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Everything posted by PingosHusband

  1. One of the things that's unusual about this game is how NPC heavy it is. Usually, my games have a small number of locally important NPCs, who the PCs interact with as necessary for the furtherance of their lives and goals. There will also be another small number of NPCs doing their own things that will lead to later adventures (especially if the PCs don't interfere). But Exalted is different. Each Exalt is capable of affecting the world in large and serious ways, and the PCs interact with them a lot more because of that. Also, it's not uncommon for an adventure to require one or more NPC Exalted with specialized knowledge or skills to accompany the PCs. Furthermore, each of these NPC Exalted has their own Motivations (the heroic impulse that made them worthy of Exaltation in the first place) and Intimacies (those people, things, and social groups that they have positive or negative attachments to). And none of them will just sit on their hands and wait for things to happen. They exist to fix and/or change the world and by The Incarnae, they're going to do that. As a result, I have a lot more NPC actions and interactions going on, even without yet having more than one NPC Exalted bad guy. Just having 20ish (for now, more are coming in as adventures happen) more or less good guys each with their own interests and agendas is pretty complicated. I'm stretching my GMing in ways I hadn't done for a long time (voices, for example, are getting a work out). A standard game of Exalted has, in theory, 700 Celestial Exalted, but long distance travel is rare in standard Exalted so there are usually only a small number relevant to any area. Running in modern day, however, means that any NPC can quickly get involved in any adventure, and anybody's actions can have consequences that affect the entire world.
  2. They should probably be sooty and dirty what with all the forge work and the boulder throwing and what not.
  3. The Imperium always had rather broad policies on the draft. The Zhodani on the other hand... I ran one game of Traveller in college. I had way too many supplements and ended up with a very weird party. Including one IBIS agent (Imperial secret service) and one Sorag agent (Zhodani secret service) carrying on an intraparty secret battle. It was not a successful game.
  4. † Scout Bo Han A486BA Age 26 2 terms Service History: Attempted to enlist in Merchants. Enlistment denied. Drafted into scouts. Voluntarily reenlisted for second term. Death in service. It's no fun dying during character generation if you don't roll the dice yourself. After trying this a few times, it looks like survival depends on being denied reenlistment. Actually got one all the way through to retirement. Merchant 2nd Officer Chloe Pérez 562BB8 Age 42 6 terms Cr21,000 Skills: Auto Rifle-2, Mechianical-1, Medical-1, Navigation-2, Prop-Driven Aircraft-1, Steward-2 Benefits: 6,000/yr Retirement Pay, Auto Rifle, Low Passage, Low Passage Service History: Attempted to enlist in Merchants. Enlistment accepted. Commissioned during first term of service as 4th Officer. Voluntarily reenlisted for second term. Voluntarily reenlisted for third term. Voluntarily reenlisted for fourth term. Voluntarily reenlisted for fifth term. Promoted to 3rd Officer. Voluntarily reenlisted for sixth term. Promoted to 2nd Officer. Retired after sixth term. Also her last three stats are BB8, so I should see about shifting her to a Star Wars game.
  5. I haven't looked over 3E, but I've read some of the discussions of it and some of the wiki entries. They seem to be trying to open the game up a bit for a wider range of play types. It sounds interesting, but it doesn't fit with what I'm trying to do with this game. I'll probably look into it eventually.
  6. That's a pretty good description. The PC Alchemical in my game had exactly that attitude in his last life. So his job in the Locust Crusade (the Alchemical Invasion) was to gather up people to act as new souls. His initial idea was to carry a batch of babies back to AutoChthonia, because they're small and portable. Unfortunately, he discovered that in Creation, babies aren't raised together in community creches. Rather they're in individual households. So he had to give up that idea and concentrate on other things. I've been having fun playing around with variations on the soul system, putting things together that White Wolf left lying around in places. Side note: One of the annoying things in all White Wolf games is that things are usually only explained in one place, and you often need to read multiple books to put together the necessary information. This isn't so bad at the moment because one can buy used book cheap on Amazon, but at the time it would have been unbelievably frustrating. So, here are a few things found in different sources. 1. There are six castes of Alchemical Exalted. The Alchemicals are the prototypes for Exaltation. AutoChthon designed them but did not actually build any in the Primordeal War. Orichalcum Caste is the prototype for Solars. Moonsilver is for Lunars. Jade is for Terrestrials. Starmetal is for Sidereals. But there are two more types that have no corresponding Exaltations: Soulsteel and Adamant. 2. They say several times that at the end of the Primordeal War, the Primordeal called She Who Lives In Her Name (she's the principle of Hierarchy) destroyed swathes of Creation in a fit of pique. Even those who lived through this cannot remember what existed before that she destroyed. They suggest that she might have wiped out some Incarnae and types of Exalted. 3. In the Infernals Book (and only in that book). It is explicitly stated that Malfeas (the Demon King) killed two Incarnae and that the Exalted who were Chosen of those Incarnae went made and killed each other. This lead me to consider the possibility that those Incarnae and their Exalted correspond to the Soulsteel and Adamant Castes. The Soulsteel caste equivalent might well have had something to do with what happens to Souls between lives. The Adamant Caste equivalent might have something to do with the mysterious Convention on Oversight which oversees the Sidereals. Then again maybe not. I'm not going to say what I've decided about this until it shows up in game.
  7. No Transformers. There were giant robots and nanotech androids and an illusory army and the most headache inducing fight I've ever run. But the adventure worked out, so the PCs are in the process of destabilizing the Technocracy which will over the course of time destabilize the entire world. Out of this I can make an arbitrary number of adventures. But there will be fewer robots in disguise, so while the opportunities for over the top gratuitous conflict with massive SFX will increase, they will not resemble Michael Bay movies, nor will there be merchandising tie in products. <The Syndicate Begs to Differ> Exalted Brand Shampoo: Revive your Essence. Blue Fate Perfume: Bring your own joy. Lunar Lingerie: Eclipse your Solar Mate. </The Syndicate Begs to Differ>
  8. Over the course of this week, Pingo has been doing a huge amount of painting because of tomorrow's adventure. She's posted them in Show Off and WIP. For those of you who know the World of Darkness, it's the PCs and some NPC Exalted invading Iteration X's base AutoChthonia. For those of you who know Exalted. That isn't the real AutoChthonia. The initial fight is going to be insane (the players already know and are eagerly anticipating it). It's 5 PCs and 4 NPCs against a huge number of cyborgs and robots. And that's just the beginning of it. The adventure gets more complicated, but the messiest fight happens at the start. One fun thing about this game is that I can run things that in a WOD campaign would be final battles of the campaign, or adventures so hard as to be impossible for any party of WOD characters. This is that kind of adventure. This place is meant to be impossible to attack. So, it's difficult for Exalted characters. The PCs and NPCs will have to pull out all the stops. Designing this adventure lead me to the realization that the idea of a Boss Fight as a the hardest battle is militarily strange. In general, the most difficult fight when attacking someone is the first breach of a siege. That's the bloodiest and most complex part. The attempts to have easy beginnings leading to harder endings require setting up strange and artificial series of challenges that are more akin to a Mystery Cult initiation ceremony than they are to anything military. The Lord of the Rings has three big battles and all of them are breach attempts: Helms Deep, The Battle of the Pelennor Fields and the fight at the Black Gate. And none of them are how the important matters are resolved. I will neither confirm nor deny the relative importance of this opening battle to the resolution of the adventure.
  9. I'll be posting on this thread as well, but because Pingo is a player I'm going to have to avoid giving away too much that the Players don't already know. The differences in fundamental cosmology between Mage and Exalted were some of the trickiest to work out. Fundamentally, Exalted magic is based on the world having fundamental processes put in place by the Primordials when they made the world, whereas Mage magic depends on consensus reality. At first these might seem insurmountable, but there was one aspect of Exalted that could be turned into something like Consensus: namely the powers of the Fair Folk which depend on imposed story telling to cause effects. But these powers were confined to Raksha, so I needed to do some finagling to make human belief produce similar effects. However, there is an odd little bit about humans in Exalted. They were originally created to be just weak enough to be afraid, and just imaginative enough to pray for help. In other words, humans were originally tools that turned fear into prayer and prayer in Exalted has power. In the transition I set up between the Exalted World and the World of Darkness, the Gods became inaccessible, so the massed human prayers created localized magical effects (consensuses) which the first Mages used to shape the world around them. In terms of power, this means that Mages can do a lot, but the Exalted can usually overpower them unless the consensus has serious backing or a very large mass effect. There are a few more relevant elements in this, but those aren't yet fully understood by the PCs, so I'm going to have to leave it at this.
  10. Lyrics for those who are interested. My Friend the Kitbasher. I told the Kitbasher, I had some parts to glue. I told the Kitbasher, I had to shave them true. And then the Kitbasher, she gave me this one clue. She told me: Hold these, stick this here. Ring. Fang. Hammer, hammer, things clang. Hold these, stick this here. Ring. Fang. Hammer, hammer, things clang. I told the Kitbasher, the minis fall to bits. I told the Kitbasher, the parts they would not stick. And then the Kitbasher, she told me this one trick. Hold these, stick this here. Ring. Fang. Hammer, hammer, things clang. Hold these, stick this here. Ring. Fang. Hammer, hammer, things clang. You can keep your minis from me, so they will be unmodded. And I'll admit, I shouldn't blowtorch hobbits. But I went out and bought shinies that make things so much keener. And they'll amp up my armies to be so, so much more meaner. Hold these, stick this here. Ring. Fang. Hold these, stick this here. Ring. Fang. Hold these, stick this here. Ring. Fang. Hammer, hammer, things clang. Hold these, stick this here. Ring. Fang. Hammer, hammer, things clang. Bang on and: Hold these, stick this here. Ring. Fang. Hammer, hammer, things clang. Hold these, stick this here. Ring. Fang. Hammer, hammer, things clang.
  11. On the whole, I like to make adventures that are directly relevant to the PCs. Along with that I try to assist them to come up with PCs that are rooted strongly in aspects of the world that will lend themselves to good adventures. I also try to encourage the kind of cooperative party that's willing to help with each other's problems. Taken together this produces several benefits. 1. Lots of adventure hooks to draw upon. 2. Characters that fit into and therefore have an easier time affecting the game world. 3. Everyone knowing that their characters will be central to some of the adventures. Therefore, they tend to put more work into the characters which leads back to #1.
  12. The following piece of pedantry comes from my attempts (in college) and later to learn Old English. In Old English there are certain conditions wherein an unvoiced consonant becomes voiced when sandwiched between vowels or vowelish things like r's and s's. As a result, the f in dwarf is unvoiced (i.e. it sounds like f). But the f in dwarfs is voiced (i.e. it sounds like v). So pronouncing it produces something closer to dwarves than dwarf-s. Old English did not have standardized spelling. As a result both of these spellings can be found. To make even more trouble, indeed at the risk of starting a religious conflict, let me further note that the d in Odin isn't a d at all, but an eth, a letter that looks like a d but is pronounced the way modern English pronounces 'th'. It too is voiced between vowels, so a more proper pronunciation would be ah-thin. We now return you to the question of who needs more trolls or drow, because those are also variants of the same word as dwarves. Ah, Germanic languages, just as messed up as those derived from Latin, but less Romantic.
  13. As Pingo said, I love that scene. It's the most Norse mythology thing that ever happened in the entire run of Thor. Here are a couple of images from that part of the comic
  14. There was a Knights of the Dinner Table comic about this exact thing years ago. The DM had a Gelatinous Cube down at the bottom of the pit, so the character fell gently and slowly down into a slow oozing dissolution starting with his feet.
  15. Apparently, there is one.
  16. Pathfinder, not 4e. (Though PF witches have Patrons, they are smaller scale, and much less malignant.) One of the Cryptic Clues - The Dreamer's in his chamber. The King's upon his throne. The Queen is in the abattoir, And dances all alone.... So, if the name of one of the locations is Carcosa, on the banks of Lake Hali, do you think that the PCs will figure it out?.... (Not the final locations - but one of the charts is there. They will need to go to a Masqued Ball.) The Auld Grump Spelljammer Cthulhu / King in Yellow. That sounds like fun. As to whether they'll figure it out, it depends on how well read your players are and how paranoid.
  17. Star Trek has a universal translator technology. So everyone speaks English because of that. Maybe introduce Babelfish into the campaign? Damon. Not really necessary since Tongues spells exist. Because of that and similar magic items a GM can decide whether or not to make languages an issue in games like this. If you want to use them, use them, if not make translation magic items pretty common. For example, one might have enchanted conference rooms in interplanetary port cities that allow everyone in the room to understand each other.
  18. I ran a Spelljammer game recently. It can be tricky because it can suffer from Travelleritis (treating entire planets the way small towns or individual dungeons are treated in your average fantasy game). Spelljammer games occur at three levels, each of which have their own opportunities. Largest scale first: Spelljammer takes place in an overarching cosmos with many separate star systems. To me the largest opportunities lie in the fact that each system can be a completely different physical and metaphysical structure. The dominant gods in one system can be unknowns in another. The political and social forces ruling one set of planets may be unimportant in another. One system's strengths can be another's weaknesses etc. Entering a new system, the PCs do not know what of their abilities are going to matter. They have a lot of searching and learning to do. Far more than exploring an unknown place they have to explore an unknown cosmology. They may also find that something innocuous picked up in system A is powerful in system B, so they will need to keep their eyes open for wider opportunities. Also on this scale are the species that travel between systems (like the Neogi, the illithids, the gith etc). What part if any do they play in the lives and activities of each system, and what dangers / opportunities do they present to the PCs. Middle Scale: An individual star system. Within a given system, it's necessary to decide what planets exist and what lives on them. D&D / Pathfinder species are so diverse that it's possible to populate even the most inhospitable world with something. You don't have to fully flesh out every world, but have an idea what's on each. Remember PCs never do what you expect them to, you will need to be able to improvise stuff on any planet. The next question at this scale is how much Spelljamming goes on in the system. What, if any, interplanetary organizations are present and who oversees them. These act as antagonists, patrons, and contacts for PCs. This widens the scope of adventure hooks and gives everyone lots of opportunity to play in different ways. Small Scale: Individual planet or asteroid or interplanetary base. Yes, one planet is the small scale here. Entire worlds full of complex social interactions, adventure hooks, needs, magic items, etc. All of these can be fleshed out to the level you see fit. You can and should have some adventures where the ship is essentially docked and the PCs are going out exploring / questing. It's tempting to put in space battles and you should have a few, but not too many. Spelljammer battles tend to be like naval battles. The weapon ranges are such that PCs often can't do anything unless ships close to board and then you get some fighting. Another reason to not have too many space battles is that whichever spellcaster or psi is in the helm is essentially incapable of doing anything except pilot the ship. The battle can be quite dull for that player. This brings up a critical point. Spelljamming is mostly the province of medium to high level characters. In my game the Spelljamming itself didn't start until late in the game. The game started out quite earthbound, but two of the PCs had backgrounds that pushed toward Spelljamming. As the game went on I dropped hints, let them develop skills, find magic items that would eventually be usable on a Spelljammer. Later, I ran an adventure in which they captured a ship that could be converted into a Spelljammer, which they then had to do. By the time they headed out for space they were steeped in the lore of the situation and properly armed and capable to face the extremely weird space I had made for them.
  19. Why are you glad to see her back? Is there something special about Pingo's back? Yes. Next question.
  20. If they missed it, they missed it. Reward them for what they do and what they make work, not for what they missed. Players always miss some obvious things and players always come up with things the GM didn't think of. Reward the latter not the former.
  21. Daily moment of surrealism: Outside our local grocery store, I espied two young men who had clearly just done their shopping. They were both dressed as Night Owl from Watchmen.
  22. The narrative always takes precedence over the rules. That doesn't deal with the issue of how the rules affect how the players see the game, how the play of the game feels to player and GM, etc. The rules, whatever they are, form part of the way the players and GM anchor their thinking into the game world and the narrative. If the rules hinder the world and the narrative, then there is a problem with the rules.
  23. Why do your NPCs need to follow the same rules as your PCs? Or, if you really want... Feat: Virtuoso! Awesome at one really specific thing. Always has advantage when doing the thing. That still doesn't give a scale to it. Skills with numbers gives a sense of how good someone is, not simply: great, good, or meh,
  24. Returning to the initial topic, I reread the 5th edition rules and found a number of things that bothered me in small ways (the number of Concentration spells is too high for example), and one glaring problem: The skills have no numbers. How good you are at something is purely stat and level dependent. That flattens things too much. There's no way to have a great artist or musician (except a high level bard), no way to have a low level NPC who is brilliant at something, and no way to make a character who is striving to learn to do something well. It feels too flat for my tastes.
  25. On average players don't handle the taking away of things well. It's why level draining was always the most annoying thing to happen to early D&D characters. When the hard won is taken away, people often get annoyed. I've found it's usually better to up balance the difficulty with the capability rather than reduce the capability. That's not to say that the doppleganger's actions don't make sense, they do, but players can get more miffed at things like that than one would think was warranted. Okay, who dropped the rust monster into my bag of holding? Not funny, guys! Though that was PCs being jerks to each other, back when the Monster Manual was the only book out for AD&D.... The Auld Grump How to take away items the fun way while scaring the characters. When I was in college around 35 years ago, I was playing in a D&D game. The D&D that was so original it wasn't called original, as in 3 little books from a box, Greyhawk, Blackmoor, Eldritch Wizardry and Gods, Demigods and Heroes, the issues of the Strategic Review, and the first few issues of the Dragon, that original. Our DM, just for kicks ran an adventure around Christmas (the world was basically Christian in theology). In the Dungeon we found a Christmas tree with presents under it. Basically, we each got to make one roll on the magic items charts. My ranger rolled Armor of Etherealness. That was basically the best armor available. The description of it stated that it acted as +3 armor or it could be used to turn the wearer Ethereal (it had 49 charges of Etherealness). The DM kind of regretted this, so soon thereafter we found a dungeon called "Castle Ethereal." It was designed for me to have to burn charges (some places only existed in the Ethereal including the room with the drawbridge controls). In the drawbridge room on the Ethereal was a Type I Demon (before they were Vrocks). We got into a fight and it was hitting me surprisingly often. That's when the DM informed that the 'or' in the description of the armor meant that it had no armor value when I was ethereal. Things continued on in that line, including rooms with rust monsters that I fled like a sniveling coward to protect my armor, while the Magic User (before they were Wizards) beat them up with his quarterstaff. The fact that it was a Christmas present and that the DM went to a lot of amusing work to mess it up made it less frustrating than a hard won item taken away gratuitously. A few years later I made the mistake of destroying an item that a player had firmly integrated into his character conception. It was powerful fun to use, but not overpowered. The player lost interest in the game thereafter.