The First (Required Reading & Rules) (Updated 02/26/2017)   Posted by The Unseen.Group: 0
The Unseen
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Sun 26 Feb 2017
at 18:30
The First (Required Reading & Rules) (Updated 02/26/2017)
The STAT is proud to welcome you to "A Breath Retaken," an Anima: Beyond Fantasy campaign where the rules are made up and the points don't matter... except they do matter, a lot, and the rules will be enforced with an iron hammer the size of your imagination. Below you will find all of the information we think you'll want to know before joining this game. Important bits are highlighted in yellow, because yellow shows up best on the black background we wrote this on (sorry if it doesn't for you, please copy and paste the text somewhere it won't be yellow) and because it's much easier to miss bolding/italics/underlining. We don't know why, but it is.

Please read the following at your leisure, and by "at your leisure" we mean "before you apply to the game." We know that it's long, and sometimes the jokes are a bit flat, but it really all is important.

Seriously. No excuses this time, Dave.

-The Storytelling Association of Tyr

A Breath Retaken
It was quiet. Nights were supposed to be quiet though, and so the young farmhand thought nothing of it. He was thinking so little of it, or anything, that he'd actually begun to fall asleep when he heard a distant, muffled scream. The scream sounded distorted too, as though it wasn't entirely human. "Damn birds," he thought aloud, and would've let it go entirely if another identical sound hadn't caught his attention. The animals could hear it too, could sense that something more than just unusual was going on. The sound was coming from the lake.

Lake Libitina was a cool and placid place where no one swam. The lake water was never quite blue, but that was to be expected for a lake that served as the town's graveyard. They tied large stones to the bodies of the dead and cast them down. It was fine since the lake was downriver, and they had been doing so for as long as the town had existed. Tonight, as the farmhand approached the lake where he could have sworn he'd heard screaming, it didn't seem like burying people in a lake was such a good idea. He saw it before he heard it this time. In the moonlight a few bubbles burst from beneath the still surface, emitting a garbled yet unmistakable sound: a woman's scream.

There were no fish in the lake, and no one would have ever thought to swim in it, but the farmhand could think of no other explanation than the two. Surely someone from out of town had mistaken the lake for any other in the pale light of night. A few second later, however, a new scream came from further back, a man's voice. Two people on the same night? What sort of madness was this? But then more bubbles appeared. And more screams. And more and more until the whole lake was bubbling and shrieking at him. Hundreds of voices cried in unison beneath the broiling surface. The minute lasted an eternity, but when it was done the lake was quiet again. It was as though none of it had ever happened. The farmboy's mind, however, would never find silence again...

A Breath Retaken is going to be a campaign about life after death, and possibly death after death as well. In the world of Gaia, thousands, if not millions, of people have suddenly, and sometimes violently, come back to life. Freshly-buried bodies have burst out of their graves. old corpses have awoken only to find themselves trapped in inescapable tombs, and at least one woman woke up to find that her tumble over a cliff was not as fatal as she might've thought. The dead come back with their bodies restored - though not always perfectly restored - but for how long? Why? And, perhaps most importantly, what are we going to do with all of them?

The campaign will center, at least initially, on the group meeting a mysterious stranger claiming to be from the land of the dead, and, perhaps more importantly, that they know what's going on, and how to fix it. If that sounds interesting to you, read on. If not, no hard feelings. In either case, have a wonderful day.

A Bit About Me

You should know that I am an evolving open-world kind of guy. I do not railroad. I do not plot armor the NPCs. I don't even care if the party completely ignores the main plot and decides they want to take up pirating in a landlocked country on the only body of water big enough to hold a three-masted ship. Just know that the world will keep going without you. Your choices can (and will) have lasting consequences on both where it goes, and what it'll look like when it gets there, but if you decide to sit around and do nothing, the world will not sit still with you.

Because of what I just said, I love player input. I adore it, really. I think player input is the best thing in the world when it comes to Tabletop RPGs (or TTRPG for short). If you're not enjoying something, tell me. If you really enjoyed something, tell me. If you're lamenting the lack of liquid lasagna, tell me. I don't guarantee I'll be able to please everyone or implement everyone's ideas, but I can't even begin to if I don't know what people want. So, let me know, and I'll do whatever I can within reason to make it happen (so long as it doesn't disagree with my guidelines here. I'm pretty set on these things).

As hard as I know it is to keep players from having it, I believe OOC/meta-knowledge is The Devil. I realize that it's difficult to separate your knowledge from your character's sometimes, which is why I've made some rules to make it easier. That being said, I'm not going to be happy if your character with a -30 in Tactics and no training in a Longsword tries to tell another character how to improve their form (unless it's a joke, or you're trying to portray your ignorance somehow). I will do everything in my power to limit the amount of OOC knowledge you possess as a player. This means I will create a new private thread for folks who split up from the group (and if everyone has split up, things will seem very quiet). I will keep your character's knowledge of any subject limited to what can be found on their character sheet (which is why it's very important you think about what you know beforehand). That being said, I don't mind people making suggestions to other people OOC, so long as it's something their character would/should know. If you're not as intelligent as your character eventually becomes, other people can suggest things you might have thought of, or considered. Same for social situations, combat tactics, etc. I might be strict, but I'm ultimately fair.

I don't like to kill characters, but I will. I will only do this if you are okay with your character dying (I'm not cruel), and the circumstances would make that death meaningful in some way. You will not die in a fight with some peons, unless one of those peons is your replacement character, or the big bad in disguise, or something similar. You will not die from booby-trapped chests or dungeons, unless your death would somehow finish a ritual, or would give the party a desperately-needed motivation to finish the job. That being said, I'm not always going to tell you when your death will be important, and I do not tolerate people using OOC knowledge of their inability to die (because of everything I said above). In short: I will kill you if you ask for it, and acting like a deathseeker in-character counts as asking for it.

I don't care for PvP, but I allow it. We're all here to have fun, or at least I am. I don't care for drawn-out arguments that spill off the table, and I don't like people using OOC knowledge (noticing a theme?) to solve in-character disputes. Therefore, if it comes down to it, I'm fine with characters hitting each other, rolling social skills against one another, and the like if it means that things get resolved. I would prefer things were worked out without dice rolling, but I also consider dice to be the step before working it out OOC (so long as it's something that wouldn't fall into the guidelines I mentioned before about OOC knowledge). On that note, I do not believe that social rolls like persuasion are "mind control," and if you do then you should perhaps reconsider what a social roll actually means. I'm happy to discuss the intricacies of social rolls with anyone, just ask these people (I'm Tyr Hawk there).

There's probably something I'm forgetting, but those are the big points I think most people will care about. In fact, I think those are the only big points I care about for now, but I'm forgetful at times, forgive me. So, with those out of the way, we'll move onto the rules.

The Generic Rules

As with all good things, the fun must come to an end at some point, and the rules put into place so that fun may resume. This is that time. Here you will find the rules and regulations I will expect followed at all given times (and several taken times). I will forgive infractions at times, but if you're a repeat offender I can and will show you the door. If you don't like the rules I'm setting down, tell me, suggest alternatives, but don't argue with me.

0. Rules & House Rules are subject to change at any time. You will be notified of rules changes as they happen (the date of the thread shows its last update date and I'll make an OOC post), so there will be no excuse for not knowing a rule, or for forgetting a rule more than three times. At five infractions within a memorable amount of time, you're out of the game.

"What's a memorable amount of time," you ask? Try not to find out.

1. I'm the GM. I'm right... unless I'm not.
Seriously folks, I'm just trying to run a game here. I'm not perfect. I make mistakes, and it's okay to point those out. It's okay to disagree with a ruling, ask for me to take a second look at something, or to have a genuine debate about the merits and flaws of differing points of view. At the end of the day though, when I say 'drop it' it means 'drop it now,' and when I give a final verdict on something that means it's final. Do not press the matter. You do not feel lucky, punk. You do not want to wake the sleeping bear. It's better that we spend less time arguing and more time enforcing rule 2.

2. Let's be polite to one another and have fun. I don't mind in-character banter and conflict, let's just not let it spill over into OOC, eh? We all love each other in the real world, or at least we all kinda like each other. Or, failing that, we're at least all in this game together, neh? So, let's not be dickheads; that's all I ask.

3. Yes, I'm susceptible to bribery at times. ;) What good GM isn't?

4. Because there have been issues with this in the past, I am your point of contact for this game. I don't mind if you tell other people what's going on with your life, and I really don't need to know every detail, but if you're going to be gone for a while, if you're having issues, or whatever else, I need to know. Your GM needs to know. If you have time to message things to anyone else, you have time to tell me. This forum delivers messages even when someone is offline, and even short messages are okay so long as it lets me know for how long you expect to be absent.

5. ???


The Posting Rules
You know what? I'm adding more of these specifically so... here goes.

1. I'd like the game to stay at least moderately active. So, you're expected to post at least once a week. I'd like more, but I know people have lives. I will post at least once a week as well, or more often if I don't get busy. Your posts can be OOC if you feel you have nothing to say that week IC, but more than two weeks without an IC post had better have a very good explanation. There's always something to say. Always.

2. I would prefer to have posts of a good length more often than not. A "good" post is a few (a few means at least three) lines of text or more. To be 100% transparent, that means lines on a computer screen, not sentences. Sentences can be short, lines are not. If you can't think of more to say than a single line or two, it might be best to wait until you do, or to make something up and practice putting more detail in. If, on occasion, you feel you need to make a single line post, that's fine, but I don't want a bunch of one-liners filling up threads. This rule (by the way) is approximately three lines long, so that should help you.

3. Still on the Post-It Note (ha, I'm clever), I don't expect a turn order to develop, but I do expect people to respect that not everyone has as much time to get on and post. This may be cinematic action, but I expect a certain amount of realism too. A person shouldn't ever have to react to seven or eight posts as though their character was just standing still the whole time. So if I ever see a long conversation or action sequence where a third and/or fourth is present but unaccounted for, I will cut it down. I'm not saying don't have conversations, or that you can't if the other players have given permission, but check first, neh?

4. All OOC chatter should be in orange in the story threads, and should be kept to a bare minimum there. I'm not saying never do it, or feel nervous about it, but if it's not something vital to your post then it's usually safe to leave it out of the main thread and post it in the OOC thread. Or in a PM. Or anywhere else you can think of. Yes, even there.

5. Okay, I'll admit it, I do like it when speech and thoughts are colored. Thoughts are italicized and unquoted, while spoken dialogue is "Quoted and only formatted for emphasis, if you know what I mean." There will be a thread for individual colors, along with other reminders, elsewhere when and if you get in.

6. Perhaps the most important rule (best for last?) is that I am allowing a minor amount of narrative control. What does that mean? It means that I don't mind if you occasionally take control of a waitress or a peasant or some unnamed, unimportant NPC for some minor effects or tasks. I don't mind if you add in a light breeze or a glare of sunlight off the dew I've described on the grass. What I do mind, and will put a stop to, is almost anything more than that. However, I may change things in your post at times to fit the story because I hide things everywhere. Just remember that your narrative control should never conflict with anyone else's freedom (no controlling their characters or their special NPCs, ever) unless they give permission.
If you want to do things beyond that limited space, talk to me before you post. Most of the time it's okay, but I just might have plans for the other waiter to be someone important, or for the room to be eerily devoid of apples despite all of the other fruit. I realize this is a bit controlling, but it's how I provide maximum distance between OOC and IC knowledge, and we all know how I feel about that.
I promise I'm not as much of a control freak as I sound here. Most of the time I really am cool with most things, I just need a heads up so I'm not scrambling to redo an entire narrative arc because someone found a baby in a warehouse that I hadn't planned for.

The House Rules

Once upon a time, in a galaxy very close to ours, actually, I discovered that Anima is not perfect. A shocker, I know. Since then I've been developing house rules ad nauseam. This is not my complete list. Not even remotely close, but they're the ones we'll be using for this game. I'm trying to keep the list short, since this is meant to be a beginner game, but there are some rules I just can't live without. To be pure water clear, not all of these are actually house rules, they're optional rules from the books themselves, but since they're optional I include them here. I also don't include all of the houserules here, because I'm trying to save space, and to have a reason for a chargen post.

Now, I'm more of a people-pleaser than I am a dictator, so if you disagree with any of these rules, have rules you think should be implemented, or think they should be changed in any way, please let me know. Anything marked with a * though is something I feel very strongly about, so you've been warned that it'll be difficult, if not impossible, to change my mind on.

0. Certain rules can and will change through the course of the game. I'm not perfect, and nor are my rules, so I reserve the right to alter, reshape, rethink, or redo any rules at any point in time. I will alert you to changes being made, but you are responsible for keeping up with those updates.

1. *Unification of Ki (Dominus Exxet, English page 6) is ON.

2. *Non-Restricted Creation Points (GM's Toolkit, English page 9) is ON.

3. *I don't like Level Adjustments. I don't like EXP modifiers. Because of this, any Nephilim, Blooded, or otherwise will have CP costs instead. If you'd like to take Rookie, talk to me, and we'll talk about it. Otherwise, no.
3a. Speaking of which, no Non-humans allowed. You can be Nephilim (which are human, no matter what anyone says), but no Pure Sylvain, or Vetala, or Dryads, or whathave you. Sorry, but not this game.

4. *I don't use learning tables, but this doesn't mean you can instantly master anything with no effort.
4a. For spellcasters/ki users, because this always comes up, you may be able to spontaneously learn new spells/abilities, but you will have to have the ML/MK to purchase the power and it will have to be dramatically appropriate that you learn it. I'm not just going to let you suddenly learn Armor of Light without someone trying to hit you first, or Weight Elimination while you're eating cabbage.

5. Since this is a beginner campaign, anyone who wants to be an artifcer (someone who creates artifacts) will need to talk to me first. I have redesigned the whole system for creating artifacts, and it's not something for beginners.

6. Summoners can gain certain magical advantages without the Gift/Incomplete Gift. I'll let you know which, but generally if the Magical advantage/disadvantage doesn't mention spells specifically, or the word "spells" can be replaced with "summoning," then you can get it.

7. *Background advantages/disadvantages count as general advantages/disadvantages. Everyone has a background. That's just what I believe.

8. Due to a particular way of interpreting how the book reads, Base Damage for a Tao's unarmed attacks are equal to: Whatever the Martial Art lists as Base Damage + Strength Bonus (with exactly one exception). This means that Muay Thai at Base degree has a damage of 20+STRx2 (the Base Damage listed in the book)+STR. This rule gives, at most, an extra 45 BD, and that's at INSANE levels of Strength. I think it's fair considering everyone else will have world-shattering artifacts by that point anyways. If you disagree, tell me why. ;D

9. *Duk'zarists get to choose their bonus resistance. Because screw gender-based mechanics. Just screw 'em. This is not to say I will be ignoring gender entirely, after all it does still have a place in the world, but the lines will be far less binary than this rule made them seem.

10. *See Supernatural overrides Blind. This is not an actual houserule, or even an optional rule, but I get enough questions about it that I'm mentioning it now. ;)

11. Knowledge skills and Languages will be handled differently than in other Anima games to help with OOC knowledge. The system is not perfect, in fact it's in heavy testing mode right now, so you're all guinea pigs. I apologize if it gets confusing at any point, but I thank you for your cooperation. I will describe it later.

12. Because I have had headaches before, and will have headaches again, certain combinations and builds will either be nerfed in some way or outlawed to reduce on rules abuses. This includes: Creation Mages, Eyes of Death, Capricorn/Sagittarius, Psychics in general (but specifically Electromagnetism Psychics), and any build/concept that directly mentions, or even alludes to, Shia Labeouf, because he's only done one good thing in his life, and that was this.

13. Along the vein of things that cause problems, predetermined anything is banned unless someone convinces me otherwise. I do my best not to outlaw things outright in games, because some people like builds in a certain way and all that, but I've yet to see an argument that makes predetermined things look good. For those of you worried about the gaps this causes in things like the Arcana Shepirah, I've got answers.

14. *All official books are open for use. That being said, we won't be using most of Dominus Exxet (DE) chapter 2, most of the Optional Game Master's Toolkit (GMT) rules, and nothing about Natura or Fame from Gaia 1. This should probably be higher on the list, but I need to see who's paying attention somehow, neh?

15. *Speaking of paying attention, please include the word Chipmunk in your RTJ if you want to be a player, or Squirrel for lurker. This will not be repeated in the RTJ thread. Lurkers won't be judged if they don't have the word, since they're just here to lurk, but players will not be considered for admittance without it.

16. I will allow custom advantages, disadvantages, and a few other things from Scissura Exxet (which actually is the full list of house rules I've collected), but it will be on a case-by-case basis, and it may not be exactly how they're written down in that document.

17. Combat will be done differently to accommodate for how PbP works. I'll have a whole thread about it elsewhere as a reminder.

18. *The GM is always right, except when he isn't. Perhaps the most important rule is that I make mistakes, but that doesn't give you the right to spend half an hour arguing with me. Intelligent debate and discussion is both encouraged and appreciated, but if I put my foot down then it's time to swallow your pride and get back to the game, okay?

You may now proceed to The Second, or skip to The Third if you've played Anima before. Best of luck, and thank you for your interest in "A Breath Retaken," which is totally not a lobster in disguise. We promise.

Totally not.

Not at all...

No Quite As Sincerely,

This message was last edited by the GM at 17:01, Mon 27 Feb 2017.