GURPS Russia Outtakes

There were very few cuts in GURPS Russia; absolutely all of my original text made it into the book in some form, thanks to the skillful editing work of Spike Y. Jones. The only items that were removed entirely (mostly to make room for the "Pagan Trickery" sidebars on page RU82-83) were four sidebars quoting primary sources for flavor. The rest of the "cuts" were really edits and trims to cram my original 100,000+ words into the 128-page GURPS worldbook format (something like 20,000 words of surgery were necessary, but Spike managed it in a way that tightened the text without sacrificing anything). The few factoids lost were "tidbit" level stuff, and good riddance.

The four cut sidebars are presented here for your idle amusement.

Unclean Animals
´´Those who eat wolf, fox, she-bear, dog, hedgehog, marten, squirrel, and others which are unclean, turtle and each beast, small or big, or horses, or donkeys, and those from wild or domesticated animals which the law of God called unclean, if they will be found eating by their own will and wish, shall repent for four years.''

-- The Canon About the Believers in the Reptiles, a 14th-century religious document

The Beautiful Bird
"In Kiev on the top of the church of St. Archangel Michael . . . an unknown bird appeared, remarkable for its majesty. It shone with all colors and sang unceasingly. A wondrous beauty arose from it and it remained on the church for six days, and then flew away, not to be seen again."

-- From an early chronicle

The Skomorokh's Song
Oh, there is open country around Pskov
And there are broad open spaces around Kiev
And high hills at Sorochinsk
And church buildings in Moscow, the city of stone
And the ringing of bells in Novgorod
Oh, there are cunning rogues in the Valdai Hills
Oh, there are fine fellows and fops in the city of Yaroslavl
And easy kisses in the region of Belo-Ozero
And sweet drinks in Petersburg
And mosses and swamps by the blue sea
And skirts with wide hems in Pudoga
Oh, the sarafans are tanned with the wool inside along the Onega River
And the women of Leshmozersk are fruitful
And the women of Pozhersk have bulging eyes . . .

-- From ´´Vasili Ignatevich i Batyga,'' one of the Byliny.

Maslenitsa* Song
We have welcomed Maslenitsa
Welcomed, Ia, Ia, Ia
Golden eye, golden eye!
We did not climb the mountain
But we stuffed it with good cheese
Our mountains have smooth slopes
Our girls are playful darlings
Playful darlings full of joy
The old babuskhas grumble, grumble
Sitting there behind the stove
And they grumble against us
´´Oh, you babushkas, do not grumble!''
Let us dance for it is Maslenitsa
Let us frolic with the fellows
With the fellows, with the bachelors
With the bachelors, yet unmarried
Yet unmarried, Ia, Ia, Ia
Golden eye, golden eye!!!

*The Russian term for Shrovetide

The Missing Maps

I drew several maps for GURPS Russia, including a map of the vegetation zones, maps showing the general locations of the early Slavic tribes, and four city maps - one each of Moscow, Kiev, St. Petersburg and Novgorod, each showing the boundaries of the city walls, overall layout, and noting a few important locations. I also prepared maps showing the boundaries of Russia at different period of history - and those made it into the book, and only barely, at that.

The maps were not cuts. They were lost due to an accidental communications breakdown between the book's freelance editor (Spike Y. Jones), the people doing the layout (more freelancers; a third-party company hired for the purpose by SJ Games), and the in-house editorial team. Somewhere along the line, all the maps I sent in to SJ Games got passed around and set aside, and the book nearly went to press without any maps at all! A last-minute save in Austin (thanks, if I recall correctly, to Susan Pinnsoneault) got the two maps into the book that are there now, but it was too late in the layout process to include all the maps that were prepared.


Scoot on back to The Blue Room, or check out Hedge Magic, a magical advantage for GURPS Russia!

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