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WhitemageofDOOM
Sep 13, 2010

... It's magic. I ain't gotta explain shit.

Big eyes, Small Mouth 3e Part 5 Skills & Defects

Skills
They cost 1-3 points, the chart of point costs by genre is back but uhhhh not nearly as relevant as it's 1-3 points and not 1-6.
There are no more combat skills this time.
The keeping it simple rules have you spend 70 points here, more than on the actually expensive stuff. When I tried building a character with those rules i ran out of "poo poo i cared about" at 6, by like 30 points.

Defects
As stated earlier no longer a road to massive point whoring(that would be attribute restrictions), but more like a way to scrounge up some leftovers to fill your build. You need to take 10 points in keeping it simple. These are old school "Give points for story stuff" defects half the time too.

Achilles Heel You take double damage from something.
Awakward Size You are huge, you have huge guts.
Bane Achilles heel for things that shouldn't do damage. For instance this game has bane: game balance.
Blind Fury Sometimes you go berserk.
Conditional Ownership Applied to a companion or item, that item technically belongs to THE MAN. How much leeway you have to use it determines severity.
Confined Movement You can't leave a certain area, ever. Well at least you are immune to pesky teleporters. Actually considering the first rank is 100km it is probably free points...any time this attribute isn't free points it instantly becomes a problem.
Cursed You are cursed and this is bad somehow.
Easily Distracted Thing causes you to go OOOOOO shiny!, how often it would normally come up is the point amount.
Girl/Guy Magnet Because sex appeal is a downside.
Hounded My Pc is hated by the authorities you say.....I think that is called being a PC.
Impaired Manipu.... Ok look it's just a long list of defects, most of which are boring as gently caress, let's skip to the standouts.
Involuntary Change Requires you to have an alternate form....
Ism Let's you be a discriminated against category of people.
Less Capable holy sweet hell that's a lot of words for "I am less strong than my body stat indicates"...also not worth the points.
Marked Ah yes, cool features for points.
Nemesis Because having a sweet rival is a BAD thing.
Significant Other Your little brother has been kidnapped, again.
Skeleton in the Closet Combine with Ism to literally be in the closet.

How to fix character generation
Honestly? The benchmarks are more a limit than points, and since you need a gm to check this poo poo anyways....Rip out the points.
If human is limited to 3 and godlike to 8, and there are guidelines for Combat Values, HP/EP, and such, why even have the points? Does it matter if a godlike character grabs 2 ranks of environment control because he wants his SSJ aura to be cause heat and lightning? No not really, unless it pairs it with an increased area variable in which case those should be on the same scale of capping at 8 and say "yeah obviously you can't go above your cap here", but then it's less a party trick and more tool.
That would actually give players choices while simplifying creation greatly.

Then your creation advice would be like "If you are stumped on a concept, grab one attribute set it to max level. Then look for two attributes that you think would make sense to go with it, put them at max level. Then select 3-4 attributes you think it would be just fun to have, put them at half max. Or use templates. Then throw some defects on it"



The Resolution
You roll 2d6 and add a stat or combat modifier. DCs, Opposed rolls. There are some dumb optional mechanics like shock value(if you take any amount of damage over 1/5th your max hp ie a hit you will be stunned.)....
I mean bluntly? While you can break this way way harder, it is harder to do so accidentally and the ways that you do it are less hilarious, mostly for being repetitive.(what happens when THIS attribute targets the entire universe.)
This game has straight up lost all the spark of BESM1e&2e, like the forward is honest, you can FEEL the writer not giving a poo poo about this game. Which takes it from hilariously bad to....just plain bad.

I could go into the templates and mock the poo poo out of them for being super unoptimized....but why they are mockable for the same reason they were in 2e, taking broad abilities in a game that actively punishes doing more than one thing. I mean the half-dragon template is a giant waste of 80 points, but everything on it MAKES SENSE. You are tough&strong, armored espicially vs. fire, and breath fire...But you are wasting half of super strength basically by breathing fire instead of having fire punches. Again the game just punishes you for having characters and not piles of stats.

I could mock the setting in the back but....Why? It's just "Let players player whatever anime bullshit" it doesn't need to be good just THERE.

WhitemageofDOOM fucked around with this message at 00:33 on Feb 17, 2019

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Tibalt
May 14, 2017


Young Freud posted:

I think you're underestimating the influence of the Media and the Rocker in relation to cyberpunk as a whole. It's not a big thing in cyberpunk film, but there's a reason why "cyberpunk" has that "punk" suffix: a lot of cyberpunk authors were fascinated with mass media and music and wrote heavily about characters, such as K.W. Jeter's "Dr. Adder", Bruce Sterling's "Islands Of The Net", Gibson's "Idoru", Norman Spinrad's "Little Heroes", John Shirley's Eclipse series.
The Media also makes a lot more sense in the context of, well... the media during the 1980s. Journalism was a much more respectable and influential field 40 years ago, with figures like Walter Cronkite being able to reach almost the entire American population and being almost universally trusted. You also had investigative journalists making huge, lasting impact on American politics with Watergate, and the Pentagon Papers, and politicians feared the power that journalists had over public perception - "If I've lost Walter, I've lost Middle America".

As punk and bleak a lot of these authors imagined the future, it was sort of difficult for them to imagine a world where fake news runs rampant, everyone gets their information from different contradictory sources, and politicians are openly dismissive of journalists convincing anyone. The idea that your Media character could show some Miltech atrocity on the 6 o'clock news and bring down the whole international corporation seemed reasonable in 1988, but man it really doesn't logically fit into the setting.

Wrestlepig
Feb 25, 2011

my mum says im cool



Toilet Rascal

You could also be a Hunter S Thompson style figure, doing drugs and getting involved with some band of criminals for the sheer story. This is before Vice started doing their stuff.

Tibalt
May 14, 2017


Wrestlepig posted:

You could also be a Hunter S Thompson style figure, doing drugs and getting involved with some band of criminals for the sheer story. This is before Vice started doing their stuff.
Replace the Media class with the Social Influencer. Keep everything else the same about him (except you don't have to be literally on-air lol I <3 the 80s).

Which... Shadowrun kind of weirdly did with their LA sourcebook in the most Shadowrun-y way possible, where all these mercenary criminals had a ubiquitous live stream going on during their runs.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Tibalt posted:

Replace the Media class with the Social Influencer. Keep everything else the same about him (except you don't have to be literally on-air lol I <3 the 80s).

TBF, that's the way v3.0 was handling the Media: they were basically bloggers and vloggers now since a lot of mass media had been disrupted by the 4th Corporate War and the DataKrash and a lot of the news media had collapsed or become overtaken by whatever was left of the corporations. Even R.A. Thompson, the Media example character, had changed from gun-toting video journalist to a gun-toting blogger with "fifty-seven D-Pool channels in his time slot".

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007





Does anyone remember offhand which California coastal city Night City was based on? I can't find it in any of Pondsmith's interviews.

Edit: Morro Bay, nevermind!

Midjack fucked around with this message at 01:27 on Feb 17, 2019

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




Night City is vaguely based on the Morro Bay/SLO area north of LA, but geographically it's located right on top of the Moss Landing/Salinas area (between Monterey and Santa Cruz, which is why part of it is called Watson -- it's where real Watsonville is.) This begs the question of where Night City and most of Norcal gets its produce, because that's a lot of very productive farmland that's now covered by sprawl.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



wiegieman posted:

Night City is vaguely based on the Morro Bay/SLO area north of LA, but geographically it's located right on top of the Moss Landing/Salinas area (between Monterey and Santa Cruz, which is why part of it is called Watson -- it's where real Watsonville is.) This begs the question of where Night City and most of Norcal gets its produce, because that's a lot of very productive farmland that's now covered by sprawl.

This is the first I've heard of Morro Bay, but Night City city center, the most detailed location in the whole line, is an expy of San Francisco. Night City shares some key landmarks with SFC, such as the Marina to the north and the angle of High Street and the Oakland bridge being the same as Market Street and the Del Coronado Bridge, and similar waterways in the New Harbor area to the SF's China Basin and Islais Creek. The Night City Stadium being in near alignment to Oracle/AT&T Park is a coincidence, since that field was built after CP2013 was published.

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




Young Freud posted:

This is the first I've heard of Morro Bay, but Night City city center, the most detailed location in the whole line, is an expy of San Francisco. Night City shares some key landmarks with SFC, such as the Marina to the north and the angle of High Street and the Oakland bridge being the same as Market Street and the Del Coronado Bridge, and similar waterways in the New Harbor area to the SF's China Basin and Islais Creek. The Night City Stadium being in near alignment to Oracle/AT&T Park is a coincidence, since that field was built after CP2013 was published.

Yeah, there's a lot of SF in there too. Night City is basically every coastal city in CA.

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

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

PurpleXVI posted:

I want to see the Back East books because I cannot imagine how badly mangled they'll be.

1. Also, what I don't get is, are the players assumed to be starting a new party for each of these adventure threads? Or are there provisions made for a party dealing with one, then moving on to the next, and starting out already having an idea of what the Reckoners and their deal is? Because in the latter case it feels like they could potentially shortcircuit some of the adventure by way of higher power levels and needing to gather less intelligence.

2. Or what about the players failing? What if Yei Tso is unleashed? Like, did they account for that? Not that I'd want that to happen, Yei Tso seems a lot more sci-fi, and Deadlands' strongest aspect seems to be when it's Cowboy Fantasy, not when aliens and Lovecraftian things get involved.

1. It's meant to have a different group every time. Also chronologically they're almost literally one right after another, so PCs can't really travel 1.5 thousand miles in a week to start the next campaign

2. Yei Tso's unleash is a possibility, but the adventure never references it again. The place becomes a Deadland and it's assumed that it will require a campaign of its own to seal that evil back.

But yeah, the Deadlands adventures are a bit railroady in presuming PC success (or failure in Stone's case). Good Intentions was a bit of an exception in that the various quests can work even with the death of an NPC involved.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts World Book 22, Part 9: "In the first six months of occupation and combat, the CS Navy will lose 1D4x10%+25% of its Naval ships, power armor and supplies at the hands of the Quebec Navy, setting it back years!"

The Quebec Navy
By Kevin Siembieda with Francois DesRochers


We get a lot of talk regarding how many lakes and rivers Quebec has (a lot) and how people love skinning beavers again (a lot) and canoeing-

Rifts World Book 22: Free Quebec posted:

Trapper-Woodsman O.C.C.: Why, that's my cue!

Alien Rope Burn: Oh, crap, no.

Trapper-Woodsman O.C.C.: Sez here: "Canoes and kayaks are the favorites of Wilderness Scouts, Trapper-Woodsmen, Tundra Rangers, Psi-Stalkers, Inuit tribes and other Native Americans, as well as nomadic D-Bees." Trapper-Woodsmen?! I'm one of those!

Alien Rope Burn: That's cool. We know. We're cool, right, I can go on?

Trapper-Woodsman O.C.C.: "The more modern traveler and CS and Quebec Military may also use canoes, but often lean toward small motorboats, hydrofoils and water sleds."

Alien Rope Burn: Wait. Did it just say the military uses canoes?

Trapper-Woodsman O.C.C.: Sure did. "However, small, light watercraft, like canoes, are still the most versatile means of water travel, especially inland."

Alien Rope Burn: Some kind of mega-canoe? Glitter canoe? SAMAS canoe?

Trapper-Woodsman O.C.C.: Nope. Just canoes. Fragile canoes of the brave men of Free Quebec! Forever free!

Alien Rope Burn: Well, I think that's all we can get out of thi-

Trapper-Woodsman O.C.C.: Now, let me tell you how to murder a mega-moose!

Alien Rope Burn: A- wait, this has a mega-moose? I don't remember seeing that in my flip-through.

Trapper-Woodsman O.C.C.: I just wanted your attention... a little bit longer. Sorry. This is my last chance...

Alien Rope Burn: Well, good having you, we have to go to commercial break like right the gently caress now.

Join the Free Quebec Navy! Enjoy fighting pirates! Sea serpents! Coalition warships! And the most dangerous duty in the military - amphibious landings! You know, maybe we shouldn't be advertising that part-


Not sure what this has to do with the Navy, but feels like some oddly loaded imagery.

As aforementioned, Quebec was first amongst the Coalition States to develop a Navy (despite Chi-Town being within spitting distance of the Great Lakes). And then we get into... boxing analogies, one of Siembieda's favorite pastimes.

Rifts World Book 22: Free Quebec posted:

Consequently, they have taken to strong defense and countermeasures. They strike like a boxer who is a counterpuncher. Such a boxer peppers his opponent with jabs to frustrate and make him keep his distance. The heavy fighting comes in the form of counterpunching — a tactic in which the boxer lures his opponent in close, often after making his opponent believe he is hurt and on the ropes. It is at that moment, when the opponent strikes at last in frustration or anger, or carelessly because he believes his enemy is hurt, that the counterpuncher strikes with startling fury and power.

Staying with the boxing analogy, Free Quebec is not looking for a "knockout" win. They are simply trying to hold their own against a more powerful foe who outnumbers them by at least three to one — a real heavyweight.

Rifts World Book 22: Free Quebec posted:

Meanwhile the Quebec Military watches carefully, dancing elusively just out of range or taking only minor damage while making small tactical strikes (like the jab) and waiting for the CS to commit to an attack. When the Coalition Army does, the Quebec Military tries to avoid the full brunt of it by either slipping out of harm's way (adding to the enemy's frustration) or ambushing their opponent and dancing away. Moreover, because of the constant dancing around (i.e. hit and run attacks, crippling blows, acts of sabotage, etc.), when the Quebec Navy or Army does stand and fight, they surprise the enemy who is not expecting or prepared for a pitched battle where the Quebecois hold their ground. In any case, it is the CS who must be the aggressor while Free Quebec is able to conserve its energy and resources. The attacks that come from the Quebec Navy (and Army) are jabs, small squad attacks and acts of sabotage designed to confuse, frustrate, breakdown and divide their opponent — "to take him out of his game," which makes the enemy anxious, careless and vulnerable to counterattack or a carefully planned ambush.

"Guerilla warfare" is the set of elusive words you're looking for between boxing lessons, author. In any case, you can go back and get your copy of Rifts Sourcebook 4: Coalition Navy (you do have a copy of that most essential book, right?) and note down the CS Naval Infantryman and Nautical Commando Specialist as having Quebecois equivalents, only the latter gets more skills because the Quebec Navy is just better. In fact, it continues to rub that in again but I can't get into that, we don't have time.


LeFevre? But his nametag reads "Breaux".

The head of the Quebec Navy is First Fleet Commodore Jacques LeFevre, an ex-privateer (12th level Sailor) who was fighting pirates on behalf of Free Quebec. When his captain was killed by Storm Riders (evil sea monsters from wayyy back in Rifts World Book 7: Underseas), he took over the boat and dove his boat until a whirlpool created by a Maelstrom Maker (another sea monster, I forget which book) and rode it through while the pursuing monsters drowned. He was a super cool privateer captain after that and so Free Quebec offered him an admiralty, because that's an entry-level position, yeah? He was retired, but has unretired for the war. And because he's the first NPC in the book, let's introduce CHARMWATCH.

CHARMWATCH: LeFevre has a Mental Affinity of 22 and a Physical Beauty of 10. The text helpfully informs us he had a Physical Beauty of 14 in his youth. This has been CHARMWATCH.


It's time to cyberdive.

Lastly, we get a laundry list of what equipment they can use from Rifts Sourcebook 4: Coalition Navy, and ot helpfully informs us they don't have nukes. Yes, this means the Coalition has full-scale city-obliterating nukes and Quebec does not. You'd think this would make the war a fair deal shorter, but no. Also they don't have aircraft carriers. You'd think these would be drawbacks. But no. We also get some new goodies:
  • NS-B20 'Borg Dive Armor (290 M.D.C.): Special armor for cyborgs with an aquajet to go at 30 MPH. It has vibro-blade fins, like you do. And yes, a simple suit of cyborg armor has nearly as much armor as the...
  • Sea Dragon Power Armor (300 M.D.C.): Another SAMAS-inspired suit, but this time for underwater; it has a relatively weak flight system, lasers, mini-missiles, vibro-fins, and a electrified vibro-spear that does minor (1 Mega-Damage) shock to everything within 50 feet in addition to crappy damage against the target. Well, that's one way to atomize the wildlife.

Torpedo pecs.

Next: Free Quebec, an oxymoron.

NGDBSS
Dec 30, 2009








Where's the tweet about some Japanese person pointing out the boxing fairy in Palladium?

Barudak
May 7, 2007



Is that the three eyed fish from the Simpsons swimming there?

Wrestlepig
Feb 25, 2011

my mum says im cool



Toilet Rascal


is back, after all the clamouring. I remember the PMs, begging me for more updates. "Please Wrestlepig," they all said. "Please tell us about a roleplaying game I will never play. I picked it up in a humble bundle one time and I really want to know what a stranger thinks of it. Please put a lot of effort into making it look like you aren't putting in much effort in a cool way. I'll read it and think that it's pretty neat in between posts about samurai and rifts, and other subjects I either feel good about contributing to or actually like, you'll never be able to tell."

Well, let nobody say I'm not susceptible to peer pressure. or regular boredom anxiety.

Grandmother Aledra of Yndaros posted:

Do you remember Alberetor, the way it was before the hordes of darkness poured out from the East? I do. I remember the Bay of Beredoria, sparkling green. I remember the rich and murky gloom of the Felan Forest. And every time I close my eyes, I can summon the image of House Kohinoor’s palace in Kandoria. So mark my words – to adventurous fortune-seekers, our new homeland is more than Alberetor ever was.

Surely, I understand the allure of the forest. Davokar has it all: the mystique, the excitement, layers upon layers of ancient secrets. There's wealth and riches to be salvaged, if not in the form of precious metals and artifacts, then in the form of valuable treasures of nature. Yet, to he who keeps an open mind our Queen’s promised land has a lot more than that to offer. The rigid structures of Alberetor are shattered. Power, wealth and influence no longer have to be inherited or presented as gifts from the ones already in power. Ambria is full of conflict, problems and tension, merely waiting for the involvement of ambitious people. Therefore, I say it again: Davokar may be alluring, but in Ambria there are countless ways to reach the same goal, whether you seek wealth, knowledge or fame!

GM SECTION: THEIR RULES

The gm section is probably the most telling part of Symbaroum's quality. It's a mixture of neat modern ideas and 90s rear end design that gently caress everything up, with a permutation of ideas from everywhere. I'll condense a lot of it down since there's actually very few GM-focused rules.

They establish some principles that the developers think are key to good GMing. Most of them are fairly standard to modern games such as Say Yes as much as you can, some are restatements of what a gm's role like Prepare Challenges or Describe the World, but the most interesting is the last one. It says to 'Leave Evil Unexplained' and is key to hitting the desired themes.

quote:

The darkness lurking at the roots of Davokar is beyond human. Maybe the darkness hates all things living; maybe the darkness feeds off the life force of others; or maybe it simply regards all living beings as playthings. The allies of evil, its servants, those who transform into blight beasts and hunger for life can be described, and sometimes explained, but the source of the darkness is nigh unexplainable.

As was mentioned by a commenter a while ago, this game has a dark-souls feel of mystery at it's peak. In my campaign, we've been to haunted cities stuck in liminal spaces, with a vortex of ghosts calmed into dance by an eternally singing elf, had a character nearly get dragged into the dirt of hell by burrowed hands, desperately sworn to serve forces we barely understand, and echoed a god's dying moments. Very few ttrpgs can manage a strong sense of mystery like that, but if you can with Symbaroum, the setting works unbelivably well. There isn't really any mechanical enforcement, and there's a Loremaster Ability that counteracts it a bit, but the developers have been pretty good about avoiding Timelines and 60% Lore stuff taking up the book like the 90s stuff that plagues the System Mastery Podcast, so it'll happen fairly naturally if the gm keeps that principle in mind.


very easy to have mysteries if everybody wears masks all the time

After the principles we get into the GM rules, which there are very few. All tests are d20 roll under, with a modifier to the roll based on the difficulty, ranging from +5 for easy stuff to +5 for very hard, or [relevant Enemy Stat -10]. The GM only rolls for rare abilities that don't have a modifier, in almost all cases the players will make a defensive roll. Enemy Damage and Armor roll for enemies is averaged out, and modified by the player's armor or damage. It's an elegant system that should be familiar to most players, and the odds are pretty clear. No complaints for me, it's not the part that fucks up everything.

There's a breakdown of a few different subsystems that should really be under the player-facing stuff. A lot of it is explaining super basic concepts like game time, not worth detailing. They talk about the game's Corruption and Shadow system, which is a combination of Mana, Alignment and SAN. Every living creature has an invisible aura of colors that vary based on their worldview, focused on the Nature vs Civilisation conflict underlying the game. Nature tends to be white, red and green, while civilisation tends to be metallic. However, Power Corrupts, especially mystics who warp the world by their will, and it has a way of reacting. The world itself is damaged enough that all magic carries this threat now. Corruption is cut into 2 forms: Temporary and Permanent Corruption. Temporary Corruption happens whenever you cast a spell or are exposed to something seriously tainted. Permanent Corruption happens whenever you learn a spell, are exposed to extreme amounts of corruption or reach your Corruption threshold (Half your Resolute value). If you've got points of corruption under your threshold, it can be detected in your Shadow by abilities such as Witchsight or theurgy rituals. Once you go over your threshold, it starts to manifest as a Blight-Mark, an unpleasant mutation like a thirst for raw flesh, some monsterism or your eyesight fading to be replaced by other enhanced senses. Once you reach your Resolute, you character turns into an Abomination. Fortunately the mystic Traditions cut back on corruption a lot with some investment, and some artefacts and rituals can heal permanent corruption. It's a decent system but it's pretty easy to avoid, especially with later options like the Strong Gift power, and temporary corruption goes away at the end of a scene so it really doesn't matter outside of combat.


now ya hosed up

There's also rules for artifacts, which are very important for a game about treasure hunting. To properly make use of an artifact, you need to bind yourself to it with a point of experience or permanent corruption. You can also find out what it does before you do that with Witchsight or Loremaster rolls, which is probably a good idea considering where you'll find most of these things. They tend to have powerful abilities, although there's only a couple listed in the book. The first is Water of the Dusk, which is blessed by Prios to have a lot of incredibly useful anti-corruption and healing powers. It can cure permanent corruption, buff theurgy or blow up corrupt beings for huge amounts of damage. The other is a Serpent-Staff that once belonged to a Staff Mage friend of Mayor Nightpitch of Thistlehold, and can it can bite and wrap around people. The Advanced Players Guide creates Lesser Artifacts that have less effects in exchange for less to deal with. It's also worth mentioning they're all worth a shitton of money, and if you get some major artifacts you don't need, you can make bank.


Actually making artifacts was a troll secret once symbaroum fell. They later taught the elves and had their secrets either stolen or traded to the humans. typical really

Next Time: Monsters and Symbaroum's biggest mistep

Wrestlepig fucked around with this message at 07:45 on Feb 17, 2019

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017





Barudak posted:

Is that the three eyed fish from the Simpsons swimming there?

Yeah. Perez likes to have fun.

Barudak
May 7, 2007



For the record I like Symbaroum and do not own it from a humble bundle. Please continue your review so I can live extremely vicariously through it.

I also am feeling the pressure and am going to make good on my promise to Shades of Eternity to review their product I just a) hope they don't hate me and b) I continue to grossly underestimate how brutal moving to another country is.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


NGDBSS posted:

Where's the tweet about some Japanese person pointing out the boxing fairy in Palladium?

https://twitter.com/hayakawa74/status/1083520013573677056

More relevantly, here's Kris Newton coining the term "Boxing Fairy" on his short podcast.

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-z9u4q-8ef867

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




SirPhoebos posted:

One of CP2020’s selling points was the art and in setting quotes did a lot to convey the setting. The quotes were colorful, but they never went so overboard with in-setting slang that you couldn't follow what was happening. The art and quote on the cover let you know right away what this game is about. This was the RPG for playing William Gibson’s Neuromancer. But it was also the game to play Escape From New York. And Blade Runner, Robocop, The Warriors, The Running Man, etc. Or just anything from Canon Films. Also all their Italian knockoffs. Basically if you can name a 80’s movie set in the Dystopian Future, CP2020 tried to make room for it.
I don't know if I've gone on about it in this particular thread, but I loving love Italian exploitation films. They were loving wild in the 80s, because they constantly took whatever had been trendy in American films over the past few years and mashed it all together, so over the course of a decade you got films that ripped off The Warriors, Mad Max ,Escape from New York, and The Terminator, simultaneously.

My favourite Media is Moon Grey from Bronx Warriors 2: Escape from the Bronx.

The Sprawl is not the best-designed PbtA game, but the PbtA framework gives you a much better framework to play these kinds of characters than a more traditional game where the party is presumed to usually be in the same room and gameplay is zoomed in to the level of a dungeoncrawl. It goes without saying that games in CP2020's era didn't really handle more narrative and situational bonuses like the Media's, Rockerboy's, and Nomad's as opposed to a straight bonus to Initiative.

Young Freud posted:

I think you're underestimating the influence of the Media and the Rocker in relation to cyberpunk as a whole. It's not a big thing in cyberpunk film, but there's a reason why "cyberpunk" has that "punk" suffix: a lot of cyberpunk authors were fascinated with mass media and music and wrote heavily about characters, such as K.W. Jeter's "Dr. Adder", Bruce Sterling's "Islands Of The Net", Gibson's "Idoru", Norman Spinrad's "Little Heroes", John Shirley's Eclipse series.
Outside of manga and anime, Japan has a tradition of cyberpunk film that grew out of the DIY punk rock scene. Burst City and Ishii's work is the first stuff to come to mind, but Tetsuo: The Iron Man is also part of that tradition. Granted, these films are mostly ultra-low-budget, black-and-white, less-than-feature-length films that probably weren't available even to a real head like Mike Pondsmith. They had a lot of influence on the more recent Japanese splatterpunk films; y'know, the stuff that became a sort of gut-check for college-age people after Ichi the Killer got noticed.

These films were heavily inspired by Cronenberg and post-apoc films, so they're much more preoccupied with dystopia and body horror than with virtual reality and the nature of consciousness.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Halloween Jack posted:

I don't know if I've gone on about it in this particular thread, but I loving love Italian exploitation films. They were loving wild in the 80s, because they constantly took whatever had been trendy in American films over the past few years and mashed it all together, so over the course of a decade you got films that ripped off The Warriors, Mad Max ,Escape from New York, and The Terminator, simultaneously.

The best one, IMO, featuring all of those take-offs, being 2019: After The Fall Of New York. There's even a rip-off of Children Of Men, which is amazing since it predates that movie by more than twenty years. Also, that movie has a literal Car Wars-style Autoduel to introduce the main character.

They also loved mash-ups. Atomic Cyborg a.k.a. Hands Of Steel has a fight that can be described as the Terminator fights Pris from Blade Runner.

Halloween Jack posted:

My favourite Media is Moon Grey from Bronx Warriors 2: Escape from the Bronx.

And like it's been discussed, she buys the farm half-way through the movie when the Governor of New York tells the police that she has a gun to prevent her from speaking to the CEO bad guy.

Halloween Jack posted:

Outside of manga and anime, Japan has a tradition of cyberpunk film that grew out of the DIY punk rock scene. Burst City and Ishii's work is the first stuff to come to mind, but Tetsuo: The Iron Man is also part of that tradition. Granted, these films are mostly ultra-low-budget, black-and-white, less-than-feature-length films that probably weren't available even to a real head like Mike Pondsmith. They had a lot of influence on the more recent Japanese splatterpunk films; y'know, the stuff that became a sort of gut-check for college-age people after Ichi the Killer got noticed.

Oh yeah, I got turned onto Burst City a few years ago. It's like the inspiration for stuff like Tetsuo (the "metal maniac" is the name of one of the characters, the "father" biker) but also, and you can tell from the first taiko drum beats of the soundtrack, Akira.

Halloween Jack posted:

These films were heavily inspired by Cronenberg and post-apoc films, so they're much more preoccupied with dystopia and body horror than with virtual reality and the nature of consciousness.

Yeah, and you can see it in a lot of their manga and anime, especially the more underground stuff that didn't get play here. There's a reason why there's a subset of cyberpunk specifically subtitled "Japanese Cyberpunk" because it came from the same branch as Neuromancer and Blade Runner, but diverged greatly. Stuff like Yasushi Nirasawa's "Phantom Core", which inspired Tsutomu Nihei's BLAME! and Biomega or in games like The Screamer (which gave us the line "Dehumanize yourself and face the bloodshed" and literally ends with the player character turning into a giant mutant monster and doing just that). Bubblegum Crisis is more sentai show, but A.D. Police Files, especially the Tony Takezaki manga and the OVAs, definitely fits that mold.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




Young Freud posted:

The best one, IMO, featuring all of those take-offs, being 2019: After The Fall Of New York.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts World Book 22, Part 10: "He is somewhat knowledgeable of an obelisk in the northern tundra, but clueless as to its purpose or origin."

Free Quebec
By Francois DesRochers & Kevin Siembieda


A lot of reiteration starts out this section - Free Quebec is fiercely independent and that led to their breakup with the Coalition States. Oh, I thought they were going to be sweethearts forever!


"Our city was built on the cutting edge of dildonics."

One big difference between Free Quebec and other Coalition States is that Quebec has a much stronger public education system as well as public literacy. However, it also has a strong sense of nationalism and a powerful propaganda engine. Despite its apparent openness, it's a rigid society driven by its fear of The Other, and is relatively isolationist. While they're slightly less advanced than Chi-Town, they do have a "information superhighway". Though mostly used by education and business, there has been a new breed of- their words- "cyber-punk" jacking in to the web, man. They've had to develop new cops to police the "cyber-systems".

welcome to the '90s now the internet exists in the future


They're infected the hyperbase! Engage the icetray before they gleam the cube!

Speaking of a different sort of cyber, non-combat cybernetics are common, and "40%" of the population has them (mostly ex-military sorts). Retired cyborgs are downgraded to civilian standards. Most people don't see cybernetics as anything too special, save for radical human purists who think it violates human "sanctity". Juicer technology is only available to civilians by special waiver, generally for those with work that takes them outside Quebec proper (like mercenaries). However, the need to keep Juicer facilities open for the Liberty Reserve left a good deal of illegal Juicer operations cropping up. Rogue Juicers are looked upon dimly; it's generally seen by most civilians as the province of the military.


Watch your step, spider-skull.

We then get some details on Quebecois Worldview & Diplomatic Relations:
    Coalition States: They see Chi-Town as a rival, Iron Heart as largely irrelevant, and don't think anything much of the other Coalition States. Iron Heart has generally convinced its citizens that the Free Quebec government is out of control, defying the people's will, and deserves to be dethroned.
  • Ishpeming (Northern Gun) & Manistique Imperium: Though they used to casually trade with Free Quebec, the war has cut off trade as the former two nations are allies of Chi-Town. Nonetheless, Northern Gun is making a decent profit supplying mercenaries and independent operators on either side of the conflict.
  • Inuit Nations, Iroquois League, and Longhouse Preserve: Quebec and indigenous peoples have a live-and-let-live policy; generally, Native Americans see Chi-Town as the worse of the two evils, though they see both as essentially evil.
  • Lazlo: Free Quebec is confused by Lazlo's general nonaggression and is convinced at some point they'll be revealed as a den of evil, despite it not happening for decades. But as long as Lazlo doesn't trouble them, they aren't inclined to seek conflict with it.
  • New German Republic (NGR) & Triax: Though they're allies, the NGR is only providing nonmilitary trade as to not trouble the rest of the Coalition States. Still, cultural trade is happening and apparently the two countries have a strong feeling of camaraderie.
  • Atlantis: Despite being involved in capturing Atlantean spies and revealing quite a few things about Atlantis in Rifts Sourcebook 4: Coalition Navy, Quebec has gone back to being perplexed by the slavers to the East because the authors apparently forgot about that. With their newly regained ignorance, they don't interact much with Atlantis, aside from the occasional skirmish. They've tried sending spies to Atlantis, but none have returned.
  • Xiticix: Free Quebec doesn't see them as a major threat, figuring they'll trouble the other Coalition States long before they have to worry about them.

"I want you for glam fascism!"

The Prime Minister for the last 15 years has been James Lorne, a generically charismatic Quebecois nationalist. Though he comes across as idealistic populist who deals out hardball rhetoric, but behind the scenes he's deeply ruthless, willing to make sure he has no rivals, and is inclined to engage in morally questionable skullduggery against the Coalition States. He's also a human supremacist zealot, in case you were wondering if he wasn't just a figurative Nazi. Though Chi-Town has attempted to assassinate him, he's a secret badass and has foiled every attempt.

CHARMWATCH: Lorne has a essentially superhuman Mental Affinity of 26 and a Physical Beauty of 15. The former is only possible if his class gives a bonus to M.A., which exceedingly few do. however, we don't exactly know his class; he's listed as a "10th level Scholar/Politician/Leader". None of which are classes. if they mean Rogue Scholar or a Coalition Officer, neither of those get an M.A. bonus. This has been CHARMWATCH.

We get sparse details on the The National Assembly, which is a group of Ministers that basically serve as the Prime Minister's cabinet. It's not clear of they're elected or appointed or what, so don't get too curious. They get a variety of names and duties, but none are too important. We do have the Minister of Defense and Five-Star General Patrick O'Neill, who somehow maintains a Scrupulous alignment despite leading a military that'll shoot D-Bee babies right out of their mother's arms. Similarly puzzling is Prince Gerard Dupuis, the official representative from the "Kingdom of the Saguenay and son of King Robert Depuis", which - huh? Okay, I guess that's an undetailed thing.

CHARMWATCH: The Mental Affinities of The National Assembly: 18, 21, 22, 18, undetailed "average", 17, "average", "average", "average", 19, 15. Average attribute amongst the assembly borders into exceptional: about 16. This has been CHARMWATCH.


You can't just light a mega-cigarette normally.

The C.F.Q.C., "Radio Free Quebec", is the national radio station and "voice of the public". Though it preached for independence from the Coalition States, it was subtly encouraged and allowed by Lorne and the government to speak its message.... much to the chagrin of their would-be Coalition allies. They're a willing propaganda shill that's corruptly intertwined with the government, but still think of themselves as independent. But that could never happen, could it? I can't think of any real-life analogues that this predicted. Their primary radio personality and owner is Sylvain Richard, who was all too happy to sell out to the government for his own gain. He's on Chi-Town's most wanted list for encouraging secession and anti-Chi-Town rhetoric, for what it's worth. But most Quebecois see him as a straight-talking hero. Oh, and he's a anti-D-Bee racist, isolationist, and self-important egotist. The Public Relations Officer for the government is Julie Tremblay, who was planted to look out for subversives by Lorne, but nowadays has her own popular talk show. She's also wanted by the Coalition States and has had failed attempts on her life that only boosted her popularity. She's generally seen as the voice of patriotism, and is one of the few that can influence Sylvain. She actually wishes she could help in the military cause, as she was apparently in the top 5% of her infantry class, but Military High Command has refused her because they think she's more suited to the airwaves.

Rifts World Book 22: Free Quebec posted:

Sylvain is smitten by Julie but he is a married man and there is no hankypanky going on between them. Personally, Julie finds Sylvain too full of himself to be attracted to him.

I feel like there was a Siembieda edit there of some sort; I'm not sure "hankypanky" would be in anybody else's vocabulary.

CHARMWATCH: Both Sylvain and Tremblay have a Mental Affinity of 24, the maximum possible M.A. without a class bonus. This has been CHARMWATCH.


The Charmin Juicer O.C.C. seems to have been cut from the final draft of this book.

Next we have the les Soldats de St. Jean, aka the Soldiers of St. John, who are a radical nationalist group (yes, even more radical than the folks in charge of Quebec, which says something). This mainly translates to either calling for a purge of all nonhumans from Quebecois land, for the more moderate members. More dedicated "patriots" actively hunt down D-Bees and sorcerers or kill them in vigilante mobs. (Cue plasma torches and vibro-pitchforks.) They also will lash out at anybody they see as being a "D-Bee lover", and sometimes just use that as a mask for outright criminal violence against those awful tolerant people. They have some surplus military equipment as well, so don't worry about them being able to mega-damage you. They can do that. Though some allow psi-stalkers in their ranks, others consider the mutants just as worthy of purging.

Nice guys.

Mind, this is actually that far from the official line. A decade ago, a group of sorcerers too extreme for the Federation of Magic sought to see if they could conquer Quebec were discovered, and that led to the Northern Dynamo Campaign, which defeated them and led to a new revival of anti-D-Bee sentiment. The main difference between the Coalition States and Free Quebec is that Quebec's more isolationist policies (as opposed to Chi-Town's expansion) means they often ignore D-Bee communities around them... but are perfectly willing to exterminate them when convenient. Naturally, many local D-Bee communities loathe humans as a result.

As for les Soldats de St. Jean, they were founded by the mysterious "Franko", who is a hardline secessionist (really, who isn't so far...?) who often relies on his followers to pass on his speeches and messages second-hand, or disguises himself before speeches. He's convinced D-Bees will gather together as a threat during the distraction of the war, and is trying to build militias on the fringe of Quebec to wipe them out. The government wants to stop him. This isn't because they're too concerned about murdering D-Bees, but because he's arming citizens and spreading troublesome conspiracy theories. While he is the founder, he actually only runs the most extreme elements of the group. Though referred to as a "lunatic" and "mild schizophrenic", I'm having a hard time seeing him as any more scummy than the "kill 'em all" attitude of Quebec itself. We also get details on "Colonel" Robert Miller, who leads border militias who try and drive D-Bees out of the country or keep them from arriving. He's not as bloodthirsty, preferring to try and "rehabilitate" psychics and D-Bee sympathizers, though he views romantic relationships between humans and D-Bees extremely dimly. Though he knows Franko, he considers him a dangerous lunatic - not that he'll turn him into the authorities. His group has been raiding Coalition forces for equipment and have captured two Spider-Skull Walkers because the Coalition States have been loving napping this whole book, I swear.

Also, some loving reason Miller - despite being a "merciful" racist nationalist who seeks to purge all nonhumans from the country, believes in tolerance conversion therapy, and gives a genocidal lunatic a pass - is considered "Scrupulous (albeit a bit deluded)". gently caress off on that, Palladium. Seriously. There is no loving way a xenophobic, paramilitary nationalist gets to be the Palladium equivalent of Neutral Good.

*deep breath*

CHARMWATCH: Both Franko and Miller have Mental Affinities of 21. This has been CHARMWATCH.

Next: Oh yeah, I'd like to do it again.

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 04:02 on Feb 18, 2019

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

Horned Rat-Sempai Noticed Me!


Halloween Jack posted:

My favourite Media is Moon Grey from Bronx Warriors 2: Escape from the Bronx.

Young Freud posted:

And like it's been discussed, she buys the farm half-way through the movie when the Governor of New York tells the police that she has a gun to prevent her from speaking to the CEO bad guy.

And who could forget the stirring symbolism of "LEAVE THE BRONX!"

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



SirPhoebos posted:

And who could forget the stirring symbolism of "LEAVE THE BRONX!"

I really want to do a Photoshop of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez over Trash's face on the movie posters for either film, but I feel she and others would take that as an insult.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




You're underestimating Left Twitter's appetite for shenanigans.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Alien Rope Burn posted:



Dawwww- AAAAAAA-


Meet the beetles.

The right of the Xiticix to hunt humans is a valued part of the Hive's heritage and shall be forever preserved for the public good.

And now for something slightly different.


Nobody knows a future scourge upon the Earth like Mom does.

"Wait, why don't we all get six arms?"


Dai pinchi!


I like the Xiticix designs as those old-timey-snow-goggle slits make them stand out from all the other Space Bugs, but their fluff is just...

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Cults: Scrappers, pt. 3



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults


SCRAPPERS

All Around The World

And that's how we get into talking about the scrapping according to regions. This paragraph is the last on the page and the whole region talk starts on the next page. You have to turn the page to get to it.

So while the book is beautiful in general, the arrangement of information could use some work.

Borca

Western Borca is so rich in scrap, it has birthed an army of Scrappers. And it's the place where Scrapper cartel (no, the “c” is not capitalized) was born.

quote:

At least with a wry smile Bosch, its leader, calls it a community. He is an irascible dwarf trying to leash the Black Lung’s Scrappers in order to extort higher prices from the Chroniclers. His bullies monitor the ruins and sell search licenses while his appraisers offer their services to laden Scrappers in front of the exchange offices – by force, if necessary. But his network has holes, and many Scrappers manage to bypass the cartel. The organization is growing, though.

Things are a little different on eastern Borca. Beyond Reaper's Blow, there's a lot more greenery and a lot more spots that have been avoided by superstitious natives. However, there aren't many ways to offload your stuff. Unless you want to pay Hellvetics for passage to civilized Borca, you won't find many Chronicler outposts nearby... except for the renegades at the Needles, who will purchase your scrap gladly. Chroniclers have ways of finding out which Scrappers deal with traitors and banning them from their outposts. How do they do it?

Oh, and you can deal with Osman, too!

Franka

Franka is already cleaned out by Africans. The only stuff you can find is in sealed, collapsing basements. There's little demand here, as Clans can manufacture what they need, and the only Chronicler Cluster is in Aquitaine. Most finds are used as jewelry while artifacts are exported to Borca.


I'm team "Break Up The Monotony Of Walls Of Text With Images"

Pollen

Apparently, a falling chunk of Pandora flattened most of the land, leaving most of the stuff in Northeast buried. I dunno if that matters when Pollen is the land of cities popping out of the ground and disappearing under the surface in massive tectonic upheavals. Also, you know, urban spiders.

There's not enough stuff here for Scrappers to develop a culture like in Borca, so the few that live in Pollen cling to settlements. In Wroclaw, they organize building supplies and fix Africans' buggies and Surge Tanks (didn't know Africans were so trusting of Euros!). Danzig (the freezing city at the edge of the glaciers) needs petrol – sorry, Petro – more than it does bits and bobbins, but mechanists can find some work there, too.

And, of course, Scrappers from all over Europe are flocking to Praha to loot whatever the savages haven't.

Balkhan

Hey, remember how the chapter started off by describing proto-Scrappers as looters and technologists that helped their societies survive the immediate aftermath of Eschaton?

quote:

For a long time, the Balkhani left the ruins to nature’s growth unchecked. Other things seemed more important.

Yeah, apparently the people of Balkhan managed to OK without all that technological crap. Once they got interested in that stuff, Voivodes were already showing interest in looting Bygone relics to strengthen themselves. Which means that you need to get their greenlight before going looting.

Hybrispania

Remember Warpage? Apparently, you can find entire preserved Bygone buildings phasing in and out. I bet the rules for looting them will be in some future Hybrispanian expansion!

Purgare

Purgare got looted by Africans “in a time when they didn’t have to fear the Psychokinetics,” which was what, three days after the Eschaton? Anyways, Tripoli still sells ever cheaper licenses for looters, as there little to be found. Many local scrappers are heading for Praha. The few who survived in the dangerous western part are stalkers, well geared up and skilled.

Africa

quote:

Legends say the African hinterland had almost no ancient technology. Africa came closest to the European civilizations technologically in the coastal cities – but these were torn into the Mediterranean by the flood. African Scrappers are travelers, and usually their travels lead North.

If you want to go looting in Africa, go south and look for intact UAO fortresses. They are, of course, guarded by spooky scary Bygone robots.

Next time: I'm a career hobo, dontyaknow?

Barudak
May 7, 2007



Hell yeah im ready to scra- all these descriptions seem to imply theres no actual good scrapping to be done.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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Emerald Empire: Shrine Time

Shrines are the site of many major life rituals. Weddings are a big one, for example. Wedding ceremonies vary wildly by region based on local custom, clan tradition and the nature of the enshrined spirit, who is of course always in attendance at the wedding. However, there is a common foundation. For samurai, the shrine often plays a major role in the matchmaking process, as shrines keep all records of births and corresponding star maps. These are vital for the nakodo matchmakers, who use constellations and birth dates in their calculation of appropriate matches. Marriages must always be reported to and approved by a clan or Imperial nakodo, a task that shrines generally perform for people. Peasant weddings are typically led by the priest, but samurai weddings are almost universally overseen by a shugenja. The couple is usually bathed and purified with salt as part of the ceremony before putting on the traditional wedding outfits. The spirit is released to join the ceremony, and the priest or shugenja will lead the oaths of commitment. There are three oaths, exchanged with three shared cups of blessed sake. The pair then approach the altar, make their marital vows and show gratitude to the spirit and leave it offerings.

At the start of a wedding ceremony, the one who is leaving their family for that of their betrothed wears white, to symbolize the “death” of their former family. As the ceremony continues, they remove this outer layer to reveal red beneath, to symbolize rebirth. This layer is shed as well, revealing the colors and mon of the family they are now joining. For peasants, these clothes are supplied by the shrine and will likely be the best clothing they will ever wear. After the ceremony, a banquet is then held in the couple’s honor. Unlike the wedding ceremony, guests may attend the banquet, and speeches, artistic performances, poetry and games are common.

Each Great Clan has its own take on the wedding ceremony, and most priests keep track of how these versions differ to avoid giving offense to anyone involved in a wedding. The Dragon rarely use shrines or temples for their weddings, instead preferring awe-inspiringly beautiful natural settings. Phoenix weddings are typically held in Fortunist shrines, usually those devoted to Hotei (as it is believed that a content marriage is more important than a romantic one). It is considered disgraceful to laugh or show levity during the ceremony itself, but Phoenix banquets after are prone to spectacular displays of joy. Scorpion weddings are always overseen by a Soshi shugenja, as those overseen by the Yogo are held to be very unlucky. Exchanging masks is a traditional part of their ceremony, and by traditional, Scorpion wedding banquets are open to all, even peasants, although the classes still don’t mingle at them. The various Minor Clans also have their own traditions. Dragonfly marriages are never arranged, ever. Sparrow weddings are held in the home, as there are no shrines big enough in Sparrow lands. Centipede weddings are always held at sunrise. Mantis weddings are universally performed on water, whether at sea on a ship or on a raft in a river, and are often officiated by a ship captain rather than a priest or shugenja.

Funerals are also important, as death is, in Fortunist tradition, one of the greatest spiritual stains. Death clings, making things unclean. Shinseist tradition disagrees, encouraging contemplation of death. Thus, funerals are typically overseen by monks, not priests, and are held in temples, not shrines. Never shrines. Fortunist funeral tradition is practically nonexistent, and last rites are almost entirely done per the Tao of Shinsei. This protects the shrines from the residual influence of death and the displeasure of the associated kami of the shrine. Shrines are to be places of life, not death. However, Fortunism still has an important role in the funeral due to the priests of Emma-O. Sects in service to the Fortune of Death travel the lands exclusively to ensure the souls of the dead can make their way to Emma-O’s judgment.

Every Great Clan has a sect of Emma-O’s priests in their lands, and so do some Minor Clans. While all serve Emma-O, they typically honor local customs and traditions as well. They rarely staff shrines, preferring to travel and carry their sacred objects with them. Rokugani do not typically worship Emma-O, instead directing their prayers to Jizo, the Fortune of Mercy, and so the priests play the important role of honoring him so that no one else need attract the Fortune of Death’s attention. Shugenja in service to Emma-O are exceptionally rare, and are identified early on by signs of his blessing, such as jagged birthmarks. They wear white robes and ceremonial shoulder guards, called sode, and they train to commune with Emma-O and interpret his (rare, often cryptic) replies – or even to call on his terrifying favor. The greatest power is their ability to sway Emma-O on the appropriate destination of a dead soul. As the monks of a temple perform a funeral, a shugenja of Emma-O will sit in silent witness, dressed as the Fortune to remind all of his presence. Only once all guests depart after the rites will the shugenja step forward and invoke the Great Judge, performing a ceremonial trial in which they argue on behalf of the deceased, recalling their deeds and asking for a lighter ‘sentence’ from the Fortune of Death, such as a briefer stay in Meido or even delivery unto Yomi.

While the priests and shugenja of Emma-O are universally respected, they are never close to people. The people of Rokugan avoid them, due to the nature of their duties. The unclean influence of death is always on them, and while they are honored and given gifts for what they do, they are also quickly shooed away after a funeral, and their presence in any other circumstance is considered very unlucky. Peasants avoid them, the superstitious fear them, and only the most foolish or desperate seek them out for aid. They are lonely, but they must exist, to perform the duties no one else can or will.

We only get one special clan funereal tradition: the Lion battlefield funeral. After a battle, hinin will gather and cremate the dead samurai, after which their ashes and belongings will be returned to their families. Most clans then hold a typical funeral for them. The Lion do not. To die in battle, after all, is the greatest goal of any Lion samurai, anointing the land with their blood and mixing their ashes with the soil. In Lion tradition, battlefield funerals are overseen by priests of Emma-O, using a ceremony kept closely guarded by the Kitsu shugenja of Emma-O. In the absence of their family, the shugenja summon the ancestors of the dead instead, to judge the departed soul. If the ancestors judge the dead worthy, they will accompany their spirit to Emma-O and argue on their behalf directly. The Lion do not comment on what happens to those fallen who are found unworthy.

Next time: Festive Times

Ronwayne
Nov 20, 2007

That warm and fuzzy feeling.


So...what do the Lion do, actually? Crab is the main one fighting the actual gribblies. Rokugan doesn't appear to get physically invaded that often, if ever. It seems the main purpose of the Lion is to kill other Rokuganese.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Ronwayne posted:

So...what do the Lion do, actually? Crab is the main one fighting the actual gribblies. Rokugan doesn't appear to get physically invaded that often, if ever. It seems the main purpose of the Lion is to kill other Rokuganese.

Essentially? They're cops. They make up a huge proportion of the Imperial Legions, and even when they're not, the Emperor often turns to them to be his political enforcers. They start poo poo on their own essentially only when they become desperate - the rest of the time, they are serving as the enforcers of the Imperial Will, getting involved in poo poo to make what the Emperor doesn't like stop happening.

Exception: fighting the Crane. The Lion and Crane antagonize each other constantly.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Emerald Empire: Feeling Festive

Shrines run the many annual festivals of Rokugan, both the national ones and the hundreds of unique local ones in each province. Even the most remote village will have a unique festival celebrating something important locally. Some of these festivals predate the Empire itself, while others are more recent inventions. They mark the changing of the seasons and memorialize important local historical events, and they are often held in honor of the Fortunes, major local ancestors or other spirits. While all festivals have unique customs, most are done similarly. The priest or local shugenja will perform a ritual purification of the shrine and the path the spirit of the shrine is expected to travel. Shugenja will also perform grueling and painful purificiation rites, such as putting their hands in boiling water or standing on hot coals. Then the spirit of the festival is called on, told why they’re being invoked and invited to enter the shrine’s shintai. Once the shintai is confirmed to be inhabited, it is put in a portable container and paraded through the village or city, where the locals greet it according to local custom and perform for its entertainment.

All festivals have different entertainments for the spirits, often using No theater, dragon dances or fireworks displays. Benten is said to love kabuki, while Bishamon enjoys sumai and Hachiman likes battle reenactments. The locals often enjoy these displays, but they are primarily performed for the spirit, not the locals. The spirits enjoy seeing mortals frolic and enjoy themselves, however, so the entire village will join in the revels, eating unique festival foods and playing special games. With the spirit in attendance, the shrine may also offer special services otherwise not possible without special timing, such as fortune telling, treatment of spiritual conditions or granting of spiritual consultation. At the end of the festival, a great banquet is usually held in the spirit’s honor, a communal meal shared by all. Blessed sake is often used, as are foods that are normally forbidden. The Festival of Hida, for example, is the only time when Crab samurai may eat crab flesh.

Once the banquet ends and the spirit is (presumably) in a good mood, the shugenja and priests will petition it for favor for the year – stuff like good harvests, protection from plague and so on, along with a long life for the Emperor. Then, the final ceremonies are performed and the spirit is sent home, wherever that may be for them. Regional or minor festivals may break from this traditional pattern, as may those of unusual origin. The Festival of the Moon’s Wrath, celebrated in the first week of Winter Court, offers no pleas to Onnotangu, the spirit which it honors, nor any performances or shows of joy. Instead, businesses will close, and courtiers will not speak or sing for a full cycle of night and day, silencing the land in honor of Lord Moon. Any who break the silence risk the wrath of the potent kami. This is not the only somber festival, even if most are joyous occasions.

The Bon Festival is held on the final day of the Month of the Dog, to honor the dead and appease any wandering ghosts. It is the greatest of all ancestral festivals, celebrated across Rokugan and used to recall the greatest deeds of the ancestors. On this day, Yomi and Ningen-do are united, to allow the blessed ancestors to visit and join the festivities. Families will leave offerings for the dead, and often a regional dance known as the bon odori is performed in their honor. At the end of the festival, attendees will release floating paper lanterns into rivers and streams, each containing the name of someone that died in the past year. It is done in the hopes that the lanterns will reach the sea, so that those souls that cannot cross the Bridge of Lights might follow them to the next world instead.

The Cherry Blossom Festival is one of the most popular, marking the beginning of the flower-viewing season known as hanami. Local traditions surrounding it may vary, as does the day on which it is held. The festival honors Kan’o and Nagameru, the twin Fortunes of sakura trees. Nagameru is given special care, as this kami is fickle and known to ruin the event with storms if unhappy. While Nagameru’s name means ‘to gaze upon,’ it is a homonym for ‘it rains a long time,’ see. One of the main activities of this festival is the viewing of cherry blossoms, often with picnics under the trees. Attendees will often leave sake and poetic offerings to the oldest trees, especially those believed to be home to kodama spirits. Priests will use the festival to divine the proper dates for upcoming plantings by scattering cherry blossoms, and flower viewings often last well into the night.

Shouting Day is a festival held on the fourth day of the Month of the Tiger, honoring Osano-wo, Fortune of Fire and Thunder. However, rather than pleas or entertainments, participants stand upon a stage and shout complaints at the top of their lungs. Any complaint is allowed, no matter how scandalous, and it is socially expected that anything, once said, will be immediately forgotten. Peasants use the day to gripe about lords, farmers and fishers about poor weather and bad harvests, married people about their spouses, children about parents, and so on. Sometimes, the devout may even complain about the Fortunes. The litany of complaints amuses Osano-wo and gives everyone an outlet for the past year’s worth of stress. Most nobles do not attend or observe Shouting Day, as it is considered beneath the dignity of a samurai. However, some Minor Clans do take part, and it is not unknown for samurai to disguise themselves as commoners in order to take part.

Local festivals can be quite variable, as well. Crossroads Village holds a yearly Barefoot Festival in honor of Koshin, Fortune of Roads. Coastal villages often celebrate the Suijin Festival to honor the Fortune of the Sea. Friendly Traveler Village is famous for its yearly sake festival. The Great Clans also hold their own unique festivals, often to honor major ancestors or important historic events. The Festival of Hida is celebrated by the Crab alone, on the third day of the Month of the Boar. In addition to allowing its samurai the aforementioned crab meat, the clan also honors its founder with the biggest competition of bragging in the entire Empire.

Next time: Notable shrines.

Loxbourne
Apr 6, 2011

Tomorrow, doom!
But now, tea.


"YOU, crack team of honourabu samurai! You will DON these disguises, WEAR these masks, and accompany your MOST NOBLE lord to the obscure village of West Bumphuc, WHERE YOU WILL KEEP A STRAIGHT FACE as His Lordship dons his own mask and COMPLAINS, MOANS, WHINES, BITCHES and downright CARRIES ON CRANKY about all the poo poo he has to put up with ruling this land!

As is his right and privilege to do so. As his ancestors have done for ten generations before him.

Afterwards, you saw NOTHING."

mllaneza
Apr 28, 2007


Veteran, Bermuda Triangle Expeditionary Force, 1993-1952





SirPhoebos posted:

The reason I think the Rockerboy fits with what CP2020 wants to do (as opposed to actually achieve with the rules) while the Media really doesn't is that while his or her tools are more indirect, at the end of the day the Rockerboy is still aiming to give Mr. CEO an extreme defenestration. In contrast, the Media has the same mindset that says the Mueller Investigation is going to bring down Trump any day now.

I should do a 2020/2020 counter whenever I allude to how things actually turned out. I guess that's 1.

Ironically, Interface folded when the publisher lost his day job in the dot-com crash. He no longer had the disposable income to keep quality up. That also took out my magazine, Imperial Dispatches, which they'd just picked up. I still have the proofs for issue #2. And my memories.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



SirPhoebos posted:

The reason I think the Rockerboy fits with what CP2020 wants to do (as opposed to actually achieve with the rules) while the Media really doesn't is that while his or her tools are more indirect, at the end of the day the Rockerboy is still aiming to give Mr. CEO an extreme defenestration. In contrast, the Media has the same mindset that says the Mueller Investigation is going to bring down Trump any day now.

I should do a 2020/2020 counter whenever I allude to how things actually turned out. I guess that's 1.

The Fixer will be hilarious, considering the reality is that we got Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort instead of super-cool infodealers.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


JcDent posted:

I like the Xiticix designs as those old-timey-snow-goggle slits make them stand out from all the other Space Bugs, but their fluff is just...

Yeah, I don't have many issues with their designs, Long and Perez and Breaux did good jobs, but good lord, are they boring. They're literally just really territorial farmers. And even that could work if what you're farming is interesting, but they literally just eat mold off their wall. And then go around building more walls to lick. And then are trouble when they lick walls in your backyard.

It's a Megaverse of mildew mouthing.

Barudak
May 7, 2007



Alien Rope Burn posted:

Yeah, I don't have many issues with their designs, Long and Perez and Breaux did good jobs, but good lord, are they boring. They're literally just really territorial farmers. And even that could work if what you're farming is interesting, but they literally just eat mold off their wall. And then go around building more walls to lick. And then are trouble when they lick walls in your backyard.

It's a Megaverse of mildew mouthing.

Ok what if the mold was actually Mega-Mold(tm) and fights back against the Xitic by copying human weapons but made out of mold. Like instead of Glitter Boys, Glistening Boys. That way we can reuse the accidental runoffs at the action figure factory and call them a whole new line.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Alien Rope Burn posted:

Yeah, I don't have many issues with their designs, Long and Perez and Breaux did good jobs, but good lord, are they boring. They're literally just really territorial farmers. And even that could work if what you're farming is interesting, but they literally just eat mold off their wall. And then go around building more walls to lick. And then are trouble when they lick walls in your backyard.

It's a Megaverse of mildew mouthing.

Yeah, there really should be something that would force more and more conflict and make them a legitimate threat, like the best growth medium for the mold being human bodies or using human blood or pulped humans to fertilize the mold, a la "War Of The Worlds" , so you have a reason for the Xiticix to engage with humans more.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Young Freud posted:

Yeah, there really should be something that would force more and more conflict and make them a legitimate threat, like the best growth medium for the mold being human bodies or using human blood or pulped humans to fertilize the mold, a la "War Of The Worlds" , so you have a reason for the Xiticix to engage with humans more.

Well, they do use "sludge" made from high-P.P.E. targets to spur growth. But it mostly just seems to be there so you might have to rescue somebody from a hive. But most humans don't remotely qualify for sludge conversion unless they're wizards, so it'll rarely come up (not that it's a plot you'd likely want to run more than once, since it'll be the same plot every time unless you add the involvement of other factions or NPCs).

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

Horned Rat-Sempai Noticed Me!




Part 2: Character Creation: Roll to be cool


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1JYDmo19to

Now that we have the roles explained and maybe one in mind for our character, it’s time to determine his or her stats. Cyberpunk characters have 9 stats, and there are two ways for PCs to determine their. One is to roll a d10 9 times, discarding 1s and 2s, and allocate the results to whatever stats they want. The second way is to roll 9d10 and distribute the points freely. There’s a third way to determine stats - buy them based on a predetermined budget - but this is strictly for the GM (called the “Referee” in this game) to use in making NPCs. Why is this Referee only? Because! Here’s the table showing the point budget versus how important an NPC is.


No way this could ever be applied to players, no siree

We also have this lovely note:

Cyberpunk 2.0.2.0. posted:

Note: We could, at this point, warn prospective Referees about the various dodges their players will have for creating "supercharacters." But face it; if they want to create a mondo
character, who are we to stop them? You're all big boys and girls now, and if you, as Referee, think your players are getting way outa line, why not just go ahead and waste 'em?

That's the Cyberpunk way.

Sometimes I wonder how this hobby is still around.

Lastly on this page we get a sidebar explaining what dice are used and what dice notation means for those unfamiliar to it. CP2020 uses mainly d10s, but also uses d6s and percentile dice. Divided results are rounded down, and all modified rolls have a minimum value of 1.

We’re also told, before defining the stats, that 2 is the worst possible, and 10 is the best possible. It doesn’t qualify this with “the best/worst before modifiers” but flipping to the back of the book to the sample adventure, we can see that’s the intent. So what are our 9 stats?

Intelligence (INT): Covers most (but not all) things you would expect an Intelligence stat to cover. It’s also one of the stats that determine your secondary skill points. We are told Netrunners and Corporates need the highest Int stat possible.

Reflexes (REF): This is your uber stat for combat. Shooting, driving, martial arts, sneaking, and athletics are covered by this stat. It also feeds into your secondary skill points. One curious thing in the description: “Characters who intend to engage in a great deal of combat (such as Solos, Nomads or Rockerboys) should always invest in the highest possible Reflex.” That’s right, your Bruce Springsteen of the future is expected to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Snake Pilsen expy. Have fun on tour!

Cool (CL): Aside from being, well, “Cool”, this is how well your character holds up under pressure, particularly being able to fight on through wounds. Even though later we find the rules for saves against being stunned from damage are governed by the Body stat. But maybe I'm forgetting something, and Cool will turn out important in which case . Because this is ostensibly a combat stat, we’re told that Solos need this to be the highest (higher even than socially oriented classes like Rockers or Fixers).

Technical Ability (TECH): This stat is used when building or repairing technology, or using something that unfamiliar. I’m guessing someone at R.Talsorian once flunked an engineering class which is why this is separate from Intelligence. This stat is of course most important for Techs.

Luck (LK): Any character can add a bonus up to their luck score to any roll (must be declared before the roll is made. Each point of bonus uses a point of luck, and your luck score refreshes after each session. Note that this isn’t unique to PCs, but every NPC has a luck stat and can use it to boost any. Including damage.

Attractiveness (ATT): This is how good you look. While the book tries to make this seem important, judging by the number of skills related to this stat, I’m going to say that in practice it is not. Media and Rockers hypothetically need this score to be high, but while I don’t remember everything about this book (that bit about Rockers being combat classes surprised me), my suspicion is that this is going to be a dump stat for every role.

Movement Allowance (MA): This is how far you can move “normally” in meters in a turn (1 turn = 10 seconds). There are two derived stats for MA: Run, which is how far you can run and is your MA*3; and Leap, how far you can leap, which is your Run/4.

Empathy (EMP): Here’s a doozy. Empathy not only covers all the charisma stuff that wasn’t split off into Cool or Attractiveness (particularly your ability to relate to others), but it also determines how much cybernetics your mind can handle before you become an uncontrollable (and unplayable) murderbeast. Every PC and NPC starts with EMP*10 as their Humanity Points. As you graft cybernetic parts on, you subtract its Humanity Cost (usually a random amount) from your Humanity. Whenever you lose 10 points of Humanity, your EMP goes down by one. What happens when you run out of Humanity? https://youtu.be/NJIjNs_s2NI?t=29

Body Type (BT): This is how much you can carry, how well you can absorb damage and recover from shock, and how hard you hit someone in melee. We once again get a reminder that this chapter at least considers the Rockerboy to be a combat role, because they need this to be high like Solos. You can carry your BT*10 in kg, and can deadlift your BT*40. Body Type also determines your Save against Stun and Death. Stun Saves occur whenever you take damage or are exposed to knockout drugs (save or be knocked out until you make the save successfully). Death Saves happen whenever you are mortally wounded or are exposed to lethal poisons (literally save-or-die). Both saves work the same-if you roll equal to or under your BT, then there is no additional effect. Finally, BT determines your Body Type Modifier (BTM) which is a flat reduction to all damage. It ranges from 0 to -5. It takes two tables to get from your BT to BTM, but to be fair both tables are on the same page.

In the middle these explanations of the stat, we have our Character Sheet. Rather than put it at the way back of the book where it’s easy to find, it’s in the middle of the book (near the beginning admittedly, but still). Here’s what the CP2020 character sheet looks like:



Well, it’s not the worst I’ve seen. But drat that’s a lot of useless skills.

The last part of this chapter is a method for Referees to quickly generate non-important NPCs. Like some other systems, CP2020 presumes that NPCs will be created the same way as PCs, but this here is a halfway step towards realizing that’s a waste of time when all the Referee needs is a few rent-a-cops for the PCs to blow away. This quick creation method still has some inefficiencies - Referees are still expected to allocate skill packages individually - but it’s better than nothing. These quick NPCs even have their own abrigged character sheets.




Next Time: Lifepath, aka the stuff the hero mumbles about in the awkward filler scene in Act II

Also:

SirPhoebos posted:

The reason I think the Rockerboy fits with what CP2020 wants to do (as opposed to actually achieve with the rules) while the Media really doesn't is that while his or her tools are more indirect, at the end of the day the Rockerboy is still aiming to give Mr. CEO an extreme defenestration. In contrast, the Media has the same mindset that says the Mueller Investigation is going to bring down Trump any day now.

I should do a 2020/2020 counter whenever I allude to how things actually turned out. I guess that's 1.

2020/2020 Counter: 1

EDIT: I just did a count. 92 skills (not counting subcategories). wtf

SirPhoebos fucked around with this message at 02:16 on Feb 19, 2019

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Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


The Cyberpunk sheet (and really, the whole book) had a very "made on Mac" feel to it.

Which, you know, I'm pretty positive it was, but it's kind of an early example of layout programs really coming into play in RPG publishing.

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