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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Order and Chaos: Asimov and Borges-

While I've not read much, if anything, by these two, I found this article last night, and I thought it very interesting. The article touches upon ideas in both men's works that have resonance with the Urutsk meta-setting, and I thought to share it with the blog's readers.

Let me know what you think of the article, Asimov, or Borges in general.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Operation Skullcrusher Mountain, and a DnD Toy for You-

Well, Friday the 21st, saw the sixth (or so) session in the offensive against the Undead bastion, and the destruction of the facility's attack ability. The estimated losses on the friendly side is in the low hundreds, with roughly three times that on the Undead.

Technology, both Ancient and arcane, has been secured, and the alliance with the Green Cavaliers (a Vrun Military expedition) and local Abbekqorru has blossomed. This confluence of events should dramatically boost Xudorn's (the commercial colony) strength without dramatically increasing its land-use footprint, as the hydroponics tech found at the site, as well as bio-tech the Abbekqorru utilise should increase the efficiency of the small community (currently roughly 1k pop.) without much slack time in implementation prior to winter. The fact that winter will not reduce agri concerns means that the most prevalent reason for any colony's failure shouldn't be the thing that could do-in Xudorn.

Now, with Ornithopters, small Zeppelins, and the Abbekqorru global map, Xudorn and Ft. Greenpennant (six-days ride to the south) are likely to have a far greater degree of cooperation and 'cultural' exchange. The effect of the Abbekqorru upon the burgeoning Vrun presence on the eastern seaboard also remains to be seen.

---[The Game]---
Provided for players of the grandpappy of RPGs, using d20s in 'to hit' and polyhedral damage dice
* Rifle, Repeating^ d10 | 3 Attacks per Round; 21 Shot Spring Crank Drum
Reload: 1 Combat Round if a loaded drum is used
^ :: Saturation Fire is a 10' W x 20' L rectangle.
Every figure at least 1/2 in the rectangle is subject to individual attack,
although only one Action is consumed in the process.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Yes, another damned game report-

I'd made a promise to limit the campaign posts, but this one seems to be pressing against the walls.

The combined Boxed Set and Vanguard game I am running on Google+ is centred upon Lady Hudernm's Xudorn ('Sublime Colony') upon the east cost of the Marnharnnan Continent, from whence the PCs have set out in their westward exploration of the Sunken Continent's virgin wilderness in search of lost Ancient tech. These meanderings have brought them in contact with one or two Dokirin (indigenous peoples) and an entire community of Abbekqorru (starfaring wolf-bear folk), as well as an intelligent plasma life-form which hunts the moors immediately below the aerie of the Abbekqorru.

The neighbouring Wodic community has grown up into a rather large wild/agri centre and the druid-like folk of the place (I'll not bother you with the difficult name) have become well-enough liked by the Vrun to be considered a sister-town to the commercial interest of Xudorn. Recently, a devastating, Undead-creating attack upon the Wodic community was launched from out of the jungles of the west and the intrepid PCs have since mounted up on their ornithopters and flown out to investigate the area indicated by the Wodics. On their first reconnoitre of the area, they encountered a sigil-filled circle which glowed with unearthly light from the forest floor. This area was surrounded by strange fog banks, rather unlike clouds, at a height which brought one of the craft in contact with them; the immediate effect of loss of lift upon the craft was instrumental in the onrithopter being drawn in by some sort of 'tractor-beam' and forced to land within the circle. A wodic scout dropped down with an incomplete flying-broom to slow her descent and scouted out the area as the craft's pilot was captured by what appeared to be black-lacquered skeletons.

Rather than risk the entire scouting mission, the group pressed on the remaining 10% of the way to a tall upthrust which towered over the wetlands jungle and grassland. From this tower of rock several spires jutted out well into the low cloud cover, and appeared to be part of the weapon-system of the place. A too-near approach by a PC pilot resulted in said craft losing a good portion of its starboard wing, and forcing it down. The PCs managed to get the downed pilot strapped onto another craft and then flew to the rim of the upthrust, which itself held untold depths of clear water some way down out of which the spires arose.

The courageous PCs infiltrated the wall's interior spaces, surprised a few more black lacquered skels, and pressed on in the base. Through great risk to their health and sanity, the party utilised the lift shafts geared to negative energy creatures, with each trip up or down these thought-operated shafts resulting in excruciating pain and accompanying ennui as their positive life-force was siphoned away. One fellow, Roland, was so wicked away by the process as to almost lose the ability to continue, but managed to overcome the effect once he realised a portion was merely illusory. They found Ancient Civil Defence supplies (personal survival kits, hydroponics gear and seed-stock, etc.) and took samples of what they felt they could carry before they were spotted by some sort of centaur-like skel on the far side of the interior. Thinking it best to be gone, the group flew down to the felled craft, effected modifications to another craft, and with the aid of the Wodic scout who had entangled several skels at the jungle floor, returned home to Xudorn.

After a brief rest, the group was re-assembled and tasked with leading a mission to secure the 'airfield' about 10 miles from the upthrust, in case its capabilities to down other craft was greater than previously encountered. This operation involved 24 troopers air-inserted via a combination of immature flying-broom stock, and parasails. An entire reinforced squad (8) either perished in a timing mishap, or were rendered sessile from their injuries. The remaining sixteen or so pressed on and encountered stages of black skels, then the centaur skels, and finally, scaly blue humanoids. Losses were great, and by the time the circle was reached, only about seven troops remained. A loss of a few others from incidental enemy action and mines whittled down the survivors to a paltry five or so before an errant dropped grenade killed another trooper. With the facility opening up to an expansive storage area beneath the surface, the few and demoralised group topside instead called in to be picked-up by their host craft and transported to the base of the upthrust. The remainder of the ground force is still hours away.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

First of Two Parts: Observation and Evasion-



Medium-Sized Figures moving in Open Terrain in Daylight are the base for determining Spotting, as modified by Range (60') and Circumstance (Clear Weather); this number is [08] on 2d12/1d24.

Once Spotted, the figure may be visually tracked and if operating out of a fixed locale, may be Observed. Observation is more than simply keeping one's eye upon the figure. It involves actual thought into the why's and wherefore's of the creature's actions, the pace at which it performs these tasks, and its general gait and bearing. If it is seemingly agitated it may later calm if it feels more at ease. These different States become increasingly more important to discern and codify if contact with it or its kind is to be avoided or approached with caution.

The rules for simulating this process in-game are as follows:

Each Party places a secret Stake in the Intensity of Observation:

Stake- Degree of Observation-
6 - (R) Direct interaction at close range with little to no preparation or actual observation : Apprehending a known thug for questioning

5 - (O) Shadowing the figure and not being subtle about it : Gang members loudly following after visitors to their neighbourhood

4 - (Y) Subtle Tail and casual surveillance : A constable in the area of each locale a person of interest visits

3 - (G) Sophisticated Shadowing, Nested Surveillance, Vanguard Shadowing at locales to be visited, direct observation 24H/Day : Magical scrying and divination

2 - (B) Long-term, intimate relationship with figure, constructed/fabricated friends/family, etc. : Hidden Village or elaborate scheme [the Prisoner TV programme]

1 - (V) Incarceration/Interrogation : Gulag, etc.

Each of these investments of Risk are rewarded with a certain processing time and depth of Observation, with High-Risk confrontations possibly yielding the fastest apprehension of a figure (or capture of an animal, restraint of a robotic unit, etc.), but often resulting in the injury or death of one or more persons, including unintended individuals, with the pay-off in speed and the liability in safety. These risks are minimised if this action is the final step in the hierarchy of Observation, from Planning (V) to Direct Interaction (R). A well coordinated Observation launched into Action regarding the target has advantages going for it, not the least of which are the number of personnel brought to bear versus the individual(s) of interest. The Target of the Observation has a base chance to detect the Observation equal to 17 (- PSI or SCP PM + The Observer's Stake) or higher on the roll. If the figure detects the Observation, they may be more prepared in any future contact, with a good rule of thumb being that the length of Observation in time factors (Turns over Rounds, Hours over Turns, Days over Hours, etc.) grant the Observers a +1 to execute their Action.

The Stake in Observation requires an inverse amount of time/expense investment, where (R) is the least and (V) the greatest. If the Observation is merely conducted in the field by scouts/spies, then factors (R-Y) are most likely to be employed, and allow for swifter Action. In urban environs, Stakes (G-V) are more easily possible and likely as the importance of the figure is determined. Simple miscreants are unlikely to be the subject of a sophisticated Observation operation, unless they possess important information or contacts too delicate to risk losing.

Pt. 2 ...soon...

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Vrun Psycho-Sociology in Context-

VRUN perceptions of the cosmos
in which they exist are based primarily upon their Starship Crew Caste Clans parcel of data, and for those individuals who possess two or more such backgrounds, the intersection of these parcels of data create a vista greater than the sum of the parts.

Where the native Yirinn (the current dominant power on the planet, much to the chagrin of the Vrun) see the cosmos as an unfolding dream largely devoid of logical constructs of causality, the Vrun mind is geared to see everything as having a part and place in the whole. Where the industrious and innovative Yaesh see a clockwork mechanism of regularity and cyclical assurance, the Vrun see a flexible network of dominance and transience. Where the ancient Durn of the southern continent see Providence and Judgement, the Vrun see a realm of possibility and fields open for mastery. Where the mystical Lhoman see illusion and the playing out of a great game, the Vrun see an as-of-yet incompletely-understood matrix of factors that require self-mastery to fully exploit.

The Vrun embody a work-ethic not for the pride in craftsmanship or the splendour of the work in its final form, but merely to reach the next plateau on their way up, always and ever further upwards. With few words in the Vrun language to express common states, emotions, or qualities, the Urutsken (native) wonders what it is all for, as if it were a race to the finish line without knowing what constitutes the victory. While most Urutsken are eager to help the Vrun leave the wetlands world, they also secretly hope that their cousins will develop as a people in the world rather than apart from it.

The Vrun, in general, can only conceive of their near-mythic past glories as possessing any intrinsic value, and one only to be understood within the muted spirit of the crafted People. Indeed, there is much going on in the Vrun heart that they cannot express, not for the lack of possible letter arrangements that could construct meaningful terms, but for a lack of self-knowledge. For while the Yaesh to a person work unceasingly to expand the glory of the Sublime Court upon the world's surface, and the Yirinn smile at the transient accomplishment of empire; while the Lhoman meditate upon the Origin and Return of life and the Durn simply give thanks for each day as it is provided, the Vrun are a mystery unto themselves. Without that autognosis to give meaning apart from the Quest for Ascension, the Vrun tongue and stylus can only note measurements, record variations, and compare findings to incomplete records of a bygone era.

As with any sample, there a number of Vrun who are more attuned to the depth and wonderment found within the cosmoi, and it is these few who (though irksome and ill-appreciated) provide the Vrun People the needed introspection to avoid the curious paradox of utter stagnation in the drive forwards, and bankruptcy of culture to prevent the internecine tendency that has plagued the Imperial castaways these millennia. In truth, much of the Imperial Glories have been lost in the long centuries of Winter's struggle, corrupted and misinterpreted, and outright manipulated by those in power. Yet, it is the call of the Imperium that imparts the social momentum of contemporary culture forward towards 'a better tomorrow'. Indeed, each Vrun generation brings with it great technological re-inventions and 'new' discoveries that then set-off a chain reaction of recollection/imagination making new components available in the Quest.