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Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
BUTTS





Give me a game where I can play as a Piersonís Puppeteer.

But maybe not anything to do with the Ringworld. Cause uh. You know.

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Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Myriad Song

Towsers: So dense

Synths are a wide variety of sapient robots. Synths don't actually get that much description, because they're so hard to generalize; they're not really a species so much as an entire class of being. One Synth PC could be a giant hunk of refrigerator-shaped armor with a chainsaw attachment and a minigun named Warbot while another is a near-human-like synthetic companion droid named 'Lysander'; the only thing connecting the two is that they're both inorganic and robotic. Synths are defined much more by their brains than their bodies; a PC Synth is going to be sapient, and thus possessed of a sufficiently complex crystal matrix brain. Synths' brains theoretically last for hundreds of years, and they're able to repair themselves. They also have to defrag their own brains on occasion, which they do in a manner very similar to a human going to sleep.

Synths are usually very logical and precise, and only a rare few show a significant creative impulse. Note that 'a rare few' means that a Conductor Synth (this is completely possible, if their brain was made with xenoharmonic resonating crystal or something) or Synth artist is perfect for a PC. They have no sexual characteristics, being robots, but many will adopt a male or female identity as a social thing when living with dimorphic species, a bit like Elvers. They communicate with one another in short radio bursts, but usually have speakers for vocalization.

Synths are increasingly discriminated against, because the Apparat are loving horrifying and people are beginning to get paranoid that 'any' sapient Synth could be taken over by Colligatrach. This is starting to slow down production, and increase resentment of their organic neighbors by the Synths themselves. Synths aren't considered 'people' under Remanence/Syndicate law, and are generally second class citizens throughout the galaxy. The Concord is the one exception; they love and trust their robot buddies and treat them as full sapient beings, and advocate for others to do the same. The Solar Creed doesn't care for Synths, seeing too much Syndic technology in them, and tries to avoid producing them.

Mechanically, Synths get to include their Legacy with Endurance (Robots don't get tired!), Transport (Integrating with craft now, sir), and Craft (Self-replicating industrial robit!). Their starting Gifts are just a Cybernetic Body and Cybernetic Brain. The Body means it's actually much harder to kill a Synth than an organic. They are normally Airtight and immune to smothering and poison, and they can Exhaust this Gift (and lose airtight) to say an attack cracked their casing, reducing its damage by 1. They get take damage just like an organic, except when they're heavily injured they don't heal naturally and need a mechanic to fix them over time; this is actually much faster than natural recovery but uses up resources called mechanical spares, which can make it cost money. When they should be mortally wounded, they just shut down and need rebooting and repair, plus some spare parts. No bleeding out! If they're reduced to Dead, they just shut down and need more extensive repair. Only getting totally Overkilled actually puts a Synth out of the game and totals them. The Cybernetic Brain gives them sophisticated sensor suites and the ability to directly interface with technology, and they can also take a ding to the brain (Exhausting this gift until they're fixed) to take less damage just like their body. Synths can also install further Cybernetics much more easily and freely, without constant surgery, unlike organics who want to be cyborgs. Combined with all the cybernetic 'Whoops dinged my system but I'm okay' options, it's really, really loving hard to kill a Synth PC.

Towser are hyperdense multicolored silicon based dog people, who are also tiny. They are only .7 to 1.3m tall on average, but they generally weigh 100+ kilograms. This is because Towser fur is made of heavy metals. Towser are basically made for industrial work, coming from a massively mineral rich homeworld, capable of breathing carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide, immune to a wide variety of poisons, and also still capable of breathing normal oxygen. They primarily eat silicon based chemicals rather than organic food.

The Towser were a relatively primitive species that slaved away in the slaving mines of their homeworld for the Syndics until the Syndics vanished. Then the Towser, being extremely strong and dense, overthrew their local Remanence governor and declared themselves a free people. Then the nice men from the Averlini Mercantile Group showed up, all smiles and promises to help them industrialize and create jobs, and now the majority of their species is in industrial debt slavery. Towser have a much harder time living out in the Myriad than other species, because they have such specific dietary needs and breathing clean air for too long will eventually weaken and kill them. A Towser on their pleasantly polluted and dense homeworld, eating traditional Towser chemicals, will live for 200 years or more. Towser out and about in the universe are lucky to make half that.

Towser are monogamous and mate for life. Females produce litters of 1-4 puppies after a 6-9 month pregnancy. Towser culture is...weird. Some of them assimilate into the Myriad, yes, but others try to cling to 'traditional' Towser culture. None of them know what 'traditional' Towser culture is because they've been Syndic slaves locked on a single world (and then AMG slaves, shipped out to multiple worlds) for so long, so they try to make it up as they go along as weird anarcho-primitivists. They tend to develop serious social anxiety when forced to be in high tech situations too often. This may be because a sufficiently focused Towser can communicate with and perceive all kinds of magnetic and radio signals through their hyperdense heavy metal fur.

Mechanically, they get to include their Towser trait with Athletics (Hefty puppy), Endurance (SO DENSE), and Tactics (Awoo!). They get two weird abilities: Towser Density and Towser All-Fours. All Fours lets them run on all fours when they don't have an item in their hands, giving them significant move bonuses and an extra d8 Dodge. Density makes them immune to poison and extremely hard to hit with forced move abilities. They also run further on Charges and Scrambles (variable distance risky fast moves). These puppies are quick. Their additional buyable gifts make them the best bare-handed fighters in the galaxy. Towser Bite and Claw gives them a nasty poison grapple bite and an even nastier armor-piercing claw attack that opens enemies up to further attacks by shredding armor and knocking them off guard. Towser can also gain Towser Threat, which lets them bark and sparkle at enemies such that if the enemy attacks someone who isn't the Towser while threatened by the dogman, their target gets the Towser's Presence skill as a bonus to dodge. They can gain Towser Scent, which lets them smell valuable metals (d12 to find them) and gives them a d12 on any other perception test to track by scent. And finally, they get Towser Magnetics, which lets them sense electric and magnetic signals, but also lets them MAGNETO PUNCH people, turning their bare-handed (but not their Claw or Bite) attack into an armor-piercing knockdown slam that opens enemies up. So yeah, they're martial artist sparkledog dwarfs that have been enslaved by space capitalism. Towser are weird.

Troodon are the Raptors that Hate. They're big velociraptors with opposable thumbs and warm blood, usually 1.2 to 2m tall and twice as long, weighing 50kg to 200kg. Sometimes, as they're often born two to an egg, they'll combine inside the egg and produce an 'ogre', a Troodon who is 5m in height and as heavy as 500kg. These giants often suffer painful joint disorders and other effects associated with gigantism. They have an excellent sense of smell and eyesight that tracks movement very well. And they like raw, bloody meat. A lot.

Troodon are found everywhere in the Myriad, in two modes. Traditionalists live in roving warbands/packs and fight over mating rights, food, etc, just they've usually also adopted the new traditional Troodon weapon of the automatic shotgun or assault rifle rather than their old stone axes. Assimilated Troodon, who are actually much more common, generally live as a member of whatever society they work for. Troodon are, by disposition, very content being mercenaries and sellswords (or migrant laborers). They like to blend in with new 'packs' and get along well with whatever society they immigrate to, they just also happen to be exceptional killers who are very happy to do exactly that in return for money and acceptance from their new pack. They breed very quickly, producing clutches of 1-12 eggs, each of which contain 1-2 Troodons, and many of them will survive. Traditionalists claim it's important to bury the babies in traditional, natural jungle loam. Assimilated Troodon prefer hospital incubators. They are also a VERY loud people, very prone to excited vocalizations, roars, and yells, with very expressive body language and tails.

Traditionalists tend to be Troodon supremacists and see other races as weak prey peoples. The Assimilated Troodons happily serve as mercenaries, thugs, and cops for whoever hired them, and don't really care that most people look down on them as nothing but a species of warrior-lizards. They do their job well, society needs their job, and they like their job. The Remanence, by contrast, adores its Troodon Janissaries and their uncomplicated approach to their work, which has done much to make the galaxy think of Troodon as the Remanence's main jackboots much the way it associates Humans with their nobles.

Troodons are made for fighting and winning. They get to include their Legacy with Fighting (RAWWWR), Athletics (Jumping and running everywhere) and Tactics (Oh god they hunt in packs). They get a racial gift tree, but their actual base gifts don't come from it. Instead they get Rushing Attack, which lets them quickly close on an enemy who thought they were at rifle range and instead pounce on them to hit them with a stick, and Frenzy, which lets them go berserk and go after the nearest (enemy) target with gun and blade in return for a huge bonus to damage reduction. They only snap out of this when someone Panics or Terrifies them, or they win their fight, at which point they end the Frenzy and negate the Panic/Terror. Having Frenzy also opens up a bunch of Gifts about being berserk and scary as hell. They can buy a leaping knockdown strike with Troodon Leap, they can buy a refreshable damage reduction from their thick Troodon Scales, they can buy a 'activate this AFTER you already know you hit to do a bunch of bonus damage' brawling attack, and they can buy a Gift that lets them roar or scream with Troodon Scream to instantly recharge one of their Gifts that would normally spend an Action recharging, as a free action. It just, uh, I hope you weren't trying to be stealthy right now. Because it's as loud as firing your traditional automatic raptor shotgun.

And that's the races of the Myriad. They're awesome. There's a ton of cool stuff to play as, and they're all weird and fun except maybe the Towser who are just weird sparkledogs. I think the Ishato and Morphir really stand out for me, but if you've ever been sick of sci-fantasy RPGs where you can only play various flavors of mostly-human/Space Elves, Myriad Song has you covered with brain eating bush people and angry raptor mercenaries.

Next Time: Homeworlds, Gifts, Etc

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!


Man, you just sold a copy of Myriad Song entirely so I can force it on a GM I know so I can play in this. I need it. I desire it.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


PurpleXVI posted:

Man, you just sold a copy of Myriad Song entirely so I can force it on a GM I know so I can play in this. I need it. I desire it.

As an added bonus, Cardinal is actually a really solid if complex system. The rules are fairly complicated but generally well designed and do a good job of getting you into gunfights and adventures.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

PurpleXVI posted:

Man, you just sold a copy of Myriad Song entirely so I can force it on a GM I know so I can play in this. I need it. I desire it.

Seriously. I wasn't really hot on their previous excursion, but this is really fun.

Leraika
Jun 14, 2015

slime time



I wanna be in a Myriad Song game where the PCs are a Macross 7-esque band so badly.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


I should cover IC 1e some time. The fluff is exactly the same as 2e, but the mechanics. They had a lot of interesting ideas, which solidified in 2e and later Myriad Song, but they also had a ton of duds and the game was so tricky to GM at times that I outright couldn't manage it with more then 3 or so players.

Sanguine is so interesting to me as a company because I've seen their game design grow a lot and they've always been willing to experiment with their rules. And they've always had something of a goal of games where it's easier to lose than it is to die and fights, even fights where you're using lethal weaponry and some of the enemy are dying, often organically end in the losing side grabbing its wounded and legging it or surrendering rather than getting butchered.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Xiahou Dun posted:

Give me a game where I can play as a Piersonís Puppeteer.

But maybe not anything to do with the Ringworld. Cause uh. You know.

Dude, there are way worse things to be creeped out by than 'sex between consenting adults of different species.' Hell, way worse things in Niven's writing alone, like 'teaming up with Jerry Pournelle' or the weird way he treats ladies in some of his stories.

Also, I just want to register, the slime mold/bat-wolf guys are cool and I want to play one.

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017





I was right. The Rhagia are really cool. So is everything else, though, save maybe Towsers but that's only because of how the write-up makes it seem troublesome to play them in what I would default to playing (plucky free traders/smugglers/whatevers roaming the galaxy).

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


The other serious issue with the game: There are like, absolutely 0 rules for doing anything in space. The rules for combats between spaceships and such are just 'Look, we can't write filled in, detailed rules for this and it's on a scale we don't want to handle, so just transition to boarding actions or make some Transport rolls to simulate dodging Remanence patrols or whatever.'

Which is fine, it's better than afterthought starship rules, but it will definitely put some people off.

E: Part of the reason I like Sanguine is that Ironclaw 1e legitimately did a lot for my GMing with its advice. It was the first place I, coming from D&D, ever encountered a book that said 'Hey if one of your players is putting all their points in fighting with swords, they're not minmaxing or cheating. They really want to fight with swords! Put in some swordfights and challenges and occasionally let that PC show off just how good they are, adding that to your plot sometimes won't take over the game. It's okay for a player to want to be the best at something'. I really needed to see that back in the day.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 22:33 on Jan 10, 2019

wdarkk
Oct 26, 2007

Friends: Protected
World: Saved
Crablettes: Eaten


NGDBSS posted:

Got links for these? Most of the time stuff like Wikipedia et al. will only talk about the human component to these concepts without making comparisons to other animals.

Mine is from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_hl804lSfc, which lists its sources in the description.

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



Meyers-Briggs Testicle posted:

What would a human superpower be

In a universe with sentient three appendaged birds and gregarious eels i cant help but feel humans got the short end of the stick.

Maybe adaptability?

To quote calvin, "No retractable claws, no opposable toes, no prehensile tail, no compound eyes, no fangs, no claws......."

We'll eat anything, gently caress anything, and always have someone willing to say "hold my beer and watch this".

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Meyers-Briggs Testicle posted:

What would a human superpower be

In a universe with sentient three appendaged birds and gregarious eels i cant help but feel humans got the short end of the stick.

Maybe adaptability?

To quote calvin, "No retractable claws, no opposable toes, no prehensile tail, no compound eyes, no fangs, no claws......."

Well, in comparison to other animals on Earth and outside tool use, animal husbandry, etc., humans are persistence hunters: we might not be strong individually as you or fast as you, but we can surround you and walk you down while you get tiredof fighting and fleeing us.

The only thing we fear more than that is robots, and that's because they're like us compared to our prey.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Alien Rope Burn posted:



"A flying fox! It's an omen! I will become... a flying fox!"

Presumably the Kittani Flying Fox (350 M.D.C.) is actually inspired by flying foxes... wait, no, it's inspired by bats. But it turned out that the Splugorth, because they hate vampires, decided bats were off-brand. So it was named after flying foxes instead. I swear that is text in the book. It's the Atlantean SAMAS-equivalent, though at 600 MPH, it goes practically twice as fast as most of its Coalition cousins. It has a plasma axe, mini-missiles, another shield with a missile in it, and wing lasers. It can do fly-bys where it uses sharpened wings to slash targets, but it requires a successful Pilot skill roll or it takes more damage that it would actually inflict. Or it could just use the plasma axe, which does more damage and can shoot plasma at a distance... it's not bad, but unholy gently caress have we seen a lot of SAMAS-style power armors at this point. And there'll be more coming up! :hehstonk:


This is from yesterday but "flying foxes" are a type of bat.

Behold:


the golden crowned flying fox

Really I just wanted to post a picture of the smuggest and fluffiest OH GOD IT CAN FLY

Just Dan Again
Dec 16, 2012

Adventure!


Night10194 posted:

The other serious issue with the game: There are like, absolutely 0 rules for doing anything in space. The rules for combats between spaceships and such are just 'Look, we can't write filled in, detailed rules for this and it's on a scale we don't want to handle, so just transition to boarding actions or make some Transport rolls to simulate dodging Remanence patrols or whatever.'

Which is fine, it's better than afterthought starship rules, but it will definitely put some people off.

E: Part of the reason I like Sanguine is that Ironclaw 1e legitimately did a lot for my GMing with its advice. It was the first place I, coming from D&D, ever encountered a book that said 'Hey if one of your players is putting all their points in fighting with swords, they're not minmaxing or cheating. They really want to fight with swords! Put in some swordfights and challenges and occasionally let that PC show off just how good they are, adding that to your plot sometimes won't take over the game. It's okay for a player to want to be the best at something'. I really needed to see that back in the day.

I'll admit, I've skimmed over and forgotten every set of RPG space combat rules I've ever read. Mechanically modelling it just never seemed worth it to me. Then again, my first exposure to space combat was in d20 Star Wars so maybe I just got burned young.

Re: edit, it's a really good sign to me that the attitude of "follow the queues your players put on their sheets" is spreading amongst the RPG community. That Sanguine was on board with that as far back as Ironclaw 1e speaks really well of their attitude toward games and the people who play them.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


I think it's less that I'd like space combat rules and more I'd like rules for building your beaten up personal cargo freighter or patrol ship you have galaxy adventures with somehow.

Like sure, leave the combat out of abstracted (I agree with you it's usually terrible anyway), but something for actually having a ship feels like it wouldn't be amiss.

Kaza42
Oct 3, 2013

Blood and Souls and all that

I hope you're proud of yourself Night. Thanks to you, I'm now running a Persona-refluffed Double Cross campaign. You monster.

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!


Night10194 posted:

I think it's less that I'd like space combat rules and more I'd like rules for building your beaten up personal cargo freighter or patrol ship you have galaxy adventures with somehow.

Like sure, leave the combat out of abstracted (I agree with you it's usually terrible anyway), but something for actually having a ship feels like it wouldn't be amiss.

Thing is, how many games actually manage to make this work and be interesting, rules-wise, either the ship design or the ship combat? I have trouble thinking of a single one.

thatbastardken
Apr 23, 2010

strewth


scum and villainy?

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010

Ask me about mapping out all the best limousine routes in Moscow for you and the little miss ;)

Lipstick Apathy

Chainmail

The Fantasy Supplement

This section mostly deals with describing new units that would be appropriate for a fantasy campaign. All of the basic rules are the same, but then the fantasy units have special exceptions.

Halflings: they are archers, except two halfling figures count as three archers when computing how many units are firing while resolving missile fire. Also, they are "invisible" when moving through brush or woods.

quote:

Invisibility, as the game defines it, means that they never suffer any casualties during the first round of a melee. By the second round onwards, the enemy will have figured out the little Predator-esque visual distortions caused by an invisible unit and can start hitting them back, but the invisible units good and safe for that first round.

Sprites: they're light infantry, except they can also become invisible, and they can fly (ignoring terrain and other units) for as many as three turns at a time before having to land.

Dwarves and Gnomes: they're heavy infantry, except:
- they suffer no penalties during night fighting
- when inflicting casualties against Trolls, Ogres, and Giants, only count half as many kills, because they're so small that they can't hit these large targets very well
- when taking casualties from these large units, also only count half as many kills, because they're so small that these attackers can't hit them very well
- if a Dwarf or a Gnome is ordered to attack, and a Goblin or Kobold unit within charging range, the Dwarf/Gnome unit will always target the Goblin/Kobold unit, regardless of whatever else the player might want them to attack

Goblins and Kobolds: they're heavy infantry, except:
- they suffer no penalties during night fighting
- they suffer a -1 penalty to all die rolls if they are fighting in bright light or daylight
- they will also reciprocally and automatically target a Dwarf/Gnome unit if one is in charge range whenever ordered to attack

Hobgoblins: same rules as the Goblins/Kobolds, except their stats are as armored infantry (and they cost a little more)

Elves and Fairies: they're heavy infantry, except:
- they can turn invisible
- they can shoot as archers
- they have the move-and-fire ability of horse archers, even though they're on foot
- if this unit is determined to be armed with magical weapons, they get a +1 bonus to rolls in combat. They also get to roll additional combat dice against Goblins and Orcs
- if this unit is determined to be armed with magical weapons, they are also capable of attacking and killing "high-level" (my term, not the game's) fantasy creatures, which would normally be immune to such attacks

Orcs: they're heavy infantry, except:
- they suffer a -1 penalty to all die rolls if they are fighting in bright light or daylight
- any two units of orcs are considered to be of different bands/tribes. If an orc unit approaches another orc unit within charge range, and neither are tied up by an ongoing melee, the player will have to roll a d6. If the result 4 or higher, then the orcs are "obedient". Otherwise, they will charge the other orc unit and attack them in melee combat
- there is also a Giant Orc unit that has the same rules, except their stats are as armored infantry (and they cost a little more)

Next: more fantasy units

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Night10194 posted:

Myriad Song

Myriad song seems to have a hardon on "births large clutches, many of them die"

Flavivirus
Dec 13, 2011

The next stage of evolution.

JcDent posted:

Myriad song seems to have a hardon on "births large clutches, many of them die"

I mean, that's pretty common among animals? The two main reproduction strategies are 'make a bunch of kids and hope some survive' and 'make a single kid and pour all your resources into making sure it survives'.

You could say that smarter species tend to focus on the second, but then the species in this game have been explicitly uplifted by space gods so...

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Flavivirus posted:

I mean, that's pretty common among animals? The two main reproduction strategies are 'make a bunch of kids and hope some survive' and 'make a single kid and pour all your resources into making sure it survives'.

You could say that smarter species tend to focus on the second, but then the species in this game have been explicitly uplifted by space gods so...

Animals.

But these are all sapient, tech-using species. It's interesting and well-grounded with the in-egg cannibal birds, bit with the others it's just "well, we found a non-human birth circumstance and we're sticking with it."

Just Dan Again
Dec 16, 2012

Adventure!


gradenko_2000 posted:

Chainmail

The Fantasy Supplement


In Playing at the World they mention this chapter specifically in the history of wargaming and D&D. Apparently the reviews and letters sections of a bunch of wargames magazines lambasted Chainmail entirely because it had the gall to include fairy tail bullshit.

Wargaming was historical and dignified, damnit! If the boys at the office found out that my tiny metal men fought against dragons and elves, why... they'd all laugh at me!

Jarvisi
Apr 17, 2001

Green is still best.


I really want to buy some copies of myriad song now.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




As far as I understand it, Gary created Chainmail because his whole group was bored with playing the same historical minis scenarios over and over.

People thought Arneson's "Egg of Coot" was a potshot at Gary, but it was actually at a wargamer named Greg Scott who hated fantasy wargaming.

Flavivirus
Dec 13, 2011

The next stage of evolution.

JcDent posted:

Animals.

But these are all sapient, tech-using species. It's interesting and well-grounded with the in-egg cannibal birds, bit with the others it's just "well, we found a non-human birth circumstance and we're sticking with it."

The angry velociraptors were doing something interesting too IMO, with the cultural divide between 'just stick your eggs in some moss like grandma and grandma's grandma did' and 'maybe we should use modern medicine to make this easier for everyone'.

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010

Ask me about mapping out all the best limousine routes in Moscow for you and the little miss ;)

Lipstick Apathy

The other thing that stood out to me is that a lot of these rules for the fantasy units already partake in a lot of the D&D/fantasy tropes, such as darkvision, goblins hating light, dwarves and giants having bonuses against each other, and so on.

That said, this is already the "3rd Edition" of the game, and this version of Chainmail already references Dungeons & Dragons directly as something you can use side-by-side with it, so of course such tropes would already have been "invented" by this version of the text.

I do wonder what the "1st Edition" might have looked like.

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

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




Lizard boomers are actually willing and able to woop some whippersnappers:bahgawd:

Speleothing
May 6, 2008

Spare batteries are pretty key.

Meyers-Briggs Testicle posted:

What would a human superpower be

In a universe with sentient three appendaged birds and gregarious eels i cant help but feel humans got the short end of the stick.

Maybe adaptability?

To quote calvin, "No retractable claws, no opposable toes, no prehensile tail, no compound eyes, no fangs, no claws......."

It sure as poo poo shouldn't be "color vision". Humans have a vastly interior eye compared to birds and cephalopods.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




A weird little thing I recall is that Goblins and Kobolds are always mentioned together. They are exactly identical in all respects. In original Brown Box D&D the kobolds are slightly weaker. I had assumed D&D came after Chainmail. If they were developed side-by-side, I guess Gary decided that they were close enough as makes no difference for wargaming purposes.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Myriad Song

Where are you from, stranger?

All characters get a couple Gifts based on their upbringing. Any character of any species can be from any background, no matter how odd it seems. If you want a Synth Aristocrat, go ahead and explain how you are Dukebot 5000, the robot that is a Duke, or how your line of Xenharmonic sensitive robots were built by an eccentric Syndic to see if they could replace humans with them. Want to be a hardbitten Elver Paramilitary who was raised by a one-eyed lunatic who talked at length about how water is weakness? No problem. You can also easily 'retrain' these Gifts once play begins, selling them back for EXP to get different Gifts as going into the wider galaxy changes you. Similarly, if you wanted to make up a new background, it's as simple as picking two relatively minor Gifts and giving a fluff reason for them.

Aristocratic Upbringing means you were brought up in a Remanence family, as a noble major or minor. You might be a space princess stepping outside of her palace and suddenly realizing how poo poo her family is, or you might be a minor noble from the fringes who is doing everything they can to protect your holding from the Apparat or some other serious threat. Whatever's the case, you have both the training and the potential to interface with Xenharmonic technology, and probably show some of the signs of having been genetically altered. You start with an Aristocratic Loadout (A bunch of Xenharmonic weapons, a suit of light Xenharmonic armor that protects from them, and your signet ring), which being a Loadout Gift means you can always ask for the items to be returned to you if they're lost or broken. Plot convenience will drop a new force saber into your noble hands once you're done escaping from prison, etc. You also start with Xenharmonic Finishing, which lets you hit enemies who are hurt or vulnerable even harder with Xenharmonic weaponry, since you really know how this stuff works. Note you'll need to buy being a space wizard separately in your Career or with your later free Gifts; this Upbringing just gets you the gear and makes you good with it. You don't have to be a Conductor.

Cross Cultural Upbringing means you either grew up on a hub world or you were just exposed to wide travel and a lot of people as a kid. To you, everyone else is just people, no matter how weird they look. You're comfortable traveling and fitting in in a wide variety of social situations, and you adapt to and learn how not to offend new cultures very quickly. You start with Cosmopolitan, which gives you an extra d8 to any checks to gossip and gather information or generally socialize and schmooze, plus it ensures you never accidentally cause a diplomatic incident when you fail. It also lets you immediately recognize when someone uses a faction's signature special powers, because you know a little bit about a lot of people. You also get Gossip, an extra d12 to gathering information. That stacks with Cosmopolitan. These guys are great at getting the pulse of the streets and can be great diplomats.

Derelict Upbringing means you come from a post-apocalyptic world, or a planet sized junkyard, or a decaying station on the fringes. You know how to make due. No-one back home got through life without figuring out how to turn junk into usable equipment on the fly, and you're comfortable working with your hands and keeping your hastily-built unipolar crossbow from falling apart on you. You start with Scrounge Loot, which lets you Exhaust this Gift and spend a single Equip action (you get 2 actions a combat round, for reference) to quickly throw together what you need from the junk you always seem to have. You roll Mind+Craft against a 3, and depending on successes, you can literally kitbash a railgun in an instant. You'll need other Scroungetech talents to make it really useful, but you can. You also get Improved Breakdown, which makes all Scroungetech gear more reliable. If you want to do Scroungetech as your character schtick, this is a great background, obviously. You'll just really need the Craft skill and a few extra Gifts to make it shine.

High Tech Upbringing characters come from the worlds of the Solar Creed, or wandering Concordance caravans, or really important Remanence hub worlds. Or maybe you escaped from the Apparat. Wherever you're from, technological marvels that would be beyond the average person of the Myriad are normal for you. Wherever you're from, your people work hard to make sure they can survive without depending on the scavenged past of the Syndicate Empire. You get a High Tech Loadout (a lightly shielded suit of powered armor, a ray pistol, a laser torch for a melee weapon, and a consistent if small supply of spare parts) and Conservation of Energy, which lets you cool down items like the shield generator on your armor or your fancy raygun much better. It makes it much easier to use them consistently; we'll get to how in the gear chapter. The gear is great for a gunfighting combat character or science hero type.

Characters from a Manufacturing Upbringing know that we all lift together to get through the day. You may have grown up indentured to the Averlini, or maybe you were one of the people working on the lower levels of the arcology to support the Aristocrat or the High Tech person up there. Either way, you know how to get along with your fellows on shift, how to trade stories about what to do and what not to do, and you know precisely how dangerous all the industrial equipment you work with can be. You start with a Manufacturing Loadout (An Engineering suit that's both fireproof, some okay armor, and that helps you do engineering tasks since it has built in tools, plus some useful power tools that double as solid weapons, and a bunch of spare parts) and Gossip. If you want to be an engineer, you could definitely do worse. Alternately, nice if you want to lead a revolt against your capitalistic overlords; the Power Tools section of the armory lists this as one of their uses, after all!

Paramilitary Upbringing characters were either raised on worlds that find themselves at war, or were brought up as part of a hereditary regiment or mercenary company. You've been around guns and ammunition your entire life, and you've seen plenty of live fire drills even if you haven't seen combat. You'll come with some military grade hardware and the licenses to carry it as a mercenary. Your old commanding officer might have made a lot of lunatic rants about the purity of being a soldier or something, though. You get Bullet Conservation, which lets you weaken your shots slightly so as to not use up ammunition when fighting with a gun, and a Paramilitary Loadout. This gets you a renewable supply of hand grenades, a suit of paramilitary armor for the the field, your choice of one automatic military grade weapon (carbine, rifle, or shotgun), and a stealthy holdout pistol and knife for when you must combine knife and gun to make knifegun, just like your old CO. If you want to be the rough and tumble mercenary with good old automatic firepower for your group, this will definitely help you do it.

Rural Upbringing characters are from agricultural zones and backwaters, where people work with animals, plants, and livestock to feed the Myriad. You're kind of boring, to be honest. You're just a simple country hyperbird or the salt of the earth. You're good with a variety of wilderness environments, though, and you're very good with animals. You get Animal Handling, giving you a d12 on anything related to handling animals (from taking care of your herd of gentle giant space-cow-bugs to riding your miniature space dragon to keep the herd in line) and Survival, which gives a d12 to checks to survive harsh conditions and find food. Note Survival works as well in the underhive of an arcology as it does in the backwoods of Eden Nine.

Space Faring Upbringing characters grew up in space. I mean, it says it right in the name. You've spent more time outside of a gravity well than in one. You've got a space suit and you're willing to travel, selling your experience to whoever needs it. You might be a hereditary Cavalcade crew member out on their own, or maybe you were raised on a station rather than a planet but this is your first time actually traveling. Either way, you're used to low gravity and all the troubles that come with living in the void. You get a Spacefarer's Loadout (Your Spacesuit, a laser torch for welding and fighting, a holdout shotgun for self defense, and either a vacuum capable Air Rifle or a raygun pistol) and Free Fall. Free Fall not only gives you a +d12 bonus to rolls about moving and working in Zero G, it also prevents you having your dice sizes capped in the void. Even if you Botch a roll in space, you will never be left floating with nothing to grab onto. You simply don't get sucked out into space; you know it better than that. Obviously a good choice if you want to spend a lot of time in Zero G.

Underworld Upbringings are rough. You either grew up outside the protection of normal society, or you're from a mafia planet. Wherever you're from, you're from its seedy underbelly, and you quickly learned the world can be a very unforgiving place. You know a lot about how to find and deal with criminals, and you're great at moving illegal goods, because that was one of the only big industries back home. You get Black Marketeer, which lets you sell illegal goods much easier, and buy them for half as much (you know how to avoid the usual crime markups and scams). You can also convince otherwise honest merchants to buy your drugs and illegal guns, and you have a much easier time finding people who deal in that kind of stuff. You also start with one expensive illegal item of your choice, a little souvenir from home. You also get Streetwise, giving you +d12 to all social actions with other criminals. You know how to pick up on local informal power structures and manipulate criminal culture to your advantage. If you want to be a shady crime person from crime planet, this is your perfect crime background.

You might be noticing something: Lots of things that would be a separate skill entirely in most RPGs, like Animal Handling, are instead made into minor 'specialty' Gifts that give a huge +d12 bonus to tests in that context. A d12 is a die that can potentially succeed on any test in the game, so this is pretty useful. All of the various 'just give you a skill' gifts are almost all +d12, because that's a die that's worth spending a Gift slot on. It's consistent across the game's design.

Next: Careers!

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 16:37 on Jan 11, 2019

RiotGearEpsilon
Jun 26, 2005
SHAVE ME FROM MY SHELF

PurpleXVI posted:

Thing is, how many games actually manage to make this work and be interesting, rules-wise, either the ship design or the ship combat? I have trouble thinking of a single one.

This is one of the main things that guided our decision to de-emphasize space combat and ship design as a game element. But people still clearly care about it enormously, and the absence of it cause them real confusion and unhappiness in our customers. We take the criticism we've received over this issue quite seriously, and we plan to address it if we have the opportunity to make more content for, or a new edition of, Myriad Song.

Night10194, I'm really enjoying your review of our work, and I'm glad you find Myriad Song to be clear and comprehensible. It's one of the most complex incarnations of the Cardinal system, and we put a lot of thought in to making sure it was presented in a way that would clarify that complexity, not muddle it.

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

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




I'm not in the market for a post Empire Star Wars style game universe filled with interesting alien cultures but if I was I'd definitely to for Myriad Song.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




There's nothing wrong with writing a game where space combat just isn't part of the narrative. Works just fine for The Gaean Reach.

I believe the rationale is that planetary defense uses warp-drive projectiles more effective than anything you could mount on a ship, and because of warp drive, there's no reason for two ships to meet and fight in the void of space.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


RiotGearEpsilon posted:

This is one of the main things that guided our decision to de-emphasize space combat and ship design as a game element. But people still clearly care about it enormously, and the absence of it cause them real confusion and unhappiness in our customers. We take the criticism we've received over this issue quite seriously, and we plan to address it if we have the opportunity to make more content for, or a new edition of, Myriad Song.

Night10194, I'm really enjoying your review of our work, and I'm glad you find Myriad Song to be clear and comprehensible. It's one of the most complex incarnations of the Cardinal system, and we put a lot of thought in to making sure it was presented in a way that would clarify that complexity, not muddle it.

It's hard to explain it, because I also did Rogue Trader and god knows how much of a mess that game's spaceship rules were, but I think what I'd really want to see is something for players to work towards or personalize with their ship if they're playing a starship crew. Some content about buying nice stuff for your flying home base and maybe some minor benefits from it wouldn't be amiss, though it's also the kind of stuff I can obviously come up with myself for my group. Less 'I want to kill people in space' (we always ran it that space 'combat' was almost entirely boarding actions so players could use their player scale weapons and abilities and have fun action sequences instead) and more 'I'd love to be able to work towards cool stuff for our ship'.

I'm curious what caused the shift in weapons design to including way more Traits in combat, rather than the IC2e style where you could buy 'I get to use Mind in place of Body because I took a Gift for it'. Was it part of generally trying to make the player characters more widely skilled? Because PCs are generally a bit more powerful due to the compression of the skill system (which I approve of wholeheartedly) and all, so I suspected the intention was to still let, say, a character focusing on Will be really good with certain weapons but also just generally make them better, since even an extra d4 is still a benefit. I also note this was done at the same time as base damages were decreased, probably to account for more attack dice and thus more potential successes, but also probably to make one-shot kills less common?

Because man, once a character was tooled up and wielding a zweihander or something in IC2e, people got cut in half. A lot. By the same note, a lot more people survived to surrender or run away when I was running MS, which I actually appreciated since it helped set tone well.

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

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




Game developers, stop with the kitchen sink attitude and follow Myriad Song's example:
One good combat system is hard enough to design well, don't split your focus between several types of combat.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Myriad Song

What kind of business are you in?

Careers are something I've enjoyed as a concept every since IC1e. The idea that your job is a stat, which helps you out not only with your 3 favored skills but generally comes up when professionalism and professional knowledge would be important, is a neat touch. You can make a Career fairly easily, and there is in fact a large set of additional Careers in the game's appendix; the ones listed here are just the most 'likely' PC Careers. Remember, the 3 skills you get from your Career count as skills you have points in, even if you don't put any skill marks in them directly; you still get a Favored Use if and when you want one. Each Career also gives 2 Gifts and some basic starting gear (which I'll be leaving out, but it's stuff like a base melee weapon and some light armor if you're a melee fighter, etc), so don't feel like you'll be naked if you didn't get a Loadout Gift somewhere.

I also like the way they're formatted: A short, succinct description of their fluff, then a 'play this if you want to do X'.

Assassins are contract killers. They don't get any direct weapon skills, because ideally they're not in open combat so much as quietly shooting people in the head, or carefully engineering ridiculous and hilarious 'accidents' and ironic fates. They get Deceit (I am obviously the food stand attendant, this is not poisoned), Evasion (I am the night), and Observation (This opportunity will definitely look like an accident). They also get the Gift of Stealth (obviously), and Errata will point out that if you're an Ishato Assassin and thus already had Stealth, you may instead get the Gift of Increased Career or Legacy. They also get the Gift of Sneaky Attack, which adds 2d8 to your combat pool with any Concealable weapon like a knife, silenced pistol, or possibly piano wire. This only applies to your actual attacks, not Counters (We'll get to those. They're really important to combat). You also add a trait called Critical to any Concealable weapon. This adds +2 damage to the weapon if you hit by 2 successes or more, on top of the bonus for a good hit. This can make your tiny hidden knife or silenced pistol lethal as hell.

Bravos are totally awesome. They are bare-fisted martial artists and strong personalities, designed to make an impression. Because you need that kind of self-confidence to take on an angry Troodon with his ceremonial automatic shotgun with nothing but your bare hands! They get Evasion (Dodge!), Fighting (Punch!), and Presence (Strut!) as skills, plus the Gifts of Brawling Threat (You Threaten as if armed while unarmed, granting allies Tactics bonuses and being able to Counter armed attacks at close range) and Brawling Advantage, which lets you take an extra action to attack with unarmed attacks. You still can't attack twice in one turn, but having 2 actions to move or enhance your actions by Guarding or Aiming or whatever is potentially really advantageous when you still get to attack.

Conductors are burgeoning Space Song Wizards and navigators. These are people who can hear the signal from the Campaniles, and who guide starships and deal with the song of the universe. They get Academics (Knower of a thousand magics!), Psyche (They hear the Myriad Song), and Transport (Being able to fly the ship helps). They also start with the very complicated Conductor Legacy Gift. This makes them highly resistant to Xenharmonic damage, gives them a +d12 to know where they are on a planet, lets them move quickly even while blind because they can sense beyond the world, and allows them to include their Psyche skill on any roll to work with Rondo devices. They can also stop and use Psych+Mind vs. 3 to sense disturbances in the Magh-Signal. Also it turns your skin blue, or some other wild color, or makes your hair purple and your eyes shining silver, or some other cosmetic but curious signifier. They also start with Navigation, which gives a further +d12 to rolls about navigating. Conductors are never lost.

Engineers fix things and solve problems. Their job is to get the system rebooted or the ship out of atmo, and do it in a timely fashion. They're not much good in a fight, but not everyone needs to be. They include with Academics (I'll use CALCULUS), Craft (Build stuff), and Observation (Notice problems). They get Electronics, which is +d12 to all tests to work with electrical theory and electrical devices, and Mechanics, which is the same but for mechanical devices and theory. This means your Engineer is almost always going to have +d12 from a Gift, +Career for their Career, and then +Mind or whatever other stat they're working with, even before Skill Marks. The astute among you might note this means the average Engineer PC can easily hit 2 Successes on a Rote in most non-combat situations. They're very dependable at their intended job.

Grenadiers are the antithesis of the Engineer: They spend their entire life planning how to blow poo poo up. Just breaking everything, all the time. 'Choose this Fighting Career if you want to blow enemies to little bits', the book says. They get Athletics (Throw grenades), Evasion (Dodge own grenades), and Tactics (Place grenades best). They start with Demolitions, which is +d12 to set up or defend against explosive traps and helps them prevent backfires and mishaps, and the Demolition Loadout. This gives them a grenade launcher, a shifting array of IEDs, non-lethal concussion grenades, and frags, a power cutter (which is also a decent melee weapon) and some decent medium-heavy armor. Note that only thrown Grenades use the Athletics skill; using the launcher gives them a ton of range but you have to use Shooting instead.

Guerillas are lone soldiers who fight from cover and stealth whenever possible. They get Evasion (Strongest in the trees), Shooting (Shoot them in the head), and Fighting (Slit throats). They get Stealth (which I imagine means the Ishato Guerilla also gets the +Trait to Career or Legacy instead) and Cover Buff. Cover Buff gives you a single point of outright Damage Reduction any time you took cover against an attack, called Invulnerability. It's really good for not being murdered!

Hunters are snipers and wanderers, who focus on killing their target on the first shot so the game can't get away. Turns out that works out pretty well when you're hunting people, too. They get Athletics (Long distance wandering), Endurance (Roughing it), and Shooting (Right in the heart). They start with the Gifts of Stealth (Hey Ishato, you know the drill) and Desperate Attack. Desperate Attack is basically '+d12 until you first hit someone while attacking in combat', so your first shot is going to be a good one.

Investigators knew the dame was trouble, but they needed the dough. They're space detectives, noir obviously optional. You might be a private detective or in the employ of some larger faction. They get Deceit (For snooping), Questioning (For further snooping), and Observation (For putting it all together). They get the Gift of Danger Sense, which gives +d12 to all defenses against traps, +d12 to Initiative rolls (we'll get to this later, but this is really good), and +d12 to spot danger. They also get Shadowing, which is +d12 to rolls to eavesdrop without being seen, tail people, etc.

Laborers do the hard work that a colony or city needs. They're strong, tough, and good with their hands. Not bad in a fistfight or when wielding their trusty tools against their oppressors, either. They get Craft (They work for a living), Endurance (They work hard for a living), and Observation (The union guy sees all). They also get the extremely useful Gift of Strength. This lets them carry a very heavy item without being slowed down, and for every rank of Strength you have, you can carry another and also get +d8 to Fighting checks. It also opens up a whole Gift line of its own. They also get Team Player, meaning when they help a buddy they give +d12 instead of +d8. Space Peasant/Industrial Worker is helpful!

Mercenaries are defined not by their ability to kill people, Soldiers and other warriors do that just fine. They're defined by their ability to wring money out of their employer for doing it and keep themselves out of trouble. They get Shooting (They ARE the hired guns), Fighting (They are also the Brute Squad), and Tactics (Emphasis on Squad). They also get the Gifts of Danger Sense (A good merc can spot trouble) and Haggling, which gives automatic cost reductions on things, gets you better prices when selling 'slightly used' goods you took as plunder, and grants a d12 to any tests for negotiating contracts and business. I love that Mercs are defined by their ability with money compared to most grunts.

Performers make an impact! Of course there was going to be a space performer in this, the game of song magic. They get Deceit (Acting), Observation (Studying for a role), and Presence (ACTING!). They also get Team Player for ensemble performances, and Perform (Their Art), which gives +d12 to all attempts to make an impression with their art. I kind of wish Perform didn't have a 'specify one art form' thing and was a broader 'you're an expert performer'. They're there to be social and make an impression.

Physicians are all about saving lives. They're still broadly talented intellectuals, they just focus on putting people back together where the Engineer focused on machines. They get Academics (So many degrees), Observation (Studying), and Questioning (What in all the Myriad did you do). They get the Gift of Doctor, which lets them roll Mind+Academics+d12 to determine the physical gifts of a subject, treat status effects, treat additions, and treat serious injuries. They also get First Aid, which gives an extra d12 to checks to apply emergency first aid, and makes doing so simply take an action in combat, rather than a Stunt (We'll get to these, but suffice to say this makes being a medic much, much easier). If you take a bullet and drop, you really want a Physician around to make sure you get back up.

Next Time: Pilots! Vanguards! DRUGS!

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 04:53 on Jan 12, 2019

Leraika
Jun 14, 2015

slime time



Is multiclassing possible in this? Can I be both a pop idol and a singing space wizard?

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Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Leraika posted:

Is multiclassing possible in this? Can I be both a pop idol and a singing space wizard?

Yes. There is a specific Gift that gives you a second Career, but you have to have both starting Gifts for the second Career to take it.

Alternately, you can play a different class and then take Conductor Legacy and Navigation and then one of the space magic Gifts (They all require a minimum of Conductor Legacy and Navigation) as your 3 free Gifts at the end of PC creation. Or start as someone with the Legacy/genes (or have them express later in the game at GM permission) and then learn the actual magic later.

When we get to advancement, it will become clear that it's very possible to play as, say, a down on their luck musician who slowly realizes they have the Conductor Legacy and that the song their mother taught them as a baby is actually the key to unlocking some highly important lost world as they slowly learn space magic. Advancement is very, very driven by goals/plot beats.

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