The Friday night gamers have started to play the Sorcerers of Ur-Turuk RPG of sun, sand and magic in a fantasy world influenced by Persian and Sumerian myth and legend and desert culture, with a smidgin of sword & sorcery mixed in for good measure in a group play style game. The game is published by Arion Games.
Once the Friday night gamers showed up at my place for the evening, around 7:10 pm or so, I started off by showing them the map of the game world, talked with them about the game world and answered their questions to the best of my ability for about 15 minutes or so. Then we covered everything from basic game mechanics, the use of the d6 system, Hero Points, the dice pools, and some of the other unique features of the game, and a couple of other things that they asked about (including the religion aspects aspects of the game world). From that starting point, we moved on to character generation.
Unlike a lot of game systems, the players in Sorcerers of Ur-Turuk play in a troupe style, and create five (5) player characters each - three Minor characters (a soldier, a servant and a specialist), A Major character, and a Sorcerer (of course!). Character generation for the three Minor characters is pretty simple, the one for the Major character is a bit complex, but the Sorcerer character is the most difficult of all, though still doesn't take more than 1/2 an hour at best. (You can get an idea of how character generation for the game system works with the detailed examples I've created, a Minor character cook, Natifa and a Sorcerer, Sharif Maregari, Citrine Sorcerer, that I posted up to the blog a couple of days ago.) That said, half the fun of the character generation system for Sorcerers of Ur-Turuk is just rolling with the punches.
That said, the players created twenty (20!) characters between them last night, creating their three Minor characters and one Major character each. The characters that the Friday night players created for the game so far turned out quite interesting and had some interesting basics to their backgrounds. Here's what the Friday night players created.
KathyB - Kathy rolled with the punches on the die rolls for her three Minor characters. Her soldier character, Daria, is a young woman of 22 years of age from the outlands of the city of Ur-Turuk who is well travelled, has a poor reputation but fast reactions, and is a good protector of her master. Her problem lies in her poor eyesight, not something desirable in an archer! Her servant character is one Diraba, a Gatekeeper. The 23-year-old Gatekeeper of the Vahnam is attractive though she has scars on her legs and forearms from attempts by those she wasn’t going to let into the vahnam enter. She’s relatively bright, skilled with her weapons, and has a good sense of who should come into the vahnam and who shouldn’t. Her specialist character, Halama, is the thief that the vahnam brought in to secure itself against those who might attempt to steal from them... somehow. The 21-year-old, nicknamed “the Sure”, has fast reactions, is inconspicuous when she moves about, but has an addiction to heffa leaves, a somewhat narcotic plant. She’s also quite larcenous and stealthy, but a bit impatient. Finally, her Major character... Ragal Dirparr is an explorer, but somewhat old at 35 years of age. Experienced. He has a good deal of common sense, is well travelled and knows the wilderness like the back of his hand, but he’s impatient and tends to be somewhat irreverent. He’s not about weapon skills, he’s about surviving on his wits.
Angela - Angela went to work on her soldier with gusto. Berin is a soldier, some 20 years of age, who hails from a distant land demonstrated by her blonde hair and green eyes. She’s a skilled fighter, a fast healer and has good common sense. However, she sleeps with any man (or woman) that breathes despite her physical scars from a few sword fights that she lost. Her servant is...interesting. Dark, greasy hair is the hallmark of Martaka, a 25-year-old cook with a massive girth and breasts to match. She's a tough bird, skilled with a cleaver and flensing knife, and very protective of her kitchens. That said, she makes some of the best food in the vahnams of Ur-Turuk, and other Sorcerers and their major minions are eager to dine at her table. And try to steal her recipes. Her third Minor character, the Specialist, is likely the most important. Ysria the healer is a 27-year-old servant in the vahnam whose services are prized by her Sorcerer master and praised by her friends in the vahnam. Dark haired with hazel eyes, a clear, light complexion and, and poor eyesight, it’s a wonder that she can get her job done. But do it she can. Skilled in the arts of medicine and herbal lore, Ysria will dish out advice to her patients while she heals them, and seems to have her nose in everything in the vahnam. As her Major character, Angela created an Armsman, peerless in a one-on-one fight. Harra Mejeeh is the 26-year-old armsman of the vahnam, and a fearful fighter in her own right. With dark reddish hair down to her waist that she ties in ceremonial braids, piercing dark green eyes, a fearsome facial expression that marks her as a warrior and fast reactions, Harra is the one you want at your side or preferably in front of you during a fight. She has a bright, shiny khopesh that she always keeps clean and a stance that marks her as a Hero. The vahnam made a good choice in her.
Ellie - Ellie absolutely delighted in this process. Her first character, the Minor soldier, is a strange one to be sure. Meesha, whose name translates as “marigold flower,” is a 22-year-old fresh-faced young woman with wild brown hair to the shoulder, smouldering yellowish brown eyes, and a fighting weary face with a sun-burned complexion. She has an excellent sense of danger but slow reactions, making her terrific warrior skills seem somewhat dull by comparison, but she makes up for this with an impatience that sometimes gets blown out of proportion. A skilled combatant, she yearns for a different life where her speed doesn’t count against her. Her servant is one Misara, a 19-year-old body servant, serving one of the female Sorcerers in the vahnam. She has willowy dark brown hair to her shoulders, always tied in a bun, dark green eyes, and a pale complexion that doesn’t conceal her dull-witted eyes. An excellent seamstress, with a penchant for sensing danger and being tougher than she looks, Misara is illiterate and desperately wishes to learn letters. Perhaps she’ll get her wish in the vahnam. Her Specialist is a scribe. Soura is an older woman, in her early 30s, with dark somewhat short hair with a touch of grey, a set of evenly spaced dark hazel eyes, a complexion that shows her time in spaces with ink and candles, and she always has ink stains on her hands that she just can’t seem to wash off. She wears a pair of silver-rimmed spectacles. Educated with a strong sense of honour, she has a weak constitution from her time among the inks, but that doesn’t stop her from doing her job. She’s quite protective of her library of books and scrolls. Finally, Ellie's Major character is the daughter of a nobleman. Shamsi Relfah is a 24-year old nobleman’s daughter who stands quite tall, has dark black hair with a hint of blue in it (dye perhaps?), an extremely soft face, full lips, and the snobbishness that wealth brings. She wears fine clothes and jewellery at all times, has lots of connections in the city of Ur-Turuk, but has an addiction to rasa weed and an obligation to one of her father’s enemies for saving her life in an unfortunate accident involving some sort of creature in the desert that she doesn’t talk about. “I couldn’t negotiate with it,” she says, “but fortunately I could negotiate with it.” She’s charming and persuasive and knows how to get what she wants.
Mark - Mark made some excellent choices in his character set-ups. His soldier character is one called Assad. Assad is an older man of 41 years of age, with long dark brown hair with large amounts of grey in it, deep, peaceful dark green eyes, a weather- and time-worn complexion, a white-flecked beard and with a body full of scars from his years as a soldier. He’s a tough man, stubborn in his ways and attitudes, and would be more than a match for the armsman of the vahnam. He has two daughters, both of whom he dotes on, and is teaching the younger of the two, Almasha, the arts of combat. His servant character is a Porter. Rashid is a young man of 22 years with dark black, long hair to his neck, green eyes, and a straightforward expression on his sun-bleached tanned skin. He has a strong, yet lithe, physique, and works as a porter for the vahnam. He has a good deal of common sense, except when it comes to Harsa, a young woman who sells bread and pies at a stall in the marketplace. He’s hopelessly in love with the girl, though she pretends not to notice for reasons of her own. Rashid has a noticeable limp that doesn’t slow him down, and is illiterate, something that he tries to conceal from Harsa. His specialist character is a Huntsman. Argor is a huntsman, and the main gatherer of animals that are used as both livestock, a food source, and the occasional sold pet for the vahnam. Argor is a 24-year-old desert tribesman who came to the attention of the vahnam during a desert quest. He has extremely dark brown hair, cut short, dark brown eyes, a sun-filled complexion with freckles, and always wears a beige or brown head scarf or turban when he goes outside. A skilled tracker and capable of great stealth and accuracy with his bow, Argor is calm, has excellent danger sense, but has severe scarves on his hands from when he was mauled by a desert cat. He is devoted to the vahnam, but also has a family back in the desert that he tries to see as often as he can. He always carries a small coil of rope wherever he goes, and dresses in muted, desert colours. Finally, his Major character is a Scholar. Shamir Maleekh is a 28-year-old man from Ur-Turuk, with dark blond hair, green eyes, a regal bearing and the pale complexion of one who spends time indoors. He is well educated, has a good amount of lore that the Sorcerers of the vahnam rely on, is a meticulous researcher, and has a scholarly manner about him (not be be unexpected, given he is a scholar!). Unfortunately, he has poor eyesight and does not compensate for it with spectacles, and becomes tongue tied around attractive women. He has a major feud with his rival, Hamid Soour, who works for one of the rival Sorcerers in Ur-Turuk, and the two have had epic showdowns in public where neither man has demonstrated any tact.
Peter - He made some interesting choices with his characters, to say the least. His Soldier character, Farhan, is a piece of work. Farhan is a 19-year-old soldier from one of the outlying villages in Turukstan. He stands a head taller than any other in the vahnam, has black mid-back length hair tied in a ponytail, a set of deep set dark blue eyes, and a tan complexion from his years outdoors. Farhan is relatively attractive though his arrogance mars his inner beauty, and despite his fine warrior skills he has an impatience that endangers both himself and those he serves. Peter's Servant character is a groom... Thakk is a 20-year-old groom, standing about 2 inches taller than the other vanham folk, with long, mangy brown hair, brown eyes in a deepset face that is lined with life experience though fairly smooth and tan from outdoor life. He tends to wear clothing that is malodorous from his work in the stables (among other places), and prefers camels to people. A good rider, he heals fast from injuries such as camel bites and horse kicks, but gets somewhat tongue tied when talking to women. Thakk is a good, hard worker and is a joy to have on expeditions to take care of the animals and ensure their needs are looked after. But he does tend to be quiet at times, too quiet. His Specialist is the vahnam's Steward. Zamud is a 29-year-old man, who has short, cropped black hair, a trim moustache tat gives him a bit of a sinister look when he smiles, sparkly dark brown eyes, and a dark complexion from his ancestry. As the steward of the vanham, Zamud is extremely capable, and has plenty of contacts, and is an excellent haggler. However, he is also unscrupulous in that he charges fees of people who wish to make deals with the vanham, keeping those funds for himself and buying little “nice things” for himself and members of his family. A city dweller, Zamud is intimidated by the desert dwellers who come to the city and to the vahnam, and tends to be a bit tongue tied when dealing with them. Finally, Peter's Major character is the vahnam's Merchant. Rabbet Tufik is man of charisma. While he’s not all that tall, at 25 years old, with dark brown curly hair, a trim beard, flashing green eyes and a smooth-skinned lightly tanned complexion, he cuts a dashing figure in his bright robes and serves as the primary merchant of the vahnam. He has a strong personal code that does not allow him to take advantage of the poor and the child-like, is something of a showman who likes the attention it brings to him, is wealthy, has contacts and has travelled, but has an intolerance of the city guard due to an incident some years ago that the vahnam is not aware of. hat said, he’s very good at what he does, and doesn’t tolerate Zamud’s unscrupulousness all that well at times.
All in all, an interesting group of characters with a lot of potential, and the players had a good deal of fun with the process and really did a good job of coming up with ideas on how their characters would meet, though not necessarily know each other. The players didn't really struggle with character generation, finding things relatively simple, and Ellie was fond of the the mechanics. From start to finish, character generation went from 7:35 pm or so until about 10:20 pm, not too bad for creating twenty (20!) characters for the game.
The players still have to create their Sorcerer characters for the game and they also have to design their Vahnam, so that will be the second part of character generation in some two weeks. Hopefully, they'll also get into some samples of combat as well that night.
After we finished the first half of character generation, I managed to go through the game mechanics with the players (who only had problems remembering the use of the Wild die and how Hero Points work in the game.
Overall, the players told me they quite like the simplicity of the Sorcerer of Ur-Turuk game system, and really enjoyed character creation. The players mentioned they'd never generated so many player characters in one session, and Kathy and the others called it "tag team character generation". The players are quite looking forward to creating their Sorcerers and then working up their Vahnam.
For that matter, so am I! :)