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Saturday, 20 October 2018

RPGPundit Reviews: The S'rulyan Vault



This is a review of the RPG Supplement "The S'rulyan Vault", written by Venger Satanis, published by Kort'thalis Publishing. This is a review of the print edition, which actually appears to be a combined book containing what was originally two different books (the S'rulyan Vault I & II).  It is a thin softcover book of about 30 pages.



The front cover is a full-color work showing what is (for Venger) a surprisingly classic image of some adventurers fighting a dragon in a dungeon, with the back cover featuring a much more Venger-esque cover of some women covered in slime, with a tentacle monster looming over them.

The interior is in black and white, featuring only a couple of well-drawn illustrations, and the back page even has a very well-drawn generic-D&D character sheet (technically, for 5e, being as it has a 'proficiency' stat on it).

As I've done before, I want to state for pure transparency that Venger Satanis is my co-host on the youtube RPG-themed talk show "Inappropriate Characters". I don't think this will affect the nature of my review (I've certainly not been afraid to be critical in past reviews of his work), and I do not have any other business association with Venger nor did I have anything to do with the creation of this book or profit from it in any way.

The basic backdrop of the product is presented in the credits page, describing it as "a collection of random tables and guidelines for using the corresponding megadungeon map". And that "this work is compatible with most roleplaying games that fall into the Old School Renaissance category".  In a slightly odd choice, the map is not included in the product itself, possibly because of its size, though even a reduced-scale version of it might have been a good idea to include. However, I was informed by Venger (when I asked him about this) that the electronic version of the map will be provided to anyone who buys the print edition (though I guess you might have to ask for this). The maps are made for printing on a fairly large scale.



The book proper starts out with "a brief history of the S'rulyan Vault". It talks about an ancient Demon Lord, served by Snake Men, who once almost wiped out humanity. But a group of adventurers managed to destroy the demon lord and the Snake Men were defeated inside their dungeon. But 75 years later, due to the foolish ambition of a queen, the demon lord was raised up again and now threatens the world. Now the king of the land where the S'rulyan Vault is located offers a million gold piece ransom to whoever brings him the head of the demon lord from the vaults.

After this, we get right into the random tables. Pretty much the rest of the product is random tables; which generally is something I quite like, but I've had a mixed history with Venger's tables, so we'll see how this turns out.

The first is a 10-item table to use, if the characters are locals, to determine whether they have a personal stake in the mission. Largely, this has to do with a plague the Demon Lord caused in the kingdom, and determines whether any loved ones of a PC died in the plague.

Second, there's a 12-entry table of Rumors about the vault, with the recommendation that every PC get to roll once. It's suggested that the rumors should become focal points of the campaign; whether or not they are true.  It is left up to the DM to decide if a rumor is true or not.

After that we get a brief description of the entrance to the Vault, and then guidelines for searching and wandering monster checks. This is followed by a table called "What's in the Dungeon"; this is a 20-entry table, with a result and then descriptions of what the result means.
Frankly, this table confuses me; if taken at face value it seems to be meant to suggest what the entire contents of the dungeon are. But the content is so limited that it doesn't really make much sense; it MIGHT make a bit more sense if what it really meant was what's found in a dungeon ROOM, but at the same time some entries suggest that this can't really be right either. It may be to describe a region of the dungeon? We're provided with no guidelines, one way or the other.
Example entries include things like "trap with monster" (sounds like a room description), "Doom!" (explained as 'unkillable monsters, death rays, the end of the world), "science fantasy" (described as the great robot war, synthoid uprising, etc).

I think maybe some of the descriptions are unclear; really the majority of entries would make the most sense as being meant to describe room or local area contents.

Then there's a much more straight-forward 20-entry table of "what are humanoids doing when encountered", which is just fine. This is followed by a 100-entry table of "what do PCs find when they search", advising that any time PCs spend 20 minutes searching a room or dungeon area they should get 1d4-1 rolls on the table. The contents are a mix of the mundane/useless (a rusted gauntlet, some dung), the valuable (2d8sp), the useful (a crimson cloak that might provide protection from death rays), to the gonzo (a note scrawled in chalk saying "beware of sleestak" or a broken circuit-board). This is a really fine table of random items.

The next section involves an encounter with a weird apocalyptic monk, who believes the world has come to an end on the surface; the GM is left the choice as to whether that's actually true or not! A random table is provided, in case the GM wants this to be the apocalypse, to determine just what happened on the surface.

Next there's a brief section detailing an encounter with a spy for the snakemen that the PCs might also meet in the vault.

Magic Items is the next table, detailing a random list of 12 magic items, including various magic weapons and some miscellaneous items. The table is fine, and each item has some additional qualities. It's just large enough to potentially be useful.
There's also a much shorter random table of 3 relics. These three are good too, but they aren't really at the "D&D Relic" level of power.
Finally, there's a table of 7 cursed items (with a result of 8 being 'roll twice', which seems way too big a frequency to find 2 cursed items with). The cursed item table also isn't actually an item table, just a list of curses, though I guess these could mostly be tacked on to any number of otherwise useful magic items.

After this we get a set of tables for generating fortune telling. This includes a table to see who the fortune teller is, the method used, the reading (a combination of three tables) and the payment expected. These tables are pretty good.


At this point we get to the start of the second part of the book. It begins with an introduction (that would have been more useful at the start of the book as a whole, though I suppose that in this case Venger wanted to keep each section separate). This introduction touches on three crucial points: first, the importance of "Gygaxian Naturalism", which Venger describes as 'providing a realistic background for adventuring'. Second, to have a compelling reason why the PCs are down there. Third, the opportunity to show off one's own GMing style and creativity.

After this, there's a table (4 entries) that describe how loud humanoids are being in the dungeon. Then, a mechanic and 30-entry table for what happens if the PCs sleep in the dungeon; where on a 2/6 they don't have any encounter, a 3 or 4 means they have a wandering monster encounter, and on a 5 or 6 they roll on the table. The table has some very unusual entries, including machete-wielding clowns, radiation, a PC becoming an undead, a stairway appearing out of nowhere, and other such things. There are several entries here that suggest something essentially character-killing happening to a PC without any chance to avoid it, so as usual I have some issue with that little detail of Venger's writing style.

Next there's a table for random monster parts the PCs might find. It's a 30-entry table, which is fine, but most of the entries are just things like "teeth", "horn", "stinger" or "tentacle".
  This is then enhanced with tables to determine how hard they are to remove from a corpse, a table to explain 'why take it' (with different special powers it might have), and a final table for how long any benefit might last.


Next there's a table to determine the particular quirks of any given faction.  It's a 100-entry table, and it's quite good; basically a long list of strange behaviors, but suitable for crazy gonzo cults or weird tribes.

Next, a useful section on "restocking the dungeon", for when PCs clear out a section of the Vault and return that way later. There's a 6-entry random table, but in this cases six entries is enough for the basic idea; plus a couple of additional small tables to see if traps have been reset, if there are new traps, or treasure, or evidence of sorcery (with a subtable to determine if there was 'sorcerous evidence').

Next there's a 20-entry table to generate random hirelings. This table is fine, generating the name, race, class and a miscellaneous detail about the hireling in question.  A secondary 4-entry table is meant to generate the hireling's loyalty; this table is pretty simplistic, though I guess it does the job if you don't use 'retainer morale' rules OSR-style.  It does mean that if you go by the table, a hireling will betray you 25% of the time.

The last page of the book presents a dangerous dungeon creature called a 'glitter worm', and a strange magical slime known as "zoth", which has a variety of qualities.

So what to conclude about this product?  It is pretty unusual for a 'megadungeon'. It has a map with no room key, no set locations or content. It has a set of random tables that can let you generate dungeon rooms or areas, and some of the random tables are pretty good.

I guess if what you want in a megadungeon is set (or even semi-set) structure, then you're not going to like this product.  If the idea of a megadungeon generated entirely with random tables and your own creativity is appealing to you, then you MIGHT like this, but I suspect you'll find that even with the two parts together in one product, the S'rulyan Vault is still a little light.  I think that if there were twice as many random tables, but only GOOD ones, then this concept could work better. Even then, I would personally think something along the lines of Castle Gargantua, which has mostly random generation but with various differently-themed "sections" of the dungeon having their own set of random tables, plus a few set-piece locations, is a better concept to go with.

Even so, there's certainly a few tables here that could act as useful play aids for dungeon adventures in general.

RPGPundit

Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti Quiete + Gawith's Commonwealth

Friday, 19 October 2018

DCC Campaign Update: #UnravelTheTruth #CatboyIsACreep



So in our last session, the PCs had managed to both summon and stop a Giant Fire Vampire, which devastated much of the downtown core of the city of Gaga, capital of Coolland. During the attack, a mysterious sniper murdered Queen Zoey's chief guard, the Harembe of the Gorilla Kingdoms.

Now:


-"Feather Fall is a spell that is useful in exactly 1 situation, which is a lot better than Ekim's Mystical Mask, which is useful in no situations."

-"The city is in ruins!"
"It's Sami's fault."
"No, it's Bill's fault!"
"No. It's the Fire Vampire's fault, you guys. Sure, maybe Bill brought it here..."



-The posh elf wizard has the Find Familiar spell and he's desperate to get to learn it, but it would take 7 days of ritual.
"We're going to stay here in Gaga for a couple of days."
"Wait, how many days?"
"A couple usually means two, elf."

-"Those wacky elves, huh?"
"Bill, you are an.. never mind."

-"Are we going to wait a week for the elf?"
"Sure, I guess."
"Yeah, we can spend the time catching up on what happened when I was gone."
"Sezrekhan happened."
"OK, we're caught up!"

-"Oh Lord in Heaven who smells like lamb, help Bill serve you better by sending him a scroll of Polymorph so he won't have to risk a shitty random spell!"
"Seriously?"
"Natural 20!"
"Fuck's sake."



-"Wow! Thank you, Sami!"
"Just remember I'm very useful and it would be a shame if I were to die."

-"Man, I'm so grateful that when I get my stuff back I'm going to give Sami a rope of climbing!"
"But she has a jetpack!!"
"Yeah, I know."



-Lenny and Catboy go find Lenny a victim in Fashion Jail. They decide to just set up shop there.
"You need a cauldron."
"Yeah, I left my old one behind... wait, we're doing this right here?"
"Sure, why not?"
"Oh, OK!"

-"It's the Lenny and Catboy dungeon cookout!"

-"Bill, G.O.D. is your patron now!"

-Bill goes back into the Neutral Zone (by casting magic missile), and then Planar Steps himself and Alambus (the wizard who'd been stuck there for a century) back to the material plane.
"So Alambus, you were stuck in the neutral zone for 100 years... so you've seen everything, right?"
"Yeah."
"So you know any of the secrets of the city?"
"Well, I know where all the porn is hidden, if that's what you mean..."

-"Priscilla betrayed me. At first I thought she was funny, but then she turned me against my friend Wendy.."
"Yeah, NPCs are like that; funny at first but then they get annoying."

-Heidi got the money that the Queen owed him, and went shopping.
"So.. did you just buy 8000gp worth of bling?"
"No. I bought 8000gp AND 130000pp worth of bling!"
"He's more bling than man!"



-"The economy recovers, thanks to Heidi!"
"I probably broke the city, actually. An apple will cost 10gp now."

-"Maybe Heidi can replace Harembe?"
"I couldn't do that."
"He's unreliable."
"Really? He seems like the least unreliable ever associated with Bill the Elf."
"That's a very low bar."

-"My ears are burning!"
"You don't have ears, Bill."

-"Hey, I can finally blackmail people now that I'm out of the Neutral Zone!"
"Yeah."
"Or, I could start a gossip blog!"
"Just remember to say nice things about Bill, I saved you!"

-"Heidi is wearing so much bling it gave him a 5' movement penalty."
"Hey Heidi, when I get my stuff back from Jal'udin you can use my backpack of holding to carry all your stuff."
"No need, I'm wearing all my stuff now."



-"I'm invoking my familiar."
"Is that what they call Waifus these days?"

-While Bill is visiting them, two castle guards walk into the Fashion Jail and find Lenny & Catboy's House of Horrors.
"We're using the Sunstaff to stir the cannibal stew pot."
"Bill drugs the nearest guard with the Primo Staff."
"The other guard turns to flee, but Lenny comes out of the shadows and outright slashes open his throat."
"What the hell are you doing, Lenny?"
"It's OK, I'm a saint!"

-Sami recommends new possibilities for Guard Captains with Queen Zoey.
"you could get another Gorilla from the Gorilla kingdoms... or maybe a Minotaur from Tholia..."
"Wait, Sami's just trying to find a new boyfriend, isn't she?"

-"Looks like Sami has finally made a friend in Queen Zoey..."
"Yeah, I'm sure absolutely nothing will end up fucking that up."

-"Hey Catboy, if we end up staying here, why don't you make a thief guild? That's what Jal'udin started out with..."
"Hey yeah... I could call it the Iron Catz.."
"That's a terrible name!"
"No, it's cool because it would have a Z at the end!"



-A new crisis emerges: Queen Zoey is getting a ton of "Dislikes" on Coolland's bluebird-based social media.
"Your majesty, you get 300000 dislikes in the last 12 hours! And if you get 700000 within 48 hours, according to the Coolland constitution you will be deposed."
"Seriously?"
"Yes, that's our ancient law."
"But if you get deposed, what then?"
"The next in line would become King... the Duke of Abstinence."

-The PCs try to talk to angry crowds outside the Queen's palace.
"Harembe is dead because of Queen Zoey!"
"No, Harembe was killed by an agent of the Duke of Abstinence"
"That's Fake News!"
"Yeah, the Duke would make a much better King!"



-"Your Majesty, I suspect the Duke is somehow helping create these Dislikes."
"How?"
"In Old Country, we have thing like this. They call them 'Bots'."
"So you're saying we should blame all this political mess on Old Country Bots?"



-"Your Majesty, it has gotten worse! PoodlePoo has sent a post with the hashtag #BringBackTheDuke!"
"Who the hell is PoodlePoo?"
"He's only one of the most influential social media people in Coolland."
"Why?"
"He posts about watching other people playing games."



-"Hey Catboy, we need to make some dude disappear."
"Wait, I'm not sure I agree with this..."
"No, don't worry Your Majesty, we know what we're doing."

-"Wait.. you're going to kidnap me?"
"Yes, Your Majesty. Then we'll blame it on the Duke, and rescue you, and you'll be popular again."

-"So will Bill the Elf's power be guided by someone?"
"By me."
"So you think you can control him?"
"I probably can't."
"Yeah, this is probably the moment that we'll look back at and say that this was when Coolland went totally to shit."



-Zeke Bodean arrives at that moment, having spent all this time distracted from when Bill told him he should investigate some scriptural artifact for them to find together.
"I've got it! We can seek out the Spade of Ashbaphat the Farmer; as mentioned in the Book of Complications, Ch.17.  It's possibly in the mountains north of here."
"So the spade can help me save my kingdom?"
"I'm sorry, what?"

-"I keep thinking that if Harembe was here he'd say that your complicated plan to fake my kidnapping is a terrible idea that will risk ruining the kingdom and handing the Duke the throne."
"Yeah, probably, but Harembe's dead."

-"Bill misses the good old days when the Party's most complex plans mostly involved throwing grenades on the roofs of buildings."

-"We can have Lenny watch the Queen while we do our work."
"I don't know you guys... me watching the Queen? People might think that's creepy."
"Yeah, because Lenny isn't creepy."
"I could do it!"
"No, Catboy."



-"Your majesty, things have gotten worse! Now Jakwee has shared the #BringBackTheDuke hashtag!"
"Who's Jakwee?"
"She's the second most famous social media personality."
"What does she do?"
"She does performances where she pretends to sing popular songs while dressed in the latest fashions."



-After an extremely long discussion about their very convoluted plan to fake the Queen's kidnapping to try to entrap the Duke, Bill the Elf casually mentions his friend Alambus who spent the last century in the Neutral Zone spying on every detail of the city.
"Wait, you know a guy who knows every single secret of this city, and you didn't lead with that?!"
"Well, I guess we can go look for him.."

-They find Alambus in an alley, living in a box, covered in filth.
"I just can't hack it. I don't understand these kids and all their weird memes."
"Alambus is a 30 year old boomer."
"I mean, back in my days, the memes were simple.. like Milhouse!"



-"We need your help to stop PoodlePoo. He is trying to dethrone the queen."
"What? That makes no sense; PoodlePoo really likes the queen!"
"Do you mean, like, sexually?"
"No."
"Oh, he means he wants to eat her!"
"No, Lenny."

-"OK, so do you know any secrets we can use against PoodlePoo and Jakwee?"
"Yeah. I mean, Jakwee is bulimic and has a veneral disease. And PoodlePoo secretly dresses up as a sky-nazi. Which is pretty weird because he's a mutant, like most of us."




-Meanwhile, Heidi keeps getting little birds landing on him with "Likes".
"What's happening?"
"Apparently my new look is making me popular."
"Hey, they made a hashtag about you... you're #BlingBae!"



-They report back to Queen Zoey.
"Your majesty, the old plan is on hold."
"Oh thank G.O.D.!"

-"I go find the posh elf."
"He's in Palombo's masturbation tower."
"I knock on the door."
"I ignore the knocking!"
"Can I hear if he's in there? You know, making vigorous movements?"
"You hear vigorous movements from his ritual."
"I knock the door down."
"What are you doing? What do you need me for?"
"...I don't know anymore."

-"I have to do the whole ritual in one stretch! Please!!"
"Sami?"
"Yeah."
"He says he can't interrupt his ritual."
"Bring the little bitch over here."

-"You call Sami and explain, posh elf."
"..she isn't answering me!"
"Ok, well, then I guess you can stay."

-"I'm going to have faith in you, Sami."
"That's probably not the wisest decision but we'll see."

-Catboy sneaks into Poodlepoo's secret sky-nazi dressing room.
"I leave a note there, saying 'I know'."

-In a different part of his house, Catboy observes Poodlepoo, who is acting very strangely.
"Guys, I think PoodlePoo is a Bot!"
"Tell him Lenny says hi!"

-"Maybe Bolt-1 is involved?"
"Why?"
"You know.. Bolt, Bot?"
"They sound alike! That proves it!"



-"Catboy are you still in his house?"
"yeah."
"Spy on him, since you're a Creep."
"Stop that! I'm not a creep! I just snuck into this guy's house and now I'm going to stalk him in secret."



-"So, if he's a Bot, kill him, dress him as a Nazi, and make it look like he hung himself while masturbating in an act of auto-erotic asphyxiation."
"so.. we're trying to make him look like a wizard?"

-Heidi gets a social media account.
"What are you going to say to your fans?"
"I do a post saying #CatboyIsACreep ".
"Isn't the whole 'creep' thing what you guys did to Morris the last time you were in Gaga?"
"And just like catboy, he was a level 3 thief too!"
"I guess that when you get to level 3, you become a creep!"

-"Wait.. Heidi's account is super-popular now. If we can expose PoodlePoo as a bot, and blame it on the Duke, we could make Queen Zoey great again!"

-Meanwhile, Alambus tells the PCs about the two locations he knows of where spies of the Duke of Abstinence were known by  him to congregate.
"Are they in abandoned warehouses?"
"No, there's not really any abandoned warehouses in Gaga. One is behind a Beautician's, and the other behind a Yoga Studio."

-Heidi takes out the beautician, and they go to the back room.
"Try not to kill everyone!"
"Nein."
"That's sky-nazi for 'go fuck yourself'."

-Bill casts magic missile in the fight, and enters the Neutral Zone.
"Man, I forgot how solitary this is normally. I should force Alambus back here so I  have someone to talk to whenever I get stuck here."

-Heidi tosses a flash grenade without warning anyone. Sami gets blinded.
"Why did you do that?! You know what, fuck this, I'm just going to sit down. You guys kill them."
"Lenny saved and he stabs the blind guy right in the kidneys."

-"Eww, Lenny, you're eating that guy's kidneys! They're full of pee!"
"I thought pee came from the balls?"



-They managed to keep one of the spies alive to question him.
"OK, talk."
"I don't know much! I was just the crossbow guy!"

-PoodlePoo is attacking Catboy!
"I backstabbed him and he's still up. I use my jump suit to jump out of there!"
"Wow."
"Yeah, I'm pretty cool."
"Only because no one can see you right now."



-"I hide in the garden."
"OK, you get behind a shrubbery pruned into the shape of a clown."
"I turn into a bag of rocks!"

-"You guys PoodlePoo is a bot!"
"What do you mean?"
"I mean he's a goddamn robot!"
"Ohhh... so that's what 'bot' means!"

-"Our hideout is at the Beautician's."
"Which Beauticians?"
"The Generic Beautician's, on 31st."
"Thanks."
"You're welcome. Please don't kill me."

-"So he writes a message on a little bird, and another bird shows up on my shoulder with the message? How the hell does this social media even work?"
"Magic?"

-"You need to send a cleverly crafted message, Heidi."
"I write: I'm not here to take the side of the Queen or the Duke, I'm here to find out the Truth. #UnravelTheTruth #CatboyIsACreep"

-Birds are sending out Heidi's message all over the place.
"So do I see any of this?"
"No."
"You chose your path, stay in the masturbation tower, posh elf!"

-"Do you get to chose your familiar?"
"No."
"I hope you get something really pathetic."
"Like a catboy?"

-"Will the video I took of PoodlePoo be enough?"
"It should be enough to raise awareness..."
"Raise awareness?! What the fuck is with you, Heidi?"
"I saved you from the Shithole for this, Heidi??"



-"You know who I miss? Roman."
"Yeah. He was a daemon, and planned to betray us, and to take over the world; but he sure could keep us on track!"
"Yeah, everything's gone to shit since then."
"Heidi's grandson was right!"

-The PCs get to the other spy hangout, called "Generic Yoga Studio".

-Lenny prays to open the locked back door.
"It worked! Maybe G.O.D. approves of me eating more people!"

-Meanwhile, Bill went in the front and murdered the yoga instructor.
"I put the 'closed' sign on the front door."
"OK, but the whole storefront is glass, and people can still see the murdered corpse of the yoga instructor..."
"I don't really care."

-Jakwee finds Heidi, there's a fight, and he destroys her.
"She's a robot!"
"I'm pretty sure the real Jakwee wasn't a robot."
"Are you sure?"
"I'm pretty sure, I mean I watched her from the Neutral Zone for years, and I'm pretty sure a robot wouldn't have bulimia and a venereal disease."

-"I'll address the crowd that came to see me, but you guys can't be seen with me. Especially you Catboy; you're a creep and they know that."
"How do they know that, Heidi?"
"It's the Morris Effect."




-"I'm not a creep!"
"You go into people's homes to film them!"
"You told me to film them!!!"

-"The plaza is full of people with banners saying '#BlingLove', '#UncoverTheTruth', and '#CatboyIsACreep'."

-"I cast Detect Evil."
"You shouldn't do that standing next to me."
"You're all blinded from the glow of Bill's evil."

-"Bill tries to join the crowd, but they publicly shame him."

-"I'm on a roof, and I'm going to do a perception check to look for any snipers."
"OK, you spot ten snipers. One of them is on the same roof as you are, right next to you."
"Oh shit!"
"They all fire before you can do anything."

-"Only one of the snipers manages to hit you, Heidi. In the chest."
"Ooh, right in the nipple!"
"You got hit for 9 damage, and your nipple might never be functional again."

-"Can I backstab the guy on my roof?"
"Well, you didn't spot him until now, and he rolled a 1 so he didn't see you either."

-"You hit him right in the kidneys. That's what we call a 'Lenny' around here."

-"This round only one of the snipers hit you again, again with a critical."
"Don't tell me.."
"Yes. He hit you in the other nipple."
"Sonofabitch! I just had that pierced with a platinum ring!"



-"The hit does 9 points of damage, and that nipple is also rendered useless."
"Now Heidi will have to draw nipples on himself to hide his shame!"
"He can wear armor with nipples, like Batman!"

-"I cast magic missile and get a 1."
"Bill misfires, and kills 5 innocent bystanders."
"Now for my second attempt!"

-Bill takes two critical hits. The first knocks him down, and the second hits him in the kidney.
"They did a Lenny!"
"It's all nipples and kidney shots today!"

-Heidi's jetpack takes a hit and now he's flying out of control.
"My movement is impaired!"

-Heidi gets criticaled again!
"I haven't got any nipples left; what more do you people want from me?!"



-"Heidi is unconscious and possibly dead. Also, his jetpack is still flying, moving away from the center of town, incredibly not slamming into any buildings so far."
"Oh shit! If he dies, no one will believe us!"
"If that happens, then we can just burn down the city."

-Sami, meanwhile, finally gets around to casting Ack'basha's Sanctuary, and gets a natural-20, creating a massive sanctuary zone.

-Lenny was able to summon Heidi back from wherever he was flying to, but his jetpack is still going, and his possibly-lifeless body slams into the side of the Palace.
"At least Alambus managed to feather-fall him!"
"You and I make a good team, Alambus. I'm not going to eat you after all."
"Oh... thanks."

-Incredibly, Heidi turns out to still be alive.



-"Your majesty, Alambus here knows the whole city's secrets."
"I guess I'd better make him my spymaster."
"Yes, your majesty. You'd really better."

-Queen Zoey manages to use #BlingBae's popularity to restore her own, saving the kingdom from a constitutional crisis.
"This was a ridiculous adventure."

-"Now I'll need you to rescue the real PoodlePoo and Jakwee from my uncle the Duke."
"Really? We need to do that?"

That's everything for this session. Stay tuned next time to see if the PCs manage to, or even decide to, rescue two useless social media stars from the Queen's evil uncle who she still doesn't want to kill!
Yes, they saved the world from Sezrekhan, and this is their life now.


RPGPundit

Currently Smoking: Dunhill Shell Diplomat + C&D's Crowley's Best

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Classic Rant: "Real" Magick in RPGs - Divination



Pretty much every serious magician practices "divination" of some form. However, divination is an interesting subject because it is also the one magical practice most likely to be at least nominally practiced by non-magicians, or by wannabe-magicians, or by posers. That's because of all the forms of magic, its relatively easy to get into, and to have some initial "results" with, however blurry. More than a few great magicians (that is, batshit obsessed magicians) had their start by the seemingly innocent act of buying a tarot deck for kicks.




The first thing to clarify on the subject of divination is that a serious magician wouldn't refer or consider it to be "fortune telling". First, because the purpose of divination is primarily self-analysis, and secondly to help develop an understanding of the language of symbols. Second, because the way magick understands the nature of reality (and specifically "time") means that "seeing the future" per se is an impossibility. "Destiny" is not a concept that has a lot of leverage with magicians or the magical world view; the future is not set, it is rather a series of events that are based on the weight of patterns and prior events. The events of each moment is the product of the influence of billions of other little and big moments that preceded it. Thus by doing something, even a "little" something in the present, you can radically alter the future, for yourself, or for the whole world.

Divination doesn't work by somehow gazing into the future; rather, it works by looking at the present and at that "flow" of events, with a special perspective. If the future is the product of a current of circumstances flowing from the present, being able to clearly see the present allows you to understand not just how things are in the present, but the general direction in which things are likely to develop. Hence the name of the Chinese system of divination, the "I Ching" (the book of the changes). 
A divination system is a system of symbols, that put together create a kind of scale model, or organizational system, to describe reality. A "Dewey Decimal system for the universe", if you would. As symbols, these systems can intuitively connect with our human consciousness, so that even someone who has almost zero experience with a deck of tarot cards could just intuitively feel their way around them and maybe (assuming they've exercised their intuition at all) get a glimpse of the "message" a card reading is trying to tell them. A magician, on the other hand, studies these symbols profoundly, connecting to them on both the intuitive and intellectual level. Thus, as he gains in ability, he develops a very good skill at being able to use a divination system to take a "reading" of his own situation, of the balance of his elements, of trends that are going on for him in the present and how these are likely to go in the future, and get ideas of how to shift them subtly in order to make positive changes; or he can likewise do the same for other people.



This working with divinatory tools is thus never (for the hardcore magician) primarily about trying to determine the future; it is part of the process of self-analysis. You can use a divination tool to try to get a better grasp of your inner nature; it is part of the work a magician does, along with the magical diary and exercises of contemplation and meditation to try to understand themselves better. A big part of magical theory is that human beings are bound up by "conditionings"; ideas about themselves or the world, about likes and dislikes, about personality, that act as a trap. I covered some of this while talking about "masks" in the previous installment; the personality mistakenly believed to be the self. Part of being able to initially liberate one's self from that ego-persona requires being able to understand it clearly, and divination gives you hints to this. Basically, the symbol becomes a bridge for self-communication, between the conscious and the unconscious mind. Those messages your higher self is trying to send you, which you can't normally hear clearly, can become clearer when intentionally run through the "translation program" of a divinatory tool.

There are tons of different systems of divination out there, from new age oracles to ancient yoruba cowrie-shell casting; but there are three "big" systems that tend to be the ones most often used by magicians, which I'll try to briefly explain. Any of the three may be used by "posers" and magicians alike, but the way they would appear to use them will tend to be different, and can serve to give subtle hints as far as whether you want to portray an NPC magician as a newbie, or as someone who has got their shit together, or as someone who's plunged off the deep end.




Tarot: the big daddy of the divination systems, the Tarot is a 78-card deck that dates back to the 14th century, though some really ill-informed magicians might try to claim that it dates as far back as Egypt or "ancient Atlantis". Its four suits plus 22 trumps (major arcana, the cards with names like the Fool, Death, or the Sun) represent, as a whole, a working model of the magical universe. The suits connect to the four classical elements, while the trumps detail the whole process of magical work and development, from initiation to "union with the universe". The tarot is a composite work, it contains in it symbols that are important in the Kabbalah, Astrology, Alchemy, Sufi teaching, and other elements. There are thousands of decks available, most of which to some extent or another end up stripping away, rather than emphasizing that symbolism. A newb could be using any deck at all (often some "thematic" deck like the "dragon tarot", the "celtic tarot", etc), and will either just make up meanings or have to refer regularly to a book. Hardcore magicians will generally use either the Crowley "Thoth" deck or one of its variants, or if they're old-school will use one of the reproductions of the medieval decks like the Marseilles or Visconti. The typical magician will read the cards in a "spread", a kind of layout (which varies, there are hundreds of them); whereas a really experienced magician will likely omit the spread and read the cards just by laying a series of them out in order. A serious obsessive of ceremonial magick or crowleyana will tend to use an extremely complex counting system that originated with the 19th century "Order of the Golden Dawn"; done in full, that kind of system takes a couple of hours to do a reading.




Runes: This is a relative newcomer to western occultism in the English-speaking world, popularized in the 70s by pagans who were looking to revive the "norse tradition" and later embraced by new-agers. The runes are the viking alphabet, which has 24 letters; each letter has a literal meaning, and it has a divinatory significance; for example the f-rune, "fehu", literally means "cattle" and it symbolizes material issues (usually material prosperity). Runes today are used by hardcore magicians, wiccans, new agers, other kinds of pagans; they're widely adopted, though still most popular among "asatru" (norse pagans). The latter are mostly dedicated revivalists of ancient norse religion, who try to strive for authenticity; though there's also a seedy minority of these that mix up runic magic with neo-nazi philosophy (usually, the latter are rightly reviled by mainstream norse pagans; they could also make good occult Villains for a campaign). Newbs will use cheap store-bought runes made of plastic, ceramic, or (most popular with new agers) crystal. 
Serious students of the runes will try to follow the old rules about them: namely that runes for divination should be made out of organic material: wood or occasionally bone. Real hardcore types won't settle for anything other than carving their own runes, which they will then guard lovingly; though the truly batshit obsessive types will sometimes insist on carving a new set of runes for every divination, ritually burning the runes after they are used. The ignorant will follow bad book-advice and read runes in pretty well exactly the same way as tarot cards, laying them out in a "spread", while those who actually know the way runes are meant to be used will instead literally "cast" the runes, throwing a certain number of them so that they fall into patterns which are then part of the interpretation, sometimes within the boundaries of a traced or drawn circle. Aside from divination, the runic alphabet can also be used for a variety of magical purposes, most notably the creation of sigils.







I Ching: This Chinese system of divination first became popularized among western magicians by Aleister Crowley, who was the first white man (that we know of) to regularly use the I Ching for divination. Crowley actually liked the I Ching far more than the Tarot, relying on the I Ching much more frequently (we know this because of the records kept in his magical diaries). The reason for this is that while readings with the Tarot (or the runes) tend to be kind of vague even in the best of times, dealing in symbols that you then have to try to decipher the meaning of; the I Ching is motherfucking specific. Its all "go do this" or "don't go there" or "you'll fuck up, but it won't be your fault, so do this anyways". It gives a much more specific and personal kind of oracle while the Tarot or Runes give a more open kind of oracle that seems to deal with larger issues or trends; for me, the Tarot is for sensing patterns and sweeping developments while the I Ching is for when I want the answer to a concrete question. Both have different uses.
(Runes are somewhere in between the two, by the way, but closer to the Tarot)

Later, the I Ching became incredibly popular with the hippies in the 1960s, and has become a mainstay of the magical community ever since. Of the three, it is the one least popular among the newbs, since it requires interpreting directly from a book (the I Ching itself), and leaves the least room for making it up as you go along; to use it really well also requires at least some knowledge of Confucian & Taoist philosophy, and an understanding of the elements (and a good translation! most translations focus on academic analysis and are exactly the opposite of good for practical divination work). 



The I Ching is a book that, like the runes or the tarot, presents a working model of reality, based on a series of 8 trigrams that when combined in pairs form 64 hexagrams. Each trigram is binary, either a single solid line or a single broken line. "Post-modern" magicians (hipsters) like to make a very big deal about how the I Ching connects to all kinds of things from computer programing to genetic code to chaos theory to quantum mechanics, invoking all kinds of pseudoscience to explain their reasoning. The I Ching itself describes the flow of elements over time, how one set of circumstances evolves into another. You use a method of divination (usually tossing three coins six times) to get a hexagram that represent the present; and as each line can be either "stable" or "changing", the changing lines (the ones that form the really important part of the divination) determine what the second "future" hexagram will be, by changing the lines from solid to broken or vice-versa. While less newbs tend to use the I Ching, you may find them using I-ching themed oracle-decks, which serious fans of the I Ching tend to deplore. Unlike other methods of divination, it is not a sign of clueless newbie-ism to be referring to the book; only the craziest of fanatics is likely to have memorized the entire text of the I Ching (I've been using the I Ching on a very regular basis for two decades and only come even close to that, despite being pretty hardcore). But a newbie will be likely to seem more lost paging through the book, will have more trouble remembering the meaning of the hexagrams, or trigrams, etc. Serious Crowley-fanatics can be identified by the fact that they might refer to this system as the "Yi King" (the old-timey name for it, back in Crowley's days when Beijing was "Peking"); they are also likely to use six sticks instead of three coins, as that's the method Crowley devised when the magnificent bastard started using the book before anyone in the west actually had a clue as to the traditional method of casting a hexagram. 
Really hardcore guys will use the "old" traditional method of using a huge bundle of yarrow stalks, in a much longer and more complicated ritual process to generate a hexagram; they'll tend to obstinately insist that this is a superior "more accurate" method. Its possible that some truly batshit hardcore guys might even use the even-older method of burning a turtle-shell over an open flame and looking for lines to determine the hexagram. Those would be the kind of magicians you'd either really really not want to meet, or really want to meet, depending on the circumstances.

Divination techniques are a great element to include in any modern-occult game, since they provide ready-made props. Its not hard to get your hands on a tarot deck or a set of runes (or the I Ching, though that's not as visually effective), which are good visual aids to use as flavouring in your actual game; you could even try to figure out some way of incorporating a "reading" done in real-time to the system of the game you're running; though I'll leave that for you to figure out.

RPGPundit

(Originally posted September 9, 2011)

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

For RPGPundit Present's #50, a New Class for Lion & Dragon!

So we've actually made it to 50 issues of RPGPundit Presents.  There's still plenty to come, don't worry.  But to celebrate reaching the big 5-0, the newest issue gives my dedicated fans a new class for Lion & Dragon.

RPGPundit Presents #50: Archer Class for Lion & Dragon gives you just what it sounds like: the build for an archer.  This is modeled specifically after the Medieval-Authentic longbow archers, or mercenary crossbow men of the sort frequently found in the continent.



You get some background information on what the role of archers and crossbowmen was in the Medieval-Authentic army, and some more info on the weapons. And then you get the full breakdown of the class.

So if you want to have a yeoman archer, a bandit/rebel archer in the style of Robin Hood, or a mercenary crossbowman, you will want to pick up this little book, for just 99 cents! You can get RPGPundit Presents #50: Archer Class For Lion & Dragon from DTRPG, or from the Precis Intermedia Webstore.



And while you're at it, be sure to pick up the rest of the great supplements in the RPGPundit Presents series:


RPGPundit Presents #1: DungeonChef!

RPGPundit Presents #2: The Goetia  (usable for Lion & Dragon!)

RPGPundit Presents #3: High-Tech Weapons


RPGPundit Presents #5: The Child-Eaters (an adventure scenario for Lion & Dragon!)









RPGPundit Presents #17: The Hunters (an adventure for Lion & Dragon!)




RPGPundit Presents #21: Hecate's Tomb (an adventure for Lion & Dragon!)





























Stay tuned for more next week!



RPGPundit

Currently smoking: Brigham Anniversary + Image Latakia

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Livestream: the Metaphysical Underpinnings of the #NPC Meme

So today, this is just a little livestream I did, where I talk about some of the philosophical/metaphysical justifications that could be used to underpin the #NPC meme... and the only thing I don't really like about it.

Take this as you will (I suggest with at least one grain of salt!).



RPGPundit

Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti A-class + Peterson's Wild Atlantic

Monday, 15 October 2018

Inappropriate Characters Livestream: Halloween Special

So last night we had our "halloween" episode of Inappropriate Characters.

Among the subjects we covered:

-Remembering Greg Stafford

-How to run good Horror games

-The current state of the OSR and what the Googlepocalypse means to it

-Matt Mercer's groveling apology for describing a Yuan-ti Temple as "Aztec-like"

-The result of a fascinating new survey by a left wing activist group that shows that almost everyone in the United States hates SJW ideology!


Check it out:




RPGPundit

Currently Smoking: Dunhill Amber Root Bulldog + C&D's Crowley's Best 

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Stay tuned today (Sunday 14th), 7:30pm CST, Venger, GrimJim & I will be doing another LIVE episode of #InappropriateCharacters talking about the latest controversies of the #RPG world!

#DnD #OSR #ttrpg #DnDGate



RPGPundit

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Classic Rant: Real Magic in RPGs - A Real-magic "Sanity" Mechanic?

"Real Magick" in RPGs, Continued

Before I go on with things real magicians do (or would-be real magicians routinely fail to do), I thought I should address a mechanical issue. In "modern occult" themed games, usually there is some kind of special mechanic or set of mechanics that are meant to reflect the state of both a magic-user's power, and the state of his "mental health" in whatever form as he works magick.

Obviously, none of these have been really well done as accurate reflections of what goes on in a magician's career. To give some examples of what I'm talking about here, in CoC you have "sanity" and "Cthulhu Mythos" stats, in Unknown Armies you have the madness meters, in oMage you had "paradox" (if I recall correctly), etc.

So what kind of stats would you really have to have to reflect the state of a magician's attainment, and his deterioration in turn, if you were trying to reflect how "real" magick is done in our modern world?

I've thought about this for a bit, and I think you'd have to do something like the following:

First, you'd need a stat to reflect the Magician's ongoing state of enhanced perception, the flowering of intuitive knowledge, the capacity to see into the supernatural world, or the general sense of transcending the mundane; let's call this Gnosis. Gnosis would start at basically zero, but your goal would be to gain in it as time went by. Gnosis can only be gained by what Gurdjieff called "Shock points", moments of spiritual crisis where something sufficiently outside your mundane understanding of reality happens that it leads to a potential growth in awareness. Basically, "mind-blowing experiences" and general weird shit happening.



Most people have some of this weird shit happen in their life at some point or another, yet usually they end up repressing it (this means that a Shock moment only has the potential to lead to gain in Gnosis, more on that later). But for magicians, there is almost always some initial event that takes place, something that knocks them out of their consensus of reality sufficiently that they can't ignore it, and this leads them into the study of magick in the first place, however half-assed or seriously they may go about it from there. 
Gnosis is increasingly hard to develop as you go along; this is because any previous experience is no longer a Shock. For example, dropping acid, the first time that you do it, completely blows out your frame-of-reference, your ego has nothing to compare it to; by the second time you do it, you already do have something to compare it to: the first time.

So a Shock has to be something different each time, and has to lead to a progression in one's understanding for it to even have a chance to increase Gnosis. I would probably run this as some kind of 0-100 ranged stat, where each time you experience a shock you would roll a percentile die, and if you got HIGHER than your current level of Gnosis, you would gain a certain number of Gnosis points. Any experience that was too mundane, or that was a retread of what you had experienced previously, would not grant you new Gnosis points, though it may be useful in other ways. This would be a tricky thing to govern, because your state of mind can affect whether something is a Shock or not; if you repeat the exact same action (for example, performing a certain ritual) but your state of mind has changed sufficiently, it might count as an entirely new Shock, as it provides you with some new revelation. 



Gnosis wouldn't be the only important statistic to keep track of, however. There's the flipside of Gnosis, which is Ego. "Ego" in this case refers to the "illusion of the world", to the construct of ideas and concepts, memories and outside influences on your being that you've patched together and decides is "you", as well as your ideas about reality and how reality works. Everyone would start with a certain level of Ego, a measure of how strong their personality is. Any Shock which successfully generates Gnosis should also reduce Ego. But on the other hand, any Shock which FAILS to generate Gnosis could potentially increase Ego. That is, you perform a ritual or have an experience that presents you with the chance to redefine your whole concept of yourself or reality; it creates a Shock (a spiritual crisis), and the next question becomes how you deal with that Shock. You can be receptive to it and allow it to change you, that means Gnosis is generated. On the other hand, you can simply fail to take advantage of the change. But you can also react strongly against the change, trying to hold onto the Ego. Then you create new kinds of justifications for yourself, to avoid having to change, you rationalize the experience, and use it instead of as a vehicle for alchemical transformation, as a way to reinforce your existing prejudices about reality. Thus, your Ego gets stronger. So I would say that any Shock experience that fails to raise your Gnosis would require a test against Ego, to see if Ego increases. Basically, any Shock event that raises your ego is an experience so terrifying (maybe LITERALLY terrifying, or not, but definitely terrifying to your sense of self-definition) that you just refuse to accept it as it really is and build up a fantasy to help strengthen your existing ideas instead.

The third stat of importance in all this would be Obsession. As Shocks occur, whether they increase Gnosis or affect Ego, they can end up generating a certain amount of Obsession in the magician; this is the closest to "madness" that you would see. Someone under the effects of Obsession would be caught up in the distraction of the events that caused the Shock; they would end up getting lost in the minutiae of the vehicles used to obtain the Shock (be they drugs, magical ritual, ecstatic frenzy, kabbalistic numerology, alchemical gobbledygook, metaphysical ruminations, etc etc.), and this would complicate both their ability to function in the everyday world, and their ability to continue developing magically. Someone who is being affected badly by obsession would be that guy who gets caught up in the visible appearances of "being a powerful magician"; the guy who can't keep his mouth shut about the subject, tries to talk about the kabbalah or pagan gods, or whatever he's into, to anyone at all who'll listen; the guy who starts ignoring his regular life and work and relationships to instead spend all his time trying to study or talk about or summon up demons, or read tarot cards, or find the numerical significance of every little thing that comes along. Like Gnosis or Ego, you'd have to mechanically create a chance of generating Obsessions whenever you had a Shock Experience, and you could require someone to make a roll against their obsession value at different times to see if the Obsessions don't end up interfering with either their magical study (obsession tends to create "blinders" where you ignore certain avenues in favor of your pet obsessions) or their social lives (obsession turns you into a nutter); failing an Obsession check might lead to a small increase in your Obsession level, while doing certain other things (meditation, intentionally trying to build up social connections, psychological self-analysis, etc) might have a chance of slightly reducing your level of Obsession. Later Shock experiences would affect Obsession in such a way that a given Shock might either increase or reduce obsession; so that I'd probably have any Shock point cause a direct percentage "check" in obsession, where if you rolled equal to or under your current level, you'd gain more Obsession, and if you rolled higher than your current level you'd reduce your Obsession. Note that unlike Ego, which would only increase in the case of failing a Gnosis check, obsession would be checked in every Shock event, so you could theoretically gain both Gnosis and Obsession at the same time. That's pretty common, actually.

Should someone get to 100 Gnosis points, they would become an "Adept", someone who has obtained a permanent state of awareness that there are dimensions beyond the material, and the ability to connect to that altered state of consciousness beyond the rational mind. Someone in this state would be able to permanently access their "higher self" (in magick sometimes called the "True Will" or more poetically, the "Holy Guardian Angel"). They would not necessarily always be willing to follow the direction and guidance of that True Will, however. Further Shock experiences would not need to be tested against Gnosis, but could still work against Ego, either to reduce or increase it, as the Adept struggled between the constructed-psyche he continues to identify with, and the higher state of consciousness he is now constantly (and sometimes painfully) aware of. Note that "True Will" rarely has much to do with what your ego thinks it wants at any given time, it is rather a kind of cosmic consciousness that has to do with your higher purpose; from the perspective of the human being at the level of the ego, it can seem like an entirely different entity, hence this notion of an "Angel" trying to guide you, and often demanding things of you that are very difficult.



Its possible for your Ego to reach 0, in which case you will have become a "Magister Templi", a buddha, completely transformed into a new level of consciousness (where the physical body, the mind, the Higher Self, and what you previously believed to be the Divine are all experientially understood to be one single thing); but only if you can cross the "trial of the abyss": the dark night of the soul that is the final challenge of the ego's will to dominate versus your true will to transcend. 

A person confronting the Abyss would have to face all of their resistance, fears, attachments and obsessions, and be willing to let them all go. Failing the trial of the Abyss, resisting the annihilation of the ego to the point of shutting one's self in, would result in the creation of a new Ego-construct instead of transcendence; what Crowley called a "Black Brother", trapped in delusions of power and grandeur, and unable to let go of those accomplishments they cling to. It would be theoretically possible, but very difficult, to overcome this and again face the abyss a second time. Mechanically, this initial failure of overcoming the Abyss could be done by having your Ego raised back up to the level of your Obsession (which would be that which the magician would cling to, after all), and for a subsequent attempt to overcome the Abyss requiring some kind of very strong (probably life-endangering) Shock event, and a check with greater difficulty than the former (with another failure causing an increase in Ego to some multiplier of your obsession; ie. obsession x 2, x3, x4 etc. for each failure).

Having an Ego score get up to 100 would simply mean that you have an extremely rigid sense of self and reality, you would be almost completely unwilling to accept anything that was not your own illusions about what you are and what reality is like. It would make it very difficult to be able to reduce your Ego level, as you'd basically be in deep denial about everything. Having an Obsession level of 0 would just mean you're a very well-functioning human being, whereas an Obsession level of 100 would make you utterly batshit certifiably insane.

There's probably one more thing that would need to be mentioned here; and that's what I'll call "Masks". The Ego is seen as a problem for the magician's ultimate goal of "transcendence", unity with the universe, cosmic consciousness, whatever you want to call it; but the Ego is also the personality, it is what we normally define ourselves as, and the basis for our interactions with everyone else, who also define themselves as their egos (in fact, the difference between magicians, and a few other spiritual practitioners on the one hand, and everyday people on the other is that most regular people don't normally question that they are their personalities, and don't even imagine that there is something else much greater beyond that which is also "them"). So the "successful" magician can quickly run into a problem, which is that if you reduce your Ego without developing any skill to compensate for it, you will end up seeming basically "broken" from the perspective of everyday society; you won't have a real personality, or a sufficiently stable one. You'll seem weird, disconnected (or obsessed, if your Obsession level has grown while your Ego has decreased), and generally uncomfortable to be around. But the fact is that the Ego is just a kind of mask that people have glued onto their true nature, their inner vastness. That vastness is uncomfortable and people can't connect to it (in fact, one of the most common early "Shock" experiences of a new magician is when they run into some kind of teacher in whom they catch some glimpse of that vastness). But if the Ego is just a mask, it is possible for a magician to learn how to put on other masks at will; to basically create a personality (or as many personalities as he likes) and put them on as needed to deal with different people. This would be a magical skill, which could be called "Masks". 

To obtain it, the magician would have to perform practices and techniques of invocation, learning about archetypes and how to embody those archetypes, or how to create new archetypes. Mechanically, he'd probably have to develop a level of Masks skill that was in some way greater than his level of Obsession, because Obsession acts as a total barrier to the effective use of a mask. Someone who is successful in the use of a Mask skill would be able to essentially "construct" a temporary personality out of archetypal concepts; and would go from being socially inept due to low-Ego or high-Obsession to being extremely socially capable, as he could create a different mask for different occasions as they were necessary (becoming a "regular guy" when he's around regular guys, an intellectual around intellectuals, a hobbyist around hobbyists, a hobo around hobos, a hipster around hipsters, whatever). This is not just "acting" or "bluffing"; part of what wearing the mask does is temporarily incarnate the qualities of that mask-persona completely (its only comparable to acting in the sense of those very intense method-actors who go so totally into a role that they "become" the character). Someone who became a "master of the temple" would have to continually rely on the wearing of Masks to be able to function in regular society at all.
The easiest masks would be those closest to your existing persona (or for those beyond the Abyss, the imitation of their prior persona); after all, that too is a mask, it just happens to be the one you've been wearing your whole life.

Anyways, that's all I've got for now, and I'm not really planning on developing anything further in this direction; after all I'm not making an RPG here, just trying to create guidelines for others to try to use and develop stuff for their own "modern occult" campaigns.

RPGPundit

Currently Smoking: Castello 4k Collection Canadian + Image Latakia

(Originally posted August 23, 2011)