Archive for the ‘geektasm’ Category
There’s an rpg.net thread, innocuously titled, In 4E, can you still live on the moon? where the question is asked, can you put together enough magic to live on the moon?
Someone points out that you could become a lich, thereby ignoring that whole oxygen, hot/cold, food, water thing.
Then someone else points out, if you can do it, others can too. Which… leads to premises too metal to consider without some portion of sanity loss.
I’ve been in an Avatar the Last Airbender mood lately – and I think I’d run it using Sorcerer. Why? Basically the kids are caught in a lot of Humanity-testing kind of situations, and Sorcerer does a good job of emulating the Bender powers and with the martial arts rules in Sex & Sorcery, the fighting as well.
Humanity is dual defined as in Sorcerer’s Soul:
1. Empathy & Connection with others
2. Self acceptance of one’s feelings
Consider Iroh as being pretty good on both accounts, Zuko on neither, Aang being strong in the first and struggling with the second, and Azula being strong in the second and simply not giving a damn about the first.
Special Humanity Rules
Any character can sacrifice a point of Humanity to prevent another character from going into Humanity 0. (Iroh does this a lot. Katara does this a bit.)
Avatar being a kids show, means normally deadly things like fire, swords, or arrows rarely make contact and actually cause harm. All damage is automatically assumed non-lethal unless specially noted (such as lightning). If you incapacitate someone, you can choose to inflict lasting damage.
Any attacks against helpless or incapacitated living beings incurs a humanity check.
Any scene in which you choose to attempt to inflict lethal damage incurs a Humanity check.
As mentioned, Bending isn’t Sorcery. All trained Benders have “Martial Arts” descriptor under Stamina. Use Benders’ Will for their Power.
All Trained Benders start with:
– Special Damage (non-lethal, element)
Learning additional powers (techniques) requires time, and rolling Lore vs. 5 dice for each power. If you have a teacher, they can roll their Lore vs. 1 to give you Bonus Dice to your roll. If you fail, you have to wait until your Lore or Will rises before you can try to learn this again.
– Lethal Damage (lightning! see special damage rules above, though…)
– Protection (Iroh’s Lightning redirection)
– Vitality (healing)
– Command (Blood Bending, only in Full Moon, Humanity check)
– Boost Stamina (moving faster, lifting stuff, etc.)
– Cover (moving earth-trains, sandbending sand-skiffs, etc.)
– Perception (earth sense, ala Toph)
Element is abundant +1
Moon/Sun is visible (water/fire bending accordingly) +1
Special event (Full moon, Solstice) +2
Eclipse? – cannot bend
Rare event (comet) +3
Martial arts (a must for all benders, but many others use it as well)
Good Living (“Have a cup of tea! Let’s play music”)
Hard Living (“Nothing but hard work and discipline. I don’t need luck.”)
Big (“The Boulder takes offense at that comment.”)
Just Healthy (Sokka)
Soldier (“They used to call you the Dragon of the West…”)
Arcane Regimen (“More banana garlic juice please”)
Zest for life (Aang, Tylee, Iroh, King Bumi)
Aristocrat (“You were never even a player.”, Azula)
Manipulator (Jet, Azula)
Goofy Appeal (Sokka)
Naive (Mostly everyone, 1-2 Lore)
Scholar (the scholar who found the Library…)
Cracked (King Bumi)
Secret Society (“The White Lotus Gambit?”)
Encounters with the Mystical (Learning Firebending from Dragons)
Studying from Nature (“I learned earthbending from badgermoles”)
Learning the Hard Way (“Fire. So easily threatens to go out of control.”)
Inhuman (Wan Shi Tong)
Lore, Sorcery, Demons
Sorcery includes the Spirit World, but also the wider ability of mucking around with the metaphysics of the world itself:
– Iroh’s mixing Water & Firebending to make the lightning defense
– Admiral Zhao’s attempt to kill the Water Spirit
– Pacts with Hei Bai, Wan Shi Tong, Ko the Face Stealer
Basically, most of the world lives with only Lore 1-2, with a lot of hard work towards learning new Bending techniques. Going beyond that requires very lateral thinking and even dealing with the dangers of the spirit world or seeking out lost societies.
Classic Sorcerer-style Bindings are rare- people wisely fear the power of things beyond their ken. But here’s the most obvious example:
The Avatar State
Need- extreme danger or emotional trauma to the host, or to those the host cares about.
Desire- Divine Retribution (Mayhem)
Abilities: Special Damage (non-lethal, all 4 elements), ranged, Travel, Warp, Hold, Boost Stamina
The Avatar State typically uses all of it’s powers until it’s burnt out, forcing the host to be in danger before being able to activate it again…
The individual incarnations that Aang deals with, like Roku, also are considered Bound demons by the rules. Their needs are usually not as dire- “Be in the Spirit World, or the Fire Temple during the Solstice” but still are a bit of a hassle to meet.
Nearly all of them have big Power levels, which is why Aang has such a hard time commanding them (he’s got penalties on the Binding rolls, and also why he only can get cryptic and partial answers most of the time).
Later in the series, Guru Pathik leads Aang on a series of Humanity gaining meditations to finally undertake a ritual to basically trade Humanity for Lore and attempt to re-Bind the Avatar Spirit. Aang bails out on it and the Avatar Spirit rebels… refusing to offer it’s powers.
You could easily say that thematically, in Sorcerer terms, Avatar is about a 12 year old boy who is the world’s biggest sorcerer…
The question that hella folks been asking since the series ended, is, “What happens now with the airbenders? Will there be no more?”
The series bible points out three really interesting things. First, benders can be born to normal people. Second, that not everyone lived at the Air Temples- so the air nation wasn’t just monks. Third, that they were generally nomadic.
Just because someone hasn’t seen a Sky Bison in 100 years doesn’t mean the nomads all got killed- there’s pretty good odds a bunch of folks would have fled or simply not been present for the Fire Nation attacks and taken to going in hiding.
Which means you could easily have secret pockets of Airbenders, or, perhaps a lot of people who have the ability but none of the training, and are just waiting to learn their hidden talent.
The HQ2 and the Gloranthan previews actually look really solid and have me interested in it when it comes out.
As someone who jumped on during the Hero Wars days, I found the books then, and during HeroQuest, to be rather poorly written and scattered in content- only later would I realize that these were basically “cliffnotes” with the expectation that the existing fanbase would know what all the references were… I had to dig up older Runequest books to get a more coherent idea of what was going on in the setting, and general internet research to really get a grasp on what a HeroQuest was.
The previews look like that they actually address it in a clear manner! No more “But really there’s a cool game in there but don’t really try to follow the book because it’ll just confuse you more” excuses.
On the flip side, it does look like there’s a lot handholding in regards to “This is how the game works, BUT YOU CAN PLAY IT DIFFERENTLY” which amuses me. I expect the book itself will have tons of these apologetic defenses which are pretty much the response to the decades of the Gloranthan mailing list flamewars.
The part, is the question about how much problematic imagery will crop up. Between the pseudo-NDNs, pseudo-Indians, and pseudo-Chinese, which has always been problematic in even the descriptions, I don’t expect much good in that way either. On the other hand, I know it’ll probably just stay focused on the Sartar (psuedo Viking) and Empire stuff and we’ll never get to the other stuff. Good/bad? Guh. Hard to say.