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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

[Setting] Kynkrea's Overview of Urutsk-

(c) Copyright 1985, 2002, 2009 Kyrinn S. Eis All Rights Reserved

IN An alternate reality, the star system in which the planet known by many as, URUTSK <'Crash Landing'>, encircles a brighter, slightly hotter yellow-orange star than your sun. URUTSK has many neighbours, all somewhat similar, yet very divergent those of your Solar system.

It is slightly smaller than your earth, and now, composed of far fewer heavy metals, and more simple crystalline structures. It has roughly 10% more water, in addition to its smaller size. This means that much of the world is at least somewhat flooded, or frigid, depending on local weather patterns.

The humans, yes, almost identical to you, have their own ethnicities, but most reflect blends of existing or former ethnicities found on your world, Earth.

URUTSK has a rich and radical history of major disasters befalling mankind roughly every thousand years, many brought upon the world due to the tragically-flawed efforts of the first human, Xoen. All native humans are his offspring.

Resultantly, most languages follow a similar alphabet, a central concept that has affected every endeavour of mankind, since the knowledge arrived in the 'War in Heaven'. That was when the First Parents descended from the great conflagration in the heavens, and came to commingle with the natives.

At that point, there were only a handful of ethnicities:

* Yirinn Ak <'Powerful People of the Black Ice'>

* Durn <'Unwavering Generation'>

* Kaukara <'World-wise Ones'>

Afterward, through their mating with the Imperial bloodline of the First Parents, all the ethnicities came to light in the next millennium or thereabouts.

Different 'eras', generally deliniated by the undoubted masters of URUTSK, the Vrun peoples, are either based upon discoveries, radical political changes, or wars -- often all at the same time.

Indeed, very soon after the First Parents touched the soil of URUTSK, a deadly storm that affected the entire star system showered debris from the War in Heaven down upon URUTSK. This in turn obscurred the system-star, their sun, and brought on terrible storms that scoured the planet clean of virtually all greenery.
No one knows how long the Scourge lasted, but what emerged from the Storm Age was the foundation of modern URUTSK.

Eventually, just as your earth did, we Urutskel <`I'm Born of URUTSK'>, split the atom. Unlike your world, we instantly and universally banned it. Like you, we built them by the gross. But, we were not fixated on the cheap and terrible weapons as were your scientists. No, we devised screens to filtre-out hard radiation as a countermeasure, then went on to develop Plasmatic Acids; LASERS, MASERS, XASERS, and others, beside.

Our militaries are significantly different from yours.
We believe in redundancy of command and small unit tactics, co-ordinated En Mass. Our Infantry are equipped with hypersonic caseless munitions fired from 'bullpup' carbines. The tiny rounds create horrifying wound cavities out to about [1,000 m], before friction with the atmosphere causes them to disintegrate. Most nations have true jet-packs that allow their troops limited flight, but greatly extends their ability to manoeuvre in most sorts of terrain through leaps and jumps. Each trooper has a complex communications suite in their environmentally sealed battledress, and the suits have limited life-saving capabilities, as well as environmental support.

Orbital weapons platforms are owned by only two nations: * The Peoples' Automatic Union -- a communist state administrated by an artificial intelligence known as, Mother; and, The Vrun Continental Authority -- a New-Agey Socialist society with hawkish tendencies. The VCA also patrol the inner system, and have attempted to colonise Aqmlk, the equivalent of your Mars.

[RPG] The Plethora of Rolling Methods in Old School games-

(c) Copyright 2009 Kyrinn S. Eis all rights reserved

Everything boils down to Percentile, or a clever die-mechanic for its own sake.
Combat on 1d20 was an afterthought, but it 'stuck', and contemporary games like Swordsmen & Spellslingers' reversion to 2d6, or Tunnels & Trolls' continued use of the 2d6 Saving Roll, illustrate that a tight bell-curve works fine, so long as the limitations of the curve and its havoc on Percentages is taken into account.

In my attempt to remain faithful to the Old School, I occasionally argue with myself regarding the best die-mechanic to employ for a given situation. In general, I emulate existing principles, if only for generic applicability, such as the ubiquitous 1d6 for Ambush, Detecting Architectural Features, Surprise, and Trap-springing.

But, knowing that a '1 or 2 on d6' is really a 33% makes me occasionally want to wander from the simple homage, toward something more akin to ICE's Rolemaster. And then I stop myself.
But, why is potentially deadly combat better on a d20 with its chunky 5% blocks, when less critical 'Thieving Skills' are more precise with their d%?

Tradition, and Portability.

If my game is to be Old School from a mechanics PoV; if it is to be generically compatible with OD&D, S&W, or BFRPG; it 'ought' to follow Tradition for Portability's-sake. Right?
Picking up a neo-Old School adventure module and running it in UWoM is greatly facilitated by having standardised mechanics (although, yes, OS is all about self-reliant and adaptable GMs/Refs), but more importantly, a Labyrinth Lord (etc.) ought to be able to pick up an UWoM adventure or supplement and have minimal conversion work -- if only out of professional courtesy.

So, what's a girl to do, but stick with Tradition?

* UWoM's combat isn't based upon an Armour Penetration 'to hit', but a more Palladiumesque 'physical connect' premise, and this reflects in a lower base number to be scored on the d20, although Str still figures in a modifier for brute attacks, while Dex figures for 'finesseable' attacks and ranged. Once a hit is determined, damage is rolled, and the Armour die is subtracted from the result before Dodge Points are deducted from the target.

* Con still figures into Dodge Points, but (Constitution score + Str mod.) is the terminal Threshold for actual damage, not simply 0 or -10.

* Percentile rolls are made as 'higher is better', rather than 'roll-under', with 100 as the target number, because, psychologically, higher seems better/cooler, and generating a 128 on a Pick Locks just seems to tell me as a Referee that you did it a lot faster than the cat who rolled a 101. Likewise, Binding Wounds are made on d%, and modifies how much damage is actually treated.

That leaves us with the quirky n in d6 rolls, of which I'm of the opinion that 'higher is better' should apply to as well. But, do these rolls on d6 make sense?
I'm this close to switching them out for d%.