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VOR The Maelstrom is a miniatures combat tabletop game by Mike Nielsen, published in 2000 by FASA Corporation, months before it collapsed. A subscription was launched in 2010 for a new edition, but it failed, probably due to Mike Nielsen setting his goal too high.

VOR was conceived as the ultimate create-your-own-army game. Although several official armies exist and were released with many models, what made its success was the possibility to design forces with almost any model. A "scratchforce sourcebook" was expected - some beta version of it came out as PDF.

The setting of VOR is the Maelstrom, which looks like a miniature galaxy orbiting a gigantic black hole, called the Maw or Vorack. Planets that cross the dimensional threshold around the Maelstrom are doomed to end in the Maw, so everybody tries to leave its homeworld, found colonies and, maybe, someday escape the Maelstrom. Earth is trapped in 2102.

See this other wiki for complete overlook.

Not to be mistaken for The Vorkosigan Saga, which has a book called The Vor Game.

VOR provides examples of :

  • Always Chaotic Evil: The Pharons, the real bad guys of the setting, are space-age mummies. They feast on living creatures' blood and other fluids, turn the corpses into undead slaves, and feed the living with the remains of their meals.
  • America Saves the Day: Word of God says the North American union is the only barrier to the global rampage of the Neo-Soviets. Nothing is said about Europe, save that Poland called in the G.I.'s for protection. The UN self-dissolved, it is not quite clear why. India fought a major war in the 2080s, but nothing is said afterwards. China was the first serious bulwark against Communist hordes, but it seems it has been conquered. Oh, and it is even said that America is building an escape fleet, so they will end up saving humanity.
  • Ancient Astronauts: the Pharons, when they were alive and civilized ancient Egypt.
  • A Nuclear Error: the Chinese did that. Once.
  • Colonel Badass: Union commanders and even a general who killed a bear with a knife when he was seventeen.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: the Zykhees are actually the nicest guys in the Maelstrom, but they are nocturnals and see darkness as a soothing, curing force.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Primordia, homeworld of the Growlers; the Growlers themselves. And the Maw. And the Pharons. And many, many other things in the Maelstrom.
  • Expanded States of America: the Union (USA + Canada + Mexico).
  • Futuristic Pyramid: Pharon buildings. Some of them incorporate energy-harvesting devices.
  • Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke and Soviet Superscience: the Neo-Sovs get their kick out of creating new combat mutants/cyborgs.
  • Glorious Mother Russia: general Vanivar said Russia had been flouted of its rights, now they will obliterate everyone else to get them back.
  • Hit Points: bizarrely, Growler chieftains and most other large creatures (3 Life-Force Points or more) can take a missile (Damage 2) and almost ignore it; whereas vehicles often take nasty collateral damage, up to and including instant explosion. There is a system of critical hits and misses, partly compensating for this flaw, but it still makes that a bow is just as suspectible of killing as a missile.
  • In a Single Bound: some Growlers can do this.
  • Insufficiently Advanced Alien: the Mashers, space-travelling cavemen who can "mash" technology into their bodies.
  • Lost Technology: many planets feature long-dead or long-departed civilisations, with according treasures. Also, the Mashers are heirs to an ancient culture that left lots of machines.
  • Made of Iron: some Growler Razorback Chieftains, whose bones are coated in ore.
  • Mini-Mecha: the American Ares and Neo-Sov Ursa walkers.
  • Mugging the Monster: when the Neo-Sovs brought Growlers back on Earth for study.
  • Negative Space Wedgie: The Maw.
  • Power Armor: the Union is striving to make it standard, the Neo-Sovs keep it for their elite squads.
  • Ray Gun: the Pharons' can fire hundreds of times, at least, without ammo; Union testers gave up after one week.
  • Silicon-Based Life: the Shards, although these disincarnate spirits rather create silicon *armors* ; but without these they would be sucked in by the Maw.
  • Space Elves: averted. The Pharons were that once, but no more.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: Earth in the Maelstrom is slowly cooling. Global climate has changed. Multiple hazards have sprouted everywhere. Growlers, fungi and Shards probes have landed to colonize some regions. And this is just the beginning.
  • The Political Officer: Neo-Sov kommanders are that, and they have the right to shoot their subordinates if they are too slow.
  • Villainous Glutton: the Bluefang Alpha Chieftain is that, and even a cannibal. The Whitetusk Alpha Chieftain had to beat him into submission before he stopped hunting other Growlers.
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