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That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




Dave Brookshaw posted:

As Rand says, they're name-changed Mad Ones, which were in the 1e corebook then ignored until Left Hand Path where they got proper rules. We changed their name because, well.. They were called Mad Ones.

A happy side effect is that we finally have an in-setting name for the actual process of losing your last Wisdom dot: Rapture.

It also helps that it's a more accurate and more interesting descriptor.

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Snorb
Nov 19, 2010


Maxwell Lord posted:



(building your own GMO creatures)

This is why I liked No Humans Allowed-- it gave you the bestiary that the core box set sorely lacked. (Plus, it gave you a slew of gennies suitable for PCs to use, and did away with almost all of the species/career restrictions from Characters & Combat.)

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

wiegieman posted:

Also a group of wizards literally want to revenge kill him for killing their friend, so he's probably not long for this world.

This is probably where that 'city on fire' imagery comes from.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Night Horrors: Nameless and Accursed
Murder Is My Business



Keres, AKA Sergeant Jillian Molina, is an Adamantine Arrow Thyrsus got out of poverty by joining the military at a young age. She became a skilled shooter and special forces op, especially good with ambush and secret raids. An assassin, in other words. During a mission gone wrong, she ended up Awakening while under fire from enemies that intel hadn't been aware of. While half her force got taken out, she got the other half out alive by following a spirit no one else could see. She chanted secret words to herself to stay focused, speaking truths of the Supernal, and the whole thing got covered up. Jill didn't usually care about that, but she felt that it was erasing her own existence, making her like the spirit that had helped her. She ended up mustering out and joining the Adamantine Arrow, where she...did pretty much the same job, but focused on assassinating Rapt, spirits and Reapers rather than political targets. She joined a cabal named the Rushing Tide, all ex-military and focused on defending Sleepers in the way they'd once defended nations. Their high success rate made them in demand, and they became Keres' family that she hadn't realized she needed.

Keres' mentor in the Arrow was a shaman named Adder, and he sometimes had her kill other Pentacle mages. She never worked with the Tide on these jobs - plausible deniability, after all. No one worried about her secrets as long as she was okay. However, while out on a solo job once, she came back to find the Tide gone, leaving only a brief note saying they'd headed into Shadow to fight something. They never came back. Keres blames herself for their loss, sure that she'd have been able to keep them alive. She'll do anything to get revenge, but she isn't sure who to go after. No one will admit to hiring the Tide for the job, and she was only able to track them to an area that was empty of all clues except the signs of their deaths. She's certain someone knows something - but she has to find that person first. She plans to, once she does, torture them until they reveal all, then murder them. She still does assassinations for the Arrow, and also does freelance wetwork on the side now, in order to gain resources for her hunt.

Keres is a solid white lady, late 30s, a little under average height but very imposing. She has short, dark blonde hair, cut shorter any time she notices it reaching her collar. She wears tough, durable clothes that can survive her work and have pockets. She's extremely businesslike on the job and relentlessly focused once she takes one. She is a careful planner who will spend days or even weeks observing her target before she makes her move. She has no patience for people who mess around on the job. Off-duty, though, she's a cheerfy, affable sort who likes bad puns and stupid dad jokes. Her Immediate Nimbus provokes the fear of a nearby predator stalking you, and her Signature Nimbus is the scent of blood and a sense of relief that you weren't killed. Her Long-Term Nimbus causes increased activity by vicious spirits, particularly spirits of violence.

In truth, Keres was missing on the day her cabal got killed because Adder arranged for her to be. He knows who got them killed and why, and he's afraid that one day, Keres will figure out the answers. Some of his rivals think he's actually the guilty party, and that the cabal had information on him that would've got him into trouble with the local Consilium. Keres also has people after her from her old, mundane life - she killed a lot of folks for the government, and while they did their best to erase the evidence and she never did get caught, some foreign governments and agencies have put the pieces together and have put a large price on her for capture. The Tide, meanwhile, died fighting an ancient spirit named Niradel - an old god. Some say they were reckless and didn't do the proper research before their attack, but that's unlikely. They were skilled and good at their jobs. They were cocky, maybe, but they were professional. They absolutely could've taken Niradel...if it had been alone. It wasn't. Whoever hired them sent reinforcements for the spirit. Niradel's still mad about the attack, but while some mages fear it'll lash out randomly, it won't. It wants victims who will ensure it is remembered.

Keres is a fast, strong and strong-willed woman, though she's very much not a charismatic one. She usually operates under the radar, and given her choice, she prefers kills that look accidental. She's more than willing to get creatively nasty if asked to send a message, however. Her Virtue is Loyal, her Vice is Stubborn, and she is a member of the Perfected Adepts Legacy. She's a decent investigator and a terrifying shooter and sneak, plus she's scary and still has contacts in special forces, plus a terrifying amount of combat training. Seriously, Professional Training (Soldier) 5 is insane. She specializes in Life and Spirit magic, primarily to make herself sneakier, weaken foes, and scare spirits. She's decently tough and a great fighter, especially by Mage standards, but not especially focused on doing magic.

The Perfected Adepts are primarily Obrimos or Adamantine Arrow, focused on Life magic. They believe in transcendence through perfecting the body and disciplining the mind. They're ascetics who prefer to harmonize their actions with their soul, perfecting every aspect of themselves to become their most complete self. They tend to be good at magic in gyms and other places where physical training happens, while performing acts of service, while fasting or while giving up items of value. They can regain Mana from combat drills and training, by performing feats of endurance or by meditation.

Their first Attainment is Vital Force, which combines Life, Prime and Athletics skill. This gives them an innate awareness of the energies that flow through living beings, allowing them to analyze these beings both in terms of health and magic. They become even better at using their Life-based Mage Sight as well if they get a chance to meditate first.

Keres is handy as a dangerous minion whom Mage PCs may not want to kill due to her status as a loyal and valued Arrow. She could be working for anyone, and she’s vicious as gently caress if she thinks you’re related to her friends dying.

Next time: The Master Thief

Mors Rattus fucked around with this message at 21:32 on Mar 12, 2020

Everyone
Sep 6, 2019


While I could easily see Keres as a deadly threat to a cabal, I could also see her as a potential ally. I already like her more than Mr. "Let's gently caress with people's lives and see what happens."

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



Everyone posted:

While I could easily see Keres as a deadly threat to a cabal, I could also see her as a potential ally. I already like her more than Mr. "Let's gently caress with people's lives and see what happens."

Same, Gwyndion is always unpredictable - Keres can have potential to be a temporary ally or source of information if she thinks they might help dig up who killed her buddies.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


She just sounds like a fairly normal PC.

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




So PT(Soldier) basically means whenever she's doing something even remotely related to soldier stuff, she rolls a ton of dice?

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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wiegieman posted:

So PT(Soldier) basically means whenever she's doing something even remotely related to soldier stuff, she rolls a ton of dice?

Not quite. It's less pile of dice and more dice tricks - PT 5 is, I believe, the level where in her Asset Skills (which include Firearms) any time she can just sit back and rely on training she can give up Defense to roll with the rote quality.

Which is 'reroll all failed dice once.'

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




Yeah, Professional Training gives you bonus dots of Contacts, Specialties and dice tricks like 9-again and rote. (The former of which I'm not a fan of, but I'm generally not a fan of circuitous, repetitive and cost-imbalanced things like "buy one dot of this thing to get two dots of this other thing" or the various Experience cost fuckery that happens in I think every White Wolf and White Wolf-derived property since time began.)

EDIT:

I will say—and I understand some of the factors that went into why this was—the way Nimbuses are described in this book is very helpful to getting a handle on just what the corebook meant for them to be, which is a little frustrating after ruminating on the game for the better part of a year and then finally getting to start a game a few weeks before this book came out. The new information on Legacies is also extremely useful in signposting just what they're supposed to look like, which I feel like the Eleventh Question didn't quite manage as well as I would like.

That Old Tree fucked around with this message at 22:40 on Mar 12, 2020

Dave Brookshaw
Jun 27, 2012

No Regrets


I completely agree. The thing the core lacks is enough space for examples, which are always useful.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Night Horrors: Nameless and Accursed
What's Yours Is Mine



Viridian, formerly Diya Shah, spent her first three decades as an art thief and gallery owner, but she hasn't been Diya Shah since her Awakening, fifty years ago. She's fairly certain that all her old arrest warrants are expired and most governments assume Diya Shah is dead. She's turned her talents to magical artifacts rather than art, anyway. She is a member of the Mysterium, an adventurer and auctioneer who adores exploring ancient ruins and facing down dangers for treasure, performing elaborate heists on Seer collections and making rivals. She's also an expert on the preservation and repair of artifacts, which has gotten her into a lot of places where someone with her thieving talents would usually not be allowed...though if you're smart, you keep her under constant watch and check your inventory when she leaves.

Viridian agrees with the Mysterium that all knowledge has value...but she disagrees on their positions vis a vis pricing, whether mundane money can be valued in regards to magic, and who can set that price. She's loyal enough to the Order that if an artifact is particularly dangerous, she won't sell it outside the Pentacle, but she's more than happy to do casual work for Seers, Scelesti or Reapers. The Guardians of the Veil really want her operations to be shut down, and her local Mysterium leaders typically give her stern lectures and then head right back to bidding on whatever she happens to have today or hiring her to acquire items from rivals. She used to work all by herself, but as she became more infamous in the magical community and others tried to steal her scores, she handpicked a small cabal - around six mages and two Sleepwalkers - to help her, protect her, manage the business end of her work and guard her home. They are very loyal, and the cabal are all founding members of Viridian's Legacy, the Nighthawks.

Viridian is an 80-year-old Indian lady, but at a glance she appears closer to 60. She is extremely charming, friendly and good at getting people to tell her things they really, really shouldn't. She never starts negotiations without a thorough understanding of her client, their assets and what they might want, though she actually enjoys when someone proves her investigation inadequate and surprises her with something she didn't think they'd have to offer, especially if it'll get her a new adventure. If she finds a target to be too dangerous or that her client might harm the Pentacle, she opens up the chance for counteroffers or arguments to keep it off the market or to put a fix in her auctions. Her Immediate Nimbus is flaring color and the memory of one's dreams and goals. Her Signature Nimbus is a confetti spray of color and the disappointment of missed opportuntiy. Her Long-Term Nimbus makes it hard to resist temptation or ignore things you crave.

Some years back, Viridian sold a very powerful artifact to a mage that she hadn't realized at the time was a Scelestus. She found out later and buried the sale beneath layers of false traces, but she was never able to steal the artifact back. In the past few months, the buyer has entirely vanished, and Viridian is terrified that he's going to use what she gave him - which could be devastating to anyone caught up in it. She mostly holds her auctions through the Viridian Foundation, holding a major gala once a year where she sells her biggest items; she does smaller auctions as well, but never for her best catches. Getting an invite is competitive, and she is very strict about keeping the peace no matter who shows up - any truce-breaker is ejected from the event and blacklisted from all future auctions. Sometimes, invitees will send proxies or sell their invite to others, which Viridian is fine with as long as they're willing to vouch for the new attendees and her team vets them first.

Viridian doesn't just rely on her magic to get her goods - mundane thievery and information gathering, bribery and so on work just fine a lot of the time. It's part of why she's so successful at stealing from other wizards - many mages dismiss mundane methods and assume only magic is a threat. Viridian loves exploiting that kind of thing - it doesn't raelly matter how many wards you have when your delivery boy is paid off to hand your goods to the wrong person. She also really, really doesn't like the Guardians of the Veil. One of her friends, a young man named Danver, died on a job after they refused to lend out a dangerous artifact to her. She blamed them for over ten years, and while she has since realized that no magic would've been able to save Danver, she'd never actually admit that she thinks they made the right decision in not lending to her. She'll still work for them, and her anger has faded somewhat, but Danver was close to a son to her - especially since she's got no kids of her own.

Viridian's a Moros, extremely smart and charismatic, and very good at anything related to talking to people, sneaking around or breaking into things. She's not the most physically impressive, what with being an eighty-year-old woman, but that's why she has her team. She's wealthy, extremely connected, well trained and has access to many, many magic items if she thinks she might need them. Her Virtue is Restrained, her Vice is Proud. Her Obsessions are ruins of the Time Before and restoration of damaged magic items, and her main goal in life is to get more magic items and sell them for incredibly high prices. Magically, she's quite potent and especially good with Matter, but no slouch with Death, Life or Prime.

The Nighthawks are mostly Moros or Mysterium, focused on Prime. They were founded by Viridian and her team, and they're a mix of tomb robbers, thieves and magical archaeologists. They believe that magical items left untouched and uncared for too long lose their power and connection to the Supernal. They argue that, however potent Time Before artifacts are now, they were once much more, and so they work to find, study and spread knowledge of lost Grimoires and Artifacts, in order to keep their magic alive. They do magic through lockpicks and thieving tools, through theft, through stealth, and through sale or gifting of magic items that will be actively used. They can regain Mana through the study of ancient sites and objects, through heists or other efforts where they must avoid discovery, through using a magical item for a long period, or through giving or attending lectures or lessons on ancient or hidden things newly discovered.

The First Attainment of the Nighthawks, Unburied Treasure, combined Matter, Prime, Mysterium membership and skill at theft and academics or occult knowledge to sense the presence of magical items, Mana and other items of Supernal power, as well as making it easier to pierce magic concealing such things. Their Second Attainment, Under Cover of Night, requires further skill at crime. It helps hide the user and her magic from magical detection. With use of Death magic, it can also suppress the user's aura.

Overall, I think Viridian is dangerous mostly for being mercenary; she honestly strikes me as a really good patron for a PC group. Playing her team would be fun.

Next time: The Friendly Face of Panopticon

Froghammer
Sep 8, 2012





gently caress yeah, have her sponsor the PCs for a heist

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

IT *BZZT* WASP ME--
IT WASP ME ALL *BZZT* ALONG!




That's a very flexible NPC, she'd work as a friend or for as well as in combined mythos games too what with her thieving ways.

Froghammer
Sep 8, 2012





Shenanigans Going Down at a magical underworld auction is one hell of a plot hook

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2e: Terror in Talabheim

Brought to you by plague anxiety!

I was done with Hams a long while ago, but I write when I'm anxious and so here we go. As an added bonus, I've actually run this adventure, or rather a very modified version using the general outline presented here. It's what we decided to try after we abandoned Paths of the Damned halfway through the dating sim portion in Altdorf since it was just too dull to complete. Instead of a gimmick like Brute Squad, I'll instead be talking about what we changed and why, and I'll still give you the party I ran this for.

Terror in Talabheim is an adventure intended for late 1st to mid 2nd tier characters, though if you start in late 1st tier you're going to struggle mightily with some of it. It's also the main Talabheim sourcebook, but I actually feel that's the weakest part of the book. It's a story about rat nazis; no Chaos involved, though there is an evil necromancer that's made common cause with the rats since they can get her a lot of bodies and they don't mind her helping them out. It is, by hearsay, originally meant to be a story where the Empire discovers beyond a doubt the Skaven exist, and the ending had to be rewritten at the last moment to drop that element since it would be too much of a setting change. I'm willing to buy that because the ending in this book is a sharp, sharp swerve in quality from what was otherwise a decent enough (if railroady and sort of awkward) war/disaster story. The general gist is that the rats have come up with a way to conquer Talabheim, which is normally thought to be completely impregnable because it's situated in an immense impact crater. Seriously: No-one in history has ever actually managed to seize Talabheim by force by just storming the 'walls'. It has fresh water, its own farmland, and the ability to sustain itself through years of being besieged. The Grey Seer in charge has the brilliant-genius plan that he will poison the city's water with an interesting new plague: One that actually stems from a poison. The fact that the poison/pollution remains in the system and re-infects the victim makes conventional Shallyan magic ineffective, unless they learn they need to cast Cure Poison and THEN Cure Disease. That will actually stop the Grey Ague.

The problem is, this was invented by a Plague Priest of Pestilens, who wanted to make it very, very slow and careful in its killing. He wanted it to spread widely through the city before anyone started showing serious symptoms or dying. The Grey Seer, on the other hand, wants it to be extremely violent but also easily cured (which is heresy to the Pestilens) if you know how to deactivate it; he has plans to control the city's population and make them slaves by keeping them dependent on regular doses of a 'cure' that deactivates the pollution and lets the sickness die briefly. He also plans to build a giant fuckoff Nazi railway gun that fires poison and infected shells, so that when the Empire comes to rescue Talabheim from his conquest he can bombard the relief army and send plague and death throughout the remnants of the Empire (and hopefully kill Karl Franz himself). As rat plans go, this is a really good rat plan! The only problem is the guy who made the plague in the first place hates it because it isn't proper for Nurgle THE GREAT HORNED RAT WE SWEAR. But surely that little issue won't be too much of a problem. He'll just make sure the Plague Priest and his Pestilens contingent die during the initial seizure of the city. Everything is going to come up great. This is only the beginning of good things for Asorak Steeleye, Brilliant-Genius Grey Seer of Great Horned Rat, yes-yes.

Seriously, though, his plan is actually quite good and Steeleye is a pretty good villain. He's a very standard Grey Seer, though a little more clever and foresightful than usual (making plans to control the human population and enslave them more easily is actually a little ahead of the curve, and this is a pretty interesting use of biowarfare), but a Very Standard Grey Seer is a fun villain and everyone should get a chance to gently caress with an arrogant squeaking rat wizard at some point in their Hams career. He doesn't want to just destroy Talabheim, he wants to take it, make it his, and turn the best fortification in the Empire into his own slave fiefdom/doom fortress from whence he can supervillain his way across the northern Empire. To that end, he's also made good friends with Skryre, promising them the industrial wealth and plenty of slaves to work on their doomsday devices (which he will then buy, for his supervillain plans).

There are some serious issues with this adventure, as there are with most Hams pre-mades; it doesn't really know how to balance combat, it assumes some enemies are much stronger than they are and others aren't, it's very railroaded (but honestly, I think this is just the norm for the line's pre-mades), and it features both the best use of Fate Points I've seen in the line but also the worst. In the same book! It also has tons of sidebars on punishing your players if they don't do the adventure; when everything goes to poo poo, if they just escape the city, it says they'll be assumed to be deserters and hung if caught. I'm not sure how anyone would know. It also features several portions where the PCs are just straight press-ganged into the adventure; a lot of that kind of stuff could be better handled by just talking to your players and making sure they actually want to play Ratfight: The RPG Adventure Where You Fight Rats. The actual writing is mostly quite good; the principal author is the same one as the Realms of Sorcery, and T. S. Luikart is still writing fluff for 4e WHFRP to this day. In that I wish him well; he's genuinely quite good with it. He's not quite as 'light' as Chart, but he still focuses a lot on the comedic aspects of the game amidst all the perilous battles with perfidious, preening rat nazis, and to fairly good effect.

I had to alter the adventure some as my player characters were a bit above the expected level for it: I was running for people beginning third tier or so, and I had a very unusual party. So I had to adjust the adventure a fair bit and they picked up a doctor NPC to help them out with the early plague bits. The characters I actually ran for were:

Albert Magnus, a Grey Wizard from Hochland who sidetracked into Hunter and learned about traps and forests and bows. Well intentioned, generally kind, purposefully let everyone around him think he was significantly more awkward and bumbling than he was because Grey Wizard. Also prone to strangling enemy wizards. An unintentional effect of the Throttling spell: It's hard to cast spells when you're being force-choked.

Gretchen Hildekrum, a Bright Wizard who wanted to make the world a better place (with fire). Passionate and supportive of her friends, extremely dangerous to her enemies, and a prized pupil of a very bored-as-an-instructor Battle Wizard. She is exhibit A in how much ranged damage a Master Bright Wizard does. Normal light rats had no chance against Fireballs, let alone Fiery Blast.

Vinthariel (Vinny to his friends), an elven Thug who had dropped out of the armies that supported Marienburg against the Empire a century ago and bullshitted that he was an elite Special Forces Elf for decades in the criminal underworld. This would eventually catch up via the Elf CIA. The party's only main physical fighter for most of the campaign.

Dvalin, a Dwarf Runesmith of unusually young age. A prodigy and apprentice to an unorthodox Runelord who didn't care, who made the Longbeards vibrate with annoyance at his age. Obsessed with rediscovering the secrets of making runic robits and industrial equipment. Dvalin's place in the party was hard to pin down, since Runesmith is an awkward class, but he did a side gig in Shieldbreaker and did fine as a secondary warrior who made a few magic items while being the party's third scholarly character (along with the wizards).

So some of my alterations to the adventure will have been because I had a weird as hell party (random PC rolls can cause that sometimes). Others will be matters of taste. Others are a matter of restoring what I've heard was original ending; an entire city publically falling to ratmen with guns is the kind of thing that is a little difficult to cover up. But we'll get into all that later: For now, it's time to talk about Talabheim itself.

Next Time: The Jewel of the Forest

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Night Horrors: Nameless and Accursed
Private Eyes Are Watching You, They See Your Every Move



D'Eon's past is not especially important - or accessible. E is genderfluid and nonbinary, assuming male or female roles as necessary for eir work. Psychologists have diagonosed D'Eon as a compulsive liar; e is not. E's just very good at lying. There's no compulsion about it. E has always been good at lying, to the point that e managed to trick a school into shutting down over a fake disease scare and talk the CIA into letting em in. D'Eon has always sensed the the truth was hidden, and Awakening just revealed how; D'Eon considers the Lie to be an expected part of reality. After spending a year using eir new powers to gently caress with eir fellow CIA agents, e came to the attention of the local Seers of the Throne. It was not a hard recruitment - D'Eon's a pragmatist who figures the Exarchs have already won, so why back the wrong horse? E joined the Panopticon within the Seers, specializing in infiltration and information gathering in service of the of eir Pylon, a group known as the Unseeing Eye that Reveals All. The group is based out of a cloud storage company, gaining information by skimming stored files. D'Eon uses this information to become anyone e needs to be, sometimes as a replacement doppelganger and sometimes creating a false identity to be. Eir current mission is dangerous and ambitious - D'Eon is going to infiltrate a Pentacle cabal.

D'Eon takes on whatever appearance is needed for eir job. Identity, gender and face are not important to em. Off the job, e is generally happy in the appearance of an androgynous figure with a brown buzzcut, comfortable clothes and a grin. Eir Immediate Nimbus is momentary facial blindness, causing everyone to look identical for the barest instant. Eir Signature Nimbus is a sense of confusion, isolation and disconnection. Eir Long-Term Nimbus causes mistaken identity to become common and wrong number dialing to be more frequent.

D'Eon not only serves the Unseeing Eye that Reveals All, but also the tradition of the Panopticon known as the Tree of Eyes. E reports on eir fellow Seers with as much enthusiasm as all the rest of eir work. E has ended up an expert not only on eir own mission but on many other Panopticon agents in the region. E is also the unwitting host of a mental copy of eir own mentor, a Mind master named Summanus. Summanus created a mental clone of himself, pruning it down to a bare minimum of personality and implanting it in D'Eon. It can access D'Eon's senses and serves as a sympathetic link to Summanus, so that he can piggyback on D'Eon's senses and get updates on any secret projects the young Seer works on. This mental fork is extremely well hidden, and would take some heavy searching to identify.

D'Eon's favorite tool for accomplishing eir goals is rumor. Magic's great and all, and mages tend to be very perceptive people, but that doesn't actually help when they're being set against each other by rumor, innuendo and lies. It's barely relevant if a rumor is true or not - every mage has personal projects or hobbies they'd prefer people to avoid poking at, either for privacy or safety reasons or because they're actually doing something wrong. D'Eon just has to make sure that everyone is wary of each other and then find a spark that'll get the Pentacle to fight itself. E also like to seperate victims from their friends so e can replace them. The mage e is currently pretending to be is one such - D'Eon took her out and replaced her during one of her expeditions to the Underworld. However, eir impersonation is imperfect, and people are starting to notice. E can tell people are getting suspicious and may need drastic action soon. D'Eon also does have some principles - e is not especially fond of mass mind control, and is willing to do things like make truces and share information in order to screw over a rival Pylon that's figured out a method to latch into a city's collective unconscious in one of the example story hooks.

D'Eon is a Mastigos and has no Legacy. Eir Virtue is Confident, eir Vice Curious, and eir main magical Obsession is achieving perfect magical fluidity of identity. E is also interested in replacing someone and convincing them they're the actual fake while D'Eon is the original, and in finding a way to get leverage on Summanus. E is a quick thinker and strong-willed, but eir main strength is being manipulative as gently caress and excellent at lying and causing trouble. E is also a decent fighting with knives and small weapons. Eir primary magical skills are Life and Mind, with some Prime and Space.

Also, D'Eon possesses an artifact named the Pearl of Unbeing. This allows em to transform their Nimbus in order to disguise eir magic, either creating a new one or duplicating the Nimbus traits of another person perfectly, as long as e has had the chance to study them. To use it, D'Eon must swallow the pearl, lodging it in eir throat for the scene; once it wears off, the pearl must be vomited up before it can be used again.

D'Eon is about on par with a normal PC - a bit stronger than a starter PC, but in general the real threat is that due to D'Eon's massive ability to disguise, the PCs are going to have trouble noticing that they have an enemy in their midst.

Next time: The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

Mors Rattus fucked around with this message at 16:03 on Mar 13, 2020

Dave Brookshaw
Jun 27, 2012

No Regrets


The Tree of Eyes isn't a unique group like a Pylon - it's one of Panopticon's traditions. D'Eon's writeup mentioning that e enthusiastically takes part is like saying a Guardian is really into the Labyrinth.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Dave Brookshaw posted:

The Tree of Eyes isn't a unique group like a Pylon - it's one of Panopticon's traditions. D'Eon's writeup mentioning that e enthusiastically takes part is like saying a Guardian is really into the Labyrinth.

Edited. This was not immediately clear from the writeup and it's been literal years since I read the 1e Seers book.

e: though why this note would be specifically called out in the writeup's secret section is a bit weird, except perhaps as a reminder that oh yeah the Panopticon does this thing

e2: also, as neopronouns go, e/eir/em is...I think the one I like most that I've run into so far? It feels like it fits pattern well.

Mors Rattus fucked around with this message at 16:06 on Mar 13, 2020

Tylana
May 5, 2011



Pillbug

drat, these NPC write-ups remind me I actually liked nWoD Mage. And that I had no idea what Nimbus or Attainments are.

Also that I get kind of grrr when people say WoD Mages (mostly Ascension) can 'do anything if they can explain it'. When it's actually can 'do anything, if they have enough XP to buy the very expensive stats and then roll pretty well and maybe blow a bunch of quintessence (or mana).'

EDIT : I guess I liked most of the nWoD stuff conceptually (never really had to run fights in it or anything). Hit me at a point where I was very over the lore bloat, global consipiracy feel of oWoD

Tylana fucked around with this message at 16:20 on Mar 13, 2020

Froghammer
Sep 8, 2012





lovely trickster god-wannabe is somehow still a worse and more hateable person than two assassins and a professional grave robber

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Tylana posted:

drat, these NPC write-ups remind me I actually liked nWoD Mage. And that I had no idea what Nimbus or Attainments are.

Your Nimbus is basically the weird aura that mages have, like "when I do magic there's a sound of spooky choruses chanting Latin." 2e expands this a bit so that your Nimbus starts to spread out a bit if you're careless with your magic you get stuff like your family members starting to randomly say ominous things in Latin.

Attainments are the powers you get from Legacies. They're basically spells you've engraved into your soul so that they no longer have any of the drawbacks of spells, especially Paradox.

Leraika
Jun 14, 2015

slime time



The professional grave robber owns. I'd love to play Leverage But With Wizards with her as a patron.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Night Horrors: Nameless and Accursed
The Literal Worst Person



Pangloss wields the name Dr. Jeremiah C. Latimer as a club. He's a pop philosopher and self-help guru with a huge internet following that repackages evopsych, :biotruths:, sexism and racism as-okay yeah he's Jordan Peterson. Or, rather, Dr. Latimer is. Pangloss is not Dr. Latimer, because Dr. Latimer is not a real person. Pangloss is the Seer that invented the persona, and he is very much playing a role. Pangloss was a scientist after Awakening, and he joined the Ministry of the Paternoster on the basis that having discovered God is real and cheats, he'd probably be better off on God's side. He was fairly old for a new mage, but he rose quickly through the ranks at first, earning enough trust to begin his new project. Being the Jorp has not made him popular in the Ministry, however, and at this point he's on the outs until he can prove that he's actually doing something useful.

The entire philosophy that Dr. Latimer espouses is a front for an Exarch cult of the Father, differing from normal Paternoster cults primarily in that it is surface atheistic, focusing on the invisible hand of :biotruths: as the mightiest force in the world. Pangloss has theorized that the struggle the Paternoster has in reaching high power in the West is because it has not developed to follow new trends in religion. Rather than selling an unbreaking faith in God, he sells an unbreakable theory that reveals all truth from authority. Tradition not for tradition's sake, which is the normal Paternoster method, but in dressings that will be easier for his targets to adopt. The message, he claims, is more important than the set dressing, and the message is simple: obey tradition, accept authority, serve without understanding. It isn't normal methods, but it is normal Paternoster ethos for the flocks of mortality. While much of the Ministry does not like it at all for its lack of faith, Pangloss' Pylon has kept him safe from accusations of heresy because his project is showing results. He's only given three non-digital talks so far, but each time, they've packed the coffee shops he's set them up in. (Which, to be fair, have been deliberately smaller than normal venues to give the illusion of even more massive popularity than his cult following.)

Pangloss is a white dude in his 50s. Very white - he doesn't get outside often. His hair is white, and he's in surprisingly good health, which his followers say is because of his philosophy. There is no evidence for this claim, which Pangloss considers proof that his plan is working. When out in public, he maintains an air of dignity and stern authority, wearing good but not overly flashy suits, and he's pretty friendly but cannot be budged on his beliefs. When not being Latimer, he still prefers to dress like an academic outside of Paternoster rituals (where he does obey the rules about priestly garb), but he no longer uses magic to force his eyes into shape rather than wearing glasses and he comes off as rather less...well, authoritative. He's less likely to argue, though he remains a firm ideologue - he just doesn't like to waste time arguing with Pentacle mages unless they seem likely to actually listen. His Immediate Nimbus is a vision of the mathematical underpinning of the universe. His Signature Nimbus is a distinct sense that reality has a hostile and malevolent will for you. His Long-Term Nimbus tends to make things near him arrange themselves in perfect grids or symbols, even occasionally shaping the movement of crowds.

The reason that Pangloss is willing to so openly ignore the trappings of religion while belonging to the Paternoster is his secret support from one of his superiors, Pontifex Apollinaris. Apollinaris insists on his support remaining secret to avoid any appearance of heresy, but if the experiment actually works, he plans to take all the credit and give Pangloss a minor promotion. The cult's actual purpose is not to help its members, but rather to ensure that Sleepers stay that way. Indeed, it is theoretically able to prevent Awakenings...though the process remains highly experimental. Pangloss uses specific speech cadence, the power of Mana and his magic to focus Sleepwalker minds inward, pushing them away from what awareness of the Supernal they have achieved. It's showing some good results, but has yet to achieve any permanent or total shutdown of Supernal awareness.

Pangloss' words are also having an effect on some local mages - a cabal of Free Councillors named Last Assembly. They're not victims of magic or anything - they've just bought into his racist rhetoric and are arguing that some people are statistically less likely to Awaken than others. It's burning a lot of their alliances and relationships, and were Pangloss aware of it he would be extremely pleased - it was one of his theoretical goals to begin with. He also spends time making his followers angry and tribalist, using the power of the Seers to push them to ever greater heights of devotion. It has, in at least one case, caused a gang of angry men to form into a violent mob that leaves behind arcane symbols of the Seers at the scenes of their beatings.

Pangloss is an Obrimos and a member of the Tyrian Archons, a Legacy focused on the concept of divine right of kings. His Virtue is Skeptical, his Vice Craven, and his Obsessions focus on finding ways to push Sleepwalkers back to Sleepers and finding proof that the Father approves of him. His other main goal is spreading his cult. He's quite smart and charismatic, for all that he's using it for expressly awful poo poo, and surprisingly strong. He's extremely well educated - he actually understands that most of what he says is total bullshit, scientifically, in fact. His main magical skills are in Forces and Prime, with a sideline in Life.

The Tyrian Archons are primarily Obrimos and Seers, focused on Prime magic. They believe firmly in the divine right of kings, and specifically in the symbolism of kings granting control over the world as an extension of the will of the Exarchs. They dress themselves as royalty and use its symbolism for power, doing magic through scepters, lionskin, purple cloaks and similar, having their commands obeyed, and wielding their status and influence over others. They can regain Mana by asserting their authority and control over people, obeying the commands of the Exarchal Mysteries, wielding more power than they need to to get things done, and punishing treachery and insubordination.

The First Attainment is Archon's Ear, which combines Prime, skill at Expression or Politics, and the Exarchal symbolism of scepters, plus status and influence, to grant the ability to see through lies and reveal truth, particularly when dealing with anyone that they have authority over. The Second Attainment is My Word iIs Law, which requires both Expression and Politics and allows them to command through truth, gaining additionak power when used against those whom they have authority over. The Third Attainment is Look Upon My Works, which combines Prime, Expression and Politics to allow their power and authority to be easily and instinctively acknowledged by others.

Pangloss is a horrible person whose magical power and large cult make him exceptionally dangerous. Also, he chose the Shadow Name Pangloss and actually put points into being able to wield it, which makes him an even worse person than he was before in this, the best of all possible worlds.

We also get a Mystery Cult Initiation merit for Latimer's followers. They start out by getting good at using rhetoric and having contacts online, then get bonuses to Politics as long as they continue to attend group meetings, and then get bonuses to spending Willpower due to their confidence the cult will back them up. By the end, they are able to spend Willpower to make themselves harder to convince to do anything, as long as they can align their defense or argument with the philosophies of Latimer. So basically, they're pig-headed and stubborn assholes who are really good at yelling at people and pushing agendas.

Next time: The Arbiter of Techno-Destiny

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





I’m normally skeptical of ‘this is obviously a real world person or movement’ in NWoD, not because it’s not usually warranted, just because they rarely engage well with both the game side and the IRL commentary side.

Pangloss, however, is gold. Absolute gold - the specific detail that he invented Peterson as an experiment in aligning atheism with religious patriarchy fits the actual movement, and I like the tension that creates with the rest of Paternoster. I really want to punch him for being an awful Obrimos!

E: Realized my initial version made it sound like I was upset we didn't have enough Evil Communists to balance the Evil Capitalists - by 'both sides' I meant both the game and the real-world phenomenon.

Joe Slowboat fucked around with this message at 23:23 on Mar 13, 2020

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



Now there's someone worse than Wannabe Trickster, because boy I wanna punch this guy.

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

IT *BZZT* WASP ME--
IT WASP ME ALL *BZZT* ALONG!




That man is an onion of awfulness that would be extremely satisfying to bring down.
And yes, unlike the common expy "some rear end in a top hat I hate" character he seems well planned to be an engaging threat.

Bussamove
Feb 25, 2006



So Pangloss has a nimbus that’s basically this meme?

I’m in.

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




How are you supposed to say his made-up name? Is it Pang-loss or pan-gloss?

Because both are incredibly dumb.

Berkshire Hunts
Nov 5, 2009


wiegieman posted:

How are you supposed to say his made-up name? Is it Pang-loss or pan-gloss?

Because both are incredibly dumb.

Ask Voltaire

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





wiegieman posted:

How are you supposed to say his made-up name? Is it Pang-loss or pan-gloss?

Because both are incredibly dumb.

It's from Voltaire. Pan-gloss, like the character, who insists that everything that happens is for the best, in this best of all possible worlds. He constantly insists that, even as he's taken to the scaffold to be executed.

This particular Pangloss clearly refers to the :biotruths: position that society as it exists is the inescapable result of human biology, and any attempt to change it will fail pitifully.

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




I'm not, like, opposed to Pangloss' existence, but I'm personally pretty cool to a character that is in large part "this real life piece of poo poo *wink*." I appreciate the technical achievement of making him a pretty believable, hooked-in antagonist for the setting, but he's so on-the-nose I don't think I or most of the people I game with would be able to refrain from talking in a Kermit voice about lobsters and the terrors of cider-drink every few minutes when he's around.

Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
BUTTS





That Old Tree posted:

I'm not, like, opposed to Pangloss' existence, but I'm personally pretty cool to a character that is in large part "this real life piece of poo poo *wink*." I appreciate the technical achievement of making him a pretty believable, hooked-in antagonist for the setting, but he's so on-the-nose I don't think I or most of the people I game with would be able to refrain from talking in a Kermit voice about lobsters and the terrors of cider-drink every few minutes when he's around.

I fail to see how that is a problem and not a feature. Although I admit I don't get the cider-drink reference but I want to be nicer to my blood-pressure so I don't know if I'll look it up.

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




Xiahou Dun posted:

I fail to see how that is a problem and not a feature. Although I admit I don't get the cider-drink reference but I want to be nicer to my blood-pressure so I don't know if I'll look it up.

It's actually an uplifting story about how Jorp is a loving weird self-destructive charlatan!

Before his daughter "dietician" fixed him with her all-meat diet (or maybe it was a misstep after starting the diet, who cares?) he drank some cider and was plagued by night terrors and literally didn't sleep for a literally unbelievable three+ weeks.

So, essentially, he made up some bizarre, impossible pseudo-science story where he was terrorized by some apple juice.

Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
BUTTS





What a loving idiot. I'm gonna go grab a cider just because.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Talking about rear end in a top hat mages makes me want to mention how much I appreciate the way Awakening successfully threads the needle of "being written under the assumption that mages are a kind of monster" without actually trying to hammer it into the reader that you're bad and should feel bad the way oWoD games frequently did. In fact it never really tells you that at all, which is a mark of subtlety that often gets missed.

Catfishenfuego
Oct 21, 2008

Moist With Indignation


That Old Tree posted:

It's actually an uplifting story about how Jorp is a loving weird self-destructive charlatan!

Before his daughter "dietician" fixed him with her all-meat diet (or maybe it was a misstep after starting the diet, who cares?) he drank some cider and was plagued by night terrors and literally didn't sleep for a literally unbelievable three+ weeks.

So, essentially, he made up some bizarre, impossible pseudo-science story where he was terrorized by some apple juice.

This also maybe caused him to get addicted to benzos which has now given him brain damage.

Deptfordx
Dec 23, 2013



It's dumber than that.

He got addicted to benzoes.

He wanted to do a 'treatment' where you're put in a medical coma for a week or so while you detox.

No western hospital would do this because it's not actually that effective and inducing a coma like that is dangerous.

So he went to a dodgy no rules Russian clinic and, who could have guessed it, they hosed it up and gave him brain damage.

Also but unrelated: Yay! More Warhams stories.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


It helps me deal with anxiety! And TiT is interesting because it's actually pretty good in a bunch of places but also has a few spots that are just extremely bad, and the original ending is monumentally unsatisfying.

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



wiegieman posted:

How are you supposed to say his made-up name? Is it Pang-loss or pan-gloss?

Because both are incredibly dumb.

Pangloss, as in he glosses over everything.

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