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JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Some time ago on /tg/ (4chan's board dedicated to traditional games), people were talking about Degenesis, a European made RPG system that had... half naked monsters? I dunno, /tg/ has its fair share on neckbeards who think that Europe is Atheist Freefuck Land of Lower Age of Consent or something, so everything that we produce is better than your lovely puritan stuff.

Degenesis: Rebirth is a post-apocalyptic RPG by by SIXMOREVODKA, an apparently successful design studio from Germany, which explains the quality of the pdf and their super clean website.

Recently(2015), Degenesis had an English release. Since the game is now available in an approximation of Queen’s Own English, I can finally read through the material! I will never play it (can’t into GM, and our community is small enough that building up hype would be a chore), but posting about the game in this thread helps me justify reading it instead of any historical stuff that I have laying around.

Onwards into the dark and dank world of DEGENESIS: REBIRTH



Degenesis: Primal Punk: Cover and Jackal's Prophecy

I'm starting with Degensis: Primal Punk, the fluff book of the setting. If I can get through this, I'll follow up with Degenesis: Katharsys, which is the rule book.

Anyhow...

The book starts with a quote:



If you have a quote in the book, it's gonna be formatted like that. Every drat time!

The quote is on the second cover of the book, and we get the names of the authors - Christian Gunther and Marko Djurdjevic - underneath.

This is followed up by a two page spread of the map of the world of Degenesis. Recently, they posted a WIP of a bigger version of the map on Facebook, so I'm going to link it, since it's a huuuge bitch: LINK.
Africa is not in it, but it's a small loss since all you need to know is that Subsaharan part is alien murder jungle.

The map is followed up by what I'll call credits. You can see that Marko had a huge influence on the way the art was handled (and one illustrator is Lithuanian, lol), and if there's anything wrong with the text, translator Oliver Hoffman and editor Joe LeFavi are to blame.

Also, there's a disclaimer:

'Disclaiming posted:

Degenesis advocates tolerance and international understanding. The game world of Degenesis has evolved from ours and distorts it into an imaginary future. Conflicts within the game world are, of course, not real – and we do not wish for them to be, either. They only exist for excitement’s sake. Although we know this kind of conflict from flms, we urge you to use them with caution. None of the seven Cultures mentioned in Degenesis is better than any of the others. All of those Cultureshave an equal right to exist in the game world of Degenesis.

We have actively avoided the term “race” common to RPGs as we deem it discriminatory. We strictly oppose violence and racism. Illustrations of combat action are not meant to promote violence, but to depict a cruel world we should strive to overcome. Culture and civilization are the major goals in Degenesis, accompanied by hope. We still recommend Degenesis for people 16+ as we cannot be sure whether our message and our appeal to humanity will be understood.

Ah, those naiive fools, thinking that people over 16 are more sophisticated!

What follows is the Jackal's Prophecy. I'm not going to recreate it in full. Remember what I said about the formatting of the quotes? Imagine the same applied to a prophecy that goes for eight pages, interspersed with copious amounts of art. The whole thing could be condensed in one page, really, but that wouldn’t be foreboding and spooky. Anyways, I'll give you the skinny.

It's all about numbers, and the first number is four: the sides of the world, the elements that make up man, "the original number, the number of the kin" (father, mother, daughter, son - is this some early Christian heresy?), and the solar cross is also four-fold.

The page after the exaltation of number four speaks about mankind's hubris and how Earth/God hosed us up for it.

quote:

EINSTEIN HAS FALLEN, NEWTON HAS BEEN BENT;
FALSE GODS TO STRAP UNTO BEASTS OF BURDEN;
IN THE CITIES, TORN AND DESECRATED

This may or may not start making sense once we get deeper into the book! The prophecy also speaks of someone building a city to save us all.

The next number is 8 and if you think you're seeing a pattern emerge, you get a spore-laden cookie. Number 8 is about a primordial space god, Shelob, the meteorites or all of them at once.

12 is the number of tribes, months, the zodiac and it contains the names of both CREATORS. God and antiGod, maybe? In retrospect, the prophecy of number 8 is split in two pages; one speaks about a he, who descends from above with a name that not been known since the dawn of the world, and a she who comes from the dark below.

16 is where it all goes wild. 16 is the number of the stranger (but not the Outside), his heralds and whatever. 16 is also 8 and 8, the "two infinities" (because if you turn an 8 on the side...) of the creators, consuming eternity in their conflict: instinct versus intellect, flesh versus spirit, chaos vs. order. We reach full time cube when 16 becomes 1 and 6, which is the number of plagues, peoples fighting for a crown, etc etc... I can say that it's basically about 7 human/good guy factions, 7 enemy factions, and so on. I know this because I have read more of the book.

We eventually reach "4 Times 4" which completes the solar cross, time folds on itself and ends. That’s some heavy stuff right there!

Well, this was weird! Tune in next time for the PRIMAL PUNK chapter!

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JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Nessus posted:

Is this Timecube? I think this is Timecube. I also bet it's going to say some breathtakingly ignorant poo poo about Muslims and Asian people.

I think the writing is overdone in the prophecy and some places in general. Some is lost in translation, I'm sure; there's this feeling that I get when I play games that come from non-English speaking countries (i.e. Germany) where the language is a bit strained. It's somewhat presumptuous coming from me - English is not my first language, nor is it perfect - but the feeling is there.

To spoil it all a bit, it's unknown whether Asians exist anymore - they're behind the Spore Wall - and it's arguable if Muslims and Christians still exist in a recognizable form. There might be ignorant poo poo about Balkans, but that's updates later.

Kavak posted:

Is this a Divine Cybermancy fan game?

Holy poo poo, that's what I meant with the English part! Cybermancy had just the feel. On the other hand, Cybermancy was anime space bullshit that looked like 40K, while Degenesis gets more coherent the deeper you are in the book.

ED: Degenesis has a live action trailer! And yes, the spear squiggly tank thing is in the game or at least the lore.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Tasoth posted:

So was that an biologically based Thumper and how heavily does this pull from European history's 'us versus the "barbarians" '?

a) No
b) Arguably we are barbarians. Or some of us. poo poo gets a little weird.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


RedSnapper posted:

I've got to give it to them, though: those two tomes definitely have a spot on top three prettiest RPG books I ever held in my hands. They're just so neat

Explains the price!

I think I'll be able to do an another update tomorrow. I've probably read close to half of the book at this point, so I won't be as confused as I read it for the first time.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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




DEGENESIS: REBIRTH: PRIMAL PUNK: PRIMAL PUNK

For a book that pretty, it sure isn't that well indexed.

Following some art (which I'll post once it gets relevant instead of just being weird), we have our first fluff piece, which, again, makes more sense in the hindsight. Called "Rebirth", it's about two guys exploring a massive crater near Massif Central, somewhere around Varriere, around the place where Boujoulais originated. The first person narrator says that the drink didn't have enough foam in it for him to like it, which means he's probably German!

Hey, how hosed is the general area?

quote:

There is a blackened mountain range ahead of us, enameled and cracked by heat and sheer pressure. Hard and warped like effused lava, the ground is still warm to the touch. Its gnarled surface is covered with solidifed bursts, their sharp edges jutting out like briar patches. We have to be careful. Lomark has already punched a hole in his boot sole.

Kinda hosed, just like Lomark here, which you would notice if you had ever read a sci-fi short for once in your life (sci-fi shorts always end either in absurd or in tragedy, which makes them kinda predictable).

More descriptions of how hosed the place is follow, and Lomark starts seeing wasps, not sleeping and being a warning sign in general.

They eventually get into the crater, the going is hard, there might shapes too organized to be in the center of an impact waaay in the distance, yadda yadda. The narrator dismisses the idea that he's actually seeing mandalas in the dust before Lomark steps on them. In the crater, he eventually sees black smoke, which dissipates as he waves his gloved hand through it. He digs up a black rock from the ashes, and it dissipates in his arm, producing more black smoke... and a wasp.

And because our character is a complete idiot/this fluff piece is likely set right after the impact, he does this:

quote:

I remove my glove. I want to feel the black stone. Again,I trail my hand through the smoke and again, it disappears.
I look down at my hand, inspecting it from all angles. There’s a trace of black on my fingers, but it seems to dissipate… no, sink in. I anxiously rub my hand, shake it, make a fist. Adrenaline buzzes in my veins now. My heart races. My breath quickens. There is a moment of panic, and I quickly put the glove back on.

R.I.P. narrator, we barely knew ye

He tells Lomark to take pictures, captures some of the black essence in a vial and they head back home. They get quarantined for a day, but they don't find anything. Just in case, Dr. Roussevile tells our noble canary narrator to keep a journal.

quote:

My lungs rattle, probably from too much ash. My sputum is foamy. There are some red splotches on my chest now. Itchy. I write that down.
I keep thinking about the mandalas that I saw in the crater. When the red splotches on my body begin forming a similar pattern, I should be surprised. But I am not.

Somehow, he's not vivisected on the spot, and continues his observations. There are now ants in his tent, he can sense smells from the other end of the camp, recognize friends from their body smell, and generally starts seeing scents in the air.

Some time passes and this happens:

quote:

Dr. Rousseville and the other smelly apes tried to hold me down. I got so agitated that the glands on my neck burst open.

Narrator is kinda taking a transformation into a Pheromancer. What a pheromancer is will be explained, but I can tell you to expect a lot of gland mentions whenever they're around. The narrator runs out into the forest, molds up and dies. Or, in the book's own words:

quote:

I fall to my knees finally, digging in the dirt with my hands. Yes, birth. My heart sits within my chest, leaden and fiery, pumping and stomping. The mandalas now burn upon my skin, a hotbed of white flakes. I feel skin and flesh tug and tear along the lines. Something within me wants out. I break down. Breathe flakes and see them rise. Feel my body mold up. Sink into the ground.
Deep within my skull, something stirs. Something human, ancient. It is fear. Screaming.
Rebirth.

Title drop!

The next two pages are dedicated to explaining what is Degenesis, what is a role playing games is (just so that some American wouldn't mistake this book for a travel guide to Europe), a T. S. Eliot quote that takes up half the page due to formatting, and an explanation of what to expect from your purchase. Let's take this all from the top.

Eschaton (The world during the posthistoric era of God's overt (apocalyptic) reign, immediately preceding the end of the world. - wictionary :science101:) was when fire fell from the heavens and everyone got wrecked, around 2070. Since we're reading a book made in 2014 rather than 1984, said fire is not canned sunshine and no nukes go off. Civilization was ruined to the max, and humanity spent the next 500 years rebuilding. We'll spend the book trying to find out what any of these words mean:

quote:

The year is now 2595. Europe is divided into several warring Cultures. The people of Borca cling to the Bygone’s relics. Frankers thrash around in the Aberrants’ pheromone net. Purgare is a land of half burnt and half fertile plains, but all together shattered by feuds against the Psychokinetics. The Pollen people wander from oasis to Fractal Forest before even the last green area is devoured by the Sepsis and the biokinetic plague. Hybrispania suffers from a decades-long struggle for liberation and a growing
time anomaly. And beyond the Mediterranean, Africa shines in Gold and Lapis Lazuli struggles for its existence against a strange, aggressive vegetation.

The game is about hope and struggle, both between human factions and such capitalized threats as Sepsis, Aberrants and so on. The explanation of a role playing game... well, nobody cares and it's unlikely that someone bought this book (or these two books) without knowing what they're getting into, especially when you consider the price.

The guide to the books states what we already know: Primal Punk is the fluff book, while Katharsys is split into the rules, the Almanac (gear and stuff) and Forbidden Zone, which is their cutesy way of saying "no players past this point" - this be the GM section.

Next time: We delve into Chapter 1: Forward.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Meanwhile, the nations in Age of Sigmar are *faaaaaaaaaaart*

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


You deffo have to be a bad guy to become a Chaos Warrior. Though you're kinda missing the point if you're a Tzeenchian Warrior, since you want to mind bullets people, not stab them.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


drat, the inklesspen dude works fast, my updates for Degenesis are already archived!



Degenesis: Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 1: Forward

Chapter 1 begins with a fairly boring one page story about the guy who swats a fly just as the meteors hit. At least that’s what I think happens. It’s supposed to set the tone, but I’ve read this “people go wild/stay very human” thing many times and in many other places before. It does tell us that people knew what was going to happen – they had sattelite and space feeds broadcasting Armageddon pay-per-view. Somehow, nobody tried to stop the rock.

But enough of that. Let’s get to the good stuff.

ESHATON

2073: the entire Earth got wrecked by meteors asteroids.

quote:

As the Earth’s crust fractured, cracks burst across the planet’s surface. Giant clods the size of cities shot skyward. Great waves of magma rose to consume the earth, turning entire cities into lifeless wastelands. More were flattened by the stone hail, tsunamis, and earthquakes that followed.

They take pains to mention that it’s not only Europe and Africa – the area the setting is most interested – got poo poo pushed in via space rock. Asia, the Americas, Australia – all of them get some asteroid love.

More great writing follows:

quote:

That day, society as it was known crumbled. 10.000 years of civilization vaporized in a day. That day was given many names by the few survivors: apocalypse, global conflagration, Armageddon. Worn-out phrases to help them accept the finality of it all. A last bottle of wine, cold metal against the temple, a crooked finger. And that was it.

Literally the next paragraph states that wait, “all the eschatological doctrine of the world” foretells doom as a precursor to the good times, so you only need to sit and wait. I guess the suicidal guy in the previous paragraph was an atheist.

ICE AGE

A.K.A. Non-nuclear nuclear winter. Clouds covered the sky, there was ashen rain… and then the snows came. Winter was there to stay: polar icecaps remembered what it feels like to expand, Northern Europe got snowed upon, Finland didn’t notice the difference and people took shelter underground, only resurfacing for combustible material (and food – I doubt that /innawoods/ became a big enough thing by 2073 for survivor enclaves with MREs for 500 years as well as a single roll of toiler paper to emerge).

Africa, however, caught a break for the first time in recorded history. The Southern Africa got covered in ice (thus making “nice South African” an even more obscure of a myth), the Equatorial winds swept dust storms to the north and to the south, and it started raining in Sahara. Northern and Central Africa apparently now has Mediterranean climate all over (even thousands of kilometers from any sea?) and Sahara is blooming. :science101:

RESURRECTION

So eventually all the ash fell to the ground, summer came to melt the snow, grass grew for cows to poo poo in, and life in general returning to post apocalyptic normal. Human survivors traveled around looking for food, combustibles and shelter. However, some emphasized the hunter part of “hunter-gatherer”

quote:

The trails tore and drifted across the plains, forever altering more than a few who valued human life less than a full belly. Mankind was still infected by infamy and greed, with a cure yet to be found even in these times. Clans united and fought bloody battles over scarce resources against settlements and city states alike. So few people remained after the Eshaton, and still they only aimed at cracking each others’ skulls.

Literally the next paragraph states that the cities lived and thrived, and even built themselves up! Take that, dirty clanner rats! As you can expect, the “clans” are the barbarians of the setting, with all that it implies.

In the 500 years of Eshaton, thirteen new cults and seven cultures arose in Europe and Africa. The players are likely to belong to one or two of them. Civilization is doing quite well, even if you need to put down clanners now and then.

But “other humans” might not be the biggest problem of them all!

INFECTED

Asteroid crashing straight into your civilization centers? Bad. Asteroids also bringing alien life them? Worse. Alien life being some sort of genetics-level John Carpenter’s The Thing? The worst!

quote:

The Primer. A mysterious substance that leaked from the craters years after impact. It rose as a
black mist, embedding microscopic spores into organic matter. The spores unraveled and coiled in fractal loops around the very DNA of its host. Adding nothing, but instead rebooting its genetic code and opening alternative pathways to corrupt.
The Primer infected, rejected and optimized a new species.
It was the birth of Homo Degenesis.

Remember idiot narrator from the first fluff piece? Put his hand right into Primer, the idiot.

Supposedly the new humans are better adapted (to what? The environment that Primer spawned just as it did them? I don’t think that counts) and more powerful (no argument there). However, humanity fought back. How?

SEPSIS

You won’t find that out in this paragraph!

To summarize this section, the Primer is also a mushroom. A circular field of mushroom covers the center of the crater, digs deep, leeches nutrients, builds an outer wall full of spore sacks and eventually collapses, spreading the seeds outward. Repeat until you have a problem that will require PC interference, and now many parts of Europe are thus covered. I hope you like the word “mycelum!”

MOTHER SPORE FIELDS

Sepsis is going to be a Capitalized Word Of Importance, and Mother Spore Fields will be annoying, too. Mother Spore Field is a mushroom circle that has grown beig enough that magnetic anomalies start appearing in the center. How and why? I don’t know.

BURN

Besides being attractive to people who like throwing nuts and bolts in front of themselves as they walk, MSFs produce “purple cusps” (whatever the gently caress a cusp is supposed to be in plantlife) that are full of

quote:

Those who inhale or ingest the mother spores are hurtled onto a journey beyond human comprehension. They traverse spheres of cascading color, and find themselves orbiting a resplendent sun made of the basest and purest emotion. Cold suddenly becomes bearable. Hunger is just a dying star within the brain’s neuron galaxy.

Fortunately, Burn isn’t vital to space travel. Unfortunately, Burn can be found on Earth rather than Arrakis and serves a very devious purpose.

PHENOTYPE

The paragraph starts with “Burn burns” as the first sentence. What they mean is that Burn gets into the blood stream, and eventually tiny veins start surfacing and breaking the skin. Each junkie is thus branded. And not only that, each of the seven regions have their own markings. Why? The last paragraph of this section gives us the answer:


dunno lol


HOMO DEGENESIS

THE SEED

Seriously, it’s hard to determine what is section and a subsection in this book. Anyways, the Seed. The Burn spores remain in the body long after use and some poor fuckers end being Typhoid Mary’s.

quote:

The blossoms of decay tickle the back of the infected’s throat. Fungus spreads around their mouth.



They spread Seed with their spit, with their breath… and just kinda being around. Sepsis spreads from them and eventually becomes airborne to infect others. They are called Leperos (get it?) and fire is the only way to deal with them. *40K players in the audience suddenly get a lot more interested*

EPIGENESIS

So any adult that contracts Sepsis is hosed, because their cells are “fully formed.” If you’re infected, you’re ‘shroom food, just like our idiot narrator from the first fluff piece.

Unborn babies, however…

quote:

Babies born close to Mother Spore Fields are different. Their eyes are cold as a starry sky. They don’t recognize their mothers, but they smell the milk, follow it like a bee follows the scent of nectar. They climb and claw their way up and onto the waiting breasts, suckling until there’s nothing left but blood and they are violently torn from the trough. They flail with their little arms and legs and cry out in a way that makes the Clanmen quick prayers.

They’re called Soulless Ones, Aberrants or Psychonauts (remember that for the future). They elicit fear in people. Smarter folks just kill them (bashing against a rock is mentioned). The really God-drat stupid ones regard them as a curse from a vengeful lowercase-g god and keep the baby around because to throw him out would be to betray the circle of life what the gently caress

In case you’re an extremely stupid tribal who didn’t prescribe the kid some rock to the head, the kid grows older, and bugs start getting friendly with him/her/xer, drawing mandalas in the sand around them, climbing their legs and hiding in their hair. And no, this isn’t just dirty barbarians getting lice (though that would be funny). Think more “get it off getitoff GETITOFF” kinda bugs.

The kids are emotionless and mute; they demand sustenance and escape clothing. So you now you have prepubescent nudist emos that make bugs exited, great. I guess if you were stupid enough not to run away from a spore field, you’re stupid enough to keep one of those around.

Then they start developing mutations and super powers! Just like Burn junkie signs, those are region exclusive. For example, Pheromancers are Franca’s problem. I wonder if it’s some joke about perfume?

PORTENTS AND WONDERS

The phenomenon/powers end suddenly; earth burns up around the child, and a sign briefly appears in the dust before collapsing like one of those metal shawing drawings when you turn the magnet off (that’s the book’s idea). Those symbols are kinda different.

quote:

The Spitalians know it only too well. These symbols are diff;erent from those that blossom on Burners’ bodies. Ancient and identified, recorded, they have been handed down and taught by humans for thousands of years and derided by modern scientists as nonsense.

Kanji?

quote:


If the Spitalians could check one of these children’s body now, they’d find that feverish heat radiates into the organism, emanating from one focal point on the body axis. Its position and the symbol exactly correspond to one of the energy nodes described by the ancient people – a Chakra.

And now we know that hippies are up to no good! The mushroom tea, the unwashed clothing and hair that attracts bugs, the talks of Chakras! It all makes sense! It must have started in Tunguska! Cleanse and purge! :blam:

Actually, the book says that according to Chakra theory, all of the chakras need to be balanced for a person to be a person rather than some nudist bug beacon goon. However, in the Psychonauts, only one of those points is active, leading to them embodying the freakishness of min-maxing your char into a single Chakra. The book won’t develop this idea further for at least a hundred pages, maybe at all, but be prepared to be reading more about Earth Chakra as we move along!

THE FINAL BATTLE

I’ll just quote this in full. Tl;dr poo poo’s hosed.

quote:

Mother spore fields are bursting to the surface everywhere. They transform the land after their fashion. In their troughs nestle the Psychonauts, a seething mass of primordial, highly adapted creatures. Their number is growing, and wherever their domain intersects with Mankind’s, more Aberrant crawl from pregnant women’s wombs. They take control, reaching for the crown of creation.
Humankind stands at a crossroads. No less than its soul is at stake. The Eshaton was only the prelude. The final battle has begun.

Primordial and highly adapted?

Next time: Chapter 1 continues: the final battlers of the final battle

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


I wonder if Cubicle 7 will be able to bring back the charm and/or imbue some charm into their RPGs. They're going to be doing a Sigmar RPG too, which is like... ugh. The book thread could probably point me to a good novel, but even while collecting Sigmarines I can't get excited about them. I think it's hard, but possible to RP a Space Marine. I don't think it's at all interesting to RP a Sigmarine.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Firstborn posted:

I remember playing a game of 40k, think it was Deathwatch, and something like auto-fire is more accurate and more damage than single target sort of sniping.

Semi-Auto gives you +10 BS and a hit for every two Degrees of Success

Regular attack just... rolls for a single shot. However, it's a half-action (Semi-Auto is full), so you can aim for the other half... and get +10 BS

EDIT: Full Auto Burst gives you +20 BS and a hit for every Degree of Success.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Firstborn posted:

I would be extremely down to play from WH on roll20 or a chat program or something.

We play DH2E and DW on roll20 with some goons. Weapons fall into two categories: don't scratch your or takes you into crit.

Plus, when talking about weapons and mechanics you forgot one thing: talents. We have a dude who did... 2d10+36 damage on the charge.

The only ranged power house that we have is a Heavy Bolter Devastator marine. He is unlikely to have any other weapons, since that weapons is ridiculous with traits and attachments.

...I feel like someone could make a better balanced game than that.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


I love the poo poo out of Space Marines, it's just that my interest in milhist makes me loathe the idea of them being used a regular troops (a la tabletop) as they are all knightly special snowflakes (well, past Horus Heresy, anyways). They would be great as operators operating operationally... but basically everyone turns it into Call of Duty, and you neither get sneaky sneak spec ops, nor dueling enemy champions to death as a paragon of humanity.

Life's hard.

Also, I'm reading Cthulhu Tech on the archive and Jesus Christ, the railroading

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


IRL, the the role of infantry small arms is to pin the enemy in place so that either outflanking or artillery would happen to them.

On the other hand, 40K don't care.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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




DEGENESIS: REBIRTH
PRIMAL PUNK

Chapter 1 Continues: The Final Battle And The Final Battlers

Onwards with our wonderful show!

FIVE RAPTURES

It’s the heading for the entire page, but just to be sure, they have a paragraph explaining that there a five kinds of Psychonauts (each of them for a different Chakra point) and that they have different freaky powers. Let’s get to the meat of it!

POLLEN: BIOKINESIS


I think this might be one of them. On the other hand, a real one wouldn't have bandages...

Pollen is… Poland. It took me longer that I am comfortable to admit to get that. Can Pollen into space? No, but it can into biokinetic horrors that are in total control of their own body. They can change it at will, usually transforming into something beefy and hard to take down – they can even regrow organs – and they guard the spore fields. They carry spiders, scorpions and centipedes in their skin folds.



FRANKA: PHEROMANCY

France has troubles with these fuckers that demonstrate their swollen glands and control people with pheromones. Unlike the Horned Ones, they don’t use that for sex – instead they establish sham peaceful communities – and they are loved by ants, wasps and termites.

Oh, and there’s this:

quote:

Their skin is stretched tight across the pheromone glands. At the neck, sores bulge, big as nuts or children’s fists, oozing puss in which insects feed and fester.

Suddenly, I feel the need to pop a zit.

BALKHAN: DUSHAN

Can you guess what region we are talking about? Yep, it’s the European mystery and tragedy, the Balkhans. And since they’re mysterious Slavs, they are beset by Psychonauts that are all reckless taxi driv- wait, no, that would be dushmans. The dushani are basically mountain sirens and they can control people with their songs, but as far as I got into the book, it never seemed that problematic.

Dushani like to stroll mountain streams and collect kraken (?), crawfish and jellyfish (of the mountain kind) as buddies.

HYBRISPANIA: PREGNOCTICISM


Definitely one of these, I'm 100% sure. Check out her jewelry

In normal Euro lands, we’re back to sciency names for mushroom X-men powers. The Hibrispaniards have to deal with Psychonauts that can predict pregnancies!

quote:

The Pregnoctics exist in the past and future simultaneously. They are one soul in a thousand bodies.

All this flowery speech means that they can see the future. This is super handy for the Hibris fighting the Africans (more on that a lot later). So they have to engage with the Pregnoctics to have actionable intel.

Meanwhile, the weirdo mutants like to be “close to their plagues: shells, starfish, urchins, ammonites and trilobites.” I guess they mean “plagues” in the Biblical “plague of locusts” way, but I don’t think starfish are that scary for someone living in the interior of Spain.

PURGARE: PSYCHOKINESIS

Purgare is the hardcore name for Italy. Maybe people of the future really like Dante?

quote:

Psychokinetics are parasites. They cling to villages, feeding on the inhabitants through plagues of leeches, mosquitoes, ticks, fleas and tapeworms.
As the Psychokinetics feed, energies build up in their solar plexus, making their chests glow with heat. When they finally release this anima, it consumes his environment and burns him from the inside out. The light bends around this type of Abberant and gets entangled in force fields. Stones rise into the air, accelerate in ever tightening circles and finally race towards the enemy in a glittering cloud.

Are Psychokinetics one-use-only? Do they regenerate from the explosion? Eh, who knows! But they’re some spicy meatballs, amirite?

But enough about these X-mehs, let’s read about some motherfuckin’ craters.

THE EARTH CHAKRAS

Another title for another page! Basically, all the freaky developments come from five great craters that spread the corruption via MSFs. They are somehow linked and working towards one goal, so it seems, and if you want to end it all, you’ll have to climb the crater walls. I don’t know why rediscovering nukes and making Davy Crockett II isn’t an option.

POLLEN: PANDORA



Poland’s crater is the biggest – and full of mutation, kinda befitting for the place that birthed biokinectics.

quote:

Primordial monsters swim in the crater lake, fighting each other, sinking to the ground dead or mating and mutating. Ammonites several feet in diameter have been seen. Some of these creatures get washed to shore through countless drains and streams.
Many die in the hostile atmosphere, but others burrow into the ground and flourish.

See, that’s why artillery exists

Poland’s crater is fertile with spores that all drift east. That’s why the east is suuuuperfucked. Nobody has been through the Spore Wall… kinda.

FRANKA: SOUFFRANCE



Underfrance? France’s crater might not be such a hotbed of mutation as Pandora, but it has it’s own fair share of creepiness.

quote:

Here, Homo Degenesis and Homo Sapiens live close together. Unlike anywhere else, man is on the same level as a swarms of insects.
In Souffrance, he has devolved to a drone.

Pheromancers are really into control for control’s sake. In Black Tokyo or Cthulhu tech, they’d be using their natural roofies to gently caress teen girls left and right.

BALKHAN: USUD



I think it’s here that they start explicitly referring to craters as [region’s] Earth Chakras, which leads me to be even more confused about the whole chakra-Psychonaut connection.

Usud is creates song and vibration, and it basically rewrites those who come near.

HYBRISPANIA: MIRAR



quote:

Surrounded by and hidden within a time lapse lies Mirar, the Pregnoctics’ Earth Chakra.

I see we’re ramping up STALKER around these parts. The description makes Mirar sound like a hivemind of souls that sees all, including through time. Getting through the time lapse is probably gonna be difficult, and then you’ll have to deal with the whole omniscience poo poo.

Maybe it’s easier in Purgare.

PURGARE: NOX



quote:

Force fields demolish space like a broken mirror and capture the fragments within the finest of gravitational mesh. The fields above Nox are sealed, capturing the light and never letting go. Eternal night grows in crystalline thorns from the Psychokinetics’ Earth Chakra, infecting the area, creeping onwards.
Lol nope
Actually, one man, Nuntius the Baptist had gone into Nox. He was crazy stuff like intersecting light pillars and beasts hung in gravitational lifts, and survived to tell the tale. Afterward, he was called Nuntius the Mad because he started demanding the breaking of the Rift (no idea what is) around Nox to release the divine Pneuma (again, no idea).

I can see why people might think Degenesis would have something to do with Divine Cybermancy, as the writing is as impenetrable in some places. Might just be European nerds employing translators that are less than top-of-the-line. If you think my stuff is hard to read now...

Those of you who are reading carefully – or reading this at all – will notice that there are only five kinds of Psychonauts and five chakras mentioned when there are seven regions. Of the European ones, only Borca (Germany) is missing, which implies [insert racial purity/Turkish immigration joke here].

As for Africa, they have other poo poo to deal with.

PSYCHOVORES



One stray asteroid aaalmost hit Africa. However, even a near miss wasn’t fun.

quote:

But Africa wasn’t spared. The projectile cooked the surrounding air to more than 54,032° Fahrenheit, painting a long, flaming tail across the sky. With several thousand atmospheric tons of pressure, a tsunami struck the African continent. At an unstoppable 4 miles per second, the wave ate through the earth and devoured humans, animals, vegetation, even entire cities and mountains along with it. It gouged a scar more than 1,245 miles long and easily 185 miles wide: the Dhoruba.

It rained trees, rocks, moss, and spores all along the Dhoruba. Black fragments of the asteroid melted into the ground. The area saw rapid regrowth and all was covered by giant vegetation, all of it infected. Leaves were all strictly hexagons or octagons. There were thorns on every branch. Trees grew glassy fruits that burst when they fell. This is the danger that Africa faces: Psychovores (and no, they didn’t explain the name).

DISCORDANCE

Sepsis and Psychovores do not play with each other, despite being variations of Primer. Spore fields end, plants rot. However, some strange thing happen, too.

quote:

Those who step on the plants’ neural points fall into feeding sacs, get entangled in thorny gills and drown in the influx of digestive fluids. Within days, the dissolved victims pumped into a womb sac.
There, bizarre figures grow in gelatinous bubbles. Finally, membrane riddled creatures rise up into the air, but rot within hours and fall to the ground, a stinking mass. Evolution breathes old and rejected things back to life. It is out of control.

It’s implied that this is what happens in Discordance, and it’s not just regular Psychovore behavior. As to what Psychovores do aside from breeding strange fruit – eh, who knows?
Next time: Degenesis – Seven Cultures, Thirteen Cults!

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


I'll just nod at "gently caress Chaos." It's about power at any cost, a supernatural FYGM.

I think you can have peasant uprisings in Fantasy, it's just that while your lord is a poo poo, there are worse things that might happen to you while you're resisting/you finished all rebellion and offed all the nobles that have been brought up explicitly to do war.

It's also hard to hide in a forest with beastmen and such.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


The Lord of Hats posted:

I don't really know a ton about oChangeling, but one of the tidbits I do remember is "There is an underwater research base, and it is bad because its MUNDANITY is POISONING MERPEOPLE" when it'd be this incredible wondrous accomplishment if it was real, and anyone working there would be super excited about it. It's kind of saying that you're only allowed to be excited about certain things and if you aren't being aggressively whimsical you're wrong.

You could argue that a research base underwater is anything BUT mundane.

Changeling should be about fighting office cubicle makers, demolishing suburbs and trying to get livable minimum wage pushed through via magical means.

As a side quest, you should glamour yourself invisible and go pour sugar into gastanks of SUVs, the most banal/pointless of motor vehicle. With muscle cars, people are at least left wondering about your penis size.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Cythereal posted:

But also, I'm the kind of person who wonders why being The Man is a bad thing. I'd be much more interested in reforming The Man than overthrowing him because chaos and anarchy seem like they'd do a hell of a lot more damage.

Cythereal is post cyberpunk!

To me, Technocracy is inspiration for merging science and technology. You build some crazy poo poo if you can wand-wave some pesky physics aside (and unlike in Genius: The Transgression, regular people touching your poo poo won't make it break)

And they're compelling villains, too. Meanwhile, I started reading the nMage book and just dropped it because I couldn't get through the Age of Aquarius banality of the background. gently caress, I didn't understand half of the fluff in the oMage book, but that's magic, who cares.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Changelings or fae aren't human, so for them the idealized past existed.

Also, always fight corps or Technocracy in the name of Legitimate Government (that has a chance of being some combination of "fully automated," "luxury," "gay," "space," and "communist"), which is I guess a post punk/ post cyberpunk in the vein of Culture or Polity series.

So while there's no legitimate Mage gov't in oWoD, you still have stuff like NEG in Ctech (Ettin is a brilliant writer)

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Night10194 posted:

The way you wind up with this stuff is by having grimdark settings where absolutely everyone is a crazy rear end in a top hat and constant violence and horror is the norm.

E: At that point some readers will go 'which of these assholes is at least more recognizable?' And that's how you end up with The Imperium Is Good, etc.

All Sides Are Corrupt And Awful tends to be a plot conceit that ends up making really awful poo poo come off 'well'.

To be fair, IoM had to face down all sorts of lovely aliens during the Great Crusade, so small wonder that their policy is shoot on sight. The only time they didn't do that, we got Jokaero, and we should all agree that was a perfect target for application of "shoot on sight."

Plus, that's what Termight did in Nemesis the Warlock, so there you go.

I personally like that IoM isn't just Star Trek Federation With A Different Name like The Good Human Regime in many other settings. That, and skulls and gothic architecture every really helps to make the sell.

Though if you view it through a "is corruption an inevitability of power" lens, you do end up shooting a lot of Nobles and Planetary governors, which is always the right call.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Davin Valkri posted:

This seems like the path to a very boring setting, to be honest. If everybody's an rear end in a top hat, why should I care who wins the setting's conflict?

Everyone's the Good Guys is a hard setting to pitch and make well.

In 40K, you just ask yourself whether CHAOS CONSUME US on a galactic scale would be the preferable state of things, and also how do you feel about everything you know getting nommed by GIANT SPACE BUGS.

At the very least, IoM isn't racist or sexist (...except for the part in Tempestus Scions book - the worst book - where women can't join the navy anymore) in the classical sense, in that everyone can die for the Emperor equally! Considering that as of last week, not everyone can die for Trump the US anymore, that's something to aspire to.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


thatbastardken posted:

what

loving seriously?

I think the new book says that women are taken by Inquisition, Administratum and SoBs (duh?) while Commissariat , TEMPESTUS REGISTERED TRADEMARKS and Navis Nobilite take the men. Or, since we're talking about Space Orphanage Of The Virtuous Dead, girls and boys.

I guess women can still be naval ratings, but w/e, nobody cares about ratings.

That book was super stupid and I hate it.

Nessus posted:

I'd bet that there's a section on how the navy has in the lower decks to serve the needs of the crew, such as laundering bedsheets, sewing, and providing stereotypical feminine labor

Lower decks are usually hives of scum and villainy because Imperium's ships are big enough to have seedy under worlds develop in places nobody goes to anymore. Them's the underdecks.


theironjef posted:

I have toyed for a while with reviewing some 40k novels, because in the many, many, many dedicated threads it already has, chat always ends up turning to the novels about the Chapter Master type guys and I can't see them as anything but Saturday morning cartoon characters where every one has a color and a single personality trait and spend their time emptily threatening each other and learning lessons about not sharing.

But isn't that a failing of sci-fi in general?

I think Space Marine is the best book about Space Marines and Sons of Dorn the worst 40K book I have ever tried reading.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Halloween Jack posted:

In a fictional universe that hit closer to home for our political reality, the Imperium wouldn't hesitate to make women soldiers and workers because it wouldn't be economically efficient to cut its workforce in half.

Oh, the women are free to be basically anyone else, just not Space Marines (because Emperor engineered it that way and No Female Space Marines (in 40K) is my weird hill to die on. I'm also willing to die on No Male SoB hill, which is adjacent, but much smaller), Commissars or Navis Nobilite (the officers), and I have issues with the last two. Aside for the Scions book being needlessly cruel and stupid about things (All Scions (human operators operating operationally) need a painful memory deleting drug for their transformation into Scions just cuz AND THE STOCKS ARE RUNNING OUT NOOOO), I'm really not against female Commissars (and countless horny nerds are already voting with their wallets at Wargame Exclusive et al) while a female space officer in a strapping uniform is such an entrenched trope that I would not want to go away from 40K.

And Vasquez is the reason why we need more female Guardsmen. And for Guardsmen to look more like Colonial Marines rather than movie Mobile Infantry.

EDIT: Wait, I think I might have been wrong. I took a glance at the book and in the two places they mention selection, they don't mention Navis. Now how did I get this brainfart...

JcDent fucked around with this message at 19:21 on Aug 2, 2017

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Night10194 posted:

Someday, somehow, I will actually get to Dark Heresy. I will never regret that I ran 40krp, if only for the Underhive/Techpriest game about an ex ganger doing archeology and trying to fix water filtration systems down in the gloomy tunnels of her old home, slowly making one world a little nicer.

I'd love to play something like that. Combat encounters really slow the game the gently caress down in DH/RT/DW/any other two letter combo.

Again, No Female Space Marines is my weird hill to die on. I love the Space Medieval Knights In Space feel, the warrior brotherhood thing, and hell, down to the stuff that have no doubts about what they're doing. Well, most of the time. They have a purity of purpose - get out there, kick rear end - and they don't have a sexual component to them either. It's like a band of brothers (or bros) stuck in eternal war, and loving it. I like this different sort of perspective and I'm glad there's no leevay for Sexy Space Marine adventures. I like Sisters for a similar reason, too: they have clarity of purpose, a level of devotion I'll never match in my life, and they don't have a romantic aspect to them. While I'm not saying that all adventures/persons of actions should be single - Hawk and Fisher by Simon R. Green is a good example (they're a married couple of fantasy cops) - I think there is place for heroes don't even engage with that. It's sci-fi, we can have that, and if you want more humane humans, write something about Guardsmen, Inquisitors or set an entire book series in the underdecks of a freight hauler.

(Christ are sci-fi writers poo poo with scale. Just because you have an Imperium of a million worlds doesn't mean that every book has to be about the fate of the galaxy or a planet. Necromunda was an awesome game about gangs of a single Hive, why can't books be like that).

A good writer could try and get into the head of a super human killing machine/scion of a god and see how they feel about chapter serfs, about the people of their recruitment world (especially when you have Chapters that are as social as Salamanders), what they think when they see Guardsmen doing character development, maybe have a single lost Space Marine lead an insurgency against a corrupt governor and get included in the feasts and worship and daily lives of the insurgents, musing about what it all reminds him and his humanity. Something like this:
Uriel Ventris: "And you are wrong."
Inquisitor: "About what?"
Ventris: "About the life of a single individual being irrelevant. Every life is vital, no matter how seemingly insignificant. If we forget that, we are no better than the scum out there."

...but most writers are poo poo, and Black Library lets them write poo poo. They have no understanding of writing, of military tactics and, in C.S. Goto's case, 40K at al. The battle scenes suck, too, because even when Marines are fighting Marines (30K) or CSM (40K), only the hero matters and all other super human warriors fall like chaff. It's sad and boring, and there's no tension. Most of the fun in Inquisitorial or Guardsmen books come from the environments and new worlds, not from shooting everyone all the time.

...and then you get to Sigmarine books, of which I've listened to 2.5, where battles are super boring and you can hardly care about the life of your protagonist, because he's basically a Necron, and he will be back. They're bad at selling Sigmarines, too, because they're either 1. Crushing the enemy or 2. Dying like bitches.

JcDent fucked around with this message at 10:02 on Aug 3, 2017

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Night10194 posted:

When I was still running 40k I made Repentia into a Questing Knight. A sister who sets aside her power armor and bolter (as symbols of a full sister) and takes up the weapons and carapace armor of a Novitiate again, then goes out to take every request for aid she gets until one kills her or her order deems her redeemed and renews her vows with great ceremony.

Found my next DH char... in the next campaign, anyways. Current one already has two blender sisters.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


It wasn't really launched voluntarily. And that only happened to Primarchs, the rest of the project continued without them.

I'd pine for a Reunification of Terra game, but nobody would want to play the losers.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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




Degenesis: Rebirth
Primal Punk

The Longest Chapter 1 In the History of Man Continues: The Actual Final Battlers of the Final Battle

Finally, some human-on-human action!

The Crow and the Lion

OK, so the Europeans are crows: they circle the corpses of their old dead nations, picking up loot and doing other crow-sy stuff. They’re basically scavengers.

Meanwhile, Africans were too poor before the Echaton to leave loot think that “the past lives on in their ancestors and their hearts, not in ruins, laws or thinking that’s irrelevant now.” Culture and tradition do not live in your heart, but ancestors do. They think that lions are cool: they stalk the savannah (I guess there’s some in the Northern Africa now), gently caress bitches and roar fiercely. The Lion fights the Crow, because Eurotrash have hurt them in the past.

On to the actual cultures!



Pride ov ze Vaterland

I’m sorry, I’m really into Company of Heroes.

Germany is a pretty urbanized country these days, which means that 500 years into the future it’s going to be full of interesting ruins to explore (as if any modern day buildings would survive that long). There’s dust and sediment to dig through, which would explain why they can still find loot after 500 years of lawlessness. Take that, Bethesda's Fallout, and your mysteriously unlooted stores!

Ze Borkans aren’t all about loot, however. They’re an energetic people who build new cities, likely on top of the old ones. Cults flourish in this environment of civilization and order, since most of them are devoted to benevolent goals anyways. Life’s good and getting better.

Unless you’re some dirty Clanner gently caress.

quote:

But not everyone bends the knee. Some want to keep living as free folk in their ancestors’ ruins. They get no choice. Those who do not take the hand offered to them must flee underground or die in a hail of lead.
For decades, those that fled drank water from puddles, scraped lichens from walls and cracked cockroaches. They got rid of the last scraps of civilization, their hearts and minds poisoned by hatred. Now they step from the shadows. Teeth fled, spiked clubs and stone knifes in hand.
They will reclaim what was once theirs.

Anarcho-primitivists are still lovely people. “Why do I have to build a house? This ruin of an Eastern European flesh trade brothel has three walls and there’s some shelter in the corner. Who needs toilet paper and plumbing when you have a puddle outside your shack and your own palm? loving civilized people, they really grind my flint axe”



Franka is beset by Pheromancers the natural evolution of popular far-right movements. They sit on their Ziggurats (explained later), farting out pheromones and pulling people into their webs. Those that do not fall under their spell escape the bugs by taking to the rivers, where they can watch their formerly prosperous land turned to gently caress ant vents (you’d think it would be termites). Yet the spirit of the Resistance lives on.

quote:

But now, the Frankers fight. The rivers carry them deep into enemy territory, where they fire pesticide bombs, smoke out breeding colonies and assassinate. A whole people rises.

An adventure in Franka will very much indulge in your exterminator friend’s magical realm.



The most unlucky nation in history continues to suffer! City ruins rise and fall out of spore fields or spider nests. It’s unclear how that happens and how they remain intact (you can suspect the effect to be similar to what comic book Mole people do when they steal buildings). At any rate, the Pollen-ish are always on the move. Rift centipedes are mentioned for the first time, too. I guess it will be a long time before we find out what makes them special, but essentially they’re one of the custom critters that spore fields breed. This is the result of not investing in Eastern Poland.

Pollen is also the land that is very near the glaciers, and, well, weird poo poo is happening.

quote:

The permafrost thaws in circular areas, giving birth to a steaming paradise of translucent plants. The surrounding spore fields rot, their rings collapse. But they try to resist. Waves of spiders strangle the strange vegetation in their webs. Streams of Rift Centipedes dive into the feverish ground, surrounded by root membranes and skewered by quickly growing thorns. They bite themselves, poison the soil, and tear themselves free. A subterranean battle rages until the Rift Centipedes finally push through and the oasis above crumbles.

Those plants are not Psychovores, I think, and the book will expand on them later on.

Now, the Polleners live between those oases and the spore fields. Whenever an oasis crops up, their defend it to the bitter end. When an oasis inevitably collapses, they pack their poo poo and hit the road again.

I guess they have yet to rediscover the ancient rite of “Emigrate to England.”



Balkhan is basically a localized deathworld, with climate that’s arctic cold in winter, searing hot in summer, and generally unpleasant in between.

The Balkhanis are described in two paragraphs that basically repeat the trope “people who will fight each other at the drop of the hat, unite against a common threat, then fight each other again once it passes”.

The Dushmani are best known for awkward writing.

quote:

Above all this, the deep, resonating song of the Dushani rises. Nature is their music box. He can tune and shape his song to create the perfect harmony, extinguishing any dissonances as if his life depended on it. His melody infiltrates the heart and captures the mind, making changes there. Pain or comfort. Gives and takes.



It’s basically “Reconquista meets Mad Max,” so let me just post it in full

quote:

Africans roam the Alhambra’s gardens, sitting in the shadows of awnings and drinking tea with native Hybrispanians. In the midday heat, they retreat to libraries and shadowed halls of ancient peoples. They have grown fond of the land. Sevilla to them is a second Tripoli.
It seems as if the Neolibyan consuls tightly controlled ancient Al-Andalus in southern Hybrispania. But the borders were drawn with the blood of Hybrispanian resistance fighters and Scourgers. The pinpricks of the Guerreros deplete Cordoba; the Scourgers follow up by driving the Hybrispaniards into the jungles, shooting them from their buggies and cutting down men, women and children alike.
Fear and hatred take over. The Hybrispaniards are in no way inferior to them, planting sting and explosive traps and quietly enter the Africans’ homes at night. Acts of mercy are punished – if not by the enemy, then by other Guerreros.
Every Hybrispaniard is instilled with the idea of freedom and reconquest at birth. All around him, friends, brothers, sisters and companions rise to heroes in battle, then fall in a hail of bullets the very next moment. These martyrs form the foundation of Hybrispanian culture: battle paintings adorn houses, songs prepare for death, texts teach the use of weapons and survival in the jungle. Life falls by the wayside.
The Scourgers are superior in number and weaponry. The resistance would have died long ago if the Guerreros hadn’t received help from the enigmatic Pregnoctics. These strangers delve into past and future and offer snippets of the future to the daring: the outcome of skirmishes and attack routes.
Of course, the price can be one’s soul.

Fear not, many of the proper nouns will be explained soon!



It states that Italians always wanted to be lead by a god, so it was an easy land for Anabaptists to take over. The country is divided in two by mountains. The east side has all the grapes, olives and caring for one’s genealogy one can find in “American book of stereotypes about the Old Country.” The west is hosed by the Reaper (a volcano? A crater?): there are fields of ash and lava flows into the Med.

They also have the Psychokinectics, which basically turn the land into Zone. Cheeki breeki, that’s a-spice meatball!



I guess they ran out of steam while writing about Africa – or they naturally care less about the region where the game is unlikely to be marketed in – so all of the North Africa is one ‘culture.’

The Africans don’t forget that they have suffered from the white man before. However, they are now super prosperous. The place is described in a way an ancient traveler would describe Arabian Nights: the place is rich, the markets are vibrant, poo poo’s a lot better than it is Europe. To them, Europeans are mostly strange barbarians, especially the Hibrispanians and Balkhanis.

On the other hand, psychovores!

quote:

It [rain] will fall on the jungle, too. Where once a sandy desert glowed in the sun, rivers now meander through the land. Mangroves sink their roots into the water, as the jungle steams in the heat. But in this jungle, something strange is growing: plants with pentagonal to octagonal leaves, prickly and tangled like a nightmare. The Psychovores. One scratch and a human’s skin starts to blister, boils searing and blackening within seconds.
Replacing the old vegetation, Psychovores have transformed the land and its peoples. Everyone around
the Psychovores find themselves abandoning their native languages, relapsing into a primordial tongue that only those nearby can understand. Under the influence of Psychovores, all language barriers have fallen and Africa has united, but the diversity of their tribes and cultures diluted as well.



Scourgers and Anubites are super important for the military and spiritual sides of things.

Now we get to the thirteen cults. They are less geographically oriented, and they will likely determine your character class.

THIRTEEN CULTS



The Spitalians are kickass doctors who believe in amputating and cauterizing the problem – and the biggest problem in their view is anything space mushroom-y. Further into the book we’ll find out that whenever someone recovers some old tech, a Spitalians first thought is “but can I kill Sepsis with it?”

When not shaking fists at a spore field and unleashing barely understood nanotech, they provide medicine service in the cities. Anything related to Burn (spore drug) is prosecuted and Burners are burned (exact phrasing used in the book). It’s implied that Franka’s hosed up state is the result of their leniency, which is why they’re more aggressive these days.

That naked butt guy in the intro I linked in one of the posts is a Spitalian. That fleshy twitching thing on the spear? Spore infested muscle that helps them detect the tainted.

And Spitalians hate the tainted



What if Techpriests of Mars wanted to resurrect the internet? The Stream was the super internet of 2070s and something (likely an AI) stirred in its deep. Some Streamers believed in it (?) and they eventually became the Chroniclers. This lot is desperately trying to find surviving servers while incidentally also becoming the guys most well versed in the old tech.

quote:

One day, they will reactivate the Stream and lead Humankind back to the light. Until then, they must be strong and resist the unruly clans and cults. They are not fighters, but with voice-amplifying Vocoders, cascades of light, and shock gloves, they are considered cruel gods in the wasteland. People in the cities consider them strange. Their language is riddled with archaic technical expressions, and they prefer the companionship of machines over humans.

Vocoders let you debate the enemy to death and use their logic against them! The only reason they can’t be hikkikimori is that there aren't enough basements left.



The Swiss military expected the Echaton and dug deep. When the Reaper’s blow landed (wait, that’s the long crater bisecting Borca and probably one of the big impact sites), they got hosed up. However, with the best Dwarf Fortress players in the world at their lead, they effectively seal entrances, rerouted lava and eventually emerged as the most military competent culture. They expanded their fortresses, build bridges, dug tunnels and are now demanding money for passage.

They’re also consummate badasses and great shots, but that might not be enough to cut it these days:

quote:

But the world around them is changing. Psychonautic phenomenons crystallize to razor sharp Filaments in the tunnels. Grotesquely misshapen creatures hurry through the Balkhan section and open high security gates with a gesture. The cantons resist the military government and rise up. The Hellvetics must march out into the world. They must watch, learn and fight.



This imaginatively-named faction is the Law. If Judge Dredd was basically a musket and hammer wielding WHFB priest, he’d be a Judge. They value order and law over freedom, they have built the great city of Justitian (I wonder what’s it named after) and they have crushed clans time and time again.

But the clans are resurgent (Golum has really undersold “drinking from puddles and eating fish” as a viable way to expand society) and the Judges have to learn “the law of the jungle,” whatever the gently caress that means in the context of dudes who started out as a very militant society.



Clanners range from stone-age savages to those that “clung to traditional knowledge, indulging in morality, manners and rapid-fire rifles.”

You are invited to Lady Copperbottom’s tea party. Bring your AK-74

Most clanners are nomads. And that’s it! Barely a paragraph for the most loose of all groups.



OK, here’s another fairly loose grouping, because Degenesis regards loot whores to be a cult. Scrappers are basically stalkers: they know the ruins really well, they dig for tech, they sell it to techpriests Chroniclers, have some fun in the city, and then go back out to dig up some more lostech dildos.



The first of the two (three?) African factions! They’re basically rogue traders. They deal in regular trade, they take giant tracked fortresses (they'll be called 'Surge Tanks' later on) to Europe to sell guns to savages, they explore both the icy north and the Psychovore south (only Spitalians are interested in Spore east, because they want to kill every last spore there is). They also like going on hunting trips to shoot Psychonauts.

quote:

Neolibyans take a no for a yes. For them, there are no problems, only options – and in the best cases, an adventure.

Rogue traders.



Having one faction named “Scrappers” and the other “Scourgers” is great idea, you guys.

Scourgers are a warrior culture which is the embodiment of all racist /k/ (4chan’s TFR) poster's “chimpout” fears:

quote:

In the land of the Crow, they are considered harbingers of death. They hide their faces behind ancestral masks and carry shield, spear and rifle. The Damu assess the enemy, anticipating their movement and recognizing every weakness. Then the Chaga charge, leading the pack into battle. The Simba are entitled to the strongest of all opponents. Theirs is the greatest feat on a day of blood. Conquered enemies are enslaved and handed over to the Neolibyans. On vast plantations, they will work off the white man’s collective debt.

Bold part aside, look the the words I italicized. One of the book’s failings is the fact that cults are separated into (likely gameplay) classes and these pages describing the cults don’t always mention or explain them. The Scourgers are the first ones that have their classes mentioned, but you’ll eventually be reading about proper noun dudes doing stuff and you’ll be confused as to what they are supposed to be.



This is the page that goes after the Scourger part. Might be a Spitalier, tho.



Anubians are not leaping dog-head soldiers from Age of Mythology. Anubians are poorly explained weird:

quote:

The Anubians consider themselves chosen ones. The seven Circles tattooed onto their skin represent the seven transformations they must endure to make their body a perfect vessel of Ka. They guide their people from life until death, perform ceremonies and placate their ancestral spirits in their grudge against everything that lives.
With every Anubis canopy they empty, one skin Circle vanishes, and they begin to realize that believing in spirits, rites and traditions is a peculiar matter. They continue evolving, walking the world with eyes wide and a sharp mind. Some recognize the healer in themselves and learn to catalyze highly poisonous Psychovore seeds in their bodies into potent drugs. Others take the sickle and leave the land
of the Crow, cutting the lifelines of Psychonauts and thus obliterate a disturbance of the wave.
They always end up in Cairo. When the third Circle vanishes, the Anubians prepare to advance into the city that is overgrown by Psychovores, already feeling the pull of the pyramids. Soon, the last mysteries will be revealed to them.

What is an Anubis canopy? What wave are the Psychonauts disturbing? If they are the spiritual heart of Africa, how can they “leave the land of Crow” to hunt Psychonauts, who only exist in Europe? Did the editor sleep through this?



Jehammedans are… erzatc Muslims? gently caress, I don’t know. They follow the teachings of the last prophet Jehammed. Their lives are determined from their birth – most are likely Ismaelis, who do menial jobs. However, if they pass some test, they might become a Sword of Jehammed, and fight Anabaptists and other dudes. They may also find a Hagari wife (is wife a class now?).

quote:

Yet there is a third path. This boy may one day heed the call of Aries, the ram-headed one, and learn more about the unknown truth of the Jehammedans than he ever desired.

So they’re Greek restorationists now?



Apocalyptics are vice gypsies.

quote:

Apocalyptics live a pure and unbridled life. They appear in flocks, swooping into gambling dens and nesting in bordellos. Their distillates are stronger, their Burn more potent, their whores more beautiful. Any vice finds a welcome home with them. They live in the present. All emotions are sacred to them and equally celebrated as if they were the last.

They gather in flocks. The fighters are called Stormcrows, the whores and thieves are Magpies, the Woodpeckers are smugglers and shebeen (A shebeen (Irish: síbín) was originally an illicit bar or club where excisable alcoholic beverages were sold without a license. - wiki) runners, and the leader is the Raven. He uses the Apocalyptic Tarot deck as an “arbitrary tool” to give flair to his decisions.

Judges are mentioned as their natural enemies, though I’d think Spitaliers would be angry with Burn smugglers, too.



Original anabaptists were some cooky and super militant folk that sprung out of the Radical Reformation. These guys are following neognostic teachings, which makes their Christianity-derived name a bizarre choice.

The Anabaptists are here to cleanse and burn.

quote:

The Anabaptists have made this purge their goal in life. Their Ascetics heal and till the tortured soil, sow wheat and baptize it with the purest water. They produce oils and blend them to create essences that lend strength and heal pain. The Orgiastics are the Anabaptist fighters: full of elysian oils, they confront the Psychonauts with swords and flame throwers. The flan battle for Humanity is being
fought here and now, and the Anabaptists carry the torch.

Ascetics are a crafting class, while ORGIASTICS are natural allies to Spitalians because fire is still the best answer to all sorts of unsavory stuff.



Palers are Morlock vault dwellers, a people of Golums that are lead by what I assume are holograms and guys that can speak really well.

quote:

Centuries in eternal darkness have transformed them into pale, squat creatures with heightened senses, but without any moral regards for the surface dwellers. Dulcet voices are very important to them.
Their demagogues are masters of mental manipulation. One word from them, correctly annunciated with the proper tone and posture, can conjure emotions like fear, desire or pure blinding pain.

Some Vampire player is working in the bolded part into his character description as we speak.

The palers have a plan to open 44 other bunkers and something big is supposed to happen then. I guess it’s one of the plot hooks that the book doles out generously.

Boy, I sure am tired of writing about these cults that aren’t even cult-like. Tune in next time when we’ll cap off Chapter 1 with mad cyborgs.

Next time: Chapter 1: Cyborg Assholes

JcDent fucked around with this message at 11:38 on Aug 4, 2017

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Mors Rattus posted:

See, for me Degenesis Is now a waiting game for racism, because I really, really don't trust them to be handling the African factions or Anabaptists or Muslims well.

Especially with a name that is a clear pastiche on 'Mohammedans' which is, uh

not a good or correct term

Well, real Anabaptists weren't gnostic, right? So the Jehemmedans don't really map out to Muslims or even stereotypes. I mean, who ever claimed that Muslims had a very deterministic and rigid caste structure?


occamsnailfile posted:

Also Degenesis sounds kind of interesting or at least different from a lot of other settings, but the writing snippets from the book are really dryly written, which in combination with the graphic-designer-gone-mad aesthetic seems like it'd make the actual book a chore to read.

Maybe because I'm not a native speaker, but it reads at quite a steady clip. Except for the parts where you don't understand what's happening because proper nouns have not been explained. The English just feels a little wrong when you read it.

Unlike in Divine Cybermancy, where I stopped reading lore because the only thing I could gather was "this is bad anime."

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


I hadn't noticed - before doing this Let's Read - that Borca was exempt from shroom mutants, even if Reaper's blow cut Germany in twain. On the other hand, Africans aren't mutating either, besides gaining One True Tongue from strange plants, but that's likely a super clumsy handwave as to how all of North Africa now shares a language and culture.

I think an another interesting distinction is that even if North Africa today is kinda Arabic, I only imagine Neolybians as such; Scourgers are deffo black, even if most of black Africa would have been killed by Dhoruba and psychovores.

Guys are better designers than they are worldbuilders, I guess.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


I am glad I have never heard of these badly drawn comics.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


DEGENESIS: REBIRTH

PRIMAL PUNK



Chapter 1: Marauders

The ride continues! So, what are the Marauders? To put it shortly, they are monstrous lostech cyborgs that are wandering the Earth and working towards mysteeerious goals. The cops aren’t looking and they’re filled with tech that’s nearly magical, so who’s gonna stop them?

quote:

Ignorant people consider them gods like Mother Sun and Brother Moon, to be appeased with animal sacrifices. It is said that artifacts of Bygone eras come alive in their hands, machines talk to them and impossible portals into the mountain depths swing open before them. Some describe them as dead husks, kept in shape by bandages and kept alive by malice. Others see them as a twist of fate. Through them, Aries destroyed the Anabaptist attack force in the Jehammedans’ hour of reckoning.

They’re like that cyborg dude from the Mortal Machines books.

Nobody really knows what the Marauders want, but people will try and contact them. Of course, some people are better suited for it than others. Techpriests Chroniclers are those people!

quote:

The Chroniclers’ Cult has been watching the Marauders’ tracks since the beginning. Their Streamers traverse the land, questioning the natives and listening to old campfire stories about gods from the shadows of time. The details of every sighting are new pieces in the puzzle of their digital nexus, The Cluster. One day, this information will reach critical mass and everything will fall into place. Finally they will discern the Marauders’ plan.

If you ever wanted to understand how strange the world of Degenesis is, take note that Streamers are people who go outside to talk to people they don’t know.

CORE DATA: ASPERA

Then we a get a story piece that takes up nearly two of the four pages dedicated to Marauders. The first one, Core Data: Aspera, is about Chroniclers trying to contact marauder Aspera in Borca, 2359. Besides the Narrator, we have Streamer Monitor and Mediator Delete. Chroniclers are a bunch of nerds.

These guys caught a signal coming from the Alps and having “enough score to know what the signal meant and what we were getting ourselves into” set out for the journey. Naturally, there’s snow. At one point, Narrator tries to have a chat.

quote:

I communicated with Delete. It got personal. He told me about a sister, Fregga. He had collected bugs with her in the Black Lung, he said. He also said the snow was bringing back some old memories. I asked how he’d felt that day. He did not understand, at least not at first. He even got angry. Said it should drat well be possible to have a normal conversation without returning to the default communication codes for intensifying contact with savages. I said I was sorry.

Neeeerds.

Delete cries in his sleep and scratches the barcode tattoo on his forehead. Narrator thinks about asking him if he ever regrets that his parents gave him over to the Chroniclers.

They also meet some real savages, which they chase away with their Vocoders, which I assume is a weapon that amplifies their voices. Traitor Emperor’s Children players in the audience start sketching their character sheets.

The group gets closer to the signal location. Monitor reveals an artifact he’s carrying: a large needle with an ergonomic grip and a lot of duct tape – definitely a survival game weapon crafting product. He doesn’t comment on the object. Then, they see Aspera.

quote:

Then I saw her. Standing there. Just like in the descriptions. Two braids jutted out at both sides of her
head, the meter-long hair joined on her back. Her face was small. Youthful. Her gaze inscrutable. She moved towards Monitor. Her mechanical leg had nothing at all in common with human anatomy, but still it was a hydraulic masterpiece. Softly, the metal slid over guide rails, articulated joints swiveled and racks interlocked with gears. Lithe as a predator.

The writing gets really messy at this point. Monitor starts acting strange and begins communicating with Aspera in some unknown language. Narrator is freaking out. There’s a lot of shouting, and milky discharge starts coming from Monitor’s mouth and eyes. Aspera knows something we don’t, so she interrogates Monitor while lifting him up by the neck before taking the artifact, connecting one of her tubes to it, and planting the needle in Monitor’s neck. Then she starts sucking him dry via the artifact-pump.

Delete tries to intervene, but Narrator screams him down.

quote:

She broke off the spigot and looked at me again. Stared at me. I wasn’t sure whether she had fallen asleep or was caught in a state unknown to mere mortals. Again I saw the movement beneath her skin and knew that she was going to speak. “This man was a fake.” Her eyes looked this way and that as if she was thinking. She nodded. “No Chronicler.”

She leaves and the story ends.

LINKED CORE DATA: AMBROSIA

Linked Core Data: Ambrosia is about white ceramic cylinders that contain some sort of nanotech medicine. The piece doesn’t say that outright; we are first lead through a hard-to-parse description of what happens when cylinders activate. The nerds have them, know that Marauders are interested in them, but they still can’t contact the mysterious ‘borgs nor find out what the cylinders do. They are marked with RG, for Recombination Group, a terribly named pre-Echaton pharma company.

quote:

The last efforts to contact Aspera were useless to unpleasant. Our Shutters have not reported back from
Chernobog’s domain either. And the Ice Breaker is visiting the hospital at Danzig only once per year. Thus far, we’ve missed him. We are following other leads now. For example, those that hint at an Ancient called Gusev. The Marauders are aware that we have the Ambrosia cartridges, and we know that the Marauders want them. Maybe we will come to an agreement for them, but maybe… we have
sealed our own fate.

You bet your rear end those cylinders will be used with disastrous results!

CHERNOBOG

The other two pages are dedicated to Chernobog, an rear end in a top hat cyborg named after a Slavic pagan deity that lives in Eastern Borca.

quote:

Those who dared to approach him saw the giant. His conical body, the empty eye sockets, the browsed nose. They saw the bleached cables sticking out from its skull, cascading like a waterfall over a black cape. Some cables pierced through his skin. Other ended in riveted-on rat skulls and glittering artifacts. The giant moved his skull back and forth as if he was sniffing.



Like some sort of Chaos Space Marine groundhog, he would awaken periodically to wander through the woods and displace savages. Then, he started waking up sooner and sooner, as well as demolishing villages (because even if you reject civilization, you still want to live in clumps of people – Clanners are great fans of the Benedict option) or chasing people down until he beat them to pulp.

However, the dirty dirty savages eventually had some luck.

quote:

One day, a fist-sized artifact lay amidst a destroyed village. It was black and shapeless. Barbs rose from it. The village Shaman conjured the friendly forest spirits, sprinkled ancestral ashes on the artifact and reached for it. It awoke at once. A voice sank through the octaves down to a vibrating bass. Calling itself “The Corresponder”, the artifact shared the secrets of the Black God with the Shaman. After that, Chernobog spoke to the Shamans through the Corresponder. As more Corresponders were bestowed, temples were erected around them, rites were devised, and chosen ones were named. The Shamans knew now how to appease their god. They offered him willow bark brew, lowered baskets full of datura, belladonna and black henbane down into his domicile. They set traps. Nothing should disturb his rest

If anyone understands the significance of the herbs offered to Chernobog, please enlighten the thread (and me).

Anyways, Chernobog was back to sleep… until 2593, when a faint signal from Purgare and Balkhan was detected. It activated the Corresponders, and Chernobog awakened to set on the warpath. He gathered the clans and set out to do what every Ottoman youth always wanted to do: destroy Prague (called Praha in game). Previously, the minefields and machineguns had been enough to deter assault. Now, Chernobog used 1337 hax and the city fell within days.

This made clans extremely fuckin’ uppity. Borcan tribes thing they can reclaim burial grounds from Judges and Spitalians. Balkhans tell Jehemedans to gently caress off.

An unwashed threat rises!


An anarcho-primitivist fends off polio vaccination.

And that’s how Chapter 1 ends. Chapter 2, Cultures, is going to be super long, as it will cover cultural regions in more depth, talking about cities and major plot hooks in the areas. Stay tuned!

Next time: Chapter 2: Borca Borca

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


It would probably be easier to get no poo poo (and no constipation) painkillers from Spitaliers, but archeotech horrors making sensible decisions does not a mysterious plothook make.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Started reading the Unhallow Metropolis review/fatal and friends/however you people call what we produce in this thread, so thanks for someone mentioning this!

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Good thing Abe and his party are so foreigner frie- oh.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Unhallowed metropolis: yeah, it's strange that someone would play in London when everyone else is doing much better. The grimdark atmosphere would be understandable if London was the last bastion of Humanity, but then you have the rest of Europe doing OK all things considered.

It's like all the misery that England is going through is just self inflicted emo kid stuff.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Comrade Koba posted:

I'm still baffled every time someone living in the present day manages to write yet another game that is all about NeoCyberJapan dominating the TechnoFuture. You'd have to pretend really hard that the past 30 years never happened.

It's more exciting than "Silicon Valley dominating the technofuture"

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Comrade Koba posted:

Well, at least with those settings you don't get a whole lot of about how they rose to dominance because they combined capitalism with ~Ancient European Philosophy~ and ~Western Martial Spirit~.

Also, there'd be no need for a 20-page glossary to explain all the foreign terms game designers love to insert in random places.

Have you heard of Protestant work ethic?

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


By the way, was there ever a Cold War zombie apocalypse setting? Seems you have one for every historical period...

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Japanese love stealing/loaning words.

Probably because they figure that if they steal enough of them, it will fix the mistake of stealing the God drat kanji from the Chinese.

Kaaaanji

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


They made a cyberpunk book with no cyber limbs stated in the main book, they are the worst weebs.

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JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


So a secret society brings them together in Kuro? Because reading Unhallowed Metropolis, I have a hard time imagining why people from such different backgrounds would meet and work together (unless they all wake up in the same room clad in black spandex and there's a morning radio programme playing). You're a crew of lowlifes in shadowrun, you're a band of specialists going on an adventure in DnD, and you're definitely brought together in a very strict sense in the non-fantasy Ham RPGs. Modern games don't seem to have a similar way to do it.

That's why if I ever make Unhallowed Cold War, everyone's gonna be a part of the military

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