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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks in the New World-

Whether one is of the opinion that the Pilgrims were the colonising White Oppressers or the transplanted Natives were the bloodthirsty savages, or both, I wish to extend my genuine Thanks-giving to the readership for subscribing to the blog, and monitoring the progress and progressive-revelation of Urutsk. Your continued interest is most appreciated, and I hope to repay that investment with a quality setting/system.

Wishing you and your loved ones well in this season,

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Mutants of Marnharnna: Pt. 15: Between a Lock and a Hard Place-

The long and short of the situation is that the military cargo of the schooner cannot be offloaded nor abandoned under any circumstances, and so the paddlewheeler captain begged the party to flee while the other craft did its best to hold off the catamarans while help was sought from Fort UuTudel. As the paddler (laden with passengers, but having thrown overboard two slot-machines) lingered, a flak shell was launched and detonated close enough to all but destroy its wheelhouse. Kitsune was able to effect enough repairs as to operate the craft, and away they went. Zalder delivered a few well-placed firebombs again, and rejoined the paddler.

Nyqolas discovered that he was not regaining Alertness DP, but the cause was not disclosed for some time. Osyl, recovering with the aid of healers sent by Lady Arctise, became conscious as what appeared to be a 'zombie leg' was sewn onto the stump of her right thigh, and all manner of bizarre things put inside (twigs, leaves, etc.), including what Osyl thought was the skeleton of a weasel-like creature. Upon full consciousness (around the time the flak struck the ship), she felt the weasel stirring inside the hollow-seeming limb, and at one point, the thing appeared to pop out and chitter at the woman. Shenanigans involving trying to raise one of the healers killed by shrapnel by sacrificing the eldest of the lizard-girls was foiled by Osyl with a Frost-substituted (Void)-blast that was very convincing. Nyqolas, using his Inspire suite of powers, was able to draw DP from those that responded to the ruckus and raise the recently expired healer. The attempt to sacrifice the girl was not prosecuted at the time, given the gravity of the larger situation, and folks went their separate ways. One of the healers was able to see a glass creature (like a stirge crossed with a su monster and a beaker and flask kit) crawling upon Nyqolas' body, apparently drinking from his Dynamic Pool and preventing him from recovering one mote of pwer.

As sunlight was fading, Kitsune spotted something on the eastern horizon, but it wasn't until the craft neared that it was determined to be at least 40 12-person canoes of Dokirin origin, seemingly awaiting a signal to row from the Eleven Sons area towards the fort which was clearly already under attack. With no real hope of staving off a concerted warband in the damaged craft, it was decided to circumvent them and press on toward the lock. Soon, the signal was given in the form of a star-shell sort of munition deliberately aimed low to kindle fires throughout the otherwise stalwart fort atop stout rocky hills.

Reaching Noud Lehd, the party witnessed a desperate skirmish battle fought between lock engineers and Dokirin war-scouts. A few DiVinci-esque battle devices helped turn the tide and the PCs' presence tipped the scales in favour of the Vrun forces. With the drydock available again, the paddler was brought in for repairs with the goal to reach the tidal lake by high tide still in the realm of the possible. Disembarking, the Party scouted the area ahead of the passengers, and was informed that a hidden entrance to a tunnel leading to UuTudel was to be found in the cluster of ruins at the far end of the dock.

I had used a combination of Heroscape tiles, foamcore terrain tiles and paper boulders made by my sweetie, felt pads from Michael's crafts store, and a piece of store-bought terrain for the ruin, and then covered the table in a sheet so as to minimise the Players' knowledge of the battle scene's layout. We fought the lopsided battle for roughly two hours of gameplay, with Zalder suffering a downing and unconsciousness at the hands of a third-wave Dokirin group. One of these had a softball-sized glassy sphere in his off-hand, and utilised it to illuminate the outer reaches of its radius effect, while the bearer was barely lit (the outermost region was brighter than the inner, ya'see?). Zalder had backshot that one and with the bearer's demise, the light slowly faded, but gave Nyqolas the opportunity to spot the downed Zalder (floating in the water atop the air-sled), whom he fetched and woke.

The last of the on-table opponents was defeated and the effort to begin looting the dead was initiated. Nyqolas picked up the sphere and failed a Control Critical Test (a Spells Save in D&D terms), coming under the gaze of what appeared to be a one-eyed Abbekqorru shaman/sorcerer who then forced a second Control CT, which Nyq was able to deny, but went unconscious in the exertion (burning 8DP to boost his chance to succeed by 1d6). The object was then pried from the now-useless-rendered Nyqolas by Kitsune, with a dagger and with some blood loss. As Nyq lay unconscious, the female sorceress informed him that her glass homunculus (on the Plane of Glass) was siphoning his vitality and reconstituting her body.

The decision to stay with the craft, or make the perilous trip through the tunnel to UuTudel, faces the Party upon commencement of this scenario next time.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mutants of Marnharnna: Pt. 14: Swimming with the sharks-

The paddlewheeler pressed on and came upon an a schooner under attack by catamaran pirates: Two small craft (06 crew, each), and three large craft (11 crew, crew each). The small craft were harriers and used only small-arms fire to draw out their enemies so that the large craft could launch flak shells at the craft as anti-personnel weapons while the small craft sailed away (hopefully in time). The large craft each had an Aldis-lamp with which they could communicate with the tower that lay in the background, beyond yet another mangrove isle.

Shenanigans ensued, with the paddlewheeler gang hopping aboard the schooner, realising that it was listing and sinking, with several small medical emergencies from a prior flak-attack.

Zalder flew over to the big cats and firebombed a couple of them, scoring solid hits, and causing one flak cannon to burn through its decking, effectively anchoring that craft. The third of the big cats was using some sort of bubbler to agitate the water so as to allow the lumbering craft to more easily pivot as it sought to return to its nearby base. Zalder, Cloaked, absconded with the larger-than-a-manhole-cover-sized Air crystal that powered the bubbler, riding off on it like a bodyboard back to the ailing schooner.

A small catamaran was re-owned by Kitsune and Nyqolas (the High Imperial) and a few of the security personnel, and maritime fun was had by all, including shooting pirates pretending to be drowned. :D
--Zalder was busy helping effect repairs by forcing the water out of the ship, allowing the engineers to patch the keel gash.

Nyqolas was contacted by a projection of a rather fetching sorceress, and based upon that brief interaction, he was tele-relocated to her tower (the one nearby). Her overconfidence was her undoing, for although she reflected the Radiance Blood's Psychic Blindness upon Nyqolas, he snapped her neck and leapt overboard to 'land on her' when they hit the water some 30+' below. Here's where the sharks come in. This is where the body of the sorceress became chum. Nyqolas swam to a nearby quay and ran blindly into the swamp for cover, only to be retrieved by Zalder aboard the Air crystal sled.

Other craft were being launched from the pirate cove beyond the tower, and with repairs effected, the two craft frothed away with three new large catamarans in pursuit.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Generic Offering: Dice + Points Ability Score Generation

This is fairly generic and could be used with any six Ability Score, 3d6-based RPG:

Alternate Point-Buy Ability Score Method-

1). The player has 45 points to distribute amongst the six Abilities, with no less than 03 points placed into each, and no more than 11 points into any one Ability.

2). Roll 6d6. Each Ability Score can only receive one whole die, as rolled.

3). Choose the character's Elemental Blood and apply the listed modifiers.

4). Choose Ethnicity and write down listed special features (Vrun, for example, receive +03 to all Ability Scores), and determine the character's appearance based upon the guidelines described.

4 [the second]). Roll 5d6. Choose three (3) of the rolled 5d6 to be totalled and multiplied by the sum of the remaining 2d6 (6-216 with the average being 111). This is the character's Starting Funds in generic 'Count'. All starting gear, armour and arms must come from this total (or pooled with others in the party).

5). Name your character and then inform the Referee that you are ready.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Mutants of Marnharnna: Pt. 13 ('you took it too seriously...')-

Raylyss, potential Lizard King and Sire of a resurgent Reptilmalian Empire, after finding wonderful magic items, decided to once again torment a drinks girl on the paddlewheel craft, and was spotted by at least two of the crew, one of whom was able to hit Raylyss (with a poisoned blade). Raylyss dove overboard and resurfaced to the rear of the craft, whereupon I rolled to see if security were on the ball, and rolled my 2d12+1d4 for the nearest guard, and scored a double-12 (essentially a critical success) +2 on the d4. This beat Raylyss' (Cloak + Covert) roll, and he was caught by surprise. As in, no action, but I'll let you say something --surprise. Instead, the player indicated Raylyss was moving, and he was fired upon at Point-Blank Range with a pump-action slug-gun. The shot struck Raylyss' abdomen for 45 points, taking him to -20+ instantly. Raylyss' last words (previously spoken as he got away from the mob) were, 'You took it too seriously.'
--Raylyss saw his probability lines toward becoming the messianic sire collapse into silt, while the two spires of his 'children' achieving some lasting importance toward that (or his son achieving it in full with the aid of his sisters) increase. As he expired, Lord Worm, his Elemental Patron, reach out his hand and Raylyss accepted and found himself in the muddy grave of the Silt Court, filled with half-rotted zombies and writhing worm-monsters.
--- The group took his stuff and carted his body to their room, where the the eldest of the girls heard the bad news and sought revenge. She later informed the party that Raylyss' things were their inheritance, and she looked very serious about defending that claim.

The area the party was now travelling through is a series of mangrove stands and islets, cut with channels and coves (much like the area they had just departed), and the soundings were too shallow to proceed after dark, and they anchored as a storm rolled in. In the morning, Kitsune spotted the shredded sails of another craft draped across the mangrove canopy some ways off, and the ship frothed on through the shallows. This wrecked ship was apparently attacked in the early part of the storm by Humanoid sea-raiders (including serpent people), and their floating bodies clogged the way for ship. Gaff-hooking the corpses aboard for scientific study by the Sleeper Scientists resulted in the discovery of strange alchemical gear (explosive-filled distraction weapons like shuriken) and wrist dispensers of an alchemical fuze. Eventually the survivors of the shipwreck (astronomers, botanists, chemists, etc.) were glad to board the pleasure ship and immediately began to drink up and game.

It was upon this ship that the new character was unveiled. He is a heavy spacer-framed Imperial Manifestation with Radiant blood, and lots of it. He was shipwrecked after fleeing the Vrun Continent as a wanted criminal, accused of gross negligence resulting in the loss of 35 lives. He advances as an Aberrant, but is exceptionally robust in his capabilities, and should be a lot of fun in the game.

The next encounter was that of a large boat/small-ship-sized cephalomalian in his river-bisected lagoon, and the living, human contents of three or four lifeboats entwined in his primary tentacles. "Pay tribute or they die." His bellowing, bubbling voice erupted from the frothing water. Everyone was ready to attack it, but the captain, for the sake of those in the boats, capitulated, sending over (as the new character suggested) 300+ pounds of salt-water taffy (most of it conjured fabrications) to the Monstrous Being (along with champagne and other goods) on the backs of rays sent to receive the tribute.
--Devouring the rays and the tribute, the Being was well pleased and released the boats and the humans unharmed. It was later realised that ink from the creature seemed to act as the water-life control agent, as schools of different fish moved in stunning and colourful displays as the ship reversed engines and headed out for deeper waters in the bid to still make it the tidal lake by high tide, full moon in two days.

I believe that we held it there.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sketch: The Lancer-

Digi-tablet handwriting

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Shapes of Things to Come: ADnD and UWoM -- Random Notes about the Process-

Random Notes about the Process-

* Like the assassin acting as a 'Thief of two Levels lower', the abbreviated notation of ('Ranger -03') allows for less repetition in the write-ups, but requires more book keeping on the Player's part. As the 1e AD&D classes are the yardstick by which the Referee measures a new PC or an NPC class for inclusion in their campaign, and it is for that reason that I have settled upon this option so far, but may yet decide to write them up as discrete Classes. Your suggestions would be welcome.

* Alternate avenues of advancement, such as opting-out of the 9th Circle Initiates waiting for an opportunity to battle their way into the named levels and hierarchy, and instead travelling into the deepest forests and glens in the hopes of attracting the appreciative eye of the eldest and most powerful of the fey, and leaving the Mundane Realm entirely.

* I am assuming that Unearthed Arcana will be available, but not making it necessary to utilise it in creating a character or what have you. Bullwhip wielders and Khopesh Swordsmen rejoice! ;D
This also means that the Hierophant of the Kabbalah (Sephirot) is doing all of that Elementalness, and thus, there is a good reason for continuing on as a Druid, rather than as something else...

* Classifying Troop-types by DAC (descending AC), with diesel-assisted mech-armour ringing in at AC0, Skirmish/Mounted at AC5, and a Common Human at AC10. This should make larger fights a smidge simpler, especially with a Quick-Kill system attached.

* Long Bows are assumed to do d8 damage unless the arrow indicates otherwise. Firearms, as demonstrated in my posts here, are not something one wants to receive fire from, but are scaled to the AD&D progressive HP model, rather than the Gamma World ('Con number of d6s') method. Explosives will often make a 3d6 Fireball look tame, but it truly is, in comparison. Poisons will be more effect-based rather than simply being Class and Damage affairs.

* Other stuff as it comes to me, such as re-purposing the Turn Undead table, and Spell Points as an optional alternate spell casting method for those willing to try non-Vancian means.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Mutants of Marnharnna: Pt. 12 ('If 8 Were 3')-

Osyl and Raylyss each received a summons by their Elemental Patron, to investigate the house along the shore by which the steam-paddle was passing. An infiltration of the ship by two never before seen Reptilmalians (and the genetic-memory of Osyl's Shuttlecraft Pilot ancestor being played over the Aetherphonic which sucked her into the past with such clarity that she briefly traded consciousness with him) convinced the group as a whole (after reptilmalian bull territorial behaviour was resolved) to explore the ruin haloed in a watery yellow light visible even in the morning sun.

Initial investigation showed a model home with nothing but advertising materials for a failed commercially-developed community. Out back was a shed and a sump. Raylyss, under cloak, popped the lock and the group (including a Cook, an Engineer, and a Security Officer from the ship) entered.

Raylyss skipped levels one and two and began exploring solo while the party was plodding along being careful (as they ought). Eventually Raylyss, after finding a nice new set of electronics of the Ancients, rejoined the group as they descended to level four of what they determined was a marine warfare research facility, and one that had housed an alien and engineered lifeform most similar to a squid or cuttlefish, suspended in vast tank that led to a ship launch channel and out to sea.

Along the way, a zombie or two were popped, and more evidence as to what had happened to the base personnel in light of the Shorrannin invasion/system-war recorded as happening in the year 1137 (campaign date is 691). An ancient terrarium, partially fed off of the sucided remains of an Ancient gardener, was also found, and the Survival Instructor-Caste Ship's Security officer was so moved by that that he and the cook took seed packets and fertiliser to continue the work on the surface.

Level five appeared to be suspended directly over the gargantuan tank, and it was learned that the creature had been aware of them the entire time and had also masked its mind signature, preventing Zalder from reading it on his Mind Field. Tentacles shot up out of the blind shark-filled waters, and grabbed at anyone they could. Level four, the same, and Osyl of Frost was ensnared, squeezing off the leg above the knee (more than half her DP total in one attack), but her wound frosted over, preventing her bleeding to death.

Hoisted out of harm's way, Osyl and the party pressed on, but counted the older cook and engineer as losses to the Monstrous Being, before hearing the lower levels pulled down into the tank. This included the terrarium, which angered the Survivalist immensely. The surface was reached, the party better off for loot, and finding that the ship's crew were about to give up on them, but helped them back on board as the thing roared and shook the foundations of the Aurora Bend facility.

Both Osyl and Raylyss learnt that their Patron had not contacted them, and that meant that the squid had mentally manipulated them successfully enough that they had never questioned the strange orders in the peculiar communication (which had included a complex illusion in Raylyss' case). Osyl swore an oath of vengeance against the thing for claiming her leg, while Raylyss was left to ponder the significance of his son being the possible Sire (rather than Raylyss) as had been suggested by three different reptilmalian groups.

Raylyss has now outed himself to the Security Officer, but his son and the younger girls have yet to make their d├ębut to the private-hire gambling ship.