CthulhuTech by Ettin
I Hope You Liked EvangelionOriginal SA post
CthulhuTech: I Hope You Guys Liked Evangelion
Welcome to CthulhuTech. Ahead of you waits a universe of giant mecha, arcanotechnology, eldritch magic, and unspeakable horrors from beyond time and space. It is our world many years from now. It is the Strange Aeon – the time when the stars have come right to once again release the Old Ones from their prisons outside of our universe. It is the Aeon War, where what remains of Humanity fights a desperate battle against their own extinction.
CthulhuTech is a hybrid genre, fusing together two separate paradigms. On one hand, it is an anime world of mecha – giant piloted robot war-machines. It’s a world of high adventure, plucky resourcefulness, and the hope that a brighter day is on the horizon. On the other, it’s a world of eldritch horrors, where unknowable things dwell outside the world of man. A place where the gods are horrible creatures with malevolent agendas, unsympathetic to lesser beings such as man – a dark world of shattering revelations and insanity.
CthulhuTech (by Wildfire) is a setting about the Cthulhu Mythos getting into a drug-fuelled orgy with Evangelion and Guyver while Robotech and Akira watch.
The first chapter lays down the basics of the setting, and that's what I'm going to cover now. So here goes:
Humanity has invented
It is 2085. While the New Earth Government wars with the Migou, they face other threats as the Old Ones begin to rise and their cults grow. The Rapine Storm, a sect of Hastur, rampages across Asia destroying everything in its path, and the Death Shadows (his other sect) try to subvert it from within. The Deep Ones seek to find a way to summon Cthulhu, and are coming from the seas to assault humanity's shores. Meanwhile, the secret Eldritch Society bonds with extra-dimensional terrors to fight a secret war against the Chrysalis Corporation, a powerful corporation which seeks to subvert the NEG with dark magic. Also, their CEO is goddamn Nyarlathotep.
Did I mention this setting is pretty grim? Because it is. It's also dark.
Chapter One is mostly an introduction with a list of terms players should know. Like most RPGs, it makes up its own terms for things like "Game Master":
Dramatic Character: The fictitious characters portrayed by the participants of a Storytelling Game . They are the main characters of the story and the focus of the plot.
Storyguide: The person who chooses to create the plot, portray the Supporting Cast , adjudicate rules, and generally steer the interactive storytelling experience.
Storytelling Game: An interactive storytelling experience, which takes place solely in the imaginations of those participating. One person takes on the role of Storyguide to manage and direct the experience, while the others take on roles as Dramatic Characters of their own design.
Supporting Cast: Ancillary characters that appear in the story who are portrayed by the Storyguide .
RPGPundit is going to blow a gasket.
Besides that, we have setting terms! Like fuck am I going to paste all of them, but I should mention a few.
The Children of Chaos are a cult of Nyarlathotep and have taken over the Chrysalis Corporation.
ZoanoidsDhohanoids are their elite agents, mortals who can shapeshift into monsters.
Engels are the NEG's living mecha, part machine and part monster. Each one has its own chosen pilot. (This is the Evangelion bit.
The Esoteric Order of Dagon is the Cult of Cthulhu. They are mostly Deep Ones and are trying to find R'lyeh.
Magic is real! If you dabble in it you're a Magician, if you're serious about it you're a Sorcerer.
GuyversTagers are the warriors of the Eldritch Society who can shapeshift into monsters and fight the Children of Chaos and their Dhohanoids.
It's followed by a list of chapters (there are eighteen) and then a list of Source Material and Influences, which I will break down in two easy steps:
Alright, alright. Aside from the standard Lovecraft works we have Guyver, MD Geist, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Robotech: Macross, Robotech: Southern Cross, Robotech: The Invid Invasion, Robotech: The Sentinels, Robotech: The Robotech and Rahxephon.
Not sure how many of those are R-rated, but we're getting ahead of ourselves.
And finally, three lovely sidebars I skipped over earlier.
The CthulhuTech Product Line
This core book is only the first of many books to come that detail the universe of CthulhuTech. Here is a look at a few of them.
• Dark Passions introduces the cults that hide inside the fabric of society right outside your door.
• Vade Mecum: the CthulhuTech Companion introduces para-psychics, expands on the agencies of the New Earth Government, on mecha, Tagers, and magic.
• The Damnation View is a resource detailing the major events and plots of the first year of the story.
I have all of these. If I can, I will try to at least cover Damnation View , because god damn does that deserve to be in this thread.
The Pronoun Game
Okay, here it is – we use he, him, and his when we’re talking about people playing the game. It just seems weird to alternate pronoun genders within the same book – it makes it feel like the book is written for two different audiences. The masculine pronoun is the standard and right or wrong we’re used to seeing it. It may not be politically correct, but you can’t please everybody.
Othering: The Sidebar.
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.
I'm going to stop here, but I'll pick this up soon. CthulhuTech is actually not too bad as a setting, but I'm not writing this to talk about its good points.
This is mostly going to be about how the grimdark world of 2085 is a horrible place to live. Especially if you're young or a woman.
A Dark History Of A Grimdark World Of Terrible Bleakness That Is Also Grim And DarkOriginal SA post
CthulhuTech: A Dark History Of A Grimdark World Of Terrible Bleakness That Is Also Grim And Dark
“And now you’d like to talk to me about Aeon War Syndrome. If it isn’t obvious already, let me tell you. Most of my friends have been killed in action. The ones that haven’t been don’t smile much anymore. There’s no way I can reenter civilian society after what I’ve seen. Every one of my limbs and major organs has been replaced at least twice and I’ve endured full spinal reconstruction. They say it’s the most painful recovery a person today can endure and they’re not lying. In nine years, I‘ve spent eighteen months in hospitals or in PT, with another eighteen months undergoing psychiatric care. In addition to all that, my wife left me. But really, who could blame her? And now she only lets me see my daughter one week a year, over her birthday.
“Aeon War Syndrome isn’t losing your mind. It’s losing your friends. It’s losing your family. It’s losing whatever hope you might have had left.
“They say war is hell. I’ve seen hell. This is worse.”
From Chapter One's opening fiction. You know, in case you didn't get the tone.
So anyway, I was going to leave this until tomorrow, but fuck it! Chapter Two is the setting details. It starts with a timeline. If you think this timeline will bore you to tears feel free to scroll down to factions!
It all starts with The Mysteries Within, an ancient tome of magic. It's rediscovered in 2013, and by 2019 young Tresa Ashcroft is using it to develop arcanotechnology. Then she goes insane. In 2023 her colleague Simon Yi decides to continue her work, and invents the D-Engine. Then he goes insane. His colleague Doctor Czeny decides to continue his work, and assembles a research team to divide the work up and prevent anyone from going insane because he's not an idiot. Some of the scientists have psychotic episodes anyway, but that's Progress™!
They form the Ashcroft Foundation in 2027, finish the D-Engine in 2030 (a prototype malfunctions and summons a "hazardous lifeform" which murders people. Progress™!), and after some testing (drivers of D-Engine-powered vehicles almost ""feel" the vehicle as an extension of his own body", but obviously this is a good thing. Progress™!), they go public in 2033. And by "go public", I mean with magic. Naturally, scientists flip their shit. The Ashcroft Foundation is the largest corporation in the world by 2034. They have anti-grav pods (A-Pods) by 2036, and build mecha for construction and exploration work in the 2040s. In 2047, oil-producing nations (and China for some reason) get mad about the D-Engine and leave the New United Nations (it's the UN, but better), which contracts Ashcroft to make - wait for it - military mecha instead. Bam!
In non-Ashcroft news, by 2017 the NUN began the Atlantis Project (to "explore undersea agriculture") and Project Prometheus (manned missions to Mars, Jupiter and Saturn). D-Engine and A-Pod technology is needed before they get anywhere, though, and "underwater bio-domes" and mining colonies on Mars, Ganymede, Callisto and Titan become a reality by 2051.
Meanwhile (again) in 2050, the Chrysalis Corporation uses arcanotech to set up a "communications relay web" around the solar system to provide instant communication between Earth and the colonies, and becomes a major corporation. In 2052 they discover the Breath of R'lyeh and through it the Rite of Transfiguration. I don't want to spoil anything, but Tagers. They decide to step up research on this to compete with Ashcroft and have Dhohanoids by 2054. (Incidentally, the researchers went insane.)
Sounds great so far, doesn't it? That's because the
Since CthulhuTech is a clusterfuck of bad guys, the Chrysalis Corporation is also secretly infiltrated and taken over by the Children of Chaos in 2057, putting the cult of Nyarlathotep in control of a major corporation as well as the Dhohanoids.
In 2057, the spaceship Ashcroft is launched to explore the outer system. It vanishes around Neptune in 2058. Then the colonies lose contact. Uh oh. On the bright side, they don't have to worry about why for long. On the downside, it's because the First Arcanotech War begins when the Nazzadi invade in 2059 and destroy the Ashcroft Foundation HQ and Miskatonic University. In response, everyone on Earth puts aside their differences and forms the New Earth Government.
While the war rages on, the Chrysalis Corporation discovers the Ta'ge Fragments , a text about the Forgotten Ones. They destroy the ruins they found it in to ensure only they know its secrets, but then in 2062 people rebel against he COC and steal the precious data. They form the Eldritch Society in 2063 and discover the Ritual of the Sacred Union in the Ta'ge Fragments to create Tagers (see what they did there?) by 2065. Then they start the secret Shadow War against hte Dhohanoids in 2067.
Anyway, war! The war basically ends around 2064-2065 when most of the Nazzadi generals (who know the truth about the Migou) decide they like humans better and reveal the truth, causing most of the army to defect. The Nazzadi join the NEG and get some land (Cuba and Haiti), and rebuilding begins. Including a New Tokyo. Nobody is surprised.
In 2078, the Second Arcanotech War ("let's fight the Migou!") ends and the Aeon War ("Cults too? Are you fucking KIDDING ME?") officially begins. The Migou, faced with the threat of enslavement and death under the Old Ones just as humanity, decide to... fight the NEG and the cults. The NEG pursues a "containment" policy against the Esoteric Order, hoping to defeat the Migou now and the Cults later.
In 2081 the Ashcroft Foundation designs the
It is now 2085. Everybody is fucked, all the time.
Most of the rest of the chapter describes the different factions in this clusterfuck. To be brief(er than that fucking timeline), they are:
New Earth Government: Apparently:
The evolution of Human society under the guidance and protection of the New Earth Government has been mankind’s greatest achievement. Cultural diversity, ethnic tradition, and a new sense of interdenominational religious tolerance have rolled up into a new and unified global identity. Mankind’s exposure to alien invasion and unspeakable horrors has led to a global acceptance of Human diversity unparalleled in history. Ethnic, racial, and religious differences are simply traits. Homosexual and mixed racial relationships are openly accepted. Men and women share an equal role in social, vocational, and military matters. The onslaught of war by an alien enemy has led to a general belief that all life is precious and that the sacrifice of one to save many is the most noble of gestures.
Due to economic growth from a wartime industry, technological advancement, and the NEG’s victory during the First Arcanotech War, most citizens believe that the virtues of humanity will eventually lead to its survival. The common cultural attitude within the New Earth Government is quite optimistic in the face of hardship and war. This idealism is strongly supported by the government’s propaganda machine.
The NEG is actually losing the Aeon War, but like fuck are they going to let the civilians know that. Aside from altering news, they've also relaxed a lot of laws and allowed citizens to do drugs and indulge in all kinds of pornography. (We will mostly be hearing about the pornography, especially if I get around to Vade Mecum or Damnation View.) They are trying to contain the Order of Dagon and push back against the Migou, and some elements of their Global Intelligence Agency help the Eldritch Society. Basically, they're The Human Side. They are based in the neutral arcology of Chicago.
Incidentally, experiments in Nevada also accidentally turned a 160-mile chunk of land (including Los Angeles) into The Zone, a terrible dimensional vortex which occasionally spews out monsters. Just in case the NEG wasn't being fucked over enough.
Ashcroft Foundation: The good science wizards! They make mecha (apparently "the D-Engine Operator Extension Side Effect, which attunes a pilot more closely with his vehicle" was a big help) and believe arcanotech is the key to winning the war. They are so close to the NEG they advise it on everything from matters of state to the economy and are very secretive. There's also the Ashcroft Clinic, their "psychiatric research and care organization", and boy do they need it, because this shit is harmful to your mind. They also study the Zone. They are also based in Chicago.
Engels: Living mecha designed by one Dr. Miyakame, who is also incidentally the only member of the research team who didn't go insane. "Cloned from the DNA of Humans and god knows what else", they are living beings crafted into cybernetic mecha shells and with a pilot control pod wired to their brains. Pilots use their ESI to control the Engel and stop them flipping their shit in combat, and the surgery required to attune them (or re-attune a pilot or Engel) takes weeks. If their pilots are killed or knocked out, they will lose their marbles and smashes both nearby enemies and any buildings which look at them funny before calming down. So yeah, they're Evangelions. Apparently there are "six mecha in the NEG's army" for every Engel, which I'm pretty sure contradicts the "one-fifth Engels" thing I was told earlier, but whatever.
The Chrystalis Corporation is one of those evil megacorps with a subsidiary in every field you can name. They weren't always evil, but then they weren't always literally the Children of Chaos. (The cult's relationship to the corporation is later described as a zaibatsu, but I don't see any banks backing them.) Most employees aren't cultists, but everyone in a position of power is, and the company is controlled by The Director, an Egyptian businessman who happens to also be a Nyarlathotep. They work with the other cults - helping the summon Hastur, working with the Death Shadows, trading information with the Order of Dagon - and their only enemy is the Eldritch Society, because nobody else even knows they're a threat. They are the cancer at the heart of the NEG.
The Eldritch Society are ex-cultists who bailed on the Corporation after discovering a ritual to make "holy warriors" in the Ta'ge Fragments. Where the Rite of Transfiguration literally turns people into monsters, this Rite of the Sacred Union allows a human to bond with a "higher being" without losing his humanity. And so, they created the Tagers. They also decided fuck the NEG, we're going to take down the Chrysalis Corporation in secret. It takes a special kind of person to be a Tager, though, so ranks are thin. You need someone who is strong of will and true of conviction, and also willing to do this:
Tagers choose new secret names when they are reborn. Similar to the callsigns of mecha jocks, these names somehow describe the essence of the new being. Bloodcry, Crimson, Slaughter, Stitch, Wight, and similar names are chosen by newborn Tagers.
They have some secret allies in the NEG's Global Intelligence Agency, but that's about it. I was wondering whether they maybe kept secret because of their silly names, but the opening fluff text at the start of this book suggested Engel pilots give themselves callsigns like Misery, Bloodlock and Suicide, so.
The Disciples of the Unnamable: The cult of Hastur. They are led by the Dead God's avatar, the Ruined King, whose presence is enough to drive most people mad. On the bright side, he stays on the hidden plateau of Leng, and the book hints it might be possible to destroy him before he reaches full power. His cult is split into two factions:
The Rapine Storm , an "army of unspeakable monsters and lunatics in mecha" which wage a campaign of genocide against pretty much everyone. They are basically rampaging bloodthirsty warriors.
The Death Shadows are a secret society which hides in humanity's arcologies and seeks to corrupt them to soften them up for the arrival of the Old Gods. They are pretty devious fuckers. They are, apparently, amazing at blackmail.
They prey on human weakness and give people what they want, to the extreme. They are everyone’s best friend. They create and provide any kind of vice. Violent news broadcasts, dehumanizing entertainment, a consumer culture of greed, pornography, sex cults, designer drugs, and more are all the tools of the Death Shadows. Once mortal society is lost in its own fleshly pleasures, it will be easy to enslave.
Hastur appears in the dreams of his followers to command them. Each side works together, even if Hastur's orders cause the Rapine Storm to fuck up Death Shadow operations. Together, they have killed billions.
The Esoteric Order of Dagon is the cult of Cthulhu, and where this shit gets creepy.
An ancient church has hidden for centuries within sleepy coastal villages. How things started was always the same – it started when the fish stopped. In the face of starvation or disaster, it isn’t long before the villagers began praying to anything. Dreams come. Villagers perform other rituals. The voice of a different god is heard. And then the fish come back. Bounty remains while the inhabitants continue worship, inevitably giving way to the Esoteric Order of Dagon.
Once devoted villagers purge the infidels from their midst, the chosen of the sea god come to bless them with his blood. Creatures not quite amphibian, not quite fish, not quite man rise up from the ocean – creatures known only as Deep Ones. The fertile females of the village offer themselves up to these “holy” beings. In the streets, on the beach, in the church, these unholy unions couple in a grotesque mockery of sexual intercourse. The mothers carry their children with pride, honored to have been chosen to bear the scions of their beloved god.
Whoops, sorry, that wasn't the creepy bit. That's just how Hybrids were originally created. Let me skip.
Now, the Esoteric Order has come out into the world. They take towns by force and set up rape camps to increase their numbers. They brainwash new-agers, forcing them to become spies for the cult. And they search the world to find the lost sunken city of R’lyeh and for ways to awaken the sleeping god within.
Though Deep Ones and Hybrids are the heart of the Esoteric Order, mortal cultists are used as spies and servants. They have created amphibious mecha as well as powered armour for Deep Ones, and recruit from "several nature and goddess cults" in the NEG. If they refuse to join the Order, they are eaten. Or sent to the rape camps. There are also the Spawn, powerful high priests of Dagon with alien power from the depths of the oceans.
The Esoteric Order mostly works alone and doesn't deal with the other cults much. They are based in the Azores, search for a way to bring back Cthulhu, and aren't as large a threat as, say...
Migou: Alien bugs. They have powerful sorcerers and para-psychics (which weren't mentioned in the list of terms in Chapter One, whoops!). Apparently, their culture also forbids cloning themselves, so after the Nazzadi left building a Migou army took years. Their Hive Ship is the size of the freaking Moon and they have killed billions. They can "assimilate" humans and turn them into slaves and spies, but the NEG worked that out and put brainscans in all high-security buildings. Also, NEG citizens are randomly brainscanned.
Migou are masters of both science and magic, which is why they were able to improve on arcanotechnology far beyond what humans are capable of. You know, after they stole it from humans. Because they didn't work it out, for some reason. They also haven't just created a virus that could kill all humans despite being able to make their own race, because
The Migou are from Pluto, and on Earth they are mostly based in Antarctica (and taking over Alaska). Their Hive Ship basically locks down Earth, preventing anyone from leaving.
Nazzadi: The genetically created warrior race which currently makes up 40% of the NEG. They are based on humans (Caucasion or Asian) with black skin and hair, red eyes and sharp incisors. They are capable of breeding with humans. After siding with humanity they had some problems integrating, until the Migou attacked and suddenly they were on the same side of the Aeon War. They're currently working on developing their own culture (Nazzadi artists are prized by their fellows more than anything) and have a thing for white tribal tattoos.
Incidentally, yes, they like showing them off! If you like art of tattooed drow chicks in slutty outfits, you are going to love Cthulhutech.
Goddamnit, this is long. On the bright side, that's almost all the fluff.
After this it's mostly on rules and mecha stats, and they won't take very long to write up. Plus, none of those are about rape.
The NEG Is Kind Of A Shitty PlaceOriginal SA post
CthulhuTech: The NEG Is Kind Of A Shitty Place
Whoops, almost forgot I left a bit of the end of Chapter 2.
Ah! And before I forget: Those faction descriptions from earlier? Each had a sidebar with some "Rumors" about them, aka adventure seeds. It was a nice touch, I felt, so it's worth mentioning. There was also this Esoteric Order of Dagon art:
So, life in the Strange Aeon!
It starts off by assuring us that the NEG is an alright place to be - there are employment opportunities everywhere, citizens have increased personal wealth and a more luxurious lifestyle, everyone has faith in the NEG and a belief that they will win the war, and oh yeah, this may or may not be because nobody wants to contemplate the alternatives. The Ministry of Information helps maintain this facade through propaganda, glorification of war heroes, messing with battle reports to censor bad news and exaggerate good, flooding television with comedy, broadcasting messages about how to manay stress and anxiety and a Sedition Law making it illegal to criticise the government. To be fair, they are fighting a loosing battle against insanity-inducing horrors, so maybe they'd have mass hysteria if they didn't.
When Earth was being rebuilt, ruined cities were replaced with arcologies,
Magic is public now, but most people think it is dangerous and sorcerers are treated with suspicion. They have to register with the Office of Internal Security, which tracks their residence, powers and purchases. Magical items and arcane tomes are controlled substances and require a permit to purchase. Naturally, there's a flourishing
There’s a quiet fear lurking deep within most parts of society. Small coastal towns are burned to the ground by government troops, stories circulating of strange and hideous “things” appearing in homes and ravaging families, the sudden disappearances of friends and neighbors, and friends and acquaintances forcibly taken by armed police to mental hospitals for psychiatric care. These are the things that people sometimes think about, but of which no one will utter a word. It’s a fear that rises from the pit of your stomach, only to be forced down again by a certain belief that the New Earth Government knows what to do and that everything is under control.
So what was that about everyone being happy?
Finally, there's a section on the Aeon War. Right now, at least, everyone is locked in a stalemate (but really the NEG is losing).
The NEG are focused on a defensive war against the Migou, and on the side they try to "contain" the cults, isolating and minimising their growth until the Migou are defeated. For their part, the Children of Chaos send spies into the other Cults (but have close ties with the Death Shadows) and work to destabilise the NEG, fight the Migou and crush the Eldritch Society. The Rapine Storm is steamrolling Southeast Asia, pushing into Australia and attacking China, which is almost certainly going to fall. (When it does, Japan is probably toast.) The Death Shadows are working to spread corruption and destabilise China and Japan. Japanese sex cults have experienced a sharp rise in popularity. Wait, what?
The EOD is mostly ignoring the war, save the occasional attack to disrupt their enemies and attacking coastal communities to feed their rape camps. Mostly, they are searching for a way to bring back R'lyeh. They have also taken Iceland back from the Migou in a surprise attack (and experiment on the survivors) and have been kidnapping "various Human racial subtypes" to see if black Hybrids are any different from European Hybrids.
The Migou control a lot of the colder regions of the world and have been moving in on humanity, though the NEG has slowed their advance. They have their own mecha, and assimilate NEG mecha units.
What does this all mean? Well, there's a map, but I had to Google a better one. Get this: On the map, the colour of Migou-controlled territory appears to be the same colour used to mark country and state borders. Either the Migou have very carefully taken control of US state borders and the border of China where the Rapine Storm have overrun it, or that is kind of dumb. Here's a slightly better map:
And here's a high-res one if that wasn't good enough for you.
Humanity does have plans to evacuate, though they would require sneaking humanity past a Moon-sized Hive Ship and they don't really have anywhere to go. Still, the secret Project Mayflower is being planned out anyway. The book also hints that nobody can actually prove the colonies aren't still out there. As bleak as this setting is, there's a few seeds of hope here and there.
Alright, enough fluff. Let's roll some effin' dice.
FramewerkOriginal SA post
God I love that damn logo. You can pry it from my cold dead hands.
The first rules chapter opens with a fluff piece, a fake pamphlet encouraging citizens to join the military. It talks up service a lot, and I am pretty sure everything it says about how great it is and citizens still have time for their family is a total lie.
Before everything else, there are a couple of pages on how RPGs work for new people picking up Cthulhutech. Mostly it amuses me, because it keeps calling RPGs "storytelling games" and it brings to mind images of grognards wailing and gnashing their teeth. This has nothing to do with the book but damned if it doesn't make me smile every time. It also talks about the World of Cthulhutech, and says humanity has the will and power to fight on rather than "grim dark world of bleakness" for once.
Here, have a sidebar.
Throughout the years, storytelling games have evolved. Functionally, each different storytelling game is an interpretation by individual writers or companies and as such the terms used to describe both the sum and the parts can vary widely.
Most enthusiasts trace the origins of storytelling games back to the creation of Dungeons & Dragons in the 1970’s. Terms created by D & D have endured for a very long time. The type of game was called a roleplaying game, the guide was called the Dungeon Master, and the participants were called Player Characters. If you’ve played this type of game before you are undoubtedly familiar with these terms. Over the years, we’ve seen changes as games have evolved. Player Characters became Characters, Dungeon Master became Game Master or Storyteller, but the term roleplaying game has remained more or less constant.
We’ve chosen to add to this evolution by using new terms based primarily in more traditional storytelling rather than adventure games. Since the goal of the game is to tell a story and not just take on a role, we use the term storytelling game. Since all fictitious people in a story are characters, those who drive the action and are played by the people playing the game are Dramatic Characters. Finally, instead of other terms, we use Storyguide to describe the person who directs the story. He isn’t a storyteller because other people he’s playing with control the Dramatic Characters, but he is their guide.
So there’s our reasoning. Of course, semantics are just that. Use whatever terms you are familiar with and whatever works for you.
Dungeons and Dragons and D & D are registered trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, Inc.
And now, it's time for Framewerk!
With few exceptions, Framewerk is the storytelling rules engine that Black Sky in their partnership with WildFire will use for storytelling games. This means that you won’t have to relearn the rules each time you pick up one of our new games. There may be differences based on the setting but the fundamentals will remain the same.
So far, CthulhuTech is the only setting I know of that uses Framewerk. Feel free to correct me!
After telling us we can change the rules if we like (thanks, WildFire!), it begins by teaching us about the time units it uses. Aside from the usual Turns (five seconds!) there are Scenes, Episodes (a session), Story (a plotline), Downtime, Game Time and Real Time.
Then it moves on to task resolution, Tests. Tests are "required whenever there's a dramatic chance that a Character could fail at what he's attempting to do", says this page twice. Step by step, what you have to do is:
Work out what skill you're going to use. Your
is the attribute keyed to that skill and your
is is your level of Expertise in the skill (on a scale of 1 to 5).
GMStoryguide works out the Degree and Difficulty for the Test from this table:
Degree Difficulties Standard Easy 7-9 8 Average 10-14 12 Challenging 15-19 16 Hard 20-25 22 Incredibly Hard 26-31 28 Legendary 32+ 34
Take a bunch of d10s, as many as your
, and roll dem bones, then do one of these:
Take the highest number you rolled.
If you rolled the highest set of multiples, you can add them together. (a 6, 4, 4 on a 3d10 means you can take the two 4s and add them for a result of 8.)
On three or more dice, you can take the largest
(of three or more numbers) and add them together. a 9, 4, 6, 5 on a 4d10 is a straight of 4+5+6 = 15.
- Take the highest number you rolled.
to this result.
If you tie or beat the Difficulty, you win!
Not too bad, really. Pretty standard Stat + Skill business going on here with some interesting poker mechanics, though the system is less intuitive and your results are going to swing more as a result. There are more rules, but Cthulhutech tells the novice player they can just remember Tests and look up the rest as needed and be fine.
And now, some modifiers! Some of these reference things (like Attributes) that haven't come up yet, but in those cases it usually tells you it'll come up again later. I'll get to Attributes and Skills in my next chargen post.
Automatic Success: These are for tasks which your Character would probably succeed in anyway. In this case, you just add 7 to your Base, and if that would be a success you win. If not, you have to roll as normal. The book says to "Try to
use this option as often as possible to reduce routine die rolling. The dice should really only be rolled when it furthers the drama of the scene or story," which is a sentiment I can get behind.
Critical Success: Are scored if you beat the Difficulty by 10 or more. Your results will be at least twice as good and you are awesome.
Critical Failure: The opposite, and your results are at least twice as bad! If half of your dice (round up) are 1s, you are fucked, buddy.
But wait, that means that a Student in a skill (1 Die) has a 10% chance of a Critical Failure, and a Novice (2 Die) has a ~ 20% chance. Then 3 Die is a 3% chance, then 4 Die is 6.4%... in fact, all the even-numbered die pools are going to have a higher failure chance than odd-numbered! Either I screwed up my math here, or what?
Also, it's possible to, say, get a Critical Success and Failure at the same time if half your rolls are 1s and you still beat the Difficulty by 10. What happens then? WHO KNOWS!
Cross-Matching Skills is when you want to roll a skill, but the normal Attribute keyed to it and doesn't make sense. The book's example is using Survival to remember information about poisonous insects in the desert, a skill normally keyed to Tenacity. (More on Attributes later!) In that case you can just go ahead and "choose the most sensible attribute to use as your Base". Incoming DTAS posts!
Complementary Skills are when you don't have the right skill, but you have one that's close, like if you want to repair a firearm and don't have the Armorer skill but you do have the Tech skill. In that case, roll the close-enough skill but with one less Die than usual. Players and Storyguide alike are encouraged not to abuse this, though.
Unskilled Tests are possible, but you only roll 1d10 and half the result (rounded up). If a skill is marked as Professional, you can't do this.
Attribute Feats are Tests for things like breaking down a locked door that are covered by Attributes instead of skills, usually Strength and Tenacity. In that case:
Whenever you need to Test for something that’s covered by an Attribute instead of a skill, your Character will use what is called his Feat skills. Feats are what the game rules use to determine your Character’s natural ability. Every Character has a Feat skill for each of their Attributes. Otherwise, make the Test as usual.
Feats are used only when no skill will cover a Test, and cannot be used as complementary skills.
Second Chances can be taken if there's no reason you can't, but each time you try again the Degree and Difficulty go up by one, whether due to frustration or tiredness or some other excuse the GM thinks will do. Average tests become Challenging, then Hard. You only get three tries before you have to give up.
Extended Tests are for huge, time-consuming tasks, like building a new mech from spare parts. You have to roll a number of successful Tests equal to the Degree to succeed, and the Storyguide sets the time frame between them. Crit failures might knock off a success or make you start over again, while a critical success at the same time means
Also, Characters can pool skills together for Extended Tests.
Taking Extra Time: If you can spend the time to take twice as long to do something, you get a +4 bonus. Four times as long gives you a +6. No more bonuses.
Pushing the Limit: If it's possible for your Character to hurt himself by pushing his limits, usually through strain and fatigue (like skipping food and sleep to get a task done), you can sacrifice your health for success. For every +2 bonus you get to the Test, you take 1 die of damage to your Vitality, which can't be reduced in any way. Apparently we find out more in Chapter Nine.
Contests are opposed rolls where you're trying to outroll someone instead of beating a Difficulty. It's possible for one side to get a Contest Modifier of +1, +2, +4 or +8 depending on the circumstances (heavy rain would make it easier for someone to sneak past someone listening for them, for example). There are no penalties.
Actions & Reactions are another thing that will come back later. Apparently, depending on their Attributes, Characters can take anywhere between one to three Actions per turn, but every Action you take beyond the first imposes a penalty of -2 to every Test you make that turn.
There's a thing on Language and simplifying rolls here, but it has an unhelpful "table" and refers to two more mechanics I don't know, so fuck it.
Finally and importantly...
Dramatic Characters get these, and can spend a Point to increase their dice for a Test (or an ally's dice) by one, or reduce an enemy's dice pool by 1. You can increase your dice up to 10 (!) or reduce an enemy's dice to 0, forcing him to use only his Base. You can spend them before or after your roll and use as many as you like, until you hit that limit or run out, but against an opponent you have to declare it to the Storyguide first (to stop players spending Drama Points to negate anything antagonists do after the face).
You can also use them to improve Unskilled Tests - the first Drama Point un-halves the unskilled 1d10, and subsequent points add dice as normal. You can even try Professional skills with Drama Points. On the downside, they can only be used for Tests and can't be used for initiative, damage rolls, etc.
Also, sometimes you will run into "Key Antagonists" who get their own Drama Points and can use them to reduce your dice, if the Storyguide tells you in advance. You can spend Drama Points to undo that, of course, and if you try to reduce his die the Key Antagonist can use his Drama Points and so on until everyone runs out.
Oh, and a sidebar:
Putting The Horror Back In
According to the standard rules of Framewerk, you should be able to use Drama Points for Fear and Insanity Tests as they are simply Tenacity Feat Tests. But this is a game about the dark and horrific and it won’t be as much fun if no one ever suffers Fear Effects or gains a couple points of Insanity. We recommend that Storyguides do not allow Drama Points to be used for Fear or Insanity Tests, or Tests related to the use of magic.
Really, if it fits the setting, they should just build that into the rules, but I guess they're hedging their bets against making more games in Framework later.
That's pretty much it, except for an Example of Play we don't really need to go through besides this:
In this game there are three players, who are Fraser, Mike, and J, plus a Storyguide who is Matthew. Their story takes place in the Seattle arcology and the Dramatic Characters are all Tagers in the employ of the Eldritch Society. Fraser is playing Angela, who is a police detective by day and a Phantom Tager by night, Mike is playing Ikada, a Nazzadi computer hacker and a Whisper Tager, and J’s playing Tammi, a teenage street girl with a violent temper who’s a Nightmare Tager.
That triggers a memory for me, and I thumb back to the credits - Matthew Grau is the creator of CthulhuTech and Framewerk, and Fraser McKay is the other writer. At least one of the other two is an artist as far as I can tell. Unlike Xcrawl, though, I don't see the writer's pet thong-clad rogue plastered on most of the art, so who cares?
(Incidentally, to anyone who was expecting more Xcrawl books and not Grimdark Rape Camps: I AM SO SORRY.)
Afterwards is a section for Storyguides (whoops, I guess when it said to skip to making characters it meant for the players), which pretty much discusses setting Difficulties and determining success and failure margins. It's mostly for new DMs, but in case anyone's curious I'll finish off with the margins table:
Difference Margin 1-2 Near Failure or Success 3-4 Average Success or Failure 5-6 Solid Success or Definite Failure 7-9 Like a Pro or Like a Complete Idiot 10 Critical Success or just a Definitive Failure
Character CreationOriginal SA post
CthulhuTech: Character Creation
So our hypothetical Storyguide, Paul, wants to run a Cthulhutech campaign. For that reason, we will also assume Paul is an idiot. His players we can call Fred, Charles, Dexter, Ward and Robert. I hope you can keep up as I make five characters at once!
There are no females at this table, because as the pronoun sidebar assures us, female gamers are an entirely different audience.
Since people want Tagers and Sorcerers first, we'll skip out on the mecha for now. Paul plans to run an Engel/mecha game soon, though! For now, he tells everyone that he wants to run a game based around the Eldritch Society, waging a secret shadow way against the Dhohanoids.
Step One: Concept
First, the book asks us to define what the hell our characters are. First it asks for our Alleigance, or which faction our loyalties lie with. Our pick (or the Storyguide's if he has one in mind) will influence what kind of game this is.
, which could mean all kinds of stories from soldiers to mecha to researchers to special forces and more. No Tagers, though.
, meaning high-stress mecha battles.
, who have Tagers and fight a shadow war against the Dhohanoids. Paul picks this one in advance.
It's pretty clear by this point that CTech is actually designed for at least two different kinds of game. You can't really have a Tager in an NEG or Engel campaign - in fact, the book specifically says you can't, and declares that Engels "won't let a Tager inside of them under any circumstances". Want to be a Tager Engel pilot? Well too fucking bad.
There are other styles of game, too, but we're just told they'll be expanded in later books. We're free to do what we want with our story, though!
Afterwards, you need to pick a Profession. CTech's character generation system is based in point buy, but you still need to pick a Profession to focus on - they're pretty much templates. The book assures us that Characters can "blur the lines between Professions" once they get some experience under their belt. Also, further books will add more Professions and character options.
The Professions available are:
, the smart guys who work on D-Engines and mecha while trying to maintain their sanity;
, the NEG's elite mecha force;
, who infiltrate cults, gather military intel or do counter-espionage;
, like Engel Pilot but not as awesome;
, who study occult secrets and sorcery;
, anyone who just fights without a mecha;
, the holy warriors of the Eldritch Society.
Later on, each Profession gets a longer writeup, which includes any prerequisite Attributes they need as well as a laundry list of recommended Attributes, Suggested Skills, Required Qualities, Special Gear, Sample Attributes, and Sample Skills. So basically, CTech is here to tell you how to spend your points if you want.
Common character types that were listed with the Eldritch Society were Tager (most common, duh), Arcanotechnicians, Intelligence Agents, Occult Scholars and Soldiers. Hey, look at that! Five professions, five players!
Fred's dad is a cop, so he decides to go for the holy warrior Tager. Charles goes with Arcanotechnician and talks to the Storyguide about how he wishes this were an Engel game for fifteen minutes. Dexter picks an Intelligence Agent because he almost exclusively rolls badass lone wolf ninjas despite Paul's best efforts, Ward picks an Occult Scholar because he's a 3.5 baby and honestly believes wizards should be the best in any setting and Robert goes Soldier because he likes to punch things.
Oh, and you have to pick a race. I'm just going to leave the artwork of the two race options here.
Completely. Different. Audience.
We'll look at their stats in a minute. The final part of Step One is coming up with two Defining Characteristics - two traits that identify your character. One is your Virtue, and the other is your Flaw. They can be whatever you want, and I'm going to make a few up, but there's a sample list provided (with options like Imaginative, Kind, Optimist, Forgiving, Arrogant, Foolish, Greedy, etc.) for you.
Some people dislike the idea of portraying a Character with an obvious personality flaw. This is fiction after all. Do personality flaws really need to exist in our heroes?
Flaws are something that allow us to truly relate to other human beings. A Character without a flaw is a person we can’t believe exists and we can’t create a bond with him – he is twodimensional. Beyond that, a hero who succeeds 100% of the time is boring. He needs to overcome obstacles both without and within. Flaws provide an additional dimension that makes your Character believable, gives him the opportunity for lows, and makes the victories that much sweeter.
Normally flaws do exist in every Character already – they’re the flaws of the player. If you solely rely on those they’re always the same. By using a mechanic to simulate them, you gain individual flaws for individual Characters.
And then, finally, the Name if you haven't done that yet. Nazzadi names have their own special rules, described in a sidebar in the race section:
Nazzadi Names & Words
Without going into a full description of the Nazzadi language, here are a few guidelines that will help you create authentic names for your Characters.
• Nazzadi words do not use complex consonant sounds – “th,” “ch,” and the like – nor complex vowel combinations – “oa” or “oe” or “oi.”
• Nazzadi words are spelled and spoken phonetically. For example, phonetic according to Nazzadi rules would be spelled fonetik.
• Whether vowels are said hard or soft is a matter of learning pronunciation and dialect. The written Nazzadi language is not concerned with it.
• Nazzadi uses hard consonants, but never at the sacrifice of flow. Nazzadi words roll off the tongue easily.
• Nouns and names in Nazzadi are gender specific. Masculine Nazzadi words end with –a, feminine words with –y, and neuter words with –i.
• Sample male names: Dova, Karana, Kyra, Timana, Vreta
• Sample female names: Cevy, Dormy, Kory, Nomany, Tazy
• Nazzadi do not have surnames. As part of the Migou armada they identified themselves by name, rank, and legion. Now they identify themselves by name, home, and profession. The adoption of family names was suggested, but many older Nazzadi didn’t want the reminder that many of their “parents” were Migou cloning vats on Pluto.
The players think about this, and write the following on their character sheets:
, a Tager who narrowly escaped the rape camps when the EOD attacked her coastal town. She became a Tager to avenge her slaughtered parents and as long as there is any good left in this world, she will fight for it. (Fred is into paladins.) Her Virtue is
and her Flaw is
Inspired by that sexy Nazzadi art and some magical girl anime Charles rolls
a beautiful redhead teenage Nazzadi prodigy who "geeks out" over nerdy stuff and cool tech. He begins to write up two pages of backstory. When the Storyguide reminds him, he says her Virtue is
and her Flaw is
an ex-con who fled to America after escaping the Rapine Storm in south-east Asia. He freelances for the Eldritch Society because he is a lone wolf at heart, and he is an ex-criminal because Dexter heard Fred's making a paladin and he's kind of an asshole. His Virtue is
and his Flaw is
, a nerdy college student who learned about magic from the /o/ccult section of 4chan and was recruited by the Eldritch Society as an intern. Paul makes a face as Ward describes a character who sounds suspiciously like Ward only less fat. His Virtue is
and his Flaw is
, a hot-blooded and manly cop. On the job, the chief threatens to take this loose cannon's badge away every other week. Most recently, he somehow caused an eleven-car pile-up inside an arcology despite everyone using the monorail. His Virtue is
and his Flaw is also
I think we're off to a good start here.
Before the next step, a sidebar gives us a tatste of what's to come.
The Hero Factor
Dramatic Characters in CthulhuTech are the bold and bigger than life heroes of their story. Sure, they may start off young and fairly inexperienced but they have great potential and advantage over the average person. There are two ways that Framewerk simulates this.
The first way is through Drama Points, which you already know about. The second, applied during Character design, is through Cheats. Cheats are ways that a player can craft his Character in certain heroic directions. You don’t need to know how they work just yet but you do need to know that you’ll be able to give your Character a couple extra improvements before you’re done.
Step Two: Attributes
I know, I know, DTAS.
There are six Attributes in CthulhuTech, rated on a scale from 1 to 10. There's no given scale, but we're told 1 is "considered severely challenged", 5 is average and 10 is "downright amazing". Also, people can turn it up to eleven if they like, which makes them "paragons and off the normal charts". The Attributes are:
: Now that I've made this list, a thought occurs.
: You can tell what these are reading the name can't you?
: Well that was a waste of a bunch of BBcode tags.
: Oh! Presence is "charm, beauty, force of perrsonality, and social ability". Presence does not necessarily equal beauty.
: By the way, I made up "Pervert". You can sigh in relief now.
: Endurance, stamina and willpower. It's used in magic too!
They also determine our Secondary Attributes, which are things like Movement and Reflex that come up later.
We get 35 points to distribute among them. Each needs at least one point, and we can't go over 10. Since the book goes ahead and recommends Attributes for every profession we'll just take those.
Oh, and by the way - the Races have stats, too. Since they'll actually affect things now:
Humans get +1 to any Attribute of their choice and +2 skill points.
Nazzadi get +1 Agility and, er, Nightvision.
Well, picking time!
is a Tager, and Tagers need a minimum Tenacity of 7 to survive the Rite of Sacred Union. We are also recommended Agility. Fred takes the sample attributes for
Agility 7, Intellect 5, Perception 6, Presence 5, Strength 6 and Tenacity 7.
the Arcanotechnician is recommended Intellect and Tenacity but has no requirements. Unfortunately, as a sexy Nazzadi teenager, that +1 goes into Agility. Whoops! She also takes the sample attributes but boosts Presence a touch at the expense of Perception, because she's so kawaii.
Agility 6, Intellect 7, Perception 5, Presence 6, Strength 5 and Tenacity 7.
The sample Human array has Agility 5 and Intellect 8 and not moving a point of Agility into Intellect and letting the Nazzadi boost cover it is dumb, but whatever, let's waste that attribute point!
is an Intelligence Agent and they are recommended Perception and Intellect. The sample array puts his human bonus into Presence, for some reason, so he moves that to Perception instead. Then, he takes another point off Presence and into Agility because he's a lone wolf ninja. Roleplaying!
Agility 6, Intellect 7, Perception 8, Presence 4, Strength 5, Tenacity 6.
is an Occult Scholar, which use Intellect and Tenacity. The sample array puts a 7 and 8 into those, but fuck that noise, Ward is PLAYING A MOTHERFUCKING WIZARD. He dumps
ChaPresence and StrengthStrength and drops Perception to pump those up to 9. Agility 5, Intellect 9, Perception 5, Presence 4, Strength 4, Tenacity 9.
needs Attributes for being hot-blooded, manly and, if possible, shirtless. He's a Soldier, which means Rob is recommended Perception and Tenacity. SOUNDS HOT-BLOODED TO ME! He also reasons Presence must be the shirtless stat and takes a point off Intellect in the standard array for
Agility 6, Intellect 4, Perception 7, Presence 6, Strength 6, Tenacity 7
Oh, and some helpful sidebars on Presence:
Giving Presence Its Due
In many Storytelling games there are some players who feel that the “beauty” attribute is one that can be ignored. They choose to concentrate on other areas thinking that being “ugly” isn’t that bad a deal. This isn’t such a good idea in CthulhuTech, since Presence not only governs physical beauty it also governs force of personality and social ability. A Character with a low Presence, for example, couldn’t intimidate a child and probably has issues buying groceries because of the scary people. He certainly doesn’t get invited to parties. If you want to have an ugly Character, check out the Repellent Drawback in the Qualities Chapter.
Presence & Species
Measures of beauty vary from species to species. Every creature has a Presence rating, although it may not be viewed positively from one species to another. Humans and Nazzadi are similar enough that there’s no trouble – in fact, inter-species dating isn’t out of the question. However, a Human and a Migou with the same Presence rating are going to view each other very differently. In these cases, Presence cannot be used to influence or persuade in a friendly or seductive manner, but instead can only be used to intimidate or terrify.
There goes my idea for Mi-chan, the Migou exchange student.
Coming up: Skills and Qualities, in which we learn the many ways in which Dexter and Ward will be fucked over and find out what other anime the CthulhuTech guys watch.
Mad SkillsOriginal SA post
CthulhuTech: Mad Skills
Apologies in advance. The more I write about the skill system, the more problems I find with it. It's actually kind of amazing.
Our characters so far, for easy reference later, are:
- Athena Darkroad (Fred). Agility 7, Intellect 5, Perception 6, Presence 5, Strength 6, Tenacity 7. Courageous/Insecure
- Namy-chan (Charles). Agility 6, Intellect 7, Perception 5, Presence 6, Strength 5, Tenacity 7. Genki/Impatient
- Ryu Foxfire (Dexter). Agility 6, Intellect 7, Perception 8, Presence 4, Strength 5, Tenacity 6. Self-Confident/Loner
- Angus Stallman (Ward). Agility 5, Intellect 9, Perception 5, Presence 4, Strength 4, Tenacity 9. Tolerant/Pervert
- Kai Bachika (Robert). Agility 6, Intellect 4, Perception 7, Presence 6, Strength 6, Tenacity 7. Double Hot-Blooded
Alright, next up is Skills. Skills come in these levels of expertise:
• Unskilled Characters have no real understanding of the skill. (0 Dice)
• Students have a rudimentary understanding of the skill. (1 Die)
• Novices have a basic understanding of the skill. (2 Dice)
• Adepts have a thorough understanding of the skill. (3 Dice)
• Experts have an advanced understanding of the skill. (4 Dice)
• Masters have a nearly complete understanding of the skill. (5 Dice)
We get 20 points to spread as we please (unaffected by Attributes), but we can't go over Adept during character creation except with "the Education skill and the Character's native language". Also, each rank costs its Dice in skill points, so Novice costs 2 points and Adept costs 3.
We get some free skills, too! Humans get Expert in English, the official language of the New Earth Government (it's probably for simplicity, but it does amuse me that everyone from China to the Middle East speaks English now) and Nazzadi can start with Expert in English or Nazzadi OR Novice in both, enough to get by but not with perfect fluency or a proper accent. We also get Literacy (Novice) for free - yes, that is also a skill - and Regional Knowledge (Novice). We also get free Feat skills, which I explained earlier. In case you forgot, they are sort of a kludge to get things like Strength Tests to work in this system. We automatically get Feat skills at a level equal to half our Attribute, rounded down. So, Athena Darkroad has the Perception Feat and Tenacity Feat skills at Adept (3).
On top of that we can get Specializations for each skill, which I am going to spell the English/Australian way from now on. Fuck Zs. We could, say, take Occult and specialise in Ancient Texts! The first level of specialization (goddamnit I typed a Z that time) is called Focused, which gives us an extra die for Tests involving the specialisation, and the second level is Specialized (that's how the book spells it ) which gives you two die. We can only buy two Focused specialisations at chargen.
Oh, and some skills require ranks in other skills as a prerequisite.
What are the skills? I'm glad you asked, Ettin!
Appraisal (Perception)*, Arcanotechnician (Intellect)*, Arcanotech Engineering (Intellect)*, Armorer (Intellect)*, Artist (Perception), Athletics (Special), Bureaucracy (Intellect), Business (Intellect), Communications (Intellect)*, Computers (Intellect)*, Criminal (Agility), Culture (Intellect), Demolitions (Intellect), Education (Intellect), Engineering (Intellect)*, Feat (Variable), History (Intellect), Hobby (Special), Intimidate (Presence), Languages (Intellect)*, Larceny (Intellect)*, Law Enforcement (Intellect), Literacy (Intellect), Medicine (Intellect)*, Misdirect (Presence), Munitions (Intellect)*, Observation (Perception), Occult (Intellect)*, Performance (Presence), Persuade (Presence), Pilot (Agility), Regional Knowledge (Intellect), Research (Perception), Savoir-Faire (Intellect), Science: Earth, Life, or Physical (Intellect)*, Security (Intellect)*, Seduction (Presence), Streetwise (Intellect), Stealth (Agility), Surveillance (Intellect), Survival (Tenacity), Technician (Intellect)*, Trivia (Intellect)
Armed Fighting (Agility), Dodge (Agility), Fighting (Agility), Marksman (Perception), Support Weapons (Perception)*, Thrown Weapons (Agility)
* = Professional Skill
So, most of those are keyed to Intellect. None are keyed to Strength, except Athletics which is Agility, Strength or Tenacity depending on what you're doing.
Before I delve into some specific skills I felt needed looking at, here's a pic of some Nazzadi from this section.
I'll cover combat later. For now, Things:
Arcanotechnician is for physical work, repairing mecha and calibrating D-Engines and so on, while Arcanotech Engineering is theoretical and design work. To take ranks in one, you need Adept in Literacy and two skills. Each one has different skills.
Armorer is for maintaining, repairing and making weapons and armour. Technician can be used to diagnose and repair mechanical systems, electrical systems, electronic systems or computer systems. It can do all this at the same time, but Armorer has to be a seperate skill because apparently Technician requires Education and some Soldiers don't have that!
Artist and Performance are seperate skills. Artist is the skill the picture of what appear to be Nazzadi "dancers" is next to. Also, you have to choose a form of art when you take the Artist skill. One of them is Writing, but there is a seperate Literacy skill which lets you be an accomplished author. Take both, be a
Apparently, at Communications (Student) you can make a cell phone call or "set the frequency on a radio transceiver". It's marked as a Professional skill, so you can't use it untrained. If I wanted to be a dick, I could read that as meaning only
in 2080s NEG can use cell phones.
Student Computers is used to understand spreadsheets and word processors.
Criminal is for lock picking, disabling alarms, hotwiring vehicles and other physical criminal activities. Larceny is for "cerebral" ones like embezzlement, forgert, cons and money laundering.
Education just represents your level of "formal academic training". Student is vocational training, Novice is an Associates Degree, Adept is Bachelor's, Expert is Master's and Master is Ph.D.
It is technically possible to take Master Education for a Ph.D. in Engineering and then Student in Engineering, giving you "the basic tools necessary to grasp less intricate engineering concepts". And a Ph.D. in Engineering.
On the other hand, you can take Adept History and be "a true Historian who conducts ongoing historical research" and not need any Education at all. I blame Wikipedia.
Hobby is... well.
Everyone needs a break now and then from having to fight the nightmarish fiends trying to eradicate mortal life. Realizing this, you’ve decided to take up a hobby to help relax in your spare time. Your hobby could be model building, gaming, darts, beer drinking, cocktail mixing, gardening, cooking, stage magic, coed naked twister , or any other activity not covered by other skills. Select one hobby for each level of skill mastery. Having a good hobby always makes your Character a well-rounded individual and your Storyguide may allow you to use your Character’s Hobby skill as a Complimentary Skill.
Student: You have a hobby. Good for you.
Novice: You have two hobbies – even better.
Adept: You have three hobbies. You must be fun at parties.
Expert: You have four hobbies and serious time management issues.
Master: You have five hobbies and you obviously don’t work for a living.
Languages has things like "Engineering Jargon" as a specialization for more cross-skill fun times!
At Adept Literacy, "You know what The Portrait of Dorian Gray is about and who wrote it." Well duh, Douglas Adams.
Intimidate is intimidate, Misdirect is lying, Persuade is persuading, Seduction is a different kind of persuading, and Savoir-Faire is etiquette and social customs (which is different from Culture).
Munitions is for huge weapons like mecha laser cannons. You need Adept Technician to build a weapon and Adept Engineering to design it though.
Occult rolls are used in magic!
One rank in Pilot means you can pilot one vehicle, two ranks is two vehicles, and so on. Wheeled Vehicles and A-Pod Personal Hovercraft are vehicle classes, which means you need at least two ranks to pilot an Engel and drive home afterward.
Regional Knowledge with a specialisation in Mag-Lev Train Schedules is a thing.
Earth Science, Life Science and Physical Science are all different sciences. A rank of Student means you've "taken a few college level [science] courses and possess a rudimentary knowledge of basic scientific concepts". It is still possible to do that and get a Ph.D. with Education.
Security, among other things, lets you set security alarm systems and traps. And also circumvent them. Take Criminal, and
Surveillance is for gathering intel on someone or some place. So, basically, the stalking and stakeout skill. There's a skill for this.
Trivia is another catch-all:
You are well rounded in your knowledge of miscellaneous subjects. Everyone picks up a plethora of random information as they go through life and you’re no exception. After all, your knowledge of Classic Movies might not help you wipe out a cadre of Deep Ones, but it will make you interesting at parties. You can possess trivial knowledge of broad subjects, such as 20th century cars, and specialize in a tighter area, such as American manufacturers. Choose a broad area of Trivia for each level of skill you have.
Student: You are knowledgeable in one Trivia category, making you curious about the world around you.
Novice: You are knowledgeable in two Trivia categories, making you well rounded.
Adept: You are knowledgeable in three Trivia categories, making you a witty character to converse with.
Expert: You are knowledgeable in four Trivia categories, making you a great game show contestant.
Master: You are knowledgeable in five Trivia categories, making you wonder why you don’t have a girlfriend.
Sometimes you’ll look for a specific skill and you won’t find it. CthulhuTech uses a conglomerated and broadly defined skill list. If you can’t find the skill you’re looking for check other related skills to see if it might be covered by one of them – Hobby and Trivia are catch-all skills. If not, work with your Storyguide to create a new skill, designating scope, an associated attribute, and specializations.
Armed Fighting is for meleeing with manufactured or improvised weapons, as well as Engel or Mecha Close Quarters Weapon Systems.
Dodge is for dodging.
Fighting is for unarmed combat.
Marksman is fore firearms.
Suport Weapons is for "support level weapons", like machine guns, grenade launchers, mecha, battlecruiser weaponry and so on.
- Thrown Weapons are probably terrible, but who doens't like grenades?
So anyway, I gotta pick some skills. For now, I'll skip specialising if I can.
For Athena Darkroad , Fred notes the suggested skills - Athletics, Dodge, Fighting, Marksman, Occult. Sure, why not? She rolls with Athletics (Novice), Dodge (Adept), Fighting (Adept), Marskman (Novice) and Occult (Novice), leaving her with 8 skill points left to describe her life skills. Okay, sure. Fred goes with Computers so she knows how to surf the internet, some cop skills, Intimidate ("STOP RIGHT THERE, CRIMINAL SCUM!") and Trivia to know about legendary knights.
Athletics: Student, Computers: Student, Criminal: Student, Dodge: Adept, Fighting: Adept, Intimidate: Student, Languages (English): Expert, Law Enforcement: Novice, Literacy: Novice, Marksman: Novice, Observation: Novice, Occult: Novice, Regional Knowledge: Novice, Research: Novice, Security: Student, Trivia (knight legends): Student
So, she'd be a passable cop. Yes, I just spent like half my skill points on required skills, Being Able To Use Microsoft Word and Knowing About King Arthur.
Namy-chan needs arcanotech skills. Arcanotechnician requires Adept in Literacy and Technician, and Munitions too for mecha. No mecha in this game though, so she just buys the first two and then Adept in Arcanotechnician. 9 skills gone already. To get Arcanotech Engineering she would also need Adept in Education and Physical Science, eating up 6 more points, with 3 left to spend on Arcanotech Engineering.
So, pick one, I guess? We're fighting the Chrysalis Corporation here, and it might be more likely that Namy-chan needs to work out what weird experiments they're doing than fix Athena's car, so let's go with Adept Arcanotech Engineering. She now has a Bachelor's Degree and 11 skills left! Charles goes with Observation, some Occult because it fits, Physical Science (it requires Education and Literacy but he already has those), Computers so she can type science essays, Performance (Dance) and Seduction because she is a sexy little Nazzadi, and some miscellaneous things.
Arcanotech Engineering: Adept, Computers: Novice, Education: Adept, Hobby (video games): Student, Languages (English): Expert, Literacy: Adept, Observation: Student, Occult: Student, Performance (Dance): Student, Physical Science: Adept, Regional Knowledge: Novice, Research: Novice, Seduction: Student, Trivia (Geek Culture): Student
(I am actually adapting the sample skills list. Every time, I drop Observation down a little so I can afford fluff skills. If Namy-chan dies because she didn't spot a Dhohanoid in time it's because I gave her Sexy Dancing skills. Incidentally, Namy-chan doesn't have any combat skills either. At all. )
Ryu Foxfire 's suggested skills are Bureacracy, Misdirect, Observation, Security, Stealth and Surveillance. If Dexter put Novice in all of those, he'd burn 12 of my 22 human skill points, not including ranks in Having A Hobby and Using Google. Since he's an ex-con he should take Criminal, Larceny, Marksman (so he can shoot things) and Stealth too. Lots of stealth. Dexter decides he has no Hobby or Trivia skills in order to beef up his Stealth, in fact.
Bureaucracy: Novice, Communications: Novice, Computers: Novice, Criminal: Student, Dodge: Novice, Languages (English): Expert, Literacy: Novice, Marksman: Student, Misdirect: Novice, Observation: Novice, Regional Knowledge: Novice, Security: Novice, Stealth: Adept, Streetwise: Student, Surveillance: Novice
This skill system actually works pretty well if you don't plan to have any fluff skills.
Angus Stallman is recommended Education, History, Languages, Occult and Research, and thumbs ahead to the magic section to see what magic languages there are. He fails to notice he was already fucked once he picked Attributes (more on that later! ), but does note that there are occult languages, often found in arcane tomes which boost his occult knowledge. Including human languages some tomes are written in, occult languages include Aklo, Chinese, Enochian, French, German, Latin, Pnakotic, R'lyehan and Tsath-yo (the Hyperborean language, apparently. Sup Conan!). Unless he plans to encounter a Necronomicon that only says "Hello! How are you?", he needs at least Novice in those. That would eat up 18 of his 22 skill points.
Well, fuck that. Angus sticks with English because this is White Man's Anime and picks up Aklo, Pnakotic, R'lyehan and Tsath-yo, dumping Enochian since it seems to have no function besides being taught in colleges and starting arguments about whether it's a real langauge. Adept in Occult is three more, then a bit of History, Education, the Posting On 4chan skill, Appraisal to study magic tomes, and Research. With his remaining points, he becomes King of Memes.
Appraisal: Student, Computer: Student, Education: Adept, History: Student, Languages (Alko): Novice, Languages (English): Expert, Languages (Pnakotic): Novice, Languages (R’lyehan): Novice, Languages (Tsath-yo): Novice, Literacy: Adept, Occult: Adept, Regional Knowledge: Novice, Research: Novice, Trivia (internet memes): Student
So, what would happen if I wanted to make an occult scholar who was also a businessman, or perhaps a mecha repairman?
Fuck you, that's what.
Kai Bachika has Medicine recommended to him for basic first aid, Armed Fighting, Dodge, Marksman, and Survival. Shit yes, he is going to be a warrior! He also wants to be a cop, though, which means he needs a few other skills as well. Sorry buddy, no room for Trivia or Hobby.
Armed Fighting: Novice, Athletics: Novice, Computers: Student, Dodge: Adept, Fighting: Novice, Languages (English): Expert, Law Enforcement: Novice, Literacy: Novice, Marksman: Adept, Medicine: Student, Observation: Novice, Regional Knowledge: Novice, Stealth: Novice, Surveillance: Student, Survival: Novice
I have no room for, say, Streetwise or any talking skills, but whatever, let's roll with it.
Apparently these characters are still starting off on their adventures, which is why I can't afford to be good at more than a few things. Later, once I start accumulating Experience Points, I can learn or improve skills later.
To Learn A New Skill
If you want your Character to learn a new skill he must first seek instruction. An instructor is classified as any Character with at least an Adept level of expertise in the skill being taught and with a Presence of at least 7. He must then make a Challenging (Hard for Professional Skills) Extended Test for the skill and is required to roll five successful Tests to succeed. Of course, this will take time and your Storyguide will let you know how long it takes in game time to gain this rudimentary understanding of the skill.
Once your Character has completed his training, spend 5 Experience to learn the new skill at a Student level of expertise.
Learning new skills: Literally dependent on whether some NPC rolls high enough.
To Develop A Skill One Level of Expertise
If you want to improve one of your Character’s skills, it must be one that he has been practicing – either through regular use, study, or training. A skill may only be increased one level of expertise every other episode at the most.
• To develop from Student to Novice costs 10 Experience.
• To develop from Novice to Adept costs 20 Experience.
• To develop from Adept to Expert costs 20 Experience.
• To develop from Expert to Master costs 30 Experience.
How much Experience do you get, by the way?
5 per episode, usually.
FUCK THIS SKILL SYSTEM.
Next time: We take Qualities! Fred has a revelation, Dexter and Foxfire are completely screwed , sidebars tell us off for using the rules, trying to be a sorcerer finally activates the game's trap card, and the skill system continues to hold us in its terrible clutches. Also, cocks.
The Tager EpisodeOriginal SA post Cthulhutech: The Tager Episode
So, we've got Attributes, and we've scraped through the
So, onto Qualities. Qualities are bonuses and flaws that aren't covered by skills. You've probably seen them before in a million other systems. Assets are positive traits and bought with skill p oh for fuck's sake!
Wait, wait, we can do this. Drawbacks give us skill points. Just pile those on to get more points. We can only get ten points of Drawbacks, but that's more than enough. It's fine. We can do this.
Drawbacks are a sort of mix of mechanical drawbacks and roleplaying ones. Well, that's not so bad. It can actually be handled pretty well if the players are good and the drawbacks aren't retarded.
Your Character suffers from a psychogenic fugue – he has lost all memories about his life and history while retaining basic life knowledge and skills. At some point, he’s completely recreated himself. He has a brand new personality and an occupation and everything else that would constitute a real life.
If you choose this Drawback, your Storyguide gets to assign eight of your initial skill points for you – and he may buy Assets or skills with these points of which your Character is unaware. He may also choose one more Drawback that your Character does not know about that does not need to conform to the normal Drawback limitations. Combined with the Dark Secret Drawback, Amnesia can be very dangerous.
Well, we're starved for points enough as it is without handing some over to the Storyguide, so pass. For everyone. Forever.
Fred is up first! For Athena , being a tager means she already has some Drawbacks picked for her. First, she needs Duty, which represents her responsibilities to some organisation. The rank affects how much time her Duty demands - 1 is a regular job, 2 demands most of her time (like the military) and 3 is pretty much her life. A sidebar explains that Duty is the most common Drawback, which makes sense, and assigns sample Duties to each Profession for certain employers. Everyone in the Eldritch Society has Duty (3), because it is a way of life and not a job. That suits Fred fine. While he's here, he gives Athena a day job to juggle with the Eldritch Society, and assigns her Duty (1) for "a corporate Soldier" - she's in some corporation's private security force, and on-call 24/7. It's only at (1) because she only has to respond to emergencies. Paul the Storyguide quietly decides that the corporation is... a secret subsidiary of the Chrysalis Corporation. dun dun dun!
Tagers also have to pick Fanatical, a 1-3 Drawback which represents a huge devotion to
For the rest, well. There's also Code 1-3, which means you need to pick 2, 4 or 6 principles your character strives to live his life by. If you break them, the Storyguide can assign Test Penalties to you and you're wracked with guilt until you atone. Sounds good to Fred! He takes Code (2) for four principles, and chooses from the list of sample principles:
• I always keep my word.
• I cannot fail in my service – I will succeed or die trying (counts as two principles)
• I will oppose the minions of the Old Ones in all their forms.
Okay, the second one overlaps with Fanatical 3 a
Whether it’s because of family, personal choice, or religious beliefs your Character has taken an Oath that restricts his behavior. The skill point bonus you receive for this Drawback depends upon the severity of the Oath. The following list are just samples and you can make up your own with your Storyguide’s approval:
• Oath of Celibacy (1)
• Oath of Humility (1)
• Oath of Obedience (3)
• Oath of Poverty (2)
• Oath of Silence (2)
• Pacifism: Cannot Kill (1)
• Pacifism: Only Harm in Self-Defense, Cannot Kill (2)
• Pacifism: Cannot Harm (3)
• Promising to love one specific person forever (1)
• Promising to marry within a specific racial group (1)
• Vegetarianism (1)
Choose your Character’s Oaths carefully – should he break them of his own volition, he will suffer a –6 Test Penalty to all Tests for two weeks of game time and will lose the Oath Drawback.
Well, it fits the paladin theme. Fred decides that the oath which best suits a HP Lovecraft theme is, of course, promising to marry within a specific racial group . Athena vowed to her parents that she'd marry a nice white man, one day.
That's Athena's drawbacks done! Fred continues making his character, pleased with the direction it has taken.
After the session, Fred heads home and goes to bed. That night is particularly stormy, though, and as Midnight approaches Fred finds himself lying awake in bed, waiting for the noise to cease. And then, as midnight passes and lightning flashes in the distance, a voice.
"You are doing it wrong."
Suddenly, a figure is at the foot of his bed.
Fred jumps. Whoever - whatever - it is, the apparition is wrapped in a thick hooded cloak which conceals its features. The cloak is black as the space between the galaxies and the edges seem hazy, as though Fred's eyes refuse to define them.
"What the fuck?!" Fred shouts. Before the figure can say anything, Fred hurls his pillow at it, leaps out of his bed and rushes downstairs to his dining room, intending to grab a knife for defense and call the police.
But he is already there.
"You do not understand," it continues. Its voice is soft but forceful, inevitable, and seems to come from somewhere in the back of Fred's mind.
"Fuck!" Startled and rude, Fred grabs the nearest object - a vase - and hurls it.
The vase passes harmlessly through the figure and smashes into a chair.
Fred freezes in fear. Lightning flashes, and suddenly Fred realises how tall the being is. How inhuman.
"What are you?" he asks.
"I am the Liesmith," it replies.
It just stands there, waiting. Fred swallows, but something drives him to continue pulling the thread.
"What do you want?"
An arm raises towards him. The hand - if there is one - is lost in the sleeve, but a sheet of paper sticks out.
"Everywhere a paladin is doing it wrong, across time and space, I am there," the Liesmith replies.
Athena's character sheet. Fred didn't certainly didn't give it to any terrifying extradimensional beings.
"Are you an angel?" he whispers.
It's a stupid question. The Liesmith ignores it.
"You do not understand what it means, to give your life in the service of an ideal. To truly understand the knight, you must become the knight. Take your false life and forge it anew, into honor and virtue. You will do this."
"But..." Fred doesn't understand, but he doesn't run, either. "But it's 2011, and the modern era... but I don't know how to be a knight!" He wails.
The Liesmith draws a sword.
Fred doesn't move. Somehow, he knows the Liesmith will not harm him.
He's right. The Liesmith calmly presents the sword to Fred instead, gripping the blade in two humanoid hands which seem to burn with righteous fire under the skin.
"I propose to teach you."
Anyway, we now have 10 skill points to spend on Athena. First, though, we have Assets to buy.
Well, is Athena hot? Because we could buy Alluring (1), or Sexy Voice (1). We can stack them, even! Or maybe
Double Jointed (1)
Your Character’s joints bend in unusual ways and he is very flexible. He gains a +2 Test Bonus to all Tests when attempting to escape restraints or to fit and move in tight spaces. Being Double Jointed can also be an exotic turn-on for some.
Sure, why not. Let's get her Double Jointed (1) for some sexy, sexy elbows. We'll also grab Fearless (2), which gives her two free Drama Points per episode that can be used only when outclassed in battle, trying a dangerous stunt, or required to make Fear Tests (if allowed). The Storyguide keeps an eye on Fred and make sure he roleplays it properly. There are Assets she can use, but we need to save skill points and Athena needs to buy Tager.
Prerequisite: Tenacity of 7 or more
Your Character has what it takes to be a Tager. He not only has the personal will and conviction, he has undergone holistic Eldritch Society training and survived the Rite of Sacred Union. Choose one of the basic Ta’ge symbionts – Phantom, Shadow, or Whisper (see p. 173-175) – and add its powers to your Character. Only Characters who have this Asset can be Tagers.
However, being a Tager has its drawbacks. Tager Characters only have access to half their Orgone – the rest is consumed by the symbiont. Furthermore, Tager Characters begin with one Insanity Point. They must also succeed at a Challenging Insanity Test every month of game time; failure to do so adds another Insanity Point to the Character’s pool.
Tager: Exceptional (2)
Prerequisite: Tenacity of 9 or more, Tager Asset
Not only does your Character have what it takes to be a Tager, he’s got that special something inside of him that calls to an exceptional Tager – like the Nightmare (see p. 172). Add its powers to your Character. Only Characters who have both the Tager and Tager: Exceptional Assets can be Nightmare Tagers.
Being an exceptional Tager has slightly different drawbacks from normal Tagers. Exceptional Tagers have access to none of their Orgone – the symbiont requires it all. Otherwise, they begin with one Insanity Point and must make the same Insanity Tests as regular Tagers.
"Orgone" is basically magical power. It is based on a real psuedoscience life force thing , and I do enjoy my incorporating-outdated-science-into-tabletop-RPGs. Too bad they picked the one that started off as a theory of libido and is drawn from the same root as "orgasm".
Insanity Points are gained by failing a Tenacity Feat Test, when appropriate. Gaining Points gives you mental disorders. If you get 10, you become terminally insane and roll a new Character. Points and disorders can be reduced through weeks of therapy, if Athena can get any in, but she only starts with 1 for now. No actual disorders, just a sleeping problem. For now.
So, Athena has performed the Rite of Sacred Union. According to Ancient Enemies , it wasn't easy - she was basically physically and emotionally tortured for six months to ensure she had the strength of body and mind to survive the ritual itself, which involved sitting there and focusing her mind for three days without food or drink (after fasting for several days, incidentally) while being plagued with terrifying visions of the place where the symbionts dwell. If her focus wavered, the symbiont would have consumed her. Also, the process of bonding at the end of it is literally the worst agony Athena has or will ever experience in her life. But hey, now she can turn into a monster!
Sticking to core-only Tagers for now, she gets to pick one of these:
In order: Nightmare, Phantom, Shadow, Whisper Tagers. Actually, since we're not getting Tager: Exceptional, she's not getting to be Nightmare McBulgecrotch over there.
As a Tager, Athena can shift into a Shadow at will, destroying any restraints which stand in the way of becoming a 7ft. tall needle-covered terror, and also gets "microhooks" on her hands and feet which let her climb and cling to sheer surfaces like an insect, super-human jumping, mystical life support which protects against gas, biological attacks, deep oceans and vacuum, two hours of internal air supply, and a +4 bonus to Fear Tests in Tager form (they are Tenacity Feat tests, Athena is courageous as fuck ). While shifted, she forms a "mindlink" with any shifted Tagers within a mile, allowing them to converse via telepathy and sense when they are nearby, alive or dead. In either form she can detect Dhohanoids and Tagers in their mortal guise by studying them for a minute.
Also , she gets Attribute boosts in her mortal/symbiont forms (more later). Each Tager form also has natural weapons (which use the Fighting skill) and a Limit Weapon which can only be used once every 24 hours, uses up all your Actions that turn and requires a successful Hard Tenacity Feat Test. Also, she can't use weapons in shifted form, unless the
Perhaps sensing her inner insecurity, Athena is not chosen by a combat-heavy Tager. Instead, she is chosen by a Shadow, the stealth Tager. Not what she would have chosen, but the mortal doesn't get a say in it. The process changes her personality, and the Shadow gives her a "great patience and cool temper, combined with a controlled nature and a callous attitude towards killing". Anything else?
Something that can’t be seen, the Shadow is the thing that moves in the corner of one’s eye. Spy, ninja, ghost – it has been called all of these and none of them is incorrect, for the Shadow has the mystical ability to disappear at will. As long as it’s alive, it can disappear from sight and sound in an instant. Not only is it invisible and inaudible, it leaves no heat signature either, making it capable of open action even in an arcology. Most of the time the Shadow’s first strike is from surprise.
Special: Paralytic Poison – The needles fired by the Shadow are coated with an organic paralytic poison. This poison requires that the needle do at least one point of Vitality damage to be administered. Anyone affected by the poison must succeed at a Hard Tenacity Feat Test to resist. If this Test is failed, the victim loses 2 Actions per turn for one to ten minutes (roll one die), which can effectively reduce a character’s Actions to zero. Only one Test needs to be made per turn struck by the Shadow’s needles and the effect of the needles is not cumulative. A target may again be affected on the turn following his recovery from the last dose.
Special: Stealth – The Shadow projects a mystical stealth field, which functions like a mecha stealth system except that all Degrees to spot it are increased one category. In addition to rapid, erratic movement, touching anything living (of dog-size or larger) will force the stealth to drop. This ability drains the Orgone of the Tager, at a rate of one point for every half hour invisible. The ability of a Shadow to use its stealth is not affected by this drain. A Shadow may even use this ability when its Orgone has been drained to zero, but Orgone will not regenerate while it is engaged.
Spotting Athena moving is a Hard Observation test (Challenging if she's within 15ft.), and tracking her after spotted requires an Average test. These categories increase by one if she doesn't move. She loses it in combat, but still.
Ryu Foxfire has Stealth 3, and Agility 6. He rolls 6 + best of 3d10 against an opposed Observation check to sneak by people. Meanwhile Athena, who has no ranks in Stealth, will need an Observation Test of 22 to spot moving and 28 standing still. Athena is, now and forever, a better sneak than Ryu. Fuck you, Dexter.
Oh, and she also gets a thorn attack, the paralysis needle ranged attack, the Limit Weapon "Multiport" (she teleports around an enemy ninja style to take double her normal Actions with no penalty), light body armour, nightvision plus some kind of bio-scanner vision, oh yeah, and she regenerates health over time in either form. In her shifted form, she regenerates health per Turn. I can't wait to see how much better she is than Kai the Soldier at being a Soldier!
And now, the Attribute boosts. The boosts in human/Shadow form she gets to her base Attributes are: Agility +1/+3, Perception +1/+3, Strength -/+2, and Tenacity +1/+3. Let me update her stats:
Athena Darkroad (Fred). Agility 8(10), Intellect 5, Perception 7(9), Presence 5, Strength 6(8), Tenacity 8(10). Courageous/Insecure
Oh yeah, and those Tenacity Feat Tests? You may have noticed that Insanity Tests use Tenacity, the Tager primary stat.
Her monthly test is Challenging, about Degree 16. Since she can go Shadow any time she likes forever, we can safely use its Tenacity 10 on the Feat Test for 10 Base and 5 Dice. She only needs to roll 6+ to pass the test. Hell, with just her regular Tenacity she only needs an 8 or better on a 4d10. With poker rules.
Athena will pass most, if not all, of her Insanity tests easily. She has no time for amateur-hour wangsty horseshit. She has justice to serve.
Insanity is the main drawback to Tagers in exchange for their crazy power level.
While Dexter tries not to tear up his sheet, Fred remembers he still has 3 skill points. He bumps her up to Intimidate: Novice, Security: Novice and what the hell, Performance (Guitar): Student.
Tagers are pretty rockin' for four skill points.
I need to go to bed, and despite my apologies these things keep getting infuriatingly long. I'll try to squeeze the other four characters and the promised cocks in a post about this size in the morning.
I wasn't joking about the cocks.
Fuck It, More TagersOriginal SA post
CthulhuTech: Fuck It, More Tagers
So, Athena just took a four-point Asset which gave her a bunch of extra stats that make her better than the Soldier at fighting, health regeneration, a save-or-die attack... oh yeah, and she isn't playing a combat-focused Tager. Yeah, everyone else is a bit worried now.
Namy-chan is probably going to get torn apart unless she buys some kind of combat proficiency, so that's our first issue. What Drawbacks are we taking? Well, Duty (3) is required for the Eldritch Society, so there's one down. If Charles wants to continue being a creep and playing up the sexy angle, that rules out Drawbacks like Fat, which makes you slower, and Big Ego, which applies a -1 penalty to social Tests. Also,
It is often appropriate for Characters with both the Alluring and Sexy Voice Assets to choose at least one level of this Drawback, even though they technically cancel each other out at least in part.
No, instead Charles picks this:
Your Character is damaged goods. Somewhere along the line, probably as he was growing up, he suffered some sort of trauma and victimization and it left permanent psychological scars. More than likely these scars stem from abuse of some kind, whether it be physical, sexual, emotional, or a combination. As a result, his set point for what is “normal” is a little off. He has some unusual ideas about how the world works and is incapable of having truly normal and healthy relationships with people. This doesn’t mean he can’t have relationships – they are just different and usually not entirely healthy. Damaged Characters usually have difficulty with romantic partners and relationships tend to be distant and short-term. If he was sexually abused, he’s more than likely sexually compulsive. Sometimes, two Damaged Characters can create a lasting relationship, but it certainly doesn’t look healthy to outside observers. These psychological scars are considered minor in terms of psychological counseling and are the last thing dealt with – they are however difficult to overcome.
He also takes Sensory Impaired (2), which applies a -2 penalty to Tests involving sight, hearing, touch, or smell+taste. It comes with this sidebar!
So it might initially seem that the Impaired Smell & Taste and Impaired Tactile Sense Drawbacks could be free points. Really, they aren’t that common. If every Dramatic Character is running around with a bum nose and nerve damage, it would be pretty ridiculous. Put yourself in your Character’s shoes. How fun would it be if you couldn’t smell or taste anything? Smell is the strongest trigger of sense memory and you’d be surprised how much it factors into your daily life and health. Ever heard of aromatherapy? Plus, it helps you steer clear of potentially poisonous foods or invisible toxins. A Character with an impaired sense of smell might walk clear into a cloud of methane gas. And how bad would it suck if you couldn’t feel things? You’d be surprised how much you navigate by touch. You might break glasses by gripping them too hard. You might not know when you’re burning yourself. And you sure won’t have a whole lot of fun when it’s time to get naked in the bedroom.
This Drawback, the one we just described? Yeah, don't take that.
Well fuck you Cthulhutech. Charles takes Damaged (2) and Sensory Impaired (2) for a sexually-abused myopic teenager. (Then he buys glasses.) He also takes Compulsive Behavior:
Compulsive Behavior (1-3)
Your Character has some sort of behavior in which he engages compulsively – usually to fill some sort of psychological void or to quell deep anxiety or depression. This behavior can be anything from compulsively checking the outlets of his house before leaving to washing his hands to masturbation. If he can’t engage in this behavior, he suffers a Test Penalty until he can.
At rank 1 you take a -1 penalty if you don't indulge 3-5 times a day, at 2 it's 5-8 times and a -2 penalty, and at 3 it's 8-12 and -4. Charles picks Compulsive Behavior: Masturbation (1). Namy-chan rubs one off three times a day or she suffers a penalty to every Test she makes. He still has two points left, so Charles also takes Manic (2), which gives Namy-chan manic mood swings. At the start of every episode and every time he "overcomes odd, succeeds with a new romantic interest, or gets a cool present" or similar conditions, he has to make a Challenging Tenacity Feat Test or suffer a -1 Test Penalty for 1-5 hours.
There! Namy-chan is now a sexually abused myopic manic compulsive masturbator.
She has 10 points to buy shit now, so she picks up:
, giving her a +1 Test Bonus to Presence skills against members of the opposite sex and lesbians, except she takes a -1 to Intimidation instead;
Sexy Voice (1)
, giving her a +1 Test Bonus to Presence skills against members of the opposite sex and lesbians, except she takes a -1 to Intimidation instead;
- And you know what? Fuck it. Tager .
Let's go with another combat-light Tager, the Whisper. It's a Reconnaissance Tager, apparently, with a focus on speed and Perception. She gets forearm whips which entangle people, aerial bombs which cause everything within 15 feet to make a Challenging Tenacity Feat Test or lose their next two Actions, doubled movespeed, flight, a ton of senses including nightvision, thermal and x-ray, and a Limit Weapon which doubles her speed and armour to make a flying charge attack which hits everything in her path. Oh, and Agility +1/+4, Perception +2/+4, Strength -/+1 and Tenacity -/+2.
Four skill points left, so I guess Dodge: Novice and Fighting: Novice for combat power. Phew!
Dexter is busy sulking, so let's move on to Angus Stallman.
Ward has some Drawbacks picked for him too - on top of Duty (3) for the Eldritch Society, the Occult Scholar Profession imposes Watched (3) if he's a registered sorcerer, meaning the feds keep an eye on him. Already only 4 to go!
But first, curious about Orgone, Ward flips ahead to the magic chapter. Apparently magic that can affect the "World of Elements" is divided into five schools (Enchantment, Protection, Scrying, Summoning or Transmogrification), and come in three Orders, which are pretty much power levels. Also, "true occultists" refer to Orgone as "Ruach". Spells are basically rituals that require Extended occult Tests to pass, and other party members can donate their
Well, First Order spells are the easiest, and their
Flipping back to character creation, Stallman's
Oh yeah, and each one has a Prep Time and a Casting Time. Every single one is in the order of hours. Or DAYS.
You don't get any offensive spells that don't take forever to cast. You get some wards, but Protection spells take 12 hours/2 days/4 days to cast depending on Order and either can't be cast on or negatively affect Tagers.
Did I mention that many spells also have further skill requirements like Artist: Student?
You know what, fuck it, we'll try and pick useful spells later. For now, Stallman needs some Qualities - preferably ones that boost his spellcasting powers. And I have just the thing.
Outsider Tainted (4)
Somewhere in your Character’s past, his lineage mixed with something else. Whether it is corruption through sorcery, exposure to the power of the Old Ones, or tampering by an alien or supernatural species, his blood has been tainted by the Outsiders. Unlike most other Drawbacks, those who are Outsider Tainted also gain benefit – they begin with twice as much Orgone as normal. However, they are classified as a threat by the New Earth Government and if discovered as such would be arrested, incarcerated, and possibly experimented upon. Their condition is detectable by genetic scan, which makes it difficult to get into arcologies. This can render a Character unplayable in stories where black market or criminal contacts don’t feature prominently. Those with an Outsider Taint also manifest some sort of physical trait that reveals their origin – they may have unnatural eyes, nictitating membranes, extra digits, unnatural cravings, vestigial claws, hentai genitalia , or the like. Characters with the Outsider Tainted Drawback also cannot bond with a Tager – it would devour them instantly – and a Synthesis Interface is useless, as Engels won’t let them inside.
A botched Eldritch Society experiment has cursed Stallman with Tentacle Cock.
Well, that was easy. 10 points to spend on Assets and Skills. The Assets section makes things easy for spellcasters by providing no Assets for spellcasters. Ward is going to have to get creative. He decides to take Contacts and be an information-gatherer for the party.
The Contact Asset means that your Character has established a relationship with someone (or someones) within an organization who can occasionally provide you with information. The organization may be your own, the Ashcroft Foundation, the Office of Internal Security, or any other. Unlike the Ally Asset, a Contact will not take an active part in helping your Character – he merely provides inside information. Contacts usually only ask for information in return. Your Storyguide will decide exactly how much information a Contact can and will provide.
The cost of the Contact or Contacts depends upon the position that he or they hold within the organization and thus the amount of information he or they have access to:
1 – Two contacts of low-ranking position; access to trivial information and internal rumors.
2 – Two contacts of mid-level position; access to practical information, may have access to some detailed information – or two mid-level and two low-ranking contacts or four low-ranking contacts.
3 – Two contacts of high-ranking position; access to detailed information, may have access to some sensitive information – or one high-ranking and two mid-level contacts, or one high-ranking and one mid-level and two low-ranking contacts, or one high-ranking and four low-ranking contacts, or four mid-level contacts, two mid-level and four low-ranking contacts, or eight low-ranking contacts.
You should work with your Storyguide to describe in detail who your Character’s Contacts are, the positions they hold, and what kind of relationships your Character has with these recurring Supporting Characters.
Simple! Angus chooses to have "one high-ranking and one mid-level and two low-ranking contacts", and also all of them are Anonymous. He spreads them across several organisations, which the Storyguide will work out with him as necessary later.
7 points left, so Angus grabs Dodge: Novice, Marksman: Adept and bumps Trivia (memes) up to Adept. Yes, he could need more skill points later. We'll burn that bridge when we get to it.
Next time: Dexter tries to find his niche. Meanwhile, Robert takes Kai and breaks the system in two while shouting "WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK I AM?!".
My Health Scale Is The Scale That Will Pierce The HeavensOriginal SA post
CthulhuTech: My Health Scale Is The Scale That Will Pierce The Heavens
Meanwhile, Robert has a problem. Kai Bachika the hot-blooded Soldier is a nice concept, but Athena outclasses him: he rolls Marksman with 6 Base and 3 Die, she rolls Fighting at 10 Base and 3 Die. She has more health (and regenerates it too) and natural armour, he... well, he gets armour, at least. She can be invisible all she wants and anything which presents a challenge for her in combat will wreck his shit. He could be a Tager and MANLY his way through the Rite, but no. Instead, Robert decides to give this mofo some powered armour and see how he stacks up. Besides, this way Namy-chan gets something to do (fail to repair his mecha because she didn't take Arcanotechnician, that's what).
Robert checks the book. There aren't any prices listed, but each Profession is assigned some Special Gear they get for free. Engel Pilots get their Engels this way. Mecha Pilots are assigned mecha. Soldiers like Kai are assigned... combat armour and some standard weapons. The description does say some of them are "trained in the use of powered armor", though, so... I guess I can get one anyway? I mean, it even lists Duties for Soldiers in mecha. Whatever, Robert picks up some PA. We'll get to that once we're done with Qualities.
Duty (3) for the Eldritch Society. Police mecha pilots have Duty (1) because he's only on call for emergencies, and Soldiers need Duty anyway, so that works out. Too bad Kai's not an Engel Pilot, because the Engel Synthesis Interface is actually a one-point Drawback. In fact, if Paul didn't veto it, Robert could actually buy an Engel for negative points. But no, that's just ridiculous.
Instead, Robert takes
With his 10 points, Kai has things to do. First, he needs Pilot: Adept for the mecha. Also, Soldiers need to take Authority (1) as an Asset, so I guess he's a Sergeant or something. And there, he's a Soldier in power armour with 6 points to spare!
Skipping ahead a bit for a moment - Kai is getting the Mk-5 Crusader powered armor, because apparently it's used by police a lot (also, its maker Armorcorp is a subsidiary of Chrysalis. dun dun dun! ). The main draw is that health-wise, mecha use an Integrity instead of a Vitality scale - 1 point of Integrity is effectively 50 Vitality. So, his armour will be a bitch to kill, though some weapons do Hybrid damage and damage both equa Wait just a fucking minute.
Dhohanoids don't have Hybrid weapons do they? They do Vitality damage. Just to compare before we get into combat for reals: Athena is going to have 14 Vitality. Kai's PA has 5 Integrity, or effectively 250 Vitality. Also:
If an Integrity-scale thing is armored, you can pretty much forget about it. Something with one die worth of Integrity-scale armor would repel 250 points worth of Vitality per attack on average.
The Mk-5 Crusader has Armor 2/2.
Oh, and Kai's Crusader has two weapons: an AP Cannon and a Plasma Cannon. (You get options, I picked this one, dealwithit.jpg!) AP Cannons are just anti-personnel weapons sized for Mecha and are on the Vitality Scale. Also, they get a better damage bonus than a Tager's attacks. The Plasma Cannon does Interity damage, I'm pretty sure, so a single shot from Kai is almost certainly going to kill every Dhohanoid forever.
Checking their forums confirms powered armor was never intended to be used in a Tager campaign. Whoops.
Kai replaces his Plasma Cannon with a Hyperedge Blade after the Storyguide makes a face at him. Also, he houserules that the Blade is a Hybrid weapon, meaning it uses the same damage scale as Athena when fighting Dhohanoids. (If it's not already, anyway. Honestly I can't even tell any more.) And he's still a combat powerhouse!
6 spare points, and I couldn't give a shit. Let's take some ROLEPLAYING ASSETS. Kai takes:
1 - it means he has a medal, that is literally it. Also, you can earn these in the
adventure book, except you have to pay experience anyway.
- for playing a role in "an important event of note". He takes 1 rank in it, which means the event was "important to your organization and members recognise your involvement" but not the public. I guess that eleven car pileup helped catch some cultist.
- he's HOT BLOODED!
- Intimidate: Novice - Because who the hell do you think he is?
You can't see it but Paul the Storyguide is putting his head in his hands.
Next time: Still somehow unaware that Cthulhutech is not designed to mix, say, Tagers and street-level humans, Dexter breaks the system in reverse by taking Assets that literally do nothing.
Magic-Users Can Just Get FuckedOriginal SA post
CthulhuTech: Magic Users Can Just Get Fucked
So far in CthuluTech's character creation process we've been told how to do things and then not to do them, that we can be a Soldier in powered armour but there aren't any rules for it, and also we statted a Tager who can out-stealth the guy who maxed out Stealth, a hot-blooded cop in game-breaking armour the book says he can have but omitted the rules for, a soon-to-be-useless sorcerer with tentacle dick and a promiscuous teenage Nazzadi arcanotech-Tager with a compulsion to masturbate.
It is time to pick Ryu Foxfire 's attributes and needless to say Dexter is not looking forward to it.
Now, he could be a Tager, so Ryu turns to the back of the book to see what Tagers are left. Unfortunately, the book only provides four total. There are more in other books, but we're covering core, dammit!
The first is the Phantom.
Type: Multi-Purpose Battle Tager
The Phantom is one of the two most common Tagers, along with the Mirage*. They are heavily armed, tough, and equipped with one of the most terrifying Limit Weapons of all the symbionts.
* The Mirage will be introduced in the upcoming Vade Mecum: the CthulhuTech Companion.
The Phantom is a decent melee fighter and has a Howl attack that can knock people to the ground (for taking down aerial targets, we're told). Its Limit Weappon is a mass of tentacles bursting from the chest that hit everyone in a cone in front of him and then try to eat one of them, killing them forever. It has good armour and health regen, but is otherwise pretty boring.
Dexter doesn't like boring. He likes unique snowflakes, and everyone else is a Tager anyway. How about the Nightmare?
Now we're talking! Even bigger Strength/Tenacity stat boosts, entangling tentacles, shoulder-mounted cannons with infinite rounds and its Limit Weapon is a fuckoff huge laser that does a ton of Hybrid damage, meaning this guy is the only Tager capable of taking Kai down. Also, he's got the Phantom's armour and enough regeneration to make every other Tager look like shit.
Fuck yes! Dexter doesn't want to be a Tager if everyone else is, unless he is clearly the most powerful one. Dexter starts adding Tager to his sheet, then realises the Nightmare requires Tager: Exceptional (2), which also requires Tenacity 9, which he doesn't have.
It's got to be something else. He can't be a Sorcerer, because Angus is one. Instead, the Storyguide recommends something that's bene mentioned before but not used yet: Para-Psychics!
Yes, Dexter can be a psychic! He thinks that is pretty cool and unique and takes a look at the
Latent Para-Psychic (4)
Your Character has an uncontrolled para-psychic potential or ability. Rules for para-psychic abilities will be presented in Vade Mecum: the CthulhuTech Companion – this Asset functions as a placeholder for those who would like to develop their Characters as para-psychics later on. Latent para-psychics may eventually become fully realized para-psychics.
However, a Character cannot use both eldritch magic and parapsychic powers, as the energies drawn on are the same – they can only be targeted and trained in one direction or the other. Tagers may also not be para-psychics of any kind.
Using Latent Para-Psychics
Storyguides may want to provide Characters who choose the Latent Para-Psychic Asset with some kind of practical ability right away. Remember, the key to latent abilities is that they are unpredictable, uncontrollable, and lay dormant most of the time. Latent Para-Psychics might have occasional prophetic dreams, flashes of deep insight, or their powers may function like the Minor Empathy Asset. They might sometimes pick up the stray thought out of someone’s head, accidentally move something with their mind, or start something on fire. These moments should provide flavor to your story, and should serve to scare the latent para-psychic more than make him giddy with power. Also remember that too many flare-ups of latent ability equals mandatory registration with the Office of Internal Security.
Fine, whatever. The Storyguide promises to get Vade Mecum soon and Dexter takes Latent Para-Psychic (unaware that to actually get psychic powers when Vade Mecum comes out he'll need a further 2-point Asset for some reason), then goes looking for Assets that are
With his Asset points other characters used to buy Tager powers and magic, Dexter gets:
, which "eliminates the Off-Hand Test Penalty for using two weapons if the Character has an Agility of only six or seven". Score!
He briefly considers
so he can be the mayor. The Storyguide says no.
Efficient Immune System (1)
for a +2 Bonus to Tests to resist sickness, just in case Tentacle Cock is contagious.
for a +2 Test Bonus against poisons and drugs, and also it takes twice as much to get him drunk!
Internal Clock (1)
, so he always knows what time and day it is to an accuracy of about ten minutes!
Peripheral Vision (1)
, for a +2 Test Bonus to Observation Tests against traps and attacks he is kinda sorta looking at.
, will accept any challenge to single combat, will avenge a personal insult;
Dark Secret (1)
, at one rank so the dark secret might mildly discomfort him;
, Eldritch Society. Derp derp.
, so he has an enemy. At 1 rank, so the foe is "less skilled than your Character or has access to very few resources". Who doesn't like an enemy who blows?
, so he has a
as an enemy. At rank 1, "The organization is small and has a limited reach. For example, your Character has angered a shipping company." Yes. That is what has happened to Ryu Foxfire, Bane Of Shipping Companies.
for the dramatic lone wolf ninja thing. "Goddamnit," says the Storyguide.
- He'd take Rival (2) , so he has another enemy who just wants to outdo him at something and not harm him, but he's hit 10.
There's a four-poiint Drawback called Mystically Void which basically just means he has no Orgone and takes a -2 Contest Modifier against spells and para-psychic powers. It would be good, because spells suck and nobody has para-psychic powers really, but Stallman needs all the Orgone he can get at this point so I just skipped it.
And bam, done! What well-rounded characters.
While we're here, how about calculating some Secondary Attributes for everyone? All of them are based off the average of some Attributes rounded down except Drama Points, so this should be good.
First, there are Actions . Normally, you can perform "one free action and one normal action every turn". We are told to turn back to page 54 for more information, and page 54 was the one that told us that actions would be "made clear" later. Well, whatever.
's average is 7, for 2 Actions. In Tager form, her average is 9 and she gets 3 Actions.
's average is 7 (2 Actions) in normal form and 9 (3) in Tager.
's average is just barely 7, for 2 Actions.
's average is 4, after powergaming Intellect and Tenacity. 1 Action.
- Kai Bachika 's average is 6 after rounding, just above human average. It is also just below the requirement for more than 1 Action.
Well, at least Kai's unstoppable god laser only fires once for every three hits the other Tagers get in, unless I'm going to be wrong later.
Movement! How fast your character moves is the average of Agility and Strength and calculated on another table, and also being a Tager can modify that. The table gives a running speed (your max speed) and two speeds for combat, a running speed and "cautious speed" in "yards per five-second combat turn (ypt)". Simple!
's average is 7, for 13 mph (32/8 ypt). As a Tager that becomes 9 for 17 mph (42/10 ypt).
's average is 6, 11 mph (27/6 ypt). As a Whisper Tager, which gets double movespeed, 8 and
15 mph (37/9 ypt)30 mph (74/18 ypt).
the ninja gets a 5, 9 mph (13/3 ypt).
gets 4, 7 mph (17/4 ypt).
- Kai Bachika gets 6, 11 mph (27/6 ypt). His mecha's ground speed matches Namy-chan's.
Orgone , your reservoir of cosmic power, is the average of Intellect and Tenacity plus five points. Remember First Order spells need 5-15 Orgone, Second Order need 10-30 and Third Order need 15-40.
has 11 Orgone, halved for Tager (and rounded down!) to 5. 6 Orgone in Tager form, I think?
gets 6 Orgone in mortal and Tager form.
has 11 Orgone.
powergamed his way to 28 Orgone and hentai genitalia. I would like you remind you that the rules specifically said he could have hentai genitalia. Tentacle cocks = system mastery?
So Stallman is good for Orgone, more or less, if everyone contributes Orgone to his spells.
Reflex is your reaction time, and also your initiative. Also, the average of Agility, Intellect and Perception. Simple.
has 6 Reflex (8 Tager).
gets 7 (8 Tager).
has 6, since finally we're on stats that use stats he powergamed.
- Kai Bachika has 5.
Finally, Vitality! I'll let the book explain the HP system:
Characters in CthulhuTech live in a dangerous world. It’s very likely they’re going to get hurt. Vitality is what measures a Character’s overall level of health and wellness. Every Character has six Wound Levels, from Unhurt to Death’s Door, which are explained on p. 65. Each Wound Level is equal to your Character’s Vitality, so his Vitality times five is how many points of damage he can take in total before dying. This is better explained on p. 123.
Your Character’s starting Vitality is equal to an average of his Strength and Tenacity, plus five points.
has Vitality 12, HP 60. 14/70 Tager, plus armour and regen.
has Vitality 11, HP 55. 12/60 Tager, plus armour and regen.
has Vitality 10, HP 50.
has Vitality 11, HP 55.
- Kai Bachika has Vitality 11, HP 55. His PA has 5 Integrity, or 250 Vitality, 1,250 HP (and armour which requires a hit to do 250 Vitality damage or 5 Hybrid damage to hurt him).
Finally, Drama Points! Everyone starts with 10 Drama Points, which they can spend as explained earlier. That is it, the end.
Next time: We
This Is The Part Where My Mind BlowsOriginal SA post
CthulhuTech: This Is The Part Where My Mind Blows
We're nearing the end of character creation finally (and I intend to skim the combat, mecha and magic chapters) and this is where the fun begins!
It's time for Equipment. What starting gear do you get? Well.
Step Five: Outfitting the Character
Most Characters in CthulhuTech are part of a greater organization such as the New Earth Government or the Eldritch Society. This means that your Character is functionally employed and doesn’t have to worry about his basic needs. He has a place to live, although not an expensive one, and he has clothes, food, transportation, etc. You can assume with regard to basic life stuff that your Character is firmly middle class.
With regards to special items of gear that would be useful for your game, such as armor or weapons, every Character starts with a few. A list of this gear is found under the Profession Templates found starting on p. 71. If you want anything more than this, negotiate with your Storyguide and see what you can get.
the Tager gets her choice of sidearm and, er, her symbiont.
the Arcanotechnician gets an "Arcanotechnology reference library, a good portable computer, and appropriate professional tools". And no weapons. So basically this Profession is non-combat entirely.
the Intelligence Agent gets a suit of concealed armour, a sidearm, surveillance gear, and a good portable computer.
the Occult Scholar gets "a small basic occult reference library" and a good portable computer. You know what Occult Scholars
start with? Spells.
- Kai Bachika the Soldier gets a suit of combat armour, a sidearm, an assault rifle, a composite combat knife, and a survival kit.
Oh, and they also get literally anything they can badger the Storyguide into.
So, I guess Kai's powered armour is legal? Except it's clearly not intended to be used in a Tager game, except it doesn't actually say so, so ! Oh, and you'll notice that neither Namy-chan or Angus start out with weapons or armour, so how the hell do you put an Arcanotechnician and an Occult Scholar into a game normally? I assume that's what the Storyguide part is for though - if he thinks they'll need weapons, he can kit them out. Within reasonable limits.
Well, fuck that.
Paul the Storyguide is, despite the fact that he agreed to run CthulhuTech , a boss GM. He lets the players have a whole bunch of things! Also, they are really whiny.
Fred asks for gear appropriate to Athena's day job, a police Soldier. He complies, and she gets a concealed armour vest, her trusty sidearm, a katana and a wakizashi, since she might as well do samurai wrong too. Incidentally, the katana has the same damage bonus as the heavy pistol, which has a better damage bonus than the assault rifle. I'm not sure how damage will figure out in the end though. Also, Athena doesn't have the skill to wield a katana. We'll get a chance to burn that bridge later, though.
The hands of a shifted Tager are too large to use conventional weaponry. However, the Eldrith Society has modified some types of weapons, including assault rifles and man-portable anti-mech weaponry, with larger grips, triggers, and trigger guards for Tager use. The availability of these special weapons is up to your Storyguide.
Why not! Fred also requests and gets an Enforcer and katana sized for her tager form.
Charles asks for and gets a light pistol and some hidden armour for Namy-chan. The Storyguide could give her powered armour, theoretically, but pass. Instead, how about something that does Hybrid damage, just in case?
Like the Deathmaster 2000 Automatic Grenade Launcher.
For this Armorcorp ( dun dun dun! ) launcher she grabs some M-482 HEAM anti-mech grenade rounds that deal Hybrid damage. I'm pretty sure those are illegal, though, so Namy-chan is going to have to be careful. The Eldritch Society draws the line at sizing it for Tagers. Oh, and she doesn't actually have the Support Weapons skill needed, but that only adds to the fun.
Dexter wants to replace his sidearm with two CS-40 Defender medium pistols so he can dual-wield them. And a composite katana, which is like a katana only better because it's made of the hardest metal known to man or something, and night vision goggles. He doesn't have the skill to use katanas. He stops there, because frankly he is already so shitty compared to the others that he might as well give in.
Ward grabs a FN-MAGiC machine gun and a belt of L7A2 Fragmentation Grenades because let's be honest, Angus isn't going to be spellcasting. He adds some concealed armour, and spends some time paging through the magic section for a few unusual requests.
In the meantime, Kai asks for and gets a RMG-10M belt-fed anti-mech rail gun. It deals Hybrid damage, must be mounted on something, and is wholly inappropriate for this game, but fuck it, whatever! He also grabs a katana since he actually has the skill for it, but
So what's stopping me from just giving everyone powered armour? Er... well, the designers don't want me to!
Not much to say here, really. The book has some non-combat items, but none of them are particularly silly, so I skipped them. For now, I'll just have to be content with equipping half the party with high explosives and draw the line there before it gets completely ridiculous.
Next time: Angus picks up the Necronomicon.
Invoking the Elder Gods for DummiesOriginal SA post CthulhuTech: Invoking The Elder Gods For Dummies
So, magic tomes.
There's a list of them in the Magic section. All of them are illegal (but they still bothered to include " Legality: Illegal" in the statblock), but the NEG has released censored versions of some which are okay to read (all forms of the Necronomicon are illegal, but the NEG does circulate censored versions masked as real copies on the black market to prevent people getting their hands on the real thing).
If you can understand the book (if there's a censored version it can come in English, but "purists" prefer the original language), succeed on a Tenacity Feat Test (luckily, most Occult Scholars will) and can cough up the money to pay for one (prices are in Terranotes, currency of the NEG), reading it will help you out with Occult Specialisations.
Good deal! Ward asks for and somehow gets every single tome he can read , because why the fuck not? Some of them are illegal, but then the Eldritch Society probably got their hands on copies. Even if there's a censored version, Angus gets the real deal unless he doesn't know the language.
All in all, Angus gets authentic, illegal forever copies of the Book of Eibon, Book of Five Shadows, Breath of R'lyeh, Pnakotic Manuscripts, and the goddamn Necronomicon. He also gets censored copies of the Book of Dyzan, De Vermiis Mysteriis, and The Mysteries Within. The only ones he can't read are Cultes des Goules (French, no censored version) and Unausprechlichen Kulten (German).
A lot of books. A lot of specialisations! Angus reads them all, and makes Insanity Tests for every single one to avoid taking Insanity Points. He has Tenacity 9, which gives him a Tenacity Feat Skill of 4.
This is how that pans out:
Book of Dyzan. 6, 6, 7, 2. Challenging Test. 6+6+9 = 21, pass.
Book of Eibon. 9, 5, 4, 1. Challenging Test. 9+9 = 18, pass.
Book of Five Shadows. 4, 9, 1, 6. Challenging Test. 9+9 = 18, pass.
The Breath of R’lyeh. 6, 3, 8, 9. Challenging Test. 9+9 = 18, pass.
De Vermiis Mysteriis. 6, 5, 9, 3. Challenging Test. 9+9 = 18, pass.
The Mysteries Within. 7, 1, 9, 9. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? Hard Test. 9+9+9 = 27, pass.
The Necronomicon. 6, 10, 5, 1. OH GET THE FUCK OUT Challenging Test. 10+9 = 19, pass.
- Pnakotic Manuscripts. 7, 4, 1, 3. Challenging Test. 7+9 = 16, pass.
Now, to be fair, these books can be read by anyone . Even people with low Tenacity, like Intelligence Agents, Mecha Pilots and idiots. If Foxfire read these, he would lose his freaking mind - between them, the censored versions can deal out a total of 5 Insanity Points (though the test required is Easy) and the uncensored versions a total of 17.
Well, Angus has done it. He has read all these books, and avoided going double insane. He can now
Oh, and you can only add a Specialisation to a skill every other episode, and then only if you haven't improved the skill that episode. Also, you need "regular use, study, or training" in a skill as your roleplay reason to take a Specialisation, and I don't see anything that specifies it has to be one of these tomes.
Angus the Occult Scholar just picked up nearly every single magic book in the fucking system, and none of them did anything for him.
Tomorrow: Fuck this game.
I'm a Cheater, Except When I'm NotOriginal SA post
CthulhuTech: I'm A Cheater, Except When I'm Not
A tiny logo for a tiny section.
We're near the end of character creation now! There are only two steps left, and they are both short.
First, Cheats! There is no better way to explain than by quoting it.
Remember our discussion of the Hero Factor from earlier? We said that you’d have one last chance to enhance your Character before you started play. Now is that time – this is where you get to customize certain areas of your Character using Cheats.
You have six Cheats to spend and the following table shows you what areas you can change and how much it costs to change them. You want to use all your Cheats because you simply lose any you don’t.
If you choose to increase an Attribute remember to go back and check to see if that will change any of your Secondary Attributes. Furthermore, you still have to observe the restrictions for level of expertise and specializations for starting Characters.
Enhancement Cheat Cost Increase an Attribute by 1 point 3 Get 2 more points to spend on Skills 1 Increase your Orgone by 2 1 Increase your Vitality by 1 1 Start with a legal First Order Protection or Scrying Spell 1* Start with an illegal First Order Protection or Scrying Spell 2* Start with a legal First Order Enchantment, or Transmogrification Spell 2* Start with an illegal First Order Enchantment, Summoning, or Transmogrification Spell 4*
* Check the spells in Chapter 11 to see if you meet the Intellect, Tenacity, and Occult knowledge requirements and to see if you need to make an Insanity Test for learning the spell. Regardless, Characters cannot begin play with enchanted items even if they know the appropriate ritual.
So I guess now we can go back and add shit if we like?
Also, I like how sorcerers basically have to spend theirs on spells and Orgone. But spells can be purchased, so why can't the Storyguide just give them some? It said in the equipment step that you can just ask the Storyguide for stuff and
Well, whatever. Each character buys some skill points, Angus gets spells from the Storyguide and uses his to boost his skills too, and I am moving on because this is stupid.
The final step is... Making It Real!
It is a roleplaying step. You need to get into your character's head. There's a page of questions you can think about. How old is he? What does he look like? What does he act like? What does he want out of life, why does he do what he does, what's his family like, what are his friends like, what was growing up like, what's his adult life been like so far, if the world were a different place what would he had sone and what kind of person would he like to be, what kind of underwear does he have on?
Then, "a couple of new-age (or old-age) concepts that might help you define your Character’s personality more easily." The first one is a page-long list of astrological signs and what they supposedly mean. The second, tucked in at the bottom of the page, is a paragraph about looking at "a Character's self" through his "animal resonance", which means think about what kind of animal he might resemble in appearance or personality.
This entire step is an optional roleplaying aid and to be honest I don't mind it too much. It's always good to help people!
And there. Characters done forever. I might post sheets later but I am pretty sure this ragtag team of a Tager knight, a rocket-launching compulsive masturbator, a mute lone wolf useless federal agent, a sorcerer with tentacle cock and a maverick police officer with powered armour and dual rocket launchers is not even remotely playable in any sane CthulhuTech game ever so there's no point.
Next time: The Combat section in as small a space as possible.
Completed CharactersOriginal SA post
CthulhuTech: Completed Characters!
Really, I didn't post them because I didn't finish them and I just had to go assign Cheats for reals.
The additions I made just now:
Gave everyone callsigns, because Tagers have those.
Spent Cheats on nothing but Skills, because I didn't see any reason why you would spend them on anything else in most cases!
Gave Angus every single Scrying and Summoning spell because why not.
Rolled Insanity Tests to learn spells in IRC with several fellow TGD posters. If the Difficulty was Average or lower I didn't bother.
Surprisingly, he failed Insanity Tests for three of them (marked with *s), bumping him up to 3 Insanity Points. That was enough for a disorder, and because Multiple Personalities was on the list, I totally took that. Ward now has 1d5 = 2 extra personalities. (I can't wait for the Insanity section.
Named these multiple personalities American Kitsune and, I don't know, Tubbytronic Superdome? Feel free to post suggestions for possible multiple personalities for a man with a tentacle cock.
To be fair, I gave everyone else 1 Insanity Point for bearing witness to the glory of Tentacle Cock. Zereth pointed out that Namy-chan's player would argue against that happening to his creepy little Nazzadi, and he has a point, so I didn't give it to her.
Athena gets one, though! That pushed her up to 2, enough for a disorder. I went with Major Depression (episodes of deep sadness and despair, sense of worthlessness, problems eating and sleeping, thoughts of death and suicide) because that seemed like an appropriate response, but Rulebook Heavily liked Rage Disorder (no patience, flies off the handle at the slightest provocation). I have decided to ignore the rules and do both because if I was in a group with these lunatics I'd be mad too. Athena is now a mental wreck who spends her nights lying awake in bed and mulling over her desire to fight for justice and the horrors she's seen.
(By "horrors", I mean tentacle cock.)
- In better news: I have named Kai's powered armour "Gigantic Tager" as per requests.
Athena "Paladin" Darkroad (Fred)
Agility 8(10), Intellect 5, Perception 7(9), Presence 5, Strength 6(8), Tenacity 8(10)
Actions 2, Movement 13 mph (32/8 ypt), Orgone 5, Reflex 6, Vitality 12, Drama Points 10 (Actions 3, Movement, Orgone 6, Reflex 8, Vitality 14)
Insanity 2 (Major Depression, Rage Disorder)
General Skills: Athletics: Student, Computers: Student, Criminal: Student, Hobby (tabletop games): Novice, Intimidate: Student, Languages (English): Expert, Law Enforcement: Adept, Literacy: Novice, Observation: Adept, Occult: Novice, Persuade: Novice, Regional Knowledge: Novice, Research: Novice, Security: Student, Trivia (knight legends): Student
Combat Skills: Armed Fighting: Novice, Dodge: Adept, Fighting: Adept, Marksman: Adept
Assets: Double Jointed (1), Fearless (2), Tager (4)
Drawbacks: Code (2), Duty: Eldritch Society (3), Duty: Corp Soldier (1), Fanatical (3), Oath: Promising to marry within a specific racial group (1)
Equipment: Shadow Tager, CS-44 Enforcer, Katana, Wakizashi, Tager-sized Katana, Tager-sized CS-44 Enforcer, Sentrytech Mk-V Armor
• I always keep my word.
• I cannot fail in my service – I will succeed or die trying (counts as two principles)
• I will oppose the minions of the Old Ones in all their forms.
"Tsundere" Namy-chan (Charles)
Agility 7 (10), Intellect 7, Perception 7 (9), Presence 6, Strength 5 (6), Tenacity 7 (9)
Actions 2, Movement 11 mph (27/6 ypt), Orgone 6, Reflex 7, Vitality 11, Drama Points 10 (Actions 3, Movement 30 mph (74/18 ypt), Orgone 6, Reflex 8, Vitality 12)
General Skills: Arcanotech Engineering: Adept, Computers: Adept, Demolitions: Novice, Education: Adept, Hobby (video games): Student, Languages (English): Expert, Literacy: Adept, Observation: Student, Occult: Student, Performance (Dance): Student, Physical Science: Adept, Regional Knowledge: Novice, Research: Novice, Seduction: Student, Trivia (Geek Culture): Student
Combat Skills: Dodge: Adept, Marksman: Novice, Support Weapons: Adept
Assets: Alluring (1), Sexy Voice (1), Tager (4)
Drawbacks: Compulsive Behavior: Masturbating (1), Damaged: Molested by cultists (2), Duty: Eldritch Society (3), Manic (2), Sensory Impaired: Myopic (2)
Equipment: Whisper Tager, arcanotechnology reference library, portable computer, arcanotech tools, CS-44 Enforcer, Deathmaster 2000 Automatic Grenade Launcher, M-482 HEAM grenade rounds (200), Sentrytech Mk-IV Armor
Ryu "Ghost" Foxfire (Dexter)
Agility 6, Intellect 7, Perception 8, Presence 4, Strength 5, Tenacity 6
Actions 2, Movement 9 mph (13/3 ypt), Orgone 11, Reflex 7, Vitality 10, Drama Points 10
General Skills: Bureaucracy: Novice, Communications: Adept, Computers: Novice, Criminal: Novice, Languages (English): Expert, Literacy: Novice, Misdirect: Novice, Observation: Novice, Regional Knowledge: Novice, Security: Adept, Stealth: Adept, Streetwise: Student, Surveillance: Novice
Combat Skills: Armed Fighting: Adept, Dodge: Adept, Fighting: Adept, Marksman: Adept
Assets: Latent Para-Psychic (4), Ambitextrous (2), Efficient Immune System (1), Efficient Metabolism (1), Internal Clock (1), Peripheral Vision (1)
Drawbacks: Code (1), Dark Secret (Embarassing/1), Duty: Eldritch Society (3), Foe (1), Hunted: Shipping company (1), Mute (3), Rival (2)
Equipment: CS-40 Defender x2, Composite Katana, Sentrytech Mk-IV Armor, night vision goggles
• Will accept any challenge to single combat
• Will avenge a personal insult
Angus "Roflcopter" Stallman (Ward)
Agility 5, Intellect 9, Perception 5, Presence 4, Strength 4, Tenacity 9
Actions 1, Movement 7 mph (17/4 ypt), Orgone 28, Reflex 6, Vitality 11, Drama Points 10
Insanity 3 (Multiple Personalities (2))
General Skills: Appraisal: Student, Artist: Novice, Computer: Student, Education: Adept, History: Student, Languages (Alko): Novice, Languages (English): Expert, Languages (Pnakotic): Novice, Languages (R’lyehan): Novice, Languages (Tsath-yo): Novice, Literacy: Adept, Occult: Adept, Regional Knowledge: Novice, Research: Novice, Trivia (internet memes): Novice
Combat Skills: Dodge: Adept, Marksman: Adept, Support Weapons: Adept
Assets: Contacts (3)
Drawbacks: Outsider Tainted: Hentai Genitalia (4), Duty: Eldritch Society (3), Watched (3)
Equipment: Small basic occult reference library, portable computer, FN-MAGiC machine gun, L7A2 Frag Grenades (6), Sentrytech Mk-V Armor, Book of Dyzan, Book of Eibon, Book of Five Shadows, The Breath of R’lyeh, De Vermiis Mysteriis, The Mysteries Within, The Necronomicon, Pnakotic Manuscripts
First Order Spells: Eldritch Faculties, Perceive Etheric Resonance, Phantom Vision,
Summon Ghost FetusBeckon the Mystical Unborn, Summon Familiar, Summon Fetch
Second Order Spells: Contact Those Who Dwell Beyond*, Wisdom of Yog-Sothoth, Beckon Shade Corpus, Call Forth Gaunt*,
Third Order Spells: Beyond the Wall*, Call Forth Bakhi
• Angus has one high-ranking, one mid-level and two low-ranking contacts. He puts the mid-level one in Chrysalis Corporation and a low-level one in the Eldritch Society but leaves the rest open.
Kai "King" Bachika (Robert)
Agility 6, Intellect 4, Perception 7, Presence 6, Strength 6, Tenacity 7
Actions 1, Movement 11 mph (27/6 ypt), Orgone 10, Reflex 5, Vitality 11, Drama Points 10
General Skills: Athletics: Novice, Computers: Student, Intimidate: Novice, Languages (English): Expert, Law Enforcement: Adept, Literacy: Novice, Medicine: Student, Persuade: Novice, Observation: Novice, Regional Knowledge: Novice, Stealth: Adept, Surveillance: Novice, Survival: Novice
Combat Skills: Armed Fighting: Adept, Dodge: Adept, Fighting: Adept, Marksman: Adept, Support Weapons: Adept
Assets: Commendation: Medal of Valor (1), Famous Incident: Eleven-car pile-up to catch one cultist (1), Fearless (2)
Drawbacks: Duty: Police Mecha Pilot (1), Duty: Eldritch Society (3), Impetuous (2), Fanatical (2), Rival: "Virus" the Tager (2)
Equipment: Mk-5 "Crusader" Powered Armour ("Gigantic Tager"), CS-44 Enforcer, RG-3 Light Assault Rifle, Katana, Composite Knife, RMG-10M rail gun, RPG-7 Rocket Launcher x2, Sentrytech Mk-V Armor, Survival Kit
ConflictOriginal SA post CthulhuTech: Conflict!
There's an entire chapter of gear and technology. I am going to condense it all into some bullet points.
Apparently "civilization has reached its pinnacle of scientific achievement".
Also: Scientists have failed to design working neural interfaces, invent True Artificial Intelligence, and do a bunch of other things.
Nanotechnology exists, and "resulted in the most complete redefinition of NEG economy since the time of the First Arcanotech War." In this radically transformed economy, corporations manufacture things and sell them to you.
To the Futurist in You
Nanotechnology in CthulhuTech has been introduced in such a way to provide interesting background flavor for the setting. Let’s face it – the potential for nanotech is limitless. The restrictions introduced here are meant to allow it to exist without dominating the setting. It’s important to remember that nanotech would be taken as much for granted by the average New Earth Government citizen as arcanotech. It should not be used as a primary focus for your game. After all, CthulhuTech is about far more interesting things than whether or not you can construct a shovel from the molecular level on up.
Medicine is incredible! Organs and limbs can be replaced and repaired! Also, the health care industry is overburdened despite having healing nanobots and magic! A sidebar explains why full-body cloning doesn't exist!
Mental health care is serious business which I guess makes sense for once.
There's a sidebar on cryogenics and why it didn't work either which starts with "In the 20th and 21st centuries, some futurists placed great faith in eternal life," PS fuck futurists.
Converting to TerraNotes! "If you’re looking to outfit your character with equipment that isn’t listed here, find the early 21st century equivalent, divide the cost by 2, and multiply the total by 1.4 (Tn=($/2)*1.4)."
The weapon and armour tables are long and boring and don't explain themselves well. Some weapons have 2 shots per round, some have 6/1-10/60. What does that mean? Who knows!
Katanas are the best melee weapon because anime. Runner-up is the Wakizashi. Aside from "Military Officer's Sword" and "Sword Cane", no other swords are even mentioned.
Kai probably can't dual-wield rocket launchers.I don't see anything explicitly saying rocket launchers are two-handed, so unless I'm proved wrong later, why not let Kai dual-wield them!
- Migou weapons need three arms to use, but still have an entire table of stats because...
Because fuck you, that's why. Time for the Conflict chapter!
Pretty much everything in this chapter is handled by Contests.
Apparently, there are three different types of combat in CthulhuTech. Close Quarters Unarmed Combat is the Fighting skill, Close Quarters Armed Combat is the Armed Fighting and Thrown Weapons skills, and the Firefight skills. Good to know! There are a lot of little sections like this on minor rules things I don't really feel like repeating (true facts: apparently you need line of sight to shoot a target) but I will summarise basic combat!
Determine Initiative! Roll 1d10+Reflex, higher numbers go first. Tied numbers act simultaneously. Standard stuff.
Declare your number of Actions! If you take more than one, you're hit with those Test Penalties.
Make your Combat Contests! You roll your combat skill against their Dodge. If you roll Fighting they can roll Armed Fighting or Fighting instead, and if you roll Armed Fighting they can roll Armed Fighting. Apply range modifiers.
Did you beat his result (not tie)? Great! Roll damage! Compare your result to this handy table to see how many die of damage you do:
Result Greater By Damage 1-5 1 die 6-10 2 dice 11-15 3 dice 16-20 4 dice
Some weapons add damage dice. For example, the CS-40 Defender (a medium pistol) adds 1 die of damage, and a steel katana adds 2 dice. A composite katana adds 3!
If you used Armed Fighting or Fighting, chceck your Strength against another table. +8 Strength adds extra die!
Apply damage to the opponent's Vitality and Wound Scheme to see what penalties he has to things now.
Oh, and for every point of Armor you have, you can roll a die and reduce the damage by that amount. Athena's Tager form reduces damage by 1d10, while Kai's powered armour reduces it by 2d10 Integrity-scale, or 2d10*50 Vitality-scale (an average of 550 HP).
Now do that all again for everyone who had a second Action, then third.
Back to Step 1!
The only problem that jumps out at me there is the standard one that poker dice make it harder to work out odds of success and failure, and our probably-should-be-illegal powered armour guy murdering everyone. Otherwise, simple!
The next four pages are special rules for things like aiming, called shots, etc. etc. The parts that aren't completely boring:
Each turn, a Character can take one normal Action and one free Action. Free actions are things like ducking, "surveying the situation", "speaking a short sentence" and "taking a couple of steps". Normal Actions include things like drawing a gun, "moving in any variety of ways", and attacking. With only 1 Action, Kai has to choose between firing his gun and
doing anything else
Automatic weapons have an "automatic fire profile" which describes how many targets in front of you can be hit in one action (a lot), how many rounds you hit them with (1d5 or 1d10, extra rounds just do the weapon's bonus in damage) and how many rounds you expend. This is mentioned a chapter
the weapons table.
You can get a +1 Test Modifier for taking the time "to describe a good cinematic moment", if the Storyguide allows that rule. Hooray!
If you miss with an indirect fire weapon (like a grenade), you have to roll to see how far away it lands and then to see where it landed (cross-reference the d10 result to a table that expresses it in terms of clock facings).
- There's a sidebar letting you know how much Vitality desks, chairs, doors and windows have. Okay, never mind, that was boring.
You have six Wound Levels - Unhurt, Flesh Wounds, Light Wounds, Moderate Wounds, Serious Wounds and Death's Door. Unhurt means you've taken 0 damage. Every other Level has a number of points equal to your Vitality, so Athena (Vitality 12) has Flesh Wounds at 1-12 damage, Light Wounds at 13-24, etc. If you take enough damage to put you past Death's Door, you're dead.
At Light Wounds, you take a -1 Test Penalty to all Actions. At Moderate, a -3 Penalty, only two actions a turn, halved movespeed and halved regeneration. At Serious, -6, only one Action per turn, reduced to crawling and "the simplest of Actions", and armour is useless. At Death's Door you are unconscious and regen goes down to a quarter, and you will die within an hour.
This seems kind of like White Wolf's system only cleaner.
Afterwards is a section on Physical Feats which isn't worth typing about, except that "as an homage to the anime element of CthulhuTech , Characters can jump farther than they would in the real world." and the process of deciding how you move includes rules on accelerating and decelerating. Then Explosions, Environmental Hazards...
The Healing section boils down to a table of how long it takes to heal each wound level if you do it naturally, with an EMT, or a Physician, and the Degree of the Extended Tenacity Feat Tests you have to roll (or the Medicine Tests your healer has to roll). Wait, if it takes 3 months to heal under the care of an emergency medical technician, why would an EMT sit around for three months helping some guy instead of dealing with emergencies? Because by "EMT" they mean "someone with Medicine at Student-Adept" and not an actual EMT!
Oh, and even with a doctor, it would take about 4 months to totally heal from Death's Door (if you take it easy! If you don't, 8 months). Unless you're a Tager, in which case you are up again almost immediately. Apparently there are spells for it though! The spell quadruples your rate of healing! Cut that shit down to one month! Yaaay.
There's an optional rule that forces Characters who make it to the Death's Door Wound Level to make Tenacity Feat Tests or Fall Into A Coma. If you do, you need to make another Tenacity Feat Test against Challenging or your time to receive medical help before death drops from an hour to your Tenacity in minutes. At least it's not possible for Characters to fall into unfun permanent comas because the dice said so. Also, if a Tager falls into a coma, he reverts back to human form. Since this changes his Vitality, it will probably kill him.
Like many things in CthulhuTech, the healing rules split the difference between cinema and reality. Recovery in the real world is less predictable, takes longer, and faces more complications. But we’re dealing with Dramatic Characters here and while we want them back on their feet faster, we don’t want it to be totally unrealistic either. If you want to get your Characters back into action quickly, make arcanotherapy easy for them to come by.
Afterwards comes... Mecha Combat! Finally.
Now we're on the Integrity scale instead of the Vitality scale. 1 Integrity is 50 Vitality, blah blah. (In case you didn't notice, it's reskinned MDC/SDC. (You totally noticed.)) Apparently, there are Integrity-scale beasts that mecha should totally fight.
There's a step-by-step guide to mecha combat, which reads like basic combat except:
Mecha have modifiers that increase their pilot's Reflex. In large battles with more than 5 mecha, all units of the same type roll together using the mech with the highest Reflex.
Mecha can modify the pilot's number of Actions too, and the Multi-Task System increases his maximum Actions to 4. Taking 4 Actions incurs a -6 Test Penalty.
There are rules for getting up to 5 Actions (-8) if your mecha has a tongue or tail (fifth Action must be used on that) or you're an alien with multiple sets of limbs. If both apply, you get 6 Actions! (Still -8!)
A mech's limited artificial intelligence gives the pilot a "free action each turn which can be used to activate sensors or communicate with other pilots". Gee, thanks!
There are size modifiers that can affect Attack/Defense Contests!
Wound Levels become Damage Levels! There's Cosmetic Damage, Light Damage, Moderate Damage, Serious Damage and Critical Damage. At each Level, certain mecha systems go offline and need a mechanic to repair them. Paging ahead reveals it is possible to lose weapons as early as Moderate and flight powers at S.
- Some mecha have Damage Control Systems, which is regen for mecha. Doesn't heal Cosmetic Damage though. Also, it fails at Critical. Engel just have regen.
The mecha combat section is laid out the same as basic combat, so after that there's a table of Integrities of vehicles and buildings, more rules for things like charge attacks, Physical Feats for mecha, et cetera. Some of them are Basic Combat rules with a few tweaks, some reworked entirely (there's a table of Acceleration Codes now), a lot of them are new. Most of them are boring.
Mech repairs are done with a mechanic, an Extended Test, and a repair bay. Without a repair bay you can only jury-rig the machine back to health, and it takes double damage from all attacks and only counts half its armour for those jury-rigged Damage Levels. Repairing a mecha is much faster.
We designed the mecha system in CthulhuTech to also play as a stand-alone board game. Every mech in Chapter 10 lists an Armor Point (AP) rating. This equivalency rating can be used to help weight sides in a mecha battle or to choose units. You might try smaller battles (around 50 AP) to begin with. If you want to play without specific Characters, just assume that all pilots’ Attributes are six with three dice in all relevant skills. You may want to give each side ten Drama Points just to spice things up.
Fear Tests are Tenacity Feat Tests against a Difficulty set by the Storyguide. Some creatures have a Fear Rating which sets the Difficulty for you. If you fail, you must "roll once on the following table" for a Fear Effect. For some reason I find the fact that the table cuts off just enough of the page to push that thing I just quoted to the next page hilarious.
You roll 2d10 and reference the table! Your delightful options are Physical Effect, Lose Bodily Control, Forget, Faint, Cower, Scream, Stunned, Twitch, Terror, Morbid Fascination, Temporary Disorder and Phobia. Most of those are self-explanatory and some are permanent without therapy. Also, if you encounter the same thing 10 times and don't freak out for 5 of them, you don't have to roll any more.
Paging ahead a few chapters, I see the Fear Factors for most alien humanoids are 12 (with one 8 and one 16), Dhohanoids are all 16, and alien beasts are 13-22 (mostly 16). Since a lot of PCs are going to have high Tenacity they'll breeze through most of those.
Insanity Tests, are, as explained, Tenacity Feat Tests. Here's a table!
Insanity Pts. Level of Insanity Disorders Penalty 0 - 1 Sane & Well-Balanced None 0 2 - 3 Troubled 1 Permanent 0 4 - 5 Twisted 2 Permanent -1 6 - 7 Disturbed 3 Permanent -2 8 - 9 Insane 4 Permanent -4 10 Points Gone 6 Permanent -
Oh, also arcanotech workers have to make these tests when working on a D-Cell, an A-Pod or a D-Engine and an Incredibly Hard one whenever designing technology. Hooray!
You cure Insanity Points through "confronting inner demons, out-patient treatment, and in-patient treatment." The first really means that in some situations you can roleplay dealing with it to maybe lose a Point. As for the other two: most Characters have to take monthly psych evals. At 3 or fewer Insanity you're given out-patient therapy, 4-5 might need in-patient therapy, and people at 6+ are committed. Sometimes the NEG has to send nearly-insane soldiers out anyway or they're too far away for therapy, though.
For out-patient treatment, you need to spend four months with a counsellor. Then , you can lose one Insanity Point every four subsequent counselling sessions. The sessions have to be at least once a month and no more than once a week, and "treatment must be consistent and sustained". This only works up to 5 Insanity Points. At 6 and above, you need to be committed. Characters at 5 and below can be committed and lose a Point every two sessions instead.
Disorders are worked through seperately, and if you're at 6+ Insanity they have to be worked through first. Also, there are no rules for how long they take to cure. Your Storyguide gets to decide! Oh, but conversion disorders can't be cured except by "accident" (meaning nobody will ever take them for fear at "locking in" once they get to 6+ Insanity, dissociative disorders and schizophrenia should be very difficult, and 1 in 3 schizophrenia sufferers recover naturally. 1 in 10 go on to write HYBRID.
There are some cases where sanity becomes irrelevant and you stop needing Insanity Points, like Dhohanoids. Tagers don't count though.
Next time: Mecha stats! Pages of them. Also, if I can fit them, spells. We're almost back to rape but for now you'll just have to content yourself with a ghost fetus.
Quit Gettin' Mad About Tabletop GamesOriginal SA post CthulhuTech: Quit Gettin' Mad About Tabletop Games
Fact: Since the D-Engine Operator Side-Effect attunes a pilot to his vehicle, human-shaped mecha are super easy to pilot. This is why mecha have replaced every other military vehicle. Sure, I can believe that.
The chapter dives into the details right away. Sidebars and tables galore! There are sensor systems, stealth systems, notes on stealth systems (hint: get X-ray sensors), support systems, movement systems, projectile weapons, projectile weapons notes, close quarters weapons, close quarters weapons notes, ordinance, ordinance notes, special weapons and - wait for it - amphibious mecha. Also, special weapons notes. And everything has an SF Code so you know what Damage Level it stops working at. A few paragraphs on amphibious weapons, the difference between embedded weapons and hand-held ones, and finally mecha listings!
(I might have to note the sizes used: Tiny mecha are 8 to 10 feet tall, small mecha are 11 to 20 feet tall, medium mecha are 21 to 30 feet tall, large mecha are 31 to 40 feet tall, and behemoth mecha are 41 to 60 feet tall.)
The stat blocks are actually not that bad I guess. For one thing, unlike the weapon stats, they come after the rules for combat so you know what the goddamn numbers mean.
Your standard statblock looks like this:
Really, the pilot's skills are used for most things and the mecha just provides boosts. This way, mecha combat is pretty close to regular combat. That is a good thing, I guess? On the downside, that means it's still based in a dice system that reads like it's still in the beta stage. You could probably find a better mecha wargame system than a tabletop RPG tweaked into one, really.
Anyway! The mecha:
Sword class: The NEG's mecha.
A Medium all-rounder mecha for people who don't like making decisions. Also, I posted it! It has swords, some nice amphibious weapons, and it has all the movement systems except enhanced speed and flying. A solid choice.
Actually Tiny Powered Armor. As such it would probably get pasted if it entered combat with any of the larger mecha. You get to choose from three different variations of "a ranged attack and a blade"!
A Large Mecha. The Broadsword, only more so. It has a Rocket Pod and a Chaff Dispenser which can occasionally barf out magnetic particles to negate rocket and torpedo attacks.
Kai's PA. Literally just the Centurion with an extra die of armour and its weapons have to be hand-held. Its choices are a Hyperedge Blade & Flamethrower, a Rocket Pod & Laser Cannon, and a Plasma Cannon and AP Cannon (Vitality scale). If you pick either of the first two the Wargame Point Cost goes from 2 to 5.
A Medium Close Urban Combat Mecha. Comes with Flamethrower, two Blades and a Plasma Cannon. Aside from the weapons, basically the Broadsword with more stat boosts and a better Damage Control System.
A Small Tactical Stealth Combat Mecha. It's got flight
stealth, which it probably needs with Integrity 10. Has a Laser Cannon and two Hyperedge Spurs. It can do 60 mph in the air, "enough to get home as soon as possible". And by ASAP it means...
A Small Tactical Reconnaissance Mecha which is twice as fast as the Rapier. Mostly has a ton of sensor equipment but it's got a Chaff Dispenser and an Amphibious Laser Cannon to help it out. With the same low Integrity and damage penalty as the Rapier, though, these guys clearly aren't made for combat.
- MC-14 Scimitar: A Medium Artillery Support Mecha. It runs around in the back firing its Long Range Missile Rack at people.
Medium stealth Engel. It is worlds better than the Rapier, if you can handle piloting an Engel and spend the negative points required to get one. Comes with blades, Plasma Cannon, Grav Bomb and a horrifying maw!
Medium recon Engel. Like the Saber, only better. Comes with a Plasma Cannon, Fog Projector and acid-drenched mandibles, flies ridiculously fast.
A Large artillery Engel. Also, by "Cherub" they mean giant horror with acid-dripping scorpion tail. Despite being artillery support and coming with two Linked Rocket Pods and a Plasma Cannon, apparently they prefer the tail.
The "baseline" Engel. The exterior is mostly armour so they're quite photogenic, besides the tentacles. Comes with weapons for every occasion and is still far better than most non-Engels.
Huge horned behemoth, comes with even more oversized weapons, resistant to cold. The "Migou can just get fucked" Engel, I suppose.
Large Engel for close urban combat. Has a huge creepy black tongue as a primary melee weapon and some cool toys to back it up.
Large Heavy Weapons mech. Extremely fast, jumps really far, comes with acidic claws and a Lightning Gun.
Tiny Powered Armour. Fast enough to keep up with the bigger mecha, used for urban and close combat situations. Police use these with hand-held AP cannons to hunt hostile lifeforms inside arcologies, like Tagers I guess!
(dun dun dun!)
Small Stealth Mecha. Looks like a night elf. Like the other stealth mecha, only fast.
Tiny Powered Armor! It has a Charge Beam, which is weird for a PA because it does a fuckton of damage. Its job is to be really fast and toast enemies who don't expect powered armour to be packing heat like this.
Small Recon Mecha. They rush in, scope an area out, drop Grav Bombs and jam communications. They have X-ray vision so they can see and hunt stealthed units.
Medium Artillery Support Mecha, kitted out with Rocket Pods for artillery support and enhanced speed to troll the shit out of the enemy with them.
The Medium baseline Nazzadi mecha. Moves fast like the others, hits like a truck, can be deployed in all sorts of environments. Not too shabby.
- Tornado: Medium Close Urban Battle Mecha, because nothing says "fuck you, urban battles" like a mecha moving at 180mph and tearing things up with acid claws while blowing out the power grid with his Lightning Gun. Often used in tandem with the Gladius for maximum destruction.
Small Recon Mech. Houses a ton of sensors AND a stealth system, something the NEG can't do. They are also super fast and have grav bombs and a laser cannon. Fuck you, NEG!
Medium Close Urban Battle Mech. It's quick and fights with a flamethrower and acid mandibles while using a fog projector to blind other mecha. It is basically a huge troll.
Medium Artillery Support. They show up in groups and typically sit at the back lines firing their two rocket pods all over the place, then snipe with their laser cannons.
Medium Multi-Purpose Main Battle Mech! The all-rounder Locusts show up in huge numbers and tear at things with their lasers or the popular acid mandibles. Can't fly, though.
Behemoth Super-Heavy Battle Mech. Despite being fuck-off huge it can jump half a mile without even trying (12x normal jump distance!), and when it lands it is covered in weapons and comes with two huge pincers as a bonus.
Large Heavy Weapons Battle Mech. Looks like a big robot scorpion, stabs things with its acid stinger and blasts them with plasma cannons and lightning guns, and are a bitch to take down.
Small Tactical Stealth Combat Mech. It can accelerate quickly to
on a lot of little legs
keep itself stealthed. Alien science! They fire null rays (huge raygun) and grav bombs.
- Wasp: Large Heavy Artillery Support Mech. Far better than every other Artillery Support mech, with linked rocket pods, a long-range missile pack and a great turn of speed.
Medium Multi-Purpose Main Battle Mech again! The EOD's main mecha comes with all-amphibious weapons: laser cannon, tentacles, torpedo cannon, chaff dispenser. It's a good all-round mecha designed to operate on land and in the ocean, but it has less health than the other all-rounders.
- Mudskipper: Tiny Powered Armour the EOD mass-produces for the Deep Ones. They jump around a lot and are fast underwater, but they don't bother with protection from water and ocean pressure since the Deep Ones are fine with that. It comes with claws, tentacles and no ranged weapons because Deep Ones have shitty eyesight.
So, yeah. Mecha for the good guys of all shapes and sizes and a variety of mecha to fight, too! It's actually not bad, or at least better than a lot of stuff we've seen. On the other hand, there's no real "boss" mecha here, if you'd like one to cap off a battle or a campaign (the behemoth-sized Mantis is specified to be common ), and there could be more variety in Cult mecha. (Apparently the Rapine Storm just use Sword-class mecha provided by Armorcorp with a few weapons changes.) Also, if you're into that sort of thing, there are no rules for custom mecha and probably won't be. Apparently this is to keep the focus of the game on the pilot himself and not his cool shiny toys, or something. The devs will get probably get mad if you try but you can probably reverse-engineer something if you were desperate.
The chapter is finished off with tagers, which I already covered, but it is a little disappointing that there are only 4 of them (especially since one of them is an "exceptional" Tager that requires extra attribute and skill investments people might not want to make). There'll be more in other books, at least. There have to be, really, since the book gleefully informs us it is intentionally withholding material for them!
You could run this as a wargame, I guess, though personally I would want to change the poker dice system before I did that. The EOD also kind of get shafted with a grand total of one actual mecha and one set of powered armour. Also, I don't really do wargames, so for all I know it could be an amazing wargame! Or a terrible one.
Oh, and try not to make a Tager who pilots a mecha. The writers get mad about that sort of thing (read that up to page 3 by the way, it is tremendous ) and sections of later books will tell you you are doing it wrong. At length.
Finally, if you want to know what any of these look like, they're in this art gallery. We've got Nazzadi mecha , Engels , some miscellaneous single pics... actually, a lot of these are missing. Oh well!
Next time: The magic chapter! All the
Sorcerer-Grognards And Their Goddamn RulesOriginal SA post
CthulhuTech: Sorcerer-Grognards And Their Goddamn Rules
I have been spending some time under the tender ministrations of a legion of ill-equipped counsellors. This game has done things to me. Still loving that logo though.
The magic chapter opens up by explaining to us the language of the magic "subculture". See, true traditional sorcerers call Orgone "Ruach", and magic "magick". I hate this chapter so much.
After that, magic in the NEG! The OIS regulate it, track magical purchases, people who break the magic rules have no human rights until they prove they're still human, and children are given aptitude tests to check for sorcerous potential so the OIS know who to track. Charming! You can study to become a sorcerer at college, though, and after that you can either work for the NEG (and get limited access to illegal materials and health benefits in exchange for doing what they want) or go independent, which benefits you more but means registering with the OIS and getting watched constantly.
CthulhuTech occult languages! Aklo, Enochian, Pnakotic, R'lyehan, Tsath-yo. Covered that already.
Cosmology! The World of Elements consists of the three physical dimensions, the dimension of "time and vitality", and the dimension of "thoughts and emotions". All of that is surrounded by the Astral Plane. Then there are the higher dimensions of the ancient gods. Speaking of, there's the Endless Ones (Nyarlathotep, Azathoth), the Old Ones (Cthulhu), and the Forgotten Ones who may or may not have caused the Old Ones to vanish (Morfean, some other guys).
After the occult text section, we finally get to Magic! There are five kinds - Enchantment (as in enchanting items), Protection, Scrying, Summoning and Transmogrification. First Order spells are the weakest, Second Order is pretty alright, Third Order is boss magic .
So, how does casting work? Well, first you learn it (takes anything from a couple weeks to six months ) while hopefully saving vs. insanity, then you prepare the ritual. Once you've done that, make a series of Occult Extended Tests and spend
Simple! And now for two pages of further rules.
Unweaving spells is simple! All you need to do is repeat the same ritual required to cast it. It takes the same time to cast. When I get to the spell list, you will see why this is retarded.
Summoning rituals are special! Summoned creatures can't physically interact with the world until the magician releases it or sends it back, usually after trying to strike a deal or bond with it. Striking a deal means the creature might choose to stick around after its task is complete (but usually doesn't want to kill you, so whatever, right?). Binding requires a second ritual that is cast immediately after the first, has the same requirements, takes half the time and requires learning a second spell, because magic isn't enough of a pain in the ass. Bound creatures usually try to murder your face if they ever get free. Lesser creatures like fetches and familiars willingly serve without being bargained with, though. Unweaving summoning spells requires a a piece of the creature (hair, etc) and sends it back where it came, unweaving binding spells requires a piece of the sorcerer and unleashes the creature upon the world.
If a creature requires a Fear Test, which it probably does, everyone inolved in the ritual has to save against it. If the sorcerer fucks his Test up, the creature is immediately freed. Whoopsie daisie!
Wards (Protection spells, basically) are focused in a physical object, either a tattoo or some other mark on a person or an item which confers the ward on the bearer. Items can be no smaller than a ring (for personal wards) or a vase (for location wards). What size vase? Fuck you, that's what. Wards can be detected with Eldritch Faculties or Powder of Ibn Ghazi, neither of which mention this in their spell descriptions. Wards focused on an object can be broken by destroying it, other wards need to be unwoven normally.
Also, wards decay over time. Apparently,"to simulate this treat wards as only having half their effects once they’ve passed half their duration". Don't want to cast a spell which doesn't actually confer the bonuses it says it does for the stated duration? You can "re-power" the ward by performing the ritual again, but it only takes half the time to prepare and cast. So, there's that.
Penultimately, Occult Specialisations! Besides the ones listed under the Occult skill, you can take Specialisations in Casting, Assisting or Unweaving one of the five kinds of magic! That adds Casting Enchantment Spells, Assisting Enchantment Spells, Unweaving Enchantment Spells, Casting Protection Spells, Assisting Protection Spells, Unweaving Protection Spells, Casting Scrying Spells, Assisting Scrying Spells, Unweaving Scrying Spells, Casting Summoning Spells, Assisting Summoning Spells, Unweaving Summoning Spells, Casting Transmogrification Spells, Assisting Transmogrification Spells and Unweaving Transmogrification Spells to the list, at Focused and Specialist levels! Who doesn't to be a Focused Adept at Unweaving Transmogrification Spells?
That list might seem long, but remember all the Assisting ones are useless unless you're some kind of wizard intern. A third of it gone already! Also, it is almost always easier and cheaper to just boost your Occult skill, except at chargen and when you've already capped Occult. You know, if you want to hurl 7d10s at a problem.
And finally: Mishaps! If you get a Critical Failure on an Occult Test while casting a spell, which you almost certainly will as a Novice spellcaster with that amazing probability distribution, awful things happen! Roll 2d20 and consult a table!
Rolling a result of 16 on the Magical Mishaps table means that a spell’s effects are going to appear somewhere else and/or sometime else – but that place or time is somehow linked to the sorcerer. As a Storyguide, you can assume that a sorcerer is going to blow it at some point, and have spells happen near him that he’ll have cast in the future as an unusual story device. They don’t even have to be spells he knows right now...
Speaking of, are we there yet? God, finally. I'm going to hit Submit Post and let you guys wrap your heads around this clusterfuck while I write the next part!
Dead Baby JokesOriginal SA post
CthulhuTech: Dead Baby Jokes
And now, spells by type and Order! Also, cast times. They also each come with casting and component costs, but I'm ignoring them since most of the time money seems to be abstracted in terms of the character's social class anyway. Also,
Consecrate Arcane Space
"mystically prepares and cleanses the dimensional fiber of a space", specifically a 250 sq.ft. place. This is required for any other enchantment or summoning ritual. Prep Time: 3 Days, Cast Time: 4 Hours.
Constitute Corporal Restorative
creates ten applications worth of a healing salve that stabilises, prevents complications and doubles healing rate. Higher Wound Levels require more applications, so someone at Death's Door needs five of them. Also, you need the Hobby (Cooking), Life Science or Trivia (Herbalism) skill at Novice. Prep Time: 1 Day, Cast Time: 4 Hours.
- Constitute Powder of Ibn Ghazi creates three uses of a powder that reveals all invisible or "mystically hidden" things in a 100 square foot area. Prep Time: 2 Days, Cast Time: 6 Hours.
Craft Ring of Dreams
makes a magic ring that lets you into people's dreams (provided they are within 100ft.) to observe and interact with them, affecting things on a personal level. The ritual is allegedly illegal, very rare and extremely expensive, but I can actually think of a lot of uses for this one. Like entering someone's dreams and forcing them to play CthulhuTech in them. Prep Time: 2 Days, Cast Time: 1 Day.
- Craft Woeful Orb gives someone a floating attack sphere that fires lightning lasers at people and reduce their Actions if they fail a Hard Tenacity Feat Test. They last for "one season", so three months I guess. Prep Time: 2 Days, Cast Time: 1 Day.
- Craft Yog-Sothoth's Guard is the big daddy of Enchantment spells. It makes someone invulnerable to harm, and all harm caused by a living creature is reflected back on the attacker. Environmental damage like drowning and crushing can still hurt you otherwise, though. The Guard waits to activate until "genuine harm" is imminent (not "oh no I fell over" harm, actual harm) and then makes him invincible for a grand total of five minutes. Trying to have two Guards at once kills you. You can give it to someone else but it disrupts electronic systems when active and interferes with symbionts, meaning mecha pilots and Tagers can't use it. Also, everyone involved in the ritual has to do it naked. Prep Time: 1 Week, Cast Time: 2 Days.
First Order (require Artist: Student):
Ward Against Sorcery
gives someone a +4 Contest Modifier to spells which require a Contest to affect them. Spells that don't require a Contest become one Degree harder. It also resists beneficial spells! Lasts a week. Prep Time: 6 Hours, Cast Time: 6 Hours.
Ward of Corporal Protection
is similar, but provides two dice of Armor against physical harm instead. If you actually wear armour, it only adds one die, and Tagers can only benefit in unshifted form. It resists spells that "corrupt flesh". Prep Time: 6 Hours, Cast Time: 6 Hours.
- Ward of Solitude Protects someone from surveillance and scrying. You are visible only to the "naked senses" and no mechanical, electronic or supernatural means, including the superhuman senses of monsters, Dhohanoids and Tagers. Ibn Ghazi powder and Eldritch Faculties still see you, though. Lasts a week. Prep Time: 6 Hours, Cast Time: 6 Hours.
Ward Against the Unseen
wards a 400sq.ft. area for a month, preventing anything outside the ward from contacting those within (including through dreams!), nullifying spells that "influence the behaviour of a person" and reducing the effects of spells by half. Prep Time: 1 Day, Cast Time: 1 Day.
- Ward of Seclusion is basically Ward of Solitude, only for a place instead of a person. A 800sq.ft. place, for a month! Prep Time: 1 Day, Cast Time: 1 Day.
- Ward Against the Unbidden will ward the shit out of you. Actually, it wards a place against Outsiders! Actually, it doesn't stop them from entering, but "the pain and fear it causes will certainly give one pause". Gee, thanks. They can detect the ward before they enter and, if they do, require a Hard Fear Test or suffer a -3 Test Penalty to everything. Also, any Outsider that lingers for more than two minutes suffers a die of damage a minute. Wonder how many it needs to kill you. Also, Outsider means "non-mortal" in this context, including Tagers. Tentacle Cock suffers half effects, has an easier Test and suffers only half a die every two minutes after the first five. It covers a 3600 sq.ft. area and lasts two months. Prep Time: 2 Days, Cast Time: 2 Days.
lets you see invisible shit just like Ibn Ghazi. Wait, does this negate Shadow Tager stealth? Probably. It also lets you see someone's "aura" to find out their health, mental state and any magic or para-psychic influence. One of the components is "clear unflavored alcohol", which amuses me. Lasts 24 hours. Prep Time: 6 Hours, Cast Time: 2 Hours. :eyeroll: You can recharge it with another ritual that takes half the time though!
Perceive Etheric Resonance
lets you feel "the resonance of the fifth dimension" in physical objects. In other words, touch a thing and you can feel the emotions of its owner during the most recent and
events. So you can handle a sword, and know the guy who used it was super angry. Lasts 24 hours and is rechargeable. Prep Time: 6 Hours, Cast Time: 2 Hours.
- Phantom Vision lets you see any place you've been before at will. The spell lasts an hour. Apparently the NEG and police love the shit out of the spell and executives can use it to check on their boardrooms and spy on their wives. Or not - Prep Time: 6 Hours, Cast Time: 2 Hours.
Contact Those Who Dwell Beyond
requires a blood sacrifice. Animals are OK though. It "puts out a call through the dimensions to be answered by anything that’s listening", and basically contacts a completely random alien entity (unless the Storyguide tells you nobody is listening and the spell fails). The entity will share information, knowledge, and even power if it feels like it, and payment could be anything from "nothing" to "perform a deed then recast this ritual to contact me again" to "make a sacrifice, I'll show up to collect!". Being involved requires a Challenging Insanity Test against gaining an Insanity Point. This spell actually kind of owns, except for the chance of failure and - Prep Time: 3 Days, Cast Time: 1 Day.
- Wisdom of Yog-Sothoth is lets you see through time, giving you strange and symbolic visions of possible futures. Requires the same Insanity Test, inflicts one die of damage from pain caused by casting a spell called Wisdom of Yog- fucking- Sothoth , and runs the risk of "attracting the attention of things outside of time". According to a sidebar, alien creatures called Hounds often show up to eat people who cast this or any other spell that involves time travel. So why include it? Fuck you, that's why. Prep Time: 2 Days, Cast Time: 1 Day.
- Beyond the Wall is an Order higher than "get killed by time wolves" and "be seared by contact with Yog-Sothoth" so you know it's going to be good. It lets you see beyond the wall... of sleep! While under the spell's effects you can make eye contact with someone and see one of their dreams from the dozens they've had recently, and might give useful insights. You can get three dreams per extended conversation or one per quick conversation. The spell lasts 24 hours and is illegal, rare and expensive. Wisdom of Yog-Sothoth is none of those things. Prep Time: 2 Days, Cast Time: 1 Day.
Beckon the Mystical Unborn
, also known as Beckon Fetal Outsider because it summons a ghost fetus.
The ghost fetus is the ghost of a stillborn or aborted Outsider-tainted baby. It knows six languages (including R'lyehan and Tsath-yo), flies, moves through walls, can give magical advice, can speak telepathically, and are "strangely well-educated and intelligent". Dapper ghost fetus? Hell yes. They are weird and alien, though. It shows up already predisposed to serving the caster and friend and companion until dismissed, though it has a strange idea of right and wrong". Sounds like a good deal to me. "Hey Ghosty, let's go to the movies!" "Aw shucks Mr. Wizard, you're my best friend!" :aww: Prep Time: 2 Days, Cast Time: 6 Hours. By the way, the ritual calls for an aborted fetus or a stillborn baby. Have fun with that.
summons a "mystical animal" which serves and assists the caster. They are all outsider-tainted and have something visibly wrong with them, like glowing red eyes or extra legs. They are sentient, understand every word said to them, and can contribute Ruach?!
Cast this immediately!
It too requires no binding and will be your "lifelong friend and companion, though it may have a warped idea of right and wrong", and also this spell is illegal and the OIS will visit you if you don't disguise your pet. Stats are provided for cats, ravens and snakes, and also there's a mini-lecture on picking a creature that will be "passable in everyday life" and isn't too alien. Prep Time: 6 Hours, Cast Time: 2 Hours.
- Summon Fetch summons a creepy little bipedal Outsider to help you out. They are sneaky, smart, can contribute Ruach to a ritual and assist, and will get you arrested if you're caught with one. On the bright side it doesn't need binding (though it will test the boundaries until you show it who's boss) and will be your "lifelong friend and companion, though it definitely has a warped idea of right and wrong". You can have as many fetches as you like, but more than three is just silly and they'll get into trouble unattended. They come in all shapes and sizes; stats are provided for Flying Imps, Fanged Dwarves and Carnivorous Amphibians. Prep Time: 1 Day, Cast Time: 6 Hours.
Beckon Shade Corpus
, also known as Craft Zombie because... yeah. Set up a dead body and let an alien intelligence crawl inside and animate it for you! It stops decay, so a fresh body is best. They are very clever and, unless bound, will eventually leave and wander the world unless destroyed. "Hey Angus, I quit!" "kay!" Prep Time: 2 Days, Cast Time: 12 Hours.
- Call Forth Gaunt summons a minor demon, useful as a spy or assassin. Gaunts are clever assholes and are usually bound to service. Dealing with a free-willed Gaunt is like taking care of a wolf who is also an asshole. They can contribute Ruach to rituals and will stick around until killed. Like literally every Summoning spell, it is illegal as balls. Prep Time: 2 Days, Cast Time: 1 Day.
- Call Forth Bakhi summons a greater demon! Also, it requires a mortal sacrifice of any age. Bakhis are intelligent, are great servants for the right price, and will probably fuck with your orders if you bind them. They can contribute Ruach and assist in rituals if you want to actually summon an alien asshole with Intellect 11. Here is a tip: Don't. Prep Time: 4 Days, Cast Time: 2 Days.
gives someone you don't like a magical disease. It doesn't kill, but over a week it will turn someone into a "wheezing, emaciated thing that's barely strong enough to whisper and crawl". Purify Form instantly cures it and an unweaving causes the effects to wear off over a month, or a week if mystically purified. Can you do that to a person? It requires a Contest, the caster's Occult against the victim's Tenacity Feat skill, and the caster gets a +2 Contest Modifier. Prep Time: 1 Day, Cast Time: 4 Hours.
quadruples a stabilised patient's rate of healing, prevents complications, leaves no scars, revives people from comas, etc. It doesn't work on creatures with natural regeneration. As you may have noticed, there are no combat healing spells. Prep Time: 6 Hours, Cast Time: 2 Hours.
- Thieve Visage lets you use something from a victim's body and two effigies to swap faces, hair and voice with someone else. Gender, height, weight, fingerprints and DNA do not change, but maybe you can impersonate someone roughly your shape who you have knocked out in your garage! It lasts a week but can be recharged. It requires the same Contest. More illegal than assault and battery. Prep Time: 1 Day, Cast Time: 6 Hours.
lets you influence someone's emotions, magnifying or dulling them as required. The emotion must be present in at least some form, so you can't make someone love you if they have don't at least feel a bit of affection, so
it only works if she wants ityou can't be creepy with it. Lasts for one month and can't be recharged, but if you "properly reinforce" the emotion, the change might stick. Occult +2 vs. Tenacity again. About as legal as kicking a judge in the face. Prep Time: 1 Day, Cast Time: 6 Hours.
- Purify Form is an actually pretty good healing spell! It "restores a being to its unadulterated and natural genetic state", curing everything from the flu and food poisoning to cancer and HIV and removing the Outsider Taint, if you were cursed with it and didn't get it by birth or a magical mishap. Doesn't accelerate healing, but who cares, it cures the fuck out of cancer! Prep Time: 2 Days, Cast Time: 1 Day.
- Curse of the Outsiders rewrites some poor sucker's genetic code, slapping them with the Outsider Taint Drawback. Or tentacle cock, if you prefer. Symptoms manifest over the course of the next 1d5 days. Tagers are immune. The change is permanent, unless the spell is unweaved or countered with Purify Form, but the NEG will still arrest you for testing just in case. They'll probably purify the victim, but that just makes this spell great for getting rid of someone for a week and putting them on a government watchlist. Great for trolling. Occult vs. Tenacity again, but this time the caster gets +4. Even less legal than molesting the Prime Minister's daughter's parrot while shooting pensioners. Prep Time: 1 Week, Cast Time: 3 Days. Also, ritual participants "must have debased and defiled their own bodies" for at least two of those prep days.
The spells all come with components and requirements which aren't bad for fluff, if you don't mind phrases like "ritual participants must have fasted for the one day of preparation, must be freshly bathed without perfume or deodorant, and wearing clean natural clothing" and "at least a 100 square foot reasonably undisturbed working space" being repeated over and over. And I'm going to be honest, I really like some of these - especially a few of the summons, and Contact Those Who Dwell Beyond (if "it fails lol" never happens, anyway).
On the other hand... the prep/cast times are balls , almost none of this will be useable in many adventures, casting anything provokes an Insanity Test, most of these spells take at least a month (up to 6 for Third Order) to learn, most of these spells are illegal, sorcerers are basically forced to get outside help or grow tentacle dicks to power more than a spell or two, the little mini-lectures on how to play the game right that are really starting to shit me, entire previous posts about sorcerers getting screwed over ...
You can just work for the NEG and cast most illegal spells anyway (or be very careful/shielded by the Eldritch Society), so I'm fine with the legality thing. The rest, though? Christ. I can understand that they wanted to do something more appropriate to the Cthulhu-Sama setting than your standard fireball-slinging magus or insta-healing cleric, but come on . Can we at least lower the cast time over here? There is no tit-fucking way this couldn't have been done without forcing the adventure to grind to a halt for a day or two every time the sorcerer wants to magic at something, no horseshit scenario in which taking six in-game months to learn a spell for finding out what sexy dreams your party members have been having is even remotely sensible, no slamdick words to describe how retarded the tome system is, how retarded this entire shitting chapter is when actually thinking about fun rather than properly simulating your Shinji-fucking setting for more than two seconds. I want to like this, I really do, but damn.
Beats Vancian casting though.
Next time: the thing that keeps me awake at night, the thing that terrifies me more than the cannibalism, the bloodshed, the violation, and the absolute and systematic eradication of anything that used to be Human in me, is that deep down inside I’m starting to like it.
Two Chapters, One PostOriginal SA post CthulhuTech: Two Chapters, One Post
Chapter Twelve: Unspeakable Horrors opens up with some fluff fiction about an NEG spy in the Rapine Storm. Apparently, humans in the Rapine Storm only get to do the grunt work, and the real army is made up of unspeakable monsters. So what possible purpose could sending someone to go undercover in the Rapine Storm have? I have no idea, especially considering:
I’ve helped exterminate entire villages and brutally tortured and murdered innocent people. I’ve eaten the flesh of my own kind – repeatedly and regularly. I’ve raped women to death. I’ve done worse to children after they were already dead.
There’s no way that anyone who hasn’t been here could possibly understand. What they show on the news has been sanitized for everyone’s “protection.” When I came out here, I never realized this was a one-way street. But the thing that keeps me awake at night, the thing that terrifies me more than the cannibalism, the bloodshed, the violation, and the absolute and systematic eradication of anything that used to be Human in me, is that deep down inside I’m starting to like it.
So, the monsters!
After the opener, the chapter is thankfully pretty mundane. Each statblock is for the average monster of its kind and mentions scale (most are Vitality), rough size, game stats, Fear Factor (the Degree of a Fear Test everyone has to make in its presence, most PCs will breeze a lot of these), two words that describe the creature's personality, and speed (in miles per hour and yards per turn, top speed/cautious speed). Simple! They all get portraits and artwork, which is kind of nice too, though whenever the portraits are collected together in a large picture they're out of order.
And now, a list!
are hyperintelligent winged demons from another part of the universe which are often summoned to assist sorcerers. Naturally, they twist orders around and corrupt their masters because they are assholes.
are humans turned into mind-slaves by the Migou. They can be anything from soldiers to sorcerers.
are the children of Dagon and the dudes who run the rape camps. Let's not talk about them.
are shadowy flying creatures the Cults summon as spies and assassins. They are described as "very, very clever", and their Intellect is 3.
are nocturnal predators with "eerily Human" faces who jump well, have been taught to use firearms and are the foot soldiers of the Rapine Storm, despite the fact that sunlight blinds them.
turn into Deep Ones within ten years of manifesting their alien traits and pilot the EOD's mecha.
have strange, alien emotions, except for hate. They have lots of hate. They hate so much.
- N'athim can shapeshift into mortals they have a body part from, and wherever they go people start to go insane. Good times!
... Are cultists, I guess. This doesn't really need a list. There are statblocks for the average member of each cult and the book suggests swapping them out for other Professions as needed. A sidebar describes some magical rituals that cultists have which the PCs mostly can't mimic - the Children of Chaos know the Rite of Transfiguration and can shapeshift, Dagonites use spells and hallucinogens to "soothe breeding stock" and pacify towns, Death Shadows make a special drug that "turns touch into an orgasmic sensation" and use the Shade Corpus ritual to create living sex dolls, and Disciples can influence the weather and form "summoning circles" that use large groups of casters to chain-summon a whole ton of creatures.
Are the lackeys of the Chrysalis Corporation and enemies of Tagers, less men who can turn into monsters and more the other way around. They can shift only part of their bodies at a time if they want to be a tentacled human for some reason, and they can still learn magic too! Good thing magic blows.
are tentacled amphibious things who act like those guys who do evil things solely because it says Chaotic Evil on their character sheets.
are smooth black urban predators who like killing people just for the hell of it. I guess Dhohanoids are huge trolls. They can swallow people whole and only killing the Elib or making them vomit will save them. Easy! Just show them this game.
are vaguely snakelike, secrete paralytic poison and fire poison needles from their mouths like machineguns. Unlike the last two they are professional and efficient.
are formless blobs which can slip through cracks and change shape at will. They have absolutely no recognisable emotions, and are also huge evil egomaniacs.
are winged insectoid creatures with a wide range of senses who are masters of multi-tasking and basically described as having ADHD.
- Zabuth are cyclopean monsters and the toughest of the Dhohanoids. They fight with tooth, claw and laser eyebeam and are also arrogant jerks.
All use the Integrity scale. Most are about 15-20ft. tall, so I imagine they're mostly fought by mecha and dudes in powered armour. You're a mortal with a machine gun who wants to fight a 10ft. tall monster with it? Too bad, Integrity Scale!
are gigantic works which use the Integrity scale and can swallow people. They are covered in corrosive acid which burns anyone who touches them, which doesn't appear to come up in its statblock, and swallowed targets simply die within a few turns. Can you save party members by killing the Bhole?
Apparently they're affiliated with the Rapine Storm.
are arachnid horrors who use illusions and go hunting for the cults of Hastur. They like to shove people in their mouths but don't have any swallow whole attacks, thankfully.
are great. Seriously, look at this fucking thing:
He looks like this is the happiest day of his life . They're the hounds of the Rapine Storm and have an actually hard Fear Factor of 22 when gibbering. They were originally created by rituals involving torturing dozens of people to death and combining them, but apparently now they can procreate on their own. Maybe that's why he looks so happy!
are alien insects summoned by the Rapine Storm which reproduce by laying eggs in piles of corpses. Good thing the Rapine Storm has a lot of those lying around! The sun kills them within minutes. Has the Rapine Storm considered summoning a monster who is also a morning person?
were allegedly "exiled to dimensions beyond our own for their atrocities in the mortal realm". By who? What did they do which got them kicked out while Grave Things and those rape furries from
get to stay? What, is this, RPGNet?
are even more monsters tamed and used as shock troops by the Rapine Storm. Nobody is sure if they were summoned or just awoken. They have some wicked awesome vertebrae.
are reptilian birds which fight in the skies for the Storm. Huge jerks.
- Spawn are the "true children of R'lyeh" and very rare. They help the EOD find Cthulhu so they can fuck the world with him. They are hilariously tough fighters and "among the most skilled sorcerers on Earth". Orgone: only 15.
That's about it, really. The last page of the chapter lists monsters found in each cult and gives advice for Storyguides - you should use monsters sparingly to keep them frightening, hint at their presence before they appear, and give them long and creepy descriptions. Not terrible advice, to be honest. It also suggests modifying the statblocks to keep them varied and individual, or even giving monsters powers they normally wouldn't have to mix it up (also a good idea, if you don't do it too often.) We're told to see Chapter Fifteen for more, and paging ahead reveals brief rules for advancing monsters.
After that is Chapter Thirteen: Vehicular Homicide. It is twelve pages of descriptions and stats for cars, bikes, ships, non-mecha military vehicles (not many!), etc. Want a car chase scene between a four-door sedan and a luxury sports car? It's all right here, and also super boring. I'm just going to drop in some "art" of vehicles in CthulhuTech and a sidebar from the stats for NEG and Migou capital ships and move on.
Things like capital ships are on a scale that’s above even Integrity. This scale is called Hull scale and just as one point of Integrity is worth 50 points of Vitality, one point of Hull is worth 50 points of Integrity. Use all the rules that apply for Vitality/Integrity interactions for Integrity/Hull interactions – it’s safe to say that Vitality-scale things can’t damage Hull-scale things.
Not all weapons on a Hull-scale ship do Hull-scale damage. Hullscale weapons are really only designed to fight against other slow maneuvering Hull-scale craft and take significant penalties trying to hit anything smaller (use a –8 Test Penalty for now). Thus, these ships are equipped with arrays of Integrity-scale weaponry that are more than capable of destroying incoming mecha and fighters.
These stats and rules are temporary and have been included so that you can use these important craft with your game. Future CthulhuTech supplements will provide more detailed rules for craft on this scale.
Next time: As we reach the end, the first Storyguide-only chapter teaches us about the occult lore of the setting, dangles some plot hooks, torpedos any hope anyone had of using the Dreamlands in this setting, and assures us that Cthulhu is fictional.
I Really Should Stop Posting That Fucking LogoOriginal SA post
CthulhuTech: I Really Should Stop Posting That Fucking Logo
We're nearing the end of the book now! It's time to get stuck into the GM section you find at the back of every book ever. Huge shock, it starts with the ISO 9000 Standard GMs-Only Warning:
Note: This chapter is meant for Storyguides only. If you’re a player, you might want to stop reading so you don’t spoil the surprise.
Okay, we know that even if you only intend to play CthulhuTech that you’re probably reading on. In fact you probably want to read this chapter even more now. Go ahead – just pretend you don’t know any of it when you’re playing.
I feel kind of silly pointing that out, actually. It's almost like saying "This book has a cover" or "CthulhuTech is actually pretty terrible".
Anyway, this is Chapter Fourteen: Parting the Veil .
This chapter presents the dark and secret truths of the world. It digs deep to show the truth behind the occult. Some of what you see here is specifically inspired by the cosmic horror of Howard P. Lovecraft. However, creative license has been applied in most cases to create something unique to the CthulhuTech setting.
So, the first part of this chapter is The Secret History of the World , all the shit that went down in ancient times. Most of it isn't new, but here we go!
First, we deal with the Polypous Racep . At some point in Earth's history, they dominated the planet. They were polypous. Though they occasionally "ran afoul of the Elder Race", they were the masters of-- hang on, why the fuck are we starting with the Polypous Race when they weren't here first?
Oh well, whatever. Anyway, the indigenous creatures the Polypous Race liked to eat turned out to be the Great Race , who weren't going to put up with that shit from a polypous anything , so they seal them underground. Then the Great Race, aware that the Polypous Race would eventually free themselves and shit all over them, projected themselves forward through time to find new hosts long after humanity had died out. When the Polypous freed themselves, the Great Race were gone. What happened to either of these guys? Nobody knows!
Afterwards came the Old Ones, who warred with the Elder Race. Why are we not covering them first? Cthulhu and his Spawn showed up first and warred with the Elder Race for the planet, then Hastur, Shub-Africanamericanath and Gurathnaka - hey, a new homebrew Old One! - at which point the Elder Race threw up their hand analogues, took their ball and went
Afterwards came the Elder Race - no, sorry, they were here before the Polypous Race. Why are we only just getting to them now? Anyway, they came before everyone else, and outlasted even the Old Ones. They really liked peace, but ended up warring with nearly every other inhabitant of the planet ever. After the Old Ones left, the Elder Race moved back to their land cities because of problems with their Shoggoths, which they warred with. Then the Migou showed up to plunder the Earth's resources, and they had yet another war, when suddenly:
It was then that the Elder Race discovered that they had lost the secrets of interstellar travel. The Migou drove them back to the seas and to their city in the Antarctic. The Ice Age eventually came and as the cold encroached, the Elder Race retreated to an underwater city beneath their greatest cities. This was the end of them. While ruins that have been suspected to be Elder Race cities have been found, they are gone.
How did an entire race not only completely forget how to build spaceships, but be unable to build new ones despite being an advanced civilisation for millions of years? Buggered if I know. Anyway, the Migou set up in the northern hemisphere and were content to maintain outposts rather than stick around, which makes me wonder why they had to war with the Elder Race in the first place but whatever. Anyway, they've been lurking in the shadows to experiment on humans and nick resources for a long time now.
Then humans show up and the story fast-forwards to the Strange Aeon, the time when the stars become right and the Old Ones begin to encroach on the world again. Dramatic chord!
After that comes The Major Races , which describes some dudes who are or have been on Earth at some point. We've got Deep Ones again, more on the Elder Race and the Great Race, Humans, Migou and Valusians, a rumoured civilisation of reptile-men which went down with the Ice Age and potential plot hook. The Elder Race is also dangled as a potential ally in the future, and I'm not sure whether either is going to factor into the metaplot at some point.
Then we have Terrible Deities ! Everything you wanted to know about Azathoth, Nyarlathotep, Yog-Sothoth and more, but we already know most of them anyway. The Endless Ones are a part of the universe itself, Nyarlathotep is helping the Old Ones return and a massive troll, etc. We get to find out about the Forgotten Ones, though - basically, they're the lost godlike beings which are pretty much like the Elder Gods of post-Lovecraft Mythos, but homebrew!
is apparently responsible for the
and the ruined city they were found in. Not much else is known about him. The Eldritch Society sort-of revere him like knights would a saint, but are careful about it since they don't know much about him.
was worshipped by the greeks as Hypnos, god of sleep. Master of time and dreams, may be connected to the Dreamlands and/or the Hounds.
is some kind of great manipulator and believes that only the strongest should survive. Possibly connected to Yog-Sothoth, may have used its "mastery of the dimensions" to exile the Old Ones, only mentioned in the Fragments.
- Savaty'ya is a patron of dreamers and visionaries, a being which has "evolved to a level where its mere presence transmutes the primal energies of the universe". May be questing to become the most powerful deity in the universe, which probably wouldn't be a good thing. Also, his more well-known avatar is Nodens.
After a section on the influence of these gods which I am going to skip, there's a list of Secret Places . The first one is the Dreamlands, which boils down to "the Dreamlands is gone, the end". If you try to go there you die or go insane. Then there's Leng, the mythical place near Tibet where Hastur sits around his palace waiting for his servants to do his business. Kadath is an onyx castle on a mountain peak in a cold waste somewhere which is apparently a place of power, and that's all anyone knows. Plot hook! R'lyeh is where Cthulhu chills while the EOD try to find it. The end.
Dimensions goes over the World of Elements again - there's the three dimensions of the physical plane, then the fourth dimension of time and vitality which "locks life into mortality and is what channels the primordial energy of the universe into life". Every dimension above that one is unbound by time - the fifth is the realm of thoughts and emotions, then there's the Astral Plane, a "plane of pure essence" wrapped around all the lower dimensions which enables disembodied travel if you tap into it.
After the World of Elements is the sixth dimension, of "the soul and true universal causality", which gives you power over life and death if you tap into it, then the Archetypal World which nobody knows much about (it's "supposedly a place of the primal essences of the universe", whatever that is), and finally the Null Dimension, or the Source, or Where Azathoth Chillaxes, where all energy in the universe flows from. All of these dimensions "co-exist within each other at every point in all times much like the layers of an onion", which sort of makes sense if you don't wonder what an onion that co-exists within itself looks like. Anything that exists in the higher worlds is called an Outsider.
Also, stars are actually rips in the universe where the power of the Source flows into all dimensions at once. Since I am a physics nerd my first thought is immediately "So what are supernovae? Neutron stars? Pulsars? Black holes? Magnetars?", and I'm pretty sure the correct answer is "It's just a game, don't be an asshole". This is why the positions of the stars are important in magic rituals. Incidentally:
The Eternal Verities
When discussing the eternal verities, it’s important to point out that this is a fictional framework. It is derived from the cosmology of H. P. Lovecraft’s fiction and Hebrew Kabbalah with some Gnostic thought and a liberal dosage of pure creativity to round it out. If you have deeply held religious beliefs that don’t agree with this framework, either change the setting to make you comfortable or just remember that this is a work of fiction and not a theological discourse.
In that vein, this framework assumes that there is no heaven or hell, or any other eternal resting place for souls. It does assume that souls are eternal and have one of two paths. Some become unbound in time and capable of traversing higher dimensions. Others – most souls – re-enter existence through incarnation, carrying their eternal memories shrouded in the back of their minds. What the final purpose of this seemingly never-ending cycle is remains a mystery even to those who have ascended to find homes outside the World of Elements.
That section is followed with a bit about how magic and para-psychic power are based on an understanding of how the universe really works, and para-psychic power is based on an intuitive understanding while magic comes from intense study. Most people can't draw magic from the higher dimensions, but the Old Ones can, which is what makes them so amazing.
Finally, there's some stuff on Cults, which explains how they normally come about - either they discover the Old Ones and decide to worship them, or they are contacted directly by one (usually through dreams), changing their mindset forever. Then it restates the distinction between Major Cults (the ones I covered earlier) and Minor Cults, which don't get a writeup. Some of them are satellites of the major Cults that recruit fresh blood for them.
And... that's it! Fun fact: Wildfire's other RPG, Chthonian Stars, has this chapter copy-pasted into it and reworded slightly. Most of the Secret Places are hinted to maybe be on other planets instead, that kind of thing.
Next time: Hey, you know what's less important than and should go after a chapter about how the Mythos fits into CthulhuTech? Advice on how to be a good GM.
Storyguiding For DummiesOriginal SA post CthulhuTech: Storyguiding For Dummies
And now we're on Chapter Fifteen: The Honored Guide . I'm going to do two chapters in this post, so one to go. We can do it! We can...
This chapter will help give you an idea of how to be an efficient Storyguide. It talks about Storyguiding tips, story structure, story themes, and more. It also will teach you how to award Experience to your Dramatic Characters after each episode. Combined with the stories we’ve made for you in the next chapter, you should be ready to get right to it.
So, yeah. GM tips! Some of this is actually pretty alright so I'm going to skim it a little. If someone reads it and disagrees with something I didn't cover, go nuts, but mostly I'm trying to skip the "you need to know the rules and have some planning and schedule a game" stuff.
After that we have some stuff about The Story.
The story is the most important thing, period. If you have a good story, complete with good flow and dramatic moments, your game will soar. If your story is less than good, your game will flounder – even if the Dramatic Characters are compelling in their own right. In this section, we’ll talk about story structure and teach you about classic and mythic form. These forms have existed for centuries and are tried and true methods of telling and pacing a compelling story.
Oh! You were so close there, CTech. So, so close. I mean, that's a nice sentiment, but - wait, no! We are not having a fucking discussion about roleplaying theory, CthulhuTech! You dirty little whore. You'd like that, wouldn't you?
The next section outlines two ways of telling your story - Classic and Mythic. In the Classic structure the story is divided into three acts - introduction, the bulk of the plox and climax, basically. The first should end in a twist, and the second in a dark twist that spells trouble for the characters. Meanwhile, Mythic structure is just an outline of the standard stuff from Joseph Campbell's Hero With A Thousand Faces . As advice for new GMs goes, it isn't too shabby.
After that comes Themes, which explains themes common to both "mecha anime" and "eldritch horror" and how CthulhuTech tries to fuse them. Sure, let's see what CTech thinks these themes are!
For Mecha Anime we have:
are... apparently universal to a lot of things, but mecha anime uses them a lot! The young brash hero who needs to learn more, the old wise mentor, blah blah blah... apparently, "helping steer Characters into familiar roles" and creating suitable NPCs, you'll be "one step closer to that anime feel".
means skipping the "quiet plots about personal introspection" because mecha anime is about BIG MOMENTS and BIG ACTION!
is what it sounds like. No matter how shitty the odds are, people will rise again. (I assume running Cthulhu Toppa Gurren Lagann is playing CthulhuTech wrong though.)
- Soap Opera means human drama! Love plots, seeking your father's approval, best friend crushes, love triangles! "If you don’t have at least one brooding element and one sincerely complicated love interest in your story, you’re missing out".
It starts off as general unease but becomes intense fear as you start to unravel the truth of things! WoooOOOooo!
Fear & Insanity!
Scary things! Spooky cults! Corruption! Things your mind isn't meant to handle! The truth nature of the universe is dark and gruesome! WooooOOOOooooOOOO! (PCs get a lot of therapy to help though. Therapy! WooooOOOOooooOOOOoooo!)
Something bad is about to happen! WOOOoooOOOoooOOO!!
Point of No Hope!
The moment you realise your efforts to stop evil will be futile! The world refuses to believe the truth! Oh Nooooooooo!
Things you don't know! The real world laying beyond the illusion of human society! Negroes! Wait, we're not doing that part of Lovecraft? All right then. Things you don't know! OH NO!!
- Tragedy! Most stories in eldritch horror end in death or insanity! Evil wins! Or the PCs have a phyrric victory! Nice things happen in CthulhuTech, but not often enough! OOOH NNOOOOO!!!
Okay enough of that shit.
So, afterwards the book recommends a balance between the two. Humanity as a whole has reason to hope, but there are plenty of moments of hopelessness on the individual level. Characters should have enough victories to believe standing tall and pushing on is worth it.
Then, we get to Play Styles! These are the three kinds of story presented in the Core Book - NEG stories, Engel stories, and Eldritch Society stories. Actually, NEG stories (the most common style, apparnetly) have so many ways they could be run the book lists ten:
The magic black market! I almost typed "magic black marker" and have a new idea for an adventure.
Anything from drug running to brainwashing to assassination
Work for the Ashcroft Foundation and do business! Work for some other company! Work for the Chrysalis Corporation and be oblivious!
Root out Cult spies, Blanks, Hybrids and Dhohanoids in the NEG!
Go undercover to infiltrate cults and other organisations and steal their intelligence! If the NEG asks you to infiltrate the Rapine Storm say no.
Wish you were at least playing The Laundry RPGInformation gathering, hacking, surveillance, and spying! Like Espionage but less hands-on.
One of the main types of NEG story! You dig giant robots! I dig giant robots! We dig giant robots! Chicks dig giant robots!
Military Special Forces:
Living on the edge as a military squad performing dangerous missions! (Ask for the powered armour!)
Work with the police, or the Federal Security Bureau (FSB), or the NSA, or the FBI, or the OIS, or hell, the BBC!
- Research: Be scientists and technicians solving problems! Puzzle-based gameplay! DO NOT BE A SORCERER.
Meanwhile, Engel stories are about being awesome while knowing today might be your last. Remember that no teenagers are allowed though. You can have people in normal mecha, and they'll get a slice of the action too! Even regular support staff, as long as they don't mind not seeing combat! Eldritch Society stories are "street level" and gritty and secret. Tagers are mysterious, interesting, and lethal (their words). You could also be a Lorekeeper (an occultist who maintains the Society's archives) or a Sorcerer, though as covered earlier, that's dumb.
Next, Supporting Cast! This advice chapter splits NPCs into four categories - Minor Supporting Characters which are basically scenery, like the party wizard's neighbour or the Tager's tailor. Key Supporting Characters are more important and "almost Dramatic Characters in their own right", like the group's commanding officer, love interests, etc. Minor Antagonists are most of the bad guys you fight, like mook Cultists, Migou soldiers and "most Dhohanoids". Finally, Key Antagonists are the important and possibly recurring villains.
Then it tells us how to stat these NPCs, based - Inexperienced Supporting Characters use Profession Templates and are basically starting PCs minus the Cheats, Experienced ones get 40 points for Attributes and 40 points for skills (plus 3-4 Attribute points and 5 skills for monsters), and Veterans get 45 Attribute points and 60 skill points (+6-8 Attributes, 5-10 skills for monsters). They get gear and spells as you need them.
Some Supporting Cast Characters have Drama Points! God damn, do they have to write this shit out every time to remind us CTech has its own clever RPG words?
Some Supporting Cast Characters may have Drama Points – usually both Key Supporting and Antagonist Characters. You should assign them a reasonable amount of Drama Points based on the Character’s level of experience. Inexperienced Supporting Characters should receive around 10, Experienced Supporting Characters should receive around 15, and Veteran Supporting Characters should receive 20 Drama Points.
Oh, also you should give key Supporting Cast Characters half the experience the players get (or 1-2 exp per episode they're in), to keep them interesting. Speaking of experience, though, how do PCs level?
The next section explains that knowing how much Experience to hand out is tricky, but you should hand it out based on how often you play. If you play "regularly" (once a week or once every other week), you should give everyone 5 EXP per episode. Infrequently? 10 per episode. That's the standard.
I'm just going to post the next paragraph.
This metaplot is TOO BIG to WAIT UNTIL THE END OF THE PARAGRAPH.
Also, some extra stuff: If someone does something awesome, give him 1-2 Experience (but not too often). Don't deduct it for bad behaviour - the book stresses that you should confront them honestly instead. If you study or train in a skill for a week (for at least 20 hours), you get 1 Experience to go towards that skill only.
And hey, why not! An optional rule suggests giving 5 Experience before the game even starts if they write up a decent character background and a "well thought out personality description".
So, 5 exp per session, normally. What does that get you? I skipped that all the way at the end of chapter 5. Mashing the different sections together:
• To increase an Attribute of 4 or higher by one point costs a number of Experience equal to the Attribute’s current rating x 5.
• To increase an Attribute of 3 or lower costs a number of Experience equal to the Attribute’s current rating x 10.
• Once your Character has completed his training, spend 5 Experience to learn the new skill at a Student level of expertise.
• To develop from Student to Novice costs 10 Experience.
• To develop from Novice to Adept costs 20 Experience.
• To develop from Adept to Expert costs 20 Experience.
• To develop from Expert to Master costs 30 Experience.
• To become Focused in an area costs 15 Experience.
• To become a Specialist in an area from being Focused costs 20 Experience.
• To increase Orgone by one point costs a number of Experience equal to your Character’s current Orgone rating.
• To learn a new First Order Protection or Scrying spell costs 10 Experience.
• To learn a new Second Order Protection or Scrying spell costs 20 Experience.
• To learn a new Third Order Protection or Scrying spell costs 30 Experience.
• To learn a new First Order Enchantment, Summoning, or Transmogrification spell costs 15 Experience.
• To learn a new Second Order Enchantment, Summoning, or Transmogrification spell costs 30 Experience.
• To learn a new Third Order Enchantment, Summoning, or Transmogrification spell costs 50 Experience.
• Removing a Drawback or acquiring a new Asset worth one point costs 5 Experience.
• Removing a Drawback or acquiring a new Asset worth two points costs 15 Experience.
• Removing a Drawback or acquiring a new Asset worth three points costs 35 Experience.
• Removing a Drawback or acquiring a new Asset worth four points costs 55 Experience.
Are you fucking KIDDING ME?
Who playtested this? Which dorkorca decided these fucking glacial rules were a good idea? Improving a single skill out of the batch you have takes goddamn months of sessions. And that's not even getting into sorcerers. Learning a motherfucking spell , abandoning all else, takes anywhere between two to ten sessions worth of Experience. One fucking spell. That's not even getting into tomes again. Raising Orgone by one point can take weeks.
Afterwards is some shit about recovering Drama Points. Players start with 10 and can stockpile up to 20. If the player spent Drama Points at a "critical or dramatic" moment he gets them all back at the end of the episode +1, if they used them out of necessity they get them back at the end of the episode, and if they had to blow them "because of his own carelessness" he doesn't get the ones he spent back, but he can purchase them back at 1 Experience each.
10 Tips For A Storyguide! Last section in this chapter. They're not bad tips. Don't be a rules slave, don't be too generous or too mean, don't railroad, expect to be surprised by the PCs, don't be afraid to use things bigger and scarier than the PCs where appropriate, plan your gaming day and commit to it, etc.
So, fuck it, skipping ahead to skim the next chapter, Chapter Sixteen: The Population . It's a list of premade Supporting Cast Characters of various experience levels, complete with little backstories. Most of them are at least a little dysfunctional. I'm going to list them, and you're going to guess the odd one out!
Arcanotechnician: Tariq al-Sayyed
Arcanotech Engineer: Mizzy
Bouncer: Zerga the Bloody
Burglar: Larissa Kane
Combat Soldier: Elisa McEvers
Corporate Executive: Lu Kwang
Exotic Dancer: Sabrina D’Aubigne
Fence: Myles Brenham
Hacker: Reneda the Worm
Mech Pilot: Major Klanady “Black Widow”
NEG Government Politician: Catavy
NEG Military Officer: Colonel George Ramsay
Occult Scholar: Dr. Richard Woodhouse
Police Officer: Magoma Gnassingbe
Radical Artist: Morgan Gates
Scientist: Dr. Dasomy
Security Guard: Howard Smith
Sorcerer (Independent): Vinson Forsythe
Sorcerer (OIS): Hitomi Ichikawa
Sorcerer (Rogue): Ukrida
Street Tough: Drokata the Stick
SWAT Officer: Roberto Fuentes
Tager: Dolph Schnitzler (Nightmare)
Tager: Danielle Hunter (Phantom)
Tager: Talorga (Shadow)
Tager: Somesh Biswas (Whisper)
If you guessed "Exotic Dancer: Sabrina D’Aubigne", you're wrong. The answer is none of them because obviously these are all appropriate to CthulhuTech.
“Stripping” might have been seen as something seedy over eighty years ago. But, Sabrina doesn’t strip – she expresses herself with what is today considered high-class nude performance art. Her body is her easel and the graceful flow of her movements is the color of her creation. Trained in the most exclusive of Parisian dance academies, Sabrina has built a considerable reputation among the higher classes of society. She detests violence in all forms and outside of her performances she is a very private person. However, her exposure to highclass audiences could certainly make her an excellent information contact for those who earn her trust.
Next time: Sample adventures.
Choo Choo!Original SA post
CthulhuTech: Choo choo!
Okay, I promised to stop using that fucking logo, but this is the finale! WE ARE MAKING AN EXCEPTION.
The final chapter is Chapter Seventeen: War, Fear and Vendetta . It presents two sample adventures and some story seeds to help Storyguides along. They "should require little effort on your part to prepare", according to the book.
No maps or statblocks are provided whatsoever. I guess you're supposed to make your own, or just use the base statblocks from other chapters? That would sort of make sense, I guess. Still, that means this sample adventure is mostly going to be words.
The first one is an adventure for NEG military mecha pilots, so those characters we rolled earlier can't be used because no tagers are allowed in the military. Instead everyone rolls new characters - Minerva the mecha pilot, Nomany-chan the arcanotechnician and powered armour pilot, Ken Shadowwalker the mysterious stealth mecha pilot, Vash Yukkuri the sorcerer mecha pilot and Kai Bachika the manly mecha pilot. Perfect!
“Death and Victory” is the story of the newly commissioned battlecruiser NES Victory and the heroic members of her crew that must infiltrate deep into enemy territory in order to retrieve an artifact of an ancient and horrible past.
There's a page-long prologue where a mysterious figure makes a mysterious deal with a doctor and kills him to cover up the evidence, or something. Lots of generic "You didn't speak to anyone else about this, right? " stuff going on. Paul skips it.
Next, a summary of the first Scene, "Wargames", wherein the PCs participate in some demonstration wargames by the NES Victory to impress a crowd of government dignitaries and military VIPs at Fort Ord, CA. This is actually explained in the opening fluff text for the chapter (a news story about the war effort) and skimmed over in the scene description, but whatever.
The summary includes the NPCs (I reguse to use their shitty terms) the PCs will encounter - Roy Adkins the inexperienced mecha pilot who tags along with the PCs, Alexis Lockhart the experienced mecha pilot attention whore who participates but doesn't back anyone up, Commander William Donnelly the PC's commander, and Captain Julia Kawashima who debriefs the PCs after the mission and congratulates them.
None of these NPCs are mentioned again in this scene.
They get no statblocks (but their experience levels are provided so the GM can stat them up), their exact function in this Scene is up to the GM, and Roy and Alexis aren't mentioned again. The GM is just told to use them and left to sort that shit out on his own. What?
Oh, and here's a fun game. Let's count how many NPCs of which gender are described in terms of their physical appearance.
Roy Adkins (male)
: No description of physical appearance.
Alexis Lockhart (female)
: "Extremely beautiful".
: No description.
- Captain Julia : "Attractive and elegant for her age".
The Migou realises the cthat is out of the shub-bag and bails towards the ocean, where two Migou Spinners appear and dump some NEG mecha pilot blanks to attack the group while the Dragonfly makes a runaway. Since Julia apparently exists to congratulate the PCs on defeating Migou forces, Ken and Vash tear the Blanks to shreds while Kai and Minerva tackle the Dragonfly to the ground and curb-stomp it.
And now, Scene 2, "Nightmare"! Set aboard the NES Victory, the PCs familiarise themselves with it and meet some of the characters on board before getting a new mission. One of the stated goals is "Meet Laura Briggs and have her form an attachment with one of the Characters". Well okay then.
The NPCs listed are Laura Briggs (a GIA agent, meant to be a love interest), Viktor Tabanov (Laura's superior, secretly an antagonist with the Children of Chaos), Patrick Milligen (a good-humoured arcanotechnician who services the PCs), and Maria Sanz (manages the NES Victory's bar and rec room). Time to play the gender game!
Laura Briggs (female)
: "Sexy and knows how to use her feminine charms to get what she wants".
Viktor Tabanov (male)
: "Excellent physical shape".
Patrick Mulligen (male)
: No description.
- Maria Sanz (female) : "Pretty".
At some point, the PCs are called up to meet Laura, here to appraise the mecha pilots as potential recruits for a special mission. The PCs don't get to know that, but the adventure adds that she is "gorgeous". The GM is instructed to have her "hit it off with one of the Characters immediately; her personal interest barely constrained by her sense of professionalism." Let's say it's Kai because he's a manly maverick and hope the GM didn't decide to steal the "everyone who kisses the love interest dies" bit from TTGL too. Later that evening, Kai runs into her alone on the ship somewhere. Apparently, this is important. She is staring off into space, but a touch from Kai will wake her up. When he does that, his head spins - you see, Laura is secretly "under the influence of some external magical power" and Kai's touch has "interfered somehow". Only a Difficult Observation Test can detect anything wrong, and only someone "schooled in the occult" knows what, so Kai is probably fucked. Oh well! Later, Kai has a nightmare: a wrecked airport full of corpses (including one of the other PCs!) with a Zabuth Dhohanoid looming over him. It scares the shit out of him, the sidebar assures us. Well okay then.
The next day the PCs are summoned to a debriefing with Commander Donnelly, Captain Kawashima (there she is!), Laura and Viktor and told they are being sent on a special mission! The city of Juneau, Alaska fell recently, but there's a top-secret ancient artifact in the hands of some professor who went missing when his flight from Tokyo to America stopped in Juneau just as the Migou attacked which the government want back. The PCs are assigned to sneak in and grab it from under the nose of the Migou - well, actually they are making the initial strike and clearing the way for an "insertion team". Everyone says sure, why not?
Scene 3, "Mission"! The setting is the Juneau International Airport ( dun dun dun! ) and the NPCs are: Lt. Klaus Ackerman, the leader of a security squad contracted by Tabanov who just happens to be a Zabuth; John Russell, a professor and geology expert who was driven mad by the artifact; Cindy Wells, Russell's assistant who's kind of into him; and Heather Dering, a Tager who happens to be after the artifact as well ( dun dun dun! ).
Klaus Ackerman, (male)
: No description.
John Russell, (male)
: No description.
Cindy Wells (female)
- Heather Dering (female) : "Beautiful, redhead".
Make a few Contests with the Migou to make the moment dramatic for the Characters.
What's the Difficulty? It doesn't say. Paul shrugs, sets his own, and as the players hold their breath, makes four checks and succeeds on all of them. He reads on to see what happens next.
After a few intense moments, the radar contact appears to change course to intercept. “Alpha One, this Echo Niner Seven. Bogies have altered course and seem to be headed your way, over.”
Suddenly aware that he was meant to pretend to roll while railroading the PCs, Paul coughs and announces that actually they didn't pass after all.
Minerva's player narrows his eyes.
Laura asks the Characters what to do next - order the fighters to intercept and create a diversion or make a run for it and try to dodge? The PCs vote for a diversion and Paul, cowed by the glares of the players, announces that the fighters totally demolish the Migou as they bail.
The PCs land near the airport and sneak in (in their mecha). Some Blank mecha and a Migou Scorpion are there, as well as some Blank powered armour units herding roughly 200 captured humans into a checkpoint, where they are either sent into a building to be assimilated or forced into a killing field and executed. The rough positions of the mecha units are mentioned, but there is no map. The Storyguide is encouraged to raise or lower the number of mecha to make it an appropriate challenge. Naturally, a fight starts! The PCs surprise the group; according to the book, the Blanks immediately attempt to slaughter the remaining humans. Gasp!
The group leaps into action. Minerva, Kai and Nomany-chan bravely rush ahead and completely wreck the powered armour squad while Ken and Vash charge the other Blanks; the Blanks respond because they're not stupid, but it is too late. Once the Blanks are demolished, the Migou mecha is next to follow. Also, for some reason none of these guys contact other Migou, I guess? Anyway, Paul consults the book to see what they should do about the humans:
Tension during the assault is further raised by the fact that any Blank controlled mecha or powered armor troopers will execute the remaining Humans wholesale once they realize they are under attack. There should only be thirty or forty survivors.
Paul coughs and announces a building falls on some of the survivors for no particular reason.
Minerva's player narrows his eyes.
There's a description of the airport after this, including how many buildings there are and their positions. There is no map. After their ride lands, Laura Briggs and Ackerman's security escort disembark and order the characters out of their mecha, then has them round up the survivors and assess how to evacuate them. Kai is passed a note saying he feels déjà vu. Spooky!
John Russell and Cindy Wells are in the crowd, and Russell starts flipping out about his missing "clasp". While someone tryies to calm him down, Cindy explains the deal - he discovered an ancient clasp which might be part of a larger artifact, he misplaced it during the attack, now he's paranoid and panicking. Laura confirms that it's what they're after and Cindy escorts them to where she last saw it while a hysterical Russell insists that only he can touch it. Apparently he's ignored?
Anyway, they walk to another terminal, and fifteen minutes of walking through rain, wind and dead bodies later, they make it! Their lookout suggests hurrying - why didn't they take their mecha if they wanted to move fast? - and Cindy stands outside the terminal until a PC comforts and coaxes her in. Then they head to a food court and search. Paul has them make several Observation Tests, because it says to do that before letting them discover the artifact under a chair. It looks like a jewellery clasp, only there's something mysterious and alien about it!
Everyone feels dread, then Cindy screams! Oh no! Dramatic lightning flashes (yes this happens) illuminate a dead Migou surrounded by a handful of dead humans. Then everyone can leave.
When they get back to the civilians Russell has calmed down, and he asks to see the clasp, then:
Once he does, he will attempt to wrestle it away from the Characters shouting that it’s his. Laura will try to stop him, but he grabs an object nearby and knocks her out cold. He will fail to retrieve the piece. If he is not restrained or shot on sight, he will dart into the night screaming like a madman. Cindy will chase after him if no one stops her, never to be seen again.
Well okay then.
Suddenly, Heather Dering finally shows up! (The book specifies that she is a beautiful redhead again.) The Tager has come to get the artifact, by which I mean she demands the Characters give the clasp to this stranger for the sake of the world. Nobody does, because that is retarded. If the players attack, she turns into a Shadow Tager and vanishes; if they try to talk her, she explains the clasp is part of an ancient relic which would mean bad things for mankind if assembled. She says she is part of a secret society, but refuses to name it.
DOUBLE SUDDENLY, Heather realises Ackerman is a Dhohanoid. Once she does, some dramatic monologuing occurs from Laura, who is suddenly possessed and has a Russian accent. It's probably supposed to be Viktor, who hasn't actually been mentioned for a while. After something dramatic about getting rid of loose ends, Ackerman and his five pals turn into Dhohanoids! One of them grabs the clasp and makes a run for it. Vash's player asks if they can have a Contest, since Vash is kind of holding it. Paul says no, because the book says that's what he does. The Zabuth attacks Heather and the rest go after either civilians or the Characters. So how does the fight go? Well:
Heather will shift into her Shadow form and attempt to beeline for the clasp until she is waylaid by a Dhohanoid. The rest of the insurgent team members will attempt to put up a fight. The Dhohanoid attack will be ruthless and brutal and many innocents will die. Laura will eventually rise and shamble toward the exit as if sleepwalking, while a couple Dhohanoids protect her. The Characters should be kept busy enough (add more Dhohanoids if necessary) that they will be unable to prevent Laura from leaving the building. Heather screams to the Characters to stop Laura from getting away. The Characters’ goal should be to get out of the cargo terminal alive and stop Laura before she gets to the C-10 and takes off with the artifact.
Also, uh oh! Looks like more Migou are on the way! Minerva and her pals have to find a way to stop the Dhohanoids taking off with the artifact, probably killing Laura, while contending "with leaving their own mecha behind versus leaving civilians behind while fighting off enemy mecha". While the group kills the Dhohanoids, they unanimously decide fuck the mecha, they're grabbing the civilians and making a run for it. Paul assumes this works, because the book doesn't dictate how many civilians should die. Then, they find Laura, the damsel in distress!
Should the Characters manage to stop the C-10 from leaving, dispatch the Dhohanoids, and retrieve the artifact they will find Laura in a weakened state slumped over a chair. Her breath is labored and her pulse is weak.
She will say softly in a Russian accent, “It would seem... that I... underestimated you. You are resourceful and... I congratulate you. However, for the setback... you have cost me... you will one day pay. And the artifact you now hold… I will one day possess. This... I promise you. Until... we meet again.” Laura takes a ragged gasp of air as whatever held her releases her. Her eyes clear and return to their normal state. In a moment of recognition she whispers the name of the Character she had been involved with, then she begins to cry uncontrollably. She is weak and in need of medical attention.
And... the epilogue! Laura is in the hospital and probably going to a psych ward for a while, but she'll be fine, the NEG has locked the clasp away somewhere, Viktor disappeared, and the PCs are debriefed in Washington. While they sit around in a waiting room, in walks... Heather, in a naval officer's uniform.
“Gentlemen, please don’t get up. You are about to face a panel of New Earth Government officials who will be asking some rather pointed questions. I have come here, with a certain amount of difficulty, to ask a simple question. The nature of my work is confidential and I would like to keep it that way, if you know what I mean. Can I count on you?”
After a brief argument, the PCs decide to agree, and Heather thanks them with a smile. This is a good thing, bcause if they didn't she would threaten them - she is a Tager, and they are unarmed and unarmoured right now.
Minerva's player asks how, if Tagers in the military is doing it wrong and non-canon, Heather is a naval officer.
"Fuck off," Paul says.
Coming right up: Hot Merchandise, the final adventure. If you haven't started hating Cthulhutech yet, you're probably about to.
StaredogOriginal SA post
This is an introductory story for those interested in starting an Eldritch Society game. It assumes that most if not all of the Dramatic Characters are Tagers, and any other mix will require you to tone down parts. The story follows a group of Tagers tailing a group of Chrysalis Corporation operatives into Seattle. Ultimately, they become embroiled in much larger plots going on in the shadows of the arcology.
There’s a lot going on in this story, so this description is going to move pretty fast. You will, of course, want to slow things down in the appropriate places and take your time with it. You may have to create additional details as you go, but that personal touch will make this story your own.
Yep, it's a Tager adventure! Time to bust out Athena and co.!
As instructed, Storyguide Paul begins the adventure by reading them "Seattle Drivers", the fluff text at the start of the vehicle chapter. Car chase on a Seattle highway, Dhohanoids are terrible drivers, Tager recovers part of the Circlet of Gabbhaz, whatever that is, the end.
Anyway, "Act I: Welcome to Seattle" starts at, you guessed it, the Seattle arcology. Actually, it starts on the same highway the fluff text did. Wait, are we just going to reproduce the fluff text only with the PCs? Oh well, whatever. The NPCs are Kory (callsign Flatline), a Phantom tager who rescues the PCs from an ambush and a possible romantic interest; Dave, a Shadow Tager in Kory's pack; eight Dhohanoid operatives that serve as the bad guys; miscellaneous Tagers helping Kory; and Anton Graves, a Society lorekeeper.
: "Not so much beautiful as exotic".
: No description.
- Anton (male) : No description.
If you’ve decided to set your game in Seattle, you score. If not, here’s a great way to get everyone where they need to be. Wherever home is, Eldritch Society intelligence has caught wind of some Chrysalis Corporation preparations. They didn’t have much time to find out details before the operatives in question blew town in a couple fast cars, with a bunch of weapons and a metal briefcase. The Characters’ Tager pack took it upon themselves to investigate.
Namy-chan masturbates first because she took that compulsion as a drawback earlier, and then the group starts to tail them. There are eight of them - four Dua-Sanari, two Vrykols, an Elib and a Gelgore. They make a few stops along the way; where and why is up to the Storyguide. Paul decides they pull into a truck stop to go to the bathroom, at which point the PCs declare that Kai is crashing through the wall in his powered armour while Athena and the rest move in with their guns.
It is in the Characters’ best interests to lay low and let the operatives conduct their business. If they don’t, be sure that the operatives escape with the briefcase. Regardless of care, the operatives catch on to what’s going on about a day before they’re to arrive in Seattle and call ahead to arrange a welcoming party.
A few crit successes later and the PCs fail to stop the Dhohanoids, because the book says they rush through a utility entrance in the arcology with its scanners conveniently turned off and rush through a corporate warehouse. The book explains that combat is a bad idea because there are civilians around, and the Dhohanoids make a run for a busy arcology street. Eventually they make their way to another warehouse, and since the book hopes the PCs managed to track them, we'll just say Athena rushes after them as an invisible Shadow Tager and alerts the others.
Suddenly, it is revealed why the Dhohanoids were allowed to escape to the warehouse: it's a trap! Not only are the original Dhohanoids waiting for them, but they have brought a Zabuth, a Gelgore, and eight Dua-Sanari. Kai left his powered armour in the car, so they're actually in trouble for once, but with some quick tactical action by the PCs (Namy-chan fires her grenade launcher like Jon Stewart makes funny faces at the camera) they start to even the odds.
The battle should be brutal and should beat the Tagers up some – if not, add more Dhohanoids to the ambush.
Stallman's player makes a railroad joke. Athena's kicks him under the table.
They're taken to an Eldritch Society safehouse, where Kory asks them what they're chasing Dhohanoids for; opening up the case (the book expresses hope that the PCs have it) reveals "an intricately carved headpiece". Kory tells them something big is going down here in the Pacific Northwest, and Dhohanoid activity is high. Once the PCs are clued in that they've stumbled into something big, she tells them a Society Lorekeeper wants to speak to them in the morning and lets them rest.
In the morning, Anton Graves the Lorekeeper comes to visit; he produces a circlet, and if someone succeeds on an Incredibly Hard Occult Test, they identify it as the Circlet of Gabbhaz, an obscure artifact split long ago into three pieces - the headpiece, the circlet, and... the clasp! (dun dun dun! ) . If they brought the briefcase, Anton joins the headpiece to the circlet. He goes on to explain that some occultists think "an obscure conjunction is on the horizon", whatever that means, and the Dhohanoid activity and appearance of this circlet is related. He asks for the players' help, and sends them off to a contact in the arcane underground.
It doesn't say they get there by train, but...
Anyway! "Act II: The Trouble With The Underground" is all about investigating the circlet, tailing the Dhohanoids a little more, and apparently realising their headpiece is a fake. Whoops! Aside from Kory, Dave and Anton, upcoming NPCs include: Karen V., a broker in the arcane underground; Karen's muscle; Domany, a Nazzadi female; Farouk Hassan, an "above-board upscale magic shop proprietor" and secret black marketeer who supplies Chrysalis; and Katie (callsign Gasp), a Whisper Tager who apparently likes humming trendy pop music; Laurence Zimmer, a Vrykol Dhohanoid who works as a network specialist for Chrysalis and chugs a lot of coffee; Nlada, an Outsider Tainted Nazzadi sorcerer with green cat eyes who works for Mr Hassan; Hassan's Otherworldly Servants; and some Chrysalis Corporation Response Teams. Phew!
Karen V (female)
: No description.
: "Almost magazine perfect, Domany is smart enough to know how to use her looks without looking like she is." Description does not actually include occupation or role in the story. Apparently "likes nice things".
Farouk Hassan (male)
: No description.
: No description, besides the pop music thing.
Laurence Zimmer (male)
: No description.
- Nlada (male) : "Brilliant green eyes with sideways feline pupils".
Farouk Hassan runs a magic shop - sorry, magic shoppe - in a "hip young professional neighbourhood". Domany turns out to work there (the book repeats that she is "almost magazine perfect") and Athena uses the headpiece to secure an audience with Hassan, who happens to have wards tattooed on him. Hassan inspects the artifact and asks if he can hold onto it for a while to cross-check it with his occult library. The book says that "someone will have to eventually realize that they really don't have any other choice", so after arguing a few options with Storyguide Paul, Kai gives up and just thrusts Hassan the artifact plus some compensation for his services. Hassan asks them to meet him at noon tomorrow, has Domany serve them a nice meal, and then Kai takes the group to a bar to waste a few hours before they meet up with Karen again.
When they do, Karen's guards have been neatly executed and Karen has been tortured, mutilated and killed. Whoops! Athena and Kai analyse the crime scene (by the way, Ryu Foxfire the ninja has been brooding nearby this entire adventure) and determine she was killed with claws.
The police are on the way, so they bail and lay low until the meeting with Hassan. Turns out Hassan is nervous and brought armed guards, because someone murdered his buddy Karen last night! Namy-chan uses her "persuasion" skills to convince him they weren't the murderers after all - incidentally, if one of them turned into a Tager, Hassan would be fascinated (apparently he's heard of them) and call off his guards, assuming Karen had it coming. He explains the Circlet is an ancient, nigh-indestructible artifact carved from "ancient black trees from the primordial forests" and has great power in nature-worship rituals, and nobody in the Underground even knew it had resurfaced - which means this is probably a Chrysalis Corporation internal deal. He'd offer to buy it, but he can't afford it, and instead offers to help in any way he can so he can find out more about it.
Oh yeah, and Hassan just slipped them a fake, because he's the bad guy.
Once they leave, Hassan empties his store, goes underground with Domany and plans to sell the real Circlet to the Chrysalis Corporation. Meanwhile, Katie the Whisper Tager approaches the PCs and tells them that she's been tailing a Dhohanoid who escaped the warehouse fight - Laurence Zimmer, a Chrysalis Corp network specialist. With this information Athena declares they should tail him and asks Katie to lead the way, which is great because Storyguide Paul doesn't have to railroad them into it. Since he doesn't know what their human forms look like, they get away with just lingering around nearby until he heads back home. Chrysalis Corp housing for Dhohanoids is high-security, with armed guards and sensors ensuring even Athena can't get in and Wards of Seclusion keeping them from running much surveillance. Still, they stake the place out and determine most of them are armed Dhohanoids.
Since nobody has a brilliant plan, they just wait until Zimmer gets a phone call and leaves, heading for another warehouse. Despite his supernatural senses, the party sneaks after him no problem. So, what's the deal with this warehouse?
The Skinny on the Warehouse
This warehouse is used by Hassan for many of his nefarious dealings. It is guarded by wards and extra-dimensional entities and holds an arcane space for rituals. It is owned by Hassan under a variety of assumed names and fake businesses and is almost impossible to trace – he has deep contacts in organized crime.
Then, Ryu spots Hassan heading for the warehouse, and the shocked PCs realise he's the bad guy. They don't do anything yet - Storyguide Paul explains that the book says it would be a bad idea and they'd fail the mission if they did - so Hassan enters the warehouse and browbeats the Corporation operatives into accepting his price or he'll go over their heads. Zimmer makes a call to transfer some cash to Hassan's account and the Dhohanoids get the artifact and prepare to leave.
But not before Zimmer wants to inspect a few of the crates.
What’s in the Crates?
Warning: This section is particularly disturbing. This is not the most pleasant part of this story, but it might be important for you to know. Inside each of the crates are small cells containing young girls between fourteen and twenty-two. In preparation for a powerful upcoming ritual, these girls have been violently and repeatedly raped and are all in some early stage of pregnancy (four months is the longest). They are from all over the country and missing persons reports can confirm their identities. However, this will more than likely only come out if the characters impetuously attack the warehouse, at which point the Gaunts and Bakhi will systematically go through the crates and gut each one of the girls. Hassan doesn’t want anyone to get a head’s up on what he’s doing, and it’s not difficult for him to start this part of his plan over. It should be noted that Hassan himself has not raped any of the girls – he finds the act repulsive, but necessary for the greater forces at work.
Silence fills the room like an octopus squirting ink into a colostomy bag.
Storyguide Paul lowers his eyes to the GM screen, trying to avoid the penetrating gazes of his players.
Robert picks up the dice, and declares that Kai bursts through the wall and kills everyone. Like, right now.
Combat begins. The book explains that the PC's best option is to surprise the Dhohanoids, grab the artifact and run because they're outnumbered, but Kai has powered armour and begins to shred them to pieces while Namy-chan fires grenade rounds at them. The other PCs slaughter the gaunts and bakhi. Storyguide Paul lets them, in the hope that they will forgive him for running CthulhuTech.
Regardless of what they do, they won’t catch either Hassan or Nlada. They both wear Yog-Sothoth’s Guards, they both carry a couple Woeful Orbs, and they know the escape routes back to civilization where the fight can’t continue. Neither of them particularly cares what happens to the artifact at this point, since they have turned responsibility over to the Chrysalis Corporation.
"Act III: Saving Bacon" is relatively short. After escaping, the PCs have to evade any remaining Dhohanoids, Gaunts and Bakhi, or they would have if Kai didn't paste them across the floor. They do have to contend with Dhohanoid reinforcements in utility vehicles, though, and once the police get wind of this the shit hits the fan. Somehow the PCs escape - Athena can turn invisible and Namy-chan can run, but Ryu is just a human and Angus is morbidly obese, so that's a problem - and decide to jump on the next mag-lev train out of here, because that's how this adventure goes.
The Chrysalis Corporation have half-filled this train with Dhohanoids. God damn it.
The ensuing battle is cramped and brutal. Somehow, the battle damages "something important" and the train goes "out of control", because I guess they took the fight to the engine room or something? Anyway, the group is forced to bail, and the train crashes and kills all the civilians on board. Ouch! Nobody cares about NPCs, though, and now the PCs are more or less free. They have to lay low from the Corporation and the cops for a few days, but the Eldritch Society gets their artifact back.
The final section, "Continuance", outlines a few ways they could go from here - getting the final piece or going after Hassan, who makes an "excellent" antagonist. There are also six short story hooks after these two adventures.
Here's what happens, though:
Storyguide Paul ends the game.
They never speak of it again.
The End BitOriginal SA post
CthulhuTech: The End Bit
Okay, one bonus story hook and then I'm wrapping this shit up.
This Is What You Want...
A story hook for a street level game
Sex clubs are nothing new. They’ve existed within society for a long time. And there have always been those that catered to more particular tastes. These types of clubs exist in back alleys, keeping their existence a secret to all but those who might enjoy their services. People only get in when they meet the right people and have passed through the right hurdles. The New Earth Government has more that its fair share of these clubs. Some elements believe them to be recruiting grounds for cults and as much as they’d like to shut them down, sex clubs are protected in most cases by law.
Rumor has it that a new sex club has opened, catering to somewhat illegal tastes. They skirt around gray areas of the law and keep themselves well hidden. It is said that wealthy patrons help keep this club in business and would rather not have their proclivities exposed. But somewhere along the way, the Characters have heard a new rumor – that there is another level to the club. It is supposed to be something transcendental and not for the faint of heart. There are those who are not entirely comfortable with the price, which is said to be high. Those who have leaked such information are curiously missing...
I want to like CthulhuTech. I really, really do. If you don't mind the "Cthulhu + Mecha!" idea, the concept is actually not bad! The setting has potential, it's incredibly ambitious, and parts of it are well written. It does have fans, and I can sort of see why.
It's held back by a lot of things, though. The flawed dice system, outdated 90s design philosophies, the reputation of the creators for being dicks, the terrible handling of magic and tomes, the use of hentai as inspiration, the misguided idea that "dark RPG" means you should turn the creepy sexual content up to 11...
This a good game ruined by abysmal design and I give it 1 out of 5.
What happens now, though? Well, CthulhuTech is currently in limbo, as once again they are in need of a publisher , and that has delayed the second of six planned metaplot books. (Hint: don't fucking plan six metaplot books. ) Apparently they're also in trouble because the roleplaying market is shrinking, Western civilization is getting dumber, nobody reads any more, and thousands of people are pirating their works.
I've got a suggestion though:
Maybe your shitty game needs work.
Addendum: As it happens, I have the rest of the CthulhuTech line - expansion splat Vade Mecum , cult sourcebook Dark Passions , metaplot "adventure" module Damnation View , NEG sourcebook Mortal Remains , Tager sourcebook Ancient Enemies and item/technology splat Unveiled Threats ! I am going to cover as many of these as I can get through before my brain self-terminates. Unless anyone wants to see one of the others really bad, I am going to do them in publication order, starting with Vade Mecum .
Give me a few days at the least, though. I need to see a therapist.