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Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

La morte non ha sesso
The whole point of Deadlands is that it's Weird West.

I will never understand why they thought turning it into steampunk Mad Max and then going to space was a good or necessary idea. Brand expansion? Just got bored?

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Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

No one knows!

Hell on Earth was surprisingly popular, though.

punishedkissinger
Sep 20, 2017

Do the reviews from this thread get archived somewhere? I wanted to read through some of the Warhammer stuff again and I'm having a hell of a time finding it.

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

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




kidkissinger posted:

Do the reviews from this thread get archived somewhere? I wanted to read through some of the Warhammer stuff again and I'm having a hell of a time finding it.

Reviews (both finished and abandoned) get added here:
http://projects.inklesspen.com/fatal-and-friends/

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

La morte non ha sesso
I didn't pay close attention to those review chapters, but I can see how people would enjoy just having more gonzo options, more monsters, and maybe no political conflicts to worry about, if you don't care about that stuff.

As for the space stuff, doing Weird West on a Burroughs-esque Mars actually does make sense. But it was bad. Rocket Age and the new Space 1889 are far better.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
I'm not sure what to do next. I can take a stab at the Old World Bestiary, which is going to be difficult to cover but is one of the better books in the 2e WHFRP line, or I notice someone tried to review Adeptus Evangelion and abandoned it, probably because that game is terrible, but I've still got my rulebook and because I was an idiot, I've both run and played in campaigns for that game so it hits my criteria for writing it up.

"I know, Dark Heresy's ruleset is the perfect system to adapt Evangelion!"

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.


Grimey Drawer

Halloween Jack posted:

The whole point of Deadlands is that it's Weird West.

I will never understand why they thought turning it into steampunk Mad Max and then going to space was a good or necessary idea. Brand expansion? Just got bored?

It feels like a daydreamy writing project that's never seen an editor's pen, the kind of thing that picks up stray ideas and shoehorns them in, because no one is there to say 'this is stupid' let alone ask 'why?'

That nonsense about dropping hints about the Cackler for twenty years sticks out really sharply to me, because it reads like a lovely GM assuming patting themselves on the back for putting lovely riddles that only they'd get into their adventures.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!
I remember looking at Adeptus Evangelion when somebody was running a forums game of it and quickly came to the conclusion it was simply too much of a bother to try making a character for.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Alien Rope Burn posted:

I remember looking at Adeptus Evangelion when somebody was running a forums game of it and quickly came to the conclusion it was simply too much of a bother to try making a character for.

To be fair, this is pretty much every mecha game except Lancer.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

La morte non ha sesso
I've also heard good things about Giant Guardian Generation, which has a "this is not an engineering simulator" sidebar in the introduction.

punishedkissinger
Sep 20, 2017

Cooked Auto posted:

Reviews (both finished and abandoned) get added here:
http://projects.inklesspen.com/fatal-and-friends/

Thanks! This rules.

:cheerdoge:

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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2014-2018

Emerald Empire: Mister Clean

The biggest religious concern of most Rokugani is spiritual cleanliness and purity. The soul is easily stained by dirtiness, known as kegare, and a dirty soul is offensive to spirits of all kinds but particularly kami and ancestors, thus attracting bad luck. To keep your soul clean, you have to avoid a lot of things. Sweet, blood and other bodily secretions are dirty, and so to be avoided. This is why priests and samurai do not perform manual labor. The consumption of meat is dirty, with poultry and fish being the least so and thus acceptable socially, while red meat is the most dirty and so reviled by most. Some other foods, such as spicy food or fungi, are also dirty if eaten in great amounts. A little is okay, though. When your soul comes in contact with filthy things or events, you must be ritually purified. Samurai purify daily, and priests typically try to avoid the need – many are vegetarians and leave all manual labor to the shrine keepers. Commoners are assumed to all be somewhat dirty due to their jobs and status, so while they still perform ritual purification, they do so far less frequently than samurai simply because they’re going to be dirty anyway. Some only purify at festivals.

Quite possibly the most spiritually filthy thing anyone can do is handle dead flesh. Death is a major source of kegare, and it’s the kind that sticks around. A samurai that died while tainted by touching dead flesh, even accidentally, would not be permitted into Yomi. However, even this filth can be cleansed via more complex rites. All shugenja know this purifying rite, as do most priests. The ritual involves a torii arch, a ritual bath and a symbolic rebirth in the presence of an enshrined spirit. Hinin, meanwhile, who often handle dead flesh daily, are simply not allowed on shrine grounds at all, for fear they will offend the enshrined spirit and drive it off. Commerce also stains the soul via entanglement with the material world. However, money itself is fine – Daikoku is a Great Fortune, after all. It is regular trade, gambling and obsession with transient material wealth that stain. Pious merchants undergo regular purification to cleanse themselves of this. Negative emotions can also cause spiritual stains. The three big ones are fear, desire and regret, which attract evil and misfortune. Shrine purifications not only cleanse the body and soul, but also help to calm the mind and release such thoughts.

If an object can be inherently filthy, can one be inherently pure? Yes. There are three substances that are more sacred and holy than any other, as they were born of the gods directly. First is jade, created where Amaterasu’s tears struck the earth. It is a source of innate spiritual purity due to its simultaneous ties to Ningen-do and Tengoku, and it repels Shadowlands creatures and many beings of the spirit realms, protecting against Shadowlands Taint and kegare. Second is crystal, formed where Amaterasu’s tears solidified in the air. This captured the Sun’s essence, and so crystal is able to dispel darkness and repel evil or corrupted beings. The final material is obsidian, formed from the blood of Onnotangu. Obsidian is the most potent bane there is against spiritual beings of any type, but contains within it a hint of Lord Moon’s insanity, which may possess those who carry obsidian for prolonged periods. (This is something of a shift – before, obsidian was inherently tainted, though still formed the same way. Here, it is presented as holy-but-dangerous, which frankly makes more sense because Onnotangu is crazy but is still divine and holy.)

Purification methods vary by shrine and spirit. Typically they will involve washing the face and hands, then meditating under guidance from a priest or shrine keeper, who will wave a wand covered in paper streamers at you. The wand attracts the impurities in you, as a feather duster attracts dust. Then you take the wand and burn it, symbolically cleansing yourself. Other methods might include sprinkling with salt to absorb impure essence, then sweeping the salt out of the shrine while chanting a sacred mantra, or the popular water-based ritual called misogi. After fasting for a time, you will sit naked under an ice-cold waterfall while chanting sacred mantras. This washes away negative thoughts and impurities. Misogi can also be done in icy-cold still water, and most shrines thus maintain a well for that purpose. It is believed that the elements, in their purest forms, may also banish impurity. Shugenja often purify themselves via feats of endurance in the raw elements, such was walking over hot coals, plunging hands into boiling water or meditating naked on a cold, windy cliff. These are most useful when a shrine is not available.

Bushi can’t help but become spiritually dirty by their work, as warriors so often come into contact with blood or sweat. Further, the stress of killing can be spiritually imbalancing. Thus, they purify regularly to avoid misfortune. Often, they will also heavily venerate their ancestors and seek their guidance. Clan founders and legendary heroes are common figures of samurai worship, calling on them for supernatural aid, regardless of courtier or bushi. Every samurai home has a small shrine for ancestor worship, and ancestors may also be sought at local shrines for divinatory guidance. A displeased ancestral spirit might send curses or evil luck, or even haunt you. An ancestor who has no living descendants to worship them may feel forgotten, transforming into a muenbotoke, a sort of unguided ghost that haunts and curses the living. To avoid this, samurai may worship ancestors not their own out of admiration for their great deeds. Because this honors their history, it is noble even though you have no personal tie to that ancestor. Samurai are far less likely to worship the kami or Fortunes, except in seeking specific blessings, such as Hachiman’s favor in battle, Benten’s for a performance or Jizo’s in helping an ancestor get through Meido.

While peasants are typically more superstitious than samurai, samurai aren’t exactly without them. Crab samurai often believe that lightning is a good omen, that leaving your door open in the night invites ghosts in, and that whistling at night is bad luck (because it might make a ghost think you’re also a ghost). Crane samurai think you can get rid of bad luck by tossing seven peas into a well and fasting for the day, that tickling a baby’s feet will make them stutter when older, that a tailor who pricks themselves with a needle will one day be unfaithful, and that if you break your sandal strap, you will soon suffer bad luck. The Dragon say that bowing to a vengeful ghost will make them pause and that a blacksmith must never let their forge fire die or else their blades made there will fail. The Togashi are also known for making poo poo up and teaching it to peasants to see what superstitions catch on. The Lion say that a general must lead with the right foot, to awaken their martial spirit, and that battles must only ever be held under good stars or specific omens, and that spiders are lucky and that killing one must never be done, for it will haunt the home it dies in. The Phoenix often believe that the first day after the first snow of the year is a lucky one, that spirits cannot cross an arched bridge, and that if you hear steps behind you but no one is there, you should get out of the way and let the ghost pass you or you will have nightmares. The Shiba also say that tracing a kanji character over a diagram will give you the virtue represented by that character. The Scorpion believe that if you have no hatred, no one can detect your intent to kill, that if you dry laundry where others can see it, your secrets will be exposed one day, and that being shat on by a bird is good luck, because the slang for ‘dung’ can be read as the word ‘luck.’ Also, if you drink a rooster’s blood, they say, your indigestion will be cured. The Unicorn hold that you should never cut hair under a full moon or you will go bald early, that a promise made on horseback must never be broken on pain of death, and that you should bow to wild horses, as they might be disguised ki-rin. Also, they say that if you write a Fortune’s name on your right arm, the Fortune will bless you.

Religious matters for peasants are typically quite simple. When they need help from a Fortune or spirit, they go and make an offering at the shrine. If something goes wrong, they get the priest to tell them who they pissed off and make another offering. They don’t have to learn texts or rites – the priest and shrine keepers handle those. They just take part in festivals, make offerings and show reverence. They typically have no concerns that are not immediate and local, and as a result their view of the Fortunes is usually simple and transactional. Worship of the Fortunes lets them ask for blessings and gifts or appease them when they are angry. Peasants do perform ancestral worship, but mostly in a preventative way. They leave offerings for the dead to keep them out of the land of the living, and seeking guidance from their ancestors would be unthinkable. Peasant souls, after all, do not go to Yomi. They have far too many worldly concerns to allow that! Peasant dead head for Meido for reincarnation or punishment. Thus, peasants tend to be fearful of their ancestral ghosts, who usually show up only to throw curses around.

Next time: Two Weddings and a Funeral

Just Dan Again
Dec 16, 2012

Adventure!

Mors Rattus posted:

To be fair, this is pretty much every mecha game except Lancer.

Lancer looks amazing and I'd love to write a review of it, but it's the kind of game that seems like it'd really benefit from hands-on experience before trying to expound on it. The system definitely looks like a good blend of mechanical complexity and simplified application. My local crew tends to struggle with games that provide a bunch of different crunchy options to choose from, though, so it'll probably be a while before I can smash mechs together.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!

Mors Rattus posted:

To be fair, this is pretty much every mecha game except Lancer.

Battle Century G is relatively simple, it's probably my favorite right now.

Foglet
Jun 17, 2014

Reality is an illusion.
The universe is a hologram.
Buy gold.
Remnants RPG is also rather simple and very very good.

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017

Alien Rope Burn posted:

Battle Century G is relatively simple, it's probably my favorite right now.

That looks pretty cool. Does it have its own setting?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2e: Old World Bestiary

Primary, Secondary, and Popular Sources

So, one of the weaknesses of the deep dive of the Hams 2e line is that I haven't done this book yet. This is because the Old World Bestiary is really hard to write up in this format, because it relies a lot on the reader reading it carefully. OWB is one of my favorite examples of how to get a setting across via in-character writing and sources, and it's one of the most important books for someone running the game. If I had to recommend one book outside of the core book (and I don't, given the entire line is available as a bundle from Cubicle 7 to commemorate the release of 4e) I'd recommend this one. It gives you a good overview of many of the monsters and opponents players will face, gives them stats based on a conversion from the wargame models (which works better than you'd think it would), and gives you a lot of information on how to place them in the world.

The first half of the book is almost exclusively fluff, and the majority is written in three sections per major creature entry. These are the Common View, what 'everyone' knows about these creatures if they've never encountered them or only run into them in passing, the Scholar's Eye, what people who have studied their origins and motives might know about the creature, and Their Own Words, which is what the creature would say about itself if it's intelligent. Multiple sources are given in each, and some of the same sources will show up many times. The hardened mercenary Captain Schultz, the treacherous 'professor' (who is a Chaos Cultist in disguise) Albrecht Kinnear, the Clan Eshin 'Scholar' Rikkit'tik whose entire contribution to every entry is how to poison it, etc. By having a consistent 'cast' of voices, you get a sense of their character and biases, which helps the reader make decisions about how to interpret the fluff.

I also appreciate that they reveal Kinnear is a cultist in his first entry, because it makes it a lot easier to read the rest; it's not a hidden secret, it's a way of telling you that what he's telling the reader is what a hidden cultist would want people to believe under the guise of a respectable academic.

I'm normally not a huge fan of the 'pile of unreliable narration' strategy, but it's done well here because it's more about giving the reader options for interpretation. For instance, in the mutation section, Kinnear is all about how everyone should be working to purge the mutant and drive them from all Imperial communities. Is that because he's trying to deflect suspicion from normal-looking cultists like himself, or is that because the automatic persecution of mutants is key to how Chaos uses it as a tool to force people to join up? I'd say the latter, especially based on other sources in the line, but you're free to take the former. Having consistently written voices for the differing perspectives approach makes it much easier to decide what you, the reader, want to use in your game and what interpretations you want to go with. Instead of giving the impression of a jumble, it's more about reading a bunch of different sources and coming to a conclusion, which is fun to do.

Also, the 'Own Words' section is really, really helpful for placing characters within the world, so to speak. So is the 'common view'. Having an idea of what an untrained character would reasonably know, or what the common Watchman or soldier is going to think when your PCs breathlessly try to warn them about some horror in the sewers? Really helpful for evoking the setting. After all, not everyone knows everything about all these creatures, but most people will have heard of them. Similarly, the Own Words sections help give you a sense of the motives and personality of what you're dealing with. From the cultist justifying how they're just 'picking the winning side' to the Vampires trying to explain why they totally deserve to eat people and murder dozens because they're so drat cool, you get a lot of personality from these sections. They're also interspersed with normal authorial voice text, though this is technically supposed to be in-character as well; the whole fluff half of the book is supposedly an in-setting guide to monsters and creatures of the Old World by an Imperial Magister.

The book also introduces the idea, mechanically, of the 'slaughter margin', which is Hams equivalent of the Challenge Rating. The Slaughter Margin is based on how well a 1st tier Soldier (Named Johann Schmidt, of course) would do on average against the monster. Johan's full stat spread, gear spread, etc are given as a full character sheet; he's a Soldier focused on hand to hand combat with average starting stats and a couple hundred EXP. He's got a halberd, some light mail (I think doing him in light mail is a bit of a mistake, as a starting PC probably won't have that yet), and a sword and shield. He's a competent soldier, having Dodge, Strike Mighty, and a second attack, because a starting Soldier focusing on melee will have all of that. The most important thing to remember about Johan is that he doesn't account for Fate. Your PCs will have Fate. Trust me when I say having a pool of rerolls or extra defenses or whatever really makes a big difference when your low level party tries to take on a Chaos Warrior and his entourage of lesser Beastmen early in a campaign. Still, it's nice to have a direct mechanical benchmark for how they decided on 'how hard' an enemy is: A WS 36, Damage 4 (Or Damage 4 Impact w/Halberd) Soldier with 2 attacks, Dodge 26% (36 Agi-10 for Mail), DR 6 on Head and Body, DR 4 on limbs, and 13 Wounds.

A Very Easy creature is something Johan can kill without risk. An Easy creature is something he can kill, maybe taking a couple wounds. Routine is similar; the odds are very much in his favor, but two or three of such a creature might be a real problem. Average is an even fight that Johan will probably win in the end. Challenging means the fight could last awhile, and while Johan can still win, he's starting to be at a disadvantage. Hard means Johan has maybe 20-80 odds against the monster and probably won't even hurt it significantly. Very Hard is the upper level of what non-3rd tier PCs should take on and means that even just wounding it would make a hero of Johan. Impossible means that the odds of Johan winning a single combat with that creature are statistically insignificant; that's for Dragons, Greater Demons, etc. I've seen Impossible tier monsters taken down in direct combat in play, but they're never simple and it takes 3rd tier characters.

This is also the book that introduces Demonic Aura, which was not actually in Paths of the Damned or the Core Book, so I get the sense it was added in after people kept slaughtering demons too easily. It's a simple +2 TB for a Demon if it's struck by a non-magical weapon or attack. Demons needed the help; Daemonettes and Bloodletters are both quite fragile without that extra perk, and lesser Demons were kind of a joke without it against anyone who was actually specialized in fighting. The book also introduces Unstoppable Blows (-30% to Parry checks against this monster, due to huge strength or size), 'Scales' (Natural Armor Points), Will of Iron (Monster is immune to psychology), and Ethereal (Can't be harmed without magic attacks, can move through walls, etc, and normally can't damage physical creatures itself). Demonic Aura is probably the most interesting of the new mechanics for monsters, because again, demons badly needed the damage reduction upgrade. Without it, you have things like the 'final boss' of the 1st campaign book being like DR 4, which let me tell you is not going to last against a party action-economying that thing to death.

I get into those mechanics right now, because they're some of the more important mechanical elements of the book and we're not going to be talking about mechanics again for a long while. That's right, in normal WHFRP2e fashion, the entire first half of the book is fluff.

Next Time: The Forces of Chaos DEMAND TOP BILLING!

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Does the slaughter margin account for stuff like some Incorporeal undead being able to basically ignore Johan but not actually being super tought if you have a magic thing? I was never clear on that.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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

Mors Rattus posted:

Does the slaughter margin account for stuff like some Incorporeal undead being able to basically ignore Johan but not actually being super tought if you have a magic thing? I was never clear on that.

It lists them as Impossible but they make a specific caveat that that's 'in case you have no magic' in the Impossible entry, since it's hard to assume the average party has magic gear.

They actually give a parenthetical 'If you have the gear to actually fight it, it'd be Challenging', etc.

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

WELL THAT JUST HAPPENED!

Mors Rattus posted:

Emerald Empire: Mister Clean

I've always wondered how much of L5R's emphasis on cleanliness is based on real religions and how much was the writers asking "What if Howard Hughes founded a religion? :v:"

OvermanXAN
Nov 14, 2014

Halloween Jack posted:

I've also heard good things about Giant Guardian Generation, which has a "this is not an engineering simulator" sidebar in the introduction.

It's wonderful if you like nothing but dodge-tanks. One of the biggest problems with mech games I've encountered is that most of them are nigh impossible to make a big tanky Super Robot and not eat poo poo. It's also got weirdly specific parts for something that's allegedly supposed to be emulating Super Robot Wars and thus should be allowing you as much creative freedom as possible to do whatever weird mecha things you can think of. It also spends a bit too much time on its own setting for something that really shouldn't have a base setting. Or at least it did back when I was fooling with it, they may have edited it by then.

SirPhoebos posted:

I've always wondered how much of L5R's emphasis on cleanliness is based on real religions and how much was the writers asking "What if Howard Hughes founded a religion? :v:"

It's pretty accurate to Shinto, which places a lot of emphasis on spiritual and ritual cleanliness.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

La morte non ha sesso

OvermanXAN posted:

It's wonderful if you like nothing but dodge-tanks. One of the biggest problems with mech games I've encountered is that most of them are nigh impossible to make a big tanky Super Robot and not eat poo poo.
Well, this is a big blind spot in RPGs in general.

SirPhoebos posted:

I've always wondered how much of L5R's emphasis on cleanliness is based on real religions and how much was the writers asking "What if Howard Hughes founded a religion? :v:"
I'm not an expert on Japanese culture, but when I was a teenager I read Gichin Funakoshi's autobiography, and he was complaining about his grandkids teasing him over saying "Who left these dirty things here" instead of specifying what he meant, which would have been improper. (The dirty things were either shoes or fireplace tongs, I forget.)

I have also heard that it's easy to pick up good used items in Japan, even things like televisions and appliances, because a certain "dirtiness" clings to used goods.

These are both decades-old anecdotes, of course, but we're talking about a fantasy medieval Japan.

Halloween Jack fucked around with this message at 19:17 on Feb 7, 2019

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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Yeah, it's actually fairly accurate. The bodily fluids of living beings, human or animal, were considered inherently filthy, and the descendants real-world caste of people who were the hinin of Japan still face widespread discrimination because of their ancestors' work with "dirty" things.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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

Halloween Jack posted:

Well, this is a big blind spot in RPGs in general.

God, tell me about it. It was especially hilarious in WH40KRP, whose big standard bearers are giant potato men in huge armored suits, that the entire game line was full of 'armor is useless, dodge or you're dead' design.

It makes some sense in that it's harder to design a game wherein 'get hit' works out if you build around it, because 'don't get hit' will always work out no matter how much people hosed up the HP and damage and DR numbers. You have to have actually worked out the numbers on durability for tanking through damage to work. Half of why I was impressed with DX's combat is that a Guard Tank is absolutely viable and the design focused on 'tank damage' as the consistent way to survive while 'dodge damage' is high risk but higher reward.

Kaza42
Oct 3, 2013

Blood and Souls and all that

Night10194 posted:

God, tell me about it. It was especially hilarious in WH40KRP, whose big standard bearers are giant potato men in huge armored suits, that the entire game line was full of 'armor is useless, dodge or you're dead' design.

This is actually one reason why Tactical Marines were bad for a few editions of the 40k wargame. There were just so many weapons that could pierce 3+ armor, many of which also ignored cover, that marines would often be just as fragile as guardsmen in practice. Of particular note to my army (Imperial Guard) was a tank configuration whose main weapon hit a large area, had just enough strength to kill a marine on a 2+, ignored standard marine armor and ignored cover. It could literally kill a squad of marines a turn, and this was far from an isolated example. Eldar and Chaos both had similar marine-killer weapons, and probably other factions I'm forgetting about

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

La morte non ha sesso
I feel very strongly that a game operating on the scale of the 40k games should not have a system that fine-grained and detailed. Warhammer Fantasy's system works pretty well for Warhammer Fantasy.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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

Halloween Jack posted:

I feel very strongly that a game operating on the scale of the 40k games should not have a system that fine-grained and detailed. Warhammer Fantasy's system works pretty well for Warhammer Fantasy.

One of the things is, too, Fantasy is actually less fine-grained and detailed. One of the reasons Old World Armory falls flat as a book (I might cover it later, I've debated it a lot) is because there just isn't very much for a 'gear book' to do in this system. They stick pretty steadfastly to 'your armor and DR provide a chance of totally deflecting attacks and reducing attacks they don't deflect' and '+1 damage is a big deal' in all of the equipment and stat design for all of 2e. The scale of damage stuff does and takes stays fairly consistent. Numbers of attacks stay pretty consistent, with PCs never getting more than 3 outside of magic gear or spell buffs and even the most fearsome enemies staying at about 5-7, though of all the changes in 4e I think looking at the tyranny of the Swift Attack was one of the better goals they undertook. Armor generally stayed capped at 5.

You basically have to be a character type generally not intended for PCs to be so tough that even a 'standard' Damage 3 attack bounces off you. PCs never really get more than 20 HP, but that's because at high levels you rely on DR reducing incoming damage to 0-5 or whatever rather than being able to eat Damage 20 hits.

Meanwhile over in 40k they're like 'lol here's a 2d10+10 gun also we're never going to increase your effective HP past 25 and also it hits you 6 times in one attack'. To say nothing of armor pen, Unnaturals, and all kinds of other fiddly bullshit that screwed the math. It let them print dozens of sourcebooks full of slightly more broken equipment one after another, but like I said in the Black Crusade review, at a certain point all these extra +2s to damage and poo poo don't matter because the base math was so hosed to begin with.

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017

Kaza42 posted:

This is actually one reason why Tactical Marines were bad for a few editions of the 40k wargame. There were just so many weapons that could pierce 3+ armor, many of which also ignored cover, that marines would often be just as fragile as guardsmen in practice. Of particular note to my army (Imperial Guard) was a tank configuration whose main weapon hit a large area, had just enough strength to kill a marine on a 2+, ignored standard marine armor and ignored cover. It could literally kill a squad of marines a turn, and this was far from an isolated example. Eldar and Chaos both had similar marine-killer weapons, and probably other factions I'm forgetting about

Yeah, when you have the gold standard armor in the game then every other army needs ways to beat it. As far as I know, vanilla Tac Marines still aren't considered very good.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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

Kaza42 posted:

This is actually one reason why Tactical Marines were bad for a few editions of the 40k wargame. There were just so many weapons that could pierce 3+ armor, many of which also ignored cover, that marines would often be just as fragile as guardsmen in practice. Of particular note to my army (Imperial Guard) was a tank configuration whose main weapon hit a large area, had just enough strength to kill a marine on a 2+, ignored standard marine armor and ignored cover. It could literally kill a squad of marines a turn, and this was far from an isolated example. Eldar and Chaos both had similar marine-killer weapons, and probably other factions I'm forgetting about

This is effectively what happened to 40kRP, too. Once you started fielding Marine durability characters, 'older' small arms like the Bolter bounced off them, so instead the games had to put an emphasis on the really huge power weapons and heavy weapons or else you literally couldn't hurt PCs. We used to call it 'tink or splat', because a weapon would either be totally useless or whatever you hit with it was probably dead. But since lots of stuff in the game had Marine durability, which could be bypassed easily with the right weapons, and those weapons would kill anything else in the game just fine too, why use anything else?

This is why you don't put huge amounts of damage reduction and damage variance in your game outside of what the randomizer can actually randomize! It's extremely, extremely hard to become invulnerable to 'ordinary' weapons and attacks in WHFRP outside of something like that insane crystal Chaos Lord I made for the ToC review. For the most part the scale of DR will stick to things where the d10 can push you over into doing some decent wounds (but not one-shotting them) even outside of Fury. In fact, one of the traditional weaknesses you'll see in 'big' monsters in Old World Bestiary is that they tend to have poor active defenses, no armor, and only enough DR to be equivalent to someone in chain or reinforced leather; 40 Wounds won't last nearly as long when you're getting 5-8 wound chunks taken out of you by every swing that lands and the players outnumber you.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

La morte non ha sesso

Night10194 posted:

Meanwhile over in 40k they're like 'lol here's a 2d10+10 gun also we're never going to increase your effective HP past 25 and also it hits you 6 times in one attack'. To say nothing of armor pen, Unnaturals, and all kinds of other fiddly bullshit that screwed the math. It let them print dozens of sourcebooks full of slightly more broken equipment one after another, but like I said in the Black Crusade review, at a certain point all these extra +2s to damage and poo poo don't matter because the base math was so hosed to begin with.
Exalted is another good example of taking a system built to operate with a limited range of numbers and then just stacking on fistfuls and fistfuls of dice with demigodlike characters. For that matter, so are Aberrant and Scion.

Even in the World of Darkness, you run into rocket tag combat pretty quickly.

Halloween Jack fucked around with this message at 19:59 on Feb 7, 2019

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
The thing is that kind of design is designed to print sourcebooks, not be playable. When you can spit out page after page of mostly-identical but powerful sounding guns for players, that's a guaranteed draw for moving books.

One of the reasons I praise the weapon variety in something like Myriad Song is because each type of weapon is actually meaningfully mechanically distinct and most aren't just 'lol why would you use anything else'.

That said I totally see why they dumped Slaying damage for Urban Jungle because Slaying could get super crazy, super fast.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

La morte non ha sesso
4e has a lot of problems, but one very good thing is that even if you use inherent bonuses* different items can give you a different encounter or daily power, thus creating a lot of design space.


*always do this

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.

Rocket tagging is endemic to the hobby along with Dex the god stat.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2e: Old World Bestiary

Hello again, Chaos

I'll be introducing the recurring characters as they occur, so our first two are Albrecht Kinear and Vorster Pike. Albrecht is, as said, a Chaos Cultist and professor at the University of Nuln, who writes extensively about the threat of the monsters from the North while downplaying any sort of worries about cultists. Also makes sure to talk up how unstoppable and amazing the 'overt' forces of Chaos while he does so, but in approved language. Vorster Pike is an experienced Witch Hunter who has a serious thing about women for reasons that will come up when we get to Vampires, reasons you can probably guess. He's often in the Scholar's View, because he gives the opinion of an experienced Hunter who knows monsters.

Kinear starts us off on the Chaos Cultist entry by wondering how anyone could believe they exist. "Why would anyone join these weird and disgusting religions based around getting yourself killed? Especially successful scholars and merchants?" We all know it's because they don't tend to believe they'll be the one on the altar, but he's kind of got a point that Chaos cults seem really loving common in the setting despite never working out for anyone. This is because they're a common low level enemy/writing crutch more than anything else (and because Chaos usually gets to cheat and just mindfuck people into joining when it can't pull off subtle). Kinear is generally in the Common View sections on matters related to Chaos, because he's giving misinformation.

Pike is here in the Scholar's View to point out Kinear is lying to you so that the reader knows to take that into account in the future entries. Also to order Kinear burned at the stake.

We also meet Captain Schultz here in the Common View. Schultz is your standard experienced mercenary captain, and a curious thing in his writing is that he usually gives solid gameplay advice. He's usually in the Common View because he doesn't know a drat thing about the origins or history of monsters, and is instead giving the common-sense 'how does a veteran soldier see these things' opinions. He gives the view that Hunters often overreact to cult rumors among the lower classes, but that the actual magi and higher ups of the cults are the worst and deserve everything they get.

We also get Drakar Neth Shyish, a Kurgan Tzeentch Chaos Warrior. Who knows how the author successfully interviewed him. He gives the opinion of the actual forces of Northern Chaos, which is that cultists are a bunch of useful idiots who will all die along with their neighbors after they help undermine the Empire. Chaos has never, ever given a poo poo about the Cultists, and thinks they're hilarious.

Rikkit'Tik the Skaven scholar would like to helpfully point out that hemlock is sufficient for Chaos Cultists.

In their own words, they give exactly the reasons you'd think for why they all joined cults. One wanted revenge on people she was jealous of in the village and got into Nurgle to melt their faces off. One is an indolent noble who just wanted to join a sexmurder club and got into Slaanesh. Another's a Tzeentch worshiper who just says he wants to be on the right side, because he's sure Chaos will win any day now. Good timing, buddy, it's not like Chaos didn't just get its rear end handed to it at Middenheim and run off whining about it when this was written. There's no real insight in the 'In Our Words' section here, they're just what you'd expect.

Chaos Warriors and Marauders are more interesting. Kinear, of course, wants you to know they're just the mightiest and most dangerous warriors ever, though he does so in approved terms. 'Warning of their grave threat' to hide that he's bragging about their strength. Schultz gives really good advice about fighting them: The armor's thick and they're tough as hell, but the real threat is that a Warrior is a highly skilled, experienced, and trained combatant. He suggests someone with a shield keep the Warrior busy while a guy with a great weapon takes it from behind (to get through the armor). This is basically what you want to do fighting one at lower levels.

We also meet Young Hob the Farmer. He'll usually give a commoner's opinion on things. He just says he's glad the Emperor and the armies are here for these things and otherwise he doesn't want to think about them.

Rikkit'Tik wants you to know that whatever you use, you're going to want to hit a joint in the armor or an eyeslit. Mixture of warpbane root and deathvine venom works best.

Pike, being a Hunter who mostly fights cults, dismisses Khornates as the least dangerous because you'll usually see them coming and can meet them with an army. Nurglites are worse because they leave contagion in their wake and poison the fields. Slaaneshi are good at founding cults and offering people things they want, but their Warriors aren't anything special. Being a counter-intelligence agent, he's obviously most worried about Tzeentch, which would fit if Tzeentch was ever written as anything but a cardboard cutout that says 'cunning plan' on it.

We also get Drakar's opinion: He gives us the ridiculous nonsense about how it's totally fine to be a giant 8 foot kill-man in service of the god of 'subtle', because 'death is the biggest change, so I'm absolutely serving change by just acting like a Khornate'. This is because he's lame. The Khornate just says 'there is only war'. The Nurglite talks about how to strike to wound, not kill, so people will carry his God's gifts in their gangrene and injuries. They didn't get a Slaaneshi Chaos Warrior's opinion on anything, because people keep forgetting Slaaneshi can be Warriors.

Kinear gives interesting misinformation on Mutants and Beastmen: He tries to claim Beastmen are sterile, and relatively few in number. He also says absolutely every mutant has to be purged, that every Hunter should be put towards killing mutants and wiping them out as children. Given what Chaos uses mutation for, according to other books, a hidden cultist advising the authorities to be especially merciless in wiping out mutants has an obvious reason: The more isolated and afraid mutants are, and the more dead relatives and friends and loved ones there are, the more angry people or fleeing mutants will have no choice but to turn to Chaos for shelter or revenge.

We also get a little interlude on Beastmen from Graf Boris Toddbringer of Middenheim, because man does that guy hate Beastmen ever since one of the Beastlords made him his hobby. He rants about how he's 'spent half a life and all an eye' killing them, and how every mutant is their spy or slave, and you never know who's really ONE OF THEM. Khazark One Eye must be really pleased that he's nettled his rival this much.

Pike talks about Chaos Spawn, and how they're the result of the addictive nature of Chaos once someone gets started on it. He talks about how Chaos holds up successful Lords as examples where mutation made them extremely powerful and long-lived, convincing its followers to take on more and more changes in hopes of eventually becoming superhuman. Which is kind of an interesting take on it; Chaos Lords as a superhuman lure, promising 'you, too, can be 8 feet tall and hacking down greater demons and having epic adventures' to get people to take on more and more changes until they collapse into an animal-like Chaos Spawn that can't keep itself together.

Rikkit'Tik points out that Baletoad dorsal secretion deals with a Gor's endurance really neatly.

One of the Own Words guys is a mutant who was driven out of his home for his changes and forced to find shelter with the Beastmen. He talks about how he never wanted to hurt anyone, but he'd have been killed if he'd stayed. And now his new friends are willing to help him deal with the people who chased him out with pitchforks and torches. "If you think I'm a Chaos Beast, then fine. I won't argue. I'll be a Chaos Beast."

The average Beastman's Own Words is 'GWARRRRRRR!' because most of them are idiot jobbers, but they also get a Lord pointing out that not all of them are dumb. Underestimating the actual leaders or thinking you can deal with Gors easily on their home turf is a bad move. There's also a long story from Captain Schultz that points out that like everything in Chaos, the Beastlords always have a rival who wants them dead. If you can get the two to fight each other over leading the herd, they're that much easier to deal with. This strategy will usually work, but if it doesn't (as in the story) it's going to end in disaster. Still, this is a common weakpoint for Chaos: The leaders can never actually trust their followers.

Next: Minotaurs, Dragon Ogres, Chorfs, and more

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

After a Speaker vote, you may be entitled to a valuable coupon or voucher!



By popular demand posted:

I'm guessing that there was no CSA apologia though.

E: gently caress it, I wanted to say for a long time now that while I dislike other metaplot, NPCs and even just the extremely high amount of weirdness in the setting ,it's the loving whitewashing that ensures I'll never spend a single dime on this.
Can confirm, Dark Tower doesn't have paeans to the Lost Cause, though being written by a Mainer you may not be too shocked by that. I forget if it's supposed to be 'thousands of years in the future' or just happened to have cultural similarities to Earth.

Now that said the first novel and one novella he wrote using the main character are the only good parts, most of the rest crawls straight up its own rear end.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Nessus posted:

Can confirm, Dark Tower doesn't have paeans to the Lost Cause, though being written by a Mainer you may not be too shocked by that. I forget if it's supposed to be 'thousands of years in the future' or just happened to have cultural similarities to Earth.

Now that said the first novel and one novella he wrote using the main character are the only good parts, most of the rest crawls straight up its own rear end.
Yeah the first novel (more accurately, collection of linked short stories) is really good (and has a killer opening sentence).

The rest just fall off a cliff, like Die Hard sequels or M Night Shamayalan's career Rotten Tomatoes score trajectory.

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.

King had that pretty nasty car crash after the first book, iirc - it definitely had a major effect on his writing.

Ratoslov
Feb 15, 2012

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

Rikkit'Tik is delightful. One of the best characters in RPGs.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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

Ratoslov posted:

Rikkit'Tik is delightful. One of the best characters in RPGs.

I will be giving his entries verbatim in every update because they deserve it.

E: I should also mention, Pike's rant about vampires is actually in Night's Dark Masters. His ex-wife is a Lahmian. No clue if that was because of his issues with women, or the cause of them.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 22:56 on Feb 7, 2019

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megane
Jun 20, 2008



You could argue that "what poison do I use" is really all you need to know about most monsters. :hmmyes:

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