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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

[OT] Behind Enemy Lines (part III) + Structural Integrity-

The cat gave us a scare by somehow getting out last night and getting wounded in a glorious battle with either another cat, or a possum. He seems to be on the mend with anti-biotics and rehydration, but we'll be monitoring him more closely.

Book 4: British Commandos, and The Guns of Navarone arrived today, as did Albedo: Structural Integrity. All three look good, with lots of crunch to SI, and Commandos. TGoN looks like one of the better military adventures written.


Monday, June 29, 2009

Beta Update-

So as to CMA, I will tentatively suggest that a more realistic Beta .pdf release date will be July 7th, but it may be sooner. I'd rather give you folks a better product than a worse one. I'm certain you can understand and appreciate that.

On the plus side, I have made a test-run of the .pdf creation/hosting on LuLu and found it to be very simple.

A few things have changed through the editing process, and mainly affect character creation. These changes are simplifications which reduce what I perceived as an increasing tendency for PCs dependency upon Technical Skills (Pick Locks, etc.).
Now, there are two Characteristics: Knowledge and Technical, which establish a baseline value for all persons to be able to attempt non-Combat, non-Magic actions, such as the Apothecary's Assay, Concoct, Formulate, etc. Technical Skills still exist, but play a secondary role, as bonuses to specific applications of either Knowledge or Technical. Ethnic or Species modifiers still apply.

Another change is that of an expanded Ability Score range chart, opening it up to 0 -- 21, with significant differences between many/most scores (more so than B/X, and closer to Mutant Future's, but not exactly the same, and less crunchy than 1e). With this change, the explanation of the Characteristics (and Critical Tests) have been refined and unified in description.
Like Knowledge and Technical, a character's base combat ability has also been more clearly defined/presented as part of the overall Characteristics.

A few other minor changes make the character more important than any skills and brings things back closer to the Classic-play games, while retaining UWoM's unique 'Look and Feel'.

I'll be reading and replying to your blogs during this week, but am unlikely to post much otherwise.


Saturday, June 27, 2009


The 16 Adventure Locations are finally complete (although now must pass through the assaying flame of my editor).

The twice-monthly C&C game is today, and although I still have work to do, I plan on enjoying myself with good guys and a fun GM running us through Freeport.

Tomorrow ought to be a rough day of compiling and forming a presentable .pdf
I may be delayed a day or two, as I hope to host it on LuLu, rather than my ISP, or something like Rapidshare, etc.

The Aberrations will have to be released as a separate file, as previously discussed.

I hope I don't come down with a bug, as I have been neglecting myself (especially sleep) these past few weeks.


Friday, June 26, 2009

[OT] Behind Enemy Lines (part II)-

It has arrived.
Apparently I was incorrect as to the dating. The Companions version I originally had was a later, 1985, version of the game rules, and FASA's was the original in 1982.
That said, sadly, I prefer The Companions version better. TC version had photographs instead of sketchy line drawings, and was better thought/laid-out overall.

In any case, I will be digging into this and my Victory Games' (and MISSION) soon after I put the wrap on the beta .pdf.

Speaking of which: Back to work.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Entirely Off-Topic (or is it?)-

Because part of me is incorporated with the Classic-play RPG Blogosphere's mindshare programme, I will post my ad hoc combination a la Jeff's Alchemical post:

Car Wars
Belter (Traveller sup.)
Advanced Trooper VOTOMS
Principalities of Glantri
"Armoured Furries compete for Resources in System Space."

The above rules-sets are all d6 based, with the mechanics of each being 2d6 (if memory serves), perhaps making 'borrowing and blending' easier. Paul Kidd's Comparison Chart-based system featured in ALBEDO (and later, in Lace and Steel) is pretty darned nifty in my book, and would bring a great deal to the other two listed. Car Wars not only provides very detailed vehicle design and combat rules, but taken in full (Uncle Al's, Aeroduel, and Tank Wars) would more than flesh-out the ALBEDO rules for conducting atmospheric -- surface warfare. Chainmail would lend the wargameiness to massing personnel and materiel.

Advanced Trooper VOTOMS setting, while typical over-the-top anime schmalz, has an interesting world-by-world military milieu which could easily be condensed into a single large and delightfully unlikely star system, confining the action and travel-time-scale to a significant, but not overwhelming, backdrop for adventures. Belter, an old boxed Traveller sub-setting, unsurprisingly enough focused upon asteroid miners and their struggles for equality and/or autonomy while maintaining their grip on the economic ladder. Basic D&D's Gazeteer series, The Principalities of Glantry sub-setting is one of my fondest young-adult memories, and substituting space-based Houses for the noble-houses in that booklet, while treating the city and environs as the Homeworld and Inner Planets, ought to prove a winning combination.

All stitched together, radiant elements within asteroids are the primary mega-resource which power the spacefaring societies' technology, while the bare minerals of the rocks form the raw materials and locales for much of the action/conflict/exploration, given that (monstrous and) hostile alien life forms from a vanished epoch are dispersed throughout the home-system in old complexes and more recent bases.

Eliminating all of the standard PC races, and allowing only Anthropomorphics and traditional D&D monster-types to inhabit the same milieu ought to generate more complicated scenarios than simple 'Human/Demi-Human good-guys v. Humanoid/Monsters baddies'-conflict. No doubt that more technologically-developed, spacefaring Hyena Anthros meeting their throwback Gnoll cousins would be hard-pressed to utterly abandon (misguided) thoughts of 'uplift', while the Gnolls are only concerned with securing caseless battlerifles and the occasional hover FAV.

But... All of this will have to wait a potential lifetime for me to address in an actual RPG.
It was fun cooking it up, 'though.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

[OT] Behind Enemy Lines-

With all of the comments on James Maliszewski's Grognardia blog on the role of re-supply in Classic game play, I thought it would be a good time to share my happiness at having re-secured Behind Enemy Lines, WWII RPG, and picked up Book 4: British Commandos, and The Guns of Navarone accessories.

I was first introduced to this game around the time Chaosium put out the Ringworld boxed set, but at the time, had no interest in such things, given my mother's experience in Germany between '39 and '46.
Since then, and my brief and aborted interest in serving in the US Army a tad prior to the, um, armed procurement of Panama's strongman in '89 during Operation Just Cause (or. 'Just 'cuz'), I fell upon lean RPG days while living in Jacksonville, FL., where I was exposed to wargames. While no History wiz, I certainly had a decent grasp on the bigger picture, which won me a degree of favour with the local minis guys, and I was allowed to watch and participate in a few such games.
From there, I picked up Victory Games' AMBUSH!, and soon after, SHELL SHOCK!, and mashed those rules together with Games Workshop's Necromunda 1e, and Kabal Gaming Systems' M.I.S.S.I.O.N. . However, it wasn't until I scored an old The Companions edition of BEL that it all started to gel (being primarily a student of individual behaviour rather than corporate entities, due to my Psychology background).

So, I was stumbling around on the web just a day or two ago, and on a lark, made another search for a copy of the game, and found it on Amazon, while the accessories were on eBay. Since the announcement of the game's shipping landed in my inbox, I thought the convergence of topics was great synchronicity.


[RPG] Cover Art Final-

To your right you will see the art final for the game's cover.

Peter Mullen is the man.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

[Milieu] Serialised Novel link-

While this tale is in a far-flung region of the Metacosmos, and only occasionally references Urutsk and its sister world Aqmlk, it is a part of The Grand Tapestry.

I thought that readers of this blog may be interested in additional background.

[Milieu] Visual Input-

While Durn is not at all the focus of Urutsk, it is an important aspect of the setting.

Some links to follow for visual inspiration as regards the forts of the Duhen Shes Wied'am:

--The different sorts of forts and stables and other buildings are all more or less like:

* African Moslem sea-side fortresses LINK,

* Petra's beautiful canyon buildings LINK,

* the Ethopian hidden cites (just gorgeous stuff, IMO) LINK,

* Spaghetti-Western movie towns LINK
[the photos click-through at the immediate right],

* South Western Pueblos LINK

Saturday, June 20, 2009

[Playtest Campaign] Down, down, down, and the flames grew higher...-

(c) Copyright Kyrinn S. Eis All Rights Reserved

After surviving the tentacular horror that erupted from the Qerzyk sewers; the fire-storm from the docks; and the run-in with the Hierophantic Church wizard, the parties have decided to stay together in their Kherstic League assigned exploration of the Undercity. Some of the party went to ask for the improved armour and weapons for their larger force, and had a funny series of vignettes with the K-League personnel: From the ore-cart 'train' operator and their crash at the end of the line; the snobbish subterranean terrarium 'Druids'; the distracted Armoury clerk who was reading a colour comic book; the shipping and fulfilment workers in the shop; and the interaction with the less than delicate war veteran NPC, Byllys. The hydraulic freight elevator was operated by tiny green humanoids clearly well-integrated to Kherstic League.

A continuation of events in previous sessions involving human Spacers encountering difficulty upon reaching Urutsk was had just as the characters emerged with their gear being loaded onto wagons and carriages.
My fiction and games tend to be rather bitter-sweet and in this scene, three survivors were aloft in some sort of sail-'chute gondola, and through the use of Clairvoyance, and then Clairaudience, one of the party members came to understand that of the three occupants, one had died of his wounds, a second felt he was too badly injured to make the attempt to 'ditch' the craft, and he suggested to the woman, that she take the entire potion, rather than the two of them likely not receiving the benefit at all. She imbibed the entire potion, bade him farewell, mentioned 'to the 909th', and made her leap. The woman glided, and used a sash to brake and finally landed not far from where the party ran to meet her. She was then asked a few questions, before being picked up by a Kherstic envoy.

With the 20 veteran Men-at-Arms now wearing cold-cast platemail, and bearing polearms and longswords, the party re-entered the formerly hidden surface entrance. They quickly re-searched the areas they had previously fought a (troll) and six (ghouls). They failed to spot a secret door. BTW, I am using Christopher B.'s Cold Mountain dungeon map, and the players so totally screwed up their mapping so as to make it pointless for them to continue.
Things were weird for them as they encountered nothing but guard posts and torture chambers, clearly hundreds, if not thousands, of years old. However, by the time the entered the second troop barracks, I had successfully lulled them into complacency. Animated corpses, superficially akin to Sons of Kyuss began to appear from the overturned cots and tables. Ceanek (Cici) throw an alchemical fire-bomb, and once the worms began to take damage, their shrill cries subjected the party (including Kitty, the bear) to a Control (Spells) Critical Test and all but two of the characters failed it -- including the cursing M-a-A's. As the affected ran back up[ the stairs, into the first barrack, the cries alerted the critters in that room. At first sight of them, the affected fled down the side corridor, and ran into the Armoury. Once behind the thick door which dulled the sound, the party present were freed of the effect. I am using the three dots on Chris' map as murder holes (it doesn't need to make much sense), and with one good strike, Ashta smashed through the thin stone with a mattock, revealing the 20x20 room that cuts into the Armoury. I placed a psychic Lift Shaft there, and soon that lot began fiddling about with its operation and made an initial reconnoitre of the next higher level (which they realised 'ought' to be at street level).

Cici and the psychic (sounds like '70's sit-com) briefly did what they thought would help, but it was to no avail. Cici was separated between the two barracks, in the parallel corridor. She tried to use her Turning ability, but the fear did not permit that. She settled on throwing a bomb on either side of her down the corridor, and settled in for meditation. Her mace allows her to 'power-up' the +1 to Hit/+2 to Damage weapon by +1/+1 for every full five of her Dodge Points invested in the weapon. We had already discussed that if all of her points were invested, though her body die, her spirit would remain in the weapon. Cici did so, and found herself at the hilltop monastery, on the perpetually mist-shrouded stone bridge. She saw herself as a scared little girl, and eventually took her hand and guided her through the mist. Cici came out of meditation clear of the effect, and immune to it for the remainder of the encounter, and all but 5 DPs still invested in the mace.
Renewed, she was able to turn the lot of critters pounding on the armoury door (I gave her that boost), and she was able to enter the Armoury and join the others.

They discover that while Kitty was cowering at the base of the stairs that lead to the kennel, that it was occupied by Worg who exhibited at least human-level intelligence when contacted by the psychic. The beasts were trying to tunnel to their food source, but the stone was too thick.
Up a level, the characters proceed down a corridor until Ashta realises that it is made of ship metal (the weapons had been identified as full metal (as opposed to alloys or metalloids), now rare on Urutsk), and that something 'odd' was up ahead. The psychic decided to reach out and was contacted by an organic AI which instantly identified him as being other than fully Human, and fired at him but missed --the mechanism being so old and all... ;) Delver, the Western Isles Vrun lesser noble who had continued to change more toward his Aelbaan ancestry after using several doses of Mummy Dust from their first group adventure, was the next to be attacked. His Energy Reflection aberration manifest, and the LASER was disabled by its own beam.

Further down the same corridor they came to a heavy sliding door with no obvious controls. Tybalt cast his Jaunt spell and hopped to the other side of the door.
The Men-at-Arms got bored and started taunting the undead to fall into the shaft, while others tinkered with the hatch the LASER had lowered from. Mela Mela, the apothecary, clambered up once the Grogs had spent four hours dismantling it from its lowered base. Thousands of spiders (the player shivered in disgust) fled from her torch light and allowed her to creep along the conduit until she could see into a room in which Tybalt, three other Humans,an Aelbaan (they'd not yet met one), and a bipedal insectoid with tech gear on its harness were frozen in a shimmering electrical stasis field in what looked like a brig.
Mela reported this to the party and they then fiddled with the door frame until a stream of the liquid-like energy could be seen. When Cici cut the stream with a dagger, she exploded and coated the party with her tiny chunks of gore. But-- the psychic paid his points and we instead wound back the tape to that moment. I gave him and her an Initiative roll, and he won, saving her life.

They then retreated down the other side of the corridor, past the Lift Shaft, and they decided to fire an arrow into it instead. 10d6, and 36 points of electrical damage later, half of the M-a-A's were at 0, the others dead, and the party badly wounded (3/4 made their save for 18). Byllys was one of the hardier ones and was still up, and began resuscitating those of his brothers he could while the party downed 1d6+3 healing potions and with remnants, tried to revive as many of the fighters as possible.

Meanwhile, the field had dropped, and the insectoid began to attack one of the humans. The Aelbaan began trying to tear the bug's head off, and was assisted in attacking the creature by one of the others. Tybalt seemed stunned (his player, actually) and didn't participate in time before the Aelbaan had accomplished his mission. The other human was dead, having been fed upon.
The Aelbaan began speaking in its language, then using its psychic powers to boss folks around as they forced the partially open door.

The party reunited, bolstered by the other humans (an Yirinn, and a Kaukara, both male), and all were bossed about by the Aelbaan who recognised that both Delver and Ashta have diluted kindred blood.

We held it there at 1:40 AM.

Friday, June 19, 2009

[Language][Milieu] Duhen Shes Wied’am-

(c) Copyright 2009 Kyrinn S. Eis All Rights Reserved

And, in case you were wondering what Duhen Shes Wied'am means:

Duhen Shes Wied’am

Least-Duty, Wrought Spirits, Abiding: Freewill Dedicants
Abiding Spirit, Least Wrought, Duty: Guardians of Exile

Subtle-Work, Subtle-Spirit: Blessed
Subtle-Spirit, Working-Subtly: Efficacious

Very-Least-Breath, Spirit-Duty, Heavenward Journey: Dedicated [even to the] Death
First-Journey, -Dutiful-Spirit, Dust-wind: Discorporating and Returning to Origin

[Milieu][Wargaming] R'Tshen Skirmish/Tactical Rules-

Badelaire said...

Unless I missed it in an earlier post, any chance of a summary of these skirmish rules, perhaps what sort of troop level they work at, any comparable rules sets you're coming close to? I'm always interested in new skirmish/wargaming rules sets.

Badelaire, et al.,

(c) Copyright 2009 Kyrinn S. Eis All Rights Reserved

R'Tshen, which, when translated into English, means, "Ranks -- Exceedingly-Subtle, (Dedicated), Ready", is a miniatures combat training game for the Duhen Shes Wied'am warriors of the Durn Holy Kingdom.

The Duhen Shes Wied'am are folk (male and female) who have lived their life, and want to give back to the Community with the rest of the time allotted to them. To do this, they exile themselves outside the massive circular wall which surrounds the Holy Kingdom, into the profane world, where they build, maintain, and man fortifications. Their task is to try and persuade raiders/invaders/miscreants to turn away before Wrath rain down upon them from On High.

Barring the abandonment of their opponent's folly, the Duhen Shes Wied'am swarm from under-sand corridors to isolate small units of the enemy, so as to make their holy work more efficient (and reduce the DSW casualties, naturally). Even when their foes are at their mercy, the DSW attempt to pacify the attackers.

To train for combat, the DSW utilise R'Tshen to illustrate both squad (Draslin) tactics, and the consequences of defeat. Players take their figures (Zaul) and place them, with the DSW generally given first-go, and the attackers positions randomly determined based on the outter ranks of the DSW set-up.

The R'Tshen rules exclusively use lots and markers/tags to indicate the Zaul's status, as well as conducting all Actions. Figures generally represent either a Draslin, made up of five Dras, or its leader, a Drasl. If a Draslin is damaged, survivors may rally and form a new Draslin. If not, they will usually be attached directly to a Drasl. If this is the case, they are known as Endras. Dras without either a Draslin, or a Drasl are still capable of individual action, but lose a great deal of effectiveness.

It is a 1 Hit = 1 Trooper scale, but allows for 'dodges' that either outright negate the Hit, or reduce them to half-Hits, which do not affect Combat Actions, but do penalise Movement and non-Combat Actions (Correcting Machinery, Item Use, etc.).

Penalties and Bonuses use multiple Lots per Action, with the worse/worst, or better/best of them determining the result. All Lots have one of six colours, as do each of the Zaul. Only on a Draw of their Colour does a Zaul meet with Full Success. Partial Success is generated by associated Colours, and are further delineated by Like and unLike Lots.

Drasl are 5-Hit figures capable of any-, and everything that Dras, Draslin, or Endras can accomplish. Their prowess and Divine favour also manifests in their ability to automatically detect Ambush and Traps, but even still, Draws are necessary to warn their Dras in time.

Since most scenarios outside of League-play are not connected, healing is generally not a major feature, but is addressed. Drasl can contribute 3x as many Lots toward Healing.

Grognardian Madness! Madness, I Say!

James Maliszewski of GROGNARDIA has posted my favourite Erol Otus Drow image.

Thanks again, James. :)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

[RPG][Wargaming] Update-

Agh! :[
These last eight Leaders are kicking my imaginative-ass. They are about all that is keeping me from going-over the rest of the text and determining what stays and what gets chopped from the beta. Aberrations are almost certainly out of the main document, as I expected a (few?) weeks ago. I may put the tech-arms/armour into another document and later compile these for the live edition.

R'Tshen, the skirmish/tactical rules, at least, are coming along nicely.
Jeff Berry has asked me permission to play-test with his regular Tekumel group. Um..."w00t"! :D
I am finishing up the greatly expanded outline for their use.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Brief Update-

To remain productive even while taking a break from the Adventure Locales, I have been working on a Skirmish/Tactical wargaming rules outline, based on the rules utilised by folks described in one of the Adventure Locales.
I've sent off what I had at the time to Jeff Berry (who seems to have made good progress back to health --thanks), and have expanded it since then, and seen glimpses of later era variants.
The most different aspect to it is the diceless mechanics that instead use a narrow, but robust version of my Colour Logic system with tokens drawn from a container, just as is used in-setting.

The AL is coming along nicely, and the data-headings, and rumours nicely fill-out the locations.

Friday, June 12, 2009

[RPG] Ancient Wonders Procedure-

(c) 2009 Kyrinn S. Eis All Rights Reserved

Ancient Wonders, Technical Skills, and Aberrations-

What once were the commonplace tools of living and leisure for the Ancients are now considered archaeological treasures and great boons.

While both Intelligence and Wisdom must certainly play a role in determining the type of item, and diagnosing its condition, with a strong argument that high Dexterity may illuminate additional features on most purely-mechanical devices, surely experience itself is a great teacher? So far we have something like this:
  • Base Percentage Chance (BPC) based upon the item's Utility (01% -- 100+%, with higher being better). Simpler, or more 'user-friendly' items are easier to activate in their intended manner than similarly complex items with lower Utility.
  • +/- 5% per Modifier on Exp, Wis, Int, and Dex
  • Condition modifies the Threshold: Irreperable +100, Badly Damaged +75, Minor Damage -0, Superficial Damage -05, Display Item -10, New In Box -25, NIB still in Crate -50
  • Remove Traps to Disarm/Make-Safe, Diagnose Condition, and effect Repair
  • Open Locks to Diagnose and Clear Correctable Malfunctions/Reset
  • Technologians have the correct skill set to perform these procedures, and receive a flat +20% bonus in addition to their rolls
  • Certain Aberrations provide specific bonuses at various stages in the Identification/Diagnosis/Repair process
The Referee then rolls the dice and determines whether the character has discovered how to operate the item, provided it were working properly, and had whatever power needed.

Clearly, a series of steps are necessary to take an artefact and bring it back to operational level. To speed things along, I've come up with this procedure:
  1. Spend an amount of coin on diagnosis and any possible repair at a cost equal to the item's XP value. A rush job will cost at least double (1d4+1x), and subtracts 25 from the item's Utility until the first six times it is used, decreasing by 6% each time until only 1% has degraded until the minor repair is performed.
  2. Spend the XP for the Armour/Weapon Proficiency or Open Locks +%s necessary to operate the item in the field
  3. Pay 1/2 the XP value of the item (if discovered, it may be a 'free cost')
That's it. Now the figure has legally purchased full operational usage of an Ancient wonder.


I didn't intend this.
Honestly, I'm not a masochist.

As I was editing the 16 Adventure Locations and their Leaders, I realised that each of them needed at least a few Rumours, if not an Encounter Chart.
Yeah, so, no, I'm not as close to being finished with the writing as I had intended, but yes, I think it will be a better product for the inclusion of those features.

* I've also fiddled with the Tunnels & Trolls snap-conversions (from ARGUS to T&T), and it looks like a nice mix between the very minimalist MR rating and a D&Dism. If anything, I think the T&T critters are laterally improved (Saving Roll bonuses) if not the overall number of dice they are rolling.

--In brief
  • Each Fight Die is 5 Monster Rating
  • AB is the creature's Combat Adds (and if one adds the CT value, Missile Adds)
  • # Attacks is the minimum number of d6 the creature rolls
  • modified Resolve is Spell-casting POW
  • modified CT is the creature's LK score
Defence and Armour perform the same function, although Defence could be added to Defence and Stunt SR totals (dodging the Giant), while the Armour listing could be replaced with the Armour values in T&T, or used as is.

Other rules-set modifications (again to ARGUS, without affecting the host-system) are coming to mind, and as I write them up, I'll have an eye toward posting them alongside with the free Beta .pdf when it becomes available for your perusal and hoped-for testing.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

[Business][RPG] Business Declaration & Conversion Essentials-

(c) Copyright 2009 Kyrinn S. Eis All Rights Reserved.

I am taking this opportunity to announce my desire and intent to operate as Alternate Reality Games (ARG), and launching the ARGUS game engine at the same time.

ARGUS, Alternate Reality Games Universal System is geared to operate seamlessly with any Classic RPG, offering on the fly conversion guidelines for a variety of systems and character generation methods. The in-house term attached to this sort of product is, an 'overlay'.

ARGUS, although it contains its own reference framework, is written so as to allow near transparent use with games as varied as Tunnels & Trolls and Metamorphosis Alpha. It accomplishes this by using generic terminology in the tradition of the old Mayfair products, but in the same way, ARGUS can operate as a stand alone RPG.

In order to facilitate quick-conversion, I have chosen the three creature headings most different from the 0th-Edition and Basic games of yore, and their modern equivalents:


  • In DAC (Descending Armour Class) games, subtract the Defence value from 9 to arrive at the figure's DAC.
  • In AAC (Ascending Armour Class) games, add Defence to 10 to determine the figure's AAC.
The Armour rating after a Defence score may be ignored, or may instead be treated as a sort of Weapon versus Armour modifier:
  • 1d4: +4 AC versus Light Weapons/Attacks (1d4 or less [1d6-1])
  • 1d6: +3 AC versus Medium Weapons/Attacks (1d6 or less [1d6])
  • 1d8: +2 AC versus Heavy Weapons/Attacks (1d8 or less [1d6+1])
The progression would be continued if higher die-types are encountered.


Operates as Morale and can operate as Monster Reaction value.
The listed Resolve score, divided by 2, and 1d6 added to that, is the creature's Morale score.
The number generated can act as the creature's Reaction value, if deemed appropriate by the Referee/GM.

Critical Test (CT)-

Treat it as a Single Number Saving Throw by subtracting the score from 20, and rolling equal to or greater than that on d20, as per a normal 'Save'.

[RPG] Cover Update-

Kindly note the updated cover sketch.

Thank you,

Saturday, June 6, 2009

[Wargaming] Solo Game Design-

This post started out as a reply to one of David Larkins' The Mini Corner blog entries.

At one point I just walked away from the gamers I was 'stuck with' given my location, and broke out my minis and began designing a condition-modified solo game system in which I had no control over events or the opposition, all determined at random (within said conditional framework akin to Victory Games' Ambush!).

I would sit at the kitchen table and get bombed and then move my handful of minis around the terrain as the dice determined at manner of terrible near-future and sci-fi CQB situations. It was a rare victory for my Necromunda Escher gang figures, and each time I sent out a veteran of previous games, I felt the sense of dread at what would befall her.

My SO would come in and smile at my set-up and my pained expression as the girls were pinned down or wounded out in the open.

So, it is possible to be a soloist and be in a steady relationship ('stable' certainly didn't apply in that case).

Bruck-up, soldier! ;)

I devoured Victory Games' AMBUSH!, SHELL SHOCK!, LEATHERNECK! games, and had become such a great enthusiast of Kabal Gaming Systems' M.I.S.S.I.O.N., that it may be argued that it was inevitable that I would devise a sort of Artificial Intelligence gaming engine to keep myself entirely off balance while plotting my protagonist(s) incursions or exfiltrations on the gaming surface.
In its most stable incarnation, I used 2d12 to randomly determine the Condition of the enemy in whatever area my figures (sometimes only a dot on a sheet of paper as I plotted its/their continuous course) had entered, and dealt with the consequences as they arose using a dirt-simple d6 resolution system.
My favourite maps were those included in the Victory Games' games and modules, and I still use them to this day on the rare occasion I feel my RPG sessions require player visual aids.

In one scenario, my elite squad of drop-troop misfits (including a conscript with Psychic Invisibility) were sent into an enemy research camp to steal an experimental hovertank. Two of them died when their Fall-Limiter gear failed to function: One impacted, another snapped her neck, hung up in the forest. Although shaken (a Condition), the surviving members slowly, slow infiltrated the camp's lightly guarded outer perimeter into the abandoned hamlet, and then broke up into to elements to make the best use of time.
The commander of the mission, his honour guard Sgt, and the colour guard Corporal dealt with the bulk of the guards, while the other element (including the conscript) stealthily entered the hanger bay wherein the hovertank was located.
In the subsequent Rounds, the foreign conscript advanced one sub-measure of the hanger hex each step, as he moved directly toward the two guards who were playing cards. Just as he moved to within striking distance, one of the guards saw through the psionic screen and noticed the guy, but missed him and unintentionally struck one of the other infiltrators, mortally wounding him. The psychic and the other member were then engaged in a very loud CQB that alerted the rest of the camp, one guard at a time until the klaxon was sounded.

With no one left to pilot the craft, the two activated it and slowly crash-drifted through the quonset hut, unable to effectively steer it while the rest of the team ran through a hail of gunfire to jump on. Three wounded, one would soon die.
The movement was slightly faster than the guards could muster until the hovertank slid down an embankment and picked up enough velocity to barely outdistance a pursuing 'jeep'. The action moved off map, and I picked up the next game a day or two later.

Everything, from mission gear loads and ammunition had all been accounted for; jams, friendly-fire, everything.
I was exhausted.

I was thrilled.

Unfortunately, the next game proved a loss, but two of the original squad managed to 'DD' out of hostile territory after the conscript gave his life to detonate the hovertank to set the enemy's plans back a few months, if not more.

So, any of you ever run solo scenarios?

[Playtest Campaign] Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight-

We started around 5PM (as opposed to 3), and were down the one player for most of the game, excepting the one hour he was present. I reminded them of what had occurred two weeks ago, and I was reminded of a fact I had forgotten.

The PCs (both parties) banded together and attempted to evade a force moving parallel to them through the misty-rained filled, dirty and soot and cinder-covered streets of Qerzyk. A brief stop in a squatter's enclave provided them with a water-refresh opportunity, and a lead-lined box in which to place the communication device Tybalt has used a few times, and is the object for which the Hierophantic Church agents desire.
Contact was re-established with the Kherstic League (their patron organisation) who warned them of the danger of wandering into the Church's scouts, but informed them that two groups of the League were triangulating onto their coordinates.

In the subsequent battle with Church-hired mercenaries armed with Coilstocks (coil-spring operated quarrel launchers actuated by a side-mounted cocking tab), and led by a Church Wizard, the PCs held a defensive position and used it to great advantage (having a black-bear equivalent in the doorway paired up with Ashta the Western Isles Hjighlands lass ('barbarian') seemed to have done the trick). Delver ('Dell-Ver'), the Western Isles lesser noble, and his female battle companion, Ceaneq (?) the quasi-Buddhist-merchant Cleric (?!) deftly dispatched two foes in two Rounds while the Wizard fired MMs at Ashta and the bear, 'Kitty'.
Ashta charged from the doorway, failed to defeat the Shield spell he was protected by, and was wide-open for the rest of the Round. The subsequent Round, she eviscerated the lout, upon which he uttered, "...impossible...' and crumpled to the bloody cobbles, at which point something small exploded out of the crown of his skull and flew off into the dark skies.
With the mercenaries no longer employed, they ceased hostilities and were not cut down by the PCs.

A moment later the Kherstic League group prematurely dispatched one merc with a quarrel in the throat, but aided the wounded once the fog of battle had cleared. The League Overseer, Daen, Jedi'd the merc captain to simply walk away.
The PCs and Kitty, and Mela Mela's riding bird all were escorted into the posh side of town. The PCs were bathed and refreshed and shown to an upstairs study in a palacial mansion, the actual building's footprint being roughly 240 acres.
There, the PCs extracted a rat-being they had captured in the sewers and began to question it in the presence of Overseer Daen. The thing, rather insane for the experience of having been turned into a humanoid, cackled in his little ratty voice, gibbering on about the Elders sitting upon their thrones, deep-deep in the earth. Then another voice began speaking through the creature as a bright light began to shine forth from the increasingly hot little creature's skull.
Daen recognised their rapidly-approaching doom, and uttered a Void spell of high enough energy-level so as to inflict aging effects upon her in consequence, a white shock shot through her luxuriant raven hair and a tremble showing in her hands at the exertion.

The rest of the session consisted of them discussing how best to spend their hefty recompense for the safe return of the comm unit, as well as selling (some of) their Mummy Spice*.
No clear plan had been formed by the time we called it a night.

It seems my concerns regarding the player are perhaps unfounded.

* "In addition to black pepper, cinnamon, ginger,
and sa ron, such spices as galangal, zedoary, long
pepper, and \grains of paradise" (malagueta pepper
from West Africa) were commonly used in medieval
cookery, along with sugar, which only later became
the commodity that we know today. These, along
with many others, including even ground mummy,
were used as medicinal drugs, while expensive aro-
matic resins and animal products such as ambergris,
castoreum, musk, and civet were used as fragrances,
both for aesthetic and for medical reasons." -- Paul H. Freedman. Out of the East: Spices and the Medieval Imagination. New Haven: Yale University
Press, 2008. x + 275 pp. ISBN 978-0-300-11199-6; $30.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-300-11199-6.

Friday, June 5, 2009

[General][Specific][Other] ;)-

I apologise for not posting for a day or two (more?), but I've been out of sorts, but am doing much better now. Thanks for the patience.
  • Also, hello to the new public subscribers. > waves <
So, yes, um, this 'ought' to have been the first week of the editing and polishing month toward the beta .pdf release, but you know how life goes. :)

I have been working with Peter Mullen on having a unified artistic feel throughout Vol. I and, my, it is looking very good. Peter is a real pleasure to work with, very professional and personable. The art alone promises to be great.
We are at the full incorporation of the 'iconic' figures in the cover's foreground, and they look sweet. :) After that, the colour begins. big grin

I am asking those inclined to pray for, or beam 'Good Thoughts' to Jeff Berry (of Qadardalikoi-fame), who is not feeling very well at all.
He and I have been discussing a project (I find fascinating, timely, and dare I say, important) which ought to fascinate anyone interested in the early history of in our hobby, as told by a witness to its proceedings. I'll keep you informed as it progresses.
Jeff is another golden individual I am blessed to have crossed paths with.

So, what is the state of Vol. I's text? Not in .pdf form, to be certain. :D
I've begun the mental layout process and letting my inspirational games help inform me of the order of elements, something I think is often overlooked in games (with 4E's PHB being a particularly odd example -- almost Lovecrafian in its bizarreness).
Likewise, last night as I was waiting to become sleepy-enough to go to bed, I was looking at the Tekumel Bestiary and its non-stat descriptions (the bulk of the work) and how the stats are entirely in the last few pages. That, my friends, is both cool, and ...not. Cool from an immersion PoV, but not in a gamist way. I think you see what I'm saying.
So, that's the sort of stuff I'm engaged in now, before I drive myself crazy (-ier) with swapping bits out and whittling text down to fit within my 96pp-limit framework. I'd like to keep it down to 64 pages, but am not certain if that'll happen. Ken told me long ago, "Less is more, unless it's not enough." I hear you, Ken (and James M.) ;)

One player is almost certainly not going to be at the game tomorrow, so we'll see how that goes. Sometimes I feel like the jaded and low attention-span youth of today -- oh look, a squirrel! I foresee his leaving the game and that potentially ending the playtest game due to his connections with the LGS owner and 'typical guy' bull. I hope I'm wrong.
Regardless, Qerzyk's Dockface is burning, and the Hierophantic Church's agents are after both sets of the PCs (both their Primes and 2nds). Could get messy.

In other news, this post on the Ode to Black Dougal blog is a really interesting topic to me, given my background(s), and I thought I would share it with you cool cats.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

[RPG] Discussion of the Nature of the Game & What to Expect-

Today, I hope to write-up a few of my Life Lab random creatures for Friday's game. I know the simultaneous and interlaced 8 die set of tables has worked well enough, but by cranking out a few critters I hope to put a first polish on the thing. The decision to allow the Referee to create their own creatures wasn't solely based on the fact that I don't anticipate writing up two and one-half score monsters to make the book 'complete' any more than I plan on writing my own versions of spells -- you folks have plenty of critters and spells available to run this in your own ways. However, I think that the Life Lab will prove more useful in the long run to the Referee than simply including an initial large list of critters. I try and help others 'empower' their games.
That isn't to say that I won't be producing setting-specific spells and creatures, but rather, that it isn't as high a priority to meet the same standard 50+ monsters and 5+ levels of spells for two caster classes as have the recent Retro Clones and Simulacra.
It is perhaps best to think of UWoM as an Arduinian sort of bolt-on accessory to your existing rules set, although, like Arduin, it will contain my own rules-set as a sort of variants offering to the community -- just like it used to be in the olden days when I was but a youff'.

Likewise, since my vehicle rules use a slight variation on my creature format, it means that I have less work to do when the time comes to write-up the Morrenhom Stryders and what few war wagons exist in the early Autumn era.

Also, unlike the recent bout of games in the Classic/Old/Disco/Punk-era vein, and much more like beloved Empire of the Petal Throne, and Skyrealms of Jorune, it has a very distinct setting to it. While I can understand and appreciate the mentality that setting-less-ness is a hallmark of the Punk-era games (again, Tekumel a conspicuous exception), by the time I really was in full omnivorous RPG swing, there was an increased tendency to include more details of a setting with/within games. I would argue that the Starship Warden and even Gamma Terra were settings, and these are almost as old as the hills, as they say.

Is there a story to the setting? Yes and No. In my fiction, it is all pointing to a specific 'big picture', but I have intentionally not pinned the play of the game in any specific direction, as the setting is literally galactic and multi-dimensional in nature, all there for play-groups to explore and define and create as they please. In essence, I've opened a scrying pool into another reality and left it up to you, the reader, to do with as seems best to your sensibilities.
While I hope to continue to expand the material into the latter Autumn era and into Winter, Spring, and Summer, I very well may never complete that work, and it still wouldn't hamper the game. Although new rules/guidelines for dealing with the changing technology and other assorted things that mark the setting's progression would appear, it will all be modular and capable of being used independently in your established games, regardless of which rules-set(s) you employ.

So, ultimately, I'm neither concerned with UWoM being 'OS' (or whatever), nor it possibly being labelled 'too exotic' as has been the case with both EPT and Jorune.

Monday, June 1, 2009

[RPG] Experience Points by Fight Dice/Special Ability-

(c) Copyright 2009 Kyrinn S. Eis All Rights Reserved

Determining Experience Points (XP)-

The meaning of an asterisk after the Fight Dice listing indicates a Special Ability, and adds a bonus once per *.

--Example: a creature with a Fight Dice of 2** is worth 105 XP.

For monsters with more than 19 Fight Dice, add 300 XP to the listed XP Value (2,325), and +20 XP per Special Ability for each additional Fight Die.

  • FD |XP |Bonus
  • 1-1|10 |5
  • 01 |30 |10
  • 02 |75 |15
  • 03 |150 |20
  • 04 |225 |25
  • 05 |300 |30
  • 06 |375 |35
  • 07 |450 |40
  • 08 |525 |45
  • 09 |600 |50
  • 10 |675 |60
  • 11 |825 |70
  • 12 |975 |80
  • 13 |1,125 |90
  • 14 |1,275 |105
  • 15 |1,425 |120
  • 16 |1,650 |135
  • 17 |1,875 |150
  • 18 |2,100 |165
  • 19 |2,325 |180

Another Public Production Post-It Note-

* Spent part of yesterday creating a very quick, random creature generator table that tackles (so far) eight of the ten headings in my critter-data-block format, but need to finish that and polish it for the beta .pdf.

* The other part was refining the XP/Bonus dole-chart for said creatures based upon Fight Dice and Special Ability. That is complete.

* Today I hope to 'round the edges' of the character Pacing-Level XP chart from it current, 'pre-production' raw-median values from the source data it is derived.

* Also need to put effort into descriptions/notes for interior illos.

Blogday Blues-

So, beyond having this major issue properly nesting a table into a blog post (several attempts), I learn that one of my favourite blogs appears to be closing shop.

Scott's World of Thool posted that he is finished for the foreseeable future.
That sux, but I can understand him possibly being burnt out or busy with the new job.
> pout <

Oh well, Fight On!