So I want to talk a little about Skaerune. I feel that a strong setting is an expectation of any d100 game, which is not a bad thing. The problem though is that the days of the truly powerful setting has passed. It is not as much a draw to players or at least ones I interact with. With a few exceptions, it is more difficult to use a setting as a selling point (1). The typical game master is going to run his or her own game anyway and may or may not use setting information anyway. Added to this is the small amount of room that can be spent (2) on setting in a given manual means that your setting has to come strong and be interesting and usable even when its bare bones.
So I decided I wanted to combine the mythical fantasy feeling, the cosmic nihilism, and features from traditional fantasy. My old college adviser and mentor described the United Staets as a stew, not a melting pot. I don't want Skaerune to be a stew even though it will have some disparate bits that did not begin life together. The Cosmos acknowledges that many worlds exist, but they are distant and relevant only in their existence. It drops ingots of civilizations into a barren Earth - like world, where slowly but surely they begin to come together and identify more with this world then wherever they came from. Now that I think about it, I guess it will be a stew, or an artifact that is a unified whole, but the various ores are still visible on the surface.
And it needed a antagonist worthy of the name. The Rakshasa (3) are definitely the new power in town. While a bit sadistic as a race, they are not inherently what we might call evil as much as we could say they embrace chaos as a way of life. At least aspects of it. As rulers of the Fourth City and an ever growing empire, they are trying to create their own strange order on the world. Intelligent, inhuman, and physically strong they bring a pov that is alien to the world but in some ways alien to many players.
This is just an introduction to the blog. I have been designing games since I was 10 when I decided D&D was good, but could be better. Once I was introduced to RuneQuest and BRP, I felt the system did a great job with what it was trying to do. It was only years later that I began thinking about what I would I change if given the chance. So here we are. I feel like this community will be invaluable for helping me achieve the kind of game I want to make.
This years Kraken was shorter than the biannual Gaming Vacation we have gotten used to from the Kraken team, but not having to wait another year for it I was quite happy with a shorter Gaming Retreat. In preparing for Kraken 2015 I found excellent use for the Guide of Glorantha. It worked perfectly as a bookpress for the booklets I was bringing for the Chant-Along event!
This year I went down with 3 other Norwegians - Linda (my highly pregnant girlfriend) Jaran and Morten (a Kraken virgin). Me, Linda and Morten took the plane to Berlin on Friday and drove a rented car to Schloss Neuhausen, 2 hours north-west of Berlin, where Kraken is hosted. The Shuttlebus brough Jaran and the rest of the Krakeneers, but as it got stuck in traffic we started the convention with some quiet and relaxing hours at Schloss Neuhausen.
When the ShuttleBus finally arrived, it was time for the opening ceremony which was held by the Kraken head organizer Fabian:
We had a late night game called "The Omega Option", a Needles and Pins game created and GM'ed by Philip. It was a lot of fun, but due to player screw-up it ended early after about 3 hours with everyone getting sucked out of existence (maybe into a parallel dimension called Universe #1, we'll never know).
Saturday started early with the game "Carry on up the Kartolin" a scenario written by Pete Nash for RQ6 (in Glorantha), GM'ed by Mark who had just gotten back to gaming after a long hiatus. We played a chaos infested lunar troop and my character was an ogre with the "Cook Sapient Flesh" skill and a frying pan in his inventory. Only heavy GM railroading kept prisoners and other players from my frying pan...
Later the same day, we had Axe throwing and Bow practice under the guidance of Risto, one of our Finnish friends. No major injuries this year either!
Then I attended Chaosiums seminar by the name "What's up Chaosium?" hosted by Jeff, Neil and MOB - the contents of which has already been discussed in the forums.
Ending that day was the Chant-Along-A-Squid - where we chantet/sung/screamed the ancient lyrics of familiar tunes to summon the old and outer gods. It was the best Chant-Along I've hosted so far, but alas, the world is still not overrun with monsters, so better luck next year!
We ate a heart during the Chant-Along. It looked human. I'm not saying it was human, but I'm not not saying it either. It went down with Norwegian potatoe-spirits.
Sunday, last full day of the convention, we started with the game "Akkadian Stars" - a science fantasy scenario by Jason Durall, using Magic World rules. Lot of fun! And we survived!
Then we had the pancake wars - Finnish vs. Belgian Dutch pancakes. The Finnish took the victory. It took several hours before I recovered from the huge one I ate.
Later I had a productive talk with Jeff, Neil and MOB (the Chaosium guys at the Con). We'll get back to this in a few days.
Closing ceremony Sunday Evening to mark the end of another great convention at Schloss Neuhausen, with the guests of honor in front:
We managed to squeeze in another game in the cellar - "Folklore" - a new fun game by Pedro Ziviani
An that was it! Now we have to wait an entire year for more! It comes with my highest recommendations. If you have the chance to attend next year, grab it!
It’s been a few months now since the “Old One’s Returned…” in early June and the only official mention of BRP or MW since has been in Ben Monroe’s tagline: “Chief Operations Officer, Magic World/BRP Guru, Earth Ro-Man”—I wonder if he’s even “Chief Operations Officer” now that the company is a web address? We forumites haven’t heard from him in sometime.
Since June, I’ve been hoping for some official shout out, even a small one, from Chaosium: “We’re keeping BRP, but (understandably) it is the lowest of our priorities…don’t worry though, we remember all our loyal fans…”. Save for brief flashes concerning Epsilon, Blood Tide and After the Vampire Wars, however,—works that were finished just prior or just after the return of Stafford—nadda. Oh, I realize I’m not on the inside; I don’t know the whole story, and if knew what was planned…I’d understand,but in lieu of a leg-up from Chaosium, here’s what I understand: Gloranthaphiles, Cuthulhuites and RQ6ese got news; BRPians and MWers got nothing.
Therefore, in light of that nothing: I’m gonna let this out and hopefully lance the boil, because it’s eating me alive, and, as it adds little to constructive conversation, I’m going to do it here on my blog where it can be easily identified as the negative rant of a mad man who can’t keep his angst to himself and ignored as childish petulance.
Despite “saving” the company, this whole thing has ultimately been a downer. I know Gloranthaphiles or Cuthulhuites are excited and they have a right to be. I, on the other hand, look at my BRP shelf with stuff that stretches back to the 80’s and wonder: what about my loyalty? If I add the investment up, I find I probably could have bought a used car! Yes, yes, I know that the loss of active BRP support doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy the titles I have, but, honestly, since the ‘rescue’, my RPG playing enthusiasm has ebbed. Even my Here’s-Barsoom-In-Your-Eye protest has run out of steam. I know it’s because of the disappointment I feel toward the company and its seeming choice to ignore BRP and that such anger is unreasonable. I mean, it even blows my mind that I’m reacting so emotionally, but I just can’t seem to set it and the feelings of abandonment aside. God, do I need therapy?!
What really gets me is that BRP loyalists, like me, are left to wonder and speculate in isolation. I mean, for God’s sake, there are some here who still actively hope for a MW Chronicler’s Companion! Chaosium, couldn’t you offer a mercy bullet…or even throw a we-will/can-no-longer-support-BRP/MW bone as a reward to those who remain(ed) loyal to the company for BRP sake? I would laugh if I wasn’t so frustrated. What the hell Chaosium?! Is the strategy to keep an oar in the water, so if financial tides turn, an announcement can be made that “The long wait is over BRP fans; we really never gave up on you!”? God, the whole driving-off-into-the-sunset spin just makes my blood boil! Far from romantic (the band is back together) or nostalgic (the end of an era), it smacks of an absentee father who suddenly returns home only to grab his things and leave again after some mumbled nonsense about how ‘I’ll always be your dad…’. Yeah, yeah, I know, completely necessary and expedient for Chaosium to survive and completely unreasonable and childish for me to crave.
Well, if that’s the case, I think it’s high time for me to grow up and lay this foolishness aside. If I must have an RPG system and a company to offer my loyalty to, there are plenty of them out there ready to take my money.
So…good riddins, dad…thanks for the tadpoles and don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.
Now, I need to go meet with my therapist.
My mind runs the dry ocher covered sea bottoms of Barsoom as I continue to read and reread Burroughs’ work collecting materials for a BRP-MW based sword-and-planet game I hope to GM someday. I say ‘hope’ and ‘someday’ because the members of my game crew can be rather fickle. Once it’s served up to them, my efforts are just as likely to result in, “meh” as they are to illicit, “cool”. Seriously, the whole endeavor could turn out to be nothing more than a mental exercise. I wonder at times why I continue with it at all.
I suppose, first and foremost, I continue because John Carter and Burroughs’ Mars are cool and simply beg for RPG treatment, at testament to which can be traced in all the game designs and setting attempts made to bring the Red Planet to GMs and players.
For me, however, I suspect it goes deeper than that. As I’ve ruminated over the last few weeks, I’ve concluded that John Carter, both as a character and as a movie, resonates with me as a metaphor for this whole Chaosium/Moon Design/Greg Stafford/Glorantha/RQ/BRP/MW mash up.
Though to some, it might be a bit of a stretch, I cannot help but see parallels between BRP’s present limbo, and the uneven promotion and dismissal the movie John Carter received at the hands of some of Disney’s marketeers and executives*. The ultimate disposition of BRP and MW has yet to be revealed. Whether or not they are to be regulated to the back shelf or the dust bind is a matter of conjecture, but when what official news there is slows to a trickle or concerns itself almost exclusively with CoC, Glorantha, and Glorantha RuneQuest, what is left but to draw conclusions, even subconsciously, though we might resist trying to do so? It’s easy to doubt the advent of a long promised Chronicler’s Companion as the list of monograph selections narrow, and the latest BRP supplement, After the Vampire Wars, receives little fanfare and is offered for a paltry $100,000,000.00 :-T. I point this out not in an attempt to lay blame—a useless exercise and particularly so when much of that which has occurred is far beyond one person’s ability to control—but to underscore that the handling and promotion of BRP by Chaosium reminds me of that with which John Carter was treated and echoes, for me, present circumstances.
I also see a parallel in the loyalty of John Carter fans to their movie and in my loyalty to BRP. Though not a perfect realization, the film was done with love and care, something even a purest can respect. The Facebook page Take Me Back to Barsoom! and The John Carter Files website attest to this regard and I can’t help but be reminded of BRP Central. Long after the official light of BRP has been extinguished or relegated to obscurity, I have a feeling the few, the proud, and the stubborn will continue to hold vigil here--working up conversions, offering the fruit of faithfulness, laboring at downloads—for as long as BRP Central exists. It really doesn’t matter what those in power decide, I will continue to play, to create, to dream and remain loyal to BRP.
Finally, John Carter’s resolution inspires me. His response, “We still live!” to Dejah Thoris’s despair in the face of incredible and overwhelming odds strikes a cord in me and I cannot help but feel the stirrings of some “Virginia fighting-spirit” of my own. I want to ‘plant my flag’ and adopt a defiant no-matter-what-you-do stance despite a possible future wherein Chaosium survives but as an actively supported concern BRP and MW does not.
To what end this stand…a BRP or MW not only allowed to exist but to flourish and grow?
No…of course not. As I have said before, as the silence lengthens, the writing on the wall becomes clearer that things have obviously gone beyond the point of appeal to modify. But maybe, possibly, such a mental stand will help me and, like 9th-ray buoyancy tanks, elevate my spirits and change my attitude about the whole mess. Maybe from the strength of such resolution, I can learn to accept the inevitability of the situation, taking joy and happiness in what I can control and letting go of what I cannot. In reality, I have two bookshelves full of BRP goodness to draw upon…material to literally last the rest of my life…that should and will be enough.
So godspeed, Greg; do what you can to preserve your legacy. I envy you the chance to get your house in order and reunite Glorantha and RuneQuest under a new Chaosium to the joy of all Gloranthaphiles and Cthulhu-ites. I wish you and them luck and years of enjoyment. Long live Chaosium! Long live Runequest! Long live Glorantha! As for myself? I will return to Barsoom and continue my exploration, for despite the life-long fulfillment of your dreams, I and BRP/MW “…still live!” and we will pursue our own. “I am done.”
*Sellers, Michael D. John Carter and the Gods of Hollywood. San Bernadino: Michael Sellers, 2012.
As I don't believe it adds productively to the conversation, but is still something I need to express, I'm posting the following here in isolation. I seek no answers, plainly see the writing on the wall, understand that change is inevitable and am glad that Chaosium will survive. That doesn't mean, however, I don't have strong feelings.
I am a child of the great divorce when RQ (BRP) and Glorantha separated and went their own ways 30 years ago. I have never been a Glorantha fan, and though an admirer of Greg and his mythology, I wanted to build my own myths and legends. RQ III’s culture-centric spin offered an amazing sense of “perfect fit” and yet “old comfort” (having come from SB1e). It was exactly what I needed and wanted.
I have operated within those parameters for the last thirty five years: SB 1e, RQIII, Monographs, SB 5e, the BGB, (an RQ6 experiment my players sadly found too crunchy) and finally MW. 35 years a faithful fan to Chaosium’s BRP centered products; 35 years spending money despite what I considered poor business practices. 35 years of operating within a BRP sub-culture that, intended or not, Greg and Co.’s business decisions gave birth to.
Despite well-intended reassurances, I presently feel like a “fired fan” (as some one put it). I understand that business can have no truck with romance if it wants to survive. Change is a given; adaptation is a must, thus I see my feelings in an honest light. Of the 100% of Chaosium’s present and potential income and sources, my BRP makes up for less than 10% and of that my dollars represent but 1/1000th of a percent. I see this and accept it, but it also represents nearly 75% of my life measured in loyalty and faith which makes Chaosium’s potential new emphasis difficult to consider without concern.
Will I remain faithful despite this? I don’t know. I do know that it won't be for a remarried RQ and Glorantha. Though I’m happy for Greg and all those Gloranthaphiles for whom this is an unforeseen fulfillment of dearly held hopes and dreams, and for Loz and Pete and its confirmation of their hard and brilliant work as RQ torch bearers, I on the other hand, as a BRP bastard child, suddenly feel bereft of place and sitting below the salt watching others, the true-born, celebrating.
We just had another upgrade of the BRP Central software. The last big one was a move from the bloating vBulletin software to Invision Power Board. Lost some downloads in the process and had quite a bit of hassles with it, but a major step forward from an administrator point of view. Or current update went from IPS 3 to IPS 4, which got all the downloads deleted. I kinda freaked out, but with help from the support staff at IPS it was restored from a backup the next day. Just the pictures out of the cardboard boxes and up on the walls again. Will probably still be some bugs to iron out, but I'm confident that can be managed. A currrent bug is that you can sign in with your display name but not email, even though the text says both can be used. Please just report any bugs you encounter, or any improvements you would like to see. There just might be a setting to tweak for it!
I've been thinking about it for a long time now, but finally I had some days to actually update the site. Our move from vBulletin 3 to vBulletin 4 was not necessarily an improvement, but this one I think is. Most of the troubles we encounter now in the initial days of the transfer is due to errors from the bloated vB database and my incompetence with the new software. This will however improve, just be patient.
Please do tell me of any bugs you encounter (in the [url="http://basicroleplaying.org/topic/3457-bug-reports/"]bug thread[/url]) or any features or design you miss.
BRP Central have just been backed up. Leaving for 3 weeks in Thailand tomorrow, hopefully there'll be no hickups in my absence. Been way to inactive here lately due to work, but plan to get more active again. I'll be at Eternal, Continuum and Kraken this year. Hope to see some of you fine people there!
Dark moon Chronicles- setting and info
here I well post my writings- some very rough of the Dark Moon setting - Chronology and story as well as setting information-
The Dark Moon Chronicles are an alternate present and future of the end time as it where but more so about humanities struggle to carrie on.
some part are cross overs - with heavy game flavor of normal but adventures coming from our present time to help save the race of Man kine of Menikine as there called in one setting.
I have set it up else where on other blog but I well repost it so you do not have to look for it.
Dark Moon Chronicles.
so again I am ready to write, I am doing up the Darkmoon Chronicles a muti- gene setting. its horror /fantasy/adventure but it has several tiers.
Gravequest: secret organization fight the future of the dark moon and its agents and cults as it draws near.
Baddlands gunsmoke and steam fantasy : the arrival of the dark moon has ushered in a global fight against Laxivon empire and Humans, who have nothing but steam tech to fight the Sorcerors of the old ones.
Avalaughn the raise of man: Man has been conquered for a thousand years- but some Gods well not let man die out and help to bring heros from the past to the future to fight the Sorcery servants of the old ones.
Gate City :Sadazar the ethereal byway: In the ethereal drifts a cosmopolitan of exotic species and cultures fighting against the servants of the Great old ones, as they themselves ply the hiways and byways of time and space looting and raiding and Trading for tools and equipment trade goods and food to keep the ethereal city fighting on
Ebbene si, ho visto anche io Pacific Rim. E posso prendere finalmente posizione pro o contro il film.
E mi schiero decisamente con coloro a cui il film è PIACIUTO.
Analizziamo brevemente alcuni punti che sono stati criticati.
SERIO O AUTOIRONICO?
La recitazione e il tono del film sono volutamente sopra le righe, non c’è dubbio, ma non sono più sopra le righe di un normale anime di super robots. Non ha la profondità di Gundam o Evangelion, ma non pretendeva di averla. “Regge“ il confronto con Mazinga o coi film dei supereroi Marvel, e l’obiettivo che si proponeva era quello. La scena del discorso finale di Pentecost è in stile americano, un giapponese non lo farebbe così, ma non rompiamo troppo l’anima per questi dettagli, eh.
Forse è un po’ ingenua come trovata, ma la storia del muro sta lì per introdurre un tema assolutamente fondamentale per il genere super robots: gli eroi NON lavorano per il governo ma per un’organizzazione che col governo non sempre va d’accordo, e che si fabbrica le cose da sola. La storia del taglio dei fondi “perché ora i governi vogliono sovvenzionare il muro” è solo un modo per dare un velo di plausibilità al fatto che dei “cani sciolti” abbiano accesso a dei mostri alti 50 metri che non potevano certo costruirsi in cantina. Okay, in Mazinga succede, ma non è mica tanto plausibile. Ecco, Pacific Rim riesce a dare plausibilità a questo vecchio cliché degli anime: lo vogliamo biasimare per questo?
Ho letto commenti pessimi sulla scena dei combattimenti per selezionare il co-pilota. Posso sbigottirmi? La scena era azzeccatissima, e diceva tutto quello che doveva dire: a fare a botte son stati bravi in molti, ma solo un candidato riusciva a “leggere” le mosse di Raleigh. E la maggiore lentezza dei movimenti sottolineava questo fatto.
Sinceramente, non ho capito i commenti sul “potevano usarla prima”. Si vede palesemente che l’arma bianca è meno potente del cannone al plasma o richiede un maggior tempo di preparazione rispetto al cannone o ai pugni, e quindi viene usata solo quando i cannoni sono fuori uso, non c’è abbastanza spazio per prendere l’abbrivio per i pugni o sott’acqua dove non i cannoni non funzionano (in puro stile anime: le armi a energia sott’acqua non funzionano) o i movimenti degli jaeger non sono abbastanza rapidi per fare male con armi non taglienti. La cosa è as-so-lu-ta-men-te plausibile!
E’ uno scivolone, senza dubbio, ma alla fin fine è una minchiata, gli è solamente scappata un’ingenuità. Probabilmente lo sceneggiatore pensava erroneamente che il pubblico non avrebbe capito una spiegazione più plausibile o più articolata (avete presente quando paragonano l’impronta genetica a “una specie di codice a barre”? Ecco, si capisce che stava scrivendo per farsi capire dal “grande pubblico”).
Pensate a una cosa: ne “Gli Intoccabili” nella scena in cui fanno fuori Sean Connery a un certo punto si vede chiaramente l’ombra della giraffa (telecamera) sulla facciata della casa. Errore ORRIBILE di regia, senza appello o scusanti. Il film diventa uno schifo solo perché c’è questo errore?
Dite che è un’americanata? Erm, ops... peccato che Baldios (OTTIMA serie robotica giapponese degli anni 80) finisce quasi alla stessa maniera. Come americanata, ha gli occhi parecchio a mandorla.
LA RECITAZIONE DI RINKO KIKUCHI
(Nota che potrebbe essere non significativa: questa attrice è stata candidata all’oscar...)
La Mako bambina è enormemente più espressiva della Mako adulta, lo avete notato? Le scene di flashback sono assolutamente deliziose, un piccolo capolavoro.
Quello che forse qualcuno non ha notato è che tutti i protagonisti del film sono personaggi enormemente induriti da quello che hanno affrontato, incapaci di sorridere e con in mente solo la battaglia. Cavolo, al protagonista hanno masticato il fratello mentre era mentalmente collegato con lui [qui c’è una citazione degli X-Men, chi la trova per primo vince un PDF del mio gioco di robottoni], e si capisce che Mako ne ha viste di equivalenti! Scusate, che tipo di recitazione vi aspettavate per quel personaggio? Sorrisini scemi perché è femmina, mentre i maschietti fanno tutti i duri? Mi spiace dirlo, ma è un’aspettativa un po’ chauvinista.
Confrontiamo il personaggio di Mako Mori con un personaggio giapponese “doc”, Yuki Mori (eh già, se non ve ne foste accorti anche il cognome è una citazione...) di “Corazzata Spaziale Yamato” del 2010. All’inizio Yuki fa la “dura”, ma nella seconda metà del film rientra nei normali cliché cinematografici femminili del “cerco protezione”, fino alla scena finale in cui si comprende che la sua funzione fondamentale nella trama era quella di “donatrice di utero”.
Mako no, tutta d’un pezzo è all’inizio, e tutta d’un pezzo resta fino alla scena finale in cui le scappa un sorriso (leggera differenza con la Yuki della Yamato...)
Avete notato che la Kikuchi era anche truccata per apparire abbondantemente trentenne, quando ormai non costa nulla levarsi dieci anni con gli effetti di postproduzione? Non è un caso, volevano proprio farla apparire così, vera invece che plastificata. E’ un personaggio femminile “alla Chris Claremont”, forse poco manga ma molto, molto ben fatto. E niente bikini “alla Star Trek into Darkness”, ovviamente.
E ora, quello che mi è piaciuto.
Il film è un’ottima rivisitazione del genere “super robots”, ossia robottoni implausibili da non prendere troppo sul serio ma con personaggi che alla fine si fanno volere bene e scene in cui ti viene da fare il tifo per i buoni. Le cadute di plausibilità ci sono, ma a parte lo scivolone del robot “analogico” non sono mai troppo grandi e proprio per il genere a cui si ispira il film è tranquillamente accettabile che ci siano. Niente (ma proprio NIENTE) a che vedere con le cadute nel ridicolo di Independence Day.
La trama del film non si rifà ai cliché narrativi americani, ma proprio a quelli giappo, in cui si entra subito nel vivo dell’azione dopo una breve e – ebbene si – anche un po’ stiracchiata spiegazione del contesto. L’importante è che la spiegazione sia accompagnata da belle scene, e sinceramente la scena della prima battaglia che precede il titolo è molto emozionante.
Anche il tono generale della narrazione è paragonabile a quello di alcuni anime. I personaggi sono molto, molto induriti e vivono in un loro mondo personale di rimpianti, rimorsie e ricordi dolorosi in cui non lasciano entrare nessuno, per finire poi al centro di applausi da stadio dopo avere fatto a botte col mostro di turno. Le ambientazioni della base sono stupende, tutto è rugginoso e sudicio a sottolineare quanto poco di emozioni positive sia rimasto nei suoi occupanti.
I due professori poi sono... si, l’equivalente delle figure comiche degli anime (Boss di Mazinga, Don di Jeeg...), ma sono anche molto ma molto simpatici, e ti strappano qualche seria risata. Ammettiamolo, si sta in ansia ogni volta che rischiano di essere mangiati da un Kaiju o di finire col cervello fritto. E la rappresentazione di Hong Kong è fantastica: pare la Hong Kong del Deus Ex originale, a un certo punto ho sperato che al posto di Hannibal Chau spuntasse Tracer Tong... peccato!
Insomma... si poteva fare meglio questo film?
Si, si poteva, ma Del Toro ha comunque fatto un ottimo lavoro. Applausi e un 9 pieno.
E comunque, diciamocelo francamente... nessuno ne ha davvero capito nulla.
Pacific Rim non è un film sui robottoni.
Pacific Rim parla di SCARPE!
I received my PDF copy last week and eagerly await my print copy to arrive. I have yet to read the book from cover to cover but I absolutely LOVE what I have seen so far. Every time I skim through it I find another thing that absolutely blows my mind. This is easily my favorite book to come to BRP since the BGB.
I've recently started blogging again about my developing Celtic-inspired campaign. Here's the newest update:
The Green Lands - Part 1
And so, about my campaign.
Something I realized some time ago was that, for my purposes in developing the settings, I needed to write (originally three, but now) four books. Basically, I needed to organize my thoughts about the campaign setting, and put it all down in b&w, in order to build it into something special. I needed the skeleton.
Really, it was a bit like going back to the earliest days of my RPG experience. When I read the DMG et al, it was like having a launching pad for my imagination. I couldn't wait to get out there and discover my own worlds.
Besides, I needed to settle and fix in my own mind how all the rules would fit together. It also gave me something to give my players. When the campaign (finally) gets under way, I'll be telling players - get the big BRP book, the Magic Book, and I'll give you pdf's of the rest.
I'm not going to post the four books online, as there's too many copywrights violated - but I'm more than willing to summarize them and post excerpts. And so...
The first book is the Player's Book. It's meant to have all you need to get a character up and running and provide necessary info on how the rules will be used. Here is the introduction I wrote for it (thanks to Greg Stafford, from whom I stole some phrases:
Welcome to Green Lands, a campaign setting for Chaosium’s Basic Role-Playing system. The Green Lands setting is inspired by Celtic mythology and history. Note carefully that I say inspired. What that means is that it does not, in any way, attempt to be consistent with the world of the historical Celts or Celtic mythology in general. It is a fantasy world inspired by those sources. The druids of Green Lands are not the druids of Celtic history. The cultures are not the cultures of the ancient/medieval British Isles or Europe. It is hoped that this setting captures the feel and spirit of Celtic myth. That is the goal. Seek not for historical versimilitude within these pages, o best beloved. You will not find it. I make no bones about what are probably obvious influences. The three cultures are clearly based on the medieval/ancient Irish
(Chaosium’s Pagan Shore for Pendragon gave me the foundation for describing this culture), the Picts (again, drawn heavily from the depiction in Chaosium’s Beyond the Wall, which was also based on the Picts of Robert E. Howard’s stories of Conan and Bran Mak Morn), and the Saxons (again, Chaosium’s Saxons and Vikings! were the models here). GURPS Celtic Myth also helped shape a lot of concepts. As did the Glorantha setting for RuneQuest, from which many ideas were drawn. Other influences include Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon, A.A. Attansasio’s Arthurian trilogy, Morgan Llewellyn’s historical
novels, Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain books, Evangeline Walton’s novels based on the Welsh Mabinogion,
and films such as “Excalibur” and the recent “Secret of Kells.”
So, what we have here is an iron-age world, a pagan .world where men have carved kingdoms. from the wilderness, fight with sword and spear and worship many gods; a magical world with. mysterious sources of power which can be. wielded by the brave and talented, and where. strange creatures, forces of dream and nightmare, lurk just beyond the pathways of men. The wild places are filled with monsters. Ancient powers hold sway over ancient territories. Anything might happen.
You can view this post in its original context here.
[h=3][/h] The short answer;
"Open" vs "Class"
The Long Answer (explained);
As Newt Newport mentions in his introduction to OpenQuest's rule set, the "Open" in OpenQuest refers to the ability to create fantasy settings and characters in a completely unrestricted manner. This is in distinct difference to Mr. Leary's approach to the genre with "Classic Fantasy", a Chaosium monogram. Classic Fantasy attempts to model Dungeons & Dragons directly to the Basic Role Playing D100 system.
Both authors accomplish their goals well and demonstrate how well Basic Role Playing (BRP) responds to "Homebrew" creation and game play.
Leary hews closely to the Dungeons & Dragons cannon by first identifying the types of characters players are able to play. A characters "Class" is all enveloping in the world of Gygax,its game function mainly concerned with resolving the characters combat interactions and whether or not the character survived the encounter. Each class has the requisite limitations which define these capabilities as compared to those of other classes. A players choice of race also carries the same net of limitations which further narrow the scope of capabilities, and therefore define the player character.
Newport's fantasy mash up, on the other hand, begins character creation with a brainstorming session, requesting each player to come up with a character concept. As the author explains; "A character concept is a one sentence summing up of what the character is all about." The rule set continues on as a guideline in how to translate the character concept into your fleshed out character sheet. I love this type of game experience myself where the initial player character, while not all that powerful yet, is still a product of my imagination. I was quickly able to come up with intriguing character concepts off the one sentence rule. It started to become a game of interest and brevity; Disturbed Wizard, Searching Sailor, Cashiered Ranger, Disgraced Warrior, Hunted Magician, Retired Gladiator, Etc... If you are manic about gaming all the best aspects of fantasy found in literature, or being open to new inspiration you can do this well with OpenQuest
But if you are looking to go Gygaxian, you should go with Classic Fantasy because, well, Leary has already gone through the trouble of converting the standard classes, races, and spells. A lot of hard work, I assure you. Unlike Dungeons & Dragons retro-clones, launching a D&D campaign with BRP's Classic Fantasy does allow much more in personal customization of your character class, mostly do to the use of a skills list, and the players characters are more robust overall. Running some friends through TSR's B10 Night's Dark Terror proved Classic Fantasy characters can chop through goblins and minor undead well. Proper tactics assure swift death to surprised opponents. True to BRP form, once these tables are turned on players, swift death can ensue. All in all, Classic Fantasy will give you a great D&D game without the garbage mechanics of Old School, retro or otherwise. Those who do not like a d100 system should not even bother.
And that is why I use OpenQuest. If you are looking for a great system for your own fantasy creations, classic or otherwise, OpenQuest gives you the tools to go right at it! It does put more weight on the Game Master. The GM will have to be invested in the brainstorming session during character creation with the players. Or the GM can offer pregenerated characters. Either way, it means more hands on time by the GM. For me, this takes the form of ripping off literary sources, as well as available game aids to create classic fantasy adventures.
The party sets out three days later after the new young stallion is born. They do not now have the luxury of riding on horseback. Pytor refuses to lend any more to the PC’s. The journey on foot takes five days as they skirt the edge of the Dymrak forest. This is to avoid being spotted on the open plains to the north while keeping as much distance between the party and the goblin horde.
Upon arriving on the rocky hills where the tombs can be found the party examines the portals on each. They all appear to be blocked up with a stone door sealed in with mortar. Choosing the tomb of the warrior they look for traps before chiseling away the old mortar. The PC’s do not intend to let the terrible visions inflicted by the evil presence of the tomb turn them away from their labor. Once inside and they resist the stench of death the PC’s penetrate the length of the tomb and confront the two weirds. Successfully turning the undead terrors, the cleric strides forth and claims the silver tipped spear gripped in a statue of human warrior. This propels the globe wielding fiends at the rest of the party who have fun engaging the elusive shades. The battle is over quickly though. The characters combat skills so far have kept them from serious harm. They return to the outside, and rest for the night.
In the morning they tackle the next tomb entrance. This one leads them to a crystal coffin containing a mummified corpse. The presence of the PC’s and the close inspection in which they give all the frescos is too much for the starved ghoul and it leaps out at the characters. It is brought down under a flurry of sword strokes leaving the ghoul in shreds. The crystal coffin is shattered without trouble and the jewel encrusted mace. Successful incantation of a perceive spell reveals the ancient weapon has magical properties.
This leaves one more tomb to be braved. Close inspection reveals an additional entrance from the main. Upon receiving the seductive and pleasant visions delivered by the unknown enchantment the PC’s decide to proceed through the newly discovered secret door believing it to be the “safer” of the two choices. Once inside the damp, rough hewn chamber beyond they are immediately set upon by the living statue guardian inside. The acidic ooze which spills from the creature manages to ruin a spear and a broadsword before the creature is reduced to an acidic pool. Reaching the finished stone chambers beyond they come across the last weapon in which to provide the edge they need, the Huntsman’s Knife. An enchanted, silver edged short sword worn by rangers who fought against the were creatures and demons in the beast lords dark armies. After realizing they had avoided any traps by entering the tomb from the secret entrance the party retreats back out the way they came. Standing once again in the daylight the characters agree to rest and discuss their next move.
The elf princess will want to eliminate the were-beasts so as to secure the release of her father’s new stallion. She holds no illusion that Pytor will not give up the new born without the return of his livelihood. The cleric would like to inspect the room in which he retrieved the mace and the mummified remains of the body which held it. His scientific interest has been piqued. The writing on the mace is entirely foreign and the mummy had unnatural physiology which he had no time to examine in any sort of detail. The fighter is concerned for the safety of Sukiskyn steading and wants to know what to do about the goblin horde at large. He is extremely anxious to return and see to the homestead’s defenses. The ranger will want to see the centaur’s task completed as quickly as possible. He wants to get the princess back to Rifflian as soon as he can. Baby horse or not.
What does the party do?
At the Lake of Lost Dreams the PC’s are confronted by a much larger goblin horde than they had encountered during the fight for Sukiskyn steading. The Viper, Red Blade, and Wolf Skull tribes are joined by at least one other goblin tribe. Maybe more. The number of goblins is over two hundred and fifty with at least a quarter of them mounted on dire wolves. The additional horses captured in the raid are held against the edge of the forest under the surrounding gaze of 4 wargs. The horses have been hobbled so they cannot run away. On the shore the goblins are roasting horseflesh over great fires while the goblin kings argue with a thin man clothed in yellow . The angry man is backed by a group of fearsome hobgoblin bodyguards. A smaller squad of goblins is finishing a raft which they are loading the pregnant mare onto. The raft is adorned with horse skulls and markings of the beast lord cult.
While the PC’s deliberate on what to do five elves make their appearance out of the night. They are a group of Vyalia elves and they believe the yellow robed magician intends to summon the beast lords by performing an ancient ritual at the temple on the island found in the lake. The goblin horde has been gathering on the lake shore for the past several days seemingly in anticipation of the blood ritual. The elves implore the PC’s to aid them in their attempt to thwart the summoning ritual.
While the Vylia elves are forbidden to step foot on the island itself, they can show the PC’s a secret stone path which leads across the water to the island. They inform the PC’s that there is a temple at the center of the island which was dedicated to the Grey Gods, the gods of the Vylian elves. But the beast lords were ascendant, and the Grey Gods were cast out of Mystara. Not until the coming of man, and the High Clerics where the beast lords and their demon allies cast from the realm and the age of man established. But the temple on the island had been desecrated and a great evil laid over it. Insanity and death befell any of the Vyalia who dared tread in the once hallowed halls of the temple. The great artifact, the White Mirror, was turned toward the summoning of evil. The “Black Mirror”, under the hands of mad necromancers of old, would call forth the black beast lords to walk the earth among elves and men. Great sorrow poured forth from the mirror and only after the total annihilation of all the sordid priesthood’s acolytes and the dark knowledge they possessed were the beast lords stopped. The elves fear the magician is going to try and open that long dormant gateway once again.
The elves promise to help free their white horses from the clutches of the goblins if they make an attempt to stop the summoning ritual.
Once upon the island the party sees the magic user leading a group of 4 hobgoblins and the pregnant mare. At the temple 4 hooded acolytes are positioned around a central alter. Torches adorn the temple, while the hobgoblins have each a torch as well as a rope attached to the horse.
The party wastes no time on the attack. Conjuring another sleep spell the elf is successful in knocking 2 of the hobgoblin guards unconscious. The ranger sinks an arrow into Golthar which brings him to his knees. Additional volleys are sent at the nearest acolyte striking home. Suddenly the temple is shrouded in a cloak of darkness yielding no more visible opponents.
The 2 hobgoblin guards on their feet howl in anger and charge the party wielding large broadswords. The sword play is protracted with the charmed hobgoblins shaking off the sleep spell and joining the fray. Fortunately the party is able to maintain a 2-1 advantage and cut down the guards beneath multiple attacks.
Approaching the darkness enveloped temple the cleric boldly runs up the steps and in. Satisfied the mist only affects vision he is shortly joined by the rest of the heroes. A visible blood trail leads to an iron ladder leading into a stone lined chamber below. Two acolytes standing in the shadows attack the party with knives. The mad eyed fanatics are dispatched and their robes turned out. They are inscribed with Dog and Bear symboligy while the sleeves have stitched in an attached pair of gloves made of tough layers of leather. The fighter and the elf don the robes in an attempt to appear as the cultists. The elf listens at the opening before descending. Exploring the level they notice the original motifiefs to the Elvin lords is scarred and overwritten by much more primitive hieroglyphs. Inanimate skeletons found in the anti chambers leads to party to conclude that they are burial chambers. And who is to say they are not?
The elf makes a successful dodge roll after grabbing hold of the stair without using the gloves inside her robes. A critical success avoids all damage while a blue white crackling discharge erupts in the room. After much discussion about being careful, the fighter and elf head down the next ladder. Once on the deepest level of the temple the elf once again leads the way down the passage. A failed spot roll leads to the dart trap being triggered. Failing the second consecutive dodge roll the elf sinks to the ground unconscious with a dart in her ankle. The rest of the party decides to leave her there and press the attack. Bursting through the door the fighter? and cleric? Fail sanity rolls and are immobilized by the sights before them. The elf is protected from the maddening inducing properties of the mirror by the fact she is rendered senseless by the dart venom. The remaining upright character gets entangled with the two remaining acolytes while Golthar pleads for aid from the appearing Dog and the Bear. Without the blood sacrifice of the unborn stallion the Dog and Bear could not step through the mirror. Without the consummation of the blood pack their powers are diminished, but they would send what aid they could. The beast lords tell the magician to look to their champions Balikask and Kalakask to lead the goblin tribes and return the Dymrak to the domain of night. The beast lords urge the magician to strike soon as his path is now being thwarted by the will Lords of Light. With that they fade and Golthar, wailing in anger, departs the underground chambers in a foaming black comet.
The chamber is left with the bodies of the two dead acolytes and the smoldering black mirror. The party smashes the mirror with their weapons and departs, but not before the elf regains her senses. The elf is on the verge of attacking the party when the mirror is smashed. She is immediately released from her increasing madness. Fleeing the lower chambers they find the mare roaming the island and return to the mainland.
Here the Vyalia elves approach the successful party again, and suggest freeing the horses from their hobbles. With the goblin band unaware of what has transpired on the island they could charm the dire wolves, and give the horses the break they need to flee into the forest. With the protection of Lorshad being extended to the creatures of the forest once again the elves feel once released the horses will find themselves to Loshad and come under his protection. At least they will be free of the goblins and the stew pot. The elves urge the princess to bring the mare back to Sukiskyn as soon as possible. One of the Vyalia leads the PC’s safely away from the lake and on the path to Sukiskyn.
The party makes the journey back to the steading with only the mare in tow. The journey is uneventful. There are no further encounter with roving bands of goblins, though signs of their passing can be found by the sharp eyed ranger.
Pytor is relieved to see the mare returned in good health. He had already given her and the unborn foal up for lost. The lack of any of the rest of his herd has him totally despondent though. He doesn’t see how they will ever recover the lost herd. If the heads of the were-beasts are truly required to earn the horses release Pytor laments such a task could be accomplished. The steading has no such weapons of power to thwart such evil. The idea of melting down silver into weapons is discarded as impractical as what little silver could be gathered no one on the grounds possesses the skill to manufacture. It would seem the Tombs on the Hill as suggested by the Vyalia would be the only known place in which to find enchanted items.
From the private diaries of Princess Illiria:
A tale of bold adventure as written by Lady Illiria Callathian of House Callathian in the month of Klarmont this common year of 978 from the home of my father, Lord Callathian. May his spirit always lend light to the protectors of the realm. This is a tale of the brave clansmen of Sukiskyn Steading and their valiant defense of their homes against a rising tide of evil which threatened East Karameikos, if not all of the great Duchy itself. Guided by the steady hand of Ethan the Pure, relying on the forest lore of Darkin Youngshanks, and aided by the strength of the mighty Traldarian warrior Udoben I am able to relate to you all the dark days of adventure which befell us all…
PC’s have no trouble holding the steading against the goblin squads which attempt to overrun the buildings. Assessing the damage the attacking monsters wrought the clan’s leader, Pytor, is completely despondent. With the theft of his entire herd his successful horse operation is ruined. He begs the PC’s to try and save his animals from the clutches of the goblin hordes. He reminds the elf princess that the pregnant mare is amongst the captured. The pressure to rescue the herd of whites is indeed great. The cleric uncovers religious fetishes carried by the goblin dead which indicate the two goblin tribes worship the ancient beast lords the Dog, and the Bear.
The party consists of the elf princess who is always accompanied by her ranger body guard, the visiting cleric feels compelled to investigate the threat of the beast lord cult, while the fighter who is under Pytor’s employ is ordered to lead the expedition. The four will be able to travel on the horses they arrived on. They leave by early afternoon quickly on the heels of the retreating goblin horde.
Knowing they were only hours behind the fleeing horde, the PC’s take deliberate care to stay just off the monster’s heels. The ranger mostly ranged while the party stayed put, bringing them up once he had scouted many leagues ahead.
The frightened herd of Sukiskyn whites is spotted across from a wooded hillside with a rocky brook trickling along the front. The primitive paddock is constructed of thorny bunches of brambles grown into a thick, dense mass approximately four feet high. Two wargs loiter outside the one opening. The horses are too frightened to attempt to run or leap the thorn bush walls. The horses have the capability. They could easily leap the paddock walls, and outdistance the wargs, but they are too gripped with fear.
The PC’s count the number of horses in the paddock, and look for the pregnant mare amongst them. They notice it is only half the herd. 21 total horses are in the thorn paddock, and the pregnant mare is not among them.
The elfin princess cast forth arcane symbols in the air breathing strange words of power and a white wisp, tendrils of delicate smoke begin to rise from the earth around the 2 menacing dire wolves. Unaware of the subtle clouds enchanted qualities, the fearsome creatures doze gently into a sleep. With the only outside guards neutralized, the party boldly approaches the goblin’s front door. The stout wooden door has a crude lock keeping the handle from working. The elf’s lock pick set does not have the appropriate tool to unhinge it so the ranger, and the fighter?cleric? jointly kick it down. The warriors force their way into the entry. After lighting torches one of the party members (I believe it was either the ranger or fighter with spear) moves down the passage way. Confronting the goblin blockade they quickly overrun the position, and continue on.
They push their way into the main hall of the underground goblin lair. Here the goblin shaman with the rock pythons has assembled his personal guard to meet the attackers. He immediately throws two squirming snakes and one manages to wrap around the elf’s arm. The guards rush the party. While the elf struggles with the crushing grip of the rock python, the warriors make quick work of the goblins. It takes a moment to stab the aggressive snake, but not before the elf’s arm received significant crushing damage. Chance to cast spell has been reduced by 25% until healed. The party takes a moment to attend to the wounds received in the two quick melee sessions. The cleric and the elf received wounds which require attention. While administering the triage, the party forgets about the other Rock Python the dead goblin shaman had hurled. It strikes from the shadows and bites down on the elf’s leg causing a wound. With this minor annoyance dealt with the party investigates the room a bit. Here they find a small box with three bottles of potion, jewelry, and coin. They also turn up a wounded goblin (or one of them surrendered?) and do a fast interrogation. Confirming that the goblin raiders are making for the Lake of Lost Dreams the fighter kills the goblin.
The party is now confronted with the issue of the split herd. The pregnant mare is believed to be essential in the goblin’s plans and whatever the goblins are up to should be stopped. Unchecked goblin aggression and sorcery can only spell doom for countless Traldarian homesteaders. But to forge ahead onto the lake would mean leaving the current horses they just secured defenseless and lost in the Dymrak forest.
The ranger smartly asks if he knows any helpful information about the Dymrak and wants to roll against his wilderness lore, and folk lore skills. Scoring a good roll, he knows of Loshad, a centaur. He is rumored to be a self appointed keeper of the Dymrak and the creatures which inhabit it. Surely if he could be summoned he could be entrusted with the safekeeping of the horses. The fact that they wish to pursue even more horses and save them from the black goblin beasts should say the woodland druid to their cause. There is a glade in which the Vylari elves pay homage to the keepers of the forest not far from here and the ranger recommends they make an attempt to contact Loshad. The elf and the cleric agree to accompany the ranger and try and call the on the centaur while the fighter chooses to stay and guard the horses.
The ranger knows the fabled greeting verse but says he is not good at such things. The cleric steps forth and gives his best oration in the woodland glade. Presently a centaur appears flanked by three majestic war horse and gives the group a greeting. The centaur listens intently to what the PC’s have to say and offers a bargain.
Loshad agrees to take the 21 Sukiskyn horses under his protection but if the PC’s would like them returned to Sukiskyn Steading they will have to destroy the earthly champions fighting on behalf of the Dog and the Bear. These two loathsome servants of evil crave power over the Dymrak and wish to feast on the blood of its denizens. Upon delivering their heads to this glade Loshad will release the horses from his care.
He does forewarn the party they lack the weapons of power to face these demons. That they are men transformed by the disease of lycanthropy and will take special care to defeat. The path to the lake will bring you face to face with danger, but also on this path will you find the tools you need to be victorious. None have called on the vanquished beast lords of old in countless centuries, and the goblins should not be allowed to try herald their return. All this Loshad discloses to the PC’s.
“Ask the Vyalia elves who watch the lake for where such weapons of power can be found. Ask for the weapons of the huntsman because the beast is loose.” And with that the mighty centaur vanishes into the forest with his body guards and the herd.
Upon returning to the Viper’s lair they find the fighter bereft of horses. He explains three magnificent war horse came galloping into the glen and led the herd away. He was transfixed by the brilliant singing which emanated throughout the surrounding forest. While the language was not intelligible, the effect was exhilarating as it was calming. He assumed the negotiations with the magical centaur went well.
Resuming their journey now on foot (as all the horses went with Loshad’s heralds) the PC’s arrive at the Lake of Lost Dreams .
Took a while, but now all the products currently available in electronic format or in print for Glorantha have been giver their own thread in the Glorantha forum and the publication list has been updated. If you know of any I've missed, tip me! By the way, the Glorantha forum needs its own banner on top. Anyone who know of some appropriate art to use? I've considered doing one with glorantha books side by side, but that's sort of boring and would break with the banners on the other top forums. So, if you know of anything, please tip me!