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Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

I could be persuaded to be interested in "I used to be super racist and the rhetoric other hunters use about supernatural creatures is distressingly familiar."

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Jerik
Jun 24, 2019

I don't know what to write here.

Bieeanshee posted:

Also, I don't think I've met anyone who's actually run one of those Preludes they always devoted a few pages to.

When I ran a game of Demon: The Fallen I had brief preliminary bits I ran with each player before the PCs got together that I guess were basically Preludes though I don't remember if I ever actually referred to them as that.

Aethyron
Dec 12, 2013


Rand Brittain posted:

I could be persuaded to be interested in "I used to be super racist and the rhetoric other hunters use about supernatural creatures is distressingly familiar."

I'm not saying it's totally without potential to be interesting for a game, but it feels like kind of a lovely equivalence to have thrown at you by the authorial voice. Vampires are (hopefully) not real. People saying that being angry about abusers and predators makes you as bad as them is some bullshit I'm deeply sick of.

Especially when the tension between Zeal and Mercy, and if/when Hunters become as bad as the things they hunt is already explored all over the place without the need to invite you to play a skinhead as one of the five example characters.

Also, it's doing that thing where an abuser's regret is foregrounded rather than the victim's experience. Like, why is it more interesting to invite the reader to consider this idea through playing and thus empathizing with the regretful nazi rather than, say, someone who might recognize violent rhetoric from the other side?

I don't know, maybe I'm overreacting. It just feels like such a needless 'ooh, edgy' choice- especially the false equivalence of having the former skinhead right next to the revolutionary college student (who is, we are told, a hypocrite).

Everyone
Sep 6, 2019


Aethyron posted:

I just feel like... why go there? There are 5 sample Bystanders in the chapter and there's absolutely no reason whatsoever this needed to be one of them, and writing down that this skinhead feels bad now that he knows about vampires doesn't come close to excusing the deep grossness of the line about how "ironically" he has an "interesting" perspective on how hunters hate monsters. Like out of nowhere the book is all "hey, you can play a skinhead if you want. I mean an ex-skinhead." Cool, uh, I don't. And the fact this book think that I might is concerning.

(I don't actually have a problem with "I used to be a real shithead but finding out about vamps changed my priorities" as a broad-strokes character concept but it's the kind of thing where I'd really want to already know and trust the person bringing it up, not just be blindsided by surprise swastika tattoos in an official sourcebook)

On the one hand for me one of the characters from Mercedes Lackey's SERRAted Edge world qualifies for this type of character and I like that series. Plus I agree with Rand Brittain that the concept of somebody who has learn at deep personal cost that blind hatred for anything is bad and costly would be a decent character to play. Somebody who clearly feels remorse, regret and shame at his Nazi tattoos but keeps them as a kind of brand and punishment that reminds him to never be that kind of person again.

That said, I don't think HtR exactly hit that particular mark with this guy. I don't mind a bit of controversy as long as it doesn't slide into being insensitive, "edgey" bullshit. I think this landed squarely into the "edgey bullshit" territory.

Aethyron posted:

Oh yeah the art of Hunter is breathtakingly misleading. I love Reckoning, it's probably my favourite oWoD line, but it is a mess in so many ways. Personally, the Hunters are underdogs thing is part of my preferred take but I can fully understand the letdown of going from the art to the rules. I think that it's a combination of falling too in love with the "hunters are average people" idea, not wanting to make guys who could stomp their other gamelines and just frankly not even knowing their own system that well.

If I put out something called Vampyre: Masks of the Damned that has a bunch of art showing cool, sexy vampires apparently doing cool, sexy, violent vampire things... and then you get the book and learn that V: MotD is actually about playing a (very much normalish human) member of a Goth Clique that's trying to earn fame by getting into cool clubs and winning cosplay contests, how pissed are you going to be if you were expecting something like V:tR or V:tM?

If you've named your game Hunter: the Reckoning that gives me the impression that we finally have some human(ish) types that can stand against the monsters on their own terms. Except that no, that's kind of bullshit. So, disappointment on my part.

Aethyron posted:

Don't remind me- I bought the Martyr book back in the day and having one of the 3 main stories be in some cramped cursive faux-handwriting was intensely frustrating to try to read.

I doubt that I read a single bit of the "flavor fics" from OWoD because I don't see straining my eyes trying to translate those epileptic chicken scratches into legible words when I could page past that crap to get to the rules I needed.

Pakxos
Mar 21, 2020


Libertad! posted:


Sirens concept-wise are a cross between harpies (who are cursed transformed monsters in Thylea) and the sirens of Greek mythology. Appearing as winged humanoids with bird-like claws and talons, they live among the islands, ports, and coastlands and are famed for their mournful songs which have magical properties..

Thanks for doing this write up! I really like this settings' deep dive into O.G. greek myths, I can't think of another fictional work that recognizes sirens originally were bird-woman. They didn't become fish-people until the Middle Ages.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Everyone posted:

On the one hand for me one of the characters from Mercedes Lackey's SERRAted Edge world qualifies for this type of character and I like that series. Plus I agree with Rand Brittain that the concept of somebody who has learn at deep personal cost that blind hatred for anything is bad and costly would be a decent character to play. Somebody who clearly feels remorse, regret and shame at his Nazi tattoos but keeps them as a kind of brand and punishment that reminds him to never be that kind of person again.

Someone that keeps their Nazi tats rather than getting them removed or covered over pretty clearly doesn’t feel remorse, regret or shame, what with still declaring to the world that they are a white supremacist who’s super dangerous to be around. This is the kind of idea only someone not a direct target of Nazis could envision and not immediately reject with disgust.

Mors Rattus fucked around with this message at 01:55 on Apr 10, 2020

Leraika
Jun 14, 2015

slime time



I am perfectly fine with people coming up with reformed skinhead characters on their own (I guesssss?), but I don't think they need to be an example character for anything or even given page space at all.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

I remember original Changeling being gently caress-awful for that illegible chickenscratch bullshit. The corebook started with pages of photographed chickenscratch that was so bad, people started passing around a transcript someone did of it.

Aethyron
Dec 12, 2013


Hunter: the Reckoning - Player's Guide

Part Three: Variant Systems

Chapter 3: Rules of Engagement

To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might be all means save some.
--1Corinthians 9:22


We're off to a great start when the first paragraph opens by telling us that the rules of a proper Storytelling game are secondary to the story and how much fun you have telling it, which is kind of not the most encouraging sentiment coming from the people who were writing the rules in the first place. This chapter is about new ways to create/develop characters. Are any of them good? Let's find out.

The 'Customizing Character Creation' section opens with a half-page of fiction about two Hunters, Wayne and Kate, who are actually on a hunt this time (so that's nice) only for Vampires to burst in and kill them.

We're reminded that the Hunter character creation numbers (6/4/3 11/7/4 etc) are the standard system for creating normal, mundane people which is what Hunters are arguably even after they're Imbued (uh, no?). They're going to give us some alternate options if that's more fun for us, but the book wants to be very clear that these options are so that you can explore your character identity in more depth and have more layers of personality, like maybe you can have a higher Linguistics to indicate that you've worked abroad in multiple countries. The new options are absolutely not intended to let you make some guy with 5 Strength, 5 Firearms, and 5 Arsenal.

Which you could absolutely already do anyway- and also do you guys not realise that you made Dex the god-stat? Seriously, normal Hunter rules give you 21 freebie points. You'd only have to spend like 16 of them to get there. But doing that is missing the opportunity to play an interesting character. You know, one that's bad at stuff.

We're told that Hunters get "wimpy mortal" stats because playing a "weak" character isn't a deficit for proper roleplay and doesn't have to ruin your fun, which would sound better if the system had ways to engage with "weak" characters other than having them just fail to do anything. But most characters shouldn't be effective in a fight because most 'actual, everyday' people aren't and don't you use these extra points to make "a special-forces-trained-killer-turned-spy-cum-professional-wrestler" which is one hell of a phrase.

So, what are these dangerously powerful new rules? The first option is just to give characters the same starting points as other gamelines get, ie: 2 extra Attribute points, 5 extra Ability points, and 2 more points for backgrounds. Truly, I would not have guessed that the difference between system-wrecking action hero and meek mundane was so slight.

They also suggest that you could go totally overboard and do 15/10/5 for Abilities (up from, let's remember, 11/7/4) and a mighty 35 (instead of 21) freebie points. Oh, but be careful about the game's balance. Having 8 more Ability points that a starting Vampire: the Masquerade character might wreck the tone completely. The vampires may still be able to take a million extra actions and mostly ignore gunfire but those extra Ability points will really turn the tide for you.

There's also the option to not have to divide your Attribute and Ability points across the fixed categories and instead just have 13 Attribute and 22 Ability points to put wherever you want which, yeah, I like. You could also increase one or more of those totals to different effect. The book also floats the option of having a more experienced pc which is just the standard "add 30 or 40 xp during character creation" thing that you'll probably see in every WoD book. Sadly, it does not seem to occur to anyone that having multiple differently scaling currencies for character advancement leads to dumb situations where trying to build a well-rounded character with your starting points is mechanically disadvantageous.

Next, it's time for "Incentive Programs". You could apply a reward system for players who "contribute to character identity and the game, above and beyond the call of duty". Maybe give them some extra freebie points (do not ever do this, this is a terrible suggestion), like 7-10 extra freebie points (seriously no) if they do one of the following things:
-keep an in-character diary
-keep a journal of the history of the entire chronicle
-write short stories of your character's exploits
And if you fail to uphold your end of this bargain and stop writing the diary, the Storyteller should revoke the points you got and take away whatever you already bought with them. Again, don't do this. If your players want to go do extra stuff for your game, that's great, but a system like this is actually just penalizing the one person in your group who maybe doesn't have enough free time or is not a good writer. Especially don't erase stuff off your player's sheet if their life suddenly gets busy.

Now we are once again reminded not to make a Navy SEAL type. We are invited to ask ourselves what would make such a character compelling? I get that they don't want you to powergame, and think character is more important than combat but stop going on about it. Also, we're edging into weird territory here where soldiers aren't real people? Like, can a Navy SEAL not have a compelling inner life?

Next there are some rules for alternate ways to gain Edges and Virtues like maybe just buying them with xp or sacrificing Attribute, Ability, or Background dots for them. Or modifying the Virtue/Edge progression so that you actually get 5th-level Edges by the time you hit 10 in a Virtue. Or getting Virtue rewards for in-character deeds (which is attached to a weirdly overcomplicated system where now you're tracking Temporary and Permanent Virtue scores and once you get to 10 in Temporary Zeal you trade it in for +1 Permanent Zeal and if you're going to give out Virtue points based on character actions why do you need this?). There are guidelines for what kind of actions would give you points in Zeal/Mercy/Vision but they are exactly what you'd expect.

There's also a system where instead of having fixed Edges, characters can try to bust out whatever Edge they need in the moment by spending Conviction and making a Virtue roll. You'd still only be able to call on Edges you could have normally purchased based on your Virtue scores, and then you have access to the Edge for the scene.

Still, this is a very cool idea, hamstrung by suggestions like that you only be able to have one Edge at a time or that the player just sort of describe what type of Edge they want and the Storyteller chooses what to give them (To preserve the "mystery" of Edges), or that the Storyteller may choose to limit the number of Edges you can use in a session or something. I don't really know that you need to put all these extra limiters on this considering you already have to spend Conviction and roll for it. The roll is only Difficulty 6 but you're rolling your Virtue score alone so a starting character is not going to have a good dice pool for this.

Next there are rules for the price you have to pay to get 5th-level Edges. Spoiler alert: they mostly involve really loving up your character. Firstly, you have to have 10 in a Virtue, which means that you'll have "paid your dues" with the 3 (sigh) Derangements you'll have picked up getting there. But that's only the start. There are a bunch more sacrifices you have to make:
-Your permanent Willpower is reduced by 5
-Your Nature and Demeanor both change to one of Autocrat, Fanatic, or Perfectionist
-Your other Virtues freeze and can't ever be raised (so no more new Edges, among other things)
-All your social dice pools are halved (rounded down!) when dealing with most people, although interestingly this doesn't apply with Hermits, Waywards, or Hunters with a Virtue of 7+
-You get the Patron (Messangers shouting in your brain) background at 5, and we're told that action on these messages "can lead the imbued to very extreme, virtually inexplicable acts and atrocities", although the specific, uh, atrocities are left up to you based on your existing (sigh) Derangements. Murder and Torture are suggested as options, though. So that's fun!
-Merciful Imbued now sometimes suffer from clouded perceptions that might make them thing that even the worst monsters deserve clemency, erring on the side of forgiveness too often. We're told that once per story, the Storyteller should tell you that your character "sees the potential in a truly monstrous creature and that it should be spared no matter the cost -- maybe even in fellow hunters' lives."
-Visionary Imbued, by which they mean Visionaries and Only Visionaries because I guess Hermits and Waywards already have enough problems, get to once per session get told that they know something with absolute certainty, no matter how implausible, and cannot be swayed from acting on this belief "no matter how flawed" even to the "detriment of all else".
-Zealous Imbued are prone to wild acts of violence without provocation (at least none that regular humans can see), and are prone to punishing others for superficial or nonexistent crimes. Once per story, the Storyteller points to an npc, be they monster, human, or even another hunter and tells you that they have to die, no matter what. Which feels a little redundant what with the previously mentioned inexplicable atrocities.
We're also told that none of these extreme behaviours can be counteracted with Willpower, and in fact even supernatural powers can't stop you as you effectively get the mind-shield for free. At least we're told that you have to choose to get a 5th-level edge, rather than just having it foisted on you.

And, let's remember, some of the 5th-level Edges are not even that good. I don't think any of them are so shatteringly powerful as to require all of the above nonsense, but while all that poo poo might be in exchange for the ability to instantly reveal to mortals all the monsters in a one-mile radius, you're just as likely to be trading it for a lovely lightning-bolt that is questionably more useful than a gun or the exciting ability to um stop creatures from teleporting to a different plane or reality (which a lot of things are not even going to be able to do in the first place).

It's a little ambiguous but I'm pretty sure that this is supposed to be the normal price for getting a 5th-level Edge. Which, wow.

This section ends with a last little reminder that you have to be careful with these rules not to "dilute the game's themes" because "if monsters aren't dangerous and terrifying anymore, Hunter loses its spirit."

And

Look. Absolutely nothing in this chapter makes monsters less dangerous. Bonus points are just not going to stack up against being able to spend a willpower point to take a bunch of extra actions and being much better at soaking/regenerating damage. Making it slightly easier to get to 5 Strength is not going to matter here. For all of the handwringing about not making a character who is too good at fighting, the truth is that, uh... you can't, really. Maybe zombies or whatever, but the big-deal monsters like vamps and werewolves can break the action economy so much more than you.

Still, I have to give them some points for coming up with at least a few cool optional ideas. Being more flexible with character creation points seems good, and I really like the freeform Edge idea for a variant take. Moving on!

True Faith! We have a fiction piece about a pair of Hunters travelling from Detroit to Milwaukee (I'm going to level with you, I have no idea if this is a reasonable distance or not) in order to go hunt a bloodsucker preying on a college campus. Their car runs out of gas outside Gary but they hitch a ride to the next gas station with a priest. The priest is fat. The fiction wants to make sure you get this, and will remind you almost every time the priest is mentioned. Unfortunately when they get there they hear screaming coming from the garage as a group of 'dead things' spill out of the garage and start killing people. The two hunters and the priest fall back inside the store, but one of the hunters (the narrator's buddy Howie) is mortally wounded. They drag him into the bathroom, where he dies. The priest is taking this strangely well. The narrator figures out that there's a ventilation shaft (really?) he can crawl through, but the priest won't fit (aha, that's why you've called him fat 219 times). An odd look of peace comes over the priest and he tells the hunter to go as he holds the door closed. The hunter escapes, hearing the priest die behind him.

It's actually an okay story, but it's too long and the endless references to how fat the guy who is going to heroically sacrifice himself is are just ???

Then there are like two and a half pages about how True Faith is rare and do you think anyone you know would really give up everything for faith, because people are weak and selfish and full of doubt, etc, etc, and even a religious hunter probably won't qualify.

True Faith is extremely rare, even among people who are devoutly religious. There I just saved you all two pages of human weakness, rambling anecdotes about Joan of Arc and Mother Teresa, and a truly nonsensical hypothetical about a Rabbi who loves his girlfriend only to find that becoming Imbued makes him wonder about, uh, this:



Which doesn't really seem like it has anything to do with anything, especially because the ending of this anecdote is that he realises that nothing is guaranteed, yes he still loves and uh "you have to put your faith in the hope that everything will work out for the best." without actually saying whether or not this character would have True Faith or just, um, regular type. Anyway!

We're presented with the Religious Devotion merit (1 to 3 points) as an alternative, which gives you a separate pool of 1-3 extra Willpower points when you're tested, challenged or need confidence to succeed. Probably you will pray in these moments. If you try to use these points in ways that are counter to your faith, the Storyteller should punish you by taking away the merit and possibly even some normal Willpower points or for a less serious transgression just denying access to the extra Willpower until you atone. In general, you can only call on this merit once per game session.

We're reminded again that before you write "True Faith" on your character sheet ask yourself if you're just doing it for extra powers and die rolls and then feel bad. Then there's literally another page about how maybe you shouldn't have True Faith and just be satisfied defining your Edges through a religious lens and True Faith is a huge burden and so demanding and the Storyteller can represent it how they like, but carefully.

So, what does True Faith do after spending 5 pages (not counting the fiction) talking about it? Oh, you'll have to buy another book like The Hunters Hunted or The Inquisition. "Those books cover it pretty well, so there's no reason to repeat the Trait here."

What. The. Actual. gently caress?

A few more pages about how you maybe shouldn't have True Faith and that, I'm not kidding, is end of the chapter.

Coming up: Who is excited for party times Merits & Flaws? I know I am!

Aethyron fucked around with this message at 09:20 on Apr 10, 2020

Jerik
Jun 24, 2019

I don't know what to write here.

Pakxos posted:

I really like this settings' deep dive into O.G. greek myths, I can't think of another fictional work that recognizes sirens originally were bird-woman.

Sirens were bird women in both d20 Modern and Pathfinder. This is by no means the first RPG book to have bird-woman sirens.

Jerik fucked around with this message at 04:11 on Apr 10, 2020

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





Surely you mean Hunter: The Reckoning, not Hunter: The Vigil.

Vigil is the newer one where Hunters are (often) mundane people with shotguns and grit and no angelic directives.

Aethyron
Dec 12, 2013


Joe Slowboat posted:

Surely you mean Hunter: The Reckoning, not Hunter: The Vigil.

Vigil is the newer one where Hunters are (often) mundane people with shotguns and grit and no angelic directives.

YOU SAW NOTHING!

Yeah, wow, I uh... that's embarrassing. Fixed, thank you.

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017



Joe Slowboat posted:

Surely you mean Hunter: The Reckoning, not Hunter: The Vigil.

Vigil is the newer one where Hunters are (often) mundane people with shotguns and grit and no angelic directives.

Although in one case they DO have demonic directives. Sort of.

Tibalt
May 14, 2017

What, drawn, and talk of peace! I hate the word, As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee


Dawgstar posted:

Although in one case they DO have demonic directives. Sort of.
God, I love The Lucifuge

"Are we the Baddies?"

"No, of course not. I've never really thought about it. Why do you ask?"

"Well, we have demons everywhere."

Everyone
Sep 6, 2019


Mors Rattus posted:

Someone that keeps their Nazi tats rather than getting them removed or covered over pretty clearly doesn’t feel remorse, regret or shame, what with still declaring to the world that they are a white supremacist who’s super dangerous to be around. This is the kind of idea only someone not a direct target of Nazis could envision and not immediately reject with disgust.

I said keep them as a private reminder/shame not display them proudly like the fucker in the example character. The one I can see - especially if they're too poor to afford tattoo removal. If your rear end is rocking a wifebeater to show off your "88" and Nazi swastika tats then gently caress you, you're not a former skinhead, you're dues-paying member of the Hateful Piece of poo poo Society who should not be allowed to breed.

Tibalt posted:

God, I love The Lucifuge

"Are we the Baddies?"

"No, of course not. I've never really thought about it. Why do you ask?"

"Well, we have demons everywhere."

The weird thing is that they really aren't "the Baddies." They're people using their unasked for inborn demon powers to fight demons and the powers of Hell.

I'd much rather hang out with the Lucifuge than those creepy assholes from Ashwood "Oh, look, a witch. Let's hunt her down and rape her to death for funsies" Abbey or the not-Umbrella Corporation bastards from Chieron.

Everyone fucked around with this message at 14:38 on Apr 10, 2020

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2e: Thousand Thrones

Arise Chicken

First off, the heroes have upgraded some but I won't be posting their full sheets every time they get EXP or anything, just when they promote. Because the promotion guidelines for the chapters don't actually fit with the EXP awards they give, because this book keeps telling you 'go play our other exciting pre-mades in the middle of your campaign to grind more EXP!', and who knows, maybe I'll put the team through some of Plundered Vaults to show it off too. Bold move to suggest playing the entire Terror in Talabheim in the middle of this campaign, though; exposing the players directly to a better game is risky. Though I think after this next chapter, everyone will have a better idea of why Terror in Talabheim's author had to put in 'please please please don't run away from the main plot, I guarantee it isn't that bad'.

Anyway, Sif buys 2 WS advances and Rapid Reload. Now she can javelin some people or pick up a bow later if she needs to do ranged, and she's up to 53% WS at Tier 1 and 300 EXP, which is kind of nuts. Shanna just buys her Agi to 64%, which again: 1st tier character, already has a 64% on most thieving skills. Shanna's really good at her job. Oleg grabs 2 Agi advances and an Int. Now he can actually rely on Dodge a little and spot stuff better. Syphan takes 3 WP advances to be able to channel her magic and not be scared of anything. Johan buys his one Str advance, then an Agi and WP. They're all noticeably better. The only bit of important bookkeeping is

Introducing Katarine, the Rescued Abused Spouse. She had great stats, they rescued her fair and square, of course they're going to bring her along. To avoid overlapping with Johan and to show off an interesting rule, she uses the few weeks as they're on the road to try to pursue her dreams of becoming a doctor, 200ing out of Servant (and actually spending her Free Advance on Read/Write) and entering Barber-Surgeon, grabbing Heal. Now they have a medic.

quote:

Name: Katarine
Species: Human
Class: Ex-Servant, Barber Surgeon
Stats:
WS 30, BS 30, S 31, T 30, Agi 42, Int 36, WP 35, Fel 37
Wounds: 12/12
Fate: 2/2
Attacks: 1
Movement: 4
Skills:
Blather
Common Knowledge (The Wasteland)
Dodge Blow
Gossip+10
Haggle
Heal
Perception
Read/Write
Search
Sleight of Hand
Speak Language (Reikspiel)
Trade (Cook) (Man, this party has 3 good cooks)
Talents:
Coolheaded
Flee!
Hardy
Lightning Reflexes
Savvy
Unnoticed
Trappings:
Nice New Outfit (With Hat)
Sif's Handaxe (Hand Weapon)
Dagger
Actual Boots
Full Leather Armor (AV1)
Trade Tools (Barber Surgeon)
Anatomy Textbook (heavily annotated)

Katarine lived a pretty lovely life in the Dead Canal up until now. Growing up poor, this bright and surprisingly brave young woman was originally overjoyed to marry an actual merchant, only to find out her husband wanted a live in slave he could kick and brandish a knife at whenever he felt like it. By a twist of fate, a group of sewer-delving adventurers stumbled on her plight, kicked in the door of destiny, and secured her a divorce by the strange traditions of Norsca. Freed from her abusive husband and welcomed to a company of weirdo freebooters, she's decided to pursue an old childhood dream of studying medicine. With a little help from their thief, she's secured a textbook and learned to read it, and picked up some tools and clippers so she can help her new friends stay well groomed and keep them from bleeding to death as a barber-surgeon. Who knows where things will go from there?

There's just no getting around how badly you need a medic, Katarine's got the base stats to do it very well, and it's a good opportunity to show off the actual utility of 200ing out of a class early. She'll be a little behind as some of her EXP was spent on class changing, but skills like Dodge (and Unnoticed) from being a Servant will serve her well her whole career and she really only needs one more advance (Surgery) to qualify as a good enough doctor. She's got all kinds of options after Barber Surgeon, too. Initiate? Physician? Tradeswoman? Maybe even Vagabond and become a second scout? Lots of possibilities. And really, the team wasn't just going to leave her to die horribly or get kicked around by her lovely husband.

Our heroes set out from Marienburg, never really having had much time to have unique adventures that take advantage of that weird dutch city (which also doesn't really get a city writeup, either, which sucks). They're off to catch up to this crusade, stop the Nurglites infesting it, and try to figure out why thousands of people are following a nine year old kid around while screaming about Sigmar. Their upcoming adventure has effectively nothing to do with any of that, outside of some tangential relevance to the overstuffed vampire side of the plot. They'll be stopping in the town of Pfeifeldorf, here to see where the crusade is headed and to realize they missed it by 3 days. However, because they 'resemble a group of wanted men' (despite being 4 women, 2 men, and 4 different species among them) they will be stopped by the Omnipresent Warhammer Cops and their ability to rapidly deploy 30 men to ambush the PCs. Yes, even if you didn't do (or at least, weren't caught doing) anything illegal, this adventure still needs to railroad you with getting pressganged by bounty hunters, so there just happens to be a near-identical adventuring party to yours who have wanted posters everywhere so you get arrested anyway. Welcome to the poo poo, people.

The bounty hunters in question are a group of noble second sons and daughters who want to change the inheritance system away from primogenitor. The adventure centers around Lucas and Lennhardt von Spier, the two potential rulers of Pfeilfeldorf. Lennhardt is a piece of poo poo Imperial noble and a spoiled brat, Lucas considers himself a much more enlightened ruler (and founded this little noble militia with a friend of his) but is second in line. Lucas has plans to use a Blood Dragon vampire he stumbled on in the woods badly wounded and surrounded by 'a dozen dead Strigoi' (holy gently caress, that's a hell of a Blood Dragon.) to somehow implicate his brother in a blood cult (which Lucas founded, ostensibly to help the vampire regain his strength) and/or just let the grateful vampire eat his brother. He was joined in this for a time by an ambitious peasant, until the Crusade passed through and somehow this made the ambitious peasant decide that maybe this crazy rear end vampire plan was a bad idea. Which he openly told Lucas, so Lucas strangled him and then hung him from the rafters to make it look like a suicide. If you've guessed the PCs are going to uncover all of this through the course of a bunch of rigamarole, you get nothing, this adventure is godawful. Don't get me wrong, the basic structure of some ambitious second son trying to enlist a vampire to help him get rid of his brother is fine as an adventure seed, but the details are terrible.

Anyway, our heroes are walking through the woods, not expecting the 30 armed men who are following them to arrest them, because they haven't actually done anything wrong. There's a -20 Per test to hear the bounty hunters coming, but it doesn't matter. There are thirty of them, their leader is a completed 2nd tier character (Noble to Pistolier to Duelist), they have the drop on the heroes, and there's no fighting them, convincing them this is stupid, etc. Arnolt, their leader, steps out of the woods with a pistol to inform the confused six protagonists that 'he has 16 people with crossbows trained on them and even more hiding in the woods'. They suspect a robbery immediately and get ready to negotiate, but the leader launches into his 'funny' schtick of asking them to kindly cooperate because he's got a depressed buddy who could use some cheering up by making the arrest.

He's actually not kidding; his buddy Wendel lost all his inheritance on a bad business venture and his fiance left him since he's penniless, and Wendel really is genuinely depressed and Arnolt is actually trying to cheer him up by letting him heroically take these brigands in. Wendel manifests this by sighing a lot and the book directing you to play him as exceedingly self-deprecating and convinced he's an idiot. "The PCs should either hate Wendel or feel very sorry for him." Seeing as they have literally no way of fighting free of this, Katarine suggests they go along with it. This is a misunderstanding, they can probably sort it out, and she does actually feel bad for the poor sad guardsman. Syphan and Sif want to fight, but are quickly convinced not to by the others thanks to the impossible odds. Katarine tells the poor guy that things do get better sometimes, and sometimes lucky meetings give you a new path in life, and it does actually seem to cheer him up; PCs who play along and treat Wendel well earn both his and Arnolt's genuine gratitude. Being mean to Wendel gets you nothing but trouble.

I wouldn't mind a little comic scene with bounty hunters trying to cheer up their depressed buddy if it wasn't the unstoppable 30 man railroad arrest and the adventure it was leading to didn't suck so much. The Blausblut (the hunters) would potentially work fine as a comical thing for PCs to run into, and a scene where the outgoing lieutenant of a band is trying to convince the players to play along with a play-arrest (if you do play along, he doesn't have your gear taken or anything and even listens to protestations of innocence, assuring the PCs they're just going in to confirm they're not the brigands he's after) would actually be funnier if he didn't have totally overwhelming force that will completely kick your rear end if you resist and were actually desperate for the players to play along a little. Resisting naturally leads to a trick this adventure likes a lot: The fight goes until the PCs suffer a crit, then they're forced to surrender. Be prepared for a lot of 'hopeless fight until you get critted', which is more of a problem than the designers think, because crits become lethal or crippling extremely quickly (Crit +3 or worse has very good odds to risk you losing an eye, limb, or Fate Point to being 'killed'). I don't mind the possibility of PCs being badly hurt during a fight they shouldn't have gotten into and that stops there, but there will be mandatory fights that do this. Losing a Fate Point or a limb to a fight that was intentionally balanced so that that would happen to someone before it stops feels like an unavoidable GM dick move and isn't the clever limiter on unwinnable fights the designers think it is.

Arnolt Schade then spends the entire walk into town talking about his thesis about how primogenitor creates a class of disenfranchised nobles who consistently fall to Chaos or heresy or scheme against their siblings, and that if more equitable noble inheritance is not instituted in the Empire, soon enough it will fall to civil strife. I suppose he's not familiar with the travails of the Byzantines and how non-primogenitor resulted in smaller and smaller land-holding throughout the Empire that were then often bought up for cash by land speculators who then became an incredibly powerful force within the Empire and ruined many, many others, but you know, you always see the flaws of the system you live under and not a different form of inheritance that exists on another planet and a completely different era of history. Tragic, really. Also, nothing about the lot of peasants ever occurs to him, and it's clear he partly does this job to have captive audiences to drone on about politics to. He naturally won't really listen to anything the PCs say while doing this, which is sort of a waste; if he was engaged in active and vigorous debate with PCs who are interested, they might end the scene without despising the guy and might actually be amused.

Then they get to Pfeifeldorf, their weapons are taken, and the local magistrate takes some time out from dealing with the chaos of Karl's crusade passing through to force them to investigate a stolen chicken because 'a troublesome woman has been bothering him about the missing chicken' and this is his chance to make somebody do the stupid job. In the course of investigating the kidnapping of Nugget, rightful 7th Chairman of the Tojo Clan and real estate manager extraordinaire, our heroes will naturally collapse the house of cards that leads to the blood cult, the vampire, Lucas's bullshit, etc. If this all seems like an incredibly forced setup for a 'comic' adventure to you, it's because it is. Our heroes sigh, agree to find the drat chicken, and get down to it.

Next Time: The Hunt for Nugget

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 15:22 on Apr 10, 2020

RocknRollaAyatollah
Nov 26, 2008



Lipstick Apathy

The thing about Hermits and Waywards is, from what I remember from their books, that they are failed projects by the Messengers and not really meant to be PC's. In typical White Wolf fashion, every character type gets a full write up and ability to be played despite how they are in no way meant to be a PC option.

From what I remember the Waywards were meant to originally be the commanders of the Imbued but because they were too rabid and crazy, they were discontinued. Their symbol means warlord or general in the Hunter hobo code.

Hermits are just meant to be the Messenger's megaphone and to show up, letting the PC's know what's going on since they have a direct line to the Messengers.

They're really just NPC types to have in your game that aren't necessarily enemies, although the Wayward is pretty much an antagonist/frenemy.

RocknRollaAyatollah fucked around with this message at 15:33 on Apr 10, 2020

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Also, naturally, the reason the magistrate is hiring them is the woman who lost her chicken is a 'monster of a woman' and a terrible scold, so he wants to get her out of his hair. Oh, and the magistrate is still maintaining the 30 man bounty hunter band to shoot the PCs if they try to leave town or not investigate the kidnapping of the chicken. Dude is really going to crazy lengths about this chicken. In a better story, it would be because the chicken is the cover story and he's hoping the PCs stumble on the wider conspiracy and hideous danger (with maybe less of the 'shrill harpy' stuff) but no. It's just the GM going 'C'MON HAVE MY FUNNY CHICKEN ADVENTURE GODDAMNIT'

One would think if he can afford to hire 30 guys to watch the PCs, he could just like...pay them to find the chicken.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



"An absurdly inconsequential task leads to the protagonists destabilizing the balance of evil and politics in a nearby area" is top-tier adventure kickoff fuel but yeah this is kind of coming in way too late to be anything other than pushing them towards the plot. "For want of a lost chicken" should be the inciting adventure. Also good move press-ganging an otherwise doomed NPC into gaining party armor.

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

If you will not serve in combat, you will serve on the firing line!




Night10194 posted:

Wendel manifests this by sighing a lot and the book directing you to play him as exceedingly self-deprecating and convinced he's an idiot.

Ow, that hurt.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Hostile V posted:

"An absurdly inconsequential task leads to the protagonists destabilizing the balance of evil and politics in a nearby area" is top-tier adventure kickoff fuel but yeah this is kind of coming in way too late to be anything other than pushing them towards the plot. "For want of a lost chicken" should be the inciting adventure. Also good move press-ganging an otherwise doomed NPC into gaining party armor.

All of the 'The bemused party goes through this horseshit' stuff in these stems from your Abandon Hope review, and I thought it was a perfect time to bring in what happened with the growth of G-Unit. Also it's absolutely what my players would do presented with A: We need a medic and B: This woman actually has goddamn great stats and a hook, why is she wasted on doomed NPC status, welcome aboard team hireling/mascot. My players often recruit an NPC or two to join them over the course of campaigns because I find it doesn't annoy them having someone hanging around as long as it was their idea.

And yes, 'PCs get hired to investigate a chicken and accidentally destroy a huge conspiracy' is one of the standard Warhams adventures, just...30 man pressgang for it undermines it. This whole setup, and whole adventure, is meant to be funny, but it just...isn't and something trying and failing to be funny is really painful.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



I'm still not gonna trust anyone with hidden/secret nazi tats around my Jewish rear end, "reformed" or no.

GimpInBlack
Sep 27, 2012

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


Everyone posted:

The weird thing is that they really aren't "the Baddies." They're people using their unasked for inborn demon powers to fight demons and the powers of Hell.

I'd much rather hang out with the Lucifuge than those creepy assholes from Ashwood "Oh, look, a witch. Let's hunt her down and rape her to death for funsies" Abbey or the not-Umbrella Corporation bastards from Chieron.

At least in the core book, the faction of literal antichrists being the closest thing to unvarnished good guys* was a deliberate choice. Some of the later sourcebooks made them more sinister, IIRC, but in the core that was always kind of the idea.

* Well, among the tier 3 groups at least. Hard to say much bad about the Union.

Everyone
Sep 6, 2019


Night10194 posted:

One would think if he can afford to hire 30 guys to watch the PCs, he could just like...pay them to find the chicken.

Oh, you know, just buy another loving chicken.

GimpInBlack posted:

At least in the core book, the faction of literal antichrists being the closest thing to unvarnished good guys* was a deliberate choice. Some of the later sourcebooks made them more sinister, IIRC, but in the core that was always kind of the idea.

* Well, among the tier 3 groups at least. Hard to say much bad about the Union.

Exactly. With the Lucifuge you're playing way less powerful (and more human looking) versions of Hellboy, Ghost Rider or Adam from Good Omens. People born to be/serve evil but choosing to be and do good.

Everyone fucked around with this message at 16:54 on Apr 10, 2020

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Night10194 posted:

My players often recruit an NPC or two to join them over the course of campaigns because I find it doesn't annoy them having someone hanging around as long as it was their idea.

As do mine, and with my group she'd almost certainly end up in a lesbian romance with one of the PCs by the time the dust settles. In this kind of adventure, I'd probably point her to Initiate of Shallya.

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





Hellboy’s powers are ‘won’t die,’ ‘very physically strong,’ and ‘his hand is a required element of the apocalypse’ so I bet you could make him with Hunter the vigil if you played your cards right. Though spending every single merit dot on Destiny/Doom 10 would be a bother.

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012




For Gold & Glory #17: Appendix A, part II: Spells

Uhhhh hi guys it's been a second. :downs: I'm gonna try to finish this thing now!

Last time I started tackling the sizable appendices with an overview of how magic works. This time we'll take a look at some spells.

This game has a lot of spells. The tables listing all the spells by level take five pages, and the descriptions a whopping 107. Some of the spells are quite short and fit six to a page. Others, such as Reincarnation are massive, involve multiple tables and take up two whole pages. There is no table of contents for this section, so make sure to write down the page number in case Thief steps in a fire trap again and needs to get dragged back to life.

Making magic

Spells have a bunch of moving parts. Let's take a look at an adventuring staple and I'll highlight some bits:

quote:

Cure Light Wounds (Necromancy)
Caster/Level (Sphere): Priest/1 (Healing)
Range: Touch
Duration: Permanent
Effective Area: 1 creature
Components: V and S
Casting Time: 5
Saving Throw: None
This spell allows the caster to restore 1d8 HP of damage to the creature touched. The healing cannot affect creatures without a corporeal body, the undead, non-living, or extra-planar creatures. Only current wounds are healed, and the spell does not prevent future wounds.
The reverse, cause light wounds, requires a successful touch attack to inflict 1d8 HP of damage to the victim. Treat wounds caused by the reverse as any normal injury.
First of all, all spells have a name. This has no mechanical effect, so feel free to reflavour it to your liking! Because this game is completely unaffiliated with Wizards of the Coast, it obviously can't refer to WotC's intellectual property, such as famous Greyhawk characters. As a result, some spells have received endearing bootleg copy names, like the Big Verbing Hand series.

Certain spells are reversible, and this is indicated by the italicized spell name. This means you only need to learn one spell to use either of its applications. However, you need to decide which version of the spell you want when you memorize the spell, you can't flip on the fly. Besides necromancy spells that can be used to either heal or harm, other spells allow you to adjust the ambient lighting, transmute flesh to stone and back again, or shrink and enlarge creatures (:pervert:). This is actually a really neat touch because hoo boy learning spells is hard enough already.

The Caster/Level line does not mean "caster level". It's character class and spell level, okay? Priests get first level spells on first level, second level on third level, third level on fifth level, and so on. And when the spell's effect says it deals, say, 1d6 damage per caster level, it means your levels in the relevant spellcasting class. It's 1989, okay?

Cure/Cause Light Wounds affects one creature you can touch. Remember that a spellcaster can't move at all when casting a spell, lose their dexterity bonus to AC, are delayed in initiative (more on that in just a bit) and lose the spell if they get damaged or fail a saving throw before their turn comes up. As far as I can tell, there is no way to "hold" a touch spell ready either (unless the description says otherwise), so you only get that one round to poke your target to death, assuming they haven't wandered off out of your reach. Touch spells seem… Bad. Other spells might have an area of effect, which might be a "15-foot hemisphere" or a "20-foot cube". There are no guidelines for applying these shapes onto a map, so good luck with that.

As an aside I'm pretty sure the duration of this spell is incorrect. According to the rules, a "permanent" spell lasts until dispelled, even though other damage-dealing spells are usually "instantaneous" instead. As a cool detail, a caster can verbally dispel their own spell prematurely without having to resort to a Dispel Magic.

Spell components! Ah yes, everyone loves spell components. Cure Light Wounds only has somatic and verbal components, meaning the caster must have both hands free and be able to speak clearly. A spell might also have more or less flavourful material components, such as the bat poop and sulphur required for a Fireball. According to the rules, destroying a spell component before the spell finishes casting is one more way to interrupt a spell, but there are no further rules for them. Do you have to keep track of them? Who knows! :iiam:


John William Waterhouse: The Crystal Ball, detail. 1902.

The casting time of a spell is expressed with either a simple number (as here) or a concrete unit of in-game time (such as "1 round"). When it's a simple number, it represents an initiative penalty: As you might remember, in this game actions are declared at the beginning of every round, after which initiative is rolled. Spellcasting begins when actions are declared and concludes when the caster's initiative count rolls around, and throughout all that, the caster is vulnerable to attacks because they can't move. If the casting time is a round or more, the spell finishes at the end of that period, after everyone else has taken their actions.

The spell also lists the effect of a successful saving throw, if one can be made. The spell might be negated altogether, or the effect might be halved. The spell's description might be explicit about the specific saving throw that needs to be made, but sometimes you'll just have to pick the most appropriate one by ear. It's possible to voluntarily fail a saving throw, and the book helpfully reminds us that if a PC fails a saving throw against a fireball, all their equipment also need to save against it.

Finally, there's the spell's actual description which spells out any remaining hoops the caster must jump to use it, and all its weird corner cases. For example, a Fireball bursts out of an enclosed space if its AoE is too big, and a Lightning Bolt bounces off walls like a billiard ball for whatever reason. It's very cute and cool, but I also hate it because these are exactly the kind of details that bogs a good round of combat right down. "Ooh but if I nudge the Fireball that way wouldn't the column of fire hit the Goblin Shaman and maybe set the Cursed Scroll of Macguffin on fire lemme grab my calculator–" :negative:


Don't hurt me!

A lot of the magic in this book is entirely devoted for solving encounters with force, either by doing unto others, or by preventing them from doing unto you. But there are also other, weirder spells. Check these out:

quote:

Pass Plant (Transmutation)
Caster/Level (Sphere): Priest/5 (Plant)
Range: Touch
Duration: Special
Effective Area: Special
Components: V, S and M
Casting Time: 8
Saving Throw: None
This spell allows the caster to enter one living tree and (if desired) exit from another, with a maximum distance determined by the type of tree involved. This spell will require some additional terrain details to be provided by the GM, as both trees must be of the same type, and they both must be large enough for the caster to physically fit inside of them. [. . .]
Some of these spells are pretty out there, both in concept and in implementation. Did you know that you can magically teleport twice as far through an oak as you can through a deciduous tree of any kind? :pseudo: I'm absolutely positive this one exists entirely because Gygax wanted a druid who could make like a tree. :v:

quote:

Quest (Enchantment)
Caster/Level (Sphere): Priest/5 (All)
Range: 60 yards
Duration: Until fulfilled
Effective Area: 1 creature
Components: V, S and M
Casting Time: 8
Saving Throw: Negate
This spell attempts to force a creature to perform a quest of some kind as determined by the caster and return with proof of the completed deed. [. . .]
It's an Arthurian quest in a box! If you don't go along with it, you get a cumulative –1 penalty to all your saving throws every day you play hooky. Presumably this will eventually lead to you contracting dysentery and dying.


All in all, the spells themselves really underline the weird position spell casters were in AD&D. On the one hand, they can be really powerful, with spells that poop out a bunch of damage or really debilitating status effects. On the other hand, spellcasting in combat is an absolute pain in the backside and practically demands the rest of the party to play pretty tight defense for their artillery battery. Even a thrown rock can be enough to interrupt the fight-deciding spell.

There's also a ridiculous range in the various spells' scope. Some, such as Cure Minor Wounds there, have a clear adventuring application, and you can use it to make basic magical items. Spells like Quest (or the wizard spell Magic Jar, used to turn into a lich) on the other hand, are clearly just mechanical scaffolding for traditional D&D plots.

And then there's the incredibly niche poo poo like Pass Plant and Protection from Cantrips (:psyduck:) that reminds me of this stuff more than anything else:



Coming up next: Appendix B, part I: Mundane treasure!

Everyone
Sep 6, 2019


Joe Slowboat posted:

Hellboy’s powers are ‘won’t die,’ ‘very physically strong,’ and ‘his hand is a required element of the apocalypse’ so I bet you could make him with Hunter the vigil if you played your cards right. Though spending every single merit dot on Destiny/Doom 10 would be a bother.

Well, "hand is a required element of the apocalypse" isn't something that strikes me as a "power" as such. An Aspiration or a Condition, perhaps but not really a power. That said, it seems unlikely that you'd be able to build a reasonably interpretation of Hellboy via HtV. Those pursuing the Vigil are basically human. Maybe with some odd powers or weird equipment/relics, but human. Figure building Hellboy would be something reserved for Deviant, Beast, Promethean or Changeling. Figure Changeling or Deviant would be best. Beast gets into stuff that just really isn't part of Hellboy, what with Lairs and Hunger, while Promethean plays up the alienation from humanity that, again, Hellboy doesn't really have (though granted I'm looking at Hellboy via the movies as I never got into the comic itself).

That said, assuming "won't die" is a literal thing, one approach might be via the "Immortals" from Mummy: The Curse with the "Right Hand of Doom" as a kind of relic that makes Hellboy immortal.

Everyone fucked around with this message at 19:10 on Apr 10, 2020

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





Hellboy’s legally human, there was a UN ceremony and everything.

That being said, a key element of him is that he’s the son of a duke of Hell and intended to end the world, but has chosen instead to be the world’s greatest paranormal investigator - so I think that ‘looks human’ is a small price to pay for making a Lucifuge Hellboy, which will keep the themes intact.

E: like, the Lucifuge clearly derive at least partially from Hellboy, and are the best fit in terms of the core character themes of Big Red, and in general I think that the BPRD is best modeled as a collaborative effort of the higher weirdness type Vigil character options.

(You could in theory also do Hellboy as the child of a Demon from The Descent, since he’s half human, but the God Machine as an antagonist fits his style less than miscellaneous horror gribblies)

Joe Slowboat fucked around with this message at 19:26 on Apr 10, 2020

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017



RocknRollaAyatollah posted:

They're really just NPC types to have in your game that aren't necessarily enemies, although the Wayward is pretty much an antagonist/frenemy.

The Wayward book does a good job of 'here's how to play one, and here's all caveats.'

On the subject of Reckoning, one of the reasons it's my favorite is it's got some of the more fun fluff to read in the same way it's kind of fun to read the fluff in Shadowrun as it's from the perspective of unreliable narrators. It was great fun to put together the clues for what the Hunters were talking about that they didn't know, but the reader knew. Or thought they did, Hunter was where WW started to play around some with the not everything is an identifiable splat. The Hunter's Survival Guide was a good example and it was the talk of Hermits that got me thinking as the Hermit book tells of an encounter in the Survival Guide from the Hermit's perspective.* It would be a tempting book for me to F&F the Survival Guide, but if you thought the Skinhead example character was problematic AF, the bit in the book on Africa is written from the perspective of a South African white dude with views. And if you think that a white guy narrating about Africa is part of the problem, woo doggy are you on the right track.

*A bunch of Hunters try to storm a vampire's compound in Mexico. It was probably Jalan-Aajav's, one of the big dogs of the Black Hand part of the Sabbat. As you can imagine it did not end well, although two Hunters did make it out with the help of the Hermit and his high powered sniper rifle.

Aethyron
Dec 12, 2013


Hunter: the Reckoning - Player's Guide

Part Four: Merits & Flaws!

Chapter 4: New Traits

That which has been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past.
--Ecclesiastes 3:15


So, Merits & Flaws. Most old World of Darkness games have these in the corebook and as is traditional for this sort of system they're always hilariously unbalanced and easy to abuse by taking a bunch of do-nothing flaws for extra points. I guess they ran out of room in the Hunter core, so they got offloaded to the Player's Guide instead. Let's see what they came up with.

First, we open with a fiction piece about a group of British hunters (Jeff, Jason, Serena, and Talbot- who show up in several other Hunter books). They've been tracking a Vampire who owns an art gallery for several weeks and are now making their move. Jeff has gone in as the bait to try to lure the vamp out while Jason and Serena are out in the van, worried because Talbot (iirc his name is Joshua Talbot, so it's strange to see him only referred to by last name here) has gone rogue and snuck in the back. Jeff is taken by the Vampire to see a special exhibit which is revealed to be Talbot, beaten and tied to a chair. She calls this piece Intruder Alert, because what Vampire ever passes up the opportunity to go Full Villain? Things are not looking good for our team, and Jeff is about to try to jump one of the vamp's bodyguards and probably die when Jason rams his van through the wall providing enough of a distraction for Jeff to take out the guard as Talbot picks up the chair he is tied to, sets it aflame (with Cleave) and proceeds to beat the Vampire to death with a flaming chair like an absolute hero. The hunters get the hell out of there and it's revealed that Talbot is taking more and more risks because he's got a terminal illness so he might as well spend his last days taking out vamps like a stone badass.

This story is great and I will not hear a word said against it.

Anyway, Merits and Flaws. You buy Merits with Freebie Points at character creation. Taking Flaws gives you extra Freebie Points (I really wish they'd come up with a better term than Freebie Points). You can only take at most 7 points worth of Flaws.

Our first sign of trouble comes when the book informs us that "Some but not all of these Merits and Flaws involve tangible system benefits or disadvantages" while others involve no systems but are still useful because they "establish roleplaying guides" and can really enhance the story if they're used properly.

There are some rules about how you can maybe gain or lose Merits and Flaws during your chronicle, but they're pretty vague and handwave-y.

The categories of Merits & Flaws are Social, Physical, Mental, Legal, and Economic. So already I can tell that this is gonna be fun.

Mostly these will change the difficulty of certain types of rolls by +/- 2 (usually 2). Sometimes, however, they will adjust your dice pool instead (also usually by 2). Why is it sometimes modifying the difficulty and sometimes the dice pool? Stop asking so many questions, that's why.

Seriously if anyone can figure out why, please tell me because I have absolutely no idea and the book doesn't mention it at all.

Social Merits
(1 point)
-Approachable: You are very inviting and nonthreatening. Empathy rolls are easier.
-Early Adopter: "Wow! Look at that new palmtop computer. I just gotta have one." Add dice to Technology rolls to figure out unfamiliar devices.
-Funny: The only use for being funny, it turns out, is to lower the difficulty of rolls "intended to boost morale".
-Good Listener: Lower difficulty for all "apparently friendly Social rolls that involve talking to your character" (as opposed to what???)
-Good Taste: You have, among other things, "seen the right films for discussion in cultured company, and you wouldn't know who starred in Dumb and Dumber, let alone have the first clue about the plot." Lower difficulty to impress snobs, I guess.
-Gossip: Lower difficulty for non-aggressive Interrogation rolls
-Lovestruck: Yes, love only costs 1 point but this is different than the Soulmate background we'll find in Hunter Book: Judge which seems to be better. Regain 2 Willpower instead of 1 each morning.
-Media Junkie: Lower the difficulty of Social or Research rolls involving pop culture. Someone please think of an example of such a roll that would be something you'd bother to actually roll for I am very curious.
-Natural Leader: You need Charisma 3 for this, and it just gives you +2 dice on all Leadership rolls.. For 1 point.
-Natural Politician: You need Manipulation 3, but you get +2 dice for Manipulation rolls "in social situations that involve an element of politics, such as an office meeting or gun-club gathering" (wtf?)
-Punctual: No mechanical effect. You're just always on time, barring deliberate interference.
-Smooth: -2 difficulty on all Manipulation rolls forever.
-Way With Words: +2 dice for Expression rolls that "involve words"

(2 points)
-Best Friend: Best Friends are better that love, we have proved it with math. A Best Friend is like taking the Ally background, but better. That's basically the only guidance we get.
-Enchanting Voice: Lower difficulty on all rolls involving the use of your voice to persuade, seduce, charm, or order. Perhaps it will not surprise you that the examples given here are written as if a woman is using the merit.
-Fashion Sense: Wait, how is this different from Good Taste? Turns out, you lower the difficulty of social rolls in situations where dressing appropriately matters "such as in a business meeting, chatting at a club or attending an invitation-only function."
-Flirt: +2 dice for social rolls when you flirt with "members of the opposite sex, or members of the same sex" so good for them there.
-Good Judge of Character: Lower difficulty on Perception rolls for "assessing a person or human-seeming monster"
-Great Liar: +2 dice for social rolls when you lie
-Laid-back Friends: You have some friends who don't care that you're never around because you hunt monsters. What do they do? Something. Perhaps if they're your Ally background they don't ask inconvenient questions.
-People Person: Lower difficulty on social rolls to make a good impression.
-Pillar of the Community: People in your area like and trust you to no mechanical effect. "You may be able to call on their aid in a pinch. You may not get it though." This is different, somehow, from the Roots Background in Hunter Book: Innocent.
-Seasoned Traveler (2 or 4 points): You're good at finding accomodation, supplies, and help wherever you go in your home country (2 points) or really just anywhere (4 points). No actual mechanics for this either.
-Socially Aware: +2 dice on "any Perception roll involving interaction between other people and/or human-seeming monsters".
-Trivia Champ: Once in a while, at the Storyteller's discretion, you know a random useful fact. Nothing occult, just common-culture stuff. Oh, but you could be dangerously wrong.
-Upright Citizen: Everyone always believes the best about you and people will have a hard time believing anything bad.
-Vibrant Neighborhood: You, uh, live in a part of the city where lots of stuff happens so people tend to ignore odd events?

(3 points)
-Corporate Savvy: +2 dice "to any roll involving manipulating a corporate structure or a corporate employee" which is really gonna depend on your definition of "corporate" huh?
-Media Savvy: +2 dice for Social rolls dealing with journalists or news organizations.
-Supportive Family: Your family isn't going to ask questions about your weird new hunting lifestyle.

(4 points)
Lucky: Once per session, the Storyteller "may" decrease the difficulty of some important roll. You can't have this and the Fool's Luck Innocence Edge, but at least if you get the Edge during play your merit dots are refunded.

Physical Merits
(1 point)
-Acute Sense: Lower the difficulty of rolls involving one of your sense, yes it could be taste if you want
-Good Right/Left Hook: +2 to damage rolls when you punch.
-Hollow Leg: Halve any penalties you suffer from drinking alcohol
-Light Sleeper: Any disturbance wakes you right up. Unlike possessing the Vigilance Edge (Hunter Book: Judge) or the Endurance Trait (Hunter Book: Defender), this doesn't decrease how much sleep you need.
-Natural Runner: You count as having +1 Dex when determining Movement rates.
-Perfect Balance: Reduce the difficulty of "all balance-related rolls"
-Robust Health: Reduce the difficulty of rolls to resist illness or poisoning (including alcohol poisoning)
-Sea Legs: You don't incur penalties due to rough seas or unpredictable ship motion.

(2 points)
-Bundle of Energy: You only need 5 or 6 hours of sleep. You can't have both this and the Endurance Trait (Hunter Book: Defender) and if you get the Vigilance Edge (Hunter Book: Judge) you must cash this in for two freebie points.
-Cat Napper: You don't need to get all your sleep all at once. As long as you get enough sleep every 24 hour period, you can function by taking random naps. There is no mechanical effect here.
-Forgettable: Strangers have trouble remembering what you look like. You can't have an Appearance higher than 2 or 3 (so which is it?) nor a Charisma over 3. This is not the same as Hunter Book: Innocent's Everyman background.
-Good Night Vision: Lower difficulty of Perception rolls at night.
-Sexy: "You are one sexy mutha." (I'm so sorry). Lower the difficulty of Social rolls when dealing with someone who is attracted to you. Oh, but if you "direct your charms" at them it's lowered by 3 not 2.

(3 points)
-Daredevil: When attempting "any dangerous action" you can add 3 dice and ignore one botch. The action must be difficulty 8+ and have the potential to do 3 lethal or 6 bashing damage. The Storyteller "may" only let you use this once per session.
-Huge Size: You get an extra Bruised health level. The Storyteller "may" also award you bonuses (what type???) to push objects, break doors, or resist knockdown.

Mental Merits
(1 point)
-Common Sense: When you're going to do something dumb, maybe the Storyteller is like "uh, don't?". This is not the same as the Intuition Ability.
-Concentration: You are unaffected by disturbances when you focus on a particular action.
-Good Map Reader: You... I don't know, you read maps good? "you can always find your way to where you need to be." I cannot believe you need a Merit to get the most out of reading a loving map but here we are.
-Fast Reader: You can read faster than most people. How much faster? Does not say.
-Good Recognition: You're really good at remembering people and places.
-Healthy Skepticism: Reduce difficulties of any roll to perceive a lie. The text notes that this Merit should be roleplayed as much as possible, thus technically implying that you needn't both roleplay other Merits, which, oops?
-Religious Devotion: I'm torn between being mad that they printed the same Merit twice in this book and happy that they included it in the Merits section. No, actually, I'm mad about it.
-Time Sense: You always know what time it is.

(2 points)
-Code of Honor: 2 extra dice on Willpower rolls when accomplishing a major feat in accordance with your code.
-Determined: 2 dice on resisted rolls when someone is trying to persuade you or supernatural tricks when your mind-shield is off.
-Eidetic Memory: You may annoy the gently caress out of your Storyteller by constantly asking them to remind you of random details that your character would know because they have this. Perfect recall, roll Perception + Alertness to remember under stressful conditions unless you have Concentration from earlier.
-Internet Savvy: "The Internet is becoming increasingly commonplace, but it is far from universal. Many users never progress beyond the basic email/simple surfing to 'sites whose address you know' stage." Having this Merit lets you, I'm not kidding, use the Internet for anything else like "using a mailing list" "researching obscure weapons" or "picking up clues about monsters online". Side note: This game has both Computer, Technology, and Research as Abilities.
-Natural Linguist: You get +3 dice to rolls involving speaking languages "other than your native tongue (presumably you use that language almost flawlessly)."

(3 points)
-Fast Learner: Learning a new Ability costs 1 less xp.
-Natural Aptitude: Choose an Ability. You pay for each new level of it as if it was one level lower, and the first point only costs 1xp. You also get an extra die when you roll it.
-Unflappable: "You were almost hit by a car? That was close. Your wife left you? Ah, well." +2 dice on Willpower rolls to "stay clam" and not overreact to mundane experiences. This is different from the Steel Nerves Background from Hunter: Book Judge, which works on spooky stuff.

(4 points)
-Direction Sense: Yes, 4 points to "rarely get lost" and be able to estimate distance and probably guess which way is north.
-Optimistic: Regain 2 Willpower each morning instead of 1. So, seriously, in this dark horror game being an optimist in love is OP as gently caress

Legal Merits
(1 point)
-Specialist Drivers License: You can drive a truck or a tractor or something.

(2 points)
-Dual Nationality: Uh, that. You may even have two passports. "This makes it easy to operate in two different places, and even hide out in another country if things get too hot". If I was feeling particularly obstructionist I would try to argue that, RAW, this allows you to be in two places at once or that you need this Merit to ever go anywhere but your house because this thing is badly worded.
-Firearms License: You can have legal guns to whatever extent that works in whatever country your game is in.

Economic Merits
(1 point)
-Alimony Recipient (1-3 points): "Your marriage has failed, but at least that cheating rear end in a top hat has to pay you." You get free extra points in Resources without having to work. Your rating also suggest how wealthy your ex was and/or how badly you beat them in court. You may also have the Children Flaw.
-Bargain Hound: Lower the difficulty of Resources rolls.
-Independent Income (1-5 points): This Merit exists so that when your Storyteller asks "what is it exactly that you do to have Resources 5" you can point at it and they have to shut up, because this means that you don't have to work to have Resources dots.
-Good Credit Rating: You have a good credit rating, which actually doesn't... do anything that I can see. You need Resources 3 though.
-Wealthy Partner: Your other half is rich, so you can go hunt without worrying about bills. This also forgets to have a mechanical effect.

(3 points)
-Flexible Job: You can have Resources without worrying about it restricting your hunting time too much
-Paid Mortgage: You own your own home. Congrats! Perhaps the most 90s Merit imaginable.

Flaws

Social Flaws
(1 point)
-Bad Liar: +2 difficulty on "verbal deception" rolls
-Balding: +1 difficulty on rolls involving seduction (wtf??)
-Bully: This literally has no mechanical effect. You're just an rear end in a top hat.
-Children: You have children. You can't regain Willpower after a night's rest until you see your kids. Potentially crippling if you lose access to them.
-Chronically Late: You have to make a Willpower roll to be on time. If you botch then you're hours late or just don't show up.
-Chronic Pessimist: +2 difficulty on Leadership rolls
-Chronically Shy: Wait, did we just forget alphabetical order? Anyway +2 difficulty on Social rolls involving strangers
-Clannish Family: Your family will hate your friends and not help them. "Your kin don't do anyting that directly or indirectly helps anyone apart from their own."
-Collaborator: You allied with a monster to take down a different monster (or rumour says you did), and word got out so now "conservative" hunters don't trust you
-Crude: +2 difficulty on social rolls in "refined or formal" environments, you slob.
-Cultural Snob: Wait, I feel like this was a good thing like 10 pages ago. Anyway, you hate popular music, TV and movies and "you think that knowledge of TV is a sign of poor taste and incorrigible stupidity". I choose to interpret this as 'knowledge that televisions exist' and you can't stop me. +2 difficulty on Social rolls when dealing with, like, anyone probably.
-Defensive: You have trouble taking criticism or accepting responsibility for mistakes. No mechanical effect, but you're gonna annoy your table so so much.
-Eccentric Appearance: "You dye your hair pink, wear clothes that are fashionable only among fringe subcultures such as goths or punks, and otherwise appear nothing like the average citizen." Is it just me, or does the use of 'and' there mean that PINK HAIR IS MANDATORY. Anyway, you scare "mainstream people" +2 difficulty on all Social rolls.
-Gambling Addict: +2 difficulty on Resources rolls.
-Ghoulish Sense of Humor: You make jokes in uncomfortable situations, +2 difficulty to Social rolls in those moments
-Icy Demeanor: This is a weird one: Empathy rolls made toward you are at a +2 Difficulty, which given that Empathy can be used to detect when you're lying, doesn't really seem as much like a flaw?
-Ignorant: You miss common cultural references "such as knowing that the Statue of Liberty is in New York City", although you're not necessarily dumb or uneducated.
-Impractical Dresser: You dress to impress rather than be comfortable. "Unless you explicitly state that you dress appropriately for physical activity, you wear high heels, tight jeans or something else that hampers physical activity". +2 difficulty on Athletics or Dodge rolls. So, a) does this mean that if you don't take this Flaw you can wear heels or whatever without penalty? and b) this flaw is useless because you can just say you're ignoring it all the time. Free point, I guess!
-Intolerant Neighbors: People in your area will call the police at the slightest sound or disturbance.
-Misinformed: You believe in UFOs or some weird conspiracy theory. When you test a Knowledge relating to your believe, +2 difficulty and then it says "this penalty kicks in when you roll a failure" so uh you only get +2 difficulty after you've already failed???
-Mistaken Identity: You resemble some notorious figure, and it will cause problems
-Needy Friends: Your friends have a pattern of screwing up and turning to you for help. All the time. If you have Allies, you have to take care of them harder.
-No Internet Access: You don't have internet access.
-No Phone: You have no phone
-Nonconfrontational: +2 difficulty on rolls to debate or argue with someone who is normally friendly to you. Strangers are apparently no problem.
-Poor Dental Health: Your teeth are so bad that you get +2 to "any die roll that involves interacting face-to-face with others." An overly literal reading of this would definitely include combat, so those must be some truly messed-up teeth.
-Poor Online Demeanor: You were too much of an rear end in a top hat on Hunter-Net and now all social rolls with any Hunter who might be familiar with your username are +2 difficulty.
-Poor Personal Hygiene: Just like above with teeth, but smell. It also uses the phrase "interacting with others" so again a too-literal reading means you smell so bad you fight worse.
-Poor Taste: You "wallow in bathroom humor, lowbrow jokes and other practices that make more refined people uncomfortable. You've seen movies like Dumb and Dumber dozens of times and don't plan on giving up on them any time soon." What is this book's thing with that movie? Also, apparently this makes you an "instant pariah" in "any reasonably cultured community" so there's some sort of weird class thing going on here that I'm not sure where to begin to unpack.

Okay, I'm just going to post a picture of the next one because oh no


ONE OF THESE THINGS IS NOT LIKE THE OTHERS. Also, that sure is a 1-point Flaw apparently.

-Socially Oblivious: +2 difficulty on Etiquette rolls
-Speech Impediment: +2 difficulty on rolls when you talk
-Stubborn: +2 difficulty on rolls when someone tries to change your mind, which also seems potentially like a good thing depending on what it could be applied to.
-Superstitious: I was not expecting the mechanical effect of this to be +2 difficulty on rolls when dealing with people who are annoyed by your superstitions, but that's what it is.
-Trusting: No mechanical effect. You're just trusting, although I think maybe they mean naive because one of the examples of things you would do is "take a stroll in a poorly patrolled city park after nightfall."

(2 points)
wow so uh

that's pretty hosed

-Compulsive Liar: You have to spend a Willpower point to "be honest".
-Conspicuous Consumer: You live beyond your means, +2 difficulty on Resources rolls.
-Dogged by Fringe Media: Some nut with a zine is following you around and tends to show up at the worst times.
-Foreigner: So this gives you a distinguishing accent that makes you easier to identify, and +2 difficulty on Streetwise and Etiquette checks.
-Honest to a Fault: You hate to lie, and are at +2 difficulty when you try it.
-Infamy: People in your community look down on you, +2 difficulty on social rolls involving people that know your past. Which is... how is this a worse Flaw than Shady Past?
-Lustful: The difficulty of attempts to seduce you is -2. Because having the GM roll a check to see if your character is seduced or not has never gone wrong in the history of RPGing.
-Monstrous Connection: You have a monster in your family or at your job, although they're not necessarily hostile to you (and may not know you're a hunter).
-Nosy Neighbors: Your neighbourhood is full of gossips and busybodies always prying into your comings and goings.
-Poor Judge of Character: You always seem to trust the wrong people. Awareness and Intuition rolls in social circumstances are harder. "Also, your friends and acquaintances tend to be sponges and other lowlifes." I'm going to take that to mean that this flaw will give me a talking sponge as a friend (perhaps a sea sponge) and once again, you cannot stop me.

and now there's this

why would this seem like a good idea?

-Technophobe: You are scared of technology (including ATMS, hilariously). You have to succeed at a difficulty 6 Intelligence roll to even use a computer, ATM "or similar device". Increase the difficulty of Computer/Technology rolls

(3 points)
-Moneygrubbing: You have to succeed at a willpower roll not to accept bribes. It's harder if you think nobody will get hurt.
-Wavering Faith: Learning about monsters has shaken your faith, add to the difficulty of Willpower tests.

(4 points)
-Criminal Entanglements: You owe a lot of money or a big favour to a criminal and this Flaw specifies that you've already refused or been unable to pay. Hitmen aren't coming for you quite yet, but the threat hangs over your head. For some reason it then says that the nature of your debt and the person you owe are up to the Storyteller.
-Unlucky: The reverse of Lucky- once/session, increase the difficulty of some big roll by 2. You can't have this and Lucky at the same time, nor can you have this and the Fool's Luck Edge.

(5 points)
-Pacifist: You utterly refuse to use violence, even if your live or the lives of others are in danger, and you work hard to prevent others from doing so. You refuse to carry or procure weapons. In certain situations a Willpower roll may be required to "resist the temptation to engage in violence when a gross offense is committed before or against you" but if you do use violence you can't regain your morning Willpower until you come to terms with your lapse or change your whole philosophy.

Physical Flaws
(1 point)
-Allergies: Turns out allergies increase the difficulty of everything by 1.
-Arthritic: Tasks requiring fine control are +1 difficulty.
-Color Blind: You have to make a difficulty 6 Perception roll to correctly know the colour of an object. This seems to apply to all colours.
-Distinguishing Characteristic (1-2 points): You have a scar or birthmark or something that makes you memorable and easy to pick out of a crowd. 1 point if you can hide it under your clothes, otherwise 2 points.
-Heavy Sleeper: You need to make a difficulty 6 Willpower roll to wake up quickly when there's trouble, otherwise you spend a turn waking up. If you botch, you literally just keep sleeping.
-Lazy: You have to make a difficulty 6 Willpower roll to take care of routine, non-hunt-related tasks, otherwise you just let things slide.
-Low Alcohol Tolerance: Double penalties for consuming alcohol.
-Motion Sickness: +2 difficulty to do anything when you're in a car, or on a boat or amusment part ride.
-No sense of [Smell/Taste]: Two separate Flaws, neither of which have mechanical effect.
-Nonswimmer: Apparently never learning to swim just makes Athletics rolls involving swimming +2 difficulty.
-Poor [Eyesight/Hearing] (1-3pts): Again, two separate Flaws but they're identical. Rolls involving seeing/hearing are harder. 1 point if you can just wear glasses or a hearing aid, otherwise it's 3.
-Sickly: +2 difficulty on checks to avoid catching disease.
-Vice (1-3 points): You are addicted to something. 1 point for something legal and easy to deal with like cigarettes, 2 points for something more like "alcohol or marijuana" and 3 points for something like heroin. You (sigh) have the Addiction derangement from Hunter Book: Redeemer. Yikes.
-Youthful Appearance: You look young enough to need ID to get into bars or buy alcohol or whatever.

(2 points)
-Disfigured: +2 difficulty to "any rolls involving social situations" and your Appearance is locked to 1.
-Insomniac: You can't sleep and are often groggy and slow, increasing the difficulty of Athletics, Awareness, or Intuition rolls. You can't have this and the Vigilance Edge or Endurance Ability.
-Low Pain Tolerance: You have an extra -1 damage penalty when you are injured.
-Obese: You are seriously overweight and add 2 to the difficulty of Dodge or Athletics rolls, plus your movement is halved.
-Old Injury: +2 Athletics difficulty
-Poor Night Vision: Seeing in the dark is harder, increasing the difficulty of any action (even social rolls????). The Discern Edge temporarily cancels this, but other perception Edges don't and you have to compensate for your bad night vision to use them.
-Short: You are under 5 feet, halving your movement and making it harder to reach stuff.

(3 points)
-Crippled Limb: Increase the difficulty of stuff requiring two arms OR have 1/4 movement for a crippled leg (appropriate aid brings you up to half movement).
-Elderly: You're not as resilient as the youth, so Soak rolls are difficulty 7 and damage penalties are 1 higher.
-Shaky Hands: Your hands shake in stressful situations, make any rolls involving them +2 difficulty.
-Missing Eye: Perception rolls involving sight are harder, as are die rolls involving depth perception (ranged attacks, say). Interestingly, the Discern Edge also cancels this out when active.

(4 points)
-Child: Specifically, you are prepubescent. You move at half the speed of adults, and your Attributes and Knowledges are capped at 3. Seems like a bit of a dicey inclusion.
-Chronic Illness: You have a debilitating illness up to even cancer. Athletics and Soak rolls are harder.
-Deafness: You automatically fail rolls involving hearing and "the difficulty of appropriate Alterness rolls is increased by three." whatever that means

(6 points)
-Blind: You can't see, which increases the difficulty of rolls needing your eyes by 3. Again, Discern cancels this out, allowing you to see while active. Other perception Edges just enhance your other senses. The Storyteller "may even" rule that Second Sight is still useful to you via unspecified "means other that seeing, if you know how to interpret the sensory impressions you receive." Which feels like it needs a biiit more guidance there.

Mental Flaws
(1 point)
-Gullible: Increase the difficulty of rolls to detect lies.
-Medicated (1 or 5 points): You need daily medication to stay in good health. 1 point if you can skip it without immediate problems, 5 points you can't, and you take 1 bashing or lethal damage (ST's choice) every 12 hours until you get your meds. Thankfully, this damage heals at 1 level every 12 hours when you're back on schedule.
-Nightmares: You need a difficulty 7 Willpower roll to sleep through the night or else you 2 to the difficulty of the first roll of the day dealing with monsters.
-No Sense of Direction: You get lost all the time. Rolls to navigate confusing environs, backtrack your own route, or hell even follow directions if they're too convoluted.
-Poor Sense of Time: You cannot guess what time it is without looking at a clock and you're always wrong about how long things have taken or will take.
-Short Temper: When you fail a roll during an Extended action, increase the difficulty of subsequent rolls by 1. Cumulatively.
-Terrible with Names: You, the player, are not allowed to write down the names of NPCs you meet in your notes unless your character could also do so. You also have problems remembering if you've been someplace before or to recognize someone's face. Make an Intelligence roll to recall any of that.

(2 points)
-Absent Minded: Once per session when you try to use an item you normally carry, make a Willpower roll or oops you forgot it. Otherwise, it takes about an hour of searching to figure out where you left it.
-Attention-deficit Disorder: You have to succeed on a Willpower roll (difficulty 6) to sit still and be quiet for more than 10 minutes or else you lose interest and get distracted. This seems like a terrible idea for a Flaw on several levels.
-Dyslexic: Difficulty 8 Intelligence roll to interpret a map or read anything. On a botch, you come up with the opposite of the real meaning.
-Eating Disorder: Apparently this gives you +2 difficulty on Stamina rolls and is also a pretty bad inclusion.
-Language Barrier (2-3 points): You can't speak the Language where you're operating. So do you get this flaw if you travel and then lose it again if you go home??? Anyway, 2 points if you can read the local language, otherwise 3 points.
-Overconfident: You overestimate yourself, so once per session, the Storyteller secretly increases the difficulty of a non-combat task by 2.
-Phobia: You suffer (sigh) one aspect of the Phobia Derangment from Hunter Book: Defender.

(3 points)
-Faint of Heart: You can't stand the sight of blood and gore, and have to make a Willpower roll to avoid 5 minutes of debilitating nausea when confronted by it. You can't have this and the Steel Nerves background at the same time.
-Incompetent: You are spectacularly bad at something without knowing it. Pick a single Ability. You believe you have 3 dots in it. Whenever you try to use it, you botch no matter what you roll.
-Low Self-Esteem: Whenever you would gain Willpower, you have to succeed at a Willpower roll to do so. Botching means you lose a point instead.
-Slow Learner: New Abilities cost 4 instead of 3.
Weak-Willed: +2 difficulty on Willpower rolls and your Willpower is capped at 8.

(4 points)
-Amnesia: You don't remember anything about your life pre-Imbuing, and your Storyteller makes it up instead.
-Depression: Yikes. You don't regain Willpower each morning, only when you take actions that "ardently reaffirm your goals". If you ever acquire (sigh) the Manic-Depression Derangement, you lose this Flaw and must get 4 points worth of new Flaws to replace it.
-Illiterate: You can't read. But you can still understand Hunter Code.

I'm so glad that Mental Flaws are over because wow that is a lot of bad ideas in one place.

Legal Flaws
(1 point)

oh gently caress speaking of bad ideas

Please loving stop suggesting I play a white supremacist. Why are there two separate instances of "hey, it's okay to play a Nazi" in this book?

-Revoked Driver's License: You... yeah, you lost your license. If caught driving, you will be arrested.
-Sunday Driver: Drive rolls "during a chase or other high-speed situation" are harder.

(2 points)
-Criminal Record: You have a criminal record. You can't buy firearms legally and cops will mistreat you.
-Probation: You're on probation for something and thus have to deal with your case officer constantly.

(3 points)
-Illegal Immigrant: If you get arrested, you will be deported, and it's very hard to get a job unless it pays under the table. This, among other things, seems pretty game-ending to me, like "oops, my guy got deported I guess I need new character"???
-Wanted by Law Enforcement: You are the prime suspect in a felony and the police are actively looking for you.

Economic Flaws
(1 point)
-Audit: You are being audited. Spending more that $500 dollars on illegal goods will attract attention, and money you want to use for illegal purposes must be laundered. Increase the difficulty of Resources rolls by 2.

(2 points)
-Demanding Career: Your job requires long hours and frequent travel, making it hard to hunt. If you lose your job, reduce your Resources by "at least one point"
-Primary Breadwinner: If you don't work, your family will starve. You must dedicate 2 Resources to providing for them, and if your rating drops below that the difficulty of all Willpower rolls is +2 because of the "deep shame and embarrassment you feel" about it.
-Uninsured: You can't afford or didn't get insurance, and must pay for all medical expenses (uhhhh) and damage incurred from accidents yourself.

(3 points)
-Alimony Payments: You have to hold down a job or your assets will be frozen. You can never have more that 3 Resources "because of the economic hardship of keeping up with the payments."

(4 points)
-Homeless: You are homeless. You can't have any Resources, have no safe place to rest when not hunting, must carry all of your stuff or risk hiding it somewhere and can't heal Lethal damage while you live on the street.

And that's Merits and Flaws. There was a lot more yikes than I was expecting, but mostly it's a bland mush of "adjust a niche difficulty by 2" or "this doesn't have a mechanical effect". The game is also has way to many traits that effect how much you sleep, and I got extremely sick of being told that something was like or conflicted with a thing in a different book that I should go buy.

There is just so much stuff in there that really should not be.

Still, I'm curious to see what kind of ridiculous combinations one might come up with. Rules-As-Written, you have 21 Freebie Points to buy Merits to which you can add up to 7 points worth of Flaws.

(Also I'm sorry this post is so loving long)

Coming up: A little bit about Backgrounds to close out the chapter

Aethyron fucked around with this message at 23:02 on Apr 10, 2020

Froghammer
Sep 8, 2012





Motherfucking wow. Like, I get that half the point of HtR is that Hunters are broken human beings to begin with but uh

Who thought gamifying domestic abuse was a good idea

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Same people who want neo-nazi PCs, they pushed that idea hard with Avengers in the core book too.

Jerik
Jun 24, 2019

I don't know what to write here.

Aethyron posted:

-Bad Liar: +2 difficulty on "verbal deception" rolls

Aethyron posted:

-Honest to a Fault: You hate to lie, and are at +2 difficulty when you try it.

So is there some practical difference between these that isn't reflected in your brief summary, or did they really print essentially the same flaw twice with two different point costs?

EDIT: I guess maybe by a literal reading "Honest to a Fault" also covers written lies, but is that something that's going to come up often enough to justify the extra point? Or something you generally roll for at all?

Jerik fucked around with this message at 00:15 on Apr 11, 2020

Oberndorf
Oct 20, 2010





Night10194 posted:

Same people who want neo-nazi PCs, they pushed that idea hard with Avengers in the core book too.

I don’t know, I tend to think of Avengers as the sort of folks whose first response to The Other is instant, unreasoning violence. It’s distasteful in the extreme to include them, but I can’t think of a better stereotype for that sort of folk than a neo-Nazi.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


No-one wants Nazi PCs. "Fitting" or not.

Oberndorf
Oct 20, 2010





Night10194 posted:

No-one wants Nazi PCs. "Fitting" or not.

I agree, but how else would you shorthand that type of folks in five words or less, particularly without picking on a group somebody might actually support?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


"Saw a dracula going to kill someone, decided they needed to kill dracula." is pretty short.

Oberndorf
Oct 20, 2010





How about for the “Undesirable group” in the flaw? In all seriousness, who else who you sub in for a social group universally felt to be assholes? And if you subbed them in, would you be comfortable with them in the game?

I suppose this means the flaw in general is trash, but I kinda like the notion of illegal groups deciding that a dead vampire is as good as a dead (group) and doing some good for a change.

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Snorb
Nov 19, 2010


I will regret until my dying day that the one Hunter game I played in, my character...


...well, he wasn't discouraged from taking Incompetent with the Firearms skill, but considering every single character had a pistol and botching a "I blow the vampire's head apart with my M1911" roll is bad news, I went with Incompetent (Law) instead. (And 5 points for Bad Luck because I wanted to, even though the fifth point didn't do anything for me.)

My character was a security guard at a Pepsi plant in Tennessee.

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