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Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Lot of Games I'm Running or Playing-

A lot has been happening, and I've not yet found the time to set up the pages, but, I still intend to.

Last IM I had with Jez Gordon, the Tunnels & Trolls product, Porphyry, is on target.

I've started gaming in the Urutsk: Space Age, where colonial sleeper-ships are aimed towards prospective worlds.  The PCs have already had a meet-n-greet with a Peoples' Automatic Union sphere ship, and taken aboard a cybernetics-free human woman who was materialised out of thin air by nanobots as the PCs watched.  The young woman, Melinda, indicated that instead of PAU, they were calling themselves the Mode Frequency.  The team that explored the spherecraft determined that the ship was at least 8k relative years old, while the PAU have only left Urutsk ('Homeworld'), a generation ago, like the rest of the ships, due to the Shorrannin invasion.  With information gifted by the Mode Frequency, Captain Reynolds has sent ahead an exploration/contact team on a modified shuttle.  The planet in question is code-named: Emerald Heights, due to its enormous space-scraper trees.  Emerald Heights is inhabited, and some of the cultures are Starfaring.

The Urutsk: Space Age is envisioned as the core Urutsk game, written with Advanced Dungeons & Dragons in mind, and the other eras would be expansions off this hub.  I'm writing up Generalist class, and knocking the XP tables down one level, so that everyone starts at 0th and graduates to 1st.  The Starship Crew Positions get a Class and Profession treatment.  Advanced armour and arms and gear will feature things such as Blasters, Light Battlesuit Armour, and Networked Dataslates. Etc.

Sunset Lagoon, my Villains & Vigilantes via Tunnels & Trolls game of SuperPunk/CyberPower is set in a variant of the Blade Runner/Prometheus/Alien shared universe, and is a bit weird to explain.  At present, the PCs are playing actors portraying explorers of a Lost World found inside a mountain cyst, but are actually exploring likesame, and contacting alien biotech and other weirdness.  The character range from Night Wolf, a lawyer turned vigilante, to a battlesuit operator sent by the ElectroMagnetic realm as an Apostle of the Singularity, to Amber Magic, a botched genetic test tube baby who can open teleport doors and has a scorpion tail.  All of my players rock!

Porphyry is on Friday nights, and the PCs have recently left Casperburg, the riverine pirate stronghold, and are headed back to Ownys, to confront the witch who has been plaguing them with nightmares and random wilderness encounters since they disrupted her human sacrifice gig and nearly killed her.  It is a dark setting, but has a lot going for it, especially for Players with initiative and a drive to forge connections, rebuild, and make something of themselves.  It is at the crossroads of Old and New School, but is still a brutal game of easy death and cheap life.  The Burn has really screwed the world, Porphyry, up, but Humanity still has a chance.

My Man, Myth & Magic, Urutsk: Summer Era game (Sunday nights) has landed the PCs on an island on another world, and they are grid-crawling their way through a cliff-side city roughly equivalent to Phonecian or early Greek tech.  One PC has already been chosen by a Dryad to serve as her priestess, and the party are exploring a geocentric map translated into the layout of the sky temple.

I'm playing in Jeffrey Osthoff's Aeternal Realm of Sylvaeon game, which is due to transition to BRP, but is currently operating under OSRIC/AD&D.  My Grey Elf Paladin of the White Lady/Druid is 2/2, and together with her great companions, is hex-crawling through a cool, low-magic, high-fantasy setting.

Michael Henry's INDO game is set on an Indonesian island, in what appears to be the '30's, and is a blend of native mythology and '30's Pulp Action.  I'm playing a Psionic Monk who adores Ushas, the goddess of the dawn.  We've got an OD&D Elf, Dragoslav, played by Duke Barclay, an Arduinian Shaman, plyed by Jeffrey Osthoff, and other wandering PCs.

Okies.  Catch you good folks later.  :D

Thursday, March 15, 2012

How I Run Games-

I don't claim to understand the Old School v. New School war's central division, and when I read posts about The Forge v. DIY OSR v. Indie, or Prog Rock v. Improv Jazz v. Garage Rock, I just wonder where my games fall along the spectrum.

If any of you have played an orthodox game of The Morrow Project, I think that will go a long way to describe where Urutsk is coming from. It is about military, scientific, and back-woodsy folk joining together to work towards pulling society back from the post-apocalyptic world that Ed Marrow foresaw as an inescapable inevitability of the future. These folks weren't paid oodles and gobs of money; why would they be? The cash would be worthless. Instead, they all followed the dream that putting together what good was fallen and broken was more important than fame or fortune. That's not the picaresque ideal of Adventurers. It may not even be Old School. Furthermore, these folks have no mechanical skill set as part of the game system. No list of d% chances to fix a bicycle or build an engine. All of that comes from the Player. That is Old School. The rest of the time one is standing around in their combat overalls not shooting giant wolverines, deadly flies, or radiant blue undead, one is expected to be chatting-up the locals -- descendants of the PCs and the era from whence they came. That sounds kinda New School to me.

If you've played a game of Skyrealms of Jorune, you feel where I'm coming from. You're not from here, but your people have been here for so long that the place you came from is just a myth, and if you were to make the trip there, it'd be a lifeless ball of slag. So, you live among the genetically engineered animals of that other place, among the world-altered fellow humans who now see and can weave the Chi of the planet Jorune due to their ability to conduct it masterfully, or others who can dull its effects through their sheer grounding ability. Aliens, too, have long been stranded on this crazy world, and haven't had as fine a time of it because they don't savvy teamwork and diplomacy; instead, they have slaver empires, are murderers who hide their blood madness with dyed forehead nodes, or are capitulators working only to save their twin-eye-stalked heads. The place will kill you dead in no time flat. Tech is super scarce. The few remaining indigenous Humanoids rightly fear your kind and sequester themselves away in mountaintop monasteries or deep jungle temples, gazing at the many colourful moons that dictate which Chi powers are in ascendancy. Going forward means making a go of it here, using native means, with non-Humans as allies and the occasional Human as a political enemy. OId School? New School?

If you've played Metamorphosis Alpha or Gamma World, you feel the burn of the past in your bones and blood. The changes that have been wrought are irrevocable, but not incapable of being overcome. New civilisations have arisen. Ruins may be abandoned and scavenged through, but new trade towns are growing in population behind walls. Merchants ply the trackless wastes to make contact with distant population centres, and dumb-ass adventurers are hired by barons to scout out distant dangers and bring back Ancient loot. Alignment Factions live their crazy creeds and kill to protect their secret languages and codes, either despising the former world or the new civilisations; the blight come upon humanity and the animals/plants, or embracing the chaotic radiance; hearing the voice of mad computer gods, or recognising the superiority of the android, the cyborg, the robot. Scavenging like cockroaches, or building something new; demolishing or wandering. New School or Old School?

I am a Simulationist GM with Narrativist sensibilities. Folks talk about their dreams and regrets, and then get their leg blown off. Everything is too real and surreal. The long term goals versus the immediate goals of survival. The diplomatic bungles and the limited ammo count. The utterly depraved, and the commonalities of intelligent aliens. Life and death.

This is how I define my games, and Urutsk in particular.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I Do Declare...-

PORPHYRY: World of The Burn, a Tunnels & Trolls 5th Edition and Mercenaries, Spies & Private Eyes RPGs Setting and now in the hands of Jez Gordon for Layout & Artwork.

As soon as it is ready to transfer to LuLu and OneBookshelf (DriveThruRPG/RPGNow), I'll be letting you folks know.

In retrospect, I've had 19 characters, run by 16 Players, in the Porphyry setting, and I've only had the thing going since late December or early January.

I'm resting up a bit before giving Urutsk a similar minimalist treatment, then back to work on Porphyry regional sandbox guides, etc.

A plan to add Pages to this blog is in the works, so as to help sort things out so that the different games and settings will be more easily accessible to those interested.

On Thursday the 17th, I'll be part of a Game Designers Discussion Panel.
--More on that in a bit.

See you for plenty of gaming on Google+