Friday, May 12, 2017

My God, It's Full of Stars

My introduction to Jorune came as I was getting my introduction to Gaming.

So many games. Many were rips of Tolkein or the magic world of Jack Vance. But some were not. Some were original, and when I opened the Jorune box...

I was playing with people familiar with the traditional, established games. They were used to dwarves and elves and trolls and fairies and such, but never asked about how so many races could exist without one killing the others off - as would happen in a real population of species.

Humans can't even keep peace with their own population. We keep trying to kill each other off for farmland, or cattle, or a flag, or a book, or because he looked at your woman wrong...

Nope. Won't go there.

From my first reading of the books from the boxed set, I knew there was something different. There was a reason all of these races existed on the same world. Some of the reasons were silly - dog men and cat girls and bear guys so the furverts would stay thrilled. Every other game and animal guys - fantasy or science fiction. So - why not? And ray guns, sure. And monsters. Jorune had monsters. Lot's of 'em. Impressive damn things you wouldn't want to meet - ever.

Bit this was different. Not everyone was a human in a funny suit, or with seashells glued to his head (like Babylon 5), or arbitrary changes to a basically human face (like Star Trek or Star Wars). Some were alien, not just in deviance from human forms, but in attitude. Thriddle (shown above) seemed to value information above everything else. Corastin preferred to be paid in LOTS of the smallest value coins, but were not stupid. And the Shantha - the natives to Jorune - what the hell did they think anyway? Seriously. Who could tell?

3,500 hundred years of history. Entire races had vanished. There were hints to cultures that may have existed and since fallen. There was one human culture that had remained for 3,500 years - not unlike our understanding of Egypt with all its changes and dynasties - but why had they not progressed? There were upstarts, like the nation of Burdoth with a sudden influx of retrieved, functional technology from the ancient Earth colonies, and Heridoth, which had been on the rise before they were eclipsed by neighboring Burdoth's rise. There were the distant Khodres around the great lake with roots in all three, but developing its own identity. And beyond, to the north was the human realm of Jasp, comfortable and smug in their isolation and elevating human culture through reverence of education and sophisticated interactions with other nations.

And that was just the "Human" realms, though most were mixed with Muadra and Boccord mutations.

There was the massive land area of Temauntro, controlled by the Crugar, fierce warriors and savage defenders of their homeland, who had not done a damn thing with it in three thousand years. Wide and ripe for exploitation, if that could easily become the focus of one of the rising cultures.

The Bronth - bear guys - had established themselves in a northern coastal region but relinquished that place for a new home to the east, on another continent. They became Crendodor, and Yobreh. Their old home, the Ros Crendor, became the nation of the newly mutated Boccord.

Woffen - tweaked from wolf genetic models - had two lands that had once been connected by warp; Anasan and Lundere. But that warp collapsed, lost contact with each other for hundreds of generations. They had only recently rediscovered each other.

The fear inspiring Ramian called the Volligire their home, but were frequently seen in different wild lands for their own mysterious - and threatening - purposes. Many have been found living peacefully with other races in the region around Drail, and Jasp, and the Hobeh.
The Cleash, monstrous beetles who could manufacture their weapons from their own bodies with a perversion of their own eggs, had no home but could be found in the Glounda Forest of Burdoth, the East and Western Trinnu Jungle Lands, Hobeh, and Drail, but must of all in the frozen wastes of Gilthaw. But why would Cleash dominate a land of cold and ice? And their servant race, the Scarmis – wth? And Scarmis could be found without Cleash and were found to be good neighbors and excellent pest hunters.

And the Thriddle. And the Tologra, and the homeless Blount and Muadra. The Acubon led lives of isolation in the eastern region of the Great Lake, but their brethren Salu seemed content to ply the seas in their open ships without the need for a flag or a place to grow crops.

All of this woven in a mix of the mysterious "Isho" and revived technology from the abandoned Earth Colonies and the alien flesh around creatures with culture but reputation for killing without warning.

And I loved all of it. It was a rich tapestry with a founding in science and technology and history and culture and ... vision. It was a world where things could happen. Soon.

And I was home.

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