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[Let's Read] Skyrealms of Jorune, 3rd Edition

Chaot

I feel that people should be Celebrated.
Validated User
Some day, I want to have a BRP conversion to at least make the transition easier.
Hmm, with V and Nick already doing translations, I should try and find my old notes for BRP Jorune.

I picked the 3rd edition up years ago (probably due to Nick's endorsement of it). Fantastic. I like to steal bits and pieces from it, but it's a bit intimidating to run a campaign with it.

I'll be watching this thread.
 

Grymbok

Licensed to Ill
Validated User
Chapter 1: The Tauther Guide
"Those You Will Meet"


The first proper chapter of Jorune is the Tauther Guide. This is an in-setting book given to all new Tauthers, which details the races, lands, and history of Jorune. It's basically a in-setting primer for novice adventurers so that they don't get themselves killed or embarrass the realm of Burdoth to quickly. A kind of "Rough Guide to Jorune", I guess.

In essence then, this chapter forms the player's guide to the setting, written entirely in-character. It's 30 pages long, and (from memory) I think that if you can get everyone in a group to read the Tauther Guide, then they'll probably all know enough for you to get a Jorune campaign started.

The Tauther Guide opens with a quick note mentioning that it's compiled by multiple authors from different cultures, and that they may each have their own biases. This is followed by the first section - "Those You Will Meet". This section is written by a Thriddle, and contains an overview eighteen different species. These consist of all but two of the intelligent races on Jorune and then additionally a caterpillar-like creature which Thriddles like to smoke the larvae of, presumably included so we don't forget the point about cultural bias.

As we will return to talk about all of the intelligent races in more detail later I'm just going to briefly describe them now, otherwise this Let's Read will continue to progress at its current pace of one post for every two or three pages of the book, and we'll all still be here in five years time.

There are three Human races in Jorune, these being regular humans, Boccord (larger and stronger, can sense the energy of living creatures but not manipulate it), and Muadra (smaller, weaker, able to see the ambient Isho energy of Jorune and "weave it into various orbs and bolts").

The aforementioned Thriddles are a strange-looking race resembling a plucked chicken with arms instead of wings, and eyes on stalks. Thriddle are a scholarly race, who never mean harm, maintain neutrality in wars, and should always be assisted if you find one (I remind the reader that this description was written by a Thriddle).

Next up are Cleash and Scarmis, a pair of insectoid races. Cleash are enemies to the Thriddle (both crave the Giggit, the caterpillar creature I mentioned earlier, but at different stages in its life-cycle), and so we can likely assume that the descriptions of Cleash as a race who never communicate, always attack and boil their own fertilised eggs to use as currency is at least in part propaganda. I also like the description of the Cleash as living in "the frigid Ice Fields of Gilthaw, an environment for which they are poorly suited". There's a story behind that which I dimly recall, and am not certain is actually in the book at all - we'll see later no doubt.

Scarmis are less threatening but can be controlled by Cleash and will then work as warrior-drones for them. They're intelligent but very alien to humans (and Thriddles).

After briefly touching on Corastin (large lizardmen - the ogres of the piece I guess) we then hit all the Iscin races in quick succession - Crugar (cat men), Bronth (bear men), Woffen (wolf men) and Blount (frog men, Iscin's first creation and barely civilised). Somehow, despite containing no less than five animal based races (you'll see the last one later, it's not included in the Tauther Guide) Jorune has never felt "furry" or anthropomorphic to me. All of the Iscin races are described in such a way that they each seem to have their own character distinct from the races which spawned them. The entry on Crugar in particular is nicely economical and evocative writing. Unless of course I'm just projecting my knowledge of the longer descriptions of each race back on to these short summaries!

I'll be back tomorrow to close out this chapter with the remaining intelligent races.

My Thoughts

As noted, this Let's Read project is covering the Third Edition of Jorune. This is the version of Jorune I would recommend anyone interested in the setting to buy, because a) it's the most complete (with much of the material from the second edition's supplements included in the corebooks), b) it's the most available, and c) I can't remember enough about the system in either second or third edition to recommend one over the other.

That said - the one area where the second edition far exceeds the third is that it's a box set, and so the Tauther Guide in second edition is a separately bound book. The ability to just simply hand this to players separately to the rest of the game can't be overlooked.
 

Chaot

I feel that people should be Celebrated.
Validated User
Drudged up an old memory.

<a href="http://s78.photobucket.com/albums/j113/Sheapryan/?action=view&current=wak.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j113/Sheapryan/wak.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

I guess Wak was a Thriddle.
 

Grymbok

Licensed to Ill
Validated User
His face is more "normal" than a Thriddle's I'd say, but yeah, it's a similar design (and it's by Miles Teves too, which I mention for others reading who may not have realised).

For those playing at home, this is a Thriddle:



Sorry, couldn't resist :)

Here's a proper one

 

Kagemusha

Takeda Shingen's monkey
Validated User
I can't remember if they are meant to be played this way, but if I were to run Jorune again, I'd be tempted to play Thriddles similar to Larry Niven's Piersons Puppeteers.

I can imagine Triddles with their immense knowledge base at Tan Icrid manipulating Humans to make their own place more secure in Jorune. Always acting in the background.
 

d(sqrt(-1))

Die of Cold
RPGnet Member
Validated User
I can't remember if they are meant to be played this way, but if I were to run Jorune again, I'd be tempted to play Thriddles similar to Larry Niven's Piersons Puppeteers.

I can imagine Triddles with their immense knowledge base at Tan Icrid manipulating Humans to make their own place more secure in Jorune. Always acting in the background.
Hm, that is a great idea, it just seems to fit really well.

cheers,

Mark
 
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Grymbok

Licensed to Ill
Validated User
Chapter 1: The Tauther Guide
"Those You Will Meet" (cont.)


As we return to our look at the intelligent races of Jorune, it's worth pausing for a moment to discuss the art. Jorune has always been renowned as much for its artwork as anything else, and with good reason. I think there's two things which set the artwork apart. The first is the fact that all the artwork throughout is by the same high-quality artist, which is something few games have done. Certainly my recollection of other games about in the late 80s and early 90s is that while they might well have had cover art the equal of Jorune, the interior would often be simple two-colour line art with no shading (Jorune's interiors are B&W but fully shaded).

The second thing which sets the are apart though is Teves's composition. He seems to have two modes - one is a sort of mock-classicism, with images from Jorune's history depicted as if they were major events from the real-world past being staged for an Old Master to paint. The other mode is a sort of Natural Geographic style, where the various creatures and races of Jorune are simply illustrated going about their routine in their natural habitat. The Tauther Guide is filled with pictures using the latter approach. Each race (other than the humans) gets at least a quarter-page illustration, showing them socialising, hunting, or simply standing around.

Returning to the guide then, we hit Croid, who are another race of thick-skinned reptilian creatures. There's a nice detail though about how a Croid's armoured skin will sometimes grow too thick, and they commonly make use of a small animals called scraggers which like to eat Croid armour to keep it under control. These are followed by Thivin, a peaceful race of traders, musicians and craftsmen. They're also a race with a secret which is (I think) hinted at but never revealed in the book. I'll cover that as part of their entry in the referee's section.

Next are the exceedingly alien Shanthas. Rarely met since the Human/Shanthic war, and speaking a language Thriddles can not translate, that Tauther Guide offers very little detail on these mysterious aliens, but does note that they "possess the greatest talents of Isho sculpting ability known on Jorune". Interestingly despite their key role in both setting and game, the Shanthas get the shortest write-up in the Tauther Guide. I expect this was done to deliberately highlight their alienness.

Another pair of linked races now - Salu and Acubon. Salu are a human-shaped water dwelling race, who are naturally famed sailors. Acubon are described only vaguely as another aquatic race, and far more hostile. Although there's no reference to it here, and indeed no physical description of Acubon at all, I have a memory that Salu and Acubon are salt and fresh water variants of a single race.

Finally in this section we have Ramian. The opening to their entry is interesting for a few reasons - "The Ramian are Isho-less. They have no feeling for Jorune. Even the Shantha's Tra-sense detects nothing but blackness in Ramian". This both starts to expand our understanding of what Isho is and how fundamental it is to Jorune, and also throws in to doubt the Thriddle's claimed lack of ability to communicate with Shanthas. Ramian are another reptilian race. Actually, I'm not sure that reptilian is really an apt description of the thick-skinned races (Croid and Ramian). It's hard to be certain from the B&W illustrations but there's enough references to "crusty" skin to make me think that the skin texture of these races is something other than lizard scales. Presumably it will be clear later.

The entry on Ramian almost reads like something from the AD&D 2e Monstrous Manual, brimming as it is with plot hooks. Ramian it seems are most often encountered as raiders, as they need the "shirm-eh limilate" (I think it's a herb) to aid their healing and (this is from memory as it's not mentioned here) it doesn't grow where they live. Ramian are also susceptible to a period of rage known as "chiveer", during which they are unpredictable and will attack anyone. It's noted that a "Chiven Rachu-eh" is a Ramian who has suppressed the chiveer rage, and can be identified by purple blemishes on their temples. Chiven Rachu-eh possess great will and may therefore be trusted. Of course, other Ramians - even those in chiveer - may paint their heads purple to appear as Chiven Rachu-eh and therefore fool the unwary.

My Thoughts

The obvious thought on this section is "that's a lot of intelligent races". There's actually a good in-setting reason why there's so many, but it's not one which would be known to PCs. Personally, based on past experience with other settings, I think if I had a player who felt the number of races in Jorune was stretching their disbelief I'd just explain to them the reasons (which we'll get to in this thread later). Of course, given that at least some of the multiplicity comes from accelerated evolution and human/animal gene-splicing, I think there's a certain amount of simple "buy in" required. Jorune is certainly not hard science fiction, after all.
 

Grymbok

Licensed to Ill
Validated User
I can't remember if they are meant to be played this way, but if I were to run Jorune again, I'd be tempted to play Thriddles similar to Larry Niven's Piersons Puppeteers.

I can imagine Triddles with their immense knowledge base at Tan Icrid manipulating Humans to make their own place more secure in Jorune. Always acting in the background.
I don't know if it's ever spelt out (and as noted I'm deliberately not reading ahead so I'm not checking), but I think it's clearly implied that Thriddles know more than they let on and pick and choose when to let the other races in on things. Even in just the potted history we've had so far in the Tauther Guide it's notable how many times you hear "and then something really momentous happened. Also, Thriddles were there."

Certainly I suspect (and may be half-remembering), that the sudden discovery of the location and manner of use of Earth-Tec which was being objected to earlier in this thread was in fact just a case of Thriddles having always known and finally telling someone else when it became advantageous.
 

Evil Doctor

Registered User
Validated User
This. Is. My. Favorite. Game. Period.

I love Jorune, the alieness, the detail, the evocative art, the ALIENESS. I don't think any other fantasy game (not familiar with Tekumel) to have such a completely separated world that did not have at least something that made me think 'oh, seen that before.'

I know a few of the secrets of the setting - where the Thriddles, Ramian come from, why there are isho-less regions, etc, so if the OP doesn't spill the good stuff as he goes, I can!

I played quite a lot of 2nd edition. With the rules supplement that came in the box (added because the main rules were unplayable/incomplete), it was a pretty thorough and usable system. The 3rd edition suffered from a lot of early PC wordprocessing errors and a general lack of any play testing (I believe it was a labour of love from David Ackerman). I didn't like the Recos (earth-tec creatures) either - I think the 2nd edition is the most 'calssic' version of the game. I'd kill someone to see a new version in print.

Oh, and ramian rock!

Greg
 
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