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I Am Just a Box
Jul 20, 2011
I belong here. I contain only inanimate objects. Nothing is amiss.



Kavak posted:

Didn't BHM design Demon? Why would you make your next line, which was the best received part of NWoD 2nd Edition, so antagonistic toward it?

I won't get too Count Chocula, but I don't mind a game taking an anti-establishment tact. But the loving smugness of the writing and the tone insisting "These guys are RIGHT and these guys are WRONG please ignore what each one actually does the hero is a PUA" spoils everything.

Presumably because having an exception case opens up hooks that some players might find cool, like from a Demon perspective you could go "ha ha, I'm something unprecedented you don't understand, I'm neat like that," and maybe because Demon is all wound up in spy games and not being picked out of a crowd, and the way Beasts find their fellow monsters to chat up would invade that atmosphere?

Like, the core idea there is not bad, but as you say, the facile, self-aggrandizing tone of Beast's writing beats it into a completely unappealing shape. And sometimes a nonsensical one; I'm sure Kurieg will get around to the inadequate presentation of the how and why of this rivalry later in the book.

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I Am Just a Box
Jul 20, 2011
I belong here. I contain only inanimate objects. Nothing is amiss.



Kavak posted:

Absolutely. I would just be treating this as a book of vile motherfuckers for a Werewolf pack to tear apart or Valkyrie to fill full of lead if it weren't for the tone and writing designating the good guys and bad guys in such a wrongheaded way.

The parallels to real life abuse and abuse apologism, whether intentional or a horrid, awful accident, prevent me from even wanting to use Beasts as vile motherfuckers to visit vengeance on, yeah. They're so on the nose that it just feels like sinking to their level to even acknowledge them; they just don't make a game more fun in any way that isn't outdone by whatever the hell else you want to visit vengeance on. Crazy werewolf, brutish slasher, fanatical vampire, you can enjoy visiting some imaginary street justice on them. Beasts aren't even fun to hate, just unpleasant.

I Am Just a Box
Jul 20, 2011
I belong here. I contain only inanimate objects. Nothing is amiss.



Nessus posted:

I don't even get these dudes because it's not even like they're making people tougher or whatever. If the idea was that Beasts provoke Heroes, and then the Heroes end up (at personal cost) being the defenders of their tribes - and it was implied maybe that when you run into a guy who's a little too consumed by the cause, any cause, that guy is a Hero - then that would give Beasts a job, a sort of cosmic purpose.

It's kind of explicit in the beginning of the book that this whole "lesson" poo poo is all just a culture of rationalization the beasts make up to tell themselves that there's some kind of contribution they're making to the world beyond just sating their selfish desire for power and cruelty. The cosmos doesn't care, the Dark Mother doesn't care, the Horror doesn't care, and you don't have to dig very far down to reach the point where the Beast herself doesn't care. They want to survive, thrive and take pleasure, but they can't shake the withered remains of their conscience that tells them this poo poo is not okay, so they tell it some paper-thin lies to shut it up.

Except again, the book is so emotionally attached to the Beasts' perspective that most of it buys into the shallow, half-hearted rationalization, and presents it uncritically. And this is already one of the core themes behind Vampire, except the Vampire books have the sense to come right out and show you, those vampires who make up vampire religions and vampire revolutionary politics to justify how drinking the blood of the living is worth it in the long term? The best of them are walking a precarious line, while most of them are just outright full of poo poo.

I Am Just a Box
Jul 20, 2011
I belong here. I contain only inanimate objects. Nothing is amiss.



Doresh posted:

What a clear and well-written book.

It turns out, when you launch a Kickstarter and receive a response from a large proportion of your fanbase of general horror at huge swaths of the book's content, it's not actually feasible to try to rewrite everything problematic in a month instead of backing out of the campaign. Who knew?

I Am Just a Box
Jul 20, 2011
I belong here. I contain only inanimate objects. Nothing is amiss.



Mors Rattus posted:

Well, yes, but the trick is that they can't level up without killing Beasts.

And Open Gate is a level up rather than a standard Heroic ability, so a freshly minted hero setting out for his first kill can't have any actual Hero Powers if he's going to be able to chase a Beast into the boss lair (where the Beast also powers up).

I Am Just a Box
Jul 20, 2011
I belong here. I contain only inanimate objects. Nothing is amiss.



Count Chocula posted:

Does this mean most PCs can't turn their commonly used freeform spells into Rotes? Or can they only do it OOC by having the player invent it but learning it In-Character from a teacher or grimoire? Or did I miss something and spellcasting just doesn't work that way anymore?

Mostly the middle option. The assumption is generally that the Orders can provide access to rotes that encode all but the most niche and esoteric or forbidden spells. Casting by rote, or directly out of the grimoire (which is slower, but more effective, than memorizing the spell rote from the grimoire and then casting it in the field), shows how particular traditions within your Order can influence and color your Gnosis in a tangible way. The Arrows, the Ladder and the Councillors can all provide you a study on effective casting of the Howl from the Beyond, but the rotes they teach you are going to be different means of accessing the truth of the spell, and even within an individual Order, things like location, clique and philosophy will lead to divergent teachings. The Mystagogues around an Athenaeum tended by particular masters are probably going to end up drawing on those masters' approaches.

There's a degree of rotes as treasures of magic to be valued and won, too. Only masters can produce the teachings of a grimoire (though any initiate of Prime can then produce copies). A grimoire with rare or especially convenient spell rotes, then, can be the carrot for a search story, or a heist, or a counter-heist.

In terms of spells that you're good at because you personally have a lot of experience casting them and they come easily to you, rather than having sat down and formally calculated and coded into the perfect mudras to express it, that's what praxes are. You don't need a particular degree in any Arcanum to develop your own praxes, just time, practice, and arcane experience or growing Gnosis.

I Am Just a Box
Jul 20, 2011
I belong here. I contain only inanimate objects. Nothing is amiss.



Count Chocula posted:

I can't imagine a priority more important than defeating Death, tho if I lived in the nWoD with all its afterlives I'd probably change my tune. The easiest route seems to be just getting turned by a vampire.

I wouldn't consider the prospects for the afterlife in the nWoD to be particularly numerous or appealing. Off the top of my head there are three potential cosmological worlds to end up in as a natural consequence of death. For all that the Sin-Eaters who visit it are jolly sorts, the Underworld is a supremely dismal place and arguably gets more and more oppressive the longer into eternity you descend. The cosmology of Mummy mentions starry A'aru, and unfolds to stress how the unfairness of the universe is set up to bar entry to it; it's referred to as barren and empty. The distant runner-up, which may or may not be much in the afterlife business, is literally Hell. There's a lot that eludes even the deepest scholars of supernatural lore about what happens after death in the Chronicles of Darkness, but anything that transcends theory or spiritual beliefs into qualitative experience is generally not something to be looked forward to.

As for making the people you care about immortal, not only is it hugely more of a hassle to do so without horrendous side effects than it is to make yourself immortal as a wizard, but are you going to do it for every single person you don't want to someday bury? And what do you do if you have a falling out with some of them?

It's a great way to get sidetracked from the other stuff you could be getting done as one of the Awakened. The fear of death is one of the Kings of the Lie for a reason.

I Am Just a Box
Jul 20, 2011
I belong here. I contain only inanimate objects. Nothing is amiss.



Count Chocula posted:

Couldn't you just use Mind to edit out your ability to care about the short-lived meatsacks?

You can totally do that! If you're the kind of mage who wants to, though, do you really need to go to the trouble in the first place?

Count Chocula posted:

If a Mage is altruistic, shouldn't they try and cure death for all the Sleepers, or at least keep it at bay? That's a justifiable project for the Technocracy/Seers/Silver Ladders.

If you're confusing the Seers of the Throne with the Technocracy enough to suppose they might want to do something altruistic...

Sample Seer Concepts posted:

The city stretches before me. Others of my Path would deem her a concrete jungle, but I see her as a living companion, as lonely as I am. Her lungs billow black smoke into the air, while her guts teem with thousands of residents. I raise my hands, and a dozen architects at three different firms unknowingly coordinate their efforts. The Exarchs bring order to this world, just as I bring order to this city. A skyscraper here, highway ramp there - enough to alter weather patterns, bringing storms to my lover's belly. Drop by drop, the poorest within her will wash away, their foundations crumbled and possessions destroyed. In five years, property values will be low enough for gentrification to take hold, and my true work will begin.

The Silver Ladder, though, definitely. For them it's probably more of a question of priorities as to which parts of the uplift to universal human apotheosis to pursue in which order. I love the thearchs; their ideology seamlessly combines the most benevolent and selfless mages of the Pentacle, and its greatest bastard madmen.

I Am Just a Box
Jul 20, 2011
I belong here. I contain only inanimate objects. Nothing is amiss.



The Horror rules really fill what felt like a gaping hole in the first edition World of Darkness Rulebook. It was always presented as a world rife with remote inhuman colonies and bizarre Forteana beyond the scope of a book about vampires or werewolves (as the next update's Voice of the Angel, reprinted from the 1e rulebook, should reflect), but the WoD Rulebook never had even vague guidelines for a GM who wanted to put them in his game and wasn't prepared to just make everything up on the fly. The most it had was ghosts; not even spirits, specifically ghosts. And there's nothing wrong with a good ghost story, but it feels right to have a system for building mothmans in the CofD Rulebook. It wasn't complete before. And I love the restraint and simplicity of the abbreviated Horrors.

unzealous posted:

Next Up: THE GOD MACHINE

Do you have the God-Machine Chronicle stand-alone book to contribute to the next update? The Chronicles of Darkness Rulebook reprints nearly all the content of the previously published GMC book, making the latter all but obsolete, but the real shame is that to fit in wordcount, it cuts a lot of what was the GMC book's Introduction chapter, now titled Gears Within Gears. And that material was some of the best material in the book, giving a ground's-eye view of what all the different moving parts of the God-Machine were (and it has a bunch of moving parts to familiarize yourself with), what role they play, examples of how they manifest in the game universe, and optional hooks for games that dig deeper.

I mean, you can't cut flyman slamming the door in the pizza woman's face. He still has a half-page illustration in the book, even though the text that explained why there was a picture of a flyman is gone.

I Am Just a Box
Jul 20, 2011
I belong here. I contain only inanimate objects. Nothing is amiss.



SirPhoebos posted:

"Someone was saying my game sucks but a Marine came and punched him out."

And then that marine, who was Albert Einstein, transformed him into a cigar and smoked him to death.

I Am Just a Box
Jul 20, 2011
I belong here. I contain only inanimate objects. Nothing is amiss.



Big Mad Drongo posted:

The God-Machine is some serious Unknown Armies poo poo and is the first WoD thing to really pique my interest. Is there a specific line concerning it, or is it just an overarching antagonist across the whole setting?

Demon: the Descent is all about the God-Machine (a later sidebar talking about the God-Machine's powerful constituent angels is going to ask: hey, does this mean there are fallen angels? There are), and other lines treat it as present but usually unfocused crossover territory, like how Mage doesn't care much about Changeling's Hedge and Werewolf doesn't talk about the Underworld. Though, since the God-Machine as presented in the GMC and Demon is a reimagined takeoff of a popular fiction piece that goes all the way back to the 1e World of Darkness Rulebook, there are lots of little side mentions of hooks involving, if not the God-Machine as described in Demon, at least some kind of god-machine as described in the WoD Rulebook.

Demon is a great line, too. I would have suggested Mors or somebody cover it in the thread sometime, but I was intending to sit on that suggestion for awhile, given the thread is currently kind of glutted with CofD already.

Zereth posted:

I like how the God-Machine is also completely orthogonal to the Mage cosmology. Can Mage Sight even find hidden Infrastructure, or would a Mage need the relevant merit from Demon to find that poo poo?

Most infrastructure isn't really completely hidden with concealment effects, so much as hiding in plain sight with only mild signifiers to denote that something is wrong: weird patterns in the stocking layout of a convenience store, a rhythmic noise coming from within a stalled out automobile. God-Machine projects are rife with little odd signifiers designed to attract player characters with more curiosity than self-preservation instincts. Concealment infrastructure strong enough to hide entire complexes within folded space or make a project disappear from notice entirely aren't as common; otherwise, the GMC book wouldn't make much sense, as it's designed for adventures by normal humans without said lesser template from Demon. Mostly the problem for mages, I'd say, is that there isn't any one Arcanum with the God-Machine and its occult matrices as a purview. Life will help you find the beating heart speared into the car's engine block, but it won't give you full enough information to be able to tell why the car has a beating heart and what that means cosmically. Death will find the subtle traces of ectoplasm lining the telephone occillators, but only provide a very partial explanation of what purpose the ectoplasm serves.

MonsieurChoc posted:

That book also had Mothman, but I don't think that myth got a full write up in nWoD. Or am I wrong?

The mothman is, in fact, one of the sample Horrors in the Chronicles of Darkness Rulebook. I believe the developers mentioned at one point that the runner-up beat out by the God-Machine Chronicle for a signature second edition mortals campaign structure was a pitch for some kind of Mothman Chronicle.

I Am Just a Box fucked around with this message at 00:36 on May 25, 2016

I Am Just a Box
Jul 20, 2011
I belong here. I contain only inanimate objects. Nothing is amiss.



MonsieurChoc posted:

I used to love those old "Rumors in the style of Unknown Armies" threads on rpg.net from years ago. This feels similar.

The release of the GMC book sparked a pretty good thread in exactly that vein, too.

I Am Just a Box
Jul 20, 2011
I belong here. I contain only inanimate objects. Nothing is amiss.



Cythereal posted:

As written, everyone is affected by Disquiet, supernatural or no.

There's a spoiler for the Beast writeup waiting here.

The Demon Storyteller's Guide (otherwise mostly a pretty good book) also decided to take the Disquiet in an odd direction that I probably wouldn't have gone with myself, given the nature of Disquiet: it affects their Cover identities, but not the demon itself. The demon can choose how to act as their Cover as normal, but they risk a compromise of Cover if they don't act like somebody suffering Disquiet. I'm not sure how the demon is supposed to experience this prompt of "you don't actually feel this but you spontaneously intuit that you're supposed to act like you do," similarly to how I don't understand how a demon meeting a Beast is supposed to experience spontaneously gaining blackmail leverage over them.

Vampires and werewolves, meanwhile, don't suffer the normal effects of Disquiet, but it does make them uncomfortable, antsy and more prone to frenzy/Death Rage.

I don't think there's a character splat that's defined as categorically unfriendly to other splats in the CofD, unless you count hunters. Prometheans drive people away involuntarily, and demons keep secrets and don't reveal themselves easily, but neither of them default to being hostile by temperament. Maybe werewolves, but that's more because they're territorial than hostile; a werewolf is as likely to stare down another werewolf from a rival pack as she is a vampire, and if another monster ends up pledging their support to the pack they'll probably stick just as loyally to them as to a fellow werewolf.

I Am Just a Box
Jul 20, 2011
I belong here. I contain only inanimate objects. Nothing is amiss.



Kavak posted:

If that's the case than anybody trained to watch people should be able to pick out a demon. Someone more familiar with that game needs to decide that, though.

It's not a thing Demon stresses. There are no rolls made to avoid being an unblinking, perfectly steady creepo who people can tell is in some way weird, and the fluff generally seems to assume that, while demons don't have to perform any natural human tics, most don't find it a great effort to keep up enough from day to day. Some demons do seem to come across as plastic and unsettling, while others are such good liars that their body language can present "unconscious" tics entirely counter to how they're really feeling, but the game doesn't treat it as a risk factor or a big influence.

I figure your average demon probably reproduces enough little human tics that a werewolf couldn't sniff them out as something wrong or more/less than human, but that they would read to the wolf's senses as weirdos, either a little awkward and stiff or a little overconfident and unusually collected. Strange, but within the range of normal human strangeness. Some demons, depending on what they're trying to do and how much they care in general about fitting in, would be outliers, either dangerous chameleons or unsettling pod people.

I Am Just a Box
Jul 20, 2011
I belong here. I contain only inanimate objects. Nothing is amiss.



Hostile V posted:

"Yoshi's" words on the choice of his code name, included for...not for posterity, just to show exactly what the book says.

On top of the glaring problem of "'"I like ironic racism" — an Asian guy' — a white guy," I can't get over how the fake excuse for the name is "I intend to engage in yellow journalism." Yellow journalism is a pejorative, isn't it? Even without the terrible ironic racism, that's calling yourself The Trashy Tabloid.

I Am Just a Box
Jul 20, 2011
I belong here. I contain only inanimate objects. Nothing is amiss.



bewilderment posted:

It also explains why Beasts hate Demons - Demons aren't human, and never were. No Temenos exists for Demons, because the Demon shared consciousness is cut off from them - it's the God-Machine.

I believe the default is actually that inhuman supernatural beings in general don't touch the Temenos. The Astral Realms book makes a point of mentioning that werewolves' dream selves aren't found in the oneiric astral layer: they dream straight into the world-soul of the Anima Mundi, which is extra perplexing considering the Ecstatic Wind normally makes that a dangerous place for self-aware visitors.

I Am Just a Box
Jul 20, 2011
I belong here. I contain only inanimate objects. Nothing is amiss.



I've been thinking for a bit that the Awakening and Forsaken posts have been short on summarizing and suffered for it, but at this point I'm starting to wonder how much detail you can go into before you're just kind of transcribing the book into the thread. Is it just me?

I Am Just a Box
Jul 20, 2011
I belong here. I contain only inanimate objects. Nothing is amiss.



SirPhoebos posted:

While we're criticizing reviews, what do you all think of my Planescape write-ups? I enjoy writing it, but I sometimes feel that it's a little out of place. It'd be like if there was a mega-thread for bad FPSs and I reviewed Deus Ex.

Keep it goin'! I like seeing any kind of interesting books covered in this thread, whether good, bad, or just odd.

I Am Just a Box
Jul 20, 2011
I belong here. I contain only inanimate objects. Nothing is amiss.



Thesaurasaurus posted:

Forsaken Werewolves are emphatically not presented as good guys. They're :black101: as gently caress, and play a crucial role in the setting's metaphysical 'ecology', but they're a necessary evil.

I'd go as far as to argue they're not necessary. Nothing bad intrinsically happens if there isn't a werewolf pack around keeping territory. They're likely to run into conflict with things that do cause problems, but they're not the only beings that can wage those battles. Further, depending on the pack's interpretation of their territory and what is best for it, having werewolves around at work could easily be wholly harmful rather than merely a double-edged sword.

That doesn't justify killing them all, of course. They're people, however dangerous people they are. Beast wouldn't be as bad if they kept more firmly to a tone of "we know we cause harm by our very nature, we are monsters; but we are alive and will make no apologies for doing what we must to thrive." Dave Brookshaw made a point in the World of Darkness thread that a game doesn't need aspirational protagonists, characters whom you would condone and wish to be like. You can have charismatic monsters, who are not aspirational characters or good people, but who are interesting people to follow.

That's the part where Beast falls short. The deeds of the monsters are divided between being pitch black and deeply alienating (especially where the strong undertones of abuse bring the game's protagonists uncomfortably close to banal evils with which some are very familiar), and petty and milquetoast (the horrors of bureaucratic gridlock), and their words and deeds show a lack of cleverness or self-awareness. The things Beasts do aren't compelling or entertaining. They're not charismatic monsters. They're not interesting to follow. They're just shitheads, and bathetic shitheads at that.

As for imputing value judgments onto weird cross-comparisons with the oWoD, that's not in my wheelhouse. I got into tabletop gaming long past that time and never had any particular opinion on the Technocracy or anything. I think the idea of Task Force VALKYRIE or the VASCU dispatching to address paranormal activity is definitely cool, but especially in the case of VALKYRIE, that doesn't mean I find the idea aspirational. I'd probably peg most of VALKYRIE's composition as violent thugs entertaining dreams of heroism. Ordinary humans, too, are perfectly capable of being charismatic monsters. They're interesting to follow.

I Am Just a Box
Jul 20, 2011
I belong here. I contain only inanimate objects. Nothing is amiss.



Chernobyl Peace Prize posted:

If you're siding with Count "devil's advocate for any game, the worse the better" Chocula on a point you're probably on the wrong end of an argument, fair warning.

I don't always agree with the Count's preferences but I like seeing his input and reactions here. Dude's earnest, he's not hostile, he's open to what he's reading, he seems to have changed some opinions about some games a little as he's read the writeups here. He's kinda refreshing. I don't want to suggest folks are arguing in bad faith just because they have different tastes. I'm down with the Count : )

Not a fan of his cereal, though.

I Am Just a Box
Jul 20, 2011
I belong here. I contain only inanimate objects. Nothing is amiss.



Hostile V posted:

There's an example in a premade scenario called Dem Bones where a Sin Eater was bound to a Geist so old and dead and alien it barely acts human anymore. All it does, 24/7, is chant a snippet from the song Dem Bones. She can't sleep unless she's dead and she's taken to trying to kill herself to shut it up. Which is what it wants: after enough deaths, the Sin Eater's mind is gone and the Geist gets absolute control.

I love Dem Bones unironically. It's tragic and a legit catalyst for an encounter but at the same time it's so silly. The geist in question doesn't seem to intentionally drive its bound host mad, but wherever it came from as a geist has taken it far, far beyond the human ghost it started out as, and now it's an especially thin spectre of a geist, really just an idea that has shed its context. So what does it do when it's left alone in its host's former body? It looks for graveyards, it digs, and it raises corpses back to life. No mind, no ghost, no aim. Just walking bodies. Dem bones, dem bones gonna walk all over. It's a wild animal loose in the city: probably too dangerous to leave alone, but it doesn't understand what it's doing well enough to be at fault.

More the pity that Geist never had any mechanical backup or focus on the interaction between geist and bound. A good second edition treatment could make something really legit out of it.

I Am Just a Box
Jul 20, 2011
I belong here. I contain only inanimate objects. Nothing is amiss.



Mover posted:

I kinda like the wolf blooded more than the full on werewolves. All the werewolves have to be versatile, absurd combat badasses while with the wolf bloods they were free to give them specific but useful niches and go crazy on the esoteric mythology and rich flavor.

Definitely get more character ideas by reading that section than the rest, and it would be really easy to have a campaign with wolf blooded and spirits as the main/only supernaturals.

Agreed. Forsaken Second Edition's treatment of Wolf-Blooded is especially impressive because the first edition's Wolf-Blooded were probably the "lesser template" with the least flavor impact in the nWoD, or possibly second least behind Mage's Sleepwalkers. Mage had Proximi though to take up the "supporting cast/lesser reflection template" role, so I never really thought of Sleepwalkers as a template per se (though Mage 2e does a pretty good treatment of them too). Wolf-Blooded, though, got a whole lot of text in first edition, and an expensive Merit cost in chargen (four dots!), for what amounted narratively to a role as victims of controlling werewolf relatives and mechanically to an Unseen Sense, slightly less severe consequences for the Lunacy, and an Animal Ken specialty.

Second Edition, meanwhile, covers all kinds of cool thematic ground with the Wolf-Blooded. They're tragic movie werewolves. They're folkloric skinwalkers. They're eerie sensitives. They live twin lives in two worlds. Giving them power and decoupling their origins from blood heritage does a lot to free their "default" role in a story from uncomfortable tales of abused families and breeding stock schemes. Since the Uratha come directly or indirectly from their ranks, it also makes the Uratha in general as more of a mystic brotherhood and spiritual phenomenon, rather than some kind of weird supernatural evolutionary offshoot.

Probably my favorite change in Forsaken Second Edition, even more than the coherence gained through focus on the Sacred Hunt.

I Am Just a Box
Jul 20, 2011
I belong here. I contain only inanimate objects. Nothing is amiss.



Adnachiel posted:

As for Demon, I only just got around to reading it the other day and I've liked what I've seen so far. Though I sort of miss the obvious opportunities to explore organized religion, faith, and how humanity expresses such things that Fallen had. Not that I've ever had to opportunity to play it. It's one of the WoD games no one gives a poo poo about.

I have an affection for the premise and cosmology of Demon: the Fallen, but man, it's never appealed to me as seeming particularly gameable, sadly. The rules kind of put Faith front and center in a way that didn't connect to what's actually fascinating about struggles with issues of faith: you made transactional details and evoked "faith" by presenting evidence of the miraculous at work in the world to people. It was awkward and seemed to be a major spoke in the game's wheels.

You're not wrong that Descent holds its focus elsewhere. It's a very modern game with undertones about the scale of society and the creeping feeling that nobody is at the helm except notional gestalt forces that grind people beneath even when those forces are comprised entirely of the people they're grinding. I think there are still some rich avenues to explore questions of faith and the universe posed, though. The God-Machine, after all, is much more of a demiurge or an earthly power than a numinous godhead. Sacred divinity is something conspicuously absent from the experience of the Unchained... but it's not faith in the spiritual sense if it's given as a concrete experience, is it? Demons know the Machine is everywhere, but that doesn't mean the Machine is the ultimate, and it's not inconceivable that some might search for something deeper and more significant behind it.

Also, the short Demon Translation Guide is surprisingly useful and stands out ahead of the Vampire, Werewolf and Mage guides. Not only does it translate a lot of mechanical stuff that's useful to cross-apply between games, but it's got a chapter setting up several premise pitches as to how you'd have a game universe where the Fallen and the Unchained meet and interact, and that notion appeals strongly to me. They compare and contrast with one another so well.

I Am Just a Box
Jul 20, 2011
I belong here. I contain only inanimate objects. Nothing is amiss.



Kavak posted:

If the Principle doesn't exist, then where do they come from?

More properly speaking, who ever said the Principle has to be "somewhere to come from?" Qashmallim don't specify that it's a god with a will of its own, or a dimension from which they emerge. It could be an idea, a description of a process by which natural occult forces stir qashmallim to life with their curious missions in place. Or it could just be their word for a quirk of their alien psychology: we exist, that's part of the Principle and that's all we need to know, it's self-explanatory to them.

I was never satisfied with the way the books presented the non-answer of the Principle though. Not that the origin of qashmallim is firmly mysterious and unanswered; I'm perfectly happy with that. Just the way that this is driven in by presenting qashmallim as playing "who's on first?" with anyone who asks about where they came from. "Where did you come from?" "The Principle." "What's the Principle?" "The Principle." "What do you want?" "What the Principle wants." "What does the Principle want?" "What the Principle wants." "Why?" "It's the Principle." Third base. I'd prefer qashmallim that simply fall silent after a time rather than parrot tautologies endlessly. It goes a little past mysterious into farcical.

Regardless, Demon treats the qashmallim as an intriguing, yet entirely optional, crossover hook. They're definitely not angels as demons understand them. They're definitely very similar to angels as demons understand them. And they do some surprising things. Irrelevant coincidence? Convergent evolution? Divergence from a similar origin? Something less obvious? Any would fit, but they're all very different answers.

I Am Just a Box
Jul 20, 2011
I belong here. I contain only inanimate objects. Nothing is amiss.



Definitely :justpost:. I think folks just tend to be interested regardless of whether they speak up. I am.

Mors Rattus posted:

The thing about the grand cosmology questions about nWoD is that, to a very great extent, the answers are both irrelevant and meaningless no matter what they are.

This does not prevent some people from developing complex and often quite silly maps.

This map is true.

I Am Just a Box
Jul 20, 2011
I belong here. I contain only inanimate objects. Nothing is amiss.



Robindaybird posted:

So what was used to make that map? It's kind of neat.

A preexisting Metroid map, image captures of the respective book covers, some simple layer blends in the GIMP, and poor priorities in time management.

I Am Just a Box
Jul 20, 2011
I belong here. I contain only inanimate objects. Nothing is amiss.



gradenko_2000 posted:

This is quite transparently a way to let the players access to a silvered weapon if they didn't already have one, but it seems somewhat unlikely that they'd pass all the checks and cues necessary to get there unless the players are very familiar with the necessary playstyle.

I guess this adventure is for worlds where all adventurers are super into deadly puzzles. As my last deed before I draw breath no more, I strike what vengeance I can upon the devil of these halls by bequeathing my silver blade to you, the first adventurer able to open this door without suffering deadly poison who thinks to dig underneath my decoy chest. Yet if I only had the strength remaining, I would have hidden my last vengeance more cleverly and ideally added a few more traps. This is my only dying regret.

I Am Just a Box
Jul 20, 2011
I belong here. I contain only inanimate objects. Nothing is amiss.



Tasoth posted:

I have to ask, since that Metroid map is based off of nWoD, who the gently caress is Carl and why does he have the gravity suit?

Carl's from War Against the Pure's chapter on conflicts with other types of shapeshifter, the sample character for the Deep Ones Brineborn. He lives in a small coastal town that's host to a colony of mad Brineborn that worship Mother Ocean and her alien murmurings, but he's never really had truck with any of that Mother Ocean stuff. Jesus, though, that's a man a fish-monster can understand. He just wants to live a quiet life, reading his Bible and taking tourists out on his boat for nature viewing, until a pack of werewolves move in, a ritually slaughtered corpse is found, and he gets stuck in the middle, unsure of what to do but knowing he can't just stand aside.

He has a name in the First Tongue too, but he doesn't speak First Tongue. He prefers Carl.

I Am Just a Box
Jul 20, 2011
I belong here. I contain only inanimate objects. Nothing is amiss.



Zereth posted:

My favorite part is Kraid just still being Kraid.

Who else would be the boss waiting at the end of Red Arcadia?

I Am Just a Box
Jul 20, 2011
I belong here. I contain only inanimate objects. Nothing is amiss.



Count Chocula posted:

gently caress off, the God Machine seems like the least evil faction in the WoD. I can't say why, I guess my teenage transhumanism and love of shouting the Futurist Manifesto make me easy prey for a machine-God. Why do I hate the Technocracy then? Because it is made up of humans, and isn't a pure immortal machine.

Demons are losers who willingly choose decaying flesh and tired Judeo-Christian imagery over the perfection of the Machine.

Plus giving Demons their own game makes the God-Machine less cool and mysterious. And what's its central metaphor? Tearing yourself away from a corporation or capitalism?

Can you use Demon to play Videodrome? Can you be agents of the God Machine?

I thought you were the one saying Demon was a fantastic game in which to Fight the Power and gently caress the Man. I mean, I don't have a problem with either playstyle (one of Demon's great virtues is how well it supports both angles), just like, maybe refrain from slinging mud when you're contradicting yourself.

Integrators are one of the four up-front playable splats for a reason. You don't work from within the hierarchical mind of the God-Machine because, like, how do you play that, but you can act in the nation's best interests while still having to dodge out the FBI who question your motives or methods. That doesn't even preclude also having friends in the Bureau who see things differently too, or at the least, allies of convenience. Part of the paranoia of Demon is that demons make each other nervous, and I like to think that's because yes, some demons are making deals with angels, or are even on the payroll somewhere. The ones who are good at their job, though, are the ones who don't show it. So who's the mole?

The God-Machine is the System deified. Living in a globalized late-stage capitalist world, we all have experience with the System. Left to its own devices, it's not good, and it's not evil. It builds roads. It drops bombs. It connects people together and it isolates them in cycles of poverty. When people don't grab the wheel and swerve it off course to steer it, it has no conscience, because the people are its conscience. The question of whether the best odds of improvement lie with reforming and revitalizing the country or smashing the state is a legit argument. What everyone knows you can't do is unquestioningly fall in line. That's when the System runs wild. The God-Machine is far from infallible, and it's made of hearts and steel. Hearts die. Steel rusts. Let it run without interference forever and entropy will ruin it, even if its mysterious original purpose was right.

As for flesh and steel, I don't think the aesthetics of demons and of angels differ meaningfully. They're two sides of the same coin, two casts of the same model. One's just jailbroken and started running on its own battery. They run the range from muscular six-armed gods with abstract statuary for heads to bandsaw-teethed Terminators on treads.

I Am Just a Box fucked around with this message at 06:44 on Jun 15, 2016

I Am Just a Box
Jul 20, 2011
I belong here. I contain only inanimate objects. Nothing is amiss.



Count Chocula posted:

Can you also run it like the scene in the Bourne movies/History of Violence/Long Kiss Goodnight/Unforgiven where the former badass has to give up the normal life they painstakingly constructed and unleash horrible violence?

You just described the opening fiction of the book, as a matter of fact.

I Am Just a Box
Jul 20, 2011
I belong here. I contain only inanimate objects. Nothing is amiss.



Daeren posted:

And yeah, you can explain off brands and tells - until cultists specifically informed to keep their eye out for people with such habits get wind of you, or they manifest suddenly and inexplicably, quite possibly in front of a crowd. A nice, quiet soccer mom suddenly getting a neon pink hair job is going to have a hell of a time explaining that, and the same soccer mom's hair turning into fiber optic cables is probably on the verge of needing to burn cover and run.

While the danger with certain glitches like fiber-optic hair is obvious, lesser glitches pose a challenge in that they are usually temporary. Neon pink hair is not in and of itself suspicious, but there are a lot of people you would look at strangely if they showed up one day with their hair dyed neon pink, unplanned. Talking like Etrigan 24/7 is a problem, but it's a worse problem when you were speaking prose just fine two hours ago.

That, and they're complications to add on to the crazy things you're going to be up to as a demon while pretending that nothing is amiss. It's a good balance between a crack in the facade and something you can still cover for.

I Am Just a Box
Jul 20, 2011
I belong here. I contain only inanimate objects. Nothing is amiss.



Count Chocula posted:

If you have perfect memory and control of your emotions it should be super-easy to emotionally manipulate or blackmail people. I have a ton of trouble fitting in at work but it would be way easier if I was a Demon.

Do note that while demons have a pretty much perfect ability to feign honesty, that doesn't translate into a perfect ability to be convincing. The Subterfuge Skill is an awkward one in a Demon game, since half of its most obvious applications are covered by Total Control, but in addition to piercing (non-demonic) others' lies, a demon might roll Subterfuge (or Empathy or one of the other Social Skills) to make sure their words make an impact or aren't brushed off. Otherwise a mage with a truth spell or a trained profiler might simply conclude you're deluded or an idiot.

Or in other words, gently caress off, Jerry. You always tell it with such a straight face but I still don't buy your stupid loving glowing hair story, if you won't tell me what you actually put in it to make it do that then you're going home without pay tonight, this poo poo's not funny.

I Am Just a Box
Jul 20, 2011
I belong here. I contain only inanimate objects. Nothing is amiss.



That Old Tree posted:

The Demon F&F got me kicking around ideas, and it looks like I might be running a game of it soon, so I'm re-reading it myself. Holy poo poo, I forgot all about these loving sidebars full of white text on top of backgrounds full of white patches gently caress YOUUUUU

Maybe this was remarked on earlier; I haven't been following the conversation closely. But, just, goddamn.

White Wolf'd!!

There are some pretty bad sidebar designs in other games too, like Promethean and Mummy's fonts. It gets somewhat better in one or two of the later Demon supplements, which have the sense to add a dark outline around the lettering. Here's one that doubles as a little summary preview of another supplement.

I Am Just a Box
Jul 20, 2011
I belong here. I contain only inanimate objects. Nothing is amiss.



The Lone Badger posted:

Another question about Pacts:
Say I buy someone's children and and apply it as a patch to one of my Covers. She's now childless and always has been, and as far as they remember I've always been their mother.
But what happens to them in the period between signing the Pact and when I use it for something? When it's just sitting around my desk draw waiting to be onsold to another demon or used to build a Cover..

At any point after you've got a valid pact agreed upon, signed and charged with Willpower, you can go up and touch the signatory and cash it in. That's the moment when relationships unravel retroactively, benefits trickle to the signatory through mysterious means, and the kids' parentage changes. Until that moment of touch and intent, the pact exerts no effect on the pieces of lives it governs: it's just a license to claim.

An uncashed signatory who develops cold feet can try to renege by just laying low, skipping town, and staying where you can't find and touch them. Trying to dodge out the devil when he comes to collect is, of course, a hell of a dangerous game unto itself.

I Am Just a Box
Jul 20, 2011
I belong here. I contain only inanimate objects. Nothing is amiss.



unzealous posted:

Alright, so I'm trying to wrap my mind around beast so correct me if I'm wrong. When someone becomes a beast their soul is eaten, or they're born that way, and for the sake of keeping things simple they have a dragon beast. So this thing is in the place of their soul, but isn't under their direct control. And it wanders around at night when they sleep. It can't really manifest in the physical world. It's kind of like if you gave a cat terrible terrible powers. They get a lair, but they can't really just pop in and chill, the dragon just kind of stays there when it's not tormenting random people. Heroes can go there physically, but most people end up going there in a dream. It's only in the lair that the dragon is really dragony and where it does most of the pointless torturing. I don't know, beast just seems kind of all over the place.

The Horror is kinda sorta supposed to be more you than your old soul was, and beasts do a thing where if they find a place that vaguely thematically resembles their lair, they can overlay their lair onto that place to temporarily merge them together, so that the sewer tunnels you're standing in are now simultaneously your cavernous treasure hoard. When they do that they get to merge with their dream self and actually be their dragon physically. The pointless torturing, meanwhile, is pretty much all the time, because a beast's stamina meter goes down gradually when they're not being horrible. Beasts do a few different kinds of pointless torturing.

But yes, they made a Dragon: the Petty game where your default condition is only being a dragon symbolically, even when you're using the powers that are supposed to be gross physical expressions of dragoning.

I Am Just a Box
Jul 20, 2011
I belong here. I contain only inanimate objects. Nothing is amiss.



Count Chocula posted:

I like that bit of Beast, because I've always had a soft spot for the idea of lair-building games, like Dungeon Keeper or Tecmo's Deception or that weird Japanese one I read about on HG101. Take out the rest of Beast and spin it off as a way to create boss lairs for other splats or have it so Beasts can only kill indirectly by setting and scaring people into traps and you might have yourself a fun little game.

I won't lie, the idea of Lair on its own is rad. It's gameable and super fun to turn your power stat into a simple minigame of Build-a-Boss-Level. The execution has some glaring flaws (the ability to use an everpresent condition like Low Light to summon another part of your lair so that you can pick something horrific like air made of death, the toxic environment lair trait that invites you to just arbitrarily assign a damage rating to how toxic your lair is, y'know, whatever, no guidelines or tradeoffs), but it's still a solid idea that's wasted on Beast.

I Am Just a Box
Jul 20, 2011
I belong here. I contain only inanimate objects. Nothing is amiss.



Tatum Girlparts posted:

Instead, nah, it's just lazy 'but what if the MONSTERS were inherently good and the HEROES were inherently bad????'

One of the extra irritations about Beast is that if you go through reading the book, it relentlessly beats this drum about "subverting the narrative" of the Hero's Journey, by which it means the assumption that the hero of a story must confront and bring a monster low before the trouble is resolved. I got sick of the word "narrative" by the end of reading through it. Subverting the Hero's Journey is basic storytelling 101 stuff, it is not hard to wrap your head around, and yet this book which is so obsessed with this idea doesn't show a shred of comprehension of what that means, because the whole book clearly wants to be about a "hero" confronting and bringing a "monster" low. It just thinks painting the "monster" a shiny white and sticking a dragon's tail on the "hero" is subversive, and not just the same drat thing except you swapped places.

I Am Just a Box
Jul 20, 2011
I belong here. I contain only inanimate objects. Nothing is amiss.



Chiming in with agreement that (Power Attribute) is awkward but not unprecedented. A werewolf's Hunter's Aspect, for example, involves a roll of whichever Power Attribute (Intelligence, Strength and Presence) is appropriate to the situation. It's not great writing in that this power doesn't provide any guidance as to which would be appropriate to the situation, but it doesn't seem like a placeholder left in.

I'll replace it with my own little nit to pick on top of the mountain of Beast, however. Tying two bits of this chapter together:

Kurieg posted:

Legend and Life
As mentioned before, Heroes have a Legend and Life. A Heroes Life represents the mortal life they had before they were a Hero, but their connection to it is more tenuous than that of a Beast's, they can only regain willpower by placing themselves or their mission at significant risk to try and buck the narrative, and only once per scene.

So, a Hero's Life is relevant because they can gain Willpower by indulging their Life to the exclusion of the hunt, right?

Melanie's Life is Comatose.

Her writeup has a separate section to explain her Legend and Life and what they denote, and it doesn't explain how it is supposed to be relevant or useful that she can recover Willpower by stepping back from the hunt to be more comatose.

Beast: the Primordial posted:

Melanie’s Life is Comatose; since she is stuck in a coma, she can’t do much else in the physical world. She’s trapped between worlds and can’t reach her body to fulfill her destiny as a Hero. If anyone who wishes to do her bodily harm finds her body, she has little to no recourse to defend herself.

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I Am Just a Box
Jul 20, 2011
I belong here. I contain only inanimate objects. Nothing is amiss.



theironjef posted:

First. Isn't second edition Onyx Path only? I wasn't doing any research. Otherwise I'd know that our complaint about how a lot of the dead bodies in this book are derived from myths that do not involve dead bodies is directly addressed in Live from New York: It's Saturnine Night!

It is, but it's pretty much a straight line through from old White Wolf through later White Wolf into Onyx Path. Same guys writing the books, weird hosed up merger/IP licensing situation.

Anyway, you wanted just once to hear a White Wolf stereotype where one gribbly is positive about another gribbly, and if you'll accept an Onyx Path book as counting, I give you nWoD Demon on nWoD Geist:

Demon: the Descent posted:

Sin-Eaters: People with ghosts inside them who build magic from trash — they’re not supposed to exist on so many levels. Good for them!

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