Would anyone be interested in a Madoka Magica RP?

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Postby Squigsquasher » Sat May 03, 2014 4:49 pm

View Original PostDoctor Memory wrote:In terms of gameplay, there's one stat I'm absolutely married to at this point: Soul Points. Functionally identical to Blood Points from White Wolf's Vampire games, these points are spent to use and maintain magical abilities.
I'm also partial to using ol' fashioned HP because 1) battle damage as depicted in the show seems thoroughly arbitrary and 2) every time I try to structure MG vs witch combat it ends up looking like an FFXIV primal fight.

Some more things to consider for your characters:
- The nature of your wish. The exact wording is irrelevant. Iibey isn't wicked enough to pull Literal Genie antics. What's important is the intended effect. This will strongly inform your initial abilities. All Puella Magi get enhanced strength, reflexes and durability, but your signature ability (time hax, illusion magic, super healing, etc) is defined by your wish.
- Your weapon. New powers not derived from your signature ability come from your weapon. Mami's muskets are derived from her ribbon whips. Homura's hammerspace storage is a property of her shield. Kyoko can to do damn near anything with her spears. Choose a weapon that morphologically fits with your style.
- Favorite color. Because Mahou Shoujo Sentai are Color Coded For Your Convenience. I don't want to set any rules about who can pick what, only that everyone has to pick something.

I'll have more by Monday.


That sounds perfect. :asuka_thumbsup:
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Postby Doctor Memory » Mon May 05, 2014 8:38 pm

Puella Magi: The Griefening

Volatile Stats  SPOILER: Show
Hit Points:
Good old fashion Gary Gygax brand hit points. These are hard capped. It's possible to increase maximum HP, but that maximum cannot be exceeded under any circumstances. Falling below 0 HP represents incapacitation. You're not necessarily unconscious, but you can't move anymore. You're effectively out of combat until you can heal. Fortunately, all Puella Magi have at least some magical healing ability.
Base maximum HP is 100.

Soul Points:
Functionally identical to Blood Points. For the purposes of roleplay, these can be likened to Sanity Points.
Getting into costume costs 1 SP. Doing so in a flashy manner may cost a few more. Other abilities cost various amounts to activate and maintain. For reference, a Tiro Finale-class finisher costs 20-25 SP.
0 SP is the border between magical girl and witch. Here, the balance between hope and despair is virtually perfect. A clear mind could persist for hours in this state, but will eventually fall to despair and spawn a witch. The rare few who are rescued from a prolonged state of near-witchood gain a spooky insight into witch psychology.
Base maximum SP is 100. These are soft capped. Grief Seeds provide 10 SP per use, and can be used whenever SP is less than maximum. Ergo, it's possible to 'overcharge' your Soul Gem.

Stable Stats  SPOILER: Show
Potence:
This represents skill at applying damage and therefore means different things to different characters. It could represent marksmanship, swordsmanship, pikemanship or whathaveyou.
Let's say Magical Girl Annie has the ability to conjure fire. Her special ability might allow her to convert gasoline into napalm, but her Potence would allow her to manipulate stoichiometry and make that gasoline explode. The more devastating the attack, the higher a girl's Potence rating becomes.

Finesse:
Where Potence is the application of damage, Finesse is its mitigation. More than that, Finesse is in essence the application of superhuman strength and reflexes to maintain superior positioning during a fight. Dodging an attack is just the soup. Following up with a counter attack is the entrée.
Also, Finesse helps you run really fast in heels.

Fortitude:
To paraphrase the old Timex slogan, you can take a lickin' and keep on tickin'. It should be noted that Fortitude does not necessarily represent steel bones or a costume made from super-duper spidersilk. Those help, certainly, but Fortitude is primarily the mastery of dampening one's sense of pain. At its highest levels, Fortitude allows you to keep fighting until you body is rendered down to a twitchy puddle of sinew.
Each point of Fortitude increases maximum HP by 25.

Refulgence:
Naive optimism, a sunny disposition and an eternally chipper mood all describe girls with high Refulgence. This can be pleasant or annoying depending on your outlook.
There is a darker side. Contractees who wish for vague things like "happiness", "long life", "everlasting peace" or just "to live" get high Refulgence instead. Now you have an emotionally bankrupt teenage girl with a Soul Gem that is unlikely to burn out anytime soon. Swell.
Eat point of Refulgence increases the soft cap on Soul Points by 10, and provides a %10 SP boost when using Grief Seeds.

Special Ability:
The fifth stat is a placeholder representing an MG's signature power set, if any

Each of the Stable Stats can have 0-5 points.
Total points may not exceed 12.

This system has been designed primarily to facilitate MG vs witch combat in the context of a narrative-driven RP. Basic attack stat, basic defense stat, and a few simple metrics for determining how well the battle is going. Also incorporates mechanics mandated by The Contract.

More Fluff  SPOILER: Show
Important location:
Brick House Drinks and Sundries
A convenience store chain set up by Iibey to distribute magical girl propaganda. Various internet rumors abound about these stores. Most notably, in the stationary section one can supposedly find a 'Wish Note' with instructions on how to contact Iibey and become a magical girl.
The dead givaway to those in the know is their mascot and toy line of plush animals bearing a striking resemblance to known Incubators. Due to this, most magical girls consider these shops to be 'safe' neutral ground.
The main branch in Namba has an attached cafe area, where our protagonists usually gather.
(ergo, the RP is now set in Osaka Prefecture)

Name change:
Anti-Occult Defense Unit :arrow: National Supernatural Defense Task Force.
Golbey has contracted the daughters of key influential people in the JSSDF, NPA, the National Diet and the Shinto priesthood. Passing himself off as a rogue agent assisting humans to combat an otherworldly invasion, he's managed to incite enough paranoia in these high-ranking officials that they've thrown together an anti-paranormal weapons development program with the virtually unlimited sort of funding that can only be provided by a major government.
Officially headquartered in Kyoto. Colonel Masamune presently leads the secret paramilitary arm of this organization.

Revised Character Biography  SPOILER: Show
Name:
Age: (ranging from 11-19)
Appearance: (face, hair, build)
Costume: (provide a picture for bonus points)
Favorite color:
Wish: (exact wording is irrelevant)
Signature Power(s): (derived from the intended effect of your wish)
Weapon of Choice: (Fatboy Slim need not apply)
Weapon hacks: (Can you summon magic guns from thin air or do you keep real ones in a hammerspace pocket? Can you spawn a defensive barrier? Can you subvert vending machines without anyone noticing? What's your ultimate attack? etc...)
Statline: (Potence, Finesse, Fortitude, Refulgence, Special Ability)
Prologue: (write a short story including the circumstances leading to your contract and how/why you joined Iibey's group)
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Postby ElMariachi » Tue May 06, 2014 4:43 am

@ Doctor Memory : Sounds good, except for one detail : Grief Seeds restores too little SP to be really efficient. If a finisher like a "normal" Tiro Finale (meaning not the monstrous one from Rebellion) cost 20-25 SP, that means that it'll cost two or three GS to compensate.
From what we could get in PMMM, Mami seems to hunt down one Witch a day top, and various familiars (who doesn't release GS), and she's the only MG of the Mitakihara turf. It would be suicidal for her to even use Tiro Finale for more than absolute necessity situations, and she uses it as a finisher for every one of her fights!
It could works for people with high Refulgence, but jaded people like Kyoko or Oriko won't last even an week!

And that's not even taking into account when we have a group of MG that have to share the loot, if we have a group of three for example, that mean 3-4 SP per girl, I'm not even sure that it it'll compensate the cost of a single flashy transformation!
10 SP seems more the restoration capacity of a Grief Cube, whose Homura used by packs of five, but for a GS, you should put the restoration rate much higher, but highly aleatory, like between 20 and 60 SP, the cleansing capacity being aleatory, depending on the amount of grief the Witch already had accumulated : Gertrud's GS was nearly pitch black when Mami retrieved it, and was only good for two superficial uses (her soul gem was barely tainted, and still there was only one use left for Homura before the GS being full), meaning that it was a 20 SP cleaning GS, while Charlotte's GS was almost hollow, with barely two motes of black floating inside, a good 50-60 SP worth of cleansing, logical for a Witch that was just born and who didn't had time to eat people to grow and spread Familiars.

That could be an interesting strategy that the more experienced MG teach as a tip to the rookies : better hunt down witches that weren't born yet (like Charlotte) for maximum loot, and for the especially ruthless MG, add the tip to keep an eye for the wandering Familiars until they ate enough people and attack them just when they grew a Grief Seed but before they hatch as a full Witch.

---
I just got an idea for extra moral ambiguity :
Clean Grief Seeds proposal  SPOILER: Show
GS from Witches that didn't hatched yet (either from Familiars that just evolved or a MG that just turned Witch) will be entirely empty of grief (which was "burned" to power up the hatching of the Witch and the creation of its barrier), and thus the cleansing capacity will be exactly equal of the total number of SP from the MG before witching out : for example, if Annita, an idealist and cheerful MG that sadly depleted all her magic in a succession of big fights (or become bonkers under the pressure of being a MG) had a SP total of 160, then if her witch form is destroyed before hatching, the MG who hunted her just gained a high tier GS of 160 SP cleansing capacity! :peace:

But such an operation is very dangerous : as shown when Mami entered Charlotte's barrier, you can't transform or use magic, or else all the Familiars will charge at your face like moths attracted by a light (you better be able to transform and summon your weapon/powers very quickly or you're in serious troubles!), and the Witch will have an "immune reaction" and hatch much faster, almost immediately, which will make reaching her in time almost impossible with all the Familiars throwing themselves at you to protect their "queen".
So you need to do like Mami did : infiltrate the barrier, and sneak inside untransformed without being detected by the Familiars, Solid Snake style, and reach the incubating GS to just quickly generate a weapon from your soul gem (like Kyouko instantly generated a spear directly from her SG without transforming in episode 9) to break the GS, killing the unborn Witch, destroying the barrier and getting you the so prized "Clean Grief Seed"! (I hereby patent that name!)

But, the time frame to reach the Witch before it hatch is very short : Mami was a seasoned veteran, yet couldn't reach Charlotte in time because it took a good 20-30 minute for Madoka to contact her. So to have a good chance to get your hands on the precious CGS, you need to be here very soon after the GS appears, being already here when it's created being the best. So either you need to be very lucky and tumble upon a just created GS (if you're a good and moral MG like Mami), or you have to track down and keep an eye on a Familiar until it ate enough people to evolve into a Witch (if you're a bad and ruthless girl like Kyouko before meeting Sayaka), or if you're an especially assholish MG that know about the secret being Witches and MG, you can just track a MG close of despairing and wait for her to witch out, or even speed up the process by harassing her by stealing her GS and stress her out, if your MG is in "Complete Monster" territory!

But, as Sayaka/Oktavia shown us, sometime a Witch decides to skip the whole "hatching" process and immediately witch out and grow into a mature Witch in your face, instant barrier included, which kind of sucks if you aren't in peak condition (like nasty wounds not closed yet or high SG corruption)

In short, it's a true "high risk high reward" strategy, which needs a seasoned veteran and/or a small team to pay off (more people means more chances of being noticed before reaching the hatching Witch), and will be a good example of when being morally ambiguous pay more than being a caped crusader killing all Witches and Familiars on sight.
Of course, the situation isn't black and white, and sometimes a moral dilemma can happen even to a very morale MG : let's say that your corruption is in check (SG 75% clean) but after a big fight or a bitch MG that stole your GS supply, you're out of stock, and then you find a Familiar that will soon evolve into a Witch, what do you do : do you kill the Familiar on the spot, which will corrupt a little more your SG and you won't have any GS, or will you track that Familiar until it evolve, with the risk that innocent people gets involved? Will your try the stealth approach to have a prized CSG that will let you be free of the need for some time (also it's one GS so you can keep it on you at all times!), or will you play it safer and come gun/sword/spear/axe/fire blazing to confront her normally? You're already transformed so you won't be attacked without defenses, but you'll get a regular GS instead of a CGS.

So many choices!
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Postby Squigsquasher » Tue May 06, 2014 5:17 am

Excellent. I'm personally quite fond of AODU (the name that is), but you clearly know your stuff and as such I defer to you. I really like how you've expanded their backstory- for the record, has he made the government official's daughters into Puella Magi, or the Psuedo-Magi mentioned before, or something else?

One idea I had which could potentially work (I don't know if it would be redundant or not, given the presence of signiature powers, favourite colour etc) would be the "magical element" they use- so for example, music, fire, time etc. Like I say, I don't know if that would already be covered by signiature powers/weapons etc but I thought it was worth considering.

I like what you've done with Iibey and Golbey a lot. The Brick House Drinks and Sundry in particular is a great idea. One thing I think we should include is some kind of DnD-style "Alignment" system (how this would affect gameplay I don't know, I've never played a tabletop RPG...). I was thinking it could be very similar to the DnD version, but a bit more in-depth, with a value for each stat.

There'd be 2 main factors: "Morality" and "Temperament". Morality would be the good-neutral-evil factor, with, obviously, good, neutral and evil. The number would dictate the extremity of their alignment- Good 1 would be simply good-natured and reasonably helpful, whilst Good 5 would be downright saintly, but so naive that they would be utterly useless in combat. Evil 1 would be slightly immoral and a little mean whilst Evil 5 would be utterly depraved and unspeakably cruel. Naturally, Good 5 or Evil 5 should be reserved for NPCs. Neutral is always 0. Temperament would be the lawful-neutral-chaotic spectrum. Lawful 1 would simply be rational, organized and prone to sticking to doctrine, a Lawful 5 character would be a control freak, obssessed with protocol and routine bordering on OCD. Chaotic 1 would be slightly rebellious, playful and a bit of a tyke. Chaotic 5 would be borderline insane. Once again, extremes of either end of the spectrum should be reserved for NPCs. Once again, Neutral is always 0.


I thought I should expand a little on the 3 main Incubators, as well as using them as example of the alignment system:

Iibey isn't "evil" in the traditional sense- no more so than Kyuubey at any rate. He isn't motivated by anything other than desire to do his job, and he holds no ill will against his Puella Magi. He is, however, a lot smarter than Kyuubey, with a much greater understanding of humans and their thought processes, and is willing to decieve and outright lie to his charges, the downside being that as he degrades he is beginning to become a pathological liar. He could be defined as Neutral 0 Lawful 3.

Golbey, on the other hand, is thoroughly evil, being quite malicious and outright sadistic at times. He is still doing his job, but he takes a perverse pleasure in his work- his main flaw is that he often puts more priority on entertaining his sick sense of humour over actually getting his tasks accomplished, to the point where he often makes huge errors in his plans because of his obsession with causing misery. He could be put as Evil 4 Chaotic 2.

Myaabey is one of the few Incubators that could be considered "good", having become disillusioned with the Incubator's cause and attempting to cast down the system that brings so much suffering to human girls. Unfortunately, thanks to advanced mental degradation, he's also insane (as are most of his followers, who tend to be social outcasts and runaways). He could be put as Good 3 Chaotic 5.

A "pure" Lawful Good (Good 5 Lawful 5) character should mostly be avoided even for NPCs- they'd be basically useless, being hopelessly idealistic and breaking down in tears at the drop of a hat. Likewise, "pure" Chaotic Evil (Evil 5 Chaotic 5) should be avoided, as a character with that alignment would be capable of little more than mindless violence, seething hatred and occasional bellows of rage- even most Witches aren't quite "pure" Chaotic Evil.

@ElMariachi: That sounds like a good idea.
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Postby ElMariachi » Tue May 06, 2014 6:49 am

I think that you shouldn't use an alignment system for the RP, Madoka really isn't compatible with such system, and here's why :

First, you're designing two different things with "Temperament" and "Lawfulness" : for you a Temperament 5 (meaning Lawful 5) is a control freak bordering on OCD, yet someone Good 5/ Lawful 5 would be, by your own words, a living saint (ie Madoka), but being a control freak is hardly a good thing, and I don't remember Madoka being obsessed by control.

You should keep it with your initial idea of "Morality' and "Temperament", now back to our subject let's use the cast from PMMM to give a better idea of what's wrong :

SPOILER: Show
- Madoka :
Morality 5
Temperament 3
She's a saint, as the series showed to us, while keeping true to her believes and valors even in front of all the horrors in front of her, which is why she became the Law of Cycles.
Still, she's able to do more ruthless things when the situation calls for it : she killed Mami to save Homura in timeline 3 for example.

- Homura :
Morality 1/0/-1, depending on the moment and how the current time loop is going
Temperament 5
Her morality oscillates between Neutral (she's in only for Madoka), Good 1 (when she let some of her old Moemura personality resurface and show that she still cares for her former friends, usually when Madoka is around) and Evil 1 (when she's in full ruthless mode, such as when she was about to kill Sayaka).
But one thing is clear : the numerous time loops and witnessing Madoka and co dying everytime seriously messed her up, transforming her into a control freak obsessed by finding the right combination of events that will let her prevent Madoka from contracting while gathering enough MGs to destroy Walpurgisnatch, as a consequence, she has a very low tolerance for unexpected events (although she can adapt). Of course, it reached its logical extreme in Rebellion when she cast down Madokami to put her in a gilded cage where she will finally be able to control her destiny and made her happy and safe.

- Mami :
Morality 4/-3 (when going bonkers after learning the truth about Witches)
Temperament 3/-3 (when going bonkers after learning the truth about Witches)
Good old (non)caped crusader Mami, helping everyone, killing both Witches and Familiars... and absolutely unable to support the truth about the Witch system and the fact she killed former MG and incited other girls to contract, throwing her into a murder-suicide spree, at which point her morality and temperament take a nose dive.

- Sayaka :
Morality 3/-3 (when going bonkers and maybe killing the two assholes in the train)
Temperament 2/-3 (when going bonkers and maybe killing the two assholes in the train)
A loyal friend, want to help people and be a hero and idolize Mami for that, but doesn't realize that her own reasons are more selfish than what she thinks, she wants to be a hero to be praised and get over her self-esteem issues, and attack the attention of the boy she loves. Once she realize in what she got herself into she come tumbling down at full speed.

- Kyoko :
Morality -2 (before befriending Sayaka), 0/-1 (after befriending Sayaka)
Temperament -2 (before Sayaka) -1 (after Sayaka)
She's a wild dog, lived on her own on the street for a whole year after her wish crashed back on her face hard, during which she had to learn to survive by stealing, squatting and be very ruthless and pragmatic about Witches and Familiar.
But deep down, she still has that little core of goodness and idealism that pushed her to contract for her father's sake, and only want to believe again by meeting someone more idealistic, such as Sayaka in PMMM or Yuma in Oriko Magica.
Still, what happened to her irremediably broke her inside, and she'll alway be somewhat jaded and cynical, with bouts of ruthlessness.


... and here you see the limitations of the alignment system : people change, and MG changes a lot following the circumstances and their experiences, and it ignores the hidden depths of the characters, such as Sayaka's selfishness behind her wish, Mami's heroism being a mask hiding a mess of loneliness, doubts and self-hatred, to the point of being ready to do everything to impress and convince Madoka and Sayaka to contract (not very morale), Kyoko's very though and ruthless exterior hiding a heart desperate for believing in goodness again but her experiences and acquired cynicism preventing her to do so, or Homura's growing insanity and brokenness as the time loops and traumas pile up.

An alignment system restricts too much the characters in their evolution, and you tend to already know what to expect from a MG after a look in her alignment stats, it's more interesting to discover the basic traits and hidden depths of the characters via the dialogs and their actions, seeing the MG's hidden depths revealing themselves as the story progress was what made PMMM interesting, you shouldn't take it away.

The only characters in whom that system could work are those who will stay static, meaning your trio of Incubators, for humans it's too restrictive to work.
Last edited by ElMariachi on Sat May 10, 2014 2:53 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Postby Squigsquasher » Tue May 06, 2014 7:15 am

Hmm. You do have a point there. I dunno, i was thinking it could help with regards to character creation, but never mind.
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Postby Doctor Memory » Tue May 06, 2014 7:50 pm

Re: Grief Seeds
To clarify, 10 SP is not the full capacity of a Grief Seed, just one use thereof. The mechanics of Refulgence require this to be a fixed number, otherwise the math starts to get heavy. Another thing worth mentioning is that a Walpurgisnact-class witch could drop multiple Grief Seeds.

Re: AODU
The primary reason for the name change is that I had a hard time visualizing the kanji that would be used for the name. With the exception of "Defense", it's a very non-Japanese sounding name. Most problematic is how to translate 'Unit'. Is it a single squad or a whole battalion? Using "National" and "Task Force" sends a clear message that this group is a big, nasty arm of the autocracy, and they ain't afraid of no little girls with pointy hats and flying brooms.
You can bring the old name back by having an English speaker use it as his/her pet name for the Pseudo-Magi squads. Maybe an ex-pat got into the R&D group. Or perhaps a foreign investor who owns a considerable amount of Japan's public debt is quite insistent on knowing how his money is spent. Or maybe there's a nosy brigadier from the UN who's trying to standardize everything.
And for the record, the daughters of all those public officials are normal Puella Magi. They are Golbey's core gang.

Re: Alignment system
I spent a lot of time hemming and hawing over this. But in the end I decided to shy away from a Morality Meter in favor of playing up the desperation that comes from having a cloudy Soul Gem. The idea is that an MG's morality, personality, sanity, pretty much everything starts to decay as their Soul Gem depletes. Refulgence can counter this by giving an MG more points to work with. And even if an MG recovers by cleansing their Soul Gem, they are forever changed by the experience. Furthermore, as ElMariachi pointed out, just being an MG is taxing on the psyche.

Re: Incubator Derangements
Incubators are even more problematic, as their internal morality is inhuman. I can dig that Myaabey is "good", Golbey is "evil", and Iibey is ruthlessly efficient. But I would emphasize that these are perceptions colored by human morality.
I have quite a few interesting ideas that spice up the interplay between these three Incubators that, for the most part, don't rely on the 'Resurrection Protocols cost Sanity Points' angle you have going on here.
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Postby Defectron » Tue May 06, 2014 8:35 pm

View Original PostDoctor Memory wrote:Re: Grief Seeds
To clarify, 10 SP is not the full capacity of a Grief Seed, just one use thereof. The mechanics of Refulgence require this to be a fixed number, otherwise the math starts to get heavy. Another thing worth mentioning is that a Walpurgisnact-class witch could drop multiple Grief Seeds.

Re: AODU
The primary reason for the name change is that I had a hard time visualizing the kanji that would be used for the name. With the exception of "Defense", it's a very non-Japanese sounding name. Most problematic is how to translate 'Unit'. Is it a single squad or a whole battalion? Using "National" and "Task Force" sends a clear message that this group is a big, nasty arm of the autocracy, and they ain't afraid of no little girls with pointy hats and flying brooms.
You can bring the old name back by having an English speaker use it as his/her pet name for the Pseudo-Magi squads. Maybe an ex-pat got into the R&D group. Or perhaps a foreign investor who owns a considerable amount of Japan's public debt is quite insistent on knowing how his money is spent. Or maybe there's a nosy brigadier from the UN who's trying to standardize everything.
And for the record, the daughters of all those public officials are normal Puella Magi. They are Golbey's core gang.

Re: Alignment system
I spent a lot of time hemming and hawing over this. But in the end I decided to shy away from a Morality Meter in favor of playing up the desperation that comes from having a cloudy Soul Gem. The idea is that an MG's morality, personality, sanity, pretty much everything starts to decay as their Soul Gem depletes. Refulgence can counter this by giving an MG more points to work with. And even if an MG recovers by cleansing their Soul Gem, they are forever changed by the experience. Furthermore, as ElMariachi pointed out, just being an MG is taxing on the psyche.

Re: Incubator Derangements
Incubators are even more problematic, as their internal morality is inhuman. I can dig that Myaabey is "good", Golbey is "evil", and Iibey is ruthlessly efficient. But I would emphasize that these are perceptions colored by human morality.
I have quite a few interesting ideas that spice up the interplay between these three Incubators that, for the most part, don't rely on the 'Resurrection Protocols cost Sanity Points' angle you have going on here.


Wouldnt it just make more sense to have a walpurgasnact type of witch have greif seeds that are just worth alot more points? I think the seeds point worth should be a direct relation to the power of the witch.
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Postby Nuclear Lunchbox » Tue May 06, 2014 11:16 pm

The Walpurgisnacht should be worth something more than grief seeds, I feel. (Also, this is really starting to feel like a table-top RPG, the sort of thing that would be done IRL or over skype. Feels a little complicated for an internet RP.)

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Postby Squigsquasher » Wed May 07, 2014 3:52 am

View Original PostDoctor Memory wrote:Re: Grief Seeds
To clarify, 10 SP is not the full capacity of a Grief Seed, just one use thereof. The mechanics of Refulgence require this to be a fixed number, otherwise the math starts to get heavy. Another thing worth mentioning is that a Walpurgisnact-class witch could drop multiple Grief Seeds.


Sounds good.

Re: AODU
The primary reason for the name change is that I had a hard time visualizing the kanji that would be used for the name. With the exception of "Defense", it's a very non-Japanese sounding name. Most problematic is how to translate 'Unit'. Is it a single squad or a whole battalion? Using "National" and "Task Force" sends a clear message that this group is a big, nasty arm of the autocracy, and they ain't afraid of no little girls with pointy hats and flying brooms.
You can bring the old name back by having an English speaker use it as his/her pet name for the Pseudo-Magi squads. Maybe an ex-pat got into the R&D group. Or perhaps a foreign investor who owns a considerable amount of Japan's public debt is quite insistent on knowing how his money is spent. Or maybe there's a nosy brigadier from the UN who's trying to standardize everything.
And for the record, the daughters of all those public officials are normal Puella Magi. They are Golbey's core gang.


OK, thanks for clearing that up!

Re: Alignment system
I spent a lot of time hemming and hawing over this. But in the end I decided to shy away from a Morality Meter in favor of playing up the desperation that comes from having a cloudy Soul Gem. The idea is that an MG's morality, personality, sanity, pretty much everything starts to decay as their Soul Gem depletes. Refulgence can counter this by giving an MG more points to work with. And even if an MG recovers by cleansing their Soul Gem, they are forever changed by the experience. Furthermore, as ElMariachi pointed out, just being an MG is taxing on the psyche.


Makes sense. You're probably right, adding an alignment system would needlessly complicate things.

Re: Incubator Derangements
Incubators are even more problematic, as their internal morality is inhuman. I can dig that Myaabey is "good", Golbey is "evil", and Iibey is ruthlessly efficient. But I would emphasize that these are perceptions colored by human morality.
I have quite a few interesting ideas that spice up the interplay between these three Incubators that, for the most part, don't rely on the 'Resurrection Protocols cost Sanity Points' angle you have going on here.


With regards to the "Resurrection costs sanity points" I wasn't thinking of making it a stat-based system as much as a purely fluff-driven mechanic- that is to say, something entirely at the disgression of the writer. Of course, I haven't really played any stat-based written RPGs before, and if you think it would only work if it was given proper mechanics then feel free to work with it. I dunno, I'm kinda married to the idea of them slowly degrading over time- it adds that extra little bit of grimdark to the setting. Of course, you know better than me regarding this so if you have a better idea I'm all ears! :D

I did come up with yet another grimdark idea that pushes this even further into Magical Necromunda (note to self: learn to play Necromunda and write PMMM expansion for it): Puella Magi cannibalism.

Basically, I had an idea where if they were desperate enough, Puella Magi could take other PM's Soul Gems and use them as they'd use a Grief Seed (transferring their own corruption to the other Soul Gem). The upside is that they could gain a lot more Soul Points from Soul Gems than Grief Seeds. The downsides are that for one thing, consuming Soul Gems is considered an absolutely appalling act, even amongst the toughest of gangs, and as a result committing such an act will cause the girl to be feared and hated by her fellows- even Iibey is repulsed by the idea. The other downside is that using still-sane Puella Magi as a food source (so to speak) will gradually drive the cannibal mad. I'm not sure how you'd represent this- perhaps it could drastically decrease their Refulgence value.
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Postby ElMariachi » Wed May 07, 2014 9:53 am

Isn't it implied in the series that the Walpurgisnacht only drops one GS? I remember when Madoka and Homura were lying on the ground about to die from corruption that Madoka asked Homura if she could locate the Walpurgisnacht's Grief Seed.

---
@ Squig : There's something that seemed off about your story synopsis, but I couldn't figure out why, and now it hit me : your story is too much black and white.
Boiled down, we have Golbey's side who's the big bad manipulator making everyone's life hell just for the lulz (you even used the trope of the "Fat Bastard"!), Myaabey's side is clearly the good guys, even if Myaabey himself is nuts, while Iibey is the "classical" PMMM Incubator, neutral and completely amoral, the interpretation of if you understand his motives or not left to the audience (or here players)'s perception.
And seriously, everyone's choice will be either side with Iibey, Myaabey if you're subversive and rebel, or tell everyone "Fuck it" and go solo or found your own band/gang/organization. Golbey is explicitly described as a fat bastard who manipulates the government to hunt down MG who doesn't deserve this, just for his personal amusement, meaning that the "pseudo-MG" would be murderers and played for fools by the fat rascal. Who the hell would side with this guy knowing all of this? All all the RPers know this!

Also that the AODU is made of "Pseudo-Magi", while probably made so male characters can also be part of the fight, doesn't make sense in terms of lore : Golbey is obviously given a lot of leeway from the Incubator society (or whoever are these space ferrets' bosses) about his sadistic tendencies thanks to his seniority, implying that he's very good at gathering energy, but creating pseudo-Magis that don't have wishes and don't even witch out would be a monstrous waste of energy that would be considered unacceptable, since most of the energy gathered by the Incubators comes from the moment the girl made the contract (implied) and more importantly the moment they witch out (outright stated by Kyubey), and I'm net even talking about the fact that Golbey give to human Incubator technology to make weapons! No amount of justifications and promises that they'll harvest more energy that way can counterbalance all of this!

Also, even with manipulation, I just can't see a government agency of a democratic country having a whole private army tasked by killing on sight teenagers girls, especially since said girls are fighting against the Witches!


Personally, and again that's my advice, you should revamp the AODU faction :
SPOILER: Show
make it an investigation agency only instead of a full blown paramilitary agency, and not as big and tentacular as the AODU (which for the moment is basically NERV Japan with magic, which is just overkill compared to the other factions) but as a bureau of investigation specialized on the occult, composed of inspectors with particular profiles (a la Mulder), or who had an experience with the occult during their service (such as an inspector that ended in a Witch barrier while trying to save someone and avoided being brainwashed by a passing MG or Incubator), and who want to investigate and discover more about the occult world as a whole, and to protect the citizen as discreetly as possible (to avoid knowledge about magic to spread, seeing its near limitless possibilities, and also to avoid mass panic and the return of old witch pyre from the old days of the inquisition)

To give you a point of comparison, if you're familiar with the videogame Parasite Eve 2, the heroine works for a special branch of the FBI called the MIST (Mitochondrial Investigation and Suppression Team), charged to investigate and deal with cases that could implicate mutant created by the mutation of part of living beings cells (the famous Mitochondria), all their operatives are first and foremost inspectors, but received extensive training to deal with the weird shit that would attack them in their line of work.
The AODU would be the same thing : a special bureau affected to the Prefectural Police Headquarter of Osaka. Of course, they hide their true purpose to their colleges of the police, officially they are a division specialized on international traffics (for why "international" I'll come back to it later), but still they aren't very liked of the rest of the police force due to their secretive nature and all the weirdos and gaijins composing their ranks.

Now about the "international" part of their cover, my idea was to make the AODU more resourceful and a true potential menace for the MG gangs, and so people wanting to RP these guys wouldn't be limited to Japanese character, and is actually as a division of Interpol specialized on the occult.
In short : Interpol has a secrete division specialized on the occult, which has a branch in every countries' Law Enforcement Headquarter, which in turn administers all the bureau present in the local police forces.
For Japan, which is the country that interest us, the Japanese Branch of the AODU has its HQ in the offices of the National Police Agency (in Tokyo I think), and administers the local bureau across the country, one for each of the 47 Prefectural Police Departments, the bureau of Osaka being the one we'll deal with.

Maybe you noticed that I talk about magic as a general term, and that's on purpose : Incubators have the means to let girls access to magic by extracting their soul and putting it in a physical form, but what tell us that they are the only ones who discovered how to use magic? After all, history is filled with priest, druids, oracles, shamans, some of then must have found a way to use the power of their soul to use magic!
So the AODU counts with some magic users in their ranks to help in their investigations and dealing with magical threat. You have a little of everything : voodoo, white magic, shamanism, occultism... which are all different mediums to access the magic potential inside one's soul, in short the principle behind the powers is the same for everyone (using the power of the soul) but the package and look of the powers will differ.

I can see your concerns from here : I'm turning it into Vampire : The Masquerade or other White Wolf game where everyone and its mother have magical powers able to turn you inside-out or incinerate you or mentally control you or invoke some demons!
To balance everything, their use of magic is very limited compared to MG : magic powers granted by Incubator wishes are the big shit, a level of exploitation and weaponization of magic absolutely unseen and impossible to copy or replicate. The magic accessible to the AODU are much more passive and weak than with MG, essentially turned toward helping in the investigations : the ability to see what's normally invisible to humans (such as the borders of a Witch barrier, Witches without a barrier, the best of them being even able to see the Incubators if they concentrate enough), sense the use of magic (two MG fighting each other, an contract being made, a transformed MG if the operative is close enough), detect great amount of grief (Witch, Familiar, MG about to witch out, victim of a Witch Kiss) although to a much lesser degree than a soul gem which is pretty much a radar for magic and grief... even their more active abilities are turned to support, such as the ability to remove the Witch Kiss from a victim to turn it back to normal, and use the "magic signature" from the Kiss to help track down the Witch, some of the AODU "mages" even have some powers that can temporarily calm down a Witch and subdue them the time to extract the victims from the barrier and call in reinforcement : operative won't fight a Witch unless they don't have any other choice, it's too dangerous to do it alone or even with a teammate, just the Familiars would be a great danger (imagine two humans with simple pistols against all of Gertrud or Charlotte's Familiars, which counts in the dozen), they'll take the civilian, get out and call specialized units with heavy armors and weapons to take care of it, a "anti-magic SWAT" of sort.
At best, the AODU "mages" can conjure some telekinetic push or a few pyrotechnic tricks as self-defense techniques, but nothing more. Again with the Parasite Eva 2, Aya and her powers would be considered a top tier mage, the big shots that only are a dozen in the whole AODU, meaning that unless a Walpurgisnatch appear in Osaka, the local Branch won't employ one, but that give you an idea of what their best mage operative can do. And even then her chance to win against a MG on a direct confrontation aren't that good.

Now even if in a direct confrontation against a MG or a Witch they are in a severe disadvantage, that doesn't mean that they are completely hopeless : on top of their training and weapons, they some artifacts that help them in their job : a standard equipment is to have an anti-magic amulet inside their police badge that grant them a resistance to magical phenomenon : for example a MG or Incubator can't screw with their mind (like Kyubey did to Madoka in episode 11), they're immune to Witch Kisses (in exchange it hurts like a bitch!) and some magic powers have a reduced impact on them (example : Mami's ribbons won't be indestructible and with some forcing and a useful hidden knife, they can eventually cut them), as long as they have their badge on them of course. They also have a couple of amulets or crystals for emergency situations (example, a crystal that generate a one-time shock wave around them when they break it, useful when a bunch of familiars are about to gang on you), and more importantly, they know the way to generate "anti-magic" fields : by painting sigils on the ground and walls connected by a crystal, or amulets with an area of effect, your choice, they can secure an area where at best the magic will be disturbed and the MG will have her powers weakened, an anti-magic area of greater level (needing more time to prepare and more crystals) will "de-transform" them, making them unable to transform back and thus blocking their powers, they keep their augmented strength and speed due to the fact they are liches, but even then they are put against armed and well trained adults, at which point the tables dramatically turns against the MG.
The highest level anti-magic field even perturbs the soul gem control ever the body, reducing her strength and speed to the level of a normal person of her physical age, but these fields are very complicated and require a constant supply of energy, so they are only found in the AODU cells to contain especially dangerous MGs.


My idea was to play a duo of inspectors composed of a young European inspector without powers recently assigned to Osaka, who's well spoken and able to easily extract information from people and happened to fall into a Witch barrier during an investigation about disappearances in series and then hired by the AODU, accompanied by a middle-aged Haitian Houngan (male Haitian Vodou priest) able to "purify the corrupted" (erase a Witch Kiss), "speak to the spirits and the dead" (it's left ambiguous if he really talks to spirits, but whatever he does helps him gather information from recently deceased corpses to know what happened to them, as well as track Witches) and also "see what's not here, as well as the White Devil" (see Witches out of their barriers, the edge of barriers, the "White Devil" being of course the Incubators), the guy as seen some serious shit during his life, had to cure enraged victims of Witch Kisses, fight against Familiars and "calm" Witches, he saw how the "White Devils" had a part in the trouble in 2004 that led to the coup d'etat, and later exploited the despair born from the 2010 earthquake to contract even more girls, which make him hate them with a passion equaled by few members of the AODU. Still, he managed to keep a positive view of life, seeing the AODU gaining power as a hope that they can fight the "White Devils" everywhere in the world.
He knows that their true names is Incubator, and in his reports he design them as such, but when speaking about them he insist on calling them "White Devils" to clearly signify his hatred of them, no one in the AODU disagree with him.
I want to avoid the cliché of the "exotic" priest completely nuts and sprouting nonsense or highly cryptic phrases : the guy can lapse into philosophic musings and life lessons (he's a priest after all), but most of the time is very to-the-point (can even seems to be rude some times), although it happened that he got into full-blown cryptic and pseudo-philosophical ramblings... just to troll and annoy his teammate! ("... what you said didn't actually had any sense right?" "Maybe." "For God sake, I hate it when you do that!" "Oh come on, leave an old man his fun from time to time!" "You're 43, that's hardly being an old man" "In my country it is."), he has a very special brand of humor, very black, sometimes bordering on gallows humor, and is also an incorrigible deadpan snarker, still his experience and hindsight are very valuated among the AODU, and he's respected due to his extensive knowledge about magic and nerves of steel. He's the "sempai" to the European "kohai", helping him to adapt to his new job and this world of magic he never suspected before.


Until recently, the AODU was the inside-joke of the higher echelons of Interpol, never taken very seriously due to all the skepticism surrounding the true danger of magic in our modern world where only a few people believes in it anymore. But everything changed when the record of the almost WS-level Witch was made, interpol realized that magic can be a very dangerous thing if left unchecked, resulting in massive funds being dumped in the AODU which increased in size and strength, for Japan for example it passed from having only a couple of bureau in the Tokyo and Osaka prefectures with a few agents each to have a bureau in each of the 47 Prefectures with personnel ranging from a small team for the less populated Prefectures a good dozen of agents for the more densely populated areas (hello Osaka).

Before they were a joke barely worthy of the Incubators attention, with barely the power to really investigate their MG contracting business, now they are powerful, everywhere, well equipped and you don't fuck with them, forcing the Incubators to slightly revise their strategy and advice the MG to keep a lower profile to not attract the attention of their investigation teams.


To resume, what the AODU lacks on brute strength and raw magical power, they compensate by high training, composure (they're adult against teenagers), preparation, specialized equipment and magic, and more importantly in their social position : they're cops, so they can go anywhere, interrogate anyone they want, can require the collaboration of any citizen or organization, and can make a MG hiding her secret to her family nigh impossible.
They will be a lurking menace, investigating strange events usually long after the MG left (example : Hitomi and the other people kissed by the Witch in episode 4 and woke up in the middle of the abandoned warehouse without any recollection of how they ended here), as long as the MG are prudent and keep a low profile, everything will be okay, but if their inspectors start to investigate on you, you're in big problems, because they'll question your friends, teachers parents, neighbors, forcing the MG to stay in a very low profile (no Witch hunts, no training on magic, staying far from MG rallying points such as Iibey's "Brick House Drinks and Sundries" stores) until they find nothing for long enough to drop the investigation, which is of course very problematic to find Grief Seeds, better have some MG friends that can do the hunt for you and discreetly bring you the GS at school.
A pro-tip is to hide the blatant signs of being a MG, by changing the contract ring by another jewel (earing, bracelet...) and use nail polish to hide the fingernail marking.

If they identified your character as a MG, you're pretty much fucked : they'll ask you to follow them for a couple of question or your implication in a case of whatever, if you fly away they'll declare you missing child or suspect, at which point all the police of the country will look for you, Iibey will abandon you because you "broke the Masquerade", most of your friends will be put under surveillance in case you try to contact them.
Girls who ended in this situation either fell in despair and witched out, became loner on the run (some left the country), committed suicide, or joined Myaabey's gang.

Now what does the AODU with captured MG? They don't kill them, they bring them in custody, interrogate them about the magic world (MG, Witches, Incubators...), and study their magic to find a way to reverse the contract, put back their soul inside their body and let them have a normal life (or arrest them if they are insane and committed crimes).
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, they are the good guys : they want to protect the innocent people and see most MG as victims of these mysterious supernatural beings know as Incubators. The problem for the MG is that firstly, they don't have any single clue of how the process of extracting the soul and put it in a solid form, works so reverse-engineering them is a pipe dream and will stay that way for many years, and secondly the Incubators will try their best to kill the MG to keep the AODU from discovering new things : the more they learn, the more complicated the energy harvesting system will be for them, their worst case scenario is that the AODU discover a way to detect all the Incubators and combine it with satellites, and a way to revert the contract, such scenario already happened in other worlds and completely fucked the Incubators business; forcing them to abandon these worlds, and mankind is a very strong and profitable source of emotions and thus energy, so the Incubators really don't want to lost it!
Myaabey will rather try to make the MG escape, but she refuses to follow him, because she was convinced by the AODU to stay, he'll make her assassinated too.

But you'll ask : don't Myaabey and the AODU's have similar objectives, why would they work together? Well, there are a few key differences : first, Myaabey is insane and very paranoid and mistrustful of the AODU, he fears that even though the AODU have genuine concern for the MG, the governments will sooner or later use what they are learning to mass weaponize magic and create their own army of Magical Girls and Boys, making the situation worse for his protégés, the second and more important one is that while the AODU want the end of the MGs (because teenage girls shouldn't have to fight dammit!), the girls of Myaabey's gang only want to the of the MG system, ie being manipulated by the others Incubators, they're actually very happy with having nigh unkillable bodies and lots of super powers!


... Holy fuck I actually wrote all of that!? :gasp:
Well, tell me what you think of that revamp if you have the courage to read everything.

The problem I just noticed is that it doesn't leave any place for Golbey's existence...
Last edited by ElMariachi on Mon Sep 01, 2014 7:49 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby Squigsquasher » Wed May 07, 2014 1:06 pm

View Original PostElMariachi wrote:@ Squig : There's something that seemed off about your story synopsis, but I couldn't figure out why, and now it hit me : your story is too much black and white.
Boiled down, we have Golbey's side who's the big bad manipulator making everyone's life hell just for the lulz (you even used the trope of the "Fat Bastard"!), Myaabey's side is clearly the good guys, even if Myaabey himself is nuts,


Regarding the bolded part, I think I should explain a bit better.

Myaabey and the Viridian Coven aren't "good" per se- they're "well-intentioned extremists". I was planning on waiting for the RP to expand on them, but here's my gyst for the Viridian Coven:

As mentioned before, Myaabey is insane. His idea of fighting the incubators essentially involves the euthanasia of Puella Magi who are in danger of becoming a witch, and the extermination of PMs who follow or don't outright hate the Incubators. The Viridian Coven are a thoroughly nasty bunch of people- most of the Puella Magi in the group are quite unhinged and utterly remorseless.

while Iibey is the "classical" PMMM Incubator, neutral and completely amoral, the interpretation of if you understand his motives or not left to the audience (or here players)'s perception.
And seriously, everyone's choice will be either side with Iibey, Myaabey if you're subversive and rebel, or tell everyone "Fuck it" and go solo or found your own band/gang/organization. Golbey is explicitly described as a fat bastard who manipulates the government to hunt down MG who doesn't deserve this, just for his personal amusement, meaning that the "pseudo-MG" would be murderers and played for fools by the fat rascal. Who the hell would side with this guy knowing all of this? All all the RPers know this!


To be honest, I was thinking that the players would be on side with Iibey by default (although they could always go solo later if they wished). I'm not sure.

Also that the AODU is made of "Pseudo-Magi", while probably made so male characters can also be part of the fight, doesn't make sense in terms of lore : Golbey is obviously given a lot of leeway from the Incubator society (or whoever are these space ferrets' bosses) about his sadistic tendencies thanks to his seniority, implying that he's very good at gathering energy, but creating pseudo-Magis that don't have wishes and don't even witch out would be a monstrous waste of energy that would be considered unacceptable, since most of the energy gathered by the Incubators comes from the moment the girl made the contract (implied) and more importantly the moment they witch out (outright stated by Kyubey), and I'm net even talking about the fact that Golbey give to human Incubator technology to make weapons! No amount of justifications and promises that they'll harvest more energy that way can counterbalance all of this!

Also, even with manipulation, I just can't see a government agency of a democratic country having a whole private army tasked by killing on sight teenagers girls, especially since said girls are fighting against the Witches!


Personally, and again that's my advice, you should revamp the AODU faction :
SPOILER: Show
make it an investigation agency only instead of a full blown paramilitary agency, and not as big and tentacular as the AODU (which for the moment is basically NERV Japan with magic, which is just overkill compared to the other factions) but as a bureau of investigation specialized on the occult, composed of inspectors with particular profiles (a la Mulder), or who had an experience with the occult during their service (such as an inspector that ended in a Witch barrier while trying to save someone and avoided being brainwashed by a passing MG or Incubator), and who want to investigate and discover more about the occult world as a whole, and to protect the citizen as discreetly as possible (to avoid knowledge about magic to spread, seeing its near limitless possibilities, and also to avoid mass panic and the return of old witch pyre from the old days of the inquisition)

To give you a point of comparison, if you're familiar with the videogame Parasite Eve 2, the heroine works for a special branch of the FBI called the MIST (Mitochondrial Investigation and Suppression Team), charged to investigate and deal with cases that could implicate mutant created by the mutation of part of living beings cells (the famous Mitochondria), all their operatives are first and foremost inspectors, but received extensive training to deal with the weird shit that would attack them in their line of work.
The AODU would be the same thing : a special bureau affected to the Prefectural Police Headquarter of Osaka. Of course, they hide their true purpose to their colleges of the police, officially they are a division specialized on international traffics (for why "international" I'll come back to it later), but still they aren't very liked of the rest of the police force due to their secretive nature and all the weirdos and gaijins composing their ranks.

Now about the "international" part of their cover, my idea was to make the AODU more resourceful and a true potential menace for the MG gangs, and so people wanting to RP these guys wouldn't be limited to Japanese character, and is actually as a division of Interpol specialized on the occult.
In short : Interpol has a secrete division specialized on the occult, which has a branch in every countries' Law Enforcement Headquarter, which in turn administers all the bureau present in the local police forces.
For Japan, which is the country that interest us, the Japanese Branch of the AODU has its HQ in the offices of the National Police Agency (in Tokyo I think), and administers the local bureau across the country, one for each of the 47 Prefectural Police Departments, the bureau of Osaka being the one we'll deal with.

Maybe you noticed that I talk about magic as a general term, and that's on purpose : Incubators have the means to let girls access to magic by extracting their soul and putting it in a physical form, but what tell us that they are the only ones who discovered how to use magic? After all, history is filled with priest, druids, oracles, shamans, some of then must have found a way to use the power of their soul to use magic!
So the AODU counts with some magic users in their ranks to help in their investigations and dealing with magical threat. You have a little of everything : voodoo, white magic, shamanism, occultism... which are all different mediums to access the magic potential inside one's soul, in short the principle behind the powers is the same for everyone (using the power of the soul) but the package and look of the powers will differ.

I can see your concerns from here : I'm turning it into Vampire : The Masquerade or other White Wolf game where everyone and its mother have magical powers able to turn you inside-out or incinerate you or mentally control you or invoke some demons!
To balance everything, their use of magic is very limited compared to MG : magic powers granted by Incubator wishes are the big shit, a level of exploitation and weaponization of magic absolutely unseen and impossible to copy or replicate. The magic accessible to the AODU are much more passive and weak than with MG, essentially turned toward helping in the investigations : the ability to see what's normally invisible to humans (such as the borders of a Witch barrier, Witches without a barrier, the best of them being even able to see the Incubators if they concentrate enough), sense the use of magic (two MG fighting each other, an contract being made, a transformed MG if the operative is close enough), detect great amount of grief (Witch, Familiar, MG about to witch out, victim of a Witch Kiss) although to a much lesser degree than a soul gem which is pretty much a radar for magic and grief... even their more active abilities are turned to support, such as the ability to remove the Witch Kiss from a victim to turn it back to normal, and use the "magic signature" from the Kiss to help track down the Witch, some of the AODU "mages" even have some powers that can temporarily calm down a Witch and subdue them the time to extract the victims from the barrier and call in reinforcement : operative won't fight a Witch unless they don't have any other choice, it's too dangerous to do it alone or even with a teammate, just the Familiars would be a great danger (imagine two humans with simple pistols against all of Gertrud or Charlotte's Familiars, which counts in the dozen), they'll take the civilian, get out and call specialized units with heavy armors and weapons to take care of it, a "anti-magic SWAT" of sort.
At best, the AODU "mages" can conjure some telekinetic push or a few pyrotechnic tricks as self-defense techniques, but nothing more. Again with the Parasite Eva 2, Aya and her powers would be considered a top tier mage, the big shots that only are a dozen in the whole AODU, meaning that unless a Walpurgisnatch appear in Osaka, the local Branch won't employ one, but that give you an idea of what their best mage operative can do. And even then her chance to win against a MG on a direct confrontation are very good.

Now even if in a direct confrontation against a MG or a Witch they are in a severe disadvantage, that doesn't mean that they are completely hopeless : on top of their training and weapons, they some artifacts that help them in their job : a standard equipment is to have an anti-magic amulet inside their police badge that grant them a resistance to magical phenomenon : for example a MG or Incubator can't screw with their mind (like Kyubey did to Madoka in episode 11), they're immune to Witch Kisses (in exchange it hurts like a bitch!) and some magic powers have a reduced impact on them (example : Mami's ribbons won't be indestructible and with some forcing and a useful hidden knife, they can eventually cut them), as long as they have their badge on them of course. They also have a couple of amulets or crystals for emergency situations (example, a crystal that generate a one-time shock wave around them when they break it, useful when a bunch of familiars are about to gang on you), and more importantly, they know the way to generate "anti-magic" fields : by painting sigils on the ground and walls connected by a crystal, or amulets with an area of effect, your choice, they can secure an area where at best the magic will be disturbed and the MG will have her powers weakened, an anti-magic area of greater level (needing more time to prepare and more crystals) will "de-transform" them, making them unable to transform back and thus blocking their powers, they keep their augmented strength and speed due to the fact they are leeches, but even then they are put against armed and well trained adults, at which point the tables dramatically turns against the MG.
The highest level anti-magic field even perturbs the soul gem control ever the body, reducing her strength and speed to the level of a normal person of her physical age, but these fields are very complicated and require a constant supply of energy, so they are only found in the AODU cells to contain especially dangerous MGs.


My idea was to play a duo of inspectors composed of a young European inspector without powers recently assigned to Osaka, who's well spoken and able to easily extract information from people and happened to fall into a Witch barrier during an investigation about disappearances in series and then hired by the AODU, accompanied by a middle-aged Haitian Houngan (male Haitian Vodou priest) able to "purify the corrupted" (erase a Witch Kiss), "speak to the spirits and the dead" (it's left ambiguous if he really talks to spirits, but whatever he does helps him gather information from recently deceased corpses to know what happened to them, as well as track Witches) and also "see what's not here, as well as the White Devil" (see Witches out of their barriers, the edge of barriers, the "White Devil" being of course the Incubators), the guy as seen some serious shit during his life, had to cure enraged victims of Witch Kisses, fight against Familiars and "calm" Witches, he saw how the "White Devils" had a part in the trouble in 2004 that led to the coup d'etat, and later exploited the despair born from the 2010 earthquake to contract even more girls, which make him hate them with a passion equaled by few members of the AODU. Still, he managed to keep a positive view of life, seeing the AODU gaining power as a hope that they can fight the "White Devils" everywhere in the world.
He knows that their true names is Incubator, and in his reports he design them as such, but when speaking about them he insist on calling them "White Devils" to clearly signify his hatred of them, no one in the AODU disagree with him.
I want to avoid the cliché of the "exotic" priest completely nuts and sprouting nonsense or highly cryptic phrases : the guy can lapse into philosophic musings and life lessons (he's a priest after all), but most of the time is very to-the-point (can even seems to be rude some times), although it happened that he got into full-blown cryptic and pseudo-philosophical ramblings... just to troll and annoy his teammate! ("... what you said didn't actually had any sense right?" "Maybe." "For God sake, I hate it when you do that!" "Oh come on, leave an old man his fun from time to time!" "You're 43, that's hardly being an old man" "In my country it is."), he has a very special brand of humor, very black, sometimes bordering on gallows humor, and is also an incorrigible deadpan snarker, still his experience and hindsight are very valuated among the AODU, and he's respected due to his extensive knowledge about magic and nerves of steel. He's the "sempai" to the European "kohai", helping him to adapt to his new job and this world of magic he never suspected before.


Until recently, the AODU was the inside-joke of the higher echelons of Interpol, never taken very seriously due to all the skepticism surrounding the true danger of magic in our modern world where only a few people believes in it anymore. But everything changed when the record of the almost WS-level Witch was made, interpol realized that magic can be a very dangerous thing if left unchecked, resulting in massive funds being dumped in the AODU which increased in size and strength, for Japan for example it passed from having only a couple of bureau in the Tokyo and Osaka prefectures with a few agents each to have a bureau in each of the 47 Prefectures with personnel ranging from a good ten for the less populated Prefectures to dozens of operatives for the more densely populated areas (hello Osaka).

Before they were a joke barely worthy of the Incubators attention, with barely the power to really investigate their MG contracting business, now they are powerful, everywhere, well equipped and you don't fuck with them, forcing the Incubators to slightly revise their strategy and advice the MG to keep a lower profile to not attract the attention of their investigation teams.


To resume, what the AODU lacks on brute strength and raw magical power, they compensate by high training, composure (they're adult against teenagers), preparation, specialized equipment and magic, and more importantly in their social position : they're cops, so they can go anywhere, interrogate anyone they want, can require the collaboration of any citizen or organization, and can make a MG hiding her secret to her family nigh impossible.
They will be a lurking menace, investigating strange events usually long after the MG left (example : Hitomi and the other people kissed by the Witch in episode 4 and woke up in the middle of the abandoned warehouse without any recollection of how they ended here), as long as the MG are prudent and keep a low profile, everything will be okay, but if their inspectors start to investigate on you, you're in big problems, because they'll question your friends, teachers parents, neighbors, forcing the MG to stay in a very low profile (no Witch hunts, no training on magic, staying far from MG rallying points such as Iibey's "Brick House Drinks and Sundries" stores) until they find nothing for long enough to drop the investigation, which is of course very problematic to find Grief Seeds, better have some MG friends that can do the hunt for you and discreetly bring you the GS at school.
A pro-tip is to hide the blatant signs of being a MG, by changing the contract ring by another jewel (earing, bracelet...) and use nail polish to hide the fingernail marking.

If they identified your character as a MG, you're pretty much fucked : they'll ask you to follow them for a couple of question or your implication in a case of whatever, if you fly away they'll declare you missing child or suspect, at which point all the police of the country will look for you, Iibey will abandon you because you "broke the Masquerade", most of your friends will be put under surveillance in case you try to contact them.
Girls who ended in this situation either fell in despair and witched out, became loner on the run (some left the country), committed suicide, or joined Myaabey's gang.

Now what does the AODU with captured MG? They don't kill them, they bring them in custody, interrogate them about the magic world (MG, Witches, Incubators...), and study their magic to find a way to reverse the contract, put back their soul inside their body and let them have a normal life (or arrest them if they are insane and committed crimes).
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, they are the good guys : they want to protect the innocent people and see most MG as victims of these mysterious supernatural beings know as Incubators. The problem for the MG is that firstly, they don't have any single clue of how the process of extracting the soul and put it in a solid form, works so reverse-engineering them is a pipe dream and will stay that way for many years, and secondly the Incubators will try their best to kill the MG to keep the AODU from discovering new things : the more they learn, the more complicated the energy harvesting system will be for them, their worst case scenario is that the AODU discover a way to detect all the Incubators and combine it with satellites, and a way to revert the contract, such scenario already happened in other worlds and completely fucked the Incubators business; forcing them to abandon these worlds, and mankind is a very strong and profitable source of emotions and thus energy, so the Incubators really don't want to lost it!
Myaabey will rather try to make the MG escape, but she refuses to follow him, because she was convinced by the AODU to stay, he'll make her assassinated too.

But you'll ask : don't Myaabey and the AODU's have similar objectives, why would they work together? Well, there are a few key differences : first, Myaabey is insane and very paranoid and mistrustful of the AODU, he fears that even though the AODU have genuine concern for the MG, the governments will sooner or later use what they are learning to mass weaponize magic and create their own army of Magical Girls and Boys, making the situation worse for his protégés, the second and more important one is that while the AODU want the end of the MGs (because teenage girls shouldn't have to fight dammit!), the girls of Myaabey's gang only want to the of the MG system, ie being manipulated by the others Incubators, they're actually very happy with having nigh unkillable bodies and lots of super powers!


Wow, you really thought that through! I'm going to need to reread this all...

It is worth noting that Doctor Memory had significantly revised and overhauled the AODU (he even gave it a new name) so he's probably a good person to ask. For one thing we were thinking of doing away with the Pseudo-Magi idea.

... Holy fuck I actually wrote all of that!? :gasp:
Well, tell me what you think of that revamp if you have the courage to read everything.

The problem I just noticed is that it doesn't leave any place for Golbey's existence...


Well, from what i read you have some good ideas. Once again, Doctor Memory has some better ideas for the government agency than me. I reckon a combination of the original concept and yours+DM's ideas would work well.

As for Golbey, that's simple; he's the antagonist. In this RP, there's no outright "good" faction. Iibey is basically a more deceptive and clever Kyuubey, and thus completely amoral/emotionless, but he's at least mostly sane. He was going to be the "mod" NPC that the players at least initially serve under. He's a dick, but he's the safest dick to ally with. Myaabey is well-meaning and genuinely hates suffering, but so insane and with such twisted perception of the world that only the desperate would ally with him (which isn't saying much in PMMM, given everyone's pretty desperate, but you get the drift). Golbey is a fat bastard and a sadist, but he does offer great power and extremely tempting wishes. He's evil, but charming, and he knows what humans want and how to use them. He's very much like a gangster in that way- get on his good side and show you can be useful to hm and he'll reward you with tremendous powers. Displease him and you're for it. Obviously we as the players would know this, but he'd certainly make a good antagonist.

So basically, Iibey = cold and unfeeling but safe, Myaabey = well-intentioned but completely unstable and totally nuts, and Golbey = a complete fuckwad but a complete fuckwad with a lot to offer. So, it's emotionless blue-and-orange morality evil versus insane misguided extremist evil versus plain and simple sadistic villain evil. Whoever you pick, you're fucked, as is the way with PMMM.

You do bring up a salient point though, and hopefully I can make everything work a bit better with some help.
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Postby Atropos » Wed May 07, 2014 6:35 pm

I think if you really want to do this right, what you have to look at isn't PMMM. You need to go to the sources that PMMM drew from, seeing what was mined and what wasn't, and using that to inspire your own take on the material. So check out Goethe's Faust, read Cardcaptor Sakura et al., and take a look at Europe's more twisted fairy tales. That should be a nice primer.

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Postby Doctor Memory » Fri May 09, 2014 6:23 pm

I think it's safe to say at this point that the fluff is a complete mess.

Personally, I feel that going back to PMMM's direct antecedents would be boring. I'm in this for the mad science, or at least the sufficiently advanced technology that gives Puella Magi their powers.

@Squigs: I would advise going through the suggestions up to this point and sorting out what to keep and what not to keep. I can help with this, but only if I have some kind of narrative roadmap. I still have only a vague idea of what kind of experience you want here. A good start would be a Grimdark Index. On a scale of 1 to 10, (one being Gurren Lagann and ten being End of Evangelion) how grimdark is your preferred setting?
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Postby ElMariachi » Fri May 09, 2014 7:56 pm

I would put Texhnolyze as 10 in the grimdark scale personally, at least EoE had some hope for the future.
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Postby Squigsquasher » Sat May 10, 2014 10:01 am

View Original PostDoctor Memory wrote:I think it's safe to say at this point that the fluff is a complete mess.


I'd agree. I've wrought a complete narrative trainwreck and it hasn't even started yet.


@Squigs: I would advise going through the suggestions up to this point and sorting out what to keep and what not to keep. I can help with this, but only if I have some kind of narrative roadmap. I still have only a vague idea of what kind of experience you want here. A good start would be a Grimdark Index. On a scale of 1 to 10, (one being Gurren Lagann and ten being End of Evangelion) how grimdark is your preferred setting?


I was thinking at least a 7 or 8 on the Grimdark scale. My basic idea for this is PMMM meets Necromunda (tone/style wise- it's not actually set in the 41st millennium on the Hive World of Necromunda). Puella Magi gang warfare, persecution by the authorities, rampant Witches, Soul Gem cannibalism etc...The tagline might as well be Puella Magi Necromunda Magica: In the grim darkness of the not too distant future there is only suffering.

I wanted the RP to be primarily character/narrative driven. Generally speaking most forum RPs don't contain any kind of stats, although I've got nothing against using them in this RP (although you'd have to rely a lot less on them than in something like an actual tabletop RPG).

With regards to fluff, here's a few ideas to streamline it a little:

Reduce the NSDTF to a small, investigative unit as opposed to a full on private army or possibly replace them altogether, maybe with a Yakuza gang that has Puella Magi in its ranks. I'd like to work in Golbey somehow, even if not as I originally intended- I'm quite fond of the idea of a sadistic fat bastard Incubator.

Keep the Brick House Drinks and Sundries- I like the idea of a "safe" zone for Puella Magi, and the idea of Incubators using a front organization of something as mundane as a convenience store is sheer brilliance.

I think Osaka would be a good place to set it. It's fairly "rough" as Japanese cities go, which would help with the whole gang warfare aspect.

I'm not sure if we should keep Myaabey and the Viridian Coven in. I don't know if they could really work.

With regards to how the narrative should unfold, the players should all start as Puella Magi (everybody has already made their contract) under Iibey's leadership. Initially they are the top gang, and it begins focusing on Witch fights, but later some strong rival (be it a bigger gang/coalition of gangs, the Task Force or the Yakuza idea) threatens the monopoly of the player gang, beginning the descent into madness.
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Postby ElMariachi » Sat May 10, 2014 3:06 pm

Is it possible that I RP people from the NSDTF/AODU if we keep that idea of investigators with some mages with "rustic" magic and lots of anti-magic gizmos? I'm really in this idea of my European and Haitian Houngan investigators duo! :D

Also we should change the name of the unit if it's reduced : "Task Force" from the NSDTF is for direct intervention units, such as SWAT or special forces, it doesn't suit an unit of investigators.

Even the AODU doesn't suit very well what we need : they aren't "Anti-Occult", but investigate it and uses some magic too, and the "Defense Unit" part is the same thing that with the "Task Force" of the NSDTF : sounds too bellicose for investigators.

Something like Special Occult Investigation Unit (SOIU) sounds more adapted. Although the NSDTF could still exists as a special unit of the SOIU, highly trained soldiers with heavy equipment and weapons and the most powerful and destructive mages, called to intervene when shit really hit the fan and a case must be resolved quickly and violently. To keep the police analogy, the SOIU investigators are the police inspectors and the NSDTF are the SWAT, called when an heavy shootout is expected.

An example of these called called would be to deal with a powerful group of MGs going on a rampage, or to raid a MG hideout (such as a Brick House Drinks and Sundries store).
Of course, these guys showing up are very bad news for the MGs, and should be used only under exceptional circumstances (for example when a group of RPers decide to go Off the Rails and go on a murder and destruction spree) or to make the plot advance if it became too static (for example if Iibey and Myaabey's faction war came to a standstill or a truce was reached that lasted for quite a long time, have a NSDTF unit swoop in one of the hideouts and capture/kill everyone, making the territory free for capture and reignite a turf war)
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Seriously, that is the most fananked theory I've ever heard, more than Mari being Marty McFly travelling through time to keep her parents (Asushin) together. -- Jäeger

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Postby Squigsquasher » Mon May 12, 2014 4:53 pm

View Original PostElMariachi wrote:Is it possible that I RP people from the NSDTF/AODU if we keep that idea of investigators with some mages with "rustic" magic and lots of anti-magic gizmos? I'm really in this idea of my European and Haitian Houngan investigators duo! :D

Also we should change the name of the unit if it's reduced : "Task Force" from the NSDTF is for direct intervention units, such as SWAT or special forces, it doesn't suit an unit of investigators.

Even the AODU doesn't suit very well what we need : they aren't "Anti-Occult", but investigate it and uses some magic too, and the "Defense Unit" part is the same thing that with the "Task Force" of the NSDTF : sounds too bellicose for investigators.

Something like Special Occult Investigation Unit (SOIU) sounds more adapted. Although the NSDTF could still exists as a special unit of the SOIU, highly trained soldiers with heavy equipment and weapons and the most powerful and destructive mages, called to intervene when shit really hit the fan and a case must be resolved quickly and violently. To keep the police analogy, the SOIU investigators are the police inspectors and the NSDTF are the SWAT, called when an heavy shootout is expected.

An example of these called called would be to deal with a powerful group of MGs going on a rampage, or to raid a MG hideout (such as a Brick House Drinks and Sundries store).
Of course, these guys showing up are very bad news for the MGs, and should be used only under exceptional circumstances (for example when a group of RPers decide to go Off the Rails and go on a murder and destruction spree) or to make the plot advance if it became too static (for example if Iibey and Myaabey's faction war came to a standstill or a truce was reached that lasted for quite a long time, have a NSDTF unit swoop in one of the hideouts and capture/kill everyone, making the territory free for capture and reignite a turf war)



That sounds like a good idea. Having them act as the "Oh shit, run!" guys makes sense- it would be a good way to shake things up.

Speaking of enemies, in the series there were shown to be Witches of different size/power (in addition of course to their many familiars). Now as I mentioned, I was thinking we could have some significantly powerful (but not Walpurgisnacht-level) Witches that can exist outside of their barriers, their downside being that they are visible to the naked eye. Thus, I was thinking we could have a "classification" system for witches. This would serves as nothing more than a very loose set of guidelines + a shorthand way of saying how big/powerful the witch is. I was thinking of the following size classes:

Minima: Smallest, least powerful and most basic witches. Think Charlotte, Gertrud and the TV Witch. Range from very small (like Charlotte) to the size of a small car (like Gertrud), most being human. Larger ones are usually sessile. Cannot exist outside of a barrier. Despite being less powerful than other Witches, they are still dangerous- look what happened to Mami! Spawned from Puella Magi who succumbed fairly quickly or had low refulgence.

Moderata: Average witch, ranging from large car to very small building (like, poky bungalow) size. More dangerous, only more experienced Puella Magi can take on them solo. Must remain in their barrier. Most Puella Magi will become Moderata-class Witches upon full despair.

Moderata Solitudo: Same as Moderata, but do not have barriers (and usually no familiars) and as such exist in the “real world”. Usually more powerful than Moderata. Mostt can only be seen by Puella Magi, with some exceptions.

Superio: Large, powerful witches such as Ocktavia von Seckendorf and the school uniform Witch, often reaching the size of a monument or large building. Exceptionally powerful, only formed by Puella Magi who took a long time to fall/had very high Refulgence. Usually have very large, elabourate barriers and many powerful familiars. Usually confined to barrier.

Superio Maxima: Similar to Superio, but do not have/require barriers (although unlike Moderata Solitudo they can summon familiars). Hugely powerful, requires many Puella Magi to take down. So large/powerful that most can be seen by normal humans, and even those that can't are usually visible to normal humans as natural phenomena (storms, clouds of fog, etc) or are visible through the damage they cause.

Extrema: Some of the most powerful Witches, usually formed through the conglomeration of multiple Witches. Usually huge (think Walpurgisnacht and Homulily). Almost all are completely visible due to their sheer size and power, and the best they can do to disguise themselves to humans is take the guise of a freak storm such as a hurricane- and even that often looks unusual. Of course, given their destructive might, they don't need to hide at all. Requires a fully coordinated team of experienced Puella Magi to destroy.

Abominatus Cosmica: Unbelievably massive Witches so large they are visible from space (think Kriemhild Gretchen) and some of the most powerful entities in the universe. Truly apocalyptic, but fortunately they exist only in theory and so there is no risk of them occurring...is there?

Cryptidia: Unusual Witches that defy classification. They may be their own barrier, or they may be a force that possesses objects or people as a vessel, or take the form of a cursed weapon, or they may even exist as a location/structure that appears normal from the outside, but on closer inspection is physically impossible (and sentient!). Basically, a Cryptidia is any witch that is highly unusual or doesn't fit the above criteria.

Like I say, these would be very loose guidelines just for getting an idea across of how big/powerful a witch is.

Anyway, there's a few ideas. Thoughts?
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Postby ElMariachi » Mon May 12, 2014 6:14 pm

Ah Ah, tremble misbehaving MG and other supernatural creatures, because the cops are out to get you! :devil:

Just a little nitpick : Charlotte seems more powerful than a mere Minima-class : the little body is a decoy, the true body is the giant caterpillar, resistant enough that Homura had to make it eat an-half dozen of her bombs to kill. I would rather say that she's a particularly powerful Moderata.

Also, the size could be a good scale of the Witch power, although the experience and refulgence seems to have little to do with it : Mami is a very powerful MG and a veteran, yet her Witch form, Candeloro, is very little (she can hide in a freakin' teacup!) and if the PSP game is any indication, she's not very powerful, on the other hand Kyoko is one year less experienced than Mami and less powerful, yet her Witch form, Ophelia, is a powerhouse that could even be stronger than Oktavia, and she's taller than an human and riding an unicorn Familiar! And on the other hand, Sayaka was inexperienced, yet Oktavia was fairly strong.

The series says that it's the karmic destiny that determine the raw power of the MG and later the Witch, so since every player will have the same stats, it'll be hard to determine the power level of the Witch, unless refulgence counts as karmic destiny?


Anyway, about the Witch classification, sounds like a good idea, just two little remarks :

- Witches existing outside of a barrier : since WN's ability to be constantly out of a barrier was treated as something really exceptional, maybe you should tone down the other Witches' ability to do that : maybe make it so the lower classes Witches are confined to a barrier that they can't move (Charlotte, despite being a Moderata in my opinion, had her barrier fixed in the hospital and can't move from here), stronger ones still lives in a barrier but can move and their barrier with it (like Gertrud or Oktavia, who "relocated" their barrier between their first and second encounter), and the very strong ones can leave their barrier, but only temporarily, but while they're out they start a big killing spree to feed a lot.
Coming back to the AODU/SOIU, that would typically be the kind of situation where they call for the NSDTF with their powerful anti-magic and binding and offensive magic and lot of big guns to take care of the situation.

- Witches that can be see by normal humans : sorry but no : even a monster such as WN was invisible to the naked eye, only indirectly seen by the destruction it causes, if a Witch can leave it's barrier, then it should follow the same pattern : invisible to the naked eye, but triggering lots of catastrophe around it (example : triggering electric shortages and electronic malfunctions, which could cause lots of deaths if it happens in a big crossroad or an hospital or worse, an airport!)
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Postby Squigsquasher » Tue May 13, 2014 3:55 am

You bring some good points up.

With regards to Witches being visible to the naked eye, I was thinking that purely from a fluff point of view there would need to be some way for non-PM to see/sense them, as otherwise the AODU/Whatever wouldn't have been brought into existance. Maybe there are a few humans with the "gift" of Witch sight? Otherwise I like your ideas about the power levels, like some having fixed barriers and others being able to move their barriers about.

Regarding power, I was thinking that Refulgance would have a role in how powerful the PM is when they initially fall for this reason: Those with the highest Refulgance (and therefore the strongest wills to carry on and not give into despair) have the furthest to fall. Sayaka was strong-willed and devoted to justice/doing what is right, and fought on to the bitter end- her Witch form was exceptionally powerful. Homura, likewise, was inhumanly determined, reliving the same month possibly hundreds of times. When she fell, she became a monstrously powerful Witch, and then a freakin' daemon. So I would imagine that Refulgance has some role in Witch power.

The other reason is simply that it would be easier to determine how powerful a player who's turned into a Witch is through their Refulgance than the karmic potential of their wish (and their Refulgance is affected by what wish they made anyway, so...). I dunno, it just seemed easier to manage.

In any case, most of the more powerful Witches (Moderata Solitudo, Superio and above) wouldn't be "spawned" at that power level- they would slowly mature and grow bigger and bigger as they gather life energy through Witch Kisses or whatever it is they do, eventually culminating in a Superio Maxima. An Extrema level Witch would only manifest through the combination of a large amount of Witches (I believe WN was meant to be a conglomeration of several powerful Witches).
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