A blog for The Urutsk Cycle and Related Subjects,
including the URUTSK: World of Mystery RPG.
Shipwrecked survivors of a galaxy-spanning empire (ruined when the core exploded) settle upon a wetlands world occupied by humans and other species. They then poke through ruins of their Ancient ancestors as they strive to regain space and then, starflight.
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Monday, November 30, 2009
[Gaming] Thanksgiving Sandbox with the Intoxicated Newbies-
--He and Delver's player were the first two PCs in the game and died twice in a row with six goblin archers firing from darkness at their two 2nd-Level characters with max. HP at first, rolled for 2nd.
---Said guy was a few sheets to the wind which made everyone's enjoyment a bit less, but then we re-started for the third time, now with the characters at 3rd-Level, and soon had two additional intoxicated players --both of whom took the game more seriously and were really thinking for their characters.
The host's character was a 'Sorcerer', so I allowed him access to both MU and Cleric spell lists, but in the III re-vamp, we forgot to give him a second 1st level spell, but he did well enough with MM and Pro/Evil, which is essentially a more EPT version, insomuch that any hostiles are the 'evil'.
--His wife's character, Aradia (pretty cool), was a 'Priestess', and I gave her the same dual-list casting capability, but she chose Pro/Evil and Cure Light. --Both had d8 HD.
---The other guy was just a fighter-type w. d10 HD, and 'Delver' was thiefy, with d6 HD.
Version III's flowchart consisted of:
||= Cave Mounth leading to:
||= Hostile Elf on a Chain
||= Chest with Gems
||= Witch, L3 (cut down before she could cast)
||= Chute to 2nd-Level room with water enough for 0 damage
||= Jail Cells & Office
||= Other PCs
||= Secret Door in Office
||= Chest, Trapped and not opened
||= Stairs down to slightly flooded chamber with one obvious door
||= Door is opened, further flooding chamber
||= Secret door found which opens to stairwell-up covered in fine pale sand
||= Aradia finds a topaz-headed metal-hafted spear in the water before taking the stairwell
||= Stairwell-up leads to a vast room covered in desert sands and dunes at least 30' high, a silvery star-like light shining down upon the scene, two palm trees, and wall carvings similar to Egyptian Hieroglyphics, which Aradia decided she could read (so I let her).
She determined that the area was inhabited by jackal-headed creatures, guardians of a great treasure, and terrible monsters besides. With their 'cue', the PCs geared-up for combat and absconding, and were pleased when the Jackal-headed baddie brought a pedestal up from the ground, adorned, naturally, with a fist-sized pale-blue diamond.
As the host was slashing away and taking damage, Aradia dodged the creature's strike and grasped the diamond to find herself teleported back to the door of the local tavern in her home town, now holding a 100 gp pearl.
--The same occurred for the fighter-guy.
---The host's character, however, killed the guardian, and he was rewarded with a 700 gp. diamond. 'Delver's PC didn't survive.
New Tweak: I had everyone roll-off to see who would get struck with arrows, etc.
--It seemed to making things edgier and more competitive.
The folks were pleased as punch at the gift, once they realised it was for them, and I was asked back ASAP.
What are your thoughts?
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Thursday? I meant Wednesday..?.-
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
[RPG] Character Generation, Urutsk-style pt. I -
The previous week and this are dedicated to the Chargen. mini-game/game within a game with various rolls well beyond the initial Ability Scores.
--I hope to have something to show you by Thursday.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Gary, Aristotle, Theosophy, Platonism, and ADnD-
| Originally posted by fusangite |
Now that I've slobbered all over you in another thread, Gary, here's a series of questions that have been bugging me for about a year:
1. D&D appears to be inspired from Aristotelian physics, judging by the four-element system and non-exponential falling damage.
(a) What are the implications to this system of of replacing the celestial spheres with the Great Wheel?
(b) What are the implications to this system of having elemental planes instead of confining the elements to Earth?
(c) Am I correct in using Aristotelian physics for questions of physical science when the rules aren't directly on point -- ie. relative speed of falling objects, object trajectories, how electricity interacts with water, etc.?
2. The popularization of polyhedral dice suggests that D&D is in some way paying homage to Platonism; is there any aspect of Platonism in the way the rules or world have been structured?
don't read the complex into what is pretty simple. The four elements are indeed drwwn from Aristotelian physics, but then leaped ahead some centuries to Paracelsius (sp?) and later Spiritualist writers. In all it is meant as a game system of workable sort and nothing more.
As for the non-exponential falling speed question, I corrected that later on--much to the dissatisfaction of many players.
The elemental planes had to be expanded beyond the material in order to exist in other parallel worlds, and to have existence in terms of Theosophy, such as the empyreal plane. By being so it also offers new realms in which to explore and adventure, places for elemental creatures. For example, without the elemental plane of fire being outside the mundane, where would the efreet dwell?
The use of platonic solids is coincidental to the generation of a wide variety of random numbers
Too cool. :D
[RPG] 2d12 and Snorri's Instant Sandbox-
--A few rolls on Snorri's One-page Sandbox Campaign Maker (Sean Wills pointed us to it) tables gave me the terrain, etc., although the 'Celtic' bit I rolled hasn't yet found an analogue.
Also last night, I had the players start using the 2d12 replacement for the d100 Technical Skills I have been working on, and in general, the curve it provides grants a bit more mercy than the flat rolls. The players seemed fine with it.
--Once I upload the 2d12 Density chart, I'll post a link to it here.
[Playtest Campaign] 20th, November-
--I purchased The Early Years Star Fleet Battles rules module in the hopes of organising a Prime Directive/SFB (or Klingon Armada) game set in the same period as Enterprise (Bakula) in their Delphic Expanse campaign. It seems like a great sandbox for that setting.]
Considering the size of the Yaeshani 'dragon', the party evacuated the marsh area and in the process discovered that the lizardman, Sharru, was pointing out shelled molluscs he identified, through the outwardly-viewing invisible craft, as natural explosives of moderate strength. Ashta used the ship's TeleKinesis function to retrieve a dozen or so, and felt them in her hand as part of the feedback process, and placed them in an external hold.
--They then proceeded to the sheer cliff face with the carved dwellings, as the girls' Aetherwake, and microparticulate trail indicated they had travelled inland.
As they approached, a lifeboat from the old Yaeshani craft beached on the vegetation-choked shore caught their brief attention, its former occupants' skeletons mostly covered in a silvery-looking metal untarnished by the years. They chose to ignore that and followed the trail, launching one of the probes to scout ahead, and watching a hologram of the spherical view from the camera. I had them attempt Control CTs to avoid illness from the unusual display as they moved the probe in odd directions and at one point sent it rocketing toward orbit at well over Mach. Heh.
After a bit, the vegetation immediately fell away to reveal a desert plain of off-white loam dotted with what appeared to be naturally-occurring quartz crystals, and soon thereafter, the probe caught sight of footprints, although they veered from the wake-trail a bit. A few minutes later, on the horizon, a wagon with a cage came into view.
--Battle stations was sounded and the probe was cloaked by a cyclic-flicker of telekinetic effect, effectively making the thing invisible to human visual perception, then the probe was sent in to recon.
Three outriders, two wagon riders, and the strange bird-horse-lizard steeds were observed, as was Ahni, Tybylt's first daughter (the shadowy one), apparently well-enough, but unable to escape the crystalline bars of the cage.
--A 'fight' ensues using the ship's power beamed through the uncloaked probe, which shears off the portion of one steed forward of the saddle. Etc.
A few of the party deploy from the vessel and begin to personally engage the new enemy, resulting in a dead one, three escaped, and one captured via Tybylt's 'Rope of Awesome' as the player refers to it, 'unfortunately' doing 4d4+4 in damage to him as a dingy grey luminescence was discharged; the creatures revealed to be a humanish form made up of a somewhat chaotic mixture of elemental Positive and Negative Lightning.
-=[It begins to rain]=-
--A brief conversation with the captured individual reveals that to these folks, the party are interlopers, and the individual offers to act as envoy for the release of the other two girls, already captured. The creature explains that they are highly individualistic, with little to no importance placed upon others' safety, thus making it unlikely to utilise him in exchange. Ahni explains that they had fallen into a net buried in the loam, and it too was embedded with this crystalline material, making it much more difficult to escape -- and unable to bring either of her sisters.
---Left without much choice, Tybylt releases the creature to go on his way.
Sharru is spotted by the probe, slithering into the crystalline city via the loam flows in the rain, and due to that, the probe is lowered below the sheet of fog that obscured the down-tiered/terraced city, whereupon they see live images of a three-way fight that then turns into a 2:1 kill, apparently of the messenger. Interestingly, one of the lightning creatures appeared to be a 'converted' Abbekqorru.
We held it there.
Friday, November 20, 2009
Wearing an Eye-patch-
--Apart from the limited arc of vision, I'm pretty much diggin' on it.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
[Playtest Campaign] 13th November-
The LGS owner and player of the Yaesh (horse-)Archer was in rare form, as was his roomie, the player of the silent and largely non-reactive Ari (the other WI Vrun lesser noble), except joking that they ought to kill Cici as well. This owing to their dislike of Delver/Cici's player.
--Beyond this, whether genuine or more artifice, they both claimed ignorance as to the mission to travel to the island to cultivate the fae-pods, instead claiming that Tybalt had said that the submarine they had no foreknowledge of was their reason for the mission. At best this was due to the LGS owner's duties at the shop on Fridays.
---The best part is that they read this blog: Take a bow, fellas.
Anyway, Tybalt's player was more plugged-in and we did our best to game on, including an investigation of a two+ century-old shipwreck of a Yaesh warlord's expedition apparently travelling via a rumoured all-water route from the heart of Yaeshan, through eastern Vrun, and along the northern edge of the Durn continent, to enter the Ocean of Storms and wreck some time later laden with both Yaesh treasures, but also those of Qhattan, and unknown cultures. A chest glowing in high-density arcane emissions is later opened facing a tree, which becomes carven with Yaesh script describing something oddly similar to the Demon of the East and something else about massive change and perhaps a bit of doom, too.
--Other goodies found, besides.
The 'girls', Tybalt's fae-daughters, have gone missing on the island.
The saving of Mela by ponyboy from a big catfish-thing also occurred.
A lizardy person, perhaps a 'druid', used body language to ask to escape the island with them, and was OK'd by Tybalt.
Tybalt soon-after popped over the treeline to see what was making all of that racket in the woods: a very long, sinewy, brightly scaled, wingless, bearded, serpentine creature with four legs, and a head the size of an adult bear, gliding/undulating above the ground toward them.
Monday, November 16, 2009
[Blogs][Gaming] Stuff I've been playing...-
--Sorry about the relative silence. My mom and I agree that we now have about 1/3rd-less mental energy than we had prior to my father's death. I hope you folks don't mind, but I am devoting much of the remaining 2/3rds to UWoM.
I will say, though, that I have been playing the snot out of the WARCOSM ASSAULT playtest rules for Brett Bernstein of Precis Intermedia Games, and in reaction, tried one of my all-time faves, LASERBURN to compare the wounding mechanisms and durability of troopers.
--Prognosis: Sci-Fi minis games need to take a few lessons from low-level RPGs -- these generic troopers are ridiculously tough in comparison to fantasy pansies...
---So, I'll finally write-up my suggestions for WA, and write up the house-rule(s) we've cooked-up for LASERBURN, namely, that if one falls down due to a wound, one is out of the fight, period. This makes leg-wounds much more efficient, as they ought. No more, |Ow!, thud, > dust self off <, shoot, get shot, ow!|-stuff. Nope.
WARCOSM led to me breaking out my Star Fleet Battles Basic and Advanced boxed sets, the Prime Directive RPG, Marines, and Campaign Builder's Guide, then, to purchasing Klingon Armada.
--Golly, I'd forgotten how much fun Kzinti drone-carriers are! :D Mreow!
Friday, November 13, 2009
[RPG] Re-Working Character Generation-
I hope to have more tangible stuff to show soon.
Time in a bottle...I wish!
Monday, November 9, 2009
[Playtest Campaign] Friday, November 6th-
When Delver passed through the screen, Tybalt executed a Jaunt, but was suspended in a 'buffer' of a nebulous milky-white light where he had the conversation with the voice.
I took Delver's player outside and explained that dying now would satisfy the bargain presented to Tybalt, that it would avert a danger that if he were present would be dire enough to cut the Threads of the rest of the party, and that the found non-magical sword (not detailed in the previous post) would house his entity until the blade were used to slay an, at least, human-sized creature from which he would reconstitute his body. This process was necessary for his eventual manifestation of his Avatar, an Aelbaan species meta-power.
I was greeted by Tybalt's player who then whispered that he was beginning to study Delver's character for 3 Rounds, as per 'waylay.'
Delver consumed his entire Dynamic Pool to telepathically call out to his compatriots to kill him for the above stated reason, and most of them obliged him.
--Their purses were heavier by d100 Platinum (ultra-rare).
The rest of the group then watched as Ashta took control of the craft.
They took the craft downstream as a whirlpool began to form (they chose not to investigate the source), and after a day of travelling, ran afoul of a giant aquatic variety of a Grell-like thing from which they fled down another opening and entered another section of the craft, clearly dedicated to dark practises. This area sloped upward and after they discovered how to operate the crackling 'electro-riser,' they eventually left it behind in the narrowing corridor carven with figures and reliefs too darkly mesmerising to detail here.
--Eventually, they blasted through the doors of a temple and came to rest.
Alighting, they entered the temple replete with additional figures, pillars, implements, and a low and high altar. A swarm of two-dimensional, light-absorbing, flying things flew out from among the toppled pillars and buckled ceiling and floors, but the damage was only spooky to one character. Ashta gave a polite order to Mela to begin the mummification process upon Delver's cadaver, which eventually would yield 1 cup of dust from 1 gallon of slurried sediment. Shadow creatures, illusions, and/or Dryvv speak with them and then Lord Shadow deigns to manifest, asking for a sacrifice.
--Tybalt, the Shadow-blooded (also exploring shadow-mysteries), was attentive and they finally settled upon Delver's mummified body (minus the stuffing which constituted the 'dust' reduction), which pleased the Elemental Lord. Tybalt's reward was a potion that would allow for limited planar travel, so long as the start and finish were in shadow, and that the elemental plane of Shadow were the conduit. He also learnt additional shadowy stuff.
With that over, the group left in the vehicle and encountered a stretch of lava tube that was encrusted with fungi that cast beautiful light in the Dark- and Ultravisual spectra, as well as a lesser show in visible light. Samples were taken and critters caught for specimen. They pressed on and saw daylight and a storm over the open seas beyond the island from which they emerged --clearly a different island from the one they had entered the underworld.
--They performed an initial survey of the coast, using the Aelbaan vessel's sensors and recording suite. They noted ancient dwellings in the sheer cliff face overgrown with vines and runners. three-quarters the way 'round the island (larger than the previous -- and believed to be the pod-island) they could see signs of great upset in the jungles and forest as trees were tossed-about while some great battle of beasts was waged out of sight.
We held it there.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
[RPG] A Work in Progress-
24+ : Alumeth - 'Infallible Perfection' - The very best possible outcome, no matter the odds against - Miraculous
23-22 : Eiryqos - 'Harmonious Emanations' - Sublime quality - A strike that knocks-sense into the victim - Virtuous
21-19 : Ienen - 'Cyclonic Pillars' - Awesome power, well restrained - Double Maximum Effect - Nullifying
18-16 : Oluniin - 'Incorporeality' - Move and Attack as a ghost - Lesser values pose no threat - Escape and Evasion
15-11 : Qelym - 'I, the Hermit' - Deep thought, examination, and investigation - Solving riddles/puzzles - Practise
10-08 : Uruden - 'Mountains of Contemplation' - Perfecting the art of observation - Present and Aware - Selfless
07-05 : Werenyn - 'Infinitesimal Substrate' - Stable for now - Temporal Success - True aim but windy day - Sandcastles
04-03 : Zaey - 'Little One of Great Potential' - Rough going, with setbacks and blood, but finally successful - Raw
02- : Y' - 'Cessation' - No influence - Enough knowledge to know one knows nothing - Base d24 roll
The preliminary work on a Descriptor-based task resolution system on d24 (or 2d12) for Technical Skills (Track, Scale, Repair, etc.).
--I'm one of those folks who actually admire the aim of the ACT chart mechanism of 3rd Ed. Gamma World, and have been tinkering with a colour-chart of my own which potentially may tie-in with this stuff.
---It looks spiffy in any case. ;)
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Question: OSR Artists most liked for their critter art?-
I am wondering if there are fan faves among the current OS Renaissance artists (ATOM, Mullen, Zeiser, etc.) specifically as regards their depictions of critters and monsters?
Please leave your comments as votes, and if possible, please include references to specific examples in extant artwork.
Thank you very much. :D
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Belated Birthday Wishes to...-
--Long may he be with us in health.
Report via Jeff Berry
Monday, November 2, 2009
[Milieu][RPG] The Quantum Nature of Reality-
The Grand Tapestry refers not only to the entire Urutsk Cycle, but to the Metacosmos in which Urutsk is but one of an infinite number of Cosmoi. It is within this Metacosmos that all of the 'alternate' realities and non-'related' settings I have ever worked on/gamed reside.
The result, within game-terms, is that certain High-Order events/spells/artefacts/etc. cause the individuals within the effect to 'shift' into Threads which are more accepting of the transformed natures of perceptible reality than those of the Thread from whence the individual observers hailed just prior to the effect.
--These shifts may be so subtle that the observers will never discern a difference, as the changes take place on a scale far beyond the perceptual pale, whether vast and distant cosmic differences (the number of radio stellar objects, for instance), or sub-atomic (the local number of affine/exitonic particles varies, creating a different density of time-space, altering the trajectory of wandering debris by a picometre to crash into a planet ten millennia later).
By extension, when an alter reality or a wish spell is cast, what is the actual effect? In The Grand Tapestry, and necessarily 'in' Urutsk, the observer(s) are shifted to a thread in which those conditions exist. This is also the case with powerful effects of artefacts, probability travel, and the like. One could argue that resurrection and its related spells do the same.
This means that gamers never need fear that their Urutsk: World of Mystery games drift too far from canon as to make the setting superfluous, and likewise, that the Old School tradition of affine characters blipping back and forth between campaigns never need be a 'bad thing', only one more factor for the vigilant Referee to consider before allowing the exchange to take place in their game.
--This factor has arisen in the Playtest Campaign, as I have posted previously as regards Tybalt and Mela and their 'dopples' in the prior 'unrelated' Pathfinder game.
But, this doesn't minimise a character's life and death, as, in a sense, the Player(s) and Referee are the observers in this equation. Even the asymmetrical distribution of one character's career between campaigns and pick-up games add a depth of richness that is rarely seen in fiction.
--The meaning is in the details; in the playing-out of the events, and the reaction of the character and its fellows' reactions to the character's actions.
Perhaps a bit like our reality?