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Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Shapes of Things to Come: ADnD and UWoM Preview 0-

I've been looking at AD&D (1E MM, 1E PHB, 1E DMG, and 2E DMG) recently for my half of a collaboration with Rob Kuntz, and out of this cross-conversion work, I've begun to look at Urutskan Character Classes, AD&D-style.*
* = with a bit of my own style thrown in for good measure.

To wit: Marnharnnan Rangers: at the crossroads of the Druid-Ranger dichotomy, The Behekht NoShount are the 'select elite special forces, standing water infiltration long-striders.' They arose from the first Western Isles and Continental Vrun who arrived in their colonial arks and swept inward in wide ranks, shooting anything or anyone who did not abide their presence, or those beasts obviously malign and enemies of Humanity in their very nature.

Mechanically, they are meticulously assembled from kosher AD&D Character Classes, and come in above Druids / Rangers in the XP department, more than justifying the unique build's re-imagining of the class and its mission.
--In the process of writing this class, another was hatched in a Skype conversation with Rob, though I dare not reveal it save to tease you with its righteous coolness and historicity in canonical 'N' fiction.

So, the next time an Abbekqorru doesn't look like he wants to kill you right off, consider what secrets could be learnt by participating in one of their shamanic rituals.

For lo, Things stir in the depths of space...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Mutants of Marnharnna Pt. 11-

With Raylyss and the Scaly Kids out in the mangrove Stinkwoods, frosty Osyl, the rather colourful Zalder, and the anime giantess, Kitsune (correcting the misspelling from last week, rendering her 'Wandering Hovering Spirit') went in search of a jewellery store to sell the loot they had taken from the 'Mall of the Ancients'.

Before getting there, an interaction with a 'friendly' fight prompted Zalder to blow his cover as a non-powered colourful freak, and caught a gent who had been knocked over a second-floor railing. The man was stupefied that this green-skinned, blue-haired, sugar-glider membraned person was holding him aloft, and asked to be gently put down. The assailant, his 'friend' made his way down the stair, to the consternation of the prostitutes they had been cavorting with in the room before the argument had erupted. Osyl, conjured a fabrication of 9 and change pounds of frigid water over the bruiser. The cold water worked in bringing the hulk back to his senses, and Osyl's attempts to sweet-talk him worked better than the player had planned, resulting in the big fella' suddenly being rather taken with her (to the further consternation of said working women). Zalder released his grip on the punchee and flew off as the Law made their way toward the group. A conversation between the deputies in the background suggested that they thought the rather WI Vrun-looking Kitsune and the somewhat Yirinn-looking Osyl didn't much look like cousins, but the WI nobles were prone to mate with whom they desired; and, was it really true that West Coast Vrun really practised bestiality? Kitsune managed to defuse the situation after being admonished not to associate with Muties, at least in town.

With Kitsune's week-long knowledge of Kryssaul City, they set out into the Good Part of town and to a heavily guarded two-floor Jewellery establishment. Ignoring a man who offered to look at their items before they stepped foot inside, the two went inside and marvelled at the collection of Auric Black Metal jewellery in a partitioned case occupied by an armed guard. The staff was knowledgeable enough to spot the quality and mark of the Ancient jewellery and then called the manager, who promptly invited the pair upstairs for a private meeting. The walk up the stairs revealed three full cold-cast plate-armoured over-under coilstock-armed guards on either side of the way, suggesting that such transactions were fairly secure. A brief event revealed a grizzled hunter in another section of the upstairs area, but he quickly disappeared from view. The business was prefaced by a friendly question session by the manager who asked as to the the provenance of the goods, how the girls came to possess it, and after their safety travelling alone on the wild ways with such a haul. Answers were provided in varying degrees of believability, and the sale of some rather remarkable pieces (including a circuitry embedded in a coin and a dagger of some sort of rainbowed-glass-like material), netting 10k count. A Letter of Recommendation and a private carriage ride to the White star Hotel marked the pair of 'cousins' as members of the Amlynn family (one of several known to have founded the ill-fated WICE fort later overrun by combined Aberrant, Dokirin, and Humanoid forces). The White Star Hotel executive suite (100 count per day, not including room service) proved much to the women's' enjoyment, affording Kitsune a relaxing hot bath, and Osyl time to 'chill-out'.

In the meantime, Zalder (having flown in over the mangrove canopy and spotted a pinnace) had been assisting Raylyss in wrangling his son (a rather cunning fisher) when he heard sounds echoing across the water, further out into a channel. Four folks in a dinghy rowed closer, and it was apparent that they were smugglers or pirate-types. Zalder, feeling michevious, experimented with the Water node, but was admonished by the Sisters and then drew upon an Air crystal to stealth up on them unawares. A failed death-stroke attack on an occupant while the three others were poking around for a submerged something alerted the others and the sloppy kill subjected him to wool-pistol fire and afforded the Durnsman (slave?) an escape from the other two. A further failed hatchet throw against the pistoleer and Zalder was hiding in the mangroves as the two survivors (a young woman/girl who was disguising that fact, and an older, relatively 'nice' guy) rowed back with their badly butchered comrade's corpse out to the ship.

The Durn watched as Zalder dredged up a pirate-chest-sized chest encrusted with muck and barnacles, and then floated it up using a large air bubble. The Durn warned him that the contents were holy, and would kill Zalder, and likely himself, if it were opened, but Zalder precoded to pick the lock. The Sisters, unable to speak with him, were clearly distraught for their proxy agent, and he relented, thinking that if they were powerless, it was likely a big deal.

Gadget-girl Kitsune sent a mechanical servant to deliver makeup, hair dye, and a robe to Zalder who then joined them in town at the gunsmiths, where the party purchased more revolvers, and Black Crown manufactured revolving carbines and ammunition, wiping out nearly 7k of their ten. The girls booked passage for the Riverland Peninsula, with special provisions made for a private trip, and entry to the big lake I cannot recall the name of at present, requiring the ship arrive there at high tide, on a full moon (up coming), so as to pass over the flooded shoal separating it from the bay. Full passage was paid and preparations to disembark that night were made.

Hotel antics. Science team brought up. Zalder returned at night with a carriage to fetch Raylyss and the kids, and to offer the Durn a ride, only to find a religious ceremony and a Durn congregation held in the mangroves. There were shadowy figures with luminous eyes and one held a knife to his throat until the okay was given. For his kindness, the priest gave Zalder a chunk of fragrant resinous wood. The return trip to the carriage showed that men were surrounding the vehicle, and a still-mounted rider oversaw the operation. Fighting ensued after Zalder head-shot the mounted feller and he went down hard. Cloaked, but against the night sky in moonlight allowed the shooters on the ground a better chance of striking, and a as if that weren't enough, a night-flying predator snatched him up in its talons before being struck in the fire, dropping him a full minute's swim back to shore. On route, Zalder was bitten by a fish, but it was dispatched in one blow.

We held it there.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Language Time: Yirinn Spiritual Writings (x of y parts)-

For those gamers who don't play Tekumel because they don't have a degree in Linguistics, Anthropology, or whatever else, you may want to skip the Language posts.

The Yirinn peoples are derived from the Yirinn Ak, the Sla Mu, and the Dokirin. Intermingled with these three distinct Ethnicities are the mysterious Khem, entirely unlike the others, being tall, lithe, fair, and capricious/lusty/hot-tempered. While the Khem have found their way into the three Tribes, they are more of a social symbiot, existing separately and keeping alive their own traditions and bloodlines.

The Sla Mu are largely made up of disfigured individuals suffering from endemic birth defects that most often manifest in locomotive disabilities. As a result, the culture has adapted to a sedentary lifestyle filled with artistic, musical, and scribal arts, including religious functions combining all three sub-divisions. They are the preservers of historical accounts and consultants of sage wisdom from before the War in the Heavens and the arrival of the Imperial Vrun.
--Sla Mu priests and priestesses have only euphemistic names for the Creator-Judge, not daring to limit Deity by ascribing only so many traits or natures to It/Him. In many ways the Sla Mu are the anchor to the distant past, when the Yirinn were the freest people upon the globe, and the horse features prominently in tales and iconography, although heroes and demigods are a close second, and receive solemn respect both as historical persons, as well as ideals to be emulated or avoided.

There is an unnamed work that compiles sage expressions, ecstatic utterances, and dream records. Of the many versions which exist in the One Hundred Twenty One Clans (not including the uncounted Dokirin divisions), there is a great degree of similarity (Synoptic).
--What follows is the initial foray into these writings:

Ullem Naharash Ji

Sulenehem De Ha M'aus

Kellos Utaar Di Ehm Iahos


Resheph Mar Kai Holus


What conclusions the reader draws from these utterances are entirely their own, and I offer no explanation at present, save that it is an unfolding narrative.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Contemporary Weapons of the Colonial Age Pt. 01-

Copyright (c) 2009 Kyrinn S. Eis
Non-commercial use granted

Having neglected the gamer candy for a long while, I offer this series:



* MxE = Maximum Effective ~ The end of the ballistic arc, and one heck of a shot
* E = Effective Range ~ The theoretical limit
* ShE = Short Effective ~ The practical limit

Determine MxE and divide by Pi to reach E, then divide E by Pi to reach ShE, and so-on until the barrel is poking the target. This may yield results of feet or less in shorter MxE ranges.

[Legacy] = D&D-scale HP damage; Metamorphosis Alpha, Original Gamma World, and MF should use standard listed damages

BEP = Blunt, Edged, and Piercing special effects

Galmaether Cylindrical Repeater (WICE Patent, various manufacturers)

Type: 10-round Revolver + Single-shot Feed
Size: Small, One-handed use; Two-handed re-load
Ammo.: Alchemical Cartridge
Max. RoF: 5 rounds discharged per 6 seconds
Ranges: MxE 500/E 159/ShE 50 Yards
Modifiers: varies from +01 to -02 based upon manufacture
Damage: 3d6x3BEP (31.5 DP) [3d6 Legacy] per round striking

:: Begin Datafile:

The Galmaether Cylindrical Repeater (GCR) was first patented in 685, in the Western Isles by Themeul Vedrys Marsden Galmaether, a lesser noble of the Byrtheq Families of that isle. Galmaether, largely dissatisfied with bolt-action or lever-actuating designs which forced him to manually load into the weapon (thus slowing his burgeoning 'trick-shooting' routine), envisaged a noble's weapon which would allow for both speedy delivery of a full compliment of ammunition, as well as single-round feed capability. After several false starts (and tens of Royals [thousands of gp] invested in the project), Themeul was greeted with success once he abandoned simple chemical propellants and dove headlong into the world of Alchemy.

Nearly a decade later, the first of the 'strikerless' firearm designs began to show promise. In these mechanisms, an Alchemical operation takes place, mixing raw Elemental Air with the mundane chemical in the shell, producing a strikerless and primerless combustion. Likewise, this made the shells inert in normal exposure to mundane atmosphere, and as an added advantage, allowed the cartridges to be fired in a non-oxy atmosphere or even a vacuum. Unlike most revolver designs, a rearward moving valve-pin re-cocked the Alchemical hammer, providing a semi-automatic firing sequence, rather than mechanically rotating the cylinder. Prior to his presumed death in an industrial accident in 689, Galmaether had established patents for various improvements and refinements in the GCR, and even one using a spring-tension magazine-feed version utilising triangular shells that fed into a fixed cylinder. However, the GCR is still a quick-change cylinder design, as are all knock-off makes of any reliable manufacture.

Once his design became known to the Black Crown, variants were produced in The Black Metal and this allowed for more powerful cartridges, as well as higher capacity cylinders (due to The Black Metal's uncompromising strength even in thinner chamber walls). Marnharnnan Vrun soon gained samples of these 'Western' models, and, although unable to duplicate the metallurgical advances, were able to patent and produce models with as many as twelve shots for their aeronaut, cavalry, and naval officers. The proliferation of Cylindrical Repeaters began to spread worldwide, as well as across weapon types to carbines and rifles, making ram-rod 'wool-rifles' antiquated by as early as the late 690's.

As the weapon type became more popular and ubiquitous, ammunition quantity and quality was never far behind the trend. By the mid 690's, any trading post on Marnharnna that carried firearms also carried standardised ammunition in various 'calibres', ranging from non-cylindrical derringer-type 'short-case' cartridges, to the Beast Hunting bores. Well into the Resth Clan Confederacy's (RCC) nascent national history, GCRs were issued to military personnel, political commissars, and Marnharnnan Defence Agency marshals. Gradually replaced by drum-magazine fully-automatic firearms by the middle of the First Tyrrhean War, GCRs passed down for generations were still the trusty companion of soldiers and adventurers until ]Å}]&*&$%% file corrupt
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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Mutants of Marnharnna Pt. 10-

Raylyss' player was out due to a cold.

Phlavius asked for and received Osyl's revolver and ammo. and then imbibed the shamanic potion, and was rendered a shadow. He saw a hatchet made of shadowstuff, and grabbed it, sneaking about attempting to surprise Qajwl.
--I described nightmarish shadow creatures as they stood in the near shallows of the Shadow plane, and the ebb and flow of the dimensional barrier looking like high-tide was rolling in.

Instead, one of the minions moved in his direction, and they entered melee. Phlavius landed the first blow, and would go on to win the fight. This allowed him to dip a round in Shadowblood. The minion's howling face was added to the totem pole, and looked near to the last one.
--Phlavius then fired at Qajwl, striking the Monster in the head, blowing out one of his eyes. Qajwl responded by striking Phlavius with a shadowbeam.

Having been instructed by P prior to the shadow-shift to dowse his shadowy form with conjured alcohol and ignite it, if P looked unwell, Zalder obliged his compatriot. This Fire brought P back from the brink, and he dumped all but a few DP into his second attack, which was enough to slay the Monstrous Being.
--Sadly, this also caused the pillar to explode, taking Phlavius to -09.

Phlavius had previously dedicated his entire DP to Prince Wick, escaping dissolution, and was welcomed into the illustrious court of Fire. The Elemental Lord, 'fire-sylphs', salamanders, etc., in attendance, all hailed their brother, and the scene closed for him.
--The player then set to work creating his next PC.

Not the sentimental types, the party simply retrieved the gear that re-entered the Mundane Realm, and moved on.

Osyl and Zalder, under Lady Arctise's urgings, flew up to the snowy and storm-wracked peak, seeing evidence that their Humanoid fellows had also suffered from the supernatural mega-storm O and P jad created. Cresting the peak, they observed a steady and ice-filled cyclone. Both heard a voice that sounded similar to their respective Lady/Ladies, but was different. They entered the cone, and found themselves in a bright blue sky without land, filled with cloud-sized iceterroids with significant enough gravity to exert a sense of direction upon their inner ears, as well as slowly pulling the two toward the nearest one.
--It was here that the two saw a wooden-framed ice-lodge occupied by Humanoids. These were met and they were shown hospitality (steak tartar in a bowl of ice, and a spoon of ice to eat it with). Osyl's frostblade pulled her towards a distant room. She asked after it and was informed that 'She' lived therein.

In a solid ice cube, a woman who looked like an amalgam of the Moonfaery Sisters, and Lady Arctise, sat knitting/crocheting a fine circular net of airy-frost. She explained that she was a higher order entity from whence the other Ladies were derived, and blessed O and Z. The net negates the weight of what is placed in it when fully cinched closed. Osyl's blade was further enhanced to a total of +2 to Strike/+2 to Damage. Zalder received a +01 to both his Psionic Index, and his Scope Ability Scores, and received a Rank in Communication (this would allow him to broadcast his speech, accompanying his Mind Field power). Osyl also received a few extra DP, and perhaps a Rank in Arcane. In return, The Cold Mother asked for something of Phlavius', and chose an awl of his as her trophy, telerelocating it via ice that ate away at the object, then reformed it within her cube, and stuck it like an icepick into her medium. The Cold Mother provided hints at the possible future involvement of the Aberrants in the main Tybalt & Ashta game, before waving them away.
--The two then received a further (and different) prognostication from a blind female Humanoid soothsayer regarding their possible nearer future. They were then sent away with the blessing of the Beast Father, 'Go with Garrakh.'

Returning to the Mundane and their compatriots, the group then took a fast forward trek, now accompanied by two Marnharnnan troopers, and one WICE officer spared sacrifice at Qajwl's hands, and the Sleepers.
--The mighty subterranean River Xom was their method of rapid transportation to the deep south, and we glossed over a 'Land of the Lost' adventure that would have been more important if Raylyss had been present.

The party emerged at the Xom's destination, in Valourbarrow territory, and outside of Kryssaul Province and City, where, lo and behold, the new PC was already enjoying the strange surroundings of the lawless delta.
--Kitsume (which I allowed as a name, but which translates roughly into 'Wandering Flying Spirit') is a 7'1" tall Negative Lightning blooded, Aberrant lass of 17 years with a nice suite of Powers, including Maze-minded, Precog, Technologian, and Quickness.

A cardsharp by the name of Justyn Qaes immediately took a shine to the towering woman and pestered her and the other PCs until we had to end the session at 10pm.

[The Cloudfrost bag was used by Raylyss to carry the unearthed stone calendar]

Monday, October 11, 2010

Mutants of Marnharnna Pts. 08/09-

Descent into the Ancient architecture's lower level turned out, in fact, to be the highest floor of a tower which had snapped off, and plunged top-first into the karst topography of the area, while the rest of the tower had its foundation buckle under liquefaction. This all suggested a seismic event in the dim past had been the culprit, but I'm not telling.

Opening the 'hatch to the roof', now in the floor of the lowest level, caused Raylyss and Osyl to be sucked down into the grotto beneath them.

While that was transpiring, NPC'd Zalder was teaching Syl (the eldest of the three girls) some basic swordplay toward making her more capable of helping in the defence of her younger siblings.

Also at the same time, Phlavius was battling a Half-Abbekqorru Bone Shaman, winning the melee against his foe, and ultimately discorporating his Shadowform, and collecting the thing's Shadow Bloodstone.

Raylyss found a device that Osyl was guided to by Lady Arctise, and he brought it up to a watery outcropping. Phlavius and Osyl then each began pumping in a steady supply of their respective Elemental Blood/DP. While that was occurring, Raylyss noticed a sound coming from the trunk containing the two large eggs. He witnessed the creature's attempts to break the now leathery shell, and decided to pump four DP into the chick.

I had four days transpire as he motionlessly crouched over the egg and aligned the 'chick' to himself. During this time, both Fire and Frost still heeded their Elemental Leader's and pumped in a total of 120 DP. This device was some sort of Elemental-tech Cooling/Heating engine, and their cyclical generation of hot and cold air created over this period, with them outside in the storm for the better part of those four days. When they had reached that point, they disengaged and the F6 tornado within the eye of the Cat 5 land-generated hurricane, sucked the engine up into storm and began moving away to the NW -- where both the Vrun army had marched, as well as the lay of Qajwl's (the Monstrous Being) lair.

The party had eaten and slept, and then they explored nearby ruins partly uncovered in the aftermath. A long, linear mall was explored and found to have been pretty well looted, but there were plenty of black-slime zombies (shamblers) and neo-zombies (runners) to deal with. To their initial surprise, robotic gunners were apparently charged with Anti-Z duty, entirely ignoring the PCs and the girls.
--A tall, slender, pale creature (Aelbaan) was chased out into the access corridor behind the shops and doubled-back on swift Phlavius before contacting his/her? people and beaming out of there before their eyes.

The PCs were eventually led to the Supervisors, Ancient Sleepers who were awakened in shifts, and had been operating in this fashion as a closed society, largely unaware of the outside world. These folk were surprisingly tolerant of the Aberrants, and a group of Bioscience personnel and three Athletics & Recreation Instructors or Survival Trainers joined the party in exploring the surface.

A find: Bent metal door impervious to virtually anything (many points of Void damage only caused monofractures at the molecular level). That night the entire group dreams of an Ancient or Imperial shuttle pilot's struggle to safely land the vehicle, and its subsequent crash.
--They agreed to investigate further and found it smashed like an accordion. Much Elemental shenanigans transpired in the destruction of one of the Water Nodes in the Grinder, causing a geyser that helped loosen the craft from its earthen casement. Nothing much useful was stripped, but a nice vane on an intake was very crudely fashioned into a buckler of sorts.

The group then was attacked by shadowy half-Abbekqorru and/or anthropomorphised Shadow Wolves. Osyl's revolver (3d6 x 3 damage) again proved itself deadly nearly each shot, especially on the happy head-shot. One creature was felled by her triple-strength Void Blast, and its discorporation was then seemingly caught in a micro-singularity, and quickly began to draw-in local particulate matter and grow into a dirty snowball spinning and hovering in the moist air.
--An explosion caught the gun-crew from the Sleeper Arcology and lightly damaged a PC or two. Making their way up the plateau, the party saw a fully Shadow-fied Qajwl killing Vrun troops. As each one died, a screaming face was added to a black, totemic pole erected in the centre of the ring.

We held it there.