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  1. 18 points
    Coming by Christmas Eve - The Smoking Ruins and Other Tales - a collection of scenarios and background material set in the South Wilds of Dragon Pass. Available in PDF (with the print edition coming later). Includes: The South Wilds The Wild Temple The Smoking Ruin (a multi-session scenario by Chris Klug of James Bond 007 and Dragonquest fame) The Lost Valley and Urvantan's Tower (the triumphant return of Steve Perrin!) The Grove of Green Rock Over 190 pages of Gloranthan gold! Available by Christmas Eve!
  2. 11 points
    In our last Glorantha Campaign, the River Voices investigated the Gorp Spring on the Zola Fel. They worked out that the Gorps were coming from deep underground and wanted to find out where. One of the PCs had a magical eye that could see through things, so she used that, with some other magic, and scored a critical roll, so she saw the Eye of Wakboth glaring at her and weeping, the tears becoming Gorp and rising through the cracks in the ground. She managed to roll a stupidly low POW roll and didn't go insane, receiving a Heroic Power of See Into the Void as a reward. They didn't like the idea of Gorp squeezing through gaps in the rocks and stones, as they reasoned that the Gorp as Gorp are acidic and would make the gaps wider and wider until the Eye of Wakboth could be revealed to the world, something they weren't too keen on. So, they decided to travel down to it. They had a Lead Barge that could magically travel through even the tiniest places, as long as it was floating on water, so they used their River Voices powers to raise a flood and send it through the cracks. There followed a terrifying descent through the cracks in the earth to Wakboth's Pool, where the Eye floated in a pool of its own tears. I can't remember how they defeated Wakboth's Eye, but they managed to blind it and return to the surface. Of course, this was a HeroQuest.
  3. 11 points
    Comparing the output for any roleplaying game against the output for D&D is always going to come out the same way. D&D in all its editions has wildly outsold all its competitors. It's pretty much had an 80-90% market share for all or most of its lifetime. TSR became a very large company compared to any other RPG company. By larger, I mean larger by a factor of 10. A few things on product output: Chaosium produced 23 RQ products between 1978 and 1983, of which 21 were Gloranthan. (The wargames WB&RM and Nomad Gods not included) Avalon Hill produced 29 RQ products between 1984 and 1995, of which 23 were Gloranthan (6 of the RQ products were mostly reprinted/updated material) Mongoose produced 63 RQ products between 2006 and 2011, of which about 30 were Gloranthan. (I excluded French language titles) The Design Mechanism published a lot of great RQ material, did not publish any Gloranthan material for RuneQuest Since 2016 Chaosium has resumed publishing RQ and has published 6 RQ products for Glorantha. (I include the Sea Cave and the Glorantha Sourcebook) You can slice and dice and categorize those products slightly differently, but that's what was produced. Of course, the NUMBER of products is less telling than the page count produced. I have that tallied somewhere, but that seems a bit overkill for this conversation. In the end, we are trying to produce quality Gloranthan material for RQ on a regular basis, with the goal of getting to at least 6 RQ products per year. I believe 2020 will see a number of great RQ products come out.
  4. 10 points
    We're making the RuneQuest Glorantha Bestiary 'Pay-What-You-Want' on DriveThruRPG for the next seven days (regular price is USD$19.99). If you download it, instead of paying us, we encourage you to make a donation to the Australian fire-fighting and recovery effort. We at Chaosium think Gloranthan beasts are special; however Australian animals are unique and precious - and real. But it is estimated up to half a billion of them have perished so far in the devasting wildfires still raging across the continent. That number is expected to rise dramatically, as vast swathes of habitat have been consumed by flame. Some places where you can donate: WIRES is a wildlife rescue nonprofit rescuing and caring for thousands of sick, injured and orphaned Australian native animals. World Wildlife Fund Australia is directing its efforts towards koala conservation. Thousands have perished so far. The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital is raising funds to distribute automatic drinking stations in the burnt areas to help in koala and wildlife survival, and sharing the funds with other wildlife organisations in the fire affected regions. Other places to support: Australian Red Cross, New South Wales Rural Fire Service, Country Fire Authority Victoria.
  5. 9 points
    I'm very late to this party--been offline for a couple of days--and I really love this whole thread. It seems to me that there are a couple of inter-related issues going on with Glorantha in terms of gender. 1) A majority of those who have played in Glorantha are male because the gaming community skews male (although I think that imbalance is slowly evening out). Male gamers have tended to focus on violent conflict as the interesting story to tell. So the published scenarios have often focused on violent conflict as the obvious solution. Ernalda's 'Other Way' to resolve problems has often been an after-thought in scenarios, where it was considered at all. The number of published quests that are essentially non-violent is much lower than the number of quests that culminate in some sort of violence. For example, the three major non-violent cults of the Storm Tribe (Lhankor Mhy, Chalana Arroy, and Issaries) have one published quest each, whereas the violent cults have at least 7 that I can think of off the top of my head--Orlanth has at least 4 (more than all the earth cults combined). 2) Fantasy literature (particularly male-centric stories) have compounded this tendency (although again, this has improved as fantasy has matured as a genre). When the average gamer thinks of fantasy stories, they probably picture orc-killing and the like. Women are usually positioned as healers and earth priestesses who need rescuing more than they rescue everyone else. Women are situated as 'home', which men leave and return to, defend, and procreate with, and the assumption that what women do at home when men aren't around is the boring stuff like cooking. So we have a lot of models for how to make male-centric activity (violence, mostly) interesting and few models for how to make women-centric activity interesting. RQ's elaborate rules focus on combat and hand-waving focus on things like cooking (the former is a long, drawn-out process with many steps, whereas the latter is a single roll) nudges us in this direction much more than HQ's system, which resolves all forms of challenging activity the same way (a Cooking challenge could as easily be an Extended Contest as a fight with a band of Broo might be). 3) The majority of people who created Glorantha (in terms of published material) have been men, and consequently their notion of what a truly gender-egalitarian society/religion looks like has been filtered through male assumptions about such things. That's not meant as a slight to Greg or MOB or Jeff Richards or anyone else--just as an observation. For example, Sartar becomes King of Dragon Pass by pleasing the FHQ and 'marrying the earth'. This nominally situates the feminine principle as superior--the Earth Queen chooses her king. But it's still the male Sartar who's doing all the cool stuff and the FHQ is just choosing from a slate of potential candidates, not going out and making herself the ruler of the Kingdom of Sartar. The whole ruling line of Sartar is men. Kallyr is an impressive female candidate for Prince of Sartar (apparently the first one), but her story is ultimately one of valiant failure, followed by the male Argrath succeeding. A truly gender-egalitarian society would have produced at least one Princess of Sartar in 150+ years. The 'active' earth goddesses--the ones who go out and get things done instead of finding men to do it for them--are both depicted as semi-monstrous figures. The Babeester Gor write-up in Sartar Companion positions her worshippers as nearly psychotic anger-ridden ball-busters (the classic trope of the Angry Woman in fantasy literature) and both she and Maran Gor engage in cannibalism (IIRC, MGs cannibalize their own children, another classic misogynist trope). It was left to Jane Wiliams to find a way to present a female warrior goddess who was actually a fully-playable and non-stereotypical idea of what a warrior woman might be. (Again, this isn't meant as a slam to any of the men who mapped out Glorantha. It's more a testament to the difficulties men have in viewing the world the way women view it.) 4) The decision to frame Sartarite women's religion as 'secrets' is problematic--it's discouraged the publication of myths/quest from the women's PoV. For example, the Making of the Storm Tribe myth is written so that it's clear that Ernalda was doing things behind the scenes, but we've never gotten a myth about how Ernalda Forms the Storm Tribe (although it seems that we've gotten a few peaks at it in Six Ages). If women are 50% of the population, their myths and quests aren't 'secrets'--they're just gender-specific knowledge, like how to weave. None of this is to say that we need to tear Glorantha down to the studs and make it gender-blind. One of the things I love about it is how deeply gendered the universe, because it's such a breath of fresh air from the Generic Fantasy Europe that most other fantasy RPGs are descended from. I love that instead of saying 'women can act like men', it's trying to create a game world in which men and women generally act differently. You can see a lot of this in the scenario that gave us the Humakt, Raven, and Wolf myth (off the top of my head, I'm forgetting the name of the scenario and don't want to bother to look it up). The magic spindle that the women need to perform a key clan ritual has been stolen. The solution is to do a violence-focused quest to get the ability to locate and kill the baddies that took it. If all goes well, the spindle is returned to the women, who then walk off-stage to perform the clan ritual that is supposedly the most important thing in the scenario. So the Spindle and the Mahomravrand ritual are actually MacGuffins--the thing the characters care about that the audience doesn't care about--and the quest and violence, which are nominally just the agents through which the ritual is saved, are actually the interesting bit of the scenario. There is no option for the women questing to get a new spindle. There is no option for Babeester Gor to go and get it violently (using her ability to track those who have offended the earth). There's no sequence in which the women actually perform the ritual, perhaps struggling to bring the clan back into full harmony. My point here isn't to beat up the author of that scenario for not writing a different one--it's a good scenario and I've run it three times. My point is that the way we conceptualize a lot of what happens in scenarios (therefore shaping our sense of what happens in Glorantha) generally defaults to male-centric patterns. If we want a more gender-balanced Sartar (and a Sartar that is therefore a bit more friendly to female players in general), we have to swim upstream against strong currents.
  6. 8 points
    Ever so close. Ever so close. Likely a day or two away.
  7. 6 points
    A very common theme for me with the Hero Wars are that <your culture> just isn't ready! Prophecies are spoken, one sided battles with the Lunars are hilariously lost, chaos rears its ugly head and the community that the players live in suffers significant losses. The players wind up being the ones asked to go out and rediscover, uncover, explore, or steal new sources of potency for themselves, and also the clan. This is a theme that the underlying plot sort of rests on. To make it work: 1) The players need to have established for them what the "standard" power levels are. Duels with farmers, fights with trollkin, cattle raids are the order of the day. Relatively safe conflict that shows the player(s) where they stand in the world. Also a chance to introduce the current clan top guns, as well the <useful person/item>. To keep the power levels stable, I strictly enforce starting player rolls ups to as the rules state. 2) Something bad happens that the players may or may not be present for, but a major battle that is lost, like Dangerford, really rubs it in their faces just how unprepared they are for conflict of this type and/or scale. The clan top gun(s) go down in flames, and the <useful person/item> is lost. Nothing like losing your Humakt Rune lord in battle, only to then have to turn over your clan Chalana Arroy priestess as part of the terms of surrender. 3) So the fairly green (but probably at least a little prepared up by the clan) PC's get unleashed on the world outside of their tribal norms and have to take serous risks and have adventures. It is in these "out of the usual" adventures that introduce items, abilities, allies, and opportunities to be gained. If the PC's get enough of these, their characters can progress in power rather quickly. This is where the stored power, extra spirits, bonuses Rune points, matrix'd weapons, stat enhancing maguffins (Royal Jelly anyone?) come from. What they get can be anything, but normally I focus on strict "within the rules" benefits to start. Usually opportunities to "fix" character problems will come up, sometimes without me doing anything in particular. Really I just make sure that that it is a "rich" world, if they can overcome the challenges. 4) Extraordinary powers would be the ability to break game rules. These normally come when the players are ready to step into the role of the new clan War Chief, have rescued the never-returned Chalanna Arroy High Priestess, and are possibly ready to take another go at the problem that defeated their whole clan. From this point on, they may start to become movers and shakers of the world of Glorantha, locally at first, but maybe more generally as their influence and reach expands. When they get "stuck" on a major problem here, it is likely a heroquest of some type to come up with an answer. I've only had two campaigns really go this distance, and the amount of playing to get there was considerable (3 to 5 year campaigns) but they were a ton of fun. If the players start off powerful, I don't think that the world looks quite the same to them. The initial, almost innocent adventures stealing cows, or negotiating a better price with a malicious stable boy set the world up, establish the daily life and rhythms, and tremendously benefit the richness of the campaign as the players gradually realize that their little bubble is in big trouble, and they have to exceed it, in order to save it. And that may also have role playing consequences........ So in short, I would not skip the "weak PC" phase. Just make sure that after a tone setting period (I like 4-5 sessions but favor more and more the longer I do this) there are opportunities to correct or improve the characters. The more extraordinary the adventure, the better the opportunity to improve the character. And the players should be active with the process too. A player hating his INT score should be nagging his Lhankhor Mhy priests about a solution. When they finally get fed up and relate the tale of "John the Sage" who went to <some mountain> and came back a superior scholar, that player should then have his bags packed and be halfway out the door. And it need not be what he expects, or thinks he needs, but it will be something. In short, heroes are made, not born. That's my 2 cents as a GM, anyway.
  8. 6 points
    This is from Greg's Son of Sartar #3 contribution to Wild Hunt #46 in 1979 "RUNEQUEST doesn't have a magical system for mages, just a very well developed clerical system." (Warren James) METHODS OF WIZARDRY There are three general methods of Sorcery. To make it fit within a conception of the previously presented theistic form of Gloranthan worship it is useful to envision the individual human being as the deity which is worshipped or invoked to perform. This fits in perfectly well with Gloranthan mythology and cosmology wherein people are all descendants of Grandfather Mortal who was created with bit of all of the deities in the cosmos, therefore being a microcosm of the universe himself. The three methods are: 1. GENERAL SORCERY – In this manner a wizard may attempt to cast a spell using his own innate skills at that particular magic. This is a Knowledge Skill which must be learned for at least 25% before it can be used alone. 2. CEREMONIAL MAGIC – In this a magician is able to reproduce a magical act by use of sympathetic magic and other skills. It requires props and time. Ceremonial Magic can be used to cast a spell or to bolster one cast by Sorcery. It is a Knowledge Skill. 3. DEMONOLOGY – This is summoning a spirit or demon or god and engaging it in spirit combat to force it to teach magic to the individual. This is essentially a way of learning magic without books or reading rolls.
  9. 6 points
  10. 5 points
    It might be, but if you roll under it, you are compelled to give the Chaotic creature a stern look, pointing your finger at it, and then walking backwards slowly to safety
  11. 5 points
  12. 5 points
    Dear God, I hope you meant Polyandry. My mind is teaming with images I can't dispell😭😧
  13. 4 points
    One of the players in my Monday Night Group (Adam!) wrote it!
  14. 4 points
    Chaosium has a number of RQ projects in the works, including books on the West, the East, and Trolls to name but a few. We tend not to talk about forthcoming books much until we have a complete first draft of the book submitted. We don't want to set false expectations for when things will be published. We also prefer to not have continual/regular questions like "when will X book be done". If we knew, we would announce it, as opposed to just having to give vague answers. As has been stated in this thread, Chaosium is reliant on the desires of our work for hire author pool and the projects they want to work on. Most of the authors have only agreed to take on projects because we did not demand a firm deadline for manuscript delivery. The only in-house authors we have are Jeff and Jason. Jeff (as an author) is mostly working on Gods of Glorantha, and Jason wears many hats besides "author". We want to communicate, and we love announcing new books as and when we can. Usually, the hardest question to answer for any specific book is "when?". When don't enjoy that, but we just don't know when a book will be ready until the book has gone to layout.
  15. 4 points
    It might be easier to just define a ”cultural packet” consisting of Speak Local Languages, Local Customs and Local Area Lore, that is always available for occupational experience.
  16. 4 points
    Yes, David Millians is heading up the Kralorela project. We have not had a final draft submitted yet, so no ETA on when it will be published, although probably not in 2020. Last I saw it was 150,000 words, or about 200 pages in MS Word.
  17. 4 points
    A (slightly belated) update on the fate of the Uhrwerk Verlag: The insolvency has been overcome, the company still exists, and has managed to fulfill or pass on most of its past obligations, and is tackling new projects. When and whether RuneQuest Glorantha in German may re-surface is yet unknown, though.
  18. 4 points
    It was a couple of decades before I finally realised that the title was, in fact, Moon-son and not Monsoon. That said, I always found the title "Inspiration of Monsoon" beautifully poetic, if weirdly inappropriate to a northern, largely landlocked empire. !i!
  19. 4 points
    Worship of the caster, huh. Now I see why it was called humanist. And spirit combatting a god... I see that RQ2 sorcerers were probably expected to become pretty powerful. I'd love to see this fleshed out some (insert "I'll do it myself" Thanos gif here), maybe I'll even incorporate some of its ideas into my Glorantha. As someone with an unabashed love for "old" Glorantha, despite not even being aware of the hobby until 6 years ago, this type of stuff is fascinating to me.
  20. 4 points
    It always annoys me when an image of an Orlanthi man wearing woad shows him wearing a loincloth. Come on! The bad-assery of going into battle naked is going into battle NAKED! Of course, as a wannabe artist, I have to say that the men's wedding tackle is a pain to draw sometimes.
  21. 4 points
  22. 3 points
    I wouldn't say so, that is one of the functions of Detect Magic and Identity Spell. Though you may suspect the item is enchanted not all enchanted objects are obvious.
  23. 3 points
    Actually, this is a really good model for any sort of "lifestyle" skills; like, if there are any wholly-shipbound cultures in Glorantha(?), where kids are born on board, grow up, live their lives, and die... coming ashore only to harvest trees to build new ships or repair old ones. Etc... It looks to me like it's an error to consider this "a special experience rule for Riding" -- it should be a default rule for skills that are raised-from-birth / day-in-day-out skills.
  24. 3 points
    Now you've got me imagining some kind of sacred elephants with fire altars on their backs or spewing fire from their trunk. Why not. Go wild. Some special temple-mount of an effigy of Solf or Somash or something.
  25. 3 points
    This afternoon I run Paper Chase from the Starter Set for my son, who is 16... His ex-alcoholic policeman messed up quite a bit but did not die (dying in Paper Chase is hard). We had a heap of fun. I am a long time CoC player but it was a long time I had not run CoC and my very first running CoC7, having played only the CoC7 solos. I love my old CoC books and my resistance tables , but I must say that the 7e rules run smoothly in play and add to the fun.
  26. 3 points
    Well, that hit the inevitable end-point right away. Bringing it to more realistic ground, a person walking the streets armed to the teeth is going to be avoided by just about everyone, including people they want to interact with. No one trusts someone who's clearly prepared for armed conflict unless they understand the circumstances and context in advance of the encounter. Add personal biases and cultural bigotries to the situation, and that understanding gets murkier and harder to arrive at. Even in municipalities with "open carry" ordinances, most people give wide berth to those who are clearly trying to make a statement by being overtly or exaggeratedly armed. Those who don't are typically fellow travelers or looking to create a confrontation (which, quelle surprise, is exactly what the armed individual was intending to provoke). If the question is really about what would happen in a game situation, assume that the local citizenry will have to treat a stranger displaying arms as a threat and respond accordingly -- probably by avoiding them, maybe by confronting them. Your favorite Western movie probably sets the right tone. A stranger comes riding into town, pistols at his side and a rifle across his saddle, the locals head indoors and the sheriff comes out for a little talk. !i!
  27. 3 points
    Welcome back! I recently started playing CoC, and it rapidly became my favorite game, and BRP became my favorite system (I transferred over from D&D 5ed).
  28. 3 points
    I normally ignore both the non-species max characteristic caps and the unchangability of INT and SIZ. It doesn't change how the game works too much, and it gives some more hope to those with crappy starting stats.
  29. 3 points
  30. 3 points
    Not to mention the brutalist breakpoint of the 13 INT. Very retro? 13 INT you can learn this stuff, 12 = nope, sorry, you're too stupid to even grasp the basics. Far better to have INT either cap your manipulation, or even better, something like a memory check (d20 vs INT or an INTx5 roll if you're wedded to d100s) to 'remember' how to cast that spell. That's not a bad fantasy trope, the brilliant greyhair wizard absent-mindedly trying to recall the spell while the party is desperately holding back the beasties. "Oh, what was that spell again?"
  31. 3 points
    If you need a trap, narratively, I wouldn't worry too much about compliance with RQG enchantment rules. But if you want to, you could say that a guardian temple spirit (as per RQG Bestiary) that belongs to the god of the ancient site activates the spell and provides the renewable MP for it.
  32. 3 points
    The God of the Silver Feet may have been the Kachisti ancestor. Where do I get this from? There is an overall agreement that both Issaries and Lhankor Mhy are from the West, or at the very least found in the west. Revealed Mythologies gives us the six tribes of Danmalastan, with three already well established players - Vadeli (formerly Vyimorni) vs. Brithini (formerly Enjoreli), with the Waertagi going to the seas, but there are three more - the builders (Kadeniti), the writers (Tadeniti), and the Speakers (Kachasti). It isn't a great leap of imagination to connect the Tadeniti with Lhankor Mhy, and from there another small step to compare the Kachasti Speaking Tour with something Issaries would do. The Vadeli love having their slave populations. The sundering of matter and energy in the Tadeniti may have been a special revenge they have had for the ones who invented the flensing of their ancestor Vadel to make Zzabur's Blue Book, Brown Book and Red Book. This is a magic doing with (living?) skin suspiciously close to what Thanatar does half-living heads. But the Vadeli didn't wipe out any of their other slave populations - they were happy to conquer the Kadeniti and the original city of the Malkioni. Of course, those refugee Tadeniti who had mingled with the Kadeniti after that first assault, and many a Kadeniti too will have fled from Zerendel to Brithos. Whether enslaved or assimilated. I posit that the temple cities of e.g. the Telmori were also built and inhabited by wolf people with Kachisti ancestry, and that many a wolf brother outside of those cities had such ancestry, too. On the other hand, this could be little more than a sinister claim that all the people of Western Genertela have Danmalastan ancestry, and are apostates whose claims to their land are inferior to those of the true Malkioni way. It certainly would aid Malkioni magical claims for the land.
  33. 3 points
  34. 3 points
  35. 3 points
    Not in my game at least - I'm very happy (as are my players) with the RQG version.
  36. 3 points
    The sense in which I was speaking had little to do with mechanics or runes. The Orlanth cult is the primary vehicle by which Heortling boys are taught to be a man. The Ernalda cult is the primary vehicle by which girls are taught to be a woman. Whatever deeper mysteries lie beyond, defining and expressing gender norms and work is their main presence in day to day life.
  37. 2 points
    Here is the updated version which will appear in the upcoming Cults of Glorantha and replaces the two previous versions:
  38. 2 points
    Do you have the HeroQuest core rules, as well as HeroQuest: Glorantha? My biggest issue with the HQ:G rulebook is that far too many of the great examples in the HQ:CR have been missed out (or not updated to reflect Glorantha, since most of the HQ:CR examples are non-Gloranthan). Sure, there are examples of play in HQ:G but I found the examples in HQ:CR much much clearer.
  39. 2 points
    Just "discovered" this thread. While I love most of HPL's work, my top three favourites are The Shunned House, The Haunter of The Dark and The Lurking Fear. The first because it shows how much research can be done - and in fact should be done - before an investigation. The second because the horror is implied rather than shown. Finally, the third is a grand introduction to the world of a CoC Investigator.
  40. 2 points
    I noted much the same in another thread a week or so back, specifically: "I'm very much inclined to extend the Group/Extended Contest concept from HQG to RQG to create the similar climactic effect for non-combat situations as all the mechanics except for the larger framing of the contest are already in place." All you need to do is to carry over the HQG point values for differences in result levels (e.g. tie = 0 or 1 point; 1 level difference = 2 points; 2 level difference = 3 points; 3 level difference = 5 points), and determine where you want to draw the line for victory occurring in the contest (e.g. 5+ points like HQG). Difference in final points determines how complete a victory the result is for you.
  41. 2 points
    oIn the Women in Glorantha thread over on the Glorantha forum, I don't think this is as big a problem in HeroQuest as it is in RuneQuest. HeroQuest has a number of scenarios and lots of plot hooks centered on Ernalda, whether in Sartar: Kingdom of Heroes or in the Red Cow books. RQG has the Quickstart scenario which has bits to allow Ernalda to shine, but the GM Screen Adventure Book is fairly male-cult oriented. The Smoking Ruins are an invitation to bring forth your shamanic characters. Once you go into intra- and inter-clan (and -tribal) politics, Ernalda comes into her strength. And Game of Thrones shows that intrigue and hard-nosed family politics have a huge audience. (Ok, the display of nudity may have helped a bit, too... but that's nothing that Glorantha cannot or will not provide.) The problem with this is that there is a significant buy-in hurdle to overcome. The Coming Storm provides a perfect set-up for Ernaldan politics inside the Red Cow clan, with several NPCs in key positions and poised at the throats of one another. It still lacks the same for the clans that these women are aligned to, and in the enemy clans. Ian Cooper had to "dumb down" his original cast of 120 NPCs to a barely manageable cast of 60, and here I come and say "fine, this gives us about five major Ernaldan patrons/players and maybe a few of their followers, and of course their husbands and sons, but it lacks their counterpoints in other clans." Sure, these "NPC players" (what's a good term for that?) in the other clans can be outlined in the scenario where these conflicts are resolved. But it does create an overhead of too many faces and names unless you introduce them memorably. That leads to the problem of dramatic introduction of NPCs before they are actually allowed to shine. Unlike on the TV screen, this has to be through meaningful and memorabe interaction with player characters. And ideally edited into the player character backstories. Cinema introduces new NPCs in the Star Wars manner (like Lando Calrissian, or Maz Kanata). Someone one of the party members or a support character of the party has a relationship with. That's fine for people who are outside of a character's back story, but a character's back story may involve a huge number of yet nameless plot hooks. And the player needs to be on board with this "another face from your past that we haven't discussed yet" approach. After all, table-top roleplaying is about player agency. TV series use flashbacks for the introduction of new characters. Roleplaying past events produces certain limits on the outcome, though, especially in a skill-based game like RuneQuest where every activity is likely to leave skill checks behind. While it is possible to add these skill gains posthumously, it may create weird situations where they would have been a life-saver in an event between the flashback and the current game situation. This basically puts a lot of presentation work on the shoulders of the GM, and demands more than just fleeting involvement with the character's past from the player. The Gloranthan Freeform games like Life of Moonson provide a lot of character background networking the player character with a bunch of other characters, and also dropping quests to interact with (possibly yet other) characters in order to achieve a goal. In a table-top game, this might be seen as an illicit aggression against the player's alter ego that the player has built if not over many game sessions then at least in their mind.
  42. 2 points
    To be fair diehard Powers & Perils fans are still digesting the massive Western Lands supplement Richard Snider handed the mailing list back in 2006 and it was awesome enough to sustain us all this time . . . oh, you mean pen and paper. Well, yeah, in that case, better start the moan. It'll be ready when it's ready. If people want it to happen faster, convince the examiners.
  43. 2 points
    I love all of this. Building up steam for the next wave . . . the notes on beast/man material culture are really useful. Five things I want to linger on for now. Not an exhaustive list, just the ones that come to mind. Four revolve around the Enchanter: 1. His influence can project east from "Aron." At first I thought this was because he was aligned with the mountain giants of the pass, but I wouldn't rule out a relationship with the "hostile breezes" that have yet to be consolidated into an Orlanth Tribe at this time. He might preserve traces of a pre-missionary Ralian storm complex with dramatically different views on the man/beast relationship as well as paternity, etc. This might ultimately feed into Loko with his Ram totem, the Caroni people of the Mislari or ultimately the storm revelations happening in modern Ralios right now. 2. The question is what he did after losing the Vingkotling livestock. This feels less like a simple prank than the expression of a foreign religious system. (Do farmers near Beast Valley have to worry about their stock being freed and fused, or only romanced and left with strange pregnancies? Is there a Beast Folk PETA?) Also the Sivin Feat sounds apocalyptic enough to have scorched a big hole in the Greatwood. Maybe it grows back before the Storm Age ends but maybe it becomes the "hole" in the vast western forest that those Serpent Beasts inhabit at the Dawn. In this scenario we can speculate about changing relationships with the elves, perhaps a rejection of the aldrya mothers for a different earth orientation. Some theoretically inclusive Mother of Mammals who transcends totemic identity. 3. The Enchanter's rivalry with the dinosaur goddess seems personal, especially if we start hunting "reptile hsunchen" into Peloria where the Fire Tribe has already wiped out a few gazzam ecologies and the elves and their allies continued the work of extermination. Seravus may be etymologically closer to sereving than we think. On the other side of the feud, she kills his son (the Herdsman?) so the scales balance somewhat. Either way, she represents a different beast lineage and seems more active in proto-Peloria than proto-Esrolia. (See also the snake mothers / snake daughters I recall Steve Perrin putting in that part of the world back in WF.) I wonder if the Fel-di-chi were reptiles. 4. "Aron" may be the forest that becomes "Eron" but also a fix for the cryptic "Erona" who shows up separate from Frona in the sourcebook. We don't know a lot about the Erontree except that they had already divided from the Greatwood at the dawn and that they're friends with Oranor, which traces its descent from Oran instead of Drona. Oran, Eron, Aron. The people remember a boar father much like the Jonatings remember a bear. Maybe the original north-south split in the hsunchen unity was whether the local tree was green or brown. EDIT one or more "Arroin" may also be involved. Non-spell botanical technology. A dead god. And the larger theoretical point at this stage revolves around the importance of lineage in general in Greg's West. Looking for all these quotes I was reminded of the Q&A in TOTRM 13 where Greg characterizes the West as "the root cellar of our modern way of thinking. It is where the mythological flaws and strengths of our Western way of being can be played with." At the time, this was considered "medieval," but as we all know the truth of this term both in Glorantha and our world is a lot more complicated than simple knights and crusades. We let go that word. Do we keep the Gloranthan West as the root cellar of what becomes a cosmopolitan and largely secularized modernity? These encounters with alternatives reveal something about what that might entail. I would go back to the Cults of Prax reference to a dynastic development of Daka Fal and euhemeristic explanations of other people's gods. I'd also go back to the statement that appears a number of times in the canon, which is that the most important myth for most peoples is their tale of origin. Who are the first ancestors? Where do we come from? Ironically, the imperial Western monomyth crowds out most of these stories, leaving us only with some maps and archetypal placeholders that support a model of history where civilization starts in the Far West and is exported to the northern (and southern) continent, ultimately outcompeting the barbaric failures that were here before. In this model, primitive tribes might evolve into "barbarian belt" consciousness or convert directly to the sorcerous view. I think for many of us this is a pessimistic way to look at Glorantha because it makes the secularists villains who succeed in wrecking what's otherwise an enchanted and splendid world. While I am working up ways to redeem parts of the West, it's also worth deflating their propaganda wherever we can. We know the God Learners lost catastrophically. They got the world wrong. This forces us to question their other assumptions about where the long arc of the world is going. Maybe that includes the hsunchen hypothesis. I think Greg would like that. If nothing else, in a world where tribal resistance to the "western" commercial monoculture and myth seems increasingly futile, it's nice to have a hobby where we can contemplate other outcomes. Anyway, the important thing for me is establishing that monomyth genealogies aren't innately privileged over local or isolated origins. Other people have their own history. Whether it's recorded in a way that interests the sorcerers is secondary. Besides, there's a weird bit in TOTRM 13 where Greg Himself tells the story of YarGan. Remember? The Kingdom of Logic was YarGan's realm of refugees attracted from all over. They were amoral, wise and venal. They probably flattered themselves to think of their adopted land as some abstract utopia, a realm absolutely alienated from the natural processes that lesser people had to obey . . . on the continent but not of the continent. Is YarGan's realm the only historical "Danmalastan" we will discover? I don't know, but it's worth looking. Such melodrama!
  44. 2 points
  45. 2 points
    I hear that. Keep the icebreakers ready as this thing starts pulling water out of circulation and new shorelines emerge. With that in mind, I'll try to stay as focused as I can. Let's start this round in a place where I think we can all agree: This is why I'm reluctant to embrace the RM narrative where everything good comes from some hypothetical "absolute elsewhere" beyond the sea that only the wareran colonists remember . . . especially in the absence of independent corroborating evidence. As you point out, a doctrinaire Western observer would either not recognize urban complexes of coastal Genertela and Ralios as "cities" when they don't conform to their chauvinistic expectations or else posit some ancient precursor whose achievements were taken over by savages who don't understand them. The second approach is not perfect but it's an improvement, more faithful to the documents and MGF in which the wolves and lions built cities, drowned civilizations are scattered around the Manirian coast, things were happening in archaic Fronela and so on. Naturally I like to push as far as I can until the evidence pushes back, so maybe there are even more dynamic models in which some proto-hsunchen achieved a relatively high level of material culture on their own before backsliding or one or more hitherto unexamined ur-sources (material or otherwise) seeded the Western and other cultural revolutions independently from one another. In other words, maybe good things don't need to come from either western colonists or Council missionaries. Sometimes people in between developed and survived on their own before their stories were ultimately consolidated into one of the dominant narratives (god learner maps) and the undigested bits discarded. And of course in the cyclical fullness of history there might have been multiple expressions of all of this. Some western influences would become submerged in the continental landscape, "going native" or simply failing to persevere in the face of internal and external threats like "chaos," floods, dwarves growing a mountain range on you. The blue man would say that the world degenerates. All of this has happened before and will happen again. And then the stories are wedged back together in ways that preserve some truths and obscure others. This isn't only about west and north, either. A vision of a world segmented into four alienated quadrants is just another of the blue man's schemes to keep us all weak, small and lonely. In the real world before he broke it all the influences circulated everywhere . . . the world was made of everything, as it were. But all that is too serious, which is why it is far more labored than my usual style. Time to stir some lore: That might be a bottomless question. Let's start with the Face Guardians, who are a kind of recombinant "hsunchen" echo, only inverted as they start out as "domesticated" animals who receive human heads like manticores or the sedrali women of Ballid. Either way, they subvert the standard modern distinction between beast and man. They have breath weapons like dragons. And in the logic of myth, when we hear that they were animals "like" the stolen livestock, we need to be open to readings that they are the same creatures enhanced by the magic of Seravus, whom we never see but are told knows about the shifting of shapes. (It's significant that the liquidation of the Guardians and the liberation of the livestock take place roughly simultaneously, as though these are two versions of the same event.) The enchanter himself is a known rival of the Vingkot way of life even though his motivations here are not recorded and the Herdsman gets all the screen time. What we know about him is that he reflects a world where the paternal role in conception is a little vague by modern scientific standards. He comes from one of those archaic moments where your mom can get pregnant from a magic rock or a toilet seat or whatever. This is a story that tribal people in the know like to tell about people they like to consider primitive or inferior. (Since it's Glorantha and Before Time, of course the magic rock might actually be as literally true as it gets. However, every mythological utterance begs to be interpreted in its own terms like a persistent dream.) We also know that the enchanter is at least sometimes in league with elves (aldrya) against the tectonic reptile earth powers (likita or here the shaker goddess). Note that the shaker is intimately associated with Kero Fin and so she is on the Vingkotling side of history. She hates the enchanter. He is a very big piece of why she turned mean in the first place. Two of the most totemic of the Storm Tribe play a role, with Yinki[n] doubling for Vin[g]ko at one weird point where they tell the same story twice. Odalya the bear reports to Vingkot the man. Yinkin the cat seems out of place, emerging from a secondary narrative now lost or garbled. As we know he is Orlanth's brother and patron of Desemborth. The Bull is missing, either not yet adopted into the tribe or absent when the mundane cattle vanished. At the end of the story Odalya stops coming around as often as he did: another of the primeval beast bonds estranged. We're increasingly just people and pets. So what do we have so far? Vestiges of a rival cultural complex, a different system for interacting with the animal world. A rivalry with the tectonic goddess system. A friendship with elves. Shapeshifting. Weird beast forms. Where does he live? I think everyone agrees that this is going on in Ralios, where the Serpent Beasts were already in place at the Dawn. The real question for me is by which route the Thunder Brothers travel to get there. We know they don't face elf resistance until after they cross the mountains, which to me indicates that they went all the way through Kartolin and then had to burn their way through forest to reach their final destination. If so, they went through Dorastor and apparently already found it empty of interest. The alternative route is through a suddenly quiet southern Greatwood / proto-Arstola followed by yet another of those passages through the impassable Mislari, at which point the natives get restless. They don't kill the enchanter. This was a first contact situation but not the last. While we aren't any closer to the identity of the Fel-di-chi here, the Wolfbear strikes me as the sort of entity the enchanter would appreciate. The Wolf is of course the king of the carnivores in Telmorite territory, a band that ultimately encompasses modern Dorastor, much of Ralios and in some texts straddles the Nida gap to spread into Fronela as well after the Serpent Beasts are wiped out. They were an urban people once. The Bear is of course the king of the northern system that succeeded the "Hykimi Alliance" and sometimes becomes Jonatela. Multiple beast expressions already. Wolf + Bear = Dorastor. A sign of a fusion or alliance among powers broken only a generation or two before the God Project. Reptiles and carnivores. The Eneralites who become the Dari Alliance don't seem to participate. The horse people develop their own urban culture. The Pendalites might have had access to Serpent Beast magic across the southern forest, but those records do not appear to survive. Drona came from the south and a pig introduced him to his wife. The northern bull people are next.
  46. 2 points
    I'm gonna keep the Hsunchen talk in the Western Hsunchen thread, we can debate about whether the Enerali are the Galanini there, but here's some interesting bits for this thread. Interestingly we can actually see the origin for the Galanini's matrilinearity, it comes from the Vustri of all people. https://wellofdaliath.chaosium.com/home/gloranthan-documents/glorantha-2/the-enerali-circa-130-st/ Check the Galin section of the document, it was at 130 ST the only location that used matrilinearity at the time, but by 265 ST (according to the maps in the Guide) it's conquered by the Dari, and not controlled by the Vustri. I could very much see a situation where the Queen of Galin was willing to surrender if the Dari accepted her hereditary rights to Galin, and converted from Humat (Storm) to Ehilm (Solar) in exchange, popularizing this kind of primogeniture among the Dangkae (later the Galanini).
  47. 2 points
    Hodgson offers a very playable universe, with the imminent likelihood of utter catastrophe. Very cool👹
  48. 2 points
    I'm not as engaged with this I could be today, but it is leading me to believe that socery is too difficult and complex to bother with in a game.
  49. 2 points
    I remember a Hill of Gold write-up where gelding the Yelmalio quester was an option...
  50. 2 points
    In my opinion, an adult Orlanthi man is almost certainly an "initiate" of Orlanth (whatever subcult, doesn't matter). He is given a certain kind of insight into the mysteries of Orlanth, and could - hypothetically - channel some of the might of Orlanth through him. The same would go for an adult Orlanthi woman. The social structure of the Orlanthi require initiation into these cults to attain the status of adulthood - and I personally interpret this as actually being active members of the cult, but this does not mean priesthood in our modern institutionalized sense of the word. If the rules say that initiates officiate at ceremonies, then fair enough. However, most ACTUAL ceremonies in "Orlanthism" are fairly small, local stead-affairs, aren't they? Here's my opinion: the head of the stead, along with other adult males will be able to officiate their own local offerings and rituals. Fairly minor stuff, akin to the household cults of the Romans, the family blot of Norse paganism, or the family ceremonies of Hinduism (no Brahmins or other temple officials needed) (family in this case being the extended family and others of the household, so potentially a dozen people or maybe a few dozen even), or the family worship of Chinese folk religion. Pick and choose, this mode of religious worship centred on the pater and mater familias (or landowner/land-holder) is incredibly common in polytheism. It makes the family heads sort-of-pseudo-priests, but only within the context of their own family unit. Expert cults perhaps work a bit differently, as they exist in Orlanthi custom more or less as associates and supporters of the Orlanth-Ernalda "ideal family/gods-as-the-family-analogue" model. They might lead local ceremonies, or they might be limited to helping out in their own subcult ceremonies. I'm not sure what the rules specify. But big temple stuff? Clan stuff? No, that's the area of chiefs and priests and god-talkers and whatever else terms the books use. I don't know if such a distinction in scale is made in the rules books, but it seems pretty self-evident in the Orlanthi social structure to me. Just my $0.02.
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