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Hunt11
Jul 24, 2013



Grimey Drawer

Night10194 posted:

Sometimes, I look at the huge amount of Hams material I have covered, and think there is a lot of it.

I have nothing on Rifts. What are you most looking forward to/least looking forward to in upcoming Rifts stuff?

I think Rifts has a comparable amount of material to 3/3.5.

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Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Right now I have the Coalition Wars series. I've been looking forward to tackling it pretty much since I started doing these reviews, but I'm thoroughly "in the desert" on it right now- most of the reviews are in roughs at this point, but it's still a six-book metaplot chunk. After that, I'll probably have a break.

I'm thinking of doing a surprise review as well, but that's, well. It'd be a surprise.

Selachian
Oct 9, 2012



I always thought Al-Qadim was pretty well done by AD&D 2E standards, outside of a few bits of weirdness like the sha'ir. I never actually got to play it though.

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 6: Class is in Session

So with the races wrapped up, time to dive into all the feats that the races have access to. Except, sorry, I’m not doing that because most of these feats are pretty standard d20 feats. They’ve just been recategorized slightly and there are some tweaks and additions, but basically if you’ve played a d20 game you know what you’re in for here. It’s a long list of tiny, situational bonuses that you comb through looking for one that is missing the keyword that limits your ability to abuse it and laugh at the ones like a five feat long chain to unlock the ability to actually fly for the race that has wings. I am going to give kudos to the authors here, they included a nice concise table by both alphabetical and feat category of a summary of what the feats do and what their prerequisites are so at least this section is easily useable both during character creation and gameplay.

Now, with out initial feats chosen despite this being a pile of situational bonuses on our character who doesn’t have a base to build on*, let us choose the class our character will be. Dark Revelations has a slight twist on the typical d20 formula for class selection; you pick from a small pool of overarching classes with three disciplines within them. As you level in the overarching class you’re allowed to buy what are effectively class specific feats called talents from either the overarching list you class has access to or the specific discipline within that class you chose. Annoyingly, in the core book of Dark Revelations you only get two of the four overarching classes and the game doesn’t explain that there are actually more classes to choose from. The only reason I know there are more is that a) there is no magic user class in this book despite talking about magic casters in the fluff and b) one of the charts compares some features all four classes against each other despite two of them never being mentioned in the book.

The bigger issue with this system though is, well, it isn’t really any more streamlined than the traditional class approach of d20. Players still have to commit to a discipline within their class and each discipline has further areas of sub focus that it doesn’t feel like there are two classes as much as there are between 6 and 18 classes in this book. Further, these talents don’t replace feats but are instead in addition to them, so there is still the traditional d20 chore of sorting through massive feat lists on feat levels now compounded with alternating and going through your class list on what to buy on those levels. A nice touch is that when talents for a class work with specific rules, even though this isn’t the the section to explain them, the game has sidebars that pop up explaining them so you can understand what the benefit really is.

In terms of how these classes function the Adventurer appears to be the Rogue reskinned with Combatant being the Fighter. As everyone knows these are the two garbage classes of d20 but without having any monsters or spellcasters in this book, though, I can’t confirm if they’ll suffer as badly as their fantasy predecessors. What I can confirm is that the Combatant will be garbage at skill-checks forever because the terrible skill point improvement per level system from d20 has been carried over wholesale.

In terms of class design there are two major issues that crop up, and all of them are things d20 has done badly for a while that Dark Revelations can work on tweaking. The Combatant job role appears to be, as ever, make your basic attack deal as much damage as you can either by stacking as many bonuses as it will hold or playing a berserker. Either way, you’re not really doing a whole lot on your turn that isn’t “I attack”. On the other hand the Adventurer, exactly like its Rogue counterpart in D&D 3rd Edition, is possibly doing even less because their core damage option revolves around building their forever-home inside the skill “sneak attack”.

The second part is randomly included weaknesses for skills that aren’t that strong. The Combatant’s warlord equivalent, Soldier, has a lengthy talent tree focused around providing a grab bag of buffs and temporary HP. At level twenty a character fully invested in this talent tree can grant around +15 temporary HP, +1 to +5 AC, CMD, and Skill Check rolls to the whole party for a 15 turn duration in a single action twice a day and granting the first turn they get this bonus an extra swift and move action. This sounds not too shabby except if at any point someone blessed by this buff loses those 15 temporary HP so are all the other benefits. In a game where a level 20 monster in melee averages well over 20 damage a hit while attacking multiple times and magic damage regularly ignores AC you’ll be lucky to keep the bonus up on anyone in the party past the third turn.

Now this is usually where the third d20 class design issue would crop up; focus-pulling character classes. Without any magic in the core book, nobody is going to distort our adventuring party by using a totally different resolution or skill restoration system. What about classes where all their bonuses and skills are tied into an item or pet or mount? Well Dark Revelations has one of those, the “Transrider”, which is the catch all vehicle piloting class. Normally, this would be a grade-A focus-puller as it its talents are quite useful while mounted but do absolutely nothing if not.

The authors of Dark Revelations, however, seemed like they realized this wasn’t the best idea so enter the humble skateboard and personal mobility scooter. These, Dark Revelations says, counts as vehicles. Suddenly your pilot now gets armor resistance and other defensive bonuses merely for riding a scooter and thanks to talents can travel between 60-80 feet a turn without penalty, hydroplane over small bodies of water, treat the scooter as a weapon they have proficiency with, and ghost ride their scooter into someone then use a feat to automatically get back in the driver seat after the damage is done. There are some issues here with some talents being absolutely necessary to make this class function at all and one talent that lets you claim extra feats as talents being a cruel trap, but come on, who doesn’t want to play the character whose specialty is kickflipping their skateboard at people to disarm them or using their dirt bike to knock every enemy combatant to the ground?

Oh and in the section for the Transrider they mention two species that make excellent Transriders despite both species being neither playable nor ever being explained anywhere else in the book in their 3 remaining mentions. Editing!

Next Time: Thats Why You Need A Montage

*This is not a complaint about Dark Revelations per se, just d20 in general

Barudak fucked around with this message at 22:26 on Mar 17, 2019

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017





Did I read that right in the Rifter review somebody was trying to angst about being a Crazy?

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers, stern and wild ones, and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss.


Clapping Larry

Alien Rope Burn posted:

Meikyuu Kingdom is not a great pedigree to begin with, sadly.

On an unrelated note, if we could generally tone down the discussion of creepy isekai if there's not an actual review related to it, I'd appreciate it.

Oh, it is very terrible.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


So you're saying BMX Bandit can finally shine with Angel Summoner nowhere to be found.

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

Horned Rat-Sempai Noticed Me! :swoon:


Night10194 posted:

So you're saying BMX Bandit can finally shine with Angel Summoner nowhere to be found.

That was my thought to, along with Bart from the Simpsons arcade game.

Selachian
Oct 9, 2012



At last, the perfect system for running Dwayne McDuffie's Teenage Negro Ninja Thrashers in.

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

Horned Rat-Sempai Noticed Me! :swoon:




Part 10c: “WOW! President Bartmoss!”



The rules for designing custom programs are pretty good for what they are. You start with a base difficulty depending on the class of program, then select a number of different options, and then choose a program strength (which increases difficulty on a one-for-one basis). It’s not perfect, admittedly. Having the quality of a program’s ICON as an option will mean players never give their programs an ICON (this doesn’t make them invisible, but not having it saves resources). Also the example they give is for an existing program and its options don’t quite match up with what the program can do back in the description. But otherwise it covers everything you need. The size of the program and the number of hours needed is based on the final difficulty, and the cost is based on a combination of the class of program and difficulty. With the pricing rules it’s possible to back out the difficulty to create any program, and this gives the player and Referee ample references for setting modifiers to programs. There are even rules for collaborating with other programmers, allowing players a means of getting past really high difficulties.

Overall it’s a solid set of item creation rules, even if its in service to a part of the game I’ve been dunking on heavily. On the other hand, an enterprising Referee can use these rules as a template for house-ruling how to build items other roles care about, like guns and cybernetics. It wouldn’t be easy, but the framework is reasonable.

There’s one exception to my praise of the programming rules, and that’s the special rules for the Compiler class of programs, aka Demons. The rules here, along with the provided example, not only make Compilers effectively outside of what a character would normally use but give the impression that the pre-made programs require a lot of futzing with and aren’t plug-and-play like the program description implies. On top of that, the Demon programming rules tell us that using Demons gives a -1 penalty to your deck speed for every program loaded on it. It’s unclear whether this penalty is always applied or only on turns a Netrunner uses a subprogram on the Demon. In either case, it’s really egregious that this penalty is introduced 30 pages after Demons are presented as a program a character can buy in order to get around the MU limits on their decks.


Me after reading this section

The last subject in this section describes Virtual Realities. VR spaces exist in the Net, but can be visited by any character (non-Netrunners would use a set of electrode). There are a bunch of rules for how to create them, what they cost, how realistic they could get, how many objects exist in them, what the possible objects are, and how Netrunner programs interact with the VR. It takes up 5 1/2 pages, and it is completely useless.

There no reason for the Referee to bother with these rules. If they want to set a scene in a VR, then they’ll describe what it looks like. No player is going to audit what is and isn’t possible based on the base price (which the Ref can make up). Defensive and offensive programs in a VR still follow the Netrunner combat rules, and characters are otherwise unaffected by what happens in the VR. There’s also no reason given for players to set up a VR. Some of the flavor says that NPCs use VR to train Black Ops teams, but there’s no description of how this would actually improve skills, if there are any limitations overall or specific to the level of realism, nothing. Whether VR training is something players can do is totally up to the Referee.

With that, the Netrunner section comes to an end on a wet fart. The Netrunner section is last the of the rules needed to run Cyberpunk 2.0.2.0. The rest of the book gives more details on the setting and its history (including Night City, the default setting for Cyberpunk), a section with advice for running the game, and adventure hooks with varying degrees of detail.

Next Time: In The Not Too Distant Future

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

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




Selachian posted:

At last, the perfect system for running Dwayne McDuffie's Teenage Negro Ninja Thrashers in.

No system can simulate skateboard physics to the necessary degree, though I hear there's some progress towards functional "Jive" spellcasting.

Barudak
May 7, 2007



When I got to the Transrider I was all set to chew it out for being yet another Cavaliere class style issue and then it delivered on exactly what that kind of class should be. Good and protected niche in on foot, Great in a section that relies solely on their skills, and a solid baseline contributor if lacking its special equipment on foot.

Plus theyre pretty much the only player at the table in Dark Revelations who has options other than "I attack" even if some of them like jump are less useful in on foot combat and more check out my trick video <misses all shots on target while trying to do an ollie boardflip>

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


ChaseSP posted:

Okay a facility thats basically an angel trap whose function is a sacrificial lamb to keep angels wrecking all of Earth in their sesech would be a good if not really sobering revelation that everything was meaningless and you were protecting absolutely nothing important directly while suffering for it.

I mean, you're protecting the rest of the drat planet, which is not exactly meaningless.

Barudak
May 7, 2007



JcDent posted:

I mean, you're protecting the rest of the drat planet, which is not exactly meaningless.

Youre getting a shitload of civilians and military people killed over a trap though and everyone is being lied to that its a trap. Like if the game comes out and says "its a trap" fine you get to be a hero reducing the amount of angel bullshit Tokyo-3 deals with* but if you get lied to about it all of you are dying because command didnt trust you and doesnt care how much you suffer which is in line with how the show treats its people.

*Not that this works with the shows logic but seriously if you care about this maybe roleplaying isnt for you

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


I guess it all depends on why they're not telling you poo poo, like, is it OPSEC to defend from angel mind reading or w/e or do they just not care.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





JcDent posted:

I guess it all depends on why they're not telling you poo poo, like, is it OPSEC to defend from angel mind reading or w/e or do they just not care.
In the show it was because the two dueling secret power groups both planned to end the current phase of human existence, leading to mass (re?)unification of people's souls into a single massive entity. Shinji's pa wanted it to allow him in particular to hook up with his wife again while I think the default guys just wanted to pull the trigger and bring everyone together. (This is where the "tang" thing comes from, once people's souls got liberated their bodies reverted to primordial soup.)

Presumably neither group felt that this was a goal likely to command popular support, while "we need to make a mecha defense fortress in Hakone Japan in order to fend off supermonsters" could at least avoid mass riots.

Merilan
Mar 7, 2019



I know it's from a while back but Night10194's review of Double Cross reminded me of this thread (I've been using the advice! even if I still don't have a game) and while I was in Japan I was glad to be able to find a Table Talk Roleplaying Game section at a K-Books:



It was pretty astonishing to see that what I assume are the original rules come in a pretty dense, small manga-size booklet, assumedly black and white; with this in mind the layout from the translated PDFs online honestly make more sense, in how centred everything is when you consider the publication paper size.

Also tangentially related, I knew Call of Cthulhu is huge back when I used to follow the Youtube serial TRPGs of various characters making licensed Call of Cthulhu games (my favourite one was Reimu, Youmu from Touhou teaming up with... L from Death Note and Inogashira Goro from Solitary Gourmet of all people), but it wasn't until I saw it that it hit me how huge:



And finally, it was also amusing to see:



I'm the derpy goblin in the banner sleeve

Barudak
May 7, 2007



In the show the Angels attack only thay singular base location because they think it has what they want inside it. Humans want to stop them because a) the angels are absurdly deadly killing machines of pure ego that manifest into the world so they need to be stopped regardless of the fact that b) the last time one of them touched whats in the basement half of the earths population died nearly instantaneously.

Everyone, globally, is extremely supportive of "operation: dont let the angels into the basement". In fact, contrary to how most mecha shows would go episode 2 is almost entirely about how people except mission critical people evacuated out of Tokyo-3 immediately after the first attack and the actual fight is about 20 seconds of runtime. The only public facing coverup is that the military is utterly helpless against the Angels with their best weapon basically only able to stall them for a short time but even that leaks to the public in short order.

As for the secret society they arent dueling, per se. Shinji's dad is the employee of the secret society that controls the earth and he plans to betray them, but at the same time hes just a pawn to them because they think pretty rightfully he isnt half as clever as he thinks he is and that if push comes to shove they can just steamroll him at the end of days if he tried to cross them. This is, by the way exactly what happens too. Again, Gendo is a trash person and the show does not want you to ever think he is good, cool, or justified in any way.

Seele, the actual rulers of the world are old men who are afraid of dying and being alone, so they want to murder all the angels and then basically ask their creator to unify all human souls back into one gestalt. Shinjis dad wants to follow in the footsteps of the angels creator and exist without anyone else at all except his dead wife, and his son can go eat dirt for all he cares. When pressed, Shinji picks option 3 at the end of the show.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2e: Old World Armory

Chocolate: More valuable than gold

You know, going through OWA a bunch in preparation for this, there's more in here that's of use than I used to think. But it's the kind of stuff that's less likely to come up directly in a campaign and is more some interesting background and material culture stuff, for if you want to know what kind of hat your PC wears or why the corrupt taxman is trying to confiscate your chili peppers. Throughout the book there's less direct history and fluff and more 'what do people wear, what do they eat, why is this so expensive'; the most useful mechanical element of the book is giving you an idea of how rich you get when you successfully plunder an ancient barrow or manage to steal a load of cocoa beans imported from Lustria.

Which, as much as that stuff can descend into Mustard Smuggling campaigns, is perfectly fitting to the objectives and tone of a Hams Fantasy game; Hams PCs tend to care about money, and you're as likely to find lots of stolen caravan goods or whatever as you are to just find piles of gold and jewels. Having some references points on what your PCs can get for a bunch of Cathayan silk they stole back from hobgoblin raiders is hardly the worst possible use for a sourcebook, and it's certainly better than the book being pages and pages of new gear that the game system can't support. That said, it's time to get into the trade and taxation section.

One thing that stands out to me as I read through the Merchant Houses section is that the information here disagrees with some later information, probably because the writers hadn't yet really decided what they were doing with Bretonnia. They describe a knightly family in Bretonnia that is often criticized for their devotion to the wine trade. House Agnew supposedly helped Marienburg secede from the Empire for reasons of nebulous economic advantage that aren't expanded on here in their small entry, and all of this was written before they did the Bretonnia sourcebook and decided on matters like the Merchant Clubs. It also contradicts some other fluff elsewhere (though not in the 2e line) wherein the High Elves were partly behind Marienburg's secession so that they'd have a friendly mercantile port and prevent the Empire having a good harbor to build a navy of their own out of, which I generally prefer because I like the High Elves being a somewhat dickish (though not outright hostile) 1st World Nation loving around with the Old World for economic advantage, but I digress.

The House of Bacher, based out of Marienburg, is one of the primary movers of foodstuffs throughout both the Empire and Bretonnia. Something to remember about Marienburg is that it sits at the mouth of the River Reik and is basically the prime gateway from all sea trade into the Imperial river network. Half the reason the Empire has never taken Marienburg back is that if they want to, they can shut down one of the primary arteries of commerce all through the entire Empire. It's the kind of situation that can't last forever, but for now the Empire finds it much easier to deal with Marienburg as a friendly but separate economic power rather than risk having major shortages from houses like Bacher no longer sending food down the river routes. I mention all this here because Bacher has no real writeup beyond 'based in Marienburg, vital element of sending food to Imperial cities', so it's a good place to talk about the economic and strategic importance of Marienburg.

Korbal's Fine Wares deals in extreme value commodities, like the very small amounts of Gromril (extremely powerful, hard to shape metal) imported from the dwarfs per year, high quality cut gems, and imports from the Eastern lands. The Von Kantors are their opposite, dealing in normal bulk ore and trying to use cheap labor and convicts to beat dwarf goods on price. The Rumster Clan is infamous all throughout the Empire as the most powerful halfling family in the setting: They run the entire meat pie business in all of the Empire's cities on one level or another. The meat pie mafia can be found wherever there's cheap filling and slightly off flour, warming up the ovens; their pies are cheap and tasty, but also a very good way to make yourself very sick.

One of the interesting things in this section is the map of every major trade route in the Empire, Kislev, and Bretonnia. True to history, the majority of the most profitable trade routes run via the ocean or world's rivers; far more trade moves down the River Reik than over the Empire's roads. Water transit is an order of magnitude easier and safer, even with all the pirates and sea monsters. On a personal note, it amuses me to take a look here and see that the biggest trade route passing through Norsca goes exactly where I put the capital of a developing Norsca for a game set in 2631, over 100 years after the time all of these books are written; for once my instincts about geography were right and it turns out a river delta with a natural harbor would make for a good place to put a big settlement. That's one of the interesting bits about the Old World in general: Major hubs are where you'd expect them to be. Big cities tend to be near a source of fresh water and easy transport, or on important caravan routes or genuinely strategic locations. The Old World's geography makes sense for the most part.

Another interesting bit: Altdorf is certainly a major trading hub and the capital of the Empire, but they also note that it makes a lot of its money on tourism and education. Altdorf's universities are famous all over the human world, and not just the Colleges of Magic. Nobles and wealthy merchants from Estalia, Tilea, Araby, Kislev, and even occasionally Bretonnia will send their children to study in Altdorf, and bring some of the family fortune with them when they come. Similarly, as a major hub of international diplomacy, Altdorf sees a lot of economic activity just to support all the diplomats and government officials who come there on official business.

Marienburg is strategically vital, as noted above, and is one of the largest port cities in all of the world outside of Ulthuan. I already went over why they're important, but it's here we get the note that Marienburg is also the main gateway for elven goods and trade coming in from Ulthuan, since all of that comes by sea and almost all sea trade to come to the Empire passes through Marienburg. A cozy relationship between Ulthuan and the Libertarian Fantasy Dutch (Marienburg) lets the elves evade a lot of Imperial tax and the Marienburgers collect a lot of the difference, I'd imagine.

Middenheim actually isn't a particularly important trading city, being primarily a strategic location. Without any rivers, all trade to Middenheim has to go overland; if the city wasn't so important as Ulric's holy city it would be greatly impoverished, as it's much cheaper and easier to trade with Talabheim.

Meanwhile, Nuln is doing its best to compete with Altdorf, building up its own universities, trying to draw people to travel there, and running its grand cannon foundries. You won't find better human engineers or human-built weaponry anywhere else in the world, and Nuln churns out armor, weaponry, and tools at a rate unmatched by any other human city in the setting.

Also an interesting note: The Reikland's engineers have been experimenting with advances in agricultural technology (probably aided by the establishment of the Jade College) that have greatly reduced the rates of famine in the Empire, and made the Reikland's farmers very rich. Reikland, Averland, and the Moot produce an awful lot of food, which is sent along the rivers to the rest of the Empire.

An added note in the margins: Most Cathayan goods actually come from Araby, as do Indian ones. This makes Araby tremendously wealthy, as Cathayan spices, silks, and other exotic goods are always in huge demand in the Empire, and the Empire is an economic superpower with money to burn on imports for its wealthiest citizens.

Estalia and Tilea do a lot of business with Araby as a result, and then do a lot of business with the Empire. Tilea, especially, is a major economic rival and competitor to the Imperials, since they have an awful lot of good harbors compared to the Empire paucity of sea travel. This allows them to import and export international trade more easily, sending things through Marienburg to the Empire. Estalia is one of the main gates to Araby, and the great port at Magritta sees exotic goods like coffee flow into the rest of the Old World. Tilea and Estalia hate one another, and so prefer to do business with the Empire outside of the Tilean port of Tobaro, which you might remember from WHFRP Companion as that cliff city that had a pig for a prince once and that fought off the Rat Nazis.

Kislev lacks for major ports, but its cities produce a great deal and Praag is the Western end-point of the Warhams equivalent of the Silk Road. Erengard is also the main gateway to Norscan trade; while the Kislevites hate the Norscans for a lot of reasons, they trade with the southern tribes that aren't as fully taken over by Chaos before sending the goods to Marienburg. Marienburg has been trying for years to cultivate relationships with the southern Kings of Norsca because Norsca is absolutely full of silver and is, curiously, the only place in Hams that produces amber. Norscan whale oil and timber are also worth risking the journey to get, and the southern Norse are just as happy to get vast wealth by trading with foreigners as raiding them.

Bretonnia is a major food exporter, but also produces fine wines, brandies, and horses that the rest of the Old World would very much like to buy. Brionne, Bordeleaux, and L'Anguille are major ports, and having 3 major ports directly under their control to the Empire's 0 is one of the reasons the Brets actually have a better navy than their more advanced neighbor.

I actually like all the stuff about where goods go and why, because you're very likely to find yourself escorting merchants or signing on to trade voyages. You could get a fun adventure out of sailing from Erengard to Norsca to negotiate with Norse kings and bring valuable commodities through the pirate-infested waters of the Sea of Claws back to Marienburg, where you have to deal with the Libertarian Fantasy Dutch potentially backstabbing you over the money. Where there's huge sums of money at stake, there's conflict. I also like the reminder that international trade is a big part of the setting, and people from other lands are actually pretty common in the Empire, especially in Reikland. You want to play an Arabian noble studying at an Altdorf University who gets caught up in adventure? That shouldn't be a problem; it's right there in the fluff.

We also get a nice table of the value of lots of trade goods in the Empire. I will note Chocolate and Chilis are the most valuable exotic goods in the Empire; anything that has to come from Lustria is worth more than gold. Tea is surprisingly cheap, and I suspect this is because the elves export tons of it. Coffee is very valuable, too. Also, almond oil is apparently very valuable? What would you do with almond oil? Generally, the less it's possible to grow or produce something in the Old World, the more valuable it is.

As you might imagine from the rest of the Empire, taxation in the Empire is very messy. In general, as long as the government gets the money it needs to do whatever it's trying to do, it doesn't question the ridiculous methods by which it gets it until there are open riots in the streets. PCs will often be able to avoid taxation because they don't declare their income, the state is hardly omnipresent, and they move around a lot. At the same time, the Empire will often employ small bands of freebooters as tax farmers, and if your PCs include anyone skilled in business and then a bunch of people skilled in murder and magic, getting in on that action could be tremendously profitable for them.

One of the common taxes in the Empire is the Poll Tax, where citizens are required to travel to a larger city and register that they are citizens of the Empire every 5 years, paying a shilling per male, 6 pennies per female, and 3 pennies per cow. This leads the official demographics of the Empire to be skewed (and inaccurate) as many children are dressed as girls during the trip to reduce the tax burden on their families. The Poll Tax is only loosely enforced until the Empire suspects a war is coming, because it both needs the money and needs to know how many men it can call up to war.

The Ear Tax is a tax on ears above a certain size, used as a tariff to hassle elven merchants. It's hard to enforce, because elven merchants usually have embassies, lawyers, and a lot of money. Collectors only ever attempt to collect the Ear Tax (One shilling per overly extravagant ear) if they're sure they can easily get away with it.

Imperial Regiments will often raise money for the army by a practice known as 'dinning', where they send the regiment's musicians to go and play patriotic music as loudly as possible...at midnight. They won't leave until the Regiment has the money it needs. If anyone complains about the noise, they're obviously A: Unpatriotic and B: Unaware that this is significantly better than how an actual 30 Years War era regiment would be raising money.

During times of food shortage, the Empire charges people taxes based on their waistline, on the theory that the fat are doing just fine for themselves and can afford to pay for food for the skinny for a bit. In practice, this led to the invention of the corset for purposes of tax evasion. Oh, Empire. Your people are ridiculous in ways that make me happy.

The Empire is also fond of raising money via requiring licenses, for everything. This has the dual purpose of collecting licensing fees for everyday activities (like wearing hats or owning ferrets; I'm not making this up this is directly from the book) and collecting fines for people who did not know they needed a ferret and/or hat license. This is also where the Empire will sometimes sell taxation licenses to private individuals as tax farmers. Which is inevitably a tremendously corrupt and unfortunate thing that PCs are likely to either have to put a stop to or get in on (there's a ton of money to be made, dangit).

I love what a goddamn mess the Empire is. It's one of the most fun parts about it.

Next Time: Armor? In this, the Old World Armory?

Loxbourne
Apr 6, 2011

Tomorrow, doom!
But now, tea.

Night10194 posted:

What would you do with almond oil?

It's a cosmetic, which will instantly make it valuable, and like any oil you could probably burn it to fuel a small steam engine of the kind the Empire seems to be playing with.

Cease to Hope
Dec 12, 2011
Desine fata deum flecti sperare precando.



Loxbourne posted:

It's a cosmetic, which will instantly make it valuable, and like any oil you could probably burn it to fuel a small steam engine of the kind the Empire seems to be playing with.

plus exotic oils are going to be in high demand from alchemists and chemists

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Loxbourne posted:

It's a cosmetic, which will instantly make it valuable, and like any oil you could probably burn it to fuel a small steam engine of the kind the Empire seems to be playing with.

Neat. I'd never heard of it before now.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




It's kind of weird that the powers for the factions in Cyberpunk 3.0 were No-Hassle Cyberware, Shapeshifting, Different No-Hassle Cyberware, Different Shapeshifting, and Drone Piloting. Only the last is relevant to Netrunners, which you'd think would be a big part of the game in any edition.

But I played decker-free Shadowrun, so what do I know?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2e: Old World Armory

Old World Armor-y.

So, as you've probably noticed, from a mechanical standpoint armor is extremely important in WHFRP2e. Unless you're a spellcaster (Divine Spellcasters can wear up to Medium with Armored Caster and be just fine) or someone really, really reliant on stealth you almost certainly want the best armor you can afford. This is because armor is very reliable in WHFRP2e. There are a few things that will pierce your armor, but the vast majority of incoming damage is going to get reduced or deflected by solid armor. Many of my combat PCs owe their lives to their heavy armor, and upgrading from light to medium is a big step up in durability; when you have a TB of 3-5, even a single point of armor is valuable. Three or five points is a big deal, and allows DR to generally keep slightly ahead of damage by design.

Some players really hate the fact that you can bounce off or get your damage heavily mitigated, because they don't think about what it does for the player as opposed to the enemy (namely, that you're fairly likely to take chip damage or no damage from weaker enemies if you have heavy armor). Not only that, but I've played 40kRP; I've seen what happens when you make DR much more unreliable, and it goes completely loving nuts. Plus, you know, 'I hit him for 5 wounds' matters a lot when you have 15 wounds. The problem for our current book is that the armor system doesn't really leave much room for inserting new armor, mechanically. When you've got Light, Medium, and Heavy and generally want to keep to a cap of 5 AV per location to keep DR scaling from getting out of control, there's not much you can do mechanically to differentiate new suits of armor. Thus, the majority of this section is fluff about the various armors, who wears them, and a reminder that the Empire actually has some of the best armor technology in the setting, thanks to their friendship with the dwarfs. The Imperials were unwilling to settle for just buying full, articulated plate from their neighbors, and so learned to forge and build it themselves; the Empire, dwarfs, and Chaos are the only reliable sources for whole-body-covering full plate armor.

Leather armor isn't popular because it's protective, and a professional warrior in the Empire would usually scoff at someone claiming they want to wear lighter armor in combat 'to have full mobility' (though leather is the only armor with no penalties). Leather is popular because because it's cheap, light, and plentiful. Almost every soldier can afford an armored jack, a skullcap worn under their big hat, and some leg protection. And it'll still slow down a knife or sword, so it's still valuable. Leather armor is easy to make in huge quantities and not too burdensome to wear, so every Imperial State Trooper has a suit of Full Leather Armor as part of their basic trappings. Leather is also easy to decorate and incorporate into a uniform, which furthers its popularity with the Imperial Regiments, who like to dye it in bright colors so a soldier can be identified amidst the smoke and fire of a battle. Elves, on the other hand, like to wear leather to be 'unburdened' in battle, which works great until you're outnumbered and can't manage to Dodge and Parry everything that's coming at you. Wood Elves, especially, prefer to wear little but camouflaged leather armor in battle (partly because they don't have much metal and need it for weapons, I imagine).

Studded Leather is A: An invention of D&D but a fantasy staple and B: A really great upgrade to normal leather that provides 2 AV. This is leather with some metal elements to reinforce important parts of the armor. Any location you wear Studded on cannot wear Mail or Plate; I dunno, it makes it weird, I guess. So you could wear Studded arm protection over normal Leather on your chest and head backed up by actual plate elements if you wanted. Generally, characters use Studded for two reasons: One, it's half the price of Mail, so it's pretty affordable to upgrade your full suit to Studded early. Two, it counts as Light Armor and so has no attendant armor penalties for physical actions and only gives -1 to casting checks; if you want to be an armored battle wizard, you can probably get away with 2 points of AV for 1 point of casting check penalty. Characters who are really dead set on being light and sneaky will also get great use out of Studded. It's 1 less armor than Mail to not need to deal with -10 AV; that's an acceptable tradeoff. You won't be armor-tanking everything with this armor, but it's solid enough that it starts to be worth asking if you'd prefer this or Mail, and that's a good question to have mechanically.

Mail is sort of the mid-point. If you have Mail armor, you're planning to upgrade to Plate at some point. At AV3 (when stacked with a full suit of leather), Medium armor will double the average unupgraded human's damage reduction. Someone with the same Damage as you have Toughness will have a 30% chance of bouncing off you. Medium is a huge upgrade to your actual tanking. For most professionals in the setting, Mail armor is where stuff starts to count as 'real' armor rather than just the junk issued to conscripts and militia. Someone who can afford a real coat of metal armor has enough money and status to be counted as a 'real' warrior. Mail is almost always worn over leather backing, both to provide more protection and because it's more comfortable to have padding between your skin and the chafing metal suit. Fluff-wise, Bretonnians wear an awful lot of Mail because they don't know how to make the flexible components of Plate; fluff-wise Bret Knight Armor is supposed to be Full Leather, Full Mail, Plate Breastplate, Plate Helmet instead of including limb protection, though they just get Full Plate according to Knights of the Grail later like any other knight. Mail is much easier to size and adjust, so it's commonly issued en-masse to richer mercenary companies or better Regiments of Imperial State Troops. It's usually worth the -10% Agi over leather. If you have a ton of money, you can buy a superior Mail suit for 5x the price from Marienburger master armorers that provides the same protection for -5% Agi.

We also get our first super-armor here: Ithmilar Mail. Ithmilar is Legally Distinct From Mithril(tm), and in no way linked to the Tolkien Estate. It is merely a very light, silvery metal that the elves use to fashion fine armor that wears like clothing. There are no legal similarities to Mithril(tm). Ithmilar Armor is not available for sale, but is a fantastic endgame goal for a PC. When worn with Leather, it provides AV 4 (AV 3 worn on its own without Leather) while having absolutely no drawbacks. You can even still put plate over it, though you'll be limited to AV 5 if you do. But still, having your mail component either top out at 1 point under Full Plate with no drawbacks or being able to wear Plate but with only the -1 Mv penalty even without the rare Sturdy talent is really good. This armor is difficult to make, never for sale, and the kind of thing you get from quest rewards or from killing an elf prince or elite soldier.

Scale Armor is an attempt to do for Medium what Studded does for Light and it sucks. It's terrible. It sets you to AV4 when worn with Leather, which is fine, but it does it while imposing both the penalties for Medium (-10 Agi) and Heavy (-1 Mv) armors and being unable to layer Plate over it. Also, a full suit of Scale costs only 10% less than a full suit of Plate, so...just spend the 40 extra crowns. Scale Armor would be fine if it was very cheap, but it isn't. No-one uses Scale.

Plate Armor is the best armor in the known world and man does that ever show in gameplay. You get full plate, you've got a huge, endgame upgrade for your warrior. AV5 will stop an awful lot of damage and increase your effective ability to take damage immensely. There's a reason almost every truly elite warrior in the Empire wears plate; this stuff will bounce a musket shot reasonably often and stands up to angry Chaos Warriors, big monsters, and even the occasional vampire. Because of its value, Plate tends to be decorated and stylized, designed to show off an elite knight's allegiance. If you're going to make something this impressively engineered, you'd best make it fancy as hell! To that end, we will get an entire primer on heraldry and a random table of decorations and customizations for armor appearance later in the Armor bits. Almost no-one in the Old World besides Imperials, Dwarfs, and Chaos wear full suits of Plate, and it's a big edge for all three of those forces.

Plate also leads into our second Super Armor, and this one's a doozy: Dwarven Gromril Armor. Made out of the super-dense metal that falls from the sky occasionally, only dwarfs know how to forge and shape this stuff. A suit of Gromril Armor is very rare outside of dwarf hands (where it's merely the standard equipment for particularly elite warriors like Ironbreakers) and generally reserved for high nobles and kings. This is because it breaks the armor cap. It acts exactly like normal plate, but it provides 3 AV from the Plate component instead of 2, and can provide 6 AV instead of 5. This is a huge, huge upgrade, deceptively huge, since it lets you break out of a normally tightly controlled stat cap. Added bonus: The gauntlets on a suit like this count as a Gromril weapon, so not only are they Damage+1 over normal Gauntlets, but you could totally punch out dracula with them (Vampires vulnerable to Gromril can't use their TB against damage from Gromril weapons. At all). This is the best non-magical armor in the world, and again has no listed price; you get this kind of stuff for doing a great deed and striking out some grand grudge alongside your Dawi buddies.

There's also fluff about how dwarfs don't actually count leather armor as armor and instead think of it as clothes. Elves like to wear mail and shun plate, even when they can't get Ithmilar (it's limited to elite soldiers even among them) because they prefer contoured and form-fitting armor, because they're typical bloody elves. Kislevites have studded armor all over the place because they're often trying to make armor fast and for large percentages of their population, reserving the serious metal armor for Winged Lancers and other elites. Arabians wear lighter armor and robes because they live in a hot sandy place with no water and dying of dehydration and heat exhaustion is a real threat. Cathyan armor is said to be of a very alien and unusual design, but every bit as protective as Imperial plate. They use lacquered wood extensively, something the Imperials have never bothered with.

Oh, the section on Heraldry is also where they confirm the Catbird only ever became a symbol of the Empire recently, but the Empire still claims it's ancient. We also get fun little notes like "The Lion is a symbol of courage, but has been used by so many regiments that it's mostly lost all meaning." The decoration section is cute and fun for coming up with how colorful your armor is, and it gets across one of my favorite bits about Warham's visual design. It's a muddy setting, yes, so everything looks lived in, slightly damaged, or grubby. But it's also all colorful and vibrant and decorated. It works great with the Grim and Perilous (but not exactly Grimdark) tone of the setting.

We also get rules for damaging armor in combat, but they're highly optional. The normal assumption is you're repairing and mending your gear in your downtime and so tracking armor damage isn't necessary. The rules also aren't very good: Any blow that causes Fury, any blow that causes over 7 damage (before reduction from DR, which is weird), and any blow that causes a Crit make you roll d10. Note that if a blow causes all 3, you'd check for damage 3 times. You roll d10 for each damaging incident. On a 1, the armor loses 1 AV in that location. It's just adding a lot of extra rolling to combat, and damage totals over 7 are really common, so it's just going to make an essential asset to heavy fighter PCs much more unreliable for very little gain. I wouldn't really bother with the armor damage rules.

The addition of the two super armors isn't exactly game-breaking; they're neat and useful things to shoot for for an end-game PC, and Gromril is a little more iffy than Ithmilar but they'll both probably work fine for you at human scales of toughness; the DR system doesn't really break down until you're at 13-14 and even then 3rd tiers can get through. Studded is a mechanical godsend for certain character types and early PCs. I just wish they'd made Scale a little less awful; another midpoint upgrade would have been helpful. Still, you can see the general tenor of this book really well here: A couple worthwhile additions, a lot of fluff, but there just isn't much room to mess around with the armor system.

Next Time: Stabbing

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Halloween Jack posted:

It's kind of weird that the powers for the factions in Cyberpunk 3.0 were No-Hassle Cyberware, Shapeshifting, Different No-Hassle Cyberware, Different Shapeshifting, and Drone Piloting. Only the last is relevant to Netrunners, which you'd think would be a big part of the game in any edition.

But I played decker-free Shadowrun, so what do I know?

I think you're confusing Corpore Metal is more No-Hassle Full-Conversion, while Edgerunner NuCybe is more No-Hassle Cyberware with the emphasis on T-shirt Linear Frames. I think you're also forgetting Reefers' Pokemon.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




That's what I get for skimming it!

I wish some of the shapeshifting stuff had stuck around in Cyberpunk Red. Sure, 3.0 was a mess, but it had some genuinely neat ideas.

Lynx Winters
May 1, 2003

Borderlawns: The Treehouse of Pandora

The big reason netrunners aren't as big a thing in 3.0 is that there's not really a net to run anymore. Whole thing got corrupted and exploded and while there's still some access points for folks looking to try to dive in and salvage any old world info, the ruins of the net are chock full of rampant angry programs.

That said, "cyberspace Indiana Jones teams digs for knowledge in the ruins of the internet" is a pretty good game idea on its own, it's just that CP3 is not the game you'd want to do it in.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2e: Old World Armory

Do Not Use The Optional Rules

So I'm going to be real with you here: I barely need to write up the Weapons section because we are 100% in 'what the gently caress is a Bec d'Corbin' territory here, where they're trying to provide a wide catalogue of potential 'What Is My Hand Weapon' entries with very little mechanical variation. Instead, we're going to talk about some very stupid ideas that are included in this section along with a couple actually decent variant weapons. You don't really care about 6 different varieties of axe and which ones would fit best with which craftsmanship rating of weapon. No-one does.

What really matters is we get a sidebar that straight destroys the entire weapon system if you use it, two pages in. Yes, it's optional. Yes, it's clear it's optional. But it's amazing in that it concisely says why it's a bad idea before giving you rules that are, in fact, a terrible idea. I'm talking the 'Distinguishing Hand Weapons' sidebar. See, some gamers and designers apparently complain about the way a mace is a sword is an axe in Hams. Not realizing there aren't enough mechanical levers to have fine distinguishing features on every weapon type. They even mention as they talk about coming up with rules to distinguish one kind of hand weapon from another that this stomps all over the toes of the Specialist Weapons and the way they're all sidegrades or minor upgrades. But they're going to do it anyway, even as they say 'If you gave a hand-pick Armor Piercing because it seems realistic, no-one would use a sword'. Gee, maybe that's why we use a generic Hand Weapon and Great Weapon and leave their actual form entirely to flavor, designers. Are you about to prove that completely correct? You are!

Their suggestion is that you only allow these distinguishing features on Best weapons. That way players will have to get a Best Weapon before they destroy one of the mechanical pillars of the gear system. You might think I'm being hyperbolic, but they list new prices for the various Best Hand Weapon variants on this Optional Sidebar, and guess what the cheapest one is? It's an axe. At 60GC. What minor edge does it have over a normal Hand Weapon in this new conceptual 'Hand Weapon Choice Matters' system? Why, it has Impact. You know, that ability that is the entire reason you use two-handed weapons. Now on a one-handed weapon freely usable with a shield for a Free Parry. And this is the cheapest, easiest to get item. I mean, I don't even need to tell you what the other weapon proposals are (though the dumbest is the Sword costing 140GC to gain Defensive, that thing the shield you're using with it already had). Every single PC in the game is going to gun for a Best Hand Axe at that point if you use this subsystem: It is simply the best weapon in the game outside of really exotic or magic weapons. They just wrote why you don't want to do this in the section about doing this! They have a similar subsystem for Great Weapons that tops at a 350GC Greatsword having SB+1 and Impact as the best option. Do not use these subsystems, they completely destroy the entire reason we just have an abstracted 'Hand Weapon' and 'Great Weapon' and that axe option completely breaks the game's gear system.

The reason I'm so down on this is the entire point of Specialist Weapons is they're all sidegrades. Some of them are losers (like Parrying) for the most part I admit, but in most cases they're a defensible tradeoff choice. A Flail does more overall damage and has Impact in the first round of fighting in return for being two-handed and not allowing a shield/second weapon for the Free Parry. A Rapier does 1 point less damage in return for -10% to enemy active defense. A Great Weapon trades your Free Parry and +10% to enemy active defenses for that hugely powerful 'reroll damage take best' Impact rule. You can easily get through an entire campaign as a professional fighter using a hand weapon and shield. It's a good choice, even; solid and reliable. You can also consistently get good use out of two-handers, fencing weapons, etc. By suddenly adding in 'Also there's just a Hand Weapon with Impact' and making the only barrier a (not that high) GC cost? You destroy the whole specialist weapons system and remove the whole reason we abstract the Hand Weapons in the loving first place. And when you put this in an official book, even if it's labeled optional, you've now made it so that a lot of people will expect to use this broken option.

The thing that gets me so much is they even include the direct reasoning for why the subsystem they're writing up here is a Bad Idea right before including the subsystem. How? Why?

We also get a couple unusual weapons here: The Elf Battle Axe is an axe you can't buy and need to find/steal like Ithmilar armor. It's also the best two-handed weapon in the game to a ridiculous degree, at SB+1, AP, Impact. I get wanting to have some special super weapons you can get late game, but that's pretty nuts. The Wood Elf Hunting Spear is easier to get since you're not that unlikely to kill some Wild Riders at some point: It's a normal Spear with SB+1, which helps make up for a Spear's lack of free-parry (despite being one-handed and usable with a shield) and makes it a viable option if you get one. The Khemri Khopesh is a strictly worse Hand Weapon with Slow (+10 to enemy defenses) because seriously, Khopeshes are terrible. If you get a Best Khopesh, it's at least SB+1? Tilean Pikes are a two-handed weapon that can attack at 6m but can't attack closer than that, and that can set up a reaction to stab someone moving within 6m and keep them stuck at that range. A curiosity, but not all that useful for an individual adventurer. The Claymore is a hand and a half sword popular with Bret Questing Knights that can swap from a Hand Weapon with Slow to a Great Weapon when wielded one or two handed. The White Wolf Hammer is...weird. It's an SB+2 on the charge hammer that does SB+1 when not charging. It requires its own weapon prof, only available to White Wolf Knights. It never actually says if it's two-handed or not. Errata doesn't clarify this, but says it's meant to have Impact and Tiring like a Flail, so I think it is meant to be two-handed after all and to be a slightly better Flail.

We also get rules for Jousting! This could come up if you're a Bret. A Jousting Lance deals SB-2 damage instead of SB+1, and a Jousting Demilance deals SB-3 instead of SB. In full armor, you probably won't kill each other. You roll Init, and the one who wins Init gets +10 to WS in the pass. You roll a Charge attack. If you miss, your opponent strikes back. If you hit, you both test Str, with the attacker getting +10%. If one side succeeds and the other doesn't (don't count DoS) the failing side is knocked off. If you both fail, you're both unhorsed and feel very silly. You then roll WS to keep your lance from shattering, which is sort of reasonable but doesn't happen anywhere else in the system. If your opponent isn't on the ground, they strike back, using the same rules as if you'd missed.

It's a little silly, but it's decent enough. Tourney champions can make a lot of money in both the Empire and Bretonnia, and traveling between tournaments seeking prizes is a good adventure hook for a knight.

Ranged weapons don't really get anything new, and Guns will be covered elsewhere. We also get rules for breaking weapons: If you parry an All Out Attack or parry a Damage 7 (not damage total 7, Damage 7) attack, you have a 10% chance of shattering your weapon. Eh. Doesn't really add much to the game. Shields take two points of damage to break, and lose Defensive after the first damaging hit as they start to come apart.

We also get rules for specialized materials. Any melee weapon made mostly of metal can be Gromril or Ithmilar. Gromril weapons are even available to buy, for 4x the normal price, a hard check to find one for sale, and you have to buy a Best version or else the dwarfs wouldn't bother making it. However, they add +1 damage and they won't break, ever, if you're using the breakage rules. 400 GC for an SB+1 sword that will turbo-gently caress vampires that are vulnerable to that material? I'll take it. It's not exactly game-breaking, and costs as much as a suit of plate, but it's a big boost if you can get it. Ithmilar is never for sale because elves are gits, but if you get an Ithmilar weapon it gains Fast, giving -10% to enemy dodges and parries. Also, if a vamp is vulnerable to that material, it has a chance to set them on fire, which is hilarious. Ithmilar weapons are usually taken from dead elves, taken from people who took them from dead elves, or given as gifts.

So just don't use the Hand Weapon/Great Weapon 'Distinguishing Features' rules and you'll be fine with this section. It's mostly boring fluff about a thousand different varieties of medieval and early modern weaponry, but most of the actual new variant weapons (aside from maybe the Elf Axe, which is ridiculously strong) are reasonable enough and maybe you're into 8 different flavors of polearm, Gary. Which is fine by me when they don't have any serious game mechanics attached. Still, there just wasn't much this section could do with its mechanical material, either, as seen by how rapidly game-breaking the one optional sidebar can be. Gear just doesn't have much mechanical variation in 2e, and I think it's generally better for it.

Next Time: I pull out my gun!

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007





Lynx Winters posted:

The big reason netrunners aren't as big a thing in 3.0 is that there's not really a net to run anymore. Whole thing got corrupted and exploded and while there's still some access points for folks looking to try to dive in and salvage any old world info, the ruins of the net are chock full of rampant angry programs.

That said, "cyberspace Indiana Jones teams digs for knowledge in the ruins of the internet" is a pretty good game idea on its own, it's just that CP3 is not the game you'd want to do it in.

Post apocalyptic cyberpunk still cyberpunk, but it’s not Cyberpunk. If I were expecting the world of CP2013 or 2020 and got CP3 I would probably quit the game.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Lynx Winters posted:

The big reason netrunners aren't as big a thing in 3.0 is that there's not really a net to run anymore. Whole thing got corrupted and exploded and while there's still some access points for folks looking to try to dive in and salvage any old world info, the ruins of the net are chock full of rampant angry programs.

Don't forget, thanks to nanotechnology, the ICE could manifest physical defenses from disguised caches, so you could hacking into a WAN and the nearby table could explode and transform into a whirling cloud of blades or that snake robot from Demon Seed and physically come after you.

It's funny, but I realize that CP3.0 took a whole lot of inspiration from BLAME!, probably just coincidentally.

Lynx Winters posted:

that said, "cyberspace Indiana Jones teams digs for knowledge in the ruins of the internet" is a pretty good game idea on its own, it's just that CP3 is not the game you'd want to do it in.

It could be a viable background for a campaign, with WAN data oasises and cybertombs in deserts of the net. You could have Johnny Mnemonic-style data couriers running between them, with various road agents and interceptors trying to stop them. Cyberarcheologists roaming about wardriving dead cities, looking for abandoned nets that have been left open. Fixers and infobrokers collecting, compiling, and curating the best and most profitable data to sell to bidders in the localized net bazaars.

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:

Don't forget, thanks to nanotechnology, the ICE could manifest physical defenses from disguised caches, so you could hacking into a WAN and the nearby table could explode and transform into a whirling cloud of blades or that snake robot from Demon Seed and physically come after you.
This and the DataKrash were what initially turned me off of 3.0. It seemed like nanotech was being used as a catch-all excuse for a kitchen-sink setting, where a level-balanced encounter with nameless mooks could be literally conjured from thin air.

Could it be used for cool stuff? Sure, I love Black Summer and Blame! and I thought NuCybe in particular was a cool idea. But I expect it to look more like Ready Player One.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2e: Old World Armory

I pull out my gun!

Guns are kind of in a weird place in WHFRP2e. On one hand, guns do more damage than other ranged weapons (sort of) and are your only source of Ranged Impact. And Impact really matters. On the other, because of action economy reasons, guns fall off hard for a ranged character compared to a a longbow, which can get effectively similar damage to a gun while only lacking Impact and having longer range while Swift Attacking if you have Rapid Reload. The most useful role I've found for guns is early game getting off the first shot against a heavy enemy, silver ammunition delivery systems against vampires (Blessed, silver ammo used against a vamp vulnerable to silver is a total of +6 damage, which is insane in this system, and doesn't have the drawbacks of a silvered sword), or occasionally pulling out a pair of pistols and dumping two shots into someone at close range but not quite melee range. Repeater guns would solve the problem of guns, except RAW they lack Impact and thus aren't very useful. No-one dethrones King Longbow unless you houserule Impact back in for Repeaters; then they're a viable (if unreliable) choice for a specialist.

But fluff-wise, guns are very important to the setting. This is partly because the problems with guns come from the fact that people are using pretty early guns. Most Imperial muskets are still matchlocks, with wheellocks being the latest Nuln invention and Flintlocks starting to filter in from Araby (It's interesting; there's actually lots of side mentions of Araby in this book in particular, as a highly advanced place that competes with the Empire politically and technologically. I suspect they intended an Araby expansion at some point). Yes, Araby is on the cutting edge of human-built firearms technology, along with the Empire. Flintlocks and Wheellocks have allowed for precise (ish) trigger mechanisms and even experimental weapons with multiple barrels. Extensive work with rifling to create better hunting weapons in Hochland actually produced a militarily viable rifle that doesn't take any longer than a smoothbore to reload (but which is very difficult to manufacture and very expensive). The Guild of Engineers is said to be experimenting with a 'revolving chamber' weapon that will accept multiple charges and shots without needing six cumbersome barrels like current repeaters. While large scale military adoption guns are pretty new, most military planners in the Empire only expect them to grow in lethality and importance.

Also, the Empire's favored solution to 'Greater Demon' is 'Greater Cannon'. Handguns might be a little unreliable at times and less useful for an individual adventurer than a line of musketeers, but Imperial artillery wins wars and kills monsters. Why send a hero with a magic sword to duel a giant monster when you can blow it away with a cannon?

Most of the guns provided in this chapter are exactly the same as in the core book. The only really new gun is the Duck Foot, which is just a one-handed, four-barreled blunderbuss and as a result of not requiring attack rolls (just like the Blunderbuss) it doesn't really matter what proficiency they assign it, since it doesn't interact with the BS rules. They also introduce the Arabian Jezzail, which is a long-barreled musket for longshots, but they forgot to make it worth using: For some reason it does Damage 3 with no Impact, the damage of a totally normal bowshot, with 24/72 Range. I suspect that's because that's what the Skaven Jezzail does if you use normal gunpowder and they were already planning Children of the Horned Rat, but still. If you want a sniping weapon, get an actual Hochland Longrifle (48/96 Range, Damage 4 Impact, and a Best one gains AP) and the Engineer prof. They also introduce a new weapon type: Explosives! Hand-grenades have a huge 10m explosive radius and do Damage 6 (plus talents), but can, uh, go really badly if you get unlucky throwing them. Also, their 'good' throwing range is 4m/20m, so if you want to throw one far enough not to hit yourself you're at BS-20. They also take their own Prof. But that kind of damage and AoE is potentially useful. Incendiaries not only do a Damage 4 hit on contact, anyone hit in their 6m blast radius must roll Agi or catch fire. Remember, being on fire is d10 unreducable damage a turn until you somehow put it out. Great for vampire hunters.

Also note: If you miss a bomb or incendiary throw by 30% or more, you, uh, drop the grenade. That goes badly. Similar, any miss with a bomb or incendiary causes a Scatter. Roll d10. On a 10, the bomb goes off in your hand. On a 1, it doesn't go off at all. On a 2-9, it lands in one of 8 directions, d10m away from where you intended to hit. The astute among you will note that 10 is the blast radius of a standard Bomb, so RAW you can't actually miss your intended target with one, you're just checking who else you gently caress over unless you drop it or it turns dud.

We also get some new rules for Best Guns. A Best Gun will reduce how unreliable it is. A Best Firearm or Pistol no longer checks for misfires or jams (which were about a 2% chance of jam, 1% chance of misfire before). A Best Repeater (Normally a 3% chance of jam, 2% chance of misfire) becomes like a normal gun (at 2%/1%).

One of the real issues with guns is less about their action economy issues (a gun would still be useful to get off the first shot on a non-specialist character before going into hand to hand, after all) and more to do with their loving insane price tag. No PC buys guns, really. You know what you could get for the 300 crowns you pay for a Firearm? An elfbow (which is just as hard to find, RAW) and a suit of full mail armor, with 20 crowns left over for some ammo and a shield. Not to mention gunpowder and shot is expensive and easily ruined if you're carefully tracking ammunition. Guns don't have nearly the oomph to justify how loving expensive they are. So you usually stick to whatever gun you started with or stuff you find on quests or take off of dead enemies. They're a niche weapon but for the price of their niche, you could be doing something much more generally useful as a ranged specialist. While I've definitely found a use for a pair of pistols sometimes, mechanically guns just don't quite live up to the hype.

You also get some rules for heavy weapons like Bolt Throwers, but for the most part the book itself advises making things like Great Cannons plot devices instead of 'gear'. They're there for when you race to get the gun working and fixed up before the Bloodthirster is on you, not so much for rolling to hit in normal combat. We did eventually get game stats for a Great Cannon in another book (Damage 20 Impact AP) but as they say here, there's no reason to bother when they do so much damage that they might as well say 'guy you shot is dead'. I actually like them making it explicit that those weapons should be used as setpieces and plot devices, rather than trying to stuff them directly into their game. Keeping a cannon as an objective or a dramatic element works better than distorting the base combat system to stuff one into it.

Fluffwise, the Empire has some of the greatest artillery in the setting, partly because they're willing to accept more experimental weaponry than most, and partly because they're buddies with the dwarfs, who are happy to help their human nephews with their cannon homework. Many is the Chaos Lord who has caught a cannonball. Cannons have been in use far longer than practical hand-held weaponry, and no Imperial army goes to war without big guns to back it up. After all, would you rather fight an angry, pissed off Balrog COMPLETELY LEGALLY DISTINCT BLOODTHIRSTER OF KHORNE THE BLOOD GOD with a halberd or a cannon?

Next Time: Magnificent Codpieces

Glazius
Jul 22, 2007

Hail all those who are able,
any mouse can,
any mouse will,
but the Guard prevail.



Clapping Larry

Night10194 posted:

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2e: Old World Armory


Studded leather, for all that it isn't real, might still model leather brigandine, which substitutes hard leather plates for metal ones.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Glazius posted:

Studded leather, for all that it isn't real, might still model leather brigandine, which substitutes hard leather plates for metal ones.

That is actually what they describe it as in the book, they just use Studded as the term because it's what everyone knows from D&D and they know their likely audience.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Glazius posted:

Studded leather, for all that it isn't real, might still model leather brigandine, which substitutes hard leather plates for metal ones.

Leather brigandine's kinda lame, just go for the metal stuff.

(I really didn't mean that pun)

Edit: Honestly, brigandine should be an option for armor, not armor by itself. Should really just be the medieval version of a concealed bulletproof vest.

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

Horned Rat-Sempai Noticed Me! :swoon:




Part 11: I can drive my jet-car with my mind and send faxes at the same time? How convenient!


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zfivq3Ou4_M

It’s not really clear when events in Cyberpunk 2.0.2.0. split from actual history. The timeline at the beginning of the chapter starts in 1990, and while there are some real life events (like the reunification of Germany and the breakup of the Soviet Union), events are already going pear-shaped. The meat of this section focuses on what happened to the U.S. Basically everything goes bad for the U.S. short of dissolution or a second Civil War. The economy crashed in 1994, and the government followed in 1996. While a civilian government is in place again, things aren’t close to being back to normal. Every big city may as well be the setting for a G.T.A. game, while anything outside of the big metro-zones has been abandoned. Agricorps have effectively taken over all the rural areas, and the highways are dominated by Nomad packs. The one bright spot is that after 30 years of misery, most of the population is ready to wheel out the guillotine. And presumably, it’s going to be the PCs and their allies that spark this “Cyberpunk Revolution”.

There is an overview of the rest of the world, and it’s written in a way to provide a starting point for Referees that wants to set a plot there. The one area where this isn’t the case is Western Europe. The European Economic Community got through the turn of the millennium more or less intact. Consequently, there’s really nothing interesting to do in the EEC except to have it hang around as the one prick with way more money than everyone else. Except for Britain. The U.K. went to poo poo alongside the States, I presume because they Brexited a quarter century earlier.

After the Soviet Union fell, the former republics remembered that this setting was based on Eighties media, and so they quietly reformed. Today, the Neo-Soviet Union is a mix of the USSR as pictured in Rocky IV and something closer to IRL China. To the south, the Middle East disintegrated in a Nuclear Exchange that happened in 1997, taking a large percentage of the world’s oil reserves with it. Egypt, Israel, and Syria were the only countries to survive. The rest of the region has gone full Mad Max mixed with, uh, islamophobic stereotypes. I hate to put it that way, but when you print “Rumors of jihad - the Holy War - are on the radioactive wind,” I don’t know what else to call it.

After the poo poo hit the fan in South Africa and elsewhere, Africa is managing to unite thanks to a partnership with the E.E.C. to colonize space. The equatorial belt of Africa is now home to the majority of spaceport facilities and construction areas, and nearly one third of all space construction workers are African. For their part, the European Space Agency has built permanent space habitats at the Lagrange points and set up a pair of moon bases. The lunar mass drivers have the added benefit of being able to drop rocks on Earth, giving the Euro-Nations the upper hand over the arsenals of the U.S. and U.S.S.R.

Japan has entered the new millenium on solid footing, but it isn’t quite the juggernaut that economists had predicted. It faces rising competition from China, Korea, and the New Philippines. In response, Japan is working to mend relations with the U.S. after the trade wars from the 90s. The paragraph on Japan is surprisingly light, considering that it’s where Arasaka is headquartered. Lastly, Central America has united against the U.S., driving it out of everywhere except the Panama Canal Zone. South America has been less fortunate, and is now stuck in Forever War mode.

After this history, we get some more details about life in Cyberpunk America. Specifically, the book focuses on law and order. Police departments have added two departments: the Psycho Squads, which I described in the section on cybernetics, and Corporate Cops, who patrol the city centers and are more corrupt. The criminal code became a lot harsher after the Crash, though comparatively it’s no more draconian than what exists IRL. The main twists come with technology used for punishments: personality adjustments, exile implants that shock felons trying to re-enter a city, and braindances for prison terms. There’s even a table for randomly determining sentences On the other hand, guns have gotten easier to acquire after society collapsed, to the point that guns are openly sold and marketed to kids. Enjoy this bit of pre-Columbine writing:

Cyberpunk 2.0.2.0. posted:

The new CyberteenTM line includes airbrushed casings with colorful shapes and artwork molded right in-the perfect gift for the young consumer interested in personal defense.

After the legal stuff are vehicles. The most common mode of transportation is still the automobile, and it looks basically the same as it did from before the Crash. The major changes are under the hood. Cars run on a methane fuel called “CHOOH-2”, and an increasing number of cars are equipped for cyberlink interface. The Osprey became commercially viable instead of a boondoggle. The biggest innovation to transportation is aerodyne vehicles, or AVs. AVs are jet cars They use a futuristic version of the Harrier VTOL engines, and are slowly phasing out helicopters. The AV-4 is the most common variety is the AV-4, a general purpose vehicle that can be outfitted for a number of uses. The AV-6 is a larger version that is primarily used in military units. And then there’s the AV-7, a personal transport for the obscenely rich.



There are a couple of other tidbits about the world of CP2020 I find fascinating. One, Fax is the “letter writing mode of the future”. :allears:, just :allears:. Also fax letters cost 1 eb per page, so that’s one thing IRL managed to do better. The second is Screamsheets. In order to stay competitive, newspapers transmit their articles to Data Terms and sell them by the article. My brother was an avid newspaper reader who’s dropped all of his subscriptions over the years, and he’s told me a number of times that if the papers had a more a la carte model, they’d do a lot better. I don’t know if he’s right, but reading about Screamsheets made me think of that.

The section ends with some drawings of some of the everyday objects characters would see in a Cyberpunk city. Not anything they would buy (at first), but visual aides as to what’s around them.



Next Time: The most amazing thing I found in my re-read

2020/2020 Count: 8

SirPhoebos fucked around with this message at 02:04 on Mar 19, 2019

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


SirPhoebos posted:

Next Time: The most amazing thing I found in my re-read

I am excited to discover what this is.

Barudak
May 7, 2007



Dont hold out on me I need to know what it is because how can it be any more ridiculous than that newspaper terminal?

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

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




There is a part of me that wants to cover Neotech, which is a Swedish cyberpunk game from 93 based on the Eon rules that I've heard are really dire. Problem is finding a PDF or a paper copy of it but I might look around a little.
No promises obviously but I've heard a bunch of stuff about it and the covers are some hilarious 90's photoshopping efforts.

Apparently there is a reboot in the works but it has aaaall the signs of an awful crowdfunded campaign with the development schedule ballooning as they've added books to do before even the core rules are out so it's not like I'm expecting much of anything.

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Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
BUTTS





I'm too lazy to post much in this thread (plus it's not like I have a super rarified RPG collection ; does someone really want my thoughts on Torchbearer or Blades in the Dark, games many of you have already played?), but I really wanna say how much I love the Hams fluff, Night.

Like I actually kind of want to play WHFRP game for the first time in my life and am thinking through how to pitch it to my group. So thanks!

PS tell us if they ever mention extravagant codpieces.

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