MCS Files – 22 (Pluto)

Remember to check out the City Limits Kickstarter and to check us out on twitter at @TeamCabalGames for more updates!

The last Manifestation Control type to be stabilized, MCS-22 is all about control. MCS-22 operatives are surrounded by the Void, a one-person field of magic immunity, at all times. They cannot be targeted or influenced by spells, even magical effects of Rogue Reactions, unless they pass this Void onto someone else. They can do this with a touch, as long as the target stays within their normal spell range.

Unbelievable amounts of time and money were devoted to MCU-22 research in order to quickly force a stabilization. Many MCS-22 operatives were lab-rats during this time, and many more are not completely stable; the process has yet to be perfected. As a result, a secret society formed of rebel Pluto operatives, Hellgate, banded together out of common resentment. Resentment or not, the ability to explore Rogue Reactions and endure attacks from MC-capable civilians makes Pluto ops useful.

Although the Pluto type has a somewhat limited parameter list, Pluto spells are uniquely skilled at attacking the minds and wills of targets, with spells like this one:

Stygian Grasp (14)
Manifest 24
Polymorph Phobia (2)
Wound Sacrifice 2
Touch Range

MCS-22 is a type set apart, more in tune with the metaphysics of a changing world than the other types, and further removed from the government that created it. If you want to have the upper hand in a magic-driven campaign, or delve into a world of treason and secret societies, MCS-22 may be the type for you!

Book of Daemons – The Gidim Ishkur

Remember to check out the City Limits Kickstarter and to check us out on twitter at @TeamCabalGames for more updates!

In a good combat, a really good combat, every turn counts. Every team member’s actions need to be just right, every turn needs to give results. For some players, the minute strategy of the combat from turn to turn is all that matters, the most interesting part of the game. For them, we’ve made the Gidim Ishkur.

Gidim Ishkur hosts maintain a psychic network by investing mana in the bonds with other people. Everyone in this network can communicate telepathically, as though they were speaking aloud right next to one another, even if they’re kilometers apart. They can also share initiative in combat, trading turns to make sure the right person gets to act at the right time. Even better, they can all use any combo techs or spells the Ishkur host has spent ability points on. What’s a combo tech? Something like this:

Dance of Four
Dance 16
Combo Tech (With other combo techs on the same initiative)
Extra Attack

Dance? Really? Well, yes. Actually, as long as your GM buys your reasoning, you can make a tech out of any skill on your character sheet. Common choices include using Lie to distract an opponent, or using Convince to increase your dodge (usually titled “Not the Face”, but titles are up to you!)

Because being part of the Gidim Ishkur’s psychic network means party members can share initiative, combination abilities can go off without a hitch every time. If you need to time everything down to the second, a Gidim Ishkur host is the perfect addition to a party.

MCS Files – 30 (Jupiter)

Remember to check out the City Limits Kickstarter and to check us out on twitter at @TeamCabalGames for more updates!

Some people love it when a plan comes together. To them, a good game session is all about meeting a challenge with planning, preparation, and teamwork, making the best possible use of everyone’s skills. To that end, we made the MCS-30 (Jupiter) type, master magical strategists who specialize in planning and teamwork.

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Lt. Greg is a disaster relief specialist and one-woman strategy committee.

Here’s how it works; unlike most spells, MCS-30 spells have long duration not limited by your Will. Instead, the spell is broken when your plan fails or succeeds. You choose parameters and decide on roles for your targets, and they get the parameter boosts as long as they follow your directions. It’s an excellent type to pair with a melee combatant, since all the casting takes place long before the encounter. Here’s a sample!

Infiltration Plan 15
Manifest 25
Cat – Disrupt Communications (Int +3)
Dustin – Reconnaissance (Polymorph Flying)
Kersten – Smash Front Door Open (Polymorph Regeneration)

So here’s the plan. Cat is going to tap into their communications network and disable it, so we’re giving her an Intelligence boost (she needs one). Dustin is going to watch from above and keep everyone appraised of any approaching units, so we’re giving him wings. Kersten is going to, when she gets the OK from the others, bomb the front door, so we’re giving her regeneration to deal with the fallout. If all goes according to plan, this spell will last until we’re all inside.

Let’s say things go wrong, though. If Cat is discovered, and has to fight instead of doing her work on the comm lines, then the whole spell unravels. Dustin will fall out of the sky if he’s airborne, and Kersten had better not set that bomb. So, for Jupiter more than for any other type, it’s important to plan ahead. There are lots of abilities that help, and if you can gather the team back together you can cast a new spell-plan, so all’s not lost yet! If you can think on your feet, MCS-30 is a devastating addition to an already strong team!

Book of Daemons – The Gidim Nergal

We’re continuing our series on the magic skills of City Limits with the Gidim Nergal, although “magic skills” is a bit of a loose qualifier here. Gidim Nergal is the only type of Daemon that cannot cast spells at all. The Daemon skill is for combat techniques, not spells.
What are combat techniques? They’re similar to spells, but they don’t cost mana; they’re fancy swordplay and elaborate footwork, and like magic they’re player-designed from parameters. Usually, they’re skill rolls made to modify your attack, anything from adding extra attacks to lowering your own damage in order to increase your Dodge skill. They need to be prepared in advance and purchased with ability points, but they can use limiting conditions to reduce their difficulty, making them excellent tools for combat strategists.
Nergal daemons are aggressive and warlike, and a shocking number of them demand violence from their hosts. They usually have to be negotiated down from their initial imperatives, and many Nergal hosts become experts.
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Casey took up boxing in order to shut Cassius up.

Instead of casting spells, Nergal hosts use their magical energy to summon spectral weapons. The weapons absorb energy from the host; the more they absorb, the more they respond to the host’s will – they apply a bonus to all techs the host uses. Different weapons behave in different ways, but Gidim Nergal is all about finding the perfect time to use the perfect technique. Some weapons accelerate, building up energy and absorbing mana every turn they’re used. Others slowly dissipate, leaking stored energy out into the air until they’re empty.

Instead of a sample spell, we’ll take a look at a tech:

Ambush Predator

Nergal 32
Blindside (Unaware opponent only)
First Attack (First round only)
Desperation Attack (Sacrifice next turn)
Extra attack (x4)

Ambush Predator is a fairly dramatic example. A beginner character couldn’t manage it; it requires a high Nergal skill and casting stat. But, with the help of the spectral weapon’s tech bonuses, it’s possible for a slightly higher-level character. Pushing the weapon to its limit, lying in wait for an opponent, and giving up the next turn mean that it had better end right away!

Remember to check out the City Limits Kickstarter and to check us out on twitter at @TeamCabalGames for more updates!

MCS Files – 12 (Mars)

Perhaps the most magic-focused type in City Limits, the MCS-12 boasts a parameter list full of damaging and dangerous effects, the most of any magic skill. Although they have fewer support options than the Gidim Nanshe or the Jupiter-type we’ll see later, they’re fearsome combat casters. Built for players who love to push it to the limit and take chances, MCS-12 is built with a crippling catch – they must cast at touch range. Every MCS-12 spell is channeled through the hands and cast via direct contact with the target.

There’s a second catch. When any other caster in the game is attacked while casting a spell, they must roll Focus (against 10 + the damage dealt), or else the spell fails. With an MCS-12 caster, however, a failed Focus trial means the spell explodes violently out of the caster’s hands, targeting both the original target and the caster themselves.

The entire spell parameter list for MCS-12 is aggressive, which makes this catch a bit of a problem. The upside is, even if they’re attacked while casting, they can still take out their enemies, putting them right at home in melee. Attacking a Mars operative won’t help you much!

Impotent Rage (9)
Manifest 19
Add Frenzy
Strength -2

If you’re always in the thick of things, or you live to take chances, MCS-12 might be for you. If not, we’ve still got five more classes to show you, so stay tuned!

Remember to check out the City Limits Kickstarter and to check us out on twitter at @TeamCabalGames for more updates!

Book of Daemons – The Gidim Nanshe

As anyone who’s ever GMed me will attest, I’m a sucker for dramatic moments of heroism. My play is rife with Gandalf-esque “You shall not pass!” death-defiance, with swelling trumpets and fluttering banners and capital-H Heroics. So, when we took inventory of play styles, I got to design the Gidim Nanshe to suit players like me.

Hosts of the Gidim Nanshe cast spells relatively normally; they have a long and broad parameter list, and are good all-round spellcasters. Here’s a sample spell:

Gullwing (11)
Nanshe 21
Lift 2m
Polymorph gliding flight

Where the Gidim Nanshe really shine is when they’re up against the wall. They are haughty and idealistic daemons who demand the best of their hosts, holding them to a high moral standard. When their host is up againsst the wall for their ideals, these daemons gladly lend a hand. They have another ability, called Adrenaline Merge, which allows the host to physically take on traits of the daemon in two stages. The first, usually just increased stats or mild physical changes, sets in when the host is risking serious harm for a Code valued 2 or greater. The second form, one many hosts never see, is much more dramatic, and sets in when the host is risking death for a Code valued 3.

What exactly do the form changes entail? That’s up to the player – at creation, they have a certain number of extra points to assign to the First form, and a certain number to assign the Second. How they assign these is up to them; they can choose extra stats, or they can buy traits like wings, regeneration, or fire breath. Just like the daemon itself, the form changes are entirely the player’s design.

Remember to check out the City Limits Kickstarter and to check us out on twitter at @TeamCabalGames for more updates!

MCS Files – 12 (Saturn)

MCS-12 designated operatives can be extremely difficult to deal with. They’re zealots, whose newfound power varies depending on the ideology of their targets. They’re able to crush their opponents and reward their allies so long as they keep their own crusade in mind. In a military organization, they are valuable only so long as their crusades can be known and used; their ideology does not bend to orders or rank.

Every session, an MCS-12 operative chooses one of the Codes on their list to be designated the Crusade Code. For the rest of the session, their spells are based on the difference between their Code and the target’s.

For example, Pvt. Chen operates on the 2-point Code “Will Uphold Law”. Let’s look at one of his spells:

Divine Bolt (8)
Manifest 18
Paralyze
3 (X) Damage

Notice the X value? That’s the spell’s Crusade Code, and it depends on the target. (Once per round, Pvt. Chen can just ask the GM what the Crusade Code would be against a certain opponent.)

If he were to cast Divine Bolt on me, Cat, he would find that I only have a 1-point “Will Uphold Law” code. I won’t risk being hurt for it! So here, the difference between our codes is only 1, and the spell deals +3 damage to me. The same would happen if he found a target who would rather die than jaywalk.

If he were to cast it on Shawn, who doesn’t have the Code at all, the Crusade Category would be 2, for 6 damage. If he found someone who had once believed in the law, but who had blacked the code out by failing to follow it, the Crusade Category would be 3, for 9 damage – a blacked-out code is worse than none at all.

The key to successfully playing MCS-12 is carefully choosing your Crusade Code, making sure to live up to your character’s standards. If you give yourself a frivolous 3-point Code, you had better be willing to risk your life for it! Strategize by watching opponents carefully outside of combat; by identifying their moral weakness, you can use it against them!

Remember to check out the City Limits Kickstarter and to check us out on twitter at @TeamCabalGames for more updates!