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JonL last won the day on December 4

JonL had the most liked content!

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About JonL

  • Rank
    Senior Member


  • RPG Biography
    Not all the way back, but pretty far.
  • Current games
    Starcraft using d6 Space
  • Location
    United States
  • Blurb
    I play in a group that sets Tolkien's song lyrics to string band music, The lonely Mountain String Band http://lmsb.me
  1. Some character creation questions

    That's right. A Breakout Ability under a Rune can also be an exception to needing 1w to use the Rune for overt magical effects. You for example could have the Communication Rune at 17 with +1 "Can Understand Anything Said About Me." hanging off of it. That's advancement-efficient compared to having a separate Ability, but you give up the ability to Augment it with the Rune. Similar trade-offs surround hanging a Grimoire to Law/Moon rune, to a Keyword like "Warlock," or taking the Grimoire as separate Ability. If for example a Loksalmi hangs a Grimoire from a "Man of All" Keyword instead of the Law Rune, Law could thus be used as an Augment when casting spells with that Grimoire.
  2. Where will your Heroquest game go?

    The HQ1-era Lunars books are available in The Vault. Some of it is less relevant with the newer rules or superseded by the Guide, but the remainder is still a lot of gamble material for $5 a pop. A Lunars book of the same quality as the Pavis & Sartar books would be great though, especially with current-style Cult write-ups for Hwarin, Hon-Eel, Yana Aranis, and the like.
  3. Some character creation questions

    They are Breakout Abilities, but also follow the additional rules for Feats on HQG p139. They imply greater fictional permissions to do awesome stuff, but also have strings attached. The Feats described in the cult writeups are also a handy benchmark for the border between Initiate-level magic and what Devotees can do. Any Orlanthi Initiate who approaches Orlanth through the Air Rune could conceivably fly, but it takes the secret of Vanganth's Breath to carry your companions with you or traverse the highest mountain peaks like Alakoring Dragonbreaker.
  4. Other Worlds RPG

    Be sure to put a space between "Other" and "Worlds" when discussing HQ's cousin. Otherworlds™ is an entirely different game by Vincent Baker (Not Apocalypse World author D.(avid) Vincent Baker, this entirely different Vincent Baker.) I got to try out Otherworlds by accident at Gen Con this year when I saw in the event catalog that Vincent Baker was running Otherworlds and immediately bought a ticket, only to discover upon arrival that the event was for both a different game and different Vincent Baker than I was expecting. Despite this practical illustration of the importance of trademarks, I had a lot of fun playing Otherworlds with (No-D.) Vincent Baker.
  5. I'm now toggling my reading between the highbrow lore of History of the Heortling Peoples and the sword & snarkery of The Complete Griselda. Thanks, Chaosium!
  6. House Rules from Veterans

    I had a moment of inspiration while discussing The Colymar Campaign over on RPG.net. The bold section could be used in any sort of story where you've got a PC in the "Main Character" role, even temporarily. If you're following a Star Trek:TNG or superhero-team-comic style pattern where different members of the ensemble come to the forefront from one story to the next, you could rotate the Main Character status accordingly, perhaps in concert with adventures that prick at that character's Flaws. I've been toying with similar ideas for use in running superhero games where two players decide that one's character is the other's side-kick, or where it's super-effective for characters to switch opponents or help one another in team-battles. I'll share those once they solidify some more.
  7. Setting Narrative Difficulty

    It also bears mention that resistance relatively close to the character's ability tends to pull the results towards Marginal or Minor contest results, while very low or very high resistance opens up greater chances of Major or Complete results. That can guide the choice as well, especially if you work "and/but" factors into the Marginals where appropriate.
  8. Overly Broad Supernatural Abilities

    This is the key bit. If you have an ability called "Acrobat," our experience in the real world gives us a solid handle on what an acrobat can do in our imaginary worlds. With imaginary abilities like magic and the like, we have no such common frame of reference. As such, their capabilities either need to be well defined in the fictional framework of the world and characters, to the point that the GM & Players understand the dynamics and capabilities as well as a non-acrobat might understand acrobatics -or- you can break the "Ability ratings are just abstract measures of problem solving effectiveness." idiom and use some game mechanics do define things, as we see in the Glorantha magic rules. For benchmarking supernatural capabilities, I want to know: What magnitude of effects can be done quickly and easily vs what can only be done with great effort, ritual, support, or risk? What can only be done nearby vs at a distance, and do things like having a token from or ritual correspondence to a subject transcend that? Are certain sorts of acts particularly well suited to the ability vs others that may be foreign or even impossible? Does this capability have any applications that are unique in the fictional world? What things are rare, difficult or impossible for any and all supernatural abilities? To what extent do the above vary for a novice, journeyman, or master actor? Answering those questions lets you and the players know what's solidly in their characters abilities, what's going to be a stretch, what they can do with lots of time & effort, etc. Some of those answers also give you guidance on the overall impact of magic in your world. For example, in a pre-modern world, long distance communication or transportation via magic is a world-changer. Knowing how common or capable those effects are is a big deal for understanding the world in which you're playing. To your example, if you're running an investigation-centered game you need to know just how common, practical, and effective things like post-cognition, clairvoyance, mind-reading and the like are. If your world has secrets, these things either have limitations/costs/risks attached or there are discrete countermeasures available. Compare being able to detect lies at will vs being able to detect lies when standing between the pillars of your sanctum at high midnight. It matters to your game which of those is typical. Similar dynamics surround being able to evade pursuit or hide from authorities. If anyone with a college-degree in magic can arbitrarily teleport people from anywhere to anywhere without even knowing where the subject is to begin with, then this is not a world with fugitives (especially given the quantity of magicians implied by a college with a degree program in magic). If doing such a thing is possible, but only after overcoming significant challenges to obtain the necessary ritual correspondences, sacrifices, information about the target, angelic allies, and the like, then it becomes the climax of an adventure rather than short-circuiting one.
  9. 1652 Great Flood

    The waters in Dragon pass have stopped short of the Upland Marsh, eh? Lord Edbert undertook "Orlanth and Aroka," but instead of slaying Aroka, mastered it with the secrets of his Left Hand Power. Rather than releasing Heler, Elbert bade the great Blue Dragon to devour Daga as well. Rather than return victorious from the Other Side, Edbert then rode Aroka (with Heler still within) across the strange and turning tale paths until they reached the battle of the Vingkotlings against the Worcha Rage. Without Heler's power bolstering the Water Tribe's host and deprived of Aroka's blood filling the Rozgali Sea, great Worcha was utterly routed by the Storm Tribe. Upon Edbert's return, the inundation halted, and when he and Ponsonby (who had brought warning from the South of the coming peril) led their followers Southward, the waters receded before them. So it was that Edbert Muddyplucker turned back the Great Flood of 1652.
  10. A Magical Economy

    I would expect any successful Orlanthi farming community to have access to at least one initiate of Barntar, Gustbran, and the local Grain Goddess. Otherwise they wouldn't be successful. At best, those without would be dependent on neighbors (hopefully clan-mates) for key services. At the clan-level, I expect single Gustbrani with some lay member apprentices might service an entire Tula if there are enough Barntari in the outlying steadings that know Repair. Similarly, one specialist healer might be enough for a whole clan if there are enough Barntari or Grain Goddess initiates (especially midwives) around to provide minor healings and such in the field. There aren't Rune Lords/Devotees under every rock, but I suspect that 1/100 is a lowball figure for cottars, vendref, Lodrili, etc. who initiate to the less martial and more professional cults know 2-3 key spells that support their daily livelihood.
  11. A Magical Economy

    There's always work to do on a farm, sure, but on many days during Fire, Storm, and Dark Seasons their chores will be done by lunchtime. Outside planting and harvest periods, those so inclined could certainly study the mysteries of Heal & Repair with senior members of the local Barntar cult.
  12. How to teach Glorantha?

    While written for HQ, the Satar Player's Primer is a solid choice for "Read This." Only about a page-an-a-half of it are system-specific material. The rest is all pure setting introduction.
  13. Glorantha: HQG or RQ Classic?

    ...says you can use one per exchange in Extended Contests and as many as you want on Simple Contests. ;-) HQG mirrors HQCR's language on p63, while stating the opposite in a clearly-not-a-typo fashion on p60. Like I said, either way makes for a fine game, and which way is better is largely a matter of taste. Just the same, a rule-book shouldn't leave you guessing about what the rules are, especially for newcomers. I'll spare everyone the utter threadjack that recapitulating my rants from last year in the croudsource editing thread would entail. Still, another year has gone by and I still don't know whether@Jeff meant the p60 verbiage to be a deliberate change between CR & G with the p63 text inheriting some unedited copy from CR or what; but it would still be greatly appreciated for things like that to be addressed properly, even if just in a separate note rather than correcting the PDF.
  14. My HeroQuest gaming aids

    Thanks in particular for compiling the Spot Rules Summary. For as much as part of the appeal of HQ is that you don't have to think about special rule cases very often, I have at times passed on using some of those in moments where they would have been beneficial to the game because I use them infrequently enough that the details weren't at my fingertips and I didn't want to break the flow of the game to look up something like the particular options of followers. Having a quick-reference like that handy with some sticky tabs on it would be very useful in those moments.
  15. Glorantha: HQG or RQ Classic?

    No single erratum is a game-breaker. They do however make for a different game depending on which way you decide to jump. In particular, can one spend a single Hero Point on a simple contest, or many? The book clearly states both a few pages apart. The game is totally playable either way, but the former case encourages using them here and there throughout the night, while the latter encourages hoarding them to throw at a climactic Nigh Impossible challenge. Neither approach is bad, but which case is true at your table has a large impact on just how nigh impossible Nigh Impossible is. (For myself, I prefer one per roll - such that Nigh Impossible retains some teeth, but allow spending one on an augment roll and one on the actual contest roll itself. I make an exception to that if I'm running a Super-Hero game, because surprise upsets & reversals are a key part of that genre.) The result-point allocation in extended contests in the stated rules vs in the Battle of Auroch Hills play example is another one. The game is playable either way, obviously the Auroch Hills example is an actual-play transcript and they managed to make it through their session just fine. Depending on which way you do it though, the way extended contests play out is different. Again, not unplayable in either approach, but the risk/reward dynamics around things like Risky Gambit, Phyrric Victory, and such are impacted by which way it's done - especially with uneven numbers of opponents. Nothing among the errata ruins the game, but they do make it harder to learn the game from the book, and especially to learn to run the game. While errata don't impede play once you've decided how to approach them, they do degrade the primary utility of the rule-book as a tool for learning how to play the game. Someone coming in cold doesn't have the context to understand the implications of the above and make informed choices about how they want their game to go. If the above were even presented as options with their impact on play explained, it would be alright. That's why I grind the axe about it, whenever it comes up. I <3 HQ and teach it to new players at every opportunity. The rule-book presenting the rules inconsistently makes that harder, and as can be seen right here sometimes makes potential new adopters shy away.