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Wrestlepig
Feb 25, 2011

my mum says im cool

Toilet Rascal

JcDent posted:

Oh, I also want to note that I appreciate Sybaorum's write up. It oozes atmosphere, and that is wicked sick. Too bad they didn't math it out right.

E: One thing about the campaign you had and the "witnessing the last breath of a god" and all that: was that based on established material (as in a campaign or an adventure hook), or is it the achievement of a creative and good DM?

I'm pretty sure its in the adventure, we're roughly following the line but have diverged from it due to character stuff(one of the guys took a disadvantage for an archenemy, which has shaken some stuff up, and everyone else has their own things going on, including an interest in the non-Prios gods). The GM is very good though. I'll give a quick writeup of the scene, if anyone else has played the adventures they can confirm yes/no.

after leaving Karvosti, where a bunch of extremist templars had taken over the temple and started saying Prios was dead, we poked around in a looted ruin looking for a stolen necklace that was stashed there. When we dug it up we found an idol of a bull in the sack that wasn't there before. We'd met a bull-god-spirit thing before so we figured this was some sort of sign, and scoured the ruin looking for whatever it was going to unlock. we eventually found a cellar/prison that hadn't been looted, which seemed impossible considering how much the ruin had been searched already. There were a couple skeletons that had carved a sorcerous ritual in the wall and a few assorted minor treasures, but in the back was a two-headed axe embedded in an old beer barrel. when we pulled it out, it was dripping with blood. My character, who is the one drawn in the final post, has blood as a recurring motif for her, and was increasingly unstable after joining the barbarian Wrathguard, so she licked it and felt invigorated, in some weird masculine way. I didn't attune to it since I'm specced for polearms, but figured it was a sign and kept it.

When we left the ruins and rested for the night, we heard a pack of wolves hunting and tearing at a huge white stag. We fought them off but the stag was dying, and fading away. healing didn't work so I cradled it for a bit, then chopped its head off with the axe after a quick prayer. the axe head started to immediately rust away and the stag peacefully faded into nothing. Somebody's loremaster check informed us that when something really significant happens, it tends to have metaphysical echoes, and we were likely witnessing one of these. Also the god may only be mostly dead, it takes a lot to kill something that powerful. One of the other PCs, who joined the Iron Pact, sent a message to the elves in his dreams, and they freaked the gently caress out, and it takes a lot to freak out the elves. A bit later we went back to the town, and during some investigating of other stuff, we found a crazy, half-corrupt guy claiming he was on an expedition that killed a great bull god. We're still trying to figure out what happened with that since a lot of other bullshit is happening, but I've enjoyed symbaroum going Full Princess Mononoke

Wrestlepig fucked around with this message at 11:29 on Feb 26, 2019

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Barudak
May 7, 2007


Dark Revelation is a d20 system RPG by Chris Constantin and Jason Cable Hall and edited by Joe Amon and published in 2014. Set in a twice post-apocalyptic world, it asks players to make their way in this hostile but still rebuilding landscape. It is available for free along with a host of expansion material and the developers blog

Part 5: In Which a Sasquatch Grows a Mustache

With the lore wrapped up we get catapulted into the world of d20 rules. There’s the general introduction of the materials you’ll need, how to read the games notations, some term explanations you get the drift. There is also the included note that if you don’t like some rules you’re free to change them and, well, I kind of wish the developers of Dark Revelation had done more of that.

For instance, there is a description of how to determine your starting character ability scores and what that means. The table demonstrating the values goes well past the starting maximum of 18 up to 63. If you were a player, even one familiar to d20, and saw that table you would immediately think that means ability scores will or can go that high. Instead, and I cheated in this review a little and cracked open the monster manual which is against my usual policy, a CR 20 monster has a highest ability score of 25. Having a chart like this in the game not only takes up space that isn’t needed, it gives players bad inference information.

There are a lot more rules that follow on how to make a character, and my personal nemesis the Alignment Chart pops up. If the Alignment Chart represents how characters behave in D&D’s default society if your game has one apocalypse, much less two, you should take the Alignment Chart and shove it in the bin because that society is gone. It’s made worse because it eats up multiple pages of a 400+ page book and as ever d20 has no actual rules or mechanics tied to it.


Mack the Knifears

Another thing that absolutely should have been cut due to bad inferencing is Aging rules. If your game has aging rules players assume age matters. If they read the aging rules they’ll see they’re bullshit and full of hidden information, such as hiding from players when your character will die from it. As with alignment, nothing ever meaningfully interacts with these rules in d20, so this is another waste of game space.

There is a revised “easy” carrying capacity ruleset included but is massively overcomplicated, full of dozens of multipliers and conditional rules, so while not easy it is possibly stil somehow an improvement over the core d20 rules.

With that behind us, we can actually start building a character and that starts with Races, of which Dark Revelations has some tweaks on existing ones and some new ones. An unfortunate side effect of this book being d20 and not all the rules is it can be hard to accurately gauge how useful any of these races bonuses are. With that in mind I’ve still tried, but if you play this game and find out that actually every single monster is weak versus Obscure Racial Feat 3 don’t blame me:

  • Dwarves - These are dwarves. If you have ever encountered dwarves in a fantasy setting these sure are those. There is an interesting hook here that when they came to the Dark Revelations setting they were in a steam-age and as such backwards compared to the technology of the modern world but this is immediately abandoned to bringing them up to the status quo and using that technology. Come on, give me conservative dwarves who use modern industrial practices to build steam computers because by god steam was good enough for their grandpa and it’s good enough for them! Mechanically, dwarves get the extremely good no-downside “+1 resist to all spells”, although without having access to any spell casting information in this book that might not be true.
  • Half-Elves - These are absolutely bog-standard Half-Elves and their write up has one paragraph describing them and four paragraphs describing what family structures they might come from. Not included in this write up? Where Half-Elves come from in a setting entirely without Elves. Mechanically they’re so similar to humans that you’d have to sit down and do some serious min-maxing math for your build to figure out which of the two would be better over 20 levels.
  • Halflings - These are pretty standard halflings but they don’t love stealing for no reason and have replaced that with an obsession with building/riding the fastest vehicles possible, having a disregard for personal safety, and living life one quarter mile at a time so A+ halfling rework. Mechanically, the word “Luck” appears five times in this book and not one of those times is an explanation of what the +1 luck bonus to a save means for this race


    Tell me you don’t want this dude in your party

  • Half-Orc - Remember how the question of “where do Half-Elves come from without Elves?” came up earlier? Not so for these! You see, once you’re a half-orc you can pass down half-orcness to your children but it may not necessarily be expressed. Over the course of 90 years this means its possible a considerable portion of the human population are actually non-expressing half-orcs who are still able to have regular half-orc children. What this means for society and the race selection section is never addressed. Mechanically, they get a feat that sounds great and is utterly useless in actual d20 practice.
  • Harlowe - The first of Dark Revelations new races, these are sexy bird women. No, not like that, they’re just sexy women with a 10 foot wingspan. These are a race of genetically modified bird people enslaved by demons to be all female and sexy even though they again, look like human women with some wings and I don’t think demons look like that in this setting so like did the demon engineers just make a real mess of the project and there was no funding left to do it right or what happened here. Whatever it is, I hate them. Mechanically, Harlowe are hot garbage so nobody should be playing one. They get a flat -2 to saves against spells and spell like effects which is basically a one way ticket to twiddling your thumbs all session in d20 town and on top of that their wings only net them a +4 to jump checks and half-damage from falling.
  • Humans - These are d20s humans. This is an absolutely massive missed opportunity in a setting where only humans are native to it up until 90 years ago, but why not instead just reprint the d20 stats about humans. Mechanically, exactly one (1) standard d20 human
  • Medusa - Ok, remember how the game said that the apocalypse brought some real things to this dimension and made some unreal things real? Medusas are real, not made up, and also somehow humans were aware of them before which means all made up things might be real and therefore that part of the setting is wrong and also humans have been eroding the barrier between reality since the beginning of time so maybe its not America’s fault after all that the setting got apocalypsed and I’m getting worked up about things undermining the setting so I’m just gonna go lie down for the rest of this race’s write-up.
  • Ungo - Sasquatch, Yeti, Grizzly Adams; whatever you call fur covered man like creature thats an Ungo. These are the boring reserved, noble, pondering people who are seen only for their physical strength. This, mechanically, makes them trash in a setting with firearms and magic but on the plus side they somehow have learned how to grow Fu-Manchu Mustache’s despite their entire bodies being covered in hair.


    Its like Crocodile Dundee made love to an industrial sized tub of rogaine

  • Verkhail - The second of the two demon races, this one isn’t sexy and has a better backstory. The Verkhail are the genetically modified chattel slavery race for the demons and are considered so worthless that when a bunch of humans liberated them the demons didn’t bother collecting them. The downside is, the Verkhail breed like crazy and this causes conflicts with the humans that rescued them and may tear their alliance apart as the Verkhail want all Verkhail free and the humans are wary of getting crowded out by Verkhail. If you thought that just having such a strong role-playing issue between party members might be a problem, don’t worry as they’ll ruin the group mechanically too. Verkhail are damaged by what heals other races and healed by a source that damages them. HAVE FUN MAKING A PARTY!

Next time: A pile of feats and some classes

Barudak fucked around with this message at 11:52 on Feb 26, 2019

GimpInBlack
Sep 27, 2012

That's right, kids, take lots of drugs, leave the universe behind, and pilot Enlightenment Voltron out into the cosmos to meet Alien Jesus.

That sure is some HeroMachine art, there.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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

Hunt11 posted:

In at least one of the iterations of Warhammer there was a rule that should a rider die before the mount then said mount could react in a variety of ways from fleeing the battlefield to guarding their master's corpse. With Deathclaw you didn't have to roll as he would immediately devote himself to killing those who are responsible for killing Karl Franz.

Like I said, he is a very good boy. Louen's Hippogriff Bequis did the same thing, because he is also a good boy.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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

GimpInBlack posted:

That sure is some HeroMachine art, there.

I was going to say that, yeah.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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

Mikhail was right, gently caress wyverns

Interestingly, the common folk think seeing a Wyvern is a curse. They're not far off. Wyverns are dicks! Also very dangerous, and very intelligent, even if they're still animals. Wyverns are often mistaken for Dragons. They are not Dragons at all, Waldemarr is sure to assure us; the best way you can tell is that a Wyvern only has 4 limbs (two wings, two legs) instead of 6 like a Dragon. They don't actually cause milk to curdle or grain to go off just by being nearby, but they're mean, rear end in a top hat lizards with sharp whip-like tails and stingers. They actually get along quite well with Orcs, because they see the world in similar ways. Wyverns are natural bullies, spiteful and vicious, preferring targets that are afraid of them. When a Wyvern is raised by an Orc, they end up being excellent compliments to a Warboss the same way Griffons are great for Imperial officers. Imperials don't like to admit it but plenty of Orc commanders are smart enough to see the value of an aerial view of the battle, too.

We get a long story about a small handful of knights bringing down a Wyvern and dragging the Warboss riding it to the ground from Captain Schultz, though he's overstating the Wyvern when he says 'no Orc is ever as dangerous as their Wyvern, even Azhag the Slaughterer'. Incidentally, Azhag, the Warboss in the story? Actually kind of an important setting character, given he found the Crown of Nagash and had developed all kinds of weird magical abilities from wearing it. Captain Schultz having been a part of bringing him down and getting the Crown to the Imperial 'poo poo we don't gently caress with' Storage under the Grand Temple of Sigmar in Altdorf means Schultz was actually at a really important battle.

Wyverns really are pretty dangerous enemies, though. They're not as quick or offensively oriented as a noble Catbird, but as befits the favored mount of Orcs they're armored and tough as hell. They've got the DR of a Chaos Warrior (9, which is a lot for a monster) and still have monster-scale Wounds (44). They hit at Damage 7, and one of their three attacks a turn is their poisoned tail, doing +3 wounds from poison if you fail a Tough-10, and very few characters can reliably take what's effectively a Damage 10 hit without flinching. They're also pretty skilled for a monster at WS 51. Add a pissed off, huge Orc to that and you've got a nasty foe for even 3rd tier PCs.

Which makes the other bit of Wyvern fluff interesting: Even being as dangerous as they are, wild Wyverns almost never attack humans unless they're starving. They'll raid and carry off livestock, but they've long since learned you don't gently caress with humans. Humans have guns. Humans have wizards. A human might be wearing armor and carrying a sword and they're just not worth it for how little meat they have. They know humans try to avenge their dead, too; they're just smart enough to understand that killing one of the soft humans might bring out the tough humans with armor and guns. Even tamed Wyverns will usually try to run if they're badly injured, too. They're not exactly cowards, they're just smart and don't think getting hurt or killed is worth it unless there's a lot of meat on the menu or they're really pissed off. That adds a nice little detail where if players are being overwhelmed by a Wyvern, they really only have to hold out long enough to hurt it some and it might back off. Similarly, it makes actually hunting them down and getting rid of them a challenge, even once you can take one in a fight.

Rikkit'tik demands that any Wyvern killed has its venom sac brought directly to him. Also, wyrmcap mushroom squeezings applied to a long spear or arrows.

Giant Wolves are like Giant Spiders: A kind of a filler monster that exists as Thing Big. They're big, mean wolves that serve as mounts for Greenskins, or as The Children of the Night howling dramatically for Von Carsteins for ambience in their spooky castles. Our common view of them treats them like reasonably dangerous pests, with a Bret Man At Arms talking about wolf-riders outmaneuvering the knights but losing to halberds and a fishwife reminiscing about the time she and the whole town went out and killed a whole pack of them to make rugs and keep them off the cattle.

Rikkit'tik suggests using warpstone mixed with redcap for Dire Wolves, wolfsbane for Giant Wolves. The difference between a Giant Wolf and a Dire Wolf is whether or not it's still breathing; Dire Wolves are the undead hunting hounds of the Von Carsteins.

I'm not kidding about the Carsteins; one of the commentators is our generic Constantin von Carstein, whose entire character is being a totally stereotypical Vampire Count, and his entry on the wolves is literally 'The Children of the Night, what beautiful music they make!' Still, there's not much to say about them. They're not that dangerous, though an extra fighter is always a risk, especially at low levels. They're more dangerous than the Goblin riding them, generally, but that's a low bar. The real threat is that they're goddamn fast; Giant Wolves outpace even the best of horses. You get set on by gobbos riding those things and the little bastards will basically get to go wherever they want, and move quick enough to cross from longbow range to melee in a single turn of sprinting.

Were-Creatures are unusual. No-one really knows where they come from, though they seem more common in the north. The mercenary who talks about fighting Norscan berserks who seemed to turn into bear-men during a battle is certain they're creatures of Chaos, but we also get a story from a White Wolf Knight about how they're supposedly the children of Ulric and a beautiful woman named Brigit who died in childbirth bearing his son. Were-creatures are humans that can transform into half-animal half-man forms, usually in times of great stress. Some are definitely Chaos tainted, but there's an ambiguity about them that's particularly interesting.

Our scholar buddy Eckhard (who was burned for talking poo poo about the Catbirds) even makes the connection to the old tribe of the Cherusen, from Hochland, saying old legends call them 'shape-strong' and suggest that many of their nobles were able to transform in battle. He doesn't think this was a matter of Chaos at all, but a gift of either Taal or Ulric or some older faith that came before them entirely. There is active debate about whether these people even count as mutants, given it's possible there's no Chaos involved in what they do.

They also have an extensive 'Our Own Words' section, with a Bjornling Norscan talking about his first time turning into a bear-man in the heat of battle. He considers it a gift from Tchar, which is usually the Norscan term for Tzeentch, a sort of change from a normal man to a beast of war that accompanies the chaos of battle. He also mentions the Norse have so many of these creatures that they have policies on when and how to deploy them in battle, and that those who feel the call of 'The Beast' too strongly have to be confined until they're needed for combat. The other is an Adventurer and wandering entertainer named Renata who seems to be in complete control of her faculties. She's a normal Sigmarite and Imperial, by her own words, with no dealings with Chaos, who simply has to hide that she's also a werewolf or else she'll be killed as a mutant.

An NPC Were is mechanically a human character without Fate (I suppose a PC one might have Fate still; there's honestly nothing stopping them being playable besides the fact that they're quite powerful), who can change into a buffed were-form as a full action. They get some massive buffs when they do, on par with a Vampire, and they get a bunch of skills in their Wereform as well. If they already have those skills, those skills instead get the +10 from Skill Mastery when the Were changes. I do like the idea that these may have been one of the Hochlanders' ancient contributions to Sigmar's war machine; that's an interesting take on ancient history. The various origins and possibility that some of them have nothing to do with Chaos is also intriguing.

Next Time: Spooky Scary Skeletons

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
As an added note, the entire Were mechanic would work well as a replacement for the pathetic transformation spells Amber wizards have at present, I think.

Especially if you keep the talents/skills stuff so they actually do cast 'I turn into a fighter with high power but no armor' (which is a very dangerous but potentially useful thing to be) by giving them Dodge and stuff like Strike Mighty when in their fighting shape.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!
I've heard a lot of harsh back and forth about different styles of review lately, both here and on the discord, and figure I should speak up about it. I generally try not to criticize myself for several reasons. One, I'm the thread creator, but I really don't have an interest in being the thread curator. Two, what I like (or, for that matter, what others dislike) doesn't mean a review doesn't have adherents. Even some of the reviews that seem to get the harshest vitriol I've seen still get comments and discussion. Third, I'm well aware what a pain even doing a simple review can be for sometimes little or no reward. Nobody's getting paid here.

So, for the most part, I don't particularly care... unless a reviewer is actively being toxic as part of the review. (For the record, I don't consider controversial opinions on a game toxic for the most part.) I can't really recall this happening, but I have a mind like a sieve. If you think I've missed something, feel free to bring it up to me - I read a fair bit but just don't have enough time to take in everything here. But I'm not going to fret over differences in style and opinion. And criticism is fine, but it works much better if you actually frame it as criticism. If you're interested in a reviewer doing something different, you can suggest that, or just be the change you want to see in the thread. I re-reviewed a previously existing review once myself, after all, because I thought it skipped over some of the most interesting bits. Alternately, if you're not sure in what you're doing, you can always ask for feedback, too.

Usually my only concern are reviews where the subject matter is contentious and controversial enough that it basically sucks all the air out of the thread. But I don't think that's something that can really be judged or controlled, and doing those sorts of games is part of the thread purpose. I think my main suggestion is that if there are raw wounds associated with a game, I wouldn't suggest reviewing it while it's still fresh, but otherwise, I'm happy to have different review styles and structures. If you want to know what I feel I've learned in the years of reviewing, I'd be glad to share, but I'm not a style guide by any stretch.

Barudak
May 7, 2007

I think it can be tough because peoples feeling of what a review is can vary greatly. For me, personally, my buggest opinion is that one should only go very deep into mechanics if there is a reason to do so. I dont expect to run a game based on a review, so if a class has 50 techniques it can do just mention that and only share ones that are particularly notable.

Also, wait, there is a discord?

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!
Sometimes mechanics can be fascinating, if they somehow break in hilarious ways, allow you to do absurd things or just work in a really, really elegant way. But if it starts to look like a dissertation on theoretical mathematics I will likely tap out before the end of the paragraph. Occasionally that's what's needed to wring the comedy out of it, like sometimes it takes building a full character to explain how at first level you can make a character that makes the entire observable universe die of terror.

Personally, I'd like it if people commented on my reviews with critique. I mean, I can't promise I'll follow the critique given, but sometimes it feels like I've done a review that didn't get much in the way of responses and I've wondered if the subject matter sucked or if people took issue with my style of reviewing. But I tend to not give my opinions on other people's reviews unless they ask for them, because if I don't like what they write, it's not like it demands much more of me than scrolling a bit farther down the page, so it seems like an incredibly dumb thing to pick a fight over.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!
More recently I've felt like "review" probably isn't the best term for what most folks do here anyway. They're more like summaries, analyses, or let's reads than just reviews.

Barudak
May 7, 2007

Oh yeah, if you see a skill in a serious medieval game that lets you resurrect the dead by rolling them down a hill you absolutely should explain that to me in detail. If its just a generic d20 feat like "+1 damage when fighting on tuesdays" and theres no hilarious skill that makes every day tuesday no need to include.

And getting criticism of the work itself is tricky since people naturally want to discuss the content being shown off, and for many many many of these reviews people are not first hand familiar with the material to provide a critique of the critique.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

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

Barudak posted:

And getting criticism of the work itself is tricky since people naturally want to discuss the content being shown off, and for many many many of these reviews people are not first hand familiar with the material to provide a critique of the critique.

They might not be able to accurately critique the content, but they could at least critique the style, even if it's something as simple as "less words" or "you're focusing too much on the unfunny parts" or "help i have no idea what any of this garbage means, see me after class F-"

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

WELL THAT JUST HAPPENED!



Part 4: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHepKd38pr0


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

In Cyberpunk 2.0.2.0, characters are defined mechanically by what skills they have. There are no advantages/disadvantages, and besides their special ability (which is itself a skill), roles only provide a starting skill package to choose from. This section introduces the main non-combat resolution mechanic for CP2020, define what each skill is for and try to give a sense of what having a certain number means, and how to get better at skills.

The basic skill roll is 1d10 + Stat + Skill +/- Modifiers. To accomplish a task, a character needs to match or beat the Task Difficulty. This can range from 10 (Easy) to 30 (Nearly Impossible). There’s also a sidebar that includes a list of common modifiers (this list is also where I first heard the word “kibbitzing”). There is no note that trivial tasks shouldn’t require rolls. This is a problem because this game has critical failures. Any time you roll a 1, you automatically fail, and have to roll on a fumble table. Wee. I won’t go into details, but if you have to roll on the fumble table than there’s a 60% chance things will be made even worse on top of failing the roll. To add insult to injury, if you roll a 10, that just means you get to add another d10 to the result. I would houserule fumbles out of existence, but for the purpose of my example character, I’m going to assume they’re in effect.


I don't think her tripping over that wire 1-in-10 times is in genre, but what do I know?

Starting characters have two pools of skill points. The first pool is for the character’s Career Skills, which is 40 points for every character. Every Role has a list of about 10 skills (including their special ability). All 40 points need to be spent on career skills. This is also where we first learn that a character’s Special Ability rank also determines the characters starting funds. What’s stopping a character from just maxing out their Special Ability? Why passive-aggressive “advice”, of course!

Cyberpunk 2.0.2.0. posted:

Obviously while spreading those Career Points around it's going to be pretty tempting to make yourself a wealthy Superstar, but remember a Rocker with lots of Charismatic Leadership and no performance skills will find that things can get ugly fast. They may love you but they paid 60 eb for those tickets so you'd better be smokin'.

So! This paragraph right in the front of the skill sections gives the Referee the green light to gently caress with any social role that tries to optimize their character, and because the social interaction rules are so light (I’ve basically given all of them) there’s no way to push back. Meanwhile, A Solo can put 10 points into Combat Senses, 10 points into Rifle, 10 points into Notice and 10 points into Stealth and be able to use the FNFF rules to one-shot enemies in the first round of combat. I know that not every group probably didn’t have this sort of dichotomy, and this is meant to be player advice rather than Referee advice, but it still signals out the certain classes for adverse treatment.

Characters also get points for Pick Up Skills equal to their Ref + Int. Pick Up Skills can be spent on anything that isn’t a Special Ability. The only other restriction is that they can’t be used to increase a Career Skills. Whether that prevents you from using these points on a Career Skill you didn’t initially invest in at all is unclear.


here’s a drawing of gun, to make sure you’re paying attention I guess

So onto the Skills themselves. There are over 90 listed here, many of which have sub-categories, so I’m not describing them all. Instead I’ll cover the Special Abilities, then give a summary for the type of skills in each stat.

Authority (Cops): This is your ability to intimidate others through your position as a cop. A measure of how dirty your Harry is, if you will. This is less about whether you can arrest someone or search an area, but whether you can stare down powerful individuals in a particular moment. You still need the proper warrant to do these things, so if someone wants to play a Cop I’d recommend discussing with the group what kind of game you want to run (and hope the Referee doesn’t make the game about literal rules-lawyering). Authority is applied to Cool.

Charismatic Leadership (Rockerboy): This is a Rocker’s ability to incite, charm, and control large groups of individuals through his or her performances. The effect works off of group emotions, so it needs a minimum size of 10 to be effective. The amount of people that can be affected is equal to the Rocker’s CL squared times two hundred. So for example, a Rocker with a CL of 6 can control a crowd of 7,200, while one with her skill maxed out can control 20,000 people. That may seem like a lot, but I did a quick google search and the attendance for Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech was 250,000. But even setting aside the numbers flub (pretty frequent in RPGs), being able to just control 20,000 people is the kind of ability that will either commandeer a campaign or be so tightly controlled that it feels like a waste of space. Especially when in comparing what skill ranks translate to, it says a Rocker with a CL of 9 has “the same mesmeric ability as an Adolf Hitler” (Hitlerwatch: 1). Charismatic Leadership is tied to Cool.

Combat Sense (Solo): Combat Sense is what sets the Solo apart from just being a guy with a gun. A Solo adds his Combat Sense to all initiative rolls and all Awareness/Notice checks. It is the best Special Ability.

Credibility (Media): Credibility is the Media’s ability to be believed, whether by viewers, the police, or other people in power. Most of the description focuses on getting both a lot of people and important people to believe your story, but there’s only part of one sentence that says this will also determine if anyone acts on it. But I think there’s a problem with this ability that goes beyond the pervasive cynicism that’s informing my reread. Despite copious amount of world building, it’s unclear what the average person in CP2020 knows about the world. Is Joe from Des Moines just unaware that things are bad when there are themed cyber-gangs fighting corporate armies nightly and regular internet services are constantly interrupted by cyberhackers? Whether they’re comically oblivious to how bad things are, or they do know things are poo poo and just don’t care, it feels like it’s going to take more than a square faced anchor giving a 20 minute report to snap them out of it. Especially when the skill says that Credibility can also be used to push total B.S. (at level 9 you can convince a world leader that aliens are influencing her peers). Credibility is governed by Int. Hopefully that’s the last I rant on Media, because even I’m getting tired of it.

Family (Nomad): This is the ability of a Nomad to call on the resources of the family she travels with. This can be guns, information, and even direct help in fights. It’s a combination of getting resources and leading NPCs. Has the potential to be potent, as anyone that has used the Leadership feat in D&D 3.x to break the action economy can attest to. But there’s no rules for determining what resources a Nomad tribe has, how big is it, etc. Without these tools, it’s up to the Referee to determine what the Nomad tribe has available, and any decision he makes has the risk of seeming arbitrary. Despite being about social relationships, Family is tied to the Intelligence Stat.

Interface (Netrunner): Interface is the ability that allows the Netrunner to mess around in the Tron-like internet of CP2020. Specifically, it allows them to use the Menu functions: locate Remote, Run Software, Control Remote, Downlink , Load, Create and Delete. I’ll cover what all that means when I get to the section on Netrunning. Other characters can connect to the internet, but only the Netrunner can perform the above tasks. This is an Int-based skill, but we have a note here saying that if a player is converting a Netrunner from first edition, they can swap Int and Ref. Which meant that Reflex used to govern this skill too, making it even more of a god stat.

Jury Rig (Techie): This special ability allows a Techie to temporarily repair or alter anything for 1d6 turns per rank. A turn is 3.2 seconds. After the time elapses, the jury rig will break down. So at max rank, a jury rig lasts on average just under 2 minutes. Whether or not this ability is any good greatly depends on what modifications can be made, but this skill gives no indication. Even the flavor text of the Techie role focuses on permanent constructions and modifications. On the other hand, the fumble rules ensure that a techie will have at regular opportunities to quickly patch things up if need be, at least in theory. The description actually doesn’t say what stat it keys off of, but I assume it’s Tech.

Medical Tech (Medtech): This skill is used for performing major surgery and medical repairs. The specific rules are covered in the section called Trauma Team later in the book, so at least this skill has mechanical benefits besides :shrug:. We’ll see how much the Medical Tech skill actually matters when we get to that chapter (I actually have no memory either way, I wasn’t reading these books to play doctor).

Resources (Corporate): A Corporate’s Resource rank is is their ability to command a company’s assets. The higher the rank, the more you can request. Money, weapons, guards, vehicles, buildings - if it’s on the left side of the balance sheet, Resources will let you play around with it. This ability is tied to INT. While overall there’s no problem with Resources as a stuff-getting ability, it does have the issue that when trying to describe what the different ranks mean, it makes the low levels sound so trivial that it might as well not exist. Specifically, having a Resources of 2 translates to “might get you access to the company car”. This is a problem that comes up with a lot of skill, and it’s unhelpful if you’re trying to budget starting skills and having a small investment just seems worthless.

Streetdeal (Fixer): The Streetdeal skill gives the Fixer the ability to deal with the underground information network. This lets them not only find out where to get illicit items and uncover information others don’t want you learning, but also how to put information out onto the street, to let someone know that the Fixer has something they could benefit from. Streetdeal is based on Cool. Streetdeal seems to be in the sweet spot of what a Special Ability for a role ought to be, except there’s another skill that anyone can take called Streetwise that seems to do everything that Streetdeal does. It even has similar sounding examples of what ranks mean (Streetdeal 9: “You are the equivalent of a Mafia Crimelord” vs Streetwise 8: “You could become a major crimelord”). Streetwise is a Career Skill for Rockerboys and Media, but anyone can take it as a pickup skill. Unless the Referee narrows its scope, Streetwise basically makes Fixer’s a redundant role.



Since this is getting long, I’m going to break this up into two parts. Next time we’ll go over the general skills, how to improve skills, and reputation. Plus we’ll take the first steps in statting out Jamie.

2020/2020 Count: 2

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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

Alien Rope Burn posted:

I can't really recall this happening, but I have a mind like a sieve.

Ah, the self-defense mechanism of a RIFTS reviewer's mind!

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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

Remove the head or destroy the brain

I've been waiting to get to the Hams Undead. Hams has got real good Undead. They're our last general category of critters, and they're a big one. This section's going to be doing a lot of work, since it came out well before Night's Dark Masters and thus had to be the fluff book for Vampires until then. It also has a great write-up on Mummies.

But first, we're going to start with the fodder. Skeletons are some of the favored line troops of the Vampire Counts, and make up most of the remaining armies of Nehekara's Tomb Kings. Schultz leads us off with a succinct gameplay explanation, as per usual: They're faster than a zombie, still pretty hard to kill, and still scare people. He claims they're less frightening than rotting flesh, but this isn't part of the mechanics; they're all just Frightening. The same merchant who sells Squig meat to taverns pops up to note that bonemeal made out of ground Skeleton seems to be even better for crops than normal fertilizer (though he naturally doesn't tell anyone where he's getting his wares). I can't help but think that throwing dark magic tainted necromancy bones all over the crops is a bad idea, Herr Handlin.

Rikkit'tik suggests powdered warpstone in a linseed oil base. Yes, he's going to have advice on poisoning the undead. Rikkit'tik knows his poo poo.

We get a long section from a priest of Verena talking about how goddamn confusing these Harryhausen motherfuckers are: He can't figure out how they move. Or how they hold together. When they're killed, they just turn into normal piles of bone. They don't have any tendons or cords or anything holding the bones together, and they've got no muscle at all. He assumed there would be nerves or tendons, at least, but nothing. He concludes from this that the spark of life that animates everything is somehow completely non-physical in both Undead and humans. Seems a bit of a big conclusion to jump to. Constantin von Carstein continues to stereotypically Carstein all over the page, waxing on about how the death's head is everywhere in Imperial culture because they know to fear his mighty skellington legions and how the unrotted bone is the best symbol of death. There's also an excerpt from the Book of Vanhal, the legendary necromancer who may have been taught by Vlad and brought proper Necromancy to Sylvannia in the 1111 Skaven Crisis. He advises that you cannot flank your opponent with skeletons. They clatter and their weird synchronized marching gives them away every time. Instead, you plant the skeletons in the ground at your intended battle site and raise them up all around your enemies. Cackling madly is not optional. He also emphasizes that Undead don't tire, so keep raising skeletons to annoy your enemy and never let them sleep.

Ghouls are unusual in that they're included among the Undead, but Ghouls aren't Undead at all. You know how one of the reasons you don't eat people is because of all them brain diseases you can get? That's basically what happens to Ghouls in Hams; they get the prions, they get the claws, they get the continual hunger for the flesh of the living. Morr's Law is absolute: Food that talks is not food. Schultz is actually kind of wrong about them not being that dangerous; they're mean little bastards in gameplay, having 2 attacks, being Frightening (you have to make a Fear test before you can start acting beyond just defending yourself when fighting them), and doing poison damage with their filthy claws. He claims they're much less frightening than they look and go down quick against proper steel, with no need for magic or tricks. Most others regard Ghouls as another of those feral monstrous pests you get all through the Old World.

Our Scholars step in to confirm Ghouls are former humans who ate human flesh. They showed up so often in Sylvania because, well, Sylvanians are more likely to be forced to resort to cannibalism because their farmland is lovely and their lords are often jerks outside of the good times with Vlad. Just tasting human flesh won't turn someone into a Ghoul; like any disease it's a bit of a roll of the dice. Weirdly, it seems to be passed on to their children, which implies Ghouls actually still have children. They follow Vampiric armies because Vampires are generally only out for the blood, and don't mind their Renfeld-looking crazy followers eating the occasional enemy soldier or scavenging the corpses of their passing. Constantin gloats about how eager these people are to serve him, but also notes he needs them; they work fine in daylight, they can cross running water, and all they ask is the chance to eat a few corpses. He'd be a fool to say no! They also get a brief Own Words section, but it's all 'I eat people, I like doin' it' and not especially interesting.

Ghouls are kind of a weird monster. They can be ruinously dangerous to a low level party and completely bounce off a higher level one, and they're really not quite mooks due to their second attack and nasty poison claws (Their claws do +2 Wounds if the target fails Tough-10). It's interesting that they're specifically the result of a disease of some kind, though.

Zombies are, well, zombies. You know zombies. I know zombies. They hunger. Schultz leads us off by suggesting you kill the Necromancer or Vampire raising the zombies in the first place, since that will kill them instantly. If you can't, shoot them. Zombies are slow and shambling, being totally unable to run, and so picking them off with bows, crossbows, and guns really is good advice. He describes close combat with zombies as exhausting, and not worth it if you can avoid it. They're not actually all that tough, or strong, or skilled; most PCs will dumpster the average zombie just fine. The issue is how many zombies there can be, and the way their master might keep raising them until you're ground down. That's the general theme, drilled in over and over again: These things are individually puny, expendable, but renewable. A proper Necromancer can even raise the corpse of the zombie you just put down as a new zombie.

Waldemarr the Scholar steps in to say that zombies aren't anything special. They're just animate matter, and the same magic would probably work on a lump of clay the same way it does a human corpse. Just the Necromancers and Vampires feel most comfortable with death and flesh, so their magic is much easier to work on dead flesh. Constantin considers them an excellent reminder to the living of what's coming, and thinks they're scarier than his skeletons even if they aren't as good at fighting.

Rikkit'tik suggests a paste of warpstone powder and deadbane. Be real, Rikkit'tik, this is a waste of warpstone. You can put these guys down with your little ninja sword way more easily.

Beyond that, there's nothing to really say about Hams zombies. They're not insanely durable like some zombies, they don't actually need to be shot in the head, they're just a lumbering wall of meat that has Frightening. They've got sub-mook stats and your PCs will probably put them down easily, as long as they don't panic or get overwhelmed.

And that's all the fodder! Next we can get into the interesting Undead.

Next Time: For SPOOKING

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

La morte non ha sesso
There's nothing more 90s than a book saying "drat it, put your skill points in something besides Gun!" and then not having clear rules for what social skills actually do.

Do y'all find a lot of social skills to be generally worthless? Intimidate and Seduction are two skills that, when I see them in a game as discrete skills, immediately strike me as worthless. Intimidate is usually interpreted (or just stated) to mean physical intimidation or torture. In my experience, torture isn't very common, and Intimidate only works if you're in such a position of overwhelming strength that you don't really need it at all. Seduction usually just means sexual seduction, and is both too marginal to be useful in most games and strays into fiction most people at the table won't want to play out.

Intimidate, at least, could be useful, but I rarely or never see groups interpret it to include tactics like "How dare you!" or "If you don't give me what I want, I'll get you in trouble," or even "Do you really want this to get ugly?" It's usually just "Give me what I want or I'll beat you up."

Halloween Jack fucked around with this message at 16:47 on Feb 27, 2019

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
I see Intimidate used that way pretty often.

Though I think combining 'make an impression' and 'intimidate people' was a good idea in Cardinal. Most games with large skill systems could do with paring them down; the best way to make non-combat skills useful is to make them broad and ensure putting points into them gives you an advantage the same way 'use gun on man' can. It's probably the single biggest thing I'd take a weed whacker to in WHFRP 2e, and 4e too. 4e didn't do a drat thing about paring down the skill list.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

La morte non ha sesso
4e pared down skills in the wrong way, by having "Strength: The Skill" and "Constitution: The Skill" while there are multiple useful skills for Dex, Int, Wis, and Cha. The one good thing it did was outright eliminating the non-adventuring skills and the you-either-have-it-or-you-don't skills.

Anyway, I've been thinking about this lately because I rolled up a Scoundrel for Edge of the Empire, and it seems that I need several social skills, spread out across multiple attributes, which seem to overlap much of the time. (And which skill you're using is based as much on your tactic as your objective.) It's like the social equivalent of games where they make you buy separate skills for Dagger, Sword (One-Handed), Sword (Two-Handed), and so on.

It's at the opposite end of the spectrum from a game like Dying Earth, where everyone has the Persuade skill and Charming, Intimidating, Forthright, etc. are styles.

Halloween Jack fucked around with this message at 17:37 on Feb 27, 2019

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
Oh, I meant 4e WHFRP. They didn't cut down the skill list at all, when that was one of the biggest things 2e needed in a transition.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

La morte non ha sesso
Oh, derp. Yeah, that does suck, though. WFRP has Issues with skills as well.

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion


4e changes how you spend xp a lot though. I'm not 100% sure, but you should be able to keep a decent number of skills at a competent level.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
The annoying thing is, I want to do a mechanical analysis of 4e (Mors already wrote up the fluff in detail, I wouldn't need to cover any of it) but I just haven't had a chance to playtest it since I'm busy running other things and my main group just finished a very long 2e campaign and is excited to play Double Cross or Myriad Song or something next instead. But months from now I intend to do that once I've seen the game in motion.

Selachian
Oct 9, 2012

SirPhoebos posted:

Credibility (Media): Credibility is the Media’s ability to be believed, whether by viewers, the police, or other people in power. Most of the description focuses on getting both a lot of people and important people to believe your story, but there’s only part of one sentence that says this will also determine if anyone acts on it. But I think there’s a problem with this ability that goes beyond the pervasive cynicism that’s informing my reread. Despite copious amount of world building, it’s unclear what the average person in CP2020 knows about the world. Is Joe from Des Moines just unaware that things are bad when there are themed cyber-gangs fighting corporate armies nightly and regular internet services are constantly interrupted by cyberhackers? Whether they’re comically oblivious to how bad things are, or they do know things are poo poo and just don’t care, it feels like it’s going to take more than a square faced anchor giving a 20 minute report to snap them out of it. Especially when the skill says that Credibility can also be used to push total B.S. (at level 9 you can convince a world leader that aliens are influencing her peers). Credibility is governed by Int. Hopefully that’s the last I rant on Media, because even I’m getting tired of it.

Reading this reminds me of Norman Spinrad's novel Bug Jack Barron (1969) which is about a crusading TV journalist who exposes a corporate conspiracy. While well-written, its approach to media comes across as hilariously naive today -- and CP2020 doesn't have the excuse of being 50 years old.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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

A spooky ghost!

Spirits confound the people of the Old World. Zombies and skeletons they get; they aren't the person they were before, just what remains after death. A walking corpse is just meat, you can tell yourself the spirit's gone to the realm of Morr. When a screaming spirit holding its own head in its hands comes at you, it's much harder to say that's 'just' the dead body. This is about the long and short of Captain Schultz's monologue about them; he's a hardened captain who's fought an awful lot of monsters, he's used to fighting Undead, but Spirits scare the hell out of him. This is partly because you can't kill them without magic on your side (though the majority of Spirit monsters can't hurt you back, either, just scare you. Exception for Spectres, who are extremely dangerous and CAN harm you whether or not you can hurt them back). It's also partly because the idea that a Necromancer could actually cut you off from the realm of Morr and force you to stay stuck in the real world is horrible. Most people in the Old World expect to rest when they die, damnit.

Scholars believe that spirits are merely echoes, small traces left behind when someone suffers a particularly awful death or has their rest disturbed by Necromancy. Heinrich Malz, our Verenan High Priest, seems to think that the incoherence of the average Spirit may mean that the soul is damaged when it's removed from the body and rendered insane. He jumps from here to the very weird conclusion that maybe there's no afterlife at all, and I don't really see how that follows. The Morrites know better, since this is their thing; a Priest of Morr says it's their duty to bring rest to Spirits however they can. Usually the proper rites will do it. Sometimes the Spirit's last business has to be attended. Sometimes, if the Spirit died in a particularly unjust way, they may have to call in the Templars of Morr to go on a quest to free them. Either way, being an adventuring Morrite ghost buster would be fun. Constantin considers Spirits very efficient, because you can eat a human, animate the flesh as a zombie, and then you've got a Spirit free to use in spooking as you wish. Someday he's going to say something interesting. Maybe.

Rikkit'tik suggests warpstone powder blown through a blowgun to disperse it through the Spirit's form.

Banshees are a specific kind of Spirit, always female, and their scream kills the hell out of people by sheer terror. They can't actually hurt people who are Fearless. Curiously, they don't seem actively hostile unless they're recruited and used as soldiers by the Vampire Counts. The biggest Common View story about them has one haunting the site of her death, and she only ever killed a single person. They're supposedly formed from the spirits of murderers, and Vorster Pike the Hunter seems to take the somewhat heretical position that Banshees are suffering Sigmar's justice for being 'evil women' in life. Considering that Sigmar hates the Undead, I can't really see that being the case, Pike old pal. The description on Banshees is pretty muddled, with the stories ranging from 'they just haunt spots' to 'they hate everything and are some of the only Spirits that will consistently attack the living without provocation'.

Our buddy Kinear is back to insist the Undead aren't a problem and Chaos is far more powerful, under the guise of warning that everyone needs to focus on Chaos.

Constantin wants to remind us they're cool and good at killing things because that's really all he ever does. C'mon, man! Have some actual theatrics! You're shaming your bloodline by being so cliche. If he's going to Carstein all over the place he could at least ask what a man is. Our other scholars just kind of restate that they're relatively hostile ghosts who scare people to death with their screaming.

They kinda ran out of steam on Banshees. I suspect because they're fundamentally similar to the larger Spirit category and there wasn't much to say about them.

Wights get interesting again. Schultz leads us off by telling us a Wight is an intelligent, trained warrior Undead. They're armed and armored, they know how to use them, and they're still intelligent enough for a soldier to get a sense the Wight actively wants a fight rather than just acting under the orders of a commander. They're sort of the Undead equivalent of a Chaos Warrior: Still kind of a mook, but the kind of mook that's a boss for a low level party and that nobody can take lightly. Hob the Farmer tells us there's a Wight that lives near his home, the body of 'old King Genaan', and if you leave his barrow alone he's no harm to anybody. Which is the case for most Wights not being driven to war by a Vampire or Necromancer; most of them just guard their burial site.

Proving what a prick he is, Constantin disdains some of his best soldiers, dismissing them as just 'fast, clever, skilled zombies'. He does bring up the interesting point that what gets animated when you pick up a Wight is the muscle memory of a warrior. This is why you can only make Wights out of 2nd tier or better warriors' corpses; the flesh and bones remember how to fight. He then gets to gloating about how a Wight can usually take out someone he can make into a new Wight, so they're expendable, too.

Rikkit'tik suggests a crossbow bolt smeared with pig's grease and of course, warpstone. Also standing well back and not getting in swording range. This is because the average Wight's sword is enchanted in the hands of the Wight, and will kill the heck out of the living. SB+2 counts as magical, roll twice and take the nastier crit when critting? Don't get hit by Wights.

Walemarr the Scholar confirms that Wights retain some of their intelligence. They aren't so independent that a skilled Necromancer or Vampire can't control them, but even without a controller they'll remain animate and they can act on their own. Many of them are made from the remains of ancient tribal kings and warriors, or even taken from the crypts of people long forgotten by the people of the Empire. Who knows how many ancient ruins and priceless historical sites have been defiled by the Von Carsteins in their constant quest for more of these soldiers?

I like Wights because if you encounter one without control, they're the first kind of Undead you don't necessarily need to fight. You could end up in an alliance of convenience with them against various other enemies, or you might be able to talk your way out of fighting them. A historian character might even be able to learn something of value by promising to tell the world of an ancient king's deeds and legacy, if the Wight is interested. Wights being intelligent, and sometimes naturally occurring (so to speak), gives you more range of adventures rather than just cutting them down as a dungeon crawling opponent.

Next Time: RETURN THE SLAAAAAAAAAB

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

I like to imagine the free-willed Wights as kind of the naturally-occurring version of Tomb Kings, the things that happen if you don't fuel your undead kings with pure-strain Nagash juice.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
One of the curious things about Hams Undead is that they're free. That's part of what makes the actual Undead characters so compelling: A Vampire has thirsts, sure, and their mind is certainly changed some by the transformation, but they're still free to do what they want with what they have. If a Vampire decides they want people to hail them as a hero, they're completely free to take steps to make that happen. If they take a liking to a specific mortal, they're free to try to help that person out or befriend them. That might take problematic, weird, or unwanted forms because they're Hams Vamps, but they're not chained to something the way Chaos is. Wights are the same. A free-willed Wight does what it wants, why it wants. What it wants might be alien, ancient, and weird, but it still gets to have a personality and goals. Same for Mummies (I've been waiting a long time to do the Mummy bit). They can do what they wish. They aren't pre-programmed or compelled, so they're free to have actual character.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!
The bit with Hob the Farmer makes me imagine a Wight that leaves the local farmers alone as long as they cut the grass on his barrow and don't go poking around inside, and in exchange you've got this ancient warrior king who gets upset if bandits or beastmen gently caress with "his" farmers. Then the Morrites come tromping along after hearing about it, insisting that all undead must be put to proper rest. Then you let the PC's bungle into town, or maybe have them in town when the Morrites arrive, and you've you a small adventure that writes itself.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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

PurpleXVI posted:

The bit with Hob the Farmer makes me imagine a Wight that leaves the local farmers alone as long as they cut the grass on his barrow and don't go poking around inside, and in exchange you've got this ancient warrior king who gets upset if bandits or beastmen gently caress with "his" farmers. Then the Morrites come tromping along after hearing about it, insisting that all undead must be put to proper rest. Then you let the PC's bungle into town, or maybe have them in town when the Morrites arrive, and you've you a small adventure that writes itself.

That actually happens in one of the pre-made adventures, almost exactly. One of the other things I love is that in most fantasy settings, the Morrite 'we must put all undead to rest' would be a throwaway 'yeah of course gently caress those guys' thing. In Hams, there's actually a reasonable chance that causes a problem at some point.

OvermanXAN
Nov 14, 2014

Night10194 posted:

That actually happens in one of the pre-made adventures, almost exactly. One of the other things I love is that in most fantasy settings, the Morrite 'we must put all undead to rest' would be a throwaway 'yeah of course gently caress those guys' thing. In Hams, there's actually a reasonable chance that causes a problem at some point.

This is why Hams Fantasy is cool and good.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

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

Night10194 posted:

That actually happens in one of the pre-made adventures, almost exactly. One of the other things I love is that in most fantasy settings, the Morrite 'we must put all undead to rest' would be a throwaway 'yeah of course gently caress those guys' thing. In Hams, there's actually a reasonable chance that causes a problem at some point.

It's usually a good sign when, after someone pitches a "I could see this happening in the setting," it turns out the developers already beat them to it. When the setting makes the fans think the same way the creators do, it's a sign of being very on-point in your design and thematics.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
Like, much of my writeup is admittedly demonstrating a specific reading of the setting and text. But a lot is also about how the text provides support for that reading. There are definitely other ways to see and play Hams Fantasy as a setting, I just really enjoy it partly because you can support the tone I'm usually writing about from the text.

You can play it as a grim and perilous setting full of dark things and corruption around every corner and that is still textually supported and completely valid. One of my goals has always been to show that a somewhat more upbeat reading is also textually supported and very in keeping with the material of the game-line. And that the mechanics actually fit a more adventurous tone better than the game's general reputation suggests.

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

WELL THAT JUST HAPPENED!

I just found something incredible deep inside Cyberpunk 2020. I can't wait to share it with the class.

Barudak
May 7, 2007

I hope you brought enough for everyone

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

La morte non ha sesso

Night10194 posted:

Like, much of my writeup is admittedly demonstrating a specific reading of the setting and text.
That's not a bad thing. That's...if you're not doing that you're not actually doing critique

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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

Imhotep is Invisible

We don't have an official Nehekara book. There's more on them and the Tomb Kings in one of the pre-made campaigns, and I'm going to try to get my hands on it some time because they're great, but the Mummy section here is the most we're getting for some time.

Thankfully, it's also one of the best entries in the book.

The common view of Mummies is that they're like turbo-Wights, really. There are ancient barrows and ruins all through the southern Empire and Bretonnia that represent the high point of Nehekaran (not-Egypt) expansion back before Nagash did his thing and destroyed their entire civilization like the rear end in a top hat he is. Thus, there are some places where an ancient king or queen sleeps, even in the Empire. The locals have long since learned not to bother these people; one example given is a lord talking about how in his grandfather's time, a Necromancer got into the tomb and tried to bind its inhabitant. The inhabitant not only killed him, but acting according to ancient law codes no-one knew anything about, went and razed an entire village that was near the mounds on the principle of collective punishment. Thus the noble's realm has firm laws that anyone poking the ancient mummy is to be captured and punished long before they can wake him up and cause havoc. Curiously, Waldemarr the Scholar is actually in the Common View here, since this isn't his area of specialty and all he can say is the ruins and barrows come from an ancient and very advanced civilization for them to have stood the test of time how they do.

Our Scholar's Eye starts with a story that's actually quite famous, and that I'm sure has been mentioned here before. In it, a wandering scholar has seen his wife poisoned with a terrible and slow-acting infection, and has gone to ancient Nehekara to try to study the ruins and learn of their healing arts in hopes of curing the terrible affliction. He's just there to study and isn't trying to disturb anything, but his guide tries to steal some of the tomb's gold. The next morning, he's awoken by heavily armed skeletons that take him and his guide captive, bringing them to the court of an eyeless man wrapped in bandages. An ancient priest, speaking in Reikspiel of all things, asks the scholar why he has come; the scholar pleads that he didn't come for gold but to try to study the wisdom of this great city of Bel Aliad, known as a place of healing, in order to save his wife from poisoning. The Mummy orders the guide (who is still holding the stolen gold) executed, then smiles at the scholar and orders the priest to take him somewhere. The priest tells him the King has ordered he be given the knowledge he seeks, and leads him to what he needed in order to save his wife. "My Lord commands me to tell you that he, too, loved once. He, too, would have gone to the ends of the earth for his love."

It's one of the best of these little vignettes in a book that has a bunch of good ones. Even if you don't know the Tomb Kings from somewhere else, it tells you the most important part about the Tomb Kings. I've said before one of the biggest strengths of the Hams Undead is that the major actors among them are 'free'. They can make their own choices about what they do and they don't even have to be hostile to the living in most cases. Well, the biggest thing about the Tomb Kings is that they're completely free. They don't even have a Vampire's thirst. They're just people. Undead people, yes, ancient people, yes, but people who are free to do as they feel is right or to do what they wish. An ancient Mummy listening to an adventuring archeologist's tale and sympathizing with him is awesome!

Their Own Words section is also cool. It's an ancient king talking about how in his life, he would defeat the 'fierce ones from the north' and the despoiling Greenskins. He was master of his domain and a Lord in a great Empire. Now, he doesn't know how long it has been. He no longer recognizes the trees and landscape around his barrow. But the fierce ones still come from the north. The Greenskins still despoil. And he has no mercy left for either.

Basically, you could have an adventure where an Imperial village accidentally wakes up its ancient Nehekaran Queen or something and she takes it upon herself to rule them properly, and suddenly you've got an ancient Mummy and her skeleton legions showing up to defend the town but none of the people know a goddamn thing about ancient Nehekara. There are all kinds of adventure seeds you can come up with for the mummies, just from what's here in this short bit. It's a very good example of how this book works, and it's really nice to see after they seemed to be running out of steam a little on some of the other fluff entries. It's not a huge entry. It doesn't take pages and pages, but what's there is evocative and really cool. You've got one case where a merciless force the Imperials don't understand has to be kept away from being disturbed, one case where diplomacy and understanding carry the day in a crisis, and one case where an ancient king is still saying he feels responsible for doing all that he did while he was alive. In only a few fluff entries you've got multiple good paths for adventure.

This is a bit of a short one because I only have 3 more entries to go after this one, and I feel like the Mummies can stand on their own.

Next Time: Bleh!

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 15:23 on Feb 28, 2019

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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

Halloween Jack posted:

That's not a bad thing. That's...if you're not doing that you're not actually doing critique

Oh, I'm aware. I'm not saying it as a bad thing, I just want to acknowledge there's evidence for other readings, especially in the pre-made adventures, which often have a very different tone than the sourcebooks. It's part of why I don't like them. The other part is the way they're kind of boring, tend to think they get at a 'grim' tone by denying the player characters any kind of actual victory or reward, are railroaded all to hell, and often have poor balance that goes counter to a lot of the core book's own GMing advice.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!
...and Necrons are currently failing to steal Tomb Kings' thunder.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009

I love the potoo,
and the potoo loves you.
I am suddenly struck by the idea of an adventure that leads to a Tomb King becoming an Elector Count.

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Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements



Cythereal posted:

I am suddenly struck by the idea of an adventure that leads to a Tomb King becoming an Elector Count.

This is extremely good.

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