Reviews and Ramblings
MIDDENARDE - PART 7 by PurpleXVI - 12/12/16
MIDDENARDE - PART 6 by PurpleXVI - 12/12/16
MIDDENARDE - PART 5 by PurpleXVI - 12/12/16
MIDDENARDE - PART 4 by PurpleXVI - 12/12/16
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GM Startup Guide by PurpleXVI - 06/10/09
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DORF FORT ELLPEE by CAPSLOCKGUY - 10/19/08
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In Dark Alleys
We'll get back to the actual rules any week now...
FATAL & Friends Repost: In Dark Alleys, Part 5
10:12am EST - 1/01/2016
Slow start to the semester, so I may as well hammer down a few more SECRET LIVES.
Basically Professionals are cops or FBI agents or mafia guys(????) or VATICAN SECURITY or corporate security or SOMETHING of that order. They do their job, then one day they end up FIGHTING THE SUPERNATURAL and, for some reason, both kill a ghost(or whatever) and don't consider this big enough news to tell the press that HOLY SHIT GUYS, THE UNDEAD ARE REAL!
This gets them a raise and an invitation to join an Organization, always a Fraternal Lodge(yes, like the Freemasons) which is ruled by OLD WHITE MEN who are now suddenly their pals. As they rise through the lodge, they are one day invited to join the SECRET SUB-LODGE, which is all about defending society from the supernatural badthings.
Of course you can also elect to not join a lodge in which case you're still a cop who shoots ghosts, you just never get to learn why
nor get any supernatural training.
What You Know posted:
-One type of threat is humans who have gained paranormal skills or powers.
-Some of these humans are trying to destroy society (or perhaps even destroy reality itself).
-Some of these humans are in dangerous occult groups that meet in or near bars, accident survivor support meetings, gay/lesbian bookstores, libraries, immigrant communities and abandoned buildings.
-Other humans don’t have control over their powers and go around causing problems unintentionally.
-Sometimes inanimate objects can be the source of paranormal events. The PC has been encouraged to give these objects to the Order for safekeeping.
-Sometimes places are the source of paranormal events. If informed, the Order can pull strings and make sure these places lie abandoned and unused.
-Some of society’s most powerful and important people have a relationship with the Order.
So, to summarize. These guys are oMage's Technocracy, everyone
but Faustians who actually work with their Dances seems to have a decent idea of what they actually are, and Freemasons control the world.
There's also a huge sidebar about the Freemasons and similar/related lodges, but none of it seems crazy and, in fact, it seems pretty similar to what you could find if you just looked them up on Wikipedia. On the upside, hey, it's not crazy. On the downside, hey, it's kind of uninspired.
Also as a side-note, some of them have other supernatural humans as contacts despite this technically being the direct opposite of their job description.
Many who would become Scribblers were already questioning the basic principles of modern philosophy and religion long before they ever heard from another Scribbler. Many were philosophy students who finally found a philosopher who made sense, only to find that nobody considered this philosopher anything other than a joke. The initiate’s favorite philosopher was studied only because it was interesting that someone who seemed so smart could be so wrong.
At some point those who would become Scribblers came into contact with some phrase, most often scrawled on a wall or on a piece of paper hidden in a library book. The phrase said exactly what the initiate had been thinking for years yet
never knew anyone else believed in. It might have said that what we can see and touch is only a tiny part of what there is to reality. Or it might have said that human consciousness can’t have been created in or designed to live in the mundane realm. The clear disdain for orthodox beliefs the graffiti showed was as important to the initiate as any theories the graffiti put forth.
After that the initiate kept his or her eyes peeled for more messages and learned where to find them. Although they could pop up anywhere the writers had the audacity to put them, they were most dense in run-down, seldom or neverused locations where nobody would ever bother to clean up graffiti. The initiate may have discovered, for instance, a ratty old bathroom stall in a dive bar where the walls were coated with scribbling in dozens of hands. For many initiates the discovery of their first ‘bulletin-board’ was the most ecstatic moment of their lives. Sitting for hours, they read not only statements of unorthodox beliefs but also debates, discussions, references to books, references to other bulletinboards, references to places to find supernatural phenomena, reports of supernatural experiences and directions for occult experiments. Many of these experiments included meditating on the falseness of the material world.
Yet another Secret Life who spends most of their time hanging out in public mens' rooms! Badumpsch. Their thing is that they found a supernatural ritual that someone spray-painted on a wall, or painted on a bathroom stall, and instantly took it as gospel and went home to try it. I guess being a gullible idiot is another path to supernatural power.
Their main activities are either said scribbling to contact other scribblers, or scribbling little creepy notes and graffiti to SHOCK THE MUNDANES and make them realize what the world is really like, maaaaaaaan. From their perspective, these guys are basically stuck in the Kult universe: A hostile shithole designed to hide the truth from us, everyone's out to get us, and the authorities have secret armies to stomp our faces with if we get too close to THE TRUTH.
For some reason one of their powers includes learning how to COMMAND ANIMALS and some of them become totally-mean terrorists "destroying the foundations of power." BUT, how is this a "Dark Side" to them? I mean, if The Man really is
suppressing the truth and trapping us in a twisted society trying to hide that having weird genitals is humanity's real state, or whatever, wouldn't this be just the logical, and good, thing to do? Fucked if I know.
Their party role seems to be "that geek with all the books who researches shit."
Survivors died, making them fit their name pretty badly. Then, while their bodies were technically dead, they saw the reapers(no, not the Mass Effect ones, no, not the generic scythe guys either, just weird blue blobs) collecting souls and whigged out. Or at least as much as you can whig out while being discorporated. And willed their bodies to take them back, their hearts to start beating again, and dodged the reaper's, metaphorical, scythe by a hair's breadth.
Now that they know what happens to the dead, they are so utterly shit-scared of it that their terror gives them supernatural powers of regeneration and recovery, even curing prior disabilities. It specifically includes mental retardation as one of the things that get fixed. No word on whether it also fixes insanities.
They also got stuck being able to see the reapers permanently. Turns out these reaper guys hang around where bad shit is about to go down(but never at sudden, randomly violent incidents), and the Survivors often run around trying to get people to safety when they see reapers congregating. Of course, the reapers have apparently not taken lightly to this and have started trying to murder Survivors through violent accidents and the like, blowing up their gas stove or whatever, getting their house to burn down around them while they sleep. In fact most Survivors have heard stories of fellow Survivors being killed in their sleep and are now refusing to sleep at all, as far as possible.
Others become death cultists, deciding that killing people for the reapers to harvest will get them off their backs. That they somehow have to "pay off" their own survival. If this was actually the truth, it would be kind of interesting, balancing morals with ensuring your own survival.
And finally we only have one secret life left.
At a young age, Wonderlanders became entranced in a fantasy world of their own creation. Each had an “adult friend” (usually a relative or friend of the family) that took a special interest in them and helped them escape into the fantasy world. The help may have included giving them a place to play alone and giving them toys or books. Some adult friends invited their young Wonderlander to come stay with them until some family crisis resolved itself. Most importantly, the adult friend told stories to the young initiates based on their own fantasy worlds.
Am I the only one who feels like this sounds just a slight bit creepy? But anyway, after this, the Wonderlanders forget all about this stuff and grow up. Then ONE DAY, when they're FEELING DOWN, they remember it! Weird hobos and living toys are suggested as some of the means of reminding them. Alternately...
For other Wonderlanders it was a message they received or evidence that they found that suggested that their adult friend had been psychologically manipulating or experimenting on them. The Wonderlanders found out that their adult friends had unusual interest in their playlands and knew things about them that the young Wonderlanders had never told anyone. Parts of the messages were, for some Wonderlanders, instructions from the adult friend telling them how the power of the Playland could be harvested in time of need.
Doing more research, Wonderlanders discovered that the same thing had been done to other children, perhaps even by the same adult friend.
Which doesn't really defuse the creepiness of the first quote.
Also apparently Playland isn't a nice place. Seems like a lot of Wonderlanders end up stuck tracking down escaped Playland creatures causing trouble for people, or busting into Playland and dealing with shit there which causes trouble in the real world some other way. Their abilities related to Playland are very vaguely worded in this section and we'll have to puzzle about the exact stuff later once we get to the actual powers part of the rules, but for now it just says that stuff can move between the real world and Playland, Playland has aggressive, malevolent and non-intelligent predators, as well as semi-intelligent, "exaggerated" inhabitants. Sometimes the Wonderlander can turn local reality into something that follows Playland rules.
Dark Side posted:
Wonderlanders were experimented on as children, often by people who had an unhealthy obsession with children and childhood. What was done to them is still not entirely clear. In the course of figuring it out, some Wonderlanders start performing their own experiments with children. Many of these experiments may harm children.
Playland Phenomena (Mandatory Disadvantage)-
In addition to the powers the PC consciously controls, there are phenomenon which will happen against the PC’s will. Toys will animate, portals will open to playland, playland entities will cross over into this world, etc. These events are most likely to happen when the PC is under stress. There is a small possibility they will help the PC, but if they have any effect on the PC’s life they are most likely to cause trouble. Sometimes when a PC has a desire he or she is unwilling to act on (perhaps because of moral considerations, fear of disapproval by others, impracticality, etc.) some playland phenomena will attempt to act on that desire on the PC’s behalf.
There's also a bit of illustrative fiction.
The final sidebar of the Secret Lives section informs us that being a child is a miserable, horrible existence of existential angst and worry, only salvaged by the fact that all children have ADHD and will forget about bad things after a couple of days.
The one thing children have going for them is their incredibly short attention span, which allows their periods of stress and dread to be interspersed with periods of joy and abandon while they are doing something fun. Adults tend only to notice and remember the latter, which is why so many adults mistakenly believe that life as a child is more pleasant than life as an adult.
And that's it for Secret Lives. Next time... Day Jobs! Skills! Supernatural Skills!
Aren't you just excited?
Birth Servant (WIL) posted:
The PC must be in a body with a uterus and vagina to use this skill.