Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Reasons The Teruvar Let in People

The Seven Open Teruvar let people into their interiors for specific reasons. The Teruvar are ancient, and their reasons for doing various things are very long sighted. These are some reasons they might have:

1. They are lonely. Speaking with other Teruvar is hard on the creatures of their interiors, and they can quite easily chat with interior people.

2. They are curious. The people in their interiors are mayfly like. Evanescent. Their lives are over in a blink. How can they sustain themselves?

3. They wish to acquire some technology for long range reasons: * Radio - to lift their loneliness without bothering their internal creatures. They can talk to anyone with a radio, instantaneously. * FTL - to jump to other systems. To travel. To see new things. To spread their seed in new systems. * Fusion Reaction Jets - for the same reasons as FTL. It will just take longer, and that is no problem to a creature with tens or hundreds of millions of years to live.

4. They want the short-life tiny ones to spread their seed around other stars for them, carrying it as cargo.

5. They eventually want to make Humans and Jeshen part of their default internal creatures, each seed carrying the genetic blueprint of them internally. Eventually these tiny people will be inside every Teruvar, everywhere.

6. People are entertaining, and the current internal creatures are boring. They enjoy the antics of the newcomers, and love to meddle.

7. They want to add the intelligence and sapience of these people to their default animals, by stripping and analyzing their genetic makeup, and incorporating analogous genes into some of their internal creatures.

8. They like being worshiped like gods.

Any and all of these reasons could apply to any given one of the Seven.

A Dream LARP

Last night I had a dream. Not my usual boring fly-on-the-wall slice-of-americana- life dream, though! No "Honey, I got the potatoes!" "Good! Put them in the kitchen dear!" dream about people I didn't know!

I dreamed I was part of a group of larpers - I've never larped in my life, btw - and my smaller bunch was humans from a merchanter exploring a gigantic abandoned alien space ship. There were five or six other groups - aliens of various types - also exploring the ship. We were scavenging anything small, and hoping to eventually take the entire ship.

The game was set in an enormous empty office building, and the only furniture in it was props. There was no system - we were using laser tag pistols and collapsible knives - but we all had characters we were playing. We captured a girl - the player was maybe 18 - who was playing some dinosaur species, by hitting a button on the back of her neck, signifying a knock-out.

We were carrying these big poster board things signifying the members of the other groups we were against, with a quick sketch of each of those members we had taken out. We questioned the girl we captured, and got her to give us information about her saurian group - who the leader was, how many there were, etc. - and filled in the blanks on our posters. I have no idea why they were so big, or why they were not electronic,but it made sense in the dream. I think it was because they really were electronic. They wiped clean with a swipe, and the stylus/pen painted like a brush, and could change colors. Why they were that size and why we carried one for each opposing group I don't know. In any case, dino-gal switched sides joined us for the rest of the dream.

Then a bell rang and we stopped for the night, intending to return the next day. The premise was very interesting for me - usually in scenarios like this it is all exploration, or going up against the ship's automated defenses. The added complication of numerous small parties from other ships was a great addition. 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Kerea, a Teruvar Worldlet

Data page for the Teruvar world Kerea. Look up my last few posts for more on the Teruvar. Let me know what you think!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

More on Teruvar, the Sapient Worldlets of Jeshen Space

The fully adult size of any given Teruvar varies widely, depending greatly on the size of the initial asteroid or moon. The more mass, the greater the fully grown size of the Teruvar. Generally speaking, the mass of that rock *is* the mass of the Teruvar, though there is some small accretion of rocks, ice, and dust over the immense lifespan of the creature. Of course, the size of the the Teruvar is far, far larger, due to the great gas bubble within.

Because the gravity of the worldlet within the Teruvar is artificial spin gravity, as one moves toward the central spire, gravity becomes less and less, though the air pressure is constant. The back wall of the Teruvar, opposite the clear membrane, and from which the spike protrudes, is covered in vegetation, with strange zero and low gravity creatures abounding. The rim, on the other hand, is home to more normal ceatures, who walk about, rather than brachiating or flying or crawling through the vegetation.

The amount of spin gravity depends on the diameter of the Teruvar and the speed of the spin. Since even the smallest Teruvar is many tens of kilometers across, the coriolis effect at the rim is seldom great enough to be noted. As one ascends the back wall, of course, the diameter becomes smaller and thus the coriolis effect becomes more and more powerful, and may become difficult. The variation at the rim is a continuum between a third of a G in the smallest and something over a G in the largest. In the seven Teruvar accessible to Humans and Jeshen, all fairly large, the variation is between 0.77 and 1.05 G, all perfectly healthy for both species. This is probably not coincidence.

Generally, the central spire glows from reflected sunlight at a level uncomfortable to look directly at, though it will not permanently blind. Light levels inside are lower than a sunny day on planet, more like a cloudy day, and the source is far more diffuse, but there is plenty of light to power photosynthesis. The rapid light changes that occur when Teruvar are communicating can be disconcerting. Most inhabitants close their eyes when this is happening, standing or sitting still until the communication is over.

Water circulation within the Teruvar is constant. The water is pumped up the back wall through tubes, and out into the central spire, from which it falls periodically as rain. There is some purposeful leakage along the back wall, surfacing as springs. The total amount of water in the Teruvar is determined by the amount of ice in the original asteroid or moon, plus whatever ice the outer surface captures.

Scientific opinion is divided on whether the changes over time in the flora and fauna of the interior are controlled by the Teruvar to some extent, or are entirely driven by natural and sexual selection. Some in the "Control" party suggest the seven Teruvar open to Jeshen and Humans are experiments of the Teruvar as a whole, so they may create their own sapient animals by copying what they like.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Teruvar: Sapient Worldlets in Jeshen Space

One of the ten systems in Jeshen Space is the home of the Teruvar, a gigantic sapient species who live in free fall. They face their sun in orbit in the Goldilocks Zone of that star, soaking up and utilizing the solar energy. When a free-falling Teruvar egg lands on a rocky body, it burrows into it, consuming and changing the rocks into part of itself. Over time it begins rotating and expands out into a thick, hollow, rounded disc, with a transparent membrane keeping air inside, and letting in the sunlight.

There is a spire in the center, reaching almost to the membrane, covered with reflective 'leaves' which scatter the light around into the interior. Living things have evolved in the hollow interior, an individual ecology for each Teruvar, which work as sort of intestinal flora and fauna for the host. No two Teruvar are alike, though they are similar enough to know that the root creatures everything evolves from are a part of each egg. They communicate with each other by reflecting light in flashes out the membrane.

There are many Teruvar in the "shell" orbiting the star, but seven of them have invited Jeshen and Humans to live inside them. They are curious and intelligent, and enjoy the company. These seven have each extruded a dock opposite the spike and membrane window, at the center of rotation, to accept Jeshen Space ships.

Inhabitants of the seven can speak with their Teruvar host by addressing any natural place by the Teruvar's name. The Teruvar's internal sensors can hear and reply. It is oddly like addressing a real living god, though the Teruvar have not asked for worship.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Jeshen Species Sheet

Worked on the Species Sheet for the Jeshen of the Jeshen Space setting for StarCluster 4. I am keeping a certain design aesthetic here, pioneered by Levi Kornelsen - single page, graphically oriented, everything together for easy reference. Have a look!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Supers and Insurance!

In our Saturday, face to face, game, we are playing Look! Up In The Sky!, my son Klaxon's game, as a High School for Gifted Students thing. One of the touches I really like in this particular setting - there is no default setting, as everything is generated randomly - is that supers mostly belong to a Meta-Human guild, which gives them government-sponsored low-cost insurance for things they break in the course of their duties. Now your rating determines how much the insurance covers, and that rating is determined by your power level and by previous payouts.

So, in effect, the more bad things you do, and the bigger the damage you cause, the lower your insurance coverage, so the government doesn't end up in effect subsidizing villains. Also, it acts like a purely voluntary registration law - the insurance companies have to know just who they are insuring, after all! So you could opt out of registering, but if you are caught, you are liable for damages. The vast majority of non-registered supers are thus street-level people who don't do much collateral damage, but there are the occasional batman-types who work on a high level, but never register.

I really like this concept!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Outrremer Session 2

My Sunday IRC Outremer campaign shifted into higher gear last weekend. The Fakir Timur, a half Djinn, went to meet with the Bedouin tribe which had found - it was reported - the grave of Isa, AKA Jesus of Nazareth. Timur and the tribe's Sheik came to agreement, and sent Timur the next day with the boy Ishaq, one of the shepherds who had found the tomb, into the Judean desert to view the tomb. The tomb was situated in the south wall of a wadi - a dry or seasonal watercourse - high up, behind a bush. The boys had been searching for a lost sheep, and found the tomb by accident.

On the outside of the tomb, incised into the limestone, were crosses and a fish, ancient Christian signs. In the tomb, Timur found an empty sarcophagus labelled (in Hebrew) Yusuf ben Eli, Joseph son of Eli, and about thirty amphorae, tall wine jars, each sealed with wax and a Hebrew inscription, except for two the shepherd boys had opened. Inside the first amphora were almost a dozen scrolls, each sewn up inside a leather casing.

Timur took that amphora, promising to return it to the tribe, to the Association in the Abbey of St. Origen in Tiberias. Upon examination, the eleven scrolls proved to be copies of some biblical books, along with some apocrypha, some rare manuscripts, and some accounting, in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. It appeared to be someone's library from a long time ago. If the other amphorae held similar documents, they may prove immensely valuable to the Association. The Master Librarian, Rupert Giles, was greedy and lusting openly after the books. After a long discussion, the Association dispatched the Dervish Ibrahim to the Bedouin tribe, where he met with the Sheik, promising to buy all the amphorae, letting him know that others with less holy designs may try to take them. The Sheik promised to send his son to the tomb to guard it.

Ibrahim returned to Tiberias in his Dervish way, and Symeon announced his creations were completed, so plans were made - Rupert to be dispatched with a wagon and some of the elite horses Timur had been training, one to gift to the Sheik, and two to sell, to buy livestock for the tribe. the others would depart on the morrow, on Symeon's flying devices, to Petra in Aqaba, to see this rod of Moses in person.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Outremer Campaign

Started up my new campaign over IRC on Sundays, replacing our long, long running (since 2003) StarCluster game for the nonce. We are playing Outremer, in 1560 or so. The PC Association is a group of relic hunters, attempting to ascertain whether various relics and artifacts dug up here and there around Outremer are real or fake. the Association was supported clandestinely by representatives of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish religious organizations, for the purposes of curbing fake relics and artifacts. The Association was based in the abandoned Abbey of St. Origen just outside of Tiberias, in the Galilee.

The operatives are Ibrahim, a Sufi Dervish; Rikvah, a Jewish Alchemist; Timur, a half-Djinn, half-Bedu Fakir; and Symeon, a Greek mechanist. There will also be a Kabbalist later on, but the player is away on vacation, and we have not yet met him/her.

We started with quick descriptions of the characters, then Rupert, the Association's Master Librarian, handed over three potential quests, culled from the Association's far-flung web of informants and friends.

From our circle in Antioch came a notice that the cradle of St. Paul had been found in Tarsus, in the Kingdom of Armenia - we had no informants in Armenia at all, and Antioch was the closest group. Now no one was entirely sure Paul had been born in Tarsus, though it was well attested he had been brought up there.

From our informants in Jerusalem came a message that the final grave of Isa (Jesus) had been found by Bedu herdsmen in the Judean hills. This was scandalous, as by either Christian or Muslim tradition, Isa had ascended bodily into heaven, either before (Muslim) or after (Christian) his temporary death.

And from our ring of supporters in Aqaba came word that the Rod of Moses and Aaron had been found near Petra. This would be a major find if true - Moses being a major figure in all three religions.

It was decided that Ibrahim would undertake the long travel to Tarsus, because , as a Dervish, he could simply be there while he was still in Tiberias. Timur was to be sent to Jerusalem to meet with the Bedouin, because , as a half-Djinn, he could get there through the Spirit World quickly, and be back the next day. The rest set out preparing to travel to Aqaba, to see about this Rod of Moshe.

Ibrahim sent part of himself to Tarsus in Arminia, and met with friends of his there, catching up on gossip. He learned among other things that the cradle of Paul had been found by a close relative of the city's Latin bishop, who was promoting the find, and had even commissioned a silver housing for it. The Patriarch thought much less of it, though this was typical of relations between the two. The main support for the legitimacy of the cradle as an artifact was the testimony of a beggar, a Christian Arab named Haroun, who had been cured of leperosy by touching the relic and calling out to St. Paul for intercession.

Ibrahim met with the beggar, who was being properly taken care of by the Bishop at a respectable inn - after all, the man could no longer beg now that he was cured! Using his ability to tell falsehood from truth, he soon ascertained that Haroun had faked the cure, and felt guilty about it. Ibrahim gently brought the beggar about to the conclusion that he should recant his testimony of his 'cure' publicly. Haroun went off to do so, and Ibrahim no longer needed to be there, so that part of him was returned to the Abbey.

Timur traveled quickly through the Spirit World to Jerusalem, meeting with Clara, the correspondent who had alerted them of the Bedu find. She told him what she knew of the tribe, and where they were camped, outside the Hebron Gate. The tribe's Sheik met him, and after some questions on his ancestry - his tribe traveled mostly in Edessa, and was no enemy - welcomed him as a fellow Bedu, inviting him to dinner, where they tried to get his stallion for stud.

Meanwhile, the rest prepared for the trip to Aqaba over land, but Symeon announced he was working on a potential time-saver - a pair of flying carpets which could carry them all to Petra in Aqaba. He had finished one armature and needed time to construct the second, but would be able to finish it so their trip would take one day rather than five.

We stopped there. A good beginning, and a great cast of characters.

Friday, January 1, 2016

High Strung Chosen for Top Six RPGs!

Tommy Brownell chose High Strung for one of his Top Six RPGs of 2015! This is totally awesome! Volant was picked a couple years ago, and this kind of says it wasn't a fluke. I am so proud!