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Messages - Cynical Cat

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RPG Discussion / Re: Earwan roleplaying
« on: August 28, 2017, 03:34:10 am »
I'll be playing in person :) maybe I'll make my wife the skinspy, she's a sneaky one ;)

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

It seems you have a solution.

RPG Discussion / Re: Earwan roleplaying
« on: August 27, 2017, 09:06:25 pm »
It depends on how you're playing.  Online it's easy to send IMs but in the flesh it's a little trickier.  Make taking aside players for a few minutes and passing messages normal.  Give several other players minor side missions.  Take the Mandati aside and tell them what they dreamed of during the night.  You can't hide that there is secret communication going on, but you can hide its importance by burying it in a routine stream of information exchange.

RPG Discussion / Re: Earwan Rules Hack for D&D
« on: August 25, 2017, 11:09:11 am »

Adolescent Hunter
Armor Class  12 (Hide)
Hitpoints 45 (6d10+12)
Speed 40ft
18        10    14      6       8        6
Multi attack: two hammer attacks
Hammer:  reach 10 feet  +6 to hit, 2d8+4 damage
Javelin:  +4 to hit, 2d6+4 damage range 30ft

Tribal Ravager
Armor Class  14 (Hide and Shield)
Hitpoints 76 (8d12+24)
Speed 40ft
21       10     16     6       8        6
Multiattack:  2 Hammer attacks
Hammer:  10 foot reach, +7 to hit, 3d8+5 damage
Javelin:    +5  to hit, 2d6+5 damage range 30ft

Consult Warrior
Armor Class  16 (Scale armor and shield)
Hitpoints 95 (10d12+30)
Speed 40ft
23       10     16      6      8        6
Multiattack:  2 Hammer attacks
Hammer:   10 foot reach, +8 to hit 3d8+6 damage

Foul Chieftain
Armor Class  18 (Chain mail and shield)
Hitpoints 126 (12d12+48)
Speed 40ft
25       12     18     6       8        6
Multiattack: 2 Hammer attacks
Hammer:  10 foot reach, +9 to hit, 3d8+7 damage
Javelin:  +4to hit, 1d6+1 damage range 30ft

The Unholy Consult / Re: TUC Reviews
« on: August 25, 2017, 06:30:51 am »
frigid has reminded me I didn't have to push that hard to get him to read Bakker (the benefits of having good taste cred).  That's true, I didn't need to, but I did.

RPG Discussion / Re: Earwan roleplaying
« on: August 24, 2017, 06:26:23 am »
You'll want veteran soldiers/knights/elite units/warrior thanes in there or as a template.  This is a setting with a lot of hard dudes, not that being hard will always save you when death comes swirling down.

RPG Discussion / Re: Earwan Rules Hack for D&D
« on: August 24, 2017, 06:19:40 am »
Vicious Adolescent
Armor Class  11 (+1 Dex)
Hitpoints 6 (1d8+1)
Speed 40ft
8        12       12         6        8        6
Crude Cleaver:  +1 to hit, 1d4 damage
Crude Javelin:  +3 to hit, 1d4 damage range 30ft

Tribal Warrior
Armor Class  14 (+1 Dex, Leather and Shield)
Hitpoints 11 (2d8+2)
Speed 40ft
10       12       12         6        8        6
Crude Heavy Cleaver or War Club:  +3 to hit, 1d6 damage
Crude Javelin:  +3 to hit, 1d4 damage range 30ft

Armor Class  17 (scale armour and shield)
Hitpoints 16 (3d8+3)
Speed 40ft
13        12       12        6       10        6
Sword:  +4 to hit, 1d8+1 damage
Javelin:  +4to hit, 1d6+1 damage range 30ft

Armor Class  15 (+2 Dex, Leather and Shield)
Hitpoints 26 (4d8+8)
Speed 40ft
14        14       14         6        8        6
2 Hand Axes:  2 attacks +4 to hit, 1d6+2 damage
Javelins:  +4 to hit, 1d6+2 damage range 30ft

Some Sranc done up as a single horde type creature for easier management

Mob of Starving Skinnies
Armor Class  11 (+1 Dex)
Hitpoints 220 (40d8+40)
Speed 40ft
8        12       12         6        8        6
Crude Cleaver: 2 attacks at everyone within 5ft of the Mob  +2 to hit, 2d4 damage
Shower of Crude Javelins: 2 attacks,  +3 to hit, 2d4 damage range 30ft
Loses 1/2 its attacks when it drops below 100 hp
Takes double damage from area of effect attacks. triple if more than half the mob is in the area of effect

Band of Sranc Warriors
Armor Class  14 (Leather Armor and Shield, Mob penalty)
Hitpoints 275 (50d8+50)
Speed 40ft
10        12       12         6        8        6
Crude Cleaver: 2 attacks at everyone within 5ft of the Mob  +3 to hit, 2d6 damage
Shower of Crude Javelins: 2 attacks,  +3 to hit, 2d4 damage range 30ft
Loses 1/2 its attacks when it drops below 120 hp
Takes double damage from area of effect attacks. triple if more than half the mob is in the area of effect

RPG Discussion / Earwan Rules Hack for D&D
« on: August 24, 2017, 05:19:09 am »
A worm crawled into my ear and wouldn't go away so here it is:  a relatively quick and dirty reskinning of D&D to fit into Earwa.  Comments and so forth are more than welcome.  Steal as much or as little as you wish to.  Why D&D?  It's not a great fit, but the mod is relatively easy to do and as I said, it won't go away. 
First things first.  It has to be Fifth edition because the bounded armor class and attack bonus system is the only one where having mostly mundane armour and weapons can actually work and hordes of low level monsters don't have to roll natural 20s to hit a mid or high level hero.  Also, a few other details work out better.  I'll get to them in time.

Races:  Humans, of course.  I'll cook up a take on Nonmen an when I can.   Nonmen is going to be hard to do without being wildly unbalanced although sufficiently nasty Erratic penalties can offset that. .  Dunyain are even more broken than Nonmen.  Half Dunyain or a defective is still damn strong, but might be manageable.  They make much better NPCs and they make Nonmen look common.
Barbarian:  Obviously in.
Super Berserker type:  Holca.  The super berserk badassery works better as a Barbarian path than as a racial trait.  As for their brute power, I don't think that needs to be addressed other than "Holca NPCs tend to have lots of Barbarian levels and good Strength and Con."  Sure they're huge and powerful, but so is Cnaiur and so is Yalgrotta Sranchammer. 
General Badass:  Thunyeri.  Should incorporate the tidbit about Thunyeri bolstering their defences by keeping their enemies off balance with fierce strikes. 
Horse Warrior:  Scylvendi goodness.  Or badness, depending.

Bard:  Nope.  I know, Bardic Priests, but they're non magic using priests, no spellslinging rogues.
Cleric:  Nope.  Yes there are miracle workers and Shamans, but they are so rare they make the Few look common .  Shamans are holy sorcerers and miracle workers are vehicles for DM action.  So no, not as a class that can be taken.
Druids:  See cleric.
Fighter:  Hell yes.
Monk:  Nope.  Yes, I know the Dunyain are monks but they aren't D&D monks with magic ki powers and kung fu more badass than broadswords. 
Paladin:  Nope. 
Ranger:  Use the nonmagic Ranger variant(s) that you like.  There's a small army of them out there. 
Rogue:  Yes.
Sorcerer:   Baseline class for users of the Psukhe.  Some Surgery
Warlock:  No.  After all, damnation is nothing special in this universe.  Why give out powers for that?  You fall as fodder anyway.
Wizard:  Baseline class for Schoolmen.  Some Surgery.
Arcane Traditions: the specializations that exist already can work, but to have some that reflect the world of Earwa and the distinctive nature of its sorcery would be a shame.  So:
Anagogic War Cant Master:  the Evocation Specialist.   
Mandati:  This is tricky, because you want the Gnosis to be distinctive and powerful, but you don't want it to wreck all balance.  So instead of the standard type of arcane specialist we have instead the following: 
-Relive the Apocalypse:  Upon every long rest must make a DC 8 Con save or recover one less hit die and be at -1 penalty to all dice rolls until the next long rest due to disturbed dreams.
-The Gnosis:  All spells, where applicable, count as being cast with a spell slot one level higher than actually used.
Iswazi: This is going to be tricky.  It's generally stronger than other anagogic sorcery but less flexible.  D&D rules doesn't deal with this particular issue well because it doesn't really have group spellcasting and its baseline sorcery is fairly inflexible.  I'll see if I can cook up more than "has to use material components"

Sorcerer:  Puskhe user.  There's been a few blind miracle workers before the Cisharaum so it can work for a non Fanim group.
Changes:  Spell list is massacred.  A lot of transformation spells are out, as are teleporting type spells, a lot of necromancy, and summoning.    Spells are reskinned from D&D standard to  have visual effects more closely match Earwa's magic. The sorcerer is vulnerable to Chorae and is blind, but can perceive the onta and see the Mark without difficulty as well as see through the eyes of a bonded animal.  This is limited, giving the sorcerer the ability to see but making all vision based perception checks at Disadvantage if they don't involve magic.
On the plus side, no need for components at all, no Mark, and the Psukharim's spells are indistinguishable from the world and thus not detectable as magic.   The Sorcerer has double the usual number of spell slots so the character more closely matches the ability to throw around a lot of magic evidenced by Earwa's spellcasters and to compensate them for the diminished variety of spells and the existence of Chorae.

Wizard:  Similar to sorcerers.  Demon summoning is allowed and the "too complicated" barrier on Psukhe doesn't exist.  The difference between Gnostic and Anagogic magic is going to have to be mostly simulated by throwing levels at NPC Gnostic Schoolmen.  PC Gnostic magicians will be less advanced in their mastery than equivalent level Anagogic PCs.  Yes, less than ideal.   Cooking up an Arcane Tradition for Anagogic and Gnostic practitioners, the Gnostic one focusing on brute spellpower and the Anagogic one probably focusing on the Daimos (which is, after all, actually capable of threatening a Gnostic Schoolman in the source material) will probably help but I'll actually have to look at 5th ed material to do it right so it will come later.
Also can see onta and the Mark, are Marked, and also vulnerable to chorae.  Also suffer from ravaged spell lists and gain double the number of spell slots.  Spells are reskinned so Fireball is Falling Suns or the Dragonhead, Lightning bolt is Nibelitic Lightning, etcetera depending on tradtion.

No Plate Armor as standard, available armor.  Mail is common and mail reinforced by steel splints (aka splint mail) also shows up. 
Nimil Plate does exist.  Good luck finding it in your size.

Nimil:  Armor is half weight, counts as one category lighter.  +1 bonus to AC.  Weapons +1 to hit and damage. 

Grants total immunity to the direct effects of magic.  Attachable to missiles or useable as a melee attack.  Both suffer a -1 penalty to hit.  Totaly destroy wards on a hit or missing by one point, ignore magical protective effects.  Any magic user hit suffers +2 hp of damage per spellcaster level.  Yeah, not instant death on hit or save or die.  D&D hit points are abstract and losing hp can mean a near miss that uses up the last bit of the Whore's favor before your skin is punctured.  Ditto with Chorae hits.
Scourging the Earth:  Any magical attack that can potentially cause serious damage to a Trinket bearer with secondary effects counts as Scourging the Earth.  Burning horses, blasting the earth and sending stones flying, splinters of wood and stone all count.  Chorae bearers suffer 1/2 damage from such spells (again, damage is abstract in D&D and they are protected from the primary effects) and gain a +1 to any relevant saving throws.

Billows:  Can be animated with Unseen Servant (or equivalent).  Only deployable in the air.  Grants a +2 bonus to AC against ranged attacks.

Wire Screens:  Limits Dex to max +2.  Weight:  10lbs.  +2 AC versus ranged attacks. 

RPG Discussion / Re: Earwan roleplaying
« on: August 24, 2017, 05:16:25 am »
I've actually being cooking up some rules mods for Earwa for D&D.  The bug bit me and wouldn't let me go.  I wasn't going to post anything until I had polished it more, but better rules 6 months from now aren't going to do you any good so I'll post the rough stuff early.

I remember the line.  I don't remember where it is, but I think it's in either The Great Ordeal of The White Luck Warrior.

The Unholy Consult / Re: TUC Reviews
« on: August 22, 2017, 11:15:26 am »
A new one at:

frigid's a friend and I pushed Scott Bakker pretty hard at him.  He's got a fairly broad body of reviews so you may find a fair amount of interest there.

The Unholy Consult / Re: [TUC Spoilers] The Loose Ends
« on: August 20, 2017, 01:37:18 pm »
This is all complicated somewhat by Mimara looking at a Chorae with the Judging Eye and seeing it as actually divine after all. So maybe "Tear of God" is not just an epithet coined by ignorant fools who don't recognise a sorcerous artefact when they see one. Did the exiled Aporetic Quya who allied with the Inchoroi accidentally create something thaumaturgical rather than sorcerous?

I don't think an explanation for how Chorae work that treats them as purely sorcerous items will be able to resolve all these issues.

It's further complicated by the fact that its not merely the chorae, its the chorae being wielded by a woman with the Judging Eye in the face of hell.  We know there are moral dimensions (in the eyes of the Outside) to the use of sorcery.  By being a sorcerous artifact that undoes sorcery, chorae could be inherently holy in the same way that women are less than men and pigs are unclean. 

The Unholy Consult / Re: Who actually liked TUC?
« on: August 20, 2017, 06:53:15 am »
I unreservedly love the books.  War is not antiseptic and clean with the victory of the righteous preordained.  It is, almost always, suffering and horror with the iron gears of circumstances chewing up men and nations.  That Bakker can incorporate these terrible and frequently brushed over truths into his works while also including gripping action, awesome sorcery, and profound courage is one of his great strengths as a writer. 

Victory was never assured.  Ninety-five percent of fiction tells us that, but we all know that there is a finger on the scale.  No noble sacrifice will be futile, no courageous deed will be easily undone, evil will not triumph over good, Sauron is always defeated, and fallen heroes always end up in the undying lands.  Free will matters, the main characters are heroes, not pawns.  That is the expectation.  Normal, easy, safe.  The lie that we want to be told.

Bakker dares to betray Proyas and show us that in the heart of the man who will save us from genocide there is room for only one other person.  He dares to actually unleash the Second Apocalypse that is foretold.  The savior is not merely hollow, he is a lie.  Tremendous sacrifice results in heartbreaking failure and the unleashing of the very evil it sought to forestall.  How often does fiction dare to walk that road?  Forget all of Bakker's skills as a writer and world builder, how can you not admire the courage?

As for the Second Apocalypse, it should be heartbreaking.  The tale of how it came to pass should be tragic and powerful.  It would be obscene if it wasn't.  But it isn't over.  The First Apocalypse was over come.  The success of the second is not assured.  Drusas Achaiman walks in Seswatha's footsteps and with him is the Holy Empress and the true prophet.  The Black Gate has opened and the army of Mordor has poured forth, but the White City has yet to fall.

The Unholy Consult / Re: [TUC Spoilers] The Loose Ends
« on: August 19, 2017, 01:31:34 pm »
Chorae are a product of Nonmen sorcery and it is based on language and meanings.  The Aporos was a school based on negation.  Chorae are the negation of sorcery and by extension, the negation of sorcerers.  Not of the Outside, for they were useless against the wight in the topos, but sorcery.  That they work on the Psukhe and kill Psukharim (albeit in a slightly different manner) combined with the fact that there have been Psukhe practitioners before Fane is clearly indicative the Psukhe is a form of nonlinguistic sorcery.  All indications are that the truth or falsehood on Fanim beliefs is not related to the effectiveness of the Psukhe.

As for Kellhus's predictions about the Psukhe, we have very good reason to believe them.  They are not only the product of Dunyain reasoning and observation, but the product of the teachings of Drusas Achaiman and the accumulated knowledge of the Mandate.  The person he was speaking to was the same Drusas Achaiman, Mandate Sorcerer of Rank, and he found Kellhus's explanation compelling. 

The Unholy Consult / Re: Zaudunyanicon Q&A
« on: August 18, 2017, 11:59:15 am »

It can't be a real influence if Bakker wasn't aware of whatever that thing is, but that doesn't mean one can't make the argument that there are similarities and parallels even though Bakker didn't put them there intentionally.

Not to say he is or isn't a 40k guy or any of the rest, I don't know, but whether the parallels are there and whether or not Bakker intended them to be are entirely separate questions in my mind. I often struggle when I don't separate those two ideas.

Warhammer, in all its incarnations, steals liberally from a variety of sources ranging from Dune's Navigators to Sumerian gods.  The broad base of source material means Warhammer has similarities with a wide array of works, especially those who tap into the same source material.

The Unholy Consult / Re: The Collected Works of Emilidis
« on: August 17, 2017, 10:17:32 am »
Like Akka, Serwa bears Sethwatha within and with it his resistance to being compelled as well as her Dunyain abilities.  The Lord Torturer has never subjected such a person to his torments and compulsions nor has he ever seen the effects of the collar on such a person.  Once she is able to unleash sorcery, it is going to of war cants of someone who can wield the Metagnosis and it will be unleashed on a court that is literally tearing itself apart.

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