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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Working on the Railroad ;)


After a brief discussion about how things had been undertaken, the group sorted out its intent, and we moved on with play.

Reaching the Black Crown settlement of TshelUundam, a mining town with a high percentage of Yaesh, the PCs ascended in their armoured dirigibles and got the whole town/city talking. They quickly were met by a Yaesh engineer working on a dam project. He offered great things in exchange for one of the flying 'stubbies', but the party held off, hoping to clarify the situation.

To that end, the consulted the local university Alchemy dept., and were surprised to hear the diagnostic information regarding the two small spheres of polar lightning energy. Based on the loose readings the staff conducted under the informal setting of the dept. office, the estimated output of the Black Sphere is off the charts; highly dangerous; and highly unlikely to have been created recently.

Ssu Rosenbrad received 30 Alchemy textbooks, more than a lifetime's learning on the subject, and Roland Peltier purchased early education books for his daughter, as well as a dragon marionette.

Play will pick up (this is a Thursday session, I think) determining whether a deal with the Yaeshani Court for the Stubbie is worth it. Also, the Black Crown scientists are eager to travel to Xudorn with the PCs to set to work on creating a White Sphere to counter the Black, now residing somewhere on the Shadow plane.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Cats are Away...-



Concerned with the PCs' lack of direct action, a player prompted that the characters hop aboard a train and travel across the Black Crown, into the Yaeshani Empire, in search of a potential White Sphere to mate with the Black Sphere they found and returned with back in the Skullcrusher Mtn. Campaign.

This journey will take months to reach their initial stop, and an undisclosed amount of time to discern whether said object exists, or can be created. This plan, predicated upon its successful reunion with the Black Sphere they tossed into the plane of Shadow due to its deleterious effects, deprives the colony of Xudorn of its two top generals, its air marshal, and one of its top aeronautics chiefs. Another player voiced concern over Xudorn's vulnerability during this period, as the fledgling republic is under increasing attack by Continental Vrun forces and agents.

Along the way, barely into their trip, the PCs have encountered one of several Western Isles colonies in territory controlled by the Black Crown, essentially isolated now for over 150 years from the Western Isles Crown. Discerning things slightly more complex than at face value, it was discovered that these WI folk have been fighting the Undead for generations. Stymied by lack of official power for the PCs to institute treaties, the instigating player has suggested that they be granted said powers.

I sit back, incredulous at times, but now more confident why later generations never mentioned Xudorn in the history of Marnharnna. This is almost a parable for why the Vrun haven't regained space flight, and it is playing out before my eyes.

We'll see how this turns out.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Advance the Timeline-

After escaping from the underground complex (and losing three personnel), the PCs and their squads returned home to Xudorn. Plans were set into motion to cordon-off the doors and set up a fort around the entrance. Forty tower-sites from the Ancient base to Xudorn are in varying degrees of scouting and building, to be used as a network of Aldis Lamp signals. Zeppelin-platform craft are in the works to be used as both aircraft carriers, as well as bombers. The first true aeroplanes are in production, leaving the ornithopters to be used as training and scout craft.

War with the Vrun Colonies has primarily consisted of a winter offensive of guerilla warfare, with Fort Greenpennant starting its own 'Hardpoint' cantons/mini-forts, and saboteurs introducing a blight to Xudorn's hydroponics lab. The Black Crown has shared the forging process of the Bright Metal, in exchange for a leg-up on Zeppelin technology. The local tribe of Abbekqorru have been fully integrated into Xudorn, and a ship load of Durn have immigrated to her shore as well.

It is now Midsummer, NC 548, 16 months (one year) from Xudorn's founding, and the population now stands at 2,500+ (including the Abbekqorru). A Guild Council crime syndicate active in Xudorn from its inception has either been killed in a large gun battle which destroyed a storage depot, or were apprehended, interrogated, and executed by firing squad.

The Church of St. Rel has swollen to the hundreds, with the initial adherents receiving activation of their Vrun Imperial Bloodline powers (Immortals, Dream Navigators, Emitters, Psychic Healers, Revivifists, Power Emulators, and Machine Heads). The 50 count coin, minted in the Bright Metal, depicts St. Rel on the face, and the Lady's Tower on the obverse.

The Centre for Positive Development is the Church's technological branch, and using empowered Creative Visualisation, is using devotions to engineer a series of minor changes in potential future outcomes, bridging them into a unified reality stream that permits tiny Xudorn to remain a free and independent nation, neither yoked again to Vrun, nor beholden to the Black Crown. Dream Navigators, working in conjunction with Data Specialists are restoring damaged or missing pages from technical manuals.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Other Colonies and the Marnharnnan Megadungeon-

Contact with the Vrun colonies to the north of Xudorn have had mixed results, including a rather humorous mix-up which resulted in a great set of scenes wherein the beaten person of a rather loquacious con-man escaped from Vrun Naval authorities into a Stinktown brothel, only to be rescued by the charming ladies within. Waifs, too, were rescued and given good homes in Xudorn, and other good things besides have occurred.

The Black Sphere, power source of Skullcrusher Mountain, has been disposed of into the Shadow Plane, and through a dream, Commander Ssu Rosenbrad has gained the formula for cleansing affected soil of the lower planar radiations they have absorbed. Saint Rel, posthumous hero of the Upthrust Campaign, has appeared to Commander Roland Peltier and completely healed him of said irradiation, triggering Peltier's Imperial Bloodline powers.

Finding a site held by the Dokirin to be a place of reverence wherein are placed items deemed too dangerous by local shaman, the PCs unearthed within barrow mounds Ancient technologies and the partially mummified remains of former Marnharnnans, including a Durnsman and his metal holy book. A second exploration, including five security, and ten technical specialists accompanied the PCs to a set of great doors set into the ground. Upon entering the vast vault, those in attendance witness a site larger than Xudorn and environs, two hundred feet down. Their initial exploration yielded little in the way of scavenged tech, but has stranded them in the midst of waves of ravenous and fleet-footed undead. Local indigenous Humanoids have bound themselves to the PCs in exchange for their protection and provision. These same have disclosed that this site is but one small fraction of the total underground area.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Review of the Neoclassical Geek Revival RPG-

I have taken entirely too long to write this review. I will say that part of that time, however, was spent playing the game with three characters in such far ranging settings as Elven Africa, Fantasy Norway, and Hollywood Renaissance Italy.

My characters have consisted of a half-elven spell-caster/bard, and two swashbuckler fighter/thieves, to use standard FRP terminology, which do not do full justice to Zzarchov's 110 page slim hardback volume.

Having been a long time subscriber to Unofficial Games blog, I was able to see the construction process underway, and argued with Zzarchov more than a bit during those months (years?), p'd off at his arcane choice at the time to have the rules in a computer-dependent format rather than text (since then 'fixed'). Rules aspects of what was then known as Piecemeal seemed too weird, although intriguing, and the fact that I hadn't deigned to use the odd platform to read the rules as they stood made the whole thing rather jumbled in my already busy mind.

Let me say that upon first read of the game, much of the confusion was still present. That isn't an indictment against the writing, design, or organisation of the contents, rather, it is a warning to approach NGR on its own terms and not to presume thing one about how it plays. Zzarchov's Pie-Piece approach to Class is pretty darned cool, and 'fixes' much of what has been wrong with other FRP attempts to allow the player to craft a rules-basis for the sort of character they want to play. Next, his duh-brilliantly-simple Inventory and Skills selection cannot be overlooked, as it is one of the major stumbling blocks of so many games, Fantasy or other genre.

Regarding Skills, don't sweat their inclusion, as they function much, much better and simpler than anything I've seen in a good long while. The average Target Number, if you will, is 20, on d20, but the Ability being tested is added whole-cloth to the roll. If the PC's total is not 20, then they narratively explain how each of the skills they propose to utilise in their attempt adds (+2 each) to get the total to 20 (or whatever it is). The effect of this narrative cajoling is the exact opposite of the desperate lawyering common to less draconian D&D games, and in fact, enhances the gameplay by rewarding the player's shared construction of the outcome without gelding the GM of his/her power to make executive decisions.

This is the point in the review where I must explain how the mindset of NGR affects the design and gameplay, as it may not readily suit everyone's tastes -- but I assure you that with very little mechanical tweaking (like, 30 seconds, perhaps?) even this aspect of the game can be steered onto the course the GM envisages for their particular brand of Loot & Scoot.

Zzarchov is not only a cunning trickster, a big fan of schlock fantasy clich├ęs and tropes, but apparently also that of crappy 80's low-budget fantasy flicks. His post-session rewards mechanisms revolve more around 'Awesomeness' than Hack & Slash, with deliberate play towards the 'wrong course of action' being more awesome than sound tactical choices otherwise encouraged in the slew of generic FRPs out there. In fact, defeating without killing yields more points, with trap-defeating and travel to cool locales being a Major XP reward source.
Back to Awesomeness: Fate points allow for re-rolls, refreshing Luck (like HP above 0 in the D&Ds), and perhaps something else I cannot immediately recall [Any help, Zzarchov?]. Totting up the Awesomeness modifier derived by the above formula for Cinematic success, the Player rolls that number or less, or a nat-20, to gain an additional Fate point. If they succeed, and roll lower than the number indicated, they may roll again, and again, until that number drops below 1, possibly gaining more than one additional Fate point.

I could go on about other aspects of how Luck points are increased as one levels, or Lucky or Signature items, the acquisition of Henchmen, etc., but there has to be something you, the reader, discover on your own.

The two aspects of gameplay that I am least familiar with are Magic and Miracles, but I'll say a bit about them now. Magic is pumped-up by expending more Power or Mana, which increases all dimensions/axes of the spell's functionality at once. The most recent export to Jeff R's game via Evan Elkin's Wessex character is the Bees spell. In NGR, a cone 5' long and 5' wide at the long end of the cone, of angry magic bees fly out and vex those in the AoE. But, pumping up the Power on the spell can be done as desired (and as can be paid) rather than waiting to 'level-up' as per the D&D's.

Miracles are a horse of an entirely different colour than the D&D Clerical 'spells', and function more like Palladium Psionics, but that doesn't really convey their true function and the overall versatility of Piety Points, nor the sharp cost of more powerful effects. Likewise the Priest (or layperson) must be really active to act upon their faith's tenets (however morally sketchy) to gain Piety.

Can the criteria of Awesomeness be altered without hobbling the system? Absolutely. A certain game and setting designer I know is thinking of releasing a version of her notoriously non-Fantasy RPG using Neoclassical Geek Revival because she really digs how the entire system functions in tandem. Her game would most definitely not reward Awesomeness based upon the wearing of cloaks, eye-patches, or mullets, but instead reward Vruned -- acting towards the advancement of the Vrun cause, and other, Native, ideals. But all of that is just rumour, you understand.

My overall rating of Neoclassical Geek Revival: Buy a copy or two. This is possibly the best FRP I've read in decades, as much for what it simplifies as for what it enhances.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Don't Tell Us What You are Going to Do...-


My original sketch from the early 2000's

H&S
blog aside, here is a link to the Russ Nicholson artwork for the Urutsk Referee's Manual. It is the colour piece (although the b&w stuff looks pretty cool, too).

LINK

As I said in the blurb, I've had this idea for several years longer than I've had my blog, and seeing the piece come to life was really extraordinary and gratifying.

The LuLu Players' and Referee's Manuals will likely be phased out when their replacements come into being. I am currently in discussion with the producer of an existing rules set as the basis of one version of the URUTSK: World of Mystery line, as I really dig the ease and flexibility of said unsaid system, not feeling like it will shoe-horn my setting into an uncomfortable fit.

Oh, and it uses d20. :D

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Google+ Weekly Campaign Update-

Short Form Updates-

* Continental Vrun Contingent Visit
:: Observing Xudorn for themselves, elements of the Vrun National Service, the Hierophantic Church, the Guild Council, and both the Monarchalist aristocracy as well as their foils, the Parlimentarian faction visited the tripartite colony. The two Black Crown destroyers anchored at the mount of Safety Bay, the Western Isles mercenaries, and rumours of Abbekqorru allies helped persuade the Continental Contingent to leave Xudorn to her own devices...for the time being. The Contingent then sailed further north up the coast, visiting other Vrun colonies. News that Ft. Greenpennant (home of the Green Cavaliers) had been bolstered to exceed Xudorn's population was also received.

* 'Skullcrusher Mountain' / Upthrust
:: The PCs have returned to the complex, studying the technology that empowered the Undead-creating attack upon the Wodic community, discovering that the Lower Planar radiation that remains in the 'reactor' level is still deadly enough to turn a living human into an Undead in a matter of weeks. Also, part of the sensor array of the gun system is receiving ultra-low frequency transmissions from various points on the globe, including Bereme Oykh/The Black Crown to the north.

* Dokirin Community living in the shadow of the Upthrust
:: Reports of a settled clan of Dokirin were confirmed when four PCs visited them, and are set to participate in a sacred dance. They are the Omu Aku Qelli Duuon >Flowing-Water, Plan, wisdom-Imparted, Settlement-on-Water< . Repairs to the clan's sole windmill (used to evenly water marsh-grain paddies), and exchanges of durable goods for grain have been ensured. Sub-Commander Ssu Rosenbrad became the clan's new Wise Woman at the death of the 250+ year-old man she had re-awakened from his visionary existence in Lord Worm's court (as both are Silt-blooded).

* Visit to Mostern Colony
:: Commander Roland Peltier, Sub-Commander Ssu Rosenbrad, and their trusty squad travelled overland to Mostern the 'City of Bricks'-to-be, and with Joe-the-Lawyer's LotFP Grindhouse Edition Specialist-character, Vesper, explored the vast fort colony. It is predicated upon the production of bricks, and has a 6:1 male to female ratio at present. Xudorn Cider (made from salt-marsh crab apples) was a bit hit, and 100 bottles were purchased. Another sale was of one of Xudorn's experimental (and portable) refrigeration units. This has occurred slightly ahead of the standard timeline, allowing for intervening events to transpire, as well as to permit Vesper to participate.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Xudorn layout and Topography-



Xudorn layout and Topography

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

As Pertains to Marnharnnan Exploration-



Minnesotan
over at TYWIKIWDBI has an excellent teaser on Westward Migration, and of greater importance to the UWoM Boxed Set/Vanguard campaign, is the degree and duration of Native cooperation and goodwill.

Check it out. :)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Shifts in Technology and Mindset: Xudorn-



In my Google+ weekly game, Xudorn (The Sublime Colony) has seen very rapid change in both technology and the Vrun mindset. With the importation of the ornithopter kits came the paradigm-shift of three-dimensional thinking and the resultant drive towards expanding the realm of the known lands. Through these travels, the ground maps have been refined, new peoples have been encountered, and ideas for improving/expanding the overall technological base of the colony have resulted.

Last night's game was mostly dealing with meta-discussions regarding the 16 Elements, their potential exploitation for powering larger aircraft, and the differences between real-world physics and the alchemy of the setting. From these, in one session, 'x-ray' technology, crystal-lattice cultivation, combined dirigible/aeroplane plans, and negative energy induction are in development.

At the same time, political changes are under way as the renown of the colony begins to spread on both the Western Isles, and the Vrun continent, bringing the 'big three' of Vrun society to the distant Marnharnnan shores. The Hierophantic Church, the Guild Council, the Vrun National Service (military), and elements of the Aristocracy are growing (rightly) concerned that the developments in Xudorn have rapidly outpaced all expectations of what had previously been an anonymous point on an ill-known map. Moreover, that foreign influences and ideas have not only taken root, but their fruit is already come to bear (least of which is Lady Hudernm's half-Durn child), with rumours of Alien (Abbekqorru) technology and reports of the conflict with Undead rapidly spreading through well-informed circles at various strata.

To counter the investigative incursion, the tripartite ownership interests of the Xudorn experiment (one each of Vrun, Western Isles, and Black Crown) have moved to protect the fledgling population by positioning Black Crown naval assets at the mouth of Safety Bay, and a small contingent of Western Isles mercenaries are on their way with the afore mentioned owners steaming ahead (on a smokestack paddlewheel schooner) of the Vrun galleons. The Black Crown delegation gifted the PCs with Black Metal daggers, styled in one of 12 of the material Elements, and provided a taste of the sorts of elemental technology the Crown has at its disposal (including a 1/72nd-scale locomotive set).

All of this is coupled with the very recent discovery of Living Ancients who have apparently dwelt in a very ancient fort once visited by the former Vrun occupants of Marnharnna as a historic tourist site. These folk seem to possess not only a very complete overview of the past of the world, but disturbingly accurate knowledge of the past eight decades of contemporary history despite the fact that they have lived in near-total isolation for at least 5,000 years. Their texts even suggest future events, namely a massive invasion by the fearsome and loathed Shorrannin.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Order and Chaos: Asimov and Borges-



While I've not read much, if anything, by these two, I found this article last night, and I thought it very interesting. The article touches upon ideas in both men's works that have resonance with the Urutsk meta-setting, and I thought to share it with the blog's readers.

Let me know what you think of the article, Asimov, or Borges in general.

Best,

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Operation Skullcrusher Mountain, and a DnD Toy for You-



Well, Friday the 21st, saw the sixth (or so) session in the offensive against the Undead bastion, and the destruction of the facility's attack ability. The estimated losses on the friendly side is in the low hundreds, with roughly three times that on the Undead.

Technology, both Ancient and arcane, has been secured, and the alliance with the Green Cavaliers (a Vrun Military expedition) and local Abbekqorru has blossomed. This confluence of events should dramatically boost Xudorn's (the commercial colony) strength without dramatically increasing its land-use footprint, as the hydroponics tech found at the site, as well as bio-tech the Abbekqorru utilise should increase the efficiency of the small community (currently roughly 1k pop.) without much slack time in implementation prior to winter. The fact that winter will not reduce agri concerns means that the most prevalent reason for any colony's failure shouldn't be the thing that could do-in Xudorn.

Now, with Ornithopters, small Zeppelins, and the Abbekqorru global map, Xudorn and Ft. Greenpennant (six-days ride to the south) are likely to have a far greater degree of cooperation and 'cultural' exchange. The effect of the Abbekqorru upon the burgeoning Vrun presence on the eastern seaboard also remains to be seen.

---[The Game]---
Provided for players of the grandpappy of RPGs, using d20s in 'to hit' and polyhedral damage dice
* Rifle, Repeating^ d10 | 3 Attacks per Round; 21 Shot Spring Crank Drum
Reload: 1 Combat Round if a loaded drum is used
^ :: Saturation Fire is a 10' W x 20' L rectangle.
Every figure at least 1/2 in the rectangle is subject to individual attack,
although only one Action is consumed in the process.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Yes, another damned game report-



I'd made a promise to limit the campaign posts, but this one seems to be pressing against the walls.

The combined Boxed Set and Vanguard game I am running on Google+ is centred upon Lady Hudernm's Xudorn ('Sublime Colony') upon the east cost of the Marnharnnan Continent, from whence the PCs have set out in their westward exploration of the Sunkent Continent's virgin wilderness in search of lost Ancient tech. These meanderings have brought them in contact with one or two Dokirin (indigenous peoples) and an entire community of Abbekqorru (starfaring wolf-bear folk), as well as an intelligent plasma life-form which hunts the moors immediately below the aerie of the Abbekqorru.

The neighbouring Wodic community has grown up into a rather large wild/agri centre and the druid-like folk of the place (I'll not bother you with the difficult name) have become well-enough liked by the Vrun to be considered a sister-town to the commercial interest of Xudorn. Recently, a devastating, Undead-creating attack upon the Wodic community was launched from out of the jungles of the west and the intrepid PCs have since mounted up on their ornithopters and flown out to investigate the area indicated by the Wodics. On their first reconnoitre of the area, they encountered a sigil-filled circle which glowed with unearthly light from the forest floor. This area was surrounded by strange fog banks, rather unlike clouds, at a height which brought one of the craft in contact with them; the immediate effect of loss of lift upon the craft was instrumental in the onrithopter being drawn in by some sort of 'tractor-beam' and forced to land within the circle. A wodic scout dropped down with an incomplete flying-broom to slow her descent and scouted out the area as the craft's pilot was captured by what appeared to be black-lacquered skeletons.

Rather than risk the entire scouting mission, the group pressed on the remaining 10% of the way to a tall upthrust which towered over the wetlands jungle and grassland. From this tower of rock several spires jutted out well into the low cloud cover, and appeared to be part of the weapon-system of the place. A too-near approach by a PC pilot resulted in said craft losing a good portion of its starboard wing, and forcing it down. The PCs managed to get the downed pilot strapped onto another craft and then flew to the rim of the upthrust, which itself held untold depths of clear water some way down out of which the spires arose.

The courageous PCs infiltrated the wall's interior spaces, surprised a few more black lacquered skels, and pressed on in the base. Through great risk to their health and sanity, the party utilised the lift shafts geared to negative energy creatures, with each trip up or down these thought-operated shafts resulting in excruciating pain and accompanying ennui as their positive life-force was siphoned away. One fellow, Roland, was so wicked away by the process as to almost lose the ability to continue, but managed to overcome the effect once he realised a portion was merely illusory. They found Ancient Civil Defence supplies (personal survival kits, hydroponics gear and seed-stock, etc.) and took samples of what they felt they could carry before they were spotted by some sort of centaur-like skel on the far side of the interior. Thinking it best to be gone, the group flew down to the felled craft, effected modifications to another craft, and with the aid of the Wodic scout who had entangled several skels at the jungle floor, returned home to Xudorn.

After a brief rest, the group was re-assembled and tasked with leading a mission to secure the 'airfield' about 10 miles from the upthrust, in case its capabilities to down other craft was greater than previously encountered. This operation involved 24 troopers air-inserted via a combination of immature flying-broom stock, and parasails. An entire reinforced squad (8) either perished in a timing mishap, or were rendered sessile from their injuries. The remaining sixteen or so pressed on and encountered stages of black skels, then the centaur skels, and finally, scaly blue humanoids. Losses were great, and by the time the circle was reached, only about seven troops remained. A loss of a few others from incidental enemy action and mines whittled down the survivors to a paltry five or so before an errant dropped grenade killed another trooper. With the facility opening up to an expansive storage area beneath the surface, the few and demoralised group topside instead called in to be picked-up by their host craft and transported to the base of the upthrust. The remainder of the ground force is still hours away.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

First of Two Parts: Observation and Evasion-



:: OBSERVATION & EVASION-


Pt. 1: OBSERVATION-

Medium-Sized Figures moving in Open Terrain in Daylight are the base for determining Spotting, as modified by Range (60') and Circumstance (Clear Weather); this number is [08] on 2d12/1d24.

Once Spotted, the figure may be visually tracked and if operating out of a fixed locale, may be Observed. Observation is more than simply keeping one's eye upon the figure. It involves actual thought into the why's and wherefore's of the creature's actions, the pace at which it performs these tasks, and its general gait and bearing. If it is seemingly agitated it may later calm if it feels more at ease. These different States become increasingly more important to discern and codify if contact with it or its kind is to be avoided or approached with caution.

The rules for simulating this process in-game are as follows:

Each Party places a secret Stake in the Intensity of Observation:

Stake- Degree of Observation-
------------------------------------------
6 - (R) Direct interaction at close range with little to no preparation or actual observation : Apprehending a known thug for questioning

5 - (O) Shadowing the figure and not being subtle about it : Gang members loudly following after visitors to their neighbourhood

4 - (Y) Subtle Tail and casual surveillance : A constable in the area of each locale a person of interest visits

3 - (G) Sophisticated Shadowing, Nested Surveillance, Vanguard Shadowing at locales to be visited, direct observation 24H/Day : Magical scrying and divination

2 - (B) Long-term, intimate relationship with figure, constructed/fabricated friends/family, etc. : Hidden Village or elaborate scheme [the Prisoner TV programme]

1 - (V) Incarceration/Interrogation : Gulag, etc.


Each of these investments of Risk are rewarded with a certain processing time and depth of Observation, with High-Risk confrontations possibly yielding the fastest apprehension of a figure (or capture of an animal, restraint of a robotic unit, etc.), but often resulting in the injury or death of one or more persons, including unintended individuals, with the pay-off in speed and the liability in safety. These risks are minimised if this action is the final step in the hierarchy of Observation, from Planning (V) to Direct Interaction (R). A well coordinated Observation launched into Action regarding the target has advantages going for it, not the least of which are the number of personnel brought to bear versus the individual(s) of interest. The Target of the Observation has a base chance to detect the Observation equal to 17 (- PSI or SCP PM + The Observer's Stake) or higher on the roll. If the figure detects the Observation, they may be more prepared in any future contact, with a good rule of thumb being that the length of Observation in time factors (Turns over Rounds, Hours over Turns, Days over Hours, etc.) grant the Observers a +1 to execute their Action.

The Stake in Observation requires an inverse amount of time/expense investment, where (R) is the least and (V) the greatest. If the Observation is merely conducted in the field by scouts/spies, then factors (R-Y) are most likely to be employed, and allow for swifter Action. In urban environs, Stakes (G-V) are more easily possible and likely as the importance of the figure is determined. Simple miscreants are unlikely to be the subject of a sophisticated Observation operation, unless they possess important information or contacts too delicate to risk losing.

Pt. 2 ...soon...

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Vrun Psycho-Sociology in Context-



VRUN perceptions of the cosmos
in which they exist are based primarily upon their Starship Crew Caste Clans parcel of data, and for those individuals who possess two or more such backgrounds, the intersection of these parcels of data create a vista greater than the sum of the parts.

Where the native Yirinn (the current dominant power on the planet, much to the chagrin of the Vrun) see the cosmos as an unfolding dream largely devoid of logical constructs of causality, the Vrun mind is geared to see everything as having a part and place in the whole. Where the industrious and innovative Yaesh see a clockwork mechanism of regularity and cyclical assurance, the Vrun see a flexible network of dominance and transience. Where the ancient Durn of the southern continent see Providence and Judgement, the Vrun see a realm of possibility and fields open for mastery. Where the mystical Lhoman see illusion and the playing out of a great game, the Vrun see an as-of-yet incompletely-understood matrix of factors that require self-mastery to fully exploit.

The Vrun embody a work-ethic not for the pride in craftsmanship or the splendour of the work in its final form, but merely to reach the next plateau on their way up, always and ever further upwards. With few words in the Vrun language to express common states, emotions, or qualities, the Urutsken (native) wonders what it is all for, as if it were a race to the finish line without knowing what constitutes the victory. While most Urutsken are eager to help the Vrun leave the wetlands world, they also secretly hope that their cousins will develop as a people in the world rather than apart from it.

The Vrun, in general, can only conceive of their near-mythic past glories as possessing any intrinsic value, and one only to be understood within the muted spirit of the crafted People. Indeed, there is much going on in the Vrun heart that they cannot express, not for the lack of possible letter arrangements that could construct meaningful terms, but for a lack of self-knowledge. For while the Yaesh to a person work unceasingly to expand the glory of the Sublime Court upon the world's surface, and the Yirinn smile at the transient accomplishment of empire; while the Lhoman meditate upon the Origin and Return of life and the Durn simply give thanks for each day as it is provided, the Vrun are a mystery unto themselves. Without that autognosis to give meaning apart from the Quest for Ascension, the Vrun tongue and stylus can only note measurements, record variations, and compare findings to incomplete records of a bygone era.

As with any sample, there a number of Vrun who are more attuned to the depth and wonderment found within the cosmoi, and it is these few who (though irksome and ill-appreciated) provide the Vrun People the needed introspection to avoid the curious paradox of utter stagnation in the drive forwards, and bankruptcy of culture to prevent the internecine tendency that has plagued the Imperial castaways these millennia. In truth, much of the Imperial Glories have been lost in the long centuries of Winter's struggle, corrupted and misinterpreted, and outright manipulated by those in power. Yet, it is the call of the Imperium that imparts the social momentum of contemporary culture forward towards 'a better tomorrow'. Indeed, each Vrun generation brings with it great technological re-inventions and 'new' discoveries that then set-off a chain reaction of recollection/imagination making new components available in the Quest.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Procol Harum: Beyond the Pale-

Who will search for holy grail
Past the edge beyond the veil
Who will come beyond the light
Far from reach beyond all sight
Who will share this bitter cup
Let the wild dogs tear them up
Let the cold winds blow them down
Drive them deep beneath the ground

Who will live in darkest night
Dankest gloom and quietest quiet
Buried deep beneath the ground
Far from any human sound

Who will search for treasure trove
Scour the seas and scale the globe
Past the peaks beyond the heights
Farmost reaches furthest sights
Who will share this bitter cup
Let the wild dogs tear them up
Let the cold winds blow them down
Drive them deep beneath the ground

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Look Inside: Combat in 'The Game' and UWoM-



INTEROPERABILITY: UWoM and The Game

:: Close Combat-
(c) 2011 Kyrinn S. Eis

Player Characters are Hero Figures by default, and as such, can command those of their Fight/Hit Dice or lower rating, including other 0-Die figures (Commoners).

All of the following d20 roll Special Results only apply if the Attack is successful.

At melee scale, this would mean that the PC-led attack (with accompanying fighters) succeeds, and all figures roll their dice of damage against the receiving forces. If the PC is in singular combat (other friendly figures are not 'engaged' with the same foes as the PC), then these d20 Special Results would apply on that PC's successful To-Hit roll. If your chosen game system rolls percentile dice instead of a d20 (BRP, etc.), multiply the (##) by 5 to arrive at the trained percentage score.


(6) V - Minimal Casualties :: Attaches an Auto-Dodge to a figure
:: (20) The figure gains a bonus of 4 to AC for the remainder of the Round and all of the next

(5) B - Co-ordinated Strike :: Attaches an Auto-Strike to an enemy figure
:: (17) Grants a second 'hit' at normal rolled damage (but a second Hit Location roll if used), or 1 Critical, &c.

(4) G - Vanguard Action :: Attaches to a friendly figure to grant them Auto-Surprise on next encounter of their choosing (stealth is possible to infiltrate further, etc.)
:: (13) As regards Tracking and Surprise, the figure acts as a Ranger of the same level until next combat

(3) Y - Free Move :: Provides the figure with an additional 4" of movement, before/after attack
:: (10) as above

(2) O - Focus :: Grants the designated figures with either: a number of visual/alerness focal point (a doorway, a computer bank, a facial expression), or a numerical bonus +1 per, Focus point.
:: (07) ""

(1) R - Weapon Check :: Forces the Operator to determine if the melee weapon is retained (rolling anything but another fumble), or how far away the weapon is discarded on a second 'red'. Unarmed attacks gauge disadvantage
:: (01) ""

For groups interested in opening up these options in The Game, combatants roll 1d6 per Hit Die, and group the results by number. Simple comparisons between the corresponding pools, in Initiative order, whittle-away at each other, making each reduction that much more likely to result in an injury in subsequent fights with others in that Round. Each Round refreshes the Hit Die pool, but each n of HP lost by the figure indicates the loss of one Hit Die for combat-pool purposes only (or not if you prefer). When the figure is reduced to 0 or fewer Hit Dice, the next successful attack results in the figure's (force's) defeat. This is true at the personal, tactical, operational, or strategic level.

...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Mass Combat as an Individual Mini-Game-



JB
commented on the previous post by reminding me of 1st edition Stormbringer's section [3.10] for mass combat ([3.11] Naval combat is worth a read, too), which reduces the recommended method down to a POW v. POW (Wis v. Wis or PSI v. PSI) conflict. Successfully beating the meta-opposition of the GM's roll means that the PC has survived unharmed, has used her weapon/defence skills and is eligible to improve.

Failing the roll indicates that the character is subject to 2d10 points of damage with only her armour to reduce the effects. If the character has only sustained a Minor Wound (less than half of her total) she is similarly eligible to improver her fighting skills. Those suffering a Major Wound are in too much pain to gain the benefit.

Naval warfare is more or less as above, but is sink or swim as regards the fate of each ship in the combat.

Thoughts?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Leadership in RPGs-



Leadership in RPGs (Tactical and Storytelling) is generally relegated to either a Player's speech (if they are 'roleplayers') or a Player's plan, both of which almost invariably involve a die-roll.

The particular rules-set may or may not have a Leadership skill or trait, but few have a deeper treatment of the same sort that wargames and game-friendly militaria possess, and many are perfectly content with that for the obvious reason that if they wanted it they'd craft their own set of rules for their fave RPG, or play a wargame instead.

Indeed, the circumstance of raising or commanding a band of warriors who number more than the fellow PCs and a few hires or henchmen seem few, and perhaps this has been the case throughout the history of the RP Hobby. That could have continued, were it not for the OSR's interest in the origins which greatly expanded and transmitted the core of the Chainmail rules-set (and related) to the plethora of gamers not overly aware of the nuances and peculiarities of that booklet. This was done by some of the stellar notables such as (Aaron of A Paladin in Citadel, and Evan from Swords of Minaria, as two examples).

A Google+ friend and I were recently discussing my games, and the topic of the VANGUARD Squad Control Record and its influences arose. I'm not sure if I got to tell him about Victory Games' AMBUSH!, but that was my first experience with a formalised 'run a squad from 1 sheet' game, although I'd certainly played more than one PC at a time (especially RPing Car Wars with the pedestrian rules from the ADJ), what with Tunnels & Trolls admonition to run a 'stable of characters'.

What I took away from them (esp. A!) was that each player needed to have that level of game-centric investment in the battle for it to have a real impact at the level I wanted in the games I run. At the Strategic scale, I want the Players to be Leaders, you know, 'REMFs', as it were.

How to build that sort of 'zoomable' action into the essential chassis of the game? became the basis of the previous two years of the regular Friday F2F game wherein the PCs were Primary and 2ndary leaders of an island, with considerable might at their disposal.

Interdimensional/extraplanar allies and the telegraphed effects of the PCs' actions untimately resulted in the Players' writing their characters out of history, undoing their considerable achievements, and missing numerous opportunities to advance the timeline's technological base towards the Quest for Ascension -- pursuing petty schemes, failing to think big, and generally futzing around week after week. Their actions and my total sandboxing of the game illustrated that a hands-off approach would benefit neither party of agents: GM or Players. No. I needed something intrinsic to the Vrun experience to resonate with the gamers...

Recently, running a series of short expeditions into entirely unknown territory has proved most effective in getting the players to 'grok' the importance of the scaled-up thought/prep, and as a consequence, better prepared the PCs to act individually as leaders, as well as the party as a military/scout body.

The Urutsk: World of Mystery Boxed Set's basic premise is that the Player is a colony or expedition leader. The primary role for a player in VANGUARD is that of a Squad Leader. The foundational and interconnecting aspect of the Vrun experience is the compulsory military service and the ties of Starship Crew Caste Clans. In sum, the Vrun RP experience is one of regimentation, redundancy, and careful resource management with a proud, Ancient martial history. That seems to create ad hoc Leaders when needed, and it is happening, organically, in game play.

Now, I'd like to ask you, the readers, of instances in your games in which the happy balance between PC actions and Battle Events was or wasn't successfully struck, and your thoughts on how best to integrate PC autonomy with their role as war-fighters (and preferably in a leadership role). Would you please share them with us?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Quantum Forks and The fallacy of the quantum ogre argument | KORPG Games


The fallacy of the quantum ogre argument | KORPG Games



I thought this dovetailed nicely with the quantum-aspect from yesterday's Divination post.
--The larger argument is not in focus here, merely the 'observer' and 'foreknowledge' components and how that works with Divination.

QUESTIONS OF THE READER-

* If one's PC became aware that they (alone?) had shifted, but nothing was profoundly different, would that affect the play-quality of that and the other player/s?

* Would the Referee need to roll in the open, 'this is the Shift roll' for the event to have validity, or could the Observer Referee successfully navigate that behind cover roll, as s/he does with all the other mundane rolls, and still allow it to stand, regardless of how radical the Shift was indicated to be?

* If an Encounter Table listed a Shift-event for all within x' radius, would the GM, rolling in the open, be obliged to use the Shift result as indicated by the roll?

Monday, September 12, 2011

PC Divination in Urutsk-




Divination by PCs and NPCs
are going to yield an answer. The accuracy of the answer is modified by the PC's PSI score, but the base 'chance' of correctly parsing the information is largely a function of the sort of question being asked:

VAGUE (+75%): 'Which direction should we travel today?' -- This sort of broad answer does nothing to define the safety of the course pointed, and the Referee is not in much danger of invoking disbelief in the validity of such a broad question.

DEFINED (+50%): 'Is the river route safer than the high pass?' -- This is still a relatively open answer, and the Ref can answer as truthfully as would be apparent to a neutral observer. If there is much more danger in one portion of the one route, it will register as the more dangerous, regardless of how short a span the danger may be, so long as the likelihood of encountering it is great (passing through its lair, for instance). "You will find grave danger in the lowlands, but the pass is treacherous still.", is an honest but minimally-limiting answer.

FOCUSED (+33%): 'Does Yjavella truly despise me?' -- These answers are more correct the greater the person knows the other person/force/group. "Yes, but her love remains undiminished, leaving her in terrible despair." and "No, but her grief is so great that you could lose her if you press the matter." and "Her wroth is great and love is like a great bitterness, yours most of all." are all equally valid, although each flavours the reader's/hearer's perception, and this truth can cause further complication if acted upon precipitously.

SPECIFIC (+25%): 'Is my pursuer around the next corner?' -- These sorts of questions and their answers become a bit quantum, with the boxed cat being the validity from the point of questioning until the point of observation. "Yes." could be true, but by the time the supplicant peers around the corner with pistol, the beast is gone. Mutations that affect the accuracy of the forecast (precognition, ESP, etc.) should be thought of as a more sophisticated weather forecasting array -- its answers may be true in part, in a span of time, not observed or experienced by everyone in a given area. After a fashion, this is like the 'no rain today in the metro area' is true for most of the viewing area, but a few folks are still caught unprepared in a downpour.

PRECISE (+16%): 'Will flipping the switch spell our doom?' -- Either a yes or no answer, although the results of the switch flip could still result in most of the party's death from injuries although they escape from utter calamity. If even one of those present when asked survive, then the 'no' answer will still be true.

COMPLETE (+5%): 'Is this, out of the thousands here, the correct gem?' -- The Referee should be prepared to divulge the accurate answer regardless, if such precise answers are going to be allowed in the first place.


Asking questions of the same order of magnitude halve the interpretation chance each time if asked within an Hour. Asking the most exacting question is then best performed under the most favourable conditions, with the best Utilities, only once, while a slew of vague questions throughout a day could be performed with some success. Analysis-Paralysis can derail any party relying upon divination instead of action, but should be granted as it permits many Encounter Checks, and increases the likelihood of attracting Psychic or Magical creatures.

Modifiers from Utilities (Circlets, ancestral ritual tools, a psychic computer, etc.) increase the percentage of correct interpretation based upon their power, and may provide multiple simultaneous attempts with only the best result chosen, or some other bonus not listed.

Time and conducive environment (hours and a circle of willing assistants, for instance) modify the accuracy of interpretation upwards or downwards, as appropriate.

Illness, injury, emotional upset (such as personal stakes in the answer) will negatively modify the attempt by a variable amount based upon its intensity.

The point of all the preceding is that divination by a PC or NPC need not violate perceived autonomous intent nor railroad (or detour an intentional railroading) the PCs into the determined course of events.

Arcane Skill Ranks are roughly +5% bonus to the accuracy, but also allow for knowledge of Utilities (tome, pendulum, incense, etc.) that may aid in accurate interpretation.


D&D type games would likely use Wisdom as the basis, with Caster Level substituted for Arcane Skill Ranks.
--I have framed the % as a 'roll-high', because that is how I roll.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Curiouser and Curiouser-


WHAT IS URUTSK?

On one level, Urutsk is a setting, both for gaming, as well as fiction. It is an Alternate Reality with all that implies, and has been cultivated for nearly thirty years; one in which the land masses are often discernible, but in which the Peoples have diverged enough so as to be unrecognisable. It is currently (the Autumn Era) a wetlands planet slightly smaller than our earth, slightly further away from Av the system star, and a significantly wetter, stormier world. Evidence suggests that Av has not always been the primary gravitational point in the 'system' and indigenous folk claim that the 'Worlds Wander.'

Not so much a Dungeons & Dragons draped game in sci-fi trappings as a game of Skyrealms of Jorune hybrid with Metamorphosis Alpha and Gamma World, Urutsk is primarily the story of the Vrun people who have returned to the periphery-system after their galactic empire literally exploded. Stranded on a world their experts maintain is one of their points of origin, these Vrun are the relatives of all the Human ethnicities of the planet, having been culled from the 'very best' of these diverse folk long ago and set amid the then-extant stars.

Urutsk owes much of its scattered inspiration from '60's and '70's Sci-Fi Film, Print, and TV sources, mixed together in a strange slurry and allowed to ferment. Shows like ARK 2, SPACE: 1999, STAR TREK, Buck Rodgers, Mission Impossible, AVENGERS, The Prisoner, The Starlost, SWAT, and EMERGENCY! are admixed with DC Comics John Carter Warlord of Mars, Marvel's Killraven, and Banshee-era X-MEN as well as a lot of indie-mags my older sister turned me onto.

Urutsk' first real session was a Sci-Fi one, and has progressed from a contemporary/near-future setting through at least seven thousand years of history. More than the perusal of simple reference work has gone into the philological basis of the setting's languages (Vrun being but one of a few to have received my care over the decades), and outstanding linguists have noted Vrun's facility as an actual, usable language not-derived from any contemporary or known ancient source. This stems in part from my multi-lingual upbringing and the love of language my parents possess(ed), as well as my own interests in the effects of symbols upon human psychology (including subliminals).

I do not advocate 'shake-and-bake' bottom-up, quick-fix solutions in game-world design as anything more than a stop-gap measure to be re-examined and altered so as to suit the Big Picture (preferably one's own Big Picture rather than simple variants of pulp and weird fantasy) of the setting. The confusing mass of ideas and inspirations must, IMO, culminate in a work that helps describe the creator as much as the intent of the work. M. A. R. Barker's Tekumel setting, although pored over by ideoarcheologists of the neo-old school bent, is poorly understood as anything else but a proto-D&D archetype, replete with Underworlds, Barbarians ignorant of the setting's details, and a place filled with 'oddball and gonzo' critters and items. True admirers of the Professor's work (Jeff Berry and the Aethervox crew, and among the various mailing lists devoted to the setting: Sally Abravanel, Brett Slocum, Peter Houston, Alva Hardison, etc.) have long seen past the superficial (and sad) comparisons to more staid mock-Western gaming settings, and can appreciate variance in society, culture, mores, and language.

It has been my recent pleasure and honour to game with others who can parse these differences and appreciate the Urutsk setting for its own sake. That isn't to say that a dungeon crawl can't be fun for these recently-met players, but rather, that they seem interested in something more and recognise the soul that has been poured into Urutsk.

Perhaps, you too, are looking for something other than elves, dwarves, and hobb--halflings, and always expected more from a setting? Then, Urutsk may be a destination you would like to explore. I am running a regular game schedule on Google+: Wed/Fri, and Thursday beginning around 8:30-9:30 PM depending upon the players' schedules. The two games are separate but contemporary 'streams'. All times are -5 GMT/Eastern USA

We look forward to seeing you there.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Light Infantry-


Vrun Line Trooper-(Medium)[12" Move]
XP: 18 | 2HD | 28HP | AC 4 | Attacks: Bolt Rifle [1d12] | Bayonet [1d6] | Brawl [1d4]
--For D&D

1 [R] 1d12 -- 2 [O] 1d10 -- 3 [Y] 1d8 -- 4 [G] 1d6 -- 5 [B] 1d4 -- 6 [V] 1d2

Vrun Line Trooper-(M)[3]

MR: 18 | 2FD | 84DP | +1Def | -4H ARM | ATK: Bolt Rifle [R] | Bayonet [G] | Brawl [B]

---[Details]---
Troop Quality: Standard
Figure Type: Light Infantry
Specialist Training: Rifleman
--Concealment/Manoeuvre, Steady Shot
Advanced Training: none
Special Advantages: none
=Point Total: 10

Armour: Antagonist (Field Plate) [-4H]
Gear-
* Bolt Rifle [R], +1 Attack per Round, Long Range, 5 Shot Internal Magazine, Bolt-Action
* Bayonet/Short-Sword [G], Light Weapon, +1 Attack per Round


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Unofficial Games blog, and G+

Zzarchov of Unofficial Games blog, and author of the Neoclassical Geek Revival posted THIS a couple of days ago.

I'm glad that there are so many opportunities these days for all of us to find the sorts of games (let alone blogs and podcasts) that suit our personal tastes and styles, as a one-size fits all policy is rarely a good fit for anyone. This embarrassment of riches is bound to link-up players who are better matches for tone, style, and system better than ever before.

I just hope that the clannish tendency of the human race as regards our speck of the Web doesn't scare off prospective gamers who see the mob v. solo, um, discourse and then head for the woods at top speed. Since right now G+ is about as f2f as many of us will get and still be able to find kindred souls, it seems like a nifty way to break down artificial barriers by allowing players to try one-shots with folks they'd normally never game with.

Of course, as a realist, I'm keeping the SCUBA gear* handy, just in case.

* 'don't hold your breath'

Sunday, August 28, 2011

About as personal as I care to get on a blog

Recently, I have had the pleasure of doing a lot of online Urutsk gaming via Google+. We've had folks I know from the blogs, as well as many that I never had any idea were out there. I have met several players that really make me wonder what better sort of games I could have had all these years if I had gamed more outside of Florida (not knocking Fl. gamers). More than a few of the players I've run for this past week happen to be Canadian, and I'm inclined to think that may have something to do with it, but, this was also the case when I gamed with the really groovy Aethervox crew at Jeff 'Chirine baKal' Berry's last/this year over New Year's with C., and both NTRPG cons in which I've had the pleasure of participating.

It is heartening to know.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Airswimmers RC Flying 'fish'-



Via RetroRoleplaying

Checkershadow Illusion Video-



Via: TYWKIWDB

BADGES-

I've come down hard on the OSR-Scout Badges in the last 24 Hours, but after a nice sleep, I think I'm seeing the merit in this.

I will begin work immediately. :)

In more serious news, the URUTSK Google+ Gaming Tour is rolling on into a Time and Date near you.
--More, here: Google+

Monday, August 22, 2011

Uber GMs (My Take)-

Here are the best points I've yet read on the matter:
These are the "3" I feel most strongly promote that balanced goal:

1. Each person is different, thus you have an obligation to identify that difference and nurture it in the best way that you can for their benefit. This specific tact will benefit the whole group.

2. That this course is best served by specific approaches rather than inundating each individual with a shot-gun blast of information and choices. This will allow each person the time to grow, understand and communicate their needs and interests, which thereafter can be honed by your participation in a mentoring situation.

3. Through this course you as the DM and your players will grow and excel, not just in the game, but in life as well. It will prepare your players for DMing with a courage they have won, a knowledge they have gained, and all through your patience, perseverance and subtle guidance.
Rob Kuntz at his Lord of the Green Dragons


I don't feel comfortable describing what I feel I do well as a GM, as I estimate my players are a better judge of it.
--If someone comes forward to describe my GMing ability and folks want to hear my analysis of 'how I do it', then I'll go from there.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Following Snail Trails, or 'I Hit the Snail With My Flail'-

As Seen On Your Monitor, HERE.
--
Here we have the same critter in AEDIENDI format

Name-(Size Category)[Number of 4" Moves)

HD: Hit Dice
HP: Hit Points
AC: Armour Class
ATK: Attack

Effect Dice-(Don't worry that's just for conversion completeness)
Violet (d2), Blue (d4), Green (d6), Yellow (d8), Orange (d10), Red (d12)

LETIUUMASI-(L)[16"]
XP: 325 | HD 3+3 | HP 50 | AC 08 | ATK: Musket 2d6 | ATK: Dagger 1d10 | ATK: Bite 1d6
* Special Abilities: Intelligent, Tracking Instinct Use: +3d/Day, 1x/8 Hours, Feral
Description: The hairy beasts are humanoid, but by adolescence, grow to stand as tall if not taller than the average Vrun. Adult males have been measured at over 13'5”, while females stand a little shorter on average. They tends towards the coppery-bronze end of the spectrum, but coats of dark sable and umber have also been reported in the deepest mossy woods. Reliable trackers of even the most difficult of prey, the Letiuumasi' long-barrelled muskets are most vexing. Even bare-handed, the Letiuumasi is deadly. They are rumoured to be a rogue subject race of the Abbekqorru, and it is fact that they are fully feral and only partly civil.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Last Night's Google+ Hangout Game-

Google+ user Ulek Xek joined C. for the Thursday night game via G+ Hangout on audio only. Sadly, Greg Backus was unable to join us due to computer issues. We'll have to sort those issues out for the next epi.

Here is Ulek Xek's LINK

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Seriously!

I'm wondering when Ken St. Andre's recognition in the earliest days of the RPG hobby will be better known, as his version of The Game was already being sold while what would become known as D&D LBB were still relatively obscure, if actually in LBB format at that time.

In an e-mail on a computer a decade gone by now, I spoke with Ken, who related that he was selling copies of T&T in comb-bound format while Gary still hadn't gotten his game rules out (at least on the West Coast). In this account, Gary was a bit peeved that Ken was already capitalising (*laff*) on T&T before D&D was hitting the Arizona gaming scene. No one at the stores had even heard of polyhedral dice, so we can use that to date the event.

If RQ2 praised Ken for 'having done it again' or some such, in the intro (as well as digging on the Saving Roll mechanism which would see light in RQ as the Opposed Roll mechanism), his importance in the field is clearly understated. Ken and I aren't even that close any longer, and I'm still steamed that his contributions are relegated to a cutsie/satirical treatment of D&D. Hogwash.

Where are the Andreas Davours, the Tori Bernquists, etc., to give Ken St. Andre his due in the RPG field's historical significance?

:: crickets ::

FLAILSNAILS Conventions

Please comment regarding the necessity of the 'FLAILSNAILS Conventions'.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Monday Offering-

Name-(Mass)[Moves](ea. roughly 7')
FD: Fight Dice
DP: Disruption Points
Def: Defence
ARM: Armour STOP & Type [H]ard/[S]oft
ATK: Attack

Cd: Colour Dice
V.iolet (6), B.lue (5), G.reen (4), Y.ellow (3), O.range (2), R.ed (1)

LETIUUMASI-(L)[4mv]
Menace Rating: 65 | 3FD+3 | 150DP | +0Def | -2S ARM | ATK: Musket 5Cd @ G | ATK: Dagger @ O | ATK: Bite @ G
* Special Abilities: Intelligent, Tracking Instinct Use: +3d/Day, 1x/8 Hours, Feral
Description: The hairy beasts are humanoid, but by adolescence, grow to stand as tall if not taller than the average Vrun. Adult males have been measured at over 3 Msnk (13'5”), while females stand a little shorter on average. They tends towards the coppery-bronze end of the spectrum, but coats of dark sable and umber have also been reported in the deepest mossy woods. Reliable trackers of even the most difficult of prey, the Letiuumasi' long-barrelled muskets are most vexing. Even bare-handed, the Letiuumasi is deadly. They are rumoured to be a rogue subject race of the Abbekqorru, and it is fact that they are fully feral and only partly civil.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

DEMESNE CARD SYSTEM PLAYTEST-



C.'s friend, S. was in town and she dropped by and I ran them through a typical 'get to know your island' adventure, complete with Mind-Controlling Sleeper Aelbaan and Living Ancients coming to realise what they thought was to be only 3 Weeks of Cold Sleep travel turned out to be longer. 90% of the stars in the sky were simply gone, replaced with rainbowed ribons and streamers of dust and stellar fragments still spilling outward from the exploded core.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

A random hand is assigned to each player and the Demesne Hand. The house received 3 cards, while S. received 4, and C. 5. These were replenished regularly, and the total only went down. Eventually a rest spot was found in overland trekking and a new Hand total was determined with the house drawing fewer by one.

I'll skip the actual mechanics involved, save that I didn't miss dice one lick.

The battle with grotto fish people spilled out as a conjured storm helped to blot out the setting sun, as the fishies were not fond of bright light. A siege resulted in the PCs being sent out in search of a good camp for the entire community of Saltwick to fall back to. The fish-folk employed bio-weapons in the form of shellfish explosives and launched shell-dwellers, with each creature's bio-properties acting upon those affected by shrapnel.

Savannah animals in that typical close-quarters non-conflict where the prey are simply watching the predator walking by, glancing at them disinterestedly. No conflicts were encountered and the animals simply scattered or moved slowly as suited them, and the party (2 PCs, 3 NPCs) pressed on, choosing not to enter the cloud and mist-choked, rain-forest/jungle clinging to the dormant volcano inner slope.

So, then they found the ship wreckage and a nearby shaft leading down to the craft covered by layers of quick deposition sediments and ash covered by sod. Since the folk of Saltwick are/were civilised folk with Imperial Caste training, the PCs: Kether Medical/Survival, and Marrumi Ship's Weapons/Scout Services, and NPCs were not ignorant of what a bulkhead was nor that the door could potentially be cranked open.

Accidentally Activating cryo units, two blondes, and three dark-haired (2 males, 1 female) spilled out nude from their blue-goo tanks. Soon it was time for the 'older' Aelbaan woman to try and assert dominance, which failed, resulting in her death -- riddled with bullets. The three Vrun shouted for the other blonde to be killed, and the NPCs obliged them after she lunged either at them or the newly thawed Vrun-Ancients.

By utilising the cards the player/house is able to initiate conflict, or make friendly gestures, with trumping power evident by the comparison of cards. My old system from the '90's.

As S. is down from elsewhere, it is unlikely we'll soon continue, unless we run a G+ hangout game or something like that.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Media Whores-

Offered without commentary:

via Allen Varney on G+

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Monday, August 1, 2011

Friday Vanguard Antics-

Friday we switched things up, and I ran C. and BB through a Space Age era game, set on a backwater, tide-locked world racked by storms at the twilight boundary.

The two made Hero figures with a cost equal to two or three (or more) Squads, each. Better stats and gear, including a Metroid-type suit for C.'s character.

The scenario we started to play around 10pm was a pit fight, using GW Necr*munda building cards and plastic doors to form a two-level area. The Metroid-suit tested a few fiddly bits of the Simultaneous Activation as modified by Attack Rank, having her roll up and then interrupt their Close Combat by disengaging and then firing. BB's Satchel Charge only clipped a figure or two, and then they had to move in closer to get good angles.

I (as usual) couldn't hit the PCs to save the NPCs' lives, and they won handily, beginning the RP of being courted by fight managers and so forth. I think this will be the period in which the Friday game will be set. Travel, dangers, and local colour.

TL;DR: Things go boom.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Fleshed Out Version of the Fill-in the Blanks Adventure-



Six Vrun ex-Scouts turned bandits.
--Operating out of Turnem's Redoubt on the Soumel isthmus, they control travel along the land-bridge as well as the crossroads to Mellornem Tal, the largest population centre in the sedgy and reedy lakelands area atop a great heath moor. The aerospaceport site is entirely heedless of this, and would have to be persuaded $ to care $.

Holograph Projectors and Light-bending Cloaks allow the four men and two women to appear in greater numbers than actually present. The six are armed with rifles of various grades and tech levels, but each is capable of multiple shots before the former Scouts resort to short swords. Each wears a back and breast vest, and three possess dark-vision goggles.

BANDITS-(M)[3mv]
Menace Rating: 05-25 | 01-03FD+n | 47-81DP | +0Def | -3H ARM | ATK: By Weapon | ATK: Brawling @ V
* Special Abilities: possible, but rare

Old Dill is the blinded 7th member of the rogue Scout group, and alone possesses the knowledge of how to overcome the trials facing would-be thieves of the hoard. He will need to be brought along, or Powers will have to be used to gain the information otherwise.

* RIDDLE: In actuality it is a keypad entry sequence that activates a blast door to open. After the door has been open for 5 Rounds, it begins to close with (BDY 25) strength.

* SEA CAVE: A partially collapsed submarine facility that is now flooded with 1/2 Msnk (less than 3'). The only portions above the waves are the loading piers of flooded and partially collapsed dry dock bays. It is atop the furthest and driest of these piers that the Hag makes her domicile in a heap of boxes and industrial containers, decorated with enticing tools and machine parts, with hints of holographic crystalline computer tech scattered about.

* HAG: The centuries old thing is mad with bitter loneliness and envy. A former lover of the Manthyqir, Tshared, he banished her from his presence but out of pitty, allowed her to guard the entrance to his lair, to receive his scraps, and to listen to Tshared's poetry and singing.

B.YXELNM/'Women Whose Faces Cause Terror', 'Hag'-(M)[4mv]
Menace Rating: 54 | 4FD+4 | 102DP | +1Def | -3 ARM | ATK: Sword | ATK: Bite @ G | ATK: Fists @ B
* Special Abilities: Genius, Native Spells (15 Pt. Effects/3rd Level Spells)
Description: Hags come in a variety of loathsome forms, although early life appears normal. Once the Hag Beetle matures within the host-daughter, the resultant sybiote of the two creatures comes into existence. In time, beetles eat their way out of the host daughter. Once complete, only her Undead skeleton and connective tissues remain, animated by the outer covering of the beetles. Invariably evil towards humanity and other human-framed creatures (Humanoids and such Monstrous Beings as well), they take perverse delight in generating fear, the Hag is a hungry predator. The Native Spells of the Hag Clans are hereditary, although darker secrets of blood alchemy can bypass this.

If slain, her treasures include the tools and parts before mentioned (3d6^2 [9-324] Count-worth), 3 complete sets of Late Summer Era Field Plate in the Guild Combine style of the period (800 Ct each), and a dozen polearms, swords, and shields from that period until the last century (totalling 3d6x36 Ct).

Once the airlock door is found and opened, a ladder down opens into a maintenance corridor with heavy pipes painted red and showing no wear over the unknown centuries. In general, the underwater facility is in remarkably well-preserved condition, and largely devoid of any scattered treasures.

In an open area with four partial walls of lockers and a circle of benches in the centre, opposition to the Party's advance is met in the form of additional toughs in Tshared's employ.
A few will sport minor cybernetic gear, but these are merely replacement parts, and not much better (if at all) than the meat part lost.
These fighters (Human and Humanoid, male and female) are rather taken with their leader and don't take kindly to intruders. They are hard and merciless, but are not robots of Tshared, and can possibly be convinced or tempted away with the right offer well presented, as well as an immediate gear upgrade (better weapons and armour, etc.)

BANDITS-(M)[3mv]
Menace Rating: 05-25 | 01-03FD+n | 47-81DP | +0Def | -3ARM | ATK: By Weapon | ATK: Brawling @ V
* Special Abilities: possible, but rare

If things begin to go badly for them, Tshared will literally fly into combat with the chiefest of offenders and kill them as quickly as possible, for he cares for his wards.

Tshared the Manthyqir-(VL)[5mv Ground, 15mv Air]
Menace Rating: 117 | 9FD+9 | 300DP | +1Def | -3ARM | ATK: Bite @ G | ATK: Rake @ B | ATK: Quill @ V
* Special Abilities: Flight, Genius, Ranged Attack (Quills as Coil Pistol), Tech Savvy
Description: A wagon-sized leonine figure with a humanish face, obvious bat-like wings, and a great fleshy pod at the end of its python-like tail. It is from this bio-factory that the glassy quills are launched in its air skirmishes. Wise enough after these many decades to avoid Close Combat, Tshared is nevertheless a powerful fighter willing to finish the fight once started. His exceptional reasoning, senses, and memory should all play towards a trap-laden encounter where rushing to attack him will only bring about the doom of the fools. Tshared will attempt to parley with his attackers and offer them his protection in exchange for loyalty. He is honourable.

If given the opportunity to show his hospitality, he will treat those he senses are truthful in their allegiance to him to the best he has, as his army enjoy. Those, however who play him false, Tshared will kill and devour before the others as a lesson.

It is unlikely the adventure will end with the PCs joining up, so, in the eventuality that combat ensues anew, and Tsared is either slain or more likely, driven off, the hoard of treasure includes:

* A green-gilt sword
:: Legend Lore: A century or more ago, was held by knight with lady fair. The knight fell in battle with a pinioned, quilled beast not well depicted in the flashbacks, and lost in battle, the sword came to rest within the cave beneath.

* five small sacks, and two more large of gold
* copper there is plenty
* silver coins whose mint, unknown, shows the figure of a winged thing with scorpion tail in the foreground, and a rocket in the background.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

You Fill in the Stats Micro Adventure-

You Fill in the Stats-

A misty valley of cool nights, and Lair of fell villains
unknown save their ensign: a banner of Black with Blood Red Rook 'neath a 'horned moon
On the misty moor roads-- Bandits, Striking even at noonday hour, unchallenged
Three thorps held at bay, and signs of a greater hand in all this

A dozen men some say, but none for certain 'seen more than six at a time
Cloaked and armed with better kit than the local folk can muster
Last man that tried to bring justice was found with blue foxes and gore birds covering him

A collective hoard, And one man left to guard it:
* A riddle, * a sea cave, * a powerful hag within
Then, beyond: the manticore, Ancient and powerful, The last of the high bloods
Negotiator with subterfuge, Cunningly played, he can be a lasting foe

Among the treasures:
* A green-gilt sword :: Legend Lore: A century or more ago, was held by knight with lady fair,
the knight fell in battle with a pinioned, quilled beast, and sword did rest within the cave

Amid the fortunes: five small sacks, and two more large of gold,
while platinum there are none, but copper there be plenty
and silver coins whose mint, unknown, shows the figure
of a winged thing with scorpion tail

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Vanguard Friday-

Logistics aside, both C. and BB added three Operators to their Squad Control Records, forming an 8-person Fortified Squad/Mobile Platoon.

* C.'s Squad are primarily Elite, Mobile Infantry, Grenadier, Mounted figures.

* BB's are Elite, Combat Engineers, Mixed Specialists, Aquatic figures.

Last night's scenario was a water-based infiltration by my forces, repelled by the Players' fortified squads operating in tandem. A Papa Bravo Romeo was the infiltrators' vehicle, while BB had kayaks in the water. C.'s squad took and returned grenades and there were many casualties.

No clear winner, as we had to vacate the shop before it finished.