M Helsdon

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About M Helsdon

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    RQ2, AD&D
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    UK
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    Proofreader.... on Guide to Glorantha, King of Sartar, HeoQuest: Glorantha. Contributor to The Coming Storm. Etc.

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  1. One thing to consider is that there's a broad commonality to European cultures over a very wide spread of history. The equivalents are subject to debate, but there's a correspondence between Saxon tribal organization and Mycenaean, despite many centuries and differences in material culture: Mycenaean Saxon Wanax King Lawagetas Thane Heqetai Housecarl Quasileus Sheriff Doeros, doera Cottars/serfs Admittedly there's limited information about the exact roles in Mycenaean society, but there's a clear military aristocracy with several levels. Now, I'm not suggesting that we start using Mycenaean titles in Glorantha, but it does highlight that using terminology many people will be familiar with, gives an insight to how a society is structured as a basic template.
  2. Um, no. When I played and GMed RQ2, back in the day, having little to no access to material beyond a few boxed sets, CoP and CoT, I ran it very roughly as Romans versus Gauls. Would I do that now? No, because I can see more clearly the setting as a Bronze Age/Iron Age transitional period now, very roughly analogous to, say, 200BC, (way after the historical transitional period) but a world where the availability of Bronze and Iron are reversed, so Iron hasn't supplanted Bronze to the same degree. But then, Alexander the Great, was in some regards roleplaying the Bronze Age hero Achilles... (Who may or may not have been based, loosely, on a Bronze Age warlord, as the other Greek heroes seem to balk at his often savage behavior, but then Homer wasn't presenting an attempt at history, so it is hard to say what is and isn't historical, though the Catalogue of Ships seems to preserve an actual document. There was no ten year long siege at Troy. But there was a great deal of warfare in western Anatolia, and Troy seems to have been an ally of the Hittites - a major power the Bible mysteriously almost entirely ignores - the Biblical Hethites seem to be a distorted version of the Neo Hittites long after the empire had fallen in the widespread Bronze Age collapse). I was fortunate to miss most of the HW era (the boxed set killed my gaming group, as we wanted to play in Glorantha but couldn't make head or tails of the rules, and in our last session instead played Stormbringer straight out of the box), so the whole Northern European Saxon/Viking thing never entered my view of Glorantha, despite RQ2 using Saxon terminology such as sheriff in its introductory scenario. RQ2 was certainly better and distinctive from the other games - for one, being virtually complete in one book. It had flaws - the shaman and poison/potion rules never seemed to quite fit, and we ignored the potion rules entirely. So please don't take my comment as presenting RQ2 as perfect. I was pointing out where I disagreed with you... 8-)
  3. RQ2 was written with the intent of providing an RPG system to fit the board game Dragon Pass, which is decidedly Ancient World, and to reflect the transitional period between the Bronze Age and the Iron Age, with the proviso that unlike our world where bronze is difficult to forge because you need a source of tin and copper and iron is (once you master the techniques required) common (iron deposits all over the place), in Glorantha the bronze equivalent is common and iron is rare. This was reflected in the artwork of the RQ2 rulebook, featuring hoplites and other recognizable Bronze/Iron Age aspects. RQ3 doesn't really count because of the Fantasy Earth basic setting, and I'll not say what I think of the Hero Wars supplements... So the default Gloranthan setting is very roughly analogous to an Iron Age setting but with bronze in wide use instead of iron - but pre Republican Rome. The Lunar Empire, with its sultanates/satrapies is more like the Achaemenid Empire, but with many Hellenistic aspects. And of course, there were celts in Galatia from the 3rd century BC, so it isn't hard to view the Sartarites as a mixture of Thracian/Galatian. Many of the weapons were there to be used by bigger, stronger races, whilst crossbows date way back to the 6th century BC in China, and the 5th century BC in Greece. There were Bronze Age rapiers - or at least they are called than because of their long thin blades. Chainmail goes way back - it is said to have been invented by the continental Celts, and there are Etruscan examples dating to the 4th century BC. Guilds have been common throughout history, with equivalents in Rome, and similar organizations in ancient Greece and Babylonia. Townsmen - urbanization goes way back. Artwork - down to the artists not having a feel for the game setting, perhaps. Ignoring HW, the RQ3 supplements were still Ancient World, and in reality there's not a huge difference in culture at the sort of level used by RPG between 'Celtic/Saxon/Viking' and the older tribal societies of central Europe - Thracians, Dacians, Homeric era Greeks. 'Celtic/Saxon/Viking' is an easy shorthand for cultures most players might have a passing familiarity with, but when you dig down into Sartarite culture and history, the similarities are superficial, and augmented by a use of Saxon terminology - again because more people might be familiar with the period. The influence of Greece, the Hittites etc. has always been there. 'Celtic/Saxon/Viking' is a very common meme in game and fantasy settings, and Bronze/Early Iron Age societies are as distinct as any later. The Hallstatt culture is early 'Celtic'. Whilst some Lunar armour might look a bit Assyrian, the Lunars aren't Assyrians, as like the ancient Mexica, the Assyrian Empire wasn't really an empire, but the region over which the Assyrians claimed control and the right to exact tribute - it was never a controlled administrative empire, like, say, the Achaemenid Empire, or the even more controlled Roman Empire. The idea of the Lunar Empire being (very) roughly equivalent to the Roman, and the Orlanthi are vaguely Gauls was in RQ2 from the start, if you don't look into the details. And the Gauls were a complex tribal society, with some major urban centers - which is why it was worth Julius Caesar's while to go on a massive plundering expedition to fund his political ambitions. If the Gauls had been left alone, they'd have probably evolved along the lines of city states. As a gateway, you can use Romans and Gauls, but despite the superficial similarities, it's only an entry point. I suspect that some of the roots of Glorantha as an RPG setting are rooted in ancient wargaming (much as D&D was related to medieval wargaming) with a dash SCA re-enactors.
  4. Glorantha is Bronze Age because the Hero Wars reflect the legendary age of heroes of Homer and Hesiod that concluded the Greek Bronze Age.
  5. Heroes can ascend to divine status, of which Dormal is an example. They need to be promoted to demigodhood, by gaining followers and worshippers. Sometimes such demigods are marked by gaining a star, but as the rise (and fall) of Sheng Seleris demonstrates, it isn't necessarily a permanent state. In comparison, the greater gods locked into the Compromise are virtually permanent, because if they were not, the Compromise would fail. The Dara Happans believe all the gods on the Gods Wall are the only permanent gods; in comparison ascended Heroes are transient entities.
  6. I suspect that a person isn't just affected by their Runes, but by their mixture of Runes, some modifying the manifestation of others. This leads to a very wide variance in behaviors.
  7. The peasants would be useful for almost any skirmishers, from Orlanthi cottars to Zarkosings. In attempting to gather together information about Carmanian armies... Carmanian cavalry is divided into heavily armed and armored cataphracti and lightly armored horse archers. The karmanoi and hazars fought as cataphracti, a form of armored heavy cavalry with both the rider and steed ideally draped from head to toe in bronze armor. Traditionally, these were supported by city hoplites, most notably the Pelandans of the Oronin river valley, and by local levies, mercenaries, and foreigners. Carmanian infantry included the heavy infantry of the Steel Sword Legion and other still extant regiments. That reference to hoplites is because... The Pelandans were the first to utilize phalanx warfare. In ancient times the hero Daxdarius made an alliance with the Third Eye Blue people and gained bronze armor, helmets and swords. The heavy infantry hoplites are recruited from the Daxdarian warrior caste. The Steel Sword Legion could be represented by early Romans, given their (dwarf-made) equipment: Iron broadsword, throwing spear, rectangular tower shield
  8. Gazump away. I've added some of the suggestions to my list. I suspect it depends which Persians. Seleucid, Parthian, and Sassanid heavy and light cavalry certainly. Infantry... if Pelandan then Classical Greek might be a better match.
  9. Thank you. Many of the poorer Orlanthi clans cannot afford or field a fully equipped fyrd, so this comes under necessity, instead of a cultural imperative. There are very few skirmisher cultures outside the mainstream. Imther is relatively wealthy because of its relationship with the dwarves of the Imther Mountains, so I have assumed the local Sun Dome can field a regiment decked out in a full bronze panoply, which many elsewhere cannot.
  10. Interesting. I assume these would be of the Laramite or Wilktar tribes, or perhaps a smaller group?
  11. The Introduction to the Elder Race chapters says, discussing THE LESSER ELDER RACES: Several of the most important of the lesser Elder Races are described here: beast men, broos, ducks, jelmre, newtlings, ogres, scorpion men, and Wind Children. The more obscure races are not, for reasons of space.
  12. Many of those are mentioned elsewhere in the Guide. So I imagine in the interests of not duplicating material they weren't included in this chapter. There are text boxes on Slarges, Luatha, and Timinit, and a subchapter under Oceans on the Waertagi. Some others are mentioned in the Prax overview: Baboons, Morokanth; Tusk Riders are mentioned in the Troll overview; Voralans are mentioned in the Elf overview; Ludoch are mentioned in the Merfolk overview. So the only ones 'missing' are Giants and Grotarons, and there's quite a bit about the former scattered about.
  13. I hadn't considered them, given the proximity to Alkoth. My list of Pelorian skirmishers (people who don't fight in a line-of-battle): Name Region Culture Balazarings Balazar Hunter-gatherers Brolians Brolia Pastoralist and subsistence farmer Orlanthi Eolians Thrice Blessed Nomadic hunters, fishers, and reindeer herders Jajalarings Holay Dog People hunter-gatherers Odaylings Sylila Orlanthi hunters Skanthi Talastar Orlanthi Telmori Aggar, Brolia Hsunchen Tunoralings Vanch Pastoralist and subsistence farmer Raccoon People Zarkosings Garsting, Jarst, Zarkos Pastoralist and subsistence farmer goat-herders
  14. True, though it very much depends on the figure - as many tend to have a hoplite panoply and equipment.
  15. Thank you for the information. I'm trying to identify all the hunter-gatherer cultures in Peloria.