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wdarkk
Oct 26, 2007

Friends: Protected
World: Saved
Crablettes: Eaten


Mors Rattus posted:

Now give the GM an easy way to generate nemeses like in Shadow of Mordor or something

I'm imaging something like Traveller, but without death possibilities and you stop rolling when the Nemis's highest stat is higher than the PC's highest stat.

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megane
Jun 20, 2008





Roll a 17-19: the target is dead, but his mother will come after you soon and she's even nastier.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



These are unironically good ideas and I love them. The Grendel Gambit is never bad.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


I mean it would make it less awkward to occasionally pull out an enemy with Fate Points if the crit table was instead all about how pissed off they're going to be at you after burning one to survive.

Rosemont
Nov 4, 2009


Night10194 posted:

The single most helpful thing anyone can do in RPGs is have an earnest discussion between players and GM about shared expectations for their game and reach a point both agree on.

Unfortunately I've only been in one group that ever did that. The other groups I played it were just...disasters, in that regard. You'd have a player who wants things to be serious, while someone else at the table makes a joke character is consistently goofing around. It made for some unfun sessions.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





LatwPIAT posted:

At a guess, it was a Tager game. Those are somewhat notable for the extreme disparity Tagers have with police. The standard police-issue power armor in the setting have a damage reduction of x0.02, and Tagers can make attacks with a x50 damage modifier maybe once per combat if they're lucky.

So if you have a stealth Tager you sneak around the problem, and if you don't have a stealth Tager you eat fast food at the docks.
I think the scenario was meant to be that we would solve the problem and would then be chased by the AD Police to whatever the end zone was, except that we were told that if the cops show up we would all die swiftly and without much room for argument. Like they were presented as "certain doom" not "tough enemies, and also you can't reasonably "beat" all the cops in Neo-Chicago." So the two people with aquatics powers and the one person with a stealth field snuck up to do it themselves.

e: The three Tagers buzzsawed the encounter and then I think we were ruled to have alerted the cops anyway, if after the party linked up, just because otherwise we would've paid eight bucks and driven to Ohio to RP out eating chicken wings and handing a rich lady a thing.

Nessus fucked around with this message at 20:41 on Sep 20, 2017

Ghost Leviathan
Mar 2, 2017

Exploration is ill-advised




Night10194 posted:

The more I think about it, the more potentially replacing Warhams' Insanity meters with a 'how close is the Warp/Realm of Chaos to noticing you personally because of all the insane experiences you've had and generating a specific nemesis for you' meter seems like it would be a great idea for some campaigns.

Reminded of the old Fey idea of the Nemesis, which is about the same deal.

Chaos is, oddly enough, rather awkward and clunky and has aged poorly in a lot of ways considering how interesting the rest of Warhammer can get. (mostly from stealing from the history books) One of those things that works well on the army scale given it's an excuse for crazy inhuman monsters, brutal warriors, possessed war machines and demons, but on a personal level it's like trying to roleplay in an 80s cartoon with more tits and gore. (Heavy Metal?)

Loxbourne
Apr 6, 2011

Tomorrow, doom!
But now, tea.

Inescapable Duck posted:

Chaos is, oddly enough, rather awkward and clunky and has aged poorly in a lot of ways... personal level it's like trying to roleplay in an 80s cartoon with more tits and gore

Yeah GW noticed that. The problem is that they then jettisoned the rest of the setting and kept the Chaosy bits.

White Coke
May 29, 2015


Having to struggle against getting your personality destroyed as you advance in the favor of your patron god seems like a really interesting idea but, the way Night10194 talked about it, it seems like there's no way to resist having your character turned into a generic Chaos Warrior.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer Fantasy: Realm of the Ice Queen

The Madness of Praag, zoomed in.

The Old Town Hall used to serve as a center of government and administration before the great sack. Many of the places in Old Town had to be adapted away from their original purpose when the city contracted due to Novygrad's irrecoverable corruption, and the Old Town Hall is no exception. It was a gentle, large building with plenty of rooms that could easily be adapted into a sanitarium. Praag struggles with mental illness, and this has led the Old Town Hall to be one of the more caring facilities in the Old World. Where the mentally ill are usually locked in chains in sanitariums elsewhere, here they are permitted to read, paint, write, play music, and otherwise try to exist in a gentle, but firm commitment. This makes the Old Town Hall sanitarium popular outside of Praagers, and thus, there are former famed generals, Ice Witches, and Chekists among its clients, many of them with a head full of terrible (or valuable) state secrets if someone could talk through their illness...

The Street of Shifting Signs used to be called thus because the grocers and shopkeepers who lived there would write their days' specials on chalk-boards, which let them change their signs every day. Also on the street was the home of a mad diviner who thought he could see the future. When Chaos sacked the street, the name became very literal; the signs will change themselves randomly every morning, and they've bled together with the mad seer's journals. They say they appear in code and can tell remarkably accurate (if grim) properties if someone can just decipher the seemingly random street signs.

The Citadel is the central defensive point of Praag, and home to the Square of Kisses, the mustering ground where men and women were brought to assemble for war. Nowadays, they only muster in daylight, because every night the square fills with reflections of the men and women who died fighting for Praag, and no-one wants to be out there and surrounded by phantoms. This has the added benefit of keeping the soldiers inside, so they don't wander off to get drunk late at night. The actual Citadel is scarred, but never fell, not even during the great sack; the lead-lined walls apparently repel Chaos magic (it's a little known fact, but lead apparently fucks with wizardry. This is something mentioned in Realms of Sorcery, and something wizards try not to let anyone find out), as do the dwarven runes of protection carved into the ancient stone. As the most secure and untainted part of the city, the Citadel has taken to hosting all the people who had their specialized facilities destroyed in the sack, so it now serves as barracks for the soldiers, a home for Boyars and governors imposed on the city from the South, and a place for the Ice Witches and their experiments. The soldiers stationed here are mostly Gospodar troops, placed more to watch for Ungol nationalist sentiment than to defend the town, and this makes the town's garrison and watch infamously corrupt and lazy.

The Grand Parade is the main street of Praag, and used to be literally paved with silver to show the vast wealth of the city. The silver was stolen or destroyed in 2302, and now the bare, wounded cobblestones bleed every night. An entire class of workers are employed to frantically mop the bloody wounds on the city street early every morning, right after the bleeding stops, so that the streets will be clear for the day's business when the sun finishes rising.

Once upon a time, Praag had a great steam-powered crane commissioned from the dwarves that was used to unload the heaviest cargo from boats down in the river. During the sack, the forces of Chaos were somehow unable to destroy the crane, but instead transported it (no-one knows how, or why) halfway southeast across the city and jammed it down near the opera house. Now, Windlass Square is one of the most fashionable places in the city, sitting stock in the middle of the Noble Quarter with the huge, out-of-place crane dividing the property lines between the New Palace and the Opera. The biggest galas and social events are all held in those two buildings, and always spill into the Square after a time; it would be one of the most untouched parts of the city besides the Citadel if it wasn't for the giant crane.

The Praag Opera is famous all across the world. It is easily the equal of Nuln or Altdorf's best opera houses, even now, and it's said no true devotee of Opera can die happy without seeing Praag's. Every person in the city, even the poorest, will have seen the Opera at least once, as there are subsidized performances for the Muzhiks (peasants) called Muzhik-als for a single penny's admission, once per year (haha). The aesthetic of the hall is odd, to say the least, as cannon wounds and the bones of performers murdered in the sack have been incorporated into the design of the rebuilt hall as a means of memorializing the suffering. The hall has its own ghost, of course, like every great opera house, and the Praag Organ is known to play itself when no-one is around to do so. The organ is also cursed, and magical, and produces some of the finest organ music in the world. The cost is that it slowly drives its organist insane. A performer playing the great Organ of Praag for an entire season automatically gains a single Insanity Point in game terms, but they're compensated well for their work and this fact is not hidden from applicants. Many just accept this as the price of truly great music.

Next: More Places of Praag.

marshmallow creep
Dec 10, 2008

I've been sitting here for 5 mins trying to think of a joke to make but I just realised the animators of Mass Effect already did it for me



Now I want to play a Tilean opera fanatic who wants to write and perform his own operas in the Praag Opera, and his adventures are a pub crawl of every opera hall and theater on his way there, which he then uses as fodder for his operas as he drives himself insane playing the cursed organ.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Andre Leo Dwebber presents Rats!, an opera about rats.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


White Coke posted:

Having to struggle against getting your personality destroyed as you advance in the favor of your patron god seems like a really interesting idea but, the way Night10194 talked about it, it seems like there's no way to resist having your character turned into a generic Chaos Warrior.

If the whole 'loses everything they were' was a failure state instead of an inevitable consequence it would be much more interesting to play as, yes.

It works really great for making the actual Warrior mooks pitiable but menacing, though. Silent, looming figures who have become nothing but empty puppets of Gods who don't give a drat about them, encased in armor forged from their own broken dreams? That's solid, at least.

E: Similarly, I'm really sad that Tome of Corruption didn't get across the actual interesting part about Beastmen: Beastmen are what Chaos would ideally see the whole world as, and as a result, it doesn't give a single gently caress about them and doesn't even bother with temptation or platitudes the way it does with its human victims. It's easy to see the Beastmens' utter hatred for humans as coming from the fact that they do everything Chaos wants already, and it responds by ignoring them in favor of its obsession for the human race instead.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 20:16 on Sep 21, 2017

Rigged Death Trap
Feb 13, 2012

BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP



Which sort of begs the question:
What will chaos's ideal endgame look like?

Everyone is chaos, there is no struggle except against the nature of chaos, nothing left to corrupt and twist. Just endless primordial chaos.

Which the gods will find interminably boring seeing how their flavors of chaos are basically reflections and extensions of themselves and its humans with their gosh darned free will, fuckups and successes what makes the day to day worth living/corrupting. What I think in that scenario is that theyd intentionally leave pockets of resistance to play with.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Like... bubbles, maybe?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Rigged Death Trap posted:

Which the gods will find interminably boring seeing how their flavors of chaos are basically reflections and extensions of themselves and its humans with their gosh darned free will, fuckups and successes what makes the day to day worth living/corrupting. What I think in that scenario is that theyd intentionally leave pockets of resistance to play with.

One of few legitimately neat things in the dumb End Times is that Slaanesh is the only God who was like "Hey guys, when do we take the fall so we can keep playing the game here. I'm not the only one who figured this out, am I? Guys? GUYS!?" and actively trying to stop the destruction of the world, because without it the fun stops.

E: That is one of two reasons I really wish Slaanesh was usually handled better. The other is that the pantheon of the Old World has literally no God of Art or Creativity. Every other Chaos God? There's a wholesome God that does their thing. Khorne can be easily replaced with Myrmidia, Ulric, even Sigmar sometimes. Nurgle with Morr and Shallya. Tzeentch with Verena and Ranald. But Slaanesh? None of the others do his thing.

All they had to do was just make him Literally the Devil. "Hey, so, how would you like all the things you ever dreamed of which is in no way as suspicious as it is tantalizing." instead of the weird crabclaws and S&M wankfest.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 21:18 on Sep 21, 2017

Loxbourne
Apr 6, 2011

Tomorrow, doom!
But now, tea.

Mors Rattus posted:

Andre Leo Dwebber presents Rats!, an opera about rats.

Dealing with an angry Skaven deputation by convincing them it's actually a paen to their glory would be wonderful.

Especially now all the cultured rat-things want to come see it too, and backstab each other for tickets, and want their own best-best operas ever performed...

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer Fantasy: Realm of the Ice Queen

And so he is known as Ivan the Terrible

The New Palace is just across Windlass Square from the Opera House. It is the center of high society for Praag, and also the home of whatever hated Gospodar tyrant has been installed this decade. This is more complicated than it seems, though. The Duke of Praag has always been a Gospodar since the third major succession war launched by Ungol Dukes, but installing a pure Kislevite loyalist this far north from the capital ends in disaster and only stokes the fires of rebellion. At the same time, installing someone too sympathetic could lead to defection, and possibly a free or independent Praag! The current Duke, Ivan Valkeriki Kolabarinkov, has managed to tread the line by staying out of noble politics as much as possible. Instead, he focuses his time on garnering favor with the lower orders of the city by directing funds and efforts towards ensuring the wagons of food and medical aid keep coming, and that they are fairly distributed. He also spends vast sums patronizing the arts, and enjoys painting. He is an absolutely atrocious painter, but as he is patron of many artists and a good steward for the city, no-one would call him Ivan the Terrible to his face.

The Red Rose is the most exotic bordello in Praag, which is already known throughout Kislev as having the most exotic and interesting bordellos. It has been famous ever since it was featured in one of Kislev's national literary epics, and it maintains a reputation as a place full of cultured, educated showgirls with all sorts of exotic talents. The city is nearly as proud of the Red Rose as they are of the opera house. The White Boar Inn sits across from the Red Rose, waiting for adventurers hopped up on courage to come by and seek to repay the debts they incurred in the bordello. It is an inn where those seeking to trade with Norsca or sign on guards for caravans across the Darklands to Cathay go to look for the desperate and the foolish. If your PCs want to go on a crazy caravan to some of the most dangerous territory in the Old World, the White Boar is a good place for them to hire on.

The Bow and Bard Inn feels like it's got another plot hook that the sharp-eyed or well versed in the setting will notice. It's the nicest inn in town, and it's always booked well in advance by the Druzhina, Boyars, and wealthy merchants. The odd thing about the place is that it has exactly thirteen rooms, and the thirteenth is always kept open. The owner makes seemingly random decisions about who to throw out and who to allow to book, and even if you can't get a room it's fashionable to visit the taproom to mix with the wealthy and powerful of the city (as well as exotic merchants from foreign lands). You know, a place that makes it very easy to spy on the most powerful people in the city, which has exactly thirteen rooms, one of which is kept open at all times (maybe in honor of a certain horned rat) seems like the sort of place that probably has rat problems...

Kalita is the minor God of Trade and Merchants in the Kislevite pantheon, an ever-bustling and flustered courtier and servant to Dazh. Kalita's Favor is not just a pair of taverns, it is also the town's temple to this lesser God. Despite being a minor temple, the book notes the place is operated by the vampires of Praag (because of course Praag also has a vampire infestation, a family of Von Carsteins and a cabal of Lahmians despise one another in the shadows while a less aligned clan of vamps try to keep the two from drawing too much attention by their fighting), so it can't be all that holy.

The remains of the Fire Spire are not trod by any sane man or woman. The Fire Spire was built by a past rulers, Z'ar Rudolf II, as an attempt at an actual magical college for Kislev. Renegade Ice Witches, non-traditionalist hags, hedge-wizards, and foreign mages used to be invited to stay in the place, and the constant alchemical explosions and occasional miscasts caused it to be dubbed the 'Fire Spire' by locals. When the great sack happened, the whole facade was a lightning rod for dark magic, absorbing an immense amount of power from the Chaos Sorcerers and demons that stalked the city. The Spire wasn't destroyed, but it is now a realm of death and madness, full of lost magical treasures and wealth but forever a lightning rod for both natural and unnatural storms. The terrible Chaos taint that struck the place has permanently twisted the grounds, and no spellcaster will set foot there lightly. A result of all of this (and the large Ungol population of the city) is that the people of Praag do not care for Ice Witches or non-Hag spellcasters. The Hags and Witches are content to leave Praag be, because they can sense a strange and powerful presence deep below the city in the Deep City, something powerful that the Hags claim will keep the city from despair even absent their constant protection.

Next Time: We finish out Praag.

megane
Jun 20, 2008





This makes me think of the Fair Folk from Exalted (2e at least, I dunno how they are in 3e). They go on and on about how they're creatures of chaos and nightmare, shapeless masters of the dreamscape and so on... but they're no more at home in Deep Chaos they they are in the normal world. Their home is the border, and just like mortals exposed to chaos mutate and go crazy, the Fair Folk have been corrupted by normalcy. Exposure to reality has left them with individual identities, motivations that are almost logical if you squint, and even a tendency to stick to a single default form when they aren't showing off how ~unknowable~ they are. It's an interesting dynamic, since for all their bluster about obliterating Creation, they'd be just as dead as everyone else if it actually happened.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Rigged Death Trap posted:

Which sort of begs the question:
What will chaos's ideal endgame look like?

Everyone is chaos, there is no struggle except against the nature of chaos, nothing left to corrupt and twist. Just endless primordial chaos.

Which the gods will find interminably boring seeing how their flavors of chaos are basically reflections and extensions of themselves and its humans with their gosh darned free will, fuckups and successes what makes the day to day worth living/corrupting. What I think in that scenario is that theyd intentionally leave pockets of resistance to play with.
As explored in End Times, Chaos' ultimate endgame is "blow up this dimension and then move on to another" and the new dimension/universe created from the ashes then has the slight taint of Chaos which allows them to ultimately attempt to invade again when it's ripe and starts the cycle fresh.

Chaos has no end-game besides "break everything and wait for it to respawn as it has done so many times before".

sexpig by night
Sep 8, 2011

Endorsed by:
Pentecoastal Elites!
fart_man_69!
Terminal autist!
Ruzihm!
Judakel!
Dixon Chisholm!
Nix Panicus!
Neurolimal!

Rigged Death Trap posted:

Which sort of begs the question:
What will chaos's ideal endgame look like?

Everyone is chaos, there is no struggle except against the nature of chaos, nothing left to corrupt and twist. Just endless primordial chaos.

Which the gods will find interminably boring seeing how their flavors of chaos are basically reflections and extensions of themselves and its humans with their gosh darned free will, fuckups and successes what makes the day to day worth living/corrupting. What I think in that scenario is that theyd intentionally leave pockets of resistance to play with.

remember that Chaos is less a thing with an agenda and more a primal force that manifests through different lenses. The endgame of chaos as a force is 'everything's chaos, move to the next universe, make it all chaos, repeat'. There's no 'plan' or 'endgame', it's just a force in the universe that grows like a cancer in whatever dimension it's in until the host is entirely taken over. The different forces may have schemes but follow them far enough and they all end in 'and, yea, everything's hosed I guess and we move on'.

chiasaur11
Oct 22, 2012





Loxbourne posted:

Dealing with an angry Skaven deputation by convincing them it's actually a paen to their glory would be wonderful.

Especially now all the cultured rat-things want to come see it too, and backstab each other for tickets, and want their own best-best operas ever performed...

And soon, Andre has to adapt a strategy for armed skaven.

He can base it on his dealings with street orphans begging for scraps in the empire.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


I mean the Skaven book does open with an excerpt from an opera about OH GOD SO MANY RATS already.

E: Also, convincing the Skaven comedic operas are about their glory and then being forced to go to Skavenblight (all the way back in Tilea!) and train a bunch of idiotic backbiting rat nazis to do opera that is making fun of them would be the hardcore bonus level for The Operatic Journey of the Tilean.

"How will we solve these problems!?" "Opera, swordfighting, opera about swordfighting, or swordfighting about opera, like usual."

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 11:23 on Sep 22, 2017

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Guide to Glorantha: DRAGON BALL Z

Kralorela is an ancient civilization that has maintained its existence via a practiced and by now reflexive isolationist policy that has only ever been broken twice - first by the God Learners, second by Sheng Seleris. Due to this, they believe that all outsiders are God Learners and must be punished heavily if the show up. They have kept just about everyone out since the Opening of the Sea, except via the city Lur Nop. The Kralori culture is dominant in most of eastern Genertela, and has strongly influenced the people of Teshnos, Vormain and the East Isles. The Kingdom of Ignorance is ruled by Kralori, but the natives have their own culture, which most Kralori view as a degenerate form of Kralori culture debased by centuries of rule by trolls. The Kralori tend to have pale to olive skin and brown to black hair, with eyes generally being black, green or blue. They live mostly in crowded villages, growing rice. The villages are ruled over by a hierarchy of cities, which serve as administrative, economic and religious centers, and are built according to special religious rules. There are just shy of 9 million Kralorelans.

Kralori society is very stratified and orderly. Each person is born to their station and knows the duties that entails, both in life and in the afterlife. Kralori society recognizes the Four Occupations. At the top are the mandarins, a class of scholar-bureaucrats. Below them are the Farmers, then the Artisans (and associated craftspeople), and at the bottom, the Traders. Soldiers, entertainers of all kinds and criminals are seen as outside the social order, and are essentially either a necessary or inevitable imperfection in the world. Wandering bandits and warriors are even worse, known to swear themselves vengeance, oaths and devotion. However, this system is not a simple caste system despite appearances, and a skilled farmer is often valued more than an incompetent mandarin. At the top of the heap, no matter what, is the Dragon Emperor, who is divine. Under him are the Exarchs, or Lesser Dragon Kings, who govern the various parts of the Kralorelan Empire in the Dragon Emperor's name. Exarchs run the priesthoods and receive the worship of the common people, wielding it for the purposes of empire.

Specifically, this is done by the use of xi, or seals. The first seal, the Dragon Seal, was carved from the Heavenly Jade Mountain by TarnGatta the Face of the Creator, and it is the physical manifestation of his cosmic authority, wielded by the Dragon Emperors. Anything stamped with the Dragon Seal has the full authority and mystical weight of the Emperor himself, and is honored and obeyed by all in Kralorela, living or dead, as if it were the physical presence of the Emperor. The current Emperor, Godunya, dislikes using the Dragon Seal, as he believes it entangles the Emperor with the mundane world too much. Exarchs receive seals that contain a limited amount of this mystic authority. They then hand seals to the mandarins, which contain a fraction of that authority. While each lesser seal is weaker, they still have great magical power, and misuse of a seal is a capital offense - or worse, as Kralori punishment can extend into the afterlife. Exarchs wield massive draconic power, but rarely use it, as doing so slows their spiritual growth. They are served by the hsin tu, a series of judges and bureaucrats among the mandarins. These mandarins rarely deal directly with people, but rather work through their own functionaries. They serve in the adminsitrative and spiritual hierarchies of the empire, but they are not born nobles. Rather, to become a mandarin, one must pass a series of tests and examinations - though, of course, the children of mandarins are usually far more prepared for these than, say, a farmer.

Kralori society values the Four Rights: Right Action, Right Duty, Right Ritual and Right Speech. Interpretations vary, of course, but all Kralorelans know that the Four Rights are the basis of a just society, and without them, only barbarism is possible. They also know that Kralori civilization is the most perfect and refined in the world, with the best art, fiercest soldiers, best-tasting food, most inspired leaders and most impressive magic. Any evidence to the contrary is dismissed as crude ostentation that lacks moral superiority. Kralori society is heavily patriarchal, and women are seen as subordinate to men, with the Empress expected to be the model fo wifely devotion. However, women mandarins can and do exist, and everyone respects female mystics and martial artists. Marriage is generally arranged, but love is expected in these matches. One is expected to marry within their social class, and to avoid marrying slaves or outcasts, by Kralori law. Monogamy is the norm, though some upper class people do practice polygamy, usually in the form of taking concubines. Social class is shown by clothing, with the rich wearing silk and the poor wearing wool or plant fibers.

Kralori is the language of Kralorela, distantly related to the Imperial language of Vormain and the Tanyen trade tongue of the East Isles, and more closely to Stultan, the language of the Kingdom of Ignorance. There used to be fifteen Kralorelan languages, but Emperor Vayobi standardized them all into Kralori by taking the best from each. Written Kralorelan script dates back to the God Time, created by a student of NiangMao and then perfected by Emperor Shavaya. It is primarily used for engraving and for seals. A derivative and less exact script is used for handwriting, devised by Emperor Mikaday. Mikaday wrote the foundation of Kralori law, as well, carving them on massive stelae placed in the center of each city. Every Emperor has added to the law - by custom, at least one new law code is made at the start of each reign. The law is split into penal and civil law. Penal law prescribes punishments for various crimes, with death being the strongest, followed by life exile, then penal servitude, then being beaten with a heavy stick, and the lightest is being beaten by a light stick. Mutilations used to be in the law, but were eliminated by Emperor Godunya. However, torture remains common to extract confessions, which are required for conviction and sentencing. Cases are heard before the local magistrate, who will determine the facts and verdict, then propose a sentence. Serious sentences must be approved by the next rank of mandarins, and exile or death must be approved by the provincial exarch.


Left: A lady mandarin. Right: A soldier of the Empire.

Kralorela maintains a large professional army, well-equipped and highly trained. They favor spears, bows and crossbows, with swords for officers. They lack the horses for a strong cavalry division, and if they need mounted fighters they typically hire Pentans or Praxians. The army is overseen by the Archexarch of War, and promotion is generally by merit - almost all officers began as simple recruits. The Archexarch sometimes meddles via use of army supervisors and modifications to orders.

The Kralori pantheon is very dense, with gods and spirits for just about everything, right down the parts of the body, and even enemy beings aligned against all that is just and good, called antigods. However, some are more commonly worshipped than others. The Dragon Emperors, of course, are living gods, and before their death and entrance to the Summer Land, they must bless all subsequent posterity. Each Emperor has introduced some element of Kralori society that is now indispensable - Daruda gave dragon magic, Mikaday taught the law, Vashanti made the Web of Righteous Knowledge, and so on. The present emperor, Godunya, is worshipped, as are all past Emperors. Godunya is the Living God, and has reigned for nearly five centuries. Aptanace the Sage invented civilization and was father to 700 pairs of Kralori ancestors. Bodkartu is the Goddess of Secrets and Forbidden Lore, and protects her sister, the Empress Halisayan, from demons and bad emperors. She also answers the prayers of oppressed women, wielding disease, poison and murder to aid them. Daruda was the Fifth Emperor and the First Dragon Emperor, who became infinite yet returned to this world in the form of a great dragon. Ebe, known as Wild Man, is the Father of Mortals, who mated with everything and so fathered the dwarves (by loving metal), the elves (plants) and so on. He was father of Aptanace via Okerio, the Allgiver and Goddess of Love. Halisayan is the Good Wife, who was married to Emperor Thalurzni and was deified for her wifely devotion. Huocheng is the Minister of Fire, who favors humans (the tamers of fire) and also serves as a war god. Long Leiji is the Draconic Bolt, a mystical war god and patron of martial artists. Metsyla was the Third Emperor, who taught the Seventeen Lessons to Perfection. Mikaday was the Seventh Emperor, and is the deity that rewards the good and punishes the evil. Miyo is the Rice Mother. The Rich Twins are the gods of wealth and good fortune. Serelaloon is the Goddess of Compassion and Healing. Shavaya is the Fourth Emperor, who invented many things. Thalurzni is the Sixth Emperor and the Ruler of the Summer Land Heaven, where mortals rest between lives. He also teaches alchemy, medicine and how to become immortal. Thrunhin Da is the Blue Dragon Goddess of the Kahar Sea, and mother of the Zabdamar merfolk. Vashanti is the Ninth Emperor and the Solar Emperor, who restored the correct celestial adminsitration and raised the sun to be his celestial representation. Vayobi is Eighth Emperor and the War Dragon.

Kralorela is also home to the Path of Immanent Mastery, a mystery cult of dragon worshippers that is quite popular among lower classes. While it is a secret society, the Imperial administration is fully aware of its membership, and its members are able to turn themselves into dragons. Beyond this, religious practice is led by several classes of priest. All adult citizens are required to worship the Dragon Emperor Godunya, and this worship is channeled through the exarchs as foci for magical power, then to the Emperor, who is the most magical human in the world. While Emperor-worship is required to maintain the empire, it has little direct benefit to most people, so they also tend to worship gods appropriate to their station in life. Kralori wizardry is fairly common amongst the literate classes, while spirit magic is almost exclusively the domain of the Hsunchen hill barbarians and certain rare religious cults. Draconic mystics of the Path of Immanent Mastery are mortals who seek the mystic Void via meditation, austerity and inner strength, allowing them to defy even the greatest of gods. There are various mystic societies of monks, wanderers, martial artists and imperial priests, as well. No matter what, all mystics revere the Emperor, who is the Living Infinite.


An exarch, flanked by two humans using the powers of the Path of Immanent Mastery to become dragons. They are very much not dragonewts.

Kralori temples are extensively decorated with painting and sculpture, and typically have quite large temple compounds. Draconic and imperial temples typically have a front hall and shrine to a dragon emperor, then a great hall to the main shrine, with housing for the mystics and, often, towers housing bells, artifacts, drums and sacred texts. The tallest of these is the Luster of the Dragon Temple, over 275 feet high, in the city of Chi Ting and made entirely of porcelain bricks that reflect the sun's light.

Next time: Elf Hell

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Mors Rattus posted:

Next time: Elf Hell

This has got to be good.

Tuxedo Catfish
Mar 17, 2007

You've got guts! Come to my village, I'll buy you lunch.


i assume it's the same place as dwarf heaven

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




Night10194 posted:

This has got to be good.

Trolls, dwarves, and elves are very different in Glorantha.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


wiegieman posted:

Trolls, dwarves, and elves are very different in Glorantha.

I know. Crazy plant monster hell should be pretty interesting.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

I don't actually think Gloranthan elves or dwarves are particularly different. Aldryami are basically "the most insufferable racist elves, who are plants." Similarly, Mostali are pretty much insufferable racist dwarves with a Five-Year Plan.

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

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




Are they awful enough for you to wish agent orange bombardment?

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Horrible Lurkbeast posted:

Are they awful enough for you to wish agent orange bombardment?

Kind of, but they're awful primarily because they would absolutely bombard everybody else with Agent Orange if they could,* which makes turnabout unsatisfying from a feeling-superior perspective.

* in fact most of the suggested Hero Wars plot seeds for elves and dwarves both are basically "the Aldryami/Mostali bombard the world in Agent Orange."

Freaking Crumbum
Apr 17, 2003

Too fuck to drunk






Chapter 4: Arcana - Psionics




Chapter 4 is the obligatory chapter about psychic powers, sorcery, and divine magic. More than that; it's really boring. Perfunctory? Uninspired? The rules make sense, and Dark*Matter is basically just making slight adjustments to the rules for psychic abilities and supernatural powers that were already presented in the core Alternity PHB. There are some slight twists to make the powers more thematic for Dark*Matter and there's a few new powers, or new uses for powers, provided as well, but on the whole I don't feel like Dark*Matter does anything very interesting with the supernatural as a concept.

A long, long time ago, I reviewed the AD&D Complete Psionics Handbook for a prior iteration of FATAL & Friends. I mention this because Dark*Matter is another TSR game, and I feel like it largely makes the same mistakes. Much like psychic powers in AD&D, the supernatural powers presented in Chapter 4 feel like an afterthought, like they were bolted on because the game is Dark*Matter and it's supposed to be a Cthulhu knock-off, but with no real care or interest taken to make anything exciting or mysterious. The supernatural powers provided work basically the same way as every other Broad Skill+Specialty skill pairing that you would normally buy for your hero. However, they also require that you involve a separate power source - either Psychic Points for psychic powers or FX Points for supernatural powers. I guess the concern was that these kinds of spells and powers would just be totally unbalancing if you could use them as freely as, say, Intelligence: Knowledge - Deduce?

One of the major limiting factors is that the powers just don't scale well - if you compare the amount of XP that it takes to learn how to shoot a regular gun, and compare that to the amount of XP that it takes to learn some kind of attack psychic power, it actually requires more XP spent just to get the psychic power to the same level of proficiency. On top of that, you're completely locked into using only that psychic power, whereas learning how to shoot a gun gives you a diverse array of combat options (Dark*Matter produced an entire splatbook for gear-porn that I might cover in the future, but suffice to say there's multiple-page-long charts that specify exactly what the mechanical difference is between every conceivable type of ammunition, so they were thorough if nothing else). Beyond that, it's much easier to find better weapons, or weapons that target a specific kind of defense, so that the Pavlovian item treadmill kicks in and gives your players a sense of progression. The same thing just doesn't happen with the psychic or supernatural powers - they can get Rank Benefits just like other Specialty Skills, but even if you go out of your way to buy all of them, they still aren't competitive with regular skills.

But enough belaboring the point, let's jump right in!



The section for psychic powers doesn't have a lot of art, so I'm spicing it up with Mindwalker art from the Alternity PHB. Here's what your Mindwalker hero might look like if you weren't playing Dark*Matter.

Mindwalking (Psychic Powers)

In core Alternity, Mindwalker is a basic class like Combat Specialist or Tech Op. As Dark*Matter is set in the year 199X, humanity hasn't yet mastered all of the techniques required for Mindwalker to be an actual class that a player can take. Instead, players are allowed to purchase one Mindwalking Broad Skill and up to two related Specialty Skills, and the Specialty Skills also have a maximum hard cap - your first Mindwalking Specialty Skill can reach a maximum rank of 12 and your second one can reach a maximum rank of 6. Any player that buys Mindwalking skills automatically gets a reserve of Psychic Points equal to 1/2 their Willpower ability, rounding down (making these options even less appealing to characters that don't pump Willpower). You can raise your Psychic Point pool by spending XP similar to raising a skill, but you can only ever purchase 3 additional Psychic Points - this means that the most willful possible character that buys all 3 Psychic Point pool upgrades will only ever have 10 Psychic Points.

Intelligence: ESP - Empathy normally grants your hero a bonus towards social interactions based on the quality of success you roll. Dark*Matter adds the ability to Read Auras, and doing so also gives you a bonus towards any medical or first-aid related skill checks you make on the target. Tell me where it hurts!

Intelligence: ESP - Mind Reading allows your hero to read someone else's surface thoughts. Dark*Matter adds the ability to probe a target's mind for some specific piece of information or memory. Honestly, I have no idea why this wasn't a core feature of the original ability.

Intelligence: ESP - Psycholocation is dowsing. That's all, you use this power and you hold a special stick and your hero can find things that are missing.

Intelligence: ESP - Sensitivity normally is a radar system that lets you know when someone else is using psychic powers. Dark*Matter includes functionality for talking to ghosts as a Medium, although ghosts are a cowardly, superstitous lot and the information they give is likely wrong. This is in the skill description, which makes me wonder why they even bothered. Hey, here's a skill that will give you bad information on a successful roll!


Psychometry solves the crime of Future Marlyn Manson disinterestedly shooting an orb at some kind of brown locust that's way over-selling the severity of the crime.

Will: Telekinesis - Electrokinetics was a basic bitch direct damage blast in Alternity core (seriously, it couldn't even deal mortal damage on an amazing success) and Dark*Matter actually gives it some pretty cool utility functionality. It can now also be used to wipe data off electronic media, tamper with or fool electronic sensors like bio-metric screens, completely bypass any kind of electronic locking mechanism, and jam radio or microwave or cellular or wireless signals within a given area.

Will: Telekinesis - Psychokinetics is moving stuff with you mind (what you'd typically associate with telekinesis). Dark*Matter allows you to attempt fine motor control with your psychokinetics so that you can pick a lock or shoot a gun or whatever. Again, I have no idea why this wouldn't have been included in the original functionality, but I guess it's nice they decided to include it here.


When I was a teen and saw this picture for the first time, I thought it was rad as hell. If only I had noticed the curly-toed elf shoes the wizard was wearing, maybe I would have felt differently.

Personality: Telepathy - Obscure lets you pull the old Men in Black memory wiping trick. This wasn't in the core PHB at all, so I suppose it's a minimal effort thematic inclusion.

Personality: Telepathy - Possess is what you use to turn someone else's body into your puppet. The game doesn't include any creepy examples of what you could use this for, but it doesn't prohibit those things either, so I give them a C- for effort.

Personality: Telepathy - Suggest is basically Charm Person. Dark*Matter adds the ability to implant delayed suggestions so that you can create a sleeper agent panic or whatever. Another minimum effort thematic inclusion, and it doesn't discourage that kind of player from making those kinds of suggestions. The lack of social awareness is going to become a recurring theme in the way that Dark*Matter presents itself.


That wraps up everything Dark*Matter has to say about options for psychic heroes. Won't you join me next time, when we explore the horrors of Arcane FX?

unzealous
Mar 24, 2009

Die, Die, DIE!








Transcript:
Dear Reader,

I apologize for not writing sooner. The smoke in the air has been hell on my ability to breath. Even walking up the stairs leaves me exhausted and out of breath, like Iíd tried to ascend Mt. Rainier. When I first awoke this morning I could swear it was snowing outside but it was far, far too warm. It turned out to be flakes of ash, carried by the winds from the fire. But I do not want to bother you with my health, Iím sure you have plenty of your own concerns.
The next section of De Profundis covers an important aspect of the game, and that is that your letters are likely to, and should be, purely subjective and focus on your perception of the world from the character's viewpoint. If your character explores a place you should focus more on what you experienced over what you found. A letter about your rising anxiety, the sounds you hear both real or possibly imagined, the cold sweat running down your back, will make up more of your missive than a description of some strange object you found. I donít believe this is absolute, however. I believe a reasonably well done sketch or mysterious photograph could serve as an excellent addition to the game, as well as being easily included in the letter itself.
Action is also an important consideration, in that itís not something youíd write about during. It may not even be something your character lives through, which is an unfortunate but sometimes inevitable side effect of exploring the edges of sanity and the creatures who dwell there. A technique mentioned is to describe the rising action over the course of several letters as it becomes inevitable in one way or another, before finally sending a letter after the fact, assuming your character lived through it.
Now, some of you may experience writerís block, that damnable contrivance that locks away our creativity behind a wall of doubt. To that end the book provides a list of possible subjects to write about, a few of which I will post here, allowing you the opportunity to explore the rest at your leisure.
You could start by writing about a mysterious event you experienced, perhaps you witnessed some strange goings on in the woods one night. Strange lights, shifting figures, odd and inhuman noises filling the air. And while you dismissed it at the time you start to feel as though you are now marked in some way. You canít help but feel as though you are followed, you see strange symbols you once mistook as simple graffiti. Things escalate from there in whatever direction you deem appropriate.
Scenery can be a good source of inspiration as well. You could simply write about where you live, the scenery, the people, the landmarks. Within this you can weave a narrative, bringing up the things not brought up in brochures. The local superstitions, the dark secrets, the parts of history that would be better left forgotten. As the book says:

Everybody lives in surroundings that are normal and ordinary to them, but exotic to others, and it would be a shame not to use this fact.

I must say that this book is quite an entertaining read. Being written as a series of letters between sometimes anxious correspondents creates an interesting narrative over the course of the book.
Realism or believability is one of aspects of the game you should always be striving for. You may build up to a grand and spectacular finale but the steps taken along the way should keep your own reader firmly within the fiction. Remember you are writing from the perspective of a character to whom all of the events are completely real. If you keep this in mind it will give your writing a voice that will keep your reader enthralled and engaged. I actually recall a quote by the occasionally esteemed horror author Stephen King on writing and the nature of horror.

ďThe 3 types of terror: The Gross-out: the sight of a severed head tumbling down a flight of stairs, it's when the lights go out and something green and slimy splatters against your arm. The Horror: the unnatural, spiders the size of bears, the dead waking up and walking around, it's when the lights go out and something with claws grabs you by the arm. And the last and worse one: Terror, when you come home and notice everything you own had been taken away and replaced by an exact substitute. It's when the lights go out and you feel something behind you, you hear it, you feel its breath against your ear, but when you turn around, there's nothing there...Ē


I personally feel like terror is what you should be building towards. That moment when you can no longer trust your own senses, when even the familiar take on a sinister aura.
The next section deals with interaction and taking cues from those you write to. It can be easy to simply write about your experiences but that leaves your recipient with little to do but act like a repository. Instead it is recommended you take cues from each other, play off one another, and run with the otherís ideas. This game is one of collaborative storytelling. Take interest in what your fellow players are doing with the assumption that they will do to you in kind. You may find that one player has started what could be generously described as an action scene, where things are happening quickly and danger approaches, at which time it may be appropriate to take a more passive role in the exchange, inquiring about their health, asking for details, playing the interested but passive party.
I have reached an interesting section now, one which I should have seen coming since the beginning, especially given the themes involved. The end of a character. In many of Lovecraftís works it ends, sometimes with the protagonist alive, other times the letters are all that remains after they took that last step past the point of no return and into whatever lies beyond. A few examples are things like a farewell letter, one written before you are about to embark on a course of action from which the chances of success, sanity or survival are all appallingly slim. You might also write one in a state of terror feeling as though the forces against you are finally closing in, though that might beg the question as to how it was delivered. I also had the idea of a letter left with a third party to be sent in the event of that character's death. There are so many options to choose from it seems like more a matter of finding which one would be most appropriate.
This portion of the book ends with a section on the importance of saving letters in one way or another before they are sent. After all it is quite possible one might get lost in the mail which would be a tragic waste of all the time and effort that goes into writing a well crafted letter. This way it will be possible to recreate it if necessary. It also serves another purpose as serving as a reminder of what you last sent when you receive a response, so youíre more familiar with the content you sent and context of the reply. Either way it is a good idea to keep and organize your letters when at all possible. At the very least you might find yourself looking back at them with nostalgia at a later point in time.
Unfortunately I must end this letter. While this book is quite entertaining my constitution can no longer extend to the ends of my enthusiasm. I find myself prone to coughing fits that leave me wracked with pain and sputum mixed with ash and coal. I will make an appointment with my doctor when I am able to, though I assume itís the fires to blame. I hope you find yourself in better health than myself.

Farewell,

Unzealous

GimpInBlack
Sep 27, 2012

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


Well, I haven't been around here in a while, but hey, I found this pretty cool game the other day and I figured I'd share it with you goons. So grab your M16, put some Creedence on the 8-track, and get to the chopper, because we're going to Viet-fuckin'-nam in...



Table of Contents Part One: Goodbye Sweetheart, Hello Vietnam
PATROL is a 2015 game by Erika Chappell (yes, that cover image has a different name; I'm following the author's Patreon account and not asking questions that aren't my business) of Newstand Press. As you can probably tell, it's a game about the Vietnam War--more specifically, it's about a US Army Infantry squad in the Vietnam War. It bills itself as a spiritual successor to The RPG Company's Recon and Palladium's The Revised Recon, and takes its main inspiration from Oliver Stone's Platoon and Michael Herr's Dispatches.

I'll be honest, I nearly passed this game by when it cropped up as the Deal of the Day on DriveThruRPG a couple of weeks ago, because IME the sort of game described as a spiritual successor to an early 80s wargame about the Vietnam War and the sort of game that creepily fetishizes the Vietnam War is a lot closer to a circle than a figure-eight. Luckily for me (but perhaps unluckily for anyone hoping for a CthulhuTech-level trainwreck), PATROL is not that game. It's actually a quite interesting examination of the psychological stresses of being in a combat zone and the sort of primal reactions people have to them. It's a squad-level tactical combat simulation, yes, but it's about people trying to survive the horrors, both physical and mental, of war while inevitably, tragically, contributing to it.

Sound fun? I think so. It bears a lot of influence to the kind of storygames I'm a big fan of, and while it doesn't get bogged down in the minutiae of 5-food grid squares or action-by-action resolution, it has enough crunch to make engagements feel satisfying, which in turn gives more weight to the fallout in the aftermath. It does, however, suffer from some scattershot organization, and despite crediting four editors, the text has a fair number of typos and errors. But if you can work past that, the game has a lot going for it, including a really interesting alignment system (and there's a sentence I never thought I'd type).

Introduction
ďPatrol went up the mountain. One man came back. He died before he could tell us what happened.Ē
- Quoted in
Dispatches from the Vietnam War, Michael Herr

With that cheery quote, the book opens with a pretty decent one-page summary of the Vietnam War, its history, and why it was such a shitshow on both sides. We'll get a much more in-depth overview later in the book, so I'll wait till then to talk about it and get to the game itself.

Basic Training

All the art in the book is pulled from public-domain photos from the war, treated with filters into these impressionistic silhouettes. I like it.

After the obligatory "this is how a role-playing game works" section, we get to the first rules. Right away the game shows off its storygame DNA, because the first rules are best practices for good play, not task-resolution mechanics:
  • Your Character is Yours: Nobody else gets to say what your character does, or make up things about them without your consent.
  • Bad Things Happen: Vietnam loving sucks. People die, often suddenly, sometimes capriciously, usually bloody. Bad poo poo happens to good people, and that's in large part what the game is about, so be ready for it.
  • No Going Back: Pretty self-explanatory. No backsies if something doesn't go your way.
  • Off Limits: The flip-side of the previous two rules: Vietnam loving sucks, and while PATROL can go to some pretty dark places, it's important to have a frank discussion before play about what's off-limits for your table, and then to respect that.
  • Give the GM Some Room: The GM in PATROL isn't God, and her word isn't law--she should follow the rules as much as the other players. That said, if she fudges something in the moment or makes an ad hoc ruling to keep the momentum up, let it slide.
  • Put Your Phone Away: Come on, don't be That Guy.
Now, about that task resolution: PATROL uses a simple d6-based pool system. When you try to do something, you roll dice equal to one of your Attributes, of which you have three: Fortitude (strength, toughness, and physical ability), Vigilance (situational awareness, intelligence, and charisma), and Proficiency (your ability to use the tools of modern, industrial war). Every die that comes up a 6 is a success; you want at least as many successes as the Difficulty. If you have a relevant Skill, 5s and 6s both count as successes.

On the other hand, every 1 you roll is a Failure. Some actions have drawbacks based on Failures rolled, but if you roll more failures than successes, your action has gone FUBAR. A FUBAR action doesn't necessarily fail--as long as you hit the Difficulty, you still do it--but something goes very, very wrong. Vietnam loving sucks.

Character Creation
First things first, the game advises you to have a chat about themes they might want to explore and how historically "correct" they want the game to be. For example, though the US Armed Forces were racially desegregated in 1948, women and openly-LGBT people weren't allowed in combat roles in the 1960s-70s, but maybe you'd rather ignore that. Likewise, while the game generally assumes a nebulously late-60s setting, you might want to anchor your game more specifically to a particular time period. Later in the book we'll see rules modifications for setting your game notably earlier or later in the conflict, bu for now we'll cover the baseline. Finally, these rules assume you'll be creating US Army GIs--the GM's section of the book has adjustments for playing everything from US Marines to ARVN Rangers to Viet Cong and more, but we'll be sticking with infantry grunts for now.

The first step, of course, is concept and name. Once everybody has a general idea of who they want to play, you go around the table and introduce your characters. Then, everybody else at the table gets to pick a nickname for your character. No, you don't get any say in your own nickname, what kind of rear end in a top hat tries to give himself his own nickname? Next is your Serial Number, because if you're captured you need to be able to repeat Name, Rank, and Serial Number, right? Your SN is an 8-digit number, with the first digit indicating whether you were a volunteer, a draftee, or National Guard, the second digit showing the state you were inducted in, and the rest being random numbers you can make up as you like. Next you'll roll for your blood type, because you're probably going to need a transfusion at some point. Finally, you write down your helmet scrawl: what little slogan, image, or pattern do you write on your gear with a ubiquitous black marker?



Every soldier starts with a basic kit that includes a few skills and general-issue equipment. The game doesn't bother tracking little things like maps, mess kits, camo face paint, etc.--just the big, important stuff. You also get a choice of a battle rifle or an assault rifle--we'll learn the difference in the Equipment chapter later (broadly, battle rifles are worse at suppressing fire and better at precision shooting, while assault rifles are mid-range on both).

You might think the next step would be Attributes, but no, they come later--because you need to know your Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) first. MOS is a bit like character class, but less defining. Your MOS gives you one unique ability, a couple of Skills, and maybe a piece or two of equipment. There are twelve of them, and with the exception of Rifleman, it's one to a squad:
  • The Rifleman is the generic grunt. They're generalists, which makes them good for NPC "extra" squad members, new players who don't want to muck with complicated systems, or team leaders who have enough other poo poo to worry about. They get a +1 to all Attributes.
  • The Radio Operator is your squad's lifeline. They carry the bigass radio backpack that keeps you in touch with base--and more importantly, with the big fat artillery back at base. If you like playing mages in fantasy games, the RO is for you: they use up battery charge like mana to call down hellfire, summon assistance, and generally control the battlefield. They get the ability to make certain radio- and negotiation-based actions more quickly than others. Their Skills also let them act as forward observers for artillery and airstrikes.
  • The Pigman is the squad's machine gunner--so named because the M60 LMG was nicknamed the Pig. They're the kings of suppressing fire and a straightforward damage-dealing MOS. They get +5 Strength, and no that's not a typo for Fortitude, we just don't know what Strength does yet.
  • The Grenadier brings the boom. If you like the tactical puzzle-solving elements of other RPGs, you'll love the grenadier and his variety of high-explosives. He gets the ability to automatically negate one Failure on any Throw Grenade Action (which, despite the name, is what you roll for grenade launchers, RPGs, or rifle grenades as well).
  • The Point is your forward scout, the one who ranges ahead of the rest of the squad, looking out for enemy contact, traps, etc. They're also the de facto tunnel rat MOS--and Charlie loves to dig tunnels. They can study the tracks of other units and discern facts about that unit from them.
  • The Marksman is the sniper. Duh. Not much else to say; they get bonus damage when they Take Aim at a target, pretty standard.
  • The Firebug commits war crimescarries the squad's flamethrower, a terrifying bunker-clearing, jungle-annihilating walking atrocity. When they set something on fire, they get to roll damage three times and keep the highest result.
  • The Gunner handles any and all additional heavy weapons--mortars, heavy machine guns, anti-tank rifles, whatever. Their special ability is that, before any mission, they can pick a heavy weapon. For the duration of the mission, they get Skill with that weapon and get one free of charge.
  • The Medic is not just your party healbot, they're also your surefire way to winning hearts and minds when you roll into a village--someone's always sick or hurt, after all. They're also a good fit for players who aren't totally down with the darker themes of the game. Their special ability is that they can automatically reduce someone's ongoing damage when they treat them. They also get free heroinopiates. For medicinal purposes.
  • The Intel is the face and brains of the squad. They're really good at getting people to trust them, and they get a discount on hallucinogens.
  • The Handler has a dog. Their special ability is Has a Dog. So if you ever wanted to inflict the horrors of Vietnam on a big ol' German shepherd, this is your MOS.
  • Finally, The Engineer builds poo poo, from roads to bridges to defensive positions. They get huge bonuses to preparing positions before a battle and can set traps with aplomb, but they tend to fade into the background once fighting starts.
Next up, it's time to pick your Alignment. We'll see the full system in a later update, but for now just know that this is less an overall worldview than it is how you respond to extreme stress and trauma. Basically, when the poo poo hits the fan, who do you care about? You pick one of the following: Idealistic (cares about everyone), Righteous (cares about The Cause), Pragmatic (cares about their buddies), or Egotistical (cares about themselves). In a nice little touch, the description of each alignment includes a sentence on how that type of person is single-handedly Losing Us This Goddamn War.

Now it's time for Attributes. This is really straightforward: You have 24 points to divide between the three Attributes, with a minimum of 5 in each. Technically it says you have up to 24 points, but there's no real reason you'd ever spend less than that. These are your Base Attributes--in practice, equipment, status effects, and other rules will modify these significantly.

Now it's time to do some light customization. You get 6 XP to spend on additional Attribute points, Skills, or equipment. Yes, equipment costs XP in this game--but only permanent equipment, and only stuff beyond your standard kit and your MOS gear. Consumables like ammo, food, or grenades are free.

Finally, there's the issue of Rank. As far as PATROL is concerned, there are only 5 ranks to worry about : Officers (LOLNope, you'll never be one of these), Sergeant, Specialist, Private First Class, and Private. Most likely, you're a Private. The more technically-inclined MOS (i.e. anything but Rifleman) might start out as PFCs or Specialists, but then again maybe not. The GM is encouraged to choose (randomly "or maliciously") one PC to be Sergeant. The highest-ranked PC in the squad gets to settle any disputes over group actions in which the whole squad participates and is usually in charge of any NPC allies, but the game is very clear that out in the field, rank carries no actual authority--in other words, you get to facilitate, not be an authoritarian dick.



Next Time: Fortunate Sons - Character creation demo! Give me a few grunt concepts and I'll make a few characters to illustrate the system. Be sure to include MOS and whether they were drafted or not, and from what state, and bonus points if you throw in a period-appropriate photo reference.

GimpInBlack fucked around with this message at 14:35 on Oct 9, 2017

echopapa
Jun 2, 2005

El Presidente smiles upon this thread.

GimpInBlack posted:

Next Time: Fortunate Sons - Character creation demo! Give me a few grunt concepts and I'll make a few characters to illustrate the system. Be sure to include MOS and whether they were drafted or not, and from what state, and bonus points if you throw in a period-appropriate photo reference.

Letís see Beetle Bailey.

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

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




I never read the comic strip, isn't he infuriatingly lazy?
I figure that his squad mates would just leave him sleeping in the middle of the jungle.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


I appreciate every single game that starts its 'how to start a campaign' with 'have a talk about how much you want to give a poo poo about historicity and stuff, what themes you all want to explore, and what you feel comfortable with.'

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

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




drat straight!
I still remember an adventure I played as a mage and entangled some thugs, just for another player to declare that he is "cutting their leg tendons so they cannot escape"
Total tonal dissonance.

GimpInBlack
Sep 27, 2012

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


Horrible Lurkbeast posted:

I never read the comic strip, isn't he infuriatingly lazy?
I figure that his squad mates would just leave him sleeping in the middle of the jungle.

Which, depending on their alignments, might well get his squadmates some Victory Points!

Night10194 posted:

I appreciate every single game that starts its 'how to start a campaign' with 'have a talk about how much you want to give a poo poo about historicity and stuff, what themes you all want to explore, and what you feel comfortable with.'

It's the real hallmark of a mature game, IMHO. Pity so many games don't get that.

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Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


GimpInBlack posted:

It's the real hallmark of a mature game, IMHO. Pity so many games don't get that.

Well, you know, look at the origin of our thread title. Back in The Day there was the old idea that shocking and surprising your players was the hallmark of 'mature' and the further the hobby gets away from that, the better.

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