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Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Acaeum thread on UWoM-

This was nice to read, and I'll be by shortly to correct the point regarding the free Betas and the NTRPG Con pre-release version (which represents about 50% of the first commercial release).

Monday, June 21, 2010

Main e-mail temporarily down...-



If you need to reach me, please use the hotmail account until I am back up and running under my main addy.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A new Overseas URUTSK game session report-

Our man near Northumberland, Sean Wills, has this truly wonderful session report (as a Player, no less), reprinted here:

We played using the UWOM setting. The GM, Stephen Laidlaw used the terrain/hex/encounter tables from the Beta Referee's manual. Each of the four players was given a mostly-blank sheet of paper with few words about the character on it - mine said:

Yande; Male; shirt, boots, breeches, embroided waistcoat, belt.

The game started with the PCs waking up groggy and retching, a foul taste in their mouths, to find themselves in a longhut on stilts in a swamp. Humans (?) - two male, two females, we seemed to know very little. We (the players) asked lots of questions about how we looked, how we felt, what we saw in the hut etc to piece together the situation. Yande seemed like a well-groomed gaunt young man -a fair-haired Vrun ? Teash seemed to be a shaven-headed Yir[inn] male, Mouwles was a tough-looking brunette, Niame was a lithe WI Vrun female. We all seemed to have lost any memory of who we were and how we had come to be in the hut. There was a shelf of odd bits of field gear/rations/water in the hut but no weapons or armour. It looked like there had been another inhabitant there recently.

During the session the characters left the stilt-hut to explore the surrounded environs - swamp wetlands. Mouwles found footprints on a stretch of solid land which led to a newly-ravaged body in a clearing. Teash seemed to recognise the carrion-insects feasting on the corpse. The man had been armed with a folding light crossbow and a machete. The killing blows had come from large clawed creatures, Teash reckoned they were probably feline. The weapons were shared out between Mouwles and Yande, Niame took the leather vest that looked huge on her.

Then the flashbacks and nausea started. Stephen handed out notes to each player at several points in the session. Yande remembers operatic arias and a masked swordswoman kicking him into a canal. After evading a monstrous horned reptile ridden by humanoids with slingshots and fighting off three spiny pack-cats (Yande seems very deadly and precise in combat, Niame's fast) the PCs reached a lakeside fortified outpost and distillery. They learn they are in the Vrun Berror region and decide to head to the capitol on a merchant's riverboat, their passage paid with the pack-cat pelts.

More flashbacks - an audience with an elderly woman producing feelings of dread, a technical sketch, a purple glow, screams dying to whispers.

The session had to end there.

Stephen obviously has us all statted up, I've not guessed the system yet, and we're only realising what our characters can do well/badly through doing stuff. We're definitely not 1st level !

A mix of sandbox with a backstory that reveals itself as a result of regular dice rolls. It's almost as if we're playing what happens after a (failed?) scenario. Cool idea, good session, looking forward to the next.

A Gift of Unprecidented Measure-

Jason Braun was so kind as to gift me with the original of the Mutant Future cover in the last minutes I was at the convention, and this was my first real opportunity to show it to the rest of you:

What can I say, but, "My silence was my choking back my tears of joyful thanks, as I think was evident to everyone present."

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Answers to the Cimmerian's UWoM QnA-

Cimmerian said:

I have questions!

1). Is there an active forum for discussion, QnA, and play experiences from users yet?

<= Not yet. It is in the works.

2). I noticed you have a non-traditional philosophy in regards to adventure creation using basic setting descriptions and running through tables as you go, if I understand correctly. Would I need to digest the full setting background before daring to referee a game?

<= I would say that the free version of Kelzsyn's Bluff is representative of the essentials of my method of informed improvisation.
<= Would you run a combined Into the Unknown + Keep on the Borderlands game without reading through the material first?
<= Imagine the World of Greyhawk game someone would run simply looking at the box and the interior artwork. It would likely be much more Earth of Chivalry as a quasi-historical game, wit a few monsters of myth/legend, and would even go so far as to suggest that without explicit orders to do so, the DM would tone magic down a few notches to fit more closely with the Chivalric tales.
<= Is that a bad version of Greyhawk? Certainly not, but it isn't taking advantage of others' work in fleshing out important/interesting locations, persons, and gods, right?
<= In the same way, if one were to buy an UWoM adventure locale product and hope to simply transpose it onto their home-brew fantasy world, they'd find it an odd match, as (beyond Vrun names) it is a Sci-Fi setting with a lot of folks running around in low-tech arms and armour because a 2H sword doesn't need batteries.
<= Bringing Metamorphosis Alpha/Gamma World (any edition except possibly the Alternity thing) or MF characters to a place called Kelzsyn's Bluff would be much easier a shift, as they are much closer a fit. As are any version of Tekumel, Jorune, Star Wars, The Morrow Project, Encounter Critical, or even Palladium's RECON.
<= Can one take Prime Directive characters through the Tomb of Horrors? Certainly, but if each session were simply another of the old TSR AD&D modules, the Prime Directive flavour would be altered, and the game would become something...else.

3). I've run games totally free-form down to deciding on an appropriate mechanic check to use in the instant one is needed. This works fine but in regards to adventure creation I find that I provide a better play experience hands down with what amounts to adding in some of the small highlights that only preparation might allow. This is not to be confused with a three page background before play starts! ;)

<= I am puzzled by the last line in relation to the rest of the statement (not a question)
<= That said, I will address what I * think * you are asking: 'Do I need to know a lot about Urutsk to use any of your adventures/supplements?'

<= I think it would aid a GM to own a copy of the upcoming VRUN Players' Module (the basics of the game with complete char gen, equipping, skills, background, combat, and advancement guidelines), but if the GM can simply adapt the Location and Tables to their Tunnels & Trolls or Champions game, well and fine.

4). Everyone has their own experience of course, but I still would ask if there is not an example adventure containing the content typical of a UWoM game?

<= There is currently nothing more than Kelzsyn's Bluff, as that is my chosen intro site. Contained within the full product will be more than a few fully sketched-out (boolean if/then type) scenarios illustrating how random rolls on the table provide all the prompts for a GM to loosely construct a direction and circumstance, with the Player Characters determining much of how things go from there are a result of the environment reacting to the characters' actions.
<= However, freebie Adventure Seeds or what have you are not beyond the scope of what I'd like to post n a dedicated web site.

<= In my opinion, settings should be self-sustaining and portray a fairly steady thrum of daily life, only punctuated in specific areas (where the PCs are, or were, usually) with a disruption of the norm: Adventurers enter a flooded ruin in the 'middle of nowhere' and as a result of their inadvertent actions, release horrible monsters upon the local area. Those creatures, then, must logically be accounted for in the ongoing circumstances of the game, even if new PCs were generated each session, and each were only isolated adventures.
<= Rumours are the High Order motivator as they are purely optional (even if cunningly constructed to appeal to certain PC/Player interests), and allow the Players to remain in control of their destinies.
<= The background of KB and its Tables guide the unscripted circumstance; the Referee remains impartial; and the Players remain at the wheel, and cannot blame anyone for their miseries or need thank anyone for their successes.

<= In each Adventure Locale, I would include a good overview of rivalries, alliances, and upstarts that would affect the way that the social environment reacts to the PCs' actions. Some mayors may be convivial, some constables out to get the PCs on a crime, and a bar maid may in fact be a foreign spy. These dynamic social webs would translate to any setting or game, if tweaked (Not the Marnharnnan Defence Agency, but the Restorationists in GW, or the Rebel Alliance in SW, for instance), and are perhaps the thing I most clearly was influenced by from Flying Buffalo, Inc.'s City Books series. If you are familiar with any of the earlier titles, that's how the whole thing cohered: the interactive social webs of the NPCs and the PCs. That is my inspiration as regards Adventure Design.

Did that help at all?
--If not, please let me know what to re-focus on.

Thanks for your questions! :D

Friday, June 11, 2010

Narwid? Squale? ;)

Rob Kuntz said: It kinda goes like this:

"There once was a chef from Nantucket,
"Who made love to a squale in a bucket,
"The Shaman came by and said,
"Surf's UP! Let us Fly!
"So all they could do was to shuck it."

As I understand, the whole thing miscarried. Fortunate, perhaps, for I wonder if Urutsk was ready (or due) for yet another mutation (i.e., 'Buffalo Squale').

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Additional Photos (Courtesy of Allan Grohe)-

More photos:

1). Sunday Morning/Afternoon

Me, Rob Kuntz, Steve Winter, Doctor Joe, Amanda Marhol

2). Sunday Morning/Afternoon


Monday, June 7, 2010

2010 North Texas RPG Con Report [Long]-

I am back from Dallas/Ft. Worth (Irving), Texas, and the 2010 North Texas RPG convention, where I had the great pleasure to meet, speak with, and even game repeatedly with TSR and Classic-gaming notables:

  • Rob Kuntz
  • Tim Kask
  • Dennis Sustare
  • Paul Jaquays
  • Steve Winter
I was also fortunate enough to have met many of the active resurgence players, such as Matt Finch, Alan Grohe, and I am embarrassed to say, others whose names and faces have become dissociated in my fatigued mind.


Steve Winter (formerly with TSR, currently with WotC) ran a 1st Edition Gamma World adventure for us, and I think we all had a very enjoyable time, with plenty of smiles and a few laughs amid the exploration and combat with the Wasp-Men. Several of us have camera-pix of a battle scene, and I will try to post that soon.


I was asked to consider running a one-off/pick-up game and had a reader (also a Robert, I believe [if not, please forgive me]) of this blog as the first Player to arrive. The concept i was running with was that he, possibly solo, would trek out from Kelzsyn's Bluff through the wetlands in search of an Ancient Scout cache of significant importance and believed entirely undisturbed. A second player, a young man, a first-time RPG player who was more familiar with popular SciFi franchises than fantasy clich├ęs and tropes, but quickly extrapolated based on my references to Star Wars (his preferred franchise universe), Star Trek, and Stargate. This fellow proved to be an excellent Player in that he was articulate and succinct in his declared intent and quickly realised that anything he though his character could do was likely 'allowable' as governed by a 2d12 + Primary Modifier roll result. Sharp kid. This then led to the deal between the seller and the Scout, which was interrupted by the original customer and her two cohort (a half-Durnsman, and a Western Isles Vrun). Things were getting nasty (the young fighter-type had beheaded the WI Vrun and picked up his Aelbaan blade when my friend Rob Kuntz showed up to join the game by dropping a terracotta potted-plant upon the crown of the much displeased and snarling woman. When she awoke, she and the Durnsman sparingly explained that the three of them had assembled to work the problem together and that they were willing to co-operate. Rob would have none of it and soon the woman and man were discarded to the Thrashers in Mirror Lake.

I'll skip the rest of that and then say that my Friday Night game was a continuation and that the first group was successful in large part due to Rob's insistence that the party was entirely capable of solving all of the riddles, overcoming all obstacles, or finding alternate methods/routes. He demonstrated great caution at times and charged in when he saw an opening and usually was very successful in intent even if his dice were tired and cranky.
My new players included artists Jason Braun (original cover of Labyrinth Lord and Mutant Future), and Amanda Marohl (we are discussing artwork for Urutsk), SirAllen of Dragonsfoot, and 'Doctor Joe' (a young Robert De Niro circa Taxi Driver, channelling a version of Kevin Spacey, and a fine Gentleman, Player and Gamer, too!).
In that session, three field agents of the Marnharnnan Defence Agency (created by international blogger and author of such fine MICRO-Scale games such as SAMURAI CYBORG ARE GO!, and Jung Guns, Sean Wills), researching the possibility that a rumoured tech cache had recently been successfully looted. They were to be on the lookout for items in the open and black markets.
We started at the Cat Lake City (courier depot/brothel/inn/bar and grille/saloon, contained in three interconnected buildings on the shore of a large pond, and complete with a Tiki-type hut, a barbecue, and a dock surrounded by reeds and rushes) where everyone met and then followed the hook to the tunnels of the Bluff in search of foreign sappers that later turn out to be Guild Council mercs, likely hired by the VCA to access something or perhaps demolish the site.
Highlights included SirAllen's antics and his character's chosen accent; Joe's very clever and funny comments; and the group's launching of a frictionless lock careening down an underground passageway like a pinball.


The crew gathered again, minus Jason Braun, who had to man his table. Later, as Rob was away at his game or panel, Steve Winter and his friend (David, was it?) rolled up characters while two other new players also joined the party exploring Ancient stuff deep in the earth, fighting plague-zombies, and unravelling more of the mystery of the setting. Rob checked-in on us a couple or three times as he was running his group.


Rob met me first, then Steve Winter joined in and we talked about the setting and system and compared it against some of its influences (EPT, MA/GW, The Morrow Project, and Skyrealms of Jorune), and when Amanda, and Joe joined us, we set off on the last instalment before next year's Con with a submersible, and surfer-shaman NPC toward new and much larger adventures.

I signed a few dice bags along with Tim, Dennis, Rob, Paul; went out to lunch with them on Thursday; and learnt all sorts of interesting inside scoop on TSR days.

Doug Rhea and BadMike ran a great con, and did amazing amounts of work to make it flow remarkably well. They deserve great praise for that job. :D

It was a remarkable experience and opportunity afforded me, and I am very thankful and grateful for it.

What did you folks game that weekend? :)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Off to NTRPG Con-

I'll be heading out in a few hours for the NTRPG Con.
--Unlikely to be blogging while there, but it is possible.

Have fun this weekend! :D