Thursday, 10 September 2015


See HERE for a review and introduction to Graham Bottley / Arion Games Classic RPG.
The following is my own manuscript.

City Aesthetic

In my imagination, my version of Ur-Turuk, the city I sculpt with my mind; all of the buildings are adobe (sun-baked or oven-baked mud brick) and most of them are between three and five stories high. To augment this height there are many buttresses between buildings, which usually have an alleyway between them on at least two sides. It is urban and this architectural type allows for many exciting adventures of rooftop chases and sneaking around at night.

The buildings are by and large based on square and rectangular shapes, with the exception of those which are round shapes, often with larger bases. Wherever possible, walls are extended upward on top of lower story walls or support pillars; pillars rather than walls are commonplace on upper floors which permits extended height, often with wattle & daub walls or simple trellis between pillars. These are often of elaborate decorative designs with sculptural features worked into trellis permitting exciting range of window shapes and air-vents. The typical arrangement for a block of buildings is ideally ziggurat; however with additional support pillars, buttresses and extensions growing over generations, many of the ziggurats have become immersed into a less regular structure; the city grows organically in accordance with simple mathematical principles.

After many generations it is the public road-ways which mark out the negative space between dwellings. So many of the chambers are unoccupied that their crumbling parchment deeds are the type of treasure urban folks seek only when in fear of the city militia acting as bailiffs. It is rumoured that a significant percentage of the population are of no fixed abode and squatting; the Dust is omnipotent and yet invisible here. Crawl-ways and escape routes are said to outnumber walls, doors and blockades. The citizens of Ur-Turuk must think vertically as well as horizontally in orientating themselves. This is why a city Guide is necessary for those not born or experienced here. The ceilings are typically high to allow air-conditions and mind-space, tall enough that you could not touch them by jumping and reaching up with your fingertips stretched to the limits.

The age of the city is such that many walk-ways have been bashed through between rooms and corridors, giving them an irregular shape and feel. It is something of a maze of gantry's and chambers on several stories. City is arranged into blocks, with wider spaces between. Obviously arches are common and often form the foundation of walk-ways on the layer above. Much of the lower area's are in the shade; necessary in the summer heat. Architectural designs exploit this, with trellis ceilings on which plants grow being a very common courtyard and upper story feature. A sort of inside-outside feel to cool and air rooms especially those with pillars and low-ledges for walls.

Mud is easy to sculpt and paint; there are many hand-crafted decorative adornments on the walls, so that most of them, due to aesthetic and age, are smoothed with rounded corners. Alcoves are a common feature; ledges, shelves and shrines. Domes are another common feature, providing support for the extended tiers of upper floor buildings and balancing the air within a space.

Wood is the second most commonplace building material. Ledges, walk-ways, walls, steps, stairs and ladders, overhangs, lean-to's, doors where there are actual doors and not dust-sheets. As a sprawl, Ur-Turuk resembles the eastern cities of dream, resplendent from a thousand and one nights. The taller towers, depending on the size of their base and any buttresses, often stand proudly and much taller, some as many as ten stories high. 

Because of the temperature, stone walls from quarries are rare, much more expensive due to the manpower involved in building them. The adobe buildings have a sense of age and yet incompletedness, often taking many generations to develop their individuality. Comparatively the stone dwellings are planned in advance. Many of these are constructed by hiring suitably knowledgeable wizards to float the rocks into place, or to draw the building up from below the dusty ground, fashioned of bedrock. It is preferable than the scale and man-power of alternative industries.

There are strong magicks occurring in the city oif Ur-Turuk which shapes the place more than anything, not only in its ever shifting physicality but also emotionally, perceptually, atmospherically, aesthetically, ecologically. In some parts, self-sustaining closed pleasure-gardens while in others, beggars and cut-throats. Some streets are blessed by forgotten Deities while others are avoided by the living ones.

Creating A Brat Pack

Learning this from the .pdf version, staring at a screen impacts on my ability to study and make progress with it. After scrawling notes on envelopes I typed them into a cohesion in the computer. This process inevitably led to making the following copy/past-able lists, for easier reference than scrolling through the rulebook. It also makes it easier to develop multiple characters at the same time, necessary for giving the unit the right feel because they more fluidly compliment one another.

copy/block/paste re-cap of major character sheet sections and character creation dice quota's:

14D for Stats (max 4D per stat) 3D for weapon Skills, 2D for other Skills, 1D any Skills, up to 3 Minor Perks

12D for Stats (max 3D per stat) 3D serving Skills, 2D other Skills, 1D any Skills, 1 Minor Perk

14D (4D max per stat), 5D speciality Skills (max 2D), 2D other Skills, up to 2 Minor Perks

16D for Stats (min 1D max 4D), 7 other Skills (max 3D), up to 3 Perks

16D for stats (min 1D max 4D), 7D Skills (max 2D), for magic controls 14D (max 3), up to 3 Perks



During the three days following unwrapping Sorcerers into my desktop, I came up with the following characters. I am still undecided as to specifically which of these characters I will use when introduced into a game group, this largely depends on what characters the other players bring to the Vanahm.

I keep coming up with ideas and so I have enough spare characters to begin a second troupe or to feature as NPC's in the first. As a gamesmaster I utilize this to the advantage of the story, integrating all of the threads.

I chose not to use the prototype tables, preferring to choose rather than randomly assign statistic values. I can see how useful the tables are for when a GM needs to quick-roll a non-player character. First I wrote the character concept, then I did the Stats, then I did the Perks and Flaws, then I did the Skills. After this was equipping the characters. Finally I am working on the Sorcerers Spells. There is a lot of back-and-fore to integrate the groups skill base and backstory as realistically and believably as a fantasy game can muster. The diversity and intrigue between the group forms the basis of its dynamic; understanding and working with this dynamic is integral for both the Player and the Gamesmaster, so it is kept simple and utilizes easy cliches which can be warped to suit our own needs, bringing Life to the collective.

SOLDIER  male, late teens
- young strong-arm. Picks nose flicks snot, bad personal habit. Always messing about, he fulfills everyone’s need to have somebody to take the piss out of, a necessary social figure.
Might                  2
Wits                    1
Toughness         4
Agility                 3
Charm                1
Perception          3
Brawling, Melee, Shamshir +2D +2 Initiative, Shield +2 pips Allows use of Block Reactions,
MINOR PERK Inconspicuous, Contacts (which faction?), Heals Fast,
MINOR FLAW Angry, Personality Flaw - Obsession (with the Servant girl), Impatient,

SERVANT  female, mid teens
- body servant, singer, dancer, ex slave freed by her master (wizard/major character). She is not a specialist, too young and untrained. 
Might                1  
Wits                  2  
Toughness        1
Agility                3
Charm               3
Perception         2
Dodge 1, Barter 1, Self-Control 1, Singing 1, Dancing 1, Seduction 1,
MINOR PERKS Attractive,
MINOR FLAWS Promiscuous,

SPECIALIST    mid-30s
- craftsman, weaver, owns a loom, cut to bed sheet size, lightweight fabric used as clothes, cloth, a market trade. Fine hemp. It takes a day to make one sheet (on average). loom workshop. owns dying buckets, dyes; indigo from leafs of a blue flower grown a trade route away. woad workshop.
Might                 1+1
Wits                   3
Toughness        1+1
Agility                3+1
Charm             2
Perception       3
Crafting - loom, Crafting - dying,
MINOR PERKS Fast Reaction (from using the loom), Common Sense,
MINOR FLAWS Tongue Tied, Illiterate,
The Weaver is exceptionally useful in bringing the rest of the group together, with regards the Sorcerers abilities to weave and record data as weaves; flying carpets are scrolls, requiring a library to be large enough to hang many scrolls in; smaller charms something aliken to an americanadian indian dreamcatcher's adorn the residencies rooms and hallways, are window-hangings and doors, are carpets, blankets and ceiling-throws. Artistic scrolls contain imagery appropriate to the particular spell they represent. Colour schemes; sand, tan, indigo, cyan, ochre, umber, black; follow traditional elemental associations. 

...and then it's a toss-up between the following two MAJOR CHARACTER's, one of whom will probably become a Contact for one of the other characters therefore an NPC. The backstory and relationships between the characters has yet to be developed, they are all to be further developed during the course of the adventures.

- killer, hashashim, ninja assassin, very spiritually dedicated to her discipline which involves use of smoking a herb to achieve inner tranquility necessary to do her job, and for training. She was financially in debt to her dojo, and so instead of repaying her creditors, she discreetly killed them. As such she is, as far as she knows, one of the only two of the students of their master, to have received his teachings. She locked the door of their humble high-walled courtyard and dwellings, and left. After some minor adventure she joined the Wizards retinue.
Might                 2
Wits                   3
Toughness        2
Agility                4
Charm              1
Perception        4
SKILLS 7 (max 3)
Melee, Dodge, Stealth, Streetwise, Lore (martial arts discipline), Parry,
Natural Acrobat, Spiritual Guardian,
Personal Code -  Has sworn an Oath to protect the life of the Serving Girl,
Personal Code - Ascetic Lifestyle of a martial arts adept,
Danger Sense,
MINOR FLAWS Addiction - hashish, 

- merchant, owns a wide, low, cargo ship with blue sails.
Might                  2
Wits                    4
Toughness         2
Agility                 2
Charm               4
Perception         2
Sailing, Diplomacy,
MINOR PERKS Haggler, Well Travelled,
MINOR FLAWS Obese, Showman,
MAJOR PERKS Property (low, wide merchant ship), 

And finally, the bit we have all been waiting for...

At this time I have not decided on all of the attributes of the Sorcerer for this troupe. A lot of it depends on which Main Character I decide upon for the troupe. Both have benefits.

SORCERER   age unknown, appears to vary greatly.
water element, wind element,
Might                  1+1
Wits                    4+1
Toughness          2
Agility                 3
Charm                2+1
Perception         3
SKILLS 7D (max 2)
CONTROLS 14D (max 3)
Scribe Calligraphy Brush Painting,
That the Sorcerer is a Scribe means that his spell-scrolls are hand-painted onto finely woven fabric. These are easily portable and may be stitched into a book. There is a place where Art becomes Magick; and so given that a sorcerers magic dies with him; so too will his finest written works. Whatever is left will be less mystically constructed technical notes, which for many is exactly what the mainstream of magical interest are willing for. The Sorcerer, being intelligent, is aware of this. However his students are capable of copying his masterworks during his lifetime as a part of their own studies and by this means many levels of their knowledge and beauty will survive. Anything else enchanted into these works is of the Sorcerers whim.
Sorcerer wears cyan and indigo baggy hooded rag-weave and lined robe which is light in weight but heavy in defences against elements and blows.  It most certainly contains pockets and the weave contains many patterns and symbols, which are said to change like the night sky. It is by this robe which people recognize and remember the Sorcerer.

When creating a sorcerer, I follow the associations of the Hermetic tradition of elements.

Fire - action and passions
Earth - the body
Water - emotions
Air - knowledge

Therefore the types of magic a sorcerer specializes in, give a lot of information to his nature; conversely, to those who might not be aware the character is a sorcerer, his personality gives insight into his abilities. I utilize this in my internal referencing system socially and as a counsellor specializing in Jungian archetypes. My own personal data with this regard is Chinese Year of the Fire Snake and analytical Virgo the water-balancer which is actually an earth sign.

I found this during a google search. The dancer is called Elena Turuk. It is part of the Ma'jiq.

Sorcerers of Ur-Turuk is ©2015 Arion Games. I make no claim of ownership to this properties. It is common sense that online role-playing games for purposes of roleplaying may be utilized as such. Any apparent or alleged copyright infringement is to be regarded as fan fiction.

No comments:

Post a Comment