Sunday, March 8, 2015

Art and Content Preview- Electric Town, Psi-Watch and Otherverse America's New Feats

 One of the biggest changes my new job has brought, as I mentioned previously, is that I can afford more artwork.Not only major images, but also minor images that fill needed gaps in the manuscript and add texture.

So here are a few images- the first two are 'major images' that will illustrate the upcoming Black Operators race sourcebook. The top depicts an Anvil in battle and will join the Anthony Cournoyer image previewed last time in illustrating that race. The second depicts a Shiftsteel Symbiont, which is a very fun race inspired by WildC.A.T.s heroes Void and Warblade.

The next two images are minor images, by Amanda Webb. I'll be using the finished, full color version of these two WIP images as quarter-page images in Black Tokyo: Electric Town. I was able to commission nearly a dozen small images from Amanda, depicting various NPCs you'll meet in Electric Town as well as some local magic items. These two sketches are my favorites of the lot, depicting respectively a sleezy pornographer and a hard-assed old lady that might end up as a mentor-figure to the player characters. They're wonderful and capture a lot of personality.

Finally, let me preview a little of the content of the upcoming and as yet untitled Choicer traits and feats book.

Here is the table of contents and preface for the feats chapter of this upcoming sourcebook.

Something that's fun is how clearly these feats help define the Choicer culture- even if you know nothing else at all about the Choicer Covenant, you read this feat listing and you realize a few fundamentals. They're a fractious, matriarchal society.Religious knowledge is key (as evidenced by many of the feats). Menstruation and tattooing are both important ceremonial events, they're a combative people with a weapons traditions based around daggers, staffs and hammers, not as much emphasis on guns. And so on....

Just the pure mechanics convey a lot of data about who and what the Choicers are.

Choicer Feats

“Some thoughts have a certain sound: that being the equivalent to a form. Though sound and motion, you will be able to paralyze nerves, shatter bones, set fires, suffocate an enemy or burst his organs.”
-Paul Mu’Adib, David Lynch’s Dune

Revision Logic
            The revamping of Otherverse America’s feats was far more extensive than the similar re-working of Black Tokyo’s feats as found in Black Feats (Otherverse Games, 2015). The reason why: the concept of Object Philosophies, which formed such a central part of early editions of Otherverse America was abandoned completely.

            While I initially envisioned Otherverse America as a scientific and military sci-fi setting, I wanted players to have access to a wide variety of superhuman talents. Some of these powers come from cybernetics or genetic engineering, and others came from Object Philosophies. In essence, the Object Philosophy concept was a way to introduce D&D style spellcasting into the D20 Modern based early version of the campaign world, albeit in limited form and with some pseudo-scientific justification. If you’re running a version of Otherverse America powered by the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and using all its options, you don’t need that justification.

            Instead of the relatively high prerequisites for Object Philosophies, you’ve now just got feats. Some grant Extraordinary abilities, other Psi-Like or Spell-Like abilities or Supernatural talents. It’s now slightly easier to access unique and iconic powers like Bastian Metaform or Mother of Storms. Hopefully, in addition to making these powers more standardized and mechanically sound, this design choice will make these powers as common in home campaigns as classic feats like Dodge, Skill Focus or Power Attack.

            While the setting fiction may still reference Philsophy-based or Object Philosophies as power sources, there’s no longer any mechanical meaning for that term, it’s just another synonym for magic. Now, “Object Philosophy” can just as easily describe a Bard, Cleric or Summoner’s class abilities as easily as it can a post-human ability like Earth Dancer. This choice, along with many other mechanical elements of the revised Otherverse America Campaign Setting, serve to make the setting more ‘high-magic’ while retaining its unique 22nd Century flavor.
Birthright Feats
            Birthright feats are only available at character creation, and represent a character’s cultural or genetic heritage or early experiences.
  1. Covenant Education INT 13+
  2. Eleusinian Initiate – Knowledge (religion) 1 rank, INT 13+, Eleusinian patron deity
  3. Genetic Upgrades
  4. ReincarnateWIS 13+
Other Choicer Feats
1.        Ancient Weapons – Simple Weapons Proficiency, BAB +1, Knowledge (religion) 1 rank
a.        Broom Witchery – Ancient Weapons or Weapon Focus (Staff)
                                                   i.      Agile Broom – Broom Witchery
                                                  ii.      Shield of the Witches – Broom Witchery
                                                iii.      Witch Flight – Broom Witchery, character level 5th
b.       Defend Aradia – Ancient Weapons, pagan patron deity, BAB +5
2.         As Above, So Below – Aradian Elite, Eco-Witch or Post-Christian cultural template
3.         Ásatrú  Hammerer – Ásatrú  patron deity, BAB +3, Weapon Focus (warhammer)
a.        Ásatrú  Hammer Haunting – Ásatrú  Hammerer
4.        Assuming the Divine – Post-Christian cultural template, Dianic Rite or Gardnerian patron deity, Knowledge (religion) 10 ranks
5.        Bastian Metaform – Bastian patron deity, Combat Reflexes, BAB +3
a.        Bastian Apotheosis – Bastian Metaform, BAB +8
                                                   i.      Bastian Divinity – Bastian Apotheosis, character level 15th
                                                  ii.      Lion of Choice – Bastian Apotheosis
1.        Slaughtering Gaze – Lion of Choice, character level 15th
b.       Bastian Manticore – Bastian Metaform
c.        Bastian Sunclaw – Bastian Metaform
6.        Chivalrous Defender – Covenguard cultural template, male gender
7.        Choicer Powered Infantry Equipage – Choicer Guard trait, Heavy Armor Proficiency, BAB +1
8.        Cord Speaker    any pagan patron deity, Knowledge (religion) 1 rank
a.        Cord Maiden – Cord Speaker, female gender, character level 3rd
b.       Geas of the Knot – Cord Speaker, Knowledge (religion) 5 ranks, lawful alignment
9.        Covenant Duelist – any pagan patron deity, Combat Expertise
a.        Atheme in my Hand
b.       Sacrifice of Blades – Covenant Duelist
                                                   i.      Sacrificial Ploy – Sacrifice of Blades
10.     Death Rage – Ferocity racial trait
11.     Earth Dancer – Eco-Witch cultural template
12.     Eleusinian Detective – Perception 5 ranks, psionic subtype, Eleusinian patron deity
13.     Gifts of Ecstasy – CHA 13+
a.        Crimson Horae – Gifts of Ecstasy, Aradian Elite or Post-Christian cultural template
                                                   i.      Hour of Weret Hekau – Crimson Horae, Bastian patron deity, character level 8th  
14.     Green Slip – Skill Focus (stealth), Stealth 4 ranks
15.     The Great Rite – Covenguard or Post-Christian cultural template, male gender
16.     Iron Queen Style – Power Attack, Full Conversion Cyborg race
17.     Iron Queen’s Wine – Eleusinian Initiate, Full Conversion or Light Reconstruction Cyborg race
18.     Jujitsu – Improved Unarmed Strike, Acrobatics 1 rank
a.        White Hand and Black Moon – Jujitsu, BAB +3
                                                   i.      Black Moon Master – White Hand and Black Moon, BAB +12
                                                  ii.      White Hand Master – White Hand and Black Moon, BAB +10
19.     Lantern of the Coven – Covenguard cultural template, character level 5th
20.     Let No Blood Be Spilt Today – Summer’s Child cultural template
21.     Luck of the Witches – Cynosure trait, CHA 11+
22.     Meaningful Ink
a.        Augment Glyphs – Meaningful Ink, character level 3rd
                                                   i.      Occult Augment Glyphs – Augment Glyphs, spellcaster level 5th
b.       Plasma Scarification – Meaningful Ink, character level 5th
                                                   i.      Point Defense Flames – Plasma Scarification
c.        Scarabus Immortality –Bastian patron deity, Meaningful Ink, character level 5th
d.       Volsung’s Bracers- Ásatrú  patron deity, Meaningful Ink, character level 5th
23.     Moonwise – Heal 1 rank, female gender
a.        Blood Armor – Moonwise
                                                   i.      Combat Hymenoptera – Blood Armor, character level 5th
b.       Cyclic Ferocity – Moonwise
c.        Draw Down the Moon – Moonwise, Dianic Rite patron deity
24.     Mother of Storms – Aradian Elite, Eco-Witch or Post-Christian cultural template, Knowledge (religion) 15 ranks, character level 15th
a.        Blade of the Storm – Mother of Storms
25.     Nightsong – Knowledge (religion) 5 ranks, Perform (sing) 5 ranks, any pagan patron deity
26.     Nornfate – Ásatrú  patron deity
27.     Pagan Dreams – any pagan patron deity, CHA 13+
28.     Pagan Recharge – Modern Spellcaster levels, Knowledge (religion) 1 rank, any pagan patron deity
29.     Pharmacopia Nanotech – Neo-Witch Midwife cultural template, Craft (pharmaceutical) 3 ranks
30.     Pink Wall Training – Clinic Defender trait
31.     Red Breath of Life – Neo-Witch Midwife cultural template, character level 8th
32.     Retreat to Aradia – Covenguard or Post-Christian cultural template
33.     Shared Strength – Covenguard or Neo-Witch Midwife cultural template, character level 8th 
34.     Speed the Blades – Improved Initiative, DEX 13+, BAB +1
35.     Stone Witch – Eco-Witch cultural template, STR 13+, Knowledge (religion) 5 ranks
36.     Supportive – Clinic Defender trait
37.     Unbinding Warrior – Warrior’s Mane trait
a.        Unbound Warrior – Unbinding Warrior
38.     Utility Nanolimb – Covenguard or Neo-Witch Midwife cultural template
39.     Witch’s Malkin – Familiar, any pagan patron deity
40.     Witch’s Trill – Gardnerian or Strega’s Path patron deity, Frightful Presence

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