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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Answers to the Cimmerian's UWoM QnA-

Cimmerian said:

I have questions!

1). Is there an active forum for discussion, QnA, and play experiences from users yet?

<= Not yet. It is in the works.

2). I noticed you have a non-traditional philosophy in regards to adventure creation using basic setting descriptions and running through tables as you go, if I understand correctly. Would I need to digest the full setting background before daring to referee a game?

<= I would say that the free version of Kelzsyn's Bluff is representative of the essentials of my method of informed improvisation.
<= Would you run a combined Into the Unknown + Keep on the Borderlands game without reading through the material first?
<= Imagine the World of Greyhawk game someone would run simply looking at the box and the interior artwork. It would likely be much more Earth of Chivalry as a quasi-historical game, wit a few monsters of myth/legend, and would even go so far as to suggest that without explicit orders to do so, the DM would tone magic down a few notches to fit more closely with the Chivalric tales.
<= Is that a bad version of Greyhawk? Certainly not, but it isn't taking advantage of others' work in fleshing out important/interesting locations, persons, and gods, right?
<= In the same way, if one were to buy an UWoM adventure locale product and hope to simply transpose it onto their home-brew fantasy world, they'd find it an odd match, as (beyond Vrun names) it is a Sci-Fi setting with a lot of folks running around in low-tech arms and armour because a 2H sword doesn't need batteries.
<= Bringing Metamorphosis Alpha/Gamma World (any edition except possibly the Alternity thing) or MF characters to a place called Kelzsyn's Bluff would be much easier a shift, as they are much closer a fit. As are any version of Tekumel, Jorune, Star Wars, The Morrow Project, Encounter Critical, or even Palladium's RECON.
<= Can one take Prime Directive characters through the Tomb of Horrors? Certainly, but if each session were simply another of the old TSR AD&D modules, the Prime Directive flavour would be altered, and the game would become something...else.

3). I've run games totally free-form down to deciding on an appropriate mechanic check to use in the instant one is needed. This works fine but in regards to adventure creation I find that I provide a better play experience hands down with what amounts to adding in some of the small highlights that only preparation might allow. This is not to be confused with a three page background before play starts! ;)

<= I am puzzled by the last line in relation to the rest of the statement (not a question)
<= That said, I will address what I * think * you are asking: 'Do I need to know a lot about Urutsk to use any of your adventures/supplements?'

<= I think it would aid a GM to own a copy of the upcoming VRUN Players' Module (the basics of the game with complete char gen, equipping, skills, background, combat, and advancement guidelines), but if the GM can simply adapt the Location and Tables to their Tunnels & Trolls or Champions game, well and fine.

4). Everyone has their own experience of course, but I still would ask if there is not an example adventure containing the content typical of a UWoM game?

<= There is currently nothing more than Kelzsyn's Bluff, as that is my chosen intro site. Contained within the full product will be more than a few fully sketched-out (boolean if/then type) scenarios illustrating how random rolls on the table provide all the prompts for a GM to loosely construct a direction and circumstance, with the Player Characters determining much of how things go from there are a result of the environment reacting to the characters' actions.
<= However, freebie Adventure Seeds or what have you are not beyond the scope of what I'd like to post n a dedicated web site.

<= In my opinion, settings should be self-sustaining and portray a fairly steady thrum of daily life, only punctuated in specific areas (where the PCs are, or were, usually) with a disruption of the norm: Adventurers enter a flooded ruin in the 'middle of nowhere' and as a result of their inadvertent actions, release horrible monsters upon the local area. Those creatures, then, must logically be accounted for in the ongoing circumstances of the game, even if new PCs were generated each session, and each were only isolated adventures.
<= Rumours are the High Order motivator as they are purely optional (even if cunningly constructed to appeal to certain PC/Player interests), and allow the Players to remain in control of their destinies.
<= The background of KB and its Tables guide the unscripted circumstance; the Referee remains impartial; and the Players remain at the wheel, and cannot blame anyone for their miseries or need thank anyone for their successes.

<= In each Adventure Locale, I would include a good overview of rivalries, alliances, and upstarts that would affect the way that the social environment reacts to the PCs' actions. Some mayors may be convivial, some constables out to get the PCs on a crime, and a bar maid may in fact be a foreign spy. These dynamic social webs would translate to any setting or game, if tweaked (Not the Marnharnnan Defence Agency, but the Restorationists in GW, or the Rebel Alliance in SW, for instance), and are perhaps the thing I most clearly was influenced by from Flying Buffalo, Inc.'s City Books series. If you are familiar with any of the earlier titles, that's how the whole thing cohered: the interactive social webs of the NPCs and the PCs. That is my inspiration as regards Adventure Design.

Did that help at all?
--If not, please let me know what to re-focus on.

Thanks for your questions! :D


  1. Thanks for sharing. It's good to see someone else likes the Citybooks as much as I do. It looks like you have a great time at the con. Wish I could have been there, but until I level up and get that teleport spell maybe next time. Great stuff TS.

  2. Yeah, lots of fond memories for Port o' Call, and the Deadly Nightside books, especially.

    Tim, thanks so much.
    --I look forward to gaming with more of you folks. :D

  3. In response to the main post:

    Oh, okay.
    --I get it now.

    Short version:

    1). TSR's GW1 Legion of Gold + B2 Keep on the Borderlands

    2). GDW's Urban Guerilla + Black Blade Publishing's Secret of Smuggler’s Cove

    3). SF3 Sundown on Starmist for Star Frontiers + Project File: Liberation at Riverton for The Morrow Project

    Those would be my recommended mash-ups to achieve an Urutskan feel and tone.

    I do hope you chose to undertake the experiment you've described.
    --You may want to look into combining:

    The Albuquerque Spaceport mini-module found in two editions of the GM's Screen + S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks for AD&D, but toning-down all the long-term tech loot they can bring out of there.
    --Steve Winter's 1st-ed GW game felt like two, mashed-up.

    If you have 3.5 stuff available, I recommend the Tome of Horrors' Woodwose as your big veggie boss.

    Please let me know if that helps, and if you do run the game. :D


  4. Thanks for the answers.

    What I really intended by my poorly worded B2 comment was not so much site what B2 is as an adventure challenge but more of what Rob described. I assume Gary provided the DM an example adventure to showcase DnD and just as importantly show how an adventure can be built. It's obvious that B2 was not intended, nor is perceived as a magnum opus of adventure writing. Yet, for those new to the experience at the time, it captured what the game was all about. B2 has to be considered a great success because even with the solid rules it still has the responsibility of making that first game fun & interesting. How many DnD players find it to be one of their favorites? Countless! We might not all enjoy this hobby if it did not keep our attention that first time!

    I was looking for the existence of UWoM's B2 equivalent if it exists in the wild.

    I think what I will do is if it appears a game may happen at the SoCal Con I will run the free version of Kelzsyn's Bluff. I can always write my idea down and perhaps even let you critique it if you have the interest later on.

    Thanks for replying to my long winded questions rife with typos!

    BTW, do you have or know of an online chat game of UWoM going?

  5. Cimmerian,

    I think I have your e-mail (the gmail one). If so, I'll send you the current build (which is expanded from the free one on the blog), as well as notes for what my weekly Playgroup and the NTRPGC group (Tentacle & Fluke Society / Narwid Transit Authority) have been up to in the immediate environs.

    If not, I'll need that e-mail address. :D

    Regarding the online chat game: No. I am seeing if the Con group want to continue in a very informal way (individual and group e-mails).

    I'll see about the viability of running a game in the near future, and make certain to send you an early invite.


  6. Good luck Chris, and as I noted in my email to you, if you need any sort of help, let me know.