Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us money per month for bills, and since we don't believe in showing ads to our users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
 
  • Post
  • Reply
Everyone
Sep 6, 2019


Night10194 posted:

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2e: Thousand Thrones

Let's Talk Deepest Lore
You only get the bonus Fate Point if you fully engage and solve all the art puzzle boxes about Nagash being a God and blah blah, but gently caress it. Our heroes would rather just not bother.


So this is some Deepest Threadnomancy, I know. I think the Fate point is a good indicator of how potentially useful/world-changing the Words of Power are. Not really to the PCs, but to others in the Old World. The interesting thing about the Words to me is that the requirement for their use is... knowing the words. You don't need to be a Priest or Wizard or worshipper of the Nekharan gods. You don't need to speak High Nehekharan or even regular Nehekharan. Literally anyone who knows the words can use them.

They're almost like anti-vampire magical technology.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

PurpleXVI posted:

I think my greatest issue with trying to play it again at this point would be the setting. Like it's not bad, my brain just refuses to engage with the: "okay it's pretty much the real world, nothing's really changed, don't think too hard about it"-approach without trying to over-analyze it.

Loxbourne posted:

It really is a less-well-done Astro City, isn't it?
It seems like a lot of superhero games follow that model, where the history of superheroes corresponds to the Ages of Comics, and they follow Mark Gruenwald's advice about superheroes (and aliens, demons, and so on) not changing the world. There's stuff like Underground and Brave New World, too, but if it's a Marvel/DC style setting where you can play pretty much anything, it'll probably be like that.

Halloween Jack fucked around with this message at 02:45 on Jan 15, 2022

PoontifexMacksimus
Feb 14, 2012




Mors Rattus posted:

Herald civilizations were those who chose to assist the T'zechi Digesters in gathering knowledge,

I really can't read this as anything other than a cross-dimensional Tzeentch plot :brainworms:

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!


Halloween Jack posted:

It seems like a lot of superhero games follow that model, where the history of superheroes corresponds to the Ages of Comics, and they follow Mark Gruenwald's advice about superheroes (and aliens, demons, and so on) not changing the world. There's stuff like Underground and Brave New World, too, but if it's a Marvel/DC style setting where you can play pretty much anything, it'll probably be like that.

Yeah, I absolutely get why it's like that, sometimes you just want a game where you punch Captain Badman with superpowers while wearing a cape. It's just one of the things I personally can't turn my brain off for.

Wheeljack
Jul 12, 2021


PurpleXVI posted:

Yeah, I absolutely get why it's like that, sometimes you just want a game where you punch Captain Badman with superpowers while wearing a cape. It's just one of the things I personally can't turn my brain off for.

Aaron Allston's Strike Force campaign for Champions followed the established pattern of not changing the world and supers fitting into history... until he shook it up later. A powerful alien was holding back technology over a certain level (IE, advanced superhero tech) from working in a widespread fashion and changing the world. He was defeated, and in the aftermath of a big (other) alien invasion, this lead to space colonization and the rebuilding of the Earth using much higher technology, some of which is touched on in the Strike Force notes product.

SirFozzie
Mar 28, 2004
Goombatta!

So, the pre-order PDF for the Power Rangers RPG (the same base system will be used for GI Joe and Transformers) is out, at least for me, and I looked some of it over. Not sure I really LIKE the "Ranger-Color as class" type vibe here (I will definitely be houseruling that your costume does NOT have to match your "Class ranger" color).

Other quick thoughts:

Yes, I know the little droid says it a lot in the series, but I have read this for about an hour, and I'm already close to nausea when I see the words Ai Yi Yi. *shudder*

Interesting how skills work: Level 1 adds a d2 to your skill checks, level 2=d4, etcetera. Up to d12. Specializations mean you roll all the level dice (so if you have level 3 and specialization, you roll d20+(the best result from a d2, a d4, and a d6). Advantage and Disadvantage (called Edges and Snags) also apply.

Rolling versus Target Number ranging from 5 (simple) to 30 (nearly impossible).

"normal" starting stats (essences) is 12 points between 4 stats:
Strength
Speed
Smarts
Social



One interesting thing is that each stat has a relevant defense skill, equal to 10+the Essence stat
Toughness (Strength)
Evasion (Speed)
Willpower (Smarts)
Cleverness (Social)

Also, you will get one skill rank in a skill for each essence point (so if you have 4 in Smarts, you can have 4 ranks of Smarts Skills added on to your character at creation.

Character Creation is Three Part:
Origin (Base Personality/Persona)
Role (Color/Class)
Influences (History, what you've done in the past)

The Book has the base colors as classes, (Red/Green/Black/Blue/Pink/Yellow), and one "advanced" class, the White Ranger. Future books will add all those other colors/gem types from the later series

If you know the series, they break down each color into a stereotype (the Red Ranger is the frontline warrior type, The Pink Warrior is the backline support/ranged specialist), etcetera:

Each Color adds +1 to one Essence, and +2 to another Essence. All Classes get the "It's Morphin Time" feat at level 1, and Zords (the mecha form) at Level 3)

Depending on whether your color's power progression is Slow, Moderate or Fast, you will get extra power points every 5, 4, or 3 levels. Power can only be used in morphed form and replenish slowly (2+ per DAY)


Each Color gets a Color Bonus/Feature at 1st level and more throughout progression up to Level 20)
Black Ranger: "Quips and Speeches" (Mainly used as a Support Other/Boost Other type action)
Blue Ranger: "Idea Points" (Gear and Smarts enhancer)
Green Ranger: "Solo Strike" (Bonuses to attacks when you're NOT being assisted by, or near your teammates, as well as survival Boons, like auto-making the first attack against you each turn miss automatically)
Pink Ranger: "Volley Shots" (Spend Power to attack multiple targets at Range)
Red Ranger: "Power Strike" (Spend Power to boost damage on Melee strikes, plus 2nd level ability that allows each of your teammates to either roll their initiative normally, or to take your result -1d4 (so the ones who select the result will let you go first to soften baddies up, but then usually almost immediately follow after)
Yellow Ranger "Follow-Up Strike" (Spend Power to make three attacks in a turn, one with each hand and a third with a bonus depending on level)


White Ranger (Advanced): Grid Relic and Leadership skills

It sounds like the White Ranger (and other such Advanced Classes in the future) will only be available if you take the Spectrum Shift Perk, allowing you to change Colors (although you can take it at Level 1)

When you Spectrum Shift:

You Keep: Current maximum Health, Role training and current Skill ranks, Previous Skill level advancements, Essence score improvements, Generic Perks, and Grid Powers
You change: Power Regeneration Rate, Personal Power Capacity, Zord, All other Role Perks

basically, you keep the skill related/non color-related bits of your class, and transition to the other color.

More later once I get a chance to spend a couple hours reading

SirFozzie fucked around with this message at 17:29 on Jan 15, 2022

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Infinity RPG
Triconsular

The Tohaa Trinomial oversees dozens of star systems, and as with most things Tohaa, it is split into three bodies - the Runohaa system governance, the Colonial Territories, and the Errant Ships. Runohaa is the home planet and system of the Tohaa, a cultivated and deeply complex world of biological wonders and creations with purple skies and many amazing beasts. The most notable is the Zadarskaa - a sort of giant flying island-balloon-creature that maintains a thriving and unique biosphere in its skin folds. The Errant Ships are each gigantic colony motherships, each one capable of fully colonizing a star system on its own without need for resupply or support. Each ship is basically a city-state of its own, and in the golden age of the empire, they spread the Tohaa's influence far and wide. They also are heavily armed and more than able to defend themselves.

The Colonial Territories are by far the largest part of the Trinomial, though, composed of all colonized star systems and space stations that the Tohaa have set up outside their home system. Each colony has an independent government that reports to the Trinomial proper. However, a fair number have been lost to the Evolved Intelligence's attacks and are now ruled over by it. These now serve it and the Combined Army, and they are known as the Sygmaa Trihedron. We'll get to them shortly. The Exalted servitor species, meanwhile, live in the Protectorates. They remain part of the Trinomial, but when they have achieved the 33rd level of autonomy as dictated by Tohaa testing, they are given self-governance within their Protectorate and allowed to operate semi-autonomously as a member state. Officially, this is a transitional state to being recognized as a fully independent sapient civilization, but in practice, no servitor species has as yet been granted full independence.

The rulers of the Trinomial are three legislative groups - the Capitoline Council that oversees the home system, the Council of Captains that govern the Errant Ships, and the Colonial Council which oversees the Colonial territories. Together, these form the Viseraa. Each council member serves a six-year term and then is up for reelection. Each council nominates a single Speaker from among their number, and the three Speakers serve collectively as the executive triad that manages the entire Viseraa. Becoming a Speaker is seen as a major sacrifice, as it means leaving one's normal social and familial triads to join a political triad that you have no real choice in, but it is a sacrifice worth making for unity. The Speakers also manage the Trident military, the Accord that handles internal affairs and the Trispiral, a bureaucracy that handles diplomacy, analysis of other species for Exaltation and the management of the Protectorates.

The Tohaa Trident, like most Tohaa institutions, also operates in base-3. Most military teams are combat triads, made of three soldiers with complementary skillsets and a battle designation made of the first syllable of each member's first surname or numerological codes. Because combat triads tend to form extremely close bonds, they work together very well, especially within their specializations. When different Tohaa units have to form up into combat triads, they can form them very quickly simply by instant comparison of pheromonal compatibility, dividing up into the most compatible groups they can. When one member dies, the other two will seek to replace them as quickly as they can, sometimes even recruiting a new triad member mid-mission. They are trained in Vaarso battlespeak, a supplemental conlang created by the ancient Tohaa nation of Vaarso, pre-Unification. It's a mix of text and audio intended to add layers of meaning and context to pheromone messages, and has essentially become the Triad's favored code language, as it both is very difficult for non-Tohaa to understand and identifies the speaker as a Tohaa soldier.

The Sygmaa Trihedron is that section of Tohaa civilization that has been conquered by the Combined Army. They were deemed a viable species for Transcendence, and so what was done to them did not match at all the propaganda the Trinomial had put out about the suffering and devastation that the Evolved Intelligence would bring to them. The Tohaa who were conquered suffered great losses because they fought as hard as they could to avoid conquest, fearing even worse atrocities. And yet, all that really happened, as far as most Sygmaa citizens are concerned, is that they had their comlogs and Cubes replaced by EI-linked ones, and otherwise have continued to just live as they always have. Many have embraced their identity as Sygmaa, seeing the Tohaa Trinomial as the cause of the pain and death of the conquest, since the EI hasn't actually done much to them after claiming their worlds. Indeed, many Sygmaa have actually become converts to the EI's cause and joined the Combined Army to try and free the Tohaa from what they see as a corrupt government that lied to them. (As of yet, none have been deployed to Paradiso, and all Sygmaa units fight on the Tohaa front.)

Sygmaa culture has been largely left along by the EI, but over the time it has existed it has become much more individualistic than the Tohaa Trinomial. While the idea of triads and the community's importance remain there, the Sygmaa are much more prone to self-promotion and to active experimentation on their own bodies with genetic modification and non-combat biotech, hoping to "evolve" themselves to a higher stage. Adversarial conflict between Sygmaa in the form of open debate, anger at conformism and similar has also massively increased. The Sygmaa claim this is due to their newfound "free speech" under the EI, claiming the Trinomial are actually authoritarians who warped their society's understanding of truth and the galaxy as a whole. The EI did interfere with a number of governmental structures, and those that remain have had to become more fluid and ad-hoc, since the Trinomial no longer exists for them to serve as a wider direction for society.

To deal with this, the Sygmaa have embraced the idea that every citizen should be politically active and seek to improve their own official standing, taking on official government roles whenever they can. Each major settlement is ruled over by a governing party unique to it, with elected officials holding office only a few years and then having to step down for "fresh" voices. This has actually slowed down most forms of governmental progress and administration, with new and lengthy reviews instituted to oversee the decisions made by the elected parties. In practice, the Sygmaa spend a lot of time compromising and making factional coalitions that impede progress rather than cause it. This is a major rallying cry for the Trigon, those Sygmaa who still rebel against the EI - they claim that it has created this system so that the Sygmaa will distract themselves with trivial arguments while remaining ignorant to their new overlord's true actions.

The Trigon are actively in insurrection and refuse to submit to the Evolved Intelligence. They are loyal to the Trinomial despite in some cases having had no contact with it for over a century, and they take part in an active campaign of sabotage and terror attacks in an effort to weaken the Combined Army from within. Their favored tactics are assassination and covert ops to encourage defiance of EI goals. Many Sygmaa see them as nothing more than terrorists who are willfully blind to the truths of the EI, so stuck in the past that they cling to leaders who betrayed them. Most Sygmaa do not want to see the Trigon executed, but believe that this will be their inevitable fate if they don't submit.

Next time: The combat system of buying gear

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

Wheeljack posted:

Aaron Allston's Strike Force campaign for Champions followed the established pattern of not changing the world and supers fitting into history... until he shook it up later. A powerful alien was holding back technology over a certain level (IE, advanced superhero tech) from working in a widespread fashion and changing the world. He was defeated, and in the aftermath of a big (other) alien invasion, this lead to space colonization and the rebuilding of the Earth using much higher technology, some of which is touched on in the Strike Force notes product.
It seems like when superhero settings aren't following that Big Two model, they're near-future dystopias where superheroes are feared and persecuted. Brave New World, Underground, Psi-Watch, etc. That grim 80s influence is really strong. Like, when Mayfair lost their license to do DC Heroes, they made Blood of Heroes a grim occult setting.

There aren't a lot of games that do like Squadron Supreme, Planetary, etc. and treat superheroes as a science-fictional premise that will change the world beyond imagining. I guess it's hard to keep that kind of setting going.

(My favourite book in this vein is WildCATs, which started as a typically stupid Image comic and got better and more serious later. But the superheroes changing the world was eventually squashed by a big, stupid Event. I don't read superhero comics anymore.)

The only game I know of that specifically sets the PCs up to change the world beyond the historical status quo is Wild Talents: Progenitor. I still want to review it, but it's at the end of a long list.

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



Out of curiousity, are there any cosmic-level superhero settings out there like Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy and such?

eliasswift
Jan 12, 2021

Now, let's count up your sins!




Siivola posted:

Out of curiousity, are there any cosmic-level superhero settings out there like Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy and such?

If you’re looking for settings in general, there’s a game called Spectaculars which is a superhero rpg in a box, designed to pull out when you don’t have anything planned for a session… Albeit it’s built for campaigns and to get to the cosmic setting you have to get four issues in to the super science Fantastic Four/Avengers comics setting.

It’s very customizable but one of the frameworks they give you for the cosmic setting is literally just GotG with the serial numbers filed off.

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



Huh, thanks, that certainly looks like a cool set.

Wheeljack
Jul 12, 2021


Siivola posted:

Out of curiousity, are there any cosmic-level superhero settings out there like Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy and such?

The Mutants and Masterminds Cosmic Handbook has a pair of settings, one in the modern day, where the Galactus analogue has recently eaten the empire of the Not-Kree Empire. A space warlord has swept in and taken control in the power vacuum, saying "Hey, better me, a brutal warlord, than that shapeshifting hivemind that's the empire's rival, right?" A lot of refugees from this have shown up on Earth. The other advances the timeline 500 years for a Legion of Super-Heroes analogue.

Everyone
Sep 6, 2019


Siivola posted:

Out of curiousity, are there any cosmic-level superhero settings out there like Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy and such?

You could put something like together with the new Trinity: Continuum. In the Aeon (far-future/2123) era you generally play Psions, characters who specialize in some aspect of psionic ability like Telepathy, Telekinesis, etc. With good tech and development, you can pull off some pretty ridiculous fun stuff. And Psions in the setting tend to be treated a little bit like super-heroes.

The best part of the setting is that the main enemies you fight are Aberrants. The Aberrant are the twisted, insane remnants of the super-people who were banished from Earth under threat of total nuclear annihilation of the planet. Like, imagine a hero like Spider-Man except that he's done a whole bunch of cocaine milkshakes. Except that the "cocaine" is actually Warpstone from Warhammer.

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!





Law & Order

It is inevitable that superheroes will interact with both sides of the law, so sections on government and law enforcement get some decent entries. Freedom City’s government has an elected mayor and eight city council members who serve four-year terms, with the mayor acting as a tie-breaking vote when the council finds itself split on an issue. During 1e and 2e the mayor was Michael O’Connor Jr., who won a landslide against Franklin Moore due to that one’s unpopular history of corruption, and unlike his predecessor he made good on promises to fight organized crime. In 3e the mayor is Calliope Summers, who was the previous Raven. Now retired from superheroing, she has found another way to do good in Freedom City. Michael O’Connor Jr. is now a Senator for the state in which Freedom City is located.* We also have write-ups for three city council members who have been the same for all editions as well as three city Commissions focusing on various interest groups (civil rights, law enforcement, and economic development). There’s also write-ups of government departments, including one of interest to superheroes: the Medical Examiner’s Office which can help PCs investigate strange deaths, and in 3e gets a named NPC as a coroner!

*Somewhere on the East Coast but otherwise left to the GM’s discretion.

Now we move on to law enforcement proper. The local Freedom City Police Department used to be riddled with graft and corruption during the Iron Age, but things are better now after a thorough clean-up and replacement of the Commissioner with Barbara Kane, a cop who more than proved herself in defending Bayview against a group of Omegadrones during the Terminus Invasion. The police also have a special department known as the STAR (Superhuman Tactics and Regulation) Squad, who basically act as a SWAT team but with more advanced technology. As of 3e many other American cities and states developed their own STAR Squads.

AEGIS (American Elite Government Intervention Service) is the SHIELD equivalent of Earth-Prime, although they primarily have national rather than international jurisdiction. They’re a federal agency which recruits the bulk of its members from other law enforcement departments, and while they specialize in dealing with all things superhuman most of their agents are non-powered yet well-trained. AEGIS agents don’t go toe-to-toe with super-powered opponents unless necessary, although if the need arises the organization has access to MAX (Man-Amplifying eXoskeleton) power armor suits. And yes there are stats for such armor; they grant the typical “battlesuit” abilities such as enhanced strength, protection, radio communicators, and an array of weapons that are a kinetic blast, capture net, and blinding beam. AEGIS also has write-ups and stat blocks for three notable agents: AEGIS’ Director, Horatio “Harry” Powers, has the ability to sense the presence of superpowers of all types at a distance which he masks as “hunches.” Then there’s Patriot,* a Golden Age hero enhanced with super-soldier serum whose mind has been transplanted into a cyborg body by the US government and now acts as a secret weapon against terrorists and criminals of the super-powered variety. Finally there’s Stewart “Rockstar” Bonham, Chief Administrator of AEGIS’ Freedom City branch, who tends to engender a love-hate relationship due to his habits of glory-hogging, dating superhumans, and performing in rock bands in his free time. We also have a full-page map and details on the Iceberg, AEGIS’ underground lair in Freedom City. It contains all of the accouterments appropriate to a comic book government agency, such as labs to analyze supervillain gadgets, a hangar with helicopters and fighter jets that can fold into far smaller forms, and an advanced computer system that may or may not be a fully-developed AI.

In 1e and 2e he had stats, although by 3e he was moved into the Atlas of Earth-Prime sourcebook.

There’s also smaller write-ups on real-world law enforcement organizations, local emergency services, and the court system. Some of the more interesting entries include the firefighter June “Asbestos” Abados, a woman who is immune to all forms of heat and fire whose powers gave her minor celebrity status (accompanied by a less than-amicable marriage turned divorce), the head of the Probation Department Harriet Wainwright who proposed a “work release” program for superhuman criminals to use their powers for public service in exchange for commuted sentences,* and “Judge Joe” of the hit show “Video Justice” which is basically like Judge Judy. Our section wraps up with the four major prisons in which Freedom City houses its criminals, although the only one of note that gets any detail and a full-page map is Blackstone Federal Penitentiary. Located on an island off the coast of Freedom City, it is dedicated to housing super-criminals exclusively, with most of its facilities moved underground after Omegadrones decimated its foundations during the Terminus Invasion. We have stats for several security features and traps, write-ups of 2 named NPCs (Warden Joshua Drummer who has the ability to nullify superpowers and Abigail Wallace who helped design specialized security and once had an affair with the prison-obsessed supervillain Warden), and the Blackguard security guards who are non-powered but have access to AEGIS MAX suits.

*In 1e and 2e it was approved as a limited program, but as of 3e it’s been overall successful.



Freedom City Underworld

This section is surprisingly short, and focuses more on the non-superpowered side of organized crime and gangs although there is some crossover with supervillains. The most powerful organized crime syndicate is the Italian Mafia, aka the Freedom City Mob, who specialize in drugs, smuggling contraband, vice trades, and using legitimate businesses such as labor unions and casinos to launder their dirty money. The Mob’s upper ranks are overall non-powered, although their ace in the hole is a fortune teller known as Tarot who their leader “Big Al” Driogano consults before doing anything riskier than usual for a mob boss. 2e noted that Tarot had trouble predicting the actions of superpowered people, particularly the vigilantes Foreshadow and the Silencer.

The other real-world crime syndicates who have a smaller presence in Freedom City are the Russian Mafiya who specialize in smuggling Soviet super-science gadgets, the Triads whose local branch is loyal to the supervillain Dr. Sin, and the Yakuza who mostly focus on corporate crimes and money-laundering but otherwise leave the city alone due to the Mob’s prominence. Street gangs tend to be disportionately teenagers, as older and more experienced criminals join the Mafia or get killed by them. There’s the Brotherhood, a white supremacist gang who are particularly dangerous due to being allied with the supervillain Knightfire, the Malanti who operate in the West End and mostly do petty crimes such as vandalism, and the Lincoln-based Southside C’s who make most of their money dealing drugs.

We have write-ups on three illegal drugs that can grant or interact with super-powers: Max which can grant increased physical abilities although the withdrawal symptoms can cause immediate heart failure, Zombie Powder which is brewed by the followers of Baron Samedi that can act as a painkiller but can also make one vulnerable against magical mind control and raise the addict as a zombie upon death, and Zoom which can grant super-speed but also risks immediate heart failure.

A more unusual “mob element” is the Toon Gang, fictional cartoon characters brought to life by the supervillain Toy-Boy. They look like short living cartoons and act on genre-appropriate logic. This means that they’re virtually immortal to most forms of harm even though they can still feel pain, and they don’t have a head for any crimes more complicated than robbing businesses at gun or knife-point. They’re considered small-time distractions on the scale of super-powered threats, although given a recent scheme with a truckload of marbles they’re taken more seriously after the deaths of 15 mobsters.* There’s also the Circuit Maximus, an illegal underground superhuman fighting ring. In 1e and 2e they were led by August Roman, the Centurion’s arch-enemy and self-styled Emperor of Crime. But as of 3e his daughter Saturnalia Roman has inherited the family business as her father has grown too sick and bedridden to do much of anything. Finally there are rumors of a covert mobile clinic known as the “Power-House,” which specializes in cybernetic and biochemical enhancements that can “juice up” people with super-powers for the right price…and unpleasant side effects requiring regular treatments to avoid them.

*This entry is the same in 3e as 2e, which seems odd given the 15-year time gap.



The Freedom City Series

This chapter was added into the 2e and 3e versions, talking about how GMs can plan for campaigns and make use of the material for players who want closer ties to the setting “canon.” 2e also included campaign secrets and behind-the-scenes explanations, although as of 3e that entry got lengthy enough to become its own chapter which we’ll cover in a future post.

Freedom City Origins and Legacies are PC-friendly material, compiling a bunch of common origins for broad superpower concepts and their most likely sources in the setting. A few of them have templates, particularly in the cases of certain alien species or human off-shoots such as the Ultima (think flying brick but with “cosmic energy control”). Or heroes with legacy powers, such as the Light-Bearer template for Beacon (flying energy control with light-based power array). Interestingly we have a template for the Scarab appears twice in 3e, in two different places in the book and one with significantly more Power Points than the other. The one here in Origins has 101 points with a variety of telepathy/telekinetic powers, while the one in the Pyramid Plaza entry in Secrets of Freedom City has only 51 points with fewer and cheaper powers. I feel that this is a misprint, as the latter version makes use of the term “feats” which are renamed “advantages” in 3rd Edition.

Series Frameworks provides brief outlines on eight different campaign ideas making use of the Freedom City setting. Quite a few of them are standard: one where the PCs join the Freedom League, one where the PCs are students at Claremont Academy, and one where the PCs are the “local hero team” instead of the Atom Family/Freedom League/Next-Gen. But the more novel suggestions include one where the PCs are street-level vigilantes operating in the poorer neighborhoods or even during the Iron Age Moore Administration, one where the PCs are former supervillains part of Harriet Wainwright’s “Project Freedom” work-release program, and ones where the PCs are non-powered (but gadget-equipped) members of STAR SQUAD or AEGIS, and one where they’re a new government-sanctioned superhero team for AEGIS!

Alternate Freedoms is exclusive to 3e, providing suggestions for different takes on the setting rather than different campaign ideas. The Price of Freedom theorizes a world where vigilantism is still outlawed and Freedom City is ruled by a corrupt government. The Freedom Storm takes the events of Emerald City (alien AI mass-empowering people with nanomachines) and moves the event to Freedom City. The Star District is one where the alien refugees are never relocated to the moon Europa, and instead settle into the least desired parts of the city with a less-than-understanding human populace.

Thoughts So Far: I’m feeling a bit mixed on these sections. The coverage of various groups and peoples varies in length and depth, so one cannot help but feel that something’s missing in certain even if the material that we do get is likely more than enough for a GM. Some parts I feel weird about are the setting’s Captain America Expy becoming a high-ranking federal agent, on account that his inspirational figure has been notable for wishing to champion American values in spite of (and even against) the aims of the government. Barring a few examples, many NPCs don’t have built-in hooks or adventure material, instead primarily serving to populate the world with people the PCs are likely to interact with during their careers as costumed crime-fighters. This isn’t bad in and of itself as it’s merely a different set of game design priorities, although it results in a lot of “okay here’s the health department and who works for them, here’s what the Coast Guard does and they’re also friendly with Siren, etc.” While the Origins and Legacies serve a useful function, the few times they provide templates about half are incredibly expensive for the default PL 10, and I feel that more affordable options would help give players more room to build what they want.

I will say that I’m fond of AEGIS, as they are definitely a group that would have a much larger spotlight in most games than other agencies, and I do like how the book acknowledges how the criminal underworld adapted to a super-powered world even if it’s more brief and simplistic rather than in-depth treatises and theory-crafting. But then again superhero media isn’t usually one to get lost in the details, so going by “rule of cool” more than works.

Join us next time as we cover Secrets of Freedom City and the World of Freedom!

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!

Siivola posted:

Interesting! I remember being moderately into M&M's setting in the 2e days so I'll be watching this one. But I gotta ask…

What on infinite earths is going on with this lady's flight pose?

She's Centuria, the daughter of an alternate-universe Centurion. I think that she's cool enough to fly any way she wants.

MonsterEnvy posted:

And it’s good to see you back.

Awww, thanks! :)

Wheeljack posted:

Aaron Allston's Strike Force campaign for Champions followed the established pattern of not changing the world and supers fitting into history... until he shook it up later. A powerful alien was holding back technology over a certain level (IE, advanced superhero tech) from working in a widespread fashion and changing the world. He was defeated, and in the aftermath of a big (other) alien invasion, this lead to space colonization and the rebuilding of the Earth using much higher technology, some of which is touched on in the Strike Force notes product.

I plan on reviewing that as well.

Halloween Jack posted:

It seems like when superhero settings aren't following that Big Two model, they're near-future dystopias where superheroes are feared and persecuted. Brave New World, Underground, Psi-Watch, etc. That grim 80s influence is really strong. Like, when Mayfair lost their license to do DC Heroes, they made Blood of Heroes a grim occult setting.

There aren't a lot of games that do like Squadron Supreme, Planetary, etc. and treat superheroes as a science-fictional premise that will change the world beyond imagining. I guess it's hard to keep that kind of setting going.

(My favourite book in this vein is WildCATs, which started as a typically stupid Image comic and got better and more serious later. But the superheroes changing the world was eventually squashed by a big, stupid Event. I don't read superhero comics anymore.)

The only game I know of that specifically sets the PCs up to change the world beyond the historical status quo is Wild Talents: Progenitor. I still want to review it, but it's at the end of a long list.

It's like one video essayist said about Thanos: it's easier to imagine the destruction of the universe than the destruction of capitalism. :anarchists:

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Saturnalia is a good-rear end name for ones' daughter.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Infinity RPG
Clothes Shopping Is Like A Sword Fight

The gear chapter takes up much of the rest of the book, followed by GM advice and enemy statblocks. Gear is a really big deal for Infinity, and it determines a whole lot of your capabilities in combat and similar. Given this, the system for actually acquiring new gear and determining how much wealth you have is surprisingly weird. It actually operates very similarly to the combat system itself, with attempts to find the merchandise you want taking the place of attack rolls and figuring out how much it'll cost you to buy taking the place of damage rolls. Also, for the level of importance gear has, it's surprisingly abstract. Weapons care about size and recoil to a certain extent, mostly to determine what penalties they may or may not apply in combat, but otherwise encumbrance and bulk are simply not a thing - the game assumes anything you want besides a gun can be gotten in small enough form factor that this really doesn't matter, and may well be part of a single multifunction device - that's up to you once you own it.

Wealth is also relatively abstract. While the game does list currencies used in all the different nations, you won't be tracking any of them. (And in-setting, most people only track their own national currency, trusting in quantronics to do all the fancy price conversions for them when they buy stuff. It tends to work well anywhere in the Human Sphere but Dawn.) Physical currency is almost gone, though you can get preloaded smartpaper "currency" that accesses a specific balance; you might lock one to your bank account, but most are preloaded burner papers that can be used by whoever happens to carry them, effectively cash. But, again, the RPG tracks none of this. Instead, it relies heavily on use of the Lifestyle skill, your Earnings stat and your derived Cashflow stat.



The Earnings stat, you will recall from chargen, is essentially your normal income. Higher Earnings essentially lets you soak cash "damage" more easily - if your Earnings are high enough, as long as you can find something for sale, you can just own it, no questions asked. Cashflow is your short-term money, how much you can easily get liquid at a given time if you need to buy something more expensive. Your max Cashflow is (5+Earnings+Lifestyle Expertise), but this is essentially your financial healthbar and often will not be at max capacity if you've been buying stuff. Your Cashflow automatically reverts to full at the start of each session, so you're only really in trouble if you go on a buying spree all at once. That's a situation you want Assets on hand for - an abstract currency representign investments, valuables, favors or other things you can trade for cash on hand in a pinch. You'll recall that you start play with (Personality) Assets, plus any you got from events. The opposite is Shortfalls - debts that you incur by stretching your finances beyond what they can bear. Shortfalls make acquisition and cash management rolls harder, and if you have four or more Shortfalls, you have essentially been knocked out of economic "combat," and can no longer attempt any acquisition rolls, even really easy ones, because you have no money.

The difficulty of getting any given item depends on the acquisition stats for it. Restriction is rated 0 to 5, and determines exactly how hard it is to get ahold of this item, likely due to legal regulations on it, with higher values being more restricted. Cost is how big a hit the thing is to buy, with a rating similar to weapon damage - a static value plus a certain number of dN. Tariffs are special charges that may or may not apply, essentially a chance for critical hits on the cost roll - the Tariff rating is added to the cost for each Effect result rolled. Maintenance is a special stat that only exists on purchases that will have routine additional payments, such as rent or insurance or other expenses. If the Maintenance is less than or equal to your Earnings, you can ignore it; otherwise, you reduce your max Cashflow by however much it's over your Earnings, as you are now living beyond your means.

Let's take a trip back to our characters and see how they actually perform acquisition rolls. Hugh Mann has Personality 10, Lifestyle E1F1, Earnings 2, Assets 10. This gives him a Cashflow of 8. Jenny the Dogface Girl has Personality 7, Lifestyle 0, Earnings 3, Assets 7, for a Cashflow of 8 as well. Tamamo has Personality 13, Lifestyle E2F1, Earnings 4, Assets 14, with a Cashflow of 11. Everyone will be attempting to buy the same piece of gear: a suit of light combat armor. We're only interested in its financial stats right now, not its combat stats. It has Restriction 2, Cost 7+1dN, Tariff T2 and Maintenance 1. The first step for everyone is to make a Lifestyle roll to find a seller. The Difficulty is 2, because of the Restriction. This shou;dn't be hard for Tamamo, but Hugh is flipping coins and Jenny almost certainly won't make it. Fortunately, there are some special rules - first, any extra Momentum gained on the roll can be used to increase your effective Earnings for purposes of the purchase, and second, you can spend Assets before the roll to get bonus dice equal to the Assets spent.

Hugh spends an asset to get a third die. He's rolling against Personality+Lifestyle, for a target of 11 and a Focus range of 1-2. He rolls a 3, a 19, and a 16 - sadly, not enough for him to succeed, that's only one success and he needs two. Hugh cannot find a seller, but he's still lost the Asset he spent.
Jenny spends two assets, rolling four dice, but her target is 7 and her Focus range is only 1 - the default. She rolls 5, 11, 2, 13 - two successes, so she finds someone that'll sell to her. We roll a dN to determine the total Cost - we roll a 0, so it's just the base Cost of 7. We subtract Jenny's Earnings from that, dropping the cost to 5. Jenny can buy it...but it's going to earn her one Shortfall for costing 5 or more Cashflow at once. So she ends up with Cashflow 3/8, one Shortfall and her armor, and she's dotn to 5 Assets. You also get Shortfall if, once a purchase is complete, you are at Cashflow 0.
Tamamo has a target of 15, Focus 1-2. She doesn't spend any Assets - 2 successes is likely for her already, especially since she has a reroll sitting around from one of her Talents. She rolls a 6 and a 17 - one success, one failure. She rerolls the 17 and hits 15 exactly, so that's two successes. Tamamo has found her seller. Her cost roll is identical to Jennys, so we're looking at base Cost 7, but Tamamo has Earnings 3, so her final Cost is only 4. She can easily afford this, and is now at Cashflow 7/11, no Shortfalls. Tamamo is much better at money than the other two.

As you can see, buying specialized in Lifestyle is a good thing for anyone that wants to pick up gear, and you might end up having a party purchaser as a result. However, the rules above only cover buying items one at a time. If you want to buy in bulk, you can get up to 3 items with the same roll as for one, you just have to pay each final Cost individually. If you want more than that, you get a Difficulty increase to the roll - +1 for 4-7 of something, +2 for 8-15, and so on. You shouldn't really need to buy in more than the 4-7 range to outfit an entire party with a single type of item, so that's not too bad, and for cheap items it's worthwhile, because the final Cost may end up being low enough to easily soak. You can also, as a note, reduce the difficulty of the acquisition roll by willingly taking more time - from minutes to hours, hours to days, days to weeks, or weeks to months. Each step reduces Difficulty or, if it's already hit 0, generates free Momentum. (Hell, for no-Tariff items with Difficulty 0 rolls, you literally don't even have to roll anything. You instead take the base value plus half the dN involved and compare that to your Earnings - if it's less than your Earnings you can just have as many of those as you want for free.)

Lifestyle rolls assume you are making legal purchases. That's not always possible. Acquisition rolls for items on the black market are made with Thievery instead, and if you use Thievery on a roll, you can choose to drop its Restriction by up to 3. If you do, however, the GM chooses either to gain that much Heat or to increase the item's Tariff by that much - you might be more able to find illegal items this way, but they draw attention and cost more.

So how do you recover lost Cashflow besides waiting for next session? Well, if you need more cash in a single session or you want to recover from Shortfalls, you can attempt to pay bills, manage your money and otherwise do financial wizardry by spending an Asset and making a Lifestyle roll. It's normally Difficulty 0, but goes up for each Shortfall you have. You can spend more Assets to get more dice, and you can spend increments of 2 Momentum on the roll to regain 2 Cashflow or remove 1 Shortfall each. You can also sell items, which functions exactly like purchasing, but in reverse - your roll is to find a buyer. You still reduce the item's total Cost by your Earnings, because richer characters just benefit less from selling stuff, but you can spend Momentum to reduce your effective Earnings for the roll. Tariffs also reduce cost in this case rather than increasing it, representing you paying local authorities and/or crime bosses. If you would gain 5+ Cashflow or be brought back to full Cashflow from a sale, you may choose to either remove a Shortfall or gain one Asset due to the sudden windfall, to a max of two Assets gained at most (for hitting both triggers). Complications may also reduce prices or cause the buyer to be angry with you due to the item being damaged, seeming counterfeit or similar.

But what, you ask, if you want to steal money? This is treated as an attack roll within the arena that best suits how you're doing it - physical for lifts and robbery, quantronic for hacking bank accounts, social for con games. You roll your appropriate skill against the target as an attack, dealing 1+2dN damage, +1 per Momentum spent. For each Breach, Metanoia or Wound you cause, you do a special Harm effect that just transfers one Asset to you. (You can choose to make your attack have the Nonlethal tag if physical, but that increases the Complication range.) You can keep attacking to try to gain more money or you can run with your poo poo. Physical theft is usually Thievery plus Observation, but might be a straight up attack vs Athletics for a mugging. Quantronic theft is usually Hacking vs Analysis (or vs Hacking, if stealing from a bank or other institution with sysadmins). Extortion is usually Persuade or Close Combat vs Discipline, while long cons usually involve a full Psywar scene with Thievery and Persuade rolls against Analysis. However, this all assumes a target with a large amount of cash you want to steal. For a pickpocket just working a crowd, you make a simple Difficulty 1 Thievery roll, regaining 1 Cashflow plus 1 per Momentum spent, with targets being able to roll Observation to notice you at work.

Next time: The Catalog

Selachian
Oct 9, 2012



Siivola posted:

Huh, thanks, that certainly looks like a cool set.

I did a review of Spectaculars starting back here. I'm not 100% sold on the system, but even if you don't use the game itself, it's a hell of a resource for superhero game ideas.

The MHR team was working on an Annihilation book that would have included the Guardians among other space teams, but Marvel yanked the license and as far as I know it was never published.

I remember the old DC Heroes RPG had some material based on the Legion, too.

Halloween Jack posted:

The only game I know of that specifically sets the PCs up to change the world beyond the historical status quo is Wild Talents: Progenitor. I still want to review it, but it's at the end of a long list.

I recently picked up Galaxies in Peril, a supers game based on the Forged in the Dark system, and it does give the PCs the ability to change the world through "shake-up" missions. It's an interesting concept, although I'm not sure FitD and supers really go together.

Selachian fucked around with this message at 19:25 on Jan 17, 2022

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



Selachian posted:

I did a review of Spectaculars starting back here. I'm not 100% sold on the system, but even if you don't use the game itself, it's a hell of a resource for superhero game ideas.

The MHR team was working on an Annihilation book that would have included the Guardians among other space teams, but Marvel yanked the license and as far as I know it was never published.
Oh sick, I'll make sure to read the review!

The Annihilation did come out actually, right before the game died. I even managed to buy a digital copy somehow, thanks for reminding me it exists.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Infinity RPG
Outfitting Your Team

Gear is divided into 13 categories: Ammunition, Armor, Augmentations, Contagions, Explosive Devices, Geists, Hacking Devices, Lhosts, Remotes, Resources (read: abstract tracking of various useful things), Tools, Weapons and Other (for everything else). Items can have a Size rating, but this is mostly limited to weapons or stuff you're going to be using in combat; anything without Size is assumed to be usable with a free hand if it requires physical manipulation, and anything that can be worn or operated quantronically likely doesn't even need that. Size can be:
One-Handed: Can be used in one or two hands with no penalties.
Two-Handed: Can be used in two hands without penalty, but any one-handed use is done at +2 Difficulty.
Unbalanced: One-Handed for Brawn 9+, Two-Handed for Brawn 8-.
Unwieldy: Extremely bulky and not generally portable. All uses are at +2 Difficulty and +2 Complication range unless you take a Brace action. Cannot be used one-handed.
Mounted: Fixed in position to something else, immobile unless you move the thing it's mounted on, usually a vehicle. Often operable quantronically.
Massive: Designed for something bigger than human, such as a TAG. Cannot be wielded by normal-size people, but can be wielded two-handed without penalty by anything with the Monstrous special ability, or one-handed by them at +2 Difficulty.
Facility: It's an entire room or building. Usage requires either being inside its facility or quantronic access.

Objects also have their own healthbar, the Structure rating, depending on their size and bulk. Very fragile stuff has Structure 1, anything easily carried in one hand has 2-4, objects big enough to require both hands have 4-6, those too big to carry but smaller than a human have 6-8, person-sized or bigger have 8-10. Most civilian vehicles have 6-8 Structure per person they can carry and can be used as a guideline for similarly sized stuff. Delicate stuff, including anything with the Fragile quality, has only half to three-quarters the normal amount of Structure for their size and will almost never have Armor soak. Particularly tough or hard items usually have Armor 1, and particularly rugged or military-designed goods tend to have 1.5 to 2 times as much Structure as normal plus Armor 2-3. Teseum goods have 3-4 times as much Structure as normal and at least Armor 4. Buildings and really large stuff like spaceships are treated as collections of smaller objects with varying Structure and Armor based on composition, with load-bearing parts usually having quite high Structure and major problems if they fail.

Objects take Harms just like anything else, in the form of Faults, taken when they lose 5+ Structure in one hit or take damage after hitting Structure 0. When an object has taken four Faults, it is unusable and disabled. At five Faults, it is destroyed permanently and would be as hard to rebuild as making a new thing from scratch. Objects can't take the Recover action to remove Fault effects or recover on their own (barring a trait that allows it), and must instead be repaired using the standard Treat action and Serious Treatment downtime rules. You can also restore all lost Structure with a Difficulty 0 treatment roll between scenes. All treatment for objects uses the Tech skill. Fault Effects include:
Compromised: The object is not fully disabled but has lost some functionality - for example, you kick open a locked door and now it can't be effective locked but can still close, kinda, or you damage a turret gun so it can't rotate. The GM may roll that particularly robust objects need multiple Faults to achieve this.
Damaged: Anyone using the item gets +1 Difficulty on associated rolls.
Disable Function: You disable a single one of the item's functions but leave the rest intact.
Injury: You cause damage or some other logical injury to a user of the item - for example, smashing rungs on a ladder so someone falls off, or busting up a TAG so that the pilot gets burned by arcing wires. The GM decides what happens but should default to 2dN damage if they're unsure.

A number of item qualities are unique to specific types of item, but others are general and will show up a lot on all kinds. These are:
Armoured X: The item has X Armor Soak.
Augmentation: The item is an implant, bioengineered graft or otherwise part of the user's body, and cannot be removed easily without surgery or massive bodily harm.
Comms Equipment: The item is integrated into your Personal Area Network and can be affected by the System Disruption Breach Effect. It will also become nonfunctional if your PAN is destroyed due to breaches. It cannot be given the Non-Hackable quality by any means.
Concealed X: The item is easy to hide or disguise. Observation rolls made to find it when hidden or disguised are at +X Difficulty, and you may spend 1 Momentum when using it to immediately hide or disguise it after use.
Disposable: The item has one use and is destroyed or lost once it is used.
Expert X: The item has an inbuild expert system to assist the user. When used as part of a successful skill roll where the system applies, it grants +X Momentum. All expert systems have the Comms Equipment quality, as they hook into your PAN, and will take penalties as you get Breached.
Fragile: The item is disabled after one Fault and destroyed after two.
Improvised X: The item isn't meant for how you're using it and gets a +X Complication range.
Negative Feedback: You can't use this item with any other item that has this quality.
Neural: The item directly interfaces with your nervous system, allowing direct mental command. For something actively used, such as a weapon or hacking tool, this gives +1 Momentum when using it for its intended purpose, which stacks with any Expert quality. If hacked, however, it exposes your nervous system to quantronic attack, which renders you vulnerable to some really nasty Breach effects that can cause physical harm.
Non-Hackable: The item either has no quantronic connectivity by design (because it's a fuckin' block of metal you hit people with, say) or has been specially modified to remove its quantronic connections. It cannot be targeted by hacking attacks or Breach effects. If an item does not automatically come with Non-Hackable built in, you can add it, but this forces it to operate with a really clunky and primitive UI, giving +1 Difficulty to all uses of the item.
Repeater: A hacker with the proper authentications may connect to the item and make quantronic attacks through it as if they were in the same zone as the item. Enemy hackers that also get access (usually by getting authentications with a Breach effect and then taking an action to connect) can also make quantronic attacks on any hacker currently connected to the repeater as if they were both in the same zone. Repeaters generally have their own Firewall and Security stats for being targeted by hacking, but can be disabled or suborned in a single Breach effect. Repeaters can be physical objects in physical zones or specialized programs in quantronic zones, and connecting or disconnecting from one requires a Standard action. Hackers with proper authorizations can use the Reset action to reboot suborned repeaters.
Self-Repairing: The item automatically recovers all Structure between scenes and removes one Fault per day. If the item provides Soak or BTS (which is both Security soak and soak against biotech, nanotech and radiation effects, remember) and those values are reduced, it also restores them at a rate of 1 per day each until they return to their original rating.
Subtle X: The item is quiet and hard to notice. Observation rolls to notice it in use are at +X Difficulty. Any Noisy actions made with the item are dropped to Sneaky, and any Sneaky actions made with it are dropped to Silent.
Supportware (Range): You may only have a single program or item with this quality active in your PAN at a time, and a character can only benefit from one Supportware program being run by allies. The item provides a passive benefit to everyone linked to it. Activating one is a Minor action which automatically turns off any others you have running. Allies in the listed range immediately and automatically link with the Supportware while it's active, gaining whatever its benefits are, but if they get additional Supportware links, they have to spend a Minor action to swap between benefits.
Unsubtle X: The item is loud and overt. Observation rolls made to notice it in use are at -X Difficulty, to a minimum of 0. Any Silent actions made with the item become Sneaky, and any Sneaky actions become Noisy.

Armor has its own special qualities, which can also be applied to high-tech clothes if you want, but mostly you'll find them on actual armor:
Adapted (Environment): The armor protects against common hazards of a specific environment, such as temperature or pressure extremes. This gives -1 Difficulty to all related Extraplanetary, Resistance or Survival rolls made in such an environment while wearing it.
Exoskeleton X: The armor's strength and power gives a +XdN bonus to melee attacks on top of any normal bonus, and the wearer can use Unwieldy items without Bracing at no penalty, use Unbalanced or Two-Handed items in one hand with no penalty, and can choose to get up to +X bonus dice to any Brawn roll in exchange for increasing the Complication range of the roll by the same amount.
Heavy Armor: The armor is very bulky and it's hard to move quickly in it, giving +1 Difficulty to all Agility-based rolls while wearing it.
Hidden Armor X: The armor is designed to be covert and hard to spot when worn. Observation rolls made to notice it are at +X Difficulty.
Kinematika: The armor has primed polymer fibers that allow extremely fast dodges and flexes for brief periods, reducing the Heat cost and Difficulty of all Acrobatics Defence Reactions by 1, to a minimum of 0 in both cases. After a successful Defence, the user may Withdraw for 0 Momentum and may spend 2 Momentum to move to an adjacent zone.

Weapons get even more qualities, which can be applied to weapons generally, ammo, or any kind of attack in the right situation:
Anti-Materiel X: The attack is designed to damage objects, cover and vehicles. Attacks against targets in cover destroy X dice of cover per Effect rolled, and attacks against vehicles or armored objects permanently reduce the target's Soak in the location hit by X per Effect rolled. If a piece of cover loses all dice, it is destroyed and cannot provide any protection. If a vehicle or object's Soak was already at 0, each Effect instead deals 1 damage.
Area (Range): The attack can target a very wide area. For each Momentum spent, it hits another target in the listed range, starting with the nearest to the initial target. If a Complication is rolled, the GM may have it also target an ally in the listed range. Each character can attempt defence separately, rolling against a fixed Difficulty 2. Indiscriminate overrides Area within its range.
Backlash X: The attacker takes X damage per Effect rolled, which ignores Soak. If it is physical damage, it targets a random hit location.
Biotech: The attack is biological, chemical or otherwise bypasses conventional armor. Damage caused by it ignores Armor soak and is resisted by BTS soak instead.
Blinding: The attack uses light, sound or similar to blind the target or jam their systems. If an Effect is rolled on the attack, the target must make a Difficulty 3 Resistance roll or become Blinded for one round per Effect rolled.
Breach Effect: The attack can inflict a special Breach Effect by spending Momentum. This does not count as a Breach for purposes of disabling or compromosing the target's network, but the effect is applied and may be treated or removed as normal.
Breaker: The attack degrades BTS shielding. For each Effect rolled, the target suffers a special Fault Effect that reduces their armor's BTS soak by 1, to a minimum of 0. If the BTS value was already 0, each Effect instead is +1 damage. (Note, again, this is a Fault Effect, not a Fault, for purposes of item destruction.)
Deafening: The attack unleashes massive sound to overload the target's systems. If an Effect is rolled on the attack, the target must make a Difficulty 3 Resistance roll or become Deafened for one round per Effect rolled.
Electromagnetic: The attack uses high-energy EMPs. While it uses a physical attack roll, it deals quantronic damage. If the damage would cause a Breach, it must apply the System Disruption Breach Effect, as the pulse is indiscriminate and non-selective. If a target suffers their fourth or fifth Breach from an Electromagnetic attack, the attacker may spend 2 Momentum to destroy their Cube if they have one. All Electromagnetic attacks automatically have the Breaker quality. Any equipment with Non-Hackable is immune to Electromagnetic attacks.
Extended Reach: Any attack made with this quality allows the attacker to take a Withdraw action as a Free action as long as no enemy combatants in Reach also have an Extended Reach attack. Any melee attacks made against someone who has an Extended Reach attack have +1 Difficulty unless they also have Extended Reach.
Frangible: The attack becomes less useful over time. For each Effect rolled, reduce the dN in the attack's damage rating by 1. If this would drop the damage to +0dN, the attack cannot be used again until replenished or replaced.
Grievous: The attack is designed for massive damage to swiftly take down targets. If the attacks deals one or more Harms, it inflicts an additional Harm of the same type.
Guided: The attack can be controlled and directed from a distance. If a target is Marked, the attack ignores all penalties from range, visibility or concealment. A Difficulty 1 Analysis roll allows the attack to ignore any conditional soak the target might have, such as Cover. All Guided weapons and ammo automatically have the Comms Equipment quality.
Immobilising: The attack makes it harder to move. If an Effect is rolled on the attack, the target must make an Athletics roll with Difficulty equal to the Effects rolled or become Hindered. If they were already Hindered, the attacker may spend 1 Momentum to instead make them become Stuck.
Incendiary X: The attack sets the target on fire. They gain the Burning X condition for rounds equal to the Effects rolled.
Indiscriminate (Range): The attack targets entire zones. Each possible target in the affected zone takes the attack's damage, even if the attacker was unaware of their presence. Each may seperately attempt a Defence Reaction, rolling at Difficulty 2. This overrides any Area quality within the same range.
Knockdown: The attack knocks people over. If an Effect is rolled on the attack, the target must make an Acrobetics or Athletics roll with Difficulty equal to the Effects rolled or become Prone.
Monofilament: The attack uses a monomolecular wire. It ignores Armor soak entirely, but has +2 Complication range and gains no bonus damage from high stats of any kind, including Superhuman Attribute effects.
MULTI (Light/Medium/Heavy): The weapon is designed to use multiple forms of ammo seamlessly, swapping between preloaded modes. A Light weapon uses Standard ammo in its primary mode and a single specific type of Special ammo in its secondary, defaulting to Double Action ammo if not otherwise specified, and has Burst 1 instead of its normal Burst, plus it gains the Munition quality. Medium weapons are identical to Light, except they don't gain the Munition quality (assuming it didn't already have it) or reduce the weapon's Burst. Heavy weapons use Standard ammo in their primary mode and a specific type of Heavy ammo in their secondary, defaulting to Explosive ammo if not specified. The secondary mode has Burst 1 instead of its normal Burst and gains the Munition quality.
MULTI Light Mod: The weapon is designed to easily mount a secondary weapon that must be one of an adhesive launcher, light shotgun, light flamethrower or light grenade launcher. It's a Difficulty 1 Tech roll to install a weapon on the mount, causing both weapons to gain the MULTI (Heavy) quality unless it was a shotgun, in which case they gain MULTI (Medium). In either case, the secondary weapon is the secondary mode.
MULTI Heavy Mod: Identical to MULTI Light Mod, but its viable weapons for mounting include heavy flamethrowers and heavy grenade launchers, too.
Munition: The weapon can only use a specific, designated type or types of ammo, and expends a full Reload when fired. This provides no benefits but counts towards your normal Reload limits. We'll get to those rules...eventually.
Nanotech: The attack relies on nanotech. Damage caused by it ignores Armor or Security soak and is resisted by BTS soak instead. Further, the attack deals specialized Nanotech Effects that do not usually count as normal Harm but can be applied by spending Momentum. Any target with BTS Soak is immune to Nanotech Effects applied by Momentum but can suffer them as normal Harm effects from the attack. (The attack can also deal them as normal Harms the normal way.)
Nonlethal: The attack is not meant to kill. Any Harms it causes are temporary and are all removed by successful rest. Nonlethal Harms cannot kill targets.
Parry X: The attack is good at turning aside blows. While using it, you get +XdN Cover soak against melee attacks.
Piercing X: The attack ignores X points of Soak per effect rolled.
Radiation X: The attack ignores all Soak except BTS soak and also has Terrifying X and Vicious X. Wounds caused by Radiation attacks have a special Wound Effect, which gives +1 Difficulty to all Agility, Brawn and Coordination rolls, and neither the Wound nor its Effect can be removed except via Serious Treatment or specialized gear.
Reflective X: This is identical to Smoke X, except that it also works on advanced optics and sensors, including multispectral visors or other items that would normally ignore Smoke.
Salvo X (Quality): The attack works best when you use a lot of ammo. Whenever you expend X Reloads on the attack, not counting any spent on the Munition quality, the attack also gains the listed quality. If no number is listed, X is 1.
Smoke X: The attack creates a cloud of gas or other low-visibility substance in the target zone, plus another for each Momentum spent. Observation rolls and attacks made within, into or out of affected zones are at +X Difficulty, decreasing by 1 every 1d6 rounds. When the penalty hits zero, the smoke is gone.
Speculative Fire: You can arc the attack, bounec it, or otherwise shoot at stuff indirectly, allowing you to reduce the Difficulty of attacking Detected targets which you lack a clear line of fire for by 1. You may also choose to take +1 Difficulty to the attack to ignore Cover Soak.
Spread X: The attack can hit its target in multiple locations. For every Effect rolled, it deals X additional hits at half the first hit's damage, each reduced by Soak separately. If the damage is physical, roll hit locations for each hit separately. When determining damage to cover, combine all damage from all hits together rather than threating them separately.
Stun: The attack suns people. If any Effects are rolled, the target is Staggered for rounds equal to the Effects rolled.
Terrifying X: The attack is very scary. It deals X mental damage per Effect rolled, on top of its normal damage.
Thrown: You make ranged attacks with this weapon using Athletics instead of Ballistics, with a range of Close unless otherwise specified. (Melee attacks still use Close Combat.)
Torrent: The attack is a constant stream of liquid, gas, flame or other substance that you can sweep back and forth. You cannot target anyone beyond optimal range at all, but the attack ignores all Cover soak. It otherwise functions identically to an Area attack.
Toxic X: The attack has some lingering effect. If the attack causes Harm, the Harm Effect causes the target to take 1+XdN (Vicious 1) damage at the end of each turn, using the same type as the attakc unless otherwise specified.
Unforgiving X: The attack is either extremely precise or very nasty on a direct hit. When it is used with the benefits of an Exploit action, it gains Vicious X.
Vicious X: The attack hits hard. It deals X extra damage per Effect rolled.

Next time: Are you smarter than a bullet?

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017



Are the iHosts coming up soon? I have a question about them from reading the ALEPH book.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Soonish, probably in a day or three?

Asterite34
May 19, 2009





Summon Skate Part 6: Hey, look, it's some kids on the ice! What's a GM to do when there's kids on the ice? Quick! Somebody call their MOOOOOOOM!

Here we get to the Game Master section of the book, detailing how to effectively run a session of Summon Skate. It emphasizes right off the bat the importance of preparation to make sure things go smoothly, but to be responsive in the moment to your players and to make sure everyone is having fun and comfortable. It even advises regular five minute breaks about every hour, so that's considerate. The topic of online play is briefly mentioned, reassuring that this game can be played with any program that allows multiple people to draw visually distinguishable lines on a grid. Most popular VTTs should work fine for this.

There's a decent wordcount put aside for fine-tuning the balance for a session to suit the taste of the table, which is a consideration that I don't see as often as I'd like in games outside of recommended levels for stuff. There's the previously mentioned Difficulty Level for a scenario decided by the table at the start of a session, but there's also things to adjusting things on the fly if things are looking too easy or difficult, including secret mechanics only the GM is privy to, so expect unmarked mechanical spoilers going forward if you intend on playing this game and want to keep some potential surprise.

One easy way to adjust the difficulty is Secret Mode. In a standard Easy or Normal Difficulty fight, the information for the Chaos Figure is openly available to all players, including current HP and what its various possible moves are. This allows for the Pandemic-esque sense of constant cooperative strategizing and thinking several moves ahead to plan around the boss' capabilities and possible next actions. But if the GM doesn't want to have to print out a bunch of extra info sheets for the Chaos Figure to hand out, they can instead opt to leave the players in the dark. This has the effect of turning up the difficulty a bit, but on the other hand it still lends a sorta panicky-yet-breezy atmospheree, as now the players are purely reactive to the current game state, forced to take things as they come and play in the here and now without excess analysis. At least, until enough turns have passed that the players have puzzled out the Chaos Figure's moveset. Note that in Hard Difficulty, Secret Mode is on by default.

Another way to make a fight more climactic if things are looking like they're getting boring is Aces. Before the session starts, the GM can pick a couple items from a menu of SECRET one-time tricks only they are privy to, so that if things need a sudden injection of excitement, they can be used during the boss fight. This includes stuff like, "On this turn, the Chaos Figure's attack isn't randomized, I pick whichever one I want for maximum effect" or "if there's any unsealed Emblems left, the Chaos Figure regenerates" or "If the Chaos Figure dies, it gets one last attack to try and break the stage and take the PCs down with it." Some of these sound preety bullshit honestly, but the game takes great pains to tell you how to properly use them. These shouldn't be busted out if it'll just make the fight drag on longer or cause a TPK or somehow reduce the players' enjoyment. These are for if the fight is thoroughly under control and there's worry the players will get complacent and can be made more exciting and engaging with an "oh poo poo" moment. They're actually pretty fun when used properly.

It's also possible to dial down the difficulty a little. For example, there's sort of the opposite of Secret Mode, which is taking away the dice from the Chaos Figure and giving it a set behavior pattern, allowing players to plan more effectively around an anticipated move rotation. You can also bolster the PCs strength before the Combat Phase by giving them a bit more loot like Colorless Magic Stones for Solomon's Discount Summon Gacha. There's also Artifacts, legendary objects or sacred relics that PCs can find that are 1-time consumable items that usually mimic Figure Skills or Style abilities for free, if you want to give your players a few emergency resources.

Actually writing a scenario for a session of Summon Skate depends on what sort of session you're playing. -World Resurrection- games barely require any writing at all, outside of a sense of worldbuilding and improv. A Long Program should be written in the way one usually writes an RPG adventure, with a general path for the plot to follow interspersed with skill checks and 2-3 combat encounters, making allowances for the PCs roleplaying and possibly taking things in unanticipated directions.

A Short Program, paradoxically, is the one that gets the most focus in the book on how to put it together, but the lessons here can be broadly applied elsewhere so I guess it keeps the book from getting redundant. To write a Short Program, follow these steps:
  1. Start by selecting a True Emblem, as well as five other Candidate Emblems as red herrings. I like that this step is first, as it forces you to pick a big thematic through-line that will inform the rest of the scenario. You start by establishing the Big Fundamental Problematic Mystery the rest of the session will be spent puzzling out and confronting.
  2. Decide on the Setting for your adventure, and where the players will start out. The book comes with a handy generic city map full of locations. Truthfully it looks like it's made out of clip art, but you'll be scribbling on the thing with dry erase markers so gently caress it, it's immediately legible and that's the important thing
  3. Choose a Chaos Figure to act as your final boss.
  4. Create about three Distortions, weird happenings caused by Chaos that give clues to the True Emblem. They can be whatever, and superficially totally unrelated to each other, but one thing they should all have in common in a relation to the True Emblem, some theme of Delusion, or Obsession, or Isolation, or whatever. These are made up of some unconditionally given narration, a Skill Check or bit of investigation or conversing with NPCs, and some additional relevent information given if the PCs complete the task.
  5. Place Figures around the map that the players don't already have and you think will be helpful in the boss battle ahead. The book recommends 2-3 Figures per player, though if they're Level 4 or higher their cap on contractable Figures has been raised significantly and they probably contracted with a couple permanent ones of their own and won't need to search for as many.
  6. Put together a timetable of where and when all these events occur, as well as a time limit for the Area Destruction Timer. The guidelines suggest that there be enough time to challenge any given Distortion twice, to get a couple Figures, and to rush to wherever the Mark of Chaos is manifesting at the end. 4 turns for 3-4 PCs or 5 turns for 1-2 PCs seems to be the standard.
  7. Write some narration for the opening scene-setting, when the Chaos Figure appears, the closing wrap-up, sorta general dramatic storytelling beats
  8. Give it a cool-sounding episode title

Shortly after this we get a digression about creating NPC Markers, basically GMPCs with stats and character tags like players do and move around and do stuff on the map during the Investigation Phase. These come in two flavors: Helpers and Cultists. Helpers can go around the map and attempt to make contracts with Figures the PCs haven't managed to get around to finding (possibly aided by Mana donated from the GM's pool), and if they encounter a PC at a location they can sign over that contract to the player. They're basically talent scouts. Cultists are way more of a pain in the rear end. THEY can move around the map looking for Figures too, but they just auto-Contract with any they stumble upon. What's worse, they can perform Rituals, sticking a crowbar in the cracks in reality and prying them wider. Each turn they'll draw a little bit more of the Mark of Chaos on the board in the location the Chaos Figure will emerge from. After a GM-determined number of turns, they perform a final Demonc Summoning, giving the Chaos Figure an additional non-True Emblem. That's right, if a Cultist gets free reign to do a Demonic Summoning, and you gently caress up doing your own final Emblemization, it's possible to fight a Chaos Figure with THREE Emblems. Plus the Cultist might join the fight as a Chaos Summoner, using all the Figures they looted off the map against you. Have fun! :shepicide:


Tag yourself, I'm Baldy Aragi.

The book comes with several example adventures, with two Short Programs, one Long Program, and a few notes on World Resurrection. The first one is the SHort Program "The Glowing Clouds of Chaos."

quote:

Looking up, you see the clouds above you begin to shine with strange rainbow light. As you are still trying to process what you are seeing, you look around you and notice that a wall of light now completely encircles your city.

This scenario demonstrates all the moving parts we had explained in the previous bits, with about eight Figures scattered around town and three Distortions reflecting the world being warped by the Chaos, all these events appearing according to a timetable with five turns to resolve them. Distortions include a crazy lady stealing a bird from a pet shop, an injured cat being ignored by the townspeople walking past it, and all the shops in the strip mall being closed and deserted despite the continued sound of activity and customers. It all points to the Emblem of Isolation, which will manifest the Chaos Cage, which if it dies too quickly to make for a satisfying final boss, turns out was actually containing a Chaos Worm as the bird inside it warps into a beast that will consume the Earth.


I'll talk about it more in a later part, but holy poo poo all the monster artwork in this book whips rear end.

The second example Short Program is "A School In Chaos," because like hell were we gonna have a game like this and not have anything set in a highschool.

quote:

A shimmering dome of light has surrounded your school. Chaos is pouring through a Crack in the world, and your school has now become a Quarantined Zone. Cosmos and all sorts of helpful Figures have dressed up as students, and are currently scattered within the school.

“Chaos has infiltrated your school. Please help me find the Emblem that will pull the Chaos into the physical world so we can defeat it,” Cosmos says. “I don’t know which Figures will lend you their aid this time, but I’m praying for your victory in this battle.”

The battle to save your school from Chaos has begun.

This scenario is a major departure from the previous one, and shows off how the structure of a Short Program can be modified to an impressive extent. THIS scenario is GM-less, with much of the Investigation Phase being automated via dice rolls and players taking turns acting as interim GM. Distortions are randomized and are more prompts for the current GM to fill in the blanks, and the Emblemization is different too as there's no pre-chosen True Emblem. Everyone just silently picks the one they think works best, selects a number on a die that corresponds to it, and everyone shows what they picked simultenously, with even a single differing choice creating a second Emblem. Even the Chaos Figure is entirely up to the players' choice. It feels all very light and makes for a sorta board-gamey high school mystery vibe.



Choose Your Own Supernatural Horror Anime

Next Part: Looking into the Long Program example scenario, "A Beginning In Yellow"

Asterite34 fucked around with this message at 15:04 on Mar 3, 2022

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017



Mors Rattus posted:

Soonish, probably in a day or three?

Cool. I'll try to remember to ask if you don't just happen to answer it just by reviewing it.

Getsuya
Oct 2, 2013


Asterite34 posted:


Part 6: Hey, look, it's some kids on the ice! What's a GM to do when there's kids on the ice? Quick! Somebody call their MOOOOOOOM!

I'll talk about it more in a later part, but holy poo poo all the monster artwork in this book whips rear end.

In celebration of the success of the English version Yasuda actually did some more awesome art for a bunch of the gacha Figures. We're planning to compile them and upload them as a free add-on to the DriveThruRPG PDF pack for the game as soon as we have our hands free from the project we're stuck on right now. His monster art is far and away one of the best things about the book and one of the main reasons I would encourage people to buy the physical version. Seeing these printed in high-quality color from DriveThru is an experience.

I think one of my favorite things to translate in this whole book were the little poetic descriptions of the monsters. Yasuda's writing is extremely straightforward and unadorned through the rest of the book, so this was the one place where he got to wax artistic and I got to actually flex some translating muscles. I don't know if I pulled them all off but either way they were definitely the most fun to translate.

On the opposite end the part of the translation that made me tear my hair out a little were the pages with the main Figures. Yasuda did some deep dives into old mythology to dig up symbols and runes and stuff representing the different Figures, so I spent a lot of time researching what the proper translation for the rune names and Figure names were. But it was also fascinating because I got to learn a lot of interesting lore. Yasuda really knows his stuff. There's one attack on one of the monsters that is a reference to a specific line in one of Lovecraft's not-as-famous stories. That kind of thing just put a grin on my face as I translated it.

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!




Secrets of Freedom City

Another 2e and 3e addition, this section covers campaign secrets to be defined by the GM and things not known to the general public, with potential “answers” behind several of them. 3rd Edition greatly expands on this section, and also folds Law & Order and Freedom City Underworld into this section, which we previously covered. The first section covers secret history and the overlapping cosmological implications: the reason why Freedom City, and to a lesser extent the USA, is so superhuman-dense is due to the Centurion’s life pod crashing near Freedom City. This caused an upsurge in other-dimensional energies that both draw upon and grant easier potential to paranormal and superhuman beings and events. Additionally the gods of many cultures are real, but cannot directly interfere on Earth-Prime save by being intentionally summoned by mortals as a result of a magical Pact from a former Master Mage centuries ago. Deities and other powerful entities representative of archetypes can act through a chosen host, such as Lady Liberty being empowered by the Spirit of Liberty or Cassandra Vale being chosen by the Voodoo Loa La Sirène.

The two major pre-human civilizations on Earth-Prime were the Serpent People who created Lemuria, an expansive yet decadent magitech empire, and the Preservers who were a powerful star-spanning alien civilization that conducted genetic experiments on cavemen and “seeded” humanity on countless other planets. The Preservers are long gone, although many impossibly-advanced creations and worlds bear their touch. The Preservers’ interference allowed human civilization to rise and counter Lemuria, most notably the civilization of Atlantis. Both empires destroyed each other, causing Atlantis to sink underwater and the Serpent People to retreat underground. Post-Cataclysm history begins with recorded human history, expanding on the origins of notable immortal/reincarnating superheroes such as Daedalus and Talos.

We also get an expanded backstory on the Centurion: coming from a world where the Roman Empire never fell, he was put in an escape pod as an infant to cross to the dimension of Earth-Prime in 1918 when his home world was invaded and destroyed by the Terminus. He was adopted by the Leeds family, given the name Mark, and learned about his origin and how his powers came to be (cosmic radiation from the dimensional crossing). Mark Leeds adopted a Roman-inspired costume and title to fight crime and injustice while also becoming a professor of Roman history at Freedom City University. He went on to found the Liberty League and later the Freedom League, using advanced skincare to make his secret identity appear to age when it became clear that he was immortal. By the 1980s the death of his wife and the disbanding of the Freedom League made him “retire” his secret identity, acting as the Centurion almost full-time, until 1993 where he died in battle against the man responsible for destroying his home dimension.

We get stats for the Centurion here. He is bar none the most powerful superhero in this book at an impressive Power Level 16. The Freedom League and other heroes don’t even come close, with the rookie teen team the Next-Gen averaging PL 9, and the more powerful Freedom League members and Adrian Eldrich being around PL 12-13.

As for the supervillains, only a few equal or exceed the Centurion’s Power Level: Argo, Meta-Grue, and Omega being the only non-omnipotent villains to meet this qualification. While I hate to put it this way, his power set is like that of a more boring Superman: the Centurion is a flying brick with amazing Strength and Stamina scores along with a host of Immunities. But his Super-Senses don’t include X-Ray vision (he can see in the dark and see farther, though), and he doesn’t have Superman’s non-punchy attacks like heat vision and ice breath. When it comes to non-combat skills he has quite a bit of Expertise skills along with Perception, Technology, and some social skills. The Centurion doesn’t have any Kryptonite-style weaknesses, either.

I do happen to own a copy of the now-discontinued DC Heroes line, which has Mutants & Masterminds stats for Superman. While Superman’s 1 PL lower at 15, he is able to do more things than the Centurion like I listed above.


Secrets of the City

This section is exclusive to 3e and expands on specific locations, mostly in the form of secret lairs for notable superheroes. And since many are meant to serve as bases for PCs in certain campaigns, they also have headquarters stats for those who want to purchase them with the Equipment advantage.

The first is Lantern Hill, an old and rich neighborhood dating to colonial times with a history of the occult. It is the stomping grounds of Lantern Jack, the ghostly dispenser of justice and vengeance. We have stats for Lantern Jack, and he is a PL 12 character who has ghostly powers (invisibility, incorporeal nature, immune to all Fortitude effects) and bears a mystic lantern with an array of features (blinding attack, paralysis stare, illusion-nullifying light, poltergeist telekinesis, etc). He is primarily intended to be a background character, being more behind-the-scenes save for when the PCs have to inquire into the occult. At which point he’s more prominent as a dispenser of warning and wisdom. We also get descriptions of other notable features in Lantern Hill, but as the home of the demon-allied lawyer Lucius Cabot along with sample adventure opportunities.

The next area is Pyramid Plaza, whose triple towers are one of Freedom City’s most famous landmarks and the site of many historic battles between superheroes and supervillains. The towers are home to a variety of businesses and stores (a few of which are criminal fronts for the evil megacorp CEO characters such as Hieronymus King), but it bears a deep secret. Back during the 1960s the wealthy businessman Alexander Rhodes financed the construction of Pyramid Plaza to conceal a secret lair beneath the foundations. His real identity being the Scarab, this hidden lair is designed in the style of Ancient Egypt, with many high-tech facilities such as teleportation stations and a prison that once housed the Nazi supervillain Nacht-Krieger (who has since escaped with Overshadow’s help). The facility is still functional, although the current CEO of the Rhodes Foundation, Sophia Cruz, is awaiting the Scarab’s next reincarnation to bequeath them the lair. There are of course suggestions on how to use the Scarab’s lair in other ways in case the Scarab doesn’t return, such as it being taken over by a supervillain or the PCs.

Providence Asylum expands upon Freedom City’s primary mental health center, along with named NPC staff members. One of the more interesting NPCs is Dr. Karen Black, a psychologist with a degree in occult and magical studies. This is due to the large number of mentally ill people who claim to interact with the supernatural, and thus she can help determine if the symptoms are mere delusions or they’re actually possessed/haunted/etc. Most of its patients are normal, non-powered people, although it is notable for housing more than a few costumed criminals. The book notes that in prior decades those deemed “criminally insane” were put in with the general prison population, and that the switch to housing them at the Asylum has resulted in better treatment and rehabilitation. But due to the dangers of many superpowers, the metahuman-inclined patients are placed in a Secure Patient Care section. The Asylum has facilities beyond mere containment, such as gardens, a basketball court, and a theater which is used for art therapy and talent shows.

Claremont Academy is a prestigious private school that was purchased and redesigned by Duncan Summers after the original school was destroyed during the Terminus Invasion. It’s pretty much Charles Xavier’s academy, save that it recruits youth with a wide variety of powers rather than just mutants. The Academy’s purpose is a bit of an open secret among superheroes, being used as a funnel for powered teenagers who need help and training, but also fear that the US government may interfere and take over the school “for the good of the children.” The school proper was greatly expanded on in the Hero High sourcebooks for 2e and 3e, so its inclusion here is rather sparse beyond detailing the main grounds and a statblock for the headmaster Duncan Summers (PL 9 non-powered skill-user with non-lethal grenade gadgets).

Other Places and Characters Gives short write-ups for the various locations and NPCs detailed in Life in Freedom. For instance, potential backgrounds for Master Lee’s fallen pupil (assassin for hire, Circuit Maximus gladiator, etc), the dark secret behind the Unlimited Wrestling League (Saturnalia Roman uses it as a recruiting tool for the Power-House), adventure hooks for the Pinnacle Path (such as its leader having the ability to grant people superpowers), and likely places to locate Freedom City (default assumption is that it’s on the East Coast of the United States, although the author based its geography on southern New Jersey). But the most interesting addition is a full-page description of X-Isle, the Living City! This sapient “urban elemental” is located in the Terminus, capable of reaching out to Earth-Prime and other dimensions to absorb structures, roads, and other landmarks. X-Isle’s false metropolis is a jumbled array of buildings of wildly different architectural styles and age, and most of its inhabitants are realistic replicants that are extensions of the city-spirit itself. X-Isle is neither good nor evil, merely lonely, although it has little regard to the people and places it absorbs. Omega and X-Isle are aware of each other, although they may be allies (if Omega promises to spare it and its inhabitants) or enemies otherwise (X-Isle is opposed to Omega’s nihilistic lust for destruction).

2e, oddly enough, has more generic secret content. For instance, the the fate of disgraced Mayor Franklin Moore (likely allied with some group of villains to take revenge on Freedom City), whether the paintings and drawings of imprisoned psychic criminal L’Enfant Terrible are merely creepy artwork or contain a mental “meme virus,” and also entries for areas and groups beyond Freedom City from the World of Freedom chapter. Such places have already been expanded upon or “answered” with the release of the Atlas of Earth-Prime sourcebook for 3rd Edition.


The World of Freedom

Exclusive to 1e and 2e, the content is superfluous in 3rd Edition due to being moved to a sourcebook all its own. The chapter starts out with covering planet Earth with entries separated by continent. North America is the focus of global superhuman activity, with Freedom City containing the largest superpowered population* followed by other large cities such as NYC and Los Angeles. Canada has less superpowered people, and Mexico the fewest although their masked superheroes are widely loved, having roots in luchadore traditions and romantic outlaws. South and Central America has few superheroes due to a combination of Nazi war criminals via SHADOW, drug kingpins, and military dictatorships leading concerted efforts to kill them off, and Brazil has a portal to a primeval Lost World in a forlorn plateau. There’s a lot of superpowered in France and the United Kingdom, although Germany has a complicated relationship with supers due to historical associations with the Nazi Übermenschen. There have been suggestions to form a single superhero team for the European Union, although politicking has prevented that reality from happening.

*and now has stiff competition with Emerald City in 3rd Edition.

Africa has relatively few superpowered people but a long history of them in the form of Ancient Egypt. There’s also the technologically-advanced nation of Dakana, ruled over by the superhero White Lion and the only source of daka crystals which serve as an all-purpose “Unobtainium fuel source.” South Africa had a secret government program where they’d recruit white supers and assassinate non-white ones both within and beyond their borders. After the collapse of apartheid those affiliated with this program went on to become independent criminals or joined SHADOW. As for Asia, it has a strikingly small number of superhumans for unknown reasons. The USSR and People’s Republic of China have been repressive when it came to superpowered people in general, relying more on scientific experiments to bolster government-sponsored People’s Hero teams. Japan has a lot of technology-focused superheroes and some mutants as a result of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings.

Again, Atlas of Earth-Prime went into further detail about Asia’s low superpowered population. The Soviet Union’s communist ideology was opposed to the existence of superpowered people in general, although it still sought to make use of their abilities either as government agents or slaves powering machinery in science cities. As for China, the government unearthed a shard during the Cultural Revolution which gained the ability to permanently absorb superpowers from a host (along with their memories of having such powers) and the ability to temporarily grant absorbed powers to others who come into contact with the shard. The organization responsible for the apportioning of superpowers is the Central Power Collective, which they use to keep China's superhuman population (and outlying nation’s via kidnapping) low and under control.

Poor Australia has but a single paragraph, merely talking about power sources of mystical energy in the Outback. We also have a write-up for the United Nations, who are far more powerful in Earth-Prime given that they have an organization known as UNISON (UN International Superhuman Oversight Network) which is responsible for international efforts protecting the world from super-criminals and extra-dimensional/planetary invasions. The United Nations does recognize the sovereignty of a few fictional nations such as Atlantis, although Atlantis has chosen not to join the UN.

quote:

The UN has of late supported the Freedom League’s efforts to better protect the world at large, although individual member nations have made it clear they retain the right to deal with internal matters as they see fit and to refuse the Freedom League’s aid. The League respects this and only goes where it is invited. Thus far, any international incidents have been avoided.

While this is a good explanation as to why various authoritarian regimes haven’t been overthrown, this makes the Freedom League sound rather ineffective when it comes to punching dictators in the face.

Hidden Lands covers the various regions and countries that don’t exist in the real world, or in places that do exist in ours but aren’t really occupied by people. The Aerie in northern Greenland is home to the Avians, a race of winged humanoids whose homes are threatened by climate change and whose leader Talona has led wars against nations whose corporations are responsible, with a particular ire reserved for Grant Conglomerates. Atlantis is an oceanic kingdom whose populace are the survivors of the prehistoric empire that sank beneath the waves. Their culture bears an uncanny resemblance to the Roman Empire at its height, and makes use of magical and technological artifacts which are in limited supply. They have mixed relations with the surface world, with several skirmishes and wars caused by human pollution of the Earth’s oceans. Kaiju Island is pretty much what you expect, and its proximity to Japan and Russia is an international “no man’s land” on account of attempts to explore or control the beasts ending in disaster each time. Centurion’s Sanctum is located in the Arctic Circle, guarded by robotic replicas of the superhero. The Sanctum contains a mainframe of the virtual reality city Tronik, as well as a portal to the Zero Room that acted as a prison for the hero’s most dangerous foes. Also located in the Arctic Circle is Ultima Thule, a hidden city inhabited by survivors of pre-Cataclysm Atlantis. Although they bear great powers, they choose instead to live lives in contemplation and study. Their most infamous nember Kal-Zed disagreed with this philosophy, and after a group of Nazi explorers came upon the city and had their memories wiped, he ventured out in exile to contact Nazi Germany and sell himself as a stellar “champion of the Aryan Master Race,” becoming the WW2 supervillain der Übermensch.

The Lost World is a primeval jungle in an alternate dimension for all of your pulp-flavored adventures and contains the lost Roman colony of Nova Roma and tribes of Serpent People. Shambala Vale is a hidden yet respected institution for martial artists located in the Himalayan Mountains. Sub-Terra is a vast underground series of caves home to many different races, such as tribes of Serpent People and their enemies the Morlocks, the Magmin who are beings made of liquid rock, and the sickly Sub-Terrans who serve the supervillain Terra-King. Finally we have Utopia Isle, also an outpost of Atlantis survivors who created a harmonious society. They sent an Envoy to the rest of the world during World War II, who joined the Liberty League. Utopia Isle initially saw promise in the gains made from humanity, although the use of atomic bombs made them ultimately decide to retain their isolationism.



Mysteries in Space covers notable civilizations beyond Earth. Farside City is located on the Moon, populated by genetically-altered humans moved there by the Preservers and was once a dictatorship under the thrall of Lady Lunar before the Atom Family deposed her. The Grue Unity is an interstellar empire populated by a species of hive-minded shapeshifters who use their powers to infiltrate and spy on other worlds. The Lor Republic is a democratic union populated mostly by humans. Although originating from Preserver interference in Earth, their culture rejects the idea that they originated on that planet due to nationalist reasons, instead claiming that Earth humans are a lost colony from a distant glorious age. They declared Earth off-limits until they are “advanced enough” to be worthy of citizenship. Just like Atlantis, their society also resembles the Roman Empire. Finally there is the Stellar Khanate, a collection of worlds ruled over by the dictator Star-Khan. Needless to say, each of the three major galactic empires/confederations are enemies of each other.

We end our entry in space with a write-up on the Star Knights, Freedom City’s Green Lantern equivalent. Their order is based on the planet Citadel, led by a Preserver-designed AI known as Mentor who created the Star Knights and trains new recruits to act as an intergalactic order of peace-keepers. Every Star Knight is gifted a set of armor that comes with a host of super-powers.

Worlds Beyond is our final entry for the World of Freedom, detailing parallel dimensions of all kinds. Reality is often referred to as the Cosmic Coil by mystics, a network of planes of existence connecting to each other in all manner of ways. The pantheons of various deities have their own realms, such as Mount Olympus for the Greek gods and Guinee for the Loa of Voodoo. Some dimensions, such as the Astral Plane and Dream Dimension, connect to many different worlds and can be reached by psychic and magical means, and some “infernal” dimensions such as Tartarus and the Netherworlds are ruled over by fell entities such as Hades. Every dimension has a Master Mage whose duties are as a mystic guardian, although those who become corrupted by power and wickedness become Dark Lords, their realms turning into dread Netherworlds.

Some dimensions are classified as “Other-Earths,” looking much like the reality of Earth-Prime but often with a radically different history. Notable Other-Earths include Ani-Earth (anthropomorphic animals are the dominant species), Anti-Earth (like Earth-Prime but superheroes are villains and supervillains are likely killed off by the ruling Tyranny Syndicate), Erde (Fascists won WWII), Earth-Ape (primates are dominant species), and Terra-Roma (super-science is the only superpower, Earth is ruled over by an advanced Roman Empire that never fell).

Three dimensions special enough to merit their own entries are the Terminus and Zero Zone. The Terminus is a void between all realities, believed to be the “tail end” of the Cosmic Coil. Populated by shattered worlds and castoff bits and pieces from other universes, all things drift towards the Void to be annihilated, and the nihilistic tyrant Omega is the most powerful ruler. He has become obsessed with destroying Earth-Prime in particular, on account of the Centurion and many other superheroes thwarting his attempts multiple times. The other special dimension is the Zero Zone, an unchanging realm of stillness and endless white “mist” which is actually a quantum cloud of probability. When an entity capable of thought enters the Zero Zone, their consciousness interacts with the clouds and can alter the surrounding environment, often becoming a heaven or hell of the subject’s own making. The third dimension is Freeport, home to the pirate-themed city of the same name and Green Ronin’s other flagship product at the time. The villainous organization known as the Brotherhood of the Yellow Sign has a presence in both Freeport and Earth-Prime, leading those aware of both dimensions to assume that they began in one reality and somehow bridged the dimensional gulf.

I’d like to note that 2nd Edition introduced more material, particularly in regards to Other Dimensions. Originally 1st Edition only had entries for Anti-Earth, Freeport, and the Terminus, with other unnamed worlds to be developed by the GM.

Templates Galore: This section is home to plenty of templates and stat blocks, mostly detailing the various fictional species and a few notable characters such as Gigantosaur (think Godzilla) and the Grue Meta-Mind (immobile protean being with amazing mental powers). Virtually every creature, from Avians to Ultimen to Grue, have stats, and most are affordable in the building of PCs belonging to them. The exceptions are the Grue Metamorphs (PL 6 but 121 points) and the Star Knight template (104 points).

Thoughts So Far: I do appreciate that even in its infancy, Freedom City had a lot of detail on the rest of the world beyond its metropolitan borders. Ironically the publishing of many sourcebooks over time meant that 3rd Edition had less material due to already-covered ground. But for those with the funds to spare, I’d say that the “missing content” is an overall improvement on the prior Editions of Freedom City. The “secrets” of various people and places are helpful to the GM, and there’s enough interesting places beyond Freedom City proper to serve as inspirational material for GMs and PC origins. I do feel that there is some repetition in places: Atlantis, the Lor Republic, and Terra-Roma have “technologically-advanced Roman Empire” as a common theme, with the colony of Nova Roma in the Lost World making four Roman-themed places (five if we count Centurion’s destroyed home-world). On the one hand I do understand that this is likely due to the Centurion having such a prominent role in the setting, but at some point it can feel monotonous.

Join us next time as we look at Earth-Prime’s greatest defenders in Heroes of Freedom City!

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

Libertad! posted:

I plan on reviewing that as well.

It's like one video essayist said about Thanos: it's easier to imagine the destruction of the universe than the destruction of capitalism. :anarchists:
I think that as a system, Hero/Champions is probably not for me. But it's a truly venerable game, and I'm kind of interested in the Lore of Dr. Destroyer and whatnot.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.






America After Dark, Part 2: Cleveland Bites

This update covers two more cities featured in the book: Cleveland and the fictional Olds-Camp, Pennsylvania. The latter gives some ideas regarding what Kin culture is like (and what your PCs can do) outside of a huge city. Olds-Camp is a small city whose economy centers on its university, not unlike the area where I live.





Olds-Camp, PA is about 25 miles north of Pittsburgh, near the Ohio border. It has a permanent population of about 48,000, which swells to over 68,000 when class is in session. The town was founded in 1796 by two men named Olds and Camp. Olds-Camp College was founded in 1875 and became Olds-Camp State University in 1905. Historically, Olds-Camp is a coal mining town. As American industry declined, the university replaced mining as the town’s economic center and largest employer.

The introductory chapter of this book started with a list of college slang which should have been relocated to this chapter. Actually, it should have been cut entirely. Not only is it dated, it’s mostly about pizza. Excuse me, ‘Zza. With Chovie, Roni, and Shrooms. At the Keg Party.

Relations between the OCSU students and the “townies” are tense. This tends to come to a head at the annual Wild Weekend and any time the OCSU Sparrowhawks are playing their traditional rivals from Kenton State, when the partying gets out of control.

The town itself boasts a small downtown, public park, local historical museum (mostly devoted to the coal industry), a small private airport, and the Donahue Mansion, which is supposedly haunted. In fact, the ghost of Old Ezra Donahue spends most of his time at a nearby bar.

I’m not going to go into detail on all the landmarks at the university. Believe me when I tell you that there are run-down dormitories, libraries, gyms, and enough fraternity and sorority houses to stock a few dozen slasher movies with dumb jocks and scantily-clad coeds. One dorm, Sheridan Hall, is rumoured to be haunted by the ghost of a janitor.

The only building of great interest to Kin is Uberman Hall. This otherwise-mundane science building houses a research project to develop bioweapons. A chemical spill which killed local livestock alerted Target Alpha and the Complex to the project.

The town has a few local nightspots. Shaft 35 is a deep, narrow, grimy bar devoted to the city’s history as a coal mining town. The Around-Town is for the local yuppie set. Tommy’s is a punk bar which serves as the sole hangout for local Kin. The owner, Tommy Whitacre, is a WildEyes who moved to Olds-Camp to escape the violent lifestyle of the Kin in NYC. Ezra Donahue, a Ghost who has only recently begun to understand his nature, spends most of his time here. The bar’s other fixture is Coalshute McCormick, the Concrete of Olds-Camp. Coalshute embodies the city’s past and present, so he’s a grimy old coal miner with erudite speech. Like Ezra, Coalshute didn’t entirely understand who or what he was until Tommy explained it to him.

None of the Kin at Tommy’s are aligned with any factions, and none of the factions maintain Kin operatives in Olds-Camp. Since the Complex found out about the research project at OCSU, they put a dimwitted janitor named Dave Cummings on the payroll. (He thinks he’s working for the Russians.) Target Alpha hasn’t committed any resources to investigating the project, but the local newspaper owner, Bertha Younger, is a contact for USA Exposé.
.
The Olds-Camp chapter ends with some notes on why it’s a nice place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to set a campaign there. First, Kin like Wyghts will have an even harder time keeping a low profile. Second, there’s a much lower capacity for violence and mayhem. In a small town, a gruesome murder is likely to be talked about for years.

However, there is the possibility of running a campaign where you take over a small town and make it a sort of resort for the Kin. It's also a good destination if you want to do a one-shot mixing horror with campus shenanigans, a la Night of the Creeps and CHUD II: Bud the CHUD.





The history of the Kin in Cleveland begins with the Erie Canal. Thanks to its proximity to iron and coal mines, access to water transformed the city from a village on the Cuyahoga to a center of industry and trade. This brought an influx of Kin, including a tribe of Goblynnes. (Nightlife’s background writing is very consistent in this regard: Kin don’t really establish a society of their own in any given city until decades after its founding, once there’s enough population density for them to go about their business without living like fugitives.)

At the time this book was written, deindustrialization had hit Cleveland pretty hard. Nonetheless, McDevitt characterizes Cleveland as a cheerfully working-class city, where people are friendly and no one is uptight about drinking beer at lunch.

There are way more Kin in Cleveland than in a small town like Olds-Camp, but the city is dominated by a Werewolf named Frostbite and his gang, the Limbo Wolves. This smothers the kind of faction-based society that might develop otherwise.

The biggest hangout for the Kin in Cleveland is The Basement, so called because it’s four sub-basements under an adult bookstore. The first sublevel is a billard bar. The second is a mezzanine overlooking the third level, a big dance floor. The bottom level is a nice, quiet jazz bar. It’s owned by a mysteriously neutral and undetailed Kin named Lonesome Johnny.

The other Kin hangout in Cleveland is the House of Meat, a converted slaughterhouse owned by Thermite Dawg, a Vampyre aligned with the Complex. Boy-Os Def and Dee-Kay play here when they’re on tour. Also worth mentioning is PB Underhill’s, a country bar where Charlie Parton plays when he’s in town.

Local bands include industrial rock group Teeth, gothic rock band the Pretty Dead Things, and the Mason Reinquist Band, which seems like a Huey Lewis type of deal.

Cleveland has several Kin gangs. The Things are a group of mostly Werewolves who are more about brawling with other Kin gangs than running a serious crime syndicate. Their leader, Street Silver, is a graffiti artist and former lieutenant of Frostbite.

The Manhandlers are a large gang of mostly female Kin, started by a former member of the NYC SlayRiders. The Manhandlers are crack dealers, pimps, and contract killers. Their initiation rite involves castrating and killing someone. They’re led by the Switchblade Sisters, Tandi and Suzanne, a pair of Animates who are identical twin sisters.





But the biggest and baddest gang in Cleveland is the Limbo Wolves. With hundreds of human affiliates, they’re an outlaw biker gang that controls most of the drug trafficking between Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, and everywhere in between. Their leader, Frostbite, is an albino Werewolf. He’s been courted by the Complex, Morningstar, and Red Moonrise, and turned them all down.

Several Kin from other factions make their home in Cleveland in spite of the Limbo Wolves. Fitzgerald is the leader of the local tribe of Goblynnes. He disguises himself as a human and acts as an information broker, with a legal identity as a lawyer.

Local members of the Commune include Long Gone Tom, a Vampyre and former Catholic priest, who acts as a sort of freelance social worker. Tom’s faith in humanity is so great that using his Edges costs less humanity, and his Vampyric Flaws are greatly reduced. Electric Revlon is a martial arts teacher who became a Shocker after dying in an electric fire. She hides her injuries with makeup, and dyes her spiky hair shades of blue and purple.

The Complex keeps a low profile in Cleveland to avoid Frostbite’s wrath. But they do have one very important agent, a Data Haunt named Amber Scream. Her job is to manipulate accounting software at a number of Cleveland companies in order to siphon money into the Complex’s coffers.

The Morningstar Corporation operates in Cleveland through a stock brokerage named Prince Options. Its owner, Al Thorne, is an Incubus who likes to seduce people and torture them to death at his vacation home in Mexico.

Target Alpha maintains a minimal presence in Cleveland. In the 80s, they approached Frostbite with the “soft option” and were laughed off. When they tried the “hard option” they got their asses handed to them. Since then, they’ve maintained a single agent, Harold Smith. He’s a former CIA agent with a knack for remaining inconspicuous.





Red Moonrise doesn’t bother with Cleveland at all. There’s nothing they’d conceivably want to do in the city that wouldn’t get them curb-stomped by the Limbo Wolves. Their only member in the city is Croaker, a Trolle who bounces at the Basement. Croaker is very fond of English literature, despite being too dumb to get more than the gist of it. He’s hiding out after a string of particularly messy and poorly-hidden feedings in New York.

Most interestingly, there's another faction called Caduceus, which maintains a Kin hospital in the Flats neighbourhood. All of the factions, including the Limbo Wolves, fund the clinic and respect its status as neutral ground.


Next update: Chicago and Houston

Halloween Jack fucked around with this message at 15:20 on Feb 10, 2022

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017



Halloween Jack posted:

I think that as a system, Hero/Champions is probably not for me. But it's a truly venerable game, and I'm kind of interested in the Lore of Dr. Destroyer and whatnot.

You could do what I did, which was grab a bunch of 4E stuff from the Bundle of Holding (when it comes around again) and just mine it for ideas.

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

Champions is an very good superhero wargame. You can do decent role-playing campaigns with it, but that is not its strength.

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!

Humbug Scoolbus posted:

Champions is an very good superhero wargame. You can do decent role-playing campaigns with it, but that is not its strength.

As someone who hasn't played Champions, what do you mean by this?

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!


I'm slightly afraid to ask, but how well does M&M handle the Nazis and South Africa aspects you mention? Does it go full-in on "these were irredeemable shitheads, any good superhero would snap their necks and then high-five someone" or does it try to white-wash any of their garbage?

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



A setting where Superman leaves a Germany-shaped hole in Europe in the 1940s would be neat in an thought exercise kind of way but my money's on "the heroes don't actually kill people".

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

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




This suffers from the problem that 'USSR develop nukes,Germany is glassed. moderately' is a more easily understood and playable scenario.

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!

PurpleXVI posted:

I'm slightly afraid to ask, but how well does M&M handle the Nazis and South Africa aspects you mention? Does it go full-in on "these were irredeemable shitheads, any good superhero would snap their necks and then high-five someone" or does it try to white-wash any of their garbage?

There are about 3 major Nazi-themed supervillain individuals/organizations in the Freedom City sourcebook: SHADOW, which is a global terrorist agency formed by post-WW2 Nazi escapees. They're lead by Overshadow, the Scarab's archenemy, and he himself is a reincarnated version of a wicked sorcerer dating back to Ancient Egypt. There's also the Ultiman Kal-Zed, formerly known as der Ubermensch, now known as Superior, who tends to act on his own using Neo-Nazi minions and sometimes allying with SHADOW. And finally there's White Knight (1e/2e), now known as Knightfire, a Klansman supervillain who gained his powers from an infernal entity in hopes of becoming a "superhero for the white race."

Barring Knightfire, the high-ranking Nazi supervillains are grifters (rank and file minions are another story): Overshadow's many non-Aryan incarnations plus Kal-Zed lying about being an Aryan from the beginning mean that both know there's no such thing as a global Jewish conspiracy and that Germanic peoples aren't genetically predisposed towards developing superpowers. But as you can see with SHADOW, they're both still willing to ally with and support far-right and white supremacist groups. Only Knightfire is a true believer in racist conspiracies and pseudoscience. That doesn't make them any less lovely, don't get me wrong.

As for the Atlas of Earth-Prime, the section on South America takes a pretty firm stance on the right-wing governments being basically supervillains. The United Fruit Company was owned and used by SHADOW to kill leftists and superheroes, and SHADOW has a strong base in Paraguay and Argentina due to those governments being acceptive of Nazi war criminals fleeing Europe. As for Norway, SHADOW has made a prime point in going after a Shieldmaiden superhero given that she helped fight the original WW2 Nazis and their spiritual successors in the post-war years. For neopagan fascists, I imagine that having a Nordic divinity publicly denounce your ideology is a pretty big blow to one's credibility.

Mutants & Masterminds doesn't automatically say "killing evildoers makes you just as bad as them!" and leaves that more to the tastes of individual groups, although superheroes in the Earth-Prime setting generally avoid killling. The anti-hero the Silencer is controversial for being willing to kill Mafioso and thus grouped among the "villains" section of this book.

PS: the South America thing, along with China's power-absorbing shard, Joe McCarthy targeting mystery men, and the not-Nixon/not-Trump Freedom City mayors, shows a rather consistent theme in Earth-Prime. While not exclusive to them (Venezuela has a kind of Superhuman Registration Act), right-wing governments in particular are anti-superhero and anti-superpowered people in general.

Libertad! fucked around with this message at 08:56 on Jan 18, 2022

Hipster Occultist
Aug 16, 2008

He's an ancient, obscure god. You probably haven't heard of him.




I can't speak for 3E, but 2E M&M stated that heroes were generally assumed to stop inflicting damage once an opponent fell unconscious. You had to explicitly state that your attack was meant to kill, otherwise even the baseline mafioso thug you just threw a bus at would survive said attack.

Villains had to state the opposite iirc.

Ghost Leviathan
Mar 2, 2017

Exploration is ill-advised.


Superhero stuff has always had weird politics, but there's a long running theme of portraying right-wing figures as hostile to superheroes especially given McCarthy specifically targeting superhero comics in the Red Scare.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Infinity RPG
Shot Gunner

Ammunition is subdivided into five types:
Standard: Any Standard ammunition works with just about any sidearm and long gun in the Human Sphere.
Special: Special ammunition is generally legally restricted, dangerous, hard to make, or some combination of the three. To use Special ammo, a weapon must either be made or modded to do so, and making Special ammo typically requires expensive gear, trade secrets and rare materials.
Heavy: Heavy ammunition is high caliber, usually quite dangerous to use or make. It is very rare for a weapon that can fire Heavy ammo to not have the Munition quality, meaning it eats a Reload every time you fire it. Heavy ammo is illegal for carry and civilian use in most places, and getting out outside of being in a military means either you know someone that makes it or you're dealing with illegal weapons merchants.
Arrows: Ammo strictly for bows. They're actually not a primitive weapon, though - arrows are made using modern materials for toughness and you can fit them with a number of different tip-payloads.
Shells: Used for shotguns exclusively, often integrating proximity detectors so they can burst at the right distance for their payload.

When you buy ammo, if you're buying Standard, Special or Arrow, you get three Reloads of it per purchase. Heavy and Shell ammo are only sold in one Reload per purchase in most cases. Because a lot of folks buy in bulk, you get -1 Difficulty to bulk purchases of ammo, so that's nice. What kind of ammo can you get? Well, your normal, standard-issue, absolutely un-special bullets are Standard bullets that aren't even restricted anywhere, costing only 2+1dN - so a lot of characters will be able to essentially buy infinite normal bullets. (Tamamo certainly can!) But beyond that, there's actually a few other kinds of Standard bullet, all fairly innocuous. Adhesive Rounds are actually canisters of sticky, rapidly-expanded foam gel, meant for nonlethal takedowns because they basically just lock your target in place with minimum physical trauma. They're most often found in the hands of cops and security forces that deal heavily with the public. They give your gun Immobilising, Knockdown and Nonlethal. Stun Rounds are essentially a set of tranquilizer bullets, delivering dissolving payloads of synthetic neurotransmitters to knock out your target. This gives your gun Nonlethal, Biotech and Sunt. You can also get AP rounds, and you get the point. Ammo is essentially a set of tags you staple onto your gun.

Special rounds are where it starts getting interesting. Selecting a few at random...Banshee Rounds emit infrasound blasts on impact, temporarily overwhelming auditory and vestibular systems. Vestibular is today's vocab word, meaning the inner ear and sense of balance generally. Banshee ammo gives your gun Area (Close), Deafening, Nonlethal, Stun and Terrifying 3. Breaker Rounds are designed to bypass and destroy BTS shielding, giving your gun Biotech, Breaker and Piercing 1. They're also illegal to possess everywhere under the Concilium Convention, our first such item! There's quite a few of these and the bans are ignored by governmental and corporate operatives when they want. It's much harder for private citizens or anyone expecting the news to notice them to get away with doing so, though, so be careful. There's actually quite a lot of illegal ammo and weapons that PCs may want to use - and they can. It's just one of those things that may draw attention down on them, not something to never do. Dancer Rounds: These are remote control bullets, allowing you to edit their path...but also making them vulnerable to hacking and ECM. This gives your gun Guided. If used with a Non-Hackable gun, you're just using very expensive normal bullets. K1 Rounds are reverse engineered from Combined Army weaponry, and it's essentially anti-tank ammo without needing to resert to Teseum. The CA makes heavy use of their version of it, but most places in the Human Sphere cannot easily produce K1 ammo. Your gun gets Anti-Materiel 2 and Monofilament.

Arrows share their subtypes with certain normal and special rounds, but have the notable quality that a normal arrow has Piercing 1, as opposed to no tags whatsover. They come in a few variants, most of them illegal, but all have counterparts in ammo for normal guns. DA Arrows integrate microexplosives in their tips, also used in Double Action ammo. This gives Piercing 1, Vicious 2. They're pretty illegal. Shells likewise share some types with special ammo, some with heavy. Normal shells are Area (Close), Spread 1, and illegal. In fact, all shell ammunition is illegal under the Concilium Convention unless otherwise noted. AP Slugs are the only legal form of shotgun ammo! They're self-contained armor-piercing cartridges, meant for fighting vehicles and TAGs. They give Piercing 3 and don't have spread fire - they're slugs, not shells. T2 Shells, well...what if you made a shotgun shell and filled it with Teseum shards blasted out by the explosive burst instead of normal shot? They tear through just about anything, giving Anti-Materiel 2, Area (Close), Piercing 3 and Vicious 2, but they're very rare and expensive, though slightly less rare on Dawn.

Heavy is where the scariest ammo lives. Eclipse Ammo uses isotope-laced nanotech to reflect light, turning the zone they're fired into impossible to see through, even for advanced filtering sensors. They give Reflective 2. Explosive Ammo is grenade bullets! They detonate on impact, giving Area (Close), Spread 1, Unsubtle and Vicious 2. Also illegal. Nano Ammo is one of the scarier tricks, releasing weaponized nanobots on impact to cause massive pain and tissue damage. This gives you the Area (Close), Nanotech, Subtle 2 and Toxic 2 qualities, and you can spend 2 Momentum on a successful attack to inflict a Nanotech Effect that gives +1 Difficulty to all Agility, Brawn and Coordination rolls. Unsurprisingly, they're super illegal. Plasma Ammo is interesting in that it's CA-only, as no humans have ever figured out how to reproduce it. It's some kind of ionized gas wrapped in an electromagnetic field that collapses on impact and releases the superheated plasma inside. It gives Knockdown, Unforgiving 3 and Unsubtle, and targets the lower of Armor and BTS soak. Very nasty.

Armor is notable in that it is divided into hit locations - head, torso, arms and legs, which you can combine with each other or in some cases layer over each other. However, wearing armor layers just means you use the best stats for that location - so whichever armor provides the best Armor Soak applies against physical attacks, and whichever provides the best BTS Soak applies against BTS attacks and quantronics. You can wear partial armor, including partial power armor, but partial power armor's really clumsy so you get increased Complication range based on how many pieces are missing.

Armor come in a few subtypes:
Civilian Armor: Construction gear, industrial exoskeletons, crashsuits and other protective gear, plus reinforced clothing.
Combat Armor: Designed for military use, often mixing ballistic cloth, ceramic plating, plastics and similar for a light but durable protector. They're usually tailored to a specific user and designed to work as an integrated unit.
Internal Armor: All internal armor is biotech, gaining the Augmentation quality, and requires a Medicine or Observation roll to detect - but rarely a hard one, having a plate in your chest isn't subtle.
Powered Armor: This is designed to boost your combat capabilities as well as protect you, often allowing extremely potent defense and boosted strength and speed.

It's possible to customize armor to integrate weapons, tools or other gear. This is identical to normal gear costwise, but installing it on your armor gives it the Comms Equipment quality and allows it to be used handsfree. However, any gear designed to be put on combat armor is Unwieldy when not wielded as part of armor and may require a Tech roll to even be usable. Most armor comes pre-equipped with a standard loadout, but it's usually pretty easy to customize or jury-rig them to do what you want. Replacing installed equipment requires Tech rolls, yes, but generally not hard ones as long as you're installing stuff meant for your armor's type. It gets pretty hard if you go for gear meant for a different kind of armor or are trying to install gear that isn't meant for armor at all. Some equipment can be made for hotswapping, increasing its cost but making it very easy to remove or install onto combat armor. (Adding additional gear without swapping anything out is harder than if you remove some gear to free up a hardpoint, requiring you to spend Parts and giving you +1 Difficulty.) The downside of loading your armor with hands-free gear is that whenever you take physical damage, the GM can spend 2 Heat to disable one of your installed armor gear items.

There's another type of armor worth noting: Tohaa symbiont armor. Symbiont armors are biotech engineered organisms that protect their wearer and augment their ability - basically living power armor. Symbiont armor, like normal armor, gives Armor Soak...but also has its own Vitality score and takes damage or Wounds for the wielder...though it can be killed by taking too many Wounds. Symbiont armor also has one downside, though - it's sensitive to flame. Fire ignores the symbiont armor's soak, and also does double the damage dealt to the armor to the person wearing it due to biofeedback. On the other hand, while you're wearing it, you get 2 free Momentum to recovery rolls and treatment rolls made on you, it's all Self-Repairing, and you can use Medicine or Tech to repair it, not just Tech. It's also faster to remove than normal armor, and when removed, the symbiont enters hibernation and will die if not put in a nutrient chamber or put back on a host within a week. (All three types of listed symbiont armor also have Kinematika...and can only be used by Tohaa.)

Some selected armors:
Armoured Clothing is your premier civilian armor for being subtle, giving 1 Armor to all locations except the Head and no BTS. It's usually pretty comfortable and designed mostly for cop and security uniforms, though some paranoid executives get ballistic nanofiber business suits, and TrakStar produces a variant that incorporates a locational beacon for employee monitoring. ModCoats are another one preferred by low-profile types, a form of civilian armor that's just a nice-looking short or long coat with some built in armor and easy alteration or integration of new devices - they have only 1 Armor and don't cover the head (or the legs, for short coats) but have -1 Difficulty to mod their loadout. Medium Combat Armor is designed for full protection and usage by boarding parties, attack squads and front line troops, with many variations and loadouts depending on who produces them. All share basic traits - 2 Armor everywhere but the torso, which has 3 and 2 BTS. No tags, but that's good armor.

The Tohaa armor is worth covering separately, since it's special. Ectros Armor is for Tohaa frontline troops, including poisoned spines that can be used as an integrated Hedgehog weapon and increasing all physical stats by 2 while worn, on top of having Armor 4 and BTS 3 - the best of any symbiont armor in the book. Nu-El Armor is standard Tohaa army gear, and only gives +1 to all physical stats, with Armor 2 and BTS 1. Sakiel Armor is designed for veterans, favoring physical protection over soldier boosting or protecting from radiation. It has Armor 3, but not BTS or stat boosts...but it also gives -1 Difficulty to Resistance and Discipline rolls. All Tohaa symbiont armor is meant only for one wearer, and requires a full night of integration, known as the Saarno, or armor wake. It can be quite painful or just mildly uncomfortable, depending on the symbiont, and once complete, the armor will not work for any other person.

Next time: I Am Augmented

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

Ghost Leviathan posted:

Superhero stuff has always had weird politics, but there's a long running theme of portraying right-wing figures as hostile to superheroes especially given McCarthy specifically targeting superhero comics in the Red Scare.
That, and the fact that drat near all of our favourite superheroes were created by New Yorkers who were the children of Jewish immigrants. Some American superheroes entered WWII before America did

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Ghost Leviathan
Mar 2, 2017

Exploration is ill-advised.


Since some Incredibles readings I find it works weirdly well if you see superheroes as analogous to social safety nets. They did arise right about during the New Deal.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Post
  • Reply