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Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017





Evil Mastermind posted:


Pretty stylish, too.

...wait, this is a lady samurai! I can't see her midriff! What madness is this before mine eyes!?

And yes, GOD yes, I want to run and/or play Torg Eternity now. Thank you for nothing/everything, Evil Mastermind.

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Green Intern
Dec 29, 2008

Loon, Crazy and Laughable



Finally, we can play out Cadillacs and Dinosaurs.

Ghost Leviathan
Mar 2, 2017

Exploration is ill-advised




Torg sounds a bit like Kingdom Hearts.

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



Even though it is an outside chance of happening, how long does it take to swap a character who has disconnected in Tort Eternity to their new reality? Is that something you're likely to have to do in the middle of a fight or other tense scenario? How much does it slow the game down?

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


The idea of your old poo poo just transforming into new poo poo is way cool and the way it should have been in the first place. Speaking of transformations, does the transformee understand what happened? Would Joe Wizardman remembee he used to hack?

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


Can someone from the living land with a cool smilodon pet take that smilodon with him to other realities without causing contradictions?

sexpig by night
Sep 8, 2011

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

Inescapable Duck posted:

Torg sounds a bit like Kingdom Hearts.

....well hello new reskin project

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



unseenlibrarian posted:

Sounds like Orrosh Shapeshifters are gone as a PC option? Or are just pending the cosm/worldbook. (I ask mostly because my first TORG PC was an Orroshan Werewolf)
Looks like they're being held off for the worldbook, yes.

The Lone Badger posted:

This is how I've always assumed it worked, because the alternative is stupid.
Nope, previously you just lost everything that didn't apply to your new reality. It's important to note that in oTorg there wasn't any unified "powers" mechanic; if you had a cool ability (and only maybe half the realms got cool abilities), it had its own complex subsystem and as such couldn't be swapped out for something of equal cost.

Dawgstar posted:

And yes, GOD yes, I want to run and/or play Torg Eternity now. Thank you for nothing/everything, Evil Mastermind.
:getin:

marshmallow creep posted:

Even though it is an outside chance of happening, how long does it take to swap a character who has disconnected in Tort Eternity to their new reality? Is that something you're likely to have to do in the middle of a fight or other tense scenario? How much does it slow the game down?
I haven't had anyone transform in my games yet, but given that it's mostly just switching Perks around, I imagine it'd be pretty quick. At worst it's probably an "okay, 10 minute break, everyone" situation.

JcDent posted:

The idea of your old poo poo just transforming into new poo poo is way cool and the way it should have been in the first place. Speaking of transformations, does the transformee understand what happened? Would Joe Wizardman remembee he used to hack?
Sort of. When someone transforms (and this was true in oTorg as well), they'll remember their old life as a sort of dream. The example in the book is a human transforming to the Living Land; she remembers what a car is, and she knows she used to use one, but she wouldn't remember the specifics of how to drive on. So likewise, Joe would remember that he used to break into secure Cyberpapal instillations and get info from computers, he wouldn't be able to tell you how he did it.

Kurieg posted:

Can someone from the living land with a cool smilodon pet take that smilodon with him to other realities without causing contradictions?
Yes. It's just an animal, so it doesn't cause a contradiction.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer


"Ugh, I hate being stuck out in the Brigaboonies."

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


I've been thinking of maybe pausing my write-up of the WHFRP official campaign because some stuff is delaying my own play-group's playthrough of it and one of my players reads this thread, so I'd have had to take a long break on it after the first book anyway. Would people prefer I keep doing WHFRP books like Realm of Sorcery and get into the serious wizbiz and dwarf runes or should I finally do a write-up of Dark Heresy 1e instead?

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




You know you want to eventually get to the high XP atrocity that is DH Ascension.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


wiegieman posted:

You know you want to eventually get to the high XP atrocity that is DH Ascension.

I actually don't own Ascension. I'd just be writing up the core book as an aside to finally actually do WH40KRP since it comes up a lot when discussing WHFRP2e.

E: I've never even read Ascension, I just remember hearing about 12 100% dodges per round hyper assassins and auto-casting Psykers.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 15:28 on Feb 28, 2018

Deptfordx
Dec 23, 2013



God, I've run low level 40k RPG's. The thought of what massively experienced characters in high tier professions would do to the WFRP ruleset they hung those skeletons onto doesn't bear thinking about.

Green Intern
Dec 29, 2008

Loon, Crazy and Laughable



The new System Mastery has made me wegstremely angry.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


That stupid game and its stupid portmanteaus

Green Intern
Dec 29, 2008

Loon, Crazy and Laughable



JcDent posted:

That stupid game and its stupid portmanteaus

Sportmanteaus.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay: Dark Heresy: Part 1

Dark Heresy is an odd game. It's not a good game, though it is a game I have had a very good time with and that got me the RPG group I've kept for nearly ten years now. It is a game that absolutely did not give fans what they wanted, originally, and I don't think I ever would have enjoyed it if it had. It is a game about the Inquisition in Warhammer 40k, where you do not play as one of the all-powerful Inquisitors and their team of fellow supermen. Instead, you start out as a group of 3-5 rather bumbling but promising low-level Inquisitorial agents, people who are just competent enough that they might find something of value but who won't be missed if something happens to them while they poke around the darkness for clues and heresy. From there, your Sororita Initiates, Guardsmen, street thugs, gangers, and preachers slowly work their way up, becoming indispensable to their employer and possibly becoming Inquisitors or favored students (or finding a way to get out of this whole business with their necks intact and a healthy slush fund).

If that arc sounds a lot like the shitfarmer to hero arc of WHFRP2e, that's no accident. 40kRP is built on the bones of WHFRP2e, changed to account for the more bombastic setting, to try some new things, and to deal with the existence of automatic and anti-tank weapons. I generally find it to be the inferior system and game, but there were plenty of challenges in porting the system over to a setting where everything was ramped up to maximum screaming all the time. The Shitfarmer To Hero arc is still good, but it doesn't fit into 40k quite as well as it did Fantasy because 40k has generally never been all that concerned with ordinary people, both during its more satirical periods and the recent push towards 'no actually fascism is cool and fun' it's suffered. There is less space for the humble space rat catcher and their small but vicious space dog.

The game begins with the usual 'what is a roleplaying game' spiel and the bog-standard 'this is the 41st millennia and there is only war' thingy you get in every 40k Hams product. It also has a short example of play of some Acolytes (PCs) investigating a missing Inquisitorial agent and hitting Daemonhost (a bad thing), as well as a little disclaimer that no, Chaos and magic and all that isn't real, don't get too into this junk. From there, we're right on into PC creation, which will be very familiar to anyone who has read the WHFRP2e review.

To create a PC, you pick your homeworld (standin for species, all Imperial PCs are human, because 40k's maximum volume catholic space nazis are significantly less sociable than the Empire's 17th century Germans), pick your Career (The old Career system is gone, and also being from a certain world will prevent you from being from a specific career), roll stats (2d10 down the line, same as before, with the addition of a mostly-unnecessary Perception stat), reroll one stat that didn't turn out how you wanted (RAW, you MUST keep the second result, even if it's worse, which is stupid) in place of the old Shallya's Mercy rule (I prefer Shallya's Mercy), then roll wounds, fate, and Divination (giving you a minor statistical adjustment and a little bit of a fate-hook). One thing the astute reader will notice immediately is that stats are on a much tighter leash than in WHFRP. Characters who have a bonus to a stat from their homeworld only get +5 now, and penalties are only -5. Later, when we get to EXP, you can only ever add +20 to a stat over your career; gone are the +30, +40 etc stat advances from Fantasy. You also pay diminishing returns for your stat boosts, now; everything has variable EXP costs.

The homeworlds are pretty simple: The Feral Worlder has higher Str and Tough, lower Fellowship and Willpower, and can handle the wilds easier but hates formal social situations. The Hiver has higher Fel, lower Tough, acts faster in a crisis, can run through crowds of people like they weren't there, and goes a bit crazy out in the wild. The Imperial worlder has no penalties and only a +3 to Willpower, gets some basic knowledge of religion and education, and a penalty to dealing with WHAT MAN WAS NOT MEANT TO KNOW. The Voidborn gets a bonus to Willpower and a penalty to Strength, terrible Wounds, better Fate than anyone else, a chance to keep their Fate points when spent, and knowledge of zero-G and space living. You'll note the 'attractive to Fighters' homeworld gets a penalty to Willpower. This is going to come up a lot, but boy howdy does this game want your Fighter to be a puddle of whimpering terror on the floor all the goddamn time. There's also a misprint in my version wherein the Fate calculations are '1-4, 5-8, 7-10 on d10' which is, you know, impossible. Characters get 9+d5 Wounds as a Feral, 8+d5 as Imperial or Hiver, and 6+d5 as a Voidborn (brittle space bones). Feral Worlders and Hive Worlders have a high chance of only having 1 Fate. Ferals can only get up to 2, like WHFRP Elves, while Imperials and Voidborn have 2-3 and Hivers have 1-3. Considering how important Fate is, rolling a single Fate Point can really, really suck, and you don't even get the amazing stats of a WHFRP elf to make up for it. Characters also no longer have racial Movement. Your movement is calculated by the tens digit of your Agility (Just like Strength Bonus and Toughness Bonus in WHFRP) and boy is this not the end of Agility being one of the best stats in the game.

Your Careers are Adept (Scholar), Arbitrator (Tank/Cop), Assassin (Killing People, Skillfully), Cleric (Social/Jack of All Trades), Guardsman (Killing People, LOUDLY), Psyker (Overpowered, chance to kill entire party), Scum (Thief), and Tech Priest (Starts Out Innocently Enough, Will Become God-King Eventually With Enough Add-On Books). You get a few skills and talents (which work similarly to WHFRP) from your Career, but not enough to usually do what you hoped to do from the start like in WHFRP. For instance: Scum don't start with Concealment and can't actually learn it until they've spent enough EXP to get to Rank 2 in their career (admittedly, this will take 1 session). They also (for whatever reason) don't learn Silent Move (Ugh, seperating Hide and Move Silently, gently caress you game) until Rank 4, which will be several sessions in going by the normal advance scheme. This can create a situation where your starting characters feel like fumbling idiots.

There are also little tables for rolling for what kind of Imperial world you were from, where in the Hive you came from, etc if you want them. They're fun enough, and don't have any mechanical effect, so you can drop them freely if you already had a concept in mind. Then comes divination. Your Divination is rolled on d100 and grants you a little spiel like 'Trust in your Fear: +2 Agility, +1 Fate Points' or 'Thought Begets Heresy, Heresy Begets Retribution: +3 Strength'. They almost all give bonuses, to the point that rolling one of the few that doesn't feels like a kick in the pants. If you're really unlucky, you can roll that you start with a mutation you have to conceal.

There's also big tables of male and female names, little questions about what all this means to your PC, and a bit on how much starting money and gear you get according to class. Every class also gets paid a monthly income, and depending on your GM, this is either going to really matter or go out the window in seconds. Your class still determines what you're permitted to buy, but it also determines how expensive it is, how quickly you'll get it, and how expensive raising various stats is for you. You start with 400 EXP to spend, and a 'good' stat costs 100 for the first +5 to it. Most classes have 3 Good stats (Cost 100, 250, 500, and then 500 or 750), 2 Bad stats (500, 750, 1000, 2500), and the rest average (250, 500, 750, 1000). We'll get into this more when we get to careers.

For now, tell me who I'll be rolling as our example acolyte.

Next Time: The Creation of An Acolyte

Green Intern
Dec 29, 2008

Loon, Crazy and Laughable



Buzz Aldrin, time displaced and re-patriated astronaut (voidborn)

Ratoslov
Feb 15, 2012

Now prepare yourselves! You're the guests of honor at the Greatest Kung Fu Cannibal BBQ Ever!



Private Matilda Punchwitch, Guardswoman and pugilist!

Lurks With Wolves
Jan 14, 2013

At least I don't dance with them, right?


Ah, Dark Heresy. I have a lot of good memories of that game. Also a lot of memories about how FFG's entire 40k line got increasingly iffy mechanics as time went on, and it didn't start at a great spot in the first place.

Also, Alves Alighari, Imperial World Adept that wasn't even supposed to be here today.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay: Dark Heresy: Part 2

Chronicle of the Witchpuncher

Matilda will be an Imperial Worlder because I want to talk about a specific rules interaction with Imperial World. She'll also be fully random. She is a Punchwitch, of the line of Punchwitch, not because she is a witch who punches (that would be heresy) but rather because they punch witches (which is the opposite of heresy).

First, she's getting the full RAW treatment: Every stat starts at 20+2d10. Leading her to 34 Weapon Skill, 35 Ballistic Skill, 29 Strength, 31 Toughness, 25 Agility (ow), 27 Intelligence, 42 Willpower (19+3 for Imperial), 32 Perception, 38 Fellowship. She chooses to reroll Agility because ow and gets a 26, which is still bad. So Matilda is good with a weapon, a little noodly, not that smart, kind of clumsy, extremely persuasive, and incredibly brave. She has 11 Wounds (average), and 3 Fate (Yay). Rolling on 'what kind of planet are you from' she came from a Paradise world, with a 93; she's from one of the rare places that doesn't suck in 40k, where the people are described as having a 'naive optimism' that can be both endearing and infuriating for others. Her Divination is, appropriately, 'Violence Solves Everything' which gives her +3 Weapon Skill, for an excellent 37.

Being a Guardswoman, she has the advantage of starting with a free suit of Guard Flak armor. Guard Flak armor is some of the best starting armor in the game. It gives a character 4 points of armor on every location. 40KRP features an AP system, so that isn't nearly as good as 4 AV would've been in Fantasy, but when you're up against non-penetrating basic auto-rifles and lasguns in the early game, Guard Flak is steel. It's only when Pen4 Bolters and poo poo show up that your armor stops mattering. Her only starting Skills are being able to speak Low Gothic and either knowing how to drive or swim, so she's going to know how to drive. Her starting talents are knowing how to use low-tech 'primitive' weapons like swords and axes, knowing how to use lasguns and laspistols, and knowing how to use Basic (rifle/shotgun sized) Solid Projectile weapons. As you can see, she doesn't have a very impressive array of starting abilities compared to a WHFRP character. She comes with a basic sword, her flak armor, her lasgun, a double barreled shotgun, her laspistol, a uniform and her copy of the Imperial Infantryman's Uplifting Primer (which by default she cannot read).

Being an Imperial Worlder, she also comes with the ability to treat Literacy and High Gothic as 'basic' skills (can make a check in them at 1/2 stat even if you don't have them), so depending on how you interpret it she might be able to read and speak a tiny bit of psuedolatin. She also treats a bunch of other basic lores about religion and the Imperium as Basic the same way. So she's had some public schooling.

She also gets her 400 EXP to spend, and immediately spends 300 on getting +5 to the 3 Good stats for a Guardsman, giving her +5 WS, +5 BS, and +5 Strength, making her start out a very solid 42 WS, 40 BS, 34 Str. She'll then spend her last 100 on Awareness so she isn't totally useless outside of combat.

So, compare her to a WHFRP character. Most of them would be competent at a trade, have a few specialized talents, maybe some stat boost talents to make sure they're good at what they do. Matilda knows how to use a couple basic weapons, has some okay stats, and can use her full Perception stat on Awareness tests. She cannot sneak, she has no skills to make use of her good starting Fel, she knows very little about the world, and it will be a couple thousand EXP before she's even properly a good fighter. Similarly, she will have an extremely hard time raising her Willpower; Guardsman is bad at WP with the full 500-750-1000-2500, meaning the party's primary heavy fighter is bad at resisting being rendered helpless by panic in combat. They're also bad at resisting being pinned by automatic fire. I mean why would your professional soldier need any of that, right?

Next Time: A Thorough Look At Careers

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Green Intern posted:

The new System Mastery has made me wegstremely angry.

For such a tiny book Old Skool is a bitch to read. Generally we'd make it five or so pages before needing to do some eye rubbing and mournful staring out a window.

I love it though because a trend for us is "doing no research leads to bad times." Let's learn about Moorcock through the worst Elric material ever written! Let's find out what the OSR is all about from this trash that has OSR listed in a bullet point on the back jacket!

theironjef fucked around with this message at 18:48 on Feb 28, 2018

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Poor Matilda. If only she was a techpriest. Then all of her prayers would be answered.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Hostile V posted:

Poor Matilda. If only she was a techpriest. Then all of her prayers would be answered.

The weird evolution of Techpriest from 'neat and interesting techy class' to 'Flying god of destruction who can neck-snap a Space Marine' over the line's history is so pronounced as to be a subplot of its own.

And that's not even getting into Techpriests who ARE Space Marines, who can deflect anti-tank fire and punch out buildings.

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017





Bieeanshee posted:

"Ugh, I hate being stuck out in the Brigaboonies."

Well done.

MonsterEnvy
Feb 4, 2012


So are you not doing Ashes of Middenheim anymore then Night? Or just a Hiatus on that.

Anyway will be nice to learn about Dark Heresy from someone who knows what they are talking about.

DalaranJ
Apr 15, 2008

Yosuke will now die for you.


Iím aware this is a very Ďother science factsí question to ask, but I canít help myself.

Why are many Esrolians literate? Perhaps itís a big trade hub?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


MonsterEnvy posted:

So are you not doing Ashes of Middenheim anymore then Night? Or just a Hiatus on that.

Hiatus. My regular group is helping playtest a redo of one of the first games I designed back when I was in high school and so we can't continue the campaign ourselves for now, and I'm not sure how much it will delay things. I would've probably gotten to the parts they haven't played yet before we got to those parts in our group, and so I wanted to hiatus that for now and cover the GRIM DARKNESS a bit.

Also the next part of Ashes was full of weird bullshit that doesn't amount to much and I'd been dreading writing it up.

E: Also, I've wanted to cover DH for a long time because it was my introduction to Hams Gaming. I never played the TT wargames, and I got into it originally through first Dawn of War and then DH. DH is a game I have a lot of fond memories of that is totally hosed and significantly worse as an RPG than its predecessor in WHFRP, but it's worse in interesting ways that I want to cover and talk about, some of which I don't know if it could have avoided because 40k is fundamentally a worse setting for a role-playing game.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 19:32 on Feb 28, 2018

Wrestlepig
Feb 25, 2011

my mum says im cool



Toilet Rascal

DalaranJ posted:

Iím aware this is a very Ďother science factsí question to ask, but I canít help myself.

Why are many Esrolians literate? Perhaps itís a big trade hub?
Esrolia is a lot more urbanised and civilised than other orlanthi cultures. Itís got one of the bigger cities in Nochet, thereís international trade and great libraries.

Wapole Languray
Jul 4, 2012



Yeah, Nochet, the capital of Esrolia, is legitimately the largest city on the planet.

I'll detail it more later, but it has a populations of over 100,000 people (Roughly equal to Rome circa 600 BC), is the central trade hub of half the world.

To give an idea, this is a map of Pavis, the prototypical frontier adventure city in the setting:



THIS is Nochet:

Wapole Languray fucked around with this message at 20:46 on Feb 28, 2018

Subjunctive
Sep 12, 2006

sparkle and shine



Is that Torg (Eternity) bonus chart actually logarithmic? It looks weirder than that, but phoneposting so I haven't graphed it or anything.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Subjunctive posted:

Is that Torg (Eternity) bonus chart actually logarithmic? It looks weirder than that, but phoneposting so I haven't graphed it or anything.
To be honest, I don't know for certain now that you bring it up. I just kind of always assumed it was due to logarithmic scales being a Thing in games for a while. Plus oTorg used its insane ability to scale as a selling point back in the day (the infamous "you can calculate how much damage the Death Star does" thing).

EverettLO
Jul 2, 2007
I'm a lurker no more




S-1: The Tomb of Iuchiban Part 1



Introduction

Now I can finally get into the one module that Iíve been angling to do for literally years now. The Tomb of Iuchiban is an adventure module for first edition Legend of the Five Rings. Itís a box set thatís composed of two game books, a player handout of the journal of an NPC, an 11x17 foldout Ďmapí and cardboard cutouts of the rooms in the Tomb to be arranged and rearranged on that map. All of the components are very well made and the box itself is one of the sturdiest Iíve seen for the pre-2000 era. Alderac has a very good record for box sets, though, and the Second City box set made over a decade later puts it to shame. There is actually less art in this adventure than in most L5R products, so I'll be supplementing things with images from the card game and other L5R RPG products. The title image there, for instance, is actually from a board game AEG put out.

From a metagame perspective, the Tomb is designed in two ways that kind of work at odds with each other. The first is that the Tomb is the capstone adventure to your PCs careers. Frankly it only works questionably well at that. If they manage to pull this off thereís basically nothing left for them to do since theyíll have completed the most challenging thing on the planet. Objectively theyíll be the greatest heroes of their era. Unfortunately their exploits will never be public knowledge due to the Imperial gag order on all things related to the Tomb. Theyíll inevitably be riven with Taint as a result of this adventure and so you have a handful of powerful characters who will never be allowed in public again. Theyíll be shipped off to some Kuni-led monastery and given special tea to prevent them from being overwhelmed with Taint and fall to evil. Iím sure if they asked their lords would let them commit seppuku and cut to the chase. Itís a bittersweet ending Ė something like the choice faced by MIB agents in those movies. Really, though, itís an interesting way to retire your investigators who are too powerful and no longer content with murders and run-of-the-mill maho practitioners.

The other design choice is that this adventure was intentionally designed as homage to The Tomb of Horrors. One of the designers explicitly stated this although I canít find a link at the moment. It is an endless series of deathtraps thatís going to absolutely kill the poo poo out of your players. Realistically speaking, without significant GM guidance and softening, there is no way to complete this drat thing alive. I compare that to Tomb of Horrors which is something I also canít imagine an unguided player completing. Secret door in the base of a pit trap thatís required to complete the full Tomb of Horrors? No player in the history of the loving world ever got that poo poo without either reading the adventure in secret, being told by someone else or being given some very transparent hints by the DM. It was a tournament module and was intended to weed out players and by god it does.

The Tomb of Iuchiban does give you some tools to help survive the outer portion of the Tomb. They are insufficient in my mind. It provides no tools for the much deadlier inner portion. Unguided PCs are going to be killed. My point is that this adventure is at odds with itself since it both wants to be an amazing ending to your characters but also wants to be an old school dungeon that will kill them off ignominiously.

Right off the bat we can see that youíre only ever going to be springing this adventure on characters that have been around the block and are probably insight rank 4 or 5. For those who donít know the parlance, insight rank is the L5R version of levels and goes from 1 (brand new characters) to 5 (the highest rank possible in 1e). The game suggests no less than rank 3. I believe that rank 5 is more appropriate but also wildly insufficient. There are very few combat challenges in the Tomb itself but you will need to be potent to survive long enough to get there. Once there youíre stuck with an endless series of death traps that rely on player skill rather than character skill. Those rank 5 skills and abilities arenít going to help you last past the first room or two without some very on point players.

Itís hard to get mad at the Tomb, though, since theyíre fairly up front about the sheer deadliness. The introduction does provide sufficient warning that youíll probably kill your PCs and is clear on how competent the characters should be. There may have been a handful of people who bought this adventure and were surprised when it killed off all their players. I doubt it, though. Unlike other L5R adventures such as Twilight Honor, the deadliness is not a result of the writers having no idea how their own rules work. The deadliness is the Tomb working as intended.

Chapter 1: Friend in Need

And now we begin the adventure itself. Your friend from The Night of a Thousand Screams, Meishozo Nisei, has sent your characters a letter begging for their help. It seems heís moved up in the world and is now no longer identified as a Kuni Witch Hunter but an Imperial Investigator. Heís run into some strange dealings involving maho (black magic) and a murder in the lands of the Crab and is at an impasse. He remembered how awesome your characters were at solving mysteries and is hoping you can help move his investigation along.


Nisei is a friendly sort. Much friendlier than his awesome looking normal self.

Youíll recall that Nisei is actually Asahina Yajinden, an absurdly powerful, deeply evil sorcerer who was the second in command to the titular Iuchiban. You might also recall that in the last adventure I said he had gotten his hands on the last special mask necessary to enter Iuchibanís Tomb. I made a mistake there. That mask was actually number three of four. Now Yajinden is narrowing in on the fourth. His only problem is that he tracked it to a low level maho user but by the time he got there the mask was missing. Now he has no idea what to do and has decided to call in your help. Your players are famous magistrates by now and will surely be able to solve a nearly cold case. If you didnít complete or even run NoaTS then Nisei makes a more formal introduction in his letter and asks for help based solely on your PCís reputations.

Your PCs end up traveling to a small Yasuki village known as Kami no Okasan to meet up with Nisei. When they meet him he is polite and friendly and introduces the players to his two travelling companions. The first is his bodyguard, a taciturn woman named Shinku Kamiko. The second is a Phoenix Clan investigator named Isawa Kakusu-Sakana. The murdered man in this case was a Phoenix shugenja named Isawa Kinto who apparently kept a summer home in a poor, backwater Crab Clan village halfway across the Empire. Kakusu-Sakana has arrived to investigate for the Phoenix Clan while Nisei is running an Imperial investigation. Since their investigations could potentially be at odds with one another there is a low key rivalry between the two men punctuated by snippy comments and one-upsmanship.


The bodyguard.

A lot of clues are relayed to the players but the thrust of the case is that the local villagers noticed that the Phoenix Shugenja was murdered and a child servant of his is missing along with several valuable items. In the process of searching the shugenjaís house, investigators found a small shrine to the dark god and suddenly the case took on a more dire tone. Since the servant boy is missing along with several items, it is assumed that the boy murdered Kinto in the process of committing a robbery. The problem is that Nisei has absolutely no idea where to go to find an underclass boy on the lamb.

One small aside. This adventure uses the word Ďetaí liberally. The boy youíre searching for is called that as well as everyone in the entire slum that will be our next location. Iíll be switching to burakumin in this review since the word used in the adventure is a slur.

The players have time to collect clues and interview the local peasants. The peasants are able to tell you that the servant boy was named Mikato and very little else other than a rough timeline of when the murder might have been committed. Everything seems to point to Mikato murdering Kinto, though, and no real disparate clues present themselves. To your players this probably seems like a strange case. One the face of it, you have a normal murder/robbery and the problem is tracking down the suspect. The addition of maho use seems like a red herring. Whatís really going on is something different and far more insane.

Yajinden actually tracked the last mask down to the murdered man, Isawa Kinto, who didnít know what it was but knew it emanated dark magic. Yajinden and his bodyguard went to collect the mask but when they arrived it seems Kinto had lost it. It turns out Mikato did actually rob Kinto shortly before Yajinden arrived. Yajinden didnít exactly believe this coincidence, though, and tortured the Phoenix to death in an attempt to get the truth. When that didnít work, he similarly interrogated everyone in the village. Literally everyone in the village has been viciously murdered. How did your players walk into an apparently functional, prosperous village then? How did they likely interview several villagers and inspect the area without noticing everyone has been violently killed? Magic.

Eventually Yajinden realized that he hosed up and that the mask actually was stolen, so he decided to call in some help. He used his incredible magical power to cast illusions throughout the entire village. All the cleanup of bodies and broken doors, plus the villagers themselves are illusions maintained by Yajinden. The PCs arenít given any way to notice this because the adventure tells you that with 500 years of practice, Yajinden is just too good and a normal samurai is never going to pierce his illusions. In addition, both Yajinden/Niseiís bodyguard and the ĎPhoenix Investigatorí are working for Yajinden. The apparently rivalry among investigators is all for show. You have no way of noticing this, though. Itís all extremely railroady.

Your investigators probably do find a clue Nisei/Yajinden missed, though. If they pass a Perception + Investigation roll at TN 25 (which is entirely reasonable for investigators of their caliber) then they notice some scraps of paper the boy was using to practice his writing. He was writing the name of a slaughterhouse over and over again, so it was likely something that he saw every day. The nearest place with a burakumin community large enough to support a slaughterhouse is the city of Sunda Mizu Mura a few dayís ride away. Your players and their new investigator companions head off.

Sunda Mizu Mura is one of the larger cities in the Empire and the main trading port in the Crab lands. A lot of unnecessary information on the city is included. One important event happens before the players can continue their investigation. As they move through the crowds toward the underclass ghetto, an old man in a gray robe offers to read the fortune of one of the PCs. If Nisei is around, he shoves the old man aside angrily. The old man then begs the PCs to come see him in his nearby shop when they are alone. One way or another the PCs probably eventually end up getting that fortune read. The fortune is an ominous one about how the PC should not trust anyone as nothing is as it seems and how the future is very dark indeed. Before the PC leaves, he presses a huge pearl into the hand of the PC and tells him to keep it safe but never let anyone know of it. The fortune teller also says he may be seeing the PCs again.


Our fortune teller.

Back to the investigation. When they arrive in the slum they quickly find the slaughterhouse and also find a flophouse right across the street from it that has a great view of the slaughterhouseís sign. If they go in and ask for Mikato they are told he has a room there. The PCs are led up to the room and find Mikato without any more trouble. Mikato is scared but not much more so than any burakumin talking with imperial investigators. He quickly comes clean about the theft but explains that he didnít feel it was wrong since, as a maho practitioner, Kinto was a just target.

When either the PCs or Nisei informs Mikato of the murder he is obviously and genuinely shocked. Mikato pleads his innocence but it seems like a fairly open and shut case. If the PCs arenít careful then Mikato makes an attempt to flee. In the confusion, Nisei/Yajinden ransacks his room and finds the last mask. If Mikato doesnít manage to run away then the PCs and Nisei find the mask and Nisei makes a case for his taking it since he dealt with the last one. Nisei/Yajinden is supposed to end up with the mask and it shouldnít be too hard to convince the players of it. The fate of the boy is sealed regardless of the outcome, but itís no longer important.

It's a decent detective tale but definitely a dull start for the capstone adventure of your players career. It picks up a bit in the next section.

MollyMetroid
Jan 20, 2004

Trout Clan Daimyo


Iuchiban is hilarious because Iuchiban is effectively really powerful and impossible to kill, but also stupid because he's really powerful and impossible to kill, and that arrogance and stupidity have the eventual effect that his minions and lieutenants abandon him because they're literally so sick of him loving everything up again.

EverettLO
Jul 2, 2007
I'm a lurker no more




MollyMetroid posted:

Iuchiban is hilarious because Iuchiban is effectively really powerful and impossible to kill, but also stupid because he's really powerful and impossible to kill, and that arrogance and stupidity have the eventual effect that his minions and lieutenants abandon him because they're literally so sick of him loving everything up again.

As we'll see, that's Yajinden's motivation in this adventure. He's sick of the fuckups and wants to be in charge. Unfortunately for him, it turns out he's also a world class fuckup.

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.

Notchet's also got -the- big library-temple to Lhankor Mhy, god of knowledge, so that may encourage a certain level of literacy in the population too.

(It is also home to Zero, Glorantha's greatest (only) consulting detective)

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




The Lunars successfully encircled and besieged Nochet for a whole year, and the city didn't even notice. That's how big their port is.

oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!






Is it just me, or is she holding that sword the wrong way round?

sexpig by night
Sep 8, 2011

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

oriongates posted:



Is it just me, or is she holding that sword the wrong way round?

in cybercorp tokyo trust no one, not even yourself

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RocknRollaAyatollah
Nov 26, 2008



Lipstick Apathy

oriongates posted:



Is it just me, or is she holding that sword the wrong way round?

I'm pretty sure they used a tai chi sword stance for the reference picture, which uses a one handed, double sided blade sword and the two finger hand gesture. As far as I've seen kendo uses two hands because it's a proper dueling martial art while tai chi is more about form and movement. The form is really dumb though in a cheesy action movie way so I guess it's perfect.

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