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Dissolv

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Dissolv last won the day on October 7 2020

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  • RPG Biography
    Long term RPG'er, RQ2, 3, Questworld, Stormbringer, CoC, and too many others to mention
  • Current games
    Glorantha RQ
  • Location
    Shadows Dance
  • Blurb
    I heart Glorantha

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  1. You are not the last. I have consistently seen in my campaigns over the......decades.......that the players who stat focus will inevitably falter during actual game play. Those who focus on role play typically wind up with stronger characters in the long run, even, maybe even especially, when their characters are fairly meh to start with. Two explanations: Those with weaker characters I see explore the rules, and the world more aggressively, while those with stronger starting characters tend to sit pat. More importantly, the world intrinsically rewards heroic, even sometimes downright sacrificial actions. At least my Glorantha.
  2. Although my players have more collective time in Glorantha, Pendragon is an instant favorite, and we actually did the entire cycle -- twice -- with the same gaming group. It is really that good of a game. Also, there is waaaaaay more opportunity for humor and (medieval) social hijinks.
  3. Giants traditionally have antipathy to the Gods in most, if not all mythologies. My Glorantha follow that trend. In this case Bears are tiny creatures, like mice. So why would a Giant ever worship the Bear god in the first place? This makes no sense. Better to be big and powerful. Ho Ho Hrrrrm.
  4. Inexperienced players -- 4-6. RQ Vets -- around 12 Tick hunting isn't a problem that I can see. The main thing is that use of a skill does not generate a check unless under some type of duress. So maybe you wind up with a check in sing, dance, and orate, but you also failed those skills publicly, likely repeatedly. Those actions have consequences in later role play. However I do allow much more skill increase from baseline in many situations. For example a player has rock bottom riding skill, but winds up with a horse and is asked to ride around all season doing some horse related thing. By the rules this should not earn a check mark, so it does not. However I typically just give the character up to 25% riding skill for generic familiarity, assuming that significant off screen time is spent doing some activity with the horse. Up to a certain point (25-30% or so) it just seems utterly illogical that a season of riding around with the Pol Joni tribe taught the PC nothing more than he knew when he didn't even have a mount. I believe that connecting those logical dots, particularly for non-role played time, is an important part of the GM's job. There is a real chance that the players don't grub so hard for checkmarks if they can take actions to gain skills in other ways. If you only give your players a hammer, then every box on that sheet will look like a nail.
  5. I didn't know him, but he was the RQ person that I (eventually learned) was the game mechanics master. It took me a long while to realize that he and Louise were a husband wife duo (I was pretty young for RQ2 era stuff and a lot sailed by me). After learning more about RPGs in general I admired his work more and more. He contributed something badly needed to the world, then and now -- organized fun.
  6. This was a major difference in Gloranthas then -- or probably more accurately the scope and theme of my campaign, which was very much aimed at local flavor and built to support new players. My crop of PCs were the greenest of the green, literally farmers and other people on the outs of the clan power structure who had grown tired of the situation(s), and determined to step up and make a go of changing the world, even if they were woefully unprepared to do so. Because the players were also completely new to RQ or Glorantha, they did things a lot differently than my old school group of players ever did. So not only did none of them start with any sort of stored power, they also didn't prioritize gaining any. Even when I explained the concept they sort of looked at me like they wanted to ask "but how does that help defend the central grazing lands against the Emerald Sword cattle raiders?"
  7. For the Heal 6 versus Heal Wound thing, my players were not fans. Healing 6 took up a ton of space against the limit, and would have been over half of several characters starting maximum. They stuck with Heal 2, mainly for after combat recovery, but also sometimes during combat, such as after a missile exchange. When they absolutely had to heal someone who was clobbered by a critical hit, giant, or other gloranthan life menace, Heal Body was the go-to. The Yelmalian worshiping Praxian pulled off many an in-combat save with this spell, and used it even more than Sunbright, which was his favorite. Heal Wound was used sometimes, but it costs both Rune points and magic points. My players were not swimming in stored power, and they had to start from scratch with the Rune points, so I believed they looked upon it as a wasteful emergency heal. In any event, their preferred take on the subject was to try real hard not to need a heal at all. The campaign saw extensive use of "three dimensional" combat, with stealth, ambush, extended ranged combat, and solving situations with social skills whenever possible. They definitely got the hint that this wasn't a game you beat down with "levels". I saw more tactical approaches to combat situations and the approaches only got more creative as they got used to the game system. As such it became more common to need either no healing at all......or things went really, really wrong and Heal Body was the most economical method to restore a fighter quickly. But the group was not really into stand up, heroic combat as their first option. They were a lot more Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser than Sir Gawain, and that worked. I'm curious to see how they might handle a higher power campaign a bit deeper into the Hero Wars, but I suspect they would do more of the same.
  8. A full year of campaign, and spirit spells remained fundamental. The best combat PC was an Orlanthi, and he used Fireblade (matrix on an iron weapon taken from a Lunar officer) plus Strength every single encounter that he had a chance to prep for. And some he didn't. A big part of this was that I didn't let the PC's conveniently rest to regain full Rune points just because they had spent them. The world had a flow to it, and the players generally could tell when they weren't out of the woods just yet. They tended to conserve Rune points in favor of spirit magic whenever and where ever possible. Rune point exhaustion was a strategy used by many NPC's, and the PC's picked up on it very quickly. Save the good stuff for when it is time to shine. The non-combat PC's tended to use Rune points to Dismiss down enemy Rune Spells like Shield or Truesword, and the Lhankhor Mhy player famously saved three different PC's from spirits with a very timely Spirit Block.
  9. On another level, a bastard sword is pretty pointless. Spears are superior weapons for most purposes. Longer reach, better penetration, cheaper, much less metal used, etc. I don't mind a broadsword being a fine weapon in any fantasy game, especially if it doesn't dominate the spear. Runequest is great that way! However no matter your main hand of choice (and a battle axe is underrated here!), a good shield is a must. Arrows and Javelins are a thing, as is weapon breakage. My campaign's main fighters generally needed a new shield after every significant adventure. However if your concern is fighting non-human opponents, then the two handed weapons start to make a lot of sense. Two handed spears are already good. Two handed axes are just a take-no-prisoners option if you need to power through troll armor, Dragonsnail shell, or even an expected 4 points of Protection. Two Handed swords are also extremely good, and definitely a strongly rated option, although a Humakt follower who needs that much damage is going after serious game indeed. So much so that the 1d10+1 that we used to use for the Katana and two handed Longsword might not be enough to push you over that threshold to make it worth it. This more than anything else explains why it wouldn't exist. For (regular) humans a magically boosted Broadsword more than suffices. Against serious non-human game you need the full two handed weapon for weight and killing power. 1d8+1(x2 Truesword) +4 (Bladesharp) + 1d6 (Damage bonus, often boosted with Strength) is 18.5 average damage. 1d10+1(x2 Truesword) +4 (Bladesharp) + 1d6 (Damage bonus, often boosted with Strength) is 20.5 average damage. 2d8(x2 Truesword) +4 (Bladsharp) + 1d6 (Damage bonus, often boosted with Strength) is 25.5 average damage, and remains the gold standard for big game swords-ing. Accept no substitute! Frankly the main reason to do the sword and a half is more as a fun thing to do for the player. I have had many, many players with 1d10+1 swords and it is in no way overbalancing or such. My original group generally preferred Storm Bull's with Great Axes, until they realized how easy it was to buff up a Berserk Storm Bull with a Bastard Sword (from previous editions). It could get silly fast, if everyone would lend the Storm Bull follower their god's power in the form of Rune magic, but that was 100% how the myth goes, so I thought (and still think) it was excellent play.
  10. I figure there should be quite a few Rune Priests per Rune Lord. The 18 CHA requirement alone is extremely rough, especially for those people with a low value to start. The skills are also a very serious hurdle, and involve potentially a LOT of fighting -- and therefore chances of dying. Also, unlike Rune Priests, I can see them being a lot more free to roam. So even if a Rune Lord does rise up in your location, they might feel religiously compelled to quest, join a hero band, fight the Lunars, that sort of thing, so seem more likely not to be necessarily be at home base all the time. I expect a Priest to be at the temple for Holy days, so a chunk of them are going to be present locally (if you have a temple/shrine) all the time to hold the ceremonies. So in this edition of Runequest, I have made about 5 Priests per Lord my rule of thumb.
  11. By chance, we just wrapped our year long campaign of the Eleven Lights. The campaign definitely is not on rails and is more of a set of problems for the players to interact with. As such it looks to potentially vary very dramatically towards the end. Here is the write up I gave to my larger gaming group. For your specific question, I actually did an epilogue Zoom meeting where I told the players what had happened to the various local factions as a result of their actions. Jomes was seen as a potential enemy, but also respected by the players (who had a number of rough encounters with Telmori over the course of the campaign), and they never really zeroed in on him as an active, hostile foe. As such, he managed to narrowly escape being at the Dragonrise, then narrowly escape being at Boldhome, and then slipped away to Tarsh with some of his followers without any interference. The Woods of the Dead lost Gloomwillow, but the ghouls were ultimately unpruned, unchecked, and a growing and serious regional menace for years to come. The Humakti of the Two Pine clan were leaned on heavily towards the later half of the campaign, and there was simply no one left to check the ghouls. The Telmori suffered massively. First the Telmori war killed their leadership. Then the Great Winter culled their numbers. Despite this, many NPC's wish to prioritize them as the primary enemy of the clans. The players, despite being Telmori fighters themselves, repeatedly politicked against further punitive actions. Between their efforts, and the influence of Kallyr and the rebels, the Telmori escaped the campaign, free to build back up their numbers and for new leaders to emerge. The Moon Winds were driven out. The Lhankhor Mhy priest player tried the typical modern player gambit of "your side is wrong, join our side instead" to the local Lunar Priestess, looking to convert the whole group at a stroke. Of course this did not work -- Rune level is a serious commitment that transcends simple oratory. The players were ultimately in a much more merciful mood until they returned home and realized that their families had not all survived the Great Winter while they were out putting the world to right. Several players have characters that lost their families multiple times to the Lunars. For the Heroquest, I had the players roll up secondary characters. Two of them ultimately stayed in the Sky Dome (one of them became the lover and first mate to the Captain of the Darkening of the Skies. He made a cameo appearance during the Dragonrise at Kallyr's side. One of them, a hunter from Tarsh, became the Head Priest of the Eleven Lights, and was summarily tasked with every time consuming duty involving the new cult. The last was not seen again in the campaign (yet. We may pick the story back up one day.) The main efforts of the players were to forge an alliance between Red Cow (and thus all Cinsina tribe), and Two Pine (and thus the Culbrea). It was extremely rough sledding, but they eventually pulled it off. The required a Heroquest, the deliberate choosing of a star that might have peace forging magics, the removal of both clan chieftains, the political trumping of the "behind the throne" powers in an extended political contest, and the crisis of the Windstop. But hey, it IS possible to keep clans from feuding. It just isn't easy. 😉 Kallyr remains the primary potential ruler of Sartar. Argrath however has more directly assisted the players. The players understood that there were sides to take, but seemed to think that it was above their pay grade, and never really acted, took any oaths, etc. King Broyan's death took them by surprise, so perhaps they were looking to him to be their King Arthur.
  12. Raibanth Line. Figures are Fireforge Games Byzantines. I used one box of spearmen and one box of Auxiliaries. There are left over figures, including 5 slingers that will become Thunder Delta Slingers, and 10 extra melee that I assembled as swordsmen. Still looking into which unit this might be, but I am thinking Bagnot foot. This produced one large unit (single rank spearmen, double rank archers), and two regular units -- one rank of each.
  13. I have been running a campaign via Zoom for over a year now (how the time flies!). It is very old school, with oral descriptions only. Anything we need share I put into a shared Google drive, which is also where the character sheets live. It is not optimal, and everything goes way slower than in person, but after a period of adaptation, it has produced some very dramatic moments. 🙂
  14. I posted a bit about this topic here: I definitely try to stage mass battles by doing smaller battles first, and with the PC's in non-leadership positions. This sort of sets ground rules and expectations. Bonus points if they see their leaders fail, and learn a lesson for when they are Rune level and in charge later on. Just three weeks ago I ran the Battle of Iceland. I do not use the rules in the Main Rule book, and originally intended this to be a miniatures session using TTS! Sadly despite the fact that I have painted both sides for his, including personalities and giant Chaos horror, due to the constraints of Zoom it was run in old school, oral narrative fashion. However that method still works, was extremely epic, and took a very lengthy Zoom session to resolve. Here is how I did it: 1) I set the tone well in advance. The players have been gaming weekly since May 2020, and have been involved in quite a few cattle raids, clan vs. clan skirmishes, a Yelmalian phalanx vs. Troll mobs throw down in Pavis, and knew the basic gist of mass combat. The conflict between King Broyan and the Lunars in Hendrikiland had been the subject of news and rumors for months. When the Windstop hit, the players were given impossible options, and rose to the occasion. Specifically they were asked to choose between their kin, their clan, and the cause. The PC's scrambled to find a way to save everyone....but....we'll get there later. 2) The Battle itself had the players in mid-level leadership positions. They weren't top tier heroes just yet, but were well respected and certainly better than the rank and file. They acted as Captains of men, but still were being directed to carry out battlefield tasks by superiors. They were effectively throwing the weight of around 100 Thanes, nearly half of whom were Humakt Initiates, and therefore had magic. Because of their unit's great relative power, they received a place of honor (read: Danger). 3) The battle itself was a series of narrative events, player decisions, and sharp combat. Their first task was to defeat the Beryl Phalanx, who could not be allowed to use their anti-"Ram people" magic. The best combat PC led the charge, covered by the PC archer, and backed by the sole Rune level PC, the Grey Sage. In a tough combat where most of the clan(s) magic was spent, the Beryl phalanx was crushed before they could form ranks, the archer PC managed to down the best enemy Priest with a couple of critical arrows, and the combat PC was able to heroically slay the Beryl Phalanx commander in hand to hand combat twice (thanks to the Grey Sage Dismissing every protective spell cast by or upon the commander). After that there were a series of battlefield tasks to deal with -- cut off the Lasdag Lions who were moving to flank the army, protect the (civilian) sleepers from Lunars intent on killing them, save Hendrikiland militia who were neck deep in angry Lunars, meet up with Broyan, that sort of thing. In between breathless rushing from task to task I would give them a snippet of the events in the battle. The lightning used against Broyan, spotting their clan's former Chieftain who had been driven out by the Lunars, the arrival of the sky people, that sort of thing, but generally fairly quickly. 4) The climatic finale was the Chaos beast (which I made a thing that grew stronger and larger as it absorbed the bodies of the dead as it mucked around the battlefield.) Finally the Grey Sage stood forth and used a temple treasure -- an enchantment of Impede Chaos of tremendous magnitude. Then he did his level best not to die while being attacked by 20d6 damage attacks with Lhankhor Mhy knows other effects. When the combat PC realized that he had magic again he dumped 13 points into Lightning and seriously wounded it. Eventually the mercenary Sun Domers showed up and everyone held their breath. The group had taken serious losses and were out of magic. The NPC thanes had dragged the combat PC off the field to save him, and no PC had any Rune or Magic points left to do much more than the exhausted thanes might do against the massed pikes and Lightwalls, which would be to run in and die. However the bargain had been "no Chaos", and to everyone's relief and amazement, the Sun Domers hurled pikes first at the chaos horror, and eventually ended it. If you notice this resembles a Heroquest in that it is a narrative encounter with a series of stations each with different tasks to fulfill. In many ways I find that "real world" Heroquests are the best ones, as you shouldn't need to always travel to another plane to be the Hero. You can be heroic right here in the Middle World, and while the rewards may not be quite so great as a Heroquest proper, the landscape is more understandable, and the rewards are real all the same. A major difference is that the players had quite a lot of followers to manage, which in the game session were broken up into elite warriors (Humakti generally), good warriors (the highly skilled and well geared but magic-less Orlanthi), special skill NPCs, which were mainly hunters and ranger types, but also included a support group of Priests. At different points in the night all of those sub-units had to be managed, even if just loosely in the abstract.
  15. It is often called "Heroic scale", and is 32mm or even 36mm scale. A great example of this was how GW Imperial Guard (ordinary humans) eventually became taller than their iconic Space Marines (who are supposed to be 7-8' tall). This led to the release of "true scale" Primaris Marines. Historical miniatures are generally better in this regard, and while there has been a bit of scale creep, I still have true 28mm miniatures mixed in the many photos that I've posted in this very thread. The Buffalo Riders being a very strict true 28mm group. It works well enough with the other figures, although they are clearly bigger if you look. The larger figures actually work very well for heroes, monsters, and leaders.
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