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scott-martin

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Everything posted by scott-martin

  1. I seem to recall one showing up in Sebastiane so there's the creative anachronism and the pain all in one package! Unless I'm stuck on the Western Hero Wars and seeing knightriders everywhere. But I do think Glamour is a special test of the "reality" behind the lunar mystique so this book might always be a little frustrating. There's just no historical "there" there to establish any kind of canon around. Only thing to do is stick to other imperial scenes (Jillaro is beautiful and mostly real) or surrender . . . in dreaming we're free.
  2. I love all this stuff and your points are well taken. There's room for multiple interpretations of the City because every experience will be very different. I think of how Fellini Satyricon is a kind of "science fiction of the past" whereas Fellini Roma forces the motorcycles to negotiate ancient streets. But I think Glamour would flicker out entirely if you dropped the funhouse glow. Only way to find out is to create similar books for Raibanth, Elz Ast, even historical Torang and see what sticks and what vanishes.
  3. Madame has a lot to answer for, including all the bois I've known who rocked a d.a. Elvis TakenEgi as ultimate lesbian icon. Suddenly I realize the flamenco dancer so prominent in Derek Jarman's work for the Pet Shop Boys (and stolen/contaminated in COIL fan cuts) is probably someone in the lunar nomenklatura, one of the flaming creatures. Great thread! EDIT: Red Dancer of Power, obv
  4. If I were betting now I would want them to find the answer to an extremely simple question What is the secret of the [world], whom does it serve Not all of them will get it. There will be wrong answers along the way. It's how we get there.
  5. I like where you're going. That Kierkegaard curriculum was radically ateleological. @Joergalso gets me thinking that maybe a "How The West Was One II" reskinned for the world in front of us might be a good way forward.
  6. Love it all. Out of reacts but we are all honoured to see such response. Any more? Yeah, there needs to be music here. Flirted with calling this phase of the thread "Why The West Is The Best (Get Here & We'll Do The Rest)" but figured Jim Morrison was mechanically a different kind of serpent king. Not to dwell on the "medieval" but the song on the James album that came out the same year as the orange box had a great shrill intro but then turned quickly into an ode to the Great War. Suppose it's always thee current middle ages somewhere. But I'm talking a little too much lately so a little music and footage while we wait for my reacts to refresh. What always kills me is how serious Tuck looks and how Steve is actually wearing his doublet. Perrin told me once they didn't have a lot of music in those early years anno societatis except what they could drum or tootle up on their own. The publishing just wasn't there yet.
  7. Love it all. This is a good moment to pivot a little and ask a slightly different question. What attracts you to the West? What do you love about these landscapes and why haven't you found it in the struggle between Orlanth and Empire? How did that love begin? Answers can be aesthetic, philosophical or anything else. And if you don't like anything about this part of the world, that's a good data point too. For me the core pleasure here has always come from the tension between what Max Weber would have called bureaucracy and charisma or the disenchanted "iron cage" versus the return of magic. That's a lot of words but we read a lot of Kierkegaard in school and now have a lot of books by people like Rudolf Steiner in the house. It's a post-sorcerous house. What it boils down to is having a place in Glorantha where we can see the secularizing forces that dominate much elegiac fantasy . . . at a moment when the tide can finally break and roll back like the opposite of Hunter S. Thompson's famous wave of progress. The West is by definition where the sun that was so bright and vibrant at the dawn of history goes down into shadow. It's where the sacred goes to die. I can appreciate that theoretical complexity embedded in Greg's adolescent Unified Mythology Theory like one of the Eliade books he bounced off in the Beloit library. This is a richer fantasy with something more to say to the fragmenting 1960s establishment and the rest of us. It has room to explore how the magic goes away and how the magic returns again. (I am writing this on May 1 2021, one day after the Sixth World of Shadowrun begins.) So the West reflects the linear experience of historical time. Sacred Time is elsewhere. But if AROLANIT is just an anagram for RATIONAL, most of us gamers thankfully spend most of our lives far from that barren land. Brithos, for example, is an encounter with an Alan Stivell album, an echo of a land that mostly vanished beneath the waves before nation states carved out their spaces on the map. What divides these people from the rest of us is their refusal to admit that their origins are as archaic, arbitrary, accidental and erotic as everyone else's. Greg wanted something like a Mabonogion, something like a Mahabharata, a Kalevala, an Argonautica, a new origin for a new tribe. It was only ever incidentally "medieval." The SCA is years away. For Greg, the mock tudor realms of Middle Earth are years away. I don't even think he had access to most of the pulp canon known today as swords & sorcery. But he had Prince Valiant, that whole Walter Scott tissue of gothic chivalry. Lost worlds of high historical adventure, authentic and artificial sagas. A lot of this stuff gets rolled into the "medieval" but as we know the Middle Ages were invented more recently. That's how the Gloranthan West evolves. And now of course the Gloranthan West never had anything to do with the "medieval" at all. People who went looking for that have mostly moved on with Pendragon at this point. After all, the pagan attractions of Walter Scott are ubiquitous in central Genertela as well. You can feast, fight, fuck and philosophize in Orlanth country, be your own boss, worship the god of your choice. You can ride across an enchanted landscape where every phenomenon is symbolic and a particular dealing of that god with your soul. In the Gloranthan West, as in the Weberian cage, there are people who will tell you no. The West for me is a testament to the weakness of that no and the immortality of the eternal yes, the return of the repressed. It has been going on throughout Time. It grows itself from the raw materials available at any given moment . . . pulp fiction, children's comic strips, widely derided Tony Curtis movies, anything strange and exciting and often rejected . . . and redeems the world. I also loved this stuff as a child under the rubric of "the medieval" but now understand it was really mostly just gothic revival. The real archaic is always elsewhere. It's only ever the pre-raphaelite golden age in nostalgic hindsight. Knights in Glorantha never said "NI" and their armour wasn't what we saw in that orange boxed set 30 years ago now, but they maintain a certain chivalry in an otherwise fallen present. So bring the lutes, the hippie guitars, recorders, funny hats. Pageantry. Here endeth my answer to a self-posed question; yours will be more interesting.
  8. Early references like the RQ Companion use the "oah" spelling and it lingers in the publishing into modern times. While the Greg-King was always a creative typist, I love this fix. From now on the City of Wonders IMG sounded like this.
  9. I might be misunderstanding you both. But even accidental revelations remain drastic:
  10. Love it. If I had a professional interest in experimental talar investiture techniques I'd almost think there's something busted in their formula. Works OK at first but glitches like this accumulate over time.
  11. (all out of reacts, will catch up) Let's chase a little fun here by asking why we're seeing such stress now and why the boys decided that it's time to settle all the regional accounts. The land has been fertile enough in living memory to support a substantial population (more than theoretically lush Teshnos, half the entire East Islands archipelago) and the Quinpolic trade in particular is extremely rich. That isn't ordinarily a recipe for conflict, much less the vicious consolidation that has apparently been going on at least since the reign of Svalanigos. While there are always exceptions, happy talars find ways to get along: bloodlines divide and differentiate. Unhappy talars and especially horals left to their own devices fight over perceived or real scarcity because they don't see enough resources to go around. So things used to be better. They were already unhappy in Seshnela when Dormal showed up. I wouldn't be shocked to hear that the population was higher a generation before the Opening and the early 1500s were remembered as a kind of golden age with enough to support everyone and even throw away. After Vikard it starts to look like a long decline, maybe with periods of recovery but it never really takes. Relatively long reigns though. No sign of upheaval at the top. Even Vikard hangs on for a decade without being deposed, which makes me think the dynasty is successfully punching down at this point to claw back aristocratic resources, probably with clear sorcerous support. Old families start disappearing. 1552 looks like a setback for that sorcerous support. It's not hard to imagine a scenario where the Rokarists are stretched thin enough to let broad responsibilities slide. Crop yields might start faltering. People get tired. The Opening provides some relief but it isn't evenly distributed . . . the center gets worse, the periphery (go fringe!) brightens. But even in Nolos the recovery is slow. It takes decades before they can take on central power and win. Ariston is a clever and urbane guy, Leto Atreides. Possibly poisoned or otherwise done away with 10 years ago. After that, the die is cast. Crushing the League isn't going to hand Guilmarn a working economy (normally the Waertag fleet would cheerfully take that over) but it's going to unlock a lot of treasure for the here and now. What fed the boom in the first place? Seems to me that 1499 shut down a lot of people's trade routes and this one couldn't recover. Otherwise, no immediately apparent reason for the spice to stop flowing. Even then, the union with Safelster could've kept them going if Vikard hadn't thrown the ultimate party. Someone clever can start building a Family History out of this if they haven't already. Where does it go? Fronela's open again, whatever economic benefit that provided in the Bailifid golden age. Through Fronela you can get to the Empire and vice versa. Somebody up there has a strategic interest that only access to western markets can provide. It seems to be in Ralios and it's important enough to keep Kartolin open despite all the unpleasantness. They weren't miserable for 300 years. It got better and then it didn't.
  12. I for one am not saying "unplayable." We can play anything. I'm saying GF is not M out of the box. Happy to be schooled! Seshnela is noted for its arrogant and ambitious martial ruling class . . . oppressed peasants, and secretive wizards who live in constant fear . . . distinctions restricting diet, dining practices, marriage, occupation, and so on are rigidly upheld . . . a woman’s primary responsibility is as a wife and mother. The nobles claimed hereditary ownership to all property and enforced rigid caste laws on the peoples within their domains. The zzaburi told all the peasants that rigid adherence to their miserable way of life would achieve them Solace. Maybe the regional events table provides some relief, let's see. 3 in 6 common events have the king or his agents either celebrating his new "acquisitions" or making people nervous. "Suspicion" is everywhere. 1 in 6 is traders offering beautiful things I can't really afford and another 1 in 6 is the authorities rounding up muscle to teach those foreigners a lesson. Then there's "wizards accompanied by religious police." Outbreaks of spirits, Tapping, lycanthropy. Raids. Peasant revolts. Whether this is an "evil" place or not, it is definitely a society under significant stress. I can get all that on cable news. (More later.) The bigwigs are Watchers for a reason! EDIT not a buffy joke
  13. . . . which is why right-thinking people want to start play no earlier than Episode IV!
  14. The thread really wants you to like it. The thread wants to be whatever you find useful and interesting. For me that means finding out if we can apply and accelerate the deep developmental process that took Dragon Pass from a board game to something organic and intricate (with its own epic future history) to other regions. As much as I love the achievement the Dragon Pass campaign represents, I won't be satisfied until we see the rest of Glorantha get a chance to participate. After all, a real Hero Wars needs to be "made of everything" as someone once said. But it took Dragon Pass 45 years to get here. There were board games, novels, deep background books, ultimately full-fledged Sartar ethnographies and scenario packs. Greg spent years with his players finding out what worked and listening to the dice. So did a whole lot of other people. We know who the Orlanth people are now and where they're going. Squint right and we can even figure out what's really going on from the Lunar side. Other regions didn't get that. It's just how history goes. But I don't want to wait another 45 years to see how their epics play out. And the thrilling thing is that once we figure out how to open Pandora's box a second time, as it were, we can do it everywhere. Accelerate the long ramp. Do it faster, smarter, even learn from the process. The West has a little more going for it than the East or South because Greg spent a lot of time there in the '60s and then again for a few years trying to figure out the Second Age. There was also an abortive RQ2 expansion but it really just turned into Pendragon. So this part of the world is probably the best laboratory environment we have for concocting something comparable to Dragon Pass and compatible with it, without being Pendragon. So here we are, collecting lab equipment. All are welcome. There are no dumb ideas. (In fact, it might be worth seeding all the dumb ideas we can find so we can cut those experimental lines early on and cut more time out of that 45-year path.) I personally have a deep narrative bias against Guilmarn and Theoblanc so will take every opportunity to make fun of them. There might be a few other hidden jokes but they only ever matter if they give you an idea that you want to run with. The Barbarella stuff is extremely interesting, why not an entire sexual liberation / Antonioni current radiating from the Zorias etc. One of the biggest and best bombs of the thread, I love this. Now all we need is a way to fill the next 15-20 years before the Lunars invade and then figure that stuff out!
  15. Badass. I mean "love." "Now look what you made me do." Church Versus State probably provides a reasonably engaging monkey wrench for a couple of crucial years. Whoever loses, we win. There's that tradition of the Bailifids coming into Safelster (1458-1511) and squandering it all on chivalric potlatch . . . secrets of the Tournament Kings. Maybe our boy yearns to compete. Maybe there's a prophecy an Arkat does too. Decrucify the angel or I'll melt your face.
  16. Swapping my MGF hat for the canon hat for a minute, I always favored the line in the Guide: "secretive wizards who live in constant fear of the return of God Learnerism." The imperial collapse really scared them, with good reason. When they rebuilt it was by rejecting everything they saw as innovative Since Time, throwing away two out of three chapters in the Abiding Book and doing their damnedest to reconstruct what they see as original caste performance. Everything else is wrongness. No more empire. No more history. But the persistence of wrongness is, not coincidentally, MGF. Players want ruckus and adventure, trouble and desire. Probably they tried everything under the sun in Tanisor between the days when the oceans drank old Frowal and the rise of the sons of Bailifes. Then Rokar did his best to cast out all the devils . . . but we know a Hero War is when rejected knowledge comes back refreshed. I think Seshnela is a tricky MGF sell until Guilmarn bites off more than he can chew in Safelster. In a Pendragon style generational epic those first few "episodes" help set the scene but can be modeled just as easily in Family History so we can end the futility and get on with the adventures that mean something. Otherwise we're just meeting people who fail or at best leave us behind in the shit. Gamers being relatively simple creatures, the shorter we can make that failure phase at the beginning the more likely we are to hook them for the long haul. Do various regional Hero Wars have different start dates? Maybe Seshnela doesn't open up to RQG until 1626-7 or whenever Arkat Returns. That isn't stopping anyone from an in-depth HQ/HW/QW exploration of the tribulations around the war. As we learned in Dragon Pass, the 1621-4 prequel trilogy is the father of the 1625+ future. That's probably where we meet the people who ultimately fail or flee. "The Enchanted Forest of Kanthor" campaign is yet another option although those guys are kind of isolated.
  17. I love the refugee segmentation this opens up as well as the larger role this conflict plays in the larger Hero Wars. Let's start with the second part because it's the central impulse here. I am not a fan of the Rokarist system for simple reasons: they're mean, they're puritanical and they're in power. Any of these elements can contribute to Gloranthan Fun but the combination condemns about 2 million fictional characters to a life of oppression, bullying and naked fear . . . without the usual compensations like religious ecstasy or intricate local lore that make these conditions more tolerable elsewhere on the lozenge. They're a puritanical sect. They spend their effort eradicating many of the factors that differentiate Glorantha from the late modern state of alienation and anomie. Even this is fine from a purely abstract intellectual perspective but it gets tedious in sustained play. What are we doing this week? We're getting oppressed again. When that gets boring, maybe we try being the bullies for awhile, which is rarely either a good look or emotionally sustainable for long-term exploration of Glorantha. Or we can join the resistance and guarantee at least a few years of really hard futility before the canonical timeline gives us any relief or hope at all. (See: getting oppressed.) The bullies are in power. Return to scene one, a mailed saboton smearing a butterfly for what feels like forever. Now there are solutions. We can look behind the official narrative for a more expansive and "authentic" experience more compatible with the Gloranthan mainstream. We can choose to engineer redemptive change in play, ensuring that within this fiction right won't always lose and wrong won't always win. We can focus on the relatively sympathetic characters, rooting for them to live productive and rewarding lives. And when all else fails, we can take refuge in the catharsis of tragedy without hope of liberation or transcendence, which is not what we see in the Dragon Pass Hero Wars materials. Dooming part of the world to perpetual gloom is one thing. Building materials in the hope that people will then play out that grim dark narrative is quixotic publishing at best -- we already have Warhammer and real life for that. So that's my moralizing speech. We're gamers. This is the world we build together over time. The world Greg discovered is not Disneyland but "life is not slavery" either. If the Rokarists don't see the error of their ways in play and fast, what's it all for? Life's too short to have the priest dictate what your character can eat for lunch. And so if we can't redeem the Rokarists for years to come in subjective game time, we can at least salvage as much of the sympathetic stuff as we can and get it away from Rokarist territory. I think this impulse drives the refugee narrative. When MGF leads, setting logic bends to accommodate. That's literally where the fun part comes in. People want the relatively sympathetic stuff in a setting where it comes out in play. Who makes the journey from the West? Sorcerers from this part of the world are either orthodox ("are we the baddies?"), dead or in exile. Going from the old RQ3 occupation tables, there were once maybe 30,000 trained sorcerers in the League and conservatively 10,000 of them were ever any good (rule of 1% magic people). Luckily only a couple hundred are invited to Theoblanc's little fatal soiree so the rest can either die in the war or scatter. We'd want to play it out on five-mile hexes a few thousand times to get the survival numbers. Talars in Seshnela are an interesting phenomenon BTB, with the really old families who can trace their roots back to the island being scarce to the point of being completely hypothetical. Maybe they're another 1% of the overall population so a base of 10,000 in the League before attrition sets in. From a skills perspective these are mostly jocks with fancy job titles so would make great mercenaries if they land in settled areas or warlords if they don't. (Alatan just got interesting.) Standard horals add 5X to that base. I don't know what the mortality rate is in the Quinpolic Wars . . . the bully factor makes me think it's pretty high but Guilmarn needs fresh crusaders to make a credible play for Ralios. Maybe say that enough of these two castes switch to replace people he loses and "half" of the rest die. Horrific by Bronze Age Standards, sure. But one side has a significant sorcerous disadvantage (many of the best mages are dead) and this is a Convert Or Die scenario. Most convert rather than die. The weirder you are (hrestol etc.) the less eager you are to convert. Hit the road. This rough math opens up maybe 12,000 deserters but actual inputs will yield different conclusions. How many die on the way out, boats torpedoed or otherwise running into complications? How many do the Wolf Pirates need in 1623-4 to make their 1625 starting numbers? How many head north to taunt Laurel & Hardy from what looks like the safe harbor of Safelster, only to get caught up in that phase? How many fan out into pagan Ralios? The rest are available for the Manirian exodus. I would argue that we've just talked about the last meaningful survivors of heterodox high-caste Tanisorian civilization, including all of the warrior women and female sorcerers. But every Umberto Eco fan knows farmers can be heretics too. Even if the zzaburs dictate the spirituality of most (a big if), at a glance at least 6% of the dronar population is going to be initiated to some pagan god or Master, a secret caste mobilist (#occupypasos) or otherwise not the kind of person who welcomes a chat with the Rokarist inquisitors. Again, this includes nearly all of the interesting women. Witches. Shapeshifters. Heretics. Across roughly a million people in the pre-crusade League this might be another 55,000 people who are already unhappy with the Rokar status quo (otherwise they wouldn't seek these forest compensations) and are now highly motivated to get the hell out. A stunning 10% of the Seshnegite population in RQ3 had the "sailor" occupation. These people probably lead the exodus and while a shocking number die early on, they're probably overrepresented in the 1625+ diaspora. The rest scatter by land as though you were watching the great houses of Sartar scurry after the fall of Boldhome. Those who go north get pulled into that war one way or another out of sight from Dragon Pass. Those who accept the southern passage are a big but probably sad question mark. Those who survive the journey to the east are the ones we meet, each telling a tale of woe and dreaming about vengeance before the end of the world.
  18. This is some epic stuff. While I've been aware of a significant Quinpolic exile community, their ultimate trajectory in the absence of Argrath-facing documents was never clear. Maybe let's segment the population a little more and see how that flavors where they end up. I still lean toward an earlier Quinpolic end date (early 1624) to get it over with and accelerate the moment when players can make a difference but can be argued down if that's where MGF goes. Either way, the sack of Noloswal (late 1623) is at least the beginning of the end . . . even if the League holds another year or two, smart, connected, pragmatic people will start buying one-way tickets out as an insurance policy. These people probably have the best shot at ending up where they want, which is somewhere relatively sophisticated and comfortable: Nochet. Unfortunately for them, timing could get tight. Miss the window and you either need to hang out in Handra through Storm Season or try an overland passage instead. The truly daring might try the Hero's Run into the far east, which opens up additional MGF opportunities for seeding hardcore Navigationalists in unlikely places, but that isn't the kind of thing that creates a robust or rooted expat community. It might be far easier to simply raise the wolf flag while the boys are in the area and head out under pirate management. Once the land war is over, the Waertag agenda at least initially pivots and any survivors who want to escape on Dormal boats need to reckon with that. Depending on your dramatic instinct, the people who make it out by sea might be only a pathetic fraction of those who made the attempt. If not, somebody with muscle got in the dragon ships' way . . . if that's the Wolf Pirates, I suspect most of these people (even civilians) would end up absorbed into that freebooting proposition one way or another. The poorer and less connected may actually be luckier if they take to the Manirian Road, where the Princes are at least theoretically sympathetic and Greymane is no longer a problem. Rhigos probably covets agricultural talent and everyone wants muscle to replace people lost in the recent war. The especially ambitious, useless or visionary may continue on toward Aeolia. I am really loving that future plotline, of course. I don't know a lot about the plan for Dosakayo but maybe herself would rather push a few hundred or even a few thousand foreigners all the way out there for her own purposes. If the Malkonwal movement starts to look like it will become a problem, I can see her kicking the troublemakers down the coast . . . where of course they will MGF discover world-shaking things. Depending on timing, Vadelites and Fonritians may be happy to book "passengers" for the southern Risk Run or in general. We probably won't meet a lot of these people again. But we don't need a huge survivor population anyway . . . New Pavis is about 5,000 people soaking wet and it's a pretty good staging area for a Sartar liberation movement. A lot of plotlines weave in and out of this, including the Wolf Pirate intervention (this might be where they hook up with Mularik, either again after the Cradle escapade or for the first time) and Hunralki's weird "claim" in Pithdaros. I don't think Hunralki hangs around to annoy the regime. I love the notion that they get there just a little too late to fulfill his vision or whatever. Classic. Maybe Hunralki gets a boat back south and follows his own heroquest path down there, with or without a cadre of Pithdarans with nothing to lose but a ticket back to the motherland. Greg and Charles Saunders were friends. I want to believe. I also want to believe Mulliam was a smart guy as well as being incredibly rich, so while hubris kills (the Elon Musk of Glorantha) I can see him having plenty of contingencies in place . . . his dad was a master chess player of course and either the apple fell close to the tree or it didn't. If the good guys aren't at least a little smart then the Rokarists win. And I really don't want them to win. So let the Hadestolids get at least some measure of smirking revenge. So an entry-level book on the West as a kind of distributed "homeland," all these droplets of mercury rolling apart before they roll back together. To be published in heaven of course.
  19. Those were primitive days. Gay gamers, Seahawks fans and others have taken us so far over the decades and there's still so far to go. Now even my sister is a Seahawks fan . . . I wouldn't be surprised to see ospreys as totemic hunting companions when we find the Helerite nation, it's a Navy thing.
  20. This is fantastic! Which game system are you using? I am loving the recombinant creativity in play throughout this thread . . . unless we find a way to compensate for Central Genertela's 40-year developmental head start, the rest of the lozenge is doomed to remain sideshow territory. That may ultimately be the outcome after all (a deep mystery of the hero wars) but right now I still think it's possible for other regions to catch up and even match the deep refinement process that created modern terminal third age Dragon Pass. And if the West can't step up to that standard, what hope does everyone else really have? We're fortunate to have something like a few Deep Sources here at least. It would be great to see more probabilistic board game results and Questworlds / Pendragon Pass style exploration of the historical landscape (at least 1621-5 to set the RQG stage) . . . every game log is extremely valuable because statistical "machine learning" can only take us so far before the results start feeling stale. We might not need 40 years of active play at all this time around. Then we can apply what we've learned to regions that don't even have Deep Sources yet. [seshna dragon plot] . . . this is astounding! This is my favorite idea of the season because this exile community then opens up a corner of the East to similar development down the road. We learn about the West and set the stage for its hero wars by seeing westerners isolated from their homeland, and in the process learn with those refugees about the lands and peoples that shape their lives now. It's a lot like the way most of us only discovered Sartar reflected in foreign outposts like Pavis and up to Balazar, only coming back across the frontier for an immersion in the intricacies of clan life when the learning curve could support it. And then through Sartar we could see the Empire face to face. Maniria. Nochet and Aeolia. Carmania. Teshnos. Baby steps. I think we have a year or two to sow some dragon teeth and narrow the gap a little, if we're smart.
  21. I think Greg would have really loved this. Well played! As for Eastern Sorcery, it would be good to explore all this in parallel to a Western exploration. Some recent thoughts on the form runes that might not be so dumb after all. For all I know Form is one of their core modes over there, taking over for the elements . . . but specialists will say yes or no.
  22. That's an essential point. Players have a certain comfort level with the Heortling part of the world now but avenues for extending that knowledge into the West are limited. You can be a sailor, go overland through Maniria, travel up through the Empire and out via the Janube or over Kartolin (yikes) . . . or you can meet the people who come to you. For most of the last 600 years at least, the Manirian and far Charg routes were the only real game in town and Charg shut down in 1499. Exiles and archives are the only ways most people were ever exposed to non-Aeolian expressions of this way of life. I wonder how the Aeolians are responding to the influx of strangers, especially with the Malkonwal adventure still fresh in many minds. Either way, Samastina has her own foreign sorcerers to drive any magical experimentation her enthusiasts care to attribute to her. Who needs Argrath anyway! I love this, the broader Ghibli ecological concern (another green world) and the alignment with @jajagappa's circle back to Hrelar Amali. I skipped over a lot of Old Ways Revivals in this part of the world because IMG these returns to origins are more liberating when we see how restrictive the failing new ways have become. But I hope everyone across the West gets a chance to look back and draw power from it. For most people that means paganism, hsunchen heritage, the forest. For others that means an authentic + redemptive relationship to colonial origins. We step back in order to take a huge leap forward. Definitely pigs and maybe giant nuclear battle robots or the equivalent. (Old moons.) While the world is doomed some of us still have 20-30 years easy to turn up the heat. Caladra sure is getting interesting!
  23. Developing relevant JC materials for the terminal Third Age West presents its share of challenges. On one hand, the Guide presents a richer 1621 status quo than we've ever had to work with, confirming the most robust historical insight while pruning back a few of the more wayward branching paths. However, advancing the timeline to 1625 without benefit of a regional King of Sartar or decades of systematic Sartar Rising style exploration means sacrificing a lot of that hard-won clarity on the altar of current events. Time is moving fast now. If you want to get ahead of it, you need to move faster. Maybe you help us get it moving here. Let's start by refreshing the scene: It's 1625. All the cool people in Seshnela are dead or desperate. Theoblanc assassinated all the freethinkers he can catch and if his buddy Guilmarn hasn't crushed the Quinpolic League yet we know how it plays out. Unless you want to start your epic saga in the last days of a doomed struggle, MGF argues for ending the Crusade soon after the somewhat apocalyptic Harrek sighting in late 1623. This was never an especially friendly time and place for player characters anyway, so there isn't a lot of drama to gain from setting up a relatively sympathetic counterweight early in the game and watching them lose. That's prequel material. It was a dark time for the rebellion in 1621 and it's slightly darker time now. That's how the light gets in, with pissed off exploding apprentices, quixotic horseback heroquests, peasant uprisings, forest witches, cat people outbreaks, all that good stuff. Also some bona fide bad stuff, people turning to diabolism and chaos. We also need to give Father Laurel and King Hardy a little time to establish their oppressive supremacy because the Waertagites need their own window to sweep the sea clean after the League falls but before Boat Planet rises in 1624 or otherwise any effort to undo the Opening looks a little silly. There's no sign in RQG of Dormal being under serious pressure. I think the green men are getting their green butts kicked for reasons that are MGF exciting to discover in play. The sailors are dealing internally with the new maritime dynamics but on the surface it's more or less business as usual. Refugee Navigationalist insights might help this happen. Either way, keep the seas unsettled and Open. If you're brave, you can evade the dragon ships. There are, however, a bunch of new True Brithini on the mainland who are familiar with conditions and developments on the island, so we want to keep them around to provide intelligence as well as thematic resolution. The Hero Wars are all about our last chance to tie off all the loose ends of the world, after all. I have my dumb theories that need to be workshopped before being served to guests. I will say that MGF requires twists and revelations. Keep them gasping. Keep them engaged. Moving north, the Arkat Returns! prompt is so iconic that your players deserve to participate in it for themselves and a whole new generation has stories to tell. Textual cues tell me King Hardy starts stinking the place up as fast as he possibly can after crushing the League in order to exploit lingering disruption from the Swarm . . . the farther out we get from 1622, the more time the locals have to clean up the mess. Maybe he pushes the button 1-3 seasons before active play starts so the war is still out over the horizon while the players get set up. Maybe Arkat Returns 2-3 seasons into the campaign so the players can make a meaningful difference and have a good seat. Either way, Laurel & Hardy quickly discover it is possible to bite off more than you can chew. Imagine me crying here. A similar situation applies in Fronela, where generations of players have wanted to Wage War On War and it would be cruel to open that action when it's too late to participate. (Remember, unlike the Quinpolic Crusade where the initial outcome is fixed and only makes the region more of a downer, the big Ralios and Fronela struggles remain question marks. MGF always.) Things are getting real. Ratchet up the tension and the philosophical ambivalence. Xemstown and the last Jonat tribes are fresh from the ban now so that will give people plenty to do. Maybe drop the War bomb in 1626 or even later. We know something like good guys win this one because there's still something like a civilization left for Phargentes TakenEgi to conquer circa 1642. That much is easy now. All we need to do is keep the story interesting between here and there and then beyond. Likewise, we know there's still an Arkat presence in Ralios as late as the 1640s (mid decade looks reasonable) so evidently shock and awe got a little bogged down. Keep that storyline rotating. We don't really know anything about how that one ultimately plays out in the final weird phases of the hero wars. Nobody has come back to tell us. I don't think Guilmarn is the Talar Of The West because Cragspider-XIII has the serpent crown in dispute, which will not happen while Hardy is alive, but then again, I don't think Guilmarn's talar powers of command were authentic anyway so IMG he can't really command the Brithini sorcerers. Your Hero Wars Will Vary. This is part of the story. Instead I think my boy Aamor the Wanderer becomes the last of the sacred serpent kings under the full panoply of the old rite with a few new twists along the way. But at this point things are going to look a little strange to people schooled in the 1621 world. By 1630 the glacier is moving and the old world is effectively doomed to ecological disaster anyway and that's how the last serpent king eventually dies. Charg opens in 1628 and complicates Carmanian independence. I would count this plot into the Western Hero Wars (and also the Lunar Civil Wars) because by definition all worlds come together at the end and we are made of everything. This is a good place to note that if spillover from the West does not cast a shadow on the Dragon Pass plot it's not because nothing is going on here . . . the magic simply points in a different direction and the shadow falls across other regions. Arguably much of the Western plot projects south. Maybe it even projects east. And it definitely affects Lunar policy throughout this era, with the Arrolian Territories and Carmania in the middle. Working back around to Maniria, I have a hidden joke about why Guilmarn seems content to crush the League and then turn north, leaving the apparently fragile Trader Prince network to become an underground refugee railroad and otherwise remain a thorn in his gigantic ass. They have their role to play and this far from the Dragon Pass plot this is where they play it, looking west and not east. Otherwise, we know Greymane has thrown his last party as of 1624 so the western tribes are probably riled up but in flux . . . like everyone in the greater Orlanth belt after the Windstop. Apocalyptic movements, new and old rites, warrior opportunities across Ralios, Jonatela and beyond. To the east, Malkonwal is fallen and its people are circulating across the mix of refugees from everywhere else. We know the elves are busy in Arstola and elsewhere but timing there is a challenge. Unlike the more aggressively genocidal troll / dwarf plots I see the New Forest as something transient and survivable . . . after all, human civilization has weathered plenty of New Forests in historical times and come back stronger than ever. This is a B plot for the Western Hero Wars and the Hero Wars writ large, something more like the faerie interactions we see in the Great Pendragon Campaign. They have a different plan for us and it has different ramifications. Maybe it starts small around 1625 and proceeds in parallel with the human magical agendas. Players can chase its mysteries or just cope with it as another complication they need to worry about. Cragspider thinks Brithos is ultimately eaten by ice trolls and I want to believe. Your turn.
  24. I've been rolling all this around in my head looking for the right thread to twist all the way through the maze. This is good enough. Start with origins and the stubborn persistence of the Spike as cosmic fulcrum rivaling the Tower of Reason. The received zzabur narrative preserves nothing but disdain for the mountain (or mountains) and its cosmic inhabitants, whom other people remember as elder powers. While the water powers recognize the Whirlpool as the holiest mystery and the center of the middle world, the sorcerous center starts from close to the far edge (probably the Enrovalini zone), slides south toward as the Kadeniti become more prominent and ultimately takes refuge in Brithos all the way up on what must have once been the frontier separating the Kachasti homeland from Ladaralela. Watch the various towers, palaces, citadels and castles move around the map. See the progression as various "zzaburs" and "malkions" establish successive residences. But there is a layer of western-facing mythic history that takes a more sympathetic view. Once upon a time, at the beginning of things, there were two brothers. One stayed home and one went out. The brother who stayed home was the origin of the world, ACOS, the first mountain born and the first mountain that died. He was not Mostal. His name is associated with living stone, the law, making. In the northwest the oldest word for world (predating "Glorantha" by about a decade) is Akem, realm of Acos. We know him as the Spike. Before the world broke, the Spike was the Mountain and the now-blunt and inert Stability rune had the thrusting angle of Law. By definition, he inhabited the center of the world and never left. He was invulnerable until they killed him. The space he left behind is still the center of the world but now it is empty. According to the Prosopaedia, the cult of Acos persists within the Yelm and Eastern pantheons, where his brother aspect LARNSTE is also recognized in some form. When consciousness ranges outside the law, change emerges. Those left inside say he was expelled. He says it’s his nature, “free will.” By definition when the One becomes Two you have begun the long process of duplication of entities and the mountain begins to multiply. The people who stayed home belong to Acos. The people who went out from the Spike are Larnste's people. And when they stop and build a new local law for themselves, a new mountain rises. This cycle might remind us of the pattern of zzaburs cloistered in their towers and malkions going out to bring their teaching to new peoples in new lands. To the extent to which zzabur persists, his "spike" remains unbroken. Going out as a malkion exposes him to fear, suffering, sacrifice and ultimately death. It is illogical. And yet it happens. The zzabur left at home becomes jealous, seeing rival mountains everywhere and working toward their destruction. Despite Tojarinor's gloss in "The Metals of Acos," URTIAM is not quite modern Mostal and his recent (re)insertion into the sacred genealogy of Lhankor reflects this more nuanced view. We know this figure in the Snodal fragments as the creator, the law and as secret god of Nida. The name also belongs to a Grandfather Mortal and sorcerously warped appears in the Guide as Lord of the Spike. Special care was taken to erase this cult in all but the most obscure aspects. He is neither an orthodox malkion nor zzabur, but more of an acos. Technically, I believe he was a "ladaral" buried when Nida overwhelmed the mainland Kachastites and created a mountain wall between "northern Lodril" (Turos) and "southern Lodril" (Veskarthan) . . . loser of a war between mountain gods, enslaved like his father to fuel sorcerous engines, prisoner of Mostal. The sharp point of the spear of the law is hammered down to flat, rounded stability. The miracle is that he endures at all in the secret heart of the northern decamony. It is "ur-" metal to this day, a stolen secret. But these are not the children of Warera. These are the children of Kachasti, another tribe like the children of Vadel, son of Vi(y)morn, who went "west" (southwest?) to Mostal Mountain and came home again to become master of a defeated Zerendel. You can go too far out larnsting. This is what happens. This is the fall of all the old law people except those who had already found refuge elsewhere. Sometimes the blue strain of Warera is attributed to "Vadeli" blood. I don't know. The important thing here is that the island enters history with the blue caste rising. The talar are distracted. The horals, the red people, are open to heretical innovation. The green cousins have their own religion and their own agenda. A man named Drona goes to the northern frontier to become father of human nations in the shadow of "Akem." We could talk more about the blue man, his persistence and the history of the island, wherever it is or was, elsewhere, but this is already too long. Who knows these things? Probably nobody living in Glorantha today. Maybe tomorrow. It's the Western Hero Wars.
  25. Love it!! Do you remember anything he told you back then? I have a feeling that stuff lines up with "Life of Harmast" . . . first person fiction, dialogue, day-to-day memoir that ultimately evolved into the 10 Women Well Loved @David Scottmentioned. "Harmast Saga" is where the more technical ritual material happens.
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