URUTSK: World of Mystery RPG
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
[Setting] Kynkrea’s Overview of Urutsk-
© Copyright 1985, 2002, 2009 Kyrinn S. Eis All Rights Reserved
IN An alternate reality, the star system in which the planet known by many as, URUTSK <‘Forced Landing’>, encircles a brighter, slightly hotter yellow-orange star than your sun. URUTSK has many neighbours, all somewhat similar, yet very divergent those of your Solar system.
It is slightly smaller than your earth, and now, is composed of far fewer heavy metals. It has roughly 10% more water, in addition to its smaller size. This means that much of the world is at least somewhat flooded, or frigid, depending on local weather patterns.
The humans, yes, almost identical to you, have their own ethnicities, but most reflect blends of existing or former ethnicities found on your world, Earth.
Resultantly, most languages follow a similar alphabet, a central concept that has affected every endeavour of mankind, since the knowledge arrived in the ‘War in Heaven’. That was when the First Parents descended from the great conflagration in the heavens, and came to commingle with the natives.
At that point, there were only a handful of ethnicities:
- Yirinn Ak <‘Powerful People of the Black Ice’>
- Durn <‘Unwavering Generation’>
- Kaukara <‘World-wise Ones’>
Afterwards, through their mating with the Imperial bloodline of the First Parents, all the ethnicities came to light in the next millennium or thereabouts.
Different ‘eras’, generally delineated by the undoubted masters of URUTSK, the Vrun peoples, are either based upon discoveries, radical political changes, or wars — often all at the same time.
Indeed, very soon after the First Parents touched the soil of URUTSK, a deadly storm that affected the entire star system showered debris from the War in Heaven down upon URUTSK. This in turn obscured the system-star, their sun, and brought on terrible storms that scoured the planet clean of virtually all greenery.
No one knows how long the Scourge lasted, but what emerged from the Storm Age was the foundation of modern URUTSK.
I ‘ll describe what makes UWoM more of a love-child of Ward’s Gamma World and Barker’s Tekumel, than D&D.“Opting to let everyone commingle a bit of Fieldcraft or Legerdemain, etc. into their character may, in some Grogs’ minds, break down the differences between the iconic ‘classes’, but I’m building upon more of a Gamma World base than D&D, and a culture that reveres self-sufficiency and artifice. Its Empire of the Petal Throne patrimony is derived from its faded, glorious Imperial past (future), and the mysteries of rediscovered complexes, tombs, observatories, and devices of the Ancients. Bizarre and inimical species of creatures that are clearly reasoning, tool and weapon users, with a long-held grudge against Humanity’s past wrongs. Groups of Humanoids that aren’t quite Human, but often ally themselves with Humanity against the monstrous things out in the wilds. Degenerate and insane, warped human-things living in the ruins and under the oldest cities. Terrible things that stalk the bleak lands and drive even blood-enemies to briefly band together to fight. Oh, and honour and glory." —
I was that young gamer that longed to own a copy of Metamorphosis Alpha after it had gone out of print; who had marvelled at the weird Empire of the Petal Throne ads in The Dragon; the first one in our group to find Sky Realms of Jorune irresistible through its serialised adverts in Dragon Magazine; and, the GM who always wanted to run Gamma World rather than play in AD&D if we weren’t going to mix genres like the Sixguns & Sorcery section of the DMG1. Once I found Ken St. Andre’s Tunnels & Trolls, I left D&D for well over fifteen years and had very little good to say about it until I re-discovered it through the Old School resurgence.
Before gaming, I had the influence of my older sister’s boxes of comic books, from Green Arrow to John Carter Warlord of Mars, to the most influential one of the lot: Killraven Warrior of the Worlds. I cannot adequately describe my love and feelings for that single title and its effects on me. Throw in a little The Rook from EC comics large format publications, Heavy Metal, Gasm, 1984/1994 (especially Mutant World), and a fanzine whose name is lost to the sands of my memory that had a single issue where in a wordless or unintelligible word-bubble illustrated story featured blond horsemen who battled black-haired and bearded horsemen with remnant rifles and other tech. It wasn’t until the last page and final panels that the reader realises that they are far-future post-apocalyptic survivors of earth.
Then there were Star Trek, Space 1999, The Tomorrow People, Dr. Who, the Third Eye, the Night Gallery, the Twilight Zone, the Outer Limits, the prisoner, the Rat Patrol…
I mention all of this to illustrate, in a sort of iconic shorthand, what has gone into the creation of Urutsk over these 25 years, and what one will find traces of throughout its seven millennia of history.
While my first planned volume deals with the time period roughly analogous to the Fall of Rome through to the early Renaissance, there is so much that has come before the Autumn Era of Urutsk, and much of that can only be hinted at until those volumes are published.
Suffice it that Urutsk’s history has something for every sort of gamer, and that is perhaps why I am so concerned with getting a solid set of mechanical guidelines — a chassis — for gaming groups to use (or discard) to explore the milieu.
If any or all of these influences appeal to you, I think you just may enjoy Urutsk: World of Mystery.