Monday, November 28, 2016

Perdition RPG Review: how to make friends and influence people

I wanted to do a setting writeup as there is very little explanation online and the book pitch does little to convey the awesome scale of the setting and its implications.
I am a Player Character, so not having read the actual rule-book forgive me many confabulations, wrong assumptions, slanderous lies. These are my impressions so far.

So my good friend and RPG Monster over at Renfield's Cat is running Perdition the RPG by HackSlash, a game set in what appears to me to be the fallen earth, a baroque medieval fantasy setting invaded and overrun by literal demons who now happily preside on earth doing demon things and stuff.
Perdition means something like "complete ruin" I believe.

There are remnants of the old world and the wars they lost- towns and artifacts, base humans trying to live on as base humans do. There are bastard races such as the Hobgoblins who served well in the war and reap their rewards as wealthy citizens, there are corpses of the Titans and old gods who were slain, a scarce few Paladins survive in the badlands, free agents hardened by defeat.

Demons operate in a pleasingly feudal way, it seems they are Machiavellian vicious and fallible as any human Laird. It is simply that they hold demonic power and can tear a giant in two that distinguishes them from the previous landed gentry, curse their blasted corpses.
They fear only the Vile Conclave, enforcers of demon law and etiquette, for the branching pathways cruelty and violence are so old in this culture that they have become ritualised and what good is a system if it cannot be taxed.

For an adventurer this changes almost nothing.

There are multiple currencies, ceramic shells, souls, gold and silver. Souls have been devalued to the point where they can barely be traded for anything except the being they were taken from, what use is another soul when you own the world it lives in. Still, they have their uses.
Fuck knows what shells are for, I assume they are fossilised and found in shale? Things dead and ancient hold some power here. I rolled so much gold I was generated as encumbered and had to go find a Platinum dealer.

As a party of three to five depending on the day we have a spectrum of comedic players, chaotic nihilists, Shakespearean demons and muscle bros  all of whom seem to be quite happy with the place they find themselves. We also have number crunchers and newbies- Minmaxers find the unusual rules alluring and disconcerting and newbies enjoy the theatrics and don't realise the rules are weird, after a little help at character creation combat and skill checks are simple.
Can't wait for an arraignment at the Vile Conclave though! Daemon Bureaucracy, devilish decorum what could possibly go wrong.

Classes are heavily modified variations aligning to Wizards (about 7 variants.), Paladin, Fighters (about 4 variants), Cleric, Thief, Ranger.
Gods and summons are incredible- just imagine what a DEMON would summon when it wanted something bizarre and evil.
Races are batshit crazy and will break you if you bring prior knowledge. Trolls are cored out servitor golems, Hobgoblins are the new money bourgeois of Perdition, there are gentle forest yeti and giants suck at being giant.

Evil is an interesting concept in this game, many players have assumed it to be an evil campaign because y'know "deamons". I feel however that demons in power are too petty and selfish to be serious about capital e Evil and in a world owned by demons its kind of a "does a fish feel wet" question.
The fact is that shit need doing and that base people are boring and pragmatic. Most powerful entities are obsessed with a single facet of evil in a sort of autistic fashion of course but that simply means they probably forget to pay proper homage to other sins.

I am playing a sort of apathetic destructive nihilism spawned from an fungal hate and the god of mathematical entropy (ok... its a sentient comet made from history, maths and the desire to smash the planet) which probably makes me pretty bad for everything around me.
Most of our party enjoys the freedom that "Evil-land" allows for in terms of general assholery but are unconsciously saving each-other, building fortunes and being team players in a way that undermines any true Evil so far. Which is fine, conscienceless selfish mercenary is a popular and productive role in RPGs everywhere.

The only other thing I want to mention is the Stress stat. As you get more stress points from KO's encounters & fatigue you get strung out and twitchy (initiative and combat bonus.) but also run the risk of snapping under pressure (straight up nervous breakdown in the form of formidable psy damage, probably other things I don't have the rule-book).
This is cool as you space your rest and rations according to your confidence, need for bonuses and gamble against death, not the normal factors of HP. Its nice to see rations do something useful too I hate those bastards.

Great game! God I missed terrible magic.

(Red Troll Inheritor read: regenerating golem + mutant cleric,
Example of my Char Sheet from 5th ed OGL, modified to Perdition by Mr Renfields Cat- that guy sure can Roll20)

Igads, a heavy slow oxen of a man torn from his family for service the house of Naazluth Heralds of the Light during the height of the Devil Wars.
He was forged in the roaring hellfires of that house, soul and memories stripped from him, boiling pink blood forced through in his veins. Hardy, regenerative, sullen, obedient, a soulless flame.
A tool. A chimera, Cockatrice head crudely sewn upon his shoulders, jawbones fused to the jagged  and ossified beak, a brutal joke and a symbol of the House.
Igads is not a man, Igads is a Red Troll. Igads is a red troll for decades uncounted.

And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.
Matthew 26:75

When Naazluth Heralds of the Light fell to the Crimson Baron Sailor of the Ocean of Blood in a masterful display of treachery and deceit all of the Red Trolls fell to his whims. Spoils of war but also spoiled of image- the Cockatrice motif being of stark aesthetic contrast to the pink-weeping eunuch Trolls of House Sailor of the Ocean of Blood.

The flock were sent to the Black Swamps, told by their terrible new owner to walk west and eat dirt in perpetuity, pecking the muck like so many cowed cockerels.
Igads is not a Red Troll, Igads is a broken Cog, nothing, and not nearly sentient enough to realise it.

Somewhere deep in the swamp the unthinking Cog met the unthinking Scarbinger, fungal god, The End of Sentience, devouring the gargantuan corpse of the last titan.
Obeying his directive Igads fed on the god of change, the god of nihilism.
His empty body the tool, filled with spores and muck and pallid fungi intelligence. Intelligence well pleased by the corruption of meat-sentience it found therein, a thing changed and changed again, stripped of animal desires and commanded only to eat filth and grow. A rare meat-thinker with which it could commune.
Scarbringer gave the Cog life of a sort, this Red Troll is a drifting spore of Sarbringer End of Sentience floating through the turbulent world of Thinking Meat.

Igads scarred and burned husk of a meat brain, sparked to brief life at this rebirth screamed out decades of unremitting torture, toil and bloodboil in the single beat of a heart, a psychic gong heard clearly by those borne of hate, and driven by the unstoppable unraveling of the universe, motivated by the desire to pull and tear at those thrashing threads.
Igads the Plougman, last of his line flared one brief and monstrous prayer in an instant of lucidity and died hating.

As the Rot Queen gave a Cog life, Grandfather the Apocalypse Star, the ticking clock of entropic mathematics, reaches across space and time and gives Igads a gift. In an unspeakably rare act of creation he gifts the burden of Purpose, knowing that in this taboo creation lies the mathematical certainty of destruction, desecration and the end of things old and beautiful. A null sum at worst, a catastrophic ender of days and best.
Grandfather Count-the-days rests. He counts the days and watches the world he must sunder as it drifts closer through space with the pleasing certainty of physics in motion.

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