The Chess Game

jedion357's picture
February 26, 2017 - 2:45pm
Return of the King is on and in it Gandolph says, "The board is set and the pieces are in motion"

Got me thinking about that.

RPG fantasy setting- a game of wizards chess (not necessarily like that in Harry Potter) where Moves on the board happen in accordance with whats happening in the wider world sort of a forshadowing of stuff for the PCs.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

jedion357's picture
February 26, 2017 - 2:51pm
Likely this would require that they go out do stuff and come back to the strategic "base" to resupply, heal and see the chess board.

An NPC would say something like "when news of the dragon burning village X came the dragon piece took a pawn here" and point to the location.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

ExileInParadise's picture
February 26, 2017 - 7:22pm
That would be an interesting artifact in a Star Frontiers world - the boardgame in the Tetrarch pyramid that seems to foreshadow events in the Frontier.

You could adapt the old D&D Oriental Adventures chapter on calculating the campaign a year in advance with major and minor background events, and tie them to the board.

One month is a revolution, another a strategic marriage, etc.

JCab747's picture
March 1, 2017 - 8:11pm
I like this idea as well. Especially if it's initially very mysterious to the characters.
Joe Cabadas

rattraveller's picture
March 3, 2017 - 5:48pm
In Futureworld the sequel to the original Westworld, they had a sci fi chessobard at the "station" holographic figures and all. of course there was that funky chess game in Star Wars The New Hope that could prove useful. Maybe an artifact which uses creatures native to the planet it is on and gives hints on the best way to fight them.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

jedion357's picture
March 5, 2017 - 7:03am
what about a holographic chess game that can be interacted with by the PCs. PCs start with no idea as to what the rules are but anytime they make an improper move they are zapped.

It would be a painful learning experience.

Also i was just watching the Train Job from Firefly and they were playing what looked like chinese checkers in the bar but possibly not by the rules we're familiar with.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

ExileInParadise's picture
March 5, 2017 - 10:51am
Regarding recreational games on the Frontier:

Dralasites, fluid, ever-changing, adaptable, philosophical, tend to favor games which combine these attributes.
A popular Dralasite game across the Frontier is Mental Flux.
The game is based on decks of cards which include physical changes to the current rules of the game. Each turn, players draw, play, and discard sets of cards which may change the current rules of the game in unexpected ways.
The goal is to collect and combine sets of postulates, axioms, theorems, and proofs to support a goal or position, while simultaneously deploying rebuttals and refutations to opponents goals.
In its challenge mode, the players take goals in opposition to their preferred positions or beliefs, and force themselves to advocate or argue for their opposing position, as a test of their own resolve within their preferred goal.
A popular variant of Mental Flux includes randomly selected planetary or Frontier news articles as the topic of debate.
Dralasites are incredibly resistant to the idea of computerizing this game.

Humans are primarily known for curiosity and adaptability. This is reflected in the bewildering gamut of Human recreation games including cards, dice, boardgames, computerized variations and expansive, complex simulations. Some of the more enduring games include a stylized war game, a real estate game (currently in a popular "take control of Port Loren" format). Human children even enjoy physical boardgames including such popular and enduring examples such as "Sathars and Lifts." while adult Humans engage in a variety of fantastic simulations.

Vrusk are ambidextrous yet inflexible or rigid, individuals within a caste or heirarchy, with competition between hives long subsumed into trade houses. Naturally, Vrusk games favor these traits. While Vrusk seem taken with the Human's "Port Loren" real-estate ownership game, the clear favorite game among Vrusk is an economic warfare simulation called, simply Trade House. In this game, Vrusk each control their own trade houses, vying to acquire and complete contracts across the Frontier. Wheeling and dealing between Vrusk playing the game allows any agreement between players including collusion, representing their ambidexterity. The banking, regulation, and legal aspects of the rules keep these freeform deals in check, representing the underlying rigid nature of the Vrusk themselves. Other races who manage to beat a Vrusk at Trade House gain the respect of all Vrusk present.

The Yazirian are a contrast, highly intelligent yet quick to anger, turning to religion to give framework and self control over their deeper nature. Mystery puzzle games which include deadly martial combat are favored by  many Yazirians. One example widely enjoyed by the members of the Family of One is a boardgame where a number of Inquisitors compete to solve the mystery of who committed a grievous sin. The sins are frequently drawn or based on real religious cases and events. Pawns are moved around a board representing a typical Yazirian city on Hentz. At each location, the Inquisitor gains clues to who committed the sin, how it was done, and the motive. Once the Inquisitor feels they have solved the case, they return to the Temple and make their accusation to the High Priest. Some locations involve the clue only being gained after martial combat. The puzzle cases are issued periodically as sets. Players are informally ranked across the Frontiers based on their progress through the cases and it is said the Family of One takes keen interest in player standings in this game.

A recent curiosity across the Frontier has been the emergence and development of games and entertainments among the higher-level robots. Cybots, robot brains, and high level security, service, and warbots have all been found engaging in recreational activities. Cybots and Robot brains tend to enjoy complex simulations, including a curious programming game where each robot crafts a small combat program. The combat programs are placed in a memory arena and attempt to corrupt each other from executing. High level security 'bots have been found to engage each other in a game informally known as PENTEST where each security bot creates a fictitious installation and security model, and the opponent attempts to bypass and penetrate the defenses to achieve a goal, usually removal of a key asset. High level service robots tend to engage in games enjoyed by their organic counterparts, while high level warbots devise fearsome strategic warfare scenarios and attack and defend their positions in them. Particularly troubling to some commentators are warbots who succeed when simulating Sathar assaults on simulated Frontier objectives.

Without live Sathar to interrogate, most Frontier thinkers can only speculate on the sort of recreational games, if any, that the evil Sathar would enjoy. Some of the darker speculation involves ideas that Sathar find manipulating others to their ends to be a form of game, itself, to the Sathar for the perverse goal of simply causing chaos.

jedion357's picture
March 5, 2017 - 2:01pm
RE: Mental Flux

The game incorporates common well known philosophical positions, as well as the common postulates, axioms, theorems, proofs, rebuttals and refutations each on a card.

How the game is played: each player draws a philosophical position card and turns this face up in front of him.

Then the game deck is shuffled and a certain number of cards are dealt (on Fromeltar its 5 but Inner Reach its 4). Then starting with the player opposite the dealer two cards are drawn, one is played and one is discarded.

a refutation or rebuttal can only be played if the appropirate postulate, axium, proof etc card has been played by the plyaer on his philosophical position.

The next player to go is opposite the first player not next to him: basically dralasite culture developed the idea that game play should be back and forth not around a circle so they go back and forth in patterns similar to how you would tighting lug nuts on a vehicle wheel so that the wheel is balanced its believed that this concept derived from debating.

The winner is the first to build his philosophical position. On Fromeltar the game ends in sudden death when the first player to lay his last card but on Inner Reach after this happens the other players all get a last "go" to try to finish their position or rebut or refute a weakness in the "winner" and thus steal the win.

Its not unheard of that humans who have played Mental Flux without dralasites have simply started the game with the player next to the dealer and then gone in turn around the circle.

Note the strategy of this game is to discard the proofs and axiums your opponet needs, taking them out of the game while holding onto key rebuttals and still building your own position. normally a philosophical debate on this topic would follow certain well worn paths but if key elements have been discarded that can force your to be creative.

The game was developed to teach the young basic debate and philosophy in dralasite debate schools but its remained immensely popular with all dralasites in all age categories with world wide championship competions and even interstellar competitions with intense competition by the social schools to compete in the interstellar invitational- if held on Fromeltar the Fromeltar version of the rules are used and when held on Inner Reach the Inner Reach version of the rules are used.

RE: Sathar

With two eyes with two pupils each they have a lot of mental processes going on in their head. they literally have "voices" in their head. and conversations with themselves much like Smeagol/Gollum portrayed in the LotR movies but far more sinister and machevelian and sociopathic with a dash of psychopathic. For them dominating and corrupting lesser beings is a game they rellish. Also the whole byzantine status thing between Upper Caste sathar and between clans is what entertains and thrills them.


@ Exile: this post would make a nice piece of background fluff for the zine, it would be about 1-2 pages which is good for fluff as people dont want tons to read.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

KRingway's picture
March 26, 2017 - 8:30am
You could have a Tetrarch artefact which doesn't resemble a chess-like game until the players figure it out. In turn, maybe something within that replays an old game and that in itself is actually a potted history of an event from Tetrach history that might be useful as information to the players. Or it could be a potted history of all of Tetrarch.

I've always liked the idea of the Tetrach, and used it as a plot kernal in one of the adventures I ran in the '80s. It was interesting to have things that the players could recgonise from the outset and had to figure out. I know I could do this with an alien artefact too, but it was fun playing with the idea of ancient technology that may have been the root of the Frontier.

jedion357's picture
March 27, 2017 - 9:14am
I'm always tempted to go gate technology with the tetrarchs
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

KRingway's picture
March 27, 2017 - 2:49pm
I prefer to use them to throw odd stuff at the players, or at least things that seem recognisable at first glance but then prove to be a bit more strange. Also, I think my players would figure out a gate fairly quickly as it's a bit more of a familiar trope Wink

Sargonarhes's picture
March 30, 2017 - 6:01pm
Chess is Chess, even Star Trek had the 3-D chess game that no one really knew how it was played. But it was proably still played the same way.

A game the Vrusk would likely play would be like a game played in Asia called Go. I've seen it played at many anime convention and still haven't totally figured it out having played chess all my life, I'm a little too set in my ways.
In every age, in every place, the deeds of men remain the same.

jedion357's picture
March 31, 2017 - 7:35am
What if the tetrarchs played a game called Star System?

Where they built and sometimes destroyed a star system.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

KRingway's picture
April 3, 2017 - 1:56am
One could also consider other games somewhat similar to chess (but perhaps without the various rules for the pieces). Things like the Game of Ur, Nine Men's Morris, Hnefatafl, etc.