Showing posts with label world of darkness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label world of darkness. Show all posts

Monday, August 25, 2014

#RPGaDAY Day 25, Favourite RPG no one else wants to play

#RPGaDAY Day 25, Favourite RPG no one else wants to play

At home it is Ghosts of Albion.  Yeah, I can't even get my own kids to play my game!

Outside of that no one seems interested in any of the World of Darkness games.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

#RPGaDAY Day 7, Most “intellectual” RPG owned

#RPGaDAY Day 7, Most “intellectual” RPG owned

Not sure what this actually means.


The one that makes me think the most is Mage: The Ascension and Mage The Sorcerers crusade.
It is a great game to think about what our perceptions of reality and morality actually mean.
I guess a lot of the World of Darkness games though are like that.  Vampire makes you think about what it takes to make you a monster.  Are you going to drink that blood and take a life or are you going to hold onto your humanity a little bit longer.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Mage: The Ascension (Revised) FREE

DriveThruRPG has the PDF of Mage: The Ascension (Revised) free today.

http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product/199/Mage-The-Ascension-%28Revised%29?affiliate_id=10748



I always rather enjoyed Mage. I thought it was a great idea and a lot of fun to play as characters with world-breaking powers.   I just hated players getting so caught up in all the stereotypes and not trying anything new with their characters.  Plus some of the Technocracy stuff didn't really make much sense.

In the end I preferred WitchCraft and Mage: The Sorcerers Crusade. But I still enjoy this game a lot.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Witch Books, Part 5. Other games

For D&D4:  The Witch Player Class
A decent witch class for D&D4.  Predates the witch that appears in Heroes of the Feywild by a few years, but is roughly compatible.

For Witch Girls Adventures: Original Witch Girls (OWG)
The comic that came before the RPG. The first 200 or so pages are comic content of various artists, but all in the WitchGirls School and world.  The next dozen or so pages is the Coventry School written up for the Witch Girls RPG. And we end with WGA write-ups for all the characters that appeared in the comics.
One of the great things about the Witch Girls game are the characters.  So this is a nice treat really.
If you are a fan of the game and want some more NPCs for your own school or need some ideas on adventure then this  is a great book to have.

For Colonial Gothic: Witchcraft
I enjoy the Colonial Gothic game quite a bit. I love how it weaves the earliest American history with horror and monsters.
I was set to like this book quite a bit and I do, don't get me wrong, but it wasn't quite what I was expecting given how much I enjoyed all the other CG books.
This book gives us Witchcraft for the CG world and it does a great job of researching, but it only gives us the "evil" sort of witchcraft associated with summoning demons.  Granted, that is perfectly fine for this game.  I think I wanted to see a little more.
The first half deals with Witchcraft in the CG world and is great.  The second half is from the writings of King James and frankly he was more than just little bit paranoid.
In the end it is still a good book for the game and something to grab if you are interested in thoughts a views on witches of the time.
Of course for my own take, if you are going to assume that King Jame's witches are real then why not Margaret Murray's witches too?  I guess I just like having the option of playing a witch in my games.

For Mage: The Sorcerer's Crusade: Witches and Pagans
A great resource for the Renascence era Mage: The Sorcerer's Crusade.

For Mage: The Ascension:  Tradition Book: Verbena (1st) (Revised)
More Verbena goodness and more rotes based on the Verbena's sphere of Life.

Both are full of great background information on "witches" in the Mage game and are full of wonderful ideas and great art.  This is WW at their peak and there is so much care and detail here that I couldn't not get these books.

For Basic Role-Playing (Call of Cthulhu...):  BRP Witchcraft
I reviewed this one in detail here: http://timbrannan.blogspot.com/2010/07/brp-witchcraft.html

Witch Hunter: the Invisible World
I reviewed this one in detail here: http://timbrannan.blogspot.com/2011/03/review-witch-hunter-invisible-world.html

Quest of the Ancients
I have talked about this one before too: http://timbrannan.blogspot.com/2011/04/q-is-for-quest-of-ancients.html
The witch in this book is roughly compatible with AD&D1.  Lots of new and fairly cool spells.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Willow & Tara: World of Darkness (new)

Willow and Tara in Mage the Awakening

Following up on my post from earlier today on The World of Darkness RPG.

One of the reoccurring themes in Willow & Tara fiction or games is their shared growth of magical power.  As they grow together and grow more in love, their powers increase to a near phenomenal level.  Sort of like the powers wielded in Mage the Awakening.

Now in my last Buffy campaign, "Season of the Witch", I had Willow and Tara become "mages".  Not exactly what is here, but very close.  I would be lying though if I didn't say there was some influence. There was. You can read about that in the last three adventures of that game:
This is also a common theme in the various Willow & Tara fanfics out there. In fact one of the best Willow/Tara fan fics out there is “Unexpected Consequences” by Lisa Countryman.  Lisa even uses the word “mage” to describe their power level even though I know for a fact she has never seen any White Wolf game.  In Lisa’s “Unexpected Consequences” Tara’s Awakening happens too soon and it causes, well, all sorts of unexpected consequences.  It takes place during season six and is far, far better than what happened on TV.  In the sequel fic “Milestones” Lisa deals quite well with Willow and Tara’s true Awakening some 10-15 years in the future.  Not only does she capture 30-something Willow and Tara quite well, it is an excellent narrative of how an Awakening can happen or be done.  Willow and Tara knew it was coming, and yet they are still totally unprepared for it.  It also shows what an Awakening must be like through the eyes of a mundane or other non-awakened witches.

So as they grow old together Willow and Tara will get much more powerful.

Presented here are a possible Willow and Tara right after the events of Season of the Witch.  I am borrowing heavy from Lisa here as well as my own World of Darkness (old) stats.  This would have lead up to my Season 3 that would have been more magically focus. In fact these conversions lead right from my Mutants & Masterminds 2.0 conversions in terms of when they happened (game wise) and when I wrote them (real time).  It was because of these two games that gave me the idea to move the girls to Boston.

Their Awakening in Brief
Lisa and I both consider Willow and Tara to be “old souls”, they have both been reincarnated many times and have shared many lives together.  Our separate visions of this were so compatible that we meshed them.  I had considered their first incarnations to be “Bodhmal” (Willow) and “Liath” (Tara) from Celtic Ireland, Lisa’s are “Belen” (Tara) and “Damara” (Willow).  In either case Willow and Tara’s Awakening in Mage is a similar event to awakening their Old Soul in WitchCraft; contact with their primal soul-selves. In Mage Revised this would have been their avatar. In Mage the Awakening this is the primal spirit that instructs them on who they were, who they are now and what they are to become.  I choose them both to take the Path of Thyrsus.  While they are not really “shamans”, there is an earthy quality about Tara.  It was more for their seeking of their Primordial Soul-selves. Plus in Lisa’s fiction Willow and Tara’s awakenings was always about a surplus of life and life-power. In UC Tara becomes faster, stronger and more confident.  Something she tries to maintain later in MS. What also struck me was the description of the Thyrsus’ extreme emotions.  This also fits Lisa’s fictions.

Delving deeper into the “Tome of The Watchtowers” (which also inspired the name for Episode 13) we learn that Thyrsus was the only Watchtower formed by a woman. The sexual nimbus fits with sex=magic we saw on TV and Lisa’s description of Adourflame (Episode 11).

I could have chosen Acanthus as well since this communication with their previous souls is across time and space, but I did not feel either of them fit the “Fool” or extremely lucky archetypes.

Willow Rosenberg

Path: Thyrsus   Order: Mysterium

Virtue: Justice. Willow is very much about what is right and what is wrong.
Vice: Wrath.  Some people bring a gun a knife fit, Willow brings a flame thrower.

Attributes
Intelligence: 5 Strength: 1 Presence: 3
Wits: 3 Dexterity: 2 Manipulation: 2
Resolve: 3 Stamina: 3 Composure: 3


Skills
Mental Physical Social
Academics 4 Athletics 2 Animal Ken 0
Computer 5 Brawl 1 Empathy 1
Crafts 1 Drive 0 Expression 1
Investigation 2 Firearms 0 Intimidation 1
Medicine 2 Larceny 1 Persuasion 2
Occult 3 Stealth 1 Socialize 1
Politics 1 Survival 1 Streetwise 1
Science 4 Weaponry 1 Subterfuge 1


Merits
Allies
Ambidextrous
Encyclopaedic Knowledge
Language 2     
Striking looks 2
Size: 5
Speed: 8
Initiative Mod: 4
Defence: 2
Health: 8
Willpower: 6/6
Morality: 6



Mana: 9
Gnosis: 5
Wisdom: 8



Personal Data
Age: 27 (in 2008)
Ht: 5’3”
Wt: 115#
Hair: Red
Eyes: Green
Gender: Female


Arcana

Death: 0
Fate: 0
Forces: 3
Life: 2
Matter: 1
Mind: 2
Prime: 2
Space: 0
Spirit: 1
Time: 0




Tara Maclay

Path: Thyrsus   Order: Mysterium

Virtue: Temperance. Tara is nothing if not understanding and temperate
Vice: Sloth. She is not lazy, but she likes things to move a little slower. She does not enjoy fighting monsters.

Attributes
Intelligence: 3 Strength: 2 Presence: 3
Wits: 4 Dexterity: 1 Manipulation: 1
Resolve: 3 Stamina: 3 Composure: 4


Skills
Mental Physical Social
Academics 3 Athletics 0 Animal Ken 2
Computer 2 Brawl 1 Empathy 3
Crafts 1 Drive 1 Expression 0
Investigation 2 Firearms 0 Intimidation 0
Medicine 1 Larceny 0 Persuasion 0
Occult 5 Stealth Socialize 1
Politics 0 Survival 1 Streetwise 1
Science 1 Weaponry 1 Subterfuge 0


Merits
Allies
Encyclopaedic Knowledge
Language 3
Striking looks 2
Size: 5
Speed: 9
Initiative Mod: 4
Defence: 2
Health: 8
Willpower: 7/7
Morality: 8

Mana: 10
Gnosis: 4
Wisdom: 8

Arcana

Death: 0
Fate: 0
Forces: 2
Life: 3
Matter: 1
Mind: 2
Prime: 1
Space: 0
Spirit: 1
Time: 0


Personal Data
Age: 28 (in 2008)
Ht: 5’4”
Wt: 125#
Hair: Blonde
Eyes: Blue
Gender: Female

Of all the re-builds I have done of the girls these are in my top 5.
If I were to pick-up playing these characters again I would seriously consider using the nWoD/Mage rules.

For Arcana I gave Willow 11 dots and Tara 10.  This actually might be a little light.
I would love to play around some more with this game some day, but I can't find people to play it.

---

This is my last post for the YAM Magazine LBGT Blogathon.  I wanted to end with Willow & Tara and using one of the most accepting RPG I have ever known.

World of Darkness and Mage the Awakening

World of Darkness and Mage the Awakening

One of the most influential games to ever hit the market was Vampire the Masquerade.  I have talked about this game quite a bit in the past, but never addressed directly.   Well a while back they “rebooted” the entire universe and now we have the “New World of Darkness” and with it a revised vampire game, Vampire the Requiem.

Let’s start basic; both games are all perfectly playable as they are.  All the games cover much of the same ground and allow you to play similar types and styles of games.  All the games have similar backgrounds, realities and even to some degree futures.  Characters created in one game can easily be thought of as having an analogue in the other game.  In fact recently White Wolf created a “Translation Guide” to allow you to move characters from Vampire the Masquerade to the newer Vampire the Requiem.  It was an insanely popular book spending many months in DriveThruRPG's top 10.   They also now have a Werewolf Translation now.  I am waiting for them to do one for Mage.

The same could be thought of when comparing *WoD with Unisystem.  For every Unisystem character there is an analogue in the World of the Darkness (either).    Both games cover a lot of the same ground, just in different ways.

Translations between the two different systems it bit hard than between oWod and nWod, but it can be done.  So the question then is why would I want to?

Well there are many reasons.  Maybe you want something new a unique to spring upon your players.  Zombies with more “life” in them, vampiric ghouls, conspiracies from either game.    Given that the in-game realities allow many permutations the question become more of Why not?
Maybe you have tons of books of one system, but want the new challenge of a new system, but don’t want to loose your investment in a world.

Or, lets face it SOME ONE out there want’s to see what happens when a Slayer goes up against the Ordo Dracul, or who really is more powerful, a Mage or a Witch.

For the sake of this post I am going to concentrate on nWod or new World of Darkness and the "Storytelling" system and the WitchCraft and Ghosts of Albion flavors of Unisystem.  Given that, I am going to focus mostly on Mage the Awakening.

Worlds of Darkness
What is different between the two WoD games and why should I care?  To start with the rules have been cleaned up to allow greater playability across all the lines and a new focus has been placed on “normal” humans; something the old World of Darkness sorely lacked.  All in all the rule changes are an improvement.  They are, if I dare say it, more Unisystem-like. Also the meta-plot and background has changed.  In many respects the meta-plot of old is gone, this allows Storytellers great freedom.  But it also seems they purposefully did what they could to make differences more pronounced.  In Vampire this is a good thing, in Mage I am less pleased with the results.

Mage: So What’s New?
Well in many ways much is the same.  Characters are still magic wielding humans that can change the nature of reality through the effort of their will and a butt-load of d10s.  There are still traditions of sorts (now called Paths) and there are still spheres of control (10 total).
The authors really took time to think about the myths of Mage. The results will vary in the eyes of the beholder, but there is no doubt that they craft an interesting world.  It is almost like they took all the myths of the world and thought “what are the root truths to all of these”.  The result is something I describe as looking at the world from a perpendicular or a sideways glance; it looks familiar and yet oddly strange.  Everything is familiar and still new and different. Also there seems to be a general fondness for the 70’s occult revival or the trippy acid-induced hangover of the 60’s. For example the five mages of the watchtowers look like something out of a Black Sabbath album.

Mage the Awakening system wise is much closer to WitchCraft.  Mage: The Ascension is more compatible with WitchCraft thematically.

nWoD: Second Sight
In many ways this the Mystery Codex of the new World of Darkness.  It is also the new “Sorcerer: The Hedge Wizard’s Handbook”. It deals primarily with psychic powers and phenomena as well as “low magic”.  It is a good addition to any WoD game and a decent enough primer of psychic ability for any game if you can’t get your hands on the Time-Life Books series. It does do something that the old WoD was never able to do adequately for me, and that is answer the question of what happens if an already powered character gains vampire, werewolf or mage powers.  Full of ideas of new Supernatural Qualities, Seer Metaphysics, and even Taint based powers.  This book is actually quite useful as is for Unisystem gamers.

What Do Users of Each Game Get?
For the Unisystem player the answer should be quite obvious, a variety new and interesting powers for Vampyre characters. Most Vampire powers can be converted to Qualities.  But beyond mere crunchy stuff, there is the thing that makes both games so appealing; the back stories.  Both the new WoD and the old WoD had very interesting back stories and meta plots to their game, it really gave the feeling of living in a real, living (unliving?) world.
Unisystem Games are not as detailed for another good reason, to allow players the freedom to make the worlds their own.  WitchCraft also assumes that there are many different kinds of magic, not just paths to one ultimate truth.  These magics can coexist with each other and the world.

Conversions to Unisystem
Normally when doing a game to game conversion I like to think these are the same characters in the same world, with just a different way of looking at things. Conversions between Unisystem, d20, BESM, Chill,  and even Kult have worked out fine in this regard. Sure there are some differences in world mythos and ways and means of magic, but all in all conversions can be (and have been) done.

This one is a little more tricky.  While converting the actual numbers is not a difficult task really, it is determining if the numbers mean the same thing.  Then there is the dice pool mechanic vs. the stat+roll compare to a target number mechanic of games mentioned above.
In most cases a direct conversion may not be possible so instead one should try to stat the character using the same concepts.  So my Wicce Seeker of Knowledge ends up being a witch on the Thyrsus Path and a member of the Mysterium.  Not exactly the same thing really, but close.
I am viewing this then as separate but equal (which, thanks to the Kansas Board of Education we know really isn’t) characters; alternate universe versions of each other. So the characters are largely the same, just the worlds are different.

Points to Points
We can look at conversions two ways; a point for point conversion or some external correlation.  In WoD (most) everything is on the same 1 to 5 point scale.  In Unisystem everything is also on an equal pointing scale.
This is good, so let’s start with the Attributes. The new WoD still has nine Attributes in 3x3 categories, with Willpower which is removed from the attribute list and has it’s own scoring.  Unisystem has 6 attributes in 2 categories (mental and physical). So not everything is going to convert nicely.
Intelligence, Strength, Dexterity and Stamina (WoD) line up well to Intelligence, Strength, Dexterity and Constitution (Uni).  Willpower and Perception in Unisystem are slightly different in WoD.
The Social triad, Presence, Manipulation and Composure can best be handled by Qualities and Skills.  In particular Charisma (which can be positive or negative in Unisystem) can handle Presence and Composure to some extent.  Others Qualities and Skills include Influence and Attractiveness, as well many supernatural qualities.

If we count the “free” point everyone gets in WoD for all nine attributes and add the amount allocated we get 30 points total and an average of 2.333 per attribute.
In Cinematic Unisystem Heroes get 20 points for 6 attributes, this amounts to a 3.33 per attribute.  So on the average 1 point higher per attribute.

Going to the external validation let’s do what I did with the Chill conversions; compare the max lift of both games.  At a strength of 1 a character can lift 50 lbs in Unisystem or 40 lbs in WoD.  In both systems a strength of 2 will allow a character to lift 100 lbs.  But it is at Strength 3 that the systems differ. At Strength 3 a WoD character can lift 250 lbs, a Unisystem character 150lbs.  This continues and gives us the following table.

Strength nWoD Unisystem
1 40 lbs 50 lbs
2 100 lbs 100 lbs
3 250 lbs 150 lbs
4 400 lbs 200 lbs
5 650 lbs* 250 lbs
6 800 lbs 450 lbs *
7 900 lbs 650 lbs
8 1000 lbs 850 lbs
9 1200 lbs 1050 lbs
10 1500 lbs 1250 lbs

There is a built in error factor of ± 10% of the weight on Unisystem’s side.

Continuing our look at external validation let’s compare what each system calls their human maximum (* above).  In WoD this is 5 (at a higher point cost) and in Unisystem it is a 6 (also at a higher point cost).

All three of these combined point to one overwhelming conclusion:
WoD scores = Unisystem – 1

Very nice.  A quick and dirty look at skills, metaphysics, merits and flaws and this seems to hold true.

Vices and Virtues
This is new to the new WoD game and it is an interesting role-playing twist.  By having your character role-play one of the seven deadly sins and the seven virtues they gain Willpower points.  My suggestion is to retain these when converting to Unisystem and have players gain or loose Essence Points (for Classic games) or Drama Points (for Cinematic games) in place of Willpower.   In the case of following their virtue they gain a 1 to 3 Essence points or 1Drama point instead regaining all lost.
Of course Experience points can always be given, but by giving Essence or Drama points they take on a different feel.  My personal preference is to use this with Essence.
This is most similar to Kult’s Mental Balance mechanic or the Karma mechanic of other games. My trouble is often my characters do not fit well into the seven virtues or vices.

Skills
Skills seem a bit easier.  Classic Unisystem has more skills than WoD, but CineUnisystem has less.  Five dots is the human maximum in the WoD, 6 is the human max in Unisystem, but some can go to 9.
Use the same conversion formula here, WoD score = Unisystem score -1.
If converting to CineUnisystem, use a wild card for skills not covered (like politics).

Metaphysics
Ah. Now here is the meat of the matter, what makes both games unique.  Mage and WitchCraft’s magic systems are not only very different from each other, they are also largely different from most other games out there. The magic system is often one of the big reasons why people choose one of these games over the other.
In Mage one immerses themselves in a Path and learns (by spending points) Arcana.  These are then utilized by Rotes and powered by Mana (Quintessence in old Mage).   In WitchCraft one immerses themselves into metaphysics and learns the invocations (by spending points) of that area.  In some cases these are also call Aracana. These metaphysics are powered by Essence.

Converting Rotes to Classic Invocations
In Mage magic exist in Arcana and are powered by Mana.  WitchCraft invocations are likewise grouped and are powered by Essence. So they do have surface similarities.
Since invocations have mostly set effects, it is often easier to use Mage rotes as the path of conversion.  But it should be noted that purchasing 7 levels in any WitchCraft invocation often has the same effect as becoming the master of an Aracana (5 dots), again the WoD = Unisystem -1 formula (more or less) comes into play.

For WitchCraft I would take each Mage Sphere and make them a sub category under a new grouping of Metaphysics called “Mage Arcana”.  What separates these from other invocations is the only way to learn them is to be a member of one of the Mage associations.  Mage Arcana might just be a long hiden type of Atlantian Arcana (something both games have) or it might something completely new.  Lost texts from ancient Lemuria come to surface full of this new type of magic for example.
Now certainly there is (and should be) overlap. The Mind sphere should be accessible to anyone with the Sight, and Death and even some Life and Time should be available to Necromancers.

Converting Rotes to Cinematic Spells
When converting to Cinematic Unisystem, Rotes are the way to go.  The dots of the Rote add up to give the Cinematic Power Level.  In many cases this will have to be adjusted by -1.
Witches and Magicians that have more than 9 levels of Sorcery or Magic (respectively) can use the Improvised casting rules in Mage.

Up next, conversions in practice.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Willow & Tara: World of Darkness (old)

I have been going over a ton of my old books and looking at what I want to keep, what I want to give to my kids and what I want to get rid of.  I cam across some old World of Darkness stuff the other day and I am not 100% sure what I am going to do with it yet.  Most likely sell it all in my local game auctions.  But considering that I have wanted to do some posting on my girls, I thought this would be a good choice.



I never really got into the original World of Darkness.  I did have Vampire the Masquerade and I recognized why and how it was good, but at the time I had also just discovered WitchCraft, so that was the game I had chosen to scratch my Modern-Supernatural itches.

Though I did really like Mage. A lot. I really like Sorcerer's Crusade, I thought it was a really cool idea and much more interesting than Mage the Ascension.  That lead me to Sorcerer: The Hedge Wizard's Handbook, which is not part of Sorcerer's Crusade, but part of modern Mage.  But I am glad I made that mistake, since I really liked this book and it made me look again at the World of Darkness.

For Willow's and Tara's stats in the old World of Darkness I am opting to use Sorcerer: The Hedge Wizard's Handbook instead of Mage proper for a couple of reasons.

First, it is obvious that in the first five seasons of the show Willow learned magic from books and self study. Tara learned from her grandmother and mother.  Plus, Season Sux (what I have been calling it that for years) aside, neither Tara nor Willow achieve the power levels in Mage. Sorcerer handles everything nicely. I also happen to like Sorcerer a little bit better than Mage anyway.  Now of course in my own games, especially in "Season of the Witch" the girls do achieve Mage like power levels.  I'll detail that on a future posting when I talk about new WoD.

What works nice with this version is that it mirrors my WitchCraft/early Buffy stats, and then once I got the characters on my own I took them to Ghosts of Albion, and even the "new" Mage..

Of course I never did use these versions.  I did use the Mage: The Awakening versions in one game way back when it first came out, but that is about it.

Willow Rosenberg

Nature: Sage Society: None
Demeanor: Mentor: None
Concept: Wicca

Atributes
Strength: 1  Charisma: 2  Perception: 2
Dexterity: 2      Manipulation: 2    Intelligence: 5
Stamina: 3  Appearance: 3  Wits: 3

Abilities
Talents Skills Knowledge
Alertness 1 Leadership 2    Computer 5
Instruction 2        Research 5 Enigmas 2
Intimidation 1 Survival 1 Investigation 2


Medicine 1
Occult 3
Science 4


PathsBackgrounds
Conjuration: 3   Arcane: 1
Enchantment: 2         Library: 5
Ephemera: 1   Relic: 1 (Doll’s Eye Crystal)
Hellfire: 3   Status: 2
Herbalism: 2

Counterspells
Warding


Tara Maclay

Nature: Sage Society: None
Demeanor: Mentor: None
Concept: Wicca


Atributes
Strength: 2 Charisma: 3 Perception: 3
Dexterity: 1      Manipulation: 1     Intelligence: 3
Stamina: 3 Appearance: 3 Wits: 4

Abilities

Talents Skills Knowledge
Alertness 1 Animal Ken 2      Cosmology 3
Expression 1     Research 4 Enigmas 2
Instruction 2 Survival 2 Investigation 2

Linguistics 2
Lore 1
Occult 2


Paths Backgrounds
Conjuration: 3 Arcane: 2
Enchantment: 2 Library: 5
Healing: 2 Status: 4
Herbalism: 3

Counterspells
Warding
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