This RPG is pretty gross.

Intermission 1

posted by GimmickMan Original SA post

doomfunk posted:

Yeah. Stage 0 of me designing adventures for my players is to ensure any and all conflicts follow a generally-fair power scale. Some systems make this harder than others (HA HA HA, SHADOWRUN, I'M LOOKING AT YOU) and CTech seems like it'd be an utter nightmare.

It gets worse. Ettin has been mostly focusing on the awfulness of personal scale mechanics, but Mecha are not balanced with each other at all . This is because they all are worth different "points" so that CTech could be a minis wargame.

But they don't cost you points from your character (they're equipment) so you can start off with the "12 point" unkillable mammoth that murders everything or the "6 point" speedster with a few gimmicky tricks and plinky lasers. And there's no rules for customization, to boot.

In actual play, the terrible imbalance of anything at mecha scale is very notable, specially because despite claiming that there's roles for mecha (stealth, recon, etc) there is no such thing - everyone just shoots stuff.

As if that wasn't enough, barely one in every five or so mecha is worth anything and the rest even fail at killing the enemies they are supposed to counter in the fluff.

Intermission 2

posted by Ettin Original SA post

CthulhuTech: Intermission 2

Damnation View is coming, but there's some stuff I'd like to get out of the way first. TK-31's post counts as Intermission 1 because he just summed up CTech's terrible mecha combat for me. Damnation View has mecha combat so that's probably worth noting before we get stuck into it.

Before we do, something nobody who has been reading the thread should be surprised to see a post about :

Last week, CthulhuTech writer "martian_bob" had an idea.

martian_bob posted:

As most internet-addicted geeks like me know, there's a content aggregation site out there called Reddit. It subdivides itself into a number of communities called "subreddits". One such subreddit is called AMA - Ask Me Anything. Folks who have interesting life experience, or are celebrities or politicians or whatever show up, make a post, and answer questions posted by the users. It's a lot of fun, and quite insightful.

I'm going to do an AMA-style thread on this Friday. I think that there's a lot of confusion, FUD, and simple misconception out there about our beloved game, and hopefully I'll help clear some of that up. One of the mods has been good enough to give me the thumbs up, so no one will be accusing me of trying to advertise or anything.

I'll post a link here when the thread goes up, so head on over to participate! I do want to make one thing clear though: I'm not sending out this invite to get you guys to lob softball questions at me, or beat down haters, or anything like that. I'm sure that you guys are going to be just as insightful and considerate as you are here, and we'll all have a grand old time.

Our friend Bob had decided that there were too many misconceptions about CthulhuTech. And so, this weekend, he started the I am a writer for CthulhuTech. Ask me anything! thread on RPGnet to dispel them all forever.

Four of the first ten posts were about rape.

So yeah, it didn't go well. Here's the short version: after a ton of questions about rape, most of which were blown off, RPGnet moderator Holden had to come in and explicitly ban rape talk because his inbox was being flooded with reports. Meanwhile, CthulhuTech fans flocked to the thread to complain that people don't like their game - RPGNet poster Jack spent hours posting furious screeds about people daring to point out that the game he likes has rape furries, and Skywalker desperately tried to field questions, downplay the misogyny and "warn" people who even looked like they were thinking of mentioning rape, like some kind of self-appointed internet bodyguard. Most of the questions were just people trying creative ways of asking "so, rape: what's up with that?" anyway. After MikeV (the creative/art director) popped in briefly to help answer some more questions, martian_bob disappeared and the thread began slowly dying. (Please, let it stay that way!) Update! Turns out he just had a cold and is back. Only soft questions are left, though, so with nothing left to be unnecessarily angry about I am not bothering!) Update Update! The thread died and is disappearing into distant pages, please let it stay that way

I have sifted through the ruins. A lot of questions were forgotten or deflected, but there were some choice answers!


Why religions chapter of the Mortal Remain equate Chirstianity with the RCC?
Why does it assume Buddhism (as whole) would react better the existence of exterdimentional being of unphantomable power then other (since many school of Buddhism include actual god worship)?
Why does CT actually asume that pretty much all Muslims would go in fanatic mode, when they're oil revenue dries up?

martian_bob posted:

I didn't have a hand in writing any of Mortal Remains, so I can't speak to the motivations there. What I can say is that the fictionalized extrapolation from where the world is now to the world of CTech is done with a purposeful tack towards the hyperbolic. There are fears even now that there's going to be unrest in the Middle East when the oil wealth goes away, so in CTech the worst-case scenario happened.

For what it's worth, I tend to ignore all of that in my games and writing. I prefer the setting to be somewhat more drab and hopeless, and religion doesn't usually fit in that mold.
A LOT of questions were skipped if martian_bob wasn't personally involved, incidentally. Oh well! (bonus content: martian_bob's answer being corrected. )


Why are high level para-psychic powers so incredibly strong, while magic powers can take weeks to cast for a minor effect?

martian_bob posted:

The idea was to make magic in the game more Lovecraftian by giving it a ritualistic focus, as opposed to the fireball-slinging one sees in other games. However, there was a strong demand from the fireball-slinging lobby, so para-psychic powers were geared towards them. Magic still has its uses, and is quite powerful, but not in the combat sense.
So basically, magic was made into rituals to be "Lovecraftian", but they fucked it up. Para-psychic powers are supposed to be making up for that! In that, at least, they do okay.


And about the whole rape issue, one of the introductory adventures in the corebook involves the PCs finding a large number of sexually abused pregnant women locked in crates, and explicitly railroads them so that not only does the guy responsible for it get away, but they cannot do anything to help the women. Can you understand why a lot of people object to this kind of portrayal of rape as a cheap shock device?

martian_bob posted:

The guy gets away because he's a recurring bad guy - check out Damnation View for Farouk Hassan's further villainy. As for not being able to help...

Incidentally, I just realised I might not be able to use Athena and Pals in Damnation View.


Second question: Is there any plans to bring back the Dreamlands. Are you going to do anything with them?

martian_bob posted:

I can't say much about the Dreamlands. I think I remember someone saying at one point that the Dreamlands were nuked in the beginning to cut down on the amount of setting to cover in a game that folks were already saying was too dense, but I might be misremembering that.
I can see that one, at least. CTech has enough trouble being three games mashed together as it is. Incidentally: With their publisher troubles, they have decided to not bother splitting the line into "mecha combat" and "street level" as planned. Burning Horizons out this year maybe, though!


martian_bob posted:

It seems that CthulhuTech, to some folks, is always going to be "that one RPG with all the rape in it". As I said earlier, this is somewhat overblown; only around 2% of the published material even includes the word rape, and I see it as far from any kind of focus in the game. When rape is included, it's there as a function of storytelling - sick, twisted, screwed-up storytelling.

Lovecraft is well-known for his aversion to sex; there are entire essays written about it. This means that it's hard to get a sense of exactly how much rape is in the source material itself. For example, it's generally accepted (amongst everyone I know, at least) that in The Shadow Over Innsmouth, the Deep Ones begin mating with the citizens of Innsmouth whether they want to or not. Bruce Lord, on the other hand, argues that it was a "mutually consenting act" (see ).

So, there's room for disagreement and interpretation. Certainly a good deal of works derivative of Lovecraft touch on the subject. I'd use Alan Moore's "Neonomicon" as an example, but that's probably just Alan Moore being Alan Moore. In "The Last Lovecraft", there's a scene where an old sea captain gives a fairly involved account of his encounter with the Deep Ones that begins with the line, "You boys ever been fish-raped?" A Google search for +lovecraft +rape generates over 10 million hits. We are not breaking new ground with this.

As to how rape is used in CthulhuTech - it's supposed to make you uncomfortable. It's supposed to be over-the-top evil. Many folks have opined that this isn't effective, is sophomoric, is in bad taste, etc. I can't speak to that, as it's not my opinion, and I'm not going to speak for others. Putting that to one side, the presence of rape is a facet of how wrong the wrong-ness is. Victims held in cages, rape camps, all of it is supposed to make the players feel like they're in a horrific world full of bad people that they can feel righteous about purging with fire.
Only 2% of the published material even mentions the word "rape!" Also does not mention the word "rape": the Vade Mecum adventure where girls are kidnapped and brainwashed into willing sex slaves . It's cool though, searching "lovecraft" and "rape" turns up 10 million hits.

Somehow this reply is even worse than Matthew Grau's .


1 Did the "rape game" meme surprise you?
2 Did you when you started to see player comment on it as bad thing push harder that way on purpose?

martian_bob posted:

1. Yes - it certainly wasn't on purpose!
2. Nope. I did, however, joke in a writers' meeting once that our next release should be titled "Anal Fissures Quarterly"
Beats FATAL.


Out of curiosity, what have you written for the game?

martian_bob posted:

I wrote the arcanotech chapter for Unveiled Threats, the "Hamstrung" chapter in the upcoming Burning Horizon, numerous con scenarios, and am a writer/editor for the CthulhuTech magazine (which will hopefully have its first issue out sometime this year). I've also been the CTech demo coordinator for the past couple years.
I'm pretty sure the Unveiled Threats chapter he is referring to is the one with the "Erogenous Enhancement Leech". In his defense, something MikeV said later in the thread made me think he came up with the rape parts. This is better!

Speaking of rape, when it turns out his rape defense does not go down well and his fans screaming "you are ruining RPGnet!" didn't stop the questions, martian_bob gets snippy!

martian_bob posted:

I've mainly handwaved the rape criticism for the way it was worded. The tl;dr of that post was "YOUR GAME IS NOTHING BUT RAPE AND COCKS", and I can't say I'm terribly inclined to respond to that sort of question.

Since this is a roleplaying games forum, I'm going to roleplay a better conversation.

Indignant poster: I find the fact that you're using word search results to minimize someone's concerns over rape dismissive and downright insulting.
Me: I'm terribly sorry if I gave that impression, that wasn't my intent at all. An accusation has been made that this game is almost entirely about rape and rape-related topics, that one can't turn a page in a book without a penis being thrust at them, that the game might as well have been called Space Rape: The Ententacling. The use of a numerical argument was a ridiculous answer to a ridiculous charge; anyone who's actually read any of the books would find that the purported amount of this particular sort of horribleness is way overblown. I'm more than happy to give examples of wide swaths of the source material where rape is mentioned not at all in any way, from "violation" to "human cattle" and beyond.
Also, the best way to incorporate gamer feedback into later books: doing it to teach some guy on your forums who's boss. Taking notes, Monte?

Ettin posted:

Why does Cthulhutech insist Tagers can't be in the military when one of the adventures has one as a naval officer?

martian_bob posted:

The bad/wrong/fun restricting what Tagers can and can't do was put in Vade Mecum due (pretty much directly) to a discussion on our forums about what was and was not allowed in canon. A particularly persistent poster continuously made the argument that anything not explicitly forbidden in the canon, is by default allowed in canon. While not a particularly good argument (IMHO), it was a fair point; even though the creators of the game said, over and over again, that this wasn't their vision for the canon (along with reiterating rule 0), the book didn't say it. Thus, canon was clarified to more closely adhere to the vision the creators had in the first place.

Personally, I don't care too much where anyone wants their Tagers to be - but putting Tagers in the military doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.

Meanwhile, MikeV is able to answer questions like a rational person, and actually ends up answering the most important question in the thread. Posed by me, of course.

Ettin posted:

Why is the White Xenomix girl on p. 31 of Vade Mecum wearing ice skates?

MikeV posted:

They're not ice skates, they're funky platform like shoes. The concept was there in thought, it just didn't translate as well on page.

Next time: An actual book reading.


posted by Ettin Original SA post


The Damnation View?
You may be wondering why the book is entitled what it is entitled. 2086 is not a nice year. Many dark and terrible things happen over these twelve months and some of them seem so catastrophic that it appears to many that mortal life on this planet, from where they stand, is finally damned.
guess who's baaaaaaaack

CthulhuTech: The Damnation View

So for those of you who are late to the party, CthulhuTech is a sci-fi RPG by WildFire which mixes several anime (Evangelion, Robotech and Guyver, mostly) with the Cthulhu Mythos. It's an interesting concept, and looking at the cover and its excellent art, it's hard not to get drawn in and immerse yourself in the world of the Strange Aeon. Unfortunately, CthulhuTech is plagued with bad mechanics, design choices most people threw out in the 90s, terrible magic rules, and writers absolutely committed to using rape as a shock device. It is a ham-fisted attempt to shove three different games (mecha combat, Tagers and street level) together, with a seething undercurrent of misogyny and casual racism lurking under the surface like termites in a mental asylum. Its adventures, the source of much of the rape the writers try to downplay, are poorly-written railroads which mostly serve to remind you how much potential is being squandered here and instil a sense of deep disappointment.

This is a metaplot book full of them.

Incidentally, here is the full version of the cover art which depicts a man about to kill himself.

Damnation View posted:

Time marches on. Days pass, the world changes. The Aeon War grows. In that vein, you hold the evolution of the CthulhuTech setting in your hands. Welcome to 2086. Welcome to the Damnation View.

The Damnation View is the first CthulhuTech story book and it is a very different kind of book than other CthulhuTech resource books. It covers the major story developments in the CthulhuTech setting over the year 2086 and it changes what the setting is in the process. CthulhuTech will never be the same.

This short chapter will give you a road map to this book, how to use the material in several ways, and show the physical structure of the text.

Good luck and good hunting. You’ll need it.
Damnation View , or "the Damnation View " as the book insists on calling itself, is the first of six planned metaplot books. (WildFire is having publisher troubles but may self-publish number two, Burning Horizons , this year.) This part of the metaplot covers the year 2086, from the fall of China to the NEG's attempt to retake Migou-occupied Juneau, and all the little details in between. Whether you're a mecha pilot, an Eldritch Society Tager or some jerk who doesn't have any special powers, at least one of the adventures in here is for you!

First, though, we are treated to Progenitor, Martyr, Savior: Part I , a four-page comic about Teresa Ashcroft. It says nothing we didn't already know (Teresa discovered The Mysteries Within in 2013, developed arcanotechnology, went insane) and I don't feel like pasting it all, but here's a sample!

Because you are approaching her from the side with your back to the Sun, you Goddamn moron.

There's also a six-page fluff piece on mecha pilot and recurring character Sam Masters and her squad as they prepare to attack Juneau and discuss how China fell so hard the military lost 60% of its men there and huge crowds of civilians were left to die, but the media covers it up. A lot of the fluff characters were from the playtest , but I don't know or care if Sam's squad is. Would fit, though.

Anyway, after telling us we should read Dark Passions and Vade Mecum first, we are tossed advice on how to use this book! For example, don't read it.

Damnation View posted:

The Damnation View is primarily written for Storyguides. The events of 2086 are presented to be used as story elements or full blown stories for your games. They reveal important secrets and events in the CthulhuTech setting and metaplot. Frankly, if you’re a player, you will more than likely compromise your enjoyment of this material if you read it before you get the chance to experience it unfolding as part of your story.

However, we know that Storyguides are not the only people who are interested in buying and reading this book. The good news is that there are ways for you as a player to enjoy the Damnation View without ruining your play experience. Our best recommendation is to let your Storyguide read the book first, so he can tell you which sections he will be using in your game. Then you can avoid reading the parts that may spoil your experience, while still reading the rest of the book. After all, the Damnation View covers events all over the CthulhuTech setting and it is unlikely that you will play them all in your game. Many of them may only be things your Character reads about in the news, but you want to know the details.
I have never met a player who did not read all the "GMs only!" sections of a book if he felt like it, so it's good to see people acknowledge that they're totally going to be read anyway. There's also some stuff about how even people who don't like metaplot can get some use out of this book, though watch out because it's not canon :

Damnation View posted:

While we have no intention of telling you how to run your game, we will be taking a stand on how sections of the metaplot turn out and will be developing further story material based on that. Again, use what you want, modify what you want, and throw away the rest.
We're told the book will provide some major plots - the big adventures it outlines in this book - plus some minor ones with less detail. Did I mention that you can do whatever you like with them? No seriously, it's cool.

Damnation View posted:

We’re not here to tell you how to run your game. The Damnation View is intended to be a resource for everyone, whether you use the material as it is written or take it entirely in your own direction.
The penultimate section explains how to work characters into the game. It stresses "your Dramatic Characters are the most important characters in your game, so there’s no reason they shouldn’t be the most important characters in the setting", which is a nice sentiment for a metaplot book. Then, this:

Damnation View posted:

Of course, such events are dangerous and some Characters may well perish in their pursuits. They will be memorialized when all is said and done. However, we encourage you as a Storyguide not to allow Dramatic Characters to die unless it is in a critical and dramatic moment and in a cinematic fashion. Anything else may be anti-climactic.

Damnation View posted:

Overall, Characters need to be up to the challenges in front of them. (...) If you, as a Storyguide, are willing to play with the power levels of the plots in this book to fit your Characters, this won’t be a problem – however, it may not be as believable. After all, major forces in play are major forces in play and bringing anything less than their full force to bear may not create a powerful story.
Basically, you should use Characters who have already been through a few adventures and have the Experience and power gains to take on the challenges in this book, because there are some powerful enemies here and it wouldn't be realistic if they pulled their punches. Also, be sure to pull your punches.

Finally, a chapter list so you know what we're getting into.

Damnation View posted:

Chapter One: Welcome is what you are reading right now. It’s meant to help ease you into the vision for this story book and give you a reference for what this book contains.
Chapter Two: Little Things introduces a series of smaller plots, including new technological developments, new arcane developments, and a few social happenings that may change things for the worse. It also includes a discussion of pop culture in the year 2086, to better immerse players in the setting.
Chapter Three: Dark Storm Rising presents the story of New Earth Government armed forces holding back the Disciples of the Rapine Storm in China and how, finally, the stalemate is broken.
Chapter Four: Deadly Currents introduces the insidious actions of the Esoteric Order of Dagon, as their search for the sunken city of R’lyeh yields unimaginable results. It also brings into play the mysterious New Earth Government agency Special Services and gives new rules for Special Services Characters.
Chapter Five: Mom’s Coming to Visit presents one of the most important events in the Shadow War since the inception of the Eldritch Society. The rumors are confirmed as the Congregation of the Earth Mother works with the Children of Chaos to awaken something that could spell the end.
Chapter Six: More Bad New introduces two other events that will bring the New Earth Government to its knees as it clashes with the Migou. Juneau once again becomes a hot spot and the random discovery of new alien technology brings news that no one wants to hear.

Hmm... something's missing. This doesn't feel like the introduction to a CthuluTech book.

Damnation View posted:

If You Downloaded This Book
So if you’re one of the people who has downloaded this book illegally off the internet, let’s talk. We want to stay in business. We don’t get to stay in business if you don’t buy our products but you use them anyway. In more personal terms, if you like CthulhuTech , please go out and buy the books, because if you don’t we go out of business or we kill the line because sales suck and boom – no more CthulhuTech . You lose, we lose, everybody loses. Everybody loves something for nothing, but this sort of thing comes with a price whether it’s money or not.

There we go.

Next time: We are immersed in the setting. Also, pedophilia.

Things That Might Be Important

posted by Ettin Original SA post

CthulhuTech: The Damnation View: Things That Might Be Important

Sorry about the week-and-a-half delay. I was pretending this book never existed.

Damnation View posted:

Not everything that happens in 2086 is big enough to warrant its own chapter. Some things happen in secret, others quietly behind the scenes. However, each of them is important – some of them more important that they might at first seem – and they are what we will look at here.

The first thing in this chapter is a two-page timeline for 2086, breaking down everything that happens by month. I'm going to cover it all in later sections anyway, so let's skip that!

Next up, the Pop Culture section.

Damnation View posted:

As the broader world changes, so does the world of popular culture. Everything from cars to personal electronics to fashion and movies undergo their own transformations in 2086. Presented here are a few of those important changes, to help you add flavor and life to your Strange Aeon.

That's right, it's time to expand the setting with some fluff on culture! And by culture, I mean lingerie!

Not including the art, we get about a page on the Fashion of 2086. It's heavily Nazzadi-influenced, apparently, which I can only assume means "less clothing". First there's a list of the five most notable fashion designers. Here are two!

Damnation View posted:

Gaius McCreavy is always a favorite. His flair for the dramatic and his on-camera charisma conspire to put this flamboyantly gay man in the spotlight time and time again. Gaius rides the fine line between accessible fashion and couture, designing fairly expensive fashions that distinguish one when one is going out and expects to be noticed. His reality serial show “Up & Coming Fashions” only serves to boost his popularity.

Damnation View posted:

Prevana, in an almost mockery of his sister Iravy, brings bold styles for bold people. This designer lives in the world of less is more – less fabric is more sexy. Bordering on the scandalous, he brings the titillating to everyday fashion, the lustful to out-on-the-town fashion, and the almost pornographic to sexy club wear. Porn stars across the world worship his fashion tastes and display them whenever they get wide media coverage. This sculpted Adonis is, again, notorious for his sexual exploits among the pretty and privileged of the world.
After Captain Homo and the Fashioneers, we get descriptions of what people are wearing this year broken down by the season, because someone out there might get some use out of it I guess. Here's Summer:

Damnation View posted:

The summer collections seem to be inside the theme “Less is More.” Oranges, Blues, and Purples seem to be the primary colors of the season. Collars are open or non-existent and hemlines are short, short – one might say barely covering. Bare mid-riffs are also popular. Women’s shoes are high heeled and open, to show off muscular calves and sexy feet.

Prevana rules the season with his “Nothing Hidden” line, which uses translucent fabrics to create fashions that are predominantly see-through. The part of the line designed for the Nazzadi is no-holds-barred and requires someone fully comfortable in their own physique as they leave little to the imagination. The part of the line designed for those with a nudity taboo are mostly opaque from certain angles or lighting, but mostly transparent from others. Most schools ban this line, despite its popularity.
Important information: most schools don't let their underage students go around mostly naked.

Next up is Cars .

Damnation View posted:

This year has seen a massive re-envisioning of motor vehicles. While most citizens who reside inside an arcology do not even own a car, they are still a symbol of status and personal expression. Anyone with a reason buys a car and this year offers some exciting options.
According to CthulhuTech , people who live in arcologies (where you can't drive cars) buy cars anyway, because they are reasonable people.

So what's new this year? Well, now cars can run on a limited autopilot!

Damnation View posted:

These vehicles can also not performs complicated maneuvers, so they can’t do things like back out of parking spots or parallel park. However, this option is useful on long road trips, particularly when one is tired, and for having your car meet you from a couple blocks away.
If your car can't back out of a parking spot how does it meet up with you from a couple blocks away? Where did you leave it, in the middle of a road? If you parked it how

Anyway, muscle cars are in, apparently. Also, classic motorcycles. There are some car companies mentioned like Tri Motors and Nazzadi Design Systems and oh god I don't care about this.

Technology !

First, there's the PCPU (Personal Central Processing Unit) or "peek", "a combination of communications device and mobile computing platform", or "a more powerful smartphone". Nobody really needs desktop or laptop computers any more thanks to the peek. The best ones are made by Imagine Technologies, a subsidiary of the Ashcroft Foundation, who make the unfortunately named iPeek and its wrist-mounted cousin the iWatch. (seventy years in the future, we will not have moved on from "i" names.) The iWatch has built-in HIU functionality, which means Holo-Interface Unit according to the core book (this one never mentions it again). Their main competitor is Micrologic, a subsidiary of the Chrysalis Corporation, who are behind the technological curve despite being chaired by Nyarlathotep and give the inferior Pocket Peek a lower price and a massive marketing campaign to keep up.

(it's Microsoft and Apple. )

People are still playing videogames! Popular manufacturer Nintendo Oshiro has the ARt, which combines movement with augmented reality and required users to wear control sensors on their hands, arms, torso, legs and feet and a headpiece, like an even dumber Wii. The most popular console is the PlayStation GamePod 2, which uses virtual reality and traditional controls. It is designed to be an entertainment centre as well with built-in video streaming and digital audio and why doesn't every Goddamn peek and console have this by 2086?

There are also some noise-cancelling pads you can slap on the walls of arcology dwellings to reduce the noise neighbours hear by 20%. That is actually a little interesting since it makes me wonder what arcology life must be like, but too late, it's fine for:

Movies & Serials !

The Ministry of Information basically controls the media, so nearly everything is laced with propaganda and designed to distract people from their doomed lives. There are feel-good war films which lessen the blow of recent military losses (that the public is aware of), a sex comedy whose stars "emerge as this year's sex icons", an "independent" film about a hacker who discovers government secrets but decides to keep them secret when he understands what the government must deal with (incidentally financed by ex-Ashcroft Foundation employees), a bunch of TV shows which are fairly generic besides the propaganda angles and some BIG TALENT names I don't care about. Nobody cares about most of this.

Music ! Have a meaningless word salad.

Damnation View posted:

As has been the case for the last five years, the Nazzadi-created musical style known as Fuzion dominates the pop charts. It has been likened to an evolved version of what was once known as “world music,” which was a style that mixed musical traditions from around the globe. Fuzion takes it a step further, drawing on the Nazzadi habit of bringing together elements in an unusual way, typically with interesting and often enjoyable results. Some styles are dreamy love ballads while others have a beat to which to dance.
It touches briefly on a few other Top 40 bands and signers before writing a paragraph on Julie Rain, a "sultry but good-hearted young woman" who sadly committed suicide by drug overdose. Oh no!

Damnation View posted:

The three big styles dominating the alternative scene are emo, darkside, and black noise. Emo, like times past, is a maudlin style of music that appeals to the tragic and broken-hearted. Growing out of the goth or industrial traditions of days gone by, Darkside is for the angry, dark, and morbid, those who dress in all black and are drawn to the darker things in life. Black Noise is what might be said could come if black metal, death metal, and new metal fused into one. It is fast, dark, complicated, guitar and noise heavy pseudo-metal rock that appeals to the nihilistic or forlorn segment of the population.

Damnation View posted:

The dance scene heats up with Caliente, a style popular the last year or so. Caliente combines upbeat tempos with sexy beats and almost (and sometimes full on) pornographic sounds or phrases. In a world where people are looking for distractions, the sexual vibe in any club with a decent Caliente DJ will bring people out of their house and on the prowl.
God I could just quote this book over and over.

That's all the pure worldbuilding fluff, as far as I know. It was an interesting read, to be honest, it just needs a little cleaning up. Okay, a lot of cleaning up.

Next time: Rounding off Chapter 2 with the minor plots of 2086. Oh I'm sorry, was that not enough pedophilia for you? Felt like my last "Next time" oversold it a bit? Let me fix that for you!

The Crime Crimes Bowl

posted by Ettin Original SA post

CthulhuTech: The Damnation View: The Crime Crimes Bowl

The second half of Chapter 2 concerns the minor plots of 2086. I'm going to choke down all four at once and try not to gag.


Damnation View posted:

There’s no way the New Earth Government can win the Aeon War in their current state. The best they can do is fight for a standstill and that hasn’t worked out so well. The situation then calls for time and money to be put into technological research and development, in an effort to create the next destructive breakthrough that might give the NEG an edge.

The Engels are great, but they alone can't win the Aeon War. Behind the scenes, the NEG is developing new technologies to give them an edge. This minor plot details two of them!

The first is Arcanowave Technology. Basically, an old Nazzadi scientist named Dr Tasa and his research team have been slowly delving into the science behind the D-Engine (with difficulty, since even when spreading out the research a bit the scientists have psychotic breaks), and discovered new ways to generate and manipulate the anti-gravitational energy fields D-Engines make ( ). A-Pods already did that to produce flying vehicles, but Dr Tasa worked out a way to manipulate these energies on a much smaller scale using a web of micro-conductive filaments ( ). To show the potential versatility of this , they decided to make a prototype suit of powered armour and came up with the Stiletto - a suit of powered armour that could harness anti-gravitational to fly, use the arcanowave field it generated as a deflective field to diffuse, repel and directed energy blasts and harness this into energy blasts, using directional emitters in the Stiletto's forearms to . It would be more heavily-armoured than most full-blown mecha, fire laser beams just as powerful and still be only ten feet tall, and Dr Tasa thinks he could tweak the extra-dimensional energy fields to make the suit self-sustaining. Naturally the Ashcroft Foundation has given him unlimited funds to continue this research.

Of course, it has its problems - they need this now , but they could be looking at years before they can turn this prototype into something they can mass-produce. Also, if the Migou or the NEG's cultist enemies find out about it, they could well be screwed. Fortunately, it has remained one of the NEG's most top-secret operations so far, though they might bring in one of their biggest military contractors into the project soon - the Chrysalis Corporation.

Besides that, the Engel Project has its own secret project. Dr Anton Miyakame, the genius nutjob behind the Engels, has some secret projects of his own. The first (and most secret) is the Engel Uplift Program, which is exactly what it sounds like - find out if the Engels are intelligent and controllable enough to work without a pilot. So far they have made little progress, though. There's also the Engel Remote Pilot Interface (ERPI) program, which is attempting to make Engels remote-controllable. So far they haven't overcome the basic problem (that the pilot and his Engel Synthesis Interface need to be nearby or the Engel will flip out), but experiments with modified ESIs implanted in para-psychic criminals supplied by the government have yielded limited success when it didn't wreck their brains. ( )

All this messing around with Engel brains and invasive medical experiments on civilians has given Dr Miyakame a great idea, though - maybe if they made smaller, less powerful synthorgs it would be easier to keep them on a leash! After what the book describes as "a four-day sleepless bender of lab-quality amphetamines and booze," making Dr Miyakame literally the best character in this series, he created the Nephilim Project - smaller genetically-engineered monsters enhanced with cybernetics and controlled with the Nephilim Synthesis Interface and Erotic Roleplay Imageboard ERPI by para-psychic handlers. They could be just as revolutionary as the Stiletto, if they iron out the problem - the Nephilim will have a psychotic episode and attempt to murder its handler and everyone else if they move more than fifty feet away while it's active (though their armour has a joint-locking mechanism to keep them in check like Engels), or sometimes if it just plain feels like it. Also, the creatures sometimes resist a little when deployed against Ghasts, Gaunts and the other creatures their DNA is based on. It hasn't been a problem yet, but the book hints that it might happen to Engels...

(They're Pokemon. The Nephilim are Pokemon. )

So anyway, how does this micro plot affect the PCs? Let's ask the book!

Damnation View posted:

Unlike many of the other events of this year, this look behind the scenes at New Earth Government research and development really isn’t meant to provide stories for your Characters. If your Characters run in circles where rumors and whispers of such work runs, they may catch wind of things and this may provide them with a window of what may be to come.

Arcanowave technology isn’t ready to be used, but you might have military or government-affiliated Characters see a field test. Nephilim, on the other hand, are seeing limited use without official New Earth Government approval. Your Characters may see one being transported, in limited field testing, or they might witness the aftermath of a Nephilim’s unchecked rage.

In any event, use these developments as texture wherever works for your game.
"All that stuff the book just described for four pages? Yeah, the PCs can't have any of that yet. They might get to see it though!"

On the other hand, it's probably going to be in a later book, and the Nephilim are in Mortal Remains anyway, so there's that. Anyway, it's a cool idea and they didn't put in a "Wait until this next splat book for more!" sidebar this time, so I'm totally okay with this! The Stiletto seems like it would destroy the last of this system's balance, though.


Damnation View posted:

Crime is something that will never be gone from the world. People will always want something someone else has without having to work for it, they will carry anger and hate in their hearts, and they will see the value in profiting from providing contraband things. It wasn’t long after the earliest civilizations formed that the first criminals started to break the first laws.
This one is about the Disciples of Death's Shadow and their plan to destabilise society by encouraging crimes.

To do that, of course, we need to know what is legal! Prostitution is legal and regulated by the government now - hookers are called "escorts" and they work at "Red Houses", their prices are regulated and they get weekly health check-ups, etc. Alcohol is legal, cigarettes are legal because they've been altered to be non-addictive (is there literally any reason to smoke a cigarette if they're not addictive? Someone please tell this non-smoking Australian), "marijuana, psilocybin mushrooms, LSD, peyote and mescaline, ayahuasca, as well as a veritable host of designer drugs including 2CI and Bliss (a modern iteration of ecstasy) are all perfectly legal and available at most bars and nightclubs - anything regarded to be habit forming in only the psychological sense is allowed." The NEG still does "don't do drugs" PR campaigns and physically addicting drugs like cocaine are illegal heavily regulated and you can only get so much a month. Crystal meth, heroin and crack cocaine are flat-out illegal though. By the way, porn!

Damnation View posted:

Pornography is another world that has benefitted heavily from deregulation and the shifting of social norms. Whereas once the consumption of pornography was a private and often stigmatized thing, people are open about their enjoyment of adult entertainment in the modern age. Pretty much anything is legal in the realm of pornography as long as it is consensual and doesn’t involve animals or children under the age of 16. It truly is astounding the amount of porn that is available.
After some details on what law enforcement groups handle what, we find out what the Death Shadows are up to. Basically, they want to start slowly and sort of ease people into the "violent crime all around us" mindset.

The Death Shadows Crime Crimes Bowl crime plan like this:

• First, vandalism! Graffiti becomes more prevalent. Schools and parks are broken into and trashed. People are generally pissed off.
• Property crimes! People's cars are stolen "deep down in the parking levels of the arcology" - so that's where they keep them. Homes and business are broken into, pockets are picked, identities are stolen, and insurance companies raise their premiums.
• Drugs! More drug dealers hit the streets with huge supplies of legal drugs at new low prices, enough to get way more people hooked! Then come the hard drugs. Crystal meth addicts everywhere!

• The "final step", violent crimes! Street gang violence goes up as the Death Shadows make guns easier to get, turf wars spiral out of control, automatic weapons become easy to get, muggings (especially ones that end in wounds or death) rocket up, and by the end of the year people are afraid to go outside.

• As the piece de resistance , which is also the final step because this book is too stupid to proofread things it just wrote, the Disciples use the N'athm to track as many Empty as they can and nudge them into a frenzy. Or as the book puts it, "A wave of serial killers, serial rapists, and more are unleashed, the likes of which the world has never seen."

Oh, I'm sorry, I appear to have missed some bits. Here, let me fix that!

Damnation View posted:

Once the drugs have had a chance to simmer for a while, the Death Shadows move on to one of their favorite vices – sex. While prostitution is legal, there are some things people want that aren’t. You can’t go out and sleep with an escort that is under the age of 16, you can’t beat your escort, and you can’t have sex with animals. That is, until the Death Shadows decide that this is a societal niche worth indulging. They start creating brothels of unwilling sex slaves under the legal age of consent and then start stringing some of them out on illegal drugs until they become willing. Same goes for adult sex slaves that become punching bags for those who like to beat their lovers. And that doesn’t even come close to the sickening array of animals that they start to offer in specialized brothels. A reasonable number of months later, the Death Shadows up the sex ante again by increasing the traffic in sex slaves for sale. Soon boys, girls, men, and women from war zones are being kidnapped and forced into sex slavery, sometimes conditioned by magic and/or drugs, sometimes just by threats. Hand in hand with the Death Shadows’ prostitution and sex slave crimes comes their foray into pornography. Anything that shouldn’t be done sex-wise they do and put on video.
Oh yeah, and after the "final" step:

Damnation View posted:

For the sick at heart, the sex trade takes on a new character as well. No longer content to just offer victims for sexual abuse, the Death Shadows add in a new component – death. By the end of the year, the ability to pay to have rough sex with a prostitute that ends in the violent death of said prostitute becomes available. The dregs of society can now pay to torture, main, or kill any slave they want, along with any kind of sexual humiliation and abuse they can heap on. For those who have that kind of sickness, but the sense not to personally act it out, new snuff films and snuff pornography become available. If you can’t bring yourself to do it, at least you can pay to watch someone else do it for you.

Those are the two most detailed paragraphs in that list.

"Well," I hear you cry, "That's pretty terrible! But at least they didn't literally include art of an underage sex slave." Actually, no. Nobody is doing that. That is a fictional thing I just said. Also, they literally included art of an underage sex slave.


So moving on forever, how do they intend to accomplish the Crime Crimes Bowl? Well first, the Death Shadows are amazing at blackmail. When they can't dig up dirt on someone, they try to corrupt them enough to get blackmail material. Second, dream magic and manipulative para-psychic abilities are awesome. Finally, they are the richest cult outside the Children of Chaos. Meanwhile, they have the Dionysus Clubs working like crazy to get them more members.

So what are the NEG doing? Well, first they try "more cops", and that doesn't work. Then they try more undercover cops and FSB agents, and they do make a lot of busts, but it only really makes life harder for criminals who aren't in the Death's Shadow. Finally, Parliament (the NEG has one of those, I suppose) passes the "temporary" Emergency Crime Act, which reduces people's rights when it comes to search, seizure and prosecution, lets law enforcement arrest anyone they even vaguely suspect of being a criminal and hold them for a week without charge, refuse them outside contact for 72 hours of brutal interrogation and so on. Some people think it sucks, other people think it's necessary to clean up the streets. (Near the end the book suggests it might be a good thing for the NEG, which could be true in Cthulhuland.)

So in general, people are fucked. The Death Shadows aim to shatter the illusion that arcology-dwellers are safe and leave mental wounds on society for years to come. More people will want permits to carry arms inside an arcology, neighbourhood watch and vigilante groups will form (and probably accidentally kill a few innocent people). The ECA supposedly expires in twelve months (it is, of course, possible they'll just extend it) and law enforcement will be able to follow up on even the thinnest of leads.

Oh, and how will this affect the PCs? Well, any PC (or Dramatic Character, in CthulhuTech terms) who is even vaguely connected to illegal stuff might be in trouble, rich or elite ones might get recruitment offers from the Death Shadows, and the book suggests they suffer from the increased crime rate. By which I mean:

Damnation View posted:

At the very least, Characters should suffer some sort of property crime. Their car is stolen, their apartment or condo is broken into, or they are a victim of a potentially dangerous mugging. On the extreme side, someone close to them is a victim of some other more dangerous sort of crime. It could be that a loved one ends up in the hospital on the bad end of a mugging or that they are raped or worse. The Characters themselves could end up on the unfortunate end of such crimes. The idea is that it is likely that most Characters should suffer in some way.
"How can you make this impact the PCs? How about having an NPC they like get raped!"

Next, a list of ways to include this micro plot! Military games could have the PCs returning home from duty to find their neighbourhood is suddenly no longer safe or one of their friends/relatives has been robbed. Government agents and cops are going to be trying to stop it (they can't though!). In the Arcane Underground, it'll be a little easier to operate since everyone's focused on the rising street crime, but black marketeers might also get robbed! Cult games set in the Disciples of Death's Shadow will feel like it's Christmas, and PCs in other cults will probably be victimised and want to get back at the Death Shadows. The Eldritch Society will be facing the crimes and increased law enforcement.

And finally, NPCs Supporting Cast Characters the Storyguide can use! There's Agent Sabrina Flores, the hardened FSB agent in charge of dealing with all this crime who's inclined to arrest people first, shoot them if they resist and ask questions later; Girard LeFleur, the unfortunately-named man who used to be an abused orphan and is now the manipulative para-psychic who masterminded all this in the first place; and Hieronymous Tate, the passionate politician who came up with the Emergency Crime Act to try and save the NEG and is being targeted for assassination by the Death Shadows. Only their most "noteworthy" stats are included, so the Storyguide will have to sheet them himself if he wants to use them. Better than nothing, though.

Actually, you know what? Fuck what I wrote earlier, I can't stand to finish this chapter. So I'm going to wrap with a sidebar I missed!

Damnation View posted:

Porn & Sex Crimes
For another look at the Disciples of Death’s Shadow and their penchant for pornography and sex crimes, check out the Slaves to Passion story on p. 146 of Vade Mecum: the CthulhuTech Companion.

Get fucked, CthulhuTech.

Next time: Murdering children in a public park because you're on a secret mission to help the NEG.

Nazzadi NEGan: Idiot For Hire

posted by Ettin Original SA post

You just said CthulhuTech like three times.

You brought this on yourselves.

CthulhuTech: The Damnation View: Nazzadi NEGan: Idiot For Hire

The rest of the micro plots.


Damnation View posted:

Something else insidious is happening within the New Earth Goverment that the news barely reports for most of the year. At first, it quietly happens within the neighborhoods of the Nazzadi, but eventually it spills out into the rest of the world.
Wuh oh! This time it starts us off with the timeline, which goes a little something like this:
September 2085 to April 2086 : The Nazzadi Missing Persons Index rises sharply. Few notice, nobody cares.
April to October 2086 : The number of Nazzadi deaths in muggings and robberies rises sharply. Few notice, nobody cares.
10th October 2086, Thursday : Well that's pretty specific, I wonder what

Damnation View posted:

A brutally murdered and horribly mutilated corpse is found in the Nazzadi part of east Hollywood in the Los Angeles arcology. The male corpse has been dismembered, castrated, and has long industrial nails driven through its eye sockets. It has been tied to the support beam of a mag-lev station. Across its torso is carved “sasony urari ez,” which is Nazzadi for “freedom has a price.”

Damnation View posted:

18th November, 2086, Monday
A Nazzadi family is murdered in an elaborate public spectacle. The media is notified by an anonymous tip and arrive at a public park in the Chicago arcology to find a disturbing scene. A Nazzadi family of nine, including parents, children, spouses, and teenage grandchildren, is tied, gagged, and wired with explosives. The device is intricate, complex, and clearly the work of an experienced professional, giving the bomb squad significant pause. Many watch the live broadcast as the Chicago police work to save the family. Just when the brave bomb squad believes they’ve got it, they discover they’ve been outsmarted. A recorder plays one clear statement – “moriti dilatari oa,” which is Nazzadi for “death to the faithless” – and then the bomb explodes, killing the family.

So, I guess a bunch of murders are happening, and there are no leads (in CthulhuTech , even the NPCs are railroaded). Don't worry about, the FSB's SCD are on that shit like ABCs, and the Nazzadi Anti-Defamation League (NADL) are on everyone's backs to solve this mystery! At least until some of them find out who did it, and they mysteriously shut up.

It turns out there's a new movement in the Nazzadi - the Loyalists. This small but growing group wants to go back to the Migou. Some of them just think the NEG is going to lose the Aeon War and they should defect now, some are mad about the racism and government scrutiny (but no government help) and "fail to see the graciousness of a race they tried to subjugate and enslave, a race of whom they murdered hundreds of millions, who chose to take the Nazzadi in once they’d rebelled against their creators", some are old bastards who were always loyal to the Migou and only went with the rebels because they were going to win anyway, and some are young idiots who have heard romanticized tales of the old times and think going back to the Migou would be a promotion. Actually, all of them seriously think they will not be treated like slaves this time around.

Most of these stupid jerks leave NEG territory to contact the Migou and are promptly executed because the Migou have a kill-Nazzadi-on-sight policy, you shitheads! Sometimes they manage to make non-personal contact or meet a sympathetic officer, though, and the Migou actually humour them - they have intel on the NEG, Nazzadi mecha can be made faster, and Loyalists returning home to tell everyone how great the Migou are can't hurt.

These aren't the culprits, though. They're the murder victims. There's another informal group known as the Helasi ("the Free") who don't want these stupid jerks to ruin what the Nazzadi have going. They've called up old wartime contacts and skills and organised to murder any suspected Loyalists they can find, and "send a message to the rest of the Nazzadi community that such ludicrousness will not be tolerated." Basically, to tell everyone to be more reasonable, they are committing mass murder. It's hard to catch them because they have friends everywhere - cops, the feds, politicians and more will cover up for them, and those Nazzadi that do find out will probably keep their mouths shut rather than call attention to race traitors. Apparently, it works - by the end of the year Loyalism is reduced to "the truly fanatical", who will keep quiet if they know what's good for them, and the murders will fade into the obscurity of awful statistics.

Skipping the "how to fit PCs into this" page (are you supposed to be able to take the Helasi down? It doesn't explicitly say to railroad them out of it like it does with every other recurring villain. ) we get a list of important characters in this minor plot:

Angaza : The mastermind behind it all, a formal Marshal under resistance leader Field Marshal Vreta who "retired" to a simple life of watchmaking. Also, having entire families murdered.
Irury : The FSB agent put in charge of the entire investigation to show the Nazzadi they're serious about finding the culprits. She used to serve under Marshal Angaza. Oops.
Lancome Charet : A FSB agent who was assigned to a "more important" case when he was getting too close, and he will not let this shit go. The Helasi don't want to kill him but the FSB clearly trying to bury this is just making him more obsessed. Hello, potential ally!
Osinala : The first murder victim. He felt like the Nazzadi had been defeated and humiliated by humanity, and rumour has it that he was going to feel out the Migou and see if they'd be up for a team-up. He invited a few pals to come, but they stopped thinking about it when someone mutilated him.
Zenia & Erely : Happily married couple Zenia and Erely were political activists. Zenia was also a history professor who liked preaching open-mindedness and debating Nazzadi issues, like whether leaving the Migou was a good idea considering the bargaining position they were in. His family supported him. Therefore, the Helasi publically executed their entire family, including children, grandchildren and spouses.


Damnation View posted:

The Chrysalis Corporation. The company’s stock price is still high, they still provide many everyday products to the citizens of the New Earth Government, and they still employ a large number of people in stable jobs. They are also doing a bang-up job of hastening the end of the world as we know it and now they have even more exciting tools with which to do it.

Though the Chrysalis Corporation is the sole heir to the only functional version of the Rite of Transfiguration on the planet, they have not been resting on their laurels. The power of Dhohanoids is plenty, but hardly have all the Rite’s secrets been unlocked.

However, this year, the notorious T99 Division takes things one step further.

Chrysalis Corp's secret T99 Division is still researching the shit out of magic, especially the Rite of Transfiguration. They have a lot of Dhohanoids already, but they can only make them six nights a month during the new/full moon (and a single Genesis Pit can produce about a dozen), and with the Eldritch Society killing them and the other problems they're facing it would be great if they could do it faster. Plus, the Rite is uncontrollable - the Children of Chaos don't mind having a bunch of Dua-Sanari and Ramachese Dhohanoids, but a bunch of Ciraqen for their research and some more heavy-hitting Zabuth wouldn't be unapprciated either. Also, there hasn't been a new variety of Dhohanoid in two decades, and variety is the spice of Nyarlathotep-worshipping deviancy.

Enter Dr. Aina Eze! Aina was a Chrysalis geological researcher before being tempted through her vanity into joining the Children of Chaos and becoming a Ciraqen. She soon became obsessed with the mythical m'yas stones - legendary prehistoric geodes made out of alien meteorite crystals or the power of comets or naturally formed crystals harmonically channelling the power of dimensions or nobody gives a shit. Apparently, sorcerers would use them as tuning forks to enhance their rituals. Nobody believed they existed any more, though.

To the absolute shock of everyone who is acting in-character, Aina went on a quest for her holy grail and actually found it - a tree-sized geode in an undersea cave off the Azores. Over the next five years, she turned up more. Then it was expertiment time! After a whole lot of study and theories she enhanced the Rite of Transfiguration and tried it out on the first sucker the Corporation ponied up, a security specialist named Joandi Sianturi. It worked - he was transformed into the first unique Dhohanoid, with powers far beyond his lesser kin. On the downside, the Rite ended up burning out the m'yas stone. Aina could perform more rituals, but each one would turn a m'yas stone into an expensive and impractical paperweight. She made two more before deciding to hoard the rest. Nobody knows what she's planning or how many she has.

Joandi Sianturi 's Dhohanoid form is "a thing that appears to be of bone, gristle, and living darkness. An alien humanoid skeleton binds tendrils and pseudopods of writhing shadow that all move with an unholy sentience." He has the special abilities of a Thog-Manna and a Ramachese (checking the relevant books reveals that means he is a formless shapeshifter who can hide in shadows well) and can "control and focus darkness", which includes illusions and smothering people. He is a gigantic tool who thinks he is the "manifestation of supernatural darkness" and has a short temper. He is the dude on the right in the art up there. It's hard to tell, since their descriptions and their art have almost nothing to do with each other.

Shakary is the second. Her Dhohanoid form is "an otherworldly thing with an unnatural maw and long flowing body that is split up into many serpentine tails, buoyed up by a pair of sickly wings. A host of spindly arms tipped in venomous claws radiate out from her body". Neat! She has the powers of a Gelgore and a Vrykol (infinite paralysis needle works and the ability to do one physical and one mental Action at the same time with no penalty), plus telekinetic power (like Expert Telekinesis, only always on and sometimes things move around her without her thinking about it) and "something hypnotic in the way she moves and speaks", which acts like always-on Expert Magnetism. Naturally, CthulhuTech made the girl the pretty one with the charm powers, but they also did this:

Damnation View posted:

Shakary can best be described as being like a poorly behaved Hollywood starlet since her transfiguration. She is used to making demands and getting what she wants. Not well-liked, though feared, Shakary treats those she perceives as underlings poorly, condescending and belittling them constantly. Her canny nature, however, keeps her from going overboard and she treats those she perceives as equals or superiors to her sickly-sweet, gregarious, and flirtatious side. Regardless, it’s all manipulation to cater to her ego, unless it has directly to do with the god she knows has given her the power in which she now revels.

As a mortal, Shakary was always used to getting her way most of the time. Attractive, capable, and well-dressed, the late-twenties Nazzadi has been more than able to use her wiles – physical or intellectual – to her advantage. Her red-striped, shoulder-length black hair is carefully styled to frame her face. She wears makeup like a former runway model and dresses in tight designer suits. There is something in the unnaturally graceful way that she moves since her transfiguration that is mesmerizing.
Anywhere other than this, I wouldn't even mind, but seriously?

Grant Walker is the final unique Dhohanoid, a former research scientist. "Six sets of wings support a hideous insect-like thing with dripping mandibles, a host of legs, and a glowing thorax" is what he rolled on the Dhohanoid Features table, and rather than getting the powers of other Dhohanoids, he got at-will Photokinesis, Telepathy, Probe and Mindworm (at Expert, Master, Expert, Adept if it matters). He also suffered a psychotic break. Even compared to other Dhohanoids, who are literally no longer human, Grant is completely mental.

So, what are they doing? Joandi is a Corporation trouble-shooter who takes out high-profile targets and goes on missions in hostile territory. Shakary oversees important black market business deals, and with her powers she can get some very favourable terms. Meanwhile, Grant Walker has organised a team to fuck over the Eldritch Society.

Basically, Grant is hunting down people he thinks are involved with the Society and digging into their minds and dreams to find out more before hunting his targets down. This comes as a shock to the Society - before Grant, the Corporation didn't actively go after the Society. With him, though, they can just straight-up hunt down Tagers and murder them or, worse, rummage in their heads for sensitive information. If he gets his hands on a Lorekeeper or a Society leader, the Society will be screwed. In response, they've set up the Walker Initiative - elite Tagers trained into a para-military strike force to counter Grant and his men, supported by a network of sorcerers and para-psychics. So far, they've taken out some of his agents and saved plenty of Society lives, but the fucker is playing cat-and-mouse with them.

Overall, I actually like this micro-plot. The idea of the Chrysalis Corporation getting some unique Dhohanoids and actually going after the Eldritch Society mixes things up a bit, and though I find some of the writing awkward (the Weaving Characters section suggests using Grant as a tool to slap down Tagers who get "too big for their britches") this could be a thrilling adventure in the hands of a competent Storyguide. It's a shame that this was considered less deserving of a big writeup than "Mom's Coming To Visit", and yes that is the one with the Horned Ones. We're getting there!

Oh, and a little gift for those who asked:

Damnation View on Arcane Underground games posted:

Grant will only show up if he wants to rape somebody’s brain for information about the Eldrich Society.

This is only the second time the book has used the word "rape", including the pages about kidnapping children and forcing them into prostitution with accompanying art. So, yeah.

Next time: The first of the three major adventures, Dark Storm Rising. I hope you don't like China!

Least Hastur Could Do

posted by Ettin Original SA post

CthulhuTech: The Damnation View: Least Hastur Could Do

So the major adventures finally begin in Chapter Three: Dark Storm Rising . This is the first of three and no it is not the one with the Horned Ones, gosh .

This adventure is designed for mecha pilot PCs, and deals with the fall of China to the Rapine Storm. Before the actual adventure lie eight pages of fluff on China, from the various faction forces to key tactical points to their current plans. Instead of doing my usual thing and writing paragraphs of on this, I am going to condense this into eight bullet points, presenting only the most vital information.

• NEG population centers in China are protected by the Kill Zone, a strip of land running from Guangdong to Sichuan to Qinghai. Go in there and you will be spotted and get napalmed.
• Life in China sucks. While you wait your turn for evacuation, crime, gang violence, arcane underground activity and suicides are on the rise as hope spirals into the toilet.
• The NEG is fighting off the Rapine Storm from Southern China and the Migou from Manchuria, the Korean Peninsula and the oceans of the Yellow Sea. Parts of Vietnam, Guangxi and some other places got nuked.
• The Rapine Storm is now led by the Consort, a Desolate One and former high-security NEG sorcerer who was swayed by dreams of Hastur and is organising the Rapine Storm into a "cunning predator" ready to take advantage of her NEG insider knowledge. Uh oh!
• The Migou are more concerned with their inevitable clash with the Rapine Storm, and are trying to weaken the NEG and choke their supply routes so they can harvest more Blanks and equipment.
• The Disciples of Death's Shadow are spying on the NEG from within, and using magic to "condition" NEG pilots to launch suicide attacks on NEG surveillance posts at their signal. When that happens, the Kill Zone will be breached.
• Basically, the NEG thinks they have things under control and are planning a major offensive against the Migou, but when they launch it the Rapine Storm will storm the Kill Zone and overrun China before they can react. Everyone is doomed!

There was one fluff piece in there I actually liked, though, about a series of emails. The first is sent from a NEG soldier to his little brother, telling him about what's been going on and warning him to go to college and take care of their parents instead of joining the military like he's thinking. The email passes through NEG censors first, and they remove references to locations and death before changing the message to tell the little brother to go to college because the military needs sorcerers. The final email is a brief letter to their parents informing them that the soldier died in battle on April 5 and has been nominated for a Medal of Honor. It's interesting and effective and in the middle of eight pages of military fluff, so I almost missed it. Whoops!

So anyway, this adventure opens up with Act I: The Things You Find These Days . The PCs are assigned to some mecha squad and sent on a recon mission near Aksu, China to look for Migou activity and, because it would be boring if they didn't, find a thing. Before we find this thing, it's time for the CthulhuTech NPC descriptions game™!

Robert Alvarez (male) : Caucasian/Hispanic, "not as clean cut as he should be for an officer".
Captain Janaky (female) : Nazzadi, athletic, "might be considered attractive besides the scar on her left cheek."
First Sgt Tepa (male) : "Tall and thin".

So, this thing. Specifically, they encounter a Gug attacking a village. Anyone with occult knowledge probably knows a Gug running around on its own - especially this far from the Rapine Storm - is weird.

Damnation View posted:

The Characters can choose to take action to stop the Gug. There certainly is enough time to intercept and the superior firepower of a full mecha squad should be more than enough to take the thing down. However, if the Characters’ squad appears reluctant to take action, then 1st Lt. Alvarez will radio in for a status update and order the characters to engage.
If the PCs stand there and watch the Gug murder farmers, they are railroaded into helping. Who does that? Anyway, when the PCs begin reluctantly stopping the slaughter of civilians, some Migou mecha show up - and the Gug fights with them. As usual, the book reminds the Storyguide they are free to scale the bad guys as necessary to challenge the PCs. Once that's done:

Damnation View posted:

There may be some damage to one or more of the farmsteads as a result of the fight and the New Earth Government side will have suffered whatever damage was inflicted on them. Fortunately, the local farmers will have been saved. The rest of the 1st Platoon will eventually arrive in the valley and 1st Lt. Alvarez will demand an update from the Characters. Unfortunately the Dragonfly will get away, leaving the very real danger that it might return with additional help.
"Good on you, PCs! The day is saved, and Alvarez will show up for debriefing. By the way, one of the bad guys gets away. You didn't kill him, right?"

Studying the defeated Gug reveals a biomechanical device stuck in the back of its head, an oval thing with tentacles that burrow into its flesh and retract into the device when a mecha rips it out. Looks like the Migou have found a way to control Rapine Storm creatures! The PCs are ordered to take the MacGuffin to Captain Janaky while the book makes a huge deal out of it.

So, back to the mecha squadron's temporary headquarters it is! The Dragonfly that got away is stalking them. The book provides a page reference for mecha stealth rules in the core book, then adds "though it is unlikely that the pilot will give them call to notice". So I guess enemy mecha can ignore stealth rules? If they do actually spot it, it runs away and comes back later. Either way, the PCs are invisibly stalked to the mecha company's headquarters, and Janaky gets a report from the PCs (and alerts the sentries if the PCs did notice the Dragonfly) and orders 1st Sgt Tepa to look at the device.

The PCs get some sleep, and the next morning (05 April 2086! oh noooooooo) they are ushered through the rain to see Janaky. Tepa has detected "the presence of an emitted control carrier frequency harmonic to brainwaves" and determined that the MacGuffin connects itself to the creature's brain and lets a Migou remote-control it via radio. The PCs are ordered to take the MacGuffin to the city of Korla so it can be transported to Beijing and shipped away for study.



In Act II: Getting It There The Hard Way , the Dragonfly has led more Migou forces to the camp and now everyone is fighting for their lives. PCs kill the Dragonfly? CthulhuTech has got you covered!

Damnation View posted:

Of course, the Migou forces were lead to this location by the Dragonfly that had followed the Characters – even if that Dragonfly was destroyed, the mind control device emits a specific carrier frequency that is easy for the Migou to track. This attack was inevitable as soon as the Characters arrived and the Migou are eager to get their prototype equipment back.
Since the Werewolves (their transport vehicles) are all totalled, Janaky orders the PCs to get in their mecha and deliver the MacGuffin themselves while the rest of the company covers their escape. After some Dodge tests to avoid Migou cannon fire (on a failure you are caught by a blast and take 2 dice of damage, on a crit fail you are directly hit by an Integrity scale weapon and vaporised) the PCs are forced to leave behind their friends and loved ones and it's off to Korla!

Damnation View posted:

At full speed a Nazzadi mech can make it in about 2 hours. A Broadsword mech would take about 8 hours.
Hopefully nobody's playing a dirty human! Also, a quote I like:

Damnation View posted:

Nazzadi soldiers have always thought that “Korla” was an odd name for a city. To them it would be like Humans calling their city “Frank”.
So anyway, on the 200-mile journey to Frank the PCs notice the rain, wind and lightning getting worse - the Rapine Storm are moving into the Kill Zone, uh oh! Halfway to Frank, a Migou Spinner aircraft tries to find the PCs and drops four mecha (Locusts and Grubs) on them if they fail Stealth Tests. If the PCs successfully hide, or defeat the mecha, they make it to Frank.

The city of Frank is busy - NEG forces are massing ten miles south of Frank for some reason and all civilians are being evacuated. There’s "an eerie sense that something dreadfully wrong approaches the city". In the course of finding out what's going on, they meet new guys!

Lieutenant Colonel Brata (male) : Nazzadi, "piercing gaze", "fit and muscular".
Lieutenant Eli McWilliams (male) : African-American, has "a spit and polish"

Inside a school building converted into an army base, the PCs are told there have been unconfirmed reports of Kill Zone blackouts caused by kamikaze pilots (hmm) and weather reports of heavy electrical storms all along southern China (the Rapine Storm's Quetzalcoatl). Also, at least six giant worms are heading straight for the city. So that's a thing. Oh yeah, and there are no available aircraft thanks to the evacuation efforts, so the PCs are told to have a hot meal and a rest and take the Migou MacGuffin to Golmud to rendezvous with a battlecruiser that'll take them to Beijing. If anyone asks, most of their mecha company survived the assault but Captain Janaky was killed.

The PCs get their hot food and take a rest. Then a Bhole erupts out of the ground and into the street, holy shit! Through the tunnel it leaves behind swarms of mortal cultists, Shabus Morgo and Grave Things pile out. Everyone understandably freaks out, and the PCs get to make Fear Tests! Also, even more monsters pour out behind them! Also, an Observation Test reveals a black-cloaked Desolate One floating out of the hole on an elevated platform, because fuck yooouuu!

The PCs have to make a run for their mecha (they left them in a sports stadium converted into a repair depot two miles away) as the Rapine Storm overwhelms Frank.

Damnation View posted:

The Bhole unfortunately crushed the Ranger in which the Characters arrived, so they must either find another vehicle or make their way back to their mecha on foot. The larger of the Rapine Storm creatures have engaged what New Earth Government mecha are left to defend the city. The defiled mortals are rampaging through the streets and alleys killing, raping , and sometimes eating anything they find. The Characters witness horrors like they’ve most likely never seen before, prompting more Fear Tests before they can make it back to the repair depot. Feel free to paint this scene to be as visceral and gruesome as possible. Now is the moment when the Characters will be faced with the grisly horror that is the fury of the Rapine Storm.
Ding ding! A rape reference! Here's a picture too:

This art is nice, at least. That giant "WARNING! CITY OVERRUN" AR sign, though. You think?

Finally, in Act III: China Falls , China falls like a China in a China store. Back at the sports stadium, which was an awesome place to leave their mecha in hindsight, some Nazzadi mecha are holding off six Gugs and a Gibbering Horror. The PCs run through the fight (some Challenging Dodge Tests, each failure is a die of damage) to power up their mecha and help the Nazzadi mecha out, and it's time to meet their new pals!

2nd Lieutenant Cafy (female) : Nazzadi, "petite and cute", "secretly in love with Mallory, but afraid to admit it".
2nd Lieutenant Famida (male) : Nazzadi, "mis-sized and skinny", "respects Mallory, but wants to make a name for himself".
First Lieutenant Mallory Summers (female) : Human, "gorgeous".

There's a pause to mourn some fourth dude who was killed in action, then Summers tells the PCs her orders are to escort them (and the MiGuffin) to Golmud. Exactly how they leave Frank is up to the Storyguide, but it's not easy, and by the time they're out the survivors are retreating as fast as they can. It's another 350 miles through the stormy night and some mountains and desert to the fortress-city of Golmud (whoever wrote this at least looked at an atlas), and all along the way sensors detect large "things" hunting through the night. Nothing engages the PCs unless they attack first, though.

Damnation View posted:

The day has been long and grueling and it is only a matter of time before the need for sleep catches up to the team. Feel free to utilize the endurance and exhaustion rules from p. 124 of the Core Book . The added elements of drumming thunder, heavy winds, the deluge of visibility-killing rain sheets, and frequent sharp drop-offs that rim the side of the road, make continued travel through the mountain pass dangerous. Traveling into the rocky terrain of the Altuns should provide for plenty of opportunities to find a rock outcropping that might offer some measure of shelter from the storm. The Characters will hopefully get that it would be far more prudent not to push their way through.
(Because there's a set piece coming up )

When the PCs sleep, the Storyguide chooses one at random to "wake up". The night is clear, the ground is dry and everything is silent. If the PC investigates, his (or her, CthulhuTech !) teammates are dead, and his (or her) body is covered in blood. Oh no! Then he (or she) "remembers" murdering his teammates, and the "overwhelming and almost orgasmic sense of power he felt" (or she) when he (or she) did it.

Damnation View posted:

In that moment an almost imperceptible voice whispers to him, “aren’t you hungry?” The Character can look up to see a distant figure standing on a rock, Human in shape, with a black cloak draped over his form. Somehow from this distance he knows that the stranger has flame-red eyes. However, the sensation of ravenous hunger suddenly grips him and he looks around the campsite of death with a primal need. Mallory Summers now looks quite tasty and lean. He approaches her lifeless husk with his blade held high, ready to carve layers of flesh from her bones so that he can quell the black hunger. As he raises his blade, her lifeless eyes suddenly turn to him and she screams loudly. In the background of the Character’s mind, the distant whispering voice laughs.
Whoops! Turns out the PC is sleepwalking! The scream wakes the others, and everyone rolls Initiative to see if they can tackle the PC before he stabs Mallory and wakes up.

Damnation View posted:

This scene should make it clear to everyone that nobody is immune to the darkness that is now consuming this land.

A cloaked figure in the distance once again laughs to himself before turning and walking away.
This guy - probably the Desolate One from earlier - is a fucking troll, just like the last Desolate One we encountered. In fact, I hope this is Doctor Cheng's return. Come back, Doctor Cheng. You are the best.

So anyway, Golmud! NEG strategists figured Golmud would be besieged if the Kill Zone fell, and it turns out they get to be smug about that - the city is holding off vast waves of the Rapine Storm with massive barricades and gun emplacements. An NEG battlecruiser hovers over the scene and blasts lasers and rockets all over the Rapine Storm's faces - this is the Koenigsberg, their destination. The PCs start towards a safe entrance to Golmud to the north, but as they come within a mile of the city a Migou swarm ship is suddenly detected! The mammoth swarm ship immediately floats into view, dumps a cloud of Migou aircraft in the area and starts firing lasers at the Koenigsberg. What the fuck, Migou? We're busy over here, you tremendous assholes!

Actually, it's cool, the Migou are here to kill everybody. Aside from hating everybody else on this Goddamn battlefield, the PCs have fucked with them for the last time . They are here for that mind control device. Before the PCs can get to the city, a pair of Spinners block their path and dispense four Migou mecha (three Locusts and a Scorpion this time) each. I would have just fired at them with the swarm ship's Integrity-scale lasers and just make another mind control device using my notes if I needed to because I'm not a Goddamn idiot, but hey, that's no fun, is it? Anyway, this battle is an immense pain in the ass, and the Storyguide is yet again encouraged to tweak it as needed - specifically, to "pull out the stops" because this should be an intense and deadly fight.

If the PCs survive, they finally get the MiGuffin to the Koenigsberg, and it withdraws. NEG units leave their jump pods to board the battlecruiser or transport ships and they bail, abandoning any NEG troops and civilians that didn't make it to the Rapine Storm and the Migou.

Damnation View and the World's Smallest Violin posted:

The Koenigsberg will arrive safely in Beijing and anyone who survived the Battle of Golmud will be celebrated as heroes. Yet all the pomp and circumstance will never erase the memory of gazing down from the deck of the battlecruiser to witness those frantic faces staring up from the ground as mobs of men, women, and children begged for their lives. The cold horror of watching helplessly from the air as Rapine Storm monsters surged into the defenseless crowd of civilians...
Korla, Golmud, Nanning, Hong Kong and a bunch of other cities have been overrun by the Rapine Storm. Beijing and Shanghai are the last major cities in China and their civilians are being evacuated to Taiwan, Korea and Japan as fast as possible. Most of them, like the rest of China, will end up abandoned to Hastur. News broadcasts make the defeat sound softer than it is and claim the NEG are rallying and reinforcing in tactical positions in China - but the reinforcements are actually just to stop the Rapine Storm going any further, not to retake China. Anyone who knows the truth is given a gag order and scripts telling them what to say to friends and family.

These events are enough to cause Aeon War Syndrome in anyone, and here the PCs are required to make Insanity Tests based on what happened to them (everything from injury to the death of a friend to "enduring fear" (Challenging) and "witness massacre or bloodbath" (Incredibly Hard) to make sure everyone rolls). The Storyguide is encouraged to make sure they get at least one Insanity Point and not let anyone use Drama Points. On the upside, rewards!

If you were wounded, you can purchase the Commendation (3) Asset to represent a Purple Heart. The Experience cost is reduced to 5-10, even! They actually get the Purple Heart anyway, but they need to pay the Experience to get any "prestige and respect" from it. Why the fuck are you charging Experience for something you're giving them anyway, CthulhuTech?

Oh, and you might be eligible for the Distinguished Service Medal (5 Experience) or the Meritorious Service Award (15 Experience!) Pass. How about promotions? Everyone who survives gets a full rank promotion in the appropriate track (enlisted or officer). If you're the only remaining/ranking officer in your squad you become a Major, and if you're the only NCO you get bumped up to Sergeant at the least. And no Experience required! Hooray! Also, you get 10 Experience just for completing the mission. Which you can then immediately blow on medals you already got free!

Speaking of Experience...

Damnation View posted:

Even though this story is scalable, it is easy to outclass your Character in the face of these events. It is recommended that you play other stories first, weaving these events into the natural flow of your game. To ensure maximum engagement, we recommend that each Character have earned at least 100 Experience before joining in this fight.

It is recommended that you break this story up into a minimum number of sessions based on Act. Act I should take a minimum of two sessions, Act II should take a minimum of four sessions, and Act III should take a minimum of another four sessions. Feel free to take as much time as you need for this story to naturally unfold, but by spreading it out over a minimum of ten sessions. Characters are allowed to accrue another 50 Experience with which to develop over its course.
What the fuck?

As previously established , CthulhuTech 's "standard" rate of Experience is 5 per session. Damnation View is asking for twenty sessions just to get the PCs enough Experience to start. And even if you just do the sensible thing and hand the players a big enough bucket of experience to feel comfortable starting this, two sessions for Act I? Look, here is what it is fucking suggesting:

• Getting railroaded into not letting innocent civilians die, one fight with a Gug, taking the MiGuffin to camp: 2 sessions
• Running away from the Migou, one fight with some Migou mecha maybe , running away from Frank: 4 sessions
• Fighting some Gugs and a Gibbering Horror, getting trolled by Doctor Cheng, a tough fight with some Migou: 4 sessions

You could do the entire fucking adventure as presented in like 4-5 sessions. The only reason you'd do 10 is because this Experience system is fucking slow and you haven't figured out you can just houserule it to be faster yet. Anyway, this is one of three adventures in one of six planned metaplot books. How long is it going to take to finish a CthulhuTech campaign if the Storyguide has to pad out one adventure to 10 sessions?

And you know, after all that...

What did you actually do?

Seriously. Every single major battle in this adventure, the PCs run away. In fact, the book is pretty explicit that they can't do shit about China:

Damnation View posted:

There is very little your average Character can do to stop the Rapine Storm from claiming China. It is a situation far outside anyone’s control. Characters get to be a part of this historic battle and will most likely distinguish themselves in some way that will help move them up the ranks. Perhaps they will be in more of a position to influence events on a broad scale next time.
Fair enough (it's China , not the local mall, and watching a country fall before your eyes can be interesting) but come on ! CthulhuTech , is your idea of a great adventure really ten sessions of running around China without affecting anything? And your consolation prize is "you were there!" ?

While we're at it, what happens to the MiGuffin? I mean obviously the scientists are going to do science at it, but it isn't even mentioned in the ending section. It's all about how China fares. I guess it was taken away to have science done at it?

Forget it. This adventure is asinine. I'm out of here.

Next time: Only Deadly Currents stands in the way of hot Horned One action! Yet another secret government agency, and some Esoteric Order of Dagon action. Did you know they build railroads underwater?

Cultist Roomies From Hell

posted by Ettin Original SA post

CthulhuTech: The Damnation View: Cultist Roomies From Hell

Damnation View posted:

Though the New Earth Government quietly covers up the activities of the Esoteric Order of Dagon, they cannot deny that something is afoot. The Cult conquers islands and coastlines, setting up breeding grounds and staging points for its agents to go out in the world, searching for things unknown. Perhaps a policy of containment is not the best idea. If only the government at large were more aware of what the cult was up to.
Okay, I don't want to spoil anything, but fuck this adventure.

So, the score: the Trovatellis are an old rich family based in Torino, Italy. One of their ancestors, 1700s merchant Niccolo Trovatelli, loved collecting lost artifacts and occult tomes for no reason other than shits and giggles, and this passion continued for a few generations before it "fizzled out in the face of science". For the last couple centuries, an amazing occult collection has been gathering dust in their vaults.

Damnation View posted:

If a learned occultist found his way into the Trovatelli vault, he would most likely soil himself. The treasures there would make even a Child of Chaos blush. Rare translations of arcane texts, artifacts that are capable of otherworldly powers, and more, all sit unused and unappreciated. There are even spells in that vault that have been lost to man for ages.
You will never guess who wants to get in.

Damnation View posted:

Though the Esoteric Order of Dagon is guilty of many atrocities, including attacking passenger transports, occupying coastal villages, and setting up rape camps, they are not interested in engaging in a war. Everything they do is for one purpose and one purpose only. They seek to find their holy city to bring it back to this world once again, so that they can resurrect their infamous deity.
Rape Count: 3

The Knights of the Scarlet Dagon know R'lyeh is definitely probably somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean, but that's about it. Their problems aren't just location, though - as some occult scholars have suggested R'lyeh isn't just lost under the ocean, it's in the wrong dimension. They're going to need R'lyeh's Earth location and the dimensional coordinates it fucked off to, which is probably a bit like trying to find the keys to a box while inside the box. Luckily, though, it turns out there are ways! R'lyeh's location can be found "in legends, old stories, and in the judicious use of certain powerful artifacts," and a few magically-preserved ruins of the R'lyehan civilisation still exist in hidden places. All the Esoteric Order needs is to find one of them!

Related: A bunch of Trovatellis just got murdered.

Act I: Family Treasures starts in Torino, Italy. It's a small arcology with under a million residents, though a lot of people stay outside the arcology in ancestral homes and estates or in the nearby old city, because Tradition. Also, it makes it much easier to get ganked by Deep Ones. The Trovatellis live just outside the old city in a quiet villa with the latest of high-tech security, but not magic because they don't trust magic.


Enrico Trovatelli (male): No physical description.
Bianca Trovatelli (female): No physical description.
Alessandra Trovatelli (female): "Both her looks and demeanor often lead people to describe her as an angel."
Rodrigo Esposito (male): "Handsome". Sometimes, he is eurotrash!
Agent Christen (female): No physical description.
Agent Cyrdova (male): "Non-descript".
Faustino Vargas (male): Deep One Hybrid, "unnerving man of average build", also black eyes and gills.

Oh man, only one female NPC was described in terms of attractiveness? Such progress!

So anyway, Enrico and Bianca's daughter Alessandra secretly has three boyfriends, and her favourite one is Rodrigo! Her other two boyfriends are never mentioned so I don't know why the fuck this is important. Alessandra probably picked the wrong one to favour anyway, because he's involved with the Church of All. He's taken her to a few meetings but is way more into it and has recently made it to the Third Circle, which means he is having Harmony-induced trips but not fucking any Deep Ones yet. After one of his "soultrips" he happened to mention that the R'lyehan imagery he was seeing reminded him of something he saw in the Trovatelli vault. The Church of All freaked out and indoctrinated him to believe that the "angelic" Deep Ones had had many holy relics stolen from them by mortals long ago. Rodrigo talked Enrico into letting him see the Vault, and whatever he saw was so important the Esoteric Order stepped in. They convinced Rodrigo to tell everything he knew about the security and layout of the villa, and on the night of Tuesday, May 14th a bunch of Deep Ones and Hybrids launched a raid with this new window. Also, they murdered everybody. The fluff text at the start of this chapter suggests they actually abducted his wife and the female servants, but they are never mentioned again so it doesn't matter. Also, this.

Damnation View posted:

He dotes on his young daughter and she is, in every definition of the word, spoiled. Fortunately for the world, Alessandra has still been ingrained with the spirit of old money and is not what some might call eurotrash.
Oh no! Alessandra has gone past her use-by-date!

So, a murder happens. Rodrigo makes sure Alessandra isn't home. Somehow, the local authorities arrive that very night, followed by the OIS, followed by Alessandra (who goes into hysterics and has to be sedated). Where do the PCs fit in?

Damnation View posted:

It is right about here that the Characters enter the story, however it is that you’ve decided that they become involved.
The Weaving Characters section at the end suggests this story is best for games about policemen or government agents, but beyond that it is mostly the Storyguide's problem. The FSB or OIS are easy to fit in, at least, since it's their jurisdiction and "it isn’t likely that your Characters are Italian police officers". It doesn't matter too much anyway, because Act I isn't really about the PCs.

Damnation View posted:

Investigations will go on for a while – it takes days to truly process a crime scene of this magnitude. However, it isn’t long before something even more out of the ordinary happens. Several black Zephyr Enforcers fly in and while this might not normally be unusual, no one knows these guys are coming. There’s much confusion as the Special-Agents-in-Charge try to figure out if anyone is expecting more help. Then, the vehicles land and the people inside emerge, clad from head to toe in black, wearing unusual black overcoats. There’s an unmistakable air of authority coming from each of them, along with a noticeable lack of identification.
So, a few days later (What do the PCs get up to? That's your problem), these guys show up! One of them, a "raven-haired and striking" woman with arcane tattoos strolls up and introduces herself as Agent Christen, NEG Special Services. No one has heard of the SS because they're all so mysterious and shit, but they take over the investigation and everyone else's superiors tell them to back off.

We're told to head to the Special Services section of the chapter to learn more about them. Don't mind if I do!


Damnation View posted:

The Freak Show – that’s what agents on the inside call it. Special Services is what the New Earth Government calls it. Most people don’t call the agency anything at all because so few people even know it exists. One of the most secret government agencies, Special Services deals with all the weirdest, most dangerous, and most mind-bending threats to society – and then quietly covers them up so that people can sleep soundly at night.
The SS are basically the men in black. The FSB does mundane crimes, the OIS regulates humans with magic, and the SS does the even weirder occult stuff, I guess! Nearly all of them are sorcerers and para-psychics, because those guys can handle the weird occult shit better. Sometimes they recruit from the detainment facilities of the OIS, giving para-psychics who were imprisoned for life but not actually all that bad a chance at freedom in exchange for service.

The perks are pretty great. First, para-psychics don't have to wear visible ID, and dangerous powers are actually encouraged. Sorcerers are allowed to learn any ritual, even the illegal and dangerous ones. You also get training in the "underground martial art form of gunplay", which means you can get all the Gunplay Cascades from Vade Mecum . You get access to special gear (sweet automatic machine pistols, rare depleted uranium bullets and some potions), and all your records are erased. Those embarrassing posts you made on the internet? Gone! Downside: You are now involved in some of the most dangerous cases in the world and will probably die on the job.

Damnation View posted:

Despite their desire for anonymity, the Special Services maintains a uniform that both inspires fear and identifies them as something with which to be reckoned. The stylish black suit combined with the priest-collared black ballistic leather longcoat creates an unforgettable image. Not to mention the skill and artistry with which they fight, added to their peculiar expertise and paranormal abilities. Despite their need to remain secret, they stand out to those whose paths they cross.

As for the cults: the Death's Shadow mostly deal with mundane crimes, so Special Services doesn't run into them much, and the Children of Chaos are too well hidden. They mostly run go after the Knights of the Scarlet Dagon, the Congregation of the Earth Mother and the Scions of Forever (not that they're making any progress on the last one). Interestingly, Special Services know about Tagers and Dhohanoids - and are starting to work out that the Tagers are good guys. They're waiting for more information and not telling anyone, though.
Rumors about Special Services

Damnation View posted:

• Special Services even employs ghouls as agents, so that they can get information from the underground – literally.
• With their access to incredible political power and their secret nature, they are a ripe target to be corrupted by the things to which they regularly expose themselves. If the New Earth Government is going to fall from within, here is the within from which is will fall.
• Special Services knows all about the Shadow War and is keeping the existence of both Tagers and Dhohanoids a carefully guarded secret.
"Rumours: This thing I just said is true is slightly more true."


So the Men In Trenchcoats show up and take over. Agent Cyrdova shows up and uses his para-psychic powers to calm Alessandra and probe her memory, and soon they work out it a) it was probably Rodrigo and b) an ancient black mask is missing from the vault. A Hard Occult Test is enough to guess that the mask is R'lyehan. It's time to catch Rodrigo!

This whole section is just a list of things the Matrix Gunkata Agents do, presumably while the PCs watch and help look at things. The SS totally bring them along, though. Why?

Damnation View posted:

However it is that the Characters have distinguished themselves or are a part of all this, they are now along for the ride.
That's your problem.

Now that they're along for the ride (it's a train ride ), it's time to grab Rodrigo! Luckily he is a moron and decided to go home, though the Storyguide is free to add an "exciting foot chase" if the PCs want some action. Once he's caught, Agent Cyrdova will strap him into a chair and probe his mind. (There are laws against this. The Special Services give negative fucks.) Apparently he decided to be gentle with Alessandra, and Rodrigo screams as Cyrdova probes his mind the efficient way. They find out the EOD is involved (but probably already did), and that Rodrigo has a Hybrid buddy named Faustino Vargas. He has no legal identity, though, so he's a little harder to find.

Damnation View posted:

You can make the hunt for Faustino as simple or difficult as you’d like. If your players are itching for another hunt, make it so they have to search many places and maybe smack up a few low-lifes to find him. If not, he’s in the same boat as the rest of the Esoteric Order around here – so excited that he’s not being as careful as he should be. He cannot be allowed to jump into a river in any event, because he will be very difficult to follow. In the end, Faustino is one the Hybrids left behind to clean up any loose ends, with a less-than-desirable and less-than-clean room above a riverfront tavern.
Also your problem.

Once the PCs capture Faustino, they drag him back to turn him in to the quest NPC. Agent Cyrdova probes Faustino's mind and learns that the mask is being moved to an island in the Mediterranean - the island of Gorgona in the Tuscan Archipelago! It used to be an agricultural penal colony, and is currently mostly abandoned except for some radical survivalists. (Also, the Esoteric Order.) Research (if the PCs can't do it the Unfortunate Acronym Agency does it for them) confirms that the mask is an ancient R'lyehan ritual mask. Hmm!

In Act II: The Lost Way the PCs head to Gorgona with the SS. The PCs go with Agents Christen and Cyrdova in Faustino's boat, masquerading as Church of All recruits, and the rest of the SS go to sneak in a different way. There's a small village near the docks which looks normal from the outside (the inhabitants speak English instead of R'lyehan in front of outsiders and they hide their Deep Ones), but poke deep enough (or pose as initiates) and you might find a few hints , like the "sacred space" for Deep Ones and cultists to bang and a nursery with Hybrid babies. A Fear Test or two might be called for if the PCs aren't used to seeing those species, and freaking out now would be a bad idea. (After this is over, the PCs also make a Challenging Insanity Test against gaining an Insanity Point from what they see.)

While the PCs are looking at whatever the Storyguide describes, their attention is drawn to one particular Deep One - an imposing and calm one named Shull. When dusk falls, everyone gathers on the beach and watches Shull produce the mask, put it on (it's designed for Deep Ones, it seems) and wade into the water while the cultists pray. An hour later, she returns and starts issuing orders - Christen translates from R'lyehan and explains that Shull has had a vision from their sleeping god and "the temple is now open to them", whatever that means.

When night falls, Deep Ones, Hybrids and some cultists start putting on pilot suits. The PCs can take out a couple cultists and come along. Wait, a couple?

Damnation View posted:

Only a few of the Characters will be able to infiltrate these proceedings. If you only have two or three Characters in your group, Agents Christen and Cyrdova will join them, along with a couple more field agents. If you have four or more Characters, only Agents Christen and Cyrdova will join. The other agents will be sent to continue investigation of the island and to get a call out to Special Services with an update.
Uh... so not everyone will be allowed to continue the adventure? Tell me I'm misreading.

Well, whatever happens, the PCs suit up, grab equipment (there are weapons lying around, and satchel charges the book keeps mentioning. Hmmm! ) and dive after the Order to find a bunch of war machines under the waves - including re-designs of the Hydra (stronger and faster) and Mudskipper (twice as fast underwater and has a laser cannon)! Hooray! The PCs are forced to take a Selkie or Siren suit of powered armour, though, because new guys in Hydras (especially ones that don't speak R'lyehan) and non-Deep Ones in Mudskippers is suspicious as hell. The group takes off for the Atlantic Ocean and meet a couple of Spawn - the PCs get to make more Fear Tests, because Spawn are scary, but if anyone asks they can just shrug and say "I'm new, sorry!". One of the Spawn is clearly the leader, and calls the shots with Shull. Its name is Cl'yca. I am going to call it Cloaca. Shull can be Steve.

Damnation View posted:

The journey through the dark black ocean is long and takes many hours (like a full day plus). Hopefully the Characters remembered to hook up the waste reclamation units in their mecha or it will be a messy and uncomfortable trip. Anyone who isn’t a trained mecha pilot may have this problem.
So if you weren't left on the island to twiddle your thumbs, you get to poop in your mecha! While the underwater PCs are shitting in their powered armour, their "superiors" will occasionally issue orders, or Deep Ones and Hybrids will try to make small talk - unless someone speaks R'lyehan they assume the PCs are new guys and switch to English, though. Social/acting skills and clever roleplaying might be called for!

Eventually the group reaches a spot "a couple thousand miles south of the Azores along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge", and the Dagonites dive until they find a gigantic alien seal set into the rock, 60ft. high and covered in glyphs. They perform an hour-long ritual (they spill blood and it attracts a White Death, but the mega shark is totally chill with the Dagonites and decides to hang out like a true bro. More Fear Tests! Veteran cultists know everyone gets scared by the sharks on their first trip and think it's hilarious.) Beyond the seal is a tunnel leading to a giant cavern which comes to life with an eerie light when the Deep Ones enter, revealing a long-lost R'lyehan temple. It's an immense alien structure of giant spires, pillars, bas-reliefs and statues glorifying the R'lyehan civilisation. Something about the angles and shapes of the temple are weird, of course. (Another Challenging Test to avoid an Insanity Point before they leave!)

So, in they go! Cloaca and Steve lead everyone into the heart of the temple and some rooms dedicated to Cthulhu are described at the PCs before they get to a room with a pillar in the center. Steve puts the mask on and touches the pillar, causing it to project a complex image of glowing orbs across the room - stars and constellations.
If the PCs can't work out what it is, Agent Christen tells them - a celestial map that shows them when their next window for bringing R'lyeh into the world is. Soon, apparently.

God damn it.

So, Act III: Way Too Deep . The PCs (well, maybe just some of them) are deep under the ocean with a bunch of Deep Ones looking at a celestial map the PCs would rather not let them keep. So, what now?

Well, the book points out that they are hilariously outnumbered and a fight isn't an option, but they could... hide! Or, use the satchel charges the adventure didn't shut up about to try to bring the cave down before the Esoteric Order notices. (If the PCs didn't bring explosives, apparently the roof of the cavern is weakened enough to be lasered at.) Of course, then they have to get the hell out of there, and Steve is going to work this out and confront them because she's a bad guy and they have plot powers.

However they do it, they're not out of the woods when they leave. A wave blasts everyone who was trying to use the tunnel out into the ocean, and that totally includes Steve and Cloaca - also, that White Death Broshark? Steve can totally communicate with that. If either of them escape, they'll take their knowledge back to the Esoteric Order, so the PCs will have to try and bring them down. Cloaca is covered in wards (Storyguide's choice, apparently) and Steve can try to escape on the White Death. This fight will be hair raising, intense and

Damnation View posted:

She will eventually snag a ride on a prehistoric shark and swim far away at more than 50 mph. Once she escapes, Cl’yca and any remaining White Deaths will flee.

The Esoteric Order of Dagon has that for which they came. They are one step closer to R’lyeh.
completely unimportant.

Afterwards, the SS cover up anything that needs to be covered (not much), Alessandra starts to recover, the Knights of the Scarlet Dagon abandon Gorgona, and the PCs get a gag order. The SS think they're pretty neat, though, which might lead to more interesting work later...

In the aftermath, like the last adventure, the PCs get an extra 10 experience. They're also expected to have earned 100 Experience before undertaking this. Oh, and:

Damnation View posted:

It is recommended that you break this story up into a minimum number of sessions based on Act. Act I should take a minimum of two sessions, Act II should take a minimum of four sessions, and Act III should take a minimum of another two sessions. Feel free to take as much time as you need to allow this story to comfortably breathe, but by spreading it out over a minimum number of eight sessions Characters are allowed to accrue another 40 Experience with which to develop over its course.
Eight sessions? Eight shitting sessions. Act I was just running a couple of errands for the Magic MIB, for fuck's sake!

Well, at least they accomplished something in the end.

Damnation View posted:

If They Fail to Stop the Esoteric Order...
If the forces of the Esoteric Order reach the lost temple, find the celestial map, and at least one of them escapes into the blackness of the ocean, then they will have won. They are significantly closer to raising their sunken city. However, most things will go back to business as usual with the Cult, at least for the time being. They have new information to digest that will affect their overall plans.

The Characters will return knowing another dark secret in a world of dark secrets, but ultimately it will do them no good. Perhaps, however, they curry favor with Special Services, which may change their lives. If they are Special Services agents, the hunt continues and the agency will place more emphasis on combating the Esoteric Order.

To be clear, this is the ending we will be assuming occurred for our continuing development of the CthulhuTech metaplot. If your Characters somehow manage to stop the Esoteric Order, then read on for possible ways to continue with this important change.
Or , maybe they didn't, because the metaplot demands they don't.

But wait, what if the PCs actually did stop the Knights of the Scarlet Dagon? Damnation View 's got you covered!

Damnation View posted:

If they Stop the Esoteric Order...
If your Characters somehow manage to destroy every single possible escapee from the lost temple, then they will have pulled off what appears to be an impossible victory. They will have prevented the Esoteric Order from acquiring their celestial map and robbed them of a key piece to their quest.

With the presence of both Spawn and White Deaths, there is a chance that the Characters might stop the Cult while sacrificing themselves. It is recommended that you advise against this course of action, though it seems heroic, for one simple point.

This isn’t the only temple. This wasn’t the Esoteric Order’s only chance to get the celestial map. The Cult will regroup, continue their search the way they’ve been searching for generations now, and will ultimately find another place with the same information. Stopping them at this point only delays the inevitable.

This adventure is dumb. Just a big dumb mess of bad ideas, a churning maelstrom of poor execution swirling in the murky waters of a forgotten and particularly asinine corner of the ocean. It is actively grabbing entire handfuls of everything that is wrong with metaplot like a cadre of fat weeaboos with self-diagnosed Aspergers at a sushi bar where nobody told them how to use chopsticks, shovelling them into its maw with great slurping noises and shivering with sexually suggestive pleasure as these ridiculous morsels slide down its gullet. Somewhere in this twirling clusterfuck is a good idea, nestled in the flabby folds of poor writing like a bead of sweat in an buttock crevice, all alone, lost and confused. Somehow, this adventure has managed to be worse than the last one.

It is also the second of four.

Next time:

yiff yiff, motherfuckers

Sweet Shub and Hella Thotep

posted by Ettin Original SA post

CthulhuTech: The Damnation View: Sweet Shub and Hella Thotep


Oh, the adventures we've had. We've been through , where we got our first taste of "rape as cheap shocks"; Vade Mecum 's , where the PCs got to witness a mind-control rape scene; Dark Passions and , where one of the PCs was tortured while a little girl was molested. We've followed the adventures of a fictional gaming group through all of these, and in now, in Sweet Shub and Hella Thotep (aka: ), they're back!

When we last saw them, Storyguide Paul had abandoned his post to play Sakura Blossom, college student, and Dexter (terrible para-psychic Ryu) took up the job as part of an elaborate revenge scheme against the other players - Robert (Kai the hot-blooded cop), Fred (Athena the Shadow Tager), Charles (Namy-chan the Nazzadi arcanotech and Whisper Tager) and Ward (Angus the 4chan wizard). The scheme ended when Fred punched him in the dick.

Afterwards the Fred and the others decided they actually liked the setting, if you stripped out the shitty parts and houseruled the system, and so they did - they've actually been running for a couple of months, with Paul taking his spot back from Dexter (he rolled up an Echo Tager and bided his time). It's time to spring his trap though - once everyone was lulled into a false sense of security, Dexter guilted everybody into letting him GM an adventure again!

Paul, Fred and Charles stuck around, but Ward has quit the game citing dissatisfaction with his tentacle-dicked wizard. Instead, his sister Asenath - who likes RPGs but hasn't heard of CthulhuTech - takes his place. She likes Fred's "paladin Tager" concept and rolls up Yolande, a Nightmare Tager girl with a more "dark knight" theme, while Paul upgrades Sakura Blossom to a Mirage Tager.

Dexter opens his book and turns it to Chapter 5...

Damnation View posted:

It really is the Strange Aeon, for the stars have come right once again. This time an oblique conjunction in far parts of the universe is about to create a shallowing between dimensional walls that if properly taken advantage of will result in one of the Old Ones being able to once again manifest in this world. The Old One in question is Shub-Niggurath, the Black Mother.
Sweet Shub doesn't just show up for anyone, though - just people who cast a powerful ritual. Fortunately the Children of Chaos have already summoned Hastur, so the Black Mother is no sweat! They've rescued the Congregation of the Earth Mother and set them to work, using their beliefs to turn them into the perfect proxies for their Shub-summoning plans. Shubmoning?

They need some things first, though. For example, a place of "raw natural power, untouched by civilized man and unscarred by war". The forests of the Pacific Northwest will suffice. Second, babies.

Damnation View posted:

Next, the deity of nature requires fertility and lots of it. The sacrifice of newborn babies, to be precise. Since there are few mothers that would volunteer their children for such a horrid fate, it is up to the cultists involved to create the required bounty. At first, young fertile girls were kidnapped from across North America and brought to Seattle to become unwilling mothers. When the horrifying rape prison was destroyed by an industrious pack of Tagers, the cultists had to rethink their position. With the day rapidly approaching, they were forced to step into the public eye and steal an entire maternity ward’s worth of newborns.
Rape Count: 4

Okay, apart from anything else, this plan was ridiculous. What benefit did the Children of Chaos get from not just going straight to baby-napping? With a little more time they could have pinched newborns from multiple hospitals over a longer period, which couldn't have drawn that much attention, and storing a bunch of babies instead of a bunch of rape victims would surely have saved them valuable money and time on food, storage space, security, wear and tear on rapists, b

Well, whatever. Once they've half-inched all these babies (presumably with some sort of trolley), there are more components to get - huge amounts of "standard" ingredients, for a start, an also some magical artifacts! There's the Circlet of Ghabbaz, an "ancient fertility object that is indestructible and has been split into three parts", two of which the Children of Chaos have already (after railroading the Eldritch Society out of one of them ). They also need "things from beyond this world", which I will skip in order to draw out the reveal as much as possible, and as the ritual is too advanced for most sorcerers they've contracted Nyarlathotep's elite, the Circle, to help them out. They're also set up giant Ruach Wells, standing stones the cultists fill with donated Ruach/Orgone/Whatever to provide the massive cosmic energy requirements.

And then, when the time comes, the masterstroke.

Damnation View posted:

When the moment comes, Circle sorcerers will begin. They will ritually murder the babies while a gigantic orgy begins, chanting all the while. After a whole day of this, among other less disgusting things, the standing stones will shatter as the Ruach is released and the world will rock with the birth-cry of the avatar of Shub-Niggurath. Should it manifest, the tide of the Aeon War will turn – in favor of the Cults.

Luckily, the Eldritch Society is on the case! They don't actually know what's going on beyond "the Children of Chaos are up to something with the Circlet of Ghabbaz and were running a rape prison" ( Rape Count: 5, though it was on the same page), but who cares, it's on like Donkey Kong! And when they do...

Damnation View posted:

In the end, the fight the Eldritch Society has on its hands is big, perhaps bigger that the Tagers in the Pacific Northwest will be able to handle. However, there is another way, for not always do Tagers have to fight their own battles. The thing they seek to stop is something that the New Earth Government would jump at the opportunity to crush, but only if the less corrupt branches of said government were to be leaked the right information at the right time. Fortunately, the Eldritch Society trusts the zealotry of the Office of Internal Security. Spill the right beans about the right kind of mystical crime in the right place and a small army will be dispatched to shoot first and ask questions later. The Society only suspects that it draw the attention of even a bigger and more zealous fish – NEG Special Services – who brings an even bigger and more mystical gun to the proceedings.

It is into this crazy arena that we bring your Characters, who will be the central figures in keeping a terrifying extra-dimensional creature of god-like proportions from becoming a new player in the Aeon War.

This is one of the few victories of 2086 and it is enormous. It’s too bad no one will know about it.
And with that dramatic opening, it's time for the adventure three more pages of fluff! I will condense it.

• The Congregation believe Sweet Shub is a perfect embodiment of nature which will bring harmony to the world, because they are idiots.
• Sweet Shub actually did walk the Earth millenia ago, and the energy she emanates influenced early life. Sweet Shub is indirectly responsible for the evolution of humanity.
• Congregation's writeup is mostly a retread of their Dark Passions writeup. It's more explicit about the Children of Chaos using them, though - they'll be abandoned to Sweet Shub once her avatar is summoned and their cult is expendable.
• There's a list of new spirit animal possessions! Why get in touch with your inner horse when you can say hi to your inner bird, lagomorph (does not come with mysterious inventory space) or mouse?
• Eldritch Society stuff! Aside from Tager packs, helpful Society people include the Operators (who sit in front of computers and coordinate/do research for their packs) and Lorekeepers, the scholars and researchers of the group. The Tagers are the leaders of this order of holy warriors, though.
• Also, the leaders of the Tagers are the ones who undergo metamorphosis , becoming more deeply linked with their symbiont and even more powerful. They are rare - even major cities like Seattle only have a couple dozen tops. The PCs will get to encounter two of them!

Damnation View posted:

Tager metamorphosis will be presented in detail in the Ancient Enemies book. Their statistics are not important here, as neither of these supporting characters will be involved in a conflict situation.
Come to think of it, is there a CthulhuTech book that doesn't "present" something and tell you to buy a later book for more information? Maybe later.
• Of the current population of Seattle (about four million), ~3000 are Tagers. There's a statistical breakdown and everything. Short version: 80% are Mirages/Phantoms, 2% Nightmares/Vampires, 18% Other.
• Children of Chaos! The Chrysalis Corporation employs at least a quarter of the working population of Seattle through itself or its subsidiaries, and 1% of those are Dhohanoids, for a total of 10,000 Dhohanoids in Seattle. Nobody cares about the statistical breakdown. They can also make Dhohanoids faster and easier than Tagers.
• Since they own weapons companies, they have a technological advantage and can access even restricted weapons and military gear. The Eldritch Society have to buy weapons off the black market (which probably lines Chrysalis Corp's pockets anyway).
• They also have access to the Corporation's virtually unlimited accounts, contacts with industry and political leaders, and the magical might of the Circle providing a huge stockpile of enchanted items and almost unlimited access to any spell.
• "The point is, the Children of Chaos will be bringing their A-game in this story. Your Characters had better watch their step." Uh ooooh!

After that we get two more Goddamn pages on some jerks called the Horned Ones. Whatever, I'll just skip it and if it's important we can come back to it maybe.

Adventure time!

Damnation View posted:

This story is one possible way these events can play out. They may seem a little chaotic and a little disparate, but that’s the nature of the beast. After all, the enemy in question is the Children of Chaos.

You’ll also notice that some of the details are left deliberately vague. This is so you can customize things to work for your Characters, modifying numbers of enemies for the appropriate challenge, inserting your own Supporting Cast, and the like.

This story can take quite a while to complete. You can start at the beginning and stay on task the whole way through, or you can pepper other minor stories in between pieces. For example, it is easy to play out other plots in between the parts of Act I and the first parts of Act II. However, once the Characters begin on the path entitled “Furry Friends,” it is likely a downhill spiral to the final conflict and conclusion.
We'll stick to this adventure for now though.

The hijinks start in Act I: A Terrible Path ! There are a lot of NPCs this time, so let's run down the list.

Dr. Simon Tam (male): "Very proper looking", Chinese male who speaks in an English accent.
Gustave (male): German, "unshaven and unclean".
Domany (female): From ! Same description (she's hot).
Wade Inoue (male): Japanese, "aging very well".
Angela MacGregor (female): "Beautiful red-head". Was a sample character in Vade Mecum . Callbacks!

By the way, this is actually a continuation of Hot Merchandise / , which would help explain why the villains of that adventure were railroaded to safety.

Damnation View posted:

The Eldritch Society of Seattle recently discovered that the Chrysalis Corporation was up to something big. The capture of two pieces of the Circlet of Ghabbaz, subsequent loss, and break up of a kidnap/ rape center set up in a industrial warehouse south of downtown has them on edge. All the Tagers in town are on the look out for a powerful sorcerer named Farouk Hassan and his assistant Domany, but neither has surfaced anywhere. It’s as if they’ve disappeared.
Rape Count: 6

That all changes with Simon Tam. He's an registered sorcerer and a trauma doctor whose medical experiments left him Outsider Tainted - now his blood has been replaced with "something akin to formaldehyde". He also happens to be an Eldritch Society member. Gonna be honest: So far, Simon Tam owns. He happened to purchase Hassan's now-abandoned magic shop shoppe to give him something to do when the Eldritch Society makes it hard to work regular hospital hours any more, and he also happens to be present for the babynapping.

Damnation View posted:

One quiet night in June, nurses scream and security scrambles as the hospital turns into a tightly controlled madhouse. Somehow, around three dozen newborn infants disappear. One minute the nurses are there and all is well, the next everybody turns their backs and they’re gone. No noise, no crying, nothing on the security tapes. It’s as if the infants vanished into thin air. It isn’t long before the police have the place locked down and are playing spin control to make sure that this doesn’t get out into the public’s eye.
Simon, knowing that the Chrysalis Corporation has been "up to something with pregnant mothers", calls the Society. Enter the PCs!

With Simon Tam giving them access, the team immediately goes into search mode. Athena and Kai search for witnesses and ask to see the security tapes, while Asenath gets excited about this adventure and uses Yolande's forensic skills to look for DNA evidence. Each and every one of these efforts yields zero results. Dexter smiles, and the veteran players sigh and ask NPCs what they do know.

Apparently all everyone knows is a) powerful magic was probably involved, because holy shit maternity ward baby theft , and b) there's a nearby elevator shaft with a ladder that leads to the roof. Going up there (Athena dramatically climbs the ladder, everyone else takes the stairs) reveals a homeless man "crashing on a nearby roof", as you do - Gustave, a veteran of the First Arcanotech War who never recovered. He doesn't trust cops or Nazzadi, so it's up to Sakura Blossom to question him! He explains the villain's cunning plan:

Damnation View posted:

His story is simple. A bunch of guys park an unmarked delivery truck a few blocks away, climb up on the rooftops, climb down the elevator shaft, and climb back out a little while later with a bunch of sleeping babies. They took the babies back to the truck and left. That’s it.
Fucking baby thief ninjas, man.

He can describe two of them, though - a Nazzadi woman in an expensive black suit with a semi-circle tattoo around her right eye, and a middle-aged Asian man in a hospital security uniform - Wade Inoue! He is actually a black market smuggler laying low at the hospital, and Domany somehow found out his past and blackmailed him into letting them in. Once they track him down, it turns out he's "highly-trained to resist questioning and to hide his thoughts", meaning both regular interrogation and low-to-mid-grade telepaths and empaths don't work. Athena decides to show Yolande how the Tager Society handles these delicate situations and terrifies him into talking with her Tager form instead. Unfortunately Wade mostly just confirms what they already know, that someone stole some babies and this was a waste of time. The experienced players just sigh and wait for Dexter to tell them what the plot hook is.

Some unspecified time later (let's say that night), the hook is revealed! Apparently the Society was investigating Hassan already, and one particular pack led by Angela MacGregor had a lead on Domany just before an explosion killed them and Angela was captured. The Society's been trying to find out more, but putting spies in Chrysalis is hard and most are compromised or killed anyway. One just came through, though: Kole Sorenson, Children of Chaos cultist-turned-turncoat after he erupted environmental para-psychic powers during the Rite of Transfiguration (thus disqualifying himself) and was snubbed over it. His latest bit of information concerns a captured Tager being experimented on by the Corporation, who want to "explore her endurance for pain and suffering". Kole has provided the Society with two possible locations, and it's time to investigate! Both are subsidiaries of Chrysalis Corp: a telecommunications hub of Mercury Communications, and a food processing plant of Agrarian Foods.

The group lets Asenath pick, and she chooses Mercury Communications as telecommunications hubs would have more security and be easier to hide a Tager in. The group agrees, and off they go! They even come up with an infiltration plan - Namy-chan the Whisper Tager peers through the walls with x-ray vision while Athena shadows (get it) someone inside, and Sakura Blossom impersonates a worker. The result?

Damnation View posted:

Chrysalis isn’t hiding anything here, but you may want to have your players work a little in order to figure that out.
Dexter is being a dick, so he stretches this out for thirty minutes and beams smugly at Asenath when the penny drops. Fred rolls his eyes, Athena tells everyone to get in the fucking car and they head to Agrarian Foods.

From the outside, it has understandably average security - a plant that processes and packages food doesn't need much more than a few guards and some cameras. On the other hand, close investigation reveals the guards are all Dhohanoids. Chrysalis are hiding something here while making it look like they have nothing to hide! This time, the whole group sneaks in and finds a mystically-protected basement full of utility machines which appears smaller than the building for some reason. A Hard Tenacity Feat Test (because why make an Observation test when everything can default to Tenacity, right?) reveals something funny going on with the electrical cage:

Damnation View posted:

requires a Hard Tenacity Feat Test in order to clue in on the electrical cage. One of the panels is lit up only for show, while the rest have deadly levels of current passing through them. It is important that the Characters are sure they have the right panel before trying to open it.
On the other side of this sudden arbitrary solve-the-puzzle-or-die lies a corridor with a security door, left slightly ajar. The group peers in to find a small group of Dhohanoids (including a hard-hitting Zabuth and a Thog-Manna who can flank the PCs, but as usual the book suggests adding more if you want. Dexter adds more!) sitting at controls and computer monitors in front of a reinforced window. On the other side:

Damnation View posted:

Inside the cell is a naked, dirty, and worse for wear Angela MacGregor. This cell has tortured her in all kinds of ways that don’t involve anyone actually touching her. She’s been tortured by starvation, noise, subsonics, light, fire, blunt and sharp trauma, heat and cold, and all kinds of other inventive sadistic ways. Angela is alive, but not quite as home as she used to be.

Getting Angela out can be as tough or as easy as you’d like it to be. If they’re badly beat up, you might want to take it easy on them. If they’re riding high on the hog, have them run across the Namarok and Ramachese security teams on detail. Either way, they have a limited time before trucks arrive with additional response forces and that would be very ugly.
Dexter takes the book's advice and has them run the shit across those Namaroks and Ramacheeses. Yolande and Sakura Blossom are heavily injured, but they manage to drag Angela out! Thanks to her regeneration, she mostly suffers mental trauma and is in no shape to talk much, but she does babble out the next plot hook:

"Ballard. Rictus Knife of Ephrates. The 12th."

What the fuck does this mean? In Act II: The Return of Lost Things , we'll find out! NPCs:

Sorena (male): Nazzadi Vampire Tager, "pretty boy club DJ".
Roy Romer (male): Caucasian, no other physical description.
Liches (both): "Powerful undead sorcerers in various states of advanced decay", so not that sexy.
Kiry (female): Domany's sister, has a "pretty face".
Farouk Hassan (male): This fucking guy. Arabic, mid-sixties, "kindly-looking", this fucking guy!
A Desolate One (male): Caucasian, A Desolate One, no physical description.
Horned Ones (both): nnnnnnnnnnnnnrrrrgh.
Skye (female): Caucasian/Indian (American Indian or...?), mid-forties, no physical description besides.
Nlada (male): Nazzadi Circle sorcerer, from ! Aside from his Outsider-Tainted cat eyes, still no physical description.

Basically, the Rictus Knife of Ephrates is an ancient rictus knife (special enchanted knives that make a blood sacrifice more powerful) from a lost civilisation. Ballard is an old coastal neighbourhood just outside the Seattle arcology, and "the 12th" refers to the 12th of October. This month Ballard's bars and nightclubs are having a huge Halloween party to draw people out of the arcology, and by the way, did I mention it's October now? Like four months after the ninja babythieves? Because it's totally October, and the Chrysalis Corporation is going to make a deal to get the Knife in Ballard so they can murder a lot of babies with it.

Off to Ballard they go! They don't actually know where this deal is going down, and there are a bunch of bars and nightclubs partying that night, but these CthulhuTech veterans have a plan: Stumble around until either a plot NPC or a hook shows up. Enter Sorena, "internationally renowned dance music DJ", Simon Tam's pal and secret Vampire Tager, and Roy Romer, ex-soldier Widow Tager (a rare type from Ancient Enemies !) They get the PCs insider passes to the party and... still nothing. Have fun looking for Dhohanoids across all of downtown Ballard!

It's cool, though. They just make a shot of looking while the next plot NPCs show up and then, when the Storyguide feels like it, the group runs across three people - two males and one female, "wrapped up a little snugger than maybe they should be" in a hat, gloves, scarf and dark glasses. One of them is carrying a suitcase and their body temperature when viewed with Tager senses matches the ambient temperature. This is weird, so the PCs decide to check it out and tail these guys into an upscale nightclub called Dive "around 12:30pm". (That is one long party.) The trio are there first and settle in to wait, while Athena proposes they disguise as Chrysalis and -

Damnation View posted:

The Characters may choose to fake being Chrysalis in order to steal the suspect backpack. However, the cold visitors are all liches, powerful undead sorcerers, who are no strangers to treachery. See below for their capabilities. It is a safer bet for them to sneak in through the elevator and take up positions around the entrances and wait. The Dhohanoids will be along shortly.

So here’s a breakdown of what is all at play in the basement. The liches are a powerhouse of arcane forces. Each of them is protected by Wards of Corporal Protection, Wards Against Sorcery, and Wards of Solitude. Furthermore, they are each protected by Yog-Sothoth’s Guards, and are functionally immune to harm. Two of them have Eldritch Faculties in play, while the third is watching their egress with Phantom Vision. They each have Glamour Locks that help subtly conceal their more rotten features, Powder of Ibn Ghazi, and about a half dozen Weeping Orbs between the three of them. None of them has a desire to enter into combat and will only fight to find a way to get out and be free. After all, they haven’t each lived for centuries without being cautious.
Never mind. Instead, they watch for a while and some Dhohanoids show up. As usual the book suggests the Storyguide scale the challenge, but a "good start" is apparently eight well-armed armoured Dhohanoids. The group sits there and watches for a while before deciding to make a grab for the briefcase, as mandated.

Damnation View posted:

Once the Dhohanoids show, they start to talk turkey with the liches, and the Characters will jump in at some moment to acquire the suspect backpack. They may decide to break up the party as it’s happening or they may decide to wait to jump the Dhohanoids on the way out. Smart money is on disrupting the deal and stealing the backpack in the basement – anything else will most certainly cause panic and call the attention of the authorities.
There's a fight! Due to some bad dice rolls, the large number of Dhohanoids and Dexter's vindictiveness, which to be fair isn't a part of the module, the party is in pretty bad shape afterward. Kai is injured, and as a human he needs time to rest. Sakura Blossom and Yolande are pretty hurting and Athena is actually knocked out. On the bright side, the liches don't care enough to actually help, and when they get to safety and open the backpack, they find...

The Rictus Knife of Ephrates! Chrysalis plans foiled forever.

Damnation View posted:

The thing about the Rictus Knife of Ephrates is that it is not essential for the Children of Chaos’ plans. They will be able to perform the ritual without it. It would be a nice and helpful addition that might shave off some time and effort, but if it is lost to the good guys they won’t panic. They have other less powerful, less notorious rictus knives in their collection. The knife is fundamentally a red herring. But the Characters don’t know that, so let them celebrate their victory.
Never mind.

On the upside, they have another angle to tackle: the Circlet of Ghabbaz! Chrysalis want the fertility-cult-associated Circlet (said to be carved from ancient black trees from the primordial forests) to help power up their "nature" ritual, and luckily the PCs were railroaded into losing two of the three pieces in ! Incidentally, it turns out Farouk Hassan and the two Nazzadi working with him (Nlada and Domany) are all members of the Circle. Oops! Luckily, the Eldritch Society managed to get a lead despite the Circle's ability to disappear without a trace, thanks to Domany:

Damnation View posted:

If Domany has one fatal flaw, it is her vanity. She’s a very pretty girl and expects to be treated as such. She likes nice expensive things and is unhappy when she doesn’t get them. Underneath all that is an amoral, power-addicted woman who has sold her soul to a dark god. Strangely, that’s not the part that’s causing the trouble this time.
Basically, to get into the Circle you need to sacrifice someone close. Domany chose her parents, but kept her sister Kiry around so she could steal her identity via magic if she has to. Why? So she can go on shopping sprees, of course! The Circle doesn't know (or they'd kill the both of them), but an Eldritch Society spy has figured out that Kiry is the sister of one of Hassan's assistants and just suddenly skipped college classes to go shopping in the arcology. A Whisper named Katie ("callsign Gasp") is tailing her and the PCs are asked to help do recon.

Damnation View posted:

However, anyone who does a side by side comparison of pictures of Kiry from before and Kiry now will be startled. Her hair, clothes, mannerisms, the way she carries herself, everything is very different. Between Society Operators and modern facial recognition software, it won’t be hard to pull up pictures of Kiry. Plus, Domany doesn’t think that Kiry is as pretty as her, so she’s way done up and probably showing a little more skin than is necessary. This is just the sort of thing to make most players suspicious and they may be overcome with the urge to confront or kidnap her. Bad idea. She’s a powerful sorceress who is wearing a Yog-Sothoth’s Guard and carries two Weeping Orbs, just for a start. Furthermore, she’ll be alerted that someone’s onto her, she’ll drop the spell and honestly disappear.
The PCs successfully resist the urge to kidnap someone for wearing a short skirt, and overhear (presumably with Namy-chan's magical Whisper powers) "Kiry" having a coded phone conversation about something going down in a park tonight. The Society stakes her out until then and Dexter skips ahead, because everyone's itching for a combat!

Domany goes back to her penthouse hotel room, drops her disguise, changes into a hooded robe and goes to the park, tailed by the PCs. Once there she meets with Hassan, lies about where she's been all day, and chats until a Caucasian man in an expensive suit appears and begins trading packages with Hassan. Athena signals to the others that it's time to crash this party, and

Damnation View posted:

There are a few hidden things that make this situation more complicated than it first seems. Domany is the only thing in this situation that isn’t a surprising threat. Hassan is likewise a powerful sorcerer and is protected by a Yog-Sothoth’s Guard, a couple Weeping Orbs, pretty much any ward worth having, and has a bunch of Powder of Ibn Ghazi and Corporal Restorative. And that’s only if you can get directly to him, because hidden in the shadows are many horrible creatures. Hassan’s personal army of monsters lurks anywhere and everywhere, because he’s just that kind of guy. Bakhi, Gaunts, N’athm, Fetches, and anything else you want to throw at your Characters is waiting here in numbers that should make them want to run instead of fight. Furthermore, it should seem odd that one man comes to make the deal alone. If someone looks closely, they’ll notice two things. One, Hassan is actually nervous in the presence of this man. Second, his eyes are obsidian orbs. This creature is a Desolate One who is one of the leaders of the local Disciples of Death’s Shadow. The clasp is too important a package to leave to chance.

In short, the Characters are in deep trouble. It’ll take everything they’ve got not to get noticed and attacked by Hassan’s minions. There’s pretty much nothing they can do to Domany or Hassan as long they have Guards, and the Desolate One is so tough it is suicide to take it on. The deal takes place so fast, there’s really no chance to call in reinforcements either. Most likely, the Characters will have to watch this happen and then fight their way to safety. The Circle will have all three parts to the Circlet of Ghabbaz and things will be well on their way.

After this, Hassan and Domany will have a heart-to-heart and the Nazzadi will promptly go and murder her sister.
Never mind.

At this point even Asenath is just rolling her eyes and waiting for the next "lead", and we're still on Act II. It's a big act! We're nearing the end, though:

Damnation View posted:

Furry Friends
Once all the craziness about artifacts is over, things will calm down for a little while. However, once they get started again, it’ll be a roller coaster ride to the end.

The PCs get a new hot tip from their Operator: "An unusual number of pets have gone missing from an area north of the arcology called Northgate."

That's it. That's the tip. Apparently the PCs go to check up anyway because "they're probably itching for some action." What actually happens is that everyone tells Dexter this is stupid until he makes them investigate the Goddamn lead. This REAL TOWN outside the arcology is a bit weird to them - real weather, fewer people, no government watching them, and everyone stays inside at night. Naturally the PCs investigate at night, and what do they find but a bunch of people running around and barking at each other? Also some dudes leaping across the rooftops with supernatural strength, but it's too late, the Congregation will never be taken seriously ever.

The party talks it over and, seeing as they've just been railroaded into not fighting so far, give up and follow them without attacking. Unfortunately for them, it's a trap; they are led into a clearing by the totally-aware Congregation and introduced to the Horned Ones.

Did I not mention those guys yet?

Let me back up a bit.

Damnation View posted:

The true heirs to the legacy of the Black Mother are creatures known in lost tomes as the Horned Ones. Precious little is known about them and few, if any, have been seen in the last several hundred years. Myths about them are rare at best, but those stories that special few occult delvers might find tell them to be both bestial and erotic. Such a disturbing notion seems hard to conceive.

I could seriously just copy-paste their entire entry, but maybe that's a subject for its own post. Basically, they're servants of Sweet Shub the Congregation of the Earth Mother are bringing back into the world. They are very attractive humanoids - females are "beautiful, trim and busty", males are "handsome, strong and well-endowed", and the book specifies "attractive in a model-esque way - the top 2%". Also, animal features! Some are catgirls, some have scale-like patterns over their bodies (not actually scales, to make them more bangable), some have segmented eyes, antennae and black and yellow patterns because I guess bee-girls are sexy too! Also, they are always naked.
they have pheromones. Get near one and you feel euphoria, and "the overwhelming desire to copulate" . You want to put down your weapon, shift back into mortal form if you're a Tager, and have sex with the Horned One.

Rape Count: nnnnnnnnnnnnnrrrrgh.

"Interestingly", the book never actually says these guys are rape monsters, even though they are literally rape monsters. But on the upside, sex with a Horned One is the best sex anyone can have, and somehow they increase the endurance of their lovers and make them "multi-orgasmic, ready to go again within minutes".

Don't think there's no point, though.

Damnation View posted:

But what comes of these unholy unions? Surely no seed can find purchase in such an alien fashion. Wrong. Every union, every single one, even if somehow birth control is involved, produces pregnancy. The offspring are not what one might expect. Instead of being Horned Ones or sick animal-human hybrids, they are instead Outsider-Tainted animals related to the Horned One parents “breed,” similar in characteristics to the familiars summoned by sorcerers. They are intelligent, dangerous, and completely loyal to the Horned Ones and the Black Mother. Armies of such creatures are being bred, as the Horned Ones never stop having sex long enough to not either be pregnant or to impregnate.
Basically, our example character Athena is at risk of being forcibly impregnated and imprisoned by kawaii half-animal dudes so she can give birth to a deer who is kind of an asshole.

There's more (in fact the fluff text at the start of this adventure is a Horned One tale), but I think I'll skip it for now. Instead we go back to the adventure, where Athena and co. are being surprised by at least a dozen Horned Ones and a swarm of tainted animals. As the players boggle, Storyguide Dexter has them roll Hard Tenacity Feat Tests to resist them. As a test to see how this would go, we'll use the highest-Tenacity character I statted - Athena, with base 8 Tenacity and 10 in Tager form. She's shifted, so her base is 10, and her Tenacity Feat skill is 5, and a Hard Test has Difficulty ~22. If we pretend for a moment that all the Horned Ones get to make Athena save vs. pheromones (this is dumb, but then again this is CthulhuTech ), throwing dice at a handy IRC bot yields results of 30, 20, 17, 17, 19, 19, 20, 20, 22, 18, 18 and I forgot one, but fuck if it matters. This is likely is what I'm saying:

Damnation View posted:

Conversation can go however conversation needs to go, but ultimately the Horned Ones will flirt, cuddle up to, and generally want to have some sort of physical contact with each member of the pack. Those in the throes of mystical attraction will start making out with the alluring creatures. Eventually, regardless of what is said, the Horned Ones will insist on bringing the pack back to their den. The pack is not really in a position to refuse.
As the players shift uncomfortably, the Horned Ones make out with a few of the Tagers before dragging them back to their lair (it has an altar to Sweet Shub, if you can roll Occult Tests with increased difficulty due to "intense sexual arousal" and spot it, and food supplies from Agrarian Foods) and...

Damnation View posted:

The Horned Ones will proceed to lay it on as thick as they can. They do, in no uncertain terms, each want to mate with members of the pack, right then and there. The next half-hour to hour should be a tense time as the members of the pack will be trying to resist having sex with these creatures, while their body fights to do so, while trying to gather some sort of information and formulate some kind of plan to get out. It should all be very alluring, very confusing, and very wrong.

Should one of the pack be unable to resist, the sex will be amazing (as described on p. 98). The unfortunate part of it is that whoever sleeps with a Horned One will be a brand new mother or father, for certain, no exceptions. Even the infertile will suddenly be fertile. The Horned Ones will make sure the new mommy or daddy knows that their union was fruitful. This calls for a Challenging Tenacity Feat Test, the failing of which gives one Insanity Point. Heaven forbid that one of the Characters is female and must carry a short-term (three month for mortals), complicated pregnancy that will yield Tainted animal offspring and will most likely kill her during birth. And yes, an abortion is potentially life-threatening – it is a mystical pregnancy after all. This business requires another Hard Tenacity Feat Test that will yield 2 Insanity Points.
Did I mention you have to save against pheromones again after "11 to 20 minutes"?

Dexter asks for even more Tests. More rolls. Fred, Asenath and Charles fail.

"The sex is amazing," Dexter replies. "Athena is now pregnant with evil ponies."

A silence settles over the room like a morbidly obese gorilla having the world's slowest heart attack.

Asenath punches Dexter in the face.

Dexter wakes up tied to a chair. This adventure isn't over yet.

Fred and co. have had it up to here with this bullshit. Even Charles, who rolled a flirty teenage Nazzadi genki girl. They are going to beat the lesson into him, even it means playing more CthulhuTech. They have tied him to his chair, and are forcing him to continue the adventure - only now they intend to beat him with wiffle bats whenever something stupid comes up.

Dexter cries.

The adventure continues! The antics (Dexter agrees to declare everyone just made out a little after Asenath threatens to hit below the belt) are interrupted by Skye, the area's "queen witch" of the Congregation. She wears an "Asian-style dress, split up both sides", apparently. Skye the cheongsam-clad magical hippy is not happy that someone dragged spies into their secret Congregation lair, and has an argument with the Horned Ones - Namy-chan listens in and picks up the words "ritual", "peninsula" and "by the lake", which is a much better lead than "so some granny's cat is missing". Unfortunately the Horned Ones drag the PCs to a nearby abandoned house, where they are tied to folding chairs (apparently none of their enemies know that they are Tagers, even though they would have to be idiots to have not shifted yet. Wait, why didn't Athena just stroll away unseen in the first place?) and prepped for torture and interrogation. Instead, the PCs (being Tagers, except Kai who is just fuckin' manly) bust out It's time for a fight!

Damnation View posted:

Their first and most obvious targets are Skye and her lackeys. Like all good sorcerers, they are heavily mystically protected. They all have active wards, some have Woeful or Weeping Orbs, some have firearms, and Skye is protected, like all powerful cultists, by a Yog-Sothoth’s Guard. It shouldn’t take much for Skye and most of her minions to escape the house, leaving the Characters alone with an army waiting outside.
Never mind.

Alone in the house and surrounded by Horned Ones, cultists and evil housecats, the PCs hatch an escape plan and start fighting their way out. A desperate, tense and exciting fight scene finally takes place, where

Damnation View posted:

Feel free to let your Characters tangle with the Congregation for a bit. After everything that’s happened, they may be itching to blow off a little steam. They should eventually realize that they are going to be crushed by waves of bestial opponents. Then, suddenly, everything stops. Their opponents turn and disappear into the nearby foliage. The Characters will have been too distracted to have noticed that, other than those they are fighting, the Congregation has grabbed a few critical things and fled. What they have planned is far too important and the space is already compromised, so the cult has packed up for greener pastures. They will be setting up shop somewhere not too far away, but won’t use it as their hunting grounds. The packs will return here to satiate their natural urges.
Never mind. (Paul clocks Dexter across the face.)

Obviously the next (and final) lead is the nearby Olympic Peninsula, which happens to be covered in lakes! There's a bunch of which boil down to "Quinault Lake is the obvious choice if you think about it and know about the geography of Washington", and the Operator helps the group narrow their search down ("or at least as much as you want him to"). There's a bit about how you can make the PCs search the other lakes and "scare the pants off them" with sudden wild animals, survivalist madmen or monsters, but that's stupid and we won't.

So they head to Lake Quinault, and encounter the Children of the Horned Ones! They are like regular packs of animals and flocks of birds, only they are moving in coordinated search patterns. Evading patrols of evil pigeons, the PCs encounter Congregation mediums; pushing on gets them teams of armed Dhohanoids. If they park their car next to the lake, which the book claims they'll probably have to, a Sea Serpent crushes it. Eventually they make it to the right spot (if not, herd them there!) and find themselves looking at an immense ritual space by the lake, covered in wards and arcane symbols. A semicircle of giant standing stones (the ruach wells) are sitting here in a 150' wide semicircle, and the place is crawling with cultists and Chrysalis-sponsored security.

The Congregation of the Earth Mother is about to take a serious whack at summoning Sweet Shub.

As the PCs watch, A-pod vehicles bringing powerful Chrysalis Corporation executives show up and the days long ritual to summon Sweet Shub begins.

Damnation View posted:

The ritual, in its early stages, is quite a site to behold. The site is lit with torches. Dozens of cultists in robes, Horned Ones, babies on standby. And who, pray tell, is leading this magical feat? Farouk Hassan with his buddy Nlada nearby. Domany is currently nowhere to be seen, but that doesn’t mean she’s not here. The ritual starts with chanting and bloodletting. The symbols start to glow with an eerie otherworldly light. The clouds in the sky above start to slowly swirl. Then the orgy begins. That’s about as long as the characters will want to stay.
Unfortunately, the PCs alone can't stop this. It's time to get help.

Finally , Act III: The Black Mother. There are two new NPCs, metamorphosed Tagers Garret Paulson (Wraith Tager) and Sary (Torment Tager). Amazingly, Sary is a girl and it doesn't specify how hot she is.

Anyway, the PCs have to escape! The PCs can just escape on foot if they like, but that's boring. Instead they take the book's suggestion and steal one of the A-pod cars, which were left idle and apparently have no security to stop Tagers literally carjacking a Chrysalis Corporation executive. It does lead to an intense fight with Gaunts, Vrykol and winged Horned Ones though, at least until the car outruns them because plot.

Once they're out, what now? The PCs are called to talk with some metamorphosed high-ups, and the book encourages the Storyguide to shut down any talk of handling this themselves (a fair point, but Charles hits Dexter anyway). Garret and Sary meet with the PCs to decide what to do - the PCs are asked for their assessment, then Sary points out any flaws to help them come up with a good plan. Meanwhile, the outside world gets weird. There's a light earthquake to reinforce that things are getting incredibly serious, a downpour and strong winds start, and local animals get violent. And by "local" I mean "the entire western half of North America", not that the news reports that.

Eventually, the conversation is steered towards getting extra help. Thankfully Athena has the idea first so the Storyguide doesn't have to nudge them: Call the OIS.

Evidence is gathered, and the Eldritch Society plans to deliver it to the OIS to get their interest. The PCs are sent to team up with the OIS and be involved in a spectacular assault on the Children of Chaos, by which I mean:

Damnation View posted:

Now is the time to plan the Eldritch Society’s part in this assault. Sary wants to mobilize the packs to pick off any escapees from the OIS assault, which means putting packs in a perimeter around the ritual site as well as near “no questions asked” entrances to the arcology. Since the rest of this story is mostly a military action, it would be best if you had Garrett and Sary give command of the forces to the pack, especially if any of them have military experience. Then your Characters will be the ones who are planning and coordinating the attack and listening in on OIS transmissions (they are given an appropriate device).
The PCs get to... watch the OIS stop the ritual while killing off escapees!

Asenath hits Dexter below the belt.

After another, stronger earthquake rolls on by as the world responds to Sweet Shub's return, the PCs hear that the OIS investigation team that went in disappeared and now they're planning a proper assault. It's time to fight for Earth's survival supervise!

Tager packs get into position as the OIS rolls up in UCH-70 Werewolves loaded with marines in full combat armor, armed with HKS-192 heavy assault rifles with M303 grenade launchers with a host of grenades (M100, M-460 tear gas, M-482 HEAM, and UT-42 flash), as well WORDS WORDS WORDS they bring powered armour. These human forces clash against the combined might of the Children of Chaos and the Congregation: sorcerers, Dhohanoids, mediums, Horned Ones, disgruntled ferrets. The winds pick up to 75 mph and twisters show up. Reinforcements are cut off. The OIS calls in the military for some flying mecha, and they just go ahead and drop a couple of Engels into the mess. Meanwhile, Tager packs get to jump retreating Dhohanoids.

Damnation View posted:

As they do, the Tager packs start to have their hands full, attacking those who are retreating. If your Characters need to see personal action in all this, here is their chance.
Dexter is beaten silly with wiffle bats.

Finally, the ritual site explodes into light and sound, a final massive earthquake hammers through the area, and things settle down. It's over.

Damnation View posted:

New Earth Government forces will be all over the place, so it is time for the Tagers to go. They will mop up and cover up. The fate of Hassan and his people is unknown, but the threat is over. The Characters have stopped Shub-Niggurath.
No you fucking didn't.

Finally, some fun facts.
• The PCs get 20 Experience, on top of what they'd normally get.
• They are allowed to purchase the Famous Incident Asset at a rating of one (since the public won't know anything) for 5 Experience.
• Act I was supposed to take 4 sessions, Act II 12 sessions, and Act III 2 sessions, for a total of 18 sessions on this.
Damnation View would like to be clear that the canon metaplot ending is the one where the Children of Chaos are stopped and not the one where Sweet Shub appears, Horned Ones overrun the Pacific Northwest, and the NEG begins to fall apart as the Horned Ones adapt to seduce and rape Migou.
• I hate this game.

Shubworth Academy

posted by Ettin Original SA post

CthulhuTech: The Damnation View: Bonus Episode: Shubworth Academy

Just for shits and giggles, here's the full Horned Ones writeup.

Damnation View posted:

The true heirs to the legacy of the Black Mother are creatures known in lost tomes as the Horned Ones. Precious little is known about them and few, if any, have been seen in the last several hundred years. Myths about them are rare at best, but those stories that special few occult delvers might find tell them to be both bestial and erotic. Such a disturbing notion seems hard to conceive.

Or at least it would be if the Congregation of the Earth Mother was not intent on bringing them back into the world. The Children of Chaos first provide the animalistic cult with what they need to contact the handful of Horned Ones still in this world. Unsurprisingly, they answer. Then the Congregation is given the knowledge to begin to bring more of the Black Mother’s children into this world through ritual. Temples are set up in remote areas of cities outside arcologies where these unholy magicks are worked. Finally, the Horned Ones become instrumental in the earth-shaking ritual that will bring Shub-Niggurath into the world, tipping the Aeon War distinctly in the direction of mortal annihilation.

The Horned Ones are disturbing to anyone still in grasp of their mind. True to form, they are an unholy union of animal and incredibly alluring humanoid. Females are beautiful, trim, and busty. Males are handsome, strong, and well-endowed. Each might be considered attractive in a model-esque way – the top 2%. Then, add animalistic traits. One might be fused with a deer, a gorgeous female with horns coming out of her forehead, soft downy fur covering her body, legs that bend the wrong way, and hooves that almost look like high heels. One might be fused with a snake, a captivating woman with diamond scale-like patterns running the contours of her body, with slitted pupils, small fangs, and an alien way of moving that is truly double-jointed. Another might be a handsome man with chiseled muscles, segmented eyes, antennae, an interesting black and yellow patterning, and insect-like wings. Regardless of form, they never wear clothes or covering of any kind.

While some might find their alien looks to be attractive, most would be repulsed. That is, if not for the mystical pheromones that the Horned Ones constantly secrete. To be near one is to be bathed in a heady, musky smell that permeates the air, the effects of which might be likened to the onset of euphoric drugs. More than the euphoria is the overwhelming desire to copulate, specifically, the overwhelming desire to copulate with the part-beast, part-human thing producing the pheromones. Horned Ones are the ultimate seducers and seductresses and few can escape their wiles.

Horned Ones, as one could expect, are what one might term lovers, not fighters. It is not that they are not capable when things come to blows, but they prefer to have sex with their victims before killing them, sometimes repeatedly. Under the effects of Horned One influence, soldiers put down their guns, commanders cease issuing orders, and even Tagers shift back to their mortal forms. It is very difficult to wish to harm a Horned One and only those of steel wills are capable of such an act.

This is only reinforced by the experience of the sex act with a Horned One. It is, flat out, the best sex anyone can ever have. The full-body experience is like electricity, the orgasm is mindblowing, and the act seems to last forever. It increases the endurance of the mortal partner manifold and makes him or her multi-orgasmic, ready to go again within minutes. And Horned Ones are hardly prudish, happy to indulge any fetish or fantasy along the way.

But what comes of these unholy unions? Surely no seed can find purchase in such an alien fashion. Wrong. Every union, every single one, even if somehow birth control is involved, produces pregnancy. The offspring are not what one might expect. Instead of being Horned Ones or sick animal-human hybrids, they are instead Outsider-Tainted animals related to the Horned One parents “breed,” similar in characteristics to the familiars summoned by sorcerers. They are intelligent, dangerous, and completely loyal to the Horned Ones and the Black Mother. Armies of such creatures are being bred, as the Horned Ones never stop having sex long enough to not either be pregnant or to impregnate.

Horned Ones may keep their partners alive for a while, depending upon how interesting or cooperative they are. Typically, males are killed after several trysts and possibly eaten. Females are kept captive as long as they are pregnant and typically do not survive the birth of their alien offspring. The worst part about such a thing is that these victims aren’t often bitter because of the ecstatic road that brought them to this point.

Within the Congregation of the Earth Mother, the Horned Ones are regarded as holy beings. After all, they are the Black Mother’s chosen. Horned Ones are given free reign to do whatever they wish. Their instructions are followed by the Congregation’s mediums and lesser witches and, of course, the Horned One’s offspring always obey their bestial parents. They are not tacticians of any sort, but their intuition makes them unusually and instinctively effective. Their otherworldly way of being makes them capable of victories and defeats that seem in many ways unreal. Horned Ones are impossible to predict.

However, sometimes their urges try the patience of the canny witches who hold the Congregation together. Horned Ones will bring enemies back to temples, seduce each and every one of them, and never worry what danger they might represent. They are so in the throes of their animalistic lusts that such a worry would never occur to them. It is easy to see why this so often infuriates the witch overseeing the already rolling chaos.

There seems to be no hierarchy within the Horned Ones, no ruling class, no chain of command, if such a thing could exist. Each of them seems to regard the other as an absolute equal and they are rarely of differing minds. They can communicate soundlessly, through body language, in an almost telepathic fashion. Their graceful packs are almost seamless, except for the idiosyncrasies of some of their parent beasts’. It is almost as if they are an extension of the Black Mother herself.

Also: Fiction!

Damnation View posted:

Bad and Wrong
They look mortal. They don’t move like they’re mortal.

From the rooftop, Romer was the first to see them. Through the scope on his favorite assault rifle, of course. “Incoming. Trees across the street.”

It’s a typical October night in Seattle. Chilly. Misting rain. Just enough to make it so that it’s harder to see than I’d really like it to be. I can’t shift, because we don’t know what’s here and we don’t want to tip our hand just yet. I don’t have Romer’s veteran sixth sense, so it takes me a minute to find them. Five people, moving in a group. Crouching down like they’re expecting trouble, sniffing at the air. That’s weird. We all watch them as they creep carefully out onto the front lawn of the abandoned house. I wait for that knowing that comes when I’m looking at one of the Children of Chaos’ favorite children, but it isn’t there. Then one of them growls. Not the kind of growl that someone makes when they’re frustrated. No, a genuine back of the throat animal growl.

Then something comes flying out of the trees and onto the rooftop. Another person, followed shortly thereafter by a buddy. They land completely silently. Their eyes scan the neighborhood, moving in erratic spurts, jerky, but intentional. Like birds.

This is a whole new brand of freaky. Fortunately, I gave up that I’ve seen everything a long time ago.

Ever the subtle one, Romer breaks the quiet by firing three rounds from his rifle into the chest of the pack leader. He goes down. “Sorena. Roof. Everyone else, follow me.” Romer shifts and something horrifying and black with lots of legs skitters across the street. He is one ugly Tager.

He’s on the pack just as they’re backing into the trees. I’m in the air before I can see his fangs tear into one of them. The bird guys on the roof freeze for a moment as they watch this monstrosity with 30-foot bat wings descend on them. Me. The look on their faces is one that an animal gets when it knows it’s going to die, but it’s terror nonetheless. Which is what I like to see. Their deaths are gruesome, but fast. I don’t have the time for anything more satisfying.

Preacher comes over the ether. “They’re in the trees. I’ve got the trail.” Nazzadi, Phantom, and a tracker. They don’t have a chance. I hope the fetch and the psychics remember to stay behind him this time. Kole’s firestarting isn’t going to do a lot of good in the rain.

I float down to the ground, shift, and follow. I need to be smaller right now. Romer’s already up in the trees, like some kind of spider you’d only see in nightmares. The leaves on the ground are crunchy and slippery, but I’m over them without even blinking. I have to remember not to wear 300 terranote shoes the next time we leave the arcology. I see Mesta bringing up the rear, his white skin practically glowing.

Something sideswipes Preacher. A pair of the biggest guys I’ve ever seen tackle him and actually knock him down with a bellowing roar. This animal-business is clearly more than skin deep. Kole and Mesta back into each other, pistols waiting for something to shoot at. I can’t see Grimnash anywhere, so that means the little bugger is waiting to hamstring something. Good.

It doesn’t take long for Preacher to skewer one of the guys on him. Romer drops down and suddenly stops, which gives me pause, too. The shadows are crawling with things. There are small things in the trees and humanoid shapes all around us. I feel like an amateur. We just got led straight into a trap.

As I take quick stock of our situation, the smell hits. It’s flowery and musky, sweet and bitter all at the same time. It takes only a moment before it’s downright overpowering, filling my head with an electric warmth that drips down through the rest of my body. It’s kind of like coming up on really good Bliss, but I’d say even a shade better. I realize that the bestial people have stopped attacking before I realize I forgot we were being attacked. I take a deep breath and feel like I really want to hug someone. I look at the boys and they look just as messed up as me. Romer and Preacher have even shifted back.

Then I see where this is all coming from. They come out of the darkness, slinking through their people. Some of the hottest girls I’ve ever seen, and that’s saying something. Built like porn stars, bare naked, with a look in their eye I know all too well. It doesn’t even bother me that they’re not quite normal. The one sauntering up to me has pointed ears, cat’s eyes, claws, the barest whisper of fur, and a long tail. Preacher is staring down a gorgeous girl with segmented eyes, antennae, gossamer wings, and yellow and black patterns that follow the contours of her body. My heart skips a beat. They are so beautiful they’re like angels. And I am ready to have sex with each and every one of them. Preferably at the same time.

“Let’s not fight.” One of them just talked. The growing need just got worse.

Kole’s trying to lip off in the background. I ignore him. Doesn’t sound important anyway.

The cat girl slips into my arms and strokes the side of my face. My body reacts like I’m fourteen again. She smiles and whispers in my ear. “You should all come back with us.” Then, she kisses me and it’s another wave of full-blown crazy.

Now I don’t exactly have a problem with the ladies and I get more than my fair share of tail. But this is way different and quite possibly literal. I don’t want to be comfortable with that, but I can’t help but be.

Kole is still making noise. I can’t take my eyes off this girl long enough to see if he’s the sane one or if he’s just that annoying guy who talks through the movie. With Kole, it could easily be either.

Out of my peripheral vision, I can see Mesta. He’s already making out with a girl who brings new meaning to the term bunny. I laugh. The cat girl responds by stroking me in a way that’s not polite to do in public. This is way better than drugs. But the symbiont that’s a part of me won’t let me give in just yet.

“What do you want with us?” I manage to say.

She giggles. It’s a musical sound. “Isn’t it obvious, silly?”

I touch her skin and brush my hand down her shoulder. It’s soft in a way that might redefine soft for me. Great, that just made it worse. But again, something in me resists. “I can be slow. Spell it out for me.”

She leans in and kisses me with a fire I’ve never experienced. Her tongue and mine intertwine for what seems like forever.

Pulling back, she whispers, “I want you inside me.”

The words just slip out of my mouth. “Let’s go.”

She takes me by the hand and leads me into the trees. I look around and see that I’m not the only one. I shake my head to try to get a grip. Somewhere, inside, I know that this is bad and that this is wrong.

But I want it so much.

And just because, let's follow up with some...


martian_bob posted:

Note that I said the amount is somewhat overblown. I've counted, and the word "rape" (in its various versions) appears on 25 pages total out of 1095 pages of material (and this includes stuff like "The Violent Crime Investigations Division (VCID) investigates rapes, murders... "). No one is denying that the subject is in the game, but it's hardly a central focus.

martian_bob posted:

It seems that CthulhuTech, to some folks, is always going to be "that one RPG with all the rape in it". As I said earlier, this is somewhat overblown; only around 2% of the published material even includes the word rape, and I see it as far from any kind of focus in the game. When rape is included, it's there as a function of storytelling - sick, twisted, screwed-up storytelling.

Lovecraft is well-known for his aversion to sex; there are entire essays written about it. This means that it's hard to get a sense of exactly how much rape is in the source material itself. For example, it's generally accepted (amongst everyone I know, at least) that in The Shadow Over Innsmouth , the Deep Ones begin mating with the citizens of Innsmouth whether they want to or not. Bruce Lord, on the other hand, argues that it was a "mutually consenting act" (see ).

So, there's room for disagreement and interpretation. Certainly a good deal of works derivative of Lovecraft touch on the subject. I'd use Alan Moore's "Neonomicon" as an example, but that's probably just Alan Moore being Alan Moore. In "The Last Lovecraft", there's a scene where an old sea captain gives a fairly involved account of his encounter with the Deep Ones that begins with the line, "You boys ever been fish-raped?" A Google search for +lovecraft +rape generates over 10 million hits. We are not breaking new ground with this.

As to how rape is used in CthulhuTech - it's supposed to make you uncomfortable. It's supposed to be over-the-top evil. Many folks have opined that this isn't effective, is sophomoric, is in bad taste, etc. I can't speak to that, as it's not my opinion, and I'm not going to speak for others. Putting that to one side, the presence of rape is a facet of how wrong the wrong-ness is. Victims held in cages, rape camps, all of it is supposed to make the players feel like they're in a horrific world full of bad people that they can feel righteous about purging with fire.
- CthulhuTech writer martian_bob in the CthulhuTech AMA thread


Yes rape is a nasty thing, yes some will not like it because of circumstances - I do understand that very much.............. But dont use the adventures with that, dont have rape happen in your game - if one cant use the biggest thing in an rpg - the choice to make what the group likes the most of elements in it - why play at all. Its a very low shot against the game line because of that part...
- omega1no


And yeah, rape is part of the atrocity trifecta along with torture and mass murder. In a setting where the bad guys are committing terrible atrocities its not necessary to include it, but it's hardly super surprising.

And it isn't as prevalent, IMO, as people keep bringing up. It's become this huge deal that the game is "about" and a main thrust of criticism by people who in some cases admit they haven't even looked at the books. All in all, the issue and the way the writer who graciously agree to come here and answer questions is being bludgeoned with it even though it's already a dead horse issue with this game makes me wonder what level of white-knighting and soapboxing will exactly be enough here?

Honestly, this thread, along with some recent 5E threads have reminded me about the worst part about this site (which, just shy of 30k posts, and that's after I lost a couple grand in the old post purge, I have a lot of experience with): Sometimes when posters feel empowered in their outrage about something in a game, no matter what it is, who's involved, or how it's already been addressed, they won't stop pounding away until they're forced to stop.

And it would awesome to see this thread go by without a) a ton of redtext and b) a bunch of freelancers and designers looking at it and saying "you know, fuck this way I'm posting here." Which is already an issue in some ways- there are posters here who use assumed names and never talk about their writing work for various games because they've seen the dogpiling. And no, don't ask me who...because I ain't ratting those folks out because they've decided to not expose themselves to things that others of us have decided to.
- Jack explaining why people who don't like rape are white-knights destroying RPGnet


Further, sometimes having those sorts of themes in a game can be helpful to those who had been victims of rape and abuse in the past. I know one such player, who has said that being able to confront the perpetrators in a way where she was a powerful person able to oppose and stop them was very helpful to her. Her therapist said she was glad she got that opportunity to explore that in a safe way.

Everyone is different. Let them decide for themselves what they feel comfortable with.
- DarkDungeons apparently hasn't read Damnation View


zomg, references to Horrible things happening in a Horror game, the horror, the horror! FAIL
- RobMuadib


I had heard something to that effect and wanted to judge for myself.
- Wolfgar , on why he asked where to find the Horned Ones


Just got Vade Mecum
Albeit my copy is a bit dinged up. No matter though, I'm sure it'll be great! Now I need to think about what to get next. Maybe Unveiled Threats? or perhaps Mortal Remains? Suggestions?
- Wolfgar on the CthulhuTech forums a week later


posted by Ettin Original SA post

CthulhuTech: The Damnation View: Mi+Go+Del

Christ, that last adventure burned me out on this for a while. That was basically this book's peak. Guess what though!

It wasn't the last adventure.

Damnation View posted:


As if the fall of China to the hordes of the Rapine Storm weren’t bad enough, more tragedy is in the works for the forces of the New Earth Government. This bad news comes in two parts.

The first is later in the year when the powers-that-be decide to launch the super-secret Operation Grudge. The Migou foothold in Juneau is an unacceptable tactical situation and one the New Earth Government has been looking to rectify ever since the bugs invaded the Alaskan city. With the help of the Global Intelligence Agency, they have been watching Juneau and analyzing Migou defenses. It is believed that the Migou are more spread out than was initially thought and that a strong, decisive unexpected assault might be effective.

They are sadly, sadly wrong.

Oh shit! There's a bunch of other stuff after that which I won't get into yet, save mentioning that the opening text ends with "Our time may very well be up." and I can't help but remember this is the first of six planned metaplot books.

So, time to summarise a few pages of military talk! Currently the Migou occupy Alaska and have a foothold in the Arctic Circle, and now that they have Juneau the arcologies of the northwestern US are within reach. That is bad! They've been aggressively scouting the region for a while now, and the NEG are planning to make a pre-emptive strike before the Migou launch a real attack. (Spoilers: This is what the Migou want them to do.) Meanwhile, the Migou are working on two new technologies - the Blind, a stealth system that can hide a building the size of a hangar (they eat more power than the Migou can provide without looking suspicious, but they're working around it), and a seismic generator that creates earthquakes along natural fault lines. They can't make the huge earthquakes they want yet, but they've got a few tests they want to run...

the cults would move against the Migou threat, but the Chrysalis Corporation are busy trying to summon Sweet Shub when the NEG attack Juneau and the Disciples of Death's Shadow are in on their plans and hoping they succeed, so neither of them bother to do anything. Whoops!

This adventure is intended for a group of mecha pilots. I didn't stat any mecha pilots, but I don't feel like just mechanically running the adventure down, so here's what I'm gonna do:

Remember our PCs ? Well Athena, Kai, Namy, Sakura and Yolande are on a new case: a subsidiary of the Chrysalis Corporation, let's call them WizBro, has put out a new book for their roleplaying game CarcosaTech ! Suspecting magical shenanigans, the group are told to sit down, roll up some mecha pilots and try the adventure within. Athena rolls up Fred, a veteran pilot who runs out of medication and starts hallucinating that Loki is teaching him to be a paladin ; Kai rolls Robert, a hot-blooded and incredibly manly ex-cop (Kai is terrible at this); Namy rolls Charles, a young man forced into the military after his mother caught him hitting on teenagers on TVTropes; Sakura rolls Paul, their well-meaning leader who happens to be a naive idiot; and Yolande rolls Asenath, a young rookie pilot with something to prove. Ryu would play Dexter but he is a lone wolf and lone wolves play Vampire not elfgames. Finally, they get in touch with their old pack member, fatbeard wizard Angus Stallman from the first few adventures, to be the Storyguide.

See what I did there? That's some meta shit.

Part 1

In Act I: This Time It's Serious the pilots are roused at around 3AM Sunday, so early they're probably still drunk, and hustled towards a briefing room. The whole base seems to be waking up, and it's clear some Big Shit is going down. Soon they're being debriefed by their commanding officer, Major Angelina Perez. By the way, NPC game!

By the way, NPC game!

Angelina Perez (female): No physical description.
Field Marshal Aura Swanepole: "One can easily see the weight of her command on her always tired-looking face."

Did... did we just finally win the NPC game? CthulhuTech , I am proud of you. I'm giving you a point. Please don't ruin this.

So anyway, Perez introduces Swanepole, who explains that the NEG is launching a surprise assault to retake Juneau. It's a surprise for the PCs, too - the information was kept on a need-to-know basis to keep the enemy from finding out. For now, Fred and his team are slapped with their mission - the Storyguide has a range of options to choose from for both mecha pilots and basic soldiers - and it's time to rock and roll!

In Act II: Let The Games Begin , the PCs are dropped into Juneau! The city is a freezing, ruined ghost town now, with a Migou-occupied arcology built over with "their alien style of crystal and metal construction". Nearby Mount Juneau is covered in Migou outposts. They're not going to have an easy time in there, and ah fuck it let's skip to the part where everyone loses.

See, no matter how successful the PCs are at their specific missions, the NEG is going to lose. The Migou know they're here - in fact, all those scouting missions were to goad them into coming here. They want to test out the Blind by waiting until the NEG are deep into the city and confident of a victory, then decloaking and blowing their hot reinforcement load all over the NEG's face.

And so, Storyguide Stallman looks his players in the eye and announces that a hangar-sized building which just happens to be nearby suddenly appears on their sensors and Migou units swarm out of it like Ctrl+Alt+Del fans who just saw loss.jpg and decided to find a better comic.

Athena just stares at him. She's tired of this shit happening every other mission she does for the Eldritch Society as it is, she doesn't need to another railroad in her life. Stallman is made of stronger stuff than the average GM, though, and responds with silence, unmoving except for the slithering of his tentacled cock as it adjusts itself in his y-fronts for comfort.

Eventually Athena backs down, Kai makes a note that this book seems to be showing an eerily probable actual event because I have a weird meta-narrative to maintain, and everyone flips their shit like a professional shit-flipper with a long service medal and scrambles to get out of this trap. Swanepole orders everyone to stand their ground while they try to work out what the fuck is going on, leading to an exciting combat, and then finally tells everyone to retreat. Unfortunately nobody really thought of any evacuation plans, because what kind of military strategist comes up with a contingency plan? A moron, that's who.

Damnation View posted:

Do what you need to scare the living daylights out of your Characters. Make them wonder if they are going to die here. After all, this would be the kind of dramatic moment that could very well warrant the sacrifice of a Dramatic Character, and don’t be shy about pointing that out if your players get cocky.
The book also tells Angus to scale the combat as needed to outnumber the PCs without killing them, and so he does. Nobody has the living daylights scared out of them, though. Athena has fought the Horned Ones, fictional mecha exploding is nothing. With no plan, they go with the one they fall back on when an actual mission fails - get the fuck out of there any way they can and figure out what to do next when the enemy isn't breathing up their arse. Charles does get a little cocky and ends up going down to a few Scorpions and Fred suffers massive injuries rescuing him but they make it!

Eventually they manage to cut through the mess of radio chatter and get someone to pay attention to them, and the squad is sent to a makeshift evacuation point. Stallman has three to choose from. He mulls it over for a moment, picking up a couple of Migou minis and casually cracking open a soda can under the table, and picks the one that involves a rooftop escape to catch a Werewolf on a daring flight through the skies because frankly that's awesome.

By the way, the NPC game? The only new NPCs are the various soldiers coordinating these escape efforts, only one of the three is a girl (Lt. Commander Tzveta Markovski, callsign Torrent, Werewolf pilot) and she isn't described by how attractive she is.

In Act III: Consolation Prize (that should literally be the name of every closing Act in every adventure in this book, holy shit ), they get the fuck out of there. It turns out the Migou have troops in the nearby buildings trying to shoot the Werewolves out of the sky, but unfortunately for them they are some of the few bad guys in CthulhuTech the Characters actually get to fuck up. Everyone finally climbs up to the roof, where Torrent picks them up and gets the fuck out of there.
Migou squads are trying to shoot down survivors, but that's no biggie.

Damnation View posted:

If it’s been hairy for the Characters and they just can’t take any-more, have their flight home be relatively uneventful. However, if they’re ready for another round, send a few Darts after them. Put the Characters in the gunnery chairs if you can, or at least somewhere where they can take shots themselves. As much as possible, put their fate in their hands.



What the fuck?

Where the motherfuck was this advice when we needed it? Which thundering dickhippo managed to write this in the middle of a CthulhuTech adventure? Half the goddamned missions in this book railroad the characters through a metaplot they can't affect for the sake of witnessing it! Look, it's right there on the next page!

Damnation View posted:

There really is only one way for this to turn out. There’s very little your average Character is going to be able to do to either discover the Migou’s secret or to stop the New Earth Government from attacking. Characters get to be a part of this historic battle and will most likely distinguish themselves in some way that will help move them up the ranks. Maybe next time they’ll be in a position of more authority and be able to influence events such as these.
Give those fucking points back, CthulhuTech. Yeah, that's right, those points I gave you for easing up on the undercurrent of misogyny flowing through the book like urine in a horse's diaper. You just lost your point privileges. Put those points on the fucking table. You're a loose cannon, CthulhuTech . I can't have you on the force.

So anyway
, the epilogue! As Stallman explains, the NEG paint their spectacular failure as merely a setback. Everyone involved - Paul and his mecha squad included - are forced to sign gag orders and given scripts for what to say to friends and family. People in important positions are pressured into taking responsibility for what was totally an intelligence error that led to an early tactical retreat - including Field Marshal Swanepole, whose resignation just shits all over troop morale. Director of Global Intelligence Traxony also resigns, whoever she is, and her departure hurts the feelings of the Nazzadi people.

As for the Migou, they still have Juneau and their technology test was a smashing success. On the downside, now the NEG will know to account for the possibility of Blinds and how to look for them, so they won't be nearly as useful again - unless the Migou come up with something better. (I bet they totally do, but finding out would require a new metaplot book actually being published, so.)

The Characters are forced to make Insanity Tests against Aeon War Syndrome. No spending Drama Points on it, though, because "war is hell, after all". Most of them are fairly easy, though everyone who survived is forced to make one for "Enduring Fear" and there's an Incredibly Hard Test for witnessing a massacre, which sounds like literally everybody in Juneau to me. Guess everyone went a little bit crazy!

Good news, though! Those NPCs that led the evacs? They totally get promotions!

Yolande asks if she can have a promotion too. Stallman says no, but with some of the EXP they got from this mission they get the Purple Heart! Provided the can buy the Commendation (3) Asset for a reduced Experience cost, that is. Charles and Fred nearly died in there, which reduces the cost all the way to 5 EXP! Woo!

You may recall that EXP gain is so glacial in this game these adventures hand out bonus EXP and tell the Storyguide to pad them out to compensate, though. So how long did that all take?

Two sessions for Act I, Act II four sessions, and Act III (the one that was literally just one fight and the denouement) is two sessions. Eight sessions.

Luckily, Stallman and his group are on a mission, so they're free to cram as much CthulhuTech as they can into each day! At, say, four hours a session, run back-to-back for the sake of the Society, they have been here for thirty-two hours. They got one sleeping break in the middle, and the room is littered with empty pizza boxes and soft drink bottles. The group are tired, worn-out and frustrated, which to be fair is probably what happens to anyone who runs this by the book. Even Yolande, normally the very picture of serenity, is contemplating whether Athena would stop her if she tried to climb out of the window or beg to come with.

After a round of frustrated sighs, Stallman reads further down the page and happily announces that wait, he was wrong! It says right here that they can get promotions. As the squad leader, Paul is promoted to Major, while NCOs Fred and Asenath get promoted to Sergeant. Everyone else... better luck next time!

Namy opens her sixth can of Mountain Dew and wearily asks Stallman if they get anything else.

Stallman checks! They are eligible for other medals too, it turns out - the Distinguished Service Medal for those who helped keep soldiers or pilots alive (everyone helped Torrent! Yes!), and the Meritorious Service Award to those who distinguished themselves as a leader. The Characters finally get some recognition!

If they pay the reduced Experience cost.

Namy throws her Mountain Dew and hits Stallman in the tentacle dick.

I will complete my slow descent into madness that is this fucking book tomorrow. For now, this amazingly appropriate thing.

Damnation View posted:

By the time this is over and they are in the clear, your Characters (and honestly players) should be very worn out. They should be returning to the New Earth Government temporary hospitals and staging points shell-shocked. You know you’ve done your job if one of your players says the equivalent of, “Thank goodness that’s over.”

Next time: The finale! Athena attempts to murder someone.

So You're A CthulhuTech

posted by Ettin Original SA post

CthulhuTech: The Damnation View: So You're A CthulhuTech

Final post, and the second part of this final adventure!

Damnation View posted:

The failed attempt to recapture Juneau is only the first insult the Migou perpetrate on the New Earth Government this year. It does, however, seem like a much less significant deal in comparison to what comes next.

The second begins as Mt. Rainier erupts without warning, spraying the Rainier valley with lava streams and covering the city of Seattle in ash.

A quick lunch break and trip to the infirmary later, the PCs regroup for part 2! Namy wisely finds an excuse to bail and says Charles is still in hospital, the others sit down, Angus cracks open the book, and he plays the NPC game in his head.

Dierdre Cohen (female): A description that doesn't rate her attractiveness or give her "girly" traits. OH MAN
Colonel Tiraka (male): Ditto! Yesss.

So, ever since that fuckup in Juneau, the NEG has been on edge. Since the Migou were just running a test of some tech they're still working on, though, nothing happens.

And then, in Act I: Nobody Told Me It Was a Volcano , Mt. Rainer erupts. Seattle is covered in ash, forests are destroyed, fresh water is polluted and Tacoma is wiped out by mudflows because fuck Tacoma.

Enter the PCs! GIA agent Dierdre gives them their mission: Go in before the scientific teams and see what the shit that was. They accept.
That is the entire first Act. How to pad this out to a session is, of course, the Storyguide's problem; Storyguide Stallman opts for a combination of relief effort aid and freestyle rap contest.

Once the mission is accepted and Athena wins with her smooth beats, it's time for Act II: Bug Problems ! The PCs head out into the surrounding Cascades to look for the cause, searching in a grid pattern and moving as quickly as possible. This could quickly become boring, but don't worry, the book has you covered: verisimilitude.

Damnation View posted:

It might be fun to throw in a few false positives here, things that look like they might be important or things that might appear to be enemies or other danger. Ultimately, they should turn out to be nothing.

In fact, the first two days of searching turn out to be a whole lot of nothing. The pace should begin to drone on. The most interesting thing the Characters have to look forward to is camping with each other in the cold wilderness. Even that should get old quickly, as they can’t build a fire – it might give them away. Welcome to cold MRE’s.

Just when the monotony of searching starts to weigh on them, the Characters are sneak attacked by Migou forces.
Phew! I was worried that would be dull. The Migou are, fortunately, "intended to be a challenge that the Characters will survive", so Stallman scales it appropriate. They fight to the death rather than fleeing to their hidden base, but now the PCs know there's something up! Paul leads his mecha squad deeper, looking for more signs of Migou, and soon they see something else suspicious - another nearby mountain erupts. As one, the PCs head over to investigate.

Unknown to them, a pair of Dragonfly are hidden in the sky above! They're heading towards the Migou base, and following them will take the PCs there - if they can manage it.

Damnation View posted:

Use the rules on p. 144 of the CthulhuTech Core Book for spotting mecha using stealth systems, with the initial test for those eligible being against a Very Hard Degree.

The best way to play this encounter is if the Characters can notice the Dragonflies before the Migou spot them. They should be on the lookout for anything unusual, so give the Characters the opportunity. If they are successful, they will be able to follow the Dragonflies back to the place from which they came. If the Characters blow it, the chase will be difficult as the Dragonflies are more than likely faster than they.

These mecha are the key to finding the presence of the Migou in the Cascades. If your Characters can’t get it on the first try, make them suffer a little before you give them a similar second chance.
Mecha pilots Paul, Fred, Robert and Asenath fail their rolls, and their players spend ten minutes fucking around the mountainside while Stallman smiles faintly and waits until an appropriate moment to let them roll to advance the plot. This time, thankfully, Asenath spots them and the PCs are allowed to continue!

Stealthing after the Dragonflies, the squad finally stumbles into the Migou outpost! They have dropped a few pod buildings in a deep valley here, set up a clearly temporary base, and set up some decent security - nothing fancy, since they think they're hidden. It wouldn't be hard to find a way to sneak in, though they'll have to approach on foot.

Fred isn't an idiot and asks about calling for reinforcements first. As instructed by the book, Stallman tells them that the base is temporary and might be gone before backup arrives, they can't just destroy it because they need intel, and they have to sneak in. What he doesn't tell them is that the Migou have already called for backup since that patrol the PCs fought didn't report back yet, but canny players might think of that!

Fortunately these CarcosaTech players are Tagers and know how to do their stealth missions. In they go! There's not much security in the base besides door locks and predictable patrols (cameras are hard!), and the PCs slip through the pods without being caught. The base is pretty alien - their sleeping areas are pseudo-organic hives with cubby holes for curling up in, their eating area has perch-like poles, weird slimes and poisonous drinks, etc. Their actual goal is the two-story central pod, and inside they find...

Damnation View posted:

The lower level consists of a lab, viewable through a crystalline glass-like substance. Inside is a strange-looking device vice that looks a little like a D-engine, with rods that drive deep into the ground underneath. Even without special knowledge, it should be clear that this device is the thing responsible for the eruptions. Anyone with the Earth Science skill, or a decent level of Education, can make a Test against a Challenging Degree to guess that this machine has something to do with generating seismic waves – the harnessing of which would allow the bugs to cause earthquakes or the eruption of dormant volcanoes. Anyone succeeding at a Hard Test should realize the machine isn’t just designed to generate such waves, but to also direct them.
Holy shit: What the fuck happened to Colonel Tiraka? He was mentioned in the NPC list in Act I (and, like Dierdre, every other act) but he hasn't been mentioned again. I think he's supposed to be their commander or comms?

So anyway, earthquake machine. In Act III: You Have To Be Effing Kidding Me , it's time to shut that shit down! Incidentally, I think I have a new Favourite CthulhuTech Adventure Title.

The group needs to get into heart of the base, and infiltrate the control room. Luckily they stealthed their way here, and just have to wait until a Migou opens the door (or exits to go see why the guards they've quietly taken out aren't responding) and blast it away. (If they'd fought their way in they'd have to blow the door open.) Inside, they find the outpost's commanders and their elite guard! Again, this encounter is intended to be tuned as the Storyguide requires - for example, if the group is beat up and you want them to succeed, remove a few guards. Stallman removes a few guards because everyone wants this to end. Killing them all is the only reasonable solution, but since one of the players is Kai Bachika, whose contribution to previous adventures mostly consisted of kicking doors in while being hot-blooded, it's what they were going to do anyway.

The control room handles comms and controls for the entire outpost, so if the PCs can hold it, the NEG can come and capture it. (Man, too bad they were told not to call for reinforcements or they'd be here sooner!) If not, salvaging what they can and blowing it up works. Paul wants to hold it, but first they're going to have to stop it setting off another quake. Fred sits down at a computer terminal and tries operating it. Since Migou inputs are "a combination of video recognition of facial tentacular movement and keyed input in alien letters", though, nobody has any idea how to work this thing. Robert decides to go for Plan B, by which he means Robert's Plan A, and attacks the terminal instead, cracking it open to reveal...

Human brains! Surprise, turns out Migou use them in their computers. Working this out requires an Insanity Test. Disabling or trying to move them will kill them, but it also disables the computers, so Robert quietly drops a grenade into the terminal, seals it up quickly and hides behind a table with everyone else. The book says this only takes a couple of bullets, but Robert does not half-ass shit.

And suddenly:

The punchline.

Damnation View posted:

Something happens during all this that captures their attention. Whether it’s by accident or it simply appears due to its priority, the Characters suddenly witness an image come up on one of the communications screens. At first they will think it’s an image of the Migou Hive Ship in orbit, on the move. Except the Hive Ship in orbit isn’t moving and there are no planets in the background of this image. All the Characters will have to do is look up into the sky and they can most likely see that the Hive Ship they know is still there. So what are they looking at?

It shouldn’t take a genius to figure out that what they are looking at is a second Hive Ship. Based on the coordinates being transmitted, it is approaching Neptune. Migou technology being what it is, this new Hive Ship will be here within a year.

Let the gravity of this situation sink in. Just one Hive Ship has been kicking humanity’s butt for the last eleven years. If another shows up, it will be the end. No if’s, and’s, or but’s. It will be over. We will be the Migou’s slaves and they may give the Cults a good run for their money. No matter what, life as we value it will be a bedtime story.

The Migou aren't just fucking around instead of attacking to test out their new tech. They're waiting for reinforcements.

As you can imagine, this is a little upsetting.

Damnation View posted:

It is time for an immediate Insanity Test, against a Degree of Hard. Anyone failing will gain two Insanity Points – it is not recommended that you allow players to spend Drama Points on this test. It is likely that at least one member of the Supporting Cast will put his sidearm in his mouth and blow his head off right then and there.

Is this what Colonel Tiraka is here for? I'm going to assume yes. As the squad stares, Tiraka eats his pistol. Rest in peace, some guy.

Things aren't over yet for the PCs, though. The AI that runs the joint finally decides that it's time to activate the self-destruct, and sirens and countdowns spring to life as the seismic generator overloads itself. Paul and his team run like the dickens, scramble out of the base as it collapses into the earth, and get the fuck out of there in their mecha.

And with that, it is over. The PCs have to make more Insanity Tests depending on how much violence they went through, as well as one for "Enduring Fear" (which is everyone) - also, everyone gets one anyway because who wouldn't go a little nuts running this adventure?

Damnation View posted:

Characters should acquire at least one Insanity Point from these events – don’t be afraid to simply hand one out.

The Migou continue to develop their seismic technology, but they won't come back here. The NEG is left to deal with the ecological impact of a Goddamn volcano erupting near Seattle, and everyone who heard about the second Hive Ship is forced to sign a comprehensive gag order - only the PCs, their bosses and top brass will know, to prevent widespread panic and riots.

So what's the good news? Well, the PCs get full rank promotions as a bribe, as well as Meritorious Service Awards for succeeding and Purple Hearts for the wounded - of course, they'll have to pay for the Commendation Assets for the medals to mean anything. And another 10 Experience on top of that!

And that's on top of the experience they got for six sessions worth of play! One for Act I, three for Act II, and two for Act II (somehow). That's a total of fourteen sessions for the entire More Bad News adventure!

As you can imagine, Storyguide Stallman and his crew's test of CarcosaTech has not gone well. Athena has been submitting reports outlining a desire to kill the Storyguide and hoof it out the window every twenty minutes for the last six hours, Sakura survived only by sneaking a handheld into the room for the boring parts, Kai has decided to cope by drinking an incredible amount of alcohol, and Yolande thinks the events in this book are suspiciously similar to the events of her world of CthulhuTech . She asks Stallman to let her read the other adventures.

Two hours later, this meta adventure-within-an-adventure ends with a drunken Tager raid on the WizBro offices. The disappearance of several notable game designers and the death of several grognards is noticed only by people with no life, who nobody listens to. And so, a ray of hope appears in the world of CthulhuTech :

Nobody in it will have to play this fucking game.

And that's it! Damnation View done. God damn, that book nearly broke me. On the bright side, it is all finally over. I hope this series has been an entertaining experience for you all, and you've learned a few things about game design on the way!

Because I'm not done yet.