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Gun Jam
Apr 11, 2015


Mors Rattus posted:

Why can’t a cis man be a princess seriously?


Mr. Maltose posted:

Hyphz stands mightily upon the hill of the essential gender binary, ready to fight and ready to die.

Analogy; Say we got a job titled "seaman". You can be a woman with this job; but you're still a seaman, rather than a seawoman.
(Or, for that matter - a sailor).
Their issue is that restriction.

Note : got no opinion on this debate, or the game ; I just think you're talking past each other.
Aside,

Mors Rattus posted:

It's only strange because usually we use the masculine as default.
By we, you mean "English speaking people". Y'all not realize how good you got it, as far as gender-neutrality goes. Over 'ere, "masculine as default" is not just a 'usually', but also 'properly' (if you ain't strict, you can ignore it, and use feminine as default. "can I choose neither", however, is still a 404 error. Sadly, I might add).

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Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Mors Rattus posted:

You may also be wondering Manzazuu's past life stuff was supernatural, given it predated his Awakening. Answer: yes. Past Life Therapies is a weird little pop-up clinic that advertises past life regression as a way to unlock your inner potential. They lack the ability to actually do so - they just put you into a hypnotic trance, and most people who go through it just make up their own past life visions like any past life regression. However, a rare few are like Jack Trevelyan was, and undergo a deeper experience - all see a vision of darkness and violence. After a few of these, the clinic shuts down and moves on to the next town. A conspiracy backing them then swoops in to collect those who suffered these Mystery visions, to use them for their own ends. Jack escaped their notice due to a mugging gone wrong triggering his Awakening.

Hello, arc villains.

This sounds like an episode of X-Files.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Gun Jam posted:

Analogy; Say we got a job titled "seaman". You can be a woman with this job; but you're still a seaman, rather than a seawoman.
(Or, for that matter - a sailor).
Their issue is that restriction.

Note : got no opinion on this debate, or the game ; I just think you're talking past each other.
Aside,

By we, you mean "English speaking people". Y'all not realize how good you got it, as far as gender-neutrality goes. Over 'ere, "masculine as default" is not just a 'usually', but also 'properly' (if you ain't strict, you can ignore it, and use feminine as default. "can I choose neither", however, is still a 404 error. Sadly, I might add).

I do, yes.

But you're wrong - I understand what this means:


hyphz posted:

I'm not sure if the implication is that a) all The Excellents characters are female, but possibly trans female; or b) a PC can be a cis male who calls themselves a princess for lulz and power..

It's a false dichotomy that is trying to exclude the possibility that a cis man could be a princess for anything but a joke.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Similarly, Hams 4e actually switches if it uses the masculine or feminine for some of the job titles so as to make the masculine less completely the default, and emphasizes that PCs of any gender can be in any career or worship any God. Hence the Nun career instead of Monk, or Riverwoman instead of Riverman.

I consider a lot of the leaning into progressive stuff in 4e vindication for some of my reading of 2e. Especially considering some of the same people are writing it, just they're doing so 15 years later.

hyphz
Aug 5, 2003




Emy posted:

As far as I can see, "Princess" is simply the title for a person with a specific set of duties in this game, who is empowered in the execution of those duties. The fact that the title comes across as feminine to us, the audience, is assuredly intentional, but that doesn't stop it from having a specific, different meaning in world of The Excellents. And I don't think the game owes us a lore explanation as to exactly why that is.

If there was a thing in the setting called a Prince, which was fundamentally different from a Princess, then this would be understandable. But if there isn't, then Princess is just the feminine conjugation of Prince, and there's no clear reason why someone can't use Prince if they want to other than to make a statement about gender. Again, I'm not pushing for binary gender here. Anyone who wants to call themselves a Princess or a Prince can do so. But making a boy be a Princess, not cool. Heck, making a girl or a non-binary person who might not be comfortable with it be a Princess, also not cool.

Emy posted:

Why would a cis dude or otherwise non-femme princess be in it "for lulz and power"?

Mors Rattus posted:

It's a false dichotomy that is trying to exclude the possibility that a cis man could be a princess for anything but a joke.

Ok, this isn't what I meant, and I'm sorry if this caused any offense. What I meant to say was that it doesn't seem to be desirable that characters can be (for example) cishet guys who are forced to identify as Princesses even if they don't want to; or cishet guys who call themselves Princesses purely in order gain "empowerment in the execution of [their] duties".

Night10194 posted:

Similarly, Hams 4e actually switches if it uses the masculine or feminine for some of the job titles so as to make the masculine less completely the default, and emphasizes that PCs of any gender can be in any career or worship any God. Hence the Nun career instead of Monk, or Riverwoman instead of Riverman.

And that's cool, but those are just the words the book uses as categories, not what the rules say is required. The rules using "Riverwoman" as the exemplar term is fine; it's completely different from saying that a cis male PC is still required to call themselves a "Riverwoman" in order to take that career.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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If calling yourself a princess is not for you, don't play the game, it's not for you.

hyphz
Aug 5, 2003




Mors Rattus posted:

If calling yourself a princess is not for you, don't play the game, it's not for you.

Well, that's a different matter. I would happily play a princess in this game (well, ok, if it had a better system I would). But I would be playing a character who was happy to identify themselves as a princess, for whatever reason. Or I guess I could play a character who was kind of awkward about it if that was in with the tone of the group. None of that is the same as identifying myself as one.

The issue is that players are required to play characters who are happy to - or at least prepared to - identify as princesses, while at the same time the game asserts that gender expression doesn't matter.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Gender expression and calling yourself a princess aren't linked anywhere but in your own mind. Do you get this mad that Exalted refers to Dragon-Bloods as Princes of the Earth regardless of gender, or that all True Fae in Changeling are the Gentry, even if they present a female face?

unseenlibrarian
Jun 4, 2012

There's only one thing in the mountains that leaves a track like this. The creature of legend that roams the Timberline. My people named him Sasquatch. You call him... Bigfoot.

Mors Rattus posted:

Gender expression and calling yourself a princess aren't linked anywhere but in your own mind. Do you get this mad that Exalted refers to Dragon-Bloods as Princes of the Earth regardless of gender, or that all True Fae in Changeling are the Gentry, even if they present a female face?

...You know, in retrospect given the way Dragonblooded writing plays with "The Dragonblooded empire is matriarchal the same way modern society is patriarchal, complete with microagressions and unecessarily gendered words and etc," it really -should- be "Dragonblooded are all called Princesses of the Earth regardless"

MollyMetroid
Jan 20, 2004

Trout Clan Daimyo


If you don't want to play a person who identifies as a princess, that's fine. If I don't want to play a dwarf in a setting where female dwarfs are bearded and indistinguishable from the male dwarves, I'm not going to play a dwarf. I don't demand that my friends who like dwarves have that option open to them, even if none of the players in my game use it.

Boys can be princesses. Girls can be princes. The sooner people get the gently caress over the notion that somehow one or both of these is not true the better.

If the game has PRINCESS ROLEPLAYING in the very title, and your sticking point is the above?

Get hosed. Game's not for you.

If you have mechanical complaints, go hog wild, but none of the princess stuff is remotely objectionable unless you want to be an rear end in a top hat on the internet about it.

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



Cythereal posted:

Hello, arc villains.

This sounds like an episode of X-Files.

This little side story is more intriguing and probably more viable as an antagonist idea than anything going on with Manzazuu himself. Which is not really dumping on Manzazuu so much as to agree that the past life regression grifters who have accidentally unlocked some hoary secret of spiritual psychology and view this primarily as an inconvenience to their grift are a great pitch.

Chernobyl Peace Prize
May 7, 2007

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



I Am Just a Box posted:

This little side story is more intriguing and probably more viable as an antagonist idea than anything going on with Manzazuu himself. Which is not really dumping on Manzazuu so much as to agree that the past life regression grifters who have accidentally unlocked some hoary secret of spiritual psychology and view this primarily as an inconvenience to their grift are a great pitch.
If you like the idea, you should check out the comic "Regression" which starts from a similar-ish premise ("oops! past-life regression therapy hosed you up!") and...goes places with it. Weird Mage-y places.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



I Am Just a Box posted:

This little side story is more intriguing and probably more viable as an antagonist idea than anything going on with Manzazuu himself. Which is not really dumping on Manzazuu so much as to agree that the past life regression grifters who have accidentally unlocked some hoary secret of spiritual psychology and view this primarily as an inconvenience to their grift are a great pitch.

I'd probably use Manzazuu as the stepping stone into that plot. Party encounters Manzazuu, tries to figure out what's going on with him, stumbles into the past life poo poo, realizes they're a bigger problem. Manzazuu himself just seems to be a magic serial killer with the twist that his Tulpa forces him to kill if he tries to stop.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

unseenlibrarian posted:

...You know, in retrospect given the way Dragonblooded writing plays with "The Dragonblooded empire is matriarchal the same way modern society is patriarchal, complete with microagressions and unecessarily gendered words and etc," it really -should- be "Dragonblooded are all called Princesses of the Earth regardless"

Usually Exalted avoids using the word "princess" in the same way it avoids using "wizard" and "tavern," and uses "prince" to describe what other settings would call a "king."

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



Rand Brittain posted:

Usually Exalted avoids using the word "princess" in the same way it avoids using "wizard" and "tavern," and uses "prince" to describe what other settings would call a "king."

This is just an argument to call them Queens of the Earth, a term the setting doesn't avoid.

sexpig by night
Sep 8, 2011

Endorsed by:
Pentecoastal Elites!
fart_man_69!
Terminal autist!
Ruzihm!
Judakel!
Dixon Chisholm!
Nix Panicus!
Neurolimal!

I also think 'Princes of the Earth' is actually meant to be a bit diminutive, like they come from the greater dynasty and all but are a younger/less tested version

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





I think it's also intended to specifically reference Conan: "Know, O prince, that between the years when the oceans drank Atlantis and the gleaming cities..."

Exalted uses 'prince' the way a lot of sword and sandals fantasy uses it, as a generic Ruler Title when there isn't a unified monarch.

It's worth remembering that there is no Emperor of the Dragon-Blooded, only an Empress, to the point that I believe it is stated that the Realm having 'a male Empress' is considered a political impossibility (but not impossible). There's also a matriarch of a Great House who's a man (and one house has a Patriarch - it's based on the gender of the House founder, iirc).

Exalted is very into this stuff; Invincible Sword Princess is one of two uses of 'Princess' I can remember. The other is an ancient undead horror-person, the Princess Magnificent, who is very princess-y but also an unparalleled necromancer.

Mr. Sunshine
May 15, 2008

This is a scrunt that has been in space too long and become a Lunt (Long Scrunt)



Fun Shoe



Mutant Chronicles
Part 1 – A Swedish game company fumbles their way to an international hit franchise


Mutant Chronicles is a roleplaying game orginially developed by the Swedish company Äventyrsspel (Adventure games), which later became Target Games, which later became Paradox Entertainment, which is now apparently called Cabinet Entertainment and is a completely separate entity from Paradox Interactive (known for its computer games about drawing pretty maps).

Mutant Chronicles is the first, last and only Swedish RPG to become a true international franchise. It was translated into various languages – notably English - and it spawned card games, board games, miniature games, video games, novels, comics and a movie. Target Games released two editions of the RPG, the first one in 1993 and the second (a minor revision) in 1997. Between 2006 and 2010 Swedish “company” COG Games were developing a 3rd edition, but failed to deliver any product. In 2015, British company Modiphius released the official 3rd edition.


gently caress Space Marines and their puny pauldrons.

So what is Mutant Chronicles? Well, it’s a complete mess of different ideas and concepts, badly implemented and poorly written, wrapped in a package of colourful imagery, cool names and pictures of big, burly soldiers with huge guns and even huger pauldrons.
It is a roleplaying game set about 1500 years into the future, when mankind, ruled by a few massive megacorporations, has colonized the inner solar system. Technology has regressed to a WWII level (Except you also have spaceships, plasma weapons and mechs. It’s a mess, ok?), and the corporations are feudal empires ruled by noble families. The megacorporations are engaged in an endless war not only against each other, but also against an invading supernatural force called the Dark Legion – an army of mutants and monsters led by five Dark Apostles, each representing some dark aspect of humanity. Against this Darkness stands the Brotherhood, a Chatolic Church stand-in with a penchant for chainsaws and flamethrowers, mankind’s spiritual leaders and only recognized religion, led by the immortal Cardinal.

If this sounds like Warhammer 40.00 with some cyberpunk awkwardly jammed into it – well, that’s because it is.


Cover of Mutant 1st ed. Apparently a game about rainbows and clubbing savages on a tropical island.

To understand the setting of Mutant Chronicles, we have to understand where it comes from. In 1984, Äventyrsspel published an RPG called Mutant, with a largely undefined post-apocalyptic setting similar to Gamma World. In 1986 they published Mutant 2, with a more defined setting - a Mad Max post-apocalyptic Scandinavia ruled by mutants and savages, where the hi-tech of the old world was rare.
However, in 1989 Äventyrsspel released a new game confusingly also called Mutant. The rules were similar to those of its predecessors, but now the setting was a Judge Dredd meets Cyberpunk kinda deal – nuclear war has come and gone, leaving a handful of corporate-ruled megacities separated by a dangerous wasteland filled with mutated monsters.


Cover of New Mutant. This guy disaproves of rainbows.

Äventyrsspel would keep releasing new content for this New Mutant at a steady pace - supplements describing new technology, professions, the megacities of Berlin, Paris, Shanghai etc. One plot-point of this setting was that there had been off-world colonies, but that all contact with them had been lost following the war. In 1991, Äventyrsspel teased in their official magazine Sinkadus that they were in the process of developing a new supplement for New Mutant, one called Noll G (Zero G), which would describe what had happened to the lost space colonies, as well as give details on a mysterious group called the Brotherhood who were fighting an even more mysterious force called the Darkness.

Noll G never released, but Sinkadus would keep publishing articles about its contents, describing the various megacorporations running the solar system, the creatures of the Darkness, various warzones and so on. These articles showed what was very much a work in progress, but would eventually coalesce into a more coherent setting – Mutant R.Y.M.D. (“rymd” being swedish for “space”. Why the periods, denoting an acronym? It’s a mess, ok?) Worth noting is that at around the same time, Äventyrsspel published Kult, a Hellraiser-esque horror RPG. In conjunction with this Sinkadus published an article detailing how to combine the supernatural setting of Kult with that of New Mutant. Many of the monsters and demons described in Kult would be copied over into the nascent Mutant R.Y.M.D., appearing as creatures of the Darkness.


Cover of Mutant R.Y.M.D. This guy can't raise his arms.

In 1992, Mutant R.Y.M.D. was released as a standalone RPG, and it was in all respects similar to Äventyrsspel’s previous releases – it released as a boxed game, containing two books (one for rules, one for setting), character sheets and a handful of multisided dice. The books were sparsely illustrated in black and white, with the only colour illustration being the box cover. The rules were identical to those of New Mutant, with the same skills and classes (including the possibility to play as a mutant or android), with only the addition of a “Member of the Brotherhood” and a “Dark Agent” class. Much of the text describing the setting was basically copy-pasted from New Mutant.

The setting was eerily similar to what would eventually become Mutant Chronicles, but with some striking or bizarre differences. There are the same five megacorporations, each one not only a corporation but a culture, supplanting previous nation states. Earth’s moon, called Luna, is the spiritual and economical heart of the solar system. There’s the Cartel (the UN of the megacorporations) the Brotherhood and the Evil (which would eventually become the Darkness or the Dark Legion in Mutant Chronicles). But Mutant R.Y.M.D. is explicitly set in 2192 AD. The technology is similar to that of New Mutant, with robots, computers, laser and plasma weapons etc. Earth is still colonized by the megacorporations, though it is considered a backwater. And every planet out to Pluto is terraformed. Yes, every planet. Including the gas giants. There’s like, lakes on Mercury and continents floating on top of the lower gas layers of Jupiter. The writing veers wildly from competent and realistic in some places, to outright silly and childish in others – the Grand Master, the Brotherhood’s genetically engineered super-genius ruler (precursor to what would become the Cardinal in Mutant Chronicles) is literally described thusly: “He looks like a three-year-old in a bathtub with a giant head with a lot of tubes going into it”.

Mutant R.Y.M.D. was the epitome of bizarre poo poo published by Äventyrsspel, and also the last old-school RPG they’d ever produce. Only one supplement was ever released for it – the standalone adventure “Operation Kirkwood”. Strangely enough, a handful of pewter miniatures were produced by Heartbreaker for Mutant R.Y.M.D. I say strange, because neither Mutant R.Y.M.D. nor any of Äventyrsspel’s previous games lent themselves well to being played with miniatures.

Both “Operation Kirkwood” and the Heartbreaker miniatures were released not bearing the simplistic Mutant R.Y.M.D. logo, but rather a more elaborate one saying “MUTANT” with a tiny, tiny “CHRONICLES” underneath. Something was happening behind the scenes...



Next – Mutant Chronicles burst forth from the corpse of Mutant R.Y.M.D. like a hosed up xenomorph with huge pauldrons.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


I wonder how the pauldron came to be such an enduring symbol.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Yeah, Invincible Sword Princess is a fan meme, and the Princess Magnificent with Lips Like Coral is part of the Abyssal milieu that gets to use gothic fantasy tropes.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Night10194 posted:

I wonder how the pauldron came to be such an enduring symbol.

Easily visible character detail on small miniatures and poor resolution on screens, I think.

I suspect that may also be part of the source of the comically oversized boobs on women in this kind of media - they have to be huge to be readily visible at all on the scales the artists and players are working with.

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



sexpig by night posted:

I also think 'Princes of the Earth' is actually meant to be a bit diminutive, like they come from the greater dynasty and all but are a younger/less tested version

Only in the sense that "prince" as the default term of rulership is meant to be a bit diminutive of the idea of rulership as a whole, on the idea that "king" has a stronger connotation of legitimacy than "prince" does.

But as specifically regards the Dragon-Blooded as Princes of the Earth, I seem to recall it is, if anything, a little overblown by connotation, because the idea is this is what the Solar Exalted used to call themselves, and the Dragon-Blooded stole their title.

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007





Mr. Sunshine posted:



Mutant Chronicles
Part 1 – A Swedish game company fumbles their way to an international hit franchise


Thanks for doing this one - I got the Mutant Chronicles: Siege of the Citadel and Blood Berets box games at severe discount many years ago and I kind of wondered what they were tied into.

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!


Mors Rattus posted:

all True Fae in Changeling are the Gentry, even if they present a female face?

I confess that it never occurred to me, as someone with English as a second language, that "gentry" was a masculine gendered term. What's the feminine version?

EDIT: oh my God the Mutant Chronicles, may as well have called them the Pauldron Stories, that's loving amazing. It's like a crab with a gun and a human head.

PurpleXVI fucked around with this message at 23:18 on Mar 24, 2020

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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PurpleXVI posted:

I confess that it never occurred to me, as someone with English as a second language, that "gentry" was a masculine gendered term. What's the feminine version?

Ladies, generally. The gentry is usually used to refer to well-bred and/or land-owning people of high social class and status, but in practice was exclusively men; their wives would ladies. It's derived from the original word referring to that class in England - that is, the gentlemen.

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007





PurpleXVI posted:

I confess that it never occurred to me, as someone with English as a second language, that "gentry" was a masculine gendered term. What's the feminine version?

English is my first language, I’m no slouch on the vocabulary front, and I didn’t know that either.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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My point in raising it was mostly that using gendered terms is all over the place, to the degree that in English we've often forgotten the terms were gendered in the first place, so the only notable fact about using 'princess' to refer to everyone is that it is feminine, rather than masculine.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Mutant Chronicles is a gloriously egregious mix of just enough to not be plagiarism and weird ideas and I'm looking forward to this after the last time I tried to get into the core book of a more recent edition.

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

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





This reminds me I've been meaning to do a write up of New Mutant/Mutant 2084 at some point since I mentioned in the beginning of the N2 one.

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

The XXVc Game Adventure: The Short Version

Okay the chapter on designing adventures is pretty short and abstract, but I want to hit on a few things. First off, the intro says something that confirms a lot of what we were getting from earlier in the book: “The XXVc (™) game draws directly from the rich heritage of 1940’s and 1950’s science fiction.” Sci-fi in that time tended to combine pulp tropes with current scientific ideas so as not to be completely fanciful. Hence, the XXVc game setting tries to incorporate a lot of current science and new ideas, but when making adventures, it’s helpful to keep in mind that it is adventure in the old fashioned sense.

The Setting section rambles a bit, basically says you can start a game anywhere, and even though RAM vs. NEO is the central conflict, there are a lot of ideas that don’t have to fit that mold. The adventurers can be hired by a merchant on Venus to retrieve gravitol, they can get caught up in Sun King intrigues, etc. For “Setting” I think they really meant to say “Premise”, but I’ll allow it.

The Villain is the next major subject. They need a personality and motivation beyond “I want to hurt the player characters”, but their goals should negatively impact the PCs in some way. They mention the setting’s big baddies- RAM and its head Simund Holzerhein, the turncoat Killer Kane (motivated by his love for Wilma Deering, whom he can’t have), and the Princess Ardala- we’ll get to the big names when I look over some of the NPC cards. Other examples are the queen of Mimas, the Sun Kings, basically there are shady characters anywhere. They also point out that villains need not be that grandiose- you could be facing rival smugglers or amoral bandits and the like. Of course you need henchmen, who will more often be the guys your PCs face directly- as they get killed off more powerful ones can crop up. And of course, you need faceless thugs to fight, and allies to help.

There follows some general advice on putting together an adventure, breaking down the main goal of it into subgoals so you can get an idea of the general structure of things. It’s all very basic, and it kinda has to be. I feel like space constraints were an issue here, since this entire chapter has pretty much no mechanics or setting info and was probably considered nonessential.

The final bit is on Sets, Props, and Bit Players. The first is, of course, just working out where some of the locations will be, sketching out rough maps, etc. The advice on props is actually something I hadn’t thought about, when you put together an adventure you do wanna think of some of the specific items and devices that the characters may use- like, if the characters get a secret message, how so? Is it on paper? Concealed in something? How easy is it for them to hide if they need to get it to someone else? Etc. You can’t plan for everything but logistics can be tricky to work out in the heat of the moment. And of course Bit Players are the very minor characters in an adventure, a dying informant, a jetcar salesman, etc. The book warns that the PCs’ actions can very well lead to bit players being dragged into bigger roles, which is absolutely true.

Basically the chapter’s whole thrust is that the more detail you can put into these things beforehand, the better. I think this is basically true so long as you’re flexible and able to improvise when the players inevitably destroy your entire concept, but there’s no real “running the game” section here. I’m at a point where I feel like any halfway-complex RPG needs a good set of DM tools if only to help spark ideas, but I understand things have to be sacrificed.

Next, we'll look at the sample adventure!

EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


The title of "Prince" is a derivative of Princeps. Exalted and the fiction it draws from uses it in that context.

Pakxos
Mar 21, 2020


Mutant Chronicles also had a terrible movie...not so much bad as offensively boring, so much so that bad that Ron Perlman actually sleepwalks through his performance instead of going ham. Despite that, it sounds like it capture more of the setting than I would have guessed. Very curious for the write-up on Mutant Chronicles proper!

hyphz
Aug 5, 2003




And, um, apart from that



Well, we're done with The Excellents now, but there's still a bit more of Mazes to deal with.

Now, a bit of background. Because Mazes was published as part of the "Zine Quest" series on Kickstarter, it's provided as four miniature books: Sword, Sorcery, Maze and Monster. The KS offered the opportunity to get one, two, three, or all four of these. But it's a bit of a twist, because in practice you do need at least the first three in order to play. Sword contains the basic dice system rules from last post. Sorcery contains character generation (and not just for magic-using characters, it contains all the classes), and Maze is needed for the GM side rules without which you can't do combat correctly.

So, classes. As mentioned last time, classes are sorted by the three Aspects - Sword, Skills, and Sorcery - only have two effects in Mazes: they determine what tasks you can succeed at by rolling a 1, and they give you a set of three Edges which let you claim advantage on other rolls. Every class has a single edge that it "always has", a second chosen from between two with the question "which are you?", and a third chosen from between three with the question "what do others calls you?"

For example. The six Sword classes are: the Dangerous Bravo, the Monster Hunter, the Menacing Dragoon, the Hard Assassin, the Bugbear Outcast, and the Street Goblin. The Dangerous Bravo's text reads: "Always WELL-ARMED. As a dangerous fighter, are you ARMORED or SHARP? Do others call you HALE, TOUGH, or STRONG?" Most of these aren't further defined apart from the idea of being able to gain advantage on rolls where the descriptors make sense, although there are a few that are specifically defined. ARMORED, for example, is specifically listed as allowing you to gain advantage on rolls made to resist damage. In addition to these lists, each class also gets a page to itself, but it's mostly flavor text apart from a repetition of the Edge choices.

To polish off, the Skills classes are the Shadowy Footpad, the Tomb Robber, the Sea Hawk, the Itinerant Smith and the Mad Alchemist; and the Sorcery classes are the Old Wizard, the Wise Witch, the Forgotten Ilf, and five variants of the Mage: White, Red, Blue, Green and Black. Each of these gets default access to one of the five domains of spell: Sky, Forge, Sea, Earth and Night.

The structure of the magic rules is something like Ars Magica. There are those five domains, and also five Schools: Conjuration/Abjuration, Illumination/Illusion, Evocation, Enchantment, and Summoning. They behave as Edges to give you advantage on rolls, and when you want to cast, pick a school and domain, combine them together, and spend a star. There's no further specification of what spells do. Most of the character classes give you a Domain, in which case you can use all five Schools with relation to that Domain.

Unfortunately, there is also a glitch here. The School of Enchantment is described as the general class of spells that make other actions better and more powerful, and each of the five domains is associated with one of the types of roll; Sky for Books, Sea for Boots, Forge for Blades, Earth for Bones, and Night for "Class and Crown" (I have no idea how that works when it isn't a particular type of roll). The rules say that you can choose to give up your character's Domain to take a School instead, and get access to all Domain spells in that School. So the munchkin option is to drop your Domain and take the school of Enchantment, which means that no matter what roll you're making you can argue that your magic can enhance it. Whee!

Maze clarifies another set of rules for the game's other two resources: Treasure, and Darkness. As this implies, Treasure is abstracted; the GM doesn't make up what treasure the PCs find except as flavor. Whenever the PCs find anything valuable, they gain a Treasure point. The expectation on the GM is that the amount of treasure in the dungeon will be roughly the same as the number of players plus one. Treasure is pooled amongst the PC group, and one point can be spent to gain advantage on a roll; to declare that they have just the right piece of equipment to deal with a task; or to pay for a financial transaction (there's no statement of limits on size). Treasure points unspent at the end of an adventure are effectively lost; the book emphases the idea that the PCs are intended to represent the iconic characters in a novella series rather than an ongoing series of long quests, meaning that they aren't expected to change drastically between adventures, although there are some very simple advancement rules that we'll come onto.

The second resource, Darkness is.. well, it's GM bennies. Which have the usual problem of GM bennies - that there's no statement of what the limits are on what the GM can do without spending one. But there is a list of what gives the GM Darkness points, and if I had to take one thing out of this game, I'd surely take this list, because it's one of the best ones I've seen; it's similar to Dungeon World's idea of a "golden opportunity", except much clearer. The six conditions are:

  • Entering the Darkness: choosing to enter something that they know to be unknown and dangerous. Since the dungeon itself counts as this, the GM always gets an extra darkness point right at the start.
  • Provoking Violence: being the ones to start a fight.
  • Splitting the Party: yep, "never split the party" is literally true in this game.
  • Ignoring Danger is the equivalent of the "golden opportunity". Making a lot of noise, running across loose bridges in plate mail, failing to inspect things for traps, can all trigger a Darkness award.
  • Passing Time: if the party decide to sit and wait, or if they take an action that would obviously take a lot of time.
  • Flashback: ok, maybe I wouldn't copy this list verbatim. A player can give the GM a Darkness to narrate a flashback they have, which can have similar effects to Treasure - granting advantage on a roll, or justifying a past preparation. This is kind of crammed into a single paragraph - and you'll remember that "flashbacks" as a mechanic were mentioned without any explanation in The Excellents as well - so, yea, it does look suspiciously like the author read Blades In The Dark late in the writing process and liked the idea.

What does Darkness do? It has three options: to summon Wandering Monsters - that's about OK; to heal a monster, or to spend a Star as a monster - ok; or... to "create a hazard or make something happen by Fiat". Ugh. There it is. It's not clear if this means the GM has no fiat rights otherwise. There is the intriguing suggestion that individual adventure modules can include "darkness spends" for the GM to trigger when running the game, but unfortunately only one of the sample adventures actually does.

Also, the initial Darkness level is actually set by the players. The players begin by choosing a Treasure level, and the Darkness is set equal to that value - although one will be immediately added to it because of the "entering the darkness" condition on entering the dungeon. I get what the author was going for here, but any system like this will immediately ring alarm bells that it'll be optimal to either state a ridiculously large number or zero. Since Flashbacks can do anything treasure can do but don't have to be booked in advance, it looks like zero is probably the best choice.

There's also a general effect based on the Darkness total. When the Darkness is less than the party size, any "costs" to succeed on Crown rolls are lighter; when it's more than double the party size, they're much harder. Again, this is an idea I genuinely like, of overlaying the success at cost mechanic with a narrative score, and could very easily fit into a PbtA standard as well.

The Monster book is mostly, as you'd expect, monsters. Monsters are defined very simply by a number of hearts, a number of stars, and a Danger level which is how much damage they do. They also have Edges, and monsters have many more available Edges with defined mechanical effects than PCs do. These mostly cover the intended relative strength of the monster (for example, a "Fodder" monster gives advantage to every roll against it, and a "Terrible" monster gives disadvantage), and their disposition - for example, Solo (gets a free full heal when dropped for the first time), and Team (players are disadvantaged as long as the team is working together).

Unfortunately, there's another rules confusion. The game states that to regenerate a monster's health, the GM can spent a monster's Star, or a Danger, or a Darkness. That's a lot of regeneration! On the other hand, most monster HP values are quite small, so it's perfectly possible that this is intentional and meant to represent gradual attrition. A player's damage value is determined by rolling a dice of their usual type; this means that d10 gets a slight advantage in that it rolls more damage.. well, except that it also doesn't hit as often and ends up tied with d8 on average damage as a result. But it does give a reason not to just choose d6 every time.

So, let's take a monster. Let's try a Classical Demon (yes, that's what they're actually called in the book). It has 5 hearts, 5 stars, and 5 danger, and no special abilities that affect rolls against it. If all of those points are eventually spent to heal it, it has effectively 55 hit points. That's not unreasonable, though, when there's PCs around who can dish out d8 or d10 damage. So, let's try a sample combat. The game suggests your first party should have one of each dice type, so I'm working with the following assumptions: there's d4, d6, d8, and d10. They attack by rolling Blades and defend by rolling Boots or Bones, whichever is better for them at the time (the book doesn't actually state this as a rule but it's pretty obvious). d8 has an Edge that gives him advantage on attacks, and d10 has an Edge that gives him advantage on defending. The demon always hits the weakest party member and works their way up. And remember, per the first book, PCs take 1 Heart of damage every time they take a violent action. Here we go:

pre:
d4		d6		d8 a-adv	d10 d-adv	Demon
(4/4)		(6/3)		(8/2)		(10/1)		(5/5/5)
Miss (3/4)	Miss (5/3)	Hit (7/2) -3	Hit (9/1) -4    Refresh (5/4/5)
Boots Dodge							Attack d4
Miss (2/4)	Miss (4/3)	Miss (6/2)	Miss (8/1)	(5/4/5)
Refresh (S4/4)							Attack d4 -5
Miss (S3/4)	Hit -2 (3/3)	Hit -1 (5/2)	Hit -5 (7/1)	Refresh (5/3/5)
Boots Dodge							Attack d4
Miss (S2/4)	Miss (2/3)	Hit -4 (4/2)	Miss (6/1)      (1/3/5)
Refresh (T4/4)							Attack d4 -5
Miss (T3/4)	Miss (1/3)	Hit -8 (3/2)	Hit (5/1) -3	Refresh (2/2/5)
Boots Dodge 							Attack d4 
Hit (T2/4) -2	Hit+Ref-1(S6/3)	Hit -2 (2/2)	Miss (4/1)      Refresh (2/1/5)
Refresh (H4/4)							Attack d4 -5
Miss (H3/4)	Hit -1 (S5/3)	Hit -8 (1/2)	Miss (3/1)	Refresh (5/0/5)
Down	 							Attack d4 -5
		Miss (S4/3)	Miss+Ref(S8/2)	Miss (2/1)	(5/0/5)
		Refresh (T6/3)					Attack d6 -5
		Hit -6 (T5/3)   Hit -8 (S7/2)	Miss (1/1)	Refresh x2 (5/0/3)
		Bones Soak					Attack d6 
		Miss (T4/3)	Miss (S6/2)	Hit+Ref-3(S10/1)(3/0/3)
		Bones Soak					Attack d6
		Hit -6 (T3/3)	Miss (S5/2)	Hit -2 (S9/1)   Refresh (3/0/2)
		(T1/3)						Attack d6 -2
		Hit+Ref-1(H6/3)	Hit -3 (S4/2)	Miss (S8/1)     Refresh (5/0/1)
		Boots Dodge					Attack d6
		Miss (H5/3)	Hit -7 (S3/2)	Miss (S7/1)	Down
I'm assuming here that the demon goes down at 0 Danger, rather than spending its last point of Danger on regenerating and then trying to continue fighting while dealing 0 damage. This is also assuming the GM didn't have any Darkness to spend. A Demon doesn't have any of the "super dangerous" type Edges, but this was still a pretty hard fight that left d4 downed completely and d6 hurt. (d4 made their recovery roll and got up OK, while d8 punched out d6 to make him Down, then he also made his recovery roll and healed everything.) It also went on a looong while - 13 full rounds - which could get a bit tedious for the typical regular enemy, although arguably just "standing there and slugging each other" isn't what the PCs are supposed to be doing. Because of the Novella format, there's only supposed to be 3-5 rooms in the typical dungeon, so it's possible this could work well as one of them.

Let's talk about the other monsters. I'm not going to give the stats for all of them, since this book is still actively being promoted. I will, however, give their descriptions and names, because many of them are.. um.. weird.

  • Bickerknockers are giant stick insects that look as if they're made of twigs and like to eat angry or fearful people, the angrier or more afraid the better.
  • Crystal Spiders are, well, giant spiders made of crystals. Their bodies are sought after by jewelry makers.
  • Eyrwulfs are blink dogs, except they're evil and they turn into mist. But they can't stay as mist for long, or they billow away completely and can't reform.
  • Flint Trolls are trolls that instantly turn to stone in the sun. They don't regenerate as per classical D&D trolls, but they do have a bunch of Hearts.
  • Funglions are creatures that look like lions made of mushroom flesh and breathe spores.
  • Grandavermoj are sandworms from Dune.
  • Ironphagous Drakes are giant lizards that will eat any kind of metal. This includes your armor, which they will reduce to flakes with their acid breath. They are not, however, at all interested in eating you, and small ones are tamed and used as vacuum cleaners by very bold blacksmiths.
  • Mountain Unicorns are unicorns. You know unicorns. Although for some reason they have scaly skin and shaggy fur.
  • Masquerades are ambush predators that can turn into any object and that want to eat you. Yea, ok, they're the Polymorph from Red Dwarf, but hey, that was cool.
  • Virago Sponges are spherical expanding sponges that also want to eat you.
  • Muskpatro are tiny creatures made of living moss that adopt caverns and attack those who harm them, and also hate anyone who forgets anything.
  • Nightwraiths are, meh, undead that age you with a touch. Nothing new here.
  • Okuloi are writhing masses of eyeballs of different types, which create different types of illusion. Mammalian eyes create illusions of harm happening to you; insectile eyes hypnotise you; and human eyes are the worst of all, because they instantly take advantage of your personal secrets. They know how well these work, and if they kill you, they will add your human eyes to their collection.
  • Owlbears are owlbears. Good ol' owlbears. Good ol', hang on, sapient owlbears. These guys have their own societies and you can befriend them, too.
  • Sanguisuges are vampires, but the seductive style of vampire.
  • Sorcerous Liches are nothing new.
  • Swordtusk Behemoths are giant mammoths with fur made from curly, wooly metal, and tusks that can't be melted by any flame.
  • Senvisaga are the other kind of doppelganger; they steal the faces and bodies of other creatures and play their role to the hilt until everyone they once knew is dead, then they move onto the next town.

Which has some very original ideas, some unnecessary twists, and some old chestnuts. The book does mention that some monsters may inflict Conditions instead of dealing damage, but none of the monsters listed are actually described as doing so.

There are also three sample adventures, but again - because of the recent republishing of this game, I won't go through them in detail.

So, Mazes is.. well, I'm inclined to file it under interesting failures to steal stuff from. It comes across as really trying far too hard to be innovative and different and blundering into some design traps in the course of doing so, but there's a lot of good ideas there, and it could probably be brushed up very well if it wasn't for the commitment to quirkiness at all costs.

Ego Trip
Aug 28, 2012


hyphz posted:

But if there isn't, then Princess is just the feminine conjugation of Prince

This is patently false. You don't conjugate nouns.
You decline them.

mllaneza
Apr 28, 2007


Veteran, Bermuda Triangle Expeditionary Force, 1993-1952





I Am Just a Box posted:

Only in the sense that "prince" as the default term of rulership is meant to be a bit diminutive of the idea of rulership as a whole, on the idea that "king" has a stronger connotation of legitimacy than "prince" does.

Prince is also a Machiavelli reference and I don't think you need to look much past that.

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers, stern and wild ones, and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss.


Clapping Larry

Mr. Sunshine posted:



Mutant Chronicles
Part 1 – A Swedish game company fumbles their way to an international hit franchise



I, no lie, love this game and Warzone. I even backed the remake of Siege of the Citadel and, of course, Mutant Chronicles 3e.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Night Horrors: Nameless and Accursed
Mutant Bullshit



Spiral is a monstrous creature, a mage who has turned herself into a horrible Claimed hybrid of herself and twelve spirits in pursuit of transcendence. She seeks to become more than human, and to "help" all others to become like her. She knows that humans have been denied their true occult power, but it is not the Lie nor the Abyss that concerns her. It is the Gauntlet. She believes the Gauntlet's wall of spirit is wrong, and her solution is simple: tear it the gently caress down. She focuses on areas with a thick Gauntlet and on placing spirits into human beings to "bless" them with a portion of her own power. Of course, this only really began with her Rapture.

Before becoming Rapt by wounding her own soul while fusing with the spirits inside her, she studied spirits and the strange lack of any spiritual representation of humans. She developed a theory that humans were intended to serve as a channel for the power of the Shadow, but the Gauntlet unnaturally severed Flesh from Shadow and was used a deliberate prison to keep humans weak. Yes, they could Awaken, but that was rare and nearly impossible to deliberately induce. Shadow's so much closer - and so much easier. While once a Pentacle mage, Spiral has abandoned her Order and cabal. Indeed, her cabalmates were the first victims of her experiments in creating human-spirit hybrids, and her personal transformation is grotesque and obvious enough that her Consilium could do nothing but consider her a monster. In theory, they hunt for her, but she's powerful enough that her local Sentinels can do little more than try to clean up the messes she leaves behind. They're going to need time, resources and a lot of help to be able to take on Spiral herself.

Spiral keeps some of the monsters she makes around if they seem especially useful, interesting or rational after Claiming. The rest she leaves where they're made, to do as they will. Her trail is easy to follow - just look for the Claimed in her wake. While Spiral talks about a new age of man, she doesn't actually care about the Claimed she creates or what happens to them once she's done. Her Fault keeps her entirely focused on making more of them and little else - all her grand plans have been mostly forgotten in her Rapture.

Spiral cannot pass for a normal human. She's a giant, covered in strange tumors and knotted muscle. The spirits within her form faces in her flesh occasionally, grow bony spurs along her body, and more. Despite her grotesque nature, she has a kind of aura of majesty thanks to her intense confidence, and she's more than able to crush steel in her hands. When she speaks, it is through both her normal mouth and the lesser maws along her body. Her old ambitions may no longer be pursued in truth, but she loves to talk about them and the coming ascension of humanity. She genuinely believes that her actions empower her victims as she forces spirits into them and tears open the Gauntlet. This, she claims, will make humans potent enough to fight the Exarchs even without Awakening. While she is more than happy to talk about her plans, she's not dumb, and she has many eyes along her body that watch for trouble even when she's busy giving speeches. Her Immediate Nimbus is the taste of blood and flesh and the feeling of nausea. Her Signature Nimbus is lingering nausea and dread. Her Long-Term Nimbus causes greatly increased spiritual activity, which often causes possessions and "natural" Claiming in her wake even when she's not causing it herself.

Spiral can't remember her sympathetic name at all any more, having traded it to a horror of the Shadow long before her Rapture to gain insight into the nature of spirits and how to fuse herself with them without losing her will. So far, no one's been able to figure out what her spirit-patron is, and efforts to do so have caused at least one mage to lose his own name and identity entirely, losing even his sympathetic links to others. Spiral is now able to artificially induce Claiming, even if the spirits she's using for it are not normally able to Claim humans. She has a large number of "allies" in Shadow, spirits that follow her around and encourage her behavior. They don't serve her directly, but sabotage efforts to find her or stop her as well as helping her find victims because they want to get out into the world. Spiral also has a small entourage of spirits that serve her directly. Some are her own summonings or creations, others were unable to get out of her way before she overawed them and claimed them as her own, and others follow her willingly because they think she's their best chance to increase their own power.

Spiral rarely ends up making Tulpas, because she's pretty much always pursuing her Fault. When they do happen, however, the results are horrific. Her Tulpas tend to erode or collapse the Gauntlet temporarily, allowing strange spirits to escape, which the minds of Sleepers involved tend to interpret in intense and vivid sensations of meat, muscle and bone oozing through the bounds of reality. While Quiescence keeps them from remembering the details, these sensations remain afterwards, leaving victims of her Tulpa events unsettled, broken and disturbed.

Spiral also has the support of certain criminal organizations. They use human trafficking to get victims to her in exchange for being handed the Claimed that result. Spiral doesn't care what they do, and it allows these rare few gangs to wield Claimed as their own living weapons. The news hasn't picked up on the monsters yet, but the local media and cops believe that there's a Satanic cult involved, which is based entirely on the interpretation of the rank-and-file gangsters of these Claimed. After all, while Spiral herself causes Quiescence (and so is contacted entirely by a small number of criminal Sleepwalkers), her creations don't, being normal Claimed. Rumors among spirits speak of an "endless spiral" that consumes all, and not all spirits are into this. They've been seeking out anyone they can to try to get them to destroy the endless spiral - which is, of course, Spiral herself. Some of the most vocal spirits against her work are those that manage to slip free of the alterations she forced on them - several spirits she's run into have been broken and twisted, remade into whatever she felt was useful regardless of their original nature. These broken, maddened spirits are usually unable to communicate coherently for very long, but they're very upset, as are the spirits they have met them.

Spiral is a Thyrsus, no Legacy or Order. Her Vice is Prideful and her Fault, Spirit-Linked, is to merge humanity with spirits. Her other Obsessions are becoming immortal via the spirit world, tearing down the Gauntlet, and forcing an Incarna to submit to her. Her savant skill is getting rote quality on all Clashes of Wills related to her Fault, so she's hard to magically resist. She's got insanely high stats - her lowest is Manipulation 4, and all her physicals are 8. She's great medicine, occult lore, punching, dodging and scaring people. She also has a lot of magical power, between Gnosis 8 and a lot of skill with Life, Space and Spirit, plus decent amounts of Prime. On top of her magical skills, being a hive-Claimed gives her a bunch of powers, like innate armor, skill at smashing stuff and the power to ignore most physical problems short of actual damage. She also has Influences of Faith 4, Fear 3, Fire 2, Healing 3 and Stone 3. She has Essence as well as Mana, though running out of Essence physically harms her once a day - not that it's likely to happen, since she has a spell to refuel it. Also, she's immune to wound penalties.

Spiral's Greater Tulpa is Gristleflay, a Totem. It looks like a horrible, twitching merging of six totem beasts, each glorious singly but now a horrible mass. On one side, it has huge, expressive maw with weirdly human teeth. While it is a powerful creature, it lacks the charisma of Spiral and tends to be a wheedling sort of whiny magical superpower that traps people and intimidates them into accepting its 'gifts' rather than boldly proclaiming them and just giving them. It prefers to convince its victims, though it recognizes that pain is a useful tool in making them do so. It prefers to use whatever is the easiest method for it, disliking conflict...except against mages. When facing a mage, Gristleflay is merciless, hunting and killing them as potential threats to Spiral's plans. Its Vice is Indolent, and it's rank 5, with powerful skill over Spirit, Life, Space and Fate. Its Ban is that it unable to use magic to transform anyone who is not a willing target - though it can coerce them into willingness violently. Its Bane is any object that is spiritually Resonant with the void of space.

Next time: The Storm of the Century

Just Dan Again
Dec 16, 2012

Adventure!


Spiral seems like an excellent villain for a Mage/Werewolf crossover, and that Bane for her Tulpa reminds me of the Idigam just enough that it'd be an interesting hook for further adventures down the line. She'd also be a solid just-Werewolf villain, since her abilities would be just far enough out of context for them to make tracking her down a challenge and she's tough enough that they'd still want to plan ahead for the physical fight.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Night Horrors: Nameless and Accursed
How Did She Even Get A Shadow Name



Thalia can only remember parts of her life before Awakening. She is trapped in her own Oneiros much of the time, surrounded by her own dreams, and reality isn't the easiest idea for her any more. She remembers being called Eliza Martinez. She remembers a beat up old truck, sometimes, and sometimes she just remembers chemicals, information about weather patterns and so on. At one point, she was a climate scientist hunting for ways to reverse climate change and, part-time, a stormchaser. She distinctly recalls the sounds and smells and feeling of hunting down the storms. She loved doing it. Her body, however, is currently in a hospital room, comatose, ever since the last storm she hunted. She and her partner were in Alabama, heading after the forming tornado. As it touched down, she became able to see the path of every raindrop, predicted the lightning and drew the tornado in close to her. It was beautiful. When the tornado reached the truck, it had become a tower, its door locked by a golden key.

Thalia tried to turn that key...but her attempt was interrupted by the tornado grabbing and hurling the truck she was in. It interrupted her Awakening, and in the ensuing accident, she was horribly injured - not that she noticed. She felt none of it, for the storm entered her body and took command of her soul. She has been in Mercy Hospital, a private medical center outside Mobile Alabama, for months now. Her mother visits often to try and keep her comfortable, but is no longer there all the time. Thalia, as Eliza now thinks of herself for...some reason...barely notices the smell of her mother's perfume or the beeping of the machines. In her Oneiros, she hunts for her past and waits for the storm inside her to break and move, so that she can, once more, see the sky.

Thalia is a small Latina woman whose hair was once dyed deep red but has now faded to a paler one. When her Tulpas appear, a similar-looking woman appears in the area around her, usually in the midst of extreme weather events. The Seraph that exists within her soul is a whirling mass of flame, spinning eternally, though it more often manifests in the world as a storm, typically with extremely heavy winds. It favors tornados, hurricanes and blizzards. Thalia's ImmediatE Nimbus is a column of flame and the feeling of a hot, dry wind. Her Signature Nimbus is the scent of wildfire smoke. Her Long-Term Nimbus encourages intense local weather, particularly storms.

Thalia's old partner, Eddie Mathis, survived the accident, too. He was mostly fine, though he only visited her in the hospital once, shortly after being cleared to leave himself. He isn't entirely sure what went down that day, and his therapist says he's probably suffering traumatic memory loss. However, he clearly recalls that they had time to escape the tornado that day, no matter how fast it changed direction. He knows he screamed at Eliza to go, to get out of there. He remembers her handling herself well in dangerous situations before that, so she probably wasn't too afraid to move. His clearest memory of the event is that he begged her to drive them out and she refused to, smiling widely.

When her Greater Tulpa erupts, Thalia does her best to communicate with others. However, she's limited in how she can do that - she piggybacks on radio signals as a voice or shows up on TV screens or monitors as an afterimage. She's used her magic to talk in private chatrooms or dump huge amounts of data on websites, begging for anyone to listen to her and to help her, though she's not the clearest communicator these days, and the name she gives isn't the one on her hospital chart. Mostly, she begs for help without specifying what kind of help she needs. She and her Tulpa also both just love to watch the storms they cause. It's an adrenaline rush for them, a huge joy that overrides any empathy for the destruction the storms cause. Thalia tries to send out warnings and information as best she can, but she knows that storms are the results of climate change, so they're ultimately humanity's own fault. (The Seraph just doesn't care.) Thalia herself might be open to communication during her manifestations, if approached correctly. Trying to drag her away from a storm will only make her mad, but watching with her and talking during it might work, though it's very dangerous. Her Awakening went wrong, and she has absolutely no magical training. That said, she is sure that some of the people that respond to the chaos she causes have answers for her, and she has picked up a few bits of High Speech from her Seraph and memories of her failed waking dream.

Thalia is an Obrimos. Her Vice is Arrogant, and her Fault is Forces-linked: Command storms. Her savant power is that she can't be tracked by Forces magic at all. Her other Obsessions are seizing the golden key that almost led her into the Aether and using Forces magic to communicate. Her stats, when relevant, are those of her Greater Tulpa, which is relatively weak due to her distinct lack of personal magical power. They excel at Forces, have a sideline in Spirit and can do a bit of Prime and Time. They're mostly good at weather control magic. Their Ban is that if anyone else takes control of a storm in an area they're in, they can't try to take control back or even influence the storm. Their Bane is fulgurite, which is the glass formed by lightning strikes on sand or dirt.

Next time: Damned souls

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Tasoth
Dec 12, 2011


I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Mutant Chronicles and all it's over the top goofiness. It's what you get if a Heavy Metal comic and World War 1/Interwar Earth got caught in a teleporter accident. Having worked my way through most of the supplements for the recent edition, they do a good job of giving you hooks to play as characters from the various factions and also want to punch them in the face for being lovely.

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