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Steve

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  1. Thanks
    Steve reacted to DShomshak in Coins, Treasure & Daily Life   
    Subjects like this come up in the FH Forum every few years, so past discussions may include something useful. I recommend the thread below for the posts by Markdoc, who knew a lot about Medieval history and economics. I thought his analysis of pricing was astute:
     
    http://www.herogames.com/forums/topic/90705-how-do-you-handle-prices/
     
    The thread includes a link to an even older thread in which he offered further observations on just how *variable* prices could be.
     
    I'm not sure if this is useful, but if you want to get away from the "bags-o'-gold" paradigm, I've heard that at the low end, people in some times and places used iron nails and other small commodities as informal money. At the high end, by, oh, the 14th century or so, European merchants used letters of credit for large transactions.
     
    For stranger possibilities, Ptolemaic Egypt had grain as money. This didn't mean people were handing over jars of wheat for everyday goods, or even for commercial transactions: It was all handled by direct deposit banking, just recording the exchanges in ownership in account-books while the wheat stayed safe and sound in granaries. The source I read said Egypt had coin as well, for various purposes, but the conservative Egyptian people preferred grain banking.
     
    Or, Medieval monasteries gave out meal tickets in return for various favors. You how up at the monastery, present your token, and get a bowl of porridge or whatever. At a guess, it took about five seconds for recipients to think of exchanging their meal tickets for other goods. One guaranteed meal a day? That's a "treasure" for the common man.
     
    For now, let's not even get into cowrie shells and trade beads. But yeah, in real history there was a lot more going on than "gold pieces!"
     
    Dean Shomshak
  2. Like
    Steve got a reaction from tkdguy in Coins, Treasure & Daily Life   
    There is an article by Lewis Pulsipher in Dragon Magazine #74 entitled "A player character and his money..." that touches on this in one section of the article called "The silver standard." The article was mainly about ways to keep money flowing out of a character's hands, but it also had some ideas on managing currencies.
     
    He suggests you leave the prices of goods and services as-is, but replace descriptions in treasure hoards with the word "silver" wherever it has "gold." When it comes to coin weight, he also suggests changing coins to the size and weight of a modern dime (35 grains/about 219 coins per pound). British half-pennies (new pence) were apparently pretty small. This makes silver the wealthy man's mode of exchange and gold a truly rare and wondrous thing. You also won't break your back carrying a personal fortune around or need magic bags or mules to carry a decent sum away from an adventure (or theft).
     
    Your average longsword costing 15gp in D&D would now require 150sp to buy, which becomes a more proper value when characters are earning silver instead of gold on adventures. A sword was a treasure in and of itself in days past.
  3. Thanks
    Steve reacted to tkdguy in Coins, Treasure & Daily Life   
    I once based my coinage on the pound/shilling/penny system. One pound = 20 shillings. 1 shilling = 12 pennies. The Warhammer rpg based its coinage on the system, using brass for pennies and using crowns instead of pounds.
     
    In my game terminology:
    1 Gold Royal = 20 Silver Nobles = 240 Copper Commons
  4. Thanks
    Steve reacted to Spence in Coins, Treasure & Daily Life   
    You may want to look at 3rd Edition Fantasy Hero.  It may be more of what you are looking for.  It was at 4th Ed and higher that Fantasy Hero seemed to go all D&D/Pathfinder'ish with prices. 
    The price list in the 6th Ed Fantasy Hero book is very comprehensive and it should be too difficult to drop it into a spread sheet and then recompute the costs to the 3rd edition. 
     
    3rd Edition sets coin value at 100 Copper = 1 Silver, 10 Silver = 1 Gold.   With most transactions being Barter/Trade or Coppers for the well heeled. 
    A person employed with a Professional Skill makes an average of 1 Silver a week, with the actual pay being heavily influenced by the actual skill and local need.
     
    6th Edition sets coin value at the "gaming standard" of 10 Coppers = 1 Silver, 10 Silvers = 1 Gold.  With the Silver being the main method of transaction.
    An unskilled laborers average wage is 1 Silver per day,  far higher than one would expect.  Or at least that I would expect .  And this would push professional pay way up there.
     
    To sum up.  I have always felt that the 3rd Ed had a better take on the actual coin and income, but 6th Ed has a far more comprehensive listing of stuff. 
     
     
  5. Thanks
    Steve reacted to Christopher R Taylor in Coins, Treasure & Daily Life   
    The Field Guide covers some economics and pricing, but the upcoming Player and Master guides will cover that in more specific detail. 
  6. Thanks
    Steve reacted to pawsplay in Thoughts on orcs   
    As noted above, in Tolkien, Melkor and his creatures were unable to create life. Orcs are perversions of men and orcs, and therefore, in principle, are capable of salvation. Just as the Dark Powers can't create a soul, presumably they can't destroy one. However, it is implicit in Tolkien's writing that no mortal being can resist temptation forever. Without the Light and the One, mortal beings cannot prevail. Orcs were lost a long time ago, and their bodies and minds burn in the presence of things that are holy or forged with good magic, but you could, seemingly, try to redeem a single orc. But for all Gandalf's talk of mercy, Tolkien's world seems to accept the necessity of war and valor against evil, and so the heroes don't waste any more time trying to redeem an orc than they would a Haradrim or Numenorean (two human ethnicities of Middle-earth), or for that matter, more than an elf would waste time redeeming a dwarf that represented any kind of threat to them. But in principle, at least... Gollum, who was a thrall to the Ring for a long, long time, could still feel sympathy and conflict, despite having long been corrupted by the darkness. Orcs, in Tolkien, simply don't know any kindness, so what has been done to their bodies, minds, and souls would be difficult to heal.
     
    In early D&D worlds, orcs were creations of their patron immortals and deities. Their nature reflects their creation. Nonetheless, they are intelligent creatures and can, in principle, be reasoned with and even redeemed. That's probably not going to happen in a typical storyline, but there is still room for the pathetic or tragic orc that earns the mercy of the party, and maybe even some kind of friendship. It's also worth noting that in virtually all D&D worlds, orcs are rarely purebred, and all the traits that can be found in trolls, humans, goblins, and the like, can be found in orcs, even apart from their nature as intelligent humanoid beings.
     
    In Palladium, orcs are simply a species of intelligent beings. More brutal and less intelligent than humans, on average, they nonetheless possess all the variation and potentiality of any civilized being. An orc could be a soldier, a thief, a baker, an innkeeper. Someone might dislike orcs because of a given population's behavior, or because they don't like something about orc temperament, but orcs aren't "evil" in Palladium in any metaphysical or psychological sense, although many orcs, especially mercenaries and brigands, might individually be evil.
     
    Yrth (the GURPS fantasy world) has orcs similar to Palladium ones. Given that they are essentially a brutish subhuman race, this raises, on one hand, questions about the morality of slaying orcs, and on the other hand, implications in play about that touch on real-world history and prejudices about foreigners. They are a convenient guiltless foe, but on reflection, it's not clear if an enlightened view of orcs would really permit such prejudice. Again, orcs are tougher, more brutal and generally less intelligent than humans, but individual orcs exhibit the same diversity of characteristics as humans. A genius orc is still smarter than an average human. The backstory of Yrth highlights some of this ambiguity, as the world in its current form basically exists because the elves tried to commit genocide against the orcs, back before humans, goblins, and the rest arrived on Yrth through a magical accident.
  7. Like
    Steve reacted to DShomshak in Thoughts on orcs   
    Well, remember that in European folklore, elves/faeries range from perilous to near-demonic malevolence. You call them the Good Folk, or some similar euphemism, to avoid their malice. Mortals might come out well from an encounter if they keep their best manners and follow the rules, but the rules are often obscure and might be different each time. Or their beauty might conceal implacable evil -- "La Belle Dame Sans Merci."
     
    If one tries mapping myths onto gender politics, then, elves might represent masculine fears about women, and orcs as feminine fears about men. But I find such approaches dubious. Myth and folklore are so broad and diverse that any attempt to impose a grand theory of explanation is laughable. The Destroyer Brute and the Perilous Fair One are widespread tropes, but they are far outnumbered by entities that fit in neither class.
     
    Dean Shomshak
  8. Thanks
    Steve reacted to Scott Ruggels in Thoughts on orcs   
    Oddly enough, this article crossed my feed. This describes an alternate theory about Neanderthals that makes a case for them being the ancient evil of legend, and the author makes a compelling case. It also neatly explains the “Evil Race” problem, in that they predated on Homo Sapiens. 
    https://treeofwoe.substack.com/p/when-orcs-were-real
  9. Thanks
    Steve reacted to DShomshak in By Request: Wetchley House (Supermage Base)   
    Wetchley House actually consists of two houses with identical exteriors, one on Earth and one in Babylon, the City of Man. Another floor exists in neither place: It's "above" the 3rd/attic floor of the Babylon half, but "below" the cellar floor of the Earth side. There's also a tower room (upper left in the illustration) whose location is a little hard to explain, but we'll get to that later.
     
    Various doors, stairs and an elevator connect them. Much of the plans should be explicable from context, such as what's a door or window, stairs up or stairs down. Circles with letters and numbers in them indicate that a door or stairway operates interdimensionally. Like, where there's a circles "2b" near a half-door on a wall, that's a door from the Earth side, 2nd floor, to the Babylon side, 2nd floor. On the plan of the Babylon side, there's a corresponding "2A) marking the other side of the door (Babylon to Earth). It would have been better to use "E" and "B" for Earth and Babylon instead of "A" and "B," but at the time I never thought anyone but me and the players would see the plans. Oh well, I don't feel like changing the pictures now.
     

     

     

     
     

     

     

     

     

     


     
    Dean Shomshak
     
     
     
  10. Thanks
    Steve reacted to DShomshak in By Request: Wetchley House (Supermage Base)   
    And for anyone who wants some "flavor text," here's an excerpt from the Campaign Chronicle one of my players kept, initially for the benefit of a few former players (but wow I'm glad for the reference now). I added only a few notes of clarification.
     
    Also, Wetchley House is ornately Victorian, but I'm not sure it qualifies as a "mansion." The original plans were of a house of fairly modest size, just one step up from a "cottage."
    --------------
    >Date: Mon, 11 Dec 1995 02:31:34
    >To: [REDACTED]
    >From: [REDACTED]
    >Subject: Madhouse!
     
    Well, after a month long break due to Thanksgiving, we again continue the saga of our motley crew of spellcasters...
     
    Last month you may recall, we fought and defeated the Anarchitect; at the end, chaos went wild in the Anarchitect's Babylonian base, with Artifex running in and trying to spell hack the wild chaos to settle it. It succeeded, after a fashion. The Victorian mansion is now bidimensionally located (in both Babylon's Victorian London district and in our old lot on Earth in Tacoma, WA). We rest a day, and then decide to explore our new base together. I won't go into details of the exploration, since no exciting battles or such developed, but the house has 9 floors (maybe 10, depending on how you count). The first 4 floors are Earthly, and are - with a few odd bits, such as the living goldfish swimming in the crystal doorknob - a substantially normal appearing Victorian mansion (allowing for some modern conveniences; electricity, semi-modern appliances, etc.). On the Earthly levels exist such rooms as the Kitchen, a Parlor (which Jezeray is dressing this up as a Seance Room for her Fortune Telling business), Library, Smoking Lounge, 3 bedrooms, a Music room, and a Den. All are decorated in a substantially Victorian style. There is also a Cellar floor with the utilities and a now-unused coal bin, and a area perfect for Redeemer (who now has taken to calling himself The Bishop) to convert for his crypt-like quarters.
     
    The "next" 4 floors (as we numbered them anyway) are Babylonian - each is decorated in a style based on the 4 sons of Urthona (the Supreme Lord of Art). His sons were Art's envoys to the other
    Zoas. The bottom Babylonian floor is dedicated to Bromion, Art's envoy to Order, and is decked out in Swedish Modern (all white tile, chrome trim, very angular with lots of flush surfaces). This floor has a Game Room, Pantry, Office (w/ obsolete PC computer), and a very sterile bedroom.
     
    The next floor up is in the style of Theotormon, Art's envoy to Nature, and is decorated in a style we termed Oriental Fusion - a mix of assorted oriental styles. This level has a parlor, vestibule (w/the traditional low Japanese tables), a very lushly appointed bedroom (which Artifex took dibs on), and a Buddhist Shrine of all things.
     
    The 6th floor is a tribute to Rintrah, Art's envoy to Chaos, and is done in a style mixing Baroque and Heavy Metal elements - imagine the ornate carvings and paintings of mad King Ludwig's
    castles, but with images of punk angels in leather instead of graceful swans or cherubim, and other similarly perverted imagery. This level houses a trophy room, and Armory (complete with medieval weapons and armor), a Salon, and the very ornate - if somewhat disturbing - bedroom.
     
    The last Babylonian floor is in the style of Palamabron, Art's envoy to itself, and is decorated in a Art Nouveau / Surrealist style. This level is much bigger inside than outside, and has as its principle feature a Ballroom with a Musician's Dais. In addition, there is a Costume Room (with racks of assorted costumes; Jezeray stole a Gypsy costume to use in her job) and a storage room with lumber - which we will use to fuel the non-gas fireplaces that are located through the house. The main hallway "wraps around" and connects back to itself.
     
    One door connects the corresponding floors on the Earth and Babylon sides of the house.
     
    There is also a floor that does not exist with Babylon or Earth - in fact, when The Bishop used a Transform to open the skylight glass there was literally nothing beyond except a diffuse white light. The air started to get sucked out just like in a sci-fi movie when you breach the hull. This is what we call the Garden Level - it has a large garden, with a recessed bower to one side, and a round, 20' diameter pool (steps leading in suggest it is a swimming pool although the water is unheated) with a mermaid fountain in the center. There is also an area to the side decked out in plain white tiles. We think it would make a good gymnasiumif we put the equipment in.
     
    The stairs form a double loop, too. If you start from the Earth side first floor and keep climbing, you go past the attic foor to arrive in… the cellar floor of the Babylon side. Keep going through the floors of the Babylon house, and above the attic you find the garden floor. Go up another flight and you’re in the cellar of the Earth side. One more flight up, and you’re back where you started.
     
    Finally, the "tenth" floor, which is really the tower room above a balcony which is, in turn, over the front door. This is where Anarchitect was conducting his ritual. From the outside, this is just a little turret - but from the inside it’s a 20 foot square room. It seems somewhat reinforced, making it a good place to cast risky spells. It’s only 1 room, with 4 doors, one in each wall. 2 doors lead to the rooms near the turret – one to the Earth part of the house, one to the Babylon half. The other doors lead to matching closets on the Earth and Babylon sides.
     
    I should also mention the elevator - it goes to every floor except the tower room. It has only five buttons, however. The first four (from bottom up) take you to the first four earthly floors. The last button takes you randomly to one of the Babylonian floors or the Garden floor. Of course, I have left our a plethora of bathrooms, small storage areas, etc.
     
    Well, I hope I haven't spent too much time on the base, which understandably wouldn't interest you as much as me. Anyway, on to the actual adventure...
    ----------------
    But that part isn't relevant here. Kudos to anyone who's lasted this long.
     
    Dean Shomshak
     
  11. Like
    Steve got a reaction from Scott Ruggels in Thoughts on orcs   
    I guess if you want to put it in terms of psychology, Orcs have always seemed to me to be creatures driven by their id and ego, and they don’t seem to have much (if any) superego holding them back. They do what they want, when they want and are only really constrained by something bigger and stronger than them. They like food, fighting and sex. They’re basically a race of violent sociopaths.
     
    if someone doesn’t have a conscience urging them to do better, you end up with a monster of some sort or another. Orcs are that sort of monster.
  12. Like
    Steve reacted to Drhoz in Quote of the Week from my gaming group...   
    Actual people remain anonymous, to protect the guilty

    A: if the cat is already dead when it goes inside the box, could it become alive again in its unobserved state? Only thing that supports my theory is the story of Lazarus and the resurrection of Christ But both of those lack boxes
    B: Boxes are a prerequisite. Which may explain the fascination cats hve with them...
    A: Could it be thats the reason behind the longevity of cats? they are part time dead? could explain the 9 lives
    C: Jesus dies and gets put in a rock box [cave]. For three days he is both in the rock box and "with god." On day 3 they open the rock box and the chocolate egg industry is born.
    A: So boxes are basically more efficient and portable caves?
    B: No, caves are less efficient and portable boxes.
    A:so how does the chocolate egg tie into it?
    B: Any time you get cats and boxes together you have to expect side effects.
    A: wait wait i got it, in the Hobbit, eggs was the answer to the riddle concerning a box with no lid, lock or hinge but golden treasure lies within! Cause of the caves inefficiency and the fact Christ is a lizard *See lizard Mary theory* we have unexpected side effects of the quantum Resurrection
    B: Now explain the bunnies.
  13. Like
    Steve reacted to Scott Ruggels in Slavery in your game?   
    In Duke's Defense, You just walked on a bit of a hot button between some GM's and players, basically the whole "Role  Play vs. Roll Play" argument. A lot of GMs aggressively encourage  Role play, rather than allowing a player to simply roll social skills on a sheet. I take the opposite tack, and why I smile on Role play, I also realize that I may have otherwise very good players that lack in social skills due to various factors that are uncomfortable, or incapable of  performing social scenes other than a few mumbled lines, backing up those who can. Games in General, most GMs would allow a player to roll a seduction roll, then describe the results in what ever detail a consensus of the table agrees upon. I agree with you about tossing the resolution system, when it was fine a few minutes earlier when using "Streetwise" to find the tavern in the first place. I know a lot of GMs can be disappointed in a player insisting that he is going to roll for persuasion, conversation, or Seduction, rather than role play it out. But comfort around the table is important to maintain trust there.
  14. Like
    Steve reacted to Lord Liaden in Slavery in your game?   
    There's an outstanding example from Hero's fantasy supplement, Nobles, Knights, And Necromancers, of the adventure possibilities of a world which includes slavery, the Red Talon Guild, a network of slavers who kidnap people from parts of the world where slavery is illegal, and transport them for sale to places where it is legal. Their operations span thousands of miles, involving a network of gangs of thieves and smugglers, tribes of barbarians and bands of mercenaries, and manors or castles along their trade routes where they can stash their victims. PCs who aren't ready or interested to save the world, may be highly motivated to track down and recover a kidnapped friend or family member.
     
     
     
  15. Like
    Steve reacted to mallet in Population density?   
    I think it would also depend on how much of that land as "explored" and/or settled (this is a fantasy setting after all). Sure the kingdom might be 370000 square miles large, but (without seeing a map) maybe a huge part of that is a "haunted forest" like Murkwood, and another part is an unexplored mountain range, and then there is the desert wastes where the Burrowing Scorpions keep everyone away, and so on. So maybe 2.5/mile is the "real" average PD for the entire nation, but once you take out all the places people don't live, inhabit, etc... the PD might rise in the areas that remain. For example, if 30% of the kingdom is unexplored/controlled by monsters then your average PD would rise up to 3.5.
     
    That said, 3.5 still seems really, really low, just as a thought on it, in most agriculture based areas they have large families because it takes a lot of people to farm any area of land. 2.5 people wouldn't be able to farm a square mile of land. 1 square mile is 640 acres. At the very best on average I could possibly see 1 person being able to handle 7 acers of farming on their own (working 10 hours a day, 7 day a week) so farming a full 1 square mile of farm land would need about 90 people, which when looking at Doug's data show it to be pretty "spot on" with historical averages. 
     
    Also cities could be surprisingly large in the past. Paris pre-1400 is thought to have had up to 250,000 people living in it (the black plague and wars eventually doped this down to 100,000+ people). London at about the same time had around 150,000
    If your kingdom has almost 1,000,000 and at least one major city in it, that might account for 10% of your entire kingdom's population, with probably another 25% in the areas surrounding it to supply all the food needed for a city that large and the safety is provides. That means 35% of your kingdom's population lives in one small area of the major city, and the areas around it. The other 65% take up the rest of the Kingdom. So unless the kingdom has vast, uninhabited areas that seems like a very small population. 
     
    For another real life example, the size of your kingdom seems to be roughly the size of Germany (Germany being a little bit smaller. Germany = 360,000 miles squared) and according to records Germany had a population around 9 million people between 1300-1400 AD. So a kingdom about he same size as yours had roughly 10 times the number of people in it. 
  16. Like
    Steve reacted to archer in A World Apart [A TMX Campaign]   
    First, don't tell us to feel free to post comments when you don't want us to feel free to post comments.
     
    Second, politely requesting us to not make off-topic posts in this thread is fine.
     
    Third, that was not a polite request.
     
    Fourth, you have absolutely no control over what people post on this thread and don't post on this thread. This is a discussion forum on a website which deliberately has a free-flowing discussion forum. If we were to for some bizarre reason want to discuss haircare tips here, that is perfectly fine.
     
    Fifth, if you insist on having control over the discussion, you need to go to the "clubs" section and post there instead of here.
  17. Like
    Steve reacted to Christopher R Taylor in Mutants: Why does this idea work?   
    Yeah, like I stated earlier, there's a huge jump between "i dislike you because you look different/talk different etc" and "I dislike you because you are powerful enough to melt my brain"
     
    Mutants aren't just odd looking or unusual.  They are actually, materially dangerous.  And they are going to supplant and replace non mutants according to Marvel Evolutionary Theory.  That's a huge difference from "I don't like you because you're from Nebraska".  That's an actual threat to my peoples' existence.
     
    There's good reason and logical basis for fear of mutants in the Marvel universe, its not just mindless, content less, irrational hate.  Especially when you factor in all the thousands of times mutants actually have threatened huge bodies of people, if not the entire planet.
     
    And at the same time, because almost no mutants look any different than anyone else, there's no reason why people should hate them and embrace other superheroes as happens constantly in the Marvel Universe.  In this context, there's no difference between Captain America and Dazzler: both have done great things and protected people, both are attractive and noble, both are consistently heroic (with a few mind control bad moments).  Cap is beloved and honored, Dazzler is hated.  For no other reason than "we want to push the anti mutant thing for plot reasons."
     
    See, what I'm saying here is that no matter how much propaganda you put out, or what cool slogans you whipped up, people would not differentiate between mutant and non-mutant.  They'd fear and hate every superhero.
  18. Like
    Steve reacted to DShomshak in Mutants: Why does this idea work?   
    <curious> Such as? I've been out of comics for a while, but as of the time I stopped reading Marvel (1990s) I don't recall there being any mutants who simply looked different. OTOH there were lots of mutants with dangerous powers who looked like ordinary humans. Most of them, in fact.
     
    Okay, I can see the parallel quasi-reasoning:
     
    "Some gangbangers are Black. Theefor, I believe that all Black people are gangbangers. I shall ignore all the Black people who aren't gangbangers, and all the gangbangers who aren't Black."
     
    goes to:
     
    "Some mutants are dangerous supervillains. Therefor, I believe all mutants are dangerous supervillains. I shall ignore all the mutants who aren't dangerous supervillains, and all the dangerous supervillains who aren't mutants."
     
    I still think it falls down because, based on the characters presented, most mutants have powers that would make them extremely dangerous if they chose to be: more so than even the most suicidally determined, non-super human being.
     
    It might have emotionally rang true to me if Marvel had shown more instances of super-powered people being falsely accused of being mutants. (I remember one instance, but that's it.) So perhaps it isn't the bigotry that rings false to me, as the apparent magical power that people have to tell that a mutant character is a mutant and not some other sort of superhuman.
     
    (In my own campaign settings, there are a few "mutant suremacists" because there's no idea so crazy that someone won't believe it, but most people regard mutants with envious admiration for their luck in being born with super-powers. People hope they are mutants too, who just haven't discovered their powers yet. OTOH, in my worlds there are no handy-dandy "mutant detectors" -- the only way to tell is a detailed genetic analysis -- so "muytant" often means merely, "I don't know why I have powers.")
     
    Dean Shomshak
  19. Thanks
    Steve reacted to fdw3773 in Pest Control in a Superhuman World   
    Off hand, two 4th Edition references come to mind:
     
    Alien Enemies: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/207037/Aliens-Enemies-4th-Edition
    There's a variety of alien races that you can use or modify into a hostile swarm or invasion. Of particular note are also the Eliminators, a group of xenophobic bunglers who are really bad shots but have really powerful and unstable weapons. They're basically a variation of the Ghostbusters team taken to the extreme. I'm adapting them for 6th Edition to use at the next game convention event once in-person gaming resumes on a large scale (hopefully in spring 2022).
     
    Invasions: Target Earth https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/208565/Invasions-Target-Earth-4th-edition
    Some more alien and supernatural options for your consideration.
     
  20. Thanks
    Steve reacted to Lord Liaden in Pest Control in a Superhuman World   
    The "Ever-Eating Karrg" (or "Kaarg," the spelling is inconsistent) from Alien Enemies could be particularly fun, as they're basically played for laughs but pose a deadly long-term threat, rather like pumped-up Tribbles. As they're also sapient and non-violent, dealing with them can pose a significant moral dilemma. Throwing the Eliminators into the mix would add to the hijinks.
     
     
    Closest thing in that book to a "pest" would be an "Alien Breeder," but it's essentially a stand-in for a Xenomorph from the "Alien" movie etc. franchise, so dealing with them would be less a job for exterminators, more for military or superhero combatants.
  21. Like
    Steve reacted to DShomshak in Pest Control in a Superhuman World   
    One of my last "Avant Guard" campaign adventures included a bit of super-pest control. The PCs had offended the mad super-biologist Helix by trying to plant a nuke in his base. He found it, disarmed it, and decided to return it to sender with an announcement that it would go off in New York City in a few hours. And he suggested people would let him destroy the city, in order to limit the damage from the genetic abominations invading the city... some of them contagious.
     
    One PC had recently acquired an apprentice of sorts, a young mystic who'd crafted a Blasting Rod that, as per the description in the grimoires, could do weather control. The apprentice (tentatively using the pseduonym Stave) insisted on coming along to fight the monsters, and a good thing too: As the PCs gather, they see a cloud erupt from the summit of the Chrysler building. They know it's a swarm of hornets engineered to carry Helix Fever, one of Helix's engineered plagues. They have no way to fight a giant insect swarm.
     
    Then Stave says, "I've got this." He raises the Blasting Rod, recites a Bible verse (Matthew 8:24 if anyone's interested), and concentrates as clouds swiftly gather overhead for a Turn, and KABOOM! With a roar of continuous thunder and lightning, the clouds drop a deluge of rain driven by a gale-force wind aimed straight down. The Helix Fever hornets are swept from the sky to be crushed against buildings and pavement, and drowned in the driving rain. (All done through Change Environment.)
     
    A minute later, the Blasting Rod splinters and the storm stops, but Stave is exultant. Nearby people had caught all this on their phones, and Stave -- true child of the social media age -- leans into one to say, "See that? Thant's magic! You think you're all that, Helix, but  I just owned you!"
     
    The PCs then saved the city, but they are sure Helix will not take Stave's declaration in good humor. We shall see how this develops.
     
    Dean Shomshak
  22. Like
    Steve reacted to DShomshak in Mutants: Why does this idea work?   
    Well... The early issues of X-Men that I've read didn't have anything I recognized as "Metaphor for other bigotry." It looked to me more like a nod to Atomnic Horror -- mutants swere appearing because of radiation from fallout. Charles Xavier's father was a pioneering physicist in atomic research, Krakoa the Living Island, etc.
     
    "The children are scary different" trope circulating in the 1960s as well. Midwich Cuckoos. Childhood's End. "Little Anthony." A natural time for such a tropoe, since many parents did find their children turning alien, rejecting the traditions and loyalties the parents revered. As Opal says, every generation faces replacement by their offspring -- but to many people, this became a whole lot scarier.
     
    Not that this helped the comic. X-Men was cancelled, first time around. The trope didn't mean anything to the young readers.
     
    No, I think the hevy-handed equation of "anti-mutant hysteria" with racism, homophobia, antisemitism, etc. came a bit later. 1980s or so.
     
    And as mentioned, it falls down. It isn't irrational to fear people who are living weapons of mass destruction.
     
    Gotta agree with Duke Bushido here: The real appeal of Marvel-style mutants is the fantasy that anyone, even you, might suddenly discover you had super-powers. You can't be a castaway alien like Superman, or a billionaire like Batman, go on a rocketship ride like the Fantastic Four or learn the mystic arts in Tibet like Dr. Strange. Just >ping< you find you are special. As special as every adolescent thinks theyt are, and as unfairly treated.
     
    Now, this approach to mutants could be developed in a way that's not so flattering to teenage narcissism. As you transition from child to adult, you do gain power. You affect the world and the people around you. You can make choices tht matter a whole lot more -- and that you might not be able to take back. Some people use that new power well, even heroically, like Malala Yousefzai. Others use it very badly, like school shooters.
     
    I don't know if that would sell as well. But then, comics are no longer so much a youth medium. (Or anything but a "farm team" for movie scripts I suppose, but that's another rant.) But it's a kind of story that's been told for millennia. I doubt it will every really go out of style.
     
    Dean Shomshak
  23. Thanks
    Steve reacted to Killer Shrike in Side Effect choices   
    So...I think you are referring to my Metier magic system, and the Preciat style specifically? 

    http://www.killershrike.com/FantasyHERO/HighFantasyHERO/MagicSystems/metierStyles.aspx
     
    I'm going to assume the answer is yes, and proceed. Note: I'm going to refer to Side Effects as SE and Requires Skill Roll as RSR throughout to save typing.
     
    A few things:
     
    1) In both 5e and 6e Minor SEs (such as what the Preciat style has) are 15 AP not 30 AP...

     
    2) SE paired with an RSR occur when the skill roll is failed (unless the Always Occurs modifier to SE is also applied). In the case of Preciat and other Metier Styles that take a SE that is not also Always Occurs, the RSR is the corresponding required Metier Style skill, and thus the SE only occurs if that RSR fails.
     
    3) You can do a lot of things with Side Effects, not just inflict damage.
     
    Personally, I like self-referential SE's which tie back to the thing that caused the SE; in the case of magic use diminishing the caster's ability to cast further magic has a nice feedback loop component. An obvious one is a temporary penalty to the Metier Style skill itself for a period of time...dialing the penalty amount and the unit of time to suit your preferences or the situation. For endurance using magic systems I liked to use a fatigue based model. I used Long Term Endurance rules generally in most of my Fantasy Hero campaigns, and piggy backed on that for magic systems that used END. But a Drain based option also works. Anyway, I describe both approaches in detail in the following document:
     
    http://www.killershrike.com/FantasyHERO/HighFantasyHERO/GeneralSpellRestrictions.aspx#SideEffects
     
    You could also define a cross-cutting ambient notion (such as ley lines or Darksun-like defilers, or what have you) and have SE do something like deplete the ambient magic of the local area for some period of time...you could go further and tie it into Change Environment to apply a flat penalty to something within the affected area. And so on.
     
    But, there's an entire section in the SE write up talking about all the various creative things one can bend SE to do for a reason. IMO "takes damage" is the least interesting / least creative / least useful option. If you put a little thought into it, you can use SE on a magic system or individual spell type effect to dial up the flavor and feel of that particular type of magic. 
     
    4) The GM is explicitly told they can adjust the impact of SE to suit their campaign.
     

     
    So, if even after considering the above points and possibly settling into a version of SE that isn't just "you take a lot of no-defense damage and maybe die", you still feel like SE is to punitive for your tastes...just turn the dial a bit to ratchet it down. This is how I approach universal "toolkit" type systems, and Hero in particular...  

     
    I hope some part of this response is helpful, and I'm glad to hear people are still using my Fantasy Hero material...let me know if you encounter any specific things you have questions on and I'll try to answer them.
     
     
     
  24. Haha
    Steve reacted to Hermit in Online Media in a Superhuman World   
    An Amazonian looking woman in a red and black costume with exaggerated spikes on her shoulders steps out as the commercial starts, "Hi. I'm the villainess Bonecrush!  Some folks know me for my amazing Prius chucking abilities, others scream in terror as I dangle their chosen heroes such as Australian Ninjas over the wreckage of a building I helped decimate. I was having a successful career as a bad guy! I was really getting up there, but like many twenty first century super-criminal women, I wanted MORE than just career. I wanted someone special in my life. Someone I didn't have to kidnap to get a 10 minute conversation with."
     
    A Mars Unit pulls up, their law enforcement vehicle being used as cover as they draw out their high powered weapons "Freeze!"
     
    She sighs, grabs an empty garbage dumpster and flinging it up where will land on the Mars Police unit, forcing them to flee. After it comes down with a huge smashing WHAM she continues, "I admit it, I was lonely, and I was missing romance. Sure, I knew other supervilains, but a lot of them just weren't connecting with me. I'm okay with world conquerors, high tech assassins, and vengeful maniacs, but... some of them get handsy before they know you- Ugh, what a turn off."
     
    Bonecrush holds up her smart phone, "That's when I found Rend-er! The Dating app for Supervillains! I took a compatibility test, gauging my limits of what's acceptable to me ethically. A personal example? Removing spines non surgically? YES. "  She smiles , then goes on "Ketchup on Spaghetti? NO"  A look of disgust, before her expression  turns cheerful again, "And Rend-er takes that all into account! And now I'm meeting with bad guys who don't just desire and admire this big bullet proof body, they respect and want to talk about what I value in my life of mayhem! Who knows? The chances of meeting Mister Right just went up, " She pauses and covers her mouth coquettishly  with a glove that has an old blood stain on the index finger that just hasn't quite washed out, then winks and smiles as she removes it "Or should I say ? Mister WRONG for everyone else... but me!"
     
    SUBTITLES FLASH ACROSS COMMERICAL SCREEN IN SMALL PRINT:
    Render is for Entertainment only. Render is not responsible for undercover superheroes who may use you to get information on your next crime and or make you want to reform. Some applicants may lie and seek to use your genetic material, blood, or very soul for even grander dark schemes. Render is also not responsible for your secret identity or plans being discovered by spunky reporters you will want to kill later. Please use the Rend-er app with caution for these reasons and more. But isn't love worth it?
  25. Like
    Steve reacted to Jhamin in Pest Control in a Superhuman World   
    I think this and Swarm are the real answer to pest control in a superhuman world.  The genre convention isn't that they become super-organized pests that we have to live with (ala Joes Apartment, if anyone remembers that) its that once a swarm gets intelligent enough it gets a cape, organizes into a humanoid shape and starts making supervillian speeches.
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