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Sunday, February 28, 2010

[Playtest Campaign] 26th, FebRuary-

In brief:

* Ymmyk of 'the poor dual brain' has a condition where he occasionally manifests an alternate personality, as an NPC, and this has been used to keep him busy while the player hasn't been able to play. It also surfaced on Friday when said player had a bit of time to 'catch up' on what has been happening, as well as play. He 'snapped out of' an alternate personality and found himself sitting behind a desk in strange surroundings, with even his choice of personal gear different. Fleeting memories of his operating as a small-time crime boss, running at least a gambling house in one of the overturned hulls, as well as what appears a smuggling operation, taking advantage of the extensive tunnels in Doran.

* The Governors and the rest of their pursuit-posse made good use of the cryo-chambers in the subterranean complex by the coast, and Tyb and the Abbekqorru were healed in less than 16 Hours. Exploration suits were donned, HUD units in the helmets were utilised, and analogue computers engaged to conserve power. Weapons (Plasmatic-acid projectors) found by the Abbekqorru (Skelk [leader], Rhur [right-paw], and little Varq) led to improved mood. Varq was suited up. The suits have Jump Packs with a total of 20 Minutes burn time. The party realised that the PMH containers they salvaged may, possibly, be usable with the packs. Even lady Miren suited up and took to the weapon with Ancestral savvy.

* Mela's Fae friends helped her understand that the yellow-green flames and the quake/fault, was a powerful psionic delusion, but the realisation did nothing to prevent the psychic cycle from still causing new delusions/illusions, as well as a head-splitting degree of pain in the majority of the populace of Doran. A confrontation with two Bunk-Bunks went her way, utilising an imaginary acid-attack. A midwife with a new-agey crytal pendant, and Ylnel (Devlyn's cousin, the Fae-studies Specialist) were the only ones to maintain Resolve when the goat-demon appeared, but then disappeared almost as soon as it had appeared, as the Fae-friends led them to a tunnel entrance. Armed with a sickle, a rake, and perhaps a hatchet, these three ventured into the darkness and at Mela's mention, they trio faced a swarm of 'big bugs' -- phantasms, but one which nearly killed Ylnel until a placebo ws administered to her by Mela.

* The Governors emerged from the complex and found the flame no longer present, but the storm still battering the island. Odder still, the Ahzenbakh mansion still stood, with no hint of damage. Ymmyk was encountered topside, having emerged from a tunnel-connected cabin by a pond. H was suited-up, and through his Life Support-clan Primary Field training, quickly recalled the liturgy he had been forced to memorise as a youth, and made good on that. The group travelled to the intact and undamaged Ahzenbakh mansion. A hop over the wall (with the 60 MpH winds at their back) lead by Miren, brought the goat-figure in lawn statue form, to they party's attention. As the group was ogling the empty ground floor of the house and debating what to do, Skelk punched through one of the French-door-style glass plates and opened the door for the party. Entry was greeted by six two-headed dogs, but they didn't attack the furries, and their teeth couldn't penetrate the suits, but Tyb narrowly avoided having his hand crushed by 1,200-1,500 Ft./Lbs. of force exerted by the cute doggy that he was 'playing with' (to his credit, he had participated in the Governor's batch of the breeding operation, so this wasn't sheer lunacy on his part). Miren shot one dog with her energy weapon, now demonstrating true Security Officer training, and then guided the Abbekqorru in their vanguard role to the kitchen, whereupon the group noted plates in the sink, drinks on the counter, and the pantry door to the cellar open wide.
* Skelk stepped into the cellar first and just as Rhur headed in, a kitchen knife bit into the wood-panelled wall ahead of his snout. The pair turned in military precision and fired upon the portly cook, blowing two steaming/smoking holes through his body and burning pits into the stone wall by which he had launched his ill-fated attack. Sounds of piping, drumming, chanting, and moaning could be heard in the sub-level beyond the secret door, also open, and the group approved the furries' suggested use of knock-out gas grenades (also found in the scout complex loot). They threw four cannisters into the room they had clear view of, and Tyb flicker-jaunted into position, quickly joined by the others, in time to see folks copulating with goats, wearing goat-skin cloaks, exsanguinated children, children being prepped for exsanguination, and the goat demon sitting cross-leged at the head of this cavort. The gas grenades quickly caught all of the humans (with the children KO'd first). The demon stood and said calmly,
"I've been waiting for you."
I held it there despite Tyb's player's incredulity.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

*[Product Review]* AGP's Wilderlands of High Adventure: 100 Street Merchants of the City State-

This review is based on a copy provided by James Mishler.
LINK to review on DriveThruRPG

A Review of AGP's Wilderlands of High Adventure: 100 Street Vendors of the City State-

With Geoffrey McKinney's highly detailed review of the material specifics of the product in question, I shall endeavour to illustrate the vast utility of the 100 Street Vendors product, and state up front that this utility truly encompasses any and all genre of roleplaying game, so long as any sort of merchant is required.

As the author, James Mishler, notes, with but a moment's thought, any of these solitary individual merchants roaming the streets of the City State can be turned into a shop, with the merest inclusion of a few shop hands to fill out the 'hired help'. However, I would suggest that larger establishments, perhaps even modern malls, or post-apocalyptic flea-markets, could be formed by selecting a few related trades being clumped together into sectors of the physical location in which the item-questing, or time-killing player characters are roaming.
To reiterate McKinney's review, the depth of detail provided by Mishler in the 100 Street Vendors product is most authoritative, but this value-packed product is only increased in its usefulness by taking it out of the run of the mill fantasy settings that fill the gaming market, by using it for d20 Modern, Future, Post-Apocalypse, Supers, or even hard-Science-Fiction settings, after all these require merchants and places of business to equip PCs, as well as places where important gossip or hard-facts can be secured. AGP's Wilderlands of High Adventure: 100 Street Vendors of the City State fills that role exceptionally well for those Gamesmasters with the ability to think outside of the literal constraints of the presentation for the excellent and enjoyable Castles & Crusades gaming system.

Think of a Traveller game in which a TL7 or lower world is the current place of adventure, and the sorts of isolated encampments often encountered on the fringes of larger population centres. Any one of these merchants presented within 100 Street Vendors could be used 'on the fly' to detail everything the merchant or shop could offer, and with even the barest ability to translate a 3-18-scaled Strength score to Traveller's hexadecimal Stren range, the very scores themselves offered for each the merchants itself is immediately useful.
Likewise, The Morrow Project, any edition thus far of Gamma World, or even FGU's Aftermath!, with their scattered settlements and rarer enclaves of civilisation. All of these could profit from the inclusion of this product with exactly the same briefest moment of 'out of the box' thinking on the GM's/Referee's part.

With this degree of utility, is there any reason for me to go on urging you to purchase this product for use with ALL of your rpgs?

Mid-week Post-

* Hello to the new subscribers! :D Thanks for making TGT part of your blogroll.

* I've been fortunate enough to have added a couple or three additional folks to the Kelzsyn's Bluff & Environs project, and am looking forward to seeing this get to print-release just ahead of the Players' Manual, late summerish.

* I'm curious if you folks are looking for any particular data from the setting (including 'crunch') that I haven't touched upon. If you'd be so kind as to ask for it/them in a comment to this post, I'd consider addressing them.

Monday, February 22, 2010

[Playtest Campaign] 19th, FebRuary, Part ][-

With the commoners placed down in town, lady Miren is asked to come along, as she is the only other known magicker of any power. Mela is left to help tend the thousand+ injured from the brimstone fault that opened up and affected the easternmost section of the port. Ylliya, too, is dropped off at the Governors' Mansion.

The two Governors, the three Abbekqorru Death-goddess devotees (who have now prostrated themselves in her presence within the Aelbaan Sphere), Darius the stalwart, and lady Miren hop over to the bulldozed ruins of the former Merry Tea-time house, where guards of the highest quality were posted, only to find a few of them still human, while the others have been corrupted into Undeath, glowing yellow-green from their skulls.
--One of the human guards is whisked up into the craft and he explains that beams shot-forth from the site where the demon's scimitar was buried, and all who were so struck turned within a few seconds. He and the others were doing their best to prevent the Undead from digging the weapon up, but a few were cut down by the things. One guard (under the evil influence) was successful in excavating it and then fled over the elevation crest toward the jungle on the south side of Doran, leaving a wake of twisted and hostile vegetation as it travelled.

This trail led the party and this lone guard (the others presumably dismissed to find shelter in the building stationary hurricane) then found a channel in the rock that led from the dense vegetation to the flotsam and jetsam-choked rocky coast. They made the decision to go inland, but first skimmed for Deuterium to fuel the Sphere. They were careful not to fly the canyon (, and eventually found a cave entrance below the wind-whipped canopy, and descended and entered the cave, after opening it further.

The Abbekqorru ask if the Goddess can take their lives now, making them immortal guardians of her person, and the ship tells Ashta, that it is possible, not only for the furries, but the PCs as well. They party thought it an interesting idea and before they knew it, a silvery beam struck each of them in the sixth Chakra (Indigo), between their eyes, and they feel themselves ascend to the Aether where they witness a vast fortress of mirrored glass floating in the expanse, rainbowed by curtains of every conceivable colour and hue, like Aurora Borealis. I said that they felt as though they were travelling in all directions simultaneously at the speed of light. It is explained that the ship has copied their consciousnesses and is capable of supporting them in this environment (demi-real illusory magick [Maya?]) so long as the craft survives --a sort of limited immortality, and the closest thing to eternal security that they've yet encountered in the setting.
--When they 'came down' again to their material forms, the already fervent Abbekqorru were sublime, and took the vanguard.

Now forced to go on foot, they proceeded to a set of well-worn crudely carved steps descending into the damp stone depths of the island. The fatigued and outclassed guard was ordered to secure the cave as the Sphere departed to refuel and scout (and able to Telepathically communicate with Ashta, the two essentially being the same entity, one of flesh and blood, the other of gravitically-cultured crystalline material). The guard was told to yell if things required their attention (callous curs that they can often be).

The curved stairway reached a circular chamber with a 20' ceiling and five tunnels leading off in a pentangular distribution. It was cold and grew deathly cold (they took 19 points of damage [6 D&D-type points] and would take another iteration in 10-min. Turn) in a Round, suggesting the Void-aligned presence had been there. Tyb, spooked about clockwise rotations after his near-death via petrification, chose to take the furthest tunnel which was nearest the cave and coast. The tunnel they chose was a 10' gothic arch its full length, with debris-clogged runnels on either side, and curved a few times before reaching a hole in the ceiling which led to the outside and the storm-filled sky, as well as a mossy patch on the floor with creeper vines along the walls and ceiling. Tyb's player remembered they had a Rod of Plant Control, and used it to allow them to pass, as it was clearly a hostile zone/trap. Ashta used her Ring of Scorpion Summoning and Control to draw 5 FD (that's kinda' like D&D Hit Dice, but only sorta', folks)-worth of the creatures, consisting mainly of one Collie-sized critter and a few normal-sized specimen. It was here that Skelk, the leader of her Abbekqorru cohort asked if it would not be a better use of their prowess to send the scorps ahead, which she did.
--The reached a 45* left turn (more counter-clockwisdom) which extended about 45' with 'alcoves' staggered on either side, and terminated in a wheel-valve-door. Along the floor slabs and the walls, a sort of blue-green algae-looking stuff could be seen, and the lead scorp didn't want to proceed. The party fiddled about for a bit until Tyb noted (through his Engineering-'clan'-training) that the alcove-like indentations suggested a compression or other mechanical work feature to them, and that the blue-green was connected to vapour venting up from between the floor slabs. Ashta's searching for Architectural Features was confirmed when she found a scan-plate on the wall, which responded to her, and allowed her to bring up a holo-schematic of the corridor. Tyb then took over and called up a map of the entire level, then understanding that each 'alcove' was in fact a doorway to a pressurised and climate-controlled chamber, some designated as Exploration Gear, Solvent Crew Genetic Material, and other 'stuff', some of which the words held no meaning in current Vrun. It was determined that this was an Early Imperial complex, founded by Scouts who had located Urutsk in a Periphery survey mission. The computer indicated that the wheel-valve-door led to a reconstitution vat and cryo-medical station.

>> Mis-diagnosis of how to equally de-pressurise the chambers caused the Solvent Crew Genetic Material chamber to explosively decompress, doing a fair bit of damage, and knocking everyone back out into the main corridor. Another of the chamber doors opened and tightly segmented metallic tentacles could be seen by Darius who had taken the lead in exploration do to his greater toughness in comparison to Tyb. This thing turned out to be a Defence Droid with a suspensor field, and looked essentially like two 50-gal. oil drums stacked atop each other, with two tentacle manipulators (a la Gamma World), and a laser designator that painted the mutant Darius' forehead. Quick thinking (and a superior Initiative value) on Tyb's part prevented the Droid from killing Darius and then the Abbekqorru.
--However, this Droid's AI was highly adaptive and suspicious, and was, as I said on more than one occasion, set to K*I*L*L* anything that was Aberrant, Alien, and/or dangerous by Early Imperial programming standards (it was a sentinel left behind not only to protect the solvent crew in their cannisters, but to aid them in their dangerous survey duty, should they have been reconstituted). It was not happy that the slightly genetically peculiar Ashta (quasi-Aelbaan) and Tyb (partly-Dryvv-Aelbaan) were contravening its standing orders by telling it to not fire upon Darius or the furries. Lady Miren didn't seem objectionable to it, but it simply ignored her in comparison to the real and present threats blinking in its sensor array. It contents itself with launching an arrow-head-sized micro-missile down the hall to destroy a five-limbed semi-simian critter (non-native) without authorisation from the suspicious quasi-humans, until Tyb secured any unauthorised combat initiatives. I rolled for the AI and it complied, but was growing increasingly ... non-plussed.

With what I am encountering as typical Gamer-ADD, the group only investigates 18 of the 27 crates set up in a cube in the first chamber (E-sheath suits with field communicators, and in the second layer of nine-boxes, rations, no care given to the bottom 9, let alone the other chambers), and then takes this Droid down the corridor back to the central chamber, which is now warmer, and warms fully once Tyb activates Environmental controls via the Droid's interface with the much less 'intelligent' and independent AI of the complex. They proceed down a security corridor that, due to the Droid's interfacing with the complex, required security overrides each 10' to prevent energy weapons in ceiling drop-turrets (they've encountered these before) from blasting them (save lady Miren) into incoherent agitated molecular residue. This, they know, leads to a cargo elevator down.
--It is here that Tyb informs the Droid that the quarry they seek is a dangerous monster and it is free to destroy it and its weapon. Sadly, the Droid has access to the complex' sensor logs which shows that a human (the possessed guard with the demon's scimitar) is the only recent life form to have descended (via a drop-shaft) to the bottom level (which is off-line; the top level being isolated from the rest of the complex' AI-grid). This flagrant violation of its Pro-Human security policy sets in motion its override and it attack's Tyb after he tried in vain to re-gain authority over it.

One tentacle misses, while the second grapples and severs his left leg with 90 points (30 HP in D&D terms) of damage. Tyb, already in terrible condition, goes into a deep and likely terminal coma as he is bleeding 3+ Dynamic Points (like HP, but more useful) a Round. Then Ashta swings, severing one of the tentacles, and penetrates the Droid's casing with her Hullmetal sword, but doesn't do enough past the 15-point armour to really affect its internal workings. Darius sees that the tray of micro-missiles is primed and ready for launch the next Round, and pounds the casing in the desperate hope to deform it and prevent launch, as everyone (again, save lady Miren) is painted by the targeting lasers. A new Round's Group-Initiative roll (then broken-down by Individual Init mods.) has the Droid attempt to strike Darius with its only remaining tentacle, but it fails to do so. Instead, the Abbekqorru (acting in concert) grapple the manipulator for Ashta to then cleave it. Having taken its only possible physical action in the Round, the Droid initiates self-destruct in a vindictive attempt to neutralise the non-human threat to the complex, etc.
--The party drag the dying Tyb with tem, only to have the defences fire upon and strike all three of the Abbekqorru, blowing a few limbs off, and nearly detaching Skelk's chest from his abdomen. Ashta hauls him over he shoulder and begins shouting overrides to the complex' AI (less inclined to blast away with vengeance), but not before all three are badly, badly wounded. Similarly, Darius the Aberrant is targeted, but carries Tyb in front of him and Miren behind him as meat-shields, and has his head missed by a shot. They make it to the end of the long corridor after Ashta succeeds in overriding the security protocols, just as the Droid detonates, doing a mere 3d6 (1d6) damage to everyone.

Tyb's player was less than thrilled, but had to run to his alternating weekly 9Pm game.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

[Playtest Campaign] 19th, FebRuary-

Oh, my goodness...

I dropped the (08+2M) for Critical Tests because I realised that it just was too out of order with the 2d12 methodology I have adopted for resolution rolls, so now it is simply the Secondary Modifier (2M) plus their Ethnic modifiers, plus any purchased through Point-Design. It may be adjusted yet again, but the lower results restored the term 'Critical' to those tests, and success was not as frequent or of the intensity it had been these past few sessions.
--Just proves that what ought to be sound maths rarely survives contact with actualities of play, thus the necessity of 'playtesting'.

Tyb, Darius, and Ylliya rushed off to the Ahzenbakh mansion to warn lady Miren of the approach of the demon, and found the dark haired lass in the front garden with a paralysed ('held') two-headed dog, caught in a vicious snarl, at her feet; a white rose in Miren's hand, her finger pricked and bleeding.
--After warning the lady, she called for her coach, and then granted the driver to fetch his wife and daughter for the evac.
---Dame ?Dienem? (not certain of her name at this point, I'll correct it later) exited the house and began a droll conversation with the Governor until a seismic wave shook the property, knocking loose a few shingles from the roof, and a shutter from an upstairs window. Then the Dame began to wretch and cough. A moment later, fingers came out of her mouth and whatever was inside her began to try and crawl out her distended maw as she was dying a very ignoble, painful, and lengthy death. Miren was suitably shocked, and was unable to act for a couple of Rounds, having already discharged her pistol into the two-headed doggie before calling for the coach.

A couple or few Rounds of combat, resulting in frostbite damage to Tyb as he stabbed the thing inside the Dame's gesticulating, gyrating body, but held on to the Black Metal dagger, and stabbed it with a poisoned blade, finally finishing-off the Dame, but not the critter. Said thing began to make literal headway out of the cadaver and was promptly smashed by Darius using his Spiritual Weapon-enhanced mace from afar, breaking it at the waist and knocking it into the white rose-bush, which then withered and burst into the same sickly-yellow-green flames that had consumed the Merry Tea-time house not a half-hour prior.
--The driver, his wife and daughter had all been audience to these horrors and were rather ... disturbed, shall we say, but were able to collect themselves and get on the carriage just before the house' interior lit up in the same flames, with screams of terror and nastiness filling the rain-pounded air. An unfortunate soul, well immolated in the stuff, ran out onto the long balcony over the front 'porch' of the mansion, and its skeleton, freed of the consumed flesh, turned to some sort of crystalline material, which then shattered in b'zillion pieces on the parkway below.
---The (N)PCs bolted out of there as a second quake struck and nearly collapsed the wall upon them. Looking back, the house burst into the yellow-green flames and then crashed into its cellar as a funnel of the flames reached upward into the storm clouds and strengthened them into cyclonic action.

Ashta and Mela sped over to the House A in the Sphere, but saw that gouts of the same flames shot forth from the various tunnel system openings, and Abbekqorru, Men-at-Arms, and Pirates were making rapid movement from those apertures, some engulfed in the corrosive flames. It was noted that the Abbekqorru were flinging men left and right in an attempt to save as many lives as possible.
--Eight of these bear-dog-men looked up and pointed at the Sphere, and began to keep pace as best possible until Ashta scooped them up into a TK field and brought them along, the warriors thrilled to be 'flying', and psyching themselves up for a righteous bloody battle wherever 'Lady Death' was headed, shouting her praises and generally adoring the pale amazon.

The two groups met as the re-animated corpse of the two-headed doggie had transformed, during its chase after the carriage, into a bone-winged humanoid of clearly nastier origin. These eight Abbekqorru launched into the thing and the scrum tumbled down the hill into thick vegetation for a few Rounds.
--Meanwhile, out of Ylliya's mouth, an ectoplasmic manifestation of The Worm from that other place began to speak to Tyb (accusing him of causing the god to lose face via their successful escape and re-absconding with the fae daughters) and the other occupants of the carriage and then bit Darius for 30 points of spiritual damage (that'd be 10 points for D&D folks). Darius, with anti-undead mace a-hummin', began to speak an exorcism of sorts, based on his Astrogator secret knowledge (of the things that have power over each star), and drove the spirit-form into an unhappy state, driven off in conjunction with a (magic missile) from Miren.
---The three (of eight) surviving Abbekqorru attack the spirit-form of The Worm, but only one is able to strike it, but his sword is deformed and he too suffers frostbite in the attack. Ultimately, it is Ashta's Sphere-launched electrical attack (lightning bolt) that dissipates the creature.

I'll split the rest into a second post...

Monday, February 15, 2010

[RPG] General Update-

* There was no game this past Friday, but I have decided to ask Tyb's and Ashta's players to write down a list of five NPCs that will be directly answerable to the respective PCs in their administration of Doran.

* I am writing-up 10 pre-gens for the for-profit expanded edition of Kelzsyn's Bluff & Environs that Rob Kuntz, Sean Wills, and I are working on. I've not made much headway since Friday, but so far, both of the characters are Aberrants, and this, I think, will prove to be an interesting 'kink' in the fabric of the product, both from a play-perspective, but also for gamers who purchase it from a D&D angle.
--As stated a few times, this product will be cross-statted for UWoM and AD&D, with Rob Kuntz writing up those stats, as well as writing an adventure/outline for the very open site-setting.
---Sean's contributions are keeping me moving forward, and always gives me a fresh perspective as well as providing intriguing and engaging points to consider on how to integrate.

* Relatedly, I hope to invite a few other OSR folk who delight us all with their daily or near-daily contributions from their cornicopic imaginations to get involved in upcoming releases. I hope they'll have the time and inclinations to join the team effort.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

My OSR Good-Deed-

My SO's birthday is coming up soon, and I gave her a copy of Revised LL.
--I think she may be formulating a new campaign, based on Indian (subcontinent) Myth, after having watched Sita Sings the Blues with me.

Stay tuned (and enjoy the brilliant piece of animation).

Friday, February 12, 2010

This Blog & Heightened Security-

In the recent past, I have had a few spam comments, and now a new subscriber has set off my 'spidey sense', and so I have enabled Comment Moderation.
--Not what I wanted to do, but my hand has been forced.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

[Milieu] Sidereal Year Data-

Prompted by Rob Conley's blog post for today, I have this to add to the Urutskan Database:

Copyright (c) 2010 Kyrinn S. Eis

There are 46 weeks of 8 days forming one 368 day stellar year.

Every 5,760 days (15.65 years), an additional non-calendar day is added.
--This is known in Vrun as, Avdmurtkal: 'orbital adjustment', and is due to the rotational 'wobble' upon Urutsk' axis.

Avdmurtkal is celebrated in most Northern Hemisphere cultures as a time of omens, and in particular, a time in which new possibilities are ripe for the working. Accordingly, magickal and priestly groups and their adherents often set aside the days prior for fasting and self-discipline so as to enter the new era devoid of the trappings and shortfalls of the prior era.

It is estimated that there have been roughly 2,755 occurrences of Avdmurtkal since the formation of the cosmos, placing the date of the observable cosmos at roughly 43,116 years (as of year 777 New Calendar).

[Milieu][RPG] Still digi-painting...and so forth-

Having first hand-drawn the KB & Environs map and then scanned it, I am finding all sorts of artefacts that need to be tracked down and erased/painted over, as well as re-doing all the location names and data in type layers.
--It's a bit trickier than I had first thought, but by all accounts, it's looking nifty.

Working via the right lobe of my brain is helping to unlock ideas for inclusion in the text.

I'll detail things a bit for you folks:

This product will serve as a grounded entry point to the milieu, and to that end, I am including several stat formats for the bulk of you who dig on the d&ds, while still retaining UWoM statting. This itself is to illustrate the correlation between the two systems, and help acclimatise you folks to more intuitively judge at a glance what future UWoM stat formatting actually means --relative to the d&d-centric point of view. This should allow snappy use of my stuff with your preferred (d&d-esque) game.
--Gala apples to Fujis, so to speak.

Regardless of the timestamp, it is 2:24 AM, and I'm outta' here.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

[Milieu] AFTERMATH, Killraven, Sabre, The Elementals, and Urutsk-

Much of this is stream of consciousness.
--I had to put-down my beloved cat of 17 years today, and I'm slightly deranged as a result.


:: While an organisational nightmare far too common in that period of gaming, and the system is equally opaque (possibly due to the distribution of core concepts and 'setting-mechanics') upon first and second glance, the data contained within this game was for me extremely though-provoking and in fact, caused me to seek out Real-World knowledge on the various subjects. This is also true of The Morrow Project. Twilight 2000 came late in my interest in Post-Apocalyptic gaming.
:: I realised just a few moments ago upon glancing at the upright-standing box of AFTERMATH I purchased (my replacement copy) in Jacksonville, FL. around 1997, the strange world depicted in the books has had a noticeable impact in the psychic construction of Urutsk, given that my setting began in much the same condition as that of those illustrations.
--Strange, slightly futuristic armours, relatively plausible energy weapons, skinny/gaunt figures in streets reclaimed by nature but otherwise untouched by 'hot' weapons, and less of a fantasy-P-A, nor the military/martial P-A of T2k and TMP.

2 & 3). Stir-in Jonathan Raven from War of the Worlds/Killraven, and McGregor's later work, Sabre, and a very different sort of P-A setting has been half-formed in this weird chick's brain.

4). But, since Urutsk started as a Supers game set very near the end of global civilisation's final grasp on normal existence (normal, of course relative to Urutsk), there has to be Powered individuals. Cue Marvel Superheroes, Heroes Unlimited, Mayfair DCH, GURPS Supers, and in our case, Villains & Vigilantes in that order. But, before any of those (for me), there was the obscure comic book by TSR and OS great, Bill Willingham: The Elementals (and the semi-related non-Willingham, Justice Machine).
--While the apparently anti-Judeo-Christian themes in The Elementals are no longer ones I embrace, the rest:


The Elementals, and indeed most of the superhumans in the comic, are dead. In the comic, the main ways to gain superhuman powers are through dying, often in a manner that attracts the roaming energy of Shadowspear. While the Elementals, and other superhumans, lived on after death they were changed, generally being physically tougher than ordinary humans but also more emotionally distant, and often able to only relate fully to other superhumans.


Unlike most other superhero comics, Elementals did not sharply distinguish between superhuman powers and magic. Indeed, all of the superhuman powers in the comic come, in one way or another, from supernatural sources.


After the Elementals dealt with Saker and his minions, they were the only super-beings walking free on the planet. The four quickly became the world's most famous celebrities; according to Tommy, this wasn't due to their abilities, but the fact they were dead. The Elementals were, at least until other paranormals began to appear, the ultimate pop icons.


The Elementals had a love-hate relationship with the Federal government of the United States, which sought to control them. At first, a single agent, Porter Scott, was assigned to tag along with them. Later, an entire government agency, F.I.S.H. (Federal Intelligence Security Headquarters) was created to monitor paranormal activity. Later still, the Elementals began to wonder if they and their fellow super-beings should not simply govern themselves.


The series had a gruesome flair, as Willingham exposed all consequences of fights. As Morningstar said, "This is a war, and in war people die." The protagonists' ability to heal wounds enabled them to survive brutal amounts of damage; Vortex, in particular, managed to get badly mauled with alarming regularity.


Peekaboo nudity was a staple of Elementals, as the author tried to push the limits of (then) acceptability in American comics world. Also controversial was the issue in which Morningstar discovered that her fiancé, Eric Chessman, was actually the sadistic villainess Shapeshifter, toying with her emotions."

-played a very large role in Urutsk's conception, and these influences, I feel, are ones not only under-represented in gaming ([including the idea of retro-clones/simulacra of the FGU game , TMP, or T2k]), but under-exposed cultural gems of a bygone era --post-Reagan administration, Ministry's new-found voice of distrust/hatred of government, and Camper Van Beethoven's Key Lime Pie.

Monday, February 8, 2010

[RPG][Milieu] Kelzsyn's Bluff Progress Update-

It took me a while to find an art programme on the web for the Mac specifications I needed, but I eventually found ArtRage Studio Pro 3, and quickly fell deeply in like with it.

The demo allowed me to fill in and alter areas of the Bluff & Environs 'map', but it is feature-limited so as to save only in its native format, or export with two very annoying adverts. Fortunately, I was able to print without such restrictions and then scanned the printout and brought it into my PC's Photoshop 7.x where my previous copy (and more importantly, the Text layers) resided, and they were mated.
--I now need to tweak a few things (I can use the mouse for this stuff) and then label the smaller communities in the area, as well as natural features.

I like ArtRage Studio Pro enough to want to purchase it, when the funds are determined to be available.
--Now, to figure out how to get my tablet to work (again) with my desktop unit.

When I feel it is presentable, I'll post a link to it.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

[Playtest Campaign] 5th, FebRuary-

"Be flexible."
--That was my outlook for this session on my drive up to the store.

Devlyn MqKullyn (not MqKlellyn, as I had previously thought) was asked by cousin Ylnel to finally get something to eat before trying to re-claim her baggage, now that they had Tyb's authorisation. Encounter Qwyl and his 'low sorts' friends, and sits with them. Meets a silvery, salt-and-pepper haired fellow in nice clothes who first sends over a black bottle from the Black Crown (AKA, The Marnharnnan Yirinn Empire of Bereme Oykh, MYE/BO), then chills it with a grasp, and aids in dispensing the very cooled liquid that turns to vapour as it heats up at room temperature. Drinking it does 'funny' things to those imbibing. Devlyn decides to introduce Llellyn Thorp (WI) to the governor, and Ylnel is left behind, drunk, without a second thought.

During this time, Tyb had been kept informed of the stiff losses the joint Human-Humanoid anti-Pirate tunnel force was suffering, and of the reports by them, and captives of some sort of 'monster' in the tunnels, very near to the tesseract, as well as the ship's projections as to where the Planar Generator was that had poisoned Ahnni with unknown radiation. He learns from Ylliya (his youngest daughter) that one of the captive pirates is still suffering un-ease regarding the monster. During her Telepathy (as in the spell) she is afflicted by some sort of feedback loop that makes her see herself from the monster's psychic perspective, as there is no mind for her to read, save her own. A Pro from Elementals (Um, ...huh? Okay, I roll with it for a bit of her relief, given the Elemental nature of the setting), Darius' Forcefield Generation (another third of relief), but Tyb's perplexed. He decides to visit the Merry Tea-Time group's leader at her home. As the carriage arrives to take him and Darius, Devlyn and Llellyn show up and come along for the ride.

The guards at her gate refuse even the Governor from entering, but Ahnni blips in and kills a two-headed dog and blips back with it. The guards acquiesce, but now the servants at the front door refuse access. Tyb senses the pitch of the Aether is very odd, in a powerful way, and he uses a fancy command spell of some sort to make the most trusted senior staff member flee. They gain entry only to have all spells and powers cease immediately, as if the energy was siphoned out of them. They meet with the lady of the house, clad in a voluminous black robe who explains that they cannot disturb her at present. Sounds of oddness resound from behind the closed double doors. Tyb goes to open them, is shouted at not to by the lady, and then they hear what sounds like one thousand goats laughing in unison.

The thing dominates the round, bull-rushing Tyb, and then a bounce into the wall for 20 points after armour reduction, and with its second action, curses Darius (still carrying Ylliya) with some word that knocks him through the front door to land harshly on the grass (Ylliya takes 24 points). I think that was preceded by Tyb using his nifty new shadow rope/whip/awesome-thing to disarm the beast's scimitar still in the scabbard. The angry critter, very large, goat-like (its hoofs covered in molten gold that boils away after damaging surfaces?), runs after the lady of the house who fled into her underground passageway that leads (among other places) to House Ahzinbakh. The house burns down, but not before I describe the rest of the Merry Tea-Time decapitated, splortched, and generally deadified (fingers broken at strange angles, faces contorted into horrified visages, etc.), and Tyb rescues the summoning tome.

A runner is dispatched to reach Ashta, who arrives in the sphere and helps localise the weird brimstone-like fire, with the aid the rain. Attempts to encapsulate the scimitar in TK fail, even powerful effects, so it is instead buried. The digging by the TK reveals very old skeletons in the walls of the cellar. Clearly the MT-T group had a dark past Tyb had no idea of.

Tyb skims the book, learns that the 172 named creatures listed therein are more like circumstantially-personified abstract forces made material when summoned. This one was related to fear of things wild and chaotic, and specifically of rapine lusts. He makes the connection with the great fear both sides of the tunnel fighters were facing, and he ponders the true nature of the threat. There had been a goat-festival at House Ahzinbakh when the PCs first became the Governors of Doran, but I don't think anyone remembered that.

Both players had to leave around 8/8.5, but stayed later, apparently enjoying themselves.

Friday, February 5, 2010

[RPG][Milieu] Kelzsyn's Bluff Setting / Adventure Pack-

With Sean Wills' blessing and assistance, I will be 'officialising' ;) his adventure, and am still at work on the Environs section of the mini-setting book. More news, namely other names being added to the roster, may be forthcoming in the early part of next week.

At present, I have taken time off from writing and am colouring the first of at least two maps. The first is the immediate areas surrounding the Bluff (Mirror Lake, the southern reaches of the Smokewood Forest, the Green Dome Woods, Cat Alley 'Highway', etc.). Sadly, this is slower going than I had hoped, as my WACOM tablet simply won't work with my tangle of USB peripherals. I may port that and the art files over to my 10.5" laptop (:: squint-squint ::), or the Mac in the other room to try and finish the first map by Monday or so.

My SO is working tonight, so she won't be attending the game, but I ought to have at least Tyb/Darius and Devlyn, if not Ymmyk.

I hope any Friday-gamers out there have a good session. :D

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

[Milieu][Gaming] Urutsk Gaming Overseas-

Our much admired Sean Wills has run a session using a hybrid of Mutant Scavengers of the Ruined Earth + the Alpha/Beta Urutsk: World of Mystery rules, and using the town of Kelzsyn's Bluff as the backdrop. Oh, and Blair's Urban Action Mayhem tables.


He exceeded my every expectation! :D

I hope to read more such reports not only from him, but perhaps from you, as well. :)

Monday, February 1, 2010

[Playtest Campaign] January 29th-

After a dinner of Indian/Pakistani food, the SO and I arrived at the store to meet a 'new' player who joined the game, although he had played in my wacky Pathfinderish-Beta mashup game in 2008/2009.

Said player chose to play a Durn-Western Isles Vrun Gentleman Adventurer. This character's father was a native-born Durnsman who had excelled in Mathematics and was scouted by a WI university to attend; after completing his advanced studies, Pops became a Physics professor (full honours, citizenship, and married a very Aelbaanesque (i.e., pale, tall, and eccentric) noblewoman, daughter to Admiral Kinsdem. From that union, Devlyn MqKullyn was born.
--Devlyn had been born on Doran, where he was schooled and grew up before travelling to the Western Isles to complete his higher education, to broaden his horizons, and to round-out his moral character. While his mixed ancestry was a bit controversial in the WI, it was/is tamer than in the New World (although Doran has a fair population of various mixed-bloods of all sorts).

Devlyn had been away (back in the WI) during the time of the pirate attack, and returned to find the place worse for wear. While still on the ship, he had engaged in some gambling with two sharpes who had intended on swindling him, but his successes deterred them, and they excused themselves separately and departed. He was then spoken to by an old man who had appeared to have been asleep during the game, and was suggested by this fellow to speak with the Governors when he made land. Devlyn thanked him for that odd tidbit, and upon disembarking, made his way to the walled community where his let flat is located, and met Qwyl, the gardener/grounds keeper for the three elegant apartment buildings within the confines. Through Devyn's somewhat less than tactful suggestion that Qwyl's assessment that his, 'black god warned you of danger, right?', was in fact correct, Qwyl was understandably hurt that he had not been warned, considering that the man had lost an eye during the fighting. Qwyl then suggested that to make up for that Devyn could treat him to lunch at the new drinking establishment (an overturned pirate hulk dragged onto shore). Devyn agreed and went upstairs to unpack.
--He was met by a woman who claimed to be his cousin, Ylnel, from the WI. She had been on Doran for a week or so, and was encountering terrible difficulty locating and securing her 15 pieces of baggage. She hoped that her cousin could help her sort that and had been allowed by the landlady to sleep in the hallway at Devlyn's door during that time. With the opportunity to wash up Ylnel and Devyn entered the flat, where she then set herself up in the guest room while he unpacked. A furred snake (he didn't think it was poisonous) extricated itself from his larger carry-on. Qwyl picked up the snake and draped it across his shoulders like a living stole. Ylnel, Qwyl, and he had a brief intro and set out to eat lunch.

On the way there Qwyl noticed movement in the bushes and set about determining its nature: folk rising up from a covered tunnel entrance. The furred snake dissuaded them from exiting, and Qwyl began to blow on his signal whistle until both House Ahzinbakh dog handlers and the local militia both converged on the spot. The dog handlers attempted to dismiss the event, but the partisan woman leading the militia would hear none of it and called for additional backup. Devlyn took that opportunity to ditch Qwyl, and tried doing the same with Ylnel, but she clung to his arm and they set off to the Governors' Estate.
---Introductions were mde; Ylnel was explained to be a University-level investigator in Fae Sciences, and her 15 pieces of kit being lab gear and the like; the Govs and secondary characters were involved; the Sphere was shown to Devlyn once his WI (Aelbaan) ancestry was disclosed; the ship reacted oddly to his presence and the feedback was unsettling to Ashta (!), but they went for a flight as Mela Mela and Ylnel trotted off with a guard and Ahnni to Mela's alchemical lab (guarded by her Fae friends who had warned her of the very large 'Bunk-Bunk' creatures who came out at night and stood around the other PCs and ate either their exhaled breath, or their dreams; the Fae were not certain of which), but along the way, they were almost ambushed by pirates flushed out from the jungly vegetation. Ahnni had Jaunted with one of the pirates, but was struck-ill by a charm the man was wearing (it was a stylised 'A' in some sort of silvery alloy and the Black Metal); House A dog-handlers then set their dogs on the girls but they held their own until the Sphere came to the rescue and squashed the dogs in a TK field; one handler fled into the swamp which is known to hold pirates; Ahnni was cured of an extra-planar poisoning effect generated by something emitting radiations from deep within the island; the dog handler was pursued by a TK probe and was harassed by the PCs until we wrapped it up around 11 PM.

The 'new' player was interested in downloading the .pdfs, and reading this blog (as is Tyb's player), so we may be hearing from them in the comments in the coming days/weeks.