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JonL last won the day on September 10

JonL had the most liked content!

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About JonL

  • Rank
    Senior Member
  • Birthday October 23

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  • Location
    St. Louis, Missouri - USA


  • RPG Biography
    Not all the way back, but pretty far.
  • Current games
    Star Wars using Warbirds.
  • 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

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  1. To add to the chorus, "What is it you're trying to achieve, which of your abilities are you using to do so, and how is using that ability going to achieve that goal?"
  2. JonL

    The Limits of Magic

    Let's look back to where I was two years ago, in a similar position to the new players. At the time, I'd read HQG, SKoH, PGtA, parts of the Guide, and dug around on the forums some, so I wasn't coming in completely cold. OTOH, I never played or read RuneQuest (though knew some concepts from CoC & Pendragon) and had only previously known Glorantha by reputation. The post below was specifically asking things about sorcery, as for theism looking at the break between Initiate & Devotee effects at least gives some context about magnitude, etc. However, a lot of those questions are fairly open for other magics as well. The boldings are new. Here's the whole thread, for reference, including many helpful answers & corrections. Of particular note to my question about teleportation, and the subsequent mentions of it in that discussion. The word "teleport" does not appear when searching in the HQG PDF text. Here's a post I made a year later, that gets into what someone needs as a practical matter to handle things like magic and superpowers: HQG provides some of the answers to the above, but not all and not evenly. I'm curious as to whether the development and playtesting process included (m)any outside readers who didn't know Glorantha at all - particularly as gamemasters. Studying RQ is helpful in some ways, but not in others. Apart from the fact that you shouldn't have to read (or buy) an entirely different game to understand your intended game's world, RQ also bends the fiction to its mechanics in many places. RQG lists Storm Bull as having Air, Best, and Death rather than Air and Eternal Battle because there's no Eternal Battle rune on the character sheet. Having all the various cults picking from a common library of Spirit Magic spells also creates a level of standardization and mechanistic-ness that bleeds into the setting (ah, yes, they also know the secret of "Multi-Missile"), as does the POW/RunePoint economy.
  3. JonL

    Genertelan Vadeli population estimates

    I suppose blood-drinking and immortality would not particularly stand out in a Vadeli community.
  4. JonL

    The Pavis Plan

    For myself, I wouldn't put too much weight in the calibration of niche RQ3 mechanics when drawing inferences about subtle setting matters. However, the overall setup you describe there made a lightbulb go off in my head: Belintar
  5. JonL

    The Pavis Plan

    The pyramid-scheme techniques employed by the EWF in its later years look a lot like the chain-of-veneration techniques employed by the more hierarchical Malkioni sects. "A lot like" as in it's functionally indistinguishable. The widespread adoption of (Sorcerous) tricks and shortcuts like this and Immanent Mastery-style methods ("Enlightenment is hard, what if I could just magically transform myself into an enlightened being? Oh, hey, Kwl Pwrz!") are the essence of the false-path entanglement problems that marked the end of true transcendent attainment among the EWF.
  6. JonL

    Genertelan Vadeli population estimates

    The greatest Law mandates that those who fail to follow the Laws will age and die. By systematically and ritually defying all of the other Laws, they they empower themselves to defy the great one. The mandate to grow old and die is just another rule to be broken. The Brithini commit to follow all the Laws, and if successful are thus not condemned to age. The Vadeli commit to break all the laws, so as to by extension break the one that says they must age.
  7. JonL

    Genertelan Vadeli population estimates

    I'd be surprised if they were anything like evenly distributed. I'd expect them to be thicker in places like the Quinipolc League or Safelster and thinner in places like Akem or Loksalm where their behaviour would he less tolerated.
  8. JonL

    Bring Out Your Dead

    I frequently use this approach, especially with small parties. Augmenting one another provides a different sort of feel than Assists (which only reduce harm) do. It's an especially a good fit for situations where one character might not credibly be able to harm a foe, but might be able to distract or hinder it in order to set up a harder-hitting comrade. It also maps nicely to using buff-magic, thatch-weaving fighter-planes, etc.
  9. JonL

    Bring Out Your Dead

    Let's examine the math on this across the resistance spectrum. For a party of 5 PCs against a resistance representing a single foe, the average resistance across the whole party is 6 less than the unmodified resistance faced by the first PC to rolll:| (I suppose 0 and -3 could be rolled as 20M-1 and 17M-1, allowing for a 5% chance of a success and increasing fumble chances.) I can see where you're getting pleasing results out of this approach at the top of the spectrum, where the 14-20 point leaps make for plenty of room for meaningful gradations between brackets. At the lower/middle tiers though where the brackets are only 6 points apart, it's effectively an entire bracket's drop. Being on-par magnitude-wise with a Stretch or a good Augment roll either way, that's probably an OK result too. Where I'm a bit skeptical about this though, is how it starts to look if you have a larger party or a few followers/sidekicks/familiars/etc as participants. At 7:1, the average drops by 9. Vs High resistance, that becomes a serious distortion. Roughly half the party is now opposed by numbers that make SvsF or CvsF rolls increasingly likely. When you tally the result points, that starts to make a 1-round overall Minor+ victory the most likely outcome against something that is supposed to be a serious-but-not-overwhelming challenge. Major+ becomes most likely if the Players are clever enough to have the early rollers play defense and the later ones take risks like you described. (Moderate resistance would be effectively < Very Low.) For the GM, this presents an inflationary situation, where any sort of single opponent that's meant to represent Moderate to Very High challenge needs to have the Resistance padded (or minions thrown into the mix) to counter the large MOP impact if the level of challenge is to be roughly maintained. At that point, you're going in circles with bonuses & penalties just to get back where you meant to start. (At the other end of the spectrum, it probably undersells the effectiveness of 2:1 or 3:1 odds, but that's less of a problem, IMO) Again, I can see where this made for some fun and dramatic emergent teamwork events at the high end of the scale. However, outside that sweet zone it seems like the impact would much more often range from "About like an augment or stretch, but more complicated." at best to "Making the GM do extra bookkeeping for little benefit." at worst. I suggest rolling numeric disparities into a general and more qualitative framework of situational modifiers, and looking for ways we might enrich teamwork in fun & interesting ways that are more consistently impactful WRT varying player counts and resistance levels. .
  10. JonL

    Swords of Central Genertela

    I've taken to keeping some much-stronger-than-even-my-middle-aged-eyes-really-need reading glasses around for doing fine-detail tasks; soldiering, sewing, fixing broken jewelry, painting minis, checking the kids for lice, etc. It's like the magnifier on a set of helping hands, but moves with my head.
  11. JonL

    Clever Dice Tricks

    This approach would work really well combined with placing dice on the grid the way @jrutila suggested above. Give each player an opposed-roll chart and they can do the cross-index themselves.
  12. JonL

    Swords of Central Genertela

    Well, apart from the Dara Happans, and the Carmanians, the Sable Riders, the Char-Un...
  13. JonL

    Bring Out Your Dead

    As written in HQG, it manages to fill four paragraphs and still not make room for "e.g. -3 for the second opponent, -6 for the third, and so on." More painfully, "Engaging Multiple Opponents" is on page 81, while the alternate approach where you just do something like... ...comes on page 107 under "Militias and War Gangs." The intervening 26 pages contain the entire Auroch Hills interlude, some full page comic pages and paintings, and several other important and often unrelated rules in between them. 😫 "Poorly organized information." is a special Dead all its own. More broadly, MOP is another example of a rule that makes sense if Resistance is not affected by credibility, but is somewhat redundant if it is. If we're going to generalize the Stretch concept as @Ian Cooper outlined above, I wonder if there there may no longer be a need for a discrete MOP rule.
  14. JonL

    Extended Contest: use or not to use?

    If @soltakss doesn't mind me paraphrasing, ECs take a perfectly simple and smoothly running mechanic and needlessly complicate it with point-counting, extra table look-ups and other unnecessary bits that break you out of the flow of play and don't necessarily make for a more fun game experience. While I don't share his perspective that there is never a time when the extra overhead is worthwhile, he is neither wrong in his critique of the trade-offs involved nor that he never finds them worth the bother.
  15. JonL

    Extended Contest: use or not to use?

    I don't recall there being that level of mechanical detail, it being a Little Book after all, though it seems implicit in the premise. It actually never occurred to me that players might have to use the same ability for each exchange in an Extended Contest. Changing tactics and approaches in response to unfolding events just seemed like a natural thing. A quick check of the EC section in HQG finds mention choosing an ability at the beginning, but doesn't say anything about it thereafter either way. I do notice though that in the Auroch Hills play example, Vargast switches from using Thane to "I am the Thunderer!" mid-battle (though that AP has some issues).