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FATAL & Friends Repost: Kromore, Part 7
09:42pm EDT - 8/16/2015
So I get back to Kromore for the final stretch, the fluff chapters, after two weeks of being too sick to write worth a damn, and I immediately wish I was sick for a third week: The fluff chapters are fucking awful. And not just the entertaining, Fieldsy kind of awful where every second page is about cocks, but also the sort of terrible editing that makes me wonder if Gene Ray wrote this. Sections will jump from a paragraph about alien invasions to paragraphs about how much of a random planet's surface is covered from water with no warning. Let me quote an example section, just so you can tell I'm not joking:
Fear of attacking unknown aliens from the worm hole located in the Alpha-1 nebula are often discussed as priority scenarios amongst high ranking galactic commanders in later era time lines.
Riddled with ancient islands and history, the planet Kromore has seen its share of alien visitors for close to ten thousand years. Most of the planets land mass has been either destroyed by nature, war, rebuilt by new nations, or formed into stable living environments.
The planet of Kromore is made up of nearly 40% water.
Much like the rest of the book, terms are thrown about haphazardly and only explained twenty pages down the road, if at all, and often the description completely fails to answer most of the questions you have. I'll try to put some sort of sense to the book's ramblings but it's not easy, so this will probably get a bit incoherent, too.
How the fuck you pronounce "Жo-Rin."
So anyway, the core of the setting is that the "Жo-Rin" are moustache-twirling evil aliens from an evil galaxy with an evil lich king, and the Tesck(the entirety of their description is "blind and matriarchal," they're blind because they're from a part of space without any light. Really.) are decently-nice Ancient Aliens who, in the face of the Жo-Rin conquering everything they see, evacuate species from their homeworlds and transplant them to others so they can survive. Unfortunately, despite having the capacity for inter-galactic travel(Earth is in this setting and is in a separate galaxy from the planet of Kromore, the Жo-Rin eventually conquer Earth and strip-mine it), they seemingly dump just about every species they rescue on Kromore, which is, in galactic terms, right on the Жo-Rin's doorstep.
It is believed the Tesck have gathered most of the life forms from the surrounding galaxies to the refugee planet Kromore in hopes of protecting them against the Жo-Rin and their vastly growing control on galactic space.
(The Tescians also apparently suck balls
at this "rescuing species"-gig since Kromore has about a half dozen intelligent species, yet there's supposedly a couple hundred other sentient species that the Tescians never bothered to rescue or otherwise work with.)
The Tesck generally fuck around being useless albeit well-intentioned, then there's the Alliance(largely Kromore) who fuck around being "good guys" and mostly spend their time getting their ass kicked, the Prime(Earthling refugees with some other refugee species, none of which we're ever actually told a fucking thing about despite their supposedly being huge parts of one of the major factions in the setting) who can actually belt the Жo-Rin but then turn out to be dictatorially-minded and the Жo-Rin themselves who do evil things entirely because they're evil. Once you've read this, you largely understand the "metaplot" of the setting. It's in the specifics that things get really
stupid, for instance, the Жo-Rin are a species of galactic conquerors... but a group of Kromorians in the fucking middle ages
manage to defeat a Жo-Rin settlement attempt and drive them off.
This, coincidentally, also creates vampires when some idiots decide to eat Жo-Rin corpses, these vampires are just generally vampiric(about as generic as imaginable) and get recruited by the Prime as their secret police/special forces when they briefly occupy Kromore. This is a nice arrangement that lasts until the Vampires discover that the Primes, not being total fucking idiots, had made special vampire-killing gear in case their cannibalistic allies ever completely lost their shit and had to be put down.
The council discovers the Prime has hidden information about new weaponry equipment specifically designed to kill Vampires. The clash between Vampire and Prime is violent and leads to the fall out between Vampire and Prime overnight. A civil war within Kromore between Vampire and Prime leaves nearly all Vampire extinct in the year 4300 ASC. The small war opens the door for further corruption scandals to unfold within the Prime governments on Kromore.
Inexplicably, killing vampires somehow leaves the Primes open to more corruption than having a secret bunch of bloodsuckers with mind control powers
as part of their oganization.
And since we're talking about vampires, let's also talk about the H.I.V.E.. Because they're the second
secret underground species haunting everyone, basically they're little bugs that mind control people by crawling inside their spine and pretending to be the host for the two to four years until the host curls up and dies, leaving the larvae looking for another host. A brief side trip into H.I.V.E. fluff is one of the first side trips the setting of Kromore does, in the middle of explaining the galaxy's geography, revealing to us that the H.I.V.E. larvae both die rapidly without a host and
are capable of just chilling out on an asteroid for years while waiting to crash on a planet where they can infect someone.
The planet spawns H.I.V.E. regularly, but without host bodies nearly all of the young hive lings die shortly after birth.
The home world of the H.I.V.E. is known to harbor massive amounts of young larva H.I.V.E. waiting for passing rocks and ships to latch onto.
(We're also told we can play a H.I.V.E. infectee, which comes with no downsides besides requiring "intense roleplay," and just gives us a grab-bag of expensive abilities for free. We only need to switch bodies every few years.)
Also keep in mind that for every paragraph I'm writing here, the fluff section of Kromore has ten paragraphs about, say, Kromore's moons(one is blue and icy, the other is red and volcano-y), after which we get told that wormholes are dangerous and full of bad aliens, and that Kromore is 40% water and that now the book is going to tell us why the Steampunk shit is totally justified and really works!
Steam transfer technology developed out of the end of the Age of Nations movement when fossil fuels and combustion engines were placed on the side line for a cleaner steam transfer technology.
The process involves tubing shaped in a 2-part cylinder consisting of a primary (tube side) and a secondary loop (shell side) made from special super alloy metal compounds. An exhaust valve is located often on the secondary loop allowing for pressure to release in the event of pressure build up.
Except no, we're not told anything. It winds up for explaining all the steampunk shit but then instead just tells us that steampunk stuff requires a cylinder made from special super alloy metal compounds, and that it has a safety valve. Also on Kromore, batteries that are literally just containers full of highly pressurized steam which are, in this setting, more efficient than actual batteries holding an electrical charge. Then, in the usual whiplash fashion, it's a leap into a paragraph about living conditions in modern Kromore, about how they were super cramped, and also about Kromorian identification papers when Kromore was occupied by the Prime. Apparently the Primes, if I'm reading this shit right, and I'm not sure anyone can
read this right, would blow up Kromorian villages if the "galactic allies"(by which I assume off-world aliens?) of Kromore did not apply for Kromorian citizenship.
...and then we reach the actual Timeline
for everything, way after all these fucking incidental facts.
The timeline is just so dull
, it's literally an incredibly dispassionate recital of everyone who was ever at war with anyone, and when they were at war with them, and the occasional anomalous event thrown in. Like, a giant comet hits Kromore's moon and plunges the world into a hundred years of darkness, but that just sort of passes and the only real upset is that people get very angry at wizards afterwards for no real fucking reason, when they never had any problems with wizards before and wizards were completely unconnected to causing this. After the darkness passes, the Kromorians spend 450 years murdering the Жo-Rin who'd tried to settle their planet. This apparently happens well before the invention of the printing press, so I can only assume that these DANGEROUS GALACTIC CONQUERORS were literally defeated by swords, bows and maybe some primitive gunpowder weapons, especially since magic is still basically banned and no one's using it.
Like, this is roughly some 6000 years of history and the only noteworthy thing is the comet, the Tesck dropping off more loser species on Kromore and a bunch of savages with sticks beating up an alien species with plasma guns. Everything else is really just some permutation on "and then these guys invaded those guys and some other dudes were angry." It doesn't help that half this shit is never explained, like the STEAM METAL MEN destroy a nation by using nerve gas and the S-BOMB. What's the fucking S-Bomb? It's never been mentioned before, it's not in the armory section, it's nowhere else in the fucking document. Is it the STEAM BOMB? Did they parboil an entire fucking nation? What? Explain yourself to me, Kromore, you piece of shit.
Also now the Tesck show up and just hand over technology to people, but apparently don't seem to give a shit about all the warring and killing, and they're kind of absentee-parents considering they weren't around to give a fucking hand with clearing out the Жo-Rin or helping anyone when the planet had a hundred years without light. Somehow, floating cities are constructed before
computers, not like you'd want anything to help you with all the calculations necessary to keep a fucking city afloat by whatever means you intend. Also for some reason the planet has an organized rebellion terrified of nuclear steam power(same as normal steam power, but now the STEAM BATTERIES are "charged" by nuclear reactors) and computers, also exploring space is now apparently commonplace without any mentions of space programs being initiated and the METAL MEN decide to all throw themselves into a black hole. A mysterious
It's almost a footnote that the Жo-Rin just wade in and conquer Kromore, the core location of the setting. It gets literally as much text as some minor trade treaty does earlier. Then in as much of a footnote, the Prime are introduced, showing up and saving Kromore from the Жo-Rin. They're described as "tyrannical," but this is rarely explained, except that they hate wizards and force everyone to carry an ID card. There are no great racial purges or abusive laws passed that the book ever tells us about, I guess we're just supposed to insert our own villainy for them. The metal men show up again, blow up the Tesck homeworld, turn out to have an evil virus corrupting their brains, fight everyone, get cured and then a paragraph later they jump into the black hole once more. 800 years pass without anything happening, one of the moons of Kromore turns into a pure dark void, swallowing anything that touches it, is designated a no-fly zone by the Prime, and then in the next paragraph we're told that mining on the moon(which was just a paragraph ago an all-destroying forbidden area) has unearthed a new horrific menace called the Leech.
Also the book keeps using "empirical" instead of "imperial" and it's annoying me way more than it should.
Two paragraphs ago, the Leech are described as "devouring" Жo-Rin ships alongside everyone else's, but now we're told that they're encountering the Жo-Rin for the first time and the two just casually form a symbiotic bond to become an entirely new species. The metal men return after 1600 years of being in a black hole and, despite being literally over a millennium and a half out of date, technologically, are totally helpful to the good guys by blowing up some Жo-Rin. At this point the fighting with the Жo-Rin is over 2500 years old and literally the only noteworthy thing they've done is to occupy Kromore for half a decade before the Prime booted them.
Congratulations, you're now caught up on all the notable points of Kromorian history. I.e. literally fucking nothing
except that magic is now banned and we have space travel, compared to the start of the setting.
What remains of the book is mostly trivia, first there are the stats for Жo-Rin, Ancients(which can apparently just casually eat suns
, why even stat something that powerful?), enemy Ferrians, enemy Gyx, enemy Zatilok(hidden deep inside a bunch of fluff rather than being with the other enemy stats), enemy vampires(the only enemies to get more than one type of stats, to account for different tiers of stats, apparently every enemy Ferrian is level 10) and enemy shadow demons(but no stats for Tesck, who only get a description, Metal Men, or so many other things we've been told exist). Next up, there's a bunch of forgettable data that largely amounts to telling us what sort of exports the various nations have during various time periods, practically nothing of any real consequence unless you really need to know that the Kingdom of Kelmoria was big on exporting hammers. There are the major religions, all of which have existed unchanged from the start point of the setting's history and then 10,000 years onwards... and that's the fucking book, really.
It doesn't make for an entertaining review despite being a frustrating read, because so many of the stupid, frustrating things are in the editing, and it's hard to really convey just how much it overreaches itself in trying to have TEN THOUSAND YEARS OF HISTORY and then devoting maybe five lines to fucking two thousand years
of said history. And a major event like an entire species, the Metal Men, having their brains corrupted, and whatever it takes to uncorrupt them, taking up a grand total of half a page. The quest to cure an entire fucking species of a corrupting infection takes up less space than what was spent at the start of the book to tell us how to effectively railroad our players.
Fuck this book. I'm done with it.
FATAL & Friends Repost: Kromore, Part 6
09:23pm EDT - 8/16/2015
202 pages into Kromore and we actually get to the rules in any sort of concise format. We had a "RULES BASICS" at the start that only told us how many dice to roll, and nothing else. We had some scattered stuff in the Skills section on how skill checks worked and what a given difficulty of a check was. But it's not until 202 pages in that we hit the majority of the ruleset. Just to recap what we've already been told, though, because the game doesn't do that
for us even though we were introduced to them a couple hundred pages back... the basic check is a roll of STATd4+SKILLRANKS with no weirdnesses or complications, no critical successes or failures, you either beat a static number(for most checks) or an enemy's roll.
The first thing the chapter tells us is that we're gonna need a board or battlemat(informing us in the process that hex grids are vastly superior to square grids), this makes sense when we check the index and find that literally the entire rules chapter is combat, leaving the full extent of non-combat stuff as what we can do with skill checks and the few spells that aren't about throwing some variety of painful elemental energy at enemies(or summoning things to cut their faces wide open). Then we're told how to roll initiative, what a round consists of(five seconds of real time, split into three actions that we can assign as we see fit, unless we do a single thing that consumes more than one action, like some spells... and about half the list of default actions, like attacking with a two-handed weapon or just about any skill check. Some things, like putting on heavy armor, require up to nine
actions, meaning that they consume a total of three full rounds). All these actions are just actions
I'll note. No major, minor, free, bonus or whatever separation, removing the need to keep track of any such goofery.
In the game's defense, it's all pretty neatly organized. There's one table that contains all the default actions, you can quickly check if something provokes free attacks if done at melee range and how many actions it takes... attacking and defending is also relatively simple. Rather than having separate dodge and damage resistance, like most modern games, or having one huge dodge pool like D&D, there's just one big soak/damage resistance pool. First dodge subtracts from incoming damage, then your shield, then your armor and finally it impacts your life points. Shields and armor also have their own pools of hit points, which, when drained, mean they're coming apart and can no longer soak up anything, as well as a damage resistance stat indicating how much they can soak per round. It's a bit abstract, definitely not for anyone obsessed with verisimilitude, but it seems like it'd make combat flow pretty quickly since you're just rolling once to attack(weapon damage + Muscle or Agility + your combat bonuses), versus a static number(Dodge+Shield+Armor).
FINISHING A TARGET
A character can spend a 3 actions to kill an unconscious and immobile target with direct contact to Life Points of that target. This is a target unable to fight back. Considered a mercy killing or a murder.
Despite my moderate praise, though, the writing is still fucking awful. What does it even mean to have DIRECT CONTACT TO LIFE POINTS OF THAT TARGET? This is nothing compared to the next section which uses CRITICAL CALLED ATTACK so many times it's lost what little meaning it has, including all its permutations like "critical called area attack" and "critical call called attack." For some reason the mechanic for making targeted attacks isn't just "called attacks," it's critical called attacks. It's making me dizzy just trying to read these pages.
Any attack can deal critical damage. The amount of LP dealt in an attack to a region represents a critical hit to that region. A critical hit is a one time attack and the amount of LP taken at one time from an attack represents the devastating blow.
Sure, any attack can deal critical damage, but "critical damage" is something that only happens when you hit a specific region of someone, and you can only hit specific regions when making critical called attacks, not when just attacking normally(unless we're supposed to assume that normal attacks are critical called attacks to the torso/"body"? ...which it tells us several pages later, almost at the end of the actual combat rules). These sure are some words but fuck if they don't lose all meaning in this idiot writer's hands.
The rules for critical damage are surprisingly detailed and brutal, and reward having some sort of medic or healer in the party. Basically any attack will cause at least a temporary effect(in the case of limbs and body, most likely just a "scar" for low damage), but if you go more than 24 hours without medical treatment, a lot of them advance into becoming permanent effects(this also happens if someone completely fucks up trying to heal a temporary effect). The name is a bit of a misnomer, though, as "permanent" effects can still be cured by medicine(and for that matter, "temporary" effects aren't temporary either, they don't seem to go away with time? I can't tell). It... doesn't say whether permanent effects replace
the temporary effects, or simply stack on top, but I have to assume that they stack on top, otherwise broken bones would magically heal themselves after 24 hours.
Though either way it leads to some weirdnesses, like severed heads not causing death until 24 hours later, severed limbs not bleeding until 24 hours later, gushing arteries(which you'd be lucky to survive for a couple of minutes, 1 LP lost per round, 5 seconds, between 10 and 15 LP's in most cases, critical damage causing the bleeding likely already removing the majority of your LP's... a tourniquet can solve the problem temporarily, I suppose) turning into internal bleeding. A severed arm will, 24 hours later, cause the much slower internal
bleeding(1LP per hour), while a severed hand instantly
causes a gushing instadeath artery(likewise losing any "appendage," defined as an eye, finger, toe, ear or "other." That's right, losing an ear will make you bleed out faster than someone lopping off your fucking arm), yet broken
arms and legs also cause instant bleeding... okay there's something
fucking goofy here, though I can see what the author was trying to do.
Moving on to the section about movement and facing, which is largely just common-sense stuff about when someone is considered to be facing, flanking, etc. I also have to give Kromore props for illustrating everything
with diagrams. Most of it is, as said, pretty common sense, but it ensures that there's literally no doubt and everyone can follow along, even if they're relatively unused to RPG's and boardgames. It also starts to become obvious that Kromore is really
envisioned as a combat-heavy boardgame, more than an actual RPG, in most cases, especially in light of all the character abilities being, in 95% of all cases, aimed towards combat uses only.
Also we don't have falling damage in Kromore. We've got SASFAFF.
Surface & Stun From A Fitness Failure(S.A.S.F.A.F.F.)
I could literally not make this up. They invented an entire custom acronym for something that fills a grand total of half a page and consists of checking how far they fell(which requires paging back to the skills chapter, and seeing what height a given difficulty of skill check for climbing fits with), then referring to the matching row for what kind of damage they take(stun or lethal), how much damage and how many rounds they'll spend stunned. Despite the dedicated mechanic name, falling is actually reasonably safe in Kromore. Most people will have 10 to 15 Life Points, and a fall of 26 to 35 feet will do 3d4 damage(3d4+3 if it's on to a hard surface), which there are good odds of surviving(though you'll probably break your legs or something). The scale also isn't open-ended, damage caps out at 6d4(+5, for a hard or jagged surface), meaning an average of 20 damage from just about any distance(no special rules for atmospheric re-entry). With armor and shields being included in soaking falling damage... just a thick suit of platemail and a tower shield could let us survive a fall from near the edge of the atmosphere.
There are also a few weirdnesses here and there in the tables, being medium or large gives you a +1 to dodge, being one step up, huge, is a +2, then down to a +1 again for gigantic, 0 for enormous and -1 for colossal. Why that arbitrary bump for Huge?
More nice attention to detail in the combat rules, though, as we're told what side effects elemental damage has(rules for ice spells locking up enemy armor by freezing it, electrical spells breaking sensitive electronics, how long fires will continue to burn, and a handy table for converting ice magic damage to how much you can freeze solid, in case you want to use ice bolts to cross a river or something). Also standard damage values for various environmental objects exploding, like fireworks, gas tanks, etc.(according to the rules, the average person in Kromore is almost guaranteed to survive a "grill propane tank" exploding right next to him unless it rolls absolutely maximum damage. Most of my understanding of exploding propane is from videogames, but shouldn't that be relatively fatal? Of course, Kromore isn't too realistic. Cars in Kromore apparently explode like in Hollywood action movies, according to the table).
When something is frozen it requires time to thaw before it is useable again.
The table includes damage values for freezing warm-blooded creatures, but doesn't specify whether PC's survive cryogenic suspension or whether it kills them outright.
The end of the chapter is half a page of rules for time travel, which summarizes as follows: First we have to leave reality, then we have to use a captured soul of a Lovecrafty "Realm" creature as a guide to drag us back in time. We cannot go forwards in time beyond where we've actually been "naturally." However, any time traveller can bring along hitchhikers, and they CAN be brought further forward than they themselves have been. Unfortunately, all "technological" items crumble in the world outside the physical universe, so we can't smuggle plasma guns into the past and set ourselves up as a techno warlord. I've no idea what they define as "technology," though.
A character who alters a previous time will cause a ripple effect that generates a new time line.
This alternate universe exists within the realms and results in another matter realm.
Kromore’s history within this text represents the original history of Kromore, but that history has the potential for parallel versions if characters change the time line. This change allows for multiple versions and histories to exist within the universe of Kromore.
Coincidentally, the chapter titled "The Kromore Universe" begins on the next page, so I guess we'll shortly find out just what the canonical Kromore is like.
Right now, though, I'm kind of disappointed that Kromore wasn't more of an amusing clusterfuck in the rules section, so I'm taking a break.
Because fighters don't deserve nice feats
I suspect this is not the same guy who drew all the fucking terrible character art
FATAL & Friends Repost: Kromore, Part 5
09:07pm EDT - 8/16/2015
So, the Abilities chapter is up next after the professions. Abilities are pretty much analogous to 3E/5E Feats, except that you get a shitload more of them, right down to being broken in the same stupid ways. For instance, I can pay an ability point for a permanent +1 to Fitness rolls. Fitness is basically Athletics from most other games. Jumping, climbing, swimming and squeezing into narrow spaces. However, if I'm not retarded, that same ability point will also buy me "Cooking Persuasion," also known as "Cakes = Mind Control," which basically doubles my pre-existing bonus to Negotiation(almost guaranteed to be more than 1) towards anyone already friendly enough to accept a piece of candy from me or unaware enough to not react before I shove something in their mouth. Or I could be a wizard.
The same one skill point is also all it costs for Innate Magic abilities(one each, but still) that let me conjure up weapons and armor for free and effectively without needing to bother with any checks(unless I decided to make the world's only wizard with Down's). Or I can learn necromancy, which lets me raise undead minions. Raising a minion takes a Hard(DC 19) focus check, but there's no penalty for screwing it up, and the time consumed in the casting is less than five seconds(two actions, a round has three actions and lasts five seconds). Of course, you only control the undead servant for 1d4 hours, after which it just shambles off to eat flesh.
NEGOTIATION: Negotiation tricks auto succeed on the Zombie, Intimidations and logic negotiations always fail.
It'd be great, though, if you had an undead minion without that problem, and one that couldn't be tricked. Skeletons have the same "tries to kill everything after a few hours"-issue, plus they take a whole
round to summon. Time is money, can't just waste it on something as frivolous as bony guardians. That's why you use your 1 ability point to learn how to summon ghosts instead. Ghosts never break free of control, are moderately intangible-
Interestingly enough not immune to fists or rocks
IMMUNITIES**: The spirit is immune to steel weapons and wooden weapons, stuns, KO, and poisons.
-and have an AoE stun attack that stacks. Meaning you just need enough ghosts and you can zero out anyone's combat stats, after which you just need to raise a single skeleton to go around cutting throats. Assuming we make an ULTRA WIZARD who can do NOTHING but cast magic well, back-of-the-envelope, simple min-maxing allows us to roll 6d4+6 to attempt to summon a ghost, vs a DC of 19. That's a 50+% chance of making our DC, since our ghosts need no materials to summon(aside from a "grave or burial ground," but how hard can finding a graveyard be? We just take a few minutes' walk through the nearest graveyard and we've got our ghosts for the day), and we're not working off any sort of stat pool or resource, that means we can spend all our waking hours summoning. Our only real limit to how many ghosts we can make is that we can only summon a number of ghosts equal to our SOUL stat per day, meaning we'll cap out at 6(and there's literally no way for us to not get that many per day). Hence, as soon as you've made a necromancer, time is literally the only thing standing in the way of him conquering the world at the cost of only twice as many skill points as it costs a fighter to get +1 to jumping(twice because we also need to shell out the massive price of one skill point to unlock magic in the first place).
And since two PC races, one of which is available in most time periods(metal men) and the other of which is available in all time periods(Daeadrin humans, which also get a bonus to the Focus skill used for all spellcasting) are literally immortal and unaging... time is not that
big an issue. Now, in the game's defense, it does gate "Rule The World With Magic Ghosts: The Ability" behind requiring the caster to be level 10... however the storyteller section recommends roughly a level-up per session, which is also about what you'll get if you use their manual XP-handout rules, so it's not really a huge barrier. You can spend the intervening levels pumping up your Focus skill to make sure you succeed on all
your ghost summons and also learning combat magic that does more damage than any weapon short of artillery, has an AoE effect, has no hit roll(even if enemies pass their save, they still take damage and get hit with status effects) and doesn't require any ammunition, unlike all the really nice fighter weapons. It also still only costs one skill point to learn.
Ultimately all the abilities fall into this. You can either get a +1 if you're a fighter or you can expend an ability point to replicate a non-wizard's abilities(and if you DO decide to pick the abilities that give you a + to the Focus skill for spellcasting... you get +1d4 or +2 instead of +1 like you'd get if you chose better Fitness rolls). Jealous of the medic? Learn healing magic. Jealous of the sneaky thief? Learn to turn yourself into a table from level 1. Remember how Sci-Priests had a "melt stuff with their bare hands"-class ability? Well get fucked, that's a spell, too. Practically every magic tree has some sort of attack spell that rapidly levels up to outclass weapons. If we're impatient for ghost supremacy, at level 6, we can summon tornadoes. Anyone who touches a tornado has to succeed at an epic(DC 24) fitness check or get sucked in, flung away and hammered for shitloads of damage. And keep in mind that anyone not as min-maxed as our wizard will be hard pressed to roll 24 on a check. As a sci-magi we also specifically get the ability to double
the effect of all spells from second level onwards, in exchange for an absolutely trivial focus check.
Of course, min/maxing our caster makes us awfully fragile. So it's a good thing we can use a first-level spell to turn ourselves into solid rock so we're difficult to injure(or even a
rock so no one will ever even realize we're a mage). Shame that some spells require vocal and somatic components... which we can ignore with another first-level ability, permanently. Now we just need another party member to carry us, or to learn the first-level wind spell that lets us slowly shove ourselves along. We basically only need to ever stop
being an inanimate object on occasion to eat.
I could really go on. But the point is: This is some wizard supremacy on a level I've rarely seen in any fucking game.
In the game's defense, there's really nothing wrong with the basic mechanics, I like how it leaves in some degree of randomness while still providing a very sharp bell curve and a generous static modifier, so players can generally rely on their skills and attacks landing in a given region of results, but with just a bit of randomness to provide some tension. There are also a lot of helpful rules for what you can do to make sure your skills succeed, "taking 20" from 3E expanded up to pretty much any span of time you could imagine... though it seems a bit excessive that the table also includes "1 year" and "1 lifetime," and that "1 lifetime" only provides 1d4 more than a year. Though I suppose it does encourage not wasting too
much time. Unlike a lot of RPG's, there's also a useful table for GM's advising them on what DC of check is usually appropriate to what level of character... and the suggestions actually aren't bad.
There are of course, some oddities that crop up. For instance, the Charm(CHA) stat is used not just to negotiate, but also for medicine and grappling. Flying a plane or riding a horse both work off of pure Agility(and the same skill...). There are a few wonky things in there, though not exactly something unforgivable, though it doesn't really salvage the fuckups in the previous chapters.
This chapter really helps hammer home that either the author or his editor did not have English as a first language, though.
Hard: Identifying a face in a crowded market street, hearing a whisper from two closed doors away, or seeing a hidden item that took a great deal of time to hide. Doing a scan of an area to find hidden people or objects without the pretense of a Story Teller asking for the check is always a Hard or higher. This form of an awareness check is often at the level of a trained investigator or a detectives observation abilities.
Also the return to Railroad City! If you try to do something without the Storyteller specifically asking you to, it automatically becomes more difficult! Choo choo!
I also find it amusing that the hacking mechanics that it took Eclipse Phase, like, ten pages to make totally confusing, even an RPG as generally confused and ineffable as Kromore manages to make more natural and more easier to work with in the span of two pages. One check to breach a network, then successive checks to increase your "security level," and a given security level gives you certain privileges, for instance, at security level 4 you can copy data off the device rather than just read it, at 5 you can delete it, at 8 you can scour a network to alter or remove someone's identity and at level 9 you can make computers explode like a Hollywood hacker. Then a few quick rules for HACKER DUELS and what happens if you fuck up your hack checks.
What I realize at this point is that if you just cut out all the non-wizard(sorry, Grifter) classes out of Kromore, I'm actually not too opposed to the system itself so far. Most of the spells are actually... reasonably fun and useful-sounding(breaking the game with ghosts aside), the only thing that kind of poisons the game is that NOT being a wizard is 18 out of 22 class options, only one of those 18 options getting any fun abilities(Grifter), and of the remaining 4, Realm magic(Sci-Magi, Sci-Priest) is vastly superior to Innate Magic(Adept, Demon Hunter), at the same cost, and Sci-Magi by far get the more fun abilities compared to the Sci-Priest, so the game really only leaves you with two options to play. The basic mechanics are relatively easy to use and the developer did a lot of work to give you benchmarks for your numbers.
Of course, there's still combat
and the EXCITING SETTING DETAILS left to shit on things, but if the combat isn't somehow a total shitpile(I'm guessing it might actually not be, though I doubt it'll make physical classes worth playing)... I could actually see myself scrapping the setting, telling three or four players to roll up some Sci-Magi and letting them loose to do some damage with fireballs. I'm also largely going to skip over the Armory section except for poking at the art, since they made the ~brilliant~ decision not to explain the equipment stats in the chapter that the equipment is in. There's probably some really broken rules, but I can't tell yet, all I can identify is when something stupid in the writing or art jumps out at me, like the fact that "Disrupter" weapons are illegal but nothing explains WHY they're illegal, for instance what they DO that's illegal when other guns are not.
There's also LITERALLY no sensible organization to the order that weapons are presented in. It goes like this: Melee, thrown, bows, shotguns, pistols, steamguns, "disrupter" guns, advanced
melee, rocket launchers, the "dual clip" pistol(see below), lightning guns, flintlocks(just in case you thought it was by escalating technological advancement), powder wheel, plasma, cannons, mounted guns.
On the one hand, poor art and ugly as sin, on the OTHER hand, it's steampunk without any fucking meaningless gears and goggles.
I legitimately cannot tell what this is.
Breaking new ground in retarded weapon designs!
Also, if anyone's interested, this is the DA of the guy who did all the actually awesome Kromore art: http://balaskas.deviantart.com/
FATAL & Friends Repost: Kromore, Part 4
02:29am EDT - 8/16/2015
"Outland Professions" are basically described as adventurers, characters who travel the globe getting into fights and stealing stuff. They consist of the Privateer, Mercenary, Duelist, Grifter and "Ferrian Vanquisher." Most of them are relatively unremarkable, aside from the Grifter and the usual bizarre wording and logic that pops up in some of the abilities.
Outland Trickster: The privateer is often stuck off grid from the rest of society. The privateer learns to combat the forces of mad men, wild beast, and thieves with the power of quick thinking. As 1 action and a hard survival skill check they can render a target prone until their next turn. The privateer uses their survival skill to find a weakness in terrain, environment, or enemy gear.
Because yes, I absolutely translate "often out in the wilderness" to "knows how to trip people up." Also note that despite this being related to fighting the forces of "mad men, wild beasts and thieves," nothing prevents you from knocking over a robot or a cop with this. It also simply specifies "target," so unless something is specifically unable to be knocked prone, you can flip over tanks, giant mecha and just about anything else with it. There's also no specified range, and the fluff on how it works is delightfully vague, so potentially you can do it from across a room as long as you can come up with an excuse? Or from even farther away? I mean, the fact that you can use a "weakness in the terrain or enemy gear" that, presumably, the player gets to invent himself opens it up to just about anyone, anywhere, in any situation, as long as you know they're there.
The real star of this update, though, is the Grifter.
Grifter Charm: A grifter makes a negotiate check in combat as 1 action and gains up to 1 point of their charm attribute as a bonus to attack that chosen target until it flees or is defeated.
The Grift: A grifter can steal anything from a target they have declared their grifter charm on as long as the grifter is within reaching distance of the object. The grifter is not required a sneak roll to steal the object nor is the target allowed an awareness check as long as the grifter has initiated combat and succeeded their grifter charm.
So yes, we can literally steal ANYTHING from an enemy as long as we're within reaching distance and manage to "grifter charm" someone. If you wanted to be very technical, you could presumably steal someone's eyeballs or, if you rule that "distance" only considers how far you can theoretically reach, and not what's in the way, also internal organs. Also again, even without wording it to instakills, remember that we have three actions in a given round, and unless specified otherwise, anything we do defaults to requiring one action. So even if we need to use one action to close up to stealing range, we can still steal a dude's weapon and armor. By the level where we get THE GRIFT, our Grifter Charm has also been upgraded to apply to three targets at once. So we can literally disarm an entire squad of dudes in one round if we can get into melee range.
The Grifter is made even more amusing by an ability detailed in another chapter, where any class is allowed to spend points to get a "Civilian Vocation." The first rank of the Chef vocation provides:
Cooking Persuasion: A chef gains the ability to cook amazing meals that can persuade targets by allowing the Chef to make a negotiate check against their target after feeding them a meal. The negotiate gains them x2 their normal bonus to negotiation against that target.
Also note that there's no limit on how long after eating a meal that they'll be easily persuaded by you. At the most aggressive you could rule that "feeding" means you have to at least serve it to them, so you can't be the owner of a candy shop or kebab booth that eventually makes an entire city vulnerable to his Negotiate attempts. So if you use your presumably sky high, if you're going for this, Negotiate abilities to charm your way into taking over an army's field kitchen or something, moments after dinner time you can declare you're starting combat and start liberating everyone of their gear.
It also notice that it just says a meal
, not even necessarily a meal that the cook himself made. The RAW for Kromore is hilariously dire.
Weirdly enough this also seems to make the Grifter a far more potent thief in combat than out of combat and in any stealth situation, and looking up the rules for Negotiation, it's basically ROLL FOR MIND CONTROL. If you get 16 or more than the target number(determined by their Charisma), you can literally convince them of anything, and there appears to be no upper limit on how high skill bonuses can go.
Duellists and Mercenaries are both dull, except that mercenaries get the weird ability to make makeshift bombs out of "a simple fuel and a hard object. (Ex. Rocks, Tin can, Battery, etc.)," and can, at higher levels, and with a decent intelligence score, guarantee that they can make makeshift bombs so fast that they can make and throw them in the same round, and still have an action to spare. A quick glance ahead in the book reveals that these bombs made out of tin cans and batteries do more damage than "plasma sniper rifles," at least by just looking at the value on the tables and without involving any skills or other modifiers. By the point he gets to do this, the Mercenary also has three NPC companions, so he could just spend all three of his turns making bombs, passing them to his companions, and having them throw them. This seems to add up to way more damage than he could ever do by actually giving them or himself weapons, and cheaper, too.
Ferrian Vanquishers are only notable for the fact that their weapon is their hair, and telling us that apparently it requires "diamond blades" to cut Ferrian hair. Why no one captures Ferrians to shave them bald and weave an impenetrable set of clothes/armor out of their hair, I don't know.
Next up are the "combat professions," listing the Battler, Warrior, Combat Artist and Brawler. Including them, we now have the: Soldier, Duellist, Mercenary, Battler, Warrior, Combat Artist and Brawler, to list the ones that are just a fighter by any other name, and that's being very generous and leaving out some. In any fucking sane RPG they'd just be the same base class/profession but with different fluff and specializations chosen by the player after first level. And there's literally no interesting fluff or detail to any of them, they're all just a tiresome blur of combat modifiers. The Battler can go berserk and the Brawler is a 3rd ed D&D Monk, that's about it. The art does seem to try to outdo itself by being fucking awful in new and exciting ways, though!
And now it's time for wizard supremacy. Sci-Magi, who are chalk wizards. Adepts, who are sorcerers. Sci-Priests, who are "soulful combat fighters." And Demon Hunters, who are dark, brooding characters that no one trusts.
In addition to getting skill boosts and abilities of their own, some of them quite rad and even, dare I say it, kinda cool, Sci-Magi also have an additional column in their level up spreadsheet that no other class does, that grants them free abilities
. Any class can buy into magic abilities, but these guys, in addition to getting as much shit as everyone else, gets them for free.
Chalk: A Sci-Magi can procure 1 piece of chalk every action without the use of an action to draw the chalk, but the chalk is required carried.
The Sci-Magi can also create chalk as 1 action and a basic focus check out of thin air if they need to. This created chalk disappears if the caster drops it and is only useable in a spell. Often casters use both created and drawn chalk for spells.
Chalk? Well, sure. CHALK, but what can a wizard do with CHALK? Well, for starters, a Sci-Magi can crush a piece of chalk, specifically, nothing else, to have it function as a flashbang that he's immune to. Chalk is also the item needed for most sci-magi abilities, drawing sigils, etc. and since he can just make more out of thin air, he can never really be disarmed of those abilities unless he's tied up. He can also find anything non-living(easily circumvented, just tell it to find the guy's shirt instead), without needing a check, as long as he has a "crystal" to imbue with a desire to find it, then he has a magical compass for finding it.
Doorway: A Sci-Magi can use chalk to draw doorways to the other side of a wall or structure.
Realm Fire: As 1 action the Sci-Magi can use a medium focus check to transform a piece of chalk into a blue fire like ball of energy.
Invisibility Spell: Using a hard focus check and 2 actions, the Sci-Magi can turn invisible with a crushed piece of chalk in both hands. ... Attackers make epic awareness checks to discern the location of the Magi.
An "epic awareness check" requiring that someone get over 24 as a result of d4's+skill modifiers. And no, it doesn't require any check to turn invisible, just chalk, chalk that you have an infinite fucking supply of. Without chalk, the sci-magi still has telekinesis and the ability to turn any reflective surface
into a portal gateway. The text specifically calls out "the surface of the ocean on a still day," and specifies that it counts as one continuous surface, which happily negates the limits on how far two surfaces can be from each other. So, you know, have fun teleporting from one continent to another as long as the weather permits.
And this isn't even getting into the fact that anyone with Realm Magic can make an infinite army of ghosts. Yes, you heard me right, we'll get to that in the Abilities chapter.
Adepts don't get as much overpowered shit as sci-magi, presumably because they're not proper wizards and hence don't deserve proper supremacy. Instead they get to make inferior lesser classes like rogues feel irrelevant.
The adept can produce basic elemental items. The items are not completely stable and deteriorate into air after a number of mins equaling the adepts SOUL attribute. Often times the adept will create a key or something they are searching for without realizing it, but then the object vanishes again in a few hours. The items created are elemental in nature and fit into the hand of the adept as a solid item with no moving parts. Example: chalk, flint, wood, soft rock, metal, coal.
Suck it, lockpickers. Also if you want to break the game, point out that there's clearly permission for organic chemistry since coal is mentioned, and that there are plenty of toxic and corrosive substances that could do notable damage even if you didn't produce more than the weight/volume of a key, and they certainly have no moving parts. This stuff also takes up only one action and with an "easy focus" check to pull off, we can do it pretty much at will.
Homeopathic Touch: The adept can identify the status of a persons thirst, hunger, core temperature, sleep, salt hunger, and LP by touching skin to skin.
Though what the fuck is a salt hunger
? Like is that a term in another language that means something, but has no meaning when translated literally to English? Please. Help. But aside from making rogues irrelevant and checking if someone's cold or hungry, basically they can throw fireballs and heal themselves, that's it.
The Priest is a soulful combat fighter
The jazziest of professions, but it's hard to judge whether they suck shit or completely break the game until we get to the crafting rules, because that's literally all these guys get a bonus to: Crafting and being able to melt non-living matter with their hands. Of course since this is expressed in hit points' worth of damage to stuff rather than in some sort of narrative term or a volume of decayed matter, it's impossible to tell how much it actually matters. I tried searching the entire book and nowhere does it seem to actually list what, say, an average door has in terms of hit points, making this ability entirely pointless.
Despite being in the wizard section, this one is actually a trap choice for fools who think fighters are relevant! That is to say, literally half their abilities don't work unless the storyteller is merciful and let them fight demons on a regular basis, as said abilities require demon blood, souls, etc. to craft items from. And of course their only actual cool ability, being able to trap demon souls in equipment for bonuses, is sequestered at the very top of their levels.
Tune in next time when we check out magic and abilities and how they let us become an evil overlord as long as we've got time to waste. And of course as long as we're a wizard, we don't get to break the game if we're not a wizard.
Pop quiz for the next update: Which of these three is it possible to do with/to a zombie: Negotiation? Intimidation? Or logical debate?
Humans of Kromore
FATAL & Friends Repost: Kromore, Part 3
02:17am EDT - 8/16/2015
So, I was mildly wrong, there are 17
human nations, six of which are restricted by era, and the remaining 11 of which have existed, apparently, for the entirety of humanity's existence on Kromore. Obviously humans are not from
Kromore since only the Zatilok are natives.
The disparity of Kromorian Humans are as vast and as their Earth ancestors. Though they share a historical bond, Human’s of Kromore distinguish themselves by the Kromorian nation they hail from.
All humans share an ancestry to Earth with the exception of Daeadrin who have an unknown alien origin. A merging of Daeadrin and Humans becomes the future Kromorian races. Though both Daeadrin and Kromorian Humanoids are identical at first glance, the Daeadrin are immortal.
Hmmm, yes, I'm sure that it's entirely reasonable to simply list an "immortal" race alongside the human races. Certainly immortality would result in exactly the same culture and statistics! It actually does, and Daeadrin don't even have the highest skill bonus total or anything. I guess they spend a lot of their immortal lives doing nothing productive that they can learn from. In general the human nations are described haphazardly, sometimes we learn what wiped them out, sometimes we don't, sometimes their government style is mentioned, sometimes it's not, the only constants are average weights and heights, and what their diet largely consists of. Not sure why the latter's so important unless the book contains a detailed section on gluten and nut allergies later on.
This section also reveals that when Earth was threatened by an alien species wanting to suck it dry of resources, humanity just relocated en masse to the rest of the galaxy. Considering that humanity had the ability to just do
this, apparently before this insurmountable alien foe destroyed them or enslaved them, you have to wonder why humanity hadn't spread to the rest of the galaxy before then. Earth refugee humans are also for some reason far less restrained by their culture than the other nations, just getting a pool of free skill points to assign however they want, rather than having four to six culturally pre-assigned skill points.
Also note how every single non-human species live in exactly one location, with one culture, while humans have spread everywhere. Lazy fucking writing. Also
note how there's an "Outlander Human" nation, even though they're specifically described as the "humans without nations or borders." I also skipped over dozens of terrible wordings because you guys have the gist of the bad writing by now.
Note that even though the game prides itself, in its sales pitch, on not having "pre-determined classes," instead it has pre-determined professions
, which are basically treated like 3.x/5e classes, you gain a new "level" every time you level up, and you can use that to continue a profession you already have, or straight up just grab a tier of a new one. The text in the book here even admits
that professions "resemble the concept of 'classes'."
I do legitimately like some of the art, though. This is really well done.
The one in the heavy armor carrying a two handed weapon in one hand while killing you with the other. That's a Soldier.
Soldier: Continuing in the proud tradition of shitty fantasy RPG's everywhere, by and large all the soldier gets is increasing numerical bonuses to shooting/stabbing things, or using things that shoot things. It turns out that "Operate," at least by the description here(yes, we still have no skill descriptions, so while making our character we have to guess at what half these things actually benefit), is about "operating" vehicles, meaning that's yet another huge part of the lifepath chargen that only really works with post-fantasy/post-medieval stuff and... hey, wait a minute, that also kind of means Soldiers don't fit into that stuff for shit either. So much for being setting-agnostic. About the only hilarious ability Soldiers get is "Weapon Redirect." Any time an enemy within reach of the soldier fails any action, including some attacks(specifically grapples and charges), the soldier just gets to pick them up and throw them away. It doesn't even have to target the soldier, and seems to completely ignore the target's weight and size. In fact
, it specifically just says "attacker," so potentially a charging tank attempting to run someone over would count, or a giant robot just trying to move past and failing some check.
In general, though, even 3.x Fighters get more options than these poor goons(well, after a couple of feats, anyway).
SOME of the art, I don't like all of it.
When everything begins to spin and the room grows dark a Medic is hopefully closing in. Lofting the wounded onto their shoulders and carrying them to safety, the Medic will slap a bandage on wounds before the target can realize they are pushing them back into the fray of combat. After all, who else are they going to hide behind as the bullets come flying past.
Medic: Fuck all not-wizards, I guess. In the same way Soldiers just get +attack, all Medics get is +heal and the special ability to carry allies a very, very short distance. So unless your friend collapsed just on the other side of some handy cover, this is fucking useless.
As the rush of air blows hair wildly into the open sky and a smile breaks across their face, it's evident the Pilot is having that dream where they are flying again.
Pilot: The pilot is yet another
one-trick pony, in this case "fly better, fly better, fly better." Their few abilities that break the monotony is that above a certain level, they get a Red Baron-ish renown and get to intimidate enemy pilots just by telling them that they're in the air and fucking shit up, and that they get to "Cloud Fall." I.e., if they pass their skill checks they can drop from 100' with little to no damage, of course, if they fuck up their skill checks they probably die instantly, so you can't even really rely on it. And how often are you 100' off the ground in an RPG without your friends being so as well? I guess this might save YOU, but the rest of the party is still fucked. Good luck playing a Pilot unless the entire party does or it's a solo game.
Instinctive Foresight: Shady characters are found on refueling pads, in space stations, and within and environment vehicles are brought for repairs and construction. When the pilot is first to act in a fights initiative against enemies they gain a bonus 1d4 to their first attack in their rounds turn. Any time the pilot has a better initiative than their target they gain this bonus.
I also don't know why associating with shady characters somehow gives you an attack bonus?
Banned from DeviantArt for being too shit
The Officer excels at controlling a large force of men and women on the battlefield. Their leadership abilities are unmatched by any other profession. Negotiating or blasting their way through conflict, the Officer is always prepared for any battle. An Officer is available through the background origin or by Story Teller approval.
Officer: I hope you like sitting at the back of the battle with a megaphone and giving everyone boosts in combat, because that's literally all this class gets to do
Knight Agent: Finally there's the option to be a "Knight Agent," if you have high enough stats, totally not a prestige class, honest
, which basically means you're a member of the Kromorian CIA. Interestingly enough, unlike the four preceding classes, they acknowledge that Knight Agents will function differently in different eras... which they accomplish by changing the gear, and not the skills. They have the ability to interrogate enemies... except they don't use it to interrogate, apparently they use it to yell at enemies in combat and scare them into lowering their defenses? Why is this ability called "interrogate" at all? They also get the ability to PASS JUDGMENT which... again has nothing to do with passing judgment in a legal sense, instead it just means that the agent now gets a huge bonus to fighting.
With this level of fighter oppression, I can't wait to see what options wizards get.
Aristocrat: Interestingly, even though we have to beg storyteller permission to become an officer if we don't get it during lifepath chargen, nothing stops us from just declaring at level-up that Bob the Officer is now in fact Bob von Schnauzer, Officer and also heir to the Schnauzer mercantile empire. Despite being described as negotiators, diplomats and fast-talkers, almost every Aristocrat skill is somehow using their charisma to better beat up people in combat by distracting them. In fact, almost EVERY fucking ability so far, for all the classes, have been for combat. I think the only exception being that Officers get a military agent network that gives them a bonus on knowledge checks. Oh and I guess Aristocrats also get a monthly allowance depending on how charismatic they are.
Dark Blade: Half these guys' skills are prefaced with the word "Dark." Dark Sneak, Dark Survival, Dark Blade Veil, etc. which is no surprise to anyone. It also takes seven levels
before this EPIC ASSASSIN CLASS actually gets any special ability making them better at sneaking. All their other abilities up till that point are just combat tricks. Did I mention that this game is REALLY FOCUSING ON THE COMBAT yet?
HELLO I AM A SUBTLE ASSASSIN, PAY ME NO MIND
Shadow: The first class to get almost
as many non-combat boosts/skills as combat boosts/skills, generally related to stealth and traps, and avoiding being blown up by traps. A momentous day! They also have the ability to "trick" enemies in an undefined way to remove their actions in combat, at higher levels. They can steal "two actions" from an enemy, and as I understand it, PC's and NPC's only have three actions per round. Judging by the shitty wording, they can do this once per enemy adjacent to them... but nothing seems to require them to target different enemies, and it only costs them one
action... so two Shadows working together could basically stunlock up to three enemies completely, as long as they're in relatively close quarters. Resisting being "tricked" is possible, but takes a "legendary" resistance check.
Inventor: Holy shit, this class only has one ability
directly focused on combat. And it only took us nine classes
to get there! Their one ability focused on combat is dealing double damage to artificial enemies, an ability that is, puzzlingly, named "Bad Breath." It's also, again, one of the few classes that acknowledge different eras. For instance, apparently even in eras without electrical devices, they're able to make short-distance, radio-wave remote controls that can set off, as per the book's example, trebuchets.
In tech level settings that do not allow for electronically machinery the device works as a short wave frequency radio or trigger device that can operate a trebuchet or device to be set off.
Christ, there's another 13
classes to go, including the "Combat" class category. Yes, Combat and Military classes are, inexplicably, separate from each other. At least the final category will be the various wizard professions, Sci-Magi, Adept, Sci-Priest and Demon Hunter. They, at least, have to be able to do some shit that not everyone fucking else can do. In fact, I think it's almost entirely guaranteed, by this point, that having access to magic will mean that they get a huge swathe of things they can do while fighters and thieves can eat shit.
FATAL & Friends Repost: Kromore, Part 2
02:10am EDT - 8/16/2015
So in Kromore's defense, at least the character sheet doesn't look Eoris-levels of bad, but much in keeping with the rest of the writing so far, the author just cheerfully launches into everything with what I can best describe as bad pacing. The very first page of chargen is just a huge smear of mechanics and how to calculate derived attributes. Also apparently how much you can carry, drag and push is derived only
from your character weight, not your Muscle stat, just the first of what I'm going to assume will be many
puzzling design decisions. Chargen starts off with a "lifepath" sort of thing, where we follow a flowchart through four decisions that give us some starting bonuses, as well as helping determine our starting money.
Most of it seems relatively setting-agnostic, meaning that Kromore might at least slightly deliver on being able to function through any of its five supposed settings, though quite a few lifepath options get "piloting" and "tech," which I'm not sure how relevant would be in the "fantasy" or "medieval" settings. Also, while we've had the basic stats explained, and know what they would benefit us for, we've had no skills explained so far, so, for instance, "Operate"? What does that
help us do? And of course, almost all
of the lifepath bonuses are skill bonuses. Also some puzzling choices, most of the bonuses to skills are static +X bonuses, and we've been told that skill ranks are static +X's to things we do, while stats define how many D4 we roll.
But there's a "+1d4" to skills in places, does that mean that I get a RANDOM bonus for choosing this lifepath option? Or that I get another 1d4 to roll whenever I use that specific skill? This isn't explained anywhere. In general, though, the lifepath doesn't seem too
badly constructed, and is followed up by assigning points to our basic stats. It's a pointbuy system and, as a first for any pointbuy system I've seen, actually lines up some suggested stat arrays for new players, as well as doing some of the basic math for the player(how many free points a given array leaves them with for the next stage of chargen. Though the terrible organization of the writing and the occasionally "I ran this through Google Translate"-tier phrasing made me confused on the actual calculations and made me think the book got some of them wrong at first.). As clumsy a first impression as Kromore gives, this is actually a nice touch, as pointbuy is something that can occasionally trip up new players.
Players should remember they will automatically receive an equal number of free abilities to their attribute score totals.
A number of free abilities EQUAL TO their attribute score totals, as it turns out. But anyway, small slip-ups aside it's time for the EXCITING RACES OF KROMORE and oh my God what's wrong with your FACE
Hahahah, what the fuck? Is she a smurf or something? Uh, I guess we've got four colours of human, the weird fucking things from Avatar with huge noses instead of huge eyes, and dwarves.
If players decide to choose a Human race they must select which nation the Human is from. Each Human race holds grudges politically and socially against one another.
I look forward to a list of all the human nations that have existed throughout KROMORE's 10,000-year DETAILED HISTORY, cross-referenced by which ones existed simultaneously, and with each one having a detailed rundown of who they hate and who they get along with. I'm pretty sure, though, that we're just going to get, like, five nations, and two of them will have a sidenote of "Only exists during STEAMPUNK ERA" or "Blown up during SCI-FI ERA, replaced with LASER COUNTRY." And, of course, only humans avoid being a monoculture.
All races start with the bonus language of Trade. Trade is a language comprised of 100 different words, phrases, and sign language symbols used for basic means of communication.
Wait, so, there's 100 words, 100 phrases and 100 sign language symbols? Or there's 100 if you tally up all the words, phrases and sign language symbols? Because the latter's not going to let you do much communicating beyond asking where the fucking toilet is or ordering a beer.
Natural Defense applies to a characters dodge and is always constant even when the character is caught prone or disabled.
Which makes me imagine a team of commandos trying to assault a sleeping Metal Man and falling all over each other because even though he's asleep, his Natural Defense is somehow still applying to his Dodge. I don't know if +2 is a lot, but I hope so, because that would be fucking ridiculous and a little bit hilarious. Like, I could see if it was applied to armor
of some sort, but dodge? Why dodge
Natural defense for some races is higher due to the races small stature or the races thicker than normal skin.
Oh, I guess because the designer is a lazy sack of shit and went with D&D-style "armor"/defense as being a rolled-together lump of all your defensive attributes, both dodging and armor.
Due to social relations, size, and origin several races have negatives applied to them. These are not bad qualities of the race, but represent their social and physical standings in the ever changing political world of Kromore.
I like how it represents their standing in an EVER-CHANGING WORLD, but apparently over 10,000 years, the world doesn't change enough for these things to be different during different periods. Jesus fucking Christ. This is even more offensive when the game, a paragraph later, acknowledges some degree of change in that some races only exist during some periods... and of course those are all shunted off to the appendices, but include, we're told, H.I.V.E. Vampires and "realm races."
“Bendai khu beiz’nehet y’ Razz-I”
-Death without battle honor is Razz-I
Why fucking bother to translate it if you leave out translating a word that's core to the fucking meaning of the statement
So the Ferrians were transported to Kromore in "the 70th century BSC" by the "Tesck" that have so far gone completely unmentioned anywhere. They live on a continent referred to as "the jungle paradise of war"(???), and they used to live on another continent, but something fucked it up so that it's now "vastly uninhabitable for sustained life." As opposed to very temporary life, I guess? Fucking hell.
The Great Metal War during the era of Steam and Steel left it destroyed after the humanoid Innate wielder inhabitants formed an alliance with the allied nations against the Kalin Parliamentary Order. Metal Men arrived and destroyed the small island continent, a destruction the land never recovered from.
Hmmm, yes, these sure are a lot of terms. Not that I give a shit what they mean. But the whole thing is basically meaningless without knowing who the fuck these people or things are, what "humanoid Innate wielders" are.
Though the Ferrian have cat like appearances in the eyes and face, they are far more human than cat despite their tails and ears which are both docked at birth.
Nothing about them is fucking catlike, at all. Has this person ever seen a cat?
Exiled Ferrian in their native tongue are called “Razz-I.”
So "death without battle honor is exiled Ferrian"? Aaaaaargh.
Whatever, these guys are basically Cat Orcs/Klingons. BATTLE HONOR, tattoos, live in noble savagery, can wear their SUPER HAIR as armor, don't do much with technology unless it's for war, and when they're in other cultures they're mostly mercenaries or criminal muscle.
Many Ferrian do not seek honor battling amongst the stars unless something proposes a threat to their home.
The author of this is supposedly from New York, born and raised. You wouldn't have fucking guessed it from this writing, would you? I would've guessed, like, Poland, myself. Maybe Dutch. If I quoted every single fucking awkward or downright WRONG term or phrasing, I'd be quoting the entire fucking book so far. Did you know it's possible to "miss-use" magic? I just learned that, from this book.
Their existence was declared a mistake after many rebelled slavery in the Order’s military. Thousands of Metal Men were dishonorably discharged into space before their existence was revealed, but thousands more managed to escape.
Hard to tell if he's making a joke or actually thinks that a "dishonorable discharge" involves throwing someone away into the ocean or space or something. But anyway, they were a magical experiment into making SUPER SOLDIERS that accidentally developed free will, like basically every super soldier project in any piece of fiction, ever. At this point it would be a surprise to have an android that actually stayed true to the spirit of its programming or an artificially created species/creature that didn't eventually eat its creator.
In addition to their immortality the Metal Men all begin life at the age of twenty seven and never age beyond it. Their previous human memories are gone,
Except I guess they used to be humans, yet no matter what, they're always 27 years of age? What if you turn a child into a metal man? Does he become huge and buff? Do old people turned into metal men become young and strong? Can you even do that? Can they reproduce in any sort of way, resulting in a horrific sudden aging of metal man babies? Apparently they're engineered not to procreate, but some "metal women" mutate to "reveal" offspring(what? WORDS MEAN THINGS). So I if all metal men are instantly 27 years of age, that's gotta result in some weird stuff when giving birth, or possibly an Alien-like explosion during procreation. Gross.
But aside from that, if new-born metal men are a rarity, and they're all functionally immortal, does that mean that the player is most likely centuries, if not millennia old, and hyper-experienced compared to every other member of the party? I guess this is just completely ignored. And mind you, if metal men don't care about aging, what about other biological necessities? Do they need food and water? Do they breathe? Maybe this would be relevant to address, considering that their description makes them sound like fucking robots
(metal skin, no aging, no natural procreation, outside of mutants, have trouble with "complex emotions.")
I'd also like to point out that while the Ferrians got an entire page to themselves, all the other species basically get a single half-page column. Also for some reason only half the races(Ferrian, Metal Man, Laerish) get a quote, while the other three(Gyx, Human, Zatilok) go without.
The Gyx get literally no biological or sociological details shared about them. Nothing. They're just some red dudes that the "Tesck" dropped off on Kromore a couple of times over the eras and who were generally enslaved or murdered by roaming packs of xenophobes, but now they're free.
The Gyx are known deadly with a small blade due to thousands of years in servitude.
Apparently a history of being enslaved means everyone assumes you know your way around a shiv. Or that you DO know your way around a shiv. I can't tell.
GAH, it doesn't get any less horrifying the second time
So, the Zatilok are apparently the only true natives of KROMORE, a bunch of NOBLE SAVAGES, not to be confused with the NOBLE SAVAGERY of the Ferrians.
Though they are the oldest, the Zatilok are the least technologically advanced of all Kromorian races. They are referred to as space monkeys by Kromorians, because they are no more apt at flying than a monkey is in space. A term used negatively against Zatilok.
This also makes no sense to me. Firstly, they're pretty clearly feline-inspired. Secondly, why would monkeys have trouble in space? I mean, if anything, a semi-prehensile tail, and feet that can be used for grabbing and clinging far better than human feet might actually be an advantage in a zero-G habitat. Hell, I'm pretty sure a lot of apes and monkeys would transition to zero-G/micro-G pretty fast, faster than some humans, in fact, once they got the hang of it. But anyway, yeah, they're cats, JUST LIKE THE FERRIANS, GUYS, NOTICE HOW CATLIKE THE FERRIANS ARE, but more catlike than the Ferrians because of their "furry complexions."
“There was a wee man named Harboro Sam, He took up some drinkin’ with main sail in hand,With nothing but hot air to sail him to land, He shored up to sailors, befriending with man,He threw down his skivvies and threw up his hands SHOVE OFF UNLESS YE DRINKIN!”
–Laerish drinking tune, unknown composer, unknown meaning.
Everything in this book has an "unknown meaning."
During the time prior to the Three Kingdoms and over the era of Three Kingdoms, Laerish lived in barbaric clan houses and sailed long ships. The Laerish of this time focused on pillage and wealth along with technological advancement.
Their inventions eventually allowed them the ability to control technological trade and after several thousand years removed their instinct and aggressive anger from their social personalities.
So the Laerish are basically honourable Irish(or Scottish? Can't tell) drunk techno-vikings. Or something. Also they've got almost no women(for some reason?). Also everyone likes the Laerish despite the fact that the Laerish used to raid everyone and now, apparently, maintain a stranglehold on high-tech trade because they're just so good at it.
Wow, Christ, this is off to a great start. I'm going to handle the humans in a separate post, because it turns out there's actually a few pages' worth of nations/human variants. Not that I expect them to be particularly inspiring, but dealing with this writing is a bit of a challenge.
Kromore Roleplaying Game!
FATAL & Friends Repost: Kromore, Part 1
01:43am EDT - 8/16/2015
I crack open the book and it looks reasonably organized compared to a lot. Glancing at the index, for instance, the fluff is in the back
, for once, rather than forcing us to read an ill-advised novel before letting us play the game. Basics, chargen, rules and then
fluff. I suppose this means we'll be frontloading all the dry stuff and saving the real laughs until the end.
Or does it? DARK BLADE, that's a profession name right out of someone's shitty fanfic.
No, really, that's the title of the very first chapter. It gives us the basics of what a roleplaying game, as per usual, elaborating in detail on the role of the storyteller, how to tell a good story and some suggestions that seem to encourage railroading and DMPC's to keep the PC's on track and on mission. Mostly what stands out here are the damn weird phrasings, the next one is a particularly odd one, which kind of strange given that the developer doesn't seem
to have English as a second language.
is this even English? posted:
Sometimes if players choose not to get involved in a situation a great story element to develop a mistaken identity theme can occur. Use all story that occurs around players to drive back to the larger story. Every choice including inactive choice is part of a story.
This form of manipulation of a story is called organic story telling and will create for your players the knowledge and belief that they can actually change the course of a story simply by making a different decision.
Adding a third grey area of perspective will layer realism of your story creating a deeper imaginative universe.
The third line is mostly just there because the phrasing, again, seems awkward as fuck. But in general this entire chapter heavily implies that you shouldn't actually let your players affect the story, or go off on their own adventures. Keep driving them back to the "larger story" and give them the "belief" that they can change the story, which may again just be shitty phrasing, but seems to imply that they should only BELIEVE they have the power, not actually have it. Then after that, the book dropkicks us into EXAMPLE COMBAT before we've even had a look at the rules basics.
“Kromore is on the verge of total civil-war between Steam Rebels and those who favor tech advancement. This real issue lingers at the back of your head as you ride the bumpy, uncomfortable, and yet highly familiar upper D train across the exposed open track over Mavens Sky District. The sound of steel reverberate a steady cha-chunking as the train car whistles against the steam filled airy exterior. An old Mavish woman clutches her purse next to a red skinned Gyxan who has been eyeballing a gold watch hanging from the lapel of a short and whiskery Laerish. The Laerish seems to check the watch impatiently every few seconds. He is finely dressed with a small bowler hat atop his head. Also in the car are three passengers. The first passenger of our players is Steve's character, Steve please describe your character."
The example of play rolls on with, well, excessive rolling. EVERYTHING gets a roll, even for NPC's.
Player Jane: "Ut oh. I quickly yell for everyone to duck."
"Ut oh?" Have I mentioned that this thing needs the loving care of an editor? Anyway, the players are on board a train, the train gets attacked by a driveby shooting from a hovercar, lots of dice are rolled that we don't really know a damn thing about because the example of play is well before the example of rules
, a guy steals a watch and runs off, and then the example ends, continuing into some advice that's mostly praising itself about how awesome the example was and how great
an example it was, specifically, of all the previous advice.
As the Story Teller you can always change the outside hovering vehicle to a civil police ship that is arresting the Laerish for stealing a top secret watch,
A top secret watch
. But really, there's some good advice here, like what to do when the players ignore your carefully crafted railroad to engage in something they find more interesting.
Some ways of getting stories back on the right path are by reminding the players of story goals through a third party, friendly messenger, newspaper article, television program, or deadly assassin.
Without involving actual enemies to hack and slash, weather and natural disasters can add realistic layers to the story, but adding in Deux-Ex- Machina (god like) moments often can make the players feel insignificant. Use your major events sparingly and only to drive the story back on track or add drama.
For instance, have the world and NPC's nag them about the main plot until you lose your temper and try to have them killed. And don't forget that Deus Ex Machina should only be used for
When dealing with Story Telling never take the power away from a player. Don’t tell a player how their character feels, instead present them with a scenario and ask them how their character feels. This motivates role playing and a bond between player and character. It’s also a lot more fun.
Don't take away power from the players by telling them their character's emotions, allow them to properly roleplay the anguish of being trapped in an unfeeling, railroaded world where evil assassins and blizzards stop their every attempt to deviate. I mean, this isn't bad advice, it just seems kind of hilarious when it's right after all that other shit. Then the book harps on a bit about how there are rules for literally everything you could ever want to do in or outside of combat, which seems to me less of a promise, and more of a threat that no matter what we try to do, we're going to be fucking rolling for it.
Sometimes the best stories start with the simplest of concepts. Here are a few of our favorite plot hook ideas: Rescue a missing person from some villains. Explore a cave or ancient tomb. Survive a natural disaster and travel back in time to stop it from occurring. Defeat a power hungry leader who is exploiting their citizens. Track down a stolen item and the one who stole it.
Outside of Bill & Ted, I don't think I can recall many stories with time travel that I'd define as "simple." Time paradoxes and becoming your own grandpa aren't exactly GM's First Adventure.
Players will find the system easily adapts to any game setting world.
Challenge fucking accepted. Start considering what worlds you're convinced
Kromore won't work for, and we'll see how it turns out. My guess is that it's going to be basically "all of them." But who knows? It sort of flows into the "basic rules" chapter which tells us literally everything except
the basic fucking resolution mechanic. We get told what the stats mean, how we calculate HP, how we calculate how much we can throw, what languages we know, and so on, all sorts of stupid minutiae. The closest we get to actually getting a basic mechanic before launching us headfirst into chargen is, as far as I can parse the bad phrasing, the mechanic for skill checks, where our skill level is a static modifier, and the associated stat is the number of D4's we roll... but no one tells us what the "average" DC should be, so there's no real way of judging whether it takes 1d4 or 10d4 to make us competent at something. I mean, it even tells us what the difficulty "categories" are("basic, easy, medium, hard, epic, legendary, unimaginable, uncanny, and in some cases ungodly."), but neglects to point out what a given "difficulty" translates to in DC.
Off to a great fucking start, here. I'm expecting some fucking gems once we get into the actual chargen, and even more once we hit the fluff.
I put on my Rehuna robe and hat
FATAL & Friends Repost: Wraeththu RPG, Part 10
02:01am EDT - 8/13/2015
The bad art starts up again in this chapter in a rather serious way. It also starts with a metric fuckload of in-character fiction which I'm going to summarize for you all, because fuck transcribing four pages of this trash.
Basically, back in YE OLDE ANCIENT TYMES, humans were totally enlightened because they were ONE WITH NATURE, chatted with the spirits, and believed that gods, demons and elementals were behind everything that happened. Human shamans talked to these spirits, fought the bad ones, etc. What directly led to humanity's "madness and decay" was the fact that we became advanced, started believing in science and became "robotic and isolated."
Then the Wraeththu writer starts wanking off about them not knowing if they were made on purpose or just an accident or yadda yadda yadda bullshit. And apparently the only thing that stops someone from being a bitchin' wizard is that they cannot PERCEIVE THE UNIVERSE correctly, seems like as long as you can just perceive everything as being part of everything, all energy interconnected, and everything as energy, you can wizard it up by force of will. There's also an expansion on how Wraeththu telepathy lets them send messages into both past and future when they get trained enough. We're also finally told that the MAGIC FLYING HORSES are actually real, and can ride through magical wormholes.
Short glossary: Agmara(Wraeththu Mana), Magari(Wraeththu spells), Majhahn(Wraeththu ritual magic), Nayati(Wraeththu temple), Rehuna(Wraeththu wizard), Ruhan(Wraeththu wizard in plural). I'm still personally fucking wondering where they get all these stupid terms. Can anyone tell me if they're ganked from some real-world language? Because that might make SOME sense, at least if those terms were used by a culture in North America or Europe, since those are the only places the Wraeththu seem to really be from.
Also the existence of "Dark Matter" means that science cannot explain the universe, because real Magic can't in any way be measured or explained by SCIENCE! Scientists secretly suspect that Dark Matter is magic, but they just never got a chance to admit it before the Wraeththu showed up and fucked everyone over. "Unfortunately, human scientists could not tolerate the idea that ancient peoples, whom they considered primitive, could have known more than they did."
Disintegrating things can apparently also be done magically really easily since you just tap every object's internal energy to tear it apart to atoms or warp it out of reality. Which makes you wonder why the fuck any Wraeththu Wizard would ever bother with the described-as-more-complex options of blowing it up, dropping heavy objects on it or setting it on fire. Wizard Wraeththu are directly encouraged to game the system to find the cheapest and least backlashy methods of accomplishing everything. Wraeththu players shouldn't also worry about not solving everything with magic, since their very EXISTENCES are magical. Every Wraeththu is a wondrous, sparkling unicorn of enchantment. This is followed by a short monologue on how we should just flip off technology and embrace wizardry instead, replacing guns with fireballs and computers with magical memory crystals.
Pretty much every paragraph includes or ends with a bit about how science can go get fucked
because magic is the real power
. More rarely there are also bits about how religion can equally go get fucked
because having rules for how things work or believing in cause and effect makes you a worse wizard.
Science, in a human sense, has had its time. Its tools have either been abandoned or broken, and the more rigid of its views have been rejected by the majority of hara.
With the influx of magical knowledge, the unknown now has a framework for explanations about how the universe functions, and scientific facts aren't as cut and dried as they were. New theories and ideas are showing themselves and the mysterious of Dark Matter will be explained.
Don't ask me why the fucking obsession with Dark Matter. This chapter is also, oddly enough, where we have Wraeththu morality explained. Basically it's generic subjective morality where no specific acts are evil, it all depends on circumstances and intent, yadda yadda. There's also another fresh glossary about all the goddamn goofy magical accoutrements Wraeththu wizards us. Vakei, WIZARD DAGGERS with MAGICAL CRYSTALS. Shayyai, WIZARD BOWLS, that are very boring. Naqi, WIZARD DAGGERS that you use for the whole Bishie Herpes transferral process. Nayati, as mentioned, is the local WIZARD HUT or stone circle or where ever.
Sidebar: "Aruna plays a big part in the novels, so should not be ignored in this game." Hoo boy.
Aruna or Sex Magic
: Alright, so it starts out by recapping that every Wraeththu has their wacky fucked up genitals and can get up to whatever craziness they like. Oh also that boning can be a MAGICAL RITUAL that affects reality. Also contradicting the very first thing I posted about this RPG
, this bit also says it would be inappropriate to roleplay the dickings.
Then there's a bit of bullshit about "blah blah blah we're ripping off Paradox and vulgar/subtle magic from oMage blah blah blah we're unoriginal fuckfaces." And then we hit another gold mine:
To summarize! Humans cannot do magic right because we are selfish, afraid and do the whole Dogma thing where we try to systematize stuff and understand it(shades of In Dark Alleys! Hello!). Yet at the same time, apparently most humans believed in Miracles but hated Magic. Aren't Miracles basically stuff that's accepted as inexplicable bullshit from some Other Force? Stuff that cannot be set into a system or explained? So would that not make that... not-Wraeththu's-definition-of-Dogma? But anyway, we could totally have saved ourselves from destruction if we had learned how to throw fireballs and disintegrate stuff.
The few humans who figured out their WIZARDLY POWERS got locked up for being crazy or burned at the stake. So basically we can blame THE CHURCH and THE MAN for us not being awesome wizards.
(PS for those reading along: After noting all this science-hating stuff, please note that Wraeththu's spirituality and magic has been marketed as a real "spiritualism" that has been gobbled up by thousands upon thousands of Wraeththu fans! You may know some of these people!)
I told you there'd be more bad art
Alright so, having awesome brains and an "androgynous spiritual being" is what allows Wraeththu to tap into magic that humans can't ever hope to approach. This follows a goofy-ass pseudo-alchemical system of elements and states. Air magic covers anything
gaseous, including oxygens and chemical weapons. One example use is specifically creating more gaseous oxygen, so I can't see why you'd be barred from filling someone's lungs with sarin gas.
Earth magic, mysteriously enough, requires Strength as its major stat(it was Intelligence for Air), so I guess we have MUSCLE WIZARDS in the house, Earth magic includes manipulating and creating everything solid and radioactive. Hello Wizard Nukes. Fire is Dexterity and is heat, flames and anything combustible
. And if these terms seem VERY EASILY ABUSED, then note that the intro text for this bit specifically says that what fits into which category is personal and basically up to how a given Wraeththu defines it.
Water is Willpower and is, predictably, creating and manipulating any liquid. Any liquid
, I'm personally not seeing how this prevents us from gaming the system by creating liquid versions of normally-solid materials. Hello raining molten iron on assholes I don't like. For anything that isn't water, we need a "knowledge of their structure and effect." So some high school chemistry classes or a pre-apocalyptic chem textbook is all we need to fuck everyone over forever.
The four "spiritual" elements are Spirit(minds, basically), Kinetic(literally kinetic energy, yes, yes, this is going to be amazingly broken since the description of magic so far has left nothing to prevent us from accelerating someone's heart out of their ribcage at ridiculous speeds), Attraction(Gravity and magnetism. Make your own conclusions about how to break the world) and Plasmatic(The "miscellaneous" category for everything not already covered. The example given is basically electrical power and creating enough heat energy to weld things together).
Four "states" that can be fucked with, Temporal(yep, TIME MAGIC, time travel is specifically mentioned as an option), Phase(the odds of something happening, teleportation, stepping into other worlds), Destruction(fucking shit up, oh and it can be combined with Temporal/Spirit to completely delete someone from reality, not just exploding them like a Fallout critical hit) and Conversion(basically alchemy, we cannot change complex things into other complex things, but we can change lead into gold, that sort of thing).
It also took me a solid ten minutes to find the hidden paragraph that actually describes how magic works. It's another skill check, but they decided that nothing relevant to it should actually be in the RULES chapter, and the actual RULES for magic should be something like a literal fifty pages into the Magic chapter after shitloads of fluff. Did I mention that the magic parts during chargen will make NO FUCKING SENSE without having paged 150 pages ahead and reading the Magic chapter?
Gods & Goddesses
: Wraeththu still have religion but it's ENLIGHTENED RELIGION with an androgynous, hermaphroditic God.
Then there's like a dozen fucking pages about the INCREDIBLY DULL tribal wizard levels and castes. Skipping that because my patience with this pile of shit has gotten worn kind of thin. And then MAGIC RULES. Which inform us that we can completely skirt someone's resistance to being fucked over by magic by, for instance, making molten iron above their head rather than in their lungs. This also lists how we can completely break this thing. Instead of limiting us to a few handy spells, the system determines what we can do by saying: "You can effect X volume/weight." Even a beginning Air/Fire wizard can affect a cubic meter(of nerve gas or pure burning), Earth is a bit more limited with a maximum of a kilogram(so what can we do with a kilogram of refined uranium?) and water gets 1 liter of any given liquid. And that's at the VERY LOWEST levels of knowing anything about this stuff, we could easily start at twice as much as these, and after a while we get exponential gains(level 1 is 1, level 3 is 4, level 6 is 32 and level 10 is 512).
Plasmatic gets a single kiloJoule, Kinetic and Attraction get 1 km/h/kg(a tad wimpier than the others, though if we find a small enough object we can hurl it at bullet speeds or better), Temporal is in days, and Phase and Spirit don't get units(though Spirit is suggested as defined number of souls/minds affectable at once). Instead they're defined by Storyteller Handwavium. Oh and for the record this is how much effect we can have not at any one given time, but every five seconds
. Oh and if we want to have a big effect all at once, we can basically do a DBZ-style power-up and just focus our ability until we're hammering away at a higher scale at once. So for instance if we just sit around and pour Agmara into a single effect for a while we can hurl a truck across the sky.
Sure, this eats up Agmara, but we're talking something like 2 or 3 Agmara(of our starting 45, up to 450 if we've chilled out for a while), for every liter/kilo/cubic meter/day/soul/kilojoule/kph we want to affect. Oh and we can apparently perform human/animal/Wraeththu sacrifices and chain up their souls as magic batteries if we want to break the rules even harder, and we don't even need WILLING sacrifices! Awesome
. Like just a given animal would be another 50 Agmara points, meaning say another 50 cubic meters of whatever gas we want. And the worst these unwilling victims can do is literally to make annoying sounds at us while we're tapping their energy.
Now, you might be wondering, what about the knockoff-Paradox effects? Well, it's like this, something as vulgar as(the book's actual example), shooting fire at someone from your fucking eyes
incurs one point of "Probability." Up to 6 points or so won't really do any real harm, at worst we'll get -10 or -15 to one or two actions and be slightly unfortunate until then. Once that disadvantage actually incurs, we burn off a point of Probability instantly. But you know what? We can do better: As long as any magic we do is RITUAL, rather than spur-of-the-moment, it never incurs any Probability
. So yeah, as long as we take a couple of hours to launch an artillery-like barrage of old cars at a nearby fortress with Kinetic and Earth power, we can do it with impunity. Bang off for a few drinks to chill out and recover Agmara, then show up, spend an hour making a car out of pure TNT and then hurl that
at the enemy fort.
So yeah, another thing they FUCKED UP INCREDIBLY. And you know what? That basically finishes Wraeththu. There's one last appendix, basically a single pre-made adventure and GM'ing advice, but it's really fucking boring.
Thanks for putting up with this misery.
Stupid names for the final chapter: Myth, Twitch, Blackrose
Some of these rules are not 100% realistic
FATAL & Friends Repost: Wraeththu RPG, Part 9
01:52am EDT - 8/13/2015
Alright, now let's figure out how the fuck we play this game. This chapter starts with four rules beyond the rules, basically rules on how to run a game without it being unfun.
Rule #1: "The Rule of What If and But!"
For Players: You're not allowed to argue with the Storyteller.
For Storytellers: Don't rule with an iron hand.
Rule #2: "The Rule of Common Sense"
Unless the numbers say otherwise, everything functions like it does in the real world. Apparently this game relies on the Storyteller to have some "common sense" and "insight into the world." I think that if he did, he'd have strangled the first asshole who suggested that they actually play this fucking game.
Rule #3: The Rule of Rules
Don't use all the rules, all the time, unless it'd make the game more fun.
Rule #4: Always Make Sure Your Players Love Their Characters
Help the players make cool characters, even if it means breaking the chargen rules ever so slightly. If your players get to have characters they enjoy, they'll actually want to hang around and play the game.
Ultimately nothing too odious and, honestly, the basic system isn't that bad. As we've already seen, it's a simple D20-rollunder system with a "who has the better margin of success" for opposed rolls. Even the combat probably wouldn't be too bad if they actually bothered to have an editor go over it and remind them to actually add in all the rules.
Another nice thing Wraeththu does is that it provides a huge, two-page table(I know, tables are usually bad, but stay with me, here) listing shitloads of common modifiers. Along the horizontal you have what the modifier is based on(like how familiar the character is with what he's doing, what the environment is like, distractions, combat stances, etc.) and along the vertical you have the extent of it. For instance, +10 in the "Situational Familiarity" Column is "an everyday task with which a character is very familiar." And +2 is "an action or task the character has performed only a few times in their life."
-2 for Environmental Conditions is "character is kind of uncomfortable due to heat/cold/something else," and -10 is "the temperature is so extreme the character is in pain or danger. Local objects could be flying around in the wind." I could think of a dozen situations where I as a GM could have used a table like this to flip over to in D&D, BESM or some other system, just so I had a good idea of what sort of modifier I should apply. At least when I was first finding my legs as a GM. So, actually, props to Ray-Thoo for this one.
It also turns out that psychic abilities and magic are actually two different things. Everyone it seems has PSYCHIC POWERS, while magic is only for Wizard Flowerdicks. The book reminds us that the things any Wraeththu can do are Telepathy(which apparently some humans can also do!), Thermokinesis and Healing. Telepathy does what it sounds like, no psychic warfare, just talking to others with miiiiind poooowers. Thermokinesis allows us to, as an average Wraeththu, heat or cool any object by 26 to 60 degrees centigrade. It only has 10cm range, though, and living things get a roll to resist it, so at first glance it seems like we can't be a Wraeththu Hitman who sneaks up on people and freezes their brains to lumps of ice by tapping them on the head.
After cracking the numbers, however, this seems like it's a lot easier than it might at first appear to be. See, Magic Resistance is basically (STAM mod + WILL mod)/2. At the human average(10), there are no modifiers for either, meaning that the only chance of someone not being brain-iced is if we fuck up our roll. So how much damage CAN we do? For each Agmara(mana) point, we can affect 1 kilogram of matter. ANY matter. Our starting Agmara is our weight in kilos/2, and our maximum Agmara is ten times that. We're of course going to be as ridiculously tall as possible, because we're powergaming, meaning a weight of approximately 90 kilos.
If we're completely fuelled up with MAGICAL ENERGY and ready to rock, we can then freeze 450 kilos of matter. At chargen, assuming it's not already warmer than 60 degrees centigrade. We regenerate a point per minute when awake, and two points when asleep, when meditating it's 4 points an hour. So it's not like we need to be CAREFUL with this stuff. The one obstacle is that it takes some time to wind up, so for every second we can only add another 1 kilo to the burn/freeze area(or 1 liter). The actual temperature change seems to happen instantly over the course of these 5 seconds, however.
I'm sure some biologists, physicists or chemists can enlighten me on the effects of heating/cooling a kilo of living creature or physical object by 60 degrees in the span of five seconds, especially since we can bypass any skin or surface layers. How would YOU break reality if you could do this? Oh and presumably boiling or freezing someone's brain/heart is instakill since there are no specific rules for how much damage it does and the start of the chapter says to use "common sense" and reality's rules for things we are not specifically told to roll for!
Healing, by comparison, is remarkably non-broken, and actually, gasp, acknowledges that genuine medical knowledge helps with being a healing wizard!
We've already gone over the shittily written combat system before, so I'm not going to dig into that again. Beyond the Morass of Combat there are tables. These tables are... suspect, because they insist that the average person(10 Strength) can lift 236 kilos. This emerges from the calculation of STR x 23.6 for lifting. It seems an oddly specific number, what with the .6, so I wonder what the hell the source of it is. Though I'm pretty sure this means that we can literally yank the floor out from under most enemies. What we can actually carry for extended periods of time is more sane, though, being only 20 kilos or so for the average person. There may also be some fuckery with the basic running speeds, I'm having trouble finding the definition of how long a "Phase" is, but if it's around a few seconds, the average person may be able to give Usain Bolt a run(literally) for his money.
Just when you thought I was going to let a post pass by without any shitty art
In the end the Rules chapter isn't too
stupid. Something tells me that'll change next post, though, when we hit... The Magic chapter!
This chapter's stupid names: Wraith, Dustspinner, Binding-rocks, Muffy
Randomly generated Ray-Thoo
FATAL & Friends Repost: Wraeththu RPG, Part 8
01:45am EDT - 8/13/2015
Alright, so, before we continue, let's prod at the numbers a bit. Ignoring stats for the moment, we've got skills. On average probably around 60. Since it appears to be assumed that most people are going to swing around melee weapons, we'll need both a style and a specialization. Let's say we go Swords(Big Ones) with the style Two-Handed. Since everything's roll-under, anything under 10 is rather dire, and we can probably assume that a 50% chance to succeed is what we'll want to be able to rely on a skill.
This leaves us with 20 points burnt on being able to fight with even just one
kind of weapon, and 4 skills beyond that which we can actually be competent at. Our stats are unlikely to ever give us more than a +2(barring an unreasonably generous GM, points-wise), so this means we get to do four things and swing one weapon. So much for Wraeththu being vastly superior to humans.
Past that little look at what the numbers actually mean
, we get the usual derived stats, Energy, Composure and Psyche. How long we can walk, how easily we lose our shit and freak out, and how much PSYCHIC MANA we have. And then MAGIC! Complete with pseudo-philosophical ramblings!
Chaos and Order posted:
For example, a piece of paper and a house brick represent significant amounts of order. The shape of a wild tree, or the way fire dances, reflects the actions of Chaos.
Magic's split up into three general schools, Elemental(Fire, Earth, Air and Water), Energy(Spirit, Kinetic, Attraction, Plasmatic) and Changing States(Temporal, Phase, Destruction, Conversion). The Chaos & Order stuff seems to be a pseudo-Paradox thing, where fucking around too much with THE BALANCE OF THE UNIVERSE gets your ass kicked by reality itself. We are then told NOTHING AT ALL about how magic works, instead being pointed 100 pages further ahead if we want to know(yes, really handy to generate characters based on principles that are still 100 pages off) and dumped into Equipment and Hit Points.
The Hit Points actually follow a sane system, a sort of merger of White Wolf's health levels and hit points. You've got a buffer zone of "Minor Wounds"(Hit Points) that you can lose without being much more than in pain, and then you've got your final Major Wounds that require medical attention to fix, as you progress through piles of Major Wounds towards death, you start getting severe penalties to Doing Stuff. Every 10 Minor Wounds suffered also punches right through the buffer to deal a single Major Wound.
Generally the editing and organization are also alright for this part, usually things are in sensible locations and there are plenty of summations of most things, saving you having to dig through twenty paragraphs of flowery text looking for the calculations for, for instance, how many hit points you have.
Once we actually get to skill descriptions, though, there are some oddities. For instance, BLACKsmithing and WEAPON smithing are filed under brute strength, while ARMOR smithing requires dexterity and Mechanical Repair is also a BRUTE STRENGTH skill, you'd figure that fixing precision things that need to interlock well and etc. would require, again, either finesse or intellect.
In one of the rare occasions where I'll praise Wraeththu, it rewards picking non-combat skills by having some of them have skill synergies with combat, like being an epic-level butcher also granting you advantages with melee combat. Still no charisma-analogue, instead its role is split between willpower, intelligence and perception, meaning that everyone should be able to participate in social interaction, rather than having to choose between being good at socializing or good at fighting/thinking.
On the subject of combat skills, I still really don't quite understand why the various 1-handed and etc. styles are there at all, it seems like a pointless complication to split up how many hands you know how to use a sword with, rather than just saying you know how to use a fucking sword. I'm going to flip ahead to the COMBAT chapter real quick and see if they describe it any better...
This is where I get completely confused, as nowhere does it seem to describe how you actually fucking ATTACK someone. Instead it goes completely obsessive about describing their weird-ass initiative system where every round consists of five sub-rounds and there are all sort of goddamn mechanics relating to what negates further sub-round actions that make me want to just go pick up my D10's and play Exalted, because it has a combat system that's better thought-out and written.
It seems like there might be a fun and tactical system here, but I can't parse it. I really cannot fucking figure it out. Even between the efforts of TWO chapters on combat mechanics, I still can't, for instance, find out how basic stuff like dodging works. It literally lists it nowhere, and just assuming that "dodging" is another skill roll doesn't seem sensible, because the way its calculated leaves it at a rock-bottom bonus, even on the pre-made character sheets, meaning that it'd never actually succeed.
There are a shitload of small-and-optional rules about encumbrance, armor weight and hit locations. The hit locations are split up into twelve "quadrants" of the body(yes, you read that right, TWELVE. QUADRANTS. The writer did not know what "quadrant" meant.), complete with different percentages of hit-chance depending on whether you're attacking someone from the back or the side. It looks like there are options for going full ADVANCED SQUAD LEADER with this shit if you want. Complete with specific rules for cranial trauma.
Each "combat phase" is split into five "slices," and you can act in more or less of these depending on your weapon and personal speed. If you only have 1 action, for instance, you only get to act in the third of five "slices," but if you have six actions you get to act in all five AND have a sixth "interrupt"/"spare" action that you can throw around at any time, for instance to block, roll, dodge or do some crazy bullshit.
Then there's a list of MERITS & FLAWS, which some RPG's seem contractually obligated to include, whether they're a good idea or not. They're split into the sections of HUMANS ONLY, ones that can survive the crossover from human to RAYTHOO and ones that are only for the Wraeththu. Here we learn that Wraeththu cannot be blind, fat or have brittle bones. Sexual fetishes are apparently NOT destroyed by the crossover(it's a flaw), so sucks to be you if you have a fetish that doesn't work with a flowerdong!
Also, being a foot shorter than average is worth the same amount of flaw points as being addicted to drugs, just thought I'd point that out. To be fair, being shorter does, if I recall correctly, lower your total WIZARDRY POINTS, so I guess midgets can't be magical.
In general, though, the Merits & Flaws list isn't too bad, and largely sticks to PHYSICAL ones, meaning that there are few of those social/psychological merits/flaws that are so easily gamed for cheap points in other games.
And with that, we've passed the chapter that allows us to make a character. Keep in mind, though, if I hadn't paged ahead, I would literally have had nooooo fucking clue what any of these numbers meant in play! Good editing! Anyway, after this is RULES and MAGIC, those are the last two major sections. I really don't expect them to be all that horrifying. Rules I'll probably breeze through next post, but Magic might have a bunch of hilarious misogyny, racism and absurd assumptions about human psychology.
Roll for Soume-Lam circumference
FATAL & Friends Repost: Wraeththu RPG, Part 7
01:25am EDT - 8/13/2015
Also known as...
That's right! 159 pages into the book and we reach the first thing that has ANY relation to the rules whatsoever! And right off the bat we're informed what system we're using, it's called... The Storm System. At least they picked a pretty bitchin' name for it.
So let's take it as the text informs us about it. Everything is on a scale of 1 to 20, and 20 is the maximum human limit, while Wraeththu have no limits on anything whatsoever. 'cept... apparently... there IS an upper limit, but the Wraeththu just don't know it? And if they don't know it, apparently they can just completely ignore it? Goddammit! And then they completely ignore the system, so, just so we can actually UNDERSTAND this fucking chapter, I'm jumping ahead to page... 239 to see what the basic mechanic is.
It seems like what we've got is a basic D20 roll-under mechanic. For opposed rolls, both sides try to roll under the relevant number, and whoever rolls the farthest under theirs(for instance, rolling a 3 when your number is 10, is better than rolling a 14 when your number is 15) succeeds. Critical failures/successes are reversed from D&D, predictably, so we want 1's and hate 20's.
Now back to chargen!
: This is the part where you decide who your character actually IS. None of this affects the system, but there are some pre-made questions to help you(this is actually a nice idea that more systems could benefit from) and some sidebars! For instance...
This game can be enjoyed just as much if you play a group of humans battling against the Wraeththu. Although such characters are essentially doomed either to die or one day be incepted, you can at least explore the world as a character perceived as the enemy.
Not sure if this means all humans fighting the RAY THOO are fucked due to being inferior or whether this is just a reference to the fact that humans definitely age while RAY THOO sort-of-maybe-kinda-don't.
For the humans, and for the human part of any Wraeththu's life, here are the relevant questions.
What did your character do at school, college? Did your character have a part-time job, or were they in full-time work? Was your character a member of any subcultures? Did your character take a specific educational path? What was your character's family life like? Did your character travel much or stay at home? How did your character hear about the Wraeththu?
So all in all, nothing too fucked up. Decide what he did, where he came from, what he liked, what he hated, whether he knows the world or if he's been sheltered from day one. Also here we actually get to see some sidebar quotes from the recently-Incepted, suggesting that the Wraeththu might just NOT be the height of intellectual perfection compared to humanity...
Can I change my name to Merlin? -Quote from a recently-incepted Sulh(PurpleXVI's Note: Those being the MAJYCKAL BRITISH WRAETHTHU)
And then, questions about the Inception.
Why did your character become har? Were any of your character's friends and relatives incepted? Into which tribe was your character incepted? Did your character know what to expect or was ti all new to him? Did your character have any strange experiences during the Inception? Did your character dream, and if so, how did these dreams affect them? When your character's body had fully changed and he awoke, what did he feel? With whom did your character have his first aruna, and was the experience positive or negative? Now that the character is no longer human, does he feel bound by humanity's laws?
Again, none of this is particularly odd, though it all basically pares down to two important questions: Was the Inception traumatic, horrifying and against your will? And what tribe did this to you? The sidebar quotes also start getting more obnoxious, descending into Fishmalkitude.
Peanuts! Don't mention peanuts near me. When you live with Chinchillas, peanuts become the bane of your life." -Calambus Mint
I mean seriously!
Anyway, finally there are two last categories of question, which I can't be fucked to transcribe. First Days(after Inception): "Who did you make friends with, who did you piss off, what did you do?" and Future: "What are your motivations?"
And then, SUDDENLY, huge side-section! "Women And Inception."
In the world of the Wraeththu, women seem to get rather a raw deal. It appears they are unable to become Hara, and the Hara claim the best and brightest men to become like them. Women who wish to play characters in the world of Wraeththu may feel this is rather off-putting. After all, a Wraeththu character is neither male nor female(and yet in some ways both). Almost all Wraeththu have begun their lives as men and see the world initially from a male perspective. A Wraeththu is essentially a male character coming to terms with their new female nature, so women may find it unfair they cannot play a female character coming to terms with their male aspect.
Also apparently they're all Asians who live in the FAR EAST as part of tribe Zigane. The book also suggests that the character could just be a SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE who was incepted by normal Wraeththu(trying it for the 1000th time, just in case the other 999 dead women were a fluke) and yet it somehow worked. They turn into androgynous man-likes anyway, though, instead of masculine lady-ish things.
The alternative for women wanting to play female characters is to play a female human
. "Female humans have far more potential as player characters than their male counterparts." Also apparently women are far less terrified of Wraeththu(well, okay, probably because Wraeththu blood doesn't make their genitals turn into horrifying monstrosities), and can totally get along with them far better than men. So you could be a lady hanging out with the ladyguys. "Women tend to be less physical in their attempts to fight the future." Then the book backpedals and says BUT, UH, YOU CAN TOTALLY PICK UP A GUN AS A LADY ANYWAY.
Oh and then comes the rape!
Human males are usually the ones trying to fight the Wraeththu, but women seem to be ignored by them. When the world starts to fall apart, might becomes the only justice. With women being physically unable to dominate men, they fall prey to man's desperation. They are often kept hidden away for safety and sometimes used as little more than breeding stock to replace those that the Wraeththu have taken. Taking this to an extreme, "rape gangs" may stalk the cities trying to ensure every woman is pregnant in a desperate and horrifying attempt to repopulate the human race.
As the physically weaker members of society, many women are forced back into the kitchen to do as they are told. With this climate, it is small wonder that many turn to Wraeththu society, running for the ironic safe haven of a Wraeththu city, happy to be rid of men. The Hara are happy to leave them alone, as women are of no interest to them as either mates or slaves. They also know women want nothing from them, they neither beg to be incepted or resort to violence as easily as men. So the Wraeththu are happy to treat them as individuals and trade and work with them as required. In fact, with Wraeththu being originally male, many may turn to women to help them deal with their newly awoken feminine side. Who else in the world is there to council the Hara about the new aspects of themselves?
The potential is already there; in today's society many women find close friendships with gay men, so why not with the Wraeththu? To a woman, Wraeththu may well seem to be perfect men. They are strong and powerful, as well as deeply attractive, with all that power tempered by a sensitive feminine aspect. It would not be surprising for many women to fall in love with a Hara, even when she knows that love can never be returned. However, in its place can often form a bond of love dependant not on sex or lust. Aruna for a Wraeththu is not only something reserved for those they love. So it follows that Aruna need not be an essential ingredient for any loving relationship as well. In such a way, a Wraeththu could easily come to a non-sexual but still loving relationship with a woman. Such a relationship would make them perfect adventuring companions.
Yeah, just read that. Think about it for a moment, and in the meantime I'm going to take this as a chance to sneak back into the crunchy parts of chargen.
: Traits are basically more fluffy character generation stuff. The only crunchy part is the selection of tribe. Also it has a list of selected names that heavily added to the "dumb fucking names in this chapter"-list at the end of the post.
: It starts out with some stuff about height and weight, apparently all Wraeththu are mass-produced when it comes to physical traits, as a given height will always result in approximately the same weight. You also want to be as HUGE as possible as apparently heavier Wraeththu can store more MAGICAL ENERGY.
: Interestingly enough, while we have physical and mental stats(STR, DEX, STAM, PER, WILL, INT) we have no social stats. For a setting which supposedly puts so much focus on mentally, seduction and social/sexual interaction, you'd think it'd have something like Exalted's social combat, or at least a Diplomacy skill. Still, I suppose that could be folded in under Intelligence, we shall see! All the stats have a little descriptive "fluff" paragraph which chronicle the adventures of Dag, Mint & Zip, terminally drunk Uigenna on a beer run. It's not exactly well-written, but it's a nice change from the overly dramatic examples you get in some books. As mentioned before, the human scale is 1 to 20, all stats start at a base of 4, then we roll 6d6, each die presents us with a number we can add to one stat, and finally we get 10 free points. And the starting limit in anything is 15(unless, the book says, we can sweet-talk our GM into removing that limit). So far nothing seems particularly fucked up or hard to follow.
There's XP(Development points), Merits & Flaws(not listed yet), Resources(your funds and equipment, this is NOT decided by stats or points, but entirely by your background, so the more Sue you write it, the more sweet gear you get!).
: As far as I can tell, you can end up rolling against EITHER a skill OR a stat, not the two added together, as in many systems. But each skill also has two associated stats, and those stat gives it a bonus or penalty(from -2 to +5, for the 1 to 20 range, you average the two stats to find where on the scale they lie). Your total skill points are dependant on minor boosts from Intelligence and Perception(at 15, your max starting, they'd give you a total of +6, with both at 20 it'd be a +15), +2d6 and finally a flat +45. The game promises a list of skills soon, soon! Just like it promises a list of Merits & Flaws soon, soon!
: Yeah, weirdly enough, combat skills are not normal skills, and they DON'T get stat bonuses? Except then the text backpedals less than a line later and says they DO get bonuses, just not bonuses for specific skills, instead you get general boosts to ranged and melee combat. You also need to specialize in EVERY damn weapon you use. "Pistol" is not just "pistol," you apparently need to specifically specialize in DESERT EAGLES or GLOCK 9MM or something. I'm sure a gun nerd can tell me whether this is completely irrational or not(I am suspecting that it kind of is). Oh, reading a bit down, it seems DESERT EAGLE is the specific example for the fucking Pistol skill. Goddammit.
So, to recap what the book says... you get your Base Combat Modifier to all weapons for which you have the relevant style(for instance, all pistols), but you only get a further skill bonus if are actually using your specialization: DESERT EAGLE. Except on top of this, there are also FIGHTING STYLES? I'm getting completely lost in this fucking text. Apparently, a ONE-HANDED fighting style, would only apply to the KATANA that the example character(AGROTH) is specialized in, not a broad sword. But you still need to have 10 in the STYLE to have 10 in the SPECIALIZATION. Also fixing your weapons is a COMBAT SKILL instead of a normal skill. I think, from re-reading it, that in addition to skill with the weapon itself... (Broad category: SWORDS. Specialization: KATANA.) you also need a combat style for what you want to DO with the weapon(like 1-handed or 2-handed for melee weapons). Styles also represent your maximum for other skills, if you have 2-handed at 12, for instance, and no other melee style, you cannot have any melee weapon skill above 12. There are no styles for ranged combat, so ranged combat dudes totally get it all cheaper, it would seem.
But it's fair! Because "anyone can pick up a gun and pull the trigger"(then what about bows, jackass? I thought tech was mostly falling apart in this post-apoc world!), while swords are apparently some sort of NOBLE ART that require years upon years of mastering, unlike dishonourable guns.
This is totally stupid and I'm putting the book down for now as it starts preaching on about how this system is for REALISM.
New stupid names for this chapter: Essence, Seraph, Crimson, Lynx, Tiamat, Shiva, Antarax, Foxhawk, Silver, Gorlagon, Blackfern, Thoth, Zap, Nubia.
WraeththuIt's pronounced "Ray-Thoo" [#]
FATAL & Friends Repost: Wraeththu RPG, Part 6
12:35am EDT - 8/12/2015
Note: While I'm not going to show it off, I'd just like to point out that this section has quite a few "shitty editing" errors that even a basic spellchecker should have picked up, such as "soldier" becoming "solider." So much for production values.Gelaming
My mind keeps wanting to read their name as "Gleaming," am I the only one? Anyway, these particular prettyboys have a country in the Balkans named Almagabra, which includes the Balkans themselves, part of Turkey and a bit of Europe. They also claim that they know how to make bishie babies. Their Thing is that they want to be the Best of the Best and are therefore poaching talent from the other tribes. They're SUPER magical even compared to how magical the other tribes are.
Also goddamnit, MORE mentions of magical horses! Apparently GIANT WHITE MAGICAL HORSES sometimes teleport to where they are, when they're out and about. What is this author's boner for magical horses? They've also mastered the art of never having to make compromises, it seems, as their clothes are "simple and practical" but also "stylish and flattering," at all times. And of course there are so many fucking words wasted on describing HOW THEY'RE SO GODDAMN PRETTY THAT IT DOESN'T MATTER IF THEY'RE COVERED IN PIGSHIT AND BLOOD, THEY'RE STILL GOING TO APPEAR STUNNING.Kakkahaar
These guys are STEALTH NOMADS who do a lot of trading. They're rich as balls on account of selling and trading all the shit that the other RAY-THOO are too stupid to produce or grow for themselves. And of course, these are the author's reminder that ANCIENT HUMAN CIVILIZATIONS were morally and ethically superior to our modern-day one, and that we should totally LEARN FROM THEM, GUYS, because this is the Kakkahaar opinion.
So anyway, in the opening paragraphs they're simultaneously materialistic and mystic, interested in knowledge and obsessed with getting rich, great at stealth AND great at fighting, they have everything you might want to trade for, but they're short on necessities themselves AND they enjoy hedonistic lifestyles.
They all turn golden-looking when incepted, and have super-long hair, apparently long enough sometimes that it "covers their body like a shawl." Oh and they dress in appropriate deserty clothes, robes and stuff, but at the same time all their servants are dressed real fancy and occasionally wear nothing but their hair. So I guess they must go through a lot of servants who die in the cold of night or the heat of day. Also despite being nomads CONSTANTLY ON THE MOVE they love to weigh themselves down with shitloads of heavy gold jewelry!ObliviataSome of the art isn't TOTALLY bad
So these are the Islamic Nomad Wraeththu, basically. Where the Kakkahar are pseudo-gypsies, all MYSTERIOUS AND DISTRUSTED AND ASS-FULL OF MAGIC & DIVINATION, the Obliviata hang out in the Middle East and mostly just keep to themselves, not even doing much magical bullshit, but instead believing that "Allavé" guides them. Their tribal signet even has four crescents and a scimitar on it.
Except somehow THESE guys are the ones that the text says are spiritual descendants of the gypsies(or maybe they're all actually Bishie-tized gypsies, it's a bit hard to tell), and despite the NO ETHNIC HATRED clause from pages earlier, this still gives the Obliviata a bad rep with all the other tribes. Yep, other tribes specifically consider them "thieves and vagabonds."
"Even though they lack much in common with the old ways, having transcended beyond any ideals followed by their human predecessors, other tribes appear unable to forget the past and will not accept the Obliviata for the free hara they are, instead regarding them simply as thieves and vagabonds."
Maybe I'm just paranoid, but it reads to me like the author is suggesting that the ideals of the gypsies is/was actually based on HEE HEE LET US BE SNEAKSY THIEVES AND ROB THE WHITE FOLKS.
Also unlike the other tribes who BURN THE FAILED ONES, the Obliviata actually think they should help out the poorly-Incepted. Unlike the others who have ENDLESS DESCRIPTIONS OF HOW BEAUTIFUL they are, these guys are just described as "of refined features" and wearing desert-y robes. No fancy bullshit. Also the book cheerfully reminds us that the Americans were oppressing the Middle Easterners and THANK GOODNESS THAT THE WRAETHTHU FUCKED UP AMERICA SO THE MIDDLE EAST COULD BE FREE.SulhWhat the future holds for the British
They start with the geography of Alba Sulh(the UK), the big island is Alba(Britain), to the west is Keltoi(Ireland) and the strait between them is the Monaig. Also of course the entire region of Alba Sulh is just soaked
in magic, to the point where using psychic communication has replaced anything like letters or telephones. "Many claim to have seen strange and mythical creatures roaming the countryside there, and the Freyhella tell stories of sea monsters that prevent outsiders from getting too close to the shore."
Welcome to Fairytown! There's apparently so much fucking etheric energy floating around Alba Sulh that you can't even trust your senses to parse reality correctly in the area.
These guys are also Wiccans, Wiccan astrologists. Wiccan astrologists who can tap CRYSTAL POWER for magic. And mark them up as another tribe with SPECIAL HAIR, these guys believe their hair is magical! And they always tell you the truth, but it's actually not the truth, it's just what you already believe, so what they actually do is called lying
in a lot of cases, making any statements as to their truthfulness completely retarded
. UigennaCan ANYONE explain what the fuck is going on with his hair? With his everything?
Alright, so these are basically the Sabbat Brujah of Ray-Thoo. They love guns, they love partying and they love FIGHTING THE MAN. They are also huge assholes. They're the guys who're holed up in the fucking Space Needle, and they kill pretty much fucking everyone they bump into. "In the cities that they began to populate, they would use their psychic abilities to lure human boys to them, offering promises of freedom, dark secrets and adventure." These are also the guys from the INTRO FICTION and, judging by this description, about as pedo-tastic as the Colurastes.
They've done so many drugs that it's somehow made them specialists in alchemy and making drugs to kill people and Wraeththu with. How does this even make sense? I could smoke meth every day for two years and it wouldn't give me a fucking PhD in chemistry! "Personal hygiene is not a great concern, as baths and fresh water are often a luxury in the slums and ghettos of the ruined cities. Despite this, many Uigenna are strikingly beautiful, in a bizarre fashion."
They're also the biggest idiots when it comes to Incepting, and thanks to them, many North American(sorry, Megalithican!) cities are now full of roaming, zombie-like mutants. Unneah
Unneah are basically for the people who want to DRESS as stupid as the Uigenna but don't want to be Chaotic Evil meth heads. Also apparently these guys are the source of the stupid "THE GELAMING HAVE PEGASUSES!"-stories. They're also some of the only Wraeththu who realize that farming instead of scavenging is a good idea. And they're shamanistic people who are CLOSE TO THE LANDSCAPE.
Ultimately they aren't too interesting, they're just Uigenna-lite.VarrI shall name him... DARK SHADOW!
So these are the STRUCTURED MILITARY GUYS to the Uigenna's CRAZY BARBARIAN GUYS. They capture the STRONG AND POWERFUL humans who actually manage to fight well against them, give them the Bishie Herpes and throw them into the ranks for the next war. Oh and gasp, we know that they're kinda evil because... THEY HAVE TWO GENDERS, sorta. They've got the USUALLY WITH DICKS dudes who lead society, and then they've got the USUALLY WITH VAGINAS dudes who wear dresses and are hoping to one day get knocked up with "Harlings" by their manly husbands.
Generally, though, it's hard to hate them too much, because unlike the pretentious other fuckers like the Gelaming and Kakkahaar who have ORIGINAL SOCIETIES DO NOT STEAL, the Varr are just like: "Hey, humanity did have some pretty good ideas, let's just do shit their way." and it seems to be working out for them. They also prefer guns to WIZARDRY, earning them another point in my book. They've got horses, farms, livestock and are generally not retarded.Minor TribesFreyhella
: VIKINGS. GRRRRR. RAID ALBA SULH, BRAID HAIR, TRAVEL SEA, PARTY BIG.Smalt
: They live in the Caribbean, are good with poisons and have generally taken over human businesses and farms there.Hokule
: Pacific Islander Wraeththu, supposedly they live in volcanoes and love to party, and they only accept willing inceptees. Kheops
: Native American Wraeththu, which have subtribes named stuff like DARKRIVER and BLOODCLOUD. Sometimes they raid people, sometimes they just farm.Inukshuk
: Inuit Wraeththu. Apparently they don't even know how the fuck they got incepted, and don't seem to give a fuck about it. They just shrugged their shoulders and went on living as usual. Supposedly the only Wraeththu with a particularly good sense of humour.
Dumb Name Listing for this Chapter: Aries Strala, Marius Frost, Netspinner har Sulh, Dag Viking, Besta Zamhalama.Next time! We finally get to the fucking rules!
Why are we here?
Why are we here?
FATAL & Friends Repost: Wraeththu RPG, Part 5
12:21am EDT - 8/12/2015
No, really, that's a headline for this section of the book. For anyone who cares, by the way, we're still some 50 pages from chargen, and over 100 from anything resembling rules. This thing is just loaded up with shitloads of miserable fluff. BUT ANYWAY, this particular fluff section has THEORIES about why and how the Wraeththu are around!
: The first Wraeththu was a horrifying mutant born from a human mother, part one of the creepy psychic kids from Village of the Damned, part misogynist(he hates his mother from birth, apparently), part crazy fucking rapist murderer
. So he runs away from home after fucking another dude to death, and a hobo tries to eat him, BUT GASP, THIS MEANS THE HOBO GETS WRAETHTHU BLOOD IN HIM... And then those two are the start of the whole fucking mess!
Humans have abused and abandoned their natural strengths: In Wraeththu it begins to bloom.
Except I thought humanity's "natural strength" was the fact that we could make nukes and guns and chuck them at things? So weren't we expressing that quite excellently?
[Wraeththu's] bodies are immune to cellular destruction through time. As they are physically perfect, so must they strive towards spiritual perfection.
Then after that, we're presented with a bunch of OPTIONS, if we choose that this is true. Option #1: Wraeththu are all a horrible, horrible accident. Option #2: Wraeththu are someone's INTENTIONAL horrible, horrible fuckup, like a genetic experiment. Option #3: It's not true, and is instead a CONSPIRACY THEORY. So... I guess that's... not an option about it being true after all... Fuck it. NEXT THEORY.
: Wraeththu are angels and/or devils, divine punishment/purpose. Apparently loads of pagans totally think this is an awesome idea and/or the truth. Christians and other followers of "traditional" faiths decided it was time to kill themselves because OH GOD THE END TIMES, while the Pagans all went "OH BOY GAIA IS KILLING US, THIS IS AWESOME." and rocked out.
: Wraeththu have always been around, just hidden! Because flower-cocked bishounen with acid jizz and magical powers would be SO subtle.
: They're the next step of evolution. More blathering on about how they have the potential to be FAR more stable and self-fulfilled because they don't have their male and female mental halves punching each other in the neck all the time. According to the book, as drastic a mutation as the Wraeththu occuring in the span of one or two generations is TOTALLY REALISTIC, because diseases have absolutely caused such things to happen before.
It is difficult for human scientists to accept that such a drastic evolutionary step could ever be natural, but many diseases have caused mutations in the past, and human technology, with all its advances, never did fully understand the workings of the human frame.
Evolution is a messy and misunderstood process. Even in the days before Wraeththu, some dual-gender offspring were born to humans, and on a cellular level, a high percentage of males possessed cells of the opposite sex.
Just a quick quote for any Bio majors in the audience who want an aneurysm.
Threats, you might ask? What could ever threaten our perfect, unique bishie wonders? I'll tell you what. DIRTY GODDAMN HUMANS.
I'm assuming that dude is a member of THE HUMAN RESISTANCE/THE HUMAN THREAT on account of A) not looking like a glam rocker, B) not looking like a girl and C) not looking like a goddamn retard. Also while the Wraeththu have basically descended into semi-primitivity, seeming only to have really retained technology when it comes to stuff like partying and drugs, the humans are apparently still fully teched-out with biological weapons, chemical weapons, missiles and other war machines. They built a huge, fortified border that protects THE HUMAN DOMAINS from any flower-dicked dongheads that get too close.
They're also described as Cunning and Devious!
That said, with regard to toxins, there is one substance that humans developed which is fatal to our kind. It was discovered during the development of DNA separation and profiling. A chemical was developed to separate the strands of DNA for use in profiling systems. You can appreciate the lethal application of this substance. The merest contact is enough to degrade a human frame at an astonishing rate.
Then the humans made an anti-Wraeththu version of this factually dubious substance and a few drops alone will melt them!
Threats that aren't as cool as humans
: "We don't age, we can't have kids and most of us are too retarded to farm! Waaaaah, life is pointless!"
The Ancient Ones
: So apparently they read a lot of leftover Lovecraft and thought that references to Old Ones and Elder Races were actual goddamn scientific literature. Because the Wraeththu are now fucking terrified of these things coming back and wrecking their shit. No details on what they actually are, but a lot of Wraeththu are scared shitless of them nonetheless, they think some ELDER RACE existed before humanity and that it'll doubtless be evil if it returns. I have to admit, THE HUMAN RESISTANCE vs Creepy Rapethu and Elder Things might be a better Lovecraft RPG than CTech...
: "OH MAN OH MAN WE MIGHT PARTY OURSELVES INTO DESTRUCTION."
Mythology & Legends
Okay, so there's a grand total of four of these. And they're all really short, let's summarize.
: So Immanion, the great big city in the Balkans that was TOO PERFECT FOR WORDS might be fucking Atlantis or something. Also supposedly the Wraeththu there ride fucking Pegasuses.
Werewolves of the Desert
: So some people think there are REAL MONSTERS. Like vampires, werewolves, sea serpents, krakens and Pegasuses.
Even More Than We First Thought?
: MAYBE WE CAN LEARN TO SHIT OUT KIDS AND MAYBE THERE ARE FEMALE WRAETHTHU.
: So some Wraeththu apparently dropped LSD and are convinced that the FLYING HORSES are messengers from ANGELS OUTSIDE OF TIME who created the Wraeththu.
And this is what passes for fucking quest hooks so far, I guess. Goddammit, why do the fucking flying horses pop up in three out of four of them? But that actually does finish off the major fluff chapter! Next up is Tribes! Again! Yes, they decided to list the fucking Tribes twice! Before we just got one-paragraph summaries, now they all get multiple pages!
Alright, so. There are eight major tribes, and a bunch of smaller tribes. Tribes are split into bands called Phyles, which are ruled by Phylarchs, and the Phylarchs are lead by an Archon.
While most tribes contain members from different human ethnic groups, many of them have adopted styles, customs and traditions from very early human civilizations. Wraeththu scholars have pondered this phenomenon, and several agree that it may have arisen because the planet itself retains certain memories or templates, like archetypes, which Wraeththu, being more attuned to the planet, absorb and manifest
So Wraeththu absorb and manifest these stereotypes entirely on grounds of being superior and more sensitive than humans... except that humans already did this first? This shit doesn't even have the vaguest pretense of internal consistency, sometimes. Of course, as mentioned before, despite being PERFECT AND AT HARMONY, the Wraeththu are violent fuckhats who love to murder each other for being from the wrong tribe.
Also we're reminded that the Tribes are not formed because of ethnic issues, as the Wraeththu are way above this completely human failing. They only hate each other for SENSIBLE things, such as being born in the wrong territory, or a citizen of the wrong state or... oh wait. Yeah, if anyone's confused, pretty much every tribe is limited to one or two major geographical parts of the world, so hating another tribe just for being another tribe IS essentially completely down to racism, as what tribe you're a member of depends on what creepy man-woman raped you, not what you believe in.
Ethnic origin does not appear to be a contributing factor, as it once was for the humans. This is undoubtedly because hara do not suffer the same psychological problems over "differences" that humans do.
Also despite humanity being basically obliterated in North America, and Wraeththu being MAYBE 1/10th the number that humanity once was, they're such utter mongoloids at infrastructure, farming and other necessities for survival that they're already suffering for lack of good land and locations.
Tribe #1: The Colurastes
Jesus, ladyguy, I think you have a fucking jellyfish on your head!
So these guys are apparently serpent-themed, which they "embrace," because the serpent has "long been the ultimate symbol for androgyny," which is fucking news to me. They never cut their hair, which supposedly bleeds if you cut it, and it may or may not be prehensile. Though all stuff leans towards it basically being head-tentacles. Also, just in case anyone was still in doubt: These assholes kidnap and bone children. Creepy shit! Somehow their recruits are much less susceptible to various mental disorders than the others, because being put through a HARROWING AND MISERABLE EXPERIENCE THAT ENTIRELY REWRITES WHO AND WHAT YOU ARE, ALONG WITH BEING KIDNAPPED FROM YOUR FAMILY, is apparently less scarring for children!
Also these guys can "feel others' emotions, even those of the dead." Though I shouldn't think a corpse has much in the way of emotions at any given moment. It must be a rather boring special power. Oh, yeah, and despite the lack of ethnicities, every tribe apparently has common enough appearances that they can have a subheading for describing their archetypal looks.
They worship some sort of snake-dude and are BROODING LONER ASSASSINS.
And then, before I can subject myself to more BISHIE BULLSHIT someone comes along and wants me for something. So you'll have to read about the rest, next time! And maybe we'll get to the system, too!
Geography & Culture
FATAL & Friends Repost: Wraeththu RPG, Part 4
11:57pm EDT - 8/11/2015
Okay, so just to try and make sense of the dumb new names we're dealing with(There's nothing resembling an actual map so far). North America is now Megalithica, and the entire west coast collapsed into the sea, the humans are in charge of the east coast, and the Wraeththu are being fuckheads all over the center, north and south.
Almagabra is either South America or somewhere in Asia. I think it might be South America, fucked if I know, what's important about this place is that it has the CITY OF IMMANION, which is the magical idyllic city of the Wraeththu. On the other hand, it also has a place named "Floridana," so maybe this is what became of the West Coast and it's just sort of floating around in the Pacific somewhere? Fuck this stupid shit.
Alba Sulh is the UK, you can tell because they decided to name the capital fucking "Avalona." Seriously. Olathe seems to be the Middle East.
Just about the only two places that have recognizable names otherwise are Freygard(Sweden/Norway) and Nunavut(far north Canada).
The only places that are marked as THE HUMAN DOMINIONS seem to be Denmark, 'round the edges of the Baltic and Russia. The rest of Europe has gone Full Bishie. Nothing about Asia whatsoever.
Apparently despite the world going Full Post-Apoc just a decade or so ago, there's already a thriving entertainment industry among the Wraeththu. You'd think that, what with the vivid descriptions of biological and chemical weapons being deployed, nukes thrown around "with abandon," volcanoes, earthquakes and tidal waves, even the Superior Bishies would be fighting just to have a functional farming system or something going on.
Oh and apparently there are ghosts and demons now and they haunt places. This is really only given a side-mention so we know that there are SPOOKY HAUNTED FORESTS and shit.
Soda Lake Cat Lair
: So there's this really spooky lake where some humans used to live but now the HUMANS ARE ALL GONE, so now it's full of SPOOKY CATS who are NEVER HUNGRY OR MALNOURISHED despite there being no food so all the Wraeththu are like "THESE CATS ARE OBVIOUSLY MAGICAL GUARDIANS OF THE LAKE." Oh and if you don't bring gifts for the cats I guess something bad might happen? Maybe they'll take a dump in your shoes while you sleep.
Did I mention it's barely been a decade or two since everything went tits up? Somehow this has still done enough brain damage to the Wraeththu that they refer to machines and cars as METAL BEASTS.
There's also a list of FAMOUS WRAETHTHU. Spoiler: They're all pretty, perfect and incredibly fucking boring. You've got the MYSTERIOUS ONE, you've got the WARRIOR GUY, you've got the PHILOSOPHER DUDE and oh wait, did I say THE mysterious one? Because like half of these are MYSTEEEERIOUS AND SPOOOOKY AND NO ONE KNOWS MUCH ABOUT THEM, EXCEPT FOR HOW PERFECT THEY ARE.
I'm sorry, this section is just so fucking bland I can't even make fun of it.
(because OF COURSE there are tribes who each have their own distinct stereotypes and stat bonuses)
: Pedophiles with prehensile hair.
: Wizards and scientists.
: Gypsy wizards.
: Religious nomads.
: Literally the third out of five tribes so far to be praised for how ESPECIALLY PSYCHIC AND MAGICAL they are. Also British.
: The generic GRAR FIGHTER BERSERKER dudes.
: Flamboyant pirates.
: A bunch of military dudes and just about the only ones who don't prance around as completely androgynous, instead preferring to act masculine.
If you believe in some deity hard enough it becomes real, no, really. Which kind of offers puzzling questions of why major pre-Wraeththu deities didn't do anything to stop all the bullshit, or maybe turn the Wraeththu into pillars of salt. And despite shitloads of different religions, Wraeththu are totally too civilized to ever have religious wars. Because they're not huuuuumaaaaan, guuuuuuuuys.
Also if two Wraeththu make out they become telepathic together forever.
: Supposedly enlightened beyond most human faults, Wraeththu nonetheless base most of their choice of inceptee on who looks really cute.
: Despite their superhuman intellect, Wraeththu used to just cut people open with broken bottles, pour blood on them and see what happened. Now most of them are less retarded and use, you know, syringes and clean knives and shit.
: First they starve you and wash you for days. Then they shave you and bleed on you. Then your body forms a cocoon of shit and blood
which somehow protects you from infection and saves you from having major organ failure while your DNA is being rewritten!
Internally the Wraeththu DNA will latch on to that of the humans in a manner similar to that of a virus. Then, harish DNA gradually overwrites the human code. Also the DNA brings ribosomes with it, which help the mutation process to change the human tissue and organs.
The genetic mutation takes place over the first two days, with the organs changing at a slower rate. The process is similar to an embryo gestating in a womb, as the cells and organs of the human are literally reborn.
Then you suffer miserably as your new pseudo-vagina gouges out a pocket inside your stomach for itself. Then your cock turns into a flower. "Muscles will at first retract, then regrow in a stronger form. The bone structure will become denser, but at the same time more flexible." And then the cocoon of human shit and scabs falls off and you're now a beautiful butterfly!
Also if no one fucks you afterwards you become a crazy zombie Wraeththu who attacks everything. And if you're not perfect and beautiful after the transformation, for instance if your bad eyesight or hearing has remained, the other Wraeththu will set you on fire or ritually murder you.
Mostly just adding this because the art style changes a bit around here, getting a bit more anime
There's a bit on the extremely boring tribe-specific Inception rituals, but the only ones that stand out are the Obliviata, who are the only ones that DON'T kidnap and rape random humans, instead only taking willing supplicants, the Varr, who actually do it in a scientific way instead of a religious fashion(note that the Varr are heavily implied to be the badguys of the Wraeththu tribes), and attend to the poor person with painkillers and stuff if the UTTER MISERY becomes too miserable, and the Colurastes, who, as mentioned repeatedly, are creepy, creepy pedophiles!
Bad names of the chapter: Wraxilan, Laice, Loveless.
Aruna is the Wraeththu term for sexual union
FATAL & Friends Repost: Wraeththu RPG, Part 3
12:22am EDT - 8/08/2015
So today we study how Wraeththu think! If you suspect the answer is "superior to humans in all ways," then you're right! Trigger warning for any psych majors who read this, since you may have an aneurysm from rage. Delayed trigger warning for doctors and biologists for the previous post.
Attitude to Humanity
: Predictably they think we're below them, but whether they kill us for laughs to treat us like animals is up to the individual Wraeththu. Wraeththu who start to think like humans in any way are "deprogrammed" by Wraeththu psych-wizards.
Whatever their viewpoint, every har can see that humans suffer great inner conflict between their masculine and feminine aspects, which is hardly surprising, as outwardly they have to conform to their gender's accepted stereotypes. Hara frown upon this black and white perspective of the world. However, many humans have now begun to realize that life isn't quite as black and white as they used to think. These individuals are now beginning to attain an inner harmony similar to that achieved by the Wraeththu.
: Polyamory! They can totally love each other but they have free sex across all bounds, because having an exclusive physical relationship with one person will inevitably
involve jealousy and mistrust, and be self-destructive.
: Wraeththu don't have any kids of their own(except for the Colurastes who Incept human kids and then fuck them), but they're totally superior parents to humans because they understand not talking down to kids, and under Wraeththu guidance all children mature much faster and become much more awesome! Treating children like children will only make them hate and distrust adults.
Deep down, humans need to rationalize everything that they perceive through their senses. They want explanations for the things their minds cannot understand, for in not knowing lies fear. Fear of the unknown causes great problems for the human mind. Even if many of the answers they seek lie before their eyes, humans seem not to see them, or are too lazy and cannot be bothered to comprehend them.
Apparently "very few" humans ever bother to look for The Truth, but of course Wraeththu are superior and totally understand the universe much better. And they don't believe in religion or Gods either, of course they kind of have the advantage of being able to SEE SOULS, so that settles a lot of the fucking debate for them.
Do we exist for a reason? Is there a meaning to life? If so, what is the great plan? These are questions that even hara cannot answer. Humans struggled to grasp the reason for their existence, which may have contributed to their downfall. Perhaps, if humankind had joined with Wraeththu, in accepting the force of nature, and had helped the earth rather than continued to abuse it, the rebellion of nature and the spread of horrific plagues might not have occurred. Humanity's self-importance and their misunderstanding of existence were partly responsible for their decline. This is illustrated through examples from their history, from the Crusades to the great world wars. Humans fell prey to their own failure to understand why they are alive.
What this meaning of life is, we're not told, but we're told that it's definitely not a desire for power, and that only the best and brightest of the Wraeththu understand this. Also apparently Wraeththu are deadly afraid of introspection, because that's a flaw they inherited from humans?
: "Because of the amalgamation of both feminine and masculine aspects of their psyche, hara do not face the same degree of inner conflict experienced by humans." You know, this goddamn focus on how important anima and animus are to the human psyche really reminds me of IDA's insistence of Freudian psych being gospel truth. But anyway, aside from that, Wraeththu are totally awesome and never racist, but instead the different TRIBES want to strangle each other, regardless of skin colour!
Also in these paragraphs we're introduced to someone named Velisarius and his incredibly stupid quotes, he's apparently one of the first fucking Wraeththu or something and a super-important prophet to a bunch of them.
This one gets a BOLD headline because this is about Wraeththu cocks.
So they used to think boning was still just BONING, but then somehow through autopsies, an examination of the physical, they discovered the meta
physical and spiritual aspects of it? That part makes no fucking sense to me. Then they started using Tantric Techniques(described as the Ancient Art of Sex Magick) to discover the TRUE DEPTHS of wizard dicks. But what you guys are REALLY here for are the vivid descriptions of the sex organs, right? I sure fucking hope so, because here they come!
When aroused, the masculine organ of the har resembles a petalled rod, sometimes of deep and varied colours. It possesses an inner tendril which only emerges when stimulated by the feminine organs of any arunic activity. The secretions from the ouana-lim at this time possess healing and euphoric properties. There are seven energy centres found within the ouana-lim, which correspond to the seven main energy centres, or chakras, within the body's torso and head. Experienced hara can utilize these energy centres to intensify arunic energy during Grissecon(PurpleXVI's note: Boning SPECIFICALLY for dick magic purposes), or else to heighten pleasure. As in human males, hara possess two testes, but these retract into the body cavity when a har takes a soume, or feminine, role in aruna. The ouana-lim too shrinks during these occasions, and then most resembles a dense, many-petalled flower on the surface of the body.
Behind the masculine organs lies the soume-lam, similar in some respects to a female generative organ, in that it is a self-lubricating passageway into the body. The interior of the soume-lam is pleated or furrowed, , but also elastic, to accommodate the stiffed petals of an ouana-lim. Like the masculine organ, it possesses seven energy centres, although only five of them are accessible during normal aruna. High Codexia Malakess, the Sulh researcher, says that the remaining two must come into play during procreation. During normal aruna, the secretions from the stimulated soume-lam mingled with those of the ouana-lim to create an intoxicating substance that can sometimes be hallucinogenic. The culmination of aruna often provides an extremely visionary and spiritual experience for those involved.
And then there's Pelki which, as we already know, is rape. And yes, all the body secretions of Wraeththu are extremely caustic to humans, and will melt them. Also there are EVIL DARK SEX MAGICS that can only be used by rapists! Spooky.
To recap, Wraeththu can: Set stuff on fire with their minds. Move things with their minds. CREATE PHYSICAL MATTER WITH THEIR MINDS. Do telepathy. Heal people. Change temperatures. And probably whatever the fuck else they want, considering that the following examples involve mind control, changing the past, causing earthquakes and blasting castles to ash with energy bolts.
Also there's something kind of like oMage-style Paradox here. If you just disintegrate something out of hand, that's gonna cause Backlash, but causing a vicious earthquake to rattle it into rubble doesn't. Because the earthquake doesn't need a fucking cause, I guess! Fucking stupid.
There's a bunch of dumb bullshit about what they call their wizards but seriously who GIVES a fuck, none of it sounds funny and it's sure as hell not interesting.
Stupid names of the last few pages: Loveless, Sovances of the Kakkahaar, Zip Hamstring, Silk, Zillah Shemercy.
MEGALITHICA AND BEYOND
Aka., the fucking history/geography section where they throw out a bunch of stupid names and describe how wacky they are.
So in YE OLDE WAY BACK PAST shit was going bad. More wars, more plagues, more viruses, people dying, oh nooooooo. THE INTERNET also collapses. Fertility rates drop. Power networks and water supplies collapse. "Nuclear bombs were dropped with almost careless abandon. Whole countries were destroyed and deserts turned into huge, glass plains due to the immense heat of the explosions."
BUT GASP, THE PLANET FIGHTS BACK. Now you can add earthquakes, tidal waves and volcanoes to the list of things that hate humanity. You'd think that the volcanoes at least would be a stupid fucking idea, though, also killing off plenty of animal and plant life and shit like that. In fact doing about as much damage as human warfare.
Most people who can afford it move into CITADELS to avoid getting murdered by roving gangs, possibly lead by mysterious, huge martial artists that could make men's heads explode with their bare hands.
And then just to top it off, the fucking Bishie Herpes kicks the fall into full gear. Now they've got child-molesting, STD-infested, bishounen rapists roaming the streets and trying to kill people as well. Also the Wraeththu apparently kicked things into gear by being crazy-ass terrorist bombers. And of course they totally defeat the human militaries because they're miserable Mary Sues. Oh and apparently they can KILL PEOPLE WITH THEIR FUCKING VOICES.
Long story short humanity gets FUCKED. The end. Now the Wraeththu get to play around at screwing the Earth over!
And then I look and see that there's like 30 pages for the next section on the INCREDIBLY DULL places you can have INCREDIBLY DULL ADVENTURES ABOUT COCKS. So I put down the book and go do something more interesting...
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