Cthulhutech: Vade Mecum by Ettin
WelcomeOriginal SA post
Two suits of full combat armor waiting for them, Jada and Sara stripped out of their clothes. Several of the marines in the room dallied just a little, because the pretty Chinese woman wasn’t in the habit of wearing underwear.
Wait, too soon. let me start over.
CthulhuTech: Vade Mecum: the CthulhuTech Companion
This is the Aeon War. And it’s bigger than just one book. Welcome to Vade Mecum: the CthulhuTech Companion.
This book provides further detail on the CthulhuTech setting, new Character races and professions, optional rules for a host of things, complete rules for para-psychics and their powers, more magical rituals, more mecha, more monsters, more Tagers, and more kinds of stories for you to consider. It is, in every way, a companion to everything explored in the Core Book.
(va•de me•cum) noun
1. useful book: a guidebook, handbook, or manual, especially one carried around or designed to be carried around constantly and referred to often.
2. useful object: an object that a person carries constantly because it is useful.
Two suits of full combat armor waiting for them, Jada and Sara stripped out of their clothes. Several of the marines in the room dallied just a little, because the pretty Chinese woman wasn’t in the habit of wearing underwear.
There we go.
So, this is CthulhuTech's expansion book. We finally get to see some things promised in the core book, like para-psychics, the other common Tager, and underwater mecha! Also some things not promised in the core book, like Eldritch Society Ninjitsu, psychic powers that make your balls tingle, ghouls with sexy voices, and even more rape!
For this post, though, we'll just look at Chapter One: Welcome . It starts off with some fluff text about OIS agents (who appeared in some fluff in the core book I don't remember if I mentioned) investigating some black market magic and running into Dhohanoids and Tagers, and it also teaches us that OIS agents have the authority to enter people's houses, force families into their kitchen and use their living room as a temporary command center with computers and communications equipment, because I guess having a command center in a moving van instead of just using a vehicle to transport the equipment is for stupid assholes.
Afterward we get a quick explanation of what's coming up ahead, starting with game terms. We're going to find out about Cascades (an optional expansion of combat rules for combo attacks and special moves, in a dice system where your chance to critical fail a skill can go up as you get better at it), some government groups (FSB, GIA, OIS, etc.), para-psychics, xenomixes (half-nazzadi half-humans, sometimes they are albino and have psychic powers), the Zone (a failed government experiment that wiped out Las Vegas), Zoners (para-psychics who get their power from the Zone), and why piracy is bad.
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.
Only eleven chapters this time, thank Christ. And since this counts as one and the eleventh is the appendix, nine to go!
Chapter Two: Less Then, More Now introduces new facets of the setting. It gives you a look into Human/Nazzadi offspring, para-psychics, government agencies, and the arcane underground, introducing new players in the Aeon War.
Chapter Three: Alternative Egos presents new options to incorporate into your Characters, as well as new and exciting Character types, including xenomixes, para-psychics, and Ashcroft Foundation advisors.
Chapter Four: Further Framewerk introduces new optional game rules that can enhance your gameplay, including healing complications, hit locations, and fighting style cascades.
Chapter Five: Explorers of the Mind discusses the underlying framework of para-psychic abilities and presents the rules for para-psychic powers.
Chapter Six: Blasphemous Dreams presents new rituals for all kinds of magic and introduces new dream magic.
Chapter Seven: More Machines of War lists an expanded number of new mecha used in the Aeon War, as well as presenting four new Tagers.
Chapter Eight: Further Unspeakableness deals with more inhuman creatures both big and small, and introduces rules for portraying corpse-eating Ghouls as Characters.
Chapter Nine: New Paths is for Storyguides and presents new styles of story and play, as well as optional rules for using cards instead of dice, more cinematic and story-based combat, and new Supporting Characters.
Chapter Ten: Slaves and the Lost includes two fully-detailed, ready to play stories for law-enforcement and intelligence-based Characters, as well as a handful of story ideas to be fleshed out by individual Storyguides.
The chapter wraps up by letting us know its source material for much of this book: Parapsychology: The Controversial Science by Richard S. Broughton, an "accurate account of the current state of parapsychology" published in 1991, and...
The chapter ends with a logo of the NEG. I tried to shop an awesome face onto it but I couldn't get a non-grainy logo. Oh well!
Next time: Government agencies, the Ashcroft Foundation, and other things we'll forget about once the women dressed like ice-skating strippers and cascade rules show up.
Alphabet SoupOriginal SA post
CthulhuTech: Vade Mecum: the CthulhuTech Companion: Alphabet Soup
The setting of CthulhuTech is expansive. It is a big dark world and the Core Book only gave you the basics. But now you’re ready for more, for new roads to walk down, for new ways to enrich your story.
Fuck yes. I am ready to enrich the shit out of my story.
Chapter 2: Less Then, More Now introduces new aspects of the Ctech setting (or expands on ones alluded to earlier) - mostly fluff for the NEG, because Vade Mecum is partially about running government agent games. There's more on the the Ashcroft Foundation, Human/Nazzadi halfbreeds, para-psychics, the Global Intelligence Agency (guess what they do, go on), the Office of Internal Security (magic police) and the Federal Security Burea-- wait, hang on, can we explain this in a more pretentious way?
What you see here are additional important facets of the setting that we couldn’t fit into the Core Book. You’ll walk with Ashcroft Foundation advisors, non-elected officials who seem to advise at every level of government. You’ll discover Xenomixes, the offspring of Human/Nazzadi unions, who walk an unusual road in life. You’ll encounter para-psychics, who intuitively command the forces of the universe. You’ll dance in the never-ending intelligence game with the Global Intelligence Agency, and discover things to which the New Earth Government doesn’t want to admit. You’ll delve into the world of federal law enforcement. The Office of Internal Security polices crimes of a mystical and supernatural nature – the first line of defense against those who would abuse the occult power now available to the world. The Federal Security Bureau keeps citizens safe in their neighborhoods, supporting local law enforcement and working to root out organized crime and the constant threat of cult influence. And you’ll walk through the thing that scares them both, the dark world of the arcane underground.
Read on, and enjoy.
So first up, the Ashcroft Foundation! They seek to improve humanity through knowledge, and not just through the D-Engine. The NUN, initially worried about what the required rebuilding of power infrastructure would do to free enterprise, law and their wallets, struck a deal with the Foundation - Ascroft would give "the world's power distribution infrastructure (and telecommunications while they were at it)" a makeover, and in exchange the NUN would hire Ashcroft Advisors to help them understand and deal with the effects of magic on society. Fast-forward to the present day and Advisors are present in all levels of the government and military. Also, since they're not elected officials, these Advisors don't have fixed terms of office (but they do have time to make a ton of political contacts) and new officials (say, the mayor of your arcology) rely on them to get up to speed. This is a completely sane idea and doesn't basically hand behind-the-scenes power over to the Ashcroft Foundation at all.
On the upside, the Ashcroft Clinic leads the world in mental health care and take their work seriously, doing their best to treat the madmen that end up in their high security facilities. There's also Ashcroft Education, who offer "an experience drawn from Zen, philosophy, and psychology that is designed to get people out of their own way", like a self-help book that actually works. ...Actually, now that I read it...
However, it is not for the faint of heart. These programs take people out of their comfort zones to get them profoundly related to reality – and for many people, this experience is difficult. The defense mechanisms they’ve set up their whole life resist the idea that they can be truly happy and in control of their life if they only let go of being right, trying not to look bad, and the conclusions they’ve drawn about “what they know life to be” and strike out boldly. There are those who consider the whole idea preposterous and assert that the education is nothing but a government sponsored cult. But the education works, hence its continuing existence.
Is that a bit of author philosophy I see there? Probably, given that nobody who was worried about looking bad would attach their real name to a RPG book so bad reading it will make your neighbour's cat grow a neckbeard and never have sex again. Anyway, Ashcroft Education courses are broken down into the Life & Community Curriculum, which focuses on community service and not being a dick, and the Connection Curriculum, which teaches communication skills and how to connect with people "without all their emotional baggage intruding". Graduates are happier, more successful, and better people who can admit their shortcomings and - okay, never mind, I guess Matthew Grau hasn't taken this course.
And the little sidebars with rumours and plot hooks for each organisation are back! These are actually still nice. I like them. Yes, I just complimented part of Vade Mecum. Frame that shit.
Now... Xenomixes! They are half-Nazzadi and half-Human! Apparently, in the past people would just say "mixed", but even though the last paragraph called Human/Nazzadi relations "no different from any other cross-cultural pairing in history", these half-Nazzadi needed a whole new term! So, xenomix. There are also derogatory terms, like "starchild" and "halfbreed".
Xenomixes look like a hybrid of the Nazzadi (who have "predominately Caucasian or Anglo features". I think someone meant to say Asian! ) and the Human, with grey skin, black hair, charcoal gray lips and nails etc., and gray, amber or violet eyes. They are also "exotically beautiful". You heard it here first: half-elves are sexy. They lose "their black-skinned parent's ability to see in the dark" but can still see well in dim light. They are either as nimble as a Nazzadi or hardy as a Human, but not both.
Humans are generally accepting of xenomixes except in the "rural outlands", because they are conservative and only the great liberal arcology-dwellers aren't racist, and Nazzadi frown on them because they are still trying to forge a cultural identity for themselves and not "breeding true" seems like it would undermine that. They are accepting of xenomixes (which they call amlati, a word which is only ever used in Vade Mecum to remind people the Nazzadi use it and then never again) if they are raised as Nazzadi, though, dressing like one and learning Nazzadi history and language and so on. Humans are more comfortable around "Human-acting" xenomixes, but most proper liberal parents raise their child Nazzadi. The kid might change his mind later, though. Holy shit, is there really another page on xenomixes?
Those raised in Nazzadi tradition walk, talk, and act Nazzadi, and consequently get white-work tattoos and have no nudity taboo and therefore dress provocatively. Some xenomixes, as they get older, start to blend the two together. On the Human side, it’s no problem, but they’d best put on their best Nazzadi styles when they go home to visit their grandparents.
The rest of the page is about White xenomixes! Every once in a while a xenomix is born who is white from head to toe, skin, hair, eyes and all. Whites are also natural para-psychics, have difficulty connecting with non-Whites (but have a natural "psychological fortitude" which prevents actual social dysfunction), and are very rare, mysterious, otherworldly and spooky. Why are they born? Half of all White xenomixes are adopted, and did I mention Whites are called sidoci in Nazzadi? Yes, you can ignore that forever. Nazzadi are still (mostly) chill with Nazzadi-raised Whites, but still find them a little weird. The OIS monitors all Whites too, which is sometimes why their parents abandon them.
So, in short, Whites are mysterious and beautiful and ethereal and have abandonment issues which don't actually affect them all that much, and also they have a unique and striking appearance and natural magic powers.
Is CthulhuTech trying to corner the teenage gamer market?
Anyway, Para-psychics. They get one page, xenomixes got two. Para-psychics are the dudes who can do magic just by thinking about it, instead of doing magical rituals and learning words like those stupid pissy sorcerers. Para-psychics lack the absolutely shitty time-consuming ritual horseshit, but their abilities are more limited in scope. On the other hand, they don't have any shitty time-consuming ritual horseshit. They start as latent para-psychics, and when they "erupt" (usually during puberty or some other dramatic event) their true powers manifest.
The OIS test every child for para-psychic potential, and anyone who tests positive is tracked for life. They offer special classes to help them erupt and control their powers, though. Proper para-psychics must register with the OIS and classified depending on their powers - Acceptable, Dangerous (ones that can cause harm) or Invasive (ones that affect the mind). The latter two are forced to wear identification at all times, and are generally discriminated against because of it. What a liberal utopia! On the upside, para-psychics have formed their own support groups, social clubs, and even dating services. Also, para-psychics are basically guaranteed cushy jobs in the government, military and big business, so most para-psychics can get themselves acceptance and a big fat paycheck. 1 in 1000 people are para-psychic.
The Zone! The short version is some Ashcroft scientist named Russell Stanton invented "D-Jump" technology, or arcanotech teleporters, but saner Foundation Board members realised Stanton was going insane and hadn't noticed his wormholes could get out of control, so they shut down his project and had him committed. Then some dickfuck named Helmut Weisskopf got hold of his research, resigned from Ashcroft and got the military to back a project to weaponise that shit out at the old Nevada bomb testing facility.
Here is what happens when you test an experimental weaponised wormhole based off research that was called dangerous by a company which considers a prototype of their invention summoning extradimensional horrors to be a minor hiccup:
The Zone is an 80-mile new one torn in the ass of reality. Nothing that enters it ever comes out, sometimes it vomits out horrible creatures (the military has a ten-mile perimeter around that shit), and it is growing by 3-5 feet a year. Also, it wiped LA off the map. That is what fucking happens, Weisskopf.
There's a secret kind of para-psychic called the Zoner. Someone (even non-psychics) exposed to its alien energies, which could just mean "was within 500 miles of the Zone at some point", can potentially erupt. Often violently, and for no reason! Zoners are dangerous and probably crazy, and the government keeps them a secret and considers them a threat.
The Office of Internal Security police magic. They get "perhaps the most sweeping powers of any government agency in the history of democracy". Sounds promising! When not tracking everyone who might be a para-psychic or studies magic ever, they arrest criminals messing around with magic! Anyone who illegally messes with magic is no longer "classified as mortal" until they are processed in these facilities, where testing staffed hardened to the "pleas and screams" of their subjects "scan, poke, prod, question, drug, and sometimes torture" those under their care to determine whether they allowed to count as human again. Those that aren't (like people with tentacle cock, probably) are locked up forever and experimented on.
Para-psychics arrested by the OIS for Burning (losing control of their powers) or being criminals are tested with tranquilizers and experimental drugs to see if their powers can be controlled (by shutting down parts of their brain). Burners who pass a bunch of psychological and physical tests are free to go (but watched closely afterward), sentenced criminals spend their sentences drugged-up in these detention facilities, those who can't control their powers are never released again and probably used as guinea pigs for experimental drugs and surgery to control or remove their powers. Also: Not registering as a para-psychci or sorcerer carries a life sentence. Possessing illegal rituals carries a life sentence. Possessing "other forms of mystical contraband" is at least twenty years (but since literally owning the Necronomicon provides little to no benefit I expect this doesn't come up much).
Anyway, the OIS has field agents - most work in pairs, like buddy cops, and investigate potential threats, while some go undercover in the arcane underground and risk their lives. Some of them are response teams, squads of marines who kick down the door and shoot everyone, and some are S pecial P owered A rmor T eams (tee hee) who kick down the door and shoot monsters. Then there are the administrators, intelligence specialists, researchers... (yes, this book wants you to try OIS games!) They also deal with "hazardous lifeforms" in arcologies, which also means shooting monsters. When not being PCs, monitoring children or fucking over para-psychics, the OIS doctor occult texts and work with the Ministry of Information to keep out of the public eye as much as possible.
They're really charming is what I'm getting at.
Three left! The Federal Security Bureau is another spoonful of alphabet soup in the intelligence community, and treated more like the "good guys". They are pretty much the FBI, I think. They have nine divisions. Guess which one one of the sample adventures puts the PCs in!
Behaviorial Analysis Unit (BAU)
- Investigates the "behavioral aspects" of time-sensitive crimes to give law enforcement an idea of what they're dealing with. Closely related FSB guys also maintain the Federal Law Enforcement Database (FLED, I assume) to catalogue every crime ever, update law enforcement with the latest information and techniques, and keep everyone in touch.
Critical Incident Response Division (CIRD)
- Responds to national emergencies, works with the military, helps civilians.
Counterterrorism Division (CTD)
- Organise FSB Christmas office parties around the NEG. Nah, not really. They log nearly every phone call and email in the NEG, though!
Fraud Investigations Division (FID)
- Identity theft, counterfeiting (though digital currency is more popular now, so), computer fraud, insurance fraud, bank fraud, fraud fraud, etc. fraud.
Organized Crime Division (OCD)
- Involved in the secret black ops world behind tabletop gaming, stopping grognards from summoning demons at GenCon behind closed doors and doctoring the
spells out of 2e books. Not really. I made all that up.
Controlled Substance Division (CSD)
- Drug trafficking, because methamphetamines and opiates still aren't cool. Magical "metaamphetamines" do not exist but would be boss.
Violent Crime Investigations Division (VCID)
- Rape, murder, hate crime, et cetera. Apparently these crimes are "disturbingly prevalent in the Strange Aeon and they have become ever more disquieting".
Sectarian Crimes Division (SCD)
- Investigates cults, the most dire duty of all. As part of the SCD, the FSB maintain a DPU (Deprogramming Unit) to help brainwashed cultists function normally IRL again.
- Restricted Technology Enforcement (RTE)... division - Enforces laws regulating "special and dangerous types of technology" like arcanotechnology, AI, cloning, nanotechnology, and CthulhuTech core books.
Unlike the OIS, the FSB are TMVP (the most visible PBOTGBTM (protective branch of the government BTM (besides the military), I may be pulling these OOMA) and take their duty seriously. They have integrity, dedication, and respect, and actually obey laws (as opposed to those OIS bastards). They get a lot of leeway to spy on people, though. Because of that, a lot of people bitch about the FSB being evil Orwellian overlords who trample on people's rights (presumably while the OIS laffo at them).
The last ingredient of the alphabet soup is the Global Intelligence Agency ! Unlike the FSB or OIS, the GIA gathers information. Alien activity, cultist movements, domestic intelligence, data records, communications systems, black ops teams eliminating "targets of interests", et cetera. Can you tell I am bored of writing these? Seriously, holy shit. GIA employees refer to it as The Firm (if you couldn't tell yet, they're the CIA ), and it's divided into four offices: Global Operations, Surveillance and Tactics, Office of Science and Arcane Technology, Office of Central Intelligence ( ) and Office of Administration.
Global Operations, Surveillance and Tactics is called GhOST for short. (The "h" stands for "hack writing team".) GhOST do information gathering, surveillance missions on Migou, cult and terrorist infiltration, et cetera. They are basically spies, only they also have their own strike teams for dealing with SAH (Supernatural Alien Horseshit). These teams employ sorcerers and para-psychics with otherwise illegal powers, because they're the GIA and don't have to explain shit. Rumours have surfaced of an elite black ops group in GhOST called Blackspire, because RPG writers like to be all mysterious and fucking cagey with their setting fluff. Very little is known about them except that Blackspire is the best of the best, their public identities are erased and they are called in for "certain "sensitive" situations". Apparently, "nerves tend to run high whenever a Blackspire operative enters the room". How can you tell?
OSAT search public media for intelligence, test occult theories and practices (usually gained from cults) to see what works and what's dangerous, study alien life forms and are generally eggheads. They are the smart dudes, scientists and sorcerers in the GIA. The OCI gathers the intelligence everyone else collects and write up analysis and intelligence reports for the government. The OA handle administration and run the Global Broadcast Information Service (GBIS? GBS? ), which sends out radio broadcasts full of useful information like evacuation point locations and also propaganda.
Finally, the Arcane Underground ! (AU? oh no I'm seeing acronyms everywhere.) It is the magic black market, and everyone is cautious as fuck, because they don't want to be in prison for decades. You can't just enter a back alley and look for the Necronomi-pimp; you need to wait for the Underground to come to you, and that won't happen unless you look like the sort of person who's up for buying some illicit magical tomes and hang around the right seedy magic circles. Then you just need to worry about being ripped off, mugged, robbed, getting bad or doctored texts and rituals, being attacked by monsters, exposure to dangerous cults and just going crazy! Simple.
The Arcane Underground mostly sells illegal rituals (in electronic form, with no-you-probably-can't-bypass-it copy protection), magical services (hiring para-psychic criminals, etc.), forbidden texts, and materials (drugs, blood, small animals, children (!), etc.) It operates on three levels - the basic street level, where illicit deals are struck in dark alleys and secret warehouses; the "suburbs" level where bored housewives, rich kids and professionals get a taste of illegal magical horseshit (IMH) to make their lives interesting; and the higher levels, where powerful men and powerful cartels make deals which I can only assume are not insignificant in power. The OIS mostly deal with the kingpins in the underground, because everything else trickles down from them. Though a lot of the big players are indepdent, the cults have a big presence too, like the Children of Chaos and especially the Death Shadows.
Actually, one of the rumours/plot hooks in this section is that the Chrysalis Corporation has "real" copies of the Necronomicon, and a few have found their way into the Underground after being smuggled out. So even the illegal version of the Necronomicon in the core book isn't the real version? Oh well, whatever!
Next time: New character options! Take Assets to become a para-psychic, or a White and totally not a Mary Sue, or Chaotic Stupid/a Zoner! Character options for dream magic even though the Dreamlands are gone! CthulhuTech females depicted with even less clothing!
Trivia AnswerOriginal SA post
CthulhuTech: Vade Mecum: the CthulhuTech Companion: Alphabet Soup: Trivia Answer!
They have nine divisions. Guess which one one of the sample adventures puts the PCs in!
- Behaviorial Analysis Unit (BAU) - Investigates the "behavioral aspects" of time-sensitive crimes to give law enforcement an idea of what they're dealing with. Closely related FSB guys also maintain the Federal Law Enforcement Database (FLED, I assume) to catalogue every crime ever, update law enforcement with the latest information and techniques, and keep everyone in touch.
- Critical Incident Response Division (CIRD) - Responds to national emergencies, works with the military, helps civilians.
- Counterterrorism Division (CTD) - Organise FSB Christmas office parties around the NEG. Nah, not really. They log nearly every phone call and email in the NEG, though!
- Fraud Investigations Division (FID) - Identity theft, counterfeiting (though digital currency is more popular now, so), computer fraud, insurance fraud, bank fraud, fraud fraud, etc. fraud.
- Organized Crime Division (OCD) - Involved in the secret black ops world behind tabletop gaming, stopping grognards from summoning demons at GenCon behind closed doors and doctoring the real spells out of 2e books. Not really. I made all that up.
- Controlled Substance Division (CSD) - Drug trafficking, because methamphetamines and opiates still aren't cool. Magical "metaamphetamines" do not exist but would be boss.
- Violent Crime Investigations Division (VCID) - Rape, murder, hate crime, et cetera. Apparently these crimes are "disturbingly prevalent in the Strange Aeon and they have become ever more disquieting".
- Sectarian Crimes Division (SCD) - Investigates cults, the most dire duty of all. As part of the SCD, the FSB maintain a DPU (Deprogramming Unit) to help brainwashed cultists function normally IRL again.
- Restricted Technology Enforcement (RTE)... division - Enforces laws regulating "special and dangerous types of technology" like arcanotechnology, AI, cloning, nanotechnology, and CthulhuTech core books.
The answer was Organized Crime Division. What were you thinking of?
Sexy Psychic TeenagersOriginal SA post
I thought it was a trick question.
CthulhuTech: Vade Mecum: the CthulhuTech Companion: Sexy Psychic Teenagers
The next chapter opens with some fluff text about some drill sergeant teaching his new recruits how to fight in close combat. With swords! Especially kendo, because Japanese stuff is awesome. When someone asks him what good that will be, he has them watch him enter another room where he was keeping some nightgaunts locked up and kills them all with his katana, because katanas are awesome.
Then we get stuck into Chapter Three: Alternative Egos! This chapter offers up some new character options under a heading which reminds me of that far superior RPG yet again. Will the rules themselves also remind me of other, excellent games?
So, Assets first. What have we got? First, the para-psychic powers are finally here! Remember how you could take Latent Para-Psychic in the core book for 4 points, and it did absolutely fucking nothing because it was a placeholder? Well, now you can replace that feat with
Erupted Para-Psychic (2)
Prerequisite: Latent Para-Psychic Asset required
Your Character’s latent para-psychic ability has blossomed into amazing powers that he can now consciously control. Erupted para-psychics begin with one First Order power in whichever group of para-psychic powers they choose as their primary talent – Environmental, Manipulative, Sensory, or Somatic. See Chapter Five for more details. They may acquire other powers through the expenditure of Cheats. However, erupted para-psychics also begin with one Insanity Point, in addition to any others they might gain as they acquire powers.
Those who have chosen to command eldritch sorcery cannot be para-psychics, as the powers are two sides of the same coin. Sorcery relies on instruction, while para-psychics are born with an intuitive understanding of cosmic power. Those who undergo the Rite of Sacred Union likewise cannot command para-psychic powers – Ta’ge symbionts won’t bond with para-psychics.
Exceptional Para-Psychic (4)
Prerequisite: Erupted Para-Psychic Asset and Tenacity of 8 or more required
Your Character has greater access to the powers of the cosmos than most of his kind. While normal para-psychics only have access to First and Second Order powers in their secondary talent and only First Order powers in their tertiary talents, your Character breaks beyond those boundaries. He is capable of reaching the full range of powers in his secondary talent (all Orders) and both First and Second Order powers in his preferred tertiary talent (choose one when you purchase this Asset).
However, the Experience cost to manifest powers is steep:
• To erupt a new Third Order Sensory or Somatic power within the exceptional para-psychic’s secondary talent costs 70 Experience.
• To erupt a new Third Order Environmental or Manipulative power within the exceptional para-psychic’s secondary talent costs 80 Experience.
• To erupt a new Second Order Sensory or Somatic power within the exceptional para-psychic’s preferred tertiary talent costs 70 Experience.
• To erupt a new Second Order Environmental or Manipulative power within the exceptional para-psychic’s preferred tertiary talent costs 80 Experience.
Afterwards we get Lucid Dreamer:
Lucid Dreamer (3)
Prerequisite: Tenacity of 7 of more required
Your Character has the ability to “wake up” inside his own dreams. Through access to some level of consciousness, he can bend his dreams to his will. His dream world is his playground. He gains a +4 Test Bonus to any Dreaming Magic that happens inside his own dreams and is beneficial. Likewise, sorcerers suffer a -4 Test Penalty to any Dreaming Spells that would affect him adversely, that normally don’t require a Contest; he gains a +4 Contest Bonus to those that do.
Xenomix Characters Only
Your Character is one of the strange and unusual children born to xenomixed couples. Not an albino, his skin is snow white. He is innately otherworldly and is a natural born para-psychic. See the White Xenomix Racial Template on p. 31 for complete rules. Only Characters who have this Asset can be White Xenomixes.
Prerequisite: Latent Para-Psychic and Erupted Para-Psychic Assets required
Somehow, the mysterious energies of the Nevada Zone have found their way into your Character. He didn’t even have to be born with latent ability.
The moment the Zone touched his being, he erupted in a big way – at the cost of his sanity. In addition to the First Order power granted to an erupted para-psychic, a Zoner begins with one Third Order power in whichever group of para-psychic powers you choose as his primary talent – Environmental, Manipulative, Sensory, or Somatic. He also begins with one First Order power in whichever group of para-psychic powers you choose as his secondary talent. You may acquire other powers through the expenditure of Cheats. However, he begins with a total of five Insanity Points (including the one from the Erupted Para-Psychic Asset, but not including any he may gain through the acquisition of his powers), along with the accompanying two permanent psychological disorders and the -1 Test Penalty for future Insanity Tests (including those required for the acquisition of their powers). Work with your Storyguide to determine these disorders. They shouldn’t be a cakewalk – at least one of them should compromise your Character’s ability to function in society.
Zoners & You
Zoners are dangerous. They’re crazy and they have a bunch of power right off the bat. You should check with your Storyguide to see if a Zoner will really fit into your story. Storyguides, seriously assess whether or not a Zoner is going to work in your story.
After a Modified Assets section which lets us know that Tager and Tager: Exceptional from the Core Book now cover the new Tagers later in this book (but the placeholder Latent Para-Psychic couldn't be retroactively changed into Actually Para-Psychic because...), we get to Drawbacks! They aren't worth quoting, so:
Call of the Void (4)
means you have drawn the attention of powerful beings (maybe you fucked up while reading a tome, or sassed Hastur) and are plagued with nightmares. You can sleep fine, but each month you must succeed on a Challenging Tenacity Feat Test or gain 1 Insanity Point. Drama Points can't help here, but since this drawback is only open to Occult Scholars, Para-Psychics and Sorcerers - all of which will have a high Tenacity and breeze most of those tests - you won't care.
Dream Barren (3)
means you don't dream. Why? Because you have a psychic void within you! That means you suffer a -2 Contest Modifier to any magic ritual or para-psychic powers that might affect you while you sleep. If the power doesn't allow a Contest to resist, they get a +2 to contests to affect you. Also, you can't take any dream or nightmare-related qualities. Stacks with Mystically Void (4), only with all kinds of magic and it removes all your Orgone. So basically, being vulnerable to magic in your sleep is worth only one less point than being vulnerable to all magic and having no mana, forever.
means your Character doesn't fit in, like maybe he's a para-psychic or a half-Nazzadi or "he simply refuses to conform to the norms of society and chooses to stick out like a sore thumb." How bad it is depends on how many points you take - 4 means you're treated like a freak everywhere and "you sometimes draw violent reactions". At 2, "some places you have real problems fitting in." At 1, "people might give you a weird look or talk behind your back". Now all we need is a Jock asset.
Okay, sorry, but I just can't fucking get over Misfit. Seriously, why is that a thing?
Shadow Walker (3)
means "the dark things of the universe are attracted to your Character". What does that mean?
Dark magics always come into play or go wrong around him, he finds himself surrounded by para-psychics (especially those in a Burn), and he’s in the neighborhood of ground zero when an unspeakable horror finds its way into the world. Even if he is not irresistibly drawn to the shadows, the shadows are irresistably drawn to him.
Afterwards is a Parapsychology skill, which means you know a lot about para-psychics and their powers, biology, physiology, metaphysiology, metabiophysiology, etc. You could help block and control para-psychic powers, if you work for the NEG or someone else who experiments on them! Also, you need Expert in Medicine (Psychological) if you want to actually know anything about the biological aspects baked into the skill. Specialisations are Burning, Environmental Powers, Eruption, Latent Ability, Manipulative Powers, Orgone Theory, Para-psychological Physiology, Para-psychological Suppression, Sensory Powers, Somatic Powers, Para-psychological Theory, White Xenomixes, and Zoners.
Oh hey, new races! Xenomixes (Amlati) and White Xenomixes (Sidoci), according to their headings. The Xenomix description reminds us that they are "amlati in the Nazzadi tongue" for a third time, and then neither of those words are ever used again.
Xenomixes get +1 Skill Point, low-light vision,
Xenomixes are a pretty new phenomenon. The first xenomixed children were conceived the first year after the First Arcanotech War ended – 2066. They were born starting later that year. This means that if your game begins in 2085, the oldest a xenomix Character can be is 19 years old. Whites didn’t show up until a year later – the oldest a White Character can be in a game set in 2085 is 18 years old.
Sexy teenage misfits. Aw yeah.
A Xenomix who takes the White (4) asset upgrade to Nazzadi nightvision, +1 Tenacity (it's not clear whether this stacks with Xenomix bonuses, but they repeat the part about getting Alluring (1) so I doubt it), and also:
A +4 Test Bonus to all Fear and Insanity Tests, making it even easier to not go insane;
Latent Para-Psychic and Enrupted Para-Psychic for free.
(", at no skill point cost", the book adds, like we're fucking stupid and don't know what free means.)
- "Oddity", which gives them the Watched (3) and Misfit (4) ( why is that a thing? ) drawbacks, though they don't provide skill points or count against their Drawback limi-- wait.
They gain the Misfit (4) and Watched (3) Drawbacks, which do not provide any additional skill points nor do they count against their starting Drawback limit.
Furthermore, if a Zoner has chosen to register with the New Earth Government, this Asset confers the equivalent of the Watched (3) Drawback – a Zoner cannot choose the Watched Drawback again. If a Zoner has chosen to remain anonymous with the powers that be, he gains the Hunted (4) Drawback as soon as he pops up on their radar. These drawbacks do not count against a starting Character’s Drawback limits.
White xenomixes are rare. Before you set your heart on playing one, please talk with your Storyguide to make sure that it is appropriate for your game. Furthermore, there should never be more than one White Character in any play group, unless your Storyguide has a specific type of story in mind.
Oh, and while we're here - remember the races in the core book , and how the females mostly dressed like sluts while the males were fully-clothed? Well:
Why the fuck is she wearing ice skates? And I almost didn't notice because of the constipated Ken doll behind her. Holy shit.
The chapter ends with new Professions, which aren't nearly as bad so I'm just going to list them.
s could be occult PIs, or criminals tracking down dangerous magic for the Arcane Underground, or maybe they just want to learn things they weren't meant to. They have to take Ally (2), Contact (3) and Duty (1), and Shadow Walker (3) is suggested as a Drawback even though it's kind of retarded.
Ashcroft Foundation Advisor
is self-explanatory. After listing all the benefits and people they can advise, it takes pains to explain that most are well-adjusted individuals who don't let their personal feelings influence decisions and don't abuse their power. (This makes sense, given the Ashcroft Foundation's psychological evaluation skills.) They have to take Authority (2), Wealth (1), Oath: Mission of the Ashcroft Foundation (2), Duty (2) and Watched (2). Does anyone
means you're a federal agent, and probably employed by either the OIS or the FSB (probably either BAU, CIRD-- no, fuck that extended wanky alphabet soup gag. Gorbash was right anyway, it kinda fits.
means you are para-psychic. Aside from the Latent/Erupted powers, Misfit (
) and Watched (3) are required Qualities.
- Zoner means you are a lunatic (until you get your Insanity Score reduced, anyway) with psychic powers! On top of the "equivalent of" Drawbacks you get for taking Zoner, you have to take Misfit ( ). Since you're required to have Disorders, the book suggests "Paranoid Schizophrenia, Minor Physical Disorder (Sleeping), Schizotypal Disorder". That sounds like a great idea for a PC, thanks CtuhlhuTech!
Next time: What this system really needs is hit locations, tables and charts!
Fight Nyarlathotep with Ninjitsu!Original SA post
CthulhuTech: Vade Mecum: the CthulhuTech Companion: Fight Nyarlathotep With Ninjitsu!
So, we've looked at rules for playing the misunderstood nice guy who has trouble fitting in, a race of psychic Reis (with no nudity taboo), the alphabet soup that is the intelligence community...
Now it's time for Chapter Four: Optional Framewerk and its optional rules! Random tables for injury complications! Hit location tables! Fighting styles... in chart form!
Are you excited? I know I am!
Okay, it's not that bad. I hope.
First, Healing Complications! Under this rule, whenever you're reduced to Seriously Wounded or Death's Door you must succeed on a Hard Tenacity Feat Test (or Very Hard, for Death's Door), or suffer a complication. Is there any reason to not go for high Tenacity?
If you fail, you get to roll a 1d10 to see where the healing complication is. 1-2 Legs, 3-7 Torso, 8-9 Arms, 10 Head. Afterwards, you roll 1d10 on the specific table for each location to see where the injury is. Since CTech has arcanotherapy, socialised healthcare and organ cloning, all of them are curable, often for free (though non-military/law enforcement usually wait longer and sometimes aren't covered). Each injury has its own negative effects, from reducing attributes to adding Drawbacks. It doesn't say that you don't get Skill Points for this, so when I get to the Para-Psychics chapter and use Ryu Foxfire the latent para-psychic from the last review , fans of RAW gotchas are free to assume that he got the points required to erupt by falling down the stairs a lot.
1-2 Massive Scarring
: You have "unattractive heavy scarring" on your limbs, dependent on the type of wounds. (What scars do you get from, say, blunt force trauma?) You get the Repellent (1) Drawback, which means you are ugly. Sleeves are useless, I guess.
3-4 Loss of Digits
: If you've lost fingers, your Agility goes down by one in relevant situations. If you lose toes, "balance is compromised and physical feats requiring quick action suffer a -1 Test Penalty". Drawing a gun quickly? Nope. Bet you wish you had
5-6 Compound Fracture
: Agility goes down by 2 in situations requiring that arm, or you get the Slow Drawback if it's a leg.
7-8 Joint Injury
: As Compound Fracture, but you get the Chronic Pain Drawback!
- 9-10 Loss of Limb : Double the effects of Compound Fracture (or, -4 Agility in situations where full use of your missing arm is needed. You can still roll though!) and -2 Strength!
1 Massive Scarring
: Unattractive heavy scarring on your chest, back and stomach. You get Repellent (1), and presumably your character does not wear shirts.
2 System Shock: Fatigue
: You get tired easily now! Tired Drawback.
3 Strength Compromised
: Your core strength has been compromised! -1 Strength.
4 Nerve Damage: Minor
: Impaired Sense (Touch) Drawback.
5 Organ Damage: Minor
: Chronic Pain or Tired Drawback. The injury has claimed an organ you can "live without", like a kidney or a gall bladder or a lung. (
Your lung is broken.)
6 Compound Fracture: Ribcage
: Your head and face have been mutilated, reducing Strength and Tenacity by one. Wait, what?
7 Genital Injury
: "Something unfortunate" happened and your genitals are ruined. You are no longer capable of functioning sexually.
8 Nerve Damage: Major
: Impaired Senses (Touch), but with a Test Penalty of -6 to touch-based Observation Tests. (Also, the Drawback is actually Sensory Impaired in the core book.)
9 Organ Damage: Major
: The injury has claimed one of your major organs, like your liver or your stomach. Or your heart has a nick in it. You must stay in a medical facility or die until healed.
- 10 Paraplegic : You can't walk unassisted.
1 Massive Scarring
: Repellent (1) again.
2 Eyesight Damaged
: Nerve damage, corneal injury, retinal detachment... take your pick! Impaired Sense (Vision).
3 Hearing Damaged
: Your ears were somehow damaged, but remain intact. Impaired Sense (Hearing).
4 Neck Injury
: Your neck was hurt. Luckily, it is intact! Chronic Pain. You no longer have full range of motion, but that doesn't affect any rolls. It's not like you lost a
5 Brain Damage: Minor
: Your memories don't line up properly. You might forget people and faces, and you
lose half your skills
until cured. Which skills? Well...
: Your head and face have been muti- OH. That explains something. Anyway, you get the Repellent (3) Drawback.
7 Loss of Eye
: One of your eyes is damaged or missing. Impaired Sense (Vision), only the Observation Test Penalty it incurs is -3.
8 Loss of Both Eyes
: You can't see and all physical actions are treated as completely obscured.
9 Brain Damage: Major
You are now a vegetable.
- 10 Quadruplegic : You can't do most things unassisted. Why is this above Brain Damage: Major?
If you are using the optional hit locations rule, you can determine where the Character was most severely injured during combat and consult that table. If not, randomly determine where the Character is injured. Choose whether or not an arm of leg injury is right or left, if appropriate.
Fred: Fuck! Good thing Tagers never suffer from healing complications. Athena crawls into an alleyway and starts to regenerate.
GM: Alright, now attacking Dexter...
Dexter: Ah, fuck.
GM: Well... Near-minimum damage? You get off lucky today. Ryu is gently smacked in the stomach by the Dhohanoid.
Dexter: That still edges me into Seriously Wounded. I guess I'll roll for complication... Fuck! Failed the test.
GM: Ryu is now brain dead.
A sidebar suggests that the Storyguide might just want to pick these injuries without rolling, but not because it's possible to be punched by a bad guy and suffer a completely unrelated injury!
As a Storyguide, you may want to just go ahead and pick longterm injuries if you want to use them in your game. The problem with many of them is that they are severe and true recovery takes a long-time. On the other hand, depending upon the tone of your game, that may be something you want them to live with. Just be sure you don’t take them out of the game indefinitely.
Sometimes, people like to know where their attacks have landed.
Look at the highest die used in the attack Contest. That number determines where you hit, unless the location can't logically be hit due to cover (roll up to the next highest result until it can), you're hitting an alien (table is for mortals, Tagers, Dhohanoids and Ghouls only!), or the Storyguide decides one of the lower results makes sense. Then roll 1d10 and consult the tables to see what happens! Tagers and Dhohanoids can't be affected by abilities marked with *, and you read up the chart until you hit something that can.
If you like these rules and want to use them regularly, consider letting your Storyguide roll for effects to speed things up.
Cascades are meant to simulate fighting styles (but a sidebar assures us that they're not realistic and more of an abstraction) for characters who have received training. Each fighting style comes with a set of moves which naturally flow (or cascade , get it?) into each other, like watching Jackie Chan in the movies, or two elementals fucking. To acquire a Casade, you take an appropriate Skill Specialization (in Fighting, Armed Fighting or Marksman as appropriate).
Cascades use at least two of your Actions per turn, but your penalties for taking multiple Actions are reduced (From -12 to -8 for three Actions, and -4 to -2 for two Actions). Then you just determine your opening and subsequent moves from the flowcharts. If you only have one Action per turn, you can use any one of the special moves the Cascade gives you with no penalty. Of course, some of them are things you can do anyway and the benefit of many Cascades is stringing multiple actions with less penalty, but who takes Cascades if they only have one base Action?
Oh yeah, there are flowcharts.
Hun-Zuti is Nazzadi martial arts. The Migou taught it to the originals as part of their fake backstory. It is a synthesis of several Asian martial arts styles, because the Nazzadi are basically Pathfinder to the Migou's Paizo. It's not some special cultural thing for them, though.
NEG Military Unarmed Combat is a "no-frills" fighting style which is taught to all soldiers as part of Basic Training. Most soldiers forget about it since wars are generally fought with guns these days, though, so taking the Cascade is really more for people who focused on it. Civilians can sign up for classes taught by reservists, too, and many do for self-defense.
Eldritch Society Ninjitsu is taught to Tagers who seek more sophisticated combat training. Tagers rely on stealth anyway and this is an anime game anyway, so it can't hurt! Teachers are fine with hurting their students, since Tagers have regeneration and haven't suffered enough already. Shifted Tagers can substitute strikes and kicks with an attack with their natural melee weapon. Most of the Cascades rely on surprise.
NEG Military Kendo exists because all cultures have been assimilated into the NEG, but only Japan and America are the important ones. Same background as Unarmed Combat, but with swords (or similar blades, or stun batons). The fluff text at the start of this chapter where a sergeant demonstrates why katanas were awesome was referring to this.
Gunplay: Handguns is for people who want to show off. A lot of moves require you to dual-wield them, because dual-wielding is awesome. Teachers are rare, because it is easier and more socially acceptable to run a dojo teaching people how to hit other people with swords than it is to teach them how to dual-wield pistols like a champion.
Gunplay: Rifles is an art mostly known by military or para-military officers. Like the other gunplay Cascades, most civilians can only learn this by going out into the world and learning from experience.
Gunplay: Submachineguns is usually only taught to elite units (like military, organised crime and terrorists), because SMGs are serious business. At no point does the book shorten it to "SMG". You get the most benefit out of this Cascade if you are dual-wiuelding SMGs, because dual-wielding SMGs is fucking awesome.
So yeah, that's it for now. This probably won't be the last time CTech gives us optional rules (Chapter Nine has several for the Storyguide), but for now, we're done with the tables and charts.
Next time: Para-psychics!
Para-Psychics Can Just Get FuckedOriginal SA post
CthulhuTech: Vade Mecum: the CthulhuTech Companion: Para-Psychics Can Just Get Fucked
And so we come to Chapter Five: Explorers of the Mind , the para-psychic chapter. Oh, the wonders we'll see!
Para-psychics are the dudes who can cast magic at will instead of relying on long, complicated rituals. On the downside, their variety of powers is limited. Though they all pick from the same list of powers, the feel and look of their powers vary from para-psychic to para-psychic. You can fluff the ability how you want! Most of the introduction covers things we've learned before. Blah blah blah, para-psychics have to wear badges which alienate them from the public, most para-psychics get employed by the government or corporations, et cetera.
And then we get into the crunch. Para-psychic powers that affect the World of Elements are divided into four categories.
, which affects primal forces - fire, light, gravity, etc.;
, which affects other creatures.
going to end well.
, which grants the para-psychic supernatural senses;
- Somatic , which improve the para-psychic's body.
Using powers is pretty simple. You don't even need training! First you make an invocation Test (the Degree varies by power), using a number of dice equal to his rating in the power. (It's Tenacity-based. Huge shock!) If you fail nothing happens, and you don't lose any Orgone (which is a nice touch, I think). Success means you've invoked the power! Now you spend Orgone and... roll a Para-Psychic Powers Test, with the same parameters against a new Difficulty set by the Storyguide, because invoking the power and actually getting to cast it aren't the same thing I guess. Then boom, you're done! If the power has an effect that can be maintained, simply pay the associated Orgone cost.
Speaking of Orgone, it's possible to "overpower" a para-psychic power, kind of like sorcerers. Double the Orgone cost, reduce the Degree of the power Test by one; quadruple the cost, reduce the Degree by two. The book acknowledges that most powers cost too much Orgone for this to be practical. Well gee, thanks! Unlike sorcerers, though, para-psychics can sacrifice their life-force for more Orgone: if he willingly takes 1 die of unreducable Vitality damage, he gets 4 Orgone. It is possible to kill yourself doing this. This is probably one of the reasons health-regenerating Tagers can't be para-psychics.
Para-psychics can't assist each other's powers like sorcerers can, but para-psychics with the same power can team up to get Contest bonuses/Degree reductions (or just beef up the damage if they're using offensive powers). Para-psychics trying to counter each other can engage in a Contest using their power rolls; both spend their Orgone, and if the blocking para-psychic wins the power fails. (The book also notes that the magical ward spells in the first book apply to para-psychics too.)
And finally (before we get to the powers proper), Burn! Burn is what happens whenever a para-psychic critically fails a Power Test or runs himself out of Orgone. "Or when a Character uses his power habitually or a single power too often, at your Storyguide’s discretion". Stop ruining my adventure!
Vade Mecum posted:
In the case of Critical Failures or running dry of Orgone, those Tests occur when the situation occurs. For habitual users, the Storyguide will call for Tests periodically – once a month, usually. The Degrees are as follows:
• Challenging – the Character Critically Failed a Power Test or the Character ran out of Orgone.
• Hard – Character regularly runs out of Orgone, the Character is in the early stages of habitual power use, or the Character has been through many Burns.
• Very Hard – Character is a truly habitual user of his powers or the Character has Burned often.
The length of a Burn depends on the Degree of the test you just failed - 1d10/2 hours for Challenging, 1d10 hours for Hard, and 1d10/2 days for Very Hard. It's possible to get stuck in a Burn for longer - on a failed Hard or Very Hard Burn Test, you roll another 1d10, and a result of 1 means you are stuck in a Burn for 1d10 months (for Hard) or permanently (Very Hard). The Purify Form spell can fix any Burn, though most physicians will report it and the OIS will drag you to a containment facility for a battery of tests and possibly criminal charges before they let you go (and force you to attend counselling sessions and OIS check-ins for a year.)
There's a little table explaining how you can get more powers at chargen through Cheats, and then we know how they work on paper!
So, how does it work in action?
Let's say that for some reason, our Ctech-playing pals Fred and Dexter get into a fight - Dexter's character Ryu just erupted his para-psychic powers after falling down the stairs, and he wants to challenge Athena the Tager to battle to show how great his powers are. Athena agrees (she regenerates anyway) and off they go!
Dexter has chosen Environmental Powers as Ryu's primary because he likes blowing shit up, and for his starting First Order power he chooses Pyrokinesis. He can set shit on fire!
They square up to fight. Athena lets Ryu go first, and he rolls. Invoking Test = success. Power Test = success. Pyrokinesis costs 3 Orgone, so Ryu pays that and unleashes the full, devastating effect of his Pyrokinesis powers.
He is now slightly warmer.
Athena punches him unconscious.
Whoops! I buried the lead. I forgot to say: Para-psychic powers are skills. What Ryu just bought with 6 points worth of Assets, when Athena the Tager paid 4 to become an invisible regenerating monster, was Pyrokinesis : Student.
Student: Your touch basically acts like a hot-plate. You never get too cold and your food is always hot. You cannot use this power offensively.
At the expected rate of 5 per weekly session, Ryu will need to hoard 8 weeks worth of Experience just to get to Pyrokinesis: Adept, the point at which he is allowed to use it offensively.
Oh, and erupting a new power? First Order primary powers cost 15/20 experience, Second Order costs 30/40, and Third Order is 50/60. Secondary powers cost 30/40 and 50/60. And then you have to advance from Student...
So what does he get for advancing?
Student: Your touch basically acts like a hot-plate. You never get too cold and your food is always hot. You cannot use this power offensively.
Novice: Your touch is the equivalent of a lighter and you can start flammable objects on fire. You are capable of acting like a space-heater or fireplace in enclosed spaces. You cannot use this power offensively.
Adept: You can start the equivalent of a camp-fire with a thought – flammable materials and accelerant can cause these fires to grow quickly. You can also control the spread of fires. Should you choose to use this power offensively, your attacks have a +0 damage rating. You can affect anything within 10 yards.
Expert: No longer do you just affect the molecules in your environment; now you can generate heat. You can bring enclosed spaces to sweltering temperatures and cause steam baths as long as water is present. You can start fires of bonfire proportions and can even cause normally inflammable objects to catch fire – however, they will not stay afire once your concentration goes elsewhere. You can control fire and can make art out of it. Should you choose to use this power offensively, your attacks have a +1 damage rating. You can affect anything within 100 yards.
Master: You are the spirit of flame and generously generate heat. You can bring large enclosed spaces to sweltering temperatures and cause serious steam baths as long as water is present. You can start the equivalent of a small office building on fire with a thought. Should you choose to use this power offensively, your attacks have a +2 damage rating. You can affect anything you can see.
Every single para-psychic ability starts off awful and, after a banana-fuckingly long Experience grind, ends in ridiculous heights of power.
Pyrokinesis is a First Order Power. That's the weakest Order.
Next time: Para-psychic powers, and why Manipulative is apparently for sex offenders.
A Charged Feeling In Your GenitalsOriginal SA post
CthulhuTech: Vade Mecum: the CthulhuTech Companion: A Charged Feeling In Your Genitals
And now, para-psychic powers!
Each has a statblock with a wealth of information I can't be bothered reproducing. A few points, though:
Most powers are marked Dangerous or Invasive. Only Sensory/Somatic powers are Acceptable. (With that in mind, I'm just noting when one of those two power types isn't Acceptable and save time.)
Each power requires an Insanity Test to use. Most of them are easily passable, though.
Since both Invocation and Para-Psychic Powers tests work off your skill in the power, the dice mechanics continue to force Novice para-psychics (those with more training and experience) to crit fail and force a Burn Test more often.
Some powers have skill prereqs. Second and Third Order powers often require lesser powers or Assets. All Thirds have requirements.
Each has a minimum Intellect/Tenacity requirement. It's easily meetable, though.
Load Time is how long it takes to use the power. Most Environmental ones are 2 Turns. Ryu the pyrokinetic requires
two action turns
to microwave a burrito.
There are suggested Manifestations for the appearance of your powers. Some of them are
Most are boring though.
- Since it's a skill, each para-psychic power comes with suggested specialisations. You know, if you want to take time out of grinding the Experience to actually be a useful pyrokinetic to specialise in Heating Liquids.
• Cryokinesis: Cryokinetics control cold, strengthen ice and other cold objects, prevent things from freezing and can control their own body temperature... for free! Wow! At Student level, you can cool your drinks (what a use of 2 Action Turns that is). At Novice you are an air conditioner. At Adept you can freeze a fountain, finally get an attack and can affect anything within 10 yards. At Expert you can "generate" cold, make it snow, freeze a pond and your weapon improves, and you can attack anything within 100 yards. At Master, you can turn a room into a freezer, make it snow and freeze entire lakes. Your attack hits like an assault rifle and you can affect anything you can see. Someone buy a telescope!
Specializations: Environmental Temperatures, Freezing Liquids, Freezing Solids, Ice Sculpture, Environmental Effects
• Pyrokinesis: We covered this earlier! It works more or less as cryokinesis, only this time you start off as a coffee machine, become a lighter, then you can start campfires and control spread, then you can start bonfires and make "fire art"... then you can light entire buildings on fire, probably ruining at least one dungeon forever.
Specializations: Accelerant, Burning Flammable Objects, Environmental Effects, Environmental Temperatures, Fire Art, Heating Liquids, Heating Solids
• Telekinesis: You have telekinetic "limbs"! They can do all kinds of amazing things, provided you are not Student. If you are, you have a single limb and the equivalent of "ham hands", allowing you to lift 10 pounds and draw Ctrl+Alt+Del. Like the other two, you only get offensive powers at Adept. The lift limits for each skill level are 10 pounds, 50, 250, 1000 and 1 ton, and it scales from "10 feet" to "anything you can see" again. Say goodnight, Migou ships!
Specializations: Extra Telekinetic Limbs, Fine Manipulation, Lifting, Moving, Telekinetic Combat, Telekinetic Ranged Attacks
• Electrokinesis: Aww yeah. Electrokinetics start off with the amazing power to recharge batteries, keep their computer running forever and be that one doorknob from Office Space. At least you get an offensive power at Novice this time (a stun gun!). At higher levels, you can deal damage, fry computers and electrical/electronic equipment, and read digital/magnetic media like hard drives. By manipulating electrons or something, I don't know. Para-psychic powers give you magic hacking skills.
Specializations: Bio-electricity, Hacking, Offensive Power, Powering Devices, Surges
• Photokinesis: You can control light!
Student: Basically, all you can do is dim or brighten existing light conditions in a small room. You never need sunglasses or a night-light or you can wear sunglasses at night. You are also always flatteringly lit.
At Novice you can "bend light" around a person, create small illusions and blind people, so hey, you can be useful at low levels for once! At higher ones you can read "optical media" like cutting-edge hard drives and optical discs), make large buildings invisible (or create illusions that big), suck all the light out of a 2500 sq. ft. area or "throw photons into it" to blind everyone, create person-sized "hard light" illusions that have solid form, and attack anything you can see. So basically not only are you an invisible moon laser, you can create the illusion of a gigantic moon laser.
Specializations: Environmental Effects, Illusions, Lasers, Making Objects Disappear
• Gravikinesis: Yes, this is happening. We are being a gravikinetic. Students can push cats around, float safely and ascend in place at 5mph. Novices can push dogs around, ascend twice as fast and get their attack earlier. Adepts can push cars around (slowly), make cars go faster, fly, make attacks with a blast radius and get 1/1 armour. Experts can "generate gravitons", push small buildings around, make a ton worth of stuff fly, get 2/2 armour, and make a Hybrid damage explosive attack. Masters can negate gravitons, make people spin off into space , shove large buildings around, lift six tons, fly at 90mph, make a 1500-yard +3 Hybrid damage attack with a 45ft. blast radius (the closest weapon I could find was an anti-mech rocket launcher and it sure as shit didn't have that range/radius) and get 3/3 armour.
Specializations: Attraction/Repulsion, Flight, Gravity Wells, Speed, being a demigod
• Aura Masking: You can see auras! No wait, that's the ESP power. Aura Masking lets you hide your aura from those guys. For a low Orgone cost you can also get a bonus to social skill Tests (specifically Intimidate, Misdirect, Persuade, Savoir-Faire and Seduction) by projecting strong emotions to influence people for as many hours as you're willing to maintain... at higher levels.
Student: You can shift your aura a little to conceal your strongest emotions.
Novice: You can shift your aura to mask your emotions and intentions.
Afterwards you start getting a bonus to social Tests (up to +3) and become invisible to technology, so no cameras can see you. (The Expert version of this is "you are often invisible to technology", making it sound like sometimes the Storyguide can arbitrarily rule it doesn't work.) This power is a pile of shit.
Specializations: Concealing Mystical, Fooling Technology, Masking Emotions, Influencing People
• Empathic Projection: These para-psychics can influence people's emotions. You start off being able to affect one person and amplify/diminish existing emotions, then you gain strong influence, expand to three people at once... eventually you can affect fifty people at a time, creating or wiping out emotions completely. They are helpful in psychotherapy! You have to pay more Orgone to maintain it every 10 minutes, so I imagine it might end in a lot of upset people.
Specializations: Creating Emotions, Crowds, Existing Emotions, Multiple People, Specific Emotions, Single Person
• Telepathy: Read surface thoughts, talk to people! It's pretty cheap Orgone-wise and lasts an hour (plus as many as you're up for maintaining). You start off being able to mentally communicate with people you can see and that's about it, but eventually you can read thoughts of and communicate with anyone you can see, and communicate with anyone you've touched on the planet. Simple, but very effective. (Also, touch the bad guy, shout at him while he sleeps and tries to focus on rituals, drive him nuts. )
Specializations: Communication, Hearing Thoughts, Physical Contact, Sight Contact
• Dream Projection: You can enter people's dreams. At first it's just observing, later you can actively change it! Lucid Dreamers can change their appearance (but not race and gender). It
Vade Mecum posted:
has its erotic uses as well.
They are also helpful in psychotherapy. At the start you can observe the dreams of anyone within 20ft., but eventually you can enter the dreams of anyone within 200ft. (or anyone you've touched on the planet) to interact with them, retaining all your para-psychic powers too!
Specializations: Distance for Touched, Distance for Untouched, Multiple People, Single Person
• Probe: Oh boy, mind probing! You can find out people's deepest thoughts and desires, provided you succeed at a Contest with your Probe skill versus their Tenacity Feat skill. You have to make more every time you extend the power another minute. It takes five minutes to load up, so presumably you have them tied down first! Law enforcement loves these guys. You start off being able to access recent memories and obvious desires and end up being able to dig into their childhood, hidden desires, things they don't remember, and the most repressed memories. It's a little creepy, but what mind power isn't?
Specializations: Desires, Hidden Desires, Hidden Memories, Memories, Repressed Desires, Repressed Memories
• Mindworm: The big one: mind control. You can make people do things (though until Master you are limited to things that will fit into existing desires and beliefs), plant post-hypnotic suggestions, and rewrite memories at higher levels if you succeed on the right Contests. The government aggressively recruits these guys. Thankfully, despite the suggested Manifestations referring to the people you use this on as "those violated", it doesn't get creepier about it than it has to.
Nah, I'm just kidding.
Mindworm, the mind-control power that violates people, takes up half a page. The other half of the page is this image of a guy in a nightclub surrounded by adoring half-naked girls.
Specializations: Domination, Memory Tampering, Suggestion,
• Empathy: You can read other people's emotions. This is one of the Acceptable powers. It's mostly just a bonus to Tests and Contests when using social skills or Psychological Medicine, ranging from +1 to +5. (Skill-boosting powers stack with other skill-boosting powers.) It lasts an hour and can be extended. Not too bad really.
Specializations: Intimidate, Misdirect, Persuade, Savoir-Faire, Seduction
• ESP: You can see auras! Apparently, auras reveal someone's health, emotional state, and any magical/para-psychic influence. At higher levels you can see invisible things and detect mystical influence. It's considered Acceptable, and many end up in corporate/security work or the meedical field. Please let these powers remain boring.
Specializations: See Auras, Sense Invisible, Sense Mystical
• Psychometry: You can sense emotional "residues" left behind on objects and places. Now you can tell what emotions someone was feeling when they made a phone call! You start off with the ability to sense recent and intense emotional residue, and eventually you can sense subtle emotions from the thing's entire lifespan. Apparently they make people nervous, and I just realised most of the "Acceptable" powers include little lines explaining how everyone is afraid of them anyway.
Specializations: Specific Emotional States, Types of Objects, Types of Places
• Clairvoyance: See things! What things? Who knows! Seriously, this power is described as a "para-psychic crap shoot" and lets you pick up random details of various importance, from people's names to vague feelings that something is important right up to serious secrets and awareness that major things are about to go down. To use it, you activate the power (it lasts 15 minutes, extended with maintenance) and see what comes up. It is basically up to the Storyguide. They are super popular with basically everyone who hires para-psychics, though. Acceptable.
Specializations: Events, People, Places, Things
• Retrocognition: Something something etheric resonance and you can see the past in a 100ft. location! Also aggressively recruited by law enforcement because you can solve so many crimes. Students only get hazy visions about the last day, Novices can see the last day clearly and the last week hazily, and eventually you can see the last five years clearly and get hazy visions from as far back as you like. (Hazy visions of the Elder Things would be cool!) Considered Invasive, though.
Specializations: Events, Faces, Joy, Objects, Tragedy
Really? Joy? Joy.
• Precognition: The big one! Everyone wants to hire these guys. It works like Clairvoyance: Activate the power, and for the next 15 minutes plus maintenance you can get visions! They are usually random, but happen more often if you're focusing on something. You're only seeing possibilities, so you can do something about them. The "danger of attracting the attention of things outside of time..." warning pops up again, though I'm starting to think the Hounds only exist to crush PCs who abuse it. You start off only getting "subtle intuitive hits", upgrade to inaccurate readings using things like tarot cards, and eventually you can just go ahead and have clear, unaided visions alongside your intuitive hits.
Specializations: Intuitive Hits, Others, Self, Symbolism
Precognitive para-psychics (and clairvoyants to a lesser extent) can be a pain in the butt for Storyguides. As a Storyguide, if you want precognitive visions to at least have a chance of being accurate, you’ll need an idea of where your story is ultimately going. There is, however, an easier way. Make something up on the fly and then just stick with it. Create something related to that in your story and have it come down the pipeline. Of course, the future is a tricky thing and sometimes you might just want to have interpretations come out wrong.
• Hyperagility: You are really fast! For an hour plus maintenance you can get bonuses to Agility, Reflex and Actions (though you're still capped at 3 for the latter). It starts as +1 Reflex and +1 Agility and ends at +3 Reflex, 3 Actions and +10 Agility, which isn't too shabby. (Any Secondary Attributes your modified Attributes will affect are already taken into account, which was nice.)
Specializations: Athletics, Dodging, Fighting, Manual Dexterity
• Hyperspeed: Or instead, how about speed! You can go from double speed and +1 Reflex (it stacks) to sextuple speed, +3 Reflex and +3 Actions. Whoooosh.
Specializations: Climbing, Reflex, Running, Swimming
• Power Boost: Boost your "natural strength and endurance"! Jump further, lift more, etc. In game terms, you start off at +1 Strengh, +1 Tenacity and doubled jump distance and end in +8 Strength, +8 Tenacity, quadruple jumping distance and +1/1 Armour (up to a maximum of 3/3 if you're wearing armour). So basically, by the end you can out-fight the Soldier. Nice!
Specializations: Jumping, Lifting, Resistance
• Magnetism: Disappointingly, Magnetism just makes you really persuasive. How persuasive?
Magnetism gives a para-psychic an irresistible charm and animal magnetism. People really like a magnetic para-psychic and want to do things for him and the opposite sex is very interested. The feelings engendered by the use of this power are temporary, but those feelings can be reinforced to be made longer lasting.
Student: You’ve got a nice smile. You get a +2 Test or Contest Bonus when using social skills or for Presence Feats.
Novice: You’ve got a gleam in your eyes. You get a +4 Test or Contest Bonus when using social skills or for Presence Feats.
Adept: You drop drawers with a wink. You get a +6 Test or Contest Bonus when using social skills or for Presence Feats.
Expert: Members of the opposite sex throw themselves at you. You get a +8 Test or Contest Bonus when using social skills or for Presence Feats.
Master: Nobody is safe from your charms. You get a +10 Test or Contest Bonus when using social skills or for Presence Feats.
Best part? Suggested manifestation:
• People get a charged feeling in their genitals when the power is active.
Specializations: Misdirect, Persuade, Seduction, Savoir-Faire
• Psychic Healer: If you have the Medicine: Novice skill required to take this, you can heal people with your bare hands! By which I mean you can stabilise seriously injured people and tend to people like an EMT (if they don't bleed to death in the ten minutes it takes to load up the power) and, later, have an anaesthetic touch and cut healing times in half, or down to a quarter at Master. I'm not actually sure if you have to maintain the power the entire time, though. It costs 3 Orgone for the first 5 minutes and 1 Orgone every 5 after that, so that would be difficult if not impossible. This... isn't very good? I'm not sure what to make of it.
Specializations: Diagnosis, Fatal Disease, Persistent Disease, Trauma
• Teleport: This Dangerous power lets you teleport! Whee! Students can teleport 100 yards anywhere you can see, plus what you have on you and a backpack or shopping bag's worth of stuff. (What if what I have on me is... five backpacks? ) Novices can go a mile anywhere they can see with 50 pounds of stuff. Adepts can go 10 miles, don't have to see their location and never worry about teleporting into things. Experts can go 50 miles and bring 250 pounds worth of stuff, including people. Finally, Masters can go 100 miles and bring 500 pounds worth of stuff! Also, they neve "land badly". So what, Expert teleporters are at risk of falling over?
The best part is the power actually lasts for 5 minutes after you load it up, plus 1 minute every time you choose to maintain it. Teleporting is instantaneous. So, if you can teleport once per Action, and each turn is 5 seconds, it would take about 240+ teleports (or 400+ seconds, almost 7 minutes) to get to the moon, costing you only 7 or so Orgone to get to the Moon. That's a ballpark figure, though. It could take up to ten minutes... or more!
Or hell, why Luna? Know what else is up there?
The Migou Hive Ship.
People today can make suitcase nukes. Imagine what someone in 2085 could do with 500 pounds.
Specializations: Carrying, Seen, Unseen, Destroying Entire Alien Fleets
Next time: Now that para-psychic demigods have solved all of Earth's problems forever, let's go back to mage and all the great new spells they can learn (over the course of a month or so) and cast (over the course of a day or more). Invade people's dreams! Become a dickgirl! Kill yourself!
Submit The Inscrutable NomenclatureOriginal SA post
CthulhuTech: Vade Mecum: the CthulhuTech Companion: Submit The Inscrutable Nomenclature
People keep asking me for more CTech. Why do you hate yourselves so?
Anyway, it's time for Chapter Six: Arcane Expanded ! More magic rituals! Dream magic! Extra rules for sorcerers! Are they worth playing yet? (No.)
First up, things that aren't ritual descriptions! There's a new "Dedicated Study" rule which says that the core book's ritual learning times (you know, the ones that range from a week to a month to half a fucking year ) assume that the sorcerer is spending at least four hours a day studying, so if he can dedicate eight hours a day, learning time is halved. Or reduced to a quarter, if you can dedicate sixteen hours a day! That helps makes things tolerable, at least. The other rule lets sorcerers copy the para-psychic's ability to sacrifice 1 die of Vitality for 4 points of Orgo-- oh, I'm sorry, Ruach. We're in the magick chapter now and that means renaming shit.
After four paragraphs about how dreams are mysterious, it starts explaining dreaming magic to us. Cheat costs, experience costs (15 Experience for a new First Order spell, 30 for Second Order, 40 for Third Order), most dream magic is illegal and the rest need a permit, etc. Then an entire page of how dreams and magic work. Let me summarise!
Dream magic targets the easier-to-affect subconscious mind. It is the only magic that can truly influence the behaviour, memories and will of another person (unless you are a para-psychic with the Date Rape power). There's some stuff about how long dreams usually are, REM sleep, etc. I don't feel like explaining. Imaginative people make harder targets because their dreams are crazy clusterfucks. Using the high-level spells that actually let you join people's dreams means your psyche is linked with theirs, and things that happen to the dreamer happen to the sorcerer as well, and the sorcerer can die in real life. To hurt the dreamer, magicians can disrupt their rest with nightmares, implant suggestions, psychologically condition them and basically hijack their life. A lot of sorcerers are in it for the knowledge - helping people gain insight into themselves, explore their own memories, spy on people and basically plumb the subconscious for information. Good times!
Para-psychics can project into dreams too, without the restriction of psyshically linking with the dreamer! OIS psychics and magicians keep an eye on para-psychics and will kill dangerous dreamy para-psychics or keep them sedated forever. Fortunately, these para-psychics are so rare there aren't rules for them.
Some "dark gods" have influence over dreams. The Rapine King (really, Hastur? Fucking really?) regularly sends people who dedicate their souls to him (so his cult, mostly) dreams with instructions, and actually saying Hastur's name gives him a chance to send you shitty dreams. (He doesn't usually, but nobody risks it.) Cthulhu sometimes sends dreams out when he stirs in his sleep, most of which go to his cult. Sometimes normal people pick up the dreams and go a little crazy or become Cthulhu-worshippers, though.
Also, there's Gurathnaka, Eater of Dreams, aka the homebrew god who ate the Dreamlands. Nobody is sure if he "even exists in any of the dimensions we touch", but nightmares happen more often these days and he is probably behind the Empty (those aren't covered in Vade Mecum), so people are hoping not to run into him. Some others claim to have encountered Hypnos, the Greek god of sleep, and that he seemed kind of sympathetic for an alien godlike creature. Legends among the Sleepers (those aren't covered in Vade Mecum) speak of him, but he hasn't appeared in millenia. The Eldritch Society believe that Hypnos is a misinterpretation of Morfean, one of the Forgotten Ones. Time is nothing to him, and he could show up again if he wants, but the Society is hoping he doesn't in case it would be bad for humanity.
Anyway, spells! Did I mention that a lot of these have confusing names bordering on the pretentious? Because they do!
• Call the Night’s Terrors: Inflicts recurring nightmares on a victim for "three phases of the moon" (read: nine days). The victim can stand them for 1/4 their Tenacity in Days, then has to make a Challenging Tenacity Feat Test every day or suffer a -2 Test Penalty to all Actions (and a -1 even if he suceeds!). These Test Penalties are cumulative as fuck. At a number of days equal to their Tenacity, the victim falls unconscious until the spell runs out. Two full days of normal rest will bring the victim back to normal. Great to use on NPCs and PCs dumb enough to not stack Tenacity.
• Command the Slumbering Shell: Implant a suggestion in a sleeper's mind! As long as they can carry it out through sleepwalking. Talking to people no, making a phone call and saying a couple of words yes. They could move somewhere and open a door. What a great use of 30 hours worth of prep and casting time.
• Insight of the Sleeper: The only legal First Order spell. Gain insight into your own life and psyche through your dreams! When you cast this eight-hour ritual you can concentrate on something specific, like a person or a memory, and when you fall asleep, memories and experiences related to the subject play out clearly in your head. Great for reliving memories of games that aren't CTech.
• Traverse the Land Beyond Dreams: Enter the Dreamlands! Holy shit! Yes, with this simple First Order spell (one month learning time, 8 hours total cast time, 10 Ruach) you can tap into the Astral Plane and die, because this spell does nothing but kill you. Oh, or max your Insanity to 10, if your Storyguide feels nice. Only found in the black market, and sold by trolls.
• Conjoin the Adrift Psyche: I asked RulebookHeavily what he thought that could possibly mean, and he suggested this spell cures grognitive dissonance. I wish! Instead, this ritual lets you enter someone's dream, either to poke around or interact with it like you would interact with the real world. Anything that happens to the dreamer happens to the you, so protecting the dreamer is in your best interests. Psychotherapists can get a permit to help people with it and the government interrogates people with it sometimes, but it's marked as Illegal.
• Delve the Mind’s Caverns: Looks deeper into the mind, uncovering someone's hidden thoughts, true nature, repressed things, secrets, et cetera. Sifting through someone's mind like this is tough, but it's worth it - psychotherapists find it handy, and criminals and the government combine it with Conjoin the Adrift Psyche to personally observe this hidden information, gather blackmail material and possibly inflict psycholoigical torture. Marked as Legal (Permit Required), so I guess none of that stuff is as awful as Conjoin the Adrift Psyche??
• Influence the Naked Spirit: Get a boner. Actually, this spell lets you psychologically condition someone. So basically it's the brainwashing spell. The spell creates recurring dreams that last a week, and the victim becomes "steadily more conditioned" each day after the third. Most compulsions don't last long, but you can reinforce some of them and extend them far longer. At least it didn't mention the erotic potent
• Master Imagination’s Realm: For eight hours a night for a whole week, you gain complete control over someone's dream. If you're using it for "terrorizing or victimizing" a dreamer ( ) you can either evoke Fear Effects or inflict a point of Insanity every night they fail a Challenging Tenacity Feat Test. If you're using it to help someone, they lose 1 Insanity Point every three nights. Or, if they're in therapy or "actively healing" their psyche, they heal at double rate. Holy shit, what? Why would you bother? Therapy pretty fucking explicitly can take fucking months just to get started, characters with more than 5 Insanity Points lose one goddamn point a month and those with less would lose them faster with this spell anyway ! What kind of blathering fuckpossum would enter active therapy when they can have someone with this spell wipe off enough Insanity to mildly discomfort Tom Cruise in the space of a month??
So, you can combine it with Conjoin the Adrift Psyche to go on a magical adventure, or get big Test Bonuses to Conjoin the Adrift Psyche, Delve the Mind's Caverns and Influence the Naked Spirit. I guess.
• Probe the Universal Mind: A second Third Order spell! This one lets you tap into "what Jung named the universal unconscious", but what this book calls "dream internet". Anything contained in the collective psyche of Humans and Nazzadi from nuclear physics to knowledge of how to write an RPG that doesn't suck can be learned! When you cast it, you choose a topic you want to know about, and then the appropriate skill is boosted to Expert level for one week. Or Adept level for physical skills because you're missing muscle memory, unless you already had the skill, in which case it goes to either Expert or up one level, whichever is higher. Get all that? It has to be "common experience", so you can learn about the sciences but not the Chrysalis Corporation's secrets. Also, this.
There are some things which sorcerers will seek in the universal unconscious that won’t be easily classified by the major skills. Don’t forget about Hobby and Trivia, between which you should be able to classify most other knowledge.
ENCHANTMENT SPELLS (yes there are non-dreamy spells)
• Imbue Glamour Lock: Create a minor illusion effect on a small object that affects the person you give it to. You could give someone cat's eyes if they hold your magic coin, or make a necklace that gives them pink hair. The effect lasts a season. Bland but not bad.
• Craft Ruach Well: Turns a non-electronic inanimate object into a "mystical container" that stores Ruach. Tiny wells (like jewellery) can store 3 Points of Ruach, Small wells (crystal balls or " objet d'art ", which is Pretentious for "paintings") store 5 points, Medium wells (statues, etc) store 10 points, Large wells (fountains, gates) store 15, and Gigantic (huge standing stones) store 20 points. The prep time is 1-3 days, depending on the size, but only one prep time is given in the spell statblock. They will store this mystical energy indefinitely. Ruach can be voluntarily donated to the well at a rate of one point per turn, or drain Ruach from anyone who touches it at the same rate. Sorcerers, para-psychics, Tagers, outsider-tainted people, etc. will notice the effect immediately. The creator of the well can draw Ruach from it whenever he feels like it, and store up to double their normal Orgone rating in Ruach ( ). This spell is perfectly legal, and unless I am reading it wrong there is nothing besides time stopping you from, say, creating a huge amount of rings and getting more or less infinite Ruach by going around touching people. This is stupid, but given that one or two dedicated para-psychics could oneshot most of the Migou invasion force, it could not possibly get any more stupid.
• Craft Weeping Orb: Remember Woeful Orbs, those floating non-lethal laser turrets from the core book? Weeping Orbs are like that only they murder people. Weeping Orbs can operate from up to 100 yards away and are about as smart as dogs. They get 2 Actions a turn, sharp parts with +1 Damage, and the Woeful Orb's lasers. They have Armed Fighting, Firearms and Dodge at Adept, attacks against them suffer a Test Penalty of -4, and they have 10 HP. So basically you can have floating stabby balls guarding you. Hooray!
• Ward of Cool Spirit: Those within the ward's influence (a 400sq.ft. area around a person or object) are half as likely to "erupt into wild or violent emotions", reducing the effectiveness of Misdirect, Persuade and Seduction tests and granting a +3 Feat Test Bonus. Outsiders will laugh at you if you think this works on them, though. Reports of shades slowly descending from the sky to rest upon people's noses are uncomfirmed.
• Ward Against the Summoned: As in, Outsiders that have been brought into this world by magic (e.g. Summon or Call Forth spells), except for creatures that were once mortal like Tagers and Dhohanoids and tentacle dicks. Any who enter the 800sq.ft. area of the ward (Outsiders can detect it from 10ft. away) must succeed at a Very Hard Tenacity Feat Test, and suffers no further penalties if it passes. Hope that single dice roll vs. the best stat in the game works out!
• Ward of Sanctuary: Slaps a Ward of Corporal Protection against an area, protecting everyone within from physical harm, interfering with spells that corrupt flesh and forcing the military to promote people to Sergeant.
• Know Passion’s Flame: With this spell, you can listen to people's surface thoughts, read their emotions (giving you a +3 Test/Contest bonus with certain social skills) or dig deeper to discover their desires, making a Tenacity Feat Contest if the subject doesn't want to be probed. It lasts for twelve hours (a one hour ritual recharges it) and you can probe anyone nearby. Seriously, just take Tenacity 10 and win the game.
• Call Ancient Soul: The recipient of the spell can look into his or her past lives and "find" 1d10/3 skills (the result is supposed to be from 1-3, but we can't use a d6! This is a d10-only game!). They choose a skill they don't have ranks in and roll 1d10 - on a 8-10, he can use that skill for the next month! At what level? Roll 1d10 (Student (1-2), Novice (3-4), Adept (5-6), Expert (7-8), Master (9-10))! Repeat until subject has learned the number of skills you rolled earlier. Does it say you can't just choose the same skill over and over until you get a result of 8-10, nulling the point of rolling in the first place? No. Either way, those skills are now accessible for the next month. You can reliably call upon them again every time you call your ancient soul, and you can call upon a maximum of ten skills over the course of your entire life. Does that mean you can build up a stable of ten skills and call up 1d3 of them every month forever, granting a bunch of free skill points? I think so. That, or after the tenth time you call up a skill you lose this knowledge forever. I think it's the first. Anyway, you can't increase these skills with Experience.
• Commune with the Beyond: Like Contact Those Who Dwell Beyond, only that spell does not let you literally contact Cthulhu . This spell allows you to commune with any powerful entity you like, and if they're listening, engage in some conversation. Maybe you want to ask for information, maybe you want to offer yourself and become their avatar, probably you're an idiot. What they will ask in return will range from the trivial and ridiculous to the horrifying. The connection to the Outsider lasts as long as it takes you to pay the price, and then they will speak as long as they feel like. Even if you pass the Insanity Tests required to cast this spell, whoever you contact now knows how to find you and can reach out with its power at any time.
Go on. Give Nyarlathotep a ring. He'll pick up.
• Leash the Summoned: Create a mindlink with any mystical creatures you've summoned - fetches, ghost fetuses, etc. You'll know where they are, what they're doing, and how badly they're hurt, and can communicate mentally. Lasts an entire season, and only takes 8 hours to cast! Now a bad option.
• Summon Superior Fetch: It's a fetch, only better. Bigger (about three feet tall), smarter, more vicious. The sample superior fetches include gargoyles, gremlins and amphibious monster things.
• Call Forth N’athm: Also known as Beckon the Bringer of Nightmares, this lets you summon a N'athm . Apparently, they are found on "p. XX" of the core book. N'athm are only summoned as "sanity assassins" to drive people mad. They remain indefinitely once called, and unlike some other summoned creatures, they especially hate being bound and will probably attack you once they are free. Casting this spell is a fantastically stupid idea.
• Beckon the Unexpressed:
Already inside every person is the DNA necessary to express them as either a man or a woman
Actually, this spell isn't too bad. You can change your physical sex, which is handy for disguises and great for people whose initial bodies don't match their gender. It is used in arcanotherapy and college pranks (you have to win a Contest to cast it on the unwilling) and has a learning time of " ", which I will assume means instant. Oh, also this.
Sorcerers with an Occult skill of Adept or greater, who also have the Physical Medicine skill at Novice, can somewhat control this process, thus creating naturally fully functioning gender ambiguities – women with penises, men with vaginas, or hermaphrodites leaning towards either gender.
• Path of the Silver Cord: This spell lets you astrally project. Your astral body/mystical self/whatever wanders wherever it likes, as long as they're not protected by Wards of Solitude, Seclusion or Against the Unseen. Physical creatures can't harm you and mystical creatures powerful enough are rare. The astral body is invisible to normal senses but not Eldritch Faculties or ESP. Spiritual beings can interact, though, if you want to have ghost sex with another sorcerer. You can instantaneously travel anywhere you can see or anywhere you have physically being, letting you teleport around the world (but not leave hte atmospere). Unfortunately, it lasts six hours but takes three days to cast, and each time you use this ritual, there's a 10% chance (1 on 1d10) an astral parasite will attach itself to you, functioning "as a result of 6 on the Magical Mishaps table ". Sucks to be you!
• Migrate Soul: Cheat death by switching souls (actually bodies) with another person, leaving them stuck in your shitty old one. Skills based on Intellect, Perception and Presence are retained, while Agility, Strength and Tenacity skills are cut in half as you rebuild muscle memory. Most Assets and Drawbacks remain with the old body, depending, and you inherit some new ones. Just make sure you have a will giving your new identity all your money, kill the other person (it's rare, but possible to find someone able to unweave the spell. Anyway, they need to be around, so why would you tie up someone to swap bodies with them and leave them? ) and you're set! You need to make a contest with your Occult skill versus their Tenacity Feat skill, but you get a +4 Contest Modifier.
And that's it! There are now 56 spells total - wait, why does this list mention Dark Passions? I thought --
Oh for fuck's sake, Vade Mecum is the third book. I thought I was doing these in publication order. Whatever, we can learn about why CthulhuTech is Islamophobic when I'm done with this.
Next time: Mecha, Tagers, maybe new monsters if I feel like it.
In Which I Compliment CthulhuTech For SomethingOriginal SA post
CthulhuTech: Vade Mecum: the CthulhuTech Companion: In Which I Compliment CthulhuTech For Something
I am going to be honest: This next chapter bored me. It's the mecha chapter. Remember how intellectually stimulating the last one was? (Hint: it wasn't.) So, I am going to rush through this like whoa, then get to the Tagers.
First up are the Sword Class mecha. All the Human mecha are amphibious - looks like we're getting mecha designed for EoD combat! We've got the AMV-1 Falcata (Medium Multi-Purpose Amphibious Main Battle Mech), AMV-3 Khopesh (Large Amphibious Heavy Weapons Battle Mech), AMk-5 Makhaira (Tiny Amphibious Tactical Powered Armor) and AMV-11 Xiphos (Medium Amphibious Artillery Support Mech). So, three new mecha and some underwater powered armour. Get all that? Great!
Next up, the Nazzadi mecha! I am going to be honest: I really like the Nazzadi mecha art. I happen to think it looks cool. There, that's my complimenting-CthulhuTech quota filled for this book.
Anyway, for the Nazzadi we get (Nazzadi names in brackets): the Cyclone (Koci) (Medium Aquatic Support Mecha), Monsoon (R’davi) (Medium Aquatic Assault Mecha), Tsunami (Equlasi) (Large Heavy Aquatic Assault Mecha), and Undertow (Braxami) (Tiny Aquatic Powered Armor). So, one powered armour, three mecha. By the way, why are they all called Aquatic when they clearly have ground speeds and (for all but the Undertow) A-Pods for flight capability?
Engels! All are water-capable, but two of them are clearly intended for standard ground/air combat too. We've got the Chashmal (Behemoth Super-Heavy Engel), Hamshall (Large Aquatic Assault Engel), Ish (Large Aquatic Support Engel) and Shinnan (Large Heavy Weapons Engel)! Also, the Shinnan and Hamshall have the wrong labels in this pic - the scorpion-one is the Shinnan. Whoops! Also, why are the Hamshall and Ish marked as Aquatic? I mean, I guess the Ish is supposed to be for underwater combat, but you assigned the Hamshall advanced flying speed! Why are the Sword Class mecha the only Amphibious ones?
Migou! They are not a fan of large underwater mecha. We've got the Cockroach (Tiny Powered Armor), Crayfish (Medium Aquatic Support Mecha), Flea (Medium Aquatic Assault Mecha), Paddlebug (Tiny Aquatic Powered Armor), Spider (Behemoth Super-Heavy Mecha) and Tapeworm (Large Heavy Aquatic Mecha). The Migou get the largest variety of mecha.
Finally, the Order of Dagon mecha! They get the Leviathan (Ohua’tsa) (Large Heavy Aquatic Assault Mech), Merrow (Lerhia) (Tiny Deep One Tactical Powered Armor), Selkie (Crieu) (Tiny Hybrid/Human Tactical Powered Armor) and Siren (Shla’yia) (Tiny Hybrid/Human Tactical Powered Armor). One mecha, three powered armour suits. Adding the ones from the core book, we get... two mecha and four powered armour suits. That's all the variety we have so far, and since powered armour will get absolutely fuckstomped by regular-sized mecha (of which the NEG have at least 10 water-capable), EoD battles are going to be either samey battles against the same two mecha or zerg rush clusterfucks unless the EoD can team up with giant sharks or something. (Spoilers for the next chapter, though: the EoD can totally team up with giant sharks.)
Well, what was all the mecha. Now... Tagers!
Four new Tagers are presented for our consumption - three regular and one Exceptional, just like the Core book. Our options are doubled, and one of them is the promised Mirage, one of the two most common Tagers! (And it only took two splat books to get there!)
So, what have we got?
Amphibious Combat Tager
This fucking guy.
He is having the time of his life. And why wouldn't he? The Echo is an amphibious Tager, with the same stats as the standard Phantom Tager only his laser weapon is called Fathom Beam and made of green electricity, it bites dudes instead of stabbing them, and it can shoot vision-obscuring ink clouds. Also, it has 9x swim speed. Its Limit Weapon is Frenzy, which allows any Echo that smells fresh blood to flip the fuck out for 1d10 turns, doubling their speed (18x swim speed now!), boosting their bite damage to +3 and get thing three Actions with no penalties, provided those Actions are used to attack or move into attacking position.
Multi-Purpose Battle Tager
The Mirage is one of the most common Tagers. It gets only 1/1 Armour compared to the Phantom/Echo's 2/2 but an extra Agility, a Photon Blast (same stats as the other lasers), and +2 damage Tentacle Lash which grants an extra attack Action every turn (even over the usual limit!). It also has a "mystical displacement field" which makes it appear a few feet away rom where it really is. This field adds an extra die to the Mirage's defense rolls and causes all surprise attacks to fail. Detecting the real Mirage works like a mecha's Stealth System but with its Degree increased by one category. So, basically like the Shadow's always-on stealth field, only instead it's an always-on hard-to-hit field.Its Limit Weapon, Multiplicity, lets it create "6 to 10 (5 + half a die)" illusions of the real Tager and swap places with one of them, making it even harder to touch the Mirage, though the illusions can't harm or be harmed and it doesn't take long for anyone to work it out. Not bad, I guess!
Black Ops Tager
The Spectre can walk through solid objects. Nothing fast - bullets still hurt it - and if it "rematerialises" in something it dies, but holy shit, who cares? You can walk through walls! Only "places that have been mystically protected against Outsiders" and, presumably, the core of the Earth block Spectres. They aren't actually insubstantial until they start phasing through something, and unlike the other Orgone-draining Tager powers this one stops working at 0 Orgone. This is presumably to stop it being too overpowered. It also has the Gravewind power, which lets it project "a fetid cloud of withering gas" which harms any living thing (even those protected by environmental suits) using a Tenacity Feat attack with +1 damage. This ability even affects Outsiders, including non-Spectre Tagers.
So death farts, basically.
Aside from that, Silent But Deadly here can use a +1 damage icy touch attack, leave frost everywhere it goes whenever it feels like and its Limit Weapon lets it phase into a target, materialise without dying and tear its way out. It has a whopping Damage bonus of +6, twice that of the best katanas.
Aerial Heavy Combat Tager
Moustachio is the second Exceptional Tager after the core book's Nightmare. It has an Exsanguinating Touch which does +2 damage and can damage inanimate objects (because it's mystical!), a Barb ranged attack with +3 damage (same as the Nightmare's shoulder pods) and flight powers. Instead of the 400ft laser cannon the Nightmare gets as a Limit Weapon, Moustachio gets Bloodbath. When Moustachio air-drops this bomb, it bursts on the ground in a spray of shards and causes living things within 20ft. to bleed internally and cough up blood. It does +6 Hybrid damage like the Nightmare's laser but bypasses non-mystical armour (including PA and mecha), and inflicts double the normal Test Penalties from their wounds for this and the next turn. It also hurts Outsiders, including other Tagers (it doesn't exempt other Moustachios this time either). Great for use against targets nobody is meleeing! (Actually, with the flight speed, extra vision modes and the less Strength-focused Attribute spread, I'd go with Moustachio over Nightmare anyway.)
And that's it for the Mecha chapter! Only three chapters left. Next time: Monsters, completely pointless geography tables, and sexy, sexy Ghouls.
Mega Shark Vs. Steve The Ghoul's Sexy VoiceOriginal SA post
CthulhuTech: Vade Mecum: the CthulhuTech Companion: Mega Shark Vs. Steve The Ghoul's Sexy Voice
What the hell, let's blow through Chapter Eight: Further Unspeakableness ! This chapter opens with another fluff piece. Did I mention that most of the things I like about CthulhuTech are fluff pieces? A lot of them are actually not bad (I did not recoil from any of them, though my eyes slid away from some out of boredom) and help to capture the feel of the (non-rape parts of the) setting. This one is titled Friends Like Steve and is about some guy called Nihar sneaking into a war cemetery outside an arcology to deal with some ghouls who live there. Steve the Ghoul has found some book Nihar wants and receives a duffel bag full of clothes, books and movies in exchange. Apparently sometimes Nihar stays after they deal to hang out. I thought the mental image was amusing, at least!
The chapter proper immediately blows most of the goodwill Steve the Ghoul earned by presenting a fucking geographic table for where the Core Book and Vade Mecum monsters can be found. See if you can spot the problem!
The Problem: Dhohanoids are employees of the Chrysalis Corporation. Why are they even on this table? Here is where you can find a Dhohanoid: Where the Chrysalis Corporation fucking wants them.
Anyway, let's look at some monsters.
Before the Metaterrestrials, Dhohanoids and Beasts from last time , we get some para-psychics! Stats are provided for a Burner and a Renegade Zoner. They have the following powers:
Burner: Pyrokinesis: Adept, Electrokinesis: Expert, ESP: Adept, Empathy: Novice (Environmental Primary/Sensory Secondary)
Renegade Zoner: Telekinesis: Adept, Photokinesis: Adept, Gravikinesis: Expert, Hyperspeed: Adept (Environmental Primary/Somatic Secondary)
As with the others these are the "Average" stats for a monster of its type, meaning your average dangerous Burner can start a campfire-sized fire and make it spread while the average renegade Zoner can toss one-ton objects through the air. Balance!
• Desolate Ones are sorcerers and para-psychics who have invoked Hastur's name and willingly given themselves up to become his avatars and the generals of his army. They look like human except for an aura of fear and jet black orbs for eyes, use the Integrity scale with Integrity 15 (the same as Nazzadi mecha) and have eldritch tentacle attacks with Damage +4, making a single Desolate One capable of going toe-to-toe with a mecha. Also:
All Desolate Ones have access to powerful rituals or para-psychic powers. In general, you can assume that Desolate One sorcerers have access to twelve First Order spells, six Second Order, and four Third Order; Desolate One para-psychics have acces to nine First Order powers, four Second Order, and one Third Order.
• Hounds are the CTech version of the Hounds of Tindalos. They occasionally pay attention to sorcerers and para-psychics mucking about beyond the World of Elements (time travel, mostly) and show up to slap their shit. They can shift across time and space as a single Action and instantly heal when they do so, meaning if you don't kill them in one hit they'll just try to kill you yesterday. Or in a week from now while you sleep.
• Liches (singular: liche) are sorcerers who underwent a ritual to transcend death and become undead. Their bodies still slowly rot away, though, it just takes decades longer. Their sanity erodes with it, too. On the other hand, becoming a sorcerer in this system is a terrible lifestyle choice anyway, so I guess it can't hurt.
• Ghouls are a sister species to Humanity, some kind of canine horror that eats corpses. If you're familiar with other Lovecraft RPGs you know the Ghouls, more or less. Where the other monsters got a half-page each (pictures included!), Ghouls get a full page, including a writeup and rules for a Ghoul Infiltrator Profession! Yes, if you couldn't pick up the subtle hints , Ghouls are playable (and they included rules for a Ghoul Profession before rules for actually being a ghoul .)
Though an unusual choice, it is possible in CthulhuTech to portray a ghoul as a Character. They have the serious drawbacks, however, of being monstrous. About the best they can do to interact with society is to bundle up and pretend to be homeless. Getting around is difficult even then, because the smell of a ghoul is enough to gag a maggot. Beyond that, ghouls are the kind of thing that NEG forces shoot on sight and send teams to hunt when one gets free in a city or arcology.
And as usual, a list of things they are banned from being! Tagers and Para-Psychics, mostly, though they can be sorcerers. They get Broadband Audio and Nightvision senses, the "Acute Sense of Hearing and Acute Sense of Smell & Taste Assets" for free, only get sustenance from corpses (fresh and animal meat is the equivalent of junk food with no nutritional value, and cooked food doesn't count for some reason) and have great senses which prevent them getting lost easily indoors. Also, this:
A race of monsters, ghouls are not appreciated in mortal society. The forces of the New Earth Government will hunt them like any other unspeakable creature if they are exposed. The following Qualities are barred to them as a result: Authority, Commendation, Elite, Famous Incident, Wealth, Disgraced, Engel Synthesis Interface, Outsider Tainted, Watched. Assets such as Alluring and Sexy Voice confer their bonuses only for ghoul interactions. They also cannot gain any more points from the Misfit Drawback. Ghouls are considered to have the Debt (4) Asset, though they don’t actually owe anybody money (they’re just very poor). They also cannot become Tagers or para-psychics, and all related Qualities are likewise forbidden to them.
Also, it doesn't actually say they can't pilot Engels, just that the NEG won't hook them up. What happens if the other PCs somehow wrangle it? Matthew Grau having a screaming fit about non-canon like he did over Tagers in the military, probably, except this time he hasn't actually written any adventures that contradict him.
• Ciraqen are floating clumps of bubbles and also "supra-geniuses". Their IQs are "far off the scale", even though IQ doesn't work that way! The point is they are smart as fuck. They are so smart that they have an "intuitive understanding of what they call the "angles" of the universe", which means they can teleport anywhere they can see (or anywhere they can't within 25ft.), as a single Action, all the time. Any non-living matter on their bodies comes with, but they cannot bring anything larger than a suitcase. Only 10 Vitality, since it's kind of hard to kill something with 3 Actions who can use one to teleport to safety.
• Namaroks are the muscled bipeds with the plates on their heads. They are savage, incredibly fast predators who are hard to kill and dish out a lot of damage. As humans, they are so far gone that while in human form the need to be reminded of basic social etiquette and personal hygiene. The Chrysalis Corporation "rarely" uses them as face people.
• Patuls are big tentacled worm things that function best underwater, where they are sleek and swift instead of slow and ugly. Their main strength lies in their durability. They also have the Savoir-Faire skill, because being an ugly as fuck fish-worm-squid doesn't mean you can't be a gentleman.
• Ramachese are the furry bat-men, sneaky little buggers who hide well in the shadows and can jump very far, making them great for hit-and-run and surprise attacks.
• Lindorm are dragons! Also, dragons are crocodile-like clithering monsters which bite the shit out of you. They are on the Integrity Scale with a bite that can tear chunks out of buildings and could go head-to-head with an actual mecha. (Mecha would probably win, but still.) The old legends of fire-breathing dragons come from the Lindorm's ability to "secrete a foul musk" so bad it forces mortals to make Hard Tenacity Feat Tests every 6 turns or lose all actions for 1d10 minutes while they vomit, because nothing says "breathes fire" like smelling awful.
• Quetzalcoatls are telepathic, intelligent flying beasts that help direct the Rapine Storm and can "bring about precipitation" at will. Look at this fucking guy:
Who doesn't like flying rainbow Aztec weather gods? Like the other beasts, they're on the Integrity scale, but they are low on Vitality compared to the others,
• Sea Serpents are Nessies! Integrity-scale Nessies with a devastating bite attack which are sometimes tamed by the Esoteric Order of Dagon, thankfully giving them some fucking variety in underwater encounters
• White Deaths are holy shit huge sharks, descendants of Megalodon itself. That picture up there is to scale. They are 70-100ft. long and sometimes tamed by the EoD for when they want to swallow entire suits of powered armour as one go. Having some of these show up would be pretty serious business. The Quetzalcoatls might be goofy but I approve the shit out of this.
Oh, we're done already? Great! Two chapters to go!
Next time: New playstyles, more optional rules, and sample NPCs! A fun game of "spot the terrible ideas" for the whole family!
The Penultimate ChapterOriginal SA post
CthulhuTech: Vade Mecum: the CthulhuTech Companion: Chapter Nine: New Paths: The Penultimate Chapter
Just getting the :s out of my system.
Anyway, New Paths is... sort of a Miscellaneous chapter, really. There's a bunch of shit thrown in here for the Storyguide that wouldn't fit anywhere else. This is the penultimate chapter, and I am keen as peaches to show you guys the last one, so let's go!
First up, the book explains the new styles of play Vade Mecum introduces.
• Federal Law Enforcement stories are different depending on whether you are playing in the Federal Security Bureau or the Office of Internal Security. FSB adventures are more like playing the good guys, where you follow the law and apprehend criminals and solve crimes with the help of your quirky hacker/mortician/whatever. The FSB has a wide range of divisions with a lot of potential, but the "most exciting" and flavourful stories, the book assures us, are with the cult-hunting Sectarian Crimes Division. Meanwhile, the OIS deals in the arcane underground, and OIS agents get a hilarious about of leeway as far as breaking the rules goes. You could be undercover agents, or a response team with big guns, or field agents.
• Global Intelligence stories are set beyond the usual NEG propaganda, and the characters know just how screwed everyone is. There's a lot of focus on information-gathering and less on shooting dudes. The players could be a GhOST team, undercover agents targeting the EOD or Death Shadows (or even posing as Migou Blanks, holy shit ), et cetera.)
• During the GIA stuff a sidebar tells us to look at Dark Passions for more cults. Vade Mecum loses a point for reminding me that I accidentally did this out of publication order. Current score: -438.
• Para-Psychic stores are centered around para-psychics, woo. You can register and be a good guy working for the government, or the military, or as doctors and therapists, or you could be freelance para-psychics helping people sort out their lives (I am now thinking of a psychic A-Team. P-Team?). Or you could be psychic investigators, or try to live a normal life (You know what sounds great in CthulhuTech? Slice-of-life psychic drama!). Or you could just be an illegal para-psychic and dabble in the dangerous. Who the fuck cares? BE A ZONER (:courage migou:) SHOOT COPS INTO OUTER SPACE.
• Arcane Underground stories have a heavier focus on the magical black market, forbidden tomes and dark libraries. The Eldritch Society might pop up here too - they tolerate most of it, but they aren't afraid to send out Tagers to crush people who cross the line. And, this way, they can do something other than stab Dhohanoids and look at rape warehouses.
• Political games are "social and cerebral". The players could be military high-ups, Ministry of Information agents working out the latest propaganda or - most "exciting"ly - Ashcroft Foundation advisors. If it floats your boat, I say go for it!
Afterwards we get... some optional rules! (Told you this chapter was a bit of a mishmash.) Let's see what we've got:
• Card-Based Gameplay: Please read this and tell me I am not the only one who thinks this sounds kind of ridiculous:
There’s really nothing quite like rolling dice. The tactile feel of the dice in your hand combined with the anticipation of the what they’ll produce is something you can’t replace. But sometimes you want to give your players even more control over your game and dice just can’t give you that. That’s why we’ve created a way to resolve Tests using regular playing cards.
Seriously though, Critical Failures are hard to come by (since you'd need to choose or be forced to play a bunch of the Aces). The most likely way to force a Critical Failure is if you somehow draw a bunch of aces and are forced to play most of them on a high-skill roll, meaning that while Critical Failures will almost never happen, they will most likely happen to the most skilled PCs. Bravo! On the other hand, they will almost never happen, so what the fuck ever. (The book tells us to make them "really count" in this system, though.) Also, if you play a flush (3 or more cards of the same suit), you get +2 to your result. If you play five cards and all of them are a flush, you get +6.
This system is intended to give players more choice and add a level of strategy to the game - including bluffing, since if your Storyguide thinks you have a good hand he can try to screw you out of it before you need it! They also feel like they have an extra edge, since the Storyguide has to draw straight from the deck. The Storyguide is encouraged to force players who try to burn a bad hand on a useless Test to use the Automatic Success rules and keep the damn cards, though, and they're not allowed to count cards or search the discard pile to see what cards ae still in the deck. There's a difference between more control and manipulating the rules!
To be honest I like this idea, partly because it mitigates Framewerk's dumb critical failure rules and partly because I'm now imagining playing poker with Nyarlathotep.
• Scrub Combat: "Scrub" refers to the nobodies the PCs fight, the faceless mooks, the mini-- excuse me, I need to see when this book was published. Late 2008, you say? This system separates scrubs into Elite Scrubs (powerful scrubs. Wait, what?), Scrubs (average) and the Mob (large groups of dudes who suck at combat).
Every member of a Mob rolls only 1d10 for any kind of combat-related Test with a base of 5, and goes down in one hit (any damage-dealing hit). Apparently, "even if by miracle they’re wearing armor, they’re wearing it wrong and get no protection from it". Okay then! Meanwhile, Scrubs (guards, henchmen, thugs etc.) get two dice for attack Tests but one die for defense Tests, and only get up to one die of protection from armour. Scrubs go down after 5 points of damage. Meanwhile, Elite Scrubs (key henchmen and the strongest thugs, but not important enough to get names) get two dice for any combat-related Tests and go down after ten points of damage.
Scrubs don't die if they go down, unless you really want them to, I guess. They just lie there unconscious, or decide to lie there and think twice about getting up, or run away or something. Either way, they're not in combat any more. Instead of calculating damage as normal, Scrubs use a simplified system - they "take the damage bonus for the weapon they’re using and add one die (with a minimum damage of one die)" multiply that by a fixed amount based on the type of scrub (Mobs x3, Scrubs x4, Elite Scrubs x5). Need an example? Sure!
For example, a fist normally does –1 damage. A scrub would do –1 damage plus one die, or a total of zero dice, but one does zero dice, so scrubs normally get one die of damage for their fists. Thus, in a nasty streetfight, each time they successfully attack Mobs would do three points of damage, Scrubs would do four points of damage, and Elite Scrubs would do five points of damage. As another example, a CS-40 Defender medium pistol does +1 damage, so a scrub would do +1 damage plus one die for a total of 2 dice of damage. Thus, each time they successfully attack Mobs would do six points of damage, Scrubs would do eight points of damage, and Elite Scrubs would do ten points of damage.
• Combat Tides ! See, combat slows the game, and that can be bad. So, instead, you can use Tides! Each character pre-generates a series of Test results before combat, then the Storyguide randomizes them and uses them to interpret the overall flow and outcome of that combat. I have no idea what that's supposed to mean, so let's read on.
Okay, so every conflict is treated as having three overall "movements" - the first is where everyone tests each other, the second is where everyone gets an idea of what their opponents are like and want to kill each other (or, when the Storyguide thinks the combat should be a third over), and the third is the last part where one side will probably win. Before each combat, each player generates three Test Results for each combat skill they're likely to use in that combat (it costs two Drama Points to add to these Test Results, not one) and the Storyguide pre-generates a series of results for each "group of antagonists" (like all the guards, or all the neckbeards, or all the Migou battletroops) - three per likely combat skill.
Then, you assign all these results "so that you can use them to interpret the movements of combat". You assign one result for each relevant skill of a Character into each movement, then assign results from the antagonists. You can do this either randomly (by rolling, perhaps) or by choosing them, if your players trust you. Then, you look at the results in each movement, have everyone generate an Initiative result each turn, and have them declare their Actions, at which point you "interpret the overall results and flow in a narrative way". Tides use average results to determine damage and armour. Need an example? Sure!
For example, a Phantom Tager attacks a Dua-Sanaras. The Phantom’s Fighting Test Result for this movement of combat is 18, while the Dua-Sanaras has a Dodge Test Result of 16. You know that the Phantom is going to be beating on this Dua-Sanaras for this movement of combat and that he’ll get one die worth of success damage each time he successfully strikes. The Phantom gets +2 dice for his Blades, +1 die for significant strength, and +1 die for his success, for a total of four dice. Multiply that times six and his average result for a Blade attack is 24 points of damage. The Dua-Sanaras has an armor of one, so he’ll get six points worth of protection against each attack. Thus, the Phantom will do 18 points of damage each time he successfully strikes the Dua-Sanaras with his Blades.
• Faster Power Frameworks : Oh boy!
If you’d like to play a game where mystical powers are more available and prevalent, here are a few optional rules to make magic faster to learn and para-psychic powers faster to use.
Meanwhile, you can halve the load time for all powers in half, or let Characters double the Orgone cost of a spell to cut the load time in lalf, or do both by halving the load times and then let them basically eliminate load time by spending twice the required Orgone. Yes, I think I would like my orbital moon laser to be a minor action. The Storyguide is "free" to offset the benefits by making Magical Mishaps and Burns more common and harder to resist. Not taking a month to learn a shitty spell = you should have a greater chance of getting astral parasites. Makes perfect sense!
Those are all the optional new rules (thank fuck). The rest of this grab-bag of a chapter is devoted to more sample
These listings are nearly identical to those found in the Core Book, with a few additions.
Experience Level A few of the characters here are Elite (An extremely elevated level reserved for major antagonists or other important characters in a setting).
Spells If listed, this illustrates the Spells known by the character.
Powers (Primary Group/Secondary Group) If listed, this illustrates a para-psychic’s Primary and Secondary Power Groups as well as a list of talents that they are skilled with.
None of these Supporting Cast Characters have Experience Level: Elite.
Other fun facts:
• There's an NPC from Rio de Janeiro who speaks Spanish instead of Portugese. Guess Hernesto Hernandez has some company!
• Though Tagers are required to have Duty: Eldritch Society (3), of the four Tagers in this book, two have Duty (2) and Angela McGregor has no duty to the Eldritch Society .
• The Tager who does have Duty (3), Sorena the Vampire Tager, has a Tenacity of 6 (9) in and out of form. Before Vampire bonuses, his starting Tenacity was 5. Tagers require a starting Tenacity of 7. Sorena cannot actually be a regular Tager , let alone the exceptional Vampire.
God damn it.
Next time: Vade Mecum cashes in its rape dollars.
frogoutOriginal SA post
CthulhuTech: Vade Mecum: the CthulhuTech Companion:
The final chapter, Chapter Ten: Slaves and the Lost , contains two more sample adventures to help set the tone of the book. I am going to start with a quick rundown of the second one, because Reasons.
Lost Shepherds is a story intended for a Global Intelligence Agency or similar-style campaign. As written, the players are members of a GIA GhOST team sent undercover into the heart of Tibet to locate and rescue Doctor Cheng Yi and his undercover surveillance team.
In Act I: Operation Silent Shepherd , the PCs are sent to the farstead in a stealth hovercraft to look for Doctor Cheng. You don't need to know this adventure has three Acts to work out that it won't be that simple, but first, let's play "which of the NPCs in this adventure get a description of their appearance?"!
Wayne Maloney (male):
No physical description.
Crystal Ferguson (female):
- Valla (male): No physical description.
Anyway, the UC-70 Werewolf hovercraft touches down silently in the abandoned farm, surrounded by a dozen abandoned buildings. The air is cold and dead, and the place is lifeless. Searches of the smaller buildings turn up nothing, so the PCs approach the farm's main house. This two-story structure contains a D-Engine generator, sensors, computers, cooking equipment, sleeping cots and a ritual circle, but no people. There's dried blood though!
Scratching and crunching noises upstairs and a trail of blood lead the PCs to the upper floor, which stinks of decayed flesh. Someone has splashed symbols on the wall in blood, and three mangled bodies are hanging upside-down from the ceiling. When they get close, they find an insane survivor eating an arm. Something has driven him to carve his skin, remove his ears, pin his lips back with bone, file his teath, smear himself with blood and generally make himself look like shit. When the PCs find him he freaks out and starts firing a pistol at them. The GhOST operatives need to make a Challenging Fear Test before they can react, but when they do he is probably wasted.
In Act II: Plan B , the PCs establish that the man is one of Cheng's team members and Cheng himself is nowhere to be found. Though no new NPCs are introduced, the book tells us that Valla has become emotionally distant and Crystal is "terrified, but attempting to keep herself together." Okay then!
The Werewolf's pilot - who never even got a name! - informs the group that his radar has spotted possible movement near Lhasa. Further searching turns up Cheng's handwritten notebook, in which he describes the local dreams the team probed. They were grotesque and horribly alien, and left the team members feeling like they had just been submerged in toxic sewage and with a sense of violation that lasted throughout every waking hour. His team members started to freak out - Chad Finley, the crazy guy they just found, became angry and violent and would spend hours playing with a knife. He disappeared after the others found another team member murdered and cut up. The end of the journal is missing pages but indicates that the team was terrified, and the last pages simply say "Team compromised, too dangerous, have to move or we’ll all die, Ganden Monastery."
Suddenly, the pilot spots incoming ground units! As the team hustles back to the Werewolf, a group of Ghasts turn up and jump the PCs. Maloney is killed first, because it's dramatic. Behind the Ghasts come Hastur worshippers in vehicles with automatic weapons, which get in a gunfight with the Werewolf. A "huge shadow pterodactyl-like thing" (a Shantak) swoops out of the sky and brings it down with the help of some rockets, and the PCs are forced to make a break for it and try to sneak out of the farmstead towards the mountains.
Once they get away, Act III: The Horrid Truth begins. The PCs head to the Tibetan mountains to try and read the Ganden Monastery, where they can radio for help. The journey is rough - it takes a couple days, Ghasts and the Shantak will be looking for them, cold rain starts up and their dreams will be full of nightmares. We're told the PCs will be exhausted and irritable by the time they get there, Crystal will start clinging to one of them for comfort, and Valla has started to play with his knife ( shoot him! Shoot that guy!).
Finally, at sundown on the second day, the rain clears and they reach the monastery - fifteen stone buildings sitting on three carved tiers, abandoned and quiet. Crystal is high enough to set up her equipment and make a radio call, and the PCs are expected to leave her behind while they look for Doctor Cheng. Good news, though - while they scout the lifeless buildings, Crystal establishes contact with Command and a new UC-70 from a nearby battlecruiser should arrive in twenty minutes.
The PCs spot a flickering light on one of the uppermost buildings of the monastery. Sneaking up reveals two Ghasts outside (more if the Storyguide likes a challenge), and the PCs have to take them down to continue. Finally, they find Doctor Cheng! He's been blindfolded and tied to a chair, and his portable PC full of research lies nearby. Doctor Cheng is surprisingly calm, and tells the PCs they can take the research, for all the good it will do them. He explains how terrified he was when he saw his team going insane, and how he was plagued by horrible nightmares. He tells them of a whispering voice which saved him from the brink of madness, and how he finally heard the Dead God's call while holed up in the Monastery. And then he gave himself over.
Doctor Cheng is a Desolate One.
Finally, the book presents us with three fun ways to end this adventure!
• They All Die: Doctor Cheng the Integrity-scale avatar of Hastur kills everyone. Crystal is the only survivor. Presumably the Storyguide is supposed to describe the hovercraft bailing as screams of agony rip through the night.
• A Nightmare: Doctor Cheng calls a bunch of Ghasts in, which descend upon the party. As the PCs are overwhelmed, suddenly they wake up in hospital beds - apparently Crystal found them unharmed and unconscious in the monastery. In the back of their minds, they remember the laughing voice of Doctor Cheng promising that they will meet again. The Avatar of Hastur is a fucking troll.
• Run For It!: The Storyguide lets the PCs actually do something! Ghasts show up and the PCs make a run for it with the data, gunning down Ghasts as they go. If they make it to the hovercraft, it takes off and they see Doctor Cheng watching them go with a satisfied smile.
And... that's it! A solid adventure, I suppose. The best CthulhuTech adventure I've covered yet, definitely!
So! Remember how in Part 2 I asked you to guess which division of the FSB would star in one of the adventures, and in Part 2.5 I revealed it was the Organised Crime Division, and not the Violent Crime Investigation like you were all thinking?
SLAVES TO PASSION
This is a story meant for games in which the Characters are federal agents in the employ of the Federal Security Bureau. They should be working in the Organized Crime Division, with ties in or aspirations to transfer to the Sectarian Crimes Division. In this tale, the Characters track down the source of a mysterious brand found on the body of two dead girls. This story is designed to occur in whatever arcology your game is set.
Syrg Sapphire gets partial credit for guessing that Sectarian Crimes would be involved. Also, Bieeardo guessed that it was a trick question. Guess what?
The Sleaze Division
Somewhere hidden inside the Organized Crime Division is the group charged with monitoring pornography, known affectionately as the Sleaze Division. They keep an eye out to find the underground pornographers who’ve crossed the line of legality. Frankly, the pornography laws of the New Earth Government are pretty liberal – just as long as nobody gets hurt and no children or animals are abused, it’s fair game.
However, they also keep an eye on sexual slavery, in which girls are pressed into slavery and forced either into prostitution or pornography, or many times both.
Last time, our hypothetical gamers - Storyguide Paul, Robert (Kai the hot-blooded cop), Fred (Athena the Shadow Tager knight), Charles (Namy-chan the Nazzadi arcanotechnician), Dexter (Ryu the pyrokinetic intelligence agent) and Ward (Angus the 4chan wizard) - ran through the sample adventure in the core book, and understandably resolved never to play CthulhuTech again.
Well, nerds are terrible. With nothing to do one weekend, the group decides to pick up Vade Mecum and give the setting another shot. Since they're lazy, they decide to advance their Eldritch Society characters a bit and have them be going undercover in the FSB, fuck those hypocrite authors.
No, Storyguide Paul didn't read this in advance.
Act I: X Marks The Spot simply describes the crime the PCs are assigned to investigate. The rest of the Act is outlined thusly:
Goals: To introduce the story and hook the Characters. To bring the Characters into an investigation of dead girls marked with brands most likely of organized slave ring origin.
Setting: The local medical examiner’s office, the local Federal Security Bureau branch, and perhaps the scene of the crime.
Cast: The local staff of the Federal Security Bureau and law enforcement.
This chapter declares that these adventures should require little effort to prepare. All you need to do is come up with any NPCs you need, descriptions of the locations the PCs visit...
Anyway! This morning in Los Angeles, the body of a naked young Human female was found stuffed inside a box of discarded packing material and thrown in the trash. She was beaten to death slowly, and has a brand on her neck that looks like an inch-wide delicate C with a slash through it. Local homicide detectives would investigate, but the symbol turned up in the FSB Law Enforcement Database on the neck of a Nazzadi girl found dead six months ago. That makes this a federal matter!
The mark both of the girls bear is actually a brand, burned into the flesh on the back of their necks where it is typically covered by their long hair. Brands such as these are typically used by organized slave rings, where the slaves are marked like cattle.
Oh, they have no idea.
In Act II: Red Light District (Oh no. Oh no. ) the boys in the Sleaze Division find the brand on a living girl and the PCs investigate! Specifically, the brand has turned up on a porn website. I am going to just copy-paste this entire section.
Mudzingwa Undage maintains a proper business license, pays his taxes, and even donates to local charities in the Los Angeles arcology. He calls himself a film financier, but that’s stretching the truth. Mudzingwa is a smut peddler plain and simple, and some would go so far as to call him a porn king. His corporate site is Undage Enterprises and it lists all of the various pornographic sites he operates. Overall, they are of good quality, even the “amateur” offerings, his content is original and his performers are pretty well paid. Here are a few examples of his sites:
• Black Magic – a fetish site of attractive Nazzadi females only.
• Dirty Dome – an oral fetish/fellatio site.
• Lusty Lolitas – a site of attractive girls who are barely above the age of consent.
• Taskmasters – a bondage and domination fetish site.
• Top Shelf Honeys – a site of extremely attractive women in exotic settings.
The Sleaze Division keeps an eye on Undage, but not too serious an eye because of his high profile in the world of adult entertainment. But somebody found an Easter Egg completely by accident that accesses a series of private password protected sites of a questionably ethical nature. After quite a bit of research and undercover work on the internet, the Sleaze Division found a way in to one of the sites named simply Underground Gangbang.
Underground Gangbang is not for the faint of heart. Their typical offering involves taking a couple attractive blind-folded girls and driving them to some remote location from which they couldn’t get back without assistance. At this location are somewhere between 20 and 50 sordid guys who almost immediately begin to grope the girls. It goes downhill from there. The girls are roughly treated, degraded, dehumanized, and otherwise sexually used and abused by each and every guy there in groups. It is in one of the dozens of Underground Gangbang films that the mark has been seen.
Oh no. No no no no no .
The PCs look like they have a few leads, but really they don't. Undage has a reputation as a good citizen with a lot of connections, and is a Disciple of Death's Shadow with a lot of blackmail material on top of that, and if the PCs ask him about it he will immediately cover everything up and the mission will be a failure.
After some debating (mostly about whether to continue - they decide yes, but only after everyone has a drink) the PCs manage to track down some actors and shake them down for info. The book suggests Storyguide Paul "insert all bad pornstar clichés here" - apparently porn actors are vain, arrogant jerks, and the PCs get no information out of them. The key is to find an amateur actor who's married or in a relationship, and thus the PCs find Jerry, a married porn addict who was invited to participate in Underground Gangbang as a dedicated fan. After Athena threatens to call his wife about it and Kai gives a manly speech about doing the right thing, Jerry gives them information: he describes being taken to a remote location in vans with darkened windows, being "readied" by fluffers with the brand on their necks who didn't make eye contact or talk with anyone but obeyed orders from a heavily tattooed Nazzadi, and, most importantly, the address of the place everyone was told to meet at for this gangbang adventure. It's a sex club.
The Red Light Club
When the red light’s on, so is the sex and this club is no different. At first glance, it resembles a regular strip club, except the hot girls dancing aren’t looking to get paid. They’re looking for their next sex partner.
Frankly, the scene should be enough to make most women blush and most men flush. Most sex clubs are not filled with beautiful women looking for empty sex. Sure, there are some, but not in this number. Your average sex club has average looking people, many in polyamorous relationships, or they have live sex performances. This looks like a fantasy, which immediately makes it suspect.
Use your imagination to describe the scene as the Characters walk around taking it all in...
Who are these girls? The Cast section tells us...
Slave Girls – Rookie, young, pretty, and forced into a life of sexual slavery. Many have been conditioned by magic to be what they are and have lost any desire to go back to the lives from which they were taken.
Storyguide Paul gets three sentences into an "imaginative" description and realises that a) Everyone except Charles and Ward are staring at him and b) Charles and Ward are clearly getting erections under the table. He decides to move on swiftly. He has to turn the page, because --
WHAT THE FUCK, NO.
Why? Why would you do this? You have a good artist. Especially compared to other books I've seen, CthulhuTech looks fucking gorgeous. And you tell this artist to draw cheesecake rape art.
There are many people gathered around the center of the room, where two lucky guys are getting ground on by three of the hottest girls in the club. It starts with a good old-fashioned strip tease and lap-dance and then moves into hardcore sex. Sitting nearby, in the shadows, is a heavily-muscled, heavily-tattoed Nazzadi man, watching with a smirk on his face. If the Characters can succeed at a Hard Observation Test, they’ll spy the mark in question on at least one of these girls’ necks.
When the guys are all done with the girls, the Nazzadi gets up and takes off his clothes. He the proceeds to give his own show with all three girls, in which he treats them like meat, degrading them in any way you can imagine. He treats them like what they are – slaves.
At some point in all this, it’s likely that the Characters are going to try to talk to this guy.
OH MATTHEW GRAU NO.
As everyone else stares in revulsion, Namy-chan tries to talk to Nepoka! He doesn't talk much - he's a low-level Death Shadow who runs the club for Undage as a recruiting ground for new male actors and training for new slaves ( NO NO NO NO ) and he'll throw the characters out if they get pushy.
The PCs decide to
Nepoka agrees to take them into the house, because he plans to lead them into a trap. To help sweeten the pot, he "accidentally" reveals that the house is a slave pen ( NOOOOOOOO ), leading the PCs to see a chance to free a bunch of people and bust this case open! So, Nepola disables the security cameras and alarms and opens the doors. Angus grabs Nepoka and forces him to come along, because he is not an idiot. Nepoka happily agrees and, because he is not an idiot, happily leads the PCs right into the lightless first floor of the house where the gaunts and ghasts wait.
This is the centrepiece combat in the adventure, and the Storyguide is encouraged to make it a doozy. The PCs are forced to fight in the dark against a mass of monsters who have the home field advantage, the entrances are blocked, and if they're not quiet, a Bakhi that lives in the attic and assists in the dream magic the Death Shadows use to condition the girls ( NO! NO! NO! ) shows up to assist. Thankfully, Ryu's garbage low-level pyrokinetic powers are finally good for something, and he manages to start and control some fires that those without darkvision can see by before a hail of bullets and two angry Tagers shred the Gaunts to pieces.
Oh, also Nepoka escapes. The Storyguide is told to declare this happens. WHAT THE FUCK?
The PCs decide to shrug that off for now and triumphantly return the girls to safety, only to find:
• Jerry's family has been murdered and he's too distraught to talk;
• The Death Shadows have applied their influence and blackmail material to get the PCs taken off the investigation;
• The investigation is now being sat on;
• The girls are taken for "questioning" and not regarded as credible witnesses;
That's okay, though! The idea is for the PCs to decide to contact the OIS - because monsters, illegal ritual magic and the like are their domain anyway. Ryu makes the call, and the OIS ask why they're bringing the case over when they were taken off it. Ryu the mysterious lone wolf gives the proper response (he gives the phone to Kai, who explains things reasonably) and the OIS lets them come along as consultants. (If they didn't make a good enough case, the OIS goes without them.) Athena goes one better and contacts the Eldritch Society.
In Act III: the writer forgot to give this Act a title , the PCs brief the OIS, get geared up, show up with a strike team, and prepare to raid the shit out of that sex club.
Play with the excitement and the planning all you want, but the end result is the same. Nothing. The sex club has been hastily shut down and cleared out. They arrive to emergency vehicles putting out a huge blaze at the holding house. There’s no real evidence at either, though the OIS will put their forensics scientists and sorcerers on it.
This entire adventure was completely pointless. As written, it railroads them utterly into not being able to do a fucking thing about the mind-controlled sex slave rape ring Undage is running. The epilogue declares that Nepoka has been killed in what looks like a carjacking gone bad, Undage's rape business continues running elsewhere, and the Death's Shadow are targeting the PCs.
The adventure lists possibilities for where to go from here:
1. The Characters go back to their jobs at the Federal Security Bureau OCD and get a new case. It won’t be related in any way to this one, because anything related to Undage has been swept under the rug through politics and corruption.
2. The Characters can continue to investigate any leads they may have on their own time. They’ll have to carefully stay on top of their regular case load or face the music. Even so, if they get too close to the Death Shadows, the political pressure will begin in earnest.
3. The Characters can lobby for jobs at the Office of Internal Security and stay on the investigation from their end. Welcome to a whole new lifestyle.
Of course, there are other options, but these are the most obvious. Welcome to messing with the big boys as law enforcement in CthulhuTech.
Storyguide Paul considers these options.
The other players tie him to the chair and hit him with wiffle bats.
Storyguide Paul declares that Undage finds himself on the business end of a Nightmare Tager, and they agree never to speak of this again.
FUCK THIS GAME
FUCK IT SO MUCH
FinaleOriginal SA post
WINNERSH TRIANGLE posted:
CthulhuTech: Vade Mecum: the CthulhuTech Companion: At some point in all this, it’s likely that the Characters are going to try to talk to this guy.
Like I said last time, CthulhuTech has a lot of potential. It's got a good setting idea if you're into that kind of thing, good art, good production values, and sometimes the writing approaches greatness like a tiger who isn't quite sure the gazelle it is creeping up on doesn't have an assault rifle.
And then it decides to be mature and edgy and takes all that potential, flushes it down the toilet and asks the GM to describe steamy rape scenes.
Plus, you know, still plagued by the 90s-White-Wolf-design problems and other shit from the core book. Like last time, I give this book 1 arbitrary out of 5.
So! I'm taking a few days off, and then I'm going to do Dark Passions , which really should have been second. Oh well! Anyway, I'm going to do as many of these as I can before I just give up, and working off CthulhuTech's site (which hasn't actually been updated since 2008, before a lot of these came out), the publication order should be:
• Dark Passions, a cult sourcebook
• Damnation View, the first metaplot book
• Mortal Remains, an NEG/Migou sourcebook
• Ancient Enemies, a Tager/Chrysalis sourcebook
• Unveiled Threats, an equipment sourcebook
That last one was published in November 2010. The second metaplot book (out of six!), Burning Horizons, is done but unpublished, thanks to publisher shenanigans. Maybe it will be published before I finish, maybe the line will die a sad drawn-out death and we can mourn for wasted potential. Then again, we're doing that now , so...
To end this book, I think I'll list all the awards CthulhuTech has received, according to the author. Imagine these scrolling along in a credits reel to some music.
2008 Origins Award Finalist (Best Game) – CthulhuTech Core Book
2009 ENnie Award Gold Medal (Best Cover) – CthulhuTech Core Book
2009 ENnie Award Finalist (Best Interior Art) – CthulhuTech Core Book
2009 ENnie Award Finalist (Best Production) – CthulhuTech Core Book
2009 ENnie Award Finalist (Best Game) – CthulhuTech Core Book
2009 ENnie Award Gold Medal (Best Supplement) – Vade Mecum: the CthulhuTech Companion