Monday, June 28, 2010
VOR: The Maelstrom
So, here we are. My first non-40k post... AWESOME!
Ok, so enthusiasm curbed, I have resurrected my old Vor Fansite that I let lapse while on my 40k binge. I'll share it with you:
For those of you who have no clue what Vor is, I'll briefly summarize:
In the near-future, the world is recently engulfed in a new war between the North American Union (USA, Canada, and Mexico combined) and the newly risen global megapower: the Neo-Soviet Union. Unafraid to engage in nuclear conflict, the Neo-Sovs kicked off the war by annihilating China with an alpha-strike of atomic warheads. The war in Europe is raging when something ominous darkens the skies...
The Earth then gets plucked from the universe as we know it by a seemingly-sentient entity of stellar proportions... a space-faring anomaly that plucks out planets and other celestial bodies at random and deposits them into a vortex of space (or an alternate dimension?) that is ever spiraling inward... towards an all-consuming core! This anomaly is known to many unfortunate survivors as Vor: The Maelstrom.
Like bugs stuck in a jar together, many of the new inhabitants fight with each other voraciously for resources. Constantly being shaken by the Vor, these races prey on each other in a constant fight for survival. Nothing lasts for very long inside the Maelstrom, so nobody knows how long they will remain safe. The very laws of physics are subject to change inside the Maelstrom, making scientific evaluation difficult.
The Maelstrom is seperated into several different main parts or zones, like an onion or solar system. The furthest extents are hidden by the Veil, a border that has remained impenetrable to any that have tried to escape it. Inexplicably, the Veil has a tendancy to turn around those that attempt to penetrate it, sending them back they way they came. Thus, the Maelstrom has never been escaped.
The Outer Ring is just that, newly inducted worlds that are in a very slow drift or slowly degrading orbit to the core. These are the most stable worlds, but there is no telling when that can change. The Core could change it by lashing out with a tendril of energy, pulling a planet in like a Kraken of myth devouring a sailor. The Outer Ring tends to be a hotbed of conflict, as races fight over the resources on the planets that arrive through the Veil.
The Central Ring is where the end begins to accelerate. Planets become too densely-packed, and collide with each other. Asteroid impacts become more common. Inhabitants of these worlds become even more desperate, and fight all the harder for a safe haven. The forces of the Maelstrom grow stronger here.
In the Inner Ring, life is hard. This area of the Maelstrom is tumultuous, roiling with bale energy and detritus of destroyed worlds on their way to feed the Core. Races have to fight like caged animals to get any sort of resources or sanctuary here, and death is a near-certainty. The powers of the Vor are most powerful here, and any celestial bodies that have made it this far are doomed to be destroyed by this point as they near the core.
The Core, the Vor, or othewise known as the Maw, provides heat and light (much like the sun) to this little slice of space. It pulsates, and it tinges the light with a pink glow, but it makes it so that the Earth can maintain a semblance of normalcy while it is in orbit in the Outer Ring. The Core can cause death at any time though, flailing about with tendrils of energy or sending out pulses of force.
Earth is probably doomed. If not by the Vor, then by the war engulfing the planet. A new space race has started, with both sides seeking to gain a foothold over the other in the imediate region around the planet. Also, the planet is already under siege by alien races, intent on stripping the Earth of its resources.
Ok, so maybe that wasn't a brief description, but enough to get the idea. So in the Malestrom, it is conceivable that you might come across any kind of foe. With that in mind, there are rules for converting any miniatures of appropriate size for use with Vor by giving them unique stats and attacks. While this system is crude, it was intended to be expanded upon in future publications.
That is where the problem comes in. FASA, the company that produced the game, sold most of their stuff to WizKids (makers of Heroclix, Mage Knights, DnD 4.0, etc) and you can imagine what that did to them. However, the rights to Vor went back to their original creator: Mike "Skuzzy" Neilson. He resides over at www.bioplazm.com, planning a re-write into a Vor 2.0. However, it has been several years since then. It looks like there is little progress on a 2.0, but supposedly it was near completion before the project got stopped. I imagine that production costs outweighed practicality, and with the miniature sculpts sold off, it would be hard to revive it from scratch.
That aside, I love the original version of Vor (now sometimes referred to as Vor 1.0). Being from the creators of Battletech games, the fluff and mechanics are actually quite good. You just have to keep in mind it is essentially the 1st edition of the game, and in need of a bit of refinement. The ability to use miniatures from any game system, however, is just too good to pass up, and will keep me playing this game for a long time to come.
If you are interested in trying it out, you might still be able to snag a copy of the rulebook off ebay.
More to come on this great game soon!
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