the faeries are freed, they have to roll for one psychosis, one phobia, "may be of evil alignment now", and automatically hate "Big Folk".
  • Dark Lightning: This is a gooey bio-gun with an "evil" faerie inside (any will do, I guess) that fires spooky lightning that does solid damage and does damage direct to Hit Points on a failed save, do not pass armor (a mechanic this supplement seems to love). And since it's 4d6, it's pretty much death to anybody foolish enough to play something like a human or elf or True Atlantean. But if you survive you get some modest penalties to combat because probably dying I guess isn't enough.



  • Vinewrapper Pistol or Rod: Using a green wood faerie or tree sprite, this fires a... plant beam?... that causes vines to wrap around the target. Pretty severe as far as save-or-suck goes, locking somebody down for about a minute if they don't have super-strength. They need "5d6 M.D. inflicted to them to break free". Does that mean you roll every time for a set of vines, or that rough level of damage, or...? We just don't know.
  • Floodwater Pistol or Rod: "This weapon is quickly becoming the official anti-vampire weapon of the Splugorth Empire."... since, as I'll remind, Palladium vampires are water-soluble. Look, rear end in a top hat idiots of the Splugorth Empire, you just enslaved a water sprite to make a squirt gun. It's not even a superior one, there are better techno-wizard water weapons in the game for half the cost; you can get a similar amount of anti-vampire damage out of a water balloon! (Though the accurate range of a balloon isn't great.)
  • Windstream Pistol or Rod: Similarly in the "lovely Splugorth ideas", where we have a wind puff sprite stuck into a gun to cause a wind blast... that can't knock anything over less than 200 lbs. Like, say, most Coalition soldiers carrying a reasonable military kit. Maybe just shoot them? For some reason this is 200K credits in Atlantis, "double most other places". I imagine a bunch of these just sitting on the stuff for some eeevil merchant down in the New Phoenix Empire. "What? Don't you just want to not kill people sometimes at ten times the price of a regular rifle? No...? Sigh, okay, I'll show you the lasers..."



There's also a Faerie P.P.E. Battery that gives a reasonable extra P.P.E. source, but the Splugorth are loathe to sell them because they consider a spellcaster with 57 extra P.P.E. an unreasonable threat... yeah... 'kay, sure, blobbies.

Entity Bio-Wizard Weapons

These are eeevil weapons that use poor, innocent supernatural entities as their power source. A possessing entity, for example, in its natural state, only wants to control people to create torment and anguish, feeding on the suffering and fear of others. It is, in short, a living force of malignance. And yet, this gentle creature is enslaved by Bio-Wizardry into a weapon! Witness the terrible villainy of the Splugorth as they twist biology of nonbiological creatures or... wait. I'm confused... well... anyway... spirit guns?

Unlike faerie weapons, which have unlimited payloads, these drain energy (I.S.P. or P.P.E.) from those around them. But who? It says it can be fueled by somebody it's touching (willing or otherwise), or drain somebody within 20 feet. But is that directed randomly, or by the wielder? Well, it's a mystery. If the weapon is destroyed, the entity will be free, probably in a pretty vengeful state.


Fires scary bullets.

  • Bio-Wizard TK Rifle: A weapon powered by a tectonic entity that fires "telekinetic bolts". Pretty trashy, the energy drain effect is the only thing that makes it interesting over a standard Coalition rifle. And we're not sure how this works.
  • Fear Pistol: Using a haunting, poltergeist, or syphon entity, this inflicts fear on a failed psionics save... which has a 60% chance to make somebody flee, otherwise they have penalties on attack and defense. Yeah, we have this whole Horror Factor system for fear, but the game blithely ignores it for an different set of penalties.
  • Ectoplasmic Net Launcher: Uses a poltergeist to fire a net of ectoplasm "stronger than steel", which is counter to previous descriptions of ectoplasm, but sure. The net lasts for about 15 minutes, so unless you've got the super strength to break free, you're largely stuck out of a fight.
  • Paralysis Rifle: Uses a syphon or possessing entity, paralyzes for 1d4 minutes on a failed save, etc., etc.
  • Pain Inducer: Like the paralysis rifle, but inflicts penalty-inflicting pain instead. It'd be cheaper, right? No, actually, it costs more, because "evil beings seem to prefer a weapon that delivers pain and suffering." Protip for generically sadistic evil villains: shoot somebody with a pain rifle and cause them to suffer for a day, or paralyze them and capture them at your leisure, and teach them to suffer for a lifetime. Gosh! Also: just think, instead of firing bullets that cause pain, you can just fire pain! Why don't real bullets cause the same kind of pain? We just don't know.
  • Domination Staff: This has a possessing entity it can release a few times a day to possess people and put them under the wielder's control, but a successful save basically puts the staff out of commission for six hours, oddly. I don't know if that's intended, or if it means you just can't possess the same person twice in six hours, but that's how it's written.
  • Kinetic Staff: Uses three tectonic entities to allow the user to inflict various telekinetic effects. Despite using three entities, it's not any stronger than your usual master psychic.


Hurtlauncher.

As a reminder, ghosts in Rifts generally aren't human souls, but just parasites that mimic the psychic resonance of an area. It's hard to say if they're even sentient or self-aware as we think of it. In general, the smarter they are, the more malevolent entities seem to become. So handwringing over their fate just puzzles me.

Next: Sinister whittling.

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 08:31 on Jan 5, 2019

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

I want to make a joke about the artist mishearing the term 'nixie light' and running with it. All I can see is someone mashing up vacuum tubes and Legend of Zelda fairy bottles, and someone else doing a Kevin and ginning up stats for it.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

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


2nd Edition: AD&D



Player's Option: Combat & Tactics


I loving LOVE SMASHING SKELETONS, this cover just deserves reposting.

Okay, so, Combat & Tactics, this is a book I've always avoided because every system it touches, it fundamentally improves... but usually in a fiddly, messy way. For instance, the entire first 80 or so pages out of a 200-page book are concerned 100% with making combat just a bit more fiddly. The ultimate result is satisfying in terms of system, and if it was a videogame I'd love every bit of it, but there are just way too many optional maneuvers and passive modifiers(for instance, on top of rolling to hit and damage with every attack, all attacks now also have a chance of proccing a knockdown effect, which the target then has to save against or get thrown on its rear end) for me to ever keep track of at the drat table. It also does the thing where it goes: "No no, we wouldn't want to get too realistic! That would ruin the game and detract from the heroic atmosphere!" and then has rules for pike squares and compares their effectiveness to their historical equivalents. There is some tone confusion, especially when we get to the art.



It's a bit more cartoony than the original 2nd ed art. Not bad, just a different feel and doesn't really jive so much with the gory content.


This is just a witty subtitle from being outta Paranoia, really. I wonder if Ken Frank ever did any art for that?

They go deep enough into the mechanics to completely overhaul initiative as well, making it less granular(rather than numbered speed ratings, weapons are now just Very Slow, Slow, Normal, Fast, Very Fast, etc.) which detracts a bit, in my opinion, but also commit the cardinal sin of making it a poorly-worded mess. As I read it, now each side rolls init, and an entire side wins init at once... but init is still split into phases depending on the action taken. For instance, say the players win Init, all Very Fast players will act before all Very Fast monsters, but all Very Fast monsters will still act before anyone else, and so on down through the speed categories. At least, that's my reading of it, but holy poo poo did they never quite figure out how to write things coherently in this book.

This is especially obvious when we get to the grappling rules.

Now, I went over the basic 2nd ed AD&D PHB grappling/unarmed rules. They were super rough, like, extremely basic, but resolved reasonably simply. Now they're Advanced Grappling Rules. Punching is still just decking someone(but also includes improvised weapons like hitting someone with a chair or a table, for some reason), but grappling is, as is appropriate, its own subsystem, and it's also utterly broken. Like mercilessly broken.

Basically, any Fighter who's not incompetent at grappling, will succeed at grappling except against very strong enemies, and once an enemy is grappled, really the only way they can break loose is to win a grappling roll or crit you with a natural attack/small weapon(most of which they can't use if you grapple them from behind, reasonably). At this point, you can then crush them like a tin can. And you could also argue that wrestling damage ignores damage immunities, since the text several time points out when damage immunities count, you could argue that in cases where it's not specifically mentioned, they shouldn't. This means you can smash a werewolf or a lich into paste by the power of sick headlocks.

But even without that, once you've grappled an enemy you can: Throw them off cliffs or into hazards, disarm them casually or neuter their natural attacks(and you can negate one natural attack per attack, and if you specialize in grappling... you get more attacks, so enjoy warding off all a monster's natural attacks while also tying it up), force them to save vs being KO'd for 3d10 rounds(again no mention of anyone being immune to this. You just chokeslammed that lich into a pillar and now you pull him apart like a baked chicken before he wakes up) or do a "Press" attack which does 1d6+1 damage with another +1 damage for every subsequent attack. All of your Grappling attacks in a single round can be Press attacks.

Just picking up a longsword and going to town is probably more efficient overall, especially against groups of smaller enemies. But grappling is absolutely the best way to neuter a single enemy. The only way for them to be immune is really to be excessively huge or to have an immense Thac0 that lets them counter-grapple their way out. So mages are doubly hosed, since they're usually not huge and often have terrible Thac0 and Strength both. Once again, Fighters win at AD&D, suck it, nerd mages.

So the system is a bit complicated in the reading, but unlike 3rd ed or similar grappling systems where the payoff is negligible, here it's really a Fighter's win button after a few levels, especially since it effectively lets the Fighter ignore non-magical, non-Dexterity armor entirely and just assume an AC of 10.

I mean... hmmm... I wonder how hard it would be to wrestle a dragon.

Trying to run the math(which I probably hosed up at some point due to all the modifiers to consider), Thrownan the Bashbarian, 7th-level Fighter who's also a Master Wrestler, has a 7% chance of scoring a round 1 lock on an average Red Dragon(a 15HD enemy, thus essentially being twice Thrownan's level), at which point the Dragon is basically making two Save or Die checks every round to avoid getting KO'd and murdered while its unconscious. This is assuming Thrownan is rushing right at the dragon. If he somehow manages to come up from behind, perhaps if he had some sort of... adventuring party... acting as a distraction... the dragon would lose its dexterity bonus and Thrownan would gain a +2... at which point its a 24% chance of forcing a save-or-die on the dragon, and then two on every subsequent round. And even if Thrownan doesn't insta-KO the dragon, this still means the dragon basically can't fly or otherwise use any of its abilities except to try and break free. So it can either choose to focus on the greased-up naked maniac trying to wrestle it, or it can focus on the rest of the party, either way, Thrownan has single-handedly thrown a spanner into the GM's game more or less permanently any time the GM wants to hurl large, single enemies at the party.

2nd Ed Fighters are awesome.

PurpleXVI fucked around with this message at 01:47 on Jan 6, 2019

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



How far can you specialise in being a luchador?

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts World Book 21: Splynn Dimension Market, Part 13: "Also, the sword has a Horror Factor of 15 to Millennium Druids, since they can recognize its twisted power."

Corrupted Millennium Weapons

So we got some of these back in Rifts World Book 3: England, but here are some more. For those who may have missed or forgotten, Millennium Trees are big, magical, benevolent trees. So, naturally, the Splugorth love to inflict suffering on them. Like you do. The eeevil Phoenix Empire (Rifts World Book 4: Africa) had one they tortured and stripped for material, and so most of these come from that, but are twisted into evil by Bio-Wizardry. How do you make magic wood turn to evil, anyway? Are they put in the hands of an demonic whittler? Are they given the darkest of wood finishing treatments? Is it tortured with a cursed sander? If only I knew a professional corruptologist like Chris Metzen who could explain...


Honed for eliminating herbalists- sometimes I can't make this stuff up.

The Millennium Slayer is a sword that does triple damage to millennium tree items, just in case you're fighting British druids. Or Shinto priests. Useless against nearly anybody else. Also, it inflicts a Horror Factor of 15 against Millennium Druids (from Rifts World Book 3: England) because one of the authors wanted to dictate their reaction, even though no other corrupted Millennium weapon has that effect. The Serpent-Slayer is a spear that stuns dragons and interferes with their ability to teleport, like some kind of dragon-lance. Illegal in Atlantis on account of their pro-dragon stance, which makes me wonder who makes these...? Especially if they require Bio-Wizardry to make. The Executioner's Blade has a death strike (double damage on a failed magic save) and strength of the dead (drain S.D.C. / H.P. / M.D.C. into yourself) based off of necromancer spells, though the death strike works differently from Rifts World Book 4: Africa... even though it refers us to that book. Mantle of Power is a cloak made from a leaf dyed black and red that grants a variety of disguise and charisma-enhancing powers.

Rifts World Book 21: Splynn Dimensional Market posted:

Note: All of these weapons are made from the wood of the fabled Millennium Tree.


Evil leaf.

Emphasis theirs, and this is the very first sentence of the section. I feel bad sometimes for nitpicking tiny bits like this, but it's one of those errors that litters Palladium books and- I'm not upset by it, but it just baffles. Why did they decide this needed an opening aside, especially when they'd go on to contradict it? Did they worry that somebody would forget what trees are generally made out of, and think they'd be metal based on the vague illustrations? We just don't know.

Eye of Eylor Weapons


Shield's eye view.

We get more staves with eyeballs atop them. The Eylor Assault Staff has a bunch of evocation-type spells (call lightning, fire ball, etc.) it can cast. "Suffice to say, the standard users of this powerful weapon are powerful, higher level Minions who are very unlikely to part with the staff without a deadly battle." The Eylor Exploration Staff can grant an variety of environmental spells for protection, but it's very-short term (effects are 15-80 minutes, depending on the immunity, yes, is it vital they all have varying duration so you can never fully predict how long it'll be safe...?). So you better have an exit strategy if, say, the atmosphere of the place you're visiting is poisonous or full of lightning, since those immunities have a very short duration. The Mace of Eylor will defend you against unwanted assaults by crushing heads in. Unlike most melee weapons, the damage is pretty good, and it has some evocation-style effects it can drop. The Shield of Invincibility has "the main empowering device is a small Eye of Eylor disguised as the centerpiece of the shield design". Wait, wouldn't that literally be... wait, how is it disguised as the thing that it is...? Anyway, it lets you deflect attacks back at attackers, but parries against ranged attacks are done without any bonuses... including the bonus to parry the shield grants. Seems like another dog of a design, given it'll run you 8-12 million credits.

Other Notable Weapons


Devil dagger.

How... we're not done? Okay, well, I'm just focusing on the notable ones here. The Demon Claw Blade is made from a demon claw and you can see the eyes of a demon within it. Well, not much creativity in naming there. In any case, it does double damage to supernatural creatures with good alignment, but that's the only time it'll do great damage. The Dragonfire Sword is made from demons, in an example of false advertising; it shoots fire. The Venom Blade comes in a variety of types that release a magical poison on a successful strike; paralysis is hilariously better than the others, with a duration of 1d4 rounds on a failed save, and that duration is cumulative. That'll be fun for PCs to face.

Magic Restraints


Obviously designed to just be too complicated to break out of.

We get some new rules for super-strong people breaking out of shackles - basically your maximum punch damage has to equal the S.D.C. or M.D.C. of them to break out in a melee round, but if you're significantly stronger, it's just one action. Two or three people can combine their damage; mind, this only really counts for mega-damage beings, the durability of most S.D.C. manacles is going to be beyond the practical strength limits of non-mega-strength folks. We have Conventional Shackles (not magical), Living Shackles that are hard to escape artist from because... grabby bio-hands? I dunno. Strength Neutralizers are another living shackle that can't be broken by the bound character's strength (though outside people can try to do so). The Microbe Injector is another grabby tentacle binding that injects a continuous flow of microbes into a creature (taken from Rifts World Book 2: Atlantis). D-Shackles block teleportation and dimensional travel, even from outside powers (but presumably they can still go through a rift?). Mouth Wrap is just to keep people silent - "Other types of gags and muzzles can serve the same purpose, but only the Bio-Wizard Mouth Wrap adheres tightly to the mouth, keeping it shut." That may be, but a ball gag will save you about 24,980 credits. Wait, why am I giving financial advice to slaveholders? Techno-Wizard Shackles are just better shackles because of... techno... wizardry? It's not clear what makes them better, but rolls to break out of them are harder. And another techno-wizard item is Energy Bonds, which disrupt folks with laser eyes or plasma hands as well as psionic "eruptors" (bursters, zappers... pretty much just those two for now).

Etc.

Atlantean items vary from hilariously overpowered (Dark Lightning Pistol, Paralysis Rifle) to hilariously niche or useless (Windstream Pistol, Millennium Slayer). But more than that, I have the question of who these items are for. Given it's emphasized how eeevil they are, I guess they're not for PCs, since Rifts generally assumes a non-evil group (though there's no real restriction against being evil except when there is). Moreover, even if you care little for the moral implications of a faerie-torturing device, there's the issue that the price of most of these items run in the 100,000+ credit range, with a good number running into millions or tens of millions of credits. Which means if you really want that screaming Blizzard Staff, you'll probably have to practically sell your soul to get there. Given this book is Splynn Dimensional Market, and the early parts of the book angle for ways to PCs to shop there, there hasn't been that much PCs will want to practically shop for...

Next: Big Bad Bio-Borgs.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

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


The Lone Badger posted:

How far can you specialise in being a luchador?

All the way to Grand Master, like with any other weapon.

And, uh, depending on a specific reading of the critical hit rules that about a half-dozen other GM's have agreed is how they'd read it, too(even if only agreeing grudgingly to the logic), Thrownan the Barbarian may be even more insane.

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



PurpleXVI posted:

All the way to Grand Master, like with any other weapon.

Is there any other way to dedicate yourself further to the Way Of The Suplex?

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

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


The Lone Badger posted:

Is there any other way to dedicate yourself further to the Way Of The Suplex?

Well, you could wear some sort of spiked gear to increase the damage from your locks, holds and grapples, and there are, as noted, some proficiencies that supplement it nicely, like Ambush. But by and large, you maximize the efficiency by being as large and as strong as possible and specializing in/mastering grappling besides that. Outside of that, it's mostly about having a useful backup crew setting up nasty situations for you to Throw enemies into or distracting the enemy so you can get those rear attack modifiers on your grapples(especially since most enemies with natural attacks can't use them, or at least can't use most of them, if grappled from behind, making it that much harder for them to break free).

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

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


2nd Edition: AD&D



Player's Option: Combat & Tactics

CRITICAL HITS



So, crits. In standard AD&D, you roll a nat 20, you do double damage. C&T offers two new systems, one of them means that any 18+(16+ for Grand Masters, which is why it's so loving insane to be a GM with any weapon) result that does 5 more than necessary to hit, is a double damage crit. This is okay, really, especially since with the armor-ignoring powers of grappling, we'll more or less always be rolling 5 more than we need to hit. But it's not immensely useful, since our main raw damage dealer for grappling doesn't require any rolls to hit(outside of the roll to first establish a Press-style Lock, and the first round of that does the least damage anyway), and therefore can't really crit.

What we want is the second crit method, where crits proc the same way, and do double damage, but then roll for location and severity, causing all sorts of horrible mangling and severing. Because these effects proc any time we land a critical result with an attack roll, by the wording. So even the weak-rear end damage we do when first establishing our Hold, before we start twisting off the dragon's head, can do terrible things.

Rolling location is only affected by called shots and stuff like height advantages, we can't do called shots as a Grappler(at least not in a way that requires an attack roll), so our only way of improving our chance at headshots is to leap on enemies from above. Guess we're gonna get some use out of jumping off the turnbuckle.

Severity's what really matters, though, and it's only affected by one thing: The size of our weapon vs the size of our target. Now, here's the thing: It never says what size grappling/unarmed combat in general are as weapons. For punching and kicking you could argue that they're Small weapons, because it's just hands and feet. But Grappling? I mean, we're technically using our entire body, which is bigger than the biggest man-carried weapon(polearms and two-handers), so we definitely qualify for the Large category of weaponry. This means that against man-sized enemies we're rolling 2d6 for severity, and against smaller, 2d8.

This is very good, because crits start getting fun at results of 10 and above.

Basically, 1 to 3 is no effect, 4 to 6 is minor boosts, 7 to 9 is weakening effects, and 10 to 12 is more or less instant death. 10 with most weapons and hit locations renders the enemy unable to move or fight back, 11 reduces them to 0 health, 12 just outright kills them. Now, our opponent gets to save vs death against these effects, but as a GM Grappler, it's not unreasonable to be handing out two or three crits in a round against a target, and each of those has a ~15% chance of getting a 10 to 12 crit(against man-sized targets). So sooner or later one of those crits will get through and our enemy will either be weakened and easier to kill, or we'll just outright loving crush his skull or tear out his ribcage or something.

Sadly, weapon sizes cap out at Large, at least by the book, so even playing a half-Ogre grappler will not, by RAW, get us any better at critting(though it will give us a +4 to landing wrestle attacks in more or less all cases since we're now Large rather than Man-Sized), unless we can argue to the GM that since our body is larger than a two-handed sword by a considerable factor, we should get to upgrade our weapons size to Huge. So sadly, the much-vaunted 2d8 crit severity is only gonna be against Small enemies(13+ results just replicate the 12 result, but with triple damage, in any case). But I feel like an average 15% chance per grapple to tear off a human-sized opponent's leg and choking them with it is already pretty hardcore.

Obviously some of this reading depends on the individual GM(though I checked with a good number of fellow GM's and they agreed with my logic on the grappling weapon size, so I don't think my logic is too absurd), though even with a worst-possible-reading with Grappling as a Small weapon, attacks that crit(and they regularly will) still have a chance to proc stuff like disarms, stuns and knockdowns at random.

One thing to note here is also that the crit system for C&T actually helps elevate crossbows to quite useful weapons, since Heavy Crossbows(aside from a vital damage boost earlier in the book) count as Large weapons for purpose of crits, so this makes them real drat scary things to get hit by.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts World Book 21: Splynn Dimension Market, Part 14: "No matter what, the fate of the Bio-Borg slave will invariably be a cruel and lonely one."

Just makes you want to play one right away, yeah? Image spoilered for heavy tentacle groping and mild nudity.



The Bio-Borgs

So, we've already seen Bio-Wizardry used by the Splugorth to enhance their minions (the Conservations, Powerlords, and Slavers from Rifts World Book 2: Atlantis being examples). However, they experiment a lot with other life forms, typically non-supernatural slaves. And that's what these are supposed to be - empowered slaves of the Splugorth who have had a bunch of Bio-Wizard treatments, parasites, or symbiotes crammed into them. This inevitably drives them at least somewhat insane, because Palladium loves its insanity tables in an impure manner - either from the treatment or the conditioning. Most of these are sold off on the market.

Rifts World Book 21: Splynn Dimensional Market posted:

Game Masters should feel free to create their own Bio-Borgs using the augmentations listed in the Atlantis book, those listed here, or entirely new ones. Just don't imbalance your game when doing so. You might also take a look at the Children of Amon in Rifts® Africa or the Gun Brothers in the Phase World™ Sourcebook for even more Bio-Borg R.C.C.s. The possibilities are endless.

Remember, in Palladium Books, imposing imbalance is a game designer's job, not a gamemaster's. It's hilarious to bring that even up before the actual rules for bio-borgs... we also get a reference to the plural term "R.C.C.s" even though there's really only one in this book - the Bio-Borg. This is because there were intended to be five or so bio-borg classes, but most were cut in favor of equipment; they later were published in The Rifter #9 as official overflow material, so we'll be covering them later as part of this review- but they aren't in this book, nor is there are pointer to The Rifter #9. In fact, it was only by chance - when I accidentally pulled out the wrong issue of The Rifter - that I even noticed them at all.


More organs means more human.

So, what's the most important thing to cover first about bio-borgs? Why, it's the Bio-Borg Insanity Table! Yes, you can go into violent rages over "provocations", whatever those might be, become obsessed with fighting or danger, hate or fear Bio-Wizardry, or... become obsessed with cleaniness? Because apparently Bio-Borgs are created in messy conditions, and that can be traumatic. I guess having them die of a simple infection isn't a concern for the eeevil Splugorth... anyway, there's myriad others you can roll, including going back to the original insanity tables. So though exceedingly small, there's a chance your trauma could make you "Become a psychiatrist and try to cure everyone around (they're all sick, even if only you have the perspicacity to tell); be sure to demand stiff fees." Or you could get a fear of cats, or become obsessed with crimefighting, etc. Random insanity can definitely be... random.

We also get rules for Partial Bio-Borgs; like how if you get a sufficient amount of cyborg parts you can be forced to start your character over as the Borg O.C.C., getting four or more Bio-Wizard enhancements forces you to switch your class to the Bio-Borg R.C.C. Mind, you're a lovely bio-borg compared to somebody that started as one, but presumably you don't have to roll for Palladium's beloved insanities.

As always, the % is your chance to actually roll the attributes to play a class as a human.

True Bio-Borg R.C.C. (100%)

So, if you actually bite the bio-bullet play one of these, first you decide your orientation - a sort of sub-class that decides what type of purpose you were enhanced for- "Hunter/Thief" (sneaking), "Warrior/Killer" (combat), "Gladiator" (melee combat), "Guardian" (strength), "Freak" (random), or "Burn-Out" (suicide soldier). These determines what augmentation tables you roll on - or can pick from if your gamemaster allows. Usually there are about 4-6 augementations for a given type There are some caveats - the Burn-Out is largely intended as an NPC given a bunch of parasites that'll cause them to implode, and the Freak... is phrased poorly. I get the impression they're supposed to get five random parasites, but RAW they roll on the following table for random bio-borgs five times, which will give them 3-7 enhancements per roll, meaning they'd have 15-35 enhancements. Obviously not intentional, but... hey, the book says it, it's up to your GM to realize otherwise.

Alternately, you can roll randomly on the table for Determination of Bio-Wizard Augmentation for True Bio-Borgs "for quick and easy creation", but since that doesn't give you the skill bonuses the orientations get, you probably wouldn't want to. Then again, if you get lucky, you can get more augmentations (7) than the orientations get, but he odds are pretty high of getting less (3). Thankfully, we get a note that organisms implanted are given enhancements to last for the life of the bio-borg, and to ignore any incompatibilities (normally, some symbiotes or parasites may get into an ugly fight over your innards in certain combinations, but not here). Wait, if they can modify parasites to not gently caress people over as bad, then why are the parasites the way they are? Well, I guess the Splugorth are just eeevil. Mind, random creation also has other issues - you could end up not being mega-damage, for example, or have no particular offensive capabilities. Once again, the GM can let the player pick, but that's up to them.

Insanitywatch: Automatically gets an insanity at 1st level. At 3rd, 6th, 10th, and 14th level, has a 40% chance gain to another insanity. Save vs. Insanity? Yeah, that's a mechanic in this game, but naturally, it doesn't apply here.

So, let's roll up some random bio-borgs, shall we? Let's skip orientation and instead do it the "quick and easy" way.

First we have Evets. He's a human slave. He goes onto the Bio-Borg assembly line, and Raymond Scott's "Powerhouse" starts to play. We roll... 28, which gives us one roll on table #1, "Enhanced Physical Structure", two rolls on table #2, "Natural Offensive Body Weapon", one roll on table #3, "Long-Range Offensive Ability", and lastly, one roll on table #5, "Physical Enhancement". That gives us:
  • Table 1: 78, "Medium Plate Armor": He gets "organic-looking" (vague~) armor that provides 140 M.D.C. and regenerates 2d6+2 per day. Not bad.
  • Table 2: 62 and 83, "Stinger Tail" and "Fangs and powerful biting jaw":" ... which do 2d6 and 2d4 S.D.C. apiece right now. That's a lot of work for sword-level (not vibro-swords, just... z regular useless sword) damage.
  • Table 3: 93, "Elom": He gets an Elom symbiote, a symbiote from World Book 2: Atlantis that lets him shoot lightning in an area or as a bolt, and make a force field. Pretty solid, that gives him more durability. No serious side effects, other than the occasional chance it might zap somebody if he feels too threatened.
  • Table 4, 99, "Roll again, Twice!" followed by 95, "Thundergut", and 48, "Additional pair of tentacles": The Thundergut is actually kind of bad, giving him an increased appetite but little actual benefit (as the strength and durability enhancements aren't working on a mega-damage scale, so nuts to that). The tentacles do give him a bonus attack, though, so it could be worse.
  • Lastly, let's not forget the Bio-Borg Insanity Table: "Obsession: Danger; loves the thrill of it". "He gives new meaning to the phrase, 'Danger is my middle name.'"
So that's our first bio-borg. I'll give him an electric guitar he can self-power, and the codename of Sting in the Tail.

Next we have Gutt. She's an ogre slave. She goes down the assembly line, and we get some... changes. Roll is 59: table #2 gets three rolls, table #3 gets one roll, then one last roll on table #1 or #5. I'll be nice and say we get to decide the table by the end.
    Table 2: 53: "Energy Expulsion", 39: "Chemical Spray", and 90: Storm Screamer: So she can spit... I'll choose a blinding fluid, shoot generic energy for paltry 2d6+2 M.D., or do Skyrim shouts, but can only talk ultrasonically.
  • She has zero mega-damage capability, so I'll take Table 1, 85: Heavy Plate Armor. Lucky! She could have easily ended up without any real protection. As it is, she has 200 M.D.C. and regenerates 2d6+10 M.D.C.
  • Bio-Borg Insanity Table, 40: "Obsession: Bio-wizardry; hates it". She hates Bio-Wizardry and even other bio-borgs, and will seek vengeance on those that transformed her. Sounds fair.
Our second bio-borg will get the name of Thunderstruck.

Next we have Dnorle. He's an elf slave. He goes into the cartoon squick machine, and we get 86: three rolls each on two tables, and a single roll on another table. We choose the tables, so...
  • First pick out of the need for durability:Table 1: 16, "Big and Strong", 20, "Huge and bulky", and "Light Plate Armor". He's now a 20' organic-armored behemoth with 90 M.D.C. that regenerates 1d6+2 points a day. He gets big bonuses to Physical Strength and Endurance.
  • With that in mind, let's try to get some supernatural strength on Table 5, "Physical Enhancement: 72, "Heaven's Wings", 18, "Enhanced P.S.", 14, "Enhanced Spd". So he can run pretty fast, at about 45 MPH, but that's kind of academic given he can now fly at 75 MPH... at least until all the drawbacks of Heaven's Wings (remember those?) kick in and the flight speed drops to 38 MPH. Oh, and he can never get rid of it... his Enhanced P.S. skyrockets his strength into the 50+ range, but it's not supernatural or robotic; if he's lucky, he might be able to do 1 M.D.
  • Lastly, since we haven't touched it, let's roll "Sensory Enhancements". That's Table 4: 21, "Polarized Eyes". He doesn't need shades.
  • He has it pretty bad so far, but let's see what's in store... Bio-Borg Insanity Table: 20, "Obsession: Fighting and Competition; loves it". Yep. Our paper tiger of a bio-borg is 20' tall, can't do mega-damage, is a priority target for enemies (as Heaven's Wings emphasizes), and is full ready to Leroy Jenkins himself into battle.
I don't think our poor giant Michelin Pan is long for this world, but he can fly at the sun without eye protection, so we'll call him Flight of the Icarus.

Of course, all of the heavy metal bio-borgs we just rolled are going to be pretty weak compared to an metal cyborg, who is likely to have 300-700 M.D.C., rail guns, plasma blasters, etc. As my old cyberpunk gaming table used to say, "meat is murder"; that is, being meat gets you murdered. We actually got workable concepts out of the first two bio-borgs, but the third is just ready to die in a hail of Coalition laser fire.

Next: Biodegraded.

The Skeep
Sep 15, 2007

That Chicken sure loves to drum...sticks


Bio-Borg, short-hand for Biological CyBernetic organism.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


The Skeep posted:

Bio-Borg, short-hand for Biological CyBernetic organism.

You don't want to see the tables and the insanity rules for those!

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





A biological organism? What has science wrought?

I assume if you grapple that ancient red dragon into submission it means you meownted like a pro and got a wing in a joint lock or something.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




You tell us about the hilarity of the RAW Freak type and then don't actually do an example?

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


This review is already going over the intended length at this point and I've got a whole set of bonus official biological borganics from The Rifter to cover tomorrow, so nope! It's obviously unintentional, and I don't usually do a lot of sample characters as it is (usually because most Rifts characters are pretty cookie-cutter, but this was an exception).

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Double Cross

Insert anime ending

So, we're going to talk a bit about scenarios and how they're structured, then we'll get into the final writeup of the game, because believe it or not this is just about over.

So, scenarios are interesting to me because they're a good way to look at what the developer intended in terms of structure and content. DX's scenarios also do an interesting thing where they include notes from playtest groups about possible pitfalls or places the scenario could go off the rails, which is a genuinely good idea. They're also very structured, down to including specific lines for specific characters and the assumption that you'll play a group of PCs exactly as noted in the scenario design. For instance, the first Scenario stars a bunch of the pre-made characters from the beginning of the book. It also explicitly stars 'PC 1', who will be playing a Puretype Chimera pre-made and who starts as an ordinary high school student with no powers. This is because he is the most shonen protagonist possible pre-made. The other characters are supporting cast from the UGN, here to explain things to PC1 and get him into the organization during the adventure.

PC1 is living his ordinary high school life and probably having a crush on the scenario's extra Lois, a fellow student in his class. Then a False Hearts rear end in a top hat triggers a terrorist attack that forces PC1 to awaken. The same terrorist has a crazy stalker crush on Manaka, the aforementioned extra Lois, and is certain killing everyone on the bus will make her awaken and turn into a superhuman who will join him in the False Hearts and love him because he's loving nuts and over Encroach 100. PC1 has no control over his awakening and reflexively saves Manaka's life, then is told he can't do anything else for the rest of the scene. The UGN arrives on scene to try to save any of the dying citizens and investigate what happens, etc etc. Meanwhile we keep cutting to the other PCs, who are UGN agents and officers, as they act out their own scenes. It's railroaded all to hell, but that's because it feels like it's trying to be more like acting out a play based on an anime episode, with the combat system being the only real place the PCs make decisions or do anything.

For instance: False Hearts will try to recruit PC1. PC1 does not get the option to join them or even really listen to them. The UGN will try to recruit them. PC1 IS allowed to say no, at which point they're dragooned into being a UGN auxiliary in all but name anyway. PCs chase leads and have near encounters with the villains, but can never actually engage them until the scenario says it's time for a fight; the terrorist and his handler will always pull out some power and get away until it's time for all 5 PCs to engage them. The UGN mindwipes Manaka, PC1 eventually gets the choice whether or not to tell her this (with the warning that she will become a Titus for some reason if he does), Manaka gets kidnapped by the terrorist, the False Hearts recruiter loses a fight with the PCs, then teams up with the terrorist and loses again because he's apparently a setting NPC whose entire job is getting his rear end kicked by PCs over and over again, the crazy terrorist goes down fighting, the PCs save Manaka, etc etc.

Only the terrorist is really a serious threat during the actual combat scenes. The recruiter isn't bad on offense, but he's got 0 Enemy Only powers and in a fight where the PCs A: Have a Pure Chimera and B: Outnumber him he's going to get his poo poo kicked in. The combats are not especially difficult; this is an intro adventure. You'll still need all 5 PCs to comfortable take on the two villains in the finale; the terrorist DOES have Enemy Only powers, specifically about +60 HP, and he's at 150% Encroach so he'll probably kick the poo poo out of a lone PC1 unless they work together with their new UGN 'buddies'. If Manaka was made a Titus some measure of her awareness remains even after her second mind-wiping (poor girl spends the entire story getting kidnapped and mindwiped) and she now hates PC1 for trying to tell her the truth for some reason, and avoids him. Everyone gets 5 EXP, Encroachment bonus EXP, and then probably the 5 'showed up to session' EXP. End scene.

I admit, I would get pretty annoyed playing a scenario like this. Being given a script and a heavily railroaded adventure is really not what I play RPGs for, and it's not what I run them for, either. I know this is probably primarily a difference between a western and Japanese RPG group's tastes, but still, makes this material kind of useless to me. All the scenarios are done in the same style, too, not just this tutorial. And that's why I won't be covering any more of them; I just wanted to talk about the structure and give an example.

So, that's it for DX. DX is a really interesting game that I wanted to cover specifically because the rules system itself uses the complicated combat system and Encroachment system to tell its story. You have a game with a very solid built-in pacing mechanism, and more importantly, a game where a ton of different character types are really useful. You also have a game written with a really difficult to use English translation, which makes the dense mechanics much harder to parse and work with; I admit I partly wanted to write this up to give anyone trying it a little more clarity via a lot of this stuff being covered by a native English speaker. The character building is really rewarding once you're familiar with the system and once you've got enough EXP to work with: There's room to build two characters with the exact same Syndromes and still have them come out feeling different. It IS very complicated, though, and again, you're working with a fairly poor translation and with the need to figure out exactly how to read the power cards. Little details like a power's 'timing' or number of targets matter a huge amount; I never understood why someone would play a magic character for a long time until I noticed all the basic magic attacks are Target - so they can be cheaply combined with pretty much anything else a magic guy does. That kind of thing. But when you work it all out you can build characters who have lots of options and feel really powerful in combat.

One of the best parts about the game is that whatever you build for, you can do. Melee characters are viable. Gun characters are viable. Magic characters are viable. The main hybrid I would generally avoid is Gun-Magic, but that's because functionally both do the same thing (attack at range) and you generally want to avoid spending lots of EXP on redundancies. Buffing is actually really powerful because most of it either doesn't take up your turn (though it can be really costly in Encroach), or if it does take your turn it's really impressive to be worth it. Being a good healer doesn't take massive investment and can keep tanks on their feet very well. Guard tanks, Dodge tanks, pure striking characters, debuffers, all of these things are doable and all of them are effective within the system. If you want to be durable and you take the right Syndromes, you can be running around tanking hits while everyone else feels like they're playing rocket tag, and you can even take those hits for your squishy buddies. Ultimate powers and super-combos are satisfying and effective fight-enders. Res does a good job of preventing one-shots and anti-climaxes. Enemy Only Powers are there entirely because the designers understood action economy but also genre; you're an action anime. You're often going to be a team of heroes against a super powerful bad guy. With Enemy Only Powers you can build one who can stand up to that.

There are problems, like the implementation of the Social stat, the sort of uneven distribution of items (though that gets solved some with add-ons) based on cost, and some of the powers being a bit weak for their EXP cost. Concentrate (the crit-value boost everyone starts with) is so essential that 'do they have Concentrate' is the main thing deciding if an enemy is a mook or a threat, and it makes unpowered attacks mostly useless except against said mooks. But they're relatively minor in the face of playing a game where it feels like the designers actually playtested and put serious thought into how their combo system and default-multiclassing systems worked. DX can be rough, but it's worth it. An excellent example of a game where there's a good reason it's got all this crunch, and one of my favorite supers games.

Next Time: The music of the universe?!

Just Dan Again
Dec 16, 2012

Adventure!


Thanks, Night! It was a lot of fun getting another look at Double Cross. I love the crunchy aspects, particularly how well they fit into the story that the game is trying to tell.

It was a little disappointing to see that there were a number of powers that weren't very good within each archetype. Does it seem like those were intentionally weak, or would some houseruling be in order to make every power work as intended?

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts World Book 21: Splynn Dimension Market, Part 15: "The dangers in purchasing a Kill Crazy are immediately apparent — they are insane killers."

And now, let's switch over to The Rifter #9, as it had a variety of Bio-Borgs cut from Splynn Dimensional Market so they could throw more pixie peashooters in.

Rifter #9: New Type Bio-Borgs

So, we get four added R.C.C.s for bio-borgs. Which is really more of an O.C.C., because you can already have an Elf R.C.C. and become a bio-borg... but... nevermind. Unlike before, these are very specific "designs" using a fixed combination of symbiotes that's apparently designed for stability. Well. Relative stability, given that all of them likely go some level of insane. As always, the % is the chance of a human character qualifying to play one.


Not so much leeching as munching.

The Bio-Leech R.C.C. (38%) uses a combo of parasites and symbiotes to become a modest mega-damage being with pretty much every visual enhancement it could have. It can regenerate even up to -50 M.D.C., so it'll often survive fights... but doesn't have a lot to win them with if its psychic powers don't land. In addition, it gets psionic powers including bio-manipulation, but it's major ability is to drain P.P.E. on a touch. It can weaken spell effects by touch, but only does so at 10% per touch, so it feels more like flavor than effect, though it's a strong anti-psi stalker effect in that it makes the mutants hungry with just two hits. They also have to eat 100 pounds of humanoid flesh and a whole humanoid brain every 48 hours or start suffering penalties. The Splugorth generally consider this one kind of pathetic and sell it off like an attack dog. There's a lot of words on how their genetically programmed diet makes them evil; yes, they could eat other things, but the Splugorth have programmed them to only eat people. But you can play one anyway if the GM allows it. "Don't worry, I only eat fascist brains?"

Insanitywatch: 25% chance to get an insanity per level. Does that include 1st level? We just don't know.


It's hard staying out of every "no smoking" business.

The Fire Eater R.C.C. (100%) is bonded with a parasite that generates fire called... the fire eater. "The primal and spectacular nature of the Fire Eater's powers make him a "hot seller" in the Splugorth slave markets (pun intended)." Palladium: dad-aged dad-jokes from the maker of dad RPGs.

They can breathe fire, punch with flaming fists, create a field of fire that... protects them like armor? Is that how fire works? In any case, it also burns off anything they're wearing that isn't explicitly fireproof. They can also touch people and inflict a "Hellfire Scourge" to make the target "suffer from incredible angst and inner pain". Also they can heal people by mouth-to-mouthing flames into them. I think we might be stretching the definition of fire more than the Human Torch does, and he catches villains with a non-igniting fire lasso. They have to eat a lot to maintain their flames, though, have flame and smoke coming out of their mouth and nose constantly (slavemasters often use a special muzzle), and they explode for serious damage (100+ mega-damage on average) when they die. They're not bad, but aren't going to amaze, much like bursters. Unlike bursters, though, they can't stop the fire.

Insanitywatch: 40% chance to start with an insanity, and rolls that 40% again every four levels and also at 15th level because gently caress you, 15th level bio-borg, you played for years and years and years and this is your reward.


No pants, no problem?

Predictably, the Kill Crazy (38%) is the Splugorth equivalent of a Crazy, though they use a symbiote called the "Brain Scrambler-Enhancer" instead of nanotech. However, they're specifically driven for higher aggression, "predatory instincts", and paranoia. Exactly what you need in a slave warrior, I'm sure. Granted, they tend to use the process as a means to increase the value of low-quality slaves for sale. Otherwise, they're similar to Crazies with the same powers, except they get an Eye of Eylor implanted in their head for a ridiculous number of visual enhancements. They can also create a mega-damage Telekinetic Field for protection and get Super Telekinesis, but generally speaking they're going to need weapons to do serious mega-damage. And, of course...

Insanitywatch: Rolls for one obsession and one phobia, and "All Kill Crazies are psychotics who suffer from mild paranoia, aggression, and a lust to hurt and kill." They roll on the Crazy Hero Table at level 4, get vague "delusions and schizophrenia" at level 9, and roll on the Bio-Borg Insanity Table every 5 levels.


They're not supposed to be dicks, FYI, they're... tentacle... ... dicks?

Lastly, whe have the Sym-Killer (14%), which is a killer with symbiotes, not a killer of symbiotes. They're supposed to be the Bio-Borg equivalent of the (snerk) Maxi-Man, having been selected and indoctrinated at an early age, and after a few centuries of service - they have an enhanced lifespan - can even graduate from slave to minion, after which they presumably star in their own animated movie. They become M.D.C., farcical strength and overall high physical traits, an elom symbiote (the electric zappy one mentioned above), a chest amalgamate symbiote (from Atlantis, a giant head on their chest with a stretchy mouth-tongue), a hilariously low-grade poison (1d4 mega-damage with a saving throw to reduce to 1), spikes and blades, a poison stinger tail that can inflict much more useful poisons (like paralysis), and lastly a facewrap that provides nightvision and replaces breathing. Not at all bad, if you're into being an extreme '90s symbiote monster.

The weird note is because they can live for centuries to possibly a millennium, they have an experience chart that goes to level 25, where most characters can only advance to level 15. While we've had some extended charts before, I just want to highlight there are plenty of immortal characters (godlings or faeries, for example) that haven't gotten this treatment, so somebody must have really loved the idea of a player running a Sym-Killer. But how long would it take to hit level 25?

Well, it's hard to say. Rifts, at this point, has given no indication of what the "average" XP award should be. However, we can make a guess based on an example from the corebook. Siembieda brings up that, after two years of play, once a week, with sessions around nine hours, characters in his game ranged from 7th to 9th level. Taking an average of levels 7-9 gives us a value of about 65,000, or 32,500 XP per year of play. XP gains don't increase with level in any significant respect, so we can presume there isn't any curve intended for XP gain. So, with all that in mind, the 4,000,001 XP it takes for a Sym-Killer to hit 25th level, at 32,500 a year, gives us... 123 years and 9 months. Now, granted, you could play more often than that, but maxing it would be a literal full-time job if you wanted to get there in 20 years.

Insanitywatch: 20% chance to start with an insanity, and rolls that 20% at 4th, 9th, and 13th level, on account of their conditioning. Yes, a life of Splugorth slavery makes you more stable, not less?

If you handed a newborn baby fresh from the womb a Sym-Killer character sheet, they would not finish leveling by the time they died. If you started out at level 15, it'd be over three years before you hit 16. It'd still be 107 years and 8 months before you hit 25, presuming you started by childhood. Hitting level 25 is a practical impossibility unless you inflate the existing XP awards by 10, and even then it'd take over a decade.

Why, Palladium? Just... why? Why? I mean, maybe you're future-proofing your game for immortality technology. Or, more likely, it's a hideous abomination of math. And, as mentioned by astute reader The Skeep, "Bio-Borg" is just a silly term. After all, Cyborg is short for "Cybernetic Organism", so a Bio-Borg is a... Biological... Borganism?

Next: Guns of El Pulpo.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Just Dan Again posted:

Thanks, Night! It was a lot of fun getting another look at Double Cross. I love the crunchy aspects, particularly how well they fit into the story that the game is trying to tell.

It was a little disappointing to see that there were a number of powers that weren't very good within each archetype. Does it seem like those were intentionally weak, or would some houseruling be in order to make every power work as intended?

I think it's more that when you have dozens of powers, some of them won't turn out quite as well. There aren't that many, and in many cases the problem seems to come from the idea that some things are more easily achievable and more efficient from some power sets than others, and the less efficient things are meant to be taken after you exhausted leveling up the more efficient ones if you wanted to keep getting better. Some of them are just a little too weak to be worth it.

Like, for instance, say I'm playing a Solaris-Exile who is mostly doing a lot of heavy melee fighting and took Solaris mostly to have a couple support/buff options. I might consider taking levels in Poison Blade (the Solaris 'give up your Minor to buff all your attacks in your Major this turn' power) to buff my melee damage, but only after I took the more EXP efficient options in Exile. The problem is that for a few (I keep using Poison Blade as an example because it's one of the clear 'this is too weak' ones) the bonus sort of isn't worth it and it is probably better to consider branching out at that point, since A: I have to give up my Minor Action to activate this as is and B: It costs effectively 15 EXP to get the power, then 5 EXP per rank, for +1 damage per rank (max 10), without being particularly efficient or combo-able in the first place. This is partly because Solaris is, by design, not that great at direct damage. But in practice it means no build is likely to take Poison Blade.

I keep using that power as an example because most power sets have a 'spend your minor to buff your major' charge-up style power, but it's usually literally twice as efficient (+2 damage per, max 5 levels). On one hand this is a necessary part of design; some powers you'll only take if you're out of other options or don't have more efficient ones, and these things are necessary to differentiate the sets. Like for instance the reflexive debuffs (where you cast the power in response to an enemy and give them a dice penalty on their move) are usually fairly expensive and go up to 3 levels, for -3 dice. Solaris, being the debuff specialist, gets one that's level+1 as the dice penalty and goes up to 5, for a total of -6 to enemy dice if you max it. Thus, it's more efficient than other reflexive debuffs to reflect Solaris is really good at debuffs. Some of the powers being a bit too weak (or a bit too strong; I actually think the close range explosion magic attack for Salamandra is a bit overtuned in Infinity Code) was inevitable with this many powers and this design goal. What astonishes me is the extent to which you can make almost any combo of power sets work; that's probably the single most impressive part of the system's design.

I also forgot to mention something else about Scenarios because there wasn't one in the Tutorial Scenario: Master Scenes are the funniest goddamn thing. They're literally JRPG cutscenes where the GM is meant to act out a situation with no PC involvement to have a cutscene about what the bad guys are doing. They are silly.

OvermanXAN
Nov 14, 2014


Night10194 posted:

I also forgot to mention something else about Scenarios because there wasn't one in the Tutorial Scenario: Master Scenes are the funniest goddamn thing. They're literally JRPG cutscenes where the GM is meant to act out a situation with no PC involvement to have a cutscene about what the bad guys are doing. They are silly.

That's the good kind of silly, though.

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010

by many accounts a diligent administrator and manager who was instrumental in increasing industrial productivity during the war

Lipstick Apathy



Chainmail

Someone in the general chat thread asked about how difficult it would be to learn the original Chainmail rules, and I've been on a wargaming kick lately, so I wanted to try and see for myself if I could grasp it.

* There is no prescribed scale for the game in the introduction, though some specifics are later offered:
- 40mm figures (Elastolin and Starlux are the brands mentioned), with a 1-to-20 ratio of figures to men
- 25mm figures (Airfix), with a 1-to-10 ratio of figures to men
- 1-inch-to-10-yards distance ratio
- 1-turn-to-1-minute time ratio

___

* The playing field is intended to be 8 feet long, and between 4-feet to 7-feet wide

* Force allocations can be based on historical accounts, based on a point-value system (described later in the rules), assigned by a third-party, or narratively extracted from a larger campaign situation.

* The game supports either an IGOUGO turn sequence, or a simultaneous move sequence. In either case, the general order of a turn is Movement, followed by Artillery fire, followed by Missile fire, followed by Melee fire

___

* Terrain:
- Hills reduce movement by 50% if going uphill, but normal movement when moving downhill, and units cannot charge uphill
- Woods also reduce movement and prevent charges, but also troops in ordered formations cannot move into it
- Marshes also reduce movement and prevent charges, but also heavy equipment (i.e. artillery) cannot enter
- Rough terrain prevents charges
- Ditches and ramparts also reduce movement and prevent charges
- Streams cost 6 inches of movement to cross, while rivers require that a unit halt at its edge, and then spend an entire (next) turn just to cross. That is, unless a ford or bridge is present that would allow movement
- There is a small card-draw system to randomly generate terrain features for a map

___

* I'm not going to recreate the entire unit table here, but let's get some basics down:

6 inches is the slowest movement of any unit in the game. This covers armored infantry and siege engines
Archers, less-armored infantry ("heavy foot"), and light infantry move at 9 inches
Light cavalry move at 24 inches, medium cavalry move at 18 inches, and heavy cavalry move at 12 inches

Armored infantry still charge at 6 inches
heavy and light infantry charge at 12 inches
Light cavalry charge at 30 inches, medium cavalry charge at 24 inches, and heavy cavalry charge at 18 inches

Archers have 15 inches of ranged missile fire, crossbowmen have 18 inches of range, and longbowmen have 21 inches of range

Troops can either be in line, column, or square formation. Changing between each costs 1 inch of movement, except going from line to square, which costs 2.

Changing facing obliquely costs one-quarter of an inch of movement, left-or-right-face costs half-an-inch of movement, and an about-face costs one inch of movement. This is doubled if the troops are of bad quality, and halved for elite troops and cavalry.

____

Fatigue:

Moving 5 turns consecutively, or moving 2 turns consecutively + charging + meleeing, or moving + charging + meleeing for 2 turns, or meleeing for 3 turns, will all cause a unit to become fatigued, which makes them attack and defend as the next-worse quality of troop (i.e. armored infantry becomes heavy infantry), and gives them a morale penalty.

One turn of not-moving lifts fatigue

___

Missile Fire:

You take the number of archers in the unit, compare them to the target type, roll a d6, and the result is how many figures are taken out



So if you had a unit of 7 archers (representing 70 archers at the 25mm scale), and you were shooting at unarmored infantry, and you rolled a 3 on the d6, you would take out 4 figures from the targeted unit.



Archers can fire once per turn. If they haven't moved, and are not meleed by the end of the turn, they can fire a second time. They can otherwise move up half their movement and still get to fire.

Horse archers can move up to half their movement, fire missiles, and then still get to move the remaining half of their movement afterwards.

Units in cover will take half damage from missile fire

___

Next: Charging and melee combat

gradenko_2000 fucked around with this message at 08:36 on Jan 8, 2019

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010

by many accounts a diligent administrator and manager who was instrumental in increasing industrial productivity during the war

Lipstick Apathy

Chainmail

(I am skipping a section on rules for missile fire from siege weapons as well as gunpowder weapons. I'm mentioning that they exist, but for the purposes of what I'm writing, it's far too detailed to get a basic idea of what the system is like)

___

Melee Combat



The basic mechanic is that you take your base unit, and compare it to the target. That will give you the number of d6 dice to roll based on the number of men you have, and it will tell you which results will cause kills.

For example, if you have a unit of 10 Heavy Horsemen, and you're attacking 20 Heavy Footmen, you would roll 3d6 per Heavy Horse figure, and then every 5 or 6 result would kill/remove one Heavy Footman figure.



Simultaneously, the Footmen would roll 1d6 per four Footmen figures, and then every 6 result would kill/remove one Heavy Horseman figure.



if we were to play this out, 10 Heavy Horsemen at 3d6 per figure would mean rolling 30d6. I got a result of:

3,5,4,6,4
6,5,3,1,6
5,2,2,2,2
2,6,5,3,5
6,5,5,1,6
6,1,5,1,5

That would result in 15 kills

Then, the Footmen would roll: 20 Heavy Footmen at 1d6 per four figures would mean rolling 5d6. I got a result of:

5,5,5,3,1

That would result in zero kills.

The kills would then be applied, leaving 10 Heavy Horsemen and 5 Heavy Footmen on the board.

After this, morale is then checked.

___

Morale:

Step A: First, the side with fewer casualties will take the difference between their losses, and the losses suffered by the enemy. A d6 is rolled, the result is multiplied by that difference, and then the output is kept.

In our example, that's 0 Heavy Horsemen lost versus 15 Heavy Footmen lost, so a difference of 15, times ... rolls a d6 = [4], giving us an output of 60.

Step B: Then, the side with more surviving troops will take the difference between the number of their surviving troops, and the surviving troops of the enemy. And then this output is kept.

In our example, that's 10 Heavy Horsemen remaining versus 5 Heavy Footmen remaining, so a difference of 5.

Step C: Then, each side takes their surviving figures and multiples them by a certain number depending on the unit type:



In our example
10 Heavy Horsemen x 9 = 90
5 Heavy Footmen x 5 = 25

Step D: Both sides will add up the numbers they arrived at in the first three steps:

Heavy Horsemen: 60 StepA + 5 StepB + 90 StepC = 155
Heavy Footmen: 60 StepA + 5 StepB + 25 StepC = 90

Whichever side arrives at a lower total, will then refer to the following table for the result:



Since the difference in our example is 38, then the Heavy Footmen will retreat their whole movement capability (in this case, 9 inches).

___

Charging:

When a unit charges, it gets to move at the speed of its charge (which is more than its movement), but the unit must engage in melee combat before or at the end of the movement.

If a charging unit wins the melee, and did not use up all of its charging distance, it must use up the remainder of that movement after the melee is concluded.

If a ranged unit is interspersed with melee units, and is charged, the ranged figures may withdraw 3 inches, and leave the melee units to take the melee combat. However, if the melee units lose, and the charging attacker still has enough movement to come into contact with the ranged units, then the ranged units will still be attacked afterwards.

___

Flanking:

Units that are attacking from the flank are considered the next higher class of unit, while Armored Foot and Heavy Horse get a +1 on their die rolls.

___

Retreat and Rout:

Units that have retreated or routed (as opposed to the "back x move" result) cannot move on their next turn, because they are still rallying.

If a unit that is still rallying gets attacked, the defender rolls a d6, and on a 1 or 2, the defender immediately rallies and gets to fight normally. Otherwise, the attacker gets to roll for melee casualties, but the defender cannot.

If a unit that is retreating or routing moves into contact with a friendly unit, then the movement is immediately stopped, but both units are now considered retreating/routing and must be rallied.

___

Rallying:

If a rallying unit is not moved by its player for one turn, and is not attacked while rallying, it return in good order on the next turn.

If the player controlling a rallying unit decides to move it, or if the rallying unit is attacked, then:
If the rallying unit is on its 2nd turn of rallying, then the player must roll a d6, and on a 3 to 6, the unit will return in good order on the next turn.
If the rallying unit is on its 3rd turn of rallying, then the player must roll a d6, and on a 6, the unit will return in good order on the next turn.
If the rallying unit is on its 4th turn of rallying, it is removed from play.

___

Next: Additional melee and morale rules

gradenko_2000 fucked around with this message at 13:22 on Jan 8, 2019

Speleothing
May 6, 2008

Spare batteries are pretty key.

The heavy foot scored no kills, since they only kill other heavies on a 6.

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010

by many accounts a diligent administrator and manager who was instrumental in increasing industrial productivity during the war

Lipstick Apathy

Speleothing posted:

The heavy foot scored no kills, since they only kill other heavies on a 6.

d'oh, you're right. I've redone the example with the corrected math. The result worsened from the Heavy Foot simply moving back, to fully Retreating.

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Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


One last thing I will say for DX's Scenarios: They have the big plot NPCs show up, but it's almost entirely to say 'We are depending on you, the PCs, to get this done' or give you mission briefings or shake their fist at you for ruining their evil plans and promise to fight you next week or whatever. There is similarly an assumption that it's absolutely okay to start the campaign as 'The UGN Branch Chief for our suburb of Tokyo' as a PC party member; you're not all going to be teenagers with attitude or grunts if you don't want to be.

They might be scripted, but at least the PCs are the stars of the script.

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