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Cthulhu Dreams
Dec 11, 2010

If I pretend to be Cthulhu no one will know I'm a baseball robot.


rodbeard posted:

So what version of Shadowrun is actually playable?

One not called Shadowrun. They all have huge problems that require GM fixes.

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PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Ronwayne posted:

shadowrun is the only one where we felt a bond in mutually overcoming a difficult obstacle together (that obstacle being playing shadowrun)

"What joins men together, he said, is not the sharing of bread but the sharing of enemies ", the enemy in this case being Hardy's design.

I would argue that we're getting some of this in Eclipse Phase 2, except the shared joy at overcoming the game starts at just figuring out what pages things are on.

SunAndSpring
Dec 4, 2013


Nessus posted:

I think that's totally understandable tbf. I also understand wanting to get the feedback now. If you pre-wrote stuff you can (imo - and this is what I'd do, not thread law) just drop it after the KS finishes. I'd be leery about doing it beforehand because they probably get some backer dollars for people who want to peek at that stuff.

As for the archive thing I believe inklesspen does updates in waves, if they missed one poke 'em. I imagine they'll see this in time.

Already got upset about the archives thing before, donít think itís been addressed. In any case, it just feels like everything Iím interested in has been done or isnít of interest to anyone but fans of a line, and that every time I try, I get bugged about it in a way that makes me feel like a gently caress-up.

MuscaDomestica
Apr 27, 2017



Shadowrun 6e is weird, all editions of Shadowrun are people trying to fix errors in earlier editions with limited amount of successes. (ie the addition of Limits in 5e was done to control some of the out of control dice pools in 4e) Half the fixes in 6e seem to be fixing problems that no one had or trying to fix long standing problems in the worst way imaginable.


hyphz posted:

Edge is...

Well, ok. Imagine that somebody jumped on Fate Points in a dark alley and force-fed them whiskey until they were barely able to stand, and you've got an idea of how Edge works. We'll go into this more later, but essentially, any time something plays into your strengths, or you play into someone else's weaknesses, you get a point of Edge. Then, you spend the points of Edge to get boosts on your rolls or take special actions. This is intended to replace a whole bunch of more complex mechanics from previous editions. For example, armor and weapons don't have damage reductions, clip sizes, rates of fire, and so on any more; they just have Attack and Defense ratings (AR and DR) which are compared to work out Edge.

There are 30+ ways to spend edge in the game some of them can only be done before your roll and some only after. It seems to be a hybrid of constantly shifting Initiative in Exalted 3rd and the implication of advantage in Dungeons and Dragons 5e. There are way too many ways to spend edge (about 25+ ways) that all have different timing rules and effects.

Lots of advantages and items that effect when you can use edge (aiming then shooting someone with a scope prevents them from gaining edge defensively)


hyphz posted:

This simple fact should cause alarm bells to start to ring. This means that if you leave a skill at 5 instead of 6 in character generation, it'll cost you 30 in-game Karma to get that skill to 6, or on average 10 sessions. In the meantime, the guy across the table has raised 3 skills (or more likely, attributes) from 1 to 2, or 2 from 2 to 3. In other words, you're potentially hugely rewarded for aggressive minmaxing at character generation. This is especially the case if you're thinking of hitting the highest skill levels in play. If you want a skill at 7, you'll really want to take the Aptitude at character generation for 12 Karma and then spend one of your skill points on it, as opposed to spending the whopping 47 Karma for Aptitude plus the seventh point during play.


There are also advantages and disadvantages that are the most broken I have seen in an RPG.
-Analytical Mind, costs 3 karma free edge when doing a logic roll
-Gear Head costs 10 karma you gain a free edge on repair tests (which are not defined but look like rolling engineering+logic)

MuscaDomestica fucked around with this message at 10:16 on Oct 7, 2019

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


SunAndSpring posted:

Already got upset about the archives thing before, donít think itís been addressed. In any case, it just feels like everything Iím interested in has been done or isnít of interest to anyone but fans of a line, and that every time I try, I get bugged about it in a way that makes me feel like a gently caress-up.

Personally I feel like it's legit to review a preview/pre-release copy of a game as long as you make it clear that this is what it is, stuff like going "hoo boy this seems loving stupid but the devs still have some time to clarify/edit this mechanic" or just generally acknowledging what seems like stuff they could conceivably patch before release, and what's stuff that's conceptually busted, like if the first line out of the scene-setting text is about how you're playing heroic child-abusers or something.

For instance, when I reviewed Middenarde it was absolutely a pre-release version and the author was (ostensibly) looking for feedback, but fundamentally busted poo poo like "your life-is-terrible mudfarmers live in a medieval England where they can use their magic powers to revive the dead by rolling them down a hill and then making major landmarks disappear, also the author doesn't know what the river Thames is despite trying to make his setting Very Historical," was still fair game to address. Because that shows a A) a super-confused idea about the concept and B) very poor knowledge of the subject matter.

Deptfordx
Dec 23, 2013



I quite enjoyed the Shadowrun 20A game I ran.

Tbf I just had my players pick an archetype from the book to play, abstracted Matrix stuff to "tell the off-screen NPC you hired what you want to happen" then make a roll, and generally noped out about a third of the rules. So it wasn't exactly rules as written.

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

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




Played both SR4 and SR5 and the skinny of it is that I enjoy the setting waaaaaay more than I will ever do the rules. A sentiment shared by most of the group as well.
Also gently caress SR magic.

90s Cringe Rock
Nov 29, 2006
:gay:


Generate a character, then use the sheet as inspiration for freeform RP with occasional dice. Basically 3e D&D but with D6s.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


I will never understand why people become attached to rulesets that sucked in the first place. Sure, I'm not faultless - my TT 40K rewrite would probably retain S and T both - but why can't people just dump a system that doesn't work and them cobble something together from stuff that works?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


For one, writing an entire rework/subsystem yourself is difficult and doesn't always work, while taking a ton of time. Writing a game is actually really hard and takes a huge amount of effort, so just 'cobble something together' is actually a big ask. For two, same reason I originally enjoyed running AdEva with friends: You play games with friends. You do a lot of roleplaying. You have a great time. Sure, later you maybe look back on it and realize that the rules system was fighting you every step of the way and there was a bunch of creepy poo poo you didn't notice in the game's text. But in the moment you're having a great time and assume it's the game doing it.

If you first played Shadowrun and had an amazing time playing because you have cool friends and had a fun character concept, it's not unreasonable to think 'playing Shadowrun is awesome' and then want to play more Shadowrun.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


SunAndSpring posted:

In any case, it just feels like everything Iím interested in has been done or isnít of interest to anyone but fans of a line, and that every time I try, I get bugged about it in a way that makes me feel like a gently caress-up.

It's fine, but I'd put in a caveat that you're discussing it based on a in-progress version, and probably link directly to the Kickstarter at some point. (I can't tell if you did at this point, of course.)

If something's out in the wild, I don't really have an issue as long as it's represented fairly, I'd have issues if it were an attempt at Kickstarter sabotage or if you were deliberately breaking an NDA. But neither seems to be the case here. How a company markets and funds a game is generally up to them, in my opinion, and something like prereleases are ultimately just a part of that marketing.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Honestly, for an in-progress KS, I feel like linking to the Kickstarter at the end of every post is just polite and a good way to get some free goodwill from the people making it.

Unless it's one of those things you review because you hate it and want it to fail, of course, but I don't think many of those get in-progress reviews.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


I don't think many people who give things a bad review are doing it because they 'want them to fail'.

And if they are, they are vastly overestimating the power of a long-running SA TTRPG thread.

There are lots of interesting things to talk about in games that are mechanically and narratively flawed, after all.

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




I thought the whole point of the thread was for people to review whatever they want? How about everybody gently caress off with telling people what they can and can't write about?

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Night10194 posted:

I don't think many people who give things a bad review are doing it because they 'want them to fail'.

I'm just dealing in hypotheticals before somebody thinks it's a good idea.

We are on the internet, after all.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Alien Rope Burn posted:

I'm just dealing in hypotheticals before somebody thinks it's a good idea.

We are on the internet, after all.

Fair enough. I do agree with the reasoning that it's useful to cover the ways games market themselves and that the pre-release rules and materials should count for that. Which reminds me, I still need to find out if the Dark Heresy 2nd Edition first draft Beta rules are covered by some kind of NDA or something since they never ended up going to publication, because if not I want to write those up after WHFRP1e.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


NDAs only really matter if you signed them. Granted, it's a different situation when something licensed leaks during production, but with something like Dark Heresy it's been out in the wild long enough that unless you personally marked off on the dotted line, it's not an issue, and even then I doubt it matters too much because both game line and license is effectively dead.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


True, but I figured I'd send FFG a note as a courtesy, since these are specifically first draft rules that never went to publication since they got massive pushback from their fans saying 'No, don't actually change this system'.

They were pretty rough and needed more work, but given what you've said about how much the writers for FFG were aware of 40kRP's issues, it must have been really disheartening to hear 'no more of Only War' and to face the prospect of an entire 2nd Edition that's just more of the same. The main reason I want to cover them is that the things they tried to change show they were trying to fix the original system's issues, but got shot down partly in a quest for 'backwards compatibility' in a gameline that didn't really have backwards compatibility as it was since significant amounts of the rules changed with every release anyway.

E: Basically, I think it's a somewhat thornier issue when I'd be writing about something solely because I think it's a useful look into development history when it isn't an actual published product and is specifically an older playtesting document from a smaller closed playtest, so I'd rather be safe than sorry on the matter.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 15:08 on Oct 7, 2019

Freaking Crumbum
Apr 17, 2003

Too fuck to drunk




the main thing i always have to decide is: am i writing this for my personal enjoyment or am i writing this explicitly for engagement with other people?

if you're writing something up for yourself then go hog wild and review whatever you want to review, whenever you want to review it. if other people like what you're doing, that's a cool bonus! but don't let other people bog you down in this case, if you can confirm to yourself that you're doing this for your own reward.

if you're writing something up because you hope other people will engage with it, then yeah you kinda have to read your audience. FWIW i don't think there's anything wrong with reviewing something that's in KS or a beta or whatever, but if your intended audience is giving you pushback, you might want to reconsider what you're doing/how you're doing it, because whether or not there's some objective measure of what should and should be kosher to review, the people you're trying to engage are telling you directly they don't enjoy what you're doing.

rodbeard posted:

So what version of Shadowrun is actually playable?

if you don't mind that the "future" setting is anachronistic to the late 80's early 90's vision of what the future would be like, or you really like that particular aesthetic, 2E would be my pick.

the bigger issue is that "playable" is a very subjective thing, and all of the editions still try to kludge small scale group combat and matrix hacking and drone rigging and three different, mutually exclusive magic systems into one coherent whole and none of them have ever managed to pull it off elegantly. most of my experiences with successful SR adventures is talking with the players ahead of time and trying to get the group to agree to one or two areas of focus (i.e. we're all different kinds of spell casters, or different flavours of hacker, or different types of combat samurai) and then allowing hirelings to fill in the rest of the gaps. the game definitely wants you to be able to put a group together where each player has a distinct role, but that basically devolves into the GM playing 4 separate 1-shot adventures in sequential order while everyone who isn't currently involved plays with their smart phone.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Night Horrors: Enemy Action
Part 12: Whoops, You Broke It


Actually, she's probably the most angelic-looking angel so far.

Lavadiel was originally created for a simple recon mission. Routine. She had a rudimentary Cover and was put together from recycled parts of other angels, like so many others. She inherited a few memories and tics from her predecessors, but was overall essentially a completely average angel. At some point, however, she was attacked. She's still not sure what her attackers were or why they did it. Rather than kill her, however, they merely damaged an essential component of her body: the bit responsible for receiving communications from the Machine. Thus, she became an Exile. Ever since, she wandered the world, looking for a way to repair herself and receive new orders. In the past few years, she has become obsessed with the idea that the necessary components could be harvested from other techgnostic beings. While she has not yet become desperate enough to attack functional angels, demons and Exiles are viable targets.

Lavadiel has pale yellow skin, similar to both parchment and crystal somehow, which makes a faint tinkling noise when she moves. Her body is tall and lean to an inhuman degree, and four eyes are set in a diamond on her face, which has no other features. When she speaks, her voice emerges from nothing. Her arms are exceptionally long, with her hands dangling around her knees, and each finger is a long talon. She has a pair of limbs rather like featherless wings that emerge from her back. Their flesh is more crystalline than the rest of her, with translucent blades poking randomly through the skin. Most dramatic and obvious, however, is the back of her head. She has carefully flayed her own papery flesh away from the back of her head, pinning the flaps down for ease of access, and removed the entire back of her skull. Her exposed brain is mostly obscured by a mass of crystal spikes, circuitry, strange organs and weird devices, all of which are drawn from the beings she attacks, harvesting parts of their brains to integrate into her own. These modifications are extensive, and they extend the size of her head by about a foot and a half both up and back.

Lavadiel retains the rudiments of cover she was given for her task. In this form, she appears to be an unhealthily thin human woman with violet eyes and a filth-covered face. She collects small, apparently random objects, including a number of notebooks, and talks to herself nearly constantly. She does not appear to notice much of the world around her. Some of this is a reflection of Lavadiel's broken mind, which is growing ever more erratic as she performs solo brain surgery on herself. Because this cover identity is ragged and incomplete, some of her true appearance occasionally flashes through - her eyes turn solid lavender, or the sound of her clothes rubbing together becomes crystalline chimes for an instant.

Most of the time, Lavadiel has trouble interacting with people due to her efforts to maintain her cover as a mentally unstable homeless woman. She avoids others of her kind (or demons, for that matter) when not hunting, but she can't just attack and harvest at random. She is carefully working through a trial-and-error process of hunting down demons and Exiles with particular mission parameters and natures. Interactiong with her if you don't fit her criteria is usually pretty safe. If you do, on the other hand, well...less so. When interacting with demons, she is cautious and polite. Her obsession with self-repair leaves little room for any other interests or feelings, including disdain for demons. She tends to find demons vaguely confusing, sure, because she has no idea why anyone would choose to break away from the Machine and become like her deliberately. However, she acknowledges that they can be quite useful if she can find one who is an enemy of her prospective target. Other than that, she has no real interest in demons as a whole. Lavadiel hunts by ambush. She stalks her prey over a long period, learning their habits, abilities and weaknesses before she strikes. She aims for when her target is most vulnerable; while she is obsessed, she's very patient.

Many demons assume, due to Lavadiel's obsession and obvious disability, that she is stupid, easy to manipulate or foolish. This is entirely untrue, and is a good way to get added to her list of potential victims. While she prefers a methodical approach to hunting, if an idiot just drops in her lap, she won't turn down the free victim. That said, she sometimes plays up her "stupidity" deliberately, because it can be useful. If a demon thinks she's a useful idiot, they could bring her more targets or help her hunt. It also keeps her safe, as those that think her defective usually don't believe she's a threat. She's socially aware enough to tell when someone's underestimating her and won't go out of her way to disabuse them of the idea. Several demons are pretty sure there's a pattern to her attacks, but they lack the information to recognize what it is. If a bunch of demons managed to share information openly and freely, it'd be possible for them to work out what she actually was aiming for and protect themselves, but that kind of free sharing of information is not common among dmeons. Thus, they often reach false conclusions about her goals, mistaking her for a serial killer or otherwise misconstruing her targeting criteria - or even believing she's pursuing a personal grudge.

Once Lavadiel secures her prey, she takes them to a safe location and extracts whatever part of their brain she thinks will help her. Lavadiel doesn't go out of her way to kill her victims - that's a waste of effort. The results she leaves behind typically survive, and thus become sources of information on what the Exile is actually...doing. How a demon reacts to having part of their brain literally removed varies, as does the reaction of their allies. Some mercy-kill their wounded friends on the basis that lacking a vital function makes life not worth living, while others do their best to care for their maimed allies and hope they heal. The surgeries might leave someone nearly vegetative...or they might make someone hypersensitive to specific stimuli and unable to react to others. The work might even release latent connections to the Machine, granting the victim strange insights. The results are wholly unpredictable and can shift with time, though so far no victim has yet made a full recovery without immense effort on the part of their allies. Still, some of them have become oracles of the Machine's activities or plans, making confused and bizarre predictions for their allies to interpret.

Mechanically, having part of your brain scooped out by Lavadiel gives the Hollowed condition. You pick a single Mental or Social attribute when you gain it; you no longer have that attribute. At all. Any roll that would require that attribute is automatically a dramatic failure - as is any unrolled action that would use that attribute. If you lose Manipulation, odds are you are no longer capable of, say, ordering a coffee from a barista, because that would normally be an unrolled Manipulation-based activity. The GM may choose to give the character random insights into the Machine, but these will always be difficult for the character to convey. The Condition resolves when you get back your missing brain bits and put them back in your head.

Lavadiel is a rank 2 angel, strong and fast but not especially tough. She has Influence (Shadows) 2 and is mostly notable for being really hard to hit, moving super fast and being able to fire off blasts, prevent people from forming memories, steal knowledge by doing brain surgery on her victims and herself (which is why her stats are so high for a rank 2 angel), drain health and Essence, hide as a human, and use telekinesis. Her Ban is obsessive information recording - Lavadiel is paranoid about forgetting what she knows before she can be debriefed by the Machine, and must physically record all information she possesses. If prevented from taking notes, or if her notebooks are threatened or destroyed, she flies into a blind rage. Her Bane is any flower which symbolizes forgetfulness, such as dogwood, poppy, bluet, lotus or day lily. The rest of the plant is harmless to her - only the flower is her Bane.


It looks so friendly!

Lutzow is the guardian of a key piece of Concealment Infrastructure on the metro connecting the Zoologischer Garten (one of the oldest subway stations in Berlin, dating to 1902) and Plotsdamer Platz (one of the newest, finished in 2009). This is Lutzowplatz, Infrastructure that is a U-Bahn station that, simultaneously, was built in the earliest phases of the U-Bahn and has not yet been made. Lutzowplatz crosses the bounds of time and space, waiting for the Machine to send angels to build...something. And with it waits Lutzow, the guardian. Its orders are clear and not open to interpretation: Remain. Guard. That's it. At the time he was summoned, he took the form of a seven-foot tall, muscular man with a shaved head. He obeyed orders for a full century. Lutzow was a ranking angel, sure his orders were important. He would guard, his brethren would make the Infrastructure under Lutzowplatz, the plan would go on.

Except that a hundred years passed and no one had built anything for Lutzowplatz to actually conceal. No hidden ciphers in the wiring, no hollow walls, just an empty void under the station. Lutzow became worried. Had it been abandoned somehow? Had he hosed up the mission? After calculating all possible scenarios, the angel decided that no, both of those were impossible. The job and Lutzow were both too important to just be abandoned or left to fail. Therefore, Lutzow reasoned, the Machine must have chosen him to move the project along to its next phase. Lutzow had always had near absolute control over Lutzowplatz - it was required for the mission, to prevent intrusion from all timelines and dimensions connected to the unbuilt station. Thus, Lutzow can bend time and space within it. To begin Phase Two, he has actively worked to extend this ability to the entire U-Bahn. He will, after all, need mortals to work the Infrastructure - the job is clearly being kept from all lesser angels for some reason - and to oil the cogs. He has gone far beyond his original parameters and orders, trying to monitor the U-Bahn and find the most promising mortals within it. By merging his Essence with the Infrastructure itself, Lutzow has harnessed its time-splintering abilities to create a unique Shadow Gateway, allowing him to reroute trains, kidnap key mortals, and send the rest along with no one noticing.

The God-Machine did not approve of all this. Indeed, it considered Lutzow's actions so harmful that it actually sent an angel to recall him. The encounter went poorly for both angels. Lutzow is now entirely convinced he's doing what the Machine wants him to do, but has sufficiently deviated from his actual orders that he has disconnected from the Machine's network, rendering him an Exile. He believes the angel sent after him was actually a demon, lying and trying to trick him from his orders, and refused to return. They fought. Lutzow would have been weaker...but he'd tied himself to the U-Bahn Infrastructure, which gave him power he had not originally had. Even after the angel ripped him to shreds, it couldn't extract him from Lutzowplatz. It either decided it couldn't win or received new orders to stop for fear of harming the Infrastructure, and it left, unsuccessful. Lutzow's original body and cover identity are broken now, but he doesn't care. Once the project is complete, he will return to the Machine and be given a new form.

Lutzowplatz Station is perfect, sterile and new, no matter what historic era you show up in. It has, at present, three engineers, two mathematicians, a historian, a novelist, a psychic, a Stigmatic, and one child. The child is actually collateral damage - he came with the historian, who Lutzow grabbed because he felt right. Lutzow feared that grief over losing the kid would make the historian useless, so he took both. It now considers this possibly a mistake, as the historian spends far too much time consoling the terrified boy. Lutzow has removed all of these mortals' needs for sleep and food, so it doesn't have to feed them or find beds. It has no idea why they keep taking turns sleeping anyway, with some napping on the hard benches while the others stand guard. Apparently mortal minds need sleep even when bodies do not. They also spend a lot of time chatting and trading goods amongst themselves for reasons Lutzow doesn't understand. The 'team' has been collected from across time between 1092 and 2009, and every time an item crosses time, such as when a WW2 engineer got given an MP3 player, it slightly destabilizes the entire Infrastructure. Thus, Lutzow strictly forbids this.

Lutzowplatz is genuinely important to the Machine, to the degree that a potent angel was set guarding it despite its lack of use and to the point that it has not pushed the issue when the fight between its retriever and Lutzow threatened to damage the station. However, what was supposed to be under it hasn't been made yet, and Lutzow's gone entirely off the rails. He has no idea what the station is meant to conceal, and indeed despite his frenzied activity he has no idea what Phase Two is supposed to be. He spends much of his time in a trance, trying to glimpse the future and understand the purpose of Lutzowplatz and the U-Bahn, but it's basically just guesswork. Lutzow considers himself to still be a loyal angel, but is also very eager to show off his project. He's trying to extrapolate the Machine's will from tiny clues and has had no one to talk to (besides the mortals, who would never understand). Thus, he welcomes even visiting demons to look around. Indeed, he thinks that if they do, they will surely be convinced to return to the Machine out of the sheer genius and beauty of its plan. The one rule is not to touch or interfere with anything. However, Lutzow is straying further and further from his actual orders all the time, and is running dangerously close to actually breaking the timeline and creating a sliver-timeline that will need to be isolated.

Lutzow no longer even slightly resembles a human. He rarely interacts with others or even acknowledges their presence. When he does, he primarily communicates by writing messages on the station billboards with his powers. He materializes only when inhabitants or visitors of the station must be modified - a process that is quite bloody, as it reduces them to the bare component Lutzow believes are necessary. He thinks he's seen the mind of God, that he has been chosen above all others to carry out Its will. He works constantly to improve the station, fully expecting to be reintegrated into the Machine at some point and be praised for his devotion. He permits anyone to freely use the station and talk to its inhabitants, as long as these visitors are not deemed necessary to the project. If they are, the angel uses its powers to overawe and break their spirit until they agree to stay. Lutzow has become the station's power itself, from the electricity in the wiring to the lighting to the power in the rails. He much prefers this to his old form, but he is not omnipresent. His consciousness's location can be discerned by the location of the strongest energies in the station - sparks flying from the rails, the lights overhead going blazingly bright, that kind of thing. The inhabitants know to share their secrets and possessions only when this is not happening. When Lutzow must materialize, he appears as a tangled mass of power lines, flickering flourescents and subway rails. A broken rail cart takes the place of his head, with a gaping maw of sharp, jagged metal teeth. Pieces of his old cover identity cling to the metal as ripped and dried flesh that stinks of moldy leather.

Lutzow's constant messing with the U-Bahn has created gaps in the system. At midnight, any nearly empty train has a chance of being taken, diverted either to Lutzowplatz Station or to a void between spaces. The former is relatively okay - the train gets sent back on once Lutzow is done - but the latter are trapped in a dark splinter dimension of the U-Bahn where Lutzow keeps all the mortals whom he has deemed unneeded but too changed to safely send home. These twisted wrecks stalk the maze of dark tunnels in the splinter, often grabbing and killing other mortals sent there for food. The Berliner Verkehrsbetrieve, the agency that runs the Bahn, is aware of the trains going missing. The percentage of trains that vanish is negligible, and the proportion of passengers and personnel even smaller, so they have not yet revealed the disappearances to avoid losing profits. This is not the only problem, either. In 1999, Lutzow abducted a black lady named Raven for her math skills, but her personality made her too hard to integrate into the project, so he altered her memories and released her. The release glitched out, and Raven is now trapped on the U-Bahn. She believes it's New Year's Eve, 1999, and she's been experiencing that same day over and over. She has a constant sense of deja vu and knows something's wrong, but not what. If freed from her time loop, she could tell all about Lutzowplatz, and may even have become Stigmatic from her experience.

Lutzow is tied to Lutzowplatz, but his unique powers work anywhere along the U-Bahn tracks. As long as the station exists, so does Lutzow, and within the station he's essentially invincible. However, he does have a weakness: the Linchpin of the Lutzowplatz Infrastructure. This is a rail spike located at the exact center of the tracks running through the station. Lutzoe will defend this spike at all costs, to the point that he will use his Shadow gate to reroute trains en masse to run over attackers. If the spike is removed, everything he's doing shuts down. Lutzow is also greatly at risk. He is fanatically loyal to the Machine, but his deviation from his parameters has brought him dangerously close. He's lost his human cover entirely and spends most of his time immaterial, so he's not going to become a demon - he's at risk of becoming a sliver, a dangerous, insane and completely unfixable remnant of an angel that warps reality by its very presence. If he were to realize how close he is to this fate, he'd possibly stop his project and return to his original mission parameters to save himself.

Lutzow is a rank 4 and very powerful angel. He's superhumanly strong and tough, surprisingly fast, and has Influences of U-Bahn 4 and Lutzowplatz Station 5. He's extremely hard to fight when immaterial, can cause feelings of awe, pleasure and emptiness in mortals, can fire off blasts or drain health, is super tough, can send messages, regenerates damage and can try to foretell the future. His Ban is that commuters on any lines whose total adds up to 13 (such as those who move from line 8 to line 5) exist on a different synchronicity than Lutzow does, and he cannot perceive, touch or influence them by any means unless they touch him physically or use powers on him. Also, Lutzow cannot physically leave Lutzowplatz Station or extend his powers beyond the U-Bahn. His Bane is a weapon or bullet forged or tempered in the ashes of the original drawn plans of the U-Bahn.

Next time: Cryptids

wdarkk
Oct 26, 2007

Friends: Protected
World: Saved
Crablettes: Eaten


Freaking Crumbum posted:

if you don't mind that the "future" setting is anachronistic to the late 80's early 90's vision of what the future would be like, or you really like that particular aesthetic, 2E would be my pick.
Isn't a certain level of desire for this required to play Shadowrun at all?

Freaking Crumbum
Apr 17, 2003

Too fuck to drunk




wdarkk posted:

Isn't a certain level of desire for this required to play Shadowrun at all?

i would have thought so, but apparently each edition after 2E attempted to modernize the setting or move it forward in time, to account for the fact that very common technological things we have now didn't exist in the older editions. like, eventually they added wireless matrix access and being able to be a hacker without carrying around a "portable" deck that was the size of a bass guitar, tried to explain why genetic engineering did / did not appear to advance in any meaningful way, etc.

it felt like there were people that were actually more interested in closing perceived setting loopholes and using that to justify a new edition, rather than making serious attempts to streamline the underlying rules or merge all of the disparate systems into something more group friendly.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 1st Edition

Post 10: Space Wizard Frog

Probably the oddest change between the stuff I'm familiar with and the history presented in 1e is that it starts with magic space frogs. In the original space frog history, the ancestors of the various species of Hams Land were originally confined to the equatorial zones and unable to live anywhere else because the planet was a frozen iceball. However, this particular little icey planet attracted the attention of mighty interstellar space frogs; originally the Slaan were just the Old Ones, rather than servants of the Old Ones. They're described as powerful scientists who had reached a point where magic and technology were indistinguishable to them, who came to this planet and built a great city in the western continent. They began to tinker with the genes of the creatures that lived in the equatorial zones, and then decided to make the planet more livable by moving it into a new orbit; that bit of fluff's always been there. They then settled in for a long period of observation and meddling, punctuated by grabbing the early elves and teleporting all of them to a hand-crafted paradise habitat island. Yeah, that's why the elfs originally had it so easy: The Space Frogs liked them and made them a really nice terrarium. That's consistent across all editions.

Meanwhile, without any direct help from the mighty frogs, humans and dwarfs began to spread into the now-livable northern areas of the world. Dwarfs invented animal husbandry to tend to goats and began to build settled homes in the mountains. Humans were mostly irrelevant and minor bands of hunter gatherers. Meanwhile, the elves were chilling in their paradise and inventing reasons why this made them cooler than everyone else besides 'magic space frog put us here'. What the Slaan actually wanted will never be discovered; the possibilities given here are similar to the ones in Realm of Sorcery. Maybe the Slaan were breeding slaves or sacrifices. Maybe they were making children and helpmates. Maybe they were just loving around with this planet because they'd existed for millions of years and were powerful space demigods, and running experiments on what happens if you mess around with the development of sentient species is just what you do once you're flying between worlds with enormous portal gates. Unfortunately for the Slaan stuck on this planet, someone poked a hole in the side of their warp tunnels. It's not clear if it was a localized industrial accident, an encounter with a very powerful warp entity that was able to overcome the wards forming the gate network, or if the same stuff happened anywhere besides this planet; Warhams has always only been interested in its unnamed individual world. Whatever happened, Chaos spilled in from the void and exploded the polar gates, which trapped any Slaan on-world in this planet and caused a crazy demon energy flood to hit the planet.

The Slaan were used to dealing with these kinds of entities at arms length, from a position of advantage where the void-creatures couldn't manifest in reality. Needless to say, demons being physically real kind of hosed up their normal protocols for placating and turning aside demons. Worse, it wasn't just Chaos; crazy magic Law showed up too and the two forces began to fight over the planet. Chaos's flood in the world also produced physical mutations and all sorts of unplanned, fantastical, and impossible life. Worse, it also made Beastmen. And Skaven. Skaven were positioned as the 'arch servants of Chaos' in 1e's core book, but otherwise actually map almost perfectly to their modern incarnations; they already had the Council of 13, the 4 Great Clans, etc etc. The Chaos Gods weren't set yet, and there was the implication there would be many Chaos Gods as they hadn't settled on the Big 4 yet, so the Horned Rat being one of many Chaos Gods wouldn't have been weird at the time.

Much like in later Fantasy, the Slaan tried to stem all this bullshit. However, considering they were basically a bunch of trapped engineers, scientists, and maybe colonists with no backup, this proved pretty hard to do. One of their great achievements was binding some of the mighty void entities in nicer ways, creating the Gods that would become everybody's pantheons. They're still out in the west, but 'under siege by the foul lizard creatures of the mountains'; it looks like Lizardmen started out as another enemy species rather than the servitors/biological automatons we know and love from later Warhams. The Elves stayed loyal to the Slaan because they were the most 'finished' of the species. Some of them went Chaos and that's how they got Dark Elves, but most avoided significant mutation or change. Dwarfs had a rougher time because the Slaan hadn't worked on them as much and they weren't finished. Humans...well, humans were still in the prototyping phase. Nothing was actually done on the humans yet; they were mostly unmodified by the Slaan. So their first exposure to weird magic was Chaos. This was good and bad; humans have profited from being agents of change and from being the people least likely to get mired in 'we do it this way because we always did'. At the same time, tentacle o' clock is a bad time for everybody and humans have a propensity to form forbidden sinister cults, to either Law or Chaos, unmatched by any other species.

There's actually no mention of what caused the Grudge War in this version of the history, but it still happens 5000 years before the present and still destroys the Elf colonies on the Old World. The Elf Civil War is a settled matter in this version; no Morathi and Malekith running around ruling over an active conflict with the High Elves. The Dark Elves lost badly and got punted off the Elf Paradise Island and now they live in the shittier parts of America and grumble about how annoyed they are that Chaos notices humans more than them. Also, the Wood Elfs are still the elfs that refused to leave when the other elfs got kicked in the teeth, though there's no hellforest full of insane hillbilly ninjas in this version; Woodsy Elfs are all meant to be the decent, worldly elves who make for good PCs.

Interestingly, too, in the original version of history? Chaos caused the eruptions and earthquakes that kicked the dwarfs' butts. Not a fat frog deciding continental drift was bullshit. The evil bits of Chaos saw an opportunity in how the dwarfs and elfs had had a falling out and decided this was time to put the boot in.

With the dwarfs needing a new buddy due to all their stuff being on fire and the elfs no longer returning their calls on account of that apocalyptic war they'd had, they looked to the humans. The humans might have been less technologically able than the dwarfs, but there were a lot of them, they hated the goblins and orcs too (no, there's never anything on where those guys came from, and I like it that way), and they were reasonable enough to trade with. Toss a human king some actual steel weapons and armor for him and his bondsmen, and they'd happily help a dwarf hold out. Sigmar still happened in the same time frame and in roughly the same way, which proved to the dwarfs that being buddies with humans was a good plan that was going to work long term. So the dwarfs and the humans were friends in roughly the same way, for roughly the same reasons, even back in the beginning of the setting.

No-one really knows where halflings came from in all this, but the theory is that they're the last creation of the Slaan. A creature immune to the influence of Chaos. Same as in later works. Halflings being immune to mutation is a really important part of halflings and I'm always kind of annoyed to see that 4e merely made them very resistant to physical mutation (while handing actual immunity to elfs. Really?) while making all the physical-resistant people still suffer serious mental mutations. The entire point of halflings, the entire joke, is that they're tiny and sort of irrelevant but that they're what it takes to actually be genuinely immune to the insidious and setting-wide great evil that dominates the setting's plot, dangit.

Also that they're straight Tolkien halflings, but written with less worship of the life of the English Country Gentry as the pinnacle of civilization and more gentle mockery.

The original history ends with an assurance that eventually, the Gates are going to overcome all life and turn everything into ruined protoplasm and that Chaos itself will lose by winning. How long this is going to take is uncertain; Law fights against it, because Law likes existence even if it wants to stagnate all existence, and the existing creatures of the world also aren't keen on turning into goo. Could be dozens of millennia, could be next Tuesday. It's an interesting bit that Law was originally going to be so important to the setting, because it feels so vestigial even here; Law is sort of on your side, but sort of not, and it's bad but it's not and it's all sort of a confused mess. Given how much more often PCs would end up fighting Chaos rather than dealing with Law, and how Law never really sounded like it would work great for power metal wargaming armies, I can see why it got dropped. Plus, having Neutral Gods of man plus evil Law Gods plus Chaos Gods ends up risking turning things into God o' Clock instead of focusing enough on the people of the setting, and the focus on the people is one of the big things Hams has going for it.

Also not too fond of the focus on genetic corruption; in this early stuff you don't find any of 2e and other later materials' stuff about how mutation isn't a sentence to the destruction of the soul. Mutants are just gribbly evil guys who serve Chaos here, even though you already get material about how the Witch Hunters and crazy 'kill everyone and let the Law Gods sort them out' types are bad guys or obstacles.

Still, it's really interesting how front and center the Sci-Fantasy elements were in this version, and how many of the major events of the setting are already present even if they go somewhat differently. Another interesting bit is that the Chaos Dwarfs are a very new thing in this version of history, recently grabbed by Chaos as the objective of one of its incursions because it saw how well working with dwarfs was going for the humans and wanted its own dwarfs. That's using the noodle, unthinking forces of cosmic entropy.

Next Time: Old Old World Bestiary

eviltastic
Feb 8, 2004



Fan of Britches

If you have a group that's okay with handwaving past bullshit or making rules changes that seem reasonable on the fly, you can run SR with second through fifth editions. I've had fun with all of them. I haven't ever tried with first or the new one, but I'd expect both of those to be tough. If your group is the sort to need the house rules spelled out beforehand or isn't okay with the GM doing things like inventing/modifying rules, gear, or NPC stats on the fly, it's gonna be a challenge. Regardless of edition, there's generally janky stuff and potential rules abuse throughout. Without some prep and practice, the session's gonna regularly bog down with corebook searching or head scratching over stuff that should be simple. Expect problems on the order of "the faq/errata for this important thing is wrong/nonexistent" or "wait, there's not really character advancement for these builds". That said, there are quick fixes for some of the big issues, like having an NPC handle the computer stuff in earlier editions.

The game's always had a problem with tension between rewarding outside the box thinking and avoiding rules cheese. If you have That Guy in the group that can't handle being told to ease up on a powerful character build or loophole abuse, don't bother. And please don't put yourself through character creation without using one of the chargen programs out there. If you have players that don't like character optimization minigames or get caught/demoralized by trap options, you're gonna need to preroll them some interesting options.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

The big difference I remember from SR1 and SR2 was twiddling the combat math to make damage staging a two-success affair, rather than the mess of 4M4 and 8M1 and OMG.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




Freaking Crumbum posted:

so defense rating does NOTHING except determine whether or not you get a point of edge? that's extremely poorly designed since, as in your example, having a point of edge doesn't even guarantee that anything beneficial will necessarily happen

did they keep the damage grades for weapons from earlier editions? it's been forever since i played TTRPG shadowrun, but i kind of recall that in 2E or 3E weapons had damage grades and having a high armor could actually lower the grade of the damage, so it served a very important function
up until 5th edition armor reduced the damage you took in some way, yes

this bullshit is new

Maxwell Lord
Dec 12, 2008

I am drowning.
There is no sign of land.
You are coming down with me, hand in unlovable hand.

And I hope you die.

I hope we both die.


:smith:



Grimey Drawer



Buck Rogers XXVc: The 25th Century

Combat: Lasers and Bad Feelings

Combat in Buck Rogers works a lot like it does in AD&D, naturally enough. I donít actually have my 2e books with me, though, so Iíll probably forget some of the fine distinctions. Basically itís more abstract than what youíd see from 3rd edition onwards, simple but with plenty of little modifiers, and a touch more lethal than it should be.

Each round of combat lasts a minute, and the action economy is a little broad and generous- in a round you can make an attack, reload a weapon, run for cover, etc. (Moving and attacking at the same time isnít mentioned, but thereís little to no tactical/miniature support in the rules anyway.) Thereís a lot of room for common sense / GM fiat, but that part seems okay- it doesnít seem too hard to work out if a particular action will take more or less than 60 seconds.

Initiative is done by everyone rolling d10 (the GM does one roll for all the NPCs.) Characters act from lowest to highest, so high Dexterity gives you a negative modifier. There are also some modifiers for being in tricky terrain. Movement rates are given for all the various races- a human can run 600 feet in a round, climb 150, and swim 300.

Attacking is done by subtracting the opponentís AC from your To Hit Armor Class 0 (THAC0), and then rolling a d20 to see if you can equal or beat that number. A table gives THAC0s for the various PC classes and for NPCs dependent on hit dice: Warriors, Scouts, and creatures with d10 hit dice get the fastest progression, d8s get a middling progression that stalls out in later levels, and d6 progression starts very slow but ends up lower than the d8s. You automatically miss on a 1, but there is no rule for an automatic hit on a 20, so that presumably is not a thing. Also notable, there are no Critical Hit rules at all.

Thereís a good chart of AC modifiers, with bonuses from cover, concealment, and high Dexterity, all especially useful in firefights. Thereís also a section on active parrying/dodging, which is a full defense- you take your entire round to be defensive, and get a bonus to your AC equal to half their level, rounded up (minimum 2.) Warriors and Scouts get an additional bonus to this. It doesnít seem like itís worth it except in very desperate situations. Backstabbing is open to all classes, so long as they have a melee weapon- you get a +2 attack bonus and a x2 damage multiplier if you manage to sneak up on someone and attack. Rogues get +4 to backstab, and at higher levels their damage multiplier increases.

A section on brawling follows, and I like that they point out why this is a good idea. Out in space, or on asteroids or lunar cities, shooting guns everywhere risks blowing a hole in the wall and killing everyone. Of course, brawling still has its downsides- you only do 1d4 base subdual damage, plus or minus any modifiers from Strength. (Though a couple of genotypes are exceptions to this.) Also, to actually knock somebody out, you not only have to reduce them to 0 hp, but they have to fail a System Shock roll (which, as a reminder, is one of the things derived from your Con score- meaning NPCs now all need Constitution scores.) If they fail theyíre knocked out for 1d10 rounds, if not they hang on with 1 hp. Subdual damage heals pretty quickly, 1d4 per hour.

You can also try to just lay someone out by bludgeoning them. You take a -4 penalty to your attack, and the target has to make a System Shock roll at half their normal chance to succeed, or get knocked out. (You also still deal damage, and it's not subdual.) Itís not clear how long anyone stays knocked out in this way.

We then get range and damage tables for major weapons. I covered some of this in the Outfitting writeup, but one thing worth noting is even melee weapons have ranges: knives, daggers, and clubs have a range fo 3 feet, swords of various kinds (plus the Venusian Kryptx, which I didnít write up because you canít buy it and itís a bit weird and weíll get there) all have a range of 6, and Polearms have a range of 9! The game notes the GM should probably assign a penalty to someone engaging a sword-wielding opponent with a knife, but doesnít set specifics. Range for actual ranged weapons works a bit differently, youíre given the max ranges and divide by two to find medium range (which is a -2 to attack) and 4 to find short range. Each weapon also has a ďShotsĒ entry- run out of shots and you have to spend 1 round reloading or recharging. I prefer my space opera without people ever running out of laser bullets, but XXVc is sorta walking the line between space opera and harder SF so I get it. Thrown weapons work pretty much like ranged weapons, except that things like bricks, bottles, and grenades have their range determined by multiplying the Strength of the thrower by 5. Grenades get write-ups for blast radius and how to determine where it goes off, etc.

Letís get into Saving Throws! As Iíve hinted before they work a bit differently in XXVc. Part of this is because of the change in genre- no Dragon Breath or Magic Wands to dodge here. Instead, the Saves are: Explosion/Plasma Fireball, Electrical Shock, Paralysis/Stun/Fall, Toxic Atmosphere/Gas/Poison, Suffocation, Radiation, and Extremes of Heat or Cold.

The second main difference is in how theyíre calculated and advanced. In most of D&D, saves are mostly dependent on your class, and improve by level based on your class. Here, all characters start with the same base array of saving throws, which are then modified by race. Mercurians are more resistant to Heat but vulnerable to Cold, Venusians are more resistant to Toxic/Gas/Poison, etc. Every three levels you gain a +1 bonus to all saves, and the game only has XP tables for up to 12th level, so at maximum theyíre not improving by much.

Priority is something that may also be new. The order in which I listed the saves above is the order in which those saves are made, if a situation calls for multiple rolls. So if a Human walking in the Venus Lowlands is near to an explosion which tears a hole in their protective gear, they first have to make a save for Explosion/Plasma, then Toxic/Gas/Poison, then maybe Heat if the gear was also the only thing protecting them from the temperature. There follow some explanations of the various saves- most of them halve damage, but some like Toxic can eliminate it entirely, while with stuff like Radiation and temperature extremes, there are issues with how this is calculated over time. (Radiation has you make a save for the overall dose, which is calculated by how long you were exposed.)

Thereís also a nice chart for fall damage depending on what planet youíre on, including maximums (though- and the game doesnít bring this up- terminal velocity is a matter of air resistance, so if youíre on the Lunar surface as opposed to in a dome, there should be no practical maximum.)

The gameís handling of HP is pretty simple: run out and youíre dead. Life Suspension tech can maybe save you, but as we learned earlier, itís a very tricky thing. Thereís also advice for situations where death seems inescapable- the GM is encouraged to fudge a bit. If a PC is in a fighter that suddenly gets hit and spins towards a mountain, they should be able to escape via ejector seat, that sort of thing. Sometimes you canít help it, and stupid decisions should mean death, but the GM is encouraged to balance these considerations.

However I think the rules as written are probably still too lethal. As in AD&D low-level characters are quite fragile, but unlike AD&D there are no temples with clerics willing to cast resurrection spells for the right price. The Life Suspension thing really only seems viable once a Medic has some levels with them. Here, I think Countdown to Doomsday had the right approach- like all the AD&D Gold Box games, it treats 0 hp as ďDownĒ, below that as ďDyingĒ, but anyone can stabilize a dying character, and youíre only killed outright if you take a whole bunch of damage at once. Really I advise using the Gold Box rules for all your old school D&D derivatives, barring something like Dungeon Crawl Classics or whatever.

The section closes out with a bit on Healing; while medical treatment has already been covered by Skills, natural healing lets you heal 1 hp a day if you donít do anything strenuous, and 3 hp a day if you just rest the whole time. Itís slow, but the book also says that between adventures the GM may just say to Hell with it, youíre back up to full.

So, thereís Combat. Maybe a trifle too dangerous at low levels, but there is a fix for that at least.

Next time: SPACESHIPS!

Maxwell Lord fucked around with this message at 19:36 on Oct 7, 2019

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Night Horrors: Enemy Action
Part 13: Radioactive Waste

For the Machine, Aether is basically waste heat. It's the leftover dregs of occult power produced by the various reactions the God-Machine harnesses, dangerous only because demons can wield it for power. For normal, biological creatures, however, it can be very dangerous just on its own. It mutates animals into monstrous forms, granting them strange abilities and bizarre instincts - turning them into cryptids. Usually, the Machine pays no attention to cryptids, which is probably a good thing. When it actually turns to creating them purposefully, after all, bad things tend to happen.


The GOAT

Alban has been a problem, for example, for decades. On May 28, 1984, Molly Harper was murdered in a barn outside Fox Lake, Wisconsin. Her own mother cut her throat as a cult chanted ominous hymns, pouring her blood into carved sigils. In the days to follow, the cult was consumed by guilt for their crime and haunted by memories of a Satanic goat. They had thought they were good people, summoning the archangel Hanael to bring eternal life to the faithful, and had no idea how they'd sacrificed a teenager. On September 16, 1987, Christopher Haynes was found in Shawnee National Forest with his throat cut and an inverted pentagram carved in his chest. Three days later, his friend Jacob Walsh confessed to doing it. They'd been dabbling occultists planning a great Satanic sacrifice, but Jacob had no idea how Chris had ended up under the knife. He swore he'd started into the eyes of Satan himself. On October 31, 2008, Glorie Sutton and her coven were arrested in a park outside Portland, having murdered Gregory Sutton by throat-slitting seconds before cops arrived. They wept openly, cursing themselves for betraying their own teachings and harming a person, and Glorie insists that they were attended not by the Horned God but an evil spirit pretending to be him.

Similar incidents have happened frequently. The involved parties usually report a night of utter confusion culminating in the ritual sacrifice of a loved one. No one ever remembers the sacred goat that had been part of their lives beforehand, their love for the creature, their praise for him as a divine symbol, or their decision that he must be sacrificed. That is because those things never happened, because the goat made sure of that. Alban the goat is a unique being, bred by the God-Machine over multiple generations to be the perfect sacrificial victim. The sacrifice of the goat was the final step in the creation of a hunter angel capable of splintering time in order to ensure it never lost a battle. All went to plan at first, but demons arrived literally seconds too late to prevent the summoning. One demon, desperate to prevent Hanael's existence, used her power to turn back time in order to save the goat's life. Hanael, sensing a threat to her existence, turned back time to the same moment to ensure her birth could not be stopped. The paradox shattered the timeline, trapping the demons and angel in a four-minute splinter timeline. The goat appeared in the summoning sigil and ran off into the night, and history changed to prevent all possibility of his being sacrificed. He replaced himself with Molly Harper.

Since then, Alban has reappeared many times, but he's hard to track. He has Hanael's powers of time manipulation thanks to the initial splintering. He uses it to travel to new locations, mostly. Alban is not a malicious goat, but he always unwittingly leads people to their deaths at the hands of their own loved ones. All he really wants is the same things as any goat - food, safety and companionship. He travels the world in search of a home, but invariably the mortals that take care of him turn on him. Alban seeks out demons, associating the sensation of Aether with his original rescuers, and if he manages to find one, he's likely to stick by them whether they want him to or not. He is a large goat of Spanish stock, with long, shimmering white fur. His silver hooves have sharp spines due to his mutations, making him even better at climbing than most goats. His glowing purple eyes have rectangular pupils, and he has huge silver hornsthat curl at the tips. Alban is a friendly, affectionate goat who enjoys attention. However, he gets skittish at the sight of a knife, and if panicked, he flees. If trapped, he will splinter the timeline to escape.

What appears to happen is he shows up, a cult forms around him, and then they try to sacrifice him. He splinters the timeline, replacing himself with one of the cultists' loved ones, and nobody remembers he was there. This makes him nearly impossible to kill. However, there's one caveat. Alban trades his own fate with that of his victim. If you could discover how Alban's last victim was supposed to be destined to die, then Alban could be trapped in that death, as he would be unable to splinter time to save himself from it. The God-Machine, meanwhile, would quite like its goat back. While Alban was originally intended as the perfect sacrifice, his ability to splinter time is unexpected and useful. The Machine sees value in an animal with the power to convert animal sacrifices into human sacrifices. Anywhere that Alban is sighted, angelic emissaries or compromised Agencies offer rewards for his capture and delivery. Whether the Machine would actually pay out is unknown, of course. Some demons think that Alban actually is Hanael, successfully summoned into the form of a goat. They're not correct, but it's a reasonable interpretation of events.

Alban is tough, charismatic (by, uh, goat standards?) and strong-willed, but he's, uh, he's a goat. He has the intellect of a normal goat. He can climb stuff and headbutt people. Humans interacting with Alban naturally become obsessed with him, convinced he is a holy being that must be honored and sanctified. After a full lunar month of interaction with him, or if they are given the suggestion to do so, they become obsessed with sacrificing him. Alban does not age and will never die of natural causes. Lastly, he can spend Willpower to splinter time. This lets him rewind time to a previous decision he's made, choosing a different path. Another person is substituted for him, leaving most events intact but with that person in place of Alban. Mortal memories of the timeline are altered; demons remember both the original and new sequence. This power triggers automatically if Alban would die, even if he's out of Willpower.


I wonder where it's hiding.

Asteroidea are a sort of creature created at Oceanalia Theme Park. The park has existed for 30 years, and millions have visited and had tons of fun with the dolphin shows, the lovable mascot of the park ('Orky') and the many activities. Everyone leaves exhausted but happy. The Machine's presenve there is invisible, utilizing hidden Command and Control Infrastructure in the park to communicate with its mortal servants and keep the locals happy and complaint. A demon attack ten years ago caused an Aether spill throughout the park, which infected the animals. Angels managed to get rid of any creature they thought would be a threat, but they overlooked a small beast living in the water filtration system. These animals were once simple starfish brought in by the current, but they have flourished on the Aether. They are large enough now that they had to flee the pipes and now hide in the sewers and waterfront warehouses nearby.

An asteroidea is a giant starfish with chameleon skin. They are ten feet from tip to tip, can breathe outside water and, indeed, prefer to live on roofs of cramped locations. When their cilia detect the heat of a target underneath them, they drop from the roof, slamming into their victims from above with their powerful arms and massive weight. Hundreds of tiny hooks embed in the flesh of their victim, pumping them full of paralytic neurotoxins. Over a week, the hooks intertwine into the victim's body and absorb it. Within seven days, the entire body is gone, leaving only undigestible clothing, pins, implants and similar. While the asteroidea are are dangerous to humans, they are possibly even moreso to demons. Their hooks, once inside demonic flesh, begin to immediately filter the Aether out of their system. Within seconds, they can drain a demon dry of Aether.

An asteroidea looks like a giant, twisted starfish. Their skin is sleek and flexible, able to fold in on itself to blend with the environment. They can assume the texture and coloration of anything they bond to, and often compress themselves flat to blend with ceilings or walls. They spend most of their time alone, waiting for prey. They are prone to attacking anything they can sense strong Aether inside, but will eat just about anything in a pinch. The larger they get, the more food they need to survive, and while they can go weeks between meals without starving, they try to eat whenever possible.

The local city aquarium is home to a fully-grown asteroidea now, though it has survived thus far by eating small fish and stray animals in the sewers. It is starting to hunt larger prey, and it's found a perfect hunting ground near the nearby drain into the reservoir. There, it drops onto victims and forces them into the water. It has started to develop a preference for attacking demons and angels, likely due to the Aether within them. Some demons believe that the Aether spill (and the attack that caused it) were a false flag operation by the God-Machine, deliberately intended to create a demon-hunting bioweapon. This is untrue! The Machine doesn't even really grasp the potential the asteroidea have as demon-hunters. If one of its angels or agents were to find the remains of a demon in the lair of one of the creatures, though, it might well decide to weaponize them. Swimmers, in the meantime, are starting to vanish in worrying numbers due to asteroidea attacks. The local government is blaming riptides, but those are not common in the area, and the media's starting to investigate. The issue is that the Aether leak has gotten to the pier, and it's started to contaminate the local starfish. They bury the undigestible bones of their victims under the beach, then lurk under the sand and wait for people to set up towels on top of them so they can grab them and pull them down into their waiting...well, cilia.

The asteroidea are starfish, but extremely cunning starfish with superhuman strength and resilience. They're exceptional fighters and very sneaky. That's all they have going for them skills-wise, but they're armor plated, huge, have long grabby arms, can sense movement and heat, can drain Aether from folks they grab and can spend Willpower to flatten themselves to only a few inches thick and change colors. They have a tiny Willpower pool, though, so at least that's willpower they aren't using to improve their distinctly giant pool to grab and murder you. They also don't have huge damage values and aren't very dodgy, so a group of PCs can probably take one out in a pinch, but they're a nasty surprise if you weren't expecting your GM to throw magic-eating giant death starfish at you in a spy game.

Next time: The False Demon, the Unrelenting Guardian

Chernobyl Peace Prize
May 7, 2007

Or later, later's fine.
But now would be good.



I love and respect The Infinite Goat

Big Mad Drongo
Nov 10, 2006







Goat is GOAT

Josef bugman
Nov 17, 2011

I AM A DEEPLY DECENT PERSON, WITH THE LOVE OF HUMANITY IN MY HEART


The infinity goat is real and strong and my friend.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Lol at demons knowing about Lavadiel's brain theft, but not trying to actively whack her.

Also, what do those influences do, anyways? Are they distinct from discrete spells/powers?

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Influences are powers unique to ephemeral entities that basically let them exert a great deal over control over the thing without needing a specific codified power. Like Influence (Dogs) lets you sense dogs, make dogs do things, at high enough levels you could create dogs ex nihilo. The more points you have in an Influence, the more it can do and the better your roll to do it.

hyphz
Aug 5, 2003

Number 1 Nerd Tear Farmer 2022.

Keep it up, champ.

Also you're a skeleton warrior now. Kree.





2: The Original Plan Was Too Confusing

My original idea here was to go through some magic and gear related things in order to explain the width of character generation. But since people already found the previous post confusing (I've edited it since), and covering those things would require bringing in a whole bunch of other subsystems at once, I'm not going to do that. I'm just going to try to close out character generation with a few holes left behind.

So, let's look at some Skills! As mentioned before there are 19 skills, but five of them are particular to characters with certain supernatural powers, leaving 14 general ones. You can get up to 9 ranks in a skill, or 10 if you take a Quality (basically an Advantage) letting you have the extra one; and at character generation, you can only buy up to 6 or 7 ranks, and only one skill can be at the maximum. Skills tend to cost the same to advance as attributes, which is a bizarre decision since they both hame the same effect on rolls, but Attributes apply to multiple skills. (This is still an improvement over some of the previous editions where you could buy a skill all the way up to the system cap at character generation. Hey, your newly created runner is as good as anyone in the world can ever be with a gun! No way it's going to be daft if every random bar is prepared for that walking in.)

Well, ok, we think you can get 10 ranks in a skill. The summary chapter says you can only get 9. It also says that if you have cyberware or something that augments a skill, the "increase can never be more than +4", but not if the increase can break the 9 cap.

One thing we didn't mention is Specializations. You can spend one of your skill points to apply a Specialization to a skill, which gives you a +2 bonus when using a particular application of that skill. It's not clear if the skill caps apply to these or not, but this seems to be a nice way to potentially get +9 in Your Big Thing right out of the gate.

Let's also clarify the dice system. You determine a dice pool, usually by adding an Attribute and a Skill but not always, and roll that many d6. You're trying to get 5 and 6's, which are successes, or "hits". To succeed, you need a number of hits equal to the Threshold, which is set by the system or GM. Any extra successes are "net hits". If more than half of the dice come up 1, that's a "glitch", and bad stuff can happen; if that happens when you also got no hits, that's a "critical glitch", and really bad stuff can happen.

So, skills. Athletics is, well, an RPG athletics skill. There's a few sample uses. To climb, you test Athletics + Strength against Threshold 3 and climb 1 metre in any direction (including down) for each net hit. A-ha. Here's our first problem. Remember "net" hits are those above what you needed to succeed, so if you get exactly 3 successes, you succeed at climbing 0 metres. Also, nothing says how long this takes, so what the difference is between climbing 3 metres in one test and making 3 climbing tests isn't clear (I suppose you might fall on a glitch, but it doesn't say that). The designer has ignored those issues, but has inserted this paragraph which shows some wonderful designer pique:

quote:

If a player is equipped with climbing gear (p. 279), they get a point of Edge when starting their climb. They do not keep gaining Edge each turn of the climb. If they attempt to pile up Edge by starting a climb, then jumping off, then starting a ďnew climbĒ on the same surface, you are allowed to give them a stern talking to and point them to the Preventing Edge Abuse section (p. 45).

We shall hear more about that section later on, too. Oh, and of course, it's apparently abusive to suggest that climbing gear might help you with the entire climb, not just the first few metres, but hey. Did you know that Joe Average has only a 10% chance of being able to climb anything, even a surface with foot- and handholds? The handholds drop the Threshold to 2, but because of the net hits rule Joe still needs 3 hits to get anywhere, and that's not too likely on 4d6.

Escaping from restraints or grapples is Agility + Athletics vs a test based on the difficulty of what's restraining you, with the lowest being 2 for rope - so Joe Average has a 40% chance of escaping from rope bonds. So much for any budding cyberdominatrices. Actually, the binder could make it almost impossible for him to escape from the rope by watching him, since this gives a +1 to the Threshold, even though the text says nothing about hiding the fact you are escaping. I guess stage escapologists are kinda screwed.

Swimming has a base speed of 3 metres per combat round, which is 3 seconds. This means that anyone can swim the 200 metre freestyle in 200 seconds or 3.3 minutes, which is sufficient to meet the speed swimming qualification for being an RNLI lifeguard. You can speed up with Athletics + Agility 2, to add half the net hits to your movement speed. But because swimming is tiring, the threshold increases by 1 every 15 minutes.. so apparently it's not tiring if you're only going 3 metres per round, so you're not even sweating after your lifeguard exam. Running isn't mentioned here; if you spend a combat round running you go a base of 15 metres, which means anyone can do the 100m in 20 seconds, above average but not unreasonable. It's increased by the total net hits on Athletics + Agility vs Threshold 0 - every success counts - which makes much more sense.

Athletics is also used for throwing grenades, but the ridiculousness of that won't be looked into until we get to the details of the combat system.

Biotech is used with logic to understand and fix biotech devices, install cyberware, and the big one - healing people. To give someone first aid is Biotech + Logic versus a threshold of 5 minus Essence; so having cyberware installed makes it harder to heal you, even though the same skill represents knowledge of cyberware. This heals 1 stun damage per net hit or 1 physical per two net hits; so as before, with an exact success, you succeed at healing no damage. That said, to do this you need a first aid kit and there's none mentioned anywhere in the Gear chapter, so you probably can't actually do this. If you have a medkit, which is a more involved portable hospital, you can take longer to heal them to heal 1 damage of either type per net hit. You also get a free +1 to the healing roll if your medkit is connected to the Internet, because apparently by this point in the future Google is an intrinsic part of the medicine process.

Close Combat is used with Agility for maiming people with melee weapons. We already saw how this works - you roll more successes than they do on Reaction + Intuition, and then you deal the base damage of the weapon plus your net hits. You might have also noticed that as soon as you pick up a weapon, your Strength ceases to matter to anything to do with close combat.

Con is rolled against Intuition + Willpower to pretend to be someone you're not. Oddly, Acting is listed as a possible speciality, because those scumbags in movies are conning the entire audience. Performance is also listed as a different possible speciality, because apparently performing and acting are different. Ugh.

Cracking and Electronics are the two skills related to the Matrix - ie, the Internet. The division between these is really awkward, though: Cracking is used for illegal tasks, and Electronics for legal ones. So you can be a good enough programmer to write your own, legal, operating systems from scratch yet still be completely baffled if you had to write a virus. Let's not get into the issue of what happens if you're a corp agent or a cop who has legal authorisation to hack.

Engineering is mostly used for building and fixing vehicles and other machines; with Logic for making full repairs, and with Intuition for juryrigging. It's also awkwardly used for picking locks (with Agility), and - especially awkwardly - with Logic for firing vehicle weapons. As I mentioned previously, this is an obvious fudge so that players who want to create drone riggers - that is, characters who specialise in building and flying drones - aren't crippled by having to have Logic+Engineering to rig the drones and then Agility in order to hit anything with their weapons.

Exotic Weapons can only be used with a specialization and is the kludge for making you spend specific skill points to use certain weapons. It works the same as all the other combat skills. Ditto, Firearms which is the general skill for shooting people.

Influence is used with Charisma or Logic to make more honest arguments. It's also used for teaching new skills to other characters. This requires at least 4 ranks in a skill, but beyond that, being better at the skill being taught doesn't change anything compared to how good you are at teaching.

Outdoors is the classic RPG Survival skill, except it works outside in city areas too. So someone who's good at finding their way around New York is also good at foraging for food in the jungle.

Perception is Perception. You know how Perception works in RPGs. There is a slightly odd rule that you can take a Specialization in a particular type of perception (like "visual"), but you can also take one in an environment, so you're better at detecting anything in a city.

Piloting is used with Reaction to fly vehicles, because Drone Riggers aren't getting off that easily.

There's also a few special tests which aren't associated with skills. Composure (Willpower + Charisma) is used to keep your cool in stressful situations. There are absolutely no rules for when a PC makes a Composure test or how hard it is.

Judge Intentions is used to "get a read" on a target you've recently met. It's Willpower + Intuition, which is also the opposing roll for Con, so is that the same one as this? Dunno, mate.

Memory (Logic + Intuition) is used for, well, remembering things.

And finally, Willpower + Body is rolled to get a temporary increase to your carrying capacity, which is normally set by your Strength; your Strength squared times 10 kilograms. Naturally, the Gear chapter doesn't tell you how much anything weighs. The NPCs chapter does tell you how much certain monsters weigh, so if you want to bench press a Barghest this is a useful one to note.

There also the special skills, but we'll get onto them when we deal with the subsystems they work with. That leaves us with only Qualities to deal with, which are Advantages and Disadvantages because this game never got its head out of the 90s. We'll get onto those next time.

hyphz fucked around with this message at 18:45 on Oct 7, 2019

Jerik
Jun 24, 2019

I don't know what to write here.

Mors Rattus posted:

He's lost his human cover entirely and spends most of his time immaterial, so he's not going to become a demon - he's at risk of becoming a sliver, a dangerous, insane and completely unfixable remnant of an angel that warps reality by its very presence.

Whoa, wait a second, this is the first I remember hearing of slivers. Are slivers detailed anywhere else, or is this the only mention of them? I don't suppose we get any sample slivers in this book...

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Jerik posted:

Whoa, wait a second, this is the first I remember hearing of slivers. Are slivers detailed anywhere else, or is this the only mention of them? I don't suppose we get any sample slivers in this book...

They're from the Demon ST's Guide and this is like the one place outside of that in which they are acknowledged.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Infinity Goat and Lutzow's Terrifying Train Attack both feel very much like Jojo's Bizarre Adventure scenarios from the later seasons, by which I mean they feel like some of the best stuff posted so far.

Also, when it mentions Lutzow potentially becoming a Sliver... have they been mentioned before? And are there any examples of them?

EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


hyphz posted:

You also get a free +1 to the healing roll if your medkit is connected to the Internet, because apparently by this point in the future Google is an intrinsic part of the medicine process.

This makes sense cos it's just connected to the sum of all medical knowledge NeoWebMD or whatever. Its good!

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


EthanSteele posted:

This makes sense cos it's just connected to the sum of all medical knowledge NeoWebMD or whatever. Its good!

"Google! My leg hurts! There's bone poking through the skin! Is it broken?"

"Oh no, it's cancer. Now commencing radiation therapy."

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Flail Snail
Jul 30, 2019

Collector of the Obscure

Since the Matrix is just a bunch of dead technomancers, I suppose it could make sense.

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