Thursday, June 9, 2011

Dungeonspiration: Urutsk

Inspiration can come from unexpected places.  When I first heard of Urutsk, from Timeshadow's blog, my interest was  piqued, but I didn't know what to make of it.  Was is fantasy?  Science Fiction?  Science fantasy?  Scifant Fictastity?  What?

When the Boy and I finally got to play URUTSK: World of Mystery RPG with Timeshadows at NTRPGCON, it was great.  The experience is like what I imagine playing in Middle Earth with J. R. R. Tolkein as DM - only less English - or playing in Tékumel with Professor Barker - with less cinnamon.  Urutsk is an incredibly detailed world, rich in scope and depth.  Everything is new and different and weird and wonderful.  I really got the feeling that I was experiencing a complete world, with it's own fully developed history, ecology, linguistics, and physics.  There is blood magic, there is eugenics, there are crazy critters and shattered space.

As gamers we often sink into the same old comfortable tropes of fantasy or science fiction.  For the last few years, I've been working on creating ultimate plain vanilla D&D worlds.  While it's fun to go back and tromp through those tropes, and introduce them to my son, it bumps into the same problem I had with D&D when I was a kid.  How can you call it fantasy when nothing is fantastic anymore?  Oh, it's another orc.  Oh, I'll roll up and elf.  Oh, yeah, a dragon.

Timeshadows and her Urutsk has inspired me to get out of my self-imposed rut and start investigating the fantastic again, and to breathe life and depth into imaginary worlds.  I want the players eye to bug out - not becasue I just dropped Tiamat into their tea party, but because they can't quite come to grips with the thirty foot tall Giant Flea Herds of the Gombatar Velt.  Or something like that. :)

So go find something weird and wild and out of the ordinary - Urutsk, or something like it - and go get inspired to be fantastic.

- Ark


  1. Yeah, I'm actually way more excited about Urutsk than I am about Dungeon Crawl Classics. The two games' respective hype should be reversed!

  2. What a nice surprise! :D

    I'm glad Urutsk works for other folks, too.
    --It's an honour to be an inspiration.

    I'd love a picture postcard from the Gombitar Veldt. :D

    @Sirlarkins & Zombie: Thanks, guys. :D

  3. @Sir Larkins
    Funny, I was thinking much of the same thing while watching posts with those three little letters crawl up and down my blog roll.

    As much as I love playing with all these iterations of D&D I keep wanting to see something that hits on the deeper sense of wonder Ark is alluding to.

  4. Have you been smoking the moss? Always wanted to say that. "Scifant Fictastity," you are on to something big!

  5. @sirlarkins - Urutsk certainly deserves a bigger marketing department. :)

    @Zombie - It is, it is!

    @Timeshadows - It ain't no thang . . . :) My research on the Gombitar Veldt is making me itch. A lot. All over my skin. Fleas. I'm going to try to get you a postcard, but I may break out in hives.

    @ckutalik - Yes - WONDER is a good thing. :)

    @Cimmy - Oh no, I would never, ever, ever do such a thing. Ever. Ever. What was I talking about again? Duuuuude . . . sparkly fireflies!

    - Ark


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