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Kaza42
Oct 3, 2013

Blood and Souls and all that

Evil Mastermind posted:

Actually, now that I'm remembering, it was also so people who missed sessions would lag behind people who were there through the whole game because who loving knows.

"Sorry I couldn't make it last week; my kid was sick."
"Well, I'm afraid that means you're going to be half a level behind everyone else. Maybe next time you'll think of the group."

What's even funnier is that SotDL is mechanically designed around the fact that everyone in the party is always the same level. "Party level" is a thing.

Yeah, I almost always house rule away any sort of individual XP. If you missed a game, your penalty is that you missed a game. Your character gets the same XP as everyone else, and if some significant in-game boon was awarded to everyone I'll work with you to make sure that you get something equivalent either immediately or soon. Real life always comes before games, and I would never want to set up incentives to make that a hard choice to make beyond "this game is fun and I like playing it"

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theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Best example of playtime penalties like that is in Continuum. The leveling requirements involved include getting a letter of recommendation from NPCs, a mandatory minimum number of months of play, and contained therein a second mandatory minimum number of sessions of play that occur during those months (thinking you spotted a loophole where you just play in five minute sessions? Not so fast there's also a mandatory minimum session length).

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

Solving all of life's problems through enhanced casting of Occam's Razor. Reward yourself with an imaginary chalice.





BOOK TWO: Part Two

Or

It's A Beast Update (But Not That Kind of Beast, Sorry Kurieg)


SUBSPECIES

Victoriana takes the Shadowrun route of having "humanity" be a big umbrella for sapient races that can interbreed with each other. Because the study of genetics has not really happened yet (Mendel begins his experiments this year in 1856 and won't print his findings for 9 more years), nobody really knows how subspecies works. Essentially, your subspecies is just another genetic trait passed down by your parents like your hair color or eye color. Here, have some things the writers have to say.




This doesn't make a loving lick of sense because let's meet Beastfolk and how...stupidly complicated they are.

BEASTFOLK



Beastfolk are humanoids with animal heads. Everything else is humanoid. They have hands, they have feet, they have thumbs and they might have fur or they might not, it depends on what species of animal they resemble. Beastfolk have been around for as long as everyone else but they did better before the Heavenly Host was like "hey Beastfolk suck and are perversions against the natural order" back when Christianity But was being formed. So since then, they haven't been doing so well socially but there are exceptions like the King of Prussia and Shaka Zulu. Beastfolk are also irrationally shunned for their species appearance, where Ratfolk are considered shifty and untrustworthy, Dogfolk are run-of-the-mill accepted and Lionfolk are beloved. Basically how you look matters.

On the name "Beastfolk": there are issues coming up with an acceptable name. Academically they're called Therianthropes and Zoanthropes. Socially, the name "Proteon" was acceptable for a while until racists turned "prot" and "prat" into a slur. People generally just call them Beastmen or Beastfolk.

Compounding on the fact being a Beastfolk is hereditary, there are some further issues. First, Beastfolk don't breed true. Two Deer Beastfolk will not necessarily have a deer child and children don't favor parents of mixed Beastfolk species couplings, it's all completely random. Second, Beastfolk have an uneven ratio of gender. Beastfolk have four boys to every one girl, which often forces male Beastfolk to marry outside of their subspecies. Most Beastfolk marry Humans or very rarely they marry Eldren. There's nothing wrong with this in lower or middle society but it's considered abhorrent in high society (despite all of the Beastfolk brothels that secretly cater to upper class people). Third, I'm very glad this book doesn't answer the question of "are their genitals human or animal" because that's not an answer I need to know.

The Core Book Beastman

A Beastfolk character get one Animal Trait depending on the animal they resemble: Aquatic Aptitude (hold your breath twice as long), Arboreal (climb/leap better), Armor, Claws (retractable natural weapons), Enhanced Sense, Horns, Night Vision or Weather Sense (you just have...general, not totally accurate premonitions about the weather).

You also get Attribute Adjustments depending on the three bodytypes you can select based around species. Common Beastfolk are like dogs and horses, getting +1 Strength and -1 Presence. Large Beastfolk are like bears and lions, getting +1 Strength and Fortitude and -1 Presence and Wits. Agile Beastfolk are like cats and rats, getting +1 Dexterity and -1 Presence. Presence, by the way, is the attribute that reflects how well you impress and influence people with charisma and personality. So no matter which one you pick, you're less persuasive and such, which is "great".

But we're not done yet! It's about to get way more broken!



Darwin's Catalogue: Beastmen of Britain is only 16 pages long but it does provide more detailed options for 28 different types of Beastfolk that are common to England and Western Europe. Some of these are not worth taking due to an incredibly silly rule we get at the end of the book. When picking one of these specific designs, you get the choice between the bodytype attribute spread or the species attribute spread. You also can choose one of the Animal Traits available to that species and you can also choose to take a negative Animal Trait for a second, free trait. You can also, presumably, just pick one of the Animal Traits from this book or the other book as long as it makes sense instead of the offered relevant Trait.




Note: Res stands for Resolve.

Badger: There's problems with people luring Badgerfolk into isolated areas where they're hunted for sport. Tunnel Sense lets you navigate underground with ease, know where north is and do better on Streetwise checks.

Bear: Pandas count as Bearfolk. Bearfolk are also heavily involved in Communism and here's where things get really weird and specific regarding it being an alternate universe. First, there's the Bearman Ferdinand Eisen who's described as the "co-author of The Communist Manifesto" but that's Friedrich Engels. Second, Maxim Bolshev is a Bearman who escaped from Russia and is the namesake/leader of the Bolsheviks who I guess is supposed to be Lenin except that doesn't make a lick of sense. The Bolshevik movement didn't really exist until the early 20th century and Lenin himself wasn't born until 1870. They're trying to move what's happening in Communism but they're doing it badly and including it in a really bad place. Anyway Bearfolk get +2 dice to crushing actions when grappling and 2 dice to Might rolls.

Beaver: Beavers work well with Dwarves, do a lot of renovations and are Experts in the skill Engineering (Civil).



Cats: Catfolk are seen as lazy except for early in the morning and during the evening when they're unnaturally frisky. Catfolk are also seen as sensuous lovers and they can be found in brothels because catgirls. They can pick the Lazy negative trait but why would you: your skill checks are one difficulty higher for every four hours you've been awake except for combat. This is an awful trait to take. The other trait, Righting Reflex, changes fall damage so you only take damage for every two yards you fall and it can still be negated with an Athletics roll. You also get claws if you want them.

Dog: This counts for all "breeds" of dogs because dog breeds are an artificial construct of the Victorian Age using inbreeding to artificially isolate certain traits. So a Pomeranian or Corgi Dogfolk has the same stats and options as a mutt. Dogfolk make great soldiers and military officers and can be found in any station of society. Their sole trait, Faithful Friend/Fearsome Fighter, means they can remove up to 3 negative dice from social rolls involving loyalty or honesty.



Donkey: Donkeyfolk are blunt and tend to be noisy. A lot of them band together to put their loud voices towards Communism and anarchy or general revolution. Bray means it's harder for people to make you do something you don't want to do at the cost of your own voice having issues persuading people outside of intimidation.

Ferret: Ferretfolk make great hunters. In the country, they're indispensible members of a lord's game wardens. In the city, they're great bounty hunters or cops. Unfortunately other Beastfolk tend to view them as narcs or snitches, even if that's not the case. Their Ferreting trait adds +2 dice to Perception when noticing details or Tracking involving manhunting.

Fox: People distrust Foxfolk because of their ability to lie and con but they're excellent friends if you earn their trust. They also make great sorcerers and countries like China and Japan have a storied history of Foxfolk sorcerers (less so in England which views Foxfolk sorcerers even more untrustworthy). Silver Tongue removes up to three negative dice when lying to someone or convincing them to do something they don't want to do. Trickster gives them two extra dice when using Conceal, Hide and Sneak and Sleight of Hand. Untrustworthy inflicts three negative dice on any attempts to convince someone to do something for their own good or tell the truth. So basically...you should just make like Brother Fox and Briar Patch constantly because you have a bonus for lying.



Goat: Goatfolk have a natural affinity towards magic that unfortunately tends to make them be targeted by the Aluminat church as agents of dark forces. Planar Empathy gives the PC one free Channeling or Sensate Medium ability but you still have to buy the ability to be a Medium. You can also get the Petty Magician ability cheaper. Or you can forsake your magical ability to count it as a complication and get bonus points for it. Your optional Magical Nature trait means people want to harvest your organs for their magical properties to sell on the black market.

Yep! Totally a great choice! Sleep with the door locked!

Hart: Hartfolk tend to have gender-segregated social groups of other Hartfolk they meet with nightly before going home to their spouses. Nobody's really sure why they do it and people outside of Hartfolk think their marriages must suffer for it, but they don't. They're described as having strong marriages. Male Hartfolk get Stag which means they have antlers that add 3 damage dice when charging or they can cut their antlers to get the female trait of Hind which is +1 Fisticuffs die to kicking. White Hart is like Magical Nature for Goatfolk but with an actual benefit: once per session you can make/let someone reroll a single roll and pick which result they keep, PC or NPC. You can't use this on yourself because you bring luck to others, not yourself.

Hedgehog: Hedgehogfolk are brash but all bark, no bite. They simply talk a big game and prefer not to actually fight. Spike Defense means they can ball up and automatically deal 1d6 damage to unarmed enemies trying to hit them, even if they miss.



Horse: Horsefolk make good laborers and they kind of hate how much people rely on them. Some of them are itching for social change. I haven't actually watched Bojack Horseman so don't expect a joke here. The Napper trait means they function perfectly fine on four hours of sleep as long as they can sneak in two hours of naps or unbroken sleep later.

Jackal: Jackalfolk hail from North Africa, South Asia and the Ottoman Empire, making them relative newcomers to London. Jackalfolk are natural survivors and will do whatever it takes to survive. Scavenge adds 2 dice to Streetwise and Survival checks.

Lion: Lionfolk have been popular amongst the upper class ever since Richard III got his nickname for rallying Lionfolk to fight with him as his personal knights because of course he did. This doesn't mean they're just naturally born/accepted into the upper class; if they're not born upper to begin with, they're "not raised with the discipline necessary to keep middle class status". So you're a pretty creature, yes you are, but please don't live next to me. Lions get access to Claws and Lazy. They also get access to King of the Beasts which makes it easier to use Presence skills against other Beastfolk.



Lynx: Lynxfolk are immigrants from Europe and Asia. They're known for being ferocious and stealthy, making them fearsome soldiers, bounty hunters or criminals and for living a solitary life. Stealthy adds two dice to Hide and Sneak checks.

Macaque: Macaquefolk can pass for a Human, Orc or Eldren from a distance and came from North Africa by way of Gibraltar. Some believe them to be the missing link between Beastfolk and Human. They're well known for being servants or having jobs that capitalize on their acrobatic abilities. The Arboreal trait is the same as the core book's.

Mouse: Mousefolk are the most common species of Beastfolk found in rural habitats and are the size of Huldu (Hobbits But). Mousefolk breed quickly and tend to live in isolated familial communities, even in London, to avoid being bullied or pushed around. They're surprisingly dangerous soldiers and thieves due to their Silent Speech trait; it lets them speak on an ultrasonic frequency with other Mousefolk, sounding like squeaks to regular people but like normal voices to other Mousefolk. They can also see fine in the dark and have short legs that inhibit movement.



Otter: Otterfolk are another immigrant species that tend to keep to the water and other Otterfolk of their past nationalities. They make great fishermen, sailors, naval soldiers and smugglers. Aquatic Aptitude is the same as the core book. Also, swimming in the waters of London is an awful idea.

Ox: Oxenfolk/Cattlefolk are part of the labor backbone alongside Horsefolk but Oxenfolk are also found as bodyguards or in positions where you need big bodies to look intimidating. They're pretty comfortable with their job opportunities, but now London is starting to import cheaper immigrant labor of Tigerfolk and Elephantfolk and they're getting worried about losing their employment. The Charge Trait means they only take -2 to charging but get +4 damage dice.

Pig: Pigfolk are often considered to be the ugliest of the Beastfolk and a curse for not being devout enough for a Pigfolk born to Yehudite or Ismal parents. A lot of them take jobs lower on the rungs of society but they make friends for life. They also help make up the Communist/anarchist/revolutionary groups of London, turning their loyalty towards their membership. They get +2 to using the sense of smell for Perception.

Porcupine: Immigrated from the Mediterranean, a lot of Porcupinefolk get jobs for being able to cook the dishes of the area and of North Africa. They have to pay double for clothing and stick out in a crowd due to their spines, but their spines have advantages. They can pluck a spine to use it as a melee weapon and deal 1d6 damage to unarmed opponents attacking you (+4 if the attack is from behind).



Rabbit/Hare: Rabbitfolk are found all over the world (except Australia) and are known for their big ears, odd gait and slow reaction times. A lot of Rabbitfolk who want to blend in with society tend to learn to correct their walking. They get +2 to Perception rolls based on hearing and better jumping Traits while their negative Trait makes them lose a dice for determining initiative for the first round of combat.

Rat: Ratfolk have genes that are more potent than Mousefolk and regular Beastfolk. Children with one Ratfolk parent have a 75% chance of being Ratfolk and the gender birth rate means more than half of their babies are female as opposed to the regular fourth. Because they have more potent genes, Ratfolk families tend to form insular clans and stick within themselves when it comes to marriage and love. Some Ratfolk have trouble fitting in with society and become anarchists or revolutionaries. They get night vision due to being mostly nocturnal.

Sheep: Sheepfolk are somewhat easy to intimidate but as long as they can work with other people they'll do any job. Sheepfolk often work alongside Oxenfolk and Horsefolk in the same fields or are found doing manual/assembly line labor. They get Armor from their wool and are harder to surprise/ambush due to eye placement but have a fear of being alone.

Shrew: Shrewfolk have crazy high metabolisms that require five meals a day and they also have poor vision. However, they get Echolocation and +2 to using their sense of smell to identify/track people. For a negative trait, they have shorter legs that affect their movement speed.



Squirrel: Squirrelfolk are viewed with suspicion as chronic thieves with a pathological need to hoard things. A lot of businesses (and the army) don't actually suffer from higher theft with Squirrelfolk around and will often employ them as guards and stock-takers because the Squirrelfolk will get protective of the thing they're told to watch and do an excellent job. They get the Arboreal and Kleptomania traits along with Packrat which gives you two empty slots in places you frequent to hide things you might need later.

Weasel: Weaselfolk are hot-tempered but shrewd, often taking jobs that let them use their nimble bodies or criminal jobs. Deceptive lowers the difficulty of Bull rolls, they move slower from small legs and Luck will let you add two successes to a single skill roll per game.

Wolf: Unlike Dogfolk, Wolffolk don't take orders well unless amongst their own kind when they can form a pack with a hierarchy. They like to take military or violent jobs, or more polite jobs like rat-catcher, guard or pigeon-shooter. Other Beastfolk tend to fear Wolffolk due to a fear of being attacked and *sighs* some Wolffolk become serial killers why not. They get a Bite attack and +1 to Intimidate/Interrogate but as a negative Trait they can get the Rage trait for free.



Other Traits (some previously mentioned Traits are on this list but I won't be repeating them)
  • Animal Feet: they count as a Distinctive Feature negative trait but also make it easier to track you by footprint.
  • Human Visage: It's easier to use the Disguise skill to appear human or another race relevant to your size.
  • Long Legs: move faster.
  • Missing Hand: one of your hands is a paw/foot and can't be used like a regular hand.
  • Mute: can't speak regularly, can only make animal noises. You understand languages, you just have to speak with gestures, writing or sign language.
  • Paws: it's harder to use manual dexterity skills that require regular hands. You don't want this negative trait ever.

Alright, now let's get to the broken bullshit part.

BEASTMAN HYBRIDS

Many non-Beastfolk will have sex without protection with them because they think they can't get pregnant/impregnate them because they're lower life forms. They're incorrect; a male Ogre can get a Beastwoman pregnant just as much as a Beastman can get a female Eldren pregnant. The problem is genetic expression. It might be harder for other subspecies to have kids with Beastfolk but the fact of the matter is that happens. Children born to Beastwomen tend to be Beastfolk and children by Beastmen to women of other subspecies tend to be born matching the mother's subspecies. Which...doesn't make a lot of sense to me, honestly, because of the whole gender birth imbalance thing. It really feels like Beastfolk should've gone extinct a while ago due to hosed up fertility rates and the fact that its expression as a genetic trait varies wildly.

However, let's muddy the waters even further. Sometimes children of non-Beastfolk mothers by Beastmen are born hybrids. What this means is there's some expression of dad's heritage, either physical or mental. Some children are born with funny little ears or fingers that look like claws or cat eyes, some are born with the urge to not be alone, the urge to hoard or the habit of sniffing the air. This doesn't really matter among lower class citizens because most people marry Beastfolk and children are children. In upper society, having a Hybrid child is scandalous or something you can hide depending on how strong the heritage is. A weird little snub nose from having a Dogman father? Eh, there's worse facial features you can have. Cat eyes or a quirk to the physiology that makes them move different? Hide the feature unless your family fall into shame and dishonor. Middle class families are up in the air.

So how exactly does one make a Beastman Hybrid character? What does this entail?

First you need GM permission. Second, you simply pick the species of Beastfolk your mom got down and dirty with. You get every single other bonus your Subspecies of choice gets, so if your idea is an Eldren Beastman Hybrid, then you get all of the other Eldren bonuses and attribute adjustments and everything. In addition to all of the basic stuff your Subspecies gets, you also get the "downside" one Animal Trait of choice from your parent along with an appropriate identifying animalistic feature and maybe, maybe the downside of RP-only relevant social stigma. Maybe.

This is ridiculously broken and also kind of stupid. For starters, there are no limitations about which subspecies can have the hybrid feature attached to. Second, you give up absolutely nothing from your chosen subspecies in exchange for the feature. Eldren have the option to choose between an aptitude for Clairvoyance or Spirituality and get a flat leg up on being a Spiritualist by having goat horns or a little goat tail. Beaver/Dwarves can just Engineer Better flat. Or, because this is the kind of system where picking a Human gives you no inherit attribute adjustments and points to allocate them wherever you want and an extra point to allocate for four total points and a higher fate point pool dealie, there is literally no reason to just have a Beastman dad and a fluffy tail you can tuck into your pants.

Want a character who's a monster at social stuff? Fox dad for a fluffy tail, less penalties for stupid bald-faced lies and no downsides to telling the truth. Alternately, tell the truth forever and become a social monster at that by having a Dog dad. Never be unarmed with claws from a Cat dad. Have a Ferret dad to just Perception better forever. Hell just pick any Beastman dad with night vision and get night vision! In fact, some of these Beastfolk breed choices just aren't good for the options they carry and the cost of getting your attributes adjusted. Most of the time, a Beastman Hybrid with a human mother is flat-out better at doing more things than a purebreed Beastfolk, period. The other thing is that playing a Beastfolk Hybrid completely disregards what the book says about picking an Animal Trait Talent at the cost of picking a Distinctive Features Complication because this book flat-out states that the physical trait the Hybrid shows is not reflective of what Talent they have. There is no correlation to physical appearance. This book even uses the example of cat eyes not giving you night vision; you can have claw-like fingers but have night vision, you can have cat eyes but have retractable claws. Plus, it's free to become a Beastman Hybrid instead of having to pay build points for that Animal Talent.

A reasonable GM would not let players take Beastman Hybrid ever because of the sheer munchkin potential and the barely existent downsides. How many players do you know who would pick this and then say "the first thing my character does is go to a doctor for a tail-ectomy". Like I'm not even mentioning all of the people who would pick a Beastman Hybrid for the furry-lite factor. I will in fact credit them for doing it just to play a furry character and not for intentionally breaking the mechanics and player balance.

Anyway, I don't have much more to say about Beastfolk. The idea isn't awful and it's nice to see a non-Warham take where they're not all rapists in thrall to dark forces (they all count as creatures of Entropy, sure, but shut up). It's the execution with genetics and all that becoming painfully confusing and the fact that hybrids get the best of both worlds that gives me a headache and confuses me immensely. Also this review covered all sixteen pages of the Beastfolk sourcebook.

NEXT TIME we're going to do all of the other subspecies of the core book. They really don't get nearly as much to talk about as Beastfolk do.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Doresh posted:

Because tradition.

To qualify for the Fiddler on the Roof Prestige Class, a character must meet the following criteria:

- 4 levels of Bard
- Jewish ancestry
- Must have successfully made a Climb check.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

RIP Lutri: 5/19/20-4/2/20
:blizz::gamefreak:


Hostile V posted:

It's A Beast Update (But Not That Kind of Beast, Sorry Kurieg)

I will never forgive this betrayal!
:argh:


Also we should probably be glad they didn't go the Hic Sunt Dracones route.

Kurieg fucked around with this message at 21:28 on Oct 17, 2016

LongDarkNight
Oct 25, 2010

It's like watching the collapse of Western civilization in fast forward.

Oven Wrangler

Mors Rattus posted:

I mostly go to the new board game shop on the Newington/New Britain border.

The huge one with all the custom woodwork and the marble bathrooms? That has to be the nicest nerd shop I've ever been in.


I got to play a short session of Numenera this weekend and it was meh. Way too many fiddly bits for what's supposed to be a narrative game.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Kurieg posted:

Also we should probably be glad they didn't go the Hic Sunt Dracones route.

The game so awful it actually made me get off my butt and start reviewing things!

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Bieeardo posted:

To qualify for the Fiddler on the Roof Prestige Class, a character must meet the following criteria:

- 4 levels of Bard
- Jewish ancestry
- Must have successfully made a Climb check.
Who, day and night, must scramble for his spell books
Check his Concentration, manage up his feats
And who has the right, as master of dweomer,
To have the final word at war?

THE WIZARD! (The wizard!) Tradition!

Asimo
Sep 23, 2007




Doresh posted:

It was written like that in the Books of Gygax and by God, we will make it work.
Ironically, half the things that made XP "work" in basic D&D was forgotten to the detriment of later editions just because it was stuff that was implied around Gygax's table rather than explicitly stated in the books. Like XP was originally gained from treasure, maybe with some bonus for getting out of a dungeon alive. This sounds like a trivial thing but it explains a lot of other mechanics that came up, like random encounters; the longer you spent loving around in the dungeon the more you'd get worn down with nothing to show for it, since random encounters had trivial loot, so it was a reason to keep moving and not just sit around and rest for hours after every battle. Similarly, because loot gave you XP it gave good reason to divide it up relatively fairly - or to do things like shovel newfound gold onto the lowbie replacements for dead characters, onto characters of players who missed a few sessions, and so on.

Nuns with Guns
Jul 23, 2010

....?


Evil Mastermind posted:

Oh, right, I forgot that you're paying with XP, not a separate pool. Fate and PbtA games don't tie their compel/failure mechanics to the advancement system.

How in the poo poo are we still doing "pay XP to do non-advancement things" in this day and age?

Another, (slightly) smaller problem with forcing players to buy off Intrusions with XP is that they'll feel obligated to hoard at least a few points for a rainy day rather than, say, doing cool poo poo with them

LongDarkNight posted:

I got to play a short session of Numenera this weekend and it was meh. Way too many fiddly bits for what's supposed to be a narrative game.

oh god there are so many little fiddly bits. If I mysteriously stop posting one day, assume I fell into a coma reading through all the dull actions thrown in a pile in the full game rules chapter

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010



Lipstick Apathy

Halloween Jack posted:

PbtA is played by people who like the idea of playbooks and the 2d6+ mechanic, then immediately make a "hack" with no grasp of the underlying assumptions that make the system work. These are the people who complain that Monsterhearts doesn't have a table of weapon stats or a Blood Meter mechanic for vampires.
The best one I've heard is "how can I put an initiative system into Dungeon World?"

LongDarkNight posted:

I got to play a short session of Numenera this weekend and it was meh. Way too many fiddly bits for what's supposed to be a narrative game.
Yeah the Cypher System has tables for loving jump distances. It really isn't "rules-light" or "narrative-heavy"

Asimo posted:

Ironically, half the things that made XP "work" in basic D&D was forgotten to the detriment of later editions just because it was stuff that was implied around Gygax's table rather than explicitly stated in the books. Like XP was originally gained from treasure, maybe with some bonus for getting out of a dungeon alive. This sounds like a trivial thing but it explains a lot of other mechanics that came up, like random encounters; the longer you spent loving around in the dungeon the more you'd get worn down with nothing to show for it, since random encounters had trivial loot, so it was a reason to keep moving and not just sit around and rest for hours after every battle. Similarly, because loot gave you XP it gave good reason to divide it up relatively fairly - or to do things like shovel newfound gold onto the lowbie replacements for dead characters, onto characters of players who missed a few sessions, and so on.
Right. The XP system supported the theme of raiding dungeons.

It started to creak in AD&D2e with the removal of the "1 GP = 1 XP" as a default assumption, and replaced it with XP for performing class related actions (which also works but is terribly cumbersome for tracking).

It clung to life in 3rd Edition by spending XP as a means of crafting items, but by 4th and 5th Edition there's not a lot of point to explicitly following it anymore.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




Siivola posted:

The best thing about the Modron March is the tiny flip book Modron marching in the bottom right corner of the book. :shobon:

DLMI, please gif this.

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

WE HAVE TO CONTROL OUR ENVIRONMENT
IF YOU SEE ME POSTING OUTSIDE OF THE AUSPOL THREAD PLEASE TELL ME THAT I'M MISSED AND TO START POSTING AGAIN


I just played the indie text adventure 80 Days, a steampunk version of Around the World in 80 Days, and this thread helped me notice how it highlights the plight of women, the lower class, indigenous people, etc. I've already met workers who tell me that steam shovels literally 'run on the blood of natives', a female African rebel leader who you're meant to sympathize with, a genius griot Artificer, etc.

I played a Call of Cthuhu game at a con set in the 19th century and the GM talked about real female and POC people of authority in that time period, like 'first black cop in America was a long time ago', so it's no excuse for discrimination and play what you want.

Count Chocula fucked around with this message at 02:45 on Oct 18, 2016

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



gradenko_2000 posted:

The best one I've heard is "how can I put an initiative system into Dungeon World?"
Oy. It's amazing how hard it is for some people to accept games on their own terms sometimes.

Barudak
May 7, 2007



Nessus posted:

Who, day and night, must scramble for his spell books
Check his Concentration, manage up his feats
And who has the right, as master of dweomer,
To have the final word at war?

THE WIZARD! (The wizard!) Tradition!

Is this the wizard I carried?
Is this the sorcerer at play?
I don't remember leveling up,
When did they?

When did she get to be an archmage?
When did he grow to cast wish?
Wasn't it yesterday when they small?

Sunrise sunset, sunrise, sunset,
Swiftly flow the rests,
Seedlings turn in 8 hours to sunflowers,
Blossoming as we campaign...

Barudak fucked around with this message at 03:17 on Oct 18, 2016

Nuns with Guns
Jul 23, 2010

....?




I decided to keep this bit short because I'll probably end up giving all three character types their own posts.

Part 2: An Explanation of the Stats and Other Important Character Information

So before we dive in, I want to pause to give a quick mention of the formatting of this book. Like Numenera before it, The Strange has wide side-margins that it uses for quick asides and tips as well as notes on what pages to reference for certain rules. So pages are laid out like such:



It can be handy sometimes, but other times pages will only have one or even no notes in that column. I have to wonder if there isn’t a better way to deliver that information that doesn’t consume so much page space for so little information.


Good doggie!

Anyway, let’s move on to character stats. There are three stats in the Cypher System: Might, Speed, and Intellect.

Might is what you get when you combine strength with constitution, to put it in D&D terms. It’s how strong you are and also how much you’re able to endure punishment.

Speed is how fast, agile, and coordinated you are. It covers everything a dexterity-based character in D&D would do, from sneaking to archery.

Intellect is a mix of intelligence, wisdom, and charisma, as found in noted tabletop RPG: Dungeons and Dragons. It does everything you would imagine those stats to do.

Stats are made up of two vital components: Pool and Edge.

A Pool is the basic measurement of a stat, aka the stat’s score. If you have a Might pool of 16 then you’re stronger than someone with a Might pool of 12. The average range for a Pool is 9 to 12. The Pool you focus on will obviously have more.

And what, pray tell, do we use the Pool for? Well two things, first Pools are another aspect (heh) of The Cypher System that feels reminiscent of Fate. Fate has separate damage tracks for physical, social, and mental damage. Your Might, Speed, and Intellect Pools are your reserves of hitpoints, too. You lose points from your Pool when you’re injured, sickened, or attacked. The type of attack dictates what Pool is damaged. So, if someone hits you with a sword, you deduct from your Might Pool. If someone hit you with a tranquilizer dart, that could make you woozy and damage your Speed Pool. If you’re having a mental battle with a psychic, that damage would be dealt to your Intellect Pool.

Well that doesn’t seem so ba—oh! Oh did I forget to mention that your Pools are also what you expend to apply Effort to your rolls? For a beginning character, applying Effort to a roll costs 3 points from a Pool that is relevant to the roll. This will bump the Task Difficulty down by one step. You can apply more levels of Effort by spending 2 more points from the Pool for each step you want to bump down after the first. So if you want to apply two levels of Effort, you declare it ahead of time and spend a total of 5 points from the Pool. Every character has an Effort score, which indicates the max amount of Effort levels that can be applied to a single roll. Yes, you’re expected to pull out of your hitpoints to make task rolls easier. I hope you don’t get damaged a lot or else you’ll be up the creek without a paddle! Numenera had a problem where the vast, vast majority of attacks listed in the game damaged Might over any other Pool.

The Strange keeps up this proud tradition:

the book posted:

An attack against a PC subtracts points from one of the character’s stat Pools—usually the Might Pool. Whenever an attack simply says it deals “damage” without specifying the type, it means Might damage, which is by far the most common type. Intellect damage, which is usually the result of a mental attack, is always labeled as Intellect damage. Speed damage is often a physical attack, but attacks that deal Speed damage are fairly rare.
Now you might be thinking, “Gee, doesn’t that mean that characters that rely on the Might pool have the unfair burden of choosing between staying alive and being effective more often?” Yes, yes they do. I’ll have to keep a tally of how many things deal damage to each stat when I cover the player character attacks and monster stats. On the upside, the basic dodge roll characters make is usually a Speed roll. But if both your Might and Speed Pools are depleted after a combat because you’re the frontline fighty type then I guess it’ll suck either way.

Effort can also be applied to increase the amount of damage an attack deals. For each level of Effort you apply, you can inflict 3 additional points of damage. Area of Effect attacks with this Effort applied to damage only deal 2 additional points of damage, but it hits everyone affected. Even if a target resists the attack, 1 damage is always dealt. Effort spent this way on melee attacks can come from either the Might or Speed Pool. Ranged attacks can only use the Speed Pool.

Let’s return to the other key part of your character stats: Edge. When something requires you to spend points from a stat Pool, your Edge for that stat reduces the cost. It won’t subtract from damage though! The example given is when you have a mental blast ability that costs 1 point from your Intellect Pool to activate. You subtract your Intellect Edge from the activation cost, and the result is how many points you must spend to use the mental blast. If the Edge reduces to cost to 0, well congrats, that ability is free to use! Edge also impacts the cost of applying Effort to a roll. If you have a Speed Edge of 2, you can apply the first level of Effort for 1 point from the Speed Pool instead of 3. What if you want to apply two levels of Effort to a roll? Normally that would be a total of 5 points from your Speed Pool, but with a Speed Edge of 2, that’s only 3! When a stat’s Edge reaches 3, you can apply one level of Effort for free.

Another thing to note: if you apply an Effort of 2 or higher, you can apply that Effort to multiple aspects of a single action. In combat, this means you could apply Effort to lower the attack roll Task Difficulty by a step, and apply Effort to increase damage. Also, you can use Edge for a particular stat only once per action. This means if you decide to apply an Effort of 2 to an attack and then to damage, the Edge can only reduce the cost of one of those. Same with activating powers: if you apply your Edge to activate a mind blast for free, you can’t also use it to reduce the cost of Effort applied to the mind blast.


Can you figure out what is going on here? Because I sure can't!!

So how about those Character Tiers and Benefits? Maybe you've manage to, against the best efforts of your GM, accumulate enough XP to advance your character in some way. How’s that work? Well there’s six levels Character Tiers in this game. You start at the first Tier and work your way up. On the plus side, the book emphasizes that you’re not some random buttfarmer even at the first Tier and it’s assumed that player characters will already be fairly skilled individuals to have made it to where they are. Tier advancement, then, is a matter of refining and growing your already significant talents. Each Tier offers four benefits, each of which can be purchased once per Tier in whatever order the player wants. Each benefit costs 4 XP. Once you’ve purchased each benefit in your Tier, you advance to the next Tier. The four benefits are the same in each Tier: +4 points to allocate among your stat Pools as you wish, +1 to one stat Edge (your choice), +1 to your Effort score, and you can choose to Train a skill or Specialize in an already-Trained skill. If having mad skills disgusts you on some primitive level, you can forego that benefit for one of the following: reduce the cost for wearing armor by 1 and lower your Speed reduction in armor by 1, add 2 to your recovery rolls, or add a new move to your list of known moves from your character Class Type list of your Tier or lower.

Wait, the cost of wearing armor? Oh yesss….



The fighty character Class Type, thankfully, has a starting ability that allows them to reduce the Might cost and Speed Pool reduction by 2, which increases every few Tiers. All you other pasty nerds can eat dirt though! Haha!

But before all of that happens, you have to figure out exactly what you want to be in this expansive magitech world! How do you narrow it down? By figuring out your Character Descriptor, Type, and Focus. The Cypher System’s big pitch is that when you’re all done, you’ve built a character who can be described with a simple statement: “I am an adjective noun who verbs.” The adjective is your Descriptor, the noun is your character Type, and the verb is your Focus.

In a lot of ways, the creation of this descriptive statement reminds me of another feature in many Fate games: the High Concept. Like the statement you make by building a character in the Cypher System, a High Concept acts as a succinct and flavorful descriptor of a player’s character. Of course, the High Concept in Fate is usually the first Aspect a player creates and it acts as a foundation stone that everything else spins out of. The phrase created in the Cypher System works backwards, by comparison. You won’t know what the key words in the phrase are until you’re done making your character. I won’t try to claim that the High Concept was ripped off here; lord knows forming a tagline for your character isn’t unique to Fate. I just thought it was an interesting case of reaching the same endpoint from completely different directions.

Now, despite being listed second, the character’s Type is really the most important part of the character. As you might have figured out, this is character class in this game. There are three Types: Paradox, Spinner, and Vector. Once you’ve selected your Type, you pick your Descriptor. The Descriptor defines your character and often offers the first adventure hook. The Focus is what your character does best within a recursion. This is the first time I’ve mentioned recursions isn’t it? They’re the different parallel realities within The Strange. Your Focus can vary in each one, but usually not drastically. Nothing (mechanically) is stopping you from being focused on guns in one recursion and fireballs in another, though. But think carefully! Because once your Focus is set in that recursion, it can’t be changed again.

Your Type and Focus both grant Special Abilities. Special Abilities got an overview already in the section on Edge. As mentioned above, you spend points out of a stat Pool to activate them, and the cost to activate them might be reduced by your Edge. Some abilities might have a + sign next to their cost. That means you can spend more points from your stat Pool or apply Effort to increase the effect of the ability. Some Special Abilities are actions unto themselves and are labeled with “Action” so you can keep track. Other Special Abilities let you perform a familiar action in a different way, like wearing heavier armor or adding 2 points of fire damage to your weapon. These abilities aren’t considered an action. Instead, they’re either a constant effect or happen as part of another action. They’re labeled with “Enabler”.

Let’s take a break for a quick vocabulary lesson: a recursor is anyone who leaves Earth to poke and prod around the many recursions and The Strange. The spark is self-awareness. Earth is what’s called a “prime world” and every intelligent being is self-aware on Earth. On recursions outside of Earth, a lot of the population are like ambulatory robots from Disneyland rides or those historical reenactors that will never break character no matter what asinine questions you ask them. And sometimes one of the little singing children from It’s A Small World might become aware of her place in the world and exert free will. Creatures who experience that have “gained the spark”. The majority of the populations on the two major recursions (Ardeyn and Ruk) have the spark. The lesser recursions are more around 10%. All player characters have the spark. The final thing brought up are Quickened characters. Quickened characters have the spark and also a unique connection to The Strange that lets them translate (shift between recursions) without the help of a gate or portal or whatever. It’s a special power that might only exist on Earth, Ardeyn, and Ruk. It’s a rare and precious thing, so naturally all player characters are quickened. I do approve of finding ways to emphasize why player characters are important in the game.

The tail end of this section is some suggested background options with linked advice on how a character could advance. There’s nothing really remarkable here and no mechanical weight to any of it. It’s all just advice on the starting mindset of your character and how they approach The Strange. I’ll trust that most people who are reading this review are already experienced enough in making tabletop RPG characters that I don’t need to reiterate it.


"I knew I should have stayed home today..."

Next: how many ways can a man hit another man with a stick in this roleplaying game of exploration and discovery and no XP for hitting men with sticks?

Nuns with Guns fucked around with this message at 04:38 on Oct 18, 2016

Barudak
May 7, 2007



So does the damage work the same way it does in Numenara where it goes to might first, and if you have no more might it starts targeting speed, then intellect or is it just whichever drops to 0 first knocks you out of the fight or something else?

I almost can't believe they kept this system and didn't think to just introduce a separate unified track for HP.

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010



Lipstick Apathy

Barudak posted:

So does the damage work the same way it does in Numenara where it goes to might first, and if you have no more might it starts targeting speed, then intellect or is it just whichever drops to 0 first knocks you out of the fight or something else?

I almost can't believe they kept this system and didn't think to just introduce a separate unified track for HP.

It's going to be great when someone F&F's Gods of the Fall and we have to retread the same ground:
you still have damage going to your Might pool, then your Speed pool, then your Intellect pool
one of your initial abilities as a first-tier warrior Champion is goddamned Bash

BinaryDoubts
Jun 6, 2013

Looking at it now, it really is disgusting. The flesh is transparent. From the start, I had no idea if it would even make a clapping sound. So I diligently reproduced everything about human hands, the bones, joints, and muscles, and then made them slap each other pretty hard.


Wait, people you encounter outside of Earth have a significant chance to be non-sentient beings, like the robots in Westworld?

Why? I find this to be an extremely baffling concept. (Also, spending points to reduce roll difficulties that are also your health points seems awfully fiddly.)

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010



Lipstick Apathy

Traveller (and any number of other games) have damage models where the damage is applied directly against your "Strength" or "Constitution" score, effectively making it the same as your HP, but off-hand I can't think of a game where it's also the stuff that you spend.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

BinaryDoubts posted:

Wait, people you encounter outside of Earth have a significant chance to be non-sentient beings, like the robots in Westworld?

Why? I find this to be an extremely baffling concept. (Also, spending points to reduce roll difficulties that are also your health points seems awfully fiddly.)

Having not read whatever rationalization is in the book, I would almost 100% assume it is to make NPCs that are disposable. I mean the level of amoral behavior that some PC parties engage in is staggering at times and this setup pretty much just completely enables it. Monte & friends probably weren't looking at 'war crime fun time' but were thinking of how their world-hopping heroes would meddle in basically everything they encountered and tried to make it less terrible/consequence-laden/butterfly-effecty

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



Evil Mastermind posted:

Like, a compel isn't a punishment. It may look like one at first, especially if you're new to the system, but really they're a reward for playing your character as designed. That's why you can self-compel.

A Compel is both the narrative becoming more about your character and their problems, and a tasty Fate Point you can use to shape the narrative further. You want to be Compelled, and choose your Aspects to encourage it.

Evil Mastermind posted:

But on top of that, the GM is specifically told that a compel should just make things more difficult in that situation, and to not just screw over the characters.

A good Compel should complicate what a character is doing, not shut it down. You can still succeed, but...

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




BinaryDoubts posted:

Wait, people you encounter outside of Earth have a significant chance to be non-sentient beings, like the robots in Westworld?

Why? I find this to be an extremely baffling concept. (Also, spending points to reduce roll difficulties that are also your health points seems awfully fiddly.)

Like Occam's said, the conscious thought process probably was along the lines of a sort of morally abusable NPC underclass. It also probably unintentionally stems from good old unexamined exoticism, which is how we got the Elemental Plane of Non-person Native American Stereotypes, and that other place with people literally called "wetbacks."

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


It's also similar to the old Amber novels / RPG where you have only two worlds that effectively matter. Presumably it's to tighten the focus on some multiversal threat instead of getting distracted by stuff like liberating Nazi Earth or whatever, as well as having some excuse as to why not everybody goes multiversaling.

The problem is that if some places don't matter, it reduces them to set decorations and traveling the multiverse becomes a gimmick instead of a great story hook. And there's the whole issue with some people just being, well, inferior...

For all my issues with the Amber followup Lords of Gossamer and Shadow, it at least goes with "all worlds are more or less equal" which was enormously refreshing in comparison.

Nuns with Guns
Jul 23, 2010

....?


Barudak posted:

So does the damage work the same way it does in Numenara where it goes to might first, and if you have no more might it starts targeting speed, then intellect or is it just whichever drops to 0 first knocks you out of the fight or something else?

I almost can't believe they kept this system and didn't think to just introduce a separate unified track for HP.

They kept that system, yeah. First priority is Might, then Speed, then Intellect. There's also a whole other fiddly companion system of status conditions that are applied to you as you get more damaged that I'll have to go into when I get the chance

BinaryDoubts posted:

Wait, people you encounter outside of Earth have a significant chance to be non-sentient beings, like the robots in Westworld?

Why? I find this to be an extremely baffling concept. (Also, spending points to reduce roll difficulties that are also your health points seems awfully fiddly.)

as others have indicated, the justification seems to be that these are disposable NPCs. In-universe they're not fully-functioning beings in their own right, more like distorted shadows or echoes that reverberate out from Earth. I think the spark is meant to be more of a flag of who really matters in a given recursion, but it is also kinda callous

That Old Tree posted:

Like Occam's said, the conscious thought process probably was along the lines of a sort of morally abusable NPC underclass. It also probably unintentionally stems from good old unexamined exoticism, which is how we got the Elemental Plane of Non-person Native American Stereotypes, and that other place with people literally called "wetbacks."

if you're talking about the "beaners" in that last bit, those are in Numenera, fyi

Serf
May 5, 2011




The non-people people of The Strange were clearly thought up as a way around the old "slaughtering a village of orcs" thing that annoys D&D fans to no end. I mean how can you feel bad about killing things that just look like people but aren't actually people? Unfortunately, this is a piss-poor solution that normalizes violence and just excuses even worse acts.

Nuns with Guns
Jul 23, 2010

....?


to expand on the concept, Monte Cook's introduction also notes that Bruce originally pitched The Strange to him as just being about Earth and the fantasy recursion, Ardeyn, with the complex Strange network linking the two. Then they started talking about adding in even more recursions and the second major one, Ruk, was formulated by Monte. Everything else really was secondary from there.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

gradenko_2000 posted:

The best one I've heard is "how can I put an initiative system into Dungeon World?"
Mine is the Kickstarter for a Battle Royale/Hunger Games type thing which has 17 basic moves. And, well, tremulus.

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!


Serf posted:

The non-people people of The Strange were clearly thought up as a way around the old "slaughtering a village of orcs" thing that annoys D&D fans to no end. I mean how can you feel bad about killing things that just look like people but aren't actually people? Unfortunately, this is a piss-poor solution that normalizes violence and just excuses even worse acts.

For that matter, how would the PC's even know the difference unless they had a special device/sense for detecting sentience in creatures?

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



If I remember correctly, the idea behind recursions in The Strange is that they're basically dream realms/fictional pocket dimensions rather than full-blown Multiversity-style alternate realities. The reason most of the people aren't really "people" is because they're really just background characters used to fill in the crowd scenes, as it were.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

RIP Lutri: 5/19/20-4/2/20
:blizz::gamefreak:


Still doesn't explain why the native american reality is the one with the lowest chance of a person being sentient. Any way you justify it just makes it worse.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Oh, don't get me wrong, I'm not defending that in the slightest. I'm just giving what (I'm pretty sure is) the in-game explanation is for why most of the people in recursions aren't technically people.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

Kurieg posted:

Still doesn't explain why the native american reality is the one with the lowest chance of a person being sentient.
Do you believe in the Westworld?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


I think if you're aware enough to see that slaughtering villages of sentient beings is morally monstrous, you're not going to be satisfied with 'Well they only look like people.'

Another little bit from Ironclaw that I quite like: One reason people get the Afraid effect when they take any serious hit or see an ally get cut in half from an Overkill is because the designers wanted a lot of fights to end with one side yielding or running away, to avoid killing everyone in every fight. The same goes for PCs: You automatically have a gift that stops the first killing/disabling blow on you each fight (and can buy more) which is supposed to be your signal that maybe now's time to cut bait. They wanted a world where every conflict doesn't end in one side butchered, even if it goes to swords, and to provide a way for PCs to sort of soft-lose a fight without actually dying.

Kobold eBooks
Mar 5, 2007

EVERY MORNING I WAKE UP AN OPEN PALM SLAM A CARTRIDGE IN THE SUPER FAMICOM. ITS E-ZEAO AND RIGHT THEN AND THERE I START DOING THE MOVES ALONGSIDE THE MAIN CHARACTER, CORPORAL FALCOM.

So it's been roughly forever and a day since I had time to bang out an FFRPG update, and it looks like I'll still be busy enough that cranking out those posts is going to be difficult.

Should I just move on and let it drop? I'll keep going if people want to see more of this mess of fanwank. :v:

Kobold eBooks fucked around with this message at 14:58 on Oct 18, 2016

Nuns with Guns
Jul 23, 2010

....?


Evil Mastermind posted:

Oh, don't get me wrong, I'm not defending that in the slightest. I'm just giving what (I'm pretty sure is) the in-game explanation is for why most of the people in recursions aren't technically people.

You're right btw, the in-setting explanation is that recursions aren't fully-realized realities so the people in them aren't fully-realized either. This is incredibly dumb and leads to things like the Plane of Crows having more beings with free will than the Plane of Amrican Indian Appropriation. I'm gonna hold off really tearing into it until we get more into the recursions and sparks tho

Traveller
Jan 6, 2012

WHIM AND FOPPERY



Kobold eBooks posted:

So it's been roughly forever and a day since I had time to bang out an FFRPG update, and it looks like I'll still be busy enough that cranking out those posts is going to be difficult.

Should I just move on and let it drop? I'll keep going if people want to see more of this mess of fanwank. :v:

the Scorpion schemes now
the Crab pounds with kanabo
this means you :justpost:

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Funnily enough, I'm going through the Worlds Numberless and Strange book, and a lot of the recursions in there are pretty interesting. Like the Authurian reality that's been invaded by a nanoplague, or the sky islands world which I'm always a sucker for.

There's also one that's basically the same thing as Far West, which is pretty hilarious.

This whole thing is making me mentally draft a "How EM would fix The Strange" post because that's something I need to waste time thinking about.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


It's time for more Scots-Wolves! Ironclaw ahoy!

When we'd left off in the history of the Bisclavret, they'd declared themselves the Bisclavret, moved to a feudal system with primogenitor solidified under the control of King Riddock as the third generation of highly successful centralizing monarchs, and basically claimed the south-western forests and coasts of Calabria for themselves by right of conquest. Any Lord that swore fealty was given a title and a place in the new system. Anyone who didn't (and there weren't many) found themselves suddenly on the other end of a unified and very aggressive state that seized their land and ended their line. No longer a matter of tribute and 'robbery', this finally prompted the foxes of the Rinaldi to make an attempt on the Bisclavret. Don Fabroni of the Rinaldi didn't believe it possible the wolves had modernized as quickly as they had, and so assumed that now that they were willing to meet his army in open battle he could destroy them and reclaim the glory of the Rinaldi house. This, uh, did not go well, but not for the reasons one might suspect: Riddock's lands had become immensely popular with mercenaries as a place to make your fortune in the raiding and fighting along the Via Salutis, and he had emptied a significant portion of his new treasury into hiring warriors from all over Calabria and beyond. When the foxes arrived to fight his royal army, they found it roughly their equal, but backed up by an enormous number of hired hands that quickly overran them. Forced to sue for peace, the Rinaldi granted the Bisclavret the same deal they had the Avoirdupois ages ago: King Riddock would also be recognized as Duke of the forest-lands, and would have legal claim to all of Western Calabria. The great victory over the Rinaldi solidified the the Bisclavrets' status as a new Great House and reduced the Rinaldi to their current state as a political and mercantile, but not military, power.

His political centralization and legitimacy completed, Riddock put into practice his final goal: Forced conversion of the Bisclavret population to Penitance in the name of S'Allumer, reasoning that he could have better control of the Church than of the damned Druids. Druids were given the option to convert and swear allegiance, or they were hung. Many went into hiding; Druidism sees no sin in lying and concealing your faith to avoid punishment (especially considering the amount of illusion and glamor magic they use, we'll get to that in one of the expansions) and some even infiltrated the ranks of the new S'Allumerite clergy. Even today, Bisclavret faces persistent religious strife as it tries to eradicate the old ways and the stubborn druids and folk-stories hang on. Despite these persistent problems, Riddock was mostly successful; he had the force of the entire state behind him and most of his people (after three generations of erosion of the Old Ways) didn't object much to embracing the new religion of light and the attendant charity, hospitals, and healing magics that came with it. The only remnant of the old ways to survive unchallenged in Bisclavret were the Bards, once the pride of the Bianfels, and too useful to the state to even consider getting rid of them. When Riddock died of old age ten years after witnessing the fulfillment of his dream, state propaganda and bard-song semi-deified him as the hero of his country, the bringer of progress and modernity, and a man whose vision had not only come true but made his people strong beyond their wildest expectations.

Of course, such things don't last. Bisclavret is probably the most anarchic of all of the Houses in the modern era. Where the Avoirdupois and Doloreaux are conservative in nature, the wolves embrace the new with fanatical devotion. Every new King and Duke wants to be seen as a great reformer and shaper of the world, to find some new advantage that will put them next to Riddock Deanamh-Gaisce in the history of their people. The rapid change and modernization also means law doesn't have time to catch up; justice can be hard to find in Bisclavret and cries to protect the weakest in society can fall on deaf ears if it might impede some grand new enterprise. Also, the last Duke made a series of sweeping 'reforms' intended to promote new enterprises and businesses, and to one day compete with the great Rinaldi capitol of Triskellian as a mercantile power; the deregulations and removal of docking fees he proposed instead led to the Bisclavret ports growing infested with pirates and smugglers and taxes being increasingly hard to collect. His new currency proved extremely easy to counterfeit, too, devaluing and debasing it almost as soon as it was introduced, and his people still remain 'shackled' to the Rinaldi Denarii. His only really successful 'reform' was formalizing the systems of spies and secret-police his predecessors had used for decades, men and women of ability used to root out hidden druids, spy on other nations, and watch that the constant bickering among his lords not grow into real civil wars instead of minor skirmishes. When he died, however, he left behind the greatest threat to Bisclavret political stability: A nine year old son who is reliant on a regency council. Bisclavret is probably in for some serious Crusader Kings poo poo going down.

Next Time: Bisclavret Culture, Mercenaries, and Anti-History!

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Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Asimo posted:

Ironically, half the things that made XP "work" in basic D&D was forgotten to the detriment of later editions just because it was stuff that was implied around Gygax's table rather than explicitly stated in the books. Like XP was originally gained from treasure, maybe with some bonus for getting out of a dungeon alive. This sounds like a trivial thing but it explains a lot of other mechanics that came up, like random encounters; the longer you spent loving around in the dungeon the more you'd get worn down with nothing to show for it, since random encounters had trivial loot, so it was a reason to keep moving and not just sit around and rest for hours after every battle. Similarly, because loot gave you XP it gave good reason to divide it up relatively fairly - or to do things like shovel newfound gold onto the lowbie replacements for dead characters, onto characters of players who missed a few sessions, and so on.

I bit like with 4e's Warlordgate, when people complained about how some dude could just shout meat back onto someone, when Hit Points have always been much more than just meat. People just have a perception of how things should work, but they don't think about why they are like that.

Kobold eBooks posted:

So it's been roughly forever and a day since I had time to bang out an FFRPG update, and it looks like I'll still be busy enough that cranking out those posts is going to be difficult.

Should I just move on and let it drop? I'll keep going if people want to see more of this mess of fanwank. :v:

We could definitely need some FFRPG. Though if you don't want to and my shedule allows it, I'll gleefully steal the review from you :3

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