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Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.


Grimey Drawer

Halloween Jack posted:

In this light, it’s not surprising that Vampire (and a lot of people’s Vampire games, I’d wager) practically forgot about its characters needing to drink blood—let alone what blood-drinking means on a thematic level. In keeping with the overall attitude of not trusting the reality of the world around you, they imitated the attitude of Blade and The Matrix where normal people are nonentities and just scenery. (Notice how Blade operates in secret, but he walks around dressed like that? And fights cops in broad daylight with no fear of repercussions?)

I don't know about other vampire authors from that era, but Anne Rice's novels were guilty of this kind of thing from front to back. They start out exsanguinating people in instants on park benches, and in a later novel Lestat owns the World's Most Awesome Shopping Mall, which is loaded with secret passages from which he can pounce, eat, and hide the corpses of people who will never be missed. Granted that they're written from the POV of absurdly unreliable narrators, but I'd lay odds a lot of players and writers were still influenced by them.

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Zereth
Jul 8, 2003


Mors Rattus posted:

So, I'm trying to find any time where someone might reasonably choose to use that spell even in the hands of like some peasant folk wizard, given that using it requires you to already have shears on hand. Wouldn't it be easier to just use the shears?
It also requires you to, as part of the spell, go through the actual process of shearing a sheep for the magic to work.

So instead of shearing a sheep by mundane means, you shear a sheep by mundane means, while also casting a spell?

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.


Grimey Drawer
Do Aysle's axioms allow for mundane sheep shearing?

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

Bieeardo posted:

I don't know about other vampire authors from that era, but Anne Rice's novels were guilty of this kind of thing from front to back. They start out exsanguinating people in instants on park benches, and in a later novel Lestat owns the World's Most Awesome Shopping Mall, which is loaded with secret passages from which he can pounce, eat, and hide the corpses of people who will never be missed. Granted that they're written from the POV of absurdly unreliable narrators, but I'd lay odds a lot of players and writers were still influenced by them.
I never read that far, but I really liked in Interview how they made dozens and dozens of people (preferably of wealth and status) just disappear in a city with a population well under 100,000.

wiegieman posted:

Blade getting arrested (when it's not a vampire conspiracy) is really boring. That's why he doesn't get arrested.
Well sure, but despite Blade's assurances that "they're everywhere," the landscape of Blade's universe is just his headquarters and those of his enemies. Everything and everyone else is just like background texture, like he's playing GTA. This is deeply ideological, as is the WoD.

Zereth posted:

It also requires you to, as part of the spell, go through the actual process of shearing a sheep for the magic to work.

So instead of shearing a sheep by mundane means, you shear a sheep by mundane means, while also casting a spell?
You could make a sheep-shearing spell that you cast in order to cast your other spell, but at that point the GM knows you're just being a dick

JackMann
Aug 11, 2010

Secure. Contain. Protect.
Fallen Rib
Yeah, but Blade literally is a superhero with fangs. It makes sense for the genre.

Prism
Dec 22, 2007

yospos

Mors Rattus posted:

So, I'm trying to find any time where someone might reasonably choose to use that spell even in the hands of like some peasant folk wizard, given that using it requires you to already have shears on hand. Wouldn't it be easier to just use the shears?

Well, it lasts for ten hours so you could have a whole bunch of wizards 'using' the same pair of shears.

That said: no. Just use the shears.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003


Bieeardo posted:

Do Aysle's axioms allow for mundane sheep shearing?
It'd have to, otherwise they wouldn't be able to produce sheep shears and know what sheep shearing motions are in order to cast the spell in the first place.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008

Mors Rattus posted:

So, I'm trying to find any time where someone might reasonably choose to use that spell even in the hands of like some peasant folk wizard, given that using it requires you to already have shears on hand. Wouldn't it be easier to just use the shears?

Zereth posted:

It also requires you to, as part of the spell, go through the actual process of shearing a sheep for the magic to work.

So instead of shearing a sheep by mundane means, you shear a sheep by mundane means, while also casting a spell?
No, you just make shearing motions around the sheep and it's sheared. So I guess it just keeps your arms from getting tired because you're performing the real physical act?

quote:

Few people even begin to realize how difficult the life of farmers and shepherds was until the advent of modern magic. However, it is generally believed that crude versions of spells like shear sheep had been used well before records were ever kept. How users maintained control without out unified magic theory remains a mystery. - Zelephest

I think the idea is that, because it's established that magic is common as dirt in Aysle there's spells for things that we'd consider mundane tasks. But, of course, the problem is that if you want that spell, you have to spend Possibilities to learn it. And to learn it, you need the alteration and earth magic skills at a total of 11.

Yes, every person in Aysle has an inborn talent in one casting skill and one knowledge, but the odds that someone will have those two skills and need to shear sheep on a regular basis are pretty drat slim.

Ultimately it's just dumb and was probably included for verisimilitude, because at the time that was a bigger concern than usability or practicality.

I mean, there's a spell called "Yield Pearl" that does nothing but cause an oyster to give up its pearl without harming the oyster. I cannot imagine why that's a concern, or why it'd be easier to use a spell with a six-second cast time and constantly risk backlash instead of just using a knife and some thick gloves. But it's there, and you can spend a Possibility point to learn it.

In conclusion:

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

JackMann posted:

Yeah, but Blade literally is a superhero with fangs. It makes sense for the genre.
That's right; I'm pointing out that Vampire became more like Blade over time, in specific ways, and pondering why that is. I'm not criticizing Blade for not being, say, Cronos.

Evil Mastermind posted:

Yes, every person in Aysle has an inborn talent in one casting skill and one knowledge, but the odds that someone will have those two skills and need to shear sheep on a regular basis are pretty drat slim.

Ultimately it's just dumb and was probably included for verisimilitude, because at the time that was a bigger concern than usability or practicality.

I mean, there's a spell called "Yield Pearl" that does nothing but cause an oyster to give up its pearl without harming the oyster. I cannot imagine why that's a concern, or why it'd be easier to use a spell with a six-second cast time and constantly risk backlash instead of just using a knife and some thick gloves. But it's there, and you can spend a Possibility point to learn it.
Is a Storm Knight not entitled to the pearl of his oyster? "No!" says the man in the Cyberpapacy. It belongs to the GodNet.

Halloween Jack fucked around with this message at 20:19 on Jan 5, 2017

unseenlibrarian
Jun 4, 2012

There's only one thing in the mountains that leaves a track like this. The creature of legend that roams the Timberline. My people named him Sasquatch. You call him... Bigfoot.
His expression says everything about what it must be like to learn a sheep-shearing spell.

Chernobyl Peace Prize
May 7, 2007

Or later, later's fine.
But now would be good.

I mean, you COULD use that sheep-shearing spell so you don't dull your existing pair, or if you've got a broken pair (it doesn't specify functioning shears). But you could probably also just sharpen a dull pair or fix a broken pair of shears (using spells that require a whetstone or a toolkit, respectively, and the appropriate hand gestures).

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion


I see the sheep-shearing thing as the difference between manual shears and modern tools. You could tire yourself out cutting all this stuff by hand, or just use something that looks like a electric razor and do 5 in the same time.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008

Chernobyl Peace Prize posted:

But you could probably also just sharpen a dull pair or fix a broken pair of shears (using spells that require a whetstone or a toolkit, respectively, and the appropriate hand gestures).
Oddly enough, as near as I can tell there's no spell for repairing something.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.


Grimey Drawer

Halloween Jack posted:

I never read that far, but I really liked in Interview how they made dozens and dozens of people (preferably of wealth and status) just disappear in a city with a population well under 100,000.

That really was something. Embracing Louis gave Lestat nice digs out of town, but then they fed like the world's worst-conceived Ventrue. Small wonder everyone hated Lestat in the later books, he was a singing and dancing violation of the not-Masquerade.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

My reference point for all this kind of thing is Ars Magica, where the answer is usually 'no, there is no point to casting a spell to shear a single sheep, magic becomes relevant in the farming process when economies of scale become involved.'

For example, there are spells you can use to replace the growth and harvest process by just willing food into existence, perhaps because you are wizzarding it up on a barren island. But because the difficulty of doing this for a single meal is no easier than doing this for, approximately one thousand meals' worth of food, there is no spell for the former, only the latter. (The reason for this is that there is a difficulty floor for the permanent creation of objects, which cannot be made easier beyond a certain point.)

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008

wiegieman posted:

I see the sheep-shearing thing as the difference between manual shears and modern tools. You could tire yourself out cutting all this stuff by hand, or just use something that looks like a electric razor and do 5 in the same time.
Except that there's no indication that it's any faster or more efficient than doing it by hand. Yeah, it's less effort, but presumably it still takes the same amount of time.

And again, this is something you'd have to pay XP to get, but would never use in-game.

Another example:


All that does is make a whiteboard. That's it. Is that useful? Yeah, I imagine so. But it's not easier for day-to-day PC use than, say, a sheet of paper and some pens, with the advantage that the paper doesn't vanish and doesn't have a chance of blowing your head off when you use it.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008

So let's take a look at the Whiteboard spell, and how the "using magic" solution bangs up against the reality of Torg's math, because I was curious what the worst-case scenario was for a generic NPC to flub casting a spell that replaces something completely mundane using this system.

Whiteboard has a backlash of 14, and a difficulty of 9. Frank Genericman, a non-P-rated teacher, wants to cast it because he has one add in the relevant casting skill from his birthsign. Going by the generic NPC stats in the book, he'd have a skill of 9 (average stat of 8, one add).

To cast a spell, you need to beat the spell's difficulty via skill roll. Well, Frank's skill is the same as the difficulty, so he needs a result of +0. On the bonus chart, that's a roll of 11 or better. So on the die he's got a 50/50 shot of successfully casting the spell.


Remember this?

But then we have to look at the backlash value. If Frank's total is less than the spell's backlash value, then regardless of whether or not he successfully casts the spell, he subtracts his final skill total from the backlash value, and that number is used on the damage table to see how badly he just hurt himself.

So let's say Frank breaks even and gets a total of 9. That's less than the backlash value, so he takes the different (14-9=5) and looks that up on the combat results table. If Frank is P-rated, then he'd suffer an "O" result (half a KO) and take two shock damage. If he's an Ord (which is likely if he's just a generic Ayslish teacher), he'd take K3; half a KO and three shock. Kinda sucks.

But what if he didn't break even?

Let's say Frank tanks it and rolls a 1. That's a bonus of -12. 14-(-12)=26. That's the equivalent base damage of a loving mortar shell: for an Ord, that's 9WndKO15. Nine wounds, knocked out, and 15 stress damage (which would also knock him out since that's more shock than his Toughness). Not that it matters, because he only has four wounds, and since he's an Ord he doesn't have Possibilities to spend to reroll or reduce damage. Frank walks into class, tries to prep his whiteboard, and his head loving explodes. Also his spell doesn't go off.

Any Combat Result of 8 or more would result in Frank taking at least one wound. That means (backlash-total=8), or 14-X=8, so a skill total of 6. With a base skill of 9, rolling a 5 or less would result in real physical damage. So a 25% chance of really hurting himself when creating a whiteboard.

In order to take no damage, he'd need to get a bonus of 5 (skill 9 + bonus 5 = 14). Which is a roll of 18+. Between "no damage at all" and "real damage" is the territory of knockdowns, KOs, and shock damage.

A Combat Result of 14 is 3 wounds, which is not enough to kill him but is enough to put him in the hospital for a good long while. Ro

So. Frank comes into class, casts Whiteboard, and rolls his die. If he rolls a 1, he just flat-out dies. On a 2-5, he's going to take a bunch of wounds but not actually die. On a 6-17, he'll wind up being knocked down, taking shock damage, or knocked unconcious, maybe all three. On an 18+ he's fine. Oh, and he still needs to roll an 11 or better for the spell to actually work.

This is more practical than just putting a loving blackboard in the classroom because

And yes, the PCs will have higher skills and Possibilities to tweak the rolls or absorb damage. But even so, you still have to look at what happens if someone rolls a 1 or a 2. The generic mage template can have a skill of 16. Rolling a 1 gives a -12, so that's a Backlash damage result of 10, which for a P-rated character is a Wound, a K, and 4 shock. While not as bad as what happened to Frank, it's still pretty stupid to risk taking damage to summon a drat whiteboard.

Ultimately, while I'm perfectly okay with the idea of "magic replaces technology, is used for mundane tasks", the mechanics don't support the idea because of the fact that backlash exists.

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

Halloween Jack posted:

I've only mentioned Polaris so far to pick on it, but actually it seems pretty cool in a lot of ways, and more focused on playability and player buy-in than Blue Planet.


Blue Planet is a so much better game it isn't even funny. I'm a lazy goon that never finishes F&F reviews sadly, or I'd do it.

Here's the Char gen though from an old and Archived thread...


Blue Planet is a game set on a water world . Explorations in Earth's Solar System had located a wormhole that allowed FTL travel to the Lambda Serpentis System and back. After several small explorations were accomplished by probes a colony was decided to be set up on Lambda Serpentis II a/k/a Poseidon; a world with 95% coverage of surface water and animal life that was similar to Earth's with some significant changes, such as most mammal analogues being hexapodal to a greater or lesser extant.

This colony called the Athena Project had genetically modded colonists for amphibious survival along with uplifted Bottlenose Dolphins and Orcas as scouts and assistants. Meanwhile a genetically modified crop destroying virus had been released on Earth causing a massive famine known as the Blight. This started a new dark age which lasted almost 60 years until the virus is eradicated. Another ship is finally sent to Poseidon to establish contact with the abandoned colonists and finds they have slipped into an almost tribal level due to all their technology wearing out.

A few years later the corporations move in to begin to explore the economic opportunities.

[1] Develop a character concept. discuss it with the game moderator, and select an appropriate character power level.
[2] Select a species and record the default attribute scores for that species.
[3] Modify the character's attributes, using either the point-based or random system.
[4] Select biomods for the character and record any changes to the character's primary and derived attributes.
[5] Record the character's abilities. Choose the character's aptitudes.
[6] Select one origin package and two background packages for the character.
[7] Choose professional training packages for the character.
[8] Allocate points to the character's custom skills.
[9] Consult with the game moderator and select equipment appropriate to the character and campaign.

Develop a character concept. discuss it with the game moderator, and select an appropriate character power level.

The original rules only supported humans, gene-modded humans, bottlenoses, and orcas. The last supplement published, Ancient Echoes, added, Beluga, Pilot Whales, and Common Dolphins. I'm going to create a Beluga musician who was born on Earth and has emigrated to Poseidon to become a missionary. Of the various types of cetaceans, Belugas are renowned for their musical talent.
The three Character Power Levels are: Everyday, Exceptional, and Elite. The game recommends all PCs be Exceptional or Elite. Everyday is for NPCs. This Power level sets the amount of points to be spent on various character choices.
Exceptional sounds good...
pre:
Attributes			3/5
Biomods				2-4 Minor, 1-2 Major
Aptitudes			2/4
Professional Packages		5
Points for Custom Skills	10
Max Skill Level at Start	6
Select a species and record the default attribute scores for that species.

Beluga Whale obviously, the base statistics are:

pre:
BUILD			7
FITNESS			2
AGILITY			0
DEXTERITY		-10	
AWARENESS		1
	CHEMICAL (Not Cetaceans)
	ECHOLOCATION (Only Cetaceans)
	HEARING
	INTUITION
	TOUCH
	VISION
INTELLECT		-1
PRESENCE		0
WILL			0
(Figured Characteristics)
ENDURANCE		+3
REFLEXES		+0
STRENGTH		+0
TOUGHNESS		+0
Modify the character's attributes, using either the point-based or random system.
I'm going to use the point-buy system. The random system may get you more points to work with, but you may not get the statistics you want/need for a concept.

pre:
LEVEL  CHARACTER POINTS
-3				-4
-2				-2
-1				-1
0				0
+1				+1
+2				+2
+3				+4
I'm going to spend 2 Points on PRESENCE raising it to a 2, 1 Point on AWARENESS raising it to a 2, and 1 Point on INTELLECT raising it to a 0. I will drop 1 point from BUILD lowering it to a 6 so I can afford it.

Record the character's abilities. Choose the character's aptitudes.
Now my stats look like this...

pre:
BUILD			6
FITNESS			2
AGILITY			0
DEXTERITY		-10	
AWARENESS		2
	CHEMICAL (Not Cetaceans)
	ECHOLOCATION (Only Cetaceans)
	HEARING
	INTUITION
	TOUCH
	VISION
INTELLECT		0
PRESENCE		2
WILL			0
(Figured Characteristics)
ENDURANCE		4
REFLEXES		1
STRENGTH		4
TOUGHNESS		2
NOTE: The AWARENESS raw score is the average of the various senses. That means you can increase one Sense if you lower another. I'm not going to do that with this character.
Aptitudes:
These are how good you are with groups of skills, like Command, Fine Arts, or Firearms. A Superior Aptitude allows you to roll 3d10, a Strong Aptitude gives you 2d10, and an Average Aptitude is 1d10. As an Exceptional Power Level character I get 2 Superior and 4 Strong Aptitudes. My Superior Aptitudes are Fine Arts, and Culture. My Strong Aptitudes are Communication, Command, Human Sciences, and Tech. This is a very social character and is quite familiar with bureaucracy and the like.

Select biomods for the character and record any changes to the character's primary and derived attributes.
This game is heavy on cybernetics, biological modification, and genetic engineering mainly due an unusual biological component found on Poseidon. (Why all the corporations are so interested.)
I am not going heavy cyber with this guy and am just taking a Sonic Trode
Blue Planet posted:
Cetaceans, especially orcas, seem to universally abhor cybernetic implants, and often have a hard time dealing with humans who are heavily modified. As a result. cetaceans typically interface with computers and other hardware via a unique form of trode.
Basically a neural link so no changes to attributes.

Select one origin package and two background packages for the character.
Skills are gained in 'packages'. I'm going to take...

"Blue Planet posted:

EARTH - COASTAL RESIDENT:
Coastal Cetes live in large social groups, usually near human population centers. They tend to have more educational and professional opportunities than their more feral counterparts
and enjoy a more stable role in the human world.
Cetacean Culture 3, Earth Culture 1, Language(Interspec) 5, Remote Operation 1
This is because the uplifted Belugas tend to cluster around Baffin Bay in Canada.

I want this to be a suave cete about town, or bay actually, so he gets this...

Blue Planet posted:

UNIVERSITY:
This background represents the basic skills acquired through a general Liberal arts education. While these skills cover only the first year or two at a major university. Many students go on to more
specialized studies, and the acquisition of these skills is covered by the professional training packages described below.
Computers 1, Earth Culture 2. History 1, Language 3, Politics 1, Writing 2
...twice. For language he is learning Latin (he likes Gregorian Chants...).

Choose professional training packages for the character.
These work much the same as the Origin and Background Packages. They all come in three levels (Novice, Specialist, Expert)and it costs 1 package pick per level. I'm going to take...

Blue Planet posted:

ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT EXPERT (Musician)
Entertainment is one of the fastest growing industries on Poseidon. Miners and prospectors in town between excursions, scientists tired of collecting specimens, soldiers on leave-sometimes it
seems like everyone is trying to escape the day-to-day for a while. And, as is the case in most frontier societies. there are always folks willing to help them. The high demand for entertainment on
Poseidon doesn't mean that every two-bit crooner with a guitar is rolling in stock options.
Poseidon has its share of street-corner musicians and starry-eyed dreamers hocking their underwear to pay for another demo recording
Acting 5, Computers 3, Culture (Cetacean) 3, Culture (Colonial) 1, Dancing 5, Earth Culture 4, Electronics 3, History 1, Mechanics 1, Music 7, Negotiation 3, Persuasion 3, Physics 1, Psychology 3

WHALESONG MYSTICISM NOVICE
While human researchers have enjoyed little success in making any sense of its enigmatic philosophy, the Church of Whalesong Theogony remains a powerful force in cetacean culture. This package
represents the broad, holistic understanding and skills cultivated through whalesong mysticism.
Astronomy 1, Cetacean Culture 2, Genetics 1, Geology 1, Language (Interspec) 1, Meteorology 1, Oration 1, Persuasion 1, Psychology 1, Theology 3, Zoology 1

COLONIZATION NOVICE
Cetacean colonists are some of the most valuable resources on Poseidon. in both native and newcomer settlements. Their adaptations to the aquatic environment make them uniquely suited to a
variety of marine tasks, from aquaculture to fishing.
Animal Husbandry 3, Aquaculture 3. Botany 2. Culture (Colonial) 2, Electronics 1, Fishing 3, Foraging 2, Language (Interspec) 2, Mechanics 1, Meteorology 2, Remote Operation 1, Zoology 2

Allocate points to the character's custom skills.
I've got 10 to work with so I'll buy 2 more in Oration, 3 in Leadership, 3 in First Aid and 2 more in History.

Finally I'll give him a CICADA which is a cetacean ROV and has a rotor drone so he can participate in stuff on the surface. He interfaces with it though his Sonic Trode of course...

Choir Leader
Beluga Missionary and Songmaster.
pre:
BUILD			6
FITNESS			2
AGILITY			0
DEXTERITY		-10	
AWARENESS		2
	CHEMICAL (Not Cetaceans)
	ECHOLOCATION (Only Cetaceans)
	HEARING
	INTUITION
	TOUCH
	VISION
INTELLECT		0
PRESENCE		2
WILL			0
(Figured Characteristics)
ENDURANCE		4
REFLEXES		1
STRENGTH		4
TOUGHNESS		2
pre:
Agriculture 1d10
	Animal Husbandry 3 
	Aquaculture 3
Command 2d10
	Leadership 3
Communication 2d10
	Language(Interspec) 6
	Language(Latin) 3
	Negotiation 3
	Oration 3
	Persuasion 4
	Writing 2
Culture 3d10
	Cetacean 6
	Colonial 5
	Earth 3
Fine Arts 3d10
	Acting 5
	Dance 5
	Music 7
Human Sciences 2d10
	History 4
	Politics 1
	Theology 3
Life Sciences 1d10
	Botany 2
	Genetics 1
	Zoology 3
Medicine 1d10
	First Aid 3
	Psychology 1
Physical Sciences 1d10
	Astronomy 1
	Geology 1
	Meteorology 3
	Physics 1
Survival 1d10
	Fishing 3
	Foraging 2
Tech 2d10
	Computers 5
	Electronics 4
	Mechanics 2
	Remote Operation 3

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2nd Edition: Night's Dark Masters

Vampire Hunters are exactly as cool as vampires

The majority of Hunters of the dead are independent operators. Men and women who lost something precious to a terrible, beautiful moving corpse and who have vowed to put the drat things back in the ground, where they belong. Most of them will die facing their first vampire. Those who do not can become terrifyingly talented, to the point of gaining a degree of notoriety among their targets. They all face an uphill battle, though; vampires are superhumanly strong, extremely hard to kill, what they're vulnerable to varies on an individual basis, and information about undeath and necromancy tends to be tightly controlled by the state. A Hunter needs to research, observe, and ambush to have any chance of victory; it's no accident that the skillset for the Vampire Hunter career overlaps a great deal with the skills of a tomb robber, an assassin, and an academic as well as a warrior. Independents tend to congregate in Ostermark or Stirland, close to the dark country of Sylvania, where the taverns are full of folk in dark clothing with strange equipment whispering to each other about how best to kill something that's already dead.

Some Hunters aren't alone, of course. The church of Morr despises undeath in all its forms, but normally limits its efforts to guarding the graveyards of the Old World. Some lay folk, radical priests, and Templars believe they have a greater duty and have formed the Fellowship of the Shroud to try to bring the fight to the doorstep of Sylvania. They not only scout and plan for the day when the Empire will retake Sylvania from the vampiric Von Carsteins, they also sponsor scholars and investigators throughout the cities of the Empire to search for signs of the undead hiding among the population. If you want to play the 16th century version of Dr. Van Hellsing, they offer their own special Career, the Agent of the Shroud. Acting like a cross between a spy, a doctor, and a student, these investigators quietly comb the cities and cemeteries to ferret out the conspiracies and depredations of the dead. The Fellowship are considered radicals by the cult's leadership, though, particularly for taking action beyond that sanctioned by cult leadership and for their insistence that the cult consider sanctioning cremations to prevent undead from finding ready sources of minions.

There is also the Tsarovitch Pavel Society, a group of nobles dedicated to the memory of an embarrassing episode in Kislev's history. You see, Kislev is used to occasionally being ruled by Khan Queens of great magical power, pale ladies who force the Boyars to do their will for the good of the state. Well, once, Kislev was taken over by a Vampire Tsarina and the country assumed she was essentially the same thing for decades. Only when the Boyars realized she wasn't aging did they become concerned; after all, if she never died, how could their families ever come to power in the next generation? Thus, on the objection of lack of succession policy, the great Tsar Pavel managed to get enough of his fellows to cease their squabbles and stake the Tsarina. Now, in both the Empire and Kislev, nobles join the Tsarovitch Pavel Society in secret to try to cleanse their bloodlines of vampiric taint in the name of making sure lines of succession don't get all muddied up by some pale gentlewoman who keeps vanishing for a month or two every twenty years then coming back and claiming to be her own daughter. Can't have that sort of mess in the family tree.

Finally, there are the Advanti, warriors and priests of Myrmidia and Morr from Estalia who have established a line dating back to the Wars of Blood, when not-spain was invaded by a great host of the dead and only narrowly saved by the direct intervention of Myrmidia. I'm afraid there isn't as much to say about them; the book doesn't give much detail, just that they tend to form the bulk of Estalian and Tilean hunters.

Next: An account of what a reasonably experienced Hunter would know, from their own perspective, in chapter 2: The Mockery of Life.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 13:55 on Aug 4, 2017

Serf
May 5, 2011


Shadow of the Demon Lord Part 3: Goblins, Orcs, and some character creation!

Goblin
Probably my second-favorite species in most settings, in SotDL Goblins are faeries who were cast out a long time ago by the Faerie Queen, but no one but her remembers why anymore. Goblins have since moved in with the Human societies and live in trash heaps and sewers and other places no one else wants to live, doing jobs no one else wants to do. Goblins have even more varied appearances than Humans, with features like horns, pig snouts, and fangs being common but no two Goblins look the same. Goblins also have weird habits, since they used to live with the faeries, and can seem capricious and odd to other people.

The book doesn’t refer to Goblins as monsters, and instead they seem to be accepted members of society. So long as they have something to do, which most often appears to be digging through garbage, they seem to make for perfectly fine neighbors.

Goblins get an 8 in Strength, a 12 in Agility, an Intellect of 10 and a Will of 9. They get a +1 to Perception and have their Size set to ½. The speak the Common Tongue and Elvish, they are immune to disease and being charmed, but have Iron Vulnerability, which causes them to be impaired while touching iron. They get Shadowsight and talent called Sneaky, which allows them to roll with 1 boon on Agility challenge rolls to be stealthy.

At level 4, Goblins get +4 Health, and either learn a spell or gain Spring Away, which lets you use a triggered attack to retreat when an enemy you can see fails to hit you. The game defines a “retreat” as the character moving half their speed, which doesn’t provoke any free attacks.

Goblins get two interesting tables, one for the Distinctive Appearance and another for their Odd Habit. The Appearance table has a few gems like “you have the head of a dog”, “you have a tooth growing out of your forehead”, “you have all the warts” and “you have 1d6 extra fingers, placed on your body wherever you wish”.

The Odd Habit table warrants being posted in its entirety.



These range from the downright fishmalkian (looking at you number 7) to cute and then to disturbing.

The Backgrounds do not disappoint, and actually have some very good story hooks in there. My favorites are “you spend the last 1d6 years in a drunken stupor. You are not proud”, “you spent 2 years believing you were a fearsome dog. You start the game with 1 Insanity”, “you stole a knife from a dashing knight” and “you snuck into Alfheim and stole a lock of hair from the Faerie Queen.”



Orc
Orcs are another favorite of mine. In Shadow of the Demon Lord’s default setting the Orcs were once the jotun, a warrior species from the icy southern parts of the world who fought against the Emperor. Captured jotun were brought north and dark magic was used to twist them into the Orcs, who became the backbone of the Imperial military, conquering nations and quelling rebellions for centuries.

The assumption of the default setting is that the orcs have rebelled against the Empire, slain the Emperor and now they run things in the capitol while the rest of the Empire falls apart. Orcs have a variety of skin colors, with blotchy, mottled flesh, and start at 6 feet, 200 pounds, going all the way up to 8 feet 600 pounds.

The default setting of SotDL picks up right after an orcish leader, Drudge, kills the Emperor and seizes the throne for himself. As an aside, the “Shadow of the Demon Lord” is a real thing in-universe. It is a corruption of the world or the people that sows chaos and opens the cracks in reality wider, allowing the demons to enter the world in greater numbers. The Shadow can manifest in lots of ways, but the default assumption is that the “Fall of Civilization” is occuring, a sort of fall-of-Rome thing, where Drudge has been affected by the shadow, and killing the Emperor is a move meant to destroy the civilized world and allow the Demon Lord to take more control. There are other manifestations of the Shadow that are presented later in the book, some of which I like more than this one.

Orcs are about what you’d expect stat-wise. They get an 11 in Strength and a 9 in both Intellect and Will. They get a +1 to Perception, speak both Common and Dark Speech and have Shadowsight.

At level 4, an orc gets +6 to Health and either learns one spell of gains Rising Fury, which allows them to, upon taking damage, make their next attack roll with 1 boon.

Orcs then get some interesting Background options. Ones that stand out to me are “you stayed loyal to the Empire and fought against other orcs. You were branded as a traitor and cast out”, “you were made a eunuch and stood guard over the emperor’s concubines”, and “the Gods of Blood and Iron visit you in your dreams. You start the game with 1 Insanity”.

Professions
This is the skill system for SotDL. The way Professions work is that they guide your actions, what your character knows and how they would behave. A person with the Soldier profession and another with the Woodcutter profession will probably approach situations in different ways. Professions can allow you to automatically succeed at things that would fall into your Profession, or grant you boons to your roll, depending on what the GM says.

You get 2 Professions at character creation, and you can trade 1 of those to become literate in one language you know how to speak

Like everything else in Shadow of the Demon Lord, you can roll randomly for your Professions. First on a 1d6 table for a broad category, then again on a d20 table for a specialized choice. The broad categories are Academic, Common, Criminal, Martial, Religious and Wilderness. Academic provides the bonus of making you literate in one of the languages you can speak by default.

Equipment
Your starting gear is determined by your Wealth, which you roll on a table using 3d6. The categories are Destitute, Poor, Getting By, Comfortable, Wealthy and Rich. Each level of Wealth provides a different assortment of gear for a Starting character.

In addition, you also get an Interesting Thing. This Thing can be an object, a person, or even a feeling or connection. A few interesting ones are “a curious odor, a pungent stench, or a skin condition that never quite heals”, “unrequited love”, “a newborn baby that might or might not be yours”, “a tiny, inert, mechanical owl”, “the true name of a very minor devil” and “three small white mice that whisper strange things to you as you sleep”

Making a Character
So, in keeping with Shadow of the Demon Lord’s desire to provide you with a quick and easy way to roll up a character, I’m gonna make one right now!

Since they’re the most interesting of the Ancestries, I’m gonna pick Clockwork. I’ll adjust the stats how I see fit, and roll for everything that I can.

Okay, so I rolled 3d6 on the Age table and got an 8 which means this Clockwork is “new, 5 years or younger”. On the Clockwork Purpose table I rolled another 8 on a d20 and got “You were built to work. Increase your Strength by 2”. On the Clockwork Form table I got a 12 on 3d6 which means “You are a humanoid Clockwork. You are 6 feet tall and weigh 300 pounds”. I then rolled a 14 on 3d6 on the Clockwork Appearance table and got “You appear well made and in good working condition”. On the Clockwork Background table I rolled an 18 on a d20 and got “You found a cryptic message inside your body. You have not deciphered its meaning” and then on the Clockwork Personality table I rolled 3d6 and got an 8, giving me “You didn’t ask for this existence, but you make the most of it while you have it.”

For my Professions, I rolled a 1 both times on a 1d6, and then a 5 and an 18, which means that Spradley has experience in Folklore and Religion.

Finally, I rolled for Wealth on a 3d6 and got 12 which means “Getting By”. I rolled for my Interesting Thing, which is a “fist-sized blue-spotted egg” and Personality, which was a 4 and a 9, meaning that our Clockwork is Dependable but also Obnoxious.

Our Clockwork, who I’ve taken to calling Spradley Sprocket, is 5 years old. They are humanoid in shape, weighing 300 pounds with powerful lifting arms and legs. They appear to be in good condition, which is easy given their age. Spradley was built to move heavy things around, specifically, they were sold early in their life to a traveling scholar, who needed an assistant to carry around her gear. Following this scholar, Spradley learned a lot about her field, which was the study of the Old Faith and witchcraft. Progressing from simple packmule, Spradley became a research assistant and traveling companion. They aren’t very good with people, but the scholar covered for them and came to understand Spradley.

One for introspection, Spradley began to wonder about their own existence. After all, they had been a soul plucked from the Underworld and bound to this metal body. Who had they been before? They didn’t ask to be brought back, but at the same time the certainty of life as a Clockwork was better than the unknown of reincarnation. So Spradley began tinkering with their own body. In the process, Spradley discovered a hidden recess inside their arm, containing a message, written in a language Spradley doesn’t know. When Spradley asked the scholar to read it for them, she claimed she couldn’t understand it, but even as bad as they are with people, Spradley knew she was lying.

The unknown ate away at Spradley, and so one night, under the cover of darkness Spradley ran away, stealing money and supplies from the scholar. They traveled west, seeking the free cities where they could maybe find someone who could read the message, or better yet, their own creator. After all, who could have left the message if not him?

Spradley Sprocket
Strength 11, Agility 8, Intellect 10, Will 8
Perception 9
Defense 13
Health 11
Healing Rate 3
Size 1, Speed 8, Power 0
Damage 0, Insanity 0, Corruption 0
Languages: Common (Literate)
Professions: Folklore, Religion
Immune to disease, poison, asleep and fatigued
Key
Mechanical Body
Repairing Damage
Gear: Staff, basic clothing, backpack, 1 week of rations, waterskin, tinderbox, 2 torches and a pouch with 2 copper pennies.

Audience Participation
Let’s make a character together! Let me know what Ancestry you would like to see rolled up. The one with the most votes wins. I’ll take this character and level them up alongside Spradley to give you an idea of how the character advancement system works.

The options are:

Human
Changeling
Clockwork
Dwarf
Goblin
Orc

Next time: finishing up character creation and moving on to how the game is played!

Serf fucked around with this message at 02:25 on Jan 6, 2017

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.


Grimey Drawer
Gobbo!

Barudak
May 7, 2007

Is this even a question? It's Gobbos all the way down.

Liquid Communism
Mar 9, 2004


Out here, everything hurts.




Bieeardo posted:

That really was something. Embracing Louis gave Lestat nice digs out of town, but then they fed like the world's worst-conceived Ventrue. Small wonder everyone hated Lestat in the later books, he was a singing and dancing violation of the not-Masquerade.

Isn't that a big part of Lestat, though? I mean, the guy intentionally made himself into a Rock God with the plan of outing all the vampires because he was tired of hiding.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008

Serf posted:

Audience Participation
Let’s make a character together! Let me know what Ancestry you would like to see rolled up. The one with the most votes wins. I’ll take this character and level them up alongside Spradley to give you an idea of how the character advancement system works.
Orc!

psudonym55
Nov 22, 2014
Orc

Poland Spring
Sep 11, 2005
Holy poo poo a goblin but not just a goblin, the WORST goblin. Make the worst goblin.

Chernobyl Peace Prize
May 7, 2007

Or later, later's fine.
But now would be good.

Poland Spring posted:

Holy poo poo a goblin but not just a goblin, the WORST goblin. Make the worst goblin.
This will also be the best goblin. Show us the alpha and omega of goblin.

Tasoth
Dec 12, 2011

Poland Spring posted:

Holy poo poo a goblin but not just a goblin, the WORST goblin. Make the worst goblin.


Chernobyl Peace Prize posted:

This will also be the best goblin. Show us the alpha and omega of goblin.

Well, since they have weird poo poo, why not conjoined goblin twins Goofus and Gallant?

Poland Spring
Sep 11, 2005
no you see we are speaking of the same goblin

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

Liquid Communism posted:

Isn't that a big part of Lestat, though? I mean, the guy intentionally made himself into a Rock God with the plan of outing all the vampires because he was tired of hiding.
Lestat is basically a dude who can get away with being a fuckboy idiot because he has Appearance 5 and Generation 5 (even though he's a neonate).

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion


Halloween Jack posted:

Lestat is basically a dude who can get away with being a fuckboy idiot because he has Appearance 5 and Generation 5 (even though he's a neonate).

Well I understand that it helps the "rah rah fight the power, the man is exploiting us, old people are evil" concept at the heart of OWoD, generation was poison as a concept and it's good they got rid of it completely in NWoD.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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



I figured in oWoD part of the idea was that the "thirty thousand people every year who just, like, vanish, man" were being eaten by vampires and so on.

I also remember in the revised Tremere clanbook they talked a fair amount about the logistics of the whole blood thing. I think there was a Discipline or a Thaumaturgy path that let you steal a blood point from someone by touching them? That seems like a pretty loving killer app for a vampire, at least in terms of daily maintenance.

Desiden
Mar 13, 2016

Mindless self indulgence is SRS BIZNS
While I wouldn't dispute things like the True Black Hand were high water marks for goofy blade/underworld-esque stuff over nightly angst, I think its important to remember that the latter was a part of vampire almost from the start. While you did have a focus on humanity and a local nightlife of places like Gary and Chicago with their collection of lost souls, you also had by '92 an adventure that was a globe trotting "dungeon run" to diablarize an evil elder to power up your characters. '92 was also when you got the first player's guide to the sabbat, which was in essence an alternate setting that pretty much tossed all the issues of humanity and the masquerade in the garbage and was focused on being a vampire army for Caine. And of course once the Sabbat antics were spelled out, then everyone else had to have their own badasses and special fighty stuff, because otherwise it was hard to see how the Sabbat hadn't wiped out everyone; influence with the police only gets you so far when the sabbat is apparently perfectly capable and willing to have shootouts with SWAT teams and then mass embrace them into ravening hordes. The whole personal horror element was still around, but I think it showed right from the get-go that there was no real inherent consensus on what a game about vampires MUST be about.

That's part of what made the revised era so weird to me. I liked some of the changes and attempts to rein in a bit of the crazy, but a lot of it (particularly in vampire) seemed obsessed with the notion that once upon a time VtM was only focused on personal horror and existential angst and that somehow the game about playing made up living dead creatures *had* to be about that to be "realistic". Then of course on top of that, you *still* had elder lesbian ninja vampires having street battles in magical darkness because, just like in the beginning, none of the writing staff seemed to really have a consensus of what the point of the game was. All of that, I felt, was part of what made the first few nWoD offerings so bland and muddled. They weren't bad, but they seemed so intent on winning the debate about what VtM should NOT be that they didn't really try to consider what VtR was supposed to be on its own. Luckily later authors in 1st, and definitely by 2nd, seemed to put a lot more thought into giving the lines their own voice.

Desiden fucked around with this message at 15:28 on Jan 6, 2017

Desiden
Mar 13, 2016

Mindless self indulgence is SRS BIZNS

Nessus posted:

I figured in oWoD part of the idea was that the "thirty thousand people every year who just, like, vanish, man" were being eaten by vampires and so on.

I think this was another area where the writers never fully agreed on: what "a gothic-punk World of Darkness" actually meant. In some books, it was at most stylistic: it rained more, there was more statuary and decrepit buildings, but even if behind the scenes there was supernatural control, police were about as effective as they area in the real world, government about as functional, and "off screen" most of the world lived about the same as they do here and now. In other books, things deviated a lot more, supernatural badness and beyond the pale atrocity was lurking everywhere, and the "real world" was just a thin veneer that people regularly fell out of without a trace. The former tended to stress the need to really consider how you lived your life, as even minor feeding could lead to major complications. The latter tended to assume that a low level of supernatural activity was just background noise, and that you only had to watch out for really blatant actions in the public view.

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.

Halloween Jack posted:

Lestat is basically a dude who can get away with being a fuckboy idiot because he has Appearance 5 and Generation 5 (even though he's a neonate).

and basically doing the vamp equivalent of sleeping with influential vampires - Rice's vamps are very... incestous, everyone knows everybody either through Lestat (because he's her pet character) or Armand. You almost never see a vampire that isn't connected to either one of them somehow.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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

Desiden posted:

I think this was another area where the writers never fully agreed on: what "a gothic-punk World of Darkness" actually meant. In some books, it was at most stylistic: it rained more, there was more statuary and decrepit buildings, but even if behind the scenes there was supernatural control, police were about as effective as they area in the real world, government about as functional, and "off screen" most of the world lived about the same as they do here and now. In other books, things deviated a lot more, supernatural badness and beyond the pale atrocity was lurking everywhere, and the "real world" was just a thin veneer that people regularly fell out of without a trace. The former tended to stress the need to really consider how you lived your life, as even minor feeding could lead to major complications. The latter tended to assume that a low level of supernatural activity was just background noise, and that you only had to watch out for really blatant actions in the public view.

The Bridges era Werewolf books were very much the latter, to the point that it became something of a cliche.

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

WELL THAT JUST HAPPENED!

Serf posted:

Audience Participation
Let’s make a character together! Let me know what Ancestry you would like to see rolled up. The one with the most votes wins. I’ll take this character and level them up alongside Spradley to give you an idea of how the character advancement system works.

Gobbie!

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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


Book 3, Chapter 13: The Spacing Guild

This chapter takes a deeper look at the Spacing Guild, the organization that controls all interstellar travel in the Dune universe. This may seem odd, since there are no Guild PCs, and the Guild’s workings are opaque even in the original novels. But the chapter tells the Narrator and the players what they need to know about space travel, and the game expands on the Guild in ways that help rationalize some significant features of the setting.


The Founding of the Guild

Faster-than-light travel in the Imperium uses the Holtzman Effect to “fold space,” traveling through higher dimensions so that a ship seems to disappear in one place and reappear in another, as if someone had folded a map to make two points adjacent. (Yes, just like that scene in Event Horizon). The mathematics involved in safe foldspace travel are incredibly complex, achievable only by an intelligent supercomputer.

Like the other “Great Schools,” the Guild was founded in the wake of the Butlerian Jihad. Without AIs, the civilization of the Known Universe would fragment. The Guild was a cabal of scientists and spacefarers determined--like the Bene Gesserit and the Mentat schools--that the only solution to their problem was to train the human mind to superhuman levels. They created training programs centered on mathematics, particularly logic and chaos theory.

After decades of experiments (including some lethal disasters) they hadn’t gotten any further than test flights in which a navigator moved a shuttle in and out of “foldspace.” This all changed when the Zensunni migrations brought news of melange, the “awareness spectrum” drug named for the diversity of its chemical properties. After a few more decades of dangerous experimentation, the Guild discovered that massive doses of melange allowed a pilot to see forward in time, envisioning safe paths through higher dimensions without the aid of supercomputers.

Veteran spacefarers flocked to the Guild’s banner, and after the better part of another century, they had trained the first generation of Guild Navigators. When they announced their findings to the Known Universe, they were effectively announcing their monopoly on interstellar travel. The Guild’s monopoly is twofold: Only they have the Holtzman drives that can fold space, and only they can train Navigators to pilot those ships.

The Guild’s monopoly on interstellar shipping extends to a monopoly on banking. The Emperor, the Landsraad, and the Guild are the tripod of political and economic power in the Known Universe. The Guild controls entire planets, “nexus worlds,” devoted completely to shipyards, factories, fuel stations, and banking facilities. The Guild’s importance is such that the Imperial calendar reset to measure years as BG and AG (Before Guild and After Guild).


In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only En Esch Headtube Dracula.


Navigators and Heighliners

Like Mentats, future Navigators undergo a lifetime of rigorous mental training. But Navigators go a step further: throughout their training they consume massive doses of spice, multiplying their lifespan and mutating them into amphibious creatures who live cloistered in large metaglass tanks. “Addiction” is too mild a term; they literally swim and breathe in clouds of spice gas.

In the Known Universe there are ultimately two kinds of ships: Guild Heighliners, and everything else. Only the Guild’s vast Heighliners are outfitted with space-bending Holtzman drives, and they are kilometers-wide ships that can hold hundreds of House frigates and millions of tons of cargo. Heighliners can’t land on a planet, so all cargo and personnel have to be ferried up to the edge of a planet’s gravity well in frigates and shuttles, which are mostly owned by the Houses. A single Heighliner could easily transport all the assets of several Great Houses at once.




Guild Policy

The Guild may be a cult of transhuman math nerds, sure, but first and foremost it’s a business. The Guild and the Houses need each other; without clients, they’d go broke like any other business. The Guild’s interest is in keeping the wheels of commerce turning.

The Guild’s universal Shipping Contract is built into the Great Convention, and the Guild maintains a strict neutrality. They deal with any House or corporation that can afford it, charging everyone the same rates. Law enforcement isn’t the Guild’s responsibility, so in most cases they don’t care who or what you ship. (If your drugs get seized or your assassins get arrested as soon as they disembark, it’s likewise not their problem.)

That said, the Guild maintains extremely strict security--most of the time spent in space travel is actually spent on safety and security procedures. If you should, say, try to conceal hazardous cargo to avoid paying hazard rates, the Guild will punish you with confiscation, fines, price hikes, and potentially, the revocation of shipping privileges. Losing Guild shipping privileges can destroy a House, assuring that they will never again rise above the level of a petty House Minor.

The most notable restriction is on the transport of military personnel and materiel. War is bad for business, and the Guild discourages it with insanely high shipping rates for any kind of military transport. This is the primary reason that war in the Imperium is fought by commando squads and not mechanized divisions, even moreso than personal shield technology. (The Guild could easily tip the scale of a war by offering discounted rates to an allied House. But for all their faults, the Guild doesn’t lean toward risky, short-term profit thinking.)

Guild security also requires all passengers to remain in their vessels during transport, with shields down. Supposedly this is because shifting mass and active shields disrupt the Navigator’s ability to plot a course through foldspace, but it’s really to prevent any violence onboard and to prevent anyone from infiltrating the inner workings of a Heighliner.

I’m sure someone is going to point out that it should be impossible for such a large and widespread organization to remain impenetrable and prevent all but the most trivial corruption, but again: absolute monopoly on the technology that sustains the Imperium.




Traveling with the Guild

Traveling across the Known Universe through foldspace only takes a few hours, but your actual journey could easily take the better part of two weeks. Most of the time is spent embarking, disembarking, and waiting in line.

First, it’s the House’s responsibility to prepare their cargo. Packing a cargo frigate takes 6-18 hours. Then, of course, the Heighliner is boarding perhaps hundreds of ships every time it visits your planet, so all of these ships have to fly up to the Heighliner and wait in line to be conducted into the holds, a process that can take up to 20 hours. (If you’re just traveling, you show up with your luggage and travel on Guild shuttles like any commercial flight, but there’s still plenty of waiting around.) The whole process repeats in reverse whenever the Heighliner makes a stop at another planet, with numerous security checks by the Guild’s Spacing Authority along the way.

Once you’re aboard, your travel time depends on how many more stops the Heighliner is making on its way to your destination, which depends on where your takeoff and destination planets lie on the shipping routes. Travel between two high-traffic worlds can take as little as a couple days, whereas traveling from one minor world to another can take up to 14 days. It’s not as bad as ocean voyages in the Age of Sail, but enough time to get cabin fever. (On a backwater planet, you might even have to wait for weeks until there’s enough shipping traffic to justify a Heighliner stopping by.)

This info is mainly to give you an idea of how long space travel takes, and what kind of scenes the Narrator can set on a Heighliner. Travel from planet to planet can and will be totally glossed over in most adventures, but scenes aboard the Heighliner can focus on smuggling, dealing with stowaways, or forbidden cargo that the Entourage doesn’t even know about. Dealing with a traitor in their own House while trying to smooth things over with the Guild can make for an adventure in itself.



One of these days, one of these days, gotta get a word through one of these days


Other Spaceships

The Houses themselves actually control most spaceships, sublight vessels capable of traveling around their own solar system. All Great Houses have cargo and transport ships, and possibly heavy cruisers and space stations for planetary defense.

Sublight ships are classed as lighters (shuttles), frigates, cruisers, and orbital stations. Cruisers and stations are military vessels too large to make planetfall. There are descriptions of several different kinds of vessels, but thankfully, no rules for space combat or prices for these ships.

Frankly, spaceship combat is too far beyond the scope of the game’s focus, and too far out from what is actually depicted in most of the novels, to be worth giving a full treatment. Notably, most kinds of heavy cruisers (Monitors and Crushers) are actually made of of several armed frigates that lock together. “Crushers” lock together in order to literally drop on planetary defenses and crush them. The thing is, specific descriptions of battleships just brings us back to the muddy question of how and when the Houses actually deploy these ships against each other, and what that means for the supposed supremacy of groups like the Sardaukar, who are the most feared army in the galaxy because they’re extremely well-trained foot soldiers.


The aptly named House Not Appearing in This Book.

Nonetheless, your Entourage might make a journey on a House-owned spaceship, and there are suggestions for standard space-trucker RPG obstacles like asteroid fields, mechanical problems, and meddling patrols by the Spacing Authority. There’s also a chart that allows you to calculate the cost of booking passage with the Guild, and I’m not sure why. Since you’re playing the elite Entourage of a vastly wealthy House, all references to exact costs seem like a pointless sop to thinking more appropriate to games with a different mindset, like D&D or Shadowrun.


And you don’t even get a little bag of pretzels.


Next time on Dune: Imperial Planetology, and an overview of the Great House homeworlds.

Loxbourne
Apr 6, 2011

Tomorrow, doom!
But now, tea.
I once saw a decent Dune space game that used, of all things, the Babylon 5 Wars ruleset. It took the view that space combat was rare but the Houses did raid each other a lot.

Are Crushers made up for the RPG or do they actually have a basis in the books somewhere?

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Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.
Crushers are listed in the glossary in the back of the original Dune, and get a single off-hand mention in the narrative. But crushers and their Constructicon nature never play a role in the story at all. (Maybe in some prequel book I haven't read, Idunno.)

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