UVG: Introduction to rock-licking

11 Oct, 2020, updated 11 Oct, 2020 ultraviolet grasslands play-by-post

Finally, finally started a UVG game! 💜💜💜

This is mainly running as a play-by-post on Discord for the moment, although we’ve had some short live sessions:

  1. To say “hi” and discuss Slovak culture
  2. To have an encounter lick some rocks

I didn’t really intend to start a new long-form game, but I couldn’t see a good one-shot that would still use the travelling mechanics for more time than it would take to introduce them. SEACAT as a pure encounter engine for me does not hold the same appeal.

We’re doing this full Theatre of the Mind - the only tools are Sidekick for rolls and a UVG character Google Sheet.

The plot

The default stories of UVG are all pretty grimdark, really. You’re in debt, and are given a caravan and ordered to get out of debt.

Either that or I’m grimdark to the bone (which actually is pretty likely) but if you do run this with a more cheery “They just really really want to cross the grasslands” vibe, that DEBT entry on the character sheet is just going to waste!

So, the catlord Lady Elegant Di Bianco has consolidated some bad debts into a caravan busines plan that might actually make some money. Or rather her majordomo Klesana informs the characters this, who know what Her Elegance thinks, or cares. They are to meet at the Diamond Brilliance caravanserai in the Violet City and then escort Kascaito di Bianco to the Porcelain Citadel.

The players

The story

It’s been quiet so far, Kascaito is an irritating louche painter with a slave-porter called Lateria. The caravan-driver is a Dwarf (I forget Luka’s acronym but it’s reasonably socialist) and so is a communist that has named the caravan the Arise Ye Workers.

In-game time is about a month now, we’re into Orangemonth. The party has travelled the Low Road and the High, and watched Kascaito have a party in the Third Way bar on it. Despite in theory being in a hurry to get to the Porcelain Citadel, Kascaito gets drunk, discovers that the Rusted Hand of Victory is worth painting, and drags the party there.

This was my feebly-disguised introduction to Discoveries, where showing up somewhere and studying it for a day gains you XP. This also true for novel flora and fauna too (and I have some tables to roll on for those). “Studying” the Rusted Hand starts an argument between Menu and Tope on whether the Hand is rusted metal or a rock.

We stopped the game at this point to discuss:

  1. Could this be decided in real life through tasting the rock?
  2. What do rocks taste like?
  3. Haven’t we all, deep down, licked a rock at least once?

Happily they decide to roll for studying success (not a requirement I put down!) and totally failed it, so we’ll never know. The party have the world’s smallest fight with a monkey-mech trying to nick their supplies and then return to the bar.

Gillespie then has a dream sequence where he visits the Steppes of the Lime Nomads to the North and sees a village drumming and chanting in the Lavender Cliffs. So of course Kascaito wants to go there now, too. He’ll even fork out for another mule, and supplies for everyone.

Only tiny problem is, the caravan can’t hold enough supplies for everyone to get in and out of the Steppes…

The lessons

Well so far, I’m still learning how to run this game. I’m definitely trying to get into the more OSR-style “just go with it” approach. Mostly at the moment I’m guessing on something, then nipping back to the Stratometaship (UVG Discord) and asking if I did what others would have done. Generally the answer is “no” but reassuringly half the time I’m too mean and the other half I’m too nice, so it’s balancing out.

I was expecting to say “I don’t need to check so often” but on the other hand the mechanics of not starving to death on the grasslands are kinda important. As are whether the heroes have any ammunition for their weapons. I’d had a long agonise over how to keep the players to their €100 starting budget - until I realised it’s a bit pointless when they also start €600 each in debt for whatever is on the caravan. As long as they don’t start with something overpowered, it’s fine!

I’m still reasonably bad at “finishing” a PbP scene. I continue to stop and pause for a day to see if someone wants to comment, despite trying to promise myself I wouldn’t do that unless it’s time for the players to make a decision. Ah well, leaves something to fix as this game goes on.

comments powered by Disqus